The Liberation of Meridian

An official account as scribed by the Reckoners of the Sun-Priests and marked with the emblems of Truth by Exacting Varan, who witnessed these events.

In the twenty-first year of the thirteenth Sun-King Jiran's reign, the twilight time of his madness, the Sun-King's own favored heir was put to death. The Radiant Kadaman's crime was to demand an end to his father's acts of bloodshed, and his sacrifice set that end in motion.

Jiran's second heir, the radiant Avad, fled Meridian at dusk with his honor guard, soldiers loyal to him over the Sun-King. All night, they traveled northwards, knowing that come the dawn they would be branded as traitors and marked for death. So it was that when Jiran made that proclamation, they had already traveled far, and in time they did reach the edge of the Sundom, and crossed into Oseram territory.

For Avad was canny, and planned to negotiate terms with the Oseram. He knew he had an ally among them--Ersa, a fierce Oseram warrior with whom Avad had a long and unusual history. Two years earlier, Ersa had been brought to Meridian as a captive, destined for sacrifice. But she survived the Sun-Ring, killing two Kestrels by her own hand. Thus did she earn the honor of being made a palace slave, and in this role came to know Prince Avad. A rare friendship was formed, and Avad conspired to free his friend, who returned at once to the Oseram homeland. Now, desperate for allies, Avad sought out the Oseram he had helped to free.

Ersa had ties to the warlords and freebooters who resisted the Red Raids. With Ersa's might and Avad's keen strategy, they could raise a warband and move to overthrow Jiran. And as a rightful heir to the throne of the Sun, Avad hoped to inspire many of his people to rebel, so sparing Meridian from a drawn-out war.

After months of preparation, Avad and his allies crossed the border and marched on Meridian. As word of their advance spread, many Carja soldiers fled back to the city, lay down their arms, or even joined the liberators. Yet wise Avad knew that Jiran's faithful would defend Meridian to the last man, even sacrificing the lives of its citizens if it would hold the holy city against siege.

He found kestrels and city guard already set in on the walls, readied to face arrow and shot. But Avad's Oseram allies had brought new weapons never seen beneath the Sun--thundering cannons, strong as machines. Avad permitted them to fire their salvos on the outer walls, bringing many defenders down with great carnage.

As the smoke cleared, the liberators attacked in three groups; one scaled the walls beneath the Temple of the Sun; another took to the aqueducts of the Palace; while the main force overcame the barricaded city gates with cannonfire. These were the final blasts fired at the holy city, as Avad forbade any further destruction.

In the streets, too many scenes of brutality and chaos played out to recount. Among the terrible miasma of blood and smoke, the Sun-Ring's slave pits were opened and hundreds spilled out, desperate to escape. Many of Jiran's supporters seized their chance to flee with this flood of unfortunates. The day had turned, and seeing his forces much reduced, the Sun-King Jiran ordered his trusted kestrels take Itamen, his sole remaining heir, from the city.

Helis, Terror of the Sun, cleaved a path through Meridian from east to west, striking down all in his way--ally and foe alike. The savagery of Helis and his kestrels could not be matched, and so it was that Itamen, his mother the Dowager Queen Nasadi, and the High Sun-Priest Bahavas escaped.

Avad confronted Jiran in his Solarium. He had hoped his father would answer for his crimes honorably, but seeing this could not be so, with great anguish he struck him down. As the murder of a true Sun-King is an unthinkable act, and surely would plunge the world into Shadow, Jiran's death proved that the Sun had renounced his legitimacy.

Yes. Sun had turned to Shadow on the throne of Meridian, and it was Avad's light that drove the Shadow out to the west, where it remains to this day. So was the cycle of things corrected, in this the first year of the reign of the fourteenth Sun-King, the Radiant Avad.

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