Full Item Description
Like all Haian books, the Taxiad is inscribed on papyrus. Each page is stretched between two thin wooden slats and has writing on only one side. These bars are locked together with wooden pins into a stack. In the case of a work as large as the Taxiad (which describes over 6 years of military campaigns and politics as well as cultural material), this stack is typically a foot to a foot-and-a-half tall (which makes it problematic to transport and store- most Haian books are considered the property of the royal authority and are kept in royal libraries attached to palaces or loaned out to the local lord’s castle as a sign of prestige and support from the king).
Laaman of Dreva originally wrote the Taxiad as a military journal, in the common tradition of the Haian kingdoms south of the Great Desert. Other such chronicles include the Orgoniad and the Gadoriad (properly termed the Gadoriad of Swaathur for its focus on one Griyan lord’s exploits), histories of various kingdoms’ wars against Orgoni tribes and the Gadorites, respectively, but these chronicles are neither as detailed nor as far-ranging as the Taxiad, partly because no previous conflict and no conflict since has united all of the Haians in a single military exploit (that now referred to as the Great Southern Conflict).
While it is common for Haian military journals to exalt the exploits of one lord or of the kingdom to whom the writer belongs, the Taxiad is much more neutral in tone and outlook, for several reasons. First, since all the Haian kingdoms were involved in the war against Taxaza, Laaman was careful in his description of his own people, hoping to create a document from which a Haian unity could be created (a desire for a united Haian kingdom was becoming a common sentiment among the educated lordly class which birthed him, framing Haian warrior virtue against the indolence of the Empire of Texaza). Second, previous to Laaman’s work, military chronicles (though written from a battlefield perspective) were edited after the fact and "dressed", as it were, to fit with the sentiments and propaganda that the writer wished to present; Laaman of Dreva did not go through this process, stating that he wished his work to be seen "as if through his own eyes". Though he diffidently refers to Taxians as "Tekashiaawra", "Kulahomaa", "Sukdwaana" and even "Maakjiya" (the last three were more general terms for populations residing in the greater geographical area or archaic terms for previous populations), he also refers to them liberally with the Taxian autonym "Prangiasan" (though in Taxian literature this term is used only to refer to themselves and the heroes of past ages in a poetic manner). He reserves the term "Hamawrakan" for Haians, though he does acknowledge that the Taxians also held themselves to be the continuation of the ancient nation of Hamawraka (or as the Taxians name it, Umiauraxa). His use of accurate Taxian military terminology in reference to their tactics and equipment, as well as his painstaking transliteration of a huge variety of Taxian names (sometimes even adopting Taxian characters to accurately describe the sounds of their language!) shows a surprising level of both familiarity with and respect for a culture the Haians regarded with disdain and mockery as "the southern dwarfs".
The work is written in the typical style of Haian military chronicles, that is to say, sober and unemotional, and describing events battle by battle, with events in between frequently glossed over with a typically Haian disdain for politics (though some events which Laaman deemed particularly noteworthy or spectacular he covered in great detail, such as Exarch Senran’s treacherous meeting with Count Fabaaz of Mingriyadez in which the exarch betrayed the Taxians). One notable event missing from the Taxiad is the ending of the Great Southern Conflict- Laaman returned home to Dreva in the Year of Iron Smoke after the Haian capture of the great citadel of Honranga-on-the-Yarno. The year after, the Haians would penetrate even into Inner Texaza, with Lord Shivrez of Limu and his host coming to the very walls of the capitol at High Texaza before they were smashed by Imperial forces led by the Emperor Honran himself at the Battle of the Nuasash River. The Haians were driven from southern Texaza and Haian principalities in northern Texaza crumbled or were conquered within the next twenty years. Thus, the Taxiad describes the high point of the Haian expeditions against the southern Imperials, including (arguably) the only accurate transcription of the legendary Last Speech of King Haiodaaz of Griya.
While Laaman was in many ways remarkable in comparison to other Haian chroniclers, he, like others, lacked an education in higher literature and ancient texts, which gives his works a style that some consider rustic, while others see it as lacking the flowery ornamental pretentiousness of the works of the Haian court literati who wrote at the same time (somewhat ironically, strongly influenced by the elaborate metaphoricals and poetic mysticism of Taxian literature).
The Taxiad is also a valuable document in that Laaman of Dreva put unusual detail into his description of the many conflicting cultures in the text- the chronicle contains detailed examinations of traditional Haian mounted warrior society, the cult-based society of the rural Taxian peasantry (including interesting notes on the holdouts of the ancient tribal cultures that had been subsumed in the Taxian campaigns of expansion), and the complex, ritualistic urban culture of the Taxian elite. While disdainful of politics, he was impressed by the showy ritual that often accompanied Taxian diplomats and lords, and described some of these in great detail. He was also complimentary of the mannerly and decorous demeanor of Taxians, even towards conquering Haians, and notes out matters of decorum which he believes Haians should learn from, saying "no son of Haio may fear for his manhood merely by expressing the dignity of his self through refined decorum, as certainly none would dispute that the Tekashiaawra warrior is valiant in his defense as the Haian is brave in his charge".
In the years after Laaman of Dreva’s death, his work would be disseminated and would become one of the major national pieces of Haian literature. Though later to be eclipsed in favor by more fluid and literature-steeped works written by members of the growing warrior-scholar class (a sector developing from the gradual fusion of the functions of the Haian knight and the court scholar in the kingdoms south of the Desert), it remains one of the most well-known and well-loved products of Haian literate culture. Some of its stories have even passed into folklore and become legends among the Haian peasantry, or are incorporated into devotional theatre in Haian religious fairs.