GHOSTS OF YIN-JIN
TUMULTUOUS RULE OF THE AUTUMN KINGS
The rule of the Autumn Kings was one of constant struggle and warfare. Their barbarian ways did not mix well with the cultured Xia, and their initial rule was marred by much misunderstanding and conflict. The third Autumn King in particular was a tyrant. He wanted a return to the ‘old-ways’ and felt that the horse clans were growing soft under civilization. When an assassination plot by the literati failed, he issued the decree known as the “Burning of the Books”. Not only were Xia books and scrolls burned everywhere, but scholars themselves were often put to death. Many of the wulin sects saw their birth during this time, many of them hoping to end the rule of the Qiu and restore the Xia. If the Autumn Kings are said to have their own three wonders theirs would be wonders of war and their victories against insurmountable foes time and time again when it seemed the land would be lost. During their rule the land of Yin-Jin was invaded three times. The first was by the Qazaari, a middle eastern kingdom ruled by a powerful theocracy, who worship the Fire God (said to be where Fuxi learned his fiery arts). This they called the “War of Fire”. It was a long and protracted land war with heavy casualties to both sides. It was only finally won by creating a sea blockade to prevent the Qazaari from reinforcing their troops. The next was an attack by an occidental people calling themselves the Vicci. They did not make the mistake of a land battle but instead used their ships and powerful weapons of thunder to decimate the coastal cities. Ming-Jin’s navy was no match for the Vicci, and eventually a treaty was made allowing them to trade in one city in return for peace.
The third invasion would be by their own ancestral people…
Huyan and the Fall of the Autumn Kings
Huyan, also known as “Tiger-Eyes” was a young Qiu boy raised by the horse clans beyond the Silk Wall. He was adopted by one of the last Autumn Kings after a battle where his tribe was destroyed. The Autumn Kings reason for doing this remain a mystery, although rumors persisted it was to do with a lost love of his before he became king. Huyan was raised alongside his own son and daughter in the Heaven’s Spire. Huyan and the daughter became very close, while he and the prince developed a deep antipathy towards each other(Huyan suffered many beatings from the older boy). When the Autumn King died and the Prince took the throne, the first thing he did was to banish Huyan to the Silk Wall as a soldier, and marry his sister off to the powerful Duke of Bixi. For the new Autumn King, Huyan was all but forgotten, but in truth he rose quickly among the ranks of the Dragon Legions, and even rescued a famous Xia general who took him under his wing. His fame was assured when he rescued the Duke of Yazi from an ambush of a numerically superior force. To recognize his deeds he was summoned to Heaven’s Spire (the king was unaware of the identity of the hero). When he appeared before the king, he had no choice but to reward the young hero and made him a general, later that evening though he tricked the Duke of Bixi into challenging him to a duel. Huyan won the duel, but was challenged by the king himself (ostensibly for dueling illegally in the court), the king defeated Huyan after a protracted battle where the young princess (Huyan’s love and the Kings sister) was accidentally killed. After his defeat the king had him branded a traitor and sent him to the Windowless Tower, (a terrible prison from which no one escapes). On his way south the Xia general he’d rescued orchestrated his escape and he fled into the west past the Silk Wall. In the west he began to gather followers, many had fought against him before, but had great respect for his courage. Many Xiongnu on the other side of the wall had begun the chafe under their status as second-hand citizens to. Huyan led the horse clans to the Silk Wall, and with an alliance with the Xia general, they joined together and marched on the capital. They were still vastly outnumbered by the Dragon Legions, but Huyan was an expert at outmaneuvering a numerically superior foe, and despite their best efforts, Huyan’s army made it to the capital. While the armies fought each other outside the city, Huyan made his way to the Heaven’s Spires by secret paths he’d learned as a child. For the last time, Huyan and his childhood rival dueled, but this time Huyan took his head. With the death of the King the Dragon Legions faltered and Huyan’s army stormed the city. Huyan declared himself the new king. Historians argue as to whether or not he was a true Autumn King, for he was not a continuation of the Autumn Kings bloodline, although he was formally adopted into the previous kings family. Some would name him the King of Shadows for the dark days to come…
THE BRIGHT LANDS TURN DARK
The crown never set easy upon the last Autumn Kings brow, and it wasn’t long before he filled the void in his heart with wine and poppy’s. It is said he was haunted by the ghost of his long lost love, and it slowly drove him to madness. Eventually he gathered a force of his most elite and most loyal soldiers and rode to the ruined city of Baxia at the foot of the Yellow Gates to the underworld. Singlehandedly he slew the great guardian dragon, embedding the Autumn spear in its skull where it lies to this day. He marched his army straight into the underworld where it disappeared for eighteen days. On the eighteenth day earthquakes shook the whole kingdom and the Yellow Gates collapsed. Thousands died in the upheaval, but what was to follow was far worse. The hungry dead rose up from all those who’d died and set to feasting upon the living. Within days towns and villages everywhere were wiped out. Survivors made their way to the great cities whose geomantic configuration repelled angry spirit, and who legions held of the roving hordes of hungry dead. Within a few weeks the eight cities were isolated islands of light in a world thrust into darkness. People began calling the land “Yin-Jin” or “land of shadows.” It would be almost a century of strife, starvation, and constant warfare with the dead before a semblance of normalcy would return.