|Groups of Note:|
“It is a necessary nutrient-cluster required for optimal fuelling and maintenance of your internal organic biosystems, not an opportunity to demonstrate the quality of your pict-capture augmentation systems. You are supposed to consume it, not log a record of its visible-spectrum EM profile to post publicly on the noosphere.” – Casual conversation logged by Ardens 48627-Epsilon Undeniable-Righteousness-Of-Gravitation, Ferraeus Lexmechanic Prime
“The Omnissiah is the Asymptote; the purpose of Mind is to approach the Omnissiah‘s perfection.” – Sermons of Fabricator-General Every-Simply-Connected-Closed-Three-Manifold-Is-Homeomorphic-To-The-Three-Sphere Lockwood Lockwood
The youngest Forge-World in the Sector, Castellum was founded in the mid 300s.M41. Its founding Tech-Priests were a breakaway sect of the Adeptus Mechanicus of Ferraeus, the planet’s nearest neighbour and rival. After a substantial history of religious and philosophical differences grew up between the “new blood” and the Ferraeus orthodoxy, a cadre of the younger Mechanicus split away to colonise Castellum, previously a wild and unpopulated world notable only for the ruins – supposed pre-Imperial – found in its snow-capped alpine region.
The orthodoxy of Ferraeus dismissed the new colony as insignificant upstarts, and were outraged when in the early 400s.M41 it was granted a full Warrant from Mars according it Forge-World status. This was only the first of many political victories won by the hierarchy of Castellum; while they may not have access to the same ancient lore and centuries of accrued experience as their Ferraean siblings, their capacity for influencing peers and superiors both Imperial and Mechanicus is superb.
With only a few centuries of industrialisation in its history, Castellum is underdeveloped by Forge World standards; the Magoi Biologi of the world favour a hybrid approach to infrastructure which maintains large swathes of the planet in a natural, unmodified organic state. They claim this greatly reduces atmospheric reclamation resources and allows the power and promethium which would ordinarily be devoted to maintaining a breathable atmosphere inside the Forge Worlds to be used for higher priority tasks. As a result there are large swathes of Castellum, much of it mountainous, which visibly appear as green and untamed as an average temperate Imperial world – though since many of these are used as experimental zones and breeding grounds for the more excitable of the Magoi Biologi’s genetic experiments, unauthorised “touristing” is highly inadvisable. The ruins in particular are off-limits and rumoured to be patrolled by aggressive Skitarii guards who use the wild mountain uplands as training grounds.
The capital, Instance, is a wonder of the Adeptus Mechanicus’ untramelled and pious imagination, with streets laid out in a distinctive interlocking cog-pattern said to be particularly beautiful from high anchor. The centre of the gear-wheel configuration is the Temple of the Sacred Asymptote, where binaric and Gothic prayers to the Omnissiah ring out across the plascrete rooftops day and night. The streets are lit constantly by the blueish glow of arc-welders and the harsh artificial lumen, as the laboratories and manufactora sleeplessly attend to new and brilliant variants on the ancient sacred texts and construct-templates.
Most residents of Castellum, lay and priesthood alike, carry small pocket Noospheric devices approximately the size of a tarot card, which they use to interface with the planet’s substantial data repositories and cortex archives. While these devices are reliable in Instance, Case, Iteration and other urban centres (when placated with appropriate prayers to their Machine-Spirits) they do not travel well, and young Castellum residents frequently complain that they feel isolated, bored and confused when travelling outside the urban centres or off-planet without reliable cortex access. Ferraean critics are often heard to grouse that the Castellan youth are totally incapable of carrying on a regular conversation in civilised Binaric cant, preferring to communicate in cortex datablips transmitted through these terminals even when in proximal auditory range of each other.
Despite its dangerous neophilia, Castellum’s rulership is clear and hierarchical; the Fabricator-General Every-Simply-Connected-Closed-Three-Manifold-Is-Homeomorphic-To-The-Three-Sphere Lockwood runs a pious and efficient planet, with her Fabricator-Locum Continuity-For-All-Delta-There-Exists-Some-Epsilon-Such-That-If-Y-Lies-Within-Epsilon-Of-X-Then-F-Of-Y-Lies-Within-Delta-Of-F-Of-X Witherick strictly overseeing the day-to-day operations of the manufactorums, Skitarii regiments and orbital shipyards.
In religious terms, Castellum pays lip-service to the Imperial faith, but its politics are purely and unashamedly Martian. Its temples worship the Omnissiah as a separate entity, with little of the Imperial syncretism found on some older Forge Worlds. There are rumours that Fabricator-General Witherick is determined to give Castellum the same status as more established Forges by agitating for the grant of a Titan Legion; so far her efforts have met with little success, and Castellum’s contribution to the Prosperitas Crusade is limited to spiritual and mechanical assistance from individual Tech-Priests, the occasional Skitarii deployment and the use of its shipyards.