Let’s imagine Jrustela a bit. Our story begins with the end of Nralar the Old’s long reign. Nralar, as you might remember, was the son of Gerlant Flamesword (often said to be one of the sons of Arkat) and Hupala, the daughter of King Talmakos. Nralar became king in 501 ST and ruled more than a century. During that long, long, long reign, Nralar had countless children, grand-children, great-grandchildren, and more. Seshnegi culture and religion had experienced dramatic upheavals in the preceding century – Nralar held things together, but many of his children were also very old, and had ties and connections to that more unsettled era. It was obvious to many that when Nralar died, there would be a succession crisis. What nobody realized is that the war for the succession would last the better part of a century and destroy the House of Nralar.
After Nralar died in 603, many of the descendents of Nralar left the kingdom, sailing upon Waertagi ships to settle the island-continent of Jrustela. These settlers founded numerous colonies, each a carefully planned settlement with a central market, a nearby public and temple complex, and straight main streets. A spirit of pragmatic rationalism and materialism animated the culture of the colonies – caste mobility was encouraged, and children were educated for the occupations they were seen as most suited for. Each colony was a republic, with a ruling council chosen from among the “best” by an assembly of the people. In times of necessity, each ruling council could choose from among themselves a leader.
The population grew rapidly, through later waves of emigration from Seshnela, and through a combination of high birth rate and relatively lower death rates among the colonists.
In 652 ST, representatives from the colonies of Jrustela met together and formed a confederation with a ruling council of thirteen. To resolve disputes between cities, they held Insight Contests. Scholars and sages were from overseas – primarily from Seshnela, Slontos, and Kethaela. It is hard to overstate how inventive and experimental these early colonists were. As early as 660, Jrusteli had begun to experiment with seagoing ships. No humans had ever made ships before that – as the Waertagi, natives of the seas, had performed all the oversea commerce since before the Dawn.
Further colonies were established in Enkloso. An elf led revolt was crushed by Jrusteli sorcerers who summoned fires to fall from the Sky Dome to burn out the forests of Vralos. By 680 ST, there were some 200,000 colonists on the island of Jrustela, and another 25,000 or more in Umathela. The Jrusteli were proud, self-assertive, and confident – they had already begun the Mythical Synthesis Movement, an attempt to identify and define the gods and spirits of the world so that they could be manipulated and controlled – the start of the God Learners.
Meanwhile, in Seshnela, the Flamesword Dynasty had collapsed after generations of internecine conflict. Barbarian mercenaries had killed the legitimate kings and usurped the throne, with Hykimi allies such as the Telmori and Pendali. Exiles fled to Jrustela and begged the Confederation to rescue the ancient homeland from barbarians. On a midsummer day, 680, Trymir, the Prince of the Jrusteli, led a small but extremely powerful Jrusteli army ashore to Seshnela, carried across the seas by Waertagi ships. Local Seshngei rulers joined with them, and ousted the barbarians. Trymir was a great-grandson of Nralar, and exploited his descent to unite the Seshnegi rulers and keep the peace.
Trymir died in 689 ST, and the Jrusteli Council appointed Hadalin to manage and govern Seshnela and its adjacent lands. Hadalin was extremely successful and so popular among the Seshnegi that in 703 ST the Jrusteli Council granted him the title of High Duke of Greater Seshnela. The Jrusteli Free Men of the Sea sailed between Jrustela and Umathela, and by 713 ST even to Seshela. The Waetagi threatened to summon Drospoly to devour the whole island of Jrustela.
Instead, in 718 ST the Free Men of the Sea pitted their little fleet against the ocean itself. They faced nearly all fifty of the Waertagi dragonships. The God Learners then summoned a sea god that had never been seen in this world. They called it as if it were just another elemental, and then made that god call its father. They then commanded the father to summon a different child – the god of Sky Water, Tanian. The result is known to all, and established Jrusteli domination of the seas for the next two centuries.
So once again, we tend to view the Second Age Malkioni through a later Rokari or New Hrestolism lenses but we should really think what were the Jrusteli? For centuries they called the tune.
Between 725 and 729 came the most dramatic transformation of Seshnegi society and one that linked Jrustela forever to Seshnela. When Ullmal – the Jrusteli high duke of Seshnela – died in 725, a coterie of wizards declared that one of their number should be crowned King of Sesnela. Now this was troublesome to some Malkioni, but many more supported the claimant, Pilif the Magus (who was also most likely Jrusteli).
Another council of nobles and soldiers gathered, and proclaimed that the Jrusteli captain Saval – a much admired warrior, concerned administrator of lands, and fiend to the commoners – should be king. He had already earned the enmity of many wizards by arguing against their participation in the rites of the Men-of-All. “Each caste has its responsibilities and that a ruler is one who specialises in ruling by ruling, and not by studying Zzabur’s grimoire.”
Pilif tried to kill Saval, and he and his sorcerers killed most of Saval’s Loyal Twelve. Then Pilif summoned the Power of Seshnei Kingship because he believed his cause was just. To his surprise, a gigantic serpent reared up from the earth, wearing Saval and his remaining companions like a crown. The creature devoured Pilif and his sorcerers. Saval was then crowned with the Sacred Overlord rites used by Froalar, the First King. Saval established a new dynasty that would unite the Seshnegi kingdom and the Jrusteli Confederation for the next two centuries until the Closing severed the two.