, or Alexandros Goes Walkabout
Tarugtai Yesugei watched the stranger walk across the steppe and tried to decide what he felt. No man of Chogoris had ever looked like that, nor worn his beard in such a way. Nor had any simply walked into the domains of the clans before, bearing no weapon. Then again, looking at the stranger and feeling the aura he projected, only a fool would think him unarmed.
It had been a month since strange lights had been sighted over the plains, and the hunting parties had ceased to torment Yesugei's people. Conjecture had been rife, and the zagyin arda
had been tasked with determining the cause. Many had suggested yaksha
; they knew well the havoc that one could wreak.
Once, Yesugei had seen a young Khan, distraught at the murder of his family by a flatland nobleman, undertake a terrible ritual, entwining his essence with a blood yaksha
that he might exact vengeance. Even now, he shudsered at the memory. The wise sipped at the cup; that man had drained the dregs and more. He became a whirlwind of horns, hooves and talons which had ripped through the nobleman's household before carving a bloody path into the steppes, driven only to kill. Yesugei and other zagyin arda
were sent in pursuit. At great cost they had burned the creature- from existence, leaving a circle of bare earth where, nearly forty summers later, nothing grew.
The giant with the red hair crouched at the edge of this circle now, frowning. Perhaps he recognised the touch of them aether here. Then he stood and walked on. Yesugei quietly urged his horse ahead, out of sight, before loosing his body of light. Now, gliding over the grass, he could take a real look at this strange presence whilst remaining-
“Do you take me for a yaksha
?” Yesugei hadn't expected that. The stranger's eyes locked with those of his astral form, amusement writ large on his face. His Korchin was strangely inflected, but word perfect. When no reply was forthcoming he carried on, striding confidently in the direction of Yesugei's physical form. “Come now, is it so strange for a man to desire conversation after two days alone on the Altak?”
+Not half as strange as a man alone on the Altak, weaponless but unafraid.+ The other's mind certainly did not feel like any yaksha, aether-touched though it was. There was something very human about it, and something else. Over his long life Yesugei had served seven khans and counselled four of them. He knew men of great wit, purpose and vigour, but they paled beside this stranger.
“I have not found anything on this world that would trouble me inordinately, and in any case I have no desire to wield a blade here. Before we go any further,” he added as he crested the hill and Yesugei slipped back into his own body, “my name is Alexandros Darshan VonSalim. Yours?”
Yesugei, it’s a pleasure and an honour. Now, I will come clean- the sights and sounds you will no doubt have noticed are the arrival of my people in the plains. We arrived there as conquerors- I come to you as an emissary.”
Alexandros smiled ruefully as he stepped forward to look him in the eye. “We name him Emperor but, after the silk-clad lumps of suet we found in those palaces, I rather wish we had chosen a different word. If you'll permit my indulgence, Khagan
fits him much better.” Yesugei gave him a hard stare. “You doubt me? Then perhaps I should bring a couple of the Qo emperors to your kuraltai.
Your old khagans
managed to, what kill one or two each, tear down a few palaces? Well, my lord, my father has not even set foot on this planet, and one way or another, every ruler in the other quarters has bent the knee to him. The strongest of those who resisted held out for an hour against myself and a thousand warriors. I do not exaggerate, and let me be quite clear: this is a small campaign for us.”
“You conquer the Qo nations and call it a small undertaking?” Yesugei searched the giant’s aura, and found nothing to suggest falsehood. The physical evidence didn't invite much argument either.
“Your legends speak of how men once strode among the stars, and then fell to the dirt. For over a hundred years now, my father has led armies of billions to reclaim them. Forces larger than you can imagine stand beneath his banner. The khans of a thousand words have bowed to his might and vision. We hunt the aliens that hound our kind across the cosmos. And on that note, I've seen to it that no man from the flatlands will ever make bloodsport of your people again.”
He stood taller now, and his aura burned almost unbearably. Yesugei wondered how he would look with a blade in hand. Probably more formidable than any man on the Altak. “The Khans will wish to hear this first hand, and see some proof for your claims.”
“Then call the kuraltai
for tomorrow and look west an hour before dawn. Then you will understand what we offer, and you will not doubt our might.”
Edited by bluntblade, 15 March 2016 - 08:56 PM.