… and so the brute Qin, supported by his own mountain savages, the monstrous bandits of Zheng, and the peerless blades of the Bai, struck down the last of the Sea Kings of Jin, and as had become his custom, took his slain foe’s daughters as his own. Long did our mourners weep for the people of Jin, erstwhile friends of the Golden Kingdom, just as they wept for our kind and beauteous Princess Bluesun, who offered herself to be caged rather than incite the great fires of the Purifying Sun and reduce the land and people to ash.

The brute, now ruler of six kingdoms, grew more arrogant still, styling himself “Sagacious and Divine Emperor of the Celestial Empire.” Yet even then, the brute’s pride and lust were not satisfied.

His lascivious eyes turned west and fell upon the Kingdom of the Red Sun and the Great Priestess of their people, said to be an incarnation of the Great Mother herself. To the rutting brute Qin, such a temptation could not be resisted. When his demand for submission was rejected by the Priestess and Kings of the Red Sun, he once again called his armies to war.

However, the Red Sun Kingdom was mighty and gave pause to even the bellicose Bai. The Red Sun Kingdom knew the secrets of the sacred metal from which the Bai forged their weapons and armor. A fierce and proud people, they bent their necks to no one, and unlike the similarly proud Horned Lords, their people were not a collection of barely connected enclaves, grown unused to war.

In the far past, in the days of the Legendary Yao and his daughter, the first White Serpent Queen, even the Bai’s conquests had ground to a halt against them. In the courts of the brute, the serpents advised caution.

However, the brute Qin showed his true nature, and with the support of the barbarous Zheng, he overruled all objections and mustered his armies. How many of our sons and daughters were sent to die for a conqueror’s pride and lust? How many fields lie fallow and dead without their guardians to safeguard the people in their labor? Too many! The Golden Kingdom starved and withered in the face of this feckless and unending war!

How weary then, must have been the Jin, whose harbors still lay shattered and whose ships still lay at the bottom of the sea from the brute Qin’s recent conquest? Or the Horned Lords of the South, whose redoubts and trails had been salted and burned, their council of chiefs dragged through the streets of the brute’s capital in chains like mere beasts?

The armies of Qin clashed with the Red Sun, and men died in thousands, gaining nothing. When the man himself rode forth with his advisors, the Kings and the Priestess met him, and though the world shook with their warring, neither side could slay the other. The people of the Red Sun were not numerous; their harsh land and poor soil had never allowed for fields as great as ours, their rivers were not rich with fish as the Bai’s lakes were, and their cities lacked the unbreakable fortresses of Zheng. The brute cared not for his losses for there were always more men to pull from the fields of the six kingdoms, but the people of the Red Sun mourned each and every loss.

Despite this, for fifty years, the people of the Red Sun resisted with a fervor that shames this son of the Golden Kingdom. Infuriated by the lengthy resistance, the brute’s tactics grew harsher and more cruel with every day. Drenched in blood, the jungle grew red in truth, and it is said by those who survived that the very earth and the jungle itself began to fight the armies of Qin. Crippled veterans of the Red Sun began to return to war, changed and twisted, merged with spirits to replace missing limbs and shattered channels.

In the end, it was not enough. No matter the sacrifices made, no matter the valor of the people of the Red Sun, the brute’s armies ground on. When a city was captured, the brute would build a great pyre and burned their inhabitants, one and all, without regard to age or mortality. The air of the Red Sun choked with ash, the rivers ran red, and the jungle grew bloated and monstrous.

At last, it seemed the people of the Red Sun had enough. In the hall of their most holy temple, the Great Priestess supplicated herself in submission before Qin. His greed and arrogance having only grown in the face of defiance, the brute quickly claimed his prize. But in the end, the brute’s lust proved his undoing.

By morning, the brute lay thrashing in his bed. The empty streets of the temple city quaked with his choked screams as his own blood burned in his veins and melted his flesh and his own qi seared his soul to ash. Assured of his invincibility, the brute had given the seed of his downfall to the one who could most use it.

Hail to the Great Priestess of the Red Sun, weaver of blood, weaver of life! The blood of the mother and unborn the focus and the blood of a city - all given to end his menace forevermore.

How the brute’s monstrous mother did rage! Lightning rained like water from the skies and wiped the temple city from existence. The dragon’s rampage fell upon the jungles, and the people of the Red Sun suffered another great reaping.

The people were not without hope however. The spirit of the Great Priestess lived on. Born of sacrifice and rivers of blood, a new Goddess was born, and her thorns struck the brute’s dragon mother harshly, piercing scale and organ. Wounded, the beast fled back to the capital.

Without the brute at its helm, his court fell into disarray. The Bai glared across the empty throne at the Zheng, each seeking to place their own blood upon the Dragon Throne. The loyalists of the other kingdoms schemed and maneuvered, each seeking to gain their own power in the chaos.The children of the brute squabble and fight like savages. Already, tales of kinslaying spread through the land. It saddens me to know that the children of our princess are among their number; it seems that even our radiant blood cannot withstand the foul corruption of the brute. Cowards, all of them, seeking only personal power rather than freedom!

This is not a time for mourning or petty politics! The brute is dead, his beastly mother sleeping off terrible wounds; the Celestial Peaks lie in disarray. The snake and the ape feud and fight! Now is the time to throw off the conquerors! At last, the Golden Kingdom will rise again. From ashes, just like our great Matriarch, the Purifying Sun, we will emerge stronger than ever before! No more will we bow to mountain savages! We will free our princess, and once more, be ruled by a true Golden Queen! The foul edifice of this accursed empire will be brought tumbling down, its name erased from history!

- Surviving fragment of an unnamed text, translated into modern imperial, banned under the first imperial dynasty, the Qin

A note from Yrsillar

Aaand this months slightly delayed bonus. Next vote will go up on thursday

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