Four years to the day after his ascension, King Heriotza II the Desired of Teramyt invaded the neighboring county of Labankada, ruled by his godfather the Pharaoh. Labankada had ten times the area and ten times the population of Teramyt; those that still had the ability to do so had councilmen against the campaign but found themselves rejected—or beheaded—for their troubles.

In the first clash, near the border at Gudu-Zelai, it became apparent what Heriotza’s military training regimen had amounted to. The Labankadans found themselves facing an ashen-faced army that knew no fear, knew no mercy, and cared not for any niceties. Well-armed and well-drilled, the Teramyts annihilated a much larger force, killing the Pharaoh and his two sons. Prisoners of the rout were executed to a man, save for a few nobles taken as hostages.

Heriotza, it seems, had been inspired by his own transformation and had killed every recruit to his new army. Resurrected, they became like he: creatures tainted by the underworld, pure malice and bereft of mercy.

Labankada fell swiftly before such a force. King Heriotza raised their own dead against them, and those few well-fortified points that resisted were overcome through canny use of hostages and a few object lessons in which entire garrisons were massacred upon the breach.

Entering their capital city in triumph, with the body of the Pharaoh and his sons dragged behind his chariot, King Heriotza stood on the balcony of the old palace and declared himself Pharaoh-King. Labankadans everywhere would do well to keep their heads down and do what was asked of them, he continued, for the penalty for disobedience was death.

In this way, tiny Teramyt conquered all of its neighbors, and their neighbors after them, in a whirlwind campaign lasting less than ten years. Upon completing these conquests, King Heriotza declared a ten-year period of retrenchment and consolidation of his conquests. He also made it clear that, while pliant local nobles would be allowed to serve in his name, there would be no opposition to his rule, no sharing of power, and—most importantly—no marriage and no heirs. In a move that shocked many, the pharaoh-king included the gods themselves with the nobles. They could continue to be worshipped, but he would be their liege.

Heriotza announced, from the steps of the Labankada palace that he had repurposed, that it was his intent to rule his domain forever as an immortal god-king.

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