Bat-winged Men

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T183, Persian Empire
While ... dire events were unfolding in the east, Maqrizi had followed up on the extirpation of the Georgian scum in his capital by hustling his entire army and the Swedish Expedition down the Imperial Way to Tehran once more. His descent upon the provincial city was swift and fierce, like one of his hunting hawks. He found the place in turmoil and confusion.

Many thousands of refugees had fled only weeks before, and they had slain many of the townspeople in doing so during a fight with some foreigners that had attacked the city. Maqrizi sent out his men to search all the lands around the city, seeking those who had fled. No sooner than these efforts had begun, however, than a post-rider came out of the east with the news of the revolt of Qum. "Oh, fine!" snarled the Shah, and set about regathering his army to him so that he could march it back to Merv.

Amid all the confusion and chaos, the Swedish Prince Piotr came to the Emperor seeking the release of his men. Maqrizi eyed the boy suspiciously. "My scouts have learned that a regiment of men attacked the town some months ago, men that fell from the sky on bat-wings." said the Shah. "You wouldn't know anything about that, would you?" Piotr, wide-eyed, shook his head no. "They tried to blow up the town hall, and murder quite a few of these refugees that were living hereabouts. These refugees seem to have all left for parts unknown now." Piotr shrugged and spread his hands. The Shah fingered his beard and sighed. "War has come at last, as you have doubtless heard, too many greedy men seek my throne and the power it holds. We return to the east in haste, to crush this rebellion. Those that were here seem to have fled to the west. Would you pursue them, or come with me?"

Piotr gulped, saying "I have had word from the Empress saying that we are to aid you in your struggle against the Darkness in all ways. We shall follow you into the east, and fight at your side." The Shah smiled, his teeth white in the darkness of his beard. "Then We shall return your arms to you. Prepare to march within the day!"

Last updated: 12 September 2003

© 2003 Robert Pierce

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