The Story of Ukae - James Prescott
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The Story of Ukae
Copyright © 2000 James Prescott
Excerpts from the Dughsei Timeline, concerning the last Dugh-Seuri Civil War.
962 - Sixth kuni (Nekhoe-Kobr-Teraeko and Ipehiti-Etek) take over.
974 - The kuni having fallen out with each other, a terrible civil war begins in which the hirdi, and ordinary ilki and arli, are divided, some on one side and some on the other. This civil war lasts four years, and devastates much of the country. The devastation is very much worse than during the earlier civil war. Entire districts are burned. During this time foreign raiding again ceases almost completely.
978 - Ukae-Utken-Arlu and the Nif-Arli bring an end to the civil war. The war is later dubbed, somewhat misleadingly, as Nif-Arlo-Khnaalir, 'the war of the six arli'.
The Story of Ukae
Ukae-Utken-Arlu lived in the Hipkekokh district. People thought her a most powerful and well-respected person. Ukae was also a boraeko (one who temporarily leads both a male and a female kin line), and people said that she would be as lucky as she was powerful. She fought for Nekhoe-Kobr-Kun throughout the conflict.
In the fourth year of the civil war the forces of the kun and the kunu were gathering for a battle at the mouth of the Hetmal-Alak (Wild River). Before the battle Ukae obtained in secret the agreement of five other powerful arli, including one from the kunu's side, to wait out the battle, and to intervene at the end so as to make the result conclusive. These are known as the Nif-Arli, the "Six Arli".
In the ships with her own troops she brought a very large number of horses, and so did the rest of the Nif-Arli. This was thought unusual. As the forces took their places on the morning of the battle, Ukae and the rest of the Nif-Arli took their troops, with their horses, to a low ridge overlooking the battlefield. They left a number of troops in their ships, who lay down under their leather bags so that the ships looked nearly empty.
Nekhoe-Kun sent a messenger to her, asking her why she was not arraying her troops in his battle line as he expected and as had been agreed. Ukae then said in a speech, a speech which even kali can still repeat exactly as it was first spoken, that she felt for the land, and bled for the land, and could no longer see it rent asunder. She knew that the vani (gods) were waiting that day, and that they would choose one side or the other as the winner of the battle. She and her allies would wait until the will of the vani had become apparent, and would then intervene to extinguish the losers utterly, so as to ensure that the strife could continue no longer.
After Ukae had answered the kun's messenger, she spoke a poem, then with all her might threw a spear from the ridge into the middle of the field between the two waiting armies. At this signal the troops who were lying hidden on the ships leapt to their feet and immediately stormed and captured all of the other ships in the bay, whether they were in the mouth of the river itself and belonged to the forces of the kun, or were on the other side of a point and belonged to the forces of the kunu.
Some say that Ukae-Arlu was the greatest traitor that Dugh-Seuri has ever seen, but more praise her for her wisdom and courage in ending the bath of blood that was drenching the land.
The battle began and the day began to go against the kun, and the kunu's forces were driving his troops back. As the kun's forces began to split and flee, it is said that Ukae-Arlu shed tears as she led her forces, fresh and unbloodied, and with the speed of horseback, to chase down and kill all those who had survived on the kun's side. Her troops used their spears from horseback, something that had not been seen in Dugh-Seuri before, and seldom since.
It is said that Nekhoe-Kun himself was eventually brought to bay in the early evening by Ukae's own household troops, and that she dismounted and slew him herself. It is reported that before attacking the kun she said "Let the vani decide whether what I have done this day is right".
All members of the Vurekh, the kun's kin line, whether they had managed to survive the slaughter, or had not been at the battle, were either hunted down and killed by Ukae and the Nif-Arli, or fled into exile and were not heard of in Dugh-Seuri again. Men, women, and children were slaughtered. If any survived, they went abroad forever, or into the east, or concealed their ancestry until their deaths. Vurekh (the star Sirius) was never again chosen as the name for a kin line. The star itself came to be an ill omen. Other kin lines called Vurekh changed their names. Those of other kin lines who had fought on the kun's side, if they were not killed on the afternoon of the battle, were not hunted down or otherwise persecuted.
Further excerpts from the Dughsei Timeline.
979 - New political arrangements are made at the Natkh-Sorre, the national assembly, dictated by Ukae-Utken-Arlu and the priests, and backed by almost all ilki and arli. Powers and responsibilities are shifted strongly in favour of the assembly. For the first time in 163 years the kuni attend the assembly, as guests. The kunu, Ipehiti-Etek, marries Donvi-Zhaas-Ilk, of the Tekhdaaner kin line, and that kin line now forms the male half of the hirdi. Donvi-Zhaas-Kun becomes the second sixth kun.
The kuni retain control over foreign policy, but are required to consult with a committee of arli appointed by the assembly. The right to select judges for lawsuits returns to the arli. The final appeal for civil lawsuits returns to the assembly. The kuni agree to limit the size of the hirdi to 1000 persons of all ages, half its former size. The kuni agree that the national assembly itself may make formal complaint against the kuni, and that such complaints will be judged by the three chief priests. The right to decide on matters of taxation returns to the assembly. The kuni continue to receive the customs tax, but the ear tax is altered so that half of the revenue goes to the kuni and half to the assembly. In newly settled regions the ear tax is halved and that entire half goes to the kuni.
The priests reveal to the arli and the more prominent ilki the existence and nature of their glacier melting and related spells, and their need for specific ingredients gathered by raiding. The kuni and the assembly establish organised raiding, typically using ships supplied and manned by arli or prosperous ilki, with contingents from the hirdi. Politically, this ensures that except during the depths of winter the majority of the hirdi are outside Dugh-Seuri, occupied with raiding.
Since this date there has been no civil war in Dugh-Seuri, apart from continued clashes between those areas that recognise the central government and those in the east that do not.
A brief glossary.
arli - Senior ilki, effectively the nobility
Dughsei - An imagined people loosely based on the Viking Age Norse, though with important differences.
hirdi - The guards of the King and Queen
ilki - The leader of a male or female kin line
kali - Free persons, being about 95% of the Dughsei
kun - The King
kuni - The King and Queen
kunu - The Queen
vani - The Gods
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