Three Isles, Duchy of

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Information

Threeisles.gif
Foundation: 1657-date (T165-date)
Capital: Valetia on Malta
Religion: Roman Catholic

By Rob Pierce, updated by Martin Helsdon

Description

The Duchy of the Three Isles has its origins as a splinter from a civil war that engulfed Lybia during a period when Catholics and Hussites competed for influence in the Emirate. Hussites won control of the Emirate, and Catholics retreated to the islands. The namesake three isles are the Mediterranean islands of Malta, Sicily, and Cyprus, though their control has expanded to include a number of other islands and coastal regions of the Mediterranean Sea.

The History:

Still to be written.

NewsFax Entries

1739-1740 T205
Jesuits: Somewhere outside of the pestilential sprawl of London, amid green fields on a vast and well-ordered country estate, a conclave gathered in rapidly falling dusk. Countless candles and torches illuminated a long procession of potentates, kings, princes, priests from every corner of the globe. A simple shrine stood under the brow of a turfed hill, a gleaming marble statue of the Risen Christ standing alone on the altar, the dark, almost invisible shape of a simple wooden cross behind him.

The ceremony was short, entirely in archaic Church latin, and the man kneeling before the old priest bowed his newly tonsured head. "Do you accept the service of Christ, his Church and his people, forever?"

"I do," Vladimir Tukhachevsky answered, rising newly anointed, a prince of the Church, and now founder of the Society of Jesus. A white brand, a keen blade, by which the Catholic nations hoped to drive back the darkness and usher in a new, golden age.

Expansive support in gold, men, arms, materials (even entire corps of clerks, priests and librarians) were provided by all the Catholic realms save that of Judea, which was rather aloof from the proceedings. The Shawnee, however, more than made up for the lack - for the faith of the western kingdom was strong, and a bulwark against all darkness, be it of the Ice, or of Huss.

Three Isles: The Islanders - more than a little shocked by the Georgian response to their missionary efforts in Palestine - huddled in the various cities, wondering if they were going to be attacked. They were not (the Georgians had different fish to fry), though old Aya finally suffered a choking fit and died. Her daughter Neya rushed home from Calabria to take the throne of the Duchess.

Church authorities in Sicily were stunned to learn a Hussite clergyman (in fact, a Knight Commander of the notorious and depraved Taboric Order) was a guest of the baron of Archimedea. They protested, and were politely told to mind their own business. The specter of Denmark loomed too large over the Duchy to be rude to Hussite guests. Hussite priests were also seen lurking about in the hills of Morea, waylaying the peasants on the roads and in the fields. Of course, Papal missionaries were very active in Calabria, where they were making good headway among the peasantry.

The continuing trouble in Spain fed a virulent series of rumors the Nörsktrad would be expelled from that nation, and from all ports in Catholic nations. Given the Albanians hated the Nörsk with a passion, this left the company very few options...

1741-1742 T206
ARF: In Rostov an enduring point of tension finally relieved itself when prince Demetrios of Epirus (the husband of the Duchess of the Three Isles) finally came to the conclusion that no one was coming with ships to pick him up, and he (and his eight hundred retainers) would have to walk home. So they left Rostov in the spring of '41 and started walking west.

Kiev: The mayors of various towns in the Lower Danube valley (particularly Craiova) were startled to observe a small army of eight hundred Epirotes marching past their gates, banners and flags bravely flying, as they headed west. Prince Demetrios nodded gravely to the townspeople and his men were well behaved - though a more dreadful-looking lot of sell-swords and murderers you never saw...

Denmark: Toll collectors on the Imperial highway in Serbia had the good sense to hide as a band of six hundred-odd Epirotes (rather the worse for wear, and entirely covered in yellow dust) slogged past on their way south to Kosovo Polje and the goat-track over the mountains into Epirus. They were carrying prince Demetrios on a litter (the noble fellow having broken an ankle during an altercation on a Bosnian ferry).

Three Isles: Having avoided invasion for another turn, the Duchess saw to the expansion of the cities of Valetia, Archimedea and Valma. Luckily the harvest on Sicily continued to be bountiful, for a plague of red tides afflicted the fishing in the central Mediterranean. The clergy were set on their guard against Hussite infiltration, particularly in Morea, where the Danes had been meddling. Calabria (where the Duchy and the Church had long been laboring) became entirely Catholic. A similar mission to Groza on Cyprus did not end well; Orso Opaka enraged a mob of Orthodox laity and was stoned to death.

And after a long and eventful journey, prince Demetrios finally returned to the green mountains of Epirus with his guardsmen. Whew!

1743–1744 T207
AEIC: The steamship yards were equally busy, with the cruise liners Duchy of the Isles and Santorini entering service.

Three Isles: Diplomacy Epirus(t)
Soon after completing his long overland march from Rostov, the king of Epirus passed away – home at last, safe in bed – and his people decided to only grant Neya and her duchy the least of tribute.

Libya: 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.

1745–1746 T208
Three Isles: Heeding the call to the great crusade, the Islander fleet put to sea and Antonio Barsaki joined the English squadrons in blockading the Asian shore (the Islanders focused their blockade operations on Antalya and Tarsus) of Georgia. At the same time, Neya landed the entire military might of the Duchy in Isauria. “Liberation!” She declared, being carried ashore in a palanquin. “You’re all liberated!”

The War Against the Daemon Sultan (AD 1743-1746)
Late May 1745: The Duchy of the Isles fleet lands at Isauria and disgorges Duchess Neya and 16,000 fighting-mad Islander troops (“on to Jerusalem!”). They are quickly joined by Demetrios of Isauria and his ragged band of followers (who have been hiding out in the mountains for the last two years.) Shockingly, the Georgian garrison had already decamped.
Late June: In Isauria, the Islander army debates whether they should advance into Cilicia. Neya, however, has already agreed to wait for the Afriqans to arrive before launching a new offensive. The Islanders, therefore, dig in and prepare to repel expected hordes of Georgian fanatics.
August: The Islander army in Isauria is tired of digging trenches and begins to wonder if the Georgians will ever show up and attack their beachhead.
September: In Isauria, Neya of the Isles has come to the conclusion – after exchanging letters with Mixcoatl of Mixtec – that all the action is away south of her. In fact, she guesses there are no Georgian armies anywhere near her. Unfortunately, it’s too late in the year to start a campaign, so she attends the regimental dress ball instead.
February 1746: A vast Afriqan Republic fleet (176 ships, including many hired from the Honorable Afriqa Company) arrives at Antalya in Isauria. They find the city garrisoned by the Duchy of the Three Isles and go ashore. Neya rejoices – at last her armies can take the field against the Georgians.
March: Now gathered, the Republic of Afriqa and Islander armies advance east into Cilicia. They intend nothing less than the liberation of the north Mesopotamian littoral as far as Carhae. They find Tarsus garrisoned by the Georgians and invest the city, intending to flatten the ‘den of evil.’
April: In Cilicia, the combined Afriqan/Vastmark/Islander army besieges Tarsus, supported by the Islander fleet. The city, though the defenders fight bravely, is flattened within the month.
Late May: The Islander/Afriqan/Vastmark army advances into Aleppo, driving off a demoralized Georgian garrison. They find the city of Antioch is nothing but grass-covered ruins. Even the province is barely populated, the locals living in wandering groups as herdsmen. “What happened here?” Neya is dumbfounded.
Early June: Still wary and frankly confused, the Islander/Afriqan/Vastmark army marches south into Lebanon (after Neya bent some arms and came close to throwing a fit). They find the province in the midst of coming to grips with the reported death of the Sultan as well as (apparently) most of the royalty of western Europe. Neya thinks that is all very fine, but makes sure her troops garrison the province and the port of Beirut.
August: Leaving the Islanders in Lebanon to reduce the local tribes to something like order, the Afriqans and Vastmark corps march down into Levant.

1747–1748 T209
Islamic Union: There was also some kind of religious dispute brewing in the mountains of the Lebanon, where a fanatical sect (the Karidjites) of the local Sunni populace had grown popular among the downtrodden and those afflicted by the “Frankish” (Islander) occupation.

Baklovakia: Still sort of stunned by the Skyhammer and the damage wreaked upon the fair realm of Baklovakia, the Senate managed to bestir itself enough to allow Carthaginian, Islander and Swedish ships to call at Komarno (particularly since the dock was now repaired and the river was flowing clear again).

Spain: General Alfonso led off the campaign with a direct invasion of Languedoc – and there he found nothing but chaos, civil unrest and confusion. Apparently the authority of the SRC commisars had collapsed, leading to anarchy. The Spanish immediately moved to restore order and to arrest those few Communards still alive and present. Largo, the ARF aerosquadron, a passel of Vastmark riflemen, Afriqan mercenaries and a strong force of Templars arrived later in the year, and by the end of ’48, the provinces of Languedoc, Aquitaine and Auvergne (as well as the cities of Narbonne and Limoges) were once more in Largoista hands. Islander and Norsktrad fleets supported this operation offshore, blockading the coast and seizing considerable amounts of Espanan shipping.

Three Isles: Diplomacy Skarfaste on Rhodes(down to t), Groza on Cyprus(pt)
Much like her Spanish allies, the Empress of the Isles struggled to make good on debilitating loans. However, by certain contrivances of a fiscal nature, Neya managed to keep the Duchy afloat and satisfy the oily-handed bankers. At the same time, the end of the war allowed the cities of Valma, Groza, Valetia and Archimedea to expand a level each. There was some hope of a brighter future. Sadly, the students and artisans in the university and markets were mired in too much aqavit and absinthe, their senses dulled by clouds of cigarette smoke and too many late nights of carousing to pay any attention to the proclamations of the government.

Further, an influx of Catholic settlers in Groza on Cyprus sparked a violent reaction on the part of the Orthodox inhabitants – some of their homes and an Eastern Rite church had been torn down to make way for the expansion – and the civil authorities were forced to violently suppress three days of rioting.

The Duchess’ return to Valetia was cause for mild celebration, but when Neya became sick only a few months afterwards, the mood in the capital became quite gloomy. Complications from pregnancy led to Neya’s death in late ’47. Her younger sister Namia then ascended the throne of the Isles, but not without sparking a bitter, enduring feud with Demetrios of Isauria, her brother-in-law and Neya’s husband. The Isaurian felt he should rule rather than her. Though neither faction took open action (and Demetrios, grudgingly, acknowledged Namia as Empress) a tense, poisonous air afflicted all arms of the government.

In the east, Marcello Riggia (one of Demetrio’s partisans) had command of the army in Beirut and he marched north and west, gathering up the Islander garrisons of Lebanon, Aleppo and Cilicia. All three provinces were restored to their ‘indigenous’ administration – though the Concord of Ar-Raqqah had presumably granted suzerainty over those lands to other powers. Marcello, now commanding a powerful force, joined Demetrios in Isauria itself – where the now out-of-favor Consort had repaired to sulk.

1749–1750 T210
Norsktrad: The chairman issued a declaration: ‘Following the ending of the war in Spain, I am proud to announce the initiation of the new Norsk Aer airship route to mark a new age of commerce and prosperity. The Norsktrad hereby commences trade by air to the Duchy of the Three Isles. Furthermore, this underlines our intent to enhance the communication between the diverse Catholic nations. It is our hope to expand upon our air routes in the near future.’

Three Isles: Empress Neya moved to consolidate her position at Court by promoting two of her sisters, Tarya and Nimi, to official posts. They immediately left for Sicily to investigate some reputedly mysterious goings-on. Neya also sent a letter to her estranged husband Demetrios, informing him she had named her nephew Bernardo ‘Heir of the Isles’ and asking him to return to Malta so his son ‘might not lose a father as he has lost a mother.’

The province of Morea became cultivated, which pleased the farmers, and the ancient ruins of Olympus (most recently refurbished to celebrate the Sun Games) were troubled by strange portents, visions and throngs of the religious, seeking to touch the face of the ‘shining god’ which had lately appeared there. Some of the more learned wondered if perhaps Olympian Zeus Thundershielded had returned to the world of men.

As it happened, Neya’s summons of Demetrios from Isauria was not without danger, for the angry duke had gained allies among her ministers and fleet-captains. Antonio Barsaki (long accounted one of the Empress’ staunchest supporters) returned to Valetia with the fleet and Demetrios and Marcello Riggia and his army aboard. While the troops who had been fighting in the East disembarked, Demetrios and Marcello disappeared into the city and soon joined with their fellow conspirators… just in time for the Empress’ guardsmen to pounce on the whole lot of traitors!

Paulo Greccio, Juan de Valma, Demetrios and Marcello were all captured or identified. The whole lot – with a large number of their kinsmen and coconspirators – were put on trial and executed by the end of ’50. Only De Valma escaped the initial dragnet, but Islander agents ran him to ground in Alexandria in the spring of ’50 and he died in a hail of bullets. Isauria was annexed to the Empress’ personal demesne as a result.

An Honorable Afriqa Company engineering team led by Master Kurpanga arrived in Calabria, where they began laying out the ground-plan for a new city, to be called Catanzaro.

1751-1752 T211
Three Isles: Diplomacy Skarfaste on Rhodes(a), Epirus(ea)
Things were blessedly quiet in the Isles. Aside from troubled seas due to the earthquake, there were no troubles to plague the simple lives of the fishermen. The cities of Valetia, Valma and Caligari all expanded. A beautiful public park and Roman-style amphitheatre was added to the capital. Missionary work began among the Orthodox believers in the mountains of Epirus and in the town of Groza.

Valetta.jpg

1753-1754 T212
Three Isles: Diplomacy Skarfaste on Rhodes(f)

Out of the line of fire for the moment, the Islanders puttered about - increasing the cities of Skarfaste on Rhodes and Caligari on Sardinia a level. Parts of 'new' Skarfaste-town were of particular beauty as the government made sure to have sewers, cisterns and paved roads installed. The steady growth of the 'planned' city of Catanzaro in Calabria also proceeded apace, though the Italians were a little mystified by building techniques of the Afriqans.

Missionary work continued in the mountains of Epirus and on Cyprus, though the Catholic priests had trouble gaining any new adherents among the Orthodox laity. The natives were far too suspicious and xenophobic.

They were not alone in their distrust… Duchess Neya had recently learned of a group calling itself "le man noir" which had established itself on the critical island of Sicily. Having no desire to harbor a "cult" in the bosom of the Duchy, Neya swept down upon the Black Hand estate with ten thousand men. Everything was seized, examined, weighed, measured, considered, examined again and finally put back in disorder. Much to the disgust of the authorities, they found the order's business to be entirely legitimate.

Sadly the Duchess should have been paying attention to the dunning letters arriving on a daily basis from the bankers of Valetia. The Duchy defaulted on a modest loan in the fall of '54, which then caused the violent collapse of several banks and merchant concerns, throwing hundreds of unemployed clerks out on the street.

1755-1756 T213
Three Isles: Diplomacy Catanzaro in Calabria (^f)
A little surprised no war had broken out around them, the Islanders went about their business quietly. Catanzaro in Calabria expanded a level and major improvements were made to the sanitation systems of Skarfaste and Calagari. A number of representatives from NorskTeknologi arrived and immediately disappeared into a collection of newly built workshops near the great harbor of Valetia.

Princess Tarya, while traveling with only a few companions in the mountains of Epirus, was beset by Albanian bandits and murdered, her disfigured body later found decorating the base of a steep cliff. Despite this reversal, missionary work among the Old Believers was going well.

Church of Rome: Disturbed by recent failures of faith and will at all levels of the Church, Clement launched a strict audit of every see, parish and bishophric. At the same time, he himself left Rome and, carried by an Islander fleet, sailed to southern Russia to join the campaign against the daemoniacal Khirgiz.

1757-1758 T214
AEIC: A new trade arrangement was struck with the Southern League in India, while a long-standing relationship with the Duchy of the Three Isles foundered abruptly, denying the Company many bases and lucrative trades in tea, silk and tobacco.

Norsktrad: Much like their Albanian rivals, the Company was busy building a wide variety of air- and steam-ships for the export trade. Recent customers included the Duchy of the Three Isles, the Islamic Union (two Freyja-class cargo zeppelins) and the Sharifate of Mauritania (though it’s not entirely clear if Delgado knew how much trouble that would cause…).

Three Isles: Diplomacy Groza on Cyprus (^nt)
The ‘new’ city of Catanzaro in Calabria expanded. The Empress took pains to repay various banks and merchants who had suffered when the Ducal government had defaulted on a series of loans several years ago. Neya also took pains to issue the following declaration:

By decree of Neya al'Raschid, Empress of the Isles, Emir of Archimedea, Duchess of Sicily and Sardinia
Let it be known that the Ministry of Finance and Trade has discovered serious irregularities within the business practices of the Albanian East India Company as they relate to activity in the Duchy of the Isles. Despite the fact that the crown granted exclusive license to import tea, silk and tobacco into the ports of the Duchy, the AEIC has seen fit, through malice or negligence, to not turn over revenue from trade they manage. Within the last ten years the Duchy has informed the AEIC of this chronic failure, and cautioned their home office that the Duchy's factors would be keeping a careful eye on the situation. Despite these notices and warnings, the AEIC has continued to fail to meet their obligation.
The Duchy has decided that, being left with little other choice, all ties between the Duchy of the Isles and the AEIC will be severed. Trade routes managed by the AEIC for the Duchy will be nationalized, all AEIC offices will be closed, and the tea, silk and tobacco markets will be opened to all licensed tradesmen.

Within hours of the edict being dispatched, Ducal troops stormed into Albanian offices, warehouses and other facilities throughout the Duchy. Locations in Archimedea, Sicily, Valma, Valetia, Malta and Archolon were seized and the contents confiscated without renumeration. The loss in capital to the Company was huge, and Neya was quite pleased. The political presence the Duchy had maintained in the Indian city of Bhuj was abandoned as well.

After lying entirely quiet for nearly sixty years, Mount Aetna on Sicily erupted unexpectedly in the winter of ’57 with tremendous force. Enormous lava flows ravaged the towns at the bottom of the mountain, earthquakes threw down most of the buildings on the island (including Archimedea) and tremendous fires ravaged the inland villages. The plume of smoke and ash could be seen as far away as Crete.

1759–1760 T215
Three Isles: In the aftermath of Aetna’s eruption, the Duchess was swift to allot funds to rebuild the shattered towns, villages and cities around the volcano. Sicily itself was resettled to 2 GPv, while enormous improvements were made to rural infrastructure, as well as cleaning up ash and debris in Catanzaro. Valma on the Baelerics also got a new coat of paint and other amenities. Missionary work continued in Epirus and Groza on Cyprus as the Catholics tried to eradicate the last traces of the Greek rite.

International tension over the looming Hussite-Catholic war (already underway, of course, in some parts of the world) inspired a series of violent demonstrations in Archimedea, where the local university students (inspired, some say, by either the Orange book or the Green book) took to the streets in protest of ‘blind religion’ leading so many to their deaths.

Ducal security forces broke up the riots violently, killing hundreds and setting several squatter’s camps afire. This only served to inflame the town citizens, however, and a counter-attack by the more violently-minded students drove the Duchess’ men out of the city. With the government distracted by the war in North Africa, there were no men-of-war or troops to respond to the unexpected insurrection, which led to the establishment of a student-led Commune in Archimedea by the end of ’60.

At sea, meantime, the Ducal fleet (under the command of the aged, but still redoubtable Barsaki) sortied into the Bay of Tunis and blockaded the coast, turning back all non-Carthagininan or Haggarite shipping. The Duchess declared, in an open letter, to the various mercantile powers in the Mediterranean, that “the conflict in North Africa is a domestic matter and should be resolved without foreign interference.”

This immediately brought Barsaki’s 128-ship fleet into conflict with the Commonwealth relief force under Princess Margaret which had sailed from Thessaloniki only a month before. The Frankish squadrons – eighteen airships, forty men-of-war, two steam cruisers and a variety of frigates and transports – made for Augostina with all speed and Barsaki’s ships of the line put on full sail and heeled over to intercept in the Bay of Tunis.

After the first Islander shots had shrieked across the bow of Margaret’s flagship, the Ville de Paris, the Commonwealth commander ordered her airships to engage and “all guns run out!”

Shockingly, when the zeppelins made their first run at the archaic-looking Islander ships, they were met by a hail of high-angle fire from hundreds of specially-mounted anti-airship guns. Four zeppelins immediately blew apart, their undercarriages shot to bits and set afire. Barsaki’s fleet closed, showing considerably superior seamanship and seaworthiness to the French fleet.

Margaret tried to respond, but the failure of her airship attack had taken the wind out of the out-numbered Commonwealth ships. The Islanders swept in, their gunnery fiendishly accurate, their bravery unimpeachable. The French airships made a second attack run and this time the Islander gunners had their range. Within six hours, the entire French force had been sunk, captured or so heavily damaged the ships had to be scuttled.

Princess Margaret was lost in action. No relief would reach Carthage from the east... Old Antonio did not live to savor his triumph either – he had been hit by shrapnel in the closing hours of the engagement and died horribly of gangrene before the fleet could return to Valetia.

The blockade of the Carthaginian coast continued, however, and scooped up a Red Kross leader, Amil Hamilcar, and four merchantmen on their way to Provence. Amil was tossed into a Valetian prison cell and his ships impounded.

Carthage: The appearance of Islander warships off shore, however, caused a panic in Tunisia, as everyone expected an invasion force to follow...

Al'Haggar: Almost immediately the Carthaginian fleet was intercepted by the Islander blockading force and Hamilcar (who was in direct command of his ships) was engaged in a vigorous gun-duel with the Ducal ships under Barsaki off Ras-el-Hadid. This time the Carthaginian crews were slightly superior to the Islanders, but Hamilcar’s sixty-odd ships were still outnumbered by the Islanders (who didn’t have their captured Frankish steam cruisers in play, those had been sent back to Malta for crewing) but still had 116 ships of the line to batter the four Carthaginian cruisers into scrap metal and trash up the rest of the Hussite fleet.

Admiral Saarkabal was killed and Hamilcar badly wounded. The emir only barely escaped in a steam-launch back to Augostina.

1761–1762 T216
International Red Kross: Somewhat stunned by the seizure of a Red Kross relief fleet by the Islanders in ’59, the Society retrenched to Alexandria and Naxos, trying to restore their fiscal situation.

Frankish Commonwealth: Trade relations were severed with the Duchy of the Three Isles. As might be expected, this was only a polite precursor to open war between the Commonwealth (and their Hussite allies) and the Catholic islanders.

Three Isles: Though the Duchess was distracted by the sudden onset of a pan-Mediterranean war, the student-led revolt in Archimedea suffered an untimely end when Ducal agents infiltrated the rebellious city, arrested or executed the leaders of the revolutionary commune and restored order with a heavy hand. Most of the students were sent home to their parents, heads low in shame. Neya briefly visited the city in early ’61, but the news of various attacks caused her to sail back to Valetia on Malta with all speed.

While the Islander fleet stood guard over Malta itself, the outlying territories of the Duchy came under vigorous attack by the Carthaginians and their allies. As a result, the warships interned at Valetia (and their crews) remained in Islander hands.

An attempt by ruffians to ambush and stab Princess Nemi (the newly appointed admiral of the Islander fleet) was foiled only by the quick reactions of her guardsmen. The attackers, seized, soon blubbered a tale of Carthaginian gold…

Carthage: “War!” Screamed the newspapers.

Zeppelins, frigates, troops and guns poured out of the shipyards, factories and foundries of Carthage. War was well underway with the Duchy of the Isles (reflecting, indeed, on the ancient split which had founded both the Islander realm and Lybia…). Five or six hundred delinquent youths were packed off from the city jails of the Emirate to serve in the mercantile marine of the East India Company, an arrangement pleasing to everyone but the aforesaid youths! Bey Senghor and a very substantial number of mercenaries were taken under contract by the Emir in preparation for full-scale hostilities against the Despot of Malta.

Luckily for the movement of the various Emirate fleets, the Islanders had withdrawn their blockade of Augostina to defend Malta, allowing a veritable cloud of Hussite squadrons to sally forth on all kinds of mischievous errands. One of those fleets – under the command of the daring Captain Gisco – sailed for Archimedea on Sicily, seeking to deliver a cargo of cannon, rifles and ammunition to the rebellious students there. However, as Gisco did not get underway until early ’62, he reached Archimedea to find the city once more firmly in the hands of the Islanders, so he was forced to abandon the effort and return to Augostina. He did not happen to encounter any Islander ships during this foray.

Most of the Carthaginian effort was focused in the far west, where a small fleet had entered the Balearic archipelago in the summer of ’62, supported by an airfleet of eighteen zeppelins under the command of General Eshmunazar. As it happened, the primary town of the islands – Valma – was both undefended and lacking even the rudiments of fortifications. Apparently looming walls, cannon and grim-faced troops were not in keeping with the thriving tourist industry there… in any case, the brave Carthaginians seized Valma without a shot being fired. There were garrisons on the islands, however, which were pummeled into ruin by the zeppelins and the fleet. The only notable casualty was Colonel al’Hus, who was clubbed by a stray yardarm and drowned as his troops were unloading in the harbor of Valma.

Prince Baalshamin (a notorious lax scion of the Barca clan, who had lately amused himself among the houris of south India) returned to ‘civilization!’ (as he loudly declared), taking up residence in Alexandria. He did, however, deliver a large fleet of transports, which were then taken up by Captain-General Ahqat, who loaded up a passel of Carthan regulars, as well as seven-thousand-odd mercenaries. Leaving under the cover of darkness and keeping far to the east, avoiding the Ethiopian attack on Lebanon, Ahqat managed to avoid the conflagration there, and landed his expedition in Morea all undetected. As had maintained in the Baelerics, the un-walled town of Archolon easily seized. This time no one drowned.

The large force of mercenaries at Alexandria waited fruitlessly for an Ethiopian fleet to come pick them up…

Ethiopia: Admiral George, therefore, took to sea, heading for Cyprus and thence to the Anatolian coast – but he sailed, apparently unknowing, into a larger war than the planners in Soba had intended. The Islamic Union air-fleet, under the command of Al-Zayani, was patrolling the Gulf of Cyprus, expecting an Ethiopian attack on the coast of Lebanon. Thus, when the Ethiopian convoy sailed past… Al-Zayani’s airships pounced to the attack!

George’s ships scattered immediately, but given there was not even one single armed escort among them, the merchantmen were hunted down and bombed into flaming ruin in detail by Al-Zayani’s raptor-like airships. Eighty heavy transports were thus destroyed, sending 23,000 Ethiopian sailors and soldiers to a watery grave. Not one Union airship was destroyed, though two did have to return to base with fouled fuel systems on their new dual-cam engines. Admiral George and his second-in-command, Anthony, were both lost at sea and the entire intended campaign against Cyprus, Rhodes and Isauria was smashed to ruin.

A Danish steam cruiser squadron which passed through the Gulf a few months later searched for survivors – but found no one. The Union air-fleet continued to patrol, but ignored the Danish-flagged steamships, which continued onto their new base at Krak-de-Chevailers in Mansura.

1763–1764 T217
Islamic Union: A tidy sum was made exporting Syrian wheat to Persia and the Three Isles, which Ali Adin then turned around in invested fortifying the cities of Antioch and Aqaba.

Frankish Commonwealth: The unhappy prince, meantime, sailed a small fleet down into the Mediterranean to Malta, where the recent peace between Carthage and the Duchy of the Isles had included provison for releasing the Frankish ships and crews held captive by the Islanders. This fleet then made steam for Provence, as Jadot’s father had ordered him to assist his brother in capturing the stubbornly Catholic port of Marseilles.

Free City of Gibraltar: They were forced to flee back into the citadel of the Rock after a few months, as the tides of war in Spain threatened to wash over them. Then the Islanders confiscated the estates owned by the Order on Sicily and in the Baelerics, which threatened to put a fatal crimp in the Free City’s economics.

Three Isles: Diplomacy Groza on Cyprus (^ea)
With an uneasy peace prevailing in the Mediterranean (as per the Treaty of Valma), the Duchess saw fit to release the Frankish naval squadron held prisoner at Malta (which then steamed off to attack Marseilles), and she (grudgingly) paid reparations to both Carthage and the Commonwealth. Her soldiers, however, had secure unassailable bragging rights, which they were fond of exerting at every opportunity. The city of Catanzaro in Calabria expanded, and Sicily was settled back to 3 GPv. The Norsktrad company was contracted to rebuild the decayed defenses of Caligari and Skarfaste.

The last of the Old Believers in Epirus were rounded up and taught the new Catholic liturgy, and their priests retired to monasteries. Though a similar state of affairs nearly pertained in the Russ-speaking city of Groza on Cyprus, the Orthodox there were still hanging on grimly to their traditional ways. The Red Kross ships held captive in Valetia were also released and their leader exchanged to Hussite hands in turn for the Jesuit vicar Grayhame.

Similar – though far more violent – efforts were made to drive cultic influences out of Sicily. Namia led a powerful fleet and army to the sometimes-rebellious island and obliterated a recently discovered Polytechnic League secret base, as well as invading and slaughtering the inhabitants of a Black Hand order estate in the western end of the island. The Empress was in no mood to allow foreigners in her lands without her leave.

Princess Nimi, sent to restore Islander authority over the Baeleric Islands (returned by Carthage due to treaty), also exercised her troops in storming various possible cultic locations and groups and burning the Black Hand estate there to the ground.

International Red Kross: With the Norsktrad acting as intermediaries, the Society managed to recover the services of Amil Hamilcar from the clutches of the Islanders.

Carthage: The Treaty of Valma had been struck between the various aggrieved parties:

Treaty of Valma

This Treaty Declares a Cessation of All Hostilities between the Emirate of Carthage, the Frankish Commonwealth, the Duchy of the Three Isles, and all their agents. In addition, the Liberty of representatives and properties of the International Red Kross and Society of Jesus currently held by the Duchy of the Three Isles and the Taboric Order of Knights shall be immediately Restored.

Article 1: The Duchy shall Immediately release all men and ships of both the Frankish Commonwealth and International Red Kross.
1b: Ships and seamen of the FC shall be brought to Valma on Majorca for the treaty signing and handover.

Article 2: Mt. Tabor shall immediately restore the liberty of the Person of Gustavus Grayhame, Vicar-General of the Society of Jesus.

Article 3: Carthage shall Immediately return control of the Cities of Valma and Archolon, and the Region of the Balearic Islands, to Duchy Administration and Governance. All Troops and Garrisons shall be immediately removed.

Article 4: War Reparations:
4a: The Duchy of the Three Isles shall deliver a total Payment of 105gp to the Frankish Commonwealth, in two (2) payments of 55gp and 50gp.
4b: The Duchy of the Three Isles shall deliver a total Payment of 200gp to the Emirate of Carthage, in four (4) payments of 50gp each, of which 50gp is slated for the International Red Kross.
4c: Carthage gains the right to the establishment of a small (level 1) port fortress upon the island of Menorca, to be used as a naval training facility and retreat for the Royal Family, Construction of which is not to begin for a minimum of two (2) years.

This Treaty is to be Signed and Ratified within the City of Valma by ambassadors so Empowered by their respective Governments.

1765–1766 T218
Three Isles: Diplomacy Languedoc (^ea)/Narbonne (^a), Aquitaine (^c), Auvergne (^a), Groza on Cyprus (^a)
Though the action still left a bad taste in her mouth, Namia was careful to sign off on letters of credit to the Commonwealth and the Carthaginians as part of the war reparations. Still, she (and her officers) held little affection for either nation…

Bruno Vicento, leading a small expedition into Dalmatia, fell afoul of cannibalistic tribesmen and was murdered (and presumably eaten). Princess Nimi was also conspicuously absent from the palace…

Events in Spain
July 1765: An Islander warfleet passes through the Gates of Hercules, searching for the Cruzadero fleet with mischief intended.
September: The Islander fleet, commanded by Empress Namia herself, appears off Corunna. The Cruzadero fleet is in harbor, and protected by batteries of heavy guns. Without a friendly port nearby to supply her ships, Namia sails around for a week or so, fails to entice the Amerikans to come out and fight, then turns for home.
November: Bishop Fernandez also flees to Narbonne, where he finds a seat at the prince’s table beside Prince Ferdinand. The bishop becomes nervous, however, when he notes that the Narbonese are also entertaining a secret delegation from the Duchy of the Isles.
The Islander fleet sails back through the Gates of Hercules, having gotten good experience at handling the conditions in the rough Atlantic.

Carthage: The Barca family also exercised their rights by treaty with the Duchy of the Isles to build a citadel in the Baelerics at Mahon on Menorca, which also served as a new base for the Emirate navy.

1767–1768 T219
Knights of Tabor: Temporal control of the region of Provence was turned over to the Frankish Commonwealth who now had, at last, their port on the Mediterranean. The garrison there – though ordered to join the Frankish attack on the Islander possessions in the south of France – did not leave their posts.

Frankish Commonwealth: the destruction of Bourbon Spain had done nothing to ease the mind of the Archon. In its place had sprouted a veritable paella of unappetizing replacements. The Golden Dawn still held sway in many places, the fanatical and unpredictable Cruzaderos ran rampant and now the Duchy of the Three Isles had interfered in matters on the mainland. The same despicable Duchy which had murdered Princess Margaret and her brave soldiers! This could not stand.

Catalũna: Despite facing the loss of all his lands, the defeat of his armies and the onset of not only the Amerikan cruzaderos but now the perfidious Islanders and their Occitan allies, Ferdinand risked everything still left to him to … keep the bankers happy.

1769-1770 T220
Diplomacy Languedoc (^a), Narbonne (^f – after the death of De Gellone)
Still finding the taste of enforced peace bitter, Namia dispatched another shipload of treasure to pay off the cursed Carthaginians. But with some fragile moment of peace at hand, considerable investments were made all across the bucolic isles ruled by the Empress. Her anointed heir, Bernardo, was doubly blessed when his wife Magda gave birth to twin sons – and by the Lord Christ, they were both healthy! But this beneficent peace was only a momentary pause in the foul wind of war – the domains new won by diplomacy in southern France were soon to erupt in open conflict between Hussite and Catholic.

Another ominous omen surfaced in Valetia, where princess Nimi (who had lately returned in Afriqa in a great state of excitement and sporting a golden tan) was found strangled in her bed-chamber, entirely dead, and without even the faintest clue to be found as to the culprits. But given the events in France, the Empress (particularly grim-faced to receive this news) had an excellent idea who was to blame…

The War of the Spanish Succession
March 1767: Acting on an anonymous tip, Armand Lorento (a Islander agent working in Languedoc with the local authorities to root out cultic elements abandoned in the wake of the Spanish collapse) raided a Golden Dawn infestation in the countryside, capturing many conspirators and killed a round dozen.
June: Attempts are made by Hussite agents against the other notables in the Lang d’Oc who support the Islanders.
September: In the Languedoc, the Frankish advance is not immediately opposed. The diverse militias of Languedoc, Narbonne and Auvergne are rallying to one standard – that of the Islander general Giovanni Lucaio – but he does not intend to face the attack until he’s assembled sufficient forces.
October: Prince Marcel and his Armee du Provence lay siege to the great port city of Narbonne. Within, the Islander ambassador Hasaran commands the defense (with Gellone’s death, the Duchy has taken direct control of the city). Marcel’s fleet blockades the port, while his zeppelins rain bombs on the town. Inland, Lucaio’s horsemen raid the Frankish supply trains and raise havoc among their camps.
A confused three weeks follows … and then the rains of winter set in and no one can do anything but suffer.
March 1768: At Narbonne, the siege has become a hellish struggle on land and sea and air – Prince Marcel is hard-pressed to deal with an Islander fleet at sea, with Lucaio’s raiders inland and the guns of the city itself. Mindful of his father’s temper and the honor of the Commonwealth, however, he soldiers on…
April: At Narbonne, Prince Marcel’s 12,000 Franks are locked in a death-struggle with the 10,000 Islanders and Occitans and the tide of the siege is running against them… disease plagues his camps, his fleet (under the timid command of Admiral Bodreaux) has been hammered by the swarm of Islander frigates, and the walls of the city have simply failed to yield.
Disgusted to learn of Gasquet’s defeat in Poitou, the prince abandons the siege.
June: Nunez and his Papal army arrive in Languedoc, seeking to raise the siege of Narbonne. They find the Islander army celebrating the retreat of the perfidious French.
July: The Islander-Papal army moves into Aquitaine, where intense negotiations are undertaken with the duke.
The Franks have regrouped their armies, but are now entirely wary of crossing sabers with either the ferocious Papal army or the Islanders. Both commanders report to Paris that they will stand on defense in Provence and Anjou, respectively, in the event of a Catholic counter-attack.

1769-1770 T220
Three Isles: Cautious and determined to secure their gains in the south of France, the Islanders did not launch a new foray into Spain proper, but instead sortied their fleet from Valetia to support their garrison in Norbonne, should it come under attack.

And at home, the regions of Sardinia and Calabria increased to 2 GPv each. Great efforts were also made on Malta proper to increase the number of wells and cisterns on that parched island. Decade's long efforts to drive the Orthodox priests out of Groza on Cyprus also, at last, came to fruition.

Many of the crotchety islanders were secretly amused when Prince Bernardo's wife (Magda) banished him from her bedchamber - she was already weighed down by two bickering brats (twins, no less) and had no desire to add another one (or two!). Duke Anton of Languedoc had better luck, marrying the middleaged Princess Elaine - a match which seemed to please both of them, though it seemed doubtful that offspring would come of their match.

The Dukes

  • Namia al’Raschid 1663-
  • Neya al'Raschid 1739-1663
  • Ali ben-Gutun 1714-????
  • Gutun al-Raschid 1684-1714
  • Butai al-Raschid 1663-1684
  • Aswan al-Senussi 1657-1663

The Players

  • T205-date (1739-date) Liam McGucken
  • T192-???? (1711-????) Steve Tranzow
  • T190-T191 (1707-1710) Tyler Jones
  • T189 (1705-1706) (open)
  • T188 (1703-1704) Eric Miller
  • T165-T187 (1657-1702) John Schmid

Last updated: 17 January 2005

© 2002 Robert Pierce © 2005 Martin Helsdon

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