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Cloud Country

The home territory of the cloud clans that consist of the Ñuñu hills, but in the past included the Haunt of the Marshes, the Mist Shores, the Painted Beaches and the Flooded Slopes along the Bad Step.

Structure

Immortal King

The figurehead and official ruler of the country. He is and always has been the original Cizin who united the hills after the collapse and forged a new identity and empire for the Clans. Only until the country was middle age, did the king abstain from his royal duties and sequester himself from the public viewings ever since for hundreds of years. Even when a multitude of crises inflict the realm, he cannot, or will not, remove himself from his harem.  

The Cizin

Cizin is a title of imperial character. It derives from the first immortal king; when several would-be kings sought to secede from the country. It had been long whispered that the immortal king Cizin, had long died and his memory was only kept alive by corrupt elites in the Hills. From this sentiment, disloyal governors and rouge generals took the name to grant themselves legitimacy. Overtime, the title's holder came to be the practical ruler of the state, even though Cizin was still alive.  

Youth Prince

The regularized title given to the cizin's designated heir. The first introduction of this designation is though to denote the official deterioration of the empire. Whereas before, the "cizin" title could only be bestowed by Cizin to acknowledge the ruler; the "Youth Prince", in that he is chosen by the holder of the cizin title, by default, removes Cizin from political considerations.  

Imperial Court

The nominal ruling government of four houses chosen by the cizin. Within the court, Cizin chose highborn aristocrats into positions of "Justice of the Peace", "Justice of Wars", chief justice, divisional judges and puny judges.

Assets

Woods

The hills of Jaujaman and Jaujamong have the last remaining wooded areas belonging to the king.   These are the last wild spaces in the hills, but even so, they need to be managed by humans. The trees grow thickly, and the space between them is overgrown with grasses, shrubs and underbrush, so as to attract migrating birds for their feathers.

Springs

All the hills of Ñuñu have natural springs capped with wells that provide for the urban surroundings.

History

Keanian Era

The Ñuñu Clans were the favoured pets of the Keans.
— Thoughts of one Yatei scholar on the history of the Hornkin
 

Time of the Empire

Conquest
There is not much in the way of protracted warfare in the Cloud's expansion. Except for the Twin Hill Sieges.
— Opinion of an experienced shark man of the Conch Cult
  This was the primary rivalry between the Tribes of Yate and the Cloud Clans. However, the capacity to wage war was radically different between the two. The Clans had enjoyed centuries of favour with their Keanian overlords which yielded plentiful food, stone infrastructure and general cultural superiority.   By contrast, the yatei and tyr tribes were enslaved to do the Keans' bidding, more exposed to the elements and generally enjoyed a smaller population. Yet, they managed to hold off a surging Cloud for an impressive 200 years. But while cloud generals had hammered at tribe defenses from many angles, when the final blow came, it was the tyr that took the greatest loss. So much so that any remnant of the tyr were willingly absorbed into the surviving yatei.  
Colonization
Cloud colonization was an organised colonial expansion by the clans into the northern and southern shores during the period of the empire. The 'northern shores' were in reference to the floodlines of the hanging valleys in the Valley of Man and the Brine Marsh. The 'southern shores' were in reference to the Foggy Hills in-between Ñuñu and Yates; and the opening into Giantsfall near the Floodgates.  

Decline of the Dream

Revolts
Coming to the end, there had been mutterings of malcontent along the colony coasts. But where the biggest had erupted into actual war were the Yatei Hills under the appointed governor Yumurco. Who apparently succeeded by wishing it so.
— History lesson in a Talon classroom
The unrest had become so great, and so wide spread, that the legions needed to be broken up to properly address them.   In Haunt: A slave revolt evolved into a mass exodus deeper into the Marshes with the majority of the working population. The remaining loyalist proved incapable of rebuilding what once was and simply returned to the capital and abandoned the colony.   With Mist Shores: Native Mist Men grew ever bolder and directly attack the empire's settlement. With reinforcements, attacks and raids were dissuaded, but concerns over plague would have these troops be recalled to Ñuñu.   By the Beaches and Foggy Hills: There was a total collapse of cloud authority within this region of the empire. Two legions succumbed to the diseases and a mass of refugees moved in every which direction.   However, in what was seen as the biggest failing, was the redeployment of the last legions and on the Giant's Back to stop those fleeing people from returning to the capital with lethal force.
Painted Plagues
Through some unknown and malevolent force, the governor sought to gain a kingdom of his own. And in answer, a deluge of diseases crossed over from the Cold Swamp and, one after another, laid waste to the administrative framework across the empire's cities, coastal colonies and the capital itself.

Demography and Population

It cannot be seen by looking at them, but the Cloud population is culturally homogeneous. Any group of related individuals possess different shades of eyes, skin and hair among themselves so it can be difficult for outsiders to say whose related to who.

Territories

Current Holdings

Ñuñu Hills
The cloud people carved settlements out of the extremely dense mountain forests among the four Ñuñu hills and with the Marañón and Huallaga cross space between them.   Throughout the floodlands, regardless of culture, the high ground is apparent and immensely important. Come the flood season, only the truly desperate are anywhere near the lands' valleys. So much so, that any physical high ground is representative of the owner's right to rule; if for no greater reason than to provide refuse.  
Luya Catacombs
It is a natural cave system that has been expanded and stylized as a burial site of the most important of the cloud people. The walls within the tunnels are painted to represent stages of a ritual dance and of couples holding hands. The tunnels burrow into the ribs' outside of Giantsfall where the dead are vertically laid to rest.  

Lost Territories

Haunt
Geographic Location | Dec 17, 2020
Haunt of the Marshes
A curious formation of interlocking basalt columns that slowly descends into the area like natural steps.   The columns also depict engravings of individuals as part of an old culture's funeral rites, which is generally avoided in respect for the dead.
 
Painted Beaches
Geographic Location | Aug 24, 2020
Painted Beaches
The coastal area of Mais that is best known for the amount dyes that can be extracted.
Bad Step
Geographic Location | Dec 25, 2020
Flooded Slopes of the Bad Step
The part of the Bad Step that crosses from the valley of man in the floodlands that marks the end of where the flood waters can go.

Military

Offense

Four Legions
Once; the legions of Jamachu, Jaujamong, Jaujameb and Jaujaman were the vessels of imperial expansion. On their backs, the floodlands were for the first, and only time, under a single state.   After rebellions, ongoing plagues and sharing its former dominance; this fighting force has been reduced to a defensive guard.
Eeat Raiders
These are squads of youth trained and conscripted into making attack runs on Eeat, be it dry or flood season, so that Cloud Country maintains its claim. Most members of the legions have to start their military careers with the raiders.
 

Defense

Doppel Division
A secretive, but still visible, host of droves that sit on the hill slopes facing the Haunt; apparently without independent thoughts or reactive instincts. The doppels (short for doppelgangers) are recreations of still living proven warriors of the host legions and notable captured enemy combatants. The necessity of their creation, as given by the state, is as a measure against the supernatural things that come from the Haunt. Regardless, from within the population, there has been a persistent ethical debate on the very creation of doppels since their beginning.

Technological Level

Doppelgangers

The exact science of an artificial being is not known to the wider population unsurprisingly. But loose lips of a maid servant in the Blue Temple gives insight into the preparations of its sorcery.
We were stripped bare by a foreign looking woman and told to excite them. I was scared by what that meant but no one else seemed to be.   The prisoners were lying on straw mats in one of the inner hallways, like they were dead. About twenty bodies long and two rows deep. Looking around me, the other girls were stroking them. And once they ejaculated, the girls left to be wiped by the priestess.   I eventually did the same to this shark man I had wandered in front of. I'm not sure if his was dead or not either. His chest was moving up and down but was aloof in every other way. Thinking back, his face might have been frozen in a smile but I'd think the muscles in his face were slowing relaxing and left a slipping ghost of a smirk.
— Tollssi, performer maid in the Temple of Flies and Sky

Religion

Imperial Cult

A remnant from cloud country's imperial era's worship of the country's immortal king Cizin, from when he was an emperor, and some members of his family with divinely sanctioned authority.   Its introduction was highly controversial as Keanian worship had been the predominate faith since the Keanian era. But as the population turned to the state cult, conservative groups moved away from the hills to practice in autonomous communities along the shoulders of the Giant.

Foreign Relations

Painted Tribes

The tribes on Mais are considered trapped and stranded by the clans and that they wait desperately for the emperor to reassert himself.  

Yatei

The natives on the Yatei and Tyr twin hills are considered ungrateful for their revolt and, it is believed, inflicting the plagues on the Floodlands.  

Tinged

A traitorous offshoot of a former colony under Jaujameb administration. There is little in the way of diplomatic relations now.

Agriculture & Industry

Coral Harvesting

Throughout the seasons, pilgrimages would be made to coral city outside the floodgates for research purposes, vacations or exotic hunts.   Everyone on their returns, have some souvenir of bright coral to decorate or to sell.

Fishing

During the flood season, clan people make crude rafts out of driftwood and/or light coral and skim their returned coasts.

Mining

During the dry season, valuable and rare minerals are upturned from the churned earth in small amounts as a result of the surging tides.   For greater quantities, residents have to dive into flooded craters, hold their breaths and do manual labour underwater.

Trade & Transport

Dry Season

Generally, the dry season slows down trade on account of porters having to trek through drying mud and traverse through ascending mounds and around flooded craters.

Flood Season

The flood season allows for the extensive use of boats within a fifty year period. Tragically, the flood season is also a time when many diseases crisscross the traffic heavy routes with the potential to spread plagues from the Cold Swamp, the Valley and other places beyond Giantsfall.

Education

Upper Classes

The sons of nobles, sons of the kings of conquered peoples and virgins chosen for the imperial cult went to schools for four years to study religion, history and government, and moral norms. Young men, in particular, were given careful training in physical education and military techniques.   After examinations at 19, novices would celebrate in yearly competitions and festivities attended to by Cizin for a thousand years.  

General Population

Knowledge and skills deemed relevant to a child's future occupation, culture and the artistic aspects of clan life are passed on by their closest elders. These children would also learn other skills simply through living day-to-day like spinning, weaving, and chicha brewing.

Infrastructure

Floodline

There is an area that wraps around the circumference of the hills christened the 'Floodline', which marks the maximum water levels that can be expected during flooding. As a result, it also serves as the ideal place where foreign traders, local merchants, fisher folk and ferry men park their vessels when not on the water.   The hills are easy enough to ascend once the flood waters come and there is not far to walk. But during the dry season, when one must start the hike from the base, the most help comes from one of the four inner stone staircases of Marañón and Huallaga.  

Above the Floodline

Jaujamong Hill
The easterly Ñuñu hill with the most direct interaction with foreigners and thus the most developed hills as a cross section between the flood waters and Luya track.
  • Temple of Flies and Sky
    Also called the Blue Temple; it is a center of learning and research, and is most famous for its blue canvas stretched over several free standing stone pillars and walls.
Jamachu Hill
The westerly Ñuñu hill has the third highest population of the hills. Its side facing the Floodgates is, by imperial decree, entirely devoid of human development.
  • Imperial Palace
    A bastion of bedrock decorated in transmuted reliefs similar to Eeat and crowned with an exaggerated coral sculpture. The palace sits at the peak of the hill
 
Jaujaman Hill
The northerly Ñuñu hill is the least populated hill as the rush flood tides awash the this hill more than any other.
Jaujameb Hill
The southerly Ñuñu hill is the most populated, partly because it is closest to the Luya Catacombs and the most shielded from the flood waters.
 

Below the Floodline

Free Space
The bottom half of the hills are kept barren. As a matter of policy, when the flood waters recede in their fifty year cycles, free reign is given over to exploiters to do with the exposed land as they please.
  • Nobles would invest in plantations, knowing it would only last 50 years
  • Family units build, expand or excavate mausoleums buried under 50 years of sediments
  • Others might opt to construct homes here in the 50 year period
 
Bridges
Simple rope bridges made of grass and vines woven into large bundles to cross over the Marañón and Huallaga gaps and connect four hill tops together during the dry season.   It is the job of the state to roll up the bridges before the tides return and have prepared the pontoon brides to take their place once the flood waters settle.

Type
Geopolitical, Country
Capital
Alternative Names
Formerly:
  • Imperial Clouds
  • Empire of the Clouds
Demonym
Cloud People
Government System
Oligarchy
Power Structure
Feudal state
Economic System
Palace economy
Major Exports
Coral
Seafood
Sea Salt
Textiles
Minerals
Phantom Gum
Major Imports
Foods Stuff
Fabrics
Phantom Gum
Dyes
Timber
Saltwater Crops
Legislative Body
  • Imperial Court
Judicial Body
  • Imperial Court
Subsidiary Organizations
Location
Controlled Territories
Related Ethnicities
Āhuilli
Myth | Dec 17, 2020
Between Sun and Shadow
Myth | Dec 5, 2020
Flower Girl
Myth | Aug 27, 2020
Water Beast
Myth | Jun 22, 2020

Inhabitants

Cloud Clans
Ethnicity | Dec 3, 2020
 

Occasional Visitors

Pochteca
Profession | Jan 9, 2021
Swingers
Ethnicity | Dec 5, 2020
Misty Cloud Men
Ethnicity | Aug 27, 2020
Mountain Cloud Tribes
Ethnicity | Aug 28, 2020

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Cover image: Cloud City by Tu Bui

Keanian Era

The time when Hornkin ruled the land, when the Pearl Sea was dry, when the Clans flourished under their guide and when giants were enemies.

  • 0 KE


    Establishment of the Keanian Cult
    Religious event

    Worship of the Hornkin as the divine creators of man.

    Related Location
    Floodlands
    Related article
  • 0 KE

    1

    Birth of Cizin
    Life, Birth

    There is question of just when Cizin, the first immortal king, was born. Popular opinion says that he personally saw and interacted with the Keanian people before they collapsed, but that would extend his lifeline to such an extent that it would be unrealistic.

    Related article
  • 0 KE

    2

    Keanian Extinction
    Extinction

    After many military and civil setbacks, the Rock Rains were the final straw that wiped out the Keans as a viable species.

    Related Location
    Floodlands
    Related article

Empire of the Clouds

The post-Keanian period of the ancient cloud clans. As a polity it included large territorial holdings including the island-hills around the Floodlands and the northern coasts of Mist, Mais and Marshes and the floodgates ruled by emperors.

  • 2 EOC

    1

    Establishment of the Imperial Court
    Political event

  • 2 EOC

    2

    Immortalization of General Acahuana
    Life, Supernatural

    A devout Cloud Country general who greatly expanded the country's territory and later assassinated after 300 years of service in the Brine Marshes.

    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    3

    Haunted Expedition
    Discovery, Exploration

    A series of attempts to colonize the Haunt and deeper into the Brine Marshes.

    Related Location
    Haunt
    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    4

    Colonial Expansion
    Population Migration / Travel

    Under pressure from a rapidly growing population, the sponsored expansions into Painted Beach and the island-hills between the Cloud Hills and the Twin Hills.

  • 2 EOC

    1
    /4

    Establishment of the Imperial Cult
    Religious event

    Usurpation of the Keanian Cult as the empire's dominant religion.

    Related Location
    Floodlands
  • 2 EOC

    5

    Quadruplet-Twin War
    Military action

    "Quadruplet-Twin War" got its name for the four Ñuñu and two Yatei/Tyr hills. It lasted 200 years because of the shifting landscape every fifty years that made adopting and maintaining an attack strategy difficult for Cloud Country. The current citizens of the Twin Hills in Gaioor call it the Twin Hill Sieges.

    Related Location
    Floodlands
    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    6

    Immortalization of Huami and Hilchi
    Life, Supernatural

    A pair of half brother who gained a sort of cooperative immortality and challenged Cizin directly.

    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    7

    Creation of the Cizin Title
    Diplomatic action

    Title for the ruler of the state who is not Cizin, himself.

    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    7

    Cizin's Withdrawal
    Life, Publicity

    After about 600 years or administrating the empire, the emperor finally retired. He has gone unseen for 456 years and is thought to spend all his time in a special room among his harem.

    Related Location
    Floodlands
    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    8

    Immortalization of Governor Yumurco
    Life, Supernatural

    A former governor of the Yatei Hills who successfully rebelled against the Cloud Empire. He is accused to have unleashed the painted plagues that overtook the country through asking the Flower Girl.

    Related Location
    Gaioor
    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    9

    Yatei Revolt
    Revolution

    A political and military movement for the Twin Hills to secede from Cloud Country.

    Related Location
    Gaioor
    Related article
  • 2 EOC

    12

    Painted Plagues
    Plague / Epidemic

    These are a category of disease that leave coloured markings on the victims, most of which are transferable to the later descendants of the infected. Most of these diseases kill, and successive waves swept across the Floodlands. Those who survived came to be considered either as a decorative slave commodity or desirable breeding stock.

    Related Location
    Painted Beaches
    Related article

Cloud Country

The process of decline in the Cloud Empire in which the Empire lost control of its rule, and its vast territory was reduced to the home island-hills.

  • 3 CC

    1

    Regularization of the Youth Prince Designation
    Political event

    The chosen heir of the holder of the cizin title which, by default, removes Cizin from political considerations.

    Related Location
    Floodlands
    Related article
  • 3 CC

    1

    Retreat from the Recess Front
    Financial Event

    Essentially, this was the renunciation of the Cloud Empire's claims to the Painted Beaches and Foggy Hills due to an outbreak of diseases which had severe economic consequences.

    Related Location
    Painted Beaches
    Related article
  • 3 CC

    5

    Haunt Abandonment
    Disbandment

    After a series of revolts and pandemics left the Haunt colony destitute, the decision was made to evacuate the surviving loyalists to replenish the capital's own population.

    Related Location
    Haunt
    Related article
  • 3 CC

    6

    Forgetting Mist Shores
    Diplomatic action

    News of serious unrest from the capital filtered to the relief garrisons which motivated the commanders depart for Ñuñu immediately.

    Related Location
    Mist Shores
    Related article

Comments

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Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
8 May, 2020 22:13

This is dense! Lots of amazing details. You really showcase the history of Cloud Country, and I love the idea of the Cizin being used as a title. It's well done!   I found an error while reading toward the beginning.   "The first introduction of this designation is though to denote the official deterioration of the empire. Whereas before, the "cizin" title could only be bestowed by Cizin to the acknowledge the ruler"     I think you meant thought and later on you have a rogue "the" before awknowledge.   Also this: "Its introduction was highly controversial as Keanian worship had been the predominate fate since the Keanian era" Fate or faith?       Excellent work. I also like how your timeline goes deeper into detail. Like well earned, my friend.

9 May, 2020 00:17

Thanks for the catch.   Would you think it was too much material? Because I had other things I wanted to add but refrained for being too wordy?

Check out my Work: Valley of Man|Four Quadrants
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
9 May, 2020 00:45

If you have the word count, you could cut away any filler and add it. It's alot of material. It's good material, but it took awhile to get through. Its really up to you and what works best for your world. I think a little trim could make it even better but its not essential.