Imperial Cult Shrines are one of the most important and ubiquitous symbols of the Empire's unity. Every inhabited system in the Empire has an Imperial Cult Shrine; most systems have many. Each particular shrine is dedicated to an Imperial Sovereign - but never to the living, reigning one at the time the shrine was built. Each shrine calls to mind an act or deed of that ruler - for the good, or for the bad. Each shrine teaches a lesson.
Shrines dedicated to the Imperial Sovereigns of the Early Period commemorate their glorious deeds in founding the Empire: abolishing all manners of slavery and involuntary servitude, overthrowing the numerous tyrannies found under a thousand suns, and banishing a panoply of shameful, ignorant, and superstitious practices. These shrines are places of glory and wonder. Many were built upon the ruins of the ancien regimes torn down by the Empire's founders.
The hallmark of the Imperial Sovereigns of the Middle Period was the practice of seclusion. Their shrines are quiet, often solemn places, suitable for meditation, introspection, and philosophical study and reflection. The shrines of the Middle Period are often also pilgrimage sites, as visions and apparitions of Imperial Sovereigns are common in these locations. The Middle Shrines are doorways to the Empire's past, present, future - including to the Empire's myriad alternities.
The shrines of the Latter Period are gaudy and self-aggrandizing. The Empire's expansion continues ever-onward, and the Imperial Sovereigns of the Latter Period continue to hold back the Terrible Night looming in the Core. Many of the Latter Period shrines are built directly on top of shrines from earlier ages. No more the shrines of the Early and Middle Periods, which sometimes expressed subtle or not-so-subtle critique of a past ruler. The shrines of this period sing the Latter Empire's songs too loudly. Perhaps the Imperial Sovereigns now fear the inevitable too much.
- Symbols of the Empire's unity
- Calls to mind an act or deed
- Each shrine teaches a lesson
- Commemorate the founding of the Empire
- Places of glory and wonder
- Built upon the ruins of ancien regimes
- Quiet, solemn places
- Visions and apparitions
- Doorways to the Empire's past, present, future
- Gaudy and self-aggrandizing
- Built directly on top of shrines from earlier ages
- A fear of the inevitable