In response to Klogaum
I actually have a Mega Man X engine that's pretty accurate to the original games.

Don't have the means to host it myself, though.
Still doing worldbuilding. Below is an expansion of a sketch-up I wrote describing one of the sapient species in my setting, the saurion.

The Saurion:
The saurion are a sapient species native to the Anitolipeiros, with three subspecies distributed along the western coast of the continent proper. Though distant cousins to the larger saura—found further north on the Northern Peninsula-Archipelago region—they have vastly different morphologies and social behavior and little knowledge of one another.

Like other faunal species native to the Anitolipeiros (i.e., excluding the sea species' amphibious crustacoids, membranous flyers from the Vorrapeiros, and faunal fungoids), the saurion were hexapodal. As opposed to most native faunal species of the Continent, the saurion were semi-tetrapodal—a feature present in their closest relatives—using their medial and lower limbs to move in a fashion similar to the knuckle-walking locomotion of gorillas. This is reflected in the particular morphology of their limbs: althought the major distal segments of all three pairs are prehensile, the upper-most pair has the greatest level of prehensility and the greatest level of fine motor control. This pair also has the least amount of fine muscle control, and a greater range of motion. The lower two pairs have greater muscle mass and differing bone structure to help in stabilizing the body, and less fine motor control. All of the major distal segments of these limbs contain four digits including an opposable thumb that is anterior when the limbs are hanging freely.

The respiratory system was also similar to other native faunal species: bilateral series (found anteriorly and posteriorly) of pulmoform puteli ("little lung-like pit") found in a line from the upper to lower portions of the abdomen covered by a protective operculum, which are used for breathing. In the saurion and other Cantilacerta species (c.f., the saura), the uppermost pair of anterior puteli have become modified and lost their pulmoform behavior. Instead, they connect to the esophagus allowing for vocalizations for communication and mating displays, with accompanying modifications in the throat and mouth (the vocal tract). This behavior is further modified in the saurion to allow for complex speech.

The saurion are covered in long, rough feathers whose primary functions are for camouflage. In males, many of the camoflauge feathers (especially on the head, chest, back, and rump) leading up to the mating season and are replaced by brightly-colored feathers used for mating displays. These feathers are also used for thermoregulation, including a dense underlayer that is used to keep them warm and dry when diving.

Staturally the saurion are shorter than humans (mean female height is 165cm; mean male height is 142cm) from foot-to-head (foot referring to the distal segment of the lowest limb pair) when standing bipedally, but they are heavy owing to a large amount of muscle (mean female weight is 80kg; mean male weight is 45kg). Saurion are both amphibious and semi-arboreal, using treetops for protection against their numerous ground- and water-dwelling predators, but largely hunting and foraging on the ground or in the water.

Socially, the saurion are matriarchal and female-dominated. The basic social unit is the family, lead by a dominant female and containing two to three paired males (particularly desirable females may have more, up to six) and any immature children. This structure is often augmented by accompanied mature children of both sexes as well as 'periphery males', who will opportunistically mate with females but otherwise shift from family-to-family and pack-to-pack over time. These families with coalesce into larger structures called packs, which are organized along matriarchal relations (i.e., immediate relations such as mother-daughter or sister-sister) when necessary. Most often this happens when war occurs between tribes (which are infra-pack social structures organized along percieved matriarchal relations but rarely organizing in a particular location), or when it is useful such as when food is plentiful and can sustain larger groups, aiding in mutual protection.

During the mating season, males compete with one another to mate with the dominant female in their family (including any present periphery males). Mating displays vary, but often include a combination of 'primitive' (whistling; non-lyrical singing; dancing) and 'non-primitive' (lyrical singing; poetry; presentation of crafted goods such as jewelry, weaved baskets, or pottery) behaviors. Occasionally, these mating displays will involve posturing or combat, but any behavior that leads toward actual harm to one of the individuals will often be broken up by the dominant female, with the participants chastised. Periphery males will often be ejected from the familiy in such circumstances.

Actual reproduction is typical of sexual reproduction in faunal species (the male's penis is inserted into the female's vagina, semen containing the male gamete is ejaculated and fertilizes the egg). Females typically produce two eggs but as many as four in a single breeding season, and each may be independently fertilized. These eggs are grown in the uterus for several months before moving into the post-uterus. At this point, they are passed from the dominant female to one of the paired (non-periphery) males, typically one of the less-dominant males. This is accomplished via an ovipositor inserted into a pseudo-uterus in the male. The egg continues to develop and hatches after approximately a month, and the post-fetus continues to develop for another several months. Sustenance is provided by a blood-derived secretion released from the walls of the pseudo-uterus. After giving birth, the infant (capable of walking on its own after several days) is raised communally by the family members (non-periphery males exlucded) and transitions to eating semi-digested food, passed mouth-to-mouth.

The female's ovipositor is highly sensitive, and for many purposes is treated similarly to a penis. In particular, the process of passing the egg from the female to the male has similar physiological and psychological responses as sexual copulation does. Females will mount males and unrelated females (in rare cases where unrelated families come together) as dominance displays, much in the way that dominant males will mount other males intrafamilialy to assert dominance.

The three saurion subspecies—marsh-swap saurion, insular saurion (further divided into temperate and tropical saurion), and rainforest saurion—are broadly similar and have contact at the fringes of their territory. While there are other morphological features that distinguish the three subspecies (e.g., the insular saurion tend to have a larger mean height and weight), the primary distinction between them is the camouflage pattern of their plumage.

I plan to edit and rewrite this a bit more, as I still have some things to work out regarding their morphology and anatomy.
current project outside of byond is making a server of an mmo that's PvP based with several classes being: Taoist (can be either Fire tao at level 40(dps) or Water Tao (support) Trojan (duel sword/blade dps class) Ninja, Warrior,Monk,Dragon warrior (based apon Bruce Lee which is DPS) basically, level up to max being Lv 140, get the best items for pvp, form a guild and compete against others in a war, class war, honestly to many pvp events to name right now lol

basically, it's like this. you form a guild and enter a war against other guilds and the objective is to take down a totem pole, which ever is the winning guild, gains a big chunk of ingame money to split with members toward better items, and the guild leader gaining a halo that says "top guild"

other things are nobility ranks, king,queen,prince ect

rebirth system. a little confusing. but for an example each class as a rebirth combo, like

Ninja>Warrior>Fire Taoist, this rebirth combo gives you a few skills from being a ninja, a new skill from warrior called Reflect which has a chance to reflect whatever damage the player recieves back at the attacking player, and all the skills of a fire taoist.

each class has different things it can get from rebirth.

while most events are pvp oriented, there is also some PVE like a boss that spawns called Nemesis Tyrant which drops items called "Dragon souls" for your characters items, these souls increase stats.

everything far as my knowledge goes is balanced perfectly and the only way anyone could have a higher advantage over anyone else is through nobility,

more on nobility is

King - rank limit 3 - battle power bonus + 12
Queen same as above.

Prince - rank limit 12 - battle power bonus + 9

Duke - rank limit 35 - battle power bonus + 7

Earl rank limit unlimited- battle power bonus + 5

Baron - rank limit unlimited - battle power bonus + 3

and finally Knight, unlimited and battle power bonus of 1.

all i can think of to write so far, but i guess maybe i should of posted stuff from my guide xD i may edit this later.

honestly, if anyone is interested, my team does need beta testers/staff
Since the beginning of the summer, I've been doing some original research into order theory and topology. I had a brief meeting with an old professor of mine back in August—though he does symplectic topology rather than point-set topology which is more along the lines of what I'm doing, so he was unfamiliar with some of what I was working with—and he asked me to write up what I had to send to him. I was hoping to have it done in about a month, but it's taken quite a bit longer.

It also blew up a bit. My original estimate was that it'd be about sixty pages in 11 sections (plus an appendix). Right now, due to some reorganization, it's 14 sections (still with an appendix), but I'm only partway through section 5 and it's already about 30 pages. My new estimate is that it's gonna be closer to 100 or 120 pages, which would probably necessitate also write a much shorter exposition on the most important parts and results, to make it more digestible.

The paper can be found here, on my dropbox. Still very much a work in progress.

It's sort of hard to explain what exactly the paper is about without some understanding of what topology is. If you do know what it is, it's not too hard: the paper presents a topology which generalizes the order topology of totally-ordered sets—which is the natural topology on such objects—and presents the case that this generalization is the "right" one, i.e. it is the natural topology on the more general class of partially-ordered sets.

I think it's an interesting topic for its own sake, and during the course of this research I've come up with a large number of lines of inquiry that I believe warrant further investigation, many of which are related to (relatively minor) open questions in order theory. Probably what is most interesting to a broader audience, though, is that I believe there many a connection to a tentative theory of quantum gravity called causal set theory. Quantum gravity is sort of the bleeding edge of theoretical physics, and probably the most important open questions in theoretical physics is how to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. I believe that this paper may help resolve some mathematical questions that are still open problems in the causal set program. Most importantly, there's a question of when causal sets are "manifold-like", meaning that they are in some way the correct quantitization of Lorentzian manifolds (the natural setting for general relativity). I think it's possible my work gives a way to make this statement precise. I'm not sure yet, and I'm quite a bit a ways from actually looking into that problem, but I hope to get there at some point.
Does anyone here combine work and study in college, university?
Who can help? Are there writers on the forum? I need help writing thesis on the same theme. Or maybe here to find about this. I do not know how to do it, but I need to write urgently.
Life is going pretty shitty right now. Among many other things, I don't have phone service/data right now, and it seems like I won't have wifi for a bit so that's fun. I've been trying to keep myself productive in addition to working on the math paper I've still been working on.

One thing I'm working on is a journal documenting my worldbuilding shit. I found a nearly-empty, very nice-looking journal on my bookshelf a couple weeks ago. I already have a collection of personal journals I use to write about my day-to-day life and math research and etc., and they look very different from this one so the difference would drive me nuts if I used it for that. After debating about it for a bit, I decided to use this journal to document my worldbuilding. Right now a lot of it is documented in forms that aren't easy to find, websites and notes online and documents in various forms spread around the internet. This isn't really a big issue in reality, but some small, self-centered part of me hopes that if I die before I ever do anything with the setting as far as trying to publish something, then I can get a John Kennedy Toole treatment out of it. I won't, but hey it's good to have aspirations.

Anyways, for one entry I wanted to draw up a sketch of the main region I focus on which I have consistently referred to by the placeholder name of The Heartland, 'cause I haven't gotten to a good point where I can give it a proper name. I spent a few hours practicing drawing mountains from some online tutorials I'd saved, and I ended up sketching this.

I've posted a sketch of the region before, but I think this one is quite a bit better. It's not perfect—in particular, the region is less-rectangular than portrayed here. The western bend of the mountain range isn't so horizontal as displayed, and has a slight curve in it about halfway up (sort of life the graph of the tangent function). The Ahşârn River also has a bit of a different course than shown here, "bulging" east for a portion, but I didn't really have the space to show it. Generally, the portrayal here is more about the general form of the region than showing the geographic details is a truly accurate manner.

It's hardly perfect, but I'm a terrible artist so I'm pretty happy with it. It could be better in many respects, but it's good enough for what it is.
More worldbuilding. This is pulled from a post I made on /r/worldbuilding, which is a garbage sub btw. I only posted it there to see if I could guess how many upvotes it got* because I didn't have a pretty picture with a lame backstory attached.

*4, if you're interested.

The following is adapted from a personal worldbuilding journal I've been writing, as a way to get some creative work done on occasion even when I'm focused primarily on other things.

The most important staple crop in the Southeastern Interior is kernelroot—a name which is a bit of a misnomer as the kernels in question are not actually part of the root system. I've generally imagined the plant as looking a bit like aloe vera, but with thinner, striped leaves and (in the fertile season) many vines which branch out from the base or the center of the plant from which fruiting bodies grow. These fruits grow at first underground, sprouting above when they are ripe or near-ripe.

In domestic cultivars, these fruits are considerably larger than their wild counterparts. There is proportionally much less flesh present, and many more densely-packed kernels vaguely reminiscent of a pomegranate. These kernels are the seeds of the kernelroot plant, roughly-pea sized and surrounded by a dark-colored hull (the seed itself typically light in color, variously tan, yellow, or brown depending on the cultivar and individual plant).

These seeds are the most important agricultural product in the Southeastern Interior, and of equal important in many of the surrounding areas—and indeed of many of the regions surrounding the Far Mountains, where many millennia ago kernelroot was first domesticated and where wild varieties are still readily found.

Typical processing of the kernels involves a first round of dehulling, following by milling of the seed to produce kernel flour. In the Interior, this flour is most typically made into one of two staple foods: thincakes or flatcakes.
  • Thincake is a thin, soft flatbread reminiscent of tortillas and most popular in the east of the Interior, especially the Near Jungles, Far Jungles, and East Midlands. In the east, the South Islands still prefer thincakes to flatcakes, a preference born out of both the indigineous Elderkin population and the lasting influence of the Empire of the Far Jungles on the islands.

    Thincakes were used in many ways in the cuisine of these regions, most commonly with some sort of filling usually consisting of raw or cooked vegetables together with some type of heavy sauce, which the thincake was wrapped around (much like a taco). They were also sometimes toasted or fried, then broken into pieces to use to pick up dips or sauces; occasionally they were also used as a sort of edible utensil, to pick up pieces of food.

  • Flatcake is a modification to the thincake recipe, first developed in the Interior Desert but also popular in thee Lower Midlands and predominant in the Heartland. Made quite similarly to thincakes, the primary difference in the process is the introduction of a particular variety of fungoid to the dough and allowing it to ferment over several days. The resulting flatbread is spongier and usually thicker than thincakes, with a porous texture. It is very similar to injera, and used in much the same way. It's central to most meals, used as both a serving dish and as a utensil. Stews, sauces, and other foodstuffs are spooned onto the flatcake, usually from a central dish, and pieces of flatcake are torn off and used to pick-up the meal. Leftover and stale flatcake, usually fried, is a major component of some soups.

Thincakes and flatcakes were merely the most popular and widespread food made from kernelroot and the most important staple, but they were not the only ones. Other ways of preparing kernelroot were relatively common, though quite a bit more regional and marginal.
  • Fatcakewas a significant modification to flatcakes that was first introduced among the upper classes of the Empire of the Far Jungles. Fatcake, as the name hints at, is considerably thicker than flatcakes and very fluffy, with a texture much more similar to (American- or Japanese-style) pancakes. The expense and difficulty in making fatcake leaves it relegated to the upper classes in regions of former EFJ influence, such as the Heartland, or to festivals—such as the traditional celebratory New Years meal in the Heartland, which is made using fruit soaked in a mixture of sweetpulp syrup and salt served on a fatcake.
  • In the Black Fortress, north of the Heartland, kernel flour had been used to make many types of steamed breads and steamed buns for many centuries before the rest of the Interior had redeveloped agriculture. Thincakes and flatcakes were very uncommon, only found among migrant and immigrant populations in the outerlings and usually seen with disdain as foreign nonsense. While the non-migrant outerlings often preferred steamed bread much like the Black Fortress citizens proper and it was eaten among immigrants, it was not particular well-known outside the immediate sphere of the Black Fortress.
  • Another product of kernelroot which was popular in the Black Fortress were steamed balls of kernelroot, made in a process similar to couscous. While sometimes boiled and served as a component of soups and stews, usually it was served either on its own as a side dish—typically flavored with additional spice—or as a base which sauces and stews were poured over top of. This product was also found in regions near the Black Fortress, both in the North Central Plains and the Heartland. In the Heartland, it was most typically associated with the Upper Lowlands but was also occasionally eaten in the Central Lowlands and the Upper Highlands.
  • After husking, the bare seed could be soaked for several days to soften them and then either baked or fried. This could be eaten on its own, commonly seasoned with salt and other spices, or used as an ingredient in other recipes. This is associated with a few different regions, including the Eastern Peaks of the Interior Desert and the Seaward Plains and Western Bend of the Heartland, especially along the shores of the Kólşärk bay.
  • Instead of frying or baking the seed, it could also be boiled. The end result was a quite neutrally-flavored, with a texture similar to rice or beans (depending on the extent of soaking and boiling). The seed in this state readily takes on the taste of food its cooked with, making it popular in stew and soup. This was common in the Near Jungles, and along the Ahşârn. Among the indiginous populations of the Upper Midlands—who did not practice agriculture until they were conquered by the First Kingdom—exclusively ate kernelroot in this manner, harvesting from feral kernelroot plants that were common in the region.

Some other processing methods were rare or not found at all in the Interior, but more common outside of it.
  • In the Far Mountains, sprouting of kernelroot seed was exceptionally common and could be found in most dishes. Rougly 1/3 to 1/2 of kernelroot harvests were dedicated to sprouting rather than milling, though with cultivars bred to have smaller kernels.
  • Baked or steamed flatbread was the typical staple food in the Far Mountains, which set it apart from the Southeastern Interior.
  • In the Cold Marshes, a peculiar use of the kernelroot seed was pickling. Pickled kernelroot seed was either eaten as such, usually as an ingredient in flatcake wraps, or as a base for a large variety of regional relishes.

While not the only staple crop in the southeast of the Vorrapeiros, kernelroot is by far the most important and widespread.
More worldbuilding! Lately I've been exploring the origins and specifics of the state religion of the Empire of the Far Jungles, which has a bit of a complicated history.

In the apocalyptic devastation of the Cataclysm and the ensuing post-Cataclysm period, the Old Kingdom and its religion were lost in any immediately recognizable sense within just a few generations. But the fractured, nomadic communities of hunter-gatherers that lived in the old lands of the Kingdom and traced their lineage--through blood, culture, and language--to this lost polity managed to, through the millenia, carry a spark of the old religious beliefs. This spark and the ensuing culture diffusion along the Southeastern Coast of the Vorrapeiros--diffusion that grew more efficient and effective as agriculture then urban centers then states and trade routes were rediscovered--tied these evolved practices into a single continuum, spreading from the Middle Valley in the west, across the Western Bend of the Northern Mountains from the Southeastern Interior, all the way up along the northeast coast to the Cold Marshes.

This continuum was the Southeastern Coast Folk Religion ("SCFR"), a collection of shared and similar beliefs rather than a single, unified, coherent religious system. Though disparate and fractured in its practice, an understanding of this folk religion was a prerequisite for understanding the theological, philosophical, and mythological origins of the later post-Cataclysm religious beliefs in the Southeastern Coast, and especially the Southeastern Interior. Most important among these was the Imperial Religion of the Heartland Empire, a complex cocktail of multiple schools of SCFR thought with a healthy dose of Hestian religious belief (and thus a milieu of pre-Hestian beliefs) thrown into the mix.

The Southeastern Interior was approximately the size of Europe, and many millennia of limited travel and poor transmission of ideas meant that the resulting diversity of the SCFR gave few, if any, truly universal practices or beliefs. Despite this, there was a cluster of near universals, particulars of the religious continuum of which a majority were present in almost all communities in the continuum. These were: ancestor worship, animism, a world comprised of three realms, great importance (sometimes bordering on fetishization) placed upon ritual and tradition, a soul made up of many parts, and dualism.

The world of the mundane, the material world, was surrounded and permeated by the world of spirits. These spirits dwelled in all things, both the concrete such as trees, mountains, rocks, and animals and also in the abstract, such as words, places, and concepts or ideas. Beyond the spirit world was the afterlife, where the most potent divine beings ("gods") dwelled.

Mortal beings were bound by flesh and blood to the material world, and it was this binding that blinded mortals (aside from shamans, medicine men and women, and others touched or blessed with sight, hearing, and smell beyond that of most mortals) to the spirit world that pervaded their own mundane world. Death cleaved one from this cage, and gave the soul perception of the spirit world, as well as the freedom to travel to, and from, the afterlife and the ability to commune and interact with the gods.

But, though not conscious or aware in any sense a mortal would understand, those transmundane inhabitants of the spirit world could be cruel, capricious, malicious, or simply banally evil. The worship of one's ancestors, showing them devotion and giving them tribute, was meant to keep them in the spirit world and away from the afterlife (except perhaps for brief visits), where they can intercede on behalf of the still-living, keeping the inhabitants of the mundane world (at least those in good favor with their ancestors) safe from harm by pleading and acting on behalf of those trapped in their physical bodies. And, if particularly enamored with and impressed by their descendants, the ancestor spirits can help the living by helping grant boons, either from helpful spirits or by traveling to the afterlife to speak to the gods on behalf of the living.

In addition to showing direct devotion to the ancestor spirits through worship and offerings, one may also keep them in the spirit world by making them feel continually welcome and familiar through the maintenance of traditions. That is, if one wishes to keep the ancestor spirits around, then it helps to keep partaking in traditions, such as festivals or rituals or activities, that they partook in and knew in life. This can take place at the level of entire communities or at the level of a single individual: if one hopes to have their grandmother's spirit watch over them, then it helps to maintain interpersonal traditions (such as in-jokes or habits) they had with their grandmother.

In a similar manner, the transmundane spirits and the gods found devotion in rituals, especially rituals that have been performed since time immemorial. As civilizations redeveloped and grew increasingly complex, so too did the way ritual was practiced: it passed from shamans and medicine-folk to a devoted class of priests (and sometimes a caste of priests), often at monuments or shrines or temples built in devotion to a god or a particularly-powerful spirit. Because of the religious importance of these practices--rituals, temples, priests, and so forth--great weight was placed on the community to help provide, especially on local government institutions and wealthy members of society, for the maintenance of the temples, the livelihood of the priests, and the materials of the rituals.

In the SCFR, every mortal soul contained as a "foundation" the animistic spirit, the spirit that bound the soul to the spirit world and gave a person the quality of being a person, much like the spirit of a tree gave the collection of materials that contributed to a tree the quality of being a tree. Other components of the mortal soul varied: seats of emotion, rational thought, morality and conscience, personality, and life experience or memory were all common. Also common was a soul made up of pieces with no particular pattern or form, destined for different fates after death.

Particularly common the Jungles region of the Southeastern Interior (initially in the Near Jungles and spreading from there) was a two-component soul: the animistic-intellectual-moral spirit (the "essential" spirit) as one part and the personality-emotional-experiential spirit (the "temporal" soul). The essential soul lived on after death, while the temporal soul fell apart back into its components. This interpretation of the soul was a major component leading to the reincarnation beliefs that would server distinguish the Jungles region SCFR--later known as the Ônyẹktâgî Gẹ́lǔh ("Commoner's Custom" or "Commoner's Religion")--and the important schools born out of it such as the Pàskri-kǎt ("Student's Custom" or "Student's Doctrine") and the religion of the Empire of the Far Jungles.

While the spirit world pervaded the material world, the spirit world and afterlife were themselves pervaded by the duality of two primordial spirits or essences, of which all things were composed. While a lay simplicity disputed by philosophers, priests, and theologians of most SCFR schools, the typical portrayal was of a duality between "the good" and "the bad", or "positive things" and "negative things", or "embraced things" and "feared things". These spirits existed both within and outside the universe, where in both they were in a constant and eternal battle for dominance over all things. All things were composed of the two primordial spirits, in differing proportions. These proportions were distinct from the essence of a thing; that is, what a thing is and what a thing is composed of are differing attributes, and a thing can change composition over time--usually taken to reflect a moral quality. Other than the primordial spirits, no thing is perfectly one or perfectly the other. This is true even of the immanent gods who live in the afterlife, and who are always portrayed as flawed (if not generally well-intentioned).

One last topic to discuss before concluding is on the perception of the quality of mundane spirits versus transmundane spirits. That is to say, whether this a qualitative difference between a mortal spirit and an animistic or divine spirit. In general, this is not the case. Particularly, in the Jungles region and the Middle Valley varieties of the SCFR it is very common to perceive that great ancestors have either ascended to divinity after death or are in some sense comparable to the divine (the practical distinctions between these two being minimal), with temples and monuments sometimes being dedicated to great ancestors and being treated just like any other temple. Conversely, both varieties believe in the existence of avatars, divine entities that left the afterlife and bound themselves to be born in a mortal body in order to serve some purpose.

In the Heartland and Cold Marshes varieties of the SCFR, this general trend is bucked: there is a qualitivative difference between the mundane soul and the transmundane spirit, a sort of fence being drawn between the material world and the world beyond. No mortal soul, no matter how great, can ascend to divinity, and the divinity do not want or need to bind themselves to a chains of flesh to impact the mundane world. An important impact of this is found in the Ţurnşólktery* ("The Old Path"), the syncretic religion that combined aspects of Heartland/Elderkin SCFR and the Hestian religion. Here, an essential religious distinction is found between the luş (transmundane souls, of which there is little distinction between animistic souls and divine souls) and the tiró (a mortal soul). Recognizing such relationships helps to build a background understanding of the New Şólktery--the syncretic religion founded by Teša Aqīre of Ōlawījè Qišūlū-wṑ, which combined elements of the Empire of the Far Jungles Religion and the Ţurnşólktery--and in turn the highly-revisionist sect of the New Şólktery that would become the Imperial Religion of the Heartland Empire.

*One should stress that the Ţurnşólktery, though descended from the SCFR, is quite distinct in its theology, philosophy, and practice from the SCFR. A quick demonstration of this is that the mortal soul is composed only of one part, the tiró.
The following is an essay I wrote over the last few days, titled The Empire of the Far Jungles: A brief history of the background, rise, fall, and legacy of the Archipelago Confederation. It's 14 pages long and about 6,000 words, so it's not the shortest read in the world.

The Archipelago Confederation and its Empire—who I will often refer to here as the Empire of the Far Jungles ("EFJ"), a past placeholder name I still frequently use—was the major political, cultural, military, and economic force in the Southeastern Interior and its borderlands in the early political revitalist period of the post-Cataclysm era. The thalassocracy was built on the skilled seamanship of the native peoples of the Far Jungles Archipelago, and it dominated the Southeastern Coast of the Vorrapeiros—sometimes penetrating further in along suitable rivers, such as the Ahşârn River in the Heartland—for roughly two centuries.

1. Terminology

The Council of the Archipelago Confederacy, which was comprised of one representative on the Council for each tribe, was known in the Far Jungles language as Īšuwa Onīngumokèrē Qorāsṑro-wē (meaning "The Council of the Twenty-Six Tribes"). The land of this council was known for legal, governmental, and political purposes as Jīsḕngurē Īšuwaro-wē Onīngumokèrē Qorāsṑro-wē ("The Lands of the Council of the Twenty-Six Tribes") or, more briefly, as Īšuwalōjīsḕngurē ("The Council-Lands")—something which would probably be abbreviated in some way over time, though I have not determined that yet*.

The Confederation itself would not likely have had a specific name, and instead would have been identified by outsiders with the natives of the Archipelago—whatever that precisely may be**. The Far Jungles natives would probably have referred to the Council when discussing the Confederation, and when referring to themselves identified by tribe rather than by any more general term for persons native to the Far Jungles Archipelago.

*In fact, as I work out specific details of the history of the EFJ (such as information about the tribes) and more general questions (such as the linguistic history and diachronics of the Jungles languages) these are all likely to change in some fashion. The above will probably be maintained in *spirit* in some manner, but the forms themselves are subject to revision.
**In the regions closer to the Archipelago, something akin to (in translation, of course) "Archipelogans" would probably be likely. Further along the coast, something like "sea-people", "navy-people", or "boat-people" is more probable.

2. Background

The homeland of the confederation was the Far Jungles Archipelago, located off of the coast of the peninsula of the Near Jungles and geologically an extension of the Northern Mountains into the relatively-shallow seas of the Far Jungles area. This region was thoroughly a member of the Southeastern Interior, both geographically and culturally, and shared cultural aspects of the region such as practicing a variant of the Southeastern Coast Folk Religion. Some religio-cultural distinctions made the culture of the Archipelago stand out from other regions in the Southeastern Coast (at least until the spread of Far Jungles culture carried these notions with them):
  • A heavy focus on ritual purity was constantly stressed, both of the self and especially of holy places such as temples and shrines (temples and shrines being somewhat-late cultural imports from the Near Jungles). This came with an important tradition, originally oral but eventually written on what caused a person or place to become impure and the steps taken to resolve it in each of these cases.
  • A special class of formal* priests who were originally associated with sacred natural places of great spiritual importance, but later with great temples, who served as a direct connection to certain divine beings. They often also took up the role of seers and advisors upon or interpreters of omens, such as dreams, animal migrations, or other events perceived as particularly portentous.
  • A class of informal priests connected to local politics, drawn from village elders thought to have a clearer and more-direct connection to ancestors and the world of the spirits. They function as seers, healers, witch doctors, and spiritual guides. Many times, they also covertly acted as initiators and conveyors of political change.
  • Votive offerings seeking divine favor were common before, during, and after the EFJ. Prior to the presence of writing, these were often in the form of clay statuettes meant as an offering, along with an oral declaration of intent or request. After writing, it was more common for a clay or wax tablet with a prayer, request, or curse written on them (typically with one paying a local scribe for this). In both cases, these were left at important holy sites.

*"Formal" here meaning of a particular social class and given some sort of training, and ergo distinct from "informal" or "lay" priests.

2.1. Language

Culturally and linguistically, the strongest ties to the peoples of the Far Jungles were those of the Near Jungles on the mainland. The Mainland Jungles languages and Far Jungles language formed two of the major subfamilies of the Jungles. This family was related to some currently-unexamined languages from further north, where the peoples of both the Near and Far Jungles migrated from during the early post-Cataclysm.

3. History

3.1. Pre-Confederation

The Archipelago's natives were divided politically into tribes (and from there sometimes into subtribes and families), ruled under a system of chiefdoms. The marriage practices of the Far Jungles people promoted some level of exogamy, especially among the higher-ranked members of the tribes. This and regular trading practices and frequent ritualized gift-giving festivals helped promote a cultural, linguistics, and ritual unity across the archipelago.

Because of the rough, mountainous terrain of the archipelago, arable land was scarce: it was for many tribes often a difficult and precarious task to balance and maintain hunting grounds, living areas, and farmlands. Fishing and aquaculture were a nearly-universal practice among all tribes in the archipelago, and fisheries were both heavily-defended and highly sought-after. They were seen as a major component in reckoning the wealth of a tribe, and gifts of access to fisheries were highly respected and well-received, especially in difficult times.

As a means to further supplement village sustenance and tribal wealth, the members of the Far Jungles often practiced coastal raids against one another, especially towards rival tribes. This was most common in times of war, but it was expected to some extent even in times of peace. Already known on the mainland as keen sailors and navigators—long having traded with the mainland for many goods not available on the Archipelago, sometimes traveling long distances over the open sea to do so—the practice of raiding and naval warfare that became increasingly-common with increasing intertribal tensions attracted teh attention and respect of the more-populous, -urbanized, -wealthy, and -heavily stratified kingdoms found on the mainland.

This attention initiated the practice of these kingdoms hiring tribes to conduct raids on rival polities, often in times of war or during the lead-up to it in order to sow chaos and malcontent. Although initially focused only on coastal raids, most tribes became practised in river raids, using modified boats built for the purpose—though these were limited to the calmer, more-flat rivers further north and south of the Archipelago rather than the rocky, mountainous peninsula closest to the Archipelago.

It soon became common, especially after the harvest during the dry season, for tribes to send their best warriors and seamen off on raids up and down the Southeastern Coast in search of spoils independently of any mainland polities' interests. Though this grew the coffers of these tribes, it had the side effect of *also* growing worse a hostile situation: the fairly-frequent raiding by the tribes of the Archipelago engendered no good feelings on the mainland, but the association with these raids and rival powers also aroused suspicion among the ruling classes of the Near Jungles kingdoms and increased inter-kingdom tensions.

3.2. The foundation of the Archipelago Confederation

While generally a positive for the tribes, many tribal leaders recognized the dangers of continued raids against the mainland: although there was great strength in the tribes of the Far Jungles and their collective navy, the deep tribal-political divisions generally prevented unified action. This left them weak in spite of their apparent power, and military or naval action from the mainland could prove disastrous for the Archipelago. In response to this potential danger, several of the tribes banded together and formed the Archipelago Confederation.

Originally membership in the confederation was limited relative to the number of tribes in the Archipelago, perhaps only 1/5 to 1/4. Importantly, this included several of the most-populous and most-powerful tribes (including the Te tribe—the tribe that Teša Aqīre* was born into). Through political pressure, military action, and voluntary admission the confederation would represent all tribes in the Archipelago within fifty years of its founding.

The original express purpose of the Confederation was as a means to manage external threats (such as hostilities and military action from the mainland) and any intertribal matters that could threaten either the stability of the Confederation and the Archipelago or weaken its ability to defend itself (such as intertribal wars). Thus its powers included
  • the ability to levy taxes and, if necessary, fines against the tribes
  • the ability to raise a navy and army (though as a primarily-naval power, the Confederation's experience in organized land combat was at the time limited) and press members into service in emergencies
  • the ability to appoint a military dictator to lead the Confederation in times of emergency, though with certain limitations on their authority
  • the ability to set up arbitration panels and tribunals as a measure to resolve intertribal disputes before they rose to war

The Confederation soon became involved in the conducting of raids on the mainland as well: tribes could petition for aid in a raid (both independent and paid) and the spoils would be distributed by the Confederation to the participant tribes based on losses (such as casualties or boats) and proportions and warriors contributed to the raid.

Despite the ostensible nature of the Confederation as a representation of equal parties, it was clear from the outset that certain tribes—the three or four most strongest of these tribes—dominated the Confederation's Council by way of their wealth and military power. Smaller, weaker tribes were given less focus and say in the matters the Confederation involved itself in. In effect, this funneled further wealth and prosperity to the larger tribes at the expensive of weaker ones. Although this was subtle and overt at first, it became more and more prominent over the years and the internal tensions this caused lingered unabated and politically-unaddressed for many years.

*See the Legacy section below.

3.2.1. First military action

The Confederation had its mettle tested quite quickly after formation: the mainland polities, already on edge regarding their relationship to the Archipelago tribes and their increasing confidence in carrying out long distance raids and warfare, were alarmed by the formation of the Confederation—even as small as it was at the time in terms of tribal membership—and saw it immediately as a threat. Several of the kingdoms of the Near Jungles Peninsula, the part of the mainland nearest to the Archipelago and most commonly targeted for raids, quickly organized an temporary alliance and a corresponding fleet to try and surprise the Confederation with a direct invasion.

On receiving word of this alliance and seeing the likelihood of a coming naval assault, the Confederation's council appointed its first military dictator^(\*) and organized its ships for defense, supported by a temporary defensive alliance with sympathetic tribes who elected not to join the Confederation but nevertheless opposed to hostile action from the mainland. Within several weeks a major and decisive victory occurred in naval battle, in favor of the Confederation: the mainland alliance was leaked false intelligence on the membership of the Confederation and the size of its fleet, and the alliance's navy was lured into an ambush in the Archipelago after chasing what it believed to be the bulk of the Confederation navy. Most of the fleet of the alliance was destroyed, and what remained taken for the Confederation. Surviving seamen and infantry were enslaved, many later sold in markets along the coast.

In the ensuing weeks, parts of the navy raided up and down the coast of the alliance nations, taking slaves and plunder. A peace was finally reached between the alliance and the Confederation: the alliance polities would pay regular tribute to the Confederation and allow the construction of coastal forts and harbors in certain locations, and in return the Confederation would cease raiding activity and either combat raids committed by non-aligned tribes or counter-raid. Though this peace was shaky, and in the ensuing years it would falter a number of times as the Archipelago Confederation developed the resources necessary to project their power on land as well as sea, it set in motion the start of their empire.

* I will refer to this individual as Dictator I. Details of Dictator I are currently unknown to me, but it is doubtless they will be of significant historical note given their important early role. As I work more on the history of the EFJ, information about them will develop alongside it.

3.3. Military, economic, and cultural expansion: the Empire of the Far Jungles

Following the early and resounding success of the Confederation a number of previously non-aligned tribes opted to join, including most of the those who had allied for the defense against the mainland. This brought the proportion of tribes in the Confederation up to approximately half, greatly strengthening it by giving a larger tax base (in addition to the new tribute from the mainland) and more strength with which to project its power.

3.3.1.Trade expansion

Foreseeing the likelihood of revolt against their new status, Dictator I—still with their military authority by grace of the Confederacy's Council—pushed for the council and member tribes to build up the Confederation's treasury so as to be able to afford mercenaries on the mainland in case of such a revolt, recognizing the inadequacy of their forces for land combat.

This was achieved by exploiting their own navigational and seafaring expertise to become a dominating force in trade along the Southeastern Coast. Their initial focus in trading good was in slaves, wood, and sweetbulb, but as the Empire expanded so did its interests: textiles; glass; gemstones; metal; kernelroot kernels and oil, and other produce; livestock; and most other commodities would become regularly-carried by Confederation vessels.

The Confederation would also force out other prospective merchants using their naval force, or require them to pay for the privilege for trading in the region. Until they joined the Confederation, this applied just as much to fellow tribes in the Archipelago. Without membership, it became increasingly-difficult and -expensive to trade with the mainland and conduct raids. This economic pressure drove many to join.

The increasing wealth of the Archipelago lead to a steady population increase on the islands throughout the lifetime of the Confederation. The Archipelago became progressively more urbanized in response. With limited space on its rocky terrain, the dependence on importing food grew as arable land was urbanized and fisheries overfished—the main sources of imported kernelroot being the Medial Plains (situation between the Near Jungles and the Lower Midlands, east of the Heartland) and agricultural colonies in the Middle Valley. Though this was sustainable for a time, it became increasingly-difficult to manage as the Empire grew. Colonies

The expansion of the Confederation's trade network was one of the primary motivations for the continued expansion of its network of colonies. The main purpose of these were two-fold:
  • as stopping-off points for trade routes, where trade vessels could be unloaded, maintained, and reloaded—with items transferred to warehouses for storage—and merchant sailors could rest.
  • as military bases for both the navy and army of the Confederation.

There were also a myriad of secondary reasons for these colonies: as exporters of Far Jungles culture and religion, as independent trade hubs to funnel further wealth into the Empire, as prison colonies where particularly troublesome individuals could be sent in order to get them away from the Archipelago, as agricultural reasons to support further exports to the Archipelago, as centers of anti-piracy and policing action on the seas, and so forth. Some of these colonies, such as the Southern Islands, became important centers in their own right.

Certain other colonies had entirely different purposes. For example, the colonization of the Ahşârn region of the Heartland was motivated by access to the linenwood trees of the Upper Highlands. These trees were the necessary component of several particularly sought-after textiles, and the trees were difficult to grow elsewhere. The colonization of the Upper Highlands and the rest of the Ahşârn river gave the Confederation exclusive access to the production and distribution of these textiles and thus to setting their price, a privilege they guarded fiercely.

3.3.2. Military expansion

Jumping back to the early Confederation: Dictator I, while stressing to the tribes and the council the necessity of economic expansion, pushed his focus on strengthening their military. The particular focus was on training infantry from the rank of the tribes. Although the tribes of the Archipelago were talented seafarers and navigators and very proficient at naval combat, they had very limited practice and understanding of formalized and large-scale land combat. Raids were typically chaotic and brief affairs, and combat with enemy forces usually relied on deception and the element of surprise.

Early land-based military action, such as revolts by the early tributaries, was often spearheaded by well-paid mercenaries and only supported by tribal infantry. As the strength, skill, and number of the Confederation's terrestrial forces grew, the need for mercenaries accordingly declined—but was never entirely abandoned. Major military action often called for a great number of mercenaries, and certain areas distant from the "core" of the Confederation's Empire, such as the farthest northern reaches past the Cold Marshes (a region important to the Confederation's slave trade), found a greater use for mercenaries in order to not draw the army too far and endanger the Archipelago and its nearest holdings.

In step with the strength of the army was an increase daring in raids. No longer did the Confederation find itself limited to quick, hit-and-run style coastal and river raids. When supply lines were able to support it, the Confederation sometimes took extended raids deep into the territory of their targets, making sure they were highly-destructive while they were at it. These raids served as an example towards others, a way to extort payment (essentially bribes) from polities so as to not be raided by the Confederation.

Although the Confederation rarely took complete political and military control of a region outside the Archipelago—some exceptions being the Near Jungles Peninsula (taken during the extended leadership of Dictator I, due to these kingdoms and their leadership being a persistent thorn in the side of the Archipelago) and colonies such as the Ahşârn region and the South Islands—they frequently pressed for concessions of forts, especially coastal forts on natural harbors, as stopping off, maintenance, and resupply locations for both the military and merchant navies. These forts were in essence microcolonies, and could be major centers of trade in their local region.

3.4. Downfall and collapse

The end of the Archipelago Confederation, and consequently the Empire, ultimately came out of a combination of poor management of both internal matters and foreign affairs and the conflicting alliances of bureaucrats and administrators to individual tribes rather than the Confederation itself. The most overt and direct cause was an overstretching of the Empire's military resources to effectively police trade routes and enforce its tributary claims and a over-reliance on trade for essentials such as food, but the underlying and essential cause was the substantial intertribal tensions that had existed and been largely-unaddressed since the Confederation's founding.

3.4.1. Causes The increasing threat of piracy

With the continued growth of the EFJ's trade empire, the value of its trade routes and merchant vessels grew significantly. This was clearly beneficial to the empire, but it also caused an increase in piracy: although the penalties for piracy were extremely harsh, the potential gains from plundering a particularly-valuable merchant ship or, for the most-daring, an EFJ outpost were seen as worth the risk. This growing piracy threat necessitated more ships policing trade routes, and construction and maintenance of new ships and payment for their crews was a drain on the treasury of the Confederation. This was partly made up by an increased tax and tariff burden, but this was highly unpopular. The use of mercenaries

Enforcement of tributes had been a frequent problem over the course of the Empire's history, but early on and with the relatively small domain that the Confederation (in essence) laid claim to enforcement of this tribute was relatively easy. It was not necessary to spread either the army of the navy too thin, because it was never necessary to send either particularly far from the Archipelago and the most central areas of the Empire. As the Confederation's influence and claims grew, it became increasingly difficult to directly intervene. The navy was needed not only to defend the Archipelago but also police the waterways both against piracy and to enforce the monopoly on the Empire's trade, making sure that any foreign merchant vessels had paid their dues and could legally operation in the Confederation's waters in accordance with its laws. And even when the decision was made to move armies in for a land invasion, sustained invasions were difficult because of the need to maintain supply lines.

Towards the end of the Empire, it became increasingly-common to use mercenaries to enforce tribute and the authority of the Confederation. Initially, these were only local mercenaries that supported the Confederation's armies and could work as guides and scouts in addition to their combat roles, allowing the invasion force to draw some resources from the local area from plunder. In time, this transitioned to these invasions being entirely conducted by mercenaries with the addition of Confederation officials in a supervisorial role. Although this freed the army for local action and enforcement in the Empire's core region, the frequent use of mercenaries—especially in the North, where the majority of slaves for the Confederation's slave-trade were drawn from—was a significant financial burden. Loss of the Middle Valley

Early on, ports, outputs, and small colonies in the Middle Valley were highly beneficial for the Empire. The Middle Valley gave overland access to the farther western reaches via a collection of readily-navigable passes in the Far Mountains. The region itself was also very fertile, and much of its produce went to feed the tribal citizens of the Confederation in the Archipelago.

Difficulties began with the rise of the Second Dynasty of the Far Mountains Empire. Frequent skirmishes necessitated a permanent army presence in the Middle Valley, and the two Empires engaged in major conflicts on many occasions for control over access to the Far Mountains with the Confederation's armies supported by mercenaries. The Confederation even funded an extended insurgency against the Far Mountains Empire, aimed at destabilizing their military, to little avail.

The Middle Valley was finally lost to the Second Dynasty following a disastrous campaign which attempted to directly invade the Far Mountains Empire and force them to submit. The Confederation army was ill-prepared for fighting in the rough terrain of the Far Mountains, and upon seeing the writing on the wall many of the hired mercenaries abandoned the fight leaving the army at a serious numerical disadvantage. In trying to flee back to the Empire's territory in the Middle Valley, the army encountered heavy losses both due to the terrain and frequent skirmishes with the military of the Second Dynasty. Realizing their advantage in the face of the weakened and disorganized military, the Far Mountains Empire invaded in massive numbers and captured the Middle Valley for themselves.

The cost of the campaign, the loss of territory that was both economically and agriculturally valuable, and the casualties suffered by the Confederation's army were all significant losses for the Empire. Conflicts in the Medial Plains

The Medial Plains were a patchwork of small kingdoms and city-states in frequent conflict with both one another and the Confederation, and despite being extremely important for providing food to the Archipelago it proved to be difficult and costly to enforce the required tributes in the region. Although the details are something that I need to work on more, following the defeat of the Confederation army in the Middle Valley the polities of the Medial Plain became increasingly-open in their defiance of the Empire. Increasing tensions in intertribal politics

Although there had been several reforms, sometimes momentarily successful, aimed at dealing with the perception of the larger, more-powerful tribe being given unfair allocation of wealth and resources, the wealthy disparity it caused and the subsequent intertribal tensions remained a sore point among internal Confederation politics for the entirety of its existence. The larger tribes, owing to their larger contribution (measured in soldiers, sailors, ships, and weaponry) to the Confederation were taxed at a lower rate than other tribes, and they were often paid out of tribute at a higher rate. The members of these larger tribes had a higher social prestige, and either for *de jure* or *de facto* reasons many higher positions in the administration of the Confederation and its military were unavailable to tribe members of lower status. Even the subsidized distribution of food, aimed at placating and supporting poorer members of the various tribes*, was different depending on one's tribe, with weaker tribes given less.

*Given the wealth disparity among the tribes, this dole was sometimes available to every member of the weaker tribes.

3.5. Dissolution of the Confederation

Following the loss of access to the Middle Valley and the disrupted access to the Medial Plains, the food situation in the Archipelago was extremely precarious. The distribution of food had to by necessity be reduced. The smaller tribes, in light of this and the near-empty treasury caused by the the failed Middle Valley campaign and the continued use of mercenaries in the north of the Cold Marshes, laid the blame on mismanagement of the Empire at the feet of the larger tribes. The internal politics of the Confederation became near as precarious as they ever had been.

In order to appease the weaker tribes, the Confederation reduced the presence of the navy on the trade routes in the region and tried to focus on wresting control of the Medial Plains back. This was largely unsuccessful, and the lack of patrols emboldened pirates. This caused the trade situation to worsen, and weakened faith among both tribal and foreign merchants to defend the Confederation's waters. Ultimately, this caused both the food and financial situations of the Archipelago to again worsen.

The final breaking point came with a very poor growing season that left many in the Archipelago hungry. A number of food riots, especially among the poor of the weaker tribes, lead to tribal elders to order the Confederation to recall those tribes' ships and seamen to help put down the riots and enforce order. The Confederation refused, supported by the larger tribes, and in response many of these weaker tribes ceased their affiliation with the Confederation and recalled their representative on the Confederation's council. The larger tribes, independent of the Council and acting on their own, responded with force to try and bring the tribes back to the Confederation, sending the Archipelago into civil war. In combination with the already-pressing food shortages, the death toll was enormous. The Confederation was unable to continue in any meaningful sense.

3.6. Aftermath

Because individuals from the Archipelago generally owed their allegiance to their tribe rather than to the Confederation itself, the collapse of the Confederation lead to chaos in the military and administration. Without the Confederation's unity to legitimize various power structures, many individuals in the colonies and various outputs fought one another to vie for legitimacy over command. And interpersonal feuds, driven by long-standing rivalries and feuds among tribes, often spilled out into open combat. This lead to the entire military structure becoming destabilized, and colonies to become entirely independent entities fought over by what were now warlords working on personal allegiances and loyalty rather than a power structure enforced by the Confederation. Tributaries took advantage of the chaos by absorbing outposts and encampments where possible. Within a few short years, the previously-stable political structure of the Southeastern Coast and Southeastern Interior were radically changed and destabilized—a situation that would remain for centuries.

4. Legacy

The Empire of the Far Jungles left a lasting imprint on the culture and history of the southeastern Vorrapeiros, and especially on the Southeastern Interior. Their impact in the Interior was so great that one could effectively summarize the centuries following their collapse, up until the founding of the Second Kingdom of the Heartland and the subsequent Heartland Empire, as essentially the prolonged reaction to their collapse and an attempt to pick up the pieces left in their wake.

4.1. Political

Although the EFJ was more a hegemonic trade empire than a "direct" empire—preferring to operate through the monopolization of trade routes, establishing tributary states rather than absorbing states into the direct political administration of the Confederation, and forming economic and military outposts to spread the influence of the Confederation in its tributaries.

In spite of this, what major colonies it did establish—such as the South Islands and the many cities and plantations along the Ahşârn region of the Heartland—transitioned quickly into important centers after the Confederation's collapse: the South Islands and major centers in the Ahşârn vied for many centuries to become politically and economically dominant over one another in the local politics of the Southeastern Interior. Their regular conflicts were a feature of the region in the immediate post-Confederation era.

Other, smaller outposts established by the EFJ—already usually major population, cultural, and economic centers—would continue being important after the Empire's collapse. The most notable of such outputs would be Ōlawījè Qišūlū-wṑ, established as a local hub on the mouth of the River Kólşärk, would become the capital city of the Heartland Empire under the name Kértukoynay Kólşärktes. Other important hubs include those in the Cold Marshes, many of which become capital cities in the later theocratic kingdoms established there.

4.2. Religious

Prior to the establishment of the Confederation and for several decades following it, the Archipelago (like much of the Southeastern Coast) practiced local variants of the Southeastern Coast Folk Religion. Although some of the more organized and more formalized schools of the SCFR, such as the Ônyẹktâgî Gẹ́lǔh and the Pàskri-kǎt, were popular among some tribal leadership (especially among the tribes nearest to the mainland), most preferred their local and ancestral traditions.

This traditional arrangement changed with the prominence of the Archipelago Prophet*, who established a new, major school of thought in the SCFR which in time found great popularity among the leaders of the Confederation, and eventually among a majority of the Archipelago. Though never formally such in any specific manner, this school because in essence the state religion of the Confederation. The spread of EFJ culture engendered the spread of their religion. Before the rise of the Heartland Empire and the cultural disruptions it in the east of the Interior, the EFJ religion became one of the prominent schools of the SCFR.

*Again, this figure is one who is largely a note and needs more examination and development. He and the movement he initiated are nevertheless of great importance in the history of the Interior.

4.2.1. Teša Aqīre and the New Şólktery

Teša Aqīre was born in the city of Ōlawījè Qišūlū-wṑ during the Occupation Period of the Heartland, at the height of EFJ power. A member of the tribe Te, he was the son of a priest and a clerk. Though he originally planned to follow his father into the priesthood, he became discontent and subsequently disillusioned on certain theological matters and abandoned his pursuit. Instead, he became interested in philosophy and law, and focused on these interests for many years.

In his middle adulthood, after a series of personal revelations, premonitions, and an important visit to an oracle, Aqīre began private and then public preaching. To his family's anger and disgust, his preaching was not of the EFJ religion or even of one of the schools of the SCFR. Instead, he revealed that he had been directed by Luşoy, a "hidden god" of the Ţurnşólktery (the local religion of the Heartland among the Hestian populations present there), to preach new revelations to both the native populations and the populations of the EFJ.

After being disowned by his family and going into self-imposed exile, Aqīre nevertheless eventually found a significant following the Western Highlands of the Heartland. Following his death in an insurgency and war against the EFJ (one that he helped orchestrate), his family and followers spread his teachings, the New Şólktery, across the Heartland and eventually further east. This belief system was the basis for the religion of the Heartland Empire, a highly-revisionist system known as the Imperial Religion, which would be fervently spread and proselytized across their Empire. The New Şólktery and its many sects, especially the post-Imperial schismatic sects that developed in the wake of the collapse of the Heartland Empire, would become the dominant belief system of the eastern and southeastern Vorrapeiros.

4.3. Linguistic

Although the Far Jungles language became widely-used as a language of trade and education and was the lingua franca among the EFJ's tributaries, it rarely became used as a native or day-to-day language outside the Archipelago or outside the EFJ's settlements and colonies, except in regions where individuals from the Archipelago or its colonies settled. But in spite of this, it had a major impact on the lexicon of the Southeastern Coast. Numerous words, especially those related to trade, politics, religion, sailing, and the military along with specific cultural terms found themselves loaned into languages up and down the region. This was perhaps most clear along the Ahşârn, where the local Hestian and Elderkin languages as a consequence of decades of being spoken alongside the Far Jungles language took a very significant portion of their vocabulary for the Far Jungles language.

In the South Islands—which by the end of the EFJ had become almost-entirely dominated by Archipelago culture and the Far Jungles language, rather than the South Island Elderkin culture and language which were native to the island—the language of the EFJ continued to be spoken from the collapse of the Empire up to and during the rise of the Heartland Empire. The Heartlandic tongue of the Empire only gained dominance over the later South Island dialects during the Middle Imperial Period.

4.3.1. Writing

Although the Black Fortress in the northwestern Heartland, located in the North Mountains, had a continuous written tradition going back to the Old Kingdom of pre-Cataclysm times, their generally-extreme isolationism and distrust of outsiders made this of little consequence to the wider world. Therefore, in the post-Cataclysm Interior the more-valuable reinvention of writing occurred in the kingdoms of the Near Jungles, several centuries before the foundation of the Confederation. Their writing system, a complex logosyllabary, spread out across the region to other polities, fostered by an educated group of professional scribes.

While some in the Far Jungles were aware of writing, and others even literate, it was not adopted among their people for lack of utility: the Archipelago had a strong oral tradition, and a poetic history going back generations. It was only the administrative needs of the Confederation and its growing complexity, such as the bureaucracy associated with internal and external census information, trade, and the military, that prompted the acceptance and use of the writing systems of the mainland.

While these writing systems were logosyllabic (as mentioned above), a common and cursive scribal shorthand which used only phonetic elements was common. This script, considered entirely informal in its purposes, was only used for internal documents, letters, and for note-taking while the "full script" was used for any formal documents. Both varieties of the script moved along with the Empire and its scribes, including into the Heartland.

At some point and in the city of Ōlawījè Qišūlū-wṑ, a variant of the scribal shorthand was adapted for use with the Hestian languages of the region. This script spread out from the city, first to the kingdoms of the Western Highlands and later across the Heartland. Descendants of this writing system continued to be used for millennia, and became dominant over its relatives as a result of the spread of the Heartland Empire.
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