the eye of the storm

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hamóta laie

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The history of Hamota Laie begins neither in Hamota nor in the Shihari Islands, but rather in the north-eastern continent and the country of Mircála.

Here, at a time that stands on the borders of prehistory, the prophet Aghosta appeared and preached to the people concerning the god Aghanon. Gathering a small but devoted following, he eventually led them to the Shihari Islands.

After the catastrophe of the year 764, when the volcano on the main island of Otágni Tsol erupted, a part of the surviving peoples of Shihari fled east and settled on the then deserted islands of Hamota Laie. It is largely from the writings of these people that the history of Shihari is known.

The Annals of Shihari


In Mircála Year 10 an obscure religious group from one of the independent cities fled Mircála, led by a self-proclaimed prophet, and settled on the large north-east island of the Shihari group, Otágni Tsol. The year was dated as Year 1 (so Shihari dating is 10 years behind Mircála dating).


They maintained a tenuous trade link with the independant cities, but broke this off at the end of the war, for fear that they would draw the attention of the mercantile league. Instead, they took to fishing to support themselves, along with some (limited) farming. A few colonists settled some of the other nearer islands, keeping contact (largely through trade) with Otágni.


Otágni Tsol was the main island for many years. However, the island was formed around an active volcano, which finally erupted, devastating a large part of the island, including the chief city[1].

The Kástúri formerly worshipped a wind-god called Aghanon, but after the destruction of the island many changed alliegance to a sea-god, calling themselves by a name which means 'The Betrayed', and Aghanon became regarded as a devil-god.


Three religious groups emerged: The Betrayed, who turned to worship of the sea-god; The Faithful, who continued to worship Aghanon; and The Faithless, who turned their backs on all gods.


The Faithless was originally a term of abuse. Despised and persecuted by both the other groups, they fled Shihari and settled on Hamota Laie. Yr 803 becomes Yr 1 of their new calendar.

Relationships between the other two groups remained strained. In the early days each regarded the other as little better than devil-worshippers.

Followers of Aghanon resettled the main island, and eventually established trade with Mircála. They retained the existing calendar.

The Betrayed settled on the two larger mid-most islands, and established trade with Junao and Raxanadon. They started a new calendar, with Yr 766 of the old calendar (the year when the new colony was first established) becoming Yr 1 of the new calendar.

The Shihari Islands fluctuated between trade and piracy, and sometimes both at once, but remained a comparatively primitive people for a long time, confined by the geographical limitations of their islands.

The islands divided into two 'nations', derived from the groups settled in Otágni Tsol (occupying the easterly islands) and Elesír (occupying the westerly islands).


From its first settlement Hamota flourishes. It establishes trade links with Mircála and other continental countries and soon expands into south island, known as Kyávé.


A war of secession breaks out between north (Hamóta) and south islands (Kyávé). The war ends with a treaty granting nominal overlordship to the north island, but the south island is effectively independant. Over the next couple of hundred years there are several times of conflict between the two islands, before Kyávé finally gains full independance.

Hamota grows increasingly bureaucratic and insular (though still maintaining trade links). Kyávé becomes more outward looking, but also somewhat more military. The séscári, mercenary fighters akin to samurai, with a code of honour, and a philosophical approach to combat and training, emerge in Kyávé during the struggle for independance. After independance is achieved they go on to become important figures, often local rulers, in the governing of Kyávé.


Kyávé divides (amicably, by common consent) into several provinces, for ease of government. Regular meetings are held in a neutral area (a small province -- a single city -- devoted to the necessary bureacracy).


The Kyávé provinces are ruled by single families, often descendants of séscári, who wield enormous power.

Hamóta island ruled by elected emperor (normally chosen from a small group of aristocratic families, but occasionally selected from outside). Election is carried out by provincial governers -- north island has a similar system of provinces as the south, but they are smaller and more numerous, and individually wield less power than their southern counterparts. Over time the emperorship has become hereditary.


Aghanon is possibly a corruption of Raxanadon, suggesting that the prophet who led the orginal Kástúri from Mircála to Shihari was in fact from the country Raxanadon, but these events are so far in the past as to be semi-mythical and uncertain.

Shihari is possibly a corruption of sceqtari, which simply means 'islands'.

  1. This barely hints at the scale of the catastrophe. The eruption not only devastated the main island, it sent a tidal wave sweeping through the rest of the islands, and even reaching the coastlands of Mircála. Before the eruption the islands are believed to have been inhabited by upwards of 3000 people. Barely 500 of them survived. The eruption also had a short-term effect on the climate of much of eastern Medísca, which suffered poor weather for several years.