—Berelain sur Paendrag Paeron, First of Mayene
Mayene (pronounced: may-EHN; /meˈjɛːn/) is a small but wealthy city-state on the Sea of Storms, in the far southeast of the Westlands. Mayene is an independent city with its own government and military forces. Mayene's sigil is that of the a golden hawk, also the symbol of Artur Hawkwing. The rulers of Mayene claim descendance from Hawkwing through his grandson, a claim that is generally not taken seriously outside of Mayene.
Most modern historians and geographers name only the fourteen other kingdoms of the modern day, counting Mayene either as independent city-state (along with Falme, Far Madding, and Tar Valon) or as part of Tear. However, Mayene controls more territory than those other city-states, including most of the peninsula it sits upon, which extends for a hundred miles or more from the mainland.
The Mayener peninsula forms the eastern and southeastern edge of the Bay of Remara, and is cut off from the mainland by the Drowned Lands, a hostile swamp impassable to large armies. The peninsula does not appear to be easy to invade by sea either, forcing any attack to come through the city itself, which is defended by stout walls and formidable defenses.
Mayene is located at the southern tip of the peninsula on the Sea of Storms, and is the easternmost city of the Westlands, as well as the closest city to Shara. Fishing shoals rich in oilfish lie somewhere to the east of Mayene, but the location is a closely-guarded secret. Mayene also lies close to the Sea Folk island of Cindaking. A combination of its location on key trade routes to the Sea Folk isles and Shara, plus its dominance of the oilfish trade, make Mayene extremely wealthy and coveted in the eyes of Tear. Mayener oilfish oil is highly prized, often valued more than Tairen olive oil, adding to the competition.
Mayene was a city of Artur Hawkwing's Empire. The date of its construction is unknown. It was part of the province of Moreina and was one of the ports where Hawkwing assembled his fleet for the ill-fated invasion of Shara in FY 993. As the nearest Westland city to Shara, Mayene was ideally placed to both launch the invasion, and also suffer any retaliation; however, this never took place and the Sharans bizarrely maintain to this day that no invasion ever happened.
In FY 994, upon the death of Hawkwing, the city of Tear declared independence and claimed all the lands of the province of Moreina, including Mayene. Other factions resisted this claim and during the War of the Hundred Years Tear was too busy fighting for its own survival to worry about its claim to Mayene. Mayene, for its part, made no claim until FY 1004, when its ruling council claimed that Hawkwing's grandson Tyrn sur Paendrag Mashera had survived the calamity that killed his mother. They acknowledged him as First Lord of Mayene and proclaimed their own independence. Tyrn died in FY 1054 and was succeeded by his daughter Miselle.
After the War of the Hundred Years ended, Tear renewed its claim to Mayene, but was rebuffed. Several attempts to capture the city by force were defeated. Given its size and manpower, Tear could have seized the city in a grinding war of attrition, but only at the expense of exposing its western border to an attack by Illian. Instead, Tear resorted to subterfuge, espionage, and blackmail in an effort to force Mayene's capitulation, but to no avail.
In 999 NE, the current First of Mayene, Berelain sur Paendrag Paeron, officially allied Mayene to the standard of the Dragon Reborn, winning an assurance that Tear would not be allowed to seize control of Mayene during the Dragon Reborn's governance. With Tear regaining some autonomy from the Dragon Reborn's control with the appointment of Darlin Sisnera as the first-ever King of Tear, it is unclear if the Dragon Reborn's arrangement with the First will continue to hold.
Laws and customs
Mayene is ruled by a lord or lady named the First of Mayene. The First is a hereditary ruler, and by law is always the eldest child of the previous First, regardless of gender.
As with Andor, internal realignment and power struggles may result with ruling Houses being displaced and new ones rising, but the First must be a direct-line descendant of the founding ruler, in this case Tyrn sur Paendrag Mashera. The First is advised by a council of Seconds, who each have a responsibility for a different branch of the government. There are also guilds and merchant groups, who are influential.
It was recently revealed that Mayene has a strong relationship with Tar Valon. Due to Tear's antipathy towards Aes Sedai, this relationship was kept secret from them. The First enjoys the counsel and wisdom of an Aes Sedai advisor at almost all times, and is schooled in the arts of rule in a similar manner to the Daughter-Heir of Andor, regardless of her ability or inability to channel (or if there is a male First). The First is also given martial training and is taught how to avoid assassinations and knife attacks. A combination of these factors makes the First both an unusually canny and personally dangerous ruler.
The First's primary duty is to keep Mayene independent from Tear. Mayene's independence despite these claims relies on the Mayener's knowledge of the location of the secret oilfish shoals, the oil from which is highly valued and competes with similar products from Tear, Illian, and Tarabon. Oilfish are taken in nets, precluding any conjectural identification of them with whales.
Another tool the Mayener rulers once used to maintain Mayene's autonomy was a ter'angreal in the shape of a twisted redstone doorframe which took them to the land of the Aelfinn. Anyone may enter this doorway once in their life; on the other side, they are allowed to ask any three questions, and will receive three true answers. These answers were a great aid to the Firsts in maintaining Mayene's independence, but one young First named Halvar, who had already stepped through the doorway in his lifetime, eventually bargained it away to Tear. Despite this loss, the Mayeners are intent on remaining apart from the High Lords of Tear; this wish led Berelain to ally Mayene with the Dragon Reborn, the first nation to do so freely.
The First and Mayene are both defended by the Winged Guards, an elite military formation who are noted for their skill at arms and promotion through merit. Given the extreme remoteness of Mayene, it is a tribute to the Winged Guards' performance as part of the Grand Alliance during the Aiel War, and more recently their service to the Dragon Reborn, that they have built up an impressive reputation for martial prowess.
They number approximately two thousand men and officers in all, and constitute the only standing armed force in Mayene. The Winged Guards wear red-painted breastplates and helmets like rimmed pots that come down to the nape of the neck in back. Officers have wings worked on the side of their helmets, and slender red plumes. Three plumes mark the Lord Captain, the overall commander; two plumes mark a captain; and one a lieutenant.
All physically fit male commoners from fifteen to fifty are required to train with a bow or crossbow and with the halberd or the pike. Every man is required to attend a yearly muster for a week of training in a unit, and there are fines for not keeping up with training. Nobles are exempted from this because they are expected to be competent with arms and to fight when necessary to defend Mayene.
Shipbuilding is a major industry, and the small nation of Mayene can rival Illian and surpass Ebou Dar as shipbuilders. Mayene is a port of call for many vessels in part because of a lively trade with the interior of Tear; that trade is all through smuggling because of prohibitive duties on exports from Mayene to Tear. Mayener import duties are much lower than those on goods imported directly to Tear, so the risk is worth it. Mayene is also the first stop for ships returning from Shara, so it has the first pick of their exotic goods of ivory and silk.
Fishing is a major industry, especially for oilfish, whose oil is the major competitor for olive oil in cooking and lamps. Mayene has no mines of any kind, but its craftsmen are known for exceedingly fine gold- and silver-work, as well for gem-polishing and exquisite jewelry. Mayene produces swords and daggers which, although not of the same rank as Andoran weapons, are certainly among the most ornately crafted anywhere.
Since it has little land, Mayene has few sheep or goats but it does have a reputation for fine rugs and carpets. Mayener blown glass is arguably the finest in the world. Olives and figs are both grown in Mayene, but not in sufficient quantities for any significant trade, though some people consider Mayener figs the sweetest and best in the world.
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