Hello, and welcome to my fan-fiction on the Rise of the Lion, focusing on the adventures of Ariobarnazes as he forges his own destiny in the world of Calradia!
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The horns sound, the ravens gather. An empire is torn by civil war. Beyond its borders, new kingdoms rise. Gird on your sword, don your armour, summon your followers and ride forth to win glory on the battlefields of Calradia. Establish your hegemony and create a new world out of the ashes of the old.
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And so, we begin the joureny of Ariobarnazes
Ariobarnzes tightened the stirrup on his horse, and patted it softly. An empire horse from the Northern Empire. Demetrios. His men watched him, as they waited inside their tents, in the glorious army of Sultan Unqid. Unqid had been besieging the Northern Empire’s city for three weeks, and there would be no shame now. Lucon was a man of cunning, intelligence and ruthlenesss. Not a single Aserai had been left alive. Lucon had proclaimed to his people, that only he was the true Emperor. The rest were pretenders. And the Sultan? A precious pretender that wished to have rule over all of Calraida.
Ariobarnzes advanced, as the Sultan’s servant waited for him. The soliders of the Sultan, all bowed and admired him with respect. Ariobarnzes had saved the Sultan’s life from a skirmish sent by Lucon’s assassins. The Sultan had given him the role of a bodyguard to avenge this crime. Ariobarnzes was accompanied by the Sultan’s servant. ‘My Lord, the Sultan awaits you, general Ariobarnzes.’
Ariobarnzes smiled. ‘Then take me to him.’
Ariobarnzes entered the lush, lavish tent of red silk filled with incense. Royal carperts elaborated with the design of golden eagles lay furled up together. Candles had been lit on tables, and the heavily armoured generals wearing black and golden lamellar armour inspected the map of the siege. The Sultan, sported a dark red lamellar armour, his sword and mace at his waist. He spoke. ‘It seems the Lion has arrived. Come! We will be besieging this castle soon, Ariobarnzes. I want you to lead the assault when the moment comes-‘
‘My Lord!’ A servant burst into the room.
The Sultan gritted his teeth in frustration. ‘What is it Uqbal?’
‘It’s Lucon! Lucon’s armies have arrived onto the field!’
The Sultan banged his fist onto the maps. ‘By the Gods of Ubar! Lucon was supposed to be fighting the other Empires. How did he get here so fast? It was no wonder…’ he said, with rising frustration boiling at the top of his lungs. ‘The Emperor held him in high esteem. How many men?’
‘Over twenty thousand my lord, we only have…ten thousand.’ Uqbal replied.
The Sultan rose and stared at his generals. ‘This is not a battle that we will win. But by Ubar’s will, I will give Lucon a bloody nose. We will have to retreat soon. Many of you will be taken prisoner. And that is a good thing. Act as spies in Lucon’s lands. Lucon’s only waging war so he can claim he is the legitimate hier to the empire. Ariobarznes?’
Ariobarnzes bowed. ‘Yes my liege.’
‘Get captured. I want all your reports coming from Lucon’s lands. Either way, you must come back to our homeland. For I fear Lucon will soon launch an invasion…that will destroy Aserai.’ His voice tightened.
‘And that I will not let happen! I am Sultan Ulqid, the tenth leader of the House of Banu Hulyan, and the scourge of the Bronze Desert of Nahasa. Looters and bandits fear me, but they too will be crushed. Aserai will surivie, and I will lead it to glory. Is that understood?’
The Generals bowed.
‘Come then!’ The Sultan unsheathed his golden enjeweled crusted bronze scimitar. ‘We have a battle to fight! And give Lucon a bloody nose!’
The war cries echoed across the battlefield
Sultan Ulqid the Upright!
Sultan Ulqid the Powerful!
Sultan Ulqid the Brave!
Chapter 1: The City of Qayaz
Ariobarnzes awoke from his dream in his small comfortable house, tucked in the tiny city of Qayaz, the days of the last defeated battle still etched in his memory. Now, he was a man that had grown from strength to strength. Taken by bandits, he was soon passing into his maturity as a man. His youth would be over. And now, he needed to make the Sultan favoured him. For the clan of the Lion would one day rule over Qayaz. He would build an empire that would stand for the test of time.
But now, all he wanted was good food and his stomach rumbled. He rose from his bed. Today would be a good day then. More bandits to loot and ransom. That is, if he didn’t end up getting captured so often.