"There was a saying once, y’know? ‘The Sun Sets in the West’. It was meant to be a way of talking about inevitability - that whatever happens, the ‘Sun Sets in the West’. But now… it’s certainly where the light seems to end, I’ll say that.” - Shang Li Bo, former scribe to the First Dynasty
“Praise be to Nocobial; praise be to he who defends us and lifts us! That takes us out from the shadow of the past, and into the warmth of his embrace. Praise, the rightful master of all!” - Common Prayer of the Cult of Nocobial
Curtained north, south, and east, is vast land of plains, grasslands, and all manner of other things, that is known as Gauzahm, or the Gauzahm Basin. The exact boundaries of either concept are blurry, geographically and historically, but in the modern parlance have come to encompass all things upon the continent that lie west of the Old Capital, and do not sit in the shadow of the mountains of the Vanyameen. This definition is synonymous with, and is happily embraced by, the Dominion of Momar, who lay claim to all under such an understanding, though ambitions are almost certainly greater still.
-to feel the mood-
[ WIP ]
Map by @Meraxa.
art by Noah Bradley
| GEOGRAPHY & CLIMATE |
It is easy, and not entirely inaccurate, to characterize Momar as a land of varying shades of grass. Tall grass, short grass, great flower fields and vast plains, reeds among waters; Momar has much, for its sheer size. To a casual observer, it should seem a place primed for pastoralism; the serenity of ‘simple’ livelihoods of farming, whether it be grain, rice, or some other crop which Momar is suited to grow in abundance.
The ‘basin’, though it stretches the geographical term somewhat, is centered upon the great Pochioh river, traditionally marked as descending out of a valley northwest of the Old Capital. This, which is the longest river in all of Faejarhé, makes its way along the gradual incline from the mountains and towards the western shore, itself carving out a relative - if still gentle - river valley, that draws in much of the waters from the mountains to either side of it. Between these myriad rivers lies a cool upland realm, receiving little though occasional rain, with forestry often more to be found in loose clusters of trees than any great stretch of the horizon. This steppe is less suited for arable farming than the lowlands, and so has traditionally been favored for livestock. Winters are most often cold and dry in the interior basin, though a sporadic wind may pass through the western gap to bring a sudden blizzard upon things. In Summer, melt-off from the mountains provides much of the region’s water. However should a dry, easterly wind blow over the mountains in this time, the sheer lack of moisture in the ground, and exposure to the sun, can make the uplands not only surprisingly hot, but prone to wildfire as well.
Separating the two great swathes of Momar is ‘the land of lakes’, or as more recent travelers have come to characterize it, the Lake District. Here, the rivers of the interior coalesce into a great array of bodies of standing water, of which the greatest is Chipochioh. So vast is Chipochioh that many would argue it is more of an inland sea, containing all manner of freshwater wildlife, some which do not exist elsewhere in the continent. For as many lakes there are, there are a similar, though usually more disparate, number of wetlands, whether muddying the borders of these larger bodies of water, or standing in isolation. Marshes beside rivers and lakes can generally be trusted; a marsh in isolation is perhaps not such at all, but a bog. That is to say, the water that stands in it is full of dead things, and things that are comfortable living among the dead. Yet still, the peat from these is a traditional fuel in the region.
Below the Lake District then, are the lowlands, and territory that is undeniably Momar. Of this, one of the most distinct parts is the southern plains. South of the Lake District, yet still in the rain shadow of the Vanyameen, the southern plains are chiefly dominated by tall grasses, many of which are still the grains that once fed much of the continent, though only recently coming back into a will other than nature’s own. These plains only stretch a little further than the northern bank of the Pochioh River, for beyond that point, the winds of the north, however cool they may be, bring enough in rain, and descend north and westward down a separate incline. The northern hinterlands were long among the least densely populated regions of Faejarhé; common was the joke that one was more likely to find a mammoth than one was to find a person, particularly in the Pakong massif, north of Chipochioh itself. These days, while much of the north is still open grassland and scattered forestry, it is increasingly settled, commonly by old soldiers of the Dominion, trading their swords for ploughshares.
This leaves then the southernmost, westernmost part of Momar, sitting upon the mouth of the Pochioh river. In broad characteristics it much resembles the north, merely warmer; grassland and forestry, where the latter may grow abundant, as it does on the Faeratma Peninsula, which holds not only greatest extant forest of the west (upon the mainland, at any rate), but the former seat of Fae power upon the continent as well, nestled in its heart. Upon the river itself, a degree of development is to be found that is… almost uncharacteristic, of the rest of the continent, if perhaps at the cost of having some of the most common ruins of the old Dynasty Period, abandoned by those fleeing - or being conscripted - into Momar’s rule. The river is worked greatly here, as much irrigated into the neighboring shores, as it is used to fuel and carry great machines and engines the likes of which cannot be found elsewhere in Faejarhé; not anymore. So too, the roads; their quality and quantity dwindle the farther from Momar one ventures, between its core settlements and territories, they at least exist, which cannot be said for many other places, though true freedom to travel them beyond what the state requires is… limited.
| LANDMARKS & MONUMENTS |
Momar Dooaip Asf | The City of Momar
Once the proud city of Fretoh, believed to have been a settlement of size even since the days of the Fae, and that stood as the Capital of the West, whether de jure or de facto. From here, the first ‘White Tiger’ declared their defiance to the First Dynasty millennia ago, and from here did a man disparaged as such profess his loyalties, until the First Dynasty dissolved, and only he remained. Nocobial - properly titled Lord of the West - rules the city with a distant yet iron fist; opposition fundamentally is either crushed or coerced out, while the families that he first appointed to its governance decades ago - and had yet to lose his grace in full - less than consistently apply a notion of the law, mostly revolving around the risk to their interests.
Momar Dooaip Asf - usually shortened to Momar by casual speakers - is something of a living anachronism to the world that surrounds it; though much of Faejarhé has recessed into a technological level resembling ages long past, Momar is something… much more recent. Not only has much of the near-modern (albeit quite utilitarian) architecture remained intact despite the Hollow (though with some distinct scarring), but so has much of the infrastructure that supports it. Electric lighting, plumbing, and even intra-city communications are a thing, proving almost alien to people visiting it for the first time. This is before one considers the Levels - in the fifty or so years since the Hollow, Momar has opted to build upwards, constructing two increasing Levels of city, above the existing ground Level. This has been in part because the ground Level is increasingly contained by a curtain; the loss of direct sunlight is regretted, but accepted for the supposed security it shall bring. Upon the new levels, almost all constructions are of a pragmatic nature; workhouses, manufacturers, housing, to name such things. Anything less than practical is most likely at the whim of one of the Great Families, whose charity comes more as consequence of the benefit to, or glorification of, themselves, seeking to sway the popular in their favor.
Accordingly, what Momar can be felt as lacking is a sort of… independent culture. Any sense of identity beyond what Momar - what Nocobial - needs of them. This is as much ingrained by the education they receive, and the normalization of the society that surrounds them, as it is almost… a survival instinct. Those who have fled the city, and Nocobial’s rule, speak of a people who - as openly and loudly as they may proclaim otherwise - know they are being stifled. But, to their minds, they are fed, they are protected, and they are powerful; whatever poison they must drink to keep it that way, most will happily accept it. Accepting a willful decadence, where ultimately before all other things, power dictates right and wrong, and they are petty and prejudiced against one another, paranoid of what any but themselves might do in the dark. And it is very dark, in the deepest parts of Momar...
Londoh Soboln |
A satellite city and port of Momar, Londoh Soboln sits directly upon, and controls the mouth of, the Pochioh River. It chiefly occupies the westernmost of two islands that sit within the delta, though equally holds possession of the eastern island, with three great bridges connecting them, and the opposite shores of the river. Originally a mere observatory position that served to warn Fretoh against sudden incursion into the river, Londoh Soboln has been rapidly developed to fortify it, ensuring none can leave or enter without the Dominion first permitting it. So too it is charged with the construction of a new fleet for the fledgling state, which is what much of the eastern island is used for, while the western island has the city proper.
Its people are permitted a relative freedom and evocative charm, compared to their ‘cousins’ in Momar proper. Their abodes pleasant and exquisitely crafted from timber of the nearby Faeratma forest, with numerous indulgences met and encouraged, so as to present an outward and disarming façade for the wider world; to disinterest them in Momar by serving all of their needs, particularly in matters of trade, in Londoh Soboln itself. Only one force, beyond Nocobial, can claim to rule Londoh Soboln, and she prefers peaceful resolutions - however much persuasion is necessary - over violence, though if someone is stubborn, the River Guard are more than happy to enforce such peace. If Momar is decadent and decaying, then Londoh Soboln is luxurious and alluring.
The Imperial Space Center |
One of the single greatest paradoxes in all of Faejarhé, for any unfamiliar with the sheer impact of the Hollow. Even more than Momar proper, this once immense facility, located at the bottom edge of the Faeratma peninsula and visible from offshore, is a testament to what was once possible. The husk of a vessel once meant for the stars rots away in a warehouse; mobile platforms that would have once carried them to their place collapsed beneath their own weight. None of the machinery works; none of the lights come on. The food is rotten, and what bodies are to be found have been stripped bare. But the ink is still dry on the paper; some doors yet remain sealed.
The Lake District | The Land of Lakes
Traditionally a hub of transportation and freshwater fishing, as a major source of freshwater and fertile soil, Chipochioh spent much of the time after the Hollow as a realm of self-styled free ‘cities’ (of questionable size) and ports, from desperate peoples trying to maintain some semblance of civilization, to what were little more than glorified pirate dens. In recent decades however, Momar has grown bolder, particularly under the auspices of one Teloch, Grand Master Dominion. Sailing into Chipochioh they have sieged and claimed the largest of the settlements there, facilitating their further expansion into the interior. While some holdouts profess their continued independence, it is almost certainly for lack of interest on Teloch’s part; an interest that shifts quickly if any pirate is fool enough to attack a Momar vessel.
‘The Marshes’ |
The colloquial term for any of the wetlands that occupy the space between and beside the true lakes of the Lake District, regardless of particular type. Few proper settlements are to be found in the Marshes, so much as scattered huts, raised from the water; at most, a cluster that comprises some small community; either way, travel by small boat is how a larger culture is maintained. Some have managed to convert their humble dwellings into rice paddies, some of even considerable size; this has been the thing most likely to draw the attention of ‘the lake folk’, where a quick raid might help bring in a short burst of supplies at the mere expense of ‘marsh folk’. To that end, they view Momar cautiously; it has far more interest in the resources of Chipochioh proper and does not particularly provoke them, but many suspect that this is entirely conditional. Assuming they haven’t used their isolation to indulge particularly niche concepts of reality and religion, unbothered by the outside world.
The Great Stronghold | The Grand Master’s Camp
Nestled near but not directly upon the Pochioh River, a small ways into the Gauzahm interior, where the land rises just so in an outcrop of hills, there stands a fortress. It is an old fortress, a great slab of stone in the shape of a building at its center; some might - and probably did - jawp that they simply took a hill and cut away the bits they didn’t need. Perhaps doing so is what shifted the course of the Pochioh away from it, over time, as near to the fortress one can still find the remnants of the old riverbed; pebbles and stones scattered amidst the grass. Within the Fortress, where none but Teloch hold the power of law, there lies the core of Teloch’s army, sheltered and fed; his most loyal and his most able troops, equipped with the best that Momar has to offer at any time. Machines of war that should not be possible, in an age such as this. Those who have seen the stronghold would say thus: Teloch has two hammers. That he carries in his hand, and that which rests at the Great Stronghold. With these, he has crushed almost all great dissent to Nocobial’s rule, and need only send out a pittance at a time to enforce it. Within this place, Teloch’s own abode is a small building, raised from mud and stone, in which he keeps truly little, save that he requires to fulfil his duties to his master; most often, the tools of a tactician.
Sino Lake | The Beginning of the End
The last large body of water within the Gauzahm Basin, and the largest of the interior; for many it is the symbolic and practical limit of the Dominion’s reach. That it is accordingly a ‘dead’ lake, merely adds to this. Sino Lake is an artificial construct, borne of the First Dynasty expanding out a section of a river there, increasingly so over the centuries, as a means to both facilitate and control the passage of trade from west to east, and vice versa. Through a series of canals and locks to either side, vessels could be raised to and from the Old Capital; if they failed to pay the correct toll while sat within Sino, they were trapped. With the end of the First Dynasty however, has not only come the collapse of the canal system, but also any semblance of life within the waters of Sino. Indeed, the water itself is something locals know better than to drink, though this has ironically made the area around Sino Lake into something of a safe habitat for Steppe Mammoths, who seem able to stomach the godless drink.
| Unique PEOPLES of MOMAR |
Momar, more than most parts of Faejarhé, reflects the disproportionate place and influence of its human population, and it is within them than most ethnic and cultural divisions occur here, until subsumed beneath Nocobial’s hand. Nevertheless, not only are such distinctions worth considering on their own merit, but there are others still.
Momarén | Those Beneath His Hand; All Momar
Ironically, a label most often embraced by those who had left Momar’s influence, but used to distinguish its influences upon them, much as they try to move past them. Much of their culture - or lack thereof - is ascribed in discussing the city itself, but in the broadest abstract, someone who has embraced being a Momarén has embraced the notion - whether in secular or religious terms - that they serve someone who has the claim to rule all of Faejarhé, and that they are instruments towards such. Action is determined not so much through a lens of right or wrong, but what can be done, and whether or not one has the power to bring it about without consequence. Momarén, even after they have escaped Nocobial’s grip - and particularly if they are so bold as to call him Ciaofi, that great trickster of lore - are often paranoid of what others might be able to do them, and so may react defensively, if not proactively, even against threats that are not there.
Sobolni | Those Who Dance In Her Fingers; Londoh Soboln
‘Momarén’ on paper, but it is notable how the denizens of Londoh Soboln so often considers themselves a world apart from their ‘cousins’ in the capital proper. Though operating within a similar framework of ‘what can be done’, the average Sobolni’s outcome is more likely to err towards a general pleasure, and the sustenance of such, even if - if not especially if - it should create a system of dependence on whoever had provided it. Sobolni are known to do what they can to disarm the reputation of Momar; to either minimize the suggestion of its threat to others, or rationalize its actions under necessity. ‘Snake Tongues’ is a common slang and derogative, to those already familiar with their habits.
Septi Sokoku | The Lake District
Upon the shores of Chipochioh, and even among some of the Marsh Folk, a distinct portion of the Sokoku diaspora has found a place for itself here. In the ‘cities’, this population is split fairly evenly between Humans and the Cat People, though the former are more likely to be ‘second’ or ‘third’ generation, with the ‘first’ generation being their ancestors to first arrive in the region. Somewhat bizarrely, given the application of the term, Sokoku people among the Marsh Folk are rarely so recently arrived; many date their presence in the region back by centuries, having fled their homeland long before anyone took to calling it ‘Nargwi’. Further surreal for those familiar with stereotypes, while the city dwellers of the Septi Sokoku have a great deal of baggage to unpack with each other - easily one of the most common causes for a local scuffle - the Marsh Folk bear little continuing grievance towards the Cat People, so long ago was it to them.
Tantiran | Gauzahm Basin Interior
Dwarves, who for their comparative size, maintain more than a comfortable living upon the highlands of the Interior Basin. Split between semi-nomads who graze their herds upon the short grasslands, and urban settlers upon rivers that grow the necessary dry goods to help sustain the former, and are rewarded with especially fat livestock. Tantiran are linked by a curiously celebratory culture; individual occasions and dates are not observed, but at the end of each lunar month, all things that have transpired are celebrated at once, allowing for bigger - yet fewer - feasts and exorbitant events.
To some outsider observers, the Tantiran may seem uniquely ‘robust’ among the peoples of Faejarhé, in how they have dealt with the Hollow. In truth, it is more a consequence of shifting contexts; before the Hollow, they were considered among the most deprived in terms of access to resources and development. Tantiran, being so distant from the rest of the world save for an empire that they are on quite limited terms with, have little access to any resource that cannot be found outside their general area. What boats they have are a valued resource, a lifeline for gathering metal, medicine, and all manner of other things in places like Chipochioh; it used to be that they might go to the Old Capital, but now even more than most, they are superstitious of it, swearing even against its mention. Indeed, the Tantiran can be somewhat superstitious in general, swearing by no gods they can think of to name, as they frankly aren’t even sure which ones they can trust at the moment. At least with ancestor worship, they (nominally) know what they’re relying upon to get them through.
Perhaps the most distinct symbol of the Tantiran, in wider imagination and popular culture, is that of the Steppe Mammoth. Though Mammoths can be found throughout northwestern Momar, the Steppe Mammoth is particularly favoured by the Tantiran, who are light enough to ride them without (admitted) detriment to the Mammoth’s long-term health, while the Mammoth is still powerful enough to threaten the average foe.
Menyahv | Ruins of the Fae
For those who care to distinguish such things - and such are few indeed - the Menyahv are, or were, a distinct group of the Fae. Whether this distinction was ethnic, societal, or political, is not technically clear, though the former and latter are most commonly assumed, at times intertwined. In popular folklore, the ‘Menyahv’ may be used to mean ‘the Western Fae’, a concept to which all sorts of entirely fabricated conceits may be assigned, for the sake of a story. What is known of the Menyahv is that they occupied, or were at least present within, much of what is now western Gauzahm - the site of Fretoh is commonly believed to have been a Menyahv settlement, and some extend this to suggest that the lost capital of Faeratma - buried in that forest somewhere - may have been the same, and in turn, that the Menyahv were in some way the dominant power of Fae culture.
To determine if a site is in some way tied to the Menyahv, one would be recommended to seek out a symbol like a bowl placed above a trident. Though the exact correlation is unclear, it is known to appear in some Fae ruins in Gauzahm and not others, often above an entrance way of some kind - suggesting a distinction at the point of entry. Should one find such a place, there are decent odds of finding craftsmanship that both favors sharp and precise angles, but also bronze as the primary artistic medium. Much of the symbolism is unfortunately meaningless without greater context, though favouring faenoid forms - whether or not actually fae is also debated - with a near-exclusion of animal trappings.
Of course, to even look for any of this stuff, you’d either have to stumble upon it by accident, or find some of the few dozen people who even care to study it...
| Unique FLORA & FAUNA & MATERIALS of MOMAR |
Though Momar is possessed of many creatures and shrubs that can be seen elsewhere in Faejarhé, there are some either most common here, or exclusive to some corner of it.
Mammoths comprise a distinct part of the cultural imagery surrounding the Gauzahm Basin, though has yet to be associated too closely with Momar itself. There are two recognized kinds of Mammoth in the Basin; Steppe Mammoths, and Massif Mammoths. Steppe Mammoths are the smaller of the two, losing a meter in height, while possessing a distinctly thinner coat of fur. Massif Mammoths can, at their greatest, reach almost four meters in height, though this is aided by a distinct ‘cap’ upon their heads. Both come with great tusks, though the Massif’s are known to grow longer, curling as to avoid scraping the ground. Their numbers are suspected to have already been dwindling even by the time the New Peoples arrived in Faejarhé, and five centuries ago, the First Dynasty ordered a concerted conservation effort; only the the Tantiran would have license to tame Steppe Mammoths, and none would be free to tame Massifs. Though this has staved off, or at least not any made quicker, their extinction, it did fuel something of an illicit trade that has persisted even to this day, though with none to enforce any restriction upon it; mammoth ivory is a rare commodity, and one well paid for.
Hoān’s Lament |
An orange flower that natively blooms in the plains north of the Pochioh River, though has become popular in other parts of Faejarhé, for the symbolism associated with its name. Truthfully, it has little practical value beyond such, but cuttings to allow growing one’s own - getting the flowers directly is rarely an option - have proven surprisingly expensive at market.
Sapphire Sturgeon |
An unusually brightly colored fish that inhabits the waters of Chipochioh, the Sapphire Sturgeon is among the largest bony fish in general, with some rare specimens at half a dozen meters in length. The caviar made from its roe used to be a delicacy of the First Dynasty’s elite, but ever since the Dynasty’s collapse, that particular demand has either gone off a cliff, or been unfulfilled, due to the logistical constraints. Locals often treat it in more mundane terms, versus its legendary reputation elsewhere; it’s either a lot of fish to put on the table, or its air bladder can be used to make isinglass, which has a number of applications, though particularly as a glue, and separately in fining in alcohol production.
Plains Tiger |
A strain of Tiger extant to the southern plains of the Gauzahm Basin, distinguished by its almost diagonal stripes across the body. While all Tigers were once considered property of the First Dynasty, with exceptions to their hunting granted chiefly for self-defense, the Plains Tiger was something of a carte blanche exception; their ability to camouflage within the tall grasslands that made up a key part of the Empire’s food supply too frequently embarrassing the Emperor when some farmer got mauled, even if logistically it had little impact. To that end, the Plains Tiger was believed extinct, having gone decades without sighting prior to the downfall of the First Dynasty; something that many took to be symbolic. So then, the apparent return of the Plains Tiger - certainly, rumored sightings of such - is something trumpeted by the ever faithful… though it often gets awkward to address how anyone outside of the Basin could verify as much right now.
A lean, cattle-like creature with a short yet firm horn on its head; enough to puncture, but not to catch as it pulls back from a foe. Xiezhi are sensitive creatures, able to gather in some sense the intent of a creature before it, often fleeing a predator that has yet to even reveal itself. To that end, tamed Xiezhi were once used as a form of living lie-detector; if properly conditioned, they would react negatively - sometimes violently - to deceit, and affectionately to truth. Albeit they were an expensive form of living lie detector, difficult to capture and tame in the first place, only ever reliably seen in use in trials at the Old Capital; even the likes of Fretoh could never always guarantee it would have one available. Their precise scarcity within the Basin is uncertain.
A medium-sized bird known to particularly inhabit the lake district, where it is at once the most dreaded fear, but also the most potent weapon, of the Marsh Folk. For the Zhen is rarely contested when it desires to hunt, as it coated from beak to tailfeather with a poison that, certainly for a creature of human size, is very commonly fatal; excruciating in the exceedingly rare instances it is not. If however felled by an arrow, and then very carefully handled thereafter, it is possible to extract this poison - zhendo - and use it for one’s own ends. To the Marsh Folk, it is something of a dirty secret; those who have it are rare to admit doing so. For those willing to trade it on the shores of Chipchioh, it is guaranteed to make them a fair bit of money, though one might argue its true value to be severely underestimated.
| MYTHS & TALES & LEGENDS|
The White Tiger|
Perhaps the most embellished bit of ‘history’ in all Faejarhé, without delving into the pseudo-mythological elements of the pact made with the Fae, is that the Rebellion of the White Tiger. The basic premise is such: When the First Dynasty first moved from Khaznah into the mainland, and set itself up in what is now the Old Capital, the Lord of the West realized that commanding the grain supplies of the southern plains made them, in all practice, the most powerful man in the continent. What follows is invariably subject to the storyteller’s preference: Did the White Tiger take up his (in)famous title after the legendary beast, secretly getting the lords of Faejarhé to swear their fealty to him, until the Emperor realized their deceit and made war? Did a paranoid Emperor unjustly demand the Lord of the West cede control of lands that were rightfully his, to a man who knew nothing of how to govern them, forcing him to rebel as to save them? Did the great trickster Ciaofi whisper deceit into each man’s here, making them think poorly of each other, until the result was great bloodshed? Up to the poet or playwright. Though the tale is retold all across Faejarhé, it is rooted here.
Ciaofi, Bloodthirsty Trickster|
While some conception of Ciaofi is rife throughout Faejarhé, the traditional version within the Gauzahm Basin has often been that of an especially malicious spirit, set on bringing about misery and chaos. The likely function of such stories being to use Ciaofi as a vehicle for the cruel machinations of fate, and the dangers of paranoia. Warnings to 'not listen to Ciaofi' was an old idiom against such. This is why the accusation by runaway Momarén that Nocobial is Ciaofi is both loaded with implication, but also initially difficult to parse. Because the default presumption to any outsider, especially if familiar with the understanding within the Basin, would be that of a metaphor and insult. When no, many are being literal.
The Mammoth Man|
A more comically inclined tale, common as a childhood story throughout the Basin, and persisting to some degree or another even beneath the heel of Nocobial's influence. The Mammoth Man is the tale of a Mammoth who one day decides they are going to see what the fuss with 'civilisation' is. Turning into a dwarf, they go to 'the city' (some variants name an actual locale), and gets to asking what people do. On realising there are many different kinds of people, he tries to see how he might fit. He is clumsy with his hands, too used to his trunk. He cannot dance, used to four feet and not two. He does not know how to cook, have always eaten straight from the ground or the branch. He cannot do the things he knows he should be good at; he does not have his great strength, his mighty tusks, nor can he even stay warm without clothes. In the end, the Mammoth Man decides he's better off being a Mammoth, because he knows he's good at it.
Its message is a little… hard to discern, amusing though its imagery may be.
| H I S T O R Y |
| Condensed Canon of Momar |
| these events are from oldest to most recent. |
In Days Of Old
It is believed that, in some fashion or another, the power of Fae civilisation was concentrated in the Gauzahm Basin, particularly its western shores. Indeed, the legendary 'capital' of the Fae, Faeratma, is believed to dwell somewhere within the forest, upon the peninsula, both which now carry its name. In fact, many tales attest that, during the first few centuries of the New People arriving in Faejarhé, the Fae persisted within the boundaries of the Basin for a time. That it was only with the eruption that broke the Pijesak Peninsula, and so drove the New Peoples inland, that the Fae finally abandoned Faeratma, and the continent at large. How they left it is largely how it is now, in terms of broad geography, with perhaps the exact course of the Pochioh river changing over time, through the gradual forces of erosion and deposition, as well as more immediate changes wrought from great storms.
The Foundation, and the Breaking, of Empire
The First Dynasty is known to have been eager to settle the Gauzahm Basin, and to have people pass through the Capital along the way, encouraging many to go across the gap. The first Lord of the West was appointed to descend the Pochioh River until they reached the sea; a journey that in legend is claimed to have taken five years, though some tellings slot in various misadventures to explain the sheer stretch. Close to the mouth of the river was founded the city of Fretoh, perhaps using the ruins of a prior Fae city as a starting point. The lands granted to the Lord of the West to govern were rather larger, and rather more bountiful, than had been expected; it took but two generations for the burgeoning empire to be reliant upon Gauzahm grain to sustain itself, with its meats, leathers, and ivory also highly valued. While the exact political context preceding the resulting rebellion is… disputed, the event itself is undeniable; the Lord of the West declared themselves the White Tiger (after the figure of the cardinal direction), and that the lords of Faejarhé should swear their fealty to him instead. This act of open rebellion is regarded as the first true war among the New Peoples of Faejarhé, though it was to end in the White Tiger's eventual defeat, with the First Dynasty coming to take up the Tiger as its own symbol of choice.
From there, control of the Pochioh River - and accordingly, the West - was a preoccupation of the First Dynasty, as the White Tiger had proven if anyone had means to threaten their sovereignty, it was whoever they should appoint to rule from Fretoh. Moreover, the Pochioh River provided comparatively quick - despite legendary estimates - travel through and across Faejarhé, with the development of the Sino lake and its adjoining system coming to directly link the opposing shores of the Emperor's domain. Upon the Pochioh River would lay many of the Dynasty's great cities, steps along the journey to and from the sea, and so too did more of the Empire's wealth and influence concentrate itself upon the river. Disputes on who exactly got what out of this wealth are perhaps the most common cause for conflict within Dynastic history; the Three Mercantile Wars were all fought between Fretoh and the Capital on how far each of the other's jurisdiction for taxing something went, though in all instances such disputes were not regarded as rebellion. Fretoh was always careful to stress (perhaps suspecting the inevitable results) that in their actions they still saw the Emperor as sovereign.
This was the big distinction with the Thehlan Insurrection.
When the Lord of the West passed without heir, the Emperor appointed in their place a former courtier; rewarding what they thought to be a close friend with a high position. One arguably second only to their own. However, seven years into the reign of the new Lord, they revealed to have secured the loyalties of all city governors upon the Pochioh, who had convened themselves in a council beneath the Lord of the West, by the name of the Thehlan. Through a vote without precedent, they declared the Emperor as unfit, and elevated the Lord of the West as a new Emperor - the first Thehlan Emperor. Unfortunately for the First Dynasty, its inadequacies were soon proven. With total command of the Pochioh, and the decline of the Dynastic military, Thehlan forces besieged and overran the Capital, forcing the former Emperor into Exile.
For three generations, the Thehlan Emperors - though they merely considered themselves the Emperors - were the predominant power of Faejarhé. Predominant, because though they had exiled the First Dynasty, it never truly secured the rest of Faejarhé. The Isles of Judgement were none too receptive to the Thehlan's efforts to more directly ingratiate itself in their affairs. Khaznah they cared little for, and by the time they did, it was already well within the First Dynasty's hand. Sokoku swore its allegiance to them, but this proved in fact a dangerous assumption; careful wording hid the fact that they had permitted themselves the ability to choose their side. When the First Dynasty sought to reclaim its possessions on the mainland, it was the Samurai of Sokoku who entangled much of the Thehlan forces in the south, and prevented their reinforcement of the Capital. When that fell to the First Dynasty, they were quick to secure a foothold in the headwaters of the Pochioh. The Thehlan failed to hold both fronts, and soon each city from which they derived their power fell; some outright. The Thehlan were gone, and the First Dynasty was in power once more.
Yet, the punishment was not harsh upon the people of the Pochioh. The resources they facilitated were just too valuable, once reclaimed. True, the most loyal to the Thehlan were executed for their treachery, but their lands were in turn awarded to those that had held the sense to support the First Dynasty. The scope of the noble classes were expanded, the powers within each city spread out among individual offices and officials. Though this was meant to placate a large number by giving them just enough to be satisfied, and not enough to be a threat, it unwittingly contributed to the longer term industrialization of the region. As the centuries passed, the desire among these 'lesser' nobles to maximize their holdings, whether in land or in influence, helped drive the pursuit of new methods and new technologies. In turn, a greater and more enabled population further pursued means of developing itself; it demanded an education, whether by its own coin or the Treasury's. As new machines could do more with fewer workers, workers pursued greater education in more specialized trades and crafts. Though being reductive in the revolution that was occurring, suffice to say, things changed in Gauzahm in ways they never had before, dragging the rest of the continent with it. By the final years of the First Dynasty, the Basin had given the continent, among things, electric lighting, radio communications, and mechanical flight - both through the air and into the stars.
So Arises The New
Also by the final years of the First Dynasty, a most… unusual figure, had emerged as Lord of the West. Calling himself Nocobial, he first appeared the very year that the future Lehbeng Emperor was born - or about 8 years prior to the onset of the Hollow. This was itself less than a year after Faejarhé’s first success in claiming an orbiting piece of material, and returning to the surface; an auspicious event, all told otherwise. When his predecessor fell ill, Nocobial was swiftly appointed to the role, at the personal behest of the Emperor, bypassing more established candidates. In this role he has surprisingly remained, despite the collapse of almost all other elements of the First Dynasty. Indeed, once one is aware of the comparative state of Momar as versus the rest of the continent, one starts to understand the rumors - the claims - that it was somehow owed to Nocobial that it did not regress in the same way that others did.
Though, it must be stressed, there was a regression. A withdrawal; all political, military, and industrial power coalesced in the city and maintained there, to the best of its ability. For three decades after the Hollow began, Momar’s grip only extended so far; into the hinterlands, but scarcely beyond. They were ruthless in what they desired, but it did not seem as though they should desire more than that. The last two decades has put to bed any such doubts. The appointment of Teloch as Grand Master of the Dominion has seen with it a drastic expanse in Momar’s domain, now stretching just shy of the Old Capital itself, though its influence is still concentrated chiefly upon the stretch of the Pochioh river. Nevertheless, increasingly certain is the suspicion that it is merely a matter of geography and logistics that keeps Momar contained now, and that it should very much desire to bring the rest of the continent within its grasp. Within Nocobial’s grasp…
This lore was written and edited/updated by Meraxa & -Lilium-.
Formatting & Tabling variations used are credited to Csl & vielle.