For many years the single-system star nation of Grayson was a minor, virtually unknown player in galactic affairs. Following encounters with both the Star Kingdom of Manticore and the People’s Republic of Haven, Grayson would take on a more important position.
The Yeltsin system (in which Grayson is located) was first colonised in 988 PD, following a voyage of several centuries in sleeper ships launched by the Church of Humanity Unchained. The only known quantity about the planet prior to the arrival of the colonists was that it could support human life, however it would transpire that it would only barely host humans, and the environment would have powerful consequences for the desired way of life of the colonists. The original hope of the Church and of the colony’s first leader, Reverend Austin Grayson, was for the virtual abandonment of technology. Despite the Post Diaspora era earth remained overcrowded and was still recovering from pollution and war. The Church of Humanity Unchained wanted to throw off what they felt were the evil shackles of technology and lead simpler lives, but the toxic nature of the planet forced them to remain dependent on at least some aspects of technology.
When Austin Grayson died in 998 PD, Hugh Yanakov and Oliver Mayhew convinced the colonists that technology itself was not evil, but rather the application was. This allowed the colony to survive, but it endured huge hardships. One in three births on Grayson were, on average, still-born, and of the survivors, only half lived to adulthood. The women bore many children at great physical and emotional cost. During the struggle to survive, the colonists gradually lost much of their pre-arrival technological knowledge, and by the 14th Century PD, most of it had been lost. Grayson reinvented planes, tanks and guns, and chemical rockets, and discovered the world of Masada in the nearby Endicott system, but though Masada was more amiable to human life, the world was too far away with the crude sublight systems Grayson had.
Around this time a schism developed in Grayson society, between the Moderates (who taught that technology was necessary to survive, and not inherently evil in itself) and the Faithful, who believed all technology to be evil and demanded a strict return to Austin Grayson’s original ideas. This conflict ultimately manifested itself in a violent civil war from 1337 PD to 1351 PD. The war began when the Faithful stormed the Conclave of Steadholders (the group that ran the Grayson government) and killed or captured most of them. Only seventeen year-old Benjamin Mayhew, later Protector Benjamin IV, escaped, and set up a resistance to the three Steadholders that ruled the planet on behalf of the Faithful. After fourteen years of war, the Faithful planned to use a doomsday device on their enemies, but Barbara Bancroft, wife of one of the ruling Steadholders, defected and allowed the Moderates to stop the Faithful. At the end of the war 47,000 Faithful survivors were exiled to Masada.
Centuries later Grayson would be visited by outsiders for the first time, and from 1868 PD both Grayson and Masada would rapidly develop their technology, leaping ahead by some 800 years. The Masadans remained deeply fanatical and resentful of the Graysons and waged war on Grayson, using nuclear weapons on planetary targets.
By the time the Star Kingdom of Manticore made contact with Grayson, running battles and attempts to attack Grayson had become a common nuisance. The Protectorate’s society remained quite conservative, with women being considered in need of protection, due to their incredible importance. Women greatly outnumbered men and it was common for men to have many wives. Whilst legally women were not second-class citizens, they were still bound by certain customs around dress code and hair styles, and forbidden from military service. Encounters with the Royal Manticoran Navy forced some attitudes towards women to change, especially when Captain Honor Harrington herself helped foil an assassination attempt on Protector Benjamin IX.
The Graysons were savvy enough to understand that Manticoran interest in Grayson was pragmatic. The People’s Republic of Haven was courting Masada and even covertly supplying Masada with military aid. Both Manticore and Haven were trying to establish bases and buffers against one another. The difference was that Manticore actively aided Grayson in fighting off Masada, at the cost of Manticoran lives. This cemented an alliance, that would prove crucial.