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Iter Laku Soksau

Emperor, scholar, conqueror, philosopher, living god

''What a fascinating story, don't you think? I would frankly question his existence if it weren't because he wrote down his words for us to read. He accomplished so much it's barely believable!''  
-a scholar's thoughts
Arguably the most influential man to ever walk the Earth, Iter Laku Soksau was the only person who managed to unify and rule a united Ikaharin, rising from slavery, defeating the countless city states of the land and creating an empire, which he ruled for 83 years. Even if his later years were met with increasing failure , he is still much revered and even worshipped by the people.

Biography


Yalshir

''I was given life 95 years ago, far into the depths of Sunharin. I can barely remember anything about my days there, I can't even remember my relatives, or their names.   I was given life 95 years ago, far into the depths of Sunharin. I can barely remember anything about my days there, I can only remember my name, Yalshir, named after the waves''.  
-Iter Laku Soksau's autobiography
He was born far from the shining cities he would go on to call home, being originally from the northern lands of Sunharin. Yalshir's childhood was fairly uneventful, or at least that is what can be discerned from the fact he himself couldn't remember much about those days.
''I was taken away 81 years ago, at the mouth of the Tsalri River. The sky was grey, the trees were silent, and then they came from the mist.   I was taken away 81 years ago, at the mouth of the Tsalri River. The sky was grey, the trees were silent, and I couldn't hide from them.   I was taken away 81 years ago, at the mouth of the Tsalri River. The sky was crying, the wind was howling, and they captured me''.  
-Iter Laku Soksau's autobiography
Even if it may have seemed for a time that he was going to live and die uneventfully, like many other of his fellow tribesmen, fate wouldn't allow it, as whalers from Ikaharin raided his settlement and kidnapped him.   After a long journey, Yalshir and his captors reached the great city of Aneiraibi, where he was meant to be sold. However, the local king went to the market when his auction was taking place and decided to keep him as his personal property, giving him the new name of An Hitlahui.

Sairau

Staging a revolution

''They beheaded them all, father, mother, son and daughter! And then they drank their blood and ate their hearts! They did all of this to praise the One, and His cult is spreading rapidly...''  
-excerpt from a theater play
He was An Hitlahui for 7 years, starting as a mere guard at the royal harem and gradually climbing up the ranks of the palace militia. During this period he also made many friends and some... closer relations, eventually becoming one of the most popular people in the entire city and having a network of contacts extending far across the region.   At age 21, he decided it was time to act and achieve freedom both for him and the other servants, thus he came up with a plan. First, he spread rumours of great human sacrifices and other gruesome ceremonies, saying the masters of nearby cities did them, and then he watched as the situation escalated, ending with people claiming their owners had tried to sacrifice them. This caused much tension and unrest, despite the lords' best attempts to calm things down.

The time has come

''I am not An Hitlahui, I am Sairau!''  
-excerpt from a theater play
Not even a year after putting his scheme into motion, An considered the time had come and used his position to murder the king in his sleep. Even if he was arrested right after doing that, being brought to the main square for a public trial/execution (the fate of many before him), unrest among his fellow slaves was so large a massive mob formed around the spectacle, overrunning the would-be executor and all the aristocrats who had come to visit.   After that, the mob split. Some went house by house murdering any aristocrats they found, while others went around the city releasing any servants they found.

Salu

A new beginning

''I curse this land! I curse it so nothing will ever succeed here again! So not even the gods dare step on it!''
After the rampage was over, the revolutionaries assembled and proclaimed Sairau as their leader. He wouldn't be a king, though, he would be a salu (a title which was traditionally used to refer to the leaders of hunting expeditions), a leader whose power would come from the people.   The salu's first move was simple, he ordered Aneiraibi to be demolished (even going as far as cursing the site itself) and relocated his center of power to a new city he started to build, Irhoibi. Even if the project wouldn't be completed for 30 years, this didn't stop him from embarking on other projects in the meantime...

Unification

''I shall not rest until all the world's peoples are free from slavery! And whoever dares oppose this mission will be declared an enemy of humanity, who shall be fought until the bitter end!''
Not long after laying waste to Aneiraibi, Sairau declared his intentions to emancipate the whole of Ikaharin and started taking action to achieve his goals. Thanks to a great military reform (arguably creating the only professional militia in the land's history), an extensive contact network and several slave uprisings, he became essentially unbeatable, the traditional armies of his foes being unable to do anything against him.   Those factors, combined with the increasingly strong snowball effect his state experienced, allowed him to take over the entirety of Ikaharin in a mere 3 years, not even the strongest walls saving the masters.

Iter Laku Soksau

Reforms

''I was so confident in my abilities back then! It seemed as if I could have solved all problems in the world just by passing new laws, it seemed as if I could bring peace and happiness to all''.  
-Iter Laku Soksau's autobiography
Once his empire was built, he started making massive reforms to solve the problems he thought plagued society and establishing a functioning state. Some of his acts included:
  • Abolishing slavery
  • Banning harems
  • Creating a bill of rights
  • Curtailing the power of the elites
  • Ensuring fair treatment by the judges
  • Establishing a coherent tax administration
  • Installing a provincial administration
  • Lifting restrictions on trade
  • Organizing a department to allow popular complains to reach him personally
  • Standardizing everything, from religion to the writing system
These measures were extremely popular with the commoners, although they granted him the opposition of the traditional powerholders, who would do everything in their power to sabotage his efforts and ensure they could keep their lifestyle.

Embracing your enemy

''People still criticize me for dressing like a king, having a regal name and not executing every aristocrat in the empire, but they all fail to understand that this has to be the case to ensure the continuation of my projects''.  
-Iter Laku Soksau's autobiography
Something that started in his late 20s and greatly accentuated over time, Sairau started accepting the former elites and Ikaharin's royal traditions into his court, even taking the regal name of Iter Laku Soksau and replacing his title of Salu by that of emperor.   Alongside that, his government started being a bit more lax when it came to enforcing the reforms and curtailing aristocratic privilege and the ethical treatment of commoners (with the notable exception of the Neliciak).   Although this succeeded in making the nobles cooperate with him, giving the empire their administrative know-how, and making his government more appealing to the more conservative people, it greatly angered some of the more radical revolutionaries, who broke off from the government and declared their hostility.

Iter Laku Halrau

A last hurray

''38 years ago it dawned on me, I may have ruled the entirety of the civilized world, but there were still many people living under the dark reign of oppression and brutality, people who needed to be emancipated''.  
-Iter Laku Soksau's autobiography
After several decades of rule over the cities of Ikaharin, Iter Laku decided to launch wars of expansion once again, this time aimed at the various tribes that lived beyond his borders, with the objective of bringing Ikaharin's laws and way of life to them.   Thus, soldiers and settlers left the citadels and ports of the empire, successfully expanding the country's borders and building several new towns to secure control of the land over the course of several years.

Uncooperative tribes

''Sadly, the Nir fail to see the common well that would come from joining my projects, such was the case when I was strong and mighty and such is the case now that I am old and infirm''.  
-Iter Laku Soksau's autobiography
Even if he successfully colonized several regions, filling them with people loyal to him, the emperor failed in his goal of civilizing the natives, who tended to stay away from his settlements and barely interacted with the colonists.   This angered the lord, who passed a series of laws and gave a series of commands to his governors to:
''Bring the good word to the wanderers and make them proper citizens''.
These didn't only apply to the natives in the newly acquired territories, as they were also enforced on the many nomadic tribes that had lived between the cities since time immemorial.   Despite increasingly harsh measures (going as far as burning their forests), his attempts failed and the wanderers and natives preserved their ways of life and independence from him, which caused great sadness in the emperor.

Failed megalomania

''Has he gone insane? There is no way we can fill, let alone preserve, such a large city!''
Although he always had a taste for architecture, the first decades of his reign seeing the creation of magnificent monuments, public buildings, roads and even entirely new settlements, after he turned 70 his projects started becoming more and more extravagant and/or purposeless, making them either useless or impossible to finish/maintain.   A good example of this was the plan to construct a new capital city, which would have the capacity to house 100 thousand people (which was a significant percentage of the empire's population) and a palace for every month of the year.   The unfinished ruins of this and many other projects still dot the countryside to this very day.

The thinker

''Who am I?
What is man?
Why are we what we are?''
-excerpt from 'Verses of Wisdom'
Largely caused by recent failures and tragedies (such as the assassination of 5 of his children by radical revolutionaries), Iter Laku started spending more and more time on the libraries and gardens he built, meeting with scholars and developing his own philosophy.

The end

The defeated winner

''Oh, God! Why did you curse me like this? Why didn't you kill me when everything was good? Why do I have to sit and watch as my body decays and my projects fail?''
Little remained of the energetic emperor by the time he turned 90, instead he was a recluse in his own palace, spending the vast majority of his time alone, thinking about life and why he was met with so many failures in his late years and writing.   Despite his general apathy, he (or his court) managed to get Ikaharin to survive through his last 15 years of rule, successfully defeating the Eighth Revolutionary Uprising, even if their assassins kept ravaging his family, and saving his border cities from invading hordes.   It should also be noted that due to his extreme longevity he outlived all of his early friends and many relatives, causing great sadness in him and causing him to barely socialize with anyone.   He died at age 104, although the body was never found.

Aftermath

''Listen, listen you all! The great emperor has died! But don't fear for him, for he is not traversing Akaina, as he is a god!''
After a statue of him was buried and olive oil was poured around the grave, people mourned for several weeks, barely anyone being old enough to remember the time before his reign, and great ceremonies were made to honour him.   However, greedy aristocrats soon started rejoicing, for they knew the empire was no more and they could go back to their old ways.

Legacy


''(The 3 colonists, respectfully): Great king! We have built several colonies in your name.   (Einon): May the tin mined in my settlement be of use to you!   (Halrin): May the spices harvested in mine bring you happiness!   (Anrin): May the slaves captured in mine serve you dutifully!   (King, wisely): Oh, Einon! I am sure the precious metal will allow my industry to flourish and the state to be wealthy, and for that I am grateful. Halrin! Your fine herbs will doubtlessly bring me boundless joy, for they are sure to make my meals worthy of a god, even! Thus I praise you both.   Meanwhile, Anrin, you have failed me! The great Iter Laku Soksau, may his deeds be revered, taught humanity of the evils of slavery. So, please answer me honestly, do you wish to defy his will? Or are you merely ignorant?   (Anrin, defensive): He is dead, he won't notice if his will is defied. Plus, slaves are really good and obedient, don't you want that loyalty?   (King, sternly): You should know the wise man who wishes to be followed by all doesn't rely on owning his retinue or causing fear on them, instead he behaves wisely and properly so they find on him a natural leader.   If you reject that truth, why are you in my court? Wouldn't you be happier among the slavers?''  
-excerpt from the theater play 'the Wise King'
Even if his empire died with him, becoming a patchwork of feuding city-states, and he wasn't as successful as he would have wanted to be, his legacy is still extremely strong today, casting a shadow over the entirety of Ikaharin.   Much of what he established in the Great Standardization, from the calendar to the writing system and even the weights and measurements used in markets, is still in wide use, greatly helping inter-city communication.   Although many of his social reforms and bans were either repelled or replaced with institutions that were essentially the same (such is the case with slavery, which is now called servantship), a few of them have survived, a good example of this being the Right to Safety, which protects people from gratuitous physical violence.   Culturally, he has become a paragon of virtue and good behaviour, thanks in large part to the fact the his philosophy has become the basis upon which all of ikaharin's thought is built upon. Kings aspire to be as wise and just as him, niuonnau wish to be as brave as him and many peasants' deepest desire is to climb the social ladder like him.   It should also be noted that many of the settlements he built have survived to the present, and that even some of his unfinished projects have been repurposed or completed by later rulers.   And all of this is ignoring the effects his worship and deification have had on society as a whole.
by Ynarkael
Iter Laku Soksau's personal banner
Life
324 RoI 428 RoI 104 years old
Children
Names:
It is tradition in Ikaharin for people to gather several names as they grow old and accomplish deeds. This character is no exception, having received many names, some of which including:
  • Yalshir: This was his native name.
  • An Hitlahui: This was his slave name, which literally translates into 'property number 4'.
  • Sairau: Literally 'Free One', this is the name he was given when he led the slaves to freedom.
  • Iter Laku Soksau: Literally 'Our Lord the Elevated One', this is his regal name.
  • Iter Laku Halrau: Literally 'Our Lord the Sad One', this is a common nickname he received during his later years, although nobody called him that in person.
Dictionary (Shiuihikane to English):
  • Ikaharin: 'Central Land', this is the name given to the urban regions of the Known World, as well as the name Iter Laku chose for his empire.
  • Sunharin: 'Northern Land', originally used to describe any regions north of Ikaharin, currently used to refer to the taiga and tundra of the far north.
  • Aneiraibi: 'Where Men Are Sold', although this wasn't the city's original name.
  • Irhoibi: Place of the Commoners.
  • Nir: Barbarian.
  • Niuonnau: Brave One.
Trivia:
  • He is one of Ikaharin's very few known authors, oral tradition dominating over the written word.
  • Living that long is extraordinarily rare, the average lifespan being around 50 once child mortality is taken out of the equation.
  • People from Ikaharin have a habit of launching raids all across the continent's coasts, sometimes sailing thousands of kilometers to find exotic goods or people.
  • Aneiraibi used to be the largest city in the world.
  • It is fairly common for elites in Ikaharin to have multiple wives and concubines.
  • Slave guards used to hold very important positions, at least before Iter Laku Soksau.
  • There is no magic in the world, but a strangely high amount of disasters and accidents have happened on the ruins of Aneiraibi since the curse was enacted.
  • His professional military was efficient, but the successor city-states quickly went back to the old aristocratic model, largely out of fear of peasant uprisings.
  • Allegedly, he chose his regal name because of his favourite poem, which talks about the flight of the eagle and how beautiful the land looks from above.
  • The radical revolutionaries, or at least their beliefs, would survive him, with some groups based on their thought still existing to this day.
  • The forts he established are still around today as independent cities, although over time they adopted the languages and several traditions from the locals.
  • He quickly backed down on burning forests, as his subjects needed them to survive as well.
  • At the peak of his power, there were less than a million people in Ikaharin.
  • If his worshippers are to be believed, he transformed into a comet and left for the skies.
  • Another group that greatly benefitted from his death were the revolutionaries, who used the weakness of the quarrelling nobles to wreak havoc upon them for the next 40 years.
  • Theatre plays and poems are a very common way to preach about philosophy.
  • The relation between the elites and his legacy has always been rather complicated.

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Comments

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15 Dec, 2020 20:29

Me gusta la historia de este personaje. Del anonimato, esclavo, revolucionario, rey poderoso y viejo decadente. Me gustaría saber más sobre él. ¿Todos sus hijos fueron asesinados? ¿No dejó ningún heredero o sustituto? Y lo que más me intriga es como murió y porque no se encontró su cuerpo. ¿Era realmente un dios?

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit Hanzelot
15 Dec, 2020 20:52

¡Graciaassss! No te preocupes, que más detalles sobre él irán apareciendo en artículos relacionados. Aunque todos sus hijos murieron y solo se quedó con algunos (bis)nietos, el colapso del imperio se debió más a que nunca designó un heredero, ya que lo normal en esta zona son las monarquías electivas, y que tras su muerte muchos aristócratas importantes decidieron simplemente elegir a reyes locales para gobernar sus ciudades (al fin y al cabo es más fácil controlar a un cacique que al emperador del mundo conocido), cosa la cual disolvió al imperio de facto.   Y bueno, lo último deberé dejarlo en incógnita... gotta keep some mystery, y'know

Ynar wishes you a nice day!   Feel free to visit my world, Ikaharin
16 Dec, 2020 14:45

El misterio siempre es bueno porque te deja pensando! y si es más fácil fragmentar para gobernar

Am I writing or procrastinating? Take a guess and visit Hanzelot
4 Jan, 2021 12:44

What a great biography. I'm sad that he was unable to see what caused people to stop trusting his decisions, it sounds like he did the best part while still being young and not able to see some of the complexity of governing, and then when he was, it was too late.   The quotes from his autobiography are great, especially the first ones, and I love how you added excerpts from theatre plays, it really tells you, early on, how important his legacy was.   Keep up the great work <3

4 Jan, 2021 13:24

Thank you! :D

Ynar wishes you a nice day!   Feel free to visit my world, Ikaharin