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The Founding of Parsantium

In the distant past, long before the time of the Batiaran Empire, a number of Sahasran refugees fled the Kingdom of Kadar and its evil geomancer rulers. On the other side of the Pillars of Heaven Mountains they arrived at the Dolphin Strait where the Griffin Water joins the Corsair’s Sea and founded the town of Dhak Janjua that would later become Parsantium.

Vrishabha, a young rakshasa adhura (novice), was among those who fled from Sahasra, sent there by his hakima master Nataraj to insinuate himself into the new city. In time, Vrishabha’s power and wealth grew as he became first a darshaka (servant), serving the interests of his distant lord and then a hakima himself as he took control of the fledgling city as its rajah. Vrishabha acquired powerful servants including other rakshasas and human sorcerers and warlocks, as well as infernal allies. As his influence spread, he was able to become independent of his former master, becoming a samrata, the highest rakshasa caste. As rajah, Vrishabha sought to expand the influence of the city, strengthening trade links with the pharoahs of the desert kingdom of Khemit and with the Sunset Lands to the West. He started a programme of public works to make Dhak Janjua even greater: the huge stone bridges crossing the Dolphin Strait were built during this time, at the height of Vrishabha’s power.

But Vrishabha’s rule over the people of Dhak Janjua was cruel and tyrannical, and the people, led by the priests and followers of the ancient spirit Bauhei, the Black Leopard, champion of the oppressed (see picture below) rebelled against him. The revolt was brutally crushed with those directly involved, their families and their acquaintances tortured viciously before being put to death. The temples of the Black Leopard were razed and the god’s priests rounded up and killed.

However, one young priest, named Srivatsa, escaped into the forest outside the city. Praying to Bauhei for help, he was sent a messenger in the form of a black leopard, who brought with him the means to bring down Vrishabha: a bow made from a rainbow that fired magical arrows. Lumbering behind the black leopard was an enormous white elephant – a mount fit to serve the avenger of the god.

Srivasta rode into Dhak Janjua astride the elephant, unopposed by the guards on the city gate and cheered by the people. Arriving at the palace, the hero fought his way through the rajah’s soldiers and sorcerors, before confronting Vrishabha himself in his throne room. Srivasta shot the rakshasa through the heart, slaying him, and thus, the city of Dhak Janjua was saved from tyranny and evil.

The story of Srivasta and Vrishabha is still remembered today among the Sahasran community of Parsantium and is retold in an epic poem.

It is said that as fiendish spirits veiled in flesh, a rakshasa is reincarnated somewhere in the world after days, months or years of tormented wandering as a bodiless spirit. It often seeks vengeance against those who killed it in its previous incarnation.

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