Dominion and Duchy
is a now-complete online science fiction novelette written and posted by one Ben Household, ostensibly about a war between the titular Dominion and Duchy- specifically, the Royal Galactic Dominion and the Independent Grand Duchy of Serenia. In reality, Serenia falls out of focus almost immediately and is replaced by something called the Arcanas, weird crystal things
that attack the Dominion for no apparent reason.
It can be found here
. He is also adding new things to the page, one of which is an index of planets in the Dominion and the other is a fantasy short story that is apparently in canon. It is called Blood-drenched Blossoms
. A sequel to Dominion and Duchy, called DreamScape is now being posted in parts.
Unrelated to the Eurogame Dominion
This story provides examples of:
- A God Am I: The Ars Arcanum, leader of the Arcanas, seems to believe that reality exists to serve it. This contradicts with the way that it is attempting to destroy everything.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Possibly averted. Four AIs have appeared so far, but two of them seem to be completely loyal to their creators. Alundra Djinn works for the Dominion and doesn't appear to be malevolent, but Alfva Maei (mispronounced as Alpha May) just seems to run the Bellacroix. The third AI works for the Celestial Emperor. The fourth, the Librarian, seems to be loyal to the Dominion, but is rather flippant toward the leader of the Monolith Group.
- The Trinity System, a method of traveling faster than light is controlled by the A.I. Tria. She is described as a True Neutral and almost never shows her face. She is a clear aversion as she is firmly on the side of the Universe.
- One new character, Trinity, plays this straight. She is an artificially intelligent virus that has ineffectually infected Tria. Trinity is totally insane and wants to "Reject the reality of the Dominion, and substitute her own". She is infected with another A.I. virus, Phantasm that has also gone insane after a failed attempt to cut every single planet in the Universe from their suns.
- Aerith and Bob: The planet names. We get planets with names like Yggdrasil, Majilij and Tetra, but they are contrasted with the Capital of the Royal Galactic Dominion, Centra. Thats right, the planet directly orbiting the centre of the Galaxy is called Centra!
- Alternate History: In the second story, DreamScape, Earth is revealed to be under the control of the British Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Soviet Union and the Empire of Korea. They are referred to as the Empires of the Four Winds. The British Empire is apparently the most powerful and actually beat the launching of the Sputnik by seven years.
- Chekhov's Gun: A rather annoying example. An anti-inertia drive is mentioned once as being experimental and unique to the Bellacroix and is later used in the climax. Queen Pandora seems to have one as well, even though the Bellacroix apparently had the only one in use.
- Cherry Blossoms: A weird example from Blood-Drenched Blossoms. Apparently, the Kingdom of Avara on the World of Pandora has constantly falling cherry blossoms. They start off as white and change to blood red during the course of the story.
- Christianity is Catholic: A weird variation, in that what seems to be an equivalent to Christianity, the Cathedrum, is directly compared to the Roman Catholic Church.
- Clock Punk: The capital planet of the Dominion, Centra, is apparently a clockwork planet.
- Cool Starship: The Senate Tower, from which the Dominion is ruled, can convert into a spaceship, apparently a quite large one. The Bellacroix, the "Capital City Ship of the Monolith Group" is roughly the size of the Soviet Union! There are also three Earth starships that while not described, are explicitly mentioned to be the first group of modern Earth starships to travel faster than light.
- Deus ex Machina: A quite literal example. An angel appears and saves the day.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Several implied in the backstory and one has happened in the story so far. It is actually a planet that was wrecked by a 'void bomb', and was later hit with a gigantic crystal the same crystals mentioned below.
- Eldritch Abomination: The Arcanas may be this. They are giant crystal lifeforms that when destroyed increase their size to ridiculous levels.
- The Empire: One of the other governments mentioned is the Imperial Indra Confederacy. It is unknown if it is actually an empire.
- The Imperium of Humanity seems to be one of these.
- The British Empire has been revealed to be thriving in this universe. There is also an Empire of Korea that has India and Hong Kong within its borders.
- Expospeak: Ben Household seems to have a love for this, explaining little elements of this world (apparently called the Domina Continuum as per the subtitle) while completely failing to describe how anything looks. We know the Monolith Group uses gold monoliths as all-purpose tools, but other than the fact that it has fins, there is no description of what the Bellacroix looks like.
- Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Seemingly averted in Blood-Drenched Blossoms. We have the Kingdom of Avara ruled from the Ivory City, settled by explorers and is as the center of the world, but is the weakest nation in military terms. There is the Glass City of Managro, which is apparently in a desert. The person from Managro is named Lorenzo. There is the Iron Citadel of Tetra, which may be the most powerful nation, the Masters of the Deeps who are described as "barbarous", the playful people from the ocean land of Galena and the "hateful scholars" from Aeropolis in the sky. The only direct parallel may be Drakoni, which is a neutral nation in the mountains. Sound like Switzerland?
- The Federation: The Royal Galactic Dominion seems to have elements of this, but its actual governmental structure appears somewhat odd. The Dominion apparently has three royal families, one of which is from the planet VelTetra, but is ruled by a prime minister and a senate.
- The Celestial Commonwealth just sounds like this, but it is ruled by a clearly evil emperor.
- Genius Loci: Possibly the planet NeoBabylonia. In a flashback, it possibly ''commits suicide!
- Great Big Library of Everything: The Librarian is an AI running the Galactic Library, which actually includes the contents of the Library of Alexandria somehow. The Patriarch of the Cathedrum also used it to study the Earth, which shouldn't be possible.
- The High Queen: The prime minister, Corlettia Corvana, has a few elements of this, in that she rules a galaxy, apparently with great ability.
- Queen Pandora, a mysterious character that shows up out of nowhere may be this as well.
- Queen Celeste Corona of the world of Pandora is certainly this. She is described as having brought Pandora out of the Dark Age of War and having attempted to stop the Red Scare of the Army of the Fallen Czar.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: In the backstory, the Imperium of Humanity (thousands of years ago) built a huge weapon to destroy a race of pacifist healers, the Avaloni. They also destroyed a space station, named the Neverland, that was carrying one million refugee children.
- Literary Agent Hypothesis: A really random example. Right at the end of the story, it is revealed that it is the Librarian telling the story. It does explain the expospeak though.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: A really annoying case as the characters jump in and out without warning. A group of tourists at the beginning seem to be gearing up to be the main characters, but they just vanish with one little mention later on. This is made more confusing by the fact that most of the characters seem to lack real names.
- Mega Corp.: The aforementioned Bellacroix is the main base of the Monolith Group, an apparently massive corporation.
- The Multiverse: The Domina Continuum itself is a series of 50,000 parallel dimensions stacked up on top of each other. It is also stated to be one of many multiverses and it is at the center of these. One of the other multiverses was destroyed.
- Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: The abovementioned Cathedrum seems to be a subversion. The Patriarch of the religion specifically mentions that the Cathedrum is one of the oldest groups in the Galaxy, predating the present Dominion.
- The Power of Love: The aptly name Heart of Galaxia is described as being a force for the Ultimate Love. A race called the Taroti can't abide it.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: The aformentioned clockwork planet and the Bellacroix are rather low-key examples. The Ars Arcanum is a dimension-scale parasite, the Bellacroix travels at over a million times the speed of light in normal-space, Queen Pandora uses a starship/space station that completely dwarfs the Soviet Union sized Bellacroix.
- Single-Biome Planet: One clearly identified one, one weird case and one that serves a single purpose. Ida is an ice planet, En-Gedi is divided between a jungle and something that sounds like Cybertron and the third is the planet yBriLa, a library planet. Technically, Centra is one, but as the planet is a manufactured clockwork planet, it doesn't really count.
- DreamScape gives us a few more. Ida is in the Xusca Wruj system, as well as three other named planets, Inferno, Lanvarok and Mirros. Mirros is a gas giant and is not otherwise described.
- Inferno is extremely close to Xusca Wruj, the star, and is constantly pounded with solar radiation. Apparently quite a large amount of matter has been blown right off the surface of the planet. It is apparently a volcano planet as obsidian is common there.
- Lanvarok is a desert planet because it has seventy-seven thousand tectonic plates that are constantly grinding the surface to dust. There is apparently enough friction to cause spontaneous combustion in anything on the surface. It is apparently inhabited because it is a source of something called Ylludi, which is used in a medical compound called Ambrosia.
- Ida is a mountainous ice planet, but the mountains are actually pieces of Inferno. Ida may be a moon of Mirros because it sometimes goes behind Mirros and freezes solid.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Luna and Lorenzo from Blood-Drenched Blossoms. The weird thing is that one was already married when they ran off.
- What Do You Mean, It's Not Symbolic?: The "Edge of Existence", literally the edge of the Universe is covered in Seals of Solomon, which look similar to the Star of David.
- The World Tree: The Valhalla System is described as five planets literally connected by a single tree. This is expanded on with a direct description that makes it clear that four of the five planets in the system are within the branches of the Tree. It is apparently a hybrid of the Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It also has fruit that is completely poisonous.
- World Shapes: Pandora from Blood-Drenched Blossoms is a flat world with no moon.