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Post by Squeaks on Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:05 pm

Telmior was ever pre-eminent amongst the First Kingdoms. They had a tightly ordered society, they were forward thinking, inventive and rich. They had the most fertile lands, were first to build walls, first to train a standing army, and they had one over-riding principle that this majestic society was built upon; slavery. For hundreds of years it had remained thus, and, in a few short weeks, they were to lose it all - for Ulaya, become Valerian, was to tear their world apart in a spume of blood and terror. The EMpire of Telmior was going to fall.

Telmior was a land of open plains and rolling hills. To the north was Ancillia - the broken realm, a mix of mountain, rough steppe and savaged by a volcano and sheets of black ice that rolled down through the Winter. The East lay Dalthrasia, slightly south of that land was the Sea of Grass, where the most prized slaves were found, and further south were others, too far to matter.

Telmior revolved around the Brazen Queen, a woman always masked, the EMpress of their world, lady of bronze, the whisperer of delights, she was said by most to be a true beauty, a wonder, by some a hideous crone who hid behind her mask. One thing was true - she never seemed to age or die, and that was reason enough for some to actually worship her.

When the first walls were built, the Brazen Queen and her Noble Sons were tired of fighting the barbarians of the Sea of Grass. They were beset by foes on every side, and all lacked order. The wallsd swiftly grew, and her people were safe more often than before. Her vigil was constant. She build up trade with some of the settlements at the edge of her demesne, and sent diplomats out to sow accord. Her nation was rising, and she knew that they stood above all others. Whether the ELves had ever been here was unclear, but precious little of her rule bore any shaping by elves.

Her rule expanded murderously. She sent her armies to conquer Ancillia, for fighting men could be trained from their stock, their harsh lives perfect for creating warriors. The few settlements in the south of the land fell in days. The northern half was harder to bring to heel, so she begana brutal campoaign, burning the few fertile areas, salting the ground, brining them to starvation before accepting their surrender. These northmen amongst the Ancillians were the best foidder for her new slave armies. In her cold chest her brazen heart sang.

The Ancillians were made to construct their own walls, to maintain a garrison of Telmiorne soldiers, to provide a levy of slaves each year, to have to beg for scraps from her table, and their harsh lives got harder.

She sent her forces two ways in the next hundred years; she raided the Sea of Grass constantly, for their quality as slaves was renowned, and she had found Ashapur, whose burgeoning slave culture caught her eye - she had an outlet for slaves, and Telmiorans were moving beyond their borders for trade, war and every other venture known to man. Daqlthrasia briefly fell to them, but they simply were asked to make a military tithe and a slave tithe each year; not as base as her 'accord' with Ancillia.

Her mens' forays were led deep into DUinir now, and she fought with the men of Saladir, although they made no good slavestock, preferring to die than submit - much like the Barbarians of the Grass Sea, save that she had discovered how to break these men, whereas those of Saladir, noble and high-moraled could not be brought to heel.

The 'EMpire' of Telmior grew, but more and more, the conquered nations became a vat of slaves to Telmior, even as the spread of this illness of conscience was festering within the very nations she ruled, as they came to depend on slaves from other nations within their own slave nation. The poison of moral decay spread, and she grew with it. She formed a new army, the Immortal Souls, slaves all, utterly hers to command and with them Telmior grew mightier still.

We come to the birth of Ulaya. Here, the Brazen Queen had converted all of her clients and vassals to what she had wanted - a fat vat of money, slaves and goods that self governed and almost existed outside her demesne, yet were so injextricably tied to Telmior. The Queen had finally achieved perfection, and now the sole target or her desire lay in the Sea of Grass. Records differ hugely, but she began to send slaver armies into the Sea now, upwards of four thousand men at a time sometimes, and the slaves became regular, but not plentiful. They would never unite - they had done on occassion, and this had held her from conquest, but they were dissolute now, stuck into several bandings of tribe, clan, caste, and even differences in their general demeanor. SO fragmented were they that she at last became intent on conquest, but the chance never came to true fruition, for now the child, Ulaya, was a man, and the doom of Telmior was written in the stars.

Ulaya was to become Valerian, and this name was taken from the books of LOre SHE kept, gathered from her lands, the names of nobles and high born men, which he stole from her.

We come to the scene at the Calrion City, the city nearest the Sea of Grass. HYere, at dawn, the guards pulled their governor, Demetir, from his bed. A large column of his slaving foirces was to be seen approaching the city, with a massive crop of slaves from the clans. There seemed to be few guards, but many slaves. This was truly exciting, but, when they approached the gates, it was found that the slaves were his men....nine men bound to one, all blinded save the tenth, who was leading them home.

Such was the horror in his heart that he bore no consideration to what was happenbing elsewhere. As the blinded men began to clog the entry to the city, as the gates yawned ever wider open, the forces of Ulaya attacked. Thousands of Spurhawk Cavalry dropped from the skies above, each carrying rocks which they dropped upon the city's defenders. From the tall grasses came two thousand ATlaians, 'Bloodhunters', who overran the gates in mere seconds, even as Demetri realised what his foe had done. Horsemen poured from the plains, more infantry. Thousands of barbarians from the Sea of Grass poured in to sack the second biggest city in the Telmioran EMpire.

The war moved swiftly. Two towns fell to Ulaya, both burned, but the worst thing, the travesty, was that he killed good freefolk, and FREED the slaves. Ancillia had declared themselves independent very quickly after the first blows of the war fell. Others may have well assaulted her on every side as they fell silent, watchful, eager even. SOme settlements sent soldiers, others freed their slaves, others simply barred the gates to the walls that Telmior had had them build.

Within a month it became apparent that the Brazen Queens must meet Ulaya, now daring to call himself Valerian, in the field. She gathered the Immortal SOuls, gathered her lesser slave legions, her allies that had sent forces, the mercenaries she maintained and the Noble SOns led the regular army behind their gilded chariots. SHe fielded 40,000 men, the largest force to have graced the East, and awaited the Men of Ashapur, who had promised half that number in addition; their full host to protect their interests.

Valerian, hearing of their warcamp, accepted the surrender of the latest small town aqnd marched immediately towards her forces. Never one to miss opportunity, he gathered all to himk and arrayed his host opposite hers. He had less than twenty thousand, many of whom were very young clansmen or even were forces of the Telmioran slave army. To maximise his surprise, he had not had time to gather his best and his garrison troops, but his AIr Cavalry were all present. Messages had been sent, but he dared not hope any would be in time. Valerian knew his foe and he also knew how effective his strategies were when in combination, and this battle held the greatest risk he would ever take, yet had the greatest plan behind it. He gave himself a one in ten chance of winning....less of surviving. Yet this was not yet a dream of EMpire, but one of revenge.

With Dawn's rise, the battle horns sounded. Valerian's forces were arrayed in supportive ranks, having piled dirt up during the night for their archers to gain height, and their spearmen took the front ranks, protecting the better but less armoured soldiers of the clans.

In her centre, the Brazen Queen of Telmior had the Noble Sons, flanked by thousand upon thousand of the other forces. As the chariots swirled around her, she signalled the Immortal SOuls, and they split to take the far point of each flank, enveloping the forces of Valerian, each of those forces set in an enormous wedge. From almost any viewpoint, the battle seemed won, but it wasn't.

As you may already consider, Valerian had been working on the slaves that foremed the greater part of her host, but it was not a simple end to this battle. The first ranks clashed, and men and horses died. For an hour they fought, before the first slave and allied forces pulled back, retreating at speed. The loss of these men left gaping holes i her lines, and she ordered the Immortal SOuls forwards, into battle - the others she would deal with at leisure.

The armies clash again, and Valerian's lines seemed to buckle against the Immortal SOuls. He ordered the Air Cavalry in, to strike the rear of the foe's legions, and the battle swirled back and forth. AT about the eight hour, the Brazen Queen lost her right centre, as her forces from the more eastern allies dissipated. She ordered her reserves of Immortal SOuls in, to slaughter them, and the battle became chaotic. This was what he had prepared for. Valerian's gambit had paid off.

He coiuld never turn the Immortal SOuls. None could. They were broken men, her slaves forever, her lovers, her children. So he turned to her people themselves. As the SOuls renenwed their assault, the Noble SOnjs drove harde into their flanks, whilst other household units began to cut down those next to them, the ones who hadn't turned.

Valerian mounted his Spurhawk. Taking a thousand of his men, he drove straight at the Queen's massive chariot, and few stood in his way. The Immortal SOuls that barred his path were slaughtered where they stood, much as they were elsewhere in the utter confusion that reigned. Valerian cut down her commander, his men scattered her Brazen Guard, and finally the man that was Ulaya stood before her. SHe stood tall, and her Kinsai blade swept a path towards his head. He side-stepped the blow and grabbed her mask, twisted and pulled her to her knees. They struggled for a few more seconds, then he cut the bindings that held the mask on, and her face was revealed in the sunlight. The Brazen Queen was a strikingly beautiful girl; she was not human, but bore golden skin like that of the Selediri ELves, yet her features were mean; she looked as foul as the Selediri were fair, and she would never tell her tale to a soul, for, as he held the mask in numbed hands, she pulled her throat into the blade that Valerian had cut her mask straps with. In a dire sort of majesty, she toppled sideways to the bloodied grass, lifeless.

Telmior was done. Valerian was to spend mere weeks in negotiations, freeing all slaves, but executing those who turned on their previous masters. He stood as a King, and his judgemebnt was seen to be divine indeed, for he began to mend the society that was broken - a task that would take a hundred years to truly fulfil, but at least had it's beginnings here.


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