Type: Hive World
Temperature: 38 – 42 C
Planetary Governor: Proxy High Minister Lord Alphax Duss
Sector: Askellon Sector
Sub Sector: Stygies Cluster
Segmentum: Segmentum Obscurus
The world of Juno has stood as the capital of the Askellon Sector since time immemorial. It is commonly held as the first of the Founding Worlds to have been settled. The planet’s ruling classes regard themselves as the elite of the sector, claiming the colony vessel that seeded their civilisation was the one carrying the finest of the fleet. Whether this is truth or fantasy, the rulers of Juno have always comported themselves as aristocratic masters, and place enormous stock in preserving what they regard as the purity of their labyrinthine bloodlines. While the aristocracy live artificially-extended lives of unimaginable luxury, their world cracks apart and their claimed control over the sector becomes more precarious. Each year, more shards of the cyclopean edifice sheer away, eroding the aristocracy’s power, though they have yet to realise how badly. Their retainers dare not speak such truths to them, as the majority care little for such things and are concerned only that their existence should continue uninterrupted. An increasingly small number amongst them are still loyal to the greater Imperium and struggle to maintain Askellon, though most fear it is in vain.
As the Pandaemonium grows in this era, the aristocracy of Juno grows ever more distant and detached. Their balls and banquets become ever more decadent and outré, their costumes ever more flamboyant, and their behaviour ever more outrageous. Those who have witnessed these excesses whisper of the Emperor’s judgement being brought down upon their pampered heads, while rebellion simmers amongst the teeming masses. Indeed, some masked harbingers of doom preach sermons blaming all of the sector’s woes on the debauchery of the aristocracy, holding that only by casting the ruling classes down might the fall of the entire sector be averted. Life on Juno is fast approaching a tipping point, though its rulers appear entirely unaware of their own peril.
The surface of Juno reflects the planet’s long and war-torn history. Nothing of its original environment remains, the seas having been replaced by swamps of toxic sludge, and every shred of native biomass having been consumed in one manner or another. Numerous sprawling cities exist on the surface, but only a minority are occupied at any one time, officially at least. The world has been assaulted or invaded so many times throughout its long history that its cities have each been abandoned, re-occupied,
levelled, or rebuilt many times over. The world’s ruling classes, as well as the headquarters of various branches of the Adeptus Terra and other Imperial institutions, occupy structures that resemble mighty bastions. The roads are lined with statues many metres high, and ragged banners sway in the breeze along processionals hundreds of miles long. The skeletal remains of cities lost to long-forgotten wars fill the war-torn wastes between those cities currently thriving. Within these wastes are said to exist all manner of outcasts: mutants struck low by the taint of genetic corruption from the toxins saturating the very ground, Warp-worshipping cults, recidivist enclaves, and even infiltrators of any number of xenos species. Periodically the rulers order such areas purged, partly out of paranoia and disgust, but as much because it is inevitable that they will have to be rebuilt at some point as the tides of war sweep their existing cities away.
The cities are places of enormous contradiction. The weight of power and age rests heavily upon them, even as new structures are thrown up to replace those entirely torn down. The greatest edifices of Juno are riddled with craters and plasma fractures many thousands of years old. All is dilapidated grandeur, grand balls and banquets being thrown in towering halls where walls are pock-marked and the cracked roofs are open to the pollution-streaked heavens. Despite the damage wrought upon its fabric, the world still retains a palpable air of age and power that few can deny.
Juno is the pre-eminent world in the Askellon Sector and seat of the Adeptus Terra’s sectorwide bodies of government. While each world has a Planetary Governor to rule it in the Emperor’s name, there are matters that require the exercise of power at the subsector and in particular the sector level, and in Askellon these are vested in the person of the Sector Praefect. For as long as the records recount, this office has been allotted according to a complex tradition of inheritance within the Askellian nobility, but its fulfilment has always been subject to ratification by the Senatorum Imperialis, for it confers on the Sector Praefect a senior rank within the Adeptus Terra—one imbued with great responsibility. The Sector Praefect’s role is to oversee affairs between its worlds, as well as represent the sector in its dealings with external bodies, whether these are neighbouring sectors, Segmentum authorities, or even the High Lords of Terra themselves. The Praefect has no direct power to interfere with the planetary rulers, but in practise exercises enormous influence. Should he deem it necessary, trade routes could be redirected or closed, plunging systems into misery and condemning millions to death.
The incumbent is Praefectrix Charlotta Anastasia XX, whom the planetary governors of Askellon fear and adore in equal measure. She rules from the Pellucid Tower, one of the most ancient structures on the surface of Juno, where numerous representatives of the Adeptus Terra’s many divisions are gathered along with countless thousands of officials, scribes, and functionaries to support her rule. Her control is not limited to the wider sector, as she rules Juno itself through a sycophantic coterie led by a handpicked high minister. While she has been in power for several decades, the Praefectrix appears to be slowly withdrawing from public life, her appearances at her own court growing ever more infrequent so that they are now almost entirely limited to the grandest of state functions. Many fear she has become increasingly paranoid and secretive to such an extent that it is rare for any but her most senior counsellors to interact with her in any official capacity.
The Praefectrix now resides in a sprawling complex of armoured chambers and crypts deep within the foundations of the Pellucid Tower, chambers that are likely to have been constructed impossibly long ago in the forgotten Dark Age of Technology. From this subterranean sanctuary, the Praefectrix issues declarations and receives reports from her most trusted advisors and underlings, many of them bearing scant resemblance to any sort of reality beyond its armoured doors. What fantasies she now clings to remain a mystery to all but the inner circle, for she has been known to order the raising of entire legions against imaginary foes or order a system long since lost to host a grand visitation. Juno itself has lost her attention. Her advisors feed her a steady stream of lies and half-truths, and jealously guard access to their mistress. Despite this, the Praefectrix does occasionally hold court in closed session with mysterious emissaries her counsellors have failed to bar. Who these emissaries are and what powers they might represent remains a secret known to only a select few.