Will there be any pre-Asian contact between Fusania and Mesoamerica?
We're getting closer to that time. The Wakashans have developed a never-ending desire for fishing and especially whaling and the shore-based operations to support it (shipbuilding, tool industries, processing, etc.) since it gives them food, prestige, and lots of trade goods to further enrich them, and this is driving them further south. So I think it can be reasonably inferred that even if it isn't the Wakashans making contact with Mesoamerica, the cultural legacy they've been spreading with them may be the ones to do so.

Like take the Chuma, TTL's alt-Chumashans. Like OTL, they're good at building boats and are great seafarers, and as noted on the map above, it isn't much further from Suchui (where a sizable number of Wakashans trade at) to the northerly outposts of their culture around Morro Bay, where they have a regional center named Tsitqawi--OTL this area had a fairly important archaeological site in this time period. While I don't know if I'll get to it next entry (it's narrative, but I'll see what I can work in since it begs mentioning), I'll leave it at Wakashan - Chuma contact will be an interesting development for the area as a whole.

I'll note that given trade between Oasisamerica and South Fusania (as well as north into the deserts and from there to Numic-speakers like the Nama) as well as Oasisamerican trade with Mesoamerica (like OTL), it isn't out of the question a few Mesoamerican goods here and there might have found their way to South Fusania or even beyond to a place like Wayam/Imaru basin where the Nama and other Southern Hillmen trade. But they've passed through many hands at that point and all anyone would know is they came from the southeastern deserts.
How many people live inside the map area? What are the biggest "cities" or tribes by population?
In 1100 it's probably over 3 million since that map does include parts of Oasisamerica (*Snaketown would be among the most populous and important cities on the map had I listed it) but I don't include Oasisamerica as Fusania--although a place like Southern California and the Lower Colorado/Lake Cahuilla area is clearly transitional. Fusania proper would be a bit over 2 million, with a slight majority of those within the borders of OTL California.

Most of those places listed on the map (especially in modern Southern California, Alaska, and BC) likely have not much more than a thousand people at most, but all would have at least a few villages nearby which would be dependent on them politically and economically. They tend to be the chief regional centers so all are important for trade.

However, there's certainly notable exceptions as urbanization is beginning in some places. We haven't checked in on the Imaru basin or the Whulge area in a while, but it has several notable cities. Katlaqmap (near OTL Portland) would likely be about the size of Snaketown or a bit bigger (so maybe 3-3,500 people), and Sqhweyamahl (*New Westminster) as it sits at the key point where the Irame flows into the Imaru. Skohalqo (near OTL Seattle), Chemna (*Richland), Shonitkwu (*Kettle Falls) would be of perhaps 2,500-3,000 each.

In South Fusania, the largest is Koru (*Colusa) thanks to its religious nature at perhaps 3-4,000 people. Esach'atuk (Antioch, which I notice I missed on the map and will fix when I get the chance), Pasnomsono (*Redding) and Wayhuwa (north of Lake Tulare) would have maybe 2-2,500 each.

In all Fusania, the largest city is Wayam at about 5,000 people, due to its antiquity, being a long-established center of trade, and numerous other features which I'll discuss in a few entries. Since it sits on the Imaru River right at the water gap into the mountains, it has a huge natural geographic advantage as it sits between the coastal half of North Fusania on one side and the drier half on the other--it has a serious claim to being the center of the world as far as its residents and those of nearby villages are concerned.

In terms of ethnic groups (if you can call them that), the Aipakhpam/Aihamu (*Sahaptins), Namals/Namaru (*Chinookans), and Amims (*Kalapuyans) would be the largest in North Fusania. In South Fusania, the largest are the various peoples of the Central Valley, the Qatmaqatkh ("people of oak)/Kama (Beikama, etc.) peoples (although they all speak different languages, the Wakashans tend to group them together).

Just a random infodump of demographic data, which can be hard to present without being overly dry yet can be fascinating in its own right. Some of this will be presented again and expounded on, some of it might not come up again.
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I'm surprised I haven't posted in this thread yet, but it's better late than never.

You've done an excellent job with this timeline. Can't wait to see what happens next, especially in regards to contact between East Asia and Fusania. Interesting stuff.
Thanks, my pleasure to keep people entertained.

Will there be any significant contact between Fusania and eastern North America? If I recall correctly the word for goat ITTL was diffused into English from an Algonquian language, so does that mean anything or am I reading too much into it?
The Rockies and Plains will not be a total barrier for ideas, crops, and especially animals to cross. It's a difficult one, but I noted earlier there are already Fusanian-descended groups on the High Plains where their horticultural pastoralism gave them the advantage over the local bison hunters. It just needs time to diffuse, time which may not exist.

But I'll definitely at some point cover it in the near future, since it helps end this part of the timeline quite nicely.

If so, I wonder if the Mississippians might fate better ITTL. They'd definitely benefit from Fusanian agriculture, and a wider variety in the crops they cultivated as opposed to their overreliance on maize could prevent their collapse entirely.
Depends how much can cross over, especially the aquatic plants grown in Fusania which would take some cultural adaption to (and may arrive in less optimal cultivars meant for dry and continental lands like the High Plains) in some groups. Others like camas may not do well at all in the High Plains so never cross over.

That said, adding diversity to their diet (there's most certainly plenty of opportunities in terms of both plants and animals) and adding more animal products (eggs, goat/reindeer bone/horn/skins) and especially animal "horse"power will be very helpful for the Mississippians. It's unfortunate though that reindeer and even towey goats will be limited in much of the Mississippian cultural area since they're subarctic/alpine species with not enough time to get new breeds resilient in the humid environment. Although goats will not be as affected since they have different disease considerations and have already been found useful to basically everyone on the fringes of Fusanian culture/the reindeer herding areas.
Chapter 15-This Land Was Not Enough
"This Land Was Not Enough"

Khutsleinaan, May 1125​

Yeilkichi and his small retinue gazed upon the rude town rising from the eerily flat tundra shores at the mouth of a broad river and the ocean on the snowy morning. It looked nothing like the small Guteikh or Kh'adaasak [1] villages he passed on the way to this remote place, yet at the same time hardly resembled a proper town. A collection of sunken earth sod huts lined with driftwood and whale bones lay strewn about the place, but unlike amongst the Guteikh or Kh'adaasak, the houses seemed closer together with an almost familiar sense of aesthetics by the colourful painting applied to the wooden posts of the houses. A few unfamiliar-looking kayaks lay down at the shore of the river, and the familiar fishy smell of the ocean permeated the air. He shivered as flurries fell on his face. Even in spring this place is still cold.

Two thick totem poles stood outside the village done in the familiar style of his home island of Keilchaniya, impressing Yeilkichi with their ornate carving despite the fact there stood few, if any, tall trees anywhere along this river. The pole on the left as Yeilkichi interpreted the symbols and carvings [2] recounted several legends common to many poles which greeted the entrance of villages and towns which from the top of the pole to the bottom presented the foundation of this area and town. Yeilkichi noticed a story about a supernatural bear at the bottom, supposedly a previous ruler of the place thanks to its rich salmon runs. The pole on the right Yeilkichi recognised referring to the Hlinkits coming to the land, killing its supernatural bears and other evil in exchange for walrus tusks. At face level he noticed a stylised man aside a great bear, different from the evil bears above, and people cheerfully submitting to him.

Inside the town he tried to ignore the gaze of the few villagers out that morning, noting the presence of a few small gardens not yet in bloom with plants, assuming they even could grow here. He noted with morbid curiosity racks of skulls outside one of the few wooden buildings in the town standing near the shore. On a shelf formed from whale bones, human skulls were arranged next to the skulls of reindeers, towey goats, seals, and what Yeilkichi assumed were walruses, the animals whose tusks made the ruler of this land rich. The wild prince Khutsaayi, Yeilkichi thought, or "Kuleikhwaish", his other name, the "father of walruses", as derogatory as it seemed for such a powerful ruler. Yeilkichi did not wish to start conflict between Keilchaniya and this new land under the sway of this ruler Khutsaayi. [3]

Yet the tallest and most ornate building, a well-painted palatial structure of wood in typical Hlinkit style, stood on a hill in front of the town's plaza, surrounded by lesser buildings. A tall totem pole
stood outside, crowned by a massive bear which Yeilkichi assumed was a polar bear, recounting the ancestors of its owner and their achievements and finally the achievements of the current owner, the prince Khutsaayi. According to the pole, Khutsaayi's uncle fled to the lands of the Kh'adaasak to escape injust Keilchaniyans--Yeilkichi winced as he noticed a raven with prominent wings, referring to his grandfather of the same name--and from there the locals enlisted him and his family to drive off cruel and wicked shamans. The carvings referring to whales and reindeer grabbed by these bears symbolised Khutsaayi's family bringing new prosperity to the village. He motioned his retinue to wait outside the palace, and walked in alone.

Inside the palace, Yeilkichi passed several slave families, then greeted two Hlinkit noblemen guarding the door warming themselves by an oil lamp, who opened the door to the inner chamber. The pleasant smell of sweetflag wafted through the air as oil lamps burned, illuminating and warming the inner hall. Seated on a fine couch of wood reclined the lord of the town, Khutsaayi himself, a man as massive and thickly built as a bear, chatting happily with a slave girl with peculiar facial features and even stranger hair which shone as golden as the sun. [4] Khutsaayi dressed himself in finely dyed tehi clothes as typical of a Hlinkit noble, but as a coat wore an outfit sewn from many animal skins. He drank darkly-hued cider [5] out of a skull cup.

"I shouldn't have to come to the end of the world to find you, Kuleikhwaish. I suppose you have returned to live among the Kh'adaasak?"

"End of the world? This is my home, the land of Khuutsleinaan!" Khutsaayi replied. "A home reclaimed from my inept cousin and once again established prosperity and justice to this country! Now what brings you to the end of the world, old friend?"

"Word has it the Lord of the Boyatkh wishes to meet us again," Yeilkichi said, speaking in the Atkh language to avoid anyone overhearing. "He claims to have an offer for you."

"Chakhwinak?" Khutsaayi laughed. "What he could he possibly offer me when I already have everything I need?"

"The wealthiest land along all the mountains and coasts. Suchuq and all the lands of the Qatmaqatkh [6]."

He laughed again, swilling his cider and taking another gulp.

"No place wealthier than here, as much as Chakhwinak might claim. There are no strange cultists here, no warlords with their disregard of human life, no thieving Wakashan merchants and pirates. Just myself, who rules with a fist of justice, and my people, who gain from my justice, and for it can truly partake in all this land has to offer!"

"It wasn't long ago we battled side by side," Yeilkichi noted, trying to change the subject to memorable times. "I know you remember the place the Qatmaqatkh still call Kalkhabe, where the Qatmaqatkhs fell upon us like a blizzard?"

Khutsaayi smiled. "Yes, of course, go on, recount my triumphs."

"I know you recall how we became the first of our people to enter a Kuksuist lodge and all the wealth to be had inside." Etem, what a triumph, Yeilkichi thought, recalling sacking that town of the Qatmaqatkhs who called themselves the Micha. "You never would've gained enough followers to truly become the ruler of this place without the fame you gained bringing back treasure from that southern expedition."

"Ah, but I'm far wealthier in treasure now!" Khutsaayi replied. "The lakes and rivers and coasts of this country abound in wealth. The greatest runs of salmon, ample mines of copper and gold, the richest game, fabulous pastures for my reindeer and goats, seas full of seals and whales, and beyond all else, more ivory than one could imagine!" And no trees, Yeilkichi thought.

"There's many places outside what you control where the walrus live. You assume the Kh'adaasak and Guteikh and Gunana always want to trade with you and your people on the terms you demand?"

"No man dares trade ivory to any Hlinkit city without my permission," Khutsaayi said. "He won't trade it to the Gunana either. I've killed a lot of men and made their families slaves for smuggling my ivory. The Gunana know this too. I have helped them drive off clans who try and get around this law."

"We've been far south in the past, you know how wealthy the land of the Qatmaqatkhs can be. Endless people to offer their tribute to you as ruler, beaches full of money shells, deep mines of copper and precious metals, the greatest forests imaginable, exotic spices unthinkable to find here, the Qatmaqatkhs truly have the best land, and I know you know that as well."

"It's people who are the problem sometimes, my friend," Khutsaayi commented. "First are the Qatmaqatkhs, numerous as they are, they'll fight me to the end like they did at Kalkhabe if I want to rule over them. Second are my allies, like yourself and Chakhwinak. You'll want your fair share of the plunder. Here in Khutsleinaan and all the country around it, the place they call Anaaski [7], the locals allow me to rule over them while my allies

"If you meet with Chakhwinak you'll find he can give you far more than you'll ever imagine," Yeilkichi promised. He raised his finger toward Khutsaayi. "I know what you're thinking, you're thinking this is no different than other Chakhwinak's expeditions. But you've never been to Suchuq or its capital Suchui like he and myself have. Suchui's cult lodge is far larger than Etem's, and on top of it sits a palace where it's ruler Sayach'apis claims the tribute of hundreds of villages. This place, Kesukaan [8], and Etem combined have nothing on the wealth Suchui has."

"I have proof of the wealth of this place, not that of Suchuq and Suchui," Khutsaayi said. He pointed to a jade axe above his head with a bone handle etched with a thunderbird. "The whale who gave its bones for that handle was like none I've ever seen. It was truly huge, with a mouth more massive than any whale I've fought has. I killed it on a cold winter day, after I heard from the Kh'adassak that whales often passed in the winter. From the ease I killed it compared to other whales that approached its size, it seemed as if the whale's spirit was more accepting of its death. And winter after winter, people around here see these whales. And not just whales like that, but the strange white whales of Keilchaniya often hang about here [9]." That gave Yeilkichi pause--he had fought whales alongside Khutsaayi since he was barely a grown man, since before Khutsaayi left with his uncle to this frontier, and Khutsaayi was as much a whaler as he was a warrior. To hear a story like that made him want to know more.

"It's interesting you mention whaling," Yeilkichi said. "Chakhwinak and myself only visited Suchui to begin with when we killed a whale offshore. We killed a massive and fierce whale which sank two of our ships, and brought it ashore with the permission of Suchui's lords. They supplied us with men to butcher the whale, and demanded their portion of the whale and its parts. We certainly gave them that and took our fair share home. There are many whales indeed off the Suchuq Peninsula."

"I'm sure, since wherever there are whales, there are Atkhs! Unless folk like us Hlinkit or the Dekina tell them that the whales don't belong to them of course!" Khutsaayi joked.

"This is actually why Chakhwinak wants to see you to begin with," Yeilkichi replied. "Not long after, other Boyatkh whalers began hunting there, using the lands of Tukwa and Damen as bases. One of these whalers, a brother-in-law of Chakhwinak, was forced into the harbour during a storm. He needed food, so he offered what little he had to a merchant with promise he would return with fish or even a whale. The merchant accepted, but complained to Sayach'apis he had been cheated when he received no fish by the next day. So Sayach'apis hacked off the whaler's hand."

"And what happened next?" Khutsaayi asked, grinning. He knew as much as Yeilkichi did how much of a grudge Chakhwinak could hold.

"His relatives asked for compensation from Sayach'apis, but Sayach'apis hacked their hands of too and branded them all thieves. He kept allowing the Atkhs to land and trade in Suchui and his lands regardless, which infuriated Chakhwinak even more. About this time I learned of it when Chakhwinak himself arrived in Kesukaan to seek my aid. He had already spoken to people he knew or heard about from all over, from some Tsusha in Lakhalidel to some Dekina in Llaginda to Sheit'ka and Yakwadat [10] in Ringitania, asking for their aid and promising glory. Chakhwinak would have visited you personally as well but had to attend to matters at home."

Khutsaayi fell silent, slowly sipping his cider from the skull cup. He seemed deep in thought

"A shame he couldn't visit me then," Khutsaayi shrugged, finishing his drink and setting his skull cup down. Yeilkichi noticed his hesistation. "It's not worthy of him to send someone as great as yourself as a mere messenger."

"Who's skull is that, by the way?" Yeilkichi asked. "Something tells me there's more to it."

Khutsaayi laughed, holding up the skull.

"A man from the place we're going. He was a Kuksuist Lodgemaster while he lived, at least that's what I remember. I stabbed him in the neck with an old jade spear I owned. This skull is that of the son of the man the Qatmaqatkh called K'owlichal, I killed him at Kalkhabe." He stood up, grabbing his jade axe from the wall above him and glanced at a cabinet in the corner engraved with a blood-stained polar bear. "Now then, let's go add another skull to my collection, the skull of this Sayach'apis."

Suchui, July 18, 1125​

"Why are you so greedy, exalted Lodgemaster of Suchui?" K'owlichal begged as the man pelted him with money shells. "Truly, you are strong in spiritual powers, yet why are you so stingy in teaching others?" Truly, the Sea Walkh are right to call him Sayach'apis. "High Above", he knew the name meant, yet the Walkh [11] called him that in a sarcastic tone instead of with the reverence he would think it meant. They called his uncle, the old Lodgemaster of Suchui that too, but K'owlichal suspected the Sea Walkh had far more reverence for that clever Lodgemaster who negotiated the treacherous realms of secular politics.

"You call me exalted and accuse me of greed in the same breath," he spat, "Exalted Lodgemaster of Khadalam." He threw more money shells at K'owlichal, as he tried to shield his head. "Pathetic. Take your money and leave. Your followers have no reason to be here."

"We only wished for your wisdom, exalted Lodgemaster," K'owlichal pleaded. "It is the duty of the Lodgemaster to share with others his knowledge."

"My knowledge is only for myself and the protection of my people," the Lodgemaster spat. "Now leave!"

"The eclipse last night!" K'owlichal shouted, trying to figure something out. "I danced my all to restore the Kuksu's light to the heavens! Surely for this deed you would accept my payment for your teachings!"

"Eclipse?" the Lodgemaster sneered. "I don't remember one, must've been asleep. Now leave!" He motioned to a few bulky guards wielding thick redwood clubs impaled with chunks of metal. K'owlichal wanted to scream at the man's sheer impudence, sheer incompetence, and sheer blasphemy, but knew it indeed was time to leave.

K'owlichal and his entourage left the dimly lit palace of Sayach'apis and stumbled back into the cool and suddenly very foggy morning.

"I am not hurt, my fellows" he announced. "We will return home with little gain." He smirked a bit to try and mask the pure anger he felt as his men hoisted him onto his litter and carried him down the hills toward the shore. At the harbour, a few of his men loaded woven baskets of acorns and dried roots of kushi and valley turnip into their ship, a massive dugout canoe of the Sea Walkh, its sail emblazoned with a stylised dolphin crest. It is good even the Sea Walkh can be helpful, K'owlichal thought, glancing at the tall, elderly navigator whose clan owned the vessel.

As they cast off into the foggy sea where the tips of the watchtowers of Suchui faded from view, the memory of the humiliation and shocking display of evil and sacrilege burned in K'owlichal's head as his boat. His young followers gave it their all as they rowed, their grunts and rhythmic chants making a peaceful drone good for meditation. He did nothing during that eclipse, K'owlichal thought.
Perhaps his sacrilege will damn his city. He felt a tinge of sorrow for the no doubt many good people of Suchui who would be caught up in this because their leader failed them. Yet anything bad that happened to Sayach'apis and his entire clan, that would be most deserved. He found it inconceivable a Lodgemaster would act like that toward a fellow initiated Kuksuist. Yet from his travels, too many Lodgemasters had traits of Sayach'apis in them. All they seek is power with no room for spiritual wisdom. Because of them, too many do not give back to the lodges and too many try and subvert the lodge. They give nothing but give a bad name to men of faith. They are no greedy and barbaric men, no different than the Walkh of Esach'atuk or the Sea Walkh raiders. He glanced at the navigator of the ship, and then at the fine redwood construction of the ship itself. The same Sea Walkh who sent him to be with the ancestors at Kalkhabe, he thought, thinking of his deceased son.

Yet K'owlichal could not get the eclipse off his mind either. What did it mean? As he danced himself into exhaustion that night in the harbour, in his ecstasy he felt a sign that this eclipse meant monumental change. His dreams in the past few days offered more clues--dreams of fires and men and women screaming, a dream of a strange white bear transforming into a grizzly bear then into a human in bear skins wandering around before the oceans drowned everything, a man who reminded him vaguely of a Sea Walkh lord he saw at Kalkhabe. Eclipses are ill omens, he thought. Truly something terrible would happen soon, as much as he tried to prevent it with his magic. Perhaps it would happen because that Lodgemaster of Suchui did not try to prevent it.

After many days of travel, passing so many dramatic sea cliffs that marked this part of the world, the vessel steered past yet more cliffs to the mouth of a muddy creek, where a few docks had been set up. The tired rowers rested themselves as they slowly unloaded from the boat, while K'owlichal's men helped him from the boat and gave him a heavy sack.

"Sea Walkh captain," K'owlichal said in the language the Sea Walkh spoke to outsiders like himself, motioning to the Sea Walkh man as he helped his crew. "Thank you for the safe passage. As promised, here is payment for you and your men."

The Sea Walkh captain emptied the sack, finding a woven basket of sedges and willow given even more color by the green feathers of ducks lined near the opening. He opened the basket, finding it stuffed with acorns on the inside with a few ropes of shells sitting on top.

"More than we expected, thank you, Lodgemaster," the man said, smiling as he examined the shells. "It is good our people are at peace, business is better that way." Only because your master has found new people to terrorise, K'owlichal thought, trying to avoid scowling in front of the man. His traveling party hoisted him onto his litter and left the docks, carrying him through the town.

The town of Dakhwa itself didn't seem like much compared to Suchui, Khadalam, and certainly not Koru, but it was larger than other Sea Walkh towns K'owlichal knew of. Two rows of longhouses formed from redwood planks and tehi rope lined the muddy creek and the ocean front, with buildings of more important function standing out in size, and the impressiveness of the murals on the buildings. A few possessed the tall poles so loved by the Sea Walkh, carved with richly colored scenes and images of gods, animals, and men. K'owlichal wondered what they meant as he passed, for he knew the poles spoke an entire conversation, at least according to the Sea Walkh who carved them. The tallest pole and largest home stood on a small hill on the outskirts.

"The home of the Sea Walkh called Chakhwinak," muttered an older, battle-hardened warrior as some of his group nodded in agreement. "The Lord of the Sea Walkh, a cruel and immensely powerful leader." K'owlichal smiled at seeing the men there to meet him, an entire war party of twenty men, dressed in thick hides of deer and goat, some with bows on their backs and others with spear or club in hand. A few large white towey goats carried sacks of provisions. Although peace reigns in this land for now, it is never truly safe to travel the roads.

"We should not speak of him, my friends" K'owlichal said. All the men around him knew well who he was, having fought in battle against his men many times. K'owlichal knew him the most. His men killed his sons and spent many decades plundering his land. He knew not a single lodge existed along the coast in this land anymore and the rituals given by Kuksu forgotten. In his youth he could never imagine a scourge like this having struck his homeland. Even as an elder, he remembered what this place once was, the town of P'dahaw--much smaller, yet no less vibrant. Then Chakhwinak came, and P'dahaw became Dakhwa, transformed and corrupted into the chief town and base of the Sea Walkh.

His men spent the next few days following the well-trodden paths inland as they passed through densely forested valleys with tall trees nearly blocking out the sun. The muddy creek presented the best path inland, and they drank from it, fished from it, and camped alongside it. K'owlichal traveled that road many times in his days, and was thankful it went uneventfully, even if he and his men occasionally had the feeling they were being stalked by evil intent. Whether it was evil spirits or simply men controlled by them, K'owlichal never bothered to find out, for they never seemed to come close enough to truly worry him.

Many days of travel inland, K'owlichal arrived in his small village one afternoon, a cluster of round houses partially sunk into the earth surrounded by carefully managed groves of sturdy oaks. A few houses had small, spindly bushes outside them, carefully pruned to maximise the amount of firewood and berries the bush might give. Behind the tall rushes of tule, leaves and stems and flowers of omodaka clogged the small ponds and creek, plants which come the rainy season would be harvested in a great festival, while alongside it on shore grew the small fields of tehi and kushi with their white flowers. A few white towey goats grazed with their young in the place, although their shepherds dozed off in the afternoon heat. Two buildings stood out to him from their size and importance--the first, in the center of the village, marked by its size and the artistically arranged redwood posts outside--the home of the village's lord and his family. The second, he noted as his men carried him past, was sunk into the side of a knoll with rich canvases fluttering about it portraying animals, gods, and men. Richly carved posts on the sod roof and around the building cast unique shadows around and as K'owlichal knew, inside the building. He cracked a faint smile at the familiar place, the Kuksuist lodge where an eternity ago as a boy he was first initiated.

Truly it was a peaceful place. Neither the fierce reindeer herdsmen to the north that called themseles Tanne nor the Sea Walkh nor anyone else would raid this place, as it lacked wealth. Even with K'owlichal's own following attracting those who sought his knowledge and wisdom, the village still was not very large, and the lure of Khadalam nearby would draw away friend or foe. He was often disappointed that the expectations of others forced him to stay at Khadalam most of the year as many sought his teachings and the Kuksu lodge at Khadalam refused to accept any Lodgemaster but him. In his youth he ran from home to Khadalam and joined its lodge where he discovered his true calling in life--he always figured this tie to Khadalam a punishment for his youthful errors.

With the journey ended, K'owlichal arrived safely at his meager shack in front of the oak groves commemorating his ancestors long ago. Sunk in the ground in the typical commoner fashion and covered with a meager roof, few expected it to be the home of a man so famed and powerful. Few except the spiritually wise, like his dear grandson, Ats'atal, who awaited him at the door with his wife. Ats'atal looked much as he once did, with his handsome ruddy face beginning to show signs of middle age and a thickly built body.

"It's been a while, grandfather," he greeted. K'owlichal smiled back as his men helped him off his litter and gave him back his walking stick.

"How are you today, my grandson?" He looked at the high afternoon sun and sighed. "It was a long and fruitless journey. The Lodgemaster of Suchui continues in his disgraceful and evil conduct, bringing shame on all of us. And he directs it personally at myself and my men this time."

Ats'atal looked worried, nervously stepping aside the door to the house.

"There are people here to meet you, grandfather. Many people."

A tall, fully armoured Sea Walkh man emerged from the home, equipped in the typical leather armour beneath thick furs reinforced with copper plates preferred by their nobles. His hand patted the sheath of his knife, but otherwise he seemed peaceful if on edge. He took his helmet off, revealing a face familiar and horrifying to K'owlichal that made his chest tighten and stomach sink. Scarred in battle many times with a light beard and long, matted dark hair, the glistening brown eyes of the leader's face screamed of vicious greed even if he tried to present himself peacefully.

"Chakhwinak!" he gasped. The Coastman grinned at the fear he struck in the old man.

"It's good you know my name," he laughed. "I drowned the traitor who told it to you Kuksuists. My shamans must be far stronger than you Kuksuists, for I've never once suffered a curse from you people no matter how much you must be trying to kill me and my family with your magic."

He noticed the grim look on Ats'atal's face, as if the Sea Walkh had taken him hostage.

"Leave! Leave here at once!" K'owlichal shouted. "If you've touched anyone in this village, I swear it, we of the Kaya and all the peoples who worship at Knokhtai will rise up and deal your people along the coast a far worse defeat than we gave you at Kalkhabe!"

A younger Sea Walkh in armour emerged from the house, handing Chakhwinak a bowl of acorn stew. He dipped his finger in it, tasting it and nodding with approval on his face.

"We aren't here to fight or pillage, Lodgemaster of Khadalam," Chakhwinak said. "We could if we felt like it, I have about a dozen men in your house now enjoying the cooking of your female kinsmen. No, we are here because we have an offer for you."

"It's true, grandfather," Ats'atal said. "These murderers claim they want to help."

"Peace has prevailed between our people since not long after the Kalkhabe battle. We would like it to continue," Chakhwinak started. "My people would also like to share some of the mountains owned by various Kaya villages, and know a Lodgemaster like yourself could easily convince those nobles and lesser Kuksuists."

"And what do we get in return?" K'owlichal growled.

"Destroying the most wicked, so I'm told, Lodgemaster around," Chakhwinak said. "We will help you kill the Lodgemaster of Suchui and grind into ruin his clan, his followers, and his followers' clans."
K'owlichal paused, suddenly thinking of the potential use of this evil force. Can they really kill that man? The Sea Walkh were not invincible as he knew from experience, but they certainly were skilled fighters and had the greed to want to destroy Suchui. He wondered how many of his own people, let alone others in the area, might go with them if he told them to.

"You will get past his high walls and his many towers?" K'owlichal asked. "I will not lead my followers to their deaths."

"Of course we will," Chakhwinak replied. "I've torn down many city walls in my time. Perhaps you know of the Lodgemaster of Etem far to the south?" K'owlichal grit his teeth as he recalled what he heard of the tales of the sack of that city.

Suddenly K'owlichal heard the slow beat of drums common of the Coastmen, announcing the arrival of some other noble. He turned his head to the source of the sound, seeing nearly fifty men and a few pack reindeer emerging from a clearing in the oak groves. At the head of the men stood a tall, massively built man wearing shining copper armour over plates of wood and a fur cloak crudely sewn from skins of grizzly bears and strange white bears, their heads preserved casting a fierce howl. His shoulders glistened with shining cast silver bear skulls acting as shoulder plates, and in his hand he wielded a carved whalebone club impaled with a long blade of jade to turn it into a fierce axe. If Chakhwinak frightened and angered him with his evil presence, this man was truly worse.

"You! You will pay for what you did to my son" K'owlichal accused, too angry--or frightened--to speak Trade Wakashan [12], instead screaming in his own language, jabbing his finger at the man as he drew near. The Bear-Armoured Man laughed, and Chakhwinak sighed.

"I wasn't expecting you until later, friends!" Chakhwinak greeted in Trade Wakashan. "Let's treat our hosts kindly now."

"Yes, let's," the Bear-Armoured Man replied. "We're conducting business after all, unless you truly want a fight," he laughed, twirling his club around.

"Now then, my friend has brought many of his own men, from far in the wilds beyond civilisation, among people not even I have met," Chakhwinak said. K'owlichal indeed noticed amongst the common soldiers some men wearing strange armour and with stranger facial features than he had ever seen, not amongst the Dena or Sea Walkh. "They will also assist, and I suspect they will be a powerful force as well. But as to how we conquer Suchui, I suggest you trust in myself and this man, for our plan is unbreakable."

"Why should I trust in that murderer?" Ats'atal shouted, breaking his silence. "He killed my father and hacked off his head! I will never trust nor fight alongside a man like that!"

"Ah, that man," the Bear-Armoured Man chuckled. "Yeah, I killed him and I drink out of his skull occasionally, but that's not important now." K'owlichal's heart sank as he held his hand to silence Ats'atal's righteous anger, fearing that if the negotiations broke down everyone in the village would perish at the hands of these monsters. Damn these Sea Walkh!

"I suppose I'll tell you if you must know," Chakhwinak conceded. "Our men will lay siege to Suchui and attack the villages around it, taking down their watchtowers. Your men along with my good friend you hate so much will act as reinforcements, arriving after us and finishing off their army. We will deliver the Lodgemaster of Suchui to you and will not harm its Kuksuist lodge. Our men will transport your men by sea to the Suchuq Peninsula and transport your men home along with your share of the treasure. We will be certain to award you many animals from this raid."

"How can you be sure your men will succeed against the awful might of that Lodgemaster?"

"My shamans have foretold it," Chakhwinak replied, at which K'owlichal recoiled in shock. So even the Sea Walkh have seen it? "The eclipse we saw, they tell me, signifies the doom of that man and all his people. They've seen it in a dream, the bear swallowing the moon over a town. The grizzly bear then killed a white bear, and as it devoured them it became a man," he glanced over at the Bear-Armoured Man. "They tell me that this great warrior here, whose name in his own tongue means 'Called After the Bear', will be the one to lead to the destruction of the Lodgemaster and his people. Take this as you will."

"Don't trust them, grandfather! Their wicked shamans must be speaking nonsense!" Ats'atal shouted. K'owlichal gave pause to his grandson's demand, but shook his head, knowing that if even the Sea Walkh shamans saw the destruction of Suchui in a dream then the evil Lodgemaster was doomed.

"The Lodgemaster of Suchui is truly evil, far more evil than these men. They may have personally harmed our family, but the Lodgemaster presents an even greater spiritual harm," he answered.

"You know as well as I do the threat corrupt Lodgemasters pose to the order of this world. There are far too many corrupt Lodgemasters, all nobles trying to usurp spiritual power for their greedy ambitions, and none worse than the Lodgemaster of Suchui. If even the Sea Walkh can see this, then trusting them may not be as unwise or immoral as it may seem."

Ats'atal grit his teeth, furious at this idea, but seemingly accepted it. K'owlichal faintly smiled. The boy became a strong man, strong in forces seen and unseen. Already the Lodgemaster of this village, K'owlichal wondered if one day he could become Khadalam's Lodgemaster. He'd grow much through this awful situation.

"I will make my decision by tomorrow. If I agree, we will smoke together to secure our alliance and we will each live up to our end of the bargin." K'owlichal said, bowing his head and leaving for the Kuksu lodge. He hoped for spiritual aid on this matter, but knew already what he would be told. The men who once tried to destroy everything we had will now help us destroy an even greater evil.

Esach'atuk, July 1125​

"So you Coastmen are coming to punish Suchui," Rurak mused, finding his command of Trade Wakashan a bit wanting. He glanced at the heavily scarred and tattooed war leader in front of him who earlier introduced himself personally as Chikhatmiik. Rurak assumed such a direct greeting meant the Coastmen needed his help. "Interesting." He wondered how else these Coastmen could help him. In the five years he had been Prince of Esach'atuk, he dealt with far too many challengers to his authority and rule. He'd won most of those battles, but they'd cost him too much manpower, and worse, the death of his sons. The Lodgemaster of Suchui interfered every time he could, sending raiding parties to his villages and allies and even once looting villages right outside the walls of Esach'atuk.

"Our master Chakhwinak of the Boyatkh plans to lead a great force to Suchui," Chikhatmiik informed. "If you help us, we will gladly share the plunder with your men. And we will not interfere with your attacks elsewhere in those lands. Our shamans say the recent eclipse signifies doom for the Lodgemaster's country, ensuring his success."

Rurak glanced around his hall at the faces dimly lit by the red light of the sunset shining through the eaves. His trusted lieutenants clad in their goat leather armour and with their tall spears seemed interested in the Coastman's proposal by their pensive looks. He rose from his well-painted chair, his finely dyed cotton robe (claimed from an enemy Lodgemaster he killed) flowing around him.

"What do you say, followers?" he shouted in his native K'ahusani. "What do you say to this man's idea, that we assist the Coastmen in looting Suchui? If the Coastmen truly are this angry at Suchui, then we have nothing to fear from their warriors or their walls!" he shouted to command their attention.

"We attack!"

"We bring the Lodgemaster down!"

"We take them all for ourselves!"

All sorts of cries like that rose up, even from the few women in the room, no doubt eager to see what their husbands would bring home from this battle. The Coastman grinned, looking around the room at the eager warriors and their supporters.

"It's like you see here, my friend," Rurak shrugged. He raised his hand to silence the room, and all fell silent, eyes on him and his guest. "Now tell me when this Chakhwinak will be coming?"

"He will be here by the start of the rainy season," Chikhatmiik replied. "When night is longer than day. Lord Chakhwinak plans to spend his winter in Suchui."

"Then we will make our plans for that season. Thank you, honored guest of the Coastmen!" The hall arose with noise again, with some cheers followed by even more excited conversation. Rurak himself felt excitement for this coming war in the next few months. With the plunder we seize from Suchui, we'll be able to regain everything we've lost and destroy our worst enemy at the same time. Such plunder would allow him to lure more men from the valley to replace his fallen warriors, not to mention be enough to keep the loyalty of anyone who dared to doubt it. The widows and children of the deceased would end up well-fed and clothed thanks to all this. And above all, he and his people of Esach'atuk would stand alone as the most powerful in all this land.

"We will make a more formal treaty in the morning tomorrow," Chikhatmiik said. "For now, I will alert my men outside so Chakhwinak may be informed as quickly as possible."

"Good," Rurak replied. Chikhatmiik strolled out of the room, bumping into a man who seemed drunk, but ignoring his angry protests either out of lack of understanding K'ahusani or out of unwillingness to make a scene as a guest. Rurak went back to dreaming of the results of this alliance, thinking of how much glory and wealth was to be gained. Suchui's walls stood tall, and its watchtowers even taller. Every hill in all Suchuq seemed to have watchtowers like that, always making sure to report what they saw to the Lodgemaster of Suchui. Unlike in the many years his uncle ruled, his people now would never try and raid Suchuq out of fear, but with the Coastmen on their side, they'd be as motivated as they were in his uncle's day.

One of his lieutenants walked over as the excitement began to die down.

"Can we actually trust this Chakhwinak?"

"No reason not to," Rurak replied. "Once the walls of Suchui fall, the wealth will flow to all of us like the blood flows from a gutted goat. That man, Chikhatmiik, gave his birth name to me earlier, he must be quite serious about what will happen."

"I'd hope you are right," he replied. "Lest we wager too much on this one fight." It's a gamble worth taking, Rurak though to himself.

Ch'ayapachis, September 1125​

"It is all well, my lord!" Chikhatmiik announced as he walked into the longhouse at Ch'ayapachis. "Both the Qatmaqatkh of the Delta and the Qatmaqatkh of the hills and lakes agree to our proposal. Suchui's fate is as good as sealed."

"And do we have our ships and men of the Ch'ayapachatkh [13] prepared?" Chakhwinak asked as he sipped his cider.

"Indeed we do," Chikhatmiik answered. "Fifteen ships and 700 warriors will arrive in Dakhwa to meet up with the Boyatkh men, then sail to Tukwa to meet with the Tukwatkh men and from there to Dama to meet with the Damanatkh men [14]." Chakwinak nodded with approval.

"Animals for our supplies?"

"Ever the organiser," Chikhatmiik smiled. "Five reindeer, twenty towey goats, and a moose."

"Perfect. We should have a total of 35 ships and 1,500 warriors when we meet with the Boyatkhs, Tukwatkhs, and Damanatkhs and the toweys they'll have with them." Chakhwinak stated. "From our Qatmaqatkh friends, that old prophet we fought at Kalkhabe, we can count on a few hundred more, and from our friends from the north," he glanced at Yeilkichi and Khutsaayi, "We have another fifty men and likely more." He grinned. "Not that most of these people will be doing much but plundering."

"What do you mean, Lord of the Boyatkhs?" Khutsaayi asked.

"The Walkh will be doing the heavy lifting, Kuleikhwaish" he replied. "Chikhatmiik is watching them with a spy in their ruler's court. They'll be launching their own attack on Suchui."

"Truly a clever plan, Lord of the Boyatkhs!" Khutsaayi shouted as he started to realise what was being planned, clapping Chakhwinak on the back. Chakhwinak smiled, brushing his matted dark hair from his face.

"This is the largest force ever assembled since our ancestors's ancestors," Chakhwinak noted. "Far larger than at Kalkhabe, and only our ancestors at Tlat'sap had such a force with them [15]. Not much larger and the spirits themselves would protest at the might assembled." He clapped Khutsaayi on the shoulder. "To give you what I promised requires a certain element of cunning and deceit," he spoke. "Suchui and Suchuq are just where things begin. You'll find Esach'atuk and the land of the Walkh quite wealthy too. And you'll deal the first blow against them alongside the other people your friend of Kesukaan has gathered."

Yeilkichi winced. "So that was your point of sending me to the lands of the Lik'wil'dak and the Dekina and all Ringitania and even to Kuleikhwaish's land?"

Chakhwinak laughed. "It is as I say, friend of Kesukaan! You are famed for the sack of Etem and your fierce fights against these Kuksuists so you would be great for attracting more great warriors!"

"So me and Kuleikhwaish are nothing but pawns in your scheme?" Yeilkichi protested.

"Not at all," Chakhwinak answered. "We will give you the glory of destroying the Walkh outside the gates. Sayach'apis will no doubt call a Coastman force to help his own people, and you will act as that force."

"What do you plan, Chakhwinak?" he asked, patting his copper-gold knife on his waist. "I'm sure it's interesting." Khutsaayi trusted no one, and he knew that Chakhwinak was a truly crafty man.

"I'll spell it out, my friend from the end of the world. You and your friend of Kesukaan and other northern warriors will join our Qatmaqatkh friends. Chikhatmiik's friend who will be with the Walkh of Esach'atuk will tell you of their progress. When you hear they have laid siege to Suchui, you will destroy that force."

"W-What?" Khutsaayi stumbled. "We will betray our allies?" It wasn't out of the usual for Chakhwinak, but he seemed intent on this plan.

"As I said, this is how the land of the Walkh will be open to you, as their warriors will die in this fight," Chakhwinak answered. "Suchui and Sayach'apis himself will open the path, since their warriors will help defeat them by your side. Study them well. When the fight is won, you'll know what to do. Invite yourself to his hall--he's arrogant enough to think you are an ally. We will raid along the peninsula and lay siege to Suchui, and then your men will open the gates from within."

Khutsaayi laughed heartily, fantasizing about the bloodshed to occur. "Devious! Now who gets the head of Sayach'apis?" He thought immediately of how it would become another skull cup, like the Dena chiefs who had opposed him, or the Kuksuist Lodgemasters of P'dahaw or Etem, or the son of K'owlichal, the Lodgemaster at Knokhtai.

"Preferably our allies, the Qatmaqatkh," Chakhwinak replied. "Leave Kuksuists to kill Kuksuists. But your men or other Ringitsu or Dekina may claim his head."

"True," Khutsaayi nodded. Facing the stares of the Wakashans and his own Hlinkit like Yeilkichi in that cider hall, he resolved to turn over the Lodgemaster of Suchui's skull to K'owlichal.
Chakhwinak seemed to sense his sudden hesitation.

"You will be the Lord of Suchui, the gateway, and use it as base to seize the wealth of the Walkh at Esach'atuk. And you will need myself and other great warriors to hold down the peasants you will subdue," he spoke in a suddenly hushed voice.

"Tahsis," Khutsaayi laughed. "So many villages are called that in hopes they'll be the gateway to traded wealth!"

"The greatest 'Tahsis' will be conquered," Chakhwinak said. "Such is Suchui." He motioned the bartender at the cider hall owned by Chikhatmiik for a drink. "You are fit to rule that place and will be a good ally to raiders such as myself."

Khutsaayi laughed again. "I thought that promise of ruling Suchuq and Suchui was insane when my friend from Kesukaan told me it. Even at Etem I was told the Kuksuists there ruled over a realm of tall watchtowers and strong fanatics."

This time it was Chakhwinak's time to laugh as Yeilkichi looked on nervously.

"That was Sayach'apis the Elder. The younger Sayach'apis, the current Lodgemaster of Suchui, ignores us Coastmen and presumes we are still allies. If you wish to rule there, you will rule."

Chakhwinak's grim smile expanded further. "You will need your fellow Coastmen of course to subdue these Kuksuists in Suchuq. But I knew for you that land at the edge of the world was not enough."
Suchui, October 1125​

The Lord of Suchui gazed down from the watchtower at the campfires from the enemy Walkh formerly encamped in the hill and spilling onto the slopes in front of the tall wooden walls of Suchui. So they're making their move finally. He grasped his Pasnomsono copper axe in anticipation. He found it was truly a large number of them, but his own men he called from Suchui and the villages around equalled this force. A few men walked lagged behind, advancing beneath a hide-covered roof to protect them from arrows. Around them a few other warriors seemed to be carrying ladders. He planned to wait for the foolish Walkh to pass over his walls and then make them pay the price in blood for making such a bold attack.

"When they get near enough, fire arrows!" he shouted to the men around him as they reached for their bows. He looked toward the other watch towers, nodding with approval as their own men readied their bows. On the ground outside the gate, men with spears, clubs, and slings paced anxiously as they awaited the arrival of the enemy. The majority of the men in Suchui, including boys and the elderly, came out to defend the place, but many of the men came from nearby villages--some already pillaged by the Walkh--as he could tell from the animal emblems sewn on their hempen clothes.

"Lodgemaster, there's an additional force coming from the west," his lieutenant warned. The Lodgemaster turned his head, noticing the smoke signal rising from a distant watchtower.

"Allies or enemies?" the Lodgemaster wondered aloud. He noticed the Walkh warriors drawing within range of his archers and the whir of arrows being fired by the men around him. A few Walkhs drew their own bows, attempting to shoot back at the men on the powers. The Walkh underneath the hide arrow shields attempted to manuever to the gate with their battering ram while the men with ladders and ropes rushed for the walls in an attempt to pass over the walls. The Lodgemaster slid down from the tower hugging the rope which granted access there, drawing his axe. A few men managed to accomplish crossing the wall while under arrow fire, at which the Lodgemaster himself greeted them, hacking at the first warrior's neck while his own men dealt with the rest of this initial group.

Despite the losses the Walkh took, they kept on advancing, and the battering rams at the gates and walls worried the Lodgemaster even as his men tried to set it aflame. The presence of the unknown force advancing from the west similarly bothered him. Perhaps that emboldened the Walkh to make such a brazen attack, as they expected reinforcements.

Some of the men around him broke off to run to elsewhere within Suchui as the Walkh attempted to sneak around to the less guarded parts with their ropes and ladders. Although their own men equalled the Walkh in number, the Lodgemaster suddenly felt a bit worried as he witnessed a boy of his people left writhing on the ground from a spear wound.

"Lodgemaster," his lieutenant shouted. "The Walkh are shifting to the west side of the town where they have managed to enter!"

"We'll fight them house to house as we need," the Lodgemaster replied. "Have men hide in the houses in ambush."


"Forward!" Khutsaayi screamed in his own Hlinkit. He raised an ivory club impaled with a jade blade to make an axe. "Charge!" he shouted in Trade Wakashan. His motley collection of warriors from all around the coasts--Kh'adassaks, Guteikhs, and Gunanas from Khutsleinaan, many Hlinkits and Dekina, and even some Whulchomish warriors--rushed first as the lightly armoured slingers and spearmen of the Qatmaqatkh followed him.

They have almost twice our number outside that west entrance
, Khutsaayi noted as the men scrambled to get over the palisade on ropes and ladders. A few more Walkhs arrived at that corner from the south entrance, looking to get through that way. Not that it should be an issue when the warriors he handpicked from home could probably deal with the majority of these Walkhs on their own, especially when they thought Khutsaayi was there to assist them.

As they ran the last distance, a few of the Walkhs in the rear seemed to notice Khutsaayi and his force were not allies by the speed of their advance, as they learned by the crash of Khutsaayi's jade axe on their necks. His Qatmaqatkh allies started their own onslaught, slinging their rocks at surprising speed toward the Walkh force.

"Forward again! Don't leave a man alive!" Khutsaayi swung his axe with wild glee, cutting down Walkh after Walkh as they barely knew what hit them. He noticed panic spreading as the Walkhs screamed in chaos, and his grin widened as he only wanted to keep chopping more Walkhs. He snatched the spear out of the hand of a half-dead Walkh as he crushed his face with his boot and threw it clean through an important-looking noble's neck. Yet Khutsaayi had no time to admire his handiwork. In this moment, he could only kill and destroy with wild abandon.

Rurak could scarcely believe what was happening. He didn't want to believe it and looked around for signs he was in a nightmare of some sort. His army lay in disorder as the Coastmen and their allies descended on them with that monstrous man in bear-skin armour at their head. Why did they betray him? Why had Chikhatmiik betrayed him? This was nothing short of a disaster as what should've been his greatest triumph turned into a moment which would bring ruin to him and his people.

But first he needed to rally his men so they might make a coherent retreat. He raised his Pasnomsono copper axe over his head.

"Do not panic! Follow my lead so we may escape safely!" he shouted, looking around. Some of the men closest to him shouted in approval as well, including his closest lieutenant.

The same man who now collapsed right into him with a spear through his throat, thrown by the gian. Rurak flung his body to the ground and planned his next move. He needed to kill that giant man. If he did, his force--which he outnumbered--may collapse as Rurak's own army was collapsing.

As he rushed toward the bear-armoured monster with a few of his soldiers by his side, the enemy leader smiled with glee at noticing a noble challenger such as Rurak.

"Treacherous Coastmen! Damn that Chikhatmiik!" he shouted in Trade Wakashan as he swung his axe down, getting it caught in the man's thick fur and leather gauntlets as the monstrous man swiftly dodged.

"Chikhatmiik?", the monstrous man laughed as he grabbed Rurak's arm. "I've never heard of him! Khutsaayi though," the man said. "That's the name of the man who's about to kill you!"

"Rurak!" he shouted back, giving only his nickname, not that the monstrous man would know. "That is mine, and I will be the one to kill you!" he reached for his hidden dagger, ready to stab it through the man's heart. But Khutsaayi caught him off balance as he snapped his wrist and threw him to the ground.

Rurak watched helplessly as the Coastmen routed his guards as they tried to rescue him. The Suchui men, emboldened by the unexpected help, sortied out from their walls to join the fighting.

"Nunak [16], huh," Khutsaayi said. "Interesting." He brought his axe down on Rurak's neck, and Rurak embraced the sudden silence.

"Do you think they really are preparing a trap to take our city?" the Lodgemaster's lieutenant asked.

"If they wanted to defeat us, they would've joined forces with the Walkh," the Lodgemaster shrugged. "I'm a hospitable man after all, so I had to invite them in," he sneered. He believed the bear-armoured man's explanation that his spies in Esach'atuk told him the Walkh would be attacking Suchui, and immediately wondered if these Sea Walkh had any spies in Suchui. The only way to find out was invite in the leaders of those Sea Walkh, and spring a trap on them.

"Send our forces down to the quarters we prepared," the Lodgemaster asked. "They should be plenty drunk and exhausted now after the third night of celebration." The lieutenant nodded, leaving to grab his soldiers. The Lodgemaster reclined back on his chair, reflecting with grim joy on how in the span of three days, his greatest foes the Walkh of Esach'atuk suffered a major defeat and their ruler's death and now a major group of Sea Walkh would soon be killed in their beds and the rest of their force cut down outside the walls of Suchui. The Lodgemaster fell asleep with those thoughts in his head.

He then saw bears, several of them, led by a great white bear like he'd never seen before. Fire burned a village as the bears wandered around it, devouring people and animals and plants alike. He tried to run, but no matter how much he ran the bears seemed to be catching up with him. He tried to dance to summon Kuksu's spirit within him, but his movements were sluggish. He wanted to scream as the massive pale bear moved to devour him, but his voice died in his throat.

Then he heard a shout and jolted awake from his nightmare. And then he heard even more shouts. Were his "guests" resisting? He grabbed his knife from beside his bed, and shouted for his guards.

Only one man came after what felt like an eternity, clutching a bleeding wound on his shoulder.

"They were not drunk or exhausted as we thought and fought back as if they knew we were coming!" the man shouted. "They opened the gates for their comrades outside! And there's even more of them in the hills, far more, arriving under cover of darkness!"

The Lodgemaster didn't even try to process this. He knew the city was in even greater trouble than when the Walkhs attempted their siege. He ran to grab his weapons and armour and hurried to put it on before the Sea Walkh succeeded at their plan.

The Lodgemaster rushed outside into the cool night air and saw the man right there, amidst burning roofs of the earth-sunken homes of the people of Suchui and the screams of dying men and women. Lit by flames and moonlight, the Lodgemaster gazed upon the horrifying face of the bear-armoured man wielding his jade axe alongside well-armoured Sea Walkh warriors. With only a few of his own guards around him, the Lodgemaster knew he was outnumbered.

"Clever plan, Sayach'apis!" he shouted, using the Lodgemaster's Wakashan name. "But I assumed trickery was afoot!"

"H--how!" he shouted. "Was it your spies within these walls like your spies within Esach'atuk?"

"Spies?" the man said. "Only Esach'atuk had any spies, no, I figured you were up to something by your constant insistence on having my men drink. No man is that generous to give away that much of his own cider without having some nefarious purpose in mind!"

Arrows fell around him, as hostile warriors on his towers fired at them, striking some of his men. The bear-armoured man raised his hand to tell them to stop.

"We want you alive, Sayach'apis!" he demanded, twirling his jade axe. "Surrender, so the Qatmaqatkhs can punish you for the insults you gave to one of their Lodgemasters. It's thanks to that man and his grandson inspiring all their people that they'd even send that many men!" A Sea Walkh noble walked up to the bear-armoured man, and he mentioned something to the man, pointing at the Lodgemaster.

The Lodgemaster drew a dagger from the hip, wishing the end of this second nightmare. He thought of his respected father and how he shamed his legacy by letting it end like this. With fear, hatred, and despair, cursing the Sea Walkh who outwitted him, he plunged the dagger into his own gut in an eruption of sickening pain. The bear-armoured man ran over to him, trying to force him to stop, but the Lodgemaster kept stabbing before finishing with a slash to his own neck.

Such is the end of the line of the Lodgemasters of Suchui, he thought in his dying breaths. Such is the end of Suchui. Truly the world belonged to those who held the most power, power he thought was once his but now realised belonged to the Coastmen.

Ni Qian and Jin Yue, A House of Oak: The Wakashans in South Fusania (Jinshan [San Francisco, CA] University Press, 1970)​

The 1125 sack of Suchui and the collapse of the initial Esach'atuk state opened the greatest era of Wakashan raids in Fusanian history in terms of the number of men involved in the pillaging, the amount of wealth seized, and the scope of the conflict. While the ravages of time and the since-fragmented oral history of the many peoples involved consign many of the details to myth and legend, a certain truth reveals itself through study of what oral history and legends were recorded over the years. In particular, the figure of Khutsaayi (among many of his names) reoccurs in nearly every telling of these stories.

The famous Namaru historian Gaiyuchul wrote of Khutsaayi in the 1460s:
"The wild man Khutsaayi helped reshape Fusania in his image nearly as much as the Transformer himself if the tales can be believed. But it seems the gods themselves were so jealous of his fame they saw it fit to give the people so many stories of this man so to confuse later generations as to who he really was. This is the price he paid for his great success in both the battlefield and in the bedroom as well. For it seems Khutsaayi had so many descendents that the usual tales of exploits of great ancestors becomes confused. Even I, the Prince of Katlamat, can hardly trust my own ancestors in telling me about this man. Perhaps the only way to truly understand this man is to meet him in the afterlife!"

Stories of Khutsaayi, or figures commonly identified as him occur from the furthest reaches of Ringitania along the Ringitanian Strait to as far south as the Tugang Islands, and in disputed accounts as far south as the Jiqi center at Yaangna [17], demonstrating the sheer reach of this man which no doubt contributed to the confusion from the sheer number of stories about him. A conventional biography assumes he was born sometime in the 1080s in Kesukaan, fled with his father to the Anasugi Peninsula following conflicts with the ruling nobles there where they lived among the local peoples before gaining authority over them and ruling from Khutsleinaan. After Khutsaayi's uncle died, he took control along with his brother and became rich trading walrus ivory alongside inviting in other Ringitsu as whalers and herdsmen. At some point around 1107, Khutsaayi left Khutsleinaan to become a Coastman, possibly to gain more wealth not linked to that owned by his clan, where he encountered Chakhwinak, ancestor of the Boyatkh, Tukhwatkh, and Damanatkh peoples, who had been ruthlessly invading settlements of the Kaiya (a Knokhtaic people) and carving out his own state around modern Dahua. The two became close allies, fighting at the Battle of Kalkhabe in 1110 and in the years to come conquering many of the Micha people and settling their land. In 1116, he sacked the city of Etem alongside Chakhwinak.

True to Gaiyuchul's description, he indeed left many descendents--it has been hypothesised that one particular haplotype within Haplogroup C2, found in Fusanians well within this range and particularly in Ringitania and Daxi Bay marks descent from Gaiyuchul, although counterarguments suggest it is instead another marker of the expansion of Dena peoples and a legacy of the Ringitsu component of the Wakashan Expansion.

He returned to Khutsleinaan sometime in the 1120s, seemingly content with his wealth gained, but for unknown reasons decided to return to the south, abandoning his ancestral land for the pursuit of yet more wealth. There, Khutsaayi played a key role in the conquest of the Suchuq Peninsula, where alongside Chakhwinak and another prominent Wakashan warlord Chikhatmiik they sacked Suchui and at the battle backstabbed their Sani allies, killing their ruler Rurak. Notably, it seems that Chakhwinak and the Wakashans present fought alongside their former Kaiya enemies, who perhaps had been recruited as mercenaries or in some way "bought off" to allow for the consolidation of the emerging Dakhwa city state--Kaiya stories state they joined forces with the Wakashans due to a "personal insult" of the Lodgemaster of Suchui, conventionally named Sayach'apis the Younger after his Wakashan name. Following the sack of Suchui, Khutsaayi and his Wakashan allies founded the new city of Tahsis (a common Atkh toponym meaning "Gateway") on its ruins.

From there, Khutsaayi became ruler of Tahsis and alongside Chakhwinak and Chikhatmiik conquered the rest of the Suqiong Peninsula and much of the interior parts of Daxi Bay. These raids caused the total collapse of Esach'atuk by 1140, although other enemies of Esach'atuk may have helped it along--Esach'atuk would not regain its former prominence until long after Khutsaayi's death. Many Menma fled south from Suqiong to escape the unusually violent Wakashan intrusion, carrying with them their own stories of Suchui's destruction. Khutsaayi seems to have helped Chikhatmiik in his battles further south against the Menma and Chuma [19] as Chikhatmiik sought to conquer his own land in his advancing age. They were repelled from the Chuma city of Tsitqawi around 1148, but sacked the Menma city of Sahontaruk in 1150. However, their attention was soon turned to another band of Wakashans who had been attacking the Menma near Changmang Bay [19]. They allied with the Menma to conquer these Wakashans, but soon betrayed the Menma and conquered them. There, Khutsaayi seems to have returned to the north, while Chikhatmiik ruled the new city of Chabasapis [20] and became the ancestor of the Chabasapatkh.

In 1153, he and Chakhwinak embarked on their last campaign, attempting to raid into the Central Valley and conquer Koru. They raided and plundered the valley for nearly three years, even sacking the city of Mokel [21] in September 1153. It seems likely these immensely destructive raids and the continual failure of ambitious nobles to defeat the Wakashan raiders further strengthened the Kuksuist Lodgemasters, who already had been regaining their authority and power with the defeat of Sayach'apis and his supposed blasphemy and the destruction of the anti-Kuksuist force of Esach'atuk in the decades before. In 1155 before the walls of Koru, the Coastmen and some local allies met a massive Kuksuist coalition which scattered the besiegers and forced an end to the campaign. Retreating and raiding as they returned to Tahsis, they encountered a force of Esach'atuk and several other Sani towns blocking their retreat path as they were pinned against the Yuliu Delta. Heavily outnumbered and low on morale, Khutsaayi and Chakhwinak attacked this army and managed to scatter the Sani and save the remnants of their force. During the fighting, the Sani isolated Chakhwinak and a small group from the rest forcing Khutsaayi to lead a small force to save his old friend.

Accounts of Khutsaayi's death differ between Sani stories and Wakashan stories. The latter claim that after being pierced with many arrows fighting his way to Chakhwinak, Khutsaayi and the "last son of Rurak" clashed in single combat, where in his last breath Khutsaayi tackled him into the river where supposedly an orca came and killed the Sani ruler while carrying Khutsaayi safely into the lands of the dead. The Sani claim a wounded Khutsaayi clashed with a powerful noble attempting to defend Chakhwinak and dragged him into the river, where the "spirits of the sea" tore Khutsaayi apart while the noble was able to swim to safety. With this in mind, it is likely that Khutsaayi died in combat, potentially by drowning, thus ending his story and beginning the true legacy of the "wild man of the north" in South Fusania, starting with his deification amongst the Coastmen as a god of war.

Author's notes​

This was quite a theatrical entry to write, and also rather time-consuming due to its length. It's not entirely intended as "narrative", since the point of the narrative is to illustrate the different cultures and "take you on a tour of the world" so to speak. I felt a bit rushed at the end since this was getting a bit lengthy (and I wanted to move on from this bit) and I don't think I'm the best at writing combat scenes. This went through a bunch of drafts and was written over quite a period of time, so it come across as disjointed at times. In addition to the epilogue I wrote above, some characters, people, and places will likely be revisited or their later deeds alluded to in later entries.

This is the end of the "South Fusania/California" arc here. Next two entries will cover North America outside Fusania up to 1100 AD or so as well as one regarding plant and animal domestication and land use patterns (especially relating to forestry). That should be the end of Part One of this TL.

[1] - Guteikh is a Ringitsu exonym for the Aleuts and Aluuitiq people, while Kh'adaasak is a Ringitsu exonym for the Yupik and Inuit, and a somewhat insulting term at best.
[2] - Like OTL, totem poles come in many forms and commonly recount stories using common regional motifs which have been passed down from previous artists and carvers. There is a similarity to Mesoamerican codices in this regard, although in the era this story is set the art/proto-writing system is still in its infancy.
[3] - A Ringitsu, especially a noble, may have several names in their life, some of which may be inherited or even stolen from others. They guard their true names for ceremonial occasions only, lest they believe one can steal their name for black magic. Such beliefs are common in much of North Fusania, and in South Fusania as well.
[4] - Blonde Inuit were not unknown in historic times, and Khutsaayi has taken an interest in an exotic blonde Inuit woman he has managed to come across
[5] - I've neglected to mention it for some reason until now, but this cider is made from the crabapples of Malus fusca (not Old World apples) and as alluded to in other updates has become a culturally preferred alcoholic drink. I'll discuss this more in a future update. The other drink I refer to as cider is made from manzanita berries and is common in South Fusania (it existed OTL, but TTL this manzanita cider often has more potency). As a side-note, for Khutsaayi to be able to drink cider in a place far from where Malus fusca grows is a sign of his wealth.
[6] - "Qatmaqatkh", meaning "people of oak", is a generic term for Kuksuist-practicing South Fusanians (as well as the non-Kuksuist K'ahusani). It gave rise to the Chinese term "Kama" with a similar meaning.
[7] - Anaaski is the Hlinkit term for the Alaska Peninsula. It derives from a local Aleut term essentially meaning "mainland", which is how people on the various islands the Hlinkit hunt on, trade with, or even settle refer to the area. It is the same origin of OTL's term "Alaska".
[8] - Kesukaan is Kodiak, AK--it is the largest center of the land known as Keilchaniya
[9] - Khutsaayi is refering to the bowhead whale, occasionally found as far south as Bristol Bay in historic times. These massive whales are not found in the North Pacific (outside of the Bering Sea) and are essential to the lifestyle of many indigenous Alaskans. As the Hlinkit expand along the coast, this would be their own whalers's first encounter with this new species of whale. The other whale Khutsaayi mentions is the beluga, which the Hlinkit would have first encountered in Keilchaniya although it is rare in the North Pacific (outside of the Bering Sea) and would be rarely, if ever, encountered in the Hlinkit homeland.
[10] - Llaginda is roughly west of Queen Charlotte City on Haida Gwaii, Sheit'ka is Sitka, AK, and Yakwadat is Yakutat, AK
[11] - "Walkh" is a variant of "Walkh", a term (IOTL the Takelma term for the Shasta, meaning "enemy") which TTL has given rise to many South Fusanian words referring to the Dena/Tanne, Wakashan, or Shastan peoples--it is much like the false cognate "walhaz" (from Proto-Germanic) in that regard. The "Sea Walkh" here is essentially the same as the term "Coastmen".
[12] - Trade Wakashan is a simplified form of various Atkh dialects (including those with a large non-Atkh substrate) with ample loans and borrowings from other languages (mostly Dena languages), especially from Coast Tanne. Those who frequently deal with the Wakashans and other Coastmen tend to learn the language.
[13] - The Ch'ayapachatkh ("people of many boats/people of Ch'ayapachis") are an Atkh tribe who rules Ch'ayapachis and the nearby area. Chikhatmiik is a noble of this group, but he serves the Boyatkh under Chakhwinak. "Tribe" in this sense is closer to a Germanic or Slavic tribe than your typical Amerindian tribe or OTL Nuu-chah-nulth tribe.
[14] - Tukwa is roughly Bodega Bay, CA, while Dama is Olema, CA (and is a Wakashanised form of the Miwok toponym "Olema").
[15] - The Coastmen's Sack of Tlat'sap has entered their legend, including possibly exaggerated numbers. Still, the total number of people fighting in this battle is indeed small by the standards of European or Chinese Antiquity, although perhaps more like the Northern European "Dark Ages" or early Bronze Age conflicts.
[16] - Ringitsu has no /r/ or /l/ sounds, so "Nunak" is how Khutsaayi hears Rurak's name. As common in his culture, Khutsaayi will take Rurak's name as one of his own names and his descendents may inherit it
[17] - The Ringitanian Strait is the Bering Strait, while the Tugang Islands are the (Californian) Channel Islands. Yaangna is roughly Los Angeles, the Jiqi being roughly the OTL Tongva.
[18] - The Menma are the Chinese exonym for the Ohlone/Coastanoans, derived from a common word in their languages meaning "person". The Chuma are the Chumashan peoples.
[19] - Tsitqawi is Morro Bay, CA, while Sahontaruk is Salinas, CA.
[20] - Changmang Bay is Monterey Bay, while Chabasapis is Monterey, CA.
[21] - Lodi, CA
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Khutsaayi embodies the Riddle of Steel, and knows what is best in life. Sounds like the perfect figure to become a god of war...
I have two more updates I'm writing at once since I'm not sure which order to place them plus the fact they're essentially interchangeable. One deals with land use (especially forestry--we get to hear more about those oak trees the South Fusanians like so much) and animal domestication and serves to complete what I need to discuss regarding Fusanian agriculture for quite a while, the other deals with the rest of northern America. I'm not sure what anyone would prefer to read first.

Khutsaayi embodies the Riddle of Steel, and knows what is best in life. Sounds like the perfect figure to become a god of war...
He is quite the man alright! He's revered as a god of war among some Coastmen and is a hell of ancestor to have to live up to for his (direct) descendants, the lords of Tahsis of Suchuq as well as his kin back in Khutsleinaan. Fortunately the majority of his descendants won't have to worry about this legacy, at least until it gets to the Fusanian equivalent of "I'm descended from Genghis Khan".

I'm really enjoying this, great work :)
Thanks, enjoy the read.
I'd definitely like to hear about the rest of North America first...
I suppose there are lots of people who want to see things like the alt-Mississippians, although to hazard a guess judging by the number and size of related threads and TLs I'd expect Vinland might be the most popular thing people would want to see (although this is by no means a Vinland TL or even a Vinland wank as you'll come to see). I'm considering spinning off the part on Vinland and related content (mostly regarding the Inuit and some northern Algonquian peoples) simply because the sphere those three groups interact in is rather different than what the alt-Mississippians and their cultural relatives are doing. And besides, everyone likes Vinland besides the Skraelings unfortunate enough to have had to deal with them.
Chapter 16-Toward Sunrise - Lands of Wine and Wool
"Towards Sunrise - Lands of Wine and Wool"

Directly north and west of the birthplace of Fusanian civilisation along the Hentsuren and other Subarctic rivers, the Arctic changed greatly in the past millennia as a result of contact with the early Dena of the Tachiri culture. The Thule culture emerged along the Straits of Ringitania and far northwest America in the 7th century, adopting reindeer herding and soon domesticating their own animal, the muskox. Their increasing fusion with the Dena led to adoption of a modified Dena pastoralism, where they'd range over a predictable territory which they'd alter to encourage the growth of sweetvetch, bistort, reindeer lichens, and a few other hardy plants to maximise food available for both their animals and themselves. This increasing mobility and new source of trade--livestock--allowed for more links with coastal whaling peoples who depended on the harvest of migratory bowhead whales, an Arctic parallel to similar developments experienced by the Far Northwest peoples.

Similarly to the Far Northwest and the Coastmen who came from there and their own expansions, these Thule Inuit spread west, slowly displacing or outright destroying the Kinngait culture. Unlike the Coastmen, the Thule people cared little for those who lived in the land before them, finding them to offer little of value due to their less developed material culture. Very little, if any, mixing occurred between these groups. By 1100 AD, the Kinngait culture had vanished from the mainland and all but a few offshore islands. Even at Cape Kinngait on Helleland, the place their culture was named for, the more complex material culture and lifestyle of the Thule displaced and destroyed the Kinngait. [1]

Although at the northern fringe of the world and subject to extreme cold much of the year the sheer size of this land gave the Thule Inuit many opportunities to diversify their culture and lifestyle by contact with outsiders. Located south of the Thule, the Dena (who they called "Ingalik", a derogatory term) frequently traded with the Thule in the times they weren't fighting them. Inuit bands who could live more or less in peace instead of fighting or avoiding their Dena neighbours (as often in the past) tended to thrive as they received access to a much wider range of goods and cultural ideas. Some Inuit became increasingly Dena-ised, in particular those of the Tetjo Delta who mixed greatly with Dena groups to their south. These Delta Inuit became the largest and wealthiest Inuit group, using the comparatively rich soils of the Delta to grow large amounts of food for their animals and themselves, allowing for much larger villages and more complex political organisation. While the Dena dominated the attention of the Inuit as a whole, the early 12th century marked the first contact between the Thule and the Ringitsu, frequent trading partners in later years, as well as the first sporadic trade between the Thule of Helleland and the Greenlandic Norse, the first sustained contact between Old and New Worlds.

The Thule Inuit and their cultural relatives, the Yupik (archaically called "Hanashaku" by Japanese settlers after their derogatory Ringitsu exonym "Kh'adassak") spread increasingly across the Strait of Ringitania into the lands inhabited by other bands of Inuit and Yupik, displacing and absorbing them. Population pressure likely drove this migration, and after 1100 AD, conflict with the Ringitsu (who settled at Khutsleinaan and elsewhere nearby) and their Dena allies as well. This migration wave came into increasing contact with the Chacchou, the native people of the area. While the Chacchou had been herding reindeer far longer than the Inuit and Yupik, due to almost a millennia of increasingly intensive herding by them and the Dena, the New World Indian reindeer Rangifer tarandus indicus was more tame, easier to handle, quicker breeding, and larger than North Asian reindeer. Further, the muskox gave the Inuit another advantage not possessed by the Chacchou. While the Chacchou were fierce in numbers and numerous, by the 1100s New World were slowly expanding at their expensive.

In particular, the Yupik preferred lands in the far north along the Arctic Ocean. Sparsely populated, groups of Yupik who preferred an isolated lifestyle free of conflict with outsiders be it other Yupik or Inuit, the Ringitsu, the Dena, or the Chacchou lived in this area, displacing or absorbing the few local populations as they went. Although intensely cold and rugged, reindeer and muskox pastoralism in particular alongside whaling still proved viable in this area. These Yupik expanded west--almost never south--alongside the coast of the Arctic for the next few centuries.

Further change was still to come to the Arctic. The tantalising initial contacts with the Norse in Helleland was to be followed by much more contact in years to come as the Thule Inuit continued their expansion across the Arctic. The Delta Inuit's skill at breeding reindeer and muskox drew them increasingly further into the world south of them along the Tetjo. But in the west along the Ringitanian Sea, the Inuit and Yupik (alongside their distant cultural relatives the Unangakh) faced the invading Ringitsu--culturally alien in their mindset even compared to the Dena--who in their desire for ivory, whales, and land for their own reindeer threatened the lifestyle of those who lived in the area, as immortalised in the Ringitsu stories of the Coastman ruler Khutsaayi.


While the most studied aspects of the Dena expansion is naturally their huge influence on the peoples to the south of them along the Imaru River and elsewhere in central and southern Fusania, many groups of Dena migrated eastward during the American Migration Period in the mid-1st millennium, spreading elements of Hentsuren Dena culture to those Dena who already lived there or outright replacing them. The Dena people known as the Sayisi Dena [2], meaning "Eastern People", spearheaded this migration, taking advantage of their more sophisticated material culture, greater numbers, and skill at reindeer breeding to best exploit their environment and drive out rivals. These Dena became the first to introduce elements of Fusanian agriculture and technology to Eastern North America.

The Sayisi Dena in their migrations east encountered other Subarctic peoples such as the Innu peoples [3], who lived a Neolithic lifestyle akin to the Dena in the days before intensive horticulture and pastoralism. Much of this contact was hostile as the Dena competed for hunting and fishing grounds and especially pastures for their reindeer--the Dena pushed the Innu out of much of the northern and western fringes of their land. However, the sheer size of the land and the small size of the average Sayisi community caused a variety of responses to the local Innu, and thus some peaceful trading and intermarriage occurred. A few Dena bands even entirely joined with Innu bands. This led to the transformation of Innu society starting around 800 AD with the first appearance of the Western Agricultural Complex in the Eastern Woodlands and most notably, the adoption of reindeer pastoralism by the Innu.

Well-watered albeit very poor in soil quality (with a few notable exceptions), the Vinlandic Shield provided fertile ground for the reindeer pastoralism which prevailed in much of the western Subarctic. Much as the Dena did, the Innu practiced horticulture of key aquatic plants which tolerated the cold and poor soils--river turnip, riceroot, water amaranth--as well as where they could fields of subarctic plants like sweetvetch and bistort which they used as secondary staples and fed to keep their reindeer herds strong, numerous, and healthy. The Innu also cultivated a local water plant called Vinland rice (Zizania palustris) where available, although to the Innu it would be far less important than to the peoples south of them. Compared to those southern peoples like the Dakhota, the Innu system of earthworks tended to be less structured and complex, and agriculture correspondingly a less important part of their lifestyle. The Innu only attempted anything near that level of farming in fertile, mineral-rich areas like the area later called the Clay Belt.

The Innu took well to Dena metalworking, as their land was rich in all manner of resources. As with the Dena, their largest towns tended to be near the Vinlandic Shield's rich veins of copper, gold, or silver, which the village traded for other resources to sustain their mining activities. Through conflict, trade, and intermarriage, copper working diffused throughout the Eastern Woodlands, working both the native copper present and the rich veins found along the Great Lakes. Debates raged in later centuries regarding the origins of metalworking in the Eastern Woodlands, with some suggesting other groups transmitted the knowledge and others proposing it came from the Norse or was a local development, but the earliest copper artifacts display qualities akin to Innu designs, which in turn resemble the designs used by the Sayisi Dena.

Like the Dena, the Innu tended to remain in the same general area year after year, living in villages consisting of a few extended families under a chieftain where periodically they'd set out to hunt or graze their herds of reindeer. They burnt patches of land to sow with crops which they gathered as they passed with their herds, while in the village women tended to gardens of water plants, especially river turnip. The Innu knew the bounds of their territories well, often negotiating agreements with neighbouring villages to ensure mutual access to each other's land and resources but occasionally warring against them. Larger towns tended to cluster near sites of portages or particularly rich deposits of metals.

By 1000 AD, the Innu lifestyle had been much changed from two centuries ago. This transformation in Innu culture started in the west and soon spread to every corner of the Innu world, and even spread beyond to the people south of them. One group of Innu at the edge of that world soon encountered a strange people, with strange skin and faces and even stranger culture.

Near Straumfjord, Vinland, 1005 AD​

Truly no land was stranger than Akamasis [4], Mihkwatihkw thought to himself as he gazed upon the strange men again. At first he believed it was simply another story or legend meant to warn him away from Akamasis, to keep him tied to his village on the other shore. But then Mihkwatihkw saw them on another trip to Akamasis--a couple of men and a few women, almost deathly pale in skin yet seemingly completely healthy. Their faces seemed even stranger. Some of them had hair as faded as their skin, as if the colour faded from it, yet others had hair as yellow as the sun. Or as yellow as piss, his friend joked when he told them. Mihkwatihkw even saw a man with hair as orange as a roaring flame.
This hair covered many of the men's faces like the leaves on a tree in autumn. Yet that didn't keep them away--it only made him want to see more.

This trip to Akamasis, Mihkwatihkw resolved to find their village. He motioned to the seven others behind him, alerting them he found the group of Skraelings. The oldest man in the group, his father-in-law, grasped his shoulder.

"I have dealt with these men before, and they are exceedingly dangerous," he warned, his voice ever strange in tone from his mutilated nose. "I have heard from the local villagers of this great island they are strong fighters. Even the men who wounded me so fear them," he continued, rubbing the emptiness where his nose should sit.

"You're not thinking of turning back now?" Mihkwatihkw replied, glancing at both his father-in-law and the six men with him. "Come on, we need to go forward."

His father-in-law unsheathed his knife, holding it up to the Mihkwatihkw's face to examine. He'd seen it many times, but the quality of the metal used for it impressed him.

"This knife belonged to one of those pale men, as I've told you." He looked around at the scouting party, who seemed far more impressed. "There may be opportunities to trade with these men, if you bring them pelts or reindeer. But they can just as easily turn hostile. Be wary!"

The eight men stalked through the woods after the pale-skinned men. Toward evening, they finally sighted their main village from a hill overlooking the stormy coast toward the ocean. Mihkwatihkw had never seen houses like those before, longhouses of wood and sod built in a way which felt off to him. In the ocean moored to the shore floated the largest boat he'd ever seen, like a longhouse cut in two with a massive painted cloth attached to it. A few boats smaller than this but still very large seemed to be on shore under construction near one of the houses. A few fires rose from the homes as the pale men settled into their evening activities, whatever those might be.

"They have no reindeer," one man noted. "How could they have a boat that large yet no reindeer?"

"It is near time to wander with them," another man replied. "Perhaps that's where their reindeer are."

Reindeer, Mihkwatihkw thought. Akamasis seemed a land of promise, so rich in seals and wild caribou that in only a few seasons he'd return as a successful hunter. Perhaps he'd buy the reindeer from these pale men, and who knew how good theirs might be if they owned ships like that or forged metal so strange. For himself and his brothers, for his wife, his son, and his new kin in that village, he'd return a wealthy man and perhaps one day even became a chief on Akamasis.

Truly it was a wonderful dream, so wonderful his mind barely registered the intense pain he felt as two metal arrows pierced his neck and chest. As Mihkwatihkw's vision reddened, he saw a few of the pale men surrounding one who looked important, tall and yellow-haired and swinging a massive club of pure silver.

"Skraelings!" he thought he heard the pale man shouting as his senses faded. The pale men seemed superior at everything, even at ambushes. But in his breath he suddenly otherwise, as delirious as he was. If they were truly superior, why would they ever need to fight?

Of special note in this time period is the initial Norse exploration of the land that would become known as Vinland. In the year 986, storms caused Bjarni Herjolfsson to be blown off course on his way to Greenland, where he sighted strange lands in the west which he knew wasn't Greenland. Greenlanders, including Leif Eriksson and the other sons of explorer Erik the Red, came to take an interest in the land which Bjarni found, and at the start of the 11th century sent an expedition to the area.

Leif's expedition marked the beginning of Norse interest in that area. He discovered an icy, barren land in the north--Helleland--and from there a wild and forested country--Markland--and finally a fertile, pleasant land he named Vinland. He established a small settlement called Straumfjord in the northenmost peninsula of the island now named for him. The purpose of the settlement was to trade with the natives, whom he called Skraelings, and enrich himself as a leader in Greenland. Finding the land good for raising sheep and cattle and gain and rich in berries, wild grapes, game, and salmon, several dozen Norse made repeat trips to Straumfjord.

Relations with the Skraelings proved the undoing of the initial Norse ventures in Vinland. In the early 11th century, the natives of the island of Leivsland had been pressed from the north by expanding Innu peoples who managed to control much of the northern shores. The Innu themselves displayed a warlike nature as a result of conflict with the native Leivslanders. Trade with the natives could be difficult as a result, and skirmishes periodically broke out leaving men dead on both sides. Among the victims in these conflicts was Thorvald Eriksson, Leif's brother and leader of the colony after Leif returned to Greenland, killed in a retaliatory raid by the Skraelings in 1012. The Norse came to distinguish between both groups of Skraelings, noticing the Innu from their larger canoes, knowledge of metalworking, aggressive behavior, and especially tame reindeer while the Leivslanders seemed more timid and defensive than anything else. Thorstein Eriksson and Thorfinn Karlsefni, who succeeded Thorvald in the leadership of the colony, focused diplomatic and trade efforts on the Innu, finding them to have better goods and be a far worse threat if made into enemies.

The Norse found the tame reindeer the most fascinating aspect of the Skraelings. Thorfinn Karlsefni, who sent an expedition to resupply Straumfjord with more colonists, purchased a reindeer from an Innu chief in exchange for much fine cloth and iron tools, goods which impressed the Innu who had never seen such quality in tools or cloth, although he refused to trade the Innu weapons. At some point, Thorfinn and a friendly band of Innu fought alongside each other in destroying the village of a rival band of Skraelings. The Norse collected ample amounts of pelts and reindeer goods from friendly Innu. Thorfinn's men sailed south of Leivsland as well, to the modern Coast Provinces of Vinland, where they found even more numerous Skraelings who harvested ample amounts of "water turnips" (likely river turnip, as omodaka did not arrive until the 11th century) from the ponds by their villages and owned far more copper than the Innu. The Norse began trading with these Skraelings, identified as the Migmak.

However, internal conflicts within Vinland began to take their toll on the success of the colony, related to personal rivalries, disputes over the profits, and how to deal with the Skraelings. Having become so used to the Norse and obtained so many of their wares, the Innu began to demand a higher price for pelts and other goods. Some Norsemen began violating Thorfinn's command on trading the Skraelings weapons, and soon a few owned iron spears, axes, and even swords. When Thorfinn and Thorstein found out, he banished or killed these Norsemen. To continue the flow of profits, Thorfinn and Thorstein began to ignore the Innu and instead increase trade with the Migmak.

Time showed this to be a mistake. From the sagas, it seems the old Innu chief friendly to the Norse died, and his successor showed more hostility. Without the flow of Norse goods, the Innu reverted to their old attitudes of seeing the Norse as competitors, and conflict between the two groups broke out again. To make matters worse, an expedition led by Thorstein to the Migmakh vanished in a storm along with thirty men, crippling the colony's manpower. Faced with this renewed conflict and an increasingly unprofitable venture, the Norsemen under Thorfinn returned to Greenland sometime around 1020, ending the first permanent European settlement in the New World.

Although Thorfinn later returned to Iceland, other Norse continued to show an interest in Vinland. Straumfjord continued to be periodically occupied by Greenlanders attempting to succeed like Thorfinn had. Some temporarily succeeded, but usually winter, storms, or conflict with the Skraelings drove off the Greenlanders within a year or two. Thorfinn's sons Snorri and Thorbjorn gained the most success--in 1045, these men led 150 Icelanders and Greenlanders to Vinland, where they stayed for five years trading with the Skraelings before Snorri met his end in battle against the Skraelings where many Norse died. Following this, Straumfjord seems to lay abandoned with minimal later presence.

Future Norse efforts in Vinland fell to the Greenlanders, who periodically traveled to Markland to obtain timber and to Helleland to obtain bog iron and ivory tusks from walrus and narwhals. Yet it seems permanent Norse settlements proved unattractive, perhaps because of past Innu experiences with the Norse. Although they enjoyed Norse goods, the Innu refused to allow the Norse to settle in their land. If any Greenlanders tried in these years, they'd inevitably meet war parties of Innu who would kill them and their families and burn their homes. The Norse never attempted to settle in Helleland, considering it too barren and harsh, although carried on an occasional trade with the peoples there. With their muskox and its unique wool, the Thule Inuit of Helleland proved far more interesting to the Norse who began to focus their trade efforts there. The raw qiviut--oxwool, sometimes called kiffet--of the muskox made a fine cloth, and the Norse highly valued it for its comfort and warmth. Even more than ivory, export of this became the most important good in the Greenlandic economy.

Come the 12th century, knowledge of Vinland was common, but the land and its Skraelings considered far more mundane than the epic journeys of the sons of Erik the Red and Thorfinn Karlsefni and his own sons. Periodic voyages continued to occur to Markland and Helleland to trade, which served as a important component of the Greenlandic economy. Yet the expansions of the Thule Inuit began to change this immensely. These warlike people from the west, who already expanded over Helleland and were moving into Greenland likewise pushed against the northern Innu. With the Inuit and Innu as bitter enemies, the Norse found their way into gaining highly favourable terms of trade by selling iron weapons (considered prestigious by both sides, especially the Innu) to both sides in exchange for pelts, oxwool, ivory, and wood. With the volume of the trade increasing and the region more chaotic than ever, Norse entrepreneurs now gained the perfect reason to return to Vinland on a permanent basis. About a century after Thorfinn abandoned Vinland, the Norse under Icelandic godar Magnus Thorgrimsson now made plans to establish a permanent settlement with the help of Greenlanders in the place they called Markland, as told in the Saga of the Marklanders, a 13th century Icelandic saga.

Markland, May 1120​

Magnus Thorgrimsson gazed at the shore that approached them, his rowers looking toward him. Thirty men rowed the waves with cautious enthusiasm, worried about what awaited them yet eager for the wealth Magnus promised them. Although snow flurries filled the air, Magnus felt almost warm in the oxwool coat that sheathed him, feeling neither the blustery day nor the dampness from the sea. The few women in the ship, including his own wife Ingunn, seemed a bit less eager at it, but bore the stress well. As the stony shore drew closer, Magnus saw the first sign of wealth--a few seals lazing on the shore of the fjord amidst the seagulls. As they sailed into the fjord surrounded by the high mountains and low forest on the shore, they sighted the Skraeling village at the mouth of a river. The Skraelings seemed healthy as ever, used to the presence of Norsemen like Magnus. A few reindeer grazed nearby the village at a field of carefully arranged tall, white-tipped bistort plants, watched by a young man. They sailed past there to the end of the fjord, at another river, where they landed their ship.

After they landed, Magnus let the priest Jon Hallgrimsson leave the boat first, carrying a cross to bless this new land. He bowed his head, shouting aloud what seemed like half a prayer and half a sermon in miserably accented Latin.
"And above all, let Christ's name echo in Helleland, Vinland, and above all, here in this place Markland! Amen!" he finished. Magnus noticed quite the smirk on Jon's face, barely a man yet riddled with a naked pride and ambition. He already sees himself as a saint, the man who will bring the true faith to this land. Magnus cursed the fact this sinner was the only priest he could find.

Magnus ignored it and supervised the unloading of the ship. Already he saw a few Skraeling men walk toward his landing site, with one older man leading a particularly large reindeer with empty sacks swaying in the wind. Fishhooks, nails, beads, arrowheads, and all manner of other tools and weapons sat in the bags and boxes on his ship, awaiting customers, such as that elder with the dull copper plate he wore around his neck and well-made robes of oxwool, the substance all his men sought to trade for here in Markland.

"You speak their tongue far better than I, Magnus," Jon said. "Translate for me." Damn that priest, Magnus sighed, raising his arm to quiet the man, silently thanking himself for the man's poor skill with foreign languages. If you can hardly speak the language of the church, you'll never speak the language of the Skraelings. Magnus himself could hardly speak the language of the more southerly Skraelings, the ones who called themselves Innu. Although these men called themselves something similar, their language was totally different and much easier.

"Ghost man," the old Skraeling greeted, "Welcome back. You have brought many with you today as you promised."

Magnus smiled.

"As I promised, I have sent my people to live in your country, where we may live in peace and enrich each other."

The old Skraeling seemed a bit worried, glancing at the sword at Magnus's side.

"There is not much peace in the land in these days. Those from the south are angry again." The Skraeling pointed to the cargo they brought with them. "My people hope you have more of your silver weapons."

"Some," he answered. He reached over to a sack and pulled out a freshly made iron knife inside a leather sheath, handing it to the Skraeling elder for him to examine--odds were he'd end up trading it to the man for a good sum. He felt worried by the news of further conflict amongst the Skraelings, and hoped it would not reach this far. But it meant much good for him and his men, since when they fought amongst each other, the Skraelings above all else loved Norse weapons. They paid much for arrowheads and knives and axes of iron, but above all else, swords.

"Wonderful as always," the Skraeling man approved, handing the knife back. "When shall we exchange goods?"

"Soon," Magnus said. "Let my men finish unloading first." The Skraeling elder led his reindeer and small entourage away to let them finish. He watched the men carry the boxes and sacks in the ship to the shore. They'd traveled light for a venture like this, bringing little but the seeds they needed to plant to start their farms. They'd brought no animals besides a few chickens, since Magnus knew he'd be able to acquire a few ducks or even those aggressive geese a few Skraelings in the south owned. And in the next spring, he'd send a ship full of oxwool, ivory, and gold to Greenland or Iceland and use it for cattle, sheep, and perhaps even mead or wine from the continent.

"Where are the muskox, Magnus Thorgrimsson?" one of the Greenlanders, a bare-faced youth, in his party asked. "You claimed this land is rich in oxwool!"

"You are confusing it with Helleland, Gil Asgrimsson," he answered. "The muskox do not live in this country, for the Skraelings believe it is too wet for them. Instead, the Skraelings from over the mountains, where it nearer to Helleland, bring their muskox here every year near Midsummer, where they exchange them for reindeer and hold a great feast."

"Then why are we not there, or in Helleland?" Gil demanded. "Oxwool is what will make us rich, not reindeer or anything else!"

"Patience," Magnus cautioned, stroking his blond beard. "We came here to make a home, a home to trade with these Skraelings and live as free men. Helleland is too harsh for that, and even the fjords north of here are too cold."
"We have hardly any food to begin with! By the time we've set up shelter, we'll have barely any time to plant our grain, and who knows what we'll be forced to eat for we only have a few chickens and no larger animals! It's mad you have attempted a mission like this with so few resources, intending for us all to hunt and fish while you trade with the Skraelings for our food."

"Yet you agreed to come here, Gil Asgrimsson," Magnus shot back. "You knew the dangers of this, yet you wanted the success that would come." He looked over at his crew, a mix of younger Icelanders and Greenlanders along with a few old veterans of the Markland trade he trusted. "All of you did. If we had taken much more, all of us would have impoverished our kinsmen back home, if that had even been an option, and it would have taken far too long for this to become a successful venture." I will live the rest of my life in Markland, but will my children? The money I myself make will surely let them or my kin back in Iceland become a goði.

"You think you're no different than Thorfinn Karlsefni or Thorstein Eriksson, but I hope you will not fail like those men," Gil scoffed.

"Both men are my ancestors, yes," Magnus said. "But times are different now. I've known that Skraeling chief for many years and he is a friend. A few of the men here traveled all over Markland and even to Vinland, and we understand the Skraelings far better than my ancestors." He patted the thick, warm oxwool of his coat. "We know the Skraelings have oxwool from their muskox, oxwool that men in Greenland and Iceland demand more than gold. And," He slapped Jon on the back. "Above all, we have God on our side more than the men in Vinland ever did. God will forever be with us at this town, the place we will call Venarfjord for the friends the Lord has given us."

The establishment of Venarfjord in Markland marked the start of the oxwool trade in the North Atlantic. Located near the later Inuit settlement Okak, the Icelandic merchant Magnus Thorgrimsson established this town in spring of 1120 which lasted almost two hundred years. Much of our knowledge on Magnus and his associates's expeditions comes from the archaeology conducted at this and other Norse sites in Markland and Helleland as well as the Saga of the Marklanders, written by a descendent of Magnus's in 14th century Iceland.

That saga, written to extol Magnus and his deeds, records his establishment of Venarfjord as the culmination of his career as a trader in Markland amongst the Skraelings. Magnus seems to have been born around 1075 in Iceland, with his geneology linking him to both Thorfinn Karlsefni and Thorstein Eriksson, a fact repeated numerous times in the saga. Sometime around 1100, he began trading extensively in Greenland as well as made his first expeditions to Markland to haul timber back to the colony. From 1100 to 1120, he made several trips to Markland, as well as went as far as Vinland and Helleland in order to trade with the Skraelings there. Magnus forged a good relationship in particular with the Inuit of Markland, and the few words of Inuit recorded in the document mark the first written record of that language. Sometime at this point, Magnus discovered that the trading routes in the far north of Markland brought oxwool to the Inuit there, who otherwise lacked in muskoxen due to the wet climate causing excessive disease in the beasts.

By 1120, Magnus seemed confident and wealthy enough to lead a venture akin to that of his ancestors, and he led an expedition of about 25 men and 5 women (including his wife) from both Greenland and Iceland to Venarfjord where he intended to set up a trading post with the local Inuit. Intended to be a fully self-sufficient settlement, both the saga and later archaeology show that the Norse farmed barley, oats, rye, and hay, raised sheep, cattle, and chickens as well as the ancestors of the later breed of Skraeling duck. They produced iron tools and weapons harvested from bog iron found in the area, as well as produced its own ships, albeit none capable of braving the North Atlantic.

This village augmented the nearby Inuit settlement as a trading hub for the region. Inuit from as far as Helleland and even some Innu from Vinland sailed to the village on their skinboats to barter for these Norse goods in exchange for their walrus and narwhal ivory, gold and silver, and especially oxwool, the most valuable good. From there, the Marklanders sent a ship to Greenland every year to sell its cargo, which then traveled to Iceland to further sell goods and pick up new goods, usually more tools, weapons, or animals needed for the colony.

As he predicted in the saga, Magnus Thorgrimsson died in Markland, slain in battle during a Skraeling raid on Venarfjord in 1136. This raid seems to be related to the ongoing conflict between the people of the Kinngait culture, the invading Inuit (who themselves only recently arrived), and the Innu from the south. The Innu, expanding north into the lands of the Kinngait people during the Little Ice Age, came into direct conflict with the Inuit expanding south into those lands. The Norse essentially founded their settlement in a warzone, and Magnus Thorgrimsson seems to know this according to the saga. Archaeology detects significant remains of iron weapons from this period, all of Norse origin yet not all associated with Norsemen. This makes arms-dealing an important activity of Venarfjord, although many weapons of Norse origin found in Inuit and Innu sites, especially swords, are of exceptionally poor quality, suggesting either the Norse regularly cheated those they traded with or the natives simply valued these weapons on appearance rather than function.

The effect on local economies seems to have been profound, even in the first years. The nearby Inuit village reoriented much of its production to supplying the Norse with pelts, ivory, and timber. Local deposits of stone go unworked, tools made from them supplemented entirely by those from Norse bog iron. The first evidence of intermarriage between the two communities occurs, as evidenced by the skeleton of a mixed-race child found in the Norse cemetary there. Christianity seems to spread to this Inuit village by this time, evidenced by crosses found marked on some Inuit artifacts, although this may instead be early evidence of the Christian-influenced mythology peculiar to the Marklander Inuit and Innu recorded by later explorers as the first priest of the village, Jon Hallgrimsson, found himself killed by the Skraelings while preaching to them around 1129.

Magnus's expedition opened up a new chapter in the exploration of the New World by the Norse. From the 11th century until 1120, ships reached Markland only sporadically, perhaps at a rate of two every decade, and tended to avoid the Skraelings, usually cutting only timber for Greenland. In Helleland, the Norse sailed once every three years or so after 1100, when they first discovered oxwool. But with the success of Venarfjord, the Norse increased their trips to about once a year to both locations. Some years saw multiple ships visiting each place, occasionally sailing as far south as Vinland to trade for pelts, gold, or silver, although the latter remained rare. A few short-lived colonies following in Venarfjord's success popped up in Markland and even back at the abandoned Straumfjord in Vinland during the two centuries afterwards, but none found quite the success or lasted longer than a decade.

Oxwool itself became a major commodity of Greenland and Iceland, usually spun either there or Iceland and exported to mainland Europe. Only the wealthiest nobles wore clothes made from it, such was the price of oxwool. Europeans tended to associate it with Greenland in particular, perhaps Greenland itself became a major supplier by the end of the 12th century. The Saga of the Marklanders mentions Magnus lamenting this fact, distressed that his village will not reap more commerce and visitors from abroad.
Author's notes
Somewhat of an alternate take on the Vinland expeditions/settlement. The Norse who encounter the land are much the same, but the land itself is a bit different, more densely populated and home to horticultural and pastoralist communities with knowledge of metalworking, with the exception of Vinland itself, where the natives are slowly being displaced by invading Innu from the mainland. These communities are definitely marginal even by the standards of the Northeast Woodlands and Great Lakes, but they're somewhat more organised, numerous, and wealthier than the communities encountered by the Norse OTL. Vinland originally simply refers to the island of Newfoundland, but in later years it will come to encompass Markland and Helleland as well--the island itself becomes known as Leivsland for its founder. I'm aware there's quite a debate as to the identifications of the places visited by the Norse (i.e., is L'Anse aux Meadows Leifsbudir or Straumfjord or something else?), so I'm being a bit arbitrary here in my own identification.

This consists of a sizable fragment of an update I had planned, which I split to focus one half around the Norse and the other half around the Mississippians, since those are two very popular topics regarding North America. I am not yet finished writing the portion on the Southwest (i.e. Ancestral Puebloans) so that might end up split too. But my next entry won't be part of this overview/summary, instead I'll be finishing up describing the agriculture/forestry/pastoralism found in Fusania.

We'll deal with these Marklandic Norse again at a later date (likely not anytime soon), as well as Greenland and the relationship between Inuit and Norse there too.

[1] - Thule expansion is faster than OTL here thanks to their domesticated animals and greater population numbers (not like Lands of Ice and Mice-level though!). The Kinngait are the Dorset, of course, while Helleland is simply the modern Norse form of Helluland, aka Baffin Island. I'll be sticking to modern Scandinavian toponymy (instead of Old Norse or Icelandic) for that part of the world for reasons which will become clear sooner or later.
[2] - These are roughly the OTL Chipewyan or Dene Suline, but greatly changed from having inherited the innovations of TTL's Dena. Note there is an OTL group of Dene Suline called the Sayisi, but it simply means "Eastern People" and for various reasons this name instead becomes applied to the entire group
[3] - "Innu" will be a generic word for all Cree peoples much as "Dena" has been used for Athabaskans, as the Innu will be the first Cree group encountered by Europeans and cognates of Innu (meaning "person") appear in many Cree languages.
[4] - Innu name for Newfoundland
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The agriculture/pastoralism/forestry update I alluded to is will be split in two due to length. It consists of too many thoughts and random facts I've formed into some solid content and need to get out of my system. Both will be posted this next week before I finish off the base (which I call "Part One") of this TL with the state of the rest of North America (especially the Southwest and Mississippians) in the wake of early Fusanian innovations.

Halloween was yesterday, but you'll soon get to learn about pumpkins in Fusania regardless.
Chapter 17-Toward Sunrise - Those Who Served Man
"Towards Sunrise - Those Who Served Man"

J.E. Haugen and Seppo Savolainen, Fusania's Harvest: An Encyclopedia of the Western Agricultural Complex (Ilonlinna [Charlottetown, PEI] University, Vinland) 1980

Agriculture in Fusania--the Western Agricultural Complex (WAC) and civilisation that arose around it--developed in tandem with the domestication of animals. No fewer than four large land animals--the Indian reindeer (Rangifer tarandus indicus), the towey goat (Oreamnos americanus domesticus), the moose (Alces alces fusanicus) and the muskox (Ovibos moschatus escimaici) were domesticated by peoples living in Fusania, providing the New World with all its large domesticates barring the llama and the alpaca. To this the Fusanians added two species of bird--the Indian goose (Branta vinlandensis domesticus) and the domestic duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus)--and two smaller land animals, the domestic lynx (Lynx vinlandensis domesticus) and the acorn squirrel (Sciurus griseus domesticus), as well as one reptile, the giant chuckwalla (Sauromalus hispidus x varius).

The diversity of domesticated animals in Fusania stands in stark contrast to the rest of the New World, a puzzling fact to scholars who suggested numerous reasons why that may have been the case. The essence of many modern arguments suggests that as Fusanian culture originated from a fusion of reindeer-herding pastoralists and sedentary fishing-gathering peoples turned aquaculturists, they possessed the necessary cultural and economic base needed for numerous domesticates to find a niche. The complex system of forestry which evolved in Fusania seems to have aided this process, in particular regarding the domestication of the moose. Regardless of the reason, the number and diversity of domesticated animals demonstrates the need the Fusanians had for them for food, labour, and cultural need in the variety of environments from arid desert to the freezing tundra the land presented them with.

Indian reindeer (Rangifer tarandus indicus)​

Although many Old World people from the Sami to the Chacchou heavily used the reindeer, no other people on Earth relied on the reindeer as a foundational aspect to their civilisation as much as the northern Fusanians, nor did any other people manage, tame, and domesticate the reindeer to the degree done in Fusania. In North Fusania, the reindeer, specifically the domesticated Indian reindeer (Rangifer tarandus indicus) became much like cattle or horses to the Old World--a quintessential and absolutely irreplaceable aspect of their culture and civilisation. It can even be said reindeer built Fusanian civilisation, for plant domestication and animal domestication went hand in hand.

Around a thousand years after the domestication of the reindeer along the Hentsuren River, reindeer occurred throughout North Fusania, stretching to about the 40th parallel north and having a very spotty distribution south of there in various high mountains. Reindeer remained very rare in the valleys of South Fusania, with only the elites of the Beikama people at the northern end owning and reindeer. Mountain peoples like the Mayi and Yayi rejected reindeer as foreign, associated with enemies like the Maguraku or Beikama. In the American Divides, reindeer gradually spread south to about the 38th parallel north, but outside the Divides due to cultural preferences toward towey goats occupied only a few northerly hills and mountains until the 46th parallel, where once again they became associated with the elites of the people of the northern Plains. In midwestern and eastern North America, reindeer spread as far south as the 42nd parallel north, while in the mountains there reindeer spread to the 39th parallel. Reindeer occurred throughout the High Arctic, except on the most barren islands in the furthest north whose occupants typically chose instead to raise muskox (if they raised anything at all). This distribution, famously studied by Vinlandic archaeologist and ethnographer A. H. Andvik in the late 19th century, creates the Andvik Line, where outside the line reindeer remained exceptionally rare or unheard of in historic times. It is often grouped with his French contemporary Baudouin Renaud's similar study on towey goat distribution as the Andvik-Renaud Lines.

Genetic evidence shows the modern Indian reindeer descends primarily from two subspecies of caribou--the Choujiku caribou and the woodland caribou--although locally other subspecies contributed some genetic input such as the extinct Kuwai caribou in the Far Northwest and the barren-ground caribou in the High Arctic [1]. The Choujiku caribou-derived lineages predominate amongst the Hentsuren Dena and neighbouring peoples but elsewhere woodland caribou lineages dominated. In the 4th and 5th centuries, genetic input from wild caribou in the Indian reindeer mostly stopped due to increasingly intense selective breeding.

The result of this selective breeding over a millennia produced a highly versatile animal. Fusanians used reindeer themselves for meat, tools (their antlers), dairy (especially in more lactose-tolerant peoples), and used their strength as a draught animals for trade, farming, and warfare. Different breeds stood at different sizes--for instance, female dairy reindeer optimised for milk production weighed perhaps 100 kilograms (150 kilograms in the male) and had smaller horns, while male meat reindeer weighed about 200 kilograms. The largest draught reindeer weighed up to 280 kilograms, and such large reindeer became prized commodities amongst the nobility. The antlers in some breeds bred for antler production could be up to 175 centimeters across, the typical size of a wild moose's antlers.

Cultures which raised reindeer prized meat from it highly. Considered valuable animals, reindeer were only slaughtered under great ceremony and typically served only at important occasions such as a potlatch--every portion of the reindeer would be consumed at these festivals. They added reindeer antler velvet occasionally into soup which they claimed spiritually strengthened the one eating it. The Dena, with their much higher levels of lactose tolerance than all other American peoples beside the Inuit, tended to eat a wider variety of reindeer products, such as creating hard, low in lactose cheeses as well as yogurts which served as an important part of their diet. Reindeer cultures like the Dena or Innu often drank fermented reindeer milk, akin to kumys among the Turkic peoples--at times they used freeze distillation to increase the alcohol content further. Some Dena groups ritually bled their reindeer in the winter, ostensibly to prepare them for the inevitable bloodletting caused by black flies in the summer--these Dena collected the blood and added it to soups which they claimed kept one strong in the winter or even drank it straight from the animal. Some groups even consumed the maggots of botflies which lived on reindeer as extra sustenance. However, the people of the Imaru basin, Furuge, and other so-called "civilised" peoples considered dairy and blood products (aside from blood sausage) as food and drink exclusively consumed by barbarians.

Reindeer suffered from a variety of diseases and parasites, some often fatal. Reindeer in warmer climates proved more vulnerable to disease, a factor which affected its distribution. The white-tailed deer carried many of these diseases such as brainworm, bluetongue, or epizootic hemorraghic disease, and transmitted them to reindeer usually via insect vectors. Much conflict in North America occurred between groups who relied on hunted deer and groups who herded reindeer as reindeer herders believed in hunting deer to extinction to protect their herds--as a result, white-tailed deer and mule deer were locally extirpated in numerous areas. Other notable diseases included brucellosis, which occasionally was transmitted to humans, and cervid tuberculosis [2], which could wipe out entire herds and also became the main bacteria causing tuberculosis in humans in much of North America. Because of the association with disease, tasks like milking, birthing, and slaughtering reindeer tended to be universally associated with slaves.

Perhaps the most notable disease in reindeer was malignant catarrhal fever (MCF), usually caused by contact with diseased towey goats who suffered only minor ailments from it. In reindeer, MCF caused near-universal death in infected animals. Reindeer herdsmen shunned towey goat shepherds, and conflict between the two groups caused frequent localised warfare. This caused a dichotomy in Fusanian culture and religion, where towey goats were considered "feminine" (as they were smaller and women worked with their wool) and reindeer "masculine" (as women played little role in reindeer pastoralism). Around the Andvik Line, this caused great conflict and enmity between the groups on either side.

Fusanian culture celebrated few animals more than the reindeer. Many Fusanian personal names referred to reindeer or their horns, while the reindeer frequently appeared in art and stories. They worshipped the Lord of the Ground (among many names), the legendary Hentsuren Dena chief who tamed the reindeer and usually could transform into a reindeer (or was transformed by the Transformer himself). Even the poorest peasant or slave dreamed of owning a reindeer to gain some semblance of wealth, a sentiment reflected in many Fusanian folk songs.

Towey goat (Oreamnos americanus domesticus)​

Second only in importance to the reindeer, the towey goat reshaped Fusanian cultures with its great value to those who raised them. Meat, milk, wool, tools, and especially labour came from the towey goat. Despite its name, the towey goat was not particularly closely related to goats, although they were also caprinids. The name "towey goat" ultimately came from its similar appearance and function to Old World goats with the word "towey" coming from an Algonquian word for the goat, a word ultimately from a Dena language, although the towey goat had other names like Indian goat, forest goat, packgoat, or towgoat.

The Whulchomic peoples--potentially the Lelemakh--first domesticated the towey goat to meet increasing demand for blankets and other woven goods which traditionally they wove from mountain goat wool. They tamed small populations of mountain goats (the wild form) on remote peninsulas and islands starting during the Whulge Irikyaku period around 600 AD which interbred to create the modern towey goat. The goat's attraction to salt licks seems to have helped in this process, as the Lelemakh produced (and imported from the Wakashan peoples) much salt. Wakashan peoples continued the domestication process, as they brought the towey goats to Wakashi Island (which previously lacked them) and their trading networks and settlements elsewhere helped to spread goat nearly everywhere they went, although it also spread south naturally along other networks. It seems they selected the goats for wool production and especially a more gentle disposition compared to the often ill-tempered mountain goat. By 800 AD, much of the system of herding and raising towey goats approached a recognisable form as they began to spread throughout North America, although the goat still needed undergo another few centuries of selective breeding to begin to reach its modern diversity of breeds.

Numerous breeds of towey goats existed, from milk goats (amongst the Dena) used to produce dairy products to large meat goats raised for food to wool goats raised for their thick white coats.
The average size of these goats tended to be about 90 kilograms in the billy goat and 70 kilograms in the nanny goat. The largest breeds of towey goats, pack goats, usually weighed between 120 and 150 kilograms in the billy (100 to 115 in the nanny), and stood rather tall and bulky compared to other breeds. These pack goats were perhaps the most important breeds, able to transport between 20 and 25 kilograms on their backs and thus contributing greatly to daily labour. Because they ate less than reindeer and their diet easier to provide than large, they tended to be more commonly owned amongst all layers of society. Their sure-footed nature helped them easily navigate rough mountain trails or similar environments such as the famous cliff cities of the Puebloans.

Towey goats tolerated warmer climates more than reindeer, and because they were the only large domestic animal besides the dog, many southerly groups took great pains in keeping their goats safe from the heat. Still, in warmer climates goats tended to be smaller and often lethargic during the warm weather, with their shepherds preferring to keep them in the shade during the day and do most tasks in morning and evening to keep the goats from being overheated to avoid disease. Oftentimes they lived mainly in the hills and only rarely came down into the lowlands. Breeding efforts focused heavily on goats being able to tolerate hotter climates. The Renaud Line, named for 19th century archaeologist and ethnographer Baudouin Renaud who studied the past and present distribution of towey goat-herding cultures, gradually crept south from the 10th century onward, although parts of Far South Fusania and much of Aridoamerica and the Southeast (outside of the Washita Mountains [3] and the Appalachian Plateau) lacked towey goats well into the 15th century.

Towey goat herders frequently clashed with reindeer herders, mainly because of the goat's ability to spread malignant catarrhal fever to the reindeer, a mild disease in goats which was fatal in reindeer. Families which herded goats often lived on the other side of the village as those who herded reindeer and very rarely interacted. In much of Fusania as well as in other societies which raised by goats and reindeer, goats tended to be considered a less valuable animal than reindeer, despite being more common and numerous.

Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)​

The only domesticated animal before the reindeer in Fusania and much of North America, dogs long worked humans in North America. Paleo-Indians brought their dogs to the Americas, and as the American Indian lifestyle diversified, they bred dogs to assist them in these new lifeways. As pastoralism and agriculture spread throughout Fusania, a variety of dog breeds emerged to deal with the new challenges.

Fusanian bred numerous varieties of dogs such as the common spitz-type "village dogs" owned by peasants, herding dogs used to watch herds of reindeer and towey goats, and hunting dogs, such as the large and bulky Dena bear dog used to hunt bears and other large game. Small terrier-type dogs protected fields and food stores by killing mice and other pests. Perhaps the most notable Fusanian dog breed was the Whulge wool dog, a carefully maintained lineage which grew a thick coat which was used to create blankets and mats.

Although a rich source of protein, very few Fusanians ate dogs, considering the meat taboo. To many groups in the Imaru basin, eating dog meat was considered a form of cannibalism. However, some groups in South Fusania like the Nankama [4] raised breeds of dogs as food, as did the Menma. In Far South Fusania, consumption of dogs was much more common although associated with peasants as the nobility, influenced by the Chuma and Wakashans, shunned dog meat.

Before towey goats came to Far South Fusania, no larger domesticate existed than the dog. In that part of Fusania, they bred dogs to play the same roles goats or reindeer did elsewhere, using them as pack dogs or to pull travois. Dogs had much greater strength than a comparable-sized goat (albeit with the issue of needing a meat-based diet) making this a viable option, and the large molosser-type dogs bred by people like the Jiqi became known throughout much of Fusania and surrounding areas. Similar pack dogs, sled dogs, and travois dogs existed throughout all Fusania, where they became most commonly used among the lower classes, although in much of South Fusania they played an important role as a pack animal, especially during hot summers.

Village lynx (Lynx vinlandensis domesticus)​

While Fusanians and others most frequently used terriers as pest control, and occasionally raised or encouraged carnivores like minks, martens, or ermines for that purpose or for their fur, for a number of reasons the Vinland lynx became a pre-eminent species in Fusania for control of pest animals and for their fur and meat. However, scholars debated whether the Vinland lynx was truly domesticated (the term "village lynx" refers to the semi-domesticated variety), although the village lynx was considered a recognised subspecies of the Vinland lynx. The village lynx tended to be smaller and more diverse in form than the wild lynx, with some of them having tails like domestic cats as well as a larger variation of colours in their coat. They rarely interbred with wild lynx, who mostly lived away from human populations. Village lynx tended to eat far less snowshoe hares than wild lynxes, instead eating a variety of rodents, birds, and practically any animal they could catch
An increase in human - lynx contact first appears in the 8th century AD in Ringitania. Prior to that, most contact was incidental, occurring as part of hunting and trapping activities. Growing population and the resulting increase in both domesticated animals (dogs, reindeer) and pest species such as snowshoe hare, voles, and mice in the areas seems to have caused the interest in the lynx as larger numbers of lynx appeared in proximity to human activities. The Ringitsu tended to value snowshoe hare, considering them good for eating, feeding to dogs, or for their fur--as a result, they preferred having hares attack their crops rather than other animals and at times encouraged the hares, although they remained undomesticated. Lynx, who preferred snowshoe hare above other prey, moved in after them and started developing an association with villages.

The Ringitsu encouraged these lynx populations, valuing them for their meat (considered some of the finest and fit only for nobles), pest control, and especially their pelts. It seems the village lynx populations started from tamed individuals kept as pets. One notable instance of this was the founder of Kesukaan, Yeilkichi, who brought his pet lynxes with him across the sea on the exodus of his clan and their allies to Kechaniya during the eruption of Kerutsuka in 838--Yeilkichi later took the lynx as his clan crest, and the nobles of his Lynx Clan dominated Kechaniyan politics for centuries to come [5]. The tamed lynxes became even more habituated toward people, forming a separate population wherever they were brought.

Religious beliefs played a role in this as well. The Ringitsu (and some neighbouring Dena) considered the lynx an animal which brought cold weather and misfortune. However, in the dualistic belief system common in Fusania, this balanced out good weather and fortune, preventing even worse disasters from occurring out of imbalance. This possibly explains why the Ringitsu took such an interest in the lynx.

The village lynx and the practices of taming and raising them spread in the late American Migration period alongside the Dena and Coastmen, and village lynx appeared throughout North Fusania and in much of the Subarctic as a result. However, they remained very rare in Eastern North America, and in South Fusania only the Tanne and some Wakashan groups raised them. In much of its range the village lynx occasionally hybridised with bobcats, although the hybrids tended to be sterile.

Fusanian moose (Alces alces fusanicus)​

The moose was the largest domesticated animal used by Fusanian peoples, and perhaps the most prestigious. The second largest animal in North America after the bison, the moose was often compared to the reindeer by observers both native and non-native for its appearance and similar value, although in many respects the two animals couldn't be further from each other.

The domesticated Fusanian moose came about as a later innovation, first bred by the Ieruganin Dena of the Upper Imaru basin. It seems that during a major drought, Dena herdsmen taxed their reindeer to exhaustion keeping the network of earthworks and canals active to feed them. As natural water sources dried up, moose became increasingly attracted to these manmade ponds which teemed with life by design. The Dena attempted to tame the moose as they might wild reindeer to replenish their herds, an effort which proved successful as from trial and error they learned the distinctions between moose and reindeer and sorted out the more violent moose from the tamer moose. From the lands of the Ieruganin, moose spread in all directions, although in the south and east it ultimately faced the same struggles that reindeer did due to the climate and presence of wild deer.

Although they were well aware of the differences in diet, temperment, and social structure, for practical purposes Fusanians utilised moose in much the same way as they did reindeer. They harvested milk from the moose, they utilised its large antlers for tools and velvet, and they ritually slaughtered moose for important events like potlatches, although this slaughter was very rare due to the rarity and value of the animals, so much that Fusanians never bred a variety of moose meant for meat. Yet they primarily utilised moose as draught animals, as even smaller moose could move over 70 kilograms with little issue while moose bred for the purpose might move over 200 kilograms.

The Fusanian moose appears to be a hybrid of the three wild subspecies found in Western North America, but genetic evidence shows the western moose (found in Ieruganin lands) as the primary ancestor of tamed moose. As the moose spread south, Fusanians crossed the smaller subspecies of the local southern moose, and as it spead north, they crossed their moose with the giant Hentsuren moose subspecies, the largest deer alive. Like with the reindeer, breeds bred for milk production tended to be smaller (usually 340 kilograms in female moose and 450 kilograms in male moose) then the enormous moose bred for their antlers or bred as draught animals. These moose tended to have ancestry from the Hentsuren moose and could weigh over 700 kilograms in the male.

Moose ate a variety of plants, including many water plants, although they did not eat grasses. They likewise often stripped the bark from trees and ate the shoots of smaller trees. While this complex diet frustrated attempts in Europe to raise moose, in Fusania it proved easier to supply considering the systems of silviculture and aquaculture preferred there. This system allowed the tamed moose to browse for food within a limited area, as well as to allow humans to more easily gather food for the moose. A water-loving animal, moose often ate many water plants considered weeds, while other water plants like lilies prized by humans were often grown specifically for moose.

However, this diet was still expensive to provide. Too many moose in an area could easily overbrowse forests and kill stands of important trees like birches or willows, and moose competed with humans for many water plants. This alone kept the moose population in Fusania low, preventing its utilisation on the level of reindeer. Only the wealthiest figures owned a breeding population of moose, and reindeer typically outnumbered moose in any given area by ratios of 5 to 1 or more. To own a moose truly marked one as being among the highest of nobles. Perhaps because of this, moose never spread outside Fusania, with the Innu and other peoples who used reindeer like various northwestern Siouan-speaking cultures never breeding them on their own (although they did occasionally accept them as gifts or trade goods from the Dena).

Unlike reindeer who typically tended to shy away from aggressive humans out of self-preservation, moose could easily be kept aggressive yet relatively under control by giving them alcohol (typically moldy fruit or berries unfit for human consumption), which dulled their senses and made them less liable to flee. However, the animal could still easily run amok, a dangerous risk. Fusanian historian Prince Gaiyuchul of Katlamat recorded that during a major Coastman attack on the Lelemakh center of Sqhweyemehl [6] in 1139, the prince of that city had moose from the town and nearby villages intoxicated, led out to the enemy force, and then deliberately frightened and stampeded into the enemy lines. The moose caused great chaos in the enemy, leading to their defeat at some cost to the men of Sqhweyemehl who suffered from being gored by their own moose.

Muskox (Ovibos moschatus escimaici)​

The muskox is a large, hairy mammal native to the Arctic and among the largest animals in the Arctic. Somewhat resembling cattle or bison with its body shape and horns, the muskox instead is more closely related to goats and sheep, being the heaviest living caprinid. The thick coat of the muskox both protects it from the severe cold of its tundra habitat as well as deters predators by making the animal seem larger than it truly is, an even more effective strategy when huddled together in small herds for protection. The muskox gained its name from the strong, musky smell of its glands.

Human hunting and climate change at the end of the last ice age drove the muskox into extinction in the Old World, but in the Arctic Archipelago the muskox remained strong, as it did in other remote parts of the Arctic Ocean and Sea of Ringitania coast. Arctic peoples frequently hunted these muskox, but it was the Inuit of the Yaigani Peninsula [7] who eventually domesticated the muskox. Their legends record a figure named Kalluk ("Thunder") who in a time of great stress for his clan became chosen by the spirits of the muskox for his purity and tenacious desire for understanding to fight back against the Dena invaders which threatened both the muskox and Kalluk's people. Much like the Lord of the Ground amongst the Dena, the Inuit (and some Dena) revere Kalluk as the one who tamed the muskox.

Debate rages whether the Inuit of the Old Ringitani Sea (pre-Thule) culture borrowed reindeer herding from the Dena and applied it to the muskox, or if instead they simply used Dena techniques (either borrowed or independently innovated) to tame the muskox. To complicate matters, reindeer appear in Inuit culture around the same time as muskox, although these may be stolen animals butchered by the Inuit. Regardless of the matter, the muskox appears as a more and more valuable animal to the Inuit during the 5th and 6th centuries, and by the mid-7th century seems to tolerate accompanying the Inuit in their villages and on their journeys. Combined with this muskox domestication came even fuller adaption of Dena practices to the Arctic, which marks the transition to the Thule Inuit.

Like reindeer in Dena culture, muskox revolutionised Inuit culture thanks to its ability to enable a mobile pastoralist lifestyle. They provided milk and meat and acted as a sturdy pack animal in some of the harshest environments on Earth, while their pelts made a fine coat for warm weather, all of which enabled the Inuit to explode outwards from their homelands along the Ringitanian Strait all the way to Greenland and Markland on one end and to the delta of the Eryuna River in North Asia on the other end in barely more than 600 years. But their most valuable commodity became their inner fur called oxwool (or kiffet), in its native language qiviut or qiviu. This downy undercoat could be woven to produce soft, strong, and very warm garments and as such both the raw qiviut and finished clothing from it became of huge economic importance for muskox herders. Knowledge of this good even reached Europe during the Norse explorations of the New World in the 11th century, where the oxwool trade fueled renewed explorations and trade and even settlements in Markland in modern-day Vinland during the Medieval Warm Period. For Greenland, oxwool imported from the New World or especially from nearby Greenland Inuit became its primary export and contributed to the success of the Norse settlements there.

Muskox possessed disadvantages however. The thick coat of the muskox made it intolerant to excessively damp conditions, which tended to make it vulnerable to disease. This factor severely limited the spread of muskox outside the cold and dry Arctic. Combined with the factor of the Inuit tending to be very cautious in dealing with neighbours, the muskox only spread at a later date (the 12th century) to a few bands of Dena in the far north, specifically those which bordered the Tetjo Delta Inuit to their south and east. Like the Andvik Line and Renaud Line, 19th century Japanese ethnographer Kenjirou Hayashi tracked the distribution of muskox in the Arctic and Subarctic with its southernmost limits termed the Hayashi Line after his world. This tended to overlap with the Andvik Line except in some smaller High Arctic islands which lacked the needed biomass to support populations of both animals--in these places, muskox dominated due to the value of their wool.
Perhaps the largest factor in restricting the spread of the muskox, however, was the it weaker strength than the reindeer. At 300 kilograms, the muskox outweighed most draught reindeer, yet the animal's physique did not allow it to carry more than about 55 kilograms, while a similar-sized reindeer might carry twice that load, a fact not lost on muskox-herding cultures. While larger muskox--sometimes up to 450 kilograms--existed, neither the Dena nor the Inuit tended to breed their muskox for strength and size as even the small reindeer used in all but the most desolate Arctic islands tended to be able to compete well with large muskox (and critically required less food). Muskox instead tended to fill a role more comparable to large towey goats in reindeer-herding cultures, with domesticated forms focusing on quicker maturing juveniles and especially animals producing more qiviut.

Fusanian duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus)​

A common duck throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the mallard is the ancestor of all domestic ducks, including the Fusanian duck, a unique lineage of domesticated ducks. Domestication of these ducks first began during the Irikyaku period in the 7th century thanks to the common presence of ducks in marshlands both natural and artificial in Fusania. Early domestication entailed taming these ducks, leading to eventual captive populations of them.

Ducks ate a wide variety of plants and insects and played an important role in controlling mosquitos and other aquatic pests. Many of the water plants eaten by ducks acted as weeds or otherwise gave little benefit to humans. However, Fusanians most prefer to feed their ducks duckweed or mosquito fern, common water plants cultivated by Fusanians to feed fish, ducks, and other animals, to use as fertiliser, or to simply purify bodies of water.

As they produced a large amount of meat and eggs, duck was among the most common meats consumed in much of Fusania, second to only fish. As a result, it was perhaps the most commonly kept animal in Fusania due to its comparatively simple maintenance and upkeep. Ducks spread quickly throughout North America, where even the Delta Inuit on the Tetjo River Delta kept ducks in their villages. In Far South Fusania, lacking domesticates larger than a dog, ducks proved critical in increasing local population and the consolidation of societies there into more sophisticated entities. While farmers used manure from the waste of many domesticated animals, duck waste was most commonly used due to the sheer number of ducks in Fusania.

A widespread cultural belief held duck farmers and particularly those who slaughtered ducks as "unclean", a belief spread in many societies in Fusania and beyond. While those who intimately handled and slaughtered livestock in general were regarded as such, duck farmers tended to rank as among the lowest in society, forced to live apart from others. This seems to be because of the number of diseases present in ducks, some transmissible to humans. However, in terms of duck diseases, none ranked worse than avian influenza ("bird flu"), capable of destroying entire flocks and causing almost certain death in humans if contracted. Transmitted from wild ducks, this disease also occasionally spread between humans, very rare amongst animal diseases--no doubt the stigma of this deadly disease played a large in the low status of duck farmers.

Indian goose (Branta vinlandensis domesticus)​

The Indian goose was a large and often aggressive goose valued by Fusanians for their meat, eggs, feathers, and use as a guard animal due to their noisy and territorial nature. It was the domesticated form of the Indian goose from the Vinland goose, the largest species of goose in the world. Because of its size, aggressive nature, and later domestication, it tended to be somewhat rarer than ducks, but otherwise was a commonly raised animal in Fusania.

In its wild state, the Vinland goose is naturally migratory, flying in large, noisy flocks with a characteristic "V"-formation. However, in some places, including the Imaru basin, different populations of Vinland geese rotate throughout the year. Drawn to wetlands as well as human populations for their refuse, plant waste, and associated insects, Vinland geese frequently clustered around the early waterworks of the peoples of the Imaru basin, Whulge, and Wakashi Island. Over time, populations became fairly tame (by the standards of the Vinland goose) thanks to selective hunting of violent birds and raising of chicks by humans. They tamed the migratory instincts of the goose by pinioning the wings to prevent them from flying away.

By the 9th century, centuries of selective breeding produced thick-bodied Vinland geese whose wings lacked the muscles for sustained flight, perfecting the Indian goose. Colour mutations in these geese spread as well, creating melanistic or albinistic geese, although many cultures preferred "natural" looking geese instead. Because of its flightlessness, the Indian goose diffused out of its heartland in the Imaru basin and Whulge coast toward the rest of Fusania, spread by the Wakashan and Dena expansions during the American migration period. Indian geese thrived in nearly every climate, although they required shelter from intense desert heat or the arctic winter cold.

A hefty, bulky bird, Indian geese typically weighed around 8 kilograms, although individuals as large as 12 kilograms existed in some breeds. In Far South Fusania before the spread of towey goats, only the dog was a larger domesticate. They ate mainly water plants, often duckweed and mosquito fern since it was typically encouraged it in the ponds the geese lived, but they also ate insects and various other plants. Goose farmers typically fed their geese with plant refuse in addition to what they could forage, but nobles fed their geese with a more wholesome diet.
Like duck farmers, Fusanians held geese farmers in low regard due to the perceived uncleanliness of the animal, partially deserved as like ducks, geese transmitted several diseases to humans, including their own strains of avian influenza. However, geese farmers held a higher social status due to the greater economic value of the animals, more culturally preferred meat from the goose, and especially the use of geese as sentry animals, constantly alert for intruders be they animals or humans.

Acorn squirrel (Sciurus griseus domesticus)​

The acorn squirrel (or oak squirrel) is the domesticated form of the Fusanian grey squirrel, a common tree squirrel exclusively found in Fusania. The typical name "acorn squirrel" derives from its close association with acorns, as the animal liked to gather acorns and store them in large caches for later eating. This behavior gained it the attention of Fusanian acorn gatherers since time immemorial, and as Fusanian forestry grew more complex, so did the Fusanian relationship with this squirrel as it became increasingly bent to human needs.

Acorn squirrels ate a variety of foods, but especially preferred acorns and pine nuts, foods also preferred by humans. Instead of being competitors, however, squirrels acted as complimentary to the ecosystem of the oak or pine orchards. They gathered food from much higher up the tree than humans could safely reach and stored much of it for later use in burrows or other caches, stores which humans often broke into for their own need. In addition, in lean times squirrels ate insect or fungal pests which grew on or near the trees, an invaluable role.

South Fusanians encouraged squirrels since the early Pengnen era, using them to optimise the yield from their orchards in terms of both acorns and meat. They'd give them extra seeds and other food in hopes of making the squirrels avoid eating the acorns and instead storing them. They killed more aggressive squirrels and ate them, raising the tamer ones as needed. As Fusanian orchards grew in size and number, squirrels filled them, becoming habituated to human activity, and with their territorial nature chased away less domesticated squirrels. By the 10th century, the first artificial squirrel nests appear in the archaeological record. Women wove these from branches and grasses in hopes of giving a convenient and safe place for squirrels to nest in, and a place to moniter the squirrels of a particular oak. They likewise created cleverly disguised caches to attract squirrels to place their acorns in, making harvest easier.

Domesticated acorn squirrels tended to be larger and meatier than wild squirrels, weighing about a kilogram on average. They raised larger litters of young (typically about 5 kits on average) which grew to maturity faster than wild squirrels. Their easy to raise nature and rapid breeding made them an essential meat amongst the common people of Fusania, even more common than duck. Fusanians used squirrel meat as animal feed for more valuable animals, such as dogs or lynxes, or to bait traps for various carnivores. Numerous breeds of squirrels existed, some thicker and larger for meat, while others hairier and bred for their fur, which Fusanians used to line winter clothing and blankets. Some breeds displayed unique coat patterns or colors, such as spotted squirrels or pure white leucistic squirrels--nobles and peasants alike enjoyed watching these colorful squirrels.

Those who raised and slaughtered squirrels tended to be shunned by society much as poultry farmers thanks to various diseases carried by squirrels. Disease-carrying ticks and flees often lived on squirrels and contact with these infected squirrels transmitted a number of diseases to humans, although fortunately most of these diseases were almost impossible to spread between people. Unlike many other people who ate squirrel brains, Fusanians typically considered squirrel brains taboo (although peasants often ate it during famines) thanks to a common story about a squirrel farmer and his wife who placed curses in the squirrels he raised as food for a noble family to kill a powerful nobleman by afflicting him with insanity and debilitating pain. Modern medicine discovered centuries later that some squirrel brains may contain small particles called prions which when eaten cause certain death in humans with symptoms similar to described in the story.

Unlike other Fusanian domesticates, acorn squirrels tended to be associated with those who cultivated groves of oaks, sugar pines, or pinyon pines, a method of cultivation only found amongst the Fusanian peoples, and to a much lesser extent the Fusanian system of forestry in general. As such, the acorn squirrel, like its wild cousin, only lived in Fusania and did not spread from there. Intolerant of the cold and outcompeted by other squirrels, only some southerly Dena peoples raised them with the more nomadic northern Dena ignoring them, making them almost unheard of above the 52nd parallel north.

Giant chuckwalla (Sauromalus hispidus x varius)​

The giant chuckwalla was a large domesticated lizard, a hybrid between two insular species of chuckwalla which lived on islands the Gulf of Anshu. The Kunke people [8] in past times relied on these animals as an important source of meat, and transported them around to various islands and to the mainland. They hybridised over time to create the giant chuckwalla. Starting around the 10th century, the growing trading networks in the area brought the giant chuckwalla far beyond its place of origin where they became important food sources to the people of Far South Fusania and elsewhere in the southwestern deserts.

A large lizard with the domesticated form weighing in at about 1.5 kilograms on average, the giant chuckwalla became a useful source of food in the area thanks to its easy to provide diet (mostly creosote and other common desert plants, including weeds) and rapid breeding thanks to the large clutches of eggs (around 10 eggs on average) laid by the lizard. Watchful humans protected the animal and its nests from various threats and often monitered the breeding, selectively breeding larger and more colourful chuckwallas.

An important source of protein to the people of the desert, moreso than squirrels or ducks, the giant chuckwalla appeared as a common sight in the villages of Far South Fusania, Oasisamerica, and Aridoamerica, but few outside that region raised them. For one, the animals were intolerant of the cold and needed extra protection in those areas--their limits here prevented their spread north of the 40th parallel, where the Woshu and some Northern Puebloans vigorously protected their chuckwallas in the cold winters. Further, rainier areas caused stress on the lizard made worse by the fact the rains fell in the winter. Along the coast or east onto the Plains, chuckwallas did not spread far at all, although many Puebloans and some Chuma peoples at either end of this range raised chuckwallas. Culturally, taboos against eating lizards existed among many peoples in South Fusania, preventing the chance of cultures making the adaption to raising chuckwallas in colder weather.

Author's notes
A lot of my descriptions are in-universe from the perspective of a much later writer looking back on Fusanian history, but I've attempted to avoid spoilers for later content while also maintaining the foreshadowing when useful. Still, the situation described is more of a general rule of thumb, especially in regards to "how far along" certain species are domesticated by the point we're at in the TL (early 12th century, although I'll be "backfilling" in a lot of that the next few updates). Obviously the moose with only a few centuries of breeding won't be so distinguishable from wild forms compared to the reindeer with its millennia of breeding which in turn is closer to wild caribou than the Eurasian horse or the dog with its even greater length of breeding.

The domesticated animals I've chosen are ones which I feel this civilisation would have a great need for given their lifestyle and development as they are mainly based on aquaculture, earthworks, and as we'll soon see, silviculture and forestry. Each animal fills a need the Fusanians have, with the exception of the moose which is somewhat redundant to reindeer but also doesn't really compete with it. Domesticated (in a similar way cats are domesticated) lynx might be the most "out there" thing, even with the case I've made for it, but I'll fully admit that personal appeal played a part there.

I've discussed disease here a bit, but I've mostly limited it to animal diseases for now. It's worth keeping in mind the most novel diseases in Fusania are zoonotic and are non-transmissible (or very rarely transmissible) between humans. That isn't to say there aren't awful diseases lurking in Fusania that will kill many people--we'll cover this in more depth later.

There's certainly some foreshadowing here of the state of the Americas and to a lesser degree the world, and definitely some recapping, although not as much as the second half of this entry which discusses South Fusanian domesticated plants, imported crops from eastern North America, and the Fusanian silviculture/forestry system, which I have split due to its length and need to polish the second half a bit more. Like this entry, it might be a bit dry, but it's something I felt like discussing as it establishes the "roots" of Fusanian culture and civilisation before we get to the more glorious and memorable phases of their culture. This is all finishing up Part One of this TL, hence the name "Towards Sunrise" (that, and the fact we're dealing with more eastern peoples in many of these as well) in the chapter names

I'll be doing a map on the Andvik - Renaud - Hayashi Lines when I get the chance. It's an interesting piece of cultural geography that is rather relevant to the history and development of North America. While my next entry is the second half of this one, the one after will be second half of the one discussing other cultures in North America outside Fusania (in particular the Southwest, Mississippians, and some East Coast cultures).

As ever, thanks for reading and comments are always appreciated

[1] - This is the Porcupine caribou of Alaska, named for the Porcupine River which TTL is called Choujiku, a Japanese borrowing from Gwich'in. The Qhwai caribou is the extinct Queen Charlotte Islands caribou, the islands called Kuwai in Japanese TTL (from the local term "Qhwai")
[2] - An ATL disease related to bovine tuberculosis (which also occurs in cervids). TTL the disease has mutated to a primarily cervid form which like bovine tuberculosis can occur in humans and has indeed produced a human form which co-exists alongside forms of tuberculosis already present in the Americas. We'll discuss diseases in more depth later on.
[3] - Same etymology as the Ouachita Mountains, but a more Anglicised form. Here it refers to the entirety of the Ozarks
[4] - The Nankama is the Chinese name for Yokutsan peoples, literally meaning "Southern Kama", "Kama" being the generic name for Central Valley peoples derived from the Wakashan exonym "Qatmaqatkh", "oak people".
[5] - An ancestor of the Yeilkichi seen in Chapter 15--that Yeilkichi is his descendent who inherited his name. Originally I was going to present this Yeilkichi's exodus to Kechaniya during the Kerutsuka (Mount Churchill) eruption in Chapter 11 but couldn't find a way to make it work.
[6] - Sqhweyemehl is New Westminster, BC
[7] - Yaigani is the Seward Peninsula, its name the Japanese borrowing of regional Ringitsu Yaayqakhani, meaning "Land of Belugas"
[8] - The Gulf of Anshu is the Gulf of California, "Anshu" being a Chinese term for Far South Fusania. The Kunke are the Seri/Comcaac people, this term a Chinese exonym.
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Are chuckwallas related to chuzzwozzas?
Maybe, this sounds like something that needs intensive research.
this took forver to read but finally i did this in my top 5 favorite timelines
Only forever? If I'd done most of the earlier entries up to the standards I have for myself now it would've taken you two or three forevers.

Glad you enjoyed it. The next entry should be done by Sunday at the latest, then we'll get to discussing alt-Mississippians like seems to be popular. And alt-Hohokams and even a certain Mesoamerican-linked civilization which doesn't seem to get enough attention here. Gotta show all those butterflies before we get into the real meat of things and get back to focusing on the PNW.
Maybe, this sounds like something that needs intensive research.

Only forever? If I'd done most of the earlier entries up to the standards I have for myself now it would've taken you two or three forevers.

maybe 4 ,"discussing alt-Mississippians like seems to be popular." ah hell yeah
Maybe earlier contact with the Inuit introduces the cable backed bow to Europe. Apart from the impact on warfare it could have historiographical consequences
with various cultures embracing a signature shooting weapon in the High to Late middle ages en masse, meaning that the Longbow is seen as part of a wider "Medieval Shooting Revolution"
predating, or as some would have it, causing the later Gunpowder Revolution.
I'm having trouble editing my previous map with Fusanian places which forgot Esach'atuk (the major center of the K'ahusani) at OTL Antioch, CA, and I noticed I placed Kw'sis at the wrong place. Kw'sis should be at the confluence of the Columbia and Snake River, while the spot on the map I placed Kw'sis (the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater) should be labeled Siminekem.

Maybe earlier contact with the Inuit introduces the cable backed bow to Europe. Apart from the impact on warfare it could have historioraphical consequences
with various cultures embracing a signature shooting weapon in the High to Late middle ages en masse, meaning that the Longbow is seen as part of a wider "Medieval Shooting Revolution"
predating, or as some would have it, causing the later Gunpowder Revolution.
Isn't the main advantage of the cable-backed bow being able to make a powerful bow from low-quality wood (since it isn't like the Inuit tended to have many choices in terms of trees)? I'm not too familiar with the topic, but would it necessarily be close to a longbow in strength? Off the top of my head, the Norse back in Scandinavia will likely have little need for it (plenty of wood there), but in places like Greenland, Iceland, or the Faroes that might make a difference. Sounds like you might easily improve the quality of the average Icelander's bow that way.

We won't return to Markland or discuss the effects Markland's success and most importantly the Thule Inuit expansion has had on Greenland and especially Iceland for some time though. A lot of it's more of a 13th century topic since that's the golden age of Greenland and the Markland trade. I'm not quite sure yet how that should impact the Sturlung Age, but I'd assume a richer Iceland will have more connections with the continent (especially Norway) so similar factors as to the end of Old Icelandic Commonwealth will still be in play, cable-backed Icelandic bowman notwithstanding.
Chapter 18-Towards Sunrise - Gifts From Here and Beyond
"Towards Sunrise - Gifts From Here and Beyond"

Agriculture in Fusania continued to develop throughout the Copper Age. The early styles of earthworks for irrigation, artificial ponds, and diversion of creeks were built upon and expanded for even greater efficiency and production. By the end of the 1st millennium, it's safe to say that much of North Fusania outside of the pastoralist mountainous regions and Subarctic was an agricultural civilisation, and even the newer civilisations of South Fusania were well into that transition. Yet it was continually in a state of flux as new innovations emerged or techniques from elsewhere diffused.

The 11th and 12th century saw further innovations emerge or be refined. North Fusanians began further shaping their fields with an increasingly complex system of raised fields to protect their land crops and the flooded lowlands beneath to control their water crops. They likewise became better at noticing and exploiting shade conditions, planting trees at certain parts of fields to reduce (or increase if needed) evaporation from the sun in the dry, cloudless summers common in much of Fusania. In the dry Imaru Plateau, Fusanians increasingly used lithic mulch to cheaply and efficiently hold in the moisture for their plants.

Perhaps the most visible agricultural improvement was the massive increase in terracing. With limited space in much of the river valleys of the Imaru Plateau thanks to steep cliffs (such as those near Wayam), starting around 1000 AD the Fusanians began to cut increasingly elaborate terraces into the environment to better control the flow of water and maximise available land for farming. Arduous and time-consuming work with the tools available, terraces initially only appeared near the most important and powerful cities like Wayam but gradually spread elsewhere. The need to direct this labour further strengthened the ruling class, and the rulers of cities (the miyawakh) [1] became increasingly influential over more and more villages as they "gifted" that labour and tools to lesser towns and villages. The practical effect of these terraces resulted in a much increased population density wherever they were built.

Increasing links with the rest of the continent similarly changed Fusanian agriculture. From the east and the south, new crops emerged either as native crops were domesticated or were imported from areas like Oasisamerica or the Eastern Woodlands which had farmed far longer than Fusania. Some of these displaced native crops or pushed them into minor and secondary roles. Yet in every case, the innovative peoples of Fusania adapted the plants to their lifestyle and agricultural system, producing a marked improvement in quality of life and fluorishing of new culture.


The frequent droughts and greater aridity of South Fusania posed a difficult challenge to the spread of agriculture from the east--those civilisations of Oasisamerica--and later posed a challenge to the spread of agriculture from the north. The incipient horticulturalists of South Fusania's Pengnen era (650 - 900) adapted not only plants from the north and east, but also tapped into the rich biodiversity of their own land to add a few plants of their own to the Western Agricultural Complex.

South Fusanians approached agriculture and plant domestication from a practical standpoint. With their increasingly managed groves of oaks, they already possessed a stable source of food. While major domesticates like omodaka and camas were very appreciated, they most preferred plants like tehi, tule, and sweetflag which had a myriad of uses as fibers and medicine while also providing supplementary food. However, the South Fusanians still domesticated a few plants primarily for food in addition to those domesticated for fiber. Even more importantly, South Fusania contributed significantly to the genetic diversity and available cultivars of plants already domesticated or semi-domesticated elsewhere thanks to the overlapping range of many plants.

Western Agricultural Complex plants originating from South Fusania

Valley turnip (Sagittaria vallensis)
A relative of the river turnip, arrow potato, and omodaka, the valley turnip served as a major staple on the level of acorns to the South Fusanians. It gained its name for its widespread cultivation in the Central Valley of South Fusania, where its wild ancestors still grow in the area. It seems the valley turnip emerged around 550 AD, where decades of hybridisation between the river turnip, arrow potato, and native Sagittaria produced this species--later genetic input from the domesticated omodaka in later centuries finalised the domesticated valley turnip by 1000 AD. Valley turnip formed a staple crop in South Fusania from the earliest days, and the population explosion resulting from early intensive gathering of it helped lead to great changes in the lifestyles of the native peoples (including sedentarisation) as well as the even greater changes of the Pengnen era. From the Pengnen period onwards, valley turnip, camas, and acorns formed the three main portions of the plant material in the diet of South Fusanians.

Although it produced lesser yields than omodaka, South Fusanians of the Central Valley and other drier valleys tended to grow the valley turnip due to its greater drought tolerance. Valley turnip spread north and east to the Great Basin where the Southern Hillmen cultivated it using what little irrigation they had available. Away from the Imaru River, it became an essential crop for the farmers in the more tenuous rivers and crucial for surviving droughts. Like omodaka, valley turnip tolerated alkaline soils or polluted water far better than most plants.

Much as omodaka played a key role in the Columbian Exchange, so did valley turnip, albeit in other parts of the world. Introduced into North Africa by the Spanish in the late 16th century, valley turnip proved a good crop for the drier climate of that region and contributed to the construction of numerous irrigation dams and other earthworks. It spread throughout the Islamic world from there, including to Egypt and the Near East but also southwards to West Africa. On the other side of the planet, the Chinese grew valley turnip extensively in the drier interior provinces of North China. In drylands like Punjab or Persia, valley turnip often grew alongside rice where it thrived in the alkaline soils found in those areas.

Milkweed (Asclepias vulgarum)​

Alongside tehi, milkweed was one of the most commonly used plants for fiber among South Fusanians long before the Pengnen period. South Fusania is a regional center of milkweed variety, with several wild species growing in close proximity. This variety, combined with the drought tolerance some species of milkweed showed, allowed milkweed to become a crop of crucial importance. Fusanians used the fiber of milkweed, collected from the stems, to weave into baskets, ropes, or clothing. Milkweed also produced a more fine fiber in its seeds, sometimes called "floss". When mixed with feathers (typically from ducks and geese) it created a fantastic insulation layer against the elements--The Tanne in particular were noted for wearing coats using these "floss" layers.

Milkweed gives more than just bast fiber--nearly every part of the plant is usable. The leaves, roots, seedpods, and flowers all were edible and commonly used as vegetables, especially the flowers, which were boiled to produce a sweetener. Milkweed gum was a common ingredient in soups and stews as it helped thicken the broth. They used it as a medicine to treat coughs and applied it to wounds and warts and also consumed it internally as a contraceptive or to treat kidney stones. Although not used for emergency rubber like in later centuries, milkweed latex was one of the main products used for producing glues. As the plant contained poisons when concentrated, milkweed made a useful poison--some groups used milkweed to poison their arrows for hunting or warfare.

Domestication of milkweed started in the early Pengnen period out of several varieties of wild milkweed. By the 12th century, the domesticated milkweed spread to parts of Northern Fusania, although there it was used much less regularly due to the species intolerance to the cold of the Imaru Plateau or the wet conditions of the coast.

Kushi (Chlorogalum koeschi)​

Kushi is the common name for the domesticated plant whose wild forms are called soaproots or amoles. A relative of the agave family, the kushi grows as a tall, fibrous flower with a thick, onion-like root. The common name "kushi" derives from the Menma word kush, the name they called the plant by. The ancestors of the Menma (among others) used kushi as a staple even before the Pengnen period.

Kushi possessed numerous useful properties which led it to become a domesticate. The onion-like bulb of the kushi, tasting similar to sweet potatoes, was a preferred food amongst many South Fusanians. It stored well and was frequently eaten in the winter. They peeled the fibers around it to make brushes and similar tools, and used the gluey residue when they cooked the root to make an adhesive. Dried kushi also had the useful property of making a fantastic soap and shampoo, commonly used in South Fusania. Used medicinally, it was mixed into concoctions to ease indigestion or applied on the skin to ease pain or other wounds. As the plant was rich in saponins, it needed to be cooked well before human consumption--these same saponins made it valuable as a fish poison.

Peixi (Salvia columbariae)​

Peixi is the Chinese term for the golden chia, sometimes called fish sage because of the similarity of the Chinese word to the Spanish (and other Romance language) term for fish. Peixi itself derives from the Jiqi language term for this plant.

A drought-tolerant desert plant found widely throughout Far South Fusania and the Great Basin, Fusanians used peixi for its seeds, mixing it into flour. Occasionally they used it as a medicine, to cure fevers or improve eyesight. Notably, peixi was regarded differently by peoples with access to more water--these people regarded peixi as a famine food and primarily as animal feed or medicine, but desert-dwelling groups considered peixi an integral staple.

Peixi fed the large duck and goose population of Far South Fusania as well as those in Oasisamerica and Aridoamerica. The few heat-tolerant towey goats in the area, appearing in the 15th century, also often ate peixi.

Ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides)​

A tough and hardy grain, ricegrass grew in much of Fusania, but only in the driest parts of the Great Basin did it become a major staple of the people and undergo domestication. Its domestication seems related to that of peixi, and the two plants became used comparably.

Ricegrass prefers dry and sandy environments, common in the Great Basin and Imaru Plateau. A hardy pioneer, it readily colonises burnt or damaged environments, where the plant fixes nitrogen to improve the soil. The seeds readily fall off the plant, which made it hard to harvest by humans, but because the plant grew where few other plants could, people still collected the seeds to grind into flour.

With their light agriculture and economies focused on raising waterfowl and to a much lesser extent towey goats, ricegrass proved a perfect companion crop to the peoples of Far South Fusania. Its nitrogen-fixing ability improved their other plants and it easily restored degraded land. Humans didn't need to worry about letting the seeds go to waste, as their ducks and geese ate the remaining seeds for them.

Ricegrass spread far beyond its point of origin, becoming adopted by many interior people of the Southern Hillmen as an important grain they gathered, although only the Woshu used domesticated cultivars. On the Imaru Plateau, a second diversity of ricegrass cultivars occurred, as it became a common plant fed to domesticated animals as well as a famine food, rather reluctantly eaten as they considered it a "Hillman food".

Beeplant (Cleome serrulata)​

Long grown by Puebloan peoples, beeplant spread in Fusania due to its myriad of uses, not the least its ability to attract pollinating insects that gave it its common name. It's other common name, skunk clover, came from the unpleasant smell of the plant. A hardy, tolerant crop, beeplant grew in many environments outside the wet coast. It thus became an important component of dryland farming on the Plateau as well as amongst the South Fusanians.

Fusanians commonly used beeplant as a vegetable, eating it in salads or as a garnish to other dishes. Occasionally they ate flour made from the seeds as well, although this was a famine food for many Fusanians aside from some desert peoples like the Nama, Woshu, or Northern Puebloans.

Aside from being a useful companion crop, the main use of beeplant was that of a dye and medicine. As either, it was much more valuable than as a salad green. Fusanians rendered it into an herbal potion to cure fevers and stomach ailments. As a dye, it produced blacks and deepest greens and was commonly used in places it grew.

North Fusanians commonly associated beeplant as a twin of rice lily due to both plants having an unpleasant smell, but constrasted between the two as beeplant preferred drier lands and its main edible portions of the plant grew above ground.

Crops from the East

Although the deserts of the Great Basin and the dry, windswept, continental High Plains posed a great barrier to the spread of agricultural ideas on either side, this was not enough to prevent crops from spreading in both directions. The Plains and Southwest (southeast from the Fusanian perspective) received omodaka, river turnip, and the Fusanian tradition of aquaculture, while from the Plains and Southwest came the Three Sisters--maize, beans, and squash--as well those of the Eastern Agricultural Complex, such as goosefoot, sunchoke, and sunflowers.

Much of these came from the Eastern Hillmen, as despite their poverty and small numbers, they played a critical role in the finalisation of traditional Fusanian agriculture. Aside from tobacco, the most adopted plant was the sunflower, preferred for its solar symbolism as well as for its numerous seeds and oil. The sunflower's counterpart was the sunchoke, a tuber crop--these two plants were considered to balance each other out in Fusanian religious thought. Unlike in the case of the Eastern Agricultural Complex, however, the Western Agricultural Complex remained the main source of crops farmed by Fusanians. The Fusanians of the Imaru and Furuge disdained corn, considering it a "Hillman crop", perhaps as it was considered unsuitable for the climate (corn does not tolerate drought or severe cold) or for the nutritional deficiencies in those who farmed corn (due to lack of the nixtamalisation process). However, beans and squash were more readily adapted in Fusania.

Yet perhaps the greatest difficulty in spreading crops from the east and southwest into Fusania lay in the nature of agriculture in the region--both North and South Fusanians already possessed traditions related to their own systems of agriculture which couldn't so easily be uprooted by outside crops. Combined with the dry summers in the area and propensity for droughts, it made adoption of these outside crops far more haphazard than the comparable adaption of Three Sisters agriculture in Eastern North America.

Even so, non-Fusanian crops played a major influence in the development of Fusania, particularly in South Fusania. It is worth documenting the most essential plants introduced from the east into Fusania.

Maize (Zea mays)​
Domesticated from the teosinte millennia ago in Mesoamerica, maize spread to every corner of the Americas in the years after. In many cultures, it became the subject of religious veneration due to how essential and ubiquitous it was in daily life. At the cost of exhausting the soils over the period of several years, maize produced large yields capable of feeding massive cities like those found in Mesoamerica or along the Misebi [2]. The Misebian cultures existed in part because of the intensive maize agriculture that displaced the traditional Eastern Agricultural Complex.

Yet the Western Agricultural Complex suffered no such displacement from maize. In fact, maize does not appear as a staple crop anywhere outside Far South Fusania, and as a secondary crop only appears in the Central Valley and some adjacent Kuksuist peoples such as the Knokhtaic peoples as a later adoption. On the Imaru Plateau, maize is almost totally absent, and where found only fed to animals. Long a puzzling question to archaeologists, the answer seems to lie in a mix of several factors.

Maize seemed to have low prestige in the more established societies of the Central Valley and the Wakashanised societies along the coast. It may be the origins of maize from the south and east, where maize farming peoples like the Nama, Monuo, and other Hillmen frequently raided settled villages. It became hard to shake the association with barbarians. The need to learn nixtamalisation to release the nutrients in maize to avoid disease may have been a hurdle as well. Lacking that skill at first, the diseases developed as a result may have affirmed the association with barbarism and reduced the prestige of maize.

The climate may also have inhibited the spread of maize. The cultivars used on the northern Plains, while tolerant to cold and drought, did not produce enough to be a staple. As these were the first cultivars introduced to Fusania, they would not have been competitive with crops already grown like omodaka or camas, and they lacked a valuable secondary purpose like sunflowers. Similarly in South Fusania, it is likely droughts around the time of introduction helped the local peoples to choose local aquaculture (of omodaka and especially valley turnip) over imported dryland farming.
Issues of soil also played a role in the struggles maize faced in Fusania. Although soil-improving crops like beans or even trees like alders were known throughout the New World, maize could still easily exhaust the soil if given the chance. This may have been the capstone on why Fusanians tended not to farm maize, as they knew early attempts (decades-long experiments) at doing so caused problems and preferred what they knew to a foreign plant.

Still, even with these issues, maize proved important in numerous societies. In Far South Fusania it served as the main staple, well-irrigated in channels of valley turnips and grown alongside other staples like beans and squash amidst orchards of oak trees and mesquites. In the Central Valley and amongst some coastal peoples it served as a nutritious animal feed and the most important alcoholic drink (although ciders from manzanita and soringo retained considerable importance), a corn beer similar to Andean chicha known under a variety of names. They also mixed corn flour in with other grains like goosefoot, amaranth, chia, and even acorns to make a filling bread.

Squash (Cucurbita sp)​

Numerous cultivars existed in numerous species of genus Cucurbita. With its first domestication in Mesoamerica, many of these species had been crossbred with wild species over the years creating a huge diversity of squash cultivars, variously named squashes, gourds, or pumpkins. Squash spread throughout the Americas and was commonly grown in its many forms. The main use of squash in Fusania was its use as a ground cover crop. Squash grew wildly on vines, creating a ground-covering foliage which choked out unwanted weeds and most importantly helped keep moisture in the soil during the long and dry summers in much of Fusania.

Squash seems to have entered South Fusania around the 10th century and spread north, being cultivated in the Imaru Basin and Furuge Coast by the 12th century, although a second diversity of cultivars entered North Fusania from the east and tended to be grown amongst the more southerly Dena peoples. As a vegetable, it was commonly found in Fusanian dishes. They used sweeter cultivars for desserts, often mixing it with pine syrup or maple syrup and dried camas to form a tasty treat. The secondary uses of squashes were just as important. They used the seeds in medicine to treat bladder conditions as well as cure parasitic worm infections in both humans and animals.

Beans (Phaseolus sp)​

In Fusania, two species of beans were grown--the common bean (in the wetter areas) and the tepary bean (in warmer and drier areas). Like maize and squash, beans were introduced from both the Plains and Oasisamerica, resulting in two distinctive cultivars in the case of the common bean (the tepary bean came solely from Oasisamerica). As one of the Three Sisters, beans provided protein as well as fixed nitrogen in the soil, two exceptionally useful functions for an agricultural society.

In South Fusania, beans became a highly important crop. The common bean grew in the wetter coastal areas and northern parts of the region, while the tepary bean grew in the drier Far South Fusania (especially the Haiyi [3], the first to intensively cultivate teparies in the region) as well as in the southern parts of the Central Valley (although all Central Valley peoples cultivated tepary beans). South Fusanian peoples to a large degree relied on both plants as natural fertilisers and for the protein they provided in their diets.

In North Fusania, only the common bean was grown (due to it being too cold for tepary beans), but even this single crop proved highly valuable. Throughout the Imaru Basin and Coast of the Furuge, beans largely displaced sweetvetch outside of mountainous areas, the crop used to fix nitrogen in eras past, due to the fact beans grew to maturity in a matter of months (as opposed to years) and provided a larger, more nutritious yield.

Climate issues affected both species of beans however. The tepary bean failed to spread north of the Central Valley or east into the desert due to its intolerance to cold, while north of the Furuge Coast amongst the Dena, beans failed to culturally catch on, perhaps because of the climate and perhaps because nitrogen-fixing trees like alders or crops like sweetvetch dominated in those areas.

Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)​

Known for its large, yellow flower, Fusanians considered the sunflower as one of their most useful plants. Sunflowers appear to be imported to Fusania as one of the earliest crops from the east, likely around the late 10th century, although later cultivars came from Oasisamerica. Their myriad uses and their tolerance to nearly any environment and soil conditions enabled them to become among the most essential crops in Fusanian agriculture and a crucial staple to numerous peoples. Although domesticated in Eastern North America, in Fusania they became a crop of massive importance, relegating native crops like balsamroot to niche uses as Fusania became a center of diversity in sunflower cultivars.

Sunflowers grew in nearly any environment and soil condition, aside from the wettest and marshiest ground. Some cultivars tolerated even the intense heat of Far South Fusania while others tolerated even the short growing seasons and cold of the Far Northwest. Some cultivars grew even along parts of the Hentsuren River during the Medieval Warm Period. Other cultivars tolerated as little as 200mm of rain a year and often in the deserts of the Great Basin they were grown by the Woshu, Nama, and others. In cultivation, sunflowers secreted chemicals into the soil which killed many weeds (and some beneficial plants) in addition to stealing water and sunlight from them. Sunflowers also attracted pollinators like parasitic wasps which preyed on harmful insects like aphids, mites, and caterpillars. The only downside of sunflower cultivation came from their tendency to stress the soil.

The usefulness of sunflowers was myriad. Each head produced numerous edible seeds, which when hulled made a nutritious food. Fusanians often mixed the powdered seeds in with other foods (especially breads) to fortify their meal or used it especially in desserts. Oftentimes they processed the seed into sunflower butter which they used as a common spread on food or desserts. In a textbook example of the Fusanian belief in plants which were spiritual counterparts of each other, the sunflower and sunchoke were considered to be each other's opposite. As such, they tended to serve both of these plants together in dishes as a sort of balance.

The other major use of sunflower seeds came from processing their oil. Fusanians grew cultivars specifically for this purpose since the oil was so useful. They used the oil for their most common cooking oil, making it indispensible in Fusanian cuisine. The crushed seeds from the oil pressing process became used as a highly nutritious animal feed, high in protein and fiber.

As a medicine, sunflower was considered among the finest, since they made tea from sunflower leaves in order to cure fevers, cold, and chest conditions. They likewise used the leaves to treat skin conditions, including the bites of poisonous animals. Fusanians believed the seeds held similar properties, so encouraged the ill to eat sunflower seeds even when they weren't being treated by a medicine man or shaman.

Even the remnants of sunflowers held great use. In addition to being an animal feed, Fusanians used hulled sunflower seeds or the remnants of plants as a fertiliser. When burnt, sunflowers produced a rich ash which made a useful fertiliser. As a kindling material, their stems and huled seeds burnt very well. The seed also made a useful deepest purple or black dye, while the flowers produced a yellow dye.

Like in much of the world, sunflowers became associated with solar symbolism and related deities. In the Irame Valley, the Amim people symbolised their culture hero and solar god Ayutlmeyi [4] with sunflowers, often using sunflowers as offerings to him. Ayutlmeyi, said to use the sun to power every spirit on the Earth, granted the sunflower the additional role of forcing all the other plants and animals to recall the light which powers their spirits. A similar belief common amongst the Whulchomic peoples considered the sunflower's origin to be that of a man who sought to copy Raven in stealing the light and asked the advice of a wise man in how to do so. The wise man agreed to help him gain the light, but instead of stealing the light he was transformed into the first sunflower so that the light would be with him forever.

Among the most important crops of Fusania, Fusanian-derived cultivars of sunflowers became the most common in Asia. The sunflower fields so common in Hokkaido and Karafuto ultimately had their origin in Far Northwest Fusania. Even in Europe, the sunflowers beloved by the Russians seem to have some genetic input from Fusanian sunflower cultivars in addition to those of the Plains.

Sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus)​

Sometimes called sunroot to contrast it with sunflowers, sunchoke was a highly productive plant and among the earliest crop from the east imported to Fusania, likely by the end of the 10th century. It possibly was the earliest, attractive to Fusanians who cultivated the similar-looking balsamroot. Alongside sunflower, sunchoke slowly displaced balsamroot in all but the drier parts of Fusania, although balsamroot remained an important vegetable in much of the region. It was often compared to camas as both plants contained much inulin which caused indigestion in most people. As such, people rarely ate both plants together in much of Fusania. Fusanians considered it a twin to both balsamroot and especially to the sunflower.

Sunchoke derived its utility from its ability to thrive in numerous environments, including those with acidic and alkaline soil or otherwise poor soil while still producing large, nutritious tubers. The crop's yield in optimal conditions was comparable to potatoes. In the wetter parts of Fusania along the coast, the plant enjoyed the cool, wet conditions, while even on much of the Imaru Plateau it likewise prospered enough to be useful. Even in the cold of the Far Northwest or along the Hentsuren River, sunchokes still produced useful crops due to being quick growing and cold tolerant. In all but the hot deserts of Far South Fusania, sunchoke formed an important staple of the diet. In many of these places it served as an important animal feed, especially since in much of North Fusania it was culturally considered less desirable than camas which possessed similar properties. Like sunflowers, sunchokes worked well as a ground cover crop, choking out harmful weeds, although they could easily be too successful in a given field.

Sunchoke had a sweet taste due to the sugars present in the plant. A sweet syrup could be rendered from the plant which poorer Fusanians used as a common substitute for pine syrup or maple syrup. The tubers could also be rendered into a beer which Fusanians commonly drank, although just as often they used it to sweeten soringo cider or improve its fermentation.

Vinland rice (Zizania palustris)​

A native of Eastern North America, Vinland rice was a later addition to the agricultural package in Fusania. A water plant unrelated to Asian rice, it was harvested for its seeds which could be processed much like rice. The plant was first subject to more intense cultivation by the Innu and soon thereafter the Dena, from where it slowly spread west and arrived in the Shisutara Valley and Imaru Basin by 1150.

Unlike in Eastern North America where it played an important role amongst the people of the Great Lakes and Northern Plains, in Fusania the plant remained of secondary importance. Lacking the length of domestication as omodaka and with an unfamiliar method of growing and harvesting (as it needs gently flowing water to thrive), in Fusania it never served as a staple food. However, it still served as an important secondary crop and the stems found special favour as a vegetable. In Fusania, Vinland rice often helped feed the ducks, geese, and fish meant for the plates of nobles and other elites.

In South Fusania, Vinland rice was nearly unknown outside of coastal regions due to its intolerance of heat.

Other plants​

Many Mesoamerican crops thrived in much of South Fusania wherever irrigation allowed it thanks to the warm, sunny climate, although tropical crops like cacao or vanilla remained restricted to Mesoamerica. In Far South Fusania, many native domesticates and semi-domesticates became sidelined and restricted to only certain culinary uses thanks to the productivity of Mesoamerican imports like amaranth and chia. However, much like maize, neither amaranth nor chia formed major staples in most of South Fusania, possibly for similar reasons to maize.

Instead, South Fusanians cultivated many secondary plants from Mesoamerica. They frequently grew tomatoes, avocados, and jicamas and incorporated them into many dishes. Jicama in particular became useful as a nitrogen-fixing crop and became frequently farmed in the warmer Central Valley and surrounding areas.

Cotton however became among the most important plants from Mesoamerica grown in South Fusania, imported from Oasisamerica around the 11th century. In the valleys of South Fusania, cotton thrived in the climate assuming irrigation was provided. There, cotton displaced tehi and milkweed as the most important fabric. They grew vast fields of cotton to make clothes for the elite, blankets, and canvas. On the coast, the Chuma people grew cotton to create sails for their many sailing ships.

Outside of South Fusania, these Mesoamerican crops proved impossible to grow or something only possible with extreme difficutly thanks to the cooler summers and frostier winters. However, tomatoes proved more tolerant to the cooler summers and longer winters found in much of the region, so were commonly grown in much of North Fusania and used in cuisine. Many of these plants became the first examples of them encountered by Asian explorers, so the cultivars of avocado, jicama, and tomato grown in the Far East and even beyond in Southeast Asia and India derive from those grown in Fusania.

Silviculture and Forestry in Fusania
Vast forests growing higher than the sky cover much of Fusania. Many of the species of tree in these forests such as the sugar pine, the Wakashan spruce, Fusanian pine [5], the Fusanian red cedar, and above all, the massive redwoods are the largest species of trees on the planet. These dense forests dominate the wetter western half of Fusania as well as its many mountain ranges. Indigenous Fusanians relied on these trees and the creatures and plants which sheltered under them extensively from the earliest days. This ensured the later Fusanian system of agriculture innately incorporated forestry from its first days.

The earliest forms of Fusanian forestry long predating agriculture involved hacking off the bark, branches, and other planks of wood for various needs such as firewood, poles, baskets, medicine, clothing, or housing. In many cultures, it was customary to give offerings to the tree for allowing itself to be used for purposes like this. Typically, adzes and mauls were used to remove a suitable amount of planks. Bark removal was considered a woman's job, and smaller wedges were used for this task. Fusanians attached platforms and stepping areas into these trees to climb them to reach undamaged portions higher up. Trees to be turned into dugout canoes, house posts, totem poles, or other larger constructions were processed in a similar manner from ancient times--offerings were given to the tree, wedges and adzes driven in, and fires set to weaken the tree until the tree collapsed.

In the periods after agriculture, this system continued but harvesting of trees increased due to the increase in trade and population as well as the amount and complexity of tools available thanks to whaling and pastoralism. Antler or whalebone, occasionally plated in copper or other metals after the emergence of metallurgy, became the material of choice for forestry tools. Iron, a very rare "import" from East Asian shipwrecks, was used when possible for forestry--indeed, almost all Fusanian iron before the 15th century appears in tools typically used for forestry, perhaps because of the association with the sea (iron corrodes easily and Fusanians may have considered it to balance the rot-resistant wood in their dualistic system) and shipwrecks. Problems with local deforestation thus occurred due to this increased demand for wood being met with accelerated logging. While the amount logged was miniscule compared to the industrialised logging of later times, the small chiefdoms of the time could in time destroy the best trees in their territory, forcing them to rely on younger or less-suitable trees or log trees in the territory of their neighbours, requiring suitable gifts in turn lest they provoke conflict.

To mitigate this issue, increasingly complex systems of forestry enforced by taboos, religious edicts, and especially the emerging proto-states began to emerge in Fusania by around 700 AD, seemingly radiating out from its origins in the Far Northwest. It seems forestry and silviculture began in this region due to its early population growth and great demand for ships and house posts necessitating increased logging of the best trees. Typically, this entailed harvesting from the best trees resources needed, but never felling them. Lesser, but still good trees, were felled instead as needed, while poor-quality trees were removed as needed. "Replanting" rituals occurred to replenish the forests with seeds from the strongest trees. Less-desired, but still useful, trees filled the gaps in the forest and were felled on a periodic basis. They managed many of the dense, sparsely populated forests in Fusania under this system, ensuring a diversity in species and quality trees. They reserved trees near rivers exclusively for shipbuilding in the belief that trees in this location balanced out the land and water, something which would only continue if the trees became boats--this had the practical effect of lessening erosion and other negative effects caused by cutting trees near rivers.

However, nearer to villages and the emerging cities of Fusania, similar yet different systems emerged to deal with those forests and groves of trees and associated plants. These forests dealt with human contact far more often than the more remote forests Fusanians occasionally hunted or logged in. Occasionally, these forests needed to be cleared or thinned out for farming or rangeland. In these cases, Fusanians used controlled fires to clear out the brush and lesser trees. Before setting the flames, Fusanians harvested as much bark, branches, berries, and other non-essential parts of the shrubs and trees as possible, offering sacrifices to the trees burnt. Shamans guided the process the entire time, ensuring they burned the correct patch of land and the flames set correctly. They subsequently harvested many remaining trees (aside from certain very useful trees like older cedars or food trees like oaks) and processed them into charcoal, some of which they'd spread over the land as an offering. The village then would offer other sacrifices, including fish, livestock, or other animals as well as acorns and crops of the village, but occasionally a slave might be sacrificed at these events, with their bodies, bones, and blood likewise scattered over the fields. Marked by great ceremony, this event was typically conducted in the spring or after harvest in the fall (the start and end of the rainy season, ensuring maximum charring of the trees) and typically was done by several villages and their leaders working in unison. Nobles who held clearing ceremonies like this gained great prestige should the plots produce a fertile harvest.

Unused portions of the land soon grow over with pioneer species, some of particular value to the Fusanians for medicine, dyes, or additional food. These included firewood, bearberry, brambles, and smooth sumac. Subsequently, birches and alders, fast-growing and hardy trees, grew on this part of the land, providing firewood and forage for animals and acting as a shelter for the few taller trees left. The subsequent production of charcoal and sacrifice of animals enriched the soil for many years to come in a manner superior to slash and burn systems used elsewhere.

When the plot of land needed to be rested after a period of several years, the Fusanians afforested the land, typically with alders for their nitrogen fixation capacity, and below it encouraged cover crops such as various hazels, manzanitas and berry bushes, especially members of the blackberry genus, allowing the field to remain valuable for forest gathering and light grazing and browsing of village animals. They then burned the formerly unused portion of the field, starting the cycle anew again.

Fusanians prized the forests near the village the most. They provided habitat for birds which preyed on pest insects, as well as attracted game animals which they periodically hunted. Ground cover in these forests included key species of berries or medicinal plants, providing much-needed variety to the diet and relief in daily life. Culturally, they believed the forest was integral to the health of their community. Proof of this can be seen on the arid Imaru plateau, where even there, Fusanians attempted to cultivate forests around their villages due to the sheer number of benefits provided.

While every tree found in Fusania possessed some use to its people, certain trees were of crucial importance to respective societies.

Fusanian red cedar (Thuja plicata)
One of the largest and tallest trees in the world, the Fusanian red cedar (sometimes spelled "redcedar" as it is more closely related to cypresses) was utilised since earliest times for its myriad of uses. The large size of the tree and its resistance to rotting made it ideal for building homes, making totem poles, constructing ships. The dugout canoes and catamarans made from these ships became those which carried the Coastmen on their numerous raids and expeditions. Even after new types of shipbuilding replaced these older dugouts in many uses starting around 1100, the red cedar remained among the first choice of woods for any shipbuilder. Boxes and other bentwood furniture often used red cedar.

Fusanians also used the bark for numerous purposes. They thickened soups and stews with the inner bark of the tree, which contained beneficial vitamins and nutrients. The bark itself was a sturdy substance, capable of being woven like a fiber and from there formed the basis of mats, blankets, clothing, ropes, sails, and similar goods. While superseded by tehi, milkweed, and tule in later eras for many of these purposes, more rural villages and pastoralists still made ample use of cedar bark for these purposes. Red cedar bark in these contexts became associated with religious ceremony. Shamans and medicine men tended to wear clothes from cedar bark, and to wear bark robes often meant one was seeking spiritual assistance in many cultures. Whalers of the Attsu and Far Northwest people and their wives exclusively wore clothes from cedar bark before, during, and after a hunt.

Nearly every part of the tree from the roots to the branches to the leaves to the bark to the boughs contained medicinal value and was used accordingly. A wide range of ailments were treated in part by this plant, especially stomach pains, colds, coughs, and other internal conditions. The bark was used like a modern bandage and applied to external wounds. So useful was this tree that it was often shaped into hedges and planted around villages and towns to ensure a consistent supply of its offerings.

All of this made the red cedar perhaps the most important tree in North Fusania. Many stories tell of how the tree came to be, often related to the Transformer god. For instance, many Whulchomic peoples believed the tree was created when the Transformer found a generous noble who wished to remain generous in death. The Transformer granted him his wish, transforming his body into the seed which grew the first red cedar. In many North Fusanian cultures, the tree was worshipped and revered, with new mothers placing the afterbirth of infants around these trees.

Yellow cedar (Cupressus americana)​

In many ways, yellow cedar was the companion species to red cedar. Also in the cypress family, yellow cedar possesses many of the same qualities as red cedar wood, but with the key difference that the yellow cedar grows much smaller (rarely more than 40 meters) and has softer bark. For this reason, yellow cedar was not often used for shipbuilding, but had much more preferred bark. Communities with little access to one or the other would ignore this rule, of course, and yellow cedar boats were occasionally encountered as was clothing of red cedar bark. Hedges tended to be frequently formed from yellow cedar as well.

Yellow cedar was also preferred for carving as it splintered less often than red cedar. For this reason, Fusanians often carved the masts and prows of ships out of them, even when the rest of the ship was made of red cedar--this was believed to be good for the spiritual balance of the boat. Other richly carved elements like totem poles or house posts were typically carved from yellow cedar as well.

Oaks (Quercus sp)​

The oaks came closer than any Fusanian tree (besides the soringo) to true domestication. Numerous species of oaks grew in Fusania, but only a few became subject to the intense cultivation and management that typified the so-called "Kuksuist and Kuksuist-derived ancestor worship" systems of tree management. The semi-domesticated oaks were the Fusanian black oak, canyon, interior, and coast live oak, valley oak, and the Imaru oak [6], the only oak found in much of North Fusania and perhaps the most domesticated of all. Although not a true oak, the tanoak, favoured for its high tannin content and easy storage of its acorns, ranked among these oaks as well.

The term "Kuksuist and Kuksuist-derived ancestor worship" is somewhat of a misnomer. All "secret society religions" found in South Fusania from Kuksuism to the Atkhic secret societies to Kwararism in Far South Fusania and Antapism amongst the Chumic peoples practiced these techniques. These techniques are related to a practice of oak management which started in the Pengnen era by Kuksuists, but diffused in a number of different ways. When slavers exported South Fusanian slaves north to the Maguraku, Tanne, and as far as the Imaru basin, they brought this practice with them which over time became no more religious than other methods of cultivation. This cultivation practice did not spread to non-oak species outside of the pinyon pine (amongst the Woshu), the mesquite (amongst the Haiyi, although in a much different cultural context), and the sugar pine (amongst the Natsiwi and some southerly groups of Maguraku).

This "Kuksuist system" believed in treating the oaks as a member of ones family, as the oaks became a place where their ancestors' spirits visited. Typically, a village adopted wild oaks, tending to them so to keep the spirits happy. When a child of either sex was born, the village planted acorns from the finest oaks around and buried the afterbirth at the site of the oak tree. This tree typically became the personal property of that family. If the child died young, they would be buried (or their ashes scattered) under the tree and the tree still tended to. South Fusanians considered a tree failing to thrive as an ill omen, but replanted the tree from the same source anyway. When the child grew up and had children of their own, they planted acorns only from the tree owned by the father (for boys) or mother (for girls). If either tree was unavailable, they'd use trees owned by grandparents or other trees in the village. One element of the acorn ceremony common in South Fusania (associated with a dance) was the planting of new acorn trees from various trees in the village. Led by the highest ranking female member of the women's section [7] of the Kuksuist lodge, the female Kuksuists and women in the village who'd given birth the past year planted acorns in the earth from the acorn trees of the village. Before both planting and harvest, they'd light fires near the trees to burn weevils and other pests which lived in the soil, considered symbolic of evil elements the individual suffered.

Although oaks take 30 years to mature, this cultivation system allowed unprecedented amounts of supervision of the trees to ensure natural selection occurred. Compared to wild oak trees--more often to be felled to meet demand for wood, or occasionally in warfare out of people mistaking them for ancestral trees--the villagers consistently selected oaks which produced more or larger acorns, or which grew faster and produced acorns more often. The exogamous practices common in much of South Fusania allowed much intermixing of these genes, as well as occasionally between oak species as hybridisation occurred due to planting acorns from distant villages. Acorns thus remained a staple of the South Fusanian diet as they'd been before the Pengnen period, and indeed increased in importance due to the ease of storing them.

Acorns became a reliable store of value, with Kuksu lodges collecting them as tributes and distributing them as needed. Although never as valued as money shells from the seacoast, acorns still were used as an important barter good and pseudo-currency due to how long they kept and the nutrients contained within the acorn when processed into flour. Acorn storage became an important task of the Kuksu lodges and elsewhere in Fusania, that of the rulers who organised acorn granaries.

Rich in fat, nutrients, and protein, acorns made a valuable staple and benefitted any diet. While far more common in South Fusania, even in North Fusania they made up a substantial non-meat portion of the diet. Due to this and the ease of storage, acorns became one of the most common food goods traded, shipped as as far north as the Hentsuren River or the Ringitanian Strait. Imported acorns served as a crucial food for the island of Kechaniya and allowed it to thrive as a powerful economic center.

What lived in the oak trees were important as well. Oaks attracted numerous species of birds in addition to squirrels. Fusanians prized some of these birds, like woodpeckers, for their feathers, and often set snares in oaks to capture them. Other birds caught became food for dogs or tamed lynxes, while the majority they allowed to breed and help eat insects found in the trees and elsewhere in their fields. Songbirds also attracted hawks, falcons, and other birds of prey--in time, some Fusanian cultures, especially the Valley Tanne, developed a thriving falconry tradition using these raptors. Squirrels found in the oaks became increasingly tamed due to frequent human contact and became domesticated animals. Typically they placed artificial nest boxes in these trees (usually woven by women from grasses and branches) to acorn squirrels, the most valuable animal, but often other birds (especially woodpeckers) moved in as well--all were considered valuable to Fusanians for feathers, pest control, or other purposes.

Many insects lived in the oaks as well, including a significant number of pests. Entomophagy in North Fusania tended to be almost universally taboo, so oaks there were rarely used for easily harvesting edible insects. However, in South Fusania, people frequently ate insects, including some which lived on the oak trees. South Fusanians likewise developed a much more sophisticated system of pest control and management for their oaks. One outgrowth of this resulted in the semi-domestication of the Fusanian silkmoth (Antheraea polyphemus), as South Fusanians began to use the silk from the cocoons for various functions before eventually making it into luxurious clothing for their leaders. By the 14th century, South Fusania had become quite notable for its silk production which became a key export good.

Sugar pine (Pinus saccharum)​

Taller and larger than any other pine, the sugar pine grows over 80 meters tall in its natural habitat. It gains its name due to the sweet flavor of the resin of the tree. As it does not grow in the Imaru basin, sugar pine formed a critical trade good often brought to Wayam, Chemna, Katlaqmap [8], and other major cities in that region. To the Tanne, Maguraku, and some South Fusanians like the Knokhtaic peoples, Beikama, and Mayi, sugar pines formed an essential part of their lifestyle due to the many offerings it provided.

Sugar pine produced large amounts of pine nuts, an essential component of the diet of mountain peoples like the Hill Tanne, Mayi, or Woshu. They also served as an important source of turpentine, although other pines were also used in that role. However, the main role of the sugar pine was the sugars produced in the sap. In unprocessed form, it acted as a medicine, typically used as a laxative or for indigestion. To process the sugar pine's syrup to avoid the laxative effect, the tree was lightly singed before tapping while the sap was extensively boiled. This sap was extensively traded as the most important sweetener which were used in a variety of dessert dishes as well as to form a variety of sauces and marinades. Dishes with camas, beans, sunchoke, and other ingredients known to cause indigestion often used sauces from this as part of the Fusanian belief in balancing the elements of cuisine. Pine sugar became as quintessentially Fusanian as maple syrup is Vinlandic, with sizable quantities exported to East Asia as the taste became popular there too.

Unlike oaks, pinyon pines, or mesquites, veneration and intense cultivation of sugar pines in the Kuksuist-derived context of ancestor worship occurred much less frequently. The southern Maguraku and the Natsiwi people are the only known groups to intensively focus on groves of sugar pines in this manner. They were believed to be the finest sugar pines in terms of sugar and nut flavour. It seems this tradition originated among the Natsiwi when their ancestors still lived along the Upper Mowa River [9] before they were driven east into the Great Basin by the ancestors of the southern Maguraku around 1100, bringing with them sugar pine cultivation which they applied to the high mountains in the desert. Natsiwi legends claimed the first man arose from a sugar pine seed, while the southern Maguraku believed their own ancestors (albeit not all humans) emerged in a similar way. These sugar pines produced larger quantities of nuts as well as sugar, and even into the modern era, the finest pine syrup came from the Upper Mowa area and the adjacent Lake Hewa area to the north.

Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)​

Among the few maples of the Pacific Coast, the bigleaf maple occurs throughout both North and South Fusania into the Far Northwest. Fusanians valued this tree for its lumber, which they extensively used for furniture, interior decoration, utensils, and much non-religious ornamentation (typically reserved for red/yellow cedar). It occasionally served as the material of choice for digging sticks and other agricultural tools, paddles for rowing, or the handles for tools, including weapons like axes or spears.

The most notable use of the bigleaf maple was the syrup, however. While bigleaf maple yielded much less than the sugar maple, and in places with warmer winters barely anything, along mountains and in the Far Northwest it yielded substantial amounts of high-quality syrup. Because of the composition of the sap, it tasted richer and less sweet than syrup from the sugar maple. As it lacked the laxative effect unprocessed pine syrup had, Fusanians used Bigleaf maple syrup in similar, yet different culinary contexts, forming the basis of sauces and frequently used in desserts. Sometimes they mixed it with pine syrup to balance each other out. The syrup was often used to sweeten cider and other alcoholic beverages, but occasionally Fusanians fermented the maple syrup itself alongside berries to produce a mead-like beverage.

Production of maple syrup in Fusania was limited to areas north of the Imaru River as pine syrup dominated in areas south, usually in highland areas. The people of Wakashi Island favoured maple syrup especially, as did many other people along the Furuge Coast. It was believed in Fusania that the Kaida (archaically called the Dekina) produced the finest syrup--this may be because the Kaida brought back samples of the finest bigleaf maples to introduce them to their islands (where it was not native) in their many expeditions and raids. Maple syrup was almost unknown south of the Imaru basin, and in the modern age remained rare outside its homeland and in Japanese-speaking areas, where it remained dominant over sugar maple syrup from Vinland yet often not culinarily appreciated.

Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)​

The second largest and tallest tree in the world after the giant redwoods of the interior mountains of South Fusania, the coast redwood stands truly impressive. The massive size of these trees impressed the Attsu on their initial voyages in the south, so much a poetic name for the south in some Attsu cultures (mostly those north of the Imaru River) translates to "the Land of the Tallest Trees".

The Attsu continued to revere these trees after their settlement along the coast of South Fusania, far more than the local peoples such as the Tanne, Menma, or the Knokhtaic peoples. They built their houses out of redwood frames, carved totem poles out of redwood, and constructed ships out of redwoods, including some of the largest known dugout canoes ever constructed. To some extent, redwood replaced red cedar in many of its uses among Central Atkhic peoples like the Boyatkh or Suchuatkh [10], and even among Atkhic people who still had access to red cedar like the Ch'ayapachatkh redwood products became valued. Outside of construction materials, redwood bark was used for most of these products, replacing red cedar bark in many common uses. They also used the sap of the redwood mixed with some other ingredients as a tonic, often drank by children to ensure they'd grow up strong and often drank by adults as well.

In time, coast redwoods became transplanted far beyond their native range. The oldest coast redwoods north of their native range appear to date to about 1050 AD. Redwood construction became regarded as a distinctively South Fusanian trait by people in the Imaru Basin and in the lurid imaginations of North Fusanians associated with Kuksuists and other barbarians. However, they still valued the trees for their ample amount of wood wherever it grew, although it rarely grew outside of Attsu lands thanks to their cultural fascination with it which other North Fusanians lacked.

Soringo (Malus fusca)​

The soringo tree, sometimes called the Fusanian apple, soringue, or other names, is among the most noteworthy fruit trees cultivated by the Fusanians due to its role in culture. Its English name derives from Japanese "souringo" (桑林檎), meaning "Fusanian apple" by way of the Spanish who were the first Europeans to encounter this tree. No other tree, even oaks, were subject to as much breeding as the soringo was.

The soringo appears to have undergone domestication starting in the 3rd century by Tachiri culture-influenced Ringitsu, at the furthest north of its range. Preferred for its medicinal value, the quality of fruit from it, and the fine wood the tree produced, soringo trees quickly became favoured by this early horticulturalist society. Ringitsu legend attributes a brilliant youth for cultivating these trees, a youth who later took the soringo tree as his clan crest--this "Soringo Clan" later dominated on Kh'aakh'aani Island and became rulers of the prominent city-states of Hlawaak and Shaanseit [11], which together formed Hlawaak-Shaanseit, a diarchic state amongst the most powerful of Old Ringitania. By the 6th century, this cultivated soringo was rapidly spreading south, and by the 10th century was known throughout all but Far South Fusania, where the tree simply would not grow due to the hot and dry conditions. Cultivated soringo fruits tended to be several times the size of the wild plant's fruits.

The most important function of the soringo was the brewing of cider. The red and yellow fruits of the soringo were compared from early times to the skin colour of humans and the blood that lay within, especially when observing buckets of soringo juice. Soringo cider was sour and bitter compared to European ciders. Typically, it was sweetened by adding berry juice, especially from huckleberries [12], which further darkened the mix and helped add the necessary sugars for fermentation. This cider would be fermented to various levels depending on its intended use--weaker ciders may be 1-3% ABV, while cider intended for ceremonies like potlatches may be 5-7% ABV and ceremonial cider even higher at 10% ABV. Starting around the 11th century, freeze distillation emerged (through taking cider into the high mountains in the winter), and ciders as high as 20% ABV appeared. These ciders were exclusively used ceremonially to balance oneself out--North Fusanians considered drinking until one collapsed a way of purging the "good" and "light" aspects from oneself, and shamans and other leaders occasionally drank such ciders for this purpose, considered a great spiritual risk which resulted in an equally dangerous physical risk.

With its appearance dark and murky, like animal or human blood, cider took on a near religious role, comparable to beer in some ancient cultures. Considered "negative", Fusanians believed it balanced out "positive" elements like generally beneficial effects in life (such as personal wealth or hunting success). Fusanians thus rarely drank when suffering from illness or in personal trouble, but often when celebrate personal success or fortunate events in life.

Fusanians were well aware of the dangers of alcoholism. Drinking cider meant for potlatches outside of those occasions tended to mark one as spiritually tainted, although some Fusanians did enjoy stronger cider while not indulging in it excessively. However, the later freeze distilled cider became solely associated with ceremony and ritual and Fusanians regarded those addicted to such strong beverages as insane, spiritually corrupted, or other similar condemnations. They treated alcoholism as a danger to the community due to bringing imbalance upon the place, and often those in charge demanded the alcoholic be treated by the medicine men for their condition, although many times they simply exiled such individuals.

Birches (Betula sp)​

Birches grew in much of northern Fusania or along the mountain ranges of the interior. A hardy, quick-growing pioneer species, birches typically became the first trees to grow in burned areas and as a result grew often near Fusanian villages and towns. Two species of birch, resin birch and especially birch, served as the main birches used by Fusanians.

Birch had a myriad of uses to Fusanians. As medicine, parts of the birch were used to treat skin diseases as well as taken internally to cure stomach conditions. The easy to peel bark was frequently used by peasants and the lower class to construct roofs for houses, drinking utensils, and other tools, and especially as firewood, a common use, although the elite did not prefer birch for firewood as they considered the smoke unpleasant.

As food, birch also had a number of uses. Reindeer and especially moose often browsed the trees and seeds, while in times of famine it fed people as well. But it's main use as food came from the sap it produced which could be turned into syrup much the same way as maples. Although birches produced less sap than maples, and it took twice as much sap to turn into syrup, Fusanians produced much birch syrup, especially in the Far Northwest where neither sugar pine nor maples grew. As a syrup, it tasted more savory than sweet which led to its incorporation into a variety of sauces and dishes or to flavour various drinks, including cider. It was often reckoned the Yahanen Dena [13] produced the best birch syrup, a fact heavily disputed by their bitter rivals in Kechaniya.

Alders (Alnus sp)​

Several species of alders grew in Fusania, extending to the southernmost parts in the mountains. They ranged from the tall, sturdy red alder to the shrubby green alder which grew as far north as the Arctic Coast. Like birches, alders colonised burned land and ruined soils as a quick-growing and hardy pioneer species and thus frequently grew near Fusanian villages.

Unlike birches, alders possessed the useful ability to fix nitrogen within the soil, making them invaluable to the agroforestry used in the Fusanians. Fusanians noticed that understory shrubs grew well around alders, and plots of lands which formerly held alders grew subsequent things there similarly well. As a result, they tended to encourage the growth of alders on lands they recently cleared. As Fusanians recognised the value of charring trees and adding charcoal to the soil, the high quality charcoal produced by alders further added to the usefulness of the alder in improving the soil.

Fusanians often planted alders as shade and shelter trees wherever they needed them, which helped their irrigation ponds and channels avoid too much evaporation during the sunny and dry summers of much of Fusania, especially essential on the arid Imaru Plateau. This also shaded and shielded more preferred trees used in this system like oaks. Alder trees naturally warded off some plant diseases and insect pests around trees, increasing the value and health of the forest. Often beneath the alder they grew patches of berry bushes, especially blackberries, salmonberries, and their relatives.

Like many trees, Fusanians recognised their value as medicine and food. In times of famine, the poor often ate the bitter, protein-rich catkins or the dried inner bark of the tree, but as common for foods like this, they preferred to use this as animal feed instead. Because alder bark (especially red alder) contained salicin (much like willow bark and aspens), it was a frequently used medicine in combatting pain, fevers, and other internal conditions and among the most important medicinal substances known to Fusanians.

Fusanians valued alder less than other hardwoods, but because it commonly grew around villages utilised it commonly in making utensils and other simple tools. Like birches, they frequently used alder as firewood. Alders also produced tannins and an orange dye.

Pinyon pine (Pinus subsect. Cembroides)​

The pinyon pines grew in Far South Fusania as well as in the east in the Great Basin. Two species, the single-leaf pinyon cultivated in the east by the Woshu and the four-leaf pinyon cultivated in the Far South by the Yiweidang and Yuweidang [14], were subject to extensive management using the same system as applied to oaks. These three groups worshipped these trees as spirit vessels for their ancestors much as oaks were worshipped elsewhere. Like oaks were cultivated, pinyon pines became cultivated in much the same manner with an association of various life events.

Wild pinyon pines usually took 25 years to reach maturity and only produced seeds every other year, but the managed, semi-domesticated form of the pinyon could grow to maturity in 20 years and sometimes produced seeds every year. Rather nutritious, the seeds formed a staple in the diet of these peoples, although they also traded for (and gathered) acorns and on a small scale grew crops. Because the dried nuts stored well, they became frequent trade goods elsewhere in the region.

In addition to food, pinyon pines made fantastic medicine thanks to the turpentine they produced but also the pine resin, which South Fusanians used in a variety of ways from skincare to curing internal ailments. They also frequently used parts of the pine like the bark, needles, and branches for housing and creating utensils and baskets.

Mesquites (Prosopis sp)​

A thorny, leguminous shrub, mesquites thrive in the dry land of the southern Great Basin. The locals used mesquites for food, firewood, gum, tools medicine, and fiber, making it a highly versatile plant. While many groups exploited mesquites while gathering, only the Haiyi conducted intense cultivation of them in the style that oaks, pinyons, and sugar pines were cultivated. Unlike those other systems, they managed the mesquites in a different function than associating them with family and ancestors.

Likely an outgrowth of their local version of the Quaoarist faith [15] which penetrated the area by 900 AD, the Haiyi believed their mesquites protected them from evil spirits. They planted a mesquite the first time a boy killed an animal (or even dreamed of killing an animal)--his family would tend that mesquite the rest of their lives. Seeds from the mesquite would be used for the same ceremonies for his male relatives. It would be chopped down when he died, and the wood used for his funeral, while seeds from the mesquite would be planted near the edge of the village (or property owned by the clan) as a sign of his rebirth elsewhere. Purged of the negative influence of the dead man, these mesquites kept a silent watch to keep the man's spirit from coming back (believed to cause illness) as well as keeping other malevolent entities away.

As food, mesquites presented a number of uses. High in protein and other nutrients, when ground into flour it provided a nutritious staple, although just as often it was fed raw to ducks or geese. They could also be powdered and mixed with water to form a tasty drink, which could be left to ferment to create a sort of beer. The fruits of desert mistletoe, a parasite that grew on mesquites became commonly consumed as well.

As wood, Far South Fusanians used the tree for firewood, construction material, and especially for tools and weapons. Arrow shafts, spears, and other wooden weapons were typically made from mesquite in this region, due to its association with warfare. Because some species of mesquite were tolerant to burning, mesquite made for a fantastic charcoal. A nitrogen-fixing crop, mesquites replenished the soil as a natural fertiliser, helping to ease the strain of maize cultivation. The Haiyi burnt dead mesquites or sometimes mesquite pods in their fields before planting to add charcoal to the soil. Typically they grew their family's mesquites by the edges of their field as natural fencing to ward off pests both natural and supernatural. Others who cultivated mesquites in Far South Fusania copied these arrangements.

As mesquites grow and mature quicker, this system was far quicker to produce selectively bred mesquites than systems of oak or pine management. Evidence comes from the change in material culture in the area, as by the mid-12th century mesquites become an increasingly integral component of the diet of the local people as well as a major source of tools, and by the 15th century the cultivated mesquites reached more or less their present form, yielding significantly more than wild mesquites and growing even faster.

Domesticated and semi-domesticated mesquites spread elsewhere through population migrations and trade, although never became popular in places that raised towey goats due to their tendency to spread uncontrolled, restrict access to fields, and choke out competing plants. However, the Nama, goat pastoralists in the driest parts of the Great Basin, tolerated the plant for its variety of uses and engaged in some cultivation of it. Although neighbouring groups like the Woshu and Ancestral Cayuse typically cut down the trees when they found them, finding them a nuisance, the tree's ability to propogate itself through its deep roots caused it to inexoribly advance north. Due to the climate it spread no further north than the southwestern parts of the Imaru basin (especially the Kuskuskai Plain), where it became a most irritating weed (associated with the Hillmen) to Aihamu farmers there and subject to numerous means of pest control, although many simply burnt it for charcoal or firewood. They were most popular in Oasisamerica and Aridoamerica.


Fusanians encouraged the growth of a number of different species of berry bushes through their forestry and other land use practices. Berries formed an important component of the diet thanks to their vitamins and often tended to be incorporated into various medicinal concoctions. They turned the berries themselves into juices or berry wines, and berries formed a important component in cider mixes. For their sweet taste, berries formed an important component of various Fusanian desserts either raw or as jams and also an important component of many sauces. The wood from several species of berry bushes tended to burn well and was occasionally incorporated into smoking mixes.

Berries tended to be some of the most cold-tolerant plants available to the Fusanians, so in mountainous or Arctic lands formed an important component of the diet to the pastoralist peoples in those regions. Plants like cloudberries, cranberries, or lingonberries grew nearly everywhere in the Arctic or high in the mountains, so the Inuit or Dena often tended to these patches on their migrations as much as they might patches of sweetvetch or bistort. The Tetjo Delta Inuit invested much of their limited agricultural efforts in tending to patches of cloudberries and cranberries, for instance.

Many species of berries like salal, bearberries, manzanitas, and berries of genus Rubus quickly colonised recently burned or disturbed land, conditions found near Fusanian villages in plots of land allowed to lay fallow. They tolerated the shady ground found alongside the quickly growing birches and alders and prevented weeds or less wanted plants from growing there. Fusanian villages encouraged their growth on these fallow plots to add additional sources of food and medicine and periodically gathered them over the year when they needed it. Other species of berry like bog cranberries or other Rubus blackberries grew in marshy ground at the fringes of flooded fields or growing in association with commonly grown bog plants like rice lily. These were usually less encouraged (although some grew berries there) due to their tendency to become weeds, but still often became welcome additions to fields.

Fusanians used nearly every berry that grew in their land so a complete listing of berries used by them would simply be a listing of edible berries found in Fusania. However, a few sorts of berries became very associated with Fusania, such as strawberries--the common modern form derives from a hybrid of two wild strawberry species first hybridised somewhere in the Imaru Basin--or salal, culturally preferred in much of Fusania. A few sorts of berry like the aforementioned plants and other preferred berries like cloudberries, huckleberries, salmonberries, lingonberries, or bearberries became noticeably different from wild forms of those berries, no doubt through hybridisation and selection pressure, although none could truly be called domesticates.


Fusanians grew or encouraged the growth of several plants which they used as spices. Many of these were local plants which added flavour to an otherwise bland diet, a problem encountered by many people living in temperate regions from northern China to Europe to North Fusania. Further, spices tended to often have medicinal value as well and were frequently added to medicines.

While many Fusanian spices remain obscure or were superseded by later introductions from Asia or related species used elsewhere, a few spices found favour outside Fusania in regional cuisine in the Far East. North Fusanians tended to associate spices with South Fusanians, who were said to breed the hottest and strongest spices. Much trade was carried out between the two areas since early times due to this.

Chili peppers (Capsicum sp)​

An import from Mesoamerica, chilis were perhaps the most key spice in Fusania, particularly in South Fusania where they thrived in the warmer climate. Ranging from mild and bitter to burningly spicy, Fusanians raised many different cultivars of chilis. They incorporated chili peppers into many dishes and similarly used it in medicine.

Chilis slowly spread north from Far South Fusania starting around the 10th century. Stories indicate the Attsu people frequently traded them to other groups and eventually started growing chilis themselves when they could. From the Attsu, chilis spread into the Imaru Basin by the 12th century or so. Growing chilis in North Fusania proved difficult thanks to their dislike of the cooler summers and longer winters, but the plant was so valuable that Fusanians looked for ways around this. They grew peppers in warm and sunny patches of their fields which were well-sheltered from the wind.

In South Fusania, the warmer climate allowed chili peppers to grow much more easily, so the center of diversity for Fusanian chilis was found here. They often dried and powdered chilis for storage and preservation which they then exported northwards.

Fusanian chilis are the ancestors of many Asian chilis, including those found in Japan, Korea, and China but also in Southeast Asia. They were among the earliest New World crops cultivated (along with tobacco) in great quantities in that part of the world.

Bay nut (Umbellularia fusanica)​

The bay nut comes from the pepperwood tree, a native of South Fusania, although it also grew in Tanne lands in the southwestern corner of North Fusania as far north as the Kanawachi River. Nearly every part of the pepperwood tree was useful to Fusanians and traded widely, with its leaves being an important medicine as well as an insect repellant and its wood being commonly used for furniture or fine woodworking, especially in musical instruments. The nuts, called bay nuts for their similarity to bay leaves in flavour, served as an important ingredient in cuisine.

The leaves added a spicy flavour to dishes almost akin to cinnamon, and was considered much stronger than Meditteranean bay leaves. The nuts when roasted and powdered produced a flavour akin to dark coffee, so was usually mixed in with other spices in rubs. Bay nuts were also edible as they were and occasionally eaten in that manner.

Tolerant of colder conditions, the pepperwood tree gradually spread as far north as the Lower Shisutara Valley over the centuries but remained rare north of the Kanawachi Valley. Locally harvested bay nuts tended to be regarded as inferior in quality and flavour by many North Fusanians, with the finest coming from South Fusania. The Knokhtaic peoples became known especially for producing harvests of quality bay nuts.

Spiceshrub (Calycanthus occidentalis)​

Sometimes called Fusanian allspice due to its similar flavour, the spiceshrub was a bush which grew in South Fusania. It produced a pungent spice from its bark which was highly prized in all Fusania and a common ingredient in many spice mixes and other dishes.

Like pepperwood, spiceshrub could grow well north of its native range so the plant slowly spread north over the centuries albeit still remaining rare. As with pepperwood, in North Fusania the local plants were considered inferior to the imported good. In South Fusania, various cultivars of the bush existed which heightened the flavour produced from the bark or otherwise were more optimal for harvesting.

Outside of Fusania, it became used in some regions of East Asia and India in local cuisines (often substituting for allspice) but typically allspice or other spices dominated over spiceshrub in most regions. In Fusania itself however, the spice remains a common sight in kitchen spice cabinets.

Fusanian ginger (Asarum caudatum)​

Perhaps the most essential spice of North Fusania, Fusanian ginger (unrelated to actual ginger) was used in a variety of dishes with its pungent flavour. Growing in the forests along the ground, Fusanians also used it as a ground cover plant and encouraged its growth in plots they let lay fallow.

It grew natively in the Imaru Basin and much of the area to the north and south. This ready availability and relative ease of cultivation ensured that it became a common fixture of Fusanian cuisine in both the peasants and the elites alike. It served as a common export to the colder parts of North Fusania where the plant could not grow. Hybrids with a related species, snakeroot, became common in some parts and conferred a greater tolerance to cold.

Although a very common ingredient in Fusanian cuisine and culturally preferred over even Asian ginger in some parts, Fusanian ginger was rarely found outside its native range and there usually considered a poor substitute for actual ginger

Fusanian garlic (Allium fusanense)​

Many species of genus Allium, the onion family, grew wild in Fusania, growing in a variety of habitats. Some of these plants were used as medicine or as flavouring for various dishes and as such often gathered when found. As the population grew and became more mobile, hybridisation between these plants became inevitable. Genetic evidence shows that around 1000 AD, the modern Fusanian garlic emerged. The bulb and stem of the plant were both used in a variety of dishes and possessed the usual pungent taste of other garlics, albeit with a stronger hint of onion.

A highly tolerant plant, Fusanian garlic grew in a variety of habitats thanks to its many cultivars. Some grew in the Far Northwest, while others grew in sheltered valleys in Far South Fusania. It served as an important ingredient in cuisine across all Fusania.

Fusanian garlic was also popular in parts of Asia where various cultivars were grown. However, it was never as popular as Old World native garlics, albeit found in a niche in some regions.

Author's notes​

This was a very lengthy entry which should finish off the agricultural component of the TL, an essential foundation for this sort of TL. This should cover most everything I've been meaning to say about the topic and then some. It makes me wish I'd done more for the initial entry on the Western Agricultural Complex, which might be something I go back to at a later date. Much of the entry also recaps concepts I've introduced earlier while also foreshadowing future events in the TL.

And future entries, too, since I've discussed a lot about Fusanian medicine and cuisine in this update. I'm no master chef or "wild foods" specialist, but I'd love to discuss the sort of dishes a Fusanian might eat in more detail in a later update, and probably will at some point.

Major credits to pfaf.org (Plants for a Future Database) which is a treasure trove of useful botanical information and is an essential source for anyone writing about alternate plant domestications (among many other uses).

Next entry will cover quite a bit of content as to how the rest of North America is doing, and that will end the first part of this TL.

[1] - Miyawakh is a term which OTL referred to Sahaptin chiefs elected from the chiefs of villages to preside over those villages along the same stretch of river. TTL, the term has evolved to mean the ruler of a city-state, who are (nominally) elected by the ruling nobles of their city. The rulers of lesser villages or city quarters are titled miyuukh and typically are heads of a local clan or other high-ranking nobility
[2] - The Mississippi River, with similar etymology as OTL but loaned by way of a Nordic language.
[3] - The Haiyi are the Chinese term for the River Yumans (including the Mohave, Quechans, Cocopa, etc.)
[4] - The Amim are the ATL Kalapuya of the Willamette (TTL Irame) Valley, one of the most numerous people of the region both OTL and ATL. The sunflower story is my own invention, but Ayutlmeyi as a solar deity and the belief the sun's rays powered every spirit is based on an actual Kalapuyan belief
[5] - Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis) and Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) respectively
[6] - Quercus garryana, the Garry oak, the only oak found in much of its northern range
[7] - To clarify better than in my entry in Chapter 13, a Kuksuist lodge (unlike the OTL Kuksu religion it's based on but like the related OTL Hesi society) will always have a women's section where some women of the village or town take part. They are responsible for teaching occupations typically considered female and training medicine women and female shamans. Although their leader almost always holds less power than the male Kuksuist leaders, she is still a potent force in the village or town and is essentially the spiritual leader of its women. I'll discuss this more at a later time.
[8] - Katlaqmap is Portland, OR, a typical Chinookan toponym meaning "Place of the Mound" (at least one village OTL somewhat distant from Portland was named this)
[9] - The Natsiwi are based on the Atsuge and Achomawi related peoples who OTL were frequently raided for slaves by the Klamath (aka Maguraku). TTL they suffer even worse, being driven out of their lands and into the desert where they've formed a new ethnic group. "Mowa" is a Japanese term for the Pit River, derived from a Klamath term with roughly similar meaning
[10] - The Suchuatkh are the Atkhic people descended from Khutsaayi who live around Daxi Bay. They take their name from the Suchuq Peninsula.
[11] - Hlawaak is Klawock, AK, while Kh'aakh'aani Island is Prince of Wales Island, its name literally meaning "crabapple land" in Ringitsu. Shaanseit is Craig, AK. Hlawaak-Shaanseit form a dual polity thanks to the relations between their rulers and will play an important role in the history of Ringitania as I will discuss later.
[12] - "Huckleberry" is ambiguous, but I'm using it to refer to the most prized species of blueberries, bilberries, etc. of genus Vaccinium the Fusanians gather
[13] - The Yahanen Dena are roughly the Dena'ina, who live in a place called Yahanen, which is the OTL Kenai Peninsula of Alaska
[14] - The Chinese names for the Cahuilla and Serrano respectively, from indigenous ethnonyms
[15] - Also spelled Kwarar, and sometimes referred to by the name Chingichngish (among many spellings), which OTL is a generic name in anthropology for worship of this figure. I will use "Quaoarism" to refer to TTL's equivalent much as I use "Kuksuism".
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I will follow this timeline! Reading the tags.... looks like the proto-Emishi/Jomon will migrate thru Sakhalin and Kurill to the Aleutian Islands and eventually Alaska.
Chapter 19-Towards Sunrise - A New Day For a Continent
"Toward Sunrise - A New Day For a Continent"

Fusania, a vast land of almost 4 million square kilometers stretching from the tropics to the Arctic, lies isolated from the remainder of the world by virtue of its rough geography. The tall American Divides separate this corner of North America from the rest of it, and to make matters worse, influences weather patterns to create the dry, windswept, and often frigid High Plains and the even drier Great Basin. Cut off from the rest of the continent by geography, Fusania developed unique flora and fauna. Yet these mountains and deserts weren't an obstacle for early man. The ancestors of all indigenous Americans arrived to Fusania in a time eons ago in a land that would be alien to their descendents, a land where the Transformer had yet to work his magic in transfiguring things into forms familiar to them. From there, they spread out and diversified into numerous cultures and peoples, crossing these mountains and deserts to the places their descendents would call home. These barriers did pose an obstacle for the transmission of what we may call "culture", the material and immaterial goods and concepts which marked human life. To thrive on the High Plains or the Great Basin or the Eastern Woodlands required a different skillset, a different toolset, a different mindset than to thrive in the coastal forests of North Fusania or the oak savannas of South Fusania. But some cultures--like the Tsetih'en Dena and Ktanakha in the American Divides--lived at the divides in these biomes, and through them the tools and mindsets of Fusanian culture began to filter out into the rest of the Americas. These same cultures likewise brought outside tools and mindsets into Fusania.

"Sunrise" describes perfectly the state of North America north of Mesoamerica in the 12th century. The widespread adoption of the Mesoamerican Three Sisters--maize, beans, and squash--commenced in this era nearly everywhere it possibly could. The superior and easier yields enabled by these plants allowed for more and more organised centers of population to emerge in this land than ever before as previous more-seasonal ways of life during the so-called Woodland Period became relegated to the fringes. Many plants formerly grown such as marshelder fell into disuse in many parts thanks to this. Metalworking, pastoralism, new techniques of earthworking, and some key plants of the Western Agricultural Complex spread from Fusania opening up further possibilities with new crafts, tools, and specialisation At the same time, greater connections became forged between the various regions of North America thanks to increasing wealth and population and the spreading adoption of reliable domesticates.

Truly it was the dawn of a new era for North America. "The lands beyond the sunrise" already influenced Fusania much and Fusania returned the favour repeatedly. The possibilities seemed endless as new modes of civilisation emerged and cultures fused to produce strong civilisations capable of thriving greater than ever in nearly every environment on the continent. While Fusania was a young civilisation, perhaps younger than even the Misebians of the Eastern Woodlands, it was strikingly complex for its youth--no society in the Americas possessed animal husbandry as developed as theirs, only some Andeans and Mesoamericans surpassed their metalworking, and their shipbuilding was without parallel in the Americas. Fusania thus had much to give the rest of the Americas, as much as the rest of the Americas had to give to it, even if geography should try and stifle the spread of these innovations.

Oasisamerica and the Great Basin

Vast deserts full of sun-baked stones and tall cacti cover Oasisamerica and present one of the harshest climates on Earth for human life. The temperature frequently rises above 50 degrees in the day, yet nights are often chilly and below freezing, while in the many mountain ranges of the area the climate dangerously cold. Dramatic thunderstorms bring much of the scant precipitation, but often in these events very little rain falls for much of it (or even all of it) evaporates long before it hits the ground. Alongside these deserts lay high mountains, impenetrable canyons, and all manner of other rugged terrain, carved by the actions of wind and water.

Yet humans arrived here not long after they first arrived in the New World tens of thousands of years ago, drawn to the fertile river valleys which provide ample plant growth and most important for early man, many animals and fish. Many rivers flowed down from the mountains which collected most of the precipitation, acting as oases of life in this harsh landscape. This gave the region one of its frequently used names--Oasisamerica.

Millennia later, a civilisation began developing here around the same time as it did in the Far Northwest in Fusania, with people settling down, developing a more complex material culture, and beginning to farm around the same time [1]. This chronologic coincidence fascinated later archaeologists and scholars and even descendents of these cultural groups, interested in comparing these histories. Both groups began using pottery, relying more on horticulture and agriculture, and constructing increasingly impressive earthworks around the early centuries AD. Peoples from the fringe of their culture--the Dena in Fusania, Mesoamericans from the south in Oasisamerica--influenced them directly and indirectly, bringing with them their own innovations.

Yet differences abounded as well. Some elements of Oasisamerican civilisation possessed elements ultimately originating in Mesoamerica from earliest times, such as their common crops--squash and maize--and some even spoke similar languages. North Fusanian civilisation developed in-situ with few external influences, albeit scholars debated the influence of the Jomon culture of Japan on Fusania from earliest times. And perhaps most importantly, North Fusanians domesticated large animals like the reindeer and towey goat.

Despite lacking large domesticates for much of their early history, the Oasisamericans constructed large and dramatic architecture as well as many earthworks throughout their lands. They tended to live in villages centered around ceremonial pithouses or occasionally in cities carved into the cliffs. Elite families often lived in large houses, some resembling large palatial complexes, while some of these were used as temples or for other ceremonial purposes. Still, the majority of people lived in small and seasonal villages and often dispersed to gather wild plants or hunt game. The harsh and unpredictable climate made relying on any one source of food a great risk.

Archaeology distinguishes four cultures associated with Oasisamerica, conventionally termed Puebloan cultures (although some expand outside the traditional range of Oasisamerica) but occasionally known by other names. The Central Puebloans (archaically called "Anasazi" after a later Southern Dena name), the Western Puebloans (or Hohokam, after their Pima name meaning "Ancestors"), the Southern Puebloans, and the Northern Puebloans [2]. The Patayan Culture along the Anquon River (sometimes Ankuang, it's Chinese name) [3] and the Old Kuskuskai Culture display many features of Puebloan cultures but are transitional between South Fusanian and North Fusanian cultures respectively. The early 12th century is perhaps the height of this incipient Puebloan culture in Oasisamerica, before the decimations of drought caused a great contraction and an eruption in the San Francisco Volcano Field caused both population movements and shifts in religious thought that led to temporary chaos but in the long term the creation of a sturdier, more resilient, and more prosperous civilisation.

The Patayan Culture (meaning "ancestors") grew up along the Anquon River and spread to nearby areas like those along the Ancin River (sometimes Anxin, it's Chinese name) and the nearby mountains in the east and Lake Pang [4] in the west. The Patayan are the ancestors of the people the Chinese called Haiyi, and unlike the more multiethnic Puebloan peoples spoke a group of related languages, the Haiyic family, distantly related to many South Fusanian languages such as K'ahusani. The Early Patayan (700 - 900) seems to be much more influenced by the Puebloans than the Middle Patayan (900 - 1200) or Late Patayan (1200 - 1525), which display a much stronger influence from South Fusania, especially the Jiqi and their own cultural kin, the coastal Payi [5]. They are thus typically grouped under the cultural region "Far South Fusania".

If the Patayans are considered Fusanian, then they became the first people to practice farming in Far South Fusania. In the late 7th century, the early Patayans borrowed agriculture from their neighbours on the east--the Hohokam, yet they also seemed to be influenced by the agriculture occurring north of them in the Central Valley. A few plants which grew in both the Central Valley and Anquon Valley became favourites of the Patayans, including valley turnip and omodaka as the Patayans expanded their irrigation networks to help these "primitive" cultivars thrive. Similarly, they raised ducks and by the 12th century, geese. But like the Hohokam, they farmed maize and later other Three Sisters crops, and even borrowed the Hohokam agave from them, a unique agave hybrid which produced ample amounts of food and fiber. Their local form of the Quaoarist faith encouraged development of religious structures such as underground temples (akin to yet culturally distinct from the ceremonial kivas of the Puebloans from the 13th century onward) where they danced and sacrificed in Quaoar's name as well as their groves of mesquite trees which they believed protected their settlements from those who had died.

The Patayans served as a conduit for ideas and concepts to spread between Oasisamerica and Fusania thanks to the frequent population movements due to the environment. The Anquon River periodically suffered great reductions in flow as a branch split off to feed Lake Pang, a dry lakebed in the desert. Over the course of decades or even centuries, Lake Pang reformed as a freshwater lake, became saltwater, and then evaporated during the next major drought. During each of these great changes, Patayans moved to the lakeshore where they established villages, often competing and clashing with the Yiweidang who more permanently lived in the area. However, some bands of Yiweidang traded with the Patayans, which for the Yiweidang gave them Oasisamerican agriculture and for the Patayans gave them South Fusanian agriculture alongside the ideas which led to a Haiyi version of the Quaoarist faith. This frequent shifting in population created a culture which prized mobility and desert survival skills far more than any other society of complex agriculturalists in the area, producing a people well-suited to carrying out long-distance trade.

In the 12th century, the Patayans lived mostly in towns of a few hundred people, but in some places over a thousand gathered in larger towns located at the most fertile sites or those near deposits of turquoise, their primary export. Councils of wealthy men governed their towns, but by a unique aspect--those appointed to rule were chosen based on their dreams. If a man dreamed of certain animals or certain events, he would be chosen for a certain crucial role--civil matters, warfare, etc.--by his peers on the council. Like their Haiyic descendents, the Patayans placed great emphasis on dreams which they believed governed their lives. In earlier times, nearly anyone no matter status might be chosen based on their dreams to become a leader, but in later times increasing social stratification made this situation very rare outside the most competent and persuasive people from outside the nobility.

Along the Ancin and its tributaries grew up the Western Puebloan, or Hohokam civilisation. They lived in earthwork towns constructed in river valleys which they farmed in. A vast network of canals and other river sustained the Hohokam in their way of life, permitting to farm maize, beans, and squash in their dry homeland. Some of the finest river engineers north of Mesoamerica, they developed their tradition separate from that of the Dena and Imaru peoples, although they borrowed much from them by way of South Fusania in later centuries.

The largest centers of the Hohokam in the 12th century included cities like Aki Wamad and Wainom Kehk [6], each of which had several thousand people. These cities possessed large palaces, underground rooms for worship, and large ritual ballcourts used in a similar fashion to Mesoamerican ballcourts, although human sacrifice was rare. They served as important trading centers for the entire area, bringing in finished goods from the Central Puebloans, shells and gold from South Fusania, and parrots, cacao, and similar products from Mesoamerica. The Hohokam themselves traded in copper and silver as well as animal products and finished goods. These cities were governed by councils of elites who elected the ruler from amongst themselves, typically chosen because of his skills or his persuasiveness.

The Hohokam and Patayans borrowed and exchanged many ideas, without which neither culture would've reached the heights they did. From the Patayans came many Fusanian innovations, including metalworking, domesticated animals, and new crops, although like many Puebloans, Fusanian plants like nutsedge formed only secondary staples (if that) albeit they found a great number of uses for fiber plants like tules, milkweed, and tehi. However, mesquites were a notable exception, as the Hohokam adapted a similar (or potentially even the same, although the cultural beliefs did not survive into historic times) system to the Patayans in terms of mesquite management, and thus mesquites formed a key part of their diet. The keeping of ducks, chuckwallas, geese, and towey goats (the latter three by no earlier than around 1100) provided for much needed additional protein in the diet. Most critically, the import of slaves and sheer cultural diffusion allowed for elements of Fusanian forestry to arrive in Hohokam lands. Mountain villages grew up where people closely managed the groves of trees, including oaks and pinyon pines (although semi-domesticated cultivars from Fusania did not spread this far away) so as to minimise overlogging

The Hohokam were not a single group of people, being the ancestors of numerous later peoples in the area who spoke a variety of languages. Further, they existed alongside much simpler people who lived lifestyles more similar to pre-agricultural populations. These people, often speaking different languages than the settled peoples, lived in smaller villages in the shadow of the major centers with some seasonal nomadism. These people raised crops mainly to feed their waterfowl and goats which they traded for surplus maize or other staples. Often these people gathered wild plants of the desert, some of which were highly valuable such as saguaro fruits, fermented into ceremonial wine. Many of them became involved in trade networks between the major centers or beyond, carrying the goods on the backs of dogs, goats, or frequently slaves.

A major drought in the mid-12th century caused crisis in the Hohokam cities. Aki Wamad in particular suffered heavily from drought, as an internal rebellion amongst its subject towns (perhaps sparked by water distribution or confiscation of food) resulted in the city being sacked and reduced to a mere village. The nearby town of Am Kukui replaced Aki Wamad as the primary center and rapidly grew in that century even with the drought. Downstream, the city of Wecho Chekshani [7] contracted greatly under threat of raiding and repeated crop failure, although it retained its position as the primary center of the region. Elsewhere, conflict and warfare increase considerably. Migratory Haiyic and Numic-speaking peoples raided settlements, and towns frequently went to war with each other over resources.

East of the Hohokam lay the Central Puebloans, who inhabited a vast area of the Upper Bravo River [8] and the canyonlands of the Anquon Plateau immediately to the west, lived in a variety of towns and cities known for their elaborate earthwork construction. Like the Hohokam, they dug networks of canals to irrigate their fields. The Central Puebloans were among the finest architects north of Mesoamerica, carving large cities out of cliffs and building massive "palaces" out of earth and stone. However, just as many lived in smaller villages of a few dozen people, trading, intermarrying, and worshipping alongside those who lived at larger ceremonial sites.

Elements of Patayan--and by extension, Fusanian--culture appear in Central Puebloan lands almost as soon as they reached the Hohokam starting around the late 10th century. They began smelting metals which they mostly used for ornamentation or weapons for the elite. They grew a few Fusanian crops as supplemental crops or for fiber, although maize remained the most important. Perhaps the most important innovation borrowed was domesticated animals--towey goats, ducks, and later geese and chuckwallas--which reduced their dependence on hunted game for protein and in the case of goats gave them a reliable, easy to feed source of transportation. With their surefooted nature, pack goats became valuable assets in moving things around in the cliff dwellings and mountainous landscape the Central Puebloans lived in.

By the second millennium of their cities had permanent populations of several thousand people, such as Ts'edehege and especially Sh'idiichi [9], perhaps the most important city of this cultural area. These cities supported themselves through trading their artisanal crafts in exchange for food from surrounding villages. They governed themselves through councils of influential men and women often from noble matrilines who elected a ruler from amongst themselves. Unlike in North Fusania, no tradition of hereditary rule ever developed in these cities, although they still often held great influence over surrounding villages and towns. Like the Hohokam, their harsh, drought-prone environment caused councils to typically elect those they deemed most skilled.

Sh'idiichi in particular dominated Oasisamerica culturally and economically, with many villages and towns across the region adopting its cultural styles and religious aspects as part of its grand trading network. Sh'idiichi imported its food from all around in exchange for the wares it produced and most importantly, access to its markets which carried wares from all over North America, including cacao and live macaws from Mesoamerica and shells from throughout the Pacific. The city's ruling class became dominated by its priests who held influence over many nearby villages. Those village rulers favoured by the priests were granted burial within the vast burial palaces of Sh'idiichi.

A great drought in the 12th century imperiled Sh'idiichi, among the largest cities of the Central Puebloans. Much of the city and surrounding villages were abandoned or lost much of their population until the early part of the next century. Many went elsewhere toward areas slightly less stricken by the drought, like Ts'edehege which began to grow even more. Nomadic incursions and greater warfare further threatened the survival of their society Yet the collapse of this center may have ultimately been beneficial in driving the evolution of the Classic Period of the Central Puebloans. Here, they borrowed greatly from the Hohokam to their west more than ever before, bringing in their system of forest management, a greater incorporation of mesquite silviculture, and the ever-improving canal linings constructed by the Hohokam to minimise evaporation.

Perhaps most noteworthy is the early appearance of theocratic structures and the rule of "priest-kings". The city councils of nobles lost much of their authority and power compared to councils of elite priesthoods who derived their influence from their ability to control the weather. In the drought-stricken 12th century, those able to organise rituals to return more regular rains attracted great following. These priesthoods organised themselves based on their spiritual force and supposed lineage. These lineages restricted membership to certain families. The priesthood elected the finest among them, which in a few (but not all) cities became hereditary dynasties.

The Southern Puebloans lived a similar lifestyle as their Central Puebloan and Hohokam neighbours, but distinct in the manner of house and city construction (for instance, their ballcourts resembled Mesoamerican rather than Hohokam ballcourts) and their pottery and tools. Indeed, the Southern Puebloans came from a variety of different ethnic groups such as the Tewiman peoples, the Wariho, the Southern Odam, and the Raramuri [10]. Further, they had the greatest connection to Mesoamerica and with it played a role in diffusion of cultural traits to and from that area. Because of this ethnic and cultural distinction they formed a unique region of Greater Puebloan culture.

They received Fusanian traits from their Central Puebloan and Hohokam neighbours, including the limited use of Fusanian plants like milkweed, tule, nutsedge, and tehi and knowledge of metalworking. Metalworking became an especially key part of their economy, as along the rivers and canyons in their territory lay extensive deposits of silver. Silver mining centers in Southern Puebloan territory exported much silver ore and its refined products.

The huge diversity of landscapes even by regional standards including high mountains, picturesque and deep canyons, and all sorts of rugged plateaus and desert kept the early Southern Puebloans fairly isolated in terms of organisation as unlike their neighbours they lacked larger rivers. Their regional centers, which might dominate a river valley, typically possessed little more than a thousand people and typically much smaller. Many Southern Puebloans continued to rely on hunting and gathering for part or much of the year. These centers dominated smaller villages which often paid tribute to it. As common in the Greater Puebloan area, councils of elites in the town elected a ruler. Piasihlito in the valley of the Huequane River [11] is a typical example of a Southern Puebloan city state. Famed for its elaborately painted pottery both in contemporary times--although those in that period might equally approve of its silver and copper crafts--and later in post-colonial times, Piasihlito had perhaps 1,000 people and exerted control over much of the Huequane Valley.

Despite this, Mesoamerican influences came through often to these people, although nowhere near to the degree as in the heyday of the later city of Paquime, then only a southerly village. At times, they conflicted with Fusanian influences--for instance, turkeys arrived at the same time as geese yet unlike in other Puebloan cultures were always far more preferred by the Southern Puebloans. The silver, turquoise, bison robes, and other imports of Mesoamerica often originated or traveled through these towns of the Southern Puebloans and likewise so did Mesoamerica's exports.

This diversity in landscape permitted many of the upland cultures higher in the mountains or in more rugged lands to thrive and develop a much greater interchange with lowlanders than elsewhere in the Greater Puebloan world. These cultures became the first to introduce towey goats, for instance, to the Southern Puebloans, who had resisted them for longer than other Puebloans. It is likely that the mountain cultures typically came from other parts of the Puebloan world and may have thus been more adaptable than the valley farmers. At the same time, it seems likely in many cases they outright replaced or absorbed the valley farmers through various conflicts. This sort of cultural interchange produced people far less isolated than their landscape may suggest, people who frequently crossed high mountain passes or traversed endless deserts in order to trade with their neighbours.

The 12th century droughts affected the Southern Puebloans as deeply as their neighbours. Many people in Piasihlito and its outlying villages abandoned their homeland by 1150, with some migrating south to where they fused with the people of what became the later city of Paquime, among the most powerful city-states of the region and others migrating to Shiwinna where they fused with their distant linguistic kin. Many other sites fell abandoned and the Huequane Valley would not recover for another century. But as elsewhere, this left them open for new modes of societal and cultural evolution, which in the case of the Southern Puebloans, wouldn't come entirely from either within or Fusania.

The Northern Puebloans existed on the fringe of Puebloan civilisation, but unlike the Patayans or Old Kuskuskai Culture exhibited far fewer Fusanian elements and are almost never labeled as transitional. Their homeland on the Anquon Plateau and the lands north of it was similarly rugged and arid, but often much colder than the areas to the south. This shorter growing season combined with reliance on maize and beans kept the populations smaller and their towns and villages less populous, making them in many ways akin to the more marginal people of other Puebloan cultures.
Their proximity to Fusania--especially the Dena peoples--and position on the trade routes to the Imaru allowed them to overcome these disadvantages. The increasing wealth in the Imaru basin in the 11th century onward trickled southeast to Northern Puebloan lands, and city-states such as Tsiruhovi, Kwahovi, and Onaabinkahni [12], some with perhaps over a thousand people, dominated their local region with large palatial architecture like seen at Ts'edehege. Part of a trend toward larger villages and towns, they may have been settled in part by migrants from more southerly areas, drawn into these lands by the warming climate of the Medieval Warm Period. Others may have fled south, pushed by the Dena and refugees from the collapsing Old Kuskaikai culture. Still others may have been local developments as people banded together for protection against said incursions. Certainly, watchtowers and palisades marked the land far more than in most regions of the Greater Puebloan culture showing the defensive nature of these cultures.

Despite this, Fusanian traits remained as limited as with other Puebloans. They adopted camas as a major staple second to only in regions where the winters weren't too harsh, and grew a few other Western Agricultural Complex plants like nutsedge, sweetvetch, tehi and tules, but failed to adopt aquaculture, instead using their limited water to irrigate canals. Similarly, reindeer adoption remained very limited and practiced only by a few Dena-ised mountain peoples in the fringes, although ducks, geese, and especially towey goats became an essential part of their diet and culture, with great resources devoted to raising them for food, labour, and secondary products. Metalworking was a common trait inherited from Fusania (and possibly diffused into some other Puebloans from the north), and the Northern Puebloans tended to place emphasis on practical rather than decorative uses of metal tools unlike many other Puebloan peoples. Further, they became known for their great exports of salt.

The Northern Puebloan cultural area possessed great diversity in culture and language. Numic-speaking peoples, relatives of the Nama to their west, lived on the fringes of the emerging villages and adopted a pastoralist lifestyle early on. The Kaikwu, relatives of the Towa Puebloans to the south, inhabited villages along the Fevauel River centered around the emergent center of Senfolega [13], while other bands of Kaikwu lived a pastoralist lifestyle. Branches of the Hopi people similarly seem to have made up the cultural landscape of the Northern Puebloans, inhabiting villages mainly in the transitional area in the south.

As elsewhere, more nomadic people served as intermediaries between local centers and played a key role in bringing in influences from further abroad. Northern Puebloan goods appeared throughout the Puebloan world, appeared in regional centers on the Plains, and appeared at key Fusanian centers at the fringe of the Great Basin along the Imaru or in Maguraku or Woshu lands. Many of these people, often Numic-speaking, gained great wealth and influence as middlemen by this means, and like in Southern Puebloan lands, they and other pastoralists often raided into lands of settled village peoples and often fought each other for control over trade routes.

The drought of the mid-12th century struck the area hard. Drawn by this trade, peoples from the west like other Numic-speaking groups and the Natsiwi moved in to claim their share of it. From the north, Dena-speaking peoples increasingly moved in as well. Pastoralists suffered less than village peoples or the incepient city-states which contracted greatly or fell abandoned. Others fled south to their cultural kin. With their wealth and increasing strength in the region, Numic-speaking peoples slowly were coming to dominate the land, even though the Northern Puebloan culture would soon rise again, this time even stronger. [14]

Beyond the Northern Puebloans lay the Old Kuskuskai Culture (OKC), named for their homeland, the Kuskuskai Plain, perhaps the most enigmatic of the cultures found in the region and the first culture to fade from history [15]. A transitional area between the Great Basin and the Imaru Plateau, around 500 AD their culture seemed to begin borrowing from all directions--Northern Puebloans in the south, Dena in the north, and the Irikyaku Culture-influenced Tsupnitpelu in the west. Although the Dena seemed to attempt to settle in the Kuskuskai Plain, Dena infighting and their own alliance with the Tsupnitpelu to their northwest prevented their displacement and gave them time to adapt to the new environment. Some established links to the south with the Northern Puebloans who introduced agriculture to the region, although the shorter growing season and inferior cultivars prevented a full reliance on it. Similarly, they began growing camas, balsamroot, and other Western Agricultural Complex crops, although did not adopt aquaculture. They adopted a horticultural pastoralist lifestyle and raised reindeer, but frequently hunted bison (their most valuable export), elk, and deer (in the latter case adopting the overhunting patterns of the Dena to protect their reindeer herds) as well as fished for salmon in the streams of the region.

The sites of the Old Kuskuskai seem to resemble Northern Puebloan sites more than Dena or Irikyaku in the tools and technology used which show their influence yet still have their own distinct features. For instance, they constructed pit houses more akin to the Northern Puebloan pit houses rather than Dena-style pit houses. They possibly looked toward the less-threatening peoples of the south as allies or more valuable trading partners resulting in more cultural influence from the Northern Puebloans. Their style of irrigation seems akin to the Northern Puebloans as opposed to the more elaborate Irikyaku style found among the Tsupnitpelu. Further, their own styles such as palisades and watchtowers seem to spread south in Puebloan lands.

The Old Kuskuskai Culture met their demise around 1000 AD. A series of droughts in the region weakened them, while preserving the mountain-dwelling Dena. The Dena pushed south into the Kuskuskai Plain at the same time they pressed on the Tsupnitpelu. Faced with incursions on the northeast and the northwest, the OKC seems to have been destroyed or absorbed into the two invading cultures. From that point on, groups of Dena and Tsupnitpelu (the latter often led by nobility of Dena descent) struggled for control of the Kuskuskai Plain. The people of the OKC are referenced in both Dena and Tsupnitpelu stories of this period. Both groups claim they were invited to the Kuskuskai Plain by the villagers for protection against invading enemies, yet in the ensuing wars, the villagers suffered heavily with the survivors choosing to either leave or marry into lesser families while some even offered themselves as slaves for protection.

Threads of common origin, common development, common prosperity, and common issues run through any discussion of the Oasisamerican peoples and their periphery prior to the mid-12th century. These commonalities allowed them to best exploit their environment and the political situation around them, borrowing from their neighbours as needed, yet at the same time this prosperity left them just as vulnerable to the precarious environmental situation around them. To meet the challenge of the mid-12th century drought, Oasisamericans adapted locally in many ways, but one of these ways was shared amongst them. They would once again borrow from their neighbours in Fusania and Mesoamerica, and with it rise to even greater heights as the Classic Puebloan phase (1150 - 1350) began in the region. City-states like Ts'edehege and Wainom Kehk would rise to new heights, old city-states like Sh'idiichi would return from their temporary decline, and new city-states like Paquime, Onaabinkahni, and Senfolega would emerge as important players in politics both regional and beyond. The dynamicity of the region and its people was soon to unveil itself in a form far greater than ever before.


East of the American Divides, life on the Plains continued to change as a result of sustained trade and contact with Fusania in the 12th century. The three nearest groups on the other side of the mountains, the Ktanakha, Plains Salish, and Plains Dena, competed amongst each other to trade with the Tsetih'en Dena, a powerful Dena mountain confederation. As in the prior centuries, bison products provided the main trade goods from the Plains sent to people of Fusania, which otherwise were considered poor and barbaric.

However, by the 12th century, bison products increased in value on the western side of the mountains, perhaps due to increasing scarcity of bison on the Imaru Plateau. Demand for bison products and ever-increasing human population (especially in the Kuskuskai Plain) combined with competition with domestic animals nearly extirpated the bison in this area. This in turn strengthened the Tsetih'en even further and by extension, the people of the Northern High Plains. By increasing demand for bison here, these three High Plains peoples expanded south, east, and north, attempting to gain more control of bison hunting grounds. Warfare increased as they fought amongst each other in competition, or occasionally fought bands of Tsetih'en Dena who they felt cheated them in trade dealings. In particular, the Ktanakha fought extensively with the Tsetih'en over this issue, and while they never secured control of the mountain passes, they established a long-lasting enmity with the Tsetih'en which would have far greater consequences in later eras.

Other groups expanded into this area as well, seeking to gain these trade goods. Some groups of Techo, Tsad'en, and Nahane Dena from the Subarctic migrated south onto the Plains around the early 12th century, forming the Tsokanen Dena, directly ancestral to the later Southern Dena such as the Apache. Seeking to control the trade over the mountains themselves, the Tsokanen allied with the Ktanakha to attack both the Tsetih'en and other High Plains peoples. In the resulting conflicts, the Plains Salish and Plains Dena mostly scattered eastwards along the rivers of the Plains while the Tsetih'en lost control over the southernmost parts of their range. These migrations contributed further to the spreading of ideas and innovations from Fusania into the Plains.

East of this lay the villages of the Rumahkaki [16], a settled Siouan-speaking farming people culturally related to other farming peoples further east who emerged around the early 12th century as they migrated from the Misebi River. They farmed corn, sunflower, and sunchoke especially. However, the influx of Plains Salish and Plains Dena resulted in great cultural shifts to their way of life. From these western peoples, they obtained many domesticated animals, including reindeer, goats, ducks, and geese, as well as new domesticated plants such as nutsedge and biscuitroot. Like many of the Northern Plains peoples, the Rumahkaki mostly abandoned maize agriculture with its intolerance to the cold in favour of the hardier aquaculture preferred by those of the High Plains, choosing to instead invest animal and human labour in building earthworks for irrigating and flooding fields of omodaka and water amaranth alongside non-aquatic Fusanian crops.

The Rumahkaki became critical in the diffusion of Fusanian cultural traits, plants, and animals into the Plains and even further beyond as their land sat at the crossroads of the continent. As their main towns sat at the center of important trade routes which linked the continent, the Rumahkaki encountered peoples from all over, from the Innu further north to the Sahnish in the south to the Hiratsa and Dakhota in the east. Ideas, animals, and plants increased the speed of their spread during the early 12th century as burgeoning populations (thanks to the new domesticates and warmer climate of the Medieval Warm Period) and increased mobility thanks to new domesticates brought more and more people from further and further away along these routes.

The Rumahkaki and their easterly Siouan neighbours like the Hiratsa and Dakhota became the most acculturated to the aquaculture brought from the west. Possessing ample streams and for the Dakhota, plenty of rainfall, Fusanian crops replaced maize agriculture (itself only recently established) in these peoples in the 11th and 12th centuries. In rockier areas, reindeer and goat pastoralism dominated, while in the better lakes and rivers they grew typical Fusanian plants such as omodaka and water amaranth. To this, they added the local plant known as Vinland rice (Zizania palustris), an aquatic plant growing in some streams, ponds, and lakes. Already an important plant staple, they adapted omodaka cultivation techniques to Vinland rice to increase yields and in time, domesticate this plant.

Yet conflicts were emerging. From the south, Caddoan-speaking peoples like the Sahnish followed the warming climate north and started migrating into the lands of the Rumahkaki and their allies. And from the north and east, Algonquian-speaking peoples and newer groups of Siouan-speakers also began moving into these lands in a process related to both the cultural changes brought by the Dena and others and internal issues in the great Misebian civilisation and its cultural offshoots. Further, the burgeoning population produced additional social stress as well as the need to co-ordinate the building of earthworks. Thus, proto-states led by increasingly powerful chieftains began to emerge in the fertile valleys of parts of the Upper Nisatcha as well as the Minesa [17] inspired by the Misebian polities to their southeast.

The Caddoan homeland along the river valleys in the Central and Southern Plains faced changes from the West as well. While these river valleys remained under the cultural influence of the powerful Misebian states to their east, a few Fusanian innovations appeared including domesticated forms of tehi for fiber ànd metalworking (although the Central Plains imported much of their metal goods). Although aquaculture only arrived in this part of the Plains in later centuries, land crops like domesticated biscuitroot and nutsedge spread to this region by the 12th century. Most importantly, the system of crop rotation involving the semi-domesticated prairie turnip used on the Northern Plains spread south to the area. Although prairie turnips took two years to mature, the nutrition and calories they contained as well as their nitrogen fixing abilities boosted the health of the Plains villages and allowed for greater population densities than ever. Nearly every village ensured that some land always grew over with prairie turnips.

Like elsewhere on the Plains, farming villages frequently traded with groups who specialised in hunting and gathering as part of a mutual symbiosis--the farmers gained valuable protein and animal products, the hunters gained valuable carbohydrates from village crops. The influx of Fusanian ideas resulted in a great change for the nomadic groups as pastoralism arrived on the Plains. Although too southerly for reindeer, this region did easily permit towey goat pastoralism. These marginal people easily adopted the shift, with similar consequences to that on the High Plains centuries earlier. Towey goats were easier to raise than dogs, produced valuable wool, and could be used to haul goods such as bison meat. Some semi-sedentary groups even raised flocks of geese and ducks. Although Plains villagers often raised these animals as well, the pastoralists owned more animals and became better at breeding them, resulting in this mutual exchange continuing in even greater form as the larger, more diverse village economies swapped both food and crafts for goats, fowl, and the old standby of bison products.

The increased labour--man and animal--available on the Plains allowed for a greater influx of trade through the area. While the Rumahkaki became the most powerful traders due to their position on the Nisatcha, proximity to Fusanian wealth, and wealth in reindeer, the people of the Central Plains prospered as well. Like all Plains cultures, they served as middlemen between powerful states like Mihithega and places to their east. The Central Plains sat on the emerging trade route linking the shells and bronze traded from powerful cities like Ch'ayapachis and Pasnomsono in South Fusania to the gold and silver of the Woshu lands to the goats of the Nama and Northern Puebloan lands to Plains and Lower Misebi. At the eastern fringe of the Plains, local cultures prospered greatly and began to develop the stratification and complexity associated with the Misebians to their east. The Central Plains Misebian culture, centered around the prominent Arikiritsiki state, emerged in the early 12th century as a prominent regional development [18]. This city traded and competed with Mihithega to the east and especially its cultural relative Nakuhmitsa to the south. [19]

On the Southern Plains, related Caddoan peoples similarly thrived thanks to the changes coming from their north and east. They adopted metalworking and some Fusanian crops like domesticated tehi for fiber, biscuitroot, and nutsedge, although the most important in this regards was the innovation was the cultivation of prairie turnips which like in the Central Plains helped spark an increase in population density thanks to improving the basic maize agriculture being practiced. The Southern Plains also borrowed domesticated ducks and geese from their neighbours, although due to its warm summers, deer population, and cultural resistance, the area remained south of the Renaud line until the 13th century thus towey goats were not raised until then.

Despite lacking this key animal, the Southern Plains thrived due to the increasing prosperity of the Puebloan lands and beyond. As middlemen, they traded bison robes for fine bows made of sturdy Osage orange from the east and metal goods from the Puebloan peoples. Sometimes goods from even further away like shells or metal goods from the Pacific Coast crossed into these Southern Plains villages, such as the famous Quiviran axe, a richly decorated 12th century Pasnomsono-made bronze axe discovered by 16th century explorers in an abandoned village in this region. Many of the Southern Plains peoples exhibited cultural traits of both the Puebloans and the Misebians and formed a transitional zone of sorts between the two great civilisations.

Around the mid-12th century, towey goats arrived in this region, prompting new social changes as a herding culture developed who moved their goats into the cooler highlands in the summer and river valleys in the winter. This enabled much greater mobility in goods between the emerging city states of the Caddoan Misebian culture such as Nateshu [20] and above all, Nakuhmitsa, whose ruling class early on successfully exploited and controlled these trade routes to acquire significant wealth. With their rich land bringing bountiful harvests of sunflowers, maize, and prairie turnips, and being among the southermost groups to raise goats, they became one of the most powerful and wealthy groups among all the Misebians, drawing many immigrants from all over.

Upper Misebian

At the fringe of the Misebian world lay cultures influenced by the Misebians, but far different. Some resembled the Woodland cultures of previous centuries more than the organised states developing at places like Mihithega. Mostly speakers of Chiwere and Dahkota Siouan languages, these people likewise came under the influence of their western cousins and the Innu to their north early on and began adapting Fusanian-derived innovations to their cultures.

The year 1100 conventionally marks the beginning of the Upper Misebian stage, a collection of related cultures displaying a few common traits. The Upper Misebians show a firm transition to a primarily aquaculture-based civilisation around this date thanks to their increasing reliance on river turnip and omodaka as staples as well as the local adoption of wild rice as a major secondary staple combined with decreasing reliance on maize. They continued farming squash, but similarly mostly abandoned beans, preferring a crop rotation system with the prairie turnip instead for additional protein, vitamins, and health of the soil. They facilitated this change by the increasing raising of ducks, geese, towey goats, and above all, reindeer from their neighbours.

They mostly abandoned the construction of effigy mounds as their ancestors built, instead raising earthwork mounds higher and higher. They arranged these mounds in complex patterns and meticulously planned their construction, seemingly as a way to consecrate a ruler or a town site. The largest centers of the Upper Misebian eventually radiated out from a few central mounds in complex geometry. It seems the animal power available to their elite allowed such a dramatic development in art and architecture.

Like those to their south, the Upper Misebians organised their society with strict hierarchies, the highest being the priests and the rulers of the city-states. This marked a dramatic change from the more egalitarian societies in the region which proceeded the Upper Misebian period. The rulers of these city-states theoretically held near absolute power over their subjects as priest-kings who made the crops grow and tamed the rivers. While some archaeologists and historians critique the term "Upper Misebian" due to the rather different material culture and distinct lifestyle based on aquaculture compared to other Misebians, the term remains in common use thanks to the similar organised nature of their societies, related religious cults practiced by both groups, and common construction of mounds.

Their greatest development came in the form of metalworking. They mined silver and especially copper in abundance, smelting and casting it into all sorts of tools and statuary which became high-valued trade goods, although just as often they exported the raw substance to Mihithega or another major center to the south. Unlike prior copper-working cultures in the region, the Upper Misebians possessed a more utilitarian view on metal tools, using them for anything they felt they could--no doubt a worldview inherited from Innu and Dena influence.

Most of the Upper Misebians lived in small villages comparable to those of their ancestors, but larger cities were emerging, key among these Ohese, the chief center of the Pasucha and the incipient city-state around the sacred mountain Khemnitchan which became known after it [21]. These centers may have had over two thousand people each even as early as the 12th century and were marked by increasingly elaborate networks of effigy mounds and platform mounds.

Middle Misebian

In the 12th century, no city north of Mesoamerica was larger or more vibrant than Mihithega. Spread out over kilometers of land on a bend in the Misebi River not far from where it meets the Nisatcha, the city stood dominant over a vast commercial empire, and to a lesser extent, a political one. Goods came from as far as the Gulf and Atlantic coast, the Southwest, the Imaru basin, and even Markland in the trading networks across the continent, trading networks which converged on this city. Over twenty thousand people called the city home in this golden era, working, living, and dying in the gaze of its colossal earthen pyramid over thirty meters high, capped off by a massive temple where its rulers worshipped. Tradition holds that upon the construction of this pyramid, the ruler of the city changed its name to Mihithega, meaning "here the sun rests", a reference to the vast amount of spiritual power the rulers channeled.

Mihithega's rulers exerted their force economically moreso than politically, forming a loose hegemony as far south as the Tennessee River and as far north as Vikingsborg [22]. Their rulers could throw their spiritual and secular weight behind any dispute they knew of to keep trade goods flowing and the city rich. At the same time, they ruled several nearby towns and villages with much more severity, demanding their assistance in keeping their city fed and supplied in exchange for being allowed to partake in its religious rituals. It's small local empire gladly acquiesced to these demands, since Mihithega's trade network allowed even poorer farmers to gain unprecedented wealth and most importantly, religious favour with the ruler and priests of Mihithega.

Many diverse peoples consciously emulated the styles outflowing from Mihithega, and Mihithegan traders and other elites gladly encouraged such developments. Older cities like the Choyaha centers of Yunenekho and Jonachiha in the south or especially the center of Vikingsborg in the north in the lands of the Pasucha became increasingly acculturated and influenced by these Mihithegans [23]. Mihithega's rulers eagerly attracted immigrants from all over the land to live within sight of its grand pyramid in exchange for working the land, working in crafts, or simply becoming a servant to their elite.

The Misebians of Mihithega adopted some elements originating in Fusania. Towey goats make their appearance around 1100 AD, earlier than anywhere else in the region, and ducks and geese soon followed. They adopted some Fusanian aquaculture, perhaps brought by immigrants from elsewhere, but their strains of river turnip and omodaka remained unproductive compared to the vast quantities of maize that fed them. Mihithegans preferred prairie turnips from the High Plains and nutsedge more than other Fusanian crops thanks to their familiarity, high yield, and nutritional value. Just as importantly, the Mihithegans began to smelt and cast copper into all manner of implements, a technique borrowed from those to their north. This helped improve the diet of its people, and the manure produced from goats and fowl allowed for increased yields and replenishment of the soil in the region.

The golden age of the Middle Misebians--Mihithega, its satellites, its allies, and its rivals--likely exceeded even the contemporary civilisation of the Imaru Basin and Furuge Coast in terms of productivity and demographics with only Wayam even beginning to approach Mihithega in size and prosperity. Millions of people lived in this portion of the Misebi, Nisatcha, and Ohio and their tributaries, and beyond it millions more otherwise lived in their cultural sphere or otherwise borrowed greatly from them. Direct contact between the two civilisations never occurred, but Mihithegan stoneware appears in Wayamese and other Fusanian cities much the same as copper artifacts and shells from Wayam and other Fusanian centers appears in Middle Misebian sites.

Yet Mihithega's golden age was limited. The northern cultures, grouped under the term Upper Misebian--were slowly but surely gaining advantages Mihithega lacked, from their extensive use of reindeer to their adoption and innovation on Dena and Innu earthworking styles. These people borrowed Fusanian innovations much earlier, giving them a head start. More crucially, they held the advantage both economically with their rich copper mines as well as in terms of labour thanks to their reindeer.

Ecology weighed against Mihithega. Flooding threatened the city periodically, causing great damage, while the excessive maize agriculture slowly began exhausting the soils. The smelting and metal casting that became preferred over prior means of copper working demanded more wood than ever, forcing Mihithega to seek the wood from further away. Mihithega began to import much more copper from the north with economic satellites like Vikingsborg leading the way. Vikingsborg seems to have grown increasingly militant over the 12th century, attempting to coerce greater and greater tributes of copper from its satellites.

Around 1149, in a foreshadowing of the wars between some Upper Misebian peoples and Mihithegans, the Pasucha besieged Vikingsborg and sacked the city and massacred its populace. The original inhabitants vanished into history, perhaps absorbed by the Pasucha or neighbouring peoples or even fled south to Mihithega. Centuries later, the Pasucha told what became the traditional story of Vikingsborg to Norse fur-traders. According to them, rich and powerful men from elsewhere set themselves up as rulers in this village, trading with the Pasucha to become even wealthier. Their village became a powerful city, exerting dominance over many nearby towns and villages. Yet their rulers grew increasingly wicked, interested in only enriching themselves and others, lacking any care for the welfare of people, animals, or the land. They committed atrocities against those who resisted, including even cannibalism. A faction of defectors calling themselves the Pasucha ("red faces") gained strength and eventually defeated and utterly annihilated their oppressors. The Norse believed these oppressors to have been their own ancestors (with the Pasucha naturally exaggerating their misdeeds) and thus named the ruins Vikingsborg.

Southeastern Woodlands

Many different Misebian cultures emerged in the Southeast in the 12th century, from those in the Tennessee and Choyaha Basin which displayed great influence from Mihithega, to the ones of the Nigutcha and Pahateno [24] which were closely related to the Caddoan Misebians of Nakuhmitsa, and those in the hot and flat plains of the Gulf and Lower Misebi, the Natchez Misebian, so named for the group who inhabited many (but not all) of its most prominent cities. These Misebians borrowed much from Mihithega, being influenced by Mihithegan traders who often visited these sites to in some cases being economic satellites of Mihithega, such as the city-state of Yunenekho. Many times people from these cities and villages spent years in Mihithega and its environs, living, trading, and worshipping, and taking home goods of great value back to their homeland. By this means and others, Middle Misebian culture spread and the local variations noted here emerged. Although in the mid-12th century this region was very incipient and had yet to reach the heights of the moundbuilding, river-shaping, great trading cultures it became in later centuries, the elements were slowly falling into place at this time.

A variety of cultures contributed to these civilisations, such as the Choyaha on the river later named for them and Tennessee, the eponymous Natchez of the Natchez Misebian, and the Tunica along the basin of the Nigutcha and Pahateno all of whom spoke language isolates with no known relations. A few Siouan-speaking groups like the Taneksa lived alongside the Tunica, while south of the Choyaha lived a number of Muscogean-speaking peoples centered around their major city-states of Wewoka and Okaholla [25], the latter one of the largest cities in Eastern North America at the time. The latter state exploded onto the scene through the brilliance of its founding rulers who conquered numerous towns in the vicinity.

These cultures followed in the wake of Mihithega's innovations, but often kept to local traditions simply out of how novel they were at Mihithega. They intensified maize and other Three Sisters agriculture but conducted almost no aquaculture compared to even the minimal amount done at Mihithega and its neighbours although they borrowed domesticated Fusanian forms of nutsedge for food and tehi for fiber. Waterfowl domestication came from Mihithega as well and became eagerly adopted by the Southern Misebians, but towey goats remained absent for another century. The Southern Misebian peoples adopted metalworking from Mihithega by the mid-12th century but conducted little mining of their own, mostly reshaping older goods. The Southern Misebian cultures similarly adopted many material traits of Mihithegan religion, although in the 12th century they did not attempt to construct anything as impressive as the Grand Mound at Mihithega.

In general, the greater one traveled from Mihithega the less influence from that place--and beyond it, Fusania--one observed. The Misebians of the Tennessee and Choyaha valleys and adjacent Choyaha Plateau exhibited many Mihithegan traits and became the first in the region to use extensive metalworking after around 1100, as evidenced by their many copper goods. Their houses tended to be built in similar fashion to Mihithega, and their polities such as Yunenekho, Wewoka, and Jonachiha exhibited similar social stratification and patterns of organisation. They were perhaps some of Mihithega's greatest imitators, although they displayed many qualities of their own such as their tradition of stone box graves where they buried their dead in stone coffins often filled with expensive goods.

Similarly, those in the lowlands in the lower Nigutcha and Pahateno and immediately across the Misebi in places like the city state of Ohoshetak [26] acquired metal-working around 1100, borrowing from the Mihithegans much as their eastern neighbours did. Yet they also borrowed the increasingly elaborate Mihithegan earthworks and turned them toward taming the unpredictable Misebi by constructing levees and dikes around their larger villages. This effort required great communal effort and perhaps distracted many of these people away from building ceremonial mounds. The effort directed toward taming the river opened much of the rich and highly fertile soil of their homeland for farming, but in addition to increasing maize farming, these Misebians imported much of Mihithega's rudimentary aquaculture. In addition, they established good links with towey goat pastoralists in the Washita Mountains to their northwest and every winter conducted extensive trade with them, often having them assist with the construction and repair of their levees before the spring floods.

Those in the southernmost parts like the Natchez or Muskogean speakers gained mainly economic influence from Mihithega, as they developed their own agricultural economies by increasing markedly production of maize in part to meet the demand of elites for goods they could use to trade for Mihithegan wares. They worked only imported metals and only raised water fowl as the area was far too hot for towey goats. They did not manipulate the rivers as much as those to their north and instead devoted their efforts on raising impressive ceremonial mounds, which tended to be solely for elite and religious purposes with most of their population living well away in smaller villages. The amount of swamps in their land made aquaculture still very feasible, however, and these Misebians thus incorporated crops like water amaranth and omodaka into their diet as much as their northerly neighbours. Notably, these Misebians lived within the range that yaupon grew--this caffeinated herb related to South American yerba mate served as a key ingredient in the ritual "black drink" consumed at ceremonies and thus served as an important export to the rest of the Misebian world.

Tehi, a common crop raised by Southern Misebians, became an important facet of some economies. It produced all manner of clothes, blankets, and other cloth, which some wove mixed with towey goat wool and many types of dyes to produce all manner of clothing for peasants and elite alike. Perhaps its most notably use was facilitating the spread of sailing through the rivers. Misebian sails seem to derive ultimately from similar small riverboats used by the Dena, transmitted via the Innu. The Misebians found that boats equipped with sails could save the crew much labour as they rowed and were more manueverable than their previous riverboats. With the increased volume of trade in the region, larger boats with larger crews plied the rivers of the region. While the Mihithegans certainly used boats in this manner, the Southern Misebians and in particular those along the Gulf Coast became the finest mariners on river and sea in Eastern North America.

Great Lakes and Northeastern Woodlands

East of the great Middle Mississippian civilisation and north of those of the Choyaha Plateau lay an eclipsed civilisation. In the past, the people of the Upper Ohio formed the nucleus of a great civilisation at the center of a trading network that stretched across much of Eastern North America and onto the Plains. Cultures influenced by them constructed numerous mounds, including effigy mounds. While they never developed sites as large as Mihithega with powerful rulers and the cultural pull related to that, they still exerted their own outsized influence as the Mihithega of their day until their terminal decline in the Late Antique Little Ice Age. The cultures of the years 500 - 1000 AD never held that sort of influence, and the rise of the Misebians in the early 2nd millennium seemed like their eclipse would be terminal. Although they continued building mounds, living in sizable villages of a few hundred people, and trading across a still-sizable area, their society lacked the strong organisation found in the Misebians.

Yet these people--almost all of Algonquian or Iroquoian ethnolinguistic affiliation with a few distinct Siouan groups at the periphery--possessed the critical advantage of geography that like the Northern Misebians allowed them to reshape their societies as equally splended mirrors of the Middle Misebians. To the south and east lay early examples of successful and prosperous polities like early Mihithega, while to the north lay the reindeer-herding Innu and those Algonquians and Iroquoians who increasingly began to adopt aquaculture and pastoralism. This permitted their Late Woodland culture to follow a unique path to development that posed unique challenges in exchange for granting great prosperity.

Key Fusanian traits (borrowed from the Dena) such as metalworking, aquaculture, and waterfowl, goat, and reindeer spread west to east in the Innu starting in the early 9th century and by the early 12th century transformed the entirety of the Vinlandic Shield. The Innu struck south in these years and often after, seeking new pastures and hunting grounds for their reindeer and occasional goats. Like the Dena did on the other side of North America many centuries before, they fought many battles against those to the south and often assumed authority over sedentary villages, but unlike the Dena, Eastern North America was better prepared for the influx of northern reindeer herders. Larger agricultural populations bolstered by the Medieval Warm Period and perhaps most importantly, stronger local populations of deer to decimate Innu herds kept the Innu influx localised and tame compared to the more violent Dena incursions. Many Innu bands peacefully--or not--merged with their distant Algonquian kinsmen or Iroquoian and Siouan peoples to create cultural fusion and transmission of key concepts.

The early spread of Fusanian influences amongst the Innu and Northern Misebians combined with some migration and extensive trade from the south and west helped lead to a paradigm shift by the mid-12 century in this area. Population density markedly increases throughout the region and new forms of earthworks arose based on Innu designs meant to tame the streams and rivers to enable more efficient aquaculture. At the same time, Fusanian plants such as tehi start being grown for fiber as omodaka, river turnip, water amaranth, and uniquely Vinland rice begin to take over as the main staples in the diet restricting maize, beans, and squash to fairly limited use (often for religious use) due to being less optimal fits for the climate. Much of the spread of this culture occurs on a northwest to southeast axis based on the migrations and trade routes of the Innu.

Like elsewhere in North America, the Andvik-Renaud lines strongly affected local and regional characteristics and development both economically and culturally. South of the Andvik line in the Great Lakes and Northeastern Woodlands, most of the cultures spoke Siouan languages with a few Algonquian and Iroquoian holdouts, while north of it cultures exclusively spoke Algonquian and Iroquoian languages. Similarly, the cultures north of the Andvik line like the Menominee in the northern Great Lakes developed much earlier than those south of it thanks to earlier metalworking technology and especially earlier access to reindeer. Like in Fusania, the mountains shaped this spread of these new cultures. The ancestors of the Chonnonton seem to have departed their lands along the Lower Great Lakes under Innu pressure in the early 11th century and their associated culture reached south toward the later Andvik Line through much of the higher Appalachians during the 12th century onwards.

Not only did the Menominee have reindeer, but they lived atop some of the richest copper deposits in the Americas, and among the first worked thanks to the Old Copper Culture thousands of years before this sudden shift. Copper-working died out in this area perhaps because of over-exploitation of available native copper and lack of mining and smelting technology. The Menominee fixed both of these problems, developing rudimentary copper mines and exploiting less pure deposits of ore to produce numerous copper goods which they frequently traded south to the Misebians. The Innu heritage of this art caused them to develop an equal appreciaton for its use in tools and other technology as in art, in contrast to how traditionally they preferred copper mainly for artistic and decorative use. Other copper mining cultures in the area would develop similarly, seemingly inspired by the Menominee.

In the 12th century, while population density began increasing markedly throughout the Northeast due to this, other aspects remained similar. The density of villages increased, but the size remained consistent--several hundred people--across much of the area. Further, stratification remains fairly light and little sign of an elite class appears, in stark contrast to the Misebians. Villages perhaps grouped into confederations under elected chiefs to organise earthwork construction as well as warfare. However, some groups of people, like the Misebian-influenced Siouans on the Upper Ohio bucked this trend, developing into stratified chiefdoms with a few key centers of over 1,000 people emerging. Many of the reindeer herding cultures such as the Menominee and their Algonquian neighbours to their east likewise developed a level of stratification and a ruling class based on access to reindeer and the need to control deforestation and especially earthwork construction which similarly created paramount centers. Ultimately, these trends spread eastwards in coming centuries.

In some ways, this emerging culture resembled early Fusania with its focus on omodaka aquaculture, earthworks, and the raising of reindeer and towey goats, although socially it was less stratified than those early Fusanian towns and lacked as strong ruling dynasty which those early towns had. In many other ways these people distinguished themselves. Many groups displayed a cultural fixation on the undomesticated Vinland rice which led them to optimise their earthworks and flooded fields to produce gently flowing water that the plant needed to thrive which limited the amount of domesticated omodaka grown. They thus preferred sites on the shores of lakes and lesser rivers for their villages, and some lakes in this area became quite densely populated with the number of villages around them. Maize seemed to culturally fill the role of camas in Fusania over much of this land, while sunflowers held great cultural pull as they did elsewhere.

Thanks to the Innu and ultimately to Fusanian influence, the seeds had been planted for the renewal of the once influential cultures of the Northeastern Woodlands. The Woodland period in the Middle Misebi and in the Great Lakes and Northeast appeared similar on the first glance but by the 12th century resulted in two cultural areas wildly diverging in lifestyles and culture even as they blended with each other and exchanged ideas at the fringes. Despite their temporary eclipse, the cultures of the Great Lakes and Northeast seemed like they'd once more exert some form of dominance over the land be it economically or otherwise as the future looked bright and their potential endless.

Further Afield

The further south and further east one went, the less influences from Fusania appeared. Before the 14th century, the Mocaman cultures of the coast and their northern neighbours of the South Appalachian Misebian exhibited very few distinctive Fusanian traits, be it animals domesticated there, metalworking, or the sort of waterworks which ultimately have their origins in Fusania. This made the South Appalachian Misebian perhaps the most distinct of Misebian cultures, linked primarily by the commonality of their architecture, art, and ceremony yet possessing distinct modes of life. These Misebians allow one to take a glance into an alternate path of development of the broader Misebian phenomena. During the 12th century, these cultures continued developing complexity and organised city-states, but lacking the innovations of other Misebian groups they must have been seen as backwards by their cultural kin. Indeed, they often traded with their non-Misebian neighbours on their north, south, and east rather than with other cultural Misebians.

In the furthest south, beyond the deserts of Aridoamerica in Mesoamerica, one likewise also found few influences of the radical changes occurring far to its north during much of the 12th century. It seems the Chichimecs of Aridoamerica offered little to the Mesoamericans in terms of societal innovation. Although in the 12th century various tribes of Nahua origin flooded into the Valley of Mexico, they already had long become "Mesoamericanised" in outlook and worldview. They did not raise mallards, preferring instead native Muscovy ducks, and would not acquire the Indian goose for another century. In other fields, the Mesoamericans worked copper and precious metals just as well as the Chichimecs so they had no need to borrow that either.

However, one critical trade connection began between Fusanians and Mesoamericans in the 12th century, as Guasave greatly expanded its trade with Far South Fusania and the cities of the Lower Anquon and its tributaries. Its port played host to a variety of different groups from both the north in Oasisamerica and Far South Fusania and the south in Mesoamerica, which gave it its common description as the "northernmost Mesoamerican state". Here the north met the south, as northerners exchanged turquoise, animals, and finished goods from Oasisamerica and South Fusania (including evidently fine tools of Pasnomsono manufacture) for Mesoamerica's bounty of its own finished goods, tropical birds, cacao, and cotton.

Guasave was part of a larger region called in later times Aztatlan by the dominant Nahua of the Valley of Anahuac. Lacking political and cultural unity due to the topography, they spoke a variety of Uto-Aztecan languages and possessed a broadly similar culture with their local focus being the river valleys of their region. Compared to the lesser developed peoples north of them, the valleys of Aztatlan possessed thriving economies and must have seemed to be among the wealthiest cities of the world to those northern peoples who came there, although travelers from elsewhere in Mesoamerica likely disagreed.

For Guasave and the cities of the valleys immediately to the south, they became especially fortunate amongst the cities of Aztatlan as they became the first to benefit from the innovations Fusania offered. From Fusania, twelfth-century Guasave served as the primary conduit from which geese, ducks, and chuckwallas entered Mesoamerica. Agricultural innovations spread forth from here as well, as omodaka, valley turnip, and mesquites began to be grown by the peoples of Aztatlan in their river valleys, slowly diffusing southwards and inwards from there. Yet perhaps the most important innovation spread from Fusania was the sail and maritime innovation. The people of Aztatlan no doubt always noticed the Haiyi's sailcraft (inherited from Chumic and Wakashan peoples), and in time, they themselves would take up sailing to become some of the finest mariners of the Mesoamerican world, a development of incredible importance in the future.
Author's Notes

Many of these toponyms I've coined myself, as I've done occasionally elsewhere. I've taken the liberty of using certain languages to represent certain groups of people--most of the time its based on the guesswork of archaeologists attempting to tie historic cultures to prehistoric places. Obviously we don't know what the people of Cahokia, Moundville, or Chaco Canyon called themselves or even what language they spoke but some theories seem better than others. I'm not the best with linguistics so these probably sound rather strange, are likely grammatically incorrect, or are incredibly mundane toponyms for such fascinating places.

I chose the mid-12th century for this overview because it's the earliest you can really see the butterflies start affecting the great civilisations of North America. By this time, agricultural innovations, metalworking, and especially domesticated animals are beginning to make their appearance and start reshaping cultures. It's especially fortunate that the 12th century, especially in Oasisamerica, saw great changes to local cultures for a variety of reasons, namely drought or simple societal evolution. Thus, the stage is set for a great restructuring of civilisation which causes them to emerge even stronger in centuries to come.

Most are still relatively unchanged from OTL, since the biggest influencers are at the fringes of Fusania--the Dena (and the Innu, among the first outside Fusania to be influenced), the Haiyi, the Tsupnitpelu, the Woshu, etc. But certainly any resident from OTL's cultures would notice some key differences that feel strangely out of place (i.e. metalworking, foods, animals) in TTL's equivalents. Some cultures like the ATL Upper Mississippian cultures, many Plains cultures, Fort Ancient (and the Northeastern Woodlands in general) or the Fremont are changed far greater due to their proximity to Fusanian influences and some are would be unrecognisable to their OTL kin.

This of course makes these cultures a lot easier to write about since I'm not just restating archaeological and historical evidence about them while adding notes about Fusanian crops or metalworking. For most of these cultures, that's just the initial seeds, though in the case of the more fringe cultures or those who would benefit extensively (i.e. like those too far north to be able to rely on maize) those seeds are already beginning to form a field of possibilities. Eventually, all of these cultures should be easy to write about like that and rather changed from OTL since the butterflies are going to start piling up. I mostly ignored the southern parts of Aridoamerica, the coastal Southeastern Woodlands (modern Florida through Maryland), Mesoamerica, and the Caribbean since few, if any butterflies have reached that far and the cultures are more or less the same. As you might suspect, that will change soon. However, this timeline is centered around Fusania, so we likely won't check back for another 100-150 years to see the seeds blossom and the butterflies truly going wild.

I've tried to avoid giving away too much about the "future" of TTL (in large part because I don't actually have it planned out outside of Vinland's importance) but in some cases used OTL names, here mostly for rivers and some ethnic groups, and the language the toponym/ethnonym is from as a loanword can be seen as giving clues here and there. It's very important to realise that although English, Spanish, French, Norse, or for that matter Chinese and Japanese names for peoples, places, etc. appear frequently, it isn't implying we'll get near-total annihilation of natives like in OTL US or Canada, the brutal subjugation and cultural fusion as seen in much of Latin America, or even the comparatively "softer" colonialism in much of Asia and Africa. All it implies--and all I'll say for is that yes, Europe and Asia gets involved in some form or another.

This is the end of Part One of this TL. We will return to North Fusania and the Imaru Basin for a while to show the rise of their own city-states and the groundwork for the first "empire" in the region. At some point I'll also discuss the individual cultures (i.e. Aipakhpam/Aihamu, the Namal/Namaru, the Whulchomic peoples, the [Interior] Salishan peoples, the Amim/Amimu, the Valley Tanne, the Tsupnitpelu) of the "civilised" world to give a greater feel for them. I plan for Part Two of the TL will focus especially on Wayam and the Aipakhpam people.

Thanks for reading and comments are always appreciated!

[1] - It seems fair to compare OTL Southwestern cultures like the earliest Hohokam, Mogollon, and Puebloans of 500 BC - early centuries AD to something like the Marpole Culture, especially when the latter TTL goes down the route toward agriculture (much as was occurring in the Southwest at the time)
[2] - These are the Ancestral Puebloans, Hohokam, Mogollon, and Fremont cultures respectively. Here, greater trade links between the groups and larger population sizes (particularly in the latter) result in archaeologists preferring a directional terminology.
[3] - Similar to OTL's Patayans and with the same name origin but radically diverging thanks to Fusanian influences. The Anquon/Ankuang River is the Colorado, from a Chinese adaption of a Yuman word for it (loaned in English via Spanish).
[4] - Lake Pang is a Chinese modification of an indigenous term for Lake Cahuilla, the ancestral Salton Sea. The Ancin is the Gila River, from a Chinese adaption of a Yuman word for it (loaned in TTL's English via Spanish).
[5] - The Payi (called Mutipi in their own language, Payi being the Chinese exonym) are the ATL Kumeyaay/Diegueño people, a Yuman-speaking group. The Chinese consider them a Haiyi people, but distinct from the more eastern Haiyi.
[6] - While it's debateable whether the Hohokam were Piman/O'odham, I have chosen to represent some of their more famous places by Piman names. Aki Wamad is Snaketown while Wainom Kehk is Casa Grande
[7] - Am Kukui is Pueblo Grande and Wecho Chekshani is the Gatlin Site near Gila Bend, AZ
[8] - Rio Bravo/Rio Grande, a fusion of Spanish and English
[9] - Ts'edehege is Mesa Verde and Sh'idiichi is Chaco Canyon, the former Tewa, the latter Keresan, going by theories as to the predominant (but by no means only) linguistic group who may have lived there.
[10] - Respectively cultures akin to the OTL Opatas, Guarijos, Tepehuans/Lower Pimans and Tarahumara
[11] - One theory holds the Mimbres culture (and some other Mogollon culture peoples) represent ancestral Zuni people. Piasihlito is Swarts Ruin near Faywood, NM. The Huequane River is the Mimbres River, named for a Hispanified Zuni word meaning "silver".
[12] - Richfield, UT, Cedar City, UT and Lehi, UT respectively
[13] - The Kaikwu are an alt-Kiowa, in particular more settled Kiowa. Fevauel is the Green River in Wyoming and Utah, and Senfolega is Vernal, UT
[14] - OTL this area likely had a curious mix of people in Fremont culture times, including the Kiowa (who later migrated to the Northern Plains), other Puebloans like the Hopi, and plenty of Numic-speaking groups who often blended and melded with Numic-speakers from further west but their material culture tended to be fairly homogenous.
[15] - An ATL archaeological culture, essentially an evolution of OTL peoples on the Snake River Plain as they became acculturated to influences from the Irikyaku culture (centered around the Imaru Plateau) and invading Dena peoples--some were pushed south into the desert, others were absorbed into the Tsupnitpelu or Dena.
[16] - The ATL Mandan people, who TTL left the east a bit earlier
[17] - The Nisatcha is the Missouri River while the Minesa is the Red River of the North
[18] - Arikiritsiki is the OTL Cloverdale site near St. Joseph, MO and its culture, the Steed-Kisker culture, which TTL has developed along far more Mississippian lines and greatly increased in population density, wealth, and organisation so much it is instead called "Central Plains Mississippian" and is a cultural relative of the Caddoan Mississippian to its south.
[19] - Nakuhmitsa is the Spiro Mounds in Spiro, OK and Mihithega is Cahokia in Cahokia, IL, two of the most prominent sites of Mississippian culture
[20] - Nateshu is the Harlan Site in Cherokee County, OK
[21] - Ohese is just downstream from Hanover, IL along the Apple River, which was a major site during Oneota times. Khemnitchan is Red Wing, MN, a major Oneota culture site. The sacred mountain in question is Barn Bluff, which I have used the name to refer to the city itself (much as Wayam, the name of the falls, became the name of the city there).
[22] - Vikingsborg is the Aztalan Mounds in Wisconsin
[23] - The Choyaha are the alt-Yuchi and Yunenekho is Mound Bottom, TN while Jonachiha is Castalian Springs, TN. The Pasucha are a Chiwere-speaking people (literally "red faces") and Vikingsborg is the Aztalan Mounds in WI
[24] - The Choyaha is the Cumberland River while the Nigutcha is the Arkansas River (from a Dhegihan Siouan language), while the Pahateno is the Red River (from Caddoan)
[25] - Wewoka is Florence, AL and Okaholla is Moundville in Alabama--both were sites of some note in 12th century Alabama
[26] - Ohoshetak is the Winterville Site in Washington County, MS
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