Short story from Daniel Aondona

The Fall of Aryantha

Long time ago, there lived an emperor named Zylo who ruled Aryantha. Aryantha was the largest empire in Africa and was well known for its dominance and strong army, which had gone into several wars and conquered other smaller kingdoms and empires.
Zylo was selfish and filled with pride. He had a lot of wives, including the wives and daughters of other rulers he had snatched. He named himself 'The God of Africa' with the intention to overthrow and rule over the continent at large. However, Emperor Ludiar of Shakkiraa and Emperor Pailomen of Gajida were opposing forces who stood firmly against him. Aryantha was situated between two other great empires: Gajida from the West and Shakkiraa from the East. These were the only obstacles preventing him from carrying out his evil plans.

Emperor Ludiar was a young man who inherited the throne from his late father, who was killed by Zylo some years ago. For this reason, a strong enmity was created between Ludiar and Zylo. Ludiar vowed not to rest until his father's death was avenged. Therefore, he united with Pailomen and rulers of other empires whom Zylo had offended in one way or another.

Lecias, the first wife of Emperor Zylo, was not comfortable with his idea of keeping so many enemies. She advised him not to continue being a villain, but he failed to listen. "You see, your neighbors are now against you. They might all one day rise for your downfall," said Lecias. But Zylo laughed and said, "For centuries, Aryantha has remained the greatest. My father was the greatest emperor during his reign, as was his own father. And for this reason, I shall hold onto their legacy. Trust me when I say, my foes will rise a hundred times, but they all shall be subjugated."

"Your forebears led Aryantha through the right path; they created peace, not war," Lecias mentioned. But all her words fell on deaf ears.

With desperation to be called a god, Zylo decided to send his army into the spirit world to steal the sacred scripture, which contained sources of spiritual powers and secrets of the gods. Lecias tried her best to prevent Zylo from carrying out such a decision, but her efforts were futile as Zylo was too stubborn. He, therefore, sent half of his soldiers, including the strongest warriors, into the spirit world and happily waited for their return to become a supreme being.

This made Lecias very worried about the outcome. She knew that Africa would surely face a massive tribulation if Zylo succeeded. So she decided to stop him.

While Zylo was relaxed and patiently waiting for the return of his soldiers, Lecias went to Shakkiraa to see Ludiar. Ludiar and his kinsmen were having a meeting at the royal chamber when they were informed by the guards that Lecias had come to see him. "Let her in," he permitted, and she was brought in.

"What brings a doe into the den of a hungry lion?" Ludiar questioned, and one of the chiefs commented, "Perhaps she has come to be devoured," and they all burst into laughter.

"I have come to you with good news," Lecias began, and the chiefs started whispering among themselves. "This could be a ploy. She looks so deceptive, she is a real enemy and not worth trusting."
"You may proceed," Ludiar told her, and she exposed Zylo's plans to them. "I think this is the right time to strike," she concluded.

"Why should we even trust you?" Ludiar asked, and she spoke again, "Zylo is my husband, but he has taken the wrong path. I cannot sit back and watch him ruin the world."

With these and other convincing words, she was able to win the trust of the Shakkiraans. She pleaded with them not to harm the innocent during their attack, and Ludiar gave her his word, promising not to hurt children and their mothers. He also assured her that she would be protected.

Ludiar took the information to Pailomen, who was glad to hear it. A spy was then sent into Aryantha, and he confirmed that the message was true. Being convinced, Ludiar and Pailomen wrote letters across the neighboring regions for a conspiracy against Aryantha.
Reaching the spirit world, the gods warned Zylo's soldiers to return home in peace, but they were determined to accomplish their mission. So they started a battle they could not fight. The gods were extremely powerful; they rode on chariots of fire, and their forces were irresistible.

Zylo's soldiers faced woe at the hands of the angry gods. Their weapons were of no use, as they were given no chance to fight back, even though they made worthless efforts. The strongest warriors became cowards, running away for their dear lives but finding no escape route, and they were all destroyed.

One night, while Zylo was asleep, dreaming of becoming an unstoppable god, he was woken up by a loud trumpet blown from afar. In the old days, such trumpets signified the call for war. At this terrible moment, Lecias was nowhere to be found. Zylo looked from his castle and saw thousands of burning arrows flying into his palace. He was overwhelmed with fright, knowing that he was now powerless.

It was a very bad night for Zylo because Shakkiraa and Gajida united with other nations, forming a strong army that surrounded the whole of Aryantha, leaving no escape route.
Now, reality brought a nightmare to Zylo's face. With his naked eyes, he watched the arrival of his doom, yet he was unable to wake from his slumber. His army tried to fight back, but the power from the opposition was higher than theirs. Soon, parts of the palace were set ablaze and crowded by enemies. Zylo had no choice but to fight for himself since his soldiers could no longer keep him safe.

He swung his sword and took down the first group of soldiers that came his way. Then, another group attacked him, but he was still strong enough to defeat them until Ludiar and eight giant warriors surrounded him. Ludiar's eyes reflected ire and hatred as he stared at Zylo.

"Zylo of Aryantha, your teeth have bitten more than your tiny mouth can chew, and today you shall pay bitterly for all your sins," said Ludiar.

"Little boy, your father was wiser and greater than you, yet it took just a single drop of sweat to wipe him off. So what makes you think you can overcome me?" Zylo uttered proudly.
"The lion is strong indeed, but when angry hyenas fall out in good numbers, then the lion's pawns become powerless," said Ludiar, and the fight continued.

Zylo fought with all his strength and killed six of the warriors before Ludiar finally managed to knock him down. Yet he refused to quit even at the point of death. Despite all the cuts and stabs from Ludiar, Zylo kept struggling, hoping for the return of his exiled warriors, whom by then had all perished in the spirit world.

Lastly, a broad smile ran across Ludiar's face as soon as Zylo took in a deep breath and ceased to shake. "Father! It is finished. Your son has fulfilled his promise. Here lies the lifeless body of your murderer," he shouted out, referring to the spirit of his late father.

The defeat of Zylo was indeed a happy moment for all his enemies. All his remaining soldiers surrendered and were captured, but mercy was shown unto them, so they were not killed.

All the kingdoms and empires that had been taken over by Zylo were returned, together with every stolen property. The prisoners and slaves were set free, and the main lands of Aryantha were shared equally among the surrounding empires that took part in the battle.
However, for the sake of Lecias, the people of Aryantha were not enslaved, but they became minor indigenes of various empires, except for Lecias, who was well honored and made the prime minister of Shakkiraa.