Beretos of Eteîa Mitano is the author of In the land of Babblers (Xuêsicranas fâsaex eduntrâcinu rāe sā xūntu Neni-Nemaē), one of the key texts available for Almean studies.
Beretos [ˈbɛ rɛ tɔs] was born in 260 in Tefalē Doro, a minor aurē (House) in the Rhânor range; as the son of an upper servant, he was the playmate and school companion of Caumēliye, daughter of the Lord of the aurē, Árrasos Tancī. The Lord must have thought highly of the boy, and gave him a good education in religion, swordsmanship, and nature lore. The House was not far from Somoyi-Meťelyi territory, the first barbarians or ‘Babblers‘ he knew.
Cuzeian culture - especially the epics - glorified coelīras: a devotion to women, especially to a particular namiēi cipatora yēve-to' ("noble and virtuous Lady"). Beretos formed a lifelong attachment to Caumēliye, and relates his disappointment when, at twelve years of age, he learned that, being her social inferior, he could never marry her— indeed, that she was already engaged to Zeilisio of the aurē of Eteîa Mitano.
The marriage took place five years later, and Beretos moved with Caumēliye to Eteîa Mitano, on the Eärdur. He worked with the chief steward, Corumayas, and befriended a soldier in Zeilisio’s service, Oluon, who refined his military training. Eventually he came to the notice of Zeilisio, and rose to administer his estate. He was sent on a diplomatic mission to Aránicer, where he quelled some trouble between the Prince and the local Cuzeian merchants.
Into the land of Babblers
In 287 came the mission that would make him famous: he and Oluon crossed the plain; Beretos was to be Cuzeian Resident (ambassador) to a minor Caďinorian baron, Berak, who held the Taucrēte Pass in the Ctelm Mountains against Munkhâsh. The mission started badly; Berak refused to see any virtues in the unmanly-looking Cuzeians, and set Beretos to teaching Cuêzi to his wife and daughters. By besting one of his men, however, Beretos won the respect of Berak's tiedectescrion or master of troops, Tentesinas, and became their military trainer. He and Tentesinas led a patrol across the Pass into Munkhâsh to evaluate conditions there.
On their return, however, conditions deteriorated. Munkhâsh sent its own Resident, who got on very well with Berak— while preparing for a sneak Munkhâshi attack on Berak's keep. This was foiled by Beretos and Tentesinas, but the Munkhâshi Resident was killed, and Berak was so infuriated that he sent the Cuzeians away.
Beretos returned to Eteîa Mitano, where he soon became embroiled in his master’s political struggles. Zeilisio was a leader of the privatist party, which believed that holiness (nēreyas) was a matter for individuals to pursue; he was opposed by the pietists, led by Inibē of Alaldas. The pietists suffered a setback when one of their Knowers was found to be stealing Glade offerings; but they counter-attacked skillfully, ending with the arrest of Zeilisio on charges of atheism— an unprecedented move against a member of the King’s Council. A strong King might have prevented this sort of thing; but the king was old and weak. Zeilisio was imprisoned, but defended himself ably before the Council, warning of the dangers of misusing religion for political ends, and he was acquitted. Some cynics— Zeilisio mentions the idea himself— suggested that the pietists lost the case when they attempted to ban Eleisa’s favorite entertainment, the theater.
Rumors continued to fly about both Zeilisio and the reversal at the Taucrēte Pass, and Beretos wrote In the land of Babblers to exonerate himself and his Lord. He also explained to the Cuzeians the results of their arrogant barbarian policy: that the Caďinorians chafed under their pretensions, while the Munkhâshi grew stronger. (In this respect his book was a failure, since the Cuzeians made no substantial changes in policy before the Munkhâshi invaded Eretald 140 years later.)
Beretos was the first to explain to outsiders the nature of a ktuvok empire, which survives by expanding, so that conquered humans can look forward to their own turn as conquerors. The book has survived as an invaluable and honest look at contemporary Cuzei, at the Caďinorian states from Ctesifos to Aránicer to the minor baronies, at early Caďinorian paganism, and at Munkhâsh.
Beretos undertook at least one more embassy to the Caďinorians, and one to the Meťaiun state of Azimbār. His name is also mentioned, in conjunction with Zeilisio’s, in another, later confrontation between the pietists and privatists. He is known to have married, as well, at the insistence of Caumēliye. His date of death is not recorded, but is believed to be around 340.