Sealing of Aladoon

In the centuries that the Tashari Empire prospered, men had accepted this oppressive regime as divine right. But the Aratsus had taken their success for granted. They had drilled too far, mined too deep, bled their plentiful resources dry until their jungles gave way to a parched desert. They tried turning to their trade allies from the other kingdoms for help, but there was no way all the other kingdoms combined could provide for their sheer numbers of people.

What’s worse, their wasteful ambitions had disrupted their kingdom’s part in the cycle of birth, growth, death, and rebirth as ordained by the gods at the beginning of time. Few crops flourished in their depleted soil, which meant diminishing harvests for the Forestside Kingdom to distribute among its neighbors. Famine was creeping up on the entire continent and the Northlanders looked to the south with growing contempt.

It was in this state that the Aratsu Streibshnihvari inherited the Tashari Empire. Knowing how upset and disheartened her subjects were, she proposed a radical new plan to bring the hope back into their hearts. They would build a massive fleet of ships and set out to sea in search of new lands to sustain them. This did indeed brighten the spirits of many, and the men were sent out to construct the ships.

Not everybody was pleased with this plan. A man by the name of Jerumei was fed up with the status quo. He was convinced that the matriarchy had fallen out of Siyanna’s favor and did not understand why the males had to pay for the females’ mistakes. Instead of working on the ships, he went off alone into the desert to seek a vision from the goddess. There he sat, meditating on the injustices he had endured and consumed by a belligerent rage. He did attract the attention of a deity, but it was not Siyanna. Jerumei couldn’t tell the difference, however, and his mind filled in the gaps of that which he did not understand.

When the ships were finally completed, many flocked to the seashore to be the first to relocate to the promised lands. Sail they did, singing joyful songs of how they had conquered the land and would now conquer the oceans. But Clabdisnutsu was not pleased with such songs, and even less pleased that her waters were becoming polluted from the trash that the ships threw overboard. Her anger boiled over when she learned that the Tashari were killing sea animals without her permission, and she sent out merpeople to brew up storms, capsize the ships, and drown all therein.

From that day forward, Clabdisnutsu did not allow any outsiders to travel the seas, and the remaining Tashari were landlocked. Any hope the Tashari had was now dashed to pieces. Leftover resources were waning thin. The people grew paranoid and turned on each other, they panicked and riots broke out in the streets.

Meanwhile, Jerumei returned from his vision quest with his distorted message from the divine. He gathered together the men and told them they had been lied to for centuries: the deity their civilization worshipped was not female but male, and they were kept out of temples to hide that fact. But the women had taken his blessings for granted and squandered them way, so the god chose Jerumei as his new prophet. This god was a god of war, and he was now calling on his true children to rise up against oppression and create an Empire worthy of his name.

To prove that he was telling the truth, Jerumei vowed to look straight into the eyes of Aratsu Streibshnihvari the next time she walks in the street, and not be stricken blind. And to the shock of all, he did just as he said, and the men’s morale soared. The Aratsu would not stand for it and expelled him from Aladoon.

This did not deter Jerumei. He took his band of followers and rode to the nearest city, attacking its citizens and raiding its storehouses. When the men of the city saw others like themselves taking action against the Empire, they joined his cause. And so Jerumei rode from town to town, pillaging their resources and accumulating an exponential stream of followers. Soon he had amassed a mighty army, enough to trample the capital city itself, and he wasted no time in heading for it.

Aratsu Streibshnihvari knew that he was coming. She knew he had left the other cities pillaged and burning behind him. The Tashari Empire had crumbled and all hope was lost. When she saw the dust cloud of his army approaching, she called her twelve Priestesses to her side and they locked themselves in the highest tower. Streibshnihvari wept for her fallen Empire, for the suffering of her people, for the shattering of a beautiful dream, and as her tears fell, she and the Priestesses pooled the last remnants of their powers to cast a mystical barrier around Aladoon. She intended to seal the city in a singular point in time, forever existing in the moment before it was overrun by the enemy.

When Jerumei saw their magic light up the horizon, he told his army to ride faster, but it was of no use. Just as they were within sight of the city gates, the entire metropolis disappeared from view. He unhorsed and ran his hand through the bare sand. It was as if the city had never existed. There was nothing more they could do, so he ordered his army to turn around and ride away.

The once-mighty Tashari’s numbers had been cut down drastically in these chaotic times. In order to survive, they were forced to live as scattered bands of nomads in a barren wasteland, raiding bordering settlements, trader caravans, and each other for food and supplies. Northlanders viewed them as a scourge upon the land, and called them Marauders. The continent was now in the full grip of famine and they never forgot who was to blame. Ever since, any human with black hair was suspected to be of Maraudean ancestry and shunned by civilized society.

The Tashari men worshipped the god of war as prescribed to them by their prophet Jerumei. Jerumei never did lose his grudge against the Empire’s females, and proclaimed that it was the god’s will that women be subjugated. And so the tables have turned, but nobody was any better off from it. The Marauders eventually lost all memory of their matriarchal past. Though their glamorous heritage had been blown away by the desert wind, they were still proud.

The city of Aladoon existed only as a fanciful legend. Its female rulers were turned into the harem of a mythical King, sealed together with all his riches so none could claim either. After the King died, the harem girls remained sealed. It was said they were exquisitely beautiful, and terribly lonely, and any man that finds them they would treat as their king and shower him with treasure. Many set out in search of Aladoon, but all who managed to return were unsuccessful. Yet the real Aladoon still existed, frozen somewhere in the shifting sands of time.

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Copyright © 2003 by Yumeni All rights reserved.
Revised: 12 May 2010 07:47:49 -0400 .