Lybia, Christian Emirate of

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Information

Lybia.gif
Foundation: 1471-1755Dead.gif
Capital: Noor al Senussi on the Azores (since ????)
Religion:

By Rob Pierce and Ellen Bennett, updated by Martin Helsdon

Description

Lybia's founder, Halif Pahlavi-Shan, was originally a general in the army of the Holy Islamic Republic. After conquering the Syrian region of Abadan and laying seige to Basra (1460, T94), Syrian diplomats succeeded in bribing him away from the faltering HIR government (1467, T96) and sent him and his troops off to guard the Syrian frontier with the Berbers in the west. When rioting erupted between Arabs and Copts in Syrian Cairo (1471, T97), and Ethiopian troops intervened to protect the Coptic minority, Halif took the opportunity to confiscate all the Syrian artillery he could find in the city and fled west. Thus armed he repudiated the Syrians and established a Shi'ite emirate of his own in the space between the Ethiopians and Berbers.

Now a Hussite Christian nation, Lybia has had a significantly troubled religious history. It was founded as the Shi'ite Nation of Lybia in 1471. After a 40-year effort, Papal missionaries succeeded in converting the heir to the throne (Mehemen Al-Kwarzhir) along with many of his retainers. A brief civil war followed between father and son (1513, T108), that left the father dead and Christians in control of the nation. After more than a century of Catholic rule, the nation became a missionary battleground between Catholic and Hussite zealots. By 1650 (T161), the Hussite presence was so pervasive (about 50%) that Emiress Sayyida was forced to forbid further Hussite missionary efforts. But frictions with the Papacy continued to mount: Papal favoritism for the rebellious Duchy of the Three Isles; the Templars of Morocco invasion of Zirid (1651, T162); the suspicious murder of Sayyida's husband, General Kilij (with implications of Papal involvement). Over the next few years, Sayyida was finding the Pope more recalcitrant, and the Danish emperor far more accomodating (1655, T164). Not wanting to be without allies, she signed a mutual defense agreement with Denmark, just as Pope Alexander was declaring an interdict upon that nation. A brief scuffle ensued in the halls of the palace, but in the end the Hussite leadership won out and the Catholic church was shown to the border.

So fervent was the Hussite cause in the Lybian leadership, and so acrimonious the feud with the Papacy, that in 1701 Lybia assualted the Papal seat of St. Michael's in the Azores massacring virtually the entire population - including the Pope.

A few decades later civil war wracked the country and spawned (among other factions) the Emirate of Carthage. Carthage won out in that conflict, eventually reducing Lybia (with aid from Denmark, ironically; 1742, T206) - to its last territorial possesion: the Azores. Libya has since added Idjil to its possesions, but it now possesses but a shadow of its former strength.

In 1701 (T187) Hussite Lybia successfully assaulted the Papal seat of St. Michael's in the Azores and razed the city. The vast majority of the population of the island, including Pope Alexander VIII and the entire College of Cardinals, were butchered to death in a frenzy of Hussite mania.

The Lybian royal historian Al'Ra'uman details the events that led to the assault in a historical piece published in late 1716 (T194):

The History:

1640 AD to 1702 AD
By the royal historian Al'Ra'uman

I have been silent on these matters for many years, but the time has come when I can no longer be silent. The blood of many Lybians cries to me from the sandy dust of my homeland, and begs for justice, for retribution. These things belong to others more mighty than I to carry out, but I must record the sufferings and indignities of my fallen brothers. Finally, I will speak.

The ancient histories of Lybia have been recorded always by my family ... by my father, by his father, and by his father before him. We have been entrusted with the task of faithfully, honestly and passionately relating what has been done in our land, and in the lands beyond us. We are fair in our descriptions and loyal to our benefactors, which is why our family has been honored in this manner. We write of battles, small and mighty, of deaths, and of deeds both ignoble and astonishing. However, the events of which I now speak have been ignored. I was hesitant to write of so much evil and deceit. But my conscience goads and persuades me to tell the truth, to avenge my comrades. I will speak and will not be silent; I will no longer lay my hand upon my mouth.

Lybia has long believed in the Christian faith, and has long shunned the way of the Muslim infidel. We have clung to the folds of the Papal garments and followed the Catholic Pontiff (I can refer to him as "Holy" no longer). The Church could have asked for no more faithful children than those in Lybia. And yet by 1640, our country was deeply troubled. At that time, our emir was Yusuf, ancestor of our current and beloved Emir Yusuf. But this ancestor was a troubled and corrupt man, deeply devoted to the Catholic cause and deeply oblivious to its inherent evil. It had held to such practices as selling salvation only to the rich, to the idol worship of questionable artifacts and relics, to prohibiting the common man access to spiritual knowledge ... but these things are known. Less known and unproven are the darker practices whispered about only at night ... things too wicked to tell, but things known at that time in Lybia. The populace was increasingly dissatisfied with their spiritual condition under the church, but Yusuf did not listen to them. He was a fanatical devotee to the Church and mad as well. When he saw which way the religious winds would blow eventually in his country, he marched into the desert like one insane and gave himself up to die.

His son, Halil was worse. He planned to revive some of the more ancient rites of the Papacy. Again, these were corrupt in nature and abhorrent to the people (it was whispered that Halil planned to even bring back the practice of child sacrifice, but I do not believe the Church went so far as to indulge in that sin.) He was rigid in his beliefs, a conspirator with the Pope to force these revived practices upon our people, and perhaps as insane as his father. Lybia would stand no more and rose up in rebellion.

They had a new champion on their side: Sayyida, the daughter of Yusuf. She was Catholic, as was he, yet moderate and sincere in her views. She was beloved of the people, as Halil was not, and they supported her claims to the throne. In fact, they forced her to assert her rights to the succession, since they would not stomach her brother as their ruler. A great civil war ensued, and Halil was overthrown, with Sayyida seated in his place upon the throne. The country rejoiced as justice was finally done.

The years that followed were peaceful and prosperous, a time of great learning. The universities flourished with knowledge, great advancements were made in building and in agriculture, and vast armies were trained with skill and cunning. Food overflowed in the cooking pots throughout the cities; there was an abundance of good things. Sayyida proved to be a wise and liberal ruler, tolerant of beliefs and compassionate towards her subjects. Loyal she remained to the Church, faithful in paying tithes, faithful in following the Sacraments. Deep in her heart, though, she had doubts about the correctness of the Papal traditions; secretly, she was tolerant towards the Hussite religion and its proponents. Its adherence to correct doctrine, and its disdain for the gluttonous evil of the Papal followers, appealed to her innate sense of right. She did not discourage the advances of the Hussite religion, and she did not discourage the population from investigating them for themselves. In this way, their missionaries made gains in persuading Lybia to turn from the Catholic Church, and to follow their path of conscience to a purer belief.

By 1656, Sayyida had become allies with Denmark, who proved itself to be a strong and reliable friend to Lybia. She sought to increase her treaties with them, both military and economic, for it prospered her country greatly. Yet this friendship offended the Church, which was only afraid that it would lose its influence over Lybia. Arbitrarily, it cast off Sayyida and her family from its midst, excommunicated and betrayed; even though she had remained faithful to it, it turned against her and called her "harlot" and "traitor." She could only be stunned at this unjust treatment.

Again, there was a schism in Lybia, as Catholic and Hussite brothers battled against each other, filling the streets with blood, and lining the city walls with the heads of fallen enemies. Again, Sayyida held her people together and rallied them to victory against those who would divide the country. Separated from the Catholic Church, she was free to follow her conscience and ally herself and Lybia with the Hussite faith.

This history is well known to children throughout Lybian regions and throughout the world at large. Though bloody at times, there is nothing in it to sicken and disgust an upright and devout person. But the entire truth is not known. This is the story I must add to that which is already public.

Pope Alexander VII had been discovered by Sayyida's trusted counselors to indulge in deadly poisons and narcotics of every description, including opium from the Orient and hashish from the Holy Land. He used these to gain holy "visions" and divine "revelations", when in truth they were nothing but the deliriums brought on by abuse of foul substances, unfit for the so-called Father of the Church. He spent vast amounts of money on the discovery of drugs which would increase virility (I dare not explain his interest in these), which would promote immortality, and, worst of all, which could be used as deadly weapons against his enemies. How is it possible that this spiritual leader could do such things? I do not know. I speculate that he had forsworn his allegiance to God, and perhaps even dabbled in the things of the underworld, but it is not right to tell of that, since I cannot prove it. I can only say what I have heard.

Alexander had become obsessed with punishing Sayyida for her friendship with Denmark and for her willingness to convert to the Hussite faith. Many hours he spent on the concoction of poisons that could not be detected upon death, poisons that were swift to cause a terrible death, and swift to leave the ravaged body without a trace. He schooled himself to stay awake for 22 hours at a time, consulting with chemists in strange laboratories, and pouring over books of magic and medicine to find the answers he sought. He became as twisted in body as he was in mind and spirit, and even his bishops and priests shrank away from him. He was consumed by his desire for revenge and by his quest for unfit knowledge. Who can say why he had this obsession to punish our country in particular? I cannot say ... only that he was bitterly disappointed over his loss to Hussitism, even though it had been his decision. And he could not bear to have Lybia allied with Denmark.

In a frenzy, he sent legions of missionaries to our country, determined to convert us practically by force, if necessary. In the villages, farmers and peasants were cowed into pledging their faith to the Church, sometimes in complete bewilderment as to their reasons for doing so. Spies and covert messengers of every kind were sent throughout the cities and streets, bullying and intimidating the citizens into claiming Catholicism as their true religion. Sayyida watched with growing concern and indignation this coercion of her nation; she resolved to protect her subjects from its onslaught. Papal missionaries were forbidden to enter the country, and the papal spies and agents were evicted. None in Lybia would be made to bow to the Catholic Church! Our Emiress fiercely protected her country.

At last, she could relax from her diligent watch, when every one of the unwelcome visitors had been shown to its shores. At last, there would be peace in the country, religious freedom and the chance to follow one's conscience. At last, the evil would be purged. Alas, two of those spies were left unobserved and unnoticed. It was her undoing.

As she rested one evening in the cool dark recesses of her chambers, the air heavy with the scent of orange blossom and white jasmine, she heard a noise in the room beyond and looked enquiringly to see who stirred in her quarters; she had asked to be alone that night. Before she had a chance to see, a strong arm suddenly forced itself around her shoulders and a heavy hand forced the contents of a vial down her throat. Choking on the foul liquid, she tried to fight off her attackers and tried to summon help, but she was no match for the two assassins who grappled with her. In spite of her attempts to fight, she swallowed enough of the poison and it swiftly did its work. Gasping for air and clawing at her two tormenters, Sayyida at last sank to the floor in a faint, her face deadly white. Within minutes, her heart had ceased to beat and her eyelids fluttered shut. The two murderers slipped back over the balcony, as easily as they had come in, and dropped to the streets below, where they soon blended in with the crowd.

Sayyida was found late that night by her handmaidens, and great was their cry of horror! There was much lamenting over her death, for she was beloved by her subjects. The elderly court physician, weeping over her body, could only shake his head and proclaim that she had died of a seizure. Alexander chose his poison well; no trace of it could be found. They had no reason to believe that it was anything but natural causes. The truth would not be known until much later.

Not until 14 years had passed, when her grandson was kidnapped, did her trusted advisors find out who was involved in this horror. At that time, Sayyida's grandson, Butil was kidnapped and held for ransom. In vain, did his anguished father, Hasan, search for his abductors, but they could not be found. Instead a note demanding much payment of gold was sent to the palace. For days, Hasan paced the palace, weeping and tearing his clothes at the thought of his beloved son in the hands of assassins, but as much as he longed to send the payment to redeem his son, he could not. To do so would forever place his country at the mercy of any opportunist, any thief, any terrorist who wished to make demands. In spite of the great grief and loss, which it would cause him, he was forced to ignore the demands of the tormentors. He spent his time in prayer and fasting, hoping that they would be persuaded to show mercy to the boy, to be sympathetic to his youth and innocence. Throughout Lybia, his subjects echoed his hopes and prayers, and many bitter tears were wept on the boy's behalf.

It was fruitless, however, for the boy's body was discovered in a gutter in the streets, almost mutilated past recognition. What kind of monsters would torture such a child to no purpose? The threatening message "Next time you will pay" was etched into his skin, and everyone shuddered to look at him. Again, his father wept in anguish and despair. His advisors feared that he would hardly survive the experience. They were afraid to tell him what clue they did find, for it would certainly plunge the country into war, and they felt he could hardly be trusted to lead such a crusade at that time. Crusade it would be, for clenched in the boy's fist, so tightly they could barely open the fingers was a tiny crucifix with the Papal insignia on it, a small relic but one that was unmistakable. Butil held in his hand the cross of the Pope himself, Clement IX, who had carried on his predecessor's vengeance against Lybia.

Still, who would believe such a thing? The advisors kept counsel to themselves in regards to this matter, for it seemed that no good would come of revealing it. It was better that Hasan not know, and it was better that they not smear the name of the Papal office, when none would believe the truth. So they kept these thoughts and suspicions to themselves, and did not reveal them until Awab ascended the throne, for at that time they finally obtained the proof they needed.

Across the great waters, in the Spanish countryside, a man, one Olaf Svengard, lay dying in a monastery high in the hills of Castille. In life, he had been a thief and murderer, capable of any kind of crime, unafraid even of God. But in his last days, he suddenly grew afraid of the life he had lived, and felt a need to be absolved of all his sins. Clutching the robes of the monks who surrounded his bed, he began to gabble of all the foul deeds that he and his brother, long dead, had committed together. Shaking their heads, the monks felt disinclined to believe that these crimes could be forgiven, but they gave him last rites, as was their duty. In this way, they learned of his involvement in the assassination of Sayyida and in the kidnapping and death of Butil, both deeds, he confessed, at the express wish of the Church, and heavily financed by it. The monks resolved to keep this information to themselves, and never reveal it to another, but by one means and another, it came back to the ears of the Emir of Lybia.

Awab trembled with rage when he heard the news, and he swore revenge for the senseless murders of his family. History will bear me out that he obtained this revenge, when he slew the heads of the Catholic Church for their part in this treachery, when he razed their city full of evil and perversion to the ground, when he sowed their lands with salt, and when he set fire to the remains. In full measure, he obtained his vengeance, and in full measure, did those guilty of the crimes pay. Yet, never did he recover from the sorrow of losing his grandmother and brother, and never did he cease to long for their presence here on earth. To this day, on the anniversaries of both their births and deaths, the nation of Lybia mourns in sadness for those cut down in their youth; on both their graves are placed the giant scarlet petals of poppy flowers, which rest on their tombs like large red drops of blood.

NewsFax Entries

1471-1474 (T97)
Syria: A number of Berber spies were expelled from this life in a messy and colorful manner. The old Capetian French armaments factory at Cairo was nationalized by the Guild Council, an action that met with much protest and disagreement in the Council. This was exacerbated by rioting in Alexandria and Cairo by the Coptic minorities there. Rioting that presaged larger acts...

FIRE: Various debates within the Religious councils of the FIRE Senate were partially stilled with the construction of the new Coptic Holy City of New Salem on the coast of Makurra. Some radical elements, however, continued to agitate for the recapturing of Alexandria from the Syrians. These factions were quieted by the rescue of Alexandria and the shrines there from the Arab threat in 1474 by the Northern Army.

Berbers: Hussien and his advisors, tired of the endless machinations regarding the Syrians, decided to go for the throat. To this end, they picked up the Legion's contract after Marseilles had been seized, and dispatched them to the Middle East - along with numerous other armies. The minor rioting on the part of the Coptic minorities in Egypt broke out into general civil war between the Copts and the Arabs there. This was followed by the intervention of the FIRE northern army to protect both the Coptic populations there and the shrines at Alexandria. With the arrival of the Coptic army, the various Arab rioting groups were crushed and the region placed under "temporary" FIRE administration. The army commanded by the Persian general Halif, meanwhile, kept itself aloof from the internal squabbles - except for sacking Cairo and confiscating all the artillery they could find. Now in open rebellion against everyone, and refusing Berber offers of alliance, Halif and his troops marched west, declaring a Shi'ite nation. To this end, the Persians overran Cyrenaicea, Tripolitania, Marzuk, and Lybia.

Lybia: Diplomacy: Lybia(a)
Trade Partners: (0C) None
The Persians were rebellious!

1475-1478 (T98)
Lybia: Diplomacy: None
Trade Partners: (0C) None
The Lybians were content to rule their small nation.

1479-1482 (T99)
Lybia: Diplomacy: None
Trade Partners: (0S) None
The Shi'ites content to remain as they were.

1483-1486 (T100)
Lybia: Diplomacy: None
Trade Partners: (0S) None
The Shi'ites prepared to conquer the world.

1487-1490 (T101)
Lybia: Diplomacy: Tunisia(f)
Trade Partners: (0+0S) None
The Lybians smashed the Warglans and added them to their now expanding realm.

1491-1494 (T102)
Lybia: Diplomacy: Ain Salah(f), Taghaza(a)
Trade Partners: (1+0S) FIRE, Sweden

The Lybians expanded greatly and were very smug.

1739-1740 (T205)
AEIC: Despite the various reverses of the past years, the Albanians remained steadfast - and busy. A number of high profile projects were launched (including an aerial hotel and casino called the Grand Albanian) and a public project in the city of Alexandria to rebuild the old Library there.

Denmark: Claudia, having reviewed the latest reports from Egypt, and having read the personal letters from her commanders in the field there (Tiechman and Rossolimo) signed an Imperial Decree asserting the sovereignty of the Empire (by her marriage to the prince Skikda) over those provinces still controlled by the Emir of Libya and his descendants. "Order," she declared in a rather grim, irritated tone, "will be restored.#"

#The particulars of the edict, in fact, ordered the Imperial Army to establish direct control over those lands - in preparation for their transfer to the control of a reliable power (presumably Carthage) - save for the province of Mansura, which was declared a direct Imperial possession, to be administered by a Governor for the state.

Libya: Now secure in his suzerainty thanks to the huge Danish army encamped in Egypt, Beni Saida decided to take a vacation and poke around in the ancient tombs and ruined cities of Lower Egypt. And indeed, he and his cohort Mashir managed to get into a bit of trouble (and Mashir ended his days in the maw of a jackal of unusual size), while Saida escaped with some crumbling, ancient trinkets. Unfortunately, while he was playing among the tombs, a decision had been made in distant Venice.

Without warning, the Danish troops encamped around Alexandria rushed to enter the city on a cold spring morning of April, '39. At the same moment, the Danish steam-ship squadron at Canopus chugged into position to blockade the port, and the sky was filled with the fat, gray shapes of Imperial Air Corps zeppelins. Under the command of Sir Carl Schlechter, the expeditionary force leapt to seize control of the province and the Libyan state.

General Darrah (who held command of the Libyan garrison of the port and capital) was taken entirely by surprise. Before he could react, or his men could even rush from their barracks, Danish commandoes had seized him, and the garrison was waking at gun-point. The entire government was seized as well.

Only Beni Saida escaped - having already left for the desert. One of his servants managed to warn him away from returning, and the Emir vanished into the desert with a few boon companions. Oh, he cursed Denmark and rued the day he had ever heard of Muslaima the Cleric! Swearing vengeance, he sidled away over the dunes. "I will return," he muttered.

Under cover of darkness, a Danish squadron departed Krak de Chevaliers in the spring of '39, paddle-wheels groaning in the water, the bright flare of coal-flames leaping from the iron stacks of steamship boilers. Captain Shlechter was taking his gunboat command into southern waters, to find and meet his Empress on the far side of the world.

Teichman, now in command of the army in Egypt, spent the rest of '39 and '40 subduing the provinces of Faiyum (and taking Meroe after a bitter siege) and improving relations with the lords of Thebes (who were well pleased to have picked the winning side already.) He did not have time to deal with the tribes of Ghebel-Garib or Aswan (much less the nest of Swedes at St. Gustavus).

1741-1742 (T206)
Denmark: The Empress tarried in Venice for a few months, and sees that her sister has things well under control (although, what with the persistent problems in the hinterlands, the sisters discuss the creation of a House of Representatives or some such to increase the cohesion of the Empire). She soon grew restless, and so she took ship to Mansura to finish the work of cleaning up after the Libyan meltdown.

In Alexandria the Empress took under command no less than forty thousand Imperial veterans (as well as her own Guard, who had served with her for so long). Some housekeeping was dealt with and preparations made to turn the province over to Carthaginian administration. Then, with Rossolimo in tow, the Empress marched her army south into Ghebel-Garib. The tribesmen - long a fractious and unruly lot - refused to negotiate and the Danish army spent a goodly portion of '41 chasing the desert people around, then besieging St. Gustavus.

After capturing the port, Oniko continued south into Aswan, where an equally grueling campaign in the blazing heat followed, and the city of Dungunab was captured (and the Libyan emir Beni Saida chased out). Then - at last satisfied with the "cleanup" she marched her men back to Krak-de-Chevailers to rest and recuperate.

Carthage: The newly promoted General Hanno was also tasked with taking over administration of a new territory - in this case, the province of Egypt and the sprawling metropolis of Alexandria - where the Carthaginians were not exactly welcome. Luckily, Hanno arrived with a strong garrison and proved to be moderate and temperate administrator. He also alleviated a potential problem by immediately shipping out all of the Libyan clerks, ministers and paper-pushers captured by the Danes. They could toil over their desks in Augostina, far from the Alexandrine mob.

Lybia: Grey-clad assassins nearly murdered Beni Saida in Dungunab, but the Emir managed to escape, and just in time too, for a Danish army was soon shelling the walls of the town. Much, much later the Emir reappeared in the Azores, which was the sole province remaining to him. There he closeted himself with religious papers and books, seeking to find some hope in the words of the Lord.

1743 – 1744 T207
Much to the despair of the tiny community of Libyan expatriates living on the Azores, their noble leader Beni Saida died of congestive heart failure at the beginning of ’43. This left his widow Fatima in charge, and she set about making sure there was food to eat and water to drink and the garbage was taken out. There was some small hope of regaining their homeland – if a suitable patron could be found – but even that faint gleam of hope vanished when prince Skikda suddenly arrived by on an Islander merchantman.

“I am here!” The prince – now emir – proclaimed upon his arrival. Fatima was truly disgusted, but she was also a proper wife and accepted her son’s rule – even if she thought he was a dolt. Of course, he was also a dolt who claimed to be Emperor of Danes (by marriage to his late wife, Claudia, who had imprisoned him on Capri and considered just shooting him like a dog at one point.)

1745 – 1746 T208
Swedish Russia: Following the evacuation of the Swedish settlers in Idjil and the port of Sayyida Ifni, the local Libyan government reasserted itself.

Lybia: A courier boat came from the Afriqan coast with surprising news – the Swedish army had abandoned its garrison of Idjil and the port city of Sayyida Infi, allowing the pro-Libyan governor there to reassert control of the region and town. Skikda was filled with joy – now he controlled two provinces!

Further good news arrived courtesy of the Danish Empire (which was a little distracted) – they had withdrawn their garrison from the upper Egyptian province of Thebes and its town of Al’Hasan. As it happened, one of Skikda’s cousins was the local chieftain and he declared his renewed allegiance for the ‘true emir.’ Skikda could not have been more pleased! Then a letter came saying the same thing had happened in Faiyum province!

The emir wept with joy – four provinces! A miracle!

1747 – 1748 T209
Carthage: Meantime, in Egypt, General Hanno had taken the field against the Libyan enclave of Faiyum. As the province was not defended at all, the Carthaginians won an easy conquest.

Libya: The Emir stayed home, grumbled no one was paying his claim to the Danish throne any attention at all and sulked in his study. Often he refused to come out at dinner-time. He did, however, emerge for his mother’s funeral, for old Fatima finally died, languishing in exile.

1749 – 1750 T210
Libya: Though he had big plans to claim the throne of Denmark from the ‘usurper’ Georg Dushan, Skikda fell ill for most of ’49 and ’50 and could not get out of bed. So his Imperial dreams would have to wait…

1751 - 1752 T211
Libya: Despite plaguing the Danish regency for money, Skikda received not so much as a copper sou. Disconsolate, he betook himself to the Azores where he personally supervised the eviction of those remaining Italian and French Catholics still grubbing in the volcanic soil and sweating under the Hussite lash. They were replaced by a throng of the Emir's adherents, making the island province Hussite.

1753 - 1754 T212
The Past: Imperial Venice, the Skywatch Tower near the Arsenal, late spring 1744: "How long?" Claudia felt her heart seize up, her breath grow short.

"A day, perhaps." Cassini turned to his assistant, Calvaire. The Frenchman shook his head sadly. "One is already shining red - we think friction heats such objects as they enter the ocean of air around our world."

"Damn!" Claudia looked back to the sky. "You old fools should have informed me days ago!" She bolted back down the stairs. "Get my son aboard an airship, right now!"

Gathering her emotions, she stopped hard and turned. "No. I'll take the airship instead. Send Ameur south, by land."

"You-" she said, pointing to her grizzled guardsman - "take your best horse and ride hard for the Apennines." She kissed the young Prince good-bye and continued her flight down the stairs. "For Denmark's sake we must be separated."

Essemann shrugged. He'd been given tougher assignments before.

In the stables, the guardsman checked the hooves and flanks of the horses with steady efficiency. Ameur, who was but four, was wailing steadily. He did not like this stranger with the sharp bristly beard, nor the way he smelt of horseflesh and stale tobacco. The boy's regard mattered little to Essemann. He bound the Prince neatly with the rest of the necessities, the child's cries muffled by a gag.

Essemann's final preparation was to select a brand. In little time he had the iron glowing brightly as the baleful star looming in the southern sky. He then bared Ameur's scapula, and said with some small amount of kindness: "This is going to hurt, lad. But you're a possession of the Danish Empire now."

Sixteen hours later the sky over Venice convulsed with a pressure wave thrown aside by the plunging asteroid shrieking down upon the city and the Veronan countryside. Zeppelins in flight - and there were many fleeing the doomed city - were slammed to earth, shredded beyond recognition. An enormous scream of distorted air roared out. The Adriatic flattened, then heaved, smashing ships like kindling. Nearly every building, church, warehouse and factory in Verona province was smashed to the ground by the supersonic blast.

Claudia, her scientists and her family - attempting to flee across the barrier of the Alps by zeppelin - were killed when the stormfront rolled across their aerial convoy and tore them all to bits. Not one airship survived, even the Grand Baklovakian which had been carrying the Imperial family to safety.

Essemann, in contrast, had made good time south into the Apennines. He was in Parma, in the process of commandeering his third horse. The boy had hardly struggled, and slept stuporously until well after they'd forded the river Po. It therefore all the more a shock for him to realize his young charge had vanished as he saddled the horse.

Essemann grunted with fury, beady eyes searching out the doorways and streets leading away from the inn. Around him, the wind began to roar.

Calabria, Early Spring 1754: The nuns of the Convent of Santa Clara had done so much over the years to help the steady flow of refugees from Italy. Many had come from as far as Sicily and Calabria. Most had found a semblance of peace, and a new home.

Saddest for the Mother Superior were the orphans. In the decade since Satan's Blow she'd done her best to feed, clothe and educate them all. One young orphan, now fourteen, remained a continuing problem. He was moody and willful, given to rages and petulance. Often he would sit alone at the edge of the orphanage gardens, picking at a scab which never healed.

"Find my son. I know that he still lives" wrote the Emir.

The agent clutched the Emir's letter between two cool, gloved hands and considered his options. He stood outside a convent, studying a group of children at play.

"Bah, the sentimental fool! How could anyone have survived such a calamity?" he thought. "That Berber housekeeper of his has persuaded him of this."

"No matter," thought the agent, smoothing his tanned and hairless scalp and resetting his small spectacles firmly upon his nose. "I doubt the Emir would recognize his own spawn if he saw him. Regardless, this one boy does bear a passing resemblance to the late Regent."

He nodded his head, a decision reached.

"Lad, you're a possession of the Lybian government now."

Libya: Seeking to strike a balance in his tiny realm between the Hussite and Catholic powers around him, Skikda began to pursue a policy of religious reconciliation, as well as contributing heavily to orphanages and nunneries maintained by both faiths. His public condemnation of the Lullite heresy was almost immediately followed by his death (apparently of natural causes) in a riding accident on the slopes of Sierra de Santa Barbara in the Azores.

While everyone scurried about, wailing about the Emir's death, the loyal Shivta arrived in haste, on a chartered Albanian merchantman, with a scared young man in tow. No sooner than the two travelers had arrived in Sayyida Ifni than word came racing up out of the south - carried by a rider on a near-dead horse - that the Berber tribes of the Wadan and the Arguin had roused themselves, grown fat on decades of good rains, and now swept north - covering the land, their spears a forest of shining stars, the dust cloud of their passage blanketing the sun.

The city was gripped by a terrible fear and panic roiled the air like spilled ink.

"Master Shivta?" Ameur turned to his unexpected guardian. The older man was pale, his spectacles misted with sweat, wondering if the bare six hundred soldiers in the city could withstand the countless numbers of the desertmen. "You tell me my blood is the blood of kings. That my mother was regent of the greatest, boldest Empire the world has seen. You say I am a prince of men?"

"Aye lad," Shivta answered, looking at the boy, seeing a gleam in his eye, a straightness in his chin which he had not marked before. "You are all those things."

"Then I will defend my city. Bring me a horse, a rifle, a blade… all the things a man needs to do his duty."

Ameur rode out, accompanied only by Shivta and a handful of guardsmen. As the messenger had said, the southern horizon was a pall of dust and the earth trembled with the sound of hooves. The prince chose a hill overlooking the trade-way from distant Nouadihibou and sat on a boulder, cross-legged, waiting.

A day passed and then the Arguin and the Wadan poured into the valley, manes flying, hooves flashing, a constant irresistible flood… three tall captains rode at the forefront of the host and then cantered up the road until the lone boy on the rock came into view. Then all three paused, dust swirling around the fetlocks of their mares, and one of them drew back the scarf across his noble nose.

"Is that old Shivta I see, cowering behind a stone in ambush?"

Before the old man could reply, Ameur waved him to silence. "Who are you - and who are these men - who come into the lands of Lybia without leave?"

"I am Jafir," the long-nosed one replied with a laugh. "We will not pause long, shepherd, or disturb your flocks. We go to seek audience with my master the Emir, with the Emperor."

"You have found him then," Ameur replied, rising to stand against the pale blue sky. "My father is dead and I was lost - but now I am found and live again. My flocks are many - men and women alike - and you are among them, I think. Though lost, perhaps, as I was. You've the look of a goat who easily goes astray."

Such was the surprise on Jafir's face that both the shekyhs of the Wadan and the Arguin laughed aloud and ever after called him 'Goat.'

1755 - 1756 T213
Renamed to the Christian Sharifate of Mauritania.

The Emirs

  • Ameur bin Skikda 1753-
  • Skikda 1743-1753
  • Beni Saida 1741-1743
  • Yusuf Senussi 1704-????
  • Awab Senussi 1690-1704
  • Hasan Senussi 1660-1690
  • Sayyida Senussi 1639-1660
  • Sidi Yusuf Senussi 1630-1639
  • Sidi Beloul Senussi 1603-1630
  • (unknown) 1542-1602
  • Borodur Al-Kwarzhir 1530-1541
  • Mehemen Al-Kwarzhir 1513-1530
  • Halif Pahlavi-Shan 1471-1513

The Players

  • T208-date (1744-date) (open)
  • T205-T207 (1739-1743) Bob Gurley
  • T155-???? (1637-????) Ellen Bennett
  • T154 (1635-1636) (open)
  • T146-T153 (1619-1634) Tim Schaller
  • T145 (1617-1618) (open)
  • T138-T144 (1603-1616) Brian McCue
  • T118-T137 (1542-1602) (unknown)
  • T115-T117 (1533-1541) Brian McCue
  • T114 (1530-1532) (open)
  • T100-T113 (1483-1529) Mitchell Mock
  • T97-T99 (1471-1482) (open)

Last updated: 23 December 2004

© 2002 Robert Pierce © 2004 Martin Helsdon

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