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Khitai

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Beyond the Wall

Which came first – Khitai or the Great Wall? Only the Ancestors know this for certain and they will not say because even Ancestors must have their secrets but the Great Wall has always been with us, just as the Ancestors have always been with us. It is possible, then, that Khitai and the Wall came into being at the same time or possibly the Wall defined Khitai and made it real. Beyond that, there is no certainty.

Yet... yet we do know that there are two Great Walls. The first was not made of the stones we see now when we gaze to the west. That first wall was made of bamboo and bone, knotted, slotted and slatted together so it was 1,000 miles long and 100 feet high. That first wall was the creation of sorcery, the bamboo cut in a single movement of a single scythe and strengthened with the bones of the enemies of the east who had thrown themselves at the emerging wall in a bid to over-run the eastern lands and defile them. The Ancestors, when restless, whisper something of the demigod who protected Khitai at that time; a vast, foul being who was, for all her ugliness, a protector of our lands. She felled the bamboo and wove the wall and then, when the enemies threw themselves at it in their thousands, she felled them and wove their bones into the bamboo so that the two became indistinguishable. This made our enemies fear us – as they still do – because they witnessed the power of the demiurges and knew that Khitai was strong with its gods and unwilling to brook invasion and oppression.

The wall of bamboo and bone was replaced perhaps 1,000 years later when the demigod had gone and God Emperor Z’xang first ruled. He wished to march soldiers along the Wall so that they could keep watch on the enemies beyond it but it was difficult for human feet to tread the bamboo curtain and anyway, men feared the moans and sighs emanating from the demiurge’s wall, for the dead souls of the enemies were trapped, still, in the weave. So Z’xang commanded that the wall be replaced, mile by mile, with stones but that the bamboo and bones should remain. So the wall of stone was built around the wall of the demiurge, following its pattern but made greater with the towers set at each three mile interval. So now the Great Wall is all of stone but is really two walls, for the bamboo wall is within the stone wall and the tormented souls of the dead are contained forever.

Yet the wall still moans, and forever it will. That is what our enemies should know: come against Khitai and your souls will be trapped within our land for forever. No rest, no mercy, not until the prophets of Yag command that time should end and the Ancestors be brought forth to judge all crimes and atrocities. Then, our enemies shall come face to face with the wrath and justice of our Ancestors!

Jung-Kao, Historian Sorcerer of Khitai, writing in ‘The Great and Glorious Scroll of the Khitan People’
Cha cheòl do dhuin' a bhròn uil' aithris.
[It is no music to a man to recite all his woe.]
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Posted Dec 14, 17 · OP
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History

The sprawling kingdom of Khitai has been isolated from the rest of the world for as long as anyone in Khitai can recall. The Great Wall throws-up an impenetrable barrier along Khitai’s western border and in the east, the ocean itself defines the extent of the land. The wall spans 1,500 miles, an unbroken, serpent-like barrier of imposing stone lined with guard towers every three miles. To the north the immense River of Yellow Curses separates Khitai from the Desert of Black Sand and Hyrkania; and, within its borders, Khitai is choked with a dense jungle of thick-bowled trees and the all pervasive bamboo which visibly grows as men sit to watch it.

Khitai is distanced from the world around it physically and culturally. This is a deliberate act to prevent its nature from being corrupted by the barbaric ways of the west. The people of Khitai fear and scorn what is beyond their borders, secure in the knowledge (or delusion) that their ways are the true ways and all else is falsehood.

In the distant times, when the Atlanteans ruled the world, Khitai was already old and insular. The Atlanteans, for unknown reasons, never attempted to conquer Khitai although, at the time, the Great Wall did not exist. After the Atlanteans were destroyed and the world fell to darkness, savagery enveloped the land but Khitai was immune to this degeneracy. Perhaps this was when the wall was really built: a physical foe can be subdued readily enough but the sapping of a cultural identity is an insidious thing that must be resisted in different ways.

Later, when the world began its slow climb from the dark times, the nomads of Hyrkania (who bear a passing resemblance to the Khitans) attempted to cross the River of Yellow Curses and seize the territories of the north but found themselves halted by the jungle, which made it tough for their horses and ponies to thread deeper into the country. Strange beasts waylaid warriors and it is said in Hyrkanian tales, creatures arose from the River of Yellow Curses to devour rider and mount alike.

Khitai has never been truly conquered. After the Cataclysm refugees from Lemuria flocked east and were taken into Khitai only to be enslaved and repressed. Thousands of proud Lemurians were treated worse than animals and this situation continued for centuries until the Lemurians took advantage of the squabbling between the Khitan City States and mounted their own rebellion. For a short time the kingdom of Khitai was overthrown but the Lemurians had little hope of maintaining such a tentative position of superiority. The Khitan warlords and their sorcerers, aided by demon gods, drove the Lemurians out of the land, forcing them to migrate westward. This, some Khitan scholars agree, is when the Great Wall was made – to prevent the Lemurians from returning – but a lack of certainty still prevails over the details.

At around the time of the Lemurian rebellion, Khitai claimed all of the lands from the northern Taiga forests to the edge of the Kambujan jungle. The Khari warlords of the northern city states claimed, perhaps falsely, that Khitai was the centre of the sprawling Khari empire that once challenged the mighty Atlanteans on equal terms. The Cataclysm had sundered the empire but Khitai was still its heart and the Khari warlords were dedicated to re-establishing it. The Khari fell to the Lemurian rebellion and in their place, more warlords and would-be emperors arose.
Cha cheòl do dhuin' a bhròn uil' aithris.
[It is no music to a man to recite all his woe.]
NY0KLwG.jpg
Posted Dec 14, 17 · OP · Last edited Dec 14, 17
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The Middle Kingdom

The bickering between the various city states and their ruling elites eventually coalesced into a period known as The Years of the Middle Kingdom. This saw power concentrated into the hands of the rulers of Khitai’s Rolling Plains, which came to regard itself as the central or middle, kingdom of the Khitai nation. The common regard was that the city of Shau Lun, then the greatest city of Khitai, was also the centre of the Khari Empire – even though the extent and purpose of the Khari Empire was unknown. The Middle Kingdom saw Khitai forge the cultural identity it exhibits in Conan’s time, even though the Years of the Middle Kingdom were relatively short-lived. Sorcery became an established practice and even sanctioned by the rulers of the Middle Kingdom and the first demon gods were summoned. The cultural practices of Khitai were defined and codified in the Seven Books of Wisdom and Grace and the social hierarchy that still perpetuates was formed. The practice of isolationism from the west, despite the Middle Kingdom considering itself the heart of a great (yet mythical) empire, became the accepted state of being for Khitai.

The Years of the Middle Kingdom lasted for just over a century but the cultural advances it championed led to its destruction. The cultural solidity established through a burgeoning bureaucracy allowed the city states to develop their own institutions and armies. Political divisions supported by the practice of sorcery created increasingly powerful dynastic units and inevitably, the city states fell back into warfare. The Years of the Middle Kingdom ended when Paikang rose against Shau Lun and Shu Chen and sacked both cities, installing its own rulers in the place of the hereditary powers. The Middle Kingdom dissolved as power shifted east to Paikang and the wisdom of the Middle Kingdom became absorbed into the greater ideals of Paikang’s ambitious rulers.

The Paikang Power Struggles

Now the dominant city state of Khitai, Paikang wasted no time in ensuring that the rest of the vast country followed its lead. Other city states were permitted to continue on their own courses as long as Paikang’s position as the ruling power of all Khitai was recognised. Paikang became the seat of the God Emperor with Khu Yang the first God Emperor of the Khu dynasty. Some city states rebelled but this was a token resistance soon crushed by the armies of Khu Yang engaging in the Bamboo Defeats that saw six decisive battles being waged – and won – in the course of six days.

Naturally enough Khu Yang had his own opponents in Paikang and over the course of 100 years the Khu dynasty was challenged by a variety of competing interests – from both within and without the Khu dynasty. Khu Yang was himself poisoned and replaced by his insane cousin Khu Fong who decreed that all women were tradable possessions and all children no better than frogs. His madness contributed to the decline of the Khu dynasty as a power, even though three more Khu God Emperors ascended to the Jade Throne. The entire line was eventually extinguished when the Yu-Yhai dynasty summoned the demon god Oorlong and wiped-out the entire Khu family in a single, bloody purge.

The God Emperorship was fiercely contested for a century or so with Emperors being acclaimed and then either deposed or killed with frightening regularity. In this tumultuous period Shau Lun grew once again in power and sent its own people into the Paikang struggle. Through clever inter-marriage and stealthy power-broking, the Hun-We dynasty established itself and managed to unite the warring families of Paikang through a combination of threats, rewards, sorcery and judicious murder. The God Emperor Hun-We Pau ruled over a peaceful Khitai for six decades but refused to shift power back to Shau Lun, despite forceful representation for the old Shau Lun kingmakers who had effectively engineered the Hun-We dynasty’s ascent to power. When Hun-We Pau achieved the somewhat startling feat (so the sorcerer scribes say) of transcending the mortal to become an Ancestor God, power passed to the Yah dynasty, which still maintains power (albeit of an uneasy kind) across Khitai.

We call Hun-We Pau the Grand Ancestor or Pau-Lung-Shu, because he became the Living Ancestor, passing from the realm of the mortal and into the realm of the Ancestors without first having to negotiate the veil of death. When we die, our mortal concerns are shed and we lose all interest in the mortal world and those within it. Our souls become Ancestors who look upon the mortal world and provide only the vaguest guidance. Before Pau-Lung-Shu the Ancestors could not guide us correctly, even though we mortals revered them. When Pau-Lung-Sue came into being in the world beyond the veil of death, our Ancestors were enlightened because he brought with him mortal wisdom to balance the immortal wisdom. So was harmony established and so we revere Pau-Lung-Sue as the Grand Ancestor and name the great feast day in his honour.

Jung-Kao, Historian Sorcerer of Khitai, writing in ‘The Great and Glorious Scroll of the Khitan People’
Cha cheòl do dhuin' a bhròn uil' aithris.
[It is no music to a man to recite all his woe.]
NY0KLwG.jpg
Posted Dec 15, 17 · OP · Last edited Dec 15, 17
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