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[Region] Manechuria


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Manechuria - Land of the Free Range


In the north of Long Guo lies the region of Manechuria; the one place in the Dragon Kingdom where draconinc ungulates are somewhat scarce. Here, ponies are the dominant species; not the Qilin and Longma. Although the cultures of the Manechus and the Long Sun are heavily intertwined, Manechu ponies never quite fit the societal norms established by their draconic cousins.


Unlike the rest of Long Guo's habitable areas, Manechuria is primarily a land of open plains, pristine forests (home to ferocious Manechurian tigers!), and lakes as still as glass. Not counting the inhospitable terrain on the Dragon Kingdom's eastern marches, this region is the country's least developed. Aside from the regional capital in Heijing — a modest port city on the southwest shore of the Hei Bay — Manechuria is not much else than villages, scattered homesteads, and the occasional market town; most notably Autumn Leaf Town, a trade and forestry hub on the southeastern Manechurian border.


Manechu tales proudly tell of their ancestors; nomadic warrior tribes who used to roam the coastal plains from the northeastern tundras to the Fenghuang River Delta way to the south. The Manechu tribes competed against one another, and the then-equally divided Long Sun, for land and spoils. That all changed two thousand years ago with the birth of the Dragon Kingdom: with the union of the Qilin and Longma, the Manechus realized they could not afford disunity any longer.


The Manechu ponies rallied around their most battle-hardened chieftain; from that leader came a line of princes and princesses that reigned for well over five hundred years. Under the rule of these royal chieftains, the Manechus gathered their strength in the northern territory now named Manechuria. From their lands, the Manechus raided the Long Sun to the south and successfully resisted assimilation into the Dragon Kingdom for half a millennium.


Events to the west drove Long Guo to seek a peaceful resolution to the Manechurian dilemma. Having lost an entire armada in a disastrous invasion of troublesome Ryushima Island, Long Guo's emperor needed a swift way to recover from his losses. His quick and easy solution? Finally cementing an alliance with Manechuria. The Manechu rulers were to pay nominal homage to the Dragon Throne, and to continue governing in the Emperor's name as hereditary Stewards. In exchange, Manechuria was granted semi-autonomy and a powerful ally bound to come to their aid against foreign invaders (Viking Caribou marauders were starting to become a grave concern at the time).


Peace has prevailed, allowing the destinies of the Manechu ponies to intertwine with those of the Qilin and Longma. True to their nomadic roots, Manechus with the ability and means are strongly encouraged to migrate beyond their home region in use of their talents. Merchants and craftsponies of Manechu origin are accordingly a common sight throughout Long Guo and beyond... along with their families. Ironically, most residents of the various "Little Huangjings" found in Equestria's great metropolises are actually Manechu or ponies of Manechu ancestry.


Of all the aspects of Manechu culture that have rubbed off on the Long Sun, the most prominent (or infamous) meme would be the dream of life on the "free range". In a society like Long Guo's which emphasizes community cohesion above all else, there will always be those who don't quite fit in: drifters, adventurers, warriors (armed and unarmed), and more. Although this parallel sub-society of free rangers can be encountered in many corners of the Dragon Kingdom, it is the unspoiled countryside of Manechuria where such souls will find a true haven.

Away from the stifling influence of a faceless imperial bureaucracy — and its insistence of infantilizing the population with armies of clerks and constables — a chivalrous hero in Manechuria is free to perfect their abilities and use them for good. Most Manechus no longer live a warrior's life, but they've never forgotten their ancestors. To the Manechu ponies, all who choose a "free range" life are accorded a place of honor higher than even the majestic serpent dragons.


~Beyond the Imperial Capital

Dr. Tong Ze






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