Draconia Chronicles: Conquest
Chapter 3: Like a Sword
It is the ink that the history of our people is written in is in made from blood. It is not something I am proud to say I was a part of, but I am happy to know that my people have accepted me as their ruler. I am Empress Hui Yin of the Chun Dynasty. Again, the lands that I ruler over is threatened not from within, but from a foreign invader from the South
Before I became Empress of the Tùzǐ, I was the Princess to the Queen of the Western Chun Kingdom, my mother was named Yuyan. At this time, we were not a unified people, there were Four Warring Kingdoms: Dōng, Chun, Xia, and Qiu. The Queen had a dream to unify the kingdoms under one banner. The one way to achieve the vision is to conquer.
I was young when the conquests began, and for a decade my mother waged war on the kingdoms. One by one, they fell to her armies. When I was old enough to fight, I joined my mother in her armies, and rode beside her at the Battle of Xiang. Sadly, she would not be the one sitting on a throne of the unified kingdom. The Battle of Xiang was her last.
"You must be strong, daughter, be gentle"
Those soft spoken words into my ear were her last words to me as she died in my arms. It took five arrows and two crossbow bolts to her chest and belly from the Qiu archers to fell her. Though we have won, this battle cost our kingdom the life of the queen. It should be my mother sitting on the throne in the Imperial Palace, not me. This was her dream
Together we are strong. If the kingdoms remained separate, we would destroy each other. One finger alone will break, but put five together and they will form a fist. On this day, the Princess of the Tigers, Princess Kiriad, has come to seek my counsel. One item our land has in abundance in what the Tigers called 'Zhirite', or 'Stone of the Celestial Dragon'
This mineral is powdered, and mixed with the forging process of making steel. It makes the steel light, and strong. It makes for strong, long lasting tools and weapons. I looked to the princess with a warm smile, "This war has now made it's way to our lands, with that, I will gladly offer our assistance to you in this conflict," I promised the Tiger Princess,
"What other terms do you offer?" she asked
To the White Tiger, I remained calm and friendly. To rule, one must be like a sword. Be calm in the sheath, but be ready when action is needed, "Though our armies are vast, and our soldiers well-trained, we will not encroach on your lands or threaten your people in any way, shape, or form, I stand as strong and firm by my words to you as the mountain"
My imperial dress is blue, and made of fine silk with borders of gold with phoenixes and peonies. My hair is black, and my eyes brown like many of my people. At my side is my sword, a Jian I named 'Mǔdān' or 'Peony'. The sword has a blade of 78cm, a handle of 24cm, the width near the hand guard is 3.5mm, and the blade width near the tip is 2.5mm
The scabbard is ebony wood with the peony theme hence the name of my sword. The fittings on the sword are made from copper, and plated in gold. The sword weighs 1300g, and never leaves my side. The sword belonged to my mother, and was passed onto me along with her armor. There will come a time when I will wear it soon for a coming battle.
"The world can use more rulers like you,"
"I am sure it can," I replied to her compliment, I offered the Tiger Princess some jasmine tea, and one of my favorite foods for her to taste for herself, salt and pepper frogs legs. She seems to enjoy them. Hopefully in the future when the war is over, we may have more Tigerfolk coming to visit our lands. For the land is beautiful, and the people are warm
With the meeting adjourned and our alliance forged as strong as steel, I stood up from my throne and put my hand holding my sword against my other hand, and bowed to her. I am happy that the meeting between our peoples went well. It may soon come my time to go to battle, and lead the armies. I went to my chamber. There stood mother's armor
I miss her so, but in spirit I know she guides me. The armor is made in the 'mountain pattern' armor as worn by soldiers. The pauldrons have grimacing heads of demons plated in gold as is the demon-face on the belt-buckle. The sash and corset are made of white silk. The golden 'phoenix wing' helmet has an aventail of 'mountain pattern' armor as well
"O Empress, my apologies for interrupting you"
I turned to see a messenger on bended knee and bowing to me, "I bring news from Commander Sui, we have victory at the Zūn Yú Creek," she said, I nodded with a grin to the good news. I know that the Dragons will be trying to push further into the Kingdom. They seem to be after an item called the 'Obsidian Egg'. The outer villages will be in danger.
"You have my thanks, ride back to your commander, I would like to meet with Commander Sui, Lieutenant Xia and Lieutenant Rushi," I replied, the soldier stood up, and bowed before leaving the Imperial Palace. From an Empress to Queen Oscura, I say: you have mastered the Five Elements, but it won't earn you happiness nor the favor of your people