The Rejuvenationverse 33 members · 20 stories
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A long one, this. But it is mostly based off a very convoluted tale.
I found it very interesting. I hope you think the same of my historical equivalent.
If there is any headcanon you'd like me to continue, let me know.

'Galloping across the world is easy. It is sitting down to rest that is hard.'~ Qiron Khan

'You see Qiron Khan, coat like gold, mane like silver and eyes like fire, leading his horde down the mountainside. You hear them chanting and roaring like a storm from hell. You feel the ground shake as they charge straight for you and everything you love. And you know only one thing; Whatever god is out there...must absolutely hate you!'~ Nascondino, Bitalian Explorer

'Every day from a dozen different mouths I am asked about him. Is he kind or is he cruel? Does he fight with brains or brawn? Is he as powerful as Tirek? More powerful, even? Is he touched by the Magic of Friendship or is he a vile creature fit for treasons and atrocities? Do I like him or dislike him? Do I even understand him? Well, one thing I do know for certain after my years researching and evaluating such a creature...Qiron Khan scares the hell out of me!' ~ Vorpal Blade

Many know of Tirek, the nefarious centaur warlord who sought to bend all magic in the world to his whims, set on achieving absolute power, the universe his to command, to control.
Many stories purport how he failed and what he did in the time before that.
But, in my personal opinion, the story of his successor is arguably a more interesting tale.
The Tale of Qiron Khan.

Though celebrated as a mighty warrior and sung praises for by certain groups of centaurs to this day, Tirek was not quite as remarkable a leader as some might have assumed. While an unstoppable warrior, he was a sub-par strategist and really quite a terrible ruler who left his centaur empire as soon as it was founded to bring ruin to the world of ponies. In fact, he hadn’t set hoof in centaur lands since he’d united the clans when he was a teenager some two hundred years before his demise. He left in charge those he didn’t want coming with him on his campaigns; feeble shamans, crippled veterans and a few of his less impressive sons and grandsons, legitimate or otherwise. The less submissive clans, which was to say many of the clans in general, rose up against them and ousted Tirek’s authority. He built his empire in mere months and in mere months it collapsed. Tirek cared little, any minor insurrections would mean nothing to one who would return home as a god in all but name. But he did not return. In Equestria he met his downfall. His spirit lingered in the realms of his enemies and the centaur who served him never set eyes on him again. After the tribes once again fell into disunity, centaur society became fairly simple in theory and arduous in practice. Nomadic tribes lived off the land with only their wits to keep them safe and no centaur trusted any but close family. They were ruthless and proud but honour meant everything to them. Strict rules, though few, were followed to the letter. Centaurs favoured one who could brave any peril and conquer any foe as Tirek had once done. It was certainly, by all accounts, a difficult time to live.

Our story starts on the desert steppes north of modern-day Adu’Khan, beginning not with a young centaur stallion but his mother, Hsuna (Loosely translated to ‘Sweet-Milk’).
Her tribe, the Icewolf Clan, were met by a centaur named Yolnor, a prince of the influential Gor’tun Kingdom, in search of a bride. In traditional centaur tradition, Yolnor brought gifts of fabrics and precious stones for both her and her family and he lived and worked with them for several years before Hsuna’s parents granted him permission to marry their daughter. Once married, they set out on a week’s long journey back to his home in the Gor’tun kingdom north of the steppes. But as they crossed the isolated lands together, they were ambushed by a group of hunters from the dreaded Warsinger tribe. The Warsingers were more primitive than most and, without the means to acquire gifts for potential brides and their families, they often went for the second option- kidnapping.
The couple knew that it was only a matter of time before the hunters found them and a young prince of the valley tribes and his bride burdened with gifts would never be able to outrun so many trained, ferocious centaurs.
So Hsuna, still a teen at this time, embraced her husband one last time and then told him to flee without her, offering to bide him time to escape. She was wanted alive, but her husband had no worth towards the Warsingers. Legend tells that she removed a scarf she always wore round her shoulders so that he would always carry a part with her that carried her scent (A very deep centaur tradition. Something that bears the scent of a loved one is akin to having part of their soul with you to hold onto and safeguard, a reminder of their love and essence)
This seemed the last time Hsuna would ever see Prince Yolnor again. As he rode on tearfully, the hunters found only her and brought her to the Warsinger camps. The hunters then fought over her, at first with fists and then with blades. This is quire common in centaur warrior communities. A mare who doesn’t have at least four stallions ready to kill each other over her is considered plain and homely. Indeed Hsuna must have been a most radiant beauty for by the time a winner was chosen, no fewer than twenty-three centaur stallions lay dead.
The winner, who married Hsuna, was a Warsinger Champion named Kurgan-Lar, a golden-coated, crimson-maned hulk said to always possess the fires of war in his eyes, irises like gems in a furnace. At this time he already had a wife and three foals but polygamy was practiced in centaur communities but the law stated that a centaur would have to be strong, and kind, enough to hold onto his wives. If a wife fled her husband, nobeast but him was permitted to get her back and if a stallion caused a wife to flee, he was mocked and despised by his peers.
It seems Kurgan-Lar, despite his ferocity in battle, followed this code as the histories state that Hsuna soon grew quite fond of her new husband, giving him a son a year later, sharing the ochre-coat of his father and the white-mane of his mother.

The colt was named Altay. Kurgan-Lar chose the name after a respected warrior from one of the neighbouring clans that he had slain in battle (Quite a common trait and a sign of respect for the defeated foe as well as testament to one’s own victory. In fact, when the mighty Baator, one of Tirek’s most fearsome rivals in his rise to power, was killed by twelve of Tirek’s most skilled warriors, each of those twelve warriors named a colt after him in respect)
Young Altay, however, did not appear to live up to his namesake. He was a very timid colt, easily startled, scared of dogs and often bullied by his older half-brothers. As one can imagine, his father spared no love for him, even once abandoning him when the nomadic tribe moved to a new camp. When Altay turned fourteen, however, the youngest age a centaur can marry, Kurgan-Lar saw potential in his weak son to at least strengthen the tribe through marriage and familial ties. Hsuna asked that he find a wife from her tribe, the Icewolf. It was agreed. Kurgan-Lar and Altay would ride to the frozen peaks and find a bride from the Icewolf tribe. On the borders of the ice river where the Icewolf dwelt, Kurgan-Lar and Altay found themselves in a snowstorm and requested entry to a yurt which was granted by a kindly centauress named Charag. This, she claimed, was the home of her father, Sequr-Whag, known to some as the Blind Blademaster, a veteran warrior of great repute. Permitted to eat at Sequr-Whag’s table, Altay met the family’s granddaughter, a young mare his age called Qahiri (The centaur word for raven), slate of coat and ebony of mane and eye. While the snowstorm continued, Altay and Qahiri got along well, playing board games, musical instruments and even wrestling together. It was determined that they would make a good marriage. After some negotiation, Kurgan-Lar arranged for his son to spend time working for the family and finding gifts to bring them for their daughter’s hand for several years. After several years, when both of them were seventeen, Altay and Qahiri married. Kurgan-Lar then left him with Sequr-Whag’s family and headed home.
Along the way, he met a group of feasting centaurs of the nearby Nighthammer Tribe speaking highly of Altay. Believing them friends, Kurgan-Lar sat down and joined them. This, however, was a grave mistake as these centaurs were, in fact, speaking of the old Altay, the warrior Kurgan-Lar had slain many years ago and named his son after. Eager to seek revenge, the feasters poisoned his food.
The poison didn’t kill him immediately. He was back in his homeland when it took affect and managed to stagger home to his camp where a grieving Hsuna sent a messenger to summon Altay. But by the time Altay returned home, he was too late. Kurgan-Lar, slayer of thousands and father of seven, was dead.

His passing provoked serious changes in the Warsinger tribe.
His first wife, Sarafan, had given him two sons, Turgen and Sutai.
His second wife, Hsuna, had given him four sons, Altay, Kentii, Khangai and Sayan, and one daughter, Tangula.
None of his sons were old or strong enough to fight yet and so his warriors and blood-brothers competed in a battle to determine who would now rule.
The winner emerged as Bulaq-Absu, previously mocked as Bulaq the Smooth. Bulaq’s hatred for the departed Kurgan ran deep. Five years before, he had attempted to rape Kurgan’s first wife, Sarafan, and was beaten bloody in a brawl as punishment after which Kurgan-Lar shaved Bulaq’s head with pumice stone, permanently removing his mane.
[Note: When a centaur is defeated in battle, he shortens his mane and grants it to his opponent. A centaur with a short mane is therefore mocked as a broken warrior. What Kurgan-Lar did to Bulaq-Absu was akin to castration, permanently removing any means to prove his stallionhood]
As punishment for their father’s crimes against him, Bulaq left the family helpless. Killing them would likely damage his authority but there was no law against letting them fend for themselves.
Without anybeast to provide for them, the two wives and seven foals Kurgan-Lar had left behind were forced to fend for themselves. As the Warsingers abandoned them, Hsuna led her family, mile after mile, following the trail, holding a banner of her husband’s mane aloft to remind them of the service he’d done.
It was here, it is said, that an old gargoyle living close by took pity on them and spoke up, declaring that the Warsingers should be ashamed at the abandoning of a family of one of their finest warriors on the orders of an attempted rapist whom none should admire.
For his kindness, the old gargoyle was run through by a spear and trampled over by the Warsingers.
This moment forever changed Altay. He was devastated by the injustice he’d seen. A stranger, an outsider, had shown them kindness and loyalty where their own tribe had not and paid for it with blood. He picked up the gargoyle’s sash and amulet, spattered with blood and held onto it closely as a reminder of the virtues its wearer had shown.
This marked the beginning of a long, harsh road that would eventually turn young Altay into Qiron Khan.

The night afterward, when Hsuna and her family made camp, Warsinger hunters doubled back and stole any food and clothing they could find, likely on Bulaq’s orders to ensure there would be no chance of their survival.
Despite their desperation, Hsuna continued to pull everybeast together and looked out for not just her children but Sarafan and her two sons as well. She spent days foraging for food, bent her sewing needles into fish-hooks and taught her children how to make arrows to hunt rats and sparrows on the steppes. They learned to lie bones to their hooves to make ice-skates, both to play and also to hunt animals across the ice.
Altay learned not just survival techniques but also fundamental tactics.
He had few friends beside his siblings and half-siblings in the isolated steppe but while scouting the borders of the neighbouring Darkstone clan, he was offered food and drink by a Darkstone scout who’d been tracking Bulaq’s Warsingers. The scout was about Altay’s age, blue-grey of coat and navy-blue of mane. His name was Zheltor.
The colts hunted, played and explored the mountains together.
Zheltor’s family sometimes came to Hsuna’s camp and offered to help them in their daily obligations. He and Altay first cemented their friendship at the end of the year, trading the claws of mountain-cats which were collected by young hunters like them. The second time, the next year, each one fashioned an arrowhead for the other in the style of their respective clans.

After years of surviving as outcasts, Altay’s other half-brother, Turgen, started to assert his dominance over his siblings. To show this, he started taking food that Altay had caught, claiming he was entitled. Upset, Altay and his half-brother, Sutai, reported Turgen’s behaviour to Hsuna but she told them firmly that they should worry more about the tribe who had abandoned them than fighting amongst themselves. Tensions rose and Altay decided to take matters into his own hands.
He had had enough of others taking from him and he decided he was ready to climb the hierarchy the centaur-way, by stepping over the corpse of his predecessor. Killing Turgen would make him the oldest male in the family, whereupon he would answer to nobeast.
Altay and Sutai tracked Turgen to a secluded spot in the woods and readied their bows on him. Turgen warned them that killing him would leave them more defenceless than ever but his pleas fell on deaf ears.
It is not known who actually fired the shot that killed Turgen but Altai claimed responsibility when his body was discovered. Hsuna and Sarafan were distraught. Living as outcasts was bad enough but spilling the blood of one’s own family made them criminals. Writing a note of sincere apology, also absolving Sutai for his part in the killing, Altay left his family’s camp in the night. At dawn, he was captured by the Warsinger tribe, led by his father’s old adversary, Baluq who had heard of Altay’s crimes and was now thrilled to know there was no longer any law stopping him from harming or killing the colt.
However, Baluq’s lust for vengeance overtook his good sense as instead of killing him, he had Altay put in stocks and reduced him to an ‘Arqiyuk’ (Loosely translated ‘Pick up dung’), a servant of servants, the lowest of the low.
But Altay did not give up, he bided his time and waited for the moment to strike.
One day, after being put in the care of a particularly small and difficult young colt, the other warriors intoxicated after a day spent feasting and drinking, Altay knocked the colt out by swinging the side of his stocks and fled, hiding in some nearby reeds, putting his survival skills to use knowing that the warriors would think he’d fled back home in the steppes. He then returned to camp once the warriors were gone and met with a local family, Mamuur and Bhayogai, a wife and husband warrior trio who still respected the memory of Kurgan-Lar. Sympathetic, they released Altay and allowed him to flee to the Icewolf lands.
Now twenty years old, Altay had not seen his betrothed in three years. After some months, he at last found Qahiri again and surprisingly, she had waited for him. Despite knowing of the troubles he’d had in the past, her family allowed the wedding to proceed. According to centaur custom, brides made a gift of clothing to their husband and his family, either spun or skinned, never bought. The family offered him a fine coat of Urscion (Star-Bear), the most prized fur on the steppes. It had belonged to Sequr-Whag who had died some years ago. The coat had been meant for Kurgan-Lar.
But since Kurgan-Lar was dead and he was constantly in danger of his own former tribe, Altay had a better idea.
He headed south to the lands of the powerful Xarandu confederation, the most closely organised clan among the centaurs and met with their leader, the mighty Onon Khan, a former-blood-brother of his father.
Kurgan-Lar had fought beside Onon Khan many years ago and helped him overthrow his uncle to take control of Xarandu.
Family ties meant everything in centaur culture and alliances were never forged in ink, only in blood. Anybeast related to you was an ally while every other beast was a potential enemy.
By presenting the Urscion coat to Onon Khan, Altay was symbolically acknowledging him as his father.
Onon Khan accepted, recognising Kurgan-Lar’s son as his own and thus entitling Altay and his family to the Xarandu’s protection. At last, Hsuna, Sarafan and their families were safe and cared for. Altay was forgiven and welcomed back into the family by both widows and his brothers acknowledged his authority over their household.
When Altay told Onon Khan of the betrayal of his clan and Baluq’s spite towards Kurgan and his kin, the old stallion was furious and swore Baluq and his cohorts would pay for such offence.
News reached Baluq-Absu and now knowing that the most powerful Khan in the centaur lands, along with the son of the one who had shamed him all those years ago, were after his head, he took his Warsingers and fled further to the north, putting a lot of his plans for conquest and power on hold until the heat died down. Many of his clan defected and came to Altay to pledge allegiance to the son of Kurgan-Lar, among them were Mamuur and Bhayogai who Altay welcomed and gave to them a household as safe and prosperous as his own. Their son, Mu’ukhai, was personally trained by Altay and his brothers in the art of the warrior. To cement his alliance with the Icewolf clan, he befriended one of their most celebrated warriors, Chonshal, a tamer of wolves and protector of the clan who Qahiri vouched for personally. Altay introduced Chonshal to his sister, Tangula. The two enjoyed each other’s company, Tangula taking an interest in how to hunt or tame beasts of the earth, and by the end of the year Chonshal met Altay and Hsuna to begin his time working for the family for Tangula’s hand in marriage. With the legends of both Sequr-Whag and Chonshal joining with Altay, the Icewolf acknowledged him as one of their own. It was during this time that the shamans of the Warsingers convened with other shamans and practitioners of the mystic centaur arts and foresaw Altay’s rise to power, declaring that he would bring about the Eternal Meadow, a paradisiacal concept among centaurs. Bringing several neighbouring clans together, uniting them with the tales of Altay, son of Kurgan-Lar, the Bulandu confederation were formed with Altay as its nominal leader though they existed mostly as a vassal of Onon Khan’s Xanandu confederation. But he was only too happy with this as Bulandu’s clans largely operated in the north while his Xanandu resided in the south. At a stroke, he was one of the most powerful Khans in the centaur domains.
Onon Khan then offered Altay a chance to lead his armies as a Bloodstrider, an unofficial rank equivalent of a captain or lieutenant, but surprisingly Altay declined. Now married and safe, there was nothing he wanted more than to settle down and enjoy his much-needed and well-deserved respite, caring to his wife and fathering foals.
But alas, the chaotic world of the steppe would allow calm in his life.
Learning that Altay, the son of Kurgan-Lar, had married, a plot was hatched among the nearby Algani Confederation, born out of the Gor’tun Kingdom, ruled by King Orkhon, uncle of Yolnor who had previously earned the right to marry Hsuna, decided that the time was right to take revenge for Kurgan’s offence. It mattered not that Kurgan-Lar was dead for a good five years; revenge was an obligation among centaur clans and the Algani would not miss this opportunity.
But they came not for Hsuna, a widow grown old raising five foals, no longer as pretty as they remembered.
They came for Altay’s wife, Qahiri.

On a quiet autumn night, Altay, Qahiri and their families slept peacefully, confident that their troubles were over.
Then Sarafan, first wife of Kurgan-Lar and mother of Sutai, woke. She always slept with a curtain open out of instinct according to some histories (Possibly pointing to claustrophobia) and heard the sound of thousand of hooves upon her pillow.
The alarm for the attack was sounded immediately as Altay and his family rushed in a wild panic to get their children to safety. As the tent burnt, Altay was knocked unconscious by a falling wooden post and dragged from the tents as his mother, his brothers and allies fled to safety but Qahiri was left behind. When the Algani striders caught her, they halted their pursuit and took her captive to King Orkhon.
Altay and his family fled to the mountains, lying low and keeping to the elk trails he’d learnt from his years on the run. Four days later, he emerged, stunned with himself at how he had survived. He vowed to always honour the mountains as a protector. He and others saw his survival as proof of his fabled destiny. He did not, however, spend long basking in such glory as he was still very much devastated at losing his beloved Qahiri.
He had, at last, had a true taste of how difficult it was for a tribal leader to remain safe and saw three options.
He could start over and return to his pastoral home, caring for his tribe. But the threat of the enemy tribes still reigned over him and there was no guarantee he would remain safe for long.
He could head north and live in the forests where he and his family had spent his exile but he had no wish to return to those desperate times, especially with a family to look after.
The third option was to head south and request aid from Onon Khan to take the fight to the Algani. Though he had refused the title of Bloodstrider before, now it seemed the only option to recover his wife. His brothers, half-brothers, mother and stepmother joined him, males and females of all ages permitted to don armour and take up arms when the honour of the clan was to be upheld.
Onon Khan was enraged at how the Algani had attacked a centaur under his protection and immediately offered Altay a fighting-force of 20,000 centaur striders to retaliate. He also suggested that they enlist the help of his blood-brother and foalhood-friend, Zheltor who had recently become Khan of his own confederation out of the Darkstone tribe, the Thenkandu in the central part of the centaur domain. In Altay’s absence, Zheltor had experienced his own adversities, having once been captured by the Algani and forced into slavery as Altay had but he too had escaped. Now having founded his own clan and acquired power of his own, Zheltor was only too eager to take revenge on the Algani. So the blood-brothers joined up once again, Zheltor provided another 6000 striders to assist Altay’s force. The armies set off to the Algani lands, Altay and Zheltor with 6000 striders each and Onon Khan with 14,000.
Here comes a small controversy in the tale. While Zheltor took his force through the valley, taking care to avoid the neighbouring tribes and Algani outposts, Altay joined with Onon Khan and with their combined forces took a longer route downriver to take each Algani fort along the way to King Orkhon’s keep. When Altay and Onon Khan arrived at the rendezvous around half a week after Zheltor’s force, Zheltor was enraged. His striders were impatient, having to hide further up the mountain to avoid the Algani noticing them and their supplies were running dry. While not a great inconvenience, all things considered, Zheltor was not happy that he’d been taken for granted. Not wanting the alliance to split or cause a rift between his protectors, Altay accepted responsibility as he had done when he and his half-brother murdered Turgen. He explained to Zheltor that he needed to be sure that Qahiri was in the Algani keep and not hidden in an outpost to be murdered in revenge after they attacked. Zheltor understood and accepted his blood-brother’s apology but this was the start of a rift between them that would only continue to grow. At dead of night, the centaur army of Altay, Zheltor and Onon Khan waded across the river and took the Algani keep by storm. Altay fought at the front of the troops and met King Orkhon and his fiercest Bloodstriders. Beside his own brothers, mothers and closest friends, Altay fought them off, leaving Orkhon terribly wounded and his bodyguards slain. In retreat, Orkhon shouted that he’d already had his entertainment with Qahiri and Altay’s insult had sealed her fate. In a blind panic, Altay sped through the chaotic camp, calling out Qahiri’s name. At last, another pair of hands grabbed at him and he turned, raising his blade. He then dropped it in shock as he noticed it was Qahiri, holding him tightly and weeping with relief. She then asked that he and his mother come with him quickly to King Orkhon’s tent. Calling off the attack, telling his troops to disperse and hold the fort, Altay came with Qahiri and Hsuna to the tent of the Algani King.
Orkhon lay dead and beside him, his nephew Prince Yolnor lay mortally wounded. The story, according to them, was that Yolnor heard what had been done to Qahiri and was outraged that his uncle had used the revenge of the Algani as an excuse to victimise an innocent centauress. The two grappled and Yolnor was stabbed but Qahiri had taken the knife and slashed Orkhon’s throat. In his dying breath, Yolnor apologised to Qahiri and Hsuna for all that had happened, gave back the scarf to the mourning mare who had last owned it, asked that Altay, Zheltor and Onon Khan spare those Algani who surrendered and tearfully admitted that he was relieved that Hsuna found happiness in the end and that he would have been very proud to be Altay’s father. So it was that Prince Yolnor breathed his last, his last moments those of relief and acceptance.
Altay did as Yolnor asked and allowed those Algani still remaining to join their tribe or flee.

The day was a resounding success. The Algani were scattered, both Altay and Zheltor had avenged themselves and Altay himself was quickly establishing himself among the centaurs as a leader. But their joy was short-lived. It was discovered that Qahiri had indeed been raped by King Orkhon and come back pregnant. Nine months after she was rescued, she gave birth to a son, Buriad. Despite common centaur tradition declaring that an unfaithful wife and a baseborn child, even by rape, were punished by being buried alive outside the husband’s home, Altay gave his wife nothing but sympathy and accepted the son as his own (Though he would not inherit his lands or titles).
Altay and Zheltor combined their families and, for a time, the two centaurs were inseparable. Hunting, eating, drinking and camping together. They swore their friendship for the third time, now as adults, in a public ceremony with both their combined followers as witnesses, engaging golden sashes, key symbols of stallionhood among centaurs. For a good few years, Altay wanted for naught.

But over time, things started to change. Zheltor had never been very open about his family before but, in times of peace he confided in Altay, Onon Khan and their respective clans. Zheltor claimed lineage from Daurius Doomhoof, one of Tirek’s most celebrated generals who brought ruin to the Equestrian settlements of Avalonia, Bellberry and Jadewood as well as led the centaur warfront in Sharaha, storming Hippo Regius in Mareocco and Karkadon in Calisha, a warrior who’d slain tens-of-thousands over fifty years of fighting and saved Tirek’s life no fewer than four times, dying in the fourth attempt against an alliance of Princess Platinum and the Elephant King Terntaybal.
During this time, Altay and Zheltor were equals in ranks and each harboured the ambition to unite the centaurs to conquer the lands beyond as Tirek once had. But while Zheltor favoured the traditional aristocratic method, with centaurs of noble lineages ruling as their fathers had, Altay favoured a meritocratic method, taking in any worthy centaur regardless of upbringing. This, naturally, attracted a larger range of followers. Zheltor began lauding his lineage over Altay and his followers and began treating him less as a brother and more as a subordinate; forgetting, it seemed, that Altay had killed the last brother who pushed him around. The two began drifting apart until Zheltor made a proposition to Altay, to divide their two combined tribes equally and that Altay would take the livestock and camp beside the river while Zheltor took the forges and camp by the mountains. This was a power move. By leaving Altay with the livestock, he was indirectly showing him to be a lowly herder while depriving him of the mountains was to forbid him sacred ground, essentially stopping him from building armies and going to war. The ulterior motive behind Zheltor’s suggestion was clear to Altay but he said he would consider it. Riding home, he consulted Hsuna on what had taken place and asked for her advice. Qahiri, however, overheard this and interrupted. She was furious, declaring that Zheltor was betraying them and that he was not to be trusted any longer, insisting that they leave his sphere of influence and take up residence in the mountains before Zheltor did. Altay did as his wife suggested and camped outside of Zheltor’s reach in the holy mountains. There, he was greeted by the mystics, shamans, hermits and witch doctors of the centaur domains who greeted him as a messiah.
Encouraged by this, he sent word to Zheltor and Onon Khan, explaining that he had simply been on a pilgrimage to avoid Zheltor’s suspicions, and had the shamans declare a Khurultai.
[Note: It is strange that the earliest and plainest examples of a democratic vote come from a race as infamous as the centaurs but this is exactly what a Khurultai was. An election to decide who would be Khan and over how many different clans.]
This wasn’t as successful as Altay hoped. The majority still backed Zheltor. But Altay at least now knew who he could trust and gathered them together in his Khanate, apologising to Zheltor that his earlier proposition could not be done now that so many wished him to remain a ruler. Onon Khan gave his leave for Altay to declare himself Khan. According to sources, he much preferred Altay and Zheltor on equal ground as rivals than one above the other potentially posing a threat to him.
Zheltor was not amused. Convinced that Altay needed to be put in his place, he took an opportunity to dispose of his former-friend. In a cattle-raid, one of Altay’s followers killed one of Zheltor’s associates fighting over spoils (The details are foggy but there is reason to believe that Onon Khan set the two up to continue hostilities). Zheltor used this an excuse to attack Altay’s camp with a vast army, massacring many of Altay’s followers. Then, as a gesture of denouncement to the Khurultai, he executed the most influential clan leader among his prisoners. Then, in a horrific show of revenge, Zheltor gathered fifty lesser sons of Altay’s allies at the Khurultai, whether they stood with him or against him, and boiled them in oil.
This, however, would backfire hard. This atrocity horrified even his closest allies and alienated many of the centaur communities, further demonstrated the differences between the two, many remembering how Altay had spared the prisoners of the defeated Algani, even after his wife was raped.
Interestingly, one of the only tribes to remain truly loyal to Zheltor were the Kalzandu, born out of the remnants of the Warsinger Tribe, led by Bulaq-Absu, Kurgan-Lar’s old nemesis who exiled Hsuna and Altay two and a half decades ago.
Though Altay lost the battle, he at last, unofficially, won the Khurultai with many clans joining him in defiance of Zheltor’s ways, allowing him to quickly rebuild. Onon Khan allowed him to reside in the Xarandu lands to the south where they held out in case Zheltor pressed them further.

Twenty-five years old, Altay found an opportunity to reclaim his glory in the form of a foreign raid. King Fumuru of Morin, Northern Chineighse Kirin, requested Onon Khan’s aid in attacking an enemy of theirs, the Aj’kulu, a confederation of shaggy-haired centaurs, famous for their raiding but not natural warriors. The Aj’kulu were also the tribe that had, ages past, poisoned Kurgan-Lar so both Altay and Onon could claim great honour and glory from the campaign.
With Altay, Onon Khan and Fumuru’s forces, it seemed an easy victory but when he caught one of the neighbouring centaur tribes, the Urtimbandu, stealing supplies from their war camp and leaving in the night, his half-brother Sutai challenged the Urtimbandu’s champion in a wrestling match and was wounded with a knife the champion drew on him. After a brawl that, though vicious, spilt no blood, Altay’s forces left for war without the Urtimbandu. Victory was swift all the same and the spoils were astounding. The Aj’kulu had access to manufactured goods from the Longma Empire, including silk and jewellery. More importantly than the spoils, Altay saw how war on the steppes really played out and how it benefited their rivals. The Morin had just used one centaur tribe to conquer another as the Aj’kulu had simply scattered and would one day strike back.
Altay would remember this.
It is here that Altay met Selenga, a daughter of Prince Burr-Kheer, one of the Aj’kulu Bloodstriders who surrendered to Altay. While Onon Khan had sought to claim her, it was eventually agreed that she would be given to Altay who treated her warmly and compassionately, remembering how his father had treated his mother. Selenga was the first of Altay’s concubines and prized for her skill in weaving, poetry and a surprising amount of knowledge in strategy. While females could be warriors, few non-familial centauresses were ever given positions on war councils but she was the first recorded.
Several other surrendered warriors were taken up by Altay to join his ranks. He not only prized their strength and courage but their unique way of fighting, asking them to chart down in his war-books how their individual tribes fought.
With his new-found wealth, Altay was now ready to impose his authority upon his rivals further. When he returned to find the Urtimbandu from before had raided his camp in his absence, picking his next target was very easy. With his massive army, he bore down on the Urtimbandu but this time surrounded the camp and captured almost every enemy. It is here that he implemented another revolutionary change in ruling style. Altay knew that allowing the tribe to scatter, regroup and strike back only served to disunite the centaur domains and he would no longer allow this. In a show to separate ‘justice’ from ‘vengeance’, he gathered his allies and assembled a Khurultai to serve as a trial for the aristocratic Urtimbandu leaders. For their betrayal, they were executed. He then fully occupied the Urtimbandu lands, distributed the riches among his followers and integrated the remaining Urtimbandu into his clan, not as slaves but as followers on equal standing to his own. He also adopted an orphaned Urtimbandu prince as a brother, giving her to Hsuna to raise as her own son. Then, as a final show of power, he hosted a banquet, inviting all the new Urtimbandu leaders he’d assigned including the newly-adopted prince and the tribe’s champion who had previously started the brawl between the tribes and cut Sutai with the knife. Declaring the match would continue, the brawl began again and Sutai defeated the champion, ending by breaking his neck as justice for starting the fight between the tribes.
With this final merciless yet efficient display, Altay had rid himself of his enemies in the Urtimbandu and sent a clear message to all who would oppose him. Surrender and loyalty would be richly rewarded but betrayal will be dealt without mercy, no matter one’s lineage or deeds. Altay then moved his base of operations into the Urtimbandu territory, reestablishing his khanate.
Zheltor meanwhile consolidated his power, gathering the aristocratic warlords who feared Altay’s new movement. In a Khurultai, he bestowed himself the title of Gor-Khan, ‘Universal Ruler’. This was a challenge not just to Altay but Onon Khan, who had killed the last man to bear that title- his own uncle.
War was declared and both sides gathered on the central steppe, armed to the teeth. Onon Khan, as Altay’s patron, came out personally to reinforce Altay Khan’s forces. Shamans lined the clifftops, beating and blowing ceremonial drums and pipes, calling upon spirits of the elements to aid their respective causes. Before battle broke, the clouds burst and a rainstorm covered the slopes. This was attributed to both sides supporting Altay Khan (Reasons vary).
This prompted many of Zheltor Gor-Khan’s commanders and troops to retreat for fear of offending those above. Faced with desertion, Zheltor retreated without a fight. Altay Khan and Onon Khan divided their forces, Onon going for Zheltor Gor-Khan and the Thenkandu and Altay going after Bulaq-Absu and the Kalzandu. They proved difficult to defeat. Both sides fought all through the day with blade and spear and bow.
As the sun set, Bulaq fired a poisoned arrow that struck Altay’s neck, knocking him unconscious and having to be dragged from the battlefield. His Bloodstriders still drove the Kalzandu back but as the two forces camped, they feared the worst. However, a brother and sister Bloodstrider duo, Tsabuga and Tonakai, both famous for possessing reindeer-like antlers, guarded Altay and did all they could to cure the wound, Tonakai even apparently sucking the poison out of her Khan’s neck and spitting it out in the direction of the enemy. By the next morning, Altay miraculously recovered by the next morning. Taking the confident Kalzandu completely by surprise, some rushing in a panic believing ghosts were upon them, Altay prevailed and, as with the Urtimbandu, integrated the tribe after publicly executing their leaders, boiling Bulaq in oil (Though few centaurs objected to that particular incident).
Altay had one this fight but Zheltor had escaped Onon Khan and fled to more remote parts of the steppes to regroup.

Over time, Altay changed the way his ever-growing armies dealt not just with prisoners but battle altogether. Before centaur raids would be chaotic free-for-alls, attackers racing to grab the best spoils while the enemy either fled or defended. Altay wished for more complete victories from his army, or as he was calling it, his ‘Horde’. He declared that no looting would take place until total victory was accomplished, that every enemy was either dead, captured or fleeing without the means to counter-attack. Looting would then be done in an organised fashion, with all goods being brought to the Khan and redistributed among his followers based on their achievement, using much the same system that mountain hunters used to distribute kills at the end of a group hunt. Altay also decreed that a share of the wealth would be allocated to anybeast widowed or orphaned as a result of the raid. This ensured that what had happened to his mother and siblings when his father was killed would never happen to another centaur family. These changes guaranteed him the support of the poorest centaurs in the tribe and inspired loyalty in the tribe. This did, however, alienate some of his richer followers as if denied them their traditional right to distribute prizes to their own personal warriors as they saw fit but it was eventually agreed that unity and prosperity among the centaur tribes was worth the cost. This move concentrated his authority and incentivized loyalty and courage. In enriching their Khan, the centaurs enriched themselves.
This system was put into practice when Altay Khan, once again, defeated the Aj’kulu, permanently this time, and it was a resounding success. By postponing the looting until the end of the campaign, they amassed more wealth than ever before.
There was, however, a new problem. In keeping with their usual policy of executing the enemy war leaders and integrating every other beast, he had now captured almost an entire army along with all the civilians, numbering thousands. In order to prevent the Aj’kulu population in his horde overwhelming his own, he assembled a Khurultai and decided what to do.
Their solution was vicious but effective.
He took his spear and hammered it into the ground until its tip was even with the top of the head of one of his guards, so that it measured the height of the average centaur in his tribe. He then gathered each and every centaur able to fight, had them walk by the spear.
Every centaur taller than the spear was executed.
[Note: Well...they did put it to a vote.]
Once the Aj’kulu population had been marginalised, the older and larger centaurs culled, the remaining men and their families were taken in as full members of his tribe. Altay adopted another Aj’kulu orphan and took another concubine, Selenga’s sister.
Now he had more ancient traditions to abolish. He had already radically transformed the military system but the tribal system still needed tweaking. He got rid of the practice of kin groups in war-hosts. Instead of families being led by their oldest or ablest member and backed by children, grandchildren, siblings, nephews and any who served them, Altay organised his warriors into indiscriminate squads of ten called ‘Arbans’ who were then ordered to live and fight together. These groups were of mixed origin, lineage, profession and skill. This meant that rebellion, defection or desertion was less likely as powerful families could no longer simply work for their own means, banding together without the Khan’s knowledge and looking out for themselves. Each squad began with the oldest as their leader but they could elect any centaur among them if they chose. Ten squads of ten formed a hundred-centaur company called ‘Zun’ led by an able commander also elected by the squad leaders. Ten companies of a hundred formed a thousand-centaur ‘Mingan’ whose leaders were chosen by the Khan himself. And under the new system, all members of the tribe, regardless of age or gender, had to perform public service for the tribe, whether in herding, hunting, woodcutting, cooking, repairing or even performing music to entertain the troops.
It was a fair and equal system where everybeast worked and everybeast profited.
Finally, Altay found the area in the mountains where he’d spent his years fleeing from the Algani and designated it a sacred site, closing it off to all except the centaur royal family who would conduct rituals, organise gatherings and bury their dead there for the rest of time.

At around thirty, Altay Khan controlled most of the centaur domains. Onon Khan, his ally, was growing old and had not yet named an heir. It was presumed that Altay would be chosen and, to increase his chances, Altay had introduced Onon Khan’s daughter, Shilka, to his son, Buriad and the two had become close. It was proposed that the two would marry and Altay would be, by extension, Onon Khan’s heir. But Onon Khan already had a son, Baljar. While he had no real following or achievements of his own, he still had some sway over his father and insisted that Altay was not to be trusted. Knowing that refusing outright would be a grave insult, he devised a plot. He requested a few days to consider, asking that Buriad stay with Shilka until he’d made up his mind and then sent a message after a week after to tell Altay he agreed and asked him to meet him with his family. Striding south with a small band of family and followers, confident of his rise to power, Altay Khan made his journey but what he found on the way stunned him.
Buriad and Shilka were fleeing to his lands, his own son bearing several significant wounds and Shilka weeping, declaring that her father had gone mad. Tending to his wounds, Altay heard from Buriad that they had narrowly escaped Onon Khan who was awaiting Altay with a force of thousands, having allied himself with Zheltor. Trapped and separated from his allies, Altay ordered his followers to scatter in all directions and fled. Regrouping in the mountains, he planned to enact a bitter justice. Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst, he ordered his followers to send a message to all his warriors across his domain to help him.
After a week, he awoke, astounded, to find his full force assembled and awaiting his orders. This was proof, to him and the centaur world, that his discipline and efficiency had paid off in ways none could have imagined. They began their gallop overnight while Onon Khan and Zheltor Gur-Khan celebrated their easy victory. Defectors set up outposts for Altay Khan’s force with food, water and fresh horseshoes (A necessary tool to avoid fatigue and protection from the elements) so that they could gallop on for whole days without resting. In the middle of the night and without warning, Altay Khan’s horde completely surrounded the enemy camp and crashed down on Onon Khan’s court days before he thought they’d arrived. Nobles fled in all directions, including Onon Khan and Zheltor who managed to escape and flee to the gargoyle Kingdom of Naq to the west, the greatest of the tribes not yet conquered by Altay.
Zheltor made it safely across the Naq border but Onon Khan was stopped by a gargoyle guard who couldn’t believe this old, bedraggled centaur elder was the great Khan he claimed to be and killed him on the spot. Altay found his body and had it buried with the traditional honours befitting a Khan, before turning his sights to the Naq.
North of Naq was the Solongo Kingdom, also gargoyle-led by by King Delger and Queen Murun. Knowing he would require allies experienced against the Naq, Altay met with the King and Queen. The gargoyles of Solongo and most other clans despised the centaurs. After Scorpan turned away from Tirek, the centaurs persecuted the gargoyles, painted the mountains and forests red with the blood of males, females and young-ones in a series of atrocities each worse than the last as Tirek’s power grew. Altay listened to Delger’s testimonies, bowed and wept.
He told of the old gargoyle from his youth, the one creature who had stood up for him and his mother and siblings when their tribe abandoned them and the price he had paid for it. He produced the bloody sash and amulet he had carried.
King Delger approached, examined the amulet and broke down crying in front of Altay. The amulet, he claimed, had belonged to his brother, Ider, who had renounced the throne to become a travelling priest and scholar and hadn’t been seen since he departed for far-off lands, his family fearing what fate had befallen him.
It was enough for him that his brother had granted them kindness, as well as the punishment dealt to his murderers, that King Delger believed he was to aid Altay Khan, marrying his daughter, Tsagana, to Altay’s second son (And possibly first trueborn), Ordo, the strongest and handsomest of his children. For the first time since before the reign of Tirek, centaurs and gargoyles worked together in harmony. Altay, Delger and their best commanders charted up strategies used during such a time so that their respective armies could work better collectively. Gargoyle high priests who had long admired and learnt from the late Ider gathered and declared that the time had come for a noble centaur once more to lead beside them to end the reign of misery the ‘hateful son’ Tirek had left. The gods Ider had loved had spoken.
Zheltor met the Naq King, Demyanka and his son Irtysh and offered to split his domains with them in exchange for their aid. At last, the final battle would take place on the steppes.

For the first time, Altay Khan’s new military organisation would be put to the test in all-out battle. The centaurs had not seen a true battle between two forces since Tirek’s time and hopefully, they weren’t too out of practice. The ten-man squads began attacking the Naq forces in the night, hitting them suddenly and then dispersing before their foe could begin to regroup, again and again. At dawn, Altay’s horde marched. Long lines of his archers galloped forward to meet Zheltor’s lines, fired, reared and melded back into the formation as the next line did the same, their army keeping in place while on the move. Demyanka tried to counter this by spreading his troops into a long line of archers to meet their attackers and avoid being flanked but Altay Khan was prepared for this as he himself led his skirmishers, a swift, hard, narrow formation of shielded pikes, glaives and spears blocking the arrows and punching straight through the thinned Naq lines while Delger’s gargoyles flew from the mountains and rained arrows on the edges of the enemy lines, allowing Altay’s Bloodstriders to perform a pincer move, blocking and surrounding the enemy, left, right and center. Victory was swift and complete.
Demyanka was killed. Zheltor Gurkhan and Irtysh fled into the mountains, ironically living as exiles in very much the same way as Altay did some twenty years ago. After a season, Irtysh betrayed Zheltor by tying him up in his sleep, delivering him to Altay’s border and fleeing to Aq-Atlar in the west.
Zheltor was brought to his old blood-brother and asked only for an honourable death which Altay Khan granted, breaking his back between a bundle of iron rods in the traditional centaur manner and burying him with both their golden sashes.

It was finally over. Altay Khan had won.
Two days after Zheltor’s execution, he summoned the greatest and most important Khurultai in centaur history. After many days of ceremony and ritual and many nights of celebration and revelry. Altay was elected Khan Of All Centaurs and chooses a new title for himself; Qiron Khan.
In centaur mythology, Qiron was the original progenitor of the centaur race. He taught them to walk on four hooves not crawl on their bellies, taught them to race, track, hunt, farm, build and fight, turning stunted dust-dwellers into warriors.
By taking this name, he signified that he had brought the centaurs out of a dark age and made them glorious once more.
At the age of 30, Qiron Khan controlled a vast territory and over a million lives. His domain stretched from the deserts in the south to the tundra in the north, from the forests in the east to the mountains in the west. He named his new domain ‘The Great Centaur Nation’, or as it is commonly known ‘Centauria’.
He abolished inherited aristocratic titles, criminalised the abduction or enslavement of any centaur, forbade the kidnapping and selling of mares, declared all foals born of Mongol parents to be legitimate and made theft or crops or livestock punishable by death. He ordered the adoption of a writing system, conducted a census and instituted diplomatic immunity and freedom of religion, exempting all religious leaders and their property from taxation and public service. Eventually, he extended this tax and labour exemption to any-beast who provided essential public services including undertakers, doctors, lawyers, teachers and scholars.
This is what made him so different from Tirek. Tirek had simply consolidated magic in his domain, to the point where he had pretty much cleared the centaur lands of magic completely, hence why no centaur had truly believed they could rise again after his fall. Tirek had ruled only through fear a show of strength, a society where the strong would crush the weak and keep on crushing. A fearsome society but not built to last.
Qiron Khan found power in the mundane. He ruled like a ruler not a warrior. Unlike most centaur, he was able to separate the two distinctions while accomplishing both duties with great efficiency and skill.
With the nomadic tribes united and Qiron Khan established as their leader, his next step wasn’t immediately clear. He had spent so many years locked in conflict with Zheltor, Onon Khan, Bulaq-Absu, King Orkhon, the Naq, the Aj’kulu, the Urtimbandu and others that now his enormous tribe, his kingdom even, lacked a mission.
The world was changing and he had gone beyond getting the centaur to change with it. He had put them several steps ahead. Centauria was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world and nobeast even knew it yet.
And so, before the steppes in the very centre of his domain, Altay Khan the mighty cast his eyes out beyond the lands the centaur called home, the ambitious fires in his eyes flickering.
All centaur now knew he was ruler.
And soon, he decided, the worldwould know.

Group Contributor

Very interesting and well made! Makes me wish they showed Tireks brother in the show.

Purple Patch
Group Admin

Well, G5 might show him.
The art made about him makes him sort of baboon-faced.
Maybe we could see a gargoyle society with many monkey faces.
I imagine their king would look like the mandrill.

But it's interesting how for every act of cruelty and oppression there seems to be an act of generosity and progressivism.
A good balance. The most interesting kind of figure.
I recommend checking this out.

Group Contributor
Group Contributor

Can you please link the the G5 image ?

Purple Patch
Group Admin

No, no, I only assumed they might have gargoyles eventually.
I'm not certain but I'm hoping.

Group Contributor

you said

Well, G5 might show him.

Purple Patch
Group Admin

I know. That was just a hope.

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