The Empire has its monuments to its battles and retreats, to its victories and losses, but more curious perhaps to many are those monuments it has to those who fought against it.

On my way into the system, the liner on which I was travelling passed the moon Hyníne, where a beacon sponsored by the Office of Imperial Veterans marks the defeat of pirates who fought for the Cerenaith Alliance-in-Exile, but the pattern is repeated in many places elsewhere across the Empire. A monument-complex in Indimór honors the Indimóri who fell against the Empire’s legions as much as it does the legions who died there. The ash gardens in Lorai Vallis house the sophs of the 30th, 33rd, and 55th legions scattered among the forces of the Talentar Commonwealth that they battled, the Commonwealth from which the modern governance of the planet is descended. And even those legions descended from forces which once fought, and fought hard, against the Empire still carry and revere their ancient battle-honors from those days: the Winter Wolves of Telírvess, the Swordbreakers of Ancyr, the Swift Searing Flame.

I asked one of my hosts about this tradition: why permit, and exert such efforts, even, to honor old enemies?

“We deprived them of victory,” she said. “We deprived many of them of their lives. Those who fought for the wrong cause, we took that from them, too, but those who fought instead for their country, or duty, or family, they bled and died and lost everything just the same, and left the new day to us.

“Should we now deny the brave dead a patch of ground to sleep in, or the memory of valor, even ill-spent? We are neither so small, nor so righteous.”

– Travels in the Empire, Sev Tel Beran

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