-The next night, 11:00 P.M.-
Leona had returned to her room an hour late thanks to more paperwork that she had anticipated. She had some energy to read Ancient Desierto, but there was no way that she was going to be able to pull off a multi-hour study session like she had on previous nights. Leona changed her clothes to her white t-shirt and desert camouflage shorts and sat down at her desk, opening the large book to where she had left off. The Wizard Saint was having difficulty focusing on the text and considered saving the study session for another night, but she decided to at least try and read as much as she could before fatigue robbed her of the focus to even get past the first ten pages. She had made it slightly over halfway through the book in three nights, so she might as well try to read a little more of Professor Rosetta's work.
-One hundred pages and one hour later-
Leona plowed through the section on King Saarghon's new empire and learned that after a lengthy campaign of twenty years he finally brought all of Desierto under his command. He was pleased with this victory and ordered a new capitol to built in Central Desierto to symbolize his control of all four corners of the desert country. In four short years the new capitol was complete and King Saarghon declared that his new empire would last as long as that of the Muserians he had conquered. Vowing not to repeat the mistakes of Museria, he planned to rule his holdings as the one and only source of authority. For ten years the Kurran Empire was at peace, but beneath the surface was a lot of discontent among the subject peoples that was suppressed by spies and by royal army garrisons.
However, armed force would not be enough to suppress signs of discontent forever.
For one thing, the surviving Muserians were looking to avenge their defeat at the hands of King Saarghon and awaited the day they could rise in revolt in concert with other discontented subject peoples. For another thing, King Saarghon's insistence on bring the sole source of authority made it difficult to effectively govern his holdings because instead of having governors to manage the affairs of each province he managed them. Royal decisions were slow in coming and that slow response only furthered feelings of discontent because subject peoples on the periphery felt that their needs were being ignored in favor of the capitol. As it turned out, those people were correct to feel that way.
Confident that all his enemies had been brought to heel, King Saarghon spent much on furnishing the capitol city Niveneh with monuments commemorating victories over his enemies and praising his benevolent rule. He also spent much on lavish entertainments for his idle nobles, who occupied their days with music, poetry, and plots to replace King Saarghon with someone who was more willing to delegate power to the nobility. But those were not the only problems with the kingdom.
Rightfully distrusting the nobility and perhaps looking to make his mark on history, King Saarghon looked for ways to extend his life so that he might control his holdings indefinitely. He gathered around him magicians and alchemists to concoct elixirs that would extend his lifespan far beyond its natural limits. Those magicians and alchemists concocted elixirs of all kinds and some of them were apparently successful because the king lived to be 160 years old when his empire fell. However, he apparently required regular doses of the elixirs and the ingredients were not cheap; among them were gold dust, silver dust, and crushed diamonds. Much of the empire's treasure went into sustaining the life of its ruler, who wanted to rule forever and was willing to spend every last gold coin to make sure it happened.
All of those problems combined to form a powder keg that only awaited a spark, a spark that occurred in the ninetieth year of King Saarghon's empire after he had an entire village exterminated for failing to provide enough limestone for yet another monument to his reign. The Muserians, having found backing in a coalition of rebellious provinces and having experienced a strange increase in the birthrate of mages, started a rebellion in Southern Desierto that snatched the province away from King Saarghon in the space of six months. The fires of rebellion spread to Western Desierto and to Northern Desierto as emboldened peoples rose up to cast off the oppression of King Saarghon.
That was the point where Leona's flagging energy gave out and she got up to go to bed.
-The next night, Leona's Room, 10:00 P.M.-
After another day of paperwork and other administrative tasks Leona repeated the routine she had been doing for several nights now. She changed out of her "formal" clothing and changed into the white t-shirt and desert camouflage shorts and sat down at her desk. She opened the book to where she had left off, which was the start of the rebellion led by Museria. Leona felt tired, but she wanted to at least find out what happened to the rebellion before she went to sleep.
-One hundred pages and sixty minutes later-
Sustaining her reading speed of a hundred pages every sixty minutes, Leona finished reading about the rebellion and how it spread like wildfire from Southern and Western Desierto to Northern Desierto. Eastern Desierto, being the Kurran homeland, remained loyal to King Saarghon but was hard-pressed to provide the constant stream of men needed to replenish the ranks of the thinly spread and badly depleted royal army. After nine years of constant fighting the royal army was pushed back to the gates of Niveneh and it prepared for its last stand. After a year-long siege the Muserian-led rebellion won and the Kurran Empire was toppled, but King Saarghon himself was nowhere to be found.
The Muserians suspected that he had fled to his homeland in Eastern Desierto and immediately led the coalition there to finish the tyrant once and for all. However, upon arrival in that region the former king was nowhere to be found. A thorough search of the region turned up nothing. Thus the Kurran Empire ended after only one hundred years of existence.
Leona paused at that point to stand up and stretch her legs before she read about the period leading up to the sultans taking power and the Tri-Council Cities being established. At this point her energy threatened to give out, so she decided to take a trip to the cafe to get some coffee to try and revitalize herself long enough to at least start the chapter.
-Ten minutes later-
Having fortified herself with two cups of coffee, Leona returned to her room to begin reading again but found her enthusiasm flagging as soon as her backside hit the chair. Leona tried to will herself to read, but it was just not happening. Forcing herself to read would only be a waste of time because she would not learn anything. It was best just to go to bed and pick up where she left off at a later date.
Thankfully Leona had taken plenty of notes on what she had read to date, so she could look at them to remind herself of what she had already learned. Leona got up from the desk, placed the brown bookmark in between the pages, closed the book and went to bed so that she could be ready for another day of Guild Master responsibilities.
While Leona had not totally succeeded in reading Ancient Desierto from cover to cover, she had still learned a lot from what she had read. She learned about Museria, about King Saarghon, and about Desierto long before the sultans had gotten the idea to build their cities and establish them as the center of the country. Leona would finish Ancient Desierto later and take a break before reading more of the books she had bought. The search for knowledge was a marathon, not a sprint.
[Post Word Count: 1,351]
[Total Word Count: 5,539/5,000]