The Count of Years : 10    [ Commentary ] [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]

The rise of Cuzei / Lâsias Cuêzayeē

Cayenas changes hands

When Līxiruitas took his army south, he left the cities of Cayenas with few defenders. After two years, some of the Metailō from the cities came to Zeuseugo, the duke of Davūr, and told him, --O duke, the Cuzeians have taken their army away-- no one knows where, but the cities of Cayenas are undefended! Come against them with an army, and we will make sure their gates open for you.

Zeuseugo rewarded these men. Then he raised an army from among his lords, and besieged Colsindas and Cantiego.

The lords of these cities sent riders to the other Cuzeian kingdoms. The first to receive them was Itīrante, duke of Dunōmeyū. They told him, --O great duke, our cities are under siege, and our duke is far away. In Iáinos's name, send riders to defend us!

Itīrante replied, --If you trust in Iáinos, perhaps Iáinos will send his own armies to save you. If you trust in me, however, I will gladly assist you, so that no Cuzeian city falls back into the hands of the Metailō.

--We gladly put our trust in you, said the messengers, only please come quickly to defend our cities.

He therefore took a large force of swordsmen, spearmen, and riders, and rode north to Cayenas. He found the army of Zeuseugo besieging Colsindas. He left the foot soldiers to fight this army, and they drove it away with great bloodshed. Meanwhile he rode north to Cantiego, where his horsemen surprised the besiegers. Many of them were killed in their camp, before they had even put on weapons, and the rest fled as best as they could back to Davūr.

The men of Cayenas said to him, --Iáinos has given you a great victory! Whatever you ask of our duke, he will give it to you, when he returns.

--I don't want anything besides what I have, said Itīrante. And what I have is your three cities, Osuripoli, Colsindas, and Cantiego.

The men of Cayenas were unhappy at this; but they had been saved from the Metailō, and they had few armed men, and their lord Līxiruitas was far away, and too ill to fight. They had no choice but to swear allegiance to Itīrante.

In the third year after this, Līxiruitas died in the Glade of our ancestor Árrasos, and Līxielâsas became duke of Tevarē. Following his promise to his father, he founded the city of the House of Árrasos to be his capital, and that of all the dukes to follow him.

The pride of Itīrante

Itīrante now ruled a great territory along the Cayenas, from Cantiego to Araunicoros; only a few cities, including Nandaros and Comex, were held by his brother Îcecêlos.

Hearing of the conquest of Cayenas, a delegation of Metailo lords came to the duke, and said, --O great duke, wherever your people have gone, ours have been defeated; our gods, the mountains and lakes, are powerless to defeat you. Now that you have defeated both Metailō and Cuzeians, we see that you are strongest of all. Why should we not worship you as a god? We will build temples to you and pray to you; in return we ask only for your favor and protection, as the strongest god in Cēradānar.

Itīrante was pleased by this, and gave permission to the Metailō to worship him as a god. They therefore built temples to him, and prayed to him and offered sacrifices.

When the Knowers heard this, they were enraged, and came to see the duke. They said, --Some prideful demon, an ally of Amnās, has taken over your spirit, and rides on top of it as a man rides a horse! The Metailō were ready to give up their gods; you should have sent them to us, to teach them to know Iáinos!

--If they wanted to know Iáinos, they would have come to you, said Itīrante. But they came to me, because I had the victory in the north.

--You have horses, but you are not a god, said the Knowers. This is unheard-of foolishness, that a man be worshipped as a god! You are a creature made of flesh and water and excrement, made inside your mother's womb just sixty years ago. How do you compare yourself to Iáinos, who is of spirit only, and created this world and everything in it, through Eīledan, more than 30,000 years ago? Do you think you can create a world, or moons to guard it? Do you think you can bind Amnās, or give orders to an Einalandāua? Can you make even one creature, or even a bucketful of rock? Can you even make it rain, or heal sickness, or grant visions, or turn a heavenly messenger into a scroll and back? If you persist in this foolishness, don't be surprised when the anger of Iáinos reaches you!

Itīrante laughed. --If you yourselves know Iáinos, call down his anger on me right now! Can Iáinos prevent catastrophe from coming upon you, right now?

He took out his sword, and immediately killed three of the Knowers.

--If Iáinos has more power than I do, he's welcome to act! said Itīrante. Let him do so by rescuing the rest of you from prison.

And he had his men of arms take the rest of the Knowers to prison.

When news of this reached the Cuzeians, many were angry at the duke, and frightened that Iáinos would act against them because of his foolishness. Therefore more than ten thousand of them rose against Itīrante under the prince Xrātibrexos, and fought with men loyal to the duke.

During this struggle, a force of these men broke into Itīrante's prison, and rescued the Knowers.

As they left, the head of the Knowers sent a messenger to Itīrante, saying, --You see, Iáinos has rescued us, by the hand of those loyal to him. Iáinos does not act, but dreams. His desires are executed by Eīledan, but also by the Guardians, by the iliū, and by men loyal to him. He even has ways to use fools like you who have become his enemies. Don't think that your foolish atheism has made you victorious over him. Your destruction has already been prepared.

There was civil war in the duchy of Metayu, for more than eight years. Finally Itīrante and Îcecêlos came to an agreement, and fought together against Xrātibrexos and the Cuzeians who were loyal to Iáinos, and drove them out of Metayu.

The fall of Itīrante

Itīrante was now 70 years old, and his pride was as strong as ever. But his back was bent, and his sword arm was weak.

He had two sons, Manimedas and Murgemedas, but he was unable to decide which of them should be duke after him.

--O father, you are old, and the people are restless, knowing that you have not chosen which of us should follow you, said Manimedas. Perhaps we should fight to see which of us is stronger? Or ask Iáinos to choose.

--Don't talk to me about Iáinos, said Itīrante. I'm the only god in this duchy. And aren't you being forward, my sons? Gods don't die, do they?

--Of course we wish you to live forever, said Murgemedas. But if you don't, will your men of arms follow sons who have never received your blessing, and haven't had any experience ruling? Your duchy will fall to the sons of Îcecêlos. Why not give us each a small realm, no more than two cities. We will be accustomed to ruling, and as well, you will be able to judge which of us rules better.

This idea pleased Itīrante, and he gave Cantiego and Colsindas to Murgemedas to rule, and Araunicoros and Comex to Manimedas. He continued to rule in Dunōmeyū as well as Uruyas and Osuripoli, and the sons of Îcecêlos held Nandaros and the highlands to the east.

Once they ruled their cities, however, his sons won the loyalty of the lords, and paid little attention to their father.

After three years, Itīrante sent messengers to his sons, saying, --O sons, do not forget that I am judging your fitness to rule. Come to Dunōmeyū with tribute and with parades of men of arms; whoever can present me with greater tribute is certainly worthy to rule after me.

Manimedas and Murgemedas came to Dunōmeyū and presented their father with the fruits of their rule, gold and silver, horses and olives and timber and wine. They gave their father a great feast; but they made sure that the amount each one presented was the same.

--O my sons, I am pleased with your loyalty and with the success of your rule. You have each given me the same amount, however, so that it is difficult to choose between you. I will decide in the morning.

After saying this, he fell asleep, because he was drunk. His sons then stood up and killed him, using his own sword.

Manimedas and Murgemedas divided his lands and his lords between them. They could not agree on who would rule in Dunōmeyū, so they divided the Houses belonging to the city, and declared themselves co-dukes there. They ruled in peace for three years.

Then Manimedas brought his army from Araunicoros, and closed the gates of Dunōmeyū against his brother. Murgemedas was angry, and brought his army to make war against his brother. There was civil war for three years between the two of them; in the third year the sons of Îcecêlos joined the war, coming against Araunicoros and burning it to the ground.

The cities of Cayenas had been left almost without defenders, because Murgemedas had taken his army to the south, and thousands of Cuzeians loyal to Iáinos had left because of the atheism of Itīrante. The Cazinorō perceived this, and rode into Cayenas and captured Colsindas and Osuripoli. Cantiego resisted them, but they besieged it, and it surrendered the following year.

The Cazinorō also besieged Nandaros, but it resisted them for many months. When they finally captured it, they were so angry that they utterly destroyed the city.

They also captured Comex, where they took up the worship of the Metailo gods, and thus won the support of the people there.

The sons of Itīrante and the sons of Îcecêlos continued to fight; but the lords tired of all of them. The lord of the Nimoicū, Mûstibliciu, heard of this, and sent his own army to besiege the city. At night, the Cuzeian lords opened the gates to him, and he sent his army in to take the city. Manimedas was killed in his palace, and Murgemedas was killed the next day, as his army fought with the army of Mûstibliciu.

Once he was in control of Dunōmeyū, most of the lords accepted Mûstibliciu as their duke. He told them, --All this trouble has come to you because your dukes turned against Iáinos, persecuted the Knowers, and thought of themselves as gods.

In this way the duchy of Metayu ended, and Mûstibliciu established a new duchy, Dācuas. He invited the Knowers back to teach the people to know Iáinos. Many people returned to him, but others continued to worship Metailo or Cazinoro gods.

The conquest of Nayas

When Xrātibrexos and his men loyal to Iáinos were driven from Dunōmeyū, they rode to the Isrēica. They came to Raviecadas, son of Līxielâsas, the duke of Tevarē, and to Samocêlas the son of Yeremizos, the duke of Eleisa, asking for land to settle.

The dukes gave them land, but the best lands had already been given to the lords of the Calēsiōre and Lēiviōre, and some of the Xrātibrexigō were dissatisfied. Still, they lived on their lands as best they could for many years. During this time Xrātibrexos died, and he was succeeded as lord by his son Xrāticūnas.

After the fall of Metayu, the prophet Ambecālu began to speak to the lords, saying, --The sons of Inibē rejected Iáinos and set themselves up as gods; and they have been destroyed. Those loyal to Iáinos, the Xrātibrexigō, have come here and received lands, and you distributed wheat to them, even before they helped with the growing of it. Are you pleased with your justice?

The lords answered that they were.

--Then don't be! continued the prophet. Look at how you treated these men who fought the atheists and rescued the Knowers of Dunōmeyū. You gave them Houses in the mountains, or far out on the plains in places without water, or you sliced out tiny spots along the river covered with forest! Is this generosity or justice? Was this how Iáinos treated you? Of course not; he gave you this entire land, and you were able to choose the richest portions of it for yourselves!

The lords replied, --Well, what should we do? Do you want us to give up our own houses and lands so that these strangers can live here?

Ambecālu said, --If that's what Ulōne prompts you to do! But don't you see another way? Your fathers conquered the valley of the Isrēica; but is all of Cēradānar in the hands of our people? Don't the heirs of Balūniu still sit in safety in their stronghold of Nayas, worshipping mountains and rivers, and laughing at the Cuzeians who fight among themselves and have never been able to take their city?

The prophet travelled up and down the land, speaking to the lords as well as to the Xrātibrexigō. Finally Ulōne gave him the power of persuasion, and all agreed that Nayas should be taken by the Cuzeians.

An army was assembled, four thousand men led by duke Raviecadas of Tevarē, four thousand led by duke Samocêlas of Eleisa, and eight thousand led by Xrāticūnas the son of Xrātibrexos. They were also accompanied by one thousand horsemen of the Nimoicū. The army set out for Nayas in the 78th year of Eleisa.

The Metailo duke of Ocayami was Xarinen. Xarinen did not fear the Cuzeians; they had not taken his city in the first years of conquest, and since then they had not even attempted to come against him. Further, he had horses and chariots, and even Cuzeian riders: Inibēigo who had drifted into the city after Mûstibliciu's victory and Lovitrui he paid to fight for him.

When he heard that the Cuzeians were coming, then, he did not hesitate or stay in his city, but took his own army and marched to meet them. The two armies met at Rêstirōpas field, about fifteen lests from Nayas. Xarinen had more than ten thousand spearmen, as well as two thousand of his own horsemen and four thousand Lovitrui.

Xarinen stood in front of his army and said, --Cuzeians, you repeat the errors of your fathers, coming against a city which you know cannot be taken! I have no need to hide and avoid battle; I eagerly seek it! Look on these fruit trees, the last men see before the endless grassy plains; they are also the last trees for you, for this is the field of your death.

Samocêlas answered, --Metailo duke, you waste your breath! Has there been a single Cuzeian army which was frightened off by mere words? Iáinos has given us all of this land; because you are in a far and poor corner of it, you've enjoyed a respite which you mistook for a victory. If you put down your arms now we will show you mercy; but my own wish is that you do not, so that all Cēradānar will hear of our destruction of you!

Before he had even finished speaking, the Metailō all shouted, and advanced across the field. Xarinen had placed his spearmen in the middle, with the Lovitrui to his right and his own horses to the left. The Cuzeian left was formed by the Nimoicū, with the Eleitan and Tevarēilo spearmen in the center, and the Xrātibrexigō to the right, supported by the Eleitan and Tevarēilo cavalry, which was led by Lanetio the son of Samocêlas.

The Metailō advanced together with great discipline, and the Lovitrui rode in a circle to catch the Nimoicū on their left flank. The Nimoicū were caught between the cavalry and the advancing spearmen, and they broke in disorder, and rode away, hoping to regroup. The Cuzeian spearmen on the left flank were now outnumbered and outflanked by the Metailō, and their line broke as well. Most of them dropped their shields and ran, pursued by the Metailō. Those who stayed to fight were cut down, including Samocêlas, the duke of Eleisa.

On the right side the Metailo cavalry was met by the Cuzeian horsemen under Lanetio, who chased them off the field to the right. The Xrātibrexigō moved to the right, hoping to outflank their enemies. Xrāticūnas ordered them to form a new line, in the shape of a U, so that his men were sideways to their original formation. Now they advanced straight across the battlefield, just as the Metailō and the Lovitrui were returning from chasing the rest of the Cuzeian army off the field. The Metailō and Lovitrui were now in disorder, and not expecting a new attack, especially one from the side. Therefore they were killed in great numbers by the advancing Xrātibrexigō.

Xarinen himself, and his great lords, were killed in the battle. Seeing this, the captain of the Lovitrui realized that his men would not be paid; therefore he ordered his men to ride quickly to Nayas and plunder the city before the Cuzeians could arrive there.

Indeed, when the Cuzeian army rode into Nayas the next day, the Lovitrui were gone, the citizens had been robbed, and their houses were on fire. The Cuzeian army helped put out the fires and restore order. At the same time Lanetio and the cavalry rode after the Lovitrui, and caught them on the plains south of the Cayenas, where they defeated them and forced them to return the plunder they were carrying. They brought it back to the city and ordered it returned to its owners.

The chief citizens of Nayas came to the Cuzeians and said, --We expected conquerors, but you have acted as rulers, assisting the people of our city and rescuing our property from our own mercenaries, the Lovitrui, who plundered us. O Cuzeians, our duke and many of our lords are dead; take their places and be our protectors and rulers, and we will accept you as our masters, and your gods as our own.

Xrāticūnas now became the duke of Nayas, and the Xrātibrexigō stayed with him. The Eleitans and Tevarēilō returned to their lands. Since Samocêlas had died in battle, Lanetio became the duke of Eleisa.

The sharing of wheat

In the fifth year of his reign, the 78th year of Eleisa, there was a famine in the south of the duchy. There was little rain, and the wheat shriveled and died in the fields. When the fall came, the people had almost nothing to eat. Many of the people wandered the roads, looking for anything to eat. When they found Houses which had stored grain, they came upon the stewards in gangs and stole it. Because of this, the Houses set armed men to watch over the granaries and keep people from stealing it.

Vexilerias, the Knower of the Glade of Eleisa, came to Lanetio and said, --Didn't you know that there's a famine in the land?

-- Certainly I did, said Lanetio. I have had to send armed men to the south, to protect the granaries of Houses which have grain.

--Do you call that listening to Ulōne? asked Vexilerias. The people are starving, and you send riders to keep them from eating!

--But what should I do? Do you want me to let them steal the grain?

--If a Lord has grain and the people are starving for want of it, he is responsible for their deaths. Is theft worse than murder?

Lanetio was touched in his liver by these words. He called his Council together, and told them what Vexilerias had said.

--When the lives of the people are in danger, whoever does not help has condemned them to death, he said. Now, some of the Houses have no grain, and others have grain, or other food. Now, let each House keep only the seed grain for the next year; the rest should be brought to Norunayas, and distributed to the Houses which have no grain. No one is exempt from this law, not even my own House, or the fields of the Knowers.

It was done as the duke commanded, and the duke himself travelled to Norunayas to oversee the distribution of wheat. He also traded wood from his own forests to the duke of Sūās for more wheat to feed the people.

In this way the people were fed. Before the next planting, duke Lanetio called all the Lords together and said, --The Lords defend the people and the Knowers teach us to know Iáinos; but of what use are either of these if the people die of hunger? This must not happen again. Every House must organize the growing and harvesting of wheat, and build a granary to hold the harvested grain. A portion will also be sent to Eleisa, where it will be kept for times of hunger. If any House cannot feed the people from its granary, we will send it grain from the storehouses of Eleisa; and if these are exhausted, let the Houses which have grain send more.

Since that time, the growing and harvesting of grain has been the responsibility of the entire community, so that Cuzeians will never go hungry, nor have to steal food to eat, nor have to set armed guards to prevent others from eating.

The formation of Cuzei - Southern version

After three years, Raviecadas died, and his son Ravixuo became duke of Tevarē. Ravixuo was a strong warrior, who had led a company of horsemen at the battle of Rêstirōpas. He married lady Amīsia of the House of Mitanocoros, and she bore three children, Oleniōre, Gūrexivio, and Têllêisomâ.

However, Gūrexivio died when he was five, and Amīsia bore no more boys. His lords told him, --Duke Ravixuo, you have no sons, and your brother Ravicêlas has no sons either; don't neglect your wife, because this is of great importance to the future of the duchy.

But Ravixuo told them, --What do you think I can do that I'm not doing? Wait a little, and you'll see that the duchess has another son.

Amīsia prayed to Ulōne every day till the end of her life, but she bore no more sons. In the eighteenth year of his reign, while still a vigorous man, Ravixuo was struck down by a bleeding disease, and died.

He had no sons, and his brother Ravicêlas had no sons; it was not the custom of the Lēiviorē to search more remotely than that. Therefore Oleniōre became duchess of Tevarē. She was nineteen years old, and very beautiful, with long dark hair arranged in curls. She was calm and dignified, an excellent rider, accomplished with the bow, and devoted to knowing Eīledan.

Her chief counselor was her uncle Ravicêlas. When she had been duchess for a year, he told her, --O Duchess, you know that the chief duties of a duke are to lead the army in war, and in peacetime to judge disputes, ensure that the people have wheat to eat and know Eīledan. But all this is in vain if there is no heir to carry on the lineage.

--I know all that, said Oleniōre, but I have no husband, and I am not eager to have one!

--You can wait, but don't wait like your father; he lived more than fifty years and had no son to survive him. Now, there are two sorts of husband you can seek. First, you can marry one of the lords of Tevarē. You will reign together, and your son will be duke of Tevarē, and accounted the heir of the Lēiviorē in every way.

--And the second?

--The second way is to marry a foreign prince or duke. If Iáinos wills, this will unite two realms, and your son will rule a larger realm, and have greater glory. Now Lanetio the duke of Eleisa died four years ago; his son Ximāuro is now the duke, and unmarried; he is handsome, brave, and intelligent. If our realms were united, a great nation would be formed along the Isrēica. The other possibility is Xrātimedas, the son of Xrāticūnas, duke of Nayas. Xrātimedas is handsome, bold, and strong, and he will become duke when his father dies. If our realm is united with his, we will control a good portion of the south of Cēradānar-- and perhaps soon more, because together we would be much stronger than Dācuas.

--What should I do? asked Oleniōre. I don't want to marry anyone!

--You are the duchess, and you must decide, said Ravicêlas. But perhaps before you make any decisions, you should meet the young lords of our duchy, and these two foreign lords.

Oleniōre therefore asked each of the dukes to see her in the House of Árrasos. The first to come, in six months' time, was Xrātimedas, duke of Nayas. He stayed in a palace in the city, and he and the duchess exchanged dinners and gifts, and worshipped together in the Glade. She rode with him to see the lands and cities of the duchy, from the mountains to the forests, meeting the lords. After a week he was to return to Nayas.

--I am enchanted by your proposal, said Xrātimedas. Your land is rich and green, full of prosperous cities and fertile fields. My duchy is not as rich, though we have fine and plentiful horses, but our men of arms are stronger, and remember combat against the pagans. What a powerful country this would be, if properly managed by a strong duke! The Nimoicū in between our duchies could be impressed into loyalty, or reduced to submission, and with their support, what couldn't we accomplish? Why shouldn't we then conquer the babblers who rule Cayenas? Our sons could conquer Dācuas and Agimbār! Speak to your counselors, O Oleniōre; but I'm certain that they will welcome a strong ruler once again in the land of Lēivio. Don't delay too long!

After this, he returned to his duchy.

Six months later the Apēripomi invaded across the mountains, burning farms and stealing silver, jewels, and weaponry. The Cuzeians of Tevarē and Eleisa worked together to drive them out, to pursue them over the mountains and inflict a great defeat on them. Duke Ximāuro led the northern armies, while the riders of Tevarē were commanded by Duchess Oleniōre, with the assistance of her uncle Ravicêlas. In these battles Oleniōre rode at the front of her army, and bore a sword and fought like a man, winning the respect of southerners and northerners alike.

After the Apēripomi had been defeated, Ximāuro came to the House of Árrasos and stayed in the guest palace. He and the Oleniōre offered each other dinners and gifts, saw performances of music, poetry, and dancing, and worshipped in the Glade. They rode together to see the lands and meet its lords. They also rode to the Lake of Mists, because Ximāuro wanted to see where Iriand and Alāna had lived, and where Denūra was raised. They met the iliū there, and heard stories from them about the creation of the world and the wars of the iliū and ktuvoks.

He invited Oleniōre to come to Eleisa, and after four months she visited him in that city. She stayed in a palace with an enormous courtyard full of columns, like a stone forest, and full of fountains. Ximāuro took her to see the Glade where Lerīmanio met the elcari, and where Rāviciu met Calēsias. During the nights there were dinners and performances; during the day they went riding or boating, or watched contests of archery and swordsmanship.

When she was about to leave for the south, Ximāuro said, --O duchess Oleniōre, I thank Eīledan for bringing you here; you are as courageous an ally as you are a lovely companion and a graceful rider. If Ulōne moves you to accept my suit, I would be delighted. The lines of Calēsias and Lēivio would be merged in us, and we would rule together over the greatest and richest of all lands of men. You have seen the gate where Iáinos spoke to my ancestor Calēsias and the iliū; how happy I would be for you and your descendants to share in that blessing! Now go and make your decision, and may Ulōne lead you to wisdom!

Oleniōre returned to the House of Árrasos, and consulted with her counselors, but she still had not determined to marry. During this time Ximāuro sent her messengers and presents, but she did not hear from Xrātimedas. After three months, however, she received a messenger from Xrātimedas, saying, --O duchess, are your counselors still delaying their decision? I bid them remember the greatness of the realm which the union of our lines would create. But let them decide quickly, for the duke of Dācuas has a daughter he has promised me.

Oleniōre was angry, and said to Ravicêlas, --O uncle, I am certain of one thing, this Xrātimedas is too proud, even insulting. He thinks that he only has to ask, and I will simply give him this realm; and he doesn't even ask me, but my counselors. And he doesn't even mention Eīledan; isn't his duchy still full of Metailō worshipping mountains and rivers?

--Very well, O Oleniōre. Will you marry Duke Ximāuro, then?

--Yes, I will.

The formation of Cuzei - Northern version

Lanetio ruled for nineteen years in Eleisa, a strong and just duke, knowing Iáinos.

When he died, in the 93rd year of Eleisa, his son Ximāuro became duke. When he had ruled for four years, there came news that Ravixuo the duke of Tevarē had died, with neither sons nor nephews to succeed him. He had no sons because he had neglected his wife, paying court instead to a Lady of the House of Mēsē Camminex. This lady bore him a son, Celōusio; but he could not be duke, because he wasn't borne by the duke's wife. When the duke died, the Lady's husband sent him away, since the duke could no longer protect him.

Ximāuro's counselors told him, -- Consider, Ravixuo's daughter Oleniōre has been named duchess. Hasn't Ulōne created this oportunity for our lineage? You haven't yet taken a wife, and she is a virgin, nineteen years of age, and said to be the most beautiful girl in Tevarē. If you take her as your wife, all of the Isrēica would be united. But act quickly, before she marries one of her own lords, or even a foreign ruler.

--But how will I persuade her? asked Ximāuro. Won't she prefer one of her own people?

--Bring her to Eleisa, suggested Lūvenūmio, the Knower of the Glade of Eleisa. The splendor of the city will easily convince her.

Ximāuro therefore sent a messenger to Oleniōre, asking her to come to Eleisa; but she was unwilling.

--If Iáinos desires it, there will be a way, said Ximāuro.

In the next year, Apēripomi from over the mountains raided the Houses of the west, causing great destruction. The Houses sent messengers to the duke, demanding help against the invaders.

A messenger from Lēsindas mentioned that the Apēripomi had invaded Tevarē as well. Ximāuro said to his counselors, --Iáinos has acted, giving us the opportunity to defend our realm, and also to make friends in the south.

He sent the messenger to the Duchess Oleniōre, offering help to repel the invaders. Oleniōre, who had never ridden to battle before, gladly accepted, and together they mustered an army: four thousand Eleitan horsemen led by the duke, and three thousand Tevarēilō commanded by the beautiful and brave Oleniōre. First they rode against the invaders, and chased them out of the land; then, to punish them, they pursued them into their own lands, all the way to their villages, killing many of them and burning their houses.

Ximāuro rode with Oleniōre back to the House of Árrasos, because a friendship had developed between them as they fought their enemies. Ximāuro told Lūvenūmio, --Truly, she is beautiful and enchanting, with long hair arranged in curls like black flowers, with dark shining eyes, and a virgin's high, proud breasts. At the same time she is brave and fearless, and loves Iáinos; she eagerly showed me the Glade of our father Árrasos, the treasure of the south. As well, the cities of Tevarē are rich, and the Houses fertile; surely Ulōne has been at work, preparing our two duchies for union.

He invited Oleniōre to Eleisa, and this time she accepted, coming by boat with a great retinue of servants and counselors, which were housed in the Palace of Columns. Ximāuro showed Oleniōre all the splendors of Eleisa, its palaces and fountains and the Glade which is the treasure of the north; he gave her many presents, gold rings from the smiths of Alaldas, jewels and iron swords from the elcari, furs from Sūās, pearls from Cayenas, blocks of marble from Poron to decorate her city. He also brought poets and dancers to entertain her, and musicians to sing songs flattering her.

He also showed her the granary of Eleisa, the size of a palace, filled with wheat. --O duchess, in this building we have enough grain to feed the duchy of Eleisa for a year, he said. The people may grow whatever crops they will; but all must help to grow wheat. In this way we ensure that everyone is fed, which pleases Iáinos, and we store extra grain against years of famine. This is the beginning of our prosperity, because grain is the foundation of the Houses.

By Ulōne's grace, Ximāuro pleased the duchess, and she agreed to be his wife.

The united kingdom

At the marriage of Ximāuro and Oleniōre, in the hundredth year of Eleisa, at the Glade of the House of Árrasos, their duchies were united. Lūvenūmio, the Knower of the Glade of Eleisa, blessed the union.

During the lifetime of Oleniōre, she and Ximāuro lived in Eleisa during the summers, and in the House of Árrasos during the winter. Oleniōre bore four healthy children, and their oldest son was Āneyinos.

In the fourth year of their reign, the Nimoicū rebelled against them, and rode against the cities of the Isrēica. This was the work of Xrātimedas, who had become duke when his father Xrāticūnas died. He was angry that Oleniōre had married Ximāuro and not himself. He had convinced the Nimoicū to abandon their alliance with the Calēsiorē and ally with himself instead; he told them that he was a masterful commander, and his riders the best in Cēradānar.

Ximāuro mustered his riders, more than ten thousand men, and met the Nimoicū outside Masāntie, where he defeated them, and killed their chieftain Sistebrexos.

Ximāuro assembled the lords of the Nimoicū, and said, --What shall I do with you, little brothers? Your chieftain Sistebrexos rebelled against me, and he is dead. You see that Iáinos is with me, and not with your new ally Xrātimedas. Which of us will you follow, then?

The lords of the Nimoicū said, --We will follow you. Forgive us for our disloyalty, which is entirely due to our foolish chieftain, and you have made him pay for his failure. As for us, we were certain that you would prevail, and we only wanted to see your power. Now we see that Eīledan is with you!

The son of Sistebrexos was Xōlicêlas, who was then sixteen years old. Ximāuro took him to Eleisa, to live in his own palace for three years; he then sent him back to the Nimoicū to be their chieftain. In this way Xōlicêlas came to know Iáinos, and Ximāuro reestablished the alliance of Calēsias with the Nimoicū.

After this the armies of Eleisa and Tevarē and the Nimoicū rode against Nayas, led by Ximāuro, with Xōlicêlas and Oleniōre as his lieutenants. Xrātimedas sent an army against him, but they easily defeated it, and came to the gates of Nayas.

Ximāuro stood before the gates and said, --O foolish duke, why do you provoke Iáinos with games of strength you cannot win? You wished to come against me, but sent the Nimoicū instead, and I killed their chieftain. I also defeated your own army, which ran back home ahead of me, and cowers behind your walls. Don't you remember that the armies of Eleisa and Tevarē put your father on his throne? Now we've come to take you off it, unless you swear loyalty to us.

He ordered fortifications to be constructed, and a siege maintained. Seeing that his city could not resist, Xrātimedas sent messengers to the besiegers, saying, --Will you destroy the city which your grandfather died for? Will this glorify Iáinos, or only your own name? Come inside the city, you and your chief men; we will dine and talk things over.

Ximāuro agreed, but only on the condition that the main gate of the city remain open, with his own men defending it. Xrātimedas accepted this condition, and Ximāuro and his counselors entered the city to dine with Xrātimedas.

--O Xrātimedas, it's true, I don't want to destroy this city, for which my grandfather Samocêlas died. However, you have made war on me; will you have men say that I don't resist when my allies are stolen from me and invade the Houses under my protection? Let them say, instead, that I pursue the evildoers right to their own houses.

--O Ximāuro, it was foolishness of me, and poor judgment. But consider, not a single one of your many cities was destroyed, because you turned Sistebrexos back in time. The only great city of my realm is this one; will you then leave me with nothing?

--Is it injustice to leave an enemy nothing?

--Surely we aren't enemies any more; you know my city is open to you. Your own men control the gate.

--Very well, said Ximāuro. If you don't want to be an enemy, you must be an ally. To rectify your rebellion, each lord who has ridden against me must give us five horses and five swords, of iron if he possesses them, and you will give us a wagon of gold and three of silver. In return we will look kindly on your duchy of Nayas once more, and defend it from enemies, and you will look upon us as lords, and ride at our command if war threatens us all.

Xrātimedas, in order to save his city, agreed. The next day Ximāuro rode through the streets, where the people cheered him, in thanks for sparing their city. He thanked Iáinos at the city's Glade, and then returned home to Eleisa, bringing the horses, swords, and wagons of gold and silver.

Hearing of this, Dācuas also found it prudent to ally with Ximāuro, and consider him its lord; and the Lovitrui sent him gifts as tribute.

The Knower of the Glade of Eleisa, Lūvenūmio, told Ximāuro, --All this is the working of Ulōne, following the dream of Iáinos. Iáinos spoke to Calēsias your ancestor, promising great blessings so long as we continue to know him and walk in justice. Now the atheists who rebelled against Iáinos and pagans who defied him have been defeated, and all those who know Iáinos ackowledge your rule. Because of this, you are no longer dukes; you will be known as the kings of Cuzei.

From this time, Ximāuro was called king, and his realm was called Cuzei. He reigned for fifty-one years, dying in the 144th year of Eleisa. His son Āneyinos became king after him.

The foundation of Munxeas

Though Amnās was imprisoned in the earth, he had news from trolls, who dug tunnels to reach him, though Eīledan had bound him so that they could not free him. In this way, he heard about the foundation of Cuzei.

--My power is reduced, but while I live, I hate and oppose Iáinos, Amnās told himself. It's a grievous blow to me, that humans come again to know Iáinos; what if they all remember him, and join with the iliū? I will wake the ktuvoks and cause them to establish their own kingdom.

He sent the trolls to the ktuvoks, in their dark swamps far to the east, and told them to create a kingdom of their own, ruling the Laleîsigō, a corrupt lineage of men that already worshipped Amnās.

The ktuvoks obeyed, and made a kingdom to oppose Cuzei, called Munxeas. The Laleîsigō became their subjects, and worshipped the ktuvoks as gods. The ktuvoks did not leave the swamps; the Laleîsigō came to their houses and served them, and learned arts of peace and war.

They made war on their neighbors the Xavigō, and killed many of them, and took them as slaves. However, the Xavigō were numerous, and they stopped the Laleîsigō before they could reach the Gaumê mountains. The war ended, but the hatred of Amnās was not lessened, and he vowed to use Munxeas to resist the Cuzeians in everything.

The invention of writing

After Āneyinos became king, he told his council, --We must record the origin of our kingdom, before there are no more eyes which saw it themselves.

--The Knowers will remember it, as they remember everything important, said the Knower of the Glade of Eleisa, who was Ulōnedelo son of Lūvenūmio.

--If a person speaks, the listener may not understand, and stories may be forgotten, said the king. We know that the iliū have a way of recording speech in books. I will send messengers to them, and they will teach us this art.

He appointed Orūlerelo the son of Ulōnedelo to lead this expedition, and gave them horses, food for the journey, and gifts for the iliū: gold ornaments, bronze bracelets, linen cloth, wine, and honey.

Orūlerelo travelled north along the Isrēica to Dageta, in the duchy of Cayenas, then along the Edôndas river till he reached the foothills of the Eresso mountains. Then he rode north to Atêllār of the Lords, the realm of the iliū.

He greeted the iliū guarding the gate, and told them, --Elder brothers, greetings in the name of Iáinos. I come from the king of Cuzei, in order to learn the art of putting speech on paper; will you take me to see your king, Rāviciu?

--Alas, Rāviciu died ten years ago, said the iliū. However, his son Sīluon is now king. He's away visiting the Gorōdigō; but his wife, queen Ūxotillê, will receive you.

They were brought to a palace, where they rested and washed themselves, and then to see queen Ūxotillê. They gave her their gifts, and she gave them a rich dinner, attended by singers and dancers.

--It appears that you want to learn how to write! said Ūxotillê. What do you want to write on?

--I don't know, said Orūlerelo. What do you mean?

--There is more than one way to write, and each way has its own methods. The elcari write by carving into stone or wood; it's long-lasting, but troublesome if you make a mistake. The ktuvoks press carved knobs into clay. Underwater, we write by scraping shells with a nib, or by arranging bubbles or lights in formation. On land, we write by covering a painted board with wax and scraping, or with reeds on paper, or by incising crystal.

--Most of those ways sound cumbersome. How about writing with reeds?

--A practical choice, said Ūxotillê. First you must learn to make paper.

She sent for her papermakers, who took Orūlerelo and his companions to their workshop, and taught him how to make paper from the crinu plant, and how to cut reeds, and how to make ink from soot, clay, and water.

Ūxotillê now took reed and paper and said, --To write your language, I think it is best to record the simple sounds. You must learn to chop a word into sounds, and write each sound. Give me a word.

--Ulōne, said Orūlerelo.

--Good. Now what are the sounds of Ulōne?

Orūlerelo thought a moment, and said, --U, lō, ne.

--U, yes; but for the rest, you can chop finer than that. Listen to this: la, le, lei, li; don't they all begin with the same sound?

--Yes, you're right! L-l-l. So the sounds are U, lll, ō, nnn, e?

--Yes, exactly. Now to write U, you draw a picture of something whose name begins with u-- perhaps utānar (door).

Ūxotillê drew picture of a door: U

--I see! Next I should draw a word that begins with ! Perhaps lōnas (apple)?

--You could, but then you'll need many more letters. Remember our chopping; all we want is a word beginning with l-- perhaps licū (bed).

Ūxotillê drew a bed next to the door: UL

--What's next? she asked.

--Ō, said Orūlerelo. You could draw an olfas (nose).

--That's good, said Ūxotillê, and she drew a nose: ULO

--Now ne! No, I mean nnn. How about nega (foot)?

Ūxotillê drew a foot: ULON

--One more sound, e, she said. Perhaps etêia (flower).

And she drew a flower: ULONE

--Now I've written the name of Ulōne. To read it, I look at the pictures: utānar, licū, olfas, nega, etêia. But I say just the first sound of each word: u, l, o, n, e.

--U, l, o, n, e, said Orūlerelo. It seems very slow.

--It's slow to you now, because it's new to you, but it will become as fast as seeing for you.

She wrote another word: NOTU. --Now what is this word?

--Nega, olfas, that a tōuresiu (cup)?, utānar. Nōtu (night)!

Ūxotillê and Orūlerelo wrote many more words, until he had mastered the idea of writing; then he taught his companions. They stayed with the iliū for a month, and then returned to Āneyinos and taught the art to Knowers, lords, and others who wanted to know how to read and write. Āneyinos also sent people to collect crinu, and established paper-making houses in the main cities of Cuzei.

At first writers did not always use the same picture for the same sound; for S, for instance, they might draw a sīxe (grape), a siyise (daisy), a socuole (hawk), sêta (six) dots, a sāca (pine tree), a sūro (owl), or Sualixue (the sun). Many writers preferred this, because they could choose the image that matched their meaning.

However, in the time of Bāxemanis, the son of Āneyinos, many Knowers said that the many drawings were too difficult to learn, and that it was difficult to know if a picture of a bird represented a hawk, an eagle, a seagull, or a crow. Therefore Bāxemanis called together many wise men and had them pick a single sign for each sound. In this way the alphabet was completed, six vowels and ten consonants.

© 2003 by Mark Rosenfelder
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