Piray is a desertic terra planet in the Ouranir Galaxy, known for being the homeworld of the Pirayans.
Piray's purple color originates from its unusually massive concentration of iodine in its crust, over 1000 times the normal ammount. It is believed that during the formation of Piray, it coalesced from a large number of iodine-rich protoplanets which had in turn formed from an iodine-rich region of the planetary nebula, and all the iodine which found itself within the heated regions of the planet's interior vaporized from the newly formed planet's core to solidify near and around its surface.
The atmosphere remained purple due to leftover traces of iodine, which are not entirely stable as gases with Piray's low temperature, but is constantly replenished due to volcanic activity of the planet heating up solid deposits of iodine and vaporizing them.
Due to a low abundance of free oxygen and a high presence of iodine, the planet's life evolved around iodine as a key component. Piray's native creatures take in iodine - some through dust the atmosphere, while others consume iodine in soils - as an oxidizing agent for the otherwise carbon-based biological cycles. In general, availability of free oxygen, which is used by Piray's organisms more as an enzyme component instead of as an oxidizing agent, limit the planet's biological extent.
The modern Pirayan race emerged sometime between 12,000,000 and 10,000,000 years ago. Due to Piray's nature, complex civilization took considerably more time to develop than in other planets, but eventually a complex society emerged in Piray sometime in the late 2nd millenium and early 3rd millenium, roughly during the time of humanity's initial expansion into the Via Sagittaria. By the time the Ouranir Galaxy was being explored humans, the Pirayans were conducting early experimentations with satellite rocketry, although due to their comparatively advanced radio equipment they managed to detect human surveyors and contact was made. The Pirayans - split into a number of polities - were hence made protectorates of the Yohjan Confederacy.
Confederacy and the Piray Empire
Under the Confederacy, the Pirayans rapidly absorbed human technology and settled a number of internal disputes and differences to unite into a single polity. Due to a lack of resources on the home planet, especially free oxygen, meant that the Pirayans quickly gained a reputation as aggressive colonizers of asteroid belts where they harvested considerable quantities of water to convert into oxygen. As their home system had notoriously few comets or asteroids (as a matter of fact, it had the least amount of such bodies within tens of light years), the Pirayans put a significant amount of effort into interstellar colonization. This, in turn, led to the Pirayans developing much more quickly than many other species of comparable technological level when they made first contact with the Confederacy.
Before long, Pirayan colonization had expanded considerably to include a nearby star cluster, spanning hundreds of star systems within less than a millenia after their first contact. While they were still reliant on human technology and was formally under Confederate sovereignty, the Piray colonies answered primarily to their homeworld. Loose Confederate control made this task considerably easier, and many humans who conduct business or travelled through the Pirayan space began to dub the region of the galaxy a "Piray Empire" - due to the sheer size of space controlled by Pirayans. Extensive colonization efforts gradually bore fruit in the Pirayans being much more economically influential in their region of the Ouranir Galaxy than other species, which saw increasingly more commercial links with Pirayans than humans.
"Informal" links were established between the Pirayans and other spacefaring species in the "Piray Empire" region. While the Pirayans controlled vast swathes of space through their asteroid mining, they had a low population and heavy industrial base. Other species were the opposite - they had well-developed planets but did not have the reach in space the Pirayans did. Across the decades and centuries, commercial links with these species tightened and a degree of political union formed. The Piray Empire was later declared, despite CoH nominal control of the region, as an unequal confederation of twenty-seven species.
Piray initially served as the de jure seat of the confederacy, though as mentioned, Piray's poor relative development meant that traditionally governance is run from a temperate planet - which was whichever the empire's head of state (i.e. emperor) was based. Eventually, lack of actual governing on Piray lost it its de jure capital status, and the capital became officially a dynamic location. It unilaterally declared full independence and sovereignty during the chaos of the Split of the Yohjan Confederacy.