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New Estasia: Last Bastion of the Machine-God
For millenia, the people of Autochthon lived and worked, following strict guidelines in order to support their dying god. For millenia, most freedoms were strictly curtailed, because the slightest deviation led to death at the hands of a hostile world. Then the people came to Creation, and then Autochthon died.
The people of New Estasia were stunned by the loss of their homeland, but they were a hardy breed, and they acted quickly, repressing revolts and deploying their remaining forces in a withdrawl from the Estasian Seal. When the capitol, Estios, repelled an attack using First Age weapons, it seemed that the North would forever be under the control of the Machine, and so it has, for now, continued. Dominating almost 70 million people, New Estasia remains a powerful force, the last Autochthonian nation in existance.
Estasia is among the most strict of the Great Nations, but it has mellowed somewhat since the days of Autochthon. The entire population is given basic weapons training, and unemployment is nonexistant - everyone is employed by the State, which can change a person's job on a whim if it feels that they are more needed elsewhere. Most of the population works either agriculturally, in vast industrial farms, or on repairs and construction of new technology, overseeing the automata factories of the nation. Others work in the retail industry, although all businesses are ultimately owned by the government; it is a vast, socialist capitalism where money is more of an artificial concept than usual. Different jobs do earn different fees, and people are allowed to apply for transfers, but quitting is unheard of and not working is treasonous.
In leisure time, the population is allowed a much wider range of activities than two hundred years ago, in the Maker. Spending time in nature remains popular, although many low-ranking people in other nations would find the concept bizarre. Learning and training are still encouraged, and there is little to no cost for any level of classes; the government absorbs them. Art and culture are strictly controlled, but remain a viable option, as are radio or even television. And, of course, religious occupations take place during leisure time, and although it is no longer absolutely required, it is still very much expected.
In addition, the entire population of Estasia is required to undergo basic combat training in case of emergencies. All of Estasia has this basic training, and many continue to improve themselves - this is one of the only Great Nations where the general populace remains capable of a high degree of violence. Patriotism is also supposed to be taught - but this sometimes fails to take in tributary districts.
Thaumaturgy is regulated but allowed, and there is no sexism. Sexuality is unimportant, provided that population figures remain constant; a holdover of Autochthon is that population levels, while allowed to grow occasionally, remain strictly regimented.
However, there is a crippling flaw in New Estasia - classism. Specifically, New Estasia produces a small number of soulgems each year, and these are implanted only in babies born in the capitol, which are prepared to not be born with their own souls. Only those with established soulgems are allowed to reach the higher ranks of the government, as only they have proven trustworthy. New soulgems can be implanted in promising non-natives, allowing future generations of that soul to excell, and this is not entirely uncommon, but it is not common either. At the moment, no more than a quarter of the population has soulgems, and the percentage raises very slowly; this leads to prejudice and hatred of each category of society towards the other.
For the most part, Estasia's technology levels remain the same as those elsewhere in the world; however, they do have a few advantages over many other nations. In particular, Estasia has three industrial powers that grant them an edge in the modern world: Soulgems, alchemicals, and the two ancient Alchemical Matropoli.
Soulgem technology is almost unheard of in Creation; despite the soulgems that were captured or destroyed when Autochthon fell, the Shogunate cannot really replicate them. New Estasia can, if only in small numbers, and soulgem production remains something that they are proud of. Of course, as mentioned above, it is crippling their society, but it is an important part of their culture, and they are not willing to abandon it in favour of a more random approach.
Alchemical technology, on the other hand, is a direct outgrowth of the Matropolis. New Estasia cannot support a large number of Alchemicals; each of the two Matropoli can currently support only twenty Alchemicals, and plans are being drawn up for more city-machines to be produced to increase this number. However, the raw power of forty-odd mostly replaceable Celestial Exalts cannot be underestimated. In addition, the Matropoli occasionally produce something stranger: The Illustrious Burnished Dragons of Autochthon.
Specifically, the Burnished are Dragon-Blooded with Alchemical implants; a sort of Terrestrial akuma of the Great Maker. As the Great Maker is dead, those savants who understand these things are not entirely certain how the Burnished are created, but the simple fact is that they are; over a hundred of these Exalts serve in New Estasia, supporting the more powerful Alchemicals, and using primarily their native Charms, supplemented with the enhanced powers of their new modifications. There are also Burnished Apprentices; very young Dragon-Blooded who have not yet attained the experience demanded before transforming; at any given time, a handful of these exist.
Finally, there are the Great Cities themselvs. Currently, only the Matropolis of Estios, established during the Ashen Crusade, and the Matropolis of Kae, established seventy years ago, exist in Creation; it is difficult to establish machine-cities in the abscence of the Great Maker. However, it has been done, and it may be done again, given sufficient supplies of Magical Materials. The Great Cities need vast amounts of resources to be created, as they cannot simply draw it from the Maker, and this, combined with time requirements, are the two major reasons that there aren't more yet. New Estasia has amassed the resources for a third Patropolis, and a Jade Alchemical will be ready to begin transforming within ten years.
New Estasia has good relations with no one, due to their history. A few nations are willing to cut them some slack and deal with them, but even these dealings are tinged with distrust. The Balmori Republic is the first to hold out an olive branch, and is the closest thing that New Estasia has to an ally. While the Autochthonians don't entirely trust the Republic, they appreciate its protection of other Autochthonians. Similarly, the Western League distrusts New Estasia's rigid control, while appreciating it as a fellow enemy of the Shogunate, and trades with it regularly. Even Chiaroscuro is willing to trade occasionally with the Machine Nation, although this one is always touched with distrust and suspicion.
Other relations are worse. Both Pangu and Deheleshen still consider New Estasia to be an enemy, and many skirmishes have occured with both nations. New Estasia, for its part, has no liking for either nation. Rathess might have better relations or worse, but the truth is that New Estasia has had no real oppurtunity for meaningful contact with the Dragon Kings, and in fact retains little knowledge of exactly what they are, even after 150 years.
The minor kingdoms of the north mostly dislike New Estasia, and New Estasia dislikes them in return, seeking to control each and every one of them. Rebellions are a constant affair, and fighting them slowly saps the nation's strength.
And then, of course, there are the Deathlords. It should go without saying that New Estasia absolutely loathes the killers of the Machine-God, and no Deathlord is or ever will be welcome in New Estasia. They are considered the worst monsters of the Age, and any help will be given to any nation that fights them for any reason, even Pangu (were such help accepted).
New Estasia is deeply suspicious of the Anathema. Old stories still tell of how Solars drove them into exile, and the events they have heard of in the last 150 years have not improved their disposition. The Wyld Hunt is allowed into the nation, albeit reluctantly, and Solars and Lunars are no safer here than anywhere else. In fact, given that Alchemicals are very suspicious of such beings, and have the power to fight them one-on-one, they may, in fact, be less safe - especially in the Matropoli, who can generally find Anathema quickly and destroy them. Exceptions may be made, but it would take an exceptional act on the part of Solars to overcome millenia of distrust and hate.