THE COLLEGES OF
THE NINE NATIONS
What is a College?
I suggest reading the "Cycles and Generations" Page if you are not familiar with the way in which the queens and kings are elected and retired.
There are Nine Nations of the Horse People. These Nations (we would call them tribes) are presided over by royal families who have interbred with the Clans of the Wood. Under them are other noble families, families of lesser birth who are dependent on the royals or the nobles, families of no territory, slaves and native peoples who simply found themselves as part of a territory ruled by the Horse People. There are many other Nations to the east of these, but they have no interaction with the Wood, are not magical, and are considered at this time to be a different race of people. Each Queen is succeeded by her daughter at the end of nineteen years, or one third of a Metonic Cycle of 56 years. An Animal Queen is succeeded by a Tree Queen who marries an Animal King; an Animal Queen marries a Tree King. Queens are of the royal family. Kings are elected: Tree Kings from other royal families, Animal Kings from the commoners or foreigners. This system was designed by the Clans to divide up power between jealous parties. Each of the Kings and Queens has a court and special jurisdictions. The Queens also preside over a college which is disbanded at the time of her retirement.
The Colleges, too, are rivals. Tree Colleges tend to be political and philosophical, interested in human interactions and accomplishments. Animal Colleges tend to be interested in the world, favoring science, crafts, mathematics, engineering and husbandry. Each college is presided over by eolas, or masters, nine in all for the nine studies under the tree or animal designation. These nine masters are guided by the master eola of the college, often called a bridge eola, for he or she must oversee the education of the princess after their college is disbanded. An Animal Eola will oversee the education of the next Animal Queen, usually aided by the retired Animal Queen during the Tree Queen's reign. The other eolas, journeymen and apprentices must go to different colleges which have their field in session or go out among the people and offer their servies. Eolas are marked by shaving the forehead back to the ears and wearing a tattoo signifying their field of study. They are named by their field of study. Thus Eola Bartai is a Eola of Engineering, in particular of Bridges and Roads. The head Eolas often take on the name of the College, thus Eola Vael is the Wolf Master in literal translation and Eola Ster is the Star Master, these two being of the Moon and Star Nation. Eola Ralt is also Star Master, but and Astronomy Master, not the head of the Lynx College. There are many named eolas in the books, but none of them with personal names, only with trade names. They abandon their personal names when they take on their master's level. There status and price goes up to that of the immediate members of the royal family. To kill a eola would be as expensive as killing the brother of the queen.
Here are the eighteen Colleges, their eolas and their schools. You will see a slight difference in schools for not every Nation had exactly the same studies, the same needs or the same personnel. These schools were during my time from about 360-390.
Cuadhe Veldonacca was Wolf Queen from 376 to 394. Hers was the second largest observatory, situated on an island in the middle of the Bras River at Dumona. Her college was full of craftsmen and people who bred animals and plants suited for the wetter climate of the Moon Nation. When Briau took the Holly Throne in 394, she did not reinstate the schools as they had been in her grandmother's reign, but cut back on their funding considerably and played favorites for those who would be loyal to her alone. Cuadhe's college numbered about 1,000 personnel, teachers, eolas and students. Briau's college was only one hundred people, more like a court than a real college.
The Fire Nation also had a small observatory. They were a small Nation, only slightly larger than the Star Nation. However, unlike Nava, their territory was vast and most of the people of the Fire Nation were nomadic in the extreme. They only congregated in winter where they settled most of their business. Despite this, they had an active college, an a quality of studies and funding that drew in important eolas. Teaching duties were light, so many went to the Fire Colleges to do research.
The Autumn Nation had about five times the population of the Fire Nation, but they, too were apt to spend most of the summer out on the Plain the Horses. Unlike their sisters at Rath Tan, the Donnaccii were extremely interested in trade and the upkeep of roads into the Sannennva. They did not have the Zelosian trade, as did Belva at the sources of the Zelos River, but they were the primary gateway to all the northern trade that went through them into Belva. For this reason, their Oak College was extremely active and their Bear College full of practical studies such as surveyors, road engineers, chariot and cart builders and designers, masons, woodworkers and others craftsmen. They were not an agricultural Nation, but had vast numbers of horses and sheep bred to the harsh winters of the Northern Plain.
The Summer Nation and the Hawk Nation both got the gold disease and almost destroyed their people in their lust to trade with Zelosia. The Gwaranaccii poured all their ill-gotten gains into holding and protecting their wealth, but the Queens felt obliged to "show off" by attracting important people to their Colleges. Both Queen Drise and the Serpent Queen, Nathartha, might have had starving people in their villages, but they funded huge projects authored by powerful eolas. They had always had Taranhai, the largest observatory of the Horse People, probably of the known world if one did not know about An Doras, and they built roads, and developed river traffic down the Zelos, and the Darva Rivers. Certainly they held several Nations by the pursestrings: the Sky, Deer and Summer Nations paid heavily for trading rights. Several times the Druaccii of the Summer Nation threatened to go to Zelosia directly, but not until one of the family married a Zelosian Commander were their threats made real. By that time, the Summer Nation was destroyed. The rise and fall of two generations of the greatest colleges in the history of the Horse People was a severe tragedy. During that forty years, more students were educated at Tarahai than in all the Nations together for the forty years following.
Even before Zelosian contact, Belva was host to the international games, and was a central point of gathering for all the tribes on the Plain as well as the Nine Nations. They controlled all the trade coming out of Dumona and Massona, a monopoly that was only broken by the Zelosian interference. Nathartha's husband, Raol Aveldonacc, also did much to promote the Colleges. He led surveying teams himself, and was a musician of international renown. He was also a champion hurler and opened the Games as captain of his own team. Musicians strove to win competitions set up by the Queens, but most famous were the great Courts where endless debates over points of law only gave way when dark came and the historians took over with tales to dazzle even the most jaded ear. The Colleges were disparate. Many of the eolas lived and worked at Taranhai, but others sought out Belva where they had contact with half of the known world.
The Colleges at Correna in the Sky Nation were always well funded, well attended and desirable positions despite the fact that the Sky Nation was not rich or populous. They had control over the foothills of the Slevrana Lia where the best grazing was for cattle. They did not grow much to trade, but their cattle and sheep were desired for meat, wool, leather and breeding stock. Under Tuama and Ornait, elected in 368, the crafts and knowledge that came out of the Swan College was only rivaled by the music. Tuama was an accomplished musician like his twin brother Raol Aveldonacc. He was interested in the civil arts of road building, but his passion was for law. His court was as well attended as Raol's, but better, for Raol was indifferent to law, whereas Tuama was having all the precedents of the entire Horse People collected and memorized. For attention, one went to the King's Court at Belva, for justice one went to Correna. Tuama tried more unusual cases than any king in history. Despite this, his wife awarded such prizes to those who excelled in their crafts that the goods coming out of Correna were sought after even by the jaded markets of Zelosia. It was said that a horse out of the Sky Nation would foal an entire herd, a stallion would sire ten thousand herds, but a bridle and cart out of the Sky Nation would be used by the great, great grandchildren of those who bought them. With this reputation, the Sky Nation flourished despite the heavy tariffs imposed by the Gwaranaccii. It was only the interference of Zelosia that caused any serious problems for these family or their people.
One could almost overlook the Deer Nation ad their Colleges except for one fact: among a pastoral people, they were the only ones outside of Dumona who grew extensively for the market. Their grains were desired by every market, not just for the plump seed heads, but for the straw. It was said that thatch with Glenaccii straw would last three generations. There was only one other craft in which they excelled: chariot making. When they were overrun by their more powerful neighbors the Sun Nation, it was for this alone any of the craftsmen were spared. They had a small but active observatry which was filled with mathematicians rather than horoscope experts or calendar eolas. Teig stopped there and was amazed at how much their calculations helped them do computations in an ill-equipped observatory. Their textiles and herbs were good, but not much fame came out of the Birch College. Their patrons, the Birch, were not the religious fanatics of the Sky Nation, the Aspen, but they were extremists and more interested in following form than in encouraging their Queens to support learning.
Much has been written about the powerful and corrupt Druaccii, but having said that, they were generous beyond wealth to those crafts and studies that they understood. The Druaccii Queens understood what would bring them power or bring them wealth. Roads brought both. Vehicles brought both. Horses and cattle brought both. Crops and building skills brought both. They supported some schools that consisted of two people, a master and an apprentice, just for the pride of having the school. Just in case they might need some work done. Other schools were powerful and had some influence on the Queens like the Husbandry School and the School of International Relations. Farthest from the Wood, the Druaccii Queens flaunted their magic, but had little tolerance for the schools that serviced the Wood like Religion, Protocol, Astronomy or Music. They also had little tolerance for the accumulation of money or wealth in gold, perferring their huge flocks and herds, their fields, and their powerful warriors and fat peasants. They knew that loyalty made them powerful and loyalty was food, shelter, and protection.
As unlike the Druaccii as any of the Horse People could be, were the Riaffaccii family and the Nation of the Silver Stars at Nava. They had no domestic animals, relying instead on the produce from their vast orchards and their position on the Avena River to harvest the salmon. During the reign of the Lynx Queens, crafts flourished to the point of those at Correna under Ornait and Tuama, especially wood crafts. When Sionna took the Rowan Throne in 368, she did not disband the crafts and schools of crafts but turned an eye away and let her husband, a master woodworker, run the schools. Trade brought in money for the crafts. She focused on the Rowan College, but everyone knew that the other schools were still flourishing under Riaffaccii gifts. When Morga took the Lynx Throne in 384, the Lynx College was already famous and eolas vied to study there. She also did not stop funding the Rowan College, but let Sionna continue her studies in her temple and with the most learned of her people. This tolerance was unusual in the schools, but the Star Nation was so small, it seemed silly to send people away from Nava, especially skilled craftsmen who were bringing money into the small Nation. Even at the height of the Star Nation, there were only about five hundred people in Nava, five in the royal family and the rest in the Colleges. They were friendly with the native Anu people who lived along the rivers, but did not seek to dominate them. The Anu paid the Star Nation a small tithe and traded heavily with them. The Anu gave them furs and salmon and rushes in exchange for textiles, wooden items, fruit, nuts and medicines. Nava was also almost cut off in the Wood, and so the Queens were very closely tied to their Patrons, as were their eolas. It was rare for any eolas to interact with the natives of the Wood, but not rare at Nava.
Although the Hawk Nation at Massona was even more cut off than Nava, they had the vast southern reaches of the Horse People with whom they traded. They were also the prize of Zelosia, for the mines along the cliffs of the Snatha River. Only after the Zelosian Invasion did Massona start trading north, through Belva. The gold route was to the north, but also to the south where peoples had settled along the upper banks of the Avena River. Massona and the Hawk Nation were a powerful people corrupted by the gold disease, ruthless toward their own people, but just and fair to their own class. The mines were worked by slaves, about half of them children. Most of the schools at Massona were focused on mining, smelting, trade, and protection of the trade. Craftsmen and eolas sought positions there because they were heavily rewarded. They had to turn a blind eye to the conditions of the mines and the ruthlessness of the Biwyllaccii, but most passed it off as the price of learning so much about metals and mining. It was a well-known secret that many a family was made rich by having a master at Massona sending back earnings to a home. Many of the lesser houses of the Nine Nations urged young people to go to Massona for just such a reason. If they could not advance their families by interbreeding with and supporting the royals, they could do so through trade. Although the royal families at Belva and Masson tried to control the trade, Zelosia soon found out that the rising lesser families were easier to buy and intimidate.
The Yew had once been the patrons of the Biwyllaccii. They had retreated from the mine works, and debated allying themselves with those of the Wood who wanted to kill off the humans. The Thorn King took over patronage of the Nation, but it was too late. Having little magical power, and deep into the greed for gold, the Queens there were intimidated by the Thorn King, but did not halt their activities. Some of the eolas were intimidated enough to leave Massona, but most of them had been bought or were too fascinated by the power of metal and the power of Zelosia to pay much heed to the Wood.
There will come other pages about famous eolas and more about the schools proper. Also go to other pages in the Background of Anieth to find out specifically about the studies.