Troi Ciosa (born ca. 11370 b.S., died ca. 11320 b.S.) was captain of the Svarring Joling, the Glandorian exploration vessel which, caught by storm and sea, was adrift for ten years before finally landing on the coast of what is now Manthria, approximately 13,000 years ago. He was the leader of the small band of brave souls who established a foothold on this "unknown island", and the founder of the city which bears his name, Ciosa, a mere few strals from where the ship was reefed. He is almost always referred to as simply "Ciosa", and we have kept this practice here.
Picture description. The Glandorian captian and founder of the City of Ciosa, Troi Ciosa. Picture drawn by Faugar.
Very little information remains as to the appearance of Ciosa, and those
accounts which do survive contradict each other in many details. The one thing
upon which all accounts agree is his height. The typical
Avennorian of today stands at
about a ped and two fores,
and it is believed that the Glandorians of old were even shorter, yet no report
of Ciosa places him at anything less than two peds, as nearly as the
Compendium has been able to
calculate the old Glandorian measurements. This may well be exaggeration, or he
may truly have been a giant among his people. There is also the possibility of a
combination of the two - while Ciosa may have possessed abnormal height, the
amount by which he towered over people has been greatly exaggerated. This,
according to the scholars and historians of the
Compendium, is by far the most
likely of the two. The opinion with the most credit among experts is that, while
tall, the national hero Ciosa has been idealised for hero worship; as heroes are
all tall, his height has been heavily mythologized in order that he might
conform to the ideal.
Having agreed - or very nearly - on his height, accounts go on to differ on almost all counts. We will be drawing in the main from the accounts of Nikolf, who is said to have been a close friend and confidant of Ciosa from his birth - according to Avennorian lore they were born on the same hour of the same day - to his death. From his writings, it is possible to piece together an image of the founder of the great Kingdom of Avennoria. He mentions Ciosa's height, but unfortunately does not specify just how tall he is, merely that he "towers over one like a giant - it was quite terrifying to see him rebuke Leif for his theft." Nikolf was a prolific writer, keeping the ship's log and his own diary, but unfortunately did not seem to regard description of Ciosa as particularly important. However, references to his "transfixing brown eyes" and the "constant determination of his countenance, brow furrowed as he ploughed ever on to greater things for the Glandorian exiles" have provided two vital pieces of information about this enigma. Nikolf also records that when he was a young captain, just about to set off for - though he did not know it - a new life, he was "youthful, energy radiating from his handsome features", and that as he stood at the helm of the ship he "appeared like the son of Hanranns, his finely proportioned limbs stout and true and his hair flying in the wind", but that by the time they reached the spot which was to become their springboard "to heights unknown", Ciosa appeared "wearied and weathered, lines creasing his noble and once-handsome face. Only his eyes remained unchanged, shining from his face with overwhelming determination, moral worthiness, and above all a desire to do right by the people he led. Looking into those eyes, I felt ten years younger, as though we were about to cast off from Glandor for the last time once more - and for him, I would have done it."
The picture we have collected so far is that Ciosa was once a handsome man, but the ravages of responsibility and the sea aged him before his time, giving him creases and a look that in a man less determined would be described as weariness. Ciosa was a man of the sort that strengthens with time, trial and tribulation, however, and although the details of his precise appearance are scanty, the great artist Faugar has captured with startling precision the look of Ciosa in his later years, perhaps a decade or so after the disembarkation at Gebl's Nose Cape. As can be seen, Faugar has also managed to keep true to Nikolf's description of Ciosa, right down to the colour of the eyes.
Personality. Ciosa's personality can be summed up in one word - determined. By the accounts of all his contemporaries whatever he set out to do, he did. He sailed a ship of over one hundred people, plus births on the journey, for ten years, preventing fights, mutiny, and simple despair. He founded a civilization as great as any ever seen, which ruled lands larger than the modern day province of Manthria, and he did it all with this most important aspect of his personality - determination. Even in death he represents this, his grave lying in one of the most inhospitable spots in the entire area of the city which bears his name - in point of fact, he rests a full two hundred strals from the city, in a cave at the base of the Caeytharin Mountains.
However, lest you think that this man was more an implacably superhuman demigod than a real man, it must be said that there was another side to his personality. Ciosa appreciated art and music and beauty, and before he left on his life changing voyage was a great patron of these disciplines, but ten years at sea, dealing with the harsh and day to day realities of ship life for so long, stripped his priorities of anything not vital and practical, and he became the hard and focused man of iron that he is remembered as. The combination of these traits gave him an almost irresistible charisma that was the only way he could have kept so large a ship under control for so long, especially lacking, as he did, the advantage of experience at command.
Ciosa should also be remembered for one more aspect of his personality - his impetuousness, which led also to his at times almost foolhardy bravery. While many leaders have been reflective and calm, Ciosa was much more likely to see the solution to any problem in action - immediate action - even when his ends would have been best served by the formulation of a plan, he would charge in head-first, quite possibly risking his life, unless cooler heads and wiser councils prevailed. In most cases, this meant his childhood friend Nikolf, who was a steadying influence on Ciosa until his death. This impetuousness seems to have fuelled his legendary loyalty to his friends, and the lengths to which he would go for his crew and, later, his people.
Biography. A biography of Ciosa, from his birth to his death, follows. All the dates given are, naturally, approximations, as it is impossible to obtain accurate dates for a man who lived over ten thousand years before our modern dating system was even dreamt of. Much of what we have is authenticated by the records of his friend Nikolf, but many other parts can only be based on hearsay and so, while the Compendium has done its best to distil the truth of these legends, parts of this biography are not verified in contemporary documentary form.
- CHILDHOOD AND YOUNG ADULTHOOD
Illegitimate Birth and Early Life (ca. 11370-11365 b.S.). Ciosa was born in Glandor, believed to be the son of a lord of Glandor named Kof Andulsskun, and a prostitute whose name has not come down to modern scholars. The irregularity of his birth is one proposed reason for his distinctly non-Glandorian looks, such as his brown eyes and his hair, which is said to be darker than that of his contemporaries. After his first few months of life he was taken from her care together with his friend Nikolf, son of one of his mother's fellows. It is reported, in the oral lore which surrounds Ciosa, that the child, by now perhaps a year old, refused to leave his friend, and so this low-born son of a merchant and a prostitute was brought, along with the illegitimate son of a lord, to the realms of the nobility. When asked about this in later life, Ciosa is supposed to have said: "I'd never met my father, and I felt nothing towards him at that time. But Nikolf was my best friend. I knew I wasn't going to leave him behind just because a lord asked me to." This was typical of his steadfastness and unselfishly simple worldview. While such reasoning and determination in a baby may be hard to believe, the Compendium asks that its readers remember how great a creation of later generations Ciosa is, and that many widely accepted claims may bear no more relation to the truth than a full-grown eur'oak does to its seedling bloom. We have no way of sifting the complete truth from these claims, and so in cases like this merely offer what we can, leaving it to the reader to decide what he or she thinks is the truth - rest assured, many will disagree.
Growing Up (ca. 11365-11355 b.S.). During these years, Ciosa lived in his father's town house. His parentage was an open secret: officially, he was the beloved godson of the childless Andulsskun, but when a wealthy and influential lord takes on the care and education of a prostitute's son, the most uncomprehending of city folk understands the situation perfectly. However, he was never recognised or even adopted, and kept his mother's name of Ciosa. Ciosa learnt, from his tutors but also from his own natural flair for oratory, how to inspire men and how to control their passions; how to calm them to a millpond's smoothness or whip them to a whirlpool's frenzy; how to evoke their emotions and how to placate them. He also learnt, along with Nikolf, how to read, write and play a musical instrument, the Glandorian hol-boh - a type of flute - as well as how to organise at a fundamental level.
Bravery (ca. 11360 b.S.). Around the age of ten years, Ciosa is said to have been passing by the sea, about five hundred peds from the docks, when he heard a shout from the water. Spinning instantly, he observed a young girl, aged perhaps nine, floundering in the waves. Without a moment's hesitation, Ciosa dived into the sea, fully clothed, and swam out with a powerful stroke to where the girl was sinking below the waves for the third time. Wrapping one arm under her arms and across her chest, Ciosa supported her head with his other hand and swam back to shore using only his legs. By the time he had reached the shore, he was exhausted. Half walking, half crawling through the surf, he managed to drag the girl out of the water, before he collapsed and vomited brine. He tried to rise once more, but his body couldn't support him; he fainted and would have slumped to the ground once more, had a docks worker not been there to catch him, as he fell.
When he came around, the young hero was fêted and praised for his bravery. People queued to shake his hand and congratulate him, but the one person Ciosa wanted to talk to studiously avoided him. The girl had been taken away to be dried and dressed in clean clothes, and when Ciosa tried to catch her eye, she refused to meet his gaze. Too polite to insist on a conversation, Ciosa only managed to pick up her name - Heiana - and that she had gone out to swim, but the current had been too strong for her - which he had already guessed - and she had been swept down the beach faster than her nurse could follow on foot; luckily, the current at that point ran parallel to the shoreline, or she would almost certainly have died.
This event seems to have marked a turning point in Ciosa's life. He was treated more as a man than a boy, and began to attend social functions with his godfather.
Romance (ca. 11355 b.S.). At around the age of fifteen, Ciosa attended a large event with his father in honour of the birthday of an important noble. The events that followed are recorded in Nikolf's diary, but due to the length of the entry, the Compendium provides here only a brief précis of these; the full passage is available in the reproduction of those fragments of Nikolf's diary which may be of interest to the reader.
As Nikolf did, we begin with Ciosa's arrival, along with his godfather and closest friend, at the birthday celebrations of Lord Okerth. As they greeted their host, Lord Okerth introduced them politely to his daughter, a Lady Heiana; the same Heiana, in fact, that Ciosa had saved from drowning more than five years before. Shocked by this realisation, Ciosa made his excuses and followed her as she hurried away shyly; upon trapping her in the corridor, Nikolf reports that he repeatedly questioned her before eliciting a response, at which point a tender scene too delicate to be described other than with the words of an eyewitness ensued:
I watched with abated breath, as first one, then the other, spoke in broken and emotional sentences, and then delicately, almost worshipfully, Ciosa drew her face towards his own, and kissed the very lips he had no less carefully kept from the brine a third of his life ago.
After this the union received the blessing of both parties' guardians, albeit
reluctantly on the part of Lord Okerth, who was horrified that his daughter
would marry a boy of no birth, or, as he termed him, "a bastard whore's whelp".
Despite this opposition, the two were betrothed and later married as they wished
Command (between ca. 11355 and 11350 b.S.). At some point after his marriage and the birth of his first son, Ciosa was granted command of a small vessel, and a crew of just twenty men. As they were patrolling, they encountered a pirate vessel - the universal scourge of seagoing societies through all time - and rather than following his direct orders, which were "on no account to fight; but rather to run before the wind and alert a ship of war", Ciosa ordered his men to tack towards the vessel. His excellent leadership and steady nerves through the encounter allowed him to lead his men to victory: already he was displaying by instinct a fine touch that most admirals must learn through experience. Although numbers have been inflated through the lens of millennia, we can safely say that the pirates numbered at least two score - twice Ciosa's number, but his skilful leadership and personal bravery ensured that the day was won by the Glandorians, at a cost of only a few lives. When he returned to shore leading his prize behind him, he was praised for his bravery and spurned for his disobedience in one breath, though not punished - it seems that the Glandorian theory on orders went along the lines expounded by later Avennorians: "If you break them, make sure you succeed". In any event, this feat won him renown, and he was soon captaining larger vessels and giving excellent accounts of himself in all areas. However, it was not until his son was nearly five that Ciosa was granted a large command.
- THE VOYAGE OF THE SVARRING JOLING
The Svarring Joling (ca. 11350-11340 b.S.). Ciosa's first sizeable command was to captain the Svarring Joling on a far-ranging exploratory expedition to the south. As was customary on long voyages, several of the crew were women - the superstitious Glandorians believed that thus they could placate the wrath of Meanra - and these included Ciosa's wife, Heiana, who was at this time great with her child. Although she was in no fit state to travel, Heiana was socially expected to attend, in accordance with the strict traditions of the Glandorians. Records show that four ships were launched that day, of which the largest were Ciosa's Svarring Joling and the Fijor Skull, and that all were under Ciosa's overall command, though only three would go on to reach the coast of what today is Santharia's province of Manthria.
Launch. As the four ships were launched, a sacrifice was made on the shore. The precise nature of this sacrifice is unknown, as the Glandorian word "kith" can mean both a kid goat or a young child, and while many have suggested that this was a human sacrifice, there is no evidence to suggest that such a ritual was practised by the Glandorians; for that matter, there is little in the way of evidence pertaining to the Glandorians at all. At any rate, a sacrifice is known to have been carried out, and the Svarring Joling, her sister ship the Fijor Skull were launched without a hitch. Among Ciosa's crew were his eldest child, his son Asgeir; his wife Heiana, who bore his as yet unborn second son; and Nikolf, Ciosa's truest, and oldest, friend. Ciosa also gave in to his wilful daughter's demand that she be allowed to accompany him - she was around three or four at the time. It was at this time that Nikolf wrote his journal entry recording that Ciosa appeared "like the son of Hanranns", with "energy radiating from his handsome features" - this was "the youthful demi-god of Glandor, strong and self-sufficient, and, so it seemed, immortal. The idea that such a well of vigour could every run dry, that such energy could ever grow tired or such youth old, was inconceivable", as Nikolf writes in one entry believed to be about halfway through the legendary voyage of the exiles. Not a note of this wistfulness touched the proceedings, and Ciosa embraced and saluted his godfather on the gangplank before boarding and waving to the people of Glandor.
Difficulties. However, things began to go wrong almost from the start. Separated from the Fijor Skull by a storm, Ciosa's remaining three ships were further thrown into chaos by the birth of the captain's third child. A boy, named Thorgeir, was the latest scion of his line, and Ciosa's life began to admit hitherto unknown stresses and strains, far beyond either those of fatherhood or of captaincy. After sailing in their originally planned direction for the five or six months agreed upon and finding nothing, Ciosa was urged by his crews to continue just a little further - having been at sea for so long, they wanted to find land, fresh water and food other than dead seabirds and dried biscuits. Against his better judgement, and the counsel of Nikolf, Ciosa acceded to this reasonable-sounding request, and so they continued for another two weeks before sighting land. Heading directly for it, the sixteen-score sailors had hope of reaching land at last.
Water. The First Calamity - After a short spell they alighted, and Ciosa brought the ships alongside the island. Island it can scarcely be described as; according to Nikolf's description, it was little more than a rock sticking out of the sea, smaller than the ships, with a solitary tree and three bushes growing in a forlorn patch. However, it was at least relatively dry and in the centre, at the highest point, there was a large depression filled with water. Ciosa was said to have drunk from this, and proclaimed triumphantly that it was fresh. Nikolf records what passed next:
At this there was a great shout. "Fresh
water!" called the men; "Water!"
called the women; and the pool was rushed by a great horde of people.
Ciosa brought me a skinful from the rock, and we sat together on the edge
of the island, staring out to sea. Suddenly, Ciosa swore a violent oath.
"Nikolf!" he uttered sharply, "Nikolf! Is that a wave or a cloud?" Peering
over the ocean - he has so much better eyesight than I - I squinted into
the setting sun, and suddenly saw what he had indicated. Not a hundred
paces away over to the west, there was a huge wave rising from the surface
of the sea, moving swiftly towards us. Ciosa was on his feet in an
instant. "Run!" he bellowed. "Everyone onto the ships - now!" The rush
towards the pool stopped, reversed and poured back to the vessel in a
frantic scramble not for water, but for life. Ciosa and I both leapt
aboard as soon as he had shouted, and he stood on the prow urging people
on. Everyone was running pell-mell for the ships, save for a round
two-dozen whose thirst, not yet quenched, urged them to stay for one
drink. That one drink was the undoing of them. No sooner had the last of
the runners scrambled aboard than the wave was upon us. I did think for a
moment that the fleetest of those who stayed might make it, but he was
swept away within knots of Ciosa's grasping hand. Aboard the ships was a
flurry of activity, as we struggled to keep them afloat in the turbulence,
but at last we rode the wave and settled again. The mood, until recently
so triumphant and jubilant at the discovery of
water, was broken, dejected. Those who
had lost friends to the wave were offered wordless comfort and those who
took no part in this reflected on how brutally aware of their own
mortality they had been made. Only Ciosa still stood, compassion writ on
his noble but tortured face. At one side of the deck, a boy of eight rose,
our cabin boy, Leif. Staring over the rail into the deeps, he swung first
one leg and then the other over, and stood on the outside of the ship.
When Ciosa noticed this, he moved instantly for the first time in over an
hour. At once he was by the boy's side, talking to him gently. I followed
more slowly, and heard Leif's reply.
From this time on, Leif was like another son to Ciosa, who regarded it as his
duty to raise the son of his dead crewman - a sense of responsibility haunted
him, and this was the first of the tragic episodes which turned the carefree and
handsome young man into a haggard and weathered one, aged before his time by
grief and stress.
The Svarring Joling Lost at Sea - Unfortunately for the crews of the three ships, the next night they were surrounded by a fog which made the night as thick as mud and at around midnight a great wind blew up. All the crews' energies were expended on keeping the vessels afloat and together - tasks which, almost miraculously, they managed - and when three days later a calm morning came, the storm spent, and the impenetrable wall of fog wispy coils melting off the glasslike surface of the open sea, Ciosa realised that he had no idea where they were; no idea which way was which; and no idea how far out of their course they had been forced. The clouded sky gave no indication, and in a time when navigation by sea depended on the sun, the stars and dead reckoning, with the occasional fortunate landmark in the form of an island or a coastline, this was a blow indeed. So, choosing a direction at random, Ciosa led his crews honestly and forthrightly, but hopefully, into the unknown - home, death or glory awaited.
The Voyage Continues - None knows how long the exiles were at sea for. The diaries and ship's log kept by Nikolf are unreliable, as several pages and some say even whole tomes have been lost or rendered unreadable, and the unfamiliar skies, seas and weather precluded any accurate telling of the date or the passing of days. Some legends put this exile at over a dozen years, while some say it was scarcely more than half that: in any event, food was generally seaweed, seabirds, fish and, on the occasion that they made land on some rock, shellfish; while fresh water was a luxury gathered from the all too frequent storms and the boiling of seawater over an ever-dwindling supply of coals for the braziers.
Water Supplies - This last problem was solved by Nikolf's ready mind. While he is unwilling to sing his own praises even to his diary, he recorded this:
"The water issue, over which we worried, is no longer so pressing. Ciosa asked where we were going to get fuel from, so I suggested we could burn seaweed; it works. Leif observed that certain types of seaweed, when dried, burn as well as some woods, and he is currently working out which are the best and the worst. He is also going to try bones of fish and the like."
From here it is clear that the idea was Nikolf's alone, and we can infer that he
suggested Leif sort through the different types of seaweed as well, but modesty
prevents him from bragging. While this modesty may be very admirable in a man,
it is less so in a historical document, which is to be read by people attempting
to gain an image of the truth. Nevertheless, Nikolf is a generally reliable
source, and certainly the best that exists, especially for the details.
So with food - that is, fish, shellfish, seaweeds and, if one of the sailors had a lucky shot, seabirds - and water - that is, rain collected in a tarpaulin or a jar, or seawater distilled over a brazier - the exiles survived their decade at sea. Little more of import occurred for most of that time: they were blown off course time without number, and Nikolf records that they often thought that they were going to die, but the sheer determination of Ciosa's will kept the vessels under control and riding the waves.
Heiana's Death: The Second Calamity - Tragically, about five years into the journey - although some who believe the voyage lasted only half a dozen years say it was fewer - Heiana died of an illness. Nikolf records the symptoms, which are indicative of severe scurfy. Ciosa grieved greatly, and withdrew for several days into his cabin, so the legends say. When he emerged, he was tired and careworn, but fiercely protective of his position at the tiller, often going nights without sleep; Nikolf records that...
"I am greatly worried by the change that has come over my friend. He stands at the helm all day and all night, he never sleeps. I believe he is fleeing the nightmares and the visions that come to his as he closes his eyes, the horror of gentle rest - yet only gentle rest may cure him. He must not contain this grief, allowing it to fester in the open wound in his heart, but rather must pour it out, open it to the world, and let the fresh air of day cleanse it from his hurt. Yet I am - I, his oldest friend - I am rebuffed when I approach him. I can neither comfort nor succour him in his anguish, instead finding myself forced to allow him to mourn as he sees best. Yet I do hope that his powerful nature will win through his demons, for it is upon his determination that the fate of this ship rests. If he is lost, we are all lost."
Ciosa never told anyone what he thought during those long days alone; or if he
did, none ever entrusted these thoughts to the page or the bards. However, it is
clear that the burden upon his shoulders was great and grew greater with each
passing day. Raising three children on his own, in addition to a boy who was
like a son to him, was quite enough for him, and captaining a boat was almost a
responsibility too far. But Ciosa was one of that rare breed of men who do not
crumple at trials beyond all human
comprehension and merely endure whatsoever befall them. A father to his men and
women, a stalwart pillar, Ciosa's ethic did not allow the cracks in his personal
life to mar his duty; rather, he was quieter, less carefree, but always a pillar
of support to those in need, never hesitating to lend his strength to another
even when his well was running dry in those dark days after his wife's death.
Pirates: The Third Calamity - While lesser in scope than either the death of his wife or several of his men, this event scarred Ciosa deeply. A sudden dawn attack by pirates is said to have occurred at some point after his wife's death; while these things were not uncommon, and the longest legends report several attacks, this one is mentioned in almost all tales of the exile and had a lasting impact on Ciosa's already damaged psyche. Unfortunately, Nikolf's record of the events is sparse at best, probably as a result of his anger and horror at what occurred, and so we rely on one of the myriad legends which tell of the voyage.
Ciosa's daughter, Heia, named after his wife's mother, was up in the rigging - against her father's express instructions - and called out suddenly to the world at large. "Boat!" she called. "Boat!" The lookout turned his head instantly and swore. "Pirates!"
In an instant, the ship was alive. Ciosa dashed from the prow to seize his weapon - his preference is most often said to be for an axe of some description - and gather his combatant crewmembers. The pirate ship was soon upon them, and Ciosa's determined leadership allowed his men to repel the boarding and then board themselves, ransacking the smaller boat and taking anything useful or flammable - without a single casualty.
Or so they thought. As they returned to their ship, Ciosa stopped dead. Kneeling in the centre of the deck was Nikolf, next to the prone form of a pirate and that of Heia. A bloody blade lay on the blood-soaked planks, and Nikolf was weeping gently. As Ciosa approached, his oldest friend raised his head and choked out the full story. The pirate, seeing the massacre taking place, had clearly crept around, perhaps leaping the gap at one end. As Nikolf - who was utterly incapable, in normal circumstances, of being a man of action - had looked across the deck, away from the fight, he had seen the pirate climb the rigging to where Heia looked at the battle in innocence. Cruelly, he had killed her to prevent his being noticed, but Nikolf had seen and Nikolf had seen that red skull of which the Glandorian legends speak - the one that enables men to fight on when covered in wounds, even when a dozen of which are mortal of themselves, and kill all who oppose them. Snatching a blade from where it leant neatly against the wall, he had run across the deck.
"So you stabbed him." Ciosa is reported to have interpolated. But it appears not. Nikolf certainly intended to do so, but as he climbed the rigging with murder in his eyes and vengeance in his heart, he dropped the blade within just a cable of the pirate. However, his fury brooked no delay; he had seized the man and, wrapping a loop of rigging around his neck, throttled him. Letting the body drop, he retraced his climb and began to stab at the corpse. His diaries record that "on no account was [he] going to let the foul beast get away with a strangling" as "he took the sword; thus he must taste it in death", and this uncharacteristic brutality and violent force showed how deeply Nikolf cared for the daughter of his friend.
Despite Nikolf's rough justice, Ciosa's daughter was dead. The pirate's body was cast overboard and in a final act of vengeance, Ciosa ordered the by now empty shell of the pirates' vessel to be broken up for firewood and the dead pirates to be thrown, ignominiously, into the sea, rather than the traditional rites of burning or being left on a ship to float out to Meanra. That this was not afforded their enemies is indicative of his fury, as even pirates were customarily given this treatment.
Arrival - After many years at sea, Ciosa's lookout spotted land. At first, no notice was taken, but as the ships moved onwards across the sea, he called down that this was no mere rocky peak, or five-cord isle, but rather a large island - he couldn't see the other side, as he should have been able to do were it as pathetic a place as they had come across before. Suddenly, an almost-dead hope began to rekindle in the breasts of Ciosa's followers. Land! After so long, land! Recklessly, they made straight for it.
This recklessness was to lead them into trouble; they travelled at full speed, running before the wind, for most of the night until, approximately an hour before dawn, as the pale grey spread across the sky and the first flecks of pink teased the horizon, Ciosa's own ship stopped with a sudden jolt. Looking overboard, peering through the fog, one of the crewmen announced that they had hit a reef, which poked above the water here and there. The boat was not badly damaged, but she was well and truly stuck.
The other ships, to their credit, refused to continue without their captain, and instead came as close as they dared in order to provide help. Fortunately, neither of them hit the reef, and their vessels stayed safe, although Ciosa's was unusable and was taken to pieces for supplies by the explorers when they had landed, as was one of the others - the last they managed to land safely and repair after a few weeks.
Ciosa conferred with Nikolf and they are reported to have crossed the reef at dawn. They came just a little on the wrong side of the low tide, and so they found it a difficult journey, but Ciosa's hunch and Nikolf's hope was proved correct; the reef connected to the land, and they had a means of reaching true land after all - they had already decided that is was too risky to try taking the other boats in any further. Overjoyed they returned to the ship and ordered that everything of use be gathered and packed; and the next morning, this time perfectly in line with the tide, they crossed. Many legends attribute Ciosa a heroic personal rôle in this, swimming to shore with a raft carrying a large amount of useful supplies, but it is unknown whether he actually did; the page from Nikolf's diary is blurred by water beyond legibility.
Be these events as they may, the Glandorians were landed at last, and Ciosa's determination would be needed more than ever to carve out their niche and leave an indelible stamp on the region even after the kingdom which sprang from them had gone.
- THE FOUNDING OF A KINGDOM
The Early Years (ca. 11340-11335 b.S.). Over the first five or so years, the initial camp of the Glandorian settlers is believed to have expanded - first to a wooden fort and then to a town of sorts, as the population also experienced a sharp rise. Ciosa's inspirational leadership and determination to conquer the odds, coupled with Nikolf's considerably sharper mind, whose coolness tempered Ciosa's rash tendencies, kept morale high even in the midst of an unknown land, bare of all that was familiar or comforting. Of course, the contrast with the ship is not worth drawing. This takes Ciosa to thirty five years of age by the end of this period, but aged by his woes and his tribulations. In this time his sons grew to the ages of around twenty - for Asgeir - and fifteen or so - for Thorgeir. As his father had, Thorgeir around this time became enamoured of a girl his own age; she returned his feelings and, with Ciosa's blessing given with more than a little reminiscing, they were married - according to Nikolf, on Thorgeir's birthday.
Asgeir, at this time, was unwed, and showed no desire to marry. He had been very close to his younger sister, regarding himself as her protector, and was absolutely devastated by her death; some say that he blamed himself, in a perverse way, for allowing her to be on deck at the time. He had taken Nikolf's lessons well, and seemed more like his father's friend than his father.
During this time, Ciosa's men and women came into frequent contact with the locals - a very friendly and very helpful people called the Darians, who were farmers, and who had largely given up the tools of violence, having only a few bows for hunting and axes for cutting down trees - facts which the Glandorians were almost unable, in their militaristic minds, to understand. These Darians, however, were very helpful, providing food and clothes to, and even intermarrying with, the Glandorians.
The Darians - the First Explorations (ca. 11335 b.S.). At the end of the early years of limited expansion and consolidation, Ciosa and Nikolf felt comfortable enough in their society to send out scouting parties further afield, and attempt to explore the rest of the island - as they thought. One of these parties, headed north-west, returned after a month or so of travel to report the existence of other men, more Darians, who lived by the base of a huge mountain range, almost certainly the Caeytharin Mountains - although these are only a few furlays from the fort where the Ciosans lived, the scouting party were moving by foot through completely untended wilderness, and so took much longer than a man on horseback would now, were he to retrace their steps. They were also much more exploratory than most travellers - examining the trees and the geography so that they might make accurate report.
The Glandorians were very scornful of the Darians, both the ones at the foot of the mountains and the ones in their immediate area - the "primitive" tribes carried no weapons of warand had no military structure; rather, they seemed simple, almost round-faced folk with very little in the way of anything beyond a farming existence, although they were very kind and helpful - perhaps too trusting. Since they lived such a considerable distance - for the time: the Avennorian kingdom did not yet reach from the east coast to the west - from the Glandorian settlement that they were regarded as very low down on the list of priorities. However, this meeting was a milestone for the Glandorian settlers under Ciosa, for they had learnt that this was not a large island that ended soon, but stretched for many more times the distance to the far mountains in most directions.
Asgeir's Marriage (ca. 11330 b.S.). Around five years later, at the relatively late age of five-and-twenty years, Asgeir married. He didn't marry so much for love as to please his father, it is believed, and by this time it was already clear that the succession would in all probability fall to Thorgeir, his younger brother. Nikolf wrote of how Thorgeir reminded him of Ciosa as a child - "impulsive, carefree, loyal and openhearted, yet with the same touch of steel that means he and Ciosa can lead where neither I nor - I fear - Asgeir could".
The name of Asgeir's wife varies; some say she was called Hjale - sometimes written Hjalen, others claim that she was known as Hjamtha - sometimes Jamtha. She bore him a son, who was as unlike his father as possible - he resembled his grandfather more than anything, and had a very close bond, so it is said, with his uncle Thorgeir. Some claim that she was a Darian, and there would seem to be evidence to support this view. If so, this was a large step by the son of Ciosa towards closer relations with the Darians; the first, it is believed, of many such marriages, due to the disproportionately small number of Glandorian women on the expedition. If she was a Darian, her original name has not come down to us; she is known by the Glandorian name she was given, whichever of the two it may have been.
There are many theories as to why Asgeir chose such a wife; the most likely, in the opinion of serious scholars, is that Asgeir decided to make some move towards closer relations with the Darians with his marriage - since he had no personal reason to choose, he used a political one. It is unclear whether he decided to do this in agreement with his father or independently, and it is probable that we shall never know.
Expansion of Ciosa (ca. 11330-11325 b.S.). The village around the fort of the Ciosans was expanded into a small town, and the children born after the arrival reached their fifteenth season. Ciosa became very inward-looking over this period, spending long periods contemplating his life and his problems. However, he never stopped leading from the front; often, especially towards the end of these years, he would leave on the long scouting and exploration trips with his men - as the camp became more and more permanent and mundane, his spirit of venture pulled him more and more firmly from his everyday tasks into the unknown, to conquer as he had in his youth. Aged nearly half a century, he was no longer a young man, but was yet strong and determined, and the spark still glinted in his eyes, the spark of which Nikolf waxes lyrical - that lit his way over the seas and into history.
Thorgeir is Named Heir (ca. 11325 b.S.). In this year, on one of his now rare extended stays in the city, Ciosa convened all of the Ciosans and said to them, in words which Nikolf recorded - he claims faithfully - that the time had come for him to choose an heir.
"I realise that I have put off this moment, in which I must finally name
one to take my place when I do not return, as I may soon fail to do, and
so I have considered it hard. My elder son, Asgeir, has spoken to me, as
has my eldest friend Nikolf, and I have decided on my heir.
First Trade with Darians (ca. 11325 b.S.). Although
neither had moved significantly closer to the other since the first meetings,
Ciosan - or rather, Av'ennor - explorers
began to trade with Darian villagers for food and knowledge, bringing back
information on how to cultivate the soil to best advantage and enlarging their
range. Despite this, and their comparative lack of stature, the militaristic
Av'ennors, being of Glandorian descent, always regarded the moon-faced,
soft-bodied Darians as inferior. The
Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels has suggested that
this may have been caused by a feeling of defensiveness on the part of the
Av'ennors towards the taller and more numerous Darians, with the result that
they retreated into the superiority of their military values; the counter-theory
to this is that those values truly were the values by which they judged the
world, but the fact of the matter is, overwhelmingly probably, unknowable.
Over time, the trade levels rose, but roads allowing large-scale transport of goods were not built until after Ciosa's death, and so levels were kept within bounds.
Ciosa's Death (ca. 11320 b.S.). Around this year, at an age of half-a-century, Ciosa was on a far-ranging expedition on Mount Evermourn when his aged legs could no longer support him. All the men with him were young, the oldest being Leif, his erstwhile cabin boy, who was still over a decade younger than his leader. None of the men ever described the events of that day in written form, though tales abound about what happened. All that is known about this singular and, for all who knew him, earthshaking event is that he died at some time between that evening and the next morning, whether he fell, as some would have it, or merely slipped, or just could not keep his body going in the cold, demanding conditions; it is a matter of general consensus that when the sun rose the next day, he was dead.
The men of his expedition carried him to the base of the mountain that morning, in the cold morning light, and laid him to rest in a cave. Old, uninhabited, and hewn by elemental forces from the rock itself, it was the perfect place for a man whose determination could level any obstacle, any objection. This mountaineer's funeral seems strangely appropriate for such a one.
And here ends the tale of the life of Troi Ciosa, bastard son of a Lord, Glandorian naval captain, but ultimately, and most importantly, the man of iron will who founded a nation.
Importance. It is almost impossible to overstate Ciosa's importance, or his impact on the region which he through fortitude was to win for himself and his descendants. His impact is not only in terms of the Avennorians, who of course would not have existed without his being, but also, according to Compendium researcher Ta'lia of the Seven Jewels, on the development of the Shendar tribe; as the Av'ennors forced the Darians out of their land, those who went south are the ancestors of today's Shendar.
Thus, we can account to Ciosa all of the influence of the Avennorians from his time to the first century b.S. and the forming of the United Kingdom; yet even now, the Avennorian psyche exists, and the impact of that people is felt upon the world. In a very real way, Ciosa is one of the most important figures of history in terms of his influence on its very shaping. The Tethinrhim elves would likely not have formed their Academy of Archery were it not for the wars they waged against the descendants of this man; the Shendar tribe would not have developed as it has today - perhaps at all - were it not for the driving out of the Darian tribes by the second and third generations of Av'ennors; and the Santharian Kingdom would almost certainly have developed differently if there had been a power vacuum in the areas of Manthria and Brendolan.
 Hanranns was the male of the two Glandorian deities, with dominion over "the Land, and the Breath of the Land which is language and the Gift of the Land which is strength" - his sister was Meanra, mistress of "the Sea, and the Breath of the Sea which is wind and the Gift of the Sea which is life". [Back]
 An approximation, of course, based on the rough starting date of 11350 b.S. and rough arrival date of 11340 b.S. [Back]
 Later, when the Glandorian tongue was lost, this was to be corrupted to "Av'ennorian", then to "Avennorian" and so the name "Avennoria" was formed. [Back]