His grandfather, as it happened, had been a minor military official in the court of the old king, and had retired to a small plot of land as reward for his service. This is how he came to be able to read and write, both rare in the days of ancient Ujram. But it came to pass that the old king’s son was succeeded–through the natural succession or usurpation–by a cruel tyrant who ravaged the land with high taxes and paid bands of marauders to steal the land of peasants and farmers.

One such band came to Iral’s village seeking the same, and he showed a natural aptitude for forming the local men into a militia and leading them in battle. When the marauders had been driven off, one of his companions asked “What will you do now?”

“I will continue to fight until I see justice restored to Ujram.”

In time, more villages and village militias flocked to Iral’s banner. The situation grew so alarming that the wicked king loosed his army upon them. Iral destroyed or recruited most of the formations sent against him, and soon his motley gang had become a full-scale rebellion. The wicked king sent an emissary to Iral, offering to make him a satrap in return for his alleigiance, or anything else he desired. Iral refused. One of his companions asked “What will you do now?”

“I will continue to fight until I see justice restored to Ujram.”

The trickle of people deserting the wicked king became a flood, and the great capital of Ujram fell without a battle. The old king hung from a gibbet, and Iral’s supporters crowned him in the square before the palace. One of his retainers asked “What will you do now?”

“I will continue to fight until I see justice restored to Ujram.”

At first, Iral ruled justly. He expanded the boundaries of Ujram through war or peace, and allowed the provinces to choose their own satraps. But when the first regional rebellion arose, he was forced to put it down though it meant the death of many who he had trusted. One of his prisoners from the campaign asked mockingly “What will you do now?”

“I will continue to fight until I see justice restored to Ujram.”