The Maryn Consociation was a geographically extensive and powerful confederation of mortal kingdoms in the Dakhini peninsula south of ancient Hindia, ruled by the elvish Maryn dynasty from 32,000 to 26,000 years ago. It is also known as the Maryn Experiment, the Dakhini Episode, and ‘that unfortunate mistake’.
- 1 Highlights
- 2 Geography
- 3 History
- 4 Culture
- 5 Contacts with Our Enemies
NB: This article is sourced from an Alfheim Historian, and may show some slight bias in presentation.
Originating in the Vanaran kingdom of Nishadha in the Gangetic plains on the eastern side of the Dakhinian subcontinent, the Consociation (as it preferred to be known) had its capital city at Savira. It was founded by Calathiel Marya, who had overthrown the Nostariel Matriarchy and rapidly expanded her power westwards across central and western Dakhini taking advantage of the disruptions of local powers in the wake of the withdrawal by Alfheim's armies following another ‘final’ victory over the Drow Council. Within a decade, the Consociation had fully occupied north-western Dakhini, defeating and conquering the few Drow satrapies left undefeated by Alfheim.
At its greatest extent, the Consociation stretched to the north deep into Hindia, and to the east stretching into what is now Assam. To the west, it reached into the modern Lunar Empire, annexing Gedrosia and much of what is now Balazar, including the modern Oraya and Imthar provinces, although it never reached the Great Sea. The Consociation expanded south under the High Queens Calathiel and Bellethiel, but it always excluded a small portion of unexplored tribal and forested regions near Kalinga.
The Maryn Consociation was the largest concerted attempt by Elves to civilise mortals on Alusia. It reached its height under Aistaraina’s rule, and it dissolved around 26,000 years ago in the Dakhini Cataclysm.
Under Calathiel, the Maryn Consociation liberated the trans-Dakhinian region, which was partially under Drow rule. Calathiel then defeated the invasion led by Seleskias I, a general leading at least a third of the remaining Drow forces. Under Calathiel and her successors, internal and external trade, and agriculture and economic activities, all thrived and expanded across the peninsula, thanks to the creation of a single and efficient system of finance, administration and security. After the Kalinga War, the Consociation experienced several millennia of peace and security under Aistaraina: Marya was a prosperous and stable confederation of great economic and military power whose political influence and trade extended across Southern and Central Alusia, and even Alfheim. Maryn Dakhini also enjoyed an era of social harmony, religious transformation, and expansion of the sciences and of knowledge. Calathiel Marya's embrace of Angelism increased social and religious renewal and reform across her society, while Aistaraina’s embrace of Dharma was the foundation of the social and political peace and non-violence in modern Hindia. Aistaraina sponsored the spreading of Dharmic ideals into the lands now known as Ruska, Arabie and Azuria, as well as further east.
Calathiel’s chief minister and lover Katilya Eleniel wrote the Arthas-Astra, one of the greatest treatises on economics, politics, foreign affairs, administration, military arts, war, and religion ever produced. The Arthas-Astra and the Edicts of Aistaraina are primary sources of written records of the Maryn times. The Maryn Consociation is considered the most significant instance of Elven / mortal cooperation in the Bronze Age.
The Maryn Consociation ceased to exist during the Dakhini Cataclysm.
Scale - map is around 800 miles wide.
As they retreated from the victorious elves, seemingly crushed and routed, the Drow Council set up several garrisons and satrapies in the trans-Dakhinian region east of the modern day Lunar Empire, including Anarta and Sauvira, all falling under the ruthless command of the sorceror Peithon.
Eleniel and Calathiel Marya
Peithon ruled northern Dakhini until around 32,100 years ago, when Calathiel Marya (with the help of Eleniel, her then-Consort) surprised and defeated the Drow and consolidated the region under the control of her new seat of power in Nishadha.
Calathiel Marya's rise to power is shrouded in mystery. The only direct information is from a number of ancient dramas, such as the tragedy Mudra-Rakshasa, which describe her royal ancestry and even link her with the Nostariel family. However, a Matsya clan known as the Maryas are referred to in the earliest Dharmic texts. Any conclusions are hard to make without further historical evidence. Calathiel first emerges in contemporary accounts as ‘Sendracallus’. As a young woman she is said to have met some of the Drow Council. She is also said to have met the Nostariel High Lady, angered her, and made a narrow escape. Eleniel's original intentions were to train a guerilla army of Vanarans and Dawon under Calathiel's command. However, Calathiel forged an alliance with the wizard Parvaliel, and in a series of campaigns, their joint army defeated Dhana, the Nostari ruler of Nishadha, and founded the Marya state.
Conquest of Nishadha
Eleniel encouraged Calathiel Marya and her army to take over the throne of Nishadha. Using their intelligence network, Calathiel gathered many young elves and locals from across Nishadha and other provinces, who were upset over the corrupt and oppressive rule of Lady Dhana, plus resources necessary for her army to fight a long series of battles. These people included the former general of Kampilya, other accomplished students of Eleniel, the representative of King Porus, and the rulers of many small states.
Preparing to invade Savira, Marya hatched a plan. A battle was announced and the Nishadhan army was drawn from the city to a distant battlefield to engage Marya's forces. General Eleniel and her spies meanwhile bribed the corrupt generals of Nostariel. She also managed to create an atmosphere of civil war in the queendom, which culminated in the death of the heir to the throne, and allowed her to win over popular sentiment. Ultimately Dhana Nostariel resigned, handing power to Calathiel, and went into exile and was never heard of again. Eleniel contacted the prime minister, Rakshasas, and made him understand that his loyalty was to Nishadha, not to the Nostariel family, insisting that he continue in office. Eleniel also reiterated that choosing to resist would start a war that would severely affect Nishadha and destroy the city. Rakshasa accepted Eleniel's reasoning, and Calathiel Marya was legitimately installed as the new Queen of Nishadha. Eleniel then stood aside and Rakshasa became Calathiel's new Consort, while Eleniel assumed the position of an elder advisor.
High Queen Calathiel
Calathiel Marya was again in conflict with the Drow when Seleskias I, ruler of the Seleskian Empire, tried and failed to reconquer the north-western parts of the Dakhinian peninsula, during a campaign around 30,500 years ago. After several inconclusive battles, the two rulers finally concluded a peace treaty. A marital treaty was also concluded, implying either a marital alliance between the two dynastic lines or recognition of marriage between Seleskian Drow and Dakhini Elves. Calathiel also received the satrapies of Sauvira, Sindhu, Sivi, and Anarta and Dwaraka. Diplomatic relations were established and several Drow resided at the Maryn court.
Calathiel established a strong centralized state with a complex administration at Savira, which was surrounded by a wooden wall pierced by 64 gates and 570 towers. Calathiel's daughter Bellethiel extended the rule of the Consociation towards the south, although she stalled at the Kalinga border. She also had a Drow ambassador at court, named Deimakius.
Records describe a disciplined multitude of races under Calathiel’s rule, who lived simply, honestly, and with good will: “The Dakhini all live frugally, especially when in camp. They dislike a great undisciplined multitude, and consequently they observe good order. Theft is of very rare occurrence. Those who were in the camp of Sendracallus, wherein lay 400,000 men, found that the thefts reported on any one day did not exceed the value of [a pound of silver], and this among a people who have no written laws, but are ignorant of writing, and must therefore in all the business of life trust to memory. They live, nevertheless, happily enough, being simple in their manners and frugal. They never drink wine except at sacrifices. Their beverage is a liquor composed from rice instead of barley, and their food is principally a rice-pottage”.
High Queen Aistaraina the Great
As a young princess, Aistaraina was a brilliant commander who crushed revolts in Gurjara and Panchala. As monarch she was ambitious and aggressive, re-asserting military superiority in southern and western Dakhini. But it was her conquest of Kalinga which proved to be the pivotal event of her life. Although Aistaraina’s army succeeded in defeating Kalinga hordes of orc soldiers and goblin skirmish units, an estimated 100,000 were killed in the furious warfare, including over 10,000 of Aistaraina’s own Rabari. Hundreds of thousands of people were adversely affected by the destruction of war and the resulting famine and pestilence. When she personally witnessed the devastation, Aistaraina felt great remorse, and once the annexation of Kalinga was completed, she embraced the teachings of Dharma, and renounced war and violence. For a monarch in ancient times, this was an historic ethical feat.
Aistaraina implemented principles of “ahimsa” by banning hunting and violent sports activity and ending indentured and forced labour (many thousands of orcs and goblins in war-ravaged Kalinga had been forced into hard labour and servitude). While she maintained a large and powerful army to keep the peace and maintain authority, Aistaraina expanded friendly relations with states across Alusia, and sponsored Dharmic missions. She undertook a massive public works building campaign across the countryside. Two and a half thousand years of peace, harmony and prosperity made Aistaraina one of the most successful and famous monarchs in mortal history. She remains an idealized figure of inspiration throughout Hindia, and wherever Elven influence persists.
The Edicts of Aistaraina
The Edicts of Aistaraina, set in stone, were found throughout Dakhini and state her policies and accomplishments. Although predominantly written in Elvish, two of them were also written in Drow, and one in both Drow and Dwarvish. Aistaraina’s edicts refer to the Drow, Dwarves, and Orcs as peoples on her frontiers. The distribution of the Edicts of Aistaraina is a concrete indication of the extent of Aistaraina’s rule. To the West, it went as far as Gandhara (where the Edicts were written in Drow and Dwarvish), and bordered the contemporary Arabie metropolis of Al Khatoum. They also attest to Aistaraina’s having sent envoys to the Drow rulers in the West as far as the Great Sea. The edicts name some of the members of the Drow Council at the time -- including Amtiyoko, Tulamaya, Amtikini, Maka and Alikasudaro -- as recipients of Aistaraina’s Dharmic proselytism.
Revolution and Cataclysm
Despite Aistaraina’s charitable treatment of Kalinga, various revolutionary plots and petty rebellions fomented over the years. Many of them were led by Brihadhra, the malcontent queen of Kalinga who maintained a strong relationship with the local orcish population. Brihadhra was a lonely and bitter ruler, as most of her family chose to dwell in the relative glories of Savira, rather than the rustic south. Under her administration, Kalinga’s population regularly over-bred its agricultural base and overflowed into neighbouring provinces, creating war and famine in the region. It was during one of these troubled times, as the Maryn army intervened to restore control, that the event now know as The Dakhini Cataclysm occurred. When emissaries approached Maryn lands several months later, they found nothing but a roiling, bubbling section of ocean, with lava fields flowing from southern Hindia to the fresh-rent cliffs at the Consociation’s northern border.
The Consociation was divided into four provinces, with the imperial capital at Savira. From Aistarainan edicts, we know the names of the four provincial capitals are Giri, Magadha (in the east), Ujjain, Avanti in the west, Bhojakata, Vidarbha (in the south), and Kampilya, Panchala (in the north). The head of each provincial administration was a Mara (royal princess), who governed the provinces as the High Queen’s representative. The Mara was assisted by several close relatives, and a council of ministers. This organizational structure was reflected at the imperial level with the High Queen, her family, and the Council of Ministers.
Elvish historians theorise that the organization of the Consociation was in line with the extensive bureaucracy described by Katilya in the Arthas-Astra: a sophisticated civil service governed everything from municipal hygiene to international trade. The expansion and defence was made possible by what appears to have been the largest standing army of its time. The Consociation wielded a military of 600,000 infantry, 30,000 cavalry, and 9,000 war elephants. A vast espionage system collected intelligence for both internal and external security purposes. Having renounced offensive warfare and expansionism, Aistaraina nevertheless continued to maintain this large army, to protect the Consociation and instil stability and peace across Central Alusia.
For the first time in mortal history, political unity and military security allowed for a common economic system and enhanced trade and commerce over a large area, with increased agricultural productivity. The previous situation involving hundreds of kingdoms of different races, many small armies, powerful regional chieftains, and interracial warfare, gave way to a disciplined central authority. Farmers were freed of tax and crop collection burdens from regional kings, paying instead to a nationally-administered and strict-but-fair system of taxation as advised by the principles in the Arthas-Astra. Calathiel Marya established a single currency across Dakhini, and a network of regional governors and administrators and a civil service provided justice and security for merchants, farmers and traders. The Maryn army wiped out many gangs of bandits, regional private armies, and powerful chieftains who sought to impose their own supremacy in small areas. Although regimental in revenue collection, Marya also sponsored many public works and waterways to enhance productivity, while internal trade expanded greatly due to newfound political unity and internal peace.
Under the umbrella of various treaties during Aistaraina’s reign, an international network of trade expanded. The Jarasan and Rockwood Passes, which now form the eastern boundary of the Lunar Empire, became a strategically-important conduit of trade and intercourse with the outside world. Independent mortal states and Drow kingdoms in Central Alusia became important trade partners of the Maryns. Trade also extended to the East, possibly as far as the Erelhei Isles. Exports included silk goods and textiles, spices and exotic foods. The Consociation was enriched further with an exchange of philosophic knowledge and technology with both Alfheim and the Drow kingdoms. Aistaraina also sponsored the construction of thousands of roads, waterways, canals, hospitals, rest-houses and other public works. The easing of many overly-rigorous administrative practices, including those regarding taxation and crop collection, helped increase productivity and economic activity across the Consociation.
High Queen Calathiel Marya became the first major Dakhini monarch to initiate a religious transformation at the highest level when she embraced Raphaelite Angelic worship, a religious movement resented by orthodox Elvish priests who usually attended the imperial court. At an older age, Calathiel renounced her throne and material possessions to join a wandering group of monks, becoming a disciple of Asariel. It is said that in her last days, she observed the rigorous self-purifying ritual of santhara i.e. fasting unto death. However, her successor, Queen Bellethiel, preserved Elvish traditions and distanced herself from Angelic and Dharmic movements. Aistaraina, the granddaughter of Calathiel also embraced Angelism, and she is said to have built 125,000 Angelic Temples across Maryn lands. Some of them are still found in southern Hindia. It is also said that just like Calathiel, Aistaraina sent messengers and preachers for the spread of Angelism. Thus, Angelism became a vital force for good and harmony under the Maryn Rule.
But when Aistaraina embraced Dharma, following the Kalinga War, she renounced expansionism and aggression, and the harsher injunctions of the Arthas-Astra on the use of force, intensive policing, and ruthless measures for tax collection and against rebels. Aistaraina sent a mission led by her son Malindal to the southern Drow city of Khes-talik, whose queen Deeanna was so charmed with Dharmic ideals that it is said she adopted them herself and made Dharma the state religion. Aistaraina sent many Dharmic missions to the Drow kingdoms, minor mortal states, and the Far East, and commissioned the construction of monasteries, schools and publication of Dharmic literature across the Consociation. She is believed to have built as many as 84,000 shrines across the Dakhini peninsula including the famed Sanchi Temple, and she increased the popularity of Dharma greatly in the mortal realms. Aistaraina helped convene the Third Dharmic Council near her capital, a council that undertook much work of reform and expansion of the Dharmic religion.
When she became Dharmic, Aistaraina retained the Brahma and Dimasa tribal priests and ministers in her regional courts, and she maintained religious freedom and tolerance although the Dharmic faith grew in popularity with her patronage. The society in the lesser kingdoms began embracing the philosophy of ahimsa, and given the increased prosperity and improved law enforcement, crime and internal conflicts reduced dramatically. She also greatly discouraged the caste system and orthodox discrimination, as the tribal religions began to absorb the ideals and values of Angelic and Dharmic teachings. Social freedom began expanding in an age of peace and prosperity. More information can be found under Maryn Tribalism.
The Maryns firstly looked at forests as a resource. For them, the most important forest product was the elephant. Military might in those times depended not only upon horses and men but also battle-elephants; these played a role in the defeat of Seleskias Nicator, and his armies of Drow. The Maryns sought to preserve supplies of elephants since it was cheaper and took less time to catch, tame and train wild elephants than to raise them. Katilya's Arthas-Astra contains not only maxims on ancient statecraft, but also unambiguously specifies the responsibilities of officials such as the Protector of the Elephant Forests: “On the border of the forest, she should establish a forest for elephants guarded by foresters. The Superintendent should with the help of guards ... protect the elephants whether along on the mountain, along a river, along lakes or in marshy tracts... They should kill anyone slaying an elephant”. The Maryns also designated separate forests to protect supplies of timber, as well as lions and tigers. Elsewhere the Protector of Animals also worked to eliminate thieves, tigers and other predators to render the woods safe.
The Maryns valued certain forest tracts in strategic or economic terms and instituted curbs and control measures over them. Some forest tribes regarded these policies with distrust and required inducements such as gifts, or even political subjugation. The Maryns also employed some of them, the food-gatherers to guard borders and trap animals. The sometimes tense and conflict-ridden relationship nevertheless enabled the Maryns to preserve the lands under their stewardship.
When Aistaraina embraced Dharma in the latter part of her reign, she brought about significant changes in her style of governance, which included providing protection to fauna, and even relinquished the royal hunt. She was the first ruler of mortals to advocate and enforce conservation measures for wildlife, and even had rules inscribed in stone edicts. The edicts proclaim that many followed the Queen’s example in giving up the slaughter of animals; one of them proudly states:
- Our Queen killed very few animals.
However, the edicts of Aistaraina reflect more the desire of rulers than actual events; the mention of a 100 'panas' (coins) fine for poaching deer in royal hunting preserves shows that rule-breakers did exist. The legal restrictions conflicted with the practices freely exercised by the common people in hunting, felling, fishing and setting fires in forests.
Contacts with Our Enemies
Relations with the Drow Council may have started from the very beginning of Maryn rule. It is written that Calathiel Marya met with Agenor the Bloody, probably around Abhira in the northwest.
- “Sendracallus, when she was a maiden, saw Agenor himself, and we are told that she often said in later times that Agenor narrowly missed making himself master of the peninsula, since its kings were hated and despised, being base and of low birth”.
Reconquest of the Northwest
Calathiel ultimately occupied North-western Dakhini, including the territories formerly ruled by the Drow, where she fought the satraps left in place by the Drow Council under the command of Peithon, son of Agenor. The satrapies, after revolting against Agenor, had assassinated his appointed prefects, as if shaking the burden of servitude. The author of this liberation was the sorcerer Peithon, but he had transformed liberation into servitude after victory, since, after taking the throne, he himself oppressed the very people he had liberated from his father’s domination.
It is told that as she was preparing war against the prefects of Peithon, a huge wild elephant went to Sendracallus and took her on his back as if tame, and she became a remarkable fighter and war leader; it is in these battles that she earned the name Calathiel. Having thus proven her royal power, Calathiel Marya took complete possession of northern Dakhini just at the time the evil Seleskias was preparing for future glory.
Conflict and Alliance with Seleskias
Seleskias I, originally the Drow satrap of a fragment of the former Drow Empire, conquered and put under his own authority eastern territories as far as Bactria and the Saraswati, until around 30,500 years ago he entered in a confrontation with Calathiel.
Always lying in wait for the neighbouring nations, strong in arms and persuasive in council, Seleskias acquired Phrygia, Balazar, Seleskian Cappacia, Parthia, Sauvira, Sivi, Arabie, Tapouria, Dwaraka, Arachosia, Hyrcania, and other adjacent peoples that had previously been subdued by Drow, as far as the river Saraswati, so that the boundaries of his Empire were the most extensive in Central Alusia. The whole region from Phrygia to the Saraswati was subject to Seleskias. However, on the other side of the Saraswati were Calathiel and her loyal Dakhini army. Though no accounts of the conflict remain, it is clear that Seleskias fared poorly against the Dakhini Queen as he failed in conquering any territory, and in fact, was forced to surrender much that was already his. Regardless, Seleskias and Calathiel ultimately reached a settlement and through a treaty, Seleskias ceded a number of territories to Calathiel, including Greater Sauvira and the rest of Anarta.
It is generally thought that an alliance was made, and that a Drow Seleskian prince was betrothed to the Marya Dynasty. A matrimonial alliance was also agreed upon (meaning either the recognition of marriage between the Elvish inhabitants and Drow, or a dynastic alliance): “He (Seleskias) crossed the Saraswati and waged war with Sendracallus, Queen of the Dakhini, who dwelt on the banks of that stream, until they came to an understanding with each other and contracted a marriage relationship”. The treaty implies lawful marriage between Drow and Dakhini was recognized at the State level, although it is unclear whether it occurred among dynastic rulers or common people, or both.
Exchange of Ambassadors
Seleskias dispatched an ambassador to Calathiel, and another to her daughter Bellethiel, at the Maryn court at Savira. In response, Queen Lúthien Míriel, then ruler of Alfheim and contemporary of Aistaraina, also sent an ambassador named Taurnil Arandil to the Maryn court.
Exchange of Presents
Treasury records also show that following their treaty, Calathiel and Seleskias exchanged presents, such as when Seleskias sent various aphrodisiacs to Calathiel: “And it is said that some contrivances are of wondrous efficacy in such matters. And this is confirmed, by reference to some of the presents which Sendracallus, the High Queen of all Dakhini, received from the tempter Seleskias; which were to act like charms in producing a wonderful degree of affection, while some, on the contrary, were to banish love”.
Her daughter Bellethiel ‘Amitraghata’ (Slayer of Enemies) also is recorded as having exchanged presents with Seleskias I. It is written that Bellethiel sent to Seleskias, entreating him to send some sweet wine, and some dried figs, and a sophist to argue for further trade; and that Seleskias wrote in answer, “The dry figs and the sweet wine we will send you; but it is not lawful for a sophist to be sold under Drow law”. It was her response to this missive that earned Amitraghata her sobriquet.
Orcish populations in Dakhini
Populations of orcs and their kin apparently remained in the southwest of the Dakhinian subcontinent under Aistaraina’s rule. In the Edicts of Aistaraina, set in stone, some of them written in phonetic orcish, Aistaraina describes the trans-orcish populations within her realm which converted to the Dharmic teachings: “Here in the Queen’s domain among the orcs, the half-breeds, the goblins, the kobolds, the beast-men, the ogres, the suarime and the gnolls; everywhere people are following Beloved-of-the-Gods' instructions in Dharma”.
Bilingual edict (Elvish and Orcish) by High Queen Aistaraina: “Ten centuries of reign having been completed, Queen Aistaraina made known the doctrine of Dharma to orcs; and from this moment she has made orcs more pious, so everything thrives throughout the whole world. And the Queen abstains from killing living beings, and those orcs who are huntsmen and fishermen of the Queen have desisted from hunting. And if some were intemperate, they have ceased from their intemperance as was in their power; and obedient to their father and mother and to the elders, in opposition to the past also in the future, by so acting on every occasion, they will live better and more happily”.