The Empire of Hu'ut was one of the largest and most powerful nations in the world. It existed in some form from the time of the very earliest written records. The kings of Salgaron would claim to be of older heritage, of course, and constantly viewed the Hu'uti as upstarts and usurpers, but that can hardly be taken as conclusive evidence either way; the Hu'ut claim they minded their own business until Salgaron interfered.
In any case, the small nation rose to be a large empire controlling the vast majority of the Had River valley, rivaled in its heyday only by the Empire of the Sesh, though in time the Exatai of the Satar and Krato would surpass it.
Though eventually overcome by the combined forces arrayed against it, the Hu'ut remain one of the more influential cultures in the cradle of civilizations, and there is little chance that the people will completely disappear.
Situated along the Had River, the Hu'ut have largely remained dependent on it. Only a small minority have ever lived away from its banks. At its maximum extent, the Empire was bounded by the Kotthorns to the south, the mountains of Helsia to the northeast, and the Kainoan Sea to the east. Traditionally, its neighbors have been Farou, the Seshweay, the Palmyrians, and either Thearak or Krato.
The Early CivilizationEdit
Centered completely on their river, the Hu'ut were a people who only infrequently traded with the rest of the world. Instead, their civilization was centered around agriculture. With wheat flourishing in the fields that were alternately irrigated and fertilized by the flow and floods of the Had, and oxen that were bred both for their meat and drawing the plows, the Hu'ut population boomed. That is not to say that there were no tensions; the Hu'ut were split between the two religious cults of the Magio and the Dha. These two factions fought for dominance throughout the early Hu'ut period, and as the typical Hu'uti city was dominated by the religious class under their despots, this led to rivalries and wars between cities. Only much later would this be resolved with the victory of the Magio.
But a much more important division occurred in this period as well. Like many riverrine civilizations, the Hu'ut had their fair share of slave labor. But early on, many slaves rebelled against their masters. Though apparently defeated in the initial battles, they were able to escape their masters, fleeing to the north and founding the Farou civilization. This people would become not only the spiritual antithesis of the Hu'ut, but in a more concrete sense also their greatest enemy.
Nearly at the same time, the ruler Geupopultopu II of Hiuttubupulosolamanos managed to unite the Hu'ut into a single nation, and later met a Salgaroni incursion into his territory in pitched battle near Jahip. He utterly destroyed this invasion, and thus secured the independence of a united Hu'ut Empire; his successors would fight for generations against their two major rivals: the Salgaroni on the River Had, and the Farou across the sea. Between them arose the tiny, independent state of Subal, which conducted trade between the hostiles, and mostly avoided raising the ire of either.
Rise and PinnacleEdit
The rise of the Hu'ut can be traced from their conquest of Salgaron. This ancient rival lay between their own nation and that of Serat, an offshoot culture. An alliance between these kings was somehow contrived despite the vast distances, and together the nations took city after city, eventually meeting in the middle and seeing the destruction of Salgaron altogether. While they were preoccupied with the pacification of these cities, however, another force struck in the east.
The Palmyrians launched an invasion of Hu'ut which was surprisingly successful before being halted by the massive numbers of Hu'uti soldiers that could be raised against them. In truth, the Hu'ut could well have conquered Palmyra outright even at this early stage, but were discouraged by the latter power's somewhat tentative alliances with the trading nation of the Trilui, and the traditional Hu'uti enemy of the Farou.
This deadlock was broken after generations of raids and fighting before the Hu'uti kings were able to conclude an alliance with the Trilui. In return for free reign against the Palmyrians, the Hu'ut were to help the Trilui against the distant enemy of Hamakua. With only a little difficulty, the Hu'uti were able to completely obliterate Palmyra, and though the war with Hamakua came to nothing, the Hu'ut were able to use their newfound diplomatic security to conquer Serat as well.
By this time, Hu'ut had reached a pinnacle. Massive building projects began to surface around this time, and incomes were surprisingly high. Even with jealous rivals ringing the nation, the Hu'ut Empire was the largest in the cradle; the only possible rival at this point was the Empire of the Sesh, but they dominated different rivers. While the logistics would not be insurmountable, the Sesh showed surprisingly little interest in conquering the Hu'ut, and vice versa.
Iron Age and Second EmpireEdit
The end of the Bronze Age coincided with the fall of the First Hu'ut Empire. Collapse of the tin trade, drought, and barbarian invasion conspired to bring the Empire to its knees, though it survived in reduced form. With nothing too bad happening to it, the Hu'ut were able to weather the transition to the Iron Age surprisingly well. They became part of the maritime trade network that arose, with the Trilui playing the major role as couriers of Hu'uti goods (primarily grain) to other regions.
They rose out of this period to expand again, and out of the mists the name Ijakablatadka rises -- not so much for his achievements as for the fact that a massive bronze statue of him was erected in Hiuttubupulosolamanos that occasioned much comment from the chroniclers of the day.
Some time after this, around the year 100, an Emperor named Gepo was to rise. His abilities were not quite the match of his most glorious predecessors, but his ambitions were much greater; he desired to remake the Hu'ut Empire of old. The first target he aimed for was that of Neruss, a tiny city to his north which seemed like easy prey. He had badly miscalculated, however, for he was to find that the balance of power had much shifted in the north. The old Empire of the Sesh had fallen, but a new one had risen in its place, and maintained an alliance with the Farou. Even these might have not been enough, but for good measure they brought the Krato into their alliance.
Together, these three powers were able to beat back the advance of the Hu'ut, and in the end, the Farou were able to completely conquer the Hu'ut by the year 150.
The Farou were able administrators, but they had conquered a nation with an utterly different culture. The Faroun believed in individual liberty, and their kingdom was in essence a republic. They were also believers in a highly social and kin-oriented economic structure. This had given them the cohesiveness, motivation, and discipline to defeat the Hu'ut armies of slaves, but in this completely different context, there were serious doubts as to whether it could work. The Hu'ut had relied on slave labor for nearly everything, and their absolute despotism did not prepare them well for a Faroun-structured system.
However, the Faroun found a compromise. They were able to free all the slaves, but did not attempt to impose their own governing system on their new subjects. Instead, a system based on regional rather than kinship-based ties was established, and strong centralization was maintained to avoid rebellion. Soon, they seemed to prosper even more than Farou itself, which was, after all, exhausted by years of bloodshed, and had no great river to return life to its fields in the form of silt. Their own culture flowed northwards, and even the name of Farou changed subtly, to Faron.
But this system was not left undisturbed. An attack by the great Satar steppe nomads came seemingly out of nowhere, and while the Hu'ut were spared much of the brunt of the assault -- the Faron and Trilui were the true targets of the Satar -- they were still deeply affected by the Satar raids on their territory. Even worse were the effects of the ensuing dark age that seemed unstoppable by the year 200, which saw the destruction of the maritime trade network that had given Hu'ut its newfound prosperity. Chaos began to spread, as Satar nomads, wandering south after the destruction of their own empire, began to pillage and burn.
Two Wars of ConquestEdit
Hu'ut had been independent for a reasonably long period before it ran into trouble again. The Satar invasion had done quite a bit of damage to the infrastructure of the nation, and raids from the nascent Kothari Exatai proved exceedingly troublesome. The Hu'ut seemed on the route to at least a mild recovery, when out of nowhere, the Empire of Helsia invaded from the north in 313 SR.
The Hu'ut were completely unprepared for the invasion; Helsian troops smashed through any frontier defenses and reached Hiuttu before any kind of coherent response could be collected. Hu'ut armies collected themselves after that and fought a losing series of battles up the River Had, but the outcome was never really in doubt. Helsian rule of Hu'ut lasted a brief eleven years; the Empire became increasingly unstable as its government repeatedly tried new power-sharing methods to no avail. Its rule broke down over Hu'ut entirely as regional governors attempted to seize power. Warlordism and rebellion flared up through the land as Hu'ut subjects and Helsian overlords tried to assert and reassert their power.
Into the vacuum, the growing Kothari Exatai swooped in from the south, first conquering Jahip, then Ioppson and Hiuttu. No one person in the entire land had power to stop them, though together they would have doubtless been able to hold them back; disunity cost Helsian Hu'ut dearly. For the next two hundred years, Hu'ut continued along under Kothari rule, as growing numbers of upper-class Hu'uti began to identify as Satar.
The Hu'ut culture is authoritarian to a surprising degree. Slavery is the biggest example, of course, but central authority is traditional, and even the most minor of affairs was frequently the purview of the Emperor himself. The throne was inherited by primogeniture. Farou influence was heavy, especially during the period of their rule, and continuing into the period of Kothari dominance. Hu'ut started to adopt many of the traditional Faronun forms of drama and music, and even produced philosophers and mathematicians of their own. This declined somewhat during the period of turmoil at the end of Helsian rule, but Kothari Redeemers were quite keen to sponsor the new sciences -- even if they were dominated by non-Satar.
Except for the rulers themselves, the priests were the most powerful members of Hu'ut society. Though they owned nothing, they were able to pass a death sentence on whomever they might please. Despite their massive power over society, the Hu'ut religion seems to have aroused surprisingly little interest in writers on the nation. The cults of Magio and Dha are well known to have existed, of course, but remain little understood. Each of them believe in the creator Hu'atbka, who created humans, cleansing them with water and making them walk. Eventually they arrived in their current location. The Dha believe the creator had a twin, Hu'shebkawtba. His role remains unclear, but it appears to have maintained a slightly darker character. Though perhaps it is inevitable, as the main perspective we have is from the Magio, it seems that the Dha had strange fascinations with death and destruction.
By the fourth century SR, Hu'ut had converted almost entirely to the new, growing dualistic religion of Iralliam. Some pockets of the native religion survived for a surprisingly long time, but the conversion even of their new Satar overlords ensured Iralliam's supremacy.
The Hu'ut language is difficult for foreigners to master. Though it has no unusual pronunciation quirks, it is said at a speed that astonishes any but a native speaker, with nearly four syllables said at the rate that a single one might be in another language.
Cities that are mostly Hu'ut in culture despite a different foundation are as follows: Salgaron Tynet Minar Also notable are the considerable Hu'uti overtones in Subal, though the city is heavily influenced by the Faron.