great update and you know the spanish are gonna make a beanline there the second they here of more gold north, though unless we see the emergnce of a some type of empire in this region then it will very hard to go through all those tribes but that a long way coming so sort of mute to speculate on
were gonna see iron discovered here aren't we? and produced on it own? by natives instead of trading like the norse out east
great update and you know the spanish are gonna make a beanline there the second they here of more gold north, though unless we see the emergnce of a some type of empire in this region then it will very hard to go through all those tribes but that a long way coming so sort of mute to speculate on
As I mentioned earlier, the Puebloans work gold and silver too, making the Seven Cities of Cibola a little more real TTL. The Patayans and other South Fusanians also have plenty of gold and silver too (especially in the Kuksuist, Quaoarist, etc. lodges) so there's plenty of cultures mining and working precious metals for the Spanish or any would-be conquerer of Mesoamerica to meet long before meeting a culture of the "civilized" world.

were gonna see iron discovered here aren't we? and produced on it own? by natives instead of trading like the norse out east
It's a bit of a conceptual leap since the furnaces need to be built differently and an entirely different sort of ore smelted. Iron use in Fusania consists of recycling whatever washes up from East Asia, the very little that makes its way across the Bering Strait, and the very little that filters across the continent from the Norse outposts (and Greenlandic telluric/meteoric iron). A few smiths might be able to work whatever pure meteoritic iron they come across into something usable, but this hasn't translated into exploiting iron ores. No need to waste time on messing with those difficult ores when they have all copper, silver, and gold in the world.

So no Iron Age yet, but a Bronze Age, well...
Chapter 27-The Marshes of the Hillmen
"The Marshes of the Hillmen"

The distinction between civilised and uncivilised in Fusania evolved over centuries and was fundamentally shaped by the history, experiences, and shared culture of the peoples of the Imaru River and Furuge Sea. Like similar distinctions globally, it reflected on their chauvinism and prejudices. Who became uncivilised Hillmen was thus quite arbitrary, as many such Hillmen like the Wakashan peoples possessed very similar cultures to those of the civilised world. A fine example of this arbitrary status applied to the Maguraku people (natively called "Maqlaqs" or sometimes "Ambokni", meaning "People of Water") in the southern foothills of the Grey Mountains. Despite being a sedentary, mostly agricultural people who held similar beliefs and spirituality to the civilised peoples, they were labeled as Hillmen by all in Fusania. Yet thanks to their location in this dry southern borderland full of lakes, the Maguraku blended influences of cultures from all over and emerged as one of the most important civilisations of Fusanian history.

They lived in a land shaped by great geologic processes. Millions of years of volcanism produced great hills and mountains and lava flows full of obsidian, a critical trade resource. Earthquakes and faulting raised up great ridges and created valleys, some of which filled with water to become the many lakes and marshes of their land. Along these lakes and wetlands and the rivers which fueled them emerged the Maguraku people.

The Maguraku civilisation grew up alongside the lakes and marshes of the southern foothills of the Grey Mountains. Here, they grew wokas and later other aquatic plants and irrigated the shores of lake and river to grow fields of camas and land plants. They hunted and gathered plants and wood in the mountains, raising their herds of reindeer and later goats in this place, and occasionally did so in the drylands to their east, although the hostile Nama in this land proved to be a great barrier. At the largest lake, Lake Hewa, the great city of Ewallona, by the 12th century the most important of the Maguraku, emerged along its shores [1].

Yet the majority of Maguraku remained semi-nomadic thanks to the climate of their land. Prone to sudden cold snaps even in summer and harsh droughts, agriculture and aquaculture held inherent limits and away from water proved nearly useless. Reindeer and towey goat herding might be done in nearly the entirety of the land. These herdsmen lived in winter villages and migrated seasonally, often congregating in farming towns for trade. They frequently battled the Nama and other desert peoples over grazing lands. The leaders of these clans, often very wealthy thanks to their animals, made important allies to the nobility of the towns who married into these clans. Further, these pastoralists dominated trade amongst the Maguraku, adding more to their wealth. In sum, they formed an essential component of Maguraku society.

Ancient trading routes long connected the lands of the Maguraku to the key site of Wayam, and this helped introduce key elements of Fusanian civilisation to their culture far earlier than elsewhere. They developed pastoralism, horticultural practices, and eventually agriculture. Their key contribution to the Western Agricultural Complex was the wokas lily, which they culturally prized and grew in great number in their lakes and wetlands. At the same time, these early influences gave them an advantage over neighbours, which they used to mercilessly raid them for slaves, in particular South Fusanian peoples like the ancestors of the Natsiwi and or the Ch'arsels of the northern Central Valley. They sold the slaves amongst themselves, to the Dena, or directly to Wayam in the north along the trade route known as the White Road.

The White Road helped north and south meet. It ran from Sogolgiksi [2] in the south where it met the Black Road, up through Ewallona and the Maguraku lands and along the foothills of the mountains to the city of Wayam on the Imaru, where it split into numerous routes which carried the wealth of the Imaru Basin. Merchants carried sizable amounts of goods such as spices, slaves, metals, wood, shells, and similar products along this route on the backs of reindeer, goats, or dogs. Innovations traveled along this road as well, helping to introduce metalworking to South Fusania and oak cultivation to North Fusania. In the midst of this great trade route lay the Maguraku, absorbing innovations from every side.

At the same time, the Maguraku cultivated relations with other villages and towns in this region to gain favourable terms of trade, the most notable allies being the city of Pasnomsono and the Woshu towns at the edge of the Great Basin. The wealth of South Fusania in spices, metals, slaves, and other rare exports was too much to ignore. Similarly, the Maguraku closely allied with the Waikatanne people of the Hochine Valley, a Hill Tanne group. In the shadows of Mount Waika, the Black Road and White Road met at the Waikatanne village of Sogolgiksi which swelled during the trading season to a large temporary city [3]. Many Maguraku lived here part-time or permanently, trading with peoples from north and south at this important entrepot under the watchful eye of the Waikatanne.

Their architecture resembled no culture around it, although it was influenced by both South Fusanian and North Fusanian (Imaru Plateau) traits. They built partially underground wattle and daub houses from earth, timber, and tule with notably conical roofs. Similar, less ornate structures served for slave and animal quarters, while nobles and rulers lived in larger palaces built in a similar fashion. Buildings lacking the conical roofs and sunk even deeper into the ground were religious structures where shamans organised religious ceremonies.

Unlike the lake fleets of the Chiyatsuru, the Maguraku utilised only large canoes with a shallow draft mounting sails woven from tule mats in order to avoid the danger of running aground in the shallow water or sandbars common in the waters of their land. Still, these canoes were numerous enough that strong leaders owned many of them for shipping and warfare, and they transported cargo and men all the same.

While Maguraku diet resembled the North Fusanian diet, two key distinctions emerged. First, the Maguraku lacked common taboos against certain animals like insects and regularly consumed them as foodstuffs. Secondly, the Maguraku were noted for their extensive cultivation of wokas lily, whose center of domestication lay within their lands. They stockpiled great amounts of it for roasting or making into flour or porridge and it was nearly as important calorically as camas and omodaka. They were noted for constantly consuming a small beer made from wokas called qahwuts, which much of the wokas harvest went to producing. They produced higher alcohol versions of qahwuts as well, and as outsiders often failed to distinguish between the two, regarded the Maguraku as a race of drunkards.

Like North Fusanian religions, Maguraku religion centered around appeasing natural spirits, the acquisition of spirit power, and cults to Transformer gods who created the world and established the natural order. The foremost god was the god of the sky and sun as well as the creator, Kmok'amch, although the cult of his son, Ayisis (associated with dawn and the morning star), was equally popular. Other Transformer gods like Sqel or the Raven god Qaqamch, both known for smiting evil as agents of Kmok'amch, similarly held important cults. Worship of these gods occurred in special groves, hills, and rocks, with the greatest being at the town of Qomaksi, believed to be where Kmok'amch resided while on Earth, and Lake Giwa, where the world was destroyed by Sqel (on Kmok'amch's orders) to seal the demonic being Lewa within it [4].

The Maguraku believed Kmok'amch divided the world between the skyworld and the earth, and created the paradise of the afterlife, Nolisqani, which lay in the west. He created all the peoples of the earth from a previous creation, going to the underworld and finding bones which he mixed with the juice of berries. Kmok'amch passed down laws and taught humans everything there was to know, but if held one flaw it was the jealousy of his son, Ayisis, who learned his father's wisdom beyond anything else and became the subject of great worship amongst people. Kmok'amch never ceased in tormenting his son, and even once burnt up the world over it. Eventually, Kmok'amch left the world for in his house in the sky, his campfire becoming the sun.

The Maguraku shamans held exceptional power in their society. In every community a head shaman ranked immediately below the headman or prince. The most powerful shamans socially and spiritually were men, although female shamans often possessed the best healing skills. They coordinated religious rituals at all occasions, even accomanying warriors into battle. Shamans formed a near-hereditary profession, as the Maguraku believed strong spirit power might be inherited by children or grandchildren. Although society mandated all to at least seek spirit power, shamans possessed the strongest spirit power. They guarded their profession carefully if they felt a would-be shaman might inevitably fail in their power quest (or worse, misuse their powers), they forbade them from the most sacred places with the strongest spirit power.

As seen above, the Maguraku shared many elements of their beliefs with civilised Fusanians to their north. Yet unlike those cultures, they held little belief in dualism or the concept of Sibling Prophets. The Maguraku held little concept of balance outside of their belief in appeasing spirits by not overconsuming resources. In contrast with North Fusanians, this meant (for instance) they sacrificed slaves at every potlatch (rather than only in good years) or that a man married as many women as he pleased (rather than only four). Above anything else, this is likely why the peoples of the Imaru and Furuge considered the Maguraku a barbarian race.

The most sacred place in the Maguraku realm was Lake Giwa. Here, they believed the world was destroyed in a cataclysmic clash between the sky world and the underworld as the Transformer god Sqel sought to seal the demon Lewa within the lake. This is no doubt a tale of massive antiquity regarding the massive eruption of this volcano (and subsequent formation of a crater lake) around 4700 BC in the largest Fusanian volcanic eruption during the Holocene. The Maguraku feared and mostly avoided this lake and only this with great spiritual power (or those seeking it) approached the lake, often scaling the high cliffs and diving deep beneath its waves. Those who successfully returned they believed inevitably carried great spiritual power.

Maguraku political organisation centered around the nobles called laqyak and the rulers of places titled laqi. A laqyak referred to any rich man, although some level of heredity of that status came to exist by 11th century so even a poor man might be a laqyak. The rulers of all settlements be it a small village (including nomadic communities) or a true city like Ewallona held the title laqi before the 12th century with personal wealth and location of one's seat of power the main distinguishing traits. Councils elected the laqi, but almost always deferred to the choice of heir of the current laqi, usually his favoured son, but rarely might choose a candidate with greater skill, wealth, or persuasion making the position not entirely hereditary. This was especially true in villages, while in Ewallona or other cities the laqi there built up substantial powerbases and established lasting dynasties. For this reason, the laqi of various villages usually deferred to the laqi of larger cities.

While divided, the Maguraku always put up a united front against strong outsiders. In times of stress, the greater and lesser laqi and most powerful shamans met in councils to establish confederations. They elected a chief shaman to oversee spiritual affairs as well as an overall ruler empowered with great authority titled laqyamch. Key amongst his role was adjudicating disputes between nobles and commoners so as to direct the Maguraku people's attention against the outsiders. Membership in a confederation was voluntary, yet in these times none actively rejected it. When the danger passed (as determined by the shamans by successful victories, natural signs, and similar phenomena), the laqyamch laid down his power, although it's more accurate to say his power ceased to exist. The laqyamch always came from the larger city-states.

As mentioned, Ewallona by the end of the 11th century already had emerged as the most powerful Maguraku city-state. It rose to power thanks to its location in-between Upper Lake Hewa and Lower Lake Hewa that guaranteed ample fertile land and water as well as security from enemies. As Ewallona served as the last (or first) stopping point on the White Road, it gained a great deal of wealth through trade. It fought several wars against its chief rival, Yayak'aksaksi [5] on the northeastern shore of Lake Hewa, gaining the allegiance of many subordinate villages by around 1050, most critically the religious center of Qomaksi nearby, which lended Ewallona a spiritual authority. In the following decades, Yayak'aksaksi fell into decline under decadent and incompetent rulers, ensuring Ewallona's rise.

North of Ewallona lay the Lake Ewakushi [6], a wetland and intermittent lake which hosted a large concentration of Maguraku who used it for aquaculture, raising waterfowl, fishing, and hunting. They built homes on the high ground around the marsh and the river flowing out of it, and in this place the important city-state of Lallaks [7] emerged. The Ewakushi Maguraku claimed to be the true and most ancient division and looked down on those from elsewhere, a point of contention with Ewallona, their main rival.

Lallaks may have been at the very least larger than Ewallona, if not stronger, during the 9th and 10th centuries. Located on the White Road and commanding loyalty from numerous villages the city prospered, and it prospered even moreso thanks to allied Dena and Hill Tanne nearby keeping the spiritual sites in the mountains and mountain passes safe. They periodically clashed with their rival Ewallona and raided the Valley Tanne towns like Hleadni in support of their Ach'gampdu allies.

North of Lallaks and Lake Ewakushi, pastoralists dominated with few permanent villages. These villages were heavily fortified to protect against potential threats. Over 150 kilometers separated the northermost permanent settlements of the Maguraku from the southernmost of the Aipakhpam, and in this stretch of wilderness on the White Road lay many nomadic communities, often mutually hostile toward each other. Periodically, Lallaks mobilised pastoralist clans to make reprisals against those who threatened trade on the White Road or across the Grey Mountains to the Irame Valley, an often costly undertaking for the city that at times left it drained of strength.

The lands east of the White Road likewise remained dominated by pastoralists with few permanent villages, let alone city-states. The climate was too variable, the rivers and lakes often too low (or too alkaline), and the raids from the Nama too fierce to permit much agriculture. Still, notable exceptions existed, such as the town of Yainaks, by far the largest in the region although small to Ewallona or Chewaksi, a fortified village on the productive Chiwakan River [8]. Aside from animals, obsidian served as the primary resource of the people.

South of the Ewallona lay Lake Mowatewa and the important city state of Welwasqani [9]. In the shallow and fertile waters of this lake, they secured regional dominance based on their alliance with Ewallona and control over key religious sites nearby. Control of obsidian at the sacred Mount Sachiji [10] further accelerated the rise of this city. This obsidian and a ready supply of warriors wishing to make a name for themselves put them on the forefront of the slave trade in Maguraku lands. They frequently raided the Ancestral Natsiwi and Central Valley and by the 11th century their allies were outright settling in Natsiwi lands.

The greatest competitors of the Maguraku were the Valley Tanne to their west across the Grey Mountains, and in particular the cities of Kw'ahaha and Talodan. This rivalry and hatred stemmed from the Maguraku alliance with several Hill Tanne tribes as well as competition over the trade routes. So united were the Maguraku on keeping the White Road a prosperous trade route that no Maguraku city is ever recorded as allying with Kw'ahaha or Talodan. Both groups frequently raided each other for slaves and loot and kept up a near perpetual state of war that only rarely was ever settled by peace treaties.

The Maguraku detested the peoples to their north and east, like the Nama, the Ancestral Cayuse, and the Amorera. These groups frequently attacked their villages and worse, threatened trade on the White Road to Wayam. Their greater mobility thanks to their pastoralist lifestyle made Maguraku settlement further east or further north along the White Road nearly impossible. To the Maguraku, they seemed to have endless hordes--if the Maguraku won a victory against a large number of them, within a few years more would appear. While rarely numerous enough to attack a major city, these desert dwellers endlessly harassed the fringes of Maguraku society.

The Maguraku viewed the people directly south of them along the Mowa River, the Ancestral Natsiwi, as easy prey [11]. A horticultural pastoralist group known for their close association with the sugar pine that formed the lifeblood of their culture, they lacked the greater social organisation of the Maguraku and numbered fewer than them. The Maguraku raided them for slaves from the earliest times and by the 10th century pushed on them harder and harder. They settled in their lands, forbid them from owning their own animals, forbid them from hunting, forced harsh tribute (including that of children), and made even their free men slaves in all but name.

Some Natsiwi tribes began fleeing into the Great Basin, choosing to adapt to that harsh environment or die, starting with the great eruption of Mount Horikeiyo at the end of the 10th century [12], the largest by far of several smaller eruptions during the 10th century which contributed to the weakening of the Natsiwi people. The slightly lesser eruption of Mount Sachiji in the middle of the 11th century further sent Natsiwi fleeing east [13]. These groups later allied with the Nama and became fully adapted to the desert life, even bringing their sugar pines with them.

Around 1095, the Natsiwi revolted against their oppressors alongside a general slave rebellion in Maguraku country. The laqi of Yayak'aksaksi was murdered in his sleep by his slaves and the city sacked, completing the decline of that city in favour of Ewallona. Many Maguraku nobles faced similar fates. In Natsiwi country, the Natsiwi killed thousands of Maguraku nobles and commoners and attempted to unite under a confederation led by wealthy Natsiwi nobles, a harsh blow to Welwasqani's economy. Worse, they were backed by several influential Nama leaders in a reversal to the Nama's traditional raids on the Natsiwi, provoking an existential fear amongst the Maguraku as their enemies united.

Faced with this immediate threat and such a great harm to their prosperity, the Maguraku took unprecedented action. They organised their first confederacy in decades and appointed the persuasive laqi Daslats-Lwelolis of Ewallona as laqyamch. Having lived in exile for most of his life amongst his pastoralist relatives battling the Nama, Daslats-Lwelolis mobilised significant numbers of these warriors to his side. Many of these men had been driven out of their lands by this Natsiwi force and now called for vengeance.

The confederation as well as their Woshu allies bribed with the prospect of loot, they attacked the Natsiwi towns in vengeance for their fallen. Faced with overwhelming force and fiercely motivated Maguraku warriors, the Natsiwi resistance crumbled. The Maguraku and Woshu butchered thousands of Natsiwi men and enslaved every Natsiwi woman and child they could get their hands on. A remnant of the Natsiwi fled into the desert to join their kin, but by 1100 this conflict had ended the Natsiwi nation's existence in their ancestral land. The few Natsiwi survivors lived only as slaves and within a century or two assimilated into their Maguraku conquerers.

Still, this war devastated the Mowa Valley and nearby areas. Perhaps up to 70% of the people there died or fled. The survivors now became rulers of this devastated land and invited in many new Maguraku settlers from elsewhere, promising them a share of their many Natsiwi slaves and the fertile lands left abandoned. With the Natsiwi vanquished, obstacles to settlement faded and the area became an integral part of the Maguraku homeland.

These Maguraku, called the Mowat'akkni, came to view themselves as a distinct branch of the Maguraku people who assimilated many influences from the Natsiwi, including the veneration of sugar pines which they planted in carefully maintained groves. Maguraku settlement in much of the 12th century focused on this area, and although highly successful, it gained them fierce new enemies in the form of the Yayi and Mayi who lived in the mountains nearby and expanded into the southern parts of the lands claimed.

This southern focus by the Maguraku city states hindered the eternal dream to push north and with it keep the White Road safe. Fewer people than ever wished to settle or raise animals in those lands (and thus were unavailable to protect it) now that Natsiwi lands became open like that. It could not have come at a worse time either, as wars amongst the Valley Tanne and economic turmoil in the west on the Black Road meant the White Road might become wealthier than ever.

Daslats-Lwelolis made keeping the White Road safe his immediate goal. He persuaded the shamans and many other laqi that the confederation formed to counter the Natsiwi and Nama needed to remain. With reluctance, they continued to allow him to use his powers as laqyamch, and these campaigns occupied much of his time in the next decade. In 1110, he visited the city of Wayam to seek new allies amongst their nobility to continue his goals of subduing the Nama and others along the road.

While the city's prince ignored his request thanks to ongoing wars with their rival Chemna and worry over events to the east , he gained the ear of a young, increasingly popular Wayamese nobleman who called himself Q'mitlwaakutl. The two quickly became good friends despite the age difference, with Q'mitlwaakutl in attendance at the potlatch of Daslats-Lwelolis's son Wat'ihak that year. Q'mitlwaakutl married two of Wat'ihak's daughters not long after as his third and fourth wife, famously proclaiming he balanced civilised and barbarian in his household. Q'mitlwaakutl used his growing popularity at Wayam to support Daslats-Lwelolis's campaigns both financially and militarily, believing it benefitted Wayam as well to destroy hostile Hillmen. While they rarely fought side by side, Daslats-Lwelolis received frequent news of the often successful actions of his Aipakhpam counterpart. Gaiyuchul of Katlamat discusses this figure in his Saga of the Peoples of the World:

"In old times the Hillmen of the Lakes, the Ambokni, recognised no rulers but those of their city. They sought protection amongst each other as equals much as those of the Whulge and their Leagues. Yet as typical with the Hillmen they were far too restless to be governed by the lasting stability of a League and only allied in this manner against the greatest of foes. They ignored the commands of the head of the League when the danger passed and returned to their quarrels amongst each other.

Yet one old Prince of these Ambokni Hillmen, the one they called Daslats-Lwelolis who ruled the city of Ewallona, intrigued far greater than any among his kind had ever done. Already had he led this confederation of the Ambokni in their great conquest of an ancient people they call Mowatwas and defense of their people against their slaves. He sought to grasp political might equal to that of the spiritual might of the strongest shaman so that he might secure the eternal supremacy of his city over that of his enemy, the city called Lallaks. His trickery, his sharp yet smooth tongue, and his impressive wisdom seemed a potent spiritual gift, as though Coyote himself granted it to him. He warned his people of frightening hordes of enemies soon to descend on them, of spiritual dangers like none had ever seen, of terrible calamities approaching that might rend society to pieces. So frightening and persuasive he was in this the people believed him and his confederation persisted.

It seems fitting that a man with such a gift aided so much the career of Q'mitlwaakutl Shapatukhtla [14] himself, the man who returned from ancient times after being turned to stone for his protection as he sacrificed himself to destroy the Hillmen, the man whom Coyote promised might raise Wayam to its greatest heights. Coyote played a fantastic irony on history as both this Hillman prince and Q'mitlwaakutl needed each other in their mutual ambitions much as the light needs the dark."

Daslats-Lwelolis held ulterior motives. He wished to reduce the influence of Lallaks over the White Road. He used his nominal authority to project Ewallona's influence over the nomadic clans to the north of Lake Ewakushi, often traveling amongst them and ensuring they received lavish gifts. He arranged marriages between pastoralist clans friendly to him and these northern clans while interfering in Lallaks's own attempts at influence. At the same time, he raised as many warriors as possible from Lallaks and allies to use on campaigns and raids against enemies in the north.

Naturally he made many enemies amongst the nobles of both Lallaks and those who disbelieved him and called him a vain demagogue. He suffered assassination attempts both physical and spiritual, each time surviving thanks to his clever skills and the spiritual power of his allies. Lallaks and allies often refused to contribute anything to his campaign yet Daslats-Lwelolis simply awarded more to his own allies and asked them to arouse the jealousy of Lallaks's allies, effectively forcing the men of Lallaks to join his campaigns.

Daslats-Lwelolis held as his greatest dream to continue the confederation after his death, a confederation seeming more and more beneficial to many Maguraku by the day. In this he groomed his son Wat'ihak--a fierce man in his own right--as both heir to Ewallona and heir to his skills so that Wat'ihak might persuade the nobles to continue the confederation's existence. If the confederation continued to exist, no doubt every speck of useful land in the east and north might fall under Ewallona's authority and the White Road become almost entirely a Maguraku--an Ewallona--road. With the assistance of his brilliant young friend Q'mitlwaakutl and his increasing status amongst the Wayamese, perhaps this dream might be achieved.

Author's notes
Although I promised an entry on the Tsupnitpelu, I decided to hold that one off for a while. I wanted to get started on the Q'mitlwaakutl arc and the Tsupnitpelu aren't really relevant for (most of) his arc, unlike the Maguraku.

In any case, the Maguraku are inspired by the OTL Klamath and Modoc, and like the OTL groups, they have inherited much influence from those to the north along the Imaru River as society has become more mobile thanks to domesticated reindeer. They'll play quite a role in this TL thanks to their position at the crossroads of various influences.

[1] - Lake Hewa is Klamath Lake (upper and lower sections). Ewallona is Klamath Falls, OR
[2] - Sogolgiksi is Hornbrook, CA
[3] - The Hochine Valley is the Shasta Valley in the far north of California. Mount Waika is Mount Shasta, its name coming from a Tanne language whose speakers assimilated a Shastan population in the area.
[4] - Qomaksi is slightly northeast of Chiloquin, OR. Lake Giwa is Crater Lake
[5] - Yayak'aksaksi is slightly northwest of Chiloquin, OR on the north side of Klamath Lake
[6] - Lake Ewakushi is Klamath Marsh, north of Klamath Lake.
[7] - Lallaks is at Kirk, OR, on the south end of Klamath Marsh
[8] - Yainaks is near Beatty, OR. Chewaksi is at Paisley, OR, and the Chiwakan River is the Chewaucan River (same root).
[9] - Lake Mowatewa is Tule Lake on the California-Oregon border. Welwasqani is Newell, CA.
[10] - Mount Sachiji is Medicine Lake Volcano/Glass Mountain in California.
[11] - The Ancestral Natsiwi are TTL's equivalent of the Achomawi and Atsugewi peoples, while the Mowa River is the Pit River
[12] - Mount Horikeiyo is Lassen Peak. This is the OTL Chaos Crags eruption at Lassen Peak. It was by far the largest of these and was a VEI-5 eruption about 1/3 the size of the 1980 Mt. Saint Helens eruption (in terms of material ejected). These eruptions, especially the final one, would poison streams, dump great amounts of ash, and kill wildlife and domestic animals.
[13] - The Medicine Lake Volcano eruption at Glass Mountain few decades later was a VEI-3 about the level of Lassen Peak's 1915 eruption. It ejected relatively small amounts of ash but significant amounts of lava that further contributed to the area's value as a source of obsidian (and sacred mountain)
[14] - "Shapatukhtla" is not a surname but a posthumous name. Q'mitlwaakutl is commonly known by both names.
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Great update! The Maguraku sound like very nasty people!
Hopefully they'll get a taste of their own medicine with the Japanese or Europeans!
Please keep on writing this wonderful timeline!
One tiny nitpick you forgot to thread-mark your latest chapter.
While the Amims in the 12th century and earlier battled with clubs and obsidian-tipped spears and arrows with some copper/arsenical bronze knives, spears, and axes for their elite, the Amim shamanry knew of a great many poisons spiritual and physical. Amims often brought dogs, rabbits, or other small animals with them as they fought and stabbed them in front of the enemy to prove the power of their weapons, both sides watching the animal writhe in agony as it died. Few non-Amims dared to plunder their weapons, typically burning or burying them. Enough copper and bronze items were buried in this fashion that at one time archaeologists assumed the Amim of the 9th-12th centuries were at the forefront of Fusanian metallurgy and used metal weapons far more than other Fusanians.
Huh, reminds me of how in Green Antarctica the Hali became sadistic torturers to scare off the enemies who surrounded them on every side. Guess history can be dystopic even outside the confines of a dystopic TL...

The Maguraku sound like very nasty people!
Hopefully they'll get a taste of their own medicine with the Japanese or Europeans!
But they've given us a very entertaining chapter. I like their portrayal, there's something recognizably Old-World about their cynicism, their clear articulation of political and economic interests (it seems like the Maguraku would be the first to consciously name/describe places or people as "strategic"), and their brutal slave economy.

Also-- how is Qmitlwaakutl able to get way with portraying himself as a returned ancestor? Does he not have a family? And if he doesn't have a family how can he be a noble?
Great update! The Maguraku sound like very nasty people!
Hopefully they'll get a taste of their own medicine with the Japanese or Europeans!
Please keep on writing this wonderful timeline!
One tiny nitpick you forgot to thread-mark your latest chapter.
I guess they came off as more brutal than I intended although they're doing the same as almost every other group--kill the adult men, enslave everyone else--when they raid a village. Although they have made slave-trading a more important (but not even the dominant) part of their economy compared to other areas.
Huh, reminds me of how in Green Antarctica the Hali became sadistic torturers to scare off the enemies who surrounded them on every side. Guess history can be dystopic even outside the confines of a dystopic TL...
OTL is dystopic when you think about it. Almost everywhere in the past is a hellhole no matter the place.

But they've given us a very entertaining chapter. I like their portrayal, there's something recognizably Old-World about their cynicism, their clear articulation of political and economic interests (it seems like the Maguraku would be the first to consciously name/describe places or people as "strategic"), and their brutal slave economy.
I suppose because unlike on the Black Road, they are the only organized state society on the White Road (aside from Wayam and Nikhluidikh), and the middle swathe of the White Road is scrub forest prone to raids. They also have a long history of slave trading (not the dominant part of their economy, they're middlemen on the White Road after all) since their southern neighbors were weaker and less organized yet still numerous.

Consideration of the White Road's dominance in all of their economies is important in stopping conflict between the laqi from getting out of hand.

Also-- how is Qmitlwaakutl able to get way with portraying himself as a returned ancestor? Does he not have a family? And if he doesn't have a family how can he be a noble?
I'll explain this more in the next two entries (and I hope I haven't explained it poorly in the text), but essentially he's a noble gone somewhat eccentric yet still retaining enough sanity to use his raw skill. There's no family around (died by 1100 or so) to restrain him, and many (including those who knew him before) believe when he says that he's "Q'mitlwaakutl returned" that he really means that he is Q'mitlwaakutl's reincarnation which is nearly as powerful of a statement.

As for how he gets away with saying either politically without banishment/assassination, you'll see. It's through a mix of dumb mistakes and smart choices on the part of several individuals.

LATE EDIT: I keep getting the White Road and Black Road mixed up so went back and edited this post. I think I have some sort of left-right confusion thing going on since I've mistakenly written "east" when I meant "west" at least a few times before. I changed the title a bit too, I thought it flowed better.
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Chapter 28-A People of Plains and Cliffs
"A People of Plains and Cliffs"

In the hottest and driest regions of the Imaru Basin grew up perhaps the most influential culture of Fusanian civilisation. This civilisation, the Aipakhpam people, overcame the parching summer heat, endless scrub, and towering cliffs of the Mid-Imaru and its tributaries to build an enduring civilisation which produced a legacy of innovation and brilliance established the very concept of Fusania. One might see this Aipakpam brilliance in every part of their world from its spiritual and economic center, the great fishing and trading entrepot of Wayam, to villages in the distant reaches of scrublands and canyons. They spiritually compared themselves as inhabitants of the center of the world to river banks and fertile plains, hence the meaning of Aipakhpam, "the People of the Plains".

The Aipakhpam inhabited a rugged land of canyons, coulees, and dry rivers with rich yet easily erodable loess soils on top of basalt and granite. Countless eons of volcanism, flooding, and glaciation shaped their homeland. Their land posed a stark contrast to those lands outside. To the west lay nearly impenetrable mountains on the other side of which lay a land of forests and plentiful water, while to the east lay similarly impenetrable mountains beyond which lay an endless grassland. To the south lay a vast desert with barely any water while to the north their plateau became constricted with mountains and lacked the open landscape they knew. This contributed to Aipakhpam believes considering themselves the people at the center of the universe.

The Aipakhpam culturally fused with some easterly groups of Namals in ancient times at the falls of Wayam. The ancient town of Itsagitkkhoq formed one of the five ancient communities at the Falls of Wayam, alongside Sk'in and Wapaikht on the northern side of the river and Wakhlaitq'ish and Wayam proper on the south side. Unlike the other four communities, Itsagitkkhoq formed itself as a typical Namal community in frequent contact with its western neighbours. Other Aipakhpam communities in the west like Tinainu on the other side of the Imaru from the Namal city of Nikhluidikh similarly inherited this western influence. From the Namals came elements crucial to later Aipakhpam culture, such as their hierarchal society of slaves, commoners, and nobles, their aquatic agriculture, and their ceremonies, although many times the Aipakhpam placed their own spin on this. For instance, an Aipakhpam ruler typically relied far more on his subordinates to enforce his rule, and especially relied on the support on the councils which confirmed his election.

The Aipakhpam identified with their individual communities first and foremost, which typically were villages of 75 to 100 people in a few extended families. The heads of these village clans typically were nobles and formed the village councils who elected the miyuukh, the village headman, typically from amongst the sons, brothers, nephews, or cousins of the previous miyuukh. The miyuukh appointed a senwitla, usually translated as "herald" (but in larger communities as "vizier" or "chancellor"), who acted as a go-between for the miyuukh and his people, especially the nobility. The miyuukh also appointed roles in the community like the fishing chief and chief medicine man, and also organised the community's defense. These villages typically oriented themselves toward one of the Five Cities of the Aipakhpam for their economic self-interest, and with it often ended up adopting the identity of that city although their first identity would be that of their home village.

At key spots in the river, villages tended to aggregate into large villages and town several hundred people or more, thousands in the case of the Five Cities. Occasionally they even crossed rivers, even the large Imaru River, although some cross-river communities like Kw'sis and Chemna remained separate. These communities held multiple miyuukhs as a remnant of their history, and these miyuukhs tended to elect a ruler over the whole community, called a miyawakh. The miyuukhs and a few other nobles formed a council (a legacy that survives into the modern era, as "miyuukh" is the term in Aipakhpam for city council member and "miyawakh" is the term for mayor) who helped govern the town or city albeit unlike in smaller villages, the miyawakh held the functions of appointing the senwitla and other functionaries.

The origin and spread of hierarchial states has been documented globally, but no concrete singular cause ever determined for why they arose. Amongst the Aipakhpam, archaeology shows they once possessed a society structured similarly to the Ancestral Cayuse and Amorera to their south, groups who similarly long lived in the region and spoke languages which while unrelated to Aipakhpam, possessed many shared features. In these societies, hereditary leaders, nobility, and slaves existed, but the powers of the ruler remained limited and largely ceremonial. He could not simply order others around as he pleased, and people who dissented from him might freely leave the community and live at another. A society like this prevailed amongst the Aipakhpam during the Irikyaku period and immediately after.

The 8th century saw consolidation of this model of society and the emergence of a state society amongst the Aipakhpam, starting at Wayam. This occurred for several reasons. First, drought in that century caused less availability of wild and lightly managed plants, forcing an intensification of agriculture to feed the expanding population. This intensification required the devotion of more labour toward building earthworks, which required families to combine their efforts and borrow tools and animals from wealthier families. These families expected something in return for their gifts, which meant labour and tribute.

Second, overhunting of animals, overgrazing of lands, and especially deforestation further required intervention from nobles and other elites to preserve the remaining resources. It made people ever more reliant on gifts and redistribution in the form of animal hides and reindeer to live their daily lives. Third, the dawning of the Copper Age and spread of metallurgy on the Imaru Plateau starting around 750 AD added yet another system which increased the power of the wealthy as they had the most access to the finished goods and tools which were of high value. Fourth, an increase of warfare thanks to the Coastmen raids to the west provided models for these incipient states as well as the need to organise additional defense. Thus, by the end of the 8th century one can speak of organised states in the area possessing the rudimentary bureaucracy necessary to function, models that frequently cross-polinated thanks to exogamy amongst the elites and commoners alike.

Some cities held distinct governance as part of their heritage. The most common was diarchic rule, where cross-river communities merged into one yet retained two miyawakhs, typically brothers or ruler-and-heir. Such rule was practiced at places like Wayam and Chemna until the 13th century. Other communities held a miyawakh for peacetime and a miyawakh for wartime, each miyawakh representing an opposing moiety, this form apparent at Ktlatla and Winacha. Yet others were ruled by a single dominant miyawakh, common in the southern fringe at places like Imatelam.

These larger communities typically gained the support of smaller villages from around, but often themselves fell under the economic domination of the Five Cities of Aipakhpam. In later times, some of these miyuukhs of important cities like Wayam ranked among the most important of Aipakhpam nobles. In many cases, miyawakhs intermarried with the families of miyuukhs to exert greater control over them through kinship bonds. In other cases, the miyawakhs themselves organised the founding of new villages, usually under a lesser relative (including in-laws), in order to gain long-lasting (but not necessarily permanent) allies and new resources to increase community wealth. These communities especially relied on their kin in the initial years for improving the land, defense, and accruing wealth.

As elsewhere, the potlatch ceremony dominated politics. The Aipakhpam held their potlatches in a manner similar to the Namals, holding them to commemorate weddings, births, and deaths. Amongst the Aipakhpam however, these were less important than the seasonal potlatches held which attracted much greater attendance and featured greater displays of wealth. They held three of these seasonal potlatches, the first shortly after the First Salmon ceremony (or in some places, after the First Camas ceremony), the second after the ripening of berries in the autumn, and the last at midwinter, occurring in the days after the frenzied winter spirit dances and signalling a return to normalcy.

Like many Fusanian groups, the Aipakhpam relied heavily on salmon for meat consumption. The Fishing Chief, a position appointed by the village or city-state leader on the basis of spiritual power, controlled the harvest of fish and salmon in particular, being able to forbid fishing in the river on certain occasions. The chief medicine man, the twati, caught the first fish and ceremonially presented it to the leader of his community. In front of an audience of the notables of the village, he dismembered the fish and separated the blood and bones from the meat in order to manipulate the spiritual force (taakh) in charge of all salmon. Then he boiled the salmon and offered the first piece to the community's leader and the second to the Fishing Chief, and then offered the rest to the people present. The people danced and sang afterwards while the twati returned to his home with the fish blood and bones to pray over them. Five days later, he (or a proxy) swam into the river to scatter the blood and bones in a ritual fashion to best spiritually manipulate the fish into being easy to catch.

Similar ceremonies (termed k'awit) accompanied the harvesting of crops. For the Aipakhpam, the most important was the camas ceremony due to its importance to nutrition. The wife of the village leader accompanied by her husband, the twati and his wife, and other nobles ceremonially dug the first camas bulb out of the field and divided it in a similar manner to the salmon ceremony. The remnants of the plant they reburied in the earth to ensure a good harvest. Each important crop was associated with its own ceremony, as well as some wild plants like berries, where the ripening of berries was accompanied with great excitement.

The Aipakhpam believed in similar origin myths to other Imaru Basin peoples. The distant sun god, Anyai, sent the great Transformer Coyote (also called Spilyai) down from the heavens (along with his five sisters) to the future site of Wayam. He slew the great demon Naishtla who had destroyed the world four times before and devoured all of its inhabitants. Afterwards, he granted spiritual names and roles to all the people and spirits freed from Naishtla, and confined Naishtla to a deep pool in the Imaru River at the mouth of the Wanwahi River [1], just upstream from Wayam. Coyote performed many great deeds, establishing spiritual laws, and slaying evil. He created the first kaapin (foot plow) to destroy a dam built by five evil sisters at Wayam, allowing salmon to return there. With the world prepared for people, Coyote returned to the sky.

The belief in spirits known as taakh influenced many aspects of Aipakhpam life and thought. Similar in concept to other animistic beliefs in Fusania, taakh inhabited every living creature and many rocks, lakes, mountains, and rivers. The Aipakhpam attempted to gain this taakh as a guardian spirit through completing ritual tasks and meditation at sacred locations which drew the spirits toward them and granted visions. Taakh needed to be maintained and their spiritual demands met, lest they flee and the owner become sick or die. Those with powerful taakh often performed great deeds or were destined to become medicine men, shamans, and priests. The greatest display of taakh occurred at midwinter spirit dances, called by a powerful spiritual leader at the behest of the ruler. Here, taboos were broken and frenzied dancing occurred so to "unchain" the taakh and fulfill their deepest needs.

Often the guardian spirit demanded they not eat the meat of animals that taakh similar to the spirit inhabited--for instance, a man with reindeer power never ate reindeer, even at ceremonies. A rare belief in other Fusanian communities, among the Aipakhpam (and their Tsupnitpelu kin) it was common. As a person might have multiple guardian spirits, this occasionally resulted in many sorts of meat becoming tabooed to the individual. Because of this, the Aipakhpam were known for their creativity in vegetarian cuisine (as common in Fusania, the Aipakhpam believed the spirits of plants and trees never offered themselves to humans as guardian spirits).

The Aipakhpam worshipped entirely outdoors, appealing to powerful gods who held control over the spirits in the world. They held rituals near sacred rocks and atop sacred mountains, although day to day people merely practiced simple rituals to ensure prosperity and success. At these mountain shrines--sacred groves tended to by priests--groups of people met to dance, meditate, and worship and left offerings there. The Aipakhpam believed these mountains themselves were gods. Their shamans however mostly practiced in underground rooms and temples forbidden to all but themselves and those they invited.

The most popular Aipakhpam cults were to Coyote, the ruler of hunting and warfare Eagle (Khwaamayai), the great messenger and doctor Raven (Khukhuuya), the sun god Anyai (who occasionally took the guise of the moon), the gods who lived in the Imaru River, and the gods who lived in the mountains, especially the twin gods Paato, the sister who lived on Mount Mishibato and the brother who lived on Mount Ruchabato [2]. Shrines and altars of piled stones or circles of wooden stakes lay scattered near sacred places to conduct offerings and meditation in an attempt to invoke these deities or spirits who served them to assist in functions of day to day life.

The Aipakhpam lands lacked many natural resources thanks to extensive volcanism 15 million years ago. Similarly, their land lacked extensive forest causing wood to be more precious in their territory. Only the northeastern edge of their territory along the mountains held forests and significant minerals, especially gold, silver, and copper. For this reason, the Aipakhpam relied on farming and especially pastoralism. They traded livestock and great amounts of preserved food in exchange for the necessary metals. Scarcity of these sources kept their craftsmen innovative and often focused on artistic or religious value. The Aipakhpam produced many gilded objects, including their famous mirrors, while Aipakhpam women wove impressive robes, blankets, and carpets of towey goat wool often woven with gold or silver thread. The artisanal focus of the regional economy contributed to the growth of major centers.

The Imaru River formed a natural trade route linking communities for hundreds of kilometers around. Natural rapids created both great fishing sites and sites which required portages, forming points where many people gathered to fish and trade and thus the nucleus of later great cities. The greatest of these lay at the Falls of Wayam, where fishermen, merchants, and others gathered from every corner of the Imaru Basin and beyond. At this place a great trade route called the Black Road began, and it stretched all the way to the Central Valley of South Fusania. The Wayamese and others mostly acted as middlemen, buying and selling goods such as gold from the north, shells from the west, bison robes from the east, and slaves from the south to those who met at Wayam for trade. While often eclipsed by the White Road to the west of the mountains in terms of trade volume, the amount of goods carried on this road proved essential for the Wayamese and broadly the Aipakhpam economy as a whole.

Unlike other civilised peoples, all but upper-class Aipakhpam families lived in pithouses dug into the ground. Houseposts supported the roof typically thatched from willow and the walls made from tules or additional rammed earth. While perfectly suitable homes for the harsher climate of the Plateau, these homes attracted derision from other civilised peoples (especially the Chiyatsuru), who considered the poor of the Aipakhpam as the poorest of all peoples and evidence of extreme tyranny and greed on the part of Aipakhpam nobles.

Before the 12th century, the wealthy lived in longhouses of the Namal style built from red cedar. They were distinguished from the Namals due to more extensive use of stone in the interior as well as distinctively Aipakhpam art on the houseposts where the usual depiction of ancestry and mythology was called for. Over the centuries the roofs and exteriors became increasingly elaborate in their curves and protrusions, making the Aipakhpam longhouse further distinct from the homes of nobles elsewhere. Many of these houses they dug into the cliffs, a privilege restricted to the nobility and certain shamans and priests thanks to the many rock formations in the cliffs believed to be people transformed in ancient times.

A significant number of Aipakhpam lived nomadic lives more akin to their distant ancestors, migrating seasonally between winter villages and summer locations where they raised herds of reindeer, towey goats, and smaller animals and hunted game. These pastoralists, led by a miyuukh, usually associated with a greater ruler to whom they carried on vital trade with. Most Aipakhpam believed these pastoralists were Hillmen who had become civilised and tended to look down on them, but often relied on their support in warfare thanks to their skill with the bow and sling. They played a vital role in assisting merchant communities of larger cities, and many migrated to those centers to work as traders and artisans.

Hemmed in between river and cliff, carving terraces became an essential task for the Aipakhpam people to gain additional land for growing food. Starting around 850 at Wayam, they carved out the rocks using a mixture of stone and metal tools to chisel out terrances. Priests supervised the process, picking auspicious days for work and making appropriate offerings so not to disturb the spirits who lived within the rocks, turned to stone in eras past by the Transformer. The Aipakhpam devised a combination of heating and freezing to weaken sections of the cliff to carve. They conducted much of the work during the winter, stoking fires during the day to keep the area warm before letting the night chill freeze the cliff, often with icy water poured on it. This working of water and fire was deeply rooted within the Aipakhpam worldview, as they represented two opposites which combined produced balance, a spiritually powerful balance which let even the solid cliffs be eroded away through human effort. After several nights or more, they cut into cliff, eventually hammering off huge chunks of rock which they used for material for levees or other earthworks.

This process continued until they had solid, level ground, which they covered with smooth stones, soil, and charcoal and allowed hardy plants like sweetvetch or hedges of alders to grow in seasons before planting other crops like camas. They carved channels and niches into the terrace to drain the soil, provide irrigation, and create pools for aquaculture. Some terraces they grazed towey goats on thanks to their steady-footed nature. Terrace construction took up increasing amounts of labour as they became increasingly elaborate by the early 11th century and spread up the cliffs all around major cities. By the 12th century, the earliest qanats--no doubt an outgrowth of terrace construction--appear at Wayam (and soon replicated elsewhere), supplying constant fresh water to the terraces and city.

The tall cliffs and deep canyons around many integral Aipakhpam cities created a unique settlement pattern. The "upper" cities held farming communities bound to the "lower" city by kinship and economic self-interest. These upper cities were linked to the lower city by vast staircases carved into the terraces and cliff and often ropes and simple ladders. Because of the difficulty of constructing the required amount of terracing and the infrastructure needed, these communities was associated with only the greatest Aipakhpam cities, such as Wayam, where the earliest and most elaborate community like this emerged. The spread of these is positively linked to increasing local wealth.

The evolution of terracing and political structures to rule the "upper" and "lower" towns only furthered the political development of the Aipakhpam. As terraces became increasingly complex, the elite of large centers gained yet another tool to coax more labour from the populace and also to dominate smaller towns and villages. By loaning out their livestock, tools, and workers, often in great numbers after a potlatch, the great miyawakhs forced lesser rulers into a dependence on them which they repaid via tribute and especially corvee labour termed attl'awitpama (literally "asked for"). This process created tightly bound reciprocal trading networks in addition to the kinship networks already present, a process that by the 11th century was spiraling into the formation of city-state led confederations which were growing increasingly tighter and coalescing into something greater than either a city-state or a confederation.

The aforementioned Five Cities of the Aipakhpam and their ruling miyawakhs drove politics in this corner of Fusania. These cities and their immediate hinterlands possessed the largest economies and populations and routinely flexed their wealth against more distant communities both to aggrandise themselves and especially to acquire resources. Typically this brought them into conflict with more independent polities and other major cities be they Aipakhpam or others. To triumph in these conflicts, the Aipakhpam maintained diplomatic relations forged during festivals and ceremonies as well as alliances made through marriage and kinship.

Traditionally (although likely no earlier than the 11th century), the Five Cities of the Aipakhpam represented the strongest and most powerful city-states of the Aipakhpam. The Aipakhpam assigned to each city a cardinal direction, with Winacha in the north, Ktlatla in the west, Kw'sis in the east, Imatelam in the south, and Wayam in the center. Their hegemony emerged early on, since the dawn of the current world in the case of Wayam according to Aipakhpam legend as well as the sheer importance of it as a fishing and trading site. Other cities looked to these Five Cities as ceremonial centers and often as overlords or valuable allies.

Smaller cities existed in the orbit around these greater cities. A ruler styling themselves a miyawakh meant they demanded a degree of independence from other miyawakhs, although in practice these miyawakhs just as often accepted gifts and subservience from stronger leaders. Rulers in small communities who called themselves miyawakhs typically held strong personalities and were very successful at persuasion, hunting, and warfare, but if they had a less successful successor than that man would only call himself a miyuukh.

Wars between Aipakhpam cities and towns occurred often over the allegiance of the miyuukhs and lesser miyawakhs. They usually resolved disputes involving smaller cities through ceremonial combat at pre-arranged sites usually by sacred places with about twenty warriors on either side who fought to the death or surrender. For larger cities, these battles rarely solved the underlying issues and the conflicts turned into full-scale war. War parties of several hundred fought these campaigns, but the size of an army might be as high as 2,000 men. Villages were raided, women and children captured for slavery (or ransom if they might afford it), and livestock and other property taken. Wars might last for several years before one side agreed to peace, usually after the loss of too many allied villages or the defeat of a force of warriors in the field.

Against outsiders, the Aipakhpam cities generally held good relations with the Namals, albeit at times strained. Warfare with cities like Nikhluidikh (Wayam's main competitor immediately downstream) or the Itlkilak-Ninuhltidikh diarchy (often over tolls) always occurred in ceremonial fashion as ritual combats between small groups of warriors intended to limit the damage. Wayam began winning more and more of these battles in the 11th and early 12th century, strengthening their position in the region. The other great interactions with the Namals came from the frequent employment of mercenary bands led by Namals.

Relations with the Chiyatsuru depended on the city. Southerly Aipakhpam cities like Wayam and Imatelam cultivated good relations with Chiyatsuru leaders thanks to Chiyatsuru enmity with cities like Chemna, Ktlatla, and especially Winacha. These cities fought frequent wars with the Chiyatsuru (especially the city-states of Kawakhtchin and T'kuyatum) over control of the Mid-Imaru and especially the sparsely populated areas with vital hunting grounds to the east of the river. Often they attempted to coordinate their attacks with their Aipakhpam allies to varying degrees of success.

The Aipakhpam held a great enmity toward the Hillmen. They detested the Grey Mountains Dena thanks to their control over the mountain passes where they often extorted tolls higher than even the greedy Namals and especially their frequent raids for livestock and slaves. Ktlatla especially fought many wars with them, usually over control of the mixed Dena-Aipakhpam town Tlielam whose dynasty of miyawakhs were notorious for frequent shifts in their allegiance [3].

Yet the worst enemy was the Southern Hillmen, especially the Nama, Ancestral Cayuse, and Nihyoui Dena. Imatelam especially fought extensive wars against these desert-dwellers who frequently raided Imatelam's allies for livestock and slaves. The Southern Hillmen seemed to have endless numbers, capable of taking extensive losses in one war and sending an equal amount of warriors in the next. Still, the Aipakhpam frequently tried to settle in this country thanks to its ample land good for pastoralism and (with improvement) raising crops. The Wayamese especially became interested thanks to the rich trade of the Black Road that ran between Wayam and distant South Fusania. The frontier ebbed and flowed over the years thanks to the skill of the Southern Hillmen at warfare, and many rulers deemed it not worth the effort to promote settlement in the area.

The Five Cities gained their power through being at key sites along the Imaru and its tributaries and expanded to attract migration from the countryside, eventually subduing that countryside through links with said migrants or out of the need for flood control and resources to be found in the countryside. These Five Cities often used their economic or military pull to remove hostile miyuukhs and miyawakhs at will. The senwitla of one of these cities held incredible power as the man who ensured the orders of the miyawakh were heard and respected. Oral history records that no city-state--with one exception--was ever capable of defeating these Five Cities in the long run in terms of gaining influence over smaller centers and villages.

One exception defied this--in 980, the village of Chemna, immediately upstream from Kw'sis, revolted against the miyawakh of Kw'sis, historically claimed to be of Dena origin. With the assistance of several other cities resentful of Kw'sis's influence, the Chemnese sacked the city and took its wealth across the river to Chemna and appointed themselves miyawakhs. From that point on, Chemna supplanted Kw'sis as one of the Five Cities of the Aipakhpam although Kw'sis retained importance locally, with its Chemnese-appointed leader being nearly as important as the miyawakh of Chemna.

Other competitors existed to the Five Cities during the 9th and 10th centuries. Waapnisha [4], located at the southern edge of Aipakhpam lands, was in these years a major trading entrepot on the Black Road, sitting near an important mountain pass over the Grey Mountains leading to the north of the Irame Valley. Yet drought, conflicts within the Irame Valley, and deteriorating relations with the Dena and Amorera brought ruin to this city and forced it to increasingly rely on Wayam. In 1015 the Amorera sacked the city and sold most of its inhabitants as slaves over the mountains.

A brief revival occurred in the mid-11th century thanks to the growing trade on the Black Road, but a new regional rival, Taikh [5], emerged. Seeking to prove their loyalty to Wayam and receive more aid, in 1056 Waapnisha's ruler marched on Taikh and defeated them in battle in yet lost a great number of warriors. Seemingly believing these men to be easily replaced, the miyawakh of Waapnisha conducted ambitious campaigns against the Amorera and Nama the following year and won several victories at significant cost. His men exhausted from a major battle with the Nama, the Grey Mountains Dena attacked them as they returned home from a victory and slaughtered them. With few warriors left and the miyawakh dead, the Dena sacked Waapnisha and destroyed it in 1057. The city was never rebuilt and the site considered cursed--in later centuries it would emerge as one of the finest ruins of this era of Fusania.

The greatest wars in early times occurred over the Tabachiri Valley [6] between shifting alliances of Wayam, Ktlatla, and Kw'sis. Located at the center of the Aipakhpam world, the site of a key trade route over the Grey Mountains, and holding vast amounts of potentially fertile land, each power endeavoured to seize this area for themselves, with the key center of this region, Tsikik [7], attempting to assert its own control. Perhaps the most powerful Aipakhpam city outside the Five Cities, Tsikik reached its heights in the early 10th century as it held sway over numerous cities along the Tabachiri. Tsikik favoured good relations with the cities along the Whulge and also with Imatelam and Winacha and also cultivated good relations with some of the Chiyatsuru in order to strengthen their vital ally Winacha, who along with Ktlatla helped ensure a supply of metals.

Tsikik's chief rivals were Wayam and Kw'sis who sought to occupy parts of the valley but also to keep the area weak and divided. They feared a powerful challenger arising in that area, particularly Wayam who relied on the Satus Pass linking the Tabachiri and Imaru Basin for trade with Ktlatla and Winacha and nearby mountains for wood and grazing areas for their animals in the summer. While Tsikik held the advantage in much of the early 10th century in defeating Wayam and Kw'sis repeatedly their hegemony wouldn't last. Tsikik aggressively pushed their advantage, even killing the miyawakhs of both cities in two separate battles. Domestically, Tsikik extorted high tribute from villages and towns under their rule and demanded more warriors assist them in fighting. Further, they began making war against the Dena of the Grey Mountains and even raided across them to raid Shlpalmish villages.

While Tsikik gained great prosperity during this time, eventually this led to a breaking point. Around the mid-10th century, the Grey Mountains Dena confederated and allied with the Shlpalmish and launched reprisal raids. Worse, this caused the effective closure of many mountain passes, impacting the local economy especially through the essential supply of shells. This started a chain reaction which led to the fall of Tsikik's powers as several formerly allied towns revolted and refused to give tribute or supply warriors. Warfare against Kw'sis and Wayam continued, conflicts which this time Tsikik found itself on the losing side of as bands of warriors and raiders despoiled much of the valley. Villages fell abandoned or consolidated as their men died in conflict and population captured as slaves, irrigation channels became clogged, and earthworks smashed. Much of the population fled northwards to Ktlatla and especially Winacha, which remained mostly neutral in the fighting. Tsikik and other major towns of the Tabachiri Valley continued to fight amongst each for hegemony, never achieving anything more than local dominance. For this reason, Tsikik never became spoken of alongside the Five Cities.

The conflicts with Tsikik and the towns of the Tabachiri led directly to the fall of Kw'sis, one of the five cities of the Aipakhpam. Kw'sis led the charge in fighting the conflicts in the Tabachiri Valley to gain control over the majority of the river and its trade. The miyawakhs of Kw'sis routinely divided their gains of loot with Wayam in order to maintain the alliance with them and keep Tsikik from becoming too powerful. Much of the loot and gains from this war filtered into the village of Chemna located at the mouth of the Tabachiri where it flows into the Imaru leading it to grow quite powerful. Tradition holds that the miyawakh of Kw'sis, supposedly of Dena origin, disrespected Tamanwitkan, the miyuukh of Chemna by treating him as he might treat the miyuukh of a small village. Angered, he allied with Tsikik as well as Imatelam to fulfill his ambitious nature, who feared the enroachment of Kw'sis on its subjects, and in 980 AD declared himself the miyawakh of Chemna and sought tribute from Kw'sis's subjects.

Losing such an important city, the miyawakh of Kw'sis immediately moved to squelch this rebellion, but Tamanwitkan's charismatic speaking and religious appeals in a time of drought led many subject villages to avoid supplying soldiers or food to Kw'sis's force or outright backing the Chemnese. The war ended before it even started. The Chemnese routed a large force from Kw'sis on the battlefield and besieged Kw'sis, where turncoats opened the city gates. Their army sacked the city, supposedly harming only the nobility and merchants of Kw'sis, and the Chemnese installed a subject miyuukh there to ensure their dominance. From that point on, Kw'sis was never again spoken of as one of the Five Cities of the Aipakhpam.

Although this is the traditional Chemnese account of their rise to power, archaeology and later records suggest that the rebellion and conquest was less dramatic. Internal and external conflict weakened Kw'sis as much as the drought, but Kw'sis retained considerable power and likely remained larger than Chemna in terms of economy and demographics for several decades to come. Kw'sis remained the seat of a miyawakh who ruled jointly with the miyawakh of Chemna for centuries later.

By 1000 AD, two blocs emerged in the Mid-Imaru Basin. Downstream lay Wayam, the largest and wealthiest city of the Imaru. It held close relations with Ktlatla which supplied it with metal ores which Wayam lacked. Ktlatla held Winacha as practically a vassal due to Winacha's frequent conflicts against the Chiyatsuru and Dena which often placed Winacha's miyawakhs in debt to Ktlatla's rulers. In the other bloc sat Chemna, militaristic and needing to prove itself and a rich trading center in its own right and Imatelam. Imatelam's leadership faced similar concerns to Winacha's in their fight against the Hillmen and frequently fell into Chemna's debt.

Around 1030, Imatelam started to expand greatly at the expense of the Hillmen in the Nihyoui Mountains [8]. They allied with the Tsupnitpelu clans flowing into the Walawa and Welhiwe valleys who had sparked a full-scale war with the Nihyoui Dena and Ancestral Cayuse over their refusal to pay tribute. For twenty years Imatelam, their Aipakhpam allies, and their Tsupnitpelu allies raided and suffered counter-raids from the Hillmen of the Nihyoui Mountains in a mutually destructive war. Many settlements in the disputed valleys and along the rim of the mountains were sacked and abandoned, and Imatelam itself suffered the murder of many boys who sought guardian spirit power in the mountains.

Continual vigour from Imatelam and constant flow of new Tsupnitpelu settlers into the conflict area led to victory over the Hillmen by 1050 as their numbers became seriously depleted and herds nearly bereft of animals. The Ancestral Cayuse fled the Nihyoui Mountains entirely, migrating to the northern rim of the Great Basin, adapting to the desert life, while the Nihyoui Dena remained in their home in a much weakened state. Imatelam gained little long-term from this conflict. They gained much influence over the villages and pastoralist clans in the upper basin of the Takushibashi River [9] for a short while, but soon after those Aipakhpam once again largely ignored Imatelam's requests. Worse, the Tsupnitpelu communities they aided became competitors to Imatelam in influence in this area, although relations remained mostly friendly in this period.

Wayam also sought southern expansion in this period, especially for further control over the White Road. While they gained many successes over smaller towns, village, and pastoralist clans, they faced a major competitor in the city-state of Taikh. The city constantly shifted alliances, associating with Wayam, the Grey Mountains Dena, the Amorera, and most threateningly, Chemna. Taikh submitted to Wayam from 1040 to 1050, using Wayamese support to defeat the Amorera several times, yet thereafter refused many of Wayam's request barring another brief alliance around 1060.

Around 1080, the Wayamese fought a major war with Taikh and the Dena. Here, Taikh had lost its grip on many smaller villages in the area thanks to constant warfare with the Hillmen and Wayam causing their leaders to turn elsewhere for support. While their new alliance with Chemna distracted Wayam at times, a great force sacked Taikh in 1082, weakening the city for the next generation. This provoked several years of war with Chemna and Taikh's allies who sought vengeance on Wayam.

It was their alliance with Chemna around 1084 that inflicted a major defeat on Wayam at the Battle of Taksasam [10] fought at the banks of the Imaru. Numerically inferior Chemnese warriors ambushed and destroyed a Wayamese force sent to raid Chemna, killing one of the miyawakhs of Wayam and many nobles. This battle's significance reverberated throughout Fusanian history. Firstly, it led to chaos in Wayamese politics and ultimately reoriented them back toward Aipakhpam affairs (as opposed to dealing with the Hillmen in the south). Secondly, this battle is known in large part for the story that the father of Q'mitlwaakutl, a pivotal figure in 12th century Aipakhpam politics, died at this battle shortly before his son's birth. Combined, this led to Wayam dedicating much effort in the coming decades to subduing Chemna and their allies.

In the north, Winacha feared the growing strength of the Skowatsanakh city of Kawakhtchin, who had subdued the entire shore of Lake Chlhan. They fought numerous times with this city-state and allies over the Mimanashi Plateau [11] and the boundary of their land which mostly remained static at the Anchiyatoku River. Winacha came to extensively rely on Ktlatla and to a lesser degree Wayam, as they never trusted the Chiyatsuru people no matter which city-state they came from due to the city's founding in violence between both sides which each party knew well. On the Plateau they clashed with Kawakhtchin, T'kuyatum, and several minor Chiyatsuru city-states, preventing, keeping relations hostile with much of the north and east.

For Ktlatla this state of affairs was perfectly fine. This gained them influence over many towns near Winacha thanks to their rulers devoting so much to war and defense, and it contained the Chiyatsuru, their primary competitors in metalworking. Ktlatla's metalworkers carried out a brisk trade in weapons and armour for their northern ally and the city itself profited immensely from these conflicts. Their own raiding parties followed and accompanied Winacha's, often splitting the plunder after letting them do all the hard work.

The Mimanashi Plateau and adjacent areas to the south around Lake Tahushiba [12] served as a great battleground of the Imaru Plateau between Aipakhpam and Chiyatsuru in the 11th and early 12th centuries. While the area needed drastic improvement in the form of irrigation and wells in order for farming to be established, in its natural state it served as a vast land for hunting and pastoralism. Many sacred sites lay in this area to further add to its importance. Several Chiyatsuru city-states (Chemna, Winacha, and Ktlatla) and Aipakhpam city-states (Kawakhtchin, T'kuyatum, and Nkhwemine) competed for control over these lands and their sparse population which each larger city sought to boost by encouraging their kin to lead settlement in the area. Yet so many times these settlements were destroyed in conflicts between almost any combination of these city-states who often held mutually hostile relations.

So devoted were Ktlatla and Winacha to paying back their enemies who raided their kin in these settlements that they could often scarcely devote warriors to other tasks. Several times Kawakhtchin or the Grey Mountains Dena attacked their allied villages, and around 1095 Kawakhtchin even besieged Winacha in a bold yet failed gamble. Kawakhtchin declared a decade-long peace with Winacha shortly thanks to both the defeat and how much the country had been raided. For Winacha, only strong rulers kept the city in a position of prominence, as they expanded mining operations and recruited many artisans from all over to settle while helping allied villages and towns repopulate the area. Winacha's weapons went to arm mostly their own warriors, but became valuable trade goods for nobles elsewhere to own.

Although a seemingly stable cycle of raids, war, and truces, external forces continued to interfere in the form of increasingly powerful outsiders and changed the balance of power not just in Aipakhpam lands but the entire Imaru Plateau. From the south, the Hillmen raids intensified in reprisal to the expansion of settlement in their lands. The Amorera, Ancestral Cayuse, and especially the Nama raided and sacked newer villages in the lands south of Wayam along the Wanwahi River.

In the west, the Atkh warlord Kawadinak of Tinhimha began his destructive raids on the Furuge Coast, combined with civil wars in his homeland and a general resurgence in Coastmen activity. This severely affected the supply of goods, most critically the shells harvested in the Furuge area, flowing east over the mountain passes and thus damaged the regional economy much as it had during the collapse of Tsikik and Kw'sis. The Grey Mountains Dena took full advantage of this and charged exhorbitant tolls to cross, harassing those who continued to trade.

From the north rose an even greater threat thanks to the rise of the powerful Chiyatsuru Shilkh city state of T'kuyatum under its ruler Chelkhalt. T'kuyatum subjugated numerous towns and cities in its immediate vicinity. Most dramatically, they conquered even the powerful city state of Kawakhtchin and incorporated its nobility into the political structure of Chelkhalt's nascent state. Chelkhalt used their long-time enmity with Winacha to unleash withering raids on that city, intent on driving out Winacha's allies from as much land as possible, starting with the Mimanashi Plateau. Most disturbingly, Chelkhalt seemed intent on capturing Winacha, a feat never before done by anyone, and his army held the alliance of many Dena.

Yet prosperity beckoned as well. The Black Road in the west faced crisis thanks to increased warfare and conflict in that region, a situation readily exploited by the Maguraku people to the south on the White Road who used warfare and persuasion to make that road even safer for travelers. This brought more people and goods than ever to Wayam, even those from areas downstream on the Imaru, and greatly increased the prosperity of the city. While always the largest and wealthiest city in Fusania, Wayam's prosperity in the span of only a few years markedly and noticeably increased. Some claimed the wealth of Wayam outweighed that of the other four great Aipakhpam cities combined.

The winds of change began to blow with the repercussions of a battle fought in the south. In the year 1109, a young yet charismatic Wayamese warrior saved his war party from being wiped out by a vastly larger Amorera force by clustering his men together in a tight formation with locked shields to protect against enemy arrows and spears while striking with their own weapons, a tactic supposedly told to him by his guardian spirit. Yet in the midst of battle he received a painful blow to the head (among other wounds) and nearly died, with his men bringing him back to his home in Wayam for his funeral. When he returned from his near-death experience, he vividly described to his medicine man and all present around him a vision he saw where he witnessed the burning sun shattering the cliffs by the Imaru River, from where he arose in the form of a tired warrior. Coyote welcomed him back and told him that his ancient promise would be fulfilled--Wayam would rise to new heights, and he would lead it.

The warrior immediately knew what this meant--he must be Q'mitlwaakutl returned! At a potlatch warrior abandoned his original name and assumed the name of Q'mitlwaakutl, although he'd forever be known by the name posthumously given to him--Shapatukhtla, meaning "he who has been sent back". His rise to power in Wayam and the campaigns he launched during is rule reshaped the entire political landscape of the region as he laid the foundation for the first true empire ever seen in the history of Fusania.
Lord Nch'iyaka of Wapaikht, Saga of Wayam (1500, translation 1974) [13]​

Thus society fell completely out of balance and with it came the most horrible events seen until this point of the world. The ravages of the Hillmen became unbearable while the civilised peoples of the world chose to fight for the scraps. Great floods and storms and blizzards shook the faith of our people as war was followed by war. So full of greed were the people of this era that they even approached these most violent Hillmen in friendship and alliance. The old happiness of the era before was a balance which might never be restored, even as fleeting as this balance was compared to the grand harmony that existed before creation. Only a new balance might be created to bring peace and prosperity back to the land.

The great leader we called Q'mitlwaakutl Shapatukhtla, arrived to change this and direct our people toward the proper destiny. We did not know at first that the legendary Prince of Wayam from times long forgotten appeared once more in the guise of a young nobleman. We were ignorant of the sign of his reappearance when in 741 [1084] [14] the ground shook and the face of the cliff Coyote transformed the ancient prince into collapsed into the great river. Yet so thoroughly would Q'mitlwaakutl change things that we were to forget so much of this horrible time, even his true name. He became Q'mitlwaakutl, he became Shapatukhla, he became the savior of Wayam and with it the civilised world.

In the previous year Q'mitlwaakutl assumed his name at a grand potlatch, the name of our great ancestor who was turned to stone after the Battle of Endless Blood. It had been only a few months after Q'mitlwaakutl nearly died in battle against the Amorera at the place since called Q'inutash [15] and saw a great vision and alongside it guardian spirit of true radiance. Already Q'mitlwaakutl gained a following for both his victory against all odds and his miraculous survival. When the Prince of Wayam Mekheshkhalish sought to kill him for this blasphemy, Q'mitlwaakutl's radiant guardian spirit communed with the priests and sent a powerful warning. Mekheshkhalish became fearful of this spirit and instead sought to use this man to aggrandize himself and above all, Wayam.

The rise of this Q'mitlwaakutl to the destiny Coyote promised him came in most unusual fashion. A great Hillmen prince of Ewallona in the south, Daslats-Lwelolis, came to Wayam in the year 767 [1110] seeking an alliance to help him defeat the Hillmen plaguing the White Road. Yet neither of the princes, the old and weary Mekheshkhalish and his dissolute nephew Iksikskhalish, took interest in the affairs of that country. "Seek out the men of Taikh or another city, we have enough enemies and need no more," Mekheshkhalish told him.

Iksikskhalish saw it as a chance to rid him of his enemy. "Go to household of the man who calls himself Q'mitlwaakutl. There you shall find warriors who may aid you." Daslats-Lwelolis did follow this advice and met Q'mitlwaakutl where he gifted him a fine bull reindeer. Daslats-Lwelolis asked Q'mitlwaakutl to scour the land of Hillmen in the north of the White Road as his own men scoured the south. The followers of Q'mitlwaakutl became impressed on the sight of this great Hillman prince and thereafter more flocked to his banner. Two hundred men in total followed Q'mitlwaakutl now, and hearing of the glory and wealth to be gained begged of their leader to accept the Hillman prince's offer. Q'mitlwaakutl agreed to this alliance as he sought to gain experience and wisdom, experience and wisdom that might help him in destiny, experience and wisdom that might

Thus Q'mitlwaakutl set out, making his campsite at the place since called Q'inutash. The impetuous Amorera attacked this camp not long after and found it guarded by a multitude. The men of Q'mitlwaakutl repelled this attack and surrounded the Amorera, slaying over one hundred Hillmen warriors. Not long after this battle the village of Simnashu [16] sent out calls for aid to Q'mitlwaakutl. Not far from Simnashu Q'mitlwaakutl and his men met a great force of Dena and Amorera. Q'mitlwaakutl encouraged his men with his words "Stand in your formation, they will be dashed upon our shields and spears as salmon at a weir! The radiance of my spiritual force protects as all!" The fierce Dena and Amorera came at him yet failed to break the ranks of Q'mitlwaakutl's men and even the greatest of the number fell to this shield wall. Q'mitlwaakutl chased them back to their camp and freed many prisoners and took many animals for themselves.

Thereafter Q'mitlwaakutl and his men spread terror into the hearts of the Hillmen. They plundered livestock and slaves at will for three months before they returned to Wayam at the harvest. Q'mitlwaakutl sent out messengers to places far in the south to organise a fabulous potlatch. Here the son of Daslats-Lwelolis, the Hillman prince Wat'ihak, gave Q'mitlwaakutl two of his daughters as wives to further bind him as an ally.

For the next three years Q'mitlwaakutl did continue his attacks on the Hillmen of the White Road and thus further chastened the Amorera and Dena in the west and the Nama and Uereppu in the east and Mowatowa [17] in the south. He lost few men yet killed four hundred enemy warriors of every tribe he battled, two thousand warriors in all. He captured many herds of reindeer and goats and took four hundred slaves to Wayam. The Prince Mekheshkhalish gave Q'mitlwaakutl his finest praise and gave his youngest grand-daughter's hand in marriage to Q'mitlwaakutl's firstborn son [18]. Not long thereafter Q'mitlwaakutl and his twenty finest warriors and their households left for Q'inutash where they built a new village and elected Q'mitlwaakutl as their lord. The traders of the Maguraku, those friends of Q'mitlwaakutl, made many stops in this village on their way north along the White Road and this newborn village became set on a prosperous destiny.

The rising star of Q'mitlwaakutl filled his enemies with envy, not least Prince Iksikskhalish. Iksikskhalish ordered five assassins to slay Q'mitlwaakutl in his sleep, yet Q'mitlwaakutl's spirit warned him of the danger and Q'mitlwaakutl slew all five of these men with his physical strength. Iksikskhalish ordered five shamans to bewitch Q'mitlwaakutl so he may fall ill and die, yet Q'mitlwaakutl's spirit warned him of the danger and Q'mitlwaakutl slew all five of these men with his spiritual might. Thereafter Prince Mekheshkhalish heard of this affair and did confront his nephew.

"My beloved nephew, why do you wish to kill this Lord of Q'inutash? Has he not brought the greatest success for our city in many years?" Iksikskhalish refused to heed the words of Mekheshkhalish. "My dear uncle, he threatens the balance of our community. His great success will bring our people misfortune in time." Yet Mekheshkhalish continued to beseech of his nephew to cease the hostility. "Great benefit may be gained from the Lord of Q'inutash. You fail to kill him for you seek to kill him not out of duty but out of envy."

Thus Mekheshkhalish set about scheming new ways for Q'mitlwaakutl to benefit Wayam. Thereafter in 771 he ordered Q'mitlwaakutl and his followers to secure the allegiance of the treacherous Prince of Takspash [19]. They were to neither return to the city nor to Q'inutash without the Prince of Takspash at their side. Iksikskhalish praised the order of his uncle and said unto him, "You should have spared that man the agony of defeat and had him drowned at Naishtlanmi Ts'ekhas" [20]. Q'mitlwaakutl and his force of four hundred warriors advanced along the north bank of the river, collecting tribute wherever they went for they struck fear in the hearts of these lesser rulers.

The Prince of Takspash requested the aid of the Prince of Imatelam in defeating Q'mitlwaakutl and together they sent out twelve hundred men to stop him. The host of Wayam fell into panic at hearing of the task before them and the forces arrayed against them. But Q'mitlwaakutl calmed his warriors by stating words he heard in a dream. "We will not return to Wayam less in number. Nor will we return to Wayam equal in number. We will return to Wayam greater in number. These are the words the golden eagle spoke to me in my dream."

Q'mitlwaakutl did evade the force from Takspash and approached that city whereupon he convinced the its guards to open the gate, for they believed the host before them was that of their own. The Prince of Takspash greeted Q'mitlwaakutl as a friend whereupon Q'mitlwaakutl revealed to the prince his deceit. So stricken with fear was the Prince of Takspash he cut his throat on his dagger. Yet this deceit impressed the son of the Prince of Takspash, the young warrior Wiyatpakan, who thereafter pledged support to Wayam. The force of Takspash returned not long after and combined they marched against Imatelam's force and scattered them in the field.

With this deed Q'mitlwaakutl shocked the two princes of Wayam. The Prince of Takspash offered tribute to the princes of Wayam as they demanded and Q'mitlwaakutl routed the force of Imatelam in the field. As a reward for this accomplishment Mekheshkhalish named him the vizier of the realm [21]. Many nobles of Wayam and other villages reacted in shock at a man barely thirty years of age reaching such a high rank yet just as many others bathed in the powerful spirit radiating from Q'mitlwaakutl. Prince Mekheshkhalish asked of Q'mitlwaakutl in front of the nobles assembled in ceremony.

"Your deeds magnify and exceedingly grow as ripples in still water. You were but an insignificant noble yet your deeds in life has turned you into a great warrior and now ruler of the nobles of Wayam, the first among equals and with no man your superior besides the two men before you. Should you achieve an even greater success I will be unable to reward you with anything except the rule of Wayam itself."

Q'mitlwaakutl responded thenceforth "Then perhaps I should not achieve an even greater success, for I have no desire to rule Wayam in your place. That ancient prophecy Coyote gave before the battle so long ago [22] is being fulfilled. Is not Wayam greater than before? Am I not ruling it as the first among equals and with no man my superior besides the two men before me? I do not seek to be the Prince of Wayam for the only position and reward I seek is something no man can grant me."
Author's notes

Based on the OTL Sahaptin people, the Aipakhpam are my attempt at exploring what a complex "hydraulic civilisation" such as Egypt, Mesopotamia, or especially Xia (or whatever archaeology is attributed to the Xia) and early Shang China would look like in the fertile yet dry Columbia Plateau. The latter is especially relevant in many ways given similar soil, climate (although the wet seasons are inverted), and topography to the heartland of Chinese civilisation on the Loess Plateau. Although of course climate and topography is simply one factor, there are many other factors which make the Aipakhpam their own unique culture with many differences to 4th/3rd millennium cultures in the Old World.

We are temporarily done with this deluge of ethnographies in this TL as of this entry, although there are a few more entries in this style I will do for other peoples (the Tsupnitpelu, the Atkhs, the Ringitsu and other Far Northwest peoples, and probably a few South Fusanian groups). Most of the rest of Part Two will focus on Q'mitlwaakutl's life and legacy. The next chapter in particular will focus specifically on the city of Wayam and include some more backstory on Q'mitlwaakutl.

As always, thanks for reading.

[1] - The Wanwahi River is the Deschutes River of Oregon
[2] - Mount Mishibato is Mount Hood and Mount Ruchabato is Mount Adams, their names filtered through Japanese. "Paato" (or Pahto, Paatu, etc.) is a generic term for very high mountains in Sahaptin ("Takhoma", a Coast Salish loanword, is also encountered). TTL the Sahaptin speakers (the Aipakhpam) distinguish between Mount Adams and Mount Hood by using color symbolism, so "Red" ("North") Paato and "Yellow" (South) Paato
[3] - Tlielam is Cle Elum, WA
[4] - Waapnisha is the Paquet Gulch site in Oregon, an important Plateau archaeological site, just southwest of Wapinitia, OR
[5] - Taikh is Tygh Valley, OR
[6] - The Tabachiri Valley is the Yakima Valley, so named for its indigenous name Taptiil.
[7] - Union Gap, WA
[8] - The Nihyoui Mountains are the Blue Mountains, derived from the name of an important town nearby
[9] - The Takushibashi River is the John Day River of eastern Oregon. In particular I'm referring to the North and Middle Forks of that river, as the main channel to the south is still dominated by Hillmen
[10] - Taksasam is near Roosevelt, WA
[11] - The Mimanashi Plateau is the Waterville Plateau of Douglas County, WA, a portion of the Columbia Plateau. OTL it was sparsely populated and mostly a shared hunting ground. TTL the population densities of the area have turned it into a battlefield, hence it's name meaning "place of owls" in Sahaptin referring to owls as messengers of ill-tidings
[12] - Lake Tahushiba is Moses Lake in Washington, it's name TTL derived from a Sahaptin toponym meaning "at the willows".
[13] - I am translating N'chiyaka's title "miyuukh" as "lord" here
[14] - 741 is 1084 AD in the Fusanian calendar. Said calendar would not be in use in this era, as I may have mentioned, but is in use by the time of Nch'iyaka. I'll put the dates in brackets instead of footnotes
[15] - Q'inutash ("place of the sight/vision") is near the Pelton Dam on the Deschutes River between Madras and Warm Springs in Jefferson County, Oregon
[16] - Simnashu is Simnasho, OR (basically a different rendering of the placename)
[17] - Mowatowa is the Japanese exonym for the Natsiwi, coming from their Maguraku exonym Mowatwas
[18] - Both would be infants at this time if you are wondering
[19] - Takspash is at the mouth of the John Day River in-between Rufus, OR and Arlington OR
[20] - Naishtlanmi Ts'ekhas is a cliff opposite the mouth of the Deschutes River above a particularly deep part of the river where TTL the Wayamese drown people sentenced to death. It is believed to be an abode of the demon Naishtla.
[21] - I am translating "senwitla" as "vizier" here
[22] - See Chapter 20 for Coyote's prophecy, the battle, and the "original" Q'mitlwaakutl.
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dun dun dun, will this "empire" be like the sumerians first empire?
The Sumerian system with competing city-states occasionally enforcing hegemony over each other is definitely an inspiration (as with the altepetls of Mesoamerica). Also Protodynastic Egypt. As for which "empire" it would be most akin to, that's for later, but for now less Akkadian and more like prior dominant cities like Uruk or Kish.

As a side note I might've mentioned it in here before (or elsewhere), but sometimes you'll see in places (including here) the more-or-less incorrect assertion that the great civilisations of the Precolumbian New World like the Aztecs and Inca were "on the level of Old Kingdom Egypt or Sumer". So the idea of having a New World civilisation that is "on the level of Old Kingdom Egypt or Sumer" when outsiders meet them definitely inspired this.
Are there any teasers for what the Europeans perspective in the future will be?
The Marklanders from a while back will be brought up again in my next overview of North America. They're part of a lasting legacy of Norse interest in North America although how that interest plays out is quite a story.

I will likely do a Fusanian historiography update at some point but it wouldn't make sense now. I do think Europeans would find plenty to be impressed with (the terraces and channels cut into cliffs, the tame reindeer) and plenty to be horrified with (human sacrifice, spirit possession considered a vital religious practice).
Chapter 29-From Cliffs Born
"From Cliffs Born"

Wayam, summer 1117​

Q'mitlwaakutl stood at the window of his palace staring at the morning sun shining through and the pleasant yet dry east wind blowing. It was a habit he had done without fail since his vision of the sun, the eagle, and Coyote the day his old self died at that fierce battle. He closed his eyes at the urging of his spirit and drank in the sun with his eyes closed, meditating about the immediate issue for the day. Training my men.

When he felt satisfied, Q'mitlwaakutl walked over to a stone bench and put on his armour, thick reindeer hide leather shining with shining with copper and silver plating and a war helmet of similar boiled leather with copper dull from age and use. He grabbed the golden rod coated in many sorts of feathers that served as symbol of his authority as senwitla and took up his copper-tipped spear with its decorative eagle feathers, placing both in a leather pouch slung around his back. He much preferred the simplicity of the spear over being senwitla, but the latter wasn't so bad, especially when his handpicked men did most of the trying work for him.

The summer morning was a typical one of Wayam--warm, dry, and windy, windy enough to make the heat bearable even beneath the thick armour and shaking the great oaks of the streets. It blew a fine dust over the slab streets of Wayam making it somewhat unpleasant. Not many people were around at this time, only a few slaves owned by noblemen going about their tasks. The breechcloth-clad slave men and ragged dresses worn by the slave women made the few nobles he saw in shining jewelry, richly coloured and decorated bison robes and even rarer cotton robes from the south, stand out all that much more. Most distinctive were the Maguraku merchants from far to the south, shirtless like a peasant yet wearing plenty of gold jewelry. They walked next to their small and skinny reindeer laden with sacks which Q'mitlwaakutl knew was full of golden and copper goods, goods increasingly rare since the war between the city-states in the north intensified.

He turned toward the cliffs and his destination, the training grounds. Small streams trickled down the cliffside, feeding into the central canals by the streets that flowed into the Imaru and made both hill and city so green. The cliffside terraces rose above the tall wooden palaces and their richly painted totem poles marking the occupants' ancestry outside at the base of the cliffs, the green of the plants and small trees growing there clashing against the dark rocks. Atop the cliffs stood a few ramshackle houses of peasants who lived there. Ropes and steep, narrow stairs helped scale these terraces. Q'mitlwaakutl walked the largest of these, the path leading from river to cliff and carved back into the cliff as a giant staircase. Smaller paths branched off to give access to the terraces. Within the staircase lay many images carved into stone, from dramatic masks to images of gods, ancestors, and legends.

Atop the cliff and beside a great wooden watchtower, Q'mitlwaakutl gazed out at the city that lay at the center of the world. Terraces coated the cliffs on the other side of the great river and turned it green with dramatic patterns, guarded by tall watchtowers as a herdsman watched his herds. A light haze from the smoke of cooking ovens and furnaces filled the city on either side of the river so dominated by the foamy rapids and wide falls of Wayam. Tall wooden platforms for fishing rose from all over the banks of the river and the islands. Endless thatched roofs houses of commoners and slavs and the tall and wide plank-roofed longhouses of the elite filled every corner of his eye.

At last he came to the training grounds of the warriors, kept away from the rest of the city so the ferocity of their spirit did not disturb the people of Wayam. Already his chosen men were there, including his good friend Wiyatpakan, the miyawakh of Takspash. Like himself, Wiyatpakan stood tall and wore his long hair tied back in typical warrior fashion and shielded himself with the same reindeer hide armour and eagle [1] feathers draped over it. Yet unlike himself, Wiyatpakan wore much more gold and silver jewelry and shell necklaces and bracelets denoting his status as a miyawakh, and instead of wearing a war helmet he wore a more ceremonial silver helmet crested with feathers.

"A good morning to you, my senwitla," Wiyatpakan said. "Our warriors are getting used to the training regimens you've imposed."

Q'mitlwaakutl glanced down and smiled at the sight. His warriors were holding a mock combat with blunted spears, arranged shoulder to shoulder in the precise pattern he demanded. Each side marched in formation at each other, their square alder and leather shields half as tall as a person locked side by side and marked with the glint of copper at the center, just as he had envisioned (and gifted to these men), looking for an opening in the opposite side's defense. Aside them stood warriors practicing shooting arrows and throwing javelins at stationary planks and a few other warriors lazing about, sharpening weapons or licking their bruises and wounds from training.

"They are still complaining about these drills," Wiyatpakan said. "The nobles most fanatic to you are being called wawyatla, just like the one who disciplined us all when we were children [2]!" Q'mitwaakutl sighed.

"They complain because they want all the glory for themselves. They believe my victories are because of my strong taakh, yet they forget the words of the elders that strength of one's taakh is not the final determination of anything in life." Wiyatpakan nodded in agreement.

The shouting on the field grew frenzied as the two lines of spearmen crashed into each in full force, the men pushing and shoving and trampling those who fell to the ground or took heavy blows from the spears. The men not engaged in this combat stopped to watch, cheering them on with raised fists and stomping of feet.

Wiyatpakan took off a necklace of long shells and clutched it in his hand and smiled at Q'mitlwaakutl, who immediately knew he meant to bet it. He took the spear of his back and throw it to the ground.

"I believe the men on the right will win," Wiyatpakan stated. "Do you agree?"

"I believe the warriors on the left will come ahead," Q'mitlwaakutl replied. "You may have been watching them all morning, but I have fought alongside many of them for years."

The warriors on the right side made a sudden push, many casting aside their shields and running right into the midst of the battle. The warriors on the left buckled underneath this thrust and broke ranks, but enough shouting from the most fanatic among them made them quickly reform and get back in their shield wall. They received the increasingly disorganised attack from the warriors on the right and knocked enough of them to the ground or into retreat that they felt confident to break ranks for pursuit. The battle cries and shouts turned into cheers of victory as the drill ended and men went to help each other off the ground and assist the wounded.

"Tch, clever observation," Wiyatpakan complained, handing Q'mitlwaakutl his shell necklet.

"Perhaps the men on the right are relying too much on their own taakh and the taakh of their commander, while the men on the left balance their taakh with their own abilities," Q'mitlwaakutl mused, trying to remind himself to speak with the warriors about it after that. Drills like this he had seen repeated numerous times ever since he had introduced them to Wayam and he was happy how well the men had taken to it. Perhaps the victory over Nikhluidikh the previous year fully convinced everyone the wisdom of this sort of strategy. He wondered how much other cities were using this strategy, a fact that worried him in the impending campaigns against Chemna, Imatelam or that new enemy in the north, the Chiyatsuru city of T'kuyatum.

"Do you think these men will be useful against Imatelam?" Wiyatpakan asked, also thinking of the impending war. Already some small-scale raids between allies of both sides had been playing havoc on the pastoralist villages and other border communities.

"I am confident of it. And I am even more confident because I will have you lead many of them." Wiyatpakan's eyes widened.

"An outsider like me, leading these men of Wayam?" he said, the confusion apparent on his face.

"They cannot get by on having myself lead them all the time," Q'mitlwaakutl said. "I cannot be every place at once. They need to learn that it is not my powerful taakh alone that grants them victory. Not even wisdom only I know thanks to the events of the distant past lets them win. I am confident that yourself as miyawakh of Takspash can lead them just as well."


If any place might be considered the center of the world, that place would be Wayam on the Imaru River. Here amidst the constant echo of the falling water at the Falls of Wayam (according to legend created by Coyote the Transformer) and the stark cliffs on the Imaru River and eroded landscape of the Imaru Plateau, the most powerful and prosperous civilisation--and an entire cultural area--emerged as a final blossoming of over ten thousand years of human history at this site. This wealthy and age-old salmon fishing site and trading center became a center of plant and animal domestication, an incipient proto-state and then a city-state, and in time, the center of a powerful empire, laying at either bank of the Imaru along the key pass between the dry Imaru Plateau and wet coastal forests of Fusania and the Whulge.

Five villages made up the core of Wayam. Wakhlaitq'ish and Wayam proper lay on the southern bank of the Imaru, while Sk'in and Wapaikht sat on the northern bank of the Imaru alongside Itsagitkkhoq, the easternmost extension of the Namal people (the Ihlakhluit Namals) who held similar yet different societal organisation and traditions than the Wayampam, the Aipakhpam people who lived at the other four villages. Despite the wide river, the communities shared family links and economic ties which allowed numerous customs of the Namals such as their hierarchial societal organisation to spread to the rest of Wayam and beyond to the Aipakhpam people as a whole.

Much as the rest of North Fusania, Wayam as a city-state developed as a fusion of the sedentary fishing cultures--the ancestral Aipakhpam and Namal--of the Lower Imaru River and the invading pastoralist Dena people. Both traditions and archaeology back up a period of violent war during the early 4th century between the Aipakhpam and their allies and the Dena and their allies. The Dena won this war and replaced much of the so-called ancestral nobility of the Aipakhpam--practically, this resulted in a dramatic change in material culture and way of life, the shift to the Irikyaku Culture.

The founding myth of Wayam lay within this ancient conflict. The Wayamese believed that in 343 AD, a great leader, Q'mitlwaakutl of Wayam, assembled an alliance of warriors from all the corners of the world to defeat the Dena threat. Coyote himself appeared before him and informed him that through this battle, Wayam would prosper as never before and he would lead Wayam to new heights. This only made Q'mitlwaakutl even more eager to do battle. With eight thousand warriors according to legend, he set off to ambush the Dena before they made their attack on Wayam. Along a creek "between Wayam and Ktlatla", they encountered the Dena who possessed equal forces. The fractitious alliance, uncertain leadership, and above all, the skill and spirit possessed by the Dena utterly destroyed the Wayamese and their allies. The creek they fought by became a mighty canyon with all the blood of the fallen, while every river in the world flooded from the tears cried by mothers, wives, and children. For this, the Aipakhpam called it the Battle of Endless Blood.

Q'mitlwaakutl refused to flee, fighting until the last, but he too fell, severely wounded by Dena axes and arrows. As he lay dying on the battlefield, Coyote once again appeared to him and told him that he spoke no lies earlier despite the defeat. Coyote healed Q'mitlwaakutl of his wounds and brought him to Wayam, where he transformed him into a rock formation along the Imaru so that he might stay alive. Coyote said to him that one day, he would return to his original human form and rule Wayam and fulfill the prophecy.

Regardless of the veracity of this legend, Wayam grew quickly as an incipient city during the time of the Irikyaku culture. Its position at an ancient fishing site and trading center allowed for large amounts of labour to be available in the form of both free men and imported slaves. This allowed for the large-scale construction of irrigation channels and earthworks for agriculture and aquaculture, expansion of food storage facilities, and warriors to protect the city. During the Irikyaku period, the villages became more closely linked than ever as they expanded into a city spanning both banks of the Imaru.

In the Irikyaku period, Wayam thrived as trade and connections with the rest of the world increased rapidly thanks to the mobility of goods allowed by the spread domesticated reindeer. The incipient White Road leading to Pasnomsono and the Central Valley of South Fusania brought connections, ideas, and goods from obsidian to pine sugar to acorns to slaves from all over Fusania to Wayam [3]. Just as important, reindeer domestication allowed for easier portaging, making water travel around the rapids all the more efficient. Cultures fused, ideas were exchanged, and ruling classes emerged as wealth distinctions became sharper and sharper. With their access to the best tools and reindeer, their need for flood and drought management, and their desire for even more wealth in food, rudimentary state structures began to emerge by the 8th century.

In the period 700 - 1120 AD, at least three dynasties ruled Wayam, the earlier of which are conventionally known as the I and II Dena dynasties due to oral histories emphasising the Dena origins of these dynasty. Little is known of the first two dynasties and its rulers are effectively legendary. while the latter is the Khalishmi dynasty (also of Dena origin) which rose to power under the miyawakh Luts'akhalish in 958. This dynasty is so named for the ceremonial names of the rulers which ended in "khalish", meaning "wolf" (another animal associated with the Dena). Historiography distinguishes this period as the Dena Era of Wayam thanks to their origins.

The Khalishmi dynasty came to power in the year 958. Their rise is attributed to the recent droughts in those years, and its founder Luts'akhalish allegedly possessed impressed spiritual power in addition to his cleverness. Legend calls him a gambler of impressive skill who came from the north and began to host potlatches to distribute his great wealth gained from gambling, thus gaining an impressive following. He gambled much at these potlatches and many nobles of Wayam held many debts to him. In 958, he attended a potlatch of the miyawakh of Wayam and gambled against him at the stick game and over the shinny match. Over five days he won nearly every personal possession of the miyawakh, including his slaves, his weapons, most of his possessions, and intangible gifts like the right to marry his daughters and even the right to inherit his name. Realising how desperately broke he had become, the miyawakh committed suicide in the weeks after. The council at Wayam, many of whom were in debt to Luts'akhalish, enthroned him and his infant son as co-miyawakhs in return for their debts being forgiven.

During the Dena Period, Wayam's political system formed. The miyawakh nominally held absolute authority, elected from the sons (or otherwise nearest male heir) of the previous miyawakh. Like in the other Aipakhpam cities, the system was a diarchy--the miyawakh shared power with a male relative, typically his heir, but sometimes a brother or uncle. If one or both miyawakhs were underage they would be assisted by a regent. One miyawakh coordinated the efforts of the community during peace, the other coordinated military efforts. By tradition, the miyawakhs resided on opposite shores of the Imaru for half the year before crossing over to the other shore, an event marked with great ceremony. The council, consisting of the most important noblemen such as miyuukhs of the five communities at Wayam, the senwitla, the Fishing Chief, the High Priest, and other notables as selected by the nobles of the city, confirmed the miyawakhs, the regent, and other appointments, and nominally held the power to block their decrees. An unpopular miyawakh would find himself hindered at every step and his preferred heir never elected, while a popular miyawakh might rule with little restraint.

Itsagitkkhoq and Wayam proper emerged as the largest communities of Wayam thanks to hosting the palaces of the miyawakhs, large and elaborately painted wooden structures set against and partially dug into the basalt cliffs behind them. As the family of both miyawakhs hailed from these areas, these quarters thrived and served as the center of the community with nearly half of its population and buildings. About 2/3 of Wayam's population and buildings resided on the southern bank of the Imaru, with canoes and other small watercraft crossing the Imaru daily as people went about their daily business. The remainder mostly lived in Itsagitkkhoq, with Sk'in and Waipakht as smaller, less dense communities.

For thousands of years, the villages of Wayam were perhaps the largest community in Fusania by number of people, a statistic which continued as great changes swept the land and the Wayamese acted as a single community. By the year 600, Wayam had perhaps two thousand people living permanently at the falls. A century later at the conventional date for its emergence as a true city-state, that number doubled. From 850 to 1100, Wayam consistently maintained about 5,000 permanent residents, but the number of subsidiary villages outside Wayam yet within its sphere exploded in number and size. The size of Wayam's markets and the amount of people passing through markedly increased as well. The miyuukhs of these village looked toward Wayam for prosperity, protection, and legitimacy and frequently celebrated feasts and ceremonies at Wayam. The largest of these, the First Salmon Feast, saw tens of thousands of people arrive at Wayam over those days. While the sheer number of people prevented everyone from fishing, the miyawakhs of Wayam prevented anyone from going without fish, ensuring no one present left the city without eating the traditional meal of salmon, omodaka, and camas.

This population density and the infrastructure needed to support it forced pioneering innovations which in time spread to the rest of the Aipakhpam lands and Fusania as a whole. Sitting between the river and steep basalt cliffs, good land for farmland or building was scarce as floods might easily wash away much of the limited land available. Timber for construction, tools, and firewood in the area was similarly rare. The engineering feats accomplished to turn Wayam into a city are almost without parallel in the Americas or amongst any society as limited in population and technology as late 1st millennia Fusania.

Wayam created an increasingly elaborate system of levees and dams starting in the 4th century. This emerged as a way to show the power of the nobility by demonstrating their control over the Imaru River, and also out of existing weirs, fishing platforms, and other structures used for salmon fishing. These structures held back the river from fields and homes and workplaces and controlled the flow of the river for irrigation, fishing, and erosion control. At first merely improved weirs, labourers cut new channels to more effectively flood fields and hold back floodwaters for future use, and constructed more elaborate check dams for further erosion control. These more or less stagnant ponds grew the food to feed the Wayamese from crops like omodaka to ducks and geese.

For additional land, the Wayamese carved terraces into the cliffside. Despite the general lack of quality tools, they carved out the rocks using a mixture of stone, copper, and bronze tools to chisel out the terrances. Priests supervised the process, picking auspicious days and making appropriate offerings so not to disturb the spirits who lived within the rocks, turned to stone in eras past by the Transformer. Ingeniously, the Wayamese used a combination of heating and freezing to weaken sections of the cliff for cutting. They conducted much of the work during the winter, stoking fires during the day to keep the area warm before letting the night chill freeze the cliff, often with icy water poured on it. After several nights or more, they cut into cliff, eventually hammering off huge chunks of rock which they used for material for levees or other earthworks.

This process continued until they had solid, level ground, which they covered with smooth stones, soil, and charcoal, and allowed hardy plants like sweetvetch or hedges of alders to grow in seasons before growing other crops like camas. They carved channels and niches into the terrace to drain the soil and provide irrigation. Some terraces they grazed towey goats on thanks to their steady-footed nature. This working of water and fire was deeply rooted within the Aipakhpam worldview, as they represented two opposites which combined produced balance, a spiritually powerful balance which let even the solid cliffs be eroded away through human effort. From the primitive terraces found at Wayam (and soon radiating outward) starting around 900 AD, terrace construction took up increasing amounts of labour as they became increasingly elaborate by the early 11th century and spread up the cliffs all around Wayam. By the 12th century, the earliest qanats--no doubt an outgrowth of terrace construction--appear at Wayam, supplying constant fresh water to the terraces and city.

When terraces still couldn't provide enough land, the Wayamese started to farmed the plateau above by about 1000 AD. Located atop hundreds of meters of cliffs and steep hills this landscape provided suitable land for grazing and farming but with good care they grew even groves of hardy birches or alders. The Wayamese accessed this land, the so-called "Upper Land", through carving stairways into the cliffs using the same method constructing terraces. Often these stairs proceded terrace building on the site. At the top of this area, they dug wells, reservoirs, and channels to collect water for irrigation and grew plants for farming as well as groves of trees for windbreaks and firewood. Villages sprang up on these terraces, their leaders closely associated with Wayam's leadership. By this means much of the plateau around Wayam grew green with useful plant life.

The Upper Land at Wayam marks the first appearance of this sort of settlement pattern in the Imaru Plateau, a pattern repeated at many cities such as Imatelam, the Five Cities of the Gorge, or the Chiyatsuru city of St'kamhtsi confined between river and cliff. Requiring great amounts labour to construct, the Wayamese rulers took it on themselves to distribute the required slaves, tools, and corvee labour (attl'awitpama) to build the staircases and improvements to farm the area. The increasing growth of the Upper Land marked a change in the incipient Wayamese state as the miyawakhs and senwitla headed a rapidly growing bureaucracy responsible for ensuring orderly affairs and relations with the nobles at these villages and their followers.

The Wayamese also faced the challenge of bridging their river. The wide river and swift current of the Imaru made building an effective bridge extremely challenging, yet regardless the Wayamese succeeded at this. Around 980 AD, the miyawakh Quikhkhalish, son of Luts'akhalish succeeded at what was once thought impossible, thanks to allegedly the great weaving powers of his wives. The couple built several suspension bridges of tehi fiber and sturdy red cedar across the islands and flats in the river, using pre-existing fishing platforms as bases. Two of these spanned over 80 meters, some of the longest indigenous bridges in the New World. Tall red cedar posts carved with totem writing emblems of gods and legendary stories held up the bridge. These bridges linked Wayam proper with Sk'in, ensuring an easy flow of commerce throughout the year. Periodic maintenance and rituals were performed to keep the bridge sturdy and working. Although flooding and over-use washed away the bridge several times, each time the Wayamese restored it and even built a second bridge alongside it.

Wayam's city planning became equally elaborate to meet the needs of its growing population. After a major flood in the 11th century caused severe damage, the Wayamese rebuilt the city down to its streets and layout. The miyawakhs ordered the buildings rebuilt on a specific grid and planted a mix of Imaru oaks and soringo trees at regular intervels for shade, beauty, food, and resources. They spaced small channels running through the city at regular intervals to direct wastewater to cesspits and agricultural fields. The chaotic layout of earlier Wayam vanished and a city with a much more precise and planned look emerged.

The Wayamese developed most of these methods as they seemingly radiate outwards from there, although at other major Aipakhpam cities and even elsewhere in Fusania, especially in the similar climate and terrain in Chiyatsuru lands, similar constructions appear almost contemporary to their oldest use at Wayam. Whether by migration or cultural pull, Wayam's architecture and engineering became inspirational to the entire region and Wayam effectively formed a template for the structure of Fusanian cities in terms of layout and organisation, no matter how distinct each regional culture might be.

Lacking much in the way of mineral resources (although Wayam imported both raw ore and finished metal goods), Wayam's artisans mostly worked in wood, bone, and antler. They made impressive sets of gambling sticks, totem sticks, and hilts for knives. The art of totem pole carving first arrived on the Plateau thanks to Wayamese artisans, and their totem poles possessed a distinctive take on the universal sets of characters, animals, and symbols used in totem writing. Most famed were their tools of oak. The Wayamese were famed for their extensive cultivation and management of groves of Imaru oaks, much of which they turned into sturdy--and often wonderfully carved--handles for shovels, hoes, foot plows, and all manner of tools as well as furniture and interior finishings. They built sturdy and swift canoes, but their most famous camoes were the richly ornamented mortuary canoes which many elites were buried in.

Similarly, Wayam's textile industries gained great prestige throughout Fusania. Towey goat herders and bison hunters from far to the east sold to the women of Wayam hides and pelts which they spun into blankets, robes, and carpets often dyed in exquisite patterns and even occasionally with gold or silver embroidery. They became the first along the Imaru to extensively work in cotton (starting around 1000 AD following its increasing import from South Fusania), weaving famed cotton robes and other clothing which became popular clothing during the Fusanian summer. Throughout civilised Fusania many tried their best to imitate what the nobles of Wayam wore.

Wayam relied deeply on its relation with its hinterland. Despite its efforts, the city lacked self-sufficiency in food despite its food stores and certainly lacked self-sufficiency in firewood. Like other Aipakhpam cities, Wayam relied on its hinterland (both the Upper Land and the area upstream), where villages of 75 to 100 people sprang up. The miyuukhs of these villages were usually kinsmen of the miyuukhs or miyawakhs at Wayam and were practically governors of them as the miyawakhs of Wayam removed them at will. However, until the 11th century they remained nominally independent. Key among the Wayamese means of persuasion was gifting expensive tools, animals, slaves, and other goods to the miyuukhs and nobles of these villages, who couldn't possibly hope to acquire possessions in the quality and quantity Wayam produced them in, thus falling into their debt. Wayam also supplied great amounts of labour to the nearest communities in order to construct networks of canals and stream modifications for its own benefit--typically this benefitted the local village as well.

The town of Wanwawi immediately upstream at the mouth of the Wanwahi River served as Wayam's most important and ancient vassal and sometimes thought of as the sixth town of Wayam. The miyuukh of this town was appointed by the miyawakh of Wayam from the earliest times, and was exceedingly rich since he controlled land and river trade from the south on the Wanwahi River. His town also held another important landmark--Naishtlanmi Ts'ekhas, a prominent execution site at a deep pool in the river across from the mouth of the Wanwahi. Believed to mark the point Coyote sealed the monster Naishtla, the Aipakhpam believed Naishtla still lurked here, far less powerful than when he swallowed all the creatures of the world but still dangerous. They appeased Naishtla by drowning those convicted of serious offenses such as murder, rape, adultery, or witchcraft. Sometimes those sentenced to death were executed beforehand and their corpse thrown in the river, other times they were sealed in a weighted box and drowned alive.

Wayam's immediate foreign policy goals centered around it's primary competitor, the diarchic city state of Nikhluidikh and Tinainu which like Wayam, held an ethnically mixed population of Ihlakhluit Namals and Aipakhpam [4]. Relations with this city-state tended to be friendly on the face of things, thanks to both cities anchoring an ages old fishing site and trade nexus. They never once fought a true war with each other thanks to the destructiveness and often allied with one another against outsiders, be it the Grey Mountains Dena or their mutual competitor, the Shakhlatksh Namal city-state of Itlkilak-Ninuhltidikh. Their nobility often intermarried amongst each other and kinship bonds were strong. They ensured their own criminals were punished and repatriated foreign criminals as often as they could to gain good will amongst foreign cities.

Yet underneath this lay a great tension. Nikhluidikh accused Wayam of using too much water during drought years while Wayam accused Nikhluidikh of gathering too much salmon during the fishing runs. Disputes over criminal justice involving prominent citizens sometimes led to tensions. Most pressingly, the cities regularly argued over the issue of tribute and loyalty from villages and towns in-between the two cities. The headmen and nobles of these villages regularly paid tribute to both rulers and attended their potlatches and other ceremonies, lest they be accused of disloyalty, a situation which impoverished these communities as the nobles were unable to distribute their own resources to their people.

At times, a headman refused tribute to one side or another or a prominent noble committed a crime, a situation that inevitably caused a crisis. Should the princes of Wayam and Nikhluidkh not come to an agreement, then they resolved the situation with ritual combat. While combats like this served as less damaging way to resolve tensions throughout Fusania, the combats between Wayam and Nikhluidikh attained impressive levels of ritual and ceremony not found elsewhere, even amongst other ceremonial combats either city participated in. Twenty warriors (often some or all were mercenaries) from either side met at a predetermined location with their canoes (by the 12th century this was one of five ritual battlefields along the river) along with hundreds of citizens of either city and after the initial war dance they fought to death until every man on the other side died or surrendered. Chanting and dancing occurred on either side to ensure their warriors succeeded. Battles might go on for days as neither side wished to surrender. The other side did not dispute the victory and accepted the results gracefully.

The activities around these combats resembled a potlatch in festivities. Much gambling and intrigue occurred here, and during lulls in the fighting where warriors laid ambushes for each other, people might even play an abbreviated shinny match. Merchants sold food, goods, and alcohol to attendees. Naturally these events often turned violent, as fights broke out. Each side appointed watchmen to ensure either side did not become too idle and their focus remained on supporting the warriors. Most pressingly, these watchmen also watched for shamans or others with great spiritual power attempting to influence the course of the battle. If caught, they brought them before the high priest of both cities who spiritually supervised the combat who typically ordered the offender executed on the spot.

As time went on, Wayam gained the advantage in these combats thanks to demographic strength. Nikhluidikh was much more hemmed in by other powerful city states it did not wish to offend, while to its south, north, and especially east, Wayam faced an easier path to expand its influence. Wayam's rivals like Chemna were much further away, so Wayam's ruler could afford to be more aggressive in choosing when to hold combats. Wayam's sphere of influence in the west grew at the expense of Nikhluidikh during the 11th century.

In 1114, the newly appointed senwitla of Wayam, Q'mitlwaakutl, adopted an even more aggressive policy than before. He openly praised the headmen and nobles who refused to impoverish their kin and people by paying tribute to both sides and declared Wayam would support them whenever possible. Several villages stopped paying tribute to Nikhluidikh, and another ritual combat broke out, one in which Q'mitlwaakutl himself chose to take part to show his rise in status would not affect his ability to relate to others and legendarily killed five men almost immediately.

Following Q'mitlwaakutl's success this sparked great crisis in Nikhluidikh-Tinainu. All villages which paid tribute to both cities now paid it to only Wayam, extending Wayam's sphere of influence to the gates of the city-state. Deprived of tributes, other villages downstream began to ally with other city-states like the Itlkilak-Ninuhltidikh diarchy. The entire southern hinterland similarly paid tribute to mainly Wayam, leaving Nikhluidikh practically surrounded. They declared another ritual combat, but at Q'mitlwaakutl's advice, the miyawakh of Wayam Mekheshkhalish made an agreement--a ritual combat with 400 men on either side, to determine the fate of both cities. Should Wayam win, they would gain control of those villages and "assist" Nikhluidikh in their domestic affairs (thus practically make them a tributary). Should Wayam lose, they would restore the dual tributary status to every village and thus reverse a century of gains.

Marked by festivities far greater than a typical combat (which had become so frequent the populace tired of them) and attracting visitors from all over the civilised world and beyond, the great combat held in 1116 heralded a new era of politics in the region. Led by Q'mitlwaakutl, the core of the Wayamese force (about 100 men) arrayed in a shield wall while mercenary Dena, Namal, and uniquely, Maguraku, skirmishers protected the sides, provided firepower, and sprang ambushes. The bulk of the fighting finished within an hour as Nikhluidikh's army dashed itself against the Wayamese shieldwall or were killed in the subsequent thrust. Yet fighting went on for four more days as the remaining Nikhluidikh warriors attempted ambushes to varying degrees of success. On the fifth day, knowing how few warriors remained, the princes of Nikhluidikh and Tinainu surrendered and granted Wayam the victory.

Q'mitlwaakutl (and by proxy Mekheshkhalish) likely chose this risky gamble to settle local affairs before dealing with the more pressing foreign challenges. The rise of Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum who controlled numerous cities gravely threatened Ktlatla and Winacha and thus Wayam's metal supply. Likewise, it threatened those city's abilities to raid Chemna and draw Chemnese raids. Many towns in the Tabachiri Valley thus might declare for Chemna, encircling and diminishing Wayam. Only the growing alliance with the Maguraku and their own metal supply and especially that of Pasnomsono helped alleviate the fears of the nobility of Wayam.

This decision proved exceedingly wise following Chelkhalt's dramatic success against a massive combined army of Winacha and Ktlatla at the Battle of Skweltakwtchin [5] in April 1117. Thousands of warriors of those cities died, including the miyawakh of Ktlatla, in one of the largest battles yet seen in Fusania. Following this battle, the nobles of Winacha ignominiously betrayed the remaining defenders to Chelkhalt's warriors and capitulated the city. The capture of one of the Five Cities of the Aipakhpam and the severe defeat sent great shockwaves throughout the Imaru Plateau, especially in Wayam who now lost a critical ally with one other severely weakened.

The balance of power looked to be changing in an unfavourable fashion, and the people of Wayam increasingly turned to Q'mitlwaakutl as their popular senwitla rather than the ailing miyawakh Mekheshkhalish or his unpopular nephew Iksikskhalish. Before confronting Chelkhalt, Q'mitlwaakutl chose to campaign against Chemna in 1118 so that city would not secure its alliance with T'kuyatum. He led an army and supporting fleet of canoes toward the city and intended to raid many of its allied villages. His close associate, miyawakh Wiyatpakan of Takspash, led his own army and some Wayamese soldiers against Imatelam, Chemna's ally. In the south, Q'mitlwaakutl's alliance with the Maguraku kept the southerly Hillmen occupied, keeping them from threatening Wayamese allies in the south.

The battles of the main campaign season in 1118 against Chemna ended inconclusively, with nothing but numerous raids on villages. However, Wiyatpakan's forces scored a great victory over Imatelam and slew hundreds of their warriors. This caused several Tsupnitpelu city-states, once loyal allies, to cease assisting Chemna and Imatelam, a great diplomatic coup for the Wayamese. Q'mitlwaakutl did not rest during the winter. He used his ever-growing personal wealth to augment his force with mercenaries and led them on several daring raids of Chemnese-aligned villages to seize livestock, slaves, and plunder which he distributed at the midwinter potlatch to great acclaim.

Yet it was the dramatic events of 1119 which remained in the memory of Fusanians for ages to come. The illness of miyawakh Mekheshkhalish took a turn for the worse and the unpopular Iksikskhalish increased his control over Wayam. Many of the elders of the city compared Iksikskhalish to those miyawakhs decades earlier who had fought many pointless wars in the desert against powers like Taikh and the Hillmen and led to a costly war with Chemna and the disaster at Taksasam in 1084. Key among these was the Fishing Chief Plaashyaka, a friend of Mekheshkhalish and grandfather to two of Q'mitlwaakutl's wives. He had helped bring Q'mitlwaakutl into the political system of Wayam, and now, some rumoured, wished to help him take back his throne of old and once again become the ruler of Wayam.

Prince Gaiyuchul of Katlamat, Saga of the Four Corners (1470, translation 1970)​

How ironic is it that so much of the life of the great Q'mitlwaakutl Shapatukhtla whose legacy reverberates to this day remains obscure to us. He accomplished what none since the Time of the Transformer had done yet the number of tales we may verify on his life remain so few. Every storyteller across the Four Corners can tell a story of Q'mitlwaakutl yet so many contradict that the facts of his life remain veiled. Even at the ancient city of Wayam how few of the stories agree with each other. The great scholar N'chiyaka of Wapaikht reports with certainty that only a liar claims to know any but the barest of facts on the early life of Q'mitlwaakutl, let alone the name given to him in his youth.

It is N'chiyaka of Wapaikht who in his long life collected many songs and stories from Wayam, a great number of which I have never heard yet must trust exist. No man who yet lives knows more of the story of Wayam and the lands around it. For this we trust in N'chiyaka's wisdom and from his wisdom do I draw much of my knowledge, however much I have learned from other wise men in Chemna, Ktlatla, and even among those Hillmen of the Grey Mountains.

In all things N'chiyaka of Wapaikht errs only once. He uncritically accepts the tale of Q'mitlwaakutl springing back to life from the cliff. This must in truth be an invention of the Shapatukhtlanmi [6] to secure their rule. We must regard it as an eccentricity of Q'mitlwaakutl and perhaps one in which he acted on the orders of his guardian spirit to most effectively gain a following. A reincarnation of the primordial Q'mitlwaakutl we cannot deny yet it seems a deceit on his part to claim otherwise. The cliff he was so imprisoned in did indeed collapse into the river on his birth, yet he did not appear as either an infant nor as a fully-fledged man.

The story of the Q'mitlwaakutl's rebirth as Q'mitlwaakutl Shapatukhtla begins in 741 near the town of Taksasam. Here at the banks of the Imaru River a great warrior and descendent of Q'mitlwaakutl perished in a great battle between Wayam and Chemna and thereafter Q'mitlwaakutl returned to earth in the form of that man's son. The boy was raised by his grandfather, a wise and brilliant man who instructed him on his duties in life. The names of his grandfather or any others who called Q'mitlwaakutl kin, we know nothing of, for Q'mitlwaakutl wished to erase this simple fact from the world.

Of his youth the most factual tales claim he befriended many sons of the nobility and married two beautiful grand-daughters of the Fishing Chief at Wayam, the wise elder Plaashyaka. All remark how the young Q'mitlwaakutl was possessed of impressive physique, sharp wit, and persuasive voice such that it gained him many followers amongst the youth. Yet he lacked the typical arrogance many youths so gifted often have such that it gained him many followers amongst the elders and in particular those who attended the potlatches of Plaashyaka.

Stories in Nikhluidikh and Wayam agree as well on the matter of the young man's success in the combats between the cities. He fought several times as a young man in these combats and every time he gave to Wayam great victory. We may suppose that from these battles Q'mitlwaakutl gained his mind for battle and for strategy and not in the least his famed distrust of Nikhluidikh and Tinainu!

Yet I know of no trait of Q'mitlwaakutl's youth more important than his desire to listen and learn. He wished to understand the world and people around him. Perhaps this led him to Plaashyaka and the many wise elders of his city. For certain it gave him the comprehension of the world in which Wayam sat at the center of and led him to his friendship with the great Maguraku prince Daslats-Lwelolis. I believe this trait above all led the boy to his destiny."

Lord Nch'iyaka of Wapaikht, Saga of Wayam (1500, translation 1974)​

It came to pass that in the year 776 [1119] the great prince of Wayam Mekheshkhalish did at last walk west in the road in the sky to meet his ancestors. The people grieved the loss of their master who ruled them for 50 years and such tears filled the Imaru such that it flooded that spring. All cried in sorrow but the nephew of Mekheshkhalish, the prince Iksikskhalish whose greed knew no bounds. At last he had emerged from the shadow of his uncle. He plundered the stores of his uncle and bedecked himself in finery and splendour that was not his own. He therefore impoverished the young grandson of Mekheshkhalish, chosen to succeed to the name of his grandfather [7].

Iksikskhalish summoned the council of Wayam and put forth the name of his brother-in-law to serve as regent to the young Mekheshkhalish. The wise Fishing Chief Plaashyaka replied, "My prince, you are much too close to that man for him to rule in the young prince's stead. Surely in your wisdom you know of another man who might rule." Iksikskhalish repeated his decision with great force yet could not intimidate the wise Plaashyaka. "Even a man as strong and forceful as yourself would be unable to rule all of Wayam by his own might."

Thereafter Iksikskhalish sought another way to increase his ill-gotten gains. He did hold a great potlatch in the spring of 1119 and invited a fierce mercenary captain whose warriors had killed many men. He lavished gift after gift on this man, so much the captain became fearful of falling into an eternal debt. Iksikskhalish told him his scheme. "Your debt will be forgiven as long as you take twenty men and kill the grandson of the cursed and damned Mekheshkhalish [8] and all his brothers. Your debt will be forgiven as long as you take twenty men and kill the vizier, the cursed and damned Q'mitlwaakutl!" Thus proceeded the mercenary captain and his forty men to their bloody deed. They did strangle the grandson of Mekheshkhalish and his brothers in his sleep. Yet against the might and foresight of Q'mitlwaakutl they fell as snow against the South Wind and fled as they believed they fought an entire host of men.

When finished twenty days of mourning, Iksikskhalish summoned the council of Wayam again and put forth the name of his son to serve as prince of Wayam. The wise Fishing Chief Plaashyaka replied, "My prince, I fear for the safety of your son should he rule alongside you. The band of assassins may return once more to kill him and spread further evil in this city. I do not believe he should become a prince." Iksikskhalish knew not how to respond to this and believed it a provocation against him.

In a rage of intoxication Iksikskhalish drew his dagger and struck the wise Fishing Chief in the heart. The rightly guided men of the council of Wayam restrained Iksikskhalish so that Q'mitlwaakutl as Plaashyaka's kinsman might strangle him. They threw his body in the great river at Naishtlanmi Ts'ekhas so it might be rejoined with such a force of evil and thus consumed for all eternity.

When word of this incident reached the nobles and commoners, the people of Wayam did cry out "The sun and moon in Wayam has gone out, we have no more guiding light!" Then did Q'mitlwaakutl reassure the people. "Does not the sun rise again every morning? Does not the moon rise again every evening? The light placed in the sky by Spilyai shall not die! The light placed in the world by Spilyai shall not die! Wayam will never lose its guiding light!" Thenceforth the people did acclaim Q'mitlwaakutl as their new prince and thus did that ancient prince regain his rightful throne.

Wayam, June 1119​

Great roaring flames cast flickering shadows on Q'mitlwaakutl and the crowd as the old palace of the miyawakhs of Wayam burned. The sudden thunderstorm earlier seemed a sign that this place must be burned, and with the rain dumped by that storm the flames might stay contained to this place. Yet it was not for the wickedness of Iksikskhalish this place needed to be destroyed, but for its legacy as the homes of the descendents of those Hillmen lords who took Wayam from him centuries ago. A few priests stood in front of him, dancing and banging gongs and drums to ward away remaining evil from the crowd.

A skinny boy stood next to him, drinking in the flames, the boy who inherited the name Plaashyaka from his murdered grandfather. He certainly showed much of the same brilliance even as a youth, as it had been this boy who first raised the idea this palace be burnt. Q'mitlwaakutl thought of his own young son, this boy's nephew and now a co-miyawakh. So much will change in these coming years, he thought. The old generation of Wayamese notables was gone and the city and land left to men like himself.

He felt the eyes of the crowd watching both the flames and watching him. Iksikskhalish had many kinsmen and many allies, and while they dare not openly act as they had not even while Q'mitlwaakutl strangled the prince, they would continue to do anything they could do undermine his authority. Perhaps I may only rule here as long as I keep winning, he thought, knowing exactly why he was adored by so many. Yet they will stop me from doing that.

Immediately he thought of the loyalty shown to him by the rulers of the villages and towns he would pass through in his duties as senwitla or during campaigns, not the least Wiyatpakan of Takspash. Gaining balance in this chaotic world, gaining balance in this chaotic city. Suddenly the thought struck him right there, as if a suggestion from his guardian spirit power. He might crush the rebellious nobles who still held loyalties to the former Hillmen rulers of Wayam by using the support of those nobles from other places. That council of nobles might balance the council of nobles at Wayam and so long as the Wayamese listened to them and spoke to them through the office of the senwitla, they might be more likely to maintain their loyalties. But would they accept? In chaos the world is reborn, as in the Time of the Transformers, as in the time I was turned to stone.

Chaos indeed. Chemna and their allies still presented an incredible threat, and even the successes scored against them in the past two years meant little now that Winacha and Ktlatla had been crippled as viable allies. Chemna too feared the might of that brilliant prince of T'kuyatum who they called Chelkhalt, yet Q'mitlwaakutl wondered if they might ally together, a prospect that meant unspeakable danger for Wayamese interests. For this, Q'mitlwaakutl decided, he must crush Chemna. And then he would match his might against T'kuyatum and their prince Chelkhalt. And finally after that, perhaps they might have a lasting peace as balance returned to these lands after so long, just as the promise Coyote spoke to him on that battlefield so long ago.

Author's notes

I'll be using a mix of styles to write these entries--modern encyclopedic looks at the subjects, alt-historical documentation (Gaiyuchul, Nch'iyaka, and other ATL historians), and narrative parts of which the narration can just as much be story as illustrating the world.

Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum's further successes have been alluded to here as well. If you're wondering when the clash of these two greats happens, it will happen sooner than later.

While Q'mitlwaakutl (and Chelkhalt for that matter) seems like a prototypical "Great Man", akin to a Sargon or a Narmer/Menes-type figure, it's important to keep in mind he's merely one who best took advantage of the circumstances of his time (warfare over population growth, increasing bureaucracy and complexity to manage said population, and most pressingly foreign threats which make his message very popular and necessitate such a radical change). Obviously a subject of great debate for TTL's historians.

As ever, thank you for reading, and thank you for nominating and voting for this TL for a Turtledove.

[1] - "Eagle" unqualified in this TL shall refer to the golden eagle. In Fusanian culture (like many OTL Amerindian cultures in this region and beyond i.e. Nahuas), the golden eagle was considered the king of the birds and the bald eagle a lesser (yet still important) bird.
[2] - Wawyatla, "whipman", is a man in some Plateau cultures responsible for discipline of children (especially noble children) both OTL and TTL (with some variation). As suggested by this exchange, "wawyatla" comes to refer a drillmaster (and as miyawakh means "mayor" in modern times TTL, "wawyatla" means "sergeant" TTL)
[3] - While IOTL prehistoric long distance trade on this route certainly occurred, the volume greatly increased after the introduction of horses. TTL, reindeer and the increasing population permit that same development and the volume of goods only increases.
[4] - Roughly Dallesport, WA and The Dalles, OR respectively. Celilo Falls (where Wayam is at) marks the eastern edge of this important stretch of rapids while the western edge is roughly at The Dalles. OTL the entire area was a crucial site for fishing and trading.
[5] - Skweltakwtchin is located at the southern shore of Jameson Lake in Douglas County, WA, south of Mansfield, WA
[6] - "Shapatukhtlanmi" is a historiographical term used for the dynasty of Q'mitlwaakutl, literally "of Shapatukhtla"
[7] - In Aipakhpam culture (and generally common in Fusania with variations), a boy would take his ancestor's name in time for use in formal settings. He is not Mekheshkhalish II though--although regnal numbers are a useful convention for Fusanian history, there would be several other previous rulers known by this name. Unfortunately, the records of this era TTL are fragmentory.
[8] - In Fusanian culture, by speaking the name of Mekheshkhalish so soon after his death, Iksikskhalish is committing grave slander against him
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great uodate as usual
it seems like full on wars in this region might carry great risk for couldn’t that risk destroying the salmon run? esspically if their pillaging involded?
will the use of stone start to transation to buildings in near future?
it seems like full on wars in this region might carry great risk for couldn’t that risk destroying the salmon run? esspically if their pillaging involded?
It doesn't help things, let's say that much. But to my knowledge as long as you aren't throwing too much debris into the rivers things are okay. Stuff being washed away into the river during the rainy season is definitely a problem but most raids and campaigns aren't taking place in that time and by that time survivors (or others like local nomads) have returned and rebuilt some rudimentary structures. A lot of river banks have trees near them too (often deliberately planted/encouraged via their forest management), and they do have a rudimentary concept of erosion and why it is a very bad thing.

Their management of salmon is still very wrapped up in spirituality though (First Salmon rituals and all). This is good in a way because they understand dumping corpses (with exceptions, often related to cursed places like that execution site near Wayam) and the more worthless belongings of victims of raids is essentially polluting the river, although they believe it's spiritual pollution that keeps the salmon away.
will the use of stone start to transation to buildings in near future
Wood has too high of a prestige value that even with deforestation, few would want to live or work in a stone house, although there are some examples even at this time. Typically they save on wood by using mud, reeds, etc. in a wattle-and-daub type framework sunk into the ground, but these aren't desirable buildings and stone more of a luxury. Cultural shifts may be needed. And perhaps likely, a few hundred years is a long time and there are lots of advantages to stone buildings even if they might not be so nice come the next earthquake (of which the Plateau area is quite vulnerable).
Chapter 30-A Twin Sunrise in the Land New
"A Twin Sunrise in the Land"

T'kuyatum, March 1117
A few men in thick robes and arrayed in feathers and jewels carried the mangled body of a young noble into the hall, his white robe covered in dark and crusted blood. Chelkhalt recognised it immediately as one of his sons, yet he felt little agony at the sight. He already heard the news of his son's death in battle against the Winachapam and wished to hear little more of it. The White Robes lost nearly almost a hundred men and almost all of their loot. If I had been there, would they still have lost? Perhaps even he might've lost when this detatchment of the White Robes had been raiding all winter, deep into enemy territory. Men cannot always be active, for men need rest, and to do otherwise brings imbalance.

"He fought well," a young white-robed warrior and his eldest son, Nirqotschin, said. "The mercenaries mostly fell, yet thanks to him the rest of us escaped."

"I never thought I would see our brother fight like that," said another son Chiltiqen. "He fought with every gift of his guardian spirit to defend us." The young man's once playful and bright face had melted at the sight of serious bloodshed. He deserved a more triumphant first battle with the White Robes, yet a part of Chelkhalt hoped it would teach him to be a better man.

"The myth of the invincibility of the White Robes will shatter from this," commented the elderly Nmachwisht, his wise tsukh'wawam. "The new prince at Winacha is quite skilled."

"Yet he will need more than that to earn the respect of his own people," Chelkhalt replied. The eyes of the women and men in the hall focused on him, waiting to hear him speak after this affair. "He's a puppet of the prince of Ktlatla!" he shouted, granting them their wish. "He takes more orders from them than a common headman takes from me, and exists only because of greedy and treacherous noblemen!"

"They still fight well," Nirqotschin said, understanding his message quickly. "Do you believe they will crumble easily?"

"They will do more than crumble!" Chelkhalt replied back. "They will dash themselves against our warriors in disharmony! For a village lacking unity and purpose is dispersed by famine, flood, and violence, and an army is no different." He motioned to a slave man to bring him the box containing the smoking mixture. "Without unity, every man goes his separate ways and chaos ensues. We are still fighting Ktlatla and Winacha separately, and more separately than ever!"

The slave nearly stumbled carrying out his tobacco chest, a heavy bentwood box enlaid with gold and silver and painted with the vivid face of a Coastman god. Chelkhalt knew little of its origins, other than how a Dena chief gave it to him as tribute and claimed he had taken it from the Whulchomish. He opened it and took out a simple, unornamented wooden pipe, thick and rounded, and a pinch of the kinnikinnick mixture in both hands, one arm above his head as he sprinkled it into the pipe. The nobles in the hall seemed utterly confused, yet none did so much as stifle a laugh aside Nirqotschin, although the pain on Chiltiqen's face briefly vanished into a tormented smile.

"Foolish, is it not?" he asked. "Yet this disunion of my hands is exactly what our enemy is doing, and why they will fall at our feet much as the kinnikinnick on the ground before me!" The people cheered at the demonstration, and as a slave lit his pipe for him, Chelkhalt let the harsh tobacco smoke take him someplace where he might relax from the problems he faced. Another son has died, and our enemies have scored a victory. They will certainly use the onset of spring and coming potlatch to attack my allies. Winacha was not strong on their own, but certainly Ktlatla was, and with them the towns of the Tabachiri Valley and worst of all, Wayam. Even though most of the Tabachiri towns and Wayam focused their attentions elsewhere, they certainly would take note of whatever would happen in this conflict.

Chelkhalt felt a cold shiver, yet not an unpleasant one. Somewhere, his brother-in-law and his powerful guardian spirit was watching him, reminding him of what needed to be done. And he supposed it would be done, for the spiritual strength on Chelkhalt's side could not be matched. No doubt he held this spiritual success in battle for everything he did at peace in encouraging a tempered society of balance in the hearts of his people.

Weakening under endless raids and unable to bring Chelkhalt's men to battle, the nobles deposed the miyawakh of Winacha in 1117 and installed their own candidate as miyawakh in a coup backed by Ktlatla, their primary ally. With their own mercenaries, Winacha defeated a White Robes raid in the Grey Mountains in late winter 1117, with most of the casualties falling on their mercenary component. Expecting a great reprisal, Winacha took the opportunity to press the offensive during the time Chelkhalt would be occupied with the spring potlatch and making amends to nobles for his failure. About 1,500 men marched up the Imaru River, with raiding parties detatched to pillage the disputed borderlands. Behind them, Ktlatla sent their own party of 2,500 men in a show of force meant to decisively end the war with T'kuyatum. They crossed the Imaru River to the sparsely populated arid Mimanashi Plateau to the east of it with the intent to avoid the Imaru River route, secure control over this disputed area, and make a sneak attack on T'kuyatum across the Imaru.

Worn down by years of war, Chelkhalt set out to meet them upon his brother-in-law promising victory. He detached a force of four hundred men, mostly his surviving White Robes and Dena allies, to raid villages in the mountains and draw away enemy forces--these men would also pin the enemy army as they retreated. He assembled 2,000 men to march to the Mimanashi Plateau to meet the enemy. Despite being outnumbered, Chelkhalt held absolute faith in his victory. He correctly guessed that a lengthy baggage train trailed the enemy to supply them in this dry land, and also assumed Winacha and Ktlatla's forces would arrive in two separate waves thanks to the latter's ambitions to rule the former causing strife and disharmony. He also assumed the local villages and towns would support him thanks to the constant foraging and hunting the Aipakhpam would carry out.

All these assumptions proved correct. The local nobles acted as spies and scouts for the T'kuyatum army, occasionally sabotaging the enemy baggage train that caused them to march at a very slow place. One of these raids Winacha successfully countered, capturing and executing a nobleman who was the son of the Ilmilkwm of Skweltakwtchin, a minor city-state subject to T'kuyatum. The nobles leading Winacha's army chose to make an example of this city-state, although Skweltakwtchin was little more than a village with no more than a few hundred people. Ktlatla's army followed close behind.

Within sight of Skweltakwtchin's palisade, T'kuyatum's army struck. A sudden north wind started blowing at sunrise, causing a rare April snowstorm. Hundreds of archers appeared from the tops of the coulee walls and nearby drumlins to rain death and chaos on the Aipakhpam warriors. Chelkhalt's warbands, minus the White Robes and a few hundred other men, descended these walls or emerged from the town of Skweltakwtchin to finish the job against enemies blinded by chaos and snow. The miyawakh of Winacha and several of his sons fell in battle, as did many other nobles of Winacha. Enemies attempted to flee into the lake for safety but were cut down anyway, giving the lake the perpetual name "Patiwitwatam" ("Battle Lake") [1]. Only a few nobles survived, taken for ransom, while as a sign of his generosity, Chelkhalt gave Skweltakwtchin a great share of the plunder from the dead, including the many reindeer, goats, and dogs accompanying the enemy.

A few kilometers east along the coulee later that day, Chelkhalt's army now converged on Ktlatla's force. The forces who destroyed Winacha's forces advanced down the coulee floor while the bulk of the White Robes and those who accompanied them waited at the top of the coulee. The snowstorm continuing to howl, Chelkhalt attacked in late afternoon, personally leading a few dozen White Robes into the bulk of the enemy as arrows rained down where they mortally wounded the miyawakh of Ktlatla. Blinded by the snowstorm and having lost their leader, chaos ensued in Ktlatla's army as they met the bulk of the force advancing down the coulee and In this killing ground, only a few hundred warriors managed to fight their way out, helped by the exhaustion of T'kuyatum's warriors. Over the next few weeks, T'kuyatum's raiding parties picked off many of the survivors and much of the baggage train.

The utter success at the Battle of Skweltakwtchin caused Chelkhalt to move forward with his plans. His detatchment of a few hundred White Robes and Dena pressed Winacha to the breaking point as they had few warriors remaining. In summer 1117, Chelkhalt led about 1,500 men down the Imaru to finish the conquest of Winacha. He turned back a few last ditch defenses of the city and was welcomed into Winacha by the end of summer by a faction of rogue nobles who had murdered the miyawakh and sought to prevent the sack of the city. While Chelkhalt accepted these men as followers, he demanded a harsh tribute from them so they might be permanently reliant on him and never betray him as they had their previous ruler. The remainder of the summer and to the end of the campaign season he spent subduing the rest of Winacha's territories, a goal accomplished by the White Robes's winter campaign in 1118.

In spring that year, Chelkhalt asked for peace with Ktlatla, asking them to respect the new status quo. Having had their forces annihilated the previous year, Ktlatla's miyawakh accepted to Chelkhalt's terms and chose not to continue the war. They turned over many nobles of Winacha they sheltered whom Chelkhalt reduced to poverty by confiscating their property. At least a few noble children ended up slaves, many of whom ended up sacrificed at ceremonies. This hid the vulnerability Chelkhalt worried about--he knew his nascent empire had been at war for too long and was running low on manpower and funds. Further, economic issues from the supply of coastal resources like money shells, interrupted by extensive Coastmen raiding, were hitting his land. Chelkhalt perhaps wished for no more war in the Imaru Plateau so he might campaign across the mountains to gain a better supply of shells and other coastal resources. Thus, he fought few campaigns in 1118, although permitted some of his nobles to raid hostile Dena tribes.

To prepare for a future conflict with Wayam, which Chelkhalt found unavoidable after the rise of Q'mitlwaakutl, Chelkhalt chose to diplomatically prepare himself for a future conflict with Wayam. He made diplomatic overtures toward Npwilukh [2], Shonitkwu, and the Nk'atkhw Qlhispe towns of the Ankatoku River to keep peace between their states. The ruler of Nkhwemine, the most powerful of these states and contender for influence on the Mimanashi Plateau and adjacent areas, found this influence in his affairs unacceptable and sent an army against T'kuyatum to raid their territories in 1120.

Much of this conflict was fought well away from both cities, yet occupied Chelkhalt's attention during the early 1120s, much to his annoyance. Chelkhalt rarely committed his White Robes to battle, instead mostly relying on allies amongst the Nk'atkhw and cities like Npwilukh as well as the Dena. No decisive actions occurred the first few years of the war as a result. Instead, Chelkhalt spent much of his time associating with his new vassal nobles in Winacha and Kawakhtchin, and continued arranging diplomatic affairs, with peace dominating locally. In 1123, he gained a crucial alliance with Ktlatla, whose rulers saw him as the lesser of three evils between him, their historic enemy Chemna, and the rising force of Wayam who sought more direct influence in the Tabachiri Valley under their ambitious ruler Q'mitlwaakutl.

In summer 1124, Chelkhalt chose to end the war with Nkhwemine. He sent a force of few hundred over the mountains to raid the Whulchomish, making said force look far larger than it truly was to make Nkhwemine think their enemy was distracted. Marching at the head of a restored White Robes, an additional thousand men of T'kuyatum, and allied forces (including those of Winacha), Chelkhalt made a surprise crossing of the Imaru at night and stormed the wooden walls of Ilialeken [3], an important town allied to the ilmikhwm of Nkhwemine, killed the defenders and held the town's nobles for ransom. Nkhwemine's ilmikhwm chose to make Ilialeken the battleground and led a force of about equal size to Chelkhalt's to the town.

Sections of Chelkhalt's men used skilled handling of canoes to outflank this army in pockets. They attacked villages and killed livestock along the Imaru and Ankatoku, forcing Nkhwemine to divert forces toward handling this. At the ruined walls of Ilialeken, Chelkhalt chose to use house-to-house fighting to deny the size advantage Nkhwemine had and slow them down until his raiding parties returned. Chelkhalt spread word to his men to set traps and pull back to the river, and his men left the town and assembled in a formation copied from Q'mitlwaakutl, a shield-wall. With raiding parties on one side and the bulk of his survivors on the other, they marched back into the town and burnt it, using poison sumac smoke to help burn the enemy out, where they were cut down by his men.

Nkhwemine's losses were nearly total, including their ruler, but Chelkhalt lost many men himself and suffered the loss of most of his hand to an enemy axe. However, he accomplished his goal of neutralising Nkhwemine as a potential enemy. His men spent the remainder of the summer pillaging the Lower Ankatoku River in support of a few towns which now sought to overthrow Nkhwemine's influence. While ultimately unsuccessful, this political chaos in the region lasted nearly a decade and allowed T'kuyatum, Shonitkwu, and Npwilukh to gain regional influence significantly at the expense of Nkhwemine.

Taking yet more great losses, Chelkhalt once again devoted his attention to internal matters. With the help of his skilled tsukh'wawam (vizier) Nmachwisht he ensured orderly relations with his nobles and optimal distribution of tribute. He further solidified the alliance with Npuilukhw, coming to an agreement on use of hunting lands and which local village paid tribute to which city. He also made overtures toward the Whulchomish, lending them forces to fight the Coastmen in an effort to gain greater access to their shells. Even moreso, he began cautious negotiations with Chemna, seeking to bring them into this coalition as well. Chelkhalt knew above all his main enemy was Wayam. The Chemnese ruler Kaatnamanahui, known for his greed, rejected the alliance to keep his options open, but agreed to a few mutually beneficial terms. Rumours of this naturally caused great fear in Wayam.

In 1127, Ktlatla's forces raided villages further south on the Tabachiri as part of a local feud. Since the collapse of Ktlatla, these villages had been allied with the rising strength of Timani, who had supplanted Tsikik in the local area. Timani [4], a Wayamese ally and increasingly a vassal, begged Q'mitlwaakutl for help. Q'mitlwaakutl, knowing the implications of this conflict, accepted their request. Ktlatla naturally called on T'kuyatum for aid. While he did not seek this conflict, Chelkhalt knew he might further solidify his hold on Ktlatla with a victory that devastated mainly their own forces.

Lord Nch'iyaka of Wayam, Saga of Wayam (1500, translation 1974)​

Thereafter he became prince of Wayam, Q'mitlwaakutl did clash against Chemna, Imatelam, and the Hillmen in every corner. His warriors burnt many villages allied with these peoples and became exceedingly wealthy as they took back much treasure to their homes. So well they fought did Kaatnamanahui, the great prince of Chemna, and his counterpart at Imatelam sue for peace in 777 [1121] and laid down their weapons.

Here in his early reign Q'mitlwaakutl did grant the office of senwitla glory as never before. More nobles than ever before took their place beneath the senwitla and with pride assisted Q'mitlwaakutl in gaining cooperation of the lords of Wayam and many villages throughout. They distributed the great wealth of Wayam to these villages and for these deeds acquired much tribute. Many of these lords and nobles took their place on the first realm council wisely created by Q'mitlwaakutl and Q'mitlwaakutl gave heed to the wisdom and words of these distant nobles as he would the nobles of Wayam.

A few of the nobility, in particular those who sat on the council of Wayam despised Q'mitlwaakutl out of their greed and lust for power. They united under the nephew of Mekheshkhalish, the man who was known as One-Handed Luts'akhalish for the Hillmen had claimed his hand in an earlier struggle. He detested Q'mitlwaakutl for diminishing the power of the nobility of the city in directing external affairs and just as well for the death of his cousin. In the year 781 [1124] One-Handed Luts'akhalish invited nobles he knew supported Q'mitlwaakutl to a potlatch where he arranged for the murder of many of them. Q'mitlwaakutl punished One-Handed Luts'akhalish in a just manner by banishment and confiscation of his property.

Yet One-Handed Luts'akhalish refused to leave into the wilderness as expected of him. He sought aid from his kinsmen at Nikhluidikh and Tinainu. "Are we not all oppressed by that man who calls himself Q'mitlwaakutl returned? Did he not steal the villages you ruled and force you to pay tribute to him through his trickery? Shall we not overthrow him together?" They did murder the emissaries of Q'mitlwaakutl sent to calm the situation. One-Handed Luts'akhalish gained the aid of the princes of Itlkilak, Ninuhltidikh, and many lords of the Ihlakhluit who feared Q'mitlwaakutl's strength.

In this matter Q'mitlwaakutl did demonstrate his fury toward those who betrayed his justice. He ordered the rebel nobility executed and their property confiscated and distributed amongst the people of the villages and towns and cities. He declared any man who might kill one of these rebels shall take his place in the nobility, and any slave who might kill one of these rebels shall gain freedom for his family. One-Handed Luts'akhalish fell into deep paranoia and cast out many of his followers in fear they might be agents of Q'mitlwaakutl.

The rebel army made a stand against Q'mitlwaakutl at Tinainu. They lacked the numbers to face him openly and thus hid within the homes of the people to ambush the just warriors searching for them. The good people of Tinainu slew many of these nobles and convinced their men to surrender. One-Handed Luts'akhalish and his remaining followers fled Tinainu by night, having stolen many treasures. He intended to flee into exile across the Grey Mountains yet Q'mitlwaakutl discovered this scheme by the wise choice of Tamakan, the Lord of Katlawasq'o [5]. Tamakan led the rebel force outside his village and sounded the alarm for his own men. Together with Q'mitlwaakutl they slew the rebel army to a man.

Q'mitlwaakutl did reward Tamakan with much property of the rebels. He gave Tamakan the position of returning all stolen property to the good people of the places affected by the rebels. To Tamakan he gave away a daughter in marriage to and in time Tamakan would rise to the rank of senwitla. And thus did the family of this lord rise to high places.

With this Q'mitlwaakutl understood further the threat posed by the Ihlakhluit. He understood he might never expand his realm further without taming these Namals. With the rebels in Nikhluidikh vanquished by his might, he made immediate war on their towns to punish their evil. He destroyed Ladakhat to warn the nobles of the Radahatsu River and permanently won them as followers. In 782 [1125] he did vanquish the forces of Ninuhltidikh and Itlkilak as they came to aid the prince of Gatsquchu and he did destroy that town [6]. The raids of Q'mitlwaakutl struck terror into the hearts of these rulers and by this means he achieved a victorious peace with Ninuhltidikh and Itlkilak.


Following the abortive rebellion of One-Handed Luts'akhalish in 1124, Q'mitlwaakut continued his reforms. The realm council he established in 1119 became a far more formal body, and the senwitla now headed this council rather than the city council of Wayam, whose head became subservient to the senwitla. This weakened many families who opposed Q'mitlwaakutl and increased both support for Q'mitlwaakutl and the reach of his state. The affairs of many villages thus became the affairs of Wayam, and vice versa.

Some modern writers make the mistake of calling his "realm council" an early parliament. In truth, Q'mitlwaakutl merely broadened and clarified the scope of the office of senwitla to more efficiently hear the voices of lords and princes in his realm who did not reside in Wayam. The senwitla and his men had always heard these voices to gain tribute and forge relations with these lords, yet now Q'mitlwaakutl ensured their needs might be heard just as well as he might hear the needs of nobles within Wayam. It was not a parliament so much a reform into a more efficient oligarchy, yet it was a reform essential in developing Wayam beyond that of a mere city-state, a point emphasised by Q'mitlwaakutl's continued reliance on the council which governed Wayam toward dealing with local affairs. The number of men working under the senwitla, called payiktla ("listeners", "obedient ones"), increased rapidly under Q'mitlawaakutl and with it the scope of the bureaucracy.

In addition to the expansion of the senwitla's roles, Q'mitlwaakutl developed the institution of the sapuukasitla ("repeater"). The sapuukasitla functioned to remind people of the law and tell people of the decrees of the rulers by memorising the oral law. They also served as historians and educators through memorisation and repeating oral history and religious stories. In some ways their roles overlapped with the senwitla, and it is likely Q'mitlwaakutl created this separate judiciary to avoid the senwitla from gaining too much power.

Yet the threat of Chemna and especially that of T'kuyatum and its prince Chelkhalt dominated Wayamese politics and determined which actions Wayam might take. Although weakened by the wars of his early reign, Chemna and Imatelam (at this point a vassal of Chemna in all but name) still proved a danger due to their influence over the Tabachiri Valley. Actions against Chemna remained popular due to the historic enmity between the two cities and fear of a potential Chemna-T'kuyatum alliance. On the other hand, action against T'kuyatum meant fighting cities long allied to Wayam, and worse, fighting its brilliant ruler. For this reason, Q'mitlwaakutl made few aggressive actions toward them, and instead worked on consolidating what he already had.

Q'mitlwaakutl further worried of the downstream cities, the immediate being the diarchy of Ninuhltidikh and Itlkilak and their aligned towns like Ladakhat and Gasquchu. These towns hosted many nobles hostile to Q'mitlwaakutl who fled from cities aligned to him and sponsered One-Handed Luts'akhalish's rebellion. Behind them lay the powerful forces of the diarchy of Ninuhltidikh and Itlkilak, backed by the nobility of Qikhayagilkham, the most powerful of the so-called Five Cities of the Passage, where the rulers of the Shakhlatksh Namals resided.

The Shakhlatksh Namals placed harsh tolls on goods flowing west, intending to protect themselves against Wayam's rise. They sat behind great fortifications made to stop raiding Hillmen and thus feared Q'mitlwaakutl little. To sack towns like Ladakhat and Gasquchu was far different than sacking Ninuhltidikh and Itlkilak, and their rulers believed it impossible. Q'mitlwaakutl set out to prove them wrong. In 1126, when the Shakhlatksh broke their treaty and raided villages allied to him, Q'mitlwaakutl led an army over remote mountain passes near Mount Mishibato to the Itsukkiri Valley [7], outflanking Ninuhltidikh's riverside fortifications. Here he spent the summer raiding villages and capturing noblemen. Q'mitlwaakutl executed those known to pursued a violent policy and ransomed the rest. Sufficiently scarred, Ninuhltidikh and Itlkilak once again agreed to peace.

This hostility caused a realignment in Wayam's external outlook. They made peace with the Amorera in the south to use their mountain passes while Q'mitlwaakutl led the way in ensuring aggressive negotiations and meetings with the towns of the Tabachiri River such as Timani to guarantee trade over the nearby mountain passes there. This policy naturally increased tensions between Wayam and Ktlatla, now a loyal ally of T'kuyatum, and as well Chemna, who continued their quest to dominate that region. A major war seemed more likely than ever.

In 1127, the regional center of Timani requested Wayamese aid against Ktlatla and T'kuyatum, sparking the long-foreseen war between Wayam and T'kuyatum. With each side being depleted by conflicts in the previous years, the initial moves of the war were limited to raids on outlying villages, especially those of Ktlatla and the Grey Mountains Dena.

Chelkhalt deployed his typical winter raids that year, hiring mercenaries and leading at the head of the White Robes and Dena allies as he moved south from Ktlatla. He sacked several villages allied to Timani to draw Q'mitlwaakutl into battle. Intent on demonstrating his strength to his allies, Q'mitlwaakutl advanced with a sizable force from Wayam that included many men from Tkhopanish, Wayam's key foothold in the Tabachiri Valley, as well as Timani. Late in December 1127 at the town of Tkwatatpamash, Q'mitlwaakutl met Chelkhalt's forces in battle for the first time [8].

The Wayamese slightly outnumbered T'kuyatum, yet many of these men came from Tkhopanish and elsewhere in the Tabachiri Valley and lacked the experience of the Wayamese soldiers. Morale was low amongst these men due to being dragged into warfare during the winter resting months. Chelkhalt took immediate advantage of this and pressed the attack, attacking during a sudden snowstorm and freezing north wind he viewed as auspicious. Blinded by the north wind, the White Robes fell upon the Wayamese and routed the bulk of their light forces early on. Q'mitlwaakutl's shieldwall barely held in the center under heavy attack yet was forced to retreat due to the threat of being outflanked. Only Q'mitlwaakutl's commanding presence kept the retreat orderly.

Falling back to Tkhopanish, Q'mitlwaakutl regrouped with the survivors. It was a painful learning experience for him and the first defeat he suffered to that point. Oral history holds he did not leave his room and fasted for five days and nights. He called for reinforcements from the Imaru River to counter Chelkhalt, including many mercenaries. His immediate plan was to lay siege to Ktlatla in spring.

Chelkhalt did not give him the luxury of waiting. With Wayamese reinforcements and communications bogged down by snow, Chelkhalt used this time to lay siege to Tkhopanish, a risky move with his low numbers of men and winter compounding supply issues. Like Q'mitlwaakutl, he planned for reinforcements by spring who would reinforce him, defeat the Wayamese reinforcements, and force peace.

More immediate matters rose in 1128. The miyawakh of Chemna Kaatnamanahui joined forces with Chelkhalt, hammering out a negotiation. A few of their raiding parties struck in mid-winter, but the bulk of the Chemnese effort was spent preparing for an offensive of their own. Kaatnamanahui chose to assist Chelkhalt in destroying Q'mitlwaakutl's forces in the Tabachiri Valley, ignoring the advice of his strategists to attack Wayam.

This was to be a mistake. Under cover of darkness in March 1128, a ragtag militia and the survivors of Q'mitlwaakutl's army broke out of the siege lines around Tkhopanish after a few skirmishes. As he retreated to the hills south of Tkhopanish, he learned of the Chemnese attack and immediately changed his strategy. His raiding force would remain in the area and harass the enemy, while he himself returned to lead the main Wayamese army which instead of Ktlatla now held a new destination--Chemna. Q'mitlwaakutl knew that the events of the next few months would decide endless things of the future.

From K.A. Andvik "Chaos for Order: State Institutions and Warfare in Chelkhalt's T'kuyatum" Journal of Fusanian Antiquity

Best remembered for his struggles with Q'mitlwaakutl, the early 12th century Fusanian ruler Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum left a grand legacy amongst his own people and the Chiyatsuru people in general as a tenacious ruler and organiser. He devoted much of his brilliance to successful military campaigns that built the first empire in Fusanian history, yet lesser known amongst his achievements include that of governance, diplomacy, and education. Rarely used oral histories of his rule and legends describe Chelkhalt's equally sizable accomplishments in these fields, accomplishments which helped him lay the groundwork for his empire and every great Chiyatsuru state to come.

Chelkhalt likely came from an old, well-established noble family with links to many other noble families of T'kuyatum and environs. His descendents claim descent from a great Chiyatsuru warlord also named Chelkhalt, who reincarnated several times in history. His great-grandmother Puhkmitsa was a favourite wife of an older ilmikhwm of T'kuyatum who advised him on many matters, including warfare, and allegedly helped the city emerge as a regional powerhouse early on. Chelkhalt himself prized austerity, functionality, and frugality in his personal life and encouraged it in others as well. This may have increased his popularity as he always had much to give away at potlatches, and combined with his speeches no doubt helped him establish himself as ilmikhwm.

While Chelkhalt never established a bureaucracy as large as Q'mitlwaakutl, he did run an efficient system regardless even as T'kuyatum ruled a sizable empire. His tsukh'wawam (vizier) Nmachwitst in particular assisted him in this, tending to many state affairs when Chelkhalt campaigned or meditated in the mountains. Oral records indicate Nmachwisht worked himself to exhaustion on numerous occasions meeting with the lords and nobles around T'kuyatum to secure their support. Many of his children married into these families, as did the sons and daughters of Chelkhalt. With Nmachwisht's smooth tongue, Chelkhalt raised many warriors and received much tribute.

Chelkhalt's diplomatic achievements also remain overlooked in favour of his warfare. With Nmachwisht's aid he trained emissaries to be stationed in the courts of nearby princes to help relay information to and from Chelkhalt. Rulers often tolerated their presence thanks to Chelkhalt using them to share information with them, and often for their advice as well. Similarly, these emissaries usually paid tribute to these rulers. When the time came for Chelkhalt to negotiate alliances, marriages, or trade deals, these emissaries proved exceedingly useful on both sides to help them come to an agreement.

To support these efforts and also to deal with the pressing manpower issues he suffered later in his rule, Chelkhalt introduced a rudimentary educational system to T'kuyatum and attempted to spread it to every city which paid tribute to him. He required the children of the village (nobles and commoners, boys and girls) to meet for five days once a lunar month with learned elders to gain vital skills, believing it useful for children to learn these skills from other than their kin. They learned science (through the veneer of religious wisdom), oral history, and moral lessons. Boys practiced archery, skill with weapons, and vital crafts like woodworking, while girls learned weaving (including weaving string records), crafts like cooking, and home management.

Having come to power on the perception of decadence from the previous ilmikhwm, Chelkhalt wished to eliminate decadence in his people and create a moral society of religious balance so that all might prosper. He thus also prioritised adult education. In addition to requiring military drills five days a lunar month from every adult male, Chelkhalt mandated adults meet at the temple five days a month for spiritual instruction by priests. Here they learned moral instruction, further oral history, and important religious precepts.

Such a system became widely imitated among the Chiyatsuru, and via Winacha and Ktlatla may have influenced Q'mitlwaakutl's own reforms and spread even further. It seems this diffusion came from Chelkhalt's emissaries, who often discussed life in T'kuyatum and how things worked there with their hosts. Rulers intermarrying with Chelkhalt's children and grandchildren (especially his daughters) likewise helped spread these ideas throughout Chiyatsuru lands. While impossible to tell how quickly these ideas spread, given the increasing complexity of city-states in this region during the 12th century it seems Chelkhalt's influenced must have been linked to this.

These developments may have figured into Chelkhalt's military expansion and foreign policy due to the cost of paying for all of this. While the increased tribute from his lands no doubt alleviated the costs, much of the money to pay and train the people responsible for instituting it came from Chelkhalt's own treasury. This was especially true in the case of vassal towns where Chelkhalt often helped local rulers pay for similar systems. Chelkhalt encouraged raids against hostile neighbours and distributed the plunder to keep his personal finances and T'kuyatum's economy afloat. Chelkhalt likely never considered war having its own associated costs. His bellicose nature in regards to raids provoked many of the lengthier campaigns he fought. He typically made little effort in controlling equally aggressive vassals, provided they give good reason (such as needing money for Chelkhalt's institutions) for their own raids.

Chelkhalt's famed armies reflect this economic difficulty. His armies focused on ranged combat, skirmishing, and ambushes, with the bulk of heavy infantry coming from the extensively drilled and prestigious pukhmitsa (White Robes). Aside from the Pukhmitsa, his soldiers tended to be poorly equipped, although often well drilled. Unlike Q'mitlwaakutl who ensured his soldiers at least decent equipment (often from his own pocket), Chelkhalt gave his soldiers the bare minimum and required them to provide their own weapons and armour. He preferred to spend his limited money on supplementing his armies with mercenaries, who usually made up the majority of the Pukhmitsa.

With state institutions founded on conquest, Chelkhalt aggrandised T'kuyatum at the expense of many other towns and cities. Many skilled craftsmen, scholars, and others found employ there, and many more came to study under them. Slaves taken in war increased the wealth and productivity of the city's farms and other industries. The population doubled during Chelkhalt's time to perhaps 5,000 people making it the second largest city in Fusania after Wayam. Extensive terracing in the hills nearby, the digging of qanats, and extensive new irrigation works all date to this time in order to feed and run such an urban center.

The relatively peaceful decline of T'kuyatum after Chelkhalt's death diffused many of these innovations and developments throughout the Imaru Plateau, especially in Chiyatsuru lands. Skilled engineers, craftsmen, scholars, bureaucrats, and many others who once worked together for the sake of this city parted ways and found new employers whom they brought similar skill to. Much as the pukhmitsa became a common style of soldier amongst the Chiyatsuru, other institutions thrived in this manner, bolstered by the stories of Chelkhalt's rule. It remains an irony that although he is best known as a conquerer, Chelkhalt only chose that path to accomplish his true ambition, the ambition to spread morality and balance amongst his people.

Author's notes

I got into the habit of writing "Chelkhalt" when I could just as much use "T'kuyatum", but I decided to keep it this way because it illustrates the nature of Chelkhalt's empire. It is very much a personality-based rule, compared to Q'mitlwaakutl who is just as much building institutions as an empire. Although as I displayed, it is a mistake to say Chelkhalt is not building institutions himself.

Next chapter will finish this particular arc. We'll have a greater encounter between Chelkhalt and Q'mitlwaakutl, the battles and events that resolve this war, and more descriptions on the evolutions of these states. I'll eventually get to doing a map or two for this, I promise.

As always, thanks for reading.

[1] - This is Jameson Lake in Douglas County, WA, south of Mansfield, WA
[2] - Npwilukh is at the mouth of the Sanpoil River in Ferry County, WA, a little south of Keller, WA (its location is OTL submerged beneath Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake)
[3] - Ilialeken is bit upstream from where the Spokane River enters the Columbia River
[4] - Timani is located at Yakima, WA, where the Naches River flows into the Yakima
[5] - Close to the modern city center of The Dalles, OR.
[6] - Ladakhat is Lyle, WA, while the Radahatsu River is the Klickitat River. Gatsquchu is Mosier, OR
[7] - The Itsukkiri Valley is the Hood River Valley
[8] - Tkhopanish is Toppenish, WA (same root). Tkwatatpamash is Wapato, WA
As states are developing in Fusania, could we see the development of (more organized) religion as well? Obviously the south has the Kuksu cult, but will we see a further evolution of Fusanian religion? Alternatively, will the various polytheistic belief systems of these peoples be reorganized into Mahayana Buddhism as bodhisattvas et. al once the Japanese and Chinese arrive on the scene?