Journey to the South: One of Thirty

Posted: February 1, 2013 in Fiction
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     My name is Tamojahneeli Gharan Kii and this is the story of my journey to the lands of the Tainir.

     In the Fiftieth Year of the Reign of Moynama Pahnot Gharan Udo I was summoned back to the Imperial City of Kravnu from my post in Harran, the capital of the province of Mughri’i, where I had been serving as chief diplomat to both the Imperial Prefect and the Mughri’i High Chieftain for nearly thirteen years. My predecessor had left much work for me to do, though I cannot fully blame him as he had inherited an impossible situation himself: in the Twenty-Seventh Year of Pahnot’s reign nearly a decade’s worth of war had finally come to an end between the Moy and the Mughri’i Confederation with the signing of the Plateau Accords, which of course brought the Mughri’i lands into the Moy as an Imperial Province, but left the Ghavri Plateau that stood in between the two peoples its own, independent territory. Though there were some grumblings regarding this from the Clan Fathers, it was a wise decision on the part of Pahnot: even had the Moy not just ceased hostilities after nine years of warfare, threatening the Ghavri monks and nuns who occupy the plateau would be insanity of the highest degree. But, to think that the signing of a document meant a complete end to military actions in the new province would be naive – the transition from independent, sovereign nation to member-state of an empire is never so cut-and-dried. Even now, after nearly a century and a half of Imperial rule, the Yevijiri occasionally rise up in rebellion against the sovereignty of the Moynama in their own province, so it is foolish to think that the Mughri’i – those fierce, nomadic warriors and raiders – would so easily bend knee to the Throne of Tides.

     And so I had labored for thirteen years, trying to mend fences and pacify proud warriors and chieftains who chaffed at the reality of having to follow the orders of a man whom they had never seen, never fought alongside, whom they had no respect or fear for. It was the exact same labor that my predecessor had spent a decade doing before he had met his untimely end at the blade of an audacious chieftain whom he had insulted. Said chieftain had been executed by the Imperial Prefect – a good man by the name of Minjalah Kiimar’ee Itam, who had who led the Imperial Legions against the Mughri’i during the war and won a certain amount of grudging respect from them. After the execution, I had been dispatched to Harran to pick up the pieces. But, unlike my ill-fated predecessor, I had the presence of mind to listen to Prefect Itam’s advice and within a few short years had won the trust of the High Chieftain and some of his subordinates.

     It was a long and hard business, putting out the fires continually ignited by a rebellious and angry populace, or by those Kravri who had moved to the new province and felt the natives to be little more than animals. I will say this: while the Mughri’i may be barbaric, violent, and aggressive, we Kravri were little better in those years. Many attempted to swindle the Mughri’i or treat them as less than Men. And for every inflammatory incident caused by an unruly Mughri’i warrior, there was at least one incident caused by a disdainful Kravri settler. But, with time and effort peaceful coexistence was able to take root, thanks to the strivings and sacrifices of such as myself, Prefect Itam, and even the High Chieftain. Such was the state of the province when word came from Kravnu that the Minister of Foreign Relations, Udanni Minjohn Yal, was calling me back to the Imperial City for re-assignment.

     I said my farewells to the High Chieftain, who gifted me with a scepter made from the leg-bone of a horse, adorned with leather-strips of horse-hide and short braids of horse-hair. Such an object is a traditional fetish carried by those elders among the Mughri’i who act as arbiters between clans, and I was deeply honored to receive it. I then bid farewell to Prefect Itam on the night before I, my family, and our retinue of legionnary escorts were to leave. And though he begged me to stay – quipping that any other diplomat would be less than a quarter of my worth at most – we parted on good terms, like brothers in arms. For even though open warfare had halted a decade prior to my arrival in the province, he and I had waged a war for peace side-by-side, and had shared many sorrowful losses and many jubilant victories together.

     The journey from Harran to Kravnu was an uneventful, if long, one. Since it was autumn, we had to take a longer route along the northern coast of Namshivah as opposed to ascending the Ghavri plateau. During this time of the year, the plateau begins to accelerate its seasonal changes toward winter much quicker than the lower lands around it, and it would be dangerous to get caught upon the plateau should a strong autumn storm rear its ugly head. So, we traveled northwest from Harran and within a weeks’ time crossed into Kravam province along the coast of the Krav. The winds were cold and fierce that year, and all of us were forced to wear heavy traveling cloaks, even the legionnaries who accompanied us.

     We were lucky, though, to have passed through Gharnu during the Festival of the Taming. For those that have either never experienced the Festival or are not of the Gharan clan, it is a wonderful time of joyous excess before the coming deprivations of winter. It comemorates a Gharanese story concerning Bianulii and Alu, when the goddess of love brokered a deal with her sister to take pity on the mortal folk by abating from pummeling them with harsh storms during the winter. The storm-goddess agreed to do so, but only if the Gharanese folk in return offered her a week of riotous celebration. And so, to this day, the Gharanese comemorate the deal by feasting, drinking, making love, and with good-humored inversions of the social order. But nowhere in all the lands of the Moy is the celebration of the Festival of Taming as vibrant and powerful as it is in Gharnu, its home. I was glad that my children were able to experience the Festival, as they had never seen the homelands of our clan, having been born and raised in Harran. As well, it had been decades since I had been able to experience it first-hand in Gharnu, and I had missed the festive atmosphere.


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