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"I call to order the 298th Grand Resolutions Council, and the 2,980th Convening of the Large and Small Workers' Assemblies!"
- Officiator Thonapa Namdol, at the most recent overlap in annual and decennial meetings between the loose governing bodies of the People's Anarcho-Syndicalistic Communes of Pach-Pah Yul, 293 AR
"RECALL DELEGATE SAMTEN TITU! GUAMANSURI FOR LARGE COUNCIL!"
- An election season leaflet from Pansech Province, circa 246 AR.
The last Miqh Pach-Pah was buried without blessing or ceremony (but also without further insult or defamation) in an undisclosed location in one of the gardens of his palace. The bodies of his advisers would hang over the broken gates for some time in cages gilt with all of the precious stones and metals which they had fostered the mining of. The empire without an emperor entered a deep and extended period of mourning and protracted activity. The Pach-Pahs vanished from international commerce and society almost entirely as they attempted to piece their homes and lives back together, to say nothing of the internal struggles of understanding who and what they now were.
With the collapse of the semi-divine cult surrounding the Miqh, those with faith shaken yet unbroken turned in greater numbers and in greater piety toward the other gods of the mountains. They threw themselves upon the mercy of the deities of right conduct and justice, and prayed for those who had been lost to the underworld. A deep, collective sense of grief, guilt, and catharsis kept them united, where once the ties of common government had done the same.
This marked the point in time when the gods of the underworld were also venerated. Prior to that, stretching as far back as the early period of Pach-Pah history, those of the deep and dark places had been feared and warded against. Evil was associated with them, and they were only appeased in an attempt to ward off misfortune. Now, the fear remained truer than ever, but it was laced with a desperate hope that those whom they had taken into their keeping were being treated well. Indeed, the living hoped that the same could be had for themselves, if a buried death awaited them in the end. the practice of digging architecture entirely below the surface was abandoned in the same decade as the Collapse, save for when a temple dedicated to the gods below needed building.
The surviving instances of nobility throughout the provinces remained in the custody of various groups of revolutionaries for some time, but further spilling of blood was out of the question, now that everyone had seemed to finally "wake up" from the illusion of bloated royalty. The memoirs of former governors and their children are well-documented in the following century, as they attempted to reintegrate with those whom they had stayed above and separate from. Progress was slow, and famine was frequent in those regions where infrastructure had been damaged the most heavily. But in their reduced state, the people of the mountains consolidated, and experienced a measure of regrowth.
Eventually the question of "what next?" was difficult to ignore. And unlike the aftermath of our own experiences of disaster, vast gulfs of distance between major players did not prevent the highlanders from achieving greater cooperation once again. In the first of many summits to come, the representatives of each former province met at the base of the peak where the ruined imperial palace once stood. With each was an entourage of representatives of each industry found in that province, for over the course of the empire's history, its people had undergone quite a significant degree of specialization into various disciplines.
The various members of each regimented form of livelihood, whether they were the heads of valley ranches or of stoneworking groups, quickly found themselves in agreement about what their respective peoples needed and wanted for the future. Of course they did not agree so readily with each other group's decisions, and bickering ensued. It was only by taking on a role of arbitration did the representatives of each province at large manage to instill a state of quiet order, from which the first rough agreements on group policy were drawn up. Each industry would work toward both representation and self-regulation, and each regional government would work together to maintain a level of cooperation and public welfare between all moving parts. "Solidarity Without Kings" became something of a rallying mantra for the Pach-Pahs.
It would be a dizzying and frankly impossible task for an indigenous expert on political history of the Pach-Pahs to produce a comprehensive and all-encompassing list of the various changes between that point and now, and being that I have neither the blood ties nor the training to do so, it would be doubly so for me to attempt. But I can say with confidence that, despite nearly three thousand years of time passing, the Pach-Pahs have maintained a remarkable degree of faithfulness to that first council's resolutions. There have been many changes, transformations, and upheavals since, with more than one Trade War or would-be monarch inflicting themselves upon the people of the mountains. But in the spirit of perpetual revolution, each of these challenges has been met, dealt with, and then spun to resemble that old precept.
Before my more aristocratic readers tear this document up in a white-knuckled rage, be aware that though they constantly push against it, hierarchy is difficult to avoid entirely within this patchwork blanket of industry-communities. Furthermore, a continued and heavy emphasis upon family lineage among all Pach-Pah groups maintains a somewhat clannish divide between larger industrial groups, as well as a fairly consistent and conservative outlook on (albeit recently-created) tradition.
This, as well as limited international trade, has occupied our southern neighbors since before our own empire was divided. All things considered, they have done remarkably well for themselves. And I dare say that we have many lessons in adaptation, damage control, and human spirit to learn from them.
On a more scholastic note, I would also like to take the opportunity to push the support for Pach-Pach archaeological research. The discipline has its roots in the mountains, yet has enjoyed relatively little adaptation to the lowlands, even in regions as fixated upon its past as the denizens of Deneroth.
It is with determined optimism that I state my recently-approved budget¹ for an expedition into the mountains to accompany one such archaeological project will generate enough northern interest in the practice that Deneroth or even Nambar may soon host their own departments of history-through-earth-sifting.
¹ The initial offer of ten pounds of electrum is barely enough to cover the costs for equipment and non-university personnel, let alone the need for transportation and lodgings over a four-month period. It was quickly expanded to twenty-five pounds once I pointed out to the treasurers' council that they and everyone else on the University's campus would be free of me for a full quarter of the year if the funding was sufficient.