Baeba Swamp

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Baeba Swamp is thge largest city on the continent of Rilola and among the largest on the planet Teppala. It is the capital of Amade, and thus legally part of the Ogili empire, but most inhabitants are aboriginal Baebans who are paid by Ogili to be friendly to Ogili instead of siding with the rest of the aboriginal nations (tempom) to thge south. It is a major trading post in both directions: bringing pineapples and palm oil northward into Ogili, and bringing wood and metals south into Tempom.

Its economic importance derives from its being both wet and near the ocean. The surrounding territory is mostly deserts, but Baeba is at the mouth of a major river, and this river flattens out into a delta near Baeba, allowing plants and even trees to survive. The climate is very hot: despite being at 27N, the temperatures in winter are almost as warm as those at the Equator. This is because Baeba's climate is heated by the shallow sea to its west. The sea absorbs more heat from the sun than deeper water does, and therefore heats and moistnes the air very well.

The geographical environment of Baeba is much like northerh Egypt on Earth, particularly the Nile Delta, except that the Baeba River originates from the north, and temperatures therefore drop very quickly from the mouth of the river to its source. Although cold temperatures are not a problem for humans on planet Teppala generally, and Teppala has many major cities in climates far colder than the upland Baeba watershed, the inhabitants of Baeba are not interested in hunting animals for a living and consider this territory useful only as a military defense. THus few people live in the upper reaches of the Baeba watershed. This trait helfd true even as Baeba's government changed from one empire to the next many times.

The name Baeba is from Poswa; Baebabwa is "Baeba Swamp". The Khulls people called it Kàkʷado, and the river Lagis.[1]



Proto-Baeban language

The Proto-Baeban language was typical for the area in having a vowel system of /a i u ə/, a minor contrast of high vs low tone on open stressed syllables only, and a consonant inventory of

Labials:               ph  p   m       w                  
Alveolars:             th  t   n   s   l   r                         
Palataloids:           č       ň   š   y     
Velars:                kh  k   ŋ   x                  
Labiovelars:           kʷh kʷ  ŋʷ  xʷ
Glottals:                          h   ʕ

The plain voiceless stops were allophonically ejective before a stressed vowel, but this was weak and noncontrastive, so aspiration as shown as the marked feature.

Pre-Baeban sound shifts

The language had recently lost all its voiced obstruents, and therefore nasals were more common by comparison than in languages of the Gold family. The remaining plain voiceless stops and fricatives had voiced allophones when occurring after a nasal, but were otherwise voiceless; the aspirated stops were voiceless even after nasals.

Even earlier, there had been a lenition shift that changed /ph p/ > /f b/, /th t/ > /s r/, and /č/ > /š/ in some positions, but left /kh k/ and the labialized versions untouched. Later, /f/ > /h/ and /b/ > /ʕ/ almost unconditionally. Thus Proto-Baeban has relatively little of /ph p th t/, but lots of /kh k/.

Classical Baeban language

This language is spoken around 4200 AD.



There are four underlying vowels, the same /a i u ə/ found in nearby languages, with the others being diphthongs and/or vowels colored by neighboring consonants. The diphthongs are /ai au əi əu/. Nonetheless, diphthongs and allophones are so common that the native script has 10 vowel signs.

The true vowels /i/ and /u/ get two script vowels apiece: /i y/ and /ɨ u/.

The mid vowel /ə/ gets three script vowels: /e ə o/.

The low vowel /a/ gets three script vowels: /æ a ɒ/.

Therefore, each of the four vowels can be either spread or rounded, and each of the two lower vowels can also be either front or back, but there are no low or mid front rounded vowels.


Baeban has a very complicated system of phonotactics to ensure that its phonemes all fit together well. Instead of treating phonemes singly, Baeban groups them into 8 overlapping categories of varying composition, and these are the smallest meaningful phonological units that words can use. The following abbreviations are used below for these categories:

  • S = (a, i, u, pa, pi, pu, ma, mi, mu, ta, ti, tu, na, ni, nu, sa, si, su, la, li, lu, ra, ri, ru)
  • G = (_, i, u, pa, pi, pu, ma, mi, mu, ta, ti, tu, na, ni, nu, sa, si, su, la, li, lu, ṗa, ṗi, ṗu, ṁa, ṁi, ṁu, ṭa, ṭi, ṭu, ṇa, ṇi, ṇu)
  • T = (0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8)
  • Z = (pa, pi, pu, ma, mi, mu, ta, ti, tu, na, ni, nu, sa, si, su, la, li, lu, ra, ri, ru, ṗa, ṗi, ṗu, ṁa, ṁi, ṁu, ṭa, ṭi, ṭu, ṇa, ṇi, ṇu, k, x, ŋ) + ASP
  • P = (_, p, m, t, n, s, l, u, i)
  • K = (_, k, ŋ)
  • V = (a, e, i, o, u, ø, ə, ɨ, œ, y, æ, ɒ)
  • U = same as V, but with choice of 4 tones

The /œ/ may be a mistake for capital oe. The entire setup looks like a square .... 3 vowel heights, front/mid/back, plus a column of front round vowels.

An underscore stands for silence; the clicks are spelled ṗ ṃ ṭ ṇ (sometimes dot on top); all vowels are IPA (see history for SAMPA).

Thus the consonants are:

  • /p m s l k r t n ŋ x ṗ ṃ ṭ ṇ/, where th dotted letters are clicks. /j/ and /w/ are common but are not considered consonants.

The tones are:

0 ă
A low tone, the commonest one, essentially "neutral" and level.
1 à
High, but considered as "mid" in some contexts.
2 á
Even higher tone.
3 ā
"Rising then falling", sometimes spelled with cirumflex.

Tones 4 through 7 are repeats of these, but weith phragynealization. (spelled ʕ/. Tone 8 is a whispered tone, i.e. a voiceless vowel.

Very unusual is that all word stems are either GVTVK or PVZUK. There are no single-vowel words at all oither than a few particvles. Thus the odd traits of the languaga are:


  • All word roots must end in a vowel, /k/ or /ŋ/. Affixes are made of "S" syllables, which are all (C)V and have only 3 possible vowels, of which the /a/ is often elided. THus all words ending in a consonant other than /k ŋ/ actually end in an elided /a/.
  • All word roots must have 2 vowels, even if those two vowels are the same and have no interveneing consonant.
  • Since pharyngealizedf vcowels can only occur in "GVTVK" stems, they can only occur in stems with no consonants in the middle. This is partly because pharyn gealization originally came from a central consonant that was bled out.
  • No word can begin with a velar consonant (/k ŋ x/). Words with central consonants cannot begin with a click or an /r/.
  • Singlw vowel words are particles that cannot occur alone, and they can only have the vowel;s /a i u/.

Earlier, the Proto-Baeban language had had a phonology more like its neighbors. Proto-Baeban allowed only bisyllabic roots, with the accent always on the second syllable. Word-initial velars were allowed and there were no pharyngealized vowels. The split in the two types of words occurred when all voiced stops and fricatives were deleted from the language, and intervocalic ones bled out into pharyngealized vowels. This is why pharyngealized vowels only occur in words which have vowel hiatus (even if it is two of the same vowel). Later, all word initial velars were deleted. Clusters like /kj/ and /kw/ changed to /tj/ and /pw/ (note that these are not considered palatalized and labialized, but rather true clusters). Thus, Baeban could be said to be a "P" language, like Ogili, because it shifted its palatals forward and also shifted its labial-velar clusters forward into labialized bilabials. There are very few velar consonants remaining in modern Baeban, excluding clicks.

Note that the click consonants existed even in proto-Baeban, although they had arisen not long before from the collapse of clusters like /pk/ and /tk/. This was a defining feature of the Baeban settlement area, as these clusters had also existed in languages spoken to their north and south, but both of these other language groups instead created ejectives from the stop+stop clusters and homorganic clusters from the nasal+stop clusters.[2]

Early history

During the Gold Era (roughly 1600 - 3300), Baeba Swamp supported slavery. What was unusual about slavery in Baeba Swamp was that there were different classes of slaves, and some of the slaves could even own slaves. The lowest class was typically prisoners of war and their descendants. Next lowest was criminals (whose descendants were forgiven), and above that a system resmelbing medieval Europe on Earth with "serfs" and then classes og landowners. Yet people could sell themselves into slavery for money, without having to give up their own slaves. Many adult males left Baeba Swamp to work as slaves in Lobexon, knwoing that the money would go to their families. This was ironic because Lobexon saw Baeba as a paradise where everyone was wealthy, when in fact only the extreme upper class was wealthier than the peasants in Lobexon.

After the Crystals chased Gold government out of Baeba, they made it their new capital. Much of the surrounding territory was added to Baeba, and the name of the nation was changed from Baeba to Ƥē. (Atlhough Miniyiupi was chosen as an altername, as the people were multilingual now.) The Crystals were far more violent and repressive than the Gold government had been, but nevertheless abolished slavery very soon after taking power. They thus won the favor of the entire former slave population and many of these people were willing to fight battles for the Crystals as they attempted to expand their empire even further. The Gold government had been the most liberal and diverse government the world had ever known, but they were so liberal that they had allowed empires within their borders to become extremely repressive. Almost all dark-skinned people in the Gold government had been enslaved, such that people who lived in cold climates in such poor living conditions that they did not even have roads in their town, still nevertheless considered "slave" to be a synonym for dark-skinned people living in tropical climates. However, the Gold government did also allow slavery of light-skinned people such as the Macro-Repilians, but here the slaveowners were generally members of the same tribe rather than a thin upper crust of foreign invaders.

The Crystals thus had created a new nation of liberated dark skinned people that was also a strong military power. All other "free" nations of dark people (called Kampa as a cover term) were very poor nations in the tropical rainforest that were just shy of the reach of the slave lords to their east, who were even brave enough to send ships into their territory to abduct more slaves (they had stopped kidnapping lighter peoples such as Pabaps because their navy was no longer able to reliably reach Paba). Even though the Crystal government was repressive, denying power to anyone who did not convert to their religion, the standard of living they prvoided even those who refused to convert was far better than slavery, and there were no attempts at revolt.

However, the Crystals did not let the conquest of Baeba distract them from their thousand-year mission. They signed a treaty with the Thunder Empire to their north and east, which had been growing even more aggressively than the Crystal Empire. Both empires had started out as tiny colonies repressed by Nama, with the original Thunder state being called Kava. Kava only came to call itself the Thunder Empire (native name Altotta) later on, as Thunder was the name of a political party that arose from within Kava rather than a term for Kavans as a whole, but Thunderism soon enrolled 100% of the population of Kava. Kava had been violent even when it was tiny, because they had invaded a very soft, weak part of Nama, whereas the Crystals had been forced into the desert and gone through a period of losing every battle they fought and only after more than a thousand years finally getting a taste of victory.

The new Crystal-Thunder alliance was called the Vora Empire, after a native cymbidium flower. Even the natives of the Vora Empire questioned the decision to use a beautiful but very delicate flower as the symbol of what all of its members thought of as the world's greatest military power. The Thunder people, despite their name and history of violent conquest, were very feministic, often promising that one day men would be equally represented in their government but seeming to confine all male leaders to accessory roles. The love of flowers, they felt, was a sign of this feminine power. The leaders explained their symbol by saying they wanted their people to grow like flowers, and spread out all over of the land, making people happy. Moreover, they claimed that peace would soon come, and that they would not necessarily need to conquer their enemies to achieve peace. They merely needed to conquer the enemies that posed a serious threat to their empire, such as the Repilians and the suddenly renewed immigrants from the rainforests of Laba.

Contact with Dreamland

While Dreamland was invading Baeba Swamp, a loose alliance of Dreamer soldiers called the Nunabetari settled in the deeper parts of the swamp and set up colonies. By this time, Baeba Swamp had signed a pact with a racist nation called Sàkʷalō, which banned dark-skinned people such as Baebans from living there, but yet supported Baeba's war against Dreamland. Sàkʷalō told the Baebans that they were not allowed to kill the Nunabetari, and that furthermore, the Baeban people needed to ensure the Nunabetari were healthy and well-fed despite their plans to live in Baeba without doing any work. In return, Baeba gained access to a trade route connecting them to the vast Thunder Empire occupying the eastern half of the continent.

In 3915, a revolution in the Thunder Empire ended the enslavement of dark-skinned people. In response, some Thunder slavemasters fled into Baeba Swamp and joined the Nunabetari, promising to bring the fight for slavery to the territory of their intended slaves. The Nunabetari declared allegiance to Dreamland and tried to push Baeba to revive the war against Dreamland so the Nunabetari soldiers could eat Baeba apart from the inside. They heard a promise that a new war was coming, as king Adabawa of Laba had promised to station soldiers in Dreamland and strengthen its military so that Dreamland could once again invade surrounding nations. However, it soon became clear that Adabawa's target was not Baeba but the Thunder Empire, and therefore the war would force the Nunabetari to fight against their cousins. This led to dissent within the ranks of the Nunabetari, and they realized they would be extremely vulnerable during the war because they could not expect the Thunderers to fight for them. They voted to betray the Thunder Empire because the government of the Thunder Empire at that time was not their own, and therefore they joined Adabawa's side in the war. The strong tribalism of the Nunabetari actually led some Thunderers to defect, and therefore the Thunder Empire was engulfed in civil war by the time Adabawa's army reached its border.


Baeba is located at 28°N latitude, at the northeast corner of a tropical shallow sea. This sea increases the average temperature in Baeba, even in summer, to a level considerably higher than areas further east at the same latitude and elevation.[3]

Cosmopolitan Age

Legacy of invasions

Between 4149 and 4221, many light-skinned people invaded Baeba Swamp and left their mark on the population. They nearly all invaded from the north, so even within the Swamp, the natural skin color gradient prevailed. However, some light-skinned people were pushed to the coast. The invading armies all had their own languages, but many learned Khulls, the official language of Baeba Swamp.

In 4221, the Iron (from asala/hana "metal") army invaded Baeba Swamp, and defeated all of the other invaders. The Irons originated from an alliance between the weak, ruined empire of Nama and the predatory Zenith tribes who had abused Nama's people for many generations but had themselves fallen into despair as many of their soldiers began defecting to rival powers. Thus, the two defeated armies put aside their differences, and Nama's leaders promised that the Zeniths could abuse them in any way they saw fit, simply because they saw even this abuse as a better way to live than risking annihilation at the hands of the other hostile armies. The Zeniths took full control of Nama, but signed a treaty saying that they respected Nama and that they would keep Nama's governmental institutions in place rather than ruling through tyranny. They thus declared that their new empire was a continuation of Nama, and changed their party's name from Zenith to Iron. The new name was an ironic reference to STW's private currency, the asala, which were coins made from iron that had once been more valuable than their weight in gold, but had declined to a miniscule fraction of their former value as STW's economy imploded and they came to rely entirely on slavery.

The Iron Army spoke Khulls but also retained tribal languages that they had inherited from their long period of dormancy in the Mountains of Wisdom.

Early tribal alliances

The victorious Iron soldiers had light skin and dark hair, but were descendants of the Zenith tribes, who had often won wars by forming counterintuitive tribal alliances in the past. Thus, some Iron leaders proposed an alliance with the dark skinned aboriginals. However, the rival Ghost army adopted the same strategy and won the allegiance of many of these aboriginals.

The Ghost Empire had a toehold in the extreme east of Baeba Swamp, and had much outlying land to itself. Ghost leaders planned to conquer Baeba by stirring up dissent from within it. The Ghosts soon passed many laws enforcing racial discrimination against light-skinned people, even though the Ghosts were descended from Lenians and other light-skinned tribes. They proved their sincerity by demoting their leaders and appointing dark-skinned aboriginals to replace them. They promised that there would be no secret path to power for light-skinned people in the Ghost Empire, and that racial discrimination would continue until economic and political power was distributed equally.

The Ghosts assigned the lowest social status to people with blonde hair, as these people were often descended from the historically hostile Dreamers, and thus looked down upon by people with fair skin but dark hair. In fact, the Ghosts' constitution referred to these people as Patin, equivalent to "Pissies". This was actually a name that had earlier been used against the Ghosts for an unrelated reason. In northerly areas, the Ghosts quickly began emphasizing hair color rather than skin color as the defining feature of their tribal alliance, as they hoped to woo the typically dark-haired Moonshine tribes onto their side as well, or at least prevent a war. The Moonshines refused the Ghosts' alliance, but their pacifist-led government refused to prepare for a war.

Meanwhile, the Ghosts had hoped that placing the dark-skinned people at the top of their hierarchy would entice the dark-skinned Baeban aboriginals to join the Ghost party and overthrow Asala's tribal occupation government, but many aboriginals simply moved into the Ghost Empire, thus weakening the Ghosts' influence in Baeba. The Ghosts accepted this, and the immigrants accepted that they might soon be called upon to lead a war against their homeland, but for the meantime the Ghosts held back on declaring war. They realized that many dark-skinned Baebans had remained loyal to Baeba's earlier Rock government, which distrusted both the Irons and the Ghosts, but had been leaning towards the Irons merely because the Irons were the unquestioned party of power in Baeba.

Relations with Lenians

The Irons claimed to be allies of the tropical empire of Laba, which had not participated in the war and had long remained aloof from the politics of the continent. Laba was now the primary home of the blonde Lenian tribes, and Laba aligned itself against the Ghosts' racial discrimination policies because the Ghosts had chosen to put blonde people at the bottom of their hierarchy. But Laba said that because the Lenians in Ghost territory were not Laban, Laba had no obligation to protect them. Lenians became an underclass in Baeba Swamp as well, because they were not part of the Iron tribal coalition and were treated badly by the aboriginal majority, who followed the Ghosts in associating them with the hostile empire of Dreamland. Moonshine also banned Lenians from moving there, saying that their refugee operations had shut down when the refugees had turned against them and conquered Hōmoya. Thus the Lenians realized that all of the parties with power were against them, and came to consider themselves Dreamers even as the nations they lived in turned ever more against Dreamland.

The Irons offered to help Lenians move to Dreamland, which was the only nation on the planet that was willing to adopt them. However, the Ghost Empire pushed the Lenians into slavery even as their leaders came to feel that antagonizing the Lenians was a mistake that would deprive them of the opportunity to later fight a war against Moonshine in which Lenians would die to increase the territory of the Ghosts.

Iron leaders often disagreed with each other, as their philosophy encouraged dissent, and therefore some Irons wanted to form a tribal alliance with the Lenians, figuring that Laba was so large that any empire aligned with it would be impossible to defeat, but others believed that Labans were in fact very poor soldiers and felt that even a small population of Iron soldiers could dominate the entire planet by keeping Laba confined to its west and controlling all trade to the north, east, and south. They pointed out that Laba's only victories were wars in which Dreamland had done most of the fighting, and that Dreamland had twice forced Laba to stop a war.

Role of the Kwihus

As life became worse for the Lenians in both empires, many descendants of the Swamp Kids and other armies came to consider themselves a fourth race. They did not want to ally themselves with Dreamland as the Lenians were doing, and yet they knew that they could not expect to join a tribal coalition either in Baeba or in the Ghost Empire. They came to call themselves the Kʷixʷus people, and said that they had abandoned their ideological beliefs in order to organize as a tribe and wield power in the gaps where other tribes were weak. They were mostly descended from slaves of the Doll tribes, and therefore spoke Bābākiam. Their main distinguishing feature was their short stature, and that is why they did not feel comfortable joining any of the other tribes. Because their physical appearance was more variable than the other groups, however, they expected they could be a meeting point for the other tribes and could in the future evolve away from tribalism. However, other Kihus considered themselves to be part of the Iron tribal coalition after all, and survived by living on the outskirts of Baeba where they were mostly locked out of power but not seen as enemies. In this, they were continuing their age-old practice of gâya, living in poor conditions where nobody else would go. Even here, however, they sometimes fought against other tribes such as the descendants of UAO.

Ghost representatives in Baeba Swamp

Even though they suspected a war was coming, the Irons allowed the Ghost party to exist in Baeba, and Ghosts living in Baeba could vote in the Ghost Empire's "heartland" government without living there. The heartland Ghosts hoped to stem the flow of Ghosts into the heartland by declaring war and forcing the Ghosts in Baeba to fight on the front lines. But they knew that Baeba was far too strong to conquer, and that they would need to build an empire in the north before sweeping down to attack Baeba.


  1. kàkʷa "reed" + do "swamp; bottom".
  2. e.g. Khulls yṅṭ from yṅ + ḳ
  3. Compare wikipedia:Athens, Greece to wikipedia:Weifang for example. Athens is considerably warmer even in summer despite the naive prediction that the Mediterranean should help cool Athens down while Weifang would be warmed by the huge landmass of China to their south and west.