The Lands of the Ambostak Society
The Ambostak Society derives directly from the Hambosga culture of Cheidrah, with very little mixing from other Chiedran cultures. As such, the Ambostak people consider themselves to be the "purest" Society in Ewlah, if such a concept can be given meaning.
The Hambosga inhabited the northwestern part of the continent of Cheidrah, and was to some extent cut off from the everyday interactions and influences of the more southern regions. As such, the territory evolved a people who believed in self-sufficiency and mutual strength, placing the survival of the community over that of the individual. It also fostered a strong spirituality in the people; belief in the sky god and earth goddess was centred on a written set of holy texts, with worship organised by a single, established temple. Unlike many other religions, the Hambosga faith endorsed the tenets of science and encouraged technological advances as a revelation of the purposes of the god and goddess - faith was an evidence-based endeavour, and the holy texts were viewed as models of truth (and thus reviewable) rather than as revealed and inviolable knowledge.
A second strand of commonality was the Hambosga army, in which all people served some time in various combative and non-combative capacities. The Army was more than just a fighting force; it was also a tool for educating the people, supporting a wide array of trades as well as more innovative research and investigation. Prior to the Grand Treaty, the people of Hambosga had not indulged in warfare beyond the defence of the region's borders; following the Treaty, the society had proved to be equally uninterested in the development of commercial enterprises that took root in other regions. Instead, the governing authorities encouraged innovation through academic and technological competition, with benefits spread between local economies.
Most political engagement also took place at the local level, with the national authority drawing talent from local authorities rather than resorting to more direct forms of national democratic structures. Again, the army and the temple played a significant role in national politics; unlike many other Chiedran armed forces the Hambosga army was an amalgam of both democratic and hierarchical control structures which gave people sufficient influence on the national decision-making process to make the system workable. The temple had a similar political structure, offering a second channel of influence. Local politics, on the other hand, was usually a form of direct democracy - even in larger neighbourhoods decision-making was in the hands of whoever chose to turn up to the meeting. Local administrators would be selected either by vote or by lottery, with some areas choosing to use both systems in tandem.
The Hambosga colonisation of Ewlah
The Hambosga authorities first grew worried about the impending Disaster in the early gt460s, when the northern ice first failed to break up during the summer months, but chose at that time to concentrate on developing new crop strains resistant to the cooler weather. Not until the early gt520s did the authorities begin to view the Disaster as a serious threat to the continued existence of all Hambosga Society.
In some ways, the Hambosga were late to the colonisation party. The Tells authority had been supporting colonisation efforts for over two decades, and commercial organisations in southern Chiedran regions had first announced their plans for relocating people to Ewlah in gt524. But the delay also gave the Hambosga army a chance to learn from the mistakes of others. In gt526 the army was ordered to start work on relocating the northernmost settlements most threatened by advancing ice sheets; later that orbit the remit was widened to include families and communities from across Hambosga who were willing to take the risk of relocating.
The army spent four orbits exploring and surveying the northern coastlands of Ewlah, before deciding to concentrate their cultivation efforts around the Dhounaelhuu Ramon - which they correctly identified as one of the most extensive river systems on the continent. The name they chose for the area - Ramane - came from the oldest mythologies, the Golden city where civilisation first took root, where people learned the rules of democracy and the importance of laws. No evidence has ever been found to validate these myths, but in choosing this name for the new settlement the army was clear about the purpose they envisaged for it: a new beginning.
The initial cultivation was not a simple affair, and it was not until gt541 that the first plantation - Strali - was able to receive the first immigrants. However, subsequent cultivations upriver proved to be much easier to establish, with Ramane Plantation coming online in gt548. Jakove Plantation, west along the coast from Strali, opened in gt552. The immigration process was run jointly by the army and the temple and for the most part ran smoothly during the height of the evacuation. Even so, only a minority of the Hambosga population - around 17 per cent (620,000 people) - chose to move to the new settlements. They were joined there by around 80,000 Kumatti - who had played a key role in providing transport ships and resources for the evacuation - and a similar number of other people.
The Tells Authority, to the east of Hambosga, collapsed in gt567. Hambosga, with its more organised political and economic structures and its history of self-reliance, managed to continue for more than 30 orbits before it, too, collapsed. But contact with the new colonies on Ewlah had failed by the mid gt570s, leaving the settlers to cope without any further support or resources. By gt573 there were over 20 settlements in Ramane, and the three cities - Ramaje, Jakove and Strali-Nome - had been established and were beginning to thrive.
In some ways the emerging Ambostak Society had advantages that other Societies lacked: the Hambosga army did not collapse, and the flexible tenets of the Hambosga temple allowed it to cope with this apparent display of displeasure by the God and Goddess. Both institutions offered the new settlements a degree of stability as they learned to adapt to the very different way of life that came with cultivating in a much warmer climate. Even so, both institutions had their own problems to deal with. The biggest immediate problem was that of distance: even before the ice had come, Hambosga had been a relatively compact region; Ramane was vast by comparison, meaning that the old way of doing things had to be adapted to take into account the time it took to travel between separate settlements and the cities.
The second difficulty was less obvious yet more dangerous - the presence of non-Hambosga people, principally within the cities. Hambosga society had not attracted a permanent immigrant population and was not particularly tolerant of dissenting cultures within its midst. Now there were substantial Kumatti and other Chiedran communities in the cities who were not willing to give up their own religious beliefs. The Kumatti in particular were happy to serve in the Hambosga army and contribute to the wider society, but would not join the Hambosga temple.
Early Ambostak expansion
After the initial settlement of Ramane the Ambostak people entered a phase of consolidation, expanding their existing cultivations rather than establishing new settlements. Technological and scientific endeavour did not suffer greatly from the loss of contact with the Chiedran motherlands, though much effort had to be put into discovering and adapting new resources to existing knowledge; the greatest advances of this time were made in the field of agriculture. The Society was also advancing as the Army and Temple learned to adapt to new circumstances. A railway network between many of the settlements and cities was built between in the last quarter of the seventh century following the discovery of substantial iron deposits in the Thakluush Raman.
Attempts to integrate the ethnic minority population into wider Ambostak Society were less successful, however. By the 630s Kumatti people were being routinely treated as second-class citizens by many of the ethnic majority. Most Kumatti chose to live in more deprived areas of the three cities, their education standards were much lower and their health and well-being levels worse than the rest of the population. In gt637, the Ambostak authorities suggested a radical solution to the problem - for over 70 orbits the army and the temple had discouraged the establishment of new settlements; now they advocated the establishment of a new Plantation for the Kumatti people. The Plantation would be far inland, and would in effect be the first stage of a much larger expansion along the Ramuu river system. Many Kumatti welcomed this opportunity for a new start; the pioneer team that set out in gt638 included over 600 Kumatti labourers who were to be taught the science of soil brewing.
The new Plantation took root in the Nausuu Felitizhuu and proved to be very successful. From the start, the Kumatti were in a small majority and the Kumatti language underwent a revival. But it was never an ethnically pure settlement. With its establishment, the Ambostak authorities also embarked on a new social experiment - decentralised government, where the settlement sorted out its own rules of democracy and negotiated a new relationship between the temple, the army and the settlers.
Having established a viable method for expansion, other pioneer groups began to set out from Ramane deeper into the interior. In gt655 a scientific collective established the Verhe Plantation on the Albinuu river, where the surrounding geology promised a rich haul of minerals and resources to help develop new technologies. A second collective - this time of artists and philosophers - followed the scientists, exploring the upper reaches of the Albinuu river where they established Krhaaje Plantation in gt661. While nominally part of the Ramane state, all three new plantations were in effect autonomous regions with their own negotiated relationships with the Ambostak army and the central authority.
Interactions with other Societies
The Ambostak were well aware of their neighbours to the west. Defe Plantation - the westernmost, and most important of the early Tells settlements - had been established in gt546 and grew rapidly thereafter; trade between the Bartak and Ambostak Societies was well established by the end of the sixth century.
Knowledge of their eastern neighbours - the Istran Society - was much less developed. In gt662 the Ambostak army began the task of establishing permanent settlements around the mouth of the Matuu river, near to areas where Istran fishermen had maintained a number of seasonal settlements along the coast west of the Matuu for centuries. The first substantive contact between the two Societies was thus confrontational rather than peaceful.
To the Ambostak, the Istran people seemed very alien - there had been very little contact between Istran and Chiedran civilisations for over a thousand orbits. For the Istran fishermen, the initial contact was traumatic - exposed to Ambostak germs and without recourse to their own doctors, many died within weeks of the contact. During the next 15 orbits the two Societies conducted delicate negotiations as they came to learn more about each other's histories and societies. Much of this activity focused on medical matters - Istran doctors and healers were the equal to the Ambostak scientists - as vaccinations to diseases common to each Society but unknown in the other were developed.
In gt679 Istran and Ambostak pioneers joined together in the establishment of a new settlement on the Matuu river - an experiment both in the efficacy of the new vaccines and in learning from each other. From this scientific experiment grew Zina'he Plantation – settled in (roughly) equal numbers by Ambostak and Istran settlers. More importantly, the vaccines developed at this time helped prevent major outbreaks of pandemic disease within either Society and where disease did strike the sharing of knowledge allowed for their successful treatment.
The age of exploration
The shock of the outcome of the first contact with the Istran fisherman had a profound effect on the thinking of the Ambostak authorities. In gt664 they announced plans to map the entire Ramuu river system, and to limit all future expansion to the interior of the continent. The first expedition, led by Marok Kestrhas, set out within months of the announcement to map out the course of the Makinuu river.
Arguably the greatest of the explorers was Behrl Groman. Between gt672 and 683 Groman led four expeditions to map the courses of the Ramuu and Kiluu rivers. He also scouted out the course of the Sumerhaelhuu river, claiming there was nothing south of the Rasluu Samen except wasteland - a claim that was not disproven until Uuwe Ripun returned from mapping the valleys of the Gromane Plateau in gt737. Groman died of a fever days after returning from his last expedition. Kestrhas, Groman and Ripun remain archetypal heroes of Ambostak Society to this day, providing a model of rugged individualism which had not been significant in the Society prior to their expeditions.
The expeditions had a practical outcome: by gt740 new settlements had been established in Nausuu Felitizhuu, Nausuu Fenstizhuu, Froshmuu Felisuun, Froshmuu Cagelen and Froshmuu Kilraelen. Even though most of the settlements were small, they each enjoyed an autonomous relationship with the Ramane authorities. More importantly, no settlement failed and each (in its own way) prospered. One settlement in particular - Efeline, blessed by good geological conditions and good soil for cultivation - grew quickly. By gt775 the Ramane railway network reached the new city following a major engineering project to build the track southwards across the Zoiznasuuftuu Fesunizhuu.
Other cities also prospered in the mid-eighth century. Both Verhe and Krhaaje had developed into substantial and influential centres of culture and science, and Fenstrhuuwine had developed its own distinctive and vibrant society. To the west the Bartekol League was bringing order and prosperity to Bartak Society and to the East the joint Ambostak-Istran cities of Matekole and Zina'he were flourishing. Most importantly, the various Pentuuk wars that raged in the south and west had almost no impact on the northern Societies.
The break-up of the Ramane State
The second half of the eighth century was a time of innovation and development across Ambostak Society. Entrepreneurship became fashionable and personal loyalties to the temple and the army began to drift instead towards the family. This drift was most pronounced in the autonomous areas, where resentment against the army (in particular) began to take on a political dimension.
In gt792, army geologists discovered diamond deposits in the Froshmuush Angon; from the outset the army attempted to control access to the area. News of the discovery could not be kept quiet and by the next orbit thousands of people were trekking to the valley in the hope of making their fortune. Organised mining camps were broken up by the army, leading to fights between the prospectors and the authorities. Before the end of the orbit, citizens from settlements across the Froshmuu Kilraelen and Froshmuu Cagelen had formed their own militias, who took to the field in the spring of gt794. Composed mostly of army veterans, the militias posed a serious threat to the Ambostak army, and had the advantage of shorter supply lines and the support of the valley settlements.
The threat of civil war, which persisted for the next two orbits, had a very real psychological shock across the Ambostak Society, as significant numbers of people began to question the role of the army - and the temple - in everyday life. Initially the Ramane State authority took a hardline attitude against the southern valley settlements, but this only helped to polarise opinion in other autonomous areas against the authorities.
The collapse of the old Ramane State, in gt796, was both rapid and bloodless. As tensions continued to mount and with no apparent resolution forthcoming, Verhe Plantation in the west declared its independence from the State in the early spring. Within weeks Kraaje and Fenstrhuuwine Plantations had followed suit. All three cities had previously contributed significant resources and manpower to the Ramane army - at that time over 40 per cent of the army force was from those plantations.
Many historians argue, however, that the killing blow was delivered by the temple, which had a presence in every settlement and city. Previously, the temple hierarchy had established several settlements in the Froshmuu Felisuun which provided places of spiritual retreat for its members. On midsummer day, gt796, the temple hierarchy moved its headquarters from the city of Ramaje to the largest of those settlements, Kestrhuuwe. At the same time officials were ordered to work towards a peaceful resolution to the crisis and barred from taking sides in the potential conflict.
The move certainly saved the temple as an organisation. And with the temple refusing to take sides in any conflict and the army effectively compromised against itself, the politicians on all sides had little choice except to negotiate. The result of these negotiations was the Treaty of Kestrhuuwe, signed in gt799, which set out the terms of independence for eight Lands, the position of the temple within those Lands and the dissolution of the army. It also included a trade pact and a framework of basic laws from which no Land could deviate. The signatories to the Treaty were: Ramane; Varhose; Krhaaje; Alflitahrhe; Mekuucuuse; Hrhipluuse; Rhindose and Fasatuushe. Ironically, the trigger for the crisis - diamonds - proved to be a false promise; most of the diamonds recovered were not gem quality, though they were still usable in a number of industrial processes.
Development and growth for all the Lands were the order of the day during the ninth and tenth centuries. Freed from the equalising force of the army, the Ambostak Lands began to develop their own specialisations and idiosyncrasies. Expansion continued, though new settlements had to be established by the Lands rather than the army; the cost of such operations meant that colonisation further west and south was slower than in previous centuries. The first settlements in the Froshmuush Tushon and Froshmuush Veriron, by pioneers from Rhindose, became viable in the late 880s; the detailed exploration and settlement of the Gromane plateau - a joint effort by Hrhipluuse, Rhindose and the temple hierarchy in Mekuucuuse - began in gt904.
History seemed to repeat itself in gt932, when gem quality diamonds were discovered in the mountains around Tuuse Plantation. This time, the establishment forces were those of Rhindose, who cast the settlers and miners as greedy and uncaring of the wider society. Again, the temple helped negotiate a peaceful settlement between all sides resulting in the creation of two new Lands from the eastern part of Rhindose - Tushe and Verirame.
Part of the gt932 treaty called for a joint scientific expedition south of the Froshmuush Veriron, the discoveries of which were to be shared between all Ambostak Lands. By the early gt940s much of the Thakluush Ligan and Thakluush Twan had been mapped out, though no significant ore deposits had been reported. In gt944 an expedition reached the Froutiguu river and established a permanent scientific settlement deep in the heart of the Cuskuu Verigon. By gt960 the rivers of the area had been explored and contact made with Istran and Balhe settlers along the eastern coast of the continent.
As a scientific outpost, Cancwame settlement was an interesting experiment; as a commercial enterprise, Cancwame city was a massive success. Because of the nature of its establishment, no Land could claim Cancwame as their own. Nor could they control trade between the emerging city and other Societies to the south and east. With technological advancements making the Ambostak Lands a driving economic force on the continent, the city grew rapidly with major influxes of Istran and Balhe settlers in addition to Ambostak entrepreneurs. In gt1048 the three Societies agreed to the formation of the Land of Froutige, which included the Istran coastal cities of Ma-Ghele, Ceme and Saan-Fiyohre in addition to Cancwame
South of the Rasluu Samen development had been slower and harder. Nevertheless, by the start of the twelfth century there were ten sustainable settlements in the high desert valleys, including Uuwe Plantation. In gt1102 the settlers decided to form their own Land, called Gromane. As part of the treaty establishing the new Land, the settlers agreed to help finance a scientific exploration of the southern mountains, the results of which would again be shared between all Ambostak Lands. The scope of the scientific exploration was widened in gt1125 to make it a truly international undertaking, and in gt1139 the Land of Pesane was created to give the scientific settlements in the southern mountains a measure of independence from nationalistic interference.
In gt1153 the first communications satellite to be built in over eight centuries was launched by the Pesane scientists, kick starting the new communications revolution.