The Confederation was being threatened by the Waertagi. The sea-folk had violently disapproved of the Jrusteli ship-building efforts in the past and had even destroyed the city of Svalwal to maintain their monopoly on ocean travel. The growing magical power of the Confederation had stopped the Waertagi from taking direct action again but with the Jrusteli power overextended and divided between the island and Seshnela, the sea-folk had grown increasingly belligerent. Matters came to a head in 715 when a Waertagi diplomat threatened to invoke a sea-god to drown the whole island. The Confederation could not permit this threat to continue but needed aid. They appealed to Ullmal, who traded recognition from the Confederation as High Duke for the support of his armies and war-wizards. In 718, the Jrustelan Free Men of the Sea sailed out to meet the Waertagi dragon-ships in battle.
The Waertagi had fifty city-sized dragon-ships, each one holding as many men as the entire Free navy. Their sailors were vastly more experienced and better armed then the Free Men. The Waertagi had weather-shapers and elementalists who could conjure tidal waves, mentalists who could command kraken and whales and undines. The Free Men’s position seemed hopeless but they had a secret weapon.
New Order sorcerers from Seshnela had prepared a new and great invocation, one of the greatest spells since the conjuring of Nysalor. They called on a strange god, the son of Tanien, and bound the god as if it were the merest spirit. Then, they forced the son to call his father down from the sky realm – and the sea became fire. Tanien was the god of water in the fiery sky realm and his presence transformed the earthly water into flame. Huge firebergs cascaded across the ocean, smashing and burning the Waertagi ships. The transmutation spread to the skies above and the storms rained fire.
Over a third of the Free Man fleet was destroyed by the Waertagi or by the fires but over nine-tenths of the dragonships were now nothing more than ash or ever-burning fire. The power of the Waertagi was broken forever. The Battle of Tanien’s Victory was costly for the Jrusteli (or, more properly, for the Middle Sea Alliance of Jrustela and Seshnela) but it confirmed the incredible power of their new Sorcery and gave them dominance of the oceans. The path to the Middle Sea Empire was open.