• 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

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods




Wolf of the Plains

Greetings fellow readers and writers, and I bid you welcome to this AAR of mine. First and foremost of all, I would like to thank you for reading this piece of work. I am very happy to write this and I hope you will enjoy reading this.

Since I started playing Crusader Kings and writing few years ago, I always wanted to write an aar about one of my favorite historical nations, Persians. I spotted many Persian aars and enjoyed reading many of them, seeing Zoroastrian Empire restored to their former glory, but I am trying to do something different here. Goal is same Restoring Persian Zoroastrian Empire. What's different is that I am not playing in 867AD start, where we have powerful Karens, or 769AD one either with the Bavandids. I am playing in 1066 when there are no independent Persian characters and will play in steppe instead, roleplaying a group of Persian refugees who fleed their home in search of a new home.



In the beggining of this tale, I'll write a Prologue consisting of three parts, explaining how Persians ended up in steppe and who led them, and try to make a worthy premise to this story.
And for the last, any feedback is appreciated and I am very grateful to all of you who took your own time to read this.

So, without further ado:


 
Last edited:

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
Prologue – Heir of Zoroaster





April 10th, 1057



When they started their journey across winding dunes of sand quite some time ago, the sky was a clear blue glass. As they staggered towards the southern mountains growing no bigger despite three days of riding, that blue glass is marred by flecks of swirling sand and vultures cruising in the air, aiming for their next meal. The scorching ball was high in the sky, enlightening everything beneath it. It was as if the sand dunes of Kara-Kum desert - called The Black Desert by the Turkish for the dark soil that lied beneath the sandy surface of the desert – were lit on fire.

Said covered his face with a cotton mask to protect it from the sand that rushed into his face. Small particles made it hard for one to breathe and could easily scar one’s skin. His camel on the other hand, seemed unfazed by the sand, which was making Said’s field of vision low by now as winds got stronger. Being unable to see clearly what is going on around him, Said’s left hand rested on the hilt of his sabre. Feeling the grip of his weapon made him feel a bit safer.

Just a little bit more. Said reassured himself as he sat upright on his camel, focused on what’s in front of him. Sand around him seemed to calm down after awhile with no signs of further harsh winds or even sandstorm, he allowed himself to take down his hood, only to be blinded by the light of fiery ball which was hung right above him in the sky. Having to rub his eyes to adjust to the daylight and keep up with sunlight, Said turned around to see that both of his companions are following him, both wearing same desert robes as he, having their own weapons, one carrying a sword while another had a shield on his back and a long spear tied loosely to his saddle, loosely in case of need. His trusting companions, ones that followed him since the beginning of his quest. Traveling through The Black Desert was a harsh endeavor, for one had to keep up with the blazing temperatures of noon in contrast to freezing ones of the dark. Constant sandstorms made their journey even harder, as they to look for or create their own shelters to protect themselves and their animals from the sand.

‘’We are almost out of water, Said.’’ one of riders, named Hormuz, complained. ‘’At least I am.’’

Said checked his own waterskin for remnants of drinking water in it, feeling relieved to learn he still has water worth for two days if he drinks rationally. ‘’Drink smart, Hormuz.’’ was all Said replied.

Another one of big downsides of a desert like Kara-Kum was that it was vast, without any sources providing water. One has to be smart on how he’s going to consume water, for if he wants to survive a trip through the desert, he needs a water that’s going to last him for more than a mere day. Said’s trip through the Kara-kum was eventless one. It turned out to be just riding and riding, but at least it was safe, for now. There were no signs of Turkish patrols and armies, which they were avoiding.



The Black Desert Kara-Kum


Said and his companions traveled for another two long days through the Kara-Kum before reaching Kopeth Dag in night, after Sun set in the west behind mountains. A large encampment was raised at foot of the mountain range, and countless torches at the encampment were only source of light. Persians exchanged relieved looks as they made it to their destination. Approaching the encampment, Said saw how unorganized it was and remembered that it had to be raised in a hurry. Tents were raised everywhere without clear plan and one had to struggle while going through camp, especially if he was riding a mount. Said could see dozens of guards patrolling around, giving him nods and greetings when they saw him, but also countless others – women, children, old people, all those who couldn’t fight. Children were playing around, chasing after each other or gathering around old people listening to their various stories from the past and tales of great Persian kings. Women were preparing stews and other various meals whose mere sight made Said hungry. He stopped for a moment when they reached clearing in the center of the encampment and looked at all the refugees in the camp thoughtfully.

‘’What are you thinking about?’’ Armin, second of his companions asked.

Said shook his head, leaving Armin without reply and proceeded forward to one single gray tent in the clearing, almost twice larger than any other tent at the camp. Through the tent in the middle was a chimney, built in a rush, with a smoke coming out of it. Two guards were standing in front of the entrance, tightly holding their spears. Their leather armour was old and battered and they had no helmets, making their tired, hopeless faces visible. Companions dismounted their camels and walked towards the entrance.

‘’Welcome back, sir.’’ one of the guards greeted in a tired voice. Said nodded to guard and moved the curtains of the tent to step inside. He could see decorated interior. Tent walls were decorated by severed heads and tails of many animals. Said enjoyed hunting. Fireplace in the middle was providing tent with needed warmth. In front of the fireplace was a large table, with about a dozen people seated, three women and rest of them children, who didn’t seem to spot three Persians that walked inside. But the most prominent symbol was one hung above stone fireplace. Golden Farr-e Kiyani, ancient symbol of Zoroastrianism, winged disk with a human figure inside. It represents human nature, good and bad and was a religious symbol of Said's religion.

‘’Is this a welcome we deserve after our quest up north?’’ Hormuz was the first of the trio to speak as they approached the table, causing quite a commotion. Children jumped out of their seats first and rushed towards their fathers. Ashraf, only six summers old, rushed towards her father, hugging Said tightly after he picked her up.

‘’You’ve gotten strong in these two months, Ashraf.’’ Said uttered barely as his daughter threatened to break his neck. Little girl wouldn’t let go. ‘’What did you feed her Leila?’’

Instead of getting a verbal reply from his wife, Said recieved a kiss instead as she walked up to him. Ashraf stuck out her tongue in response to seeing her parents share a kiss. Said looked at his wife and smiled. Her bronze skin was clean and she was smiling widely at him, revealing two rows of crystal white teeth. She was beautiful indeed, but it wasn’t her looks that made him fall for her. His head turned from his wife to two families of his companions, making him smile even wider.

‘’Are you going to leave again, papa?’’ Ashraf asked in a sad tone and her brows narrowed down sadly. Said poked her forehead excitedly ‘’No, my love. I am not going anywhere.’’

Ashraf smiled happily and hugged him again before he put her down on her feet and leaned over his wife to see a lone figure sitting in corner of the tent sharpening steel dagger. Other two families finally calmed down and peace was slowly restored as they all were taking seats at the big table. Leila and Ashraf took their own seats waiting for Said to take his own. Instead, he walked past big table towards a figure in a corner.

‘’You’re late.’’ lone boy said in a quiet voice, his gaze focused on a dagger, deciding Said was not worth his attention.

‘’Bold.’’ Said uttered his son’s name, who raised his head on the mention of his name and looked at Said with his authentic yellow eyes.

‘’You are not going to give your father a hug?’’ Said asked mockingly, provoking his son.

Bold frowned to his father, his face already becoming red ‘’Don’t mock me.’’

Said allowed himself to take a seat in empty chair next to his son, who turned back to sharpening his dagger. They spent few moments in silence, not talking to each other. Only a talk and laughter could be heard in distance from the big table, followed by cracking sound of fire.

‘’Father.’’ Bold spoke after a few moments ‘’What’s our new home like?’’

Boy asked the exact question Said hoped he wouldn’t. He sighed and turned head to his son.

‘’It’s a vast plain, Bold. Almost barren. There aren’t many trees or animals. A home to the fierce horselords and their tribes.’’ Said explained in clear short lines. Bold nodded with a calm face like he expected this answer. But Said knew his son. His efforts to be tough and emotionless in front of everyone. He knew Bold admired his father and dreamed of becoming a warrior like him one day.

''Do we have to leave Persia? We can still fight the Turks to reclaim our homeland.''


‘’We have to. You’re smart, you know why.’’

Boy's eyebrows narrowed, and he clenched his fists, dropping his dagger on the floor ‘’Why are Turks killing us?’’

This question awoke eternal sadness that was sleeping in Said. Sadness for his people who suffered for centuries under Muslims. Suffering resulting in thousands of deaths. It began with fall of Persian Empire some four centuries ago, after which mass conversion followed.

‘’Because we don’t want to take their faith as our own, son.’’ Said answered, trying to get rid of sadness which found its way to his heart. He tried to reassure himself for he was with his family now, but it was not enough. Not enough since that fateful night six months ago when everything changed.

‘’We are followers of Zoroaster, Bold. We don’t have anything or anyone but each other.’’ Persian explained to his son ‘’One day our saviour will come. We probably won’t even be alive by then. But when that day comes, our people will live in prosperity in their own empire. Fires of our faith will be lit all around the world and our people will live in peace, without constant fear of being executed by Muslims. Heir of Zoroaster will save our people. Until that day comes, we have to fight and survive.’’

Boy nodded his head again, his gaze lost in thoughts as he probably imagined utopia his father is talking about. Those thoughts brought smile to Bold’s face.

‘’Let’s join the rest of them. I am hungry as a wolf.’’ Said remarked and stood up, but Bold remained on his seat, prompting Said to stop and turn to his son.

‘’Father.’’ boy with yellow eyes said quietly as he looked at his father ‘’I think you’re our saviour.’’

Said closed his eyes and smiled weakly, raising his hand towards Bold. Boy’s eyes followed hand with caution and he obviously expected some form of a hug. Suddenly, Said poked his son’s forehead with his point finger, provoking angry reaction, reminding Said that this is one thing Bold hates. He smiled at his son, pulled him by his shoulder and walked towards the big table to join others.






 
Last edited:

Knight of Avalon

Sergeant
Aug 24, 2017
62
0
Interesting prelude! I wonder what will happen next and get you a real start of your adventure. Good luck and keep going. :cool:
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
119 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.545
2.457
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Said's reputation in his son's eyes is going to be tough to live up to.
 

Capibara

Werewolf Huēyi Tlahtoāni
86 Badges
Mar 28, 2007
3.535
38
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • 500k Club
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Cities: Skylines Deluxe Edition
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Cities: Skylines - Snowfall
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mare Nostrum
  • Stellaris
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Stellaris: Galaxy Edition
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Cities in Motion
  • Cities in Motion 2
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Divine Wind
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • Heir to the Throne
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
Consider me suscribed. The story got me hooked from the beginning and I find the premise very interesting. As some one with a soft spot for the Zoroastrians, I curious to know what awaits Said and his people in this foreign land.
 

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
Interesting prelude! I wonder what will happen next and get you a real start of your adventure. Good luck and keep going. :cool:
Thank you, sir! I dare say that Persians will be tested in steppe both by the elements and tribes.

Said's reputation in his son's eyes is going to be tough to live up to.
That is true indeed, as it's not easy to walk the footsteps of Heir of Zoroaster. Said is everything young Bold wants to be when he grows up, which may or may not be the case in the future.

Consider me suscribed. The story got me hooked from the beginning and I find the premise very interesting. As some one with a soft spot for the Zoroastrians, I curious to know what awaits Said and his people in this foreign land.
I am very glad to hear that and can say that I share same soft spot as you do, friend. I won't tell much, except that life is harsh in steppe, and Persians will definitely get a taste of that life very soon, for they shall recieve no warm welcome once they get there.
 

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
Consider me subscribed. This is a great premise even though you’ve got a tough struggle ahead of you (which I always find are the best kind of games of CK!).
Thanks for the feedback, it's always appreciated. As for the rough start, if you look at it story wise, other tribes aren't the only problem for the Persians. It's adaptation to rough life of steppe, lack of food and such. Gameplay wise though, it's going to be one freaking tough start and skill alone won't last Persians in this playthrough. I dare say that luck is more crucial.

Anyways, I've yet to start playing this as I am waiting for the Holy Fury to come out in few days. Until then, enjoy the Prologue. ;)
 

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
Prologue – al Gauti



July 14th, 1063



It was right there, within his reach. Only its head was visible in tall grass, but Bold knew well what this rodent looked like, with its stout body and short limbs covered in fine brown fur. For the past few years, marmot was one of primary sources of food. They’re hard to track down, but once they are, they can be found in bigger numbers, making it easy to hunt them down. One must be careful, though, and skilled archer, for he doesn’t want to damage meat with too many shots, especially shots to the wrong part of the animal. Even worst case is a missed shot, which would only drive animal back to its lair. Bold’s father once told him to only aim for the head, giving the animal a quick, painless death without damaging the body. One Bold was after wandered off from others for some reason unknown to him. Perhaps it was looking for food, or water. Bold didn't care, it was right in front of him.

Animal moved through tall grass with caution, surrounded by tall trees. The forest was unusually dense, thus providing Bold with many covers he used while following marmot for over two hours now, while he found a cover next to the tree with bow at the ready. Another thing he learnt over the years he lived in the steppe was patience. Patience was the key to survival in these harsh conditions.. His gaze set upon the head of a rodent, Bold raised his bow towards it, pulling a tendon all the way to his right ear, with arrow ready to be fired. Taking a deep breath, Bold closed one eye and aimed for the head. His senses sharpened and it seemed his heart slowed down. Releasing the tendon, arrow swished through air and space, and Bold exhaled. Tip of an arrow made a piercing sound as it went through marmot's head. With caution, he stood up and looked around himself for any signs of wolves or any other kind of danger. Proceeding towards corpse of his prey, Bold pulled another arrow from quiver on his back and prepared himself just in case. Steel dagger long as his forearm was sheathed on his waist, sharpened and deadly. Standing above the dead marmot, Bold felt pride for his accuracy as arrow went right through the eye, but felt sorry for animal. He didn’t enjoy killing, but at least he gave it a quick, painless death. And yet for some reason, he felt proud as always when hunt was successful.

‘’Aim always for the head, right father?’’ Bold talked to himself reminding how his father always used to say allowing himself to smirk as he crouched next to the body to pull an arrow out of animal’s head. Some of it’s brains were visible on iron tip of an arrow, which broke as Bold tried to pull it out. Cursing to himself, he pulled out a broken tip from animal and tied the corpse by its neck to the right side of his belt. Turning back, he advanced uphill in the forest, following a small rill which led to a rock behind which his horse was tied to a tree. As Bold approached it, it neighed angrily.

‘’My apologies, lord Aspen.’’ Bold apologized to his mount with an eyeroll ‘’It’s not my intention that you had to wait this long. Blame it on this guy on my belt.’’ Leaning on the saddle with a yawn, Bold saw how Aspen glanced back at him before letting out a soft nicker. Untying Aspen from the tree, Bold attached carcass on side under the saddle, mounting his horse afterwards. Bold rode for quite a long time, proof being the Sun which was much closer to the west than when he left the forest with his prey. Looking forward as he rode, Bold enjoyed the sight of vast plain in front of him, which seemed endless. It was not dead like hot deserts of Persia, but something about it made it even more scary. For past six years, Bold learned so much about this land called the Great Steppe, yet he realized that he knows so little about it. Having to flee to this cruel land with his people played a huge role in changing him as a person. This new, cruel life shaped him up and turned him into a man he was right now. To survive the elements of this strange land was a challenge by itself, but then there are the others. Fierce horselords and their powerful tribes. Same ones Persians fought when they fled here. Bold remembered it as if it was yesterday when they had to fight Cumans in the west before they fled east, towards Mongol hordes and the empires on the other side of the mountains. Memories of those days still cruised around in Bold’s head, reminding him of yet another cruelty his people had to suffer.

He stopped at the top of the small hill, overlooking a valley that led into a mountain range that nomads called Altai mountains. In a valley, there was large collection of yurts where his people lived. He was home. Riding in a trotting pace, Bold slowly approached the dwelling of his people. He spotted three riders galloping towards him from the habitat. Precautionary measure. No one is allowed to enter the habitat without permission. Even if one would leave habitat in morning to hunt, it is essential upon his return that he is checked and verified as a Persian before being allowed to enter. That procedure befalls even the son of great Said al Gauti.

Riders slowed down to a trot upon approaching Bold, stopping their horses in front of him, sheathing their weapons.

‘’Young master.’’ one of the soldiers greeted Bold to which he replied with a nod ‘’I see Your hunting was bountiful.’’

Bold smiled proudly, happy his father's men recognized his worth, looking down at marmot’s carcass and answered honestly ‘’I was very fortunate considering there aren’t many of them left here.’’

‘’Indeed.’’ Guard nodded and turned his horse around to follow Bold who advanced towards the habitat. Going inside, Bold rode through an organized camp. Yurts were raised on both sides of a dust road which led to the center of the camp. There were two entrances. One on the west that Bold came in through and another one in the east which lead deeper in the valley and to the Altai mountains. There were ten main streets total, with smaller narrow roads that connected main streets making it easier to traverse through the habitat. Street that led from the western entrance towards the center of the habitat was also known as the Market street, with several stands built on both sides of it, selling all kinds of goods, from meats through animal pelts ending with weaponry and armors. Some merchants even sold jewelry. Those stands were much more scarce than stands some two years ago, a proof that they will have to find a new place to live. Yurts that comprised the biggest part of the habitat were mostly gray and white, small circular tents with opening in the middle for a chimney. Persians had many troubles adapting to these new houses when they first arrived. It took quite some time for them to master yurt building, which was a necessity. The adaption wasn't that difficult though, as most of Persian nomads already lived on the northern border of the former Persian kingdom, neighbouring to the nomadic tribes which they usually had to fight during their attacks and raids.


Market street was calm in the evening, like it usually was and Bold enjoyed slow trot towards his own yurt. Some of the children could still be seen playing outside, many of them born in the steppe, clueless of life in Persia. Bold envied them, for they didn't know a better life than this. Upon reaching his yurt, he jumped off Aspen’s back. With marmot tied to his belt he walked towards the entrance of the biggest yurt in the habitat. At least twice bigger than any other in the habitat, it was a home to leader of Persians, Said al Gauti, Bold’s father. Removing the curtains, he stepped inside. Interior consisted of expanding wooden circular frame carrying a felt cover, felt itself made from wool. The frame consisted of more expanding lattice-wall sections, a door frame, bent roof poles and a crown. In the middle of yurt was a fireplace. Wall sections were decorated with luxury cloths and paintings from Persia, but also Zoroastrian symbols, most prominent being Faravahar just behind the fireplace. Ancient symbol of Zoroaster, some presume the man in the symbol symbolizes Ahura Mazda Himself. Floor was covered with dozens of pelts making it somewhat warmer. In the middle was a fireplace with a cooking pot above it. His sister Ashraf was nowhere to be seen, though Leila, Bold’s mother, was praying by the fireplace below the Faravahar. Not daring to interrupt her, Bold moved quietly towards the wooden table, having spotted cooked venison on a big metal plate. He was so close, his hand moving on instinct towards meat, fingers spreading to take a piece of it. It was within his grasp.

’Don’t you dare, Bold.’’ this simple order was enough to freeze Bold in space. He backed away.

Leila stood up and turned her back to the fire, facing Bold instead ‘’You’ll eat once your father comes home.’’

Bold nodded sadly, aware that there was no point in arguing with his mother ‘’Yes, mother.’’ She was tall Persian woman, renowned for her beauty. Her black hair was tied to a ponytail and her bronze skin was clean and aromatic. Leila’s penetrating, mysterious black eyes could conquer any man in the world. She wore purple silk dress, with red vines on the top of the sleeves which reached all the way up to her shoulders, ending in what was a revealing décolleté.

‘’I see your hunt went well.’’ she said to change the subject ‘’I was beginning to worry where you are. You left early in the morning.’’

Bold frowned and untied the carcass from his belt, placing it on a table, receiving a strict look from his mother for doing so. ‘’I don’t even know how I found this one.’’ Allowing himself to sit on a set of pillows in the corner of the yurt, he asked ‘’Where is father?’’

‘’He’s out somewhere with Armin and Hormuz.’’

‘’I hope they are going to agree that we should find new pastures. It’s taking them too long.’’ he said, rolling his eyes while he leaned backwards, staring at the ceiling.

‘’Don’t question decisions of your father, Bold. He’s knows what’s best for us.’’ Leila answered in angry tone, forcing Bold to gaze at her with annoyance. ‘’We still didn’t recover fully since Cumans attacked us.’’

Bold could still remember that day. Cuman horde entering their habitat in the west, killing everyone on their way. Over two thousand Persians died in conflict with Cumans, which was more than a fifth of total population of those that followed Said to the Great Steppe. It was a devastating blow to the Persians, but one they had to live through. It was this war where Said earned the nickname Al Gauti for leading Persian counterattack which dealt a huge blow to Cuman horde. It had a lot of meanings in steppe languages, most of them translating to a warlord and such. The Great Steppe consisted of countless tribes, large and small. Persians were considered one of largest tribes in the steppe which could muster many horsemen who outnumbered majority of the other tribes. And as such, they posed a danger to other tribes which would usually unite to try and destroy them.

It was quiet in yurt for a while, until a peace was disturbed by laughter that entered inside in the form of Said and Ashraf on his back. Bold’s little sister was laughing her lungs out when Said threw her on the pillows next to Bold, provoking another eyeroll of his son.

‘’Bold.’’ Said said, adding a nod.

‘’Father.’’ Bold greeted back, staring right into Al Gauti’s distinct yellow eyes.

Set of arms wrapped around Said from behind provoking his grin. Leila kissed him on the neck before he turned to give her a passionate kiss.

‘’Cover your eyes, Ashraf.’’ Bold ordered as he felt the urge to puke before he turned from a horrific sight himself.



Said, leader of Persian nomads and known as al Gauti throughout the Great Steppe.

Most of evening was spent at the table. Venison was gone in a less than hour and marmot Bold hunted down was getting ready for skinning before it rots away. Bold was meaning to ask Said about his day with Armin and Hormuz, but feared what his mother would say remembering her outburst on the comment he made earlier. He kept his mouth zipped. He knew better than to question the decisions of his father right in front of him. Said earned his monicker al Gauti with reason. Cumans, Mongols, Kirghiz didn't defeat themselves. In just six years, Persians have become quite a force in the steppe.

‘’I decided something today.’’ Said announced out of blue as he held a metal cup filled with black brandy in his hand. ‘’I will ride out to find a wife for Bold.’’

Leila laughed at this while Ashraf stared at her father in confusion. Said was smirking himself and tried to hide it with a sip of black brandy. Bold was quiet.

‘’What do you say, Bold?’’ Said asked after some time ‘’You are unusually quiet.’’

Boy shook his head ‘’Well.. I’m a.. why?’’

Said leaned towards his son, but looked at everyone separately ‘’As all of you know, peace with Cumans is very fragile and we are on brink of another war, one we cannot win. We need allies. And you all know that there is no easier alliance than marriage.’’

Bold nodded, still shocked by his father’s decision, but trying to keep his calm ‘’Where are you going to look for my future wife?’’

‘’In one of Kirghiz tribes in the south, ones Hormuz visited last summer.’’

Bold nodded in acceptance, keeping emotionless face in front of his father without giving away any reaction to what his father just announced. After that his mother suddenly decided it was right to tease him about it, and Said joined right in, while little Ashraf just stared at them without a clue of what’s going on.


‘’A wife?’’ Bold asked himself as he walked outside, enjoying in a chilly summer night. He still required a fur cloak not to freeze, though. Nights in the steppe weren’t as forgiving as in Persia. An occasional guard would walk past Bold. Before he realized, he found himself at the western edge of the camp, taking a seat on a grass behind a last yurt, which revealed a large valley in front of him, drowned in darkness. Silhouettes in a shape of mountains could be seen in a distance above which moon hung in the clear sky, enlightening the earth in a dark manner. He began to wonder about things as many thoughts raced through his head.

What is my wife going to look like? Is there going to be another war? Where are we going to move next? South? East? Perhaps even west towards the Mongol hordes? But there are Cumans in the east just waiting for our return to finish what they started.


Time passed rather quickly and before Bold realized, it was midnight. Making himself stand up at last, he gave one last glance in the valley which led into Altai mountains. It was dark and quiet which made it somehow terrifying. Who knows what could lie there in dark? Bold was not afraid of dark.

Turning around, he headed deeper into habitat, his head still filled with thoughts. He stopped turning his head back towards the darkness of the Altai valley, gaze of his yellow eyes set upon it. For a moment, there was nothing, just eerie silence. But he knew he heard it. The familiar sound sound of hoofs.


Am I imagining things?


He stared in the darkness, hairs on his hand raising of dread. He could not possibly imagine those sounds, they were getting louder. All of the sudden, dark shapes emerged out of valley. Dozens of shapes riding horses towards Persian home. Galloping towards it. At first it seemed like dozen, but number increased to hundreds. Bold ran.

‘’We are under attack!’’ he shouted at the top of his lungs ‘’Brace yourselves, we are under attack!’’


In a matter of moments, streets of the habitat were filled with soldiers saddling their horses and preparing to defend their home and their people with swords and torches in their hands. But it was not enough. Turning around, he saw riders entering the camp, already beginning the slaughter, beginning with a volley of arrows fired at unprepared Persians. They were screaming and taunting in a tongue Bold couldn’t comprehend. Bold asked himself same question over and over Who are they? What happened to the sentries? Where was the warning for the attack? For a first time in years, he felt truly terrified. He was being pushed away by passangers and riders who rode to fight the invaders. One of riders galloped right into Bold knocking him on the ground, followed by others who stepped on him and kicked him almost unconscious. He felt warm blood rushing down his nose into his mouth. Grasping what strength he retained after his own kinsmen assaulted him, although not on purpose, Bold stood up and looked towards the valley, but he lost the sight of invaders because of dozens of yurts in the way. There was a rising light in their direction, producing smoke which rose high in the sky. Western side of the camp was burning. He was lost when he looked around himself. Terror and panic were ruling in the habitat. Those who could not fight rushed towards eastern end of the settlement in hope to survive, carrying their crying children. And then he remembered.

Where is father?

As he approached his yurt, he recognized a rider who rode past him.

‘’Hormuz!’’ he called out to him, prompting rider to stop and ride back to him, looking down at him with worried face ‘’Where is father?’’

‘’Said is organizing defence in the Market street. He was looking for you. Run back, Bold. Now!’’

Bold didn't like the authorative tone in Hormuz's voice when he commanded him, but nontheless he obeyed the order of his father’s right hand without question and ran towards the what was probably most important part of Persian habitat, while Hormuz rode to gather the survivors and fight off the invaders, followed by ten other riders. Leila's eyes were filled with tears when she spotted Bold running towards them.

‘’I thought I lost you.’’ she said as she embraced her son and pointed at the bruises on his face and blood rushing down his nose ‘’You are hurt.’’

He shook his head and looked around himself, seeing only women, children and elders. These were no warriors, and what was most important, his father was nowhere to be seen. ‘’Where is father?’’

‘’He is riding with his warriors around the settlement to flank them.’’

Bold cursed under his breath as his eyes moved around the habitat looking for a horse. He didn’t even spot Ashraf who cried behind her mother, while Leila knelt next to her to console her. And he spotted one at last, tied to a wooden pole on the edge of the camp. He raced towards it, ignoring his mother’s protest and orders to come back. There was much at stake here, and Persians needed every man who could fight.

I’m sorry mother, but I am useless here, Bold thought as he mounted his horse after cutting down a rope which tied it to a pole with his steel dagger, only weapon he had at hand. Kicking the horse with his heels, he rode outside the habitat to the darkness of the night, and around it following his father. Fire was spreading fast and almost reached the center of the habitat, but Bold was unswayed by it. Clashing of metal could be heard as Bold entered from the west where invaders galloped in, burning and killing everything in their path. Numerous corpses of both men and horses were lying on dust painting it red as battle moved deeper inside. Picking up a sabre from one of the corpses, he proceeded towards heat of the battle, avoiding fires and coughing from smoke. His horse reacted to blood and corpses and hesitated to ride deeper inside in some occasions. This was no horse bred for battle and Bold cursed to the disobeying animal. When he reached the heat of battle, he was lost completely that he had to stop. There was no way he could comprehend the difference between Persians and invaders. He could tell the difference only if one of invaders would attack him directly, as one did by firing an arrow aiming at his head. It whistled right past his right ear, prompting him to join the fray at last. He galloped towards that rider, avoiding to collide with other warriors and with his dagger held high. Taking a full swing, he cut the rider on his chest knocking him on the ground. Rider still held his bow in hand, too slow to react to Bold's slice. Stopping to turn his horse around as he faced the yurt, he smiled, proud of his first kill. Or at least he thought he killed. Rider he just cut down raised to his feet with another arrow at the ready aiming towards him. Tip of the arrow hit Bold’s horse to the head, and he fell, his leg trapped beneath the corpse of fallen horse.


Bold punched the corpse in agony, trying to free himself and escape a death in form of footsteps which approached him. It was all in vain. He could not free himself. Horse was too heavy.

‘’Damn this bloody horse!’’ he cursed to himself as he looked above at warrior drawing out a blade from his sheath. He grinned a bloody smile at Bold, a smile which told him I am not dead yet, boy. Confidence he felt, determination to defend his people, it was all gone in a second. After all, he was just a boy. And there he was, trapped below corpse, waiting to be killed. It was amusing in a way. A son of great Said al Gauti, dying such a stupid death. Such an embarrassment. One clean slice was enough to remove warrior’s head from his shoulders. His corpse fell towards Bold and he could see the opening of his neck, as dark blood satiated the ground beneath him.

What has just happened?

‘’Hormuz. Help me with him.’’ al Gauti ordered after he jumped off his horse, followed by Hormuz, to remove corpse of Bold’s mount and free the boy. Bold made a grimace from a pain in his leg.


‘’How are you feeling?’’ Said asked in a cold voice, looking Bold right in the eyes. His face was emotionless and covered in blood of his enemies. Bold felt the urge to apologize to his father for being useless. He felt embarassed and humiliated Receiving no answer from his son, Said helped him get on his feet and placed him on a back of his horse behind him. Only now, feeling safe behind his father, Bold saw that the fighting was calming down. In this particular area, invaders were all killed, but Said and Hormuz were followed just by a dozen of riders. Casualties were already heavy. Said wasn’t talking, which made Bold uneasy. He wanted him to shout at him, to yell at him for being useless, to say something at least. His wish wasn’t granted. All of warriors who followed his father had determined, emotionless faces. Their eyes gave away their determination and tension could be caught in the air. Gazing on burning yurts around him, Bold realized that he just lost his home, again.


When is this going to stop?


By now, invaders have cut their way through habitat all the way up to those who could not fight, in other words, to Bold’s mother and sister.


‘’Azwash!’’ Said cried out an old Persian warcry, unsheathing his sword to destroy the enemies of Persia as they charged at warriors slaughtering civilians in the Market street. Dozens of warriors followed behind as Persians surprised their enemies from behind. Another party of Persian warriors joined the fight from the east, flanking invaders on both sides. But they were still outnumbered. Bold recognized many faces lying in dirt, bloodied with blank stare into nothingness. A deep part of him was still asking What is happening? Who are these enemies? Seeing Leila impaling one invader with her sword before being surrounded by six others approaching on foot, Bold poked his father in his ribs and pointed towards them.

‘’Damn!’’ Said cursed as he turned his horse in their direction while battle raged around them. Hormuz, who caught his gaze from behind, nodded his head in approval acknowledging al Gauti’s need to protect his family. Said charged towards his wife and daughter. Bold picked up a spear sticking out from one of the corpses and pointed towards one of warriors while Said took a full swing from the left to cut one down. Synchronizing their attacks, father and son defeated two warriors, Said slicing through one’s neck, while Bold impaled another one through the back. Blood sprayed his face. He could taste it on his lips, the taste of iron. There were still four of them left.

‘’Go to your mother.’’ Said ordered and Bold jumped from the horse, making a painful grimace as he landed on the wrong foot. Limping towards his mother, he turned to face their enemies as Ashraf stood behind. A battle ensued with invaders as father, mother and son fought for their lives. Said managed to take down three of them on his own from horseback with ease, circrling around them with his horse without allowing them to approach his family while cutting them down one by one, while last one was taken down with combined efforts of Leila and Bold. Stabbing last one through neck, Leila taunted as she got into his face, screaming as she ended his life Her silk dress was covered in blood and Bold could barely recognize his mother, who was more terrifying than ever before.

‘’Armin is nowhere to be found.’’ Said cursed as he approached his family ‘’I fear he fell in battle.’’

Now that Said mentioned, Bold noticed the absence of his father’s best friend. A man probably most respected after Said, he contributed a lot to Persians, being their second in command after Said. His fall would be a devastating blow.

‘’Bold.’’ Said said in a strict voice ‘’Protect your mother and sister. Lead them outside with others. I’ll order Hormuz to follow you with few warriors. Do you understand me?''

Boy nodded his head and turned to his mother for a look of approval before obeying his father’s order. When Leila gave him a serious nod, he proceeded away from the battle, feeling proud and excited for being granted such an opportunity to prove himself to his father and people. When invaders noticed them leaving the battleground, they charged for them but their advances were blocked by Said and his warriors. Not long after, those who could not fight followed Bold, their numbers increasing moment after moment until it reached numbers of several hundreds. They were at the edge of the habitat with a vast plain in front of them. Bold dared not to look back at habitat for his father, knowing it would sway his determination to obey the orders and save his people.

I will lead them, he thought as mass of Persians followed behind him, burdening him with greatest responsibility of his life. Upon reaching a small hill west of the habitat, they were joined by Hormuz who rode to them with several dozens of warriors and survivors.

‘’Are you well?’’ Hormuz asked Leila with worry in his voice, unmounting his horse and offering it for her and Ashraf. When she nodded her head, he continued ‘’Said ordered us to retreat to the forest until he deals with invaders.’’

‘’But they are still outnumbered.’’ Bold protested allowing himself to look at his burning home.

‘’al Gauti won harder battles, boy.’’ Hormuz said seriously ‘’He’ll join us soon.’’

Bold frowned on being called a boy and gave Hormuz a cold look which older warrior ignored.

‘’You did good, Bold.’’ Leila said caressing the cheek of her soon, provoking a slight smile. ‘’We should go now. We aren’t safe in the open.’’

Persians’ retreat was, however, interrupted by another party of invaders who galloped from the west, surprising them and disrupting their last resort for survival. It happened in flash. Hormuz was shot down from his horse which he took from another warrior, presumably killed. Persians all around him were slaughtered. It seemed hopeless, as if it was end of the world. Swingings his sabre, one of riders was galloping towards Bold and his mother and sister. To take one last thing they got left. Their life.


No.


Front legs of his horse were shortened with one full swing of Bold’s blade, and rider’s life was ended by a thrust through the back of his skull.


‘’Fight on, Persians!’’ Bold encouraged, full of fire and confidence.


No.


‘’For freedom!’’


Persians were fighting back.


‘’For Persia!’’


Battle was hard, but Persians fought back. Leila fought as she protected her daughter, cutting down another warrior from his horse, sending him to the underworld.


‘’Azwash!’’ he cried his lungs out as Persians fought for their lives, for their freedom and their people.


Not today.


Whistling through the air, an arrow grazed Bold’s shoulder as he dodged barely in time, reminding that even though Persians are fighting back, it’s still stalemate. Exchanging blows with one of enemies who surprised him from the side, Bold held his ground until Hormuz, who survived the fall, sepereated invader’s head from his shoulders. Nodding to Hormuz gratefully, Bold turned to his mother and sister and found them, widening his eyes as he saw Leila fighting two men at once. Rushing towards them, leaving Hormuz behind fighting with another warrior, Bold felt his heart jumping out of his chest seeing Leila fighting them, screaming in agony. It was not good. Just a little bit, he reassured himself, trying to run towards his mother as one of the warriors knocked the blade out of her hand, leaving her without means to defend herself. Bold’s fingers reached towards his mother as second of the two warriors impaled her through abdomen, soaking her silk dress in black blood.


‘’NO!’’ Bold screamed in anguish swinging from behind, having stuck his blade in the neck of the soldier who impaled his mother. Before the other one could react, Bold jumped on him and stabbed him with his dagger, knocking both of them on the ground. He was dead in instant. Bold’s look immediately turned to his mother whose eyes stared into unknown as blood poured down her mouth and nose. Behind her, he found his sister, lying on ground with arrow sticking out of her heart, painting her white dress red. Her face was emotionless and tears dry. Bold felt frozen in time and space. World felt numb to him. Everything felt so slow and sound of fighting was distant to him. For a moment, he asked himself why are they fighting at all?


Because we need to survive. Right, he remembered as if it was something of no great importance. His look raised towards habitat lost in fire and he stood up, as Said charged in with his warriors, right into the heart of invaders. Bold couldn’t miss that one last gaze Said gave to his wife and daughter, before switching it to Bold as he rode past them. It was a gaze he’ll remember for the rest of his life. The look of the hopeless man who's got nothing to lose. Arrows were flying everywhere, clash of metal was deafening to the ears as much as screams and shouts. Following his father with his yellow eyes, it was not hard to see when one loose arrow took him down from his horse. But one arrow was not enough to kill Said al Gauti.


On his feet, great saviour of Persian people cut down dozen of invaders with arrow sticking out from his shoulder. He seemed invincible, undestructible. Right until that part when one of the enemies stuck his sword into Said’s ribs from behind, followed by two spears which impaled him from the front. Yet again, he was not done, choking the one who stabbed him from behind to death with his grip of steel while slicing one to pieces with sabre in his left hand. He roared as he destroyed his enemies. Bold walked forward, making step after step, no matter how little. Said, his father was right there. His hero, saviour of Persian nation.


Yellow eyes of Bold teared up.


No.


al Gauti, leader to many, father to Bold fell.


‘’Forward, brothers!’’ Hormuz ordered one last charge to wipe out the enemies. His people fought on, fighting the hardest battle yet. Persians have slain their enemies to the last one and won the night, paying a tremendous price for it. Eventually, survivors gathered around Hormuz, seeing him as the most experienced warrior among them, waiting for his instructions on what to do next. Thousands died and just a bit over a half of those who embarked on this exile survived. Many cheered as the battle was won. Bold didn’t feel victorious, though. He found himself on the battlefield, on his knees next to his father closing his eyes with his fingers, staring into vast nothingness of the Great Steppe as Sun rose in the east marking new beginnings, whispering to himself ‘’I will kill them all.’’



 
Last edited:

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
119 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.545
2.457
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
I think this is an update all about growing up - of those various moments where you cease to be a child.
 

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
I think this is an update all about growing up - of those various moments where you cease to be a child.
As you are going to see in future updates, this battle is what shaped Bold personality and made him a man he will be for the rest of his life.

Wonderful update. Bold certainly lives up to his name!



I loved this part :)

Thank you for kind words, sir! I am very glad you like it.

You can expect many war cries of Persian horselords in the coming updates, considering that many battles are going to be fought that will shape the future of the Great Steppe.

Like a few of the others here, I have a soft spot for "back from the brink" starts, and this is a unique twist on the Zoroastrian restoration. I definitely plan on following this :)
Recieving a feedback such as this is a big boost in motivation to write more. It makes me wanna get out of bed to write more right now. I am proud to say that I've also planned this aar more carefully than any other before, visiting dozens of websites about Persian culture and religion.

I have to admit that this idea of Persian nomads has been cruising around my head since last year, and it makes me happy that you like it. Thank you, sir!
 

Arnulf Floyd

Captain
Oct 22, 2018
499
25
Interesting AAR, these Persian nomads are just like Parthians of past, I hope as Persian empire reborn as a Phoenix
 

Knight of Avalon

Sergeant
Aug 24, 2017
62
0
Excellent storytelling! I can see you really paid a lot of attention to details... Can't wait to see what will happen with a story when you actually start to play it. ;)
 

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
Interesting AAR, these Persian nomads are just like Parthians of past, I hope as Persian empire reborn as a Phoenix
It's definitely a new chapter in Persian history. These Persians will have some attributes like ancient Parthians, but also like other nomads as well, being more ruthless and savage in a way, especially during Bold's leadership.

Excellent storytelling! I can see you really paid a lot of attention to details... Can't wait to see what will happen with a story when you actually start to play it. ;)
Glad you like it. This is longest chapter I've ever written and uploaded, itself having over 5000 words. There are already few playthroughs of this scenario saved on my PC and I'll choose one best for the story or might even wait for the next patch as I am having issues with this version in terms of black dynasty shields and coats of arms.

All in all, this story is going to have its own twists and turns. ;)
 

DumBMan

Prince of Persia
6 Badges
May 17, 2011
434
2
  • 500k Club
  • Magicka: Wizard Wars Founder Wizard
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
Prologue – o’Ginn



July 23rd, 1066



A valley that led into Altai mountains was becoming shrouded in darkness that invaded from the east. Sun still hasn’t set in the west but it was only a mere fingertip away from touching the ground. The sky was grim and cloudy above Hormuz’s head, alarming of the incoming storm. He sat calmly on the saddle of his horse, resting upon the crest, overlooking the valley beneath him from a small hill where the first battle with Mongols ended three years ago. His eyes were set on a Mongol cavalry that was waiting patiently in the shadow of the valley, waiting for Persians to strike the first blow. Hormuz was well aware of hundreds of horsemen behind him. By now, Persians have very well adapted to the lifestyle of steppe, adopting the warfare of the nomads, bowmen on horses, although not nearly good enough as native Mongols who honed their skills for centuries they’ve spent here. Even as formidable as they were, Mongols had to be defeated here and now, and as an acting leader, Hormuz was going to make that happen.

‘’Spread the order, Orkhan. Get everyone in formation. We attack.’’ Hormuz said calmly to a rider behind him who turned his horse and galloped through Persian ranks. High ranking officers of Persian army were yelling out orders to their underlings, and a sound of hoofs hitting against the ground filled the air. Hormuz unsheathed his sabre and turned around to face his army.

‘’A day we waited for has finally come! Today, a vengeance shall be served. Mongols will fall! Bring me their heads!’’

And they attacked. Hundreds of Persian horsemen rode to battle, thirsty of Mongol blood, thirsty for revenge.

‘’Fire!’’ Hormuz shouted and heard several officers repeating his words behind him, spreading the order. First volley of arrows was fired at Mongols as Persians galloped at them downhill. Mongols sat still on their horses, some of them raising their shields. Darkness of the night creeped from behind, engulfing the world from valley slowly but surely. A drop of rain fell on Hormuz’s nose as arrows landed on Mongols. Hormuz was beginning to wonder why are they waiting. Another volley of arrows was fired when Mongols began their charge, leaving behind corpses of those unlucky to be pierced by Persian projectiles. Their answer to Persians was a volley of their own, which was fired a mere moment before some of them fell to Persian arrows. Even from here, Hormuz could see how outskilled Persians were in firing an arrow from a horse, which was probably a biggest advantage Mongols had. But he also knew that Persians had a special skill of their own.

Letting go of horse reins he held in his left, Hormuz raised his wooden shield to protect himself of Mongol arrows. For a moment, screams of fallen Persians conquered the air around Hormuz, but were replaced by a sound of charging horses a second later. Feeling safe enough to lower his shield, Hormuz realized they approached Mongols to a dangerous distance, and heard them screaming and taunting in their foul language trying to instill fear in their Persian enemies. He smiled, as he knew Mongols were no match for them in close mounted combat. Lowering his head to dodge the slice of a Mongol horseman, Hormuz swung his sabre under warrior’s arm, knocking him down from his horse on the ground, leaving him to be finished off by horses, securing his first kill. And thus, in a matter of moments, first line of Mongol horsemen was cut down with minimal casualties as Hormuz could see. His ears were filled with familiar sound of metal clashing against metal, as he proceeded to strike down several more Mongols who rode in his way, followed by his Persians, who cleaved through Mongols like a knife through a goat cheese. Persian leader swung left and right, ending every Mongol unfortunate enough to find himself in Hormuz’s way. He was satiating his thirst for Mongol blood. They were winning, much to Hormuz’s pleasure, as Mongols felt wrath of Ahura Mazda himself. It was an easy victory. Mongols were scattered, more than a half of them. They rode in all directions, most of them rode to a hill to the west, where Persians came from. Hormuz and his warriors were now gathered in one tight formation which resembled a circle, and were finishing Mongols off with their arrows.


Too easy, a thought crossed Hormuz’s mind. Too easy for a foe such as Mongols.


Rain has gotten stronger. It was raining showers now, washing majority of blood away from Hormuz’s face. Looking up, he realized night has fallen already. Warm blood that covered his body was replaced by fresh drops of rain, and he sighed, as his warriors started to wrap up the battle. But battle was far from over. Hormuz’s doubts proved to be true. More Mongols emerged from darkness of the valley. And only now he realized it was all a trap. They were surrounded by hills in the west and vast plains on the north and the south. Mongols scattered in each of these directions, a half of initial number Persian’s fought. And an even larger army approached Persians from the east.

‘’Damn it!’’ Hormuz uttered under his beard ‘’Form the ranks! Ready your bows!’’ he shouted from depth of his lungs.

But what came next was a slaughter, seeing how Persians were gathered in a tight formation, Mongols made an inpenetrable circle around them, circling around on their horses and finishing them off with arrows. Hormuz was pushing to the center of the formation, avoiding death as circle of Persians became smaller and smaller with each kill. His warriors fell one by one, both men and horses as the sound of rain, swishing arrows and screams together made for a terrifying combination. There was nothing they could do, Hormuz knew. Should they break their formation and try to attack, they would all be dead in a matter of seconds. Hormuz gazed at a western hill longingly, wishing he never ordered that attack. He could see something on a hill, a four legged creature. It was a wolf, gazing upon the battlefield as rain stormed the world. Hormuz knew what was following. Death. Not just to the Persians fighting in a battle, but ones left behind in their homes. A dream of a new life will turn to nothing. Not wanting to die as a coward Hormuz raised his sabre, to order one last charge, to look death in the eyes and die a warrior’s death. His eyes turned to a wolf once again. Animal sprinted away. Ground was shaking. His sabre was still raised high in the air and Mongols stopped their fire.

It couldn’t be described as a miracle, it was much more than that, as if Ahura Mazda himself rode to battle in a form of an army which came from the west, an army that shook Mongol formations and forced them to retreat, decimating them completely. Mongols ran like sheep would run from the wolf. They were being cut down one by one without means to defend themselves. Just as they surprised Hormuz, this army surprised them. And just like that, Hormuz and his warriors joined the battle and continued to cut down the escaping Mongols. Hormuz was unable to cope with what happened in a span of just few moments. From clutches of death to victory. But it wasn’t this victory that confused him. It was a fact that their saviours were Persians themselves, prompting Hormuz to wonder where they came from, knowing he was commanding vast majority of Persian warriors, leaving only a dozen behind to guard the helpless. He recognized them by the armors they wore.


As he walked through a battlefield drowned in corpses of deceased following the end of the battle, he was greeted by Persians who saved them. Rain was beginning to ease down by now as Hormuz proceeded to meet the man who led this Persian army. One thing caught his glimpse. Those warriors weren’t wearing steppe clothes and didn’t use steppe weapons. Instead, they wore leather armors used in Persia, having their round painted wooden shields on their backs and sabres. He realized they came straight from Persia, meaning they could be also be Muslims, Persian’s greatest enemies. Walking through mud created with combination of water and dirt, he came to their leader at last, a man who overlooked a battlefield with his back turned to him. He wore same armor as other warriors, having a long black cloak and a sabre sheathed on his waist. A leather quiver filled with arrows could be seen on his waist.

‘’Who are you?’’ Hormuz skipped formalities and asked directly, prompting some of warriors to give him mean looks.

‘’I never took you for a bad tactician, Hormuz.’’

Hormuz widened his eyes as he recognized the voice in an instant. Last time he heard this voice three years ago, it had a lighter tone to it. Now it was dark, and dominant. Bold turned around to face Hormuz and look him in the eyes. It was barely visible in the darkness of the night, but there was no mistake. It was him. He was much taller than last time he saw him, towering above most of the men around him. A weak beard covered his face and his wavy black hair was glued to his head from rain.

‘’I thought I’d never see you again.’’ Hormuz said, trying to keep a calm face.

‘’Take me to our home, Hormuz. I will give you all the answers once we arrive.’’ son of al Gauti ordered, and Hormuz had no other choice but to obey. They arrived at the Persian settlement three days later in dawn. Bold and his men which counted six hundreds were given place to sleep and eat. They caused mass confusion, though. Persian inhabitants were feeling threatened to see such a large number of horsemen in their homes, but were relieved when they learned who they were. Son of al Gauti was welcomed as a hero and a saviour. Fact that Said’s son was alive and commanding an army that defeated Mongols raised the morale of Persian tribesmen. Deciding to rest for a while, Hormuz gave Bold one day to accommodate to the habitat before sitting down to talk with him. In the next morning, Hormuz visited Bold in his yurt, which was built hastily, thus being small and having only most essential things for survival, which included small fireplace with a cooking pot, bedroll and a small table next to which was a chest with Bold’s equipment, as well as other minor items. Bold was sitting on a pillow in front of a fireplace when Hormuz entered his tent. There was an empty pillow next to him obviously reserved for Hormuz.

Allowing himself to sit on the pillow, Hormuz asked ‘’How do you like our new habitat?’’

Bold still had his eyes kept on the fire, which produced a cracking sound which filled the air in tent.

‘’It’s good, although smaller than the last one.’’ he said.

‘’Obviously.’’ Hormuz said and frowned, with a thousand questions on his mind ‘’Where were you?’’

Upon hearing this question, Bold finally turned his head and looked at Hormuz with his yellow eyes. Those wolfish eyes were exactly the same, mysterious and intimidating. There were no formalities between them, seeing how close Hormuz was with Bold’s father and Bold as well in his childhood.

‘’I was in Persia.’’

Hormuz tried to hide his surprise, but only raised an eyebrow ‘’I presume that’s where your army came from.’’

Bold nodded and turned his head back to the fireplace ‘’You are right. I spent two years there. I killed the Turks and raided their homes.''

‘’So it was you, then. I heard only rumours.’’ Hormuz said, prompting Bold to turn his head and face him again ‘’Persian warlord called o’Ginn who came from the steppe, raided and killed in the name of Ahura Mazda.’’

Bold smirked ‘’That is true. I am o’Ginn.’’

Hormuz just nodded his head slowly several times, thinking about what he had heard just now.‘’Oh, where are my manners Hormuz, I haven’t offered you a drink.’’



Son of al Gauti, Bold. Known as o'Ginn in Persia and the steppe


Two Persians drowned their talk in drinks, sipping best wine from Persia, reminding Hormuz how much he missed it. They talked about their next move and their future, about their past and about themselves. From what Hormuz has learned about Bold from their talk is that he has grown much as a man and matured, albeit a bit too much for Hormuz’s liking. Bold commanded the larger part of Persian army, but Hormuz was still their leader. In the evening, a meeting was called in the center of the habitat. A large fire was lit in the middle of the clearing in honor of Ahura Mazda and a prayer ensued. Everyone was present, from the youngest child to the most venerable elder. It was a fine sight to the eyes, seeing a Persian community united in prayer to one true God. Herbad recited Ashem Vohu, Ahunawar and Yenghe Hatam in order, three of most important Zoroastrian prayers.


Following the prayers, high ranking members of Persian nomad society gathered in Hormuz’s yurt, largest one in the habitat since he was an acting leader. Bold was present with two of his generals, while Hormuz was honored with presence and support of four of his men, two of them being generals while other two were tasked with inner affairs. They were seated at the large table served with food and drinks by Hormuz’s wife Yasmin. His sons, Ormazd and Bahadur, sixteen and twelve summers old, were outside on Hormuz’s orders.

Hour passed rather quickly in discussion on what to do next. Every man present had a thing to say about something, although Bold kept his mouth shut and was just listening to older men with occasional sip of black kumis. Two of his generals had few things to say and comment on several topics, but not once did they address their leader.

What are you thinking, Bold?, Hormuz thought as he stared at Bold thoughtfully, who was playing with a wooden cup of black kumis in his hand while leaning backwards on his chair in a more comfortable position. Why aren’t you saying anything? You don’t know what to say?


‘’I propose we move our forces to the west.’’ Orkhan, one of Hormuz’s generals said, gathering all the attention ‘’Cumans are fighting among themselves. This is our opportunity to strike and take the plains for ourselves.’’

‘’But Mongols and Kirghiz will learn of your absence and attack us!’’ a man tasked with gathering tributes from community protested.

‘’Then we should migrate to the west, closer to Cuman borders. That’s our best chance for survival!’’ second of Hormuz’s generals said and took a sip of his drink ‘’You all must agree on it.’’

Hormuz didn’t have a say in this matter yet, he wanted to hear more opinions. He caught a glimpse of Bold’s mouth curling upwards into a smirk for a moment. He leaned forward to the table, placing his cup down on it. Air in yurt suddenly became tense as everyone quieted down and turned their attention to son of al Gauti.

‘’We will go to the east.’’ he said in a calm voice, keeping emotionless face.

Orkhan frowned ‘’By we you mean your army and you?’’

Bold shook his head slowly. Hormuz raised an eyebrow.

‘’By we Orkhan, I mean all of us. All of Persians.’’

One of Hormuz’s generals stood up in rage, leaning towards Bold ‘’Your absence has made you forgetful, boy! You have forgotten what tribes lies in the west!’’

Bold ignored general’s outburst and kept his eyes on Hormuz, who stared back at him.

‘’Sit down, Farzin.’’ Hormuz ordered and his general sat down with an apology coming out of his mouth ‘’Said al Gauti was greatest companion of mine, and a great leader of our people. You being his son doesn't make you a leader of our people. That decision is not yours to make.’’

Bold smiled at him, confusing Hormuz who hid it well. But other than smiling, Bold didn’t reply anything.

‘’I meant no disrespect, son of al Gauti.’’ Farzin, who calmed down said to Bold ‘’I just wan…’’

‘’Call me a boy one more time, and I’ll cut out your tongue and feed you with it.’’ Bold said as smile on his face faded away, causing air in yurt to become even heavier and turned his look back at Hormuz. ‘’You see, Hormuz, it is my decision to make.’’

Tensions were becoming high. Farzin and other of Hormuz’s men shifted in their seats. Bold’s generals kept straight faces and showed no signs of emotions.

‘’How so?’’ Hormuz asked, eagerly awaiting to what is the boy going to say next.

‘’Because I will be khan.’’ Bold declared.

Thus an eruption of words began. Hormuz’s men were shouting at Bold, calling him all kinds of names and insulting him. Hormuz kept his calm and just stared at boy with yellow eyes. What Bold declared right now was an insult to Hormuz and his reputation. But he knew what had to be done. Son of al Gauti commanded an army three times bigger than Hormuz's and could take the reins of rulership by force if he wanted. He raised his hand and his men quieted down. In calm tone, Hormuz said ‘’You are right. I am in no position to lead Persians after my recent performance on the battlefield. If not for you, we would all be dead right now.’’

Horror on faces of Hormuz’s men couldn’t be hidden. His answer was one they didn’t expect. Hormuz didn’t honor them enough to look at them. He felt anger boiling inside of him because of this disrespect. These men are not going to look at him the same after this.

Bold nodded his head and raised a cup to Hormuz, grinning ‘’You have my gratitudes, Hormuz.’’

Former Persian leader smiled back at son of al Gauti. He knew he made a right choice. It could’ve gone in a very wrong way hadn’t Hormuz done what he did. On the way out of Hormuz’s yurt after the meeting was over, when everyone left, Bold stopped at the doorstep. He turned to Hormuz who approached him.

‘’What can I do for my lord khan?’’ Hormuz asked with a bit of spite in his voice. What surprised him was a face Bold made, a face which resembled his younger, innocent self. He smiled at Hormuz and put his hand on Hormuz’s shoulder.

‘’Thank you, truly. And please, accept my apologies for what I’ve done today. You know how I have to look to them. No weaknesses.’’

Hormuz shook his head, measuring Bold from feet to head, hesitating a little before he smiled and said ‘’Said would be proud. So am I.’’

With his hand still on Hormuz’s shoulder, Bold pulled him into a hug before he left the yurt.



Large fire in the center of the habitat was still burning. Persians were present when Hormuz announced he is no longer leader of Persian tribe. They received news unexpectedly and with confusion, and many moments were spent in whispering amongst the populace before Hormuz continued his speech and presented son of al Gauti to the audience, who stopped all their tasks in anticipation to hear what’s going to be said next.

Bold stood in front of them with Hormuz behind him, a whole head shorter than son of al Gauti. He wore a black cloak covered with wolf furs on shoulders and a black shirt and pants he brought from Persia with scale armor over it. Sabre was sheathed on his waist, its hilt made in shape of wolf’s head on a top of it.


‘’As you all know, our great leader Hormuz willingly renounced his rule for a better future of our people.’’ Bold started, his voice was deep and dominant ‘’For that, we are all grateful. Not for renouncing his rule, but for leading our people in these harsh times. My father was leader of our people before Hormuz, known as Said to you and al Gauti to his enemies. As his son, I claim the title and declare myself khan of Persians.’’


Much to Hormuz’s surprise, community received these news well, applauding and yelling out name of Said and Bold among other positive sentences. Bold raised his hand and audience calmed down.


‘’I bring the army from Persia hardened in many battles that will protect us and defeat our enemies when we move back to the Altai valley, and I bring riches from our homeland, ones I that I will share with you in days to come.’’


With this, Hormuz realized how fast Bold became popular with Persian nomads, from being just Said’s son at first, to winning a crucial battle for them against Mongols and bringing them riches from Persia. It was as if he had everything planned and knew he’d succeed. Maybe this was the saviour Said was talking about years ago. Maybe he was, maybe not. It did not matter much, for Bold o’Ginn was walking the steps of conquerors, and he had no intention of stopping.


 
Last edited:

Arnulf Floyd

Captain
Oct 22, 2018
499
25
Another good and interesting chapter:)
 

stnylan

Compulsive CommentatAAR
119 Badges
Aug 1, 2002
36.545
2.457
  • 500k Club
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • March of the Eagles
  • Europa Universalis III Complete
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Victoria: Revolutions
  • Europa Universalis: Rome
  • Rome Gold
  • Semper Fi
  • Victoria 2
  • Victoria 2: A House Divided
  • Victoria 2: Heart of Darkness
  • Rome: Vae Victis
  • Hearts of Iron III Collection
  • Cities: Skylines
  • Europa Universalis III: Collection
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Europa Universalis IV: Pre-order
  • Europa Universalis: Rome Collectors Edition
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Cities: Skylines - After Dark
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings III
  • Darkest Hour
  • Arsenal of Democracy
  • Hearts of Iron II: Armageddon
  • Cities in Motion
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: Charlemagne
  • Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: Rajas of India
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Deus Vult
  • Europa Universalis III
  • Europa Universalis III: Chronicles
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Call to arms event
  • For The Glory
  • For the Motherland
  • Hearts of Iron III
Bold handled that very well indeed. I don't mean the battle - that was a relatively easy affair. The transfer of power - that is truly tricky. To begin his time of Khan publicly with a compliment to the one he superceded was a deft touch. Now Hormuz will likely be praised as the man who lead his people as well as he could, and who had the strength of courage to step aside when the moment came.