The beautiful Sixth Nation of Adin originally had no name. It was a large swath of land across the mountains from Gibila, centrally located between the Five Nations but off limits due to an edict from the Gods.  

The Promised Yet Forbidden Land

The Adinites had been warned that this land contained great dangers, and that on their return the Gods would clear the land and make it safe for their subjects to live. The dangers were never specified, and the Gods never returned.   Centuries passed before anyone set foot on its shores, and its earliest occupants were criminals exiled from their own nations. Due to a generous interpretation of the edict, which stated that no Adinite that feared or respected the Gods would go there, it was decided that these terrible criminals met those conditions. Their crimes meant they had no fear or respect to their Gods, they were considered beyond rehabilitation, and this was more convenient than caring for them in prison until they died of old age.  

Time Served

The land was now referred to as Kibala, the rebel lands. Small settlements grew up along the coast at different points, as each nation had their own dumping grounds for their prisoners. These exiles stuck together and avoided traveling inland, for fear of Kibala's hidden dangers. They fished and farmed, and their shapers pulled resources from the land to build homes. Some escaped to other nations and started a new life, but most decided to stay in Kibala and live out their time in exile.   Trade routes between the Five Nations led ships past the coast of Kibala, and their captains soon realized they were sailing past opportunities for trade. Ships began anchoring off the coast, unwilling to set foot on Kibala but willing to trade with its inhabitants. Kibalans would take their fishing boats out to meet the traders and swap local seafood and produce for iron or other metals they had not yet discovered in Kibala.  

From Prisons to Profits

While normally produce would be a poor trade for metals, some new fruits and grains had already been found in the fledgling land. The markets of the Five Nations sold them as exotic delicacies from the rebel lands. There was profit to be made.   The search for new resources started to take the exiles further away from their coastal towns and into the interior of Kibala. They moved cautiously, groups of dangerous criminals armed to the teeth but ready to run at a moment's notice. But the dangers never manifested. They faced a few aggressive animals, but nothing worse than people had encountered elsewhere on Adin.  

The First Frontier

As word travelled around the nations that Kibala was being explored and nothing terrible had happened to its populace, adventurous folk began to arrive to see the rebel lands for themselves. The Spear of Ninurta offered escorted tours to the interior, capitalizing on the demand while also satisfying their own desire to explore. They were disappointed, but none of them encountered anything terrible either.   Soon, the lowland regions of Kibala were fully mapped, and new citizens began to voluntarily arrive to populate the new land. Many in the Five Nations disapproved of this as blasphemy, but at this point the Gods were proven wrong about the mysterious dangers of Kibala, and were centuries overdue for their promised return. Some Adinites had lost their faith, or at least conceded the Gods were wrong about some things.  

Birth of the Sixth

Despite the dissent of the faithful, Kibala was soon considered a legitimate nation, and the Five Nations became Six. Where the original five each had an immortal Lugal appointed by the Gods centuries ago, the council that ruled over Naag City declared their mortal leader, Henrik Enlilson, to be Lugal of the new nation. The other Lugals accepted this and welcomed the rebel lands into the fold.  

Capitol Ideas

Located on the eastern coast of Kibala, the harbor village known as Naag expanded rapidly with immigrants from Urubarra and Satium. It was at the head of a protected bay that connected to what turned out to be the largest river network on Kibala. It was soon renamed Naag City as the population rose over 2,000 Adinites, and the quiet fishing harbor was outfitted with warehouses and opened up to trade ships from all nations.   Official trade meant more resources and also more demand, and inland villages began to spring up along the rivers above Naag City. Other ports opened up to trade, but Naag City was the most prosperous by far. Its river network was explored up into the mountains, both to survey for more resources as well as the desire to complete the map of Masgu once and for all.  

A Mistake of Godly Proportions

One of these survey teams found an amazing discovery high in the mountains, near the source of the primary river leading to Naag City. Concealed behind a crumbling facade shaped long ago to look like a cliff face, they unearthed a massive vault containing hundreds of artifacts left behind by the Gods in their hasty departure from Adin.   The legends had mentioned the Gods had to sacrifice all their belongings to take the 300 chosen Adinites with them to the stars. It appeared as though the Gods had only stashed their things away, and scared the Adinites into believing the hiding place was dangerous and forbidden.  

The Secret City

News of the vault was kept mostly secret, and the best minds in Kibala were recruited to come study the artifact trove. While access to the actual vault was tightly controlled, the families of those shapers investigating the vault needed a place to live. A village sprung up in a mountain valley a short distance downstream from the vault, and was named Ednimuru.   Further down river, at the point where the mountains fell off into gently rolling hills, the Fist of An and the Spear of Ninurta were tasked with keeping uninvited guests from traveling further upriver. While they had no idea what was happening in the mountains above, they set up camp and dutifully guarded the pass.  

Taking Stock

The vault contained technology unseen on Adin since the time of the Gods, much of it forgotten over time. It included powerful computers, two of the smaller transport airships used for terrestrial travel, and thirty of the Gods' own labor force, the legendary golems. Many smaller devices, personal items, and pieces of artwork sacrificed to the Gods by earlier species from unknown worlds were cataloged and studied.  

Disturbing News

Perhaps the most significant find of all was a personal message left by Enki, God of Wisdom, and Ninursag, the Mother Goddess. These two were the creators of the Adinite species, and apart from a handful of immortals no one on Adin had seen their faces before now, except through rough depictions by ancient artists.   The message did little to explain why the Gods left Adin, but there was a tone of worry to the words. It began with a dedication of their love to the Adinites, but things went downhill from there. They briefly mentioned the vault and warned not to misuse the items found within. Without defining why, they said they suspected their return might be delayed. If the Adinites found this message, it meant they had expanded beyond their Five Nations and were flourishing, and this was good. It also meant that the next logical step would be to explore the far continent of Babel.   Then came the bombshell. Besides the vault, the Gods had also left behind several species they had stored in their Temple, created for previous worlds they had visited. Each of these five species thought themselves to be alone on Babel, and any contact with them had to be done cautiously.   These orphaned species were all loved just as the Adinites were, they said, all created from the womb of Ninhursag and Enki. Their original worlds were vastly different from Adin though, and they would not thrive here as the Adinites had. They should be approached with love and compassion, and cared for until the Gods could return to take them somewhere more suitable.  

Love Thy Neighbor

Less than a week after the message was activated, the combined forces of the Babel colonies attacked, led by their conqueror Lugal Sherdasu of the Udug. Satium was wiped from the map, overrun by the horde and their bioweapon Kudz. Very few escaped massacre, but a couple of refugee ships made it to Naag City in Kibala while the rest scattered among the nations.  

The Great War Comes to Kibala

A portion of the Udug fleet chased the ships to Naag City and began shelling it from the bay. The wave shapers in Satium had been able to send out a short warning before their station was destroyed though, and Naag City had already started reinforcing their walls around the port side. They repelled the naval attack with few casualties, driving their attackers back out of the bay where they blockaded it from escape.   The children and anyone incapable of fighting were rushed from the city that night, along with some of the refugees from Satium that had brought important information and captured Udug weapons along with them in the escape. They were moved up the river to Ednimuru.  

None Shall Pass

The small garrison of Spear and Fist that guarded the opening to the mountain pass had also heard the warning from Satium over the radio waves. As soon as the caravan from Naag City had passed through, they triggered a landslide that sealed off the pass entirely. The river was dammed behind the wall temporarily, but they created a few small flood gates to allow the water to pass back into its original course.   Then over the course of the next few weeks, they had shapers begin fusing the stones together and creating a more defensible narrow tunnel through to the upper side. Reinforcements began arriving, with the orders to protect Ednimuru at all costs. They dug into the fused rock, creating more permanent quarters and battlements to keep an eye on the surrounding forest.   Throughout the war, they continued building onto the keep, reinforcing the walls with bars of metal, building a massive gate system, even barring the flood gates so nothing could try to swim through the torrent of water.   The enemy never made it that far inland on Kibala, but the soldiers and mercenaries had a lot of fun building it. Some of the ideas they implemented were passed on to others who were too busy fighting to be inventive, and many other fortifications held against assault because of the advances created here. They named their magnificent granite brick Fort No, and it stands watch over the pass to this day.  

A War Won by Minds

While Fort No worked on defense, Ednimuru was frantically trying to put together a counterattack. After numerous failures, they managed to get one of the airships duplicated and flying in a straight line. The weapons brought back from the Udug at Satium were also duplicated, with a few improvements their Sulmu inventors had not thought of. Even more failures eventually led to working reproductions of the golems, and eventually golems that would overlook the bit of programming that kept them from fighting against the invading horde.   By this point, Ednimuru had its own transceiver and wave shapers, and were able to communicate with the other nations. The airships were able to fly silently over the seas in the dead of night, delivering golems to the other struggling nations and bringing back remarkable volunteers to help at Ednimuru.  

How to Win a Naval Conflict Without a Boat

Thanks to the hard work of the researchers at Ednimuru and the fortunate discovery, the Gods' artifacts turned the tide of war in favor of the Adinites. But while the Nations were now relatively safe from landing parties, there was still the issue of the Sherdasan navy.   The enemy had the seas locked down, having destroyed all the Adinite ports and shipyards, as well as any vessel caught out in the water. The Sherdasans were so confident in their naval superiority that they had fused dozens of their ships together in the ocean between the Five Nations into a massive floating fortress that served as their base of operations.   Ednimuru saved the day once more. Sort of. They upscaled one of the Sulmu gauss cannons into a huge artillery piece, building it in segments to be assembled by golems at the northeastern coast. They fired a single shot, intended to break apart on impact with the water or an unfortunate ship, that would release a gigantic cesium core to be exposed to the water. The resulting explosion should have caused the entire fortress and the fleet surrounding it to crumble.   For some reason, the casing failed to break on contact with the water, and the shot fell beneath the waves. Instead, it cracked open when it hit the ocean floor, detonating almost directly on top of an ancient fault line. The chain reaction that followed destroyed the Sherdasan fleet and the fortress, but started a cataclysm.  

The Winter of Peace

The ocean where the Sherdasan fleet once reigned was replaced by fiery Izilakur, a supervolcano created by the explosion of Ednimuru's secret weapon. For three years, ash snowed across the entire world and the suns went cold. The Sherdasans were routed, at least the scattered ships that weren't present for the initial blast.   The Winter of Peace began with the most savage warfare Adin had seen. After cracking a hole in the world, the Adinites chased their foes back to their shores and set terrible golems loose upon the far continent, shaped into horrifying forms with spikes and bladed arms, ruthlessly slaughtering the Sherdasan people. When they became too damaged to continue fighting, the Humbaba-class golems would get as close as they could to the enemy and explode violently, turning what was left of their bodies into deadly shrapnel. All while the skies over Sherdasa began to darken and their crops withered.   After Nam-Lugal Sherdasu had surrendered, he was brought in chains to Ednimuru to see the message from the Gods for himself. The treaties were drawn up, and while Izilakur continued to grow and fume the various peoples of Adin started working together to survive. Three long years passed, with mass extinctions, failing crops, poisoned water, and thick ash clouds freezing the world.  

Don't Call Us Heroes

For all of its contributions, Kibala was credited with securing victory for the Adinites in the Great War. The immortal Lugals declared it would henceforth be known as Kibalagaldi, the Exalted Rebel Lands in the language of the Gods. Many of the refugees from fallen Satium had become permanent residents of Naag City during the war, and at their suggestion the name was changed to New Eridu, commemorating the destroyed capitol of Satium.   The people of Kibalagaldi, in particular those in Ednimuru that had just won the war, did not feel like celebrating. Victory had come at a terrible cost, and most of those who had worked on breaking the code of the golems felt the atrocities they had committed in Sherdasa were their responsibility.  

The Rise of the Golems

This guilt gave birth to the Golem League in Ednimuru, formed by the core members of the research team. Golems were never intended to be used as weapons, in fact it took considerable effort to make them fight. But once they were weaponized, the golems terrified everyone that witnessed them in action. The Golem League set out to change the minds of Adin and bring golems into everyday life as the versatile labor force they were supposed to be.   They created the first school of golemancy and an exhibition ground there in Ednimuru, and the exhibition ground soon turned into an arena. More schools and even more arenas soon began to appear around Kibalagaldi, where people could see firsthand how amazing golems could be. The Golem League had methods of testing golems for altered behavior, and displayed these methods in front of awed crowds. The golems performed as promised, and soon everyone wanted one of their own.   Soon there were schools of golemancy in each of the Five Nations, and every town wanted their own arena to show off the latest models and the modifications people were making to them. A new age of prosperity was ushered in, as golems took over most physical labor that didn't require the touch of a shaper.   The Golem League watches over all these schools and arenas, including the newest one in Sherdasa. They are determined to keep golems working safe and properly, in the hopes that one day the legacy of golems outweighs the mistakes of Kibalagaldi's past.
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9 Jan, 2022 18:35

Wonderful idea, which combines in-world reasoning with a unique kind of prison and after all, that's just the start.I do not know if this was just a spontaneous yet genius idea or planned over a long time, but it somehow feels like a little bit of both.

„You are so blinded by the present that you cannot be enlightened by the future.”