"Yet still did the mountains tremble and our eyes strain across the steppe to find the storm. Then, like the onset of nightfall came the endless shadow of the Horde to blot our lands from view. A numberless multitude swept across the hill crests and like waves of a black ocean did they sweep down upon us. Their arrows fell like clouds of biting flies from the darkened sky. The death screams of our warriors were o'erwhelmed by the drumming of infinite hooves so that only the endless thunder was heard at the last. Our enemy then struck wide its wings and eclipsed the sun from Russia's plain forever."

The above text, written by a warrior poet of the Grand Duchy of Muscovy whose name has long since been lost, described the fateful moments before Russia's pre-eminent state lost her crown for three centuries. The armies of the great Batu Khan had swept all before them and finally it was Moscow's turn.

The great Golden Horde was the name whispered by the terrified rulers of Eastern Europe and Siberia. The Horde had been sent west by Ogodei, successor to the immortal Chinggis Khan. Under Batu the rampaging horsemen took their tents to the very forests of Germany before settling back to impose their rule on the western part of an empire that now stretched from Poland to China, from Siberia to the tip of India - the greatest contiguous land empire the world has ever seen.

Though the ferocity and savagery of the Horde's conquest is still whispered with terror in the rebuilt streets of Kiev, Moscow, Warsaw and a thousand other razed cities, the Mongols brought a rare civilisation to their conquered territories. Communications sped across the vast deserts via pony-borne couriers. Justice was fair and impartial and stretched across caste boundaries. Peace had been imposed by the sword and the bow, but once the smoke cleared, peace reigned. The Great Yasa of Chinggis Khan held sway and guided the Khans and their descendants.

The agha (governor) of the Muscovy region in these greatest of times was Haruchai, a warrior of wild eye and heroic sword. Swift as the eagle on his horse Jaga, terrible as the tiger when charging to battle, gentle as the bear with its cubs when in his tent, Haruchai was a god to his warriors. He had stood at Batu's side and torched Kiev, had broken the massive gates of Moscow as if with his own hands. He ruled wisely and with reverence to the Yasa.

One glorious summer morn, he walked in the woods beyond the silken tents of cloth of gold that had given the Horde its name. He walked with a wise man from the far west who had come to study the ways of the Mongol. They carried on a discussion from the long evening before on what was meant by virtue in a man - and what those Virtues might be. Their minds had met on several common grounds - Valour of course, as with Sacrifice and Compassion too - but Haruchai would not accept the wise man's championing of Humility. After all, the true warrior is bathed in glory and receives his true reward from songs.

The Agha-Khan was vehemently explaining this further with arguments made strong by a night's sleep when he stopped suddenly. Beneath his feet grew a swirling void of blue sapphire, appeared from nowhere. Soundlessly, Haruchai fell through the gate and his world of plains and silk and victory was lost.

Time had lost any meaning when he at last awoke. No longer a tiger, he was now weaker than a kitten. Naked and alone, surrounded by unfamiliar trees he set upon his feet. Shakily, he stepped into the world he would come to know as Britannia. There he would find other Mongols, including the great Ogodei Khan himself. He would regain his skills and strengths and restore his warrior's name. After some while, the wild magicks that had brought him here started to take away the new clansmen and he soon found himself alone once more.

Even though Ogodei Khan had returned to who knows where, Haruchai knew that he had laid that same duty upon his shoulders. Build the Golden Horde in this land and bring the Empire back to glory. Once again, Haruchai set out on an unknown journey to find his people and restore their songs.

Do you hear the singing of your blood? Do you dream longingly of endless plains? Does your soul feel empty without a horse beneath you and a bow in your hand? Does your heart cry out for victories and grim death cause you laughter? If so, you may have a Mongol's soul and the Golden Horde waits for you. Come with us and taste glory once again.

The Golden Horde is an Ultima Online guild dedicated to role-playing Mongol warriors and tribes-people. Based in Yew on the facet of Trammel and the shard of Europa, the guild aims to entertain members through events and quests specifically designed for the guild and their allies (as well as the day-to-day enjoyment of Mongol lifestyle!). We also aim to participate in officially organised events where this will be interesting. The aim of the guild is to have fun role-playing an unusual and fascinating community - therefore if you do not like a fairly strict role-playing regime we are not the guild for you. If this appeals to you, you can find out how to join us in the Culture section.
All original material copyright ofPól-MichelSeachra AnDaingean 1999, 2000, 2001 unless otherwise attributed. Note that although historically based, most characters and occurrences are fictional. Ultima Online is a multiplayer online game whose trademarks and properties are copyright of Origin Systems Inc. and Electronic Arts. All artwork reproduced from screens shots is copyright of these owners.