Seekers of Lore
The Kreshtar spear named “Spiter” was the personal weapon of the famous leader Jakenerva. Obtained from a mysterious hermit in time of need, it is supposed to have possessed supernatural powers. After his death, the spear became a symbol of imperial rule amongst the Kreshtar. Their legend states that the shaft was of made of thorny branches woven together, which would draw drops of blood from its holder when wielded. Spirals of silver decorate the wood, while the head of the spear was supposedly a wedge of pure orichalcum — priceless then, and beyond priceless in our modern age.
It is curious how quickly Jakenerva invented the idea of empire and moved to implement it. Within a matter of decades he had subjugated all neighbouring tribes, and taxes flowed to his seat of power “from the horizon and beyond” (Annals of Teletana, vol. II). Despite his material success, Jakenerva’s rule should serve as a counterexample to good nobles, for it was marked by grudges, fear, and suspicion on all fronts.
Upon Jakenerva’s death, his offspring squabbled and plotted in a most undignified manner, with the spear eventually falling to Airelee, the slyest of them all. As recorded elsewhere, it was stolen by the Daetami spirit Marvak after Airelee’s near-fatal poisoning.
A year and a day later, Marvak and an army of lesser spirits subservient to him were encountered by a then-obscure King who would later rise to fame as the Great King Hammanadi. With the power of his patron goddess Ernfil, Hammanadi was able to defeat the spirits and seize the spear Spiter from their leader. According to the tale, Hammanadi sealed Marvak in an oil lamp and hid the latter in a system of caves on the site of the battle somewhere on the Plains of Kresh; alas, the exact location is not available to me, although the Tablet of Toomerai is supposed to contain a clue. Spiter itself returned with the King to his palace as a trophy.
It was around this time that the heretofore obscure King began an extensive campaign of belligerence with every nation, tribe, and people in the region. Hammanadi seems to have independently reinvented the idea of an imperial rulership model first promulgated by Jakenerva. The king permitted those he conquered to retain their cultural identities in some respects, provided imperial taxation was respected. His allies in distant Thindar were spurned and doubtless would have been on the list of military targets ere long. Hammanadi’s own Kingdom of Sardil became unrecognisable; previously a relaxed and friendly place, the whole land was suffused in worry and fear. Strangely, although the citizens claimed increase concern about the lawlessness and unreasonableness of their fellow countrymen, the Kingdom’s records show no measurable increase in crime. It is my personal belief that this is merely the result of cultural tensions with the rest of the fledgling empire, and possibly some upset at Hammanadi’s admittedly unpopular strategies.
About fifty years after the first imperial conquest, Hammanadi played host to a band of travelling Kreshtar, apparently out of contact with the main Kreshtar tribes. History does not, sadly, record how this audience was obtained or what was discussed there: by royal decree the records of the time were altered. It is known that the leader of the Kreshtar band, a strong-willed woman named Irithni, became a trusted adviser to the king, replacing a previous adviser whose name seems to have been carefully excised from official records (Thindarian ambassadorial records mention a Brother Narashma who seems to fit the bill, but I have not yet had time to conduct a more thorough search of the literature).
I am unhappy to relate that I cannot track down any information regarding the lineage of Irithni save in a few fringe publications1. At any rate, she is supposed to have advised Hammanadi to place the spear Spiter under lock and key far away from the seat of his power, and indeed the Fort of Thorns was constructed shortly after this time, about as far as it is possible to get from Sardil. There are many unrelated stories told about the Fort, not least playing host to elemental scholars from the Foundation of Schmek and their peculiar work; and of course the Fort itself is one of at least five rumoured resting-places of the Crown of Iturian.2 But I digress. Besides all this, many townsfolk at the foot of the Mountains of Tein (where the Fort is supposed to lie) also say that Hammanadi built it to house some object of curious reputation. This points towards its being the current home of Spiter.
With new advisers, King Hammanadi’s foreign policy was modified, and he ceased his expansionistic drive. Only a decade or so would pass before the Alabaster Fleet would be sighted coming over the Western Ocean, but by then diplomatic relations had been repaired somewhat. In response to this new threat, the Treaty of Hammanadi was forged to bring together a fighting force sufficient to crush the Scordite invasion, signalling the start of the White War3. The remainder of Great King Hammanadi’s rule is well-documented and characterised by much more benevolent attitude than the previous era, the peace of this age being marred only by the infamous actions of Therolas.
From the pen of Baron Jyostan Hyordruton
(Marginal notes from the original manuscript)
2 Curiously, the Fort of Thorns is also supposedly built either near or actually on the place where Tonochial met the Urthalim, although there is no indication whatsoever that Hammanadi had knowledge of what was at the time an exceedingly obscure esoteric religion. Frankly, the whole affair of the Fort makes me think of Hadrael’s much-discussed Nexuses of History theory. Must discuss with him at the conference.