| To Be Continued...|
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Tetsika (etymology: Xšali *Teǀhiko) is a city in northern Xšalad. It serves as the last major city, the frontier of Xšali civilization, before a traveler reaches Tjakori Lake and the Western-speaking barbarians, and beyond that, the formidable mountains of Rathedan.
During the interregnum period between the First and Second Empires, it became the holy city of millenarian religion known as Bashapadi (Sht. "the Path of Holiness"). Practitioners of the religion sought to repent, purify and ready themselves for a coming judgement of mankind by a figure referred to as the Destroyer. The city grew as believers gathered before the fall. Pilgrimage and the material demands of religious expression made the city grew in wealth, too, as the Bashapadi faithful awaited doomsday.
Tragedy struck the city when it fell to the invasions of the Anheshnalaks in the fifth century before the Prophet Zarakatias. The Western tribe besieged the city, considering it no more than another plump Xšali fruit, ripe for plucking. The Bashapadi faithful betrayed the city, opening the gates to the Anheshnalak chief, Habvam, because they considered him an incarnation of the Destroyer and divine retribution. In his gratitude and mercy, he enslaved these zealots - turning some of them into translators and diplomats for his wars against Xšalad, others over to his warriors to use them as they saw fit - and proceeded to sack the city.
Being viewed as divine conquerors stroked the egos of Anheshnalak warriors (including Habvam himself), which brought many of them into the fold of the religion. They added elements of their own indigenous beliefs (based on the principle of kwacu (Sht. paddzy) and the secret traditions of the warriors' ceremonies. This produced an esoteric mystery religion, whose defining ceremony was the sacrifice of a horse, the blood of which to be soaked in grain then burned.
The syncretic rituals, Xšali and Anheshnalak, persisted long after the wars with the nomads. It brought fighting men - soldiers, ruffians, ne'er-do-wells - into a secret brotherhood and added cosmological justification to their violence. Needless to say, the authorities of the Second Empire feared the existence of a secret cult and cloaked daggers among the members of its armed forces...
To this day, Tetsika persists as a metaphor in the Xšali languages for betrayal and blind devotion to an ideal.