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.