Chapter 17-Toward Sunrise - Those Who Served Man
  • -XVII-
    "Towards Sunrise - Those Who Served Man"

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

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

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

    Indian reindeer (Rangifer tarandus indicus)​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Towey goat (Oreamnos americanus domesticus)​

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

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

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

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

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

    Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)​

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

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

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

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

    Village lynx (Lynx vinlandensis domesticus)​

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

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

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

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

    Fusanian moose (Alces alces fusanicus)​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Muskox (Ovibos moschatus escimaici)​

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

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

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

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

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

    Fusanian duck (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus)​

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

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

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

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

    Indian goose (Branta vinlandensis domesticus)​

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

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

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

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

    Acorn squirrel (Sciurus griseus domesticus)​

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Giant chuckwalla (Sauromalus hispidus x varius)​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    As ever, thanks for reading and comments are always appreciated

    [1] - This is the Porcupine caribou of Alaska, named for the Porcupine River which TTL is called Choujiku, a Japanese borrowing from Gwich'in. The Qhwai caribou is the extinct Queen Charlotte Islands caribou, the islands called Kuwai in Japanese TTL (from the local term "Qhwai")
    [2] - An ATL disease related to bovine tuberculosis (which also occurs in cervids). TTL the disease has mutated to a primarily cervid form which like bovine tuberculosis can occur in humans and has indeed produced a human form which co-exists alongside forms of tuberculosis already present in the Americas. We'll discuss diseases in more depth later on.
    [3] - Same etymology as the Ouachita Mountains, but a more Anglicised form. Here it refers to the entirety of the Ozarks
    [4] - The Nankama is the Chinese name for Yokutsan peoples, literally meaning "Southern Kama", "Kama" being the generic name for Central Valley peoples derived from the Wakashan exonym "Qatmaqatkh", "oak people".
    [5] - An ancestor of the Yeilkichi seen in Chapter 15--that Yeilkichi is his descendent who inherited his name. Originally I was going to present this Yeilkichi's exodus to Kechaniya during the Kerutsuka (Mount Churchill) eruption in Chapter 11 but couldn't find a way to make it work.
    [6] - Sqhweyemehl is New Westminster, BC
    [7] - Yaigani is the Seward Peninsula, its name the Japanese borrowing of regional Ringitsu Yaayqakhani, meaning "Land of Belugas"
    [8] - The Gulf of Anshu is the Gulf of California, "Anshu" being a Chinese term for Far South Fusania. The Kunke are the Seri/Comcaac people, this term a Chinese exonym.
     
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    Chapter 18-Towards Sunrise - Gifts From Here and Beyond
  • -XVIII-
    "Towards Sunrise - Gifts From Here and Beyond"

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

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

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

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

    ---​

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

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

    Western Agricultural Complex plants originating from South Fusania

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

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

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

    Milkweed (Asclepias vulgarum)​

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

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

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

    Kushi (Chlorogalum koeschi)​

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

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

    Peixi (Salvia columbariae)​

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

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

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

    Ricegrass (Oryzopsis hymenoides)​

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

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

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

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

    Beeplant (Cleome serrulata)​

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

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

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

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

    ---
    Crops from the East

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Squash (Cucurbita sp)​

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

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

    Beans (Phaseolus sp)​

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

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

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

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

    Sunflower (Helianthus annuus)​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sunchoke (Helianthus tuberosus)​

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

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

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

    Vinland rice (Zizania palustris)​

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

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

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

    Other plants​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Yellow cedar (Cupressus americana)​

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

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

    Oaks (Quercus sp)​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sugar pine (Pinus saccharum)​

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

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

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

    Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum)​

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

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

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

    Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)​

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

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

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

    Soringo (Malus fusca)​

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

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

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

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

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

    Birches (Betula sp)​

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

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

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

    Alders (Alnus sp)​

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

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

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

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

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

    Pinyon pine (Pinus subsect. Cembroides)​

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

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

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

    Mesquites (Prosopis sp)​

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Berries

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

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

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

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

    Spices

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

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

    Chili peppers (Capsicum sp)​

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

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

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

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

    Bay nut (Umbellularia fusanica)​

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

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

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

    Spiceshrub (Calycanthus occidentalis)​

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

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

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

    Fusanian ginger (Asarum caudatum)​

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

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

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

    Fusanian garlic (Allium fusanense)​

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

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

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

    ---
    Author's notes​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Oasisamerica and the Great Basin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Plains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Upper Misebian

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Middle Misebian

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Southeastern Woodlands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Great Lakes and Northeastern Woodlands

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Further Afield

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks for reading and comments are always appreciated!

    [1] - It seems fair to compare OTL Southwestern cultures like the earliest Hohokam, Mogollon, and Puebloans of 500 BC - early centuries AD to something like the Marpole Culture, especially when the latter TTL goes down the route toward agriculture (much as was occurring in the Southwest at the time)
    [2] - These are the Ancestral Puebloans, Hohokam, Mogollon, and Fremont cultures respectively. Here, greater trade links between the groups and larger population sizes (particularly in the latter) result in archaeologists preferring a directional terminology.
    [3] - Similar to OTL's Patayans and with the same name origin but radically diverging thanks to Fusanian influences. The Anquon/Ankuang River is the Colorado, from a Chinese adaption of a Yuman word for it (loaned in English via Spanish).
    [4] - Lake Pang is a Chinese modification of an indigenous term for Lake Cahuilla, the ancestral Salton Sea. The Ancin is the Gila River, from a Chinese adaption of a Yuman word for it (loaned in TTL's English via Spanish).
    [5] - The Payi (called Mutipi in their own language, Payi being the Chinese exonym) are the ATL Kumeyaay/Diegueño people, a Yuman-speaking group. The Chinese consider them a Haiyi people, but distinct from the more eastern Haiyi.
    [6] - While it's debateable whether the Hohokam were Piman/O'odham, I have chosen to represent some of their more famous places by Piman names. Aki Wamad is Snaketown while Wainom Kehk is Casa Grande
    [7] - Am Kukui is Pueblo Grande and Wecho Chekshani is the Gatlin Site near Gila Bend, AZ
    [8] - Rio Bravo/Rio Grande, a fusion of Spanish and English
    [9] - Ts'edehege is Mesa Verde and Sh'idiichi is Chaco Canyon, the former Tewa, the latter Keresan, going by theories as to the predominant (but by no means only) linguistic group who may have lived there.
    [10] - Respectively cultures akin to the OTL Opatas, Guarijos, Tepehuans/Lower Pimans and Tarahumara
    [11] - One theory holds the Mimbres culture (and some other Mogollon culture peoples) represent ancestral Zuni people. Piasihlito is Swarts Ruin near Faywood, NM. The Huequane River is the Mimbres River, named for a Hispanified Zuni word meaning "silver".
    [12] - Richfield, UT, Cedar City, UT and Lehi, UT respectively
    [13] - The Kaikwu are an alt-Kiowa, in particular more settled Kiowa. Fevauel is the Green River in Wyoming and Utah, and Senfolega is Vernal, UT
    [14] - OTL this area likely had a curious mix of people in Fremont culture times, including the Kiowa (who later migrated to the Northern Plains), other Puebloans like the Hopi, and plenty of Numic-speaking groups who often blended and melded with Numic-speakers from further west but their material culture tended to be fairly homogenous.
    [15] - An ATL archaeological culture, essentially an evolution of OTL peoples on the Snake River Plain as they became acculturated to influences from the Irikyaku culture (centered around the Imaru Plateau) and invading Dena peoples--some were pushed south into the desert, others were absorbed into the Tsupnitpelu or Dena.
    [16] - The ATL Mandan people, who TTL left the east a bit earlier
    [17] - The Nisatcha is the Missouri River while the Minesa is the Red River of the North
    [18] - Arikiritsiki is the OTL Cloverdale site near St. Joseph, MO and its culture, the Steed-Kisker culture, which TTL has developed along far more Mississippian lines and greatly increased in population density, wealth, and organisation so much it is instead called "Central Plains Mississippian" and is a cultural relative of the Caddoan Mississippian to its south.
    [19] - Nakuhmitsa is the Spiro Mounds in Spiro, OK and Mihithega is Cahokia in Cahokia, IL, two of the most prominent sites of Mississippian culture
    [20] - Nateshu is the Harlan Site in Cherokee County, OK
    [21] - Ohese is just downstream from Hanover, IL along the Apple River, which was a major site during Oneota times. Khemnitchan is Red Wing, MN, a major Oneota culture site. The sacred mountain in question is Barn Bluff, which I have used the name to refer to the city itself (much as Wayam, the name of the falls, became the name of the city there).
    [22] - Vikingsborg is the Aztalan Mounds in Wisconsin
    [23] - The Choyaha are the alt-Yuchi and Yunenekho is Mound Bottom, TN while Jonachiha is Castalian Springs, TN. The Pasucha are a Chiwere-speaking people (literally "red faces") and Vikingsborg is the Aztalan Mounds in WI
    [24] - The Choyaha is the Cumberland River while the Nigutcha is the Arkansas River (from a Dhegihan Siouan language), while the Pahateno is the Red River (from Caddoan)
    [25] - Wewoka is Florence, AL and Okaholla is Moundville in Alabama--both were sites of some note in 12th century Alabama
    [26] - Ohoshetak is the Winterville Site in Washington County, MS
     
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    Map 4-North American cultural areas (1150 AD)
  • Here is the map portraying the cultural areas of North America (north of Mesoamerica) in the year 1150 AD. Zoom in to read the accompanying text or the names of important regional centers. Chronologically, this map belongs after Chapter 19.

    PWnVUgw.png
     
    Appendix A-Peoples of Fusania
  • -Appendix A-
    Peoples of Fusania
    The following is an appendix of various cultures and ethnic groups which existed in Fusania in the early 2nd millennium, organised by region and listed by their endonym. Some alternate names are listed as well. A brief description of their culture and lifestyle is provided.

    Far Northwest

    Hlinkit (endonym)/Ringitsu (Japanese exonym)
    The Ringitsu are a people of the Far Northwest who were at the forefront of the so-called Fusanian Agricultural Revolution. They culturally fused their traditional sedentary fishing/gathering economy with Dena pastoralism and earthwork construction which in time led to intensive horticulture and eventually true agriculture, although the Ringitsu considered it the work of slaves. At the same time, the Ringitsu developed whaling traditions as a means of prestige and with it became expert seafarers. Their homeland was known as Ringitania.

    The expanding Ringitsu population combined with the relative poverty of their homeland and occasional natural disasters like the eruption of Kerutsuka [1] in 838 produced numerous migrations. Blocked in the south by the fierce Khaida and blocked in the north and east by both geography and the Dena, the Ringitsu migrations focused westwards along the coast, conquering and driving out numerous local peoples and settling islands like Kechaniya (natively Keilchaniya). Finding the trade in ivory even further west to be equally rich and gaining knowledge of new whale migrations, the Ringitsu pressed even further west and settled places like Khutsleinaan on the Ringitanian Sea and even further north on the Yaigani Peninsula [2]. Other Ringitsu raided to the south as one of the Coastmen raiders.

    Unangakh (endonym)/Guteikh (Ringitsu exonym)/Aritsu (Japanese exonym)
    The Unangakh are the indigenous people at the coastal fringes of the Far Northwest on the Anasugi (natively Anaaski) Peninsula and Manjima Islands [3], distantly related to other Arctic peoples like the Inuit and Yupik. The Ringitsu called them the Guteikh, evidently comparing them to a related people they conquered during their expansions west. The Unangakh are a fishing and whaling culture, but their isolation and poorer land prevented development along the lines of the Ringitsu.

    Yupik (endonym)/Hanashaku (archaic Japanese exonym)/Kh'adassak (derogatory Ringitsu exonym)
    The Yupik are an indigenous people of the Arctic, living on the coastal tundras and along the rivers. Their lifestyle changed immensely thanks to the arrival of reindeer pastoralism and the increase in trade that brought. However, the Yupik still are largely a culture of small-scale herders, fishermen, whalers, and sealers.

    Like the Unangakh, they faced pressure from both the Ringitsu and the Dena who wished to expand into their lands for additional pastures and for ivory and seal pelts. The Unangakh themselves began expanding across the Strait of Ringitania into North Asia, where they clashed with the local Chacchou [4] people. Further, the Unangakh absorbed a wave of Inuit immigrating for similar reasons. With their reindeer and muskox herding they pressed along the coast against the Chacchou, often taking lands even the hardy Chacchou didn't want as they expanded north along the coast of the Arctic Ocean.

    Inuit (endonym)/Hanashaku (archaic Japanese exonym)
    The Inuit are a culture of pastoralists and whalers living along the Arctic Sea coast. Few people live in environments so harsh, yet the Inuit thrive in this land. The Inuit initially lived along the Straits of Ringitania and adjacent Arctic Coast yet in the 7th century the Inuit began migrating west and in the course of a few centuries pushed all the way to Greenland, displacing, absorbing, and destroying the previous Kinngait culture. [5] The Inuit in the 12th century live across thousands of kilometers of Arctic, inhabiting numerous different ecological niches from pastoralists to whalers to even sedentary horticulturalists in the case of the Tetjo Delta [6] Inuit. They became one of the most important trading partners of the Norse thanks to their access to gold, ivory, and above all, muskox pelts which could be rendered into an extremely soft and warm fabric called oxwool.

    Dena (endonym)
    The term Dena (or variations like Dine, Dene, etc.) is the endonym for numerous Dena-speaking peoples living in the hills, valleys, forests, and plateaus of the Far Northwest and areas immediately south. They lived a wide variety of lifestyles, with the Dena in colder and harsher environments living as reindeer pastoralists, the Dena at the northern fringes of the Imaru Basin living as farmers, to the Plains Dena living as bison hunters and the coastal Yatupah'en Dena living as fishermen and whalers. Although the Dena languages were very similar thanks to their recent mid-1st millennia expansion out of the Hentsuren basin, their lifestyles vastly differed.

    The Dena hold a special role in the history of the North America thanks to their domestication of the reindeer along the Hentsuren River starting in the 1st century AD, supposedly accomplished by a figure named "the Lord of the Ground". Along with it, they began more intensive horticulture of plant resources to feed their new herds eventually leading to sedentary trading centers like Nuklukayet and Taghatili (or Nukurugawa and Tachiri [7]. This began the process that led to agricultural civilisation all along the West Coast in Fusania as domesticated plants and reindeer spread south alongside migratory Dena. These Dena, alongside non-reindeer herding Dena who were quickly acculturated by them, settled these southern lands becoming the Tanne people (Coast Dena) and the ancestors of the Inde (Southern Dena). Against the peoples they met along the Imaru and Furuge (or Whulge) [8], they culturally fused with them and served as a ruling class. Some Dena in this area settled in the mountains but by the 12th century increasingly assimilated into neighbouring non-Dena cultures.

    As Dena languages formed a dialect continuum, distinguishing individual Dena groups was typically done by both language and cultural practices. Notable Dena peoples included the Khwadzih'en (or Hawajin to the Japanese) near the headwaters of the Shisutara, the Tsetih'in (or Sechihin to the Japanese) in the American Divides, the Sayisi as the furthest east Dena group, the coastal whaling Yatupah'en (or Yatsuppen to the Japanese), and the sedentary agriculturist Yilqhanin (or Ieruganin to the Japanese) along the Gangou River [9].

    Ts'msha (endonym)/Tsusha (Japanese)
    "Ts'msha" or Tsusha is the common name given to speakers of Tsimshianic languages who live along coastal fjords and in the interior in some river valleys. They were considered by neighbouring peoples to be spiritually powerful and the creators of many cultural traditions. The Sibling Twins, a god and goddess claimed as the originators of North Fusanian dualistic, were traditionally believed to be Tsusha by nearly all groups who practiced those traditions. The Ts'msha were a Coastman group and embarked on numerous raids, but the Ts'msha were mainly traders, known for trading vast quantities of eulachon oil, shells, and other coastal products to the interior in exchange for jade, precious metals, and livestock.

    Khaida (endonym)/Dekina (Ringitsu/archaic Japanese exonym)/Kaida (Japanese exonym)
    The Khaida lived on the island of Qhwai, or Kuwai, and parts of the mainland immediately to the east. They were early adopters of pastoralism and horticulture and despite their rugged island home, among the most powerful of the Far Northwest peoples. Like many Coastmen groups, the monopolisation of land for use as reindeer pastures and an ever-expanding population created the conditions for a raiding culture to arise, and with their skill at whaling and seafaring, Khaida raiders struck far to the south starting in the mid-8th century, notably sacking the Namal city of Tlat'sap in 857 [10]. They continued these raids for many years afterwards, becoming among the most feared Coastmen people.

    Hailtsaq (endonym)/Uikara (Japanese exonym)
    The Hailtsaq are a group of Coastmen living along the central and southern fjords north of Wakashi Island. [11] They lived among the most rugged and mountainous part of the coast and were among the least agricultural peoples in the area as a result, instead practicing pastoralism and especially fishing and whaling. They were a Wakashan-speaking people with their language related to Lik'wil'dak and more distantly related to the Southern Wakashan or Atkhic languages and had similar culture and traditions. While smaller in number and poorer in resources than their neighbours, they made up for it with their skill in combat and seafaring.

    Wakashi Island

    Southern Khaida/Dekina (Ringitsu/archaic Japanese exonym)/Kaida
    The Southern Khaida are an offshoot of the Khaida who settled on the northwestern tip of Wakashi Island. The most rugged and harsh part of the island, they transplanted their lifestyle from their homeland and practiced pastoralism, horticulture, and whaling. During the 9th century, Khaida settlement increasingly penetrated this part of the island as they conquered and displaced the ancestors of the Lik'wil'dak who migrated south.

    Lik'wil'dak (endonym)/Rigadaku (Japanese exonym)
    The Lik'wil'dak are a Northern Wakashan people although their culture has many similarities to the Atkhs to their south. They mostly live off the sea but have significant herds of reindeer. A Coastman group, the Lik'wil'dak often raid the coasts for personal prestige and fortune.

    The Lik'wil'dak once lived to the northwest of their present location in center-east Wakashi, but the Khaida drove them out of this land from the 8th - 10th centuries. Hardened by this constant fighting with the Khaida, the Lik'wil'dak pushed southeast and drove out a group of Whulchomic people.

    Atkh (endonym)/Attsu (Japanese exonym)
    The Atkh people are a Southern Wakashan people and one of the most notorious of the Coastmen groups. Their culture lived on the rough and rainy western coast of Wakashi Island and evolved to focus on pastoralism, limited agriculture, and significant mariculture with seaweed and shellfish farming, in addition to traditional fishing and whaling activities. Whaling, restricted to nobles, granted great prestige to successful whalers and was of crucial importance to their culture and economy.

    Faced with Coastman raids and an expanding population, the Atkhs increasingly raided the coast themselves starting in the 8th century and formed the spearhead of the Wakashan Expansion south. Atkh raiders and warlords and their followers conquered numerous coastal lands, spreading the innovations of their homeland and gradually assimilating the local populations or otherwise "Wakashanising" them. Some of these offshoot cultures of the Atkhs ended up highly distinct.

    Not only raiders, the Atkhs are also extensive traders, and Trade Wakashan is a common pidgin spoken from Ringitania to South Fusania.

    Northern High Plains

    Gunahu (endonym)/Teftjahen (Norse exonym)
    The Gunahu are a group of Plains-dwelling pastoralists who live along the Keskatjeven River [12] which they called the Teftjahen, a synonymous term but one often given in particular to the eastern branch of the Gunahu. They are culturally and linguistically linked to the Ringitsu of the coast, but split from them no later than the 5th century AD and adopted many Dena customs as they migrated inland. They are thus heavily influenced linguistically and to some degree culturally by the Dena.

    Plains Salish
    The Plains Salish are a Salishan people who live on the High Plains. They separated from the Mountain Salish in the 10th century thanks to drought and conflict with the Dena and moved onto the High Plains. They are a pastoralist people herding reindeer and towey goats. but the most crucial animal is perhaps the bison they hunt which forms the basis of their trade and a significant part of their diet.

    Although considered barbarians by other Salishan-speaking peoples, their links to Fusanian culture proved essential in introducing Fusanian crops and agriculture to the Plains and beyond.

    Ktanakha (endonym)
    The Ktanakha are a pastoralist people who live on the High Plains at the foothills of the American Divides. They once mostly lived to the west of the mountains but due to conflict with the Dena fled east. Strong rivals of the Dena, they continue to contest the trade routes over the mountains. The Ktanakha live much as their Dena rivals as they raise reindeer and towey goats and rely heavily on the bison for trade goods and food.

    Imaru Basin and Furuge

    Whulchomish (endonym)/Tlaasatkh (Atkh exonym)/Furusattsu (Japanese exonym)
    The Whulchomish ("People of Whulge") are a Whulchomic people living on the coast of the central and southern Whulge and immediately inland. They lived mainly as fishermen and farmers and were said to be the best at farming and building earthworks in all the Whulge. Like all Whulchomic peoples, they had a defensive outlook thanks to constant raids by the Coastmen and Dena.

    Tlatlechamish (endonym)/Tlaasatkh (Atkh exonym)/Furusattsu (Japanese exonym)
    The Tlatlechamish ("People of the Islands") are a Whulchomic people living on the peninsulas and islands of the Central Whulge coast and in the southeasternmost corners of Wakashi Island. They lived mainly as fishermen and farmers and were skillful at building boats. Like all Whulchomic peoples, they had a defensive outlook thanks to constant raids by the Coastmen and Dena.

    Lelemakh (endonym)/Tlaasatkh (Atkh exonym)/Furusattsu (Japanese exonym)
    The Lelemakh ("People of Salt [Water]") are a Whulchomic group living near the mouth of the Shisutara River and the lowlands around it. A separate yet related branch, the Island Lelemakh, lived immediately across the straits on Wakashi Island and practiced a similar culture. They lived as farmers and pastoralists, having likely been the group who domesticated the mountain goat into the modern towy goat due to their famed blankets made from goat wool. Like all Whulchomic peoples, they had a defensive outlook thanks to constant raids by the Coastmen and Dena.

    Shlpalmish (endonym)/Soramishi (Japanese exonym)/Furusattsu (Japanese exonym)
    The Shlpalmish are a Whulchomic people of the Imaru Basin. They speak a Whulchomic language but due to stronger influence by the Dena, Namals, and Aipakhpam, practice different traditions than their brethren to the northwest. For instance, they have a much greater tradition of reindeer and mountain goat pastoralism than other groups which they are known for. The Shlpalmish once lived on the coast alongside related Whulchomic peoples but constant raids from
    the Wakashans forced them inland.

    Shilkh (endonym)/Shiruhi (Japanese exonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Shilkh are a Chiyatsuru people of the upper Imaru Basin. They are the largest and most widespread grouping of Chiyatsuru and as a result have significant internal divisions. They are mostly farmers who irrigate the river valleys in which they reside but some rely heavily on pastoralism. Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers.

    Schits'uumish (endonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Schits'uumish are a Chiyatsuru people who live near Lake Khanch'amqinkwe [13] at the edge of the Imaru Basin. They are small in number and territory thanks to repeated conflict with the Dena. The Shilkh irrigated their river valleys to farm in but also relied on much reindeer pastoralism. Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers and their land in particular is rich in silver.

    Skowatsanakh (endonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Skowatsanakh are a Chiyatsuru people who live in the mid-Imaru Basin. They are a defensive people thanks to frequent warfare with the Dena to their northwest and the Aipakhpam cities to their south. They lived off fishing and irrigated farmland. Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers.

    Qhlispe (endonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Qhlispe are a Chiyatsuru people at the eastern fringe of the Imaru Plateau who live in the river valleys there. They are closely related to the Schits'uumish in language and culture but possess many distinctions of their own. They farm in their river valleys but also rely heavily on pastoralism. The Qhlispe culturally value camas, hence their name often translated "camas people". Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers.

    Nhlekepmkh (endonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Nhlekepmkh are a Chiyatsuru people of the Shisutara River and Chiguta River [14]. They live under the control of the Dena but otherwise retain many Nhlekepmkh customs unlike some other Chiyatsuru people. They irrigate their river valleys to farm and supply food to the Dena. Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers.

    Stl'atl'emkh (endonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Stl'atl'emkh are a Chiyatsuru people of the Upper Shisutara River. Some live under Dena control while others remain self-governed, although like many Chiyatsuru their nobility is of Dena origin. They are somewhat influenced by the Whulchomic people downstream unlike other Chiyatsuru. Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers.

    Slet'ewhsi (endonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Slet'ewhsi are a Dena-ised group of Chiyatsuru. They are intermediate in culture and language between the nearby Qhlispe and the Mountain Salish but have clear Dena influences in both language and culture. They are small-scale agriculturists but are mainly reindeer and goat pastoralists living in the valleys of the American Divides. Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers.

    Mountain Salish (endonym)/Chiyatsuru (Japanese exonym)
    The Mountain Salish are a Dena-ised group of Chiyatsuru, most closely related to the Plains Salish who split from them. They are small-scale agriculturists but derived most of their livelihood from reindeer and goat pastoralism. Like all Chiyatsuru people, they are skilled metalworkers.

    Aipakhpam (endonym)/Aihamu (Japanese exonym)
    The Aipakhpam, meaning "people of the plains" are a people of the mid-Imaru River and its tributaries. They emerged thanks to influences from Wayam [15], their greatest city, where the cultures of the Namals and the Aipakhpam met and fused. They built irrigation channels to farm in the arid Imaru Plateau, and increasing build terraces--they are regarded as perhaps the best farmers and traders in the Imaru Plateau. Much of the Fusanian culture and lifestyle owes its existence to the Aipakhpam and especially Wayam.

    Namal (endonym)/Namaru (Japanese exonym)
    The Namals live in the lower Imaru Basin amidst its valleys, hills, and forests. They live under the control of powerful rulers who tamed the rivers and forests in which they reside. The Namals are farmers and expert silviculturists, and also great traders thanks to their control of the Lower Imaru River and the passage to Wayam. As such, the Namals are wealthy and numerous, and also powerful as they organised to defend their land against Coastmen and Dena raids. Because of their links to Wayam, they are often considered as one of the groups at the root of Fusanian culture.

    Amim (endonym)/Amimu (Japanese exonym)
    The Amim live in the Irame Valley, the fertile valley of a large tributary of the Imaru River [16]. They are a diverse group of farmers and pastoralists and among the most numerous of Fusanian ethnic groups thanks to the fertility of their land. The Amim are often raided by the surrounding cultures such as the Amorera, Tanne, Atkhs, and Namals for slaves and have frequently come under the control of nearby Namal city-states. The Amim are among the finest at forestry in Fusania and readily adopted oak silviculture spreading from the south.

    Valley Tanne
    Although they do not live in the Imaru Basin, the Valley Tanne are usually grouped alongside them for their similar culture and great distinction from nearby Hill Tanne people. They live in the valleys of the Kanawachi and Yanshuuji [17] and appear to be a cultural fusion of sedentary groups culturally related to the Amims and invading Tanne. Their language is distinct from other Tanne languages and has a large substrate of a Penutian language. Unlike many other Dena, the Valley Tanne are farmers who irrigate their valleys and pastoralism plays only a minor role in their culture. They are known to be skilled traders and play an important role as middlemen in the trade routes of Fusania.

    Central Fusanian borderlands and coast

    Amorera (Japanese exonym)
    The Amorera are a hill people of the Imaru Basin, herding reindeer and towey goats for their lifestyle in the Grey Mountains [18] at the fringe of the Plateau. They often cross between the mountain passes as raiders and traders, but contend with the Liksiyu and Dena who they often compete with. They are enemies of the Amim people in the Irame Valley and the Aipakhpam along the Imaru.

    Hill Tanne
    The Hill Tanne live in the mountains and hills north and west of the Central Valley to the headwaters of the Irame River. They are an offshoot of the Dena and arrived early in the American Migration Period. The Hill Tanne lived much like the Dena and herded reindeer and goats for a living. They frequently traded with neighbouring people, but also often raided them for slaves or livestock.

    There are numerous Hill Tanne peoples, although they all practiced similar customs and spoke closely related languages.

    Coast Tanne
    The Coast Tanne live in the coastal hills and cliffs of the rugged coast between the area of Tappatsu and the Yanshuuji River. They are related to the Valley Tanne and Hill Tanne peoples as offshoots of the Dena people of the north, having settled in their homeland in the early 1st millennia. The Coast Dena are distinguished from their kin by being heavily Wakashanised thanks to settlement during the Wakashan Expansions. As a result, they are mostly a fishing people living off the sea with some reindeer and towey goat pastoralism, and are ruled by prestigious whaling nobles.

    Onekwol (endonym)/Dachimashi (Japanese exonym)
    The Onekwol are a coastal people in the borderlands between North and South Fusania, living at the mouth of the Ueno River [19] and nearby mountains. They are a heavily Wakashanised maritime culture, living as fishermen and pastoralists under the rule of whaling nobles.

    Notably, they speak a language distantly related to the Algonquian languages of the Northeastern Woodlands and at one point lived near the Imaru River before migrating far to the south around the start of the American Migration Period

    Hanis (endonym)/Kusu (Japanese exonym)
    The Kusu are a coastal people living around Minugichi Bay (or Minukwits in their language) [19], one of the few safe harbors in that portion of the Pacific Coast. They were heavily Wakashanised over the centuries and practice a similar culture to other coastal people, living as fishermen and pastoralists with a prestigious whaling nobility. They are largely clustered in their city state of Hanisits. [20]

    Maqlaqs (endonym)/Maguraku (Japanese exonym)
    The Maqlaqs are an interior people living by Lake Hewa and the headwaters of the Ueno River at the fringe of the desert. They live on the trade routes of the region and as a result became the first agricultural group in the region although they still raise many towey goats and reindeer. They are known for being slave raiders, with the slaves either sold at their central city of Ewallona [21] or marched up the river to sell at Wayam. Powerful and expansionistic, the Maqlaqs expanded into the Upper Mowa River [22] and displaced the ancestors of the Natsiwi. The Maqlaqs who live here are known for their groves of sugar pines as much as the Maqlaqs of Lake Hewa are known for farming the wokas lily, a culturally preferred food first domesticated there.

    Liksiyu (endonym)/Uereppu (Japanese exonym)/Ancestral Cayuse (historiographical term)
    The Liksiyu are a group of pastoralists in the mountains at the northern fringes of the Great Basin. They are reindeer and goat herding pastoralists who occasionally farm. The Liksiyu are frequent raiders of the Aipakhpam settlements to their north along the river, although they just as often serve as traders of metals, animals, and salt. The Aipakhpam envy parts of their land and seek to expand into it.

    Northern Nama (endonym)
    The Northern Nama are a diverse group of Numic-speaking peoples who live in the deserts of the Great Basin and surrounding regions. They are horticultural pastoralists who grow hardy desert crops along the washes and rivers of the desert to feed their flocks of towey goats and ducks. Like many in the desert, the Nama trade salt, livestock, metals, and slaves to peoples at the fringes, but are also notorious raiders.

    Natsiwi (endonym)
    The Natsiwi are a people of the Great Basin who live in some of the harshest deserts in North America. They originated on the Upper Mowa River but became displaced eastward by constant Maguraku slave raids over the centuries. They venerate the sugar pine for its sweet sap, wood, and pine nuts. The seeds they brought to their new desert homeland became the ancestors of the disjunct population of sugar pines which grow in the highest mountains of the Great Basin.

    Washiwa (endonym)/Woshu (Chinese exonym)
    The Washiwa are a people living at the fringe of the Great Basin in the mountains along the lakes and rivers near Lake Dahuo [23]. They are sedentary pastoralists, venerating their groves of pinyon pines which hold a place of high importance in their Kuksuist faith. Their towns are important trading centers, although their wealth often attracts raids from the Nama and others.

    South Fusania

    Central Coast Atkhs/Xi (Chinese exonym)
    The Central Coast Atkhs is the term for those Atkhic peoples who speak Central Atkhic languages. They share many traits of their northern kin, from being prominent whalers to their skill at seafaring, but adopted greatly from peoples they conquered due to both intermarriage and environmental conditions. Notably, they nearly abandoned reindeer pastoralism due to the local conditions and instead focused heavily on towey goat herding. Similarly, they venerated the redwood in place of the red cedar. The Central Coast Atkhs were some of the most prominent raiders in all Fusania, attacking villages and towns throughout South Fusania under famous Coastmen like Chakhwinek and Khutsaayi.

    They were called the Xi by the Chinese thanks to a misinterpretation of the name of one of their principle city, Tahsis, located on Daxi Bay [24], which took its name from their city. The Chinese applied the name Xi to many of the Central Coast Atkhic peoples they met.

    Knokhtaic peoples (historiographical term)
    The Knokhtaic peoples are the term for those speaking Knokhtaic languages, who shared a similar culture. They lived in the coastal hills and mountains between the Pacific and the Central Valley, and are so named for their veneration of Mount Knokhtai [25]. A Kuksuist people, the central Kuksuist lodge in the area often held sway over most of the Knokhtaic peoples in the form of a very loose, village-centered confederation as common in much of South Fusania. They were herders of towey goats and silviculturists and often faced raids from the Tanne and Wakashans.

    The five extent Knokhtaic groups were called by the Chinese Poma, Kaiya, Daiya, Xiaoya, and Xiaomi, although these were mostly linguistic groupings typically not recognised by the Knokhtaic peoples themselves.

    Micha (endonym/Chinese exonym)
    The Micha are a group inhabiting the northern shores and hills of Daxi Bay. Kuksuist in religion, they are a group of fishermen and silviculturists mostly tending to their groves of acorns and flocks of towey goats. They are related to the larger and wealthier Miwa people of the Central Valley.

    Muwema (endonym)/Menma (Chinese exonym)
    The Muwema (among other variations) are a group of related peoples living along the South Fusanian coast or in the valleys nearby. They lived mainly as silviculturists, tending to their acorn groves alongside fishing and some agriculture. In the valleys, the Muwema relied more heavily on agriculture. Religiously they practiced Kuksuism although their practice was often different than that of the Central Valley.

    Ch'arsel (endonym)/Beikama (Chinese exonym)/Qatmaqatkh (Atkh exonym)
    The Ch'arsel live in northern parts of the Central Valley and are among the Kama peoples. Their central city, Pasnomsono [26], is known for its high-quality smithing and is a major trading center, and many Ch'arsel work as miners in the hills nearby. A Kuksuist people, Pasnomsono's lodge is among the most influential. The Ch'arsel also farm great quantities of food to supply this industry.

    The Patwin, or Southern Ch'arsel, are sometimes considered a separate group although they live a similar lifestyle. In their territory lies Onolaitol, a sacred mountain rising high above the floor of the Central Valley. This is the holiest site of the Kuksuist religion, where the Restorer was born, where he reshaped Kuksuism into an even more potent force, and where he successfully protected the world from being destroyed during a eclipse at the cost of his life. The city of Koru [27] at the foothills hosts the holiest lodge in the otherwise decentralised Kuksuist faith. The Patwin grow great quantities of food amidst their earthworks to feed the many pilgrims and traders who come to Koru.

    Miwa (endonym)/Xikama (Chinese exonym)/Qatmaqatkh (Atkh exonym)
    The Miwa, often called the Xikama, are a Kama people of the Central Valley. They lived toward the central and western parts of the valley. A Kuksuist people, the Miwa built earthworks for flood control and irrigation in order to tap the rich soils of the Central Valley.

    Maha/Dongkama (Chinese exonym)/Qatmaqatkh (Atkh exonym)
    The Maha, often called the Dongkama, are one of the Kama peoples who live in the Central Valley of South Fusania. They live on the central-eastern edge of the valley, living in villages and towns around the streams and rivers as farmers building great earthworks to tame the waters of the area. They are Kuksuists like the other Kama groups.

    T'ahat'i (endonym)/Nankama (Chinese exonym)/Qatmaqatkh (Atkh exonym)
    The T'ahat'i, often called the Nankama, were a Kama people of the Central Valley and adjacent foothills, living in the south of the valley. They lived in the driest part of the Central Valley so practiced irrigation and earthworks more extensively, necessary to tame the intermittent streams and vast swamps and lakes on which they lived. Like other Kama, they were farmers and practiced the Kuksuist faith.

    K'ahusani (endonym)/Sani (Chinese exonym)
    The K'ahusani lived in the Yuliu Delta [28] and eastern edge of Daxi Bay. They were farmers and fishermen and experts in building earthworks and waterworks, and culturally (for instance, they did not practice Kuksuism) and linguistically distinct from neighbouring Kama peoples and the Muwema thanks to their ultimate origin in the Waluo people from North Fusania. In the floods and warfare of the 11th century, they split from the related Kahosadi and arrived in their current homeland after migrating across the Central Valley. They were rich and powerful thanks to controlling the flow of trade in and out of the Central Valley.

    Nimi (endonym)/Monuo (Chinese exonym)
    The Nimi, often called the Monuo, lived in the deserts to the west and southwest of the Central Valley, preferring the deep valleys at this fringe of the Great Basin which were among the hottest places on Earth. They were among the first agriculturists in South Fusania, irrigating their desert with the rivers and lakes there, and were culturally related to other Numic-speaking peoples. Although they were not Kuksuists (and held a deep enmity with the neighbouring Nankama, their society had similar customs and social organisation like the Kuksuist lodges.

    Mai (endonym)/Mayi (Chinese exonym)
    The Mai people live in the mountains at the eastern edge of the Central Valley. They are pastoralists famed as towey goat herders and follow Kuksuism. They often raid the valley below and are disliked by many there both for this and for cheating merchants and travelers with exhorbitant tolls to pass through their territory. The Mai are perhaps the most powerful group in these mountains. The Mai are linguistic and cultural kin to the Dongkama.

    Yana (endonym)/Yayi (Chinese exonym)
    The Yana people live in the mountains near the Central Valley, preferring remote parts of the land where their enemies find it difficult to travel. They are a pastoralist people who occasionally raid the valley below, although they are much poorer than the Mai due to their poorer land.

    Kahosadi (endonym)/Walkh (various groups' exonyms)/Waluo (Chinese exonym)
    The Kahosadi live in the mountains at the eastern edge of the Central Valley. Their ancestors once lived far to the north along the Yanshuuji and Ueno Rivers before being pushed south by the Tanne and often being absorbed by them. The Kahosadi live as pastoralists in the mountains, trading with and raiding the valley below. During the chaos of the 11th century, some Kahosadi tribes split off and migrated to the Yuliu Delta to become the Sani.

    T'epot'ahl (endonym)
    The T'epot'ahl are a people living in the coastal hills, mountains, and valleys. They are pastoralists and silviculturists tending to their groves of oaks which gave them their endonym which meant "people of the oaks". They are rivals of the Muwema who seek to expand into their land. The T'epot'ahl, like their neighbours, practice the Kuksuist faith.

    Far South Fusania

    Chuma peoples (Chinese exonym)
    The Chuma peoples live along the coast at the traditional northern borders of Far South Fusania. The Chuma are perhaps the greatest sailors of the South Fusanians, building fine-quality ships for fishing and coastal trade. Many Chuma also live in the interior valleys of this region, mostly tending to groves of oaks and their towey goats. The Chuma practiced the Antapist faith which centered around a society whose leaders communed with the gods through consumption of the psychoactive datura plant.

    Kizh (endonym)/Jiqi (Chinese exonym)
    The Kizh live along the coast and in nearby valleys, harvesting from the orchards of oaks they tend and fishing the waters offshore. Like the Chuma, they are great sailors, although perhaps not as good of boat builders. The Quaoarist faith originated in Jiqi lands. Similar to Kuksuism, it worships a legendary culture hero and is organised into a powerful network of lodges.

    Ivitam (endonym)/Yiweidang (Chinese exonym)
    The Ivitam live in the deserts and mountains of Far South Fusania near Lake Pang [29], a dry lakebed which often turns into a large freshwater lake and then a saltwater lake for decades or centuries at a time. They are a Quaoarist people and especially prize the orchards of pinyon pines they tend to which hold great spiritual significance to them in addition to their practical value. The Ivitam are mostly pastoralists and farmers.

    Yuhaviatam (endonym)/Yuweidang (Chinese exonym)
    The Yuhaviatam live in the interior mountains and valleys of Far South Fusania living mainly as pastoralists and horticulturalists. They are followers of Quaoarism and like their cultural kin the Yiweidang, they zealously guard their groves of pinyon pines.

    Mutipi (endonym)/Payi (Chinese exonym)
    The Mutipi live along the coast and coastal hills of Far South Fusania, mostly as sedentary fishermen, acorn gatherers, and farmers. They are linguistic kin of the Haiyic peoples to their east, but culturally are much more similar to the nearby Jiqi and Yiweidang. Like many in Far South Fusania, the Mutipi are Quaoarists.

    Haiyi (Chinese exonym)
    The Haiyi and other Haiyic peoples live at the far southeast of Fusania along the Anquon River [30] and in adjacent areas. Their cultural realm was known as the Patayan culture. Culturally they are transitional between the Puebloans of Oasisamerica and the cultures of South Fusania, and farm a mix of crops like maize and beans but also Fusanian omodaka. In addition, they cultivated mesquite groves which were linked to rituals in their religion. The Haiyi placed great value in dream interpretation, far more than most societies, and practiced a distinct form of Quaoarism. They were an important community on the trade routes between Fusania and Oasisamerica.

    ---
    Author's notes

    The point of this appendix is to serve as a handy reference material that can be read at any point in the TL so I've tried to avoid putting in material from anything but the first few entries. I've also tried to avoid spoilers so the description of the groups is often pretty brief and basic, although some groups are more lavishly described for a variety of reasons. Much of this entry reproduces Map 2 and Map 3 (I finally uploaded the corrected version) in text form, so to follow along see those maps.

    There's a couple groups which will have a minor role in Far South Fusania that I've missed but otherwise this is every group I've mentioned so far. I'll continue to update this appendix when I get around to those groups and likely make a note of it in this post when I update. I will also update as I include a bit more information on some Imaru Basin peoples I otherwise haven't mentioned much, but it won't include spoilers. A few groups which would exist in this time period (a couple of Dena groups transitional between Northern Dena and the Tanne, some coastal Western Hillmen and some South Fusanians well into the process of being assimilated by various groups) are also not listed here.

    I don't plan on including non-Fusanian groups (i.e. Puebloans, Mississippians, etc.) in the appendix at this time, simply because they aren't the focus here. I've reproduced all the notes on alternate terminology, toponyms, etc. since this is an appendix and meant as a useful resource.

    I can also answer any questions on the fate of any particular archaeological culture or ancestors of any OTL group in this region.

    [1] - Kerutsuka is the Ringitsu name for the volcano Mount Churchill, meaning "ash mouth" after its massive eruption in the early 9th century which I have assigned to be the year 838.
    [2] - Kechaniya (or Keilchaniya in its native language) is Kodiak Island, while Khutsleinaan is Naknek, AK. The Ringitanian Sea is the Bering Sea, while the Yaigani Peninsula is the Seward Peninsula.
    [3] - The Anasugi/Anaaski Peninsula is the Alaska Peninsula and the Manjima Islands are the Aleutians
    [4] - Chacchou is the Japanese term for the Chukchi
    [5] - The Kinngait Culture is the Dorset culture, similar to OTL but named for the Inuit name for Cape Dorset, Kinngait
    [6] - The Tetjo Delta is the Mackenzie Delta, where the Tetjo River enters the Arctic
    [7] - The Hentsuren River is the Yukon River, Nuklukayet is Tanana, AK, and Taghatili is Nenana, AK
    [8] - The Imaru River is the Columbia River and the Furuge is the Japanese term for the Whulge, or Salish Sea (including Puget Sound)
    [9] - The Shisutara River is the Fraser River, the American Divides are the Rocky Mountains, and the Gangou River is the Kootenay River, called Kwunkoh in Yilqhanin
    [10] - Kuwai is Haida Gwaii/Queen Charlotte Islands, and Tlat'sap is Astoria, OR.
    [11] - Wakashi Island is Vancouver Island, so named for the common expression in Nuu-chah-nulth (TTL's Atkhs/Attsu) roughly pronounced "wakash" meaning "good" which OTL gave us the name of the Wakashan language family
    [12] - The Keskatjeven is the Saskatchewan River
    [13] - Lake Khanch'amqinkwe is Lake Coeur d'Alene
    [14] - The Chiguta River is the Thompson River
    [15] - Wayam is Celilo Falls and refers to the villages on either side of it, the present day locations of Celilo, OR and Wishram, WA near The Dalles, OR.
    [16] - The Irame is the Willamette
    [17] - The Kanawachi is the Umpqua River and the Yanshuuji is the Rogue River
    [18] - The Grey Mountains are the Cascades
    [19] - The Ueno River is the Klamath River
    [20] - Minugichi Bay/Minukwits is Coos Bay (the body of water), while Hanisits is the city of Coos Bay, OR
    [21] - Lake Hewa is Klamath Lake and Ewallona is Klamath Falls, OR
    [22] - The Mowa is the Pit River
    [23] - Lake Dahuo is Lake Tahoe
    [24] - This particular Tahsis (it's a common toponym meaning "gateway") is San Francisco, CA, while Daxi Bay is San Francisco Bay
    [25] - Mount Knokhtai is Mount Konocti in California
    [26] - Pasnomsono is Redding, CA
    [27] - Onolaitol is the Sutter Buttes and Koru is Colusa, CA
    [28] - The Yuliu Delta is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and refers to the Yuliu River, or San Joaquin River
    [29] - Lake Pang is Lake Cahuilla, the ancestral Salton Sea
    [30] - The Anquon River is the Colorado River
     
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    Chapter 20-The Heart of the Four Corners
  • -XX-
    The Heart of the Four Corners

    ---
    Eishou-ji, Ishikari Province, 1499
    Jikken could not put down the Soui prince's book. Although he was sure he was missing many metaphors, clever prose, and even the finer details of the text thanks to the nigh-impenetrable Namaru language and the strange script it was written in, just the details he understood filled his mind with amazement. In this book, that man described tales of a world so different from his own, full of people with strange customs, a place different than anything he'd read, far different than China, Korea, or even India. So fascinated he was he barely even heard the door slide open.

    "You've been fascinated with my books I see," Gaiyuchul noted as Jikken rose to his feet to bow,

    "So fascinated you rarely seem to wish to hear me tell the story instead! Perhaps those men who taught you the Namaru language made a mistake!"

    Jikken smiled, staring at the tall and ancient Soui prince with the scarred face.

    "It has been very busy these days, and besides, you yourself seem to be busy with your companions now." Jikken had noticed several new Soui monks arriving in Eishou-ji over the past few monks, monks who seemed closer to Gaiyuchul. The old prince shook his head.

    "They are much like you, men enthralled with a relic of the past and seeking whatever wisdom they can learn from him," he replied.

    Jikken assumed from Gaiyuchul's voice he didn't know any of those monks beforehand. Certainly the monks appeared much younger than him, but Jikken wondered who those monks had been in Fusania. Gaiyuchul took the book from Jikken's hands to examine it. He squinted at the pages and looked at the binding on the cover of the codice.

    "Ah, Saga of the Four Corners," he remarked. "Yes, one of my oldest. Written at a time the world looked to be heading toward a new prosperity and full of my own naivety! But a very interesting work indeed."

    "How old is this?" Jikken asked. "I notice you always use an odd dating system in here and rarely date it by the ruler's era."

    "Because in the end, most rulers are nothing more than someone with the right friends and the right enemies and thus are often ephemeral and fading despite their might," Gaiyuchul replied, smiling at the confused look on Jikken's face. "The ones who rise above that are the only ones worthy of dating something by." He glanced to the stack of books beside Jikken. "I believe I've written that down a few times in fact."

    Jikken let the words sink in, pondering what the Soui prince said even if it didn't relieve him of his confusion.

    "In any case, I wrote it in Koutoku 9 [1] as my first attempt to discuss how things came to be in Fusania, in the Four Corners of the Civilised World and the Four Corners of the World itself. All the knowledge I knew, knowledge I learned from visiting so many places and listening to so many intelligent people."

    Gaiyuchul handed the book back to Jikken. "I would hope you are translating this work as well, although I suggest you ignore anything I've written down and instead write down more on my own memories of how things came to be."

    "Do you have anything related to this book?" Jikken asked. Gaiyuchul laughed.

    "Many things, in fact, and here is an interesting story long passed down, told by those at Wayam." Gaiyuchul paused, scratching his chin. "Perhaps this will even tell you why we in Fusania dislike to date things by the ruler's era."
    ---
    Prince Gaiyuchul of Katlamat, Saga of the Four Corners (1470, translation 1970)​

    Every man knows this story, from the princes to the barbarians, this story of sorrow that led to triumph, the one so elegantly repeated by the Aipakhpam as the Saga of the Pillar. So few details of the story vary anywhere I go that I conclude this must be a true record of a great incident at the pillar of the world itself. Those that change I believe must be the product of minds ruined by age, tricksters, or poets foolishly seeking to make their mark in an undeserved place. Yet what few realise is this event may be the oldest known event in all memory no matter how many times people claim events of greater antiquity. Only in recent decades has the debate on the glorious year it took place finally come to an end as astrologers have determined the cycles of the sun and moon and predicted it back in time to that fateful night 1,127 years ago. It is curious why during the Time of the Transformers, let alone in the days after it, the gods felt fit to scatter our memories so all the peoples of the world disagree with what happened and how things came to be, yet a story of far less significance is so widely agreed to have happened. With this antiquity, I believe this event must have been the method through which the gods made their vision of what the Four Corners of the World should be come to pass. I will repeat what most likely is the factual description of this event as I have heard from learned men at Wayam, Chemna, and many other cities.

    In times long ago, the people of the civilised world faced a threat greater than ever. The Hillmen of the North raided their lands without end, driving out the people from their villages and taking everything they owned. The Hillmen took all the game in the forests, all the plants in the hills and all the fish in the streams for their own use and left the people of the civilised lands nothing. The Hillmen had such great disregard for the spirits of the land the animals and fish refused to return and give themselves to people. Suffering and evil filled the land as everything fell out of balance. The seasons became distorted in this era as droughts and floods ravaged the land and the summer froze with snow and ice.

    On a night not long after the solstice, the moon vanished and turned red. The people feared this signified a final sign before the imminent destruction of the world. Q'mitlwaakutl, the Prince [2] of Wayam, led his shamans and closest followers to a nearby hill to await the end. Coyote appeared before them at the top of the hill, wishing to speak with the Prince of Wayam.

    Q'mitlwaakutl, Prince of Wayam, asked Coyote the meaning of the imbalance and impending destruction of the world. Coyote replied to the Prince of Wayam that it was a sign the world would soon change. He told the Prince of Wayam that should he do battle with the Hillmen, Wayam might rise to greater prosperity than ever before, and that the Prince himself would sit atop this. The Prince of Wayam, a great warrior, now felt eager to do battle with these Hillmen that he might fulfill this prophecy.

    Few men in the world were as wealthy and wise as the Prince of Wayam and men from all over the civilised world followed him. An even greater number of men knew of him and sought the wisdom of the Prince and his followers so that they too might become wealthy. In that winter, the Prince of Wayam sent his followers to the princes and nobles of the Four Corners of the Civilised World so they might tell them the words Coyote spoke to him. His shamans called upon ravens to spread the word even further so that all might hear of the coming events. That winter, an alliance formed against the Hillmen with only a few towns and villages of Swanamish refusing to support it [3]. Warriors danced and shamans prophecised of all the glorious events that may come of this fighting. The women and children gathered and hunted without fear, knowing the end of hard times drew near.

    Thousands gathered and feasted at Wayam as the lords and nobles of many lands discussed the strategy of the coming war. So many gathered that Wayam nearly ran out of stored food. At the beginning of autumn, eight thousand men marched from Wayam up the Imaru River with the Prince of Wayam at their head. Never before had the land seen a force this great assembled in one place under one leader. In village after village they passed, they feasted with the women, children, and elders.

    The Hillmen feared this great force and sought to assemble their own. They called upon endless groups of Hillmen eager to seize the land for their own, men with endless lust for plunder. They called upon those Swanamish allies who valued greed more than morality. They called upon powerful spiritual forces so that their warriors might fight to their utmost strength. Coyote appeared to a council of Hillmen lords and told them they must do battle against the Prince of Wayam, for if they fought with courage they might rule the known world. Destroying the army of the Prince of Wayam would bring untold prosperity. And beyond everything else, balance might be restored to the world. The Hillmen lords, great warriors, now felt eager to do battle with the Prince of Wayam that they might fulfill this prophecy.

    Thousands of Hillmen gathered and marched down the Imaru River, looting and plundering as they went to feed themselves. Never before had the land seen a barbarian force this great assembled. They brought misery to everyone they passed, even their Swanamish allies. In village after village, people whispered when might the army of the Prince of Wayam arrive so they might be free of this torment.

    The army of the Prince of Wayam and the army of the Hillmen encountered each other at a creek between Wayam and Ktlatla. For four days the armies clashed with spears, axes, arrows, and daggers with neither side gaining the upper hand. Each time before a great blow might be decisively struck and one side routed, the armies pulled back due to their shamans seeing omens of defeat. Even so, many men had already fallen in the skirmishes that took place.

    On the fifth day, Raven himself came to the battlefield at sunrise and spoke to all the leaders present on either side. He decreed that by sunset, a great torrent of blood would flow as the battle finally ended. Both the Prince of Wayam and the Hillmen lords asked Raven who might win the battle, to which Raven replied that both sides would claim victory. The Hillmen lords boasted of their victory yet not the Prince of Wayam's to their men to encourage them, while the wise Q'mitlwaakutl, Prince of Wayam kept this knowledge private so his men might fight like their lives depended on it.

    All day the men fought harder than before. As each side fell to exhaustion, a thunderstorm brewed up pelting the men with hail. Q'mitlwaakutl, Prince of Wayam used this chaos to charge right through the enemy lines. Many of the Hillmen fell at the feet of his army. Yet the moment he became confident of victory the Prince of Wayam did notice the Hillmen surrounded him! He ordered his men to never lose their faith and never stop fighting until they gained their promised victory.

    Perhaps the moment Q'mitlwaakutl, Prince of Wayam let his men know of Raven's promise was the moment his forces were vanquished. His men became confident in their impending success and gave into a spirit indulgent in the knowledge of victory. The Hillmen took advantage of this and pushed harder against the Prince of Wayam's forces. Although a few of the Prince of Wayam's men continued to fight with spirit and slaughter many Hillmen, by sunset the last men, including the Prince of Wayam, fell to enemy axes and arrows.

    All about the battlefield men lay dying. The creek they fought by turned into a raging torrent of blood that sunk deeper and deeper into the earth and became a canyon formed from the blood of the slain. The storm ceased and moonlight shone on the bodies of the dead and dying. And all across the land from the Imaru to the Whulge, the people wept bitter tears for the men who died defending their homes.

    Next Coyote appeared on the battlefield at the side of Q'mitlwaakutl, Prince of Wayam in his final moments. The Prince of Wayam asked how Wayam might prosper since the Hillmen had won. Coyote laughed and told him that soon men would learn new ways to be wealthy when the Hillmen taught them how to tame wild animals and melt stones. The Prince of Wayam asked how he might be ruler of Wayam when his time of death drew near. Coyote laughed once more and told the Prince of Wayam he would not die for many years. The Prince of Wayam asked Coyote why he spoke lies about everything to him.

    Coyote told Q'mitlwaakutl, the Prince of Wayam he spoke not a single lie. He transformed the Prince of Wayam into stone and placed his spirit at the Falls of Wayam. Coyote told the Prince of Wayam that he would not die until the prophecy might be fulfilled. When the time was right, the Prince of Wayam would arise from stone to rule his city and bring it to its greatest height of prosperity.

    Such is the story of this ancient battle, the greatest tragedy in the history of mankind. The Aipakhpam and Namals call it the Battle of Endless Blood while the peoples of Whulge call it the Battle of Many Tears. This event truly marks the beginning of the world as we know it, for the ancestral people after the Time of the Transformer now became the ancestors of those people we identify as living in the civilised world and beyond in this day. And from this tragedy the fires of civilisation arose brighter than ever!
    ---​
    With its great mosaic of cultures and languages, Fusania's human diversity equalled or even exceeded its environmental diversity. Perhaps because of the rugged landscape inhibiting communications and travel, and perhaps as the first place in the Americas reached by ancestral humans, many distinct peoples and cultures lived in the area. To survive and prosper in this land, these groups struggled against the inherent challenges presented by the landscape and through frequent cooperation produced many common elements shared amongst their cultures.

    For all the diversity found in Fusania, Fusanians themselves shared plenty in common beyond simply some common technology and exploitation of the same sorts of plants and animals. In the Imaru Basin and along the shores of the Whulge, the people shared similarity in lifeways, religion, social structures, kinship, and political organisation, in some cases considering this a mark of civilisation. Without generalising too much, analysing these common elements produces a fine picture of the Fusanian worldview that influenced the lives of every person living there from the youngest to the oldest, from the most base slave to the wealthiest of rulers.

    A great deal of Fusanian ideology reflects the dualism found in all things. When it came to human societies, many Fusanians when examining the diversity of cultures in their land separated the peoples of the world into civilised and non-civilised, the latter often translated as "Hillmen" as a calque of its meaning in Aipakhpam. To a civilised Fusanian, the Hillmen exhibited a range of impure, barbaric, and degenerate traits while still possessing many good and vital skills. They complemented and balanced the civilised people, who while being spiritually clean and living positive lives could easily fall into decadence.

    As a further division, the Fusanians separated the peoples of the world both civilised and uncivilised into quadrants reflecting their four phratries and corresponding divisions. These four quadrants centered around the Imaru River--life-giving, a connection between people--flowing east to west and the Grey Mountains--hostile, impassable--running north to south split Fusania into four distinct regions, a distinction both geographical and practical and one that influenced Fusanian cultural and political thought for many centuries. There were thus four groups of civilised people whom they ascribed certain qualities to, and four groups of barbarian Hillmen who they likewise ascribed particular traits to. Ideologically, the Fusanians believed that other groups of civilised people and Hillmen who lived outside the known world but still within the four-cornered world, making two groups of Hillmen and two groups of civilised people. The nature and identification of these groups proved a frequent topic of debate to Fusanian philosophers and other scholars.

    The origin of so-called civilised Fusania in the Imaru Basin and Furuge Coast lays in the cultural fusion of the indigenous sedentary fishermen and root diggers and the horticultural pastoralist Dena and Far Northwest people migrating southwards that started in the 4th century AD and largely completed by the 9th century AD. Yet this only produced the current incarnation of Fusanian society. Sedentary living had a long past in Fusania going at least to 500 BC with many traits of it appearing thousands of years before that thanks to the rich harvest of fish and marine life possible along the rivers and coast. Even centuries before the Fusanian agricultural revolution and the evolution of the Western Agricultural Complex, civilisation in this area already existed in quite complex form. Few other so-called "hunter gatherer" civilisations exhibited the population densities of pre-agricultural Fusania with the exception of places like coastal South America or Early Jomon period Japan.

    In their cosmology, the Fusanians believed their world to be flat and square (although a few groups believed it to be round) and surrounded by water, held up by four pillars. On top lay the sky, where many deities lived. Around, below, and above all of this lay nothingness, to which one could forever fall, touching nothing. Reflecting the phratries and moeities, Fusanians eventually came to believe that at the center of the world lay four pillars propped up two pillars which held up a single pillar that carried the sky.

    Typically, the Fusanians believed in a mythological figure known as the Transformer who created things as they were. This Transformer was known by different names and identities (for instance, he was known as Khals by the Whulchomic peoples but identified as Coyote by the Chiyatsuru and Namaru) and performed different deeds according to different peoples, but the rough basics of the story remained the same. The Transformed changed people into animals, plants, or geographic features, often as either a punishment or a reward. Fusanians often considered the people transformed as their distant ancestors. Similarly, some believed the Transformer set social systems in place, such as the institutions of slavery and nobility, although others attributed this to other figures of the past like Coyote or another god. The "Time of the Transformer" referred to these ancient times, the times when gods walked the earth as humans and the animals all lived as people.

    Fusanians held an animistic worldview, believing all humans and animals and some natural features and phenomena held souls which influenced the world around them. Their religion focused on pleasing these spirits so they might continue to supply humans with food and supplies. Priests, medicine men, and shamans intervened in this spirit world to cure disease, ensure good hunts and harvests, predict future events, and perform magic to bless or curse humans. The religious classes were related yet distinct, with shamans feared by many thanks to their ability to perform curses, speak with the dead, and manipulate souls at will. Typically, those with strong spirits (usually gained through dreams and meditation as a child) were called to these religious groups.

    Fusanian societies shared the practice of the vision quest, an initiation ritual where a youth gained a guardian spirit. In Fusanian belief, this meant a spirit lending part or all of its power to a human. Practices varied immensely depending on the era and group in question, but typically a pubescent boy or girl would be taken into the forest or hills under the guidance of elders to meditate and fast. Boys would be left alone and told to make their way to sacred mountain sites where they might complete some task an elder told them to. They ate and drank little and ritually purified themselves until they saw in a vivid dream their guardian spirit which gave them power. Typically they made or purchased ornaments which contained this spirit power which they guarded well. Wealthy individuals often underwent lengthier and more arduous vision quests than the poor which typically granted them stronger spirits according to Fusanian theology.

    The acquisition of spirit power determined much in an individuals' life. Some spirit powers, such as that of the sun or of certain mountains, were stronger than others or specialised toward certain tasks in life. Spirit powers might call an the individual to professions like that of a warrior, merchant, medicine man, or farmer. Those called to become a shaman typically became feared and shunned. Some individuals might have multiple guardian spirits gained through various events in life. Those with powerful spirits became both feared and worshipped and a frequent target of assassination by both physical and spiritual means.

    Fusanians ate similar diets, placing the highest cultural value on reindeer and salmon for meats and omodaka and camas for staple plants. They ate most any food they might farm, gather, raise, or trap in and around their villages, streams, and coasts, but typically held taboos on certain foods. Few were universal--for instance, the Aipakhpam shunned sturgeon for they considered it a man-eating fish, yet the Chiyatsuru ate the fish (albeit with reservations). Typically, food taboos dealt with avoidance of cannibalism which included eating animals which might in theory eat people, which included large carnivores like wolves, bears, and cougars. Dog meat was a universal taboo in the civilised parts of Fusania, although archaeology suggests this taboo only developed in some northerly areas after the 11th century. Civilised Fusanians also shunned eating insects as they viewed it as a habit of the Hillmen.

    Isolated from the rest of the world, the Imaru Basin and Furuge Coast independently innovated many technologies found elsewhere. The need for engineering and irrigation resulted in the fairly early development of simple cranes and levers (no later than 800 AD) for more efficient construction. Fusanians likewise discovered helpful mining techniques, such as setting fires at cliff faces and then dousing the rock in cold water to weaken it. They similarly learned the techniques of building simple dams from wood, mud, and stone to hold back flood waters or alter the rate of flow of the stream for flood protection, irrigation, and even mining. They built large networks of canals, including some lined with stone or wood, to bring water where they needed it. Fusanians used techniques like this to shape cliff faces into terraces for additional land starting by the end of the 9th century AD. Underground channels akin to Middle Eastern qanats appear around the early 12th century to further the efficiency of irrigation and water management.

    Metallurgical knowledge in the Imaru Basin and the Furuge Coast was among the most sophisticated in the Americas, matching that found in parts of the Mesoamerica or the Andes. Since the arrival of metalworking in the 8th and 9th centuries, Fusanians discovered efficient processes to seek out new ores, mine them, and refine them as needed. They distinguished lead, mercury, tin, silver, gold, copper and iron knew how to produce and isolate all but the latter which they knew of only in meteorite deposits, from shipwrecks, and from extremely rare imports from the rare trade between the Far Northwest and North Asia across the Ringitanian Strait. They used cupellation since around the 10th century to separate gold and silver from other metals like lead for further refinement and processing. They employed metal casting to make objects like jewelry, sculptures, and arrowheads and often plated many objects with copper, silver, or gold for ornamental value. The people of the Imaru Basin and Furuge Coast often alloyed these metals together, with the most common being alloys of copper, gold, and silver akin to Mesoamerican tumbaga, although the extreme rarity of tin throughout Fusania ensured bronze remained unknown in this era. Brass likewise was a rarity in this period.

    The people of the Imaru and Furuge took great interest in astronomy and astrology for ordering their lives, although the cloudy winter months greatly hindered this activity. They recognised the classical planets and identified numerous constellations, although they believed the morning and evening star were separate. They used a lunisolar calendar to track the year and for intercalary days counted additional time immediately before and after the first salmon run and divided it into a rainy season consisting of autumn and winter and a dry season consisting of spring and summer. They generally considered the calendar and current history itself to begin with the battle between the civilised peoples under Q'mitlwaakutl, the Prince of Wayam, and the Hillmen, but in earlier centuries attempts at dating this battle varied wildly. Fusanians monitered astronomical signs such as comets and supernovae so they might predict the future. Eclipses of the sun and moon with their relative regularity played an even greater role as omens. They considered these astronomical events either good or bad omens depending on the interpretations of shamans and viewed them as particular manifestations of spiritual power.

    Like in Mesoamerica, Fusanians knew of the wheel yet considered it a toy or mere decoration and put it to no real use. They did however know of the techniques of cart building and employed sleds and sleighs towed by dogs, reindeer, goats, or other pack animals to more efficiently and quickly move cargo around in a manner superior to simply strapping packs to the animal. This was especially effective during winter where cool temperatures and faster transportation made valuable and perishable goods like pine syrup easy to move great distances.

    Fusanian mathematics developed in large part thanks to their religious interest in dualism and numerology. Fusanians held the number five to be represent a sacred whole, the number four to represent the four phratries of society, and the number two to represent dualism, including the two moieties found in society. This likely led them to develop a vigesimal (base 20) numeral system, akin to those found in Mesoamerica. They tabulated these numbers with a system of tally marks and taught mnemonic devices to perform calculations on the fly.

    With a more complex society necessitating keeping track of more people and units of account, Fusanians developed two systems to do so, the first carved and painted posts and sticks called totem writing, the second the knotted string bundles, to record information and other important data. While neither could be called a true writing system, and each are uniquely three-dimensional in nature, both served an essential purpose economically and culturally to keep society functioning. The origins of each systems seem to be very old, but they did not come into their own to record information (outside of a very limited use) until at least the end of the first millennia. Aside from the much later Japanese-derived script, all indigenous Fusanian writing was semasiographic, a useful trait in an area with such huge linguistic diversity.

    Totem writing remains a visible symbol of Fusanian civilisation and are just as much works of art as they are writing. An import from the Far Northwest (potentially from the Khaida or Tsm'sha), these tall totem poles are segmented, carved, and painted with a set of meaningful pictures, usually gods, animals, people, or natural symbols. The arrangement, colors, and figures on the post used communicated a particular message to whoever understood the meaning making it a semasiographical system akin to Mesoamerican codices. Fusanians trained boys to understand the messages although perfect knowledge remained the domain of those who carved the posts and the nobility who commissioned them. Totem poles commemorated ancestral deeds and histories of clans and places, told mythological tales, established treaties, and communicated the law amongst other functions. Remarkably, the conventions of totem writing remained relatively standard from the furthest parts of Ringitania to the Kuskuskai Plain, a testimony to its usefulness. Totem poles first arrived in largescale in the Imaru Basin and Furuge coast by the end of the 1st millennia AD and became increasingly complex in terms of message communicated over the subsequent centuries. These were carved by men and thus known as men's writing.

    Totem sticks evolved around 1000 AD as a smaller version of totem poles meant to communicate messages between people as an equivalent of letters or where carving a tall post wasn't needed. Typically weighing between five and twenty kilos and of variable length and width, these were carved from smaller red or yellow cedar branches in a similar fashion to their larger brethren and read much the same way. These were most common on the Imaru Plateau due to lack of quality wood.

    Akin to the Andean quipu or similar devices found in Hawaii and Shang Dynasty China (among other places), Fusanians wove long strings from towey goat hair or tehi fiber and placed knots of varying sorts at regular intervals. This might mark anything from a date to a particular number. They also added stones, bits of metal, fabric, or shells and often dyed the strings varying colours to further distinguish the message being communicated. A crucial unit of accounting, they stored the strings in dry boxes or vases away from moisture. These knots appear in the Imaru Plateau around the 9th century and spread from there, gradually developing in complexity, size, and length. Some might be attached to wood or even small totem sticks to further distinguish their message, while the simplest were large pieces of string woven up in a ball when not in use.

    These were woven exclusively by women, and their economic importance provided women a critical role in the Fusanian economy as they were responsible for managing household finances. Noblewomen likewise played a great role in the economic life of their village, city, or state, typically under the direction of a treasurer whose own wife (or other female relative) along with a female relation of the headman or prince held the true power in ensuring finances were accounted for. Society expected women to know how to weave these knots, a skill taught by a mother or grandmother, and a woman not knowing how to do so or being poor at it resulted in mockery and poor marriage prospects. Most educated men knew how to read the knots although nearly every woman held that knowledge.

    The Fusanian economy relied on barter and commodity exchange with the most important and common medium of exchange being shell money, in particular the tusk shells of oceanic mollusks called scaphopods. Several species were used, each being worth different value depending on culture and location, but commonly Fusanians preferred longer shells more than anything else. The decorative purpose of these shells often tended to be secondary to their value as a proto-money (although the wealthy used them in jewelry and other ornamentation) and they could be exchanged for nearly anything. A belt of long shells woven together often tended to be enough to buy its owner a herd of reindeer or even a few moose. Control of the shell harvesting grounds near Wakashi Island kept the Coastmen a wealthy and powerful force, as did those who controlled the Imaru Gorge and the mountain passes and thus the trade in shells between the Furuge Coast and the Imaru Plateau.

    All Fusanian societies in the Imaru Basin and Furuge Coast before the 15th century possessed a strict hierarchy of nobles, commoners, and slaves (although the Whulchomic people held a fourth class of serfs). The nobles typically made up about 5-10% of society and derived their status from their ancestry, typically five generations or more of nobility. Nobles might be poor or rich, but even poor nobles held higher status than the wealthiest commoners. Commoners made up most of the rest of society and lacked this illustrious ancestry but usually also lacked descent from slaves. Some commoners gained great wealth and married noblewomen, a practice which over time led to their ascension into the ranks of nobles. The proportion of slaves varied depending on region and made up between 5% and 35% of Fusanian society. Fusanians believed these slaves to not be fully human and to have been created differently than other humans.

    Fusanian societies were typically polygamous as men married more than one wife if they possessed the wealth to. Usually, the subsequent wives were sisters of the first wife, and these wives were treated equally and considered socially equivalent. In the case they were from different families, one wife and her sisters (if present) were considered the "primary wife" of the leader and the others regarded less favourably. A few societies came to discourage polygamy, restricting men to only two or four wives, but this remained regional and rich men still had many concubines. They tended to guard their women, forbidding adultery and premarital sex. They often punished both man and woman for these crimes with the penalties ranging from exile to death through a variety of methods, with drowning in the river or ocean being particularly common. Their families typically arranged marriages based on a variety of concerns, usually involving the propagation of the bloodline for wealth and power and the family's good name.

    Among so-called civilised Fusanians, kinship tended toward being patriarchal, unlike the more matriarchal and matrilineal societies found amongst the Dena, the Far Northwest, and on much of Wakashi Island. However, much of Fusania deferred to the highest rank of the spouse of either sex in terms of which household they'd reside in and trace descent from, although those born to slave mothers always either became slaves, serfs, or commoners depending on the society.

    Generally, in the Imaru and Furuge Coast, Fusanians maintained a patrilineal and patriarchal society. They typically reckoned descent in the father's line and a father passed his possessions to his sons, brothers, or nephews. However, if he married a higher status woman, he'd join her family and his brothers-in-law and their descendents would take priority over his own. Further, daughters and sisters of men with no male heirs served as highly eligible spouses and typically propagated their father's line in much of Fusania. While women never ruled in their own name in Fusania, a powerful woman might easily hold more sway than men who inherited their positions.

    All societies of the Imaru Basin and Whulge Coast practiced exogamy and married outside their communities. Even in major cities like Wayam or Katlaqmap, the wealthy sought spouses from outside the community, although the poor typically married people from different quarters of their city. They held to strict incest taboos, sometimes up to the fourth cousin, often banishing or even executing offenders and condemning their children to illegitimacy. This practice arose in time immemorial to ensure strong kinship bonds from groups outside their community to maximise support during trying times. The exogamous tradition in Fusania which cut across cultural boundaries and even that between the civilised world and the Hillmen promoted integration and exchange of ideas both cultural and otherwise between separate groups of people.

    Aside from the enslaved, Fusanians almost universally lived in longhouses alongside their extended family. These houses were typically made from red or yellow cedar along the coast and occasionally inland as well although in the dry southwest of the Imaru basin only wealthy families could afford importing the wood. Most Fusanians in this area lived in pithouses sunk into the earth with tule roofs held up by wooden posts with stone and mud between them--such pithouses were common elsewhere but used only for storage, workshops, or (rarely) slave quarters. Although the exact styles depended on culture, the wealthy lived in palatial complexes of multiple longhouses adjoined together hosting their household, often including many slaves. The exterior of these buildings typically featured wooden carvings, paintings, and other artistic works often representing the deeds of their ancestors or occasionally with symbolism of their guardian spirits.

    Flooding and earthquakes served as the most common threats to buildings. Rivers periodically broke through even the sturdiest levees while powerful earthquakes struck on average every few decades, often causing tsunamis in coastal areas. Fusanians almost never built in stone for this reason due to its inferior earthquake resistance and associated mud-brick buildings with the homes of barbarians like the Southern Hillmen. The rot-resistant wood used in house construction lasted for decades even on the rainy coast, thus about as a long as a stone dwelling might before erosion or an earthquake damaged it. Fusanians believed it impossible that any structure last forever. When a building needed repair or someone (aside from slaves) died inside, Fusanians renovated and reshaped the entire building. Fires often struck Fusanian towns and cities as a result of their wooden construction, further necessitating frequent construction. Thus, few buildings older than a century or so existed in even the largest communities.

    Much else can be generalised about the peoples of the Imaru and Furuge Coast, who existed in constant contact, communication, and contention with each other and thus shared many similar traits. The greatest distinction perhaps lay in the Grey Mountains which separated the wetter coast from the drier plateau, which influenced the beliefs, traditions, and societal organisation of people on either side. For instance, despite being linguistically related to the Whulchomic peoples, the Chiyatsuru possessed many traditions similar to those of the Aipakhpam to their south rather than their linguistic kin. The same applies to the Whulchomic peoples and the Namals or Amims to their own south. Yet to obtain the best picture of Fusania's diversity to understand its history, generalising the area as a whole is not enough. One must analyse the individual cultural subregions to understand the grand mosaic of humanity that is Fusania.
    ---
    Author's notes

    Much of this chapter is drawn from ethnographies both past and present. I have borrowed various traditions and cultural elements of OTL cultures in this area and presented a scenario on how they might have evolved in the face of the changes presented ITTL. Some elements would likely remain similar and common despite the great changes presented. Others certainly would evolve along far different lines or even totally be abandoned.

    I was pleasantly surprised at the parallels between Mesoamerica and the Andes that cropped up when I was writing this. Like many peoples around the world, a few groups in this area OTL did use knotted string records for various purposes. Totem poles OTL had a set of conventions and standards that could be read by people across linguistic boundaries which inspired me to figure out a 3D writing system based on that fact. The Base 20 system was IIRC used by a few groups on the West Coast, but TTL I've justified the system evolving in that way thanks to the numerological aspects of it.

    Originally I was going to describe all four quadrants of Fusania and their cultures, but that would make this entry colossal so I described the cultural area instead which does the job just fine. That means the next four entries will discuss culture and history of those regions instead. This entry also originally was a bit more detailed or rather different in parts until I lost about a week's worth of work thanks to my file getting corrupted and had to restore from a backup.

    As always, thanks for reading.
    ---​
    [1] - As in the intro, I'm using alternative eras for East Asian rulers here. In this case, Koutoku is 1461 - 1471 and succeeds the Chouso Era, so Koutoku 9 is 1470.
    [2] - Miyawakh, translated here as "prince"
    [3] - Swanamish is a Whulchomic exonym referring to Interior Salishan peoples, essentially the same as "Chiyatsuru"
     
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    Chapter 21-To Give It All Away
  • -XXI-
    To Give It All Away
    ---
    Katlamat, December 1100
    The embrace of winter gripped Katlamat, shrouding the city in a light mist amidst yet another endlessly grey morning. The spirit of summer long since vanished, refusing to bequeath its warmth and dryness upon the land for months to come. Qwalis, Ikanakh of Katlamat [1] shivered at the blustery and rainy chill, walking back inside his grand wooden palace with the walls and pillars painted with animal and plant and beast symbols of the memories of his ancestors from as far back as the Time of the Transformer. He wrapped himself in a thick blanket of oxwool dyed with his clan crest he'd once purchased from the Coastmen far to the northwest and returned to gazing at the town before him and the vast and churning Imaru River, so sluggish and grey.

    Beneath him from the hill, Qwalis saw a few of his people in the muddy streets amidst the drab workmanlike buildings and businesses of the town working hard even on such a miserable morning. No doubt they were preparing for the potlatch as much as he and his household. Many important guests from towns and cities as far downstream as Wimahlgikshat and Swapapani at the Imaru Gorge had been arriving in these past few days and a few richly painted ceremonial canoes lay beached in the distance. Those invited considered themselves beyond fortunate, for few honors might be greater than to be invited to potlatch by the Ikanakh of Katlamat, the ruler of the Namal city closest to the great ocean itself. [2]

    His stomach rumbled, and Qwalis went to find a slave to fetch him food and drink. He glanced over his shoulder and saw a withered slave man leaning on his cane, the oldest living man in his household. No youth himself, Qwalis remembered capturing this man as a boy during a raid near Tlat'sap in his youth over sixty years ago. He raised his hand and nodded toward the man.

    "Understood, I will bring you your food," the slave croaked as he hobbled off. His accent sounded strange as ever, but according to his many slaves of diverse heritage, he spoke every language with a strange accent. Qwalis always thought the man must've been taken captive as an infant by the Atkhs of Tlat'sap. Poor fellow, perhaps I will free him at the potlatch. He'd served Qwalis and his household long enough and deserved a fitting gift for his work--few slaves were finer than him! He'd be sure to sacrifice a son or grandson of his though, since this man's bloodline must be very powerful for a slave.

    After a time spent peacefully watching his people go about their work, a serving girl brought him a nice and warm meal, a steaming porridge of camas, pine nuts, and smoked salmon sweetened with the sharp taste of pine syrup. Along with it she carried a boiling hot goblet of water tainted with jointfir [3], a potent medicine from the deserts far away that filled his spirit with energy. He smiled at the young girl and sent her away. The flavours in his breakfast all melded very well together, a perfect balance and harmony. Looking back at his people, Qwalis wondered if they'd have enough food until spring, until the salmon runs restored prosperity. They'd harvested well in omodaka and camas and salmon, but those only stored for perhaps a few months to a year. Their harvest in sunflowers and amaranth went poorly and a windstorm destroyed many of their best oak trees. I must consult with her after the potlatch, he thought, thinking of his oldest wife and best record keeper he had.

    After he ate, Qwalis started to go about his day and prepare for the potlatch. He could've had his wives, his slaves, and his followers do this, but Qwalis always led things himself unlike many other men in his position. That is why Katlamat prospers, he thought to himself as he ran his fingers along the knots, shells, and beads of the coarse string records in the coldness of the storeroom. Good, there will be enough food for over a thousand people, and hopefully our guests will bring more, he observed after a good length of time examining the records in the storeroom. He made sure to place the record back near the jars and pots containing the food.

    He went to the next storeroom, damp and full of winter chill. Many more elaborately painted and colourful jars and vases filled the room alongside a few string records. Qwalis picked up a few and felt his way down them. Quantities of alcohol remained high, with much cider, beer produced from amaranth and omodaka, and berry wine remaining so plenty to keep his guests entertained. Hopefully they won't drink too much of it, he thought to himself. When people drank to excess it disturbed the spiritual outcome of the potlatch. And the immediate effects could be damaging as well. He'd seen too many good warriors maimed in foolish fights and seen people gamble away nearly everything they had.

    Qwalis then went outside to the slave in charge of his animals, a bulky, vicious looking man standing beneath an awning to stay dry who bowed in submission to his master upon seeing him.
    "Tiatlukha, how well are my reindeer doing?" Qwalis asked. "Will we have enough healthy reindeer of either sex to slaughter and give away." He looked around the enclosure and noticed only a few older, tired animals and a few pregnant does lounging beneath overhangs subsisting off reserve grain with a few ducks and geese pecking at the muddy ground.

    "Very well, master, your herdsmen are ensuring your reindeer and moose have enough quality food for the winter and they will be back shortly. But these animals here are the weakest of the herd, your herd is very healthy with few weak or ill reindeer." Qwalis nodded with approval at his slave's report.

    "And my goats?" Qwalis asked.

    "Much the same with them. No ill animals and plenty of fat and pregnant goats." Qwalis once again nodded with approval.

    "And my waterfowl?" Qwalis asked.

    "We killed a goose yesterday because it seemed ill, but otherwise your flocks are healthy."

    "Ensure it all stays that way, your men do their job well."

    At last count Qwalis knew he had hundreds of reindeer and goats each, thirty moose, a few hundred ducks and geese, and more squirrels than he could count. Yet knowing the number of animals was nothing compared to seeing the numbers with his own eyes. At that moment dozens of reindeer trotted out of the forested hills, their coats a mix of brown and grey and their antlers long. A few large and dark moose trotted alongside them interspersed with a few of his slave herdsmen armed with whips and crops to keep the animals in line.

    "As you can see master, your herds are quite healthy," Tiatlukha said as he monitered the slaves driving the animals. "A few more groups should be coming in throughout the day." Qwalis nodded, leaving the smell and mud of the outside behind as he returned indoors.

    He spent most of his day continuing to make preparations with his household, and eventually grew tired. The majority of the work had already been done, and he had worked his entire life so that others might follow his example. Returning to his personal chambers, Qwalis laid himself down, meditating and falling asleep to thoughts on how successful the event would be and the sheer awe provoked at the wealth he would give to his followers.
    ---
    From Prince Gaiyuchul of Katlamat, Saga of Katlamat (1464, translation 1969)​

    Many potlatches have been hosted in Katlamat yet I know of few as great as that hosted in 757 [1100] [4] by Prince Qwalis. Before my forefathers rose to power in Katlamat, Prince Qwalis hosted a potlatch larger than perhaps any that came before him or would come after for over a century. It is said that he gave away so much that men became lazy and worked little, for they had everything they needed. For his effort, this grand event led to decades of prosperity for Katlamat.

    The elderly Prince Qwalis, perhaps around seventy-five years old, decided to host a glorious potlatch in winter near the solstice to commemorate the marriage of a younger son. In his long life Prince Qwalis hosted numerous potlatches where he demonstrated himself as a giver of wealth without equal. How few could give things away as well as this leader! Much the same, the Ikanakh was a producer of wealth without equal. His eye for good slaves, his careful management of his household, lands, and animals, his close eye on his people, and his unceasing work ethic created this great wealth. Yet in this period the Prince of Katlamat had not hosted a potlatch for quite some time, although his eldest son and successor certainly had.

    In November Prince Qwalis sent out his messengers through the land, including his sons and the highest nobility of Katlamat and nearby villages. Far up the Imaru River they traveled, as far as the Falls of Wayam, as they visited the ikanakhs of every city, town, and village. With their strong message and the well-known reputation of Prince Qwalis, many ikanakhs sought to attend this potlatch with all but those under the direct influence of the Five Cities of the Passage [5], Katlaqmap and other Namals of the Irame, and the Ihlakhluit of Nikhluidikh [6] attempting to meet with the Ikanakh's messengers. And not only Namals nobles and ikanakhs but also Aipakhpam, Shlpalmish, and even a few minor Atkh headmen arrived to this great gathering.

    By December, four hundred princes and nobles, the majority from well outside Katlamat, with their households totaling over two thousand people arrived at Katlamat. Some stayed in lavishly decorated tents, in the halls of their distant kin, or for the most honored guests from afar in the hall of Prince Qwalis himself. Their lesser followers stayed in more common hunting shelters while their slaves shared ruder accomodations or even mixed with the slave quarters elsewhere in the city. My own ancestors reported housing numerous nobles from distant villages, connections that served them well in the future. The same must be true with other great families of Katlamat whose ancestry can be traced that far back.

    Nearest the solstice, the festivities began. Prince Qwalis delivered his opening speech and exhorted the men and women gathered to be mindful of their ancestors, watchful of their actions, and diligent in the care of their descendents so they might leave the best example for harmony in society. At this his slaves produced innumerable quantities of food including the most flavorful dishes of camas and omodaka, vast amounts of amaranth, nutsedge, and so many other staple foods, brilliant dishes incorporating all the vegetables and mushrooms of the mountains and plains, and meats of nearly every animal, waterfowl, and fish under the sun, including many reindeer and goats and the greatest being the most prized moose of the Prince of Katlamat slaughtered for this feast. Rare spices from far to the south flavored these dishes. They brought out many herbal drinks, ciders, and wines from near and far including many rarely seen along the Imaru. His men served the guests on copper, gold, silver, and wooden dinnerware and mats of sweetflag, all of which became the property of those assembled. Whether every guest received the same gifts I am unsure, but certainly fine implements must have been given out as my family retains possession of a few utensils from that. Each guest did not receive the same food as it is said only the most important men dined on the moose which in later years caused some level of resentment against the descendents of Prince Qwalis.

    Over the next ten days Prince Qwalis delivered to his guests vast amounts of his wealth. He gave away many fine implements of metal including a few of his rare iron adzes and whalebone for daily life and work, so many that it was not an unusual sight for slaves and poor commoners alike to be working with tools crafted from fine metals. The Prince of Katlamat gave away slaves from his household to each of the ikanakhs present with nearly a hundred slaves being given away over these days. From his vast herds of reindeer and moose and goats and his flocks of geese and ducks nearly everyone present received at least one animal with a few ikanakhs closest to him receiving many moose. All of the crafts of Katlamat and far beyond the Prince owned such as fine turquoise and strange colorful birds from far to the south to wonderfully woven cloaks of qiviu and walrus ivory from far to the north he gave to his guests And all throughout this he gave away so many strings of money shells that in some villages the shells came to be worth barely anything.

    Much exaggeration is told of the shinny games such as stories of a single game lasting five days with four hundred players on either side, but most accounts, especially from families descended from the losing side, claim two hundred or so on either side with the game length from dawn until dusk, and not all at once! Other stories tell of the five leading scorers taking part in a final game in the mountains on a frozen pond but this may be a confusion with an earlier potlatch held by Prince Qwalis or that of his sons. Regardless of this, all agree one side came from Katlamat and surrounding villages with the other side consisting of those from further afield. Several of my own clan played in this tournament and performed admirably during the game. It seems the men of Katlamat claimed victory in this game by a very narrow score, a point widely disputed by other Namals who claim the men of Katlamat cheated and severely injured several of their men.

    The Prince of Katlamat was not the only man to be giving away his fortune. Some recipients of these gifts lost them on the same day they received them through the many games played at the potlatch. Several of my ancestors with their skill at the bone game won reindeer and shells while leaving these other men including an ikanakh from far away with nothing.

    As tribute for his great fortune, Prince Qwalis held a great sacrifice on each day of the festival. His shamans offered up from his herds and flocks twenty goats, twenty reindeer, many ducks and geese, and five moose over these ten days. From his household he offered up five slave men each exceedingly strong and five slave women each exceedingly beautiful. The guests remarked many times how endless the Prince's wealth seemed only to be amazed when he gave away yet another fortune or sacrificed another fine animal.

    Few sources agree on how much wealth Prince Qwalis gifted away or gave to sacrifice. A popular legend claims he only owned a four reindeer, four goats, two moose, and twenty geese and ducks and only a few slaves. He owned only five small baskets of money shells and barely enough stores of food to last the winter. Others claim he gave away only half of his total wealth during this grand potlatch, a claim popular amongst us men of Katlamat to further exaggerate the Prince's wealth and also in Katlaqmap to dampen the Prince's legacy.

    At the end of the potlatch, after the final sacrifice of man and animal, after the final speech from the Prince of Katlamat and his invited speakers, the people departed Katlamat to return to their homes. Even before they left word of the grand potlatch spread widely and it is said bandits attacked a few parties of travelers so that they too might partake in the Prince's wealth. Upon hearing of this, the Prince dispatched warriors from Katlamat and nearby villages to hunt down these bandits even during the rainy winter. Not a single one survived and not one bandit appeared in the country for many months.

    It can be seen the power demonstrated by Prince Qwalis greatly affected the rulers and affairs of the entire Lower Imaru for years to come. Although the Prince of Katlamat lived only five more years, during that time nearly every village and town from Katlyashgenemakhikh to Tiakhanashikh [7] pledged their allegiance to Prince Qwalis and contributed much to his coffers, so much that when the Prince of Katlamat died he was wealthier than ever before. Legend holds that four hundred marriages were arranged at this potlatch, while many clans trace important events in their history to alliances and enmities formed at this event.

    They also pledged their warriors to the Prince's campaigns as he resolved to retake the city of Tlat'sap so long coveted by Katlamat. With several Atkh nobles rebellious against the Prince of Tlat'sap they entered his lands in spring of 758 [1101] and plundered his land. Sqamaqwaya [8] fell by the rainy season after a siege and a younger son installed as ruler. The Atkhs of Tlat'sap rallied their troops and called upon their allies, including the Prince of Katlaqmap and a group of Coastmen from the south led by the young Atkh warlord Chakhwinak. At the Battle of Tiyaksamikh [9], perhaps a thousand men on either side clashed on land and water with great losses on either side. The rainy season arrived and raids from Katlaqmap increased so Prince Qwalis agreed to peace with the Atkhs of Tlat'sap, returning their property and slaves in exchange for overlordship of Sqamaqwaya and its valleys.

    The campaigns and affairs after this are less remembered but I have heard accounts that Prince Qwalis respected the treaty with the Atkhs of Tlat'sap and embarked on no more campaigns aside from a few raids aimed at the Dena of the mountains. When he died peacefully in 762 [1105] he was respected by all and many gifts sent for his funeral. The legacy of his grand potlatch and other lesser events held in the years after secured the succession of his eldest son who inherited the support of many of his followers to great acclaim. Indeed, it is said this younger prince hosted a great potlatch in winter of 762, one nearly as great as his father's.

    It is ironic and tragic how few remember the Prince of Katlamat's youngest son and his wife in the wake of all of this. It seems the woman died in childbirth the following year while the son died at the Battle of Tiyaksamikh not long after. I can find no one who claims that man as an ancestor. It is fascinating that what remains of the legacy of this event is little of the purpose of it, not the commemoration of ancestors, the living, and those not yet born but instead the endless celebration and great display of wealth and power. Greed truly makes a powerful mark on history and memory, a force nearly as great as the spiritual bonds between people.

    ---
    From Ke Jiang, Society of Giving: The Potlatch in Fusania (Jinshan [San Francisco, CA] University Press, 1950)​

    A critical feature of economic and social life of North Fusania was the gift-giving festival conventionally known as a potlatch after the Trade Wakashan term for the ceremony. These ceremonies, traditionally held in the cooler and rainier months, involved rulers and nobles gathering clansmen, other nobles, commoners, and even rivals to demonstrate their wealth by giving away as much of their possessions as they might. Ceremonies might be held to mark any important event, but typically these events included naming ceremonies, presentation of an heir, marriage ceremonies, ceremonies celebrating a boy or girl's initiation, and ceremonies to mark a treaty. The one commonality in all these was the emphasis on continuity from the ancestors and ancient times during the presentation of gifts, a trait which restricted who might host a potlatch as typically only nobles possessed the illustrious bloodline that allowed them to trace that descent.

    Potlatch ceremonies occurred throughout Fusania in several variations and typically were classified geographically as Far Northwest potlatches, Wakashan potlatches (which spread south along the coast with the Wakashan expansion), Furuge-Lower Imaru potlatches (which spread to groups like the Amimu and Valley Tanne), Plateau potlatches, Dena potlatches (also encountered amongst the Coast and Hill Tanne). These traditions of course varied within these categories, but these areas typically shared similar customs of organising and hosting a potlatch, the entertainment provided, the dances and rites expected, the type of speeches given, and the sort of wealth given away and implications of it. This system likely emerged in distant antiquity but the increasing complexity and population of Fusania by the end of the first millennia caused it to evolve into its current form.

    Potlatches were exclusively held by the nobility. A non-noble permitted to host a potlatch was essentially promoted into their ranks by that very act. They further varied between potlatches hosted by nobles within a village or town and those hosted by rulers of villages, towns, or cities. The former was an important event which helped solidify that noble and his family's place in society and offered new social connections. Often a relative of the village leader might be present here to offer his blessings and sanction the event.

    The latter event was of huge importance in external relations, as it reinforced alliances between towns and villages and redistributed resources accordingly, including gifts in slaves, tools, animals, and food. This gave an incentive to keep hard at work and to pay tribute to strong leaders as those resources inevitably ended up returned in some form, particularly if the leader's projects from canal and earthwork building to warfare proved successful. At the leader's potlatch, titles would be passed out conferring various rights to their holder, marriages arranged, and business conducted in between the general festivities.

    Accepting gifts from the potlatch host marked one as a subject or follower of the host. Typically until the next potlatch, the host expected homage to be paid in some form, be it labour, tribute, or some other offering. In external relations, this served as a mark of vassalage to the potlatch host, and that noble or headman would be expected to repay the host in the form of tribute and labour. The earliest Fusanian states arose out of this concept. In some cases, a leader might fall into the debt of a subject noble, often out of economic difficulties, in which case he risked granting that noble and their clan undue control over the state.

    A person might be subject to multiple potlatch hosts in this manner. In this case, he was liable to fall deeply into debt although he might just as easily benefit from the protection and support of two powerful masters. For leaders, this meant their village or town paid tribute to two masters, and needed to ply the waters of diplomacy carefully and choose the correct side should their master's interests clash. Powerful nobles and leaders often used threats, intimidation, or even outright violence to keep important followers in line.

    Archaeology and the historic record suggests potlatch systems evolved and diversified over the centuries. The historian Prince Gaiyuchul of Katlamat remarks on this fact (in the context of criticising contemporary society) in his oldest surviving work, the 1464 Saga of Katlamat:

    "How curious is it that in our times that between rulers, the obligations of the potlatch can so easily be avoided while to our ancestors nothing could be more important! Perhaps that is why the potlatch gifts during my own time as ruler and even those during the rule of my uncle and father seem so light compared to those during the days of old. We hold these ceremonies and give them such importance because our ancestors did, yet we take little from them. We have given away all the purpose and true solemnity of this ancient festival into other ceremonies. What is the potlatch in these current times compared to the ceremonies of peace or of alliance or of tribute? Such a grand occasion is now little but the purview of idle nobles to pass out trinkets while trying to reap the benefits as if they gave away everything!"

    Gaiyuchul refers to the fact ceremonies for peace treaties, vassalage, and alliances evolved from the potlatch over the centuries and came to be known by different terms and gradually lost many of the rituals associated. The rise of powerful states in Fusania by the start of the 13th century likely altered the nature of the potlatch and these cermonies, as the increasingly powerful central rulers attempted to regulate and restrict for both secular and spiritual purposes who might host a potlatch, what might be given away, and the manner by which it might be conducted. Still, it took until the 15th century and the era of Gaiyuchul and his immediate ancestors to erode the nature of potlatch in defining politics, and during Gaiyuchul's era and well beyond, potlatches remained events of crucial importance in determining social relations between nobles and commoners within a society, with Gaiyuchul's critique arising from miserly nobles refusing to give away as much as they should yet still attracting a following.

    Entertainment at a potlatch was quite diverse. A variety of gambling events for both men and women occurred from a shell game involving discs of cedar bark to the more famous bone game where competitors guessed where in the hand of the opponent the bone was held. They likewise played similar shell games and guessing games, although the bone game was the most popular and the event that attracted the largest wagers.

    Many people gambled at potlatches, often using that which they'd been gifted. Men and women might lose or gain fortunes in hours and many stories are told of the greatest (or worst) gamblers, such as a poor commoner who in just a year gambled his way across the land toward a massive fortune in reindeer, slaves, and other possessions and became a nobleman while financially ruining many nobles in his path, or that of a noble who inherited a vast fortune from his father and gambled it away at a single potlatch causing the eternal financial ruin of himself and his descendents. Gambling also served as a common cause of arguments and fighting. While considered greatly disrespectful toward the host, fights frequently broke out over allegations of cheating or other misconduct, and not infrequently did severe injuries or death result over these arguments. The ideal host knew how to settle arguments before they turned violent without giving either side an advantage.

    The most popular game played however was commonly called shinny, a similar game to field hockey [10]. In cold winters, potlatch hosts demanded their warriors compete on frozen ponds (often in flooded fields) in a sort of ice hockey competition. Both men and women competed in games held at potlatches, with the most skilled women competing alongside men. These competitions often involved dozens of men (or women) on either side. Shinny games were found throughout the Americas, but only in Fusania were they taken as events of critical importance. They wrapped a wooden ball in reindeer skin and used long sticks of maple, cedar, or other wood to beat it into a goal for points. Played by younger men who sought to win glory on this field, the game was intensively physical and players often suffered injuries. Older men and women looked upon their kinsmen with pride during these games and often gambled on the outcome of the events. It is often said modern Fusania, Japan, and East Asia as a whole derives their field hockey and ice hockey tradition from this folk sport.

    An important component of the potlatch were the speeches given by the host and honoured guests. These speeches invoked tradition, reasserted status, and determined the future course of events by setting a policy the host encouraged his guests to follow. Listening to a potlatch speech proved helpful for predicting the actions of rivals, which led many hosts to couch their language in metaphors, mythological references, and ritualistic language to confuse those who didn't need to be listening in.

    ---
    From Ni Qian, Festive Killings: Sacrifice in Old Fusania (Jinshan [San Francisco, CA] University Press, 1970)
    Human sacrifices often took place at potlatches, especially during times of prosperity. To ensure prosperity and ward away even worse spirits, the host ordered a slave ritually killed, typically by a shaman thrusting a dagger between the shoulder blades and letting the slave bleed out. Sometimes they sacrificed multiple slaves, usually a family of slaves starting with the husband and wife. They incinerated the corpse on a blessed fire and disposed of the ashes in the nearest body of water. In any human sacrifice they made offerings of alcohol, food, and possessions committed to ritual fires and burial, both to appease the spirit of the slave as well as other evil spirits so that they might feast on that rather than draining the prosperity of the host through some worse method. They sacrificed animals such as reindeer separately from humans, not deeming slaves worthy of receiving gifts such as these.

    Early Japanese and Chinese accounts of potlatches focused greatly on the aspect of human sacrifice at these events, but these accounts typically dealt with the potlatches found amongst the Hlinkit and Khaida whose long-range trading networks and raiding operations resulted in a surplus of captives and slaves. Culturally, Far Northwest potlatches as well as Wakashan potlatches sacrificed more people than elsewhere in Fusania, but even in this area the amount of human sacrifice paled in comparison to Mesoamerica, in contrast to common belief. Potlatches on the Imaru Plateau and amongst the Dena and the Tanne sacrificed much less often and in smaller number, while even on the Lower Imaru and Furuge human sacrifice could be fairly infrequent, if more common than further inland. Further, the amount of human sacrifice varied based on material conditions (in bad times, few, if any, people might be sacrificed thanks to Fusanian religious beliefs) and on social restrictions which changed over time.

    Sacrificing a slave at a potlatch was a dramatic event and one that truly demonstrated wealth. Only the wealthiest of nobles owned the number of slaves to justify sacrificing one. Further, many societies in Fusania sacrificed slaves at funerals to accompany their masters so slave owners reserved slaves for this purpose as well. These considerations restricted the amount of human sacrifice that occurred in any given year, as well as kept human sacrifice more closely associated to funerals than potlatches. Yet this association of human sacrifice granted additional solemnity and spiritual power to the potlatches of the wealthiest nobles and rulers.

    Surveying known potlatching grounds and fires where human sacrifice and associated grave goods occurred produces a clue as to the volume of human sacrifice in Fusania, partially corroborated by early writings from both Fusanian writers and Asian explorers and demographic data on the number of nobles, recorded potlatches, and number of slaves in Fusania. This produces a rough estimate of those sacrificed in a given time in a given region by giving a formula of percentage of nobles and slaves, frequency of potlatching, and frequency of human sacrifice, dependent on culture and economic conditions at the time. Since human sacrifices usually occurred at only the potlatches of wealthier nobles and there only at certain sorts of potlatches or similar festivals, the number of people sacrificed remained low, perhaps no more than half a percent of the total population in a given year.

    ---
    From Ke Jiang, Society of Giving: The Potlatch in Fusania (Jinshan [San Francisco, CA] University Press, 1950)
    From their origins in deepest antiquity to the great festivals of Copper Age Fusania to the noble gatherings of Classical Bronze Age Fusania to the cultural festivals seen today in modern Fusania, the venerable tradition of the potlatch carries on. No matter how distinct in form it may be regionally or how divorced from its roots far back in Antiquity, this tradition of gatherings and gift-giving continues to be an important part of Fusanian social life. The people of Fusania continue to benefit from this rich history as echoes of it still determine and have influenced many aspects of their culture. And just like in old days when the potlatch is over, the guests--the Fusanians--bask in pleasant memories and anticipation of what is to come as they eagerly await the arrival of the next invitation.
    ---
    Author's notes
    This would be a Christmas update, since it's all about giving gifts and features reindeer, and a bit of a morbid note on the element of human sacrifice here and some fighting. Some of this was meant to be in the last update but the hardware failure I mentioned messed up those plans and Christmas was coming so I decided to make a Christmas-y update to incorporate this information instead.
    As described, the term "potlatch" covers a variety of similar ceremonies. TTL, many of the basic elements are still in place, but there's some homogenisation of the different traditions as well as a general evolution toward more complex forms similar to those found amongst Northern Wakashan groups OTL. In general, the potlatch has evolved to fit the needs of society TTL and will continue to evolve in that role over the course of this TL.

    The next updates will be on the four cultural groups of "civilised" Fusania in the period leading up to the 12th century although I'm not sure which group I'll feature first. Some content from this update will reappear when I cover the Namals in an upcoming chapter. And yes, there will be more maps soon, I'll clear out that backlog of content sooner or later.

    I'll occasionally post excerpts from the works I've attributed to Gaiyuchul, but I should note that like all historians he has his biases (and is relying on similarly biased oral history and legend for most all of his sources).

    Thank you for reading and have a good holiday season.

    [1] - Roughly means prince, an equivalent to the Aipakhpam miyawakh. This is the historian and monk Gaiyuchul's title by the way, although this ruler is not his ancestor.
    [2] - IOTL it is attested that the Lower Chinookans considered the nobles and rulers of the cities further downstream on the Columbia by the coast as higher in dignity than those upstream. There are no real cities downstream from Katlamat in this era aside from Tlat'sap which is ruled by the Atkhs. More on this in a future update.
    [3] - Jointfir is better known as Mormon tea, a relative of Chinese ephedra (source of ephredrine). It contains a very different mix of alkaloids but does have trace amounts of ephedrine (far less than commercial sources), pseudoephedrine, and related substances--it was used as a medicine by American Indians OTL.
    [4] - 757 is 1100 AD in the Western calendar--the Fusanian calendar dates 343 AD as its starting year. In sections like this I'll place the Western date in brackets next to it.
    [5] - Five cities in the Columbia Gorge--two on either end of the Gorge (one north bank, one south bank) and one near the middle. These towns are wealthy as they control a key trade route. West to east they are Wimahlgikshat [North Bonneville, WA], Swapapani [opposite shore to North Bonneville, WA in OR], Qikhayagilkham [Carson, WA], Itlkilak [White Salmon, WA], and Ninuhltidikh [Hood River, Oregon].
    [6] - The Ihlakhluit are a Namal group akin to the OTL Wasco-Wishram and live in the same general area (the eastern Columbia Gorge to Celilo Falls). Nikhluidikh is Dallesport, WA, a powerful city-state a bit downstream from Wayam
    [7] - Katlyashgenemakhikh is a little above on the Columbia River from Skamokawa, WA, while to Tiakhanashikh is Kelso, WA
    [8] - Sqamaqweya is Skamokawa, WA
    [9] - Tiyaksamikh is Rosburg, WA
    [10] - Shinny and field hockey games are found amongst many of the indigenous peoples of the Americas. In North America, many of these games are associated with women, but in some groups both sexes or solely men competed in these games--this was the case on the West Coast. This description is based on a few accounts of OTL Indians in this region combined with other folk sporting events found globally. I will refer to this game as shinny.
     
    Chapter 22-A Country of Watchtowers
  • -XXII-
    "A Country of Watchtowers"

    Beneath an endlessly grey sky lay a great gash in the otherwise rocky and solid coast of the Pacific, a gash cutting deep into a land marked by rivers and vast forests providing shelter from the stormy seas. Inside this gash, this inland sea known as the Whulge (or Furuge in recent centuries) lay an endless maze of coves, bays, fjords, and passages and endless islands dotting the sea, a product of the last ice age. Humans arrived to this land in time to witness its formation along with many other great changes. Over ten thousand years later, a group of people who claimed descent from these ancestral humans still lived in this land, exploiting it in ways much different from their ancestors yet still recognisable in many ways. Collectively these people had no name, identifying themselves locally rather than based on language or religion or shared ethnicity, but they all practiced similar traditions, lived similar lifestyles, and spoke languages of the same family, the Whulchomic languages, named for the sea they lived by. For this reason, in later eras they became known as the Whulchomic peoples. A fractitious group by nature, they clustered themselves into four divisions based on shared traditions and similar background--the Whulchomish in the south, the Tlatlechamish in the center, the Lelemakh in the north, and the Shlpalmish in the interior south.

    They were so-named since the majority lived on the shores and islands of the Whulge, an inland sea which produced a great bounty in fish, shellfish, and sea plants. They lived along the rivers, ponds, and lakes there, and within the marshes, where they harvested fields of omodaka, camas, and numerous other plants amidst a setting of thick trees. In the interior, they tamed the mountain rivers with weirs and earthworks to harvest further yields of their key crops. Regular burning and clearing produced patches of Imaru oak savannas enjoyed for their acorn yields and fertile land for fields of camas, as well as pastures for their reindeer, moose, and towey goats. Traditionally, the Whulchomic peoples considered the interior Shlpalmish to be the best herders, the Lelemakh to be the best weavers and traders, the Tlatlechamish to be the best fishermen and seafarers, and the Whulchomish to be the best craftsmen and farmers, although disputes on this matter were a common part of all societies.

    Constant rain and clouds marked their land during most of the year, with the only respite coming in the summer. Like many Fusanians, they structured their lives around this seasonal pattern, conducting great ceremonies and working on tools and crafts in the rainy season and traveling, fishing, hunting, and farming in the dry season. They lived in large communal longhouses built out of red or yellow cedar as their main dwellings where an extended family and their slaves (if they owned them) lived which they grouped into villages. Other buildings near these housed their animals, workshops, and religious shrines, although typically only the elite owned longhouses exclusively for animals or workshops--commoner longhouses shared spaces with their animals or workplaces.

    The Whulchomic peoples were perhaps the greatest dog breeders in North Fusania. They raised several varieties of dog, including the small terriers for pest control, bulky drafting dogs for pulling sleds and moving packs, hunting dogs, and livestock guardian dogs, but the most distinctive were the wool dogs they raised. These dogs, fed on a diet of exclusively fish, grew thick wooly goats which their owners harvested and used for weaving. Whulchomic peoples distinguished between wool from dogs and wool from goats, considering them opposites of each other and assigning dog wool aggressive and masculine qualities and goat wool domestic and feminine qualities. For garments and blankets meant to connotate balance they wove both goat and dog wool together.

    Like all Fusanians, the Whulchomic peoples held the totem poles raised individually or as house posts as the highest form of art, with fine carving with told stories through the arrangement of people, animals, and natural phenomena. Yet second to this the Whulchomic peoples valued their woven goods, the capes, blankets, and especially the distinctive tapestries. Their distinctive style might be simple or complex, the latter of which often narrated a story of historical or mythological origin using similar conventions to totem writing albeit inherently limited due to the lack of three-dimensional surfaces in the weaving. Their nobles clothed themselves with the capes and blankets during ceremonies and distributed these blankets and capes during potlatches, considered great gifts and worth an unusual amount in Whulchomic country.

    The long tapestries they wove on the other hand served a purpose akin to totem writing. These were cut into pieces and worn as blankets and capes, but never given away except as a whole unit. When not in use, the owner displayed the pieces in the appropriate order which told a coherent story. Legend told the tapestries originated from the wife of a brilliant totem pole carver amongst the Lelemakh who suddenly received spiritual inspiration to copy his storytelling with her blankets. Only the wealthiest nobles might afford to commission a tapestry, and tapestries might be worked on over the course of decades. As the Whulchomic peoples, those they gifted them to, and occasionally those who plundered them took good care of these tapestries and kept them indoors, tapestries (particularly those traded to the dry Plateau) are the oldest historical documents surviving in Fusania. Fragments of possible tapestries date to the early 10th century and two partially surviving 11th century tapestries depicting apparent mythologic events survive. The oldest near-complete tapestry dates to about 1100 and depicts the story of the life of a great leader (siyam) of the powerful Kwatkach'ked League of the Whulchomish which culminates in his final victory over the Skowatsanakh city-state of Kawakhtchin by Lake Chlhan [1]--the vengeful people of Kawakhtchin confiscated this at a later date and displayed it as a symbol of triumph. As totem poles tended to rot and collapse after a century or so (and thus none survive from early Fusania) and string records ambiguous and mostly simple records, tapestries serve as an important record of early Fusanian history and culture.

    The Whulchomic peoples worshipped the moon as the symbol of the Transformer god, named Khaals (and cognates depending on language) [2]. He was born from a union of a primordial woman from the earth and a dull red star (the identity of which varied from group to group). After his birth, his mother returned to earth at the behest of her sister through a rope made from cedar--as they descended on it, the coils of the rope became a mountain, the identity of which was debated. As an infant, Khaals was kidnapped from his grandmother by two Dena women from the north who used a cradleboard of rotten wood to fool the old woman. Distraught, they created a brother also named Khaals out of this cradleboard as a replacement and raised him well--together, the two are spoken of as Khekhaals.

    Many years later, Khaals returned from the north, bringing with him his tools like arrows and knives and his wisdom in the form of moral precepts. He spread righteousness and justice throughout the land, punishing evil men and evil gods alike. Khaals took away their spirit powers, reserving them only for men who properly followed a righteous way. He transformed people into animals, plants, and certain landmarks as punishment or reward for their deeds, these animals and plants essential to the daily life of the Whulchomic peoples and rearranged the rivers and lakes of the world to their current state. He granted his younger brother the power of transformation to assist him and help the people, for he was closer to them. In essence, Khaals prepared the world for modern people to thrive in it. At the end of his life, he and his brother visited the mountain made from the cedar rope he descended on as an infant. There, Khaals climbed the mountain into the sky to become the sun, but his spirit was so powerful he scorched the land. To solve this, Khaals instead transformed his weaker brother to light the day while he lit the night as the moon, keeping the people safe. Khaals carried his wife and possessions alongside him as he traveled the night sky which humans could see as the shadows and blemishes on the moon.

    The Whulchomic peoples came to revere Khaals and his brother as gods, worshipping at a variety of sacred mountains. As lunar and solar deities, they gave and took away light as needed, preserving the balance of the world. They governed the spirits of the world in this role, having banished and sealed evil and granting humans magic. Like most Fusanian religion, worship of these deities took place outside, usually by sacred trees, rocks, or especially on sacred mountains. Often they worshipped Khaals and his brother by proxy, offering their sacrifices to the holy places they blessed or to particularly powerful ancestors (often associated with people transformed by Khaals) to intercede on their behalf rather than pray directly toward the gods.

    Equally important in Whulchomic religion was the general conception of spirits, mostly shared with other North Fusanian peoples. Natural events were explained as being caused by powerful nature spirits, spirits which shamans might attempt to manipulate for human benefit or ordinary people might acquire portions of their power as guardian spirits. Rain, snow, winds, floods, and disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis were explained by spiritual creatures like the Thunderbird or the evil twin-headed serpents called ahyahos, powerful spirits normally sealed in boulders and cliffs who controlled earthquakes and landslides. A shaman might gain an ahyahos spirit, but such a spirit was dangerous and normally these men were relied on to keep other ahyahos sealed. Like all Fusanians, they sang songs of praise and danced in ceremonies to these spirits to keep them appeased and so the spirits might grant them even more of their power. Rituals such winter dances and the crucial First Salmon Ceremony, in the common form of ritual gutting and offering back of the first-caught fish to ensure the fish might forever return, of spring marked major yearly events.

    The Whulchomic peoples recognised four classes in contrast to three commonly recognised by most Fusanian peoples--the nobility, the commoners, and the serfs, or st'ekhem. The latter served as a caste of outcasts and often referred to as the "Forgotten Men", as they "forgot" their lineage and origins, in contrast to nobles who descended from ancestral nobles and commoners who descended from the poor and enslaved. They lived in separate communities typically owned by a noble from a nearby village and paid tribute to him. Unlike slaves, the Whulchomic considered the st'ekhem fully human and not property and granted them rights, but considered cursed by the Transformer Khaals and his brothers for the haughtyness of their ancestors. In contrast to commoners, the st'ekhem were forced to perform rites of purity to even go near nobles and tended to hold certain low-status occupations. The origin of the st'ekhem appears to lay in the daughters of slave women by their commoner or noble owners. Their status was too high to become slaves themselves but their illegitimate status forever tainted their lineage. Other st'ekhem appear to be runaway slaves who managed to arrive in a place which forgot their origins as slaves. While st'ekhem-like classes existed amongst commoners elsewhere, only in Whulchomic lands did the st'ekhem fully emerge into their own class, a reflection of the more complex laws governing social and familial relationships.

    Of these classes, the leaders of the Whulchomic people came from a small subset, the siyams (or siyabs, etc. depending on language) of the nobility. These represented the nobles of the highest lineages, nobles who found it inherently easy to gain the respect of followers provided they live a proper life befitting their status. Only siyams might be elected to rule over larger communities. A siyam might fall in rank back to being a noble should they become too poor or too wicked, and likewise a noble might ascend into the rank of siyams by their wealth, leadership qualities, generosity, and powerful spirit.

    The Whulchomic people looked toward outside communities for marriage, a common practice in the region. To marry a relative closer than a fourth cousin fell under the incest taboo, as geneologies were regarded as essential parts of oral history and only slaves and the poorest of commoners lacked the ability to recite them. The Whulchomic people regarded their most distant ancestors as having been brothers and sisters of those the Transformer (known by various names such as Khaals by the Lelemakh) made into plants, animals, and landforms essential to their life, in effect the separation of man from animal. These ancestors founded the clans common to Whulchomic people since their arrival during the American Migration Period, clans formed by their nobleman leaders and the commoners and serfs bound to them.

    Whulchomic inheritance practices allowed for the inheritance of nearly anything, including sections of land far away. Those siyams who married well might inherit entire villages by inheriting the name(s) assigned to them which when applied to politics created situations akin to European concepts of personal unions, as such a siyam would be responsible to the local nobility there and expected to act as a member of that community when he was there. The daughters of siyams often acted as powerful heiresses and became highly sought after spouses who at times held their own potlatches in order to show off their power. Siyams who wished to expand their power needed to rely on intrigue just as much as warfare.

    Like many in coastal Fusania such as their Wakashan enemies and southerly Namal neighbours, Whulchomic nobles held great potlatch feasts. In these ceremonies, the highest of nobles called siyams [3] (or siyabs, etc. depending on language) transferred their wealth to their followers from all around with the implicit assumption that accepting their gifts made them dependent on them. Indeed, the siyams often received great amounts of tribute from their followers throughout the year. Yet potlatches did more than this, since it signified the noble was wealthy, generous, and capable of taking care of his followers.

    Not every good given away at a potlatch might be physical. Individual ownership and rights to plots of land often also were transferred at these festivals, although most siyams granted free use of their land to their followers. Like the Tsm'sha, Atkhs, and other groups, they also transferred inherited names at these festivals. Some of these names referred to legendary figures who first owned a certain plot of land, while others may refer to great heroes whose deeds were elsewhere and thus "owning" that name carried a great deal of prestige. A Whulchomic siyam might carry over a dozen names and be known by a different one in every town or village, in addition to the posthumous name they might inherit on death. A commoner being privileged to inherit a name from a noble often marked their ascension into that upper class. This gave the new owner the spiritual power that name possessed and by extension adopted one as part of the lineage which carried that name.

    Along with the potlatch ceremonies, council rule formed the basis of government in this region. Councils of nobles ruled each and every community from small villages of only a few longhouses to large cities like Sqhweyemehl on the Shisutara River. Typically, these councils elected or invited siyams to govern community affairs like fishing or construction. Only landowners in a given area sat on the councils, and in councils governing large areas, dozens or more might assemble for these meetings. The most powerful member elected by these councils was the Stomekh, or war leader. While they expected every man to fight, the Stomekh came from the warrior class, typically chosen on the basis of their spiritual power. They were regarded as brutish and prone to violence, but essential in protecting the village in times of war. People disliked the stomekh for their spiritual impurity and often harsh demands, but still firmly trusted them when it came to defense.

    The Whulchomic peoples took the brunt of the Coastman raids, facing serious incursions since the 8th century from Far Northwest peoples like the Khaida, Hailtsaq, and Tsm'sha and soon after Wakashan peoples like the Atkhs and Lik'wil'dak. Similarly, they faced raids from the north and east in the form of Dena herdsmen living in the mountains who preyed on Whulchomic reindeer, and also from the south in the form of Namal raiders seeking more slaves to sell downstream to the slave markets at Wayam or for tribute to the Coastmen. The raids only ever stopped when the villages and towns of the Whulchomic people paid tribute to the raiders. Numerous Whulchomic peoples vanished entirely in this maelstrom of conflict (usually as the Atkhs settled on their land), their existence known only by archaeology, linguistics, and in the oral history of their descendants.

    Yet perhaps the greatest deterrance came from the Whulchomic skill at engineering and city planning. The Whulchomic people placed great value in palisades and watch-towers since early on, yet as the decades passed with no end in sight to the raids, they began to build these more and more. Nearly every village of more than a few dozen people had a tall palisade and watch-towers made from red cedar or similar sturdy trees, while larger villages often had a ring or two of these and usually a smaller palisade to corral the village's animals when needed. Regional centers like the Tlatlechamish city of T'khwinas [4] often built their palisades typically wide enough soldiers might stand on them, on top of earthen walls with multiple layers of defense with central keeps in the interior. The city of Sqhweyemehl went a step further around 1100 and constructed stone walls to bolster its defenses. Similar fortifications started appearing throughout the 12th century in the region decades before they appeared anywhere else.

    These walls often held specific notches and skewers for mounting the heads of enemies on them. While nearly every Fusanian group took the scalps or the entire head of their enemy, amongst the Whulchomic people a traditional headhunting practice arose where the warrior took back the heads of enemies they killed to their own settlements and mounted them on the walls with the spiritual assistance of shamans as a form of deterrance to enemies both physical and spiritual and a show of force to allies that the settlement held strong warriors. They preserved these skulls to retain human features as long as possible. Occasionally they ransomed these heads and skulls back to kinsmen, sometimes even in exchange for live captives.

    Traditional Whulchomic warfare evolved as defensive in nature and for wounding enemy warriors for capture, although in their less frequent offensive wars and raids they fought to kill. They regularly laced their arrows with poisons to incapacitate and attacked from their walls or from ambush sites. Their warriors likewise often laced their daggers and spears with poisons for this reason. Upon capture, these men were fated for slavery or for ransom--unlike other Fusanian peoples, the Whulchomic peoples captured adult men for slavery. Except for nobles who were worth more whole, they always mutilated these men by hacking off a foot or a hand and often their nose to further mark them and diminish the number of potential enemy warriors. Those men they could not ransom they castrated and used as a separate class of slaves used for very menial tasks which did not involve implements which might be turned against their masters. These slaves were at the bottom of the hierarchy and usually supervised by other slaves.

    Other methods of defense emerged amongst the Whulchomic peoples in this time. They built villages amongst the sloughs and bogs in their land to cause enemy canoes to run aground and be easy targets for archers in watch-towers. In a case of covergent evolution amongst cultures, they constructed stone and wooden pathways like the European kulgrinda of the Samogitians and other Baltic peoples across bogs and other wetlands whose paths were known only to nearby villages in question as they were invisible on the surface. These became frequent battlefields where more mobile Whulchomic skirmishers defeated numerous raiding parties.

    With all these fortifications, the Whulchomic villages and towns posed a formidable challenge for aggressors, and that included ambitious Whulchomic rulers as much as raiders. Unlike elsewhere in North Fusania where flood control and coordinating defense from the Coastmen and Dena prompted the rise of strong rulers and states, in Whulchomic lands this process stopped with no real states established. While ruling dynasties held control in each village, town, and city, that ruler's control typically stopped not far from their walls. Even the siyam of a large and prosperous city like Sqhweyemehl held hardly any influence over the dozens of villages within a few kilometers of it. This promoted the division and fragmentation of Whulchomic culture into not only overarching ethnicities (defined in centuries after based mainly on language on some cultural elements) like the Whulchomish or Lelemakh but also smaller ethnicities centered around collections of villages, a chief town, or a section of river, such as the Dkhdawhamish who lived around Sqwuhalqwu. A few groups became united under one lineage, but generally the many siyams in the region contended for influence.

    Regardless of origin, siyams organised into leagues to coordinate activities with siyams in other communities and act as defense against enemies. Although often portrayed as alliances of towns and villages, a league was properly an alliance of siyams, usually focused around the siyam wealthy enough to own most or all of a major city. Leagues met at the cities of their founding and made their decisions in council of their siyams. The head of a league was called the yewal siyam (loosely translated as "high siyam"), who coordinated the activities of the league yet had little power otherwise. The league councils elected the yewal siyam for a term of five years. Yet the true paramount ruler was the yewal stomekh they elected to coordinate their military affairs, as he held extraordinary powers in intervening in local affairs. He acted as the military leader of the league and coordinate the raising and supply of soldiers and construction of fortifications. However, if he overstepped his boundaries he might be removed from office to prevent villages or towns from leaving the league. Typically, the council elected the yewal stomekh for five years.

    A league collected taxes from their members in the form of tribute paid to the league council. Tribute usually took the form of goods, but just as often took the form of labour by commoners or especially slaves loaned from wealthy citizens. The labour was used mainly to repair fortifications and agricultural earthworks and levees to keep the economy functioning. The league nominally used this labour where needed but typically used the labour to bribe valuable members. Further, the leagues demanded their members send at least a few warriors to the capital of the league for a few weeks to a few months to conduct training exercises and serve in the capital garrison. The yewal stomekh was in charge of collecting dues from league members--he delegated the position to a chief tax collector who in turn appointed subordinate tax collectors. Usually the dues were not particularly high thanks to the common dislike of paying them. Those leagues who demanded too high of dues or misappropriated them fell apart.

    The potlatches held by the yewal siyam were essential in redistributing resources to league members in addition to confirming his power and authority. At these events, held once a year or so on an auspicious occasion, the yewal siyam spoke before nearly every siyam of the league or their representative and gave gifts from two sources--tribute from members and his own personal wealth. The latter was crucial in cementing the yewal siyam's authority and by extension his closest backers. A yewal siyam often invited siyams or other rulers from outside the league to these events in the hopes of seeking new members and conducting diplomacy. This potlatch functioned as a council meeting in of itself for the league and in some years might even be the only time the full league council assembled. By custom, the yewal siyam hosted or attended no other potlatches than these. Due to the number of siyams assembled and amount of wealth gifted, these potlatches were usually among the largest held every year in Fusania and it is reputed that some of these potlatches may have been the largest ever.

    Membership in a league fluctuated over the years, typically known by the siyam in question's attendance or lack thereof at major potlatches. While voluntary, economic or even military coercion often occurred to keep members in line. In this sense the leagues possessed a greater level of centralisation than the Kuksuist confederations of South Fusania. The Whulchomic peoples considered leaving a league a great insult and a potential cause for war or retaliatory raids. For this reason, siyams considered leaving a league an option of last resort if their concerns about domestic and foreign policy of the league went unheeded. Typically they tried to work within the system and back allies for the posts of yewal siyam and yewal stomekh.

    At any given time, four to six major leagues operated alongside a few dozen smaller leagues, some of which were consisted of only a single town and a few subordinate villages and were dominated by a single lineage of siyams. The smaller leagues often had many siyams who paid tribute to siyams in larger leagues yet still guarded their independence and carried out independent policy. Further, familial links crossed the boundaries between leagues which further reinforced the connections.

    Leagues occasionally fell apart or dissolved entirely, often out of mutual hatred between the most powerful members or because of external forces (usually the Coastmen). For the former, simply leaving their league wasn't a good enough option for some siyams--they demanded control over their league and used trickery and violence to get it. These sorts of aggressive actions invariably resulted in the collapse of the league, either due to losing its most important members or because the league was now reconstituted in a new city. For the latter, Wakashan raids easily might destroy smaller leagues as they no longer trusted the yewal stomekh to protect them. Occasionally it might be less violent as siyams pledged themselves to stronger leaders, leaving the league so weak that even the yewal siyam pledeged himself to another league.

    Traditionally, the Whulchomish people served as a typical example of a Whulchomic group, hence why they lent their name to their linguistic and cultural kin. They lived in fortified villages farming the river valleys and swamps for camas, omodaka, and other plants and periodically set out into the forests they managed to gather plants and seeds and hunt game. Their most essential ceremonies revolved around the salmon runs, where many Whulchomish gathered to catch the seemingly endless fish moving upriver to spawn. Their villages grouped under the rule of siyams who held the titles to them, titles which may be traded or inherited, and the nobles beneath the siyams whom they were most responsible to.

    Yet the Whulchomish innovated many of these systems alongside the Lelemakh due to the richness of their land and need for social organisation early on. To keep social interactions peaceful as their population grew and began to overharvest local game, people looked to the nobles and especially the siyams more than ever to ensure their prosperity and success. In turn, the siyams needed to gain the support of each other to ensure this wealth to their followers. The siyams thus organised horizontal leagues of semi-free association, an innovation which spread in time to neighbouring Whulchomic peoples. This system worked quite well--the Whulchomish produced a large surplus of food and crafts and thanks to their central position along the Whulge served as important centers of trade. With all this, the Whulchomish numbered as the largest Whulchomic group consisting about half of the total population of those groups.

    The strongest of the Whulchomish Leagues included the Kwatkach'ked League, the Spuiyhalep League, the St'ech'as League, and especially the Sqwuhalqwu League [5]. These leagues (starting with the Kwatkach'ked League, traditionally the oldest league in the land) organised around growing trading centers somewhat inland from the mouths of important rivers, as the raids of the 8th and 9th centuries resulted in the near-abandonment of the coast in favour of watchtowers and temporary fishing camps. Mutual self-defense served as an essential component of the leagues as did the reinforcing of familial bonds and the bonds of followers and masters. This successful social structure spread via intermarriage throughout the entire Whulge Coast by the early 10th century.

    The Sqwuhalqwu League ranked as the strongest and wealthiest of the leagues. Although weakened heavily by a powerful earthquake and tsunami around 920 AD which struck the entire Whulge area, it recovered faster than its southern rival, the Spuiyhalep League. [6] Further quakes in the southern area in that timeframe fell disproportionately on Spuiyhalep and southerly Whulchomish leagues, and the eruption of Teqwubeh [7] around 940 caused devastating lahars that flooded villages, killed many livestock, and destroyed the salmon runs for over a year causing famine in the area. With its southern rivals weakened, the Sqwuhalqwu League gained the support of interior siyams and their leagues by the Grey Mountains and significant control over the trade routes crossing into the Tabachiri Valley [8]. Sqwuhalqwu and a few core members of its league controlled a large fleet of both fishing boats and warships which prowled the waters of the rivers, the Whulge, and the nearby Lake Hikwqhachuh [9] to ensure security as well as intimidation of siyams who might otherwise wish to leave. Because of its advantageous position for trade and its good lands, since the 11th century Sqwuhalqwu was the largest city in Whulchomic lands--around 1100 it had a population of perhaps 3,000 people, one of the largest cities in Fusania.

    The Whulchomish and the Dena were surprisingly friendly. Many Whulchomish leagues used alliances with the Dena to prevent local rivals, especially the Namals, from controlling the mountain passes between the Plateau and the Whulge coast. Similarly, they took advantage of the Dena raids on the Shlpalmish, Tlatlechamish, and mainland Wakashans to further weaken rivals and to receive good terms of trade for livestock. Much of this friendliness traces to older wars with the Shlpalmish and especially the Tlatlechamish as well as a general desire to not worry about another group of potentially dangerous raiders. As a result, the Grey Mountains Dena grew exceedingly wealthy in the 10th-12th century as intermediaries and buffers.

    A Wakashanisation process of the Whulchomic peoples occurred in the 8th through 10th centuries during the height of the Wakashan raiding. All of the Whulchomic groups (of closest affinity to the Shlpalmish and the Tlatlechamish) on the Pacific coast fell victim to Wakashan raids and settlement. Many people fled the coast entirely, others stayed under Wakashan rule and formed the base of the lower classes in these societies and gradually came to lose most of their Whulchomic heritage, including their language and became indistinguishable from other Wakashan peoples, a process complete by no later than the start of the 12th century. For other groups like the Tlatlechamish and Lelemakhs, they regularly intermarried with the Wakashans and many of their siyams and other nobles descended from Wakashan raiders. The Whulchomish held the least amount of Wakashan influence, but even here many of their nobles descended from the Wakashans. True to their Wakashan influences, the Tlatlechamish as well as the Lelemakhs of Wakashi placed a great emphasis on whaling and seafaring, in contrast to other Whulchomic peoples, and with this were considered fearsome warriors by other Whulchomic peoples.

    Early Tlatlechamish history was a harbinger of what was to come for the history of the Whulge Coast, for they bore the brunt of the Wakashan Expansion. Alongside the enigmatic Kwidit'atkh (their Atkh exonym) who based on toponymy, loanwords, and substrates in succeeding languages spoke a language unrelated to their neighbours, they lived along the exterior arms of the Whulge on both the mainland and the islands immediately across from Wakashi Island and became the first victims of Wakashan settlement during the late 8th century. As a result, the local Tlatlechamish people especially those on the Hitadaki Peninsula called the Nehwstl'ayem [10] developed perhaps the most warlike and militarised culture of all Whulchomic peoples, shared by the Whulchomic peoples of Wakashi Island itself. They countered the raids on their land by attacking Wakashi Island itself, raiding Atkh villages. This provoked many reprisals from the Coastmen due to their long-standing tradition in punishing those who harmed their kin and as a result, the Tlatlechamish and especially the Nehwstl'ayem suffered disproportionately compared to other Whulchomic people. For the Nehwstl'ayem, during the 9th through 10th centuries their warriors fell in battle after battle, their women and children were abducted as slaves, their villages were burnt, and their lands were settled by Atkhs and other Coastmen.

    This caused many migrations of groups of Tlatlechamish east into the Whulge and inland. Some settled peacefully with other Tlatlechamish and Whulchomic peoples, others violently dispersed them from their lands and took it for themselves. A few migrated into the Hitadaki Mountains to join the Qsultene'ni Dena who lived there. The last remaining Kwidit'atkh group seem to have met this fate as their lands fell to invading Nehwstl'ayem and became the nucleus of the Nehwstl'ayem city-state of Qatai and its Qatai League which emerged around 950, a relatively centralised and powerful state and (after 1000 AD) the last holdout of the Nehwstl'ayem people. Other Tlatlechamish groups acted as Coastmen, raiding villages Whulchomic and Wakashan alike. By the 11th century their main area of settlement focused on Khwatqam Bay where they clashed with the local leagues and gradually drove them inland.

    The Tlatlechamish were the most Wakashanised of the Whulchomic peoples due to many nobles having Wakashan ancestry and possessed numerous cultural elements of them as a result. They prized whaling and whaling nobles and possessed innovative ship designs and tactics to best hunt down the whales. They actively cultivated salt marsh plants for food, fuel, and salt and were skilled mariculturalists. Their limited usable land kept agricultural and pastoralism to minimal activities--as a result, the Tlaltechamish specialised in forestry for silviculture, toolmaking, and shipbuilding and imported what food they needed (mostly acorns and dried camas and omodaka). The Tlatlechamish often served as intermediaries between the Wakashans and the mainland peoples, trading tools, whaling goods, slaves, and canoes in exchange for additional food and animals. They were skilled navigators, knowing the many straits, coves, and safe harbours of the Whulge.

    The Tlatlechamish lived on both Wakashi Island and the mainland in addition to their centers in the islands. The Island Tlatlechamish lived mainly as farmers, fishermen, whalers, and merchants, owning few reindeer or goats thanks to the depredations of Atkh raiders from further northwest. These Atkhs rarely made serious attacks on the Tlatlechamish by land, preferring to make lightning raids by sea. To counter the Atkhs as well as the powerful Tlatlechamish Smayekh League of the Waragutsuru Islands, the Tlatlechamish here organised under their two most powerful cities to create the Qemasen League and the Sesinah League [11] which by virtue of their fortifications and powerful counter-raids became by far the largest cities amongst the Island Tlatlechamish.

    Yet the most powerful group of the Tlatlechamish were those who lived on the Waragutsuru Islands between the mainland and Wakashi. The aforementioned Smayekh League dominated this area. They initially formed as a defensive alliance from the invading Wakashans and in turn sought to conquer the coastal areas around Khwatqam Bay []. Their own raids and settlement on the coast were as damaging and vicious as the Wakashan raids, and they occasionally functioned as the proxies of emerging Wakashan states, raiding the coast to pay the tribute the Wakashans expected. The 9th and 10th centuries accelerated the pace of Tlatlechamish displacement at the hands of the Wakashans, so the league had an ample supply of warriors to call upon and many people left seeking new land.

    The Shlpalmish, dwelling along their rivers in the prairies and hills north of the Imaru, possessed the most distinct lifestyle relative to the other Whulchomic people, a lifestyle rather recognisable to the Namals. They relied much more on farming and especially herding and built only smaller canoes, and their lords owned far more reindeer and towey goats than neighbours. They extensively traded over the mountains to the Imaru Plateau and offered the best alternative to the Imaru River trade routes for the Whulchomic peoples and Wakashans. Much Shlpalmish land consisted of prairies and as a result they became among the first to intensively cultivate the Imaru oak in their lands using a method perhaps learned from Kuksuist oak cultivators far to the south.

    Perhaps because of their proximity to the Imaru, the Shlpalmish possessed a weaker structure of leagues than other groups. A Shlpalmish league typically was more akin to a city-state and its hegemony than the decentralised leagues found among other Whulchomic peoples. The Awelkintl [12] League, the most powerful Shlpalmish city, was a prototypical example of this. Awelkintl, known for copper mining and dye production and sited on an important trade route between the Whulge and Imaru River, eliminated its only regional opponent by inherting the town of Mat'ap after its line of ruling siyams died out and assassinating siyams and nobles opposed to this inheritance. After that, the Siyam of Awelkintl ruled as Yelam Siyam of the whole league with a close male relative as Yewal Stomekh and elections served as only a formality. His state controlled the majority of the valley of the Upper Kashiwamachi Valley, with the only opposition north of Namal lands being the similarly organised Watlakhetkuk League at the titular city. Still, primarily Shlpalmish leagues in the sense of other Whulchomic peoples existed of which the Talal League [13] was the most notable example. Here, a few Shlpalmish and a few Whulchomish towns and villages united in the decentralised structure common elsewhere.

    The Shlpalmish allied mostly with the Whulchomish leagues to their north and more rarely with Namal city states like Katlamat or Katlaqmap. Their worst enemies aside the Wakashans were the Aipakhpam city states of the Tabachiri Valley who competed with them for control over the mountain passes and associated pastures and forests. The Coast Mountains Dena also presented a powerful threat until expeditions from an alliance of Shlpalmish towns and coastal Atkh city-state of Hach'apukhwis [14] crushed them as a major force in the late 11th century. Although the Shlpalmish and Atkhs split the loot in slaves and livestock equally, the more centralised nature and determined political goals of the Prince of Hach'apukhwis simply replaced one Shlpalmish enemy for another.

    At the mouth of the great Thistalah (later called the Shisutara) River [15] lived the Lelemakh. The fertile plain of the Thistalah provided ample marshy ground perfect for growing omodaka and other water plants as well as good transportation between the towns and villages of the area and upstream to the lands of the Stl'atl'emkh Chiyatsuru and their powerful city-state of Old Khakhlip [16]. The mountains around them likewise provided sufficient quantities of timber, hunting grounds for game, and pastures for reindeer and goats. The Lelemakh grew great quantities of food for both themselves and for their vast herds of livestock, especially their towey goats. While the Lelemakh engaged in mining, fishing, woodworking and other economic activities like other Whulchomic peoples, their textile arts (especially their woven tapestries) and finely bred goats gained them the most note outside their lands.

    On one of these mountains, likely on a peninsula somewhere on the north coast of the Whulge, intensive maintenance of the local mountain goat population began to meet the increasing demand for the blankets so treasured by all Whulchomic peoples and their neighbours. Over time, the wild mountain goat became the domesticated towey goat, a far more useful animal and an even greater symbol of wealth. The Lelemakh believed the wild mountain goat and domesticated towey goat came from two twins, one greedy and demanding more and one content and unambitious, who regardless clashed over their inheritance and threatened the peace. The Transformer god Khaals turned the greedy twin into the towey goat, so he may be wealthy, powerful, and always but forced to serve man while the moderate twin became the mountain goat, free and masterless forever so he might learn proper ambition.

    Positioned at the northern end of Whulchomic country and controlling the trade routes up the Thistalah River, the Lelemakh imported great amounts of livestock and metals from the countries to their north, especially that of the Stl'atl'emkh. They also frequently traded with the Yatupah'en Dena to their northwest for the same purposes and also for whale products (as whaling was rare among the Lelemakh due to fear of provoking Wakashan retaliation) and occasionally with other Dena up the Shisutara. They held a balanced diplomatic outlook, taking advantage of any group as needed to ensure their merchants might trade unharassed and most importantly their own lands unraided. As such, their neighbours considered the Lelemakh untrustworthy allies, although their relations with the Stl'atl'emkh and Whulchomish often remained on good terms.

    Sqhweyemehl emerged early on as the largest center in Lelemakh lands. Sitting near the mouth of the Thistalah, this city dominated best lands for farming and trading in all Lelemakh country thus enabling their Sqhweyemehl League to dominate nearly the entirety of the Mainland Lelemakh. Only a few minor leagues like the Iwowes League, the Leq'emel League, and the Ch'iyaqmesh League in the northwestern mountains [17] competed to any sizable degree, and for the former two their significance declined greatly during the collapse of Old Khakhlip in the 11th century. Lacking local competitors and exceedingly wealthy, it was perhaps the second to only Sqwuhalqwu amongst cities on the Whulge and occasionally even greater depending on the circumstances of regional politics.

    The Island Lelemakh represent a divergent branch of the Lelemakh people. They lived in the northeastern corner of Wakashi Island along the coast and into the interior valleys and hills. In this land they encountered frequent conflict with the Atkhs and Lik'wil'dak in addition to raids from further north. Their culture became remarkably martial as a result, and unlike their more defensive Mainland Lelemakh kin (who considered them violent and crude, albeit still civilised, people), the Island Lelemakh much more frequently went to war and raided their enemy, usually rustling livestock. They despised the Lik'wil'dak above all else, having absorbed many Whulchomic refugees from the land northwest of them who had been pushed out by the Lik'wil'dak in the 8th - 10th centuries. In turn, the Island Lelemakh allied with the enemies of the Lik'wil'dak, the Yatupah'en Dena and especially the Southern Khaida who had pushed out the Lik'wil'dak to begin with.

    Three powerful leagues--the Samena League, the Sneneymah League, and the Seq'amin League [18]--and several lesser leagues dominated the Island Lelemakh. While neither of the three larger leagues even came close to the Sqhweyemehl League's power and wealth, their economic and military alliances with the Wakashans and other Coastmen let them serve as good intermediaries between those groups and the other Whulchomic peoples. In addition, their frequent intermarriage with the Mainland Lelemakh and other mainland Whulchomic peoples led to their men often being called as warriors to defend their kinsmen.

    In addition to other already discussed, several other Whulchomic leagues are notable, such as the oldest league in Whulchomic country was the Kwatkach'ked League, centered around the city of Kwatkach'ked. According to legend, the gods themselves gave advice to the siyams of Kwatkach'ked on how to organise a league. The league further strengthened thanks to the brilliant rule of a particular lineage of siyams descended from the siyam Sts'kanam (c.780 - 863), who inherited or otherwise purchased all of Kwatkach'ked and eventually inherited numerous villages around. The ruling siyam of Kwatkach'ked held in personal union villages and towns from quite a distance afield and with the Kwatkach'ked League united numerous villages to "link up" their territory. Records suggest the Kwatkach'ked League formally organised around 863 AD not long after the death of Sts'kanam. Thanks to this antiquity, the Kwatkach'ked League and its leadership occupied a position of "first among equals" as the seniormost league.

    The Kwatkach'ked League consisted of mainly Whulchomish villages but also a few Lelemakh villages as well. In addition to the Wakashans and other Coastmen, they frequently clashed with the Smayekh League. Relations were better with the Sqabahlko League [19], the league immediately south and the two often fought as allies. They occasionally fought with the league to their north, the Khwkhahestam [20] League during the early 10th century over ownership of villages near the border but the Khwkhahestam League weakened so severely that century thanks to these wars, Wakashan raids, and wars against the Smayekh League that the Khwkhahestam League effectively became a vassal of the Kwatkach'ked. Khwatqam [21], its second-most powerful city, succeeded from the league in 954 thus permanently weakening the Khwkhahestam League.

    The political sophistication, increasingly defensive nature, and advanced fortifications combined to produce a stable system which served as an anchor in the stormy tides of warfare and raiding in the region. The number of raids dramatically lessened during the 11th century as the typical Coastman leader knew he and his men would only meet death or slavery lest they bring a great host with them. The amount of loot to be gained lessened while the prestige to be gained stayed the same--as a result, many of the most ambitious Coastmen nobles shifted their attention far to the south in this era, leaving more peaceful times along the Whulge.

    Great hosts of Coastmen periodically appeared however, as the task of organising Coastmen expeditions increasingly fell to the larger and more centralised states rather than independent nobles thanks to the need to conduct siege warfare. This caused raids to be fewer in number, but more devastating in effect. The Khaida state of Llaginda which came to rule the majority of the islands of Qhwai during the 11th century, mounted a great expedition aimed at the Whulge in 1107. Alongside Llaginda, numerous lesser Atkh and Southern Khaida towns contributed warriors. Notably, this was the first Coastman raid the legendary Ringitsu warlord Khutsaayi took part in, as well as an early battle led by Kawadinak, future lord of the rising city state of Tinhimha [22]. Thousands of men and ships took part in this campaign.

    Several leagues of Whulchomish and Tlatlechamish towns provided opposition, with the Kwatkach'ked League leading the way. Practically every coastal siyam contributed warriors, ships, and animals for this defensive army. Evenly matched, they clashed in a large naval battle where many on both sides fell until the wind blew and carried the Coastmen away from the initial target of the raid, Smayekh. At that point, the Coastmen broke off from the battle and sailed toward the mainland and attacked the small T'khwinas League, frequent allies of the Kwatkach'ked League. They utterly destroyed T'khwinas and surrounding villages and marched on Kwatkach'ked itself. The Coastmen then turned back and ambushed the relief force as it headed through Khwchangas Strait [23]. Despite being outnumbered almost two-to-one as he only led a portion of the Coastmen host (no more than a thousand men), Kawadinak's men used the topography and an attack right before dawn to cause utter chaos in Whulchomic host. With minimal cohesion and not knowing the numbers of the enemy, the force of the Kwatkach'ked and other allies was scattered and dispersed with hundreds killed or drowned. However, the survivors regrouped and managed to return to Kwatkach'ked. Kawadinak feigned a siege at Kwatkach'ked to keep their forces inside the city while the majority of his men pillaged the countryside and attacked lesser towns and villages.

    Despite little hope of reinforcement and forces far outnumbered by the Coastmen, Khwkhahestam and their allies attempted to resist regardless. They put up tenacious resistance at the Siege of Khwatqam and killed several important nobles of Llaginda in the first botched attempt to storm the city walls. In the end they sacked Khwatqam and moved on to Khwkhahestam itself. Here the resistance was even fiercer, and Coastmen increasingly sated with their plunder. After a few months of sieging the city, Khwkhahestam fell to the Coastmen host and every adult male massacred with the rest becoming slaves to the Coastmen. The remaining towns of the Khwkhahestam League either surrendered in hope they might be spared or fled as refugees to surrounding towns. This resulted in the desolation of that country and the extinction of the Khwkhahestam League, but it came at great cost as the fighting in the area inflicted so many losses on the Coastmen that they needed to end their raid, the greatest in this time period.

    Although the Coastmen did not return in numbers for some time thanks to the wealth gained and losses suffered, the effects of this raid on the Whulchomic peoples lingered for decades after. Several leagues were practically annihilated, their lands passing to distant cousins and being actively fought over. The Kwatkach'ked League, despite its status as heirs of Sts'kanam, slipped into terminal decline as internal conflict took hold in the 1110s and 1120s. Even wealthier leagues which remained initially unaffected suffered a decline in these decades. To preserve their wealth, the siyams became increasingly territorial and dictatorial, preventing members from leaving their league by force and strictly enforcing the territorial rights of league members. Dues and tribute demanded increased, and the leagues gradually began their transformation into true states and more centralised republics.

    Matters became even worse with events going on beyond the Grey Mountains. The wars of the rising Aipakhpam power of Wayam and Shilkh power of T'kuyatum [24] during this same time period, marked by their unusual intensity, decreased the volume of trade flowing through the Grey Mountains. Fleeing refugees, warriors looking for easy prey, and all manner of other banditry occurred along the mountain passes, further damaging trade in the area. While some cities and leagues managed to profit off these conflicts in the short-term, a general economic crisis set in over the region.

    Prince Kawadinak of Tinhimha emerged in this time as the greatest enemy of the Whulchomic peoples. He periodically organised great raids in this area to gain wealth and experience for his men in order defeat rivals at home on Wakashi Island not long after his rise to rulership at Tinhimha in 1115. Peace on Wakashi Island typically meant a great raid within a few months, and during the 1120s and 1130s he conducted three large raids. Raids from Llaginda or further afield might strike too in this era. The worst era of Coastmen raids seemed to be returning thanks to these emboldened warlords with larger armies and better siege tactics. So large were these Coastmen hosts that some villages simply surrendered immediately and let them take what they wanted in hopes the people be spared death or slavery.

    In 1139, Kawadinak led another army of thousands of warriors to the Whulge Coast with the typical orders to loot whatever they felt like. However, this time the Whulchomic country was prepared for him. The Smayekh League, lacking both a yewal siyam and a yewal stomekh as they had both died in the months prior, and fearing the imminent onslaught of Coastmen, took the unprecedented step of electing Kawadinak to both positions (after he took the daughters of a few leading siyams as concubines) in order to preserve themselves. Such an arrangement, inviting a barbarian to rule, had never been done before in all Whulchomic history and only emboldened Kawadinak to demand similar arrangements from other leagues. Kawadinak initially set his sights on the Sqhweyemehl League for its wealth, but his initial siege failed thanks to a stampede of moose owned by the nobles of the city caused chaos in his lines. Taking that as a sign (and not leaving without stealing many of said moose), Kawadinak returned home in 1139, preparing the next year to become the ruler of the Kwatkach'ked League and use its prestige to gain further control over the shores of the Whulge.

    ---
    Author's notes​

    A rather lengthy entry, attempting to combine ethnographical description of TTL's Whulchomic peoples and continue their history as discussed way back in Entry 10. There's some overlap in the matters discussed. I wrote this one in segments as I went over the information and decided on the basic facts I hope I sorted it all into a coherent entry.

    This and the next few entries are in similar style, mixing ATL ethnographical information (rather mutated from OTL but similar in other ways) and historical content, although I might cut back on some of it to regain brevity. There's a hell of a lot of names and geography discussed here, so I'll be providing maps as soon as I can catch up on the maps I already need to give. Until then follow along in Google Maps or similar website/program (it's pretty helpful for reading a lot of TLs here really). Whatever that can't answer I can.

    As always, thanks for reading!

    [1] - Kwatkach'ked is Skagit City, WA, the Skowatsanakh are an Interior Salish people akin to the Middle Columbia Salish (i.e. Sinkiuse, Chelan, etc.) of OTL. The city-state of Kawakhtchin is Manson, WA, and Lake Chlhan is Lake Chelan
    [2] - IOTL, even within Coast Salish country there are many variations on Transformer legends. This story associates Khaals with some common motifs and TTL is the subject of a religious cult hence the more standard form.
    [3] - While Coast Salish cultures share many similarities, there are also many distinctions. The titles I'm using here are Halqomelem (TTL's Lelemakh) in origin
    [4] - T'khwinas is Anacortes, WA
    [5] - Spuiyhalep is Tacoma, WA, St'ech'as is Tumwater, WA, Sqwuhalqwu is Tukwila, WA
    [6] - This is the great earthquake on the Seattle Fault in the 10th century, a magnitude 7.5 or so quake which caused a tsunami in the Puget Sound. This quake and similar quakes around the same time damaged many areas of the Puget Sound beyond Seattle with subsidence, tsunamis, etc. Elements of this entered into local Salish legend OTL as they have here.
    [7] - Mount Rainier, a more authentic rendition of its indigenous name "Tacoma".
    [8] - The Tabachiri (or Taptiil) Valley is that of the Yakima River in WA.
    [9] - Lake Hikwqhachuh is Lake Washington, it's name meaning "Big Lake".
    [10] - The Hitadaki Peninsula is the Olympic Peninsula, named for the Hitadaki Mountains (OTL's Olympic Mountains) which is the Japanese transcription of a Wakashan term meaning "top of mountain". The Nehwstl'ayem are TTL's version of the Klallam people of that region
    [11] - Smayekh is at Garrison Bay on San Juan Island, WA. The Waragutsuru Islands are the San Juan Islands, named for their largest island's name in Japanese, Waragutsuru (San Juan Island). Qemasen is Victoria, BC and Sesinah is Saseenos, BC (near Sooke, BC)
    [12] - Awelkintl and Mat'ap are both immediately downstream on the Cowlitz River (TTL's Kashiwamichi, a Japanese rendition of a Chinookan toponym) from Toledo, WA
    [13] - Watlakhetkuk is Castle Rock, WA and Talal is Fords Prairie, WA
    [14] - Hach'apukhwis is Aberdeen, WA
    [15] - The Thistalah/Shisutara is the Fraser River. Like many toponyms for large bodies of freshwater in this area (i.e. Imaru/Wimahl), it just means "Big River".
    [16] - Old Khakhlip is the Keatley Creek site near Lillooet, BC, which in the 1st millennia AD was among the largest communities in the region with over a thousand people. I am borrowing the name of the nearby community of Fountain for the place.
    [17] - Iwowes is Hope, BC, Leq'emel is Dewdney, BC, and Ch'iyaqmesh is a bit upstream from Squamish, BC
    [18] - Samena is Duncan, BC, Sneneymah is Nanaimo, BC, and Seq'amin is Ladysmith, BC, all on Vancouver Island
    [19] - Sqabahlko is Arlington, WA
    [20] - Khwkhahestam is Ferndale, WA
    [21] - Khwatqam is Bellingham, WA
    [22] - Tinhimha is Port Alberni, BC
    [23] - Khwchangas Strait is Deception Pass, a narrow strait north of Whidbey Island
    [24] - T'kuyatum is Brewster, WA
     
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    Chapter 23-Arose From the River
  • -XXIII-
    Arose From the River

    As the great Imaru River stretches toward the Pacific Ocean, it widens into being a sea in of itself as the combined flow of hundreds of thousands of square kilometers of land passes through one river. On its way the river has carved its way through a scrub desert and punched through the high mountains to create a dramatic canyon. Endless green forests and trees reaching to the heavens now replace the brush and stunted groves of the Plateau as the land now receives ample blessings of water from the skies. Here in this country live the Namals, the People of the River, a stirling example of Fusanian civilisation as much as the Nahuatl might be for Mesoamerica or the Quechua for the Andes. With the river as lifeblood and the forests as body, Namal civilisation arose and supplied endless contributions to Fusania.

    Along with the Aipakhpam, the Namals have a true claim to being the most influential ethnic group in Fusanian history, and not just for being the ethnic group from which famed historian and military leader Prince Gaiyuchul of Katlamat hailed from. From the country of the Namals came numerous Fusanian innovations both beloved and detested, from advanced forestry and silviculture to numerous woodworking arts to hierarchial and centralised states. Many more innovations like totem writing, sailing, advanced navigation and shipbuilding, and metalworking passed through the country of the Namals on its way to the Plateau and beyond. The Namals reaped the benefits of their innovativeness by being among the wealthiest people of the region yet also suffered the curse of the innovativeness of others by beyond frequent targets for Coastmen raids. Laying at the heart of the Imaru Basin, their vast trade network influenced all of Fusania and beyond.

    The term Namals originated as a collective term for Namal-speaking peoples along the Lower Imaru from the Falls of Wayam in the east to the shores of the Pacific. The Imaru (a Namal term meaning "Big River") represented the lifeblood of their civilisation from its salmon runs to its use as a highway for trade, and for it the term Namal arose meaning "People of the [Imaru] River". Yet the majority of Namals possessed little unity for almost all of history, hence their division into numerous smaller groups speaking a collection of related languages, some not mutually intelligible with each other. From east to west on the Imaru and tributaries, the main Namal groups were the Ihlakhluit (from the Falls of Wayam to the Ninatsuchiji [1] Valley), the Shakhlatksh (from the Ninatsuchiji Valley to the eastern edge of the Irame Basin, including the Imaru Gorge), the Gitlawalamt (in the Irame Basin and downstream on the Imaru to the Kashiwamichi [2]), and the Kigwilatksh (from the Kashiwamichi to the Wakaikami River [3]). Some Namals, especially among the Kigwilatksh, claimed descent from the Tlak'elak, who formerly lived at Tlat'sap and the mouth of the Imaru before mostly being destroyed or assimilated by the Atkhs.

    Each Namal group held stereotypical specialties rooted in some level of truth based on geography. The Ihlakhluit were the greatest merchants, Shakhlatksh were the best herdsmen. The Gitlawalamt were the most clever warriors, the Kigwilatksh the best craftsmen, and the Tlak'elak the best seafarers, a skill they supposedly transferred mostly (but not entirelty) to the Kigwilatksh. True enough, clans of Tlak'elak origin controlled the Namal whaling trade as well as external sea trade, paying tolls to the Atkhs at Tlat'sap to both hunt whales and to bring back the bounty to their home towns inland.

    At their core, the Namals were a trading and mercentile people. Living on the Imaru and its tributaries granted them access to numerous key fishing sites which became centers of trade since antiquity and the ease of travel the river naturally offered. The natural geography of the Imaru with the coastal mountains and the imposing Grey Mountains blocking the way gave the Namals great control over goods coming from the coast and goods coming from the Plateau as the Imaru offered the easiest path between these locations than the dangerous mountain passes. Further, the Imaru itself posed an obstacle to crossing which the Namals exploited by operating ferries and shipping goods between either side. Located so near the center of the Fusanian world allowed the Namals to prosper greatly since the earliest days.

    Because of this linguistic diversity and economic necessity, one of the two great trade languages of Fusania arose here known as the Imaru Trade Language or Imaru Creole. It was primarily a simplified version of the more complicated Namal languages with loanwords and some grammar from Aipakhpam, Salishan, Dena, and Whulchomic languages along with borrowings from the other major trade language, Trade Wakashan. If Trade Wakashan dominated the coast and the Furuge area, then the Imaru Trade Language dominated the interior. Numerous merchants, travelers, and slaves knew and spoke this language regularly, and for it the language gained a crass reputation, associated with unsavory merchants and the underclass.

    The Namals themselves shared this reputation amongst outside groups as neighbouring groups like the Aipakhpam and Shlpalmish considered the Namals greedy and avaricious, people who would sell their children and mothers into slavery if they needed a loan and often prone to treachery, picking whichever side looked best. They believed them to frequently cheat and extort travelers and traders for personal benefit. Extensive slave traders and raiders, the Namals gained a particular reputation for cruelty toward their slaves. Neighbours further associated the Namals with prostitution and considered them licentious and perverted thanks to their trade in female sex slaves and misunderstanding of Namal customs which rumour held permitted the ruler to have sex with any woman in his realm. Individual Namal groups might be trusted by their neighbours, but the Namals as a whole rarely were.

    The Namals disliked war and preferred to meet their foes through diplomacy and treachery rather than open combat. They often conducted economic warfare against their enemies and sponsered bandits to rob merchants of rival towns and cities and convinced allied cities to close their gates to merchants friendly to their rivals. The ideal Namal war leader was not a warrior but a man who ordered warriors about and just as importantly made sure the warriors received their loot and supplies and kept the fortifications strong. The war leader should know where to find the right man for the job, which often included assassination, betrayals, and other dishonourable tactics. In combat, the Namals preferred to ambush their foes and typically shied away from battles where they were outnumbered. Their leaders almost always led from the rear so to avoid assassination or being specifically targetted by the enemy.

    While mercenaries existed elsewhere in Fusania, the Namals employed them to a greater degree than any before and created much of the structure of how mercenary bands and the oral law contracts associated with them worked. The earliest permanent mercenaries often lived in pastoralist communities of perhaps 150 - 300 people tended to by their wives, children, and slaves. The mercenary band itself consisted of a few dozen men full-time and a few others available part-time who rarely visited their homes, instead hiring themselves out to war leaders in need of their services. When not employed, mercenaries contracted as guards for wealthy merchants, nobles, rulers, often from rival areas so as to make their village politically difficult to attack. Just as often these mercenaries lived as brigands and lived off the land and its people, usually avoiding those associated with the politically powerful. If attacked, mercenary bands often used their contacts to raise alliances to punish the offenders making dispersing these villages a difficult challenge. Mercenaries came from many backgrounds but tended to be exiles from their home villages, runaway slaves, or veteran Coastmen seeking their fortune elsewhere.

    Namal religion focused around similar animistic conceptions of the world as other Fusanians. Their religion centered around ancestor worship and the acquisition of guardian spirit power gained through appeasing spirits found in nature. The worship of these spirits and ancestors needed to be done in such a manner as to ensure balance, lest bad fortune come upon the community. The Namals considered their ancestors a vital link to the ancient past of the world when the world assumed its current form. As a result, they held the "correct" traditions and ways to best appease natural spirits for successful harvests and the continuation of the salmon runs. A few deities in particular the Namals held cults to, such as to Coyote, Thunderbird, and Its'ikhyan, the spirit of the Imaru River itself. Typically these cults focused on acquiring spiritual power from these entities or their servants and using it to appease the deities in question. As elsewhere in Fusania, sacred mountains, certain rocks in the rivers, and groves of trees served as sites of worship and pilgrimage.

    The greatest ceremonies of the Namals likewise focused on appeasement of spirits. The ritual of the First Salmon occurred yearly, where the first salmon caught (always by a priest of noble descent) was ritually butchered, consumed by priests and the ruler of the community, and its bones thrown back into the river. Yet for the Namals this ceremony continued every morning for the next month and various restrictions applied on who might eat the salmon or touch fishing equipment (those considered impure, such as warriors who recently killed, those who had been near corpses, and menstruating women). They believed this necessary as impurity would drive away the salmon spirits and keep them from returning the next year. The Namals also forbid outsiders, including those from other Namal villages, from fishing in their stretch of river or purchasing salmon, instead reserving it for their own community and its guests. During this time, the most successful Namal fishermen often gave away salmon to those less fortunate and often performed other charitable deeds. Gaiyuchul of Katlamat describes this ceremony in his Saga of the Peoples of the World:

    "The supposed greed of the Namals is repeated throughout the land and spoken of as a fact of life, yet I have heard of few peoples who observe that ancient ceremony of the First Salmon in a manner as generous as our people. They proclaim us greedy for barring outsiders to fish in our rivers in this time of year, yet not even I myself as Prince of Katlamat might fish outside of my city in that time, for the salmon only offer themselves to those of that community. They accuse of greed for barring the purchase of salmon in this month, yet we realise the spirits of the salmon will not allow themselves to be sold, only freely given away. Thus we follow their example in this time and give alms to the less fortunate."

    During winter, the Namals held dances lasting up to five days to honour the spirits and in particular their own guardian spirits. Communities danced and sang themselves into a furious trance and during this time great displays of spiritual power and spirit possession occurred. Acts normally considered taboo such as the eating of dogs and snakes and drinking of blood from animals and birds occurred as means of feeding the spirits and further heightening the mystical atmosphere. Warriors cut themselves to draw blood, in many places once per man they killed, to demonstrate their spiritual power. They never spoke of what occurred at these ceremonies at other times of the year, and believed themselves to be wholly under the control of their spirits thus not actually breaking any taboo. The Namals believed this an act of extreme importance in ensuring balance, as it added the necessary darkness to the light of their own spirits which in turn added darkness to the community and warded away even worse spiritual threats. As with similar acts such as human sacrifices, during more stressful years be it due to famine, war, epidemic, or natural disaster the spirit dances were often shortened, although in no year were they ever cancelled.

    Politically, the Namals developed centralised state-level societies rather early in response to the increasing demands of feeding the populace necessitating coordinating more work and perhaps more pressingly planning defense against the increasing Coastmen raids in the 8th century. Their villages and nobles united behind those leaders of important towns called ikanakhs who most capably organised defenses, leaders who in return supplied gifts in the form of labour, tools, and animals. An ikanakh sent trusted nobles to assist subordinate villages in organisation, nobles who reported back to their ikanakh as needed. In his capital town, the ikanakh ruled with theoretical impunity, able to confiscate and redistribute property, take any man's wife for his own, and order punishments and executions at will. He could theoretically apply this force to his subsidiary villages but usually left this power to the village headman. However, the ikanakh walked a fine line in exercising this power as it easily created resentment amongst his subjects, spurring assassination plots and intervention from other ikanakhs. Often councils of nobles dethroned these tyrannical ikanakhs and installed more pliant relatives.

    Potlatch ceremonies solidified these early states amongst the Namals. Strong rulers gave away vast amounts of their personal wealth in ceremonies--for a lesser ruler to accept these gifts marked them as effectively a vassal of this leader. Attendance at potlatches held by princes and rulers was expected for vassals, and snubbing an invitation considered a grave insult. Accepting a gift meant later obligations for tribute in labour or goods, including that of weapons or soldiers. A ruler might be a vassal to more than one greater ruler through this system, and the greater city-states tolerated this state of affairs as often as they clashed for control over these communities. A Namal state was thus centered around the bonds between a ruler and his followers, be they in his own town or those elsewhere. Naturally, this horizontal model and the potlatches at the heart of it lent itself well to political intrigue, and rulers always sought to find ways to prevent the attendance of certain figures or discover new wealth to give away.

    The worshipful reverence of the Imaru River defined a key element of their politics, as the Namals held in the highest regard the ikanakh closest to the mouth of the river, who in oldest times ruled from the city of Tlat'sap. Numerous legends arose to explain this, but one popular story held that the line of the Ikanakh of Tlat'sap descended from the daughter of Q'mitlwaakutl, legendary ruler of Wayam who led them against the invading Hillmen. This daughter married a clever strategist of that city and later this man used intrigue to gain the position of ikanakh. This ikanakh declared himself first among equals of all peoples of the Imaru west of Wayam.

    Accounts dispute the fate of the line of the Ikanakhs of Tlat'sap after the sack of the city by the Coastmen in 857. Some Namal cities traced the line of their own ikanakhs to survivors who fled this destruction, as did many noblemen. Rival cities of the Kigwilatksh, especially Katlamat, Tlat'sap's most bitter rival, claimed the ikanakh's line died out and ceased to exist. Gaiyuchul of Katlamat took this position while acknowledging the arguments for the other side. In any case, the Gitlawalamt tended to place more emphasis on descent from this Ikanakh while the Kigwilatksh tended to ignore it. The Ihlakhluit held no tradition of this event, while the Shakhlatksh found it unimportant.

    Katlamat's vehemence on this issue reflects an ancestral rivalry with Tlat'sap, one which ended with Tlat'sap's sacking and resettlement by the Coastmen and especially the Atkhs. With this, Katlamat came to prominence amongst the Namal cities due to being the largest town closest to the river mouth whose ikanakh still remained. It controlled the trade along the Imaru from the ocean to areas downstream (after Tlat'sap took its cut of course) which gave the city great economic wealth. In theory, the Ikanakh of Katlamat was the ruler of all Namals. In practice, he ruled numerous nearby villages almost directly and held some sway over the ikanakhs immediately downstream, but at no point in this era could Katlamat ever be said to rule all the Kigwilatksh (who nonetheless gave great reverence to the city) let alone all the Namals, although the Kigwilatksh often worked in tandem with Katlamat's interests and at no point in history did the Kigwilatksh towns ever fight each other. Still, around 1100 it was one of the most important Namal cities and one of Fusania's larger cities with about 2,000 people.

    Katlaqmap emerged as the main rival of Katlamat. While its rulers nominally deferred to Katlamat while detesting them as economic rivals, their interests mostly lay on the Irame River. As Katlaqmap lay where the Irame flows into the Imaru, this site became a natural center of trade and also religious significance. With the Imaru River a sacred river to the Namals and the Irame less so, Katlaqmap used this status to assert its claim to authority over every city in the Irame Basin as they held spiritual authority on the basis on their position on the Imaru (and descent from the Tlat'sap ikanakhs). Naturally, Katlaqmap faced intense opposition from the other Gitlawalamt cities such as K'ashaksh, located at an equally strategic site at the mouth of the Nikkimashi River and by the Irame Falls and possessing a spiritually powerful sacred rock which attracted pilgrims from all over the Irame Valley [4]. K'ashaksh and Katlaqmap fought numerous wars in the 9th through 11th centuries before Katlaqmap's tricks allowed an entrance into the city walls which resulted in the sack of the city in 1049 and its decline into insignificance in favour of Katlaqmap's loyal ally, Tlawiwala [5]. At this point, Katlaqmap rose ascendent and dominated local trade and possessed a population of over 3,000 people in 1100.

    The other Gitlawalamt states resisted Katlaqmap's efforts when they could, but many Gitlawalamt migrated south anyway into the Irame Valley, clashing with the Amim and taking numerous slaves as they settled on formerly Amim land. Some Gitlawalamt nobles fled far south, eventually assimilating into the Amim people they ruled over and instilling in the entirety of the Amims a deep and undying hatred not of the Namals or even the Gitlawalamt but Katlaqmap specifically. The number of Amim and their tenacious defense kept the pace of the Gitlawalamt advance slow. Katlaqmap and its hegemony could be bought off with tribute in the form of slaves which needed to come from the Amim, sparking wars. Yet not paying this tribute meant Katlaqmap or an ally might send an expedition to take it by force. This left many Gitlawalamt with equally bad choices and caused them to be the most militarised of all Namal groups.

    Downstream from Katlaqmap lay the Imaru Gorge, a great canyon over 100 kilometers in length consisting of relatively narrow passageways through which lay the route to the Imaru Plateau. Although the great rapids of this stretch of the river so famous in later years had yet to form in the 12th century [6], passage still proved difficult without the experience of skilled navigators. This allowed the local Shakhlatksh people to carve out an economic niche in profiting off of those seeking to cross this gap, charging tolls for passage. There arose five towns, two at either end and on either shore of the river and one in the center of the Gorge. These were the Five Cities of the Passage, on the northwest Wimahlgikshat, the southwest Swapapani, the center Qikhayagilkham, the northeast Itlkilak, and the southeast Ninuhltidikh, each with about 1,500 people in 1100. [7] The ikanakhs of these five towns were among the wealthiest men in all Fusania, as so many goods flowed through their lands and the mountains allowed perfect land for pasturing their herds of reindeer, towey goats, and increasingly moose. Their position at the head of river valleys gave them access to ample water for irrigation and the all important salmon runs.

    The arrival of terracing in the late 9th century made these cities even richer and less dependent on food imports to feed their people and allowed further economic diversification. The Shakhlatksh put the engineering skill developed from this and armies of slave labour to other uses, namely grand fortifications. Qanats doubled as rooms for ambushes, remote cliff forts secured the perimeter of the Gorge, and in some very narrow places walls stretched all the way from the cliffs to the riverbank. The Shakhlatksh appointed engineers based on their spiritual power, believing only those who controlled the fierce east and west winds that blew through the gorge might be able to fortify their land. The fortifications tended toward the monumental, featuring aesthetic shapes and numerous paintings of animals and gods and spirits abounding on them.

    Despite these forts and their wealth, the Shakhlatksh most fought among themselves for much of the Fusanian Copper Age. Dena and Amorera raiders picked at their fringes but their relations with their nearest Aipakhpam and Namal neighbours tended to be cordial with few conflicts fought. Some Shakhlatksh lived alongside Aipakhpam communities in the eastern fringe, and they often hired Aipakhpam warriors as mercenaries. Swapapani-Wimahlgikshat and Ninuhltidikh-Itlkilak were ruled as diarchies and Qikhayagilkham and a few smaller towns ruled by a single ikanakh. Qikhayagilkham occasionally exerted force on the either the eastern or western diarchies, allying with Wayam or Katlaqmap and the other diarchy depending on circumstances. This prevented this area from pursuing a coherent foreign policy as the cities always looked suspiciously at each other.

    The Ihlakhluit shared their country with the Wayampam, an Aipakhpam people, and also with the Grey Mountains Dena. This drier, rougher landscape they lived in combined with their close relations with the more distinctive people of the Imaru Plateau made them differ from the rest of the Namal peoples. They centered themselves around the city of Nikhluidikh and its neighbour across the Imaru, Tinainu [8], located several kilometers downstream from the Falls of Wayam at a key fishing spot in the Imaru, and also around the town of Itsagitkkhoq, one of the five communities at the Falls of Wayam immediately upstream from Nikhluidikh. Their powerful leaders styled themselves as with the title istamkh, and their communities were often ruled by two istamkhs, one from either moeity. Thus from the earliest days they had played an important role in the formation of society on the Imaru Plateau. In their lands, the Ihlakhluit lived as farmers, fishermen, and traders, the Wayampam as hunters, foresters, and warriors, and the Dena as herdsmen and animal breeders. Although it stretched only about 35 kilometers along the river, the land developed early on and hosted amongst the most dense concentration of wealth and people in all Fusania, with tens of thousands of people congregating along this stretch of river.

    Vibrant terraces carpeted the steep hills and cliffs of this area, growing ample amounts of food for the local people and all the people who came to the area to trade. Inside these cliffs lay great networks of qanats for irrigation and refrigeration and storehouses containing endless jars of preserved food and meat. This great surplus of food permitted a vibrant artistic culture, whose wares sold for great price throughout Fusania. Their most widely known arts to people centuries later lay in the elaborate mortuary canoes and funeral statuary they created for the elites of the Imaru Basin, yet they produced much more from pottery to elaborate clothing to sculptures of all sort. From antler and bone they carved elaborate sticks and tokens for gambling, a pasttime said to be even more frequent than typical trade and barter in their country.

    Conflict remained rare as raids were almost unheard of by the 10th century and the Ihlakhluit considered warfare bad for trade. The few Ihlakhluit warriors tended to serve as mercenaries in the employ of either their city or in foreign lands. Nikhluidikh and Tinainu's hegemony over almost the entirety of the Ihlakhluit people likewise kept the peace within their own country. To keep the peace in foreign lands like Wayam or amongst the Shakhlatksh the Ihlakhluit vigorously punished their own criminals and cooperated with outside rulers in ensuring criminals were properly punished so to prevent a cause for war. For the rare times disputes could not be settled peacefully, often over plots of land or crimes involving well-connected people, the Ihlakhluit organised ceremonial battles akin to those found elsewhere in much of Fusania but on an even more ritualised scale. Typically around twenty warriors on either side gathered at a pre-determined neutral location, often in their canoes at the river, and after the initial war dances fought until the other side perished or surrendered. Hundreds of men turned out to watch these battles, cheering and dancing to support their city and kinsmen or intimidate their rivals.

    If anything threatened Nikhluidikh, it was Wayam. The Wayamese and especially the Ihlakhluit of the Itsagitkkhoq quarter considered them dangerous rivals, yet rarely made overtly aggressive moves for fear of harming their own prosperity. Wayamese rulers and the merchants never ceased to search for new ways to undermine Nikhluidikh. They frequently intrigued against rulers too friendly to Nikhluidikh's interests and searched for ways to draw away trade. Wayam had one more advantage Nikhluidikh lacked--a hinterland suitable for expansion. Constrained by mountains and powerful states like Ninuhltidikh-Itlkilak, Nikhluidikh might only cautiously expand for fear of provoking their trading partners whilst Wayam's much more open hinterland was full of weaker villages and towns dominated by more distant city-states like Imatelem and Chemna. Over time, this resulted in an almost exponential rate of growth for Wayam compared to Nikhluidikh's more linear growth.

    In the early 12th century, the political situation in Namal lands grew increasingly volatile. The elderly Ikanakh Qwalis of Katlamat, who had ruled nearly 40 years, organised a massive potlatch in 1100 uniquely during the wintertime to cement his legacy and the claims of Katlamat to rulership of the Imaru. Securing the allegiance of numerous ikanakhs and lesser nobles including nearly every Kigwilatksh, he embarked on a military campaign in spring 1101 aimed at retaking Tlat'sap from the Atkhs during a rebellion. He conquered Sqamaqwaya, long a contested territory by early fall 1101 but his campaign bogged down after the inconclusive Battle of Tiyaksamikh, the need to return men home for the harvest, and raids from Katlaqmap against his allies. Qwalis died in 1105, but his successor remained extremely popular and sought to make further moves against Tlat'sap. The rise of the Atkh polity of Tinhimha-Yutluhitl under the warlord prince Kawadinak presented a great threat to these ambitions. While Kawadinak focused his attention mostly on the Whulge, local enemies who attracted his wrath often fled elsewhere. Tlat'sap, seeking any aid it could and offering a route to raiding the increasingly wealthy Namal towns, thus attracted many of these men.

    Elsewhere in the Namal world, Katlaqmap turned its attention away from fighting with Namal cities further down the Irame and instead attempted to secure its position along the Imaru proper through grand potlatches and military force. Katlaqmap cultivated better relations with former enemies to the south in an attempt to secure this alliance, assisting them against the Amims. A nascent attempt at building something larger than a city-state and its immediate tributaries was underway as Katlaqmap sought to preserve its gains of influence amongst nearby city-states and hammer them into a new sort of alliance never seen before in Namal lands.

    Perhaps the most threatening to the Namals were the external forces. The rise of powerful city-state leagues among the Shlpalmish and Whulchomish, increasingly organised Amim states pushing back against the relentless Namal raiding, a renewed wave of Coastmen raiding thanks to the wars of Kawadinak and other warlords, and most ominously of all, a sudden and dramatic change in Wayamese politics thanks to the rise of a noble figure calling himself the returned Q'mitlwaakutl. Whispered voices rumoured that Q'mitlwaakutl sought to throw the region into chaos to aggrandise Wayam at the expense of Nikhluidikh. Despite the ever-increasing prosperity blessing the green lands of the Namals of the 12th century, things seemed more uncertain than ever.
    ---
    Author's Notes
    As I mentioned, in many ways the Namals could certainly be considered your baseline Fusanian group. They've got many of the common traits of "civilised Fusania", are wealthy and numerous, and importantly have a notable early advocate in Gaiyuchul helping introduce them to the world.

    Originally I planned to do one entry per "quadrant" of the civilised world (the Whulchomic/Coast Salish last entry were the northwest, the Namals the southwest, etc.) yet the size of these entries has rather exploded thanks to my love of detail and the fact I can go on all day about the world I've created. The Namals themselves might as well be a few separate ethnic groups although they do consider themselves to have a single identity. With that in mind I've separated this into two entries, one for the Namals and the other for the Amims and Valley Tanne to their south in the valleys of OTL's Willamette, Umpqua, and Rogue Rivers. Culturally these groups are similar, but the point of this series of updates is to both introduce a bunch of cultural information as well as describe the political situation of the area that group lives in which is of course different by region. Spacing it like this is also helpful as it gives me a buffer of content so next update will probably come next week.

    I'm also currently working on some maps, both the promised map from a while back showing the cultural areas of North America and one more specifically focused on the Imaru-Whulge area that is the focus of recent updates.

    In any case, thank you for reading as always.

    [1] - The Hood River and associated valley of Oregon, named for the settlement Ninuhltidikh (called Ninatsuchiji by the Japanese)
    [2] - The Kashiwamichi is the Cowlitz River, its name a Japanese reinterpretation of Qashiamishtikh, referring to the Cowlitz River
    [3] - The Wakaikami River is the Grays River and is named for the area of Grays Bay (TTL's Wakaikami Bay) near the mouth of the Columbia River indigenously called Waqaiqam
    [4] - K'ashaksh is Oregon City, OR while the Nikkimashi (Niq'imashikh to the Namals) is the Clackamas River. The Irame Falls are the Willamette Falls. The sacred rock is the OTL Willamette Meteorite, carried to the Willamette Valley by the glacial Missoula Floods at the end of the last ice age
    [5] - Tlawiwala is Gladstone, OR
    [6] - Referring to the "Bridge of the Gods" landslide which OTL dammed the Columbia River and created the Columbia Gorge as we know it today. The effects of this event TTL will be quite interesting indeed, but that's a much later update
    [7] - Wimahlgikshat is North Bonneville, WA, Swapapani is on the opposite shore to North Bonneville, WA in OR, Qikhayagilkham is Carson, WA, Itlkilak is White Salmon, WA, and Ninuhltidikh is Hood River, Oregon
    [8] - Nikhluidikh is a bit east of Dallesport, WA while Tinainu is on the opposite shore of the river
     
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    Chapter 24-The Valleys of Opportunity
  • -XXIV-
    "The Valleys of Opportunity"

    South of the lands of the Namals lay a variety of people living in the fertile river valleys of the region, the great plain of the Irame between the mountains and the lesser plains of the Kanawachi and Yanshuuji. Some referred to them as little but simple peasants and mere imitators of the high civilisation of the Imaru and Furuge for the Namals inspired their civilisation greatly, people of an "intermediate zone" between the Hillmen who surrounded them and the civilised peoples, yet each of these cultures held their own complexity and rich heritage. The lands they lived on permitted great harvests of crops and the hills around them held great resources of timber, pastures, and especially metals. The dynamic between the Hillmen of the highlands and the civilised villagers of the lowlands dominated the social and political outlook of this area, a dynamic becoming ever more important as the great trade route commonly called the Black Road that stretched from the Furuge to the Central Valley of South Fusania, became increasingly traveled. Great wealth flowed through here, and in this land of valleys amidst the forested hillside, great opportunity--and threats--always lurked around the corner.

    Amims

    The Irame River and its tributaries carves out a wide plain amidst the rugged hills and mountains of coastal Fusania. The greatest tributary of the Imaru west of the Grey Mountains, the vast floods at the end of the last ice age which formed the modern Imaru River and drained the glacial lakes of the Imaru Plateau overflowed into the Irame Basin and deposited vast amounts of lakebed sediments and volcanic soil from the Plateau alongside a great number of boulders creating some of the richest soils in the area. Replenished by regular flooding, the Irame Valley produced rich growths of plants which attracted its earliest inhabitants. Over time, they adapted to the rhythm of the environment and used controlled burns to produce a rich oak savanna akin to those found in South Fusania. The wealth this environment produced made it the most densely populated area in all Fusania with perhaps up to 20,000 people, the majority of whom were called the Amims.

    Archaeology suggests the Amims lived a lifestyle different from their neighbours, being less sedentary and hierarchal and in many ways more comparable to South Fusanian groups. They were slower to adopt domesticated animals (especially reindeer) and switch to horticulture and later agriculture than the Namals to their north, which as population pressure and raids from the coast and interior grew resulted in Namal migrations southwards into Amim lands from the 5th century to the 10th century. As a result, nearly everything north of the Anmara Mountains and the mouth of the Hanjuku River [1] became territory of the Namals. South of this area to about the 45th parallel north lay an area of mixed villages and communities and south of that lay almost exclusively Amims.

    This Namal migration into the Irame Valley changed Amim culture immensely. The Amims adopted many of the ways and lifestyle of the Namals. Intensive intermarriage between the two groups and even more intensive slave-raiding on both sides resulted in great cultural exchange. Amim nobility became replaced by Namal nobility through conflict who gradually assimilated into their new communities and those remaining Amim nobles intensely emulated their Namal influencers. Their culture became much more similar to a typical culture of North Fusania, with farming, earthworks, hierarchial societies, strong leaders, potlatching, and numerous other shared traditions. Village sizes increased and true towns and cities appeared. The Amim language itself became changed, incorporating a vast deal of Namal loanwords, calques (in particular those related to agriculture, pastoralism, warfare, hierarchy, class and government), and grammar patterns. Historian Gaiyuchul of Katlamat writes of the early Amim:

    "In deepest antiquity the Amim must have been barbarians for their own legends claim they drank the blood of both animals and men after having declined from a civilised and noble people. For forgetting the laws of nature, their sun god Ayutlmeyi strengthened the spirit of the Namals so they might stand against them, take their land, and reduce them to a state of slavery as punishment for the crimes of their people but in his mercy refused to destroy them as had been in the four ages before the current age of the world. Yet after the Namals soaked the land with so much Amim blood and drove the Amim from their homes, they begged their sun god for the power to fight back and promised to follow the laws of nature. Ayutlmeyi replied to the people through a great and powerful shaman:

    'Power I will give, yet understanding of this power I cannot grant. You may learn from the Namals, yet take heed of what you learn. For if you follow too closely the ways of the Namals then the entire earth will turn to black.' [2] The people did not understand his words at the time and followed the ways of the Namals. To this very day the Amim still debate the meaning of Ayutlmeyi's warning. Although they live so much like the Namals they hold a certain fear that one day they will find out just exactly what the prophecy means. Often these fears arise quickly and dissipate just as fast when whirlwinds, ash falls, and great tremors ravage the land."

    Even with this loss of territory, the Amim remained the most numerous ethnic group in all of Fusania north of the Central Valley of South Fusania--perhaps 10% or more of the total population at any given time. With the exception of a few groups of Amim on the northwestern fringe of the Irame Valley centered around the lakeside city of Chachif [3], the Amim spoke dialects of a single language that formed a dialect continuum stretching across the valley making this language among the most spoken in all Fusania. The rich soils of their land, good fishing waters, bountiful habitat for grazing animals, and ample rainfall ensured that supporting this large population could be done seemingly effortlessly.

    This amount of people in one area also meant the Amim became frequent targets for neighbouring raiders. The Amorera in the Grey Mountains, the Dena in the coastal mountains, the Atkhs on the seacoast, the Tanne in the mountains to the south, and above all, the Namals to their north all frequently raided the Amim for wealth and especially slaves. Perhaps no North Fusanian people suffered as greatly from slave raiding as the Amims. Nearly every society in North Fusania owned a sizable quantity of Amim slaves. The Amim language contributed greatly to numerous creoles and pidgins (including Trade Wakashan and the Imaru Trade Language) and also to typical speech.

    Amim society held a fatalistic view toward slave raids as a fact of life, the fate of those who broke society's law or those with weak spirits. They secluded and protected their women, yet also encouraged women to learn skill at knives and with poisons so they might strike back against their enemies. They built tall watchtowers to search for enemy war parties and developed courier systems to readily raise a large force of warriors to counter them. While the Amim did not build as many or as complex defensive networks as the Whulchomic peoples did, the Amim still constructed many defensive palisades, moats, and secret paths across marshy fields to protect themselves from enemies.

    Never a united people, many groups of Amims took advantage of this frequent conflict to strengthen their own position. They made alliances with Namal towns and even invited the losers of conflicts between Namal towns to live with them. These Namals intermarried and assimilated into Amim society and with them brought new contacts for trade and relations which gave the Amims powerful allies which helped stem the tide of Namal settlement in their lands. Further, the rise of Katlaqmap--called Waqanashis by the Amim--at the head of the Irame River and its wars against Namal cities to the south sent many more dispossessed nobles and others into the Irame Valley. While some joined with other Namal towns, many went to the Amim and over the years gave them a burning hatred of the Namals of Katlaqmap and those who might ally with them.

    Amim states coalesced around charismatic nobles be they Amims, Namals, or other groups, with the lesser rulers titled ashambak and the greater rulers titled atlanakh. A leader gained a following by having both strong guardian spirit power and wealth in reindeer, shells, and other goods. They became a hereditary class of rulers who sat at the head of councils of nobles and powerful shamans.

    The Amims held a strong sun cult, worshipping their solar deity Ayutlmeyi. Ayutlmeyi's value to humans came from his rays which held the power of every guardian spirit--for this reason, the spirit power itself was known as ayutlmeyi. By fostering these spirits and observing correct rituals, Ayutlmeyi might continue to bestow his spiritual gifts upon the world. The strongest shamans were those blessed by Ayutlmeyi himself in the form of the sun--these shamans dominated spiritual affairs and played a powerful role in secular society as well. As typical in Fusania, worship of Ayutlmeyi occurred at shrines on sacred mountains, hills, or groves.

    Ayutlmeyi's worship often occurred alongside fire worship, as fire was considered a sacred force granted by the sun. Travelers often noted smoke from distant flames on the hills and mountains in the Irame Valley from the perpetually-burning ceremonial flames. Amims danced themselves into a frenzy around sacred flames, often burning themselves with torches--an act which gave them no pain as they believed their guardian spirit power protected them from the physical harm. The greatest ritual was the ritual burning of the land, held once every year or so. Here, the Amim set fire to the countryside under supervision of a shaman to clear out brush. The fires smoked out all sorts of animals which the people hunted down while clearing and fertilising the land for better farming and prevention of wildfires. [4]

    Other peoples feared the Amims for their powerful shamans. An Amim shaman, if strong enough, might strip a person of their guardian spirit power which left them weak and vulnerable, an ability unknown among many other people of the Imaru. Amim shamans sat on noble councils and the commoners believed them to be a check on the nobility--if a nobleman was corrupt and self-interested, a shaman might remove them through spiritual assassination. While shamans played a role in many daily activities, especially agriculture and construction of improvements like earthworks, throughout Fusania, the Amims brought it to new levels as they demanded their shamans be present during planting and harvesting, construction of all earthworks, and shamans even spending days of meditation and prayer to call beneficial spirits to nourish the plants, bring rain and sun, and other such features.

    The Amims likewise were feared for their spiritually powerful weapons. While the Amims in the 12th century and earlier battled with clubs and obsidian-tipped spears and arrows with some copper/arsenical bronze knives, spears, and axes for their elite, the Amim shamanry knew of a great many poisons spiritual and physical. Amims often brought dogs, rabbits, or other small animals with them as they fought and stabbed them in front of the enemy to prove the power of their weapons, both sides watching the animal writhe in agony as it died. Few non-Amims dared to plunder their weapons, typically burning or burying them. Enough copper and bronze items were buried in this fashion that at one time archaeologists assumed the Amim of the 9th-12th centuries were at the forefront of Fusanian metallurgy and used metal weapons far more than other Fusanians.

    Like South Fusanians and a few other Fusanian people, the Amim believed they lived in the Fifth Age of the world with four worlds before them [5]. In the First Age, the people and world were so perfect the gods became jealous and the people were transfigured into stars. The gods made the world harsh in the Second Age, but the disease, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, floods, and storms were so harsh life was miserable, and the gods in their pity transfigured the people into stones, with their nobles becoming the great boulders littering the valley. In the Third Age, the gods tried to find a balance, but the people grew wicked and the gods turned their back as they allowed the world to flood. A great shaman named Amhulukw transfigured himself and the people into the creatures of the sea who ruled this flooded world, swearing revenge on the land and the other gods. Ayutlmeyi stole the sea to weaken him and his followers but recreated the world anyway with barely any water so to keep the people under control.

    In the Fourth Age, Raven taught the people to hunt and gather plants, but a brilliant youth, a prodigy of Raven demanded the return of the sea to strengthen the people. Raven taught him all he knew, saying the world he knew would end if he returned the waters to mankind. The youth accepted and traveled to the moon and sun on Raven's back in search of water. The youth used trickery gained from Raven to steal the water from Ayutlmeyi, releasing all the fish, sea animals, and sea spirits into the world including Amhulukw and his minions the atunqai, but Ayutlmeyi caught him after the deed was done. He transfigured the youth into the spirit of the Irame River itself and demanded he watch as the world flooded again and everything he knew perish, yet took pity and recreated the world, the world of the Fifth Age as the Amim knew it.

    Amhulukw was a powerful god to the Amim, controlling the rivers and lakes of the Irame Basin and their supply of food and granting spirit powers to certain powerful shamans. If people did not appease his atunqai minions and the spirits of fish and water animals they ruled, Amhulukw withheld their blessings and the people starved. If enraged, Amhulukw sent floods to punish the people. He was jealous of people who gained sustinence outside of his rivers and sent curses to them and even cursed mountains, lakes, and rivers. Only a shaman might grant an Amim power to leave the Irame Basin, and very few, if any, shamans might protect against the curses set upon certain mountain passes, bodies of water, and other areas between the coast or Plateau and the Irame Valley. The Kobahan Mountains on the west-central edge of the Irame Valley held many places like this, although only a few areas held curses truly insurmountable to shamans. In general, the Amim refused to leave the Irame Basin in older times, and Amim slaves brought outside there often developed illnesses which Namal and other shamans typically needed to treat. [6]

    All of this led to a traditional defensive mentality on the part of the Amims, a mindset which would not be broken for centuries. To an Amim commoner, their world was their village and the immediate land around it, led by an ashambak, or headman. Neighbouring villages they knew for their kin lay there, as they usually married into these villages. A larger town held the local atlanakh, the prince of their people, the title a borrowing from Namal. More distant towns held other atlanakhs, who may be hostile or friendly--the average Amim rarely ventured into these lands and often not without an entourage of warriors. Beyond the Irame Valley lay lands of dangerous peoples and spirits who with shamanic blessing and powerful guardian spirits might be coaxed into giving up great trade goods. Yet even the Amim merchants who visited these lands tended to be stingy--they needed to save resources to strengthen their home village or town.

    The Amim lived on or near the important Black Road, one of two major pathways to Pasnomsono in South Fusania and its wealth in precious metals, finished goods, spices, slaves, and other products. While few traversed the road in its entirety in this period, the trading network along this road transported great wealth along it which enriched its natives. The Amim forced outsiders to pay tolls in their land, tolls which might be waved for relatives or other friends of the Amim. This gave a great incentive for Namals, Dena, and Atkhs to marry into Amim clans bringing with them wealth and potential allies--it also contributed to the increasing Namalisation of Amim society. Foreign merchants carried most of the trade in this area, as even Amim merchants rarely left their immediate area.

    Unlike many of their neighbours, the Amims buried their dead and held no tradition of canoe or box burials. They raised burial mounds, some quite large, over the tombs of leaders, their families, and their possessions akin to those found in Eastern North America. On top of these mounds they erected carved effigies of wood and stone of symbolic meaning. Totem poles occasionally marked the burial mounds of particularly wealthy individuals, these posts telling of their life. Specially tended trees grew around these mounds. The largest of these mound sites occurred near Chapunmefu one of the most prominent early Amim city-states, with twenty mounds outside the city hosting burials of its leaders. The very name of the city had been changed in early times to its current name meaning "where hills are made". [7] These mounds were typically worked on over decades or even centuries and arranged geometrically. In the center of these mounds lay Great Chapunmefu Mound stands as the largest mound west of the Plains. Constructed from 950 to 1140, the mound stood at about 24 meters and was about 150 meters on either side at the base and entombed many kin of the Atlanakh of Chapunmefu before it partially collapsed in a major earthquake in 1700. Nearly every Amim village held at least one burial mound, and any town of note held multiple.

    These mounds often held vast quantities of expensive goods and occasional slave sacrifices (often by burying the slave alive). Like the box and canoe graves of other Fusanian societies, the Amim believed this kept the deceased away from the community (until their reincarnation) by giving them objects they knew in life so they might not disturb the living or worse, persuade them to follow them to the afterlife. Amim mounds were occasionally plundered by outside raiders so villages and other communities often placed watchtowers near these mounds to search for invaders. The Amims themselves treated the mounds with great respect and never visited them except under the supervision of shamans.

    A number of polities sprang up along the Irame and its tributaries, operating as leagues of mutual self-defense and organisation. The most important centers, based on their economic, military, or spiritual might, ended up dominating the others as urbanisation increased. Amims traditionally held that in this era there existed twenty city states, but in all likelihood the number of independent polities was much higher. Several lists dating from the 15th century exist, but Gaiyuchul of Katlamat and many historians since questioned the veracity of these lists. By the end of the 11th century, nearly ever major tributary of the Irame fell under the sway of a single city-state.

    Due to the kin networks between Amim villages, atlanakhs needed to tread lightly while distributing and collecting tribute, lest they infringe on the privileges claimed by other atlanakhs. War often ensued over offenses like these which claimed the lives and limbs of many promising fighters. These wars were strictly ceremonial, unlike the wars against the Namals and other raiders. Groups of warriors agreed to meet at neutral ground, supervised by priests and shamans, and at this place they fought until one side retreated or was annihilated to the man. After the battle, rulers rarely chose to continue the war, although further hostilities might result in years after.

    The most powerful Amim city-state from the 9th to 12th century was without a doubt Chapunmefu. Located on the Ayamara River and reasonably sheltered from the worst raids by the Namals, Chapunmefu took in fleeing nobles and peasants alike who supplied the city with ample warriors and workers for the field. Hills and mountains nearby gave ample ground for reindeer pastures and areas for gathering useful plants, and Chapunmefu fought hard against nearby towns to ensure it got the better of the rights to that land. The Coast Mountains Dena gave Chapunmefu little trouble as Chapunmefu thoroughly crushed them in several campaigns in the 11th century. With a population of about 2,500 in the city alone, it was the largest city in the Irame Valley alongside its rival, Chantatawa far to the south. Although rarely itself attacked by the Namals, Chapunmefu often sent warriors to aid nearby cities against this threat. Chapunmefu surrounded itself with high palisades of earth and wood and in the early 12th century even constructed the first stone wall in the Irame Valley. Near the city itself lay the Great Chapunmefu Mound, the largest mound west of the American Divides, where the atlanakhs of the city lay buried alongside vast amounts of wealth.

    Chantatawa took prominence early on as one of the most powerful city-states alongside Chapunmefu, after a legendary war around 1020 where its ruler sacked the nearest rival Chemank'lakwa with the help of the Coast Mountains Dena and destroyed it as a competitor [8]. With their location on the Irame River, their substantial amount of good land, and access to trade routes to the coast, Chantatawa greatly prospered and was able to bully weaker city-states using both economic and military muscle. Perhaps the second largest city in the valley after Chapunmefu, the rulers of Chantatawa entombed themselves and kin inside impressive mortuary complexes. While the Great Chantatawa Mound stood only about half the size of its competitor at Chapunmefu, the number of mounds at Chantatawa was somewhat higher. In general the Amims under influence from Chantatawa along the Anbineifu, Rakkamayu and Lower Anbaru Rivers [9] constructed more mounds than Amims elsewhere, perhaps because of the more peaceful situation in their region of the valley.

    The city-state of Milpu at the southern end of the valley held particular note thanks to the Amim taboo against leaving the Irame Valley. They were closely allied to the Ach'gampdu city-state of Yankalat immediately across the mountain pass to the south and also allied with the Dena of the area [10]. Here, Dena traders bought goods from Amim merchants who refused to go much further past Milpu and carried it to Yankalat and further south on the Black Road. The friendly relations with the Dena also allowed Milpu to both exploit the mountains for their great quantities of precious obsidian and exploit the passes over the Grey Mountains and as a result it was among the most used crossings of the Grey Mountains south of the Imaru, bringing wealth from the east into the city and from there over the mountains and down the Inakkai River to Hitsihis, a major Atkh city on the coast which rarely raided Milpu but instead its enemies out of desire to keep trading relations good. [11]

    Other city-states held great power militarily rather than economically. Chateshtan in the north of the Irame Valley faced constant attacks from the Namals yet the skill of its rulers in battle as well as their spiritual prowess drew prestige to the city and thus a constant supply of tribute. Many refugees from K'ashaksh settled in the surrounding area after its sack in 1049, assimilating to local culture and bringing a powerful warrior culture along with a burning hatred for Katlaqmap. At the Siege of Chimapuichuk in 1083, the Atlanakh of Chateshtan led his forces to victory against considerable odds, expelling the Namals from the city and restoring its exiled ruler to power, a decisive battle which marked the decline of Namal power in the valley. With Chimapuichuk effectively a vassal of Chateshtan, Chateshtan formed a powerful bulwark against Namal expansion south. [12]

    Chamikiti [13] faced similar challenges yet overcame them through both success in battle and the ability to pick good regional allies. Often allied with Katlaqmap or even with Tlawiwala, Chamikiti opportunistically sought to dominate the villages in the hills of the Upper Hanjuku. They protected the villages from Namal and Dena raids in exchange for tribute from the ashambaks there and used Katlaqmap and Tlawiwala's influence to further keep away enemies. For this, other Amim cities like Chanhalpam [14], and especially Chamikiti's most bitter rival Chapunmefu detested Chamikiti and used any pretext to clash with them. They often allowed Namals to travel through their lands to raid Chamikiti and allied villages. A particularly successful raid in 1108 caused numerous villages to quit Chamikiti's alliance. In the ensuing war, Chamikiti lost several times in the ritual combats and forced a re-evaluation of Chamikiti's stance toward Katlaqmap. Now opposed to Katlaqmap, Chamikiti used a combination of diplomatic charm, personal support, and a series of victories in ritual battles to reclaim much of what it lost during the 1110s.

    During the 12th century, Amim lands were largely peaceful as former Namal enemies turned their attentions toward each other or toward their own external enemies. Namal city-states in the Irame Valley used this time to rebuild from the wars against Katlaqmap in the previous years. The main external threat came from the Atkh city-states on the coast, such as Hitsihis and K'ak'aakhtis [15], whose power grew immensely thanks to the wars of Kawadinak occurring on Wakashi Island. Full of displaced veteran warriors looking to re-establish themselves, they raided the Coast Mountains Dena for livestock, women, and slaves, and in turn these Dena often attacked Amim villages to recover animals. Yet these raids paled in comparison to those of the Namals in years prior, as many Dena tribes avoided making new enemies and instead focused on the Coastmen.

    All might've been well had the ambition of man not arisen in the rulers of some Amim city-states. At Chapunmefu and especially Chantatawa and Chachinchel [16], the rulers noticed the weak position of the Coast Mountains Dena in their conflicts with the Atkhs. During the 1110s onward, they pushed aggressively against the Dena themselves in pursuit of livestock, slaves, and land for hunting and gathering. In some areas the Dena were practically annihilated while in many others they were reduced to a pitiable state of poverty. Yet in many places the Dena held on, in large part thanks to the general Amim taboo on crossing the mountains and leaving the Irame Valley. The Amim hired Namal and especially Coastmen mercenaries to assist them in these goals, yet this accelerated the coming problem. As the Dena weakened, the Atkhs noticed how much the Amim gained from these wars. Having treated the Atkhs at defacto (and occasionally actual) allies for years, the Amim cities only distantly imagined that the same force which helped them destroy the Dena might be unleashed against them in a way even worse than the most withering Namal raid.

    Ach'gampdu

    South of the Amim in the north-central parts of the Kanawachi Valley immediately south of the Irame Basin lived the Ach'gampdu, their ethnonym meaning "the people of omodaka", but also commonly called the Kimamduksh [17] after their Namal and Imaru Trade Language exonym. It was a meaningful name, as they were the first group in the Kanawachi to cultivate this plant, as they had been the first to cultivate the less domesticated relatives of the omodaka. The Ach'gampdu resembled their Amim neighbours culturally, linguistically, and societally, but the migrations of the Dena led to contact between the groups becoming sporadic, and the Namal migrations into the Irame Valley changed the Amim to become a distinct people. In time influences of the cultures of the Imaru penetrated to Ach'gampdu lands, but the Ach'gampdu interpreted it differently than the Amim north of them and thus arose the modern Ach'gampdu culture.

    The Ach'gampdu carried themselves as the "true Amim". They believed the people of the Irame Valley had become tainted by the Namals and other foreign influences, and the "true" people fled to the lands immediately south to their own ancestors to carry out their ways. Although the Ach'gampdu raised earthworks, built broad burial mounds, farmed omodaka, camas, and other crops, and served powerful rulers and councils of nobles and shamans like the Amim, they emphasised their distinctions and tended to ignore the Irame Valley but for the southernmost towns of it such as Milpu, an important trading partner.

    Surrounded by the Dena and their Tanne cousins in the mountains north, west, and east of the Kanawachi and occasionally faced with Nama or Maguraku raids from across the eastern passes and Wakashan raids from the west, the Ach'gampdu similarly developed a defensive mentality. But unlike the Amims, the Ach'gampdu much more freely left their land, and often did as they believed the best defense was a good offense. The Ach'gampdu likened their enemies to bears and wolves--dangerous to those weak in spirit and unfamiliar of their ways, but to those knowledgeable, perfect game for hunting. Gaiyuchul of Katlamat wrote in his Saga of the Peoples of the World:

    "The commonfolk often speak of the Dena and their kin the Tanne as cruel and unfriendly to all civilised peoples of the world, a menace on their fields and herds and children little different than others speak of a disease or a natural disaster. Yet for the Kimamduksh these two groups are treated as good friends, and the Dena and Tanne of the area reciprocate these feelings. The Kimamduksh claim that centuries ago the Dena and Tanne raided their land with impunity until a young yet powerful shaman was told by his guardian spirit power, a bear, that they were no different than him. Like all bears, they might be killed through much the same method. The Kimamduksh warriors used this knowledge well and nearly destroyed both groups of people.

    By the time this shaman died, not a single reindeer or goat might be found among the local Dena or Tanne and nearly every Kimamduksh family owned a Dena or Tanne slave. Women of those people populated the harems of the wealthy. The few survivors of the Dena and Tanne nearly chose to flee far away before the son of this shaman in all his magnanimity led the offering of peace treaties to every tribe in the mountains. From that day forth the Kimamduksh and the Hillmen of the mountains lived in peace with only the most barbaric rulers choosing to reawaken this old feud."

    While elements of this story as recorded by Gaiyuchul may be fanciful, it is certainly true the Ach'gampdu considered the Dena and Tanne Hillmen as close allies. Livestock theft on a large scale can also be confirmed thanks to the genetics of Ach'gampdu reindeer and goats which hold more similarities to those of the Dena or Tanne than those of other groups. Yet more than anything, mutual self-interest likely cemented this alliance more than continual Ach'gampdu success. The Ach'gampdu competed greatly with the Valley Tanne, offshoots of the Tanne, who likewise held an ancient enmity with the Hill Tanne and served as good raiding targets for both them and the Dena. Further, the Hill Tanne and Dena patrolled the mountain passes and often blocked raiding parties of groups from beyond the mountains.

    The main cultural centers of the Ach'gampdu lay in the valleys situated between the Gantsugamitsu and Gagonbitsu Rivers, two important tributaries of the Kanawachi. They rarely ventured into the Coast Mountains or the Grey Mountains, the former for fear of the Atkhs based at the coastal city-state of Ch'aninit, the latter for lack of need as the Hill Tanne gave them what they need. [18] The small valleys of their country separated by rough forested mountains and hills created a natural unity of these city states over their valley and the surrounding hills whil. In total, almost 2,500 square kilometers of land fell under the control of these Ach'gampdu city-states.

    The Ach'gampdu relied heavily on their role as middlemen in the Black Road, one of the two great trade routes (along with the White Road east of the Grey Mountains) leading to South Fusania [19]. The Black Road crossed right through the mountain passes at the southern Irame and into the northern Kanawachi Valley. Along it lay three out of the four city-states of the Ach'gampdu, and with it came a great wealth from both the north and south in the form of acorns, spices, shells, jade, cinnabar, metals, slaves, and finished goods from fine cloth and blankets to sturdy Pasnomsono bronze.

    The most powerful city-state was Yankalat in the northern portion of Ach'gampdu lands. Located nearest the passes over the mountains and into the Irame Valley, much trade flowed through Yankalat ensuring prosperity for its rulers. Further, a good distance separated Yankalat from its competitors which allowed Yankalat to secure rule over the nearby hills and mountains for additional areas of hunting, gathering, and pastoralism. This wealth and security allowed Yankalat's rulers to construct the largest burial mound (one of fifteen mounds) south of the Irame Valley, at around 90 meters on either side and 12 meters high.

    Three other prominent city-states existed. At the confluence of the Kanawachi with the Gagonbitsu River lay Chapalmanchal which took advantage of the flat lands and links downstream with the Valley Tanne. Downstream at the mouth of the Gantsugamitsu River lay Changantqabit, situated in the last sizable valleys downstream on the Kanawachi well off the Black Road [20]. This city-state was particularly defensive thanks to the threat of Atkh raiders, but just as often peacefully traded downstream with Ch'aninit via Hill Tanne middlemen which enabled it to be nearly as wealthy as the other three cities. The wealthy city state of Changamafa lay along the Gagonbitsu River [21]. This city-state controlled the most valleys and a sizable network of villages, but much of its potential was sapped thanks to the constant wars with the Valley Tanne city-states to the south over access to certain hills. However, this made the city a potent military power, and warriors from the city and its subordinate villages often joined mercenary bands.

    These four city-states form roughly a rectangle, an observation not lost on the Ach'gampdu. They believed a fifth city-state located in exactly the center of their country existed in a previous age of the world after the Great Flood and ruled the entirety of their country under rulers of great spiritual power. Yet it's rulers grew so greedy that they demanded more and more, so Ayutlmeyi took away the sun and moon. The rulers, the nobles, and common people pleaded for help, so Raven came and told the nobles to gather together in the town center so he might find the one most suitable for negotiating with Ayutlmeyi. Unfortunately, it was a trap, and Raven transformed them into a mountain covered in trees, the ruler himself becoming a tree so high it reached into the heavens. There, a brilliant youth ascended the peak and climbed the tree and with Raven's help stole back the sun and moon.

    The youth failed Ayutlmeyi's spiritual test by stealing from him, causing the sun god to find humanity rotten to the core with greed. Raven taught the youth how to speak cleverly and charismatically, so the youth persuaded Ayutlmeyi to spare his life. Ayutlmeyi instead forced him to watch as he ordered the spirits of the world to cause great earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic eruptions to once again destroy the world. The youth spent the rest of his life trying to persuade Ayutlmeyi to restore the world to no avail. Yet after he died, Ayutlmeyi took pity on him and restored the spirits of the world and thus recreated it anew, including with a new humanity. His body was sent back as well and transfigured into the mountain he had once climbed to reach the heavens, although in this era it was a low and humble peak to remind people of humility.

    What this legend is based on remains unclear--the country at the center of Ach'gampdu lands is too rugged and remote to support anything more than small villages. It may be a memory of ancient conflicts caused by harsh rulers, especially during the early period of state society in Ach'gampdu lands during the wars with the Hill Tanne. Yet above all, it was both a morality tale and a tale of origins integral to Ach'gampdu worldview and society. It taught the obligations of the ruling class needed, it taught how the ideal person should act and aspire to, and it gave the Ach'gampdu a place in the uncertain world. On this holy mountain the Ach'gampdu maintained numerous sacred groves and communed with spirits amidst the rocks, cliffs, and trees. A few villages ringed the mountain yet the mountain itself was forbidden to all but the spiritually powerful. Only a few shamans and medicine men lived in these villages, accepting gifts from visitors and offering their own wisdom and mentorship in return. The villages themselves paid no tribute to any Ach'gampdu city--to even begin to consider they might was unthinkable in their worldview. The Atks, Hill Tanne, and others respected this neutrality, either avoiding the place out of fear of its powerful shamans or partaking in their own spiritual training there.

    The four Ach'gampdu cities held more or less good relations with each other. They considered themselves four phratries of the Ach'gampdu people, with those of Changantqabit and Yankalat represeting one moiety and Chapalmanchal and Changamafa representing the other moiety, and alongside it all the typical imagery and attributes (directions, animals, colours, etc.) associated with such concepts. Societally the moeities were expected to marry each other, although this was often ignored for the poor (as travel and the bride price often proved too expensive) provided they married outside their village. They kept conflicts between each other strictly ceremonial, with disputes over land and trade taking place as pitched battles following a particular and formal script supervised by spiritually powerful people until the second the warriors were set loose. After the battle ended, the loser almost always gracefully accepted the results, believing it to be spiritually pre-ordained, and relations quickly improved.

    By the 12th century, increasing population growth in their own lands and those of the enemy Valley Tanne caused ever closer links between Chapalmanchal and Changamafa as the cities ignored their past history of conflicts to face a greater foe. Similarly, the warfare in the north and increasing development of the White Road in the east came to affect Ach'gampdu lands as trade on the Black Road declined. The Ach'gampdu were keenly aware wealth was not increasing with the continually population growth and counteracted this through increased cooperation in their own land and an even more solid front against outsiders with even Yankalat contributing more warriors and wealth than ever before. Intermarriage between the four cities, their subject villages, and the Hill Tanne to their east increased. With their mentality always defensive and isolationist, adversity was uniting the Ach'gampdu.

    Valley Tanne

    The border between civilised and uncivilised was far thinner than the people of the Imaru Basin and the Furuge regarded it. If a group practiced the appropriate rites and lifestyle and held good enough relations with the majority of the peoples of the Imaru, and if that group held enough economic importance, than circumstance might call them civilised. Like the Yilhqanin Dena far to their northwest, the Valley Tanne were one of those few Dena groups regarded as civilised, in contrasted to their closest linguistic kin the Hill Tanne and Coast Tanne, called barbaric Hillmen, or superficially similar people among the Wakashans.

    Valley Tanne history arises in the Dena Migrations, where several groups of Dena at the forefront pushed down the coast and into the coastal hills and mountains. There they became linguistically distinct from the northern Dena and adopted the lifestyles of the peoples around them, becoming the Tanne [22]. By the early 5th century the Tanne partially rejoined with the Dena and adopted their horticultural pastoralism and reindeer herding but kept their distinctions. They traded and occasionally raided nearby people for food and slaves and like the Dena patrolled the mountain passes to become skilled traders. The acquisition of wealth in the form of rare goods and livestock remained central to their society as it had in earlier years.

    Several different groups lived in the basin of the Kanawachi and Yanshuuji before the arrival of the Valley Tanne, such as the Ach'gampdu, the Ancestral K'ahusani because their migration to South Fusania, and an enigmatic group called the Nachtetanne [23] by all Tanne peoples. The Nachtetanne seem to have been an indigenous people of the region who spoke a Penutian language perhaps most related to that of the Amim and Ach'gampdu. Culturally they shared similar traits, hunting, collecting, and fishing along the rivers and slowly adapting to the horticulturalism coming in from the north, the first in the area. Yet the Tanne advantage in pastoralism and warfare drove the Nachtetanne out of much of their land and resulted in their enslavement. The Tanne eagerly plundered them of their wealth when they could.

    Around the 8th century, a few groups of Tanne began to permanently settle in the Kanawachi and Yanshuuji, merging with the embattled Nachtetanne and other groups to become the Valley Tanne. These people gave them many elements of their culture, from their religious outlook, their agricultural lifestyle, their political organisation, and even their language. By the 11th century, the Hill Tanne and Coast Tanne regarded the Valley Tanne totally alien, despite a somewhat mutually intelligible language. Historian Gaiyuchul of Katlamat writes of this in Saga of the Peoples of the World:

    "The Tanne of the hills and mountains detest few more than the Tanne of the valley, for these Tanne who live in the valley of the Kanawachi and Yanshuuji have shunned their ancestral barbarism and adopted the rites and rituals of civilised peoples. The civilised Tanne of the valley inherited their wisdom from people called the Nachtetanne who formerly lived there whom they conquered. They claim that the trickster Coyote appeared to their ancestor later called Mabet'ine and his two brothers and told them he might make them whatever they wished. Mabet'ine wished to be a great and wise warrior whose vast armies might take all the wealth they wished. Yet a powerful priest warned his brothers of Coyote's tricks and they refused Coyote's offers. His brothers tried to stop him and persuade him to give back Coyote's gifts. But he ignored his kin and led his followers to conquer all the valleys before them. So much wealth they gained in this that many followers broke ranks with his brothers and joined him. Even their fathers-in-law joined him, taking with them the wives of their brothers who married this conquerer instead. He gained great wisdom in the land of the Nachtetanne as he ruled generously, listening to people poor and rich alike. He raised his sons and daughters among the Nachtetanne so they too might understand this wisdom. He most especially heeded the advice of the shamans of the Nachtetanne so he might spiritually understand the land he ruled.

    Many years later the three brothers met again at the request of Coyote. 'Behold!' Coyote said, 'I have made your brother wealthy, powerful, and wise beyond that of any other man!' Yet they failed to recognise him, for he wore finery like that they had never seen, he spoke their tongue with a strange accent, and he indulged in strange habits. 'We do not know this man.' his brothers said. 'We warned him not to leave yet he insisted so he must have died long ago.'"

    This origin myth held great value to the Valley Tanne, for it explained and emphasised their distinction from the Hill Tanne and Coast Tanne despite superficial similarities between them. The wealth gained by Mabet'ine symbolically represents the Valley Tanne integration into the growing regional trade networks centered around river valley farmers. The rapid increase of wealth and increased contact with groups like the Ach'gampdu, Amims, and distant Namals seems to have provoked a sort of cultural admiration and Namalisation of their society, a phenomena akin to the "Misebianisation" and emulation of prominent centers like Mihithega found in Eastern North America.

    In many ways the Valley Tanne were transitional from the Amims and Imaru Basin cultures to those of South Fusania, particularly in terms of religion. They believed only shamans and priests possessed guardian spirit power, and like many South Fusanians, believed the spirit had been "shot into" them like an arrow, and they could use these gifts to cause or cure illness, influence nature, and many other effects. Unlike many North Fusanians, their shamans (but not priests) were almost all women, with men called to become shamans taking on the role of women. They placed their dead in decorated and well-filled boxes placed in oak trees, but after a time buried them in the ground with an offering of acorns. Few amongst the North Fusanians relied on acorns as much as the Valley Tanne (aside from the culturally similar Amims and Ach'gampdu), and the Valley Tanne took up the South Fusanian oak cultivation rituals generations earlier than other North Fusanians.

    Much as the other Tanne (albeit with distinctions), the story of the god Kwananesha and his brother lay at the heart of their society. He created all the animals and spirits in the world who in turn taught him great knowledge, such as how to call the sun from its hiding place. After his brother created snakes from his hair, he transfigured the primordial snakes of the world into the world serpent that binds the world together. Although the balance was perfect, Kwananesha grew tired at needing to restore the balance his younger brother kept trying to disturb. One day, he met a beautiful woman, the Earth Mother, who sprang from the primordial ash tree of the south, and wished to marry her and have her become the ancestor of humanity. Yet his brother stole her from him and became the father of humanity instead. Infuriated yet unwilling to abandon humanity, Kwananesha left the world to his trickster brother to assume the power of the sun itself, reshaping the heavens so nothing might enter without his permission. The world itself fell off balance and humanity caught in a cycle of chaos, their spirits being sent from the Earth Mother to inhabit newborns, living their lives in an uncertain world, and then dying without the joy of immortality, their spirit returning to the Earth Mother.

    The Valley Tanne practiced a variant of the World Renewal faith like the other Tanne, yet their variant held marked differences in practice and theology, especially in the dualism common in North Fusania. They believed in the importance of practicing the appropriate rites, rituals, and sacrifices, both communal and personal, to balance the world in place of Kwananesha. This balance allowed their priests to manipulate the world itself by using arcane charms and formulas and proper ritual. The dances, fasts, and other ceremonies such as those of the First Acorn and First Salmon kept the balance while also allowing the ideal men--wealthy, hard-working, and modest--to show off their wealth. They carried out worship on top of the highest mountains to be closer to the sun, so they might reflect on what their ancestors lost. Over a long enough period of time, a virtuous society strong in spirit and proper rites would establish enough balance and Kwananesha be persuaded to return from the sun to re-establish the true balance and complete his creation as he always intended to. He would destroy the current humanity and marry the Earth Mother and their souls would incarnate into their children, the new humanity. All the while, his younger brother would be so impressed at this new creation he would apologise for his deeds and live in perfect harmony with his older brother.

    The priests supervised rituals such as the First Salmon Ceremony and knew many arcane formulas and rituals, some of which granted them power of nature, power that may be used to bless their people or curse their enemy. The priesthood was an inherited position, and the formulas considered inherited property, although for a great fee the priests might teach them to promising outsiders. Sometimes these outsiders lacked wealth and spent the rest of their lives in debt to a priestly family as effective slaves--these priests blamed their failure to acquire wealth on spiritual curses set by hostile shamans or priests.

    Two great divisions of the Valley Tanne existed based on the river basins they lived in--the Kanawachi Tanne, or Ankwatanne, and the Yanshuuji Tanne, or Tutukwotmetanne. They found it difficult to speak to each other with their linguistic differences, but culturally were very similar. On nearly every side they were surrounded by Hill Tanne and also the Ach'gampdu, ancient rivals whom the Ankwatanne partially absorbed. Of the two groups, the Ankwatanne held more land and relied more on farming and especially pastoralism while the Tutukwotmetanne diversified more economically, with an economy more heavily based on mining, trade, and craftsmanship.

    The Valley Tanne lay in a key position along the trade routes to the south allowing them to acquire great wealth. The pursuit of wealth held crucial importance in society, as the Valley Tanne believed that the rich held a spiritual purity to them, as the impure could never become wealthy. Thus, wealth and nobility was practically synonymous--unlike elsewhere, poor nobles lacking inherited positions lost their status as nobles after a generation or two, while wealthy commoners became elevated to the nobility. Custom required nobles to host potlatches (distinct from religion unlike amongst the Hill Tanne), secular feasts, and especially religious ceremonies, and to do this required great amounts of wealth to prepare the event, attract guests, and to leave the guests satisfied afterwards. The more events one hosted, the higher the prestige and greater the blessings, for the Valley Tanne considered the physical wealth one gained proof of spiritual blessings.

    With their strong tradition as merchants and middlemen and their constant desire for wealth, the Valley Tanne gained a reputation for greed. They haggled over the smallest things to gain a price advantage and charged for nearly every service. The poor raised large families so that they might have more daughters to betroth to wealthier men or sons to sell as indentured servants or even slaves, but even the wealthy aimed for large families for daughters who might bring in great bride wealth payments. Customary law evolved to define a large variety of offenses, some as minor as looking to enviously at another's property or allowing one's dog to bark too often. They similarly defined laws governing contracts, torts, and other non-criminal offenses to ensure smooth functioning of society and most importantly ensure fair acquisition of wealth. In every case, the penalty was paid with a fine no matter how severe the crime, although sexual crimes and especially murder carried the stiffest penalties which in practice amounted to debt slavery. No one, not even a high priest or prince, was above the law, and many times society forced princes to pay at least token damages for their conduct.

    People called kweshadnaka studied the oral law and traveled around the land and even beyond to other Tanne societies to ensure both their continuing knowledge of law and as mediators for cases. Unlike in other Tanne societies where anyone might act as a kweshadnaka in a legal case, in Valley Tanne society the role became more strictly defined as an occupation and non-trained individuals acting as one considered a sign of poverty. They acted as judges, mediating between aggrieved parties to ensure a fair outcome. Kweshadnaka also acted as mediators for important events such as diplomacy, trade deals, or even commonplace marriage contracts. Similarly, their knowledge of the law ensured any wealthy man retained one as the equivalent of a lawyer for their own dealings. "Kweshadnaka" was not a titled inherited or conferred upon, but one given based on knowledge and respect of the law. A kweshadnaka who made controversial decisions needed to have powerful protectors lest they be defacto exiled. Most kweshadnaka learned from kinsmen or occasionally paid an unrelated kweshadnaka for the privilege of learning the law. Typically, extended family groups included at least one kweshadnaka so a family often relied on their relative in their dealings.

    Naturally, outsiders detested this to the point of frequently going to war with the Valley Tanne over issues of fines and unfair or extreme judgements. They placed tolls on their trails, enforcing them with bands of wandering soldiers, and fined any outsider who dared harvest their land's resources without permission, occasionally resulting in debt slavery. The Hill Tanne and Coast Tanne, who possessed similar traditions regarding wealth acquisition, often retaliated economically on Valley Tanne communities by imposing similar fines and tolls, trade wars resolved only through truces. The intricacies of Valley Tanne law kept most outside traders from visiting their land, a gap readily filled by the Valley Tanne's own merchants. His own Namal people considered greedy themselves, Gaiyuchul of Katlamat in his Saga of the Peoples of the World remarked in rather unusual bias for him of the Valley Tanne and their laws:

    "Men from all over the world remark on the greed of the Namals, yet the greed of the Walamtksh [24] goes far less spoken of. Perhaps many wisely choose to avoid their land so full of maddening laws and men who track every slight against them such that they may use it not to seek justice but to seek personal gain. The Walamtksh see themselves as an industrious people whose markets brim with goods transported to them by their intrepid merchants. Others notice the mutilation of truth in this statement, for the Walamtksh devote their industrious nature to finding new ways through their legal codes to extort fees and fines from themselves and travelers alike. Full are their markets, but every ware found in those places can be considered little better than extorted from its original owner by merchants who put their industry to work in devising new ways to cheat others. One must never remark on this to a Walamtksh man, however, lest he suffer a fine for slandering the man's good name."

    Relations with the Hill Tanne varied as both groups held a symbiotic relationship with each other. The Hill Tanne conducted most of the mining as well as breeding of animals (especially reindeer) and most importantly carried out much of the trade with the larger world as they controlled the passes and often held agreements that let them evade tolls and forage in Valley Tanne lands. Yet the Hill Tanne depended on the Valley Tanne to craft their ores into valuable goods and indeed for basic sustenance, as the Hill Tanne imported much of their food from the Valley Tanne. Despite this, warfare and raids remained a common fact of life--ambitious Valley Tanne rulers attempted to plunder Hill Tanne animals or even seize control of the passes for themselves, while Hill Tanne rulers raided the Valley Tanne for slaves and loot, occasionally even ruling some Valley Tanne villages and towns. Only the internal divisions in each group prevented one side from gaining the upper hand.

    By the end of the 11th century, well-defined territories and city-states emerged amongst the Valley Tanne. In typical North Fusanian fashion, it was a two-tier system where headmen of lesser villages titled kheshkhaiyu answered to a few wealthier and more powerful rulers who took the title mabet'ine (literally "owner of houses") after their ancestor. The latter title seems to originate from the fact that a few families of powerful rulers who claimed descent from the legendary figure Mabet'ine all inherited the name such that it became more of a title than anything else. Only five mabet'ine ruled in all the lands of the Valley Tanne, ruling from Kw'eisedan, Kw'ahaha, and Talodan on the Yanshuuji and Hleadni and Kasikaitan on the Kanawachi. [25]

    Beneath these rulers lay the typical assortment of nobles who formed the upper class, a nobility defined by birth but also wealth, as even a wealthy commoner might ascend to the ranks of the nobility should he marry well and make the right friends. Nobles sat on the councils of villages and towns who played an important role in deciding policy. Alongside them sat powerful priests who protected the people from spiritual harm be it from wandering spirits or evil shamans. Their knowledge of spiritual formulas and role in maintaining balance made them the most important figure in the local community, second to only the five mabet'ine or a particularly wealthy and respected kweshadnaka .

    Ancestral legend states that in centuries prior, several more towns held rulers who claimed the title of mabet'ine. Yet these towns were nothing but pretenders to the aforementioned five Valley Tanne cities. For the crime of forging their ancestry, great harm befell the ruling families of these towns. They suffered defeat in battle, misfortune in family matters, and plagues upon their herds and populace. Some rulers claimed the title for decades, some only for a few years, but in every case their fortunes improved when they abandoned that title and paid tribute to a proper mabet'ine.

    These five major Valley Tanne city-states began consolidating in the 12th century thanks to local deforestation, deteriorating economic situation, increased conflict with the Atkhs, Hill Tanne, and Maguraku, sheer human ambition. The increased ease of recruiting mercenaries from afar in this era no doubt contributed to this outgrowth in violence. In the north, Hleadni assumed greater control over the valleys of the Kanawachi and its tributaries, defeating several local Hill Tanne groups and severely reducing the amount of territory controlled by Kasikaitan. In the south, Kw'ahaha conquered Talodan in 1129 after a siege said to last through the winter, evidence of the utility of mercenaries in conducting warfare outside the traditional campaign season. Kw'eisedan pushed into the hills along the Dakube River, dispersing the Hill Tanne at the 1135 Battle of Maasrak'omdan [26]. The Mabet'ine of Kw'eisedan promoted the founding of several new settlements in this area, protecting his people as they moved into the area. In these back hills grew great amounts of sugar pine, important for both their pine nuts and especially their pine syrup, a valuable condiment and trade good.

    An important cause of this sudden expansion lay in the deterioration of the political and especially economic situation elsewhere along the Black Road. The wars of the Atkh prince Kawadinak of Tinhimha far to the north at the Whulge impoverished that area while the escalation of conflicts in the Irame Valley interfered with the trade coming from the north. More critically, the White Road on the other side of the Grey Mountains grew in value and use during the 12th century thanks to the policies of the "returned" Q'mitlwaakutl of Wayam pursued with the Maguraku during his rise through the ranks of Wayamese society. Continuing to aspire higher in wealth yet unable to get it, the Valley Tanne began to increasingly fight amongst themselves and with others over what remained.

    With the deterioration of order, weakening status of many nobles, and sheer violence in the region, people increasingly looked toward the kweshadnaka for protection and a more peaceful way of resolving problems than the aggressive wars of the city-states. In some villages, the kheshkhaiyu became purely ceremonial with local or even travelling kweshadnaka dominating village affairs. By doing so, this directly undermined the influence of the mabet'ine to intervene in these communities, forcing him to rely more on his own kweshadnaka to keep a level of control there. The mabet'ine became forced to spend a great portion of his wealth on recruiting the best kweshadnaka as followers lest their own interests fall to the wayside. While the kweshadnaka ensured a sense of peace and order and mitigated the most bitter conflicts, the circumstances outside the realm of the Valley Tanne remained unchanged and continued to cause great unease.
    ---
    Author's notes

    The OTL Kalapuyans did indeed build mounds (called atudship), so it was interesting to imagine how a "mound builder" society might work in this context and the impressive architecture they'd create. TTL it's one of the most distinctively "Amim" cultural elements and not one emulated elsewhere in Fusania to any real degree. If you're wondering why nearly every Amim and Ach'gampdu town starts with "Cha[n]" or similar, it's because that's how you construct placenames in that language.

    Valley Tanne society has many elements of OTL Takelma (the Nachtetanne) and Pacific Athabaskans, especially the Galice, Tututni, and Tolowa (who were the easiest to find solid information about). These societies OTL had some interesting views regarding wealth and ownership and the societal status it brought and were quite skilled at trading. One source describes them as having an almost "Protestant work ethic" mentality. OTL traders noted they could be challenging to trade with for this reason. As expected from this TL, I've modified and expanded this role to match the new conditions they face TTL.

    This is yet another ethnographical/historical update that gets back up to the current time (12th century) for TTL. The cultures are similar and related enough that I felt like grouping them together, although maybe for length's sake I should be splitting these up. I'll be doing maps for this part of Fusania in time, at least once I can find a good and large basemap for this region.

    As always, thanks for reading.

    [1] - The Anmara Mountains are the Chehalem Mountains, here a Japanese toponym borrowed from Kalapuyan mixed from the rivers they lie between, the Anbarachi (OTL's Tualatin River) and the Ayamara (OTL's Yamhill River). The Hanjuuku River is the Pudding River of Oregon, a tributary of the Willamette
    [2] - Inspired by an OTL Kalapuya prophecy regarding the white man coming to their land and plowing it up, although here the circumstances are rather different
    [3] - This would be the Northern Kalapuyan language, here very marginalised by Namal migrations. Chachif is on the north end of the now-dry Wapato Lake between Gaston, OR and Forest Grove, OR.
    [4] - The OTL Kalapuya are known for their use of wildfire to manage the Willamette Valley. They used their burning of the land to clear brush and make gathering easier and also to drive out deer for hunting, a ceremony which held great significance to them. TTL the ceremony has changed slightly (deer are extirpated from the area and it is no longer essential for hunting) yet still holds great importance
    [5] - This story here is a modification of OTL Kalapuyan beliefs regarding the past of the world
    [6] - OTL Kalapuyan groups like the Tualatin, Yamhill, etc. typically avoided leaving their homelands due to human enemies and in some cases spiritual enemies (areas translated as "bad country"). I have modified this belief based on TTL's circumstances to make it even more extreme due to the aggressive slave raids this area has suffered. The Kobahan Mountains are the Northern Oregon Coast Range, a Japanese modification of Northern Kalapuyan "Kopfan", meaning "midway" (between coast and valley).
    [7] - Chapunmefu is McMinnville, OR
    [8] - Chantatawa is Corvallis, OR while Chemank'lakwa is Albany, OR
    [9] - The Anbineifu is the Mary's River, the Rakkamayu is the Luckiamute, and the Anbaru River is the Santiam. All are Kalapuyan regional endonyms loaned into Japanese
    [10] - Milpu is Cottage Grove, OR, while Yankalat is Yoncalla, OR, the same root as the Yoncalla name OTL
    [11] - The Inakkai River is the Siuslaw River of Oregon, from a Nuu-chah-nulth modification (originally Inak'ahahi) of a Siuslaw word meaning "river". Hitsihis is Florence, OR
    [12] - Chateshtan is Dundee, OR while Chimapuichuk is Champoeg, OR
    [13] - Chamikiti is Salem, OR
    [14] - Chanhalpam is Jefferson, OR
    [15] - K'ak'aakhtis is Newport, OR
    [16] - Chachinchal is Dallas, OR
    [17] - Roughly the OTL Yoncalla, the southernmost group of Kalapuyans and only group outside the Willamette Valley who spoke that language. "Kimamduksh" is Imaru Trade Language for "people of the omodaka" and will become the root of their Japanese ethnonym, "Kimanjuku"
    [18] - The Gantsugamitsu is Elk Creek while Gagonbitsu River is Calapooya Creek, both tributaries of the Umpqua River in Oregon. Ch'aninit is Reedsport, OR
    [19] - The Black and White Roads are named for a common directional symbolism TTL (recall the Grey Mountains), with White representing East and Black representing West. Black Road is essentially the OTL Siskiyou Trail (which itself was used by natives for ages before), the ancestor of I-5, yet only extends south to Pasnomsono [Redding, CA] rather than San Francisco. In the north it extends to the Shisutara River delta along roughly I-5's route. The White Road is roughly US 97 but at the Klamath River it follows that course instead. The two roads link around Hornbrook, CA.
    [20] - Chapalmanchal is Umpqua, OR and Changantqabit is Elkton, OR
    [21] - Changamafa is Oakland, OR
    [22] - If it has not been made clear yet, TTL's coastal Athabaskan migrations occur earlier and in greater numbers, although most Athabaskans end up in hillier and less desirable regions like Coast Mountains or Cascades [Grey Mountains]
    [23] - The Nachtetanne are the Takelmans, who I've made reference to in the past
    [24] - "Walamtksh" is the Chinookan exonym for the Valley Tanne, originally being a Klamath term meaning "uplanders".
    [25] - Kw'eisedan is Grants Pass, OR, Kw'ahaha is Ashland, OR, and Talodan is Jacksonville OR. Hleadni is Roseburg, OR, and Kasikaitan is Myrtle Creek, OR
    [26] - The Dakube River is the Applegate River of Oregon while Maasrak'omdan is Applegate, OR
     
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    Chapter 25-The Country of Silver and Lakes
  • -XXV-
    "The Country of Silver and Lakes"
    In the mountainous north of the Imaru Plateau lived the Salishan people, relatives of the Whulchomic people of the coast. In this country, mountains rose from the Imaru Plateau and the land gradually became more forested. Like the Whulchomic people of the coast, the Salish divided themselves into many ethnicities and cultures based on the rivers and valleys they lived in but acknowledged several larger groups based on shared cultural traits and languages. These included the Shilkh, the Skowakhtsanakh, the Qlhispe, the Schits'uumish, while the closely related Northern Salish included the Nhlekepmkh, and the Stl'atl'emkh [1]. Although sometimes generalised as Salishans, not all Salishan speakers were considered civilised in Fusanian thought. For instance, the Eastern Hillmen of the Plains Salish--who later gave their ethnonym "Salishan" to the entire cultural group and the Whulchomic-Salishan languages--departed their homeland on the Plateau in the late 10th century due to drought and warfare and lived on the Plains ever since. As such, "Chiyatsuru", a Namal exonym meaning "Interior People", was the preferred collective term for these groups, although "Swanamish", their Whulchomic exonym, was also often encountered.

    The southerly Chiyatsuru living in drier lands away from the mountains lived mostly in pit houses with tule roofs propped up by timbers. Their elites built timber-framed longhouses which sat mostly above ground and often were elaborately painted with family crests. The northerly Chiyatsuru regardless of status lived almost entirely in longhouses with their clans, with the elites living in the elaborate wooden palaces. In these cultures, they built pithouses for additional workspaces, storage, and housing slaves and animals yet almost never for human dwellings.

    Much of the Chiyatsuru country lacked good agricultural land as the people lived in river valleys hemmed in between mountains and floodplains. Like the Aipakhpam, they built terraces early on to increase the farmland available, but also extensively utilised aquaculture and omodaka farming. The city of St'kamhtsi on the Andou River [2] and its environs display this perfectly. Here at this chief center of the Qlhispe people, the people grew omodaka and water plants like tiger lilies amidst earthworks on the floodplains while sculpting the nearby cliffs and hills with channels and mounds to grow sunflowers and the most culturally preferred crop, camas (indeed, "Qlhispe" is said to mean "people of the camas").

    Yet the forested mountains that bordered Chiyatsuru lands gave their cuisine important distinctions compared to that of the Aipakhpam in the drier Middle Imaru. In these mountains, the Chiyatsuru used typical Fusanian forestry techniques to maximise the amount of harvestable food and usable wood. They gathered many baskets of berries and hazelnuts in these areas as well as forage for their reindeer, towey goats, and moose. Most notably, they gathered great amounts of the hairy tree lichen known as wila, or black moss. They made cakes and bread from it, mixed it with berries and pine syrup, and used it as animal feed. They made clothes for slaves from it and used it in medicine. While other Plateau peoples ate wila or used it in medicine, the Chiyatsuru love for it was well-known in Fusania that "hair eater" was a somewhat derogatory term other groups occasionally used.

    While numerous important centers existed for each Chiyatsuru people, perhaps the most important was Shonitkwu. Located at a key fishing site and rapid along the Imaru River, Shonitkwu originated as the oldest center of the Shilkh people as people from all over gathered there for ceremonies and trade. It displayed traits of both Wayam to the south and the trading centers of the Dena to the north in terms of architecture and social organisation, a style which spread throughout Chiyatsuru lands. It became the first true city in all the lands of the Chiyatsuru and became imitated by numerous other centers of the Chiyatsuru like other Shilkh cities like T'kuyatum and Kp'itl'els, St'kamhtsi of the Qlhispe, the twin centers of Khant'aqan and Nts'amkinkwi of the Schitsu'umish, and Kawakhtchin of the Skowatsanakh [3].

    Economically, the root of the Chiyatsuru economy lay in their metalworking. Although the Dena and Southern Hillmen often possessed better individual skills, only the Chiyatsuru lived in a country rich enough in both ore and people to fully develop this cultural element. Large quantities of copper, silver, zinc, and lead lay in the mountains of their land, and thus the Chiyatsuru from early times began to exploit this. Starting in the 9th century, the Chiyatsuru were the first in the Imaru Basin to mine, smelt, and experiment with alloying these metals together on a large scale. They turned this raw wealth into grand artifacts for export including jewelry, tools, and weapons. Only the Aipakhpam of Ktlatla [4] possessed similar mineral wealth and the associated skills as the Chiyatsuru.

    Many outsiders believed that while a Hillman smith might be skilled and brilliant, only the Chiyatsuru truly knew how to bring the spirits out in the flames to reforge something into the needed shape and function. The production of arsenical bronze on a sizable scale began in the 12th century in the Imaru basin and the Chiyatsuru led this revolution even though other centers like Ktlatla emerged as well. Their legend tells of a smith who dreamt of a swarm of fireflies incinerating everything and on awakening found a Pasnomsono ("hammer of the Southern Hillmen" traditionally, but understood to refer to Pasnomsono) bronze hammer beside him. After seeking spiritual guidance, he cast the hammer into the flames and began to work it with his own tools. He forged it into numerous shapes, trying to unlock the spiritual secret of how the Hillmen produced such a tool. He began to request great quantities of ores from the mountain and upon offering his spirit to the flames, produced a hammer of even greater quality than the one he had before. This story appeared throughout Chiyatsuru lands, and each group claimed to be the true inventors of arsenical bronze.

    Like many Fusanians, the most important ceremonies were those of the harvest and those of the first salmon, collectively termed "first fruits ceremonies". Entire villages gathered, ritual dances were held, reindeer and towey goats slaughtered as offerings with their bones deposited in a river or lake, and leaders delivered speeches to ensure the continual prosperity of their land. As common, the blood and bones of the salmon were separated from the meat offered to the leader and thrown into the water, while the inedible parts of the first camas, omodaka, and other plants would be returned to the land under the supervision of the high priest. In larger cities like Shonitkwu, nobles invited their commoner followers while the lord of the city held the ceremony with his family and select nobles.

    The early Chiyatsuru observed potlatches twice a year--at the first snow (the winter potlatch) and at the beginning of spring, although in later times adopted the custom of potlatches at auspicious occasions where politics were often conducted from coastal areas. At the winter potlatch, people danced for several nights to please their guardian spirits and often to demonstrate their powers. Taboos such as that on drinking blood were lifted to fulfill the demands of their spirit. At the end of it, the noble hosting the dance restored normality by distributing gifts that indebted the attendees to him. Symbolically, this distribution of wealth was meant for both the people and their spirits, ensuring the success of the host's followers in secular and spiritual realms.

    The spring potlatch focused on ensuring success in the new year. The host--always a ruler--called upon his high priest (appointed based on mastery of guardian spirit power that influenced the weather) to summon the South Wind to bring the spring. They danced and sang to please their spirits, but rarely did they announce their spirits to other or break taboos. On the last day, the ruler distributed gifts while the high priest symbolically blessed the land, preparing it for even greater fertility during the first fruits ceremonies. This event drew many lesser rulers, often drawn by the prospect of receiving blessings both spiritual and physical, and thus became much more important for secular politics than its winter counterpart.

    The Chiyatsuru took the brunt of the Dena migrations during the American Migration Period. From the 4th century to the 11th century, the Chiyatsuru lost much ground to these invaders but as a result became the first in the Imaru Basin to be acculturated in the horticultural pastoralist lifestyle of the Dena. The Chiyatsuru distinguished between the Dena nobility who ruled them and hostile groups of Dena such as the Tsetih'en Dena. Some easterly groups of Mountain Salish and the Slet'ewhsi [5] adopted nearly the entire lifestyle of the Dena groups who lived nearby like the Tsetih'in Dena, keeping only the vaguest hints of Chiyatsuru culture outside of their language. It is likely that the Yihlqanin Dena, who lived in the valleys immediately north of the Shilkh, perhaps at one point also were Chiyatsuru before their wholescale assimilation into Dena culture. An ancient animosity existed between the Yihlqanin Dena and the Shilkh, and the Shilkh told stories that many of their ancestors once fled from those valleys, pursued by cruel Dena warriors.

    Although largescale conflicts ceased by the 11th century, the Chiyatsuru still suffered numerous raids by the Dena. Whenever the weather seemed right, Dena warriors descended from the mountains and plundered Chiyatsuru villages, taking food, goods, and people to sell as slaves, often to other Chiyatsuru or to the Whulchomic people on the coast. Many Chiyatsuru warriors died protecting their people from these raids, so many that often the villages allied with Dena bands hostile to their main enemies so they may contribute warriors to the struggles. This seems the origin of the majority of Chiyatsuru nobility and an important contributor to the assimilation of Chiyatsuru peoples such as the ancestors of the Ieruganin Dena. These Dena bands dominated Chiyatsuru political considerations, and seem likely to be the reason why so often the Chiyatsuru fought on the side of the Dena in ancestral conflicts like those battles against the Aipakhpam and Whulchomic peoples so noted during the 4th and 5th centuries.

    Further, the Chiyatsuru faced incursions from the south. The Skowatsanakh record a tradition of fighting an ancient war against the people of Ktlatla which ended in their defeat after treachery from their allies and the gods themselves. Similarly, the Winachapam record conquering and settling in the lands of the Skowatsanakh and founding the great city of Winacha [6], one of the Five Cities of the Aipakhpam. Archaeology suggests this war (or wars) took place in the 7th century judging by changes in architecture and conflict near the site of Winacha. Regardless, relations between Winacha and Ktlatla and the Skowatsanakh city states like Kawakhtchin remained unfriendly at best throughout much of history.

    These ancestral conflicts meant that Chiyatsuru society came to value security above other considerations. War leaders held great power in society, similar to their linguistic kin on the coast, with the distinction that in Chiyatsuru society, the war leaders and political leaders tended to be one and the same and united in the position of the ilmikhwm (amongst many variations) [7], which might be compared to a fusion of the military and civil leadership found in an Aipakhpam miyawakh and his war leader into one position. Always a male (although his primary wife, sisters, and daughters commanded great authority themselves), the ilmikhwm settled disputes within his community and organised the community for both war and peace. Lesser villages which relied on greater communities for defense elected a khatuts, who ruled the village at the behest of both his council and the ilmikhwm he pledged loyalty to--in essence, he was similar to an Aipakhpam miyuukh. And like the senwitla of the Aipakhpam, a ruler appointed a herald known as a tsukh'wawam to speak for him as needed. He also appointed another herald, the tsokhqoloqwehilt, to speak for him during important ceremonies. The tsokhqoloqwehilt was mainly a village position with those serving under an ilmikhwm being considered an honorary title with its roles delegated out to lesser nobles.

    Chiyatsuru religion, animistic as all Fusanian faiths, focused itself around the acquisition of guardian spirit power called sumikh (among variations) to ensure prosperity and safety in the unbalanced world. Typically they gained this power as children through meditation and arduous rites at sacred places such as mountains, groves, or lakes, usually supervised by a spiritually powerful kinsmen as a rite of passage. Spirit power amplified an individual's skills, influencing their success in life, although individuals were cautioned to never rely too much on their spirit alone. Spirits could be demanding, and individuals gained more power from them through proper conduct and ritual. Sometimes, strong spirits might be inherited from ancestors although the Chiyatsuru distinguished this from reincarnation. A few individuals gained very weak or no spirit powers at all, a failing believed to be caused by their laziness, impurity, or other moral failings which drove away potential guardian spirits.

    The Chiyatsuru called their chief deity Qelentsoten, roughly meaning "Everything-Creator", but this deity went by many other names such as Amotqen. Qelentsoten created the world and gave everything it's name and shape. Fox, the first-named being was appointed as the first Transformer, but in his haste to stabilise the world he created monstrosities that oppressed the people and spirits. Qelentsoten appointed Coyote, who he assigned the second-to-last name, as a Transformer to counteract Fox's well-intentioned failure. Coyote went around correcting Fox's failures, yet the balance of the world could never be restored. Wanting to make the world safe for humans, Coyote's descendents, Qelentsoten dramatically reshaped the world, exiling Coyote and Fox to either end of it and himself leaving. As he left beyond the world, he assigned the last name, Sweat-House, to a powerful spirit who lived in the center of the world and was to teach the people the proper ways as Qelentsoten's representative. [8]

    Their main religious cults focused on the worship of Coyote, the Transformer god, and other primordial beings personified as shapeshifters or animal-headed gods who were the ancestors of all humans and animals (the distinction between the two only occurring at the dawn of the current world). The Sweat-House God's cult was also popular, as Qelentsoten appointed him to watch over humans after Qelentsoten's departure (following his exile of Coyote and Fox to either end of the world) at the end of the previous age. Thought of as an ancient man, the Sweat-House God watched over people in place of Qelentsoten to remind people of him and his balance before Qelentsoten returned at the end of time. Every sweathouse was a symbol of his, and proper conduct in his name was said to bring success.

    Although the rivers of the Chiyatsuru country tended to be full of rocks and rapids, the Chiyatsuru adapted to this by becoming expert navigators in addition to their ship design. They constructed several different sorts of canoes and river boats for all sorts of conditions. One distinctive design was the pine-and-birch-bark sturgeon-nosed canoe, a 3-4 meter canoe with blunt ends useful in marshes and turbulent water. Tradition holds its invention to the Shilkh people of Lake Gangou [9] yet it spread nearly everywhere in Chiyatsuru country and even to the Dena and groups on the High Plains. Aside from this, they used larger river galleys on calmer stretches of river while on the many lakes they used large catamarans and lake galleys.

    The many mountain lakes in Chiyatsuru territory tended to be the nucleus of powerful states. These lakes came from the remnants of glaciation during the last ice age and were surrounded by forests and mountains in which minerals lay beneath. Near them lay great marshland for growing crops and collecting reeds, while the lake itself served as a fishery and a transportation conduit. Extensive intermarriage occurred amongst lakeside communities and the natural economic links present enabled the formation of relatively large states early on. Typically the city which ruled the lake gained power by its ilmikhwm being wealthy enough to construct a large navy to intimidate rivals. These navies allowed sizable armies to deploy themselves in any potential trouble zone along the lake.

    The size, wealth, and mobility of these states allowed them to project power far beyond their immediate homeland, thus becoming something more than just city-states. The Skowatsanakh city of Kawakhtchin is an archetypical example of this. Starting in the 9th century, the ilmikhwms of Kawakhtchin used their wealth to equip a sizable fleet and army. By the year 1050 gained the submission of every single village by and around Lake Chlhan through diplomacy (often as protectors from the Grey Mountains Dena) and occasionally by force (the conquest of the town of Stkhwiken at the northwest end of the lake [10] in 1050 completed the unification of the lakeside). During the next few decades, Kawakhtchin's forces swept along the Imaru south to the Anchiyatoku River, clashing with Winacha, and north to Khantsin, clashing with the rising power of T'kuyatum and its Dena allies [11]. While not the most populous state in Fusania, in 1090 AD Kawakhtchin was probably the largest, as it united nearly ever ethnic Skowatsanakh under its banners.

    While the most powerful lake state thanks to the long, skinny shape of Lake Chlhan, Kawakhtchin was not the only lake state. The Schits'uumish diarchy of Khant'aqan (the spiritual and political center) and Nts'amkinkwi (the economic and social center) organised on the shores of two lakes very near to each other. This area was flat and marshy and perfect land for growing omodaka and other water crops with little need for labour intensive improvements. These lands prospered and in the 9th - 11th centuries Khant'aqan-Nts'amkinkwi spread its political, economic, and spiritual influence over the entirety of Schits'uumish lands to a degree that even though the co-ilmikhwms who ruled there were not the only ilmikhwms of the Schits'uumish, they were effectively rulers of the entire Schits'uumish people. Thus, Khant'aqan-Nts'amkinkwi led a loose confederation conventionally termed the Schits'uumish Confederation. Only a few Dena tribes as well as the Nk'atkhw Qlhispe city-state of Nkhwemine [12] downstream dared to challenge the Schits'uumish Confederation.

    The Schits'uumish traded their surplus of food and livestock to the mining villages in the valleys east of them, claimed from the Dena after a successful campaign in the 10th century. Here, miners hewed great amounts of silver, lead, and copper from the earth, which the Schits'uumish purchased and refined into valuable trade goods. Khant'aqan-Nts'amkinkwi became an important metalworking center, a place many smiths visited to learn new skills or seek power in the hills nearby.

    Perhaps the most ambitious project undertaken by Khant'aqan-Nts'amkinkwi was the linking of the two lakes by canal, a feat possible as only eight kilometers separated the two lakes over low-lying ground. Legend holds a jester challenged the co-ilmikhwms to visit each other's homes without making a single footprint as a riddle referring to the impossibility of things. Pranksters themselves, the co-ilmikhwms wished to humiliate the jester and his impossible challenge. Starting around 1050, the co-ilmikhwms assembled great amounts of manpower to carve an artificial river between the two lakes, a task thousands of workers laboured on and off for around forty years. Both ilmikhwms and the jester lived to see its completion, and around 1090 both men sailed down the canal in narrow canoes and met in the middle. While the canal was very narrow in the early years, later rulers would only expand the river, and begin turning the meeting place into a great water garden and palatial complex.

    Comparable in scope and power to Kawakhtchin on Lake Chlhan was the city of Pent'ikten located at the southern end of the great Lake Antekkutsu where it flows out into the smaller Lake Okinagen [13]. Pent'ikten gained power from economically subduing the spiritual center of Okinaq'en at the southern end of the lake sometime in the 10th century, but unlike Khant'aqan-Nts'amkinkwi it never evolved into a diarchy (although all great festivals were held there as the high priest resided there). Pent'ikten's key position at the center of a trade route crossing into the northern plateaus allowed the city to become exceptionally wealthy. Helped by its rule over Okinaq'en, a constant supply of pilgrims and migrants flowed into the area, causing a demographic shift. The Dena and especially Nhlekepmkh who lived there before either left (sometimes violently) or assimilated into the local Shilkh population.

    This manpower covered the slopes of the mountains of the Antekkutsu Valley in great terraces as well as dug great irrigation trenches and earthworks enabling the area to export great amounts of food, often in exchange for fine reindeer bred by Dena of the nearby mountains. Linked by intermarriage, Pent'ikten sometimes campaigned against the Nhlekepmkh towns on the shore of Lake Antekkutsu, although their ambitions were often frustrated by the need to placate their Dena allies with the plunder as well. Just as often they maintained peaceful trading relations with these towns, some of whom even permitted Pent'ikten to establish trading colonies such as Nkhok'osten and Tselohtsus [14]. These trading colonies often eclipsed the local towns in prosperity, leading to further assimilation to the local Shilkh culture.

    Although Pent'ikten never ruled over the entirety of the Antekkutsu Valley with as iron of a fist as Kawakhtchin did over their Lake Chlhan, they still held huge economic influence there. A loose confederation formed between the towns of the lake and allied Dena clans in the mountains, mostly to contest attacks by the Dena city-state of Khwatzelabazi by Lake Benchodo as well as other towns of the Dena of the Negami River [15]. Pent'ikten's influence lay in economic, spiritual, and cultural realms rather than direct rule or military strength. It effectively united the Antekkutsu Valley by peaceful means, despite how often its rulers wished they held greater control.

    Other strong lake states existed, such as Qapqapeh on the shores of the lake that later carried its name. A Qlhispe city, Qapqapeh overthrew the hegemony of the stronger lake city of Nts'amutsi around 980 thanks to their increasing demands for tribute during a drought [16]. Qapqapeh used the wealth gained from sacking Nts'amutsi to unite the vast shores of Lake Qapqapeh which they accomplished by the late 11th century. Their primary enemies were the Dena to their east and north who forced a begrudging alliance with Khant'aqan-Nts'amkinkwi to their south.

    The northeastern Shilkh lands diverged from this regional trend despite the many large natural lakes such as Lake Nagasabi and Lake Kitsureru [17] and Lake Gangou. Surrounded by mountains, fierce Dena tribes extracted much tribute from these Shilkh in both food and especially from the rich silver, lead, and copper mines in the area, thus hindering their independent development. Around the mid-11th century, the leaders of these Shilkh cities like Kp'itl'els, Naq'osp, and K'iyahmlup [18] formed a confederation to throw off the rule of the local Dena tribes. From the 1050s to the 1070s, they inflicted increasingly heavy defeats on the Dena and effectively turned the tables on them. Much of the fighting took place in the Upper Gangou Valley south of Lake Gangou where the wars effectively depopulated the area. New settlements emerged just as fast though as ambitious nobles carved out a place for themselves. One of these, Npokhst'yan, founded around 1060 grew rapidly thanks to the skill of its founding rulers and agricultural wealth of the land and not fifty years later already ranked among the largest cities of the region. [19]

    The initial confederation of the Lakes Shilkh fell apart within a few years, replaced by a few smaller confederations each centered around the lake on which they sat. Governance in these confederations was akin to that of the leagues of the Whulchomic peoples, although without the extreme political fracturing found in Whulchomic lands they were usually dominated by two or three towns each. The region gained the name "Land of Twenty Cities and Five Lakes" which although the identities of the "five lakes" were all agreed on, which centers ranked among the "twenty cities" was a subject of considerable dispute.

    The sole exception to this disunity was the wealthy and rich state at Kanch'ak at the shores of Lake Kanchaku. In the 1080s united all of the Kanchaku Valley through its naval force and legend held through outright purchasing rival towns. It's isolated position in the Kanchaku Valley and wealth from silver and lead mines led it to develop a reputation for fabulous wealth in Fusania (mostly west of the Grey Mountains), where the streets were made of silver and even the slaves wore fine robes for no man ever hungered or wanted for anything in this land. [20]

    A few river states held considerable power as well, such as the Qlhispe city of Nkhwemine located on a set of falls on the Ankatoku River [21]. The primary center of the powerful Nk'atkhw subgroup of the Qlhispe, Nkhwemine exerted power as a typical regional fishing center turned political power. Nkhwemine acted as the gateway between the wetter forested mountains to the north and east and the drier plateau to the west. As a result, considerable trade in goods rare in either area occurred at this city.

    Yet the state that created the most consequence to Fusanian history was the Shilkh city of T'kuyatum at the mouth of the Okinagen River. Always an important site due to its strategic location, T'kuyatum prospered thanks to the constant river trade with cities all around the Imaru Plateau as well as upriver to the city-state of Pent'ikten. Clever rulers balanced the rivalries between Dena tribes and northerly Chiyatsuru peoples to gain the best trade deals and security against enemies. While it was a regional center since the 9th century, it only came into its own as a local power with the conquest of the rival city of Tlaamina upriver around 1040 AD [22]. Other regional rivals like Tkhwets'p and Sohyus [23] suffered defeat in wars to the Dena or to rivals like Kawakhtchin or Pent'ikten in the late 11th century. T'kuyatum's clever diplomacy kept them secure while equally skilled rulers took full advantage of this disruption to aggrandise themselves.

    At the start of the 12th century, Kawakhtchin seemed like an unstoppable force on the Imaru Plateau. An observer from the Old World divorced from the context of Fusanian politics might view the city-state as soon to undergo a transition to a regional empire. Yet the rise of the warlord Chelkhalt to the position of ilmikhwm of T'kuyatum in 1108 changed this fate. Legend holds he was a noble who at the behest of the council, provoked by his brother in law the high priest, deposed the previous dynasty of ilmikhwms for their decadence, fearing they would cause great spiritual imbalance. They selected Chelkhalt for his fiery speeches and his strong guardian spirit power that had led him to victory against Kawakhtchin several times in the past.

    Kawakhtchin's failure to rise to greater heights might be attributed to several factors, all of which relate to the structural weakness of Fusanian states and institutions in this era. The state's structure was centered on kin and clan networks who swore loyalty to the lineage of the Ilmikhwm of Kawakhtchin. Yet there was no loyalty beyond this, and the ilmikhwm relied on his followers to keep resources flowing from those outside or only minimally linked to these networks, a task which required the increased distribution of his own wealth at potlatches. By the 12th century, Kawakhtchin's vassals had grown increasingly demanding thanks to memories of so many lavish feasts beforehand, forcing its ilmikhwm to increase raids on neighbours as well as raise his own demands for tribute from subject villages, an obviously unpopular policy. Some of these raids stretched across the Grey Mountains, such as one around 1100 AD in which Kawakhtchin attacked some Whulchomish villages of the Kwatkach'ked League. The siyams of the Kwatkach'ked League responded quickly and ambushed Kawakhtchin's force resulting in near-total defeat, an event commemorated in one of the oldest surviving Fusanian tapestries.

    Chelkhalt exploited this wholeheartedly. He allied with a Dena prince with kin amongst some villages of Kawakhtchin and began to subvert them from within, ensuring people raised their voices in complaint against the ilmikhwm and the khatuts he charged with enforcing tribute. At the same time, his Dena ally agreed to several trade deals extremely beneficial for Kawakhtchin, yet this tactic was to create a false sense of security. The villages friendly to his--and T'kuyatum's--cause smuggled out many goods, especially food, to the Dena. These village headmen claimed the produced far less than they actually did, and Kawakhtchin's administration reduced the amount of tribute correspondingly.

    In 1112, Kawakhtchin made spring raids on the Dena as payback for impoverishing their followers. At this point, Chelkhalt struck and mobilised his own followers for war. T'kuyatum unleashed withering raids on Kawakhtchin's allies during summer and autumn of that year, killing hundreds of warriors and achieving the submission of several disputed villages. Kawakhtchin's forces only checked T'kuyatum through their overwhelming numbers that forced Chelkhalt to protect his own territory. Only a few raids occurred on villages by Lake Chlhan thanks to the strength of Kawakhtchin's fleet in moving their forces around. The people settled in for the winter and the conflict largely stopped, only to be renewed during spring 1113.

    This convinced Chelkhalt of the necessity of naval power. He used the winter festivities that year to convince his nobles of the necessity of his forthcoming plan. T'kuyatum nearly doubled their fleet for use in a two-pronged plan sure to bring success, although it could not enter Lake Chlhan thanks to the rapids there. Returning from a major raid that summer, Chelkhalt tricked the warriors of Kawakhtchin into believing his party was far less numerous and far more weighed down in loot by having shipped it away by boat. The warriors on the boats returned and waited in ambush. As Kawakhtchin's forces made a frontal attack against Chelkhalt's encampment at the mouth of the Metsuho River (or Metkho as it was known) [24], Chelkhalt gave the signal and captured or killed perhaps a thousand of their warriors at minimal cost to his own men. Extensive raiding continued until autumn that year when the campaign season ended.

    The second part of the plan involved the actual capture of Kawakhtchin and Lake Chlhan. Chelkhalt hired perhaps two hundred mercenaries from amongst the Namals. Along with a few dozen Dena warriors, they crossed over the Grey Mountains not long after the winter potlatch in January 1114. That winter was among the coldest during the Medieval Warm Period in this region, and a layer of ice had formed on Lake Chlhan for the first time in living memory [25]--sources claim this is the result of the enormous strength of the spirit power of Chelkhalt's brother-in-law, a shaman said to have control over the north wind who Chelkhalt enlisted in his campaign. Legend has it this shaman guided the men over the mountains by having them use the winds as a compass--he would not change the direction of the wind without sending them a spiritual sign.

    In a famous Chiyatsuru story, Chelkhalt's men descended from the mountains wearing thick cloaks and robes dyed white. They marched to the middle of the lake under cover of night and blizzard, and then marched to Kawakhtchin and attacked the city by lakeshore at sunrise, once again navigating by the winds. The city's watchtowers and high wooden walls bypassed, Chelkhalt's men sacked the city with impunity. Parties went house to house, looting and plundering and cutting down the city's warriors who tried to form up and mount some defense. They killed every adult man and enslaved the women and children. The Ilmikhwm of Kawakhtchin was found dead in his palace, allegedly from the stress of Chelkhalt driving off his guardian spirit with his spiritual force. The sudden shock of this attack led to Chelkhalt's followers gaining the name Pukhmitsa, meaning "White Robes", both for their clothing and the time of their attack (sunrise, associated with the colour white in Fusanian thought). Legend told that Chelkhalt's great-grandmother, a fierce woman whose name had been Pukhmitsa, appeared to him in a vision to guide him on the strategy. Kawakhtchin was never rebuilt after this, although later villages appeared near the ruins.

    The only thing not looted or stolen was the still-sizable fleet Kawakhtchin owned. When the ice melted not long after, Chelkhalt commanded these ships as he gained the submission of every village at Kawakhtchin. Few resisted him, and the surrender of the ilmikhwm's nephew Maheqen (who became a loyal follower of Chelkhalt) at the spring potlatch ended the campaign, leaving T'kuyatum the most powerful state on the Imaru Plateau.

    Historian Gaiyuchul of Katlamat speaks of Chelkhalt in his Saga of the Four Corners:
    "Of all rulers in the history of this land, the deeds of the great prince Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum must be studied by all who seek to understand the root of statecraft and warfare in this land. Even his most bitter rival Q'mitlwaakutl often praised the talent and skill Chelkhalt unleashed upon the Imaru Plateau. He worked his city of T'kuyatum as if a smith with incredible guardian spirit power, turning weakness and ugliness into great beauty and even more terrible strength. How few might have assumed that the great state by Lake Chlhan, led by the vanished city of Kawakhtchin, could be so totally defeated by this upstart ruler.

    Chelkhalt drew his strength from his own self-mastery, self-mastery which inflamed and provoked a burning ambition within him. He lived his life in a state of balance, partaking in luxury only when his followers expected it and subjecting himself to harshness and privation daily. The mountains were his home as he sought to perfectly understand his spirit power, power so strong it is said kept him feeling pain or exhaustion. Perhaps he believed all men might be honed to such understanding. In this lay both Chelkhalt's greatest and worst trait, his expectation of equivalent mastery amongst those who followed him. This led to both his finest successes and his greatest failure."

    Chekhalt's ambition did not stop there, as in spring 1115 he turned his attention to the Aipakhpam city of Winacha, a long-time rival of the Kawakhtchin nobles who now served him. To increase his support amongst them and better incorporate their allegiance into his growing empire, Chelkhalt made war against Winacha. Here, Chelkhalt once again displayed his tactical genius. He avoided direct confrontation along the Imaru River and instead relied on his Dena allies to raid interior villages in the Grey Mountains, crippling Winacha's mining infrastructure. In the campaign season, T'kuyatum's forces raided and pillaged the land, occasionally ambushing Winacha's warriors, while in the winter, the White Robes--hardened veterans and mercenaries--set forth and made surprise raids at dawn and dusk.

    The nobles of the Imaru Plateau watched this war with unease, far more than they cared about the contemporary return of Coastmen raids to their west. They feared that Winacha might easily lose this war, and especially feared a man with such great spiritual power ruling such a powerful state. They heard the proud boasts of the men and women under T'kuyatum's rule as they traveled in their countries, and delighted in the money--wealth from years of successful campaigns--they gambled away or used to purchase endless luxuries, although they noticed with worry the demand for fine weapons. And no group of nobles worried more than the Aipakhpam, whose paramount city of Winacha now fell under such a dire threat. Wayam and in particular Ktlatla, close allies of Winacha, in particular feared this growing crisis. This anxiety and the rising star of the Wayamese figure who called himself Q'mitlwaakutl returned, would soon lead to a series of revolutionary changes in all Fusania

    Author's notes
    ---​
    This is yet another of the ethnology-focused bits, this one focusing on ATL [Interior] Salishan peoples. As usual, I've broadly generalised and focused particularly on individual city-states and political developments of importance. It's an overview of the land as it appears in these times, and a bit of a tour around this corner of Fusania which I will detail in a map once I can get the suitable Cascadia basemap prepared. Chelkhalt is an important figure to Fusanian history whose story will be completed in later updates.

    Originally the Northern Chiyatsuru and the Ieruganin were meant to be discussed here, but they're being moved to a separate chapter since I'm trying to cut down on excessive length of chapters.

    If you've noticed the Dena are described as losing a lot in this and other recent chapters, that's a regional phenomena I'll discuss in greater detail sooner or later. Long story short, the growing population in the lowlands presses up against their highland homes and triggers conflicts, ones in which greater numbers are coming out ahead in. I'll probably discuss the Amorera, Ancestral Cayuse/Uereppu, and "barbarian" Salishans like the Mountain Salish and Slet'ewhsi there too since they're similar in lifestyle and challenges faced ITTL.

    But when I'm finished with this section of the TL I'll complete Chelkhalt's arc and introduce his greatest rival Q'mitlwaakutl, a hugely important figure. Next updates should be roughly Northern Chiyatsuru/Ieruganin Dena, the Tsupnitpelu/Kuskuskai River people, the Maguraku (they are an "uncivilised" group but they figure into Q'mitlwaakutl's story), the Aipakhpam/Wayam, and finally Q'mitlwaakutl.

    [1] - TTL's linguistic equivalents of the Okanagan, the Mid-Columbia Salish, the Kalispel, the Coeur d'Alene, the Nlaka'pamux/Thompson Salish, and St'at'imc/Lillooet
    [2] - St'kamhtsi is roughly Cusick, WA, while the Andou River is the Pend Oreille River of Washington (derived from a misinterpretation of its native name "Ntkhwe")
    [3] - T'kuyatum is Brewster, WA while Kp'itl'els is Castlegar, BC, while Khant'aqan and Nts'amkinkwi are Hayden, ID and Couer d'Alene, ID respectively and Kawakhtchin is Manson, WA
    [4] - Ktlatla is Thorp, WA
    [5] - ATL Bitterroot Salish and Kalispel people living in the valleys at the western edge of the Rockies and perpetually under Dena influence
    [6] - Winacha is Wenatchee, WA, and the Winachapam are the subgroup of Aipakhpam who live there ("people of Winacha")
    [7] - This is an Okanagan term which OTL meant chief and who as I noted, appointed chiefs of subordinate villages and other positions of government although otherwise the title functions much differently than any Okanagan speaker would recognise. I'll use this title when referring to Chiyatsuru leaders, despite the linguistic variation within Okanagan peoples let alone the variation within other Interior Salish languages
    [8] - Inspired by an OTL Okanagan creation story, reworked to account for the dualistic belief system that prevails ITTL
    [9] - Lake Gangou is Kootenay Lake. The canoes described here would be very similar to the OTL sturgeon-nosed canoes, albeit typically are on the larger end
    [10] - Lake Chlhan (later called Chiran TTL) is Lake Chelan, while Stkhwiken is Stehekin, WA
    [11] - The Anchiyatoku River is the Entiat River, a Japanese term from the same source as its OTL name, a village called Ntiakwu. Khantsin is Pateros, WA
    [12] - Nkhwemine is Nine Mile Falls, WA, near Spokane
    [13] - Pent'ikten is Penticton, BC, while Lake Antekketsu is Lake Okanagan. Lake Okinagen is Lake Skaha (aka Dog Lake) south of OTL Lake Okanagen. IOTL the Okanagan term "Okinaq'en" referred to a point on this lake where the Okanagan River flowed out of rather than the larger lake. TTL it refers to Okanagen Falls, BC.
    [14] - Nkhok'osten is near Kelowna, BC while Tselohtsus is a bit south of Vernon, BC.
    [15] - Khwatzelabazi is Salmon Arm, BC, while Lake Benchodo is the Japanese form of a Dena term for Lake Shuswap meaning "Great and Narrow Lake". The Negami River is the Thompson River, coming from a Japanese adaptation of a section of that river
    [16] - Qapqapeh is Sandpoint, ID by Lake Pend Oreille while Nts'amutsi is Clark Fork, ID
    [17] - Lake Nagasabi and Lake Kitsureru are Upper and Lower Arrow Lakes respectively, gaining their names from Japanese transcriptions of the most prominent cities on them
    [18] - Naq'osp is Nakusp, BC, and K'iyahmlup is Nelson, BC
    [19] - Npokhst'yan is Creston, BC
    [20] - Kanch'ak is Slocan, BC, while the Kanchaku Valley is the Slocan Valley, a notable silver mining region OTL
    [21] - The Ankatoku River (Nk'atkhw) is the Spokane River of Idaho/Washington
    [22] - Tlaamina is Omak, WA
    [23] - Tkhwets'p is Twisp, WA and Sohyus is Osoyoos, BC
    [24] - The Metsuho River is the Methow River of WA
    [25] - Lake Chelan has rarely frozen over since modern records began in the 19th century. Presumably in the Medieval Warm Period it was similar, while in the Little Ice Age it froze over more often. It would've been an unusual event and likely given religious attribution
     
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    Chapter 26-Among the Valleys at the Edge
  • -XXVI-
    Among the Valleys at the Edge

    At the borderline of civilisation and the barbaric world of the Hillmen lay a harsh and rugged country where rivers like the mighty Shisutara carved deep gorges into the high mountains and hills. Almost nothing lay flat in this land, not even the rivers themselves as they were choked with boulders, rapids, and other obstacles. Yet in the few flatter locations, the benchlands, civilisation akin to that further south along the Imaru and Furuge grew up in this land. This resilient civilisation, termed the Northern Chiyatsuru for their linguistic and cultural similarities to other Chiyatsuru, thrived in this land despite being pushed between raging rapids and steep cliffs.

    The term Northern Chiyatsuru distinguishes those northerly groups of Chiyatsuru who possessed distinct cultures, languages, and traditions from their southern brethren. While still sharing in the same broad Salishan traditions, their rugged country, proximity to Whulchomic peoples like the Lelemakh and centuries of dominance by the Dena caused them to develop on a different path. While regarded as crude and violent by the southern cousins and sometimes even labeled among the Hillmen, the Northern Chiyatsuru still possessed many hallmarks of urban civilisation and as a whole were more wealthier and more organised than the Dena peoples to their north. Tradition divided the Northern Chiyatsuru into the Nhlekepmkh and the Stl'atl'emkh, but within these two groups existed numerous distinctions, usually determined by what section of what river or lake the group lived on. Each of these groups oriented themselves around one paramount center and ruler.

    The Stl'atl'emkh considered civilisation to begin at Old Khakhlip [1], a powerful city state of the Stl'atl'emkh on the Mid-Shisutara River, where legend told the Transformer god Coyote came to perform great deeds and teach the people the ways of civilisation. Certainly Old Khakhlip represented an early and powerful town since at least 400 BC and among the first major sites encountered by the Dena migrating southwards. Some cultural fusion took place at Old Khakhlip as the city readily adopted pastoralism to supplement their rich salmon harvests around 300 AD and entered a major phase of growth and prominence, reaching perhaps 2,000 people by 700 AD as the most important city by far north of the Imaru Basin and Furuge. Lengthy drought, deforestation (especially to feed the growing industry of goldsmiths there), and erosion threatened Old Khakhlip by the 9th century, and conflict against Dena groups created yet more challenges. However, the city remained thriving, if weakened, until the early 11th century when a great landslide temporarily dammed the Shisutara upstream causing a shift in the salmon runs. The city was sacked around this time, possibly by its own residents, and the area nearly abandoned as many residents moved downstream to a site they named after their former home.

    In contrast, the Nhlekepmkh considered the place civilisation began to be the city of Tl'q'amshin [2]. Here they believed lived many powerful Transformers such as Ntl'ik'smtm who descended to Tl'q'amshin after his exile in the heavens. As a result a great variety of sacred rocks, trees, and mountains surrounded Tl'q'amshin and the city became a pilgrimage center for those seeking spiritual gifts. Yet religion wasn't the only factor which drew people to this city, as its strategic location where the Negami River flows into the Shisutara ensured it prosperity. At Tl'q'amshin, the Nhlekepmkh and others constructed some of the most elaborate terraces amidst the dramatic gorge of the rivers outside of Wayam and the Imaru Gorge to ensure a secure food supply. The manpower provided by pilgrims and other transient guests in the city allowed Tl'q'amshin to punch far above its weight economically, and the lack of any sizable competitors for many miles upstream or downstream on either river (thanks to the great Shisutara Gorge) ensured Tl'q'amshin's dominance.

    The Northern Chiyatsuru believed in many different Transformer gods, of which the greatest was Coyote and his sons, although they held cults to other Transformer gods as well. They believed the supreme god, the Old Man, sent Coyote and other Transformer gods to make the earth fit for humans and animals by Transforming things into their current forms. The Old Man himself descended to earth to observe the creation his Transformers accomplished. Although he proclaimed it good, he was disturbed by the imbalance his Transformers failed to overcome. Four times the world had been destroyed (by fire, flood, blizzard, and drought) thanks to the acts of evil or misguided beings and although set right by the Transformers, the Old Man worried further destruction might come. He perfected creation with further Transformation (although it still lacked balance), then departed to the west into the spirit world, a paradaisical land where he became the Lord of the Dead, presiding over the land of departed spirits. When balance was restored in the end times, he would resurrect the dead and merge the two worlds, restoring true balance and turning this world into a paradise.

    They held cults to Coyote and other Transformers and worshipped these gods on sacred mountains or by sacred rocks where in the distant past they performed some deed there. They also held cults to the Sun (said to have been a prince at Tl'q'amshin in ancient times) and to the Moon. Yet their most important cult was their practices of ancestor worship, somewhat distinct from other Fusanians. Led by priests and shamans who met the Lord of the Dead or his assistants, they held great dances (usually at winter and summer solstice, but priests sometimes receive divine instruction to hold them at other times) in temples carved into cliffs to attempt to gain worldy favor for themselves and favor for their ancestors who lived under the Lord of the Dead's rule. Most importantly, they believed it might bring about the end times faster.

    Aside from this, the belief in guardian spirit power carried the typical great importance as elsewhere in Fusania. Boys and girls searched for these as part of a rite of passage and believed this spirit power helped influence the remainder of their life. Guardian spirit dances, held at their temples throughout the year, held great importance in demonstrating the powers of their spirit as well as nourishing and honing it.

    Proximity to the lands of the Whulchomic people downstream the Shisutara lent a certain influence to the Northern Chiyatsuru. For instance, the potlatch of the Northern Chiyatsuru held more similarities to that of the Whulchomic potlatch than the potlatches of the other Chiyatsuru. Nobles and rulers held these at auspicious occasions throughout the year to demonstrate their wealth and power by giving away vast amounts of goods in order to secure loyalty from their kin and followers.

    Other coastal elements prevailed as well. Northern Chiyatsuru woodcarving art as seen on house posts and totem poles was more akin to that of Whulchomic peoples than other Chiyatsuru. They used pithouses only for storage and housing animals, preferring above ground longhouses for their families, yet these resembled the Whulchomic longhouse. The elite cultivated a style which recalled the nobles of city-states like Sqhweyemehl and Kwatkach'ked yet also held many local traits, not least the emphasis on gold and jade. No Fusanian group used more gold in their finery than the Northern Chiyatsuru.

    Outsiders knew the Northern Chiyatsuru country for its extensive mineral wealth, the wealthiest country in all Fusania. Silver and especially gold mines littered the land, worked by the impoverished and especially slaves. Yet their greatest export was jade. Great boulders of nephrite lay scattered around their country and buried in the ground, and the Northern Chiyatsuru processed great amounts of jade for their own use and export to peoples to the south. Some of the most distinctive artifacts of Fusanian civilisation originated in this area as the Chiyatsuru incorporated jadework into their gold and silver working, be it statues, pottery, jewelry, or weapons. Jade clubs and spearheads served as common weapons for nobles and the elites.

    In exchange for this, the Northern Chiyatsuru imported great amounts of goods from coastal lands. They prized whalebone, seal pelts, and especially shells, which they valued so highly that they cast imitation shells from gold and copper to supplement their supply of the actual good. They frequently imported acorns as well from the coast, as they found the Imaru Oak difficult to grow in any large quantity in their land. Trading parties of Northern Chiyatsuru made quite an impression on their coastal partners, typically wearing much jewelry from jade and gold and shining like the sun.

    Outsiders regarded this land as a rough and dangerous country to travel in. High mountain peaks and steep cliffs made travel away from water difficult, and similarly travellers on the rivers faced intense rapids or boulders in the water. Landslides occasionally obstructed trails after heavy rain or earthquakes. And unlike the areas to the south, the climate was intensely continental. In the summer, temperatures occasionally rose over 40 degrees in an area classified as semi-desert and travellers faced the risk of heat stroke and dehydration. In winter, temperatures occasionally reached far below 0 degrees and blizzards and snowstorms hindered travel. For this reason alone, the Lelemakh and other Whulchomic peoples rarely visited the Northern Chiyatsuru, preferring to allow them to travel to their country instead. The Northern Chiyatsuru reciprocated and allowed few into their lands, developing a rather isolationist mindset.

    The Northern Chiyatsuru transformed their land through their engineering skills. In the early 10th century, terracing arrived in their lands, revolutionising their agriculture. No longer did they need to rely so heavily on gathering plants in the hills to supplement their diet, and extra labour and time became used for building vast agricultural terraces. The cities of the Mid-Shisutara River hosted some of the largest and most incredible terraces seen in all Fusania. Qanat-like structures (after the 12th century) and manipulation of springs atop the mountains helped water these terraces carved into the imposing cliffs.

    Within a century this caused a great shift in their relations with the Dena near them. Before, they frequently warred against each other over control of the hills and mountains for plant resources, game, and land for their reindeer and especially goats, the main animal raised by the Northern Chiyatsuru. Now, the Northern Chiyatsuru needed to rely on this land far less, and their nobles able to both restrict access as well as negotiate access rights far more peacefully than before. The Dena became frequent allies of the Northern Chiyatsuru, helping to keep unwanted outsiders away from what became increasingly their shared land.

    Even so, the Northern Chiyatsuru still lived under extensive Dena domination. Their nobility and rulers were all of Dena origin, a lineage they boasted of proudly to their Dena neighbours to their north, yet so were many of the common people. The Dena confederations around them rarely made war on the Northern Chiyatsuru, as the Northern Chiyatsuru gave them what they wanted--slaves, trade goods, and above all, food. The Dena of the region never farmed a surplus, preferring pastoralism and growing food for their animals--as a result, they traded for excess food the Northern Chiyatsuru grew in their great terraced gardens, often in return for animals. Stingy rulers or more often rulers looking out for their own people during bad years for trade and agriculture tended to face Dena raids.

    Two groups of Dena were intimately associated with the Northern Chiyatsuru--the Benk'ut'in Dena and the Didayak'in Dena, commonly combined as the Negami Dena. These groups, living in the valleys around Lake Benchodo and the Negami Valley respectively, inherited much from the Northern Chiyatsuru communities they absorbed during the Dena Migrations. But unlike the Ieruganin, these two Dena groups vigorously kept to their old ways thanks to their animosity with other Chiyatsuru, especially the Shilkh (for the Benk'ut'in) and the Nhlekepmkh (for the Didayak'in). They lived as other Northern Dena did, rarely staying in one place and prizing their herds of animals.

    Yet despite these rivalries, the Northern Chiyatsuru held an affinity for them, considering their nobility to have originated from these two groups. The Negami Dena reciprocated, allowing Northern Chiyatsuru especially to live within their lands as townsfolk and commoners although refusing them the rights to hunt (including the right to own a bow) or own reindeer, moose, or goats. Many commoners (and escaped slaves) lived in Negami Dena lands despite this, often as merchants making a brisk trade in the precious metals of the country. Khwatzelabazi by Lake Benchodo was mostly Northern Chiyatsuru and often called Spolimtsin, its exonym [3], while the largest Negami Dena city-state, Hleidli (also called Hleidlitsu "Yellow Hleidli") was often known as T'kamluleps [4].

    A similar phenomena occurred amongst the Lower Stl'atl'emkh (sometimes called the Tsalahlmets, or Lake Stl'atl'emkh). Living along the mountain lakes and glacial valleys north of the Lower Shisutara, the Dena dominated this group since early in history, and similarly to the Negami Dena maintained their own culture with little blending. The Lake Stl'atl'mekh held kinship links with the Lelemakh valuable for trade, and the Dena of this area used this to their advantage in forming their own alliance with them. From their city-state of Khakhtsa at the head of Lake Hongyaku, the Dena invited many of their people into the interior valleys to live as merchants, miners, or servants [5]. Practically a vassal and full member of the Dena confederation of the area as a result, Khakhtsa exerted considerable influence using naval might on the entirety of Lake Hongyaku and into Lelemakh lands, where they occasionally clashed with siyams of the Leq'emel League.

    It is likely that a slight majority of Northern Chiyatsuru lived outside their own country as free men in the lands of the Dena. A great quantity of good land lay in their valleys, and the Dena appreciated their craftsmenship. Thanks to this, their trade network extended as far north as Hleidli (also called Hleidlik'on "Red Hleidli" to distinguish it from the city of the same name in the south) on the Nechakou River. This city the Chiyatsuru called Nts'eqtseq'amshin, a literal translation of Hleidlik'on in their language [6]. Here, they formed the primary inhabitants who lived at the site permanently in harsh rivalry with the Tsusha Coastmen who similarly had taken up residence under Dena protection. Despite this rivalry, Red Hleidli was important as a place for where technology and other developments spread between the Far Northwest and the Imaru-Furuge area. It played a crucial role in attracting the famed merchant quarters of Tsusha and other Coastmen to the Imaru-Furuge area by the late 12th century.

    The expansion of terracing caused another important change--the swelling of urban areas. Because of the manpower needed for terraces, only the wealthiest might afford to expand them. Similarly, the hillsides and rocks held important spiritual properties, being transformed ancestors and others--they thus needed strong shamans and priests (available only to wealthy and strong rulers) to mediate with these spirits and permit the cliffs to be transformed. Sites with wealthy rulers like (New) Khakhlip and Tl'q'amshin ballooned in size as their wealthy rulers constructed terraces which grew more food attracting more people and so forth.

    Aside from the similar environment of the Imaru Gorge, nowhere else in Fusania was urbanisation greater than in the lands of the Northern Chiyatsuru thanks to the lack of suitable land for settlements and the need for terracing. Around 1100, Khahlip and Tl'q'amshin both held around 2,500 people and ranked among Fusania's largest cities. Slightly smaller was Zakhtsin at the northeastern fringe of Chiyatsuru lands with about 2,000 people [7]. Aside from this, only Koiahum, Nsq'aqalten, Slahus, and Khakhtsa were of any importance, having about 1,000 to 1,500 people each, although they still dwarfed the villages under their authority like Setl', itself once a center [8]. A few large villages existed, but the majority of settlements in Northern Chiyatsuru country were small with only perhaps a few dozen people.

    This early and intensive urbanisation permitted high levels of specialisation amongst the Northern Chiyatsuru. Craftsmen of all sorts from metalworkers to sculptors to woodworkers experimented and created great works of art. Goldworking in particular thrived due to the rich sources of local gold and was exported all over Fusania and beyond. Woven textiles also thrived thanks to the skilled goat breeding of the Northern Chiyatsuru. The finest clothing in Fusania came from here, as skilled women wove cloaks of goat wool embroidered with gold thread, an innovation developed here. Totem poles spread here early on, and stories tell of the fantastic poles raised in places like Khakhlip. Few privileges were greater than to train under the artisans and craftsmen (or to employ the skills of one) of cities like Khakhlip, Tl'q'amshin, or Zakhstin.

    It also strongly influenced political development amongst the Northern Chiyatsuru. The headmen of clans, akin to the siyams of the Whulchomic people, populated the ranks of the councils in the cities and villages. They helped the prince of the city, titled Kwukwpai (amongst variants), enforce his will on the people, and usually supplied important secondary offices like the chancellor, fishing chief, and war chief. As elsewhere, the prince derived much of his power from his wealth and the respect others had of him--a skilled prince was able to more easily mobilise labour for construction of earthworks, irrigation, and terraces that gave him additional wealth and power. In Northern Chiyatsuru country, the city princes became exceedingly powerful as the political system began to strongly deviate from its earlier forms more akin to the noble republics of the Whulchomic people. They removed and appointed village headmen at will, although infrequently exercised this power as village headmen often appealed to other cities or Dena confederations for assistance.

    The influence of Dena confederations played heavily in Northern Chiyatsuru politics. Even these powerful rulers needed to tread carefully, as the Dena might easily be stirred up against them. Facing the anger of a Dena confederation, in particular those of the Benk'ut'in Dena and the Didayak'in, meant a costly war that typically ended with the prince in debt and his overthrow by the city council thanks to having lost favour with the spirits. Many times the villages of Northern Chiyatsuru country acted as members of confederations of Dena towns, and even larger cities like Zakhtsin periodically joined Dena confederations. Yet at the same time, a city like Khakhlip often counted as followers and subjects many Dena villages and towns and the Dena needed to be careful in their dealings with that city. In this way, the lines between Chiyatsuru and Dena ended up being blurred, with both groups equally integral to each other's success.

    These concerns kept Northern Chiyatsuru lands relatively peaceful throughout much of the Copper Age in Fusania. While raids and warfare occurred with frequency, in general fighting was smaller scale and less destructive than elsewhere, especially after general peace and cooperation with the Dena began in the 10th century. However, the Stl'atl'emkh seemed to have been the more aggressive of the two groups, in part due to the violent end of Old Khakhlip in the 10th and 11th centuries creating a more militarised culture. The power vacuum that opened in this region led to great competition amongst villages and towns claiming descent from the nobles (never the ruling family, whose memory they condemned) and frequent conflict.

    Two centers emerged by 1040 from the early period of fighting--New Khakhlip, who most directly claimed the legacy by appropriating the name of the old city, and Setl', south of Old Khakhlip, which sought to deny New Khakhlip's claim and uphold the remnants of Old Khakhlip. A bitter rivalry ensued, involving the two cities, villages between and around them, several Dena tribes, and even other major city-states like Zakhtsin and Slahus. Conflict after conflict ensued every summer with periodic daring raids in the winter.

    In a story repeated in legend ever since, around 1066 the sight of a new star in the sky [9] caused considerable consternation in both cities. The shamans and priests interpreted it as a message from their ancestors, some of whom had been transformed into the stars, but they disputed amongst each other what this message meant. The eldest and wisest shaman in the land claimed that it meant each city must cease fighting and come to peace with each other. But the Kwukwpai of Setl' mocked the man, claiming he must be lying, and in defiance of this ordered a great force to be raised to march on New Khakhlip. Although many village headmen heeded the warnings, the kwukwpai bullied and forced them into providing him warriors.

    The Kwukwpai of Khakhlip heeded the warning. He ordered not a single man to take up arms and decided to invite the warriors of Setl' and allies to a feast where they all might accept gifts from each other. As two thousand men from Setl' advanced on New Khakhlip, not a single man in the watchtowers or on the walls remained armed, and village after village greeted them with non-resistance. Emboldened by this, the Kwukwpai of Setl' ordered his men to march faster. Exhausted, tired, and mostly fearful of the consequences of defying the order from the stars, morale plummeted. As they approached New Khakhlip, the stars suddenly vanished as a thunderstorm brewed up, and a flash flood and landslide washed away their encampment. Half of the warriors perished, including the Kwukwpai of Setl' himself.

    The shaman received a new message afterwards and proclaimed Khakhlip's people to have passed the test set forth by their ancestors amongst the stars. New Khakhlip had proven worthy to succeed Old Khakhlip and take on its legacy as the place the Transformer descended to. It alone must stand at the center of the civilised world, not share its place with any other city, yet unlike Setl' who chose violence, Khakhlip choosing peace marked it as the true center of the world.

    While no doubt exaggerated, the story no doubt held some truth. In the 1060s, Setl' markedly declined thanks to decades of aggressive warfare taking its toll. Its ruler seems to have been appointed by either the Dena, New Khakhlip, or occasionally Slahus, while the population mostly migrated to New Khakhlip. The town never lost its aspirations for glory, as it was by far the smallest settlement to title its ruler a kwukwpai and his palace held far greater luxury than any other village leader.

    South along the Shisutara, Tl'q'amshin lacked any real enemies. It's status as a sacred city amongst its people lacked any challengers and the city itself never fell under the rule of tyrannical or inept rulers for long. Aside from a few wars against the Dena and a short campaign against Nsq'aqalten, Tl'q'amshin's history was mostly peaceful. Its rulers cultivated the imagery of a holy city, where one might draw close to the spirits and establish personal balance in life. The words of shamans and priests carried high weight in Tl'q'amshin.

    In the early 12th century, a new movement seems to have begun in Tl'q'amshin, perhaps caused by economic issues to the south. With the volume of trade decreasing, Tl'q'amshin's leadership searched for a religious solution to the problem. The messages their shamans and priests received from the spirits made them wonder if their city suffered from a spiritual impurity, like they had disturbed the cosmic balance somehow. Much of Tl'q'amshin's terraces and indeed homes lay carved into the cliffs and rocks which their ancestors and others had been Transformed into. While they'd attempted to mitigate the spiritual problem in the past and present, the inherent impurity of agriculture and pastoralism weighed most heavily on their minds in the time of this religious revival.

    They began to drive out terrace farmers from the land, mostly through buying them out, seeking to convert the terraces into gardens and other more "natural" sorts of constructions. Impure animals like ducks and geese vanished from the city, slaughtered in villages well away from it, and the priests began regulating more and more what might be bought and sold. The wealth of Tl'q'amshin started turning to almost exclusively religious art as the city developed as a spiritual center.

    Yet by driving out all of this commerce and agriculture, Tl'q'amshin placed a criticial limit on its own potential growth. Many of its residents who disagreed with these policies departed to Nsq'aqalten up the Negami River, or even the lands of the Dena beyond that. Those lands, increasingly filled with Chiyatsuru people, became wealthier and wealthier by the year, and Nsq'aqalten seemed prime to capitalise on this growth. While Tl'q'amshin's religious mentality in the early 12th century was nowhere as strong as in later decades and the city itself still possessed much secular wealth, the city was undergoing a transformation into something far different than a typical Fusanian city-state.

    Ieruganin Dena

    The Ieruganin Dena (Yilhqanin, meaning "People of Sunrise") lived in the Great Trench of the American Divides as well as adjacent lands in the valley of the Upper Gangou River [10]. They migrated into this land during the Dena expansions of the mid-1st millennium and coalesced into the Ieruganin people by the late 10th century as further Dena moved into the valley. People of Ktanakha and Chiyatsuru origin lived in the area prior to the Dena, but by the 10th century all either had been absorbed by the Ieruganin or moved away across the mountains onto the Plains to join their kin. The Ieruganin also began to absorb influences from the Chiyatsuru to their southwest through extensive trade relations. Many Ieruganin married Chiyatsuru women of the city-state of Npokhst'yan at the south of Lake Gangou in addition to the purchase of many slaves from that area. By the end of the 11th century, the Ieruganin had firmly divided into a farming society in the marshes, lakes, and river valleys and a more traditional horticultural pastoralist society in the hills, each of these societies in symbiotic relation with one another and deeply protective of their land from outsiders.

    The narrow, rather isolated, and eerily straight Great Trench formed a great barrier between the Plains and Fusania as well as a great connection to the north and south. Here, the Gangou and the Imaru almost met, separated by only a low hill and some marshes. Dominated by rivers, much of this land flooded regularly creating great marshlands. The resourceful Ieruganin built their houses on stilts and dug great earthworks using their animals and metal tools in order to impose a measure of order on this land. Aquaculture of omodaka and other water plants was especially vital to them thanks to their marshy home.

    Much as the similar process in the lands of the Valley Tanne, the Ieruganin Dena separated from their kin by absorbing elements from the societies around them. They spoke a related yet distinct language from the Dena groups around them, one which incorporated many terms related to farming, village life, and societal organisation from both Ktanakha and especially Shilkh Chiyatsuru. Their religious practices and myths seemed a hybrid of traditional Dena beliefs and those of the Ktanakha and especially Chiyatsuru. And naturally, their social organisation borrowed greatly from the Chiyatsuru, structured very similarly with equivalents to the major social and political ranks of society.

    The Ieruganin represented a northeastern thrust of the Imaru-Furuge culture of civilised Fusania, one in many ways more akin to the high culture of the Mid-Imaru than those Chiyatsuru who lived amongst the Sechihin Dena to their immediate south. It perhaps emerged as a reaction to conflicts with the Dena tribes around them, especially the powerful Sechihin Dena who controlled many important trade routes, and an embrace of the culture of their constant allies in these conflicts, the Shilkh city-states of Lake Gangou. So precise and imitative this culture was at times that many Fusanian intellectuals believed the Ieruganin were simply Hillmen attempting to be civilised and classified them amongst the barbarians regardless.

    Much ceremonialism borrowed much from the Shilkh, such as the custom of potlatching (much different than in other Dena cultures) and the winter spirit dances. The Ieruganin did observe a few unique ceremonies such as the Reindeer Spirit Dance held usually in November where the people danced and impersonated reindeer at the command of a reindeer shaman. The people fasted for five days before, eating little but raw sweetvetch, reindeer lichen, and other food preferred by reindeer. After the dance, a reindeer was ceremonially sacrificed and its meat fed to the people. It is said this rite pleased the reindeer spirits so that they might continue to be in good health and serve the people in even the darkest moments of winter.

    The most famous was the Sunrise Ceremony honouring a Transformer god known as the Weary Man (among other names), worshipped only amongst the Ieruganin, a few nearby Dena Hillmen, and the Ktanakha. His ceremonies occurred in east-facing temples full of smoky incense and a treasured artifact, a richly ornamented idol of this god and were said to bring fortune and health to the community. While worshippers left gifts to him throughout the year, the Sunrise Ceremony occurred at the end of winter whenever the priests heard of a man who dreamed of him. They brought this man to the temple and prepared for the ceremony, often accompanied by a potlatch feast from the local ruler. At the end, people gathered for a frenzied dance in his honor.

    As with the Chiyatsuru, Ieruganin country possessed untold amounts of mineral wealth that formed the basis of their economy. Vast quantities of gold, silver, copper, lead, and other metals lay beneath their land and exploitation of this wealth began early on at centers like Anecho and Akamhas [11]. And with this came the usual experimentation--Ieruganin smithing borrowed from both Shilkh and Dena traditions. They produced all sorts of brasses and copper alloys along with expert working of gold and silver. Arsenical bronze was produced here since early in the 12th century, and while the Ieruganin did not know of it or deliberately produce it at the time, the earliest tin bronze in Fusania was likely produced here as well thanks to the sporadic sources of tin found near cities like Anecho [12].

    While mines operated nearly everywhere in Ieruganin lands, the greatest concentration of this occurred at the city-state of Anecho. Mining gave this city it's name literally meaning "Great Hole". Around 2,000 people lived here in the year 1100 and thousands more nearby, extracting large quantities of ores to be refined into the city's characteristic metalworking styles. Particularly noted was Anecho's brassworking. Made from the zinc-rich ores combined with the plentiful supply of copper, the smiths of Anecho exported great quantities of goods made from this to the nobles of Fusania and across the Plains to as far as Mihithega and the Misebians. As zinc was unknown in Fusania, the people of Anecho attributed brass to mining spirits being tamed by the guardian spirit power of great smiths.

    The country of the Ieruganin was long and narrow. Before the migrations north of the 11th century, it stretched down the Great Trench from the headwaters of the Imaru at Lake Teguchi and Lake Tachuru to a bit south of the 49th parallel north in a broad valley called the Degateru [13]. They lived in some of the valleys that flowed into the Great Trench, especially that of the Ijikou River but rarely beyond [14]. The threat of the powerful Sechihin Dena kept them from moving through the mountains freely. They almost never crossed onto the Plains for this reason and the threat of the Ktanakha who held them as ancient enemies.

    The exception to this rule was that periodically, a strong leader might mobilise a force of several hundred warriors and hunters, and they would cross the mountains to the Plains and hunt bison. Any village they came across they looted and captured slaves. On the return, they organised a potlatch to give away their gains to the community. Expeditions like these reflected old Dena raiding culture as well as the prestige of hunting in their society and every Ieruganin male was expected to take part in an expedition like this at least once in his lifetime. They viewed leaders unable or unwilling to organise these campaigns as weak and lazy.

    A key entrance point to the Plains was the Pass of the Weary Man, named as that mythological hero encountered another powerful Transformer in this place, and in their conflict between each other opened up a path in the mountains [15]. After their fight they decided to keep the pass open, as a way to merge the mountains and plains and thus create balance. As part of their peace treaty, they found a murderer in a nearby village, cut him to pieces, and transformed his body into the lakes at the pass. Other mountains passes were nowhere near as useful, used only for raids on the Plains. At the Pass of the Weary Man, the Ieruganin traded with the Sechihin (and Plains peoples who also came to trade here) who lived in semi-permanent villages in this area. They periodically warred with them as well, taking loot and slaves from the villages in reprisal for various acts.

    The Ieruganin divided themselves into numerous city-states with Anecho as the wealthiest and most powerful. Because of the threat of the Dena of the mountains, especially the Sechihin, the Ieruganin often allied into loose confederations and restricted warfare between each other to ceremonial and ritual battles. As in the Shilkh and other Chiyatsuru systems, city-state princes called yihmikhum (a loanword from ilmikhwm) competed for the support of lesser village leaders called t'aniti, who occasionally paid tribute or occasionally ruled independently.

    The Ieruganin of the Ijikou Valley, separated by high mountains, held certain distinctions from the rest of their people. They spoke a distinct dialect of their language and held some unusual customs compared to the other Ieruganin. They centered around the city-state of Skuhnatsanas [16] which thanks to its isolated location never faced much competition from other cities, but instead faced only the Sechihin Dena as enemies. During the 11th century, Skuhnatsanas unified the majority of the Ijikou Valley and often ventured out onto the High Plains to hunt both bison and men. By the mid-12th century, this had become a yearly event given to great ceremony, where the Yihmikhum of Skuhnatsanas gathered the nobles for the hunt.

    Thanks to this and other raiding, an area of almost 10,000 square kilometers in front of the Pass of the Weary Man, much to the delight of the Ijikou Ieruganin who could finally exploit the bison resources more fully. However, Skuhnatsanas never devoted much effort to seizing the pass, fearing other city-states might make war on them for monopolising the key route to the east. The Sechihin ignored their raids from this pass, although occasionally attacked them on the way back. They benefitted as well from this, as reduced competition in bison hunting boosted their own local profits and the people of the Plains still came to trade.

    Skuhnatsanas held a good relationship with Yizihas [17], a city-state near where the Ijikou River flows into the Gangou. Both city-states profited greatly from this relationship, as Yizihas helped reduce the isolation of Skuhnatsanas by supplying quality trade goods while Skuhnatsanas contributed hardened warriors, protection, quality goats and reindeer, and valuable bison goods to Yizihas. This allowed Yizihas to become quite wealthy and dominant amongst the Ieruganin city-states, often taking part in Skuhnatsanas's campaigns but just as much holding them back so not to jeopardise both city's relations with other Ieruganin communities.

    The Ieruganin who centered around the Dek'antel Plains and the city of Dek'antel held special significance [18]. They believed many events of religious importance occurred here in the Time of the Transformers, and beyond that, in this place they won the right to live in their country after claiming victory over the Ktanakha and Sechihin many centuries ago. The Yihmikhum of Dek'antel thought of himself as first among equals of all the lords of the Ieruganin. Many pilgrims and travelers came to Dek'antel seeking guardian spirit power or simply ancient wisdom. The Yihmikhum of Dek'antel used these travelers to increase his own wealth and manpower so as to make war on the Mountain Salish and Sechihin Dena to the south in order to plunder their herds, take slaves, and especially avert their own raids.

    In the northern reaches of the Ieruganin country lay another sacred city, the city of Kuhtsutsinahn [19]. Meaning "at the head of the Great River", this city sat at the head of Lake Teguchi, the source of the Imaru River. It owed its prominence to a legendary journey the yihmikhum of the city took on the advice of the Weary One. Supposedly he traveled the entire length of the Imaru River, giving gifts of metal finery to every major ruler he met along the way. While no doubt legend, many Fusanians worshipped the Imaru River, and Kuhtsutsinahn received pilgrims (and their gifts and offerings) from as far afield as Katlamat since perhaps the 12th century, if not earlier. The city itself held the finest example of the stilt houses of the Ieruganin, situated amidst great fields of earthworks.

    North of the lakes only a few villages of Ieruganin existed, mostly pastoralist communities that blended with neighbouring Hillmen villages, but this started to changed in the 11th century. The Ieruganin gradually spread northwest along the Great Trench in the direction they migrated from starting around the year 1050 as their growing population allowing them to effectively protect new lands for pastoralism and eventually full-scale agriculture with extensive building of earthworks. Previously this had proved impossible thanks to the hostile Hillmen tribes who made herding and hunting very difficult and settlement impossible in their land. The "frontier" moved about a kilometer a year up the trench. Noble families and anyone with ambition took their followers to plant new villages in the region.

    As the frontier crept northward, prosperity trickled back as communities no longer needed to worry about Hillmen raids on their villages. At the same time, violence characterised this frontier, as both Hillmen and Ieruganin demonstrated remarkable cruelty toward each other. Slaves from both sides commonly wound up in markets downstream. Yet most interestingly for the Ieruganin, this made new routes through the mountains onto the Plains viable, a way to bypass the Sechihin and find new hunting grounds.

    Isolated from the rest of Fusania by mountains and a level of cultural alienness, the Ieruganin entered the 12th century inward-looking toward everything outside the Great Trench yet constantly evolving. They sought to master the secrets of metalworking, to uncover richer and richer ore-bodies, and the prosper in their corner of Fusania. Isolated from much of the conflict and political developments elsewhere, this focus would lead the Ieruganin on the path to unprecedented wealth and with it, political importance they would never dream of.

    Author's notes
    ---​

    The Northern Chiyatsuru are a more heavily Dena-influened (and not to mention isolationist) version of the Southern Chiyatsuru. Yet the majority of the Dena in their region like the Negami Dena do not bother to blend with their subjects and thus we end up with interesting multiethnic confederations. They contrast with the other group described here, the Ieruganin, a Dena group who has absolutely blended in with the land they inhabit to the point where they are more akin to the peoples around them than anything else.

    The Ieruganin have a few elements vaguely based on the Kutenai (the ceremonialism and a few loanwords/phonology of their language) but otherwise represent a heavily "Chiyatsuru"-ised Athabaskan culture. The placenames are a mix of calques of Kutenai names and original (and probably incorrect) Athabaskan toponymy. As I noted, they're culturally imitative of the Chiyatsuru in many ways, so aside from a few details much of their religious and social organisation would be very similar so I've glossed over it.

    As always, thanks for reading.

    [1] - Old Khakhlip is the Keatley Creek site near Lillooet, BC, which in the 1st millennia AD was among the largest communities in the region with over a thousand people. I am borrowing the name of the nearby community of Fountain for the place
    [2] - Tl'q'amshin is Lytton, BC
    [3] - Khwatzelabazi/Spolimtsin is Salmon Arm, BC
    [4] - This Hleidli or T'kamluleps is Kamloops, BC. Hleidlitsu means "Yellow Hleidli", referring to it being the southern Hleidli as yellow symbolises south. Hleidli and variants simply means "confluence", and naturally it and cognates is a common place name in Athabaskan speaking areas (see "Hleadni", the Valley Tanne city-state)
    [5] - Khakhtsa is Port Douglas, BC while Lake Hongyaku is Harrison Lake, the toponym borrowed from Halkomelem
    [6] - Hleidlik'on/Red Hleidli/Nts'eqtseq'amshin is Prince George, BC, red symbolising north. The Nechakou River is the Nechako
    [7] - Zakhtsin is Ashcroft, BC
    [8] - Koiahum is Boston Bar, BC, Nsq'aqalten is Spences Bridge, BC, and Slahus is Seton Portage, BC. Setl' is Lillooet, BC.
    [9] - That is, Halley's Comet, whose 1066 appearance was particularly brilliant
    [10] - The Great Trench is the Rocky Mountain Trench while the Gangou River is the Kootenay River
    [11] - Anecho is Kimberley, BC while Akamhas is Fort Steele, BC
    [12] - The Sullivan Mine nearby Kimberley IOTL produced great amounts of lead, zinc, and silver, but also produced tin, an otherwise rare metal in the US and Canada.
    [13] - Lake Teguchi is Columbia Lake in BC and Lake Tachuru is Lake Windermere just north of it. The Degateru Plains are the Tobacco Plains along the Montana/BC border
    [14] - The Ijikou River is the Elk River of BC
    [15] - The Pass of the Weary Man is Crowsnest Pass between BC and AB, one of the lowest and most useful mountain passes in that part of the world.
    [16] - Skuhnatsanas is Sparwood, BC
    [17] - Yizihas is Elko, BC
    [18] - Dek'antel is Eureka, MT
    [19] - Kuhtsutsinahn is Canal Flats, BC
     
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    Chapter 27-The Marshes of the Hillmen
  • -XXVII-
    "The Marshes of the Hillmen"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    [1] - Lake Hewa is Klamath Lake (upper and lower sections). Ewallona is Klamath Falls, OR
    [2] - Sogolgiksi is Hornbrook, CA
    [3] - The Hochine Valley is the Shasta Valley in the far north of California. Mount Waika is Mount Shasta, its name coming from a Tanne language whose speakers assimilated a Shastan population in the area.
    [4] - Qomaksi is slightly northeast of Chiloquin, OR. Lake Giwa is Crater Lake
    [5] - Yayak'aksaksi is slightly northwest of Chiloquin, OR on the north side of Klamath Lake
    [6] - Lake Ewakushi is Klamath Marsh, north of Klamath Lake.
    [7] - Lallaks is at Kirk, OR, on the south end of Klamath Marsh
    [8] - Yainaks is near Beatty, OR. Chewaksi is at Paisley, OR, and the Chiwakan River is the Chewaucan River (same root).
    [9] - Lake Mowatewa is Tule Lake on the California-Oregon border. Welwasqani is Newell, CA.
    [10] - Mount Sachiji is Medicine Lake Volcano/Glass Mountain in California.
    [11] - The Ancestral Natsiwi are TTL's equivalent of the Achomawi and Atsugewi peoples, while the Mowa River is the Pit River
    [12] - Mount Horikeiyo is Lassen Peak. This is the OTL Chaos Crags eruption at Lassen Peak. It was by far the largest of these and was a VEI-5 eruption about 1/3 the size of the 1980 Mt. Saint Helens eruption (in terms of material ejected). These eruptions, especially the final one, would poison streams, dump great amounts of ash, and kill wildlife and domestic animals.
    [13] - The Medicine Lake Volcano eruption at Glass Mountain few decades later was a VEI-3 about the level of Lassen Peak's 1915 eruption. It ejected relatively small amounts of ash but significant amounts of lava that further contributed to the area's value as a source of obsidian (and sacred mountain)
    [14] - "Shapatukhtla" is not a surname but a posthumous name. Q'mitlwaakutl is commonly known by both names.
     
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    Chapter 28-A People of Plains and Cliffs
  • -XXVIII-
    "A People of Plains and Cliffs"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    As always, thanks for reading.

    [1] - The Wanwahi River is the Deschutes River of Oregon
    [2] - Mount Mishibato is Mount Hood and Mount Ruchabato is Mount Adams, their names filtered through Japanese. "Paato" (or Pahto, Paatu, etc.) is a generic term for very high mountains in Sahaptin ("Takhoma", a Coast Salish loanword, is also encountered). TTL the Sahaptin speakers (the Aipakhpam) distinguish between Mount Adams and Mount Hood by using color symbolism, so "Red" ("North") Paato and "Yellow" (South) Paato
    [3] - Tlielam is Cle Elum, WA
    [4] - Waapnisha is the Paquet Gulch site in Oregon, an important Plateau archaeological site, just southwest of Wapinitia, OR
    [5] - Taikh is Tygh Valley, OR
    [6] - The Tabachiri Valley is the Yakima Valley, so named for its indigenous name Taptiil.
    [7] - Union Gap, WA
    [8] - The Nihyoui Mountains are the Blue Mountains, derived from the name of an important town nearby
    [9] - The Takushibashi River is the John Day River of eastern Oregon. In particular I'm referring to the North and Middle Forks of that river, as the main channel to the south is still dominated by Hillmen
    [10] - Taksasam is near Roosevelt, WA
    [11] - The Mimanashi Plateau is the Waterville Plateau of Douglas County, WA, a portion of the Columbia Plateau. OTL it was sparsely populated and mostly a shared hunting ground. TTL the population densities of the area have turned it into a battlefield, hence it's name meaning "place of owls" in Sahaptin referring to owls as messengers of ill-tidings
    [12] - Lake Takushiba is Moses Lake in Washington, it's name TTL derived from a Sahaptin toponym meaning "at the willows".
    [13] - I am translating N'chiyaka's title "miyuukh" as "lord" here
    [14] - 741 is 1084 AD in the Fusanian calendar. Said calendar would not be in use in this era, as I may have mentioned, but is in use by the time of Nch'iyaka. I'll put the dates in brackets instead of footnotes
    [15] - Q'inutash ("place of the sight/vision") is near the Pelton Dam on the Deschutes River between Madras and Warm Springs in Jefferson County, Oregon
    [16] - Simnashu is Simnasho, OR (basically a different rendering of the placename)
    [17] - Mowatowa is the Japanese exonym for the Natsiwi, coming from their Maguraku exonym Mowatwas
    [18] - Both would be infants at this time if you are wondering
    [19] - Takspash is at the mouth of the John Day River in-between Rufus, OR and Arlington OR
    [20] - Naishtlanmi Ts'ekhas is a cliff opposite the mouth of the Deschutes River above a particularly deep part of the river where TTL the Wayamese drown people sentenced to death. It is believed to be an abode of the demon Naishtla.
    [21] - I am translating "senwitla" as "vizier" here
    [22] - See Chapter 20 for Coyote's prophecy, the battle, and the "original" Q'mitlwaakutl.
     
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    Chapter 29-From Cliffs Born
  • -XXIX-
    "From Cliffs Born"

    Wayam, summer 1117​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ---​

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ---
    Wayam, June 1119​

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

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

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

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

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

    ---
    Author's notes

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

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

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

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

    [1] - "Eagle" unqualified in this TL shall refer to the golden eagle. In Fusanian culture (like many OTL Amerindian cultures in this region and beyond i.e. Nahuas), the golden eagle was considered the king of the birds and the bald eagle a lesser (yet still important) bird.
    [2] - Wawyatla, "whipman", is a man in some Plateau cultures responsible for discipline of children (especially noble children) both OTL and TTL (with some variation). As suggested by this exchange, "wawyatla" comes to refer a drillmaster (and as miyawakh means "mayor" in modern times TTL, "wawyatla" means "sergeant" TTL)
    [3] - While IOTL prehistoric long distance trade on this route certainly occurred, the volume greatly increased after the introduction of horses. TTL, reindeer and the increasing population permit that same development and the volume of goods only increases.
    [4] - Roughly Dallesport, WA and The Dalles, OR respectively. Celilo Falls (where Wayam is at) marks the eastern edge of this important stretch of rapids while the western edge is roughly at The Dalles. OTL the entire area was a crucial site for fishing and trading.
    [5] - Skweltakwtchin is located at the southern shore of Jameson Lake in Douglas County, WA, south of Mansfield, WA
    [6] - "Shapatukhtlanmi" is a historiographical term used for the dynasty of Q'mitlwaakutl, literally "of Shapatukhtla"
    [7] - In Aipakhpam culture (and generally common in Fusania with variations), a boy would take his ancestor's name in time for use in formal settings. He is not Mekheshkhalish II though--although regnal numbers are a useful convention for Fusanian history, there would be several other previous rulers known by this name. Unfortunately, the records of this era TTL are fragmentory.
    [8] - In Fusanian culture, by speaking the name of Mekheshkhalish so soon after his death, Iksikskhalish is committing grave slander against him
     
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    Chapter 30-A Twin Sunrise in the Land
  • -XXX-
    "A Twin Sunrise in the Land"


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    ---

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Author's notes
    ---​

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

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

    As always, thanks for reading.

    [1] - This is Jameson Lake in Douglas County, WA, south of Mansfield, WA
    [2] - Npwilukh is at the mouth of the Sanpoil River in Ferry County, WA, a little south of Keller, WA (its location is OTL submerged beneath Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake)
    [3] - Ilialeken is bit upstream from where the Spokane River enters the Columbia River
    [4] - Timani is located at Yakima, WA, where the Naches River flows into the Yakima
    [5] - Close to the modern city center of The Dalles, OR.
    [6] - Ladakhat is Lyle, WA, while the Radahatsu River is the Klickitat River. Gatsquchu is Mosier, OR
    [7] - The Itsukkiri Valley is the Hood River Valley
    [8] - Tkhopanish is Toppenish, WA (same root). Tkwatatpamash is Wapato, WA
     
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    Chapter 31-Flames of Deceit
  • -XXXI-
    Flames of Deceit

    Historians have pondered why Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum chose to go to war with Wayam in 1128 in defense of their ally Ktlatla. Doing so meant Chelkhalt risked causing the greatest war the Imaru Plateau had yet seen. Chelkhalt's realm faced far more war in the proceeding years, and economically remained precarious. If there was a reason, it is because Chelkhalt overestimated his position. He and his allies held control over the major mountain passes and most notably, he and his allies controlled the supply of metal to Wayam thanks to controlling the mines formerly relied on by Wayam at Winacha and Ktlatla. Lacking metal, Chelkhalt believed the Wayamese nobles might pressure Q'mitlwaakutl for a peace favourable to him.

    Yet Chelkhalt underestimated the alliance between Wayam and the Maguraku at Ewallona far to the south. Although the old prince of Ewallona Daslats-Lwelolis died in 1120 and his confederation fell apart, his son Wat'ihak still possessed many useful connections amongst the Maguraku to use in consolidating a new powerbase. He borrowed from Q'mitlwaakutl's innovations to create an influence and patronage network that reformed much of his father's confederation. Indeed, his links with the Wayamese ruler and his rising power along the Imaru convinced many nobles to support him. Trade supplied Wayam with the metals and goods it needed and in some cases, even superior goods as more and more Pasnomsono bronze goods--including weapons and armour--arrived in Wayamese lands.

    In 1127, Wat'ihak's men assassinated the prince of Lallaks, Ewallona's rival, and through an internal coup and string of murders installed a puppet ruler as prince of that city. This opened the way for Wat'ihak to give greater support than before to his son-in-law. In 1127 and 1128, he embarked on fullscale campaigns against the Hillmen along the White Road and forced them to cease fighting Wayam, Ewallona, and allies. And most importantly for the sake of the Wayamese, Wat'ihak offered Q'mitlwaakutl four hundred warriors for his army under the command of his son Daslatam-Ch'oyes, whom Wat'ihak held high hopes for.

    This offer came at a desperate time for the Wayamese. Having their initial incursion defeated by T'kuyatum at Tkwatatpamash and now facing an offensive from Chemna aimed at their allies, Wayam needed all the help they could get. Q'mitlwaakutl himself retreated back to Wayam to take command of a large force assembled in April. While some urged him to return to the Tabachiri Valley to finish the battles there, instead Q'mitlwaakutl opted for a second option--march to Chemna and destroy that ancient rival.

    ---
    Along the Imaru River, April 1128​

    Around a rock beside the cliff underneath a hastily erected reed tent, Q'mitlwaakutl glanced at the nobles assembled in the war council. Burning incense gave a strong scent to the room and warded off the mosquitos active at the morning dawn. The men who fought beside him for many years knew him well enough, but a few of the warriors, mostly the foreign mercenaries but also his brother-in-law from Ewallona seemed distraught at his plan. Although dressed in leather and copper armour of a Wayamese noble (an old gift to him), the man's brash, crude Hillman nature shone through in more ways than just his difficult speaking Aipakhpam.

    "We will lose everything in the Tabachiri Valley and leave Wayam open for attack if we do that, my prince," Daslatam-Ch'oyes said. The veteran warriors gave him strange looks, stranger than they did when they first met this Hillman lord. "We will sacrifice those hundreds of men who saved you."

    "We don't know what their actions will be," Q'mitlwaakutl replied. "Half of them may well march right back to Chemna." Daslatam-Ch'oyes remained unconvinced.

    "Each man is valuable," he replied. "To sacrifice a man in a foolish action like that is to treat him as no better than a slave! I strongly disagree with your actions."

    "I'm sure my grandfather and great-grandfather sacrificed plenty of men in their own wars, eh, uncle?" laughed Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh, Q'mitlwaakutl's son. Daslatam-Ch'oyes glared at him in rage, and Q'mitlwaakutl's stern glance wiped the smile off his face. He has much to learn and much immodesty to overcome. Should he become miyawakh, I hope his elder half-brother can restrain his worst impulses and strengthen his best, he thought, thinking of his oldest son and co-prince Plaash-Nawinatla back at home in Wayam.

    "On the battlefield it is easy for a man to be a slave," Q'mitlwaakutl said. "He is a slave to the orders of his superiors, he is a slave to the actions of those around him, and he is a slave to his own spirit. Yet a skilled warrior feels none of that. He balances the need for obedience and subservience and makes the orders given to him the mission he excels at, he forces the enemy to obey him and his allies to emulate him, and he controls his spirit so that it works together with him as one." Daslatam-Ch'oyes fell silent.

    Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh stood up. "I see what you mean, father," he said, "and I understand what you are after." Q'mitlwaakutl nodded.

    "Even that youth understands," he laughed. "We are not returning to the cities of the Tabachiri. We will be marching to Chemna along the north bank of the Great River and cross the hills in five groups on five passes all much east of Taptat [1]. We descend upon the Chemnese heartland and conquer their allies and we besiege and conquer Chemna itself." Q'mitlwaakutl looked upon his nobles, examining their faces for any doubts. At this point, his men seemed perfectly fine with this plan.

    "So you wish to fight the Chemnese outside their city walls?" Wiyatpakan, his trusted lieutenant, asked. "What of Imatelam? They'll try and stop our armies." Q'mitlwaakutl smiled.

    "I will urge them that fighting is pointless considering their current state," he answered, thinking of the recent defeats inflicted on them and the rumours of disputes amongst their ruling nobles. "But should they send an army, the men who cross the ridge last will hold them off. I will give you that task, my friend. But it should not be a very hard one, for our friends from Ewallona will be harassing them every step of the way."

    "If T'kuyatum ceases to be distracted by our warriors in the Tabachiri Valley," Wiyatpakan asked. "Wayam will be safe, right?"

    "That is why I am not requesting any more men from Wayam or nearby towns," Q'mitlwaakutl said. "I am requesting many supplies and pack animals. We will not return to Wayam for many months. Not until the Prince of T'kuyatum fears my name and the treasures of Chemna are in the hands of our families."

    "Wayam is secure," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh confirmed with a grin. "The watchtowers and fortifications are impenetrable and there's plenty of men around to make their task impossible. They will run out of supplies long before our people do."

    "He is correct!" Q'mitlwaakutl continued. "We have little to fear from an attack over the pass! To do so only further invites the enemy's defeat for they will face our warriors all over the countryside and find their paths blocked at every moment." His son knew it as much as he did. In front of that pass lay so many fortified villages and especially the town of Khainaksha [2] with fortifications oversized for a town of that size thanks to its strategic location. He expected Khainaksha might fall should T'kuyatum's prince attack Wayam, but Wayam itself would be unscathed.

    He looked over his nobles and once again examined them to see if they held any doubts. When contented by their confidence in him, he left the smoky tent and gazed at the steady flow of the churning Great River in its flood stage in perfect meditation.

    ---
    Tkhopanish, May 1128​

    Chelkhalt faintly smiled as a slave stabbed the prisoner of war before him with a butcher knife to the sound of agonised screams. As the man collapsed in a pool of his blood, Chelkhalt turned to the shaking young lord seated beside him, dressed in a finely embroidered imported cotton robe and jewelry.

    "There are many more just like him waiting to be killed like that," he said in perfectly fluent Aipakhpam. "You don't want to pollute your hall with bloodshed and vengeful spirits, spirits angered at how you might have stopped their deaths. Your men have been sheltering those raiding parties since they escaped, where are there camps?"

    Around them stood several dozen of Chelkhalt's soldiers, enjoying the scene before them as entertainment. The miyawakh of Tkhopanish, perhaps twenty years old, barely said a word out of fear of his enemy's occupying his palace. Chelkhalt tried nearly everything these past few months to figure out where Q'mitlwaakutl vanished to. He suspected that the prince of Wayam had returned home to lick his wounds, but the men he left behind caused nothing but trouble.

    "I do not know where they are! They cannot talk with me because you have imprisoned me in my own home!" the miyawakh shouted.

    "Shall we bring up another prisoner your son captured last night, my lord?" one of his men asked. Chelkhalt shook his head. This is going nowhere. It had been over a month of this same nonsense. His men subdued many enemies in the Tabachiri Valley including Tkhopanish, Wayam's greatest ally, captured a great amount of loot, animals, and slaves and even raided into the valleys south of there and approached as close to Wayam as they dared, yet no decisive battle occurred as he wished. As long as Q'mitlwaakutl stood at the head of thousands of Wayamese soldiers, no amount of victories here mattered, nor did even the alliance with Chemna his great vizier Nmachwitst worked so hard to achieve.

    A stout, scarred man in stained armour walked in, whom Chelkhalt recognised as Maheqen of Kawakhtchin, perhaps his most brilliant lieutenant. Even being the nephew of that dethroned ruler hadn't stopped him from following Chelkhalt.

    "Still no sign of those raiders," he reported, gazing warily at the body on the floor. "Are we going to ever leave this place, my lord?" Chelkhalt stood up to greet him and motioned to his men to be quiet as the slave carried the body out of the hall, dripping a trail of blood on the dark wooden floors as he went.

    "I suppose we must switch our strategy. We will draw Q'mitlwaakutl into battle by moving into the Satus Valley and occupying its cities. If he still does not come, we will move on Wayam itself." He grit his teeth. He wondered why Q'mitlwaakutl refused to return to the Tabachiri Valley. The lords of Ktlatla told him the Wayamese considered Tkhopanish their dearest ally, yet he captured the city and all its allies with not a single response besides those raiders. Somewhere south of here was supposed to be the decisive battle, where his men on one side and Kaatnamanahui of Chemna on the other wiped out the Wayamese to a man. Why would Q'mitlwaakutl not risk a battle on protecting his allies?

    "Perhaps the Wayamese are off doing their own thing?" Maheqen mused. "Their prince is rather intelligent after all." The thought hit Chelkhalt as well. Perhaps Q'mitlwaakutl chose to sacrifice the Tabachiri Valley in order to deal with the Chemnese. It was not a foolish strategy, as one always needed to ensure neighbours were either weak or peaceful before challenging a powerful foe.

    "Attacking Chemna? The Chemnese forces are not far from here, though," Chelkhalt said. "I suppose he wishes to force the Chemnese to return home."

    "It is not the warriors of Chemna he seeks, but the city," Maheqen said. "Or perhaps Imatelam. He seeks to remove a potent threat so that he may face us unimpeded." Chelkhalt smiled at his insight.

    "That is why I have you!" Chelkhalt boasted. "Our foe is daring and willing to take risks, and so must we! Whether it be Chemna or Imatelam, his men are far from home. We shall warn the Prince of Chemna and let him deal with Q'mitlwaakutl. I believe we have a new destination."

    "Wayam," Maheqen smiled with approval. I will gamble much on this, Chelkhalt thought to himself. The Chemnese and their allies would bloody the Wayamese so much they'd have little choice but to sue for peace, even if the Wayamese defeated them. And a weakened Chemna gave them even less leverage when T'kuyatum needed food, goods, or warriors. He did not expect to conquer Wayam, but certainly his men would do plenty of damage against their allies and keep Wayam peaceful in the future.

    He felt a shiver thinking of these fights, a sure sign his brother-in-law was watching from a distance. Even in summer, the north wind can always blow strong.

    ---
    Chemna, May 10, 1128​

    Q'mitlwaakutl stood in his canoe beached on the shore of the Tabachiri River, gazing at the men before him. In a field reclaimed from the floods of the river by earthen walls (and now denuded of whatever crops grew there), thousands of men gathered. Simple wooden mantlets and sections of palisades covered in tule mats lay scattered in front of the tents of his men, shielding them as they cooked, ate, and dedicated themselves to the continuance of the siege beneath the orange rammed earth walls surrounding Chemna. Atop those walls stood wooden posts where Chemnese archers sheltered themselves, always ready to take shots at anyone leaving there.

    Already his men had been bloodied taking the many towns and villages around Chemna, fighting and destroying an outnumbered and hastily assembled force as they attempted to cross the Tabachiri to lay siege to Chemna by land. Only Kw'sis held out due to Q'mitlwaakutl needing to concentrate on Chemna. In the distance, smoke from the cooking pits of that town, an ominous signal that Chemna still held a powerful ally in the area as much as they cowered behind their walls.

    And Q'mitlwaakutl needed allies of his own. He sent messengers to Imatelam to tell them to desist in joining Chemna and sent messengers to the Tsupnitpelu cities to ask for their aid. The fools at Imatelam predictably tried to fight, yet the warriors of Daslatam-Ch'oyes ambushed them as they descended on the few hundred men he sent to cross that pass and were promptly cut down. Had they sent a larger army they may have won, but clearly their rulers were too half-hearted to attempt that gamble.

    The Tsupnitpelu as yet made no response, but he hoped by smashing Chemna they might choose to support him. They looked out for their own interests first, as deferential as their emissaries always were when they arrived at Wayam. Should we win, perhaps they will cease imitating Chemnese speech and imitate Wayamese speech, he thought to himself with a smile [3].

    His son Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh appeared, dragging along a prisoner with him, an old man dressed in the richly embroidered robes of a noble. A long life under the sun darkened his skin and shriveled it into wrinkles and only wisps of his white hair remainded. Despite his capture, the elder seemed peaceful and without fear.

    "My scouting party captured this old man near Kw'sis, he claims to be the miyawakh of that city and wishes to speak with you. The four soldiers who were with him surrendered peacefully." Q'mitlwaakutl nodded in approval, curious of this development.

    "Strange," he said. "I will talk with him. You've done good work, continue scouting the area." As Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh left, Q'mitlwaakutl turned to the old noble.

    "If you wished to meet with me, you only needed to open up the city gates and let my warriors in." he spoke. "It is not right for a ruler to abandon his people in such a time of crisis."

    "Abandon them I did," the elder spoke. "I was never a great ruler yet being miyawakh of a city like Kw'sis left me with no opportunity for greatness."

    "I can make your city great," Q'mitlwaakutl said, wishing to get to the point. "You need only ask your people to fight against Chemna."

    "Kw'sis will never become great again," the man replied. "It is told in all our histories. The foolishness of our rulers led to our downfall in the days my grandfather was but a boy. It cannot be restored for it is already dead. The future holds Kw'sis will forever remain enshadowed by Chemna much as the future holds the spirits of all men will pass to the west. To fight fate only causes great harm to everyone around."

    "By what authority have you determined this fate?" Q'mitlwaakutl questioned. "Although it is set in stone, few can ever truly know the day of a man's death."

    "My own dreams, interpreted by my brother who was called by his spirit to be a shaman. And I wish to inform you of this vision as it relates to my city, Chemna, and you, the great Prince of Wayam." Q'mitlwaakutl sat down in his canoe with interest.

    "In my dream, oh great Prince of Wayam, I saw the sight of my ancestors defeating you countless centuries ago and how we conquered our home from your dear ally the Prince of Kw'sis. Yet we married amongst the people of Kw'sis and our hearts grew close to this city. I realised I must restore balance in my family line and to do so I must gain your forgiveness by assisting you in your time of need. I will lend you the strength of Kw'sis." Q'mitlwaakutl widened his eyes momentarily and then began devising a plan.

    "You will be forgiven should you aid me," Q'mitlwaakutl said. "What else did you see in your vision, Prince of Kw'sis?"

    "Chemna shall be destroyed, yet it shall rise again afterwards. Kw'sis will never be restored, no matter how much you or those who follow you try and aid it. You and your followers must realise that and never make an enemy of Chemna lest Chemna not only defeat these foolish efforts but rise again even stronger and pay back the indignity inflicted on it twentyfold." Q'mitlwaakutl stared at the old man, taking in his every word. He felt a spiritual power in the man as he recounted such a vivid dream, a spiritual power that confirmed to him the great conviction the man held in his words. He sensed no hint of deceit, no thoughts of betrayal in the man.

    "And so through my warriors Kw'sis will have vengeance on Chemna for the defeat so long ago," Q'mitlwaakutl said. "And the line of your ancestors will be redeemed." He rose from his canoe, ready to meet with Wiyatpakan. "I will assure you this shall come to pass very soon. I will need the assistance of yourself and your men."

    "As you wish it. I truly have faith in you, Prince of Wayam who returned from the cliff."

    Q'mitlwaakutl summoned Wiyatpakan over to him, his trusted lieutenant nursing a few broken fingers and a black eye from his recent fight against Imatelam's warriors. Blood stained his once shining armour now covered in dents.

    "We have a willing ally to help us take Kw'sis," Q'mitlwaakutl said. "He will attempt to negotiate with the city's leaders and gain its warriors, but should he fail we will need warriors to assist in opening the gates."

    "I will find several men to take the place of the soldiers we captured," Wiyatpakan said. "If they fail should we leave Kw'sis be?"

    "Indeed, as Chemna is where our main efforts lie," he replied, turning his attention back toward the high earth walls. "Yet perhaps we can take both cities with this," he mused. He felt in his heart a fire starting to burn, his guardian spirit speaking to him. If he only took Kw'sis downstream on the eastern bank and Chemna still held on the western bank, would not that create a spiritual division between the conquered old city and the unconquered new city? He must take them both at once and create balance.

    "What do you mean?" asked Wiyatpakan, to which Q'mitlwaakutl smiled.

    "We retreat, the warriors of Kw'sis march in, and they take the city for us." An absolutely opportunistic strategy, but one which seemed like the best option. "All we need to do is figure a convincing way to abandon this siege."

    "The Chemnese warriors aren't far from here," Wiyatpakan noted. "It is apparent why we might flee from them."

    "We have around four thousand warriors," Q'mitlwaakutl noted. "The Chemnese likely have slightly less but combined with their warriors in the city we'd be outnumbered." He turned away and looked toward the sacred Mount Laliik [4], its shadow hanging in the dusty distance and drifted back into thought for how he might plan his retreat. The Chemnese would be marching under its shadow as well.

    "We still stand a great chance of winning if we surprise them alongside the warriors of Kw'sis," Wiyatpakan said. "And they suspect something is wrong if we flee from here."

    "Yet I am now enamored by the proposal to capture both cities at once," Q'mitlwaakutl said. "My spirit calls for it and it sets a spiritual balance in this land for our future success. I must prove to the Chemnese I truly am Q'mitlwaakutl returned and to do so I must show them strength both spiritual and physical."

    "So we're taking both cities?" Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh interrupted as he approached them, a grin on his face. "Brilliant, father!" Q'mitlwaakutl once again glared at him. He truly has inherited the wild nature of his mother's ancestors.

    "That we are," he replied with a hint of irritation. "You sneaked up on me well, boy. Perhaps you should do the same to those in Kw'sis and in Chemna. Do not return to my sight before you sit in the throne of the princes of both cities." The youth seemed puzzled, yet gave an evil grin.

    "A--are you sending me to capture these cities?" Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh asked. "With the old noble I captured?"

    "Correct. There will be few of our men alongside the warriors of Kw'sis, and we need someone as witty and clever as yourself there," he replied. My test to you, boy, are your pranks simply foolishness or are they more inspired, a manifestation of your spirit? Either way, he wanted to see what his son might do so he might teach him a lesson. "It is only a few warriors, and I trust you'll be able to lead them should anything go amiss."

    "I most definitely will, father! You can trust in me perfectly!"

    "I will find you a skilled warrior to accompany you. Two of the warriors of Kw'sis will accompany you as you secure that city," Q'mitlwaakutl said.

    "I already know who I want with me," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh said. "I will take my good friend Luts'ashashik, he's a brilliant fighter." The son of the senwitla of Tinainu? Q'mitlwaakutl assumed as much. The two were great friends after all and Luts'ashashik truly was a skilled fighter. He and Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh trained together nearly all the time, having studied under several brilliant warriors of towns under Q'mitlwaakutl's rule.

    "Prince of Kw'sis!" Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh shouted, awakening the old man from his meditation. "Shall we fulfill your vision?" The old man smiled, and the two walked back into the camp.

    "As for us," Q'mitlwaakutl turned back to Wiyatpakan. "I believe we should split our forces in response to this threat. Only if we divide our forces can we pull off a retreat. At nightfall, you shall lead a thousand men to the west and establish a camp at the slopes of Mount Laliik. You will be certain to make it so if blood is shed on that holy ground it is the Chemnese who start the fight."

    "I certainly will do so," Wiyatpakan answered. "And the other groups?"

    "It will be done in the same way as we crossed the passes. Night by night three groups of men after your own will leave the camp. One group shall cross the river and raid Chemnese allies to the east and be sure to demonstrate power to Pashkhash and Siminekem [5]. I don't believe they will take part in this fight. Our Hillmen allies of Ewallona will split off themselves and raid to the north and reinforce you. The remaining unit will move back to the southern ridge and alongside your men, harass the Chemnese. If you see an opportunity to encircle and defeat them, you will take it."

    "And you will remain here?" Wiyatpakan asked.

    "With four hundred men I will retreat to Tanakhalu [6] and prevent the Chemnese from retaking that strongpoint. When the gates are open, I will cross the river and occupy Chemna."

    "It is an interesting strategy," Wiyatpakan said. "But are we not making the same mistake you have caused the Prince of T'kuyatum and his Chemnese allies to make? If we divide our forces, we are easier to be destroyed."

    "It is balance," Q'mitlwaakutl answered, speaking from his heart. "Sometimes things must be divided. Sometimes things must be united. The world is a fluid place, and those who flow with the spiritual rhythms of this world rather than fight against them are the ones who succeed."

    ---
    Kw'sis, May 15, 1128​

    Everything proceeded according to Q'mitlwaakutl's plans thanks to the efforts of Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh and the old Prince of Kw'sis. The council had been assembled and the nobles there chose to join the Prince of Kw'sis, although not without some persuasion, evidenced by the bloody smears on the bronze axe slung around the back of his friend Luts'ashashik. Standing a head taller than him, he was quite an imposing figure and the best fighter Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh knew. But as they left the hall of the miyawakh of Kw'sis to meet with the warriors of the city, they heard a sudden rush of footsteps.

    "Out of here, out of my palace, out of Kw'sis!" a young man shouted. He drew a copper dagger and ran at Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh and Luts'ashashik. Luts'ashashik dwarfed the short man in size and grabbed his arm tight and flung the man to the ground, sending his knife across the room. The man stood up and ran at them again, to which Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh grasped the noble youth by the golden chain of his necklace and yanked it at, tearing it from his throat and breaking the golden ornaments from the necklace. The boy fell to the ground from the force.

    "Don't be an idiot, Apapma-Tukhunani!" he shouted, kicking the youth. He pitched the largest chunk of the necklace at the youth, hitting him square in the head. He smirked. "I'll give you time to think about it. You seem smarter than you look, I can tell in your spirit."

    The boy picked himself up off the ground, wiping the blood from his lip. Tears streamed from eyes out of confusion and pain.

    "What nonsense is this? Why has Kw'sis betrayed Chemna? Why are you forcing our city into this foolish fight?"

    "Ask your great uncle like I have," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh replied. "You are a miyawakh of Kw'sis as well, descended from that same old Dena line who clashed against my own ancestors. But those days are long gone, your great-uncle wishes to cleanse that Hillman stain by supporting the Prince of Wayam returned."

    Apapma-Tukhunani clenched his fist, clearly wanting to restart the fight, but ceased doing so.

    "Wise choice," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh sneered. "I've got nothing against you, I'm grateful for Kw'sis's assistance. I'd like it even more if you came with me to rally your men as we open the gates of Chemna in five days."

    "Wh--Why should I do anything more than what I'm already doing?" Apapma-Tukhunani stammered.

    "If we fail, you'll likely be drowned in the river or shot with arrows in more places than just your arm," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh noted to which Luts'ashashik laughed at the pun on the man's name [7].

    "Fine, I will come with you," he conceded. The three walked outside of the palace and noticed the torchlights of the warriors of Kw'sis. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh counted around a hundred of them, the torches illuminating the faces of mostly youth and old men.

    "I expected more," Luts'ashashik noted. "I counted many longhouses in this city."

    "This is all the men we can provide for you," the old Prince of Kw'sis said, stepping forth from the crowd. "We already sent our best warriors along with the Prince of Chemna."

    That morning, a few men from the camp surreptiously slipped into Kw'sis. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh recognised them by the paint they promptly applied to their face and the constant scowls on their faces--they were wawyatla, men sent to drill the boys and old men of Kw'sis and keep an eye on Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh. They also brought additional weapons and armour, which Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh and Apapma-Tukhunani made a point of distributing.

    "Five days of this," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh muttered to Luts'ashashik as he watched a wawyatla shout at the men to keep their pace up. "I wonder if all they're doing is making them resent us. Five days isn't enough to train a boy to be a warrior."

    "Or make an old man remember how to be one," Luts'ashashik continued in agreeance. "But between myself, you, and the wawyatlas, we have enough men to create the chaos we need to open the gate."

    After five days of training, feasting, and deliberating with the nobles and warriors of Kw'sis, the war party departed in the morning alongside reindeer laden down with goods and walked the path along the river to Chemna. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh looked over at the setting moon, so nearly a full moon, low in the morning sky and immediately realised the intent of his father. He intends to use the full moon to make a night attack. Perfect for spreading chaos. They saw no sign of campfires from the besieging army, only the haze of dust in the distance. Hours passed as they walked and the sun rose higher in the sky, and Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh lost himself in the anticipation of battle, eagerly chatting with Luts'ashashik and even Apapma-Tukhunani.

    They halted at a nearly abandoned village in front of the town of Tanakhalu, immediately across the river from Kw'sis. That is where Father is at, waiting to strike. Only a few old men and women remained in the village, in a few longhouses stripped of anything valuable. Everyone else fled, were fighting elsewhere, or had been killed. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh kept in mind the desperation of this village. Desperate people made easy friends.

    After crossing the river on canoes, they marched through the field Kw'aawinmi-Tlametkh spent the last few weeks in. Not a single warrior remained, although he noted a few fresh graves. Much debris from animal bones to acorn shells to arrows still littered the field, and although vacant for nearly five days it still reeked of human and animals. The walls of Chemna likewise seemed bereft of soldiers, although a few archers stood guard, watching their every move. The wooden gate carved in the wall was finally open, and Chemna itself so near. The dramatic eyes of the mythological heroes in their animal guise watched them from the faded tan walls of Chemna. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh grinned at the sly look the painting of Coyote gave.

    "They do not know it is through Coyote's help their city will fall," he said to Luts'ashashik, pointing to Coyote.

    Several warriors greeted them outside the gate with raised spears and shields, their armour rough leather with strips of copper.

    "Our scouts inform us you are warriors from Kw'sis. What business do you have in Chemna?"

    Apapma-Tukhunani stepped forward, and Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh felt the youth's unease.

    "W--we wish to defend your city when the warriors of Wayam return," he answered.

    "Focus on your own damn city," the guard laughed. "If those are your warriors then the Wayamese need only walk through the front door!" The others laughed with him, as did Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh.

    "You should treat him with more respect," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh interrupted, stepping forther. "For he is the miyawakh of Kw'sis. And I am the son of the Prince of Wayam, defected from my father for his greedy nature." He took out a golden medallion from the pockets of his robes, handing it to the guard. "Your enemy is at Tanakhalu and has temporarily retreated his best men so to lure into you a false sense of security so that you might open the gate for his men." He wanted to burst out laughing right there at the performance he was putting on for these soldiers, that they would be so fooled. "I wish to meet with your miyawakh or senwitla."

    The guard seemed puzzled, but then relented. "Should your information be right, perhaps your men are more needed here. Do not expect much food or shelter," he said, stepping aside and letting the war party march into Chemna.

    Inside, Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh walked into the city of Chemna, the greatest rival of Wayam, for the first time. It seemed far less interesting than his home city, lacking the monumental cliff architecture and the great watchtowers, and resembling little more than a vastly overgrown town. Many longhouses stood around him, each painted with many murals indicating the clan of the families who lived there. The dusty streets seemed far more haphazard than Wayam's planned layout, although they were lined with small canals that gave water to the tall, carefully pruned oak and soringo trees that gave them shade on this warm spring afternoon.

    "For such a great city, it reminds me more of Tinainu than Wayam," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh commented to Luts'ashashik, to which his friend playfully slapped him.

    "Hey, you insulting my home?" he laughed. "Perhaps," he raised his voice so the guards might hear him, "When Wayam is destroyed its wealth will be transferred here and Chemna shall replace it as a city for the ages."

    Little impressed Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh of Chemna. Many animals, large and well-bred towey goats, dogs, and a few reindeer, roamed the streets along with their owners. A few market stalls offered meat, fish, and all sorts of food to passing people, although he noticed the siege made their baskets mostly empty. Yet the palace of the miyawakhs of Chemna, his destination, managed to interest Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh. Standing on raised ground, it combined colorful stone walls with very visible and even more colorful cedar posts depicting the ancestry of its rulers, with the fierce visage of bears all about. Well, the Chemnese rulers do all have names referring to bears [8], or so he'd heard. The extensive use of stone in such an important building seemed odd to him, but almost natural, a sign of spiritual balance between the spirits of a living thing like a tree and the spirit of the land like a rock. Few other buildings in Chemna had that balance, yet the examples Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh found--elaborate longhouses presumably belonging to nobles--fascinated him.

    They entered the gates of the palace, surrounded by a high wooden palisade to separate it from the rest of the city. The guards forced all but a few soldiers to wait outside the gates, although ironically allowed many of the well-armored wawyatla to enter alongside Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh, Luts'ashashik, and Apapma-Tukhunani. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh's attention immediately came to the verdant green garden, full of well-arranged rocks and stones, fish ponds, and all manner of greenery laying beneath the shade trees. A few slaves pruned the trees and shrubs and collected their fruits into large baskets in what seemed like a great space of peace and luxury in the chaotic and overgrown city.

    They passed through the elaborate interior of the palace, careful to note the appearance of the guards in equipment, size, and alertness. There not many, but those who stood around wielded clubs of jade and wore cloaks of cotton and breastplates and helmets of gold and silver that gleamed in the afternoon sun. Ceremonial soldiers of the miyawakh of Chemna, Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh thought.

    At last they were received by the miyawakh of Chemna in a room lit by a skylight angled toward the back of the room. The miyawakh, a middle-aged and obese man, rose from the illuminated cedar bench he reclined on, putting down a silver cup he drank from. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh analysed him. He seemed somewhat lazy and his long black hair ran rather thin, yet the elaborate jewelry of gold and silver and stones of jasper as well as the crown he wore over his cotton robes impressed Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh. The carvings on the walls, the sculptury of animals and spirits, it all seemed perfectly arranged and very neat. Everything seems well run around here, he must have skilled subordinates.

    "Be aware, you are in the presence of the great miyawakh of Chemna, the exalted Nch'ianahui who inherited that name from his illustrious ancestors the rulers of Chemna, may he forever be honoured!" An elaborately dressed herald clad in gold threaded clothes announced [9]. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh glanced at Apapma-Tukhunani to do the same for him.

    "And you, my honoured miyawakh, are speaking to my follower the great Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh, his name inherited from mighty spirits who helped his ancestors the rulers of Wayam and Ewallona. May this meeting serve the both of you well."

    "My people say you are the son of the Prince of Wayam yet you wish to betray them, why is that?" he asked.

    "My father is a greedy man who seeks conflict and war to increase his wealth, yet I'm a man of peace who seeks to understand people," he replied. "I wish to teach my father that understanding others leads to far greater wealth than violence." His heart pounded, yet he felt his guardian spirit keeping him calm and giving him the ability to tell straight-faced lies. Even though some of what he said he truly believed, for to truly fool someone you must understand them.

    "Sons should not teach fathers, especially not sons as young as yourself," Nch'ianahui replied with a smile. "Perhaps you should seek understanding with him rather than fleeing your home." Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh winced. He may be lazy, yet he's intelligent. He could feel the miyawakh of Chemna eyeing him closely and sizing him up.

    "You are correct, my lord, yet I must make this mistake to correct the far more serious errors that my father commits. I would never dream of doing something like this, yet I must do so for personal balance in my life and for the sake of others," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh pleaded. "My youthful inexperience made it so I cannot reach understanding with my father, and my father's cruel heart and evil spirit has made it so he will not seek to understand me."

    Nch'ianahui laughed. "You grovel well, boy! I certainly hope you do not cry when we celebrate the news of your father being cut down by my great brother in the field of battle! He is coming to Chemna soon to disperse your men who fled into the hills and retake what is ours. Thousands of warriors from Chemna and every village and town shall soon arrive."

    "And I wish to join them along with my followers," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh said. "I beseech you to grant me this request. I wish to find my father on the battlefield and capture him so he may still see the light of truth and understanding." Nch'ianahui laughed again and took a long drink from his cup.

    "Yes, you may be what I and my people need. You are certainly a clever youth and seem strong in spirit. The man beside you is also skilled with words and has the aura of a warrior all about him. I suppose you lot may serve me." Nch'ianahui picked up his cup, staring at the grooves on the edges arranged in fanciful patterns. "It is always well a ruler knows how to choose his followers. That the Prince of Wayam would not choose men like yourself and your friend is his flaw. You may dine with my household tonight, the hour we eat is near."

    Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh and his small party ate well that night, eating well-spiced camas and salmon with a berry sauce and downing it with fine cider. He did not drink much, knowing the mission that was still at hand, although discussed much about the layout of the palace and garden with Nch'ianahui, several nobles with high office, and the captain of his guards. Nch'ianahui left the table early, having drank a little too much with his meal. Gathering up the men with him, they retreated into the garden with permission of Nch'ianahui as the sun began to set, awaiting nightfall and the rising of the full moon. He carefully gathered bundles of poison oak that grew beneath an oak, storing it in a small woven bag. He hoped that as Alkhaikhyai [10] lit up the night, his rays might enable the spirits of his allies to grant them great feats in the coming fight.

    "Truly a performance worthy of Coyote," Luts'ashashik commented with charming sacrilege. "That miyawakh is clever, yet not as clever as yourself." Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh grinned at the praise.

    "Indeed!" he laughed. "Coyote smiled on my spirit and helped me perform such trickery!"

    "You men will set fire to the palace and retreat over the walls to join the rest of our men, who will open the gates," he spoke to Apapma-Tukhunani in hushed tones. "Us two shall deal with N'chianahui, the noblemen, and guards here," he said. He sighed. Nch'ianahui was a clever man who would have made a fine ally despite his overly luxurious tastes. And capturing him alive would be impossible thanks to his heft. Although perhaps he suffered from the fatal trait of speaking too frankly while drunk, a trait he did not warn his men against. It is fortunate that father cautioned me about that from when I was a boy, and that I am wise enough not to live up to the drunkenness that all Hillmen are prone to indulge in [11]. And thanks to this drunken frankness from the nobles of Chemna, Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh knew much of the layout of the palace and number of men inside.

    At the last rays of the sun, the plan set into motion. The soldiers on the inside gathered bundles of dried twigs, branches, leaves, and fragments of their own robes and set fires all about the outside walls of the palace with stolen torches. They lit smaller fires about the garden to provide light for the coming fight. Small containers of pitch smuggled in helped spread the flames. As flames spread amidst the wood structure, the men retreated, all aside from Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh and Luts'ashashik who stood in wait for any men who dare exit the palace from its main entrance on the east side [12]. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh stood ready with his dagger-axe [13] and Luts'ashashik with his larger double-headed axe. The flames flickered on the Pasnomsono bronze surface of these weapons as the Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh felt his spirit burning.

    Two guards ran out, shouting about the fire in the palace, and the two men struck each of the guards in the neck and nearly decapitated the both of them. They pulled back, waiting to strike anyone else who fled. Several more guards ran out, seeking the source of the commotion, to which the two men eliminated them one by one after a short, yet fierce clash of weapons.

    "The smoke blinds them!" Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh shouted over sharp breaths. "Now let us check the northern entrance for that miyawakh!" Assuming he's even still alive given how he fell asleep from drunkenness. Grabbing a burnt twig, he lit the bag of poison ivy aflame and threw it into the front of the burning palace and quickly fled alongside Luts'ashashik. As they ran over they surprised and cut down a soldier who escaped the building. What seemed to be a few women and children fled out in the distance, but they did not pursue for they had better targets. Looking at the smoldering stones around what once was the doorway, they found the fire burned so quickly the structure collapsed and blocked the exit.

    "To the other entrance now!" They ran back around, noticing the main entrance similarly collapsed in on itself and a few men and women choking to death on the ground outside, hardly worth the effort to kill. The palace seemed to be burning quicker than ever now. Yet over by the southern door

    A few gathered over by the southern door, including a few nobles they had dined with earlier, but a few women, children, and elderly slaves as well. A great clash ensued as the two young warriors rushed at them, pushing back the spears and daggers of the guards opponents and clobbered them through the limbs and head. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh took a deep blow to his face and at least one crossbow bolt to his thigh, not that it phased him as his spirit burned, while Luts'ashashik seemed even more completely possessed by his spirit and ignored the pain of numerous slashes to his face and especially limbs to hammer home repeated blows against the men. He scarcely noticed the slaves, women, and children amongst them as he cut them down as well as they tried to flee, only awakening from his battle trance when he noticed he faced no more resistance.

    They made a grisly scene. Heads, limbs, weapons, and armour lay scattered everywhere amidst pools of blood. Most of the men killed here seemed to be slaves wielding nothing but whatever they might find in a household as well as nobles who had not come dressed for battle. The bodies of a few women, mostly slaves appeared, but the finery a few corpses wore suggested some noblewomen had been cut down as well. Screams of women and children suggested some escaped the killing ground they created, no doubt through the power of their spirit.

    "Fantastic work as usual, friend," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh praised between catching his breath. He plucked the bloody crossbow bolt from his thigh, sniffing it to check if it was poisoned. "Let us leave here and aid the rest. Our work here is finished." His brow furrowed as he noticed his friend clutching his hand in pain, noticing deep red everywhere.

    "There must be good plants for medicine in this garden," he growled over the pain. "Don't think some of my fingers are going to make it." Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh felt a pang of fear, yet quickly banished it from his thoughts. It was fortunate Luts'ashashik drew most all of their attention. He might have suffered far worse than the cuts and bruises on him.

    "You might lose your fingers," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh joked to lighten the mood, "The enemy has lost everything but their fingers." All but the head. Although he wished to have killed Nch'ianahui himself, no doubt the man choked to death in his own bed from the smoke thanks in part to the great amount of alcohol consumed at dinner. It seemed impossible he escaped. As the palace began to collapse with great roars and bursts of flames, Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh took in the lesson of that miyawakh's life. All the skill in the world is needless if decadence clouds the spirit.

    As they made a quick yet careful retreat from the palace garden, checking for any enemies in ambush, war cries and drums heralded the arrival of the Q'mitlwaakutl to Chemna. An arrow whizzed past Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh, and as Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh saw the archer in ambush, the man fell to the ground as several arrows pierced him. The two men sheathed their weapons and rushed toward the main gate.

    "We are not enemies, we are friends!" Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh shouted. "We have burnt the palace of the miyawakh of Chemna and killed his guards! Help us kill all who remain!" Warriors ran toward them, checking who they were as they surrounded the two and ran past, seeking the remaining survivors from the palace arson. A familiar face stepped forth illuminated by silver moonlight, the fierce glare of Q'mitlwaakutl beneath his bronze helmet and ringed by elaborate patterns in red paint. Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh smiled in greeting.

    "Well done, boy," he complemented, gazing around at the scene of destruction. "And to you as well," he added, thanking Luts'ashashik. "Chemna has fallen and all that remains is the defeat of its other miyawakh who leads its army."

    "It was truly a fierce fight," Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh said with a weary smile, hoping to elicit more praise. "Yet thanks to our skill we won."

    "No, thanks to your deceit and lies," Q'mitlwaakutl corrected. "What happened this night is the price of deceit and lies, a ruined land and many killed. It is a weapon far too dangerous for people to wield. You may think you are applying the lessons of Coyote, yet long ago I met Coyote and by believing in his promises my warriors died and I became stone. Skilled as you are, you are far too loose with your trickery and it will hurt you one day. I pray it hurts no one else."

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

    In that month the full moon did herald not only the fall of Chemna yet also the fall of her rulers. On that night the son of Q'mitlwaakutl Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh and the great warrior Luts'ashashik set flames to the palace of the prince. In the inferno the corpulent Prince Nch'ianahui burnt to ashes in a drunken stupor. For though Nch'ianahui possessed great wisdom and wit he did fail to see the tricks of Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh and did underestimate the strength of that man and his warriors. The tricks of Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh as orchestrated by the great Q'mitlwaakutl opened the gates of Chemna and the city thusly fell.

    In his great wisdom Q'mitlwaakutl treated Chemna with kindness for they fought well and long ago they aided him against the Hillmen as all Aipakhpam cities had. He said unto the nobles of Chemna, "We seek only your friendship so that all might prosper and spiritual balance thrive in this land under its rightful leader, the Prince of Wayam." Q'mitlwaakutl did not permit his men to loot the city, for they already gained much loot in the villages and towns near Chemna. He only demanded that the daughters of Chemna might marry the sons of Wayam so that the peoples might come together. Foremost among these women were the daughters of the Princes of Chemna whom he gave in marriage to the eldest sons by each of his four wives, not the least the younger Prince of Wayam, his son Plaash-Nawinatla, and Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh, the great hero of this battle.

    Earlier on that day the forces of the Prince of Takspash, the great Wiyatpakan, did engage the warriors of Kaatnamanahui camped at the hearths of their allies in Taptat. Far outnumbered against the warriors of Chemna and Taptat they took many losses and thenceforth retreated to the hills. Yet the scouts of Wiyatpakan did succeed in contacting their own allies as well as those brave warriors still in the Tabachiri Valley. Now the Prince of Takspash revised his strategem and prepared to correct his mistakes. The silver moonlight thus gave strength to a new victory. The scouts of Wiyatpakan guided the warriors of the other captains to encircle the foe as they slept.

    The moon shone high and illuminated the path of the warriors of Wayam. Truly Alkhaikhyai did shine upon their spirits! Not a single path of escape remained for Kaatnamanahui and the Chemnese. They could not cross the Tabachiri River lest they fall prey to the Wayamese warriors on the other bank. They could not retreat upstream nor downstream lest they fall prey to two groups of Wayamese warriors who trapped them in the pincer. Only death and chaos awaited the Chemnese.

    Then said Kaatnamanahui, "My allies of T'kuyatum will soon join me! We shall be safe behind the walls of Taptat until victory arrives!" Thus the forces of Chemna retreated behind the high palisades of Taptat. Fires in the night burned outside the gates of Taptat as the army of Wayam dealt with the spirits of the many they slew in the fight. Their armour and weapons became the fist of the battering rams the warriors of Wayam spent the night building.

    Five more days passed and the great Prince of Wayam, Q'mitlwaakutl, did arrive to the siege with four hundred more warriors and said to Wiyatpakan, "Great are these siege implements you have built in such short time. Our victory is at hand."

    So did the Wayamese storm the walls of Taptat. The spirits of the dead gave the battering rams terrible strength as they called out to their allies in Chemna, "Join us, leave this harsh world and reside with us in the Land of the Dead." The walls collapsed before this attack of both physical and spiritual force and the men of Wayam rushed into Taptat and cut down all who dared stand before them.

    Said Kaatnamanahui to the Prince of Taptat, "Why are my allies so late to come aid us?" The Prince of Taptat did answer, "He will not come to our aid for he has betrayed us for his own benefit. And as he betrayed us, I must betray you for my own benefit." Thus the Prince of Taptat slew Kaatnamanahui and presented his head to the great Q'mitlwaakutl and said to him "Here my lord, I have given you the head of your foe! Allow me to serve you thenceforth!"

    Said Q'mitlwaakutl to the Prince of Taptat, "You have served me well in slaying this great foe. May you serve me well in destroying Taptat with my men." The Prince of Taptat fell into shock at Q'mitlwaakutl's order and answered, "Why must I destroy my city and kill my own people?" Q'mitlwaakutl replied to him, "For you are my follower from this moment forth and my followers are obedient to what I ask of them. Yet I believe in your heart you are fit only to be a ruler. Perhaps instead you should be in a place where you might rule over your soldiers, your followers, and the Prince of Chemna," and he struck him dead.

    Soon thereafter arrived the captain of the warriors who had remained behind in the Tabachiri Valley as Q'mitlwaakutl ordered him to several months prior. Spoke the captain "The warriors of Wayam yet remain in the Tabachiri Valley yet the warriors of T'kuyatum do not. They have crossed the pass and seek to conquer Wayam!" To this Q'mitlwaakutl praised him for his leadership and knowledge and prepared to lead his army in triumph to Wayam where they might do battle against that strongest foe, the Prince of T'kuyatum.

    ---
    Author's notes

    Some stories of the decisive war between Wayam and T'kuyatum, as well as introducing people of note later on (including ancestors of later important figures). Next chapter will cover the great clash between Q'mitlwaakutl and Chelkhalt and the aftermath.

    War is never a pleasant thing, and like elsewhere in the world during this era (including the people of this region OTL), massacres of non-combatants wasn't unusual. We'll discuss more on early Fusanian warfare in a coming update, likely when I finish Q'mitlwaakutl's story.

    I was late on finishing this entry because I was concurrently drawing up a map of the contemporary political situation in Fusania and because I had some writer's block (the narrative segments are difficult to write for me). There may be slower updates in the future as I go work on maps for this. I know for sure I will do a map regarding the campaigns of Q'mitlwaakutl and Chelkhalt.

    Thanks as always for reading. There's much more to come in the future.

    [1] - Taptat is Prosser, WA
    [2] - Khainaksha is Goldendale, WA
    [3] - The Tsupnitpelu are known for their reverence of Aipakhpam culture and habits, as we will see in a later entry. Although they come into contact with several dialect groups of Aipakhpam, the Chemnese dialect is the one they prefer thanks to Chemna's strength. Chemnese is classified as a northern dialect of Aipakhpam, quite distinct from the southern dialect spoken at Wayam.
    [4] - Laliik is Rattlesnake Mountain in Benton County, WA, a prominent ridge. It is considered a sacred mountain to numerous peoples OTL due to its association with legends of the Deluge
    [5] - Pashkhash is Walla Walla, WA and Siminekem is Lewiston, ID
    [6] - Tanakhalu is immediately across the river from Chemna, located a bit north of West Pasco, WA.
    [7] - A pun on his name. "Apapma-Tukhunani" roughly means "Shot-Through-Arm"
    [8] - "Anahui" ("bear") occurs in the names of many Chemnese rulers, related to the guardian spirit of the prince Tamanwitkan, who in 980 AD threw off Kw'sis's rule to found Chemna as a major power. His descendents have taken on names related to the black bear and are thus known as the Anahuinmi ("of the bear") dynasty.
    [9] - A typical, less formal introduction in many Fusanian cultures--having a trusted third party announce the name of the one being introduced as personal names are treated with reverence. Amongst nobles, serving as their herald is a prestigious position, and amongst rulers is a step toward becoming a senwitla.
    [10] - Alkhaikhyai is the Aipakhpam moon god, the younger brother of the Sun and a powerful Transformer god who helped make the land inhabitable to humans
    [11] - This is not to say Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh's particular Hillmen ancestors like Wat'ihak or Daslats-Lwelolis were alcoholics, merely a negative stereotype civilised Fusanians hold of Hillmen.
    [12] - A nobleman's dwelling or palace will typically have three to five doors, the largest main door facing east (almost all Fusanian buildings have their doors on the east) and two to four secondary doors facing north and south, which connotates balance. For spiritual reasons there are never doors facing west (the direction of the land of the dead).
    [13] - Best translation, it's a sort of halberd similar to the Chinese ge (also translated dagger axe). We'll discuss Fusanian warfare and weaponry soon enough.
     
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    Chapter 32-The Wind Against the Cliffs
  • -XXXII-
    The Wind Against the Cliffs

    ---
    Khainaksha, late May 1128​

    Chelkhalt shook his head at the carnage before him. So many of his men lay dead in the ruins of this city of Khainaksha, to say the least of those dead at the foot of its walls, thanks to the skilled and determined resistance of its prince and his sons. They conquered this city, yet lost so much in the process and to add to the cost they failed to even capture its ruler who now fled elsewhere. Only the knowledge that the majority of warriors lost were those Aipakhpam warriors of Ktlatla, Winacha, and the Tabachiri Valley brightened his mood. The sturdy Chiyatsuru men of T'kuyatum and other northerly cities remained, most critically of all the White Robes.

    "Will we still march on Wayam, father?" asked his eldest son Nirqotschin, his leather and copper armour tarnished bloody from the fight. "We have expended much, and the Wayamese suffered little from defeating our allies in Chemna." Chelkhalt silently cursed the Chemnese for their naivety in dealing with the tricks the Wayamese played on them. "Our scouts are reporting they're continuing upstream toward Satas Pass [1]."

    "We'll let them take the fight to us," Chelkhalt said. "Press the townspeople into providing us the manpower to repair the fortifications. Continue to raid the villages south of here. We will not attack Wayam itself, not during this campaign." He glanced at his strategist Maheqen, who nodded at the wisdom of his strategy.

    "As you wish, father," Nirqotschin said, relaying it to his soldiers.

    "Many years ago you would've been more impulsive in attempting to attack Wayam," Maheqen noted. "I don't feel the same boldness in spirit that let you capture Kawakhtchin."

    "Temperance on the battlefield is just as importance as temperance in spirit elsewhere, he answered. "Violence and peace are yet two more factors of life one must balance. In my youth I was not as skilled at this aspect of my life. Needless impulse simply creates casualties." He reflected on the scene of corpses and burning smoke before him. "I would like to imagine I am wiser in these years, yet perhaps I have yet to achieve true wisdom." He left without a word, preparing himself mentally for a meditation session in the forest by the creek.

    As Chelkhalt stared out into the forest beside the rumbling creek, he reflected on the errors he made in this campaign. He committed the most basic error imaginable and like a young boy might chase two rabbits while hunting, he chased two goals in the campaign and split his effort. Perhaps worse, he placed too much trust in a subordinate yet again and now it threatened to jeopardise everything. Were the Prince of Chemna here this assault would have gone overwhelmingly better with fewer of my men dead. But as he sat in meditation, he realised that perhaps he had not erred so badly. It was not the deceased Prince of Chemna's fault he returned to his city, it was his own fault for not accompanying him. Chelkhalt decided he must not blame others for his own failures.

    As for dividing his forces, perhaps he had not divided them enough! A hundred boys encircling a family of deer might easily block off every path of escape and slaughter all of them. No matter how dangerous the enemy's army was, if he divided his own men into units to encircle and cut them into pieces they would be destroyed by overwhelming force. Certainly his strategist Maheqen would understand such tactics, and no doubt Nirqotschin as well, although he was skeptical other commanders might. Yet if combined with an ambush, as the many hills and trees further up along this creek and toward Satas Pass permitted, any incompetence on the part of his captains would not matter--the enemy would crumple quickly!

    Chelkhalt shook his head once more. He needed no violent thoughts while he meditated for they disrupted his balance. The battle could wait. He only needed to focus on his spirit and every spirit around him, taking into his body an essence of purity and balance so that he might gain further understanding of everything around him. With that, Chelkhalt's thoughts turned peaceful and he drifted off into another world in search of true balance.

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

    A great shift of power came about that year from Q'mitlwaakutl's triumph over the Chemnese at Taptat. The ascendent force of Q'mitlwaakutl now marched up the river to stop the attacks on their homeland. They heard the dreadful news of the sack of the city of Khainaksha from the mouth of the prince of Khainaksha himself. Q'mitlwaakutl now desired nothing but vengeance on the Prince of T'kuyatum.

    Chelkhalt sheltered his men behind the ruins of Khainaksha that he rebuilt into hasty fortifications by forcing the poor folk of that city to labour for him. Chelkhalt dispatched his warriors deep into the countryside around the ancient city of Wayam and looted and pillaged at will in an unusually fierce manner. He sought to deny Wayam their own resources so that he might rebuild his own country and need not fear this powerful enemy.

    His strategem failed for he underestimated the spirits of the Wayamese so empowered by their legendary prince supposedly returned. At every village the Wayamese men and women stayed and fought so they might not suffer the fate of Khainaksha and they too might do their part for Wayam. Zeal ran high amongst the Wayamese and they demanded their rulers to send them into battle. A large force of Wayamese peasants under the co-prince of Wayam, Plaash-Nawinatla, assembled alongside many remaining garrisons and warriors of the Wayamese.

    It is reported two thousand men assembled in this hasty army and they ambushed several large raiding parties and destroyed them, including several of the White Robes. They carried little in supplies, animals, or baggage, a critical flaw as any strategist might see. There are oral records that report this is a sign of Plaash-Nawinatla's incompetence, yet I see no reason to believe it is. Lord Nch'iyaka of Wapaikht, the finest scholar on this subject, claims this is an invention of Kw'aawinmi-Tlamtekh to delegitimise his half-brother and co-prince. Plaash-Nawinatla knew of this matter yet could hardly rectify it lest he attract too much attention from Chelkhalt. He was truly faced with an impossible challenge.

    Chelkhalt dispersed this makeshift army with his typical genius. He set his White Robes under command of his strategist Maheqen that they might in ambush and waited for the army of Plaash-Nawinatla to attack his raiders. The trap sprung outside the town of Wakaikaas [2] and the peasants and other zealous warriors of Wayam fell before his strategist Maheqen. Plaash-Nawinatla barely escaped with his life while many of his warriors perished in battle. It is said only half the men survived for many died of their wounds, starvation, or the burning heat of the sun.

    Yet the sacrifice of Plaash-Nawinatla and the people of Wayam gave all the time Q'mitlwaakutl needed to return. The force of Plaash-Nawinatla and zeal of his warriors kept the raiding parties of T'kuyatum confined behind their makeshift walls. Q'mitlwaakutl now move forth to liberate his country and crush the invaders before him. He brought nearly 4,000 men--a number equal to that of his foe--and left another 1,000 men of Chemnese and Tabachiri extract to the north under his skilled captain Ahaachash Patatpanmi [3] who knew no equal at raiding and ambushes. The presence of the force of Ahaachash caused great revolts in the cities of the Tabachiri and no longer did they serve Chelkhalt but committed in full to the cause of Wayam.

    Through Satas Pass marched Q'mitlwaakutl and few warriors of T'kuyatum dared to harass him. The few who lived in these hills acclaimed Q'mitlwaakutl and heaped upon him great blessings. Here Q'mitlwaakutl met an old shaman who knew much of the ancient past. In a past life he himself accompanied the army of Q'mitlwaakutl as they marched toward the Battle of Endless Tears. This shaman warned Q'mitlwaakutl about the spiritual strength of the enemy before him for that shaman of the North Wind, the brother-in-law of Chelkhalt, possessed a terrible strength. He informed that should Q'mitlwaakutl do battle with Chelkhalt, his men would win the battle yet surely die. But should Q'mitlwaakutl wait until the Summer Solstice, he might both win the battle and survive to truly claim his destiny.

    So Q'mitlwaakutl heeded the advice of the shaman and wisely chose to wait. It is said he waited for twenty days in the Wakhsham Mountains [4]. He granted his men leave to hunt and fish as they liked [5] and they harvested a great amount of game and fish, a proof the spirits of the world ordained them waiting for the enemy's spiritual power to weaken. His generosity blessed the town of Pawankwyud [6] north of Satas Pass where the people of the town and nearby villages hosted his many warriors. The daughters of the warriors married the sons of Pawankwyud as did the daughters of Pawankwyud marry the warriors and their sons. Through this the valley of the Tabachiri became ever more bound to the nobles of Wayam.

    I do not know why Chelkhalt waited at Khainaksha for Q'mitlwaakutl to make his move as he surely knew the circumstances. If he felt overconfidence then surely his strategist Maheqen felt it much the same or even more. I do not believe a figure like Maheqen or the sons of Chelkhalt led the Prince of T'kuyatum to the decisions he took. It is clear Chelkhalt was a brilliant man and he challenged Q'mitlwaakutl on these terms for he wasted none of the time given to him in preparing sites of ambush along the path.

    One such ambush point lay at the village of Tapashpa [7] between those now famous cliffs. It was here among these rocky hills and cliffs in that forest that the great prince of T'kuyatum and the great Prince of Wayam met in decisive battle.

    ---
    Tapashpa, June 21, 1128​

    "There's more, everywhere!" a young noble shouted immediately before an arrow from an unseen archer silenced him forever. War cries went up and drummers started to fiercely pound on their instruments. Others tried to quickly bunch in formation, scrambling to apply the lessons of training to battle. A few clusters of men already grouped into their shieldwall and locked their dark alder shields marked with clan emblems and other rich yet faded paint to repel the enemy, their spears searching for the enemy. Less armoured men shot arrows into the trees or indeed charged into the hills to root out the enemy archers.

    "Forward!" Q'mitlwaakutl shouted. "Do not fear the tricks of the enemy!" He craned his neck in every direction, taking stock of the situation. The low rocks and hills around shielded by the pines made for a perfect ambush location and he'd been on edge all day for this very situation. It almost seemed there were blinds and other shelters specifically awaiting them in the trees and rocks. Around him many men lay pierced with arrows yet many more followed their training, bunching into shieldwalls under the shouts of the nobles who commanded them.

    "Shield the animals and the baggage train!" he yelled at a message runner who scurried off to warn those in the rear. The number of arrows falling from the rocks started to slow, and Q'mitlwaakutl awaited what was to come next. The end of the ambush, or the start of the battle?

    War cries rang out from the trees around him and Q'mitlwaakutl saw the men in white, the White Robes of T'kuyatum with their silver helmets and white-painted faces ready to attack on both the left and right. Their fierce dagger axes and spears had already hacked down some of his skirmishers. He raised his spear and threw it clean through the head of a charging soldier, the foe's helmet crumpling from the impact. Q'mitlwaakutl drew his axe and raised it high to alert his men.

    "Stand together and hold your ground! Spiritual strength is ours today!" The forming shieldwalls clustered around him in defense of their leader, their shields and spears looking out in every direction. Q'mitlwaakutl grit his teeth as he knew these next few moments were where his men won or lost the battle. He looked toward the shield walls behind him and in front of him, hoping with all his might they absorb the force of the enemy.

    The White Robes stormed in with their screams and Q'mitlwaakutl felt the spiritual intensity in every muscle and bone of his body as he pushed back with his men against the enemy as arrows rained around them. White Robes and Wayamese alike fell in the vicious clash as he noticed the White Robes attempting to cut him off from his rear guard and encircle him. Q'mitlwaakutl barely knew what he was shouting, other than how ecstatic it felt to shout those words that he inherently knew empowered his men. Seeing an opening as a shouting White Robes captain on his left fell to a spear thrust, Q'mitlwaakutl launched forward with his axe and cleaved another of the enemy, by the stones and feathers he wore likely an enemy shaman. The thrusts and pushing against these White Robes intensified from the men seeing their ruler taking charge and two key enemies falling.

    Instinctively, Q'mitlwaakutl jerked his head around to see if the right flank held, yet his men continued to push back there too. His allies came to his defense and held the White Robes there as well. Skirmishers at the higher ground cleared enough room for his own archers to strike and counter the enemy's archers and support the soldiers in the melee.

    Q'mitlwaakutl noticed a strong yet plainly armoured man with intricate war paint amongst the White Robes shouting and rallying his warriors to pull back into the forest. He knew the man possessed a strong guardian spirit and wondered briefly if that was the Prince of T'kuyatum himself. Do not tell your men who that warrior is, a voice seemed to tell him. You lost that great battle many centuries ago with promises like that. That man is counting on you to repeat the same mistake. Taking this advice, he barked orders to reform the shieldwall and continue on the path.

    As this clash came to an end, he once again took stock of the situation. The right flank still barely held against the White Robes which his men now pushed harder against. Archers and skirmishers now clashed on both sides of the low hills around the path and distant war cries he recognised told him the rear guard continued to hold while the vanguard push back to protect him. He shouted for a scout, asking to know the situation elsewhere.

    "The rear guard is fighting their hardest but I believe the enemy is unable to overwhelm them," a blooded man missing an ear said when he finally found a man. "The enemy Q'mitlwaakutl paused to think amidst the screaming around him. With the initial ambush and encirclement having mostly failed, Chelkhalt now sought to pull back, regroup, and keep them off balance before finishing them off decisively."

    "Take four hundred warriors [8]!" Q'mitlwaakutl shouted, ensuring nobles nearby heard his command. "And be sure they keep moving forward when our allies our relieved!" Men began to pull back and disengage in an orderly manner as they all remained focused on the situation around them. Some threw spears and knives at the enemy as a final contribution.

    Q'mitlwaakutl turned his attention back toward finishing off the White Robes on his right. As these enemies pulled back, battle fury seized his men as they pushed with little restraint. He almost wanted to restrain them but noticed skirmishers and other warriors coming to aid them and seized on this chance to destroy the White Robes. Q'mitlwaakutl swung his axe with fury, hacking limbs and heads but catching it in the shield of a skilled White Robes warrior, to which he abandoned it, pulled out his knife and caught the man in the throat. The White Robes determined resistance began to break down and the remaining warriors fled into the forest. Skirmishers pursued them further while his men continued to advance forward, seeking to reach better ground to fight the ambush. His men began to climb into the hills to gain the high ground on their attackers.

    Just as the battle began to die down it suddenly began again when the left flank of White Robes attacked his men in the rear alongside numerous other warriors mostly coming from the front. While they cut down many of celebrating and battle drunk soldiers Q'mitlwaakutl managed to rally enough men to return to formation. T'kuyatum's warriors pushed forward even through the spears and yet another fierce melee ensued. This time they were thoroughly outnumbered and despite Q'mitlwaakutl's increasingly hoarse shouts, began to fall back into the hills. Enemy archers rained fire on them, grazing Q'mitlwaakutl's shoulder.

    Such a fierce melee seemed to last an eternity. A few of the shieldwalls broke rank and fled as their men fell no matter the best efforts of Q'mitlwaakutl and his captains. Amidst the shouts, screams of agony, and sound of weapons clashing, Q'mitlwaakutl once again saw that man blazing with spiritual authority, almost daring him to come after him. He noticed his shield was raised far more than not and glanced down and noticed the number of arrows sticking from it. He grit his teeth. I accept your challenge, he wanted to say. Yet he noticed an unusual calmness in the man. I must do the same to win.

    The White Robes continued to push against them. One of these White Robes thrust his knife into Q'mitlwaakutl's forearm yet he barely felt the pain and Q'mitlwaakutl dispatched the man with a dagger thrust to his eye. The enemy leader slowly grew distant as his men fell back. The slope of the hill threatened to break their formation even further.

    "Not one step back! Those without shields retreat to the hill!" he shouted. The man in front of him seemed to grow irritated by how the Wayamese failed to rout against even this withering assault. The melee stalled and even the men who died seemed to remain standing to fight, their spirits granting their comrades one last bit of assistance by permitting their bodies to be shields and stepping stones for them and their victory.

    Q'mitlwaakutl heard new war cries and recognised them as belonging to his own men. The rearguard arrived to aid them and the enemy flank was wide open. Q'mitlwaakutl took advantage of the sudden confusion to bark at his men to push into the enemy lines and the distracted White Robes lost ground. Q'mitlwaakutl noticed a tall and massive man whom he assumed was his son's friend Luts'ashashik from the markings on his armour and helm storm into the enemy and using his height for advantage.

    The enemy tried to regroup yet they'd lost the initiative. The Wayamese now trampled on White Robes as they slowly moved forward. Wayamese skirmishers dispersed the remaining enemy archers and turned their attention toward T'kuyatum's warriors. All the valiant efforts from the White Robes failed to help the cause of their allies and only slowed down the inevitable. After yet another eternity of fierce combat they fell apart and soon began fleeing, desparately searching for a place to resume the battle.

    "The enemy is fleeing! We chase them down!" Q'mitlwaakutl heard a weary voice shouting, noticing Wiyatpakan's bloodsoaked body pocked with arrows. He is truly strong to keep fighting in such a condition, he thought as Wiyatpakan rallied his men with his dagger axe. The Wayamese hustled after the fleeing enemy and hacked them down as they retreated. A few of the White Robes tried to draw attention away yet they became lost in the sea of Wayamese. Only the enemy's complete dispersal kept them from being encircled. Q'mitlwaakutl wondered if the enemy commander fell during this rout.

    Not long after amidst the victory chants and drumming Q'mitlwaakutl approached Wiyatpakan. The man collapsed to the ground, his war paint blending with dried blood as a medicine man tended to him. His wounds had been washed yet he looked exceedingly weary.

    "My good friend, what has happened to you?" Q'mitlwaakutl said, his heart pounding with sorrow. "You must have had an incredible fight."

    "They fought so well," he muttered, his voice hoarse and scratchy. "Discipline of spirit overcame the wild and untamed spirit. Our enemy could not take our baggage train nor truly cut my men off from yours." He glanced up at Q'mitlwaakutl. "Pananikinsh," he muttered, his hand pointing to fallen green pine cones nearby. He reached for it, squeezing the cone. "Our men are as pine cones. As they grow they become solid and spiny so they might protect that which lays within. We shall be as pine cones, Pananikinsh..." Wiyatpakan muttered, falling asleep for the last time.

    "May your journey to the West be safe, friend, and may I meet you again when my time comes," Q'mitlwaakutl mourned. Q'mitlwaakutl's heart burned for the loss of his friend, and he knew that despite this victory here, the war was far from over. "Pananikinsh" sounded a strange term for his brave warriors striking from behind their shields, yet perhaps a fitting one. That which the pine cones sheltered fed the spirits of the world from those of insects to those of the gods. And that which the pine cone sheltered grew into mighty trees that repeated the cycle. And what his pine cones sheltered now would grow into the mighty tree that was the power and wealth prophecised by Coyote to him so long ago.

    ---
    Ktlatla, July 1128​

    Chelkhalt looked at the bloodied remnants of his army with impossible frustration. He hadn't even the time to ruminate on his defeat. Only a handful of the White Robes remained after the majority were slaughtered and the survivors of their mercenary component dismissed for their failure. So many other of his warriors failed to come back from that mountain pass. His son Chiltiqen lost his arm and two other sons lost their lives. The Wayamese and their allies stalked them on the journey of many days back to Ktlatla and took many of their remaining baggage animals. All they could do was murder villagers, kill their animals, and steal their food as if they were mere bandits to accomplish even the slightest thing from this failed campaign.

    Fortunately for him he still had his trusted lieutenant Maheqen by his side, although brilliance failed them both in those critical moment. Together they would raise a new force to punish Wayam and her allies--it was the only option he realistically had lest a city like Ktlatla seek a new ally. Although so many strong foes might arrange against him, Chelkhalt still had his wits. He stared for a moment at the city walls of Ktlatla, five interlaced rings of wood and stone with smaller palisades stretching all the way to the river sheltering its villages and fields. May they continue to see reason and not challenge me. Chelkhalt did not seek a fight with Ktlatla but he was fully prepared to destroy them should they betray him, whenever he might raise a new army.

    A messenger greeted him, and Chelkhalt knew from his face the man seemed weary, sorrowful, and worried from the news he brought.

    "My ilmikhwm, I have come by request of your favoured wife that a great spiritual force has attacked your brother-in-law," the man said. "He has not woken for days." Pain struck Chelkhalt's heart as he immediately knew the cause of the defeat.

    "Say no more," Chelkhalt growled. He assumed his brother-in-law perished on the solstice, murdered from afar by spiritual meddling on the part of the Prince of Wayam. The only thing he didn't know was whether the Prince of Wayam found a shaman to murder him or even murdered him himself. Chelkhalt was certain he saw the Prince of Wayam at Tapashpa and he knew for certain the man's powerful guardian spirit. Men that spiritually powerful were dangerous and unpredictable, especially if they held political power.

    Soon after envoys from Ktlatla's senwitla invited the leaders of his ragged army in, no doubt to discuss matters both military and economic. Unlike Winacha whose rulers remained under Chelkhalt's thumb, Ktlatla remained a close yet still independent ally. Clearly much hinged on this meeting. The envoys led him to the palace of the princes of Ktlatla, decorated all over in fine working of copper and its shinier allies like tumbaga, its local speciality. Here the envoys informed him the prince of the Raven phratry, the most skeptical of the alliance with T'kuyatum, perished a month ago--clearly not everything was going bad. His young grandson would be a pliable puppet of the senwitla, a good ally of his.

    In the throne room Chelkhalt and his men exchanged greetings and introductions with the Wolf prince of Ktlatla, the senior of the two co-princes. A craven and greedy man, no doubt he would be easy as ever to push around.

    "My men are dead, Prince of T'kuyatum, but so are yours," he shouted in rage. "What do you have to say for yourself? I sent them marching to war and so few return. Our enemies to the south, the bastards at Timani remain unconquered let alone Wayam!" Chelkhalt breathed deeply, trying to reason with him.

    "It is a tragic loss made possible by our enemy's great spiritual power. That Prince of Wayam is a truly dangerous enemy deluded into believing he is an ancient hero of legend. He has used his spiritual powers to bewitch his men and assassinate his enemies. Even my family has fallen victim to his powers," Chelkhalt explained. "And I suspect so have yours," he added, glancing at the seat occupied by a young boy who seemed fascinated by the world of adult politics. The Wolf prince rubbed his chin at this revelation.

    "Perhaps he did deluded my shamans into thinking the recently departed Raven prince died of a fall. Perhaps his spiritual powers caused that fall," the Wolf prince said. "Perhaps," he glared at Chelkhalt. "Perhaps you should have brought him here in chains so we might've asked him."

    "The Prince of Wayam's spiritual force bewitches many to his banner and causes opportunists to flock to it," Chelkhalt said. "We all have critically underestimated him. But in the process we have accomplished many things. Much of Wayam's heartland is burnt and our Dena allies know a fine source of loot they will certainly tell the other Hillmen about. The Tabachiri Valley lays in ruins and Wayam's newfound allies will certainly be persuaded to our side. Any of Wayam's allies around Chemna are devastated and weak. Their newfound Tsupnitpelu allies are too far away. We have time to rebuild."

    "I don't have time to rebuild!" the prince shouted. "My people have suffered much too! Our copper does not sell for what it used to and our merchants our broke! We will only have an advantage now, let us press it during this time!" The prince stood up, still furious. "Do you not have allies in the north?" he demanded to know. Chelkhalt smiled.

    "Shonitkwu, Npwilukh, and twenty other cities support my cause," he replied, playing loose with the truth. "They can lend us more soldiers in exchange for very little, for Wayam's ambitions and especially the spiritual power of their leaders threaten them all. All I need is your continued assistance in both soldiers and supplying my men."

    The Wolf prince sat down once more. "Then we will attack in autumn and take revenge on them!"

    Chelkhalt shook his head. "We will wait another autumn and winter to let our men rest and our allies to gather their strength. Then we will strike again and this time complete our initial successes and wash away our failures." He felt a foul taste in his mouth at uttering those words. It seemed the war was pulling him in, forcing him to keep gambling for a victory. Yet there could be no peace otherwise, for his enemy was too dangerous and ambitious.

    "Unacceptable!" the Wolf prince shouted. "Do you not understand striking quickly and soon?"

    Chelkhalt stepped forward and glared at the prince, making the younger boy wimper. "Quite well as I have done so many times. Your men know very well what that means to me," he glanced around the room at the soldiers and nobles assembled. "Ask them about the clash on the Mimanashi Plateau several years ago. You may have to ask a shaman, though!" The Wolf prince seemed angry yet almost frightened. "So many of your men are dead and Ktlatla is a hollow shell of itself. I wish to help you as an ally and a kinsman for both of our benefits. You would do well to seek my assistance, my great network of allies and their wealth and warriors, and above all, my spiritual power, a terrifying force to my own enemies as the Prince of Wayam, he who names himself Q'mitlwaakutl, knows well."

    The Wolf prince recoiled in fear and anger, slamming his fist on his throne chair, yet said nothing. He looked around the room at his own soldiers, solemn and fearful, and then at Chelkhalt's confident escort of White Robes and his nobles.

    "V-very well," he scowled at last. If nothing else, Chelkhalt knew his guardian spirit gave him the power to speak from the heart like that and coerce the weakminded. His thoughts immediately turned to Wayam, and he wished he might only deal with them and force them into submission as effectively as he dealt with this man.

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

    The great Q'mitlwaakutl did push forward two springs after the triumphant victories over his foe. The transgressions of the Prince of T'kuyatum required punishment and so the Prince of Wayam punished them as he willed. At midwinter in 786 [1129] the White Robes struck the Tabachiri Valley yet their former strength in the North Wind failed them for that great shaman of T'kuyatum had perished. Neither side claimed victory in these raids for both suffered many losses.

    At this time the Prince of Wayam did plan for an attack to punish Ktlatla. The corrupt rulers of Ktlatla sought to continue fighting T'kuyatum and by doing so destabilise the entire country. A dream sent from his spirit told Q'mitlwaakutl of the dangerous imbalance of Ktlatla's leaders. He knew he must to act to protect the spiritual balance and in spring 787 [1130] attacked Ktlatla and her allies.

    Q'mitlwaakutl arrived in triumph to free the people of Ktlatla from the evil of their rulers. His newly appointed senwitla Tamakan of Katlawasq'o brought envoys to every village and distributed campaign spoils and goods from far away and with these goods he did pledge that Q'mitlwaakutl might bring peace to the war torn land through a restoration of balance. By this means many villages became persuaded of the righteousness of Q'mitlwaakutl's cause and said to Tamakan of Katlawasq'o, "With the balance your leader brings us we will once again be rich!"

    When the miyawakh of Ktlatla heard this he raised a force to punish the rebellious village rulers and ambush the men of Q'mitlwaakutl. He begged unto Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum for help yet Chelkhalt faced wars of his own against Dena tribes of the mountains inflaming his own allies against him. Few men of T'kuyatum came to the aid of Ktlatla in this time of crisis and now they faced the full force of Q'mitlwaakutl's warriors.

    The well outnumbered warriors of Ktlatla did ambush the men of Wayam at the village of Acha and severely wounded Tamakan of Katlawasq'o who thenceforth became called Tamakan the Butchered for his scars and deformities. Yet the warriors of the great Q'mitlwaakutl dispersed Ktlatla's ambush and slew those who aided them. Now Q'mitlwaakutl sent prisoners to the Prince of Ktlatla with the order, "You must open your gates to me and compensate the families of men you killed" but Ktlatla refused to surrender.

    Q'mitlwaakutl continued to turn the village headmen and lesser nobles against the Prince of Ktlatla. So many defected from their allegiance of Ktlatla and refused to attend his ceremonies that summer. Q'mitlwaakutl granted these allies the right to raid and pillage those who resisted and by this means resistance ended and Q'mitlwaakutl enjoyed great support.

    So great was his support there was no need to besiege Ktlatla. The Prince of Ktlatla opened his own gates for Q'mitlwaakutl and proclaimed him an ally. Yet when he heard the news that Chelkhalt might soon arrive with an army he did celebrate in his heart. For this transgression Q'mitlwaakutl ordered him brought before him and spoke to him, "There is great imbalance within you. You claim to be a loyal ally of your people yet you have impoverished them. You claim to be a loyal ally of the Prince of T'kuyatum yet you betray him to me. You claim to be a loyal ally of the Prince of Wayam yet you betray me to him. Even the mightiest ruler must serve others even they only be the spirits which guide his people through this harsh world of imbalance." The Prince of Wayam then did slay the Prince of Ktlatla where he stood and ordered him buried as a peasant so in death he might bring more balance than in life.

    Q'mitlwaakutl thus took control of Ktlatla and enforced peace and their firm allegiance. Now he once again set out to battle the Prince of T'kuyatum who swiftly moved south over both the mountain passes and with his canoes and warboats on the river. Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum did realise that Ktlatla now opposed him and he therefore sought to punish them for betrayal. His forces attacked the villages allied to Ktlatla and took much plunder.

    Q'mitlwaakutl tracked Chelkhalt to the village of T'it'shpaash [9] where Chelkhalt's warriors once again ambushed him. A great force followed and met Q'mitlwaakutl directly at the banks of a creek. Once again Q'mitlwaakutl learned the dangers of the enemy he faced for Chelkhalt's outnumbered forces fought Q'mitlwaakutl as if they were even in number. Even the great pananikinsh units were unable to break through the foe.

    When nightfall came each army did arrange a truce for they could fight no longer. The great Q'mitlwaakutl wisely chose to the end the war with T'kuyatum as he already gained much from it. The men of each side celebrated the peace and gave many goods to each other to ensure peace might return. Thenceforth peace once again returned to the lands along the Imaru and Chelkhalt and Q'mitlwaakutl departed to their respective homes.

    Thereafter years of peace and prosperity did arrive across the land. Even the Hillmen of the south and of the Grey Mountains hardly made any attacks on the great many people under the shelter of Wayam and her great ruler Q'mitlwaakutl. The people of the Five Cities of the Aipakhpam (with the exception of Winacha still suffering from T'kuyatum's domination) became ever more tightly bound to Wayam through both family and trade. The mines produced more metal than ever and even poor peasants came to own much in the way of copper tools. The harvests filled great storehouses of food that nourished man and fattened beast. People found more free time to connect with the spiritual world around them and balance proliferated.

    The men of T'kuyatum did also enjoy this time of peace and their ambitious ruler used the time to rebuild his once diminished force. He found new allies in Imatelam and the Tsupnitpelu city of Tok'onatin [10] who chafed against Wayam's new dominance and wished to subvert this peace. For Chelkhalt of T'kuyatum now held the defeat of Wayam as his highest ambition. Thenceforth in the winter of 791 [1134] the White Robes of T'kuyatum set out to raid the allies of Q'mitlwaakutl and spread chaos and destruction in the lands along the Imaru.

    When the great Q'mitlwaakutl did hear of this, he sent calls for warriors to assemble under his banner and he pledged that Chelkhalt would never again see winter. The men of Wayam, the men of Chemna, the men of Ktlatla, and the men of so many other cities and towns, eight thousand [11] in total, set forth to destroy Chelkhalt's forces. Along the river they did march as they did seek the liberation of their countrymen of Winacha and the destruction of T'kuyatum's might forever.

    ---
    Author's notes

    A description of an important battle and its aftermath. The next major battle as well as the remainder of Q'mitlwaakutl's life will be included in the next entry which will center around a discussion on warfare in 12th century Fusania.

    I produced a lot of material for this chapter which I didn't include for various reasons. I didn't want this to become too long and figured the material you see here covered all it needs to.

    As for the huge focus on Q'mitlwaakutl in these entries (and to a lesser extent Chelkhalt), well, that's because his legacy is exceptionally important in practically every sphere of Fusanian society either because of his actual accomplishments or because later people attributed many things to him. You might think of this legacy as akin to figures like Yu the Great or Gilgamesh albeit with the historical part of the legacy backing up the mythological deeds. But I'll probably be moving away from this hyperfocus for later entries because there's so much more I want to get to.

    This is the last entry I'll post before the 1-year anniversary of this TL on May 3. I can't believe it's been that long, and thanks to everyone who's read this and decided to stick with this TL.

    [1] - Satus Pass in Washington ("Satas" being a less Anglicised form), linking the Yakima Valley [Tabachiri] with the main Columbia Valley
    [2] - Wakaikaas is Wahkiacus, WA (same Sahaptin origin)
    [3] - "Patatpanmi" is a sobriquet meaning "of the trees's", referring to him conducting successful guerilla warfare in the Tabachiri Valley. It is also his posthumous name (akin to "Shapatukhtla").
    [4] - The Wakhsham Mountains are the Simcoe Mountains of Washington on the border of Klickitat and Yakima Counties
    [5] - Typically great restrictions exist on hunting (and to a lesser extent on fishing) to preserve the limited supply of animals for worthy individuals and certain occasions. For commoners to be permitted to hunt game is a great privilege
    [6] - Where Satus Creek joins Logy Creek in Yakima County, WA at about 46'12 N/120'29 W
    [7] - Tapashpa is about 5 kilometers northeast of Goldendale, WA
    [8] - By "four hundred", Q'mitlwaakutl means he needs a few hundred or so men elsewhere. In such a heated situation literally following this order is hopeless
    [9] - A few miles southeast of Ellensburg, WA in Kittitas County, WA
    [10] - Tok'onatin is La Grande, OR
    [11] - An exaggeration--a more realistic number would be perhaps 5,000
     
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    Chapter 33-An Age of Copper and Blood
  • -XXXIII-
    An Age of Copper and Blood


    ---
    From Battle in the Western Land of Bronze: The Complete Guide to Fusanian Warfare

    Warfare in the Late Chalcolithic Age (sometimes called the Early Classic Age) in North Fusania (1080 - 1200) occurred on a vigorous and organised scale, the culmination of centuries of development and refinement. Driven by population pressures emerging from the continuing expansion of agriculture and need to secure more land, warfare in Fusania correlated to the decline of city-states in favour of formations of larger multi-city polities. The expanding bureaucracy and governance structures of these city-states permitted larger armies and more distant campaigns which themselves possessed far more organised structures. Siege warfare emerges on a grand scale for the first time in Fusania while the art of naval warfare begins.

    Prior to the 11th century, warfare in Fusania was a seasonal affair focusing on raiding the villages for livestock, goods, and people to ransom (or for women and children, enslaved or sacrificed). Armies often consisted of anywhere from a few dozen to up to a thousand warriors, with numbers usually falling on the lower end. The commanders of the armies were often sons and brothers of the prince of whatever city sent them out, with rulers rarely taking the field due to fear of assassination. Each side usually mutually avoided battles but often challenged the opponents to ritual combats or most frequently engaged in small scale ambushes.

    During the 11th century, the population density and increasing social complexity eroded this older system. Army sizes swelled and city-states became able to field forces of over two thousand men. Mercenary bands thrived more than ever before, allowing limited warfare to take place into the winter months. Rulers decided to lead their forces into the field more often to prove their strength to their subjects. Raiding parties of a few dozen to a few hundred people still served as the basis for Fusanian warfare, although in this era the raiders often attached themselves to a larger army.

    Weapons

    Fusanian weaponry incorporated a variety of ranged and melee weapons made from a range of materials. They ranged from peasant weapons simple in design to extremely elaborate yet still functional. The most common weapon by far were war clubs made from a sturdy wood or whalebones, typically wielded by peasants, with spears and daggers coming in as a close second. For ranged weapons, the bow held supremacy and was used by both nobles and peasants alike.

    Much as elsewhere in society, nobles held the responsibility for equipping their followers with proper weapons, a role they kept even after the rise of powerful city-state princes. Nobles who failed to uphold this role saw their commoner and poorer noble followers leave and the noble further impoverished. Noble households thus purchased a wide variety of weapons and often maintained private arsenals although just as often allowed gifted followers their own weapons. At times this resulted in even peasants owning high-quality weapons, while other times peasants went to battle with poor-quality or even improvised weapons.

    Fusanian soldiers usually brought knives and daggers with them as well. They used these weapons in close-quarters or when forced to drop their other weapons. Many Fusanians took great pride and care in their knives, and even poor Fusanians often owned metal knives with well-decorated hilts. A common idiom in many cultures, "His knife is very fancy," meant the man in question took extensive pride in being a warrior to various degrees of sarcasm.

    By the 12th century, the typical war club evolved into various sorts of war axes and maces with their blades and spikes made from flint, obsidian, jade, or copper. These spiked clubs and axes dealt vicious wounds and blunt trauma to the foe in the hands of a skilled user. The dagger-axe, a popular Fusanian weapon amongst nobles, also appeared in this period.

    The materials used for the weapons told much about the user. Wealthy men or those who followed generous men used exclusively metal points for their spears as well as axes, typically arsenical bronze made at famed metalworking centers like Pasnomsono and more locally Khant'aqan-Nts'amkinkwi, and Anecho. Occasionally they substituted it for an expensive stone like jade, although by this era jade became increasingly relegated to ceremonial roles. The distinction was greatest on the Imaru Plateau, where the rarity of wood like cedar or coastal products like whalebone allowed nobles to show off their wealth on the battlefield. Poorer men on the other hand used simple copper weapons or more often those of obsidian.

    Warriors used several types of ranged weaponry, most commonly the bow but also other weapons such as slings, javelins, and atlatls [1]. Simple crossbows were occasionally used on the battlefield as well, but usually reserved for fortification defense. Ranged weapons varied by ethnic group--west of the Grey Mountains they preferred recurved bows made from woods like Pacific yew, but on the Imaru Plateau the style in the 12th century shifted to composite bows made from maple or Imaru oak and the horns and sinews of reindeer.

    Typically they crafted projectile points for their arrows and atlatl darts from obsidian, but by the 12th century wealthier men began shooting arrows with copper tips. While obsidian could be flaked into nearly any shape, the use of copper enabled more refined and consistent points that could be used for any number of circumstances on the battlefield. They typically made the shafts of arrows and darts from the wood of the serviceberry bush (Amelanchier alnifolia), harvested from the woodlands maintained around villages.

    Although Fusanians knew of iron, the extremely small quantities obtained from Asian shipwrecks or traded across the Ringitanian Strait kept use of this metal unheard of in warfare. Fusanians associated iron with the sea and in particular shipbuilding thus used most of their iron in the form of adzes and other woodworking tools. However, the Atkh warlord Sachaqiha of Timhimha, son and successor of the feared warlord Kawadinak, is recorded as owning an iron axe he used in naval battles, but this is used in stories as a way to describe both his wealth gained from raiding and his immense greed.

    Armour

    Fusanian armour is an ancient tradition dating back millennia before agriculture or animal domestication emerged in the region. From the earliest times, wealthier warriors equipped themselves with breastplates and helmets made from sturdy hardwoods, wearing this armour over coats of elk and reindeer leather. Armour such as this continued throughout the first millennia in Fusania and continued to be worn amongst the leaders of many Hillmen groups like the Grey Mountains Dena.

    By the Late Chalcolithic, Fusanian armour styles were changing. Wooden armour fell out of fashion entirely on the Plateau and elsewhere became increasingly associated with poorer men and barbarians. The dominant form of armour switched to scale armour sewn together from pieces of boiled leather and metal plates. The armour of the wealthiest men used many more scales than the armour of poorer men.

    The cylindrical, head-obscuring helmets popular in early times likewise fell out of fashion in this era except amongst the Coastmen. The popular helmets in this era were typically pyramidal in shape with four points on the side and one point on the top, hence their common nickname "five-pointed helmet". They allowed friend and foe alike to see the wearer's face (although still protected with guards across the nose, forehead, and cheeks), an innovation perhaps meant so that the user's warpaint was more apparent. Typically these helmets were sewn together from pieces of leather and copper.

    Many Fusanian soldiers such as the famed pananikinsh of Wayam carried shields into battle with them, usually made of a wood like alder or willow although some warriors carried shields of heavier woods like cedar or oak. Usually these shields were tall and rectangular, and for the wealthy overlain with copper for additional protection, although for most the copper only covered the center of the shield.

    Skirmishers and other light infantry who needed to be quick moving mostly abandoned armour in this period as their roles became distinctive. They wore a simple leather breastplate over hempen tehi robes or even lighter armours made from quilted or padded tehi. If they wore a helmet, then they wore a simple leather cap that lacked the elaborate construction of the five-pointed helmet. In the hotter summers of the Imaru Plateau, some skimirshers occasionally wore no armour at all.

    A few soldiers wore barely any clothing at all or fought completely naked. As even the poorest peasant marched to war wearing some clothing, these men abandoned clothing at the calling of their guardian spirit. They believed they had spiritual protection in battle in lieu of physical protection. Other men cast off their armour in the midst of battle to fight mostly or entirely naked, once again at the calling of their spirits.

    Tactics

    Fusanian armies divided themselves into ranged troops, light infantry, and heavy infantry. Unlike Old World armies with chariots and cavalry, the Fusanians lacked animals suited for the cavalry role leading their armies being all-infantry. Still, the distinction between these three types of soldiers and increasing deployment of large armies combining all three types led to great innovation in tactics, in particular the mid and late 12th century.

    The large armies at the start of this era began marching in more and more complex formations, leading to the shieldwall becoming the dominant tactic in Fusania. These shieldwalls were capable of repelling concerted heavy infantry assaults and even ambushes, so long as they were properly screened by ranged troops. Against the prior form of warfare which dominated, a style based on individual glory and heroics, shieldwalls proved devastating in the hands of a skilled commander. Lesser warriors greatly enjoyed the shieldwall as well, for it gave them confidence in numbers and allowed them a chance to kill veteran soldiers with ease.

    Commanders almost always led from the rear, delegating local order to their sons or ambitious young noblemen, with the exception being if the commander himself was a young man. They signalled using drums, rattles, and smoke, although these signals were a haphazard and unstandardised affair. Personal standards were occasionally used by individual units, which varied in size from 20 to over a hundred men. These standards belonged to the noble (or nobles) responsible for the unit and usually bore a collection of family and clan crests.

    Q'mitlwaakutl of Wayam is traditionally credited with inventing the shieldwall in Fusania, but it seems likely he innovated on pre-existing tactics as depictions of shieldwalls occur in art throughout Fusania during the early decades of the 12th century. The most notable of these (and almost certain to be a shieldwall) is the fragmentory Seq'amin Tapestry which dates to about 1115. Meant to celebrate Kawadinak of Tinhimha's victory over the siyams of Seq'amin, a portion of this tapestry depicts the defenders of the city marching with interlocked shields where they are shot with arrows from the trees attacking forces of Tinhimha.

    Owing to the lack of cavalry, light infantry and skirmishers performed much the same roles as cavalry did in the Old World. These soldiers scouted the land, conducted ambushes, chased down enemies, and most importantly, flanked them. Soldiers meant for flanking wore little (or even no) clothing or armour, often only carrying a light shield and a sturdy weapon. Warbands of these men picked at enemy flanks in ambush and clashed with skirmishers on the other side. Although some commanders like Q'mitlwaakutl are documented as having drilled their men into being able to rapidly reform a collapsing shieldwall, typically soldiers lacked the flexibility to do so. A collapsing shieldwall thus almost always routed.

    Ambushes still played an important role in warfare, although no longer was it the dominant strategy. Utilising the many forests and cliffs of Fusania, large forces might be hidden throughout and set upon the enemy as they approached. Archers atop coulees and canyons would rain death upon enemies passing through. Commanders counted this by deploying many scouting and foraging parties to search these places and keep the enemy from setting up at a good location.

    While shieldwalls dominated, shock tactics, like the famous White Robes of T'kuyatum and units inspired by them (who often dressed similarly) remained important early in the period and even well into it. These heavy infantry operated on the flanks and especially led ambushes, striking in small groups to disrupt enemy skirmishers and shieldwalls alike, using superior skills and equipment to drive off larger groups with inferior numbers. A well-motivated and disciplined force of heavy infantry charging into a shieldwall as a wedge served as a risky but effective counter to shieldwall tactics. Such tactics became most notably associated with the Wakashans and other Coastmen who used it to great effect in numerous battles.

    In a typical battle, the shieldwalls anxiously circled each other to look for an opening, monitering their flanks for enemy infantry as well as enemy archers. Some impetuous warriors ran out in front and shouted insults and boasts meant to challenge enemies to single combat. These single combats served as hints of what was to come, with the victor falling back into their ranks. When they sighted a weak point created by the skirmishers or archers (or more rarely, heavy infantry), the shieldwall infantry advanced and focused on the enemy weak point, with some among them throwing spears before they charged. The shieldwalls pushed and pushed against each other, occasionally slowly disengaging should they not break through in which case they'd manuever again to look for a weak point. Battles might last hours until one side broke through or retreated.

    When a shieldwall collapsed, the victorious forces chased them down and generally killed every warrior they could, although often nobles or other commanders were taken captive for ransom. However, more limited warfare did exist and often found during civil wars, in which case the slaughter of the fleeing enemy was kept to a minimum. Occasionally the rout might be avoided by a skilled commander who would reform the shieldwall, often with a defensive circular formation. Last stands were common as soldiers fought to protect their comrades or resisted until the end at the request of their guardian spirits.

    Organisation

    The works of later Fusanian historians like Gaiyuchul of Katlamat and Nch'iyaka of Wapaikht describe precise and skilled arrangement of armies centuries before either men were born. While the military organisation in their times does hold its deepest roots in the Late Chalcolithic, organisation was far more adhoc in that era. The common groups of 20 men, 400 men, or 2,000 men simply were not present in that era in the forms they appeared in the 15th century.

    Typically, nobles, including city-state rulers, organised raids and warfare on behalf of themselves and their followers. Often bands of nobles petitioned their ruler to raid a rival village, or in some cases completely ignored the ruler. These nobles gathered together their household as well as peasants and other followers with the promise of fortune and plunder both during the campaign and after in the form of potlatches to be held later in the year. This served as a powerful incentive for the many poor of Fusania to join these campaigns.

    Equipped by themselves or by their nobles, soldiers separated into groups based on their skill with various weapons. A man known as a good hunter with a bow usually served as an archer, and this man's kin usually also served as archers. Usually men with related guardian spirits fought alongside each other as it was commonly believed their spirits synergised increasing their fighting prowess physical and spiritual. Just as common however was an assignment based on clan and moeity, where a given number of men of related kinship from either moeity fought in a particular group, once again for spiritual reasons.

    Men fought in units between 20 and 100 men, usually favouring the larger number. A noble captain commanded these units, usually the one with the most wealth and prestige. Typically the captain fought at the back of the unit with the older men, with the most skilled warriors (usually ambitious younger noblemen) in the front ranks and other soldiers in the middle. Key in importance was the man who carried standards of the unit which were used for signaling. Should he or the captain fall in battle, the unit typically routed and proved almost impossible to reform.

    Logistics and Transportation

    As the only animals large enough to support a rider were the largest reindeer and moose, and riding on these animals unknown in the Late Chalcolithic, Fusanian armies manuevered around on foot or by canoe. All armies equipped scouts and raiding parties with canoes typically a bit under 4 meters long and built from bark, cedar, and willow. They carried five men each (sometimes more in some areas) as well as baggage or even animals. These canoes allowed for long-range and rapid raids on enemy lines as well as highly effective scouting along the rivers and streams of Fusania.

    The key animal of logistics was the reindeer as pack reindeer carried 50 kg of supplies on average. Most raiding parties brought along a reindeer (often belonging to the nobleman in charge). Larger forces relied on several reindeer to carry food, drink, and other supplies necessary for lengthy campaigning.

    The towey goat always held a place next to the reindeer in logistics. Even the name assigned in English "towey"--assigned by early English colonists in the Americas based on an Algonquian term for the animal [2]--recalls the word "tow" (hence the English name). Although towey goats carried little weight thanks to their weak physique relative to dogs or reindeer, they carried enough for the peasant villages who went to war with an individual goat carrying up to 20 kilograms.

    Other animals supplemented for reindeer, especially amongst groups like the Valley Tanne who bred large dogs to supplement their reindeer and large towey goats. Such dogs held the blood of South Fusanian breeds who were bred similarly, and the goats were among the largest towey goat breeds. They performed well with the tasks given to them, although they were disdained by rulers who owned enough reindeer to substitute.

    Acorns and pine nuts held crucial importance as campaign foods. Acorns (almost always of the Imaru oak except among some southerly groups) were shelled, processed, and cooked in the field by soldiers or camp followers and provided a nutritious meal in the form of a simple flatbread, often mixed with fish or game scout parties foraged. Pine nuts were similar in this role. Large baskets of both were placed on the back of animals or human porters. Dried camas and omodaka gave an additional dimension to campaign food. As for meat, pemmican in the form of reindeer, salmon, goat, or waterfowl mixed with various berry crops often accompanied warriors.

    Fortifications and Siege Warfare

    North Fusania historically was among the most fortified regions in the world, with walls and all manner of fortifications existing for thousands of years before animal domestication or agriculture. Very few villages lacked fortifications, aside from those in the most secure parts of the land. These fortifications spread far to the south as well as inland during the Fusanian Neolithic (300 - 800) and radiated into innumerable forms based on local needs and geography as well as cultural expression. Concurrent with this evolution came a number of siege warfare methods that likewise radiated into many forms to capture these fortifications.

    The most common form of fortification in Fusania were wooden palisades and watchtowers. These gave archers a place to watch for and shoot enemy raiding parties as well as make taking the village a costly exercise. Naturally, these mostly worked to slow down enemy raiding parties so that the village might awaken to fight them or otherwise call for help. Because of the widespread nature of these simple fortifications, the most common tools for sieges were ropes and ladders used by attackers to scale simple walls like this. Often raiders scaled the walls at night and took the village by surprise, using the watchtowers as signals for their allies.

    Larger communities relied on other means of defense. They built taller and thicker palisades and dug trenches at the base. Rings of earthen walls surrounded these sites, and often the palisade sat atop an earthen wall. The walls themselves became larger too, large enough to stand on in some cases. Fusanian skill at earthwork construction enabled construction of elaborate moats around these communities.

    By the Late Chalcolithic, several large and rich cities possessed walls of stone, usually mixed with layers of wood and dirt as further fortification and just as importantly minimise the earthquake risk. Men might stand atop these walls and shoot arrows at attacking enemies while the interiors of towers on these walls held niches for soldiers to shoot out from or pour burning pitch on enemy attackers.

    The exteriors of these walls tended to be colourfully painted and carved with murals and reliefs describing the history of the city (including its place during mythological ages), its ruling dynasty, and many boasts about the city using a highly stylised sort of totem writing that often totally lost its semasiographic principles and blended into pure art and abstraction. Typically at least a few high totem poles stood from these walls further elaborating stories, histories, and boasts. If taken by an enemy, many times conquerers and raiders forced cities to tear down these totem poles or scrub their walls clean, a symbol of subjugation.

    Attackers