GHOSTS OF YIN-JIN
THE SUMMER DYNASTY
If the Spring Dynasty was defined by miracles of magic, then the Summer Dynasty would be equally notable for its feats of science, engineering, and learning, to many it is thought of as the “golden age” of Ming-Jin. The Xia people were a clever and innovative race, among their accomplishments were a standardizing of the written language, the institution of a merit based government bureaucracy with the imperial exams, the creation of roads and bridges to unite the empire, and bringing about wide-spread education. The Xia were equally vigorous in bringing their highly structured ideas to the arena of warfare, and many of the martial arts practiced currently, found their origin in the Summer Dynasty. The Three wonders of the Summer Emperors are all great feats of learning, and they all came about by the same precipitous event, an invasion by a massive horse clan horde.
THE HORSELORDS AND SUN-YU
The Horse Lords of the west were a reoccurring problem. Ming-Jin is geologically unstable and sometimes volcanic activity can be so bad as to create a volcanic winter, when this occurs an ice bridge forms with the continent to the west allowing the horse clans to invade. The people of Ming-Jin call this the time of “black snow”, when the ash turns the snows black and they know the horse lords will come. This was to be the greatest invasion by the Horse Clans, and the only time an invasion was led by a great khan. The vanguard force alone was nearly enough to overwhelm the Xia armies, and was not turned back until it reached the capital. The Empire was seized with panic when they learned an even larger force was coming. The emperor first set about trying to unify the many separate fortresses in the west into a single bastion of defense. He conscripted every able bodied man he could to the army, and practically everyone else to build his wall. To buy time, the greatest general of the empire, Sun Yu, took an elite but numerically inferior force to harry the approaching khan. For more than a year he stymied the khans forces and did much more damage than his small army seemed capable, and despite the hordes effort he seemed impossible to catch. His journal from these months are full of strategies and tactics, and his own thoughts about the nature of warfare, these would all be collected later and made into “Sun Yu’s Stratagems”, the greatest book of war ever written and the first wonder of the Summer Dynasty. The second wonder was created when the royal court along with the other cities in the west fled east fearing the horde could not be stopped. The Xia value learning above all things, and hold little more precious than their books. All of these refugees poured into Bixi, and to keep their books safe they placed them in the care of the library there, called the “inverted tower” because of its deep underground construction. Already one of the greatest libraries in the land, it suddenly became the repository of nearly the sum total of Xia knowledge. In an effort to preserve that, when the war was through and the Xia went to collect their books, the Duke of Bixi ordered them to pay a fee for their safe keeping, and that fee was equal to the cost of copying each and everyone so that the Inverted Tower remained the great repository of knowledge in the land, and a wonder of the Summer Dynasty. The last wonder of course, was the great wall itself. Sun Yu had at last expended his force and retreated behind the still incomplete wall. The Great Khan, was called Rajan the Roaring Lion and he was determined to drive his army all the way to the Heavenly Spire. Sun Yu gathered painters from as far as he could and had them paint huge swathes of silk into the likeness of the great wall, these he had fixed over the few remaining gaps that remained, and so the “Silk Wall” was born. When the horde arrived it was duped into believing the wall was finished. Rajan met with his khans to decide if they could beat the Summer Kings wall. Before a decision could be reached a stranger entered the camp in disguise, to this day no one knows the identity of the traitor, but he revealed to the great khan Sun Yu’s deception. The next morning the great army pretended it would ride away when suddenly it wheeled and attacked the gaps along the wall. Sun Yu’s army was destroyed and Sun Yu captured. The Great Khan had tremendous respect for Sun Yu and offered to make him a khan. Sun Yu refused and chose to fall on his sword. Legends say that the great khan wept at his death. Once the horde had breached the wall, little stood in its way as it drove toward the capital. Within a week the capital had fallen and Rajan the Roaring Lion had taken the head of the last Summer King. He declared himself the first of the Autumn Kings.