Unathi/Agriculture

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Polar City-States

While the great polar lakes indeed proved useful, bleak polar savannas were not yet a prerequisite for future prosperity. Most animals Unathi had domesticated before were omnivores, not entirely fit for grazing. To overcome this, over the centuries they developed a rather intricate system, producing grain and fruits to nurture plant eaters, and keeping some of the latter as fodder for the predators. To increase yield and prevent erosion, ranchers of the poles made were among the first to make use of crop rotation, natural (and later artificial) fertilizers. Such a system required a lot of workhands, and a rather diversified economy.

For this very reason, typical polar farm is a large estate, usually owned by a single clan (or a branch of it or even a single family in case the parent clan is in power). The farmlands, groves and pastures are normally kept common, with duties divided between families. Some look after threshbeast corrals, others take care of stok pens; some are busy growing the vines used for decontamination; some gather fruit and safeguard the trees.

Provided there is an access to the lakes or groves, polar Unathi may engage in big-game hunting or fishing for profit, some lucky ones even make it their career. In case there are enough workers on the farm, designated craftsmen and engineers may be present as well, especially with the arrival of advanced engines (imported or Precursor ones) and hydroponic tech.

Both rich and poor clans engage in arts, since unathi ranch tends to provide considerable supply of leathers, horns and bones for bone-carving and clothes-making industries. Water purification plants, distilleries, organic fuel refineries are a common sight in larger polar estates.

As the City States of the poles grew, so did the demand for food and agrarian products. Long before the contacts with space-faring races have been established, Mumbak and a handful of other settlements grew into cities that could not support themselves. When the contacts with Skrell and Human empires were established, new space trade drew an influx of rural unathi into the area. While the smaller clans still relied on subsistence farming to make for a living, some major ranchers (like the tributaries of all-mighty Skalwa) turned animal husbandry into lucrative business. Every day, thousands of sissalik are herded into Mumbak slaughterhouses, not to mention dried stok sold en masse as fast food in every restaurant, pub and cornershop. Barrels of fresh water, frozen or salted fish come in with hundreds of caravans from the desert and beyond.

In the recent years, it became clear that the big four (Mumbak, Si'gek Nels'thar, Instha, and No'lesk City) put a big strain on food production on both poles. So far the fertile prairies of the North and the South yield a stable harvest, but the constantly growing population has brought concern to the thrifty-minded Sinta. Hand of the Vine Cult, with its environmentalist focus, has sought to expand the farmlands further into the badlands, to solve both the potential food shortage and the agrarian overpopulation. Their message does appeal to many a unathi, especially now that growing industrialization and urbanization goes against traditional rural way of life.

Desert Dwellers

Desert Sinta, also known as people of the deserts, or desert dwellers, have had to endure considerable hardships every day for a few millennia. Their hunting skills evolved into something astoundingly deadly, earning them a certain degree of respect from other unathi races. However, the environment they thrive in put a limit on the amount of food they can produce.

Typically, desert clans populate precursor bunkers, oases, caverns or other sources of water hidden within the great deserts. They engage in farming like all other unathi do, but on a smaller scale. Compared to the swamp and especially the polar unathi, game constitutes disproportionate part of their diet. Since the majority of their income comes from supplying, guarding and organizing caravans for the major trade routes, a certain part of their food, especially fodder and delicacies, is imported. However, caravan guards by the day may easily turn into robbers by the night – desert dwellers (especially the minor clans or outcasts struggling to survive) have no problem raiding their neighbors, taking their livestock and valuables. Polar colonists, swampies, caravans, Hand of the Vine culters, other desert clans, even vassals of powerful Gresis have to protect their livestock from the rustlers.

Men of the Swamps

Pioneers braving the frontier, industrious all-rounders, swamp Sinta have battled agains the odds and won, again and again. Swamps constitute a very special part of Moghes, lush with flora and abundant with fauna, unknown before to the unathi. The swampies managed to create self-sufficient colonies and hamlets despite the waters being irradiated, the earth poisoned and the predators hungry.

Like all other kinds of Unathi, swamp Sinta cultivate available lands and keep animals like sissaliks and threshbeasts as livestock. However, easy access to ocean dictates that fishing, both for food and sport, is held in high regard by the swamp men. It is indeed. The fisheries are spread all across populated territories, marches and ocean gulfs. Fish is not only consumed, but also exported, both to the Poles and the Peaks.

However, the surroundings provide swampies with something more than just fish. The frontier Sinta are the leading suppliers of various herbs, mushrooms and algae, used in traditional medicine and potion making. Salt is another valuable side product that comes from the need to distill and filter the surrounding waters for drinking. Spices, rare wild animals and other luxury foodstuffs and side products (say, Dorak hides and bone caps) are almost exclusively produced in the swamps.

The Diamond Peaks

There are quite a few differences between usual Sinta and the peak peoples, often referred to as "peakies", including the differences in the sphere of economy. Unlike other unathi societies, which hold landowners in high regard (polar ranchers and desert oasis masters invariably form local elites), peak Sinta don’t. Ages ago the leading peak clans like Gresis or Sorize, subdued their less lucky neighbors, having them provide food for their warrior masters. Fond of the Grand Stratagem, peak families chose to engage in industry and constant military drills, creating military machines able to contain any possible uprising.

Under strict control of peak emissaries, and having been forced to pay tribute, vassal clans dwindled in numbers, and largely retained their old traditions, avoiding the innovations and the risks they brought at all cost. Harsh mountain climate and poor soils contributed to the problem. As the result, with slow but steady population growth in the Peaks area, outdated above-ground farming and hunting techniques could not provide enough food for the populace.

While underground mushroom groves (providing for a decent fodder) ameliorated the situation somewhat, the question still stands. What’s more important, peak clan kaahnepos are very reluctant to rely on food imports, seeing that as an obvious threat to their safety. Over the course of the century, peak Sinta used their vast mineral stocks to import as many hydroponic pods as they could to organize the foraging stations for their livestock and thus, their mounts. Strict rationing has been introduced as well by some clans, first as a temporary measure, though eventually some clans adopted it for good.