Category Archives: History

Seawind

Seawind was a Child of Knowledge who came to Dupho around the year 539. (This would be Old Dupho, which is little more than a village when Shiko and Higomu arrive at Dupho in 1311 in The Artificer of Dupho.)

Early Life

Seawind proved to be a gifted healer in her early days at the Academy. Not only did she out-do her peers, she out-did the faculty.

Perhaps her skill made her arrogant, or perhaps her skill made the faculty jealous. (Most likely both.) For whatever reason, she left the Academy before her training was done and went to live with the Children of Beauty in 539.

Seawind in Dupho

In Dupho, Seawind quickly achieved great renown. Children of Knowledge were rarely seen in the city at that time, so she was something of a novelty, but mostly people were desperate for her skills. The ability to manipulate Life magic was largely unknown among the Children of Beauty.

Her skills seemed miraculous. She soon had a large following consisting of people she had cured or their relatives. By the time she died in 608, her following had taken on religious attitudes toward her.

Seawind the Teacher

But her desire for self-aggrandizement diminished during her time in Dupho. In 570, she finally admitted the harm of her extreme vanity, and she began an earnest attempt to convert her personal mansion into a teaching hospital. She became more willing to share her knowledge, and she began accepting students even though their talent was always far below her own.

Cult of Seawind

After Seawind’s death, the Children of Beauty continued to pass on her teachings. She had a cult following that would meet to worship her as a demi-goddess of healing and bodily perfection. This cult would go on to become the Church of Three Sisters.

Hicho Dragons

Every culture on Edgewhen was impacted by the dragons’ incursion into the world in 1001. This article discusses what happened to the Children of Knowledge.

Before the Time of the Dragons

Before 1001, the Children of Knowledge were organized into clans. Unlike the Clanfolk clans, these clans could divide and proliferate. So Hicho and the Redwood River Valley had hundreds of clans. But they were also somewhat like the Clanfolk clans in that each was its own legal entity with financial obligations that it could owe to other clans.

A clan held certain lands and ran certain businesses. Clan Glassmaker, for example, made glass. They also fished for food and raised sheep. Each clan needed some way of providing its own food, but other goods and services were obtained by barter with other clans.

To improve the efficiency of their barter system, they kept detailed records. “I’ll give you ten hoes and you can owe my clan a set of glassware to be specified later.” These debts were always clan to clan, not individual to individual. If Clan Glassmaker needed more hoes than Clan Toolmaker needed glasses, they might get together with a third party who owed Clan Glassmaker and redistribute the debts.

The system was complex, but they were all educated people. Every clan had at least one member who found such accounting interesting.

The Time of Dragons

The dragons that attacked the Children of Knowledge were intelligent and malicious. Two dragons worked together to terrorize the countryside. In particular they attacked sheep herds. This was particularly devastating for the Children of Knowledge because they depended on sheep for meat, milk, and clothing. Worse, the sheep were their only draft animals for working the fields.

Unlike Clanfolk clans, the clans in the Redwood River Valley were small and localized. Some clans had their fields destroyed and their entire sheep herd devoured. This left them without food.

The Academy to the Rescue

Element-wielders at the Academy eventually figured out how teams of people could resonate together and defeat the dragons’ magic. In 1005, they eradicated both dragons (and offspring – one of the dragons had reproduced).

Aftermath

Some clans had been untouched, while others had been devastated. The devastated clans were unable to pay their debts. People left their clans and went to Hicho, searching for other clans that would take them in.

To distribute food, the Academy collected surplus food from those who had it and gave them coins to represent the food that had been taken from them. The coins were debts owed by the Academy. A certain number of coins was theoretically worth a full 9 years of courses. But in practice, the coins were used as currency, as the Academy intended.

Many debts had to be written off as a loss because the owing clan had disbanded. But with the newly invented currency in circulation, people no longer needed to track barter debts. They could pay for goods and services immediately.

Impact on Society

So many familial ties had been broken that clans rapidly lost their importance. Companies rose to take their place.

The idea behind a company is that many Children of Knowledge, unrelated to each other, band together to produce something of value. When they sell it, they all get paid.

Companies had several advantages over clans:

  • Young people could marry and work for separate companies. One no longer had to learn how to be a glassmaker before marrying a glassmaker.
  • Companies were not required to produce food, so they could focus on their business.
  • Companies were free of the debts that clans had accumulated.

So that is why Higomu and Shiko do not have family names in The Artificer of Dupho and why it is plausible that they might be merchants for a linen company.

The Order of the Dragonslayers

The magic that defeated the dragons was deemed too powerful to teach publicly. The techniques became closely guarded, passed on to only a select few. The Order of the Dragonslayers is responsible for ensuring that people can use that magic when the demons come and for preventing anyone from using that magic until it is necessary.

Weaver

Weaver was a Child of Lith who had a profound impact on the Children of Knowledge.

Early Life

Weaver grew up in the Chillwater Valley, in what would become the Falkadwen Province of the Klindrel Empire. Her mother taught her to weave and her father taught her to fight.

The Vision

When she reached womanhood, Weaver received a revelation from Kashram, the God of the Lith. Women would need to fight demons, too, and Kashram wanted women to learn to fight as well as men.

One tradition holds that Weaver’s message was for other women, that Kashram wanted her to remind women of their place in the eventual war against the demons. Another tradition holds that Weaver’s message was for her male-dominated society, that Kashram wanted men to treat women with more respect because women would have to become warriors, too.

Among the Klindrel

Some say that Weaver gained several followers in the Chillwater Valley and then left to spread the word. Others say that her views were so unpopular, she was forced to leave. Both versions are probably correct.

Weaver left the Chillwater Valley and went to the Klindrel Valley, which was the major population center of her people at that time. The priests found her views unsavory. In 818, she was banished from the Klindrel Valley and cast out to wander through the wilderness.

Among the Sharadrel

Weaver’s message finally found a home among the Sharadrel. These Children of Lith lived in coastal villages and hunted whales along the Lithward Coast. They had forgotten the commands of their creator and had given their souls to the nature spirits.

Weaver reminded them that they were created as warriors to fight off armies commanded by the demons. She taught them forms and combat techniques which they had forgotten. Scholars debate whether Weaver had learned these forms from her father or whether they came from Lith himself. Regardless, the Sharadrel now view these forms as sacred.

Among the Children of Knowledge

Following her success among the Sharadrel, Weaver took a boat to Hicho, arriving at the Academy in 821. As the only Child of Lith in the city, she was very interesting to all of Hicho’s citizens and they were quite interested in what she had to say (even though she had to say it through an interpreter).

Weaver used this attention to interest people in her martial arts forms. She began training selected people in hand-to-hand combat.

By the time of her death, she had established a sub-culture of martial artists in Hicho. All Children of Knowledge who study combat trace their techniques back to her.

Higomu

Religions Implications

Among the Children of Knowledge, Weaver met no resistance to her ideas of gender equality. Nor did she need to remind people that they had an obligation to the deities.

The important idea that came from Weaver’s teachings was that Children of Knowledge might be expected to do more than just guard the knowledge that would be used to stop a demonic incursion. For the first time, Children of Knowledge realized that they might be called upon to physically fight.

Mainstream culture found this idea ridiculous, but those who believed studied ardently, and this devotion has been passed down through the generations.

Yucca War

In The Dragonslayer of Edgewhen, Zhen sings a plaintive war song about combatants whose “bones lie in the knives of the yucca.” The song comes from a war between the nomadic Lashrefites and the nomadic Kashramites. (This particular branch of Kashramites call themselves the Caladrel, which means Men of the Bison.)

At issue was the right to hunt on the sunaway side of the river Kailanarl. Both peoples had expanded to fill the available range. The Lashrefites claimed their goddess had given them the entire plains as hunting grounds, while the Kashramites believed that the right to take the bison belonged to the people who could prove themselves mightier.

The war started sometime around 900 and lasted for several years. Zhen says the war started because the Kashramites crossed the Kailanarl. The truth is that in 900, the Lashrefites were hunting on both sides of the river that Zhen calls the Kailanarl. However, it is also true that the Kashramites were crossing a river that the Lashrefites thought of as a boundary.

Both sides fought with spears. They would not discover swords until the Time of the Dragons. And bows would come even later.

The Kashramites had some warriors skilled in the elements of Earth and Motion who could sling stones exceptionally far. The Lashrefites countered with Air and Motion, aiding the flight of their throwing spears. Most skirmishes ended after a quick exchange of volleys. In a few cases, they closed on horseback.

People died in the battles of course, but most deaths were from hunger. Game was scarce and the hunters were busy fighting. No surprise then, that bands from both sides took to raiding trading vessels on the rivers. Clanfolk and Riverfolk found themselves involved in a war of which they wanted no part.

It was Clan Fairdealer that found a way to end the war. They were trying to establish a trade route from the mouth of the Yarl all the way up to the city of Dashar. They needed political stability.

Clan Fairdealer convinced the Lashrefites and Kashramites to accept the judgment of Children of Justice who had settled at the mouth of the Yarl. Both sides agreed.

The treaty gave most of the disputed territory to the Kashramites. A portion of the disputed territory was designated for seasonal use: The Kashramites could hunt there during the winter and early spring and the Lashrefites could hunt there in summer.

The reason Lashrefites were able to give up so much territory is that Clan Fairdealer found them new territory. They were granted hunting rights on prairie that the Clanfolk had claimed for themselves, and they were given access through Clanfolk lands to the forests on the other branch of the Yarl.

This peace lasted for many centuries.

Timber War

In The Dragonslayer of Edgewhen, some characters refer to the Timber War, which was the first war involving the Clanfolk. These are the events, as far as the Clanfolk know:

Far, far sunaway of the Clanfolk Heartland, there lived a tribe of Redfolk in a land of endless winter. They survived by hunting great shaggy beasts. As will happen to anyone who always harvests and never plants, they eventually ran out of food. And so, in 990, they came sunward.

When they reached the lands of the Stripedfolk who lived in the forests upriver from Maisil, they began killing the Stripedfolk’s deer. Now the Stripedfolk didn’t think much of that, so Wolfslayer of the Longgrass Village convinced everyone to band together. They did so, and drove the Redfolk away. That would have been all well and good, except that it left Wolfslayer in command of an army.

Wolfslayer was glad to be rid of the Redfolk, but he really hated the Clanfolk. He said we were cutting down his trees. Now maybe this was true and maybe it wasn’t. The trees weren’t near anyone’s village, so the Maisilen timber cutters reckoned the trees belonged to whoever wanted them. Wolfslayer reckoned differently, and now he had the power to do something about it. He attacked a timber crew.

Well, Clan Joiner was not too pleased by this aggressive challenge to their timber claim. They contracted through Clan Houser for a band of Caladrel mercenaries. (Caladrel are Redfolk from the dry plains; not the same as the Redfolk who started things in motion.) They also recruited some of their downstream cousins who thought they were just getting into a wrestling match. Nobody knew it would be a war. Nobody even knew what a war was.

For a while it was just shouting and waving spears and axes. But then someone got killed, and so it was time to kill someone on the other side. And then, well, it seems like evil deeds are the only things that people are eager to pay back. Some of the other clans got involved, and some people came upstream to help as soldiers or healers. And of course, there was also money to be made: the soldiers had to get fed and a lot of people turned a profit by shipping in flour.

With support from the lands downstream, Maisil had the population advantage, but the Stripedfolk balanced things out with their nasty wind magic. And whenever things got too bad, they ran back to their villages. Some of the councilmen thought Maisil should take the fight to the Stripedfolk’s homes, but others reckoned the Stripedfolk could do the same to us, so they let them run away to safety.

This went on for two years. The villages were kept safe, but neither side could venture into the forest in between without provoking an attack. The end of the war came at Battle Creek. The mercenaries got caught on the wrong side of the creek or something and had to run away from Stripedfolk. With the mercenaries gone, Wolfslayer and his Stripedfolk just kept coming. Our villages were undefended. Maisil sued for peace.

They probably should have done that to begin with. Once the boundary was established, everything settled down. Clanfolk stayed on their side of Battle Creek and everyone was happy.

Best of all, Wolfslayer founded a village to guard the border. That made it a lot easier to trade with his people.

Stripes

Two stories explain why Lashrefi’s people are striped:

The Clanfolk Story

When the deities were making their people, everyone chose a different color. Mamosi’s people were orange, Kashram’s people were red, Woshi’s people were silver, and so on.

Yolim was almost the last to choose a color. Because he wanted his people to fit in wherever they went, he gave them the ability to change color to match the people they traded with.

When Lashrefi discovered this, she laughed and made her people striped.

And to this day, Yolim’s merchants turn orange when they visit the Orangefolk, red when they visit the Redfolk, and silver when they visit the Silverfolk. But when they visit the Stripedfolk, their skin can never decide which color it should be.

The Story Told by the Children of Beauty

When Beauty was making her people, she spent much time considering their color. She knew they would have the ability to express their emotions with a glowing aura and she wanted to choose a color that would show of this aura the best.

Any of the six colors would mute a matching aura. Worse, it would clash with other auras. She considered the browns of the Children of Knowledge and Labor, but they seemed to have hidden colors of their own, and they looked bad with purple and green.

So Beauty was left with black or white. But still she couldn’t decide, for each color had its merits.
And then she had a great insight: some of her people could be black, and others could be white. She did not have to choose one. She could have both!

She was so pleased with her creative solution that she shared it with the other deities, assuming they would praise her for her cleverness. But the Goddess of Luck only laughed and said, “So you still have not decided.”

“That is unfair,” Beauty said to Luck. “You should not mock me when you have not yet decided on a color for your own people.”

“I have now,” Luck replied. And she made her people with stripes of black and white.

To this day, the skin of every Child of Luck mocks the Children of Beauty.

Linguigenesis

When the deities were making their people, Mamosi said, “Let our peoples have a language, so they can communicate with each other.” She asked the three wisest deities to each create a language. The deities would consider each one and choose the best to be the common language of all peoples.

Thafarsi created a logical language. Every word was composed of simple elemental pieces. Words and sentences could be constructed according to logical rules.

Lashrefi created a playful language. Words were easy to rhyme. Poetry was easy to write. Puns were easy to make. But the language was also practical. Words had concrete meanings and no abstraction was required to create new words.

Woshi created a difficult language. Words were challenging to pronounce properly. Meanings were veiled and obscure. It was a language for secrets.

Mamosi expected her triad to lead the deities. She was disappointed that Woshi had chosen to obfuscate communication. There was no way Woshi’s language could be chosen. Mamosi declared Thafarsi’s logical language to be the best.

But the other deities would not listen. Yolim and Devlen recognized that Lashrefi’s language was a practical language for common people. So they agreed that their triad would use Lashrefi’s language.

Zharnov and Swalethi recognized that Thafarsi had created an elegant language for scholars. This language suited their temperaments better than Lashrefi’s, so they agreed that their triad would use Thafarsi’s language.

Kashram had no use for Thafarsi’s scholarship. He decided his people would use Lashrefi’s language.

Mamosi was affronted by this insubordination, but it was now too late to convince everyone to use Lashrefi’s language. She had already chosen Thafarsi’s.

Woshi smiled, pleased that her people would speak a language understood by no one. That was what she had wanted all along.

History Index

The complete history of nine peoples spread over dozens of geographic regions and hundreds of decades is an undertaking beyond the scope of this encyclopedia, but from time to time, I will be posting little bits of background that play a role in one of the novels.

Myths

Myths are history about the actions of the deities. These are usually true, at least in an allegorical sense.

Published Myths:

Legends

Legends are stories about the first 729 people in the world. These might actually be cool novels or short stories, so I don’t plan to publish any in the encyclopedia this year.

Early Histories

Early history is anything that happened before the Time of the Dragons.

Middle History

Middle History runs from 1002 to about 1700. The novels released in 2014 will be set in this time period.

Late History?

History that postdates published novels will not be appearing in 2014.