Count of Years

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Author: Zerrakhi

The Count of Years (Rēneca sōniē) is among the earliest and most important of the Cuzeian scriptures. It is a book of epic history, not heavy with doctrine, and gives an account of early history beginning from the creation of the world. Despite its substantially mythological nature, it's the best source available for many aspects of early Almean history (for which the only alternative sources are other mythologies).

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History

The two earliest manuscripts date back to -50 and -25, while oral versions go back further. These are the "crif Aurei Árraseh" (or Scroll from Aure Árrasex, abbreviated CAA) and the "crif Lüsë Eleise" (or Scroll of the Glade of Eleisa, abbreviated CLE).

The existing manuscripts were reconciled in a version produced around 125 by the poet Anacūlato, who added a substantial number of poems and historical anecdotes. Many other writers have made alterations since then - sometimes to fine-tune the theology (an early and prominent example of this by an anonymous Knower dates from 220), sometimes to add poetry, and sometimes to add historical anecdotes (often involving their ancestors). It became customary for scribes to bring the concluding section up to date with their own times, as a result of which almost every early manuscript has a different ending. By the time of the fall of Cuzei, the book was nearly twice as long as the earliest manuscripts.

Finally, around 1350, the final Cuêzi version was compiled in Alaldas (reconciling conflicting versions and deleting material deemed spurious) and became the first section of the Book of Eīledan. The canonical translation into Caďinor was made in 1421 by Ĥimauro (Verdurian didn't get a complete translation until after the formation of Eleďát).

Later versions have a more epic style compared to the simplicity of early manuscripts. We also see the evolution of conventions such as the avoidance of personal pronouns in reference to the mētū (introduced by Anacūlato).

Content

Creation

The book begins with an account of creation (shorter in CAA than in CLE) and an introduction to the Cuzeian trinity. The world is one of the first things to be created, soon followed by the first sentient beings: the Einalandāuē - spiritual, immortal and cosmic (each has a star as a home), equivalent to angels. Then plants and animals are created - in part by Einalandāuē. The involvement in creation by Einalandāuē establishes the doctrine of subcreation, and also provides an explanation for some of the design flaws in creation, because the Einalandāuē were not perfect.

The origin of evil in the world is explained as follows. Eīnatu, the greatest of the Einalandāuē, is disappointed to learn that Iáinos does not intend to have servants created for the Einalandāuē, but rather, younger brothers. He weakens life on Almea, corrupting it so that death no longer comes at its proper time, and introducing such vices as greed, resentment and cruelty. His motivation is to ensure that sentient beings on Almea - dependent upon the corrupted plants and animals - could never become as powerful as himself.

But rather than having the world created afresh, Iáinos introduces new virtues to creation to counteract the corruption of Eīnatu - virtues such as friendship, prudence, and natural defences, which Eīledan provides. He also punishes Eīnatu - Eīledan puts out the light of his star Nōtuvoras (until then the brightest of all stars) and confines Eīnatu in the depths of Almea where his rage produces earthquakes and volcanoes.

At this point, Almea's three moons are created and guardian spirits assigned to them to watch over Almea. The Einalandāuē Amnās is exiled to Almea for his part in Eīnatu's betrayal.

Giants and Ogres

Assisted by the Einalandāuē, Eīledan creates Mavordaguendu, first of the Bārumemaniciū. This race of harder-than-rock giants are the first sentient beings made of matter rather than spirit. Here, the Count of Years dwells a little on the differences between spirit and matter, and on the pleasure of having a body. The second Bārumemaniciū is named Ecrêsetomurgo, and then Mavordaguendu learns that a corporeal being must use voice rather than telepathy to communicate with others. The two giants spend several days giving names to the things they find. The giants learn about companionship and community, then Eīledan creates the rest of the giants, who are without gender and do not reproduce.

The Count of Years portrays Amnās as more villainous than Eīnatu, and now Amnās creates an assistant, Soxāeco, who is more evil still. Soxāeco comes up with the idea of creating a race of ogres, called Gauminiū, to oppose the giants.

The battles between the giants and the ogres are used to explain geographical features such as mountain ranges, which are the remains of fortifications. Fighting continues for a decade, and through alliance with Ecaîas the ogres use earthquakes and volcanoes as weapons, while the giants enlist the help of the moon-guardians whose weapons include lightning and meteors. All of the ogres and most of the giants are killed (although the odd ogre does crop up in later mythology).

Iliū and Ktuvoks

Iáinos determines that the next sentient beings to be created will be made of flesh and able to reproduce. Assisted by the giants, Eīledan creates the first Iliu. The first male Iliu is called Iriand and the first female is Alāna. We are told about the discovery of sexuality in some detail, treated to a love poem or two, and noble claims are made about Iliu sexual morality. The Iliū choose Bérunor, the Lake of Mists, as the best place to raise a baby, and later, more Iliu children and grandchildren are born and different lineages give rise to Iliu races (Ambretagō, Nîimedi and Gorōdigō).

The Iliū are, of course, the first emperically real Thinking Kinds to be described by the Count of Years, but there are indications of the tendency to glorify the Iliū and project Cuzeian ideals onto them.

To match the Iliū, Amnās creates the Ktuvoks. The lifestyle of this species is explained by Amnās's inability to understand love or community. When some Ktuvoks kill an Iliu, the latter at first think that it is a new kind of predator, but soon learn that it is a new Thinking Kind. The Iliū find the Ktuvoks unwilling to make amends for the crime or contemplate any kind of peace, and war inevitably breaks out.

The wars between the Iliū and the Ktuvoks last for thousands of years, each of eight individual wars lasting for one thousand and the gaps between them being at least as long. Each war is fought with new kinds of weapons, simple, magical or technological. During the fourth war - in which the weapon of choice is fire - Amnās and Soxāeco determine to free Ecaîas from his prison, and so Soxāeco steals a star while its Einalandāua occupant is absent, intending to use its energy to open a crack in the earth. But the plan is foiled and Soxāeco is destroyed. Eīledan transforms the stolen star into the Zone of Fire so that no war on Almea can devastate the whole planet.

Elcari, Múrtani and Humans

The next Thinking Kind that Eīledan creates (assisted by Iliū) are the Elcari. The Iliū treat the Elcari as younger brothers, and teach them a language among other things. However, the Elcari find that they are unsuited to the watery environment preferred by the Iliū, and search for a new home, trying out various places and rejecting each before settling in the mountains. The Elcari are famous on Almea for their stonework and metallurgy, and (except in CAA, whose southern authors had less contact and interest in the Elcari) the Count of Years gives an account of how they developed these skills. Technical details indicate Elcarin sources, as do characteristically Elcarin narrative devices, and there are even events lifted from known Elcarin stories.

Amnās kidnaps some Elcari children, and with the Ktuvoks raises them to hate their parents. This is the origin of the Múrtani. Having been lead back to the mountains by Amnās, the Múrtani raid the Elcari, and the Elcari, after finding out what has happened, prepare for battle. The urgency of developing better weapons for war leads to the discovery of bronze and, later, iron.

Iáinos decides that there should be a Thinking Kind adapted to the plains, just as the Elcari are adapted to the mountains. So Eīledan, with Iliu assistants, creates the first humans. But the first woman (Denūra) is raised by Iliū, while the first man (Árrasos) is raised by Elcari (though both are taught a language devised for them by Iliū) and the consequent culture gap leads them to dislike each other.

Iáinos sends the two humans on a mission to the far-off Iliu city of Asicondār. They have to cooperate to get to their destination, and slowly they learn to respect each other. Among other things, they learn to tame and ride a horse. Eventually they come to like each other, although not until their journey is almost over. Reaching their Iliu destination, they are ready to be married, as Iáinos knew that they would be.

There follows a lengthy list of marriages and births and of corresponding human lineages. In reality these lineages are the groups that the Cuzeians recognised around them in eastern Ereláe.

Status of article

The above incorporates the first six sections of the Count of Years and the corresponding commentary. The remaining four sections are yet to be summarised.