by Greg Stafford, originally published in a longer form in Breakout #34 (1989).
The Land of Umathela
“I am from (name) city in Umathela” or “I belong to the (name) tribe.”
Umathela consists of seven coastal and river regions and the primeval inland forest regions. The forest is mostly pine woods in Enkloso, deciduous in Vralos. The forest becomes more open as one travels to the east, until the treeless Fonritian uplands are reached.
The lowlands and shore have much farmland, but the forest primeval remains. These forests dominate the entire land in Enkloso, but are much reduced, though still large, in Vralos.
Umathela is the coolest region of Pamaltela. The sea is cool, and mountains shield the land from the worst of the hot savanna winds. It is dry and warm in summer, gradually becoming moister as the year progresses. Heavy fogs roll in from the sea in august. When the wind changes in midwinter, it brings lots of rain and an occasional snowfall. Spring is unpredictable — sometimes it is calm and warm, but sometimes devastating hurricanes bombard the coast cities.
Humans in the river valleys usually follow Orlanthi culture, while those in the cities cling to Malkioni ways. Brown and green elves rule the woods. Brown elves have a small majority in Vralos, and green elves predominate in Enkloso.
Western along the coasts, Theyalan in the interior.
Enklosan and Vralan, Theyalan tongues spoken in the west and east parts of Umathela respectively.
The coast cities are mostly ruled by kings who preside over more-or-less powerful advisory councils. In the interior, the people are organized into barbarian tribes.
Both Malkionism and the Orlanth pantheon are accepted here. The coasts emphasize Malkionism, while the interior people are mostly Orlanthi. The elves, of course, follow their own primeval religion.
People of Note
History of Umathela
In the Dawn Age these forestlands were inhabited by green elves and a reptilian riverine species known as lascerdans. For reasons mysterious to humans, in the second century after the dawn the elves began fighting among themselves. After several centuries of slow warfare harmony was preached and the fratricidal killing stopped. The last lascerdans were exterminated along the Palau River in 475.
The first humans entered this region from Genertela during the Second Age. The first settlers in 580 came in Waertagi ships in a colonial enterprise financed by King Nepur the Old of Seshnela. In the early seventh century more immigrants came from the nascent Middle Sea Empire. The Empire’s God Learners crushed an elf-led revolt and burned out most of Vralos’ forests in 654. For the next three centuries the Jrusteli built ports, colonized land, and grew fabulously wealthy. The elves withdrew to their dank woods and became more and more scarce. In 950, a noted Jrusteli scholar wrote a book proving that the elves of Enkloso were extinct.
The revolt of nature against the God Learners brought ruin. The start of the downfall is marked by the False Gods Revolt of 901, when priests of Worlath, Ehilm, and even Jogrampur (an imaginary deity invented in a God Learner experiment) displayed effective magic and destroyed the University of Yoranday. In 954, just before the Closing destroyed all port cities, a fleet of dragonships, piloted by old enemies, arrived from the sea, smashing the rest of the hated universities into gravel and pulp. However, the self-styled Lord of the World’s Knowledge, ruler of Vralos and Enkloso was not defeated until 1020 when legions of elves marched from secret lairs. Behind them floated a spectral forest. Before them swarmed myriads of trollkin. The Lord’s lowland holdings were flooded and drowned as the river gods of the extinct lascerdans rose for the last time, to slaughter every sentient being within their grasp.
The God-Learners defeat was total. What the dragon-ships did not destroy, the river gods wasted. What the river gods could not reach, the trollkin devoured. And what even trollkin could not stomach, the elves buried. The souls of the God-Learners were trapped within torture trees, and their bodies fertilized the poison bushes and thorn ivy which have blanketed their ruined cities ever after.
One band of elves, the Knowledge Assassins, was a secretive magical group who claimed to be on duty to the Higher Message. They wiped out particular human clans, settlements, and schools, chosen because they knew a secret, now lost thanks to the Knowledge Assassins.
Several human states survived the devastation. All were officially allied to the elves, but most actually feared the woodland race. Several Enkloso peoples became subject to the annual Woodland Judgements, where elves reviewed the humans’ behavior for the last year and executed summary judgement for infractions against nature.
In 1129 the Wordless Prophet appeared in Varburch. There, he taught the Path of Silence to any that would listen. With the passage of time, the Cult of Silence strengthened its grip on the land. Some sects were so adamantly opposed to communication that the art of writing was forgotten and books were walled up in special libraries, where they could not contaminate people. Libraries became a symbol of piously refraining from reading, rather than a sign of literacy. The Wordless Prophet established a center of the Cult of Silence where surgeons excised physical and psychic organs to ensure blissful, guaranteed peace. This bizarre practice was occasionally persecuted but persisted. It seemed just another aberrant behavior of mankind until 1237, when Elassi the Stifler, ruler of the city of Emanus, lopped off an ear, declared himself a devoted follower of the cult, and launched a scathing campaign of conquest, persecuting teachers of other philosophies, forcibly initiating foes into Silence. He popularized a debased form of Silence worship which transformed its practitioners into drug-ridden, fanatical devotees. A widespread region, called the Lands of the Silenced, were turned into wastelands by the conquests.
In 1290 an army from Afadjann invaded eastern Umathela. Unresisting, the Lands of the Silenced were overtaken, colonized, and enslaved. At last a violent protest movement, the Clamorers, erupted to fight the Cult of Silence and the Afadjanni alike. In 1313 the prophet Little Morishdo, later a king, claimed to have destroyed the evil silence with his liberation of Emanus, and though devotees can still be found in some places they are generally objects of pity, not hate.
Troubles with Afadjann continued sporadically through the fourteenth century. A successful invasion led by Faladje occupied many cities from 1322-1331 and provoked the Season Wars.
The first Season War began in 1340. The eighth and last ended in 1458. Each war threw out Afadjanni rulers from one or more Umathelan colonies. The Season Wars were sponsored by elves, who sent armies of green elves and storm-worshiping barbarians out each winter to devastate the storehouses and forts of their foes. Many cities fell to the Orlanthi priests, who used their storm powers to build snowdrift ramps up the walls. Each summer brought retaliation in the form of armies from the cities which stormed enemy strongholds and burned crops, but were unable to find any enemies who had fled to elf protection. Thus each side alternated in holding the field, fighting a war of attrition which the elves and their allies always won, though sometimes taking as long as nine years to do so.
The Season Wars also ended the period of human subjugation, as Orlanthi humans proved themselves allies and equals to the elves. Though elves remain important to this day, except for the deepest Enkloso woods, humans are now governed and judged by humans, and obey human laws. Royal dynasties established themselves in the human kingdoms and peace prevailed. Tortrica revolted, without any elf help, in 1478 and threw out the Afadjanni. Since then Umathela has maintained its independence from Afadjann and Kareeshtu.
In 1585 a Vadeli fleet arrived in Umathela. They claimed to be gods, but mundanely established garrisons in key cities, founded fortresses where needed, banned all commerce except through Vadeli agents, and maintained a cruel hold on all coastal settlements, which grew steadily as the Vadeli fleet brought in exotic foreign goods. Generally leaders were glad to treat with the Vadeli overlords, who seemed to offer the only possibility of naval trade. Volunteers manned the Vadeli fleets, and Umathelan crews helped the Vadeli at the Battle of Oenriko Rock in 1594, when the Vadeli were destroyed. Enkloso is still composed of many independent cities and tribes, but most of Vralos now pays tribute to the Patriarch of Nikosdros, trade-prince of Cerngoth. A few interior tribes, immune to enemy navies, safely ignore his hegemony.
In 1618 Terthinus, Voice of the Deep, a violet-skinned mer-king surfaced at the city of Flaurine and presented the Laws of the Dashomo, levying a great fee on all ships present. The prince resisted, and a week later the sea floor rose, grounding all the ships in silt and muck, and permanently destroying the harbor. When the Voice of the Deep made demands elsewhere they were met, and so now the Patriarch has a new sea-metal tax to impose on his followers. Since that time, the mermen have become more importunate, and all the ports of Umathela are afflicted with their greed. Trade is costly. But ships willing to take a chance and slip by the mer-king’s sea serpents without paying his fees can reap enormous profits.
- Accessing Eternity (2006)
- Belintar’s Book: The Blue Dragon Sshorga (1999)
- Belintar’s Book: Aldrya’s Own Story (1998)
- Belintar’s Book: Mountain Stories (1999)
- Clarifying the Primal Worlds (2003)
- Dragons Past #1 – Gloranthan Military Experience (1983)
- Greg Sez Guest: Does the Emperor party or not? (Jan 1999)
- Greg Sez Guest: Dragon Slayers and Dragons of Saird (Feb 1999)
- Greg Sez Guest: EAST ISLES: United or not? (Jan 1999)
- Greg Sez Guest: The Mighty Janube (Nov 1998)
- Greg Sez Guests: Five Troll Questions (Sep 1999)
- Greg Sez: Barbarians – Heortlings, Vingkotlings, and Orlanthi (Jan 1998)
- Greg Sez: Between the Devil and the Dawn Age (Aug 1998)
- Greg Sez: Chaos Taints Q&A (2007)
- Greg Sez: Divinity and Gender (2009)
- Greg Sez: Ducks and Eggs (Dec 1997)
- Greg Sez: Enemy Gods (2009)
- Greg Sez: Ernaldan Initiation Rites
- Greg Sez: Esrolian Q&A (2001)
- Greg Sez: Heroes & Immortals (2005)
- Greg Sez: How Big Is My God? (Oct 1998)
- Greg Sez: How Does the Red Emperor Rule? (Feb 1999)
- Greg Sez: How Many Humakti?
- Greg Sez: Humakt Illuminated? (Apr 1998)
- Greg Sez: Illusion (2002)
- Greg Sez: Information about Elves (Jan 2000)
- Greg Sez: Malkioni Literacy (May 1999)
- Greg Sez: Metals In Prax (Feb 1998)
- Greg Sez: Mistress Race Trolls
- Greg Sez: Moon Names (2008)
- Greg Sez: Orlanthi Groups Q&A (2008)
- Greg Sez: Orlanthi Initiation Rites
- Greg Sez: Rathori Creation Myth
- Greg Sez: Second Age Peloria and Carmania (2007)
- Greg Sez: Sheng Seleris in Hell (May 1998)
- Greg Sez: Tada’s High Tumulus (Feb 2000)
- Greg Sez: The Kingdom of War (Jul 1998)
- Greg Sez: The Mother of Monsters (Aug 2009)
- Greg Sez: The Nature of Harmony and Fertility (Jun 1999)
- Greg Sez: The Red Emperor (Sep 1998)
- Greg Sez: The Sky World (Aug 2009)
- Greg Sez: The Southpath Gods (Jul 1999)
- Greg Sez: Troll Ancestors and Rebirth (2011)
- Greg Sez: Understanding Windstop and Esrolia (2005)
- Greg Sez: What is it with the Underworld? (Apr 2007)
- Greg Sez: Who Are the Blue Peoples? (Mar 1998)
- Greg Sez: Who are the Dog Fathers? (May 1999)
- Greg Sez: Who was Baroshi? (Jun 1998)
- Greg Sez: Why do the Giants use the River of Cradles (May 1999)
- Greg Sez: Yelmalio (Mar 2000)
- Hero Wars: Beyond Humanity (2000)
- Hero Wars: Wyters Q&A (2002)
- HeroQuest 1: Embodied & Disembodied Spirits Q&A (2004)
- HeroQuest 1: Heroquesting (2003)
- HeroQuest 1: Landscape Bands Q&A (2004)
- HeroQuest 1: Types of Heroquests (2006)
- Hsunchen Peoples of Genertela (2003)
- Javern Spithorn and the Sunset Leap (2001)
- Library of Londarios: Ancestors of the Lenshi Kings (1998)
- Library of Londarios: Clarifying the Primal Worlds (Feb 2003)
- Library of Londarios: Danmalastan (1999)
- Library of Londarios: Deneskerva the Great Sister
- Library of Londarios: Postcards From Glorantha (Mar 2004)
- Library of Londarios: Stellar FAQ (Dec 1999)
- Library of Londarios: The Abiding Book (1999)
- Library of Londarios: The Birth of Elmal (1993)
- Library of Londarios: The Kings of Seshnela, Part One (1999)
- Library of Londarios: The Kings of Seshnela, Part Three (1999)
- Library of Londarios: The Kings of Seshnela, Part Two (1999)
- Library of Londarios: What the Mystic Taught Me (1998)
- Lives of Sedenya (2006)
- Myth of the Month: Aedin’s Wall (2000)
- Myth of the Month: Chariots and Chariot Gods (2003)
- Myth of the Month: Clouds (2000)
- Myth of the Month: Enemy Gods of the Orlanthi (2001)
- Myth of the Month: History of the Race of Trolls (1998)
- Myth of the Month: How Argan Argar Courted Esrola (2002)
- Myth of the Month: How Orlanth Met Ernalda (1998)
- Myth of the Month: How the Islands Came Apart (1998)
- Myth of the Month: How Vith Pacified the Anti-Gods
- Myth of the Month: Hrelar Amali (2011)
- Myth of the Month: Lightnight (2010)
- Myth of the Month: Malkioni Otherworld (2001)
- Myth of the Month: Morden Defends the Camp (1999)
- Myth of the Month: Orlanth makes a Ring (1998)
- Myth of the Month: ShangHsa (1998)
- Myth of the Month: Shargash the Destroyer (1998)
- Myth of the Month: The Birth of the Minotaur (1981)
- Myth of the Month: The Drinking Giant’s Cauldron
- Myth of the Month: The Missionaries
- Myth of the Month: The Orogeria Moon (1998)
- Myth of the Month: The Vithelan Creation of the World (1998)
- Myth of the Month: Three Documents, One Event (2005)
- Pelandan Cosmology
- Praxian Spirit Tradition (2000)
- Safelster in the First Age (2013)
- Sites at the Dawn (2006)
- Summoning Korgatsu (2001)
- The Enerali circa 130 ST
- The Gloranthan Cosmos (2008)
- The Origins of Writing
- The Perfect Sky, revised (1999)
- Types of Heroquests (2008)
- What is the Third Age History of the Sun Dome Temple in Sartar (2008)
Page Last updated: 2023-06-22 12:14:28