Castor IV is a fairly dry world with 60% of the surface water, primarily in dotted seas about the globe, plus the Great Southern Ocean. The temperatures are quite close to Terra, but it has less axial tilt. The atmosphere has a number of trace gases which are mildly harmful to humans, but largely breathable (if somewhat dry).
The landscape is fairly varied - with occaisional mountains and dotted hills, but few enormous stretches of plains. Deserts are common, and fresh water is relatively rare compared to Earth. The flora are similar, although there are fewer large forests. There are a variety of plants adapted to the desert, including the alinal bush which the people often depend on for its fruit.
The fauna is more dominated by mammals than Terra - although there are a variety of marsupials and other offshoots. There are many hooved species parallel to horses/goats of various sizes - from minute scavengers (hippal) to large herd animals. There are also many flightless birds which travel the plains and hill. Lizards are rare and usually well hidden.
Their internal organ structure is different, and their blood is thinner and darker due to a different set of blood cells. Their red blood cell is shaped more efficiently, so there are fewer of them - and their other blood cells are dark colored.
The Arain Empire was founded only three centuries ago, but it built on a long tradition of cities and nomadic tribes in the northern hemisphere. It grew from contact between nomadic tribesmen and prehistoric cities of the small fertile valleys in the region. Slowly there developed a widespread culture from the wandering tribes' contact between these centers.
The people have domesticated a very large, camel-like beast (tacral) for travelling across the desert. They have also tamed certain flightless birds for pets and guard animals. The aghust is particularly deadly with its axe-like beak. Lizards are hardly known, and are typically viewed with superstition and hatred.
In Y153, the interstellar border shifted as part of a short-lived border agreement. The Klingons withdrew their embassy from the system, and the Federation moved in, setting up a Mobile Base in the system. Star Fleet soon came into conflict with the Klingons, who attempted to keep up trade with the native population.
Initially, Star Fleet opted to sell primitive firearms and other technology to the Kelintol tribesmen in the south, who opposed the Empire, in order to counteract the negative Klingon influence on their development. However, change of policy in Y156 caused them to cut off their support. The Organian peace was imposed, and Star Fleet was forced to demilitarize their Mobile Base - all weapons larger than phaser-3's and drone racks were removed, and any military activity was restricted.
Lacking the industrial base the Empire had, the Kelintol tribesmen were defeated within two years.
In Y164, the Thayud clan was approached by a trader who claimed to represent Klingon interests. Acting quickly, they contacted their allies in the Varul clan. They then acquired gold and weapons from the trader and the Klingons in return for their alliance and acting as go-betweens. Shortly thereafter, Emperor Pailin was killed along with his children in a fire. While Wollacia claimed the throne as Empress, there were many disputes to her claim.
Seizing on the turmoil, the Kelintol tribesmen began to rebel, but were largely ineffective, until at the start of Y166 an army appeared (led by a man named Vilid) with advanced arms and tactics. At this point they have reclaimed most of the Kelintol homelands, but the victory is far from certain.
On the other hand, it is emphasized within clans to allow members the freedom to find their own destiny. Trying to fight this and hold on to those whose destiny lies elsewhere is often seen as the downfall of a clan - there are many stories told of such.
The Arain Empire rules through a semi-feudal set of governors over cities and territories. The empire owns the land, and the governors in turn lease the land to chosen clans who work the land. These clans give a portion of their returns and their loyalty to the empire, and occaisionally supply fighters for the empire's wars.
Individuals are recognized more as warriors, scholars, and leaders than as landholders. Among men, the most valued virtues tend to be martial prowess, hospitality, wisdom, and modesty. Women are generally regarded as second class citizens, for whom the most valued virtues are loyalty (to their husbands or to their clan), beauty, and intelligence.
Justice is dispensed by the empire, and swiftly. Most crimes are punished by lashes, branding, or maiming. Most crimes are the self-evident: thieving, murder, and so forth. Crimes of blasphemy, treason, and witchcraft are rarely recognized.
Judgement is made by the governor's chosen representatives, except for the recognized tradition of trial by combat, in which an individual can challenge the one who accuses him - although another from his clan can represent either party. Traditional weapons include the ``scram''(short sword) and ``barak''(tri-bladed throwing knife).
This concept is developed from various pantheistic religions of the region. Eventually, various gods were associated with the sky or with the demons of the underworld. A holy man named Uctar formalized that these were all servants of two great powers. Argun was the power of purity and light - he had a face in the sky (the sun), but his entirety was beyond mortal ken. Ilinder was darkness and chaos, who hid beneath the earth. He created strange and foul shapes, which are separated and purified by Argun into the beings of the world. He dislikes the surface world and constantly seeks to assault it.
Hence there is an inherent corruption in the world from its creator, but in a way this is good - for it is only through hardship that things are purified. Thus, too, Argun is not a merciful god, because he desires to help mankind to reach the eternal.
The afterlife is conflictingly defined. There is an underworld where the impure fall down into after death - but just what happens there is not specified. According to a widespread sect, the impure are cast into a pit from which they crawl back to the surface, either as spirits or to be reincarnated. Those who are pure, it is agreed, are able to leave to their place in the sky with the servants of Argun.
There are no official priests or church, but there are recognized holy men, including many scholars and philosophers. In the ideal, these men are recognized for their wisdom, and people will seek them out. However, now there are developing many scholars who encourage their own reputations and prepare many speeches to catch and hold the public.