Today’s writing sample is not new. Actually it is many, many years old, and only given a quick once-over in the last few days. It’s a part of a significantly larger document that I wrote as part of the history of the Empire of Arál Draván, the greatest surviving nation (for so say its people) on the World of Ytherra.
I have just made public a number of older posts about Ytherra’s geography, mythology and languages, some of which may be in need of light revision. And there’s a great deal more of this particular piece which I may be posting over the coming weeks, as I get to lightly tweaking it and as interest warrants.
The Arashálinu Enáthaga
Lo! Now shall be told the names of the Emperors of the City and the Imperium, names great and obscure, reigns decades long and mercifully short, the mighty and the corrupt, saviors and black magicians, and deeds of glory done in ancient days. Learn well ye proud citizens the names and deeds of these heroes and villans of old, for they are the blood and stones of the Empire.
Arashálinu Enáthaga is literally “The Names of the Emperors,” an ancient record, maintained since the founding of Arál Draván, that names the Emperors and Empresses and their deeds. In point of fact it is more than a mere listing of rulers and their reigns, but a dynastic record and a document of central importance to the Dravanin cultural heritage. The original is supposedly still extant, preserved somewhere in the Imperial palace in Dravá. Copies of varying currency are available in virtually any major library in the Empire.
In Dravanya, the title of a ruling Emperor is Árashal, loosely translated as a “magistrate above magistrates,” and rendered as “Emperor” for the purposes of this translation. Árashal retains its original form from Archaic Dravanya, the form of the Dravanya language which was spoken around the time of the Empire’s founding. By courtesy this title is sometimes granted to certain other heads of state, notably the Emperor of Kondú.
It should be noted that the term Árashal is generally used regardless of the gender of the ruler. In this translation the English words “Emperor” and “Empress” have been used to denote either male or female heads of state respectively, but the Dravanin themselves do not normally distinguish Empresses by a separate title. There is, nevertheless, a feminine form of the term, Aráshala, which is occasionally used in informal conversation or in poetic compositions, or when the distinction is deemed significant, but only very seldom in Imperial documents.
Throughout this document Imperial dates are used, given as the more modern “Imperial Reckoning” (or IR) or as the archaic “years of Empire.” Dates before the founding are denoted BF.
The First (Zhomádu) Dynasty
The first dynasty of Arál Draván, begun by Zhómach in the founding year and carried on by his descendants in direct line until the death of Angkésh in the one hundred and eleventh year of Empire. Six Emperors ruled in the First Dynasty, for a total of one hundred and eleven years.
Zhómach Ulách lúa Hamúl, the First Árashal
Zhómach, called Ulách lúa Hamúl, the First and Founder, was born fifty-five years before the founding on 16 Olgathu, the eldest son of Alenach. He conquered the city-states which were neighbor to Dravá and dissolved the White Alliance, and great Dravá rose to hegemony under his guidance. The Imperium of the City was woven by his hands and he placed the calendar in the trust of the priests of holy Zerem, and thus the years are counted since the beginning of those days when he ruled. He decreed the first day of the new year to be the Vernal Equinox and called the first cholach after himself. He was father to Várlesh, who would succeed him upon the death of the Usurper. He died on 6 Leresu in the fifth year of Empire, betrayed by his disloyal general Lazhám, who would usurp the throne.
The calendar month of Olgathu was renamed Hulenu to honor Huléng Teleshénu, “the Chaste,” the twenty-first ruler of Arál Draván, in IR 844, by decree of Vádroth IV Relkatán, “the Celebrant.” The earliest known records indicating Zhómach’s birth date as 16 Olgathu (Hulenu) date from the 23rd century IR. Prior to that, several different dates were used, until scholars came to near-consensus on the issue at that time. In recent centuries an Imperial holiday, the day of the Founder, has been held on 16 Hulenu.
Little is known of Zhómach’s near-mythical father, Alenach, save that he was the foremost leader and principal driving force behind the White Alliance, a loose union of several Laghá city-states, of which Dravá was the largest and most influential, even at that time. He is said to have seized power from local landowners in 58 BF, and cowed the temples and the Greatclans into accepting him as chief magistrate of the city. The founding of the White Alliance is assumed to have taken place after this. Alenach is thought to have died in 26 BF, but this is little more than conjecture.