Status

Recent Statuses

6 mos ago
Current For life is manic moments in a sea of constant sorrow: Unforgotten yesterdays and no brightness on the morrow.
2 likes
6 mos ago
I never thought I would cross Mount Nakayama again; yet, growing old, I live long enough to do so tonight
1 like
7 mos ago
The art of losing isn't hard to master; / so many things seem filled with the intent / to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
1 like
8 mos ago
You spoke well, but your plea is fallen flat. You are spared, you may thank your tongue for that.
2 likes
1 yr ago
"What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure."
4 likes

Bio



A sculptor's fictional conception of what Kho may look like.

"Consider the turtle, it is slow. Consider the hippo, rounded is he. Consider the zebra, confused." - from The Khotonic Wisdoms


Damn Kho, you just pump these giant, well-written posts out like it ain't nothin'.


'𝖑𝗅𝗂𝗇𝖽𝖾𝖽 𝖻𝗒 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π–½π–Ίπ—‹π—„π—‡π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗁𝖾𝗋 π—ˆπ—π—‡ π—π–Ύπ—‹π—‹π—ˆπ—‹, π—Œπ—π–Ύ 𝖿𝗅𝖾𝖽 𝗁𝖾𝗋 π—‹π—ˆπ—ˆπ—† 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗋𝖺𝗇 π–Ώπ–Ίπ—Œπ— π–Ίπ—Œ 𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗅𝗂𝗍𝗍𝗅𝖾 𝖻𝖺𝗋𝖾 𝖿𝖾𝖾𝗍 π–Όπ—ˆπ—Žπ—…π–½ 𝖼𝖺𝗋𝗋𝗒 𝗁𝖾𝗋, 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π–½π–Ίπ—‹π—„π—‡π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ π—π—ˆπ— π—ˆπ—‡ 𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝖽𝖾𝗅𝗂𝖼𝖺𝗍𝖾 π—π–Ύπ–Ύπ—…π—Œ. 𝖠𝗇𝖽 𝗂𝗍 π—π–Ίπ—Œ π–Ίπ—Œ π—π—π—ˆπ—Žπ—€π— π–₯𝖺𝗍𝖾 π—‚π—π—Œπ–Ύπ—…π–Ώ 𝗁𝖺𝖽 𝖺𝗅𝗂𝗀𝗇𝖾𝖽 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π–½π–Ίπ—‹π—„π—‡π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ π–Ώπ—ˆπ—‹ 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾 𝗐𝖾𝗋𝖾 π—‡π—ˆπ—‡π–Ύ π—π—ˆ π—Œπ–Ίπ—π–Ύ 𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗇𝗂𝗀𝗁. 𝖠𝗇𝖽 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π—Œπ—π–Ίπ—‹π—Œ 𝗂𝗇 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗇𝗂𝗀𝗁𝗍 π—Œπ—„π—’, 𝗁𝖺𝗏𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝗆𝖺𝖽𝖾 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗂𝗋 𝖺𝗅𝗅𝖾𝗀𝗂𝖺𝗇𝖼𝖾 π—„π—‡π—ˆπ—π—‡, 𝗐𝖾𝗋𝖾 π—Œπ—‡π—Žπ–Ώπ–Ώπ–Ύπ–½ 𝖺𝗇𝖽 π—‡π—ˆπ— π—ˆπ—‡π–Ύ π–Όπ—ˆπ—Žπ—…π–½ 𝖻𝖾 π—Œπ—‰π—‚π–Ύπ–½. 𝖠𝗒𝖾 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝖾𝗏𝖾𝗇 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π–»π—…π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œπ–Ύπ–½ π—†π—ˆπ—ˆπ—‡π—Œ, π–Ίπ—Œ π—π—π—ˆπ—Žπ—€π— π—„π—‡π—ˆπ—π—‚π—‡π—€ π—ˆπ–Ώ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π–Όπ—ˆπ—†π—‚π—‡π—€ π—π—ˆπ—‹π—‹π—ˆπ—‹, 𝗁𝖺𝖽 𝗅𝗂𝖿𝗍𝖾𝖽 π—Žπ—‰ 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗂𝗋 π—ˆπ—‹π—‡π–Ίπ—†π–Ύπ—‡π—π—Œ 𝖺𝗇𝖽 𝗆𝖺𝖽𝖾 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗂𝗋 π—Œπ—‰π—‚π—‹π—‚π—π—…π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ π–Ύπ—Œπ–Όπ–Ίπ—‰π–Ύ π–Ώπ—‹π—ˆπ—† 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π—π–Ύπ–Ίπ—π–Ύπ—‡π—Œ. π–­π—ˆπ—‡π–Ύ 𝗋𝖾𝗆𝖺𝗂𝗇𝖾𝖽 - 𝗂𝗇 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗍 π—π—ˆπ—Žπ—‹ π—ˆπ–Ώ π–½π–Ύπ—Œπ—‰π–Ύπ—‹π–Ίπ—π—‚π—ˆπ—‡, 𝖺𝗅𝗅 𝗐𝖾𝗋𝖾 π—€π—ˆπ—‡π–Ύ. π–Άπ–Ίπ—Œ 𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗍 π—‡π—ˆπ— π–Ίπ—…π—π–Ίπ—’π—Œ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π–Όπ–Ίπ—Œπ–Ύ? π–Άπ—π—ˆ π—π–Ίπ—Œ 𝗍𝗁𝖾𝗋𝖾 π–Ώπ—ˆπ—‹ 𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗂𝗇 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖾𝗇𝖽? ... 𝖠𝗇𝖽 π—Œπ—π–Ύ 𝖿𝗅𝖾𝗐 π—π—π—‹π—ˆπ—Žπ—€π— 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π—€π–Ίπ—π–Ύπ—Œ π—ˆπ–Ώ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗍𝖾𝗆𝗉𝗅𝖾, π—‚π—‡π—π—ˆ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗅𝗂𝗀𝗁𝗍𝖾𝗋 π–½π–Ίπ—‹π—„π—‡π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ π—ˆπ–Ώ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗐𝖺𝗂𝗍𝗂𝗇𝗀 π—Œπ—π—‹π–Ύπ–Ύπ—π—Œ. 𝖠𝗇𝖽 𝖻𝖾𝗁𝗂𝗇𝖽 𝗁𝖾𝗋 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗀𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗍 π—†π–Ίπ—Œπ—Œ π—ˆπ–Ώ π–Όπ—π–Ίπ—Œπ—‚π—‡π—€ π–½π–Ίπ—‹π—„π—‡π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ 𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗋𝖾𝖽 π—‚π—π—Œ 𝗀𝗋𝖾𝖺𝗍 𝗁𝖾𝖺𝖽, π–Ίπ—Œ π—π—π—ˆπ—Žπ—€π— 𝗂𝗍 𝗐𝖾𝗋𝖾 𝖺 𝖫𝖾𝗏𝗂𝖺𝗍𝗁𝖺𝗇 π—ˆπ–Ώ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖽𝖾𝖾𝗉, 𝖺𝗇𝖽 π—Œπ—π–Ύ π—…π—ˆπ—ˆπ—„π–Ύπ–½ π—ˆπ—‡ 𝗐𝗂𝗍𝗁 π—π—ˆπ—‹π—‹π—ˆπ—‹ π–Ίπ—Œ 𝗂𝗍, π—‹π—‚π—Œπ—‚π—‡π—€ 𝖾𝗏𝖾𝗇 π–Ίπ–»π—ˆπ—π–Ύ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝖺𝗋𝖼𝗁 π—ˆπ–Ώ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 𝗍𝖾𝗆𝗉𝗅𝖾 𝗀𝖺𝗍𝖾, 𝖼𝖺𝗆𝖾 π–Όπ—‹π–Ίπ—Œπ—π—‚π—‡π—€ π–½π—ˆπ—π—‡ π—Žπ—‰π—ˆπ—‡ 𝗍𝗁𝖾 π—π–Ύπ—…π—‰π—…π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ, π–Ώπ–Ίπ—Žπ—…π—π—…π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ, π–Ώπ—‹π—‚π–Ύπ—‡π–½π—…π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ π—ˆπ—‡π–Όπ–Ύ-π—€π—ˆπ–½π–½π–Ύπ—Œπ—Œ.'

***


Kho (debuted into the RPing world c.2009 or 2010-Present), also known as Kho-Bro (Kho-Sis by those who claim to be better informed about Kho's 'bits'), Theia, King Hong of Orliand, Khobihatun, Kho the Verbose Bastard (or alternatively, the Glorious Bastard), and Sand Queen is an RPGuildian Roleplayer (RPer) and Game Moderator (GM) who is often regarded as the founder of the small-time, but increasingly successful, deity roleplay Divinus, along with long-time chaos-bringer Rtron, and professional anarcho-(rule) abolitionist Cyclone. Ownership of the rights to the RP was subject to a relatively minor dispute in the Guildian High Court in mid-2015 when the original GM sued Kho for copyright infringement. The case eventually came to a close when Kho and the founder settled outside of court for an undisclosed amount.

Although highly esteemed by members of the Divinus community, Kho is relatively unknown beyond those circles, having failed to establish a successful network of active RPers across the Guild. Kho has expressed hope that Divinus' success will soon establish him/her/it as a GM of some standing among the lower echelons of the 'sewer-dwellers' (a derogative term used to refer to the thousands of GMs attempting to rise in the brutally competitive world of Guildian GMing).

In mid-2017, Kho's Divinus administration officially handed power over to a new one made up of the cyclone of activity and efficiency, BBeast; the black hole of all things just weird man, Antarctic Termite; and the lethal guardian of Divinus' corgis of war, Muttonhawk. The move is said to have created a permanent and irreconcilable rift between Kho and Cyclone, and signs of cosmic oddities have already begun appearing due to the tragic falling apart of such a great partnership. Kho now plans the downfall of Cyclone.

Biography
Early Years:
Very little is known about Kho's early years, though s/he has often suggested that s/he was born in a now insolvent forum, wherefrom s/he immigrated after the administration's breaches of basic human rights caused an inter-world wide webian crisis involving invasions and destruction.

S/He was born to a relatively well-off family, who are suspected to have perished with the destruction of his/her former home. S/He received his/her early education in RPing there, though s/he claims that s/he only learnt of 'true RPing' when s/he arrived in the OldGuild. S/He has expressed sadness at the violent coup which deposed the OldGuild, but is optimistic that never again will such a terrible GuildFall occur.


Roleplaying History
Kho is known to have joined a large number of RPs over time, though imperfect record keeping, destruction of archives and other catastrophes mean that a complete list is forever lost to time. Kho's personal secretary has recently published a list of all RPs Kho is known to have been in.

    In no Particular Order

  • 5-10 RPs whose names are lost due to the World Wide Webian Crisis
  • Raining Seconds - Each character represented one of the twelve Zodiacs in a post-apocalyptic world. They had various powers. Kho is believed to have played Leo, whose powers were shape-shifting. It is suggested, in the broken and fragmented records that remain, that Leo managed to fly into a floating city, move around as an ant, before kidnapping a high-level officer and pretending to be him for a while. The lack of anything else suggests that the RP died shortly thereafter. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Legend of the Dragon Lords - Kho is said to have created an archer-type character. RP appears to have undergone a rebooting process shortly after Kho's joining. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Reboot: Legend of the Dragon Lords - Kho once more took up Felix the Archer, though the RP does not seem to have survived far longer than an opening post by each player. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Whitewall Chronicles - Little is known about the content of this RP or about what happened. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Spell and Steel - Little is known about the content of this RP or about what happened. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Divided: Migah v Wigah - An RP set in an isolated area where two tribes, inspired by those of Native American culture, are engaged in a perpetual feud. The records state that Kho played as Anevay Angeni (meaning: Superior Spirit, aka Old Dream Eyes) who was the leader of the Migah tribe. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Lies, Blood, War! - Little is known about the content of this RP or about what happened in it. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Elba - Little is known about the content of this RP or about what happened in it. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Mastery: The Fate of Aea - Little is known about the content of this RP or about what happened in it. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Bleach: The Lament of Power - Part of a long-running series of Bleach RPs by Yoshua and Ganryuu which Kho claims to have been a part of from the earliest years. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Bleach: Tears of Heaven - Part of a long-running series of Bleach RPs by Yoshua and Ganryuu which Kho claims to have been a part of from the earliest years. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • The Great Nations - A very successful RP which was brought to an early death by Guidlfall. Kho appears to have first come up with 'the Eskandars' in this RP. The name, and the ideas, would stick with him/her in many future RPs. The GM of this RP was non-existent, and it was kept going purely on the will and dedication of the players - a true anarcho-syndicalist utopia. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Divinus Mk.OldGuild - The original Divinus. It came to an end due to GM inactivity.
  • New Dawn of Kanorth - Kho appears to have, for a considerable period of time, dedicated all his time to this RP, playing as one Horath Evren Al'Montsar. Al'Homam bin Nimr al'Wahshey also made his debut in this RP. Needless to say, Kho enjoyed it until it died. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Kingdom of Syrenos - Each player took up the role of a regional lord - either the Southern, Northern, Eastern or Western lord - in the Kingdom of Syrenos. Kho appears to have adapted the Eskandars for this RP. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • Legacy of Jarmoth: Adria - Kho's first moderately successful RP as GM. Kho has withheld all information regarding it. [a pre-Guildfall RP]
  • World in Revolution 1900 - GMed by Dutchbag. Kho played as Afghanistan in this historical RP. Kho's great love and admiration for Afghan history and culture appears to have had its inception with this RP. [a pre and post-Guildfall RP]
  • Able Archer 1983 - An RP based on the tensions caused by Able Archer 83. Did not survive too long however. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Golden Age of Piracy: Caribbean 1655 - Another RP GMed by Kho. It was relatively successful until Kho had to leave it. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Fiat Bello - Another fantasy NRP. Yet again, Kho relied on the trusty Eskandars to create an all-new nation: Mardithia. Unfortunately all the hard work never paid off as the RP very quickly disintegrated. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • World in Revolution 1900 - GMed by Chairman Stein. A relatively short-lived attempt to bring back WiR. Again, Kho played as Afghanistan. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • World in Revolution 1900 - 2nd GMed by Dutchbag. A relatively short-lived attempt to bring back WiR to the Guild. Kho played as Afghanistan once more. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • World in Revolution 1861 - GMed by Outcast. A very successful WiR wherein Kho took up the burden of returning to glory the declining Ottoman Empire. Rumour has it that there was some brutal behind-the-scenes plotting and scheming as the RP churned on. In an interview, Kho is quoted to have said, 'I don't blame Outcast for running away.' The RP died shortly after Outcast's departure. He has never been seen on the Guild again. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Crisis in Constantinople - Each player took up a realistic Ottoman/Turkish figure and played out their interactions in the newly established Turkish Parliament. Kho played Sultanzade Mehmed SabΓ’haddin and is said to have enjoyed it despite the RP not surviving beyond a few introductory posts. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • World in Revolution 1861 Mk.II - GMed by Ab. Kho once more took up the mantle of returning to glory the Ottoman Empire. Kho only managed to establish a Union between the OE and Egypt before the RP collapsed. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Marches of Man: The Black Shields - Horath made a climactic return in this RP, but it swiftly died. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Naruto: Continuum - In a much-awaited RP by the legendary duo, Yoshua and Ganryuu, Kho returned as Daichi Saduzow - a character some speculate was in fact Kho's very first. Kho has neither confirmed nor denied these speculations. The RP, unfortunately, went under for reasons unknown. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Morituri te Salutan: Arkreidian Gladiators - In a little-known RP, Kho established the building blocks for the Treeminds, a race of bear-people. The RP died after too many players succumbed to the sands of the arena. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • I, Arabicus: A story of Rome and the rise of Islam - An alternate history RP wherein Kho took up the role of Hudhayfa ibn al-Yaman, a companion of the Islamic Prophet, Muhammad, and one of many people who played a part in the rise of the early Islamic empire. This RP also succumbed to the sands - this time, those of the desert wherein Arabicus disappeared never to reappear. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Breaking the Chains - An RP based on the current insurgency in Bahrain. Kho and Dutchbag hope to resurrect it as a 1x1 RP in the near future. Kho's message to any semi-adoring fans is, 'stay tuned folks.' [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Divinus: The Deity Roleplay Mk.I - Resurrecting the old RP (after gaining the original founder' permission), Kho and Rtron ran the new iteration of the deity roleplay rather successfully for a good four months. It was decided that the RP would go on hiatus for a while and be rebooted at a later point. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • Divinus: The Deity Roleplay Mk.II - The reboot came earlier than expected and has been chugging along rather well for seven months at the time of writing. Kho, for the third time, played as the god of Time, Vowzra. In an unexpected turn of events, Vowzra, for the first time in three RPs, died. This appears to have been the first time in the Divinus franchise that an active player has wilfully killed off their deity-character. [a post-Guildfall RP]
  • The King is Dead, Long Live the King - Laxion Hossarusson, played by Kho, is a scholar. He has come to the capital of Emperiat, from the eastern Grand Duchy of Andaluja (based off nothing other than the original Eskanadra and those trusty Eskandars) to act as one of many advisors to the newly-ascended boy-king. It very quickly died, despite all Kho's attempts at resuscitation. [a post-Guildfall RP]


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Arena Stats

0 Wins / 0 Losses / 0 Draws
1000 points

Most Recent Posts

@Vec Also, I demand a correction. I can't handle seeing just Gadar there >.< I demand they be dubbed: Gadar/Belru-Vowzra!
Yeah, we've lost some promising players along the way - I particularly regret that we lost Fabulous Knight and The Omnipotent Sphere (Mammon and Belruarc) so early on. I always thought that they would have had a particularly influential role on the storyline and the way the lore developed. So yeah, whenever I scroll through the Character Thread, I would say those two are the ones that sadden me most. It would have been interesting to see how things would have been had the players remained until page 10 at the least.
The ap-Cantar





And Tilaticantar knew peace. Seated with his daughter and heir, Hiwcantar saw that. And though people continued to stream in, seeking refuge and the longed-for dream of the good life in the good place, there was now stability at last. It was not only Tilaticantar that knew peace, however - for in his heart, Hiwcantar knew it too. Peace and contentment at the thought that the town GREAT Cantar had decreed was now firmly established. It stood tall, proud, unconquerable and infallible. But the scars of the recent war, this baptism by fire, were not yet healed. The storehouse stood half-burned, the fishing fleet not properly organised, the fields far too small to support the influx of people.

And so Hiwcantar oversaw the reconstruction of the town and assigned to the new arrivals their roles. New fishing boats were constructed - calling on the expertise of every able boatbuilder, they were bigger and sturdier so that they could manoeuvre both the Tala and the sea. New fields were cleared and irrigated. And the re-erection of the storehouse was set to with zest. But the ap-Cantar had learned the dangers of one great storehouse, and so it was agreed that four smaller ones in disparate parts of the town would be better. It also meant that there was less traffic to and from any one storehouse. A watch of two was set-up to guard each storehouse against thievery or sabotage by day and night. Every six hours the watch changed, to ensure that the watchmen were always alert and well-rested.

The great town had been built on communal foundations, and so those who hunted and fished and worked the fields did not sell them, but delivered them freely to the storehouse. And wheat was taken and ground, and bread was baked. And everyday bread and meat (or fish) would be distributed that all may eat and prosper. The people of the town carried out their duties, ensuring the strength and stability of their home, and in turn that strength and stability ensured they were fed and protected. And such was the condition of early Tilaticantar.
The ap-Cantar




When they found Hiwcantar he was sat beneath a palm tree on the Tala, the little orphaned girl, Tara, whom he had declared his daughter and heir sat in his lap. His cloak was wrapped about her and, in the safety and warmth of her adoptive father, she slept peacefully. In the nights after the final battle she had not been able to sleep at all, awakening from nightmares and calling out now for her brother and now for her father and now for her mother. One of Hiwcantar's wives would attempt to soothe her, but she would not find calm until Hiwcantar himself came and whispered words of kindness and love. Wherever he went, she was as his shadow. Even when the great chief - exalted and mighty is he, perfect beyond the bounds of normal men and the chosen one of GREAT Cantar - went to answer the call of nature, Tara would be with him. 'Turn away child, it is not seemly for one to look on the nakedness of her father,' and she would obediently turn her gaze from him. And he would command her, and she would bring him some stones. 'This here is not stone, this here is unclean,' he would say, throwing away a dried piece of faeces so that nothing but stone and mud was left, 'with these you may clean yourself.'

'She is tied to you at the hip, father,' Julandara, already heavy with the child of the riverman she loved, would say when she saw them, and she would bring her new sister to her and ruffle her hair and rain kisses on her cheeks and lips and brow. But not all his children were as accepting of little Tara as was Julandara. The eldest of his sons, Hubcantar, hated the child with a passion and did nothing to hide it. He had come to him on the night of victory and spoken angrily about this decision.
'Father, you have humiliated and disgraced me before the people, you have raised this rivergirl - of unknown lineage and little status - above me in whose veins runs the purest blood. How can you command such things? Would you give the mantle of authority to an unworthy foreigner, and a woman no less!' Anger flashing in his eyes, Hiwcantar had risen and rebuked his son.
'Where were you, glorious Hubcantar, when we were besieged and dying? Where were you when our people were hurt and helpless? While you were hanging yourself on the illusion of your own worthiness, that little rivergirl was staring straight into the shining sun. You were never my heir, Hubcantar. I would sooner have chosen Julandara.' Hubcantar seemed taken aback by this revelation.
'B-but... my name... you ga-'
'It is tradition, boy. In time you will be relieved of it, and the cantar title will be given to she who is my heir. Now begone from my sight before I have your unworthy remains scattered in the Great Yellow Scourge.' He had never before spoken quite so harshly to the man, and it seemed to have crushed him utterly. Realising this, Hiwcantar spoke once more - 'you came here to question not only my authority, Hubcantar, but the authority of GREAT Cantar himself. If my words are harsh, then it is the harshness directed against all who deny our GREAT father. You have it in you to be worthy, you have it in you to sit beside him in honour and splendour - but rid from your mind all pretensions to leadership and focus your efforts instead on becoming truly worthy. Your blood is strong and strengthens you, but it alone will not see you through to worthiness, only your deeds will.' Hubcantar seemed to find some comfort in these words, but he said nothing in response. Rising, he nodded to his father before turning and leaving the newly-constructed abode house.

It was a multi-storeyed house with many rooms and a courtyard in the middle, large enough to house all of Hiwcantar's wives and infant children, and it was connected directly to the new storehouse, which was yet under construction. In aforetimes the ap-Cantar had not bothered to house their different wives in different tents, all of them lay with their men under one roof, but this had changed now. The riverfolk were strangers to the practice of taking on numerous wives, some were even disgusted or horrified by it, and so an unspoken compromise had been struck early on - the riverwomen would accept this ap-Cantar practice if it was agreed that each wife was housed separately from the other; if not her own abode then certainly her own quarters and bed. And it was so. And Hiwcantar now joyed in his fiery-eyed river beauty, laughing inwardly at her antics to garner his attention and absolute love. Sometimes she would deny him and not even look his way, feigning anger at one petty thing or another - perhaps she had seen him displaying affection to one of his other wives, or perhaps he had not visited her in one too many nights, or perhaps the sun was too high in the sky or too low, or perhaps she did not like the bedding. And then on other occasions she was as sweet and charming as a gazelle, seeing to his every need and raining her affections on him as generously as the Tala loosed its waters into the Sea of Souls. On such occasions he would tell her - 'Dorla, you are a woman to ride the rivers with,' and she would laugh out loud or smile shyly, or punch him in embarrassment, or she would take his head and bring it to her chest. Aye, if any were to ask then the answer was clear - despite all the troubles Mewar had brought upon them, great indeed were the blessings of GREAT Cantar.

But when they found Hiwcantar under the the palm tree on the Tala that day, it was clear to the great chief that trouble was afoot. Those who approached him were largely women, nearly all of them were carrying children, and others had little ones at their side in addition to those they carried. 'Peace, Hiwcantar!' declared an older one, and Hiwcantar responded to the greeting of peace with peace. 'We were promised security and safety and a good life, and that is why we came; but you are a sensuous and lewd people! Your men are not satisfied with one wife, they have three and four and five! You must put an end to this evil practice - and you must begin with yourself.' Hiwcantar raised an eyebrow at this strange demand.
'You are Ofrita are you not?' Hiwcantar asked. The older woman seemed surprised that he knew her name, but she nodded.
'That is me.'
'Are you a married woman, Ofrita?' asked the chief, his voice calm yet intrinsically commanding respect and attention.
'No, I am not, for my man was killed in the war.' She did not say it with any great degree of sadness, 'and before him I had others, some died of illness, others in raids, and others yet of unfortunate accidents.'
'And who cares for you now, pray tell?' She crossed her arms and did not respond. 'Who feeds you and provides for you and houses you?'
'We all get our sustenance from the storehouse, as does everyone else! And we work the fields - we earn what we eat!' Hiwcantar was silent, and they stared at each other for some time. Her lips were pursed and she scowled, 'alright! It is you who provides for us, oh great chief!' Ignoring her insolent tone, he continued.
'And who is it that protects you?'
'Why the warriors of course, just as they protect everyone else,' said Ofrita.
'And who ensures that the warriors do not abuse you and that those stronger than you do not steal from you and do not deny you the good things?' Ofrita was quiet, and spoke after a while.
'You do, we know this - but what is the point of all this questioning? It has nothing to do with the vile and evil practice we wish to see gone.'
'It is simple, old Ofrita - you women have no guardians; no fathers or husbands or uncles or brothers. You came to us widows with children, and you placed yourselves under my protection. Had you male relatives, they would have cared for you - and those women who came to us with male relatives are indeed under their guardianship. If they wish to marry, their guardian manages that. Now all of you are under my personal guardianship. In many ways, all of you are my wives, for I-' but Hiwcantar could not finish, for his words brought about shouts of shock and outrage. The noise was so great that Tara, sleeping in his lap, awoke. Ofrita soon managed to calm the women down and turned on Hiwcantar angrily.

'That was a lewd and licentious thing to say, Hiwcantar! Have you no shame? I am old enough to be your mother!' The great chief laughed.
'Marriage has many parts - there is joy in it and laughter, there is peace, companionship, and there is protection. What I mean when I say that you are my wives is that you are under my personal protection. You will find men, and you will marry them even if they are married already. They will house you and protect you and care for you, and they will see to all of your needs as you will see to theirs. That is our way and it is a goodly way - think on it: there are many more women than men due to the war, if we were to insist that men may only marry one woman than there will be great woe and great corruption. The unwed women would have no way of seeing to their needs but through evil and dishonourable acts, and I am not one who willingly lets loose evil and dishonour amongst my people. Go ye forth, and when a man approaches you for marriage do not shun him - there is good in it.' And then he stepped forth with a smile on his face and extended his hand to the old Ofrita, 'so what do you say, old woman, will you marry me?' She pursed her lips and slapped his hand.
'Stupid boy,' she muttered irritably, though she could not completely hide her sudden openness to the prospect. Ofrita turned and walked off, and some of the women looked from her to Hiwcantar and back again. It seemed that he had calmed them for now, but it was far from the last time he would hear of it, he knew.
The ap-Cantar




But the words and declarations of treacherous Mewar did not shake the hearts of the ap-Cantar. For a time Miksuin continued scouting and noted the ever greater concentration of people in Mewar's camps. After discussing this state of affairs with Furrayn, it was agreed that such a great gathering would require a great amount of food for sustenance. Their strategy would lie in denying them that food. And so Miksuin stood before his amassed troops and declared that soon the ap-Cantar would march against Mewar and destroy him utterly. He would stand trial for his crimes and for sowing discord in the land when the GREAT Cantar himself had decreed peace and harmony and brotherhood between them all. He declared that all of Tilaticantar would march forth and rip apart the rebel and those who chose to side with him. Such were the words of Miksuin.

And when night returned the warriors split up into thirty groups of three and so began the hunt. When Mewar's hunters left the camp to find food, Miksuin's men ambushed them - some they killed and some they imprisoned and sent back in disgrace and humiliation to Mewar's camp, that they may know in their hearts the superiority of the ap-Cantar. And when the riverfolk ventured forth and attempted to begin farming the land, Miksuin's men would strike, destroying what they attempted to plant and warding them off. And when Mewar's warriors began attempting to protect these farmers, Miksuin's men laid low and did not strike - until they looked through the defences and saw an opening; the blow was swift and mighty then! Even on the river did Miksuin's men lie in wait, sending burning rafts at the fishing boats to scare them away, or passing by on their own boats and pelting the fishermen with little stones.

This continued for two days, but on the third Miksuin discovered to his peril that Mewar had laid a trap. A small party ventured out by the evening sun as if to forage for food in secret, but when the scouts reported this and Miksuin gathered his men to prepare an ambush, it was his own men who were surprised. Waiting for the attackers were no less than twenty warriors, and those foragers that had been the bait revealed themselves to be warriors too as they dropped their sacks to the ground and drew clubs from within. Of the ten that Miksuin had sent to ambush the enemy, only four returned that night. The other six came in the next morning, each one a head shorter.

Emboldened by his success, Mewar began to send out parties that were larger yet; thirty, forty men each, patrolling the hills and riverside groves where they suspected Miksuin to make his headquarters. Their numbers rendered them slow and easily evaded, and some of Miksuin's skirmishers would occasionally erupt from cover to pepper the advancing warbands with javelins; the Mewari would retaliate with their slings and then take up chase (to no avail), but both sides were so wary of one another that such skirmishes rarely resulted in doing anything more than setting the other on edge.

Miksuin continued his ferocious raiding campaign unrelentingly. By now his men had become accustomed to the lay of the land and their training was beginning to show itself. Operating in small groups they continued to disrupt Mewar's food supplies, and even began striking against people journeying south to join Mewar, telling them to go back home and, if they refused, sending them to GREAT Cantar as slaves in the afterlife. It seemed that Miksuin had settled into the long game - how would Mewar keep his people fed? It was only a matter of time. And with even greater fury did the intensity of the Mewari patrols increase; as time went on, a few trios of the ap-Cantar raiders were caught by the enemy, and their grisly remains were left in the open for their brethren to stumble upon. Yet as the days turned to weeks, the Mewari began sallying out with increasing frequency and there began to be signs of desperation. Bands of warriors accompanied foraging parties as they tried to keep food stores up, and Miksuin's spies heard that Mewar planned to contact the settlements upriver to arrange for some guarded convoys of food and other supplies to be delivered. Meanwhile, those large patrolling warbands were growing somewhat bolder and more brazen in hunting for Miksuin's camp; doubtless they were hoping to stumble upon the enemy's camp and raid it for supplies.

But in all of that, Mewar seemed to have no clear goal beyond waiting in vain for the ap-Cantar to march upon his position for a decisive battle. Since Miksuin and Furrayn knew better than to give him the fight that he wanted and needed, it seemed as though the Mewari had no path to victory. Through attrition of their foodstores and morale, they would slowly crumble. Mewar's hubris continued for some time; he would give rousing speeches with increasing furore and deliver promises of vengeance for the fallen. But then two days passed without Miksuin's spies reporting any speech. Perhaps the upstart was beginning to see the hopelessness and futility of his fight!

But despite this promising development, morale amongst Miksuin's men was low and plummeting by the day. They had lost over thirty of the original ninety warriors - some bodies had been sent back to Tilaticantar to be delivered into the service of GREAT Cantar, but the bodies of others were lost. With Mewar's speeches halted and with his people's desperation clear, Miksuin ordered his men to deliver a message to the people of the camp - and it was thus:

Your desperation and weakness are clear to us, who are made mighty. You cannot muster the strength to reach for the bounty sprawled all about you. It is now as it was in bygone times - you are weak and humiliated, we are mighty and take what we will and deny you all. But that is not the way it is meant to be - Hiwcantar, the great and glorious and endlessly wise, has received visions from the GREAT Cantar. And he wills that you are our brothers - though you have, some of you in error and some of you out of a hatred that knows no end - have struck out against us most unjustly when we have offered you food and shelter and safety and strength. But though you are wayward, yet GREAT Cantar declares you our brothers, and we know well that you have it in you to be strong - if only you could put your petty hatreds aside. Hear it from us now, for this is the kindness of the strong when he is in ascendance, the wisdom of the mighty in victory, the grace of those who lead the way: we leave you now and shall taunt and pain you no more. You shall hunt and you shall farm and you shall eat. And you shall know that we are merciful, and that we are your brothers. And when you have eaten and known the goodness of this land to you when you are as one with us, you will come to us and accept us willingly. This is the word, so throw it not back at us and let there be no need for our return to this miserable state. Eat and drink, for now you are free.


And with that message, Miksuin took his remaining fifty-four warriors and began the slow journey to Furrayn and Tilaticantar. And the men were merry and the going was leisurely, for the war had come to an end by their will and command. Only for the good will and bravery that the messenger showed in delivering that message to their hands was he spared and allowed to return to his fellows and march homeward by their side; in the distance, the wary eyes of Mewari scouts watched the ap-Cantar leave, and soon after the foragers began to once more spill outward and harvest the land's bounty. But the warriors did not return to their homes upstream as the ap-Cantar might have hoped, and nor did Mewar make any appearance, for he had already been on the move with a hundred of his best warriors.

In claiming often, and loudly, his intent to resist the ap-Cantar incursions and fend them off when he came, Mewar knew that eventually the ap-Cantar would learn of his words and witness his actions, and eventually they would come to believe that they knew his nature and his plans. In reality it had been his plan all along to draw out the ap-Cantar; he chose this position a few days' travel upriver to lure the ap-Cantar on a campaign far from their homes in Tilaticantar, and he raised a great army not because he intended to meet the entirety of the ap-Cantar upon the field and test his strength against theirs, but because he had wanted a distraction. So it was that even as Miksuin and his men spent the last few days of their campaign witnessing the decline of their enemy's morale and inexplicable disappearance of Mewar, the young chieftain had already left his camp in the dead of night and traveled into the desert wastes to the south. There he had begun to make his way east in secret, toward Tilaticantar, bypassing Miksuin and his scouts. The warriors that he had left to defend the camp had tried to send word to him that the ap-Cantar had proclaimed the war finished and began returning to their lands in peace, but it was too late. By then Mewar and his warriors had already begun their assault.

The sun had barely began to impose itself upon the world when the cry of the ap-Cantar sentries rose. A horde of Mewari warriors had emerged all of a sudden - well-hidden in the long-grass along the Tala's banks - and now charged like a torrential wave at Furrayn's encampment only a mile from Tilaticantar. The ap-Cantar warriors shook themselves from the embrace of sleep and, without entirely being awake, reached for their spears and shields. But it was too little too late.
Mewar's endless horde streamed into the camp even as stones rained from the heavens. Individual warriors raised their shields and attempted to fight the good fight, but that was not the way they had trained to fight. Perhaps if they had met Mewar's forces on the field, perhaps if they had been in the formation so tirelessly drilled into them, they would have had a chance. But this was not their day. Furrayn, his spear raised, could be seen signalling and shouting for his men to fall back and regroup in formation, but the Mewaris were too many and too swift. Already they had surrounded the camp and Furrayn's forces were fighting on all fronts. Completely encircled as they were, those who remained finally managed to get into some semblance of a formation. Wicker shields raised and spears at the ready, the ap-Cantar wall faced the Mewari flood. From within the mass of the Mewari, there rang out a familiar voice, "Slings!"

The Mewari infantry backed a short distance from the shieldwall that had rallied about their general, and then they drew their slings and began to hurl an unending hail of stones upon Furrayn's men. Were it not for their wicker shields they would have been broken apart, struck down, and scattered within the first few volleys, but as it was they were merely suppressed. The stones came from the front and the sides, aimed high so as to fall upon their heads and low so as to strike their torsos and knees, so even with their shields the ap-Cantar were battered and pushed back. But after what might have been only a minute (though it certainly felt like much longer to they who suffered), the Mewari reached into the pouches of stones that they carried, only to find that they had no more ammunition to maintain the barrage. The damage had already been done, though. The voice of Mewar rang out once more, "Charge them now! Drive them into the river!" Then with a roar, Mewar himself threw his sling into a pocket, took up his spear from where he had laid it by his feet, and led the assault.

Even before the last stone had landed, Furrayn's men were backing away, closer and closer towards the river. When the stones stopped and Mewar ordered the charge, Furrayn too ordered a charge - 'To the river!' There was a moment of confusion before his men turned their backs to the enemy and charged towards the river. Furrayn led them and, coming to the bank of the quick-moving, deep Tala, dropped his spear and shield into it and leapt. The tide immediately swept him and he swam with it. Behind him his men also leapt in and were swept by the river. On the banks ap-Cantar warriors fought the horde as they swiftly retreated into the river. They would eventually get to Tilaticantar, Furrayn had reasoned, and there they would be saved and be able to mount a real defence. No doubt Hiwcantar had already heard the sounds of battle and would be preparing with the few warriors he yet had with him.

It was not long before Tilaticantar grew close enough for those who were strong swimmers to scramble out of the river and rush towards the town. Others - mainly those who were not riverfolk - needed help from fishermen to get out. Spears were also grabbed and thrown onto the riverbank where it was possible, though many of the shields - destroyed as they were - were left to flow into the sea. Wet though they were, the sun was already fully in view and warmed their wet bodies. Furrayn spoke with Hiwcantar hurriedly, and within minutes his warriors - reduced now to some forty-five men - were soon at the ready. Even from here Mewar's forces could be seen, and they were quickly approaching. And then Hiwcantar spoke.

'You can see him, who was our brother. You can see him there. He comes to slay us all - those who have been his brethren an age and those who became his brethren but yesterweek. This is the flame that sears our people into one nation. So pick up your staves and your sticks, pick up your clubs and slings, bring too your fishing nets. We who are the denizens of Tilaticantar, the chosen town of GREAT Cantar, shall fight as one in defence of the good place!' And so Hiwcantar assembled the old and the young, men be they or women, and they found whatever could be used as a weapon and stood at the ready.

Not long after Hiwicantar and his people's hasty preparations had been complete, Mewar and his host were at the town's outskirts. He had realized Furrayn's intention to fall back to Tilaticantar and regain his strength, so the young chieftain had forbidden his warriors from celebrating their victory too soon. He had immediately regrouped his host, and while they wasted no time looting their fallen enemies, they took a few minutes to gather more slinging stones from the river's shore. After that, they had advanced upon the settlement at a mild jog so as to avoid exhausting themselves before the second fight began. As they came to the edge of the town, they fanned out and began to prod at its defenses, using their slings to fire shots here and there down the small dirt streets and between the adobe homes.

A shadow was spied there, a spectre seen here, but to all extents and purposes the place seemed deserted. All was quiet. Mewar expected a trap, for if it had been Hiwicantar's intent to flee, they would have surely seen a trail of refugees leaving the settlement, or at least signs of it. No, they were all here. But Mewar knew how to lure them out. He had lived in this place once, not so long ago, so he knew his way about the place. Continuing to skirt around the settlement in the morning sun, he led his soldiers towards the ap-Cantar's storehouses. But all they found there were the burned remains that Mewar had left behind when he betrayed and abandoned the ap-Cantar. He had expected them to have rebuilt it anew and made a great deal of all their supposed might and invulnerability, but there the charred remnants remained as a scar upon the ap-Cantar. The town was quiet still. Quiet as death on a bright summer morn. It seemed to stare at Mewar, its silence seemed to bore into him, challenging, daring and, ultimately, contemptuous.

He smashed the silence with a mighty roar. "Is this Cantar's way? To prey upon the weak, and then cower in fear when one is met by a readied foe? I will take your head, Hiwicantar! I will have it, for all the evils that you have wrought upon me in the past! My heart and my mind remember your crimes, and no amount of professed brotherhood shall be enough to stay my spearhand. All that would stand with you are my enemies!" Then a figure appeared. He walked calmly from the darkness of an alley. He was tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed. Spear in one hand and a fishing net in the other.

'You are no brother of ours, Mewar!' Came the giant's voice. 'The sands, the plains, the trees know me well; the spear, the shield, the fighting men. You proclaim yourself a warrior and leader, yet you only seem to know craftiness and scheming. You strike the turned back of your brothers, and you strike the honourable foe when he grants you peace and gives his back. There is no honour in the likes of you, Mewar. If you would prove your honour and your strength, then come face me now!'

"Peace? Ha, peace! They call it peace when they send the snake Miksuin and his bands to attack our fishers and our farmers and then flee from our warriors. They call it peace when he raids us for weeks without end. I grow tired of your mockery; if your warriors would not face me then and they would not just now, why should I owe you a battle man to man? Slings, ready!" The words had hardly escaped Mewar's mouth before the first of his warriors had put stones into the folds of their slings and begun swinging them overhead. Perhaps three moments later, the first stones arced towards the beast of a man. Fuldondar stood unwavering before the hail, his spear planted in the ground and the net in hand. The stones pierced his proud body, but he neither bent nor fell before the onslaught. Bloodied in more places than could be counted, he stood staring and defiant still. Aye, he stood though he was dead.

There emerged then another man, smaller in stature than Fuldondar. 'This is a war of your making, Mewar. You have betrayed, and you have severed the knot of union and let it fall away and splinter. You have sown discord between all the people when GREAT Cantar him-'

"I'll suffer that name no longer!" Mewar screamed then, with all the unbound fury of a boy who was orphaned by the progeny of the man who carried that name. "He made this war, He who is the incarnation of the demons that dwell in what you call the Yellow Scourge; nay, he who is and was the Yellow Scourge. In his time he led your people to torment my ancestors, and in your day you did the same; I remember seeing my own kindred thrown into the river by ap-Cantar hands and left to drown. Cantar has taught me how to hate, and from that hatred I have learned to kill. We will wipe his bloodline from the face of the earth!"

There was nothing more to be said. Mewar suddenly charged with a speed and rage that not even his own men had expected, and then he was suddenly ten yards ahead of them as he threw himself toward the enemy with reckless abandon. The small man took a few steps back before turning swiftly and sprinting into the safety of the town. Like a guardian did the dead Fuldondar stand, his eyes staring ahead, unafraid in the face of Mewar's ignoble and treacherous act. The town remained silent and still even as Mewar and his warriors rushed in, streaming into the narrow alleys. Then there emerged the denizens of Tilaticantar on the rooftops, and they began to rain death upon the heads of Mewar and his warriors. Stones, javelins, clubs, they hurled them at the foe who had come slaying. Some had sharpened bamboo sticks which were long enough to stab at the warriors below again and again. Mewar leaped to the ground and rolled as if animated by some ungodly force, dodging the first line of projectiles. Most of the solders behind him were not so fortunate; some tried to retaliate with their slings, but it was a losing proposition. Most ran towards the nearest adobe huts in search of cover.

From the doorways of the nearest abodes emerged some of Furrayn's veterans, ragged but still deadly, with spears and orders to prevent the enemy from entering the homes so as to seek cover from the slaughter outside. One of those ap-Cantar warriors had found a spare shield, and with it and a spear he managed to push back and skewer two of the Mewari. In a wild frenzy, Mewar approached the man. He predicted the thrust of his enemy's spear and twisted to the side of it, then drove his own spear through that warrior's foot. He kicked the howling man over, and even as the struggling warrior tried using his shield to push off Mewar, the youth drew his club and brought it down upon the man's head again and again until he stopped struggling. Then Mewar went further into the shadow of the hut, and there was suddenly an icy pain through his chest. He tried to twist around, but his body wouldn't obey. He craned his neck back to look at the wall besides the doorway and the corpse of the man he'd just slain, and there in the shadows he saw a girl of perhaps seven. She was holding the haft of the spear that went through his back. He stared at her for a few moments longer; she looked just like his niece, the one that they had thrown into the river. And then with that stupid look of disbelief still upon his face, Mewar fell and was no more.

Tara stared wide-eyed at the dead man before hefting the spear and huddling up in the darkness. She eyed the corpses without blinking, and her hands shook ever so slightly. She sat like that for long, until the sound of screaming and shouting died down. And when silence reigned she remained still and waited. Eventually a head appeared, looking in, and there were shouts and cries. And then the chief appeared and inspected the scene, and he looked upon the little girl with his severe eyes. And he smiled and brought the girl to him, and he lifted her on his shoulder and she was paraded through the town. And the people raised their arms before her and ululated. And her brow was wetted with the waters of the Tala and the chief declared her his own daughter, his own flesh and blood, and his own heir.

It was some days later before Miksuin and his men returned, and when they learned of Mewar's treachery they were taken up in a great rage and pledged to destroy utterly the people of Mewar. But Hiwcantar bid them be calm, and he brought to them the body of Mewar and bid them travel with it up the Tala and show it to his people that they may know the price of treachery. 'And impress upon them our might and our strength, and let it be known that forgiveness will only be granted to them who embrace our protection. As for those who choose to be of the rejectors, never shall we trust them and never shall they know peace, and they shall be cursed, and their lot shall be death and suffering forever and aye. Let it be known - it is to live with us as brothers, in peace and security and honour, or it is the way of treachery and cowardliness and death; the way of Mewar. They have flouted the peace we granted, and now they are to choose: to live in peace, or to rest in it.' And Miksuin did sally up the Tala, and he went to deliver the steely message. He knew that the Mewari would have already heard news of the defeat, for some among Mewar's host had escaped the trap and fled back to the desert, slowly making their way back to their camp and evading Miksuin's returning force a second time. Still, he had no fear; the Mewari were broken now, a beast without teeth, for their leader was dead and they bore his rotting body to prove it.
The ap-Cantar




And the rage of Hiwcantar was something terrible and vicious. And he brought close his bone-tipped spear and he swore oaths and pledged pledges, and spoke he such words as did effect, in the eyes of the people, the consecration of his life to the purpose of the destruction of Mewar and his progeny. 'The spears shall be sharpened, our fires fed, and our eyes set ablaze. And with the fire that Mewar thought to smite us shall he be smote in time. For his sacrileges against brotherhood and union and goodness and good faith, for his crimes in the good place, his blood shall be made to expire forevermore! GREAT Cantar be our witness!'

And without pausing to bemoan or grieve over the loss of the storehouse did Hiwcantar gather every able-bodied warrior - man or woman. And he set them to training and preparing, and he had them spar with hand and spear. And when in all this they satisfied the great chief, he divided them into groups of nine - calling every such group a tosa -, and he assigned to each tosa a leader, a qortosa. Then during the night and during the day, on the river or in the trees or on the plains, he had them hunt each other and partake in mock raids. And Hiwcantar watched them, noting those who excelled in leading others, and those who excelled and gloried in the fight itself, and those who were used best in support positions. When in all this Hiwcantar was satisfied, he joined the tosas together into four groups of forty-five. And each of these larger groups he called a soga, and the finest qortosas were assigned the leadership of the soga, and given the status of qorsoga. Then Hiwcantar had the sogas face each other in huge raids. Some of these were on the plains, others in the trees, and others on the banks of the Tala. And he watched and noted how each of the sogas was led, watched how different methods were used to attain victory on different terrains and weathers and times of day.

One qorsoga, Miksuin, gave his tosas great flexibility, coming to an understanding about the overall strategy to be adopted while at the same time permitting individual qortosas to make immediate tactical decisions based on how engagements were progressing. This gave him an edge in forested terrain where large groups moving together could be easily ambushed. But it also meant his troops did not focus on him and his commands but rather deferred to their qortosa. Hiwcantar noted that this also meant that should Miksuin ever be slain, it would not have too damaging an effect on the morale or efforts of his warriors.

Another qorsoga, Furrayn, exhibited a deeply innovative mind and had his warriors form up in ranks of nine, five men deep. They could be seen advancing in formation on the plains, their spears at the ready. This proved somewhat effective when they were charged by massed warriors without formation, and became more so when Furrayn began arming his warriors with wicker shields. But it was not as effective when the enemy scattered and adopted hit-and-run tactics. The strength of Furrayn's formation was that it massed his force in one place, outmatching and overpowering the enemy in one disciplined and calculated engagement. When the enemy did not play according to those rules that same strength and rigidity became a weakness. The enemy had to be pressed against a wall for this to work... seated on a far hill watching Miksuin's forces outrun and outmanoeuvre those of Furrayn, Hiwcantar saw that clearly. In open battle and swift raids, it was Miksuin who dominated. But when the enemy was forced to defend settlements, was forced to face the ap-Cantar in a decisive engagement, it would be the strategy of Furrayn that wins the day.

Satisfied that he had found the two men who would lead the ap-Cantar in this expedition to bring back Mewar, Hiwcantar brought the four sogas together into two main units made up of ninety warriors each, which he dubbed julas. The first jula was placed under the command of qoljula Miksuin and was commanded to conduct a mass scouting operation of the regions upriver. 'The settlements, the people, their fighting power, where Mewar is hiding out. Find out and report back to me. At any one time a scouting operation should not have more than three warriors - and generally, do not operate in groups smaller than that. Do not attack anyone, do not raid. Simply watch and collect information.'

Then turning to Furrayn, he spoke. 'March your jula a mile or so upriver and set up camp there. Wait on Miksuin's reports. If you find out where Mewar is hiding, send messengers bidding those whom he has sought refuge with to release him into ap-Cantar hands, for he is a criminal who has sabotaged the food of the people and sought their destruction. That he cares little for ties of blood or divinely ordained union and sought with his dark deeds the destruction of all. Assure them also that he will have opportunity to defend himself if he is innocent. We are a fair and God-fearing people after all!' And with his commands given, the warriors of the ap-Cantar marched out. Hiwcantar remained with some five other warriors and continued to see to the day-to-day affairs of the new community. He watched the riverfolk, and from time to time he sat with those women of the ap-Cantar who had married men of the riverfolk and bid them strive to gain the loyalty of their men, that the ideas of evildoers like Mewar would not take root and that they may see that true bliss lies in this new order.

And the great chief would from time to time go forth to the fields and plough, and he would set out to the river and fish, and he would listen close to what was being spoken and he would also speak - and he would joke and laugh, and he would drop pearls of wisdom also. And when night dawned he would sit by a fire on the Tala and speak for long with one group or another. And he would ask after their health and how they found life to be now that GREAT Cantar had deemed it fit to unite their people in peace and brotherhood. And he would speak of Mewar sometimes, and he would express great sorrow at the crime, great horror at the thought that in his blind hatred Mewar would seek to condemn them all to starvation and death. 'And yet I find myself thinking sometimes - what if he is innocent and 'tis all a great misunderstanding? I would not hesitate to welcome him back into the fold. We are all brothers now, you understand? One tribe, one people, and one glorious destiny to see out.' And those were the days and nights of wise Hiwcantar with his people in the times of the Mewarian calamity.
The ap-Cantar





'What is to be done then, Hiwcantar, about the river people? They are weak and conquered, they could scarcely fight us when they had their freedom - as our slaves and bonsmen they will surely never think to fight at all. Let us keep them as our inferiors - to build, to fish, and to plough the earth in the strange manner that they do that wheat and grain may emerge from the bowels of the earth. They are not fighters, true, but they have knowledge which we would be wise indeed to use.' Ingantir, the youngest of Hiwcantar's uncles, was the speaker. The elders of the ap-Cantar nodded sagely as they considered the man's words. Many were those gathered around Hiwcantar under the palm tree - uncles and grand-uncles, brothers, and other clan chieftains of the ap-Cantar.

'Ingantir is wise, we should keep them as slaves,' spoke the ancient Howandar, the oldest man yet living, 'but they are not all weak - I see in some of them the same fire that burns fiercely in those of our blood. We should keep the weak as slaves, but the strong we should bring close. Offer them our daughters in marriage that the blood of GREAT Cantar may flow in the veins of their progeny and their strength and our strength mingle, and that we may become as a single nation. The strong to rule and the weak to serve.' There were murmurs at this proposition, some uncertain and some emphatically for - indeed, many had seen the river women and their great beauty and skin dark as the mud of the riverbed, and they had in their hearts and loins desired them.

'NAY!' declared a mad-eyed man, tall in stature and rippling with an unearthly power. Even with fifty years behind him, Fuldondar was the unrivalled champion and warrior of the ap-Cantar, and his eyes constantly burned with a battle-crazy. He was touched by GREAT Cantar - a blessing and a curse. 'They are a weak and despicable race, unworthy and despised. As a mark of our respect and gratitude to GREAT Cantar we should slaughter them all and have their blood flow into the Sea of Souls - and then we should burn their unworthy bodies and scatter their ashes into the Great Yellow Scourge. That is the way.' Silence followed as the elders considered the options. Brows furrowed, Hiwcantar sat thinking.

'Advise us, Hiwcantar. You are the lord and master of the ap-Cantar - you have been shown visions and given sight. Surely, nephew, you know the way.' Hiwcantar looked to his uncle Virimdantar and nodded.

'We shall slaughter them. We have no need for a weak people amongst us. I shall meditate on this matter and, if GREAT Cantar is pleased with it, then we shall do it tomorrow.' The decision was met with silence - and shock by some. Fuldondar smiled in satisfaction. The council dispersed, some walking away in groups and speaking anxiously, others trying to speak to Hiwcantar. When he had retreated to his tent and sat deep in thought, one of his daughters came and lay beside him. And she pressed her lips to his forehead and he felt her tears. 'What is it Julandara?' His anger rising at the thought that someone should have caused his daughter grief, he rose and wiped her tears, 'who has caused you misery? Speak and I shall have their eyes gorged and their skin flayed and their tongue torn.' Julandara looked away, her lip quivering.
'Is it true, father, what the people are saying? Have you condemned the riverfolk to death?' He frowned and stiffened.
'I have decreed it so, yes. And I shall consult with our GREAT father tonight and ask him for guidance.' She just about stifled a sob.
'That is a terrible thing, father. I beseech you, by all things good and by this good place and by the worthiness of your heart, do not slay them.' He looked at her strangely and, leaning in close, whispered to her.
'There is more to this, is there not? Why is the fate of the riverfolk of such importance to you?' She looked away shyly and pursed her lips.
'Father, don't ask such things. It would be unseemly for a daughter to speak of things so low...' Hiwcantar's intelligent eyes caught on to her meaning and he laughed suddenly.
'You are smitten? You find one from amongst them that pleases you?' She covered her face with two hands and looked away. 'So you think they have it in them to be worthy, these riverfolk?' He asked her, lying back down.
'I do father. I think they can be a boon to us, and we a boon to them, if only we brought them close.'
'How can they be a boon to us, daughter, when they are lowly and weak? If we bring them close we may strengthen them, but they will also weaken us.' She shook her head.
'No father! That can never and will never be - for there flows within us the blood of GREAT Cantar. Just as we are a conquering people, ours is a conquering blood. It can never be corrupted or tainted or diluted - it purifies and is not corrupted, strengthens and is not weakened, conquers and is not conquered.'
'You mean to say that we can simply breed them into full-blooded ap-Cantars?' She blushed, though he did not see it in the darkness, then she nodded.
'In so many words, father. Yes. And they are strong - have you looked at them closely? Even their womenfolk... it is not out of weakness that we bested them, it is because they had no knowledge of war or of fighting. They ploughed the land and hunted the river and sea for its richest. If we brought them close and taught them and learned from them... why, we would be the terror of the rivers and deserts and plains.' Hiwcantar considered his daughters words then nodded and patted her shoulder.
'I have heard what you have to say, Julandara, and I shall consider it. Go now. I shall inspect these people more closely and I shall ask GREAT Cantar for guidance.' She kissed his forehead once more and thanked him before leaving the tent. After some time, Hiwcantar rose and walked in the darkness until he came upon a group of the riverfolk sitting around a fire. They looked up at him - women and children mainly, and a few men - with fear. But one of them had anger in her eyes. He gestured for that one to come closer. She looked away and ignored him at first, but then he called out to her and the others forced her up and nudged her towards him. She stormed over to him irritably and stood with her arms crossed.

She had a strong jaw, enticing lips, an elegant, flat, wide nose. Her hair was pitch black and curled in infinitesmally small curls, braided in the way of the riverfolk. He reached out and pinched her arm. Shouting out, she pushed him away forcefully. The chief stumbled back from the strength she displayed. Raising an eyebrow, he smiled. She seemed taken aback by this reaction, but the defiance in her eyes remained. 'You have fire, that is good. And you have strength. A worthy woman.' And so saying he turned away and returned to his tent.

When morning broke he rose and walked to the river bank, where he stood upon a large rock. The people gathered around him and he declared that GREAT Cantar did not wish for the blood of these people - it was of no use to him, exalted and mighty is he! Nor did he require slaves - he was free of need for them, capable of building and fighting without help or aid. But GREAT Cantar would permit these people to prove themselves, and he would honour them and cast his mercy and grace upon them: in the blood of their progeny would flow his blood, and they will be raised and honoured, and they would be ap-Cantars.

'This is the command of GREAT Cantar -
Let your women take of their men,
Those deemed mighty and wise

And your men give to their women
Pleasure between their thighs

So that a race of men should rise
With strength and wisdom and blood ties

To shake the pillars of the skies

So go forth few and many, woo them to your tents and pleasure them and in them. Sow your seeds and make it so that they freely give you their bodies and hearts. And when this our great union bears its fruits, they will be ap-Cantar and our conquest complete!' And his decree given, the chief descended from the rock and went to find and woo a certain fiery-eyed beauty.

***



The banks of the River Tala were fertile. The river itself brimmed with fish, and the Sea of Souls into which it fed was a source of great bounty. The Riverfolk knew well how to salvage the good things of the river and earth and sea. And the ap-Cantar knew well how to raid them and take for themselves what the tip of the spear earned for them. Now that the warrior-race had settled and chosen to uplift and strengthen these unwarring people, the ap-Cantar found in themselves a curiosity and need for the knowledge they had - the survival and growth of Tilaticantar - with its hundreds of denizens - depended on making use of the bounties of earth and river and sea. And so even as the construction of the great town continued, the people set about sowing the fields once more and building fishing boats and preparing fishing nets. The Riverfolk showed them how to harvest salt from the sea and then how to preserve fish and other things in salt. The first of Tilaticantar's buildings to be completed was a great storehouse, and the surplus fish caught was placed in baskets and preserved in salt there.

The fields were sown as they had never been sown in living memory - for now there were no ap-Cantar raiding and looting and casting fear into the hearts of all. When the harvesting season came, the town would be complete and there would be plenty. And there would be bread, and there would be fish, and there would be joy and optimism. And the ap-Cantar would cast their eyes upriver, and they would sharpern their spears...
The ap-Cantar



And when the fifth Heat of the reign of Hiwcantar was upon the people, and the sun waxed mighty and spared none the lash of its fiery scourge, there descended upon Hiwcantar, master and lord of the warriors and womenfolk of the ap-Cantar, a vision. And it was thus -
March ye forth, Oh strong ap-Cantar
March ye forth most bravely
March till you see the morning star
And the spreading soul sea
And there you must both saw and hack
Devestate them with your attack
And build a town for me


So he awoke and rose, that Hiwcantar, and he woke his people also and commanded them to gather up the tents and the spears and walk with him in the night. 'But Hiwcantar,' one complained, 'do you not see that the sun is long gone and the day is dark and the clouds are thick?' And Hiwcantar kicked up the dirt and stepped forth upon a rock and declared.
'Indeed the day is dark and the sun is out and the clouds are thick in the heavens, but walk with me but a while and have faith. And ere long ye shall see the clouds part and the moon shine on us with radiance. And the path shall be made clear.'

And so they gathered up their tents and their belongings and their spears - and they were heavy - and they walked in the dark. And Hiwcantar led them into the darkness. And the clouds only thickened and did not part, and the winds battered them and the gates of the heavens were cast open wide and the waters of the upper sea hailed down upon them as never before. 'We are undone! We are cursed! We have treaded a path into the darkness!' Rose the wail. And it was followed by screams of despair and surrender.
'GREAT Cantar! Protect us!' And seeing their despair, Hiwcantar was taken up in a passionate fury and stood before them in the wind and rain and he spoke with such fire and frenzy as to silence them and cast greater fear of him in their hearts than ever did the winds and rains and darkness.
'Woe unto you for ye are a feckless lot! Did ye think that ye shall be guided to the good place without first being tried? If you would come to the good place, then you would have patience - he shall not earn it of you who is not worthy of GREAT Cantar. If you are of him then let your step follow my step. And if you are not of him then turn ye back and return from where we first came, ne'er seek to approach us again - you are lost.' And so saying, he turned away and walked away with his family and sons and daughters. And then followed him his brothers and their families and their sons and their daughters. And then his uncles set their step firmly behind him, and then others. And his voice was and actions were as a flood that swept up the doubtful and the faithful alike.

So when dawn broke and the star of morning burst forth like a bloodied flower beyond the Sea of Souls, they found themselves at the southern bank of the River Tala. And seeing them, the people of the river let loose a cry of fear and scattered now here and now there, and some gathered sticks and staves and rallied forth against them. But the ap-Cantar were the masters here, and had been for many generations now. Those who fought did so only out of mad futility and despair, and their weak strikes were swept aside by warriors bred and raiders raised. And killing blows were struck and women caught and children thrown into the river. And some were kept, on the command of Hiwcantar. And he saw how these river people built small abodes - little things. And yet somehow he was struck with inspiration and he commanded that just such abodes - but on a greater scale as never before had graced the banks of the River Tala - should be built for the progeny of GREAT Cantar.

And it was so. And its name was whispered in fear and awe by all the river people, for they knew that it was there that the lord and master of all men dwelled. It was from there that Hiwcantar ruled.

Tilaticantar, the rising place of the ap-Cantar
Yo @Kho, what race are you? I'm guessing human but I can't really tell for sure with all the flavor!


The ap-Cantar are of those 'strange, prodigious creatures, man'. Humans xP
It only took 6 months



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