Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Nah’wadass Sourcebook: The Sack of the Great Library

When a sudden storm drove a group of fruit-pickers into a cave for shelter, they had no idea that they were to discover a Nah’wadass document cache from the Late Decline period. When historians then found this document in that cache, they realized that a far greater source of documents would never be found. We have since discovered additional documents regarding the destruction of the Great Library of Wedemetess. Although that city was no longer the capital of the Nah’wadass nation, we know that Wedemetess retained a symbolic importance throughout the Decline periods. The loss of the Great Library, therefore, had to be of signal importance, communicating to one and all in the Nah’wadass nation that, without question, the remnants of the nation were not going to be regenerating lost glories.

The reference to the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse would place this document confidently around 1250 years after the earliest known Nah’Wadass writings. The author’s tone and style indicate that he was at least a Scribe-Master and possibly even a Scribe-King, quite likely in hiding, seeking shelter from the political and cultural storm that drove him to that cave.

In the third year of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, a great contention arose among the people. A famine had begun and the plague from the south was in its second year. And though there was peace on our frontiers, the Kinnikanhi being sore defeated, the Shizrek being recipients of our tribute, and the Ouliloulaei nearly dead to a man from the plague they brought from the south, the people turned upon themselves to visit agony, woe, and the shedding of blood to get gain. Truly, they did murder to get gain, forming this band of bandits or that in order to gain violent rulership over their neighbors or to protect themselves from rivals.

Among these bands of bandits, there were two main parties, those that acclaimed the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, cousin of the Law-King, and those that acclaimed the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, whose brother was the murdered Law-King who did precede the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse. Both of the Merchant-Kings who led the parties promised great riches to their followers, should they prevail, and they did struggle one with another mightily. Those who had no stomach for murder, they did then make their slaves. And thus was the nation plunged into riot and bloodshed over riches.

For the Merchant-Kings themselves had once been as brothers, and they had unified in their use of secret murders to destroy those that opposed them in trade and commerce. But they did have the thirst of greed, and no green under the snows could satisfy them. All had to be in their grasp and they did have no hope for the future save in what they could lay their own hands upon. They could not be content to be two rivers, flowing in parallel: they demanded that they be as honored as oceans.

They and their followers held no respect for neither Masters nor Kings, save those of the Merchant order. Even the Soldier-Masters and Soldier-Kings did they disparage, for the few in number of that order that did serve to keep peace were dedicated to the service along the borders, and the ones who kept peace in the cities and in the provinces they did overwhelm with their many bands of bandits. And so peace that should have been the nation’s by right by way of battle, tribute, and plague, did depart from the land, and the lamentations of the meek and humble did pour from their hearts.

And the bands of bandits and the Merchant-Kings who did call them up into their service did proclaim that there was no god that we know and that there was no custom of old to restrain the actions of a man. Truly, they did proclaim that a man rose and fell according to his own strength and cunning and that life did begin at birth and that it did end at death. Truly, they did proclaim that a man would only judge himself according to whatever standard he did set for himself. Truly, they did proclaim that a man with great power and great wealth would know no judge other than himself, and that he would be truly free to do the deeds that pleased his desires.

And even though the people who did still remember the god that we know did not interfere with their murders and their enterprises, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse and the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did openly punish the thoughts of those that did remember, proclaiming that they were offended by such foolish and illogical practices. And even though the people who did still respect the customs of old did not interfere with their murders and their enterprises, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse and the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did openly punish the thoughts of those that did respect, proclaiming that they were offended by such restrictive and unenlightened practices.

And though they did murder one another openly and in the streets and in the fields, they did unite in the destruction of both rememberance and respecting. Truly, they did deny that there was green under the snows, for what was unseen to them did not exist.

(The first fragment of this document ends here. The next part was written on a different type of leather, but the hand in which it was written matches that of the first document. Historians generally agree that the two documents combine as one and that both were written by the same person, most likely at around the same time. It is possible that there was a period of time that passed between writings, but we do not know if that period was a matter of moments or of years. Nevertheless, the chronicle does seem to be continuous.)

In the days of the first growths after the thaw, the supporters of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did move to strike against the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse and did openly reject his rule. This did cause great commotion amongst their enslaved supporters, who did threaten themselves to set aside their desires for peace and to themselves kill those who had become as masters over them. The Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene then did declare that he needed no man in service to him that had rebellion in his heart, and he did move to have his bands of bandits slay those that did speak openly of the need to respect the Law-King, even if he was a corrupt and filthy Law-King, for such was the fear of the nation, that the Law-Kings they knew would be in the service of Merchant-Kings, and not in the service of the nation.

Truly, the bands of bandits did murder those who did speak openly, and this did quell the spirit of rebellion amongst those who were loathe to murder to get gain. This did then embolden the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, who did proclaim that he would make war upon the history and the traditions of the nation, and that he would send forth his men to burn the Great Library of the ancient capital, even the hill that was no more a mountain of Wedemetess. He did proclaim that his men would burn all the records that they did find that did not pertain to the order of the Merchant, for he did proclaim that there was no value in such records, other than to stir the hearts of men into disobedience to the power and wealth of those that did hold such things. Truly, one does not respect power and wealth of men when one knows of things greater than the power and wealth of men.

And as the first growths began to wither in the heat of drought, the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did march his bands of bandits to the place of Wedemetess, to make war upon the whole of the place, and the people who did remain in the hill that was no more a mountain did flee, for they did not want their blood to water the ground that was soon to be level where once there was a hill and where once there was a mighty mountain, with green under its snows. Truly, they did not want their blood to water the ground that would be a barren waste, and the bands of bandits that did serve the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did march forth to a place of buildings once known as Wedemetess, where not even the spirits of ancestors would seek refuge.

But then did the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse proclaim that he needed no ancient writing to justify his power and that he would himself demand the destruction of those writings, that he would prove with his continued retention of the seat of the Law-King that all he needed to hold that power was his own strength of mind and might. And so did the bands of bandits that followed after the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse make a forced march to the place of desolation once known as Wedemetess, where now not even the spirits of the ancestors of the ancestors would seek refuge.

And thus did the mobs of bandits meet in the place of sorrow once known as Wedemetess, and they did commence to make war with each other over the power to take fire, acid, and water to the records of the Great Library of Wedemetess. Truly, many of the Scribe-Masters and Scribe-Kings of the nation did take what records they could carry, and did hide them in their places of hiding, even as I have done with the records in this place. And not even a small trickle could we save of that mighty flood which did course through the halls of the Great Library.

For I myself have seen with my own eyes the mighty halls of the Great Library of Wedemetess, and I myself have seen with my own eyes the mighty words kept in the mighty halls of the Great Library of Wedemetess, and I honor those halls and those words as I keep the traditions of old with my continued writing, and I honor those halls and those words as I remember the god that we know with my continued writing.

Truly, we are now hunted men in our nation, and our families dare not claim kinship to the Scribe-Masters and the Scribe-Kings, for fear of their own lives. I will not be a murderer of my kin, so I shall not claim them. I will not be a murderer of my ancestors, so I shall not mention the other places of hiding. I know of judges other than myself, and the writings that we place in secret places and the writings that we continue to write will keep the green under the snows that will one day endure to bear fruit once again.

But, truly, the fires did burn, the acids did dissolve, and the waters did make muddy sands, and the bands of bandits murdered each other as ferociously as they did murder the past and as ferociously as they did murder our ancestors. The Merchant-Kings that made war upon the nation did offer rewards both for the slaughter of leaders as well as the destruction of records. Great was the bounty of money paid out for those who did bring forth records for to be burned in the open, with slaves forced to watch, that they might report to their fellows that this had indeed happened and that, yet, the Merchant-Kings did rule with their wealth and their power.

And the slaves did lament that the god that we know made no miracle to save the writings, as he had made miracles to save our ancestors in days long ago. But the Speakers of Wisdom among them had no words of comfort, for the nation had long ago forgotten the traditions that must be observed as a nation for the nation to be blessed with miracles as a nation, and that only a man or a family might be so blessed with miracles of preservation, and only as that man or that family did observe the traditions necessary for preservation.

And as the dusts did blow across the lands and the famine grew even more sore, the bands of bandits that did follow after the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse did declare that they had destroyed the greater part of the Great Library and that they had driven back the bands of bandits that did follow after the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, that they could destroy no more that Great Library, but that the power to be found in its destruction would be all theirs.

This did cause the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene to rage and that rage did cause him to proclaim that those who did not take up arms for to murder would no longer be slaves, but would be dead. And he did order the arming of his own slaves, and his bands of bandits did slay many who refused to take up arms, even slaying of their own number who chose to lay down their arms rather than slay those with no defense.

But, truly, the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did increase many fold the size of his army, and he did lead them unto the city of ruin and fire, even the barren desolation of Wedemetess, and his army did encircle that of the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse. The army of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene did raise the earth around the place of desolation, and they did fortify the earth that they had raised, that they might destroy the army of the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse through siege and starvation. They delighted that they would destroy the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse himself in the siege, for he had come unto the place of desolation that he personally would be one who murdered the ancestors in the destruction of the Great Library.

And, truly, as there was a famine in the land and little food to be had already, the bands of bandits entrapped in the desolation did soon turn upon each other, eating the flesh of the slain in order to sate their hunger. Few were the messengers that did escape the riot of violence in the desolation, and fewer still were the messengers that brought word to the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse.

But word did travel to the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, and he did call forth to the soldiers on the frontiers, from all the borders around the nation, and did raise a call to the slaves of his cousin, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, giving them command to destroy the bands of bandits of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene. The soldiers from the east and the soldiers from the west did heed the call of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, for the eastern borders were quiet and the Shizrek from the west were sated with tribute. But the soldiers of the north did not heed the call, for the Kinnikanhi would not be defeated in the absence of strength. The Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did call for the head of the Soldier-King of the North Gibetemes Hararegha, but no man would heed that call, and thus did the Soldier-King of the North Gibetemes Hararegha keep peace in the lands of the northern borders.

No man did respond to the call to the soldiers of the south, so great was the plague in the lands of the southern borders. Not even the messengers sent unto those lands did return, and great was the fear that they did perish in the plague.

But, truly, the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did bring together an army of soldiers from the east and soldiers from the west and from volunteers among the slaves of his cousin, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, and the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did march at the front of the army, even though a Soldier-King he was not. He did care little for the very traditions which had made him a Law-King, choosing to rule through despotic force rather than accept the legitimacy which did flow from his predecessors unto him. Such was the woe of our nation!

When the army of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse appeared on the high ridge of Itememe, which oversees the whole of the land around the desolation of Wedemetess, they did raise high their standards and called aloud to their fellows still alive, who did respond with a shout of their own, though it was weak in strength and number. The bands of bandits of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene were thrown into disarray at the sight of the army of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse, and they knew not whether they should maintain their siege or deploy in strength to face the bands of bandits encircled or the army on the high ridge.

The Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene then gave the order to fall upon the band of bandits in the desolation of Wedemetess, giving the call to destroy them, then to retreat in the face of the army of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse. Truly, his men did rush over the mounds of earth that they had raised around the desolation of Wedemetess, and they did make savage battle upon the weakened bands of bandits that followed after the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, putting them to death by the ten, and by the hundred, and by the thousand.

At the sight of this, the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse did order his army to rush to the rescue of his cousin, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse, but truly did his army loathe the men that they were ordered to rescue. As the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse stood, shouting at the army which he had raised, the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas, drew his sword and smote the leg of the Law-King Nedetar Weketem Rindasse. Truly, the men of the army cheered the smiting of the despot, and the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas removed the mask and the robes of the Law-King and Weketem Rindasse was a Law-King no more.

The Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas called for any Law-Master that might be in the ranks of the volunteers, and one stepped forward. The Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas did hand over the mask and the robes of the Law-King to the Law-Master Kepemess Harakamos and gave him a charge to rise to the stature necessary to truly honor the title of Law-King one day. But, truly, on this day, the nation had no Law-King. Only three times had this disaster befallen the nation, and this was the fourth, as the forces of the warring Merchant-Kings destroyed each other in the desolation of Wedemetess.

And so, the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas ordered the army to march slowly to the desolation of Wedemetess, to destroy the abominations of the Merchant-Kings.

But, in the meantime, the Merchant-King D’jamanass Rindasse had fallen to the arms of the bands of bandits that followed the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene. As the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene held high the head of the slain Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene on the tip of a spear, he pointed to the descending army, marching from the high ridge of Itememe, and called to the bands of bandits that now had no more leader, proclaiming that they would be slaughtered no more if they would go up to battle against the descending army. Truly he did proclaim that if they fought for their freedom and lived, they would be numbered among his own forces. But they were made to march at the front of the forces of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene, which did cause them to fight with a sore desperation.

As the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas observed the cessation of slaughter in the desolation of Wedemetess, he did order the army to return to the crest of the ridge, as the army was small in number compared to the mobs of bands of bandits. Truly, they had hoped for the bands of bandits to destroy each other before facing them in battle, but now they faced them united in their desperation and greater numbers.

When the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene saw that the army had retreated, he ordered his bands of bandits to first complete the destruction of the Great Library, for that was the delight of his plan, to block the source of the tradition which he did revolt against.

As the bands of bandits under the rule of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene toppled the stone and burned the wood of the Great Library of Wedemetess, they dared not move from their crest, lest the bands of bandits overtake them in their march and overwhelm them with their greater numbers.

After the destruction of the Great Library was complete and all its documents destroyed with fire and with acid and with water, the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene saw that he could not prevail against the army on the high ridge of Itememe, and that truly that army could not prevail against him in the field. He marched his men back to the capital, from where they would make slaves of those that had served under the slain Merchant-King as well as those that had served under his cousin, the Law-King that was no more.

As the Soldier-King of the West Agamnos Eretemoas saw the bands of bandits of the Merchant-King Danaweka Ketemene leave the desolation of Wedemetess, he made an offer to the volunteers that had marched with him. They could choose between returning to the eastern borders or the western borders in the escort of the soldiers returning to those regions, or they could go to the north or the south and fare as they might. None desired to return to the lands that would be under the rule of a Merchant-King who had forgotten both the god we know and the traditions that guide us.

Our nation is now divided: with the south yet lost in plague, the borders of the west, north, and east no longer respecting the center, and the center ruled by the bandits of the Merchant-King.

I was a witness to these events and I did receive reports from others who witnessed them, so I know this record is true. Truly, this is true and may my ancestors be pleased with the work I have done in their honor.

The Nah’wadass Sourcebook: A Funeral Oration for a Law-King

While all men have certain basic motivations in common, it would be highly inaccurate to ascribe all of our motivations to the Nah’wadass. Even though their language, place names, laws, and ideas have a powerful grasp upon the modern world, we do not see the world through the same eyes. The often sharp differences between the ancient Nah’wadass and our age are vividly illustrated in this funeral oration for Naman Wadetess Sefeten, one of the five Law-Kings of the Nah’wadass nation during the Early Decline period, when their capital was still the great city of Wedemetess. The oration was likely to have been written by one or more of the Scribe-Kings, and then subsequently delivered by an Actor-King, as was the Nah’wadass custom. We only have the document itself and the name of the subject to go with, and thus the persons involved in the artistic output will remain unknown to us, even though we have the names of persons who might have produced the work in the time of Naman Wadetess Sefeten.

Naman Wadetess Sefeten: a name that now lies beneath us. He becomes part of the ground we walk upon. He mingles his name with the grasses and crops. He will meet the god we know and the god we know forever remembers the names of all things. We know not the names of all our forefathers, who have lived above our day, but the god we know will list them to us in the bounties of the valleys we enjoy.

Naman Wadetess Sefeten: long did he serve as a man of laws, long did he give service to our great nation, long did he speak the words to govern the nation, long did he watch over us as the Three Mounts of It’hwazsin, green under the snows. His words filled the courts of both capital and province. His judgments became part of the great rivers of governance that sustain the growth and regeneration of our nation.

Naman Wadetess Sefeten: we who know his name, we who will not forget the name generations yet unborn will never know, we who have felt in our own hearts the bounty of his words, we who will no more hear the words of law from his lips, we now consider his life and what god he served. We will then know of his value in the days yet to come, in the lives yet to come, in the bounties yet to be harvested, in the waters yet to flow.

Naman Wadetess Sefeten: Let us now begin with the accounting of his life. Let us judge him as he judged us. Let us look upon the path he walked, to see what road it joins. Let us look down that road to see what destination it reaches.

As the days of his age became burdened with pains and sickness, he did take off the mask of a Law-King and he did take off the robes of a Law-King. But always he kept his dignity and his endurance in his last days was mighty to behold. He did taste of the mint from his garden on his last day to draw breath, and well-deserved was that final sweetness. May his nobility and greatness of spirit flow down to his children and to us as a nation.

When he wore the mask and robes of a Law-King, he spoke carefully the words of the laws that the god we know would want us to have. The god of laws smiled upon this Law-King. We all remember when the cities of Makapess and Tene did dispute over the flow of the river in their lands: it was this Law-King that brought just settlement to that case. We all remember when Ekemenos, the Carving-King, needed a block of granite to honor the mighty soldiers that defended our western shores: this Law-King lent his shoulder and back to bring the granite from the high mount to here in Wedemetess. We all remember when Vinkat Pasan of the Khotikal demanded war from his people to avenge his business losses: it was this Law-King that kept the soldiers in their homes with his wise rulings. We all remember when the floods destroyed the town of Erepe: it was this Law-King who spoke the words that gave them new lands and new lives in the cities of our nation. Let these sacred four acts speak for the legacy of this Law-King.

When did this man sin? Before he did penance. When did this man err? Before he gave apology. When did this man make a mistake? Before he made a correction. When did this man offend? Before he took back his words.

He did do his work as a man of law, as a student, as a novice, as a master, and as a king.

He honored our rituals. He observed our fasts. He let his ancestors speak through his voice. He made his way to the holy places.

The road walked by this man, therefore, is worthy of our own feet. This is a man who pleased his people as well as the god we know. We can commend him as he begins the life of an ancestor, may he speak wisdom to us as long as we have ears to hear it.

The Nah’wadass Sourcebook: A General Pleads for Reinforcements

One of the first known Nah’wadass documents is this fragment from a period in their later history, around 900-1100 years after their earliest known writings. What is known about the context is that the Nah’wadass decline was already well underway, and that their lands were under constant assault from outside invaders. This document, written on leather and found in an archive of the Nah’wadass capital of the Late Decline period, is unquestionably a plea for help from a commander far afield. We do not know the name of this general or where he served, although there are some hints that he may have been along the northern frontier in a steppe region, given the emphasis he places on horsemen in his request. We know that he did not think that his position must not have been dire enough for him to say all was lost, but then again, we do not have any record that reinforcements were sent or that he survived this encounter. Indeed, it is quite possible that he and his forces perished in battle some time after he wrote this letter, much as Nah’wadass armies were being overwhelmed in the west by the seaborne marauders that had already destroyed the Khotikal Empire.

(The top portion of this letter is missing: it begins in the middle of the general describing his strategic and tactical situation.)

… and that captain heeded not my warnings about the stratagems employed by the marauders, for all but five men under his command perished in battle, and those five are of no use to me now but to carry provisions and to work in camp, for no more will they go up against the long-haired riders, who scream with fearsome ululations as they gather for battle. Therefore, send not men from the provinces, farmers and laborers, unfit for the martial life. I have no need for men that cannot follow an order. They are better suited for the production of foods with which to feed my men and their comrades in other places, fighting other battles, for I know that we are not the only ones sorely pressed.

Most fearsome are the tortures the long-haired riders employ against our officers, even on the field of battle. When you send to me men that wear the green scarf of command, send men that wear it because of their valor and not for their grace. The captains and lieutenants who wear that honored green must be men that can fight to the death, for I do not want to have to discover them after they have been captured, for I shall to be forced to kill them, for no man among us has the means to heal or even bring peace to those that the long-haired riders have driven their stakes into. Know that those terrible riders will do the same to you, ere they reach our lands of our ancestry, and that we fight here for your survival.

Do you not care to look upon the world, untroubled and unstarved? Then send unto me a thousand mounted soldiers of the finest skill, for the battles we face are desperate and wild. Send also unto me many scouts, men of keen senses who know the ways well where we fight. Please allow them to serve in the land of their birth, even though we have long honored the traditions of our fathers to send soldiers to opposite corners of the nation. The times we struggle in are not those of our revered fathers, so let us honor their memory in not clutching their ways with dying hands. There are many miles between battles for us, and without men who know this land as their home, we are lost. With those men, glory and honor shall be our fate. Let those men flow unto us, and we shall make the valleys of war blossom.

Let those men flow unto us, and we will know that the Three Mounts of It’hwazsin are yet green under their snows. Let those men flow unto us, and we will know that the rains still fall and the sun still sends life. Let those men flow unto us, and be the sun and cloud and great mount of our salvation. For if we are fated to send what we have in abundance unto you, it is only destruction and slaughter, for the long-haired riders spare none of our people in their path. Their god is terrible and cruel and insists upon the blood of captives to sate his thirst. He is not a god of kindness and bountiful harvests, such as we know. Let the thousand riders flow unto us, lest the iron spikes of the long-haired riders be driven into

(Here is where the fragment ends. No corroborating documents have been found to date. The long-haired riders mentioned in the letter may have been the Sholekek, who we know were active in pillaging the northern reaches of the Nah’wadass nation during the time period corresponding to the period when this letter was written. The Sholekek were known for their ferocity and inhuman cruelties and presented a crisis situation for the Nah’wadass until the Sholekek themselves were driven away by the sorcerers of Himikoinkannen.)