• -Prologue-
    Eishou-ji (永勝寺), Ishikari Province, 1498
    Is this where he lives, Jikken (実顕) thought to himself. The finest and most learned of the Soui [1] is here. Jikken strode the wooden corridors of the temple of Eishouji, glancing eagerly for a sight of him. He had to remind himself he was a sworn Buddhist monk to ease his anticipation of meeting him. A minor temple like Eishou-ji, housing this most brilliant example of a barbarian prince--it was simply incredible! And Jikken had spent years of his life labouring to visit this man, supposedly the greatest man Fusania [2] had ever produced.

    His deeds were already legendary, transmitted to him in rumour from nobles and monks alike. This Soui prince fought for the greatest empires the Soui could produce, yet always kept his freedom. He had ruled his land with a firm, yet honest hand. His brilliant strategies routed all the foes he faced. He had traveled to every end of Fusania, and fought against all of its people, never losing. And the more outlandish rumours credited him with spreading literacy and introducing any number of innovations the Soui had never known.

    "What is your haste, boy?" a man in front of him shouted. His accent was strange--he was not Japanese. Jikken looked up at the man in front of him--he certainly wasn't Japanese from his darker skin and odd facial features. The man was withered with age, his face scarred by battle, age, and disease. Yet his deep brown eyes, contrasted with his milky white hair, shone with a certain passion--and pride. His height most shocked him--this man stood over a head taller than him.

    "I--I'm sorry. I was--" Jikken stammered in sudden apology and remembrance of his position.

    "Looking for a certain monk, weren't you," the old man laughed. "Seeking wisdom from your elders." He clapped him on the shoulder. "Seeking the man now called Gaiyuchul."

    Gaiyuchul, Jikken remembered. The man pronounced it strangely [3]--perhaps authentically--but that was what he heard this brilliant Soui was called.

    "That wasn't my name for many years, but no one back in the Fatherland knows I'm alive," he reminisced. "I suppose a name like that fits me." He looked aside from a moment. "Pride," he muttered, "Perhaps that's what I'll be remembered for." He turned back to Jikken. "I've seen so much in my time, and I know you want to hear it, so come to my chamber." He laughed. "I suppose you want to know why they called me Gaiyuchul!"

    Jikken walked into this man's personal room, noticing the surroundings. It was richly decorated for the room of a monk, with many wells of ink and books scattered about. Framed calligraphy in some bizarre script filled the walls--it vaguely resembled a fusion of kana and kanji yet was distinct from it. A few amateurish paintings were displayed, mostly portraying snowcapped mountains, but the largest painting showed what appeared to be a naval battle on a river caught his eye. It was clearly not meant to represent Red Cliffs or another famous river battle, but some other conflict. The painting showed flaming warships on a river while on the shore, men riding horned animals clashed. More horned animals towed chariots and wagons. A central host of these men with tall shields was surrounded on either side. And one man depicted shining in the sun raised his sword, preparing for a charge into the enemy lines.

    "Tlakalama, so long ago!" he commented, seeing Jikken's interest. "That was around Chouso 2 [長祚] [4]." Decades before I was born, Jikken noted. The old man walked to the corner and lied down on a mat, grabbing a small vase and pouring its content into a sakazuki. Jikken squinted at the liquid, a brownish, cloudy liquid, not like any sake he'd ever seen.

    "You want to know more, I'm sure," Gaiyuchul said, sipping from the sakazuki. "I painted it myself, and I only wish I was capable enough to capture even a fragment of that moment." He grabbed another sakazuki and poured some for Jikken. "I've been all over the world yet in my heart never experienced anything like what I felt at that moment."

    Jikken sipped the sakazuki himself. His eyes widened immediately as he tasted it--earthy, murky, and strange, like no other alcohol he ever had. Was this man brewing a taste of his homeland?

    Gaiyuchul laughed at Jikken's response. "It took so many years for true omodaka to be available to a mere monk like me! And it had been so long since I drank the wine from it [5]!" The old man laughed, "Now, you liked that painting, I see."

    "Torakarama," Jikken repeated, trying to replicate the word he said earlier. Soui names had such an awful tone to them, far worse than those of the local barbarians of Hokkaido. It reminded him of his one and only trip to the countryside near Subachi [州鉢] [Petropavlovsk], where the locals spoke a vaguely similar language. [6]

    "Tlakalama," he corrected with his native language. "It was an eventful moment." He stared at the painting longingly. "I've killed so many great men, but those who died at that battle and in the years after I feel responsibility toward. Friends died that day, enemies died that day. That painting feels wrong to me, it can't capture the true spirit. The same with my writing," he continued, walking over to a book and picking it up. "You can learn all about Tlakalama, but you could never experience it as I did. Right now, these books I'm writing are the best way to learn about the legacy I inherited and that which I left behind. The friends and enemies I betrayed to gain new friends and enemies. The people who marched and sailed with me to the ends of the earth. Everything"

    The room fell silent for a moment. Gaiyuchul's eyes were closed, yet he wasn't meditating as much as remembering a turbulent past. Jikken suddenly realised what he was seeing--an old man reflecting on the stories of those before him, his friends and enemies alike. They all seemed to be present in the room with him, just in that very moment. Although he never knew a single one of them, Jikken knew they were fantastic warriors, cultured in every sense, and the finest of the Soui race. Perhaps even superior to the finest of our own nobility.

    Gaiyuchul handed Jikken the book. Opening it up, Jikken saw it was written in the same script as the calligraphy. He leafed through the book, trying to make sense of it yet realising immediately how much knowledge was contained there. Gaiyuchul clapped him on the back.

    "If you want to know more, you'll have to learn Namaru!" [7] Gaiyuchul laughed. "Even your advisors back home in Katorimatsu [8] struggle with our language!"

    "C--can you teach me Namaru?" Jikken asked. "And how to read this script in the books here?"

    Gaiyuchul laughed again. "It's the job of a senior monk to teach his juniors in these matters I suppose. But I'm old and can't teach you much. There are other Namaru here in your country, confined to monasteries from here in Eishou-ji to that place your people call the Manjimas [9]. They might be able to teach you more. But I can read you the book," he said. "Most of what I've written in all these books here came from stories I heard throughout the ages, never written down."

    Jikken smiled. "I'd rather learn your language myself."

    "No need," Gaiyuchul said. "In my youth, writing was unknown. Only my master's decree let the very idea of writing down history spread from those merchants of Kechaniya [10], who your people have since destroyed in their greed." He took another sip of his sakazuki. "In these books I've written down I've recorded all the history I've ever known."

    Jikken took a drink of his own sakazuki. "These books are a history of your country, the history of Fusania?"

    Gaiyuchul nodded. "Indeed they are. I served the greatest rulers we Fusanians will ever know, and marched to the edge of the world at their side. We shattered down ancient empires, and in that painting of Tlakalama I myself helped destroy an empire to raise up a new one."

    Jikken always respected his elders, but was suddenly stunned by this elderly barbarian prince.

    "Please, tell me more," he asked. "Read me these books from the start. We Japanese will need to know of your people in these days to come."

    Gaiyuchul smiled, yet remainded silent. He walked over to the corner of his room and grabbed a book, and began reading a passage about the beginning of time, different from the story Jikken knew.

    "I'll warn you, some of this is simply legend, some of this I don't even know is true. Some of these stories I've heard are just embellishments of actual events. I'll try and translate to your language as faithfully as I can, but these events are all Fusanian stories, which can be imperceptible to you Japanese. I know you want to write down what I will tell you. I just hope you understand what you will hear in these stories of old Fusania."

    Jikken nodded. "I understand."

    Gaiyuchul laughed. "Then you will bear a heavy curse. You are responsible for carrying these tales, legends, and truths, to the next generation. You will be judged by myself, every single man I fought alongside, every single man I killed, and above all, every ancestor of these men and their gods."

    Jikken's heart fluttered as he heard the barbarian suddenly express this deep emotion toward this, as much as it was exactly what he was looking for. Can I really do this? Jikken wasn't sure of his own ability to write down what this barbarian prince was about to tell him and was anxious of taking on such a duty. But I came here for this. After all, he wanted to meet this man and hear his stories.

    "I'll carry these stories," Jikken swore. "I'll face the consequences when they come, and I'll make sure everyone hears of it."

    "Fantastic!" Gaiyuchul shouted. "Now then, let's begin from the start..."

    [1] - (桑夷) "Fusanian Barbarians", a contemporary (15th - 18th centuries) term for all indigenous Americans
    [2] - I will use the Latinisation "Fusania" here, instead of the more common "Fusang" (or Japanese "Fusou").
    [3] - Roughly "The Prideful One", a posthumous name. In the culture of his people--closest to OTL Chinookans--this is the name given to a prestigious individual who has died. Chinookan (and basically all West Coast American Indian) phonology is far distant from Japanese (and English for that matter), and "Gaiyuchul" is an approximation influenced by both Japanese and English pronunciation.
    [4] - I will use alternative eras for East Asian rulers here. In this case, Chouso is 1452 - 1461, hence Chouso 2 is 1453.
    [5] - Omodaka TTL refers to Sagittaria fusanensis, a ATL domesticated hybrid of Sagittaria latifolia and Sagittaria cuneata. All three Sagittaria species are important for agriculture into the 21st century and beyond TTL.
    [6] - Tlakalama is a rendition of the Chinookan name for modern Kalama, Washington. As noted, the phonology is difficult for a speaker of Japanese. However, Itelmen (spoken near Petropavlovsk, TTL's Subachi) has sounds similar to Chinookan.
    [7] - The name of the Chinookans and their language TTL, derived from a term meaning "people of the Big Water" (Wimal, the Columbia River).
    [8] - Cathlamet, Washington
    [9] - 万島 (Manjima), "Ten Thousand Islands", named in reference to the Chishima Islands (Kurils), which means "Thousand Islands".
    [10] - 毛詫荷矢 (Kechaniya), Japanese name of Kodiak Island inherited from Tlingit "Kʼeiljáaniyaa", "sheltered from the storm".
    A Horn of Bronze--The Shaping of Fusania and Beyond
    Author's Introduction
    Welcome to my first TL, A Horn of Bronze, a TL long overdue for me to post. It's a story of anthropology, linguistics, biology, and cruel Darwinism. It's a story of potential, the potential of many geniuses in their field. It's a story of society, displaying those which thrive and those which die. It's a story of glory, displaying those people and individuals who triumphed. And it's a story of what could have been which aggressively asks "was this the right path?" and above all else "what possibilities did we forsake traveling down this road?" Possibility is the essence of this story, from the possibility inside the most obscure plant to that inside the most ambitious child. And possibility is what shall truly make the Horn of Bronze.
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    Chapter 1-The Lord of the Ground
  • -I-
    "The Lord of the Ground"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Aside from that, there's a lot of material to cover for A Horn of Bronze, and we're just in the phase of things being set up. For the next few updates we'll cover the Dena expansions, the impact of the Late Antique Little Ice Age, and introduce the Ringitsu and several other peoples.
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    Chapter 3-An Ancient and Sacred Place
  • -III-
    "An Ancient and Sacred Place"

    From Encyclopedia of Arctic and Subarctic Archaeology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Next chapter we'll cover our alt-Haida and a key religious development in indigenous Fusania during the early American Migration Period, which is what I'll be focusing on in these first few updates since it helps set the stage for much more dramatic cultures and events.
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    Chapter 5-The Prophets of the World's Balance
  • -V-
    "The Prophets of the World's Balance"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "Followed it we did indeed," he muttered.

    [1] - Prince of Wales Island, transcription of a Tlingit term meaning "Land of Crabapples" (Malus fusca)
    [2] - Yeil is the Tlingit term for the Raven, a cultural figure/god who in many Pacific Northwest cultures stole the light from the Eagle which thus created the Sun.
    [3] - Lupine seeds of a domesticated variety, mostly descended from Lupinus nootkatensis, which I mentioned in the previous chapter. The toxic alkaloids in lesser doses were occasionally used as an intoxicant by the Tlingit and others OTL.
    [4] - Different transcription of "X̱aayda", which OTL was Anglicised to "Haida". I'm trying to avoid OTL Anglicisations while also avoiding OTL's indigenous alphabets which use a lot of unconventional consenants and can be difficult to read.
    [5] - At this point, a chief is a figure of great respect as they are the heads of a clan, but they do not wield much practical power.
    [6] - Tehi is a TTL Japanese term for Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), derived from a Tlingit word meaning "rope". Like hemp, it's useful for making ropes, clothing, and many other materials, and will slowly be domesticated.
    [7] - Prince of Wales Island, a Haida cognate of the Tlingit term.
    [8] - Like the Ringitsu, the Khaida have a similar issue of separation between reindeer-herding inlanders (albeit here inspired by the Ringitsu example with minimal Dena influence) and ambitious coastal clans with fewer reindeer.
    [9] - The Brother and Sister, the new clan chief, and many others are in living memory of alcohol becoming widespread. The most common method is allowing crabapples (Malus fusca, which I am referring to as apples) to ferment and mixing the juice with water, but berries and other plants are becoming subject to similar experiments. The societal need to address this is apparent.
    [10] - Orcas were associated with the Raven and were rulers of the sea in Haida culture, with drowned humans serving them.
    [11] - Metlakatla, BC, simply a different transliteration
    [12] - OTL Tlingit term for Aleut people
    [13] - Japanese exonym for the Nuu-chah-nulth/Nootka, deriving from the term "Aht" (found in the ethnonyms of subgroups of the Nuu-chah-nulth), meaning "people" in their language.
    [14] - See the Prologue for additional explanations
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    Chapter 6-Hempen Ships, Copper Horns
  • -VI-
    "Hempen Ships, Copper Horns"

    Haruo Endou, Lords of the North: The Dena Origins of Fusania (1969) (Katorimatsu [Cathlamet, WA] University Press). Translated by Seppo Savolainen (Ilonlinna [Charlottetown, PEI] University, Vinland) 1978.
    The climate changes at the end of the 5th century caused chaos in northern Fusania. The permanent villages and even towns ended up emptying out as the resources to feed them mostly vanished and the people sought better lives elsewhere. Traditionally called the Dena expansions and sometimes lumped into other ongoing migrations of Dena peoples, in modern times it has been proven that the Dena's own expansions resulted in other groups like the Ringitsu, Khaida, and Tsusha to likewise migrate. Such migrations have thus resulted in the era being called the American Migration Period, for its impact spread far beyond the territories inhabited by Dena peoples.

    The disrupted of their lifestyle combined with their willingness to hold onto it led to the Dena to disperse from the Hentsuren, Nuklukayet, and other centers of their culture like never before. The Tachiri Culture found in that region served as a template for later cultures of the Dena. Armed with their reindeer, intensive skill at controlling key Arctic plants, and their knowledge of earthworks and waterworks, among other traits, the Dena migrated in every direction for a variety of reasons, seeking good land for their immediate kin.

    Those of the Old Ringitani Sea Culture [1], ancestors of the Inuit and Yupik, felt the fury of the Dena first. Despite the increasing harshness of their lands, the Dena coveted and pushed into them, displacing many of the inland people of that culture. Along the coast, the Old Kechaniya Culture [2] faced a similar intrusion. The Old Kechaniya Culture ended up totally outcompeted by the inlanders with their strong trade links and their reindeer herds and pushed to the fringe, but the Old Ringitani Sea Culture persisted in the North thanks to some ingenuity on their part which a millennia later would have world-changing effects from the future Coast Provinces of Vinland to the Eryuna [3] in North Asia.

    This era, the American Migration Period, marked a massive change in the history of the region later called Fusania. Also known as the Early Fusanian Formative, the key elements of later Fusanian society--the Western Agricultural Complex, metalworking, earthworking, sailing, and domestic animals--became established throughout Fusania in an archaeological eyeblink thanks to the dispersion of the Dena. And this Early Fusanian Formative influenced all of Fusania and in time the rest of North America beyond the Divide.
    Mauno Korhonen, Triumph of the Wolf and Raven: The American Migration Period (1983) (Olastakki University Press)
    The Dena migrated from their origin point in far northeast Asia into the Americas as yet another group to live in that region. Along the Yenisei far to the west exists their distant relatives, the Kets and other small-numbered people of Tatary. Through lands later inhabited by a variety of peoples, the Dena crossed the narrow gap between the Old and New Worlds, and emerged along the Hentsuren River.

    It wasn't long before the Dena continued to migrate, displacing many people in the Subarctic thanks to their honed knowledge of local plants. They turned southeast, traveling in the mountains and valleys of Northern Fusania and displacing those who came before them. By around 2,500 years ago, these early Dena migrations were slowing down, meeting organised resistance on the part of other peoples from Northeast Asia as well as established local peoples like those who spoke Wulchomic and Salishan languages [4]. Yet they established many links between these cultures, which later facilitated the Dena expansions of the American Migration Period.

    The American Migration Period proper began with the climate changes in Late Antiquity. What caused the Germanic migrations in Europe, what brought down Teotihuacan in Mesoamerica, what caused the chaos in China and the steppes in this era, these same effects caused the American Migration Period. Essentially, the experimentation of the Dena and related cultures such as the Ringitsu, Tsusha, and Khaida in the warmer times of the 1st-4th centuries AD suddenly ran up against the wall of climatic effects. The Dena challenged this head on, intensifying their incipient horticulture and domestication of reindeer, but inevitably began to suffer the unpreventable effects of the climate. This population dispersed far and wide.

    In the far north, the Dena absorbed some bands of Inuit, but in turn were absorbed by other bands. Dena practices of land use and tool construction were transmitted to these Inuit, and the most notable effect became the domestication of the muskox, historically attributed to a legendary figure named Kalluk, who perhaps is like the Dena's own "Lord of the Ground". Kalluk himself is likewise attributed to taming the reindeer--oral history attributes him to "stealing" the reindeer from the Dena, who mismanaged the land and its spirits. These stories are backed up by archaeological evidence, which show that by the late 6th century and early 7th century, the pressured Old Ringatani Sea Culture, ancestors of the Inuit, were increasingly adapting to the new circumstances in their homeland. These Inuit would migrate east along the Arctic coast in time. Unlike the Dena, who halted to absorb other Subarctic cultures into their system, the Inuit displaced other "Paleo-Inuit" and would reach Greenland by the end of the 12th century.

    South of them, the coastal peoples, mostly those of the Old Kechaniya Culture, were less lucky. They were purely coastal peoples as their inland groups ended up decimated early on. These people, called the Guteikh by the Ringitsu who colonised them in the centuries to come, clung to the coast where they harvested the ocean's bounty, including whales which they processed into food for themselves and tools for nearby peoples. As only the Ringitsu had a whaling culture in the region, the Guteikh thus has a niche to prosper in for the time being. However, in the vast majority of the Nuchi Bay and Yagane Peninsula [5], the Dena displaced the locals to establish the prominent and famous Dena state later called Yahanen, the locals of which would give their ethnonym to far distant people who merely shared the same language family [6].

    As the Dena moved southeast along the coast, they met far more established peoples. The rainy and temperate climate was new for the Dena, so they were forced to use their pure numbers to gain a foothold there. The moeity system and most notably the religious idea of the "Sibling Prophets" started here as a fusion of Dena and local influences. Dena people controlled access to reindeer herds which became prestigious, while also becoming powerful elites in these societies, assimilated as they often were. In the Ringitsu, the most affected, the "Wolf" moeity (associated with the Dena) entirely eclipsed the prior "Eagle" moeity except in some marginal Ringitsu-descended groups. Similar influence spread among the Khaida and the Tsusha and Uikara [7], although they mostly kept their older moeity system.

    In these coastal peoples, a system of horticulture--which soon spilled over to agriculture--as well as tool designs, earthwork designs, and domestic animals (the reindeer)--proliferated. By the early 7th century, the tehi plant was increasingly domesticated and used for fibers, most notably for summer clothing, ropes, and for sails for their increasingly complex dugout canoes, often formed into a catamaran-style. The increasing population, leading to competition for resources and adaption of the new spiritual beliefs thanks to stress, led to coastal migrations to the south.

    In the interior, the Dena merged with and pushed out other Dena peoples, as well as no doubt non-Dena peoples now lost to history. The old "grease trails", traditionally used to trade the key commodity that fish oil was, proved a key migration highway. Cultural similarities led to a relatively easy way to adopt and absorb migrating bands, assuming such an opportunity existed. As such, local Dena peoples more easily kept their culture, despite loanwords from Hentsuren Dena peoples appearing in their languages. Some Dena, however, ended up pushed to the south or to the east, ending up on the Plains or southwards in the American Divides [8], although these Dena remained rooted to the mountains and were only one part of those Dena later called the Apache, who lived south of these early Dena of the Divides.

    Everywhere the Dena went they spread their religious outlook, their reindeer pastoralism, and their horticulturalist system based on bistort, sweetvetch, and other simple plants. In the river valleys, the Dena increasingly settled down, finding ample land for food, earthworks, and their herds as well as their ability to import slaves to mine local metal resources. Key among these was the jade found in much of mountainous Northern Fusania. These Dena became cultures of miners, producing valuable jade and later copper for their elite and other peoples.

    But in the south, the Dena migrations were once again redirected, absorbed, and halted as they were centuries earlier. The greatest factor is the influence of Wayam [9]. This ancient center, inhabited for countless thousands of years, emerged anew in the time before the American Migration Period. Independently, they emerged a system of irrigation earthworks and the governance thereof to govern their critically important salmon runs which were the finest on the Imaru River.

    Contact existed between Wayam and the Tachiri culture, early Ringitsu, and other peoples in this stage of Fusanian history. But Wayam adapted to their innovations very quickly despite their remote location. The Wayamese harvested ample amounts of salmon, and used their slaves to develop increasingly important crops such as species of lilies, camas, biscuitroot, balsamroot, and most importantly, the arrow potato, one of the ancestors of the omodaka [10], while also importing the aquacultural systems of the Ringitsu and their neighbors. While Wayam was just one village at this point, its influence spread amongst both its cultural relatives, the Aihamu people [11], as well as the cultural relatives of nearby villages, the Namaru people [12] and in turn, other nearby groups. The intermarriage, friendly trade, and other factors in relationships between these groups led to the mutual development of all these peoples. However, the sheer number and tenacity of Dena led to plenty of local intermarriage between these groups. With Dena influences came the religious developments of the coast peoples--the Sibling Prophets and their dualism--as well as the adoption of the reindeer as symbol of wealth.

    Likewise, the Wulchomic and Salishan peoples resisted the Dena. They adopted earthworks from both them and the Wayamese, as well as the increasingly complex system of horticulturalism found in those groups. Trade and intermarriage with the Wayamese and the Namaru strengthened them, although their leadership ended up becoming dominated by assimilated Dena. Influences from the both the coast and northern interior penetrated their culture, spreading the crops used by the Ringitsu, Khaida, and Tsusha where they were grown to great success. The Wulchomic peoples fell under the influence of the Northwest Fusanians such as the Ringitsu and Khaida, while the Salishans adapted much from the Dena.

    Important to these southern cultures was the issue of dealing with local deer, which carried parasites deadly to reindeer. In the religious system brought by the Dena, local deer were considered a dark and evil influence which needed to be balanced out. The local people's practices toward deer hunting dramatically changed in this period as they ruthlessly exterminated deer from their lands. While the issue of parasites--carried by ticks and insects--never abated, destroying deer populations prevented the worst of damage to the critical reindeer herds while also providing a generational boost of food which likewise proved critical to the cultural and sociological development of these Dena influenced peoples.

    Despite all of this, the Wayamese and Namaru considered themselves impoverished in reindeer compared to those people of the mountains, termed the "Hillmen". The distinction between Hillmen--those Dena peoples and especially groups strongly influenced by the Dena--and lowlanders was to become a critical factor in Fusanian history. They became fine reindeer breeders, and as the centuries proceeded, breeders of mountain goats and moose, to attempt to circumvent their inherent poverty. Their earthworks developed very early on in order to harnass the maximum amount of plant growth to feed their reindeer as well as their slaves, and were especially crucial for the Wayamese and other Aihamu such as the people of Chemna [13]. Due to the dry, arid climate they lived in thanks to the rainshadow of the coastal mountains, the Wayamese, Chemnese, and other people of the Imaru Plateau became extensively innovative in their development of irrigation and earthworks.

    In the furthest south, the Dena encountered their distant relatives, those Dena who lived along the coast, which a millennia later become home to Chinese ports such as Dawending [14]. Likewise, these same Dena encountered peoples from the coast. While these Dena had assimilated into local cultures and had similar traditions, small-scale organisation, and hunting-gathering patterns, the arrival of Dena from the north led to changes in their culture. While reindeer remained little viable in their region due to the disease issue, these Coastal Dena began to group together to form larger social structures as well as incorporate the horticulturalism of the other Dena. Combined with the Maguraku and Waluo [15], Northern Fusanian agricultural practices began to filter into southern Fusania.

    Perhaps the most critical development of the Dena was copper working. Dena peoples in the copper-rich areas of the north, such as the Atsuna along the Higini [16], had worked the rich native copper deposits for centuries, and traded them extensively. In the 4th century onward, their exploitation of these deposits became critical, as they traded their tools and ornamentation of copper to Nuklukayet, the Ringitsu, and further beyond. Copper tools became almost as important as fish oil, being used as a symbol of prestige as well as being important for leaders to prove their status.

    Such use and demand of native copper combined with the larger population inevitably depleted the best sources of native copper. Yet the Atsuna adapted in time--they first melted the native copper before reforging it, creating superior copper tools. The second adaption likely came from those clans shut out from the copper trade--these clans smelted copper ores to produce tools. They were valued just as highly by other Dena, the Ringitsu, and other peoples, and these copper ore smelting clans became prized partners for marriage as they held the secret to "creating metal from stone". As Atsuna smiths married into Dena clans, ornamental use of copper, and soon silver and gold, expanded throughout Fusania.

    The Copper Age dawned on Fusania by 700 AD, and with it many competitive peoples seeking their place in this new world. Some would be assimilated and forgotten to history, yet others became the world-renowned originators of crops and innovations which produced the modern world. Those ambitious Dena with their crests of wolf and raven would never imagine the changes to come soon enough. Although they contented themselves with their dominance of the nobility of many Fusanian cultures, their need to cement their status, be it by their herds of reindeer or their earthworks, and their demand for the increasingly prestigious copper goods produced increasingly complex societies and with it, the opportunity for kings and others to dominate the population.

    By land and sea, changes infiltrated Fusania. Locals everywhere soon realised the power of copper, silver, and gold, and what was needed to draw those substances from stone. At the same time, the value of the reindeer became critical in the assessment of the Fusanian elite. Fusanians built earthworks, irrigation networks, and increasingly grand mounds to provide for their cultural needs, while increasing warfare to fuel the new industries of agriculture and mining.

    At the heart of this change lay the place named Wayam. This ancient crossroads, a fishing ground at a natural waterfall on the Imaru River turned a trading center, became hugely influential thanks to the ambition of its nobility. Poor in reindeer, yet rich in so much else, the Wayamese Aihamu nobility, influenced by their Dena elite, used the changes brought by the Copper Age to shape Fusania in their own image. As their fellow Aihamu copied them in competition, they set the stage for emergence of classical Fusania under the banner of wolf and raven.

    [1] - The Old Ringitani Sea culture (ORSC) is equivalent to the Thule people of IOTL.
    [2] - OTL's Kachemak Culture, an Aleut group which lived in Kenai, Kodiak, and other coastal parts of southern Alaska around this period.
    [3] - TTL's term for the Lena River in Japanese, from the Tungusic term for it meaning "big river".
    [4] - Wulchomic is TTL's term for Coast Salish, derived from the same native root as Lushootseed which means "salt water", referring to the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea ("Whulge"). ITTL, the term "Salish" is reserved for Interior Salish languages, which are very much pushed between the Aihamu people in the south and the Dena in the north, yet still thrive.
    [5] - Nuchi Bay is the Cook Inlet of Alaska, the Yagane Peninsula is the Kenai Peninsula
    [6] - "Yahanen" means "good land" in Denaina. The Denaina indeed had a very good land compared to other Athabaskan peoples given the geography and climate of that part of Alaska. And ITTL, the term "Dena" indeed derives from our alt-Denaina, who arrived in their land centuries before OTL (thanks to their horticulture and reindeer usage).
    [7] - Japanese term for all Northern Wakashan speakers (aside from those who speak Kwak'wala).
    [8] - The Rockies
    [9] - Celilo Falls, a derivation of its Sahaptin name
    [10] - Sagittaria latifolia, aka wapato, a key plant for Pacific Northwest Indians which enabled their sedentary lifestyle OTL along with the reliable salmon runs. Omodaka TTL is Sagittaria fusanensis, an ATL hybrid of S. cuneata and S. latifolia which will be developed in a few centuries.
    [11] - Japanese derivation of "Aipakhpam", "People of the Plains", TTL's ethnonym for the Sahaptin people.
    [12] - Chinookan peoples, their name TTL derived from the Japanese word for "People of the River" (Columbia River, natively Wimal and Imaru in Japanese).
    [13] - Richland, WA, a key site on the Columbia River near where the Snake River and Yakima River flows into it--like Wayam, it was a very important site for local American Indians OTL
    [14] - Eureka, CA, a Chinese transcription of the native Athabaskan name for the area
    [15] - The Maguraku are the Klamath and Modocs, with this exonym derived from Japanese. The Waluo are the Shasta, their exonym from Chinese. This area is a borderland between Japanese and Chinese influence, a product of post-colonial developments.
    [16] - Copper River, a Tlingit loanword meaning "River of Copper". The Atsuna are the Ahtna people.
    Author's notes
    This entry describes a monumental event in the history of the New World, where our horticulturalists/early agriculturalists we've discussed/hinted at spread very far and meet other sedentary cultures, like the PNW cultures (such as the OTL Marpole culture among the Coast Salish). It's the spread of an aggressive pastoralist society meeting various societies which are perhaps at the peak of "hunter-gatherer" societies thanks to the wealth of the land they live in.

    Originally I intended a narrative piece with the Inuit/Thule (Old Ringitani Sea culture) and their relation with the influx of the Dena to appear here, but I'll hold that off for a bit. The Inuit, Yupik, and Aleuts will feature here, but they're at the periphery of the main focus--an agricultural, pastoralist, and metallurgical cultural area in North America. They'll be important for their relation with various Siberian peoples and in the east beloved figures such as Bjarni Herjolfsson and Leif Eriksson.

    Next entry (aside from the little bit with the Inuit/Thule) will deal with Wayam, that place mentioned in this entry--it's crucial to the origin of so many things. Afterwards I'll do an entry on the Western Agricultural Complex (and what it consists of, and its relation to other American agriculture) I keep referring to, discussing local agriculture, the pastoralism of the Dena and others, and horticultural practices. And then we'll do something regarding the coastal peoples--Ringitsu, Khaida, and others--which will be key for South Fusania aka California and its development. After that, we'll come to the start of the Fusanian Copper Age which brings a whole new set of developments and things to discuss.
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    Chapter 7-Birth of the Ivory Men
  • -VII-
    "Birth of the Ivory Men"

    Along the Arctic Ocean, late 6th century
    The world seems colder and more violent by the day, Kalluk thought, gazing out onto the endless ice floes in front of him as he recently took to more and more for meditation. His people lost so many promising men to the southerners. He had no choice but to move his extended family far to the northeast, and hope they'd find plenty of reindeer and seals to eventually begin to harvest from the sea. Reindeer, he thought. The animal worshipped by the demons from the south. The southerners called themselves by a variety of names, including something that sounded like "Dena" (according to a young warrior they captured), but to him they were Ingalik, the people with lice [1]. Kalluk remembered an elder saying that encounters with the southerners were once rare, and they formerly went out of their way to avoid meeting real men [2] like his people were, but these days were far too common.

    Over the years, the Ingalik pushed further and further into their land, bringing with them their massive herds of reindeer which they seemed to have supernaturally tamed. Where their herds moved every year, the land itself seemed more bountiful, sprouting much sweetvetch, bistort, reindeer lichens, and other plants. Kalluk never knew what supernatural skills the Ingalik possessed which allowed them to enchant the spirits of the land like this, and not even the shamans knew. Although warned to stay away from lands the Ingalik harvested and especially to avoid killing their reindeer, in times of need, Kalluk and his wife were forced to provide for their family. Such needs cost them everything in the end, as he was the sole survivor--sons, daughters, his wife, the Ingalik killed or abducted them all. North and north he went with his extended family, until with his extended family they reached the coast. But the people of the coast mostly rejected them--they claimed the hunting was not good anymore thanks to both the Ingalik and those distant kinsmen fleeing from the Ingalik--so they were forced into the worst locations there.

    In the corner of his eye Kalluk saw a dark brown animal--a reindeer. Are the Ingalik near? Or is this one wild? The reindeer darted off as quick as he noticed it, and once again Kalluk's thoughts turned to the Ingalik and their supernatural magic. How did they do it? The plant growth, the Ingalik's selective harvesting of plants, and the abundance of reindeer must be related, not to mention the abundance of life in general. Bears, sheep, and other land animals seemed more common these days. It's as if the Ingalik's magic has bent every spirit in the world to their will.

    After an hour of staring at the ocean, Kalluk turned around to head back to his camp and happened upon a small herd of muskox, perhaps ten animals. If only our magic was strong enough to bend the spirits to our will. But why wasn't it? Weren't they already benefitting from this magic by the increased bounty of reindeer and plants? And even trade with the Ingalik seemed more than ever, giving his people more furs and antlers and bones than before. And in return, his people gave the Ingalik fine furs made from muskox. Few real men knew the Ingalik better than inlanders like them--they fought them, traded with them, and were displaced by them. The sack he carried, of some odd fiber the Ingalik supposedly imported from far south, came to him from an Ingalik chief he once killed in the battle that cost him his son [3]. He took the dried food out of the bag, and ate a leisurely lunch. The spiritual value of this place is more than worth the trip, but I will gather something for my kin on my way home.

    These thoughts filled his mind as Kalluk returned to his extended family's camp. Thoughts which grew hazy as he wandered, perhaps from exhaustion, perhaps from stress, perhaps from something he ate. The sky turned grey and a cold rain started falling. Thunder struck and he collapsed in the wilderness. Kalluk awoke many hours--or days--later under the Northern Lights at dusk, thirsting and starving. A muskox herd grazed nearby, and not far from him grew a patch of sweetvetch. The herd interested him the most. Furs, meat, and the rarest and warmest of fur, qiviu [4], they give so much to us, yet I wish we didn't have to visit the Ingalik's country to get them.

    A spirit spoke back. Those Ingalik kill us and ignore our spirits. But you real men are noticing things. The Ingalik are spiritually powerful and have helped us thrive, but have cut us down at the same time. Strange sights filled Kalluk's vision. They cut us down, Kalluk, indistinguishable shapes in the sky spoke. Our family died, your family died, this is proof the Ingalik do not know how to manage their power. Will you not do something about this for the sake of everything? Steal the power of the Ingalik, and use it to strengthen the world.

    Kalluk heard voices, speaking in what he knew were the bizarre tones of the Ingalik. Hazy as everything was, he noticed a group of five Ingalik men wielding sharp spears who likewise noticed the muskox herd. One man led three reindeer behind him. I will not survive this. The Ingalik killed randomly, and he had nothing to offer these men.

    "You mean nothing you're willing to part with?" a voice spoke. "Offer them your knife, your cloak, and your sack, and you'll be saved." But Kalluk knew he couldn't offer such priceless goods, that which cost the lives of his family to gain. I've parted with too much. I have nothing more to offer but my life.

    "Only your life? You aren't alone, Kalluk," a spirit spoke, which sounded like the voice of his dead family in unison. "Remember that when you offer these men something."

    And suddenly everything came to him. The spirits called him here because the land was out of balance. His family, the muskoxen, the reindeer, the plants, the sea, the land, he needed to set things right. And it needed to start with these Ingalik. They must not kill that herd.

    Beneath his fur cloak, he drew that treasure he stole from an Ingalik chief--a shining copper knife. Kalluk always felt it was the strongest thing he owned thanks to its spiritual strength. As those men drew closer, he prepared for an ambush attack. I offer the spirits my life, he thought, laying in the tall grass of the meadow.

    "And I offer you the wrath of every spirit here!" he screamed, jumping to his feet and impaling the Ingalik man in front of him in the throat. Blood erupted from the man as he collapsed. The four behind him halted, standing shocked and shouting in their language, yet Kalluk charged them and plunged his knife into the throat of the second man near the reindeer, who fled when Kalluk approached. The three survivors rushed him, but Kalluk grabbed the man's spear with his off-hand while plunging his blade into his neck. He narrowly dodged a cut from one Ingalik's spear, blood spurting from his forearm, but repaid the man with his fellow's spear through his gut. The last survivor, shocked at Kalluk's strength and the fall of his comrades, tried to run, but Kalluk tackled him to the ground and wrung his neck.

    "You, Ingalik!" he screamed in his delirium. "You must feed the spirits! Pay them back for what you stole!" The man garbled something in his language, and Kalluk tightened his grasp--the man fainted soon after, but Kalluk ended his life with a sharp blow to his skull. Kalluk collapsed, panting from exertion, the impact of the fight slowly hitting him. His bleeding arm pained him.

    "You did well," a spirit said. "But this is the start of righting what is wrong. If you thirst and hunger, one of us will feed and nourish you. Our blood, milk, flesh, and fur can save you, and if you pass your knowledge and that of the understanding ones among you, the curse of the Ingalik will be defeated.

    Kalluk rose wearily, grabbing a spear from a fallen Ingalik warrior. The muskox continued grazing, seemingly ignorant of him despite what their spirits told him. The strongest of them must live, he suddenly thought, no doubt informed by their spirits. The weak shall nourish us while the strong nourish the land. Turning his attention toward a runt of the muskox herd, he single-mindedly stumbled toward them, and at close range, threw the spear right into the beast. As it emitted a dying shout, the herd gathered together for defense, but Kalluk's shouts and cries intimidated them into abandoning their wounded comrade. The weakened muskox died from repeated spear thrusts, and Kalluk cut chunks of flesh and fur from the fallen beast.

    The next morning, a delirious Kalluk wandered back into the camp of those awaiting for him, those who feared he was dead. And Kalluk told them of what happened, and most importantly, what was revealed to him. They recognised Kalluk's experience as deeply spiritual, and began to rever him as a shaman, one who communed with the spirits. And Kalluk's path was clear--adapt to the spiritual change brought by the Ingalik, but preserve the way of life threatened by them. Many rejected him at first, but the coastal peoples soon enough respected his interior people for the amount of muskox furs they brought, along with the trading links they began to establish. Eventually, even the coastal people adapted the muskox, using it to move whale and walrus ivory and other goods to the interior real men, who in turn traded it to the Ingalik. This trade gave the real men a new name they'd be known by the Ingalik and later even more far off groups--the Ivory Men.

    Kalluk accelerated the process already occurring--the real men and muskoxen became closer, and soon enough even the reindeer became adapted by the real men as they shifted to a pastoralist lifestyle. This resulted in the Ingalik expansions being halted in the far north, and even pushed back. And he lived several decades more. He became mythologised as a servant of the thunder god amongst the Inuit and Yupik (true to his name "Kalluk"), the demigod who help rule the muskoxen and reindeer. Worship of him even spread to those far northern Dena, descendents of Kalluk's enemies, who themselves later adapted the muskox.


    The large and stout muskox--not an ox but a distant relative of the sheep family--on average stands about 1.2 meters high and weighs about 300 kg and is among the largest land animals of the High Arctic. The animal produces a thick coat suitable for its Arctic environment, including the inner qiviut down. Muskox usually form small herds, but can sometimes be found as solitary animals. Hunted by humans since Paleolithic times, the muskox slowly vanished from Asia, and would likely vanished from all but the most remote parts of the High Arctic if not for the domestication event traditionally attributed to the Inuit hero Kalluk.

    The muskox revolutionised the Old Ringitani Sea culture, and the domestication of the muskox and adaptation to Dena practices of land usage is considered to mark the transition point between the Old Ringitani Sea culture and the Thule culture, conventionally dated around 650 AD. The Thule now had an extremely hardy pack animal, one capable of surviving where the larger reindeer preferred by the Dena had trouble surviving. The muskox produced a quantity of milk sufficient for nursing infants as well as the small number of lactose tolerant adults, improving nutrition. And like how the reindeer's ability as a pack animal to move large quantities of goods changed Dena material culture, the muskox did the same for the Thule, albeit it was not quite as sturdy of a pack animal and carried much less of a percent of its body weight. The Thule adapted new means of storing and transporting food.

    The end result was a population explosion amongst the Thule people. More children surviving meant more fighting men and childbearing mothers for the next generation. These Thule heard lurid tales of Kalluk's story, now often told in a way which placed him as the turning point of the world. By sacrificing those five Ingalik warriors, he started the process of the rejuvenation of the world, weakening the powerful magic of the Ingalik. In return, Kalluk and his descendents and his allies gained control over the muskoxen, thankful to be free from their thralldom to the Ingalik. Hearing this tale, the Thule became more fierce than ever in repelling Ingalik bands from their territory.

    Although they reclaimed much of their lost land and hunting grounds, like many pastoralist populations, the Thule constantly required more land. The Dena of the interior possessed equal technology, but lived in larger groups, and could call upon a much larger and developed trade network permitting access to worked copper, superior wood products, and goods made of tehi fiber. The Thule lived in a land without those goods. Thus, the Thule advanced along the path of least resistance, east and south along the Arctic Coast and across the sea into Far Northeast Asia and the Arctic Archipelago. There, they displaced local bands of Kinngait culture [5] in the east and other proto-Thule bands in the south and west, and made some inroads against the Chacchou [6], also a reindeer herding people.

    Despite their land being bitter cold and extremely harsh, the Thule nonetheless eeked out a living in this environment, one better than before, thanks to their adoption of the muskox and adaption to many Dena practices. Known as the "People of Ivory" and sometimes the "People of the Warmest Fur" to their neighbours and especially distant peoples, the Thule became more integrated into regional trading networks. In return for finished copper tools, wooden crafts, and tehi products, the Inuit gave soapstone, muskox pelts, as well as whale ivory. As their remote location limited the volume of goods moved between various locations, the demand for each side's rare goods remained very high.

    Amongst more southern people like the Ringitsu and Khaida, Thule goods were extremely rare--a saying went that to obtain a cloak of muskox fur, one sold their wife to the Gunana, but obtained a new wife upon the return home. They perceived the Dena as greedy and unreliable to deal with. As Dena bands further from the Ringitsu and Khaida--and closer to the fabled Ivory Men--offered more reasonable terms for these goods, and increasingly long-distance trade started. To process more goods for this trade, the peoples of the northern coast needed more land--and slaves. Not only would voyages along the north coast accelerate by the start of the Fusanian Copper Age in 700 AD, but so would voyages to the south, voyages which would continue the reshaping of the southern lands already well under way.

    [1] - An unkind exonym for Athabaskans used by the Yupik OTL--at this point, Yupik and other Inuit languages have not separated so I will use it here
    [2] - Literal meaning of the names of several Inuit groups like the Yupik, Iñupiat, etc.
    [3] - Kalluk has a tehi sack, made of Apocynum cannibinum, Indian hemp. It is prized amongst the more northern Dena who have no access to the plant (as it is traded from the Ringitsu), and thus very rare for an Inuit man to own.
    [4] - Alaskan dialectual form of qiviut, muskox down, which will have several different names from non-Inuit cultures who encounter it
    [5] - Dorset Culture, named for the Inuit name of Cape Dorset "Kinngait"
    [6] - Chukchi people, a Japanese rendering of their exonym meaning "rich in reindeer".
    Author's notes
    Since we're focusing on this part of the world, we obviously needed to mention the Thule/Inuit. Unlike the Thule of a certain other timeline which I had to stop myself from making random references to when writing this, these Thule are a more fringe and marginal people and won't be turning the Arctic and Subarctic into their playground anytime soon. That said, they're obviously on a slightly different path than OTL which will have some interesting results for everyone involved both now and soon to come.

    As I mentioned in the previous entry, the next entry will deal with the northern (well, central) parts of Fusania along the Columbia River and its development of complex civilisation, and then we'll cover this Western Agricultural Complex in a bit more detail.

    Thoughts and comments on this and previous entries is always much appreciated.
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    Chapter 8-To Tame a River and a Desert
  • -VIII-
    "To Tame a River and a Desert"

    Tall, forested mountains mark the boundary between the rainy, wet coast of the Pacific Ocean and the interior Imaru Plateau [1]. These mountains are volcanoes, some of which are still active, formed by a mantle plume hotspot of the same sort which created Hawaii. The greatest eruptions of these volcanoes occurred long before human times--17 million to 6 million years ago, this hotspot erupted continually and poured out vast quantities of lava to create the modern Imaru Plateau and the modern Imaru River. The mountains blocked the moist air from reaching the Plateau, yet the soil of this region was deep and very rich. One river, the Imaru River, punched through these coastal mountains to reach the Pacific Ocean, creating a gap for animals to easily pass between the Plateau and the coastal regions.

    Catastrophic events like these eruptions shaped this land--and its people. Millions of years later, massive floods from melting glaciers at the end of the last ice age swept over this landscape and down the Imaru River. The first humans to live in these lands witnessed these floods, which passed into the legends of their distant descendents. Similarly, the intense volcanic eruptions of later times likewise passed into local legends, where the volcanoes were transformed gods and home to powerful thunderbirds, who controlled their eruptions.

    Not long after the great outburst floods, the first sign of humans in the area appears at the site of what would become the first--and for a time, greatest--city west of the Rockies. The intense geologic history of the region created a waterfall, which became the perfect place to gather salmon, which formed the main part of their diet. All sorts of water plants and animals likewise lived at this site, which later people called "Wayam"--"echo of falling water".

    Thousands of years later, as the Roman Empire reached its golden age, the people of Teotihuacan finished the Pyramid of the Sun, and the Lord of the Ground tamed the reindeer amongst the Dena, two groups of people lived permanently in this rich land--a group of Aihamu as well as the easternmost Namaru. Over a dozen other groups, including those from hundreds of miles away, regularly gathered at the site during the salmon runs, or periodically during other parts of the year to trade. At times, up to ten thousand people congregated here during particularly good years. All sorts of goods (including people) and ideas exchanged hands at Wayam, a borderland between east and west.

    The nearest village to the Wayam Falls itself shared its name with the falls and was an important village of the local Aihamu people, who called themselves the Wayampam [2] but are often known in history as the Wayamese. Many people from far beyond passed through this village to gather the rich salmon runs of the area. The Wayamese and their close neighbours likewise frequently gathered in this place to hold ceremonies related to the changing of seasons to pray for prosperity.

    Along the Imaru Plateau, drought could strike in any year, and potentially for decades or more, much reducing the flow of the Imaru and constricting plant and animal life on land. Those who lived there knew of the fickle nature of the climate, but had little means of counteracting the damage. The end of the 3rd century saw one of these lengthy droughts. For nearly 40 years, less rain fell than before and the Imaru ran at a reduced flow, with only a few wet years to break up the pattern.

    In this time of poverty came the beginnings of change. From the north came bands of Dena who brought with them bits of the culture and lifestyle changes occuring far to the northwest via their intermediaries, the Chiyatsuru, who became increasingly Dena-ized. This included their semi-domesticated plants--sweetvetch, bistort, and others--and most importantly, their pack reindeer which fed upon them. The sight of tame reindeer, normally a rarity seen only in the north along with the mountains, must have filled the Wayamese and other Aihamu with shock. It is likely that in the first years, right at the end of the 3rd century, many reindeer were bought and sold at Wayam, as the Chiyatsuru integrated their Dena allies to the new system.

    But keeping reindeer was challenging in the lowlands, for this was deer country. White-tailed deer often carry brainworms, a parasitic nematode which while mostly harmless to the deer, are usually fatal to reindeer and moose. The Dena and Chiyatsuru noticed this, and quickly attributed it to the spirits of the deer in the area. Refusing to abandon their herds, they embarked on campaigns of extermination against deer with an unusual vigor. For the time, the Dena grazed their animals in the highlands in the summer, and moved to the lowlands in the winter.

    This extermination campaign against a major game animal did not endear the Dena and Chiyatsuru to the Aihamu, who fought back against the people decimating their key source of food. But like many clashes against the early Dena and Dena-ized people, the battles went poorly. The better nutrition, larger numbers, and superior logistics of the Dena and Dena-ized cultures held the clear advantage. However, the Wayamese had their own tool to fighting back--their vast network of alliances, forged by many decades of successful trade. They used this to call upon other peoples of the Plateau as well as some from downriver like the Namaru to protect their lifestyle.

    Despite many victories over the years, they alliance fell to infighting amongst themselves in addition to the death of many warriors. The slaughtered deer often became food and tools for the Dena and allies, resources now denied to the Aihamu and Plateau people. And the drought continued mostly unabated, further decreasing the deer population. Faced with these clear signs (perhaps interpreted religiously), and faced with the desire of many more peaceful Aihamu and Namaru to maintain peace to continue trade, the people of the Plateau effectively fell in line with cultural Dena-ization as a new nobility of reindeer herders dominated their people. The white-tailed deer, and to a lesser extent the mule deer, were overhunted to local extinctions in much of the region.

    Critically, the Dena demanded water from the river to grow more fodder for their reindeer. Unlike more northern Dena or the Ringitsu, these pre-Migration Period Dena did not understand the methods of making earthworks, with the large villages of Tachiri culture Dena along the Hentsuren only a distant legend. This forced the Wayamese to independently innovated similar techniques. Such building of additional channels along the river went along well local fishing, while also producing additional land for reindeer fodder.

    The additional challenge of growing these subarctic plants in the warmer lowlands of the Imaru Plateau led directly to the domestication of local plants in the centuries to come. Camas (Camassia) and biscuitroot (Lomatium) were likely the earliest local plants to be gardened in this manner, as the Wayamese created channels and other primitive irrigation techniques to ensure their growth and easy reliability. Soon after came nutsedge (Cyperus esculentus) and amaranth (Amaranthus), both exceptionally useful plants for feeding both reindeer and humans alike. As the decades passed, they supplemented this by increasingly directing the growth of tule (Schoenoplectus acutus), a water sedge, in their wetlands. This helpful plant was preferred to make baskets, clothing, roofing for lodges, fish weirs, and also had parts which could be eaten or fed to reindeer. With water plants came the increasing use of arrow potato (Sagittaria latifolia), pond lily (Nuphar polysepala), and tiger lily (Lilium columbianum). While other groups in the area conducted similar experiments with these local plants to feed their reindeer, Wayam served as a natural place for ideas, plants, and other products of success to be exchanged. Thus, whether it was the Aihamu, the Namaru, the Furasattsu [4], the Chiyatsuru, or another group who first started the experiments or grew the most superior plant didn't matter--the other groups would adopt it by way of the Wayamese sooner or later.

    This regional complex became known as the Irikyaku culture, after the town of Irikyaku (called Itlkilak in pre-colonial times) [5] where the first artifacts were found. Irikyaku artifacts typically include nearly uniform designs for tools made from reindeer antlers and bones, a few similar styles of pottery designs, and early evidence of artificial channel and pond building, with the main regional differences being those to the east or west of the mountains. Most critically, the Irikyaku culture eliminated the distinction between summer and winter villages and established a pattern of sedentary villages for all but those in the high mountains. The Irikyaku co-existed with the Late Chishinamu culture [6] of the Furasattsu. Their artifacts and designs retain similarity for over 300 miles in a radius centered around Wayam, evidence of a massive regional shift in culture, technology, and way of life starting around 350 AD and reaching its full extent by 400 AD.

    The artificial channels, especially in drier areas, proved the perfect place to encourage these early experiments at agriculture. The intensive labor needed to construct these channels led to the early Wayamese to demand the most from them. The Wayamese transplanted promising-looking plants from the wild or from already built channels to grow along new channels, and picked out the weaker and lesser plants while preserving the larger ones, usually to move to new channels. The Wayamese removed plants they didn't prefer from the area entirely, and never transplanted them.

    Channel-building was very labour-intensive. They were directed by medicine men who mediated with spirits called takh [7] to place energy in the plants, energy which would later flow back into humans and animals to ensure good health. The medicine men needed to fight off evil takh which poisoned the beneficial takh and caused disease of plants, animals, and humans. The Wayamese conducted channel-building in winter, when the reindeer herdsmen pastured their herds in the lowlands and had their reindeer available to assist in hauling dirt and mud. Slaves provided most of the manpower in constructing these channels.

    All of this led to the increasing stratification of society in the region by the 6th century for all but the most isolated hill tribes and desert dwellers. At the top of society sat the nobility, the keepers of reindeer, who migrated from the mountains in summer to the lowlands in winter. As bone and horn remained the most important materials for making tools (including fishing spears and digging sticks), and they held access to the best groves of trees (used for other tools and the increasingly complex weirs), the reindeer herdsmen effectively were the wealthiest people and thus had ample opportunity to acquire and distribute tools to other members of society. Elements of coastal-style potlatches arrived in Wayam during the Irikyaku, as well as the construction of coastal-style longhouses which were used by the elite (and their extended families and slaves) as palaces but not used by lower-status individuals, likely due to the expense in moving the large amount of wood to construct these longhouses. Below them were the common people, who lived relatively freely yet did not own reindeer or have access to the pasturing grounds. They could move up in status by acquisition of wealth, of which the quickest method was by success in warfare against the Amorera or other hillmen [8]. At the bottom were slaves, people whose roots and ancestry had been stripped from them. Slaves were traded from as far south as the Central Valley of Zingok [9], captured in battles and raids. The desperate poor could sell themselves or their children into slavery, providing another source of slaves. Wealthier commoners might own some slaves, but the majority were owned by the nobility. Slaves could be freed, in which case they'd become commoners. Outside this entire system lay the medicine men, who could be from any class. To become a medicine man was a mixture of luck and choice, and relied on one seeing visions of spirits. Initiation rites were trying and harsh, but to become a medicine man granted one great influence in society, as only they could manipulate the takh and keep people, animals, and the entire land healthy.

    The Irikyaku reached their terminal phase in the late 6th century. Wayam had absorbed neighbouring villages on both sides of the Imaru to become a thriving proto-city of almost 2,000 people. The Wayamese constructed large marshes and channels to increase the harvest of fish and water plants as well as to irrigate fields of camas, nutsedge, and other land crops. This fed both the locals as well as visiting peoples who traded goods from all around the entire region. This cultural complex extended to other key sites along the Imaru like Chemna [10]--in later centuries the greatest rival of Wayam--or Shonitkwu [11], the Chiyatsuru equivalent of Wayam. In this phase, Chemna and Shontikwu had over a thousand permanent residents each, with many minor villages have several dozens of permanent inhabitants.

    At the end of the 6th century and continuing to the 7th century, a major drought occurred, resulting in the solidification of these traditions. Most importantly, this period marked that of the American Migration Period and the arrival of a very different group of Dena. These Dena bore new breeds of reindeer, new breeds of plants, and most importantly, the arrival of a new cultural outlook and its influence on the life of the people influenced by the Irikyaku culture. This great change is why the Irikyaku fades into several other cultures by the year 600.

    The American Migration Period introduced the culture of later Dena as well as that of coastal people to the Aihamu. These Dena warred with the ruling class of the Aihamu, assimilating and displacing them. They transplanted elements of their social system to the Aihamu and other people of the plateau, including the moeities of Wolf and Raven, elements of a clan structure, and belief in the Sibling Prophets with its dualistic division of the world. As trade networks reconstructed, the Aihamu spread these cultural beliefs throughout the region.

    Sometime around the year 750, the Copper Age reached Wayam, as the Wayamese began importing smelted copper from the north, marking the beginning of the Imaru Copper culture. Because of the rarity of worked copper tools, and even moreso, the rarity of arsenical bronze, these tools became yet another elite status symbol. Like with their reindeer, the elites of Wayam loaned out these tools to others in society, especially for the further construction of channels, cementing themselves as the leaders of society. Metal tools made the work of digging channels and constructing artificial wetlands easier.

    The population of Wayam, Chemna, Shonitkwu, and other important centers continued to grow at an accelerated pace, increasing the demand for more earthworks, the slaves to build them, and the raiding expeditions to acquire slaves. During drought years, the Aihamu and other people of the plateau put increasing strain on the river, threatening the food supply, water supply, and especially the valued fishing grounds. All of this meant a demand for solid leadership which the collective leadership of the nobility was not providing. It would be in these cities around the year 800 when the first emergence of true monarchs appears.

    [1] - Columbia Plateau
    [2] - "-pam" (and cognates), meaning "people" is a typical ending in Sahaptin for tribal/ethnic groups, hence "Wayampam" ("people of Wayam"), "Aipakhpam" ("people of the plains"), etc. It should also be noted that sitting on the easiest path across the Cascades, Wayam is a borderland, and that like OTL with Sahaptins (Tenino) and Chinookans (Wasco-Wishram), the Wayamese mix freely with neighboring bands of Namaru, facilitating a lot of cultural exchange.
    [3] - Generic Japanese exonym for Interior Salish peoples, deriving from a Chinookan (TTL Namaru) exonym for a few nearby Interior Salish bands
    [4] - Generic Japanese exonym for Coast Salish peoples, derived from a Nuuchahnulth (TTL Attsu) exonym meaning "outside people".
    [5] - White Salmon, WA
    [6] - Late Marpole culture, a Coast Salish archaeological culture named for Marpole (part of Vancouver, BC), TTL having a Japanese derivation for its Coast Salish name. The Marpole culture OTL marked the origin of sedentary society amongst the Salish and beginnings of the complex culture encountered by 18th century Europeans.
    [7] - An extrapolation/alternate evolution of certain OTL Sahaptin animistic beliefs regarding guardian spirits and their role in nature.
    [8] - Japanese exonym for the Molala, deriving from a Kalapuya exonym. "Hillmen" in general is a term used for groups which don't extensively use earthworks (typically because they live in the hills or mountains), but eventually comes to mean "barbarian" (thus why it's a term used for desert cultures). As the Amorera are pushed into the mountains, they retain more egalitarian social structures but develop a raiding culture.
    [9] - Westernised form of "Jinguo" (金國), "golden country".
    [10] - Richland, WA, near the Priest Rapids, another key fishing site of the Sahaptins
    [11] - Kettle Falls, WA, a major waterfall on the Columbia River similar to the Priest Rapids or Celilo Falls which was a major fishing site of the local Interior Salish.
    Author's notes​
    Here is our first look at some groups outside of the far northwest corner of the coast, and they'll be quite an important group for the rest of this TL. Basically it's where "civilization" in the literal sense (people living in cities, not just glorified villages) begins. There's probably more I can expound on regarding something so critical, and I probably will when I do a post on the Western Agricultural Complex and just how/why a major lifestyle change emerged in the past few centuries.

    I forgot to include this section at first because I was a bit rushed for personal time when I was editing this chapter for posting here.
    Last edited:
    Chapter 9-Fruits From Earth and Water
  • -IX-
    "Fruits From Earth and Water"

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

    The Western Agricultural Complex (WAC), sometimes called the Fusanian Agricultural Complex, is the term given to an independent center of plant domestication in Western North America. Its origins date to the beginnings of pastoralism and accompanying increase in horticultural practices in the far north of Fusania around the 2nd century AD, with the center of plant domestication along the northwest coast from the mouth of the Imaru to Old Ringitania, and it reaches its final periods of experimentation around 1200. The Western Agricultural Complex was the last center of independent plant domestication to originate, with some of its associated plants showing little distinction from wild forms. Domesticated animals and a complex agroforestry system were extremely important to the success of the WAC, enabling extra sources of protein and calories as well as providing tools, manure, fuel, shade, and windbreaks which enabled the system to work. These plants and animals became critical to not only indigenous Fusanians, but numerous other indigenous Northern Americans, and eventually people around the globe. In some writings, it is called the Fusanian Agricultural Revolution, but this term is disputed by some anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians who consider it an evolution (not a revolution) from proto-agricultural practices to horticulturalism to full agriculture.

    Some of the Western Agricultural Complex's crops have become key staples for both humans and animals alike globally, such as omodaka (sometimes called river potato) (Sagittaria fusanensis), river turnip (Sagittaria cuneata), sweetvetch, common bistort (Bistorta vulgata), and the Fusanian lupine (Lupinus fusanensis), or of major commercial importance like tehi (Apocynum cannabinum). Others like camas (Camassia esculenta), rice lily (Fritillaria camschatcensis) and biscuitroot (Lomatium) are important local staples in some parts of the world, especially in Fusania, elsewhere in the Americas, or in the Far East. Some WAC plants are nearly extinct, having faded back into their wild forms or are only grown in isolated parts of Fusania.
    Practices of the Western Agricultural Complex
    Fusanian agriculture had a number of diverse and unique practices which are related to its origins and its social status. In Fusania, agriculture was an extremely low status activity which existed as a supplement to the preferred hunting and fishing techniques which had been practiced for thousands of years. Unlike in other parts of the world, where agriculture led to people settling down, indigenous Fusanians already lived in sizable villages of a few hundred people before they ever began any sort of true agricultural practices. This was due to the wealth of the land in terms of wild plants, animals to be hunted, and especially fish. The Western Agricultural Complex emerged as an evolution of horticulture, which was practiced due to the need to feed the herds of reindeer which became the most high status animal.

    Key among these were the ubiquitous earthworks and waterworks, which ensured Fusanian agriculture would become focused on water plants. These appear to be a cultural legacy of the Dena people of the Early Tachiri culture and those later cultures influenced from it, who used these earthworks at their villages as a means of prestige, but also as a means of flood control, water management, fishing tools, and encouraging the growth of certain plants, most notably those of genus Sagittaria. The two most important independent developments of this are at Nuklukayet on the Hentsuren and Wayam on the Imaru, created by two very different groups of Dena, each of which emerged by the 4th century. These earthworks and waterworks diffuse over the following centuries even before the start of the American Migration Period, reaching inland to the Continental Divide and as far south as Tappatsu [1] near the modern border of Zingok. Thus, by the start of the 7th century, much of Fusania already practiced a form of horticulture which in the key places of plant domestication--the Imaru Plateau and far northwest [2]--was spilling over to agriculture.

    The addition of the Sibling Prophets to Fusanian religious beliefs during the early American Migration Period resulted in revolutionary changes to agriculture in time. Carried by the later Dena migrations and the early coastal migrations from the far northwest and expressed in many ways contigent on the culture influenced, plants became categorised based on their relation to the resonance of the universe, symbolised by "dark" and "light". Practically, this meant finding dualistic dichotomies in these plants, for instance, the distinction between plants which grew in water versus those which grew on land, and those whose edible parts were below the ground versus those above ground. The most cited example in the literature is how readily 15th century Fusanian traders noticed the potato in its earliest moments in Mesoamerica as the spiritual counterpart of the omodaka, and imported it into their own lands, but similar distinctions were noticed for many centuries. Their effect on the body was also studied by these early farmers, who used this to sort plants into various categories.

    These practices were intensely spiritual, and the domain of the medicine men and shamans. Indigenous Fusanians believed medicine men needed to talk with the spirits in order to ensure the plants would be nutritious and able to sustain them. In some cultures, like on the Imaru Plateau, the medicine men placed spirits called takh into the growing plants to ensure they could pass on their energy to humans and animals. These plant-focused medicine men and shamans became an important subclass of the religious castes who eventually accrued more and more power by the Fusanian Copper Age to form the ruling caste over the nobility, from where the traditional princes of later Fusanian city states arise as the first appearance of state society and monarchy in the region.

    Under the guide of their shamans and medicine men, the Fusanians thus sowed their fields and bogs with the plants they relied upon. The more intensive earthworks and waterworks were demanded from the native nobility to compete with other noblemen. The end result was an agriculture which covered all bases--nutrition, vitamins, animal feed--and a population set up to farm it.

    These beliefs led to the Fusanian version of the two-field system by the 8th century AD. Half of the field would be flooded and grow water plants, and half of the field would grow dry-land crops--typically this would be an alternation between omodaka and camas. The influx of nutrients from the flooding of the field helped enrich the field for the following season. In some parts of Fusania, a three-field rotation quickly followed this development, where one field either lay fallow (and flooded) or grew a non-food crop (typically lupine or tehi). This occurred as an evolution of religious beliefs, where water and land crops constituted two fields each, and the fallow (or flooded) field constituted the "pillar of harmony", symbolising the initial state of the universe.

    Use of controlled burning--a tradition tens of thousands of years old in the region--remained common in the Fusanian agricultural system. Traditionally used to encourage the growth of favored plants or smoke out game, in the early agricultural period it was used to enhance the fertility of the land by burning the forest. Fusanian slash-and-burn agriculture tended to be rather light compared to other cultures. It usually occurred only every few years, and under strictly controlled conditions so as to minimize the loss of important plants like reindeer lichen and to maximize the availability of useful trees like oaks, bigleaf maple, and cedar yet also ensure significant new growths of birches and other trees and plants which colonized burned forests. Although already a complex system by the early Copper Age, this forest management system paled in comparison to the complexity of Fusanian silviculture found in later centuries.

    In some places--namely the stony, barren coasts of the area--soil management was crucial for this process. Notably, the Ringitsu among other far northwest peoples developed a means of permitting agriculture in these barren areas. Dirt from the interior mountains was mixed with sand from the beach, ashes, seaweed, living and dead fish and other beach life, and small animals both living and dead to form new soil and form the base for earthworks. Spiritually, this practice originated as creating local harmony--making life from barren rocks--by melding together elements of the land and the sea as well as the inferior "beach food" which made men weak and superior hunted game which kept men strong, the land was restored to a harmonious state. Creation of these plots boosted the productivity of marginal coastal lands and enabled a full transition to agricultural even in northerly Ringitania by the early Copper Age. This practice would spread throughout Fusania by the 11th century thanks to the American Migration Period.

    The tools of Fusanian agriculture into the Copper Age remained comparable to those of previous eras. The digging stick, a tool of wood and antler, was the most common means of harvesting crops. Tools of wood, bone, stone, and antler in general were used to prepare fields for sowing and harvesting. The earthworks were constructed by hand, using primitive versions of shovels, reed baskets, and reindeer and dog power to move dirt and water. Because of the need for antlers and bone, the nobility who controlled the main source--reindeer antlers and bone--retained a great deal of power as through potlatches they distributed these materials to their followers.

    By the 9th century, things were changing all throughout Fusania. The proliferation of smelted copper, silver, and gold spread throughout the entire region through the trading networks of the Dena and others. The sheen and hardness of these new metals immediately attracted the attention of the nobility, who endeavoured to equip their commoner followers and slaves with tools made of these metals. The most prestigious leaders equipped their followers and slaves with tools made of tumbaga (archaelogically named for this fusion of copper/silver/gold's similarity to the common Mesoamerican alloy of the same name) or other alloys of copper with bronze and/or silver. These tools were regarded as superior to all other tools, and most suitable for performing ritual ceremonies regarding the first fruits from the earth.

    Arsenical bronze--exceptionally strong copper created thanks to its impurities--likewise was an important metal for constructing agricultural tools, but there was no concept of smelting arsenical bronze in the early Fusanian Copper Age, and instead, arsenical bronze was regarded as a powerful metal thanks to its smiths literally pouring their souls into it. The arsenic in the ore poisoned these smiths and led to their crippling as well as their early deaths, but this was regarded in religion as an example of universal balance--by using the fire Raven stole from the gods to destroy the rocks (by melting) the gods created, these smiths tended far too much toward the "light" aspect of the world. To balance things out, their crippling and often painful death allowed the "dark" aspect of the world to shine through in their craft, leading to "balance" in the tools they made, and thus those tools' spiritual power. The lesser nobility provided their slaves and followers with copper tools as a matter of prestige.

    Regardless of the methods of their construction, indigenous Fusanians of the 6th-9th centuries accelerated their construction of ponds for aquatic plants and fish harvesting. Methods for shellfish gardens, common along the coast from the Whulchomish in the south to the Ringitsu in the north, proliferated, and helped inspire gardens for aquatic plants and other forms of aquaculture and agriculture. By the 9th century, this emphasis on wetlands would lead to the domestication of the local species of mallard as the Fusanian duck, an important domesticate of the Fusanians.
    Key crops of the Western Agricultural Complex

    Omodaka (Sagittaria fusanensis)
    Omodaka, sometimes called river potato, is the most critical staple crop of the Western Agricultural Complex, occupying a position akin to maize in Mesoamerica or rice in Asia. The plant is a hybrid of Sagittaria cuneata, the river turnip, and Sagitarria longifolia, the arrow potato, and grows to a larger size than either. It is somewhat more drought tolerant than its wild ancestors, but still requires damp, marshy ground to grow in. Domesticated omodaka is intolerant to severe cold, unlike S. cuneata, with its northernmost range in coastal Ringitania. Omodaka is tolerant of many different water conditions, and can cleanse polluted waterways--as such, it was usually grown near sewers and latrines, amongst other places.

    Historically, its ancestors were utilised for thousands of years as a good starch and supplement to the protein rich diet they ate. Omodaka was functionally very similar in this regard, but was an even greater source of calories and carbohydrates. Cooking the omodaka in Fusania was traditionally done in an earth oven until the early 2nd millennium. Digging sticks made of wood, antler, and bone were the main means of removing the omodaka tubers, but these sticks became increasingly complex and by around 1000 AD, the foot plow became common in Fusania.

    Omodaka displaced its wild ancestors in most places it grew in, barring the colder interior and far north. S. longifolia in particular fell out of favor, but was still gathered by some groups of hillmen as well as in times of famine, in addition to becoming grown for the medicinal value of its leaves.

    In later times, its counterpart was the potato--both were impressive tuberous crops capable of feeding the population. The search for this counterpart was long considered a dream of Fusanian agriculturalists. The omodaka in later times became exported to the rest of the world, and in much of East Asia supplemented native Sagittaria species in agriculture. In Europe it became popular in rice-growing areas like in Italy and France, but also in Scandinavia and Russia, where it fed livestock and increasingly the peasantry, and in the British Isles, where it served a similar role. Historically called "river potato" (omodaka being a 20th century marketing term in Western countries), European incorporation of the omodaka is considered an important moment in the economic history of Northern Europe second to only the potato, and for countries like Ireland and Finland, exceptionally critical.

    Camas (Camassia esculenta)​

    The most prized land plant of the Western Agricultural Complex, camas was prized for its bulbs. A drought tolerant plant, the camas thrived throughout much of Fusania, but it struggled in harsher continental climates like those found in northern interior Fusania. A hybrid of several wild camas species, the domesticated form Camassia esculenta [3] featured bigger bulbs. The camas flowers blooming produced impressive blue foliage which marked the changing of seasons in many native Fusanian cultures. In much of Fusania, camas and omodaka, as the key land and water plant respectively, formed a dichotomy marking the dualism of society. Harvested with a specialised digging stick, the camas bulbs were either turned into flour or slowly boiled and eaten much as potatoes were eaten in some cultures.

    Its water counterpart was considered to be various lilies, although before the introduction of the potato from Mesoamerica some cultures considered the omodaka the water counterpart of the camas. Camas became popular as a livestock feed in many parts of the world, especially inland China as well as in Spain and Portugal. In some of these places, camas was also eaten by the local population. In the British Isles, camas was imported by landowners, and became especially important in Ireland and Scotland to feed not only animals, but the people.

    Wild camas species were harvested by the hillmen as well as used as a nutritious livestock feed. Similar-looking yet poisonous species, like the plants known as "death camas", were regarded as negative, spiritually evil versions of camas and uprooted and destroyed when found.

    River turnip (Sagittaria cuneata)​

    The river turnip, sometimes called the northern river potato, is an important staple crop of interior and northern communities and the ancestor of S. fusanensis. Unlike S. longifolia, which became marginalised with the spread of domesticated omodaka, S. cuneata remained in extensive use as a food crop due to its tolerance to cold. In its domesticated form and with special care, it grows as far north as the Tetjo [4] Delta, but these northern specimens are small and stunted, thus mainly are used to feed reindeer and muskox by the Dena and Inuit people who live in that region. The largest use of the river turnip historically was found in much of interior Rihoku, where through careful care it can still grow to a suitable size in some microclimates.

    In colonial Vinland, cultivation of river turnip was especially noted by the colonists. While it would be many years after the settlement of Vinland for effective cultivation of the river turnip to arrive in Scandinavia, when it did, the effect was revolutionary in the northern parts of the realm. For Finland in particular, river turnip and its relative omodaka (both known in Finland by the name keiholehti) became critical crops in the early modern period thanks to the influence of early Finnish settlers of Vinland as well as innovative Finnish landowners. Beyond Fennoscandia, river turnip found a niche in the agriculture of far northern Russia as well as in much of Siberia. For the Japanese, it was established early on as an essential crop for the northern lands of Karafuto and Chishima.

    Nut sedge (Cyperus esculentus)
    The nut sedge, known in other parts of the world as chufa, tiger nuts, or earth almonds, was an important crop of the Western Agricultural Complex. Eaten throughout the world historically due to its nutritious qualities and widespread distribution, in the Americas, the nut sedge became more developed in Fusania than anywhere else. A hardy plant, nut sedge grew throughout Fusania and possessed tolerance for both cold and dry conditions.

    Nut sedge came with drawbacks. The plant easily outcompeted other, more preferred plants like camas, irritating farmers. If spread by the wind, as nut sedge often did, this created conflict between farmers. Further, despite its nutrition, nut sedge caused severe constipation if eaten in excess. Due to this, nut sedge never became a true staple crop of the Western Agricultural Complex, albeit retaining much importance. Its water counterpart was the cattail, also known for its useful qualities while having severe drawbacks.

    Sweetvetch (Hedysarum alpinum)​

    Despite its occasional perception as a "bizarre" sort of carrot, the sweetvetch is one of the most important vegetables and crops in general of the Western Agricultural Complex. In every legend of the Lord of the Ground, the Dena cultural hero who tamed the reindeer, sweetvetch is one of his favorite foods, and one he encourages since he knows the reindeer enjoy it as much as he does. Genetically, sweetvetch is among the oldest crops of the Western Agriculture Complex, with artificial selection beginning by the end of the 2nd century. Its domesticated form several centuries later resembles a carrot and has similar nutritious values, leading to common names like "Fusanian carrot" or "Indian carrot".

    Sweetvetch grows slowly, taking around three years to reach maturity. In its southern range, sweetvetch only takes two years, enabling crop rotation of fields in the mountainous habitat where it grows. Despite this disadvantage, sweetvetch is a common vegetable throughout much of Fusania and a staple crop in the interior and far north. As a legume, sweetvetch fixes nitrogen in the soil, acting as green mulch and thus improving crop yields and the soil as a whole. The Fusanian two-field system, first noted in the early Copper Age of the 9th century, in part relied on sweetvetch. In mountainous locations, sweetvetch was the main legume grown.

    In the modern era, sweetvetch is a very common plant of Arctic agriculture, grown in gardens in remote indigenous and mining communities as well in subarctic zones colonised in the so-called Mid-Vinland Project of the late 19th century intended to separate Vinland from dependence on other North American nations among other goals. Historically, it was a highly effective animal feed in Scandinavia and Russia and often eaten in times of famine. In the late 20th century, the Inuit, Dena, Cree, and other northern peoples gained success farming this vegetable among other Arctic crops, in part because of the old Mid-Vinland Project.

    Common bistort (Bistorta vulgata)
    One of the most important plants for northern peoples alongside sweetvetch and river turnip, the common bistort was among the first domesticated plants of Fusania, with its modern form arising in Ringitania sometime in the 6th century as a hybrid of Arctic bistort and Alpine bistort. The fertile hybrid is larger than either wild species, but also very dependent on humans for its propagation. Common bistort also lacks the tolerance to extreme cold Arctic bistort has, but with care can be grown along much of the coast of the Arctic Ocean in places the soil permits it, like a well-manured river valley. Because of this, bistort along with sweetvetch and river turnip served as the key staples of the far northwest coast and interior Fusania.

    Much of the plant was edible, including the root, leaves, and seeds. Traditionally in Fusania, the roots were eaten by people, while the rest of the plant saved for future crops or fed to livestock.

    Like omodaka, the river turnip, and sweetvetch, bistort became one of the most successful crops of the Western Agriculture Complex globally, becoming critical in agriculture in Iceland, Fennoscandia, Russia, and far northern Japan, as well as alpine zones in Japan, Korea, and China. In the highlands of the Alps as well as in Tibet, bistort (along with sweetvetch) helped create an agricultural revolution--and subsequent economic and political factors--by increasing the amount of food available for both animals and humans.

    Biscuitroot (Lomatium vulgatum)
    Biscuitroot was an age-old species utilised by indigenous Fusanians, but the domestication of the species now known as the common biscuitroot did not begin until the 7th century. On the Imaru Plateau, various biscuitroot species cultivated for flour or for their medicinal value became selected for the size of their roots and ease of cultivation. By the late 8th century, this created the common biscuitroot, the domesticated form of the plant.

    Domesticated biscuitroot was preferred for its drought and cold tolerance, growing throughout much of the Great Basin and well into interior Fusania. On the Imaru Plateau, in the Central Valley of Zingok, and the Great Basin in general, biscuitroot was a key staple, but elsewhere it remained a minor addition to flour and animal feed. Both domestic and wild biscuitroot were important for tribes of hillmen. This versatile nature of biscuitroot enabled its spread in the colonial era and beyond.

    Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sp.)
    Another favored plant, the balsamroot was used in many native dishes, but also was preferred for its medicinal values. Balsamroot was added to various flours to enhance their supposed health value, but also used in their own right as a minor staple of the Western Agricultural Complex.

    Medicinally, balsamroot was preferred for numerous throat, stomach, and other digestive conditions. The powdered leaves were also used to aid sleep.

    Fusanian lupine (Lupinus fusanensis)​

    Hybridised from many local Fusanian lupines, the Fusanian lupine produced colourful foliage which provided nutritious feed for reindeer as well as seeds comparable to peanuts which made good eating for humans. Lupine grown in fields helped replenish the soil. The poisonous yet rejuvanating nature was a key illustration of the duality of life in traditional Fusanian religion. The seeds diverged into a version commonly eaten as a snack as well as the traditional version which was consumed as a deliriant in the far northwest. The "snack" version spread far throughout Fusania, despite its very bitter taste.

    Pond lily (Nuphar polysepala)​

    Favored in the wetter parts of Fusania, this lily was notable for the intense cultivation indigenous Fusanians subjected it to. It was first grown in flood years, thriving in the deeper water, but later grown in other years, even drought years. The powdered seed was often mixed into flours. Of indigenous Fusanians, the Maguraku hillmen [5] preferred this plant beyond other agricultural plants.

    Tiger lily (Lilium columbianum)​

    Another prominent water plant, the bulb of the tiger lily was especially prized as a minor staple in parts of Fusania. It was a companion to the pond lily, and like other lilies, inadvertently domesticated.

    Rice lily (Fritillaria camschatcensis)​

    Despite its foul smell, the rice lily (sometimes called the black lily) was preferred by early Fusanians thanks to its root, which produced rice-like bulblets. It was contrasted with other more preferred marshy plants, but enjoyed in a vast range thanks to its cold tolerance. It formed a culturally important part of the diet of many interior Dena people.

    Its cold tolerance and its comparison to the proper Asian rice crop led to its continuing popularity well into the colonial era in Fusania.

    Goosefoot (Chenopodium sp.)​

    Goosefoot was an important land component of the Western Agricultural Complex for its seeds and leaves. The variety in northern Fusania appears to be a hybrid of native wild goosefoot and domesticated imports from the Great Plains, and as such is often known by the local term ragaku [6]. As such, it was essentially a hybrid between Eastern and Western Agricultural Complexes. The plant was simple to grow in most of Fusania and had great genetic diversity, and in the early 2nd millennium, cold-weather cultivars were gradually spreading throughout the interior far north.

    In Fusania, goosefoot was not a high prestige plant compared to camas or omodaka, but it was considered an extremely important plant for animal feed. It was often eaten by commoners and slaves as well due to the ease of growth and harvest and its low status. It's counterpart was the water amaranth.

    Water amaranth (Amaranthus aquaticus)​

    Water amaranth was a minor staple of native Fusanians, originating as a hybrid between the weed Amaranthus tuberculatus and farmed plant Amaranthus hybridus sometime around the end of the first millennia. Like A. tuberculatus, A. aquaticus grew on marshy ground which made it useful for Fusanian agriculture, but like A. hybridus, produced useful and edible seeds and leaves. Compared to A. hybridus, A. aquaticus fit much better into the system of Fusanian agriculture, especially as it became religiously associated with the counterpart to Chenopodium.

    A traditional Fusanian story declares the plant to have been a gift from the "Transformer" god to a virtuous yet struggling farmer. Unable to feed his family, and having his patch of land choked with weeds, the farmer refused to sell his youngest daughter into slavery to a rapacious local noble. A mysterious noble approached them one night, and offered to either purchase her for a huge price, or turn his fields and entire village into the most bountiful in the world. The farmer chose the latter, but the noble--who turned out to be the Transformer god--led the man's daughter out and transformed her into the first water amaranth plant. Despite mourning the loss, his daughter's spirit comforted him and thanked both her father and the Transformer god. [7]


    Fusanians used many minor domesticates and semi-domesticates as vegetables, most notably plants such as various springbeauties (Claytonia sp.), docks (Rumex sp.), and saxifrages (Saxifraga sp.). Most of these vegetables were first subject to human selection as reindeer fodder, but later for their medicinal value, use as dyes, and as garnishes for various dishes. Exceptionally hardy, these plants grew throughout the alpine, subarctic, and arctic regions and were a favorite of pastoralists and hillmen, as well as various Guteikh and Inuit peoples.

    Reindeer lichen (Cladonia rangiferina) was among the most preferred vegetables due to its association with reindeer. While too slow growing and finnicky to ever be domesticated, the lichen was extensively encouraged for both reindeer and human use. In the more densely populated areas around the rivers and coast, reindeer lichen grew faster than its wild counterpart. In addition to its use as a vegetable or for reindeer fodder, the lichen was used as medicine for both humans and animals.

    ---Other plants---

    Tehi (Apocynum cannabinum)
    A poisonous plant, the tehi plant served as one of the most important domesticated plants of the Western Agricultural Complex. It was first used for minor purposes--a bit of extra fabric here and there, or for its edible seeds--but by the late 6th century, tehi helped form the first sails in Fusania. Demand for sails in far northwest Fusania combined with the increasing demand for clothing from the plant led to its rapid domestication by the 9th century.

    Domesticated tehi served the Fusanians in every way possible. It served as a poison for enemies, be they human or animal. The seeds were mixed into animal feed, or occasionally into food for humans. And most importantly, the fibers formed a similar industry comparable to flax or hemp in the Old World, used for making clothing and many other purposes. The use of the tehi plant and production of cloth from it was of critical importance for Fusanians from the 9th century onwards.

    Sweetflag (Acorus calamus)​

    Used globally for its medicinal value and sweet smell, sweetflag became a natural choice for extensive cultivation by Fusanians. Sweetflag was among the first plants to be extensively grown in artificial wetlands due to its medicinal value which was said to ease pain and cure numerous digestive diseases. Oil pressed from sweetflag was burned as incense which repelled the ever present mosquitos and flies--the strong, sweet smell of it was common in the homes of the elite, but also in granaries and food storage areas as it was believed the burning smell of sweetflag repelled insects and rodents. Native Fusanians extensively used powdered sweetflag as a spice and condiment, fulfilling roles comparable to cinnamon and nutmeg in other cultures. Occasionally the plant was simply used as a vegetable. Sweetflag gained an association with wealth and prosperity in many Fusanian cultures as the elite could afford to use the plant as mats or thatching instead of its more practical uses.

    Tule (Schoenoplectus acutus)
    This plant served as a traditional building material in much of Fusania, especially in south Fusania. Its fibers were perfect for baskets, mats, flooring, and roof thatching. Parts of the tule plant were often mixed into flour or served as garnishes. Cultivars of tule were created to be food crops first (and fiber crops second) and vice versa, and thus served as highly important crops throughout Fusania.

    Cattail (Typha latifolia)​

    While not a domesticated plant unlike many others listed here, cattails remained an important component of the Western Agricultural Complex. Much of the plant was edible, and it was easy to grow and maintain, but its main use was as a construction material, where it could make baskets, footwear, simple buildings and rafts, and serve as insulation for all sorts of clothing. Cattails were also often fed to animals.
    The main issue with the cattail was its excessive growth which crowded out other water plants. Further, a cattail marsh naturally drained over time due to the growth of the plants, requiring extensive labor to construct and maintain. As such, cattails were not a preferred species, and were usually considered weeds (albeit beneficial weeds).

    Yonetsu (Heracleum maximum) [8]​

    The yonetsu was an exceptional plant, used throughout Fusania as a vegetable, spice, and medicine. It could repel mosquitos and flies and supposedly cure many conditions, and lend a unique taste to food. All parts of the plant were cultivated by native Fusanians, and used for garnish, spices, medicine, and insect repellant.

    Sappitsu [9] (Oplopanax horridus)
    The sappitsu plant with its notable thorns was a common plant in the far northwest, hung over the doorways of most houses as it was believed to ward off evil. Sappitsu was burned as an incense (often mixed with sweetflag) to ward of insects, and also often used as a medicine to ease pain and kill lice. As a food, its leaves and roots were often mixed into meat dishes and were an important vegetable in the far northwest. Due to its medicinal value, sappitsu spread far to the south.

    Labrador tea (Ledum sp.)
    Labrador tea was a common plant in the subarctic and arctic regions of Fusania. This tea was favoured for herbal medicine, believed by indigenous Fusanians to cure many illnesses. It was also enjoyed as a recreational deliriant thanks to the terpenes found in the plant.

    Indigenous Fusanians favoured this plant thanks to its medicinal value and the tea it produced. Leaves of the labrador tea as well as the tea itself were often used to flavor fish and other meat in Fusanian cuisine in various sauces and garnishes.

    [1] - Crescent City, CA, a Japanese rendition of its Tolowa name.
    [2] - By "far northwest" I'm referring to the coastal region from northern Vancouver Island to Kodiak Island, including the BC Central Coast, Haida Gwaii, and the Alexander Archipelago. I term it "far northwest" because that's what it is from a Fusanian perspective. It is a marginal, rainy region, and IMO well-suited for the sorts of processes which would lead to the intensification of reindeer pastoralism/horticulture which tips over into the agricultural society this timeline centers around. The cultures of the region, most notably the Ringitsu (Tlingit), Khaida (Haida), and Tsusha (Coast Tsimshians), thus play an extremely important role TTL which we've only seen the beginning of.
    [3] - OTL a synonym for several Camassia species, TTL used for the domesticated variety of camas.
    [4] - Mackenzie River, derived from Japanese "Teicho" which is in turn derived from the Slavey language name for the river.
    [5] - Klamath, from the Japanese rendition of their ethnonym. OTL, the Klamath indeed were fond of eating pond lilies.
    [6] - Japanese loanword from a Nuuchahnulth word meaning "leaf".
    [7] - An ATL domesticated hybrid of several amaranth species, mostly Amaranthus hybridus and Amaranthus tuberculatus. Amaranths are known for often hybridising with each other, and hybrid wild amaranths produced many of the farmed amaranths (and weed amaranths). The story of its origin is an example of Transformation stories, where a Transformer god transforms people into the ancestors of common plants and animals.
    [8] - Cow parnsip, TTL commonly known by its Japanese name which is derived from the Tlingit word for the plant
    [9] - Devil's club, TTL known by its Japanese name which is a rendition of its Tlingit name
    Author's notes
    A rather dry entry for this TL, but a necessary one. This displays a key portion of Fusanian agriculture in its earliest form during the early Fusanian Copper Age, and how it develops. I'm not a botanist, and I'm no doubt exaggerating a lot of the capabilities of these indigenous American plants. This shows the religious beliefs behind Fusanian agriculture and why they use slaves to build such impressive earthworks as we've seen at Nuklukayet and Wayam, amongst other places, and how it drives the agricultural revolution in Western North America, which is essentially a side effect of what allows the herds of domesticated reindeer to thrive. No doubt there's a lot more I should've written about some Fusanian domesticates, but I covered the base elements. If it's truly important, it will be mentioned in a later update. This update is simply to show the Western Agricultural Complex and what it meant to native Fusanians.

    I've deliberately excluded cultivated trees (although touched on their importance), berries, and domesticated/extensively managed animals from this update, despite their huge importance in Fusania. This is because this update focuses on the early Copper Age version of Fusanian agriculture. We'll deal with Fusanian agroforestry practices and the mature form of their pastoralism soon enough. In part, this is because I need to discuss our alt-California Indians in greater detail. Later imports from the Eastern Agricultural Complex plus imports from Mesoamerica (which aside from Amaranathus and goosefoot are the first imports in Fusanian agriculture) will be dealt with at this time. Later animal domesticates--like the Fusanian mallard I mentioned--as well as older Fusanian domesticates will be focused on at that point.

    There's a lot of foreshadowing here, especially since there's bits of the Western Agricultural Complex described in the context of their later influence. And there's a lot of recapping previous discussions of Fusanian agriculture as well.

    Next entry will deal with another key element of the American Migration Period (the Haida are always compared to Vikings after all, but their foes TTL from the Whulchomish to the Namaru are likewise notable), and afterwards we'll discuss South Fusania (call it California, Zingok, whatever it's a unique place compared to North Fusania to say the least) and eventually the Hillmen, Fusania's "barbarians".
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    Chapter 10-Lives and Deaths Along the Coast
  • -X-
    "Lives and Deaths Along the Coast"

    The western coast of North America presents a stark, rocky, foggy landscape, with few good harbors for ships. Those few which exist are often separated from the interior by tall coastal mountains, creating a major barrier between land and sea. But in some places, geology has been more kind to the humans who were to later inhabit this land, with subduction zones and glaciation carving out a vast estuary along an inland sea called Whulge [1] by its locals. This sea provided ample fishing and whaling grounds and rich growths of forests in one of the rainiest climates in the temperate regions of the world. The large island of Wakashi [2] hems off Whulge from the Pacific. Around the Whulge and on Wakashi, several different groups of locals resided, from Wakashan speakers like the Atkh and Lik'wil'dak [3] along the west coast and east coast respectively of Wakashi to Wulchomic peoples [4] along the shores of the mainland, along with several other groups. The rich land they inhabited allowed for a large population and complex society from early days, founded on fishing and for the Atkh, whaling, but also enabling much trade and cultural contact with people across the sea.

    Like much of the region, this area around Whulge dramatically changed in the 4th to 8th centuries. Coastal Dena peoples struck south into the region, decapitating the ruling class as they did elsewhere, and like elsewhere, they mostly blended into the local population, although holdouts in the mountains may have persisted with a Dena identity and culture until the 14th century. Their culture blended with the local culture, bringing with them new traditions of reindeer herding, plant management, and social organisation. At the same time, the Whulchomic peoples inherited the legacy of the Aipakhpam and Namal from the Imaru region, bringing with them similar changes and introducing ever increasing amounts of plant horticulture to the region.

    Evolution of the Whulge Coast

    Among the largest estuaries in northern America, the coast of Whulge was inhabited by a number of Whulchomic peoples, so named for their shared reliance on Whulge and the waters which drained into it. These peoples relied on the intensive harvest of food--salmon, river potatoes, and game--from the many rivers and lakes of their land for their livelihood. This provided the foundation for a complex settled culture in the region by about 400 BC, as evidenced by the artifacts found from the Chishinamu culture (400 BC - 400 AD). [5] These Chishinamu peoples developed a culture of a nobility ruling over commoners and slaves which managed the resources of the land. Potentially up to 50,000 people lived in the area around 100 AD, in the same era as the "Lord of the Ground", the legendary Dena culture hero, tamed the reindeer.

    Whulchomic peoples include the Whulchomish, the Tlatlechamish, the Lelemakh [6], and several extinct groups whose legacy remains only in family stories and oral histories of the region due to the many wars and migrations over the centuries. These migrations would begin to dominate the history of the region starting around 300 AD, when increasing numbers of Dena moved into Whulge from the north. Unlike Dena peoples already in the area, these Dena people spoke Northern Dena languages and herded reindeer acquired from the north. The Dena tendency of destroying white-tailed deer populations brought them into conflict with the local Whulchomic peoples.

    According to Whulchomic legend, a great battle occurred around the year 350, between an alliance of the Whulchomic peoples and the invading Dena. Called the "Battle of the River of Tears" (so-named for the weeping of people for the many lost in the fighting), the Whulchomic peoples attempted to drive out the Dena invaders from their land under an alliance which included nearly every group of Whulchomic-speakers and even some neighboring peoples. Despite initial victories, the superior logistics of the Dena and their greater access to tools and weapons led to the Dena victory at an unknown stream, where "a vast number" of Whulchomic warriors died or were captured. The story ends with the Dena becoming the new rulers over the people, who prosper yet mourn for what they have lost. Comparable to similar stories about a great war between the Dena and the alliance of peoples assembled at Wayam, such a legend described the conflict between the already complex societies of central-northern Fusania and the invading Dena peoples, but also symbolised the Dena as bringers of change both positive and negative.

    The Dena nobility of the area combined with increasing amounts of reindeer used to carry packages for trade created a much more uniform culture in the area, called the Irikyaku culture, or sometimes called "Fusanian Neolithic". It was characterised by influences from interior peoples, such as the Aipakhpam around Wayam. Goods were traded widely along the Imaru River and along the coast. The Whulchomic peoples increasingly built earthworks and waterworks intended to both glorify their nobility and manipulate the land to more easily grow the increasingly domesticated staple foods like omodaka and camas as well as other plants. One notable tradition along these lines, supposedly created by the Lelemakh in particular, was the construction of shellfish gardens, where beaches were reshaped to increase the amount of shellfish which could be collected. This Irikyaku tradition spread in time to other Whulchomic peoples and then far beyond its point of origin.

    The Whulchomic peoples possessed a tradition of nobility which thanks to the Dena increased in power. These new nobles owned many reindeer and helped control the source of local tools and furs thanks to their reindeer. With these Dena as their nobility, the Whulchomic peoples adapted to these new circumstances. Like the Wayamese, they build great earthworks and waterworks to grow their crops and exalt their nobles.

    With the increased population from the Whulchomic adoption of agriculture in the Irikyaku period, the weaving tradition (strengthened by cultivation of tehi) demanded more blankets made from the wool of the mountain goat, a common game animal. Tradition attributes the Lelemakh to domesticating the mountain goat. As this animal became rarer, the Lelemakh moved to make peninsulas and islands as reserves for the animals to harvest their wool. These goats already occasionally visited mountainous human villages for their crops and security against predators. From this initial "tame" population, the Lelemakh and their initial shepherds domesticated the mountain goat by the 9th century--also called the white goat, forest goat, or Indian goat by later Europeans or Asians. The domesticated mountain goat, used for its wool and for meat, spread quickly to neighboring groups, but in the 9th century, the mountain goat's impact on the Americas was yet to be realised.

    Evolution of Wakashi Island

    One region remained separate. The island of Wakashi saw few Dena arrive there, and kept much of its original culture and traditions, but increasingly supplemented by reindeer being traded from the coastal areas. Agriculture was slow to spread in Wakashi, but cultural links between Whulchomic peoples on the island and across the sea slowly spread innovations from the mainland. As elsewhere in Fusania, cultural similarities helped cross linguistic and ethnic borders to spread new concepts and technologies. Cultural blending was common as well--bands of Whulchomic people could and sometimes did settle with their Wakashan neighbours elsewhere on the island, who likewise would settle with them

    Due to this minimal Dena influence and slower development, the non-Whulchomic cultures of Wakashi Island are not considered part of the regional Irikyaku culture, instead being associated with several separate archaeological cultures. This later development of the Wakashans perhaps influenced outside perceptions of them, where even from an early age they are regarded as backwards and barbaric, or even cannibalistic. The latter perception perhaps comes from the ritual cannibalism practiced by some secret societies of the island, where a slave or prisoner was butchered and their flesh eaten by initiates combined with vast amounts of salt water to expel the flesh. The people of this society in later years occupied the highest rung of the priesthood--and an exaggerated place in the imaginations of outsiders. The Wakashans similarly enjoyed other "barbaric" activities, such as self-punishment for purification, notably the vigorous self-flogging to ensure successful whale hunts, and to add to their increasingly morbid reputation, a love of skulls and bones of all species, including humans. They extensively used whale bones in construction of whaling shrines, where bones of reindeer, whales, bears, and occassionally human skulls ornamented the premise. [7]

    As it was elsewhere in the region, the introduction of the reindeer no later than about 450 AD greatly changed the lifestyle of the native inhabitants, as all the hills and forests of the island became potential pastures for reindeer. As elsewhere, reindeer offered an easy source of food, tools, and transportation for goods, and the animal quickly became prestigious. Groups which adopted the reindeer first quickly expanded at the expense of the neighbours, both Whulchomic and Wakashan alike. Similarly, reindeer offered a good source of horsepower for construction, thus, in the 5th century, the size and complexity of longhouses increases, and construction of the ubiqitous earthworks and waterworks accelerates as plants become a more important part of the diet, especially amongst the Whulchomic peoples of the island.

    One important group for both the history of Wakashi Island (and later Fusania and beyond) were the Atkh. Distantly related in language to their neighbours, the ancestral Lik'wil'dak, the Atkh were the first culture in the region to practice intensive whaling [8], a practice occurring around the same time as the adoption of the reindeer, but with its origins even further back in time. To the Atkh, the whale already was the most essential animal to their livelihoods. The origin of whaling is obscure, but unlike the Ringitsu, where whaling arose as a way to gain prestige and extra resources without needing to own herds of reindeer, for the Atkh, the process seems to have been a tradition of villages with poor access to salmon runs. The arrival of reindeer to Wakashi allowed these whaling villages to acquire increasing amounts of reindeer in exchange for whale goods, which necessitated their leaders hunt increasing amounts of whales.

    The Atkh thus had a head start over other groups on Wakashi in terms of integrating the reindeer into their economy. Coastal Atkhs traded with interior Atkhs extensively, thus forging marital bonds which meant large family networks to call upon when needed. The amount of whale bone and other whale tools enabled an easy source of tools unmatched elsewhere on the island. To meet the demand for reindeer, the interior Atkh became increasingly warlike, raiding their neighbours Atkh and non-Atkh with impunity. Although these family alliances cut across ethnicity, and the Atkh could and did trade and ally with Whulchomic or Lik'wil'dak groups, the Atkh as a group tended to benefit at the expense of non-Atkh groups, who saw their territory slowly reduced. Construction of forts and lookouts exponentially increases in this period throughout Wakashi Island, but this is likely not only because of inter-islander wars, but raiders from outside the island.

    The start of the American Migration Period saw conflict all over northern Fusania as groups moved into new lands due to the cooling climate of Late Antiquity. At sea, slave raids increased to gather labour for the many new innovations sweeping the region. Wakashi Island was thus frequently raided by people from the Central Coast and Far Northwest coast, the majority of them Khaida or Tsusha, but many other groups as well, from the Ringitsu to those who have since been lost to history. Like the Vikings, they came not only as raiders, but traders as well, bringing innovations both economic (catamarans, sails, new forms of useful plants undergoing domestication) and cultural. The latter impacted Wakashi Island the most--the clan system of the Far Northwest arrived in Wakashi, although it had four clans organised into two moeities (Orca and Raven in one moeity, Eagle and Wolf in the other), similar to the Tsusha. An equally important cultural innovation was the introduction of the dualistic system of the Sibling Prophets, although their story was told differently on Wakashi Island than in the far northwest--for instance, amongst the Atkh, the Brother and Sister are twin siblings (not cousins), and they marry ambitious commoners who each become important prophets amongst their people. As elsewhere, this dualistic system deeply informed Wakashi Island's society and its practices.

    Aside from whaling and reindeer, the key aspect of the Atkh economy was their textiles. Atkh land tended to be rough and mountainous, and in this era, the practice of soil improvement by mixing dirt, bones, and seaweed as done by the Ringitsu had not arrived yet. As such, the Atkh preferred to use much of their limited growing lands for fiber crops, growing tule, cattails, sweetflag, in addition to leaving much of it as forest, where the prized cedar trees were harvested for a variety of purposes (including textiles). From these fibers came all sorts of mats, baskets, clothing, and other products which were traded to other groups in exchange for food crops like camas and omodaka. But above all, tehi served as the most important fiber crop. One major center of diversity for tehi is the ancestral lands of the Atkh, hinting at their extensive cultivation and manipulation of the tehi plant. In addition to clothing and other textiles, the Atkh used this plant to experiment in making sails, which is often explained as an adaption from the Ringitsu or another group from further north during the 6th century.

    The Atkh innovated in ship design as a result of this, developing new sorts of canoes and catamarans which proved highly useful in exploiting the rich seas of the area. Borrowing technology from the Ringitsu and Khaida, around the year 750 the Atkh developed massive catamarans which could carry over a hundred people or a comparable amount of cargo. These catamarans, called humhach'apac (literally "mother canoe") were used for a variety of purposes, from fishing to trade, but most often were owned by chiefs and used to hunt whales. A humhach'apac would transport provisions as well as a smaller, sturdier whaling canoe, which had its own sail to move about freely. When they sighted a whale (typically a humpback or grey whale), the whalers used smoke signals to attempt to signal the humhach'apac and then lowered the sail and started the pursuit, firing poisoned harpoons (typically aconite, hemlock, tehi, or a mix of all three) at the whale. When they killed the whale, the humhach'apac and canoe together hooked onto the whale and dragged it back to the village. The size of these ships combined with their sailors made the Atkh perhaps the most capable whalers in the Americas, moreso than the Inuit, Guteikh, or Ringitsu, capable of striking much further at sea and taking larger whales.

    The Atkh and Lik'wil'dak practiced extensive aquaculture and especially mariculture along the many fjords and coves of their homeland. Borrowing and innovating on the shellfish gardens of the Whulchomic peoples, gardening of kelp and other seaweed occurred with the system of mariculture common among these groups. One notable effect of this was the creation of artificial salt marshes in places where the farmers kept back the sea using partially submerged earthworks. Using a mix of seawater and the ample rainwater of the area, they cultivated plants like glassworts--a preferred species which would eventually be domesticated--as well as saltbushes, cordgrass, and eelgrass [9]. One saltgrass, Distichlis spicata, was preferred for it could be fed to reindeer but also used to concentrate salt, which coastal peoples traded to inland groups. Salt harvesting in general occurred in this mariculture system, where in the dry summers, seawater was heated with charcoal to produce salt. Bits of these plants fed shellfish they harvested, and when fully grown, these plants were mixed into flour for breads or more often fed to reindeer. The Wakashans used this mariculture system to attract schools of fish--especially salmon and herring--to their inlets where they'd harvest them and their eggs. These fish in turn attracted seals and whales, even more preferred. By manipulating their tidal environment, the coastal Atkh and Lik'wil'dak were easily able to live off the sea yet also join in the increasing Fusanian Agricultural Revolution.

    Both Atkh and Lik'wil'dak in this era divided themselves into many small chiefdoms, consisting of extended family groups and their slaves and ruled by the leader of the most prestigious clan. The borders of these chiefdoms were established by negotiation (occasionally after warfare) with other groups, and negotiated fishing and hunting grounds as well as where plants and trees could be cut. The leader of this land needed to keep the loyalty of his people through the giving away goods in potlatches as well as his prowess in warfare and hunting, including whaling. If a chief proved weak, or was excessively cruel, people would move away from his territory or outright assassinate him. This system worked well for centuries, but by the dawn of the Copper Age on Wakashi around 800 AD had begun to weaken thanks to the increasing population, the need for management of the new earthworks and waterworks, and conflict over access to the best copper sources. Increasing numbers of commoners migrated between chiefdoms, often with lesser nobility, while the ambition of the chiefs increased, setting the stage for many conflicts.

    The losers of these conflicts often refused to accept defeat--instead, they simply migrated with their followers and continued their fighting against a new enemy, their neighbours. The superior numbers of Whulchomic peoples helped absorb and defend against much of this initial influx of displaced groups, incorporating their cultural traits while redirecting them elsewhere. Faced with conflict against these groups, the Lik'wil'dak largely stopped their migrations and consolidated into larger and more organised confederations, while the Atkh instead used their humhach'apac to move entire clans elsewhere.

    Their first target was the mountainous Pacific coast right to their south, where many Atkh settled. An ancient nation called the Kwidit'atkh lived there, according to oral histories, who spoke a language incomprehensible to both the Atkh and their Whulchomic neighbours. The Kwidit'atkh were decimated by Atkh invaders starting in the late 8th century, and over the following centuries, slowly assimilated into the mainland Atkh groups, who incorporated many loanwords from their language. [10] The Kwidit'atkh were the first major casuality of the Atkh in what became called the Wakashan Migrations, part of the American Migration Period and beyond.

    Yet the Wakashans themselves suffered from the American Migration Period. Drawn by their wealth, they fought incursions of other Wakashans--bitter wars occurred between the ancestral Lik'wil'dak and the Atkh as well as conflicts against Whulchomic groups. But the greatest conflict occurred with the increasing incursions of the Ringitsu, Khaida, Tsusha, and other far northwest people. By the end of the 9th century, even more intensive conflict began on Wakashi Island thanks to these northwest peoples.

    Evolution of the Lower Imaru and Central Coast
    Alongside Wayam, no area held greater importance toward of the development of what is considered "indigenous north Fusanian culture" than the lower Imaru, the homeland of the Namal people. From the mountains to the coast, the Namal held sway over the most productive land in the region, although in the river valley they called the Irame, a tributary of the lower Imaru, a major group called the Amim [11] lived. All manner of Fusanian agriculture and pastoralism was practiced in this region, and no region north of Mesoamerica was as densely populated as the Lower Imaru and the Irame Valley were by the start of the Fusanian Copper Age.

    By the later Irikyaku period, this riverine region was developing fast. The town of Tlat'sap [12], a leading Namal settlement at the mouth of the river, helped funnel external trade with its benefits down the river. Atkh, other Wakashan, and far northwest cultural developments arrived in this area thanks to Tlat'sap and its surroundings, which mediated access to the rich interior along the river. Tlat'sap proved a powerful and wealthy fortress. It was ruled by an early example of a Fusanian monarchy--a single chief controlled all aspects of the town and those subject to it. The transition to centralised, monarchial rule around the late 8th century grew out of the ever increasing complexity of the culture, the need to direct labour for the earthworks and waterworks, and the growing population, a reflection of developments occurring elsewhere along the Imaru in Wayam and as far downstream as Chemna. These nobility were likely Dena in cultural origin and were rich in reindeer.

    Tlat'sap sent out many trading expeditions both down river to Wayam and beyond, to the south to the mouths of the rivers, and to the north to Wakashi and the far northwest. Bringing in goods like greenstone, whalebone, and many other goods, and serving as an entropôt for the area, early Copper Age Tlat'sap helped procure a leading role in the Namal people's cities. In 830 AD at its height, over 1,000 people lived permanently in Tlat'sap. Its ruler is recorded as subjugating much of the Lower Imaru. This great chief fought a large naval battle against the Atkh at one point, killing many of them and stealing a giant whale they killed, while also managing to steal many reindeer from neighbouring Dena.

    Tradition also holds this ruler of Tlat'sap as a frequent enemy of the nearest important town upstream, Katlamat, about 35 kilometers a day. Tlat'sap often sent raids against villages Katlamat held as a tributaries, and the two cities fought numerous battles which often involved over a hundred warriors, although chiefs did not join the battles in this era to avoid assassination or death [13]. Occasionally, battles between parties of large war canoes accompanied these battles. Under its greatest ruler, who's given many names depending on the story, Tlat'sap's forces breached the tall palisade around Katlamat and sacked several longhouses, carrying off the families of several prominent nobles for ransom.

    Although its major rival was defeated, Tlat'sap faced a new threat--coastal raiders. Wakashans and some Whulchomic groups were drawn by the prosperity of the region, and often threatened the town. Normally, Tlat'sap's fleet of war canoes and system of watchtowers and forts repelled these groups, but starting with the increasing raids from the Khaida and other far northwestern groups on Wakashi Island, these raids increased in scale and frequency. Yet it would be those far northwestern peoples who dealt the greatest blow to Tlat'sap. In the year 857, a fleet of Khaida ships descended on the mouth of the Imaru, making a feint on a nearby village while using deception to sneak into the town. With most of its soldiers outside the city, the Khaida then had free reign to plunder Tlat'sap, killing dozens of men while carrying off the women and children as slaves. The Khaida killed the ruler of Tlat'sap and then burnt his longhouse and systematically plundered the surrounding fields. A second group of Khaida behind them dispatched the soldiers of Tlat'sap in a decisive battle, and then continued on to plunder the town themselves. Hundreds of slaves were carried off alongside the accumulated wealth of the town. Tlat'sap would never recover after this.

    Like Lindisfarne in Europe, the Sack of Tlat'sap is a landmark event in the history of coastal raids. Events like this occurred frequently in the later American Migration Period (800 - 1000) as the increasing wealth along the Imaru drew the far northwestern peoples and others. They came as traders, raiders, slavers, and in time, settlers. Like the Dena before them, they'd open a new chapter on the history of Fusania, bringing great changes, and with it, great violence.

    [1] - A Salish term for the Puget Sound, TTL extended to the entire Salish Sea region. I'll use the most common rendition of the word in English instead of other transcriptions.
    [2] - Vancouver Island, the term derived from "Wakash", a commonly used term in Nuu-chah-nulth roughly meaning "good"--this is the also the name origin of the "Wakashan" language family. It is a misnomer akin to that which IOTL gave us the place name/ethnonym "Nootka".
    [3] - Nuu-chah-nulth and Kwakwakaʼwakw/Laich-kwil-tach respectively
    [4] - Coast Salish peoples, basically meaning "peoples of Whulge".
    [5] - Chishinamu culture is the Marpole culture, named for the Japanese name of the place which is derived from the native name
    [6] - The Whulchomish ("people of Whulge") are the Puget Sound Salish, the Tlatlechamish ("people of the islands") are the North Straits Salish, while the Lelemakh ("people of salt [water]") are Halkomelem speaking peoples. As we shall see, they'll have a quite different ethnogenesis TTL than OTL, hence why people speaking similar languages are grouped together, unlike OTL where no identity like that existed.
    [7] - The cannibalism is based on the Hamatsa society of the Kwakwakaʼwakw OTL, who at one point practiced ritual cannibalism. The self-flogging is also OTL (see the "whaling shrines" of the Nuu-chah-nulth)--the whaling chiefs would beat themselves with boughs of hemlock and nettles while bathing to purify themselves. The whaling shrines themselves often had many bones and skulls, including human skulls. A related legend has it that a great whaling chief attempted to make a causeway between two islands using the bones of whales he killed--given this, I think we can imagine an interesting evolution of how whale bones are treated.
    [8] - OTL, the Nuu-chah-nulth--and their close kin the Ditidaht and Makah--were the only groups to extensively practice whaling south of the Aleuts, although they spread their traditions to the neighbouring Chimakuan peoples. TTL, the practice of whaling is slowly spreading south thanks to the Ringitsu having adopted whaling, and will be practiced by most Wakashan peoples, but the Atkh are still among the best whalers.
    [9] - These plants are halophytes, which are very tolerant of salt water and typically grow in salt marshes. They require minimal freshwater to grow, which can be supplied by the constant rainwater of the region.
    [10] - These are Chimakuan-speaking peoples (named for a Nuu-chah-nulth exonym), a small language family of the Olympic Peninsula. OTL, the Makah, who split from the Nuu-chah-nulth, conquered and assimilated a Chimakuan-speaking group at the end of the first millennia, as evidenced by Chimakuan toponyms there (and the separation of the two Chimakuan languages), and proceded to strongly influence the Chimakuan groups culturally. TTL, they're much less fortunate. The Olympic Peninsula and the Pacific Coast in general is a backwater relative to the rest of Fusania, and the Nuu-chah-nulth (Atkh) far more numerous. Between the Dena group which has moved into the *Olympic Mountains and the invading Atkh (essentially an ATL *Makah), they're assimilated and leave little traces but evidence of a foreign people and some odd toponyms. TTL's linguists and ethnographers would kill to learn what we know about these peoples.
    [11] - Irame Valley and the Irame River is the Willamette. The Amim are the Kalapuya, named for a Kalapuya term meaning "people".
    [12] - Astoria, OR, named for the dialectual Chinookan term meaning "place of dried salmon", which is rendered as "Clatsop" in English. Its related to places with the element "Cathla-" (and the variant I'll use, "Katla-"), as it is a Chinookan dialectual term.
    [13] - Cathlamet, WA, IOTL an important Chinookan town on the Lower Columbia. The reference to chiefs preferring to avoid battle is OTL among the Chinookans for the reasons I mentioned--at this point this concept is still common despite how much the Chinookans have evolved down a different path.
    Author's notes
    I originally planned to revisit the Khaida and their neighbours and show their raids on the growing southern towns, but then I realised I never got to really introduce those peoples, and I figured I needed to. So this entry combines some notes on a couple of the different groups of people. Next week we'll be doing the Khaida and Ringitsu and the later American Migration Period though, that's for sure.

    As always, thanks for reading and if you like it, don't be afraid to comment.
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    Chapter 11-The Burning Rainforests
  • -XI-
    "The Burning Rainforests"

    The situation in the Far Northwest of Fusania declined at the start of the Copper Age. Increasing development to the south combined with new sources of copper impacted trade with the southern lands. Further, the continued increase in population once again started to impact societal harmony. The rugged lands of the Far Northwest possessed a limited carrying capacity--only a limited amount of land could be improved with the creation of new soil from burning and such a process was time consuming and expensive. Further, many commoners and even lesser noblemen were being forced onto poorer and poorer land which could hardly support herding reindeer. The nobility, be it the whaling elite of the coast or the reindeer elite of the inland, continued polygamous practices leading to a shortage of eligible women for marriage and provoking great resentment at the same time.

    Out-migration from the Far Northwest was nothing new--many from this region sailed south in the past, or even north, spreading their civilisation and cultural influences among southern peoples. Yet starting in the middle of the 8th century, these migrations started to accelerate. Often this was accompanied by warfare and violence. Initially, much conflict was centered in the Far Northwest, where another intense period of violence began. Despite the greater societal constraints in these regions against warfare thanks to the Sibling Prophets, the priests and more peaceful nobles were unable to control more hotheaded warriors using any excuse they could to start conflicts.

    The result was that from around 700 to 750, a generation of constant low-level warfare and raids occurred in the region. Raiders took slaves in great numbers, and often sold to the south to the labour-hungry peoples of the Whulge and especially the Imaru. Reindeer, a desired symbol of wealth, similarly were taken, although the size of the animals ensured usually only calves were stolen. Nobles captured in warfare often lost much of their fortune in ransom money paid. Warriors in these conflicts fought mainly with traditional clubs of whale bone, jade, or cedar, or occasionally axes made out obsidian or sharpened jade, while for ranged weapons, bows of traditional construction and composition remained common, but also occasionally a new invention, the crossbow, a simple, all-wooden form of that weapon [1]. Armour consisted of thick furs or occasionally strips of cedar. At close range, obsidian, copper, or jade daggers were the pre-eminent weapon. Far Northwestern peoples most prized jade and metal weapons--nobles tended to fight with these weapons, but weapons were frequently stolen from those killed in battle.

    This constant conflict decimated the old social system in the region and in place, a new one more suited for these conditions arose. The institution of the war chief existed in older times, but with the constant need for war leaders, the nobility empowered these war chiefs to not only lead wars, but prepare for them as well. Typically, the nobles as well as shamans elected two chiefs (representing each moeity) for a period of one year, and from a cycling of noble houses of the village or town. Variants and exceptions existed--for instance, the Tsusha elected four war chiefs to represent their four clans. These war chiefs, in later times called by the generic term "prince", became the effective leaders of their villages and towns. Training for warfare became a demanded and exalted practice of not only all adult males, who trained under the watchful eye of a noble appointed by a prince. Training for women was expected as well as women were expected to protect hillforts with crossbows firing poison darts--the elderly, infirm, and occasionally even children also used these weapons. The overall goal of this training and mass militarisation was to make enemy raids and their main targets--reindeer and slaves--so costly it would be pointless to continue fighting, thus bringing peace through conflict.

    Oral history remarks the creation of these oligarchic diarchies with their demands and edicts helped bring peace to the region through their military and spiritual prowess, but this is perhaps an exaggeration of their role. More likely, the decreasing frequency of warfare in the middle and late 8th century was due to the raiders turning their attention elsewhere as the nearest lands were effectively "picked over", devoid of the best goods. Slaves traded to the south were exchanged for numerous valuable goods, which piqued the interest of those who wanted to make a name for themselves and acquire those goods in an easier manner.

    The Far Northwestern peoples first struck immediately south and north. For the Ringitsu, they finished absorbing the remnants of the Iyaqwan, considered to be a backwards people for their poverty in reindeer [2] and pressed hard on the Guteikh of the area, who owned even fewer reindeer but were hated rivals of the Ringitsu due to their whaling activities. In the south, substantial waves of people--first the Uitsuda [3] and then the Khaida--invaded the main territories deep in the fjords which produced jade, inhabited by the Old Touyachi people, sometimes called "Ligimuu" after their Tsusha exonym. [4] The Old Touyachi people faded into obscurity, their name preserved only in the oral history of the people who conquered them by the end of the 8th century.

    Raids to the south--Wakashi Island and the shores of Whulge--were nothing new either, but starting in the mid-8th century, these raids increased in number and frequency. The oral history of the Lik'wil'dak of Wakashi explains their conflict with the "northerners" began when an arrogant chief cheated a Khaida merchant of middling status and showed him great inhospitability. This merchant, barely escaping alive, called upon his kin who immediately sent out a group of war canoes with a raiding party consisting of a hundred warriors. These hundred men attacked and plundered the village the merchant was cheated at, killing all the men and enslaving everyone else, and only chose to return when several neighbouring chiefs handed over the kin of the offender, who were executed on the spot. The survivors of this expedition returned home to the lands of the Khaida fabulously wealthy and without a single casuality, and received the promises of the kin of the deceased warriors they would join them in the next raid, "for the men of Wakashi are as soft and weak as seaweed yet claim to be as hard and strong as cedar". Encouraged by words like that, raiders attacked all around the area in increasing numbers, where they gained the common name "Coastmen", a comparison to the inland raiders who were the "Hillmen".

    Not all raids resulted in plunder and victory. At the mouth of the Imaru River, the Coastmen struck, sacking the Namal town of Tlat'sap at the mouth of the river in the middle of the 8th century. The town's nobles resolved to never let that happen again and organised far more effective networks of fortifications. At battle at Tlat'sap around 780 resulted in a great defeat for a large war party of Wakashan Coastmen. Hundreds of Wakashans died at the cost of only a few Tlat'sap lives. The survivors became slaves for Tlat'sap for a year before being sold back to their relatives with the warning that they would return as either merchants or slaves. Similarly, around 790 an ambitious Khaida war party attempted to navigate the back country and avoiding the Imaru River, stealing reindeer and goods from small villages as they went, in order to reach the city of Wayam for plunder, but a Namal war party defeated them and sold the survivors as slaves to Wayam. Only a single man returned home to his islands a decade later, to tell a great story about the most wealthy and powerful city in the world, a story which was passed around family groups all over the Far Northwest and inspired a near legendary reverence for the city which ensured that sacking Wayam would be the dream of all Coastmen.

    The stories of these raids and the valiant defenders against them traveled far and wide, becoming important stories of many families and clans. Sometimes the clans let them be performed freely, other times they remain personal property of these families up until the present day. Many times these tales became exaggerated in their heroism and the feats of the people in them, and often times stories about the same battle contradict each other. Collections of these stories became popular in later times and formed the basis of Fusanian literature as well its historiography thanks to the efforts of the earliest historians of Fusania who wrote down their works, such as the famous 15th century Namal prince Gaiyuchul.

    Some of these stories became celebrated in the form of ceremonial pillars, sometimes called totem poles. Usually raised in memory of an ancestor, these pillars became increasingly popular in the 8th century as carving tools became cheaper and wealth increased. Stories of raids became a popular theme for these poles. A common set of motifs developed to enable the learned of any culture to easily tell what the pole signified to its owner, which those trained in the art of carving the poles came to inherently understand. The construction of such poles originated in the Far Northwest and spread through Wakashan influence to the Whulchomish and eventually the Namal, some Dena groups, and other interior cultures by the end of the American Migration Period. Their rot-resistant cedar construction ensured they'd last for many decades, but even the inevitable rot of the poles was not a cause for concern. [5]

    But in the meantime for all Fusania, this explosive situation would soon get far, far worse, for in this land so shaped by intense geologic activity, not even the very ground the Fusanians stood on nor the air they breathed was safe and unmoving. In the span of only a few years, these great processes intervened to change the history of the land forever.

    From an old Tsusha tale, loosely translated
    There once were two nobles of the town of Lakhgw'alaam, Adat'sokh of the Ravens and Wiseks of the Blackfish [6], each dear friends of each other and brothers by marriage and each holding descent from the highest nobility of old, great men who commanded a herd of a hundred reindeer and the mastery of a hundred slaves and ruled the world at land and at sea. Yet their line increasingly grew wicked and depraved, forgetting to mind the balance of both the land and their spirit. The hundred reindeer and hundred slaves faded to nothing over a hundred years. Only the echo of their glory remained with Adat'sokh and Wiseks at the time of their birth. Despite their high birth, each possessed little more than commoners, and depraved and wicked men held the leadership of their clans

    Yet each man inherited two items from their great ancestor. For Adat'sokh, he inherited an axe of finest cedar and jade, created by the Ligimuu and claimed by his ancestor. For Wiseks, he inherited a club of the finest whalebones studded with jade, created by the Ligimuu [7] and claimed by his ancestor. From their youth, they felt a spiritual calling from these objects, and they knew they must return to the place of this greatest of achievements, the Ligimuu's town of Ligimiilk [8].

    One night as Adat'sokh gazed at the clouds under the bright moonlight, he heard his axe speak as clear as day.

    "Return me to Ligimiilk, boy!" the weapon said to him one night. "The Ligimuu are not fit to rule that land. You will surely be a ruler there, and the Ts'ats'aew will hail you as an equal and shower you in their jade! A hundred reindeer and a hundred slaves will be yours, as they were your ancestor! [9]"

    "You give a fine offer, axe of my ancestor! I will return you to Ligimiilk as soon as I can!"

    "It is fortunate you accept my offer without reluctance."

    One day as Wiseks gazed at the clouds under the bright sunlight, he heard his club speak as clear as day.

    "Return me to Ligimiilk, boy!" the weapon said to him one day. "The Ligimuu are not fit to rule that land. You will surely be a ruler there, and the Ts'ats'aew will hail you as an equal and shower you in their jade! A hundred reindeer and a hundred slaves will be yours, as they were your ancestor!"

    "I do not trust you, club of my ancestor! Why should I return you to Ligimiilk?"

    "It is unfortunate you are so reluctant to accept my offer."

    The next day the two boys met and discussed the events of the previous days.

    "My axe spoke to me, and gave me the offer of endless wealth if I journey to Ligimiilk! Together we must go there, for it is the place promised to us!"

    "My club spoke to me, and gave me the offer of endless wealth if I journey to Ligimiilk! Together we must reject this offer, for it will lead to our deaths!"

    Adat'sokh and Wiseks disputed this, becoming enemies for a time. But soon they reconciled, understanding to neither be hasty nor greedy in what they agreed was their destiny. Each agreed they must return to Ligimiilk, but to reject the wealth they'd gain from it and leave the whole endeavour up to the gods and spirits.

    As young men, they called upon the men of their clan to join them in a voyage to Ligimiilk, where they promised great success. Yet their relatives derided them and called them ambitious fools. Their wicked clan leaders enlisted their followers to mock the efforts of Adat'sokh and Wiseks.

    "What point is there to fight those people? You have been lied to by evil spirits! You'll find nothing but death there!"

    Adat'sokh and Wiseks searched far and wide in their quest to regain their status. To conquer Ligimiilk became their destiny. Men of the Hayda, Gyidaghaniits, and Wutsdaa [10] joined them. Each man married noblewomen of the Wutsdaa, who themselves were vengeful on the occurrences in Ligimiilk. Their sons and daughters grew up with the desire to return to that city.

    Many years later, Adat'sokh and Wiseks put out a call to their clan to go voyage south to Ligimiilk, yet once again they were denied.

    "Evil spirits still mislead you! There is no reason we should fight!"

    But as older men of their people, Adat'sokh and Wiseks gained a following. Outcasts, freedmen, and others swore allegiance to these two. They found the allegiance of those who did not fit in society, and at the same time, gained the enmity of their lord, the Prince of Lakhgw'alaam [11], who demanded their arrest. Allied with the wicked lords of their clan, they sought to destroy the power these poor nobles acquired.

    At winter potlatch, the corrupt nobles struck at Adat'sokh and Wiseks. They placed serpents in their sacred box. They placed aconite in their sacred cider. But Adat'sokh and Wiseks evaded these efforts. They sacrificed their few slaves to the poison of the serpents and the poison of the cider and stood proud against their enemies.

    "How do they avoid certain death?" The nobles asked themselves. "These men are certain to bring yet more doom on our people!"

    In the spring, the Prince of Lakhgw'alaam exiled them.

    "Evil spirits preserve you from all the cruelty of the world. You and your followers will doom our people, so you must leave this land."

    Each man understood.

    "If you wish we shall do so."

    But the Prince of Lakhgw'alaam did not know that many lesser nobles and commoners would join them.
    "Adat'sokh, Wiseks, we will join you in your destiny! The spirits are with you!"

    The Prince of Lakhgw'alaam sent his medicine men, his shamans, and his warriors against these rebels. Many lesser nobles and commoners denounced Adat'sokh and Wiseks under the threat of these men.
    "We were misguided, these men are fools and are misguided! How could we support such evil?"

    In the next spring, Adat'sokh and Wiseks left with a hundred followers on board four ships, fifty men of Wolf and Orca, and fifty men of Raven and Eagle [12]. Adat'sokh and Wiseks knew their followers were nothing but a few slaves, a few peasants who owed something to them, their kinsmen in an equally poor situation, and a few adventurers. They set out south along the coast.

    "How can I return you to Ligimiilk with this weak retinue?" Adat'sokh asked his axe.

    "Believe in the spirits and the land itself," he heard back.

    "How can I return you to Ligimiilk with this weak retinue?" Wiseks asked his club.

    "Believe in the spirits and the land itself," he heard back.

    Camped on the shore, Adat'sokh and Wiseks discussed the challenge before them as they prepared to sail to Ligimiilk.

    "No choice except to push forward to Ligimiilk," Adat'sokh argued. "Destiny awaits there!"

    "We must retreat lest we die at the gates of Ligimiilk." Wiseks argued. "Destiny awaits someplace else!"

    As the two disputed, the Ligimuu pushed forward regardless. Striking fierce in a sudden raid on their camp, half the force of Adat'sokh and Wiseks perished in the first battle, including the eldest son of each.

    "I have been too impetuous in my pursuit of the Ligimuu and my destiny!" Adat'sokh mourned. "I have not trusted in my men and their spirits enough!"

    "I have been too cautious in my pursuit of the Ligimuu and my destiny!" Wiseks mourned. "I have not trusted in my men and their spirits enough!"

    Deep in the mountains Adat'sokh and Wiseks fled to seek another path to the village of the Ligimuu. Hunger and storms battered their force as they navigated the valleys and rivers of the coastal mountains, yet Adat'sokh and Wiseks did not falter. With their faith in their men and knowledge of what needed to be done, not a single man died. As they reached a major village of the Ligimuu, they prepared to find foes, but instead found only friends.

    "The Hayda are our mutual enemies," the villagers spoke. "They seek to rule us yet have no right to! As the enemies of the Hayda, you must be our allies. Those who call themselves the Ligimuu in this era are nought but Hayda barbarians."

    Adat'sokh and Wiseks bowed to these villagers and presented their jade weapons.

    "This evil must be purged from your land," Adat'sokh said.

    "I will fight for you to ensure justice for your land," Wiseks said.

    The sight of those jade weapons inspired the villagers.

    "Those weapons killed the greatest amongst us. The single flaw of your ancestors was their lack of trust. They believed only in themselves and knew not how to believe in others. In time this let evil into Lakhgw'alaam. And now the time has come to right this wrong. We will fight for you, the true rulers of this land. We will guide you through this land."

    Two hundred Ligimuu joined Adat'sokh and Wiseks as they crossed the valleys and passes of the mountains with their followers, surviving many hardships. They came upon the city of Ligimiilk at last.

    "My lords, the strength of the Hayda is ten times our own!" a scout warned.

    "Our faith in ourselves and trust in our men is worth ten times even that number." Adat'sokh said.

    "Our faith in ourselves and trust in the spirits is worth ten times even that number." Wiseks said.

    As the band of the chosen prepared to descend upon Ligimiilk, Adat'sokh saw two ravens flying high above the mountains as Wiseks saw two orcas swimming in the fjord far beneath. Each man knew they placed their faith and trust in the correct forces of the world, but could not decide when to attack the town.

    "We strike at dusk and fight all night!" Adat'sokh said.

    "We strike at dawn and fight all day!" Wiseks said.

    Each man argued their point fiercely, but the arrival of a war party of Ts'ats'aew halted the arguments. Yet the Ts'ats'aew halted when they saw the jade axe and jade club and offered them gifts of jade.

    "Your jade is powerful," the Ts'ats'aew war leader said. "The world would prosper in blood and spirit if you were rulers of that town. My force and its two hundred slaves and two hundred reindeer will assist you in bringing about this reality. On land our men will aid you."

    After each man thanked the Ts'ats'aew, Adat'sokh and Wiseks went back to disputing over when to descend upon the Ligimiilk.

    "We strike at midnight and fight until noon!" Adat'sokh said.

    "We strike at noon and fight until midnight!" Wiseks said.

    Each man argued their point fiercely, but the arrival of a war party of Wutsdaa halted the arguments.
    "Your jade is powerful," the Wutsdaa war leader said. "The world would prosper in blood and spirit if you were rulers of that town. As your kinsmen and their friends, we will assist you in bringing about this reality. At sea our men will aid you."

    After each man thanked the Wutsdaa, Adat'sokh and Wiseks went back to disputing over when to descend upon the Ligimiilk. Then Adat'sokh saw an raven flying and Wiseks saw an orca swimming, and each man heard thunderous voices from these animals.

    "You trust yourselves and your men, and you trust the spirits of land and water, yet you still argue over this meaningless matter?" the spirits of raven and orca shouted. "You must cease your dispute at once, lest your rule over Ligimiilk be no better than the Hayda!"

    "Just by appearing here, victory is already yours," Adat'sokh's axe spoke.

    "Just by appearing here, wealth is already yours," Wiseks's club spoke.

    "We must ensure balance," each man agreed.

    "We attack at midnight under the full moon," Adat'sokh said.

    "We retire at dawn as night ends and day begins," Wiseks said.

    "We attack at noon under the bright sun," Adat'sokh said.

    "We retire at dusk as day ends and night begins," Wiseks said.

    "And we repeat this every day until Ligimiilk is in our hands," each man said together.

    The chosen men struck at midnight, surprising the Hayda in Ligimiilk, killing many of them at little cost, but they failed to breach the walls. At dawn they fled back into the mountains. At noon, they struck again, killing few Hayda at great cost to them, but breaching the walls. At dusk they fled back into the mountains.

    "How will we win when half our men our dead?" Adat'sokh wondered to himself, even as he trusted in the certainty of his victory.

    "How will we win when the Hayda remain so thick on the ground?" Wiseks wondered to himself, even as he trusted in the certainty of his victory.

    Each man suddenly saw a raven flying in the sky illuminated by moonlight and an orca swimming in the ocean. The raven revealed his true form as the greatest of thunderbirds, and the orca his true form as the greatest of whales [13]. These great spirits clashed, shaking the ground with tremendous fury, yet the orca and raven reassured Adat'sokh and Wiseks.

    The sea drained from Ligimiilk as the battle went on and the thunderbird appeared to win. Adat'sokh wanted to strike with his men, but Wiseks held him back. The sea swamped over Ligimiilk as the battle went on and the whale appeared to win. Wiseks wanted to strike with his men, but Adat'sokh held him back. The battle ended soon after with both thunderbird and whale exhausted, and the sea back where it started. The orca and raven appeared again.

    "The true battle is over," each spirit said. "Go and claim your destiny."

    The chosen men charged down the mountain at midnight under the full moon, arriving in the devastated town. Although much weakened from the battle between thunderbird and whale, the Hayda remained strong on the ground. From midnight until the next midnight, the chosen men clashed with the Hayda as the Hayda fought until their last.

    "Victory is ours!" the two men shouted. "Praise the spirits of the land and sea!" Their followers and their allies the Ligimuu, Wutsdaa and Ts'ats'aew joined in their shouts. The surviving people of the town pleged allegiance to Adat'sokh and Wiseks.

    Adat'sokh and Wiseks rebuilt the town of Ligimiilk after the fight, burying the dead of the Hayda and the innocents killed in the fight between thunderbird and whale. Yet each man realized the burden they carried now that they ruled the town of Ligimiilk. They renamed the city Lakhalidel [14] to forever remind people the hallowed ground they tread upon. In time, the Ligimuu faded into memory as the descendents and kin of Adat'sokh and Wiseks spread throughout the land, but this memory was never forgotten by the people of Lakhalidel, even in their future of great prosperity.

    The 9th century in Fusania saw much destruction at the hands of both the Coastmen, the seaborne raiders sometimes (somewhat inaccurately) called the "Vikings of Fusania"--and at the hands of nature, in particular two great disasters. The first disaster, a massive megathrust earthquake on the Wakashi subduction zone [15] and subsequent tsunami in the early 9th century, wiped out large segments of the coastline. Few coastal towns were spared from the waves, including Tlat'sap and Katlamat on the Imaru River. These cities rebuilt fairly quickly, but other towns wouldn't be so lucky. The second disaster, the eruption of the volcano Kel't'khe (better known as Kerutsuka after its post-colonial name) [16], poisoned many herds of reindeer while clogging streams and ponds, producing mass famine as the salmon died and with it died the plants eaten by Fusanian peoples. Yet in this era of devastation, a great irony occurred as these Coastmen laid the groundwork for the revival of Fusania through forging new trade links and spreading technological, social, and economic developments to the furthest corners of the land.

    The great earthquake at the start of the early 9th century spurred many migrations and conflict due to the great amount of coastal destruction prompting opportunistic migration, including events such as the arrival of the Tsusha people at Lakhalidel. Most of these migrations occurred locally, as with coastal villages wiped out, the amount of whalers--and thus number of killed whales--dropped greatly, sparking a change in the delicate balance between inland reindeer herders and coastal whalers and fishermen as the coastal groups used the scarcity of whale tools to their advantage in obtaining goods from the interior.

    Finding the exchange of goods too weighted in favour of the coastal communities, reindeer herdsmen attacked the villages to seize tribute. The ones who struck first became the new rulers of the coastal villages and thus controllers of the trade in whale bone and other goods. However, many whalers and fishermen refused to accept such terms of trade. Some coastal communities banded together into powerful confederations and struck back at the reindeer herding groups. One of these confederations, known as Yutluhitl after its capital, became the nucleus for one of the first and most powerful organised states on Wakashi Island, controlling a significant portion of what became known as Yutluhitl Sound [17].

    Other whalers and fishermen simply left. Some joined bands of Coastmen, repurposing their canoes and catamarans into yet more warships, but others went to settle elsewhere, either in villages with fair rulers or in foreign shores. This helped spread knowledge of new shipbuilding skills, such as those prized by the Wakashans, and new techniques such as whaling as men from whaling families married women of other groups, with their children raised in the new culture. In the early 9th century, whaling appeared among Whulchomic groups and the Namal for the first time, and becomes an integral part of the coastal regions. In particularly, this allowed the city of Tlat'sap to rise to even greater prominence. A last group mixed both approaches--leave their homes and find new people to rule over. This latter group targetted the many distinct peoples on the rocky coasts of the Pacific.

    This migration accelerated with the eruption of K'el't'khe--a later name for the mountain meaning "Ash Mouth"--in the late 830s. While the worst of the effects appeared mainly in the Far Northwest, climate disruption occurred throughout much of northern Fusania and Wakashi Island. The situation declined in the years following the eruption, as herds of reindeer and other animals suffered illness and mortality from breathing in ash and ashfalls poisoned the streams and ponds relied on fishing and for agriculture. While archaeology can only guess as to the population before and after, it appears the population in some places declined by as much as half judging by the disruption to local economic activity. Faced with starvation and uncertainty, people fled the area and took up the lifestyle of the Coastmen in increasing numbers during the mid-9th century.

    While often called the Wakashan Expansion, after the dramatic expansion of Wakashan-speaking peoples (mostly of Atkh stock) down the coast of Fusania, migrations occurred elsewhere as well, such as the aforementioned Tsusha migration to Lakhalidel, once known as Ligiimiilk, or the Ringitsu migration to Keirchaniya. Wakashi Island itself became a target for migration, which helped spur the later, more famous migrations southwards along the coast. Most notably, the Lik'wil'dak record that the people known as the Southern Khaida pushed many of their ancesters southeast from the northern part of Wakashi Island to their current location. These Southern Khaida became feared raiders of the Whulge, and became the group to raze the prominent town of Tlat'sap at the mouth of the Imaru River--for centuries after, a population of Southern Khaida lived in that area.

    The Fusanian Coast south of the Imaru River served as the key target of the Wakashan Expansions. The people there developed along the same lines as the Namal and Whulchomic peoples, but due to their isolation along the rugged coast and the mountains immediately interior to it, remained cut off from later developments. Dena groups dominated most of the coastal peoples, who otherwise spoke many distinct languages separated by river valleys, and a system similar to that elsewhere prevailed--fishing peoples along the coast and horticulturalist peoples along the river traded their excess goods and food to the reindeer herders, who held a monopoly on tools. However, this far south the issue of reindeer parasites and other diseases was much more pressing, keeping the region rather poor, yet also rather egalitarian.

    The isolated valleys and good fishing and whaling waters drew the Coastmen to the area starting in the middle of the 9th century. Through warfare and more peaceful migration significant parts of the coast became Wakashanised in culture, and eventually in language. The Wakashans claimed many slaves to sell down the Imaru River in their battles against the coastal peoples, who lacked forts as powerful as those along Whulge or the Imaru as well as the experience gained in fighting coastal raids. Towns along the estuaries and river mouths fell to Wakashan invaders, who settled in the area and took up leadership over the local peoples.

    Yet despite the destruction of cultures, we see from economic evidence that the Coastmen and the Wakashan Expansion brought new prosperity to much of Fusania. By burning down the old system (with help from nature), the Coastmen inserted themselves into the new system as key traders. They spread their whale tools, eulachon oil, and copper and jade tools to places all over Fusania. Further, the slave trade they helped spread further than ever led to the mixing of cultures in unprecedented ways as habits of slaves rubbed off on their masters. In places where people were displaced by the Coastmen, such as Keirchaniya, these places later became sites of important cities.

    Agricultural technology also advanced thanks to the Coastmen, who imported new innovations like the foot plow from the Imaru basin and spread it as far as Ringitania. Domesticated animals like the Indian goat, lynx and domestic duck spread from their points of origin to appear all over Fusania, while new breeds of reindeer emerged. A similar story occurs with crops, as breeds of plants spread all over Fusania thanks to the actions of the Coastmen. In places where agriculture was poorly established, like the Pacific Coast and areas further south, the intrusions of the Coastmen no doubt helped spread new concepts into this part of Fusania.

    For the peoples raided by the Coastmen--and the Coastmen themselves--new modes of society emerged to confront the problem. Nobles and especially rulers became increasingly powerful, and hierarchies of these rulers and their towns emerged based on power (economic, military, and spiritual). Councils of nobles--and occasionally commoners--emerged to deal with the challenges of organising and defending against raids, and in many places, the institution of the war chief became a permanent position rather than temporary, and often passed down within the chiefly line. Further, rulers needed to supervise the increasing scale of the agricultural works in their towns and surrounding countryside, and with that task came the equally important task of supervising defenses against raids from the Coastmen or Hillmen. Various modes of oligarchic government emerged to deal with the new challenges in this new era. For the people of the Imaru River and the Coast of Whulge, a critical distinction emerged in their societies--that between civilised peoples (such as the Namal, Aipakhpam, Amim, Whulchomic peoples, etc.) and uncivilised peoples (Hillmen like the Dena, Wakashan peoples, the Far Northwest Coastmen, etc.), as well as the concept of a border between civilised and uncivilised, motifs which played critical roles for the future of Fusania.

    Author's notes
    This one is lengthy and had a lot of material I wanted to cover. It took longer than normal to write, and technical difficulties (computer/internet problems messing with my ability to access the online sources I rely on) combined with the busy holiday (4th of July, hooray) delayed this one.

    The story of the Tsusha conquering Ligimiilk is an approximation at folk tale stylings. The repetition in the story is an element rooted in an abstraction of the dualistic cosmology of the Tsusha and most northern Fusanians (which will be especially important for their poetry and their music). I'll take "loosely translated" as my out here--given the structure of the languages that many traditional Fusanian stories are challenging to render in English and can be done in many different ways. Just look at the literal English translations of OTL stories from this region which appear in some ethnographic/linguistic works and you can see there's a lot of ways of rendering things. At some point I'll likely do an entry regarding indigenous Fusanian literature, art, and music, but that won't be for a while.

    I've always been interested in the past history of astronomical and geologic events in the context of alternate history, simply because how different societies might react to them is very interesting and the fact that to a large degree, they're almost predestined to happen more or less since premodern humans have so little ability to affect them via the butterfly effect (or at least my interpretation). Hence my spin on a megathrust quake in the Cascadia subduction zone which OTL potentially occurred in the early 9th century according to geologists, although there's a significant margin of error. TTL will be able to better date the quake since there will be far more artifacts to interpret earthquake/tsunami damage from.

    I had written a second story, about the immediate time before the Mount Churchill eruption which leads to the founding of Keirchaniya (Kechaniya), but I felt this was long enough as it was so I will post that at a later date.

    Thanks for reading as always, and comments are appreciated.

    [1] - The Inuit are known to have constructed all-wooden crossbows, which are also found in Africa and occasionally as hunting weapons in parts of Europe. The simple design of these crossbows and the conditions of warfare relegates them to defensive uses.
    [2] - The Iyaqwan--OTL's Eyak--adopted some of the same cultural and societal innovations as the Ringitsu in previous centuries, but their land was rather poor and they faced continual raids, so many were absorbed. They exist only as an ancestral people conquered by the Ringitsu.
    [3] - The Uitsuda are the Heiltsuk, a northern Wakashan people, derived from a Japanese version of their Tsimshian exonym
    [4] - These are the Nuxalk, or Bella Coola, people, a Salishan speaking group who traded greatly in jade. "Touyachi" is a Japanese version of their Tlingit exonym, which also refers to various Northern Wakashan speaking peoples
    [5] - TTL has totem poles (an improper name for what they are but it's OTL's recognisable name) spread a bit further than OTL and originate earlier thanks to the increased wealth of the region. Like OTL, they have developed common motifs which aid in the interpretation.
    [6] - More commonly spelled Lax-Kw'alaams, also known as Port Simpson, BC. The names of these two men mean "alive at night" and "great splash" respectively.
    [7] - Same as the Touyachi. Ligimuu is the Tsimshian exonym for the Nuxalk/Bella Coola
    [8] - OTL Tsimshian exonym for the town of Bella Coola proper, which OTL was an important Nuxalk village.
    [9] - Ts'ats'aew is the Tsimshian exonym for Athabaskan (Dena) people. OTL it gave the name for the Tsetsaut Athabaskans, who are now extinct. Like OTL, this is a generic term for all Dena, meaning "those of the interior", and like IOTL, the Dena are the source of most of the jade traded to the coastal peoples (often in exchange for eulichon oil, an important condiment, along the "grease trails"), of which the Nuxalk were among the most notable recipients so much they had a reputation among some groups for their fine jade. Jade itself wasn't entirely unknown along the coast, it was simply very rare compared to the interior. TTL gives the Dena a rightfully deserved reputation as fine breeders of reindeer.
    [10] - For this passage we'll use the OTL Tsimshian exonyms for these groups, who are the Haida (Khaida), Tlingit (Ringitsu), and Heiltsuk/Bella Bella (Uitsuda) respectively
    [11] - Once again, "prince" is just a generic term for a ruler of a Fusanian city state, closest in connotation to Germanic "Fürst".
    [12] - OTL's "sub-moeities" where the four Tsimishian clans were arranged as such continues in TTL's Tsimshian culture.
    [13] - Battles between thunderbirds and whales are a common motif in OTL legends in this region depicting earthquakes and tsunamis.
    [14] - "Place of a battlefield"
    [15] - TTL's term for the Cascadia subduction zone
    [16] - Mount Churchill, it's Tlingit name TTL meaning "Mouth of Ash".
    [17] - Barkley Sound. Yutluhitl means "Safe Harbour", and is derived from the ethnonym of the Ucluelet people, a Nuuchahnulth group. Note that Yutluhitl proper is not the same as the OTL town of Ucluelet, it's more inland.
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    Map 1-Early Copper Age cultures (800 AD)
  • Here is the map, I've decided to keep the accompanying text separate from it for this case. This is Fusania around 800 AD.


    1 - Thule culture - Muskox herders branching into reindeer pastoralism. Prefer to be left alone, but will trade whale products and the prized muskox fur qiviu to their southern neighbours. Currently migrating into North Asia and along the High Arctic coast.
    2 - Kinngait culture - The last "Paleo-Inuit" culture, in the process of being displaced by the technologically superior Thule
    3 - Yup'ik peoples - Relatives of the Thule culture, mainly reindeer pastoralists with no muskox. Constantly at war with the interior Dena peoples who have displaced them in much of their range.
    4 - Guteikh peoples - Fishing and whaling peoples with marginal agriculture and reindeer herding. Increasingly competitive with the Ringitsu
    5 - Post-Tachiri culture Dena - The origin area of pastoralism, agriculture, and metalworking in Fusania. Weaker in recent centuries due to the Late Antique Little Ice Age, but still quite powerful due to long-distance trade.
    6 - Far Northwest cultures - Ringitsu, Khaida, Tsusha, and other coastal groups. Innovators of agriculture and whaling in Fusania, as well as many cultural traditions. Expert mariners and shipbuilders, and very warlike due to lack of good land. Especially fond of jade from the interior
    7 - Interior Dena cultures - Influenced by the Tachiri culture Dena, but also by their Salishan and other southerly neighbours. Known as expert reindeer breeders and miners, and becoming quite known for their exports of gold, silver, copper, and jade. Especially fond of eulachon oil from the coast.
    8. Wakashan cultures - Masterful whalers and coastal raiders, similar to the Far Northwest but culturally and religiously distinct. Highly skilled at textile arts and raising said crops as well as shipbuilding. In desperate need of land.
    9. Post-Irikyaku culture peoples - Whulchomic, Salishan, Namal, Amim, Aipakhpam, and their relatives. An incipient agricultural civilisation (and center of plant domestication) and the economic heart of Fusania.
    10 - Southern coastal peoples - Isolated by the mountains and their diversity of languages and dominated by various Dena peoples, with a culture similar to the Irikyaku peoples. Under pressure by Wakashan raiders who are eyeing their land.
    11 - Southern mountain peoples - Dena and Amorera pastoralists under pressure from expanding agricultural civilisations. Frequent raiders of their neighbours.
    12 - Southern plateau peoples - Dena and Maguraku people in the highlands, with other peoples in the lowlands, mostly pastoralist peoples. Quickly adopting the mountain goat traded from the north and developing a skill for mining.
    13 - Kuskuskai peoples - Light agriculturalists under the rule of pastoralist Dena from the mountains. Slowly being enroached upon by the Tsupnitpelu, relatives of the Aipakhpam, pushed from the mountains by the Dena.
    14 - Eastern plateau peoples - Uereppu, Tsupnitpelu, and some Dena peoples, pastoralist groups living in the hills. Pushed upon by northerly Dena groups and the expansion of agriculture, but also increasingly encultured by the Aipakhpam.
    15 - South Fusanian cultures - Acorn gatherers and small-scale societies coming into a state of rapid change due to influx from the north.
    16 - Northern Plains cultures - Bison hunters who often trade across the mountains, most prominently the Ktanakha and Plains Salish, pushed onto the Plains by the Dena. Some Dena influence.
    A - Nuklukayet [Nukurugawa] - Declined from its height but still a prominent village and religious site. It's revival is soon to come once the Medieval Warm Period arrives in this region.
    B - Taghatili [Tachiri] - Another important village of the Dena--an archaeological culture will later be named after this place (the Tachiri culture) thanks to the rich finds from the early era of reindeer pastoralism.
    C - Yutluhitl - A prominent town of Wakashi Island on a sound later named after it. A center of the whaling industry and all Atkh [Attsu] culture, and a center of Coastmen raiders preying on other Wakashans, Whulchomic peoples, the Namaru, and groups further south
    D - Tlat'sap - At the mouth of the mighty Imaru River, the local Namaru people hold a key interface between the interior and the coast and the wealth it brings. Raiders can only harass the town, and it's Namaru rivals have no hope to defeat it's local influence. Yet geology and the ambition of humans has yet to come into play...
    E - Katlamat [Katorimatsu] - An upriver rival of Tlat'sap, seeking to control the trade at the mouth of the Imaru. Tlat'sap has managed to hold off all attempts from Katlamat, but the increasing aggression of the Coastmen and mother nature may turn the tide in their favour
    F - Wayam - An ancient trading center on the Imaru based on its rich fishing grounds and perhaps the first "city" of Fusania. A key point of the spread of the Irikyaku culture, a horticulturalist (and later agriculturalist) culture based on aquaculture and reindeer pastoralism. In this era, Wayam's earthworks, wooden palaces, and copper working has already established it as a place of immeasurable wealth. The Wayampam, an Aihamu people, live in the area.
    G - Chemna - Like Wayam, a town of the Aihamu people established at a key fishing and trading site on the Imaru expanding thanks to its earthworks. The nobility of Chemna are increasingly jealous of Wayam's prosperity.
    H - Shonitkwu - On another key fishing site of the Imaru, various Salishan peoples gather here to make a northern equivalent of Wayam. Influenced strongly by the Dena, but also southern peoples.
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    Chapter 12-The Four Corners of the World
  • -XII-
    "The Four Corners of the World"

    The distinction between "civilised" and "uncivilised" occurs all over the globe. The Sumerians had their Gutians, the Egyptians their Hyksos, the Greeks and Romans their barbarians, the Persians their Turanians, the Indians their Mleccha, the Chinese their Yi, the Nahuas their Chichimecs, the Quechua their Awqas. The people on the inside tended to be fellow countrymen, those who followed the "correct" ways, those who could be trusted, while those on the outside could be regarded as little more than animals or threatening the harmony of both the material and spiritual world. Such an attitude must stretch far back in history, perhaps related to the conflict between agriculturalists and hunter-gatherers as symbolically interpreted in stories like the Biblical Cain and Abel.

    In northern Fusania, the distinction similarly occurs. Those labeled Hillmen and Coastmen lived outside the boundaries of the civilised world and existed as a plague on the peoples of the civilised world, that is, those who lived in the lowland river valleys of the Imaru, Irame, Kanawachi, Yanshuuji, and as well along the coast of the Furuge [1]. Those lowlander and river peoples alone carried on the flame of civilisation, properly ruled over people, and correctly carried out religious and spiritual rituals unlike the barbaric practices of the outsiders. Indeed, the entire concept derives from the Aihamu people and the influence of their states like Wayam and Chemna, where their ethnonym "Aipakhpam" means "people of the plains" and the term "P'ushtaypam" meaning "people of the hills" being calqued into almost all other languages of the so-called "civilised" parts of Fusania, barring the Namal people who used the term "Tlakatat", meaning "beyond" for the Hillmen [2].

    To these people, they lived in one of the two central "pillars" of civilisation in the world, surrounded by the Hillmen in all four directions, associated with the four phratries--the Northern Hillmen (Wolf Hillmen), the Eastern Hillmen (Eagle Hillmen), Southern Hillmen (Raven Hillmen), and Western Hillmen (Bear/Orca Hillmen) (the latter which included the Coastmen). This directional distinction naturally led to much comparison to the Chinese system of distinguishing barbarians, and the dualistic nature of the concept to the Persian concept of Iran and Turan, where Turan held great evil and Iran great good. Unlike these peoples, however, the northern Fusanians did not believe they alone were the sole civilised part of the world, since their dualistic cosmology believed another center of civilisation (and corresponding second group of Hillmen) must exist somewhere to balance the pillar of the world. Such a belief is undoubtedly ancient, occuring in very old oral histories and appearing in descriptions of ancient totem poles meant as religious art.

    The origin of the distinction first appears around 1000 AD, with the emergence of the first proper city states (more properly town states given the small size and extent of many of them) in northern Fusania. Artistic artifacts show a few common conventions which distinguish "civilised" peoples from "uncivilised" peoples. These portray uncivilised peoples as wearing ill-fitting clothing, covered in blood or outright committing cannibalism, and posing arrogantly with animalistic features, while civilised peoples appear humble, pious, clean, and relatable. Other evidence and oral history confirms the emergence of this distinction--the style of government and public religion arising in the cities of the Imaru and its tributaries and other parts of the civilised world differ from those arising in the uncivilised world, for the Hillmen preferred more egalitarian social structures (to the point where some of them could be labeled "republics", despite still being very oligarchical) while in the civilised world, centralised rule took hold much deeper.

    Indigenous Fusanians believed that the Hillmen could rise to the status of civilised peoples, but commonly considered this event unlikely. The settled Valley Tanne peoples [3] of the valleys of the upper Kanawachi and Yanshuuji, all of Dena origin, believed that in the distant past, they were Hillmen themselves before receiving enlightenment from spiritual sources which taught them the ways of the peoples to the north. Archaeological and linguistic evidence seemingly verifies these stories, as an influx of artifacts from post-Irikyaku cultures on the Lower Imaru as well as copper-working occurs in the region in the 9th century, while linguistically their language is closely related to the Hill Tanne surrounding them, albeit with a significant substrate of a prior Penutian language. Another example is the people of the Kuskuskai Plain, descendents of the Tsupnitpelu who the Dena pushed from the mountains around 950 AD. The Tsupnitpelu adapted to settled life in the lowlands, becoming much like their distant Aipakhpam relatives in time yet never forgetting their origin. [4]

    However, the real distinction remained cultural and religious, rather than economic or political. Intermarriage between Hillmen and their civilised neighbours occurred almost as often as before, while economic activity remained as healthy as ever. The Hillmen gained a strong reputation as breeding the finest animals, be they reindeer or towey goats [5], and also for forging the strongest weapons and building the best ships. Even in their religion, the people of the civilised world believed that they could not exist without the Hillmen, for if the Hillmen all became civilised, the world would fall out of harmony and disaster would occur. The Hillmen thus needed to exist as a necessary evil.

    Further, the peoples of the lowlands and rivers considered each directional grouping of Hillmen differently, and no treatment of the subject is complete without clarifying this distinction. In Fusanian cosmology, each of the four directions held certain inherent qualities which in this case was reflected in the Hillmen who came from there. These directional groupings are also useful from a practical standpoint as they distinguish peoples of very different cultural and linguistic practices.

    Northern Hillmen

    The Northern Hillmen, or the Wolf Hillmen, lived on the interior plateaus and mountain valleys in the north and consisted of a variety of Dena peoples. The Northern Hillmen played a key role in the development of Fusanian civilisation, as their expansion helped spread reindeer pastoralism, earthwork construction, and agriculture to peoples to the south. Their expansions since the 3rd century AD displaced and absorbed a number of Salishan-speaking peoples as well as the Tanaha, although the spread of their language and some elements of their culture were halted in the south due to the sheer numbers and opposition of southern peoples. Although there were numerous Dena peoples not considered part of the Northern Hillmen, the term "Dena" ended up nearly synonymous with this group as other Dena tended to be known by other names.

    Climate change, warfare, and simple human ambition combined to help ensure the Dena peoples remained on the move for many centuries to come. More northerly bands kept moving south as the climate cooled in search of new grazing land for their reindeer, coming into conflict with other Dena bands. Alliances and confederations rose and fell due to these fights and battles. The winners claimed the grazing and hunting grounds of the losers, who were offered the choice of joining them (be it as slaves or free men), continuing the fight, or fleeing. Many times these losers, hardened in battle, chose the latter option and attacked the lands of those in valleys around them, often to the south, but occasionally to the east, where they moved into the vast forests of the subarctic.

    Warfare amongst the Dena was small-scale, focusing on ambushing enemies before the enemy could do the same. Weapons included spears, atlatls, bows, clubs, and axes usually tipped in stone (especially obsidian) or jade (a prestigious good amongst chiefs and other nobles). The goal was often to send a message to enemies as well as to gain glory for the warriors of the tribe. Reindeer theft was especially preferred, as this increased the stock of the tribe while denying it to the enemy. However, at times (especially in famine) the Dena simply slaughtered the enemies' reindeer to deny it to them, harvesting whatever they could take on the spot.

    Not all migrations resulted in warfare. Oftentimes Dena peoples took in the refugees due to the intermarriage between them or the need for additional slave labour, while some groups simply merged together, resulting in a new culture. By this means, the initial horticultural pastoralism found in the Far Northwest and its interior spread south and eastwards with far less displacement than that found elsewhere in the world such as in the spread of agriculture to Europe during the Neolithic or the Bantu expansions in Africa.

    The most essential animal to the Dena remained the reindeer, as evidenced by the number of ethnonyms meaning "people of the reindeer", such as the Hawajin people (Khwadzihen in their own language) along the Upper Shisutara [6] and surrounding valleys. The reindeer provided transportation, meat, clothing, tools, and fertiliser. The more reindeer one owned, the wealthier one was considered. The Dena were mainly pastoralists, encouraging various wild plants as fodder for the reindeer and food for themselves, but some Dena were sedentary, maintaining few reindeer but growing much of their food in villages marked by earthworks. Village Dena tended to own many towey goats for food and wool. These Dena lived in symbiosis with the pastoralist Dena, as the pastoralists required the settled Dena for more complex tools and goods (notably jade) and carbohydrates (thanks to the ubiquitous river turnip--Sagittaria cuneata--among other plants) while the settled Dena relied on the pastoralist Dena for protein, tools, and external trade. Some Dena blended these lifestyles, living in villages part of the year to farm and harvest while migrating elsewhere during the off-season.

    The Dena conducted extensive trade thanks to their reindeer. They imported much eulachon oil, produced from the small eulachon (or candlefish), which they used as flavouring for all manner of food. Harvested in coastal rivers by various Far Northwest peoples among others, this commodity remained in high demand into the Fusanian Copper Age as the ancient trade along the "grease trails" continued as ever. In return for eulachon oil, the Dena exported copper, jade, precious metals, obsidian, furs, and tools made from reindeer. With the average Dena pack reindeer able to move 50 kg worth of goods, this amounted to a significant volume of trade.

    As metals and jade became valuable commodities elsewhere in Fusania, they increasingly looked to the deposits found in Dena territory as a ready source. The Dena themselves found a shortage of labour, as they owned few slaves and their population remained mostly nomadic. As such, the Dena increasingly imported slaves along the grease trails, often in exchange for reindeer. Their customers--the Coastmen--captured these slaves in raids against other groups, and eagerly accepted the reindeer as a status symbol. The Dena themselves also took to raiding, attacking rival groups of Dena, or more commonly attacking non-Dena peoples on the coast or in the south, the most frequent targets being the settled Whulchomic and Salishan peoples. Some Dena even became Coastmen themselves, like the Yatsuppen (Yatupah'en in their language, meaning "people of the shore"), who destroyed a Whulchomic-speaking people as they migrated to the coast north of Wakashi Island. The rivers and lakes of the Imaru Basin helped funnel the Dena to the valleys where they reaped their harvest of slaves through trade, intimidation, and violence.

    Politically, the Dena organised themselves into clans which often lived in the same village or traveled together alongside their reindeer. The leaders of these clans were the nobility, whose social status helped in mediating disputes and arranging trade, ceremonies, and marriages for the benefit of the group both materially and spiritually. These clans and villages linked themselves to nearby villages through marriage and economic bonds, with a collective leadership of groups of nobles. These nobles elected two co-chiefs, one to rule external affairs (war, trade, etc.) and one to rule internal affairs (inter-community disputes, etc.), a system influenced by typical Fusanian dualism. The chiefs came from amongst the nobles and always represented one of each sub-moiety. Although any nobleman could be appointed to this office, in practice the Dena tended to pass succession to the brother or nephew of the previous chief. The co-chiefs held immense sway, although their power tended to be checked by the nobility, especially in the case of the chief who dealt with internal matters. As the Dena had done since the time of the Tachiri culture, the nobility and chiefs often constructed fantastic earthworks for both prestige and practical reasons, erecting impressive fields of mounds, earthen walls, and palaces carved from hills and great trees.

    These Dena chiefdoms tended to group together no more than a few clans and villages and usually not more than 2,000 to 2,500 people at most. However, the Dena often allied together in larger confederations to meet opposing external threats. Confederations commonly formed at the southern and western fringes of Dena territory, where wars with battle-hardened Coastmen or the numerous people of the Imaru and Furuge Basin presented great threats. A confederation of Dena could field hundreds of warriors at a moment's notice and easily make warfare against them a costly proposal as their mobile style of warfare allowed for large swathes of the enemy countryside to be raided. At the same time, Dena confederations also made it easy for neighbours to seek peace, as the confederations put pressure on more warlike leaders to seek peace for economic and spiritual purposes. Most Dena confederations traditionally dated their formation to the early Copper Age, but often had fluid membership with only a few core villages and bands consistently remaining with the confederation over the centuries with villages and bands toward the fringes moving between one confederation or another as circumstances depended.

    Over time however, the Dena of the Northern Hillmen diverged into two separate groupings, with the more southerly groups, such as the Yatsuppen or Ieruganin (Yilhqanin in their own language, meaning "people of sunrise"), adopting many elements from the settled peoples to their south, while the northerly groups retained a pastoralist outlook with minimal horticulture. The Shisutara River's northern reaches marked the boundary, and in particular the southernmost Dena groups were extremely influenced by the culture of those to their south and adopted much of their societal and political organisation.

    In the late 10th century, one group of far south Dena gave Fusania one of its greatest gifts, perhaps almost on the level of the omodaka or the reindeer. The Ieruganin, desperate for labour to build their earthworks for agriculture and prestige in the wild country they lived in, overworked their reindeer to exhaustion, forgoing many reindeer products except for their labour. At the same time, intense drought struck the region for years on end, resulting in the artificial ponds built by the Ieruganin becoming a reliable source of both water and water plants. One animal attracted to these ponds was the moose, the largest living cervid. Instead of killing the moose out of hand, the Ieruganin began to treat these moose as they would wild reindeer, attempting to incorporate them into their herds and control their breeding. The Ieruganin appreciated the distinct diet and habits of the moose, which did not overlap with reindeer and included an innate fondness for swamps and shallow water, and certainly appreciated the amount of meat and labour which the moose provided. At the nearest major trading center, the town of Shonitkwu on the Upper Imaru, the sight of herds of tamed moose provoked great awe, furthering the spread of these moose throughout the Imaru Basin. With this, a second great domesticate was added to Fusanian culture.

    Eastern Hillmen

    The Eastern Hillmen, or the Eagle Hillmen, lived in the central American Divides and on the Plains. The people of the mountains were various Dena groups, but those of the High Plains immediately east of the mountains belonged to a variety of groups such as Ktanakha, Plains Salish, and Plains Dena. The common thread linking these groups was their reliance on bison for their lifestyle and their extensive trade of bison goods. The Fusanians considered them the poorest group of Hillmen for they owned few reindeer and goats and sent few people or high valued goods to trade fairs such as those at Shonitkwu, the nearest major center.

    The tall American Divides, in Fusania called the Sunrise Mountains in later times, alongside the deserts of the Great Basin, divided the lands of Fusania from the rest of North America. But even these great peaks and vast deserts couldn't separate human contact and the spread of ideas which came with that. Along the many mountain passes, groups of Salishans, Dena, and others crossed the mountains onto the Great Plains, an endless sea of grass. They crossed these mountains to hunt bison and trade with the people who lived there, various nomadic bison hunters.

    The ancestors of the powerful Sechihin Dena (Tsetih'in in their own language, meaning "people of the great rocks") dominated the American Divides since the Dena expansions, controlling the flow of trade goods as well as access to rich hunting grounds. The Sechihin introduced the reindeer and towey goat to the Plains in the process, and with it Fusanian agricultural practices. However, the cold and dry High Plains with its thick soil limited agriculture to the river valleys, and even there the climate prevented Fusanian crops like omodaka from becoming staples. The real revolutionary change was thus the introduction of reindeer and goats to the area.

    Groups of Dena moved out of the mountains around the mid-10th century, perhaps because of conflict, perhaps because of opportunity as drought decimated the High Plains, becoming the Plains Dena. Other Dena also moved south from the subarctic to take advantage of the Plains, but these groups--ancestors of the later Apache and other Southern Dena--vanished from the northern Plains by the time of outside contact so are not usually considered under the name Plains Dena. Joining the Plains Dena were the Ktanakha--evicted from west of the Divides by the Sechihin--as well as the Plains Salish, who descended from various pastoralist communities in the mountain valleys decimated by drought. These groups moved south and east along the rivers, claiming their new homeland.

    In addition to being a consistent source of food, tools, and skins, reindeer helped revolutionise hunting on the Plains. Bison were not a primary target in hunting by prior Plains peoples, with most bison taken at bison jumps, but the arrival of the Eastern Hillmen changed this. Reindeer travois could carry up to almost twice as much as dog travois and did not compete with humans for meat. This enabled much more to be gathered from a single bison kill. In addition, reindeer enabled more goods to be moved from place to place, enabling a more complex material culture.

    However, reindeer proved fragile on the Plains as the hot summers rendered them vulnerable to disease, a problem made worse by the number of parasite-carrying deer found on the Plains. As such, reindeer pastoralism remained confined to the foothills of the mountains and the immediate area east and was almost unknown south of the 45th parallel north. Herds of reindeer remained small in the northern Plains, with only a few animals per village, often acquired in trade from further west in exchange for bison goods or slaves.

    The towey goat thus took pre-eminence for the Eastern Hillmen. They required less food and maintenance than reindeer did, and could carry nearly as much as dogs could. Goats could be maintained in larger herds than reindeer as well, enabling the more egalitarian social structure preferred by those in the Plains. Goats thus became the main source of food and animal power amongst the Eastern Hillmen. In time, the Eastern Hillmen became known as good breeders of goats and expert weavers of their hair.

    As seen elsewhere, however, herders of towey goats and herders of reindeers tended not to overlap due to diseases carried by the goats which were lethal to reindeer. This caused much conflict on the Plains in time, as well as limited the range of the reindeer herders to areas closer to the foothills. Goat pastoralists and horticulturalists occupied the better-watered lands downstream, where farming was more practical.

    The Eastern Hillmen introduced farming to their corner of the High Plains, helped by the warming climate at the start of the Medieval Warm Period. However, lack of water on their side of the divide and frequent droughts meant omodaka and the traditional water plants of the Fusanians played a secondary role in the plants eaten, although for the Plains Salish, it's high prestige meant it was never abandoned. Their other staple, camas, simply failed to grow on the Plains due to the harsh continental climate. Three Sisters agriculture as found elsewhere in the Plains was adapted to a lesser extent, but the main staple crop became goosefoot, a plant the Eastern Hillmen were extremely familiar with and possessed good cultivars of.

    The influence of perennial horticulture--the Dena use of sweetvetch in particular--helped lead to the domestication of one of the key plants of the Eastern Hillmen and Plains Indians which would spread to Fusania in time, the prairie turnip (Psoralea esculenta). Although taking two years (in the domesticated form) to create a mature root, the Plains Indians worked around this by borrowing the crop rotation system of the Fusanians. They planted one field with prairie turnips, the other with their usual crops, and left the third fallow, cycling the fields as needed. This system spread throughout the Plains by the 12th century alongside the towey goat, although the prairie turnip was never a fully domesticated species.

    Southern Hillmen

    The Southern Hillmen, or the Raven Hillmen, lived to the south of the Imaru in the mountains, dry scrublands, and stony deserts, although the term also included the acorn gatherers of the coast and lowlands of modern Zingok. The Southern Hillmen consisted of numerous different peoples even in the immediate south, but all shared some common traits identifiable both archaeologically and culturally.

    With the many areas and peoples grouped under the term, the Southern Hillmen practiced a diversity of lifestyles, but two traits stood out to the Fusanians of the civilised world--their skill at breeding towey goats, and their skill at metalworking and mining. These two traits became necessary for the Southern Hillmen, as their country suffered from poor soil and even lower rainfall than the Plateau to their north while also lacking much good land to raise reindeer due to the climate. To the Southern Hillmen, the goats fulfilled the same role reindeer did elsewhere. As for the mining, this became necessary for trade, as the country of the Southern Hillmen contained vast reserves of gold, silver, and copper, as well as many vast plains of salt which became a key trade good for them.

    The only fully agricultural people of the Southern Hillmen were the Maguraku along Lake Hewa and nearby marshes and lakes, although the Maguraku also practiced much pastoralism of reindeer and mountain goats. The Maguraku, centered around their main town Ewallona, served as traders, merchants, and raiders in the region, with their main crop being the wokas lily. The other people of the area found the land too dry to rely solely on farming and fishing as many Maguraku did. The Maguraku themselves preferred to grow much of their food as fodder for their herds of goats and reindeer, which they traded to peoples south of them. [7] Culturally, the Maguraku were transitional between the Western and Southern Hillmen, but for reasons of geography the Fusanians considered them Southern Hillmen. The expansionist Maguraku pushed south and west in the Copper Age and alongside the Dena helped bring Fusanian civilisation to the south.

    The majority of the Southern Hillmen were various groups of Numic-speaking people. The Numic people lived in the area for millennia, but starting around 1000 AD new waves of Numic-speaking people burst out of the southern deserts, bringing more complex farming techniques and mountain goat pastoralism. They absorbed and displaced the pre-existing peoples and quickly gained a reputation for being warlike amongst all their neighbours. These desert dwellers were the archetypical Southern Hillmen, gaining the collective name "Snake people" for their cruelty, depredations, and sheer untrustworthiness.

    Joining the Numic speakers was a distinct group of people, the Uereppu, sometimes called the Ancestral Cayuse after the people descended from them encountered on the Plains many centuries later although their Japanese exonym (from their own language) is preferred when discussing their relation to Fusanian history. [8] The Uereppu once shared many cultural traits with the Amorera and Aihamu, but in the 10th century adopted more and more to pastoralism and eventually migrated to the desert by the 11th century. Living around the hills, canyons, and alkaline lakes of the scrub desert, the Uereppu formed a powerful confederation which mediated trade between the Numic peoples and others. Outside of those living in the high mountains of Zingok or in the central Divides, they were the southernmost people to extensively use reindeer, although they owned many towey goats as well. The Uereppu were sometimes allies and sometimes enemies to the Numic peoples, but were among the most hated Hillmen by their settled neighbours, as they were considered thieves and cheats who overcharged for their goods.

    Political organisation amongst these people varied. The Numic peoples lived in egalitarian bands of a few dozen people led by their strongest and most persuasive elder, often a skilled hunter and warrior. The Maguraku had nobility and hereditary village leaders much like the people of the Imaru with the town of Ewallona on Lake Hewa emerging as a city state around the 12th century. In between these two extremes came the Uereppu, who retained their hereditary nobility, as did various mountain tribes.

    South of these groups lived a variety of other peoples, known for their reliance on acorns as a staple food. These were the people of the mountains and valleys of Zingok, whose lifestyles changed immensely with the expansion of agriculture and pastoralism from the north brought by the Maguraku as well as the Waluo and Dena peoples [9]. Their relationship with the environment markedly changed, as they kept to more sedentary villages and began some construction of earthworks. However, other influences from Northern Fusania remained scant. Aside from the Dena and some coastal peoples, their religious practices did not involve the common dualistic motifs of the Sibling Prophets. Instead, their faith was focused on having the gods intervene in the world of men through powerful shamans, organised into a variety of lodges. This faith, known as the Kuksu faith after one of its gods, dominated much of Zingok and was critical to both political and spiritual life. As a result of the influence of Kuksu, much of Southern Fusania, especially the Central Valley, ended up under shifting loose confederations led by powerful shamans formed to resist raids from outside people.

    The people of South Fusania in particular became expert breeders of towey goats. Lacking any domesticates larger than a dog and possessing few, if any, reindeer thanks to the environment and disease issues, the South Fusanians began to extensively rely on goats. They used their milk to ween infants (although the distribution of lactose tolerance remained very low in much of the area), used their bones and horns for tools, wove their coats into blankets and clothing, and used the goats to carry packs. The latter usage was exceedingly valuable and became the target of selective breeding. The largest goats could weigh up to 150 kilograms in the billy and carry up to 25 kilograms, but the average pack goat breeds of the South Hillmen only weighed 120 kilograms in the billy with nannies weighing about 100 kilograms. These goats became a notable export of the peoples of South Fusania.

    Metalworking skills became a common trait of the Southern Hillmen. In the desert, the Woshu [10] and Numic peoples adapted to mining copper, silver, and gold, producing small quantities of the ore by the year 1000. They rarely smelted the metal themselves, preferring to cold-work the ore or import finished tools thanks to the lack of wood and reliance on many species of trees for food, such as the key pinyon pine. Slaves were often imported in exchange for the raw ore, which was often finished by the smiths of the Imaru basin or the coast. In that same era, mining spread south, resulting in gold, silver, and copper becoming common metals used and exported. Perhaps the most famous mine used by the Southern Hillmen were the mines in the hills west of Pasnomsono in the territory of the Ch'arsel. These mines produced not only gold and silver but also some of the highest quality copper found in all Fusania. Around 1100 AD, the smiths of the Ch'arsel found how to consistently make arsenical bronze, a rare technique found only sporadically. [11] The metal exported from Pasnomsono gave the Ch'arsel people an immense advantage in trade and warfare, and tools and weapons made from it were exported far and wide.

    With the Central Valley one of the most densely populated parts of North America even before agriculture, in time the people of South Fusania were to give the rest of Fusania and North America innumerable gifts, from their immense skill at forestry--especially regarding certain species of oaks--to beginning the domestication of plants like ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides) or peixi (Salvia columbariae), an important fodder crops (and famine food) in much of Fusania. The diverse flora of the area provided several spices and medicines which only grew in the area, such as spiceshrub (Calycanthus occidentalis) or the bay nut (Umbellularia). The best metalworkers came from the area, as did the finest metals and tools. This gave South Fusania a reputation as one of exoticism, a place of strange religious orders, unique foods and spices, strange and large breeds of goats carrying all sorts of packs, powerful religious leaders and their hidden dances and secret rituals, slave markets amidst endless oak groves under a cloudless burning sun, and above all else, immense wealth of gold and silver. If a merchant or traveler could get past the Hillmen of the desert right to their south, they would find a developing land of endless wealth to bring back home.

    Western Hillmen

    The Western Hillmen, or Orca Hillmen (sometimes called Bear Hillmen by interior peoples), lived along the western coast of Fusania in the coastal mountains and along the stony shore at the mouths of the rivers. The term also included the non-Whulchomic people of Wakashi Island as well as those of the Far Northwest.

    The Western Hillmen attracted special attention for their supposed cultural alien-ness. Although they farmed and owned herds of reindeer and goats like the rest of Fusania, they possessed distinct and seemingly bizarre practices (such as the ritual cannibalism of some Wakashan secret societies) and spoke many distinct and odd languages which few outside their group could comprehend. The Western Hillmen included the peoples known as the Coastmen, who often raided and sacked Fusanian villages. To the Fusanians, the Western Hillmen possessed all the qualities of civilisation but yet the people who lived there were anything but civilised. They were sometimes called the Sunset Hillmen, the sunset having the connotations of the land of the dead (and death in general) and the night, reflecting on their status as the most feared group of Hillmen.

    The Western Hillmen included two distinct groups of people--the Wakashans (as well as the Wakashanised peoples of the coast) and the Hill Tanne (a Dena subgroup). The history of the Western Hillmen is thus inseparable from that of the American Migration Period and the subsequent Wakashan Expansions. The coastal peoples lived a similar lifestyle to that of the natives of Wakashi Island, mixing fishing, whaling, and farming, while the Hill Tanne possessed a similar culture to their distant Dena relatives based on reindeer horticultural pastoralism. All Western Hillmen groups not of Dena or Wakashan origin, most notably the Amorera, were strongly influenced by one of the two groups and in time were to vanish from history.

    Nearest the Imaru lay many groups of Dena as well as the Amorera, considered to be part of the Western Hillmen. Although not as powerful by 1000 AD as they once had been thanks to the increasing numbers of settled people, these Hillmen still frequently raided the villages of their rivals or attempted to extort them for protection. These Hillmen responded to this by copying social developments found in the settled people, such as centralised hereditary rule, no doubt in an attempt to more efficiently be able to make alliances as well as exert control over their people to prevent needless bloodshed. Many of these "Hillmen princes" and their followers in the next few centuries ended up absorbed into the culture and ethnicity of neighbouring peoples, although isolated Dena and Amorera people in the Imaru Basin and Furuge coast persisted for centuries.

    Archaeological and linguistic evidence demonstrates the area to the south of the Imaru basin along the coast and in the southerly river valleys changed dramatically starting in the 9th century. While the local people of the valleys practiced agriculture and pastoralism before that period, the cultivars of plants grown as well as the style of tools distinctly changes. Copper is locally mined to meet the increasing demand. At the same time, new bands of Dena arrive from the north and mix with the pre-existing Dena to form the Hill Tanne. Drawn by the wealth of the people in the valley of the Kanawachi and Yanshuuji, the Hill Tanne increasingly migrate to the valleys and absorb the local cultures there with their superior technology and tactics to form the Valley Tanne. The only exception to this was in the most isolated valleys, where the Tanne were not numerous enough to displace the local people who nonetheless absorbed much Tanne influence.

    The Hill Tanne marked the original southernmost extension of Northern Fusanian civilisation, sharing few traits with the Southern Hillmen to their south. They extended down to about the 40th parallel north along the coastal mountains, close to the maximum practical range of their treasured herds of reindeer. The Hill Tanne helped introduce many concepts of Fusanian civilisation such as farming and pastoralism to the peoples immediately south and east of them, but just as often came into conflict over access to hunting and fishing grounds. They found the Southern Hillmen too culturally alien to deal with in many cases, and aggressively clashed with them, in many cases destroying or displacing them. The few languages of the area not of Dena stock are remnants of what was once a more diverse place linguistically.

    The society of these people was organised similarly to their Northern Hillmen kin. The Hill Tanne were divided into four phratries (with two sub-moeities) with a noble class representing clan leadership. The heads of noble "houses" dominated village life and elected from amongst themselves co-chiefs (one of each sub-moiety) who ruled a collection of villages. The Hill Tanne based their livelihoods on reindeer and towey goat pastoralism, with reindeer the most prestigious animal and a sign of wealth, although they also practiced fishing and horticulture. They exploited the mineral wealth of the mountains they lived in so as to dominate groups without access to metals. The Hill Tanne functioned as middlemen in the slave trade from South Fusania, and by the late 11th century were also importing gold and silver mined by the Southern Hillmen to sell to the Valley Tanne and the people of the Imaru basin.

    Similar events occurred at sea in this time period as the Wakashan peoples struck at the coast as both raiders and settlers. The more isolated coastal peoples found themselves absorbed, displaced, or killed by the Wakashans starting with their expansion to the continent at the end of the 8th century. These coastal people spoke a number of unidentified language isolates with few relations to nearby languages. Their societies resembled those of the Imaru and the Furuge coast in terms of culture and lifestyle but due to isolation were less developed. They served as frequent targets for Wakashan raiders who eventually sought to settle in the region due to the lack of land on their home island. The greatest target, the trading center of Tlat'sap, fell victim to the Khaida in 857, while in the subsequent years Wakashans settled in the ruins and conquered the land up to the Skamokawa Valley just downstream from Katlamat.

    Though termed the Wakashan Expansion, the main participants in these events were the Attsu, although other Wakashan groups, Far Northwest peoples, and even the "civilised" peoples of the Imaru and Furuge certainly took part in these migrations. The Attsu played the dominant role no doubt, as their language alone spread far to the south as a result of the Wakashan Expansion, giving rise to a closely related family of languages spread over a great distance of coastal areas.

    The pace of the Wakashan Expansion was generational. By 950 AD, Wakashans ruled down to the 45th parallel north. By 1000 AD they had pushed to the 44th parallel. At this point, the Wakashan Expansion gained momentum as they absorbed adventurers and Coastmen from the north and remnants of the native Western Hillmen they ruled. At the mouths of each coastal river, the Wakashans followed a similar course. First they arrived as mercenaries, merchants, and raiders, and soon enough gained links with the local communities. They subsequently demanded increasing rights in these villages, such as fishing and whaling rights, which gained them goods they traded for reindeer, towey goats, and logging rights. As the coastal communities became increasingly incorporated into the Wakashan sphere, more and more Wakashans settled in the area, where they often violently subdued the locals who resisted this takeover of their community.

    Wakashan dominance was not immediate or thorough until much later. Archaeology suggests traditional industries continued for decades, or even longer, after the arrival of the Wakashan rulers. Assimilation proceeded even slower. Wakashans tended to settle along the few good harbors at the mouths of rivers and in inland river trading centers, but rarely elsewhere. Their status as the ruling nobility and their extensive trade links helped influence local language and culture, but this process took centuries. In remote valleys of the Coast Range, traditional culture and language, albeit Dena-ised, continued as before, although the people there slowly assimilated into the neighbouring Dena or Wakashan peoples.

    By 1100 AD, a solid band of Wakashan dominance and expanding Wakashan language stretched from the Far Northwest coast to the Matsuna River [12]. These communities clinged to life along the rough foggy coast, trading with the Hill Tanne when they were not fighting with them. Few groups survived the Wakashan Expansion, with the exception of the Kusu people (and their emerging city state of Hanisits), the Dachimashi, and the Coast Tanne, who nonetheless underwent significant Wakashanisation. [13] South of the Matun, the coast was even more rugged and lacking in good village sites, although the advancing Wakashans still claimed the land and pushed into that region.

    Few counters existed to the Wakashan Expansion, as the Wakashans came in solid numbers with stronger organisation. The defeats they suffered they tended to avenge, as killing a Wakashan noble was a sure way to ensure his relatives took revenge on the killers. It is suggested the survival of the aforementioned Kusu and Dachimashi occurred thanks to inter-Wakashan conflict, as the area shows signs of intensive warfare in the early period of Wakashan settlement. But the easiest way to avoid destruction was simply to abandon the coast. Many coastal settlements display evidence of abandonment and infrequent occupation simply to avoid the roving bands of Coastmen.

    Coastal society reflected both that of the people absorbed by the Wakashans as well as that of the Wakashans themselves. North of the 40th parallel, the Wakashans herded reindeer and goats on land as a secondary activity to maintain a base for their whaling and fishing activities. Whaling was an undertaking of great importance to the authority of the nobility both secular and spiritual, and the most successful whalers found themselves with immense status. The Wakashans organised into confederations of villages linked by marriage and economic relationships, confederations ruled by a single paramount lineage, usually that of the most prestigious noble involved in warfare or whaling in the area. The Wakashans extensively raided their neighbours on both land and sea for slaves, reindeer, and goats. The Wakashans used most slaves domestically, putting them to work building earthworks to tame the rivers, farming, or for their mariculture system carved out of the seacliffs and the ocean itself which provided ample amounts of seaweed, salt-tolerant plants, and shellfish. Unlike the Wakashans further north, the coastal Wakashans were excessively militarised thanks to their violent incursion, fear of revolts amongst their subjects, and especially the threat of the Hill Tanne, who they conquered or displaced in many locations. Both men and women trained in weapons to defend their settlements against raids by land. Only divisions in the Hill Tanne as well as the sheer value of whale goods prevented large mobilisations of Hill Tanne confederations against the Wakashans.

    The greatest and most lasting expansion of Wakashans was to come in the 12th century, as Wakashans increasingly traveled the great bay later called Daxi Bay [14] and the delta which lay at the mouth of it. By this period, this area already developed into an emerging trading center, hosting a growing agricultural community which imported many goods from the Central Valley and beyond. It became a coveted site and a key target of raids. The local people resisted, organising into solid confederations which could meet the Wakashans with sheer numbers. This resistance only infuriated the many coastal Wakashan communities who suffered the loss of family on these raids. Daxi Bay and its delta became a site of numerous legends (some seemingly re-applied from other legendary stories about Wayam) which spread far to the north, attracting people from as far north as the Ringitsu lands over the decades. The full might of the Coastmen on perhaps their most lasting expedition historically was soon to be unleashed on this area.

    Despite their dark reputation and the often violent conflicts they had, the Western Hillmen and Coastmen contributed much to the development of Classical Fusania. In addition to their widespread trading networks and innovations on land and sea, the Western Hillmen helped spread Fusanian culture far to the south. Several minor domesticated plants came from the Western Hillmen, such as the shore lupine (Lupinus littoralis) and sand verbena (Abronia latifolia), coastal plants preferred by the local people and readily incorporated into the mariculture of the Wakashans. Tarweed species (Madia) also appear to have become fully domesticated in the coastal areas. Though considered a dark mirror image of "civilised" people, it is ironic that few people contributed more to the spread of civilisation in Fusania than the Southern Hillmen.

    [1] - Respectively the Columbia, Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue Rivers, with Furuge being the Salish Sea. Imaru (Wimal) and Irame (Wilamet) are Japanese exonyms from Chinookan, Kanawachi (Kahnawats'i) is a Japanese exonym from a Nuuchahnulth (TTL Atkh/Attsu) adaption of the Siuslaw/Lower Umpqua name for the Umpqua River, Yanshuuji (Yanshuchit) is a Japanese exonym from the Tolowa name for the Rogue River, Furuge is the Japanese exonym from the Coast Salish name for the Salish Sea (Whulge). As should be apparent in the text, it is an irony that the people at the mouth of the river were considered barbarians unlike the people in the interior valleys of the river yet gave the most common name to it.
    [2] - Same etymology as the Klickitat people of OTL, but TTL referring to a general conception of "barbarians" instead of the Sahaptin-speaking group.
    [3] - The Tanne are an ATL term for Pacific Coast Athabascans, their ethnonym being cognate with Dena/Dene.
    [4] - The Kuskuskai is the Snake River, "Kuskuskai" being a generic Nez Perce term meaning "clear water" which OTL was eventually applied by the Nez Perce to the Clearwater River of Idaho. The Tsupnitpelu are an ATL version of the Nez Perce, who have a similar culture as well as a related language to the Sahaptin peoples, ATL's Aipakhpam.
    [5] - "Towey goat" is the term I've settled on for domesticated mountain goats alongside "Indian goat". "Towey" is an Anglicisation of a well-traveled loanword which ultimately derives from Athabaskan "dabe" meaning "mountain goat". It would have been loaned into English from an Algonquian language and been filtered through Iroquoian and Siouan languages first.
    [6] - The Hawajin, or Khwadzihen, are roughly similar to the Carrier (Dakelh) people in language and location, although of course culturally have undergone a far different evolution and ethnogenesis. The Shisutara is the Fraser River, after the Halkomelem (TTL Lelemakh) term "Big River", which I will render "Thistalah" elsewhere as a more faithful native name.
    [7] - Lake Hewa is Klamath Lake, while Ewallona is Klamath Falls, OR. The Maguraku themselves are based on the OTL Klamath and Modoc, who were known for long-distance trade as well as their fondness for (wild) lilies (Nuphar polysepala, wokas in their language) which grew everywhere on Klamath Lake and nearby marshes.
    [8] - The Uereppu are the ATL Cayuse with their name derived from a Japanese transcription of an endonym. The reference to "Ancestral Cayuse" will be explained in time.
    [9] - The Waluo are an ATL Shastan people, albeit not in the same place as the OTL Shastans.
    [10] - The Woshu are an ATL version of the Washo people, named for their Chinese exonym which derives from their Northern Paiute exonym.
    [11] - Pasnomsono is at Redding, CA, while the mines mentioned are the OTL mines such as Iron Mountain Mine, of which copper mined from it seems conducive to producing arsenical bronzes. The Ch'arsel are Wintuan peoples, their endonym TTL meaning "People of the Valley". I'm not actually sure if this translates correctly since I formed this by analogy with similar endonyms from OTL.
    [12] - The Matsune (or Matun in its native form) River is the Mattole River, its common name TTL being a Wakashan modification of its Athabaskan name.
    [13] - The Kusu are the ATL Hanis people and Hanisits is Coos Bay, while the Dachimashi are the Yurok people. The latter exonym derives from the Yurok's Tolowa exonym.
    [14] - Daxi Bay is San Francisco Bay, but there's a lot I'm deliberately leaving vague about this so not to spoil later updates.

    Author's notes
    This is a lengthy update which attempts to showcase the many, many cultures of Fusania and adjacent lands, although I'll do most of OTL California in a coming update. It covers a lot of points in time (several centuries of the Copper Age), befitting of the huge diversity of cultures displayed here which I really only have room to generalise. It builds on what I've written earlier regarding the Dena, Wakashans, and Coastmen. I didn't feel like summarising everything I've written on those cultures, so refer to earlier chapters where I covered them if you need to be refreshed on them. We'll eventually come back to the "core" of Fusania (the Imaru/Wimal basin and the Whulge/Furuge coast) in later updates, but right now I do want to cover the effects of these cultures on the rest of North America, most critically of which are those of OTL California, which I term "South Fusania", although that term doesn't totally overlap with OTL California. IOTL, the northwestern corner of the state (roughly the Klamath Mountains and the coastal rivers down to around Cape Mendocino) shared more cultural similarities to the Pacific Northwest than the rest of the state. TTL continues this and actually makes this region more akin to the PNW thanks to the greater interconnection (and not to mention the Wakashan Expansion), so it isn't included in the term "South Fusania".

    I do enjoy writing about the peripheral regions to this TL. At some point I'd like to cover the expansion eastwards of Fusanian cultural elements from the Eastern Hillmen to the rest of the Plains and yes, beyond the Plains to the Mississippian peoples. There's of course that one famous place established around 1000 AD which makes up the majority of discussion about the Precolumbian Americas on this forum which I'll need to cover in time, although this entry won't be what you think it is. I emphasise the peripheral regions are very important to this TL, that's where the PoD was after all and that's why there's so much about ATL Alaska. Of course, I still have a few of topics to discuss about the core regions of Fusania before I can finally discuss the usual empire-building you find in alternate agriculture TLs.

    A lot of the details of this aren't planned out (in part because I dig up new useful sources all the time) so I notice there's some mild contradictions what I've written earlier or more noticeably stuff I should've covered in previous entries or glossed over. I might edit some of the earlier entries but make notes at the bottom as to what I changed/added and on which date and why.

    As always, thanks for reading and all comments are appreciated.
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    Chapter 13-Men of Oak
  • -XIII-
    "Men of Oak"

    Jin Yue, Born in Flood and Faith: The Oaken Roots of South Fusania (Jinshan [San Francisco, CA] University Press, 1970)
    The changes in Fusania wrought by animal and plant domestication spread far beyond their immediate epicenter. The area now called South Fusania, that is, the lands south of the basin of the Ueno River [1], changed as much as anywhere else did thanks to the events occurring far to the north. Perhaps the area changed even more than other places like the Subarctic or the Plains thanks to its isolation from the outside world. With North Fusania serving as much of a cultural influencer as the Southwest or the Plains, and lacking a place like Mesoamerica or the Eastern Woodlands as a major influence (as seen in the people of the Southwest and Plains respectively), South Fusania absorbed the influences from North Fusania more than anywhere else, causing massive changes to society. Facilitating these changes was the influence of the religion later called Kuksuism, a faith centered around a secret society which played numerous roles in the social, political, economic, and spiritual life of much of South Fusania.

    Unlike the more regularly climate of North Fusania, the climate of South Fusania presents a much greater challenge to human civilisation. The region regularly experienced decades-long droughts in the past, which could be followed up by severe flooding of the rivers needed to sustain life. Every few centuries, some of these floods even swallow the entire Central Valley of South Fusania, the most fertile and viable land of the region. To make matters worse, regular wildfires scorch the area, while strong earthquakes shake the ground beneath. To thrive in this highly erratic land posed a challenge to its inhabitants, who compensated with a rich mythology and worldview centered around the idea of pleasing fickle spirits and gods. The South Fusanians desired above all else stability in nature, and turned to their shamans to find ways to appease the chaotic world around them and allow a sense of stability by making the weather and land as predictable as possible.

    Nature wasn't alone in bringing instability to South Fusanian society, for to the north, the great changes there began to filter south. Archaeology shows Irikyaku culture artifacts first appeared in South Fusania around the mid-5th century, appearing alongside artifacts common to the Dena and Maguraku cultures of the area. The oldest evidence of the reindeer in this area--no doubt as a trade good--goes back to the arrival of the Dena into the area a century before. As reindeer do not survive well in the Central Valley due to heat and disease, reindeer goods are typically associated with prestigious individuals, acquired from people to the north.

    Plant domestication arrived much more piecemeal and slowly and associated with the Maguraku and especially the Ancestral Waluo people. Both groups absorbed waves of Dena who brought with them the increasingly domesticated plants from the north as well as reindeer. With this new influx of wealth, populations increased, but at the same time so did conflict. The Maguraku fought intense conflicts with the Waluo, the Dena, and people displaced by the Dena but no doubt since lost to history. The ancestors of the Tanne, particularly tenacious fighters, fought the ancestors of the Waluo and several neighbouring peoples along the Ueno River particularly hard, for they controlled much of the trade in dentalium shells, a regional form of exchange. While the Maguraku kept their homeland around Lake Hewa, the Waluo found themselves totally displaced. Their legacy in their homeland remains that of toponyms of Waluo origin (i.e. the regional city of Kappaha--natively in Yanshuuji Tanne "Kw'ahaha" which is loaned from Waluo *K'wakhakha meaning "where the crow lights") or indeed the very name "Waluo" itself, their exonym in a now-extinct language which later spread to various Tanne languages in native forms like Walkha [2] which in South Fusania became used to designate either the groups descended from the Ancestral Waluo (such as the K'ahusani, later called the Sani) or simply as a generic term for northern enemies.

    The Ancestral Waluo fled south into the mountains in the 6th century, where many were later absorbed by the Tanne, but also moved east, where they clashed and displaced others either further south into the mountains or into the deserts. Some Waluo migrated into the great Central Valley, where they joined with the local peoples there. Regardless of their location, the Waluo incorporated much of their prior knowledge into their new homes, spreading it with the common practice of exogamous marriages. This included the practice of earthworks and flooded fields to raise the farming plants important to their lifestyle, such as tehi for fiber with camas and omodaka for food, in addition to the symbolic purposes of marking their villages and exalting their elite.

    This sort of lifestyle made tenuous extensions into other regions of South Fusania, although it was most enthusiastically adopted by the more sedentary Numic-speaking peoples along the desert rivers and alkaline lakes. Other groups merely began to associate the feral plants spreading from Waluo territory with better food sources, uprooting wild forms of those plants or even inadvertantly interbreeding them, producing several unique cultivars or even entirely new species. One particular plant created here was the valley turnip (Sagittaria vallensis), derived from a hybrid of several Sagittaria species brought by the Waluo which genetic evidence dates to around 550 AD, although it continued to intermix with wild and domestic Sagittaria species for another few centuries [3]. The leaves of this plants fed insects (which fed fish) and waterfowl, while the roots proved productive to harvest and enabled a more sedentary lifestyle.

    The most attractive plants to these early South Fusanians were those with dual uses. The tehi plant with its fibers became subject to much early horticulturalism, and was often encouraged alongside tule, sweetflag, and cattails. Milkweed (Asclepias vulgarum) was used alongside tehi in South Fusania (and in fact domesticated there) thanks to the cultural value placed on it as well as genetic input from the diversity of milkweed species there [4]. In South Fusania, the food uses of these plants was equally preferred to their use as building materials, helping encourage a more stable lifestyle. Kushi (Chlorogalum sp.), relatives of agaves and yuccas, also found favour early on for its many medicinal uses, use as soap, or use as a poison to stun fish in addition to producing sizable bulbs for food [5], while balsamroot became another important plant cultivated. The South Fusanians valued this stability thanks to the irregular harvests of their staple acorns as well as the constant drought and floods of their homeland. However, the peoples of the Central Valley remained hesistant on large-scale cultivation--they judged it too much effort to do more than simple encouragement of all but the most valuable plants and used little irrigation. Those south of the valley, such as the Chuma of the islands and coast or the Jiqi south of them [6], remained unchanged although even there the influence of northern peoples began to filter south.

    Yet this lifestyle spreading from the north, combined with the conflict caused by the Tanne and those displaced by them like the Ancestral Waluo or the ancestors of the Dachimashi and Dongkama [7], started a process of monumental change. A surplus of tools from the north affected local economies, while intermarriage and absorption of newcomers spread new ideas. People such as the Beikama [8] at the north of the valley adopted these innovations first, spreading them south through the Central Valley. The increased food sources and influx of tools led to a sedentary lifestyle, less reliant on oak harvests, as well as cultural diversification due to the increase in free time. More tools could be made, increasing specialisation in society could occur, and most importantly, earthworks could be constructed to tame the rivers and allow for artificial ponds to gather waterfowl and fish. The earliest evidence of earthworks in South Fusania dates to the middle of the 6th century.

    It is difficult to speak of early South Fusania without considering the role of religion. These changes led to great social disturbance, as they had in North Fusania. And like the Sibling Prophets in North Fusania stepped in to institute great change, in South Fusania a great figure stepped in as well. But this figure, the mythological first Grand Lodgemaster, or the Restorer, as a common name translated as, preferred to operate within traditional beliefs. The Restorer is most associated with the city of Koru, or Kelu in later times, a holy center which grew up near the base of the sacred mountain of Onolaitol, rising high above the valley floor [9]. Some stories report him having been born there, or even appeared out of the mountain fully formed as an adult, while others say he received spiritual revelations there or simply learned from elder priests at the sacred place.

    Unlike the Sibling Prophets who preached a message of radical change, interpreting every phenomena to fit their new paradigm, the Restorer called for conservatism. He warned the people of the new ways and paths infilitrating the area. And his warnings were dire--the people were becoming greedy and lazy thanks to these new ways of life. As the Restorer predicted, a great flood would come and drown those who foolishly tried to confine the rivers or torment the earth for simple food. The Restorer preached the oak tree as a symbol of stability placed there by the gods, and believed the oaks would save and preserve all life in the coming spiritual change the gods had in store. As humans ate the offspring of the oaks--acorns--as well as the animals who were likewise drawn to the oaks, humans inherited the steadfast oaken spirit. By trusting in the spirit of the oaks, closest to the true spirit of the earth, the path of salvation opened as the gods accepted humans as their kin and allowed them to imitate them in the sacred lodges. Only some humans proved worthy to carry this wisdom--they would be those initiated into a secret society of dancers and ritualists who imitated the gods to bring order, balance, and restoration in the world.

    The Restorer preached spiritualism and humility as the core of his message, for mankind could do nothing without the assistance of the spirits, and only properly initiated individuals could command the spirits. To try and tame the rivers without being the respect of local spirits was simply foolish--one year the spirit of the waters may trick the people around it that it was tamed, the next year it may laugh at them and destroy what earthworks they had built. Fires, earthquakes, and droughts would inevitably destroy what man created without spiritual power to tame them, power which one could not be hasty in obtaining. He emphasised the existing beliefs that humans were utterly at the mercy of supernatural forces, the same which destroyed previous races of mankind who once lived in the land.

    In this system, four worlds with four previous races of mankind existed (although locally the number of previous worlds varied as does the inhabitants), but all were destroyed by fire, blizzards, floods, or earthquakes by the whims of the gods and recreated each time [10]. Each time the people and world were perfect, but the creator's assistant, Coyote, seeking to create true perfection, introduced all manner of turmoil including work and death into these worlds, and eventually the people in these worlds grew wicked and the gods destroyed the world. A few survived the destruction of the previous world thanks to various spirits, but wound up transfigured into plants, animals, geographical landmarks, or supernatural beings due to their inability to survive in the next world. In the Fifth World, the great teacher Kuksu (among other names)--in some places the creator god himself--descended to Earth himself (in some places in the form of the first man in the new world) in order to teach this new humanity the way to renew the world eternally to prevent the Fifth World's destruction. While Coyote once again introduced his "perfections", Kuksu taught mankind the way to work around Coyote's innovations, including proper ways of labour, proper ways of sending off the dead, and proper ways of communing with chaotic spirits. Kuksu's teachings were passed down through networks of wise men who taught the dances which channelled the power to renew the world. In the time the Restorer lived, too many greedy men gained access to the secrets of these dances and threatened to profane their spiritual force. The Restorer thus devoted his efforts to maintaining the pure line of tradition from this evil.

    In the last year of the Restorer's life, the sky opened up and rained without end, and the entire Central Valley began to flood as village after village became submerged beneath the deep waters. The people believed the end of the Fifth World was at hand, as the Restorer had taught. But the Restorer calmed the people and led them to safety while sending his most trusted advisors--the Lodgemasters and their assistants, the Directors--to organise the same in other villages. All danced feverishly during this great flood in order to prevent the destruction of the world. The Restorer preached that had it not been for these dances showing that Kuksu's teachings remained in the world, the gods surely would have ended the Fifth World. Several months later, a lunar eclipse occurred, one which can be dated to May 17, 607 (later the starting date of the traditional South Fusanian calendar). Once again, the Restorer claimed this was yet another test of the gods, as the divine Bear wished to devour the moon--Kuksu's emblem--in his hunger. The Restorer and his followers climbed the highest peak of Onolaitol, where he revealed to his chosen successor the ritual dance and formula to keep the world renewed against even this onslaught of the gods. There they danced for hours until the Bear released his hold over the moon, but at daybreak, the Restorer was nowhere to be seen. His followers claim he vanished, having sacrificed himself to preserve the world. However, this Final Dance he revealed included the way of passing the position of Grand Lodgemaster to a new successor--he was to dance himself into ecstasy and exhaustion, and in his sleep the new Grand Lodgemaster was to ritually execute him by strangulation.

    As the Restorer died, successors became anointed, the lineage of the Lodgemasters. This was the foundation of what became known as the Kuksu religion, named for the common god Kuksu, usually portrayed as a spiritually powerful man wearing a headdress of eagle or condor feathers. Often Kuksu was a teacher, the one who taught mankind the ways of civilisation itself and separated mankind from animals. While worship of Kuksu and other gods, as well as elements of the society no doubt existed before the 6th century AD, the faith began to take the form most commonly associated with the religion after the Restorer's death.

    The historic veracity of the lineage of Grand Lodgemasters cannot be established. Instead, it seems that after the 607 flood, new organisation of the Kuksu lodges emerged, but with no central leader or first among equals. The site of Onolaitol and the nearby town of Koru became pilgramage sites, and the Lodgemaster of Koru became particularly influential. However, other sacred sites in the region retained powerful Lodgemasters who sometimes eclipsed the influence of that of the Lodgemaster of Koru. Only in later centuries did the power of the Koru Lodgemasters allow their traditional lineage to become the accepted lineage of the Grand Lodgemasters from the Restorer and ultimately to Kuksu himself.

    Similarly, it's difficult to tell much of the evolution of Kuksu beliefs. Archaeology of Kuksu lodges only displays scant material traces and writing would not spread to South Fusania for almost a millennia. The surviving oral history tends toward being hagiographic. The South Fusanians venerated local gods and customs as much in the 7th century as they did when literacy arrived as well as the first outside accounts of South Fusania, but judging by the prominence given to these gods in archaeological remains compared to attested Kuksu lodges, local traditions seem to have been much more important in early Kuksu society. Kuksuism also seems to absorbed several other secret societies, such as one which admitted both women and men whose origins and absorption is known through oral records [11].

    Regardless of lineage of the Kuksu society, in the subsequent era of South Fusania the modern Kuksu faith began to take shape and influence society in the aftermath of the destruction of 607. This is called the Pengnen era (650 - 900), after the Pengnen culture found at what was once the native city of Pelnen where a thriving lineage of Lodgemasters lived, although Pengnen artifacts are much more prevelant throughout the Central Valley and the cities of the Yuliu Delta and Yuliu River [12]. During the Pengnen era, sedentarism increased further despite many great population movements and with it came increased population, religious and societal complexity, and the beginnings of true agricultural practices in South Fusania.

    The center of a Pengnen culture village was the "palace" of its chief, a man of wealth and prominence who usually inherited his position from a male relative. This was the largest building in the village and housed the chief, his relatives, and his servants. The chief resolved disputes and commanded great respect and authority. Second to him was his messenger, whose role was to act as the intermediary between the chief and the people. But perhaps the true center of the village was its Kuksu lodge and its true ruler the head of that lodge, which always was housed in the lowest level of a mound. In smaller villages, his title translated as "Director", but in larger villages his title was "Lodgemaster", who had Directors beneath him. The chief and messenger and others of the emerging nobility would always be members of the Kuksu lodge or even high-ranking members, but rarely would either be the head of the local lodge.

    Legitimacy flowed from the Kuksu lodge and its leaders, who often were well-traveled (although in the Pengnen era nowhere near as much as later times) and regularly met and danced with other Kuksu leaders. Their leaders advised the chief on all matters, and if the chief was greedy or corrupt could even demand his removal. They alone held the teachings to ensure proper spiritual practice, which included the training of shamans and medicine men to tend to the physical and spiritual health of the community. The Kuksu lodge initiated the majority of young men aside from the lowest class men, and in some places the majority of young women as well. Lodges often charged an initiation fee, which was redistributed to the Directors and Lodgemasters and eventually to the community in time. Furthermore, as society increasingly specialised, village and town guilds formed, these guilds responsible for training youth in various crafts, the most essential being tool construction, boat building (for river and coastal peoples), and especially earthworking [13]. These guilds gained their own spiritual legitimacy from the heads of the Kuksu lodge, as well as financial assistance to these guilds in the form of redistributed goods. Thus the Kuksu lodge became a force impossible to ignore in village life, for without it society would simply fall apart on both the material and spiritual level.

    The increasing horticulturalism and eventual agriculture in these communities similarly fell under the influence of the Kuksu lodge, for their associated guilds controlled access to the best tools and required a tithe from initiated men and women, which included all but the poorest in society. Most importantly, earthworkers from the Kuksu lodges helped coordinate planting and flood control which was required to grow water crops like omodaka (increasingly a staple in the Pengnen era), valley turnip, water amaranth, wokas and other lilies, tule, and sweetflag. Flood control likewise preserved land crops like camas and goosefoot (several species) as well as crops cultivated in South Fusania, like the aforementioned kushi, but also peixi (Salvia columbariae) and ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides), two grains highly tolerant of the dry conditions often found in South Fusania, as well as the several species of lupines (Lupinus) commonly cultivated.

    Yet the greatest sign of the Pengnen culture and their development is that of their agroforestry, which was subject to the most direct influence from the Kuksu lodges. In the system set up by the Restorer, the oaks (of several species) held an even greater importance than before. Influenced by the new agricultural system as well as the Restorer's warning to not just plan for the immediate future but for the far future, the management of oaks took on a new spiritual quality. The acorn ceremony and associated dance, to commemorate the harvest of acorns, became of critical importance in the yearly calendar of the South Fusanians. During the ceremony, the elder women of the women's section of the Kuksu lodge and the women who in the past year had given birth, accompanied by their husbands, went into the fields and planted new acorns in patches determined spiritually powerful by the Kuksu lodge's head. These patches were to be tended by this family and the lodge to grow into strong oaks which symbolised the growing child. Naturally, many acorns failed to sprout or the saplings died--this was an ill-omen which required spiritual intervention to cure, and often they adopted various trees or planted new acorns under the guidance of the Kuksu medicine men. To prevent flood damage, elaborate mounds and earthworks protected the saplings and groves.

    Those acorns which became fruitful oak trees after reaching maturity at 25-30 years became the personal trees of that extended family and the pride of the individual symbolised in that tree. The family who owned the tree used acorns from the tree to plant new trees for their descendents, as well as frequently ate acorns from the tree, as it symbolised the spirits giving nourishment to them. Even after the individual died, their spirit was said to remain in the oak and continue to provide for their family. Acorns from these trees were distributed to the Kuksu lodges or bartered for other goods. As acorns store well, they became a symbol of wealth and of critical food security.

    Alongside these groves of oaks grew many useful plants, such as toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia), various manzanita bushes (Arctostaphylos), and other shrubs which produced berries. These plants were encouraged by the South Fusanians, which the manzanitas in particular became important as sources of food, wood, fuel, and medicine. The most common drink of the South Fusanians was a juice produced from the manzanita berries, which at times was allowed to ferment to become mildly alcoholic. Although many berries cultivated by the South Fusanians were brewed into alcoholic beverages, the manzanita cider was the most culturally preferred even in these early times. Medicinal plants highly valued for spices (among other uses) like spiceshrub (Calycanthus occidentalis) or the bay nut (Umbellularia) likewise grew in these oak groves. In many groves, pines (especially the grey pine) were encouraged alongside oaks for firewood and their nuts, although the most valuable pines, the pinyon pine, rarely grew in these groves.

    The animals, birds, and insects attracted to the landscape created by Pengnen culture villagers provided an important part of their diet. Squirrels and woodpeckers fed on acorns--these animals were typically monitered for their ability to create caches of acorns for later harvesting. When a cache was discovered, the villagers killed numerous squirrels to celebrate. Many insects lived on the oak trees--these became an easy source of food for the villagers. One insect in particular, the caterpillar of the Fusanian silk moth (Antheraea polyphemus) and its pupa, became a food source for several peoples of the Central Valley. And they increasingly began to allow only these moths to feed on their oaks instead of other insects due to the size of the caterpillars and the curiousity the silk on their cocoons produced. The breeding of this wild silk moth, later to produce the famed Fusanian silk, began in these times.

    The Pengnen culture spread south beyond the Central Valley and rough terrain of the coast by the 8th century, producing several regional varients amongst the Chuma, Jiqi, and other peoples of the area such as the inland Yiweidang [14]. Most notably came the organisation of similar religious systems to Kuksu, such as the Jiqi's society of Quaoar, a culture hero and creator, or the Antapist society amongst the Chuma, named for its members called antaps who communed with the gods. These systems worshipped and danced differently and were best known for initiation rites and vision ceremonies involving the use of datura, a powerful psychoactive plant which under the guidance of elders produced dramatic visions. Although these religions had a similar system of lodges, they tended not to spread outside ethnolinguistic borders unlike Kuksuism which spread throughout much of South Fusania south of the Ueno basin.

    Influences from the Pengnen culture (or more precisely its southern offshoots) likewise spread west into the desert, where similar secret societies emerged amongst the few sedentary peoples of the desert such as the Monuo [15]. Amongst the Numic peoples of the desert, the Pengnen culture contributed little, albeit increasing horticulture of peixi and ricegrass occurred. However, the Woshu of the Lake Dahuo region [16] adopted much of the Kuksuist faith, albeit a modified version where instead of oaks, they placed great emphasis on the pinyon pine, using groves of pines to symbolise themselves and their families and tending them to collect their nuts. They became the most settled of the peoples of the desert due to this system, trading their surplus to the less-settled people in exchange for protection.

    Two events resulted in great changes to the Pengnen culture. First, increasing population density and societal complexity left the people more and more vulnerable to periodic drought, forcing adaption to this in their building patterns and societal organisation. Second, the arrival of metallurgy and domesticated towey goats and ducks from North Fusania resulted in all manner of new craftsmenship and livelihoods. Ducks enabled the marshlands both natural and artificial to become more productive, while towey goats allowed for transhumance between the often flooded marshlands infeasible to reclaim in the valley and the drier foothills. First appearing in the region by the end of the 9th century, by the early 10th century the majority of the Pengnen culture's range adopted herding of goats, raising of ducks, and some level of metalworking.

    Kuksu lodges helped ease the societal transition, organising mining and smithing guilds as well as providing support for pastoral communities. The lodges in particular appreciated elaborate metal ornamentation both in and around their buildings as well as in the masks and costumes of the dancers and became a prime driver in seeking out new veins of ore to mine. The Beikama in the far north of the valley emerged as the finest smiths of this era, crafting elaborate copper, gold, and silver ornamentation as well as tools and weapons to trade further south. Kuksuist sculptury and other artifacts found in the Beikama's emerging center, Pasnomsono [17], date to the mid-10th century, and oral history suggests that Pasnomsono's Kuksu lodge was at one point second only to the central lodge at Koru.

    Unpredictable climate and the chaotic land continued to pose a threat. Droughts and flooding alternated throughout the end of the 10th and 11th century, and the warming of the climate provoked new conflicts with hill tribes not entirely brought into the Kuksuist system. In the north, the American Migration Period caused new waves of refugees and invaders fleeing the coasts and venturing south, pursued by their main enemies, the Tanne at land and the Coastmen at sea. Both groups joined other traditional enemies like the Maguraku in raiding South Fusania for slaves to sell at the great markets in the north such as Wayam or simply encouraging the trade of slaves and the destructive conflicts such trade brought. Further, in the early 11th century, the Wakashan Coastmen began to actively settle the coastal parts of South Fusania, displacing the local inhabitants and sending a new flood of refugees throughout the land.

    In this situation, the people of the Central Valley and surrounding areas continued strong in their faith in the Kuksu lodges and their ability to guide society and protect against the chaotic world. The addition of the human element from outside complicated things, but the people believed this too could be mediated. Yet new surprises always emerged, emerging too fast for even the most respected Lodgemaster to predict. In winter of 1023, the winter rains poured harder and stronger than ever, and unlike other years, continued to unceasingly pour no matter how much the rivers flooded. This emerging disaster marked the start of the chaotic 11th and 12th centuries of South Fusania, the centuries where their civilisation as we know it truly begins.

    [1] - The Ueno River is the Klamath River, a Japanese modification of the Yurok (Dachimashi) word meaning "river".
    [2] - Kappaha/Kw'ahaha is Ashland, OR, while "Waluo" is the Sinification of an Athabaskan loanword from the Takelma exonym ("wulkh") for the Shasta. Incidentally, said Takelma exonym sounds similar to Proto-Germanic "walhaz", the root of "Welsh", "Vlach", and many other terms. Amongst some groups in South Fusania, derivations of "wulkh" are used in the same way as derivations of "walhaz" were in Europe.
    [3] - An ATL domesticated species, which has much ancestry from various Sagitarria species as noted. California has several which grow in its marshes and rivers, although S. latifolia was the most used OTL thanks to the Chinese community (and exports overseas to China). They weren't too important to local Indians, but TTL this genus becomes increasingly important and directs the Indians toward increasing aquaculture and the ramifications thereof.
    [4] - Milkweed is a source of fibers much as tehi (dogbane) and is a related family to that plant. California has quite a diversity in native species, so once again we have some hybridisations and selective breeding result in the beginnings of a domesticated species which I have termed "common milkweed".
    [5] - "Kushi" is a Chinese derivation of Ohlone "kush" (and the name its most commonly called TTL), their term for plants of genus Chlorogalum. Despite being high in saponins (which gave them their use as a fish poison), they were used in a variety of contexts throughout indigenous California.
    [6] - The Chuma are the ATL Chumash. The Jiqi are the ATL Tongva/Kizh, their Chinese exonym deriving from the term "Kizh", "people of the houses".
    [7] - The Dachimashi are the ATL Yurok, while the Dongkama are OTL Maiduan people, here marginalised a bit by the Waluo. Like the Yurok, the Maidu and their relatives likely migrated to California from Oregon in the past 2,000 years or so. TTL they are pushed out in the early 1st millennia AD by Dena peoples.
    [8] - The Beikama (literally "North Kama") are the Ch'arsel as mentioned earlier. "Kama" comes from a Wakashan language and is a generic term for the interior peoples of the Central Valley. Incidentally, directional-based names are common in some societies of the Central Valley.
    [9] - Koru is approximately Colusa, CA, while Onolaitol is the Sutter Buttes, considered sacred IOTL.
    [10] - A theme in some indigenous Californian mythology is the existence of worlds before the current one, destroyed by fires, floods, earthquakes, or blizzards, sometimes three or four previous worlds. This is an interesting parallel to the better-known "Five Suns" theme of Mesoamerican legend.
    [11] - Essentially the OTL Hesi society found in California--TTL it has fused with the Kuksu society
    [14] - Pelnen/Pengnen is Pleasanton, CA, while the Yuliu River and Yuliu Delta is the San Joaquin Delta and San Joaquin River respectively, named for a native town near the site
    [13] - Societies like this existed IOTL indigenous California, and were indeed often associated with the Kuksu society of the village. One had to pay to gain instruction from their masters, and this helped enforce a rudimentary class structure in some places.
    [14] - The Yiweidang are the Cahuillans, their name a Chinese derivation of their ethnonym "Ivitam"
    [15] - The Monuo are the Mono and other more settled Paiute peoples of California, their name a Chinese derivation of a Yokuts exonym
    [16] - The Woshu are the Washo people and Lake Dahuo is Lake Tahoe. I believe the Chinese transcription I'm using is a bit more faithful to the Washo original than the transcription used OTL.
    [17] - Redding, CA
    Author's notes

    "We should not look upon the [Kuksu] society of each village as a branch or chapter or lodge of the society as a whole." - Paraphrase of Alfred L. Kroeber​

    While I had intended to do something with the OTL Kuksu traditions of California, this particular passage I found while researching gave me particular inspiration, especially given the direction I already wanted to take my ATL California ("South Fusania") in. Essentially, I needed to justify the Kuksu religion going the opposite direction of A. L. Kroeber's statement, and I hope I gave a plausible case toward that (in the context of this timeline which I admit can be a bit unrealistic in some aspects). I think this TL in both antiquity and in societal evolution gives some grounds for this religion to go in the direction I've described. Kuksu was practiced in a variety of forms throughout Central and Northern California, along with various other spiritual practices including ghost cults, and I've blended elements from this as well as some elements of the "World Renewal" religion found in Northwestern California amongst the Yurok and some Athabaskans to create TTL's version of Kuksu. Essentially, it's a secret society which helps organise everyday life including the vital spiritual component of it. It is by no means the only religious practice found, but the most important one since it trains/"certifies" all priests, shamans, and medicine men. It's perhaps not so secretive either, since like OTL, you can buy your way into a lodge. The titles/ranks I give are a mix of OTL with some innovations like "Lodgemaster", a superior rank to "Director", and are of course English translations of a variety of indigenous titles. Since it's usually called "Kuksu" or "Kuksu society" in a lot of writing, I will be referring to this religion as Kuksuism to distinguish it from OTL.

    I was going to cover alt-Southern California a bit more in this entry but I couldn't really work it in. I think I covered the gist of it since its a peripheral region to the Central Valley and Northern California in the time period this entry covers. The Central Valley and San Joaquin Delta have huge potential if you can do something about the flooding AND keep the water going to whatever you're doing. A massive flood--like described above or OTL in 1861-2--would be a civilisation-shaping event as much as any decades-long drought.

    While North Fusania might be my main focus, I'll be giving plenty of attention to South Fusania as well, especially in the next update or two.
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    Chapter 14-A Gateway to Chaos
  • -XIV-
    "A Gateway to Chaos"

    Jin Yue, Born in Flood and Faith: The Oaken Roots of South Fusania (Jinshan [San Francisco, CA] University Press, 1970)
    The years 1020 to 1130 marked a great crisis in South Fusania brought on by the combined forces of humanity and nature. Centuries of relative prosperity, societal evolution, and insulation from the warfare of the American Migration Period that so challenged North Fusania led to a culture-wide sense of complacence which now was being broken. On and off years of drought and flooding opened the century to challenge South Fusania from the side of nature, and from the side of human interaction, increasing conflict with the Ancestral Waluo and Dongkama from people intruding in their mountains and hills posed a military threat to the people of the Central Valley. Yet the worst threats came from outside the context of South Fusanian civilisation--nature threatened a flood and a drought like seen only in legend, and humanity threatened to extend the violence of the American Migration Period far to the south.

    The Kuksu lodges kept society stable and prosperous in the Central Valley and adjacent regions. They mediated conflicts, preventing them from becoming too violent or largescale, and with their religious authority put a check on the power of ambitious chiefs and other nobles who attempted to expand their rule. They regularly deposed warlike rulers with proclamations from powerful Lodgemasters and Directors who whipped up the fury and fear of the people to make their territory ungovernable and force the chief to step down. In the past, they even adapted to other civilisational challenges, such as droughts, floods, and the introduction of new ways of life.

    In the 10th century, the lodges already met their first challenge--the adoption of the towey goat and the arrival of largescale pastoralism--which they managed to surpass. In this century, the towey goat was adopted from northern peoples such as the Tanne and Maguraku. Those who herded these goats moved between the valley and foothills, living in the lowlands in spring and autumn to avoid both the harsh heat which pressured the goats as well as the winter flooding which made travel difficult. Kuksu lodges mediated disputes over land use as well as trade, incorporating these goat herders into the system. Indeed, these goat herders played an essential role in developing long-distance trade. Large towey goats could move 20 kilograms in packs on their backs, massively increasing the carrying capacity of traders. These traders amassed substantial wealth and often married into the burgeoning nobility.

    Yet in the 11th and early 12th century challenges piled against each other, overwhelming the ability of the social system of the Kuksu lodges to adapt to it. The Medieval Warm Period caused the higher foothills to become more prosperous in terms of agriculture, causing conflict with the peoples living higher up, most notably the Ancestral Waluo and Dongkama people who lived in those mountains. The Medieval Warm Period likewise caused a trend toward a more chaotic climate, with more droughts and more flood years. The introduction of towey goats gave a new source of wealth and power which was not entirely controlled by the Kuksu lodges. The increase in floods led to an increase in demand for earthworks to preserve the way of life for the common people. And external influences hit South Fusania harder than ever, as the after-effects of the American Migration Period arrived in force in the form of the Tanne at land and the Wakashans at sea.

    The Tanne and Wakashans arrived as merchants and traders, demanding slaves in exchange for their wares, mainly tools of reindeer or whale bones but also dentalium shells valued for their beauty and cultural use. This posed an immediate problem, as slavery was culturally alien in South Fusanian culture as they believed it made rich men lazy and weak. But the lure of the goods proved too much, and slave markets appeared by the end of the 10th century to meet this demand.

    South Fusanian slaves tended to be indentured servants tricked into becoming slaves to these foreign traders, the desperately poor, and those who broke social taboos. In many places the Kuksu lodges attempted to crack down in the name of the spiritual health of the people, but the nobility kept the trade going to enrich themselves. Although the lodges still controlled the guilds which produced much of the tools and engineering needed for society to function, these nobles bypassed them to an extent by purchasing more tools from the Wakashans and Tanne.

    As the Tanne and Wakashans became wealthy through this trade, various Tanne groups pushed further south to settle the areas of key trade routes between the mountains and valleys while the Wakashans did the same along the coast. While the Tanne and Wakashans often clashed over access to forests and rivers and held a mutual distrust, individuals groups put aside this distrust to take advantage of the wealth offered by trade as well as to defeat rivals. Inter-Tanne wars resulted in losing bands of Tanne being pushed far to the south or east, where they came into conflict with other Tanne or often non-Tanne groups like the Poma or the Ch'arsel. Now near to a new source of slaves to raid and lands to plunder, these defeated groups often recovered much wealth as they traded slaves to coastal Wakashans or their former rivals.

    All the while, years of drought and flooding prompted a further breakdown in the social system in South Fusania as the Kuksu lodges appeared powerless to stop the ravages of nature. While many continued looking to the shamans and medicine men trained by and often initiated into the Kuksu lodges, the power of the nobility grew as they achieved glorious feats in the many conflicts of the age and gained much wealth and plunder through warfare and trading slaves to the Tanne, Wakashans, or Maguraku. The nobles formed their own networks outside the Kuksu lodges and could put together their own confederations for military and economic gain, although they lacked spiritual power and the vast connections between initiates and shamans offered by the lodges which enabled Kuksuist confederations to become much larger.

    The situation came to a breaking point in the year 1023 when torrential flooding occurred in the Central Valley [1]. With 1022 already a wet year (and marked by a ominous lunar eclipse in the summer of that year), the massive rainstorms in the winter of 1023 made matters even worse. The last time a flood this large occurred, the founder of the modern Kuksu lodges, the Restorer himself, still lived. An endless rain washed over the world for weeks and the rivers of the Central Valley merged into a massive lake covering over 10,000 km2. Every attempt made in the past centuries to control the rivers failed, swept away into the floodwaters alongside every possession of those in the wake of the floodwaters. Thousands of people and their symbolic sacred oak groves drowned alongside many thousands of animals as civilisation fell before the might of nature.

    Oral history states that the Grand Lodgemaster of Koru danced himself to exhaustion and his death in a chamber on the sacred mountain Onolaitol attempting to stop the rains. His successor did the same and died days later, while the next successor, believing the end of the Fifth World was at hand, attempted to organise some manner of response to the disaster by traveling the flooding lands by boat, attempting to find as many surviving Lodgemasters and other powerful Kuksuists as he could to convince the gods to drain the floodwaters and restore the world. Yet he found few, for the Lodgemasters either drowned or fled to the hills with their people. The Lodgemasters he found he brought to Onolaitol feverishly danced while the Grand Lodgemaster gave his Final Dance, with his successor offering him as a sacrifice to the gods, and the worst of the rains ceased.

    The floodwaters did not recede for months, leaving perhaps hundreds of thousands of people displaced and their way of life disrupted. Famine and disease struck the refugees of this flood as survivors returned to whatever land they could find and attempt to rebuild their lives. The Kuksuist clergy amongst them attempted to rebuilt their lodges as well as use their networks to help gather food for the people and rebuild the earthworks that tamed the rivers.

    Problems immediately started. With the Kuksuist clergy powerless to predict and prevent this disaster, the status of the lodges weakened as they failed in the role society expected of them. The lodges disputed they failed--like the Restorer, they once again convinced the gods not to end the Fifth World--but they could not heal the shattered psyche of their culture. The nobility stepped into this void, using the increased foreign trade to acquire wealth normally associated with the lodges--indeed, archaeology shows the grave goods and homes of the nobility markedly increase in size after the 1023 flood. They promoted other religious ceremonies and cults, using dissenters from the Kuksu lodges to lend it spiritual legitimacy and thus bypass the structure of the Lodgemasters and Directors. Popular amongst the poor for they required no initiation or "tithe" to join, these faiths played the same role in redistributing wealth the Kuksu lodges did. The nobility further linked themselves through marriage, blood, or simply common economic interests with neighbors, forming confederations which became dominated by cliques of nobles. It is supposed that these represent the nuclei of would-be proto-states, much as those which formed in North Fusania during the 9th century and by this time had evolved into much more centralised structures.

    The devastation of this era represents the near-eclipse of Kuksuism, where the bear of nobility threatened to devour the moon of the Kuksu lodges. As the floodwaters receded, the plunder of abandoned Kuksu lodges began, as looters stole religious goods and especially shells and metals. This appetite for plunder led them to attack recently rebuilt lodges or even active lodges in the mountain--during a raid, the Kuksu lodge would often be attacked first. Yet a general decline in the wealth of the lodges also occurred--even accounting for the huge loss of population, the quantity and quality of goods in the lodges from this era is less than expected. Manufacture of these goods clearly dropped off in this era as the Kuksuist society weakened.

    The Kuksu lodges actively confronted this threat. Many stuck to the old ways for Kuksuism helped make life easier and gave a foundation to the chaotic world as opposed to the rulers, who demanded too much when free from the balance the Kuksu lodges provided. On the spiritual front, the Kuksu lodges regrouped, reassessed their practices, and came out reaffirmed in their faith--legends tell of great Lodgemasters introducing new dances, new spiritual practices, and new ways of interpreting the world around them, and it is likely that Kuksuism as we know it mostly dates to this period. The network created by the Kuksu lodges and its members linked all of society, even those not initiated. The Kuksu lodges thus struck back against this usurpation of their authority. Having a network of skilled craftsmen loyal to them as well as their spiritual authority proved a powerful challenge to overcome. Most importantly, the lodges controlled the distribution of surplus food to the commonfolk, a network much larger than those of the nobility. This spiritual and material control allowed a powerful resistance to form against rulers who attempted to demand too much from their people. Some assisted shamans and other spiritual figures in overthrowing leaders who asked for too much. Others fled to other villages, where they joined likeminded people to resist this imposition of unjust authority.

    For those groups in the mountains surrounding the Central Valley Waluo, Mayi, and Yayi [2], opportunity abounded. They charged exhorbitant tolls and other fees to travel through their lands, reducing many to poverty, if not outright debt slavery (and frequently actual slavery as they sold their debt slaves to slave-traders like the Tanne). This gained them many towey goats, ducks, and other animals, ensuring their prosperity. Further, the lands opened in the valley beneath them through the flooding and displacement resulted in great population movements. The refugee peoples fought back these encursions to varying degrees of success, but the weakened Kuksu lodges could hardly raise effective confederations. The greatest threat instead was conflict between these groups. The Mayi drove the Yayi even further into the hills while driving out the Waluo almost entirely--some Waluo regrouped elsewhere in the mountains, while the majority fled back into the valley and began their migration across it.

    In some ways, the emerging centers of Koru and Pasnomsono benefitted from these disasters. Although Koru suffered great damage, the nearby hills and peaks of Onolaitol sheltered its population along with people from many villages. Legends tell of amazing miracles performed during the weeks of exile on Onolaitol, miracles which no doubt strengthened the Kuksu lodges in the area and cemented Koru as the defacto center of Kuksuism. Koru held trade links to the Lake Khabatin (in later times Lake Handing) area, a major producer of salt and thenceforth to the coast--a powerful Kuksuist confederation, conventionally called the Knokhtai Confederation after a sacred mountain by the lake, was developing here and uniting the villages and towns of the Poma, Kaiya, Daiya, Xiaoya, Xiaomi [3] peoples in a loose economic and military alliance established by the Kuksu lodges to repel Tanne and Wakashan raids. Spiritual connections forged between their central lodge at Khadalam and the lodge at Koru ensured an ample flow of trade and gave an ally against the raids from anti-Kuksuist nobles in the foothills which already displaced many Daiya people. Koru thus easily reasserted its place at the head of the Kuksuist faith and grew and thrived as a destination for displaced people as well as those seeking spiritual knowledge.

    As for Pasnomsono, its location in the foothills in the far north of the valley ensured the flood caused less damage than elsewhere and recovery came more easily. Its Kuksu lodge remained powerful, but increasingly co-opted by the dynasty of princes in Pasnomsono, who ensured a relative always held the post of Lodgemaster in the chief lodge and said relative was always the heir--such a structure was almost unheard of in how rigid the Ch'arsel there held to it. Pasnomsono became perhaps the first organised state in the area, employing miners recruited from the refugees fleeing the valley to extract copper, silver, and gold from the nearby mountains in quantities so large that Pasnomsono and its tributary villages lacked the smiths needed to process the ore. These same smiths became perhaps the best in 11th century Fusania and discovered the secret of consistently manufacturing arsenical bronze around 1100 leading to the city becoming a byname for quality tools and weapons. It was a destination for slave traders, although the nobles who owned the mines nominally converted the slaves they bought into peons and indentured servants. At the northern end of the Central Valley, Pasnomsono's trade routes connected it to important ports like the later Wakashan centers of Butskuhl (modern Buzhu) and Ch'ayapachis (modern Dawending after its Tanne name) as well as to emerging centers in the north like Kw'ahaha of the Yanshuuji Tanne and Ewallona of the Maguraku [4] which themselves became wealthy as stops on the route to the wealthy centers of the Imaru River like Wayam.. Although the Tanne controlled the mountain trails and the Wakashans controlled the coast, the value of the trade in metals and slaves allowed Pasnomsono to exert some manner of control over chosen Tanne and Wakashan allies to keep the trade routes safe and their clients enriched.

    The Great Flood of 1023 was not the last major flood in this chaotic period of South Fusanian history. Other floods struck every decade or so throughout the 11th century and even if they lacked the utter destruction the 1023 flood possessed, they still caused regional chaos in South Fusania. Perhaps worse were the droughts of that period, sometimes over a decade long, which damaged the restoration of agriculture and caused undue challenges to the South Fusanians. This period of unstable climate provoked intense localised warfare as villages and towns sought to preserve what few gains they could by raiding other villages. Confederations led by nobles and Kuksuist Lodgemasters alike united villages to defend against these threats.

    Opportunity abounded for those willing and able to take it. Around 1050, tribes of Waluo, pushed out of the mountains, migrated across the Valley to the Yuliu Delta. The Delta, hard hit by flooding and politically fragmented, offered little practical resistance to the invading Waluo who chose to settle in the area for themselves. Although somewhat acculturated to typical South Fusanian culture, the Waluo retained many North Fusanian traits such as slavery and a traditional dualistic outlook. Kuksuism made few, if any, inroads among the Waluo. In time, these Delta Waluo took on a new name--the K'ahusani.

    The K'ahusani put together an effective coalition of villages and towns united under their nobles who conducted slave raids against their neighbours. By 1080, their confederation became dominated by the growing town of Esach'atuk (modern Sazhong) [5], where legend holds that everywhere "within a days walk" answered to its ruler. Esach'atuk's nobles regularly led slave raids deep into the Central Valley as well as out to sea in the waters of Daxi Bay. Powerful Kuksuist confederations fell before the might of the K'ahusani.

    However, sometime around 1100, the people of Daxi Bay united under their own Kuksuist confederation, united under the Lodgemaster of Suchui, whose town controlled the entrance to the mouth of the bay. Commonly called Sayach'apis the Elder after the name the Wakashans called him, this Lodgemaster monopolised power in his community much in the same manner as the Lodgemaster of Pasnomsono, passing his position to a relative. Unlike Pasnomsono's Lodgemaster, he attempted to control every action of the Kuksu lodges within his grasp by murdering hostile Lodgemasters and Directors as well as ensuring friendly nobles ascended the ranks of the lodges. Considered a profanation of the society, few could effectively challenge Sayach'apis, as enemies found their villages burnt, their families murdered, and their people sold to the Wakashans or K'ahusani as slaves. At times, the Suchui Confederation permitted villages to leave his confederation only to invite K'ahusani or Wakashan raiders. Although Sayach'apis died in 1113, his relative, called Sayach'apis the Younger by the Wakashans, took control and continued much of his father's policies. However, while a brilliant warrior and leader, his relative proved prone to arbitrary decisions and fits of intense cruelty.

    Thus, at the dawn of the 12th century, a state of general chaos ruled in South Fusania. Although society attempted to cope with the wilds of nature to varying degrees of success, the combination of a nature more furious than ever as well as a great increase in warfare caused untold amounts of human suffering. The common South Fusanian in this era lived a short and brutish life. However, this period of chaos was to soon come to an explosive finale at the hands of the Wakashan Coastmen and their arrival at Daxi Bay.

    Ni Qian and Jin Yue, A House of Oak: The Wakashans in South Fusania (Jinshan [San Francisco, CA] University Press, 1970)
    A history of the Wakashan Expansion is a history of coastal Fusania. The Wakashans appeared on the scene in Fusania the 8th century, raiding the coast from their homeland of Wakashi Island. Like many of these Coastmen peoples, Wakashan tribes sought not just loot and slaves, but also more land for settling. This desire for land led to them rewriting the cultural and ethnolinguistic map of the coast in one of the great migrations of history. In a migration dominated by the Atkh people, the Wakashans slowly spread south starting in the 9th century, bringing with them great destruction and violence but at the same time new cultural innovations and trading links as they began the process of interconnecting all Fusania.

    The Wakashans spread south at about one degree of latitude every fifty years from the period 800 to 1000, seeking new lands to trade in and to support the fishing and whaling which formed the center pillar of their culture. They brought with them numerous traits of North Fusanian culture, from its dualistic cultural and religious outlook to their agricultural techniques to their social hierachies and organisations, which they imposed on areas they settled. For the most part, the peoples of the coast ruled by the Wakashans possessed similar cultures and the new Wakashan nobility tended to rule lightly assuming their demands were met, allowing assimilation to proceed slowly and often peacefully despite the violent initial arrival. Within a few generations, internal conflict nearly ceased while the main external conflict was with neighbouring peoples such as the Tanne or with non-related groups of Wakashan raiders.

    For unclear reasons, around the early 11th century the Wakashan advance south accelerated to one degree of latitude every 25 years. The leading theory is a combination of geography--the coast has even fewer safe harbors this far south, climate--the Medieval Warm Period causing a population increase in lands which sent Coastmen to the south--and politics--the struggle for dominance between bands of Wakashans and bands of Tanne, who lived at the mouths of these rivers. Inter-Wakashan conflict increases markedly in this period, no doubt sending clans of Wakashans fleeing south to escape the violence.

    Yet this phase of the Wakashan Expansion less thoroughly displaced the pre-Wakashan cultures compared to the initial expansion, perhaps because of this heightened expansion. The Kusu on Minugichi Bay [6], the Coast Tanne from the mouth of the Yanshuuji in the north to the area around modern Tappatsu in the south, and the Dachimashi at the mouth of the Ueno all retained elements of their culture and language, albeit heavily Wakashanised. The Wakashanisation process brought significant linguistic changes on phonology, vocabulary, and grammar, while socioculturally resulted in many culturally Wakashan modes of social organisation and lifestyles being adopted in these groups, most critically being that of the spread of whaling and the veneration of whaling chiefs and nobles. Although the Atkh language itself did not spread to these groups, the Trade Wakashan language, a trade pidgin, become commonly adopted for use in nearly all communications with outsiders.

    A notable settlement founded in this phase was Ch'ayapachis, meaning "many canoes on the beach", established around 1050. Ch'ayapachis became a notable trading center and port, importing metals, goods, and slaves from the Central Valley and further south in exchange for a reindeer, wood, and whale goods. The Tanne helped transport goods over land on the backs of reindeer, towey goats, or slaves, where Ch'ayapachis thenceforth exported these goods north to coastal cities and eventually Tlat'sap at the Imaru. From the Imaru Basin, Ch'ayapachis imported various finished goods, especially wooden ones. Called Dawahlding by the Tanne (from where it derives its modern name Dawending), Ch'ayapachis's wealth enriched the surrounding Tanne communities and establishing a somewhat permanent peace between Wakashans and Tanne in the area. However, it fought battles at times with the nearby Wakashan city of Butskuhl to the south and Butskuhl's own Tanne allies.

    The Wakashan Expansion slowed greatly south of the 40th parallel north as the Wakashans met the first distinctly South Fusanian people, the Poma, sometime around the start of the 12th century. Organised into strong confederations at the behest of the Kuksu lodges amongst them, the Poma and their cultural kin, the Kaiya, Daiya, Xiaoya, Xiaomi emerged as an intensely militarised people thanks to the conflict surrounding them in early 12th century South Fusania. Surrounded by hostile Tanne in the north displaced from Wakashan raids and on the east by valley peoples like the Beikama fleeing warfare in that region, the Poma grouped into confederations at the behest of their Lodgemasters to fight against this tide. Unlike those in the Valley, the Poma were affected less by the disastrous 1023 flood leading to their Kuksu lodges retaining much of their prestige, and even the drought at the end of the 11th century only strengthened the lodges as according to legend, several persuasive and powerful Lodgemasters preached a fiery and apocalyptic message which persuaded the people that all could be well assuming they protected their land and held to traditions. These Lodgemasters met at the sacred mountain of Knokhtai (in later times Mount Nuotai) at the shores of Khabatin Lake (in later times Handing Lake) and organised a powerful confederation, conventionally named the Knokhtai Confederacy after the mountain, centered around the nearest important center to the mountain, the town of Khadalam, nowadays Hanlang [7].

    According to both Wakashan, Poma, and other indigenous tales, the Knokhtai posed the strongest threat the Wakashans ever faced, yet paradoxically possessed little organisation or structure. Kuksu lodges throughout the region of Lake Khabatin, its rivers, and the mountains along the coast linked together to organise the defense, yet neither elected or appointed a single leader albeit voluntarily deferred to the Lodgemaster with the most spiritual prowess, in this era the Lodgemaster of Khadalam. Even this Lodgemaster had little power over local Lodgemasters, relying only on his ability to persuade them to follow his directives. These local Lodgemasters relied on the Directors of smaller villages (as well as their own subordinate Directors) to supply them with warriors as well as logistical support. The chiefs and nobility of each village presented another layer of interaction, as they formed the upper crust of the military force raised yet their support was likewise required. Not every Kuksu lodge in the region joined the Knokhtai and some villages sent only a token force.

    The Poma and their allies under the Knokhtai fought as light infantry and skirmishers, organised in units by village under command of a noble, a chief, or a functionary from the local Kuksu lodges. These units submitted to command of a Kuksu Lodgemaster during battles, but often acted on their own. Their equipment tended to be whatever the warrior or his family owned or the lodge supplied. Typically they wore thick animal skins and wooden rods for armour, with the elite owning leather and copper helmets. Slingers and archers were common, protected by infantry armed with obsidian spears, wooden clubs, and for the elite, bronze weapons of imported from the Beikama smiths of Pasnomsono [8]. Their focus on decentralised groups of ranged skirmishers presented a natural counter to the Wakashan forces which favored ambushes and forward charges in the name of glory and prestige. The largest known battle between Wakashans and the Knokhtai is the Battle of Kalkhabe [9], where the Lodgemaster of Khadalam remembered by the name K'owlichal ("he keeps the fire going") led a force of "thousands" of warriors to victory against "thousands" of Wakashans. Wakashan stories indicate a similar clash in the area, but a much smaller number of "warriors with too much pride" falling to a great number of "treacherous locals".
    Archaeology attests to the Kalkhabe battle, as known by large fields of hundreds of dead men dated to around 1110 AD. It is estimated from the corpses, armour, and weapons found that about a thousand Wakashans--mostly reinforcements--defended a village from perhaps two thousand Knokhtai, who placed the village under siege yet could not pass through the palisade. The Wakashans sallied forth yet found themselves divided into pockets chasing the scattered Knokhtai forces who defeated them in detail while taking heavy losses themselves. Kalkhabe is amongst the largest battlefields of Copper Age Fusania discovered by archaeologists and the largest outside of the Imaru Basin.

    The Poma and others federated under the banner of the Knokhtai continued to fight other battles against the Wakashans over the years with brief, tense ceasefires in-between. Unlike other coastal groups to the north, they adopted essentially no elements of Wakashan culture besides trading for their animals and crops. Wakashan settlement remained light and almost non-existent on the coastal land inhabited by these peoples, although the Wakashans frequently conducted raids on the villages there. However, the battles against the Wakashans led to chaos in the region and a migration south, fiercely resisted by those already living there. Kuksu lodges on both sides emerged to organise confederations to either defend or conquer these villages. This state of chaos led to further Wakashan intrusions into the area, albeit mainly as raiders and slavers and not permanent settlers.

    Ecological issues affected the Wakashans at this latitude. The forests they found were far different than what they knew, as they hit the southermost range of culturally preferred species like red and yellow cedar and quickly logged out the few stands of those trees. Adaption to using local species like redwoods proved slow and generational. The adaption to foraging in these forests proved another challenge for the Wakashans, leaving them more vulnerable. The reindeer prized by the Wakashans suffered increasing disease south of the 40th parallel from both the number of wild deer harbouring parasites and diseases as well as the tendency of locals to herd towey goats which carried diseases fatal to reindeer. While whaling, sealing, and fishing remained viable, in many other areas changes needed to be made to the traditional Wakashan lifestyle.

    The first to adapt to this change, the ancestors of the Boyatkh people near the modern town of Dahua (called Dakhwa by the Boyatkhs) [10], arrived around the same time as the Battle of Kalkhabe, displacing the Kaiya under their leader Chakhwinak. The Boyatkh appear in the archaeological record as a distinctly Wakashan culture yet having borrowed much from the coastal Kaiya as well as new innovations of their own. The Boyatkh replaced their use of cedar in almost everything with redwood, which in time they venerated the same way as their ancestors did cedars, while also adopting the veneration of oak groves (including the planting of acorns) from the Kaiya. The Boyatkh kept to their traditional religious beliefs, with few, if any, spiritual elements from the Kaiya--Kuksuism found no root amongst the Boyatkh. The Boyatkh herded no reindeer, having switched to herding towey goats which became the most important animal in their culture (except perhaps whales). They used their goats, bred for size and stamina, as pack animals for daily life, but also bred goats for their wool which they became known for. The Boyatkh and later Wakashan cultures adopting these changes become known as the Central Atkhic Wakashans [11].

    To the south, the Boyatkh led the way in raids and settlement of Tukua Bay and the Damen Peninsula, the later home of the Tukwatkh and Damenatkh people respectively, dispacing the local Micha people inland and to the south [12]. This opened up Daxi Bay and the communities around it to Wakashan raids, including the growing center of Etem [13]. In 1118, the Wakashans burned through the countryside and sacked Etem, plundering its Kuksu lodge and carrying off hundreds of slaves alongside large quantities of loot.

    Around Daxi Bay however, the Wakashans faced much steeper opposition. Although the Micha people remained disunited, a powerful confederation based at Suchui controlled much of the Suqiong Peninsula (called Suchuq by the Wakashans) [14], while in the interior the powerful K'ahusani confederation at Esach'atuk (modern Sazhong) dominated the area. Each confederation could raise over a thousand men on a moments notice, and perhaps put several times that into the field if needed. The Wakashans never faced an enemy this powerful and organised outside of North Fusania, leading to the failure of several initial raids in the area.

    Yet each confederation despised the other, and indeed, the Suchui formed as a response to the K'ahusani. The Suchui traded with the Wakashans since the late 11th century, often selling them slaves and for a better price (and allegedly quality) than the K'ahusani. The Suchui even hired Wakashans to act as guards, mercenaries, but also shipwrights, and under their charismatic leader known to the Wakashans as the Elder Sayach'apis held positive relations. Yet Sayach'apis died in 1113, and his clever relative known as Sayach'apis the Younger took power. This younger Sayach'apis invited more Wakashans to Daxi Bay and increased commerce with them.

    In 1124, the younger Sayach'apis imprisoned a Boyatkh whaling chief and his ship confiscated. Allegedly, the chief needed to take his ship in from a storm and cheated a merchant, resulting in the chief's hand being amputated for his crime. When the chief returned, he called for his relatives to negotiate with Sayach'apis for compensation for his unjust punishment, denying he committed any crime. Sayach'apis ordered their hands to be amputated as well. Around that same time, Sayach'apis ordered the assassination of a Lodgemaster whose sister married a Damenatkh noble.

    Although a few attempts at reprisals happened in early 1125, the Suchui Confederation defeated these Wakashan forces with ease. Wakashans continued to come and go in the area Daxi Bay and seemingly continued to be friendly to the Suchui. However, this ignored the truth of the matter--word of these misdeeds traveled fast, and under Chakhwinak, planning began for a great punative expedition against Suchui and its confederation. As Chakhwinak gained a name as a powerful raider who never lost a fight, rumours spread far to the north and Coastmen of many different peoples began to travel south in hopes of taking a piece of the wealth and fame that sacking Suchui offered. Sayach'apis ignored these rumours, a mistake which was to lead to one of the greatest Wakashan triumphs in history.

    Author's notes
    The length of these recent updates is causing me to take more time to post them, but I think this is a good thing since looking back at earlier updates, I wish I had covered them in more detail. Anyway, this is yet more on South Fusania/alt-California as well as the Wakashan Expansion. Even after what I've hinted at, we'll still be seeing a lot more of the Wakashans in the future.

    I'll probably put out another map or two when I'm done with this little arc. There should only be one more entry dealing with the South Fusanians for a little while.

    Anyway, comments, critique, and praise are always appreciated, and I do like to discuss random elements of this world I've built. As always, thanks for reading.

    [1] - OTL a major flood (like the 1862 California flood) happened sometime in the 1020s. I picked 1023 because tree ring records suggest a major flood in that year as well as the occurrence of a lunar eclipse visible in Fusania during the summer of 1022.
    [2] - The Mayi are the Mountain Maidu (Dongkama will refer to other Maiduan groups), while the Yayi are the Yana and Yahi.
    [3] - The Poma are the Northern Pomo, their name a Chinese borrowing from the same term which gave rise to the name "Pomo" for related ethnic groups (although they are linguistically more diverse than the entire Germanic family). The Kaiya are the Central Pomo, named for a common ending most notably found in the etymology of the city of Ukiah, CA. The Daiya are the Eastern and Southeastern Pomo, not always distinguished, their name coming from a Pomoan term meaning "Easterners". The Xiaoya are the Kashaya (or Southwestern Pomo) from a name they applied to themselves OTL roughly meaning "agile, quick" which I don't see why they shouldn't TTL. The Xiaomi are the Southern Pomo, named for a common ending of tribal groups in their language. If you're wondering, the Northeastern Pomo (aka Salt Pomo) were absorbed by Ch'arsels from the Central Valley
    [4] - Butskuhl is Fortuna, CA, while Ch'ayapachis/Dawending is Eureka, CA--both have been settled by Wakashans by this point. Kw'ahaha is Ashland, OR--it is an important trading center of the Yanshuuji Tanne, a Valley Tanne group. Ewallona is Klamath Falls, OR--it is the most important center of the town-states of the Maguraku, TTL's alt-Klamath
    [5] - Esach'atuk is Antioch, CA
    [6] - The Kusu are the Coosan peoples, while Minuguchi Bay (natively Minukwits) is Coos Bay proper (with the OTL city of Coos Bay being Hanisits/Hanishichi)
    [7] - Mount Knokhtai/Nuotai is Mount Konocti on the shore of Clear Lake, which OTL was sacred to the Pomoans and others. Lake Khabatin/Handing is Clear Lake. Khadalam/Hanlang is near Kelseyville, CA.
    [8] - Pasnomsono (Redding, CA) has emerged around this time as a center of arsenical bronze manufacture. It wouldn't be unusual for a wealthy noble or powerful Kuksu functionary to own tools--or weapons--made from this area.
    [9] - A coastal village located near Westport, CA
    [10] - Dakhwa is roughly near Manchester, California. The Boyatkh borrowed their ethnonym from a mixture of a local Pomoan term meaning "westerners" and the common Wakashan ending "Atkh" meaning "people".
    [11] - Atkhic languages are OTL's South Wakashan languages. North Atkhic would be all South Wakashan languages north of the Boyatkh area, while Southern Atkhic will be introduced later.
    [12] - Tukua Bay, or Tukwa in its native form, is Bodega Bay, while the Damen Peninsula, or Damen Peninsula in its native form, is the Point Reyes Peninsula. Both are borrowed from local Coast Miwok toponyms. The Micha are the Coast Miwok.
    [13] - Etem is Petaluma, CA. I should note that confusingly, the Miwok village of Petaluma was located a few kilometers east of Petaluma.
    [14] - Suqiong/Suchuq is the San Francisco Peninsula
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    Map 2-Ethnolinguistic groups in Fusania (c. 1000 AD)
  • Experimenting a bit with mapping, not sure how I was going to do this one. But it's an attempt at a map of Fusanian cultures around the early 11th century, so chronologically and thematically it fits somewhere around Chapter XI here. I feel it's better to present maps of Fusania oriented with the Pacific at the bottom to minimise wasted space.

    I've used endonyms (some of which have not yet been given in the text) in almost every case I could, although for some related groups I was unable to (for instance, the alt-Pomoans I've called "Knokhtaic" after their shared holy site, while the alt-Chumashans are referred to by their Chinese exonym I've given in the text "Chuma"). Some level of detail is lost for places like Oasisamerica and the alt-Fremont Culture, which I haven't yet gotten much into plotting out where they fit in this TL. All caps refers to geographic areas (islands or peninsulas).

    Next map will illustrate cities and proto-states.
    Map 3-Fusanian cities, towns, and regional centers (1100 AD)
  • As promised, here is the other map displaying important cities and towns of Fusania around the year 1100 AD (about a generation before the events of the next chapter). Some of these cities have been introduced in previous entries already, many have not but likely will be mentioned at later points in the text. They mostly correspond to what you might call a "town-state" which is usually the chief center of a relevent ethnolinguistic group (although in 1100 AD ethnic identities can be very fluid in Fusania, a bit like Migration-era Europe or for that matter this region OTL). As before, the Pacific is at the bottom of the map to minimise wasted space, which will likely be a convention for maps which need to show all of Fusania.

    I decided not to illustrate proto-states because in almost every case it can be summed up to "small circle of influence around central town plus a bit downstream and upstream the river/coast". An exception would be Kuksuist confederations (i.e. the Knokhtai Confederation described in Chapter 14), focused around Khadalam near OTL Clear Lake in California) which qualify as neither states nor proto-states, as the villages and towns which they consist of are shifting and voluntary. Dena confederations (as described in Chapter 11) fall into a similar consideration.

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    Chapter 15-This Land Was Not Enough
  • -XV-
    "This Land Was Not Enough"

    Khutsleinaan, May 1125​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Khutsaayi laughed, holding up the skull.

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

    Suchui, July 18, 1125​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Esach'atuk, July 1125​

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

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

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

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

    "We attack!"

    "We bring the Lodgemaster down!"

    "We take them all for ourselves!"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    "Can we actually trust this Chakhwinak?"

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

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

    Ch'ayapachis, September 1125​

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

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

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

    "Animals for our supplies?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Author's notes​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

    Near Straumfjord, Vinland, 1005 AD​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Markland, May 1120​

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

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

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

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

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

    Magnus smiled.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [1] - Thule expansion is faster than OTL here thanks to their domesticated animals and greater population numbers (not like Lands of Ice and Mice-level though!). The Kinngait are the Dorset, of course, while Helleland is simply the modern Norse form of Helluland, aka Baffin Island. I'll be sticking to modern Scandinavian toponymy (instead of Old Norse or Icelandic) for that part of the world for reasons which will become clear sooner or later.
    [2] - These are roughly the OTL Chipewyan or Dene Suline, but greatly changed from having inherited the innovations of TTL's Dena. Note there is an OTL group of Dene Suline called the Sayisi, but it simply means "Eastern People" and for various reasons this name instead becomes applied to the entire group
    [3] - "Innu" will be a generic word for all Cree peoples much as "Dena" has been used for Athabaskans, as the Innu will be the first Cree group encountered by Europeans and cognates of Innu (meaning "person") appear in many Cree languages.
    [4] - Innu name for Newfoundland
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