| "The Banner of Kaviyan" |
Set in OTL
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||c.a. 680 CE|
|Relatives:|| Pakor the Dihqan (father);|
Pakor the Elder (great grandfather)
On reaching his manhood, Shahin was given command of a troop of soldiers and sent to raid a force of Arabs who had entered Tabaristan without leave. The Persians succeeded in surprising the camped Arabs at daybreak. They skillfully managed to approach by stealth through the underbrush and then charged under the Gomishan banner of orange with black stripes. They inflicted heavy casualties (about 40 killed) while taking few (only 3 killed) and scattered the rest so they fled back over the border.
Shahin and his troop returned to Gomishan and he reported his success to his father who was pleased and praised him. Pakor the Elder also attended this private meeting and he too commended the youth. However, Shahin grew boastful and claimed this was one of the greatest victories the Persians ever had. While The Dihqan indulgently agreed, The Elder grew somber and commented that this was little more than a cattle raid. He then launched into tales of his experiences as a young man in the army of Marshall Shahr Baraz and what were major victories. Unlike previous tellings, he attributed their successes to the Banner of Kaviyan and their subsequent losses to the banner being removed from the army for safe-keeping. He also explained that the banner had been hidden in Ctesiphon never to be seen again, despite the capital being sacked by the Arabs.
Shahin was deeply affected by this story and after brooding on it for several weeks, set out on a quest to find the banner despite his father's misgivings. He soon crossed into Arab held lands, who proved hospitable giving him shelter and meals as he traveled. The first castle he visited was the keep of the dihqan Yaqut. There he was recognized as the son of the dihqan of Gomishan and questioned by Yaqut but managed to keep his quest secret. Fortunately, he soon became anonymous and could travel without raising interest.
Not all the former Persian castles were occupied, some were burnt out shells that were never rebuild. The fire temples were also neglected and going to ruin. Shahin travelled through the Zagros mountains and eventually reached Shahpur Khwast. He was hosted by ibn Kathir, the local lord, who questioned him extensively on his ancestry. However, this was due to the dihqan's interest in genealogy rather than suspicion. After going to bed, he was awakened by the lord's steward who took him to a secret meeting with the lord's wife. She was a descendant of one of Khusro's treasure-keepers and provided him with information where the banner maybe hidden.
As Shahin continued his quest, he crossed into the Mesopotamian plain and followed the Tigris River south towards Ctesiphon. As he passed the small village of Baghdad, he encountered a Christian priest who gave him directions to the former imperial city. Shahin came to the outskirts of the ruins at sunset so camped outside. At daybreak, he viewed the ruins with approaching despair. They were almost a mile across and it was impossible to discern the wreckage of the palace from the other disorder. Shahin reasoned that the King of Kings would not allow anyone else to build higher than he so climbed a hill to find the tallest wreck. He then set off on foot to it while leading his horse. This did indeed prove to be the Imperial Palace and Shahin sought the throne-room.