Babkha

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Babkha
Babkha.png

Babkha coa.png

Feudal Status: Kingdom
Capital: Kamalshahr
Largest Cities: Vey, Raspur, Norasht

Local Leadership Title: Shahanshah
Local Government: Monarchy
Current leader: Ardashir Khan Osmani

Local language: Babkhi
Local Religion: Temple of Zartosht


A long-lived micronation that Shireroth has had a long, warm and occasionally rather tumultuous relationship with. The Mango-Camel Pact was recently reaffirmed by Kaiser Letifer III and the Shah of Babkha, after a long period of somewhat chillier relationships brought on by Babkha's participation in The Great Satan.

In general, Shirithians see Babkhans (especially Ardashir) as bloodthirsty turban-wearing warriors who seem to be just a bit too fond of their camels and sheep but who, in the end, are very decent and likeable micronationalists and who seem to be sticking around so it's better to just be their friends. Babkhans, on the other hand, see Shirithians as a ragtag bunch of silly Californians who are simply ludicrous beyond words, but who it is fun to play along with and be somewhat ludicrous with as long as you're not in company that uses words like "micropatriology" or "bug nation".

Notable current or previous Shirithians who are, or have once been Babkhans, include Ardashir Khan, Rakesh, Jessica Doran, Zarathustra, Ari Rahikkala. There is significant cultural cross-fertilisation between Bakbha and Shireroth - for instance, Babkha has been seen to the likeness of Malarbor in a military banner after one of Shireroth's many deaths, and the history of Elwynn certainly has felt the effect of Babkhan-style leadership.

History

Antiquity

Pur and Dehtie

Babkhan Speaking Nations and Kingdoms came into dominance of Babkha Proper around 3000 PA(Pre Asniel), around this time, The Chelpian Empire of what is now Southern Leiland and northern Babkha, had reached its Peak, and the Willith nations of North West Eura were still emerging.

The two important Babkhan empires of this time were the Purians and the Dehtians. The Pur empire extended from southern Razjania to the Tatanite mountains bordering with the Tatan Empire of Southern Eura. Dehtian influence stretched from Kapav (Kapitalia) through to Mehdiestan and as far north as Alkhvia.

Around 3000 PA, Shah Raqshid OF Pur blocked the advance of Shah Garahand of Dehtie towards the principle city of Nareven in Bolfilestan. (Nareven Being an independant kingdom, and a major route along the silver trade between Zebnia and Pur), ending a 230 year Alliance.

The Bolfil War

A Dehtian Armada of 10 000 triremes from Darasa in Razjania, sailed up the Kapav Sea, and into the Babkhan Sea, attacking and raising the Pur vassal city of Vey, heralding the beggining of the crippling Bolfil War.

The Bolfil war ensued for three years, when in 2997 PA, Dehtian Armies, driven back to the Capital Tarish, were defeated and saw the end of the Dehtian Empire.

With the defeat of Dehtie, and the now weakened Pur army, former tribute bearing states became liberated and grew to Power.

Hashem I and the rise of Kapav

Hashem the first, the son of The Satrap of Kapav, ascended the throne of Kapav, when news of the Dehtian defeat reached Mount Pordan, (the Kapavian Capital).

With a Tatanian invasion of Babkha iminent, Purian attention turned west. with no Purian interferance, Kapav quickly became the dominant power in Eastern Babkha.

Razjan the Warrior

The Purian province of Dar Akann in Southern Babkha, revolted under Razjan Agha. Razjan declared himself King of The lands of Dar Akann, Jurba and laid claim to Kapav.


Razjan founded his capital on the site where his army defeated Pur, and named it Razjania. The lands of Dar Akann and Jurba soon became known as Razjania.

It was at this time that Babak of Kamalabad ascended the throne of Kapav from his father.

Babak the Great

Babak moved the Kapavian capital from Mount Pordan to the River Marzieh, and founded the city of Kamalshahr.

Babaks interest turned towards the Purians, whose empire had dwindled considerably. Babak captured Vey in 3952, then marched on Bents the following year.

While preparing to siege the city of Derakhshan, Razjanian armies captured the Kapav Port, Bandar Mehdie.


Unification

Babak the great, enraged by the Razjanian invasion of Kapavian land, marched on Bandar Mehdie, taking it through the employment of Wall towers and fire catapaults. The Kapav army then drove Razjan south towards the Dehtian Sea city of Iraj, again using wall towers to succesfully siege the city. The city of Razjania posed a great problem to Babak the great. being a harbour city, and with Razjan ordering motes to be built around the city walls.

Babak drew the Razjanian army out of the city for a battle on the plains of Razjania where he could use his chariots to full effect and had his entire fleet of triremes siege the city from its harbour.

Superior Naval tactics and the employment of Chariots gave the Kapavs victory against the Armies of Razjan. Razjan was appointed the Satrap of Razjania and became a close advisor to Babak the Great.

Swift victories over Pur and the remaining Babkhan Kingdoms saw, for the first time a unified Babkha.

Babak The Great was crowned King Of Kings of Babkha.

During four years of peace in Babkha, Babak created a new administration system, which saw the nation divided into 8 Provinces, his native Kapav becoming the province of Kapitalia, Dehtie becoming part of Mehdiestan, and Pur becoming Kamalia (with Babakshahr as its capital).

Babak the Great died in Nasrin Islands.

The Defeat of Alkhiva

With Rastam I as King, Babkha turned its attention towards the North. The Alkhvian empire which had grown from a Chelpian tribute payer, to a large empire, had disturbed several Babkho-Chelpian trade routes.

Rastams raid into Alkhvia was successfull, it doubled the size of the Babkhan empire. As Rastam defeated the Alkhvians, he founded cities on his war trail, migration from Babkha into what he renamed North Babkha, saw the Alkhvian empire integrate as part of Babkha.

The Willith Union and Salvadoria

Rastam the conqueror died in 2923 PA, while supressing a Vipian Revolt in the west. During this time, the History of Eura, was marked by some important events. The Willith Nations of North West Eura, Yengisia, Emria, Escotia, Osria, Thillies, Reeland, Nemzland, and Nilles, united to Form the Willith Union, creating at the time, the largest empire yet seen. The City of Neudalls was founded while Alkaho, the Alcan Peninsula and several Spartianan States were captured. In the central north of Eura, Salvadoria unified as a republic, after withstanding a Zebnian invasion.

A power struggle ensued in Babkha between Behruz II, eldest son of Rastam, and Bahram the Grim, his half brother. Behruz was throned King of Kings, while Bahram fled to North Babkha with a loyal army.

Kamaltoon and Civil War

Bahrams army arrived across the Babkhan Gulf, where they set up a fortress, (which grew to become the city of Kamaltoon). Behruz II, sent a small army made up of the Kapitalian and Dehvaz Provincial Guards, and a small band of of Cavaliers to North Babkha. Bahrams Army was expected to be easily defeated. However to the great surprise of the King, his forces were destroyed before even leaving Babkha Proper. Bahrams army had grown to be so large that it matched the Royal Armies. Compromised of ethnic Alkhvians and Boghls, Bahram's allegience would give them interpendance if he was to march on Kamalshahr victorious.

The Babkhan civil war ensued for eight years, with Bahram's armies finally being defeated in the northern city of Norasht. Bahram became known as 'the grim' after killing three hundred of his most loyal soldiers before killing himself.

The Invasion of Vipia and Tatania

With a victorious army at his disposal, Behruz II turned his attention towards Vipia, the land of the Kings desert. Behruz marched for one year through the kings desert before being met by a Tatan envoy at the gates of Vipia's capital, Uramin. Vipia and Tatania had signed an alliance against Babkha. The Tatan envoy warned that if Vipia was attacked, a Tatan fleet would sail to Kamalshahr and sack the city. Behruz took the risk.

The march of the empire had begun. Rather than Kamalshahr being sacked, Babkhan vessels from Mehdiestan and Infantry units from Niloufar Province, captured the city of Tatania. After taking Vipia, Behruz realised the close proximity of the Babkhan Empire with the expanding Willith Union, would result in a conflict that Babkha was not prepared for. The King made a trip to Neudalls, where he fell in love with the Countess of Yengisia, Margarette of Welsdale. Upon returning to Babkha, Behruzes only child was born, Princess Grace.

Princess Grace and Western Expansion

Behruz II was preparing for an invasion of Mestechap when he was assasinated by the Grand Vizier Abbas, a short lived Abbasian dynasty ruled Babkha for 5 months, untill Princess Grace and her loyal army which became known as the Immortal Gracian Guards (and last to this day in the now nation of Gracia), marched the Royal Palace and beheaded the treacherous Vizier.

Grace was crowned Queen of Kings Of Babkha, and immediately set out to accomplish her fathers plans for a Babkhan invasion of the central Euran Kingdom of Mestechap.

The military expedition which would lead the Babkhans accross the great desert of the kings for the first time in history. Realising the treacherous conditions they would face while on the route to Mestechap, Queen Grace, realised that a permanent base would need to be established after the desert of the kings. Accompanying the soldiers across the desert was approximately 20 000 settlers, craftsmen and farmers.

The City of Emperatus

After months of travel and hardship crossing the great desert, which after that voyage became known as the Dashte Badbakhti (Desert of Hardship), Queen Grace ordered the construction of a city at an Oasis which her general named Emperaturus (Empress Fields).

The Mestechap war, became the shortest war in Babkhan history, with a swift victory of just 3 days, the once powerfull central Euran Kingdom of Mestechap became yet another Babkhan province.

The Kel Wars

The neighbouring Kel Kingdoms of Vayelon, Susd, and Shom, formed the Alliance of Vayelon, with Willith support, and watched closely by the Sultan of Uzbenistan, as the Babkhan expansion threatened the Western Euran nations.

The Newly united kingdoms of Kelestan, urged by the Willith Union and with Uzben and Ulzevan military support, attacked Emperaturus.

The Babkhan army and the emerging Emperaturian Guards repelled the Kel invasion, and in turn, an infuriated Queen Grace ordered the sacking of the three principal Kel cities of Vayelon, Shom and Susd.

Triggered by the Kel attack, Queen Grace took the final Babkhan push to the west. Kelestan was ravaged by her army, while Ulzevanestan and many other of the Kingdoms of South West Eura fell to the ever strengthening army of Queen Grace.

With every military victory, the Queen followed the traditions of those before her, by founding new cities and encouraging trans empire migration of Babkhans from Babkha Proper to the new provinces. She founded the city of Shahzamin in memory of her father (land of Kings). The city of Shirabam was founded on the southern coast, and Hashemshahr was founded on the site of the defeat of a Chelpian rebellion in the province of North Babkha.

Only Uzbenistan stood in the way of Graces Empire, the Uzbens had already proven there tremendous military strength, during the Kel wars, destroying the Queens Golden chariot divisions, up untill then, known as the immortal force of her army.

Four years of war with Uzbenistan and after 14 years away from Kamalshahr since her first war with Mestechap, Grace's army defeated the Sultan of Uzbenistan in the battle of Marria. To celebrate the end of the western wars and the final Babkhan Victory, Grace ordered the greatest craftsmen from around Babkha and Eura, to create a city commemorating her achievements.


The city of Grace was born. The Queen moved the capital from Kamalshahr to Grace and negotiated the final peace terms with Babkhas northern neighbours, Willithia, Spartiana, Salvadoria, Chelpia and Zebnia.

Queen Grace died at age 75, in Grace.

Babak II and the Independence of Duoland

After The Queens death, with increased unrest over the throne of Babkha being in Grace, Kamalshahr revolted under the General of the Kapitalian Guards. Babak II successor to the throne of Babkha, immediately put out the insurrection but was compelled to move the capital back to Kamalshahr. His Brother, Raqshid, remained in Grace and was annointed King of the new province of Gracia. He married the grand daughter of the former Sultan of Uzbenistan to appease the Uzbens remaining in the North of the Province.

(his line would become the royal family of an independant Gracia 2000 years later).

The reign of Babak II, was marked by uprisings and rebellions, but none more important than the granting of independance to Duoland. The Islands of Duoland and Trieland fell to Queen Grace twenty years earlier. cased in Lamerique on the eastern sea board, and stretching north to Davisville and west to Letti. This area came to be known as Leiland. The rebellion was led by a Lameriquean General, Liam Du Daviss.

At the same time, Zebnia and her ally Salvadoria sacked and pillaged the Chelpian Capital Burghsoice, killing the King and his family. General Liam quickly claimed the former Chelpian Empire as Leiland, proclaimed Lamerique its capital, and himself its emperor.

Zebnian soldiers were sent to destroy Lamerique. However to the surprise of the Zebnian King, the new Emperor repelled the attack. Four years of war between Leiland and Zebnia, saw the disintegration of the Zebnian empire, and the birth of a powerfull new state in Eura.

Hashem II

Babak II drowned in a shipwreck off the Chelpian Gulf, while returning to Kamalshahr after visiting the Emperor of Leiland. Hashem II heir to the throne, murdered his brothers and sisters in fear of a challenge to his reign and had his fathers advisors eyes burned off. The Brutal begining of Hashem II's throne was to mark the rest of his reign.

An uprising in Kelestan during his first year as King resulted in the massacre of thousands of Kels, and the refusal of the Duolish to pay Babkhan Taxes was met with the destruction of Duecit, the Duolish capital.

When it became known to the King that Willithia had a hand in the Kel uprising, Hashem II prepared to invade the Willith Union.

The 1st Euran War

Hashem II allied himself with Leiland and the Alcanian Uprising in The Alcan Peninsula in Willithia. While the Williths and Spartiana allied against Babkha.

Babkha invaded the Yengis kingdom of the Willith Union from the south and Babkhan soldiers based in the Alcan Peninsula attacked the northern State of Ostrisia. Leilish warships were sent to attack the Spartianans to deter them from joining in the Babkho-Willith war, while an earlier passive Salvadoria saw its chance to take its claim of Omenia from Spartiana.

Parthmund, the largest city of Yengisia was pillaged by Babkhan Soldiers, while the Willith Navy launched its attack on the nearby city of Grace. Spartianan aid to Willithia never arrived after its soldiers, tied up to defending the province of Omenia in the south from Salvadoria, and a Leilish siege on the capital Corinth.

The Salvadorian invasion of Omenia was soon repelled by strong Spartianan resistance, and a shortlived Eman uprising near its border with Babkha was quelled. Salvadoria drew out of the war and despite intense Leilish pressure for another invasion of Omenia, remained neutral. Hashem II's successes in Yengisia and Ostresia, turned to disaster for him, as the Williths destroyed his Alcan force in the north and captured Grace. The situation turned to stalemate as neither armies managed to break each others hold.

Babkha agreed to retreat from its positions in the Alcan Peninsula and from Yengisia, in return for a Willith withdrawal from Grace. With the end of the first Euran War, Hashem II set about quelling the insurrections that had arised in the empire during the distraction of the war. An Uzben bloodbath ensued when the Kings armies re-entered the province of Gracia, as the Uzbens had allied with Willithia during the war. Royal Razjanian Provincial Guards positioned in Mehrestan during the war were sent through Kelestan on there return home to quell the Kel uprisings. Thousands of Kels were killed in Shom, Susd and particularly Vayelon.

Hashem II died thirteen years later while invading the city of Al Akabar, in Eman Province, Spartiana.

Babak III and Babak IV

During a sustained period of peace, the Babkhan empire enjoyed great economic and cultural growth. The period of the reigns of Babak III and Babak IV were Eura's most peacefull time. Eura under the control of six empires, the Babkhan, the Duolish, the Leilish, the Salvadorian, the Spartianian and the Union of Willithia. Babak III encouraged the arts, with a flourishing Babkhan cultural reneissance and the growth in importance of West Babkhan Cities such as Shahzamin, Emperaturs, Grace and Shirabam.

Babak IV's rule coexisted with that of his father, however during his rule, tradiotionally disgruntled Western Provicnes began to encourage seperationist activities. With this in mind Babak IV strengthened the peacetime standing army, largely neglected by his father. He organised the army into various divisions. The Royal Babkhan Army was organised into an efficient offensive war machine, while the Royal Babkhan Guards were formed to be the defensive units of Babkha against any external threats. For internal security, the Provinces were each assigned with Provincial Guards (while some Babkha Proper provinces already had these guards). These Provincial Guards were formed to quell any insurrections, assist the Army and the Babkhan Guards in times of war and to effectively act as a police force.

(Henceforth the histories were continued by Artaxerxes the Continuator. All subsequent errors are his own.)

The Kumara Invasion

As a course of historical inevitability foreign powers began to prey on the continent of Eura. Famine, pestilence and war in some unknown quarter of the world had cut off the sea trade routes between the continents. In desperation the great ocean going powers sent their navigators out into the unknown on voyages of exploration to discover new lands to exploit and colonise.

Mariners from the West had returned to their homelands with tales of the thousands of whales in the waters around Eura, and huge colonies of seals on the northern shore. A sealing gang was Eura’s first Western residents, and as demand and exploitation grew by leaps and bounds, the dragon headed longboats of the foreigners began calling at northern and western harbours ever more frequently. These foreigners were known simply as the Sea Peoples and they were a race of which the people of Eura were in almost completely ignorant off.

In contrast however the fame of Eura was fast spreading across the world, until word of its riches reached the ears of the most dreaded of the Sea Peoples – the Kumara. They were a barbarous and proud race, hailing from a rocky barren island of the same name, the Kumara were unable and unwilling to depend on agriculture or trade and lived therefore entirely by piracy alone. Flotillas of war canoes and longboats carried Kumara war parties across the oceans of the world, more than pirates they were a plague on civilisation that rivalled or eclipsed even the destructive potential of the steppe nomads. The maxim of the Kumara was to destroy ones enemies at minimum cost – as for example, a favourite trick was to slaughter enemy leaders lured into peace conference. The plundered and leaderless countries that had suffered under the Kumara soon found themselves under the yoke of other Sea Peoples who followed in the wake of the pirates like scavengers.

On the surface the six native empires that had partitioned Eura between themselves were secure in an unparalleled age of prosperity and cultural advancement. The six, headed by Babkha and the Willith Union, benefited mutually from a balance of power created by the shifting alliances that prevented either Babkha or the Willith achieving primacy. Free of external interference the continental powers held each other in check, the very strength of their armed forces keeping their neighbours expansionist ambitions in check. In the midst of an era of free trade and intellectual renaissance the continent once more began to resemble a vast armed camp.

Thus when the infamous Kumara chieftain, Hengistorsa, piloted his war fleet into a Willith harbour he was greeted warmly by envoys of a Willith Senate that was always on the look out for potential new allies against Babak IV.

Hengistorsa was a perceptive and shrewd warlord; the Willith had not been his first choice of ally in the territories he now hungered after. For at least a year before initiating contact with the Willith he had negotiated with Babak IV, the Kumara had made the standard offer of their services as mercenaries in return for land. However the Babkhans had not been so foolish as to be taken in by the schemes of the Kumara, Hengistorsa departed, disappointed, with a token tribute of gold trinkets and provisions for the journey which the Babkhans hoped would take the most infamous of all the Sea Peoples as far away from their shores as possible.

Instead the canny chieftain entered into negotiations with the Willith Senate, again making his offer to wage war against their foes in return for land. Hengistorsa bluffed the corrupt and incompetent senators into believing the paltry gifts in gold rials from Babak were a bribe offered up by the Babkhans for the Kumara to launch a surprise attack on the Willith.

Hengistorsa maintained it was only his deep admiration for the prowess and virtue of the Willith (whom in truth he loathed) that prevented him from taking up the Shah’s offer. In a panic the Senate offered up land for the Kumara to fortify, free access to their harbours and an annual tribute for the protection of the Willith Union by Hengistorsa and the other Kumara chieftains they implored him to invite in with unseeemly.

Other nations allied to or dependent on the Willith Union followed the example of the Senate and entered into negotiations with the foreigners. Soon the growing assembly of Kumara chieftains, having elected Hengistorsa their Cyng Curia (literally ‘King in Court’), began playing off the Duolish, Leilish, Salvadorians, Spartianians and the Williths against each other. Wars were fought on points of honour as every king, noble and general felt confident enough to try to bring his opponents to their knees through force of arms when they each had the patronage of one Kumaran chieftain or another. The Kumara, while encouraging their new ‘masters’ to raid their neighbours, remain in secret correspondence with each other, waiting for the moment to assert themselves which came sooner than they had dared to expect.

Weakened by their intrigues against each other and fearful of the latent power of Babkha, the rulers of Western Eura paid the price for their own stupidity when they were compelled to gather at Al Akabar, by the very same mercenaries they had hired to augment their power, and acknowledge Cyng Hengistorsa as the Grand Emir and Caliph of Al Akabar. Soon the Western portion of the continent fell under shadow of the blue swastika of the Kumara.

Caliph Hengistorsa’s meteoric rise towards supreme power alarmed Babak Shah who was fearful that the Caliphate of Al Akabar would throw its might against the disaffected western provinces of Babkha. In an extreme step the Royal Army and the Provincial Guards gathered in the west Babkhan cities to menace borders of the new Caliphate. Both sides postured along their new mutual frontier. Babkha had been confounded to find its neighbours united under a terrifying new barbarian power that held command of the sea and was more than a match for even the combined armies of Babkha.

The 2nd Euran War

Babak Shah’s great hope and obvious first strategy was to ferment revolt amongst the subjects of the Caliph. The Princes who had been so humiliated by the events at Al Akabar were the first to be sought out by the Babkhan envoys. To have progressed from the status of sovereign lords to being in effect provincial governors and hostages to the whim of the Caliph, in the course of four short years was unendurable humiliation. Antiochus, Emperor of Leiland, was the first to respond favourably.

Happy to oblige the son of his former ally; the Leilish Emperor summoned all the Kumara chieftains within his dominion to a great feast at his capital in Lamerique, where he made all manner of entertainments available for the primitive horde, music, imported wine, the finest meat and the most attractive women from the across his Empire. All night long the hideous orgy went on, the drinking and the feasting; but as dawn began to break the barbarians sank into heavy dreamless slumber, and the women acting on the Emperors instructions seized their chance. Drawing the swords of the sleeping chieftains from their sheaths, each woman stabbed the Kumaran lying at her side. Antiochus’ retainers, having waited the night in the hidden recesses of the palace, broke in at the prearranged signal and finished of the ghastly work of dispatching their masters’ hated foes.

Insulated by the protection and friendship offered by the Shah of Babkha, Antiochus reasserted his independence with an empire wide purge of all surviving Kumara tribesmen in his territory, several hundred survivors however escaped out to sea with news of the massacre.

Hengistorsas’ response was furious; a combined Willith-Kumara fleet was dispatched to exterminate the rebel ‘province’. The Babkhan and Leilish triremes failed to detect, let alone intercept, the longboats and war galleys. A week after the massacre, the armada appeared of the Leilish coast. Antiochus had written a message for Babak Shah saying there was no sign of the Sea Peoples and that all was well, he had it dispatched by dhow to Kamalshahr the same day that the Sea Peoples appeared over the horizon and proceeded wiped out the city, the dhow was overtaken and the message intercepted. The Kumara taunted Antiochus with its content before they executed him by pouring molten silver into his eyes, ears, mouth, nose and rectum. The Kumara were notoriously suppositious about shedding royal blood outside of battle. The Emperors wife and daughters were brutally raped before being rolled up in carpets and trampled to death.

The horror engendered by the slaughter at Lamerique backfired monstrously for the Kumara. Resistance continued in Duoland. Brought on by desperation as much as defiance, the people refused to yield to a race so alien in customs, manner and speech as the Kumarans.

The events thus far while threatening the peace between Babkha and the Caliphate had not led on to open war between the two now equally matched forces. To be certain Babak Shah had been the instigator of Antiochus’ revolt but neither side was ready to be brought onto the field of battle so soon. Caliph and Shah exchanged envoys, each seeing if they could get the measure of the other. Both had plenty to loose in a descent into open war. Both faced domestic opposition and the threat of revolt in their absence. This was especially true for Hengistorsa who faced the threat of native revolt on an almost day-to-day basis. In spite of this he would have relished the chance to destroy the Babkhan race, which had spurned him so five years previously.

However, as ever, a single incident threw the two parties into the battle that both sides knew must come yet neither was fully ready for. It would be the struggle for continental hegemony which only one state could survive.

Almost a full year after the death of Antiochus a caravan of about one hundred Willith Muslims arrived in Raspur en-route to the pilgrimage sites of Babkha. With them was a Kumara envoy who was to be accompanying them to Kamalshahr. Raspur laid in the territory of Zjandaria, a Satrapy where the steppe nobility remained a law unto themselves. The least promising province of Babkha, its Satraps were the dregs of the Babkhan state, those who had suffered the displeasure of the Shah in some other former capacity were usually appointed to Zjandaria as some kind of internal exile.

The Emir of Raspur, Nadir-Khan, however was a bandit who had risen in local government as much by judiciously applied bouts of mass poisonings and bloodlettings as through administrative skill. Disrespectful of both Satrap and Shah, he thought nothing of plundering travelling caravans. He had all the pilgrims murdered while taking the Envoy to be flayed alive in the Bazaar. All this he did on the grounds that they were spies. It was an incredibly stupid course of action that plunged the two empires into the abyss of war. This may have been the intention. Certainly the Satrap, Cyrus, whose blood relatives had suffered under the new Kumara regime across the border, connived in the atrocity, and may have done so with the deliberate intent of provoking Hengistorsa into a potentially ruinous war.