In the land of Babblers
In the Land of Babblers (Xuêsicranas fâsaex eduntrâcinu rāe sā xūntu Neni-Nemaē, ‘A defense of my conduct which was in the land of the Babblers’) is a book written by the Cuzeian Beretos, by birth belonging to the aure of Tefalē Doro, and by the marriage of his Lady, Caumēliye, attached to Lord Zeilisio of Eteîa Mitano.
The book is an account of Beretos's journey (starting in 287) to the barony of a minor Caďinorian baron, Berak, whose location at the very edge of the Ctelm mountains was of prime importance in the defense against the rapidly expanding empire of Munkhâsh. Beretos found the assignment frustratingly difficult, largely because Berak at first had no use for him, and no interest in Cuzeian culture or knowledge. However, he befriended Berak's master of troops, Tentesinas, and with him led a patrol into Munkhâsh to scout out conditions there.
The book also tells of the trial of Zeilisio for atheism upon his return to Cuzei. This was an escalation in the conflict between the privatist and pietist factions. The book thus serves as a defense both of his mission and of Zeilisio, who is presented throughout as clever and witty, but also strongly religious.
The book has retained its interest far beyond the immediate details of Cuzeian infighting. It was the first Cuzeian work to clearly explain the strategy of a ktuvok empire— subjugating each conquered people to the last, but enticing them with the prospect of mastery over those next added to the empire. It is invaluable as a portrait of Cuzei in the Golden Age, and as a curious observer's account of early Caďinorian culture.
Though Beretos was sent by the Council, his mission was tainted by Zeilisio’s trial, and he felt the need to exonerate himself and stir the national conversation back to the poor results of Cuzei’s barbarian strategy. The defense, as well as the politics surrounding it, seem to have had some effect; we hear of Cuzeian military missions in the southeast of Eretald. The Munkhâshi did invade, but not for over 150 years after Beretos’s mission.
The warning to Cuzeians to be conscious of the image they were presenting to their 'barbarian' allies was both influential and controversial. Cuzeians continued to read the book for centuries— and indeed, not a few copyists attempted to nudge Beretos closer to their own side, inserting references to other locations or to far later events and personalities. The most blatant addition was a set of three chapters, commonly called the “Prayers of Beretos”, which largely mirror the pietist virtues of the late Silver Age. The language is labored and anachronistic, easily distinguished from the simple readable prose of Beretos.
The book was never translated into Caďinor, probably because it hardly shows the Caďinorians in a favorable light, though many historians consulted it. Beretos’s dismissive account of visiting Ctesifon was often cited ironically, as a contrast with the dizzying rise of that city.
Verdurians do not mind a humble role for the Caďinorian capital, and the book has been translated several times into Verdurian. The best modern edition (which includes the Cuêzi text) is Soa conďayeca Beretei, published by the Scholars' Circle of Avéla in 3452, under the editorship of Naďanél Ložey.