The Free Dominion is a shunned and hunted splinter group from the Starlit Court.
They are a community of Knights and their hangers-on of Sihian extraction that were exiled from Sihi due to their actions in the Dachia Crisis. Though their distinct identity is clear and obvious to anyone familiar with the culture of the Starlit Court a casual observer might be hard pressed to realize they are in fact a separate group.
Due to their exile being predicated on the actions taken by the Dominionists over Dachia, many of the Free Dominion see Syr Ancelot as a hero and a martyr, and profess to be the true inheritors of Sihi.
Since their exile the people of the Free Dominion have spread across the sector, fleeing from the spectacular defeat of their attempted hijacking of the planet-station Sihi.
The large majority of the Dominionists have settled in small exclaves across Beacon Space, either finding empty plots of unused space to build towns and villages on or settling into the already existing cities across many planets. Some of the first buildings that they constructed clearly show the influence of Sihian building styles but over time all but the most isolationist groups have come to adapt some of the styles of the places they have found themselves settled in.
Some of the exclaves have accepted outsiders into their number to be trained in their ways of combat.
A much smaller percentage of their numbers refused to settle anywhere other than the station they saw as home, flying in small fleets in essence mimicking the life they knew before Dachia. Far more isolationist than their cousins that have chosen to settle across the sector, the Fleet Clans as they have become known refuse to have much if any interactions with non-Dominionists, choosing instead to conduct most of their trade through their ground bound kin.
They are however happy to sell their services as mercenaries for hire to any and all comers, typically maintaining offices for this purpose within the exclaves.
Cultural Differences to the Starlit Court
Due to their much greater contact with other cultures and their lack of access to many of the cultural touchstones of Starlit society, those in the Free Dominion have experienced a seismic shift in the way they express their own culture. This is particularly strongly felt in the younger generations who were children at the time of the Dachia Crisis or have been born since.
Due to these shifts, the Free Dominion have largely dropped a lot of the courtly aesthetic that permeates more standard Starlit culture. However there is a core within many of the central families within this group that strongly maintain the fact that they are still Knights, many declaring that their oaths are not broken just because those they made them to have broken faith.
Dominionist Knightly Orders
To keep their Knightly titles and to continue to teach and squire their children and others they consider worthy of the honor many of those that live in the Free Dominion have created their own Orders that are unrecognized by those from Sihi. A few have recreated the Orders they were from prior to their exile, the most famous of which is The True Order of the Lion.
Anti-Starlit Path Sentiments
While not the mainstream of thought within Free Dominion communities, there is a strong subculture of deriding the Starlit Path. The majority of people rejecting the path have come to believe some combination of the teachings that the original Realist messages brought to the Sihian people. This leads to this group typically espousing a belief in the conquest of Beacon Space to various extents.
However there are an even smaller minority that have rejected the Starlit Path and all related ideologies and replaced them either in whole or in part with the philosophies of the places they have settled. This has resulted in the beginnings of a few so-called “New Path” movements springing up across the sector, these are largely hyper-localized groups whose teachings tend to be minor variations on those of local faiths.
Due to the loss of access to Sihi’s cybernetics expertise and facilities the Free Dominion have had to rely on blackmarket equipment and back alley doctors to maintain their Sheathes and to implant bootleg copies into any new “Knights” brought into their orders. Typically depending on Tahora Whai derived neural interface technology and publicly available mechs to fill in the gaps where more specialized Sihian resources are unavailable.
There is also an attempt among several of the more numerous groups of the Dominionists to recreate Avalon and the Unseelie Court to give them their own afterlife and as a source for new fae. Similarly to their attempts to keep and replace their Sheaths much of the tech base that the exiled forge order knights have been using to attempt to approximate this pinnacle of Sihian technology has been from the Tahora Whai.
This access to Whai technology has been aided by access to the Space Trucker network, allowing individual Dominionists and various exclaves with enough money to place contracts via the NEOD system, managed by Saxophredionics Trucking Union, to receive almost any resource they can think to request.
Another attempt to create fae to give to new knights was performed by a group of less technically skilled knights. This group attempted to perform a simple copying operation on an existing fae. The precise nature of what went wrong with this process has not yet been determined, however the result was a permanently damaged fae and a corrupted virtual intelligence that destroyed the facility in which this was tried as it attempted to use the mechs present to break free.
In their attempts to replicate several Starlit Court technologies using what is available to them in Beacon space, several radical groups within the Dominion have developed abhorrent, malicious technologies. This includes manipulating bleed sorcery to create alternate versions of the Sheath that allegedly rip out a dying knight's soul, a limited biological version of Avalon to store dead knights, biologically engineered host bodies, and horrific amalgamations of flesh machine and sorcery that allow non lenses to use the bleed.
Members of the Umbral Throne engage in criminal and mercenary activity to gather resources and steel technology and tools. Those that have had to deal with them have found that the core of the Umbral Throne are surprisingly well armed and equipped.
As a result of the continued terrorist activities of the Umbral Throne, The Office of Sihi Intelligence has operatives spread throughout the sector maintaining a watch over many if not all of the known concentrations of Free Dominion peoples keeping an eye out for sympathisers and agents of this danger to the Starlit Court.
This close scrutiny is sometimes rewarded with leads to Umbral Throne cells and bases, and in the rarest cases some of the still at large Knights-Exsilium and their contraband mechs and Sheaths.
Order of the Griffon Hunts
Since the betrayal of Ancelot during the Dachia Crisis The Order of the Griffon has had a vendetta against any and all Dominionists and are often the units called in by OSI to deal with any discovered cells and bases.
Since the creation of the Free Dominion there has always been a militant, violent movement taking refuge within and recruiting from the Free Dominion. These militant sects violently peruse the philosophical goals of the dominion, engage in terrorist activity, and seek to undermine the stability of the Starlit Court. The largest of these groups are The Umbral Throne, The Dark Triad, and the Swords of Ancelot.