Etymology: The people called themselves Monȟado "Great People" in reconstructed Meťaiun > Keb. neḣada. The Caďinorians called them moĥnaru (Ver. muhnaru). The word Meťaiun comes from their first kingdom, Meťaiu < Meťaiγo. The word also underlies Metailō, the Cuêzi name for the Meťaiun people, which failed to connect them to the Monkhayic. The me-/mo- of the above names is an honorific.
The Meťaiun are of the Taëse race and of its gríššue “greyish” color variant; they are most closely related to the Munkhâshi. They inhabited Eretald as far back as we can trace human settlement, around the Stone Age (-25000), and indeed settled along the coast as far as the Alfonine coast; however,the people of Meťaiun stock north of the Rhânor Range merged with the Westerners and now speak South Rafsani languages.
Genetically, much of Eretald, Sarnáe, and even the Rau delta have a large admixture of Meťaiun blood.
By -25000, based on the records of the ilii, the ancestors of the Meťaiun were found in Eretald in the Svetla and Adel valleys, living nomadically, hunting animals with stone weapons, and gathering herbs, roots, fruits, and nuts.
Agricultural techniques spread from Xengiman to the Monkhayic peoples of Eretald around -2500, with wheat as the chief crop, leading to a tenfold increase in population along the Svetla. The Monkhayu in the Rau delta gradually abandoned their languages in favor of Western ones. By -1550 they had intermingled (and to this day the area remains a cline between the two races).
The first states appeared by -1150: the kingdoms of Meťaiu (by a figure known as Dobauron by Caďinorian historians) and Komuγ (Como) along the upper Svetla. The capital of Como seems to have been the modern Aránicer.
The Meťaiun were at the height of their civilization by -600. Their great kingdoms all faced the sea: Davur (-850), Agibna and Newor. Meťaiu was extent but it was dwarfed by the river kingdom of Okiami (-650) itself dwarfed by Davur; King Gutein of Davur, achieved this largely by gifts and promises of autonomy. The insubstantiality of the loyalties thus purchased was unremarked amid the éclat of his court (located near the modern Erruk).
The Eastern invasion
The Eastern peoples (Central and the more dominant Cuzeians) invaded Eretald, and within a century Meťaiun-ruled states had been pushed to the littoral. The Central tribes would settle in the center and east of Eretald, and the pure Meťaiun were pushed to the north.
The invaders retained as much governmental machinery as they could find. The invaders had a more hierarchical bent than the Meťaiun; their Empire of Metayu (proclaimed in -375) was rather more organized than any Meťaiun state.
Meťaiun fled in almost all directions from the assault on the Svetla, migrating to Okiami and forming the kingdom of Teivarei on the Eärdur; over the next centuries these were cleaned up as the Cuzeians migrated into the valley.
Others went on occupying Kebri, and pushing across the Ctelm mountains into Sarnáe. The latter group, which by 50 held almost the entire Shkónoro valley, became known as the Monkhayu, the autonym of their modern descendants who still inhabit the southwestern corner of Dhekhnam.
The littoral states of Ažimbea and Newor recovered and the new kingdom Čoγask on the west was founded. Ažimbea reconquered the seacoast from Cayenas. The new dynamism of those remnants derived from trade.
The Munkhâshi occupation
Munkhâsh conquered half of Eretald, starting in 440. Except for Kebri and a strip along the coast, the Meťaiun and Monkhayu were entirely conquered, and suffered greatly under the occupation.
The littoral was re-established as Leziunea, while present-day Érenat was reconquered first by Kamno and then by Awoilas. Like Caďinas and Aránicer, the Meťaiun pushed the Munkhâshi back; by 1525 Awoilas held all of northern Sarnáe.
But in the early 1600s all the ground gained was lost again, as the Munkhâshi poured through Meťaiun territory in order to attack Eretald. The Meťaiun were liberated by the Caďinorians under Ervëa, but the price paid was incorporation into their empire.
The modern descendants of the Meťaiun, in language and culture, are the Kebreni (which see for further history).
The Meťaiun were the first Ereláean people to exploit the littoral. They enjoyed the same basic inventions as the Wede:i— pottery, the loom, organized states, the wheel, boats— with the major exception of writing. Depending on rainfall rather than irrigation, they were also less dense and thus their cities were smaller. They're also known for first domesticating the pig and pioneering the production of wine and silk.
Politics, trade and interaction
The Monkhayic kingdoms were leagues of barons, who chose one of their own as king (melaȟ) who had a strong role only in times of war. A king who led an unsuccessful campaign could be executed.
Their internal and external politics seem to have been extremely divisive, which sufficed for the not very onerous demands of Meťaiun warfare but prevented an effective response to the Eastern invasion.
After the invasion, a huge number of Meťaiun must have stayed in place, learning the invaders’ language and interbreeding with them. As the invaders had no great consciousness of race, Meťaiun who learned their languages could be completely assimilated.
The littoral economy of that time owed its dynamism to the river boats, newly adapted to navigate the littoral, bearing minerals from Kebri, timber from Newor, wheat and olives from Ažimbea, and gold from the alluvial deposits of the great rivers. Trade was organized by rulers, not by individuals; but the wealth and broader outlook it fostered a wider outlook and advances in navigation and shipbuilding.
The Meťaiun were in contact with the elcari. This can be seen from their name for Ȟírumor, *Miȟirem which they adopted from the Elkarîl Ñokhrem. The ilian enclave of Telarsanië existed for centuries near their region.
They also seem to have been taught metallurgy from the Easterners since metal names have similarities to Cuêzi. Several scholarly and religious terms were taken from the Cuzeians and the Caďinorians (*aladaḣ "grammar" from Caď. aluatas or *ris "pen" from Cuêzi risi) although they remained illiterate.
Since the Easterners were continental people, they adopted many Meťaiun maritime words, such as names of sea creatures (Cuêzi ancua "eel" from *ankuwa, Caď. burasos "sponge" from *buras) and naval terms (Caď. pinda "tail (of ship)" from *pindi or *tindigeda "anchor"), not to mention wine (*vidno, Caď. vinos) and silk (Caď. seṫa).
The Meťaiun were polytheists; their gods (kaumu) were often associated with mountains and lakes. Lake Como (Komuγ supposedly meaning "god place") was particularly holy to the Meťaiun, who found all lakes numinous; this reverence of the lake passed to the Caďinorians who believed that the first gods were born there. Of the gods, the only certain name is that of Agibna, the goddess of the sea, adopted by the Caďinorians as Agireis.
Although the Easterners assimilated their societal structure, the Cuzeians, already believers in Iáinos, made no attempt to take over the institutions of Monkhayu paganism. It is possible that their religion persisted in ancient Araunikoros during the Cuzeian occupation and later when the Caďinorians expanded on the plain, the Arániceri, adopted the remnants of Meťaiun religion found there.
The Arániceri pantheon is given below in their Caďinor names (hoping they reflect their original forms more closely than the Verdurian ones). Although given for the sake of completeness, it can't be certain which associations are original and which are Caďinorian; it is certain that in later times, they were adapted in the alchemical system.
- Aecton (Lord of Heaven) and Aelilea (Queen of Almea)
- Kaedun (fire) and Aescena (Svetla)
- Betcindos (Earth) and Calierea (agriculture)
- Perabron (war) and Urikira (Ligh
- Durreon (Rock) and Andevar (love)
In apocryphal Caďinorian legend (not repeated in the Aďivro) the above gods belonged to the "First Pantheon" and destroyed each other in a war, to be replaced by the standard Caďinorian pantheon; perhaps this legend simply reflects how Meťaiun civilization was replaced by the Caďinorian.
From the reconstructed Meťaiun language we can deduce that their religious system also had spirits or "little gods" (kaimi), priests (soγ) and prophets or hermits (numikuri, cf. Cuêzi numīcuras). The Count of Years also hints that the Meťaiun worshipped certain ancestors and the iliu (bostumi), though without understanding their nature.
In Meťaiun mythology the first humans were Megemeȟ (Great First) and Miniune(Great Maiden) who also appear in the Cuzeian tradition as Megmexos and Miniūne, seventh son and daughter of Arrasos, fathers of the Metailō.
Their mythology had mythological monsters like the lorajeiri, a horse-eagle creature.