Throughout most of history, the northwestern fringe of Xengiman, though it is less arid than the Barbarian Plain, has been the territory of the nomads, except for the river valleys which were settled by Axunaic peoples. The Xazen valley is an extension of this pattern.
From ancient times there has been a trade route running along the Xazen, Čangor, and Piki rivers between Eretald and Xengiman. It was generally controlled by whatever barbarians lived in the region, though a few poor, tiny settlements existed. Typical exports from Eretald were wine, weapons, silk, tobacco, and olive oil; from Xengiman, gold, linen, lace, perfumes, medicines, and hard cider. Only small and expensive goods were practical for trade; bulky items were hard to get over the mountains, as well as the portages needed at several points. For milennia the anchors of the north-south trade— the markers of the civilized world— were Lepcer in Cerei (where the Xazen meets the Svetla) and Yasinar in Bolon (on the Piki)
An evocative illustration of the difficulties of premodern transportation is the fact that trade from Verduria city to Inex is almost entirely conducted along the 10,000 km sea route around Ereláe rather than the 3000 km land route through Xazno.
Large-scale settlement was impossible during the barbarian era, and only began in the 2670s, under the emperor Imdax, once Xurno had defeated the barbarians and was able to protect colonies in the valley. The Caďinorians had tried several times to settle the river valleys to the south, but were defeated by the colder climate and the fact that the Xazen, for most of its length, runs in a narrow channel. The Xurnese had crops adapted to cold and were used to irrigation; they cut canals that ran alongside the river; as their beds were near-level, they reached the level of the fields some distance downstream. (The Xazen is strong in the spring as snow melts in the Diqun Bormai, but dries to a trickle in the fall; the growing season is thus short, leaving the settlers vulnerable to drought or barbarian raids. Spring is also the trading season, as the rivers are only navigable then.)
Control over Xazno was lost around 2800, the beginning of a period of weakness in Xurno. The colony had grown populous enough to defend itself, however, and in recent centuries even served as a buffer between the Eluye-Makši to the west and the Kešvareni to the east. During this period the region also developed a distinctive dialect, Xazengri, characterized by the breaking of stressed vowels and the laxing of unstressed ones; people from Xengiman delight in making fun of this rustic drawl.
Xurno recaptured Xazno in 3284. This was welcomed in the colony, which needed investment and new colonists to develop, and which felt safer with a large empire as backup. In the meantime Revaudo had taken over Xurno; the religious artists sent as governors must have seemed strange indeed to the rough local farmers and traders. The governors built dzusnari and attempted to push local practice in the direction of orthodox Endajué, without much success.
The capital of the province is Eor, at the confluence of the Xazen and Čangor rivers. (South of Eor, Xazno follows the Čangor, which runs south and east toward Xengiman.) The town of Ečinar lies in the far north, just south of Cerei, and serves mainly as a military base.
Countries and important regions in or near Eretald:
Provinces of Xurno
Bukanel - Rau Niormen - Rajjay - Šuzep - Rau Xengi
Jeor - Niormen - Šiyku - Tanel - Gotanel - Idzinar - Nior