Kal Verahda

Discussion in 'Character Profiles' started by Dallan Antros, Apr 16, 2006.

  1. Dallan Antros

    Dallan Antros Januuk

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    Kal Verahda

    Much had changed in 200,000 yahdi time, but the Tolkron of Behrahth was one constant that seemed to have no end in sight. Freedom from Behrahth's grip was a long forgotten memory. The nations of the world despaired of ever seeing a time when the oppression of the tolkron would be lifted.

    A little known nation on the western shore of the Sea of Adronis held the key to the world's liberty. Until the end of the tolkron, this insignificant nation contributed very little to the world history books. That was about to change. It would soon be a major part of history. Le Jhabir was the home of the man who would become the savior of the world.

    Kal Verahda was born in Hesgejev (HEZZ-ge-jev) , a city in the province of Sedrien (SAY- dree- en). His father was an antiques merchant on the coast of Adronis by the foothills of the Hejebedi Mountains. Ordinarily, he would have been taught his father's business, but he grew up in a time of war when nothing was certain. Civilian businesses that were not necessary to sustain the nation in war time were put aside and business owners who had to stay home were employed where they were most needed. As soon as Kal's younger sister was old enough, he was placed in a community home while his parents went off to war*.

    .*Couples with small children were kept from civilian militia service until the youngest child was old enough to begin combat training. This was normally around 2.2 to 2.6 yahdi old (a yahdi equals about 2.3 earth years), depending on the individual maturity of each child. If the child did not show sufficient maturity by three yahdi of age (about seven years), he or she would be placed in the community home and the parents would be admitted into the civilian militia, anyway.

    While living in the community home Kal learned, along with all his friends, the old ways of Nal J'Gar. In addition to his general education, he was trained seven exedahti (just over 9.5 earth hours) each day in hand-to-hand combat, stealth, strategy of warfare, wilderness survival, and martial arts. This training had become a tradition since the days of Nal J'Gar, but under the oppression of the tolkron, it gained new meaning. It gave people hope and pride that had been denied them since the end of the Kohsahv dynasty.

    During the first few thousand yahdi after the end of the Kohsahv dynasty, the tolkron had forbidden such training to secure against a revolution. But, the arrogance of those in power eventually resulted in lax enforcement of this law. By the second half of the tolkron's reign this .law had become meaningless. Those in powerful positions saw themselves as far superior to the conquered nations in all things, including combat skills, and felt very secure that the tolkron's reign would never end.

    They also had the advantage of numbers. The population of the conquered nations had begun to dwindle over the ages in direct proportion to the corruption and cruelty of the tolkron. Arisdathi were (and still are) proud people who could not stand to see their children subjected to slavery or executed unjustly for such a frivolous matter as displeasing a noble. To die in combat was the pinnacle of honor and glory, but to die as a slave or by execution was truly shameful--not only for the individual, but for the whole family.

    Families had once ordinarily been quite large with children numbering in the hundreds, but by this time most families were relatively small. This dwindling of the general population caused the Behrahthi race to become the dominant race upon Arisdatha. As a result, any attempt to overthrow the tolkron through military might would have been futile, even if the various nations could have shown enough solidarity to make such an attempt possible.

    Kal trained until he was 8 yahdi of age (about 18 1/2 years old)--the minimum age of military service. He joined the military as a civilian soldier, but he quickly advanced to the rank of Januuk, an officer commanding a division of 100 soldiers.

    During the first few aravahti (months) of his service he discovered that he had sorcerous powers. At first, he tried to deny their existence and when he could no longer deny them, he tried to suppress them. His greatest fear was that they would be discovered by his comrades in arms. On Arisdatha, sorcery is scorned and those who possess such powers are often feared and hated. Also, people consider sorcery to be an unfair advantage and therefore cowardly. If his fellow soldiers ever found out about his powers, he would face unmerciful ridicule or, as a worst case scenario, execution.

    Hiding them was not easy since he had no control over them. It took him many yahdi (2.3 Earth years) to master his powers, but in the meantime he had many close calls. Many strange events occurred that he had difficulty explaining. Fortunately, it became easier to hide his powers as his mastery of them grew.

    About 15 yahdi (35 earth years) after the war began, Kal and his men were enjoying some much deserved leave time in a tavern in the neutral nation of Emmrau. The tavern was noisy most of the night, but during a momentary lull in the shouts and raucous laughter he happened to hear voices in an adjacent room. Fortunately, though the occupants of the room were not overly loud, they were not terribly concerned about being overheard--perhaps it was because of the commotion in the main dining hall. At first, Kal thought nothing of it, but his powers gave him a sixth sense that always warned him of danger or some matter of great importance that would otherwise seem inconsequential.

    Another aspect of his powers gave him the ability to split his consciousness into multiple viewpoints. In essence, he could be in two places at once. Rather than entering into a trance as you might expect, he remained totally cognizant of his surroundings as though his powers did not exist, but he could send part of his consciousness elsewhere at the same time. Basically, it was about the closest that any mortal could come .to being omniscient.

    By this time, he had fully grown into his powers and had grown to trust his intuition. He quickly allowed his consciousness to expand beyond his physical constraints and reach into the other room.

    When he did so, he witnessed five men playing kevoti (an ancient poker-like card game popular world wide) and exchanging stories. One of them was talking about the soldiers in the next room and explaining how he served aboard the vastal (pirate) sea vessel commanded by the nefarious Gothe Degor when it intercepted the royal sea vessel** of Kysore and kidnapped the Jahnua.***.

    [**The term "sea vessel" more appropriately described the seacraft of the time. Ships had evolved far beyond their primitive predecessors of ancient times in design and construction. They were high-tech in every way; with many of them designed to convert quickly from an open-air deck ship to submarine in less than a minute.]

    [***The jahnua (princess) of Kysore was to meet the vehjor (successor to the torren) of Emmrau and perhaps allow him to court her. The voyage was ill fated to be boarded by the sea vessel, Ket Komarre (The Bloody Death), of the infamous Vastal Gothe Degor. Since Le Jhabir was the only nation between Kysore and Emmrau, Kysore, being suspicious by nature, was convinced that Le Jhabir was to blame and promptly declared war.]

    Kal was tempted to alert his men and storm the room, but he chose to take advantage of the opportunity to gather as much information as possible. He hoped to find the vastal ship and perhaps discover what had become of the Jahnua of Kysore. He locked his consciousness onto the psyche of the former crew member of the Komarre so that he could tune into his presence at will.

    He rarely used his powers in this way because he strongly believed in personal privacy, but dire necessity in these circumstances pressed him to go against his conscience. The chance to acquit his nation of the heinous crime which had initiated the war would be well worth the violation of the man's privacy.

    For several aravahti (months) Kal occasionally monitored the man's activities until he had enough information to formulate a plan. Of course, his powers were strong enough to keep watch over him every waking exedah (hour), but Kal found him to be insufferably boring. However, he was able to glean enough valuable information to act on. Kal discovered that the Komarre customarily docked on the western shore of the Taltus Peninsula of Lerrta at a certain time every ten aravahti (months; each yahd had nineteen aravahti at this time--later, the calendar would be revised to twenty aravahti).

    Kal had some difficulty in convincing his superior officer to allow him leave time to pursue the lead. He had to make up a story to explain how he knew this information since he had not been on any covert missions. Fortunately, he was in good standing with the Gerrahk, his superior officer, who reluctantly allowed him to take a team of men to accompany him on the mission.

    After traveling by one-man submarine crafts to the city of Daketha where they met with a contact who knew where the Komarre would be docking in about ten megrahti (days). There they assumed the identities of mercenaries looking for work. Kal called himself Tohsk Northos from the nation of Thesta. As Tohsk Northos, he used the time before the arrival of Gothe Degor for him and his crew to make their presence known among the locals as truly deviant cut throats.

    The full story of Kal Verahda's exploits on the Komarre can be found in the Chronicles of Verahda and told at evening meals where ever storytelling is customary. But, it is sufficient to say that Kal eventually gained the trust of Gothe Degor, without the use of sorcery, and became his first officer aboard the Komarre. This contingency was essential to the plan since Kal needed a recorded confession of Degor's attack on the royal sea vessel of Emmrau to offer as evidence to clear Le Jhabir of the crime. Once he had the evidence, Kal and his men organized a mutiny and killed Gothe Degor and his loyal followers and subsequently sank the Komarre.

    Kal and his men, as well as the members of the crew who cooperated in the mutiny, were given royal commendations for their part in ending the war and restoring good relations with Kysore. Kal was lauded as a war hero and became a familiar presence in the royal household and among the nobility.

    Having been on a career track in the military, Kal thought he would eventually retire from the service, but he found that his new position as an honorary noble gave him a certain amount of influence. This new found favor inspired him to become a foreign diplomat. He had always hated the tolkron for its indifference to the suffering of the people and he knew that diplomacy would be an excellent vehicle to help him carry out his ambitious plan.

    His sorcerous abilities, along with his extraordinary charm and persuasiveness, made him a master statesman in the political field. He became widely respected among the royal and noble households of many nations.

    Though his position had many benefits and his life had become quite comfortable, he did not become enamored with the wealth and priviledge. Instead, he focused all of his influence and charm, as well as his supernatural abilities, toward the goal that had first inspired him to follow this path--the orchestration of the downfall of the Tolkron of Behrahth!

    His plan was to convince as many men in powerful positions as he possibly could to join with him in an all out offensive against the tolkron. It was not an easy goal to achieve and would take what an Earth man would consider a lifetime to achieve. But, considering that humans on Arisdatha, barring an untimely death, live many times as long as their Earthly counterparts, Kal had plenty of time to wait until conditions were ripe for action.

    During this time he set up a network of friends and contacts across the globe who were loyal to his cause. This was not an easy task because the political climate, as on any world, was in constant change. Leaders were assassinated, dethroned, or killed on the battle field. Wars and crises constantly distracted heads of state from such an improbable goal as world wide revolution. Also, the tolkron held dominion over more than five hundred nations, therefore cooperation among all of them, or even a marginal majority of them, was inconceivable--especially through covert means such as Kal relied upon! There was always something to delay his ambitious plans. However, he continued despite all the set backs and discouragement until he had sufficient support to finally carry out the offensive.

    Meanwhile, as his sorcerus powers became stronger, his mastery of them became increasingly fine tuned. He used them to their greatest advantage at every opportunity. Few pretenders with ulterior motives escaped his attention. He gained many allies through subverting planned assassination attempts or revealing the hidden agendas of power hungry men, as well as accurately determining who would be a worthy ally or a waste of effort.

    Thirty five yahdi (about 80 years) after his career as a diplomat began he had a sufficient enough network of allies to finalize the details of the plan he had dubbed Project Gohmahtha*.

    [*The gohmahtha (blood god), now called the urahthet (demon servant of Urahtha, the war god of Dregahl), is an extremely territorial creature that will kill any creature that comes into its territory. The goal of Kal's offensive was to take back the territory that Behrahth had conquered.]

    With a combined force of 850,000 warriors and spies, he was able to plant operatives into the houses of the tolkron's governing officials. After two yahdi, all his forces were in position to enact a bloody coup that would completely cripple the tolkron.

    On the last day of each yahd Behrahth welcomed the coming yahd with an all night celebration full of tekleh (the fermented juice of the tekahna berry) and revelry. Fortunately for Project Gohmahtha, security was very lax due to Behrahth's arrogance. Even the guards were allowed to partake of the celebration, therefore they were in no shape to put up an effective defense*.

    [*The warrior code of honor prohibits gaining an unfair advantage over a foe. One might consider assassination, as well as attacking a drunken man, dishonorable. However, according to Arisdathi tradition, assassination of a tyrant is considered a just and noble cause. And as for drunkenness, it is considered a choice, therefore not an acceptable excuse for weakness.]

    Kal coordinated each strike to occur on the first hour of dawn in each respective time zone. So that no warning could be transmitted about the coup, he used his sorcerous powers to jam the communications of the tolkron for an hour before and after each strike. When people finally discovered what had taken place, chaos broke out in the streets and the leaderless Behrahthi military was unable to stand against such an unexpected assault. Before the day was over, Behrahth had been crippled beyond recovery and the people, having just been liberated from many lifetimes of oppression, celebrated in the streets with abandon.

    After the revelry subsided and people began questioning what had happened, they naturally wanted to know who was responsible. Once they learned that it was Kal who had organized the coup, they sought to make him the new tolkor, but he refused their offer. He told them that no one man should ever have so much power ever again.

    Some declared him a god, the savior of Arisdatha, even though he vehemently denied such claims. To this present time, some still worship him as the central figure of the religion called Verahdeka.

    Three megrahti after the coup, he made a public announcement concerning his use of sorcery to ensure the success of Project Gohmahtha. This confession was met with mixed reactions. Some skeptics accused him of being a power hungry Zaldori sorcerer and others believed his motives were for his own personal gain. But, the critics were overwhelmingly drowned out by his supporters who were so grateful that they cared little about how their liberty had been procured.

    Emboldened by this acceptance, Kal founded an organization of warrior sorcerers called the Korvahn of Verahda, also known as the Verahdi. This organization provided a source of training and brotherhood for warrior sorcerers who would otherwise have had to hide their abilities for fear of persecution or rejection.

    Kal Verahda became the most revered historical figure of all time. No other person has ever been celebrated and honored in all of Arisdatha's vast span of recorded history more than him. The overwhelming majority of cultures upon Arisdatha have, at one time or other, honored him by naming a holiday or a city after him. The capital city of his birth nation is now called Verahdis to memorialize his accomplishment. Also, after his death, all of history before the fall of the tolkron was classified as nohm-Verahda (before Verahda) and all of time after the fall as kes-Verahda (after Verahda) and an extra month was added to the calender, Keska-Verahda (in honor of Verahda).

    His name will forever be remembered for liberating the world from the iron grasp of the Tolkron of Behrahth.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2007
  2. Dallan Antros

    Dallan Antros Januuk

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    Kiasanna

    Among the Korvahn, the Warrior class, women have equal status with men, though women are not as numerous in the vocation. There are many tales of Korvahn women in [Arisdathi] history told around evening meals and other occasions.

    One such woman was Kiasanna of the House of Nelthis who escaped from the Dregahli a short time before the Reckoning of Dregahl. She was a strong advocate of the war and held audience with many torren [kings] and governing bodies to persuade them to put into action the Honorable Tradition.

    Kiasanna was born 402 yahdi kes-Verahda (402 Arisdathi years after the fall of Behrahth) in Tendrev (ten-DREV), Goverr (go-VAIR), in the nation of Traigoth (trey-GAHTH). Her father was a farmer of telv, a melon-like vegetable. Coming from a poor family, she saw that her only chance for advancement was to follow after her natural talent of swordsmanship. Her family encouraged her in this vocation since they wanted the best for their children and already had her older brothers to carry on the family business.

    Kiasanna practiced under the tutelage of Vodar Strodell. Vodar was a highly reknowned Korvahn of countless adventures and was respected as among the greatest Korvahn of all time. To have your child tutored by Vodar was like having a child tutored by Mozart or Beethoven on Earth.

    He was a tutor of nobles and the wealthy, but sometimes he would make an exception when he saw a potential prodigy. These he would train free of charge simply for the advancement of the honorable heritage. He was not easily impressed. Many people came to him pleading for him to train their children whom they thought were gifted. He turned a deaf ear to most, but he had a keen eye and instinct for spotting potential in students of the art. He often took under his wing some of the clumsiest and most awkward students and turned them into legendary Korvahn.

    Kiasanna was neither clumsy nor awkward. She astounded the elders of her city by consistently defeating some of the more seasoned veteran swordsmen of the province of Goverr where she was raised. The elders repeatedly petitioned Vodar to come witness Kiasanna's talent, but Vodar never returned their communications.

    It wasn't until several aravahti [months] later that he was, by chance, traveling through Tendrev on business elsewhere when he noticed Kiasanna practicing with one of the elder swordsmen of the village. He was amazed at her sureness and agility with the blade that was yahdi beyond her age. Never had he seen such grace and poise exhibited by a girl of a mere four and a half yahdi (about 10 and a half years).

    He did not let on that he was so amazed, but took her on as a student with seeming reluctance. He saw the confidence in her and knew that such confidence could easily turn to arrogance if not tempered by humility.

    Kiasanna trained with Vodar for about ten earth years until he felt she was ready to go her own way. Soon she was making a name for herself through many adventures and wars all over the world.

    For about 40 yahdi she roamed Arisdatha and practiced the art that she loved. She was the desire of every single male Korvahn and the envy of every female Korvahn (the latter mostly from jealousy).

    Her first love was the sword until she met a common dry goods merchant named Tovis Doran in the nation of Kidris. She fell in love and chose to give up her warrior lifestyle to settle down to the life of a merchant's wife. She traded in her Warrior harness for a maiden's harness.

    About half a yahd into her engagement period she was traveling with her fiance through a nation bordering Dregahl. In the middle of the night, a band of Dregahli found their encampment and gassed it with knock out gas. They would not have dared to disturb the encampment, if they had known the identity of the woman whom they stole away with that night.

    Kiasanna awoke in a damp dungeon that must have been so old as to date back as far as the pre-Behrahthi age. She was never visited by any jailers except to slide gruel into the pitch black cell. She must have been in the cell for several aravahti (months) until she was drug out of the darkness and into a temple with a blood stained alter where she was placed. Her chains were then replaced with fabric bonds which were apparently for a ritualistic purpose. This was the priest's grave mistake for the period of time that she had spent in the dark cell had not weakened her like other women who had not had a lifetime of battle and hardship to toughen them up. This was fortunate for her since many Dregahli sacrificial rituals involved hideous torture. The fabric bonds were as paper against her warrior strength. Before the priest knew what had happened he was choking on his own blood from being pierced by his own sacrificial blade.

    She then stole two decorative swords from the temple wall and faced the entire palace guard single handedly. She then escaped to the neighboring nation of Togredor (TOE-gruh-door) The torren immediately granted her an audience as soon as he was informed of her identity. He was outraged by her report and pledged his wholehearted support in her endeaver to decimate the nation of Dregahl for their heinous crimes.

    She sought her fiance who had been raising an army for a search and rescue mission. Though he was but a simple merchant, he had the same sense of chivalry that was common to most Arisdathi men. He was leading a troop to the location where she had last been seen when she found him. Although she was deeply touched by his gallant chivalry and deep love for her, she had to bring to him bad news. She had to tell him that she could not live the life of calm and ease while the Dregahli were still an international threat. She had to tell him that the marriage would have to be postponed until a time of peace. Though crushed by her words, Tovis vowed to be her greatest champion in whatever was to come.

    Kiasanna, with help from the torren of Togredor and her fiance, began seeking audience with the torren and governing bodies of all the world. This was no small task since there were over five hundred nations spread out over the globe. Those who she could not communicate with by televideo or who needed much persuasion she or a member of her diplomaic team visited personally. The main objecton that many nations had was that of evidence. The allegations that Dregahl was being charged with seemed incredible, even for a barbaric nation such as Dregahl. On a world where women and children were zealously protected as sacred, it seemed preposterous that any nation would do such a cowardly thing.

    Terrorism against another nation is not highly tolerated on Arisdatha. Dregahl committed the ultimate sin. They violated the universal law of chivalry that holds women to be sacred. To face a woman warrior on the field of combat was acceptable since war means kill or be killed, but to kidnap women and children for sacrifice is shameful and cowardly.

    As more nations agreed to join the alliance, the diplomatic team grew and the proposed war grew more popular. This growing support threatened the Dregahli for obvious reasons. Kiasanna had to always be on her guard against spies and assassins from Dregahl.

    Finally, after about ten aravahti (a little over one Earth year), the war effort had every nation's support except one, Ojhikawa. According to the Honorable Tradition, once a war effort has been made popular among the world's nations any nation siding with the transgressor will feel the full wrath of all aggressor nations. In other words, any nation that does not cooperate will be targeted for destruction.

    Kiasanna was made a Kor Rovahn (general) over ten nations for her reputation as a Korvahn. For two yahdi she led her forces against Dregahl and had many adventures that are still told at evening meals all over the world. Her strategy and battle savvy impressed the generals of the alliance so much that they insisted on promoting her to the head of the combined forces of the alliance.

    Though the war effort theoretically should have been a short work, it was far more challenging than first thought. Dregahl was a heavily forested country and the inhabitants knew how to take full advantage of the geography. The Dregahli were masters of guerilla warfare and had no qualms about sacrificing innocent lives in the field of battle. However, the far superior numbers of the alliance and the leadership of Kor Rovahn Kiasanna eventually overcame their best efforts. The nation of Dregahl was wiped out from the face of the world, but the Dregahli became an even greater threat than ever before (but that is another story).

    Kiasanna and Tovis finally got married two aravahti after the end of the war. She took on his sir name and he revealed to her his secret name. They had three children, one daughter and two sons. The older two were twins who they named Jaserra and Jasar (juh-SAR). The youngest they named Tajid (tah-JEED).

    Unfortunately, this was not the fairy tale ending to her adventures that the reader would expect. They lived happily together for fifteen yahdi (about 35 Earth years) until Tovis fell to an assassin's throwing dagger which was meant for Kiasanna Doran.

    Kiasanna Doran swore to find those who killed her soul mate. Rather than grieving the traditional length of time, one yahd, and leaving her matrimonial name behind, she kept her sir name as a reminder of what she was robbed of. She discarded her domestic harness and put on her Korvahn harness to seek out her husband's murderers.

    She was known until she died as Kiasanna Doran. She devoted her life to seeking out her would be assassins until she was murdered in her old age 650 yahdi later (about 1,500 Earth years). The tales of her quest for vengence are still told at evening meals to this very megrah (day).
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
  3. Dallan Antros

    Dallan Antros Januuk

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    Nal J'Gar, the first Korvahn

    Obaru Roj'm lived in a chaotic time in history. Criminals had no fear of the law because it was mostly a facade. The only crime that law enforcement would deal with was the kind that would benefit them, such as finding favor with a noble. The wealthy and nobility were fairly secure against crime, whereas the common people had no recourse for wrongs done to them. Not only was law enforcement indifferent to the problems of the commoner, it was, more times than not, part of the problem. Corruption was rampant in the law enforcement ranks.

    Commoners were defenseless against evil men. The only way to be completely safe was to lock oneself behind closed doors and never see the light of day.

    Obaru was born 363,162 nohm-Verahda* in a small village named Jenuis in the nation of Baltuk 110 centesi** southwest of the Sea of Adronis. His parents owned a produce market. The business kept them out of poverty, but no more. He had a total of 37 brothers and sisters***, but most of them had married and moved away so it was just he and his two younger brothers, T'maj and Akar'n, and his little sister, Kee'ta, living at home.

    [* 363,162 pre-scientific standard yahdi (Arisdahthi years) before the fall of the Behrahthi Empire
    ** a centes is one one-thousandth of the circumference of Arisdatha
    *** 38 children was quite a small number in this period of history. In fact, given the extremely long average lifespan, most families could be numbered in the hundreds. Large families were desirable to ensure that the family line was carried on]

    At the age of 18 Earth years his father and brothers were murdered by a band of thugs intent upon having their way with his mother and little sister whom they raped and kidnapped to sell into slavery. Obaru was spared only because he was away on an errand. When he returned he found his brothers dead and his father close to it. As he held him in his arms, his father barely had the strength to recount the events of the past hour*. In his dying breath, he urged his son to find his mother and sister and avenge the family's honor.

    [* Behrahthi translations for Earthly words are omitted because Behrahthi was not yet a world wide common language.]

    After attending to the death rituals of his father and younger brothers, he pleaded with his older brothers to go with him in search of their sister and mother. At first, they were resistant, believing the cause to be futile. But, Obaru would not relent in his fervor and they reluctantly agreed to come along.

    After several months of searching, his brothers began to give up hope of ever finding their mother and sister, but Obaru's passion for vengeance and reclaiming his family's honor would not let him rest. He rebuked them saying that he would find them without their help. He sent them away and continued on his own.

    Though his passion was strong, it did not override his common sense. He realized that his skills with a sword and his physical countenance was no match for a band of outlaws. Even if his skills and strength were average, the criminals with which he would have to contend had the advantage of numbers. As he continued his search, he kept alert for honorable men whom he could trust to train him in the art of combat and stealth. In lieu of a job, he lived off the land and spent many hours each day practicing what he had been taught along his journey. He combined the many different fighting styles that he learned, incorporating the strengths of each into his own hybrid combat style.

    One of his many trainers taught him that not only must he be strong mentally and physically, he must also gain the upper hand over his foes psychologically. Obaru took this advice and changed his name to one which he thought would strike fear into those who had reason to fear him. He began calling himself Nal J'gar, meaning Death Dealer. In addition to changing his name, he began having all his warrior harnesses and boots designed with a skull motif incorporated into them and he began to carry a sack of silver* coins. Each coin had a flaming skull engraved on it--these he left near the body of any criminal who was unfortunate enough to cross paths with Nal J'gar.

    [* Silver is as abundant on Arisdatha as copper is on Earth. Nal J'gar left a silver coin behind because of the in-expensiveness of the coin. His use of silver was mainly for economic reasons (he was not a wealthy man), but it had another, deeper meaning, as well. He left the coin as a sort of symbolic reimbursement for the value of the criminal's pathetic life.]

    Something else that intimidated foes was his insistence on not using armor or a shield. He claimed that it was uncomfortable to wear armor in the tropical climate of the equatorial region and a shield would merely restrict his movement too greatly for his style of combat--which combined many different forms of combat from all over the world, including martial arts.

    At first, before his reputation grew, strangers called him a fool. That is, they called him a fool until they made the mistake of challenging him or attempting to blind side him. Many of his enemies tried to assassinate him, but he uncannily countered or dodged any attack against him.

    He had honed his martial arts skills so greatly that he could intuitively sense impending danger. In fact, although he was a heavy sleeper by nature, when danger was near he would be instantly awake and completely alert. Many an assassin sought to eliminate him as he slept only to find a dagger held to their neck as they notched their arrow.

    Those who saw him in action believed he was sent by the gods to avenge the blood of the innocent. Those who had only heard tales of him believed him to be a myth or at least believed the tales to be greatly exaggerated. Either way, his reputation became known far and wide. Wherever he went he was met with great praise, skepticism, or fear.

    ------

    While in the countryside of a nation called Kamren he saw a herd of the most magnificent creatures he had ever seen. He was awe struck by their beauty and noble demeanor. He vowed that he would have one if it was the last thing he ever did.

    He inquired of his instructor in the nearby village what sort of creature it was that exuded such majesty and had such a fierce presence about it. He was strongly discouraged from seeking such a creature because taming a Magrund* would be a hopeless task. Never had anyone successfully done so and he would be a fool to even try. Nal J'gar would not be dissuaded and secretly began plotting how he might obtain one.

    [*Kamrenai word for the creature now commonly known as the Torga]

    He stayed in that village for much longer than he customarily lingered in any one place. He rarely stayed for a month or two in any given village or town before moving on to the next. But, his plans required him to stay and observe the herd of wild beasts until he was familiar with their behavior enough to formulate a plan and carry it out.

    He had been observing a pregnant female for several days when he realized what he must do. Nal J'gar followed the creature when it separated itself from the herd to find a safe, secluded spot to give birth. His plan was to steal the baby while its mother was too weak to stop him. It was a heartless plan and he began to curse himself for ever thinking of doing such a dastardly thing, but as he watched the mother die not long after the baby was born, he realized that he might not have much of a choice. He could not let the baby wander around and get lost, or starve to death without his mother's milk. He thought about taking it back to the herd, but he feared that the the baby might not be accepted by its own--especially since he had already touched it and had his scent on it.

    Nal J'gar returned to his camp and began nursing the baby with milk that he had siphoned from a plant. Nal J'gar raised the young creature as a pet and formed a strong and enduring bond with it. Never before had any man tamed such a ferocious creature. All who observed how obedient and loyal the creature was to his master were daunted by the man who could possess one as a pet*. Nal J'gar's already legendary reputation spread far and wide.

    [*the torga is a huge, intimidating creature that stands 7 to 8 feet at the shoulders when fully grown and is known for its ferocity]

    ------

    His greatly amplified renown made him an even greater target for assassins and cut throats everywhere he went. One particular challenger for the bragging rights of killing the great Nal J'gar was, Vodar Negrath, a noble from Behrahth, a diminutive nation on the southern shore of the Sea of Phusar. One day while Nal J'gar was bathing, a caravan of soldiers arrived on the embankment. The officer in charge delivered to him an engraved invitation, literally, to appear before Nohm-Torren (governor) Vodar Negrath of Miknor, a province in the nation of Behrahth.

    Thinking it would be just another challenge, he made no haste in arriving at the governor's palace. But, if he had known what he would discover while there, he would have made his way there as fast as his steed could run.

    After being conducted into the governor's reception chamber, he saw among the palace slaves a very familiar figure. Upon seeing his sister, he vaulted for the throne before Governor Negrath even had time to greet him. In a blur of motion, he slew seven guards who tried to prevent his progress. He ran through five and beheaded two. Governor Negrath was another matter entirely. Never had he faced a quicker or stronger opponent, but eventually Nal J'gar's superior skill and stamina, unorthodox fighting style, and sheer determination wore him down.

    For half an hour Nal J'gar and Governor Negrath fought to a stand still, but finally Negrath began to falter. Nal J'gar disarmed him and had him at his mercy. He could have easily killed him, but he chose to use the situation as leverage to gain what he really wanted, his sister's freedom. Rather than kill him, Nal J'gar offered to trade him his life for the freedom of all his slaves. Governor Negrath eagerly accepted his proposal and immediately ordered his slaves' release.

    Nal J'gar trusted no one. He kept Negrath prisoner in his private chamber several hours, enough time for the prisoners to find safe passage away from Kulahn, the capital of Miknor, and enough time to speak to his sister and arrange for a safe meeting place. After sufficient time had passed, Nal J'gar left Kulahn with Negrath as his prisoner. Once they were safely outside of Behrahth, Nal J'gar set him free to fend for himself against the beasts of prey and the occasional wandering thieves.

    Circling back around, Nal J'gar came to the inn where he had made some trusted friends upon entering the city and where he had arranged to meet with his sister. He never entered a strange city without making friends with honorable people whom he could trust to aid him in times such as this. He never had trouble making friends because of his widespread reputation of being a defender of the weak and a fighter for the cause of justice.

    There, he and Kee'ta hid for several months, not for fear for his own safety, but for his sister's sake. He knew that if Negrath were to search for his freed slaves, he would search the whole province, as well as any other province in which he was granted permission to search. Negrath would not think to search right under his own nose, in his own city.

    After sufficient time had passed, Nal J'gar set out to return his sister home and then continue searching for his mother. He thought, at first, that it would be a simple matter of just taking her home and leaving her with one of his brothers. However, Kee'ta had other plans. She refused to go back home and insisted upon traveling with him on his search for their mother. He tried his best to persuade her otherwise, but of the many skills that he had mastered in his lifetime dealing with the fairer gender was definitely not among them.

    They argued about it for many megrahti (days) before they finally came to an agreement. Nal J'gar gave her strict conditions for staying with him. The first condition was that she do as he told her, without question or complaint. Doing otherwise might lead to certain death out in the wilderness of Arisdatha. The second condition was that she join him in his daily combat training--no exceptions.

    He explained that his way of life had brought him many enemies and they would certainly not hesitate to even the score by harming his sister. He told her that, even though he would do everything within his power to protect her, the day would inevitably come when circumstances would arise that were beyond his control.

    Most of her life spent in slavery had strengthened Kee'ta's spirit greatly. Unlike other slaves she had shared her servitude with, she had never lost hope in being free once more. Rather than being bitter about her captivity, she had become defiant of the hopelessness that threatened to overcome her.

    She used this same inner strength to bolster her resolve to honor her agreement. No matter how grueling the exercise, she never so much as whimpered from the soreness of her muscles or the sheer exhaustion from hour after hour of training. Pushing herself to the limit, she refused to quit until the day's training was complete or until her body refused to continue (which happened frequently at first, but less and less as time went by).

    In a few months, her skills and stamina began to grow rapidly. In a matter of years, she could face her brother in mock combat to a stand still most of the time. Sometimes, she could even catch him off guard enough to slip in a bit of creative swordplay to gain a win over him. He always claimed that he let her win, but she knew better.

    In time, she became Nal J'gar's equal in all areas of combat and survival. He was not easily impressed, but even he had to admit that he was glad that she was for him and not against him. She had grown strong enough that his threats to return her home to Baltuk no longer intimidated her because she knew she could easily take care of herself. But, she stayed because she knew that they would have a better chance of finding their mother if they remained together.

    During the coming years they roamed the lands finding adventure and being found by adventure. They did not have to roam far until their next adventure because in those days opportunists and evil men seemed to be the majority.

    One day Kee'ta spoke to Nal J'gar about what had been on her mind for several months. She began to see their crusade of righting wrongs and avenging the innocent to be too overwhelming. There were just too many bad guys for just the two of them. She proposed to Nal J'gar that they find someone of a like mind as them to train to carry on their ways. At first, Nal J'gar was resistant to the notion. He was a loner by nature and it had taken him a long time to adjust to Kee'ta's constant companionship He had already had to give up his occasional sordid relationships--as well as his occasional kevoti game (a betting card game that he was quite fond of)--since she had come along.

    After much persuading and cajoling, Kee'ta eventually convinced him that it would be the best thing to do. They began to scope out potential pupils wherever they went. In most places where they stayed they found no one worthy of their attention, and most who had a glimmer of potential refused to leave home and family to travel the world. However, they finally found a young street urchin named Tenan Dedasa (Deh-DAHS-suh) in the nation of Mesolan (Meh-SOH-lan) who had lost his family because they were too poor to pay the "protection" money that the local crime lord had demanded from them. Since he had no social or familial ties to keep him there, he was more than happy to follow them.

    Tenan was an excellent pupil and quickly excelled in everything Nal J'gar and Kee'ta taught him. When he was old enough and there was nothing more for him to be taught, except that which can only be learned through experience, he struck out on his own to continue in his mentors' ways.

    Tenan found others to teach his unusual way of life. He taught them to be teachers, as well. Just as he had been taught to pass on his skills and knowledge, he encouraged his own pupils to do likewise.

    Sadly, Nal J'gar and Kee'ta never found their mother, but they created a legacy that would change the face of the world forever. As the number of disciples of Nal J'gar's unique training multiplied, the world began to call them Korvahn*, or Great Fighters.

    [*Each nation had its own word for Great Fighter, but Behrahthi would eventually become a commonly spoken language world wide]
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2006
  4. Dallan Antros

    Dallan Antros Januuk

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    Noran Selkarr

    About 130 yahdi* after Tenan Dedasa began his training, the way of the Korvahn had spread to almost every nation. Tales of men and women who had what were perceived to be godlike abilities were told around evening meals all over the world.

    [*About 300 Earth years]

    Despite the proliferation of these mighty heroes, evil men and women still abounded. Apparently, the Korvahn were not enough to turn the tide against lawlessness. Even so, they remained symbols of hope for the weak and helpless.

    One man had been deeply affected by an act of heroism by the first Korvahn. This man, Noran Selkarr, was among the slaves released when Nal J'gar made a bargain with Governor Negrath of Miknor, a small province in Behrahth. Nal J'gar had his life in his hands and could have easily killed him, but Nal J'gar gave him his life in exchange for the freedom of his slaves. Noran was greatly impressed by Nal J'gar's unusual combat technique and prowess.

    Noran returned to his home country of Lerrta on the southern shore of the Adronis Sea. His family had believed him to be dead and were quite shocked when he arrived at the palace alive and well. The guard at the main gate initially believed him to be an impostor, but Noran convinced him otherwise by speaking of things of which only the Shekran (successor to the throne) of Lerrta and the guard shared knowledge. Shekran Noran Selkarr had always been very friendly with the palace servants and treated them more like trusted friends than underlings. He and Malja Devisi had been very close ever since they were both children playing hide and seek in the palace courtyards.

    Noran had always been a friendly fellow. His family never approved of him fraternizing with the palace staff and tried their best to discourage him. They saw it as unbecoming of royalty to be overly familiar with the lower classes. This gulf between him and his family had always been a constant source of difficulty for him. In fact, unknown to him, his father had arranged for him to be kidnapped and sold into slavery because he saw his son's good nature as a weakness, a quality unfit for the Maskarr (king) of Lerrta.

    Though his father gave a convincing performance of being overjoyed to see his long lost son's return, he was secretly greatly annoyed. Now that Noran had returned, he was rightfully entitled to regain the title of Shekran, displacing his younger brother, Numis. Kaiden, his father, preferred him over Noran because he was more like himself, a ruthless, cold-blooded opportunist.

    Numis was furious at seeing his chance at becoming the next Maskarr slip out of his hands. He was not about to give it up easily. Over the next few years, Noran had many close encounters with death. Only by luck was he able to escape from each attempt.

    Noran came close to death on a regular basis. He knew what his brother was up to, but Numis was too sly to be proven guilty. However, Numis's zeal to do away with his brother finally backfired when he and his father collaborated on a scheme to kill Noran. Noran overheard their scheming and came up with a scheme of his own to uncover it.

    In those days, the royal family could do many despicable things with impunity. However, conspiracy to assassinate a member of the royal family held the sentence of death. Not even the Maskarr had immunity and no trial was held when the offenders were caught red-handed. In such circumstances, sentencing was carried out immediately. Before the day was over, Noran's father and brother lost their heads and Noran was crowned the new Maskarr of Lerrta

    He immediately began to reform all areas of government. In a very short time, he gained a large number of enemies. The nobility was quite unhappy with the changes he introduced because many of the new laws restricted much of their illegal and unethical activities. Many of them despised Noran so much that he eventually had to hire Guldéshik* (Gull-DE-shick) as personal body guards because he faced daily assassination attempts.

    [*Lerrtanni word meaning Great Warrior. Many years had passed since Nal J'gar and Kee'ta had begun teaching others in the way of the wandering warrior. By this time Great Warriors, as they had come to be known, had spread across the globe to many nations. Much later, they would be commonly known as Korvahn, the Behrahthi equivalent of Guldéshik.]

    Much tougher regulations were placed on law enforcement, as well as stiffer penalties for criminals. They did some good, but not enough. Criminals tended to carry on as usual, except that they took more precautions than before. Instead of committing their acts in broad daylight, they turned to the darkness of night and the dark shadows of the city.

    Noran fought to rid the nation of corruption, but he was fighting a losing battle. Nothing he tried could turn the tide against the evil in men's hearts. For over 140 yahdi (approximately 325 earth years) he waged this war against crime.

    For many yahdi, Noran tried to turn the tide without success until one day when he was watching his hired body guards going through their daily practice session. The daily assassination attempts had diminished long ago since he was no longer viewed as a threat to the nobility. However, he had grown accustomed to the sense of security that the bodyguards provided him, so he kept them around just in case someone were ever to make an attempt on his life again. As he watched them, he began to imagine a society where everyone was as adept at combat and self-defense as the Guldéshik.

    He discussed this idea with his bodyguards. They were skeptical at first, but as they discussed it in depth they became persuaded that it might be worth a try--at least it would be better than leaving the state of society in its present condition.

    After months of discussion, they formulated a long term plan. Each body guard would interview a number of young couples who were either expecting their first child or who had small children. The interviews were conducted to get a feel for the moral beliefs of each couple. Noran wanted only families with strong moral fiber and pure hearts to be allowed to participate in the experiment.

    The long term goal of the plan was to raise the children in the ways of the Guldéshik from an early age. Once the children were old enough to understand the safe handling of a wooden training staff, they began training in the proper use of a sword. The beginning ages for training varied by individual child, but each began training at the earliest possible age.

    Participants of this program were given special favors such as certain tax exemptions or greater consideration in civil disputes. Needless to mention, there was no shortage in families willing to participate. However, applicants had to meet very high standards to be accepted.

    Not only were the parents held to a high moral standard, but the children were, as well. Normal adolescent rebellion was tolerated as a natural phase of growing up, but any adolescent who showed an inclination toward destructive or criminal behavior was subject to a review by a council of Guldéshik. This council sought to determine the youth's fitness to continue training.

    When the first generation of trainees had reached adulthood, the crime rate dropped noticeably. In fact, it had dropped so much that other nations had begun to emulate the program.

    Noran consulted with the primary Guldéshik council to begin lowering the standards for acceptance into the program. His reasoning behind the request was that the high code of ethics highly valued by the Great Warriors was something that could be taught. And, even if some of the trainees turned to a life of crime, a society full of individuals who could defend themselves would make their violent criminal activities much more challenging.

    The request was highly controversial and split the council down the middle. Those opposed to the change argued vehemently against it. However, Noran, being the Maskarr, had the deciding vote.

    The council modified its process for accepting new participants into the program. Instead of a time consuming interview and review process, the council performed a simple check for a criminal record. This became standard procedure for several generations of trainees.

    Meanwhile, the nobility began to follow the program's example by hiring Guldéshik to train their heirs. And, over the next several hundred years, the practice began to be accepted by the general population.
    By the end of Noran Selkarr's reign as Maskarr, the program had evolved into a strong tradition worldwide.
     
  5. Dallan Antros

    Dallan Antros Januuk

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    Vandelor Kohsahv

    In a time when the heritage of Nal J'Gar had been all but forgotten Behrahth, a nation on the southern shore of the Sea of Phusar, still held it sacred. In Nal J'Gar's lifetime it was not known for anything extraordinary, but by the end of Noran Selkarr's reign as Maskarr of Lerrta it was well known as a great center of culture and the arts. As well as being the origin of the world's best literature and entertainment, its language had become commonly known, if not commonly spoken, worldwide.

    Entertainment, music, and fine art were not the only things to which Behrahth had bragging rights. The people of Behrahth held strong to the old ways of the warrior heritage. In fact, their lives were centered upon it. Every detail of their daily routines, even their choice of entertainment, either enhanced their warrior training or reminded them of the history of their proud warrior nation.

    Behrahth had always been a strongly warrioristic nation. Because of this, the fighting style and discipline of Nal J'Gar, which had become known as N'Taka*, was eagerly received there. Consequently, Behrahth quickly became a dominant power among the nations of the region of Phusar.

    [*Baltuk word meaning fusion. Nal J'Gar incorporated the strengths of many different fighting styles into his own unique style. His style included many different techniques from all over the world; from the zen technique of Taldano to the highly complex and rigid fighting technique of Dengador.]

    Much had changed since Nal J'Gar's lifetime. Behrahth had expanded to over ten times its original size and presently occupied most of the area south of Phusar. The small inconsequential nation that had once never elicited a second thought had become a major player under the rule of the conquering Torren (king), Dorrovin Kohsahv.

    His reign lasted for over a thousand earth years and he was succeeded by his eldest son, Vandelor. Following in the shadow of his father, Vandelor Kohsahv had much to prove to his people. Few believed that he could ever live up to his father's greatness. And, it seemed that the critics were proven right, at least for a time. However, his initial passiveness was just a front. For the first fifty yahdi (115 earth years) of his reign he worked closely with the military to prepare an offensive with global domination as its chief objective.

    Even before his father's death, Vandelor was grieved by the state of the world. He was offended by the obsession that it had with technology and how this obsession had stifled the warrior's spirit in the hearts of the people. Being born into a dynasty of conquerors, he planned to solve the problem the only way he knew of--by conquering.

    On the projected date, his military forces were well prepared for a coordinated strike on every civilized region of the globe. The armies of Behrahth accomplished their objectives with relatively little effort. Though a few nations, such as Dregahl, were able to withstand Behrahth's onslaught, most nations were undisciplined and ill-prepared for defense--even with their superior technology. Within an aravaht (month) the greater part of the world became the Tolkron (empire) of Behrahth.

    Vandelor was a stern ruler, but he was also noble and just. The people of the conquered nations were relieved to find that his rule did not mark the beginning of an age of oppression, but a golden age of justice and true prosperity. He defended the people against the tyrrany and conceit of the nobility and used his vast resources to feed and clothe the homeless and provide opportunities for the impoverished.

    He was greatly revered by most of his constituency. However, the nobility resented him for championing the cause of the commoner. Because of him they had less opportunity to lord their power and influence over those of lower status. This strained relationship would eventually tarnish Vandelor's golden empire.

    His charismatic personality and strength of character inspired people to emulate the conquering nation of Behrahth. The warrior way of life once again became popular and the strong lure of technology lost much of its former appeal. The occasional supersonic aircraft still roared across the cloud-covered skies, but much less often than before. More and more travelers, however, chose to travel across land for no other reason than the thrill of adventure and the hope of finding fame and glory.

    Vandelor died at a ripe old age of 959 yahdi (about 2,207 earth years). In his old age he lost much of his charisma and was somewhat senile, but he remained a symbol of hope and courage for the people.
     
  6. Dallan Antros

    Dallan Antros Januuk

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    Donvarris Kohsahv

    Vandelor Kohsahv's son, Donvarris, paled in the light of his father's glory. He was faithful to his father's ideals, but lacked much of his spirit and strength of personality.

    Besides this, a rumor, that many historians hold to be true, spread that Donvarris preferred men over women. No real evidence exists to substantiate this rumor, but historians argue that 300 yahdi should have been sufficient time to find a potential bride, or at least have an illicit affair. But, there are no eye witness accounts of him ever showing any interest. There was no shortage of potential brides among the nobility who would have given anything to marry the successor to the throne of the world. But, he never seemed to pay any mind to any of them; no matter how pure their hearts or how beautiful their countenance.

    By no means was he a coward or incompetent. On the contrary, he was an accomplished warrior of Korvahn caliber. As a career military man he had risen quickly to the rank of Torvahl, the highest military rank short of Tolkor.*

    *This was before the rank of Rovahn was created so that the military would remain seperate from the royal household.

    Though he definitely qualified for leadership, the problem of his lack of an heir remained. Technically, his next oldest brother or sister, who was qualified for the throne, would succeed him**. But, events following his death did not happen accordingly.

    **He had no shortage of brothers and sisters--152 in all, just counting those who still lived at the time of his .death--and most of them were well qualified.

    Three aravahti (about 4.36 earth months) after Donvarris assumed the throne he was assassinated. Before his brother, Falen, could be inaugurated the nobility demanded a tournament of succession. Their legal argument challenged Donvarris' qualification for the throne in the first place and, since his crown was not legitimate, his family line must forfeit the right to the throne. This was nonsense, of course, because he had more than proven his mettle as a warrior--more than a few times. However, in this time of history, prejudice against homosexuality was strong and no matter what the arguments in his favor were, the nobility would not relent in their accusations.

    Though the law was on Falen's side, the ones responsible for judging the law were biased in favor of the nobles. Of course, the nobles prevailed and a tournament of succession was soon organized. Only the most notable warriors of Korvahn status among the nobles of pure Behrahthi lineage were invited to participate. The last man alive would gain the right to be crowned the new Tolkor.

    The champion was Tellevis Menanta, a man as swift with a sword as a kluahv is in snatching its prey. Unfortunately, his justice and mercy were not half as swift as his blade. He had none of the idealism that was a strong trait of the Kohsahv dynasty. He ruled with an iron fist and, unlike Vandelor Kohsahv, his mercy was just as hard.

    To ensure a long and prosperous reign, he showered the nobility with all kinds of favors and he was not above accepting bribes. Consequently, his popularity among the nobles ensured that his dynasty would last for many generations to come.

    Vandelor Kohsahv's dream of a world secure from tyranny had been shattered. The world entered into a dark age that lasted for 200,000 yahdi.
     
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