Prologue
-Prologue-
Eishou-ji (永勝寺), Ishikari Province, 1498
Is this where he lives, Jikken (実顕) thought to himself. The finest and most learned of the Soui [1] 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 [2] had ever produced.

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 [3]--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] [4]." 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 [5]!" 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. [6]

"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!" [7] Gaiyuchul laughed. "Even your advisors back home in Katorimatsu [8] 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 [9]. 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 [10], 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..."

[1] - (桑夷) "Fusanian Barbarians", a contemporary (15th - 18th centuries) term for all indigenous Americans
[2] - I will use the Latinisation "Fusania" here, instead of the more common "Fusang" (or Japanese "Fusou").
[3] - 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.
[4] - I will use alternative eras for East Asian rulers here. In this case, Chouso is 1452 - 1461, hence Chouso 2 is 1453.
[5] - 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.
[6] - 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.
[7] - The name of the Chinookans and their language TTL, derived from a term meaning "people of the Big Water" (Wimal, the Columbia River).
[8] - Cathlamet, Washington
[9] - 万島 (Manjima), "Ten Thousand Islands", named in reference to the Chishima Islands (Kurils), which means "Thousand Islands".
[10] - 毛詫荷矢 (Kechaniya), Japanese name of Kodiak Island inherited from Tlingit "Kʼeiljáaniyaa", "sheltered from the storm".
---
A Horn of Bronze--The Shaping of Fusania and Beyond
Author's Introduction
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.
 
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Watched. So the Japanese hopped along the north Pacific rim until they reached the other side? I'd be interested to see what kind of incentives kept them at the task for so long (Siberian furs were popular in China, I'm guessing).
 
Chapter 1-The Lord of the Ground
-I-
"The Lord of the Ground"

Along the Hentsuren River [辺通漣] [Yukon] c. 120 AD
He was an elder of his clan who even the oldest men revered. No one knew how old he was, but the elders of the area told stories of him when he was younger, as he was the man who they always looked up to. To many, he was known only as the Lord of the Ground [1], for it seemed he had a unique knowledge of everything to do with the land. As a young boy, he believed that the caribou herds which migrated every year would be happier if they could munch on some extra plants, so he convinced his father and uncles to sow some seeds of plants the caribou loved to help the annual harvest of caribou. The Lord of the Ground as a youth believed that since his own people enjoyed berries, sweetvetch, and bistort, that caribou would enjoy it too. Plants they couldn't use but the caribou loved, like the reindeer lichen were also spread by him. Making the caribou happy would bring them to his people, and this would bring his people great prosperity.

In a tale once considered taboo to tell, a young Lord of the Ground went around trying to convince the elders of this, and somehow succeeded when they tried to help the sweetvetch, the sourdock, the bistort, and others spread further by uprooting other plants and ensuring only the favourite plants of the caribou grew in the areas they traveled. Even if they themselves weren't planning to use much of those plants, the Lord of the Ground still made sure his people uprooted them and did anything they could to spread them.

The Lord of the Ground soon grew into a respected elder. He was somewhat irreverant--his personal enemies accused him of misinterpreting the will of the gods and spirits for his own benefit, but the Lord of the Ground always disagreed. It was just slander against him. It wasn't his fault that the spirits favoured him. He knew the medicine men agreed with him on this, and decried the "corrupt" medicine men who dared say he was doing something wrong. After all, he pleased the spirits of the caribou by helping feed them. To not do so would be little different than to needlessly destroy nests or kill the young of animals and birds, a taboo known to all. And he knew that he was helping the caribou and many other animals the entire time--those who migrated through his land looked healthier, so perhaps he really was helping the spirit of the caribou grow stronger.

And he would say that he would fight for what he believed in, because he knew he was right. Stories about him tell how he fought false shamans and medicine men. The Lord of the Ground in his younger days clashed with other tribes, driving them away from his land. He was a skilled fighter, certainly, a fantastic shot with his arrow and knowing how to easily butcher a man with an axe or stone knife. The Lord of the Ground knew which poisons would easily kill an animal or man, and his favourite was wolfsbane, sometimes called aconite. He helped his followers produce large amounts of this poison, although he cautioned them on the dangers of its use, morally and spiritually. To shoot either an animal or man with the poison was dangerous, but in some cases, needed to be done.

He was a Great Man of History by any definition--to his people, to his neighbours, and the legacy he would leave behind, he would be no less than an "Aristotle of the Hentsuren" [2]. Not that he would ever accept that definition if later historians could meet him--he was only a simple man who wanted little more than to help his people out and please the spirits he knew surrounded him. And how his family and clan ate better than others and prospered as a result was simple evidence of it. He was doing something right.

The caribou were his passion. It is said that as a child, he suckled on the teets of a caribou. Another story says that had he not been captivated by the sight of a rare albino caribou as a child, he would have slipped on some stones in a creek and perhaps perished [3]. The caribou gave so much to his tribe--and himself--that it made no sense not to give something back to them. But he was in the winter of his life. The Lord of the Ground was certainly among the oldest men in the area, and perhaps even the oldest man in the entire world. Only the spirit realm knew how old he truly was, how many summers and winters he'd seen. Some say he'd seen over a hundred, maybe even a hundred and ten in his life--the Lord of the Ground would agree. And he was dying. He could no longer move, and was assisted by only his extended family. His wife had long since died, as had his sons and almost all his daughters, and those grandchildren and other relatives who helped him.

His favourite child was his eldest daughter, who was herself a revered figure. She was called the Lady of the Ground. She had married his favourite protege early on. And she was still alive to the day, perhaps having seen 90 winters. Her descendents feared her, perhaps even more than the Lord of the Ground. And she passed on the wisdom of her father. Her daughters and sons knew much in their own right. They married into various clans of their people, and sometimes even into other tribes. The Lady of the Ground was brilliant in her own right, since she was not only an expert huntress in her youth but also an expert teacher. She could present concepts like few others could. To those who heard her, it seemed like she was a true genius. She could transmit her father's wisdom like no other could. She taught a certain way of hunting caribou, moose, and sheep and fishing the rivers. The caribou was elevated to the key animal--what the Lady of the Ground taught about the caribou would lead to caribou becoming to be the central animal for her entire people. Thus the Lord of the Ground passed on his ways to his descendents. His descendents were of so many clans and tribes, as they prospered so much, and he was considered the ancestor of so many tribes and peoples he and his daughter passed into myth. Some say he was 110 years old by modern reckoning. His daughter lived to about the same age in these stories.

Although considered legend by many, these two figures are cited as ancestors by nearly every Dena group in Rihoku and even further beyond. And archaeology confirms that something happened, something changed, around this time in the area. If it weren't for these initial figures and how they shaped those who came later, the caribou would never have been domesticated. If it weren't for them, other animals from the muskox to the mountain goat would never be domesticated. If it weren't for them, the West of the Americas--Fusania--would end up far less developed, perhaps to the degree it would be incapable of receiving the benefits and curse the Asian civilisations brought it. If it weren't for them, the Western Agricultural Complex would never have been able to take off. The repercussions of caribou herding would spread to every corner of the Americas.
---
Mamoru Nire, "Arctic vegetables in modern agriculture" Arctic Agronomy Review, January 1979. Translated by Seppo Savolainen (Ilonlinna [Charlottetown, PEI] University, Vinland) 1980.

In reviewing the use of sweetvetch and other so-called "Arctic vegetables" in modern agriculture, it is important to recall the origins of indigenous cultivation of these crops. It is evident that almost two thousand years ago around the Hentsuren River, the indigenous Dena began to intensify their use of these plants. It is believed this is a result of their increasing reliance on caribou. The so-called Roman Warm Period is attributed of allowing these Dena to experiment in new means of cultivation. If the "Lord of the Ground" and his successors were real people, he was certainly part of this revolution. By attempting to lure more caribou to his people's land, the Lord of the Ground unknowingly embarked on the course of domesticating sweetvetch into the modern, carrot-like form that it is today.

We can thus tell that almost 1,400 years before the first sweetvetch plant would feed the first Pure Land monks of Chikura in the Manjimas [5], the entire reason why the plant was cultivated was to help enlarge the caribou herds. This would have the side effect of increasing the use of plants in the diet of the Dena as they ate plants which weren't feeding the caribou. They became more sedentary, which caused conflict with neighbours--and those beyond--who harvested too much of the caribou.
[...]
From analysis of the circumpolar regions, we see that these Arctic crops proved vital for many peoples from foragers to horticulturalists to today's farmers in the far north. It's introduction to Buddhist monasteries was likewise critical for establishing Japanese rule in North Asia and Northwest Fusania. It's cultivation by caribou herders from the far north to the Front Range in the far south and many regions in between and beyond helped spread one of the key draft animals for indigenous peoples. Arctic vegetables keep alive the economic health and employment of otherwise distressed northern communities throughout Rihoku [6], Vinland, and other circumpolar countries.
[...]

[1] - An approximation of his Athabaskan name in English
[2] - Yukon River, from a Tlingit word meaning "Big River" (a literal translation of the Athabaskan and Yupik name)
[3] - Perhaps this man was real OTL, yet perished in childhood (this would be around when he was 10 years old and thus around 20 AD), so our PoD is basically this otherwise obscure
[4] - "Mississippians" via a Norse take on the indigenous word
[5] - 万島 (Manjima), "Ten Thousand Islands", named in reference to the Chishima Islands (Kurils), which means "Thousand Islands".
[6] - 日北 (Rihoku), literally "North of the Sun," a much later postcolonial country which is basically Alaska, Yukon, and northern BC.
---
Author's notes
This was the first entry I wrote for this TL (a few months ago), and I've rewrote parts of it a few times since, so this one might be a bit rougher than the others. I hope it's still presentable. I should probably get it out of the way now that yes, I've been inspired by a lot of other TLs here. This entry in particular might have a bit of Lands of Ice and Mice feel to it since I was re-reading that TL when I was writing this.
 
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Chapter 2-The Horns of the Dena
-II-
"Horns of the Dena''

Gai Shima, History of Antlers: The Transformation of Native Fusania (1978) (Chugyaku [Chugiak, AK] University Press). Translated by Seppo Savolainen (Ilonlinna [Charlottetown, PEI] University, Vinland) 1980.
Reindeer domestication in Fusania in the early years AD was an unparalleled event in the history of the New World. For the first time north of the Andes, a large animal aside from the dog had been bent to the will of humans. And nowhere else in the world was the reindeer domesticated to the extent the indigenous Fusanians shaped the species. This event would have profound changes on the livelihoods of both the people who relied on the reindeer and the people who surrounded them.

Rangifer tarandus indicus, the domesticated subspecies of reindeer, mostly separated from wild R. tarandus by 400 AD. Genetically, it is mostly derived from the western barren-ground caribou [1], but also has some ancestry from the woodland caribou and the Kaida caribou, which by 1000 AD would produce the modern domesticated reindeer. This domestication process is usually associated with the beginnings of plant domestication in the Subarctic, which occurs around the same time, as the two events were almost certainly related thanks to the upheavals of lifestyle that occurred in this time.

The Dena peoples who domesticated the reindeer are known as the Tachiri [大地理] Culture, after the town of Tachiri [2] where many artifacts from the early Dena are found. The conventional dates for this culture range from 100 AD to 700 AD, although Tachiri-style sites exist even afterwards in places untouched by the so-called Fusanian Copper Age usually stated to begin in 700. The people who created these artifacts appear as a monumental leap in complexity compared to previous cultures by the time of the Middle Tachiri period (250 - 500), but even in the Early Tachiri period (100 - 250) it is evident a dramatic change was taking place. The cultures had clearly rooted themselves to the migratory reindeer in a way they never had before, and sought out a new way of life.

Mythologically, a figure known by names like the "Lord of the Ground" appears associated with both events, especially in Dena peoples. In other cultures, the figure of the Transformer is credited with creating the domesticated reindeer, as a man or woman (sometimes the Lord of the Ground himself or his daughter) becomes the first reindeer. For instance, in a story of the Stohlo peoples, the god Khaals transformed a greedy elder into the first reindeer, decreeing he should serve rather than rule.

Domestication of the reindeer was similar to other domestication events of migratory animals. Herds were followed throughout the year, which forced more and more reliance on other local plants and animals to hunt. Tamed reindeer were allowed to breed, while aggressive ones were killed off early on. These early reindeer herders began to identify their herds and animals, and would separate them from other reindeer herds. The migratory path they followed became predictable, as the hunters would encourage reindeer lichen, sweetvetch, bistort, and other plants the reindeer ate. These plants were especially concentrated in the calving grounds of the reindeer, which improved the rate of calf survival and indirectly made the domestication process easier. Reindeer calves were fiercely protected by the tribe in these places from their natural predators, while weak or aggressive calves were culled early.

Plant domestication was beginning as well. By becoming confined to the reindeer herds and their migration, the Dena became increasingly reliant on the plants they encouraged. There wasn't as much time to hunt or fish as there used to be. Various plants like sweetvetch, sourdock, or most critically for future peoples, alpine bistort, were monitored most intently, as was reindeer lichen, the favorite food of their animals. These plants were generally slow-growing (reindeer lichen especially), taking years to mature, meaning an observant individual could pass the field in one season and notice changes in the plant. Weaker plants would be uprooted and destroyed, their remnants fed to reindeer, while stronger plants were used to feed humans and their favorite animals, and would later be the ones which would "replant" the field later on. The genetics of these plants seem to indicate that a major change occurred around this time--it's safe to say that the origins of the Western Agricultural Complex began with these pastoralists along the rivers of the Subarctic.

Today we can recognise these ideas as the basis of selective breeding of both plants and animals, but to the Dena, they recognised them instead as an action they were doing to improve the world. They were driving out the weak and nourishing the strong, in both animals and plants. By doing so, they noticed changes in their world. An elder could repeat stories about the days when berries were smaller and less plentiful, the fields full of worthless or even poisonous plants, and the reindeer more aloof and aggressive. The fish in the streams were not as plentiful back then, while the winters were colder and the ice lasted longer. Evil was not yet gone from the world, as attested by the many biting flies and mosquitos, but if that was the best the evil forces could do, then clearly it's powers were fading. The world in general was becoming a more rational, peaceful, and hospitable place.

Society changed as a result of this. The Dena had found what worked to revolutionise their culture and lifestyle. Unlike with dogs, the Dena's only domesticated animal before then, reindeer did not compete with humans for the best food. A reindeer had no need for the flesh of the salmon, the moose, or other animals, unlike dogs. It ate only plants, although in times of starvation it would snack on voles or other small animals, another benefit to keep down those small pests. This made the reindeer a much more efficient animal than dogs. Key above all was the reindeer's ability to move goods more effectively than a human--a single reindeer could carry loads of up to 40% of its body weight. A male domestic reindeer in the Middle Tochiri period (although these were still fundamentally R. t. groenlandicus) weighed about 150 kilos--these animals could thus carry almost 60 kilos of goods several kilometers a day.

A hunter-gatherer culture like the Dena or their neighbors moved about frequently, limiting their potential for innovation, as either humans or dogs needed to carry it around between hunting and foraging grounds. Yet a single reindeer could transport an adult human male's body weight in goods. This provoked all manner of experimentation in pottery, tools, and even ceremonial goods. The elderly and newborn could be strapped to a reindeer sled, or in exceptional cases, even the reindeer itself. Inevitably, this potential was unleashed as the Dena experienced an explosion of goods, which were traded hundreds of kilometers away. The material culture of the Dena was utterly reshaped in this era.

Another key aspect was the milk of the reindeer. Although marginal compared to Old World animals like cows and goats, reindeer milk proved a key supplement to infant nutrition, especially those whose mothers died in childbirth. This helped reduce infant mortality and keep the numbers of the Dena strong. Milking a reindeer was challenging, taking adult men to hold down the reindeer cow by the horns, but the process was culturally considered necessary to raise up a strong future member of the tribe, be it a future warrior or mother. In time, lactose tolerance emerged among the Dena. This rare mutation may have emerged from either natural mutations, from a small influx of Siberians, or from the Inuit, but genetic evidence suggests that lactose tolerance in the Dena emerged around 500 AD. It would remain rare in the New World, but present in up to almost 40% of marginal peoples of the Arctic and Subarctic. These advantages all gave the Dena a strong advantage.

The population of the Dena peoples increased from the 2nd - 4th centuries AD, not just from these domestication events and societal changes, but from the environment. The so-called "Roman Warm Period", the era which led to great prosperity and stability in Europe and Asia, can claim responsibility for much of this. It is possible that the aforementioned Dena beliefs arose due to the warmer climate of these centuries, as they associated their own societal changes with the rest of nature around them. Regardless, this warmer climate would result in the Dena thriving in their homeland. Sites of the Middle Tachiri period show extensive finds of pottery and even mound building, as key trade sites along the rivers became permanent settlements. The long-time regional center of trade between Dena people, the site of modern Nukurugawa [濡来川] [3], or Nuklukayet among many variations in various Dena languages, became a permanent settlement no later than 300 AD. Reindeer, copper, tools, handicrafts, slaves, and all manner of goods were swapped here. At its height in the Middle Tachiri Period in the late 4th century, Nukurugawa hosted perhaps 1,000 permanent residents, and seasonally thousands more. Only key fishing spots on the Imaru River such as Wayam [4] far to the south could claim to be more important in the region.

It was inevitable that the increasing population of both humans and reindeer would tax the Arctic environment. Even as the reindeer was domesticated, Dena peoples were migrating east and especially south. Some of these were more conservative bands who refused to let themselves be tied to this new lifestyle. Others were just following other Dena in the years before them, as migrations of Dena peoples had been ongoing for centuries before even the birth of the Lord of the Ground [5]. But the addition of the reindeer and the increased plantlore changed the character of these migrations greatly. As noted, the carrying capacity of the reindeer was much more than what humans could carry. The material culture, population size, and other aspects of these western Dena was superior to the more "primitive" Dena in the east and south, as well as the other major groups in the area, the Old Ringitani Sea [6] Culture, the ancestors of the Inuit and Yupik, and the Old Kechaniya [7] Culture, an Aleut-speaking group which inhabited much of southern coastal Rihoku.

These other cultures were unable to stop the Dena. As noted, the Dena possessed superior technology and culture to harnass the food sources in the harsh lands of interior Rihoku. For instance, a Dena band intruding into Inuit territory could hunt their game and gather their plants, while fending off any attacks from the vengeful locals. Their life cycles disrupted, these Inuit would now be weakened and starved, while the Dena would merely need to recover the loss of those killed in battle. This eroded the range of the enemies of the Dena. The ancestors of the Ringitsu fought the Dena the strongest. Most Ringitsu migrated to the coastal islands where there brethren lived, but some persisted along the Taku River. These inland Ringitsu would keenly adopt the innovations of the Dena and transmit them to their kin, and in time would become much more.

Such transmission of knowledge was common in these lands. Dena bands who accepted the new way of life thrived and forced back hostile reindeer herders. Dena bands who did not ended up pushed out of their lands, where they either died or blended with the Paleo-Inuit. Similarities in language and culture both helped and hindered this transmission. The more distinct Eskimo-Aleut speakers, however, were forced into more and more harsh land, but the Old Ringitani Culture persisted in harnassing the power of reindeer, and in time, muskoxen, which would be as revolutionary to them as the reindeer was to the Dena.

In time, the climate shifted, and the world became harsh once more. The Dena people of this time are those of the Late Tachiri period (500 - 700), and their efforts to survive the cooling world would leave monumental impact in both their own land and those of lands beyond. The Dena built palisades around their villages to protect against rivals, while Nukurugawa declined from conflict despite the large palisade built there. The Late Tachiri period was one of migration, struggle, and conflict, but also of innovation, as some Dena attempted to solve their crisis by whatever means possible--many failed or were ignored, but to the lucky and brilliant, their innovations would be as key in shaping the history of the Americas as their incursions in the period sometimes known as the "American Migration Period".

[1] - "Caribou" will refer to wild American reindeer, "reindeer" the domesticated variety
[2] - Nenana, AK.
[3] - Tanana, AK. "Nukurugawa" (濡来川) is a Japanese garbling of various native Athabaskan (Dena) terms for a regional trading center, including "Nuklukayet".
[4] - Celilo Falls, the name being derived from Sahaptian "Wyam". IOTL, the Celilo Falls area hosted thousands of American Indians of several different groups in many villages, and served as a trading center for people from hundreds of miles away. It was a major crossroads of the entire region, and today is submerged beneath a dam (as are many historic sites where American Indians gathered in the area).
[5] - Earlier Athabaskan migrations occurred from 500 BC to 500 AD in the Americas. Many of these Athabaskans settled around the Pacific coast, where they later became the people known to history as the Chetco, Tolowa, etc. and aside from language were indistinct from their neighbors both genetically and culturally.
[6] - OTL's Old Bering Sea stage of the Thule, here classified differently. Ringitani (林汽谷) is the Japanese exonym for lands inhabited by Ringitsu (林汽) peoples, the ATL Tlingit, derived from a similar sounding Tlingit word meaning "the world", or more specifically, the "Tlingit world". It gave its name to the Ringitani Sea, the ATL Bering Sea. We'll cover these alt-Tlingit in a later chapter, but as you might guess, they've been quite successful TTL.
[7] - OTL's Kachemak Culture, an Eskimo-Aleut group which lived in Kenai, Kodiak, and other coastal parts of southern Alaska around this period.
---
Author's Notes
This expands on the previous entry from another perspective (a modern Fusanian writer's book translated by a Vinlander), noting how reindeer pastoralism changed the Dena peoples. I'm also editing my first entry, since I'm trying to make it consistent for how things will be going ITTL from this point forward. The early parts of any project are when you don't quite have a good format--I've noticed this at school, at work, at anything I've done, and I can notice it in other people's work too. For A Horn of Bronze, I hope I'll find a good style soon. I'm trying to do 1-2 entries a week, but it all depends how busy I am with life.

I will say that although I've done a decent amount of research for this TL, there is so much I have yet to learn (well, I knew that years ago). I know I've forgotten quite a bit of relevant material for that matter. A lot of the material I've gathered for this TL has come from public domain sources (which are often very outdated in terms of archaeological research), as important as Franz Boas, Edward Sapir, etc. were for their entire discipline. This website has informed me of so much relevant material (i.e. the links posted in TLs I like). I appreciate any links and such to relevant and interesting material, especially of more obscure cultures.

Aside from that, there's a lot of material to cover for A Horn of Bronze, and we're just in the phase of things being set up. For the next few updates we'll cover the Dena expansions, the impact of the Late Antique Little Ice Age, and introduce the Ringitsu and several other peoples.
 
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Looks like Japanese is the parent language for all the Asianisms so far. In that case, Rihoku should probably be Hiboku (both on'yomi) or Nippoku (a similar kun-on combo to the one that gives us Nippon).

Very excited for this migration period. I suspect the Dena will be taking other groups under their cultural wing as they go, not unlike the Turks.
 
Thanks for the comments and likes so far, I've never done a TL and it's clearly a work in progress, although I've already mapped out quite a bit. I'm trying to keep the updates to 1-2 a week, but who knows how possible that will be given real life.

Watched. So the Japanese hopped along the north Pacific rim until they reached the other side? I'd be interested to see what kind of incentives kept them at the task for so long (Siberian furs were popular in China, I'm guessing).
I'll give you a hint--think of an inorganic substance the American/Canadian West is known for.

Wonder what's going to happen next...
All sorts of stuff of course.

Looks like Japanese is the parent language for all the Asianisms so far. In that case, Rihoku should probably be Hiboku (both on'yomi) or Nippoku (a similar kun-on combo to the one that gives us Nippon).
The name was inspired by the old Rinan prefecture of the Han Dynasty (curiously there's also a city in Japan with the same characters) so I had the Chinese reading on my mind the whole time. Although I suppose it isn't totally impossible that a Westerner might confused the "r" and "n" sounds.

Very excited for this migration period. I suspect the Dena will be taking other groups under their cultural wing as they go, not unlike the Turks.
A decent comparison as any.
 
Chapter 3-An Ancient and Sacred Place
-III-
"An Ancient and Sacred Place"


From Encyclopedia of Arctic and Subarctic Archaeology

"Early Nuklukayet: Center of the Tachiri"
Despite extensive damage caused by flooding, warfare, looting, and development, Nuklukayet [1]--or Nukurugawa as it is known in Japanese--remains one of the most important centers for study of the Tachiri Culture. This city is one the oldest continually inhabited sites north of Mesoamerica, and is fundamentally independent to the development of both the Tachiri Culture and by extension much of the Arctic and Subarctic. Although much of the oldest parts of the town lay beneath the river, researchers continue to discover vibrant finds of civilisation in this section of the Arctic.

Nuklukayet started life as a seasonal trading post, occasionally hosting potlatches and other large gatherings in the eras before the Tachiri Culture. Signs of permanent inhabitation appear in the Early Tachiri period, including signs of hearths, more human and animal remains, and deforestation of the surrounding area. It appears that in this time, Nuklulayet became a site of religious pilgrimage--for this reason, it was at one point suggested that Nuklukayet was the burial site of the Lord of the Ground, the legendary tamer of the Fusanian reindeer, but the direct evidence to support this theory is scant.

With its key site at the mouth of the Teneno [2] where it enters into the Hentsuren [3] combined with the religious draw of the site, Nuklukayet was destined to become a major center. Distant trade goods from the coasts of both the Arctic and Pacific appear in greater and greater amounts, while the village continues to expand. The most famous monument of the Tachiri period, the stone posts of Nuklukayet, begin to date from this time, about 275 AD. These now-fragmented megaliths carved at the top with faded human faces took much labour to transport, carve, and raise, demonstrating the evolving intricacy of the people of Nuklukayet and environs.

The ability to construct monuments such as the stone posts demonstrates the growing complexity of Nuklukayet by the end of the 3rd century. The stone posts, perhaps representing ancestors or prestigious chiefs, show the social stratification increasing at the site. While still fundamentally egalitarian, the most powerful and prestigious leaders begin demanding much more labour out of their followers, both for secular and spiritual purposes. Some suggest that slavery began in Nuklukayet around this time, as some graves show little adornment with the remains having been treated with less care than others, but this hypothesis is controversial. Labour was nonetheless in the high demand. To protect against flooding, complex earthworks begin to be raised in this time. A sizable burial mound appears, surrounded by earthworks, to intern the bodies of nobility to prevent them from being washed away by floods.

Some of these earthworks ended up filled with water from either rain or flooding. When not frozen over, the Dena use them to corral fish, attract ducks, geese, and other birds, and grow water plants, the most important of which was the arrow potato [4]. In the winter time, it served as a place of storage for perishables, alongside peat bogs near the town. The usefulness of these earthworks, as well as their impressive sight to travelers, left a cultural mark on the Dena. While it's heavily disputed that the Nuklukayet earthworks inspired later examples in all the rest of Fusania, it did inspire the earthworks built by later Dena peoples in their villages and towns, such as the earthworks of Tachiri, first built around 370.

As the lifeblood of the town, trade continued attracting people to Nuklukayet in the 4th century as it reached its first height. Toward the end of the fourth century, the population may have reached up to a thousand people permanently residing in the town or villages near it, making it the largest center for thousands of kilometers. No other Tachiri site exceeded a few hundred people, including the type site for the Tachiri culture. Depending on the season and occasion, the population would double or even more at an event like a potlatch. In addition to being a meeting place for the reindeer herders, Nuklukayet attracted many craftsmen who worked mostly in wood and stone, but also in copper traded from far south by the Atsuna [亜名] [5], known for their skill at copper working. Although smelted copper would not be known for centuries, the metalworkers at Nuklukayet produced amulets, jewelry, and tools out of the metal. The goods produced at Nuklukayet were moved by reindeer herders and others who visited from as far south as Ringitania [6].

Nuklukayet imported large quantities of food (often as trade for the goods produced in the town) to feed this diversifying population, along with beginning to increasingly rely on gathered plants, marking the beginnings of the horticulturalism that would be common among the Dena of the Hentsuren in later eras. The ability of shamans to coordinate this process successfully must have amplified the religious nature of the place. Hunting big game and other animals was still common--the rulers of the town were those who gained prestige by leading the most successful hunts.

The decline of the town came as a result of floods, climate change, and conflict. Flooding damaged the town several times in the 5th century, which perhaps led to a feeling of disatisfaction amongst the people of the town and those who came to trade. Signs of warfare increase, from the cause of death of burials to scorched earth showing burnt buildings. Similar to other Late Tachiri sites, Nuklukayet erected large palisade around the town by the end of the 5th century. But warfare was the least of the town's problems, as the climate cooled at the end of the Roman Warm Period. Both reindeer and people grew thinner, as plants became smaller and less common. And overhunting emerged as a serious problem, as the large town needed extensive amounts of game especially in light of the lessening stocks of reindeer and gathered plants. People left the town or tried to steal from their neighbours or poach animals they were not entitled to in order gain what they considered their fair share, creating more turmoil. Without people to maintain the earthworks, many were washed away or rendered unusable. By the end of the 8th century, Nuklukayet declined to little more than yet another indistiguishable village of the Dena of the Hentsuren--it would not recover for several centuries.

Although this chapter of its history ended in decay, Nuklukayet left a major imprint in the culture--material and otherwise--of the Dena, as well as contributed in major fashion to the beginnings and growth of the Western Agricultural Complex and the suite of technology and cultural concepts that led to the rise of indigenous Fusanian civilisation. The memories of the town--spread by those who lived there and those who passed through--thus persisted in the American Migration Period of the 6th to 10th centuries.

[1] - Tanana, AK
[2] - Tanana River
[3] - Yukon River
[4] - Sagittaria cuneata
[5] - Ahtna people, who OTL had been cold-working copper for many centuries.
[6] - Lands of the Tlingit
 
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Chapter 4-The People of the Mist
-IV-
"The People of the Mist"

From Lords of the Misty Forests: A History of the Ringitsu (1948)
The cultural changes wrought by the rise of the Tachiri culture inevitably affected their distant kin in time. The Gunana [1], as the Ringitsu called their Dena cousins, became increasingly aggressive in harvesting resources from the lands of the Ringitsu by the 3rd century AD. Reindeer needed pasture, while the growing number of Dena demanded more game, berries, fish, and firewood. The Ringitsu found themselves in a land where competition was fiercer than ever, where the Gunana were aggressively pushing against them instead of the more peaceful relations they had with the Gunana in previous times. The world had changed for the Ringitsu, but this was the first of many changes to come for them.

Some bands of Ringitsu aggressively fought the Dena to varying degrees of success. At worst, they were wiped out and their survivors assimilated into the Dena peoples of the area. With their reindeer-powered logistics and larger numbers, a war of attrition meant the Dena would win in time. Too many Ringitsu warriors died, and these clans died out or were assimilated into the Dena--indeed, stories of these Dena note which clans are descended from Ringitsu women.

One group of Ringitsu did not so much fight the Dena but joined them. They came to agreements with the invaders regarding the use of the land and extensively intermarried with them. However, they kept their Ringitsu identity, language, and some Ringitsu customs, perhaps thanks to the maternal line of Ringitsu women. These Ringitsu are the origin of the Gunahu people of the western Plains, who joined the Dena in their migrations--as their name (literally "Among the Dena") might suggest [2]. They would migrate past the Rocky Mountains and into the far northern Plains along the North Keskatjeven River, which they knew as the Teftjahen [3], from which one descendent group of the Gunahu called themselves. The Teftjahen and the Gunahu would prove crucial for transmission of ideas and trade across the Rockies, and a thousand years later the fur trade so prized by the Norse.

However, the majority of Ringitsu evaded either fate. They neither collaborated nor chose violence, but instead fought when they needed and collaborated when they must. They had not claimed their homeland, Ringitania [4], through peace, after all, but fought their way to it through adversity from both environmental and external forces. The Tsusha [5] and Dekina [6] at one point contested the same land the Ringitsu did. All three groups were arrivals from far east Asia, having traveled the same corridor along the coast the original settlers of the Americas did. While the Ringitsu retreated to their islands and the mouth of the Taku River, they fiercely contested them from outsiders. The middle ground chosen by the Ringitsu strengthened their people in prosperity. The elite of the Ringitsu, especially those on the mainland along the Taku River, became increasingly Dena-ised in their cultural outlook, while some bands of Dena ended up assimilating to the Ringitsu entirely.

Ringitania is a land rich in food, so much so the Ringitsu record a saying that translates "only an idiot could starve". But far from preventing a change in the way of life, it perhaps allowed the Ringitsu to respond with intense vigor, as it allowed the Ringitsu elite to experiment and adapt to the changes brought by the outsiders. The most important aspect of this was the watsikh, or reindeer. It gave them an easy way to transport their possessions to show off prestige to others in potlatches, the key way of showing leadership in Ringitsu society. It gave them unprecendented mobility in letting them hunt big game like moose and bear, letting them go on ever longer expeditions. And it gave them an easy way to nourish the next generation in the form of its milk. The Ringitsu thus readily adapted to the reindeer brought by the Dena. The clans which adopted the Dena traditions of reindeer pastoralism and basic gardening of plants like sweetvetch, bistort, and arrow potato gained an advantage over those who didn't, in both wealth and prestige. These nobility would always be rich in food, goods, and tools to give away, solidifying their status as the leaders of the community and creating a powerful incentive for others to act similarly.

The Dena influence came with a tradition borrowed from Nuklukayet--that of monuments and earthworks. Nuklukayet was the northernmost trading center reached by the Ringitsu and at its height in the Middle Tachiri period must have appeared as impressive to these Ringitsu travelers as 1st century Rome might have appeared to a contemporary Germanic merchant. Combined with the Dena incursions into Ringitsu land and society, these earthworks spread to Ringitsu land. Ringitsu chiefs built their own design for earthworks to efficiently collect and distrubute the plentiful rainwater of their homeland. Even as early as the 4th century, the elite chiefs used slaves to build fish ponds to raise various species of fish and shellfish, combined with the burial mounds the families of the chiefs and their trusted slaves would be interned in upon death. Part of the gifts given by the elite would often be constructing earthworks for commoners to gain their allegiance and show their status.

Much of the Western Agricultural Complex owes itself to these early Ringitsu. Some were grown using these artificial wetlands, most notably arrowhead potato and rice lily [7]. For land plants, sweetvetch and especially bistort continued to be grown. The Ringitsu chiefs prized the ability to produce large crops, viewing it as a sign of spiritual favour on them and their clan--for instance, bistort--originally two closely related wild species--ended up gradually hybridising in the gardens of the Ringitsu to create the modern common bistort with roots about the size of a small turnip. The Fusanian lupine, Lupinus fusanensis, emerged as a Ringitsu domesticate by the 6th or 7th century, likely as a hybrid of several lupine species, as it was useful to feed reindeer, improve soil, and occasionally as an intoxicant for humans. Rice lily was especially preferred, despite its smell, as it could be used as a dye in addition to the edibility of the roots and bulb. The benefits of all this excess food went mostly to feeding slaves, making the Ringitsu economy at this point self-sustaining. Slavery was innately linked with this burgeoning horticulture. The scions of the chiefs preferred to lead expeditions to hunt dangerous animals such as bears and moose, or rare animals who resided in the high mountains or deep woods like mountain goats or lynx. Their vassals, the commoners, tended the reindeer which gave a consistent source of meat, labour, and other resources, but also gathered their own wild plants. The lowest class, the slaves and the freemen, farmed for their food, which was given to their masters. Being relatively isolated due to the topography of the land, artificial selection of plants was easier.

In addition to the development of agriculture in western North America, the Ringitsu also proved important to the domestication of the reindeer. Brought to these isolated islands at the fringe of the Americas, and with genetic influx from other subspecies of reindeer, the Ringitsu further bent the species to the needs of humans. The reindeer lost their remaining migratory instincts and remaining fear of humans. The reindeer herding clans zealously studied and bred their reindeer, to the point where even the Dena of the mainland considered the Ringitsu the finest reindeer herders. The Ringitsu exported these reindeer, often as calves, to many people in exchange for slaves and other goods.

This new increasingly agricultural lifestyle brought conflict amongst the Ringitsu. The traditional leaders considered it too easy, preferring the spirit of hunting animals in remote parts of their land. "Beach food", that which washed up on the shores like whale corpses, was disliked as a poverty food which made people weak. However, the Ringitsu didn't care of slaves and other "inferiors" being fed on the diet of beach food or the agriculture brought from the north. This led those Dena herders assimilated into Ringitsu culture becoming either chiefs or slaves. The chiefs tended their herds on the islands, marrying daughters of the Ringitsu elite, their children becoming Ringitsu by their mother's heritage. Those poor in reindeer, or simply followers of these elite Dena ended up becoming slaves--with no distinguished origin they had no ancestors worth respecting, and thus were bound to serve these chiefs or other Ringitsu. They or their children might be freed to become commoners, but their immediate fate was that of the most inferior of society. Such was the price of integration into Ringitsu society. In later centuries, some believed that of the two moieties of the Ringitsu, the Wolf and Raven, those of the Wolf marked those of Dena descent.

Clans fiercely protected their herds of reindeer, as well as access to their hunting and fishing grounds. Conflicts over this became increasingly common as the reindeer herding clans effectively monopolised those areas, and with it, the production of key goods such as the mountain goat wool used to produce chilkat blankets. This increased their prestige and threatened lesser chiefs. Further, the increase in population inevitably produced ambitious men who were now increasingly shut out of the ways to power. Seeking their own fortune, prestige, and followers, they chose a radical new route--the sea. While fishing and hunting sea animals was common, few Ringitsu engaged in whaling despite having the technology and equipment to do so. But by the end of the 5th century, perhaps because of climate, perhaps because of population pressures, whaling became increasingly common in Ringitania.

These Ringitsu thus turned to the sea in search of prestige and fortune, bringing a new cultural evolution. Using traditional dugout canoes, carved from spruce or cedar and up to 15 meters long, these carried large whaling parties needed to kill species like the grey whale. Many Ringitsu died on these hunts--to drown at sea was among the greatest fears of a Ringitsu, as it caused the journey to the afterlife to be miserable and confused. Yet the ones who succeeded gained what they were looking for--a plentiful source of goods and food to give away to their followers. Considered madmen by some, the whaling captains and their followers became increasingly powerful. The balance of power in Ringitania thus fell evenly between the reindeer herding clans and the whaling clans.

The large number of dugout canoes being constructed soon affected the environment, forcing the Ringitsu to become increasingly resourceful. Further, many trees became consumed by the need for fuel, construction material, and fertiliser. The continuing increase of of wealth led to greater ornamentation of the homes of nobility, consuming even more wood. The clear solution was to expand the harvest of trees to newer lands, increasing conflict between Ringitsu clans as well as against outsiders. The erosion this caused led to an increase in the number and complexity of earthworks, requiring more slaves and the food to feed them. And worse, the climate continued to get colder.

Much as the collapse of Teotihuacán far to the south or the endless wars between Rome and Persia, the start of the 6th century was a violent time in Ringitania. The cooling climate of the Late Antique Little Ice Age expanded the glaciers, thus decreasing the number of large animals and stressing these key resources. Warfare ravaged the land on a frequent basis. Clans pushed for land and prestige attempted to flee Ringitania entirely, to find new lands, the first great movement of the Ringitsu in the American Migration Period. Similarly, other groups such as the Dena and the Dekina, likewise stressed, intruded on Ringitsu lands.

Oral history suggests that at this time, the people believed only a miracle could restore the world to what they once knew. The entire natural and social order had fallen into chaos, and the Ringitsu faced a world they never knew and had no context on how to interpret. Yet unbeknownst to them at that point, the twin figures who would help them make sense of the world had already been born.

[1] - Tlingit is a Na-Dene language, which separated from the Dene languages at an early date. "Gunana" (and variants) is an OTL term used by the Tlingit to refer to Athabaskan speakers.
[2] - A Tlingit group of a similar name exists OTL, but this group has different origins and far different outcomes.
[3] - Keskatjewen is a Norse version of the Cree name of the Saskatchewan River, while Teftjahen is a Norse transliteration of a word in the language of this Tlingit group which means "noisy and fast river"
[4] - From Japanese Ringitani (林汽谷), derived from Ringitsu "Lingit Aani", which means "the world of men", but eventually meant the Ringitsu world and thus became the name for lands inhabited by the Ringitsu.
[5] - Japanese exonym for the OTL Tsimshian peoples, from a similar sounding Tlingit exonym for them.
[6] - One of two Japanese exonyms for the OTL Haida people, from a similar sounding Tlingit exonym for them. The more dated of the two TTL as it sounds a bit like "teki" or "enemy" in Japanese.
[7] - Fritillaria camschatcensis
---
Author's notes
Here are the Ringitsu (our ATL Tlingit) of Ringitania, a very important people for this TL as all the Tlingit toponymy might suggest. They're one of several people in the American Migration Period, and as we'll see, end up being quite successful from the base this chapter has established for them.

Next chapter we'll cover our alt-Haida and a key religious development in indigenous Fusania during the early American Migration Period, which is what I'll be focusing on in these first few updates since it helps set the stage for much more dramatic cultures and events.
 
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Another set of twin figures? I wonder if that's going to be a consistent feature of Fusanian traditional religion from here on out, and if Buddhism is going to have to make any accommodation with it.
 
Good updates, and waiting for more, of course...
Thanks. There's a lot to discuss here.

Another set of twin figures? I wonder if that's going to be a consistent feature of Fusanian traditional religion from here on out, and if Buddhism is going to have to make any accommodation with it.
Northern Fusanians at least. As you might suspect, these figures will emerge as the result of a society thrown into chaos as a result of rapid change combined with pressure, and spread widely in their cultural sphere. IOTL, dualism in Pacific Northwest cultures wasn't unknown, and there's certainly room for their culture TTL to end up bent into a rather different direction which ends up quite dualistic. We're diverging from OTL archaeological cultures and OTL cultures in the area (as discussed by famed ethnographers like Franz Boas) into rather different groups. Southern Fusanians though, they're quite a different matter.

Fusanian Buddhism will be quite an interesting religion to say the least. OTL Japan would consider themselves lucky their own Buddhists weren't as bad as the Fusanian Buddhists will be. Don't want to spoil too much though on this duo who inevitable will be considered bodhisattvas. Or later instances of Fusanian Buddhism, although our intro chapter with the exiled Fusanian Prince Gaiyuchul imprisoned in a monastery in Japan might suggest something.
 
super interesting TL, always thought the west coast of north america had the biggest untapped potential for amerindian civilisation (obviously i know there was organised amerindian societies)
 
This is a very interesting timeline. I wonder how the Japanese get involved; if there's butterflies that result in more exploration, or if some Native Americans end up going back to Asia and then further south.
 
super interesting TL, always thought the west coast of north america had the biggest untapped potential for amerindian civilisation (obviously i know there was organised amerindian societies)
It certainly does, which is one reason why I decided to write about it rather than doing something else like a Mississippian wank or other

This is a very interesting timeline. I wonder how the Japanese get involved; if there's butterflies that result in more exploration, or if some Native Americans end up going back to Asia and then further south.
Going back to Asia is OTL, we're just playing around with who and how many go back to Asia.
 
Chapter 5-The Prophets of the World's Balance
-V-
"The Prophets of the World's Balance"

Khakhani Island [1], 536 AD
"Do you know why the sun and moon have gone, master?" the boy asked. The odd looking slave boy spoke with an accent typical of an outsider, his voice just beginning to deepen, staring at the hazy patch in the sky where the sun once gave light. His cousin--or the girl the elder thought was his cousin--nodded.

"They will not return, not for now" she added. "They are sad at what they see."

The elder smiled. His two slaves continually impressed him with their insights on every aspect of the world, even at their young age. The two were inseparable from birth, despite the death of their parents early on. They learned so much so quickly, paying attention to the world around them, the words of the shamans, and, whispers had it, spirit possession. The elder was glad his nephew captured them as toddlers on a raid over a decade ago from the Dekina, but he had heard from another Dekina slave that the two were captured as infants from some other place.

"How would you return the sun and moon to us?" he asked, feeding another stick onto the stove in his spacious house. He glanced at the boy, who he knew was of the Raven moeity. "Will you speak with Yeil [2]?"

"Understanding," the boy said. "If people only understand what their actions meant, then things would not be so bad." The girl nodded.

"If we teach the people of this land and beyond, then the sun and moon will return," she added.

"Ah, but the people refuse to listen to what they know. As you two yourselves have said, they are too violent, greedy, and wicked, and already ignored the warnings of the few good people left," the elder replied.

"But you did," the boy said. "Since the sun and moon vanished a few days ago, you came to us for advice and knowledge. You speak to us more these past few days than ever before. You take us more seriously now despite our youth."

"You are beginning to realise something," the girl said. "I know it."

The elder sighed. They were right. He always appreciated the two and their knowledge and often kept them from the mundane tasks he expected of his other child slaves like cleaning up after his reindeer or tending his fish ponds. He knew he'd never put them work his adult slaves did like maintaining his ponds or gathering plants from them, and swore that no matter how beautiful the girl turned out to be, he would never take her as a concubine. Yet the fact the sun and moon faded like they'd prophecised struck his heart. The shamans couldn't explain it--no one could, but these children did. He remembered when they told him almost a month ago that night, that the last full moon was looking down at them, that both sun and moon would soon give no light. He brushed it off at first as just a prediction of the weather, but slowly over the next few weeks, the lights in the sky faded. The clouds in the sky--clouds he'd never seen--seemed to be imprisoning both sun and moon, hiding their light. And he'd grown amazed at the wisdom of these children.

"We told you the sun and moon would vanish first," the boy said. "Before we told anyone else, we gave you this warning. You are a wise and powerful man, and we knew we could convince you of the truth."

"How much more seriously will you take us in the future?" the girl said. "You are so close to understanding the truth. The gods would be joyous if even a few more people like you could reach this understanding."

The elder took a handful of kantaqhwa [3] seeds from a finely carved bowl and started chewing on them, as he noticed himself doing more and more. It dulled the pain of an increasingly cruel--and now insane--world. From the death of his son in battle to the theft of his herd to the brilliance of two slave children, everything seemed to be going crazy. As his vision became altered by the poison within, he sighed. It would all get worse, he knew. Storms, frosts, and now the fading of the sun in the past few years caused the plants gathered from the ponds and fields to be small, or even rotten and diseased. In his youth, he had seen bistort the size of his fist, and arrow potatoes even larger--little like that existed these days.

"What even is 'understanding'," he sighed. "We can all see the world is doomed. We grew too complacent and upset the ancestors' social order. And now the gods have taken away Yeil's gift."

"Think of the kantaqhwa you just ate," the boy said. "If you ate every seed in that bowl right now, you would suffer in agony as you died. And if a single reindeer of the herd you own ate every kantaqhwa plant in the field, it would suffer the same way."

"Yet the same plant gives life to the dead fields," the girl continued. "When people try to push the land to grow too much of one plant, or in the empty places of fallen trees, the kantaqhwa restores the land. When it is gone, whatever grows there thrives."

"True, but what of it?" the elder asked.

"Poison is the cure," the boy replied. "What poisons man and animal alike also restores the earth. It sustains the spirit as you are noticing right now."

"Your reindeer herds feast on this plant yet do not suffer," the girl said. "Health and sickness, life and death, are they not related?"

The elder wanted to say something, but couldn't speak it. He didn't want to admit his knowledge totally faltered against two slave children. But he knew they had a point.

"Everything comes from one origin," the girl said. "Once the world was in perfect harmony, but then Yeil stole the light."

"Yeil's actions," the boy continued, "continue to affect us all. Every single action of the ancestors, the spirits, the gods, was but a disturbance of the initial and perfect harmony."

"What do you possibly mean?" the elder asked. He knew the mind of these two came up with very unique interpretations of the truth of the world, and he had heard their idea of "harmony" before, but they seemed to be deconstructing the entirety of the ancestral faith.

The two looked at each other, as if confused how to speak their idea. "Perhaps its just a ripple of water," the boy said.

"Yes, a ripple," the girl continued. "The gods and spirits dropped a stone into this pond, which created the world yet caused endless effects afterwards."

"If we do not contain these ripples, then the world will fall into chaos as we are seeing," the boy said. "You complain about the clans of the sea, who hunt alongside orcas and kill whales. There must be peace between the reindeer herders and the whale hunters, to settle the conflict between land and sea and between Wolf and Raven."

The elder thought for a minute, realising these brilliant children knew of the struggle in Ringitsu society, but his thoughts were paused by shouts from outside his home.

"It's past time you bring them to us! Those slaves are practicing evil magic!" a shout rang out. "You are sheltering pure evil in your house! You are bringing evil on this village!" The elder recognised the voice, belonging to his grandnephew. He wore thick skins of reindeer as if he prepared to fight a battle. Behind him were men wielding spears and clubs, a militia ready to fight.

"Uncle, I am sorry," a middle-aged man stepped forward. Even my nephew and heir wants to fight me. "I captured these children and their parents in your name, but I did not know what it would bring. Their black magic is dangerous."

"You did well," the boy said. "Without you, we may not have met a man of knowledge like your uncle."

"We have no magic," the girl said. "Only understanding of magic. We did not take the sun and moon away. Only the evil of men took away the light and caused disaster."

"We need to kill these children immediately!" a warrior in the crowd shouted. "The Dekina are here!" The elder's heart shook at the warning.

"Do you think for a minute," the elder shouted, shocked by the militia in front of him and the warnings of the Dekina attack. "That would I ever allow my slaves to practice evil magic? You know me well, boy," he pointed at his nephew. "I am not a man who gained anything on magic!"

The nephew grit his teeth, unsure. "Then show me a sign these two are not witches!"

"Then we will," the boy stepped forward. "You will survive today," the boy told the heir of the clan. "You have understanding."

"And you as well," the girl said, "looking at the elder. You will live until your life burns out naturally."

"Is that enough?" the elder growled. "Leave my house, all of you, until the Dekina are gone! If they are wrong, then I will make sure my slaves turn them over to be killed." The men of the militia looked amongst each other.

"Very well, that's a promise we'll make sure is kept," his heir said. The men outside dispersed at the signal of the heir, seemingly content and needing to deal with other matters. The elder glanced at the two.

"We're in dangerous times. The Dekina will want to attack this house. You should hide in the fields," he warned. The two nodded, walking out the side of the house. The elder sighed. So another battle. May we not lose too much. He thought of the words of his two slaves, about not continuing the hatred and cycle of violence. May the Dekina not lose much either.

On that day, the Ringitsu and Dekina clashed once more. Arrows flew and spears collided as the war parties collided. Both sides lost many warriors, but the Ringitsu suffered the worst damage as the Dekina managed to ransack the house of the elder. Although the elder himself and his heir survived the battle, several of his slaves were captured by the surviving Dekina, who fled to their war canoes to return to their homeland. Two of these were those brilliant siblings who were to return to the Dekina who had captured them to begin with.
---
Khaida [4] lands, 560s AD
"You two were with him at his final hours," the new clan chief [5] spoke with a tinge of mourning to the strange man and woman he called the Brother and Sister (although he did not know if they indeed were siblings) who had once been his uncle's captives and slaves, but had become his greatest friends and spiritual advisors, now freedmen. He looked over the two--each tall and well-built for a man and woman, and well into middle age, wearing the same fine robes of brown tehi [6]. Each had taken a spouse, but neither had any children, or at least, biological children, since each had adopted children of deceased slaves who followed them, and each spouse had since died young. "I believe you should speak to the rest of the clan."

"So I will," the Brother answered, his speech vaguely accented. The deceased chief was of a raven clan, much as his slave was. "Have you prepared the offering for the potlatch?"

"Offering? As in a slave?" the chief's mother questioned. It had been many years since they last sacrificed a slave, as the two siblings convinced them to stop the practice.

"Remember our words," the woman said. "Everything is nothing but a vibration from the beginning of times, caused by the creation of the world and all the spirits within it. At times the vibration bends toward light, and at times toward darkness. To sacrifice a slave in a time of darkness, where people struggle to live, merely increases that darkness. But in a time of light, it brings a necessary darkness to keep the world in balance. Too much light or too much darkness inevitably leads to destruction."

The clan chief smiled. When he captured these two on the battle at Kaigani [7] in the year the sun vanished, hiding in a ditch near the house of a Ringitsu chief, he thought little of it, yet when he and his uncle did as they said, listening to their words, giving proper funerals to the dead, and ceasing to fight until the time was right, not only their clan, but the entire village and Haida people seemed to gain. First the sun returned, then the plants and roots grew more numerous and reindeer grew larger. Not everything was perfect--times of famine, disease, and weak plants and animals struck at times. But following their words restored balance sooner or later.

"More and more in the lands of the Khaida, people are realising your truth," the clan chief said. "Only a few of the eldest medicine men and shamans in the land refuse to consult with spirits without considering the balance of the world." Both of them nodded.

"We hope this truth continues to spread, to not just the Khaida, but to the entire world," the man said. "I will speak to it once again to those gathered out there."

The clan chief looked out the opening in his hall. The sky burned orange as the sun set against the stony coast. On the meadow below, many dozens of men, women, and children of his clan gathered, sitting on the ground chatting amongst each other. Fires already burned, and people already prepared for the dancing, singing, and mourning that the night would bring. A few reindeer sat on the ground next to the men and women he recognised as the wealthiest leaders of his clan, but as a clan who gained their status from battles against both whales and men, they were poor in reindeer. Yet they had more reindeer than ever thanks to the increasing peace brought by the Brother and Sister. They are healing the wounds between the clans of the sea and the clans of the mountains, the wounds between the Raven and Eagle. [8] Outside the hall sat an ornately painted wooden box, where the corpse of his uncle sat. Much as the boxes the Raven stole unleashed light, the world, and all the spirits within it, the spirit must return in the same box.

He motioned to a slave youth, the one he was going to sacrifice, who brought him a wooden goblet full of an apple-smelling yellow liquid, harvested from his growing apple orchards. He took a sip of it--the taste was bitter and intensely sour, but he drank it only for the effects on the mind. It made him feel happy and full of life, a powerful feeling when he was dealing with such death and the responsibilities now upon him.

"You should not drink too much of that," the Brother warned. "Too much influence of death casts the world out of harmony."

"We could forego the offering of that man," the clan chief suggested, shaking the goblet. Few drank this when I was young, but now it is common. Perhaps the evil of this drink has protected our society from drifting too far in the direction of light in these recent times of prosperity.

"There are different kinds of darkness and death," the Sister replied. "To sacrifice a pure slave brings the darkness needed to counteract the excess of light. To drink the poison of dead apples until one collapses can only bring a fraction of that light, but it can bring an excess of darkness in one's future."

"That such a drink became so common in this era [9] is but a sign of the excess of darkness we have tried to fight," the Brother said. "It counteracts the light we have brought, but it should never be drank commonly lest it strengthen darkness in a time that should not happen." The clan chief finished the last of his goblet, desiring more, but choosing to respect the wishes of his advisors.

The Brother walked out the side of the house, onto to hillside, the clan chief following him. He donned a cloak of lynx fur, purchased from the Tsusha who these days seemed abundant in lynx. The lynx brings the north winds of death, perhaps it's fitting for this moment. He raised a torch to gain the attention of the people.

"My fellows and brothers, our lord has died!" the Brother shouted. The people on the meadow looked up at him. "He passed away in the night, his spirit finally being free of the endless struggles of the world. Since his youth he struggled for purpose, hunting the strongest of beasts along with the orca, his distant kin [10]. He gave prosperity to his people, and through his wisdom, unified land and sea, obtaining many reindeer from the Eagle clans of the mountain."

The new clan chief stepped next to him to lend authority to his speech. "He knew right from wrong," the Brother continued, "selecting his finest and most brilliant nephew imbued by both himself and especially his wife as his heir. Both our former lord and his nephew performed to their utmost in battles against other Khaida, the Tsusha, the Ringitsu, the Dena, and all our other rivals! They captured slaves pure of heart and of strong wisdom, strengthening our people. He cultivated wisdom in everyone he came across. His clan, his village, and soon enough all of the Khaida prospered thanks to the ideas he fostered."

What would have happened to us if my uncle had not captured these two? Would the sun have returned? Would war have destroyed everything? The clan chief thought of the possibilities of failure, but quickly brushed it off. The Brother and Sister told him that the fate of all things could be influenced by the actions of enough pious souls. Even without knowing them, the purity of his and his uncle's spirit must have brought them on that raid to meet those two youths who at such a young age already had figured out so much. And with them, the Lands of the Khaida were saved.

"Yet his legacy was not simply violence!" the Brother said. "When the sun vanished, he quickly realised his errors! With his heir and many of his clan, he learned to peacefully resolve conflict amongst both outsiders and with the clans of the inland. He would only take up his weapons and call his followers to arms when needed. All the time, he encouraged people to pay attention to the influence on the world their actions caused, and with his positive reinforcement, not just the clan or the village, but the entire world benefitted from it!"

He is speaking of his own achievements that my uncle helped cause, the clan chief thought. Perhaps that's his greatest accomplishment--bringing these two to our land. War, hunting, and other acts of violence had a place, but only at the right moment. That his uncle followed this new belief and yet his clan and village prospered was nothing but proof of its value.

"Our lord has passed beyond our reach this night, and now his nephew and heir retains his legacy of great success and great wisdom," the Brother continued. "We should all aspire to be like both men. The balancing belief our deceased lord promoted is the key to our success. We must understand our actions have spiritual repercussions. We must be wary of leaning one way or another. We must realise that inaction is still a choice. In darkness, we must lean toward light, in light, we must lean toward darkness. Our lord realised the rhythm of the gods and this world that influences all things, and as a result, led us all to prosperity by following it. Will you, his kin and followers, continue on this path?"

The crowd cheered, making the new clan chief smile. The Sister stood proud, impressed by the Brother's speech. The slave youth from before was led out the door by a medicine man, consigned to his fate. Barely an adult, the boy was tied to a pole in the center of the crowd, and stabbed with a copper knife several times. He screamed in agony, but in his dying words he made an appeal that his death bring prosperity for the people. The medicine man gathered some sticks, and set the pole and corpse alight. The funeral has begun, and thus the potlatch. And I have so much to give away.

That day, a great warrior and chief was buried, his ashes returning to the earth. The Brother and Sister gave speeches throughout that funerary potlatch to inspire those there and helped the new clan chief give away many things. The new clan chief became immediately popular soon after this potlatch, and the prestige of the Brother and Sister only increased.

Yet they both realised a sense of mortality as a result of this funeral. Each had a spouse who perished, and each had no children of their own. And they each knew their message had yet to travel the world as they dreamed. Not long after, they requested of the new clan chief, as freedmen, that they be permitted to travel to the lands of the Tsusha, so that they might find their home village. And that from there, they might return to the Ringitsu they were captured from long ago. And if they were still alive at the end of this quest, that they may journey to the west, where the storm winds blew, so that they could truly conquer death itself and with it, save the entire world.

The clan chief was disappointed, but understood. As the two left on a kayak with several followers, he gave one last word to them.

"I believe your wisdom will return to us one day. And I believe in your continued prosperity. If you die, I will ensure the echo of your memory is successful in replacing you. Adults as you are, your influence has only begun."
---
Coastal Fusania, 560s AD
Days later, they arrived in the lands of the Tsusha, who had become influenced by Khaida and Ringitsu cultures by violent warfare. In the weeks to come, the two admitted their love for each other. Cousins they were, but cousin marriage was not uncommon in this era--Brother and Sister as they could seem to be, they were still of different moeities and thus eligible partners. Despite advancing age, the two married in the land of the Tsusha, acknowledged by their followers and some sympathetic Tsusha.

Not long after, the Sister fell pregnant, a nearly miraculous occurence given her advancing age. She bore two twins, a boy and a girl. The Sister gave no other children. Yet she attributed them to the aftermath of a violent battle between the Ringitsu and Tsusha--the light of the conception of new humans was the gods' way of counteracting the darkness of conflict.

The new twins grew up in a world increasingly influenced by their parents, who became spiritual advisors to many Tsusha. At one point, the Brother and Sister accompanied Dena pastoralists with their reindeer, speaking to a very different group of people. The Dena seemed to understand them and their beliefs on balance and harmony spread in that area. Yet they remained in the same area, with the lands of the Tsusha, Khaida, and Ringitsu being those they most preached in and appeared in.

Their twins grew up accordingly, traveling with their parents. When they reached adulthood, they themselves became great preachers who expounded on the belief of their parents. They traveled the world they knew, from the Hentsuren to the Imaru and the city of Wayam, trying to convince the people of the way of the world. Perhaps they were more successful--their children would form a priestly class who would influence the region for many centuries to come.
---
Mekhlakwela [11], 610s AD
"Your wisdom is most welcome," the elder commented. "Wisdom is rare, but conflict common. Those who can solve conflict without violence are rare indeed."

The Brother looked around the town, a host of wooden buildings and earth houses surrounded by a palisade with towers looking out to the sea. A few small mounds and ponds marked the residences of the nobility. He looked at the woman known to others as the Sister, but to him as his cousin--and wife. A lifetime of stress and strains reflected on her physical body in the many wrinkles and white hair, yet her spirit remained strong. His own body suffered similarly--he could not walk without the stiff cane in his hand.

"It is not worth a struggle over a woman," the Brother said. "Encourage those two families to make peace, lest their disturbance engulfs everything. The times are trying, so we must not make it worse."

"Your wisdom is strong, and your bond stronger," the man said. "You have traveled among so many people, yet you visit this place, our town of Mekhlakwela? Why is that?"

"To save our home," the Sister said. "Many decades ago we were stolen from our land by the Dekina not long after we were born. We have always wondered where our home was, and we believe this place is our source."

"One day the world must return to its source. The Raven's theft of the light and the boxes which held the world will be temporary, and it will all be closed up. It is only fitting as humans that our spirit returns to the place we were born as we die."

"Understandable," the elder said with a tinge of sorrow. "I have heard the stories of you from your son and daughter."

The Brother and Sister smiled. "They have done well themselves," the Sister said in motherly pride. "It is understandable people respect their spiritual power. From the Namal in the far southeast to the Guteikh [12] in the far northwest, this wisdom has spread thanks to them and their disciples. Nuklukayet, the place of the Gunana's wealth, will be restored one day."

"The world will be set right," the Brother said. "We are but one influential vibration, no doubt there are many more."

"Our children are helping the world, but so are all of our followers," the Sister said. "We are not alone. Things are becoming different." The elder nodded. The concepts these two Prophets introduced came decades ago, and the changes became increasingly apparent. The shamans and medicine men had become increasingly bent to these ideas over the course of his life, first from Ringitsu and Khaida slaves, but even slaves from people like the Attsu [13] from far south spoke of how these beliefs had become common.

"I will soon be gone," the elder said, "You two will be perfect for maintaining the peace of this community."
The Sister shook her head. "No, we will soon return to the source and leave this world."

"You are too young to remember the days the sun vanished because of the evil of people," the Brother said. "If you live a wholesome lifestyle, you will live many more years. It is us who have a short time in this world."

The elder looked at the old man and old woman before him. They wore tehi robes with an external cloak of reindeer fur, and had ornately carved walking sticks he assumed were gifts from followers.

"I believe we have a ship to board," the Sister said. "A ship built by those inspired by the truth of the world."

"Where are you going?" the elder asked. "Who will gain from you in the near future?"

"First we will visit the land of the Ringitsu, Khakhani Island," the Brother said. "Our first master's heir, now a powerful chief of the Ringitsu, is still alive, and only from his belief in the truth we told him as children."

"He is the last bit of the source we came from," the Sister said. "After we visit him, we shall sail into the West, into the lands of the storm and death itself. The peace we brought and life we fostered will shelter us in that land of death. We do not know if we will return. If the land of death has no one to speak the truth of life to, perhaps we'll return. Yet if the land of death has people who do not realise our truth, perhaps we won't return."

"Noble as your desire is, you can't leave!" the elder of Mekhlakwela shouted. "Me and my clansmen and my supporters will not allow such spiritually powerful people to leave."

"Remember, you are our cousin," the Brother and Sister spoke in unison. "Of our ancestors, yours is the lineage which remained. Your youth compared to ours led to your prosperity. Born after the day the sun vanished, your childhood no doubt improved as slaves you captured spread pieces of the message we taught."

The elder was shocked. These foreigners are my cousins? They predicted his childhood well enough, where the words of warriors of his kin and the slaves they captured hinted at various worldviews. As he grew older, he fought on raids himself, yet never fully knew why elders would constrain raids to only certain times. Finally, he led raids himself, capturing all sorts of people and loot. The philosophy these two spoke of he knew of for many decades, yet never knew its origin.

"Perhaps one day I'll know perfectly your truth," the elder said, clearly distraught over the facts his relatives revealed to him. "We of Mekhlakwela and many other Tsusha know enough of it, and we'll struggle to know more. I have heard your truths from the Khaida, the Ringitsu, the Dena, the Attsu, and many others in my time. Now, follow me for what you want."

They walked down toward the beach, where two massive canoes lay--or was it a single canoe? Two dugout canoes were linked together by stiff planks held by tehi ropes. A plank rose between them, with a sheet of tehi fabric waving in the wind rising out of a pillar immediately between them. A few men and women stood by the canoe, silhoueted against the sunset.

"A follower of beliefs like your own built this canoe, or these canoes," he said. "He assembled much tehi fabric and attached it to a pillar. He realised he needed two canoes and a solid link between them for stability. And in a spark of understanding, he knew that building such a ship was nothing but an application of spiritual reality." Both Brother and Sister smiled.

"It's a ship based on the truth," the Brother said. "Two different elements joined together, with a central part representing the origin."

"And we shall sail on it," the Sister said.

"Correct," the elder of the Tsusha replied. "I wish you could stay here forever, yet I understand that if people like you could, this world would function perfectly, and the inherent disharmony of things forbids that."

The three walked onto the beach, with the Brother and Sister taking their place on opposite sides of the canoe.

"It's farewell, then," the elder said. "Few have seen as much as you have." Followers pushed the canoe into the sea, jumping into it to row the man and woman they followed.

"To the end of the world we'll travel, and death we'll conquer with our light," the two shouted as they cast off. "Our truth will spread throughout the world, and far in the future, we shall return to this place. And shall we die, the truth will remain forever!"
---
Eishou-ji (永勝寺), Ishikari Province, 1498 [14]
"That's just the story I've heard," Gaiyuchul said as he narrated a piece of old Fusanian history from his book. "No one can decide who or what the Sibling Prophets were. But a wise Dekina elder told me this tradition. They were cousins born as Dena who lived amongst the Tsusha, were captured by the Dekina, then by the Ringitsu, then matured among the Dekina, where after they returned to the Tsusha and they and their twin children spread their beliefs throughout the world."

"Fascinating. Have you heard others?" Jikken asked the Soui prince as he took notes.

"Indeed I have!" he laughed. "In my own Katorimatsu and every other place we all want to believe the Sibling Prophets were our own. But all the stories admit they came from the north, from the lands of the Dekina and Ringitsu. I'm a wise man, so I assume the traditions of the Ringitsu, Dekina, and Tsusha are closer to the truth." He closed the book he was reading from, written in the bizarre fusion of kana and kanji. "I chose not to write down the most powerful stories I heard, about how the Sibling Prophets could tame or call up storms at their whim, turn summer to winter or winter to summer, and all manner of abilities. I couldn't determine what powers they had, since no one could decide, so I wrote them differently."

"Anyway," Jikken said, "you're saying this man and woman are behind most Fusanian beliefs?" Gaiyuchul thought for a moment, gazing into space.

"No, but they told us how to interpret our beliefs. They set things right and assigned everything a correct place. Much as Shakyamuni set things right in his homeland, and his later disciples set things right in this country I live in now."

"So you are saying they are bodhisattvas?" Jikken asked. Such figures appear in all lands, and even Fusania must have had some.

"I'm convinced they are," Gaiyuchul replied. "A few other Fusanians cast out here like me believe the same, beside a man who claims to be from far to the south. Their doctrine was a way to best teach the people almost a thousand years ago of the truth." He reopened his book, flipping to a page.

"To summarise", Gaiyuchul said. "Firstly, the world began when Raven stole the light from the other gods. He used the light to create the world as we know it, and all the people, animals, and plants inside. But the Raven's misdeed in stealing from the gods and his attempt to create the world was imperfect. This created the inherent distortion that this world is. Mankind is incapable of fighting this distortion, but the actions of man can over time sway things one way or another." He smiled. "It's very dualistic, but it taught good morals for both individuals and societies. The dark and light, death and life, good and evil, male and female, the ground and water, the heat and cold, and so much else, the Sibling Prophets taught us to respect it all and keep it in balance lest destruction result. We knew darkness hid inside light and vice verse, so we knew what to do. And even inaction was an action, there was no choice but to follow it."

He stood up, looking at the painting he made of the Battle of Tlakalama, with the burning warships and soldiers and archers and men on horned animals clashing.

"Followed it we did indeed," he muttered.

[1] - Prince of Wales Island, transcription of a Tlingit term meaning "Land of Crabapples" (Malus fusca)
[2] - Yeil is the Tlingit term for the Raven, a cultural figure/god who in many Pacific Northwest cultures stole the light from the Eagle which thus created the Sun.
[3] - Lupine seeds of a domesticated variety, mostly descended from Lupinus nootkatensis, which I mentioned in the previous chapter. The toxic alkaloids in lesser doses were occasionally used as an intoxicant by the Tlingit and others OTL.
[4] - Different transcription of "X̱aayda", which OTL was Anglicised to "Haida". I'm trying to avoid OTL Anglicisations while also avoiding OTL's indigenous alphabets which use a lot of unconventional consenants and can be difficult to read.
[5] - At this point, a chief is a figure of great respect as they are the heads of a clan, but they do not wield much practical power.
[6] - Tehi is a TTL Japanese term for Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), derived from a Tlingit word meaning "rope". Like hemp, it's useful for making ropes, clothing, and many other materials, and will slowly be domesticated.
[7] - Prince of Wales Island, a Haida cognate of the Tlingit term.
[8] - Like the Ringitsu, the Khaida have a similar issue of separation between reindeer-herding inlanders (albeit here inspired by the Ringitsu example with minimal Dena influence) and ambitious coastal clans with fewer reindeer.
[9] - The Brother and Sister, the new clan chief, and many others are in living memory of alcohol becoming widespread. The most common method is allowing crabapples (Malus fusca, which I am referring to as apples) to ferment and mixing the juice with water, but berries and other plants are becoming subject to similar experiments. The societal need to address this is apparent.
[10] - Orcas were associated with the Raven and were rulers of the sea in Haida culture, with drowned humans serving them.
[11] - Metlakatla, BC, simply a different transliteration
[12] - OTL Tlingit term for Aleut people
[13] - Japanese exonym for the Nuu-chah-nulth/Nootka, deriving from the term "Aht" (found in the ethnonyms of subgroups of the Nuu-chah-nulth), meaning "people" in their language.
[14] - See the Prologue for additional explanations
 
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This TL is really interesting -- a nice rejoinder to the Vinland TLs on our forum. I have to ask though, given that the Japanese seem like the primary Asian presence in the New World, why the Western term is derived from Fusang rather than Fusou? Will the Chinese and Koreans get in on the action?
 
Just caught up. I wonder how (if at all) these change butterfly into Central/South America before the arrival of Columbus & Co.
Given enough time things will filter down. Nothing as dramatic as any group I've mentioned raiding Tenochtitlan but certainly more connection than OTL.

I don't know yet if Columbus will make an appearance in TTL. I'm not sure just how dramatic of the changes in the Old World will be. I things roughly planned out to around 1500. Could be that aside from some slightly different political outlooks in East Asia, the world is the almost entirely the same as OTL. Or we might have our 1st century PoD causing a very, very different world with the Old World just as affected as the West Coast. It won't be something to worry about for a while though. The Americas will be pretty self-contained until they aren't as in OTL.
This TL is really interesting -- a nice rejoinder to the Vinland TLs on our forum. I have to ask though, given that the Japanese seem like the primary Asian presence in the New World, why the Western term is derived from Fusang rather than Fusou? Will the Chinese and Koreans get in on the action?
Europeans have a knack of getting their toponyms from very roundabout ways. In most European languages the term for Japan came from Chinese ("Cipangu"), so "Fusania" becoming a standard term for the West Coast in European languages doesn't seem too out there given OTL's examples of toponymy.

As for the rest of East Asia and their respective influence on Fusania, that's a matter of how I haven't yet had time to introduce those areas (i.e. southern Fusania, a place you may know as California) and the perspectives they'll be written from. Butterflies take a while to radiate outward after all, and we're covering the initial ripples first.
 
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