Ardashir had now taken the road to the seashore, and so resumed his journey. Several of the inhabitants of Pars, who had been distressed by Artabanus, placed their wealth, property, and themselves at his disposal, and expressed to him their unanimity and submission.
When he reached the place which they call Ramishne Ardashir [ "Delight of Ardashir"] a magnanimous hero of the name of Banak, an inhabitant of Spahan, who had escaped from the hands of Artabanus and settled himself there, came personally to Ardashir with his six sons, many soldiers and heroes. Ardashir was at first afraid of Banak, lest the latter, having captured him, would deliver him up to Artabanus. Afterward Banak approached Ardashir, took an oath, and gave him confidence in these words: "As long as I live, I myself with my sons will remain submissive to thee."
Ardashir became glad, and on that site he ordered a town to be built, which was called Ramishne-i-Artakhshir. He left Banak there with a detachment of cavalry, and himself marched toward the sea-coast. When in his march onward he saw the ocean before his eyes, he offered thanksgiving to God, called that place the city of Bokht Ardashir, and ordered an Atash-i-Vahram to be enthroned on that sea-coast. From that place Ardashir returned to Banak and his cavalry, and prepared an army.
Thence he went to the threshold of the sacred fire Frobag, which is meritorious, and solicited spiritual gifts from it. Then he came to battle with Artabanus, killed the entire army of the latter, seized their wealth, property, horses, and portable lodges, and settled himself in Stakhar [Ancient Persepolis, the capital of Pars]. He collected soldiers in large numbers from Kerman, Mokristan, Spahan, and different districts of Pars, and came to fight with Artabanus himself. So Artabanus sent for soldiers and provisions from different frontiers, such as Rai [near Tehran, the Arsacid capital], Demavand [the mountain range near Rai], Delman [modern Gilan], and Patash-khvargar [an offshoot of the Aparsen Range].
But as the Glory of the Kayanians was with Ardashir, the latter gained success. He killed Artabanus, whose entire wealth and property fell into the hands of Ardashir, who married Artabanus's daughter, and went back to Pars. He built a city which was named Ardashir Gadman, wherein a large tank was dug, from which water was conveyed by means of four canals; and near that tank an Atash-i-Adaran was established.
Further, Ardashir excavated a high mountain, and turned the course of a river into the city through subterranean canals. He bestowed his patronage on many cities, made them very prosperous, and ordered that several Atash-i-Vahrams should also be enthroned.
Afterward he (Ardashir), having collected many soldiers and heroes of Zavul, proceeded to battle against Madig, the King of the Kurds. There were much fighting and bloodshed, in which the army of Ardashir finally sustained a defeat. Ardashir became anxious on account of his own army. On his way back he came at night through a desert which contained neither food nor water, so he himself with all his troops and horses came to hunger and thirst.
Marching onward he saw, from a distance, a fire belonging to some shepherds, and there Ardashir went and beheld an old man living with his cattle on a mountain-steppe. Ardashir passed the night there, and the next day he asked them (the shepherds) about the road. They said: "Three frasangs hence there is a very fertile village which has many inhabitants and plenty of food." Ardashir went to that village, and dispatched a person to send to his capital his entire cavalry.
The army of Madig boasted thus: "Now there should be no fear of Ardashir, as on account of his defeat he has returned to Pars." Meanwhile Ardashir, having prepared an army of four thousand men, rushed upon them, and surprised them with a night attack.
He killed one thousand of the Kurds, while others were wounded and taken prisoners; and out of the Kurds that were imprisoned he sent to Pars their king with his sons, brothers, children, his abundant wealth and property.
On the road the army of Haftan-bokht, the lord of the Worm, struck against them, seized the entire wealth, property, and portable lodges from those cavalry soldiers of Ardashir, and carried them into Guzaran, one of the boroughs of G;ular, where the Worm had its abode. Ardashir then entertained this idea: "I shall go to Armenia and Ataropatgan, because Yazdan-kard of Shaharzur has, with many soldiers and heroes, passed beyond the frontiers of Shaharzur, concluded a treaty with the ruler of Kerman, and become his ally."
But as soon as Ardashir heard of the tyranny and wickedness of the sons of Haktan-bokht toward his army, he thought: "I must, first of all, put in order the affairs at Pars and become fearless of the enemies, and after that begin to meddle with other cities."
Now as regards the Worm idolatry, it grew so powerful and tyrannical at Guzaran that an army of five thousand men, that composed its forces in the different frontier lands of the Sind [Northwestern India] and the coast-towns, now came together to its help. Consequently, the troops and heroes of Ardashir reassembled around him from different quarters. Haftan-bokht, too, summoned his own entire army back to his capital. Then Ardashir dispatched an innumerable army with chieftains to the battle of the Worm.
Now the friends of the Worm deposited their entire wealth, riches, property, and portable lodges in the citadel and fortress of Guzaran, and privately took refuge themselves in mountain cavities. And the cavalry of Ardashir had no knowledge thereof, so they, on reaching the foot of the fortress of Gular, blockaded the citadel. When night fell, the army of the Worm attacked them, committed bloodshed, killed many of Artakhshir's troops, and seized from them horses, saddles, saddle-tackles, property, and portable lodges. With lamentation and dishonor the troops returned to Ardashir in a disgraceful condition and unarmed. When the latter beheld them in such a plight he became much distressed, and, consequently, invited to his capital all his troops from different cities and territories, and engaged himself with a large army to battle against the Worm.
When he arrived at the fortress of Guzaran, the whole army of the Worm had encamped itself inside the fortress, so he, too, encamped his army round the outer walls of the fortress. The lord of the Worm, Haftan-bokht, had seven sons, and each of them was appointed by him governor of a city with one thousand men under him.
At this juncture one of the sons, who was in Arvastan, came by the passage of a river with a large army composed of soldiers from Arabia and Mazenderan, and stood against Ardashir in battle. The army of the Worm, which had been inside the fortress, completely marched out, and zealously and vehemently struggled and fought with Artakhshir's troops, many being killed on both sides.
When the army of the Worm came out of the fortress, it took such a by-road that it became impossible for any of Ardashir's troops to go out of the camp or to bring in any food for himself or fodder for his horse, and, consequently, the satiety of all men and animals was changed into want of food and helplessness. When Mitrok, son of Anoshepat, an inhabitant of Zarham in Pars, heard that Ardashir was without provision near the capital of the Worm, and obtained no victory over its army, he accoutered his troops and heroes, marched toward the residence of Ardashir, and carried away all the wealth and riches of Artakhshir's treasure.
Ardashir, hearing of such violation on the part of Mitrok and other men of Pars, reflected upon it for a while thus: "I ought to postpone the battle with the Worm, and then go to fight out a battle with Mitrok." He, therefore, summoned all his forces back to their quarters, deliberated with their commanders, first sought the means of delivering himself and his army, and then sat himself down to eat breakfast. That very moment a long arrow, dispatched from the fortress, came down and pierced, as far as its feathers, through the roasted lamb that was on the table. On the arrow it was written as follows: "This arrow is darted by the troops of the lord of the Worm, glorious; we ought not to kill a great man like you, so we have struck that roasted lamb."
Ardashir, having observed the state of things, disencamped his army and withdrew from the place.
The army of the Worm hastened after Ardashir, and hemmed in his men again in such a manner that Ardashir's army could not proceed farther. So Ardashir himself passed away singly by the sea-coast.
They say that the "Glory of the Kayans," which had been previously far from Ardashir, now stood near him, and gradually approached nearer, until Ardashir was led away unmolested from that dangerous place, from the hands of the enemies, and he reached the town which they call Alavad. At night, he went to the house belonging to two brothers, one of whom was named Burjak, the other Burj-ataro, and spoke to them thus: "I am one of Ardashir's troops, who has come encountering defeat from the battle against the Worm; today you will please allow me to repose here for a short time, so that information may reach me as to the land where the army of Ardashir is now encamped."
Very sympathetically they replied to Ardashir as follows: "Accursed be Ahriman, the wicked spirit, who has made that idolatry so victorious and stubborn that all the inhabitants of the frontier districts are rendered apostate from the religion of Ahuramazda and the Amshaspands, and who has finally turned into defeat even a great lord like Ardashir and the whole army that accompanied him, at the hands of those enemies, the wicked idolaters."
So saying they held the bridle of Ardashir's steed, led him into the courtyard, tied him in a stable, and recreated the animal with barley, stray, and hay; while Ardashir was led in a decent manner to a sitting-place or room where he reposed himself. Ardashir was at this time very melancholy and thoughtful.
Meanwhile they [the brothers] performed the darun ceremony, and requested Ardashir in these words: "Kindly recite the vaz and take your meal, and do not entertain melancholy and sorrow; because Ahuramazda and the Amshaspands would find out a means of delivery from these circumstances, and not let this adversity continue in this manner; for with the tyranny of Zohak, Frasyav of Tur, and Alexander of Arum, God was at last displeased, and they were thereby rendered, in spite of their grandeur and glory, so obscure and unknown as if the world had never known them."
On hearing these words, Ardashir became pleased in mind, recited the vaz, and took his meal. As those brothers had no wine, they brought to him a pomegranate, performed the myazd, or offering-ceremony, and recited blessings, [i.e., the Afrin prayers]. As Ardashir became unsuspicious regarding their piety, religiousness, unanimity, and submissiveness, he divulged his own secrets to Burjak and Burj-ataro, saying: "I am Ardashir myself. Now you contemplate as to how it is possible to discover the means of destroying the Worm and its troops."
They said in reply as follows: "If it be necessary, while seeking on your behalf the kingdom of Arian, to deliver up ourselves in person, our lives, wealth, riches, women and children, we will deliver them up. But we understand it thus that a means can be sought against this deceitful creature if thou shouldst dress thyself after the fashion of an inhabitant of some distant city, on thy way to the fortress, and devote thyself personally in its service and worship, and take there with thee two men who are religious pupils and persons conversant with the Revelation, and perform loudly with them the adoration and extollings of God and the Amshaspands; and when the time of the Worm comes for taking food, so arrange that thou shouldst have some molten brass for pouring it into the mouth of that wicked creature, so that it dies, and the spirit of that Druj, too, can be removed by the sacred adoration and extollings of the Deity."
Ardashir approved of the advice, meditated upon it well, and then spoke to Burjak and Burj-ataro thus: "I can achieve this exploit by your assistance." They replied: "We devote ourselves, body and life, to do whatever you command."
Thence Ardashir marched again toward Ardashir-Gadman, undertook the battle with Mitrok, son of Anoshepat, killed Mitrok, and took possession of his territory, land, wealth, and property. For the purpose of bringing to an end the battle with the Worm he dispatched a person to Burjak and Burj-ataro, invited them to his presence, and deliberated with them. He took with himself many dirhems, dinurs, and garments, dressed himself like an inhabitant of Khorassan, and arriving at the foot of the castle of Gular with Burjak and Burj-ataro, spoke to its inmates thus: "I am an inhabitant of Khorassan. I crave indulgence from that glorious lord, that I may approach him for the worship of his threshold." The idolaters admitted Ardashir with those two male companions, and made room for them in the house of the Worm.
For three days Ardashir showed himself engaged in that sort of worship and unanimity toward the Worm, gave the dirhems, dinars, and clothes which he had brought with him to the idol-worshipers, and acted in such a manner that every one of the inmates of the fortress was astonished and commended him. Afterward Ardashir spoke thus: "Be pleased to so permit that I may give food to the Worm for three days with my own hands." The idolaters who were superintendents acceded to it. Ardashir now dispatched a person with an order that four hundred skilful and zealous men of noble blood should hide themselves among the mountain cliffs; and he further commanded: "On the day of Asman if you observe smoke issuing from the fortress of the Worm, you should perform feats of bravery and show your military skill, advancing toward the foot of the fortress."
That very day Ardashir had some brass melted himself, while Burjak and Burj-ataro performed the sacred yazishn ceremony, and recited the azbaishne praises of God. When it was time for taking food the Worm cried aloud according to its daily habit. Some time before that, Ardashir had made the commanding idolaters drunk and unconscious at breakfast, and he himself, with his own companions, went afterward near the Worm, and carried to it the blood of large and small cattle, according as it was given it every day; and no sooner did the Worm turn up its mouth to drink the blood than Ardashir poured the molten brass into the mouth of the Worm. And the brass permeated through its whole body, the Worm burst asunder into two pieces, and such a noise arose from it that all the men in the fortress came on the spot, and confusion prevailed throughout the stronghold.
Ardashir laid his hands on the shield and the sword, and committed grievous wounding and massacre in the fortress, while he ordered that they should make a fire, so that its smoke would become visible to his troops outside. His companions did so. As soon as the troops, that were on the neighboring mountain, saw this smoke issuing from the fortress, they, in order to help Ardashir, came running to its foot, rushed into its gate, and exclaimed: "Victorious, victorious may Ardashir be, king of kings, son of Papak!"
Instantly the sword was held for use; and in such a manner the lord of the castle was killed, and everything destroyed, that the soldiers of Haftan-bokht, in the hurry and conflict of the battle, escaped by falling from the rampart, while those that remained solicited for protection, and went into bondage and submission.
Ardashir commanded that the fortress should be razed to the ground and demolished, while on its site he ordered the city which they call Guzaran to be erected. In that quarter he caused the Atash-i-Vahram to be enthroned. He loaded on the backs of one thousand camels the wealth, property, gold and silver contained in the fortress, and dispatched them to Gobar. He granted to Burjak and Burj-ataro the share of such a superb reward as zealous adherents deserve, and entrusted them the chieftaincy and governorship of the city of Guzaran and its environs.