Hasmala

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Hasmala was once the agricultural heartland of the Empire and it remains the major producer of cereal grains and beer. The great noble lineages, naturally, exercise some local authority; however, the military and agricultural strength of Hasmala is protected by the Hand of the Dead, who provide much of labour and fighting strength through creating and controlling bubun, giving the Hand enormous power over the political system.

The Governor and a dozen-odd councillors are selected not by the people or even by the nobles themselves, but by the high priests of the major temples in the area. These temple priests are selected on the basis of merit, with some preference for those of aristocratic birth, but the current High Priest of the Hand in Hasmala was in fact the child of Corpseborn parents. Because the governorship can be revoked at any time, the Governor is largely a puppet and must exercise extreme caution in making decisions that would upset the clergy. Competition for political positions is fierce and deeply corrupt but tempered by the fear of the priests. The symbiotic relationship between the Hand and the nobility is constantly tested but mutually beneficial and so has persisted for over a century.

Hasmala has extremely strict and swift justice for the lower classes, with the death penalty employed to restock the labour pool. The Hand ‘rents’ out bubun in various agricultural regions to the local nobility, exercising managerial control over the ‘workers’ while leaving the land management to non-clergy. Recently it has been raiding Omba and Basai, as well as areas to the east, and was one of Sharai’s allies in the Bone War.