|Nations and States|
|Full Name||Songaskian Masaya|
|Regional Languages||Common, Sofaal|
|Current Ruler||Massya Musamansa Koné|
The Songaskian Masaya was once a world superpower engaged in slaving operations across Aloria, in covert battles of espionage against the Regalian Empire, with one of the greatest armies in the entire world. Sadly, such things are of the past in the present day. Following devastating wars and conflicts that have embroiled much of Farah’deen, their military is bled dry, and their current leader seeks to rebuild himself and those nearby nations who were allied with his people. To do this, he has turned inward, and where there was once much news, talk, and discussion, the Songaskian Masaya is now rarely mentioned in conversation. Yet it still has a unique tradition and history perhaps unparalleled in Aloria.
The Songaskian Masaya is a simple term, as when translated from Sofaal, it means “Kingdom/Empire of the Songaski.” That is exactly what the nation is, an empire home to the vast majority of the Songaskian population of Aloria.
The Songaskian Masaya can trace its founding to 95 BC when the first remains of the Sariyd Empire were conquered by the Songaskia. Emerging from the Great Storm, the Songaskia were formed for the act of ruling Farah’deen and removing the insolent Qadir, who had dared to try and kill off the Black Desert Dragons, from their position of power. When the conquest came it was swift, as broken settlement after broken settlement of Qadir fell to these children of Dragons, weakened by such fundamental devastation of the landscape, annihilation of their population, and often the mechanical infrastructure that might have helped them defend from their new enemies being crippled. The Songaskians at this time required a leader, and the eldest male child of all the Songaskia is said to have been chosen by the sun to fulfill this role. Oumar Koné rose into the position gloriously and so completed the main conquest by the end of 80 BC. The faith of Mussaktu emerged in the wake of these events and guided Oumar Koné to begin a number of grand projects. The first was a thrust south in a bid to take control of the Almina Peninsula where a large number of Qadir were known to be gathering. The second was to begin constructing a Songaskian capital at the core of the former Sariyd territory they now controlled. The next act was to besiege what Qadir strongholds remained on Farah’deen, particularly around the city of Kankagner which was the southern border of the Songaskian Masaya. The final action was perhaps the most minor, which was to send forces to scout the north and establish a local presence there. This last act was also one of his most unknown, as he gave the mission personally to several Songaskian families he trusted. Why he kept it a secret from the wider population of his court is unknown.
By 10 AC, when he passed away, the Masaya was secure in its position. Its nobility, personally invested by Oumar Koné into their positions of power, helped run the military while effective local bureaucracy aided by priests of the Mussaktu faith helped administer the realm. The ruler who followed him was also fairly effective, that being his son who was crowned Oumar Koné II. He reigned far shorter than his father and also saw the first major losses suffered by the Masaya. The push into the Almina Peninsula started by his father stalled as the Qadir in the region fully devoted themselves to their new focus on machines, crafting weapons of war that could go toe to toe with Songaskian military power and their Magic. At home, he was an earnest administrator and a generous ruler, and it was under him that the final stones were laid on Korbamakora, “The Golden Pearl City.” As a result, despite his military failures, he is remembered fondly by the citizens of the Masaya, though also as a somewhat tragic figure, particularly due to his death. Said death was on the field of battle in 31 AC against new war machines the Qadir of Hadr Shdh Jazira. The young man who followed after him was his first son, Youssouf Koné, but much like Henri II of the Regalian Empire several decades later, the man was entirely unsuited to rule. He was solely interested in hedonistic pleasures and had a lust for both sexes said to be insatiable. The Six-Month Massya as he is known today was deposed within that time in favor of his younger, pious, and very adventurous brother Djibril Koné, who promptly exiled his brother to the north where he was never seen again.
Djibril Koné began his rule with a promise: to spread the word of the sun across wider Aloria. In his reign, the first exploration ships of the Songaskian Masaya were sent out, and using Qadir maps and knowledge, made connections with wider Aloria. On land, he sent preachers into the Almina Peninsula (very unsuccessfully) and up into northern Farah’deen to investigate reports of other Songaskian-led states. The bad news crashed down on him all at once: first, they were not the only great power in Aloria, as the powerful and rapidly growing Regalian Empire possessed vast territory on foreign shores; next, word reached him of the Hadravya Kingdom's conversion to Unionism; finally, the Regalian Empire had harshly rejected his words of peace and the place of all under the sun in favor of their Everwatcher. But there was also good news. Other nations in the north were very eager to re-establish ties with the south, and so the plans were laid to ally them with the Masaya in return to their destruction of Hadravya. Then, there was the discovery of the slave trade, specifically thanks to the Altalar. The Songaskian people abhorred these practices of the Altalar, but under an only partial mask of interest, sought to obtain as many as possible. Many of these were soon freed, beginning the foreign population in Songaskian territory. This began the Masaya’s dealings with the outside world in a big way, and Djibril Koné oversaw many personally. He died in a freak accident while touring new naval vessels in 109 AC.
What followed were a series of generally neutral rulers, who maintained the Masaya, continuing to build up their naval power while also expanding their reach on Farah’deen, engaging in northern and southern Essalonian politics. Several also pushed the ongoing attacks on the Confederated Qadir, but such efforts always failed. But at last, the direct line of Koné wavered. Djibirl Koné V, a glutton and pleasure seeker but with a sense of lethargy rather than outright offense unlike the Six-Month Massya of the past, took the throne at a prosperous time. The Regalian Pessimism had begun the decay of the Regalian Empire, while his nobles were all competent field generals and effective in the conflicts they engaged in. But Djibirl Koné V had one critical weakness: infertility. That and his lacking physique made producing an heir very difficult for him, and it is said his heart gave out while under the care of professionals seeking to reverse this affliction in 270 AC. The title of Massya was suddenly contested, for the first time ever, as several women of the noble family and their male allies made grasps at the crown for their own branch of the family. But it was ultimately Ayoube Koné, his cousin, who stepped into the role thanks to a cabal of priests, priestesses, and commerce-focused nobles who united with his mother to put him into the role. This also uplifted his younger brother, a stern militaristic youth, who would grow into a strong and experienced general. Under his leadership, the Masaya faced its first major problems as the Regalian Empire much more decisively became an opponent on the world stage. Spy games between the powers occurred, and when the Regalian Empire came roaring out of the Regalian Pessimism, which had crippled it by defeating another world power, the Essa Empire, the tension was increased. Ultimately, it all came to a head in 302 AC.
The day after the Regalian Empire destroyed the physical form of the Archdemon at a major harvest celebration within the City of Regalia, the sun shone more brightly than ever before and the Songaskians noticed. The religious caste immediately rushed to court, urging the Massya to take action, soon shaping the event into a call from the sun for the Masaya to be daring, bold, and bright. Thus came the First Songaskian War, a costly enterprise that neither side ended up entirely winning, though the Songaskians did get vast wealth straight from the Imperial District of the Regalian Empire when they pulled out of the City of Regalia. Then the Massya died, killed by a Hagaan when riding his horse through the desert. This kicked off a new power struggle, as his wife the Lady Afua Okoro protected her young and installed-as-king son Musamansa Koné. Opposing her was her husband’s brother, Kusamanu Koné, in league with a large element of the military fearing that her moderate ways would reduce their power and, most importantly, decrease the chance that a new offensive could be launched against Regalia anytime soon. Additionally, they felt that the child, then only 14, should have a regent until he became of age. The capital city became a battleground, but Afua smuggled her son away with the aid of the Regalian ambassador to the Masaya court, and so he lived within the Imperial Palace for the next two years. His uncle became the new Massya, imprisoning his sister-in-law, and engaging in efforts to try and reinforce the military. Ultimately, this helped little in the Second Songaskian War, which saw Regalia ultimately on a warpath through Farah’deen before suddenly retreating with the restoration of Musamansa Koné to the throne. There were many reasons of this, but the largest was perhaps that Emperor Cedromar I had turned the Sihai away from supporting the pact they had made with the Masaya and the Altalar states of southern Daen. The uncle yielded but was able to keep his prominent roles. His nephew, though young, has been energetic in the cleanup effort of his nation but is also no puppet of the Regalians. Indeed, the Masaya was silent for several years, until recent draconic world events saw them establish an embassy in the City of Regalia and begin reaching out elsewhere. At present, the Masaya, while on paper having recovered its martial strength, is still repairing the damage its internal conflicts did with another boiling on the horizon though much of the populace is wary of such an event.
Much like its competitor state of Regalia, the Songaskian Masaya is built around a monarchy, with one supreme ruler (the Massya) and a royal family at the top, with an aristocracy delegated to help run the state. However, the aristocrats within the Masaya are much more powerful than those of Regalia for one key reason: their military power. Military merit is highly valued with the Songaskian Masaya, even more than family reputation, as it is the aristocracy who controls the military. This leads to a strange society of leadership where leadership is always changing, as is organization. Flaws, failures, or weaknesses on the battlefield, no matter how minor, are easily exploited by political rivals or families seeking to maintain their position and disrupt any who could challenge them. For example, a high noble will always be a person of considerable military skill, but one incompetent mistake by their heir can result in their family being dropped from nobility altogether. Despite this chaotic system, the general staff of sixteen remain in control of the sixteen Districts under their control. Only one family has remained constant during the history of the Songaskian Masaya: the Koné family. Their rule has generally been strong, and thus their nation has prospered from this. As for the role of the Mussaktu faith in their government, its role is fascinating. As a faith, they are literally the force that holds the nation together as, while at the top of the chain, there is organizational chaos, on a local level, the priests of Mussaktu are a great boon to ensuring local affairs are handled effectively. As they are also bureaucrats and administrators, they normally play key roles in regional civil government. Because of this, those at the top, whoever it is, simply need to ask those below for the appropriate papers and it is often supplied very quickly and with a high level of accuracy.
List of Rulers
- 95 BC to 10 AC - Oumar Koné I
- 10 AC to 31 AC - Oumar Koné II
- 31 AC to 32 AC - Youssouf Koné, the Six Month Massya
- 32 AC to 109 AC - Djibril Koné I
- 109 AC to 184 AC - Djibirl Koné II
- 184 AC to 216 AC - Djibril Koné III
- 216 AC to 258 AC - Djibirl Koné IV
- 258 AC to 270 AC - Djibril Koné V
- 270 AC to 303 AC - Ayoube Koné
- 303 AC to 303 AC - Musamansa Koné
- 303 AC - 305 AC - Kusamanu Koné, the Usurper
- 305 AC - present - Musamansa Koné, the Rethroned
The Songaskian Masaya has a similar set of laws though a different structure in their judiciary than the Regalian Empire, largely thanks to their faith of Mussaktu but also due to their societal beliefs. All Races are essentially equal in the eyes of the Empire’s laws, which lack the rigid rank system of Regalia. There is one Race though that the Songaskians abhor above all others though: the Qadir. The two sides have a positively xenophobic hatred of one another that had led to few instances of even amicable fraternization. The Masaya’s laws on Qadir are extremely harsh, and boil down to this: if they are found, they must die. However, there is nuance in those few Qadir who have relinquished their heritage, these rare few being held up as exemplary examples and are treated extremely well. They are forbidden from using their machinery in Songaskian territory however. The rest of the laws in Masayan society mirror the ideas found in Regalian Law against public disorder, misconduct, and so on. Their law is also egalitarian regarding gender and justice has long been applied equally whether female or male. The administrators of this law are two bodies, the local guard forces, and the priestesses of Mussaktu. The local guards within the limits of a city serve in a similar capacity to the Regalian Guard, with overlapping patrol routes and a great number of them helping to reinforce order rapidly when crimes occur. There are a number of minor crimes, petty theft, financial crimes, and so on, that only they handle and dish out fines and appropriate times in jail. But the major crimes, like murder, rape, and others are reserved for the judgement of the priestesses. These Mages are very powerful, not just because of their Magic, but because they are said to speak for the sun. Their system is far less kind than those of the guards and functions on a very cut and dry four strike system. Before a fourth crime, physical punishment before the public is done, increasing in severity each time and based on the crime, hands or fingers can also be chopped off as a permanent physical reminder of it. From then on, jail sentences ranging from five to twenty years are instituted, though while in prison, they are expected to reform and commit time to work like agriculture out in the fields, thus learning a trade to help them when they get out of jail. If a fourth crime is committed, the criminal is believed to have shown that they are utterly unable to reintegrate into society and so they are incinerated in a grand public display by the sun disk towers of the local Mussaktu temple.
The Songaskian Masaya was once the enemy superpower to the Regalian Empire, the two nations possessing a network of allies in and around Farah’deen, with proxy wars fought between both sides. But in the wake of the First and Second Songaskian Wars, the Bone Horror Crisis, as well as the return of the Allorn Empire, this line in the sand has been wiped away. While the Regalian Empire and the Songaskian Masaya certainly retain ties to their allies, there is little to no active conflict as the Masaya’s side rebuilds itself and the Regalian Empire has turned elsewhere. The Masaya, which once would have exploited the lack of material and military equipment sent to Regalian allies, is now more concerned with repairing the damage of their recent devastating conflicts. As for ties elsewhere, the Songaskians have long maintained relations with the Sihai in The Far East, shipping foods and materials to the nation in return for the same. They briefly also traded magical knowledge, but the political actions of Regalia ceased this. As for the rest of Aloria, the Masaya is disliked by most for their draconic origin, and hatred of the Qadir, but also due to their anti-slave stance. The Altalar as a result, have a mixed relationship with them, as while the Songaskians are a similarly magically inclined people, their freeing of slaves is irritating to Altalar slavers. Aside from slaves though, the two trade and deal in many other goods.
The Songaskian armed forces were once one of the most prestigious and massive fighting forces in the world. Made up of thousands of warriors trained in a wide range of combat styles within the Districts of the Masaya’s homeland, they were a diverse and powerful fighting force forged in the heat of Farah’deen. All Songaskian men and women must train for a minimum of three years in the military, and many remain within it's ranges. Much of the army’s core is made up of soldiers with shields, spears, and intense loyalty to one’s fellow soldiers. These soldiers also help maintain social order, as many guard organizations also featured off-duty or loaned military units within their ranks. Unfortunately, the Masayan army was dealt a serious blow by the Masaya’s conflicts against Regalia and themselves. The First and Second Songaskian Wars saw tens of thousands die in efforts against Regalia, as, unlike that nation, the Songaskians totally lack gunpowder technology. They rely heavily on their Magic to do the more devastating works of war, but such a thing requires close-quarters fighting, and sometimes, that was just untenable. In the years since their conflict have ended, the Districts and their forces have been rebuilding, and have reached the same numbers as they held a decade ago. It still stands unproven if these new soldiers also hold the mettle of those men and women from decades past.
The Songaskian Masaya have a poor economy as their landmass is largely void of natural resources extracted through any other method than undead, Mage-controled workers. Much of this material is kept by the Songaskians for their own uses, but the one material they have in great abundance is Gold, using it to buy foodstuffs and more from other nations of Aloria. There was also once a thriving piracy economy, where crews could sell their services to the Masaya in return for access to unique goods as well as handsome pay, in return giving over much they would steal from others. In the wake of all the recent conflicts with Regalia though, such a trade was significantly damaged, and now, the Masaya focuses their piracy on the unknown mess of lands in Essalonia.
The Songaskian Masaya as a state is entirely devoted to the faith of Mussaktu. No other faith is as adhered to in their land. They view foreign faiths as false constructs, especially Unionism, but permits its private worship alongside faiths such as Estellon. However, there has been a change in recent years. For starters, a Unionist temple was added to the Palace of the Massya as a sign of respect for Regalian emissaries in his court in 300 AC.
The chosen symbol of the Masaya is a relatively simple one, that symbol being a yellow or golden rayless sun on a red field. The Masaya’s flag is found all throughout its holdings, but it sometimes also has a solid black ring around the sun to represent the Black Desert Dragons who are both the children of the sun, the parents to the Songaskians, and thus are the intermediaries between herself and the mortal world.
- Some suspect that Massya Ayoube Koné was actually murdered by his second wife, Esfihani Kinya Bireh, who was made the Pashawa (military governor) of Regalia during the First Songaskian War. The rumor goes that she was so angry with the peace treaty, she felt her husband had betrayed the nation, and so unleashed a Hagaan into the royal caravan to kill him. The rumor ignores the fact that she was back in the capital at the time.
- The Songaskian navy, once a proud fleet of merchant and piracy vessels, has been reduced to a shell of its former self. Where there were once five Admirals, there is now only one, and out of a fleet of hundreds, perhaps only a few dozen ships remain.