Chapter 72-The Land of Religious Fervor
"The Land of Religious Fervor"

As he imagined, the brief cold spell faded rapidly and the pleasant--if late--spring of the north of Japan returned to Eishou-ji and all Ishikari Province. Jikken sat with Gaiyuchul outside of the monastery, sipping green tea on one such pleasant morning. His mind lay occupied with what he read in Gaiyuchul's Saga of the Peoples of the World, surely the most detailed text of its sort he ever encountered even if he found Gaiyuchul's flowing Namal prose challenging to understand. In particular, he grew curious of the peoples of southern Fusania, supposedly a warm and sunny land of many valleys and high mountains, and in particular their strange religions that Gaiyuchul described.

"Brother, you have seen a lot of things and been a lot of places in your lifetime, what might you tell me about the Kuksuists of South Fusania?" Jikken asked in an unusually curious manner. "How accurate are their beliefs compared to the truths we reach for as monks?"

"I know much of the peoples of the south," Gaiyuchul said after a long stare into the distance. "More than I ever wanted to know. Countless nations of strange barbarians live in that land with customs as diverse as their country's landscape. Their faiths are secretive and disturbing to me in what they demand of their believers, in particular that of the god Kuksu."

"Such as?" Jikken asked.

"Sacrifice for even the least Lodgemaster. One must devote everything toward protecting the secrets of the god Kuksu," Gaiyuchul explained. "When I fought as a warrior, the men and boys of the Kuksuist lodges attacked myself and my men with the most savage ferocity I ever witnessed and feared not their own death. Kuksu, and by extension the Lodgemasters, granted them their land, their animals, their crops, and the stability of the world. The gods of our people never demanded we perish like that to defend a priest or a shaman."

"What sort of god is Kuksu?" Jikken asked, wondering what sort of being might inspire this devotion.

"As I have discerned from my meditation, I believe he was a powerful being and a great teacher who lived countless years ago and walked the path toward enlightenment bringing many others along the way," Gaiyuchul explained. "Kuksu's stories are fabulous, his deeds impressive, and his patience in dealing with those southern Hillmen vast. Certainly he must have known other great beings from times long ago like Coyote and Raven. It is tragic his followers take toward such secrecy and frenzied yet ultimately meaningless devotion."

"Frenzied devotion..." Jikken reflected on Gaiyuchul's appraisal of Kuksu and his followers, devotion that reminded him of stories of the most fanatic warrior monks.

"Little could not exist without the Kuksu Lodge which controls the lives of so many people in the south of Fusania," Gaiyuchul said. "It is for their fanatic yet meaningless devotion I pity the Hillmen of the south as the most tragic race. Unlike other Hillmen, they build grand monuments and cities almost like our own yet they fundamentally misunderstand their god's intentions. For all of this, the Pillar King ended up striking down so many of them in those years."

"They did fight in many great wars, didn't they?" Jikken said.

"Indeed, many wars. I tried to paint an old story I learned from a prince of the greatest Tahsis [1], a story that described a battle of his ancestor Khutsaayi. Yet I could never bring justice to the Kuksuist warrior in his fury I witnessed myself." Gaiyuchul stared out at the cherry trees, no doubt thinking of some old battle he once fought in. After a while, he sighed as he repeated a truth he long since came to terms with. "We warriors of the Pillar King were just another invader among many to those Kuksuists. Our leaders came from different tribes of Atkhs yet to them we were all Atkhs. Countless perished in that strange country thanks to those fanatic men, a blessing from their god Kuksu who rewards them despite their misinterpretation of his wisdom."


Far to the south of the Wayamese Empire lay a diverse and rich country of mountains, valleys, and desert where all manner of people lived. Half of all Fusanians lived in this country and although it borrowed much from the peoples to the north it developed its own distinct culture rooted in its native faiths and centered around the village lodge. The people rejected institutions like the autocratic nobles of the Imaru Basin or vast servile populations and instead zealously preserved the rights and freedoms enjoyed by their ancestors thanks to the teachings of their gods which taught them the formulas to keep the world correctly ordered in their favour.

In the Central Valley and adjacent regions of this country lived the most prominent and in later times "typical" example of the South Fusanian peoples, those followers of Kuksuism. The bulk of them lived in the Central Valley and the Atkhs grouped together under the name Qatmaqatkh ("oak people") from whence comes the Chinese name Kama. The other great cluster of Kuksuists--the Micha, Menma, and Sani lived north, south, and east of Daxi Bay respectively, drived from their ancestral lands by the invading Wakashans [2]. Alongside the Woshu, Monuo, Yayi, and Mayi to the east and the Menma to the west of the Valley, these groups combined made up the so-called Kuksuist world.

The 11th and 12th centuries saw a great crisis in South Fusania as the Medieval Warm Period brought far worse cycles of droughts and floods to the areas. All manner of internal population migration occurred and conflicts with nomadic peoples in the mountains such as the Mayi, Yayi, and Hill Tanne intensified. The worst conflicts of all came from the people known as the Sea Walkhs, the South Fusanian term for the Coastmen. These Coastmen came from numerous different coastal ethnic groups yet their dominant component lay in Atkh-speaking peoples who moved south from Wakashi Island following whale migrations and seeking wealth since the late 8th century--for this reason, historians term them as "Wakashans" and their expansion the "Wakashan Expansion."

The Coastmen raids brought devastation to much of South Fusania, and as with the Vikings in Europe, the Coastmen eventually carved out their own states and tribal confederations along much of the South Fusanian coast. The most notorious and legendary of these raids came in 1125 when the ethnic Ringitsu warlord Khutsaayi alongside the Wakashan warlords Chakhwinak and Chikhatmiik led a coalition that sacked the powerful state of Suchui and thereafter betrayed his South Fusanian allies and devastated other major centers in that region like Esach'atuk [3]. The Wakashans settled much of this area and founded the city of Tahsis on the ruins of Suchui where their descendents became called the Suchuatkh or to the Chinese the Xi people.

Historians term this alliance between the clans of Khutsaayi, Chakhwinak, and Chikhatmiik and their many followers and vassals as the Central Coast Confederacy. They ruled a network of coastal city states from Dakhwa in the north to Tahsis in the south and held shifting alliances with various South Fusanian peoples as well as other Wakashan clans. Periodically they mounted great raids into the Central Valley and by the 1140s extended their rule and settlement into the region around Changmang Bay where they established the prominent city-state of Chabasapis [4]. Their ambitions lay checked only by massive coalitions of local nobles and Kuksuist officials and frequent warfare against other Wakashan warlords who sought to carve out territory independent of these men.

All three of these legendary Wakashan warlords died in the early 1150s, traditionally in victorious raids against their opponents, and all three--in particular Khutsaayi--became venerated as demigods among the Xi people and many other Wakashans. They left behind a network of city-states united by blood and clan ties that ensured the continuation of the Central Coast Confederacy. Yet no leaders as charismatic as Khutsaayi, Chakhwinak, or Chiikhatmiik emerged to truly unite the confederacy. As a result, the Central Coast Confederacy never again mounted raids as great as in earlier times and even lost ground to rival Wakashans, internal dissent, and concerted pushback from local South Fusanians. This marked the beginning of a nearly fifty year period of reduced raiding and general peace in the region.

These increasing successes against the Central Coast Confederation proved to the South Fusanians the power of their lodgemasters. Despite turmoil in the Kuksuist faith during the 11th and 12th centuries over the invasions and natural disasters, the Kuksuists survived and now regrouped more powerful than ever. This Kuksuist revival likely started in 1155 after the successful defense of the sacred city of Koru coordinated by its Kuksuist lodges against the forces of Khutsaayi and Chakhwinak--both of these men died within a year of this victory, further enhancing Kuksuist prestige. With a proven record of success against the discredited nobles, the Kuksuist lodges regained their influence and domination of society.

Further benefit to South Fusania came with the destruction of their enemies to the north. Coastman raiding in North Fusania combined with the rise of the Wayamese Empire caused a glut of slaves in the markets of the Imaru Basin, making slave raiding in the south less profitable. The greatest slave-raiding state, the Maguraku confederation centered at Ewallona, collapsed under Wayamese assault at the Battle of Winanp'asha in 1153 and were eliminated as a threat for almost a century afterwards. Freed of this drain of manpower from warfare and the slave trade, South Fusanian societies entered into a golden age of their own. Part of the South Fusanian Terminal Chalcolithic (1150 - 1300), in this region it is known as the Kelu Culture after the Chinese name for the powerful city of Koru.

The most powerful Kuksu lodges since the dawn of history were Koru in the center of the valley and Pasnomsono at the northern end. Koru's lodge gained legitimacy from being at the sacred mountain Onolaitol, while Pasnomsono's lodge gained its power from the sheer wealth of that city due to its position on the trade routes. Like all Kuksu lodges, wealthy citizens of each city dominated both lodges yet only in Pasnomsono were the highest ranking positions such as Director and Lodgemaster hereditary among the dynasties of the city's elite [5].

Both lodges competed for the domination of the Kuksuist world, an area consisting of almost 2 million people spread over 180,000 square kilometers. Initiated Kuksuists ranging from members of lodges in small mountain villages to the Lodgemaster of a large city like Wayhuwa [6] traveled to either Koru or Pasnomsono--or often both--to seek spiritual wisdom from the sacred sites there. Many went for secular reasons as well, seeking to study crafts as diverse as smithing, carving, and music among the guilds at either city. As a result of the growth in prestige of these two lodges, a certain uniform nature to Kuksuist rituals and beliefs emerged, although many sharp regional and ethnic distinctions remained, in particular those of the far south of the Central Valley among the Nankama of Lake Pasu whose Kuksuists often ritually consumed the psychedelic datura plant and held several of their ceremonies publically in open air [7].

Under the influence of these lodges, the South Fusanians increased their skill at war. Guilds emerged for training men in the use of weapons and tactics in warfare, while other guilds trained in constructing fortifications or teaching men to craft high-quality weapons and armour. These "guild men" formed the warrior class in Kuksuist cultures and proved every bit as capable as their Coastmen adversaries at combatting raids. Archaeological evidence of armour and weapons shows their increasing standardisation and proliferation, suggestive of this military revolution. The great weakness of the Kuksuists lay only in their poor coordination of raising and leading units larger and more diverse than several hundred men linked by ancestry, common origin, or lodge associations--this political fragmentation often caused the elected commander of an army a great many headaches in battles or long campaigns.

The competition between the Pasnomsono Lodge and the Koru Lodge came to a head in the late 12th century where they reputedly fought four wars over a sacred mask by the Koru lodge. This sacred mask, worn at ceremonies to impersonate Kuksu himself, had reputedly been stolen from Pasnomsono by the Koru lodge yet the Koru lodge believed it legitimately gifted. The War of the Mask, fought 1169 - 1189, pit much of the Central Valley against each other and formed the dominant political conflict of the day.

Unlike the violent wars in the Imaru Basin fought for the submission of enemies, this war, as with other intra-South Fusanian Wars, featured far more structure and ritual. Each Kuksuist lodge chose for themselves whether or not to participate in the coming battle, and the Lodgemasters and Directors could only seek to persuade their community to lend soldiers. When the soldiers gathered, they marched to an agreed-upon battlefield as determined by omens and traded insults, war dances, and single combat between champions until the moment they saw fit to start the bloodshed en masse. At this moment, the battle commenced in full and the armies sought to drive each other from the field and seize the standards. Campaigns took place in the spring and summer, rarely did more than 2 or 3 battles occur in a single year.

Despite this freedom from obligations, Koru and Pasnomsono each defacto controlled a large coalition that remained from their wars against the Wakashans and mountain raiders. Few lodgemasters and village councils refused the call to arms and the resulting ritual battles ranked among the largest in South Fusanian history with thousands of men on either side. Disobedient soldiers who found their logistics stretched periodically committed depredations against hostile villages, a practice the leaders turned a blind eye. At times, this resulted in sieges and completely "unscripted" battles and ambushes.

The war lasted twenty years and killed hundreds of thousands of people. Only attacks from the Coastmen interrupted the cycle of seasonal campaigns and raiding. Dozens of battles occurred in which tens of thousands of men died. Reputedly, the war only came to an end when the prominent Lodgemaster of Wayhuwa, who attempted to remain neutral before that point, accused Pasnomsono's Lodgemaster of using the war to establish permanent control over hundreds of villages and towns. Wayhuwa's Lodgemaster sent a great force alongside Koru and decisively defeated a demoralised Pasnomsono force somewhere south of the city. Afterwards, an internal coup in the Kuksu lodge of Pasnomsono resulted in the arrest and exile of the Lodgemaster and his clan.

Historians believe the war's end stemmed more from economic factors, viewing a wealthy city like Pasnomsono as having little reason to submit to Koru's requests. The violent conquests of Wayamese Pillar King Tsanahuutimna in the Imaru Basin were in full swing during the late 12th century, greatly disrupting trade as the Wayamese simply seized what they needed rather than purchase it from South Fusania. At the same time, Pasnomsono became unable to export Pasnomsono copper, a favoured metal for weapons and tools, thanks to the domestic need for them. With its economy in shambles and allied villages increasingly frustrated by the war, Pasnomsono surrendered their claim to the sacred mask in 1189.

The ramifications of this conflict echoed through the centuries. It ensured the Kuksuist lodge of Koru, rather than local lodges, remained the most prestigious in the Kuksuist faith. Although Kuksuists and the Kama peoples detested all but local rulers, the prestige won by the lodge of Koru ensured they looked to that city and traveled there as part of religious pilgrimages and for training as part of the various Kuksuist guilds. The lodgemaster at Koru became the only Kuksuist leader to take the title commonly rendered as "Grand Lodgemaster," signifying his spiritual power and wisdom.

Contrary to popular belief, neither Koru nor its Grand Lodgemaster ever led a centralised state or exerted any serious control over Kuksu lodges outside of its immediate area. He "ruled" as first among equals and others listened to him as simply the wisest man. The city council of Koru and its presiding "prince" they elected further balanced his power, even if those nobles themselves were members of the Kuksu lodge and thus his subordinates. The Grand Lodgemaster at Koru need not even hail from the city. The city's rapid growth in the late 12th century ensured a constant supply of new migrants to city, drawn by its religious prestige and local economy. In the internal politics of the lodge, they offered a counterbalance to any perceived attempt by the city's nobility to increase their own standing.

The peoples of South Fusania rejected the idea of a centralised state. They relied on each other first and foremost and the leaders existed to serve their needs. Each decision from any leader relied on popular ratification, with demanding and authoritarian leaders considered "acting Wakashan" (a reference to perceived authoritarianism among the Wakashans). Communities governed themselves, listening to no one but their own people. While nobles, the wealthy, and prestigious held great sway, their people held the final veto as they were free to abandon the noble assuming he abandoned his duties toward them.

Yet despite holding no organisation larger than a city, the Kuksuist lands of South Fusania produced works of engineering thanks to their communal model. Kuksuist lodgemasters often traveled and spoke with each other, and one topic they discussed and consulted local villages on was the building of earthworks, dams, and other improvements necessary for flood control in the valleys of South Fusania. Village leaders spoke among each other, proposed it to their people, and organised labour drafts, often attending to the project themselves as managers and foremen. Workers might travel many days away to a job site where they worked until its completion, upon whence they either returned home or cooperated on another project.

While the late 12th century saw a great uptick in the number of dams, perhaps the most notable example of South Fusanian ingenuity was the system of levees, canals, and earthworks found in the Yuliu Delta [8]. Numerous Sani lived in this marshy area, taking shelter from aggressive Wakashan tribes, often joined by similar refugees. Through their collective effort--and the aid of unfortunate Wakashan prisoners of war--they raised polders out of this land and reclaimed it from the sea, holding it down with groves of oaks. This Sani community centered around the growing city of Yatuk which by the 13th century largely supplanted Esach'atuk and cities to the west due to the ease of defending the city amidst the endless swamps and narrow channels [9].

Such cooperation facilitated through the Kuksu lodges naturally led to allegations that the Kuksuists led an "invisible empire" that encompassed the entire Central Valley and a few adjacent areas with the directors and lodgemasters as shadowy enforcers. The lurid works of Gaiyuchul and other North Fusanian writers who visited South Fusania established this stereotype that became endlessly repeated in Chinese and Japanese histories, literature, and popular culture that in turn bled into Western conceptions of the region. But such "shadow empire" was nothing more than a shadow itself--no village faced coercion to participate in these labour drafts.

The Kuksu lodges spent great effort on mining as well. Mining fell under the control of various mining guilds, whose members were all initiated Kuksuists, who sold ore to various other guilds for smithing. Men from these guilds negotiated mining contracts with villages, typically paying them compensation for both the privilege to mine as well as harm done to plants and animals in the area. These mining guilds then recruited men from that village and others as miners where they extracted metals and stone from beneath the earth. With the population expansion in the region, many men turned toward mining to make their living.

Some of these mining communities grew to much prosperity, such as Ustamah in the north of the "gold country" of the eastern mountains, Nochuchi in the south, and Ilemo in the center [10]. These communities held large Kuksuist lodges which helped direct the exploitation of the mining. In addition, these mining centers served as centers for towey goat breeding and weaving, necessary for the frigid winters in the mountains.

The construction and expansion of mining communities often led to conflicts. Although the mountain peoples such as the Mayi and Yayi had their own Kuksu lodges by the 12th century, they viewed the mining guilds as dominated by lowlanders and a means of cheating them of their land. Often they ambushed and killed outside miners or prospectors which invited retaliation. Typically the Kuksuist lodges settled these conflicts through mediating restitution or other justice yet at times open war broke out between villages. Here, the Kuksuist lodges almost always succeeded at forcing battles to occur as ritual ceremonies of bloodshed where soldiers met at a spiritually determined location for battle.

The products of these mines went into the most treasured possessions of the Kuksuists, their art. The late 12th century saw a great fluorishing of the arts as smiths and artists alike explored new metalworking and casting techniques thanks to the glut of metals in the economy. Kuksuist lodges especially desired elaborate metal masks and jewelry in their rituals while the increasing wealth in society led many to show off their new status.

This artistic innovation spilled into the architecture of the region. The traditional wooden houses and earth lodges became replaced with stone and wood construction for the wealthy, often richly painted with murals reflecting family tradition and folklore. The Kuksuist ceremonial halls greatly in size and while still sunk made of earth and sunk into the ground became surrounded by a ceremonial shell. Their most characteristic symbol became increasingly elaborate gates formed from tall columns studded with metals to reflect sunlight or occasionally arrays of stones such as cinnabar or deep blue seastones--the actual door lay behind this gate.

Regardless, the people of South Fusania prospered thanks to these mines that formed their main exports. With North Fusanian mines often suffering a lack of workers thanks to warfare, South Fusanian mines supplied an ample amount of copper, gold, and silver to the Imaru Basin. Minerals like cinnabar and orpiment also formed an important part of exports as South Fusania contained vast quantities of those substances. North Fusania considered cinnabar, realgar, orpiment and similar substances mined in South Fusania to produced more vivid hues than local deposits of those minerals. Crystals of varying sorts saw wide export, especially the deep blue seastones mined around the remote T'epot'ahl town of Ts'ayuam [11].

Asbestos mining and processing formed yet another unique product and export of South Fusania that developed in the late 12th century. In North Fusania, asbestos was rare outside of Ringitsu lands yet in South Fusania it was found abundantly. The Kuksuist guilds discovered the strange nature of this fibrous substance in repelling fire and wove shrouds and tablecloths from asbestos that became famed for their magical nature throughout Fusania. Lamps with ever-butning asbestos wicks lit Kuksuist lodges. Second to it's copper, Pasnomsono's most famous export were its heat-resistant, heat-retaining pots and wares crafted primarily from asbestos mined in the mountains to the north. While these goods were popular imports in North Fusania, some viewed them as spiritually tainted--as a result, Wayamese Pillar King Aanwaakutl banned shamans and priests from owning or touching these items in his legal code, a law sometimes cited early forerunner to modern asbestos bans [12].

South Fusania's economy also prospered thanks to their role as exporters of luxury goods from spices to cotton and by the 12th century, silk. Silk in particular became the most precious export of South Fusania thanks to the semi-domestication of the Fusanian silkmoth (Antheraea polyphemus)--as this silkmoth produced far less silk than the domesticated silkworm, only the absolute wealthiest might afford to wear garments made from it.

Writing in the 15th century, Gaiyuchul describes the price of silk and the secrecy of its production:

"In the grand market of Pasnomsono I saw a most beautiful garment shining as gold-tinctured silver and holding the most impressive softness to my touch. I asked the merchant who did serve the household of the great Lodgemaster of the city the cost of the good and he spoke unto me 'A great noble such as yourself shall foresake half of his herds for this finery.' Even in the lands whose people grow silk, one must give away all!

I inquired unto the merchant as to where and how the silk came from and he answered 'Only the wisest of the Kuksuist lodge know these mysteries yet all know the silk comes from the same oaks the finest of acorns fall from. The magic of the weaver's guild makes the trees fruitful in both acorn and silk.' Such hidden powers we might take as but another secret guarded by the wisest of the Hillmen of this country."

After the War of the Mask, the Kelu culture of the early 13th century lived largely in peace, despite occasional village squabbles mediated by Kuksuist lodges. This era consequently saw a large expansion of population and much activities aimed at clearing new land and effort at maintaining and improving it. Without the interruption of warfare as in North Fusania, South Fusanians were able to engineer their environment at a greater rate despite their more spread out population and less efficient tools.

Urbanisation increased as clusters of villages united together under the leadership of both their nobles and the local Kuksuist lodge. Often they united at the impetus of a powerful Kuksuist leader taking a position at a local lodge. As common in South Fusania, the quarters of the cities maintained their own identities and only coordinated with each other thanks to the Kuksuist lodge. The largest cities of all, Koru and Pasnomsono held around 10,000 people each with Wayhuwa not far behind and likely dozens of smaller cities contained at least 1,000 people.

Like North Fusania, the 13th century saw great disaster befall the people of this region in the form of the Great Drought. Starting around 1225, the remainder of the 13th century saw below-average rainfall nearly every year. Agriculture was imperiled as reservoirs dried up. Even much of Lake Pasu, the source of water for hundreds of thousands of people and the large city of Wayhuwa, receded in this drought. Wildfires spawned by the drought, accompanying heat waves, and expansion of human settlement ravaged the land, devastating mountain communities. Terrible famines occurred with regularity.

Unlike the Oasisamerican cultures, the Kelu culture and Kuksuist world proved more resilient, if only because of their more bountiful lands. Their staple food, acorns, stored for years and still produced in a drought, albeit less frequently and fewer in number. People clustered more and more around the main rivers and abandoned water-hungry crops such as maize or omodaka in favour of more drought-tolerant plants. However, this decreased available food surpluses, increased poverty, and led to periodic local famines. Worse, it left South Fusanian villages more vulnerable to flooding during the wetter years.

Warfare between villages and cities greatly increased as the combination of drought and flooding left people with few other options to survive. They clashed primarily over access to food and accusations of sorcery that kept away the rain. Often larger cities stoked this violence, lending their support to coalitions of villages in order to gain their own share of resources. In this tumultuous era, the Kuksuist lodges and their clergy only nominally adhered to their traditional role as peacekeepers as they refused to cede any political or military power to the nobility.

While pre-arranged battles still occurred in these 13th century conflicts, more often than ever a village might be attacked with no warning by a sizable raiding party. The raiders targetted the shamans and their kin, capturing and ritually executing them. Frequently they abducted young women as well for marriage, as many young men became too poor to pay the traditional bride price. Men and boys of fighting age they slaughtered to prevent them from taking revenge, leaving their dismembered corpses strewn about the burnt village. Always wary of supernatural vengeance, the victorious raiders often attempted to fell the oaks around the destroyed village and torched them for firewood to destroy the ancestral spirits of that village they believed the oaks channeled.

As in North Fusania, epidemics caused great hardship starting with the arrival of chickenpox and mumps from North Fusania during the late 1230s. As elsewhere in the Americas, South Fusanians lacked immunity or appropriate cultural responses to the epidemics which killed hundreds of thousands of people. Sweathouses and crowded ceremonial halls acted as the perfect vector for further spread of disease, and these traditional rituals left the patient exhausted and more vulnerable to death. Naturally, this produced vast amounts of death and caused regional collapse and political instability across the land.

The other great epidemic, seal flu, tore through South Fusania in the 1240s, exacerbating the ongoing famines in the land. This disease, far more lethal than the previous epidemics, killed about 1-in-6 people as a result of its inherent lethality and the poor treatment practices. Society reached a breaking point. It killed many members of the Pasnomsono lodge, but few of the Koru lodge, firmly cementing the Koru lodge's position in Kuksuism. Numerous prophets and religious movements emerged, not the least one centered on the use of cinnabar, realgar, and mercury as a cure for the epidemic and a means of divining the future.

Much as North Fusania used sacred copper plates to aid in curing these new diseases, the South Fusanians turned to cinnabar, realgar, and various mercury compounds. As in China and other parts of the world, the Fusanians attributed all manner of healing power based on the actual antimicrobial properties of these substances. No other region of the Americas employed mercury and arsenic in healing nearly to the degree as South Fusania. It was taken orally in powdered form, rubbed on the skin, or burned alongside herbal mixtures in hopes of curing illness. However, these drugs held few beneficial effects other than antimicrobial and purgative properties and carried harsh side effects which the South Fusanians attributed to shamans spiritually attacking their patients.

The Menma people of Changmang Bay in particular developed many uses for mercury thanks to the endowment of their lands with that substance. Legend tells their sages discovered all manner of uses for mercury, including pioneering its use as a medicine. The greatest center for both mining and the production of mercury lay in an isolated valley at the remote city of Ts'apanah [13]. The Kuksuist lodge at Ts'apanah guarded the secrets of cinnabar and manufactured various substances like their famous liquid mercury basins used for divination.

Around 1250, a unique method of producing arsenical bronze found nowhere else in the world emerged in Menma lands where smiths added realgar directly to the copper they smelted out of the cultural belief in the powers of the ore. They used this arsenical bronze to produce tools for sacred rituals such as masks, knives, and copper plates, the latter likely a cultural diffusion from the nearby Wakashans. They believed the spirits of the smiths remained within these items, thus ensuring their wisdom remained even as their physical bodies decayed from arsenic poisoning and the ever-present threat of disease.

Regardless of these adaptations, the increasingly hostile world produced all manner of adaptations in Kuksuism. Various codes of ritual fasting proliferated in this time, many of which also advocation cession from drinking water or juice. The most notorious of these was the Rain Fast, found among the Nankama of the Lake Pasu region that they believed summoned rain. In this festival held around the first full moon of autumn, inducted Kuksuists (and those who sought to follow their example) ceased eating or drinking for three days and spent their time meditating, praying to the moon, and consuming datura. After the fast, they sacrificed towey goats and rehydrated themselves on a mixture of goat's blood, mildly alcoholic manzanita cider, and holy water gathered at sacred springs and held a great dance and festival for three days. Naturally, many died of dehydration or exhaustion during the fasting or the dance that followed, yet the Nankama considered this ceremony necessary for the rain to return in the months that followed.

The old enemy of the South Fusanians, the Wakashans, took advantage of this time of chaos and weakness. Suffering from the drought themselves, Wakashan raids increased in scale and scope once more. They captured thousands of slaves in these raids and killed thousands more. Yet things changed from earlier eras. The Wakashans themselves were never more divided, and new Wakashan tribes continued to arrive from further north, driven by political events in the coastal states. Acting as both allies and enemies, they aimed to take full advantage of this great age of chaos in the south.

Author's notes

This is my first South Fusania (TTL's term for pretty much all of California and a sliver of northwestern Nevada) chapter since October 2019, so almost two years! I'd suggest referring back to Chapter 13-15 for an introduction as to the Wakashan migrations, the Kuksuist faith, and the general organisation of society in South Fusania. I tried to recap some of the elements as well as display how they've evolved and changed as a result of events both external and internal. Culturally and linguistically, the Kuksuists are a very diverse group, but because of their mostly shared religion and secret society and its regional influence, there's a lot of uniformity. If you are wondering, the Kuksuists draw influence from both OTL California Indian governance as well as African acephalous cultures like the Igbo who have similar classes of nobles and powerful religious secret societies.

Because of its acephalous nature, South Fusanian society is naturally very misunderstood by North Fusanians, East Asians, and Europeans who encounter it. I should note that even though it's much more egalitarian than North Fusania, a careful reading of this and earlier chapters will show it isn't a utopian society and it's still full of hierarchal structures.

This chapter specifically covered the Kuksuists and Wakashans, who dominate Northern California. Next chapter I will cover the Wakashan perspective on these events as well as their continuing expansion southwards. Then I will at last introduce Southern California, or Far South Fusania, which shares some similarities but also many crucial distinctions, namely the much different environment and the more localised religions rather than the more united Kuksuist faith. Updates will continue at a slower pace for the foreseeable future.

[1] - Tahsis ("doorway") is a common toponym among the Atkhs and peoples of Atkh descent. The "greatest Tahsis" refers to San Francisco, CA and in particular the Presidio. It was formerly called Suchui.
[2] - Daxi Bay is San Francisco Bay. See Chapter 15 for the Wakashan invasion of Daxi Bay.
[3] - Esach'atuk is Antioch, CA
[4] - Dakhwa is Manchester, CA and Changmang Bay is Monterrey Bay
[5] - Koru is Colusa, CA, and Onolaitol is the Sutter Buttes, a sacred mountain both TTL and OTL. Pasnomsono is Redding, CA.
[6] - Wayhuwa is a little north of (former) Lake Tulare, near Lemoore, CA
[7] - Lake Pasu is Lake Tulare
[8] - The Yuliu Delta is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
[9] - Yatuk is near Stockton, CA.
[10] - Ustumah is Nevada City, CA, Nochuchi is Mariposa, CA, and Ilemo is Placerville, CA
[11] - Ts'ayuam is northwest of Coalinga, CA near the headwaters of the San Benito River and seastones are benitoite, a semi-precious gemstone whose highest quality stones are found around its place of discovery, San Benito County, CA. Seastones are occasionally used for navigation by the Wakashans and later the Ringitsu.
[12] - California had numerous productive asbestos mines in the 19th and 20th century, such as the King City Asbestos Mine, the last operating asbestos mine in the US. In antiquity, asbestos was often used for the purposes I described while asbestos pottery was used by some prehistoric cultures
[13] - Ts'apanah is New Idria, CA
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Does South Fusania use a totemic system of writing like the Northerners do, or have they developed their own script, possibly on their own? And do they record histories, oral or not? I might have missed this earlier, but what's the role of women in society at this point?
Apologies for the delay in responding to these. I'm not sure when I'll get out the next entry, but probably in several weeks whenever I find the time for it compared to personal projects I'm working on.
Thank you as always.
Does South Fusania use a totemic system of writing like the Northerners do, or have they developed their own script, possibly on their own?
I haven't really gone into detail on this, but the North Fusanian system would not have spread south. For the Kuksuists especially, it's too associated with the Wakashans. That said, if you sailed into TTL's San Francisco Bay [Daxi Bay] or Monterey Bay [Changmang Bay] around 1200 you'd most certainly see totem poles in their usual role among the Wakashans in commemorating ancestors/important events, as religious art, marking what one particular clan owns, intimidating rivals, etc. Instead of yellow cedar however, redwood is typically used. Totem sticks are used for messages between Wakashans.

Most coastal groups north of Big Sur are Wakashanised and partially/totally assimilated into that culture and language and have adopted totem pole carving and use of totem sticks. This would include people whose closest OTL equivalents are the California Athabaskans and the Yurok, but not the coastal Pomoans who successfully resisted most Wakashan incursions into their land.

The cultures who follow Kuksuism do not have a writing system, instead using pictoglyphs and art to transmit ideas. Their society doesn't really have a need for writing as governance is local and what few long distance messages exist can be relayed in person or through an intermediary. Their society is thus predominantly oral.
And do they record histories, oral or not?
The historical tradition in South Fusania is distorted by the lack of early native historians like Gaiyuchul. But yes, they would record a rich oral history which later includes attempts to tabulate when the semi-mythical first Grand Lodgemaster of Koru (whose relationship with Kuksuism is akin to Zoroaster's relation with Indo-Iranian religions) lived. They would be able to tabulate using a variety of tally marks and other methods common to cultures practically everywhere.
I might have missed this earlier, but what's the role of women in society at this point?
I don't believe I've gone in much detail, but I'm pretty sure the implications are there. In any case, women in South Fusanian society hold complimentary roles to men, much as in North Fusania. Women may participate in the Kuksu lodges as well, although they are gender-segregated and form a women's section. Often the wife of the Lodgemaster heads the women's section. The women's section of the Kuksu lodges controls guilds that dominate practices like midwifery and weaving. As in North Fusania, much of the practice of agriculture is associated with women as they harvest the roots although men guard the fields and build earthworks. Crucially, women plant, maintain, and harvest from the acorn groves which South Fusanian culture associates with fertility and ancestors. Thanks to South Fusanian slaves sold far from home, North Fusanian cultures have absorbed elements of this as well.


It seems to me that the geography of the Central Valley and its flood-drought cycle would be the basis of a centralized state subject to something resembling the Mandate of Heaven. Is this in the cards ITTL?
It seems to me that the geography of the Central Valley and its flood-drought cycle would be the basis of a centralized state subject to something resembling the Mandate of Heaven. Is this in the cards ITTL?
My personal thought is that the flooding is much too traumatic. The massive 1862 flood left Sacramento under 7 feet of water and didn't recede for 3 months. The Central Valley was drowned in a lake at least 20 miles wide. The sheer amount of freshwater wrecked the ecosystem of the San Joaquin Delta and San Francisco Bay. And the 1862 flood wasn't even that large compared to others of its magnitude. It's highly likely these severe floods caused evolutions and displacement in California's native cultures throughout history.

That's why I decided to portray the Central Valley as an area of cooperative societies, yet not state societies, with their sole unifying aspect being their religion. They've prioritised adaptibility over anything else since they have to deal with drought, severe flood, and outside enemies (the Wakashans, the Hill Tanne, the Maguraku, and to a lesser degree other mountain peoples). They don't have a "Yu the Great" figure, because there's no cultural room for one (and it's likely that the Central Valley is worse than the Yellow River to begin with). They resolved the crisis within their religion by blaming internal corruption for Wakashan attacks and settlement (see chapter 14-15) and moving even more toward an acephalous ideal.

I should add that a religious center like Koru [Colusa] at Onolaitol [Sutter Buttes] can't "pull a Wayam" either (to use a TTL example), since while its Kuksuist leader is greatly respected, he doesn't necessarily have unrestricted power in secular affairs and has his own obligations. He would be less powerful in many aspects than the miyawakhs of Wayam whom Q'mitlwaakutl supplanted and he would need a chancellor/senwitla more persuasive and powerful than Plaashyaka who helped institute the religious doctrine of the Pillar King that helped bind most of the Imaru [Columbia] Basin and the Whulge [Salish Sea] area to Wayam (and animates attempted successors like Chemna) in the name of spiritual cooperation (and military subjugation).

Now if they had a few more centuries or even millennia, this era of theocratic acephaly might come to an end, but at some point the Asians and Europeans will start being interested in South Fusania which ends the period of independent development. South Fusania is simply too young of a civilisation, even younger than North Fusania, to end up that way.
Chapter 73-The People of the Bloodied Coast
"The People of the Bloodied Coast"

The greatest seafarers of the Western Hemisphere carved out their living along the foggy shores and cliffs of the western coast of North America, thriving as fishermen, whalers, pirates, and merchants. Traditions of sturdy shipbuilding developed over the centuries to support this and carried these coastal cultures from the bone-dry desert of the far south to the frozen seas of the far north. In these places they encountered, traded, fought, and settled among the local peoples and in many instances gave rise to new cultures. Perhaps nowhere better illustrates this mingling of highly separate cultures than the Wakashan settlement in South Fusania.

The Wakashan peoples descend from the Atkhs (or Attsu in Japanese sources), the indigenous people of southwest Wakashi Island (hence their name). Beginning in the 9th century, various Atkh tribes left their island homeland for the mainland in search of land for themselves and bases for whaling in what scholars term the Wakashan Expansion. They expanded far to the south south over the next few centuries, taking advantage of local droughts, floods, and conflicts to insert themselves into all manner of societies and gain power. The Atkhs established themselves as the ruling class over great swathes of the western coast, stopped only by occasional defeats in battle. Over time, some--but not all--of the peoples assimilated into the culture and language of their new Atkh masters.

Throughout much of South Fusania, in particular the Kuksuist regions, the Wakashans went by variations of the name of "Sea Walkh", walkh a typical descriptor referring to violent barbarians. Those peoples grouped under the heading "Sea Walkh" (some of whom were non-Wakashan speaking) included those as far north as the Kusu of Minugichi Bay [1] and shared a common culture as well as heritage as both raiders and merchants within South Fusania. These Sea Walkh peoples struck fear into the hearts of those they raided, yet just often peacefully visited villages to trade and marry into various clans.

Cultural assimilation of other groups permitted the Wakashans to adapt to all manner of new environments. For instance, the Xi people [2] (or Central Coast Atkhs) who lived scattered across over 300 kilometers of coastline from Dakhwa to Changmang Bay, owned few reindeer compared to more northerly Wakashans, with towey goats substituting as pack animals--indeed, only the Xi elite owned many reindeer and used them primarily as meat animals for feasting. The Xi thrived on a diet of acorn-based dishes (ideally richly spiced in the South Fusanian tradition yet also oily in the Wakashan tradition) and venerated the massive redwood trees instead of the cedar. Although the Xi tribes regarded legendary Coastman warlords like Chakhwinak, Chikhatmiik, and Khutsaayi as ancestors, within a few generations their culture morphed into a far different form.

However, the core of the Wakashan lifestyle remained that of a people centered around the sea, just like their ancestors on Wakashi Island. They built few farms and disdained the large-scale agriculture, with most of their agriculture focused instead on fiber crops like tules, cattails, milkweed, and especially the tehi fiber they used for their sails and clothing. They managed woodlands and planted orchards to provide ample timber for their fishing boats and trading ships, and from these woods they gathered much in the way of wild plants, acorns, and nuts. The Wakashans spent much time building clam beds and oyster gardens and their mariculture techniques allowed for a grand harvest of many plants and seaweed from tidal marshes. The heart of the Wakashan lifestyle remained whaling. They expected their leaders to lead ritual whaling expeditions, and those nobles who sought leadership ranks naturally followed this course as well. Successful whalers became prized members of society, for each whale kill brought vast quantities of meat, bone, baleen, and oil, all crucial to practically every aspect of Wakashan society.

Yet the Wakashan population was much larger than they could sustain through this system and for this the Wakashans relied on trade and warfare. They controlled access to precious shells used as currency throughout Fusania and used this to purchase large quantities of acorns and preserved food. That which they didn't feel like trading for they simply stole in large raids and often enslaved or murdered villagers to ensure a continual flow of tribute in camas, omodaka, and other prized crops.

The Wakashans played a crucial role in the trade networks that linked all of Fusania together and with the rise of trade with Aztatlan in the 13th century thanks to the people of the Hochu Delta, even linked Fusania with Mesoamerica. Their merchants customarily took long sea voyages, stopping at a circuit of ports and trading with allied clans and tribes before returning home. They played a crucial role in transporting South Fusania's many wares from spices and silk to their own products like slaves and whalebone, and those regularly in contact with the Xi and other Southern Wakashans received rare and exotic merchandise for sale. Practically every coastal port in Fusania owed much to the Wakashans who stopped to purchase and sell wares.

These sea voyages resulted in the crystallisation of the art of Wakashan navigation. Like the skilled Ringitsu navigators, the Wakashans sailed frequently foggy seas and developed adaptions to this. They shunned celestial navigation outside of noting the position of the sun which by the late 12th century they tracked even in overcast skies or light fog through various pleochroic crystals, the most valued of which were the deep blue seastones mined by the T'epot'ahl people around the town of Ts'ayuam. As with the Ringitsu, these stones became hereditary possessions of merchant clans and often sacred regalia.

Yet unlike the Ringitsu, the Wakashans focused primarily on coastal navigation and shunned the deep sea. The bulk of their knowledge centered around the location of eddies and swells and the seasonality of the currents and winds. Thanks to their widespread travels, the Wakashans became the most prolific mapmakers of Fusania and circulated amongst themselves various charts carved on redwood sticks where markings denoted areas with strong currents and wells, safe harbours, large bays, and the mouths of rivers. The so-called Khutsaayi Map, uncovered in the mud of the southernmost part of Daxi Bay in the early 20th century, dates to about 1150 and shows a remarkably complete map of Fusania stretching from the mouth of the Imaru to Changmang Bay. It represents the earliest surviving example of a Wakashan sea chart [3].

They introduced animals and plants as well into environments to the north. For instance, the hitch (Lavinia exilicauda), a hardy cyprinid often farmed in the aquaculture ponds of the Central Valley, became distributed from Far South Fusania to Wakashi Island, in particular the Imaru Plateau where they became frequently farmed in fish ponds by the 13th century [4]. Southerly Wakashans spread plants like redwoods far to the north where they grew as gifts to distant kinsmen and rulers. In some cases, the origin of these species as introduced by the Wakashans from far to the south remained unknown to local Fusanian peoples.

The tradition of Wakashan rulership and statecraft derives independently than that of the northerly Wakashans who borrowed the example of the warlord Kawadinak of Tinhimha. In these southerly areas, a sense of democracy among the Wakashans prevailed. Hereditary chiefs termed hawil headed a tribe and ruled certain territories, usually a village (or part of one) or a quarter in a city. The hawils in turn assembled and elected amongst themselves a quqwasakhuhl ("in front of the people"), who held authority in warfare as well as adjudicating disputes between clans. He carried nearly unlimited power, checked only by potential revolts of hawils which dethroned hated rulers.

The hawils nominally submitted themselves to the quqwasakhuhl and could leave the confederation at any time, yet in practice this was rare. A hawil who left a confederation left himself vulnerable to predation from outsiders, often the very same confederation he just abandoned. Quqwasakhuhls considered it a personal insult for anyone to leave a confederation, making warfare nearly inevitable in the event of succession.

The hawils expected the quqwasakhuhl to protect their rights and gift generously at potlatches so their territories might be improved. This involved matters such as the quqwasakhuhl hosting grand religious ceremonies such as the White Goat Dance that often involved crowds of thousands of people, provision of food and ceremonial artifacts to the nobles present, hiring priets, and paying to borrow ritual formulas and regalia from clans who owned them. The quqwasakhuhl was forbidden to seize ownership of anything for himself or his clan in warfare, instead gifting it to members of the war party and the deceased that which was taken in war, including ownership of acorn groves and other land. Often the quqwasakhuhl received this in tribute further down the line.

In many confederations, the quqwasakhuhl remained elective only within one family. Tahsis was the most prominent example, as history records that at no point after Khutsaayi 's conquest of the city and assumption of its rulership did his descendents lose the throne. His lineage remained so powerful that none dared to elect a man who could not trace descent from him. Only his mentor Chakhwinak's lineage carried a strength so similar, with even lineages as prestigious as Chikhatmiik occasionally being replaced in power from a confederation. A few other lineages carried such power in minor states, although this may be due to their small size or late dates of formation that one tribe dominated them.

A deceased hawil received an impressive funerary potlatch where he was buried in a large, ornate coffin usually made from oak which they brought to a funerary grove and placed high up in a tree. After four years, his heir retrieved the coffin and placed the skull in a sacred rack alongside the skulls of his ancestors. The hawil presented these skulls at potlatches among his clan as well as at political meetings with the quqwasakhuhl where they warned the quqwasakhuhl to live up to the expectations of the people and their ancestors.

The Wakashans of South Fusania ranked among the most violent and aggressive peoples in the Americas thanks their tradition of sea raiding and centuries of contending with both hostile locals and other Wakashan tribes. Unlike their kin to the north who considered it an unfortunate necessity to obtain wealth, they glorified violence and fighting for its own sake. The most celebrated men of society were those who killed the most enemies in battle. They held a pragmatic view of warfare, celebrating both trickier or straightforward combat so long as it accomplished the mission. The greatest death a person might die was death in battle, where their souls would be transfigured into owls (or if drowned, killer whales) and pass directly into the afterlife without the arduous passage other souls faced.

Like other Wakashans, the South Fusanian Wakashans frequently beheaded enemies to use their heads for ceremonial display or addition to family war shrines, yet this headhunting became institutionalised among these Wakashans. The war shrines became well-constructed, important buildings where the skulls of enemies slain by a clan or their ancestors were displayed in prominent racks. Often they used these skulls in rituals for success in battle, rituals that ranged from smashing skulls with their fists to grinding the skull up and drinking it alongside herbs. Occasionally they sacrificed prisoners or slaves (especially men) whom they believed related to the victim and added their skull to the collection.

The most famous example of their headhunting were the skull banners the South Fusanian Wakashans carried into battle. Allegedly, this practice emerged from a shaman promising Chakhwinak success in a raid if he carried skulls from his whaling shrine into battle and displayed them to his men. A skull banner displayed the crest of the clan which owned it (partially woven from human hair) alongside three human skulls dangling from it with a fourth (often a high-status captive) displayed prominently at the top.

They equally used other parts of head for their rituals. For instance, the eyes, ears, nose, and blood became ingredients in medicine consumed by warriors to strengthen them. The scalps they used as regalia during war dances to bring strength. Other parts of the head they fed to war dogs that often accompanied raiding parties--these dogs they considered dangerous man-eaters and kept them separate from other animals where they became the infamous Daxi War Dog.

Collection of heads dominated their warfare tactics. The least prized heads included those clubbed in or shot with arrows, while marginally above that came heads collected from the deceased. The most prized were heads taken from living enemies be it sacrificed men or especially those decapitated in one clean stroke. Before the emergence of swords in the 15th century, warriors primarily relied on axes to collect these heads although the most prized weapon to decapitate enemies with was a sharpened obsidian "sword" akin to a single-edged Mesoamerican macuahuitl.

Warrior societies existed among the South Fusanian Wakashans, the most of notorious being the Black Orca Society who practiced ritual cannibalism. The Black Orcas conducted these rituals in a remote shrine in the Zhaishuai Islands [5] off the coast of the Suchuq Peninsula (believed to be the gateway to the land of the dead) where members spent four days fasting, meditating, and flagellating themselves. They brought with them captives taken in battle whom they subjected to the same rites. At the climax of the ceremony, the men decapitated the captives, drank their blood, and devoured their heads raw. Only leaders within the society consumed the brains, eyes, ears, and tongue as this supposedly enhanced their senses and permitted access to the knowledge of the victim. At the end of this cannibal feast they drank copious amounts of saltwater to vomit out the body parts they consumed (lest they be totally lost to madness) and subsequently fasted another four days before returning home.

Only the most elite warriors or nobles were allowed to join, yet joining the Black Orcas meant foresaking one's inheritance and privilege to marry or participate in society. Society considered them unclean, subhuman, and accursed men who sacrificed their humanity to become elite warriors for the sake of the community. Society revered their feats in battle (where they often acted as berserkers) yet forced them to live in separate parts of the community and often accused them of using black magic. Children of Black Orcas (invariably born of slave women, and thus considered slaves themselves) were regarded as accursed outcasts even by other slaves--these children and their descendents formed a distinct class of untouchables among the Wakashans.

The faith of the South Fusanian Wakashans emerged primarily out of their traditional religious practices, borrowing elements of the World Renewal religion of several coastal peoples they assimilated alongside many indigenous innovations. Their religion centered on the desire to bend nature to their benefit by using formulas and rituals at certain times and occasions. Most notable among these was the White Goat Dance that took place in a dance house symbolically buried and rebuilt every year. In this ritual, the people sacrificed an albino towey goat and prominently displayed its skin and eyes as they performed a grand ritual dance.

Like other Wakashans, they believed in four principal deities, the Lord of the Horizon, the Lord of the Skies, the Lord of the Depths, and the Lord of the Ground (who among the South Fusanian Wakashans found an association with towey goats instead of reindeer) [6]. However, they lacked the conception of a distant "Lord of Lords" whom all things eminated from in times long past. Beneath them lay a host of demigods also found among the Wakashans such as Thunderbird, Coyote, spiritual chiefs of the souls of animals such as the Chief Salmon and Chief Codfish, and numerous other culture heroes and gods of places like the Ueno River, all of whom were venerated on the proper occasions through ritual.

History of the Southern Wakashans 1150 - 1300

The history of the Southern Wakashans begins with the great Central Coast Confederacy (or Xi Confederation), a collection of clans and tribes dominanted by warlords like Chakhwinak, Chikhatmiik, and Khutsaayi. Based in Ch'ayapachis, these warlords struck south and conquered much in the way of new territory for their followers and assorted hangers-on during the years 1120 to 1155. They sacked numerous cities in their path, erecting new ones that arose as prominent centers for the Southern Wakashans who adapted to their new land.

Naturally, the familial relationships between these three men and many of their followers kept infighting within this confederation to a minimum during this era, yet by 1155 all three had died. As ruler of the Suchuatkh, the most prominent tribe and rulers of Tahsis, the heirs of Khutsaayi attempted to exert their influence over other tribes yet their influence faded. The heirs of Chakhwinak and Chikhatmiik rejected the heirs of Khutsaayi's influence and the confederation existed in name only before finally violently tearing apart by 1170.

During the next thirty years, these three new confederations more or less peacefully co-existed, occasionally allying with each other for the sake of raids and defense. During this era, the traditional culture of the Southern Wakashans evolved--for instance, Khutsaayi's eldest grandson Nunak the Younger abdictated his position as quqwasakhuhl and became the founder of the Black Orca Society. Their central goal remained fighting against the Kuksuists around them and expanding their territory, and as a result the martial mentality of their culture formed.

Yet outsiders once again appeared to cause turmoil starting in the late 12th century. That year saw the great Wayamese campaigns in Wakashi Island that drove off many clans, starting a chain reaction of migration over the next century that stretched far south along the coast. Crews and warriors became easier to find for ambitious nobles who wanted easy wealth, and conflict without end began. For the South Wakashans, this influx of newcomers aided them in their own conflicts against the Kuksuists yet just as often sought to carve out territory for themselves.

The first great sign of turmoil came in 1209 when a band of hired Wakashans from the north revolted, burnt Tahsis, and killed its ruler, seizing ships to escape to Ch'ayapachis. Tahsis recovered from this by inviting even more clans to settle in the city to replace the deceased, yet these clans took an increasingly aggressive role in politics and routinely deposed princes in favour of their relatives. Similar events occurred in other major Southern Wakashan politics in this era.

By the 1230s, the onset of drought throughout Fusania forced yet more migration yet now the invaders from the north chose to carve out their own states along the coast. Often they failed, ending up incorporated into other tribes who took pity on them, yet at times they succeeded. The remnants of the Central Coast Confederacy shattered under this influx of invaders and many smaller confederacies took their place. This gave the Kuksuist and other states of South Fusania a reprieve during their own turmoil during the drought.

These invasions and migrations led to further Wakashanisation of the South Fusanian coast, settling thousands upon thousands of addition Wakashan settlers. The conquered peoples lost their identity and the later tribes and cultures whom the Chinese grouped together as the Xi people formed. By the end of the 13th century, the abatement of the drought in North Fusania and increased stability in Wakashan lands ended these increased migrations. More stable polities emerged along the South Fusanian coast, headed by various confederations who remained powerful players in regional politics.

Relations with the Kuksuist peoples

Despite the prominent religion of Kuksuism in South Fusania and Wakashan cultural assimilation of South Fusanians, the Wakashans never adopted Kuksuism. They viewed the faith as insular and linked to the barbaric "oak men" of South Fusania and considered its influence subversive. They forbade the entheogen datura, associated with Kuksuist and other native South Fusanian rituals, believing it a potent tool for black magic. It became linked to slave revolts, especially as the Kuksuist abhorrence of the hereditary slavery as practiced by the Wakashans led the lodges to aid escaped slaves [7]. Unlike in its homeland, the Kuksuist faith offered no opportunities for advancement in Wakashan society and often gradually died out as slave populations assimilated.

Regardless, Kuksuism fluorished in the most cosmopolitan cities of the Wakashan realm, brought by outsiders who remained resident and often secretly practiced by slaves. Attitudes of rulers toward the Kuksu lodges varied from either outright persecution to begrudging tolerance. In some cases, Kuksuists aided Wakashan rulers in controlling their slaves and conducting business with the bulk of the Kuksuist realm. The Great Lodge of Tahsis ranked among the most impressive Kuksuist meeting halls in all Fusania, while Hanisits hosted the northernmost known Kuksu lodge [8]. Claims of Kuksu lodges in the major cities of the Imaru Basin, the Furuge Coast, or Wakashi Island appear mistaken or outright hoaxes, yet genuine artifacts associated with Kuksuism appear on rare occasions in that area, providing proof of Kuksuist slaves imported to the area.

The Wakashans dominated trade within coastal South Fusania and carried great influence in the interior as well. They frequently visited cities and towns in the interior and used their wealth to marry into the nobility and gain access to great deals. From here, the Wakashans purchased much in the way of cotton, precious metals, spices, and other goods they brought back to their cities which they typically sold further north. Often the Wakashans purchased food as well in the form of acorns and preserved agricultural staples. In exchange, the Wakashans provided the South Fusanians with whale products, finished goods from further north, and the shells used for money along the coast.

Societally, local South Fusanians looked down on Wakashan merchants given their affiliations with the coastal "barbarians". The merchants never joined the local Kuksu lodge, as such a decision cut them off from their home community, and this aroused the envy of the local elites. They often became suspected of helping local princes rule without the consent of the people, the very act of which was referred to as "acting in the Wakashan manner." Periodically, the Kuksuists expelled or massacred these merchants and their families and seized their goods, although this act inevitably provoked a reprisal by the Wakashan tribes so victimised.

While the Kuksuists despised the Wakashan practice of slavery, they took advantage of it in their own way. Wealthy Kuksuist often purchased slaves from the Wakashans to supply labour demands in their households, fields, or mines. These slaves were set free according to customary law, yet because of their lack of wealth and social status they ended up debt slaves to their new master. Kuksuists viewed purchasing slaves from the Wakashans very negatively as the act of lazy, greedy men, yet despite this the slave trade remained lucrative due to the demand for labour.

Tahsis served as the primary port for all trade between Wakashans and Kuksuists thanks to the ease of access from the largest rivers of South Fusania. Perhaps 3/4 of the sea trade from South to North in Fusania originated in this city because of its strategic location. Typically, goods were shipped downriver or on the backs of towey goats to either Yatuk or Esach'atuk and from brought by ship across Daxi Bay to Tahsis where workers (usually slaves) loaded onto larger ships and sent them to their destination, often another Wakashan port for the crew to resupply. Like all premodern port cities, Tahsis thrived as a cosmopolitan city. Despite periodic internal conflict, by the late 13th century it likely had around 10,000 people and ranked among the largest cities in all Fusania.

Regardless of Wakashan persecution of Kuksuism, a few Kuksuist groups became culturally Wakashan over the centuries in large part thanks to these merchants and local influence. These were the Miwa, Menma, and the Sani. Culturally, these Kuksuist groups bordered the Wakashans, held hostile relations with their Kuksuist neighbours, and held different Kuksuist traditions that made them amenable to assimilation. The Wakashanisation included frequent intermarriage, adoption of whaling and Wakashan shipbuilding, partial linguistic shift, and adoption of state societies. Notably however, these societies retained the Kuksuist dislike of hereditary slavery.

Displaced from their homeland, these groups organised their own states in the tradition of the Southern Wakashans as a matter of defense and coordination against their numerous enemies be it Wakashan or Kuksuist. These states acted similarly to the Kuksuism found among the Sani where the Lodgemaster of the local lodge ruled the community and passed his power to his nearest male relative on the basis of inheriting his spiritual power. Unlike other Kuksuist states, the rituals they conducted differed in practice, incorporation the Wakashan deprivation, flagellation, and frequent ceremonialism outside the Kuksu lodge. To the Kuksuist world, these peoples were the definition of the term "acting in the Wakashan manner".

The last ingredient of statebuilding emerged in the late 13th century--the consolidation of local confederations. By convention, the Lodgemasters appointed war leaders (called hachmanusis in Menma and similar words in other languages [9]) to avoid tainting themselves with warfare, yet these war leaders became increasingly powerful and prestigious through fending off incursions from external enemies. Their demands to the nobles and Kuksu lodges to supply them with warriors grew, forcing ever tighter logistical coordination between villages and towns regarding the food supply and construction of earthworks, a particular issue during the great drought of the 13th century.

The hachmanusis and similar positions perhaps predated the arrival of the Wakashans, yet during the 13th centuries became increasingly important. The most revolutionary change in this era resulted in the elimination of the village hachmanusis out of the need for efficiency and avoiding infighting. One regional hachmanusis, appointed by a council of lodgemasters in the region, now commanded the military actions and everything related to the preparation of warfare which included much in the way of food storage, infrastructure, engineering, and production of armaments. With his level of control, the hachmanusis became a noble prince in all but name.

Further Expansion to the South

This consolidation of local power during the 13th century blocked off further expansion inland and constrained the Wakashans to the coast. Raiding these more organised states became increasingly challenging for the Wakashans. As in other times this occurred, tribes of Wakashans once again began migrating southwards, driven by internal conflict in their own states and the constant desire for new land, wealth, and waters to hunt fish and whales in.

Immediately to the south of Changmang Bay lay an extremely rugged series of mountains with almost no safe harbours or sites for villages [10]. The local Sartumtuwas people (an offshoot of the T'epot'ahl people) lived a nomadic lifestyle herding towey goats akin to the Hill Tanne or Dena and violently rejected the Wakashan incursions along the coast. No Wakashan settlements ever became established here, although the Wakashans did periodically trade with the Sartumtuwas for the resin of the rare bristlecone fir, found nowhere outside these lands, which was used as an ingredient in incense [11].

To the south of these mountains lay the Chuma peoples, a collection of related ethnic groups who lived a similar lifestyle to the Kuksuist peoples of the Central Valley yet practiced an entirely different religion. The Wakashans first encountered the Chuma around the early 12th century in their search for safe ports south of those mountains and almost immediately the two cultures became struck by their similarities. In the Chuma, the Wakashans would meet their match, for they encountered another culture with an old tradition of seafaring and whaling. Along with the emergence of the trading cities of Aztatlan, great change would soon shake the far south of Fusania from the peoples of both north and south.
Author's notes

This is the "sequel" to Chapter 15 with Khutsaayi's conquest of Daxi Bay, describing the culture that spawned in the wake of him and other Wakashans.

Unfortunately, I don't have enough time to demonstrate how the ATL Atkhic languages look individually and have resorted to using OTL Nuu-chah-nulth. Given their divergence time (early 2nd millennium), they should be at least as distinct as the OTL Athabaskan languages are from each other, or similar to the difference between the Makah language of Washington and the northernmost Nuu-chah-nulth dialects.

Note that I continue to use "Kuksuist" as a shorthand for a diverse grouping of cultures ITTL (see previous chapter)--consider this use akin to using "Muslim" or "Hindu" when writing about the medieval Middle East or medieval India from an outside perspective.

Originally I included a sizable portion on a few non-Wakashan Sea Walkh people (Dachimashi, Kusu, and Coast Tanne) and the Wakashans of Ch'ayapachis [Eureka, CA] who are relevant to South Fusanian affairs yet I chose to omit this since I'll cover them in a later chapter, probably alongside the Wakashans of the coast of OTL Oregon.

The next chapter will finally introduce Far South Fusania after years of me discussing it in passing! I still have maps planned, but unfortunately I'm having writers' block and am still busy with other things.

[1] - Minugichi Bay is Coos Bay (the body of water) in southwestern Oregon
[2] - See Chapter 72. Xi is an exonym given by the Chinese to many Wakashan-speaking coastal peoples from Point Arena to Monterrey Bay who speak Central Coast Atkhic, a set of related dialects.
[3] - Maps are common in indigenous societies across the world (including California), yet a large sea chart like this, especially one denoting sea currents and other conditions, would be unknown in the Americas compared to very simple charts and of course mental maps of navigation
[4] - As the hitch is native to the Central Valley and in wetter, more temperate areas like Clear Lake, I'm assuming they'd thrive in much of the West Coast especially if people keep farming them and they keep escaping into local rivers.
[5] - The Zhaishuai Islands (Sinicised form of the Wakashan name Chaaksuhis) are the Farallon Islands off the coast of San Francisco, CA. The Wakashan symbolism derives from the traditional belief of the islands an abode of the dead.
[6] - The Lord of the Ground is not the deified Dena figure of that name, but a native Wakashan deity of the same name who in some aspects such as animal domestication is fused with the common demigod based on that Dena figure
[7] - This is not to say Kuksuism would be considered abolitionist by Western standards, as Kuksuist societies practice debt slavery and indentured servitude. The Kuksuists mainly oppose the concept of hereditary servitude and are especially against the slave trade, in large part because of slave raiders like the Wakashans or Maguraku.
[8] - Hanisits is Coos Bay, OR (at the site of the city)
[9] - Hachmanusis roughly translates to "the one who orders others to fight"
[10] - This would be the famous wilderness area of Big Sur
[11] - Abies bracteata, the Santa Lucia fir or bristlecone fir, an extremely rare endemic species to Big Sur. Historically the Spanish used the resin as an incense substitute in California missions.
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Can't wait to read up on Mesoamerica, Oasisamerica, and Aztatlan!

Always excited whenever I see a new post! So much thought and detail put into the writing and the world!
Aztatlan? But sailing from Socal, you'd have to all all the way around Baja to get to Sonora, and at that point you might was well go directly to Jalisco or the Tarascans in Michoacan. Unless they go up to Sonora to trade with the Oasisamericans as well.
I liked this chapter, and I'm very interested in what the Wakashans do further South. This chapter really helps show why the Wakashans were thought of as barbarians. Paragraph 5 in your post doesn't seem to be finished.

Can't wait to read up on Mesoamerica, Oasisamerica, and Aztatlan!

Always excited whenever I see a new post! So much thought and detail put into the writing and the world!
Thank you so much!

Mesoamerica I only have vague ideas about. A part of me wishes I could say "and in Mesoamerica the increased sea trade means the events of Land of Sweetness occur, please refer to that," but I'm sure I'll come up with something interesting enough that it could be the focus of a TL. As a rough approximation, I would say Fusania as a whole is like Europe, North Africa, and the Near East, Mesoamerica is like India, and the Andes are like China.

Oasisamerica will be covered after I cover Far South Fusania, right from where I left off in Chapter 19. Unfortunately, the drought of the 13th century is quite harsh on them, although perhaps not as harsh as OTL.

Aztatlan in the 13th century could not even imagine a world where the people of the Hochu [Colorado] Delta aren't so numerous and laden with trade goods.
Aztatlan? But sailing from Socal, you'd have to all all the way around Baja to get to Sonora, and at that point you might was well go directly to Jalisco or the Tarascans in Michoacan. Unless they go up to Sonora to trade with the Oasisamericans as well.
Sorry, that paragraph was a bit vague and I clarified it with an additional sentence related to Wakashan trade spurring the development of ports (this would be akin to the Vikings in the Baltic). Basically the Wakashans are stopping in Southern California to buy interesting goods, a few of which derive from Mesoamerica via trade with Aztatlan. They are trading with people crossing the desert from the Colorado Delta (who are the Patayans), which is directly in contact with Aztatlan. The Wakashans have not rounded the Baja California peninsula. I hope to address more on Aztatlan in my next chapter, although it might wait another chapter or two.

I certainly do have plans for Baja California, by the way. And the Tarascans too since they're probably my favorite Mesoamerican civilisation, but we're only at the end of the 13th century TTL.
I liked this chapter, and I'm very interested in what the Wakashans do further South. This chapter really helps show why the Wakashans were thought of as barbarians.
Well, these Wakashans are particularly violent given their cultural role models (their demigod Khutsaayi, and venerated ancestors like Chakhwinak), the circumstances in which they arrived in their land, and how they essentially believe that without fighting their prosperity will be destroyed. The ones back on Wakashi [Vancouver] Island or in the Hitadaki [Olympic] aren't much nicer, although the "civilised" peoples like the Whulchomic peoples or others in the Imaru Basin treat them all the same anyway. Probably in a later chapter I'll write about how more northern Wakashan tribes view the southerly Wakashans.
Paragraph 5 in your post doesn't seem to be finished.
Noted and fixed (I outlined this and wrote from that outline and forgot where I was going with it). I used this as an excuse to add some additional information I discovered while researching my next chapter. Apparently Big Sur wouldn't just be another area full of pastoralist "hill tribes" since a very rare tree (the Santa Lucia fir) that grows there has a resin the 18th century Spanish found useful as an incense substitute. I think given that fact and the rarity of the tree, it probably would become a trade good.
Chapter 74-Sailors of the Southern Seas
"Sailors of the Southern Seas"

Tsitqawi [1], 1170​

"Look, captain, swordfish!" A crewman shouted, pointing at the large deep blue fin breeching the surface of the gentle sea. Tekche spoke a silent prayer to the spirits of the sea, his soul in elation at his catch appearing in front of him and his tomol like this.

"Let's row that way, we'll soon find whales!" He shouted to his crew as they pulled their nets and lines in. This morning's catch would no doubt prove productive, befitting of a man descended from the line of the finest fishermen of his country. So soon after setting out they happened upon a swordfish, and the only question remained as to catch it now or hope it would summon its friends to drive a whale to the coast.

As they advanced toward the distant fog, out of the fog beside the rock of Lisamu [2], Tekche saw strange longships again. Their peculiar look stood distinctive against the ocean and fog and sky, as they seemed like two extra-long, extra-wide tomols fused together with a strange tree growing between them in which they hung a massive cloth woven with strange emblems. His spirit called out to him in urgency as he perceived the dreadful aura eminating from them. Those evil sailors and warriors would return to his city and bring death and destruction!

"Just like in my dream, they're returning," Tekche thought. "Those exact same ships, so many strange tomols like I've only seen in nightmares."

His crew pointed toward the longships and worriedly discussed amongst each other.

"Ignore the swordfish!" Tekche shouted. "Let's return home and warn the others!" He sat down and manned the oars, setting the pace for the others so they'd row as fast as possible. Soon they arrived back at the beach in front of the tall palisade that stood watch on the coast, and Tekche ran as fast as he could to his father's longhouse with its finely thatched roof and elaborately painted exterior. He will solve this, him and the other Antap [3] will save this city.

Inside the longhouse, his elderly father sat eating a simple breakfast of acorn mush topped with shredded camas and chia seeds. A stone cup of atole blended with manzanita berries completed his breakfast. Their gigantic new dog, who his father bought from those Jiqi to the south [4], suddenly awoke and gave deep barks at his presence.

"Father! They are here! Like I saw!" he screamed. The dog ran at him and reared up on all fours with his muscled body standing taller than he was, nearly pushing him to the ground.

"Quiet down!" his father shouted. He looked at the dog. "You too!" The dog whimpered and sat back down wary as ever.

"Summon the Antap society! Hurry!"

"I'm only a shan, not a full antap," he replied. "Were I wealthy and connected enough to be antap, you'd never need to captain your vessel personally and bring such an awful smell into my house." His father casually sipped the atole before looking at Tekche's elderly mother.

"Please fill me another cup," he said. "And fill Tekche a cup as well." Tekche's mother walked over and grabbed the stone cup, spooning it full of the thick cornmeal drink she prepared before she filled another.

"And were I a full antap, your mother would have competition!" Tekche's father laughed. "At least if I didn't hire a servant!" As his mother placed the atole cups in front of them, Tekche's father's face grew more serious. "Now then, tell me your vision."

"This was last week, when the priest gave me the datura tea [5]. I saw it! Like those ships that killed my brothers when I was a boy!"

His father's eyes widened at hearing his explanation. But of course it would, since that priest was also a shan and knew him from the society.

"The Society does say that villages have reported strange ships appearing and burning and killing. But these ships do sometimes peacefully berth in our harbour. I've seen them here and even in S'akhpilil [6] when I visited. But what did you see, please tell me more."

"I saw these ships arrive at our shores and out from them came beasts of darkness and cold who devoured the people and absorbed them into their horrifying bodies. The north wind blew and I felt my body freeze solid. I suddenly realized these monsters destroyed everything they ever encountered and became terrified."

His father nodded solemnly.

"And what are we to do about this?"

Tekche shrugged.

"I have no idea. In my vision, the monsters devoured us all and then devoured me, yet after they devoured me I saw even greater ships, far larger than even the ships of those monsters, and they summoned another set of vicious beasts that absorbed our enemy. After that, I awoke."

"Your vision seems prescient," his father said as he arose. "Greater ships, perhaps that means even those to our south or the Jiqi or Taiyuan shall save us."

"No, it isn't the people of the south, those other ships belong to some spiritual force of great power. We cannot rely on them to save us, and I fear they will destroy everything that remains."

"Then what choices do we have?" his father spoke. "We can't live in inaction waiting for this spiritual power to save or destroy us."

"We must hurry and summon the warriors of Tsitqawi and as many villages in the area as possible! If we win, perhaps this vision will not come to pass!"

"Very well," his father commanded, taking a deer femur whistle he wore as proof of office from his neck. "Bring my necklace to the antaps, tell them I sent you, and tell them I am advising we prepare immediately for battle."

Tsitqawi, 1170​

Yatsahlts'ahl shook his head in dismay and grit his teeth to ignore the pain. In one hand he held a thick wicker shield full of arrows, in the other hand he held a blooded obsidian dagger, chipped at the edges from frequent use. Two freshly decapitated heads swung from cords at his waste. Arrows lay stuck in the ground amidst the corpses of men on both sides, and skulls rolled about on the ground from the fallen banners carried by his warriors. The palisade of this city they called Tsitqawi lay crumpled in many places, yet the enemy city lay unconquered. Each time his warriors broke through into the city, the enemy pushed them back with their relentless archery.

Yet not Yatsahlts'ahl, for he and his personal guard refused to retreat until the last of his warriors sailed away into the fog. Only through this might he atone for the dead and gain something from this failure, at least aside from the amount of those odd longships they stole from this city and a few slaves. His nephew stood at his side with an arrow through his shoulder, yet still managing to return fire against the enemy.

"We should retreat!" He advised. "Our ships are almost free!" But Yatsahlst'ahl shook his head.

"No! Wait for it! They will cease firing arrows and soon attack us head on! That is when we will kill more and in that confusion we will make our escape."

Sure enough, the arrows grew less in number and dozens of warriors emerged from the palisade's gate with their strange war paint. Yatsahlts'ahl's spirit grew eager in anticipation as his surviving guard of ten men formed a close circle with shield and axe ready. They shoot well, yet they make for poor fighters. They attacked in a piecemeal fashion, rushing at Yatsahlts'ahl's guard with no adherence to tactics.

From behind his shield, Yatsahlts'ahl raised his dagger with a warcry and slashed it clean through the neck of the enemy warrior who lunged at him. Pushing forward with his shield, he impaled another man with his dagger before collecting the decapitated head. An arrow struck him in the side, yet the battle frenzy that took him ensured he scarcely noticed it. He fought his way back into a formation that seemed to repel all of the foolish enemy attacks.

Yatsahlts'ahl suddenly noticed a few enemy warriors hanging about his ship, one man of whom wore a short cape that Yatsahlts'ahl knew marked their nobility. They clashed with the oarsmen Yatsahlts'ahl set to guard his ship.

"Back to the ship, back to the ship!" Yatsahlts'ahl shouted. Remaining in what formation that could, the Wakashans fought their way out of the enemies that swarmed about them. A few men went down from the innumerable warriors, yet at least 5 survived. They drove off the war party that sought to seize their ships, but Yatsahlts'ahl chased the noble and struck him in the shoulder with his dagger. With all his remaining strength, he grabbed the man by the hair and threw him to the ground. His nephew leaped out of the boat and stabbed the man once more, pulling him into the longship with the others.

The guard pushed off from the coast and manned their oars. Even with only half the oarsmen still alive, and most of those men wounded, his speedy longship still managed to escape the archers that took up position on the beach. Yatsahlts'ahl himself took a seat at an oar and started paddling as fast as the others, trying to ignore the increasing pain in his side. The gentle rocking of the sea comforted him, telling him he'd be safe soon. Once I meet with the other ships, I'll find the shamans and be healed.

As that city of Tsitqawi vanished into the fog, Yatsahlts'ahl looked down at his prisoner. The prisoner drew heavy breaths, apparently bleeding out from the deep wounds the dagger left in him. He likely didn't have much time to live. Yatsahlts'ahl shook his head. And now I won't even have a prisoner to sacrifice in front of the hawils. Leaning over the man and holding the knife to his throat, Yatsahlts'ahl prepared to sacrifice him right there.

"What is your name?" Yatsahlts'ahl asked in the Wakashan Trade Language. He pointed at himself. "My name is Yatsahlts'ahl."

"My name is Tekche," the man groaned back in the same language. "It doesn't matter anymore, we are all doomed, just kill me!" The ship's motions grew slower as the impended sacrifice drew their attention.

Yatsahlts'ahl nodded, granting the man's request. He grabbed him by the hair and with a swift stroke of his dagger sliced it clean from his body. His oarsmen threw the torso into the sea, while Yatsahlts'ahl placed the head next to his other three. I shall make a new skull banner with these four heads. As for the name of this man, I will give it to someone worthy at a potlatch. He glanced at his nephew, the one who helped him catch this noble, and immediately thought he deserved it. It would certainly help tie him to Yatsahlts'ahl's branch of the family.

He found it increasingly difficult to row, yet salvation lay in sight. A torch from one of his longships put out much smoke and light, signalling the location of the rendezvous point for his fleet. He smiled wearily, hoping soon the shaman could attend to him. Looking at the head of the man, Yatsahlts'ahl thought of his many relatives back in Tsitqawi. Do not worry. The others will join you soon. Mark my words, I will conquer Tsitqawi and becomes its ruler, and then my heirs shall stand above the rest.


In the 13th century, the Wakashan peoples dominated the rocky coast of Fusania from their homeland in the forests and fjords of Wakashi Island to the foggy coast of Changmang Bay far to the south. They exploded out of their homeland in the 8th century seeking safe harbours, new trading opportunities, and people to raid and enslave that carried them far to the south in time. Their cultural strength lay in their fine shipbuilding, penchant for long-distance whaling, and social balance between temperance and aggressive militarism. With few exceptions, most coastal groups who the Wakashans ended up absorbed into a new local Wakashan society that coalesced in cultural fusion.

Yet in the far south of Fusania, they encountered a culture that in same ways seemed a peculiar mirror, the Chuma people who in their own language called themselves the Kuhkuhu [7]. Puzzled Wakashan navigators must have been shocked by the sight of a local South Fusanian people traveling the seas in sturdy redwood canoes of up to 10 meters in length, a great difference from the small, more fragile reed canoes used by those coastal South Fusanians they knew of. Further, the Chuma engaged in well-defined maritime trade networks within a very regionally integrated society that spoke nearly the same language. With their commercial society, the Chuma of the early second millennium were no doubt the most prosperous people of the region later called Far South Fusania.

Culturally and geographically, the Chuma were the northernmost people of the region later called Far South Fusania. Compared to the Kuksuists to their northeast, they practiced different rituals, held starkly different worldviews, and live a far different lifestyle. For instance, among the Chuma the Kuksu society was a foreign and unwelcome import, and their equivalent of Kuksu played only a minor role in their pantheon. In their agriculture they used simpler irrigation and lacked the complex earthworks of the Central Valley and most distinctively, by the 11th century relied on the three sisters as a staple crop.

The Chuma people arrived in their homeland in ancient times and possess genetic continuity with the earliest skeletons found in their area. They may have been among the first peoples to arrive in the Americas. The Chuman languages holds no apparent relation to any other language, not even distantly as in the case of many Fusanian languages, yet internally is rather uniform, akin to a far younger language family like the Romance languages [8]. Spread out over a wide area, the Chuma were the most numerous people of Far South Fusania. At any one time, they consisted of perhaps 40-45% of the population of Far South Fusania.

As with other Far South Fusanian cultures, a sharp distinction existed between coastal and inland Chuma. The inland Chuma lived in smaller and more agrarian villages, while the coastal Chuma mainly subsisted off the sea, the groves of oaks they tended, and small gardens. Inland societies possessed sharper hierarchies that depended much on slavery, especially as metalworking increased the wealth of certain clans. Yet the coastal trade and sea life was so wealthy the coastal Chuma, and in particular certain groups of island Chuma dominanted. In fact, the very exonym of the Chuma derived from the name the mainland Chuma gave to a powerful confederation of Chuma-speaking peoples in the Tugang Islands.

In many ways the Chuma were a typical culture of Far South Fusania, that transitional region between Fusania and Oasisamerica. Like other Far South Fusanian cultures, their modern culture originated as a local offshoot of South Fusanian cultures that employed horticulture of typical Western Agricultural Complex plants such as camas, omodaka to supplement their traditional hunting, gathering, and management of oak resources. In time, more complex forms of oak management and semi-domestication arose alongside the adoption of domesticated waterfowl, squirrels, and towey goats yet by that point, cultural borrowing from the Central Valley largely stopped in favour of a process known as "Puebloization."

"Puebloization" derives from the similarities observed between Far South Fusanian cultures and those Puebloan cultures of Oasisamerica. In particular, architecture, art, and agriculture were most affected. Oasisamerican culture appears to spread from Lake Pang [9] in the 10th century, where the Haiyi people of the Oasisamerican Patayan culture frequently consorted with their neighbours to the west during the periodic wet and dry phases of that lake. As agriculture reached both groups in this period, they effectively exchanged crops. With the meager and irregular water resources of much of Far South Fusania, irrigation maize and beans proved more efficient than the water crops preferred by the Western Agricultural Complex, although drought-tolerant crops like camas or especially those native crops of South Fusania like ricegrass remained in some use.

The regional expression of this culture in Chuma lands is known as the Chengla Culture (for the city of Chengla, itself named for the Chuma regional center of Shisholop) [10] and appears relatively late for Puebloization at 1100 AD. The Chuma built impressive palaces for their leaders carved into the hills and cliffs in their mountainous country and even reoriented their religious worship to include large rooms in they built their most sacred shrines. Cliffside dwellings--a challenging and expensive construction--became common for the elite who looked down over their villages closer to the floor of the canyon or valley.

The agricultural advances brought by Puebloization reshaped Chuma society. Their diet shifted toward being heavily based on maize and beans, which provide more calories than similar water plants while thriving in the warm, sunny climate of Chuma country. The population boomed rapidly as the Puebloization period dawned, reaching 200,000 Chuma before the Wakashan raids, droughts, and epidemics of the 13th century. It took less effort to prepare a field for planting maize than preparing a new paddy for omodaka, enabling labour to be turned toward both building cliff palaces and along the coast, building new sorts of ships to support the demand for increased trade and fishing.

The Chuma held a diverse pantheon of gods centered around the earth goddess Shup, her aide the primeval Coyote (or the North Star, called Shnilemun), her rival, the sky god Halapai, the goddess of the sacred datura plant Momoi, Momoi's other creation the great teacher Coyote, and Momoi's descendents the twin Thunderers who brought rain. The Chuma believed that unless they adhered to proper ritual, the world would come to an end as the Halapai would claim victory over Shup and thus scorch the earth and burn all that lived there. Twelve brothers born of the gods established the Antap society dedicated to preserving the teachings of these gods and took eight apprentices, ensuring the gods would always remain properly venerated.

Like the Kuksu society, the Antap society controlled various guilds as the leaders were either members or married to close relatives of members. They became incredibly wealthy by controlling the teaching and practice of various trades. Most importantly, they controlled the administration of a sacred drink made from datura, a powerful psychedelic herb. Without periodically drinking datura and obtaining visions, the Chuma believed one would have no connection with the spiritual world meaning they would inevitably fail in life. One without datura could also never reach the afterlife and suffer reincarnation as a fish. The control of datura connected the Antap society members to their spiritual forebears and granted them continued legitimacy no matter how much society changed.

The Antap societies dominated social life, yet were incredibly exclusive. Only twenty people were permitted to be members of a local Antap lodge--twelve true members called antap (hence the name of the society) and eight associate members called shan. The Antap lodge guarded the secrets of religious practices and organised feasts, rituals, and political activities, thus giving it incredible sway. Typically, the members of the Antap lodge included the headman of the community, his favored sons, the high priest, the shaman, and other individuals with great spiritual power. Induction into the Antap society required impressive amounts of money and gifts, restricting it to only the wealthiest. Unlike Kuksuism, wealthy and spiritually powerful women were permitted to join on equal terms to men and could theoretically be elected ruler.

The local Antap lodge selected members who participated in regional Antap lodges that formed the basis of confederations among the Chuma. Unlike with the Kuksuists, Chuma confederations were more permanent thanks to the Antap society's strict rules and propensity for poisoning and assassinating internal threats. A regional Antap lodge usually centered in a single city, but might move around depending on which member was elected lodgemaster. At the same time, the confederations were smaller than those of other Far South Fusanian groups--anywhere from 10 to 15 Chuma confederations existed around 1200 AD, each having perhaps 15-20,000 people in them.

Antaps held special privileges over other people, even other nobles. For instance, only members of the lodge were eligible to be elected ruler of a town, high priest, or chief shaman. Indeed, the succession itself was determined at meetings of the Antap in their sacred shrine, with council meetings acting to only present and confirm the successor to the nobles. The antaps were entitled to wear special jewelry (such as deer femur necklaces) and clothing, eat certain meals, and marry more than one wife (marrying more than two wives was extremely rare among the Chuma however).

Unlike the Kuksuists, the Chuma worshipped in open air, a common trait with other Far South Fusanians. Near the home of the ruler of the community, they built a plaza fenced off by rows of elaborately painted mats of reeds acting as windbreaks. Inside they erected even taller poles and decorated them with feathers and beads and danced around these poles and left offerings at their feet. At one end lay an elaborate doorway that led to the sacred shrine where the members of the antap societies gathered.

The Antap society combined with population and wealth increase produced the expansionistic trait of the Chuma. Less favored sons and skilled priests often found themselves left out of membership in their community's lodge, and simply moved elsewhere in hopes of gaining entry into another community's lodge or even founded their own community. It was not unusual for a powerful Chuma prince to have many sons who peacefully rose to the rank of village rulers in communities far distant from him thanks to marrying into those places and becoming an antap.

This group of Chuma, those powerful nobles excluded from their home Antap lodge, became the ones who took most to the Wakashans. They traveled the most of any Chuma, occasionally as far north as Changmang Bay and as far south as Patai [11] in search of valuable trade goods from shells to metals to turquoise. They married into local societies, spreading knowledge and cultural development in the area. Many of these men became wealthy over their lives, returning to their home village and finally gaining access to the Antap lodge.

These men formed the leadership of the many captains and navigators who kept the Chuma world wealthy with their longships called tomol. Originating perhaps 2,500 years ago, during the early agricultural period the tomol grew in size thanks to increasing prosperity and demand to a ship made of shaped redwood planks that averaged about 10 meters long and 1.5 meters in width. Locally mined bitumen caulked the ships and made them waterproof and sturdy. A crew of 10 men was common in order to leave room for additional cargo. Owning a tomol inevitably brought great wealth, and the wealthiest rulers owned entire fleets. Unlike their North Fusanian counterparts, in earlier times the tomol lacked sails and was invariably a monohull.

Despite their frequent comparison and association with the Wakashans, the Chuma were a peaceful and ordered people. They preferred using the Antap lodges to settle disputes between confederations instead of open warfare, and rarely mounted surprise attacks on enemies. Disputes between individuals of equal rank they settled with knife-fighting, a favoured martial art. A war between the Chuma was usually riddled with ceremony, with chosen warriors meeting at a predetermined location and firing arrows at each other until the other side fled.

This diplomatic nature left the Chuma vulnerable to the Wakashan way of war, which always favoured sneak attacks and surprise raids. No doubt this led to the initial success of the Chabasapatkh Wakashans, one of the oldest Central Coast Wakashan tribes. Under the early 12th century Chikhatmiik and his ally Khutsaayi of the Suchuatkh, they routinely braved the dangerous coast of the Shahang Mountains south of Changmang Bay to prey on more northerly Chuma and sacked village after village. Legend states the Wakashans "made mockery of all but the archery of Chuma," finding them a land of mere fishermen and merchants.

Exactly when the Wakashans encountered the Chuma remains unknown, but indirect trade between the two peoples occurred by the end of the 11th century. It seems unlikely the Wakashans ever directly encountered the Chuma before the heyday of the Central Coast Confederacy in the decades immediately after the conquest of Daxi Bay by Khutsaayi. It seems the Wakashan ruler Chikhatmiik and his clan and allies, later called the Chabasapatkh, led the push into Chuma lands in the 1130s as they found themselves shut out of other areas thanks to both other Wakashan peoples and fierce local resistance.

The initial cause for the Wakashan-Chuma hostility remains unknown, although legend attributes it to a failed raid against the major Chuma city of Tsitqawi (known in the Atkh language as Tsiqawit) in 1148. The raid itself used the usual Wakashan casus belli of disrespect against a ship captain (perhaps for not compensating the village leader for using his fishing grounds) and was repelled by the Chuma archers at great cost to both sides. Following this, the Wakashans abandoned attacks on major Chuma settlements for nearly thirty years, although periodically attacked fishing villages. Further, Wakashan pirates seeking a monopoly on the incense trade with the Sartumtuwas of the mountains drove Chuma traders permanently from that region.

As conflict gripped the Wakashans of the Central Coast, a steady number of emigrants flowed south to Chuma lands seeking new opportunities. Tsitqawi, the city that repelled the Wakashans in 1148, became the main target for Wakashan raiders. Wakashan legend tells the defenders of Tsitqawi repelled four sieges from both land and sea in the early 1170s before the Wakashan warlord Yatsahlts'ahl succeeded on the fifth attempt in 1173 when he personally led the charge over the palisade surrounding the city. He sacked the city of Tsitqawi, installed himself as its ruler, and invited his clan to settle in the region, thereby becoming ancestor of the locally powerful Tsiqawatkh tribe and the Tsiqawit Confederacy.

This sudden success prompted a new wave of raids on the Chuma confederations during the end of the 12th and early 13th centuries. The Wakashans attacked without warning and frequently backstabbed those Chuma leaders who sought to use them to settle disputes. Having lived in peace for so long, the Chuma confederations lacked a means to handle it. Only the usual nemesis of the Wakashans--rival Wakashan tribes--prevented the total collapse of Chuma society under these raids.

The influx of Wakashans changed Chuma society forever. Veterans of the Wakashan raids turned their knowledge of combat against other Chuma, ensuring wars became far more brutal and less organised. Wealth from the Wakashan trade in metal, shells, and whalebone displaced traditional trading networks, impoverishing some clans and raising up others. The interior Chuma found themselves impoverished, their land being raided for slaves and exploited for resources by the coast. The Antap society there became increasingly restrictive and protective of who gained admission, resulting in stark inequality.

Two events ensured permanent Wakashan success in Chuma lands--the great drought of the 13th century and the arrival of epidemics, especially seal flu. The drought of the 13th century ranked among the worst drought in over 2,000 years, made all the worse by soil exhaustion from excessive maize agriculture in some areas. Epidemic disease arrived from the Imaru Basin, carrying off entire villages and forcing society to evolve new ideas to cope with seasonal epidemic. As a result, population in Chuma lands diminished by nearly half from 1230 to 1280. The survivors of these events desperately tried whatever ideas they might to sustain themselves and their way of life. As a result, Wakashan ideas no longer remained Wakashan and became authentically Chuma, and the Puebloization period of the Chengla culture ends at 1280, replaced by the Wakashanisation of the Jiguai Culture [12].

By this means, whaling became an integral part of Chuma culture in the late 13th century. With failing agriculture and successful Wakashan whalers around them, Chuma sailors who served in Wakashan whaling crews learned the art of whaling and copied it to great success. These sailors gained great wealth from the meat, bone, and oil and ascended to the ranks of the Antap. The Chuma found themselves in awe at their own kinsmen slaying and bringing in such powerful beasts and whalers rose in prestige. The tomols increased in size to accomodate this whaling and transformed into catamarans equipped with tehi sails.

Chuma warfare changed to resemble the Wakashan style. The Chuma employed fleets of tomols and larger ships in raids against rival Chuma confederations, other Far South Fusanians, or even the Wakashans of the Central Coast. Their increasingly violent style of warfare ensured slavery became commonplace in Chuma towns. By this means, the Chuma carved themselves out a solid place in the Wakashan world rather than being yet another insular Wakashanised culture like the Dachimashi or Kusu.

These raids extended into outright colonisation at times. Displaced from their homeland, the Chuma of the Tugang Islands united with mainland allies and several Wakashan tribes and relentlessly attacked the southern Tugang Islands in the mid-13th century, inhabited by a Jiqi confederation, in order to claim a new homeland. They clashed repeatedly with the Jiqi for twenty years before they enslaved, murdered, or expelled all Jiqi from three islands, leaving them only present on the island of Haraasnga (later called Hancheng) [13] where two villages lived under Wakashan protection.

The other three islands led by the island of Huya (or Fuye in Chinese [14]) united into a prominent maritime confederation others called the Tsumash Confederacy, that dominated Chuma maritime trade in Far South Fusania. Their strategic location and skill at shipbuilding and sailing permitted them to act as middlemen in the great trade of shells, soapstone, slaves, and even rare Mesoamerican goods. So prominent in trade were these Tsumash ("islanders") that the Chinese applied their name to the entire Chuma ethnic group [15].

Despite the Wakashanisation, many elements of Chuma culture survived through this era, such as the Antap society and their distinct language which unlike other Wakashanised cultures, borrowed relatively little in vocabulary and grammar. Much of it may have been imported from the increasingly impoverished inland Chuma. These distinctions extended to whaling--while even the highest Wakashan rulers enjoyed the pursuit of whaling, the Chuma viewed whaling as a means to an end of becoming an Antap and the wealthiest men never whaled if they didn't have to. The Chuma never adopted self-deprivation rituals as extreme as the Wakashans and their whaling shrines joined their idols in their cliff palaces and temples.

The Wakashans themselves assimilated in Chuma lands. Outside of Tsiqawit and the northern Tugang Islands, the Chuma tended to assimilate the Wakashans rather than the other way around. The local Wakashans incorporated many elements of Chuma society from language to culture and became considered foreigners by even the Central Coast Wakashans. Unlike the other Wakashans and their hatred of the Kuksu Society or datura rituals, these Wakashans gladly adopted the Antap society and its rituals formed their own lodges that dominated the politics of their community in the south. The likely cause of this lays in the much small number of Wakashans this far south--so far from home, the Wakashans preferred to settle no further south than Changmang Bay which already offered plenty of opportunities.

New innovations developed from the drought of this era era. Faced with lack of water, the Chuma developed fog nets woven from milkweed and tehi that condensed water from the air on the foggy coast. These designs likely evolved from fishing nets hung out to dry, yet eventually the Chuma noticed the condensation and specific areas best for condensation such as hilltops. In Chuma culture, this was considered water gifted to them from spiritual sources, and the nets took on a religious component. Large networks of these fog nets started forming in many coastal villages and added several dozen liters daily to the water supply [16]. Fog nets radiated rapidly from Chuma lands and by 1300 appeared among the Wakashans and other Far South Fusanians.

Less common, yet more dramatic to the outside eye were the fog plates. These were perhaps a Wakashan innovation, given the veneration of copper in that culture as a sacred metal. These were copper plates tilted toward the sun that heated during the day and chilled at night, thus letting water condense onto it. A simple pipe funnelled the water to a collection pond. Because of the price of copper, these remained restricted to the dwellings of the elite where their purpose was just as much ornamental as practical and used to water gardens [17]. Fog plates remained restricted to the Chuma and southerly Wakashan peoples.

They also planted trees at strategic locations to condense fog on their branches and leaves in order to feed small gardens. Using strategies like this, the Chuma--and eventually the Wakashans--gained the ability to thrive on desert islands such as Siwot Island (or Shimo) [18] and desert coasts with uncertain climates. This known principle of condensation (attributed to water spirits) became known by seafarers and whalers who used it to sail further and further south to the desert of the Chingan Peninsula [19] in search of whales or trade opportunities.

Although the drought seemed never-ending in the late 13th century, this reborn Chuma culture continued reaching out to the world. Their rulers sought greater and greater achievements in both whaling and warfare and countered the Wakashans in their expansion. They traveled further and further around the Pacific Coast, bringing home great amount of wealth. Like so much of Fusania at the end of the 13th century, the Chuma found themselves perfectly positioned to rebuild into a new golden age.

Author's notes
Originally this was part of the next chapter on Far South Fusania in general, but I decided to address the Chuma first since they're almost a transitional region and have a very distinct maritime culture compared to the rest that will prove consequential. Next entry will cover the remainder of Far South Fusania as well as the Great Drought of the second half of the 13th century, the same one that decimated the Puebloans OTL (and TTL as we'll see in a few chapters).

[1] - Tsitqawi is Morro Bay, CA
[2] - Lisamu is Morro Rock at the entrance to Morro Bay
[3] - The Antap, or Antap society, are a theocratic council. Like the OTL Chumash, the ATL Chuma are led by the Antap society, a council of shamans, priests, and spiritually powerful secular nobles. The details of their roles have changed somewhat from OTL as typical for this ATL.
[4] - See Chapter 17. The Jiqi (ATL Tongva equivalent) breed drafting dogs as they have few towey goats and no reindeer which serve as an important export. Naturally, these large, mastiff-like dogs make for good guard dogs.
[5] - Datura is a powerful disassociative, taken among peoples both OTL and TTL to produce visions used for religion, healing, and success in life
[7] - The singular form of "Kuhkuhu" is "Ku" (similar to Inuit vs Inuk)
[6] - S'akhpilil is Goleta, CA
[8] - A few linguists assign Chumashan to the Hokan languages, which is probably not a valid macrofamily. It is thoroughly distinct from later arrivals in California like the Penutian or Uto-Aztecan languages and is also apparently unrelated to other ancient language isolates of California like Yuki, Wappo, or the language isolates of Baja California Sur
[9] - Lake Pang is Lake Cahuilla, the name for the Salton Sea in previous eras when it filled from the Colorado every few centuries
[10] - Chengla/Shishalop is Ventura, CA
[11] - Patai is Ensenada, Baja California
[12] - The Jiguai Culture is named for Jiguai, the Chinese name for Tsitqawi/Tsiqawit
[13] - Haraasnga (Chinese name Hancheng) is San Nicolas Island, the most remote of the Channel Islands of California [Tugang Islands TTL]
[14] - Huya (Chinese name Fuye) is Santa Catalina Island, off the coast of Los Angeles, CA
[15] - Originally I was going to rename the Chuma because the name simply means "islander" and was applied to only one Chumashan speaking group by other Chumashans and not themselves. I retconned in the existence of this trading confederation to keep the name Chuma consistent with earlier entries.
[16] - I estimate from a single fog net of 100 m2 perhaps 3-4 liters daily (less than modern nets because of premodern materials). Similar dew collection existed throughout the world.
[17] - This is a primitive radiative air well, a technology in use OTL. Like the fog net, efficiency is hampered by the premodern materials used for it and kept rare because of the rarity of copper in Chuma lands.
[18] - Siwot (Chinese name Shimo) is Santa Barbara Island, one of the Channel Islands of California. With fog nets, it should have enough water for a single permanent village.
[19] - The Chingan Peninsula is the Baja California Peninsula, so named in Chinese (as Jing'an) for the great number of whales found among the coast
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The Chuma are really interesting -- whaling shrines in cliff palaces is one hell of a contrast for a culture to have! Looking forward to hearing more about their incipient Golden Age and about the effects of the great drought on Oasisamerica and the major regions of Fusania.

Also, the sentence featuring "exonym" is unfinished or got cut off.
Huh. While most of Fusania we've seen gets Japanese exonyms, it seems that California instead will mostly see Chinese colonization. Wonder just how strained the Japanese-Chinese relationship will be.

Cool to see how one can get water even in a harsh drought. But dang, at 3-4 liters per 100m^2 fog net, you'd need about one for every two people, that's a LOT of netting in a dry area. What would the nets be made out of, most likely?
Huh. While most of Fusania we've seen gets Japanese exonyms, it seems that California instead will mostly see Chinese colonization. Wonder just how strained the Japanese-Chinese relationship will be.

Cool to see how one can get water even in a harsh drought. But dang, at 3-4 liters per 100m^2 fog net, you'd need about one for every two people, that's a LOT of netting in a dry area. What would the nets be made out of, most likely?
I don't believe an active Chinese government will colonise California though as too much things weigh against China after Genghis khan. Maybe officially it's Japanese owned but colonised by chinese people who rebel later on but there's no way in hell China colonises anything ittl.
Given the alternate era names and the direct contact between the Americas and Asia, it might be safe to assume that China is less hamstrung in regards to foreign expansionism as opposed to OTL thanks to butterflies. If the Japanese were the primary movers in California, Chinese presence would be negligible and the exonyms of its peoples and renaming of its settlements would be in Japanese.

Perhaps Zingok serves as a safer "Tungning" after the fall of the *Ming (or, hell, after the fall of a longer-ruling Yuan) as opposed to Taiwan; perhaps China sees opportunity as the Japanese begin to reap the spoils of Northern Fusania. Given the very name Zingok, perhaps there will be an alt-Gold Rush, with no pesky Anglos to monopolize the venture and thousands of Chinese looking to make a fortune in these new lands.

To rule out Chinese colonization outright is premature; the Ming had their sponsorship of mercantile activities in SE Asia (which I imagine would be the primary destination for colonial efforts if China does become a colonial power outright) and with the Americas discovering Asia -- and with Japan making contact as proof of concept -- I see no reason why private Chinese actors, or the imperial government, wouldn't at least mull taking a chance on the New World. It's not like its Korea taking over California -- I'm actually interested to see how the influx of wealth into Japan and their clear expansion into the Siberian Pacific coast will affect both the Manchus and Koreans, who will be even more boxed in by invigorated Chinese and Japanese neighbors than OTL.
I will post the next map (Wayamese Empire in 1244, on the brink of collapse) tomorrow or so, and the next entry sometime next week. I think I will do 2-3 more maps covering both the South Fusania/California material and the Chemnese Empire that I hope will be easier processes for me (but probably not).
The Chuma are really interesting -- whaling shrines in cliff palaces is one hell of a contrast for a culture to have! Looking forward to hearing more about their incipient Golden Age and about the effects of the great drought on Oasisamerica and the major regions of Fusania.
That drought should figure rather heavily into the next two chapters, as it's the same one that devastated the Puebloans OTL to the point where it's frequently called "the Great Drought". TTL it's the same drought that helped bring down the Wayamese Empire (although as I've noted, in the PNW the worst of it occurred in the middle of the 13th century rather than toward the end).
Also, the sentence featuring "exonym" is unfinished or got cut off.
Fixed that, thank you.
Cool to see how one can get water even in a harsh drought. But dang, at 3-4 liters per 100m^2 fog net, you'd need about one for every two people, that's a LOT of netting in a dry area. What would the nets be made out of, most likely?
I believe you could use anything durable for cordage, but for the Chuma, probably tules, reeds, or tehi (Indian hemp, Apocynum cannabinum). It probably wouldn't be as effective as today's fog nets woven from synthetic materials, hence my conservatism with the numbers. Usually fog net projects record 3-4 times that number, and others up to 10 times that, but it's likely dependent on material, installation, maintenance, and location (unfortunately I didn't find any data on California's potential).

And yes, it's supplementary water. You'd also be getting the water from whatever plants you could grow in the area, and indeed, one use of fog nets has been to irrigate trees for fog collection and restore natural fog oases damaged by overgrazing and deforestation. The fog collecting on plants or growing trees would be equally helpful for gaining extra water.
I don't believe an active Chinese government will colonise California though as too much things weigh against China after Genghis khan. Maybe officially it's Japanese owned but colonised by chinese people who rebel later on but there's no way in hell China colonises anything ittl.
I won't spoil the relationship between China and the New World (I haven't even fully worked it out aside from an early draft), although given that you have a metalworking society that is trading precious metals, jade, cinnabar, realgar, etc., you do have something a lot more interesting than the OTL West Coast was for Chinese merchants. And we also have the Ringitsu in Kamchatka who are much more maritime than any culture in that region OTL who already don't mind paying in gold or silver for manufactured Asian iron tools.
Given the alternate era names and the direct contact between the Americas and Asia, it might be safe to assume that China is less hamstrung in regards to foreign expansionism as opposed to OTL thanks to butterflies. If the Japanese were the primary movers in California, Chinese presence would be negligible and the exonyms of its peoples and renaming of its settlements would be in Japanese.

Perhaps Zingok serves as a safer "Tungning" after the fall of the *Ming (or, hell, after the fall of a longer-ruling Yuan) as opposed to Taiwan; perhaps China sees opportunity as the Japanese begin to reap the spoils of Northern Fusania. Given the very name Zingok, perhaps there will be an alt-Gold Rush, with no pesky Anglos to monopolize the venture and thousands of Chinese looking to make a fortune in these new lands.

To rule out Chinese colonization outright is premature; the Ming had their sponsorship of mercantile activities in SE Asia (which I imagine would be the primary destination for colonial efforts if China does become a colonial power outright) and with the Americas discovering Asia -- and with Japan making contact as proof of concept -- I see no reason why private Chinese actors, or the imperial government, wouldn't at least mull taking a chance on the New World. It's not like its Korea taking over California -- I'm actually interested to see how the influx of wealth into Japan and their clear expansion into the Siberian Pacific coast will affect both the Manchus and Koreans, who will be even more boxed in by invigorated Chinese and Japanese neighbors than OTL.
There's definitely a lot of interesting economic factors that will occur (that I have yet to fully work out the details, but everything after 1500 is just random notes). And multiple potential routes to Chinese exploitation of the New World.
I won't spoil the relationship between China and the New World (I haven't even fully worked it out aside from an early draft), although given that you have a metalworking society that is trading precious metals, jade, cinnabar, realgar, etc., you do have something a lot more interesting than the OTL West Coast was for Chinese merchants. And we also have the Ringitsu in Kamchatka who are much more maritime than any culture in that region OTL who already don't mind paying in gold or silver for manufactured Asian iron tools.
I'd rather have the Ringitsu survive as an empire thing that have the Europeans learn of the Chinese name first since China colonising anything other than Siberia makes no sense. Even if they are a colonising entity they would focus on SEA first. Also China doesn't seem like it would be a colonising power after Genghis Khan.