Of a King's Rise and Fall in Ikaharin | World Anvil

Of a King's Rise and Fall

Let's enjoy this fine night and listen to some stories!

''I wonder what this ambaliori has in store for me...''
One should not look at Ikaharin's written tradition to enjoy its storytelling, for this is a land where words and songs are deemed more beautiful than inscriptions and texts. Thus one should seek an ambaliori, a half-actor half-storyteller who knows how to perform countless stories from memory.   Now that the context has been laid out, would you like to embody an aristocrat who spends the night attending an ambaliori's performance?


''Such a beautiful cove! The Ihiai is truly the Joy of the East''.
After a frankly pleasant morning stroll around your estate, drinking wine and enjoying the seaside views it offers, you retreat into your villa's comfort to escape the midday heat. If there is something bad about Ysinai in the summer that's got to be the Sun, you mutter to yourself as you rush to the building, also cursing your lineage's fondness for northern servants while you're at it.
''Laku, I fear to disturb the peace and quiet of this courtyard with my unrefined words, but the Nonnol's procession has been sighted over the horizon and will soon be here. I fear a reception is in order...''
Though tempted to tell the servant to send the guests away, you ultimately resign yourself to the task and put on your finest robes and fake smiles, ready to welcome them all.
''-Abbaion is truly a master calligrapher! The characters he painted on the doors of my villa are some of the finest I've seen east of Suwan.   -Quite! But those can't compare with the ones he paints for himself... One truly doesn't understand the meaning of the word until one sees his private collection.   -Agreed, cousin! Perhaps he should go to Dekaibi and ask the king in person for the favour, like we did! it's not as if the word 'private' had much meaning for Iter Laku...   -*cough* Though to be fair I prefer his contribution to the field of Banhan *cough*   -What?   -Nothing, I assure you''.
Thankfully, one of your servants picks up the cue and comes to save you from the boredom of the conversation your guests are so keen on maintaining with you. After all, no respectable aristocrat would pass up the opportunity to spend half the day talking about the Annan. Only if they knew you aren't...

Harinnairin First King

''Will you, fine lords, allow this humble servant to guide you away from this room and into another? I assure you it is only so that my master may entertain you during this night''.
Thus the slave leads you all down to the villa's second basement, the one below the cellar and the one you use for banhan activities you've entered twice or thrice in your life. Although there is no light whatsoever in the room, the butler manages to sit everyone comfortably, which he does before locking the door shut and disappearing.
''Be silent,
Hosts of mine
Be silent,
Trees and birds
Be silent,
Fish and wind
Be silent,
And listen''
The deafening silence is broken after what seems like an eternity by an odd, booming voice, one which you'd swear comes from everywhere at once. Then, the recitation stops, drums start beating on all corners and panpipes blowing. Definitely a promising start, you think.   The darkness, however, remains in place for a fair while, until a fire is lit in what you presume is the other end of the room. Though the fire is quite small, barely illuminating the ground around it, it allows you to see the ambaliori you hired. Then the veiled woman starts playing her kahillik and reciting the story, all other instruments becoming almost quiet.
''Of him you may have heard
Harinnairin the Black
On whose honour canals are dug
Who was the first of kings
Of the fields and rivers
Of his deeds though I doubt
You high people much know
For he was king
But also a farmer
Of whose deeds peasants speak
Thus let us oh this solve
Thus let me his deeds tell
Thus let the high ones raise their souls
With his story's lesson
With his virtues and flaws
Please do not your eyes close
Please do not ears ignore
My humble words
My humble song and myth
My humble praise to Hun''
After saying that god's name, the flame dies and the sounds of birds and water start to be heard. That rather soothing soundtrack is the only thing heard for a while until the maiden continues the performance, still in the dark.
''Long before Itsarau reigned over us
Long before any mortal did
Long before Man told tales
In no land there was a king sat
In no land there was control of the kin
In these days there was peace
In these days all lived carelessly
No war being waged in land or water
No great sin going unpunished
No thing out of order
It was then that Kir to the river went
However there he fell
And as in the deep waters drowned
Forever trapped by soil
It was then that Tahiu died in the depth
Sadly his cruel fate was by all ignored
For none had the corpse even seen
So deep below it was
And this the balance did disturb
Sadly for the fate of this our bright world''
And then the teller's melody is sharply interrupted by a loud explosion. Shocked, the next thing you notice is a blue torch being lit, its flame being blown over the crowd and dangerously close to your face for just an instant. Unlike your guests, you're a lover of risky performances, so needless to say you are enjoying yourself. Soon after that ''incident'', the tune resumes and the tone becomes much more intense.
''Oh of Kir all with a soul may have forgotten
Feasting while his body was drowned
Becoming the very soil that trapped him
And ensuring the end of peace
Oh Dead Tahiu what you did without knowing it
Forgotten for long time he laid
Until an eel the god's remains it dug
Eager to a house carve out of the high god's skull
For the humble fish could not it respect
Forgotten no more was Kir thus
The eel was though soon broken by the skull's power
The eel's corpse soon fused with the noble bones
The eel soon became like a spark
Bringing life back to the black river's soil
Bringing to this our sunny world Harinnairin
Harinnairin the Great Black Lord came out of the river
Harinnairin only saw death
For the world above was wicked
For they ended the great balance
For not mourning Tahiu's death caused all to degenerate
Soon people stole freely from all
All broke all things as quickly as their hands allowed them
The old and sacred lands were by men then burnt and defiled
Not even the great Cradle of All Ir Dauol was spared
Soon Nature once again acted
Thus Nature a fine cape wove from Ki Atur's own
One of red cotton and white pearls
And gave its wearer kingship over all
Over the whole of the Earth's frame
Thus Nature kingship for the first time invented
Yet it remained in the shadows
Yet it remained far from any one's gaze
Yet it remained waiting for its proper owner
One who for many years did not appear
One whose great reward he ignored
The real owner did not know his fate oh no
The real owner rumours did hear though
As all spread them from East to West
As all talked about their future glory
As all saw themselves as kings of the Universe''
While slightly disappointed with the actual contents of the tale, your interest in the performance remains, as the ambaliori's fire suddenly vanishes and all sound stops. This absence, luckily, doesn't last long, as a strange figure wearing a mask with antlers lits a candle and the music restarts. Although you cannot see the ambaliori.
''I shall be the one who rules high above
Yelled great Celain most confident deer
Over the mountain and the redwood tree
Below the stars and clouds of the Blue Sky
I shall be the one who rules victorious
Thus he travelled through barren fields and burnt forests
Slaughtering whatever he found opposing him
Oh Akaina itself did become full indeed
In vain as after three weeks he met no success
Thus the Horned One did his mad hunt for the cape end''
After that, the candle and the dancer disappear into the darkness of the basement. This time, however, it doesn't take too long for the performance to continue, as another small fire is lit elsewhere in the room. The person it illuminates is wearing a metal mask with mirrors as eyes, and remains sat still.
''I shall be the one who rules over all
Said Yrain of the Thousand Visions
Among the grey fog and the rocky stream
Below the watchful gaze of trees and birds
I shall be the one who rules eternal
Thus he spent night and day summoning the spirits
Torturing them to tell him of the location
Using great magic by all in the land unknown
Though in vain for after nine weeks the cape found not
Thus the Dark One did his great hunt for the cape end''
With that short story told, the motions repeat and the actor vanishes, being replaced by another one elsewhere in the basement. This time the dancer is clad in feathers and wears a mask with a sharp beak. Although you've never seen any deity that looks like that, you are sure those damned Nonnol know every little detail about them...
''I shall be the one who rules in Heaven
Sung Denain of the Glittering Wings
Above the white clouds of this sunny realm
Below the blue Heaven and Golden Sun
I shall be the one who rules majestic
Thus the track of the Sun he stopped to the cape find
Causing the dry landscape to like timber lit up
The Gray Land once more becoming full of people
Once more in vain for nine months passed with no success
Thus the Beaked One did his bright hunt for the cape end''
Then, as you were already expecting, light and sound vanish and return just as quickly. Although this time the flame is green and you can see both the teller and a dancer, who is wearing peasant rags.
''Thus what was meant to bring salvation brought much doom
Making what was bad oh much worse
Yet the royal cape hidden still remained
Waiting for its proper owner
Thus the cape invisible to all dark remained
Lord Harinnairin merely wept
Lamenting the death of the living world
So full of corruption and decay it then was
No plant growing no one's deeds at all praised
The Great Lord wanted to this end
Harinnairin for days thought of a solution
Harinnairin thought long and hard of it
Harinnairin oh Sleepless One
But at long last it was to him revealed
But at long last answers became as clear as day
I have to forever change the land to spread good around
I have to cultivate it all
So that order again returns
So that all may live happily
So that barbarity is from Our Sunny Realm expelled
He thus invented all techniques
And started planting seeds tilling soils and caring for all
Turning the scorched deserts of the land into lush farmland
Spreading with his labour virtue and the Natural Way
He thus was praised by all alive
Although at first the great lord his cult did ignore
Their praises falling on deaf ears
For he only cared of cultivation
Wanting just to order restore
Although his every deed was by many revered
It was then in great Ir Dauol
It was there that Harinnairin found it
It was then the black lord the royal cape unearthed
While ploughing the soil of that high island
While preparing to cultivate
I can not be the one meant to have this power
I can not be the one meant to rule all
Cried Harinnairin to Heaven
Cried Harinnairin with sorrowful woe
Cried Harinnairin to be heard in all corners''
As his predicament is recited, you think to yourself that Harinnairin is being quite stupid, not wanting to bask in the glory of his achievements and acting humbly. But then it hit you that this is a tale told by peasants, so what could you expect, right? In any case, three figures enter the stage, all dressed in their odd costumes and dancing to the kahillik.
''Oh Black Lord who are you if not our king
For boundless abundance you brought us all
All your fine deeds are worthy of high praise
And virtue to the Eight Directions spread
Oh Black Lord who are you if not our god
Said a delegation of mortals and spirits
To convince Harinnairin to become their king
For all feared what would be of the world without him
So much he improved this our world in so little
Said all from Celain Horned One to Mister Ni''
Then, the dancer dressed in rags put on a (rather expensive looking) cape and the tone radically changed, the fire becoming purple as well. You are happy the main character is finally behaving like someone worth talking about...
''By the words of adoration finally moved
Harinnairin the cape put on
And all forever changed in this our world
For he was the first of kings
By the words of adoration kingship was born
The humble lord glorious became
Taller than the tallest of all heroes
Stronger than a boar at land and a whale at sea
His mere sight causing as much praise as fear
The humble lord a king was made
Thus for centuries his powers used for good
Thus cultivation supreme did become
Thus countless millions were all fed
Feeding oh both the soul and the body
Feeding both young and old with great prosperity
During these centuries Nature's finest law was followed
During these centuries good reigned
For he showed the purest virtue
For he took care of everyone
For he never even thought of breaking that sacred way''
And thus, after reciting that last syllable, the story comes to an end and everything turns black and silent again. This time, however, you all are lead outside by the same servant who brought you in, careful to guide you without having anyone stumble upon anything. You can only be amazed at some people's ability to see in the dark.

A short break

''Wine and venison, page!''
Eager to breathe some fresh air and have something to eat before heading back downstairs, you order your staff to prepare a late dinner at the patio. One which you will sadly have to share with the Nonnol... It's in moments like these when you wonder if the alliance you want to maintain with them is worth having to actually bear them.
''-Didn't you find the metre superb, cousin? Her use of the kihabbai and her subtle subversion of the illurin simply brought tears to my eyes!   -Agreed! How could one not be amazed by her ability to keep a balance between tradition and innovation? Although her use of fire and other... trivial distractions undeniably worsened the quality of the performance.   -So often does the craftsman have great clay, yet so often it is damaged in the oven...   -You guys know what the story was about, right?''
Definitely thrilled by the idea of going back underground and not having to listen to your guests any longer, you tell the servants to take you all to the basement again, declaring the meal is over. Because of course, what kind of host would you be if you kept your guests away from the entertainment for too long? You think to yourself sarcastically while wishing you were peasants and could drink from the gourd.

Kaeri First Queen

''Be silent,
Hosts of mine
Be silent,
Trees and birds
Be silent,
Fish and wind
Be silent,
And listen''
The words of that familiar poem can be heard from everywhere at once as you enter into the dark room and the butler gives you a sit, the music starting shortly thereafter. The woman's voice accompanies the sound of the instruments, a fire slowly rising as the verses start to be recited.
''Of his rise you now know
Harinnairin First King
Whose virtue was by all adored
Who was the Farmer King
Of the fields and rivers
Of his fall you must know
Now for the tale to end
The High Lord's tale
Who at last was beaten
Of it you will soon hear
Thus let us the end bring
Thus let me his fall tell
Thus let the high ones raise their souls
With his story's lesson
With his virtues and flaws
Please do not your eyes close
Please do not ears ignore
My humble words
My humble song and myth
My humble praise to Hun''
After saying that god's name, an actress dressed in yellow robes enters the stage and starts performing around the dim light, the sound of water being heard all around. You are certainly not used to seeing women dance in such... formal ceremonies, you whisper to yourself.
''Long after Harinnairin king became
Long after he left the river
Long after the first crops
In the land a humble king sat
In the land there was virtuous control
In these days there was peace
In these days all lived properly
No war being waged at land or at sea
No great sin going unpunished
No thing out of order
It was then that Hun to the river went
To the place of his birth
And as into the waters gazed
He fair Hallerin saw
It was then that the high king learnt of love
Sadly this did his fate seal for the worse
For she was not to marry him
So sworn she was to Han
This forever altered our lord
Sadly for the fate of This Our Bright World''
Then, both the teller and the actress disappear as the Harinnairin impersonator's moves become more erratic. The water is also replaced with rattles and all semblance of harmony in the melody disappears.
''Why am I tempted to break Nature's Law?
Me who is its keeper and enforcer
Who is meant to shine brighter than the Sun
And guide this our high world through example
Why am I tempted to cause harm to all?
Whispered King Harinnairin to by none be heard
Fearing to fall victim to his new desires
Oh how chaotic and unbalanced they all were
Love's sweet and wild whispers of joy and great glory
Whispered Our Lord Harinnairin truly disturbed''
This monologue is ended by the dancer hurling a sickle at the crowd, knocking off someone's hat. That makes you so happy you have to make a gargantuan effort to not interrupt the session with your childish laughter. In any case, the actor hides into the darkness and the ambaliori enters the scene once more, the tune remaining equally deformed.
''Unable to forget her gaze his duties left
Causing decay to once more spread
All falling out of order in the land
As it was oh so long ago
Unable to forget the glory he saw then
Silence and death reigned oh supreme
The fields and crops to the Gray Land travelled
From the Heavens lightning but no rain fell for days
And the people virtue forgot once more
Silence and death it replacing
The few virtuous ones ceaselessly wept for weeks
The few good ones wanted the king's return
The few proper ones wanted peace
But their desperate pleas fell on deaf ears
But they were ignored by Harinnairin
Harinnairin in his solitude grew worse day by day
Harinnairin wanted one thing
To be with his dearest maiden
To be with she who was promised
To be with she whom Our Lady Kaeri held dearest
Madness in him grew for twelve years
Eager to end his pain but not to go against the law
Thus he suffered more pain than anyone could imagine
Not even the most starved citizens of the underworld
Madness in him grew with no end
It grew until it could grow no more inside him
And then it grew beyond his self
Born out of Harinnairin's pain it was
Yrankuwalir oh pale beast
It grew in the abode of Mad Harinnairin
This though the king's pain did not end
This though his soul did not raise from the depths
This though did not answer the pleas of the good ones
It only gave him company in woe
It only gave the lord a son
Oh this son Yrankuwalir was not silent
Oh this son of his countless things whispered
Whispers of committing great crimes
Whispers of seducing the devoted
Whispers of defiling Kaeri's will and law
Then the Harinnairin impersonator leaps into the scene once more, this time wearing rather odd garbs full of bells. To enter the stage, he jumps over the crowd, although you have no clue how he got behind you all without seen. You should definitely ask that ambaliori for advice on how to organize the next banhan feast, you mutter.
''I the king cry for you oh Hallerin
Unable to be fair because of you
All of the world's misery your fault is
Thus please come with me so that it is solved
I the king this of you most humbly beg
Said the king in the cape to the maiden one day
The gloriously imposing lord of all begging
Hoping to with his words the maiden's union break
To make her leave Kaeri's embrace and be his
Said the king all the words he could recite to her''
To answer his monologue, the same actress as before enters the scene, though much more calmly than the man.
''Oh your pain and misery I lament
And for the problems of the land I cry
Yet I am not yours and never will be
For you are not to compare to my One
Oh your self so inferior to her own
Replied the lady on the Black River's bright banks
Green-eyed mortal who rejected Harinnairin
Bravest of all who no god's words would make her stray
And desert Kaeri's warm and loving embrace
Replied thus she Hallerin with divine courage''
And then the music stops and the fire is snuffed out. This drags on for far longer than expected, until yet another explosion lits a rather large fire and the sounds begin again. This music is much more coherent and intense than what was being played before, and you see several actors at the stage, all dancing chaotically.
''Thus Harinnairin in his cave bitterly wept
Yrankuwalir whispering
And Blue-eyed Harinnairin listening
To the shapeless being's advice
Thus Harinnairin decided to all destroy
Thus with terrible intent flew
Chasing the bright Sun in Heaven above
Eager to it capture and Creation burn whole
So Kaeri could not her sworn one have
Thus making him forever pleased
Denain however his chase ended quickly
Denain fiery arrows shooting
Denain thus the great lord fell
Piercing his glorious wings of silk and jade
Piercing his body oh so mighty and dreadful
Thus Harinnairin Black Lord fell to the water below
Thus Harinnairin his scheme changed
For he was still eager to hurt
For he was bitter as the most
For he would not let them rejoice
In his dreadful mind a dark thought
A simple way to all in Creation at least destroy
His duties he would keep neglecting until all were dead
And fertility would to all the land wholly deny
In his dreadful mind so simple
In this Harinnairin though did not find success
Only bringing forth his demise
For the good ones this would not tolerate
And his reign would bring to an end
In this Harinnairin and his son did not think
Thus all who would live gathered there
Thus all gathered under the Great One's flag
Thus all obeyed the High Lady of the Flowers
Eager to at long last King Hun depose
Eager to Nature's Law restore
All then entered Harinnairin's darkest abode
All then sung songs of war and destruction
The Lord of All fighting with bravery
The lord slaying thousands with his power
The lord slaying with fire thunder and anger''
The melee suddenly stops when Harinnairin kicks everyone away from him to let everyone see him clearly. Although the ungodly noise the countless bells on his costume make is driving you mad.
''You shall not slay me in this darkest place
For I am the king of all Creation
Invincible with my most royal cape
Thus you shall cease in your attempts and leave
You may choose to do that or die in here
Yelled Harinnairin growing desperate below
Crushing countless but countless more joining the fight
For all were against him and none defended him
The power of his cape not enough to save him
Yelled thus Harinnairin in fear and agony''
However, once his monologue is over, all the other actors make quick work of him and seize him. They then beat him with hopefully blunt sticks and leave him laying on the ground, taking off a garment you assume is his cape and throwing leaves and such trash over him. You feel kind of sorry for him...
''At long last though Blue-eyed Harinnairin was slain
After causing a great slaughter
Killing both gods and mortals in his rage
Before Hallerin the Great pierced his heart
At long last to defend the one she was sworn to
All thus the Victorious One praised
The mortal so noble she killed a god
Though this feat she dedicated to her goddess
Whom she argued should now be queen of all
All thus Kaeri gave the cape
Harinnairin's beaten body was torn to shreds
Harinnairin's remains were spread around
Harinnairin's bones were defiled
And his shapeless son was burnt by the Sun
And his shapeless son was by beaked Denain mocked
In the tallest peaks was the bright new era thus announced
In the burnt fields all reveered her
For she made all fertile once more
For she shone bright with great virtue
For she restored the pure forests of this our sunny realm
The people thus praised the queen's deeds
And to her worship countless people become devoted
The new reign shining for brighter than Harinnairin's own
Kaeri acting as a beacon of virtue and good
The people inspired by her''
After wrapping up the story and reciting those last words, the session comes to an end. After all, the narrative cycle is over and she has already been entertaining you for hours. Thus the butler leads you all out of the second basement, never letting you see the room fully illuminated. Guess that's where the magic of the telling is...   As to the ambaliori, you never see her or any of the dancers leave, being too preoccupied giving orders to your staff to send the Nonnol to sleep so that they may let you enjoy the rest of the night in peace.