Eskarr is led by a matriarchal figure known as the Eska, who runs the nation as if running a family. An Eska is decided on by various leaders of matriarchal clans convening to vote on it, carrying the trust of their clanmates to pick a good Eska. These clans all pass their membership down through the mother's line, so a maternal uncle is more likely to involve themselves in the lives of their nephews than in other cultures. Outside of clan structures, the various stilted villages throughout Eskarr are led by chieftains that are generally agreed upon by the matriarch of every family in the village out of several competent male candidates. Eskarran chieftains are charged with managing every the various going ons of the village, although practically they usually just adjudicate over disputes between people of different clans where they cannot just go to the clans matriarch.
Eskarr began with the orcs of the plains being pushed out of their native homeland to the swamps of the north by the Golrai Empire. It was difficult for the orcs, originally organized in small bands of roving hunter-gatherers, to adapt to swamp life where travel was difficult through the deep, murky waters and they knew nothing of the what local flora was safe to eat. First, the umwai began to band together more and more for protection against the dangerous swamp fauna, eventually settling into sedentary villages spattered throughout the swamps, resting on top of thick stilts. This increase in community size also led to a shift in social structure. Instead of having small matrilineal tribes where one can clearly trace their family line to real people if they wanted to. However, their structure shifted to large scales clans that combined several closely related tribes that are combined with a sort of mythological clan founder over the years. Alongside the change of social structure, the orcs also had to development agriculture in order to actually survive in the wetlands. They had seen agriculture before, performed by the Golraians, but they had to figure out how to grow crops in a swamp. The trick was using the swamp water to their advantage, by using mud and dead vegetation to creating "floating gardens" in between rows of water. The use of the gardens led to Eskarr being a decently well-fed nation, although they did not turn that agriculture to wealth until they started trading unique swamp crops to the other nations, especially Golrai by land and Pikor by boat. This turned Eskarr into a decently wealthy nation despite its rough beginnings. In recent years, the two biggest developments for Eskarr have been the attempts of Golrai to invade and conquer the wetlands the umwai now call home, and the recent immersion of rogue bogwa that want to work with the Eskarrans. With Golrai, they have sent several excursions into the swamp to try and establish military bases, but the soldiers' lack of wetland training has made this task difficult. In order to force a surrender instead, Golrai has been attempting to create a naval blockade between Eskarr and Pikor to make it harder for both nations to survive without Golraian aid. In terms of the amphibious natives, bogwa have hid from the umwai ever since they first came to the swamps, forming the strict and secretive Hive. However, dissenters of the Hive's draconian laws have been fleeing into independent bogwa knots. While these rogue bogwa have always existed, only more recently have they wanted to help the "outsiders", after seeing how well the umwai have made the swamp their home. It is now much more common to see a few bogwa in a umwai village, usually adopted into a clan and helping with village tasks like any other orc. These rogues have also began trying to teach the innate swamp magic that every bogwa can use to the umwai to try to help them in both protection and their agriculture.
Demography and Population
Most Eskarrans are umwai, living in the small villages scattered across the wetlands, with more than normal concentrated in the largest village of the nation where the Eska lives. While not politically part of Eskarr, the Hive is geographically in the region, which is where most of the bogwa in the nation live. However, more recently, some bogwa have been leaving the hive to live in either independent knots taht travel about on their own, or living in villages among the orcs. Along with umwai and bogwa, there are some other peoples who live in the swamps, almost exclusively living in umwai villages. Several Golrai defectors move the Eskarr to avoid the reach of the Mortal Gods and will often find themselves adopted into an orc village, taking an orcish name, and being claimed by one of the clans in the village. Along with these humans, there have also been goliaths and dwarves coming to Eskarr from Pikor as part of the alliance between the two nations against Golrai. Unlike humans though, who often adopt many umwai customs and become one with the village, goliaths and dwarves are often much more dismissive of orcish tradition, staying among themselves, bringing food from their homeland, and often staying as far away from journeying into the swamp as possible, clearly defining the umwai as people of the swamp despite their origin. Some umwai have even begun using the bogwum word "brewgan", literally "dry footed", to refer to these Pikorans, a word traditionally used by the bogwa for the umwai.
Eskarr most pronounced relationship is with the Golrai Empire, whose expansion northward was the original reason the orcs moved north and founded the nation. For a long time after this expansion, Golrai was content to sit at the edge of the wetlands and trade with the umwai once they were prosperous enough. However, recent years have seen the mighty empire start trying to expand once again, with many excursions into the swamp that have ended horribly. Despite these initial failures, the Golrai have been getting better at pushing into the swamp, causing the Eskarrans to actually need to fight back. To improve their chances of repelling Golrai, Eskarr has recently increased its relationship with Pikor, another target of Golrai expansion, which was previously only a small trading partner. However, Pikor is now Eskarr's biggest trading partner, and they have begun sending people to each other to help with defense against Golrai. The Pikorans who have come to the swamps though demonstrate a clear inability to deal the swamp and a disregard for umwai traditions, which have created some tension between the two nations.
Agriculture & Industry
Agriculture is a big part of Eskarran culture and identity. While every nation has agriculture, Eskarr's is so unique compared to other nations in how it goes about its farming. To deal with the swampland, the umwai had to develop a form of farming using floating gardens. To make these gardens, they form mounds above the water level out of mud and dead vegetation as the basis of the garden. Leaving rows of water in between the gardens, they enclose the mounds in wattle fencing and grow willow trees on the edge to increase structural integrity of the garden. To control the water level with the flow of the seasons, the umwai have created systems of dams and canals to prevent flooding in the wet season, and bring buckets of water to prevent things from drying up in the dry seasons. They also have to be aware of what crops they grow, choosing to grow simple root vegetables like taro and flowering plants like cabbage and watercress, along with beans for protein.
Rise Above the Water
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