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Ochalea & MChinaby Marco Dalmonte
Alright, if you like my idea about MChina, which is called Chung-Eun in the MOrient project and was mentioned in the last almanac btw, how about I take it a bit further, and see how we can make the histories of our beloved empires a bit more complex and try to explain Ochalea in the process (we like intricate histories with layers of truths, don't we?).
Blackmoor was the dominant empire of the world, but on its fringes existed several proto-MAsian cultures, like the Peshwas. When Blackmoor blew itself up, the remnants of these cultures migrated away from Blackmoor. Some went west and became the Jennites and the Ethengar (I'm being generic on purpose, a lot of ideas can be inserted it to detail it). Some who lived north of Blackmoor were already on Brun, due to the new continental disposition, and moved toward the new south, and became the Oltecs and Azcans. Some who lived southeast of Thonia went south and founded the nations of MOrient, including Chung-Eun.
During its history Chung-Eun was invaded many times by barbarians, so that it eventually built the Great Wall, a magical wall that kept barbarous humans and orcs away from the empire. The empire closed its borders. Land-wise it worked rather well with the Great Wall, with only limited contact with other MOrient nations, and more ranging contact through sea-travel, notably with the demi-ogres of Gombar (who couldn't spread the knowledge of the existence of Chung-Eun much farther, due to the difficulty of trading past the Arm of the Immortals that the Gombarians are to this day still trying to overcome) and the Tangor.
Then the Alphatians made Landfall, and in their initial desire to explore this new planet, they went far (first Bellissaria and others, but also Brun (Norwold, Ylaruam and Thyatis, etc) and also reached Chung-Eun. The lungs and the celestial bureaucracy of Chung-Eun saw the danger to their policy of isolationism, and devised a way to keep the Alphatians away. They somehow convinced the Alphatians that the legend that Alphatia would be destroyed when the nations of Brun would make contact with Chung-Eun. Thus, the Alphatians Empire started to eradicate knowledge of Chung-Eun, and kept all Brun civilisations at bay, enforcing Chung-Eun's isolation policy for them. No mention of Chung-Eun is ever made and its existence is kept secret, known only to the Emperor/Empress and the Council of Wizards; instead, the lie is spread that there are only barbarous lands east of the Tangor Empire (of which little is said either, as a precaution). Minaea was allowed to grow to power by the Alphatians, in order to create a buffer country that has been presented to the rest of the world as a pirate nation, thus explaining why trade goes no further than Bellissaria and why Alphatian navy patrols those seas and why Surshield is fortified (it is in fact to keep nosy Thyatians and Minrothaddans and others from exploring east).
Ochalea was created whole cloth as part of the deal between Alphatia and Chung-Eun. Here, how exactly can be taken from other ideas I've seen, for example I like the idea that one faction composed mainly of commoners now, that was allied with the followers of air, decided to settle there. Some people from Chung-Eun would also be sent there, we can decide whether it is only rakasta and ogre-magi, or also humans. In any case, they were crucial in establishing the culture of Ochalea.
Now, of course Ochalea also had a role of making sure that the Alphatian Empire was indeed keeping Chung-Eun safe. So there's a secret faction in Ochalea whose role it is. When Thyatis rose to prominence, this faction thought that it would be able to better keep Brun away from Chung-Eun by infiltrating and gaining influence in the growing empire (they were confident by then that Alphatia had done its job and would keep doing it, and that they could keep making sure it was the case without being actually part of the Alphatian Empire). So they had the king support the Thyatian rebellion against Alphatia, and helped Thyatis (or were content that it happened) annex Ochalea.
Following WotI, Alphatia was destroyed and as a consequence the remnants of the empire may not protect Chung-Eun's existence anymore. Thus, the Ochaleans may have helped the Alphatians to regroup, and they manipulated the Ochalean king to have him rejoin the Thyatian Empire, and tried to stop Thyatis from exploring east. They were too late though (they didn't foresee the destruction of Alphatia any more than anyone else, and its consequences!), and Thyatis is now following a strategy of exploration, and has an expedition toward Skothar that has already reached Esterhold and Thonia, and is now sailing south toward Minaea, Tangor, and ultimately (though they don't know it) Chung-Eun, and the Ochaleans are trying to slow them down and revert the current Thyatian policy.
It is difficult because the new Thyatian Emperor has different ideas, and Nayce is still too weak and lets the Thyatians pass through (it may have lost knowledge of the covenant with Chung-Eun, or those who know about it may think it is useless to enforce it anymore since the destruction of Alphatia came to pass already).