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Topic of the Month: The Truth behind the "Battle of the Three Lords"
[In exclusivity, a special report by Zoran Dragovic. Ed.]
For six years I have been travelling the lands situated between the Black Mountains and the mighty Yalu River. For six years, I was asking myself the same question: why the forces opposed to the Master and the Hulean Empire weren't able to unite to overthrow the dark man of Greatrealm? Six years during which I have put my life in great perils to accumulate clues, evidences and half answers. Now that the history has accelerated in the Hulean region, and with the sum of knowledge I have reaped on the matter, I have been able to decipher the real plot behind what is now called "The Battle of the Three Lords."
To understand more what is at stake behind this year's conflict in Hule, one need to know the principal protagonists of the conflict. What we have is three power-hungry beings, three characters who have sacrificed the life and ideals of thousands of their followers for an outcome that has yet to be understood. Those three beings, the Master, Rehmin (formerly known as the dragon Remindan), and Ustalam Banshybek all are seeking Immortality. Unfortunately, for the region's population, their paths were sent to collide violently.
The first one, the Master, is a well-known villain throughout the Old World for his invasion of Sind and the attack against Darokin in the course of the events now known as the Great War. If his military actions are well known, his ultimate goals are less clear for most scholars and philosophers. The evidence I have unearthed are that this being of unknown nature (some sources indicates that he might be a leech coming from a long-forgotten civilisation or the reincarnation of the original Hosadus) is looking toward Immortality along the Path of the Fiend under the tutelage of Bozdogan. However, in more than 400 years of unchallenged reign, the Master hasn't been able to fulfil the last condition imposed by his quest for Immortality in Entropy [according to the Tsa'alian Ubar Doragirk, the Chengouch Book of the Lost Souls. Zoran. ]: he hasn't been able to permanently bring a entire culture to the worship of entropy. Even if the Temple of Chaos is thriving in the Hulean Empire, in his long reign over the empire the Master hasn't been able to spread the worship of chaos in the surrounding communities in such a way as to permanently change their customs. In Sind, the old ways are still followed by most of the population [yet, a Kyurduk hermit once told me that the new faith in Gareth was, in fact, an attempt made by Bozdogan to obtain new followers through deceit. However, I haven't been able to investigate on this issue. If the old man was right, then, as the faith in Gareth will grow out of the action of the Master in Sind and bring changes to the Sindhi civilisation, the Master will be able to fulfil this last requirement on the Path of the Fiend. Zoran. ]; in Olgar, the Church of Traladara has been strong enough to regularly defeat the Hulean armies; in Monzag, the Way of the Law, not the Temple of Chaos, is replacing the druidic ways of the former Sendaryan tribes; briefly, the Master has failed to bring profound religious changes around him.
Rehmin, on the other hand has more fluid goals and objective. When I met him, in AC 1012, I found a charming but severe strategist, a cunning diplomat and an unforgiving leader. I haven't been able to trace Rehmin's history before the moment he arrived in Kyurdukstan as a Sindhi bandit willing to destroy Hule and the Master, but converging reports and the fact that his army was constantly helped by powerful dragons brought me to think that Rehmin is the human form of the great dragon king Remindan, which was ousted from his lands earlier in the century. Remindan was already on his path toward Immortality as an Epic Hero [I figured this out from a cross-analysis of accounts about the legendary origin of Rehmin found in the Arbashad Na-Meyati (the Kyurduks' legendary tale of Rehmin roughly translated as The Road to Unity), discussions with the warrior-priests of Ksharya (Karaash) in Hayebil, and scrolls found in the archives of the Great Guild of Grouzhina. Zoran. ]; though this is an unusual path for a red dragon, this path was clearly fit for a dragon as Remindan, who always preferred the strategy and resulting bloodbath of great wars and the diplomacy as done by humankind to the boring politics of dragonkind. This is supported by the fact that his red steel scimitar Schumiktar has earned an important reputation as being the best blade west of the Great Waste. Rehmin has also left his dauphin, Marik Dostar, at the head of a unified Kyurdukstan allied with Grouzhina. Shortly, Rehmin has woven a legend around himself, his friends and belongings. But, according to His priests in Hayebil, Karaash has asked Rehmin to fulfil a last great quest in His name: to free the humanoids of Hule from the Master's control. This information puzzled me for about two years since I wasn't able to figure how a lone man would be able to free the hordes of humanoids at the service of the Master, humanoids not even willing to quit the Master's service. The answer came when I learned about the existence of the Throne of Hosadus, but first, let's resume our description of the main actors in the battle.
Ustalam Banshybek is the less known character of the recent war for the people of the Old World, in fact many have ignored his existence until Sindhi merchants begun to spread the rumour about a new nomadic invasion in Hule. Various sources provided me with the evidence that this Douzbak hermit is no one else than the legendary King Dorfin [for more about King Dorfin and Cymorrak, the two previous incarnations of Ustalam, see the Kzenanet Dzavor (Book of Ancient History) of the Sublime Octagon Order of Dvinzina, a translated copy of which is in the hands of Lucien Chassebois in Darokin City. Zoran. ] in his third reincarnation along the Path of the Dynast. His first task in this new body was to save the country he founded in his first life, Douzbakjian from the combined threat of decadence and the invading humanoids. After having installed at the throne a distant branch of the royal Douzbakjian family, he took upon himself to build a new nomadic empire strong enough to defeat Hule as asked by Vanya, his current sponsor to Immortality. [Since candidates to Immortality are asked to travel through time, it is difficult to define exactly when a quest begins. So, it is possible that Dorfin was the second identity of Cymorrak or the inverse, but it is unlikely that Ustalam Banshybek is the first manifestation and will travel back to time to become Dorfin and Cymorrak, although the worshippers of Khoronus that I've interrogated on this matter provide me with competing versions. Zoran. ] However, even though his first goal was the destruction of Hule, the entire race for Jandak doesn't hold with his interests, since he should have done more damage than the mere progression in the Hulean lands to be sure that the Master's empire would be destroyed. This leads us again to Jandak, the final objective of the three forces.
I've learned that deep below Jandak is buried the Throne of Hosadus, a powerful artifact that was given to the liberator of Hule by Loki weeks before his death two thousands years ago. According to the Djemettir Dan-Çölik Shudër (Hulean Codex of Human-Humanoids Relations), this artifact was meant as a powerful beacon for the humanoids and also as a keeper of the alliance between the two groups. It is a powerful creation of Entropy that helps explain why humanoids and humans have been living together without much troubles in the area over the centuries. Still, I haven't been able to experiment or even see the throne myself, then it might just be another Hulean legend, but many sources cite the existence of "an alliance passed between Hosadus and the beastmen" [in Jorin su Tarniç na Huyule (Tales about the Creation of Hule, Bulzanian Patriarchs' Learning Book). Zoran. ] or "Hosadus sitting on his throne welcoming hordes of creatures of Entropy offering their allegiance at the feet of Bozdogan's son" [inscriptions at the base of Hosadus' Mausoleum near Jandak. Zoran. ]. Yet I wasn't sure about the existence of this artifact until I heard about the race between Ustalam and Rehmin on their way to Jandak. Indeed, what would mobilise two quasi-Immortals looking forward to the destruction of Hule? Why Jandak and no other city? Why were they taking the chance of having the Huleans fighting from their rear?
The solution lies in the Throne of Hosadus. For the Master, it is a central requirement for his power. If the artifact disappears, social tensions between humanoids and humans are likely to undermine his quest on the Path of the Fiend and the solidity of the Hulean civilisation. For Rehmin, the destruction of a powerful entropic artifact is a condition for acceding to Immortality. It is likely that Karaash will be delighted to see the throne destroyed since it forces His fellow humanoids to comply to rules dictated by the magic of other Immortals. Finally, Ustalam-Dorfin-Cymorrak would definitely put an end to the Hulean rule with a single powerful blow if he were to destroy the artifact, thus fulfilling for the third time his quest of destroying the Hulean Empire.
The only questions left are: Has the Throne of Hosadus been destroyed by the contending Immortals? And, if yes is the answer, who has done it?