Head(s) of State: Eulalia Tessera Astharoshe
- Title: Queen
- Ashoka: Being that Eulalia is a distant relative of Razarod Evermore, ties between Ashoka and Angkar have been severed due to Orion's dislike of the Evermore bloodline. With the possible threat of war on the horizon, tension between the two countries have never been higher.
- Morrim: Enough time has passed that Morrim has begun to pick itself up again, thus empowering them to assist in thwarting Hemlock's reign. This was Eulalia's plan: With the promise of good tidings, Morrim would help facilitate Eulalia's rise to power and would help enable open trade between it and Angkar, as well as between Angkar and Soto. However. Morrim refused to renounce its neutral status towards Angkar, or lend a helping hand in favour of the Queen's ambitious goals, still choosing to observe the isolation policy. Morrim currently remains fairly neutral towards Angkar and vice versa.
- Soto: Whilst Eulalia lived in Soto under the guise of Monica Wordsworth, it was then that Soto allied themselves with her and Matthaios in support of their plot to retake the Angkarian throne from Hemlock. Angkar and Soto are currently on friendly terms, and trade between the countries is strong.
Capital City: Ildri
- Spring: Dry season. Often sunny, but precipitation is rare. Humidity is low, some bodies of water may have dried up, and bushfires can occur. The rainforest sees evenly distributed rainfall throughout the season.
- Summer: Wet season. Precipitation is common during the late afternoon and evening hours. Vegetation grows significantly during the summer, but flooding is a danger due to the monsoons that ravage the country. The rainforest sees evenly distributed rainfall throughout the season.
- Autumn: Wet season. Precipitation is still common and vegetation that began to grow during the summer is now yielding crops. Flooding is still a danger due to the monsoons that ravage the country. The rainforest sees evenly distributed rainfall throughout the season.
- Winter: Dry season. Often sunny, but precipitation is rare. Humidity is low, some bodies of water may have dried up, and bushfires can occur. The rainforest sees evenly distributed rainfall throughout the season.
- Stratera Rainforest
- Kashmir Beach
- Luin Islands
Exports: Chocolate, coffee, exotic plants and animals, metal ores, plant oils, rum, seafood, slaves, spices, sugar
Specialities: Slaves, spices, sugar
Agriculture: Although quite a bit of Angkar's agriculture comes from hunter-gathering in the Stratera, a massive marine economy pushes them to seek most of their dietary needs from the sea itself. Here they catch shellfish, octopus, squid, shrimp, shark, tortoise, and regular salt-water fish. Some freshwater fish can be found in the rainforest, but it is often difficult to find these small pools, and, for those that are accessible, they are almost entirely dried up during the dry season. As expert navigators and seafarers, it is much easier to fish than it is to scavenge the rainforest for food; most of a scavenger's time is spent looking for fresh water.
The military makeup of the Scattered Isles is completely distinct from the nations of Soare, owing in equal parts to a unique culture and geography. While Angkar's history has occasionally been punctuated with internal struggles between the city states of Ildri and Zedrin, it has seen nowhere near the amount of organised bloodshed as say, Morrim or Soto. Aside from breaking the shackles of Soare in the Second Origa War, the Scattered Isles have remained relatively peaceful, despite the odd bloodless coup here and there in recent years.
The Angkarians have two particular factors that influence the organisation of their armed forces. First, there is the caste system, which creates a distinct class in society dedicated to the art of war. The closest analogy would be Morrim's feudal system, although the Angkarian warrior caste are not landowners - rather they own and maintain ships for the Crown. The second is its geography, being an archipelago, nearly all of its resources are allocated to its navy which is the greatest in the known world.
Mercenaries have been known ply their trade in Angkar, usually as guards for merchant expeditions. The re-emergence of piracy on the Scattered Isles means that gainful posts have been more plentiful recently.
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- Angkar fields no cavalry whatsoever. They lack the pasture and the motive to maintain a meaningful number of horses - those few that do exist are used instead as draft animals.
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In the cities, the military caste is not dissimilar to that of Morrim, with tall men and women clad in stiffened leather and burnished iron plate. The Angkarian style of armour is somewhat different, relying on angled peaks and points to deflect blows away, as opposed to the rounded Sotoan or Morrimian styles. Their armaments are certainly what set them apart, with rapiers and bucklers in place of the spears favoured on the mainland, and with a select few armed with long arquebuses. They are disciplined and hardy, and unlikely to break unless the circumstances are particularly dire. However, their numbers are limited, and primarily they are used for peacekeeping in either Ildri or Zedrin.
The backbone of the Angkarian infantry are known as the Ocelot Warriors, the name derived from the skins of predatory cats that they wear. They are recruited from the thick jungle, where Angkarian culture is far more traditional than in the urban areas. They are equipped with light armour made of bone, shields of wood and hand axes, making them fierce and quick moving on the battlefield. They are also decorated vividly with the feathers of exotic birds on both their shields and weapons - a fearsome sight on the battlefield.
Their officer corps are drawn from members of the priest caste - oracles and ritual are an important facet of Angkarian military tradition, which leads them to fight with religious fervour. This does not always lead to sound tactical decisions, however. Their banners are usually decorated with the symbol of Manaco, though the priests that lead them are specialists in many kinds of worship.
In ages gone, the Ocelot Warriors had an important role as the various city states warred against one another. However, following the reforms of Razarod Evermore, the infantry serves more as a training ground for the young before they enter the Navy, and a retirement destination for those too old to serve on ship. They also serve an important symbolic function, and are a fixture of important mystic rituals. They are fierce on a charge and are doughty fighters, but though their morale is good they would be overcome by the armour and tactics of Soaren infantry, though not easily.
In a pinch, the Crown can levy troops from the tribes that inhabit the Stratera Rainforest. In the main, they are excellent skirmishers, wielding the javelin, the bolas and the bow. They move quickly through forest and jungle terrain, and are excellent at guerilla warfare - pitched battles being an utterly alien concept to them. However, generations of the slave trade has indoctrinated them to incapacitate, rather than kill - the latter being seen as wasteful.
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In the main, artillery is popular in Angkar, and they trade frequently with Soto for the latest innovations. Their cities, being coastal, are equipped with batteries of cannon and ballistae around the harbours. However, most of the artillery they procure is mounted on their ships, rather than to augment their forces on land.
The reforms of King Evermore lead to the introduction of rune cannons, bombards that fire shells enchanted by offensive battle magic. Their area of effect is therefore increased, and their ability to sow discord and destroy morale is unmatched.
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The Angkarian Navy is the greatest in the known world, in both numbers and discipline. In the main, they utilise three-decked galleys, equipped with both rowers and triangular lateen sails, giving them great speed. This is due in part to their crews of seasoned rowers, trained to pull in unison and trained for endurance rather than strength. They operate on the high seas, and as such have a wider hull than their Sotoan counterparts, although they are of comparable length. Angkarian galleys heavily decorate both their hulls and their sails with symbols of their many gods, giving them a vivid, and unsettling, appearance. Typically, they emblazon their prows and sails with symbols venerating Juracán, Antilia and Haribdis - and a priest serves on each ship, usually a specialist in the veneration of one or more of these deities.
They also have a raised tower on the prow of their ships, a design unique to the Scattered Isles, which is equipped with a ballista, a cannon or a rune cannon. This gives them greater range against opposing navies, although their designs lack rams, favouring instead to board the ships of their adversaries and capture them intact.
The rowers of these ships are drawn from the labouring class, and is the highest station people of this caste can aspire to. They are trained for power and endurance, and drilled mercilessly in their manoeuvres. Although they are expected only to row, in desperate situations they will arms themselves and fight alongside the marines.
From the age of twenty-two, members of the warrior caste join the Navy as a matter of course as a marine. Here they remain until the age of forty-five, where they are forced either to retire or rejoin the Ocelot Warriors. The most talented of them are chosen to become officers of the ship - either the captain, the helmsman or the drummer - which is considered the highest honour. This is decided through oracle by the ship's priest, although often the priest will read the signs as favouring the most able.
Angkarian marines are fearsome adversaries, armed with javelins and the traditional khopesh - a wickedly curved sword used originally for cutting through dense jungle brush. They also carry grappling irons and harpoons, and are trained to board ships in this daring fashion. They are made up exclusively of members of the warrior caste, and as such are full-time sailors, patrolling their territorial waters, guarding their merchant shipping and training in ship manoeuvres. In individual combat they are peerless, although they lack unit cohesion - priests and officers are looked to and obeyed unquestioningly when manoeuvring the ship, but every man thinks for himself when combat draws near.
Despite the presence of such a fearsome fighting force, piracy is exceptionally common in Angkar. There are a plethora of merchant vessels moving through the waters, and the Scattered Isles provide innumerable spots for hideouts and ambushes. Their activity is resurgent currently, owing to the political ruction within the state of Angkar in the past few years.
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- Magic, ritual and ceremony are ingrained in Angkarian military culture, as the caste of priests form the officer corps. Blessing of wards and berserk fury are often employed, as well as offensive elemental spells. Any magical ability is seen as a gift from the gods and employed liberally, although necromancy is strictly prohibited.
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The Phoenix Ships and the Vermilion Guard
If one spends any meaningful amount of time in either Ildri or Zerdrin, you are likely to see a gargantuan hulk of a vessel patrolling the bay. Known as the Phoenix Ships, they are twice as long as a galley and three times as wide, with a fearsome avian visage carved into the prow. These two ships dwarf any other man-made seagoing craft. Their keel is 'u' shaped, rather than the more usual 'v' shape, making them the steadiest vessels on the ocean. They are equipped with four rune cannons on the top deck, as well as a large ram, and three decks of rowers below provide their propulsion, as well as their vivid scarlet sails. They are the only members of the Angkarian military to overtly festoon themselves with symbols of Maketaori, the god of death. In battle, smoke spews from the mouth of the phoenix figurehead, obscuring the nuances of their movement from enemy vessels.
These ships are manned by the Vermilion Guard, hand picked from the best marines in the Angkarian Navy. They are subjected to a fierce regimen of training and mystic ritual, designed to test their mental and physical fortitude; should they pass these rigorous tests they brought before the reigning monarch to participate in a ritual signifying the deepest loyalty. They are armed exactly as other Angkarian marines - though their equipment is of the highest quality - and fight in a similar manner, though through the nature of their vessels their attacks are always devastating. They are identified by their full-faced steel helmets decorated with a white plume, their armour of blessed bones, and their thick crimson cloaks. Any pirate that sees the colour red knows to flee, for death is their only other option.
Nationality: Angkar was once populated by a swarthy people, those who were originally indigenous to the island. These people were taller than average, and of a rather solid build. Their skin was dark, shaded on the darker side of tan. Their hair was also typically dark, with black hair being common among the natives. They lived in a tribal format, forming a number of separate tribes which kept to themselves, avoiding interaction with other tribes. They were eventually joined by people from Soare, mainly from Morrim and Soto, looking to escape the presence of the newly immigrated Mianor deities. These colonies also branched off into their own cities, which stayed separate from the others, mutual fear and struggle for survival being the only things that kept the groups from winding up at each others' throats for a very long time.
Since the unification, the immigrants from Soto and Morrim have homogenized to some extent with the indigenous people of Angkar in places. The result in this case has been a people with a skin tone on the lighter side of tan, although factors such as the amount of sun exposure can sway their appearance either way. Eye colour is varied in the homogenized groups, and there is a large variety of hair colours, although darker shades tend to be much more common, and even those with skin on the fairer side are often seen with very dark hair, even black. There are still many people, however, who genetically have more in common with their Sotoan or Morrimian ancestors than the indigenous people of Angkar. And likewise, there are those who genetically retain the original characteristics of Angkar's native inhabitants.
As Angkar's chief exports come from either fishing or mining, the workers of Angkar tend to be a strong people. This is seen less so in many of the higher-ups who are often merchants, focused on trading said wares with other nations for their income instead. An exception is found in the higher-ranking people of the military, as soldiers are expected to maintain a certain level of physical fitness throughout the ranks.
National Designation: Citizens of Angkar are known as Angkarians.
Religion: The indigenous people of Angkar worship a group of gods, spirits, and ancestors that rule the whole Universe. They were said to govern plant life, water, the weather, air, space, animals, rocks, fire, recurring patterns in the world, and the planet respectively. Some of the Sotoans who migrated to Angkar have since adopted this religion after the country was unified, and some have spread their own Sotoan or Morrimian religion to the natives of Angkar. Physical representations of the gods are important to the Angkarian people, and are in the form of objects crafted from wood, but stone, bone, shell, and pottery; modifications and decorations on the body was a common practice in past eras, but is not quite as popular in recent times. However, it is practiced by a few, oftentimes more so by ascetic worshippers. These objects, drawings, and body art for the gods are respectively known as zemí. There are temples located throughout Angkar for each of the gods, spirits, and ancestors, some of which have long been forgotten by the people. People who look after the temples are known as Bohiti (the equivalent to shamans, priests and clerics in the Angkarian religion).
Officially, most of the country follows the original Angkarian religion. However, with the introduction of Morrim's and Soto's religious practices into the mix, various hybrid sects have been created. Many of the other deities, such as Morrim's Vespasian and the myriad minor Sotoan gods, have been incorporated into Angkar's religious practices in certain groups, but are mostly viewed as minor deities, subservient to Angakrian ones. There are still some divisions among groups in this manner, where the majority of the people who belong to sects that recognize the deities of Soto are descended from Sotoans, and the same is true for those descended from the Morrimians. However, it is certainly not unheard of for a sect to recognize and respect deities originating from both Soto and Morrim.
The most important Angkarians gods are as such:
- Yaya Extreme vital principle, great creator of existence, ancestral agriculturist and innominate spirit of interconnectedness.
- Manaco Old Spirit of Fire and Wrath
- Wala God of the Sun and male fertility
- Tia Tihuel Ancestral Spirit of Dusk and Dawn
- Antillia Goddess of the Sea
- Haribdis Goddess of Whirlpools
- Juracán Goddess of hurricanes and storms
- Coatriskie Goddess of flood waters
- Puntan Ancestral spirit of Astronomical design
- Fu'uña God of Rock, sand, and soil, and minerals
- Atabey Goddess of the Moon, fresh water, and female fertility
- Bárbaro God of animals, beasts and fabled creatures
- Guataubá Ancestral Messenger Spirit
- Yúcahun God of the Sea and Vegetation
- The twins Inayel & Mároh Gods of Benevolent Winds and Weather
- Guaban God of Air
- Maketaori God of Death
Women are able to attend both, although it is rare for them to do so in both cases, with the exception of stereotypical female jobs, such as sewing. This was a recent development in Angkar, pushed into place by the former Queen Kenna Evermore. As a new development, it is still not yet commonplace, and even still frowned upon by many of the more traditional-minded people.
Society: Angkar runs on a caste system based on wealth and social status. As one gains wealth and respect, upward mobility is possible within Angkar, to an extent. There are three main groups: the lower caste, middle caste, and upper caste. Each of these castes is then subdivided into three smaller classes.
At the top of the hierarchy is the upper caste, which is subdivided into the elite citizen class, the noble class (or nobility), and the royal class (or royalty). Royalty is the highest and most exclusive of the classes, and the one that governs the nation. One can only enter the royal class by either usurping or marrying into the royal family. Below the royalty is the nobility, a class filled with people who are extremely wealthy and influential. Official noble titles can only be granted by members of the royalty, specifically by the ruling king or queen; they can also be taken away by said king or queen, which means such a title cannot be acquired easily unless the king and queen (assuming there is one of each at the time) are in agreement, otherwise it would be quickly revoked. As the titles are bestowed by the royalty, most of the nobility tend to be former military or elite citizens who now work directly with the royalty, although they may continue their former occupation as well, and many either choose to do so, or are actually expected to do so. Elite citizens are merchants who acquired enough money and power to gain influence over a large amount of people and property, similar to a modern-day mafia, or high-ranking military officers, such as generals or admirals.
The middle caste consists of the military class, the mercantile class (or merchants), and the elite tradesmen class. The military class consists of members of the infantry, which includes foot soldiers, calvary, mage, and archer units, the navy, which has its own archer, mage, and marine units, as well as captains, and the guard, which consists of foot soldiers, calvary, and archer units who patrol the streets of Angkar, as well as areas of importance that require of protection. As combat is considered a highly sought-after skill, and as the military members who are not part of the guard often have another profession they engage in during off-times, they usually manage to amass a greater fortune than any normal tradesman does. A large part of their position is also their status as a legal arm of the royalty and nobility classes. The merchant occupation allows them to amass substantial wealth by default, and their money and connections place them in the centre of the middle caste. They also tend to be wealthier than the military members, but the aforementioned power granted to the military by their occupation is what places them above the merchants in the hierarchy. At the bottom of the middle caste are the elite tradesmen, who are the most skilled and sought-after tradesmen, or those whose craft is quite rare or essential. This includes many of the more advanced professions, such as architects and navigators. People in this group are often kept on retainer by the merchants, military, or sometimes even the nobility or royalty.
At the bottom of the caste system is the lower caste, which consists of tradesmen, labourers, and slaves. The tradesmen are people who have either learned a trade that requires a certain amount of skill, or possess knowledge of a certain occupation and organizational skills enough to oversee the labourers. Labourers do work that does not require any great amount of skill, and are often used as "strong backs and weak minds" by tradesmen in an overseer position. However, their status as free people, and not property, is what sets them apart from the lowest rung, the slave class. These people are owned as property, and generally thought to be working animals. As such, they have no money, status, or property of their own.
As one acquires wealth and respectability, it is possible to rise through the ranks of Angkar's caste system. Transitions in the middle are the easiest: tradesmen and elite tradesmen are allowed to attempt to join the military, as are merchants, although this is rare. Labourers are allowed to attempt to learn a trade if someone wishes to teach them or they can afford to attend a trade school, and promotions in the military can even raise someone up to an elite citizen. However, to advance beyond the middle caste one must have positive attention from the king and/or queen, either in the form of a military promotion or the granting of a noble title. Rising above the slave class is also nearly impossible, as it requires one to be freed from their current master/owner, either willingly or by a higher authority, which rarely, if ever, happens.
It is popular to think in Soare that Angkar was a largely undeveloped and under-populated country prior to the arrival of the Morrimians and Sotoans. It is an easy misconception to come upon, for the rainforest shows no obvious signs of large-scale alteration and the settlements that are still clearly evident are comparatively small. This ignominious reputation is only solidified by the fact that the Angkarians were so easy for the intruders to conquer.
However, the truth is that in the days before Soaren involvement, the Angkarians were a powerful people. In the distant past, there were several independent cultures crammed into these islands. They built cities of stone and maintained them againgst the eternal grasping of the rainforest. For food, they relied on silviculture: rather than cutting down the forest to provide land for farming, they maintained and altered the forest to make it produce the food they needed. Coastal settlements also relied on the ocean for food and commerce between islands was common.
The most powerful group was on the main island of Angkar was centred around the city of Ildri. These people were the best fed, the most populous, and had the most advanced culture. Isolated from the Soaren cultures where arts are to be applied practically and philosophy focuses on human actions, the Ildrians developed an interest in the flow of time and the night sky. Having developed an incredibly precise calendar and a deep understanding of mathematics, Ildrian philosophers were able to calculate astronomical positions thousands of years in advance and dates billions of years in the future. A complex religion was developed involving many different gods and a multitude of myths and legends.
Though Ildrian influence originally only surrounded the city itself, it spread of its own accord to the surrounding area. By the mid-400s BR, the majority of the main island identified with Ildrian culture and supremacy, with the largest exception being the people of Zedrin, who refused to answer to the king of Ildri.
For a long time this wasn't a problem, but in 423 BR, King Kukulkan was affronted when the people of Zedrin flat out refused trade and contact with the Ildrians. As any proud king would do, he sent out an army to conquer them. This was accomplished within two years, for Zedrin was poorly defended from land attacks, but rather focused on danger at sea. Zedrin was subjugated, their king removed and they were made to bring yearly tribute to the court of the Ildrian king.
Thus having access to this port city and the innovations of its sea-faring people, the Ildrians set out to explore the surrounding islands. This soon turned into a war for conquest, but a relatively bloodless one. After the first group of islanders was defeated and subjected to the yearly tribute, the rest simply capitulated, thinking that it would be better to submit to this gentle ruler than to lose everything in a foolish last stand.
So it was that by 399 BR the islands were united and began to identify as the Angkarians. Trade across the islands benefited all, though it most of all fed the Ildrian populace, who had more time to philosophize and calculate. Though the subject states of the Ildrians were allowed their own kings (so long as they were loyal to their ultimate masters), they began to assimilate Angkarian culture and even their currency. Because of this, the inhabitants of these islands became a roughly homogenous in culture, though, of course, with their regional differences in language, appearance and religion.
Save for the occasional squabble and tremor, the Angkarians were much better at maintaining peace than the people of Soare. Perhaps this was because of the nature of their philosophy and culture, with its emphasis on the metaphysical rather than the immediate desires of mankind. They did not put much energy into developing weaponry and did not even go so far as to develop the wheel for common use because circumstances did not favour it.
Thus the Angkarians lived in relative harmony until 140 BR, when a great earthquake struck the land. Earthquakes were not uncommon in the region, but rarely were they so powerful as this. The great buildings of Ildri were shaken at their foundation and Zedrin, as well as many of the outlying islands, were crushed under a gigantic wave. The roads that had been so carefully maintained were disrupted and many lives were lost.
The Angkarians tried to rebuild after this tragedy, but they would never fully recover. The Morrimians arrived in 136 BR, bringing with them a host of diseases to which the Angkarians fell prey. In their weakened state, the Angkarians could do little to fight back and so were easily conquered by the Morrimians in the east, and later the Sotoans in the west. The impression these foreigners got was, of course, that these people were weak, sparsely populated and uncivilized, and so they had little mercy for the Angkarians.
In the years that followed, the Angkarians were subject to harsh treatment. The Soarens did not understand their culture and so sought to replace it. The Morrimians exported Angkarians as slaves. The land was heavily altered to make plantations for coffee, sugar, and other such tradeable items, and the practice of silviculture was practically destroyed. Ancient Angkarian buildings and sculptures were knocked down in favour of what these foreigners wished to build. The reign was, in short, intolerable, especially in comparison to the temperate sovereignty of the Ildrian kings.
Thankfully, the foreign rule was not meant to last long. In 127 BR, the Angkarians entered a tentative agreement with Soto to overthrow the Morrimian regime. Riots and insurgency weakened the Morrimians and Sotoan attacks eventually toppeld them. In 121 BR, the Mianorites arrived, though they did not touch Angkar for some time. In the aftermath of the war and the confusion surrounding the time distortion, many Angkarians and immigrants to Angkar fled, but those that stayed managed to keep their heads about them and oust the Sotoans from Angkar. Thus they regained their own supremancy, though the government was weakened and greatly in need of a leader.
The person who took up the throne was a young Galarod Evermore, who had left Angkar with his family at a very young age. When Galarod (now Razarod) finally returned, he spoke of other worlds he had seen, and brought new ideas about governance and society back to Angkar. He convinced the cities to begin working together once again, now trading as equals. As opposed to the tribute system of old, this allowed them to share their resources rather than letting them gather in one place. Developement began to boom, and many of Angkar's inhabitants, both old and new, even began to get along in earnest. Roads were built, and businesses became truly profitable ventures. Razarod brought something else, as well: a healthy persepective on the outside nations. At the time, the Angkarians lived fully in fear and hatred of the Soarens, but Razarod convinced them that now that Angkar was independent and strong, these other nations could be their friends in trade. With the outside world now considered a bigger threat than the people were to each other, and also a tremendous untapped resource, he proposed that they unite, so that they could share their resources and protect one another. And so the monarchy of Angkar was reinstituted, with Razarod at its head.
During the Dark Conquest that began in 4 AR, headed by the Banshee King Andromalius, Razarod was one of the core leaders during the resistance movement against him. Although Andromalius never made it to Angkar, it was a legitimate fear of both the country's king and its peoples that the banshee would somehow find a way to conquer the island just as the Sotoans and Morrimians had done more than a century earlier.
However, in 5 AR Razarod's rule came to an end. He was apparently assassinated and the country came under the rule of a nobleman named Hemlock LeFleur, who proved to be a harsher ruler than Razarod. The most notable change to policy was the capturing of people from the outside islands to be sold as slaves to Ashoka and Morrim. The caste system, which had become somewhat lax during Razarod's rule, was harshly enforced by Hemlock, which caused great poverty amongst the lower classes, but greatly benefited the upper classes. So, while trade with Soare is as strong as ever, the benefits of this trade are mostly bestowed on those above. In this way, Angkar is one again hobbled and divided.