Posthumous Judgement

By Thusiar

The Traitor King. The True-Born Bastard. The Dickhead. Many titles have stuck to Yieyit past his death, and all are accurate reflections of his former people’s attitude towards him. Even the most imperialized Tajkyn will be more than happy to espouse their hatred of the man, given the chance. And so strong is this negative reputation, in fact, that even people on the other side of the world from Tajlyn know of it, and will repeat it wholeheartedly.

And yet, when viewed through the cold, dispassionate lens of historical analysis, how terrible was Yieyit really? Even those who despise him admit he had great success before his time as king, both as a warrior and as a peacemaker. He united Tajlyn, both the people and the land, and was the only ruler in Tajlyn who ever claimed kingship with any sort of legitimacy to do so. And of course, his role in liberating Tajlyn from the Northern invasions cannot be overstated, his troops routing and slaying orksen wherever they met them. If anyone had ever truly deserved that crown, it was him.

But of course, everything quickly fell apart. Dissent was frothing in the East, where Yieyit’s heroics had been the least noticeable, and Tajlyn could not afford another costly conflict. So Yieyit swore fealty to Aegeroth’s reinvigorated Empire, in the hopes its military backing would silence the murmurs of civil war. The opposite resulted, with nearly every lord and chieftain in Yieyit’s realm taking up arms against him. And the Empire, despite its earlier commitments, did nothing. If a single vassal state turns against its liege, then the rebellion is wrong. But when an entire kingdom turns against the king, it is his rule that is illegitimate.

Perhaps Yieyit’s decision was wrong, and worthy of condemnation. Regardless of your opinion of the Empire, to surrender to an outside power without a fight, nay, to offer yourself and your people to it without even the threat of violence, is the act of a coward. But we must look at the whole context.

The isle of Umbigal was once again united and powerful, and by extension so was the Empire. It had already launched a series of campaigns against Tajlyn’s neighbor, Kurgal, and each was more successful than the last. And although Kurgal’s people fought bravely, the writing was on the wall. Once Kurgal was taken, Tajlyn would be next. It would have been nearly impossible for it to win such a fight, and that’s without having gone through a brutal civil war beforehand. Under these circumstances, Yieyit’s actions are not those of a coward desperately trying to hold onto power, but rather those of a pragmatic and kingly man, doing his best to spare his people from two costly wars. His actions spared his people an Empire mobilized against it, instead allowing Tajlyn to join on its own terms. Meanwhile, Kurgal’s own king chose to fight, and today that throne is one of the weakest in all of Aegeroth, less than a puppet to not only those above it, but those below it as well.

Although the stories claiming that Yieyit was slain in one-on-one combat are surely false, there is something romantic to the notion. It would be an echo of his past glory as the world came crashing down around him, fighting for his life as he had fought for his home so many years ago.