Immortal KingThe 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 CizinCizin 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 PrinceThe 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 CourtThe 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.
WoodsThe 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.
SpringsAll the hills of Ñuñu have natural springs capped with wells that provide for the urban surroundings.
The Ñuñu Clans were the favoured pets of the Keans.
Time of the Empire
There is not much in the way of protracted warfare in the Cloud's expansion. Except for the Twin Hill Sieges.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.
ColonizationCloud 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
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.
Demography and Population
Current HoldingsThroughout 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 CatacombsIt 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.
Four LegionsOnce; 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 RaidersThese 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.
Doppel DivisionA 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.
DoppelgangersThe 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.
Imperial CultA 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.
YateiThe natives on the Yatei and Tyr twin hills are considered ungrateful for their revolt and, it is believed, inflicting the plagues on the Floodlands.
Agriculture & Industry
Coral HarvestingThroughout 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.
FishingDuring the flood season, clan people make crude rafts out of driftwood and/or light coral and skim their returned coasts.
MiningDuring 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 SeasonGenerally, 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 SeasonThe 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.
Upper ClassesThe 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 PopulationKnowledge 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.
FloodlineThere 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 HillThe 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 HillThe 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 HillThe northerly Ñuñu hill is the least populated hill as the rush flood tides awash the this hill more than any other.
Jaujameb HillThe 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 SpaceThe 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
BridgesSimple 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.
- Imperial Clouds
- Empire of the Clouds
- Imperial Court
- Imperial Court
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