The Legend of the Rah
Author: LCD

Chapter 1
Prologue

The Great Oracle of Naptuuguis had prophesied that a powerful and evil King one day would meet his destiny when a young and strong man would appear in his palace holding a golden sword in his hand. But it also warned of bloodshed and horrific sacrifices among the people of Rah. Only the Orb of Guatalis had the power to destroy the evil completely and its holder would be the only true ruler over the Rah.

Loar Toorgood stepped out onto the balcony of the makeshift fortress. He looked out over the palisades that ten thousand men had erected in a matter of days. He was the accepted leader of the Rah now. Finally, they had united and laid their quarrels among each other aside. Their true enemy was hedging himself now behind the defenses of the last place in which he felt safe: the impregnable Tower of Aylashua that King Guatalis had let built centuries ago when the Rah had been a free people, instead of enslaved by the greedy and cruel despot King Zylbersdyne.

Loar had dressed himself today in red and white robes worthy of a victor and which barely could conceal his muscular arms and chest. He was a stately young man who had steeled himself physically and mentally a long time for this battle. At barely twenty two years of age, he wasn't only already a commanding leader but also a formidable warrior who faught side by side with his army. He was an excellent and feared rider of the ceratohippus, a domesticized animal that moved with the swiftness of a horse and possessed a horned skull that could plow into enemy shields. The wide black leather belt sat tightly around his slender waist and was fitted with a richly ornamented copper buckle plated with silver. He wore it with pride because it displayed the coat of arms of his ancestors. On the left side was his constant companion and protector: the sword of his father with a grip that fit snugly into his own hand. Its pommel and crossguard were beautifully crafted and laid out with pure gold. The razor sharp edge of its blade had been forged from hardened steel and folded one hundred times lending it unparalleled strength and durability for man-to-man combat. Its reliability had been tested on hundreds of enemy soldiers whom Loar had slain in the past weeks.

One by one, Loar and his army had attacked King Zylbersdyne's fortifications; and all of them had fallen to the Alliance of the Rah. All but the Tower of Aylashua that the growing numbers of Loar's army was holding in a siege. The young warrior squinted and studied the rough, vertical cliffs that were hundreds of poles tall above the bottom of the canyon from which it rose. The Tower was based on a natural structure that had been washed clear from its surroundings in many millenia and served as a formidable fortress to anyone who inhabited the place. King Guatalis had let it be built into a little city of its own with mazes and secret passage tunnels that led out to the valley. The flat top served as a starting and landing pod for Chrah, giant reptilian birds that could carry both cargo and passengers. Chrah were not only impressive animals but also a tremendous tactical weapon and forbidden to be raised by anyone except under the authority of the King's troops. Each day, Loar's men had to watch helplessly how dozens of Chrah left and returned to the Tower, replenishing the supplies of King Zylbersdyne. This was Loar's greatest concern because under these circumstances the siege was ineffectual. Zylbersdyne could last months or longer and fight back with his loyal troops that lived within the Tower. Loar feared that this could undermine the fortitude of his Alliance. At the moment, the spirits of Loar's army were high due to their recent victories but if a final victory
proved too remote, or if even extensive casualties were to be suffered, the wind could change.

The Rah hadn't always been unified. Loar's parents had fought all their life to put some sense into the heads of the local warlords who tended to lash out regularly on each other in haphazard skirmishes in order to weaken the others or to gain a larger follower. The only one who profited from their petty egotistical feuds was King Zylbersdyne who had instated the small territories that each warlord was to rule. While they were busy mauling each other, Zylbersdyne could rule unimpeded. But during many years of diplomatic efforts, enduring dangerous travel and disheartening setbacks, Loar's father had painstakingly convinced the warlords that Zylbersdyne was their greatest enemy and that he could only be overthrown when they united and turned against their common suppressor. He had nearly succeeded when disaster struck and an assassin had come one night to kill his family. However, after the assassin had managed to kill both him and his wife, he was caught in time before he could lay hand on Loar and his siblings. Loar had vowed to avenge his parents and to fulfill their mission. All but one of the warlords agreed to follow the lead of Loar Toorgood. It was Warlord Murkoodar who refused to recognize the leadership of Loar. In fact, many accused Murkoodar openly or privately of having sent the assassin, as he was at good terms with Zylbersdyne and had the largest followship of all warlords. While taking up the fight with Zylbersdyne's armies, Loar had tried to win Murkoodar over to their side but unsuccessfully, so far.

 

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