Onna

Onna is located east of Illi, deep in the Eastern Marshes and far from the influence of Empire, her laws and ministers.  Most imperial maps show Onna connected to Illi by road; when it was announced that the imperial road would be built, even to this far-flung village, mapmakers were quick to include it in official imperial maps.  However, the road was never completed.  There are rare occasions on which Illi and Onna are connected by floating wooden causeways across the Eastern Marshes, but these are always temporary, as leaving them in place would hamper travel by boat and barge.  For this same reason, combined with the difficulty in building roads through the marshlands, the road was abandoned.

Whereas the native Ungozan Marshfolk of Illi are known for their welcoming nature and willingness to share their culture with outsiders of an open mind, the people of Onna are perhaps as reticent as their cousins are open. Despite these differences, due to the semi-nomadic nature of the Ungozan Marshfolk, many families may lash their barges at Illi one month and at Onna the next.

The people of Onna are ambivalent to Imperial rule when the topic is broached, but generally they are more apathetic than anything else.  Why shouldn’t they be?  The Cirsovan armies chose to leave the Native Ungozans be those hundreds of years ago when they claimed the Crater, Marshes and coast as imperial demesne, there is nothing they want from the marshland in terms of resources, and, so long as the Marshfolk do nothing aggressive to provoke their overlords, they have no cause for reprisal.  Thus, Onna’s vassalage is not a particularly onerous one.  The people of Illi are so generous with their tribute of Cowrie shells and canoes to Agalla that the fact that Onna has paid no tribute to the empire in generations has gone almost completely unnoticed.

Unlike Illi, there is no central platform at Onna, rather “Onna” is a small island in the marshes with a mound no taller than a man.  This “Onna” is surrounded by a series of temporary wooden causeways which barges may lash to.  None may set foot on the Onna itself, however, except for the Storyman, of which Onna has only one.

It is forbidden to bring Ungoza crystal, raw or finished, within sight of the Onna.  Anyone displaying finished crystal from Polaris in the presence of the Marshfolk here risks death.  It is spoken by the people of Illi that those who bring the stones to Onna are cast into the marshes, never to be heard from again.  Other stories say that the Onna itself is where people who possessed the crystals were once killed and buried, the marsh grasses growing over them.  Of course Onna is still subject to imperial laws, and murder is a crime, however disappearances of travelers in the Eastern Marshes, so far away from any offices of imperial authority, are rarely investigated, even if word does make it back to Agalla.  Therefore, it cannot be stressed enough that anyone wanting to visit Onna leave any Ungozan crystal they may possess at home or in the care of someone in Agalla.

There is little to visit Onna that cannot be found in Illi, but with greater hospitality. However some anthropologists who have taken a particular interest in the ties of Native Ungozans to the lost Northern Culture prefer studying the Onna folk, valuing their isolation from Cirsovan influence which may have seeped into Illi culture over the last two hundred years. While the Illi Storymen often have a greater range of homily, there are certain tales which are only heard from the Storymen of Onna.  These stories, which are only told on the night before the new moon, are often grim apocalyses which make allusions to northern ices and the ghouls which stalk them.

North of Onna, the marsh turns cold and frozen. There is nothing beyond Onna to the east but more salt marshes and the sea.  It is unknown where the waters end and the ice begins; no ships, not even the pirates of Galbarrow, have cause to sail as far north as Onna.

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