Čeiy [tʃej] is the major nation of the Mnau peninsula, south of Xurno and west of Skouras. is Geographically it divides into three areas: the Jaukaye valley in the north, or Ämünel; the Šabukei valley in the center, Tädda; and the cold southern coast, Mešäriš. The language of Ämünel and Tädda is Ṭeôši or Čeiyu, a descendant of Axunašin; Mešäriš has its own Littoral language, closely related to Uṭandal.
Mnau was originally inhabited by the De:iju or Eastern Wede:i people— rather sparsely; they never made the transition to full agriculture. The Jeori were the early masters of trading by sea, and founded cities along the coast (notably Worčal and Četazi) as way-stations for the trade with Skouras.
The empire of Axunai began as a revolt against the Jeori, and when they conquered their enemies the Axunemi acquired not only their territory but the Jeori fleet and trading interests. The Jeori were not exactly fair traders— their idea of penetrating a market was to take it over— but they didn't have the strength to occupy the rich Skourene states. Axunai did, or thought it did; its first incursion into the Mnau peninsula was the emperor Timai's incursion into Barmund in 885, which was quickly beaten off by the Mudric Confederacy, a league of Skourene cities headed by Kuḷiŋibor.
The Axunemi were operating at the limit of their supply chain; surely it would be easier if they had bases and rich cities along the way. Timai's son Uliromez thus occupied northern Boriju, a relic of the Jeori empire, in 901. Kuḷiŋibor had however used the Axunemi threat to unify almost the entire Skourene sphere, and this was enough to discourage Axunemi interest for nearly a century.
The emperor Čeba occupied the entire western coast and the major river valleys, starting in 990. Outside the Jeori towns, he found that the De:iju could not really be ruled, only pushed away. To hold the country he had to bring in colonists. The new territory was called Roz Čebevi or Čeba’s Land.
The Mudric Confederacy had divided by this time, and the Axunemi found it easy to take the southern coast of Mnau from Kuḷiŋibor (1010), as well as the island of Jecuor.
The colonization of Čeiy was an imperial project that produced a very non-imperial result. In brief, Čeiy was a frontier area, a remote area where things didn't work as they did back in Xengiman. The staple crop of Xengiman, oats, didn't grow well there; like the Skourenes, the colonists had to depend on rye instead. As a corollary, massive irrigation projects were not needed, just rainfall and hard work.
Even an emperor could not simply decree that a new country be settled. The emperors made vast grants of land, but the recipients rarely moved to their new estates, sending only the excess population from their lands— a mixture of the unlucky, the ambitious, and the rebellious. Prison colonies (notably Šelaju and Šuvivatou) were founded. Even so, many of the settlers died out or moved back to Xengiman; to retain the settlers, it was necessary to rule them much more loosely, and even to offer them ownership of their own land.
In short, Čeiy was a freewheeling frontier society, little interested in the politics, hierarchies, and regional loyalties of the homeland. And where the emperors wanted to dominated the Skourene trade, the Čeiyu merely wanted a piece of it. The conquest of a portion of Barmund exposed them directly to practices (from commercial to agricultural) adapted to the southern littoral; many Skourenes migrated to the new cities as well, especially in the south. As a result Čeiy adopted a market economy, local oligarchical councils, and even (initially) the idea of doing business by clan (bsepa).
The emperors were aware of none of this; Čeiy was still regarded as a stepping stone to Skouras. They conquered Arṭali in Barmund in 1095, the islands of Minṭu in 1115. Invasion by sea was proving difficult, however; the emperor Jouvuneir had the idea of pressing straight east from the now settled Jaukaye river. In 1134 he attacked, taking Nemiṭali on schedule. But Čeiy was still too lightly settled to support the invasion directly; the army had to be marched all the way from Xengiman, across mountains and the swampy Namal. A more northerly route only brought him within range of the Skourenes’ Tžuro mercenaries. Jouveneir gave up in disgust. A later emperor took Pitrat (1190), aided by a dark age among the Skourenes. Axunai managed to retain this foothold in the armpit of Skouras for a century, till Iṭili conquered both cities (1317-8).
The loss of the Namal, though it ended a centuries-long bad strategy, reinforced in many Axunemi the feeling that the emperors had become weak; and this led to coup attempts by generals who thought they could do better, and rebellions by barbarians who merely hoped to take advantage.
In 1406 the governor of Tädda (Ax. Tandau, southern Čeiy) died, and his son Ḍuruṭekke (Ax. Juručenke) named himself nive (king). An absolutist model would not have suited his subjects, and he co-opted the most important of them by creating a senate (simäpäl), Skourene-style. When the governor of Jecuor seemed to be considering a similar move, Ḍuruṭekke occupied the island, deposed the governor, and invited the Jecuorese into his kingdom on the same oligarchic terms. His son Ülinok (Ulinoxu) absorbed the neighboring province of Mura in similar style.
Northern Čeiy remained in the empire, but with increased resentment over having to support the near-constant wars in far-off regions of Xengiman. In the 1620s, the northern provinces finally rebelled. The Axunemi reoccupied the chief cities, Ṭetäs (Ax. Četazi) and Šeläš (Šelaju); this induced the rebels, previously inclined to go their own way, to come together and form a new country, Ämünel (Ax. Amurineli ‘united land’). There was no king, only a Noble Council which functioned much like the Täddese senate. Axunai had many other troubles, including the Munkhâshi-supported rebellion of the governor of Moun; the rebels took Ṭetäs in 1650 and made it their capital. The collapse of Axunai in 1682 eliminated any fear of an Axunemi resurgence.
The classical age
The last king of Tädda, Esûžušu, looked on with alarm as the Tžuro conquered the city-states of Skouras one by one. The Tžuro had pushed into Xengiman as well. In both cases their path was cleared by the shameful disunity of their opponents. Would Tädda and Ämünel do any better? He approached the nobles of Ämünel with a proposal for unity. They listened carefully, deliberated, and politely refused. The sticking point was Esûžušu himself. The northerners didn't want a king, and certainly not a pushy southerner like Esûžušu.
As it happens some key southern senators shared their opinion: they assassinated Esûžušu in 1739. The conspirators were executed, but Esûžušu's son was only two years old, and discussions on who should be regent took more than a year. This was long enough for people to get used to not having a king, and not having one began to look like an even better idea when the council of Ämünel expressed interest in union.
It took another year to iron out the details, but in 1741 the new nation of Čeiy was proclaimed. The component countries and their senates remained; the national senate was simply the union of the two country senates; the custom was to meet separately one year, and together the next, alternating between Orṭäl and Ṭetäs, which were both considered capitals.
The new nation prospered, and indeed entered into its classical age. Where the Axunemi had been rigid and hierarchical, the Čeiyu were freewheeling and pragmatic. Even in Axunai the freer thinkers were often monks and hermits; the Mešaic monasteries of Čeiy were even bolder, declaring that the pursuit of truth outweighed orthodoxy; they were the first in Almea, perhaps, to state clearly that truth must be established by argument rather than by authority. As a heuristic they developed the ešikävu, the adversarial method, which required two debaters for each side of a question (one to argue for their position, one to argue against their opponents), two auditors, and an adjudicator. The method was adopted in the senate as well, and then in the courts and schools. The prototype of the latter was the Šivines, the first true university in Almea, founded in 1862.
The Čeiyu felt less and less attached to the homeland; this difference was accentuated when most of Xengiman adopted the new religion of Endajué; a few Čeiyu intellectuals converted, but the country remained almost entirely Mešaist.
In the classical period Čeiy did not control the entire Jakaye valley: various Axunemi remnant states held the city of Šurokämo (Ax. Kuroxamo) and its port Zömäš. However, these had been part of Roz Čebevi, and there was a widespread feeling that Čeiy should have sole control of its major rivers. In the 2060s, the city of Šüvvätu upstream complained that Šurokämo was blockading its trade. This seemed sufficient warrant to conquer the two cities (2070). Nearly a century later, the remaining territory of the kingdom of Bizawak was occupied.
Invasion and occupation
This changed dramatically with the rise of Xurno. Pushed out of Xengiman, the Gelyet retreated to the Barbarian Plain... except for a strong contingent which poured into Čeiy and conquered the northern half of the country, in the late 2500s. The southern half was simultaneously occupied by the Čisran Empire (2608-12), the fruit of a rare period of unity among the Littoral peoples, now known as the Uṭandal. The only unconquered region was Ṭetäs itself and its hinterland.
The Xurnese, however, had the barbarians on the run, and were happy to expel the barbarians (by 2660), beat back the Čisrans, and return Čeiy to the fold. The Čeiyu welcomed their liberators, but the honeymoon lasted less than a year. The Xurnese explained that Čeiy had been conquered because it was weak, sapped by republican license and archaic worship. The Senate respectfully suggested that these affairs were the business of the Čeiyu; the Xurnese did not need to be lectured by provincials. The Senate moved to demands for the restoration of Čeiyu independence; the Xurnese responded by abolishing the Senate.
Čeiy had an unexpected ally: Čeiyu independence was supported by the Xurnese premier, Bezu ma-Veon, founder of Bezuxau— an extreme form of Endajué which insisted on the amorality and meaninglessness of the visible cosmos. When Bezu was forced out of the premiership in 2692, his supporters helped him escape to the fortress of Šušumbör off the coast of Mnau. Here he and his successors organized wide-scale resistance to the Xurnese state; their primary tool was assassination. Bezuxau also spread quickly in Čeiy, especially in Tädda.
Čeiy effected its independence by 2840, and power was returned to the Senate. However, the leading figure of the realm was the shadowy Master of Šušumbör. His direct followers were many, and where they did not suffice, terrorism usually did.
The civil war
In 2940 the country fell into civil war, north (Ämünel) against south (Tädda). The revolution against Xurno had been led from the south, which therefore dominated the military; Bezuxao was strongest there as well. The capital city of Ṭetäs attempted to remain neutral, and the northerners treated this as treason; they enlisted the Uṭandal of Luṭay to blockade the south plus the capital. The early years of the war went against the north, but in the end it was triumphant (2963). (The war however allowed Luṭay to retain control over the southern coast.)
In 2961 the northern navy used the new technology of black powder explosives to destroy the fortress of Šušumbör. The Master's followers redoubled their terroristic attacks; but without their home base they were greatly weakened, and they were never again able to dominate Čeiyu politics.
One unity-building exercise after the war was the invasion of Gotanel, which was facilitated by the Xurnese civil war based on the rise of Revaudo. Once unified, however, Revaudo Xurno was able to regain its territory.
The Luṭair had few resources, but a formidable infantry, and they aggressively expanded their foothold on Mnau— the region of Mešäriš. But the demographic and technological edge of the Čeiyu eventually became more than a small military state could respond to. In 3365 Čeiy used cannons and iron-plated ships to destroy the fortifications of Bal, the chief city of Mešäriš, and to sink half the Luṭair navy. Mešäriš was recovered, and though it was largely Littoral in population and language, it was treated as an integral part of Čeiy, co-equal with Ämünel and Tädda. Its people have gladly accepted the relationship, not least because the Luṭair rulers were despots who allowed them little freedom.
It is one of the more heterogeneous countries in Ereláe when it comes to religion. The two dominant religions are Bezuxau and Mešaism, with progressively smaller minorities practicing Endajué (especially in Zömäš and the Ḍäkäye valley), Skourene and other forms of paganism (largely in Mesäriš), Jippirasti, and Eleďát. Its people are more curious and less conformist when it comes to religion than neighboring countries such as Xurno or Šura. For example, Čeiy was the first non-Jippirasti country to translate large portions of the Baburkunim into its national language.
The highlands of Čeiy were for centuries ruled by the Gelyet. In the late 3100s the native landowners rebelled, creating the kingdom of Räntsüzôl.
In modern times Čeiy has recovered its classical trading orientation and openness to inquiry; it is one of the more progressive nations of the south, and has a burgeoning industry.