Vladimir Konoliner was a decorated and charismatic admiral in the Tycon galactic defense force, but ten years of peacekeeping after decades of border skirmishes and war had led him to look for new challenges. He applied for and received a colonial grant of the Jellix-Angelon system on an arm of Leonas va-Errat, a barred spiral galaxy under the banner of the Tycon Corporation.
He recruited soldiers and their families, ultimately amassing nearly fifty thousand people to join him. Vladimir’s recruiting genius was demonstrated by the fact that a military is self-contained, encompassing all of life’s essentials. But having an immediately complete society was not his only stroke of genius, having a well-trained and organized military, familiar with logistics gave Vladimir the ability to control inter-system trade and security.
However, Vladimir was a career military man whose duty to newly formed House Konoliner forced him to remain planet-bound after a long career in space moving from system to system. Unsure of how to cultivate a planet, he turned to his closest subordinates for advice. The wife of Admiral Kent al-Mahid, Anjika, had spent considerable time in government as a social engineer. Their close association created the initial principles of Konoliner society, as well as two Konoliner heirs.
Like a military organization, House Konoliner was stratified, resembling a caste system. Above everything were the royalty, originally consisting of the members of Vladimir’s inner circle of advisors and confidants. The royalty would rule the Konoliner people and be maintained by birthright. However, the early history of Konoliner would stretch this principle beyond the population’s ability to support it, requiring that more qualified individuals be recruited.
Once Jellix-Angelon has become a stable colony and Konoliner had established trade routes throughout the region, Vladimir began a process of subjugating the neighboring systems and turning them into protectorates. Led by Admiral al-Mahid, House Konoliner soon controlled four local systems. In this, Vladimir proved both shrewd and benevolent. The best and brightest of these annexed colonies were rewarded with inclusion into Konoliner royalty. None of the rulers of nearby systems shunned the prospect of being “demoted” into a wealthy and rapidly growing empirate, especially when they were given a lot of local autonomy.
In true military fashion, Konoliner insisted that education and training dominate his fledgeling empirate, establishing the foundation which would permit stable growth for millennia. However, there would be significant growing pains after the first several generations. The military structure required standardized procedures, but the rapid assimilation of systems, which developed in isolation, often with widely varied origins, created a significant challenge for the ruling elite.
Enter Ramon Gadbois-Konoliner, Vladimir’s descendant, eight generations removed. To take the population’s mind off of increasing personal restrictions which constituted House Konoliner’s guiding principle, order, he instituted a second guiding principle, beauty, and challenged the entire population to participate in implementing it. The principle of beauty spread faster than order, highlighting the brilliance of Gadbois-Konoliner’s initiative. Indeed, order was required to support the spread of beauty, bringing order throughout the empirate shortly before his untimely death due to an anuerism.
Ramon was succeeded by his sister Ellis, twenty-one years his junior, who in turn was succeeded by five consecutive female descendants. This led to a confusion of traditional surname succession ultimately arriving at the retention of names for both genealogical and royal lineage. House Konoliner would always be ruled by a Konoliner, even in the event that the original bloodline or surname was lost. Names became synonymous with posts, even if the prestige of a post changed and the holder moved to one of greater prestige.
Jellix-Angelon remained the royal seat of House Konoliner, even after the Tonatium Revolution turned Ganoten into the unparalleled jewel in the Konoliner crown. Tonatium permitted Konoliner to grow further down the arm of the galaxy, Ganoten becoming the empirate’s new center and shining example of Konoliner principles.
Fun Facts: When I began creating the structure for The Assassin’s Cradle, Konoliner was the story’s villainous empirate. So I created the name Konoliner from the names of Prime Ministers Fumimaro Konoe of Japan and Benito Mussolini of Italy and Reich Chancellor Adolph Hitler of Germany. In applying the snowflake method to the story, I created profiles for each of the empirates. The principles of beauty and order were created for Konoliner to contrast what I initially envisioned to be a totalitarian militaristic government. I like to avoid cliches and felt it was much more interesting to make the reader question Insam’s motives for undermining Konoliner. This led me to a much more interesting and complex set of circumstances to build from and explore as the story progresses.