[ RALUBIA ]

From the Secret Histories of the Havilai

The Cazzirians

Before the boat had been tied down to the dock, the spring-legged youth had already leapt off and hurried to the grand lodge of Denophet, the Havilai Mother. In those days, the Havilai Mother lived on the Isle of Vithariet in the middle of the Phirine Sea, from whence she was accessible to the Phireans who dwelt on the shores. The Havilai had already seen the smoke rise from the southern shores of the Phirine Sea, but they did not know what it meant. Now, here was a messenger coming in great haste.

It was a message from the chief of the Cazzirians, whose name was Zanvalor. The Cazzirians had appeared suddenly years before, pouring out of the Vale of Arenib riding huge flightless birds called pelithyn. They ravaged the peoples of the Prulam killing the strong and enslaving the weak. Shortly after they turned north and began pillaging the towns of southern Anphirai.

Now Zanvalor demanded the surrender of the Phireans and the Havilai. To make his intentions clear, his warriors had already burned seven villages and impaled their inhabitants on stakes.

The Havilai were shocked by such brutality. What kind of creature could do such a thing without provocation? What was the appropriate response? Obviously surrender to such beasts was out of the question. On the one hand the Havilai were concerned about disruptions to their grand schemes. On the other the moral quandaries posed by their interference versus surrender threatened their peaceful tradition. Denophet sequestered herself with her two Elders in the Deep Temple to consult with the Three Sisters.

The Deep Temple was in a grotto approachable only by boat. Its main chamber was at the bottom of a deep shaft from which the sky was visible and surrounded by sea water. Gavilet, Queen of Heaven, watched Denophet carefully from the top of the shaft, but was silent. The Sea Witch, cranky as usual from her watery seat, prophesied doom. Beautiful young Ansilet, sitting on a rock, smiled faintly, but there was sorrow in her eyes. Finally a fresh breeze rose, and Gavilet uttered cryptic advice that Denophet and her Elders committed to memory.

These words the Havilai would discuss and ponder for some time.

The Phireans Respond

Meanwhile, the warriors among the Phireans had formed resistance groups to fight the Cazzirians. They sent their representatives to Vithariet to ask for the assistance of the seeresses. The Mother Havilai was tempted to listen to them, because she had lost loved ones in the initial invasion. But the Elder Havilai provided the voice of reason, warning the warrior chiefs of the consequences of antagonizing a superior foe. The Phirean resistance fighters refused to listen, and left the isle without achieving the goal that had brought them there.

The subsequent attacks by the Phireans against the Cazzirians indeed succeeded only in aggravating the invaders. The Cazzirians were fearless and extremely aggressive. Their response was more violence, simply because violence was an inherent part of their lifestyle. What use were the Phireans alive if they had not learned the tried and true methods of the Cazzirians? The invaders discovered the location of a Havilai temple on the mainland and razed it. Zanvalor savagely tortured the residing seeress and ordered her put on display. “Fear us,” he said, “for we are strong. What we want we take. Flee before us.”

Despite such atrocities, violence continued as the Phirean resistance fighters kept on the move. The skeptics among the Havilai threatened to abandon their cause, despite the pleas of those who remained loyal to Denophet. But Denophet refused to aid them and remained vehemently against violence of any sort. By the time she died the Cazzirians had taken control of all of Anphirai except the Isle of Vithariet.

Denophet was replaced by the last surviving Elder Havilai, whose name was Thadruzet. Thadruzet was already old and knew that she could not provide what the Phireans needed. She felt misgivings over her interpretation of Three Sisters' prophecy, but she did not doubt that measures had to be taken to produce a leader the Havilai needed. Interpreting it as best she could, Thadruzet ordered the younger Havilai to search the country for the correct combination of signs. When the conditions were discovered, Thadruzet supervised the birth of a female child soon to be named Jethazilet. Before she died, Thadruzet had the child spirited away to live among the sisters at Glan Druich to whom she left instructions for an extraordinary training regimen.

Jethazilet

Jethazilet was trained from the beginning to become a Havilai Mother like none before her. She responded to the training so well that she eventually criticized the sisters for being too lax in following the training regimen. In the years following Thadruzet's death they become less and less disciplined and began cutting corners. Jethazilet demanded her own copies of the original treatise and began training herself. She went as far as sneaking away from Glan Druich so that she could learn more about the world on her own, as well as seek out other teachers to learn from.

Jethazilet returned to Glan Druich when she was old enough to assume position as full-fledged Havilai Seeress. Taking the dangerous journey across country and sea to Vithariet, the Havilai brought the wayward seeress before the Havilai Mother who, after realizing the identity of this young woman, ceded her position. Jethazilet, in a lapse of her own good sense, followed tradition and consulted with the Three Sisters regarding the course of her reign. She was brusquely rebuked, but this only confirmed her suspicions.

“The time for change has come, my sisters,” she proclaimed. “We have refused to answer violence with violence and our people suffer from it. Is it possible to use violence wisely, contrary to all of our teaching? I say yes. The Cazzirians do not speak our language and we do not speak theirs. We will bend to learn their language, in the hopes that eventually, they will be willing to learn ours. But for that to work, we must do it on our terms.”

The Blade Adepts

Then Jethazilet revealed that she had learned to speak the language of violence with the eloquence of the most barbaric of Cazzirians. She would personally train a handful of the brightest Havilai to become a new type of warrior. This warrior would be fluent in both the mystic arts and the fighting arts. Thus was born the Blade Adepts. These mystical warrior women would in turn train the Phirean men and turn them into a fighting force that would make even the Cazzirians blink.

After sufficient years of training had passed, the time had come for the Blade Adepts to finally prove their worth. They struck at the Cazzirians when least expected. Through a series of battles, the Blade Adepts won the Phireans the respect of Rhetazor, King of the Cazzirians. Rhetazor was fooled into believing that the war leader Jeor represented the Phireans, so that the depth of involvement of the Havilai and Blade Adepts was kept secret. But Jeor informed Rhetazor that he consulted with the Seeresses for the luck they brought. Intrigued by the idea, Rhetazor asked to share his marvelous secrets, and in return he would grant the Phirean warriors a special status among Cazrians.

Prompted by Jethazilet, Jeor advised the Cazzirians to build a series of temples dedicated to war: the War Temples. Here the best Cazzirian warriors would be trained by Phirean instructors (but not by the Blade Adepts themselves). The Havilai had learned to negotiate with their conquerors. By changing their own nature they would eventually succeed in changing the nature of their overlords.


Last updated Mon, Jun 21, 2004
Copyright © 2004 Ken St-Cyr
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