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Park Hills
Park Hills flag
Political Information
Group type:Oligarchic theocratic constitutional monarchy
Leader Title:Princess
Leader:Julia Fluday
Motto:The Goddess Goes With Us
Societal Information
Location(s):Republic of Ozark
Population:1332 (incl. dependencies, 2276)
471 (urban core, 2276)
Historical Information
Founded:c. 2090s
Founded by:Licca Fluday
Survivors from Saint Louis and the surrounding region
Policy Information
Allies:Sullivan
Enemies:Twain
The Hawks
The Order of Saint Christopher
Status:Active
"As we take from the Earth, so too must we give back to the Earth. For we are the children of the Goddess, and must respect her Creation."
―A Fludayist priest reciting a line from their holy scripture.
The Principality of Park Hills is the seat of the Ozarkan industry, and the second largest state in the Republic. Unlike every other municipality, Park Hills is a monarchy, and a matriarchy at that: ruled by a Princess who is a direct descendant of the one considered a Goddess by the citizens of Park Hills.

History

Genesis and the Rebuilding

The origin of Park Hills is fraught with myth. The exact date and time when the city came into being are unknown, but it was not before 2090 and not after 2100. According to legend, Licca Fluday, revered as a goddess, was the one who lead the refugees of Saint Louis and the surrounding territory into what would become Park Hills. The refugees settled in the ruins of the town of Park Hills, which had been abandoned. It is said that Licca taught the early citizens of Park Hills how to identify certain minerals, as well as survey the land to find the best veins, basic mine-shaft construction techniques, and how to build a functional metal smelter.

These early days aren't very well-remembered. Within thirty years of its foundation, the walls of the city were built, hewn from the wood of the conifers in the surrounding hills; a palisade that stands at no less than eight feet at any point. A lack of arable land and running water being hard to come by meant that for much of its history, Park Hills was a relatively small settlement.

By 2130 the power structure and traditions of the Seven Families had been established in the midst of a facade of democracy, although those Seven were not the Seven of the modern era. It was a markedly more peaceful time, before the deluge of Raiders who would eventually swamp the countryside and prohibit the development of those smaller towns.

Farming and towns developed outside of Park Hills, generally efforts spearheaded by one of the major families, and before long there was no less than fifteen small and moderately sized communities feeding back into the hub city.

The Influx

It wasn't until the Fortress and Sullivan had begun to form into significant communities, by the 2180s, and established contact with Park Hills that it began a major explosion in growth. The Fluday family, which had always held power as a holy family, was elevated to the status of head of state by a council of the original residents of Park Hills as a measure of preserving the municipality's culture against the influx of migrants who came from the other cities and from faraway lands. The metals the city had retrieved were extremely valuable to Sullivan for its farming implements, and to the Fortress for replacement weapon parts, which were traded either for money or for water and food -- migrants, seeking their fortune, flocked to the city in droves, and by the 2220s, the city was flourishing.

The newcomers were assayed like gold -- those who refused to acknowledge Licca as the one true Goddess and the Fluday family as her messengers were expelled, while those who submitted themselves to the dogma were taught to mine and to smelt. The majority of newcomers did indeed convert, and before long, Park Hills had begun to outstrip the other settlements in the region, blossoming into a true city, and even exceeding its own population capacity -- fears of metal devaluation was cause for the city to institute its limits on private ownership of furnaces and other industrial apparatuses.

The Constitutional War and beyond

Park Hills found itself as one of the main combatants in the Constitutional War after it joined the Republic of Ozark in the 2240s. Many of its citizens were pressed into the war as militiamen, and casualties were quite high. Citizens loyal to the Mountain Mining Company wreaked havoc domestically, as well, putting the city even more on edge. Additionally, Park Hills was the closest city to the Hawks' main base of operations, meaning that organized lightning raids were a frequent and dangerous occurrence, wiping out many smaller settlements over the course of a year and forcing many others to flee. The Hawks lacked the numbers necessary to menace Park Hills itself, but the detrimental effects of their attacks cannot be understated. Even thirty years later, many of the old farms and mines in the northern region lay abandoned, especially as the MMC had a near monopoly on the region and was responsible for much of its mining operations.

Gerard Howe, the first Chancellor of Ozark, was born in Park Hills and is viewed as one of their own. His actions and policies were formative both to the Congress of Ozark as well as the position of Chancellor, and enacted many laws that form the basis of Ozark's legal precedents. The Garrison Act and the Coinage Acts are hypothesized to have been a means of giving Park Hills more leverage, as it is one of the largest cities in the Republic and would thus contribute a larger proportion for the militias, and as the Coinage Acts rely on precious metals, which only Park Hills and Twain have the means of creating, it would also give Park Hills a significant leg up in terms of economic power as well. However, as Howe died not long after leaving office without leaving any memoirs, such notions are dismissed as baseless speculation.

The leadership of Lucas Mannerheim was received extremely negatively. The Wasteland Rehabilitation Acts attempted to construct settlements in areas arbitrarily, leading to a lack of growth and overextension trying to supply and protect the new settlements, especially in the outlying territory. Although the Federal Government eventually backed down after Park Hills threatened to secede, Mannerheim's missteps were never forgiven and it believed that he will live in infamy as a model example of what a Chancellor should not be.

Felicia Jansen has thus far been received lukewarmly. She hails from Twain, Park Hills' rival, and on top of that has been campaigning for the establishment of a port town on the Mississippi river -- to the citizens of Park Hills, it is a reminder of Mannerheim's failed policies, and has generated significant malcontent as a result. However, time will tell whether or not her time as Chancellor will be a positive or negative impact on the Republic and its constituent cities.

Geography

The terrain of Park Hills' sovereign territory is not as rough as that of the Fortress' or Twain, but is still quite hilly. Like Twain, much of the land fell under the National Parks Services jurisdiction in the prewar days, protecting them from commercial exploitation. The rough terrain is populated largely by mutated strains of conifer -- namely a descendant of a prewar breed of pine tree whose needles have turned yellow, and as a result, grow much smaller than the original breed.

Prewar and postwar mineshafts are scattered throughout the land, tapping into new and old veins of minerals that have been found by prospectors. The Goddess Licca is said to have given Park Hills' citizens the knowledge of what is and is not good mining territory, as well as an understanding of many types of minerals and the methods needed to refine them into a workable state.

Culture

Park Hills is dominated by the Fludayist religion, a faith that worships the purported founder of the city as a prophet and the Goddess. Many objects of reverence are naturalistic and related to the primary economic crutch of the city, metallurgy -- mining, smelting, blacksmithing, and casting. Mines are considered sacred places, the Earth as a whole considered Her Creation, and Park Hills as Her chosen people. The Dogma, as it is often called, is quite a Byzantine affair, fraught in ritual and worship.

The people, regardless of their faith, are hard-nosed and cynical. Being menaced constantly by raiders, as well as much more dangerous enemies like the Hawks and even the Fortress at one time bred an innate distrust in outsiders. The migrants of the influx from 2180 onward were treated as complete outsiders, ostracized even as they became assimilated. The schism between the natives and those who had migrated became blurred over time, but the Great Houses or Families that dominated before the influx continued to reign dominant even after the influx and continually repress the "outsiders" who haven't married into any of the original families or otherwise proven their loyalty and devotion. The Constitutional War was the first time in the 70 years since the Park Hills population boom began that many of the residents living in the city proper were distinguished as true citizens of Park Hills; the entire militia force that was drawn up, and anybody else who fought for Park Hills, was recognized as a citizen.

Despite this aversion to outside influence, Park Hills has changed significantly in the time since the migrations began. The establishment of the monarchy is the most glaring example of this, but many ideas were brought by outsiders that have since taken root -- such as the widespread application of democracy in the outlying territories.

One unique facet of Park Hills is that it is ruled almost purely by female heads of state, with males stepping in only as regent in very rare scenarios. They worship a feminine deity, and yonic symbols are quite common. These traits make it appear to be a very matriarchal society, which it is to some extent, but the Seven Families are entirely male-run organizations, and the matriarchal feeling dies off rather quickly outside of the palisades and is supplanted by the more traditional sociological structures of the wasteland.

Government and politics

Park Hills runs as a constitutional monarchy on paper. The Park Hills constitution guarantees the people of the City and its dependencies wide-ranging freedoms and protections, and is modeled after the prewar American Bill of Rights. Despite this, for most of its history, Park Hills was run directly as an oligarchy. Mining barons, who held most of the economic power and manpower, vied for power in cutthroat politics where families rose and fell on a regular basis. When the influx in population came in the 2180s onward, this oligarchy, fearing the loss of power and the destruction of its culture from the migrants who were quickly swamping the original population, elevated the already revered but relatively powerless Fluday family to the status of the royal family of Park Hills -- with the youngest daughter at the time being named Princess, and a succession policy of enatic-cognatic ultimogeniture being put in place.

The Princess is viewed as the living representative of the Goddess, and is nominally the head of state for Park Hills. However, while her word does hold significant clout, in reality, the city is still operated as the same oligarchy that it was even before the monarchy was put in place. While the reigning Princess is always the designated representative for the Congress, her decisions are informed by a council of high-ranking members of the main families, and while a limited level of democracy is allowed -- smaller settlements beyond the main city elect their own representatives -- the municipality is fairly autocratic in nature.

The power structure of the families is obfuscated by facades of democracy and even name changes in order to give the appearance of regular power-shifts. In reality, there are roughly twenty families who make up the politicians of Park Hills, with seven -- Johnson, Howe, Hojo, Niarchos, Sigurdsson, Ford, and Penn -- being both the largest and most powerful. Like something out of the medieval era, on the surface relationships between the families are cordial and gracious, but conflict is frequent and oftentimes raider incursions are actually caused by one of the families wanting to take control of a rival's mines or farms.

Militia

Unlike the Fortress, Park Hills does not have a military heritage. Its local militias rely largely on one of two things -- prewar civilian weaponry, and makeshift postwar weapons. PVC pipe rifles firing 10mm rounds are fairly typical, although relatively ineffectual and dangerous to use, while 5.56mm and 7.62mm hunting weapons are also a common sight. However, the militia makes up only a relatively small proportion of the total population of Park Hills -- most who live in the city proper don't even own a weapon, and even those civilians who do own nothing more substantial than a 9mm or 10mm handgun.

In the outlying territory, however, where raider incursions are (relatively speaking) quite a bit more frequent, almost everybody owns nothing less substantial than a 5.56mm rifle. When raiders hit a town, most often the very young and very old are quickly spirited away into the town's mine, or other safe and defensible position, while anybody who can pick up a gun helps their militia in the defense of their town. Usually, they can ward off the raiders with little threat to themselves -- but not always. Sometimes a community might be too small to adequately defend itself, or the attack might catch them completely off-guard and leave no time to respond.

Standard operating procedure in the event a community is completely lost to raiders is to retaliate with overwhelming force, sending a large part of the Park Hills militia to eradicate the raiders and reestablish a safe zone. If the community has no survivors, however, the town might simply be abandoned after the raiders are killed or dispersed. In the absolute worst case scenario -- an incursion by a large and organized raider group which establishes a heavily-defended camp -- Park Hills generally requests the intervention of the Pathfinders to help keep casualties to a minimum during the reclamation operation.

During times of conflict, as well as for patrol duty and garrisoning outlying settlements, Park Hills is responsible for handing over a small portion of their militia to Federal control. These units are outfitted in much the same way as the Fortress' own -- with military M199 rifle.

Royal Honor Guard

The Royal Honor Guard is an "elite" unit of the Park Hills militia hand-picked to serve as the personal guard of the Princess, comprised of fifteen to twenty Guards at any one time. They are markedly better fighters than the normal militia, and it is rumored that they were trained by an ex-Pathfinder whose identity has not been disclosed. Despite this, they are little more than a watered-down reflection of the Pathfinders, lacking their discipline, experience, and coordination.

The only combat experience the Guard ever had was during a particularly rough raiding campaign committed by the Hawks during the Constitutional War. The reigning Princess, flustered that her militia was unable to successfully stop the mercenaries from wiping out community after community, ordered the Guard to "show the Families how to fight a war", and directed them to accompany the Pathfinders in defending against the Hawks' lightning raids (indirectly leading to the formation of the Ozark CentCom).

The Guard suffered badly during this time, losing three-fourths of its membership due to a complete lack of experience. New Guards were trained as quickly as they were being lost, disproportionately to the Pathfinders they were fighting alongside. When the Pathfinders assaulted the Hawks' command center, the Guard in its entirety got torn to bits, with only three survivors. To add insult to injury, the presence of the remaining Guardsmen during the assault was completely glossed over and forgotten quickly.

Economy

Blacksmithing in park hills

A blacksmith in Park Hills

Seven companies operate a number of furnaces across the municipality, most heavily in the city of Park Hills proper, where their constant working generates black smoke that can be seen for miles in any direction and has blanketed the town in a layer of soot and ash. These companies slag raw minerals and create ingots for use in blacksmithing, as well as casting and other metalworking techniques.

The mines themselves are what make this possible. They dot the countryside, owned and operated by the same seven companies (or private contractors) and draw out the minerals hidden within. Most mines are new, created after the war, while some are prewar mines dating back three or four centuries that were closed down early in the 20th century. What the smelters and furnaces generate depends solely on whatever minerals the miners draw out on a daily basis. For the most part, this consists of iron and lead, but rarer minerals like copper, zinc, and even some precious metals like silver can be found within if a miner gets lucky.

Subsistence farming is widespread outside of the city itself. The many mining communities in the jurisdiction of Park Hills are comprised of people who actually live nearby their respective mines and when they aren't mining are typically tending to a farm or garden. However, the city proper has next to no arable land, and even those outlying farms don't produce nearly enough to feed the people of the city. The same seven companies who own the mines and furnaces sell their metals to either other companies in the city who operate as caravaneers, or directly purchase food or water from Sullivan or the Fortress and resell it to the people of Park Hills.

Keeping prices inflated is key to the success of Park Hills. If prices get too cheap -- for instance if one company begins to produce mass quantities of a certain metal -- then there will be less payoff for the workers and the company, meaningless clout politically and many people might emigrate for fear of not getting enough money to buy the food or water needed to survive. As a result, keeping prices at a premium through production limits and furnace licenses are necessary to keep the economy of Park Hills from collapsing in on itself.

Crime and punishment

Park Hills has a standing no tolerance policy for any crime more serious than theft. The constant, looming threat of raiders and a history of settlements being wiped out has created a very cynical justice system. Any crime less serious than kidnapping is dealt with by exile, while anything more serious is dealt with through summary execution. What the rest of Ozark considers "petty" crimes, like burglary, is dealt with through the seizure of the criminal's property and imprisonment for several months, if not years, during which they are used as slave labor to work in the Royal mines.

Unlike most cities Park Hills actually has a dedicated crime fighting agency, established in 2255 because of how un-thorough the Militia was at fighting crime. Often they relied solely on witness testimony. The Park Hills Detective Agency is a group of detectives who answer directly to the Princess, and is tasked with investigating crimes and ensuring that the administration of justice is carried out as efficiently as possible. This doesn't stop them from being abusive themselves, however; often they achieve their ends through violent interrogation techniques, mind-games, and will even break into peoples' houses to gather evidence. The number of summary executions has gone down dramatically since the PHDA's establishment, which has frustrated the major families' attempts to frame and sweep away competition.

Raiders, on the other hand, are dealt no mercy or leniency in their treatment. Active raiders are retaliated against with overwhelming force, wiped out wholesale with no prisoners taken. When the Militia is called on to destroy a raider den, everything within the raider nest is killed -- even hostages are often caught in the crossfire.

Occasionally a raider will attempt to assimilate into the society of Park Hills after their "career" of ruining other peoples' lives. When they are discovered, at best they are exiled and at worst, spirited away in the night and tortured for days until they die, before having their corpse burned to ash and sold (unbeknownst to the buyer) as fertilizer.

Relationships

The relationship between Park Hills and the other cities can be best described as grudgingly cooperative.

Park Hills maintains a cordial presence in both the Fortress and Sullivan, but refuses contact with Twain -- the third smallest of the four cities -- because of significant competition between them in the mining business. Both cities are the main suppliers of metals, and while Park Hills outputs a significantly larger amount of base metals the area of Twain has yielded far greater amounts of precious metals -- namely copper and silver -- which are key to the Ozarkan economy. Before the 2180s, the tension between the two cities did not exist -- Twain wasn't even founded until the 2120s, and in the six decades between its founding and the Influx, Twain was little more than a scavenging settlement.

The two cities constantly struggle over preeminence in the mining industry. There is little to no direct contact between them (Sullivan is almost always used as an intermediary) and border skirmishes are quite frequent due to the amount of shared border being so great. The Royal family never visits Twain for fear of assassination despite hopes from some among Park Hills who believe such a diplomatic mission might ease tensions.

Between Park Hills and the Fortress, there is a bitter taste in their mouth from the brief period of weight-shifting the Fortress committed to during their time under the command of the Enclave. Fortress soldiers regularly menaced Park Hills' dependencies, and even issued ultimatums regarding the production of metals. Luckily for all involved, no blood was ever spilled, but the fear of the Fortress invading Park Hills was ever present, and many of the older folk remember that time when the Fortress was viewed in much the same light as the Hawks -- little more than raiders and scum. In recent days, however, the Fortress has become one of the major suppliers of water and food for Park Hills alongside Sullivan. The Pathfinders have helped Park Hills more than its own militia was ever able to, regarding their problem with raider incursions, which lightened their views on the Fortress somewhat. Regardless, the Fortress is always approached by Park Hills with caution.

Sullivan, on the other hand, has always had much more amicable relations with Park Hills. While culturally quite similar to the Fortress (eliciting accusations of complicity whenever a delegate of Park Hills hangs the actions of the Fortress in the past over their heads) its role as the key mediator and primary producer of food and water for the whole Republic cannot be understated. It is also one of Julia Fluday's favorite places to spend time in.

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