The Ventali Empire’s imperial government and the Holy Church of the Star Empresses co-rule life in the entire world. As seen in the first episode, there is a special order of the Empresses’ church, known as the Perlustration, which polices the empire for any void influences and has the authority to order around the imperial officials.
In the first episode, it was clear that women were dominant in this flat disk world; however, that doesn’t mean that men are entirely neglected or unimportant. The captain of the Vibrius is a powerful officer and an example of how free the men are. Still, what does the actual society look like? From a high viewpoint looking down over the landscape of the Ventali society, it breaks down along some simple terms of men and women, church and state, and nobles and commoners. Something that should be evident from the second episode is there is no stigma on any type of romantic relationship, further there is no such thing as “marriage” in this world. This leads to some interesting social norms, for example, it is not unusual for people to not know who their father is.
The Ventali Empire has conquered or established permanent protectorate treaties over the entire world. The Empress is the final civil authority, and yet, she shares power with the one church, a church that has existed since before the Ventali Empire was established and which has its own seat of power in the city-state of Nacitas located at the exact center of the world. This combination makes for a world with two heads of state. The first, which consists of the vast majority of the population, is the matriarchal system of family houses where only women are allowed to hold important offices within the houses, vote in elections, and rule in the government. The second is the church hierarchy consisting almost exclusively of men with total authority over the Ventali Empire’s citizens with the responsibility of guarding against heresy that would allow “the void” into the world. An unusual aspect to the church is that “the void” is not well defined, but it is used and treated interchangeably as an evil being, a measure of evil, and something physical; the lack of a clear definition for what the void is makes it very difficult for the church to protect against the void and gives the church officials a lot of leeway in what is and is not within their authority.
While the girls know pretty much their role in life from birth the boys have a more ambiguous life path. Boys at the age of seventeen must either join a commercial commune, overseen by one of the family houses, or join the church. Up to the age of seventeen, the boys attend school and train within their mother’s house with their sisters without any difference in education and experiences. The house matrons recommend their boys to various communes, and some communes will make competitive offers for outstanding or influential house candidates. Most boys have a choice of two to three communes to join, or they may apply to join the church. However, application to the church does not guarantee acceptance. The church rigorously tests the applicants and only accepts a small percentage of them each year. Interestingly rejection from the church is not considered a bad mark, as it is well known the church only accepts a very small number of applicants.
In this third episode we are introduced further to the church view of the world. Janali has entered Nacitas and with the help of her friend, the Ventali capitol district Bishop who was a bit of mentor and friend of Janali as she grew up managed to get in to see the Augur Optimus, the head of the church. Our story continues with Janali coming face to face with the Perlustration and learning firsthand just how powerful they are.
Just to mix things up, I flipped the point of view from Janali to the officials of the Perlustration so we can more fully meet Janali’s antagonists.