Middle Carathan: Book II

An account of the people of Carath, being the period after The Sundering and before the Rise of the Battlemaster.

  • Book I: Retelling the flight from danger, the formation of the Seven Houses, the martyrdom of the daughters of Carath and construction of the Dragon Gate.
  • Book II: Retelling the expansion of the Empire, the construction of Tol Carath, the expulsion and return of Magister Kerezain and the martyrdom of the heirs of Carath.
  • Book III: Retelling the aftermath of Kerezain’s invasion, construction of Tol Nordia and the ascension of the Congregation of the Saints.

The Golden Age

“Belorin the Builder is succeeded by Harma the Half-King, who subjugates the People of Ash, beginning the 14th dynasty of House Rihalla. Harma begets Ederis, who subdues the Meero tribesmen. Ederis begets Edama, whose reign is peaceful. Edama begets Edama II, who brings the heathen Firtis tribes to the Creed and claims their lands. Edama II begets Sihalla, who is killed by Kirker the Apostate in her twentieth winter. Sihalla is succeeded by Beren, beginning the 17th dynasty of House Amadris.”
  – from the Librus Linea Imperalis of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Argasta – send your spears to the north and hem them in! Rollis – charge on my signal and ride the bastards down! The savages will break before noon, lads – mark my words. Onward for glory! Onward for the Kingdom!”
  – an unknown Spear-captain at the Battle of Firtis Pass, 512 years after the Ascension.

“Heder mopped his brow, leaning on the shovel. The rampart was nearly finished, and a good thing too. It would be nightfall soon and they’d need the earthworks when the Firtisian rebels came again. They always attacked in darkness and seemed to target their own people, the one’s that had converted to the Daughters’ Creed. This made no sense to Heder. It was obvious that the Creed was better than the heathen ways they practised. Why didn’t they like law, order and fairness?”
  – from “A Soldier’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“Beren begets Astalin the Proud, who lays the foundations of Tol Carath. Astalin begets Hedred, who constructs the Monolith and subdues the Aronite heresy. Hedred begets Astalin II, who sacks the Sanctum of Serpents. Astalin II is succeeded by Vormyr, beginning the 13th dynasty of House Liann.”
  – from the Librus Linea Imperalis of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“When I came to the shore, Carath himself appeared before me. He illuminated the darkness and I saw, carved in pillars of light, the form of a city. There is no doubt that this is the will of the Ancestors. It is on this place that we shall build the greatest city of Men. It shall stand for eternity, a great beacon of Order, a symbol of Imperial justice.”
  – King Astalin the Proud, First Emporer of House Amadris, 599 years after the Ascension.

“Magret wiped her brow, leaning on the spear. Ahead she could see the banners of the Tower held proudly aloft, the sing-song Cadence hazing the air above the 2nd Cohort. Behind her, the last of the Aronite enclaves burned. Even at this distance she could feel the heat, taste the smoke. No one had been spared, indeed no quarter had been asked for. Even the children had attacked like animals, small savages with sticks and rocks.

As the column marched past, Magret saw no trace of doubt or remorse on the soldiers’ faces. They were doing the Emporer’s bidding, after all. He, a descendant of the Primus herself, had ordered the purge. There could be no wrong done in the name of the Creed. Making the sign of the Seven over her heart, Magret hurried to catch up with her men.”
  – from “A Soldier’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

The Magister

“Vormyr, the first to take up residence in Tol Carath, begets Yanni. Yanni begets Tormyr, who is murdered and replaced by his half-brother Armyr the Imposter. Tormyr is succeeded by Malanyr, whose reign in peaceful. Malanyr begets Neenian the Bold, who crushes the Berenite heresy. Neenian begets Vormyr II, who begins the settlement of the Savage March. Vormyr II is succeeded by Merisal, beginning the 14th dynasty of House Ordu. Merisal, who appoints Kerezain to the court, begets Merisan.”
  – from the Librus Linea Imperalis of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“Curse the short-sigthedness of these priests. They’re choking me with rules and proscriptions. Gah – they care more for their stuffy scriptures than truly helping our people. If they would but open their eyes I could show them wonders beyond beyond imagining.”
– from the memoirs of Magister Kerezain, 984 years after the Ascension.

“Click. Dorren’s fingers automatically moved the bead along the prayer string as he began the six hundred and eleventh stanza of the Litany. Trying to ignore the glares Kerezain’s apprentices gave him, Dorren looked about the chamber. Seemingly carved from living rock, the walls flowed unnaturally up to a vaulted ceiling, trails of elven runes twisting this way and that acrss their surface. It made him uncomfortable even being here, so far from his cell in the Monolith, but he had a duty. The Magister was to be accompanied by an Adept of the Creed on this expedition and Dorren had been chosen. He supposed it was an honour.

Click. Six hundred and twelve. Kerezain himself was bent over an ancient device in the centre of the room. Dorren was bored – the Elves were all but dead and their tainted magic with them. He could see no pint in delving these ruins.

Cli-. Suddenly the Magister stood up.  Tendrils of oily darkness shot from the device, impaling the apprentices and lifting them high into the air. Dorren turned to run, his prayer string forgotten. Icy pain slammed into his back and he felt his limbs go numb. Something was inside him! Screaming soundlessly as an alien force ripped away his mind, the last thing Dorren saw was the triumphant look on the face of the Magister.”
– from “The Acolyte’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“Merisan, who exiles Kerezain, begets Astan the Brave, who is killed at the Battle of Cetten Fields. Astan is succeeded by Virellin the Younger, beginning the 13th Dynasty of House Ruwen.”
  – from the Librus Linea Imperalis of the Sacred History of the Congregation of the Saints.

“On this day, and for all days henceforth, the Magister Kerezain is cast out from the lands of our Empire. He and all who aid him are apostate. He shall receive no succour nor comfort, no food nor water, all who meet him on the road are to turn their backs, no door is to be opened to him, and he shall be always shunned by good folk. Until the end of days is our judgement secure upon him. May the Ancestors have mercy.”
  – Empress Merisan, 1078 years after the Ascension.

“Click. The magister’s staff beat a slow rythmn ahead of Krell as they made their way down the mountainside. A score and ten had followed Kerezain into exile but now only Krell, Siarra and a handful of others remained. They had succumbed to hunger and sickness, one by one. Poor young Millen had just sat down on the side of the road and died of despair.

Click. Kerezain was unflagging. They had long passed the boundaries of the Empire, yet he pressed on into the unknown. Something drove him, ever deeper into the wilderness, Krell knew. Kerezain had once spoken of a great treasure lost within the depths of the Cartisan forests, an artifact that would change the world. Perhaps that is what they searched for. Perhaps that is what drove him on.

Click. Krell heard a whimper behind him and a thud. He looked back. Sialla had collapsed but there was nothing he could do for her. He watched her last tortured breath leave her body, then turned and continued walking. He never noticed how Kerezain now walked with more purpose, his head held higher than moments before.”
  – From “The Acolyte’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler

The Second Exodus

“O Brother, sling your shield,
O Sister, raise your spear.
‘Tis off to war we march,
And death we shall not fear.”
 – from the songs of the Second Cohort of the Tower.

“…messengers from the Seventh and Twelfth legions report heavy casualties. They have lost the crossing at Ban Culloch and retreat towards Tol Essen. I am ordering what remains of the Third to hold the ports there, to the last man if need be, to afford your ships the time to make passage. Your Eighteenth and all auxillia must reach Tol Essen before the first thaw, or we lose the entire eastern…”
  – fragment of a letter found in the effects of Lord Alseris, Imperial Governor of the Savage March, 1099 years after the Ascension.

“Krell blinked to clear the smoke from his eyes. The defenders were tenacious, he gave them that. He could see them all along the town wall, hunters and soldiers, farmers and townsfolk, firing their bows and hurling spears. Some were barely more than children. One girl, her green shift flapping around skinny legs, was even throwing roof tiles.

Krell reached out towards the wall, as if in entreaty, and called down the wrath of Chaos. A twisting swarm of spirits instantly bridged the gap and slammed into the defender’s position. Ropes frayed, timbers rotted and stone cracked under the otherworldly onslaught until, with an ominous groan, the wall collapsed. The feral tribesmen of the Magister’s army howled in triumph as they surged past him towards the breach. Other shapes moved with them. Dark, shifting forms, at once terrible and seductive. Krell followed, barely sparing a glance for the scrap of green cloth half-buried in the rubble.”
  – from “The Acolyte’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

“Though enemy come with number uncounted,
Yea, we hold the line.
Though spear be shattered, and shield lie broke,
Yea, we hold the line.”
– from the songs of the Sixth Cohort of the Tower.

“And they came then to the field, the heirs of Carath. Keress and Merilee, girt with spear and shield, Astan the Brave and Fair Harten, Emperor and singer, Kalilee, who spoke the words of Power, Hagren the Hunter and Wise Jomir. They took the field, girded for war, the Host of the Tower at their backs, and the world did stop to witness. Great was the anger of the Seven, and great was their strength.”
  – Chapter IV, Book CXI, Librus Annualia of the Chronicles of the Congregation of the Saints.

“When the sun rose, we saw that victory was ours, Ancestors be praised. But the cost is almost too much to bear. As I write this, the bodies of the heirs of the Seven are being carried back into the city. Hagren, Jomir and Kalilee fell holding the Serpent’s Rampart along with the Seventh, Sixth and First Cohorts. It is said that they were slain by Kerezain himself. Keress and Merilee had sent their Cohorts north to cover the retreat of the Seventh legion. They held The Crossing Gate alone all night before they succumbed to their wounds.

Most grevious of all was the Emperor’s charge at Cetten Fields. He and Fair Harten led the Fourth and Fifth into the enemy’s flank, driving through to the heart and turning them north. Were it not for their sacrifice the battle would have been lost.”
  – from a letter found in the effects of General Kerrick ban-Ruwen, Warmaster of the Empire, 1101 years after the Ascension.

“Through promise false,
And lies of gold,
Where lords retreat,
Our hearts did fold.”
  – from “The Lament”, author unknown.

“My lords and ladies, I fear I must protest these heinous allegations. I have only ever acted in the best interests of the Empire and the Congregation. Had I released the skitarii to the mainland, my city would have been overrun by natives and jungle beasts! Not to mention those intolerable refugees. It is only due to my diligence that so many families of worth, so many scions of noble houses, have survived these past months. Had I not provided them passage, they would surely have perished in the jungles when the Emperor recalled my garrisons. Lay not the blame at my feet that these notables have chosen to reward me for saving their lives.”
  – Lord Alseris, Governor of the Savage March, on trial for treason, 1105 years after the Ascension.

“Jarimee blinked to clear the smoke from his eyes. The wood was green and damp, but it was better than nothing. He, and the score of others that had survived the trek north, huddled as close to the city walls as the guards would allow. He silently praised the Ancestors that they had spared his children the slow death that had taken their mother. He’d held her hand for the entire sevenday it took the lungrot to consume her, then packed their belongings and joined the refugees straggling north. At least his girls had been asleep when the Cree attacked. They wouldn’t have felt a thing.

The attack had come two days after they arrived at Haven. A hefty bribe could secure entry to the city, but most of the refugees had nothing and were forced to spend the nights in the fields outside the walls. The fire had burned too low that night and the monsters had grown bold. Jarimee had been woken by a scream as the man on watch was taken, but it was too late by then.”
  -from “A Builder’s Tale”, by Mandius the Chronicler.

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One Response to “Middle Carathan: Book II”

  1. Well done…

    I like the texts, leaves me wanting to knpw more…

    D

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