Yelm and the Imperial Chariot
Yelm brought the first chariots to mankind. When Most High Yelm descended from the Sky World He paused upon the Footstool for the Enthronement Creation. Then He stepped down again, not upon the ground, but upon His Imperial Chariot, a vehicle perfectly made of fiery living gold and drawn by four angels and two others which look like six white horses. It is a poor imitation of the Chariot of God which traverses the sky each day, but as magnificent as the mundane world could bear. When the High One ascended again, the chariot called Living Gold was left behind to convey His magnificence to those who came afterwards.
The Imperial Chariot conveyed only Grand Murharzarm, Son of Yelm and the First Emperor. After his death the Living Gold bore lesser beings and was damaged every time.
When the Rebels began War, the brave sons and grandsons of Murharzarm made copies of the Living Gold for themselves. These sons of the Emperor and their sons used Hero Chariots which could sometimes speak, and were often drawn by celestial creatures which rode upon water or air as if it were land.
When War fell upon mankind, ordinary people were also armed, and aped their betters in manners and warfare. Under Lukarius the Good Land obeyed custom, so that only the descendants of Murharzarm rode War Chariots drawn by great white horses. Grays drew the vehicles of their married kin and of their households, and the many shades of brown were invented to bear the soldiery which Emperor Urvairinus developed.
Throughout the wars Imperial Chariot was damaged, then chipped apart. No intact wheeled vehicles survived after the Dome broke. All knowledge (and life) was lost in the Darkness. Parts of the chariot were cherished by desperate people who did not even know the truth about the sacred item which they bore. Jenarong the Awakener recognized the axle, and began the long reconstruction of the sacred vehicle. At last, Emperor Yelmgatha the Finisher found the final pieces, and Living Gold bore him to the Sky World.
Jenarong, the Great Charioteer
Emperor Jenarong, who we call the Reawakener and the New Murharzarm, found the axle pole of the Imperial Chariot, and had it installed in his personal vehicle and set six white horses to harness. For this great resurrection, Jenarong is the first and greatest patron of chariots, and receives sacrifice from all other chariot gods, as well as in his own right at the start of all races.
Jenarong instituted the first Imperial races between nobles of his cities. He set up the sun-rune shape for the race tracks, called a circus, with a tall pillar with a statue of Yelm in the center. Different categories of races were determined by the number of horses and size of the track. Drivers used whatever natural and supernatural abilities they had. Drivers bore no weapons. Interaction between drivers is forbidden. A panel of judges always watches to decide on any irregularities, and is notoriously conservative in judging even against accidents.
Harmony Racing is a variant form, even more peaceful. Chariots race side by side in a straight line, “like the Harmony Rune.”
This form was made into the only legal style allowed by Emperor Karsdevesus during his Millennial Purification (in 112,000), wherein its ancient style was recognized and re-established. However, exceptions were made by his successors to allow other methods as well.
Khorisimus the Superior Racer
Khorisimus was one of the Superior Men who lived in the reign of Khorzanelm the Magnificent and the best charioteer that lived in that epic time. He instituted the style of racing called Severe Racing. (The traditional date for this is 111,380). In this style the track shape varied, but especially different were the obstacles which were set along the track to test the vehicles, steeds and drivers. Exotic creatures are allowed, and in earliest times even encouraged. Chariots of unusual design are allowed, as long as the wheels remain on the ground most of the time.
This style is also called Apple Blossom Racing. Since Khorisimus was the son of Hercine, a nymph of the apple trees in Darjiin, he planted those trees on all his tracks. Even today the Severe Winners still receive wreaths of apple blossoms as awards. The fragrant victory wreaths never fade until the winner dies.
Deretinus the Combatant
Deretinus brought deliberate conflict to the race track. He was a courtier in the reign of Emperor Elmexdros (c. 111,775), who was noted as a great War Lord. Deretinus changed racing by allowing charioteers to fight each other, and also with the Circus Mutatus during which the former panel of impartial judges began to change the nature of the track with their own magic as part of the show.
Deretinus was more important in his application of chariots to war. From his god he gave to us the tools and spells which make the artillery chariots possible.
Fahyenhar, a native of Carmania, cared nothing for the suffering of others. Death and sorrow were entertainment for him. He broadly expanded the spectacles of Shargashite sacrificial combat. At first he just sent animals and prisoners out upon the track as living obstacles. Later he allowed them to be armed and fight the charioteers and each other.
This style, Fahyenhite racing, is now outlawed in the empire, although a similar type of event occurs in the dart competitions.
Gortania the Lucky
Gortania is especially the patroness of Lunar charioteer, both male and female. She introduced the use of her own magic to change the track, a sort of “surprise mutatus” method whose practice well fits the prevailing Lunar philosophy that life consists of both external and personal influences. Her nickname, “the Lucky,” indicates that she is in touch with the ultimate source of victory.
War Chariots, History
War chariots were used extensively by the ruling class in combat from before the Jenarong Age through to the adaptation of cavalry. Chariots transported the elite warriors around and for scattering the hordes of foot soldiers which characteristically resisted the Jenarong warriors. Most foes were so inadequately armed and prepared for any fight larger than a brawl that this use to mainly intimidate the enemy troops was extremely effective.
As enemy infantry learned to stand against a non-impacting chariot, some bizarre uses were developed to try to adapt some innovative ideas to the battlefield transported by this sacred vehicle. For a time longer and longer poles were used to spear the leading troops. A horizontal sweep with multiple heads, like a wide pitchfork, was used. Multiple scythe blades were stuck out in front. Eventually a light wall was made to protect the horses, and the chariot’s body was more as a counterweight than anything else. None of these spectacular vehicles appear to have been efficiently used, for no victories to them are recorded.
After the adaptation of cavalry, especially after the incorporation of stirrups, use of the chariot waned. Eventually chariots were used only for ceremonial purposes, and also to transport some of the ancient battlefield regalia.
Deretinic chariots were a more successful experiment. Deretinus mounted heavy missile machines and multiple arrow shooters upon sturdy chariots that were capable of rapid movement and deployment. These are still used today, but rarely since they require rare skilled technicians capable of using the magic necessary to stabilize their equipment.
Mastakos and Korsmos
A Sartarite Tale
Emperor Korzelm the Arrogant lived long ago, before Harmast. Korzelm performed every vice, as many stories tell. He proclaimed himself to be the Son of the Sun, and he ordered the making of Nysalor, the Evil Light. He broke his sworn word, and his guest was slain while in his house.
Korzelm summoned all the great ones of his realm to live in his house. From there he sent out heralds who carried every boast and lie to the corners of the world.
*Chief was the noble lord of *place. He listened carefully to every word which strangers told, and he sent the heralds away without salt.
He sends his charioteer to race the Emperor
Mastakos races against Korsmos
Afterwards, Korsmos uses this “change” to make his own rules, etc.