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OCHALEA (Exarchate of)

Location: Island south of the Isle of Dawn, north of the Jungle Coast, west of the Pearl Islands and southwest of the Alatian Islands. SD

Area: 190,054 sq. mi. (492,240 sq. mi.).

Population: 125,000, including 50,000 in the capital Beitung.

Languages: Ochalean (related to Alphatian but considered its own language), Thyatian (Thyatian dialect).

Coinage: Teng (5 gp), one (gp), tenth (sp), hundredth (cp). Ochalean coins are octagonal with square holes in the middle. Thyatian standard also freely accepted here without having to exchange it: emperor (pp), lucin (gp), asterius (sp), denarius (cp).

Taxes: 25% income tax collected quarterly on the aristocracy, nobility, and wealthy; 20% income tax collected quarterly on everyone else (Va. 1, Ya. 1, Fy. 3, and Ei. 1). Thyatians abroad must still pay their taxes. Expensive and magical items are also taxed 25% of their worth. 10% imperial commercia sales tax on all goods except food, clothing, and fixed assets; levied on imports, rebated on exports. Tax on slave owning equal to 50% of the slave's value annually. Property tax levied based on quality of land, roughly 6% of its value annually.

Government Type: Exarchate, semi-autonomous dominion member of the Thyatian Empire.

Industries: Agriculture (wheat and rice), textiles (silk).

Important Figures: Teng Lin-Dieu (Exarch, human, male, Pr20 of Koryis).

Flora and Fauna: Ochalea is mostly free of monsters. Dangerous creatures encountered include ghouls, weretigers, tigers, panthers and the rare purple worm. Also common are sheep, goats, and snakes.

Intelligent monsters would include ogres (many that know magic and are often called ogre-magi), while lupins and rakasta often roam the Grasslands of Chi.

Further Reading: Dawn of the Emperors boxed set, previous almanacs.

Description by Vivianna Romanones.

Ochalea is a large island in the southern Sea of Dread, slanting between the southwestern corner of the Isle of Dawn and the continent of Davania. Ochaleans, though largely of Alphatian heritage, have a culture unique unto themselves, and think of themselves as Ochaleans and Thyatian citizens, not as Alphatians. One might speculate that Ochaleans derive their culture from that of the original inhabitants prior to the Alphatian invasion, but more on these theories later. Ochalea had a brief flirtation with independence during the War of the Wrath and the immediate post-war period, but have since returned to the Thyatian fold.

The Land

Ochalea is a large island kingdom, consisting mainly of volcanic rock and hills. Most of this land is suitable only for grazing, with only patches of agricultural land. These patches can be quite productive due to the rich volcanic soil, but cover only a portion of the island. The largest of these fertile stretches is the Shino-Gawa River valley. This river crosses through the island, starting from the hills around the town of Wongzhao Tsushao, then down to the lake around the town of Chungkiang Li. From this lake, the largest one in Ochalea, the Shino-Gawa empties into the Sea of Dread. Various areas along the shores of this river are forested and very productive for agriculture; productive enough to feed the entire population as well as leave some for export. Also grown here are fields of flax and cotton, which are exported to the city of Thyatis and then made into fine linen and cotton cloth. Mulberry trees grow in groves near Beitung and the village of Wu Li and other settlements. Silkworms are cultivated here, with the raw silk being sent to Beitung where it is spun into silken cloth of all varieties.

The bulk of Ochalea is covered with hill and forest wilderness, left undisturbed by the Ochaleans who with their small population have neither the desire nor the need to interfere with the wilds. The hills were volcanoes in the distant past, but are now completely inactive and have been so for all of recorded history.

There are two large savannas on the island. One is around the city of Beitung (where most Ochaleans live) and another, the Grasslands of Chi, lay along the southern shore of Ochalea. These grasslands gradually change into jungle in the southwest due to southerly ocean currents that warm Ochalean shores.

The People

Ochaleans are of common Alphatian ethnic origin, with coppery skin and fine facial features. They are a scholarly and religious people who place great importance on learning and proper behaviour. The large number of priests, whom are held in high regard here, has helped turn this nation into one of the most educated on the Known World. The long-standing following of the traditions of the Immortal Koryis (known as Koryu-Si in the native tongue) has also made them very quiet, polite, and peaceful. Normal recreational activities in the rest of the Known World, such as drinking and gambling, are illegal here. Ochaleans do not like violence and prefer to solve all their problems through negotiation.

Because of their peaceful ways, Ochaleans believe in the equality of all men, standing them even further in stark contrast from their Alphatian forebears. There is no distinction between the respect shown to members of different social classes. But as mentioned above, theirs is a belief in the equality of men-and men only.

By Ochalean tradition, women have a lesser role in society. As Thyatian citizens, they can no longer be bound by ancient laws, but most still feel the trappings of custom. Females are expected to stay at home and perform family duties and household chores. There are more arranged marriages in Ochalea than elsewhere in the empire. A woman normally has very little choice regarding anything. This attitude made my negotiations with Ochaleans somewhat difficult, but luckily their rulers are used to dealing with other Thyatians, and adapted quickly. They place such an emphasis on politeness that they never made an overt point of my femininity. My male assistants did end up being more busy than usual, however.

Ochalean architecture differs from both that of Alphatia and Thyatis-and indeed any other known civilisation-having a tiered style with peaked, slanted roofs. Sliding door walls are often made out of a paper-like substance formed out of rice, though this light construction may in part be due to the hot climate of the region. Ochaleans are fine gardeners, designing them to produce a sense of serenity. One of the greatest mysteries of the Ochaleans, however, is their very own traditions, which as you may have surmised from the above differ quite a bit from the Alphatian, and even the Thyatian norm.

Recent History

Ochalea has little recent history of note. They avoided involving themselves in the Final Alphatian War, seceding in AC 1007 from Thyatis along with the Pearl Islands. The Ochaleans spent the brief period between their secession from and re-admittance into the imperium (just this year) in isolation from the world around them. Most recently they have changed this policy, dispatching a small but significant force to Eusebius' aid in the War of the Crown rebellion. Their involvement, and that of the other dominions like the Pearl Islands and the Hinterlands, may be key in determining the future fate of Thyatis.

Don't Miss

Ochalea's capital, Beitung, is a unique beauty, with every structure built in harmony with the others to produce a cohesive whole that is almost a work of art. The entire architecture of the kingdom is exotic compared to the standard Thyatian and Alphatian traditions. The most beautiful of these buildings are of course the temples and shrines dedicated to Koryu-Si.

Of interest to any readers who might also be scholars, it seems that the historians of Ochalea have found some interesting scrolls that have sparked debate over the origin of Ochalean society. Up until now, it was believed that Alphatians without any magical talents colonised the island and developed the theocratic culture now present. Recent evidence seems to indicate that the Empire of Alphatia actually used the island to drop off undesirables, including non-mage Alphatians as well as another group of colonists that the Alphatian ruling elites had no use for. Both the Alphatians and proto-Ochaleans were victims of Alphatia's governing classes' disregard for anyone's welfare save their own, an ironic miniaturisation of Alphatian history as a whole. These two groups lived together peacefully on Ochalea, both repressed and enslaved by the Alphatian despotate until the successful rebellion of BC 2. The Alphatian coppery skin coloration soon dominated over that of the second culture, whose appearance is as yet unknown, but it would seem that the architecture and many of the traditions of Ochalea come from this other mysterious culture, which is apparently a colony from the distant continent of Skothar. Whether these newly uncovered scrolls are accurate or not remains to be seen, and is sure to be the cause for debate for the next decade.