Prester John, Kingdom of

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Information

Prester.gif
Modern flag
Presterold.gif
Earlier flag
Foundation: 1641-date (T157-Date)
Capital:

  • Maclan in Tunwhang (????-Date)
  • Karakocho in Jungaria (1641-????)

Religion: Sunni Islam

By Rob Peirce & Graham Donald & Martin Helsdon.

Description

A strange place where the leaders have Scottish names, a Christian namesake for their kingdom, and a thoughly Muslim populace.

The Kingdom of Prester John was founded by the Scots mercenary Douglas Mac Clure in 1641.

History

1641-1642 T157
The Kingdom of Prester John: Diplomacy: Wusu(t), Karluk(t), Kuldja(t), Beshbalik(nt), Altai(a), Tarbagatai(t)
"Yea, for he came up out of the west at the head of a thousand lancers, pennons brights and lances sharp. He caming bearing the signs of the Lost King, and he came with companions marvellous and strange. He came unto the gates of ancient Karakocho, the Pearl of the Silk, and there found true love in the arms of the Princess Illaya, she of the dark khol eyes. There he found an failing king of ancient days that accepted him and called him son. Yea, for thus as portents and signs crowded the skies, did the one told of in prophecy come..."

Macclure.jpg

As best as the Mongol agents in the suq could determine, Mac Clure, a renegade Scotsman had been kicking around in the Middle East with a company of rapacious, hell-raising, mercenaries and other blackguards. Learning from Avar merchants of the massive power-vaccum in Central Asia he decided to try a hand at kingship. His arrival in Karakocho dropped him into an internal powere struggle between Prince Sirhan and Princess Illaya for the control of the Khaganate as their father, King Ali, was near death. After many hair-raising adventures involving cave bears, giant snakes, Sirhan's secret cult and a hidden temple, Mac Clure defeated Sirhan in single combat, hurling the traitorous prince from the cliffs above the semi-dormant volcano that Karakocho (also called the City of the Cliffs) nestles against into the simmering cauldron of the caldera.

1643-1644 T158
Prester John: Diplomacy: Dzungaria(t)
So, while the Mongols expanded and contracted like the waves of the distant sea, the Mac Clure was preparing for a spate of expansion to keep his army busy and his enemies within Karakocho off balance. Chun'Kuo Azadi and his 18,000 lancers were hired to bolster the Karacochan regulars and Mac Clure's mercenaries. Leaving Princess Illaya in command of the City of a Hundred Gates the Mac Clure marched off with the Royal Host to hew his way west to more trade.After the failure of various negotiations, the Mac Clure and his army marched out into the Osmanli steppe and ran into the combined armies of the Betpak, the Osman, the Sarabans, the Ryatka and the Palavoi. The Mac Clure stared in astonishment at the vast horde of screaming horsemen charging towards his somewhat smaller army. Where did these quarrelsome nomads, ever at each others throats, find a common leader to unite them? How did they learn of his plans to carve a western road to the Urals and trade? What was this banner of the Green Skull that led them? Undaunted by the swarming masses of enemy horse the Karakochans stood their lines and prepared for the shock of a massed cavalry charge.

The Mac Clure commanded 31,000 staunch troops against the 40,000 howling nomads. Once the nomadic lancers had charged to within cannon range, the Scottish crewed batteries opened fire and the sweeping lines of men and guns and horse soon vanished in a murky swirl of charge, counter-charge and brutal melee. The nomads soon learned the folly of attempting to best a modern army and were scattered to the winds. The Khan of Ryatka was slain and - surprise, surprise - Prince Sirhan (last seen plummetting into the raging volcanic heart of the Voice of Allah) was slain by an exploding ammunition cassion. His mangled body was paraded before the army as a sign of victory. The Mac Clure forced tribute from the Osman, the Ryatka and the Sarabans as a result.

Meantime, on the southern frontier of the realm, Azadi and his lancers, accompanied by a certain Russian scientist, had marched south over the Tien Shans through Suachu (avoiding the Mongols) and into Kucha. There negotiations with the locals quickly broke down and Azadi was forced to beat the living daylights out of the Kucha and their cousins the Sinkiang.

1645-1646 T159
Prester John: Diplpomacy : Tarbagatai(t), Altai(f), Chuguchak(nt)
Freed of the plottings of Sirhan, the MacClure returned from his western ventures to resume direct rule of the Kingdom, spending a great deal of time in the company of the Princess. While Iskander-Returned attempted to begat a few heirs, Corrigan plunged on into the west with a force of 25,000 horse and hacked his way through Betpak, Tarhain and into Otrar, forcing all to bow to the banners of Iskander.

NewsFax Entries

1739-1740 (T205)
Prester John: Diplomacy: None you're going to hear about...
Lewis' agents and lieutenants continued to labor, trying to reclaim the lands and cities lost to the Ice. The provinces of Jungaria and Beshbalik were settled to 2 GPv. Unfortunately, the city of Karakocho remains a demon-haunted ruin, tenanted only by the dead and dreadful memories. Princess Megan commanded a strong force of men (and three of the precious zeppelins) to watch over the settlers in Jungaria, while the khans of Kucha, Sinkiang and Suzhou protected those in Beshbalik.

Old John Heinrich was dispatched off to see what had happened to the outpost city of Shagonar in Ugria, but his heart gave out during the crossing into Tanu and his men brought him back to Maclan on a litter of spears.

1741-1742 (T206)
Prester John: Diplomacy: Some
Things continued to (slowly) recover in the lands of the Prester - the Silk Route re-opened with the snow clearing from the passes in Kashgar and Ferghana - while the city of Karakocho was resettled to 2 GPv. The continuing improvement of relations with the khan of the Gurvan (and his Moslem allies throughout the Gobi) led to the opening of trade with the Manchu.

Judah: Yui-Yen also kept a weather eye on the north, where the tribes of the Gobi and beyond were becoming restive - though seemingly restrained by the Prester John - at least for now.

Afghanistan: Trade was opened with the Prester John over the passes into Kashgar, which everyone hoped would bring wealth, riches and... more goats... to the shahdom.

1743-1744 (T207)
PM&T: The Trustees ... leased out a sizable number of mercenaries to the Ming and lent a general or two to the Prester John.

Prester John: Diplomacy: A great quraltai was called, summoning all of the khans and chiefs of the people to Maclan...

Khagan Lewis gathered all to him at Maclan, and there he put to the assembled tribes, clans and families a proposal. "Our friends in Persia, and across the sea of salt, have sent us messages, begging our aid in a great war against the darkness of the Ice. They say one stronghold of the Ice Lords remains, and they hold the holy city of Jerusalem in their clawed fist. They have sent us gifts..." And Lewis disbursed into the vast crowd countless presents of gold and silver coin, worked cloth, iron bar, silk, cacao bean, and other valuable things.

"They summon us to battle, and the teachers and judges who remember the holy word of the Prophet have issued a fatwa calling upon all men to raise their swords in defense of Islam. Those who might perish in this holy war will live in paradise, and there they will eat of every goodly fruit, and taste every earthly delight."

The Khagan spoke for a day and a night, whereupon followed lengthly discussion amongst the tribes. In the end, a great many chieftains agreed to follow Lewis (and his Mongol general Bantag Yen) to the war in the uttermost west. These included the khans of Kucha, SInkiang, Suzhou and the Gurvan. The clans who had lived in the Tarim, the Tsinghai and the Tsaidam were also eager to find new, rich lands for their flocks - for those southern provinces were beginning to fail now the Ice had receded and the north rains did not come[1]. Many others decided to stay, and accepted Lewis' daughter Meegan as their queen.

So a vast and lengthy column departed Maclan in the spring of '43, winding endlessly into the west. Behind them, the sky darkened and the sun swam up as through a sea of blood... a febrile dimness filled the upper air in the east, and followed the marching columns of the Gurvan and others as they rode west.

(1) And you thought the Ice was all bad... hah!

Persia: The throng of the Prester John tribesmen passed through Persia in '43 and '44, clogging the roads with endless lines of armored men ahorse, and bleating flocks of goats and sheep and kine. Yurts rumbled past old Samarkhand and Bokhara, covering the fields from horizon to horizon, and the dust they turned with their great wheels ascended to a steadily darkening sky. At the end of '44, the Prester John had reached the lowlands of Hahmar, and all the nomads marveled at the richness of the fields and the swamps and the numbers of the birds in the sky and heaviness of the soil.

They also stared in amazement at the enormous wreckage left by terrible floods on the Tigris in '44, which laid waste to large portions of Abadan and Hahmar provinces.

The War Against the Beast (AD 1743-1744):
October 1744: The Persians managed to reach Al Wan in Zagros before being forced to halt for the winter. The province is crowded with refugees from further west. Worse, the Prester John and the Gurvan have also arrived with their vast flocks, thousands of yurts and endless contingents of rowdy nomadic warriors. The province feels very small and the harvests are already paltry.

Afriqa Co.: In the interests of acquiring future business, a tidy sum was dispatched in letters of credit (on Persian banks) to aid the Prester John in finding a new home in the land between the two rivers.

1745–1746 T208
Prester John: Princess Megan, who had been left behind in Maclan when all the menfolk marched off west to fight the “great evil” came to the reluctant conclusion her husband, her father and almost everyone else she knew – were not going to come back. “Fine,” she said in a particularly surly voice, “I’ll just do everything myself.”

The War Against the Daemon Sultan (AD 1743-1746)
March 1745: Lewis Corrigan, the khan of the Prester John and war-leader of the nomadic host in Zagros, is badly wounded by two tribesmen while inspecting the Gurvan umens. The Gurvan claim their innocence – blaming some Pashtun mercenaries no one had ever seen before -- but bad blood is drawn between the Prester and the easterners.
April: In Zagros, fighting breaks out between the Gurvanites and the Prester regiments. Tegi of the Gurvan has learned of a counter-plot by Lewis’ clansmen to murder him. The Sinkiang and the Suzhou khans follow his lead.
Early May: In Zagros, the feud between the Gurvanites and the Prester John splits the nomadic host and the Daemon Sultan and his army plow into the Persians. A furious battle erupts and though the Gurvanites were not pawns of the Georgians, they find themselves fighting side by side.
At Shalamzar, the Imperial Persian host numbered 89,000 men and 50 airships. Fighting at their side were 12,000 Prester John troopers and 6 airships. Against them, Rashid mustered 42,000 Georgians (and nearly 100 airships) and now 52,000 Gurvanites. Things do not go well for the Persians – Jehan and Lewis are trying to command from a litter and young Al’Qadir has never tried to maneuver so many men at once. Luckily, the Persians are superbly trained, they’ve spent the last three months preparing for an attack and they’ve even had time to drill beside the Prester John troops.
Rashid does not have this luxury – his men and the Gurvanites have never even seen one another before – and confusion quickly marks their efforts on the battlefield. Yet Rashid is not troubled, he has learned much from his struggles against Oniko. He orders the Gurvanites to swing wide to the right while his zeppelins hammer the Persian center. Within the day, a huge brawl erupts, centered on the Persian left. The Prester John troops splinter under the aerial attack and the wing collapses. The Gurvanites storm into the flank and the entire Sunlander front reels back.
Al’Qadir retreats tenaciously into Shir-Kuh, harried by the Gurvanite lancers, but more than three-quarters of his army is gone. Miraculously, he manages to extricate part of the army, though Shah Jehan and the entire Prester John army are among the dead.

Afriqa Co.: Scrupulous as ever, the Company disbursed large sums to the Republican government and also dispatched humanitarian aid to Persia, so the Prester John ‘refugees’ might be able to find a home.

1747–1748 T209
Prester John: Diplomacy Kucha(nt), Sinkiang(nt)
Faced with nothing less than a crisis of faith in the ability of the government to rule after the disaster of the Mesopotamian campaign and the deaths not only of the Khagan and the khan of the Gurvanites, but also of nearly every fighting man in the kingdom, Queen Megan summoned a jirga of the clan headmen to advise her in how to proceed. While the elderly hetmen gathered in Maclan, everyone else was busy expanding the cities of Maclan in Tuhnwhang, Hami in Turfan and Anxi in Yumen.

As it happened, Megan knew what she wanted the jirga to approve – a nation governed by a compact between the people, the clansmen and the royal family; embodied in the jikhe tsaaz (or constitution) which defined the roles of the royal family, the jirga, the clansmen, the people and the tsets (the courts). A great deal of wrangling and complaining followed, but Megan was very stubborn.

1749–1750 T210

Princess Denise Anna Corrigan in a good mood

Prester John: Diplomacy Kucha(ea), Sinkiang(a)
The Queen showed great foresight, endowing the scholars of her realm with many pensions, grants and gifts. The city of Maclan expanded, making it one of the largest cities along the Silk Road, and many farms were cut from the dusty soil of Yumen. Megan also removed the disruptive, willful influence of Princess Denise from the court by marrying her off (at a hissing, spitting, sweet sixteen) to the khan of the Sinkiang.

1751-1752 T211
Prester John: Queen Megan minded her own knitting and advises you to do the same.

1753-1754 T212
Prester John: Diplomacy Kucha(^f)
The daily life of the denizens of Maclan was mildly disturbed by the Queen's Engineers busily building postal throughways from Tuhnwang west to Hami in Turfan and east to Anxi in Yumen. Beyond the clouds of dust, the ringing of hammers and the shouts of the overseers, little of note occurred.

1755-1756 T213
Prester John: Minded their own business.

1757-1758 T214
Prester John: Untroubled by all the trouble elsewhere (and no one had molested their goats), Megan’s work-crews continued to toil in the desert. Royal roads were built from Maclan to Anxi and Hami.

1759–1760 T215
Prester John: Diplomacy Spoiled by the Gurvanites
While Queen Megan took pains to train and hire more scribes, clerks and men skilled with the abacus, two of her nobles were sent east to speak with the khan of the Tangut. Unfortunately, the wise and temperate words of Yissu-Temur and Ochigin fell on deaf ears – the Tangut and their masters the Hsia-Hsia wished to bring war and terror to the soft Christians living in the fat lands to the south.

Troubled, the embassy returned to the Queen in haste.

Megan was wary to learn this – the Gurvanite expansion had already cut the overland trade route to Judea – taking with it an enormous portion of the nations’ tax revenues. Further war would only lessen the prospect of restoring the caravan route... Prudently, the Queen ordered the city of Anxi, in Yumen, fortified.

Another city, Kashi, was established in Kashgar, at the end of the Persian highway over the great mountains.

Afghanistan: For his part, Ahmad Durrani had been very, very careful to keep out of the wars in India. His mountain kingdom was more than enough trouble for him – what with the feuding clans and the restive Hazaras and the Persian refugees and all of the strange religious groups creeping from cave to cave in the mountains. He had, however, joined the various kings and shahs of Persia, Iran and Prester John in settling the matter of Al’Qadir and his fate by establishing the Knights of Tamerlane.

Knights of Tamerlane: Other allotments and gifts were made by the rulers of Persia, Afghanistan, the House of Tewfik and Prester John, including lands and revenues in Samarkhand, Merv, Kophat Dagh, Rayy, Khiva, Dzambul, Ufra, Tabaristan, Transoxania, Bokhara and Sinkiang.

1761–1762 T216
Prester John: Diplomacy Datong Shan (^t)
Keeping a wary eye on the fighting in the east, the Queen shooed away a clutch of Gurvanite emissaries, sending them home empty-handed. She then turned her attentions to the construction of a postal road south-east from Anxi in Yumen into Suzhou, as well as improvements to the public facilities in Maclan itself.

Herdsmen in the high meadows of Tien Shan reported seeing queer darting lights around the mountaintops. Some of the Queen’s men rode up from Karakocho to investigate, but found no signs of airship landings or Ice activity.

1763–1764 T217
Prester John: Having completed the first section of a highway from Anxi southeast into Suzhou as a postal road, the Presters now began to build a proper highway with rest-houses, turnabouts and cisterns at regular intervals. Missionary efforts in Suachu met with some success, though the local Buddhist priests grumbled.

Queen Megan’s thoughts, meanwhile, had turned to the north:

Loyal followers of the House of Corrigan, esteemed Chiefs, and citizens of Prester John,
Long we have sat fearing the Ice that rolled down and covered our lands. But, in the last few years it has stalled and is even giving ground. Dark and evil tribes cover our former homeland, including the lost city of Shagonar. We must take back what is ours. Our struggle will be long and hard. But we shall bring the word of Mohammed to the North and they shall hear the name of Prester John once again. Tien Shan will be the first to return to the control of Prester John. Onward loyal soldiers!

The rather elderly and venal Prince John (would his aunt Megan never topple over of a heart-attack?) was, therefore, directed by the White Goddess to lead Shiktur Nayan and his six thousand uhlans against the rapacious savages of the Tien Shan highlands.

John dallied about, trying to remain in the comforts of Maclan as long as possible, but by late summer of ’63 he marched out, the far more energetic Nayan commanding the vanguard. A grim campaign ensued among the snowy peaks and dank forests. The Shanti tribesmen fought ferociously, and only the cool head of Nayan and his artillerists managed to break their resistance. Losses were heavy, and Prince John refused to leave a permanent garrison, so the conquest promised to be ephemeral.

Grivpani i’ Timurlenk: Despite their poverty, Giv Gudarz was dispatched to the east with a string of mules laden with gold to aid the Queen of Prester John in her struggle against the Ice tribes.

1765–1766 T218
Prester John: Diplomacy Tangut (^fa)
The White Goddess financed digging new wells in Yumen province, even as gangs of laborers continued to dig away at extending the Queen’s Highway down towards the Judean border. Following this, the widowed Megan also took as her new husband (in a small, tribal ceremony) the exiled Prince Bujek, khan of the now-destroyed Gurvanite kingdom. No children, however, were expected from this marriage as the Goddess was 56 years old.

The old chieftain of the Sinkiang died and his province became part of the Corrigan royal demesne.

1767–1768 T219
Prester John: Diplomacy Uigur (hostile! The embassy is forced to flee…)
Work continued apace on the road down into Suzhou, which now allowed for the swift passage of a post-rider almost all the way to the Judean frontier. Elsewhere industry was the mark of the day throughout the kingdom, which was beginning to thrive. After close consultations with the Persian government, an arrangement was brokered in the far west with the Kushans to return the fertile valley of Ferghana to Persian control… allowing trade to flow freely down the Silk Route once more.

Trade negotiations, in fact, were much the order of the day for the Corrigan regime. An accommodation was also reached with the Arfen to lease them a goodly portion of the city of Kashi as an “aerodrome” for airships carrying mail, small goods, passengers and other luxury items. Arfen agents, in fact, were quite active in the area, coming and going through their new aerodrome at Astakana in the Kushan highlands. In the east, complementing this, an embassy was dispatched to open a trade route to the Manchu through the regions frequented by the Hsia-Hsia and the Uigur… unfortunately that effort ended in disaster, and lord Yissu-Temur died while fleeing the steppe-riders.

The normally peaceful routine of the capital was broken in May of ’67 by the sudden sound of gunfire, the clash of blades and the shouting of alarmed men. Prince John, tiring at last of waiting for his elder sister to step aside, (and having recently allied himself by marriage with the influential Tangut) launched a coup against Queen Megan. Though a brute, John knew the virtue of speed, and his men had burst into Megan’s chambers and shot her dead before the alarm was even fairly raised.

Within the day, her adherents had been forced to flee, or were murdered, and John was king in Maclan at last.

Kingdom of the Kushans: The Great Prince – approached by embassies from both Persia and Prester John – agreed to sell the valley of Ferghana to Persia in exchange for suitable monies, grain and general good will.

Safavid Persia: With the assistance of the Kushites, trade along the old Silk Road in the east re-opened, pleasing many merchants with long-standing interest in the lands ruled by Prester John.

Khagan of Karakocho, The Incarnated One, The White God, Wolf-Brother of the Altai, Iskander Returned!

(House of Corrigan)

  • John Corrigan 1767-Present

Megan.jpg

  • Megan Corrigan 1744-1767
  • Lewis Corrigan 1721-1744
  • Richard Corrigan 1690-1721
  • Malcolm Corrigan 1668-1690
  • Grant “Crash” Corrigan 1660-1668

(House of MacClure)

  • Douglas MacClure 1641-1660

Players

  • T215-date (1759-date) Adam Rautio
  • T214 (1757-1758) Keith Trinkle
  • T209-T213 (1747-1756) Anne Baldwin
  • T208 (1745-1746) (open)
  • T206-T207 (1741-1744) Ben Lynch
  •  ????-T205 (1739-1740) Seth Zuckerman
  • T178-???? (1699-????) Joel Halfwassen
  • T177 (1681-1682) (open)
  • T165-T176 (1657-1680) Robert Ervin

Last updated: 20 January 2005

© 2003 Robert Pierce © 2005 Martin Helsdon

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