-Prologue-Is this where he lives, Jikken (実顕) thought to himself. The finest and most learned of the Soui  is here. Jikken strode the wooden corridors of the temple of Eishouji, glancing eagerly for a sight of him. He had to remind himself he was a sworn Buddhist monk to ease his anticipation of meeting him. A minor temple like Eishou-ji, housing this most brilliant example of a barbarian prince--it was simply incredible! And Jikken had spent years of his life labouring to visit this man, supposedly the greatest man Fusania  had ever produced.
Eishou-ji (永勝寺), Ishikari Province, 1498
Eishou-ji (永勝寺), Ishikari Province, 1498
His deeds were already legendary, transmitted to him in rumour from nobles and monks alike. This Soui prince fought for the greatest empires the Soui could produce, yet always kept his freedom. He had ruled his land with a firm, yet honest hand. His brilliant strategies routed all the foes he faced. He had traveled to every end of Fusania, and fought against all of its people, never losing. And the more outlandish rumours credited him with spreading literacy and introducing any number of innovations the Soui had never known.
"What is your haste, boy?" a man in front of him shouted. His accent was strange--he was not Japanese. Jikken looked up at the man in front of him--he certainly wasn't Japanese from his darker skin and odd facial features. The man was withered with age, his face scarred by battle, age, and disease. Yet his deep brown eyes, contrasted with his milky white hair, shone with a certain passion--and pride. His height most shocked him--this man stood over a head taller than him.
"I--I'm sorry. I was--" Jikken stammered in sudden apology and remembrance of his position.
"Looking for a certain monk, weren't you," the old man laughed. "Seeking wisdom from your elders." He clapped him on the shoulder. "Seeking the man now called Gaiyuchul."
Gaiyuchul, Jikken remembered. The man pronounced it strangely --perhaps authentically--but that was what he heard this brilliant Soui was called.
"That wasn't my name for many years, but no one back in the Fatherland knows I'm alive," he reminisced. "I suppose a name like that fits me." He looked aside from a moment. "Pride," he muttered, "Perhaps that's what I'll be remembered for." He turned back to Jikken. "I've seen so much in my time, and I know you want to hear it, so come to my chamber." He laughed. "I suppose you want to know why they called me Gaiyuchul!"
Jikken walked into this man's personal room, noticing the surroundings. It was richly decorated for the room of a monk, with many wells of ink and books scattered about. Framed calligraphy in some bizarre script filled the walls--it vaguely resembled a fusion of kana and kanji yet was distinct from it. A few amateurish paintings were displayed, mostly portraying snowcapped mountains, but the largest painting showed what appeared to be a naval battle on a river caught his eye. It was clearly not meant to represent Red Cliffs or another famous river battle, but some other conflict. The painting showed flaming warships on a river while on the shore, men riding horned animals clashed. More horned animals towed chariots and wagons. A central host of these men with tall shields was surrounded on either side. And one man depicted shining in the sun raised his sword, preparing for a charge into the enemy lines.
"Tlakalama, so long ago!" he commented, seeing Jikken's interest. "That was around Chouso 2 [長祚] ." Decades before I was born, Jikken noted. The old man walked to the corner and lied down on a mat, grabbing a small vase and pouring its content into a sakazuki. Jikken squinted at the liquid, a brownish, cloudy liquid, not like any sake he'd ever seen.
"You want to know more, I'm sure," Gaiyuchul said, sipping from the sakazuki. "I painted it myself, and I only wish I was capable enough to capture even a fragment of that moment." He grabbed another sakazuki and poured some for Jikken. "I've been all over the world yet in my heart never experienced anything like what I felt at that moment."
Jikken sipped the sakazuki himself. His eyes widened immediately as he tasted it--earthy, murky, and strange, like no other alcohol he ever had. Was this man brewing a taste of his homeland?
Gaiyuchul laughed at Jikken's response. "It took so many years for true omodaka to be available to a mere monk like me! And it had been so long since I drank the wine from it !" The old man laughed, "Now, you liked that painting, I see."
"Torakarama," Jikken repeated, trying to replicate the word he said earlier. Soui names had such an awful tone to them, far worse than those of the local barbarians of Hokkaido. It reminded him of his one and only trip to the countryside near Subachi [州鉢] [Petropavlovsk], where the locals spoke a vaguely similar language. 
"Tlakalama," he corrected with his native language. "It was an eventful moment." He stared at the painting longingly. "I've killed so many great men, but those who died at that battle and in the years after I feel responsibility toward. Friends died that day, enemies died that day. That painting feels wrong to me, it can't capture the true spirit. The same with my writing," he continued, walking over to a book and picking it up. "You can learn all about Tlakalama, but you could never experience it as I did. Right now, these books I'm writing are the best way to learn about the legacy I inherited and that which I left behind. The friends and enemies I betrayed to gain new friends and enemies. The people who marched and sailed with me to the ends of the earth. Everything"
The room fell silent for a moment. Gaiyuchul's eyes were closed, yet he wasn't meditating as much as remembering a turbulent past. Jikken suddenly realised what he was seeing--an old man reflecting on the stories of those before him, his friends and enemies alike. They all seemed to be present in the room with him, just in that very moment. Although he never knew a single one of them, Jikken knew they were fantastic warriors, cultured in every sense, and the finest of the Soui race. Perhaps even superior to the finest of our own nobility.
Gaiyuchul handed Jikken the book. Opening it up, Jikken saw it was written in the same script as the calligraphy. He leafed through the book, trying to make sense of it yet realising immediately how much knowledge was contained there. Gaiyuchul clapped him on the back.
"If you want to know more, you'll have to learn Namaru!"  Gaiyuchul laughed. "Even your advisors back home in Katorimatsu  struggle with our language!"
"C--can you teach me Namaru?" Jikken asked. "And how to read this script in the books here?"
Gaiyuchul laughed again. "It's the job of a senior monk to teach his juniors in these matters I suppose. But I'm old and can't teach you much. There are other Namaru here in your country, confined to monasteries from here in Eishou-ji to that place your people call the Manjimas . They might be able to teach you more. But I can read you the book," he said. "Most of what I've written in all these books here came from stories I heard throughout the ages, never written down."
Jikken smiled. "I'd rather learn your language myself."
"No need," Gaiyuchul said. "In my youth, writing was unknown. Only my master's decree let the very idea of writing down history spread from those merchants of Kechaniya , who your people have since destroyed in their greed." He took another sip of his sakazuki. "In these books I've written down I've recorded all the history I've ever known."
Jikken took a drink of his own sakazuki. "These books are a history of your country, the history of Fusania?"
Gaiyuchul nodded. "Indeed they are. I served the greatest rulers we Fusanians will ever know, and marched to the edge of the world at their side. We shattered down ancient empires, and in that painting of Tlakalama I myself helped destroy an empire to raise up a new one."
Jikken always respected his elders, but was suddenly stunned by this elderly barbarian prince.
"Please, tell me more," he asked. "Read me these books from the start. We Japanese will need to know of your people in these days to come."
Gaiyuchul smiled, yet remainded silent. He walked over to the corner of his room and grabbed a book, and began reading a passage about the beginning of time, different from the story Jikken knew.
"I'll warn you, some of this is simply legend, some of this I don't even know is true. Some of these stories I've heard are just embellishments of actual events. I'll try and translate to your language as faithfully as I can, but these events are all Fusanian stories, which can be imperceptible to you Japanese. I know you want to write down what I will tell you. I just hope you understand what you will hear in these stories of old Fusania."
Jikken nodded. "I understand."
Gaiyuchul laughed. "Then you will bear a heavy curse. You are responsible for carrying these tales, legends, and truths, to the next generation. You will be judged by myself, every single man I fought alongside, every single man I killed, and above all, every ancestor of these men and their gods."
Jikken's heart fluttered as he heard the barbarian suddenly express this deep emotion toward this, as much as it was exactly what he was looking for. Can I really do this? Jikken wasn't sure of his own ability to write down what this barbarian prince was about to tell him and was anxious of taking on such a duty. But I came here for this. After all, he wanted to meet this man and hear his stories.
"I'll carry these stories," Jikken swore. "I'll face the consequences when they come, and I'll make sure everyone hears of it."
"Fantastic!" Gaiyuchul shouted. "Now then, let's begin from the start..."
 - (桑夷) "Fusanian Barbarians", a contemporary (15th - 18th centuries) term for all indigenous Americans
 - I will use the Latinisation "Fusania" here, instead of the more common "Fusang" (or Japanese "Fusou").
 - Roughly "The Prideful One", a posthumous name. In the culture of his people--closest to OTL Chinookans--this is the name given to a prestigious individual who has died. Chinookan (and basically all West Coast American Indian) phonology is far distant from Japanese (and English for that matter), and "Gaiyuchul" is an approximation influenced by both Japanese and English pronunciation.
 - I will use alternative eras for East Asian rulers here. In this case, Chouso is 1452 - 1461, hence Chouso 2 is 1453.
 - Omodaka TTL refers to Sagittaria fusanensis, a ATL domesticated hybrid of Sagittaria latifolia and Sagittaria cuneata. All three Sagittaria species are important for agriculture into the 21st century and beyond TTL.
 - Tlakalama is a rendition of the Chinookan name for modern Kalama, Washington. As noted, the phonology is difficult for a speaker of Japanese. However, Itelmen (spoken near Petropavlovsk, TTL's Subachi) has sounds similar to Chinookan.
 - The name of the Chinookans and their language TTL, derived from a term meaning "people of the Big Water" (Wimal, the Columbia River).
 - Cathlamet, Washington
 - 万島 (Manjima), "Ten Thousand Islands", named in reference to the Chishima Islands (Kurils), which means "Thousand Islands".
 - 毛詫荷矢 (Kechaniya), Japanese name of Kodiak Island inherited from Tlingit "Kʼeiljáaniyaa", "sheltered from the storm".
---Welcome to my first TL, A Horn of Bronze, a TL long overdue for me to post. It's a story of anthropology, linguistics, biology, and cruel Darwinism. It's a story of potential, the potential of many geniuses in their field. It's a story of society, displaying those which thrive and those which die. It's a story of glory, displaying those people and individuals who triumphed. And it's a story of what could have been which aggressively asks "was this the right path?" and above all else "what possibilities did we forsake traveling down this road?" Possibility is the essence of this story, from the possibility inside the most obscure plant to that inside the most ambitious child. And possibility is what shall truly make the Horn of Bronze.
A Horn of Bronze--The Shaping of Fusania and Beyond
A Horn of Bronze--The Shaping of Fusania and Beyond