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And thus the OCD continues

Part the second in our NaNoWriMo prep series. It occured to me that geography makes very little sense w/out the accompanying maps, and as I'm currently scannerless, this puts the 'terrain' entry at a bit of a delay. At some point. Probably.

Plus, and perhaps more importantly, it turns out that the history of the Hawkfire family is pretty cool. Also, 3000+ years long. Why do I do this to myself? Why?

There will be multiple Hawkfire-history posts, covering various parts of the timeline; and yes, I do mean all of the 'begats'. It'll be an exercise in name-creation, if nothing else. (Although, the one good thing about a dynasty, they tend to recycle names a lot.)

A note on dates: because numbers are one thing I'm willing to keep simple, we're assuming a very accurate dating system. All numbers 'AL' are after the founding of Letasacia, which was 2,253 years before the story begins. Year 0 AL is also year 1,340 'PP', or post prophecy, because in those days most of the civilizations on this particular continent tended to keep time as after the miraculous, oracular spectacle in the middle of a battlefield during a rather large war. The reasons behind the war are long since lost to history (thank god), and the prophecy itself was--they think--fulfilled not too long AL, with a large series of cataclysms, earthquakes, plagues, and volcanic eruptions that all seemed to happen at once. But more on that later. Dates before year 0 PP count backwards, like BC, though they're labled as 'BS'. They've been given the affectionate name by Max (who's the only one of our heroes with the patience to really sit down and learn to read the Sacien alphabet, let alone sort through their history and translate it into English-based systems), and it stands for 'Before Shit'. He frusterates more quickly with local prehistory than I do. This may have something to do with the fact that reading it is sort of like trying to sound out The Illiad in its original Greek based on having spent some time living in Athens and listening to Berlitz tapes. Dates in parentheses are the length of reign; even during eras where they weren't in charge of more than a mud puddle, the Hawkfires always kept a singular clan head.

So, without further ado, the sorcerers Hawkfire.

The tribal chiefs
The date for the actual start of their line has been long since lost to history; they began, however many years ago, as glorified hunter-gatherers, and the idea of keeping track of numbers, or even of writing, wasn't really thought up until Iowen the Educator, son of Ava III (113 PP-141 PP; 102 PP-113 PP). Given the list of 'begats', it's probably about 200 years BS.

Something happened either including the god of fire or some bad mushrooms, but all anyone in the tribe really knew was that little Genna went off hunting on her own with a horse, a spear, and a few days worth of rations, and came back with none of the above. Her clothes were tattered and bloody, and across her chest, red and blistered as a burn, was the silhouette of a hawk. When the old chief of the tribe died, Genna, who'd never been more than a semi-decent hunter and barely adequate with magic, trounced every man in the tribe in combat physical and magical, and they made her their leader.

The Hawkfire's tribe were nomads. Spears and horses, that's what they knew, and the flow of the land under their feet. They lived in some rather cold foothills on a continent called Manessah, in the western lee of a range of mountains, towards the north. In general, they did damn well in tribal warfare, although they were hardly the only bunch led by their own sorcerer/sorceress. Over time they spread, split, conquered other tribes, became more of a 'horde' than a single tribe, really. The individual bunches-of-people would split off for some, or all, or the year, but give their alleigance to the head of the tribe-as-whole when called upon; IE, the Hawkfire.

As to the chiefs, there were more women than men, but in nothing recent enough to be written down from that period was there really a bias against male Hawkfires. It was probably first a legacy-ensuring tactic; the power was passed down blood-to-blood, and if the chief herself was carrying the heir, there was no doubt that it was of the proper line. 'Ava,' or something that's been modernized into 'Ava,' was a popular name for the girls, and carried by at least seven chiefs during this period, which lasted about ten and a half centuries. Inbreeding was somewhat of a problem; mixing in the gene pool of conquered peoples helped, but the Hawkfires tended to believe in strength-of-blood, and did a lot of marrying of first cousins. Still, aside from a few tetchy points, particularly around the rule of Ava V, or Ava the long-reaching, (546-632) they got through all right.

The city-kings

In 844 PP, the Hawkfire Tisshe the Wall-Builder (830-855) brought his clan to one of their settlements for the winter, and simply never left; thus the City was founded. Its name is long-since lost, but probably meant something like 'stronghold'.

The actual territory they controlled got smaller, but as more and more of the tribe settled down, moved into and around the city and started farming the land, and got in touch with the whole 'commerce' idea, they ended up even rather more prosperous. The city lasted over four hundred years without a hitch, and then in about 1273 PP it all started going wrong. Famine, earthquake, disaster; they struck the entire continent here and there, but the City was hit much harder than anyone else. When the Great Plague came through in 1297 PP, over three quarters of the city got sick, and half of its inhabitants died. Of those that were left, most of them either left or died out slowly, in various other mishaps and tragedies. It took nearly a hundred years for the City to fall completely. The last Hawkfire queen, Mahlla II, or Mahlla the Bright (20 AL-26 AL) had the last inhabitants of the city begin their final evacuation within three months of taking power, in 1361 PP or 21 AL; she died not too long after it was finally emptied, and nobody ever returned to the City after that.

The dispossessed

There followed about 200 years of an era I find one of the most interesting, that of the dispossessed Hawkfire wanderers. They stayed more or less within the extended territory they'd controlled as the City, taking up their own farmstead and avoiding so much as a village forming around them, with the memory of the last disaster still so fresh in their minds.

The other people left in the area, scattered farmers, some hunters, a few wandering traders, still remembered them, though, for what they'd used to be; and they hadn't lost the sorcerer power with the city-state. People would ride up to their farm looking for advice, for remedies, etc. A few generations went by where the Hawkfire farm was kept by the older matri- or patriarch, and the younger part of the family rode around the countryside, fairly nomadic, in small groups or solitarily, helping people out in terms of medicine where they could, sometimes being called upon to help dispense local justice, although officially they claimed they had no authority.

This lasted up until 288 AL, when Imperial Letasacia showed up and offered to helpfully integrate all of the rather poor and unprotected territory into their empire. Pretty much collectively, the entire lot of the countryside directed them at Zhesske Hawkfire III (212-296), who could be translated as either the Civiliser or the Modernizer. She hashed out a treaty that got the entire area some very nice benefits, and a title of nobility for the next Hawkfire, her great-niece Dyala I or Dyala the Fierce (296-309), to whom she handed over the title as soon as proceedings were complete.


Given that it's nearly ten, and I've got to be up at 5:30 tomorrow morning, I think I'll leave the overview of the first half of the Hawkfire timeline as-is. Next time, the pet mages, the Ketasacia years, and the second exile.

At some point, a lot of these people's stories will be told, because Ava V's life and times are scribbled in my notebook, Mahlla the Bright is beautiful and tragic, and I haven't even gotten to Lord Rethe Hawkfire the Duke yet (593-630). Plus the Hawkfires at the beginning of the second exile are sort of fascinating, in a very different sort of way than most of this. (The Hawkfires towards the end of the second exile are very, very different from Hawkfires ever before, but that's to be expected. They don't have a clue what they are. They just sort of glow, if you have the right eyes to see it.)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Oct. 19th, 2006 07:45 pm (UTC)
Yay for the OCDness! I will have some of my own for you, though it probably isn't OCD. NaNo prep anyway. Speak to you soon!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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