“It is difficult to say exactly at what point fear begins, when the causes of that fear are not plainly before the eyes. ”— Algernon Blackwood
Despite Stalin’s destruction of much of Moscow’s architectural heritage, what remains is enough to convey the impression of a medieval capital that collided with a soviet juggernaut. It is a city where petite onion-domed churches and 19th century mansions compete with neo-gothic skyscrapers and ten-lane ring roads. Communism’s great contribution to the city, the magnificent metro system, lies deep underground. In recent years bold, modern structures have been added to the progressive skyline and the citizens have a recovered pride in their city of ascension.
The Central Dominance is the beast of the CCD, and Moscow, its hustling, gargantuan, larger-than-life capital is the big beast. Other cities in the region pale in comparison to the sheer, high voltage charge of this 12-million strong metropolis fueled on vodka, Siberian oil, oligarch bling and a resurgent nationalism. Plus, its streets and high-octane nightclubs are polluted with sassy, stylish girls, the favored belles of the 21st century.
The bad news is Moscow isn’t quite the wild, everything-goes city of the cold war, its much more flattering; but civilization spawns corruption, and for civility in a land formerly depressed of civil rights, the Ascendancy is to thank. As evidence of this prosperity, the city has undergone a ‘Californication’ in the past few decades: cleaner, greener, and air-conditioned in summer. And, it’s not just California that the party girls want to emulate; they’re also into shorts, high-glossed faces, the neon-hair look, and swimming pools atop skyscraper restaurants. Business ventures flourish, perhaps a little too lawlessly. The good news is while an Italian suit and new Maserati will get you far in this city of billionaires, sometimes attitude is enough.
THE CENTRAL CUSTODY OF DOMINION STRUCTURE OF GOVERNMENT
Absolute authority rests within the office of the Ascendancy. He is wildly popular within his realm, despite outsiders’ accusations that he is a dictator.
While his official title is Ascendancy, multiple cultures within his rule have varying names for him: the Amulet of Hope, the Djinn, the Archon of Ages, and the Vine of the Earth; all titles largely honorable and some nearly theistic. Meanwhile, the Atharim call him, Apollyon or “Destroyer”.
Areas of the Custody are divided into Dominances based on people-groups of similar culture within a specified region. The Dominances are unnamed, and referred to only by Roman Numeral in the order in which they were annexed. Russia, for instance, is Dominance I also called the Central Dominance. Uniformity is mandatory, but cultural heritage is allowed, in fact, encouraged. Custody of each Dominance is broadly managed by a Patron. However local cities are often under the control of the new aristocracy which rose to power as surges of wealth flooded into the ASU and so they are completely loyal to the Ascendancy, the man to which they owe their wealth and power. Otherwise Patrons are not held accountable for their actions so long as their Dominance upholds Central Custody laws and loyalty.
Current Dominances & their capitals are:
Dominance I – Russia, the “Central Dominance”, Moscow.
Dominance II – remaining nations of the old USSR, Kiev.
Dominance III – the Indies, southeast Asia, Australia, Mumbai.
Dominance IV – the Far East excluding China, Tokyo.
Dominance V – the Middle East, Dubai.
Dominance VI – Eastern Europe, Prague.
Dominance VII – Western Europe, London.
Dominance VIII – South America, São Paulo.
The Ascendancy selected one person from each Dominion to serve as consul to the Central Dominance. These men and women bear the title Privilege. While they have little in official authority, the Ascendancy considers the collective wisdom of his consul regarding executive decisions. All members of this elite Sphere share two traits: they are self-made billionaires, and thus, successful entrepreneurs from varying industries, and their invitation into the Sphere was irrefutable. This group is located in Moscow, regularly meets at the Kremlin, and remain beneath the political protection of the Ascendancy. A list of individual members may be found on the wiki.
When a nation was annexed, its military was dissolved and incorporated into the universal CCD armed forces. The Ascendancy is the executive head of the military however he has a number of expert defense advisers on whom he relies. With talk of war on the horizon, protecting southern Siberia, its pipelines, refineries, and CCD reserves will remain top priority, but any offensive against the CCD will be treated as an open declaration of war. Meanwhile, skilled members of the police force in the Central Dominance are being recruited as private security or mercenaries for the mega-wealthy.
The Ascendancy is seen as an antagonist by the West who are angry with the anti-democratic policies of the CCD. Disobedience of NATO treatises, rigged election systems, and nationalized oil are viewed as threats to those which remain. On that aspect, China, Australia, and the United States are all in agreement. The Ascendancy’s authority is secure, but he realizes his borders may not be.
See The First Age wiki for a detailed description of CCD armed forces.
The capital city of the Central Custody and therefore of all Dominions is Moscow and is the setting of our site. However, this is the seat of the CCD power because this is where the Ascendancy chose to dwell. Where the Ascendancy resides, control, and therefore stability, followed; and in times threatened by anarchy, he who controls the food, controls everything. For now.
The scale of everything in Moscow from buildings to streets are much larger than elsewhere in Europe, raising the level of grandeur of the city. Add to that the monumental Stalin towers, the imposing Kremlin, the grandiose Red Square, and Orthodox churches, and you have a city that can only be described as epic.
DEPARTMENTS & AGENCIES
Government departments and agencies are referred to as a Custody. For example, the Department of Defense would be called the Custody of Defense in this setting. Many government offices are located in Moscow’s central district and those of the greatest importance are located in the Kremlin itself. These include, but are not limited to: the Custody of Defense, Custody of Labor, Custody of Energy. Leadership among a given Custody was assigned by the Ascendancy with their rank within the bureaucracy in proportion to the amount of that individual’s private success.
Upon the annexation of an individual nation into the CCD, their official language became English. For continuity, the official language of the Central Dominance is also English.
The official currency is the CCD dollar. It is the most valuable currency in the world.
MOSCOW CULTURE IN 2045
For most Moscovites, transitioning into the new democracy following the collapse of the Soviet Union was not an easy task nor a particularly welcome one. But because the personality of the city has so many faces, the culture is not easy to define. Long burdened by harsh weather, a tumultuous history and the general malaise that ensued, Moscovites seem to value the status quo and are reluctant to change. Therefore, the formation of the Ascendant Soviet Union was an overwhelmingly popular return to “the good old days.”
Security, stability, and conservatism were always held in high regard; but at the same time you will see new phenomena such as the absence of concern about the future, free spending and easy and quick adaptation of foreign practices in the younger generations. Many outsiders find the people an enigma – surprisingly nostalgic but curious about the possibilities of the future.
The people have traditionally been molded and directed from cradle to grave, creating individuals who assumed little responsibility for themselves, an atmosphere bolstered by promises of the Ascendancy. They are slowly learning how to take charge of their own lives, but the chasm between the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick and the skilled and the unskilled continues to widen. There is a sort of sadness born of oppression that demands a different social order blanketing the city’s streets. Whether or not this proud melancholia is fact or fiction is arguable, but the belief is almost universally held with great pride. History taught the people mistrust and safeguard their own property and rarely is a smile seen in public. In fact, there is a notion that people who smile for no apparent reason must be simpletons.
As a result of the dramatic changes brought about by the authority of the CCD, a class of “new wealth” has developed. Distinguished from the Old Wealth, these are people which acquired a lot of power very quickly in the last two decades. These captains of commerce are demanding and influential people in Moscow. They are the best customers of the city’s Five Star hotels, build VIP residences, and frequent luxurious bathhouses, spas, and shops. The youngest generation respects success in private ventures, a philosophy directly correlated to the Ascendancy’s example in his Sphere.
The attitude toward the other Dominances is clear. As the capital of the CCD empire, Moscovites take great pride in the city’s elevation over Europe and Asia. Relations with China are uneasy, but not rare. While the escalating tension between the CCD and United States has enflamed old prejudices, general attitudes toward the disabled and handicapped are not good. There is little in the way of state service for these people, leaving any care up to the responsibility of their families, if they have one. State run orphanages are places to avoid.