Friday, February 26, 2016

The Petty Race

The Petty Race
Bobby Derie

It was in their mothers' country that the Princes Fahmid and Permid rebelled against their elder sister Ysan, who stood to inherit the throne after their mother Ysmidhna retired. The Rebel Princes had only their personal retainers and their warriors and households, which amounted to perhaps 7,000; Ysan and their mother had together perhaps 21,000, but these were somewhat scattered throughout the Seven Mountains, so the princes believed that if they acted quickly they could overwhelm Ysan with superior numbers, and then ensconced in the throne her remaining retainers would have no choice but to turn their loyalties to their cause. Fahmid, who was twin to Ysan, was almost the equal to his sister in cleverness, and from all evidence he quickly gathered his followers and began to march on the capital, and with clever words and bold proclamations recruited many local villages and small farm-warriors to his cause, growing the body of his troops as he neared Epissna, where Ysan was gathering her own forces and calling in her own retainers.

Permid, the younger Prince, was sent by a farther road, through the hill-country. These were a people akin to those of the Epis, but their speech had grown strange, and they herded goats instead of sheep. The farm-warriors of the hills were famed for both their independence and their stubborn prowess of arms, and it was the Princes hope that Permid could raise a force among them, and fall upon Epissna from the flank. Here, however, Permid became caught up in the feud between two clans, the Ermia and the Fomania, who occupied the highlands and the lowlands, respectively. According to legend, Permid hoped that by allying with one of the groups and securing a quick victory, he would unite the hill-warriors and lead them swiftly to Epissna where he would meet up with his brother. To this end, he even married Esan, heir-apparent of the Ermia clan.

However, Permid had reckoned without the stubborn warfare of the hill-folk, and in the small valleys and narrow roads, in defiles and walled passes, he found that his great numbers could amount for little, and though progress was made, it was slow and bloody, with some accounts having him lose eight men for every one lost by the Fomanik. The fighting drew on for weeks, and it was with surprise that Permid finally learned that the decisive battle at Epissna had already occurred - and that the rebel Prince Fahmid and his army were crushed by Ysan and her retainers, using a stratagem involving a hundred mares in heat.

Permid was then in a difficult position; even with the alliance with the Ermik, he did not have the numbers to face his sister's forces in the field, and the war against the Fomanik was already a costly affair - there was a very real possibility that Permid would even be crushed between these two foes if he continued the conflict. So the rebel prince consulted with his wife and mother-in-law, and together they planned a strategic withdrawal, hoping to fortify the hill-passes and secure an independent mountain kingdom...


"Dad, this is boring."

"It is not. This is the beginning, stripped of its myth or glamour; this is history, the beginning of an embattled race, the underdogs of the world..."

"Dad, you used the word race again. You sound like a racist."

"I am using it in the its old and accepted use to describe a lineage. I am not being racist."

"Dad, you know what it sounds like when you have to tell people you're not being racist?"

"Well then, how do you expect me to tell this story? Of a people that face great challenges, time after time, down through the centuries..."

"Bo-ring. This is like when you tried to write a chapter about Ermik goat-farming."

"I thought you liked goats. You have a stuffed goat."

"I do like goats. I like to hear about the Goat-Girl in the valley of Ardit. I don't want you to have to talk to the cops again."

"That was a misunderstanding."

"Dad, he made porn films."

"It was research!"

"That's what you told the cops!"

"It's the truth! Look, do you want more of the story, or not?"

"Well, skip ahead to the good part."

"Oh, all right."


No comments:

Post a Comment