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  1. 738AC. Winter.
  3. Pars-Hormozdgan-Meda, The Three-times gloried city of Urava, The Andhvarid Realm.
  5. Winter had come to the tropical river capital of the Khosroshahr, and harsh rains fell greatly upon the greatest city of man. Tall minarets of marble and steel rose high into the air, and ten thousand houses stretched across the horizon, home to the 2 million people that lived in Pars-Hormizardgan-Meda, though it was more simply known as Pars. Jamasp Andhvarid poured himself another goblet of wine, swishing it about before tasting it's sweet grape and spice aroma.
  7. Jamasp had never wanted the bedrock crown, nor had he ever thought that he would get it. He had been so far down the line that he had been trained not to be a ruler but instead a simple warrior, maybe even an argbed of some far off border-army, but here he was, First of his Name, Shahanshah of the Khosroshahr and the AnKhosroshahr, Warden of Metal and Earth, Sun of the Sun and Moon and scion of Urava. Though nowadays, most people simply referred to him as He who pierces shoulders for his first acts as Shahanshah. He had never wanted any of that, instead he had just wanted a simple life, a happy life, one free from the intrigues, the cruelties, the hatefulness and the greed of power and ambition. Best to leave all those disgusting apparitions to the sociopaths that he called his relatives, but fate… fate was cruel and fate was a jester, and so fate dignified itself to curse upon a simple 16 year old the crown of the most powerful state in the world.
  9. The now 19 year old King of Kings moved silently through his study room, shuffling his feet as he reached to light a number of scented candles in hopes that they would warp away his melancholy. Books of all sorts adorned the shelves alongside statues dressed in steel and mithridatite armour, wielding heavy meteor-iron swords. Once upon a time, when Jamasp had been young, he had been brought here to meet his great-grandfather, the then ruling Shahanshah. Arsaces VI had been a laughing man with a jovial smile and world-weary eyes. He reached into the sky like a sturdy oak, muscled like a maiden's dream, and wielded a two-handed maul with only one hand. His griffin's mane flowed like a river down his shoulders and his beard was untangled and messy. Arsaces had once inherited the throne at 19, damn well near 60 years ago during the Andhvarid interregnum, and he had become what many said was one of the greatest kings the realm had ever known. Yet now the man was an embarassment to all, his lunatic ravings causing him to first abdicate to his first son, Parviz I, and then escape the empire to become a mockery of a Savaran Knight when Jamasp had sat on the bedrock throne.
  11. He remembered his great-grandfather fondly. The man's hand had been firm, yet kind, and his gifts had meant far more than the empty materials that the others in the family had often gifted the orphaned young prince, whose father had been killed a year after Jamasp was born and his mother a decade when giving birth to a little sister that never lived. Arsaces had taken him in like a son of his own, raising him to the best of his abilities, and giving him a frontline seat to his increasingly deranged behaviours. Power corrupted, great-grandfather had growled in one of his brooding sessions. And the only thing that could stop that corruption was a man's will against the world. But Jamasp knew something his great-grandfather had never known, that will could be broken as easily as ice and that he would never have the willpower that the formidable Octogenerian had possessed.
  13. Jamasp had never wanted the crown. He feared going mad like his great-grandfather had, and he feared the corruption that power brought with it. He didn't want a single thing to do with it, yet cruel fate had gifted it to him, and it was his duty to hold onto it, a duty he hated, a duty he knew he could have escaped.
  15. A knock came from the door, and Jamasp shot to attention. He placed the wine goblet upon his study table and grabbed his gold and rock tiara, placing it upon his head. Checking his royal robes and grabbing his sword, the young Shahanshah forged upon himself the grandest appearance he could and forced a stony glare. Many thought that as king one would be free to indulge into his hearts wishes, but the truth was far from that. People expected things. They expected a ruler to be stern, to be just, to be handsome, to be even handed, to be fair, to be a great warrior, to be a smiling diplomat, to be a learned priest to be this to be that and that and that. Many who failed to meet these expectations died within the first year of their reigns. Such was the curse of the bedrock throne of the Khosroshahr, it's curse. Jamasp wondered why anyone would ever want it. He growled. "Present yourself."
  17. The door opened with a loud creak, and a squadron of Peacock-feathered, robe wearing Pushtigban Royal Guards came in formed in a square, with another of their number standing in the middle. The middle one stepped to the fore and prostated himself. "Your Imperial Majesty, may Urava ever be with you."
  19. "Rise." Jamasp growled. He turned to the other guards. "Return to your posts."
  21. When the room was empty barring Jamasp and the other man, the Shahanshah turned to face the sole Pushtigban who stood before him. He did not know the man's name nor did he bother to ask. The nobility saw such acts as favourtism, and favourtism often led to conflict. The absolute status of the monarch stood above all like an archgriffin above an army, like a god above men. The pushtigban's robes, though tattered, were rich around his heavy steel armour, and he smelt of dirt and sand, and he wore around his neck a long chain that held a bag of fingerbones from his left hand. Jamasp recognized them, and knew who he was immediately. Al-Lakhmi was his name, a grizzled Ghassatani and one of the best outriders of the Gond-I Shahanshah.
  24. "Your Imperial Majesty." The one eyed man spoke. "We caught Arsaces VI near the city of Arsacesnizgan in the north. He was hunting an archgriffin."
  26. "He isn't with you." Jamasp observed with a faked snarl. He had learned well from his years in office the skills needed to act better than even the best of prostitutes in bed.
  28. "He… ambushed us." Al-Lakhmi continued, slightly embarassed. "He killed five of us with traps when we pursued him, and 3 others died fighting the archgriffin. We had to repeat." The man stopped. "But it wasn't a total failure. We caught this."
  30. Al-Lakhmi pulled from his side a large satchel, weighed down by it's obviously heavy contents. Jamasp recognized it immediately, and grabbing it, he took a deep smell of its leather. Grass and nuts and pine. Checking about, he found the scratched out label and he bit down on his tongue to prevent himself from speaking. Jamasp had gifted it to him 3 years ago, before… before the world had gone mad.
  32. "Return to your post, warrior." The King of Kings muttered softly, his act dropping for a moment before it redoubled. "I must be alone with this."
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