Thessia is dotted with loose confederacies of great republican cities - asari history has involved little in the way of large-scale civil conflicts, so there has been no pressure towards consolidation of power in particular regions or political blocs. Cultural and trade ties between cities have always been strong, extending as far as travel technology allowed in any given era, and population exchange has historically occurred with much greater frequency than is the case in other species - pre-spaceflight, the "Maiden travels" typical of the first of the three asari life stages would see asari journey widely around their homeworld, and a high proportion would later choose to settle permanently in regions other than those of their birth. Along with the asari tendency towards cooperative behaviour and consensus-based decision-making, this led to the asari regarding themselves as a single people first and foremost at a much earlier stage than other species, long before communications technology advanced to the point where true unified planetary government became practical. Regardless, asari still take great pride in their native regions - whether by birth or those they emigrate to.
Asari moved from an amphibious (previously aquatic) form to true land-dwellers comparatively late in their evolutionary process. The majority of the great cities are coastal, and the ocean retains an important place in asari culture.
Flora and Fauna
Virtually all Thessian life (excepting a handful of species existing in very specific localised environmental conditions) are adapted to the element zero in the planet's ecosystem. Many employ it to generate a variety of biotic effects, and a significant number of species do not, having adapted simply to experience no ill-effects from its presence.
- Aha (leafy herb, venomous)
- Halspree (flowering)
- Moonlight lily (flowering)
- Sanissa (flowering)
- Varidas (flowering)
- Viseka's Gift
- Zelana (tree)
Thessia is governed by a true democracy. There are no politicians or elected representatives - each citizen is permitted equal access to the decision-making process, via a dedicated planetary communications network in which matters of policy are freely debated, and decisions arrived at by general agreement. The social and cultural influence of Matriarchs results in their voices having enormous sway over debates relating to their chosen fields, but there is no "hard-wired" mechanism by which any asari's opinion on any matter is given more weight than any other's. The online discussion rooms in which debates take place are moderated by advanced VIs; a significant portion of Thessia's information technology R&D establishment, including licensed AI research institutes, participate in ensuring these VIs function as intended, and do not develop any emergent intelligent properties in spite of their sophistication.
The destruction of communications networks during the Reaper War, in combination with Reaper attacks aimed directly at killing as many leading Matriarchs as possible, resulted in the total collapse of global government. A loose coalition of huntress and commando units who had survived the initial invasion, along with civilian militias, were able to facilitate communication and coordination between geographical regions, but decision-making outside of military matters was left in the hands of whatever local civilian leaders arose. As the post-war Artarva Project reestablished global communications, and local infrastructure was restored, authority was passed back to the population as a whole.
Thessia is one of the most technologically advanced and economically powerful worlds in the known galaxy. Most notable (due to the universality of biotic ability, compared with its scarcity in other sapient species) are biotic technologies; the bio-amps produced by asari craft guilds are regarded as the finest in the galaxy. Due to the asari's considerable lifespan, much of their technology is designed around self-regenerating materials modelled after Thessia's organic life (although true "organic tech" is not especially common).
Thessia's export economy was all but eradicated by the Reaper invasion and subsequent deactivation of the relay network, and due to communication breakdown much of the planet reverted to local self-sustaining economies, with mass production and industrial capacity devoted primarily to non-commercial aid and infrastructure efforts. Since the resumption of relay travel Thessia's commercial economy has seen modest but stable growth. Thessia's abundant element zero caches remain a valuable commodity, and while Republican reconstruction programmes generally favour long-term stability over short-term gains, their reliability in the uncertain post-war galactic economy has attracted enough investors for Thessia to look forward to an eventual return to its former prosperity.
Cities and Regions
Famed for the natural beauty of its surroundings, Anerzesa was devastated during the Reaper War, with the damage and loss of life of the initial onslaught compounded by the construction of husk processing facilities on a massive scale among its ruins. While the memory of the horrors that took place there, and the remaining scars on the landscape, have worked against significant resettlement of the area, the memorials established on the site of the city's central plaza have become widely visited by asari from all over Thessia.
- Anerzesa tonic is a popular refreshment among asari, although its flavour tends to translate poorly to the palates of other species. Since the city's destruction its production has ceased entirely, rendering surviving stocks highly prized.
Armali is among Thessia's most famous cities, with a galactic reputation for its wealth and the sophistication of its industries and culture. The Armali accent is synonymous with privilege, and the city's cuisine is favoured in high society. Unlike the majority of asari cities Armali was not originally coastal, with its original settlement instead based around Lake Bisel on the plateau of Mount Orlael, although modern expansion has extended the city's urban development beyond the surrounding highlands to the ocean. Home to the Armali Council, whose omni-tools and bio-amps are regarded as the finest available. The Armali Guard is one of the Republics' most well-trained and equipped huntress cadres. A common saying in the city, enshrined in some of its institutions, is: "Respect is not a one-way river."
- The Armali Palace is an art gallery of galactic renown. Wartime damage resulted in the loss of three entire wings of the building, but with painstaking restoration of surviving works underway it is estimated that 40% of the gallery's collection will eventually be returned to their original condition.
- Lake Sirala is several hours north-east of the city, and the setting of the Maiden's Falls. Over millennia the water here has eroded away a sandstone layer, revealing underlying eezo deposits which causes iridescence in the waterfall.
- The Kanas, based in Armali University, are a long-established and formidable waveball team competing in the planetary league.
- Local legend holds that Orlael grew as a monument around the body of the goddess of Justice Alishka, who took her own life after being tricked by Eshil, goddess of Chaos, into creating the first Ardat-Yakshi. T'Lanos, one of the legendary figures of early Justicar lore, is said to have retrieved Alishka's sword Cales from the bottom of Lake Bisel, symbolising the asari people taking upon themselves the fallen goddess's duty to bring justice to the world.
Although comparable in total population to other republican cities, the Attena region never developed a central city - a widespread network of easily navigable waterways made for rapid travel, meaning there was less incentive to centralise for trade and communication purposes in the pre-industrial era. Although the largest settlements have grown to the size of cities in their own right, there is still no true regional capital, and even in the most urban areas, population centres and facilities remain dispersed, with high concentrations of undeveloped natural land. Attena is situated in the west of the Tescani continent; the climate is warm, and the geography a mixture of low hills, rivers and lakes, and forested areas with some of the properties of rainforests in a mild form. The coastline boasts several spectacular rock formations, most notable among them the Dancing Bird Straits, a massive network of spires and slanted cliffs surrounded by ocean, which is a popular destination for recreational aircraft enthusiasts.
Due to a high concentration of academic institutions, Attena's popular image is something like that of an oversized "college town", combined with a reputation for its inhabitants being outdoors types. Attena attracts a high number of visitors, including tourists and foreign students attenting its schools; in addition to the usual asari population movement between areas, the region is home to a sizeable number of non-asari residents.
- Attena Academy is the region's primary higher learning institute. The Academy has a history of its graduates entering the diplomatic field, and boats one of Thessia's finest galactic studies departments.
- The Attena Political Cybernetics Institute is an artificial intelligence research centre. Part of the network of centres ensuring the proper operation of Thessia's political VIs, the Institute's specific focus is on advanced theoretical modelling.
An early centre of maritine trade and travel, and the origin in the pre-Myacolan age of the Dassus Craft, a body of work representing a dramatic advance in the sophistication of asari engineering. Dassus was later the final assembly location of the Maiden Voyage, the first asari interstellar vessel; the ship and launch facilities have been preserved as a museum, and repairs are underway to restore them to their original condition following wartime damage.
One of the larger confederacies of cities, the gentle conditions of the Kendra Ocean made pre-flight travel between the settlements on all its shores common, resulting in very strong trade and social ties between them. The Kendra region is notable for its architecture, which it has exported to many colonies; Illium's Nos Astra is constructed primarily in the neo-Kendra style.
- The Solace Isles are situated in the southern ocean, away from traditional shipping lanes; legend has it that they were kept secret by the goddesses until Nereana, goddess of the sky, opened them to the Solace Fleet (which gave the isles their name) bearing refugees from Majesa, which was facing destruction in a storm called down by a Malari witch. The major islands of the chain feature sun frost and kassalt cliffs which directly shelter their centres, and form a meteorological barrier that deflects strong winds and storms from the isles as a whole. In modern times the Solace Isles are among Thessia's most admired resorts, which local matriarchs have taken great care to preserve by limiting commercial development. Having no military significance and being remote from major settlements, the isles were largely ignored by Reaper invaders, and are now among the planet's busiest holiday destinations; management of the tourist influx is a concern.
- Nereana's Channel is a notable natural formation in the Kendra Ocean, situated in a coral reef near the Solace Isles. Created and maintained in a natural equilibrium by biotically-active coral, the Channel is a vertical shaft extending down some 14km from sea level, comparable to Thessia's deepest ocean trenches, and is home to a number of unique species. Tribal folklore of the region held that the Channel was the birth canal from which the goddess Nereana was born.
- Kendra Gravity Engineering is a local R&D firm notable for being one of the leading manufacturers of the ELITE racing championship. Although no permanent galactic-level ELITE track is maintained in the region, the ocean was famously host to the Kendra Revolution race, on a temporary track built hovering over the ocean itself and using gravity walls to 'tunnel' beneath the waves on several corners.
- Local fashion houses exert great influence on civilian fashions throughout the Republics (and by extension in asari-inspired fashion in the Systems Alliance, given the ease with which asari designs can be fitted to human females). Kendra Sway is largely credited with the current galactic trend for full-length skirts and dresses.
A continent dominated by inhospitable desert, although a number of settlements exist in coastal areas. Near the geographical centre of the Majesan desert is the Cold Sea, a landlocked body of water which is largely lifeless due to deposits of element zero in concentrations toxic even to Thessia's eezo-adapted species. Significant impurities exist in these deposits, making the extraction of industrial-grade eezo from the Cold Sea prohibitively costly; some experimental pilot programs have been established at times to test refining methods, but no permanent settlement or industry has yet been founded.
Majesa's inhospitable conditions are a result of natural climate factors, but the Malari folklore holds that the continent was once covered with fertile forests, and was reduced to its current state by the self-destruction of the malevolent Malari empire said to have been based there.
Nefrane is an ancient city said to be buried beneath the ice of Thessia's south pole. Although several scientific expeditions have failed to reveal evidence of the city having ever existed outside of myth, it remains an influential image in asari lore. The name has been adopted by the primary ice station located at the pole, conducting isolated research and active as a base station for scientific expeditions.
An island-based Republic. The Thessian Advancement Front enjoyed strong support there several years after the Reaper War.
This Republic also saw great support for the Thessian Advancement Front.
Serrice is regarded by some as the heart of Thessia, and by extension the Asari Republics as a whole, and is described as 'the crown jewel of the galaxy'. Home to the Serrice Council, a consortium manufacturing high-powered bio-amps, omni-tools, and personal armor. Also home the University of Serrice, whose Chancellor, Matriarch Epentha, is regarded as one of the most influential speakers in the postwar rebuilding period. Serrice mariners pioneered the kelandion type of sail vessel, widely considered the pinnacle of sail design across the galaxy. Wartime damages were heavy, but intensive rebuilding programmes are underway to restore the city and its surroundings to prosperity. The city's primary huntress formation, the Serrice Guard, is among the most active in the Republics, and has a somewhat legendary reputation.
- The Beantri Zoo was a popular tourist attraction, one of Thessia's most advanced wildlife sanctuaries, and the centre of much zoology and exozoology research. Sadly the wartime death toll among its resident animals, especially those in specialised habitats, was extremely high, as colossal damage shut down all but the most basic environmental control systems. Portions of the zoo returned to full function are currently devoted mainly to preserving native endangered species.
- Serrice Ice Brandy is an alcoholic beverage enjoyed by virtually all sapient species in the galaxy. Serrice's distilleries, while large enough to cope with interplanetary demand, have never entirely converted to heavy industrial operations, keeping their output limited enough compared to demand to be expensive. Other wines and spirits from Serrice are likewise well-regarded.
- "Serris" is an alternate name for the city, primarily used in an historical context. The phonetic difference between the two names is largely inaudible in non-asari languages; some translation software relying excessively on automated searching and matching has been known to apply it to the modern city.
- Serrice and Dassus have an ongoing sporting rivalry going back many centuries, encompassing most popular sports including skyball, and waveball, in which the Serrice Sar Lin are among Thessia's most famous teams. Serrice University's pildavi team Thessia Thunder often plays exhibition games against Dassus's planetary league Artisans; Serrice's dominance in this sport is generally expected in the current era, but upsets have been known to occur.
- Lasting Jewel is a submarine city situated in the highland lakes near Serrice. Pioneered as an environment for visiting hanar and those settling with asari spouses and families, and still home to one of the largest populations of hanar outside Primacy territory, it has also attracted a significant native asari population on its own merits.
The Republic of Tauvos saw widespread support for the Thessian Advancement Front in the years following the Reaper War.
One of Thessia's rare landlocked republics, the city of Ulee has been an industrial centre since the pre-spaceflight age. Situated in the foothills of the Elantean Peaks, the republic has always been blessed with an overabundance of natural such resources as iron, copper, element zero and ceramics (the latter derived from the rich te'kah mudflats), which the local artisans have been biotically refining since before the Malarial Queendom.
Despite the region's wealth, Ulee is frequently considered to be a somewhat backwards region. Superstitions and 'quaint' traditions abound, much at odds with the city's modern guilds and manufactories. Many Uleesian natives go into the mining and manufacturing industries, and the republic maintains a relatively small huntress cadre.
The Ulessian Ogres are a skyball team of some repute, although the team has failed to win any major competition since the time of the Krogan Rebellions.
Thessia Falls: CDN reaction to the Reaper assault on the planet.
To All Followers of Athame: Following on from the above thread, Vesh offers reassurances to her fellow asari.
The Big Blue Plain: CDN members help rebuild at the polar city of Nartin.
Tokyo Outlaw visits Thessia: Includes a discussion of Thessian architecture. No, it isn't phallic. For more reasons than the obvious one.