Tewfik, Noble House of

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Information

Tewfik.gif
Foundation: 1699-date (T186-date)
Headquarters:

  • Al’Harkam in Carmania from 1745
  • Basra until 1745

Religion: Sunni Islam

By Rob Pierce and updated by Martin Helsdon

Description

In 1706 (T187) "fighting broke out in (the Yasarid capital of) Amon Sûl between the lackeys of the Albanian East India Co. and the House of Tewfik over control of the docks, the warehouses and the slave trade. After a series of pitched street battles between the two factions the civil government clamped down and threw most of the staff of each factor into gaol to think about it for awhile."

The History:

Still to be written.

NewsFax Entries

1739-1740 (T205)
Tewfik: Having recovered his equilibrium, Solomon ordered his fleet to sea. These Hussite dogs were no better than pirates and were plaguing the sea lanes - now they would pay for their dishonorable affronts! Busir and Inuma, joined by a squadron of sunburned Swedes from St. Gustavus, sortied into the Gulf of Oman with almost a hundred ships, mostly brand new, their rigging taut, their guns gleaming like the sun.

Back home in Basra, however, the sleep of the householders was rudely broken by a thundering explosion, then the sound of gunfire. A band of Hussite commandoes had attacked the Tewfik shipyards, where a certain Tipo Argir lay in chains. Massacring the guards, the pirate was freed by his friends and they escaped into the night, the whistles and drums of the police filling the night.

Moments later, the fire-watch began ringing its alarm bars, for diversionary explosions set by the Hussites had blown apart a granary near the docks. Six thousand tons of wheat (recently arrived from China) ignited with a deafening explosion. An entire city block was flattened, and an enormous fire started. Thousands of Persian citizens flooded into the streets, panicked. The civil guard rushed to restore order, but found their guns, riot-control staves and other equipment locked in warehouses.

Efforts to open the doors triggered another series of explosions, killing hundreds of guardsmen. Meanwhile, the fires raged out of control, wrecking the port and devastating part of the city. In the marshy swamps along the Shaat-al-Arab, Tipo Argir looked back at the billowing clouds of black smoke over the city and bit his thumb at the House of Tewfik.

At sea, the combined Moslem fleets of Tewfik and Yasarid enjoyed a victorious '39, capturing hundreds of ships, enforcing a stiff blockade of the Arnor coast and generally doing as they pleased. Their haul was enormous in terms of ships, gold and slaves, though far smaller than it would have been in the years before the War Against the Ice, when the Indian sea-lanes were crowded with fat merchantmen. Still, the crews and captains were exultant.

The summer of '40 was an entirely different matter. The Arnor continued to win on land, and the wind turned, blowing up from the south with a queer feeling. The Moslem pirate fleets continued to plague the approaches to Bhuj and Schwarzkastel, but now something hunted them from the sky. The Pale Flame rode up on a monsoon wind out of the south, her fleet's prows splitting the sea like a knife, her airships thudding overhead like lean gray phantoms.[1]

Unable to evade the Danish eyes in the sky, the Moslems swung to give battle, storming forward with their great galleys and frigates in a fleet four hundred ships strong. Even the Swedish ship-captains out of St. Gustavus were eager for a fray (though they had heard what happened to fleets of wood and canvas and cordage who faced airships in battle), for these were the hated Dane and their demon-Empress. Besides, their ships were some of the finest in the world, and their crews even better. They would give nothing to these infidels!

As it happened, they were not far wrong in their estimation. Oniko of Denmark commanded only forty airships and fifty-odd ships of the Imperial Navy. Of course, thirty-six of those vessels were brand new steam gun-boats fresh from the Venice Yards. A queer flicking blue light played across her face as the Empress signaled the order to attack.

With effortless grace, her airfleet swept down upon the Moslem ships, while Shlechter's steamships turned into the wind, cutting across the line of advance of the elegant sailing ships. The first flat boom snapped across the water, and the two fleets rushed together, guns blazing, smoke clouding the sky. When next the Empress could catch her breath, the sun was setting, the two fleets still tangled in a swirling, wind- and steam-driven melee.

Three of her airships were down, their burning skeletons swallowed by the waves, and another had broken off - gondolas choking with smoke - for the Arnor shore. Six of the steamships had been sunk, their boilers exploding from a lucky shell, or overheating. One foundered, taking a heavy swell wrong, and another four just smashed to ruin by the guns of the Moslem fleet. The Yasarids and Tewfik captains had bled too - losing almost two hundred ships to the relentless hammering of the Danish steamship guns, or the plunging lances of flame cast from the zeppelins.

Stunned by their losses, the Moslem fleet broke away under the cover of night, running for the safety of Al-Harkam in Carmania. But the IDN Fiesole, lurking in the upper air, spied their flight. Despite darkness, and the wreckage of her ships, Oniko ordered all able ships to steam in pursuit. She stripped her merchantmen for crews and her guardsmen for marines.

The next day, the Moslems were forced to battle again, within sight of the Carmanian mountains and their fleets shattered. Oniko was careful not to let one ship flying the flag of St. Gustavus escape intact, though she captured many others. In this way, the blockade of Schwarzkastel was lifted.[2]

(1) The Judean-held city of Tharbad provided a convenient base for Oniko to break out her zeppelins, refit, and top up on liftgas. Then she was ready for the hunt.
(2) But, due to the length of time the Moslems had blockaded the port, the effects on trade still apply for this turn. Next turn, they will be lifted.

1741-1742 T206
Tewfik: Stunned by the destruction of their warfleet in the Gulf of Oman, the Tewfik regrouped, took inventory, and laid down the keels of a new squadron. Their trade had to be protected... and the depredations of the Hussite privateers were not likely to stop any time soon! Workers hired by the House also repaired much of the damage suffered by Abadan in the wake of the Hussite terror attack, and work began on expanding the shipyards.

News of further Hussite attacks against House properties in the Mediterranean outraged Solomon and his advisors - though their entire network in the Med was now in ruins. And the secret war being waged against the house did not limit itself to the western seas - craftsmen and clerks were found murdered in Basra, too, and a steady diet of fear was every man's ration.

Persia: The Persian navy took to patrolling the Gulf of Oman in an effort to suppress piracy and general lawlessness in the sea lanes.

Baklovakia: The Communards in Marseilles were plagued with embassies from many powers, and made out well in gifts (particularly from the Danes and the House of Tewfik) which they immediately applied to the Workers Cause (buying Danish rifles and pistols for the workers battalions.) In any case the students had determined to aid their brothers and sisters fighting in Spain, and many left the city and marched west into Navarrese territory.

In addition to taking up arms against the Royalists, the student committees in Marseilles and Seville also seized the properties of any merchant houses ("the means of production must be placed in the hands of the workers!") therein.

AEIC: A band of mercenary thugs called the "Hussite Legion", backed up by two hired airships, and led by Jan Stahlansk destroyed the offices and warehouses owned by the House of Tewfik and Nörsktrad in Constantinople and Heraclea (in Thrace). Though no public statement was made, everyone knew the Company had paid Jan to clean up a bit of a mess in their back yard.

Sweden: The foreign ministry also issued an edict forbidding trade with the Moslem House of Tewfik (presumably because they were involved in a shooting war with the Hussites...). Despite questions by the press, there were no further comments.

Carthage: The transfer of the city of Tangiers to Frankish Commonwealth control was eased, in great part, by the unexpected presence of Prince Louis of the Commonwealth in Tangiers in the days before the official hand-over. Then, after the Carthaginians left, General Ney and five thousand men of the Frankish Foreign Legion arrived to take over direct control of the city and the maintenance of public order. The police immediately made a sweep to round up any House of Tewfik agents in the city, but they found not a one.

1743-1744 T207
Tewfik: Though rocked by various attacks - and smarting from the loss of most of their trade arrangements in the Mediterranean - the Tewfik continued to plug ahead. Even the flood of Persian and Danish troops pouring into Basra did not dissuade Solomon from attempting to secure exclusive rights in Akko and Cem. Too, he sent captain Busir and a small squadron of warships down Oman to negotiate with the tribesmen there. Busir's mission met with great success, and a bride was negotiated for little Saul.

There was more sadness, however, as old sheikh Assan of Mecca passed away, leaving his holdings in the desert under Solomon's purview.

1745-1746 T208
Tewfik: “In the name of God, the compassionate, the merciful.” Solomon took his last prayers in the house of his birth, then crept out of the foyer and into the streets of a war-torn, ravaged Basra. Some buildings were still burning from the fighting between the Sunlanders and the armies of Georgia.

Amid the chaos of war and the flood of refugees, few of the Georgian garrison of Basra noticed the household of Tewfik fleeing the city. Old Solomon betook himself to Al’Harkam in Carmania, where his clerks and accountants were subjected to great privations (and no small use of his rattan cane) before they could restore some semblance of Company operations in their new home. Solomon’s wife and children simply disappeared. Everyone assumed they had been sent to Mecca for safety.

Isa abu-Ibrahim approached Mecca, riding up the long dusty road from the port village of Jiddah, and he said: “How should you not fight for the cause of God, and for the helpless old men, women and children? They say ‘Deliver us, Lord, from this city of wrongdoers; send forth to us a guardian from Your Presence; send to us from Your Presence one who will help us.’”

The War Against the Daemon Sultan
Early June: In holy Mecca, a group of Syrians break into a house once owned by the Sayyaf Adin family, but they do not find the lady Fatima or her son, who have been hidden elsewhere by their relatives. Tewfiki militia engage the raiders in a gun battle in the streets, killing two and driving off the rest. The bandits do not return.

1747 – 1748 T209
Tewfik: Grown cautious in the wake of the recent calamities (though did Solomon complain? No – “man proposes,” he was wont to say, “and Allah disposes.”) the Tewfiki stayed close to home, summoning back agents in far-away places and tended to their knitting. A fortified post was established on the Omani coast. A trade delegation was also dispatched to Ar-Raqqah to extend the best wishes and hopeful prayers of the House to the Islamic Union forming there.

1749 – 1750 T210
Old Solomon finally died – his noble heart gave out – even as company business in Al-Harkam was booming (new yards, new shops, new foundries, new everything…). His son, Saul, only received word of his father’s death a year later, as he was busy on the coast of Spain with some Latina beauties. Elsewhere, the House made good progress, though Captain Busir was nearly killed by Southern League snipers in Chabaz.

1751 - 1752 T211
Captain Busir, finding considerable success among the thriving mercantile concerns of Thai, was killed in a scuffle with some Albanian sailors - he took an icepick right between the ribs and coughed his life out in the mud of a Rangoon alley. Tensions also rose in the Mediterranean ports, where the Householders were beginning to move into markets previously the sole custody of the Albanians.

1753 - 1754 T212
Tewfik: The business of the House remained business, even as Persian and Iranian armies trampled the countryside, tore up the vineyards and generally spoilt everyone's humor. Despite the oppressive privateering activity in the Gulf of Oman by the Iranians and Javans, Tewfiki ships continued to ply those waters in relative safety, and now their reach was growing long… Saul was pleased with the prospects for profit.

He was even more pleased to return home safety and finally marry his betrothed - Ofra of Oman - who was now a sprightly fifteen. Even a daughter as firstborn did not spoil his good humor. Considerable sums were dispatched to the Islamic Union and the Persian governments. "Bah! Taxes!"

Captain Busir staggered out of an opium den in Rangoon, a little brown girl on either arm, tripped on a cobblestone and fell face down in the gutter. After the girls stole his wallet and boots he drowned, too sodden with liquor to get up. Not the best way for a good Moslem to go to meet Allah, oh no.

Lars Svenson, another House agent operating in Javan waters, met a similar end, though he was shot down by two Balinese gamblers he'd crossed.

'1755 - 1756 T213
Shahdom of Iran: In the south, Bukharm issued an edict restricting the activities of ‘mercantile concerns’ in Schwarzcastel (and thus, truly, all of Iran) to the Noble House of Tewfik. Those workshops and facatories which had been built in the city by the Albanians were granted to Tewfik as well.

Tewfik: Saul rubbed his hands together in glee – the cursed Albanians had been ejected from India and now, thanks to the graces of the Iranian shah, the Noble House had secured possession of all their investments in Schwarzcastel. Tewfiki craftsmen were immediately dispatched to examine the machines, tools and plans therein.

Despite this victory (and the welcome birth of a daughter who could help with the sewing), Saul was disturbed to learn Malik ibn-Dawud had been murdered in the Ethiopian port of Gozer, while Zayn bin-Khaleed had met a messy end in a ‘carting accident’ in Kuwait city.

1757 - 1758 T214': Shahdom of Iran: Even more troubling, the citizens of Carmania (a poor and destitute province, particularly by Persian standards) wholeheartedly embraced the Karidjite revisionism introduced by Tewfiki merchants constantly coming and going from the port.

Tewfik: Trying to ignore the slaughter next door, the Tewfiki were very busy expanding and upgrading the shipyards at Al-Harkam.

Further west, the Noble House helped the Islamic Union expand the newly rebuilt port of Antioch. Saul himself had sailed east to Schwarzcastel – but turned back upon seeing the city cloaked in a dark cloud shot with leaping flames and the distant thunder of artillery. “No business to be had there…”

Mindful of the peril slowly spreading out from India, the home office in Al-Harkam was provided with many fierce guardsmen.

1759 – 1760 T215
Baluchistan: An undisclosed number of ships were ‘lent’ to the House of Tewfik before the fleet departed.

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.

Tewfik: Hoping to foster peace in the region (ah, what folly!) the House contributed a substantial amount to the formation of the Knights of Tamerlane. They also welcomed the new political masters of the thriving port of Al-Harkam, who proved to be a grizzled old set of hill-men laden with a multitude of daggers, kindjals and pistols one and all. The workshops of the city remained in constant, busy use – day and night.

Captain al Durayd, who was supposed to be busy on house business in the Mediterranean contracted some kind of heaves and spent two full years being hauled unceremoniously from port to port, horking up his guts at each stop – and not dying. He did not, however, get anything useful done in the whole time.

In old Mecca, the imams and mullahs who consider and debate the shari’a (the religious law) for the edification of all Muslims throughout the world, sat in grave and concerned assembly. A shepherd in the bare, dry hills above the city had come upon a book sitting on a stone exposed to the sky and – being curious – had lifted it up and carried it down to one of the learned men among the faithful.

This book held revelations of an uncompromising nature. It spoke of Mohammed and Abraham and many other figures well-known to those sitting in the hall of the al-Haram mosque with the voice of one who might have seen the prophets in the flesh.

“We must decide,” the eldest said, “what to do about this... about this arif book and what it tells. If these are the words of God revealed, then we have been mistaken in many things, while correct in others.”

An angry murmur rose from the assembled priests. The eldest shook his head, white beard jutting out.

“Do not be so quick,” old Pir said in a sharp voice, “to believe yourself righteous. We are only men, and liable to imperfection. Have you even read all that is within these pages?”

The Book was heavy in his hands.

Pir searched the faces of the imams. Many were fearful, while others – ones who had actually considered the elegant writing on the samite-white pages – seemed almost transported, as if shadow had fallen from their eyes. A few had hard, closed faces.

One of the angry men – a Syrian with a robe of silk and gold – stood up and looked about, sneering at his fellows. “Are you all mad? If we take this path, a thousand years of the Prophet’s word will be thrown into the trash, forgotten, abandoned? What kind of Paradise awaits those who turn their back upon the Lord of Heaven?” He stabbed a well-manicured hand at the Book. “This is the work of Shiatan!”

“Not so!” Replied another, younger man, a mullah from the high deserts of Al’Bayad with a robe of homespun, the dust of the desert graven into the cracks of his face. “This is the Truth!”

Pir settled back on his heels, worried and concerned, to see which road the council would travel.

The deliberations of the Ulema were interrupted only weeks later when an attack was made upon the Holy Ka’ba. Men in desert robes attempted to shatter the black stone (the Meethaaq) and cast down the pieces. The guards at the site leapt to seize the men, but it was too late – the Stone had shattered into six pieces and then – to the horror of all; a noisome black cloud rolled out of the shattered artefact and the nearest guard screamed endlessly as his body was pierced by a forest of waving tendrils, each tipped with bony mouths.

The attackers squealed in fear and most fell dead on the spot. Others were driven mad and even the guardsmen (drawn from among the most devout warriors in all Islam) quailed away. The thing from the stone boiled out, slaughtering the pilgrims in the shrone. Bullets and fire failed to pierce its amorphous skin (oh, the creature had grown fat and strong in long years of worship!). Pillars toppled – fire spread through the chambers of the mosque – a black pall spread over the city.

The senior mullahs approached the scene of devastation, hearts filled with fear – all save Pir, who held the Book in his hands – and they looked upon the loathsome thing which had crawled forth from the uttermost pit, which indeed the Daemon Sultan had long ago set in the Ka’ba to tempt and sway the faithful and draw up all their piety and turn it to evil, all of those holy men save Pir fled in horror and fear, unable to face the crawling horror which was wading in the blood of the hajji.

“Peace be upon you,” Pir called out, raising his hand against the monstrous creature and reading from the Book, “O foulness, find Allah's mercy and blessings. Peace be on us and on all righteous slaves of Allah . I bear witness that no one is worthy of worship except Allah. I bear witness that Muhammad (peace be upon him ) is his slave and Messenger.

You, I cast out. You unclean thing. You I ban from the eyes of men, from the Sun, from the Earth itself!”

A light seemed to come into Pir’s face and the Book itself shone like gold. The afrit – what else could it be? – made a horrific screaming sound and the very rays of the sun pierced the dome of the temple and tore its immortal flesh, rendering it unto dust.

Silence fell.

Pir stepped among the ruins and drifts of ashen corpses and found the six pieces of the Black Stone. He saw it was hollow and corrupt, filled with sickly black ooze.

“We have been deceived, as by a master deceiver.”

Pir cast the broken bits of obsidian to the four quarters.

“We deny you, lord of the pit! We need no physical thing to remind us of the old covenant! We are constant, we abide, we remember – so it shall be forever!”

1761 – 1762 T216
Tewfik: The noble house delivered a pair of brand-spanking new zeppelins (fresh from the factories at Al-Harkam) to the Qing governor of Mei’guo, as well as a coterie of technicians, mechanics and navigators. Large sums were received in exchange, which (given recent events in India) made certain Albanians hopping mad. The Qing port also soon entertained a small Carthaginian aerosquadron which had (furtively) made the passage across the Red Sea to ferry Emiress Ye Geema to visit her kinsmen at the Chinese outpost.

A dispute arose in Antioch over attempts by the Noble House to seize control of the civil administration, resulting in attacks on warehouses, agents and the general destruction of Company property there. The Company then protested to the Union government, but received no satisfactory reply.

1763 – 1764 T217
Tewfik: The merchants of the noble house minded their own business, which was, of course, making money hand over fist. And avoiding meteors.

Republic of Denmark: Other evidence recovered in the aftermath of the East India Company crisis of the previous year, however, pointed to meddling by certain Persian merchants in Danish affairs – the Senate ordered the House of Tewfik offices in Akko seized.

1765 – 1766 T218
Tewfik: Saul roused himself from the idle sleep which had afflicted him in his younger years, noted that his daughters would need (inevitably) to attend some prestigious university, and set himself to restoring the somewhat tarnished reputation of the Noble House. Considerable sums owed on various franchises were doled out.

1767 – 1768 T219
Danrajastahn: Prince Christian returned home just in time to be saddled with a wife, lady Toral of Bhuj, who was a waif-like girl of only seventeen. The prince, who had dragged a veritable harem of Chinese flower-girls home with him, was rather despondent at this turn of events. Among the wedding gifts, however, was a particularly amusing set of “Lil’Arnori” toy soldiers, along with a “Lil’ Peregrin” figure on a painted horse. The Prince showed them off to everyone, which gained the House of Tewfik emissary (whose workshops had made the toys) some extra orders.

Tewfik: While the House was open-handed on one part – providing the Grivpani with large sums of money in exchange for the Knights protecting their far-flung mercantile interests – Saul also made sure to garner up every kind of money-making venture he could lay hands on. In particular he took direct interest in establishing a mercenary brokerage in Central Asia and India – one in opposition to that long enjoyed by the East India Company.

Unfortunately, some activities of the company – such as their agent in Surashtra – drew hostile attention, in this case from a Hindu mob who attacked the warehouses, burned them down, and murdered the company employees (including Jamal Hibriz, who was there trying to renegotiate some cotton contracts).

1769–1770 T220
Tewfik: Despite much bluster in the marketplace, Saul took a nap with one of the maids.

Purveyors of Weed-killer of particular efficency

  • Tewfik Saul 1749-date
  • Tewfik Solomon 1713-1749
  • Tewfik Sayed 1712-1713
  • Tewfik Aban 1706-1712
  • Taqalit Hugun 1701-1706
  • Tewfik Hugun 1699-1701

The Players

  • T217- date Julian Page
  • T216 open
  • T210-T215 Jeff Morrison
  • T209 (1747-date) (open)
  • T206-T208 (1741-1746) Mike Parsons
  •  ????-T205 (1739-1740) Solomon Tewfik
  • T186-???? (1699-????) Todd MacDonald

Last updated: 22 December 2004

© 2003 Robert Pierce © 2004 Martin Helsdon

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