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All Gennaian children are taught the story of Sjilea, their patron Goddess and former ruler of the islands. As a lesser deity, she avoided the many battles of The Winnowing, choosing to wander the planes of creation instead. When Llyrrh bestowed the First Calling upon A’therys, most minor gods with no place tied to their names would have been content to stay where they were. Sjilea, however, quickly decided this was not for her; manifesting in a desire to do, to see, to experience. She held nothing but contempt for the sedentary lifestyles of her fellow gods, and disgust at their lack of appreciation for the moment.
Travelling to the shores of the yet unclaimed continent, she crafted a sailboat of glistening white wood, enchanted to perfection. Pushing off into the vast ocean, Sjilea vowed to never rest until she had figuratively done everything there was to do in this existence. The ship took her around the world many times over the next few millennia. It was said that the pearly sails never stopped billowing – catching the winds of opportunity even in the calmest of weather. Sightings of Sjilea were considered omens – some good, some bad. Tales and songs passed by the Verdent Lamplighters of Atvoria refer to her appearances as a harbinger of change – through deceit, revolution, or simply circumstance. While several nations maintain their own version of this legend, the exact details of Sjilea’s odyssey are normally left open to interpretation. Shortly before her departure at the Second Calling, she would dictate her tales to the scribes of Falkynthos, where they would be compiled into an epic compendium known as The Restless Journey. The book itself is structured into two volumes. The first, Endless Waves, deals with the adventures of Sjilea and her journey around the world. The second, Musings, is kept under lock and key in a secret location in Falkynthos. None but Kings are permitted to view this book, as the pages contain dreams and plans for the future of Gennaia from the perspective of the goddess herself.
At the dawn of the Second Cycle, a small fleet of ships under the command of the sorcerer Gennaios sailed eastward, colonizing the islands and claiming them for his own peoples. The warm climate, bright sun, and ample fishing were an attractive proposition for many early nomads, and a great deal of migration occurred over the next few years. Each generation spread further into the island chain, and by 3C-107 the entire archipelago could be considered colonized. The sheer amount of islands forced the High King, as he had come to be known, to assign his sons and daughters to the newly settled island regions as governors. Eventually, they too would take on the titles of Kings and Queens, though High King Gennaios called great throne at Falkynthos his home. His word was worth no more than the others, but it carried the most weight. After the death of Gennaios in 3C-781, his children gathered in the great hall, and made a blood pact to preserve the familial bond that had brought them much prosperity in the centuries they had lived there. This pact, miraculously, has been upheld ever since, its strength only matched by the desire for freedom from the mainland by its peoples. From this early history came the development of a largely unified culture, separated and modified by region and island. The worship of many gods was common here, and an unspoken respect for personal freedom ruled throughout the land.
Midway through the Fifth Cycle, Sjilea came upon the islands. Strolling into Falkynthos, she noticed the adoration for heroes of the past, and admiration for heroes of the present – their statues rising high above the towns and cities. In fact, even the smallest villages possessed at least one work commemorating a local hero, be it a plundering sea captain or a wolf-slaying shepherd. Word of her travels had preceded her, and she quickly found herself in the audience of the then High King, King of Aegonesos, Theoros. A direct descendant of Gennaios, he was regarded by many as an exceptionally capable arbitrator, and fair judge of character. There are very few individuals throughout history who have been able to resist the charms of a god, and Theoros was not one of them. Tales of her journey gripped his attention for hours, and by morning, plans for the construction of a great temple in her honor were put into effect. Sjilea quickly fell in love with the islands, as they seemed to share a common spirit. Cycle after cycle had passed, and the one thing she had never experienced was the feel of settling down, at least for a short while. Soon, a cult had sprung up in her footsteps, and everywhere she went, followers joined the ever-growing crowd. In three short years, very few Gennaians remained that were not swayed by her ways. Temples were repurposed, monuments sprung up, and Sjilea came to represent an entire people.
Not long after, the kings and queens of the Gennaian Islands convened for an unprecedented council. The first item on the docket was the outlawing of non-Sjilean worship. The unanimous decision was read out within mere minutes. The second item, however, was one that would forever change their society - the issue of handing over the reins to Sjilea. A nation in the hands of a god, like the others. They would finally have a patron, a leader above all. This too passed quickly, though a single vote of dissent was recorded from the goddess herself towards the removal of the system of kings and queens. Instead, Sjilea insisted on retaining them, but judged their merit through action and daring. It is speculated she planned to someday resume her eternal journey, and wished to leave behind leaders who would retain her ideals. Under her patronage, the Gennaian Islands became a force to be reckoned with, especially in naval matters. The children sailed from early ages, unafraid of the blue void. Traders skipped across the waves looking for the best deals, unfazed by the strict regulations of Eztalpaltl. They believed in their goddess, and she loved them. It is at this time that the underlying characteristics of the Gennaian spirit truly came to light.
Since her departure from the mortal plane, the Gennaian Islands have weathered the initial storm and turned to their old ways to keep them unified. The islands choose their kings and queens, while a High King sits among their number, to serve as political face and to await Sjilea's return. One of the most common beliefs shared throughout the islands is that Sjilea would be highly disappointed if they were to fall apart without her guidance, and the fear of disappointing her overwhelmingly outweighs any secessionist sentiment. Sjilea's absence only emboldens Gennaia; their restless nature forcing them to look ever towards the future.