• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

enf91

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It took me 3 or 4 days to read the whole story. Totally worth it. I wish I had Hebrew text on my computer... that my Hebrew were better... and that there were a proper Kohen to be the religious leader... but in his absence, Levites like me take the lead! Forward the Hebrews!

>>Oh, yeah, also reading your Palaiologid AAR. Every bit as excellent.
 

crusaderknight

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JDMS & AlexanderPrimus: I am working on the next chapter as we speak. :cool:

enf91: Glad you are enjoying the story so far! I also wish my Hebrew were better. Well, by this time next year it will be. I start Hebrew classes this fall. I will be sure to implement my knowledge into the story. :cool:
Also glad you are reading the Morea! Feel free to comment as you read through the story, if you like. I always enjoy hearing from readAARs, and sometimes it's nice to get fresh perspectives on older parts of the story. :cool:
 

crusaderknight

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First off, I would like to apologize for the delay in getting the new chapter up. It's always something with me, I suppose. Currently it is 40 hours per week at a warehouse. But hey, it pays the bills. :cool: The chapter is in the works, however. Progress is slow, but it is being made.

Second, I would like to thank those that voted for this AAR! It has won yet another round of the AARland Choice AwAARds! Thanks to all my readAARs for your loyal support and your infinite patience with my delays! You are the best! :D
 

unmerged(24320)

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crusaderknight, magnificent updates ! !
:cool: needless to say, i have been keeping up, even if "offline." :)

i am happy that you have kept up the quality even though the pace has slowed. but, at least you have not been as slow as i have. ;)
 

crusaderknight

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GhostWriter! Good to hear from you again! I always appreciate your colourful (meant both literally and metaphorically ;) ) comments on my story!

And yes, I do apologize that the pace of the updates has slowed. It's just one thing after another this year. Each time I expect things to quiet down and give me more time to write, something else comes up. I am working on the next chapter though. I've got it about 2/3 of the way done. I just don't have the time to crank out writing at this same level though. I have to choose between speed and quality, and judging by the comments I receive, I think I have made the right choice in going for quality. :)

Hopefully things will clear up soon and I can get back to providing updates more often than once in a blue moon. I thank you and all my readAARs for your patience! :cool:
 

unmerged(24320)

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crusaderknight: “...But I will spill no more Hebrew blood this day.”

definitely the right thing to do ! ! :)

you have crafted a fine, and true, leader ! !
:cool:
 

unmerged(24320)

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crusaderknight: ...I am working on the next chapter though. I've got it about 2/3 of the way done.

any ETA on when that last 1/3 will be done ? ? :cool:
 

unmerged(24320)

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.

update soon ? ? :cool:
 

crusaderknight

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Update on the way within the next week! I sincerely apologize for the year-long hiatus. Lots of personal issues, plus three languages this past year at school, kept me waaaaaay too busy to write. But now I have a summer devoted to writing (both of my narrative AARs and my novel), and next year will be lighter load in general, and down to only two languages (all done with Latin!) so I should have more time to write.
 

Stuckenschmidt

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Wow, 15 months since the last update. That`s what I call a break. Good luck with finishing it.
 

crusaderknight

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Haha, That's what happens when life gives you enough lemons to make an ocean of lemonade! :p But I'm back, and I don't plan on making anymore 15-month hiatuses anytime soon!
 

crusaderknight

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BOOK I
The Second Exodus



CHAPTER XXX – Dark Omens


Over the next few days, Jehu rested in his tent, recovering from his injuries while Gwendolen dutifully attended him. During the battle with Elihu, while the adrenaline was coursing through his body, he had not realized the extent of his injuries, nor of his blood loss. But now that he was lying on a bed, he felt sapped of all energy. His face was a mess from where Elihu had smashed it with a rock. Gwen said it was looking better, but he suspected there would be an awful scar there for the rest of his life. The back of his head was sore, too, from when that same rock had been thrown at him. He had multiple cut wounds from Elihu’s sword, mostly on his arms and legs. Those healed quicker, and added to the many scars he had already won there during his time with the Regnenses.

The Ten Tribes had come together into one camp, but the peace was uneasy. For almost a decade the Sons of Joseph had been at odds with the other eight Tribes. After such time it was difficult for them to simply revert back to being brethren. Despite the many hardships they had once faced together, the nine years of Elihu’s treachery had driven a wedge between them. Ezra worked with Chief Lemuel to try and heal the wounds of division, but they knew it would take much more than rhetoric to reforge the divided Tribes into one people again. Most of the Hebrews still did not know the plan Jehu had for them. Their reactions to it when the time came could make or break the bonds of brotherhood, and either forge them together forever as one, or forever break them into pieces.

It was on the morning of the third day after Jehu’s victory that at last the Hebrew Chief had the strength to get out of bed. He rose up from his bed and saw that the tent was empty. He vaguely recalled that Gwen had forbidden all visitors while he recovered, saying that the commotion would only slow the healing. Looking about the tent, Jehu spotted his garments and realized that he was only in his loin cloth. He quickly got dressed and left the tent.

As soon as he came outside, there stood Commius, ready to greet him. The large Regnensian Prince reached out his right hand and took Jehu’s right as well, each holding the other almost the full length of the forearm in a firm soldier’s hand-shake. As they shook, they nodded to each other and Commius said, “You look terrible, brother.”

Jehu laughed and replied, “It is good to see you, too, Commius.”

Pekah had been nearby and noticed now that Jehu had exited the tent. He rushed over, saluted, and said, “My Chief! It is good to see you on your feet again!”

Resting his hand on Pekah’s shoulder Jehu replied, “There is no need for formalities between old friends, Pekah. I’m still the same old Jehu.”

Pekah shook his head, “With all due respect, your father once told me the same thing. Yet I continued to address him properly for as long as I knew him. I will always be your friend, Jehu, but you are now Chief of the Ten Tribes. Your role as a leader must come first.”

The Hebrew Chief nodded, knowing that nothing he could say would change Pekah’s mind. That man was definitely among the most loyal of men in the Ten Tribes. Such devotion was rare in men, and Jehu determined never to abuse it. He felt a pang of guilt as he recalled Micah, who had been left behind to ensure that Larissa knew Jehu would return for her. He had asked much, perhaps too much, of Micah. And he would ask much of his people in the years to come. Then a thought entered his head, make sure you are worthy of the devotion you ask.

His musing was interrupted by Commius who asked, “What happens now, brother? Are we to return to Pretannia now?”

Jehu shook his head, “No. First I must go to Kerkinitis. I have a promise to keep.”

Commius replied, “You have many promises to keep.”

To this Jehu answered somberly, “I know.”

---​

The Pretannian sun shone brightly that morning. Birds chirped and sang. It had rained last night, and nature herself was alive and happy to greet the day. But for Micah and the warriors of the Regnenses, this was no happy day. Outside the walls of Noviomagus sat the army of Dumnorix, numbering some twenty thousand men. The Chief of the Dumnonii had sent forth his army to crush the Southern Alliance after Jehu had departed. The first battle had miraculously been a draw, but it was not enough to turn the tide. The next time the two forces met, the Dumnonii and their minions had broken the back of the Alliance. Now Dumnorix led the siege of the Atrebates, his druid Eoghan led the siege of the Cantii, and his minion Drustan was here to crush the Regnenses once and for all.

Chief Kimarcus’ hall was situated atop the hill around which Noviomagus had been built. It provided a good view of the town and its surroundings, as well as a strong defensive point. From the balcony of the Chief’s hall, Micah could see the army preparing to assault. Today was the end of the Regnenses. And he knew it.

Just then the Chief came outside and joined him. Kimarcus was an old man, but he was strong. He stared out at the army, and without looking at the Hebrew, he asked, “Is this it then? Is this how it all ends?”

The Hebrew took a deep breath and said, “My lord, all is not lost here. There is still hope.”

“Hope?” asked the Chief. “What hope? Our armies are broken. What few warriors we have left are holed up here in Noviomagus. And assuming my children are not all dead, it will be more than a year before they arrive. Micah, we will all die today.”

Micah had never seen Kimarcus like this before. He had to encourage the old Chief somehow. He summoned up all of his strength, refusing to give in to despair, and said, “Jehu, Commius, and Gwendolen are alive. I know it in my heart. Your bloodline will continue, as will your people. This may be our last day, but it is not the last day of the Regnenses.”

“Do you really believe that?” asked Kimarcus.

With a nod, the Hebrew replied, “With all my heart. Your blood and your people will live on. And Dumnorix shall not long rule over Pretannia. When Jehu returns, he will punish Dumnorix for his wickedness.”

The old Chief nodded, “You are right, Micah. Forgive an old fool. I was wrong to despair. Today we will die with honour, and we will bring many of the foe with us, perhaps their deaths will ease Jehu’s victory.”

Before Micah could respond, they were interrupted by Briginus, the head of Kimarcus’ household guard. The tall warrior saluted and said, “My Chief, it has begun. The Durotriges have brought their ram to the main gate, and the Silures are preparing to attack the other gate, the Catuvellauni are in reserve with the Ordovices. What are your orders, sir?”

Kimarcus closed his eyes for a moment, absorbing the list of tribes arrayed against him. The Durotriges were the loyal slaves of the Dumnonii. They worshipped Dumnonos and obeyed the word of Dumnorix without question. The Silures and Ordovices were neighbours to the Durotriges, and knew well the wrath of Dumnorix’s slaves. And the Catuvellauni were the hated rivals of the Regnenses. There was no hope of talk, no hope of mercy. Only death. He inhaled deeply through his nostrils and replied, “Tell the men this: tell them to steel themselves, to purge their hearts and minds of all thoughts of life and pity. We must either win or die today, there is no alternative. Fight with every ounce of strength, and kill any enemy you can. If today is to be our end, it shall be an end to be remembered. And Dumnorix shall sting for it.”

Briginus saluted once more and departed. Micah then said, “Sire, with your leave I will go to lead the defense against the Durotriges.”

Kimarcus held up a hand and said, “No. I am an old man, Micah. I do not have much strength. I cannot lead my men from the front. They will see my weakness and will falter. No, I must make my stand here, in the great hall. But I do not wish to make my stand alone. Will you grant me one last favour and fight by my side here?”

Solemnly, Micah nodded. He muttered a quick prayer to Adonai, and prepared to die…

---​

Jehu was about to leave for Kerkinitis with his companions: Commius, Pekah, and Benoni. Ezra was to stay behind as regent while Jehu was away, and Gwendolen chose to remain with her new husband-to-be. However, before the party of four could depart, the old Chief Lemuel of Naphtali caught up with them and said, “My Chief! I hear you are going to Kerkinitis?”

Jehu nodded, “I am. I made a promise to an old friend, and I intend to keep it.”

Lemuel’s face grew somber. He looked his Chief in the eyes and said, “You should know that things are different there now. Iason rules harshly now, and his people are riotous. He rules with an iron hand and has guards everywhere.”

“I come as a friend of Kerkinitis, not an enemy. Though once Iason supported Elihu against my father, I cannot afford to hold two grudges. It will do no good to make an enemy of Kerkinitis merely for the sake of revenge.” Jehu remembered well the lesson he had learned while he was with Cartimandua. In order to be a good leader, he had to let go of his father and start things afresh.

The old Naphtalite Chief shook his head, “It is not revenge that concerns me. It is the Menorah.”

Jehu, Pekah, and Benoni were all caught off-guard by that remark. Benoni was the first to speak, “The Menorah? What’s wrong with the Menorah?”

With a sigh, Lemuel replied, “It was taken by Iason as a tribute and a sign of our vassalization several years ago. He keeps it in his personal treasury, to remind himself of the new slaves he has won, that he won them without a fight.”

As anger burned in the three other Hebrews, Commius, who had been quite confused this whole time, was forced to ask, “What is so special about this Menorah?”

Jehu regained enough of his composure and told him the tale…

Long ago, when Adonai had given the Law to Moses, part of the Law included prescriptions on how to worship. Many instruments of worship and several ceremonies were listed, as were dates and methods of celebration. Among the many instruments of worship was a special candle-holder called a menorah. In these far ancient times, the menorah was simply one among many instruments of worship. But as the northern Ten Tribes of Israel began to forget their God, they also lost many ceremonial instruments. At last, when Samaria fell to the Assyrians in the days of Jehu’s ancestor, King Hosea, it seemed all was lost. But the youngest of Hosea’s sons, Ahaziah, managed to escape. And with the help of a loyal retainer, he managed to smuggle out a single menorah, which was kept in hiding and used in worship by those who remained faithful to Adonai. At long last, when Jehu’s grandfather led the people out of Persia during the invasion of Alexander the Great, the Menorah was taken with them. It had served for centuries as the sole remaining symbol of the Ten Tribes’ renewed faith in Adonai. To have that symbol taken by Iason was a very grave offense.

“We have to recover the Menorah,” said Pekah. “At any cost.”

Jehu nodded, “Indeed. I will seek an audience with Iason to bargain for it. But first we must visit Agathe. I cannot break my oath to Caleb.”

His companions nodded, and they began their ride to Kerkinitis, each wondering how they would free their holy relic from the pagan clutches of the Tyrant Iason.
 

crusaderknight

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Please remind me who is who. You are a cruel man. :p
Basic overview of important characters:
Jehu: our hero and now Chief of the Hebrews
Dumnorix: Chief of the Dumnonii and one of our antagonists
Commius: Prince of the Regnenses
Iason: Tyrant of Kerkinitis and one of our antagonists
Larissa: Jehu's betrothed, held in Dumnorix's prison
Pekah, Benoni, Micah: surviving loyalists who have been with Jehu from the beginning
Ezra: Jehu's older bastard half-brother
Cassivelaunos: Prince of the Catuvellauni and one of our antagonists
Caleb the Benjamite: Jehu's mentor in exile, killed in skirmish with Cassivelaunos, Jehu has a promise to keep to him
Agathe: Caleb's love interest, Greek raised by Jews in Kerkinitis, subject of Jehu's promise to Caleb
Lemuel: Chief of Naphtali and only surviving Hebrew to remember the Exodus from Persia over 50 years ago
Petros: Son of Nikodemos, friend of Jehu's, scout in Kerkinitian military
Gwendolen: Princess of Regenses, Jehu's soon-to-be ex-wife, future wife of Ezra
Cartimandua: Oracle who lives on what is now known as Angelsey Island, predicted Jehu would destroy Dumnorix and his empire
Kimarcus: Chief of the Regneses, father of Commius and Gwendolen, father-in-law of Jehu

That should cover all of the (surviving) important characters. If there is anyone else you need me to clarify, just say so, and I shall do so. I realized it has been a long, long time, and I apologize. But I am glad to see there is still interest in the story! :)
 

enf91

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This paltry forum does not have enough emoticons for a proper representation of the parade that should start for the continuation of the AAR. AGEOD's forum is much better.

In pale imitation,
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 

iain_a_wilson

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Update on the way within the next week! I sincerely apologize for the year-long hiatus. Lots of personal issues, plus three languages this past year at school, kept me waaaaaay too busy to write. But now I have a summer devoted to writing (both of my narrative AARs and my novel), and next year will be lighter load in general, and down to only two languages (all done with Latin!) so I should have more time to write.
Not a problem - these things happen (one of my AARs had two year-or-so absences and I still finished them). Welcome back!
 

The Kingmaker

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Yay, CK! Keep up the good work. The Rome forum may be dying all around, but at least this story lives!
 

crusaderknight

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enf91: Ah, your post gave me a good, hearty, happy laugh. Thank you. :) I am glad to be back and telling this tale once more. It must be finished, and I intend to finish it (though, sadly, I have had to scrap plans for later additions to the AAR. Lost my game and my notes. So this shall simply be a prequel to the mod. Once I get the mod fully adapted to VV, perhaps someone else can continue the story with an AAR about the actual game.)

Iain Wilson: Glad to be back! Such abscences are sometimes necessary. But I hope not to have to do that again. I enjoy telling stories too much, and where else can I find so many loyal readAARs? :)

AlexanderPrimus: While this story yet lives, so, too, shall the Rome AAR forum! :cool:

To all readAARs: Working on next chapter now. Intend to have it up in the near future (as in, preferably next week).
 

crusaderknight

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Actually, I began writing the next chapter and it just flowed out of me. Up ahead of schedule!
______________________________________________​
BOOK I
The Second Exodus



CHAPTER XXXI – Return to Kerkinitis


The two day journey to Kerkinitis was a somber one. Jehu and his companions, Pekah, Benoni, and Commius, were all pondering the many things that had happened to them recently. So much had changed. So many old friends had died. The world would never be the same.

Jehu’s mind was filled with memories. They now rode down the same road that he, his father, and Ezra had taken with Nikodemos and his men eleven years ago. Everything had seemed so new and wonderful then. The farms, the roads, the city. It had all been beautiful. Now that beauty was marred by the painful memories of loved ones now lost. His father, Nikodemos, Caleb, just a few of the many he had loved, who had seen these same sights with him, and now were dead. Killed. It was all he could do not to cry from the pain. But he kept a stern face. He was Chief now. And he would make Ahaz proud.

At last they reached Kerkinitis, with her massive walls. The guards at the gate stopped them, but Jehu announced himself as the Chief of the Hebrews. The guards then permitted him to enter, perhaps believing him to be Elihu. It was not likely that news of Jehu’s coup had yet reached Kerkinitis. As the four men entered the city, only Commius gaped in awe. He had never seen such a city before. The cities of Pretannia could not compare to this. For the others, it had been nine long years since last they had seen Kerkinitis, but the memories were still strong.

Jehu led his companions to the agora, which was the quickest way to the Jewish sector of the city, where he expected to find Agathe. As the four companions rode through the streets, Jehu and the other Hebrews were surprised at how many soldiers were present. It looked as if all four hundred of Iason’s Agema, his bodyguard, were active, as well as several citizen-soldiers. Lemuel had been right when he spoke of martial law.

As they reached the agora they saw there was a commotion. One of the Agema was harassing a young woman. Jehu dismounted and went to investigate. As he got closer, he could hear her shouting, “Let go of me you brute!”

Jehu walked right up to the guard and asked, “What seems to be the problem here, soldier?”

The guard looked at him for a moment and said in a gruff voice, “Mind your own business, outsider.”

“I am Jehu Bar-Ahaz,” came the reply. “I am the Chief of the Hebrews, and a vassal of Iason, your Tyrant. I demand to know what is going on here.”

The guard sneered, “Last I heard, your ‘Chief’ was a man named Elihu.”

“Things change,” said Jehu in a very matter-of-fact tone. “Now, answer my question.”

“All right, I’ll play along,” said the guard. “This one here’s been causing trouble in the religious district, see? Been blaspheming the gods, she has. She spouts talk like them Jews, about this one faceless God, see? But unlike them, smart enough to shut up about it they are, she publicly denounces our gods. Says Demeter and the others don’t do anything for our crops or our people. Pins it all on that Jewish Adonai chap. I’m just teaching her what-for, you know? Making sure she don’t cause any more trouble.” As he said the least few words he twisted her write and stared right in her eyes. She cried out in pain.

“Unhand her,” said Jehu.

“On whose authority?” demanded the guard.

“On my authority,” came a third voice. Jehu and the guard both looked to where the voice came from. And there stood Iason himself.


Iason, Tyrant of Kerkinitis​

The guard protested, “Sir, I, this girl, she…”

Iason would have none of it. He said calmly, “Let her go.”

The guard obeyed. The young woman retreated behind Jehu. But Iason merely smiled and said, “Now, what seems to be the commotion?”

The guard spoke up, “Sire, the girl, she…”

Iason help up his hand the silence the guard and said, “Let the woman speak for herself. This is not Athens, Lykos. Every free person has the right to speak for themselves in my city. Now tell me, woman. What is your name?”

The woman slowly stepped forward from behind Jehu. Her blonde hair shimmered in the sun. She took a deep breath and said, “My name is Agathe, sire.”

“Agathe,” confirmed Iason with a nod. “Now tell me, Agathe, what exactly happened here, that caused this ruckus?”

“I was passing through the religious district,” said Agathe softly, “when a priest of Demeter asked me if I had made my sacrifices to the goddess yet for the harvest. I answered him that I do not worship Demeter. I worship Adonai, and Him alone. The priest said I did not look like a Jew, and asked me whence my blasphemy came. I tried to respond, but he began to accuse me and he shouted and called in the guards…”

“I see,” said Iason. “Tell me, Agathe, what is a beautiful Greek girl such as yourself doing worshipping the God of the Jews? Wouldn’t your time be better spend serving your own gods?”

Before the girl could reply, Jehu stepped forward and said, “Iason, I am…”

“I know who you are,” replied Iason. “I heard the whole thing. So, it seems you’ve ousted Elihu after all this time, yes? Ha, I should have known better to believe him when he told me you were dead. Nikodemos wouldn’t have sold his life against his own people unless he knew you’d be safe. I suppose there’s no point in asking if Elihu is alive?”

Jehu’s silence was answer enough. Iason continued, “It is no real loss. He was too coarse anyhow. I assume you’re here to reaffirm the treaty then? So what interests you so in this woman?”

“My interest in the woman is a private matter, Iason. I’m sure you will understand, was Jehu’s reply. “As far as a treaty between my people and yours, I intended to seek an audience with you about that very issue. Much has changed.”

“I have time right now,” said Iason. “Come for a walk with me, Jehu. Much has changed in Kerkinitis since you’ve left, as well. Let us ‘catch up’ so to speak, and then we can discuss the treaty. What do you say?”

“What of Agathe?” asked Jehu.

Iason shrugged, “Well, if she means that much to you. She’s free. I am the Tyrant after all. My word is law. And my word is that she be left alone. I may have instituted martial law, but this is hardly a military dictatorship. I am just as capable of mercy now as I was before. Lykos, let the woman go home. And Agathe, no more commotion now in the religious district.”

Jehu turned to his companions and said, “Escort Agathe to her house. I will find you later this evening.”

They all saluted him and obeyed. Agathe made one last glance at the crowd, who all glared at her harshly, and then she walked to her home, with her new protectors flanking her.


Agathe, scorned by her fellow Greeks for “blasphemy”​

Iason then put his arm over Jehu’s shoulder and the two began to walk. Iason said, “Jehu, my old friend. The first thing I want you to understand is that I had nothing to do with your father’s death or Elihu’s rise to power. I was as shocked as anyone when I found out what had happened.”

“Then what about the soldiers you sent?” asked Jehu. “The ones Nikodemos fought against, and who tried to kill us at the river Dniepr? They killed two of my men in that river.”

“I was deceived,” explained Iason. “I had received reports of a coup, but I was told it had failed. I sent my men to hunt those who tried to kill my ally, your father. Those men believed you and your companions were the traitors. Had we known the truth, those men would have protected you and I would have helped you regain power then and there.”

Jehu was more than a little skeptical. But he did not want to reveal his doubts to Iason. He turned to face the Tyrant and said, “I believe you, Iason. Elihu deceived many. I appreciate your support now that you know the truth.”


Feigning a cordial disposition​

“Of course, my friend,” said Iason with a smile. “Now, let us continue walking. There is still much you need to know. In addition to your own people, Kerkinitis is allied with Kalos Limen to the west. I don’t recall if you knew that as a child.”

“I did,” stated Jehu.

“Good, you were a perceptive lad. Now, the three of us combined are strong. Cherson has not interfered in our affairs even once since you left. But oh would she like to. We are preparing for war. It may come at any time.”

“Is that why you have declared martial law?” asked Jehu.

Iason shook his head, “No. That is a separate issue. My people grow restless, Jehu, as all people do from time to time. Some fear that our government is turning into a hereditary monarchy, as I inherited the position of Tyrant from my father. They fear that soon Kerkinitis will become a smaller copy of the Bosporan Kingdom, that I will seek a marriage alliance with the Bosporans, and that Kerkinitis will simply be absorbed into their kingdom, losing our independence and identity. I have tried to tell them that this is preposterous, but they do not listen. There have been four attempts on my life, and two attempted coups, since your departure, Jehu. That is why I have declared martial law. And that is why I need you and your people now, more than ever.”

Jehu looked at him in surprise and tried to hide his dismay. This would make it much more difficult to secure his people’s freedom and their chance to go to Pretannia. He thought of Larissa, languishing in Dumnorix’s dungeons, and he wondered just how many more trials he would have to face before he could free her. Nothing could ever be easy, could it?