The Legacy of Jahandar Hassanzadeh

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Little defeats for the little soldier.

Post by Kent » December 8th, 2022, 1:32 am

1347, Old-Town District, First Province.

THE MUSEUM steps were firm under him, and that was a comfort for if there was one thing Jahandar dreaded it was going up and down stairs. Entering homes and searching for contraband on patrol had been one of the worst experiences of his life; too many men stepped directly into fiery explosions.

Distracted by the intrusive memory, before he realized it he was standing in front of the table in the records room – in front of the man he had come to see, and another rather unexpected guest. Immediately being seized by tension, he determined to mutter his way through the conversation. He had come here looking for a way to make money, but he internally vowed to turn it into a productive opportunity.

The conversation was rather humdrum in the basement, and soon Jahandar felt the tug in his lungs that told him it was time for a cigarette. Muzzling himself with a rich Foundry-Select cigarette, the troupe soon moved to the main, first floor of the recently renovated Museum. That was when Jahandar noticed the peculiar glint in Atticus’ eye.

The man raised more questions than answers, Jahandar figured. He would likely never know the truth, but he had particular suspicions towards the man. These were doubled by the presence of the third member of the scholarly meeting. Considering all these things, as well as all the others, had flooded his mind and something inside screamed at him to get out.

Excusing himself without too much incident and escaping into the bathroom, he sped to the mirror. Clawing fingers peeled his eyes open, and they looked well enough. Well enough that he could afford to balance himself out. Patting his jacket for the hauntingly familiar bottle of pills, he peeled it open. He wasn’t certain how many were in it–only that it was above a certain level, and that was about half.

Before half-way down, all was well. There would be plenty of time to see Doctor sludge for a refill, or Constantine, or any other doctor he could make himself available to. He winced at that thought, hatefully locking eyes with his reflection. He could not imagine a worse position for himself to be in, and that was it’s own small horror.

Staring down the man in the mirror didn’t seem to change anything. He was starting to feel -it- in his center mass, and that was a relief—but, the man in the mirror remained. It was time to face the music; the daily attempts on his and his brother’s life were making him war-weary. How he dreamed of a peaceful dinner with his family. How he ached when he realized that was just as well to be a dream, for he would be fortunate to see it realized.

Rejoined to the others, the conversation waxed and waned in that cumbersome way it does when there is something unspoken in the room. The only trouble, Jahandar figured, was the issue of not knowing which unspoken thing occupied each of their minds. There was far too much unspeakable in his life, and far too little to relish with friends.

Too little God, too. He struggled daily to keep the faith–hours in prayer and studying holy manuscripts did little to quell the overwhelming horror of it all.

LOSING himself in his mind as the conversation occurred around him, as he often did, he considered that there was no need to cry; there was no need to beg. This was the waking world in which he lived. Accepting it was the first step to conquering it—he had conquered so many things. He had conquered the Venerated Legion itself, for his brother.

But the struggles and triumphs recently in his life left him empty and unsatisfied. It was no way to live–and yet he had to endure it. Someone, it seemed, had to live this way. The powers that be in heaven, on high, had decided it to be Jahandar long ago.

Departing the dreadful social situation was its own struggle, one which Jahandar found himself dissatisfied with his handling of. Another point of contention to occupy his mind on what was surely winding up to being a sleepless night. Stepping out into the sharp Frostmarch air was a relief.

The cold air hitting his lungs filled him with life, grounding him in the moment and energizing himself to make his way back to the Bistro as the heaviest effects of the painkillers began to seat itself in him.

Slipping into the back entrance, he had exchanged a mumbled courtesy to Hailey. He slid down onto the stool at the end of the bar and began to study the ripples of the massive curtains that divided the room.

Considerations tugging at him, he plucked one of his “special blend” cigarettes free from the paper pack and lit it swiftly, inhaling the aromatic smoke with a tingle of burning relief. Burning distraction.

Determining to engage in useful introspection, he propped himself up on the stool and studied the materials of the canvas curtain as Hailey continued to clean glasses. This was a good enough salve for the wounds of the day, he figured. The warrior would live to fight another day. But his strength still seemed to grow dimmer as time marched on. Hopefully, he thought, the salve will hold.

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Battle of Fieldstone

Post by Kent » December 20th, 2022, 6:52 pm

1339, Fieldstone, Ghaenthgrand.

Jahandar attended to his studies most of his free days, either reading about the reactions of different chemicals or the finer points of different materials in jewelrycrafting. But, this was not most days. On this day he had been pressed to muster with the rest of his contubernium and put to march. Not knowing what they marched to, the ranks of the column were bustling with speculation.

Jahandar struggled to carry his musket – an older model, the oldest in the group of skirmishers, and its crude make was apparent. Being a flintlock, he stood a much greater chance of being ‘rained out’ of a fight, or worse pressed to the front with his sword. The legion had peculiar ways of doing things, ancient traditions from centuries past. When Jahandar was newer, he would (foolishly) ask why certain things were the way they are only to be told: We’ve always done it that way.

The same applied to this march. Glancing to his left, he saw a column of heavily-armored footsoldiers trampling through a forest at a shocking cadence. It made little sense for them to maintain their column in their forest, but they did it anyway. Because, this was the way His Venerated Legion has always done it.

Soon our lines were drawn up opposing -their- lines. Who were they? Seditionists. They sought to end the republic and were fighting a fixed battle here in the hopes of starting a revolution in the province. Most of their members were disguised in robes or hoods, but otherwise conducted themselves like soldiery of a militia. Why? They were the second and third-sons of Prelacy Parishes, the lot of them. Well-educated, with their own ideas on how the Republic should be ran. Jahandar never imagined he’d face such a foe, but here he was.

When in training, he always assumed he would be ready to fight the afflicted. Not people. Living, breathing people with wives and daughters, husbands and sons. The enemy lines, as Jahandar studied them, seemed to be composed of just about every type of person you could imagine. He didn’t know the name of the terrorist’s association, but he reckoned it had to be one of the bigger ones.

No matter. Now was on him, the task of killing men. He realized he had restricted his view to only a slice of their line. Cocking his head and glancing about the vibrant and grassy spring-battlefield, he saw that the enemy was indeed atleast two thousand strong. It was going to be a long day of battle, here just outside of Fieldstone.

He remembered hearing some scuttlebutt that the terrorists sought to seize Fieldstone and make it the heart of an army. He wasn’t sure if that was true or not, but standing here shoulder to shoulder with the other skirmishers, he felt certain it wasn’t going to matter as soon as the shooting started.

Coincidentally, just then the line shifted as every man responded instinctively to the order to take aim. Jahandar braced his antique piece against his shoulder, cocking the flintlock back and praying enough powder had remained locked in the pan.

Soon both lines erupted in a sheet of fire and smoke, the most acrid thing Jahandar had ever experienced in his life. His eyes burnt terribly, and his hands were beginning to shake as he began methodically loading and shooting as balls whizzed and banged all around. BANG BANG went a distant cannon elsewhere on the field of battle.

Jahandar’s stomach truly turned when the order was given to charge bayonets. This was going to be a life-changing day, Jahandar realized. His musket, being of the older variety, had to be plugged solid into a spear with a corky bayonet. Complying with orders, he made his gun into a spear and stood at the ready.

Soon they made a charge, and the opposing line of skirmishers gave way. But they gave way into a defilade, and beyond that defilade stood a solid wall of steel, the beefy steel-clad midlanders looking fierce. They came to a short halt and spun to retreat, but they turned into their own line of foot-soldiers. Soon they were joined in another charge.

We fought them hand-to-hand on that hill. There were men of every Province in the Republic laid low and dead on that forsaken hill. Jahandar was “lucky” and was left standing when the melee was over. There were wounded men and dying soldiers laying on the field crying for help.

We took to camp that night, and in the day we marched again to battle against the seditionist army. As we tread over ground previously battled in, Jahandar became cognizant that he was unuseful to the wounded; to the dead, he would simply be unmindful. Once or twice his boot had crunched the nose of a deceased soldier underfoot. Ignoring the stimuli, he continued on.

The struggle was renewed again, and a few thousand men were killed or wounded. The battle roared its last gasp as cannons tore through the camp erected by the seditionists. Those who were not killed or captured were spread to the wild, likely having to live as outlaws for a time before slinking back to their families a treacherous rebel.

Jahandar knelt down on the field of battle, and silently prayed.

I pray to heaven that the souls of all those who fell upon that field might be saved, and made holy. I thank Heaven I am no infidel, for we shall surely meet over yonder when the time comes.

Rising from the prayer, he rejoined his battle brothers and undertook writing a letter to Ikashev detailing the battle. As soon as he finished it, although it was a bit damaged from rain as his unit remained deployed, he snuck it off to the nearest Foundry support wagon.
Dear Ikashev

I am injoying good health and I hope and pray you are injoying good health too. How is Ida? Check in on the others for me too. To make a long story short, the Praetor has lifted the ban on letter writing in this province after a recent battle victory.

He believes the seditionist "threat" is still looming, but I doubt that after what I saw. But I am just a private soldier, no gentleman recognized by the Senate of the Republic. and a Private Soldier is always wrong if a Gentleman says he is. An officer could say the sky is purple, and a private soldier that it was blue, and the officer would be right by the tip of a courts marshall.

I am getting better at righting. When I get back home I'll show you how to make letters, if you havent learned by now. Please be safe, and keep warm this winter. Send any mail to Steelferry. After this Battle of Fieldstone, we are to be biletted there for atleast a few months, for our casualties are high and battle-fatigue is plentiful here.

I love you with all my heartand think of you daily, little brother.

- J

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Post by Kent » December 20th, 2022, 10:06 pm

1347. Fort Praesidium, Old-Town District.

Jahandar was reeling from the doctors appointment. It had not gone to his liking at all. The doctor—forgetting all the problems with her specifically, was unable to fill his prescription. And she treated him rottenly; he was rather upset about that as he tread to Old-Town. He hated to see that doctor specifically, for there was now a certain degree of shame for his need. He would have to turn to a street doctor. He knew well enough where to go, and a few silver had him a refill of the painkillers. He would soon be able to make his own; then he would be alright. For now, he still lived prescription to prescription, nervously juggling excuses to the Doctors who served in the hospital.

Wandering the streets, he was consumed with selfish and morbid thoughts. He was getting trapped and boxed in by his memories, mentally, again. Determined to fight this internal battle, he tread on, down the street towards the Backstage Bistro. Crossing the bridge, with the wind whipping, had been difficult. He thought to fling himself over the railing, so that he might feel -something-, anything. The cold water would wake him up.

Violently shaking his head to no one other than himself, he continued down the path to the bistro. Climbing the stairs gingerly in the bitter winter grasp of Frostmarch, he unlocked the door after dropping his keys twice. Sloppy. He thought. Politely nodding to Hailey, he bolted for the second story. Making sure no one was around, he dumped four of the painkillers onto his hand and swallowed all of them. It was finally time to relax. Time to treat himself—even though he didn’t deserve anything but the kind of end offered to him at the last soup kitchen.

Misery was soon becoming an old friend. Like a gladiator past his prime in the stories of old; he was fighting just to survive to the next fight. There was resistance everywhere. He wished to see the community come together, but divisions were sharp. The violent racists of the Prelacy were a constant concern of his. Ikashev could take care of himself, but what about Beatriss? Or Drusilla?

He so would’ve enjoyed to go to sleep forever, but he knew there was too much to be done. Travelling north in search of some scratch, to the town of Miltown. He knew of a few sluggards who lazed around but otherwise the town was abandoned.

Tonight, however, something was different. A light was on in the clinic – He knew the clinic was titled to a woman who was said to be long dead, so this was peculiar. It had been some days since the fiasco at the doctor’s office, and he figured he could use a snifter of lidogine to help him get to sleep. Something easily conned out of many doctors just by saying the right words.

Opening the door revealed a sight Jahandar never could have predicted in a thousand years. His clinic visit ended up being decided shorter than he anticipated, and worse than just being without a healthy sedative to help him to bed, He had startling new implications. Stumbling into the darkness and away from the light of the clinic, his very soul ached. Jahandar considered the circumstances; it was true that those closest to us hurt us the most.

He fell asleep in a blur of vodka and painkillers that night. Awaking to a puddle of violent aside him in the Bistro, he swiftly set about cleaning it. The temporary pain of the hang-over was helpful in forgetting what had happened in the clinic but it was soon washed away with a lunch-time drink with Mister Black, followed by cider and vodka at the Bath-house. And now he was here in the bistro again; by himself. He had spun some lie in the sauna to get out of there—he just had to get out of there! His skin was crawling and he felt positively nervous.

Staring out the window down to the Bathhouses below, he considered how terribly alone he was, and how likely it would be to continue on in this way. His future was going to be rather sterile, and perhaps rather hopeless. A general peace was holding but issues of honor still tugged at the back stretches of his mind. He reckoned honor was a silly thing in an age where a youth of eighteen can kill a master swordsman with the pull of a trigger.

Consuming his at-home ‘dose’ to get to bed, he flung the empty Lidogine bottle across the room angrily. Nothing made him feel good anymore, it seemed. The world had a way of getting back to a fellow, he supposed. He had earned this on a dozen battlefields, and in a dozen times…times when he could have saved an innocent life if he had only acted. It was good and proper that he be consumed by this life that he had created for himself. He dozed off there in the pile of pillows, snoring obnoxiously through the afternoon.

It all seemed so good and proper. Just like he always promised Ikashev. How little that promise seemed to mean to his brother at this late hour. He pondered hurtful thoughts; thoughts that once would've been dismissed as insane are now valid considerations. Jahandar's view of the world had fundamentally changed on that night, for better or for worse. He could push through the constant aching in his chest, just as he always had before. Atleast he hoped.

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Dreams and Wishes

Post by Kent » January 11th, 2023, 1:03 pm

1347. Fort Praesidium, Central District.

Jahandar was still reeling from the argument with Drusilla. The fact that Vera had been there made things all the worse. He felt awfully on the inside--instantly regretting the words that had come from his mouth. Now, sitting in the parlor of his cramped apartment, he found it rather curious that Drusilla's demands of him grew greater and greater. She was the true meddler and he anticipated her to be a far greater thorn in his side than Constantine ever had proven to be.


Even now, he could see it all happening again, re-playing the argument over and over again in the recesses of his mind. He had wished to apologize--to make things well again. While he could always pretend to agree--a talent honed in the Legion as an officer always knows better than a private soldier. There was no question about it anymore; Drusilla was deeply unwell, perhaps as unwell as Ikashev if not worse--but far more dangerous.

A young woman on the prowl ostensibly, she was clearly a calculating operator at her higher levels of thinking. He had bore witness to her emotionality before. She was unpredictable and dangerous, and she had been quietly angling to control Ikashev for months now. On his 'business trip', it had never occurred to him. The voices from heaven were so loud there but they did not deign to inform him of the cancer within his home.

Fearing that it may be too late, that the situation had developed too significantly already, he immediately planned to spring to action. To change his behavior actively and improve his condition and standing. Once he returned Ikashev close to his breast he would never let the boy out of his sight again. While he reasoned that she probably meant well, she did not know Ikashev as well as -he- did, and Ikashev's illness would likely drive him to death, prison, or other equally awful condition.

That was unacceptable for any brother of his, let alone Ikashev. So he would do what it took with him--be patient and loving in his moments of weakness. It would be easy to love his brother: being with him and near and dear to him was the thing that kept him alive all those long years so far away from home. He had sent his dreams and wishes to the camps by letter week by week.

And though the mail was sufficiently delayed that it was impossible to reasonably conduct a conversation by letter, it was the sending of those letters that kept his head in the game--kept him alive on the battlefield. It was his love, Ikashev's love, that energized him to move, advancing in bounds just as they had practiced. Another day survived. Another night on picket duty that ended with a misty morning rather than a dagger in the belly.

Leaning back into the cushion of the chair, he smiled. He knew Ikashev well. He would always come back to his brother, that much was certain. It was to this end that he felt rather relaxed. Reaching into his pocket, he produced a bottle of high-strength painkillers. Studying the bottle closely, he shrugged slightly. Using his knowledge of pharmaceuticals, he could develop a painless weaning schedule. He didn't need his mind to be addled, nor his soul numbed. He knew he would likely be irritable for a few weeks, but it was a neccesary step. Glancing at the clock upon the wall, he noted the time as five til midnight. The new year, 1348, would be here in no time.

It would be his year, Jahandar determined.

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Re: Disputation.

Post by Kent » January 11th, 2023, 1:31 pm

7th of Icereign, 1348. Backstage Bistro, Fort Praesidium.

1100hrs local time.

Jahandar stretched a bit, relaxing in the pillows. He had just finished his morning tea, and he thought to light a cigarette to cap that off when he heard the rattling of the door downstairs. Someone was coming in. Straighting his vestments a bit, he prepared for company. Instinctively patting down the leather-sheathed profile of his large handcannon he ripped it free of its holster in his practiced motion in a flash. Using his icy and cold fingers--the bistro was ill-heated, he fumbled with the nipples for a moment while he adjusted the chambers before swiftly returning it to its concealed position close to his heart.

There in the threshold of the pillow-based room stood Drusilla. Recognizing that it was near to meal time, he grunted and took stock of her. Looking rather ghastly in the gas-light, she was clutching what was obviously some sort of gleamgrass cigarette, and in her other hand a small bundle of wrapped cloth. They exchanged pleasantries, and the bundle was revealed to be cookies. He was inappetetic but took them anyway.

He was glad to see her, for he had work for her. He explained his mission for her and she seemed flabberghasted. Soon she began her patented manuever of twisting his words about him. Soon the topic of the Frontier Herald came up. The subject soon pivoted to whether or not he was a particular writer--a ghost name. The topic made him sweaty and he recalled a long-ago argument with Gryhun. She soon weaved a tall tale and accused him of being -that- writer. He knew he wasn't, but there was no way to prove otherwise and her withering glare always made him nauseasated. Women tended to have that effect on him.

On top of everything else, his insides were churning and his head felt like it was alight with Helfire, and his insides screamed at him to take some painkillers. He resigned himself to alcohol alone, and stealthily took a nip from his flask as Drusilla meandered through her tirade. Her withering remarks infuriated him, and he lashed back with his own. Coming to a moment of calm and maturity, he implored her to agree to start the encounter over again and forgive one another their transgressions.

It did not end well, or politely.

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The Requiem of Jahandar Hassanzadeh, Part One.

Post by Kent » January 11th, 2023, 2:07 pm

7th of Icereign, 1348. Foundry Apartments, Central District, Fort Praesidium.

2100hrs local time.

Having finished his supper, Jahandar determined to relax and go to sleep. He had been restless for atleast a whole week now, laying awake with a racing mind each and every night and resisting the urge to take a midnight horse to Bright-lantern and take a deep lidoginic nap. He was better than that. So, he sat and he read and he drank tea; he wasn’t supremely pleased with himself but it was better than the alternative. He was so weary and tired yet his body refused to comply.

A rapping at the door roused him from a wide-eyed slumber, a waking moment of ‘off’ time. He rose, and fetched his musket off the mantle, slipping a nipple onto the cap with a trembling hand with success only coming to him after several failures and dropped caps. He damned his useless hands thrice-over and propped the musket against his kitchen table–currently otherwise full with an active game of single-player checkers.

Now the rapping at the door was becoming a pounding and he raced to smooth out his clothes and answer. His formal prodean evening gown was quick to comply, specifically designed for such incidents and he peered at a small mirror, deeming himself fit for company after a brief examination.

Very few knew of this apartment and to be called upon at this late of an hour likely constituted a high-level emergency for the family. Racing for the door now and feeling remorseful of his slovenly tardiness, he nearly flung the door open. The figure in the threshold of his apartment was a surprising one, but not unpleasantly so.

Ikashev towered over Jahandar, though his frame was seemingly perilously uncovered by flesh, much like the woman he supposed was his lover in this province. He wrinkled his nose at the thought; a gesture he quickly masked. In the cave, the voice spoke long and often of the sanctity of family. He raged against Constantine for those long weeks; the man had killed him in essence and had tried the deed physically as well as reputationally. Now, he realized the true foe was the one who had brought him that Cornbread all those months ago.

She who had saved him, had only saved him in the way that a farmer provides for the health of his horse. The horse drives the plow that feeds his family, and as that farmer does his work so too did Jahandar keep Ikashev under control. When she beggared him to restrain him against the enemies of the family, he complied.

He had seen her game nigh on a year ago, and recognized it. A common enough story, and one he swiftly dodged. But now at this late hour, as the noose drew around his neck from all angles and the inquisition peered upon every streetcorner and stoop in the fort, he relished in the thought of it. Anything to distract himself from the horrors of his mind and the horrors his eyes witnessed.

The false-sounds were now constant without the medications, footsteps from ten years past echoed in his ears even now–coming down the hall with their pikes and halberds to engage… no one and no thing. Turning his mind to the present, he scanned the countenance of Ikashev’s dark visage. He could see the sadness in his brother’s eyes, and something else too–something he hadn’t ever seen before in Ikashev’s eyes.

Stuttering a bit in the adorable way that he often did when he was feeling guilty, he asked to come in. His heart filling with mirth and joy, he ushered him in and locked the door before swiftly pocketing the keyring once again. They both ventured to the kitchen table with the musket and the footsteps soon forgotten.

With little ceremony and no fanfare, Ikashev plopped a bag onto the table. After the plopping, the bag jingled and jangled. The bag was full of rare jewelry and gold coins–a veritable fortune. “The weeeeek’s plus interest” Ikasheev belted in his typical slurred collatian.

Jahandar’s grin was uncontainable. The funds were much needed for the family’s operations to continue around the province, as well as to provide for Jahandar’s personal comfort, of course. He launched into his usual and rather generic line of questioning–how’s business, how is your health etcetera. Ikashev was none too interested.

“I’d liiiiike to speak to yooooouuuuu brother” Ikashev rang out, his words echoing onto the soft wooden surfaces of the well-furnished and cozy apartment. He immediately began ranting and raving about how Jahandar wanted to be his master, that he was not a toy or a slave, and so on and so forth.

Jahandar was stunned by the line of questioning. He recalled how he had recently bathed his destitute and stinky brother after a surgery. But Ikashev did not stop there. He began dictating terms like he was the officer of a victorious army. It was positively infuriating–to have everything thrown in his face like this, at such a late hour and when he was feeling so awful. He shot back, reminding Ikashev of his own rather torrid personal history and of the sacrifices Jahandar had made–even just this year, for Ikashev.

That was when he said something Jahandar never imagined he would–or even could, say. A fire started in Jahandar’s heart at that moment and he ripped into Ikashev, lighting him up with a furious rant. Soon both were yelling, screaming even in the confines of the small basement apartment. Ikashev and Jahandar both now tore one another down in the way that only brothers or sisters can.

With vicious, private snipping remarks that tear at the very fabric of one’s soul the brothers argued. Soon both were on their feet, screaming at one another. Jahandar was so frustrated at everything–his body, his mind, Drusilla, and now his own brother? He could hardly stand it. Mustering the last of his courage, for he was on the verge of tears, he commanded Ikashev to leave. He regretted the words as soon as they were out, but they needed to be said and they needed to be heeded.

“Begone from my home! I don’t want to look at you.”

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