Izweski Nation

From Aurora Information Uplink
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Overview

"Honor, Fire, Burn thy Fear" - Izweski Ancestral Words, dating back more than 500 years

The Third Hegemony of the Izweski Nation is a developing feudal monarchy ruled by a single monarch, known as the Hegemon, who rules and leads the Hegemony as a political and somewhat spiritual paragon. The country is also made up of hundreds of land-owning noble clans and many more clans under them, of which a few dozen noble clans are major influencers in the politics of the Hegemony. Not'zar and the Izweski clan leads the Hegemony, eager to expand their influence out into the stars while resolving the conflicts on Moghes.

Since the Contact War, the Hegemon has remained an inflated entity by the victory over their ancient enemy, the Traditionalists. Though scorched by nuclear armageddon, the Hegemony has since exploded out of their capital and began the colonization of Traditionalist lands and of faraway planets. The path to domination was not easy, however; Hegemon S'kresti fell into a coma and Not'zar made his ascension to the throne, claiming himself regent before any other heir could. The rise and fall of the Sk'akh Church also menaced the careful religious balance of the Hegemony which was further inflamed by the rise of Hegemon S'kresti and his conversion to Si'akh. The Hegemon, subject to a Civil War between the Sk'akh Church versus the apostle Hegemon, nearly tore the Hegemony apart.

After S'kresti's assassination, Not'zar has officially assumed the title of Hegemon. The conflict has officially been declared as over, but the various enemies of the Hegemony conspire their revenge. Discrimination runs rampant among Unathi society, whether against those of a lower standing, Unathi seen as not conforming to their role in the empire, the acolytes of other religions, or even the criminal underclass of Guwan. Despite these challenges, the Izweski Hegemony is seen as the most profitable and budding economy among Unathi thanks to imperial mercantilist policy, and even Unathi that oppose Not'zar's rule flock to their walls in an attempt to carve out and seek a better life.

Not'zar thankfully does not take after his father. Favoring shrewd and savvy politics, the Hegemon of the Izweski Nation has worked on undoing the political damage his father, S'kresti Izweski, had created by partaking in numerous wars with neighboring countries and even within the Hegemony itself. The reformation back to a truly honorable state is a slow one, though no change worth going through is ever done quickly.

History

The modern Izweski Nation is an aberration when regarded with the entirety of Moghean history. In the First, Second, and the start of the Third Hegemony, the Hegemony has always had to defend against the Traditionalists, fear uprisings from bitter lords, and maintain power over the guilds and the Sinta of the Hegemony; the end of the Contact War showed a marked change in the current age. Nevertheless, the history of the Hegemony is the history of Moghean civilization, and more information can be found here.

Feudalism and Society

Life in the Hegemony has changed very little since the emergence of feudalism centuries ago. There are the people at the top — nobles, merchants, aliens, and then there are the people at the bottom — the peasantry, guwan, and more. The reverence of honor continues to be a major player in Unathi society even to this day. Conservative cultural norms, such as the importance gender plays in deciding somebody's role in society, strong religious zeal, and arranged marriages, are upheld and persevere due to the stubbornness native to Unathi.

Despite a culture clinging to the past, technology relentlessly propels forward. More factories and more food and more people are always a necessity, though certain solutions have presented themselves to the meek in recent years. Salvation lies at the end of smuggling for many. For the nobility and the merchants, never has the potential for opportunity been so close. The Hegemony has been slow to recover since the Contact War, and though the nobility and merchants may be divided, a weak kingdom spawns mercenary lords. Deceit, treachery, and fighting have always been a mark of the elite in the Hegemony, and that has not changed — but the stakes are ever higher for nobility and peasantry alike, especially with the introduction of megacorporations and alien technology. Through an indirect imperialistic approach, the Hegemony pushes acts and legislation favorable to the various Unathite guilds that dominate the economy. Most if not all Unathi are part of the Unathi Guilds, either as a worker or as a shareholder. Anyone in the Hegemony looking to run a business, work skilled labor, or even commit to the arts must be registered with the appropriate guild before able to do so. The feudal system is an outdated relic, and with the growing prominence of guilds, if one plays their cards right, a clan can end up in the emerging "middle-class" that threatens a system that has worked well until now.

Feudalism

All Unathi in the Izweski Hegemony live under a strict feudal society. It divides most of the species into six distinct castes, each of which usually prevents upward mobility in this society. Men and women often have different roles and responsibilities depending on which caste they are in, and a man or woman jumping into a role that is typically meant for the opposite sex can lead to becoming a social pariah.

The flag of the Izweski Hegemony. It is said the flag symbolizes the wildfires that frequented Moghes. For Honor and the Hegemon!

The nobility or Sanza can include Lords, Clan Lords, and even distinguished Clan members. These are the landed elite of the Hegemony, and the most powerful nobles influence the Hegemon's decisions. Nobles must own a tract of land, no matter how small, to be considered a noble. Land is inherited, purchased, or granted by the Hegemon (often by pleasing him or winning his wars). The nobility enjoy the comforts of off-world technology and are considered superior physically, mentally, and spiritually to the average peasant. It is important to note that one may be part of a noble clan and not be a noble--for example, children do not typically own land, so they are technically not noble, though they enjoy the privileges of the nobility all the same. Warriors, healers, and distant family that swear allegiance to the clan are considered part of the noble clan, but are not actual nobility.

Shaman or Akh is the general term for any Unathite clergy; priests however are exclusively members of the dead Sk'akh Church. Priests tend to own the land of their church which owes its fealty to the local Lord, making them a form of pseudo-nobility. They are granted many special protections that protect them from violence or land seizures. Priests own their respective churches and Lords are forbidden from collecting tax from them, pressing them into armed service, or seizing their lands. Their influence rivals that of secular Lords, and many priests are active participants in local politics and intrigue. Ever since the fall of the Church, much of what was considered "church land" was seized by enterprising lords--after the end of the civil war, the priests were able to hold on to some, but not all of their land. Th'akh shamans have been unaffected by this change, though they always typically held much smaller tracts of land when compared to their Sk'akh rivals, causing some tension.

Healers or Riz'akh are, as their name implies, doctors. Like shamans, it takes many years studying and learning to become an official healer. A well-studied healer will typically swear allegiance to a noble clan (including their own clan) and treat for their clan only. Large noble clans have entire hospitals and multiple healers dedicated for their needs, while smaller clans may only employ one healer. This tradition has come to change, however--after the Contact War, the need for healers increased drastically due to the effects of radiation on Unathi. The Hegemon finances prospective healers to study abroad or at the Skalamar University of Medicine so that they may join public hospitals, paid at a similar (albeit lesser rate) than healers that are in service to a noble clan. Notably, even peasants have even been awarded this scholarship, though they must prove their skill at healing beforehand. Nurses are not considered at the same level as healers and are pulled from the general populace who have some knowledge of healing.

Warriors, known as Saa'[clan], are soldiers that fight under the banners of their Lords. They are seen as an ideal for male Unathi to strive for. They attach themselves to noble clans (including their own) and fight in that clan's conflicts, and clans are expected to give their warriors to the Hegemon in the event of war (provided it is not a civil war). Warriors are expected to follow the Warrior's Code perfectly. Warriors, like Healers, are pulled from the entirety of the populace, but it is up to that noble lord's discretion on who to promote. Warriors could be trained from birth in the family of the noble, a levyman that distinguishes himself in battle, or a random farmer forced into training--whatever the noble decides. Warriors, in peace time, guard their noble clan or serve in the Hegemony. Warriors are occasionally awarded land for their service, either by their overlord or the Hegemon himself. Warriors who attach themselves to the Hegemony himself and not any noble family are known as Kataphracts.

Kataphracts or Saa’Izweski, are an ancient class of warriors that has recently been revived by Not’zar Izweski. They attach themselves to the Hegemony itself rather than a clan and follow the Warrior's Code of Honor strictly. When they are not summoned to do battle for the Izweski, Kataphracts seek to maintain their status as brave and honorable warriors by participating in martial games or going on adventures throughout the galaxy. Kataphracts are appointed by the Hegemon, an Overlord, or another Kataphract if they prove themselves in battle to be especially brave and worthy, though lords are hesitant to hand off their best warriors to the Hegemon. Women cannot become Kataphracts; only those that claim the soul of a warrior may become one. They are referred to as Saa when referring to their rank, or Saa’Izweski when formally referred to. Kataphracts are only paid by the Hegemony when they are summoned for war. Kataphracts as a result take to adventuring across the galaxy to earn credits and make their name, and some even seek employment within Tau Ceti, waiting until the day they are summoned to do proper battle.

Besides their ventures in the frontier and Tau Ceti, the Kataphracts were purchased as mercenaries by the People’s Republic of Adhomai to fight in the S'rend'marr Coalition. They were utilized to primarily protect urban areas and officials. The Kataphracts suffered heavily in their deployment however, struggling to balance their precepts of honor with the harsh reality of guerilla war on Adhomai. Their experiences left them embittered against Tajara of the DPRA, a feeling many Hegemony clans would share following the Gakal'zaal conflict.

Kataphract-Hopefuls or Zo’saa, are Unathi that have pledged themselves to the life of a Kataphract, yet are not appointed. They are warriors that have attached themselves to the Hegemony, but have not actually been appointed a Kataphract by the Hegemon. Other Hopefuls, after making their intentions known, are sent out across the galaxy to be tested in various ways, in accompaniment with real Kataphracts. Many Kataphract-Hopefuls come to Tau Ceti for the challenge of holding true to their ideals and the goal of "Kataphract-hood", tested against the well known trend of the star system to break down conservative Unathite beliefs. Kataphract-Hopefuls that spend a few years in Tau Ceti and still hold true to their commitments of honor and bravery, or who engage in incredibly brave deeds and do the same, can easily find themselves anointed a Kataphract.

Spies or Zo'kaa, occupy the same rank as the warriors for Unathi, being the female counterpart to the warrior caste. Similarly, while male Unathi look up to warriors as an ideal, women look up to spies with an equal amount of reverence. Spies, however, are in an often unique position - a majority often serve their Lords for whatever intelligence they are looking to collect, but can also be reached out to by spymasters should they be looking for dangerous elements, especially in outlying territories. Generally speaking, spies are often what humans consider to be detectives of sorts, and lower rank and file spies work as investigators. Some spies specialize in gathering information through subtle questioning and incentivizing cooperation, while others are masters in infiltration and blending in.

Spymasters or Kaa, are a relatively new class, also generated by Not'zar Izweski (with rumors speculating heavy influence from his interest, spymaster Hizoni Razi, in their development). Spymasters are those that gain a reputation by word of mouth between those that would seek their employment - namely, powerful Lords, merchants, priests, and other figures of influential clans. Such spymasters become operators themselves of other spies, using their experience to give potential leads, offer guidance to newer spies, and take up larger work from the Izweski Hegemony. Spies themselves do not attach themselves to specific clans, and are instead forced to serve whomever their spymaster decrees.

Guildsmen are merchants, businessmen, and entrepreneurs striving to make a name for themselves and earn a nice profit while doing so. This social class includes both Guildmasters and independent salesmen. You are required to purchase the title of Guildsman from a local Lord or Guildmaster before being considered as such and are legally barred from conducting business without one. Guildsmen are only required to pay rent to their Lord and are exempt from taxation, so this group forms the closest thing Moghes has to a middle class. Guildsmen can be either men or women; men often become the skilled laborers (as they are most notable for being blunt), while women usually are the outward face of any aspects regarding external business. There are a few exceptions, but those that stray from these norms within Unathite culture are shunned and face a more difficult uphill battle in gaining recognition and becoming successful. Peasants who work for guilds are not considered guildsmen.

A visual representation of Unathite feudalism.

Peasants are the bottom rung of society, and are by far the largest. This group comprises traditional tenants on the land of a Lord working aquaculture farms or in the mines, to urban Unathi living in slums and working in guild factories. Peasants have zero political power and are at the mercy of their overlords. Strong social norms and tradition are what keep Lords from outright abusing their peasants en-masse. They work for the Guilds and provide the Guilds the fruit of all their labor, keeping meager earnings of which they must surrender half to their Lord for the privilege of living on his land. Peasants only have meager influence when organized into clans, in which they can appeal for better things to their lord or guild, like a crude worker's union. This is how peasants ascend to the middle class, though they are still at the whims of their lord--and if a lord or guild dislikes what you or your clan is doing, you will be immediately stomped out.

Guwan are the absolute bottom caste of Unathite society. They are untouchables and are given absolutely zero protections, and are actively subjugated, persecuted, and barred from all aspects of public life and hopes of ever-advancing upwards. They typically work the worst jobs and sleep on the street, as they are not allowed to own property. Aut'akh usually end up in this caste as well, as most of them are denounced by their clan or Lord.

Lives of the Peasantry

There exist two forms of life for peasants in the Izweski Nation: rural and urban. For rural Sinta, there is not much life outside of working and praying. Ever since the Contact War, the Hegemony has had a refugee crisis and a food crisis, which necessitated the rebirth of aquaculture in a real way. Loyal noble families and the clans under them were moved out to the Southlands and the Traditionalist remnants to fish for the fishing guilds as a result. Clans live next to other clans in either huts or apartments, often salvaged from the nearby Wasteland. There is little social mobility compared to the urban peasants as no noble family is going to let their clans relocate to the city. The budding and growing aquaponics industry requires talented minds to build habitats, run fishing systems, keep up maintenance, and teach new techniques. As such, especially gifted Unathi can find their way to the city or even off-world for education. Forlorn Sinta often take their chances in the Wasteland or with smugglers, and desertion is at an all-time high for rural peasant Unathi. The nobility in this region are poor compared to their urbanite rivals and have recently taken to the practice of signing their peasants with Hephaestus or other guilds for work. Loyal serfs are sometimes sent to work for these corporations at much higher wages and send their money back to the nobility. These endeavors, especially if they go out into space, are accompanied by dozens of peasants and some of the nobility to keep them in line. Occasionally, these peasants disappear into the alien streets, a great dishonor to their clan.

For the urban Unathi, the potential to move up is greater. Since the money the factory guilds send is not immediately devoured by the nobility, an enterprising clan can quietly collect money. Marriages are done to merge these clans and create a giant cell of cooperating impoverished Unathi. If they send enough of their children to the stars and have a little luck, they could potentially ascend to the mystical middle class, which mutually benefits the lords of the peasants by taking a bigger cut of their larger wages. Middle-class Sinta can live better, get better wages, and half-live in the 25th century and not the 19th. This end-goal is hard to reach though, and many clans that serve the same lord would gladly betray their cohorts to ascend for themselves. Moving from the slums on the outskirts of the city to the towering buildings of the innercity is a challenge — peasant Unathi are easily identified by their appearances and the scent of the slums, and vengeful nobility may view them as workers stepping out of line. One either climbs into the apartments of the modern Hegemonic city, or falls from the forts and ancient homes of the noble district down to the middle class, and those who fall are not keen to share their buildings with starry-eyed peasants.

The modern city in the Hegemon is composed of the slums and factories on the outskirts of the city. The relatively high-tech interior is fashioned with apartments and restaurants and stores with the noble and typically ancient districts in the middle. The nobility, while not residing in giant skyscrapers, has the most amount of alien technology and presence bar none. Connected to wizened fortresses are state-of-the-art communication centers, bathrooms, holo-theaters, and more. The whiplash from sandstone and brick paths to metal roads and maglev trains is exhausting for newcomers, yet normal life for the nobility. Getting evicted from the district by bad luck or malicious intent is humiliating, and noble families are willing to do anything to crawl out of the "impoverished" inner-city back to their ancestral homes. Despite alien influence, Hegemonic life has never been more mercenary.

Gender Roles

Women and men have different expectations in Hegemony society, with men being expected to follow a semblance of the Warrior's Code and women following the Matriarch's Code - the difference between the two allowing variety in lifestyles. The cultural impact of these ideals have made men and women seem at odds in society, where you have to prove how your ideals are beneficial to the task you're born into.

Relationships and Marriage

Marriage in the culture of the Hegemony is seen strictly as a means to secure alliances between clans. With the bonding of two souls under Sk'akh, clans are capable of securing peace and strength.

A map of Moghes, with cities and the Wasteland labelled. The Hegemony rules all.

Depending on who is being married, the act of marriage can carry different societal expectations. Marriage between a man and woman is seen as a symbol of fertility and growth, bringing the call of the Fisher. Marriage between two men links to the Aspect of the Warrior for strength, and is often used to secure particularly military alliances. Marriage between two women is a call for the Aspect of the Healer, and is thought to bring stability and kindness.

Divorces in the Izweski Hegemony must be requested through the Sk'akh Church, where a member of the clergy will decide how property and titles will be split. Typically, if a man is known to abuse or neglect their spouse, it is seen as a deep insult to the spouses' clan - a woman is often seen as being unable to do something so violent against another soul.

Oftentimes, Marriage Competitions are held to encourage young, unmarried Unathi to be competitive against each other and be the best suitor they can be, while unwed Unathi, parents, and Clan Leaders from various clans watch. Formal events are gender-segregated and have suitors attempt to impress Clan Leaders, whether through status, skill, or beauty. Men will often prove themselves in duels between suitors, and women display acts of debate or healing. Successful Unathi who win these contests are lauded by their entire communities and enjoy great prestige, and often enjoy the luxury of several suitors pining for their hand - and oftentimes, the best man and best woman are fated for each other.

Social Behavior and Mannerisms

When speaking to superiors, it is considered formal and respectful to refer to them by the extended name of their command. A clan elder or leader would be referred to by the name of their clan, a squad leader by the name of their squad, and so forth. It is extremely rude to not look at someone addressing you. These are normal behaviors inherent to the Izweski Nation — Unathi have a much wider array of behavior common to them all.

Religion

All of the nobility is mostly Sk'akh with some Th'akh, and the same can generally be said for the peasantry. Sk'akh acts at the dominant religious authority within the Izweski Nation, and as such, anyone following the Church can expect no censure or discrimination from the other religions. Th'akh does not face too much persecution within the borders of the Izweski Nation; some discrimination still remains from more hardline acolytes and the Church itself, however. Th'akh practitioners and shamans are not all entitled to the same wealth and benefits the Sk'akh clergy receive though, and as a result, the shamans of the caste belonging to Th'akh are lower on the totem pole, so to speak. Nonetheless, Th'akh worshippers themselves rarely face hardship based on the merit of their beliefs alone.

The two most notable exceptions (and perhaps extreme denominations, in a way) to these major faiths are the Aut'akh degenerates and the Si'akh heretics. Aut'akh — the religion is synonymous with treason. Their ideology, which vehemently disagrees with the Hegemony's authoritarian practices, is seen as a radical threat. The real Aut'akh dwell amongst the underbelly of the Hegemony, silently converting and spreading their word, and the Hegemony is doing everything they can to stop the flow of this potential rebellion. Rival Lords may be accused of helping out the Aut'akh cause, and any undesirables may be branded as Aut'akh so they become ostracized and their ideals pushed away from society. The Si'akh heresy is viewed more as a benign entity; they may preach and convert, but at least they aren't in open opposition to the Hegemony. While Si'akh peasants are mistrusted and often regulated to their own slums, they are not nearly subjected to the same discrimination that Aut'akh must deal with. The recent subversion of S'kresti by Juzida has caused much alarm, however, and every Si'akh may now be a potential agent for their messiah to wreak havoc.

Religious Tension

Even since the First Hegemony, the Izweski Nation has always had Th'akh and Sk'akh, the two religious pillars of their dear country (though Sk'akh always represented the Hegemony more). The Hegemony has always been seen as the temporal lord of all of Th'akhdom and Sk'akhdom — not as a pontiff, but as a representation of the spiritual populace. Interreligious marriage has always been common, so there existed little animosity between the two religions; this collapsed after the Contact War and the establishment of the Sk'akh Church.

Though the Iron Masks and Unzi's powers are faded, religious tensions are quite high. Most noble families converted to Sk'akh to curry favor with the Church, but some of the converts have reconverted back to their Th'akh ancestral roots after Unzi was "dethroned." While Th'akh lords may be lying in wait, the destruction of the Akhanzi Order has not been lost on them; most are prepared to retaliate if Sk'akh lords eat up their lands under the guise of a religious crusade. Similarly, Sk'akh lords are fearful of Th'akh retribution for the sins of the Church. Nowadays, Sk'akh is painted as the civilized, Hegemonic religion, while Th'akh is portrayed as the Traditionalist and backwater faith. Inversely, Sk'akh may be seen as the imperializing and apathetic religion, with Th'akh being seen as the ancient and most pious faith.

Language

Sinta'Unathi

While Pre-Contact Moghes had hundreds of unique languages and their own histories, Sinta'Unathi has been and remains the primary language spoken by most Unathi. This language came about due to the prominence of the Izweski Nation and its impact on trade; it is an evolution of an older Moghean trade language, Sinta'Izwe. Many dialects exist, from the Torn City's Seawash to the Highborn tongue of capital, to even the rural Simplified dialect.

The written language has 30 letters, with 5 of them being vowels. The language is written left to right and top to bottom, though this was an attempt to emulate humanity, as informal and less educated Sinta'Unathi still write right to left.

History of Sinta'Unathi

Modern Sinta'Unathi began in the 1990s Galactic Standard Time as the primary language of the Izweski Nation, and spread across the globe for merchants seeking to do business in foreign Kingdoms. It became the main language of global trade and eventually began to trickle its way upwards to become the primary language of the upper classes. By the late 2100s, the Izweski Hegemony passed several laws attempting to increase imperial nationalism in its extremely diverse population. All Hegemonic citizens were required to be fluent in the language, and speaking foreign languages in public carried threats of imprisonment. Imperial authorities also carried out mass-kidnappings of ethnic Unathi, raising the young in boarding schools that instilled in them proper Hegemony values and Sinta'Unathi language lessons. Children were often beaten if they were discovered speaking their native language.

The earliest forms of Sinta writing come in the form of hieroglyphs that scribes literally scratched onto wooden tablets with their talons, with the earliest dated around 600 CE. These early tablets were predominately inventory records, consisting of nouns and tally marks. As society grew more interconnected and complex, scribes and impatient merchants decided they had better things to do than spend hours making thousands of tally marks, so writing continued to evolve until taking its modern form.

One of the first things to go was scratching wooden tablets with scribes eventually dipping their talons into pulped Peizi Berries, which left stubborn, persistent stains on almost anything it touched. Scribes and writers could be identified by having stained talons, a trend that became more style than practical after the printing press came into use. Even in modern times, Unathi that want to appear intellectual often paint their talons.

Government and Power

A closer image focusing on the factions surrounding the Izweski Hegemony's territory.

The Izweski Nation both in the past and present has been ruled by a single Hegemon who rules over the entirety of the land and populace, including all of the nobility. While the Hegemon technically overrules the power that exists in the land-owning elites, the influence each actor has on each other is in constant flux. Sometimes in the country's history, the Hegemon has very little power over the nobles and is likely to be deposed if he disobeys their will; other times, the Hegemon divided and washed away the power of the nobility through cunning political maneuvering. This balance of power could shift gradually in one era and in another be flipped in an instant. The Hegemon is under significantly more stress in modern times, however, with external actors such as aliens and guilds worming their way into the lethal ocean of Izweski politics, as well as increasing demand for reform from both rural and urban peasantry. Nowadays, however, the Hegemon has maintained power on his throne and it's unlikely the Izweski would have to bow down to their noble underlings, should Not'zar continue to serve their interests.

Structure

The Izweski Hegemony is a feudal-like leadership where the Hegemon holds the most power, yet delegates portions of that power to others. In turn, these officials under the Hegemon delegate to others beneath them and so forth, working down to local towns and individual clans. Not'zar currently is the clan leader of the Izweski and Hegemon of the Izweski Hegemony. Most noblemen have made him an ally, especially including the Guilds who enjoy his globalist attitude. Not'zar lives in the Izweski Citadel in Skalamar, and under him are the vassalized Lords who rule their own subjugated states. The Lords are usually clan leaders or important clan members themselves who pledge themselves to Izweski in exchange for land and protection.

Under the Hegemon are the Overlords. They generally control large swathes of territory or bureaucratic functions in the name of the Izweski Hegemony, acting as a portion of the Hegemon's advisors. Currently, there are five Overlords: two managing sections of the Hegemony itself, an Ouerean Overlord, the K'laxan ruler of Tret, and one for the various smaller colonies and territories, including Gwim'zala. Overlords oversee their own Lords, rulers of different provinces. Unlike the Overlords, the Lords act more as vassals of regions under the Hegemon and the Overlords. A province may be an entire planet's development or one sprawling city metropolis depending on the population and settlement sizes of the province. Lords then appoint Clan Lords for different city districts, towns, and swathes of sparse rural lands. Cities are typically run by a Clan Lord (or even a Lord, should the city be large enough) and a small council of lesser clan leaders (or Clan Lords, in the case of a ruling Lord). At the bottom are the clan leaders. Clan leaders are usually the eldest male ruler of a specific family clan, and clan leaders are often the most ruthless schemers of the noble ladder.

Politics

The actual government of the Third Hegemony of the Izweski Nation is a state founded on conflicting principles and a shaky truce between the actors of the government. In the past, the Hegemony was a true feudal monarchy, with the land-owning nobles keeping the power all to themselves — now it is an intricate web of deceit and dictations. "Hegemon" is a queer title, a throne sealed not by a royal bloodline or a divine right, but the law of power. The Hegemon is still the symbolic uniter of Moghes, the civilized ruler over the savages and peasants and lordlings, the dictator of an entire people, but the actual right to the Izweski Nation lies in strength, as intended. The strong rule the weak, and the title of Hegemon, though symbolic and sealed by the government, is won through power and influence.

The Izweski Hegemony is based on vassal obligations to their liege lord.

This has profoundly affected the Izweski Nation's history: it legitimized conquering forces as a new Hegemon and also delegitimized anyone who was not worthy enough to rule with the title. Each cessation, unification, and civil war in the Hegemony occurred because nobles are not loyal to any specific Hegemon, but to the throne of the nation itself. The fervent honor-culture the Hegemony engages in and promotes is also its greatest destabilizer. This ensures that those who are worthy enough to be the Hegemon are constantly wary to expand their influence and loyalties. If a Hegemon is able to survive his death-prone position by securing his strength, then he is worthy; if a ruler bucks under the accusing nobility, the wealthy guilds, and the foolish masses, then he is not worthy. Nobles are almost encouraged to dissent against their lord, as it tests their mettle. This constant battle within the Hegemony is a breeding ground for honorable zeal and has led to the Hegemony's combined interest in colonization and forays into the Orion Spur, so that the nobility and the Hegemon may grow in power (against each other). Such expansion and imperialistic attitudes are a means of keeping the populace in check; should peasantry engage in the system, then they may see a promotion in rank and honorifics by moving through the castes.

The constant battering of the Hegemon by uprising lords and treacherous schemes is its boon and bane for both the nobles and the ruling clan (and the Guilds and the dead Church), but little has been said about the common peasant. It is true that even the rising middle class has little say in their government — the Hegemony is ruled by power, and those who lack it are unable to speak for themselves. Low nobility and commoners are constantly thrown about due to scheme after scheme, skirmish after skirmish between the nobles and the Hegemon. Frustrations against the Hegemony are, for the most part, tolerated, as the people speaking against the Hegemony have little political rights. Once dissenting talks turn into rebellion, however, it is always quickly put down — the Hegemony is quick to consolidate when the have-nots try to rise up. Large-scale revolutions have been prevented by autocratic force, but the clan system also keeps those under them with some influence, enough to keep everyone fed and content. Those who are not so easily tempered by this system in recent years join the Aut'akh profligates, turning away from any authoritarian force over them and owing to why the system views them as such a threat.

The Hegemon handles the international affairs of the state, as well as curbing the individual powers of the major land-owning nobles. They also directly charter the Guilds which feeds into their wealth. The internal affairs of the Izweski Nation are built off of a federal system and governed by a feudal hierarchy (though in recent years such a term, 'feudal', seems to conflict with the reformation into a more modern government), with the lowest lord with the worst land to the highest overlord that governs the province or a city metropolis. Even the highest overlord bows directly to the Hegemon, and controls the taxes, edicts, other parts of their territory. Typically, the middling ranks are filled with the most cut-throat opportunists as lords seek more land and more influence — occasionally, one clan ends up owning the entirety of a territory as a result. The noble in charge of that province thereafter acts as a sort of "local Hegemon," trying to sort out ambitious nobles and keeping the order. The only difference is that the Hegemon itself is still above the overlord, ready to remove them if they do not kneel in the end. Roughly the same system also occurs in the guilds of the Hegemony, though feuds are over positions and titles, not land and labor.

The Hegemony technically rules over all of Moghes which fulfills the ancient prophecy — anyone, planetside or otherwise, knows this is a farce. The borderlands of the Wasteland, though settled by nobles and workers, is harried by raiders and poor resource outputs. Once it becomes worthless to expand forward, independent Wastelander settlements crop up, illegal yet existing, and no lord is going to care over a dusty desert village. After one passes the independent once-Traditionalist villages, there lies only sand and the dishonored. The Hegemony, for symbolic and economic reasons, is trying to terraform the Wasteland with the help of the Hephaestus, though due to raids as well as the evergrowing size of the Wasteland, it has not been profitable besides keeping what Untouched Lands remain intact.

Economy

The Unathi economy runs entirely through the Guilds, which are mostly ruled by noble shareholders. High tariffs, imperialism, and protectionism encourage heavy exports and minimal imports, a form of mercantilism. Moghes and its colonies are manufacturing centers used for cheap labor for larger companies in the Spur. The state has the ultimate say in the economy, and picks and chooses which guilds to grant charters for trade in the Spur. All products pass through the state eventually, and each transaction must be approved by an Izweski seal — and, of course, every charted guild must pay a tax to the Izweski, guaranteeing stability and independence for the royal family regardless of the overall market. Megacorporations, barring Hephaestus Industries, have been denied direct access to the Hegemony's labor pool and mineral resources. Not'zar has appointed expert economists both at home and from abroad to make sure that the Hegemony's economic interventionism promotes the prosperity of the state; the Hegemon has commonly given out scholarships to budding Unathi political science or economy students in exchange for future government service.

Colonies in the Hegemony economy are highly sought after as they are forced to import their goods back to Moghes — an exclusive market just for the Hegemony. Additionally, the terraforming initiative that the Hegemony has undertaken has, for a while, been unprofitable; the Hegemon now looks to the stars. There are only two colonies under Not'zar's will, as Gakal'zaal fell to the Al'mariists. Ouerea and Gwim'zala are subject to intense mercantilist policies, and the economies of the colonies are directly affected by the economy of Moghes. Unathi colonies and potential colonies are usually already inhabited by smugglers or raiders, which always slows down the colonization process. After the planet has been pacified, indebted workers and people seeking a new life are sent to work the land in usually horrible conditions. Warriors and guardsmen are sent to keep the local population servile. Companies and noble families are moved out to further settle the land once a colony has proven its worth in raw resources. The Hegemony has kept a careful eye on divergent cultures and peoples blossoming in the new, tough lands ever since the attempted "Ouerean Revolution." These fostering cultures are stamped out with propaganda and a flood of Warriors. While the Hegemony only has two fully-fledged colonies, the actual number of developing colonies is larger). Most colonies see success due to the involvement and close investment of Hephaestus, which guarantees the company a hefty share of the planet's resources.

The Izweski Hegemony Today

Hegemon Not’zar rules over a Hegemony that is expanding at a great rate. Before first contact, the Hegemony was as it always was, trying to maintain stability despite noble intrusions and Traditionalist threats. The technological divide was clearer than ever with the Traditionalists sorely lacking, but that was always the norm. However, Hegemon S’kresti the Apostate (or the Ascended, depending on who you ask) funneled alien technology into the Hegemony, causing a cascade that resulted in the physical and spiritual destruction of Moghes.

The immediate members of the royal family.

Hegemon Not’zar has been trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered world ever since. Not’zar truly believes in the cruelty and tyranny of the Sarakus Clan and has been increasingly lenient for the nobility in the Hegemony. In the early days of Not’zar’s regency, the nobility was at its most divided: clans had to juggle powerful guilds, rival clans snatching away their lands, and the Sk'akh Church's Iron Masks whisking away heretics for the littlest of transgressions. A need for managing new lands conquered after the war saw nobility moving to Tradionalist lands and new clans being promoted to nobility as well. All of this, however, exploded with S’kresti’s waking. The nobility saw their chance and took it; those on S’kresti’s side hoped the Sk'akh Church's growing influence would be curbed, and those with the Church wanted a Hegemon that owed them something. Nobility on either side hoped for an increase in power.

Neither side got what they wanted. S’kresti was slain by his own son and Not’zar’s brother, a sin to ancestors and Sinta alike. Not’zar ascended the throne with his father dead and no other heir in sight. To this day, neither the loyalist apostate lords nor the rebels with the ruinous church have been awarded or punished for their actions, and the patient Hegemon intends to keep it that way. The nobility is damaged by war and rivalries have again been enflamed. The diminishing of the Church is a boon, but Unzi still lurks out there. For the nobility, this is their weakest point yet, and some see the Hegemon Not’zar as a kinslaying wretch that laughs at their despair.

For Hegemon Not’zar, he has the benefit of ruling over the entirety of Moghes (only somewhat the lawless Wasteland) and has had the most power and influence over the Hegemony since Hegemon Sruzur the Bold half a millennium ago. He has the most powerful private army on Moghes in the form of the K’lax and Kataphracts, has extensive protection from the Izweski Guwan guard, and is ruling over an accomplished and promising Hegemony. A wise ruler will always fear, however, and that fear comes from the outside. Religious tensions are at an all-time high with the Si’akh heresy having increased confidence from recent events — not to mention the vengeful Unzi and his Iron Masks somewhere in hiding. Finally, the Guild system, now participating in a galactic market, has brought a constant flow of cash into the pockets of both noble shareholders and the Izweski Hegemony alike.

The various diplomatic consuls from the Izweski Hegemony are either clan leaders or prominent members of their clan or are notable priests from the Sk'akh Church. They are chosen from a pool of candidates consisting of Unathi picked by Lords. The role is dominated by men due to them being the preferred sex for clan leaders and the only sex allowed for Sk'akh priests; however, popular healers and spymasters of clans occasionally are chosen by the Hegemony to promote their respective fields and occupations.

Consular Officer

A consul's job in foreign space is ultimately to represent the Hegemony and assist in legal matters for Unathi dealing with both the Hegemony and another government or group. However, a consul's own secondary objective may depend on their role in society back in the Hegemony. For instance, a Sk'akh priest's interest outside of navigating legal channels would be promoting the Sk'akh faith in a positive light, making sure Sk'akh believers are not causing trouble, ensuring proper tithes are paid, and similar activities. A guildsman promotes their guild membership and benefits for joining; former healers endorse nearby Houses of Medicine and perhaps make sure a Unathi's working conditions are safe and healthy, especially in human space.

To play as a diplomatic consul for the Izweski Hegemony, you must have a Command whitelist, change 'Nanotrasen Liason' to 'Consular', and select 'Izweski Hegemony' as your citizenship. You would be the face of the Nobles and Lords of Moghes.

Technology

The rapidly modernizing Izweski Nation is playing catch up with the rest of the galaxy. The urban populaces are enjoying a higher quality of life as technology updates, though the rural peasantry and even the nobility governing them suffers far worse.

Civilian

Civilian technology at its finest, prior to First Contact, was similar to 21st-century human technology in the first couple of decades. Now, entering the intergalactic stage as an uplifted species, the Unathi are gradually seeing technology enter the mainstream that is common throughout the galaxy. However, the rural areas remain dilapidated and poor in quality of life compared to the cities, and although it is changing, the rate is not nearly as fast as the urban population.

Rural

Life in the rural areas is harsher, with cities being rare and life mostly determined by the size of a village and how well they can fish and hunt. Due to the distance from city centers, essential supplies like medicine are hard to come by locally and, more often than not, expensive. Access to domesticated threshbeasts allows for travel to nearby tradeposts, so even though such supplies are expensive to import, one can still obtain them if they have enough coin. These threshbeasts also allow those that work skilled labor to exchange information on techniques to work trades in the city.

Each rural town generally has a radio so important news, orders from a Clan Lord, weather forecasts, and the like can be broadcasted to the clan leader in the village. Often times, over the radio is how many rural Unathi receive statements from Not'zar, and most have not seen a likeness of him.

The most advanced aspect of life for rural clans is the aquaponics system, one that Hephaestus engineers have helped develop to maximize livability for fish in these farms. Most Lords and Clan Lords see to it these systems remain up to date as possible, else starvation and minimal profits will be turned from a given clan.

Urban

Urban and suburban locales have their own array of challenges. The guilds control nearly every aspect of the urban economy; they are the "megacorporations" of this world. While transportation, medicine, and a wider array of commodities are available, a good chunk of urban peasants struggle to continue with daily life. No formal system is in place for taking care of the elderly, and the burden of carrying for them — medicine, specialized care, and hospice — they are placed on the younger members of the clan. Debt is bought up by ruling nobility to ensure clans do not attempt to flee the cities, and thus leave their sphere of influence.

Barring the increased costs of better technology, Unathi enjoy easy access to the radio and some cheaper modern equipment. Cheap holoscreens are becoming increasingly common, and the wealthier peasant clans sometimes can afford to buy more than one car.