ThroneWorld Enterprises presents:
LORDS OF THE EARTH
CAMPAIGN 4 - COMETS & CARNOSAURS
Turn #67 ( 1425-1428 ) GM: Rich Lloyd

ANNOUNCEMENTS:
(New or changed from last turn in red.)

Map Improvement: I've been working on the map on & off, making improvements. This will be an ongoing effort. In specific, (a) replacing the solid black rivers with blue ones, and in some cases shortening them. (b) extending the map westward to include Iceland, the Azores and Maderia, to accomodate player Exploration.

Regional Improvement: At TL 5 for 20gp/20nfp you can Improve a cultivated homeland region from 2GPv to 3GPv, or any other controlled cultivated region from 1GPv to 2GPv. This is due to historical improvements in agriculture at TL 5.

MaxTax: still at 1.85.

Backslide: If a megalithic construction is started but not financed (at least 1 gold and at least 1 nfp) it will backslide 10% the 1st turn, 40% the 2nd turn, and down to nothing the 3rd turn as nature reclaims the work area.

Construction efficiency: In calculating the time requirement of megalithic construction, use 4 years per level. What previously took 5 years can now be done in 4 thanks to the spread of Renaissance knowledge.

Stat sheet units: units on stat sheets are displayed in the following order - forts, cavalry, infantry, seige, artillery, galleys, warships, transports. Within each category they are usually displayed fastest to slowest.

Exploration: just like distant Sea Zones and Open Ocean Arrows, Gray-colored land regions must be Explored before GPv, Rv and religion are known. Once explored they will become neutral color.

Mercs & Mercenary Leaders: If you hire any of the mercenaries available in an area, you must hire the leader also. OR the leader may be hired alone and has retainers like any other leader type. Mercenary leaders age, so they aren't listed as available forever.

Ships and AP calculation: AP calculations based on ship movement are used only when a leader is aboard ship performing a purely naval action. Naval actions are movement by water (rivers, sea zones, arrows); entering or leaving a port, port area, port fortress, coastline or islands; participation in sea/riverine combat, blockade, or piracy; exploration by water; and Investigate Location / Espionage (Reveal Fact) done entirely in water (for example, searching for a sunken ship or underwater site).
For anything else, once the leader is off the ship, their AP calculation is based on land movement ability. This is to prevent leaders from gaining huge additional-AP bonuses for land actions simply because they arrived on a fast ship.

Having children: If your king has no queen, this command will result in children with palace concubines. There will be a greater chance of children but having different mothers could lead to later intrigues. If your king is ordered to marry and then HC, a noblewoman will be chosen as queen from among friendly regions or cities. If your king's marriage is in support of diplomacy, then the queen's name and origin will be tracked.

Dynastic Failure: I'm not a big enthusiast of DF's, figuring nations have enough to worry about with "outside" problems like their neighbors, secret empires, etc. If the ruler dies and there is an heir, he or she will become the new ruler. If there is no official heir but a P-leader (Prince or Princess) exists, he or she will become the new ruler. If there are minor children, a Regent will be appointed, or the queen or consort may simply declare they will be Regent. (Of course, it will remain to be seen if the P-leader or Regent yields the throne when a minor child comes of age. But at least in the short run a DF has been avoided.) If there is no heir, no P-leaders and no minor children, then anything can happen.

Assassination details: (1) assassinating a Royal person (K, Q, H or P type leaders) requires a KK action, not a KL action, and has a greater chance of failure. (2) House rule: a successful RF before another intel or assassin action will give a bonus to the attempt. A successful RF linked by SO to another intel or assassin action will give an even larger bonus.
(3) Per V6 rules a wounded leader will abort all remaining orders and try to recover from their wounds.

Transferred Agro: just like agro put into Reserve, agro transferred must also have 1gp spent per agro to Preserve it. Otherwise the recipient gets a load of spoiled, rotting food. A lot of players transferred agro this turn without preserving it. When possible, I deducted enough gold and processed the transfer, but it wastes GM time. The new turnsheet template effective Turn 68 will calculate the amount of gold spent preserving transferred agro.

Turn 68: next turn, I'm going to start paying attention to three nasty things:
(1) Strongman Overthrow which is when a leader other than the king has most of the military forces, and if that leader has a low Loyalty rating (unknown to you), they may attempt a coup. Quite a few kings have turned over most or all of their armies to the kingdom's best general without considering that general's loyalty.
(2) Revolt of distant regions and cities. I'm going to start checking border areas to see if they are beyond CCR, and die-rolling to see if they decide the kingdom has forgotten about them and rebellion is possible. The first check will be done at the end of turn 68, and each turn thereafter.
(3) Degradation of sites. I'm going to start checking control webs to see if sites are within the AR of the Primacy, Merchant House or Secret Empire. The first check will be done at the end of turn 68, and each turn thereafter.


MERCENARIES
Suggested minimum bids: 1gp per combat factor of unit type (ie. 1gp for inf, 1.5gp for cav, etc.);
1gp per combat stat of Merc Leader (ie. 9gp for a M997). Note that some Merc Companies
now have a Broker representing them (rather than the GM).

It is unlikely (but not impossible) that Mercenaries will agree to serve a nation of a different religion against a nation of their own religion.

Europe: 20c, 20i, 10hei, 10s, 10xbg, 4bg
Leader: Simon MA6B Age: 31
Broker: RFC Merchants

North Asia: 25c, 18i, 12s
Leader: Shulan M94A Age: 22
Broker: none

SE Asia: 20c, 12i, 8s
Leader: none
Broker: none
Sabah, Borneo: 16i (as of July 1427)
Leader: Sitang MA97 Age: 33

India/C Asia: 10c, 10i, 10s, 10xbg, 2bg
Leader: Gumbwnanna M997 Age: 29
Broker: none

Mid East/Nile/Arabia: 15c, 8i, 8s, 10xbg
Leader: Garhib MA2A Age: 35
Broker: El'Iskandria Merchants

Rest of Africa: 10c, 15i, 13xi, 10s
Leader: Tungalo M787 Age: 32
Broker: none



GM NOTES (28 Jan 2009):
     I've given a lot of thought to the knowledge of 21st century players vs. the knowledge of their 15th century characters (Kings, Princes, Lieutenants, etc). In GM-to-Player notes and website informational pages, Dinosaurs and other thought-to-be-extinct creatures encountered will be identified by their modern Real World names, ie Tarbosaur, Spinosaur, etc.
     However characters wouldn't know such Greek- or Latin-derived names, and will instead refer to such creatures appropriately for their culture. I will edit past Newsfaxes for this change after I get this turn out.

AFTER THE COMET
      Background: on June 29th, 1423, the Comet was so close fragments burned into the atmosphere and, beginning a few hours later, the Earth passed through it's tail. For two days daytime was no brighter than twilight; nighttime was absolutely black with neither moon nor stars. Nocturnal animals were active almost continuously; most other animals slept almost continuously. It was called "The Night of the Comet" although, technically, it lasted two days.
      On the third and forth days, the rains came, and it fell as a Noachian deluge, dark as if with soot, swelling rivers and streams, turning fields into swamps. The rain stopped early in the fifth day, the day a bit brighter. The sixth day was even better, the sun could be seen as through clouds, and that night the moon showed it was still there, and even some stars. On the seventh day, the sun shown normally again, although the soot-like residue of the dark rain was visible everywhere, and rivers ran high and darkly.

      Within months of the fall of "Comet Tears" as the dark rain was called, it was noticed that certain animals - birds, snakes, lizards, and crocodiles - acted much more intelligent than prior to the Comet. Some former herbivores, like the flightless birds of Mauritius, were now carnivores; those already carnivores, like crocodiles, now hunted far more cooperatively.
      Meanwhile, the dinosaurs discovered in some regions of Africa, and on the island of Borneo, seemed a lot less instinctual and a lot more calculating...

.

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WESTERN EUROPE
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The Empire of Aragon Civilized Imperial TL7
Henry III the Infirm, King of Castille, Emperor of Aragon, Restorer of the Faith
Diplomacy: none
      King Henry III proclaimed Carbello of Galacia, husband of his daughter Catherine, Crown Prince of Aragon. Should Both Henry and Catherine die before her children come of age, Carbello would serve as Regent.
      The king continued his national program of providing fresh water and better sewage to all cities in the kingdom, to prevent future cholera outbreaks. Large sums of gold were spent to build aquaducts, fountains and sewers in Barcelona, Seville, Saragossa, Madiera and Santiago. Excess rural population was recruited and sent to Seville to expand the city. Gold was spent too on improving military performance, including experimentation with the Devil's Powder.
      Henry next dispatched his nephew Alberto and his neice Brigida, children of his late brother Don Dantae, to Rome to serve the Catholic Church. Working on behalf of God would be a more productive life than sitting idle around the palace.

      That settled, while his daughter Catherine ruled in his stead, Henry led an army of nearly 12,000 infantry to Barcelona, accompanied by lieutenant Jorge Vega.. A cultic site of the Sword of Allah had been previously found, and the King thought it a useful exercise for the long- inactive army to destroy it rather than send an Ops team.
      Reaching the city in June 1425, the King, having no military aptitude, simply ordered the city stormed. The army did so (the phrase "bull in a china shop" comes to mind), creating panic among the startled citizens. The troops sought out the large warehouse near the harbor where a Cultic Cell had been detected. Over a hundred members fought to the death, killing or wounding as many soldiers in the close-quarters melee before being cut down. Several hundred hundred citizens of Barcelona were also injured, mostly trampled by crowds trying to get out of the army's way.

      Even more terrifying to the people of Aragon was a purge unleashed by Papal agents. Across the nation people were dragged out of government offices, even the Intelligence headquarters itself, plus homes, shops and churches. Anyone deemed "suspicious" or "not enthusiastic" in the struggle against the Sword of Allah was seized as an accused infiltrator.

      Meanwhile, other leaders of Aragon were also busy searching for cultists, albeit less violently. The elderly Don Sanatgo, frail and bent in his mid-80s, traveled through Navarre, spending three years there searching villages and even individual farmsteads, then heading for the mountains of Asturias.
      General Fernando, leading a mixed infantry and cavalry force, spent nearly two years in each of Grenada and Valencia, also looking for anything suspicious.
      Don Amistad was entering a small town in Leon to begin his investigation when a quick-thinking retainer pushed him aside, saving him from an onrushing wagon. The driver kept going, heedless of the curses that followed him. Shaken, but resolute, Don Amistad spent the next three years in Leon, finally leaving for Salamanca.


Cardinal Antonio, Enforcer of Papal Writ.

      In the late spring of 1425, Cardinal Antonio and 10,000 mixed Papal troops crossed the mountainous border between Aragon and New Castile. As the column was slowly working its way through a pass, Antonio cried out, an arrow sprouting as if by magic from his chest, throwing him off his horse. By the time guards scaled the cliffs, the assassin was long gone.
      Antonio was down, but not out, thanks to wearing chain mail beneath his robe. The arrow had stopped between his ribs rather than in his heart. During its removal the Cardinal lost a lot of blood and his life hung in the balance for many feverish weeks until slowly he regained consciousness. The army encamped in New Castile while Antonio (not physically robust to begin with) struggled to live. It was several years later, and with much prayer, that he was able to walk again.

      Not so lucky was Count Carlos Gomez of Valencia, who was also leading a force to New Castile to kill Cultists. Crossing the mountains between Granada and Murcia, he was caught in a rockslide of suspicious origin. He and a dozen other mounted men were buried. Eventually dug out, he was unconscious and bleeding from his mouth and nose. His men returned to his estate in Valencia where it was hoped he would recover. Word came several months later the Count had died of his wounds after a prolonged coma. His title was assumed by his son Raphael, one of the more skilled swordsmen in Iberia.

      At the funeral the nobility hardly had time to comfort Raphael, for they were so busy gossiping about the heir Catherine. Rumor had it she had tired of her husband, the Crown Prince, and had taken a lover, perhaps more than one. Several nobles claimed a servant had overheard people talking about men who'd claimed they'd bedded her; one such braggart even claimed to have fathered one of her children. Other nobles gossiped gleefully the many concessions obtained by the El'Iskandria merchants were "negotiated" in Catherine's private chambers.
      If it's one thing the aristocracy enjoys, even in the midst of cultic terror, it was gossip about dangerous liasons!

      Henry had sent missionaries to preach the word of God to the Muslims in Talavera, as well as Bishop Francesco Sforza, on loan from the Vatican. In one of the towns the Bishop entered, the populace had apparently been whipped to a fervor by Shia missionaries. A mob shouting anti-Christian slogans seized Sforza and his retainers and beheaded them, mounting the heads on pikes in front of the local mosque.
      The priests, however, had at least partial success, and missionaries from the Vatican were even more successful. Talavera was now evenly Catholic and Muslim, and mutual hatred simmered between the faiths.

      In the summer of 1426, gossip about Catherine was replaced (for a month or two) by rumors of a scandal in the abbey at Mederia. The word on the street was that the abbot was stealing from church funds. No wonder attendance was dropping - the people weren't about to drop coin into the collection plate to enrich a thief! Soon, it was said, the abbey would be unable to support itself and it would degrade into a mere church.

Charred remains of the Cathdral in rural Granada.

      Towards the end of 1426, far worse than thievery happened. On a moonless night the cathdral in Granada was attacked. It had no guards, being a House of God and presumably protected by the Lord. Everyone in residence - priests, nuns, workers - had been killed and everything - the cathedral itself, residences, outbuildings - set ablaze.
      To do this in a few hours would require hundreds of men. Indeed, in the charred bodies of several murdered groundskeepers were found daggers with the symbol of the mercenary Captain Simon, who had not been hired for years since Europe had been largely peaceful. Perhaps, said the rumors, he had become desperate trying to pay his Company.
      The populace was shocked yet again on a moonless night toward the end of 1428 when the cathedral in Andalusia, and all who lived there, met the same fate.
      Already shaken by the purges, the influence of the Papacy further declined as the people of Aragon began to say the Lord had turned his back on his Church.


The Empire of Greater Britannia Civilized Imperial TL6
Geoffrey II, Emperor of Greater Britannia, Grand Duke of Flanders, Keeper of the Irish Talisman of Faith
Diplomacy: Hebrides(FA), Isle of Man(T), Poitou(F), Channel Islands(F), Cornwall(C)

      Young King Geoffrey II, guided by Angelique, the Queen Mother, ordered excess population from the countryside to migrate to the cities, where subsidized housing and job training were available. St. Laurent, Brest, Derry, Huntington, Dreux, Bruges and even great London itself all expanded as a result.
      Public wells, silos, gristmills and stables were built to help the farmers in both Dyffed and Ulster, making their hard lives a bit easier. Gold was also invested in government, seigecraft, and in expanding seminaries to produce more priests.

      Charles, Count of Anjou, sailed up the western coast of England to the chill Hebrides Islands, where he convinced the local lord to pledge fealty to King Geoffrey. Meanwhile, Pierre, Vicount of Auvergne was carrying out the same seaborne mission at the Isle of Man, having even greater success than Charles.
      Louis, Duke of Normandy continued the ongoing diplomatic talks with Giscard, the wily Count of Poitou, offering a royal marriage between King Geoffrey II and a suitable local noblewoman. Giscard agreed to complete union with Brittania, sending his daughter Rochelle to be the King's bride, and meanwhile retiring to tend his estate's vineyards. A lavish royal wedding was held toward the end of 1428, with the marriage ceremony held in Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.
      Sir John Black also continued his talks with Henri de St. Helier, lord of the Channel Islands. Eventually Henri agreed to merge his islands with Brittania, retiring to open a fencing academy.
      David, Earl of Huntingdon, traveled to the wilds of the Cornwall penninsula to speak to the local nobles. A middling diplomat, he astonished his assistants by getting the independent-minded Cornish to admit (grudgingly) Britannia had a claim on their allegiance.

      In 1428 came rumors of gold in the Scottish Highlands. Fortune-seekers headed north, swelling the city of Abesdren in Strathclyde with newcomers buying up mining tools, blankets, provisions and pack animals.
      The chieftans of the Highlands were slow to grant entry (understandably so, given the dubious nature of some of the potential prospectors) which led to increasing frustration among those dreaming of gold. Taverns and inns in Abesdren were overcrowded and the town constables repeatedly broke up brawls.

The Republic of Sweden Civilized Constitutional Monarchy TL6
Queen Gudrun Ericson, Altkansler of the Kalmar Senate
Diplomacy: Jamtland(T), Veposkava(A)
      Queen Gudrun, shaking off her lethargy of the past years, plunged back into the business of ruling the nation. A royal road was ordered begun to link Lorhar Jarvi to Livo-Joki, whose cultivation was completed in 1426. Gold was poured into all areas of the state, and the university was especially well financed.
      To defend the northern frontier against whatever was raiding isolated homesteads, castles were ordered built in critical locations in Norbotten, Vadvet Jakko, Lorhar Jarvi and Oulanka.

      The Queen then began lengthy diplomatic talks with the Jarl of Jamtland, eventually persuading him to pay tribute to the Republic. Meanwhile Evgaard Rickardson met frequently with Lord Vybor of Veposkava to discuss closer ties with Sweden, and ultimately Vybor agreed to a full alliance.

      In the winter of 1427-1428, reports reached the capital of Soderham that snow-bound Vadvet Jakko, well north of the Arctic Circle, had been raided. The garrisons of the newly built castles - virtual prisoners because of huge snow drifts - had been unaware of the mayhem until terrified travelers approached with tales of madness and woe, so skillfully had the intruders been led. These traveling merchants, tinkers, trappers and hunters reported village after village to be ghost towns.



Primitive stone bladed weapons recovered from among (or still embedded in) dead townsmen.

      All the villages had some dead townspeople, men generally, who had apparently tried to fight back, but most of the inhabitants were missing. Paddocks were empty of herd animals (mostly reindeer and caribou) and barns empty of the winter's supply of fodder. Houses and stores had been ransacked; even the forge and scrap iron from each village's smithy was gone. Snows had long since obscured any footprints by the time castle garrison troops reached the sites to investigate
      A few months later similar reports came in from Lorhar Jarvi. Once again the raiders had simply slipped between the snowbound castle garrisons, surrounded villages (this was an assumption, since no villagers remained to provide details of the event) and looted just as they did in Vadvet Jakko, then moved on through the blizzards.
      In both regions a few stone weapons were recovered, apparently lost by the intruders during struggles. Either no raiders were killed, or else their bodies were taken away, for the only dead found were unlucky villagers.

      Spring 1428 found the remaining settlers in both regions fearful, their Parliamentary representatives demanding government action. (One elderly lieutenant of the Queen became so agitated by the shouting politicians he suffered a fatal stroke.) The aging and tactless MP Erol Halfhand introduced a measure in Parliament that he chair a committee to collect tribute to buy off the raiders from any further incursions.
      Meanwhile, homesteaders and villagers alike in all the northern regions began talking of a reverse migration back to southern Sweden; even if they lost their land at least they'd be safe.

The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation Renaissance Imperial TL8
Maria of Latium, Queen of Bavaria, Kaiserin of the German Reich, Roman Empress of the West
Diplomacy: Zealand(NT)
      At a gathering of nobles, Maria proclaimed her son Bastian heir to the throne. Bastian, a slight, often-sickly boy, was a scholar and skilled orator, earning the nickname "Silvertongue".
      Maria poured gold into all areas of the government, including the expanding of seminaries and extensive research into gunpowder and advanced methods of producing bombards and handgonnes. She also funded his merchants' improvements in navigational skills and better storage of provisions for longer journeys.
      Royal roads were completed linking Provence over the mountains to Liguria, and Tuscany over the mountains to Romagna. Trade between the newly accessable regions flourished.
      A new German city, Drasen, was built in Slavic Carinthia, and a road begun from St. Petersburg in Verona towards it. Meanwhile other excess rural population was sent to increase Mulhaus, Oslo and Bremen. Public fountains, plazas and theaters were added to beautify Taranto.

      Queen Maria asked her brother, Count Nettuno of Latium, to assist the victims of the eruption of Mount Versuvius the previous year. He was joined by several feudal allies of the realm. The queen's popularity increased due to her prompt response.

      Not neglecting the defense of the realm, Maria ordered many thousands of cavalry and infantry raised, superbly trained and lavishly equipped and stationed in Lausatia to guard against Polish incursions. Needless to say the Poles across the border in Meissen were alarmed.
      Equally alarmed were the Hungarians across the border from Carinthia when a large Imperial army led by the famed general Sir Jason moved in with orders to protect the new city under construction.

      In another challenge to Hungary, Baron Wilhiem and an army of over 6,000 heavily armed cavalry and infantry were ordered into Austria. At the border the Baron claimed to be on a diplomatic mission to the local Austrian nobility, but the Hungarian border guards found that a bit hard to believe. Politely they denied him entry, and not having orders to start a war he remained in Bavaria just across the border. Near the end of 1427 he suffered a heart attack in his quarters and was found dead by his valet the next morning.
      Meanwhile, Baron Morgan again met with the rulers of the isles that comprised Zealand, and his offer of young Princess Gwenalin in marriage to a powerful local nobleman convinced the Zealanders to draw closer to the Empire. It was said that Gwenalin, an accomplished swords- woman who had had her heart set on entering fencing competitions, was very unhappy to be betrothed without anyone asking her consent.

Roma Fabria Consortio Renaissance Oligarchy TL8
Helene Poponopolis, Chairwoman
Business: Barcelona in Catalonia(MA), St. Laurent in Languedoc(MA), Marseilles
in Provence(MA)

Chairwoman Poponopolis in
traditional Greek robes
greeting nobility & investors.

      Helene Poponopolis hired more clerks and accountants in anticipation of expanding the business, and invested much gold into using intermediate ports to reprovision, thereby extending the distance a ship could trade.
      She next met with her captains, allocating newly built cogs to new trade routes. These were mostly with Mediterranean and Black Sea nations, although one long route hugged the west coast of Africa down to half-mythical Ghana.

      Helene then devoted her time to the establishment of a mercenary hiring brokerage, holding meetings with representatives of the European mercenary captain Simon. (Simon himself was busy invading Moldavia - [see Balkan Campaign] .)
      In late 1428 the Chairwoman spoke at a gathering of nobles and investors in Genoa to announce that henceforth the RFC would broker the services of Simon's mercenary company, henceforth named Imperiale Legionne Straniera - Imperial Foreign Legion.

      Meanwhile Helene's cousin Athena was busy traveling in the Gulf of Lyons, hiring agents in Barcelona, St. Laurent and Marseilles. Despite languange differences she was astonishingly persuasive at acquiring office space and personnel.

The Roman Catholic Church Civilized Theocracy TL7
Jojo I, Bishop of Rome, Pontiff of the Apostolic & Reformist Catholic Church, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Servant of the Servants of God
Consecration: Naples(CH)
      The previous Pope, Boniface, had called for great painters and architects to come to the Holy City of Rome and help build a new and wondrous chapel in the Vatican to honor the glory of God. Jojo I decided to go ahead with the project, with his name now associated with it. To be called the Sistine Chapel, it would hold hundreds of the Faithful for services he would lead. Work began, with no expense spared.

      In the previous year Mt. Versuvius had erupted, destroying an abbey (with the previous Pope and all its residents asleep within) and a good part of the suburbs of Naples. Receiving reports the volcano had quieted down and was merely smoking again, Cardinal Victor oversaw a funeral mass there, then began the work of rebuilding.

      Papal agents clamped down on public awareness of other Vatican-directed expenditures and actions, perhaps fearing the Church's enemies were benefiting from such announcements.
      Cardinal Antonio and other Papal agents were busy fighting cultic activity. [see Aragon]

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Central Europe
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Kingdom of Poland Civilized Centralized Monarchy TL6
Lech, King of the Poles
Diplomacy: Kauyavia(A)
      King Lech ordered the bureaucracy increased to keep in contact with his border regions, and investments in things military to maintain the kingdom's strength. Lech also comissioned numerous castles to be built to guard passes, river fords and high ground in many of the western regions.
      In mid-1425, King Lech proclaimed his eldest daughter, Henka, to be a Princess of the Realm. A week of celebration followed.

      Prince Andris, heir to the throne and a self-taught theologian, was sent to Danzig to speak of God to the pagans, and his years there were very successful, converting more than half the population. Meanwhile, Polish missionaries left Danzig for Masuria and made some converts.
      Count Zwolen and Count Gregorz double-teamed diplomatically the lord of Kauyavia, playing on his concerns of the rising power of the HRE across the Oder River from his lands. Despite Gregorz's death in a riding accident during the winter of 1426, their efforts proved successful, persuading Baron Krosno to a full alliance with Poland.
      OPEN FOR A PLAYER

The Avar Kingdom of Hungary
Stefan I, Khan of the Avars, Lord of the Steppe
Diplomacy: Banat(-)
      Background: In 1421 Stefan had decided it was time to settle accounts with Ialomita, Walachia, and the Banat, regions once part of Hungary who rebelled years before. Word was sent to Lord Csaba in Moldavia to begin the Reconquest.
      Csaba's campaign had already begun when a messenger from Justinian, Emperor of Byzantium, arrived with a proclamation that a number of regions bordering Hungary, including those to be reconquered, were now Protectorates of Byzantium. Stefan refused to back down, Csaba's campaign continued.
      Eventually a Byzantine army under Nauplios crossed into Ialomita after Csaba's main force had moved on, skirmishing with the Hungarian garrison troops left behind. Walachia and the Banat were reconqured as planned while Nauplios' own campaign was cut short by his accidental death.
      Stefan I was thus granted a reprieve to plan his response.



Stefan I, King of Hungary, and Court:
#1 Balaton, #4 Hellfire, #5 Csaba (white bearded), #6 Stefan I, #7 Queen Orovska


      Stefan I ordered the government expanded yet again and funded research to improve the quality of his soldiers. More cavalry was recruited and trained for his personal guard. The might of Hungary was to leave the capital with the coming of spring; the King and his lieutenants planned for days. Then at the end of February 1425 came an unexpected offer from the enemy.
      Byzantine representative Laertes presented to King Stefan an offer of a dynastic marriage between suitable Hungarian and Byzantine royal family. Hungary would become a feudal ally of Byzantium, under Byzantium's protection, and in upon Stefan's death Hungary would become part of the Byzantine Empire.
      Stefan clenched his fists and was about to rage at Laertes when Lord Balaton, one of Stefan's lieutenants, smoothly suggested Laertes return to his quarters and allow Stefan time to consider the offer, thereby defusing a tense situation. Lord Csaba, also present, explained couriers would need to be sent to request the advice of local lords, since any agreement would affect them as well, and it would take months for messages to reach them, be discussed, and more months for their replies to return. A second exchange of messages may well be required as well.
      Laertes agreed to wait until the end of year, and left to return to his chambers across the city in the cosmopolitan Merchants' Quarter.
      "Make haste," ordered the King, "the army shall leave the city in two days. While the Greeks await our reply - as if we Magyars would ever bow to them as they demand! - we shall strike such a blow they will beg for peace!" [see Balkan Campaign]

      The Balkans were flooded with Roman Catholic missionaries as Pope Jojo clearly desired to extend the Faith eastward. Progress was made in Hungary, Alfold, Carpathia and Transylvania. The converts in Hungary were especially fanatic, as it appeared they broke Cardinal Joseph out of a rural town jail, beating several jailors senseless in the process.
      In Walachia, however, the missionaries overindulged in drink at a rural tavern, made insulting remarks about Orthodox beliefs, and were hounded out of town by an angry mob. Word of the incident spread until they were unwelcome anywhere in the region.

      The handsome soldier Van Helsing was sent to the pacified Banat region to persuade the locals that Hungarian rule wasn't so bad. Although much desired by the Banatian women, being a poor diplomat he made no progress with the male nobility.

BALKAN CAMPAIGN 1425-1428
Because of the movement of multiple armies and related events, I've had to track this month by month.
The terms "Hungarian" and "Magyar" are used interchangably, as are "Byzantine" and "Greek".
March 1425
      With snow still on the ground, King Stefan and Lord Balaton led twenty thousand troops east out of Budapest. These were mostly cavalry but with infantry and crossbowmen as well. Accompanying them were another ten thousand cavalry commanded by the veteran Lord Csaba, in his late 60s but still tough as leather.
      Lord Hellfire, managing the government in the king's absence, informs Laertes that Stefan has taken the army on manuvers while considering Justinian's offer. A warrior first and a liege second, Stefan thinks best in the saddle or camped under the stars, Lord Hellfire explained.
      The Byzantines too were on the move, positioning themselves to act if the offer presented by Laertes was not accepted. Civilized and diplomatic doesn't mean stupid.


The Byzantine plan: (1) Gladius Maximus (18,000), Prince Costas (5,000) & Mihajlovic of Serbia (1,500) would cross the Danube from Bosnia, pacify Hungary, storm Budapest then pacify Slovakia. (2) Leo (10,000) would move west from camp in Ialomita to pacify Walachia then Banat. (3) Profirio (4,000) and Simon's mercenaries (15,000) would move northeast from camp in Ialomita to pacify Moldavia then storm Bucharest.

March 1425
      Mercenary captain Simon and his company gather in Belgrade in the Dobruja, having taken service with Byzantium. Shortly thereafter they leave for the Byzantine camp in Ialomita.
May 1425
      The combined thirty thousand Hungarians moved south through the Banat, headed towards the Carpathian mountains that marked the border with Wallachia.
      One night King Stefan awoke to shouts and the sound of running feet outside his tent and the alarm bar being sounded. Shortly thereafter a retainer entered the tent, panting, "Sire, Lord Csaba has been murdered in his tent!" Stefan and a party of guards hurried to the scene, meeting Lord Balaton and more men on the way. Sure enough, two dead guards were found behind Csaba's tent where a floor-to-ceiling slit showed how the assassins had made their entry.
      Within Csaba's tent there was blood everywhere; the man had been practically hacked apart. "The cowardly Greeks feared to meet him in battle," said the King. Turning to his second-in-command Lord Balaton, he added, "I will lead the main army alone. You now command Csaba's force. We will avenge his death a thousand-fold."
      Balaton bowed, and left to meet with Csaba's officers.
August 1425
      The twenty thousand men under King Stefan and ten thousand led by Lord Balaton move eastward through Walachia, in September going into winter camp by the Ialomitan border.
End December 1425
      Summoned to the royal palace in Budapest, Byzantine representative Laertes is told by Lord Hellfire that King Stefan has not made a decision.
Winter 1426
      Byzantine armies receive word from Justinian to begin the conquest of the Hungarian kingdom with the spring campaign season.
March 1426
      The combined Byzantine armies of Gladius Maximus, Prince Costas, and Mihajlovic of Serbia begin crossing the Middle Danube into southern Hungary, the Magyar homeland.
      Hungarian forces break camp and move east into Ialomita, their goal the destruction of the Byzantine army in that region.
      The mercenaries of Simon and a light infantry force led by Profirio begin crossing into Moldavia. The remainder of the army, commanded by Leo, moves west across Ialomita - straight towards the Hungarians coming east.
Mid-March 1426
      Stefan and Leo both have receive reports of their enemy approaching. Leo, knowing his infantry can't outmanuver the masses of Magyar cavalry, forms a defensive line. The steppe favors cavalry and reduces the effectiveness of infantry; the best his army can do is sell their lives expensively.
      Six thousand Hungarians march towards the center of the Byzantine line whilst twenty-four thousand cavalry form up behind them in two masses, to pass to either side of their comrades on foot and strike the Greek flanks in a Cannae-style double envelopment.
      At a signal from their King, the Hungarian cavalry starts moving, slowly, then faster into a full charge, sabres ready. As they approach the Greeks, the closest ranks of Magyar foot, still out of range of Byzantine bows, rasie their crossbows and fire a volley of 2,000 bolts. As they hit home, hundreds of Byzantines, mostly unarmored light infantry, go down as if wheat before a scythe. A small proportion of the total Greek strength, but it shocks them and disorders their line.
      The Hungarian cavalry crashes into the Byzantine line like a sledgehammer, smashing through by sheer weight. Magyar infantry rush forward to get into the battle as well. Most of the Greeks were light infantry, without armor and used to skirmishing, Against horsemen in chainmail, surrounded and pressed back upon their comrades with nowhere to manuver, they are cut down in droves.
      Over 9,000 Byzantines are killed or died of their wounds as they lay amidst their dead comrades. Not quite a thousand are taken prisoner, almost all of them wounded, including young Leo. The Magyars lose less than seven hundred dead and less than 1,500 wounded, a testament to what cavalry can do to infantry on the open steppe.
April 1426
      The mercenaries of Simon and the light infantry force led by Profirio complete their entry into Moldavia.
May 1426
      The main Byzantine force of Gladius Maximus, Prince Costas, and Mihajlovic of Serbia complete crossing the Middle Danube. To Gladius' amazement the crossing is uncontested.
May-July 1426
      Simon and Profirio pacify Moldavia, the local levies retreating ahead of them to join the garrison of Bucharest, held by 16 year old Nicolas, Count of Moldavia.
      Vlad II Dracul of Transylvania, taking advantage of the situation, again raids across the mountains into western Moldavia, returning to Castle Dracul with gold and food.
      The Hungarians easily pacify Ialomita, since the local lords haven't had time to raise, equip and train new levies. It was Stefan's intention at this point to continue on to Moldavia, there to React to further Byzantine invasions. He had just begun heading east when news arrives of the Greek conquest of Moldavia, and of the invasion of Hungary itself. At once Stefan orders his armies to return west to aid the homeland; a cavalry force is left to patrol reconquered Ialomita. Word is sent to Nicolas in Bucharest to hold at all costs.
June-August 1426
      The forces of Gladius Maximus, Prince Costas and Mihajlovic overrun the Hungarian homeland, having located ten forts but no mobile forces supporting them. Having nearly forty batteries of two culverin each with his army, Gladius subjects each fort in turn to several days' bombardment to breach walls and demoralize the defenders, followed by a swift storming. All the garrisons fight to the last man. Byzantine losses are less than 200 dead and 400 wounded, plus two of the light bombards which burst during firing (always a possibility, and why gunners were paid more than infantry).
September 1426
      Hungarian armies led by King Stefan and Lord Balaton cross into Walachia and set up winter camp near the western mountains, resolving to liberate their homeland during the 1427 campaigning season. The Byzantine armies in both Hungary and Moldavia go into winter camp as well, displacing locals from their homes for officers' quarters.
March-May 1427
      Breaking camp, the Magyar army moves west through the Carpathian mountains, into the Banat steppe.
      Detatching a force to garrison Hungary, Gladius Maximus orders his men deploy to actively seige Budapest. The culverin begin firing, and the impacts of their shot starts bringing down parts of walls and towers in small avalanches of stone bits and mortar. A few arrows come from the city walls but it is soon apparent that the city is almost undefended. Lord Hellfire, under a flag of truce, rides out to parlay, offering to surrender the city intact if he and his family may leave with their possessions. Gladius considers the man with loathing, but not wishing to throw away such an opportunity, agrees. Returning, Hellfire orders the gates opened; as planned, Byzantine cavalry led by Prince Costas rush through, securing them before the mayor or head of the city guard can countermand the betrayal.
      Later, the Byzantine representative Laertes and the army leaders sample the contents of the royal wine cellar.

      Profirio posted garrisons in Moldavia while the mercenaries of Simon put Bucharest under seige, ten batteries of culverin and four of basilisks bombarding the city. The smaller number of artillery do less wall damage, but some of the heavier bombards' "long" shots pass over the battlements and crash through buildings, spreading fear among the civilians.
      Profirio calls upon the city to surrender, but young Nicolas refuses, taking his feudal vows seriously. The Greeks and mercs launch a general assault against Nicolas' several thousand mixed infantry and dismounted cavalry holding the walls. The attackers are savaged as they approach, but once they reach the ramparts, their superior numbers, training and equipment let them clear the walls, then pour into the city itself, the defenders dying almost to a man. Nicolas was reported wounded but apparently escaped aboard one of the transports and cogs that fled upriver.
      Simon's mercenaries suffer less than 400 dead and 800 wounded, with a pair of culverin burst from repeated use, while Profirio's light infantry take several hundred casualties too.
June-August 1427
      Stefan, Balaton and their armies reach the Tisza River between the Banat and Hungary itself. The area is filled with those civilians who had fled Budapest, scavanging food, including the Queen and royal children. Stefan, grieving for his homeland and capital (curse Hellfire! ) orders the army to cross the Tisza into Hungary.
      When news of King Stefan's advance finally reaches Gladius Maximus, Prince Costas and Mihajlovic in Budapest, they grimly consider options: (1) deploying their mostly infantry and artillery force to fight the more manuverable Hungarian cavalry in open farmland would almost certainly lead to the same fate as Leo's army in Ialomita. (2) enduring a seige in Budapest, with Hungarian ships between them and supplies coming from Belgrade, could get them starved out. (3) moving north to pacify Slovakia as originally planned appeared to be their best chance.
      Leaving a garrison in Budapest, the Byzantines head into Slovakia.
September 1427
      Both his and Lord Balaton's armies now back in Hungary, Stefan orders the homeland liberated. The scattered garrison of Byzantine infantry tries to fall back but horsemen can move much faster than men on foot, and the homeland population keeps their King well informed. The garrison is killed to a man at a cost of less than fifty Hungarians dead. Stefan orders his troops into winter encampment within sight of occupied Budapest.
      Finding no garrison at all in Slovakia, Gladius orders his men into winter camp.
March - May 1428
      Logically, Stefan knows his army is not equipped or trained for city fighting, but emotionally he cannot leave Budapest in the hands of his enemies. Lacking seige engineers, he orders his foot soldiers and dismounted cavalrymen to build scaling ladders. Assaulting one's own capital, he thought, I wonder if any King has done that before?
      The Magyars advance, knowing from sources within the city it is held by about 800 Byzantine infantry. Halting outside bowshot, the lead ranks sent a sheet of crossbow bolts at the jeering (and obscenely gesturing) Greeks atop the walls, killing or wounding over a hundred. With a feral cry the Magyars launch a general assault upon the disordered garrison, dozens of scaling ladders rising from where they'd been concealed within the masses of warriors, men scrambling up them in the face of arrows, reaching the parapets.
      The Byzantines have superior training and equipment, and take a bloody toll of the Hungarians, especially the dismounted cavalrymen who fight poorly on foot. The Hungarians however have overwhelming numbers and sweep the walls of defenders, hunting down and killing the last men of the garrison as they break and flee.
      Stefan enters his capital in triumph, pleasantly surprised to see it hadn't been looted or set afire by the Greeks. The assault cost him over a thousand dead and two thousand wounded, but the jubulation of the liberated populace certainly justified the decision.
      Stefan's men find Hellfire's mansion empty, everything of value gone along with the betrayer and his family. They also find the Byzantine ambassador Laertes passed out drunk in his own chambers, surrounded by empty bottles of royal vintage.

      Gladius orders defenses built along the Slovakian border with Hungary. If the Magyars pursue him, he plans to extract a heavy price in lives.
June - September 1428
      King Stefan takes the field near the Slovakian border, but hesitates to attack, his scouts reporting on the Byzantine fieldworks. His army has covered hundreds of miles and fought multiple battles over the past few years, and would benefit from rest and reinforcements. His Queen, of Slovakian heritage, is understandably angry.
      Gladius, Costas and Mihajlovic prepare for an attack that doesn't happen, keeping their men busy with construction and drills, meanwhile waiting for new orders from Justinian.

GM NOTES:
     The campaign was very challenging to GM fairly so I thought I'd mention how decisions are made. First, obviously I follow the player's orders as far as possible.
     Second, If a circumstance arises the player's orders did not cover (for example, Reacting to two simultaneous threats) the leader's combat stat and some other factors are considered to decide how good a decision they'd make. Obviously, an A combat leader would choose correctly more often than a 5 combat leader.
     Finally, GM role-playing generally won't extend to having an army loot, burn, enslave, commit genocide or scorch earth, since those cause destruction often requiring multiple turns to rebuild. A player can order those things done, but I won't presume to do them.


The Byzantine Empire Civilized Imperial TL7
Justinian, Eastern Roman Emperor, Master of the Scholae
Diplomacy: none
      Justinian believed in building Byzantine cities with style: fountains, drains and sewers were added to Kosovo, and public plazas, theaters and museums to Ephesia, Samatsagma and Makhachkala. Excess rural population was sent to increase Ephesia and Makhachkala yet again.


Justinian, Eastern Roman Emperor, with attendants.

      A royal road was completed to link Makhachkala in Vasi northward to the city of Stephanopol in White Order steppe lands. Officials of both nations met on the border as the final section was completed, exchanging gifts and toasting with wine.
      Not so festive was the mood in the palace in May of 1425 when the Emperor's 13 year old daughter Effie died of pneumonia that had developed from a severe cold over the winter.

      Justinian continued to pour gold into the University, seminaries, equestrian stables and the new related sciences of gunpowder and metalurgy. Thousands of new soldiers were trained and equipped while foundry workers labored in shifts around the clock casting seemingly endless numbers of bronze light bombards. Many barrels of gunpowder were produced, and stonecutters worked feverishly to carve the bombards' projectiles.

      Justinian sent a message to Laertes, his representative in Budapest, to propose to King Stefan of Hungary an offer of a dynastic marriage between suitable Hungarian and Byzantine royal family. Hungary would become a feudal ally of Byzantium, under Byzantium's protection, and in upon Stefan's death Hungary would become part of the Byzantine Empire. Justinian considered it a fair offer, considering he could simply conquer Hungary.
      When the end of 1425 came without a reply from Stefan, reluctantly Justinian sent word to his generals to invade Hungary. [see Balkan Campaign]

St. Sophia

      In the late fall of 1426, the conclave of Eastern Orthodox bishops met in the Vatican-style enclave previously established around St. Sophia in Constantinople, again to discuss the steady decline of their religion, caught in the middle geographically between the spreading of both Roman Catholicism and Islam.
      The Patriarch had traditionally been the Emperor of Byzantium, but he had done nothing to reverse the failing of Eastern Orthodoxy. With heavy heart the bishops voted to strip Justinian of the Patriarchial title, choosing one of their number, Alexander, as the new Patriarch. Will now be active.


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EASTERN EUROPE
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The Varangian Empire of Russia Civilized Imperial TL6
Ivan II, Czar of all the Russias, Kniaz of Vlatim
Diplomacy: Kalinin(-), Rzhev(T), Kur(-)
      Background: In 1417 the lands of the Varangian Rus were invaded by the barbarian Suzdal to take them for their own. Several savage battles followed until a stalemate ensued along the Dnepr River, with the Suzdal taking the lands and homes of the original inhabitants of Chernigov and Smolensk and giving them to their own settlers. The Rus in those regions became second-class persons working menial jobs at best.
      In early 1421, word came that the Byzantine emperor Justinian was displeased with the fighting between the Rus and Suzdal and the chaos it produced. He wished order and prosperity for his neighbors, and arranged a tentative peace between the Rus, the Suzdal, and also the White Order, who had braced for a Suzdal invasion. The Suzdal agreed (grudgingly) to withdraw from Chernigov and Smolensk; however they took with them everything of value, scorching the earth behind them, leaving the Rus inhabitants refugees in their own country.


      With the Suzdal gone, Czar Ivan II could concentrate on rebuilding his mauled kingdom. The refugees in Chernigov and Smolensk were provided herds, tools, clothing and building materials. Unemployed in the nation were rounded up and s ent to Chernigov to restore the fields and farms.
      To boost productivity and income elsewhere, public gristmills, graineries, warehouses, wells and irrigation ditches were built in Atelzuko, Pechneg, Kirivitch and Prussia by peasant labor.

      Priests were sent to suppress the minor heresy in the impoverished city of Polotsk, but, not being very pious themselves, failed to speak convincingly.
      Lieutenants Dimitri, Petr and Mikhail meanwhile continued their diplomatic missions in the north. While traveling between towns, Dimitri and his retainers were caught in an avalanche in late 1425 and killed. Petr and Mikhail however persuaded Countess Luki of Rzhev to pay tribute.
      Meanwhile the soldier Zhargav traveled to Kur to try his hand at negotiating. He was unable to move the stubborn Lord Orsha closer to the Rus.

The Principality of Vladimir-Suzdal Barbarian Feudal Monarchy TL4
Vladimir I Avraham, Master of the Hunt, Forest Lord, Czar of the Suzdal
      Diplomacy: none
      Background: In 1413 the Suzdal, feeling population pressure and having overhunted the forests of their homeland, migrated west into the wilderness of Kirov. There they mingled (and indeed, intermarried) with the native inhabitants and learned from them Judaism. In 1417 they invaded the lands of the Varangian Rus to take them for their own. Several savage battles followed until a stalemate ensued along the Dnepr River, with the Suzdal taking the lands and homes of the original inhabitants of Chernigov and Smolensk and giving them to their own settlers.
      In early 1421, at the command of Emperor Justinian of Byzantium, the Suzdal agreed (grudgingly) to withdraw from Chernigov and Smolensk. They took with them everything of value and scorched the earth behind them.


      Czar Vladimir, deep in mourning for the late Czarina, fell into a depression and the Principality drifted. In late 1428 his friend and ally Zyyevka of Kirov died of a heart attack, and his son Zyyevka II emotionally pledged his loyalty. Vladimir hardly noticed.
      SLEPT...

The White Order of Saint Demetrius Civilized Imperial TL5
Cherina Rumitsav, Grand Mistress of the White Order
Diplomacy: Kuban(-), Astarkhan in Saksiny(F)
      Grand Mistress Cherina ordered public inns, grain warehouses, and wells built in Polovotsy and the Kuban, and the city of Astarkhan received sewers and public fountains. The cultivation of the Crimea continued slowly. Additionally, the merchants were ordered to begin trade with both the RFC and El'Iskandria merchant houses.

      Leaving her appointed heir Natasha to rule in her stead, Cherina then traveled to the Kuban where she spoke with its wily baron, Kavkaz Starkos, but was unable to persuade him to closer ties. Her lieutenant Lord Furnaco journeyed to the city of Astarkhan, whose populace were so excited to have sewers and clean water that they agreed to fully join the White Order.

      Lord Kalinin continued to tutor Prince Joachim how to manage a government. To the great astonishment of the royal court, Joachim further increased his aptitude for administration. In the late fall of 1428, Lord Kalinin died in his sleep at the age of 69, and Joachim, whom all thought spoiled and self-centered, mourned deeply.

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North ASIA
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The Empire of Nippon Civilized Imperial TL 5
Takeda Tamasaki, Emperor of Nippon, Son of Heaven
Diplomacy: Okinawa(-), Saga(F), Kagoshima(-)

Takeda Tanasaki, Samurai and Emperor of Nippon

      Takeda Tanasaki, upon receiving news of the death of the Regent, brought his fleet of warships swiftly to the capital of Heien. Arriving in late February while his detested middle brother (and potential rival) Suwo was still waiting for the end of winter and overland travel to be practical, Tanasaki took possession of the capital and its garrison, effectively consolidating his power.
      Tanasaki's youngest (and more trusted) brother Hiro was given command of the fleet to patrol against piracy or invasion.

      Gold was funneled into the bureaucracy and all areas of the military. The University received only a small grant, perhaps reflecting Tanasaki's favoring of the sword over the scroll.
      The Empress gave birth to a son at the end of 1425. The birth was difficult and for a time palace physicians feared for her life. She recovered but did not have more children afterward.

      Middle brother Takeda Suwo was sent to Okinawa on a diplomatic mission, thereby keeping him out of the country (at least according to court gossip). Once there, he was assisted by lieutenant Fujiwara Onoshi, who had already begun talks while Suwo was in transit. The two of them frustratingly made no progress with the independence-minded islanders.
      Master diplomat Hojo Aiki had far better results, convincing Lord Okawa of Saga to merge his lands with Nippon. Okawa retired to his estates. Hojo Torango, a middling diplomat, had no luck with stubborn Duke Adzuma of Kagoshima.

The Manchu Kingdom of Bei Song Civilized Imperial TL 5
Hun Cho, Emperor of the Manchu, Explorer of the Northern Lands
Diplomacy: Khungari(A)

Hun Cho of the Manchu

      To celebrate his ascending the throne, Hun Cho ordered the capital of Kwangdu beautified with fountains, an amphitheater and a paved public marketplace. Gold was also spent on military improvements and expanding the bureaucracy.

      Lieutenants Shang Li and Bolon Chan were sent to Khungari to propose a dynastic marriage between a local noblewoman and the Emperor. The young lord of Khungari, Amursk, pledged alliance and sent his sister to be Hun Cho's bride.

      In early 1427, Hun Cho's younger half-brother Hun Chang came of age, and was proclaimed a Prince of the Manchu. Several days of celebration followed.

      OPEN FOR A PLAYER



The Jung-Mo Empire Civilized Imperial TL 5
Seong-Lee, Emperor of Korea, Protector of Northern China
Diplomacy: Hopei(A)
      Emperor Seong-Lee ordered irrigation ditches, wells, gristmills and silos built in rural Shangtung to ease the harsh life of farmers. More clerks and scribes were hired by the government, and materials & labor sent to continue repairs to the Great Wall.
      However, other imperial spending was greatly reduced to amass enough gold for tribute. It infuriated Seong-Lee to pay it, especially to savage, unwashed nomads, but the last round of battle had cost the Jung-Mo and their Chin and Buddhist allies 35,000 dead, badly weakening them. A repeat must be avoided at all costs.
      The gold was loaded into five carved wooden chests and sent north in the keeping of Counselor Ching-Lang, escorted by a guard commanded by General Chow-Hu. When the column reached the border of Hsuing Nu in June 1425, Chow-Hu and his troops stayed on the Lu'an side while the counselor continued on to meet with Gyanendra, Khan of the savage, rapacious Alung-Gangri nomads. [see Alung-Gangri Horde]

      The Emperor had more pleasant duties when in 1426 his son Seong-Tii came of age and was presented as his Heir. In 1427 his son Seong-Lin came of age and was made a Prince. The populace were reassured knowing the line of succession was secure.

      Ambassador Chan-Lu, having angered lord Jobai II of Hopei the previous year, apologized for suggesting Jobai's sister become the second wife of the Emperor. "What I meant," explained the wily Chan-Lu, "was for your sister to become the wife of the second of the royal family, Seong-Tii, heir to the throne."
      Jobai II, feeling family honor had been satisifed, agreed to a full alliance with the Emperor. Chan-Lu breathed a sigh of relief.

The Alung-Gangri Horde Nomadic Centralized Monarchy TL4
Gyanendra Khan
Diplomacy: bah! just bribe me!

Gyanendra, Khan of the Alung-Gangri

      While the Alung-Gangri wintered in Hsuing Nu, messengers moved between Seong-Lee, Emperor of the Jung-Mo, wintering just over the border in Lu'an, and Gyanendra Khan, encamped near the sacked city of Suiryu. To the Khan's surprise he was offered tribute by the Jung-Mo in exchange for peace.
      A price was agreed upon, but in March of 1425, as the steppe dwellers were preparing to break camp, a messenger returned with an offer of even more gold if the nomads would go elsewhere. A new price was negotiated, with Gyanendra adding, "... and your Emperor can even pick which way we go! Upon his head shall be the life or death of kingdoms!"

      In June 1425, Counselor Ching-Lang arrived with his retainers and a wagon bearing five chests of gold. The Khan ordered each opened,and the gold counted and weighed. Satisfied, he asked the slight, trembling Korean which way he should lead his battle-hardened warriors.
      "West," said Ching-Lang, pointing towards the setting sun, "as far as you can, where the soft, wealthy kingdoms of round-eyes await your ravishing, like virgins on their wedding nights!"

      And so the Alung-Gangri moved generally west, detouring as needed to travel through steppe to feed the voracious appetites of tens of thousands of horses and herd animals, wintering in Kutai. During this time, Gyanendra proclaimed his son Botak to be his Heir, and his daughter Galathla a Princess of the Steppes. Both were exceptionally skilled with the sword and bow, clearly good omens for the future; there was much feasting and drinking.
      By the end of 1426 the horde had reached the border of Ayaguz, and by the end of 1427 they were entering Altai. As they moved west, the horde gathered recruits from the steppe regions through which it passed. By the time it went into winter quarters in 1428 in Tarhain, some 60,000 warriors had been added to Gyanendra's host, more than replacing its losses in Asia.
      OPEN FOR A PLAYER

The Chin Chinese Empire Civilized Imperial TL 5
Chin Li, Emperor of the Middle Kingdom, Master of the World
Diplomacy: none
     The Emperor again ordered enormous sums of gold devoted to all areas of military research, intelligence-gathering, and expanding the government. Work on several royal roads continued, and the cultivation of Fujian was celebrated with a harvest festival. Surplus rural population was used to expand the capital of Daw-Hni, as well as Hsingan, Changteh and Hankow.
     The size of the army was greatly increased by over 30,000 warriors, mostly infantry and cavalry, due to the threat of the Alung-Gangri Horde, and several cities had their long-neglected walls substantially strengthened. In addition, the mercenary captain Chang along with his nearly 11,000 mercs were hired at Dwa-Hni to serve a four-year contract.
     Lieutenant Ming Lee brought a huge cavalry army from Szechwan towards the capital, collecting garrisons along the way. A few weeks after his arrival in the fall of 1425, he was caught up in a drunken tavern brawl and was knifed. Stumbling out he collapsed in an alley and was found dead the next morning. His 2nd in command, Chang Shi, cousin to the Emperor, assumed command of the force.

     In 1426, Chin Li sent joyous word to all Chinese that he, having noted the resemblence between the mercenary Chang and royal family members (himself, his uncle Chang Kow and Chang Shi), had in secrecy asked the bureaucracy to investigate the merc captain's ancenstry. Old birth records on yellowed scrolls revealed the mercenary to be the Emperor's long-lost grandson, thought drowned during a family boating accident many years ago on the Yangtze! Apparently he had been rescued by fishermen who had no idea of his true identity.
     Chin Li proclaimed a week of celebration throughout all Chin, and at a ceremony in Daw-Hni proclaimed Chang Gai a Prince of Chin! His mercenary company served out their contract, then left having elected a new Captain.

     Twin tragedies struck the Emperor's family late in 1428. The aged Chang Kow, now well into his 80s, had a cold worsen to fatal pneumonia. Returning from his funeral, Chang Shi's carriage went off an icy road and down an embankment, ending in a pile of splintered wood and dying animals and men. Chang Shi lingered in a coma for several weeks before expiring.

The Kyzl-Kom Horde Nomadic Tribal TL4
Yasmeen, Huntress of the Steppe
Diplomacy: none

Yasemin of the Kyzl-Kom

      Yasemin, the athletic (often out-hunting the clan chiefs) and beautiful Khan of the Kyzl-Kom ordered the Horde west and then south to Tsinghai, letting the cattle and horses graze on the rich steppe grass. During the journey over 15,000 nomad warriors joined them, rebuilding their strength.
     The clan leaders (unwilling to see one of their own elevated above them) had grudgingly accepted her leadership despite Islam's perception of her gender as inferior.

      SLEPT...


The Celestial Realm of Buddha Civilized Theocracy TL5
Hung Lo-Chan, The Robed Wise Man
Consecration: Lienwha in Hunan(AB), Shensi(MN), Daw-Hni in Chingling(MN), Tsainan(CH)

      Deciding the Primacy had fought enough against the Alung-Gangri, the Robed Wise Man ordered his expeditionary force of warrior-monks in Lu'an to return to Hupei where it could defend the holy city of Chang'ling. Not long afterword, its commander Zhou Tzu died in his sleep at age 62, apparently worn out from the rigors of campaigning.

      Hung-Lo Chan next ordered the establishment (or upgrading) of sites of worship, to spread the word of the Buddha. In addition, the holy city of Chang'Ling was again expanded, its garrison increased, and gold invested to better the Primacy in all things.
      The site work by monks was successful in the city of Lienwha; The Robed One and his lieutenants met success in all their endeavors.

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South East ASIA
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The Khemer Empire of Kambuja Civilized Imperial TL5
Vu Cau, Regent for Chan Bo, Emperor of the Khemers, Mask of Hidden Glory
Diplomacy: Mar'gu in Mon(A), Thaton(-), Paga in Thaton(A), Pnomh Penh in Surin(A),
Rajkot in Andaman Islands(FA)
      The Regent ordered gold poured into both military research and the state university. Sewer and water systems were built in Mangfu and Ayutt Haya to reduce the chance of plauge. The economy was finally changed from Agrarian to Free, to the excitement of young entrepreneurs and the bewilderment of older (mostly farm) workers.

      Kambujan missionaries preached Hinduism in the homeland of Khemer with some success, but met with failure in the capital of Angkor Wat, as angry mobs disrupted the missionaries' sermons. The mobs had been inflamed by local Buddhist monks, who, having appealed repeatedly (and uselessly) to their Primate for assistance, became increasingly militant and desperate as Hinduism spread deeper into Kambuja.
      Missionaries from the Hindu Primacy were active in rural Thaton and Mon, and they became the first regions of Kambuja to be majority Hindu.

      In early 1425 Vu Cau announced the wedding of the late Emperor Tran Cau's daughter Phuong, now 16, to the general Chongrak, 56. (She had been betrothed to him in 1421 at the age of twelve.) Phuong had been increasingly upset and depressed about the betrothal, and on the morning of her wedding day was found in her chambers having hung herself from a chandelier. Vu Cau was stunned and Chongrak drank himself into a stupor.
      Putting the tragedy behind him, Vu Cau traveled to Mar'gu where he met with the lord Sambor and talked him into an alliance.
      Meanwhile General Chongrak went to Thaton where he offered young Princess Saranthaya in marriage to the local lord in exchange for closer ties with Kambuja. Having heard about Phuong, the local lord declined the offer with a shudder. Chongrak continued to Thaton's port of Paga for discussions, offering young Princess Phan So (twin sister to heir-apparent Phan Bo) for marriage. Kalegauk, ruler of the city, being a practical man, accepted the offer, agreeing to an alliance.

      In mid-1426 the capital experienced a more pleasant event when the late Emperor Tran Cau's daughter Santhip, 15, was married to blunt but handsome Vankam, 40, commander of the homeland garrison. Vankam was proclaimed a Prince of the Empire.

      Diplomat Linh journeyed to Pnomh Penh were he persuaded the local lord to ally with Kambuja before dying in 1427 when a bridge over a monsoon-swollen stream gave way, pitching him, his retainers, and their escort into the foaming torrent. A few drowned bodies eventually washed ashore downriver.
      Dinh Tran and Ding Bat sailed downriver from Angkor Wat, south to pass around Singapore, then northwest through the Mallaca Strait and Nicobar Sea to reach Rajkot in the Andaman Islands. Their fleet of light warships impressed the populace, and despite the untimely death of Ding Bat living up to his name by choking to death on fish bones at a diplomatic banquet, the ruler of Rajkot became a vassal of imperial Kambuja.

      In early 1428, heir-apparent Phan Bo, son of the late Tran Cau, came of age and thus technically Emperor. However with Regent Vu Cau in Thaton, the official handing over of authority had to wait. Phan Bo meanwhile busied himself learning Court ritual and ceremony.

The Island Kingdom of Java Seafaring Imperial TL5
Adrissa III, King of Java, Master of the Spice Isles
Diplomacy: Sunda(F)
      Adrissa III ordered enormous sums of gold spent on military research, government expansion, building seminaries and in particular the University. A network of forts was constructed to guard strategic areas of Pajajaran, the homeland, while a plaza surrounded by museums, restaurants, shops and theaters was constructed to beautify Sundas, the capital.
      Public inns, barns, smithies and wells were built across rural Atjeh, and excess population was transported to the region of Sunda and put to work expanding farmland, digging irrigation ditches and clearing ground for villages, all to provide more living space.
      Since the economy was doing well, the King increased the nation's tithe to the Hindu Primacy. In addition, a small army of missionaries were sent to pagan Sulawesi and despite hostility from local shamen who warned "doom from the sea" would punish any Sulawesians who converted, managed a very respectable number of new Hindu worshippers.

      In early January 1425 a fleet of 50 cogs under the command of the famed explorer Bindusara left the Javan port of Sirivjaya, bound for the capital of Sundas. With him were lieutenants Manu and Ronak, that the fleet would have secondary commanders should ill fortune befall Bindusara. Sundas was reached in late March.
      Meanwhile, King Adrissa again hired mercenary captain Sitang and part of his veteran mercenary company. Javans living in the region of Sarawak on the large island of Borneo were facing increasing danger from huge carnivorous reptiles (or "demons" as many of the uneducated common folk believed them to be) slipping through the mountains from adjacent Barat. The King resolved to evacuate his subjects before the loss of life increased.
      April 1425 in Sundas was spent in frenzied activity, Bindusara's cogs taking aboard the Javan general Tarashani, his 5,000 elite light infantry, the mercenary Captain Sitang, 4,000 of his veteran infantry, and all the supplies such a force would require. Once loaded, the fleet weighed anchor and headed north into the Riouw Sea. [see Evacuation of Borneo]

      Next, the King dispatched his sister Princess Anasuya, two light ships and some marines on a mission to the half-mythical continent of Australia, there to land and Explore. In later 1425 fishermen off southern Timor saw the ships heading east into the Timor Sea, reputedly home to monstrous creatures and thus avoided by local sailors.

      All that set in motion, Adrissa III met with the merchant captains to coordinate reassigning idle ships from inter-nation trade to internal trade. At the end of the lengthy conferences, he led the merchants to the palace's Great Hall where the nobility and clergy were already gathered.
      He addressed the assembled crowd, pointing out he was nearly 70 and worn down by a life of decision-making, diplomacy, court functions and travel. It was time for a younger man to rule, he explained, and to confront the threat of the great reptiles. As such, he was abdicating the throne in favor of his son and heir, Sudhansu.
      At this point Sudhansu spoke briefly, accepting the honor and pledging to rule wisely. Adrissa said he planned to spend his remaining years tending to the cocoanut groves on his estates.

      Sudhnasu, now King Sudhnasu, took it upon himself to educate his oldest son, Adishree, in the arts of governing. Adishree, a difficult and self-centered boy, nevertheless showed an aptitude for learning administration. In 1427 he was proclaimed heir to the throne, and his twin sister Inatya a Princess of the realm. Inatya was an extremely intelligent, well-spoken girl who always seemed to know the right thing to say.
      The royal family continued to increase; Sudhansu's latest wife bearing him daughters in 1427 and 1428.


EVACUATION OF BORNEO 1425 - 1427
      The mission, Bindusara explained to Tarashani and Sitang, was to evacuate the Javan inhabitants of Sarawak along with any portable possessions, then sail around Borneo's northern coast to the region of Sabah and repeat the process. Tarashani's men would handle the evacuees; Sitang's mercenaries would stand guard against a raid by the island's huge carnivores.
      "This is dishonorable," muttered Tarashani, "instead of fighting these things, the King has ordered us to cut and run!"
      "You haven't faced these reptiles," pointed out Bindusara, "you have no idea how dangerous they are. The King is wise to avoid loss of human life."
      "Bah!" snorted Sitang, "I saw three sea lizards swimming off Mindinao, with necks as long as pythons, and they fled from our arrows! I hope these overgrown land lizards stand and fight, so my men can get some exercise!"

      Towards the end of summer the coast of Sarawak was reached. Longboats were lowered, soldiers scrambled awkwardly down rope ladders and were rowed ashore by sailors. The ships' boats made trips back and forth until darkness approached; the shuttling of men and supplies would resume in the morning.
      Just as Bindusara was commenting to Ronak that the landing was off to a good beginning, a lookout suddenly shrieked, "the sky! There, up in the sky!" All eyes looked up to see multiple leathery-winged reptiles wheeling and circling over the anchored fleet.


      Cries of "demons!" spread across the fleet as ship after ship became aware of what flew above. Bindusara ordered word spread the creatures were simply flying animals like birds, admittedly with over twenty foot wingspans, but nothing supernatural. Gradually calm was restored in the fleet.
      At dawn the transfer of soldiers to Sarawak continued, with some flyers always watching. After one had approached too closely and taken an arrow, losing altitude as it flew off, the rest kept their distance.
      It took two months but eventually both armies were ashore and heading inland to collect the settlers and bring them back to the ships. The flying reptiles were in the skies here too, circling above bowshot range. The evacuation began early October 1425 and for the most part the civilians cooperated. Some in the northern part of the region, far from the carnosaurs, protested leaving their farms, and Tarashani's men had to be more forceful.

      In southern Sarawak, by November the raiding carnivores from Barat found their hunting grounds emptying of what had become their favorite prey. With deep saurian bellows of fury, the multi-ton creatures, mostly in pairs, a few times 3 or 4 together, followed the trails of the evacuees, tracking them by scent.

Giant land reptile: 40+ ft long, 20 ft tall, weighing about 8 tons.

      Also in southern Sarawak, units of mercenary infantry guarded paths and fords to buy time for the slow-moving civilians to get closer to the safety of the embarkation beaches. As per Sitang's orders, the men would fight in the open fields where archers could fire volleys of arrows at oncoming reptiles to blood them as they closed the distance. Then it would be the job of spearmen to hold them off, and men with swords to engage any who broke through.
      Most of the scattered mercenaries didn't see action, but several units did; in a series of skirmishes almost a hundred mercs had been killed or wounded, but after overcoming their initial fear they'd taken down two of the big saurians in thrashing clouds of dust, and wounded four others enough that they withdrew, roaring in pain. At least thirty more of the huge carnosaurs were glimpsed moving about, bellowing defiance, but had surprisingly quickly learned to keep their distance. By late May 1426 the last settlers had boarded ships, and the leaders gathered to conference.
      "...so, with discipline and on ground of their choosing, men can stand up to those demon lizards. We taught them a lesson," Sitang concluded his analysis, "and if they try to interfere in Sabah, we'll do it again!"

      In June the cogs headed out to sea then sailed around the northern tip of Borneo, anchoring offshore Sabah in late July 1426, shadowed by the ever-present flying reptiles. Meanwhile, the armies of Sitang and Tarashani marched east and entered Sabah also in July. They'd spotted several dozen big lizards stalking them - creatures that size couldn't find much cover in open farmland - but they still kept well out of bowshot. They learned fast we can hurt them at a distance, brooded Bindusara.
      The evacuation of Sabah began in August of 1426 and proved more difficult, since the Javans there had not been subject to carnivore raids. As such, they bitterly resented being forced to abandon their homesteads and shops, and Tarashani's men were kept busy enforcing the King's command. Bindusara, Manu and Ronak assisted as well, traveling and speaking extensively. Sitang's merc units deployed, some along the border with Sarawak, others along the border with Timur, again to protect the movement of civilians.

      It was late April of 1427 and most of the Sabah evacuees were aboard ship when the carnivores returned. The sky filled with hundreds of flyers, now much more aggressive, using feet and mouths to carry off mercs or disrupt their formations. Worse, they did this in obvious cooperation with the giant carnivores, of which there were nearly two hundred attacking, most crossing from Timur, but some who'd come through Sarawak. Rather than hunting in pairs or threesomes, this time they massed into much larger formations to strike with greater force, and were now utilizing whatever cover existed.
      But the worst enemy were hundreds of smaller carnosaurs not previously encountered, two-legged also, as long as a man was tall. They were incredibly quick and agile, sweeping around the flanks of mercenary formations already busy fighting against flyers above and giants in front. Disturbingly, they could apparently understand infantry tactics, both to mimic and to devise counter- measures, and appeared to be commanding the other two types of saurian.

Medium land reptile: 6 ft long, 4 ft tall, unusually intelligent and adaptive. 1

      Fighting raged for a week in a semi-circle a few miles from the evacuation beaches while Tarashani's men worked feverishly to get the last of the civilians aboard the cogs. The mercs were tough, and Sitang one of the most able Captains, and his phrase "They shall not pass!" became his men's motto. While the great carnosaurs proved extremely tough (only four were killed, and seven badly wounded), the flyers and "commanding" lizards, being much smaller, could be fought on almost equal terms by several men working as a team. Several hundred each of the flying reptiles and man-sized carnosaurs had been killed and more than that of each kind driven off wounded during the relentless combat. The morning the cogs began departing, the saurian attacks slacked off, then stopped.
      In their stand, the men of Sitang suffered almost two thousand casualties, over 600 of them deaths. Many hundreds of wounded required attention. With the evacuation over, Tarashani's elite light infantry reinforced the exhausted mercs, tended to the injured and formed up details to build funeral pyres. The lizards had often been seen scavanging the battlefields, presumably for food; Sitang would be damned if he'd bury his losses only to have them dug up and eaten!
      Human training, leadership, equipment and numbers had more than compensated for saurian ferocity. This time, thought Bindusara as the island was lost to sight.

1Velociraptors were native to China and Mongolia, assumed here to have migrated to Borneo over a land bridge. The large raptors in the Jurassic Park movie would have to be Deinonychus, native to North America, 10' long and standing about 7' tall. Both carnivores are in the Dromaesaur family and were among the most intelligent Cretaceous predators.


      Bindusara's fleet sailed south through the Java Sea, reaching the Javan port of Singhasari in July 1427 and unloading the civilians into temporary refugee camps where food and shelter were provided. That accomplished, the fleet retraced its course, arriving offshore of Sabah in November of the same year under the watchful eyes of the circling flyers.
      Bindusara, Manu and Ronak wondered what they would find upon their return, and were greatly relieved to discover no further violence had occured. "The devil lizards are everywhere in Sabah except here," reported Tarashani, gesturing to the evacuation beaches and the strongpoints guarding them. "They skulk about and watch us, but the mercs taught them to fear men. Too bad in a way - I'd have liked my troops to have gotten some experience."
      It took several months but by the end of January 1428 all the Javan elite light infantry was aboard the cogs and the ships hoistied anchor. The fleet sailed, the mercs watching from the shoreline as it left.
      "I'm sure they'll be back for us," Sitang reassured his mercs.

      Tarashani and his army were returned to Pajajaran in May of 1428, pleased to be home. For the fleet however there was no rest, nor another return to Sabah to rescue the mercenaries, for the King had ordered the nearby small island of Belitung to be Explored. Bindusara brought the fleet in cautiously, given previous experiences in Borneo.
      Instead of a saurian jungle, there was a largely untouched isle abundant in cocoanut groves, squawking birds, skittering lizards and nesting crabs. A few very old campfires were found on the beaches; apparently more than once fishermen had sheltered here overnight.

      As the end of 1428 approached, Princess Anasuya and her expedition had not returned. Former king Adrissa, perhaps feeling guilty at sending her into the unknown with such a weak force, refused to admit she was dead, and insisted she would be back any day now...

The Khemer Empire of Burma Civilized Imperial TL5
Rangsey Shan the True, Emperor of the Khemers
Diplomacy: Dibrugarh in Bhutan(NT), Prome(F)
      Rangsey Shan ordered the seaport of Bassien expanded yet again to accomodate surplus population from the interior. Same for the port of Pye in Prome. Having still more people to settle, he ordered a new city, Sadiya, to be built on the banks of the Brahmaputra River in Gtsang.
      Work on the royal road from Sagaing over the mountains to the remote region of Padishan continued slowly. In Pegu an enormous amount of gold was spent, and every village received wells, various public buildings, and a paved main street with storm drains to help combat flooding during monsoon season.
      The emperor also poured more gold into the University to attract the best talent, and he constructed additional seminaries to increase the numbers of priests serving the gods.
      In early 1425 Rangsey Shan, twice a widower, married again, taking as wife a local Burmese noblewoman. She bore him twins in 1426: a son and a daughter.

      Native-born missionaries wandered the towns and cities of Khmer Burma, speaking of the marvels of the Hindu faith, energizing the people and bolstering the nation's piety - temple attendance increased significantly. Missionaires in distant Bhutan had success as well.
      Charasmatic lieutenant Pich traveled to Mitikaya in Assam, and drew large crowds, converting many Buddhists to Hinduism. Buddhist monks were outraged as their influence steadily declined, but despite repeated appeals their Primate had yet to act.
      Missionaries from the Hindu Primacy were active in Mitikaya as well, finishing what Pich started and completely converting the city. Xie in Arakan became majority Hindu, and moderate gains were made in Arakan and Assam.

      Prince Samrin traveled to Dibrugarh in Bhutan to meet with the city elders and undo the dimplomatic bad karma caused by the previous diplomat dying during the chaos of the Time of the Comet. The elders remained stubborn (and supersitious) and he had minimal success.
      Career diplomat Duran had much better fortune negotiating in Prome, where he convinced the local lord to merge his domain with Burma.

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India & Central Asia
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The Chola Mandalam Empire Renaissance Imperial TL8
Aandeleeb, Chola Emperor of Mandalam, the Left hand of Vishnu
Diplomacy: none
      Aandeleeb nearly drowned while bathing, and afterward decided to live a life of pleasure while he could. He ignored affairs of state to spend his time hunting tiger from elephantback, feasting, drinking or enjoying his concubines.
      SLEPT...

The Hindu Primacy Civilized Theocracy TL7
Gandhi, Blessed of Vishnu
Consecration: Rajput(CA), Uttar Pradesh(AB), Pegu(MN), Jaunpur(CA)
Diplomacy: Ganges(EA)
      Background: A year or so after the Time of the Comet, Cholan villagers who supplemented their diets with snake or lizard began reporting it was much more difficult to hunt them. There were as many as ever - perhaps even more - but they seemed smarter somehow and evaded traps. Some village elders even traveled to a city with a campus of Chola's great University, but the self-absorbed scholars there sent them away as unworthy of their time.
      Gandhi, however, was interested in what the villagers had to say, and dispatched agents to listen. Primacy investigators moved from town to town gathering information, often accompanying peasants as they attempted to trap reptiles. They concluded that lizards and snakes were now behaving as intelligently as herd animals, a manyfold increase.

      Gandhi ordered huge sums of gold spent on improving the Primacy's military equipment, including research into metalurgy and the formuating of gunpowder. Yet more gold went to enlarge the bureaucracy and provide for larger religious schools.
      To address the chronic food shortage, again the shipyards of Tanjore echoed with the sounds of sawing and hammering as cogs were built to be fishing craft. Cultivation of the wilderness of the Primacy's temporal holding of Gangas - also to address the food shortage - was completed amidst celebration.
      Gandhi dispatched Missionaries to both Burma and Kambuja, and they met with success despite the resistance of the weakening Buddhist priesthood.

      The Primate then personally traveled to Rajput and led the effort to expand the existing monastery to a magnificent cathedral despite the continuing undercurrent of fear in the region. High Priest Gormadoc redeemed past failures by expanding the simple church in Uttar Pradesh into an abbey. High Priest Baghat, in Burma, canonized a monastery with enthusiastic local help.
      In Gaur, the High Priest Mahashtra1 was thwarted in his attempt to consecrate a cathedral when heavy monsoon rains caused a mudslide that swept away much of the new structure. Accepting this as the will of the gods, he left the area, heading south to Gangas, by agreement with Chola now the Primacy's temporal realm. There, he convinced the local lord Tiruppur to sign an economic treaty with the Primacy.

      High Priest Eknath sailed from the Andaman Islands up the holy Ganges to Patna. Continuing on foot to rural Jaunpur, he presided over the consecration of a cathedral, although not without some impassioned oratory to overcome a general apprehension amongst the people.
      Meanwhile, the High Priest Sihartu attempted to expand the church in Tarain to a full-fledged abbey, but he wasn't very charasmatic, and when building materials were burned and fearful local workers quit, the project was abandonded. He blamed Army of Shiva cultists, but had no proof, and smug officials back in Tanjore said he was simply trying to cover his failure.

1some say he is an avatar of Vishnu himself, given his imposing stature, persuasive voice and ability to lead. Mahashtra does not counter such rumors, finding them useful in his work.


The Tumet Horde Nomadic Tribal TL4
Subutei II, Khan of the Tumet
Diplomacy: ptui!
      Sabotai II decided to stay longer in Und and let the horde's people, cattle and horses consume the crops of the Sirinigar farmers. However his subchiefs began to grow restless, saying the proper place for the Tumet was the steppe, not farmland - the people were getting soft and the livestock were overfed.
      SLEPT...

The Empire of Sirinigar Civilized Imperial TL6
Alania, God-Empress of Sirinigar, Avatar of Parshvanatha
Diplomacy: none

Alania, God-Empress of Sirinigar

      Alania toured the kingdom to boost the morale of the people, her phenomenal charisma allowing her to instill confidence into the most fearful citizen. Some even claimed to see divine light in her eyes.
      She returned each winter to the royal palace (rapidly becoming temple-like) to spend time with her children and meet with her generals and administrators. Her intelligence service expanded, hiring both scholars and cutthroats, as both had their uses.

      In 1426 Counselor Murgesh suffered a fatal heart attack. Hunchbacked, shambling, and drooling, he only held his position due to family connections. He was not missed.

      OPEN FOR A PLAYER


The Emirate of Turkman Civilized Constitutional Monarchy TL5
Hused, Shah of Bukhara, Emir of Merv
Diplomacy: none
      Hused ruled wisely when not practicing his swordsmanship or enjoying his concubines. His attractive sister Anduar was much courted by young noblemen, in contrast to his undersized, often-sickly brother Roozbeh who spent most of his time alone in the royal library.
      In late 1428 the royal family held a state funeral for Fanosh, the widowed queen mother, who died peacefully in her sleep.
      SLEPT...

The Khanate of Scythia Civilized Imperial TL5
Xerxes ar Rhani, Khan of the Scythians, Lord of Afghanistan
Diplomacy: none
      Background:The lord Razuli had been appointed as Regent until the sons of the late Khan came of age. He, however, proclaimed his own son Xerxes as heir. Upon Razuli's death his wife Scintilla took over ruling as Regent until their son, Xerxes, came of age. The nobility were restive, feeling that the actions of Razuli and Scintilla were a betrayal of trust. The more conservative of the population felt for Razuli's wife now to be Regent was an affront to Islam.
      In 1421 Xerxes came of age and was formally announced as the next Khan of Scythia. Scintilla continued to rule as Regent, deciding for the moment that to allow Xerxes to ascend the throne could unleash riots and chaos. Xerxes chafed at the delay.


      In 1425, Scintillia stepped down as Regent and Xerxes took the throne. Only Scintilla's (and now Xerxes's) control of the army kept order; the tradition-minded population felt either Fahrej or Sarbaz, sons of the late Khan, should be king, not this usurper. The tension in the capital of Herat could be cut with a knife.
      Scintilla remained at Xerxes's side as advisor. The palace rumor mill said Xerxes was less than thrilled with this arrangement.
      OPEN FOR A PLAYER

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The MIDDLE EAST incl Nile Valley and Arabia
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The Holy Imam of All Islam Civilized Theocracy TL5
Imam Mohamad ar-Rhani, The Holy Imam of all Islam, Old Man of the Mountain and Highest Follower of Allah, Beloved of Scythia
Consecration: JanyKugan in Singanakh(CH), Singanakh(CH), Izzer in Sakalava(CH)
      Sending messengers from Turkman to his bureaucrats in Tabriz, Mohamad ar-Rhani gifted the Primacy's university with an enormous sum of gold, prompting construction of new buildings, hiring of additional faculty, and free education for worthy students. Also, the Imam commanded that the holy city of Tabriz be upgraded with public baths, fountains and sewer systems. Tabriz was expanded yet again with surplus population.
      The region of Shirvan, long an impoverished backwater, was developed with public wells, irrigation ditches, gristmills and warehouses. A port city, Ali Bayramli, was built on the shores of the Southern Caspian Sea, whilst Safavid engineers and laborers extended a royal road the length of Shirvan north to Georgia. Along that new highway came long caravans carrying foodstuffs from the Safavid farmlands into the Imam's realm, which was always facing a shortage.

      Despite his own travels, Mohamad ar-Rhani kept up the spreading of Allah's word, again flooding the Eastern Orthodox regions of Armeia with missionaries. The existance of an Orthodox Primacy slowed, but did not halt, that faith's declining influence. Islam's numbers grew in Phrygia, Armenia (now completely Muslim), Urmia and Lazica. Carhae's Roman Catholicism didn't prevent conversions there either. Only in mountainous Cappadocia did the effort falter, when a missionary insulted a stubborn village elder and a riot ensued.
      In distant Africa, missionaries had continued success in Dongola, with only a few die-hard pagans remaining in remote areas. Egyptian missionaries were in Dongola as well, but they were mostly slackers, and accomplished nothing.
      Meanwhile, the Primate left Turkman and traveled further east with Mullah Bilil, where they established mosques in rural Singanakh and its city of JanyKugan.

      Off the eastern coast of Africa in Comoros, Mullah Aziz desired to expand the mosque in Moronni to an abbey, but the quite secular inhabitants of the capital refused to allow several theaters and restaurants to be demolished to make room for the expansion. Discouraged, he took ship to the port of Izzer on the nearby island of Madagascar, and (after much prayer and fasting) redeemed himself establishing a mosque.
      Mullah Oqtay traveled hundreds of miles from holy Tabriz south through the war- torn lands of the former Madragian Emirate, by boat across the Gulf of Cyprus and up the increasingly-dangerous Lower Nile. Attacks by Nile crocodiles were said to be happening with increasing frequency - at least a score of boats a year since the Comet's passage had already been overturned by large groups of crocs - animals previously solitary hunters - and the crews torn apart and eaten. [see Merchants of El'Iskandria]
      Fearful boat operators were charging higher fees, and Oqtay spent much money just reaching Asyut. Exhausted, he had little gold left for wages and materials; his orders to convert the local monastery into a great cathedral remained unfulfilled.

The Safavid Empire of Basra Civilized Imperial TL6
Musafa ibn Nur, Shah of Baghdad, Spokesman of God, Chosen of Allah, Guide of the Faithful, Most Learned of the Holy
Diplomacy: Aleppo(+8yfc), Carhae(A), Anamur in Isauria(NT), Circis(NT), Edessa(EA)

      With the best parts of the Madragian Emirate conquered, Musafa turned his efforts to more peaceful pursuits. A frenzy of road construction began, linking the newly-acquired regions of Isauria, Cilicia and Aleppo with the rest of the Empire. Other road crews worked in the temporal realm of the Imam of All Islam, extending a road through Shirvan into Georgia.
      Work began rebuilding two cities burned by the Dubai Horde twenty years earlier. An-Najaf in Selucia and Baghdad in Mesopotamia were cleared of rubble and soon echoed with sawing and hammering. Surplus population was settled in both cities.

      Gold was poured into the military academies, intelligence services, and the building of a merchant fleet. Castles were built at strategic crossroads in Kuwait and Selucia, and walls built to defend Antioch, former Madragian capital and now the Safavid's port to Mediterranean trade. Indeed, from Antioch many new trade routes were begun by the Shah's command.
      Effort continued to make the Safavid economy more flexible and open to change. The Guilds were slowly dissolved to enable free competition; Guild leaders did all they could to protest and delay but the project moved forward.
      Missionaries were sent to Carhae to join the Imam's efforts, and had some success in further conversions to Islam.
      All that set in motion, Musafa settled down to rule his expanded domain, and enjoy his wife Jazmin. She birthed daughters in 1427 and 1428.

      Princes and diplomats journeyed far to persuade both conquered and neutral to closer ties with the Safavids. The Shah's younger brother Sindvat was able to improve relations with Aleppo by careful words and by marrying a local noblewoman.
      Meanwhile, the Shah's older sister Shaira accompanied the silver-tongued Mohammad to Carhae. They so charmed the locals that they obtained both a full alliance as well as a bride for Prince Shalat.
      That same Prince Shalat was busy negotiating with the city leaders of Anamur, who were suspicious why the Safavids were building a royal road to their city - was it to bring a conquering army? He made only slight progress.

      Elderly lieutenant Asalih set out for the grasslands of Palmyra, but he and his retainers were robbed and murdered by brigands along the way. However, lieutenant Ibraim had better luck in the grasslands of Circis with its sheiks; and as a bonus was still alive.
      Diplomats Omar and Kaleb, both smooth talkers, double-teamed the local lord of Edessa into signing a treaty of economic alliance.

The Mamluke Sultanate of Egypt Renaissance Imperial TL8
Abu ibn Ali, Sultan of Egypt, Ruler of the Upper and Lower Nile, Defender of the Holy Land, Master of the Seven Seas, Sword of Allah, Invincible Overlord of the Mamluke Empire
Diplomacy: Madina(NT), Asir(NT), Yemen(P), Hodeida in Yemen(P), Dongola(F),
Tripolitania(F)
      Sultan Abu ibn Ali ordered enormous sums of gold spent on military training and innovations. He was especially fascinated by gunpowder weapons and spared no expense on their improvement, and frequently observed the training of the Sultanate's first infantrymen armed with the arquebus, and the boom of basilisks being test-fired was a common sound in the capital.
      Even more enormous sums of gold resulted in progress in all things seafaring, including better instruments for navagation and equipping ships to spend longer and longer periods at sea. Employment surged in the shipbuilding industry as in a half-dozen ports carracks for exploration and transports for trade or fishing were under construction. Trade was begun with the White Order and, via the conduit of Ceuta, distant Ghana.

      The cultivation of Dongola resumed, with workers clearing away the overgrowth of the past four years. Irrigation ditches, wells, dams and waterwheels were built in regions throughout Egypt to ease the life of the rural peasantry.
      Surplus population throughout the Sultanate was rounded up and some resettled in Nubia, Lybia and Ad'diffah with farming tools and crop seed. More surplus population was given subsidized housing in El'Iskandria, El'Qahira and Aqaba to expand those cities.

      In early 1425, Abu ibn Ali, having neither wife nor children, proclaimed his brother Jehagir to be his Heir, and his half-brother Mustapha II to henceforth be a Prince of the Realm. A week of celebration followed.
      The party atmosphere continued with the marriage of Abu's sister Bieru to an ally of Egypt, Karnak of Aswan. Handsome as the ancient gods, it was said he could charm any woman (and often did so), and the ladies of the court teased Bieru mercilessly about her wedding night. Karmak was thus elevated to Crown Prince.

Karmak aboard ship.

      Alas, Bieru and Karmak had but a few days together before Karmak and a thousand infantry left El'Qahira for the seaport of El'Iskandria. Once there he assumed command of an exploration fleet of 20 carracks, which put to sea and headed west through the Mediterranean to Explore.
      Passing through the Gates of Hercules in late May 1425, Karmak ordered the fleet south through the Sea of Dogs, then west in mid-June to investigate reports of islands. The sailors had confidence in their navagational abilities and did not fear leaving sight of land.
      In early 1426 the Egyptians saw dark blobs on the western horizon which proved to be the Canary Islands. Soon small boats were visible fleeing. A city upon one of the islands, with the flag
of Almohad Morocco flying, had large numbers of people exiting the city for the interior of the island, apparently in some panic.
      Embarassed, the Crown Prince disembarked in the port of El-Jalil and visited the island's governor briefly and explained the presence of the Egyptian fleet, which had scared the locals half to death. The Moroccans returned, gaping in awe at the carracks.

      Karmak had been given orders from the Sultan to search first for the Canary Islands and then for the mythical "Azores". Their memories helped by a few Egyptian silver coins, local sailors recalled rumors of islands somewhere vaguely northward of the Canaries and Karmak set out to explore for them. In late 1426, due north of the Canary Islands and well west of Morocco, a sharp-eyed lookout shouted he'd spotted land.
      As the fleet neared, there was little sign of civilization, at least civilization as the Egyptians knew it. The Crown Prince's spyglass eventually located a row of lean-to huts near the shore, with half-naked people engaged in fishing and hunting related activities. Nowhere did he catch the glint of metal or pottery. The inhabitants of "Karmak's Island" (as the crew had begun calling it) were clearly primitive.



Natives of Karmak's island - long isolated and still in the Late Paleolithic.

      Eventually one of the natives saw the approaching carracks and within seconds the shoreline was a chaos of shouting and pointing. Dropping anchor well out to sea, Egyptian sailors rowed Karmak and some infantry towards shore in longboats. The simple islanders were plainly astonished and somewhat fearful; fortunately Karmak's charm calmed them.
      Their language was nothing Karmak or any of his men recognized, not suprising given their obvious isolation from the rest of humanity. They were intelligent, however, and in a few weeks had picked up enough Egyptian that together with hand gestures the two sides could communicate. They called their island "Madeira". Karmak traded them metal knives and pottery in exchange for fresh meat and vegetables for his crew, and he made sure neither sailors nor soldiers took advantage of them, as he felt protective like a parent towards children. Several more villages were found, most near the sea but a few inland as well.
      Confident at first he had found the mythical "Azores", the Crown Prince grew uncertain as further exploration around the island found it to be solitary. Didn't the legends speak of multiple Azore islands? Not sure how to proceed, with his men becoming restive, and with orders to map the way back eastward, after several months Karmak prepared to leave. Before the Egyptians departed they left a carved stone slab honoring Madeira's discovery by the Sultanate.
      The fleet soon found itself offshore the region of Morocco, not Portugal as the old stories had led them to expect, further discouraging Karmak. Working his way around the southern coast of Iberia and back through the Gates of Hercules, he ordered anchor dropped in the Egyptian conduit city of Ceuta, and prepared a lengthy report for the Sultan.


      A second fleet of twenty carracks commanded by lieutenant Abu Bakr left Aqaba in the spring of 1425 laden with laborers and tools to build and populate a conduit city. Hugging the coast, the fleet reached the Gulf of Mannar in June, not encountering any Cholan patrols.
      Knowing the Maldive Islands were to the southwest, Abu began to search for them. In September 1425 dark dots were seen dead ahead, and upon nearing them the flag of Java was seen flying from a small stone palace overlooking a harbor area.
      Abu visited the island's governor there, announcing his intention to build an Egyptian settlement with permission of Java's king. The governor protested he had no knowledge of this, and would have to contact the capital, and the reply would take at least a year to reach him. Discouraged, and unwiling to cause an incident, Abu and fleet weighed anchor and headed home.

      Meanwhile, lieutenants Argun and Hosni left Al'Qahira with a mostly-cavalry army of over thirty thousand troops including 2,000 arquebusiers and five batteries of basilisk seige cannon. Sultan Abu ibn Ali had explained the neighboring Sultanate of Sheba had ceded to Egypt joint control of the regions Madina, Asir and Yemen and all cities therein. Argun and Hosni were to secure Egypt's new shared territories, using force only if necessary. [see Egyptian Expansion]

EGYPTIAN EXPANSION 1425-1426
      The army moved across the Sinai and down the coast of the Red Sea, reaching Madina in September of 1425. The local sheiks had been informed of the arrangement and now entered into the same relationship to Egypt as already to Sheba. The army encamped for the winter.
      In July 1426 the Egyptians crossed into Asir to discover that the elderly local lord, Harun, was not tributary to Sheba but rather a feudal vassal. Angry at the Sultan of Sheba for so lightly treating the vassal/liege relationship, he renounced his oath of fealty, his lands becoming NT to both Sultanates. The army again encamped for the winter.
      In May 1427 Argun and Hosni led their force across the border with Yemen only to discover a Sheban garrison of ten engineering companies commanded by career officer Harib who had not gotten word of any deal with Egypt. Moreover, as Harib pointed out, the populace were loyal, ethnic Shebans, not some tributary people to be shared like a camel or a slave! Already his men were entrenching across the likely Egyptian line of advance.
      With regret, Argun ordered his batteries of basilisks unlimbered, and soon the ten seige cannon belched dark smoke, hurling 30-40kg rocks at the hastily-dug trenches of the Shebans. Best used against stone fortifications, the cannon nevertheless caused almost five hundred casualties among the defenders as the kenetic force of the stones pulped bodies to spatters of blood and viscera. The acrid smoke, the thunderous sound, and the inability to strike back - the Egyptian guns were well beyond shortbow range - led to panic, first a few of Harib's men, then more, until the force had broken. Harib, unable to stop them, fled with them.1
      Leaving a garrison to hold the Yemeni farmland, the bulk of the Egyptian army approached the region's port city of Hodeida. An army of over 20,000 cavalry led by Ras al Khaimah of Dubai had been quartered there, but had been ordered to Aden early in 1425. The city was thus ungarrisoned; nor did it have walls. The city's mayor led a delegation to surrender the city to Argun and Hosni.
      An infantry garrison was installed to keep order, and the bulk of the Egyptian army encamped in Yemen, its mission accomplished.

1Certain events give one side a huge combat bonus the initial round of battle, such as the first encounter with strange animals (men on horses, elephants, etc) by unfamiliar troops, or the first time gunpowder is employed against unfamiliar troops.


      At the same time as exploring and conquering were underway, new diplomat Shabazz went south up the Nile River to the port of Elephantine. En route he heard horrific stories of steadily increasing croc attacks on boat traffic, to the extent the losses (and refusal of sailors and barge men to transit) were starting to affect Egypt's economy.
      Traveling overland, he met with the chiefs of Dongola, and by 1428 convinced them to merge fully with the Sultanate. In exchange, heir Jehangir would marry a Dongolan noblewoman, thus ensuring their interests would be represented at court.
      Veteran diplomat Khaled traveled west to Tripolitania where he parlayed with the local lords. The daughter of a powerful noble was betrothed to the Sultan himself, and the Tripolitanians agreed in 1428 to join fully with Egypt.

The Merchants of El'Iskandria Renaissance Oligarchy TL8
Jamil al Haysin, Merchant of El'Iskandria
Business: Antioch in Aleppo(MA), Odessa in Atelzuko(MA), Asyut in Faiyum(MA),
Aqaba in Petra(MA), Sela in Danakil(BO), Basra in Abadan(MA), Algiers in Algeria(MA), Conakry in Gambia(MA), Santiago in Galacia(MA), Alula in Djibuti(MA), Mansura in
Edrosia(MA), Matara in Sri Lanka(MF), Chittagong in Samatata(MA), Paga in Thaton(MA)
( By Allah, this took forever!!! )

      Once more changes were ordered in the allocations of ships in trade fleets for greater efficiency. Much gold was spent to improve navagational instruments and to provision better for longer voyages. More clerks and scribes were hired to maintain contact with the Company's far-flung offices. Hundreds of worker dredged ship berths as well as built docks and warehouses in Madiera and El'Iskandria, significantly expanding the mercantile capacity of both harbors. This proved visionary when many boats arrived from Aragon and Sheba laden with food.
      Trade was begun with the White Order, and a contract signed with Egyptian exporters to manage several of their routes to other nations.
      The manager of the branch office in Constantinople informed his employees the office was closing. To placate them he let them strip the office of furnishings and goods.

      Teams of scholars from the Merchants' small but renouned University were sent along with scrolls and samples to bring Renaissance technology to favored clients. In a few cases they were accompanied by Egyptian scholars doing the same.


remains of a mathematics professor

      Most journeys were uneventful; but the trip upriver to Aksum however proved a nightmare. Having left Faiyum's riverport of Asyut a few hours earlier, the boats were abruptly encircled, overturned and savaged by what horrified witnesses swore were scores of crocodiles.
      Scholars, servants and boatmen alike were torn apart as the reptiles tugged at thrashing bodies desperately trying to swim to the riverbanks. Crimson-jawed, the crocs devoured most of the Merchants' contingent and a few non-merchant Egyptians as well for variety.
      It was said some of the books that sank into the dark Nile waters had not been copied before leaving, their knowledge now lost.

      Coming downriver from Aksum were river barges carrying food, plus four women of the royal household. The princesses arrived at El'Iskandra badly shaken, having passed through the area of the attack only a few hours later, the riverbanks lined with half-drowsy crocs and the water still covered with bloody debris.

      Jamilah, daughter of the Chairman, met in El'Iskandria with the locals who traded directly with the merchant house. Assisted by Mullah Ali al-Sheki (who was unusually open-minded regarding women participating in any business), she negotiated a more favorable deal.
      The team of Jamilah and al-Sheki traveled the eastern Mediterranean, Nile Valley and Red Sea, hiring Agents in Antioch, Odessa, Asyut (where they heard about, and mourned, the El'Iskandrian scholars who had been devoured by crocs just a few miles further upstream) and Aqaba.
      Jamilah and Mullah Ali then sailed to Sela, where by May of 1427 a merchant factory was expanded to a full branch office, and then around the Arabian penninsula to Basra, where yet another Agent was hired. The pair remained in Basra, and devoted their time to the establishment of a mercenary hiring brokerage, holding meetings with the Middle Eastern mercenary captain Garhib. In late 1428 Jamilah spoke at a gathering of nobles and investors to announce that henceforth the Merchants of El'Iskandria would broker the services of Garhib's merc company. Garhib himself was there with some of his officers, looking both professional and dangerous.

      Meanwhile another team of Merchant representatives, Murad and the elderly Amnon, already in Saragossa, set out to hire an agent. After a meal at a harbor tavern while recruiting, both came down with food poisoning. Murad's hearty appetite proved fatal; Amnon recovered after several days of torment.
      Still weak, but insisting on working, he made no progress in Saragossa. Traveling the western Mediterranean, he had with mixed results, hiring an Agent in Algiers, failing in Navarone and St. Laurent (why aren't Europeans Arabic-speaking Muslims, anyway?).
      Discouraged, he ordered his transport south along the Ifriqan Coast to Conakry. The language was Arabic and the people were Muslim, and by mid-1427 he'd hired an agent. With apprehension but determination, he left the port and sailed north to Santiago and despite the usual cultrural problems he succeeded. Exhausted, he at last heeded his retainers' pleas to rest.

      Lieutenant Khaliq and Chairman Jamil jointly hired an Agent in the Sheban port of Alula, then by company transport sailed to the Scythian coast, and met with success in Mansura. Sailing along the Cholan coast and even further east, they supervised the construction of a merchant factory in Matara, then acquired Agents in distant Chittagong and Pegu. While in Pegu the two also met with a group of Kambujan cartographers, receiving numerous scrolls in exchange for a large chest of gold.
      The transport returned to Matara they way it had come, but much faster due to familiarity, arriving in midsummer 1427. After reprovisioning, Khaliq and Jamil ordered the ship southeast into the open ocean, far from land, Exploring for a favorable current. It was a bold move, and they were not seen again.
      In late 1427 on the shore of Sunda there washed up wooden debris including a few intact casks, crates and sea chests with the logo of the El'Iskandria merchants.

The Sultanate of Sheba Civilized Imperial TL6
Waliyudeen Mutlaq, Sultan of Sheba, Patriarch of Islam
Diplomacy:
      Pressured by powerful Egypt to share control of the regions of Medina, Asir and Yemen, elderly Sultan Waliyudeen Mutlaq dispatched orders to the sheiks of Medina and lord Harun of Asir to comply. Unfortunately, Yemen garrison commander Harib was not so informed, and his standing orders were to defend his region. [see Egyptian Expansion]

      The Sultan allocated gold for military improvements, expanding government and intelligence services. A combined El'Iskandrian / Egyptian caravan of scholars, books, scrolls and scale models of inventions arrived, was greeted by Mutlaq, and began teaching Sheban scholars.
      Egypt threatens us, he thought, but also helps us. By Allah, it is a strange world. By 1428, Sheban understanding of mechanics was greatly increased.

      The Sultan personally commanded the evacuation of the capital of Sana to a new site under construction on the coast. The populace was furious, as they would lose everything but what they could load onto wagons, but Mutlaq's agents were efficient and organizers of protests simply vanished. Soon columns of wretched city folk were marching to the sea, escorted by the bulk of the Sheban army.
      For additional security, Ras al Khaimah, former lord of the Dubai Horde and now allied to Sheba, was ordered to move his formidable cavalry army from Yemen's port of Hodeida to Aden to maintain order.
      Meanwhile, the determined but tactless Lieutenant Amir oversaw the moving of all governmental records and employees, the treasury, and the university so all would continue working smoothly in the new Sana. Despite his untimely death in late 1427 (he was found at the bottom of a staircase with a broken neck, leading to speculation he was pushed by an overstressed clerk or professor), the move of the capital was a success.

      In years past, concerned with both the military threat of the Tihamat Horde and the spread of its heretical Hanbalite view of Islam, Sheban missionaries from holy Mecca had preached in Tihamat itself against the heresy. The Sultan sent them again, but this time they were lucky to escape alive. [see Tihamat Horde]
      Meanwhile, the mullahs and imams in Sheba itself also spoke forcefully against the Hanbalite heresey and were able to raise the strength of Shi'a beliefs yet again.

The Tihamat Horde of Arabia Nomadic Theocracy TL4
Dukan al'Qatar Shaqra al'Tihamat, Servant of Allah, Restorer of the Faith
Diplomacy: why?
      Background: In the spring of 1422, Shaqra al'Tihamat led his people and those of his ally the Sheikh of Qatar into Oman, a border region of Sheba. He sought treasure, always beloved by hordes, and his spiritual advisor Mullah Qasim1 sought new converts to fundamentalist Hanbalite Islam. Following Shaqra's assassination (for which Qasim logically blamed Sheba) his father-in-law Dukan al'Qatar assumed leadership of the horde and led them out of Sheban territory. Upon making camp came news that almost half the population of Tihamat itself had foresaken Qasim's teachings in favor of their previous Shi'a beliefs. Qasim was beyond furious.
      Meeting with Dukan, Mullah Qasim urged a return to Tihamat itself. Those who had abandoned his teachings must be taught the error of their apostate ways. "By sword and fire Islam must be purified and the original will of Allah served!" Dukan agreed, and in March 1425 bade the horde break camp.

      Apparently not all of the nomads were content to turn away from the potential riches of Sheba and journey home (which, truth be told, was an impoverished region of semi-desert they had been pleased to leave) because a few nights later Dukan was found unconscious and feverish in his tent, his evening meal having been poisoned. At Mullah Qasim's urgings the march continued, and after a week Dukan regained consciousness, fortunately having been of strong constitution.
      In the summer of 1425 the Tihamat reached their homeland, and Qasim sent his most fanatic followers to rid the region of Sheban missionaries. The thugs not only sent the mullahs fleeing back toward Mecca, they also intimidated many recent converts into rejoining the Hanbalite heresy. Pleased, Qasim organized them into a formal religious police.
      OPEN FOR A PLAYER

1Qasim preachs the ultra-conservative teachings of Ahmad ibn-Hanbal (d. 855 AD) known as the Hanbalite school of Shari'a law. In OTL only the fanatic Wahhabi of Saudi Arabia are followers.


The Coptic Kingdom of Aksum Civilized Constitutional Monarchy TL7
Tobin V King of Aksum, Negus Negesti, Lord of the Coptic Wilderness, Lion of Judah
Diplomacy: Darounga(C), Darfur(-), Ghazal(NT)
      Young King Tobin V again spent gold on researching military improvements and hiring more bureaucrats. All surplus and migrant population was rounded up throughout the kingdom and marched to Gezira, Harar and Iubabor, given building materials, cattle and crop seed, and told to get busy homesteading. As a major rural public works program, Tobin also ordered public silos, gristmills and stockyards built in Ain'Farah, Ankolye, Atbara and Gamo-Gofa.
      To placate the anxious settlers in Ankolye who were worried about rumors of huge carnivores on the other side of the mountains, the king ordered a Fortress built plus a number of lesser fortifications at key passes and fords. The region's city of Lyssa had high walls with towers constructed around it. Finally, the renouned general Hosta was sent to Ankolye with a force of mixed infantry and five batteries of culverin.
      There were no incursions into Ankolye, but reports came from Radom, and to a lesser extent Ghazal and Kobowen, of herdsmen missing near the borders with the unexplored jungle. It seemed whatever was gathering in the Afriquan interior was testing humanity.

      Tobin V was handsome, and numerous Aksum noblewomen regarded him with interest. Desirous of producing heirs, the king married Kafia, daughter of a powerful tribal chief, in early 1425 at a Coptic ceremony in the capital's largest church. They were blessed with daughters at the end of 1425, 1426 and 1427.
      Taking advantage of the national celebration over the king's wedding, Coptic priests shook off years of lethargy and began preaching vigorously of the glory of God, Coptic-style. By the end of 1428 congregations had more than doubled.

      The professors at the University once again protested bitterly that they were underfunded and unappreciated. The king promised them the assistance of the best scholars of El'Iskandria and Egypt, but the boats of learned men and books coming upriver never arrived. [see Merchants of El'Iskandria]

      Prince Atropos and lieutanant Suaks journeyed beyond the western border to Darounga, meeting with clan chiefs. They made only slight progress with the fiercely independent Daroungans. In late 1428 a drunken Coptic-hating local got into an argument with Atropos and punched him; as he fell the nobleman struck his head on a table and died without regaining consciousness. Ashamed, the local chief had the Prince's killer beheaded and the head given to a shocked Suaks as atonement for the incident.
      Meanwhile, career diplomat Bithi traveled to Darfur but working alone made no progress with its suspicious clan chiefs.

      Diplomat Showa provided gold and tools to Mongo, leader of the former Wadai Horde (now settling down in Kordofan) to enable the ex-nomads to build themselves a city on the Upper Nile. Mongo named it El'Wadai in honor of their former home.
      Showa then headed south to Ghazal, where despite cultural differences he persuaded the locals to draw closer to Aksum.

      In the hot summer of 1428, storms and heavy seas in the Bab-Al-Mandab sank a number of merchant vessels returning to Aksum from Scythia.

///////////////////////////////////////
The Rest of AFRICA
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Cav Count COMPLETE!

The Island Kingdom of Comoros Seafaring Constitutional Monarchy TL6
Hussain the Handsome, Prime Minister of Comoros, Ruler of the Waves
Diplomacy: none

Sketches made by Abdallah.

      Hussain was fascinated with the sketches made by his lieutenant Abdallah of the carnivorous flightless birds found on the islands of Mauritius. Considering himself an amateur naturalist, the Prime Minister attended the dissection of the dead bird brought back and all subsequent lectures by scholars. In fact he became so obsessed that he let the kingdom drift.
      Thus rumors of fishing boats from Sofala on Madagascar heading out east and never returning were not investigated.

      SLEPT...


The Empire of Great Zimbabwe Civilized Imperial TL5
Ayize, Emperor of Sofala, Master of the City of Round Towers
Diplomacy: Kariba(EA)
      Thinking of the defense of his people against the threat of the carnivorous reptiles in Kivu, Ayize ordered forts built and city walls strengthened. Several thousand more warriors were added to the army, most of them elite.
      Not all expenditures were martial; newly cultivated Zambia received public wells, irrigation ditches and storage silos.

      Early in 1425, the emperor proclaimed his son Gorthus a Prince of the Realm. A week-long festival followed. While the Emperor stood by with the army to defend the Empire, heir Garus ruled, and he and his wife M'Lenka produced a son in 1425 and another son in 1428.

      Prince Jomo and the Chief of the Chilwans again defended Kimbu with their respective warriors to guard against hungry reptiles. Lieutenant Gomoko arrived with a thousand infantry in late Spring of 1426 as reinforcements. He stayed to help, but kept saying the region be abandoned and Ayize was foolish to order it defended.
      Rumors continued of farmers and hunters missing in Luba, Mitumba, Shaba and Omote along the border with the unexplored jungle. Sometimes bodies were found partially eaten; sometimes people vanished completely. From Luba in particular refugees were crossing into Kimbu with carts and baskets of possessions. It seemed whatever was gathering in the Afriquan interior was testing humanity.

      Meanwhile, diplomatic efforts continued. Persistance paid off for Kumugumu, who finally convinced the battle-scarred warrior Chinhoyi, Chief of Kariba, to pledge fealty and sign an economic treaty.

      In the fall of 1428 came reports from Makura and Chilwa of huge leathery-winged creatures passing overhead at night from the direction of Madagascar, silhouetted dark against the moon, headed for Lake Nyasa and beyond.


Many observers insisted the monsters' wingspans were over 20 feet!

      Some frightened rural folk insisted they were demons, harbringers of death. Others swore that death demons were riding them, claiming to have seen another pair of eyes set in a man-sized dark shape atop a few of the flying things.
      Perhaps so, for word arrived soon afterward that royal daughter Koheema, married in 1420 to the chief of distant Lunda, had died in childbirth. The shock of the news caused Empress Koheu to suffer a massive heart attack. The double loss left the Emperor stunned and cursing the gods.

The Republic of Venice Seafaring Oligarchy TL6
Badoglio III, Doge of New Venice
Diplomacy: Tiki in Nambe(-), Boma in Mbundu(FA), Kantu in Yoruba(EA)
      Doge Badoglio III maintained the army and stood by to defend the Republic, while heir Andrea ruled. Andrea, concerned about the spread of disease in urban areas, ordered public wells and sewers built in six different cities.
      Excess population was offered homesteads and equipment to boost the farm population of the Cape region. Unfortunately Xhosa's cultivation effort was forgotten and much cleared ground was lost to reclaiming brush and grass.

      Elderly Prince Marco remainded in the port of Tiki in distant Nambe, and continued meeting with the city leadership. Frustrated by a very different culture, he had made no progress when in late Fall 1426 he died after suffering a series of strokes.
      Prince Giancarlo continued to preach of the Christianity to Gabela, city leader of Boma, and his extended family. They were skeptical, but he kept at it, converting more of the leadership. Career diplomat Stefano Nevi continued negotiating and finally talked Gabela into becoming a feudal vassal of Venice.
      Warrior-diplomat Paolo, already in Kantu in Yoruba, picked up where his late superior had gotten and urged city leader Aneho to a closer relationship with distant Venice despite the city's location in the midst of the Kingdom of Akan. Eventually, Aneho pledged fealty and signed a treaty of economic alliance.
      Meanwhile, charasmatic lieutenant Rosselli headed north from the barely-populated desert of Herero to the barely-populated desert of Namib. This must be what Hell is like, he thought. He spoke of God to the bemused hunter-gatherers he found, and converted them.

The Kingdom of the Kongo Civilized Centralized Monarchy TL5
Anjabu Minunge, Tallest of the Tall, The Big Man, Stomper of Little People
Diplomacy: Mango in Cuango(T), Kang in Vili(F), Matadi(EA)
      Anjabu put various governmental areas on austerity budgets. Most of the kingdom's wealth once again went for irrigation ditches and flood-control measures to help farmers in Vili. The king also ordered a port city, Beki, to be built on the Benin coast.
      Unfortunately in all this spending, the mission of converting the economy from slavery to agrarian was forgotten, previous progress fading.

      Leaving the bureaucrats in charge, the King traveled up the Lower Kongo to the river port of Mango. The inhabitants were living in fear of what lurked in the unexplored jungle visible from the city's towers to its east and south. (At night no one dare go outside the city's walls.) Anjabu, assisted by his able heir Kamino, spoke to the city leader Bikoro about assistance; at length Bikoro pledged his loyalty and promised tribute in exchange for Kongo's protection.
      Career diplomat Manumbo and Prince Angabo traveled to Vili where they persuaded the city leaders of Kang to fully join with the kingdom. Meanwhile, the maturely beautiful Lumuma continued to work her wiles on Chief Mbanza of Matadi, and he signed an economic treaty.

      During 1428, reports reached the king of people and cattle missing from Teke, Vili, N'Gao and Matadi along their borders with the unexplored jungle. River traders were refusing to go upriver beyond Mango as increasing numbers of boats were floating back downstream as fragments along with the occasional half-eaten body. It seemed whatever was gathering in the Afriquan interior was testing humanity.
      Towards the end of the year, the royal family was enjoying a fishing excursion when at least a score of crocs surfaced around them, having bypassed the boats of their guards. The royal barge was capsized, Anajabu and several servants being torn apart by crocs fighting over them; Kamino and his younger sister Anjaya were pulled out of the churning river by arriving guards while other boatloads fought the crocs with spears, driving them off. An hour later, a dried and bandaged Kamino was crowned king.

The Kanem-Bornu Empire Civilized Imperial TL5
Nasem, Supreme Chief
Diplomacy: Kafin(FA)
      Nasem spent gold and labor for continuing improvements in rural Kanem-Bornu, where more wells, water wheels and irrigation systems were built. With an eye to the threat posed by the Mossi Horde, city walls were strengthened and fortifications were added to key geographic points.
      Nasem ordered merchant shipping based at Katsina diverted from river trade to begin trading with Kongo, and a postal road was built to Katsina for better communications.

      Armies led by heir Jamal, Prince Ngarta and lieutenant Saminwe kept watch for incursions from the west by the Mossi Horde or south by giant reptiles. The Mossi Horde however moved west. [see Directorate of Ghana]
      Meanwhile lieutenant Uuka escorted royal daughter Isme to Kafin, where to its beautiful Queen Lafia he offered Isme for marriage to a Kafinite nobleman. After much discussion, it was agreed Isme would marry Lafia's younger brother and Kafin would be vassal to Kanem-Bornu.

      The elderly Prince Amida II, the feeble and increasingly senile uncle to Nasam, spent his last years in self-imposed exile at the oasis of Bilma, brooding on his earlier diplomatic failure in Ghat-Al-Barkat. In 1427, at the age of 78, he wandered off one night into the Rebina Sand Sea and was never found.

      During 1428, reports reached the Supreme Chief of people and cattle missing from Koumogo along its border with the saurian-haunted jungle region of Bamum. It seemed whatever was gathering in the Afriquan interior was testing humanity.

The Kingdom of the Akan Civilized Feudal Monarchy TL5
Akanosh of the Jaguar Tribe
Diplomacy: Gagnoa(T)
      Akanosh, considering the threat of the Mossi Horde, ordered fortifications built at crucial fords and passes, the walls of the capital strengthened, and additional infantry trained for garrisons. Remaining funds went into military improvements.
      The King's next duty was more enjoyable than deciding expenditures: his oldest son Takoradi was announced as heir to the throne, and his second son Sakundi was proclaimed a Prince of the Realm. They were his children by his favorite concubine.
      Akanosh then settled down to rule and enjoy his new bride, a noblewoman of Togo. She bore him a daughter in 1425, and sons in 1426 and 1427.

      Takoradi and lieutenant Jebba journeyed to the neaby coastal city of Idah, where they persuaded Aba, the city leader, to pay tribute to Akan. They were accompanied by Meko, a charasmatic pagan priest, who urged the Shi'a inhabitants to return to their African roots. He achieved considerable success.
      Tragedy struck the royal family in early 1427 when 20 year old Prince Sakundi was killed in a duel with a nobleman who'd found the handsome Sakundi had seduced his wife.
      OPEN FOR A PLAYER

The Mossi Horde Barbarian Tribal Councils TL4
Burkina, Chief of the Mossi
      Diplomacy: bah!

Mossi warriors parade before Chief Burkina.

      Gathered with his subchiefs in their Bani forest encampment, Burkina announced his intentions to carry out his past plans now that the flooded Upper Niger had subsided . "We shall move southwest to Tusyam, then cross the river from a direction the Ghanans are not expecting," he said, using charcoal to draw upon a flat sheet of papyrus. "We shall take Segu and live like kings!" The listeners cried out approval.
      After looting anything of value from the people of Bani, the migration of warriors and families flowed into Tusyam, whose hopelessly outnumbered people cowered in the forest. Some of the Mossi began looting while most cut down trees and vines to build hundreds of rafts. In March 1426 the first waves of warriors crossed the Upper Niger into Segu.     [See Segu Campaign]

      OPEN FOR A PLAYER

SEGU CAMPAIGN 1426-1427
Because of the movement of multiple armies and related events, I've had to track this month by month.
April 1426
      The first wave of Mossi, consisting of fast-moving light infantry, begin crossing the Upper Niger from Tusyam into Segu, surprised to find no one on watch. Dia of Segu mobilizes his 1600 mixed infantry and cavalry. Realizing by the time any assistance arrives the entire Horde will have crossed, he leads an assault on the Mossi bridgehead.
      The sight of his mounted troops panics some of the barbarians, allowing Dia more of a chance than he'd expected. Savage fighting along the riverbank stains the water red and soon crocs are arriving and savaging the shrieking wounded. Over 1200 barbarians are casualties but their waves of reinforcements eventually overwhelm the men of Segu, who are virtually wiped out. Dia is found unconscious and taken prisoner; Burkina, impressed by his courage, orders him and the hundred or so surviving Segu wounded well treated.
      By the end of April over 30,000 Mossi warriors had crossed.
May 1426
      Word reaches Director Murshid in Kumbi-Saleh of the incursion, but no details beyond "barbarians invading!" There are six thousand troops in Ghana but Murshid, busy ruling and ignorant in military affairs, does not leave his capital. Besides, he thought, surely my vassals can deal with this!
      By the end of May over 55,000 Mossi warriors had crossed.
June 1426
      The same word reaches lords Sikasso of Boure and Dosso of Gorouol; and both order their house troops to prepare for campaigning.
      By the end of June 80,000 Mossi warriors had crossed, as well as the civilians, cattle, wagons and their escorts.
July 1426
      Sikasso of Boure leads 1200 mixed infantry north into Ghana. Dosso of Gorouol, using the great road, reaches Songhai with 1000 mixed infantry. Neither have an inkling of the true numbers of the Mossi.
      Word reaches Bafata of Takrur and Kabala of Okoikoi, both in far western Ghana; both order their house troops to prepare for campaigning.
      Burkina orders the Segu countryside pacified. His army spreads out, finding neither fortifications nor garrison.
August 1426
      With the Director not reacting and thus no central authority involved, Sikasso of Boure and Dosso of Gorouol react independently, entering Segu from different directions and engaging the Mossi. The barbarians are taken by surprise and Burkina has some trouble controlling so many warriors. However the Mossi are better trained and there are, well, hordes of them. The two vassal forces are worn down by days of hit & run fighting with tribal bands until wiped out, Sikasso dying from a spear thrust while crafty Dosso, though wounded, evades immediate capture. The Mossi took about 600 casualties.
      Meanwhile, moving together, Bafata of Takrur and Kabala of Okoikoi reach Gambia with mixed cavalry-infantry forces of 1800 and 600 respectively.
September 1426
      Burkina orders the pacification of Segu resumed. At the end of the month the Mossi go into winter quarters.
      Moving east along the great road, Bafata and Kabala reach Khalem, then go into winter quarters as well.
April 1427
      In mid-April, Bafata and Kabala reach the capital of Kumbi-Saleh, coming upon squalid refugee camps and learning of recent developments. The two vassals declare to Murshid it impossible for them to drive the Mossi out of Segu, and neither will waste their soldiers' lives attempting it.
      Meanwhile, by the end of April Segu has been pacified by the Horde.
May 1427
      In case the Mossi decide to continue west and invade the Ghanan homeland, Bafata and Kabala grimly order their men to fortify the border in concert with the regional garrison, for what good it will do.
      Chief Burkina leads a force to Segu's river port of Mopti with the intent to assault it. He is met by a delegation of elders who surrender the city since it has neither walls nor garrison. The Mossi settle down comfortably in Segu and Mopti, living well as the conquered population supplies them with food and labor, the daughters of the wealthy chained at Burkina's feet.


The Arguin Directorate of Ghana Civilized Imperial TL5
Murshid, Arguin Director of Ghana, Protector of Kumbi-Salem, Conqueror of Timbuktu
Diplomacy: interrupted!
      Director Murshid ordered large amounts of gold and labor expended to continue the gradual change from a Slave to a Guild based economy. He did however find funds to build public inns, stables and smithies in rural Songhai to assist travelers. That underway, he settled down to rule and, being lonely, hoped his lieutenant Eli had luck in Segu obtaining him a bride.

      Princess Hanifa traveled upriver from Gorouol (hearing tales of crocs now surrounding and overturning boats, but fortunately not experiencing it personally) to Segu (fortunately passing through well ahead of the Mossi invasion), thence overland west to distant Takrur. She had been betrothed to Bafata of Takrur since 1416, and he had warned in 1424 that if they weren't married in 1425 he would renounce his feudal vows. She arrived in July 1425, a day before news of the Mossi invasion of Segu, the mood of Bafata going overnight from elated to grim.
      Princess and feudal lord married at the beginning of August, had their wedding night, and the next day Bafata led his house troops north alongside those of Kabala of Okoikoi. He returned with his men at the end of September 1428 when his feudal obligations had been met, exhausted and pessimistic about the future.

      Meanwhile, lieutenants Eli and Shamba journeyed to Segu to meet with Dia, its lord. The pair began negotiations for closer tides with Ghana, proposing a dynastic marriage between the Director and a Segu noblewoman. The talks and feasting were rudely interrupted in April 1426 when a frantic retainer burst in with the news thousands of Mossi barbarians were crossing the Upper Niger into Segu. [See Segu Campaign]

The Almohad Emirate of Morocco Civilized Imperial TL6
Arisaw ibn Sayid, Emir of Morocco
Diplomacy: Sardinia(F), Arguin(EA)

Emir ibn Sayid of Morocco

      Emir Arisaw ibn Sayid poured gold into military innovation, his intelligence services, expanding his government and funding his University, which was hosting a visit by Egyptian scholars. Works of benefit to agriculture were added in both Sicily and Zirid.
      Shipyards across the Emirate echoed with sawing and hammering as cogs were built for trade. Arisaw met with his merchant captains to discuss where best to utilize the ships.
      The royal road linking the port of Rabat in Merrakesh to the capital of Fez was finally completed amid celebration.

      The Emir decided slavery would be phased out (slowly, to avoid economic disruption) and the economy would be agrarian. Gold and labor was allocated to begin the change.
      All that underway, Arisaw and wife Salona spent much time secluded, producing twins (boy & girl) in 1425 and a set of twin boys in 1428. It's good to be King - or Emir!

      Diplomat Farosh Alim again met with Count Dorgali of Sardinia to discuss closer ties with the Emirate. After much negotiation, Dorgali ageed to merge his lands with those of Morocco and retire to his estates.
      Meanwhile career diplomat D'Kashet ("the silver-tongued") and his assistant Masti Foshar met for years with Chief Tan Tan of the Arguin and his many subchiefs and clan elders, speaking of the advantages - such as eating regularly - of friendship with the Emirate. Finally, the Arguin swore fealty to Morocco, and signed a treaty of economic alliance. Masti, 61, in poor health for some time, died soon afterward in his sleep.


Lords of the Earth, Campaign Four

Lords of the Earth is a PBM 2002 Throne Enterprises