In the Court of the Saffron King
“Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars.” So begin many of the tales told around the campfires of the great caravans that snake across the desert at the eastern edges of the known world.
The ancient port city of Aghrapur is the farthest eastern outpost of the Aquilonian Empire. It is an important crossroads of trade routes from north and south, east and west. In ages past the city was ruled by the Shah of Turan. Twenty years ago the armies of King Conan defeated the Shah and took his city from him. An Imperial Governor was appointed to rule in King Conan’s place.
The governor, Hans Gru, had been a friend to Conan, a leader of men rewarded for his loyalty with his own city. Experienced in the ways of greed and lust, the retired swordsman became a lethal political force, ruling the city with an iron hand concealed within a soft glove. As the kingdom grew to an Empire, Gru returned regular taxes and tithes to maintain the treasuries of his captain, even long after Conan was lost to the wilds.
Last year the missing King was declared dead and his son crowned Emperor in his place. The new Emperor has appointed a new governor for Aghrapur, his young cousin, Kadis — a foolish man, a religious zealot consumed with dark lusts and hatred for all things foreign.
Kadis journeys now along the Road of Kings towards his new fief. It is the first caravan of the season but even so the desert is icy cold. The haughty young governor is accompanied by his own bodyguard and an entourage of followers: Clerical staff, household servants, priest, concubines and many slaves.