Tang Chinese Steppe Falconer at Court

A Twilight of Empires

Lords of the Earth, Campaign 13

Newsfax, Turn 10
(start of 437 CE through the end of 440 CE)


  1. Please remember to use the Custom Units information on your stats sheet for such things as gp and nfp costs, APs, etc.
  2. Any sons and daughters not married off or promoted may form the nucleus of a revolt, so to coin a phrase, "Think of the children!"
  3. You are encouraged to submit text and images for inclusion in the newsfax, which may satisfy your need for propaganda, creativity, or fun.
  4. At the bottom of the newsfax is a rules hint, usually a choice nugget right from the GMs rulebook. See earlier turns for more of these.

As is traditional, here is what I listened to while processing this turn. Pretend to care, or not.

  • Green Day - Dookie
  • Ricky Skaggs - Sweet Temptation
  • Angry Samoans - Back From Samoa
  • Lush - Gala
  • Offspring - Smash
  • X - Under The Big Black Sun
  • Simple Minds - Sparkle in the Rain
  • T.S.O.L. - Beneath the Shadows
  • Cocteau Twins - Blue Bell Knoll
  • The Acid Casualties - Panic Station
  • Cheap Trick - Heaven Tonight
  • Curve - Pubic Fruit
  • Ride - Nowhere
  • Tarnation - Mirador
  • My Bloody Valentine - Loveless
  • Etta James - At Last!
  • Thee Heavenly Music Association - Shaping The Invisible
  • KUOM - www.radiok.org
  • KCPW - www.kcpw.org

Generally eastward starting with ...

Central Asia

Hephthalite Khanate

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Ikram the Fair, Khakhan of the Hunas
Diplomacy: Quba (F), Gandhara (PT), Und (P), Hattusas (F)

The giggling, the screaming, the running. It all became too much for Ikram, who decided to solve two problems at one stroke. Thus it was that a new relationship with the Persians was founded on the marriage of four of Ilginc's daughters to four Sasanian princes (see Sasanian Persia). Clearly Umay was not too distressed to see her daughters sent far away, and gave birth to her ninth child, a son by Ikram, adding yet further to her renown. The boy was named Yusuf after a popular Arab courtier.

In another source of gossip, Quba saw the marriage of its young and handsome shah to the sullen yet beautiful teenaged sister of Ikram, Gul. Dozens of portrait painters worked away at miniatures of the pair, which were soon to be found in markets as distant as Dashovuz and Pattala. Ikram also laid out the new city of Hattusas in Issyk-Kul, blessed by shamans and peopled seasonally. All these popular activities did not help Zor Halat and scores of shamans spread the word in Otarsh, where their evangelism was met with shouts, curses, and the occasional rotten turnip.

In concert with their new Persian allies, Hephthalite warriors rode into Und and in a short campaign obliterated the local militia. Satisfied their honor had been upheld, Safeen waved goodbye to the Persian Gaidam and proceeded to encamp at Und for the next few years, enjoying the local cuisine for themselves and their horses.

White Turk Khanate

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Khan Osman

Land was cleared in Suvar, which was appreciated by the locals. The Khan of the Uze, whose people were now settled in Tobolsk, died in a hunting accident in 440. His nephew, the new khan, was convinced by elders to remain within the Khanate.

Khwarizm Hunas Khanate

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Alpiv Alchon, Khakhan of the Hunas, Khan of Khwarzim

Maneouvering himself into the position, Alpiv managed to gain the throne. He wedded the young daughter of Akhshunwaz and achieved a measure of legitimacy. Within a year a son was born to the couple, further assuring the new leadership it would remain.

Steppe Shamanism

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Primate Religious Authority)
Ikram Sechen, High Shaman
Diplomacy: Kashgar City (CH), Chu (MN)

The new Sechen failed to inspire the local shamans in Issyk-Kul, and moved down the Silk Road to the caravan city of Kashgar. There his message about the Old Gods (no, not those ones) was well-received, and the local khan listened closely, founding an esh in the center of the city.

Kushan Empire         Mark of the Best

(Buddhist Civilized Open Empire)
Lakshmi, Queen and Regent for the Kidarite Shao
Diplomacy: Hazarajat (PT)

The wily queen and her scamp of a son prepared to leave on a long diplomatic journey in order to regain the trust of former lands. Lakshmi also saw to the defense of the nation, raising a large force of armored spearmen. And she also used her charms at a royal congress of Buddhist priests and Zoroastrian mobeds, attempting to promote ecumenism specifically, and domestic tranquility generally. A few weeks in, the conclave broke up, at times resulting in shouting and literal condemnations on all sides.

The failure to find concord presaged dark days ahead for a kingdom which had already seen more than its share of destruction and strife. Spring of 437 saw one barbarian army invade Gandhara, followed by an army of Hephthalites and Persians together conquering Und. After Und had been subdued that Persian army advanced into the homeland of Afghanistan itself. The spahbad Gaidam was aided by his friend the shah Abandanes and they lead 32,000 veterans through the passes. Meeting them a day's march along the river from Kabul were half that number under Zoraz and Vikram, who had set up a hasty defense anchored on the shore. With the Kushans were the few hundred remaining Gandharan warriors who had escaped the conquest of their homeland by the Hephthalites and were now looking to redeem themselves against the Persians.

It was a cold Spring day in 438 when Gaidam rode at the head of the column his nearly all-mounted army had become, heading down out of the mountains toward what his scouts told him was a plain east of Kabul. They also reported that about 15 minutes ahead was a wall of Kushan spearmen across the road. He cursed that he had few heavy horse in his army, having traded weight for speed. Hoping to break through using sheer shock he sent them in, supported with archery from dismounted cavalry. The Roman bucellarii charged across the narrow front into the shield wall and crumpled against the spearpoints, regrouped, and fled back to their lines. Some dihqans scoffed at this, and urged Gaidam to send in "real" men, i.e. Persians, to do the job. So he sent in asvaran only to see them achieve even less against the Kushan infantry.

Gaidam then ordered his cavalry to infiltrate the hills to either side of the river and attempt to flank the position. Vikram was ready for this and tripped several ambushes which killed hundreds of Persians. Frustrated, the spahbad ordered a general assault, which again was thrown back. Into the confused mass of horse on the road and in groups on the hills Zorak ordered his own heavy cavalry, supported with skirmishers and a few elephants, to counterattack. Hundreds of Persians were caught disordered amidsts the hills and slain, while thousands more were ordered to retreat back into Und. Leading the rearguard Abandanes was caught away from his guard and severely handled by a squad of Kushan heavy cavalry, who beat the head-to-foot mailed shah severely with maces before he was rescued.

The Kushans let up a great cheer, for they had lost few men while the invaders had suffered thousands of casualties and were forced to retreat. The defenders fêted for a week, their spirit of relief and lassitude broken suddenly by reports that enemy scouts had been sighted in the foothills to the east. Rousing the army to a muster proved difficult, and by the time Zorak the Lion had roared enough to stir his men, several days had passed. By then the Persian army was arrayed on the plain, patiently awaiting the Kushans. For Gaidam had his orders from the Shahanshah, and no petty "empire" and its gibbering minions were going to sully his reputation. The would be a Second Kabul battle, a different affair entirely, he swore.

Zorak drew up his army in traditional form, spearmen in the center lead by Vikram Banesword supported by a reserve of archers and 12 armored elephants, and heavy cavalry on the wings, flanked by light horse, all with a flank resting on the Kabul River. Gaidam smiled at this, since the Artestarestan described this exact situation. Having in fact anticipated this, his army had already deployed on both sides of the river, a column of horse having made a wide swing south and was concealed behind some low hills. After sunrise and with the sun at his back the spahbad ordered a general advance.

At range his asvaran began volleys of arrows, trotting up a bit, pausing, shooting, then advancing yet more. Men started to topple in the Kushan center, shields resembling hedgehogs, and injured horses on the wings screamed. Zorak could see how this was going to end, and ordered his outnumbered force to advance while maintaining contact with the river. The heavy cavalry on the left took this opportunity to trot ahead of the rest of the army, turning the maneouver into an echeloned advance. Before Zorak could ride out to bring them back in line, the Kushan nobility decided they had had enough, and charged into the Persian lines. The asvaran could not deal with this and routed away into the hills, some being caught and ridden through by enemy kontos's.

Distracted by events on the left, Zorak and Vikram did not notice the dark shapes crossing the river to their rear. A heavy dew had dampened the dust enough to keep the Persian approach nigh-invisible until the sound of hooves splashing through the ford told the reserve that trouble was brewing. News that there were asvaran to their rear spread like chaff in a windstorm, cold terror filling the spines of most men in the army. As Gaidam ordered a charge all along the line, Vikram drew up his spearmen in a square and began to slowly march it towards the city. The discipline of their training held, with the infantry quick-marching in a rarely-practiced maneouver, making Gaidam wonder to his aides whether the barbarians had hired Roman mercenaries.

Some Kushan nobles managed to ride back to Kabul, some fled to the eastern hills were most were chased down and killed, and some took refuge with the infantry, which formed an open square around them. The few miles to the city made the city seem as distant as the Moon to the remaining troops as they marched, paused, and marched their way to the walls. Kushan heavy horse within the square sortied, as it were, keeping the Persians at bay and their spearmen's morale somewhere above total despair. Seeing their plight, the city militia dug hasty trenches along the road. When the infantry had fallen back sufficiently, these kept the Persian lance- and-bow cavalry from charging in from the sides, providing some relief.

That night in Kabul, the remaining Kushan warriors were surprised to see Queen Lakshmi in their midst, taking a tour of their impromptu quarters with their officers, handing out commendations and stipends to many, asking after the wounded, and generally praising them. For while they had lost the field, the Kushans had preserved the army, and she and her nobles knew that with an army there was hope. She spent some time with the Shah of Gandhara, who had lost the use of his left arm leading his men in a countercharge in order that the last of the army might make it through the eastern gate.

Indeed, before the new moon the Persians had marched away to invade Hazarajat, where they wiped out the garrison, though not before a sudden summer rain had swept away a vasht of cavalry, resulting in far greater losses than the Kushans inflicted. After campaigning most of the summer, the army moved on into Kash and liberated it before the first snows decorated the mountains. Gaidam and the recovering Aballartes were celebrated in the small city of Farah as heroes, and the spah rested there.

Gaidam was not, however, pleased. For his army lacked the means to take cities, and as soon as Afghanistan and Hazarajat had been left behind the Kushans had once more sent forth tax agents and judges to re-establish control. His couriers to the Shahanshah repeatedly requested a siege force.

Oghuz Turk Realm - socii populi Romani

(Monophysite Christian Nomadic Open Empire)
Khan Sonqur, Rex Turcorum and Magister Equitum per Orientem
Diplomacy: Wusu (FA), Jungaria (HM), Khocho (F), Beshbalik (A), Altai (F), Karluk (EA), Kuldja (A)

The tribal council agreed with Sonqur that the people needed to find steady and rich grazing lands, with good trade opportunities. Many late nights later the Khan decided that the old Juan-Juan lands were ideal, and when the weather cleared in spring of 437 the clans were on the move. Keeping to the shores of Lake Balkhash made for a pleasant trek, with the locals showing forbearance in allowing the Oghuz Turks and their friends passage. At length it was necessary to cross the mountains into Wusu, where the Tabolsk Khan decided his people would settle.

The Oghuz themselves set up camps in Altai and Jungaria, finding the land empty and game plentiful after years of depopulation. The long-neglected city of Khocho proved eager to accept the protection and friendship of Sonqur, who in response invested substantial treasure in upgrading city facilities along the lines of what he had seen in his travels in Persia and beyond. The Chorasmian tribes claimed Beshbalik for themselves, with the Khan's blessing. Shortly thereafter the Khanum passed away of old age.

As thousands of families found new homes, the gur-khan Shaybani attempted to win friends in Karluk and the city of Kuldja. Despite his rather gruff manner they all seemed happy to join some sort of organized polity, tired of minor raiding and the possibility of Silk Route troubles.

Blue Turk Khanate - Tribe of the Oghuz Turks

(Asia Pagan Nomadic Component Nation)
Tardu, Khan of the Blue Turks

Tardu looked around Jungaria and was a bit disgusted. The Oghuz were definitely getting soft. "I bet his Khanum said, 'Oh honey, let's get a townhouse and a purebred pony.' Wimp," growled the Khan of the Blue Turks. His favorite concubine looked wistfully at the streets of Khocho as crews tidied up, putting potted plants in windows, and generally made nice, and sighed. She knew better than to object when her Khan was on a rhetorical rampage. Thus for now the tribes remained unsettled in every sense of the word (see Oghuz Turk Realm).

Uighur Khanate

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Component Nation)
Hsiao Hsin, Khan

Hsiao Hsin tended to his chronic digestive problems.

Juan-Juan Khanate

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
P'ulochen, Khakhan
Diplomacy: Kin (UN), Naiman (UN), Huang (UN), Beshbalik (UN), Om'chu (P)

Call it a mid-life crisis, but P'ulochen wanted to ride, to destroy, to see his enemies scatter before him, and to hear the lamentations of their women. His courtiers were only too happy to advise, and thus in the Spring of 437 he took tens of thousands of barbarians into Lanchou and turned the place upsided down in a hunt for silver and slaves. The carnage was impressive. Small streams actually ran red with blood as the Juan-Juan took the opportunity to hunt people as if they were game animals. The few who were swift, the smart, and lucky escaped death, as did the pretty, who did not enjoy their "good fortune."

Rumors continued of a fabulously wealthy temple somewhere in the mountains, filled with gold, spices, and gems, and the nomads used all their considerable skills in a treasure hunt. Thousands of peasants were "asked" about it, and while many gave a location, the barbarians failed to find Hua Shan, each time either getting lost, or finding an impenetrable fog, or some other misdirection. In early May one warrior reported to the Khakhan that his men had found a staircase leading up to the clouds. On ascending they crossed a narrow ridge with hundred-meter drops to either side. At the other end stood a single man, armed simply with a long stick. He did not look Han, and wore flowing amber robes.

The Juan-Juan minghan were, according to the survivor, eager to take him on, and scores of arrows were sent his way. None were able to strike him, and in frustration their best archers were sent to the narrow front and continued to pelt him with volleys. The man moved only his hands, seemingly catching them, though few could follow the motions, whatever they were. Their officer then ordered men forward singly. The first two dozen were slain before the commander himself went across the narrow slip of land to face this demon. Sword in one hand and axe in the other, this cousin of P'ulochen reportedly managed to tear the robe of the foreigner, but was in the end cast down.

Another score of men tried to get at the robed man, and all failed. At length the remainder decided to come back later, and slowly retreated down the steps. Through the cloud-shrouded mountain they stepped, reaching the long staircase and descending. Their steps became quicker as screams erupted from those at the rear, and those in front broke into a run.

The survivor paused in his story, then continued, clearly taken back to the misty hill. Apparently the demon was chasing the Juan-Juan and despatching them with ease, and the storyteller recalled his seeing many of his comrades rolling down past him. At last there were no others, and the warrior paused to catch his breath on the stairs, though he knew that each inhalation might be cut short. But it was not, and he continued down to thier camp and safety, though of course he did not feel safe until he was leading the long string of riderless horses back to the tents of the Khakhan. It was then he realized he had been allowed to live on as a messenger, to tell the story. P'ulochen was urged by his men to find this place and kill that demon. But the Khakhan wisely decided to instead end the campaign and return home.

Meanwhile the expanding bureaucracy of the state had been busy. Captured veterans from the Battle of Jingtai, who had impressed even these Mongols with their courage, were allowed to live and serve their new masters, under their own captain. The province of Kin was allowed to stop paying taxes. Not seeing any Juan-Juan about and by now thoroughly despising them the local khan declared his people free, and was roundly applauded by one and all. A son was born to P'ulochen of the Khanum Karmen, always good news, while the death in June of 437 of the Ilkhan, Anaksos, caused a hiccup in services.

While Juan-Juan troops were rending Lanchou, allied khans were turned loose on Nan-Chao. To get there the clans of Wusu, Altai, Beshbalik, Khalaka, Zaysan, Huang, Naiman, and Dzamin Uud headed south onto the eastern Tibetan plateau, over country vastly more rugged than any had seen in their many wanderings to Europe and China. Families trudged over high mountain passes, snow-covered even in June, not arriving in Om'chu until 439. By then the Khan of the Dzamin Uud tribes had died, his brother taking control and vowing to complete the epic journey.

The summer of 439 saw waves of hungry barbarians sweep down out of the mountains, down the valleys, and into waiting ambushes. Repeatedly they came, and the Chinese Annam forces and local militia each time either let them pass then attacked their rear, or struck suddenly as they camped, or used other clever strategems. Hundreds of nomads died without seeing loot. The khan of Huang was killed in a riding accident down a rocky slope and his home country decided such folly deserved punishment and left the Juan-Juan Khanate. The khan of the Naiman was killed by a fever in camp in the hills, and his people also decided to abandon P'ulochen. The Beshbalik khan and his clans found neither treasure nor glory and parted ways with the Juan-Juan (see Hsiung-nu Tribes.

Surprisingly, the rest of the tribes stayed true, hunkered down in Om'chu and waiting for new directives from their distant master.

Eastern Mongolian Kingdom - Juan-Juan Sub-Khanate

(Daoist Nomadic Component Nation)
Khan Khojan

The young khan took his job of guarding the Juan-Juan encampment quite seriously. Not so seriously, however, that he failed to sire identical twin sons on a royal concubine.

Eastern Turkish Kingdom - Juan-Juan Sub-Khanate

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Component Nation)
Naiman, Regent for Altakai

Young Altakai grew into an extraordinary young man. The people, however, were not happy with Naiman and demanded he find them either grazing lands or loot.

Tu-Yu-Hu Kingdom of the Aza

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Khan Arton
Diplomacy: Tsaidam (UN)

The great khanum Goland, native of Tsinghai, was laid to rest on 4 April 438, and many were the tears shed. While not a great leader in the traditional sense her people held her in high regard. The son of Khri`brin and the khanum was acclaimed as the new khan, and Arton was not popular in Tsaidam whose khan he had once insulted. Thus this region left the kingdom, leaving the Aza with few loyal lands.


Chinese Buddhism

(Chinese Buddhist Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Master Lo-Wang II

A conclave was held, where high priests from all China discussed how to meet the challenge of resurgent Daoism. No decisions were made, but a very nice buffet was the talk of the conference.

Chinese Kingdom of Annam         banner

(Daoist Civilized Open Empire)
King Wei-Chou Su

Barbarian raiders swept down out of the mountains ... and were crushed (see Juan-Juan Khanate). Bells were rung in celebration, peasants danced, and all was well. After these festivities at the 440 New Year, Prince Li-li Hua was found dead, apparently having taken his own life with poison. Wei-Chou Su watched events to the south with more and more interest (see Khmer Kingdom of Funan).

Daoism Temples         Behold the Magic Lingzhi Mushroom

(Daoist Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Ko Chao Fu, Ling Pao Master

"Hua Shan is secure?"
"Yes, Master."
"The Buddhist has done us a great service."
"Master, he has passed the Five Trials."
"Bid him tarry a bit longer. We may have one final gift to bestow.
"Yes, Master. As you wish."
Ko Chao Fu smiled as his aide walked out of the room, then quickly his brow furrowed. What could all of this mean? His spiritual success. The Buddhist. The Barbarians. Then the Master smiled and settled into prayer. It was enough to be on the path. Where it lead was another matter.

While suspicious, the Juan-Juan agreed to let the priests ship rice and millet in great quantities into Ts'in. The citizens were most happy, though the local market price sank, driving a number of farmers into debt. Various provinces saw a higher profile for Daoism, as festivals were sponsored, soup kitchens opened, all of which attracted more adherents.

Eastern Ts'in Dynasty

(Daoist Civilized Open Empire)
K'ung Ti, Emperor of China
Diplomacy: Lingnan (F)

All the land was amazed when Wu Mei, Queen and wife of K'ung Ti, a princess from Chiennan, gave birth to a healthy baby girl in 438. The people had long ago given up on the couple, now "advanced in years," producing any new royalty. Of course there was far more rejoicing than one might expect from the arrival of a daughter and she was doted on by K'ung Ti from the start. This made up for the death of Prince Zhou Ti, a son of An Ti, in 437, of whom great things had been expected.

The good news did not help the scores of priests who descended upon the cities of Koeuichou and Kuang-Ling. The citizens appreciated the free food and music, but only giggled and danced when the patient men tried to give them a deeper understanding of Daoist philosophy. Admiral Zhou sailed a small fleet to Hainan, where thousands of families and their kine unloaded and marched off to the plots they Emperor had given them. He then sailed off to Lingnan, where with Lord Ts'ao, General Di, and the popular monastic leader Mi Zhu the good things flowing from imperial membership where broadcast. Most especially the Duke of Lingnan was pressed to become and imperial marquis and give up his familial standing. Instead, he decided to turn over administration of Lingnan entirely to K'ung Ti and moved his family to the imperial court, where most of them found positions.

Khanate of the Hsiung'nu

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Bulinger, Khagan of the Hsiung'nu
Diplomacy: Beshbalik tribes (FA)

A wave of motley tribes moved nearby, apparently aiming to loot and pillage, and failed miserably (see Juan-Juan Khanate). Disgusted, the khan of the Beshbalik approached Bulinger and asked to join his federation. The Khagan was not interested, and mistrusted them. But within a moon he was dead, and his son Alagh was acclaimed head of the tribal council. He immediately met with the Beshbalik and accepted their anda.

Korean Kingdom of Koguryo

(Chinese Buddhist Civilized Open Empire)
King Changsu
Diplomacy: Pusan (PT)

For the fifth time in as many weeks, a citizen daimyo of the Pusan Emishi was found dead, this time just his head in a barrel of dried peas. The officials of the city were then sure that the long claw of Changsu reached even unto their beds, and officially acknowledged his authority. The King was pleased.

The Princess Linsu was at last anxious to have children, relented, and was wed to Lord Langtu. This long-time courtier was old enough to be her father, and was elevated to Prince of the Realm. Subsequently two lovely little girls were born. Prince Langtu took command of an army in 440 and marched south into Pusan. Their reception was chilly, to say the least, and the commander sensed a danger to his new family and decided to encamp outside the city walls.

Later Liang Kingdom

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Lu Ssu, Emperor of China

A scandal at court erupted when the teenage son of the Emperor was found in a "compromising situation" with the wife of the Tu-Yu-Hu ambassador. The prince was sent on a long hunting trip while the embassy was dismissed.

Hou Yen Dynasty

(Daoist Civilized Open Empire)
Mu-jung Shen-qu, Emperor of China, Later Yen Dynast

The emperor whispered from his bed to his nurse, and moments later his brother, Mu-jung Shen-qu, entered the room. Mu-jung Ch'uei coughed into his hand as the nurse wiped his forehead, sweaty from fever and the August heat. The prince waited patiently. At length, the emperor spoke. "I will die. You must take the reins of this wagon. Make sure our people arrive in good lands," Mu-jung Ch'uei said, and then dissolved into a caughing fit. His brother bowed and left the room, a small smile on his lips. The next day the emperor was dead, quickly replaced by Mu-jung Shen-qu.

In other news, Prince Yaba the Sly, Gukuma Wei, and the Emperor himself travelled to Hopei and spread out to talk with the local lords. While these remained wary, they did appreciate the attention. Master Wushu was to join this effort but he died in February of 437, at the hands of an angry mob, stirred to violence by a series of mistakes involving an irrigation "endless wheel", a sleeping dog, and an iron horseshoe. Then, in Hopei itself, Prince Yaba was killed defending a family with which he was travelling from bandits, former soldiers of Western Ts'in. This helped endear the Hou Yen, somewhat, to the locals. Finally, Prince Yeke and Marquoz of Bandao kept a close watch on events in Korea.

Sung Kingdom of China - Vassal of the Eastern Ts'in Empire

(Daoist Civilized Component Nation)
Ma Ch'in, Sung King
Diplomacy: Xiangfan (F)

The man wept ever-so-slightly as he bowed and left the throne room. Ma Ch'in considered his words carefully, shooing out his courtiers, for he had just heard the story of one of thousands of refugee families who had been living in camps since being chased from their homes by the Toba decades ago. At length he called in his bureaucrats and priests and organized their resettlement. The priests were pleased, and the officials protested at the complications, but by spring of 437 they had been resettled permanently in the cities of Pienching, Loyang, and Chang'an, and founded their own new city of Xiangfan in the province of Tangchou.

Seeing the long service of his general Li Yapeng, Ma Ch'in married off one of his triplet daughters, Ma Li to him in 437. Despite the age difference - he 47, she 16, they seemed to get on well. So well in fact that before 439 she had produced one daughter for the new prince and was pregnant with another when on July 30 of 438 Li Yapeng dropped dead from a heart attack. Most agreed that the princess had worn out the old soldier.

In other changes, Bishop Lao passed away and was replaced with a priest recruited from his position leading a martial arts monastery. Ma Ch'in's favorite concubine died in childbirth, causing the old man great sorrow.

South East Asia

Cham Kingdom

(Hinduism Barbarian Open Empire)
King Humpraptum

The Cham slipped into the undertow of history, perhaps to return. And perhaps not.

Chen-La Kingdom

(Hinduism Civilized Open Empire)
King Pendravarman II

Pendravarman passed away peacefully in his sleep, to be succeeded by his son. He in turn read reports of the demise of the Cham with no small trepidation (see Khmer Kingdom of Funan).

Khmer Kingdom of Funan

(Hinduism Civilized Open Empire)
Korn Danh II, the Great, Devaraja, King of the Mountain
Diplomacy: Mison (P), Amaravati (P)

The old king did what old kings do, and ordered thousands of young men to march and die. Korn Danh II was determined to leave a legacy and founding an empire was to be his attempt at immortality. Thus it was that in the Spring of 437 he sent off his teenage sons Asim and Paurash with the army to finish off the Cham kingdom and annex its land and people.

Norodum Huoth lead the bulk of the army into Mison, other columns under Gopathi Tokaya, and Saha Yudaveer, along with Tai and Malay mercenaries under their own barbaric commanders. The homeland of the Cham was completely overwhelmed, though a number of Khmer cavalry were killed storming a walled village. Huoth quickly organized a cordon of Amaravati as the allied fleets of Sunavar Sayee, Darsh "Silverfin," and Karmjit Muthupandi cut off access to the sea.

Thus began the siege of Amaravati, in October of 437. The citizenry of the Cham capital had heard that the Khmer army was anticipating their pay in the form of sacking their beloved city, and resolved to hold out to the last. Which, in fact, they did under the leadership of their new king Humpraptum. The siege saw the New Year of 438, and as well the New Year of 439. The king at last realized that he would have nobody to govern within a few months and sent a deputation to speak with prince Asim, with whom he had become impressed over the course of the war. Some believe the death of his wife, a daughter of Samudravarman, followed by the death of her sister whom he had taken in marriage, broke his spirit in the end.

On April 12 of 439 the Khmer army entered the city. To maintain order in the Khmer army and avoid an unseemly ravaging of the place the locals had agreed to pay out a huge sum in silver and jewels ahead of time. The troops, having been given shares of the loot, were in less of a mood to sack the place. In truth there was not much left to sack, though some squads of Tais made a thorough and sometimes brutal search. Men and women begged the soldiers for food, and some wagonloads of rice and fruit were distributed. This was too late for the thousands who had died of disease and hunger.

The Cham royals were lead away in bonds to the Khmer capital, where Korn Danh kept them in a simple hovel in the palace grounds. Humpraptum did not last long, age and hard-times catching up with him on February 26 of 440.

For his part the old king was pleased, and took the title devaraja with no dissent.

Kingdom of Aceh - Subjects of Pallava

(Oceanic Pagan Seafaring Component Nation)
Suharu, Raja

Suharu became an avid chess player.

Kingdom of Tarumanegara

(Buddhist Seafaring Open Empire)
Purnavarnam, Raja

Many were amazed, most were surprised, and a few were disgusted, when it was announced that a son had been born to the aged raja.

Malayadvipa - Gupta Tributary

(Buddhist Seafaring Component Nation)
Varanavendra, raja
Diplomacy: Srivijaya (UN)

Young Varanavendra, now rid of his regent, demanded the fealty of the local lords. The tribes of Srivijaya were outraged at this and revolted en masse.

Pyu Kingdom

(Buddhist Civilized Open Empire)
King Kyanzittha

Mourning colors were prescribed for the entire populace in May of 437 when the death of Princess Alyia "of the Knife" was announced. The new mother was killed by a fever which spared her husband, the King of Manipur living in exile at the Pyu court, and her daughter. All watched developments to the north with trepidation (see Juan-Juan Khanate), but were not so worried about events to the east (see Khmer Kingdom of Funan). After all, they were just Khmer ...


Emishi Lords         Cutie Attack

(Asiatic Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
King Ashitaka

439 saw the death of Lord Tatari, an old friend of the aging Ashitaka.

Yamato Japan

(Shinto Civilized Open Empire)
Jingu Koga, Queen
Diplomacy: Izumo (UN)

The kami were with him, Okin mused, as he prayed over the site of the new city. He was founding his own city, Izumo in Shimane, next to a lagoon and Lake Shinji in protected waters, shielded from the Dozen Wan by a peninsula, with fresh water, nearby forests, and lots of seafood.

Nearby, Hiro sighed, remembering the shock of the new he saw in the Ts'in lands. The urban markets, the open city with gardens and farm plots. The road connecting an outlying city to a distant capital. The bustle and culture. Hiroaki, a leader in Nippon, was but a barbarian from the sticks. He thought, "I could never have made it without the active support of Jingu and the acquiescence and planning ability of the Kima."

In July of 440 Prince Matsui Kazu was training with the Fuji Banner troops in Kwanto when word arrived that a sudden fever had claimed Sakura Maiya, Princess Consort to Okinagatarashi-Hime No. He was saddened by the loss, most especially for the three infant daughters she had recently given to the kingdom. The bery next day came more serious news, that Okin himself had been taken by the disease.

Long had Kaz, as his friends called him, chafed under the orders of that incompetent leading the nation, and yet more loathed his cousin Jingu Koga. She had insulted him on more than one occasion, yet because of her fame he had swallowed them and continued on. But not more. The Prince decided to press his own claim to the throne, and would rather die than see that woman as his queen. He mustered his new troops, the 7th, 11th, and 12th Foot, 3rd Cavalry, and Light Foot Guards, and the rest of the army and marched along the coast for Naniha.

On his arrival he found Jingu Koga waiting for him with her dreaded cavalry, including her own guard, now the Queen's Guard Horse. Holding the coastline was Hiroaki "the Protagonist" and his fleet, a bit disgusted with life since the new city of Izumo was the sole place to revolt. On a hot and windy autumnal day the Jingu and Hiro met with Kaz under a small pavilion outside the capital. Each side fielded a "dishonor" guard of ten men, to help ensure against treachery.

Jingu at once spoke up. "You want to be Kima? To rule all?" she yelled. "Typical." "The land deserves a man of honor to lead it," retorted Kaz. Before the grey-haired princess could retort Hiro interjected, "I'm sure we can work this out. Here, Jingu has given her life to the service of the throne. Who better then to lead the people?" Several men behind Matsui Kazu shuffled their feet, yet otherwise might have been stone for all their faces showed. The prince took a breath and said, "I am the better choice, and my army agrees with me. What better mandate can there be?"

At this one of this guard stepped forward. The princess, with reflexes honed by a life spent in the saddle, rocked back and drew her sword. But all were surprised when Matsui Kazu's head rolled onto the table before him, trailing a growing red stain. The guard had decapitated his commander with an imported Indian short sword, which he then tossed to the ground. A few of the guards rushed at him, but he was shielded by others, leading to a silent standoff. "It would seem," said Hiro, "that the crisis is over. Would her Ladyship agree to pardon all those mislead by this," he said, gesturing to the head on the table, which still carried raised eyebrows and deep frown. The remaining guards knelt, and were eventually released by the Queen, who did however ban all of them from the capital for life.

The wife and young daughter of the rebel prince were not, however, so fortunate, and within a fortnight agents of the Queen had found and slain them. Jingu formally took control of the three young girls Okin had sired, promising to raise them at court. Naturally, she left most childrearing duties to their nannies, as the Queen was known neither for her gentleness nor kindness. Rebellious lords were quickly reigned in, and by the first snowfall the kingdom was once more at peace.

Southern Mountains Clans

(Shinto Barbarian Open Nation)
Koji Jutaro, regent

Prince Akihito resented Jutaro, the man between him and the throne. Despite a few hairs growing from his chin he could get no respect, and with his comrades took to drinking to excess and smashing up guest houses without paying.

Western Europe


(Roman Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Rechila, king

October 25 of 440 saw the sudden death of the young king Wulfgar during a drinking party that lasted late into the night. Having just sufferred a rupture of the kingdom, the nobles were in no mood for politics and quickly decided on one their own, a distant cousin of Arbogast, as king. Rechila was married to an enchanting woman of noble German stock and had a young son. In the process the nobility formed a regular Senate, implicit acknowledgement that they had become Roman in some sense.

Kingdom of Roman Gallaecia - Diocese of Lusitania

(Roman Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Gaius Carpus, Rex Gallaecia, Vicarius Lusitaniae

John Flaccus, having lead Scallabitanus into the Gallaecian tent, died on July 15 of 437, and was greatly mourned by his people. His son, Marcus, succeeded him and vowed to maintain his father's policy of loyalty to the rex Gallaecia. Inspired, Gaius named his teenaged son Balbus as his heir. Together they fearfully considered the barbarians rampaging about Europe, and hoped their little nation would escape notice.

Rugian Tribes

(Arian Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
King Sigeric

The king spent much of his time keeping his large number of relatives happy.

Siling Vandals - Diocese of Spain

(Arian Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
Gento, Rex Vandalorum, Vicarius Hispaniae

438 saw the death of Thudigunda, the formidable wife of Hunneric and neice of Heletradana of the Asdingi. The same fever claimed Bishop Alaric as well.

Kingdom of the Alans

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Arlon, Shah

Crown Prince Artaxerxes was slain by a boar while hunting in 438. The following year saw another of Xerxes' sons, Morlin, die of an infection. Paralyzed by grief, Arlon was busy just going day-to-day without worrying about finishing off the Lombards.

Angles and Jutes

(European Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
King Hengist

Ah, how he wished to go a-viking. The king listened closely as his brother Hengist and his friend Cnut planned their raids to the south. Those old men would lead hundreds, while he chatted with courtiers and heard petitions. From these winter sessions his health declined, until he died in his bed on August 18 of 438.

Before his demise, however, Aethelred had the joy of hearing the exploits of his minions. Cnut and Hengist sailed south along the coast and in May of 437 sailed up the Rhine. Surprisingly, the fleet was able to buy a few supplies at Colonia Agrippina, whose senators saw the value in assisting barbarians to attack other barbarians. Striking at Lorraine, the seat of the Frankish realm, was a bold move.

Too bold, as it happened. Childeric was vigilant, with patrols along the river keeping the fleet under observation, and pushing back any probes the Angles made. Frustrated, the pair decided to attempt to retrieve the venture by hitting the newly-Hunnic land of Maxima. The Burgundians were not nearly so active, and the land burned under the summer sun and the torches of the Northmen. The few churches were reduced to charred ruins, to the amused grins of the Mongol settlers and the groans of the faithful.

Well-pleased, the Northerners sailed back down the Rhine, the warriors spending a bit of the booty in Colonia Agrippina. The citizens were happy with their wise leaders. Calm winds greeted the longboats as they crossed to Britain, where they raided the beautiful south. For weeks ships of Angles, Jutes, and Hallanders were seen in the rivers, and warrior bands spread out across the landscape. Churches and temples were pillaged as far as Spinis and Sorviodunum, unwalled towns which had not seen war for centuries. Hundreds of people were slain, while others were carried off, tears in their eyes as they watched their grass-thatched villages to up in flames.

Late summer saw the fleet base itself out of a port on the large isle of Vectis. From their lair the barbarians ventured forth into the Oceanus Britannicus - the Channel - to prey on shipping. Sadly for them only the occasional fishing boat was boarded. Sea trade with the north had declined precipitously since the time of Roman greatness, with none of the nations having any trade with the rich lands of the Mediterranean.

Cnut and Hengist quickly realized theirs was a fruitless task and ahead of the storm season turned their ships homeward. There they were greeted as heroes, with many young men urging their elders to allow them to take ship the following years. But while Hengist was crowned king that year, no further adventures took place.

Asding Vandals - Hun Vassals

(Arian Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
Oebarsius, Rex Vandalorum
Diplomacy: Lugdunum (F)

Prince Gaiseric was not a great fan of city life. He did however appreciate the commercial benefits they could bestow, and thus marched his people to the gates of Lugdunum. Spring of 437 saw trenches dug, horse on patrol, and the city isolated with the help of a string of logs rafted across the Rhodanus and strung together upstream to keep boats from the city. Wooden redoubts were places along the river as well. Prince Magar showed up with his Armenian mercenaries, adding to the gloom within the city. Within a moon the senators pleaded for terms, and Gaiseric generously agreed to not pillage or torch Lugdunum. In exchange, thousands of Vandals took up homes in the city, displacing some residents, building afresh, or remodelling warehouses into dwellings.

The thiufan of all the Asdingi was pleased at this development, and agreed to wed a local woman of noble birth, who delivered him a daughter. The infant enchanted all who looked upon her.

Empire of the Huns

(Asiatic Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Oebarsius, Khakhan
Diplomacy: Red Huns (A)

Months became years as Oebarsius and his court talked, and talked, and then talked a bit more with Edeco and his remaining friends. By 440 the Red Huns had been reassured that they would be accepted once more into the federation, and could maintain a semblance of freedom, including the safety of the priests of their strange religion.


(Arian Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
Childeric, Rex

The visit of the Northmen in 437 (see Angles and Jutes) was a pleasant distraction.


(European Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
Frederic, King of the Burgundians

Ravages of the Northmen drove the kingdom to distraction trying to drive out the rats (see Angles and Jutes). But 439 would provide even more bad news, as Gundioc, who had sired several children on - of all people - his castle milkmaid, died of a sudden fever on July 2 of 439. Despite the lack of a declared heir, the obvious choice was Gundioc's identical twin, Frederic.

Classical Pagan Oracles         Mythic Posing 101

(Classical Pagan Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Hecate, Sibyl

The priestesses bemoaned barbarian depredations (see Angles and Jutes).


(Arian Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
King Jentze Wolfsen

The Frisians considered loot to be gathered from their worthless and weak neighbors (see Angles and Jutes).

Lombard Kingdom - Societas Imperii

(European Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
Autharii, Rex Lombardorum

The court in exile seethed in Silesia.

Eire Kingdom of the Scots - Diocese of Hibernia

(Keltic Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
High King Brian I "the Rash," Rex Scotorum, Vicarius Hiberniae
Diplomacy: Mumha (F)

The young king tromped about the castle, brow furrowed. He knew that without a successful military exploit he might well be overthrown by another Scots king. At length, he resolved to liberate Gwynned from the "Romans" and set sail for the Welsh coast in 437. The Ordovician campaign did not go well, and in fact the locals rose up and slaughtered his small force, once more forcing the High King to flee up the coast to Deva. The Ordovicians, having mustered, decided to go further and throw off the Britanniae yoke, a matter easily done given the struggles surrounding their master's throne (see Kingdom of Britanniae). More successful was Lord Liam, who convinced the king of Mumha that despite Brian the Eire Kingdom was a going concern worthy of full support.

Kingdom of Britanniae - Diocese of Britain, Kingdom of Alba         Veloria Musonian

(Classical Pagan Civilized Component Nation)
Volusian, Rex Damnonia, Vicarius Britanniae
Diplomacy: Gwynned (UN)

The sudden death of Volusian in January of 437 came as something of a surprise, as the seemingly hale leader simply fell over at a meeting with several priestesses. At the news, Libanius Musonian, his declared successor, busied himself about gathering the reigns of power into his hands. This he did with such skill that within weeks he was anointed at the Temple of Apollo in Atrebatia just outside Venta. The following day he was also blessed at the Church of the Holy Spirit just down the via.

And thus Libanius, a rather unremarkable nobleman of nearly 50 years, came to lead the remnant of Roman culture in Britain. Shortly after his accession he received the Queen of the Picts, Miranda Mac Aniel, widow of Sean Mac Aniel and now ruler in her own right. Courtiers of the vicarius were wary of the lady, who though Roman by birth and exceedingly handsome was nonetheless in charge of a power which had recently invaded their lands and had in the past lured away provinces.

The rex overlooked these objections and welcomed the Queen to his court. Months passed, and the two royals grew quite close. Veloria, wife of Libanius and mother of his young son and heir, Mordred, began a whispering campaign against Miranda. Thus it was that the two most powerful and beautiful women in Britain campaigned against each other, a war of glances, notes, and secret meetings. Several nobleman became caught up in the scheming, and one thought to gain the throne himself by playing all cards against Libanius. Most of the remaining noblemen in the kingdom either admired the king for having such alluring women fighting over him or despised him for letting such destabilizing rumors take wing. As for Libanius, he was for a time oversexed, egotistical, and loving it.

The loss of Gwynned was due in small part to the Ordovician conception of the vicarius as a besotted oaf who taxed them yet did nothing to keep Scots raiders at bay (see Eire Kingdom of the Scots). And of course the Welsh were traditionally scornful of the "goat-eaters." Further adding to their disdain was the ability of the Northmen to raid at will in Britanniae (see Angles and Jutes).

A plot was uncovered by Miranda's aides, Owen Crynith and Colin McNith, in talking with the handmaiden of Veloria. She was moved to turn in the conspirators, unwittingly turning the king against his wife. Libanius came to believe his wife supported the plot against him. Despite her protestations, Veloria was convicted of treason. Rather than death, which her husband could not bear to order, she was banished along with their son and as well divorced from him. She was given a pension and shipped off to Constantinople where he hoped she would find a home - one distant enough to not trouble him. Many regarded Mordred as the true heir, since by 440 Libanius' new bride Miranda had not become great with child.

Pictish Kingdom of Alba         Pictish Epigraphy

(Roman Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
Miranda Mac Aniel, Queen of the Cruithni, Princess of Flavia       Miranda Mac Aniel
Diplomacy: Kingdom of Britanniae (T)

The queen ordered the peasants in Maxima Caesarea to be aided by slaves and hired men to dredge rivers, dig canals, and generally improve life. Then she and her men headed south to woo the King of Britanniae, using her own charm and cunning and that of her agents to expand her realm (see Kingdom of Britanniae).

Quadi Clans

(Arian Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
King Vitalianus

The people worried and complained that their homeland would not support their families. Vitalianus considered the options - hiring out his warriors, raiding, migration - and was not pleased with any of them. He also noted that the lands across the Danube were filling with settlers taking up the thousands of abandoned farmsteads.

Roman Christian Church         Zenobius Performs a Miracle, D. Veneziano

(Roman Christian Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Leo I, Bishop of Roma

The growing priesthood of Roma viewed with distress the ravages of barbarians in distant lands (see Angles and Jutes) and disturbing events closer to home (see Ostrogothic Kingdom).

Suevi Kingdom

(Arian Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
King Hermeric
Diplomacy: Venetia (HM)

Events in the tiny Slavic kingdom (see Slavic Kingdom of Aemilia) kept Hermeric awake late into the night. Not too late, apparently, for in 438 a son was born to the Latin daughter of the royal weaver which he acknowledged as his. In another bold move the king announced that the tribes would remain in Venetia.

Western Roman Empire         Battle Flag

(Roman Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Marcus Traianus Marcellinus, Augustus
Marcellinus, Flavius Diplomacy: Lacetani (EA), Carthago (EA), Numidia (EA)

Having for now given up Gaul to the barbarians (see Empire of the Huns), the emperor looked to secure Italia. With this in mind he named Marcellinus as his heir, the Flavius, and placed him in nominal command of the legions sent against the Slavs. The old quaestor Olympius was sent to keep an eye on the young prince, while real command was held by Titus, the p. p. Italiae. They marched thousands of troops into the tiny barbarian enclave (see Slavic Kingdom of Aemilia). Thousands fewer marched home, yet Marcus was not too upset. He knew that in a few years he would be able to send another vast army against them, while the Slavs could barely replace their losses. Or so he hoped.

Just ahead of the barbarian offensive (see Asding Vandals) Caracalla left Lugdunum for Lacetani. The local landholders were glad to see someone from the Empire, as their neighborhood had really declined of late, what with Germans and Huns roaming about. Similar sentiments were expressed to bishop Thomas in Carthago and the comes sac. largitionum Paulus on his expedition to Numidia, though in the last case the citizens were wary of drawing too close to the Bishop of Roma (see Donatist Christian Church).

Ostrogothic Kingdom

(Roman Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
Amalasigrun, Queen
Diplomacy: Taifali Tribes (T)

Tamora shook violently, the silver krater slipping from her fingers with a crash to the mosaic floor, dark wine staining her bright yellow robe. She crumpled, and lay in a fetal position while Paulus, her husband and her priest, attempted to comfort her. But there was no solace to be had, and within the hour the Queen of the Ostrogoths was dead.

The wine steward was killed outright by Dalgaric, a thiufan famous for his size, speed, and short temper, who snapped the Illyrian's neck as soon as he found the man. This was unfortunate for both, as the Goth was arrested by Marcus Attilus since the prince suspected he had slain the servant to cover his own role in the assassination.

Somehow Amalasigrun, the wise and beautiful daughter of Tamora and Paulus, managed to maintain her composure, issuing orders for mourning, arranging for proper funereal rites, and telling various clans that plans for resettlement would have to wait. None opposed these commands initially, but within a week Marcus Attilus was pressing his claim to the throne. A few days of intense negotiations between the prince, and his adherents, and Paulus and Amalasigrun. Seeing that even his most loyal friends were loath to oppose the grieving princess and her Roman-born priest father, Attilus gave up and announced his support for the girl to be the new queen, with himself as Crown Prince.

Driving the nail into the coffin of his ambitions was the revelation that Marcus Attilus had himself spread the rumor that Dalgaric was planning to betray the realm to the Romans. This was a subject for some humor among the people, as the large man's dislike for the Empire was legendary. He had once - prior to taking baptism under orders from Tamora - strangled a Tuscan priest with his massive hands for saying that the Empire was holier than the Kingdom of the Ostrogoths, thus deserving God's favor. And in any event all knew he lacked the wit to scheme on such a level.

Thus on Easter Sunday of 437 Amalasigrun became Queen, a novelty in being a woman succeeding a woman as leader of the Ostrogoths. Some wondered at this trend, but most could only cheer that their nation had survived this blow - a blow all attributed without other information to the Emperor. Despite a recent thaw in relations, every Ostrogothic man, woman, and child knew in their bones that Mediolanum would like nothing better than to see them enslaved.

Baldric, meanwhile, continued his mission to the Taifali. By 440 he had managed to secure their allegiance, aided in part by the plight of the Slavs at the hands of the Empire (see Western Roman Empire). Mediolanum was not pleased at this diplomatic coup. Less successful was yet another attempted escape from the Holy Roman Empire by Athanaric, who by now was incensed that not only had Tamora taken "his" throne, but that her brat had succeeded her. The old prince seethed in his confinement.

Dalgaric took his little fleet into the Bay of Tunis for a bit of fun. Sadly for him a late Spring storm drove his ships to port in Cagliari, where the lads enjoyed brawling with the local fishermen and pirates. When the weather cleared the biremes set off for Sicilia, intent on hitting Lilybaeum, which they had heard was a rich and undefended port on the west end. Sadly for them their approach was detected by a small fleet of grain ships who learned that Dalgaric was planning mayhem. The great ships set upon the smaller Ostrogothic boats, ramming some and boarding others. The barbarians were slain to a man, Dalgaric not having bothered to learn the art of swimming - in mail.

Slavic Kingdom of Aemilia

(Slavic Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
King Kroll

Several boiars, incensed at what they saw as Ladis' usurpation of their rights, plotted to remove him from the throne. The plot was uncovered early on, giving the king the opportunity to conduct a purge of disloyal men. More than a dozen were executed by beheading one cold February morning, and Ladis exacted oaths of loyalty from the remaining leaders.

With his realm newly-strengthened, he prepared for the inevitable Roman attack. Or Hunnic attack. Or Taifali attack. Everyone knew that the tiny kingdom was a tempting target, and got busy on the defense. A string of palisades was built, along with dams which could be breached as needed to flood fields and channel enemy advances into the forts. Hector, the proconsul of Verona, was given cash to raise hundreds of well-armed troops. Ladis also arranged for the hire of the Hunnic malcontent Mundzuc and his hordes, who were promised a chance for honor against whomever might attack.

In spite of all these precautions, when the Roman army crossed the border in April of 437 Ladis was not sanguine about his chances. Fleeing peasants told him that the enemy outnumbered his army nearly two-to-one, and that their quality and training exceeded those of his Slavs and his Veronan auxiliaries. On top of all this he did not in his heart trust Mundzuc - Ladis had seen too much of Hunnic culture to believe their vows to Slavs. And the king had developed a nasty cough, which at his age did not bode well.

Thus it was that Ladis entered the small traditional hut of the aged shamaness. Her vision was a confusing one, for she told him that he would win a great victory and lose his kingdom. Ruminating on this the following day lead him to watch Mundzuc yet more closely.

The two armies met at the aptly-named Hostilia. Hun scouts had reported on the route of march of Titius, the Roman commander, and fields had been flooded along the Padus to channel their approach. On the advice of Hector, most of the Huns were concealed in a wood and the few Slavs and many Veronans were paraded before the enemy. Titius took the bait, assuming that his enemy would be overwhelmed with little struggle, as he knew the Slavs themselves were no match for legionaries. A strong wooden fort just ahead of the enemy line was stormed and torched, cheering the Romans as they slaughtered the defenders. Titius was quite surprised when a more thousand Huns - he knew Ladis had hired Mundzuc - then emerged from the wood a half mile to his left and bore down on his army.

Of course the Romans had a reserve, which rode out to meet them. The equites were shot down by the Huns, who continued around into the rear of the Roman formation, causing widespread panic. The Latins still told tales about the Hunnic occupation of Liguria, and these were not pleasant. Titius tried to rally his men, but was only able to convince them to withdraw. Unfortunately this was when the Veronan infantry countercharged, throwing the Romans into confusion and then rout. Thousands were slain, many drowning in the Padus in frantic attempts at escape. Most of the Roman army escaped to Liguria.

There was great rejoicing among the Slavs, Latins, and Huns over their unexpected victory. Wine was drunk, cakes eaten, and bodies looted. Thus comforted the nation was content into March of 438, when Ladis' cough confined him to his bed, and by the 20th he was dead. The young son of King Bole was brought forth as the new king, and the boiars having had enough blood to last a lifetime agreed to this Kroll as their king, provided a council of elders acted during his minority.

Holy Empire of Rome

(Roman Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Probus, Augustus
Diplomacy: Savia (UN), Pannonia II (UN), Sirmium (UN)

Blood. On the floor. On the walls. Even on the cielings. The legionaries spared nobody in their purge, lead by Probus, a chance to vent their rage at lack of pay, at lack of leadership, and general annoyance. Slaughtered in the purge were the Augustus, Sextus, Prince Delmar "the Bastard," Marcos Calpurnius Lorio, Gaius Ligustinius Atticus, and Paulus the Crusader. The Bishop Commodus was spared, and agreed to join the victors if only to guide them away from yet more violence.

Hearing of the revolt in the capital, Savia, Sirmium, and Pannonia II decided to leave the Holy Empire of Rome. Seeking to restore some stability Probus tracked down and married one of Stilicho's daughters, Aqua, at the end of Lent of 437. The tiny nation settled down to enjoy further years of misery and impotence.

Dalmatia - Civitate Foederatae

(Roman Christian Civilized Component Nation)
Petronius, rex

A fever carried off the regent, Ariadna, on November of 437. Lacking direction from the Empire, the notables of the civitate named her younger sister, Amaryllis, as the new Regent. Within a month a suitable young man was found to marry her, Petronius of Epidaurum, who was acclaimed rex and his wife named flavia.

Taifali Tribes - Friends of the Ostrogoths

(European Pagan Barbarian Component Nation)
King Joannes, Rex Taifalorum, Vicarius Belgicae

Joannes sees the handwriting on the wall and, while not literate enough to actually read it, he knows what it means. Thus the Taifali accede to the pleading of the Ostrogoths and joins with them (see Ostrogothic Kingdom).

Kingdom of the Red Huns - Diocese of Gaul

(Roman Christian Nomadic Open Empire)
Modares, Vicarius Galliae

The rex Hunnorum as at last convinced by Oebarsius to relinquish that title and become part of the Hunnic federation - once more. Axes were buried, uncharacteristically not in someone's skull, and the clans were reunited (see Empire of the Huns).


(European Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
Ardaric, king

The young king enjoyed hunting and games of chance, deigning to be tutored by a Greek only because of the example of Alexander of Makedon.

North Africa

Berber Kingdom of Tingitania

(Roman Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Flavius Juba, Rex Tingitaniae

Juba was blessed with a son in his twilight years, in addition to a multitude of grandchildren.

Donatist Christian Church

(Donatist Christian Church Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Archbishop Maximianus
Diplomacy: Maghrib (CH)

A new program was undertaken by Maximianus, to bridge the gap between his church and the wider Church. Less stress was placed on martyrdom and more on Grace. Thus were the clergy lead to instruct the faithful, and initially this shift was barely perceptible. But a rural priest near Sifitis took exception, and secretly wrote and distributed many copies of an anti-reform screed which was widely circulated and duplicated. The reactionaries branded the reforms as a sell-out to Roma, and the visit of the Roman comes sac. largitionum Paulus to Numidia (see Western Roman Empire) prompted riots in several cities, including Thagaste, Vaga, and Mascula.

The upshot of this reaction against Maximianus was a loss of prestige for the church. Reforms of this type had successfully been labeled as and attempt to become more "mainline" causing a loss of credibility at home and theological basis abroad.

Eastern Europe

Arian Christian Church

(Arian Christian Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Cincinnatus, Pontifex ipseque Primas Gothicus et Germanicus

The church was pleased to see its adherents advancing across Europe. If only the Huns would convert ...

Khanate of the Tyrasean Alans         Hunnic Runes

(European Pagan Nomadic Open Empire)
Arpad, Khan

The clans were shocked when Respendial, who had recently taken to acting a bit "odd," stabbed his wife and then killed himself on October 14 of 440. Some blamed demonic possession, while others had always thought his mind a bit warped. This crisis lead to the early acclamation of his heir, Arpad, Khan of the Ghuzz, as leader of the people. There was some grumbling, but the bond between Respendial and Arpad had been written in Greek. The wise ruler named the son of Respendial, Goar, as his heir, and married him off to his daughter. He then elevated his own son, Gursabur "The Bitter," to be a prince of the kingdom. Of course Gursabur was bitter about the turn of events, but as nobody much liked him anyway it hardly mattered.

Orthodox Christian Church

(Orthodox Christian Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Patriarch Procopius

Failure to deal with the rise of the Monophysites caused many furrowed brows across the East.

Eastern Roman Empire         Eastern Roman Empire

(Orthodox Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Theodosius II, Imperator
Diplomacy: Cappadocia (PT), Thebais (EA), Thebes (P), Nobatia (P), Amara (P)

The Imperator Theodosius moved to alleviate the famine by commissioning a large number of new fishing fleets throughout the Empire and transferring a number of trading fleets to fishing duty. In the long run the farms and fields of the Nile Delta and the benefits of the great city of Alexandria had to be recovered to restore health to Eastern Roman Empire. To accomplish this the Imperator understood he could not fight both the Persians and the opportunistic Lakhmids at the same time. He also needed to soothe the feelings of the Goths. Peace overtures were made to the Shahanshah and these were well-received.

Theodosious also understood that peace with the Persians would not sit well with the rebellious legions and especially with the Goth contingents who had bled and died on his orders in the fields of Mesopotamia. The Imperator understood that he must go personally to Coele Syria to negoiate there and make amends with Simmas the Merarch of the Legions. The risks to his person were clear: capture, torture and death. But the needs of the Empire outweighed his personal safety. With diplomactic help from his best courtiers, plus gold, gifts, and the promise of the hand of his daughter, Maria, the Imperator felt confident that he had the cards to win his gamble.

The Imperator also recognized the need to dismiss the Bishop Iohannes Xiphos from his post in Coele Syria to smooth over the hard feelings the Legions there harbored towards the Bishop. It made no difference whether these accusations were true. Militarily and politically it simply had to be done. Once he arrived in Coele Syria the Imperator would take command of the Bishop's troops and go on to meet with Simmas. If a reconciliation could be made then Simmas would move with the Legions to support Narcissus in a pincer campaign to retake the Nile Delta. The Imperator left the Bukoleon Palace and went to pray at the Church of the Holy Wisdom, Sancta Sofia.

All was now in the hands of God. The birth of another happy girl to Vigilantia was taken as a sign of His Grace. Scores of priests were set upon the unsuspecting populations of Moesia, Iberia, and Abasgia, who reacted by shutting their doors against the tourists, a different sign.

Verinian, the dux et Magister Militum per Orientem, acted as aid to Theodosius as they marched across Asia Minor. They insisted on passage through Cappadocia, and the locals averred that theirs was an independent kingdom. In fact, it was a former Imperial region run as a petty despotate, and the nearly 10,000 cavalry, including scholae, obliterated the opposition and reduced the nobles to subjection.

These and other delays meant that the meeting between Simmas and Theodosius in Antioch did not take place until July 3 of 438. Negotiations and their details form too lengthy a monologue to include here, as they were not concluded until July 14 of 439. It was then that Simmas, the leader of the mutineers, was wed to flavia Maria, daughter of Theodosius and Vigilantia, who had just turned 13. A rare beauty, the offering of her hand went far to winning over Simmas, a man who had already seen two wives and three children die in his 39 years. The imperator would not however tolerate the continued presence of Bishop Iohannes Xiphos, who was retired to a monastery after a long and controversial career in imperial service. Simmas, the new flavius, was not displeased at this, though a few of the 120,000 under his command were sullen.

The honeymoon would have to wait. The Imperator ordered his newly-reliable main army to march along the coast and into Egypt, with the goal of conquering the Lakhmid Arab settlers in Augustamnica and retaking all the Nile Valley. Already his minions Narcissus and Zenon had advanced up the left bank of the Nile into Nobatean territory (see Nobades Kingdom).

Aided by Verinian, Simmas marched his men down the coastline, via the Lebanon, stopping a few days in Caesarea Maritima, thence through Gaza along the old road into Egypt. Pelusium was not reached until May 10 of 440, what with the logistical problems of moving so large a force. The Merarch was impressed with the foresight of the Arabs, who had defended their settlements with flooded fields, fortifications, and flying squads of skirmishers on fine Arabian steeds.

Throughout the summer Simmas probed all along the line, gradually pushing westward by reducing one fortified village after another, bridging canals, fighting back raids by Arab horse, and generally having a miserable time. The Arabs would lose a fortified position, bordered by water, trenches, and palisades, only to fall back to another such. At last, on September 2 the Romans managed to pin the Lakhmid army near the city of Busiris, and there ensued a chaotic struggle which lasted for two days and ranged across 15 miles of fertile countryside and villages. Losses on both sides were heavy, but sheer numbers were in favor of the Romans.

On the second day Prince Imran al-Qays saw that a column under Verinian was threatening to cut off the Lakhmid line of retreat, and he ordered a withdrawal. At the evening staff meeting his proposal was shouted down despite the fact that Imru himself had placed this son in overall command. The disputation continued until the next watch, when during a pause the hired captain Ibrahim ibn Nuweira offered another path. Everyone listened as he moved blocks about the map on a side table, and all agreed with his proposal.

Simmas rode at the head of an alae of his foederati, Sarmatian refugees who were fiercely loyal, moving west. He wanted to see the progress the dux Verinian was making in cutting off the Arab army. A rider approached with news that the Lakhmids had abandoned all their forward encampments and appeared to be heading through the gap between Verinian's legion and the Sebennytic mouth of the Nile. The Merarch and flavius smiled and sent out several other messengers, who sped away on mounts the same color as the dust they kicked up from the parched road.

Over the next two days Roman troops slowly pushed into the empty Arab position, hampered by burned bridges, a lack of water craft, and the perennially marshy landscape. It was at this point that another rider came to Simmas with a scroll which - after decoding - did not make the commander smile. For the Arabs had split their forces, apparently sending at least 10,000 cavalry south, then east, then north through the desert. The Roman army was being treated to the same strategy Verinian had used earlier and was in danger of being cut off from its forward base at Pelusium. Cursing, Simmas ordered the army to turn about and head east, except for Verinian who was left to watch the remainder of the region.

Some miles east of Phacusa the marching Romans found the Lakhmid army arrayed before them. Imran had left his civic militia behind in the fortress of Sais to keep Verinian occupied, and had taken the Arab horse, as per ibn Nuweira's advice, into the desert, where it belonged. Thus Simmas did not have time to fully deploy his army before 20,000 ululating Arabs fell upon his force from all sides. Momentarily thinking of his predecessor Crassus, the Merarch charged out with his foederati to buy his men time to redeploy.

This was a mistake. Unsupported, his few hundred heavy cavalry were surrounded and cut down by Arabs. There were no survivors. Seeing this take place not a quarter mile away, much of the Roman army broke and ran west and north away from the desert. Most of the cavalry held, however, and fought a rear-guard action which saved most of the infantry at the cost of many of the heavy horse. Verinian had word of this the following day and organized a retreat to Pelusium, saving most of the army. When word reached the imperial court, a cloud of mourning descended, though it must be said that the newly-widowed Maria was not seen to shed a tear for her dead husband. Indeed, her Bishop was prevailed upon to annul the marriage, given that it had never been consummated.

Rejoicing, by contrast, was widespread among the Arab settlers in Augustamnica. Imru declared a week-long holiday, and founded a church in Memphis to thank God for this victory. Privately, he remained concerned, for the Romans were known to be relentless. To assuage their honor he had the body of Simmas located, salted, and shipped to Constantinople.

The Duchy of Moesia - Civitate Foederatae

(Orthodox Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Siricius, Dux et Praefect

The aged Siricius was unable to maintain the Duchy, which dissolved into petty kingdoms, despotates, and city-states.

Middle East

Ghassanid Arab Kingdom

(Monophysite Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
King Timotheus

Timotheus listened to alarm to stories told by refugees from Petra (see Visigothic Kingdom).

Kingdom of Yemen

(Judaism Civilized Open Empire)
King Ishmael ibn Yahsub
Diplomacy: Mecca (EA)

The crowd applauded wildly when Ishmael emerged from the Ka'abah. "When in Rome ..." he muttered to into his bushy grey beard as the tribal leaders lead him to the corner where the Stone was located. The king of the only Jewish state in the world begged off kissing it, but did touch it with some interest. He sighed, partly from the effort of summer exertions, and partly from the massive display of idolatry in the center of Mecca. Still, the king was pleased at his reception and the success of his diplomatic mission since he had arrived in 439 as compared with his work in Asir from 437 through 438 preaching Judaism in a Christian land, to no result.

Prince Isaak had also spent a wasted year of 437 and 438, his time spent trying to woo Madina to closer ties with the Yemenis. But the Christian desert nomads were uninterested in paying more tax to a very distant and very foreign king. To make his mission yet worse, the prince caught a minor plague at a watering hole and died. His body was salted and taken back to Zafar for burial, a ceremony overseen by the young Prince Lael, the anointed heir of Ishmael.

Lakhmid Arab Kingdom

(Monophysite Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
Sheikh Imru al-Qays, Satrap of Egypt
Diplomacy: Alexandria (F), Egypt (P)

Utbah ibn Khuzaymah continued to woo the leaders of Alexandria. After the defeat of the Roman army (see Eastern Roman Empire) the senators decided to throw in their lot with their coreligionists and joined the Lakhmid cause. Thus their huge militia also went over to the Arabs, much to the joy of Imru. The eviction of Roman tax collectors from surrounding Egypt also aided their decison, as Atta ibn Sued and his Nobades and Blemmye allies quickly subdued it. The final good omen was the birth at last of a son to Imru, which more than compensated the loss of Petra to the Visigoths (see Visigothic Kingdom).

Monophysite Christian Church

(Monophysite Christian Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Patriarch Luke
Diplomacy: Edessa (MN), Myos Hormuz (AB), Berenice (AB), Palaestina Salutaris (CH), Circis (CH), Madina (CH), Qustul (MN)

Yet more Holy Legionaries were trained in Alexandria as the Patriarch watched events on the Nile with interest (see Nobades Kingdom and Eastern Roman Empire). The Blemmye were blessed with many priests educating the illiterati about the Good News so that by 440 more than half the villages had houses of worship. Further congregations were founded in otherwise harsh territory and Luke was well-pleased generally.

West Africa

Moorish Kingdom         Banner of Fear

(African Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
Sheik Izri al-Kasurga
Diplomacy: Arauane (T), Jenne (UN)

Over the years, vast resources had been given to the gentry in the African countryside, thousands of slaves, tons of gold, and wide lands. Sedray decided to call in this debt, and demanded each noble swear fealty to the Sheikdom. He also raised taxes to pay for more bureaucrats, and generally tried to make ruling the new Moorish lands a more "Latin" enterprise. This did not go over well in all quarters, but the grumbling was at a low level - for a while.

Meanwhile, the business of brutality proceeded apace. General Sukman took camel to the oasis of Aruane to press the borders north. This met with some success, before matters unraveled. Earlier, Sukman and Prince Izri took the army into Galam, where the local population was rounded up. Resistance was offerred, and easily crushed due to inept leadership. More thousands were marched off to bondage and a life of misery. Having stripped everything of value, the Sheik ordered his men out of Segu, Takrur, and Galam, leaving them to local warlords, bandits, and a few remaining settlers.

By February of 440 the unrest among the nobility had reached a fever pitch, and the banner of rebellion was raised on several of the larger estates. Sedray refused to acknowledge these, and in fact one messenger was returned to his master in a wooden box. Disgusted with these developments, General Sukman agreed to help Prince Izri seize the throne and "bring the people back into line." As these two were popular with the army, this immediately got the attention of everyone. This was now serious.

Declaring loyalty to the Sheik was his announced heir, Crown Prince Madjer and the young lord Severus. They holed up in Mopti and prepared to withstand a siege. As expected, all provinces, except for Jenne, declared for Prince Izri, hoping the new party would free them from their new obligations. By August Mopti was surrounded on the non-river sides and entrenchments were underway. Within a week the senators of the capital city had had enough, and ordered the militia to take the leaders of the loyalist camp prisoner. This was done by surprise, and on the evening of August 15 they were turned over to General Sukman. He made various noises about the safety of the royals to the senators, which mollified them. Sukman, realizing that Izri would be unable to kill his own family, decided to do it himself, and executed them by beheading. Severus, who was young and of good background, decided that while he loved his master, with the death of the Sheik it made no sense to maintain this, and swore loyalty to Izri.

Izri was outraged, but his anger was tempered by acclamation as the new Sheik. Within a moon the new Sheik was fully in power. Sadly for the party of the nobility, Izri found the new administration to his liking and demanded their submission. The lords gave in and peace was restored to most of the land, Jenne only holding out against the New Order. On the plus side, agents in Arauane found trade cities to the West.

East Africa

Axumite Empire

(Monophysite Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Emperor Tewodros "One-Eyed" Ella Asgad

After some years of mourning for his dead wife and son, Tewodros is brought back to life by his daughter-in-law Elizabeth. Her singing, dancing, and poetry have engaged the emperor’s attention, and Elizabeth has spent several years planting the notion of her becoming a Queen in her father-in-law’s ear. Some would say that the formal entertainment has been accompanied by a more intimate persuasion, but who really knows what goes on behind Imperial doors? In any event, Elizabeth has retained a fair figure after bearing a number of children, and is intent upon regaining her Blemmye homeland.

The children of Menelik and Elizabeth have a claim to the thrones of both Axum and Blemmye, leading the shrewd Tewodros to press his cassus belli against the Nobades to his north. Thus it was that he lead his army into Beja in the spring of 438, and it was true that he would never see things quite the same (see Nobades Kingdom).

Before departing, Tewodros named his grandson Iannos as his heir and married him off to a local girl of good background. In due time she gave birth to a healthy baby boy, an auspicious start to the emperor's campaign.

Blemmye Tribes

(African Pagan Barbarian Open Empire)
Zakarias, King of Blemmye
Diplomacy: Arcadia (PT)

By the end of the rainy season of 437 Zakarias knew that his long and troubled life was to become yet more interesting (see Nobades Kingdom). Regardless of his many travels he was pleased with two recent developments - the acquisition of Arcadia from his friend the king of Nobades, and his daughter Andromeda, who had become the most enchanting girl in all the land.

Nobades Kingdom

(Monophysite Christian Civilized Open Empire)
King Phillipus Silko, Basileus
Diplomacy: Berenice (NT)

Qamani of Qustul died in a hunting accident, mauled by a lion, but at least had the chance to see his infant son and his wife, Gannace, earlier that day. This theme of tragedy and triumph would continue for the rest of the kingdom, and none could say which was the more striking in the end.

A deal was struck with the Arabs and Blemmyes, and the spring of 437 saw Nobades armies and their allies (see Blemmye Tribes) crossing the Nile into Arcadia from Thebais and then again into Egypt, where campaigning with the Lakhmids and Blemmyes began in October. While the countryside was denuded of troops, the sullen glances of villagers did sting among those few soldiers sensitive enough to care. By November the region was secured for the Arab Sheikh, who presented Phillipus with the gift of a gilded Bible and 12 pure white goats.

Honor having been satisfied, the Nobades and Blemmyes marched upstream into Faiyum and by March of 438 found themselves fighting initial skirmishes with the large local militia under Titius of Melitene. But the southerners rapidly disengaged and crossed into Arcadia, which had been ceded to the Blemmye king Zakarias, and thence through Blemmye lands towards Beja.

They had decided to ignore a more immediate threat, the incursion of the army of Zenon, Proconsul of Faiyum, aided by a large Imperial force under Narcissus. By July 22 of 437 Thebais had been liberated and the locals were at least mildly excited by the idea of rejoining the Empire at some level. The next target was the city of Thebes, which was nominally aligned with the Nobades but in reality was most interested in just waiting out the warfare while not paying taxes to the Emperor. Thus it was that the citizens found their city being isolated by some 50,000 soldiers and sailors and realized their freedom was about to come at a high price. They held out until May 2 of 438 when a section of the southeastern wall gave way to sapping and legionaries swarmed into the city. Narcissus and Zenon kept their men on a short leash by entering Thebes with the advance party and so avoided chaos in the streets. The ships could not proceed past the First Cataract and so was left to guard Thebes.

By September the imperial army had begun crossing the Nile and was probing into Nobatia. The following Spring saw the entire region fall. With a terrifying sense of the inevitable the vast host encamped against the city of Amara. The citizens, while loyal to Phillipus, knew that without walls or any militia they had no chance whatsoever and capitulated before the full moon. Thus by April of 439 Narcissus and Zenon were encamped near the Third Cataract of the Nile, a place about which they had only heard stories.

While legionaries held Amara and the surrounding lands, Zenon took his Faiyum militia raiding into adjacent lands of the Nobades. Their first target was Alwa, which they attempted to ravage during May. Their slow if large force succeeded in grabbing some loot, but the natives always seemed to slip away with the serious booty before the raiders could catch them. June saw the overheated Faiyum militia sweating profusely in their armor, horse and man, as alae of soldiers ranged across Nubia. Here again pickings were slim. The following month saw Zenon trying his luck in Kordofan. As usual, his luck failed him, as Count Abizair and his tiny band of retainers was able to mousetrap Faiyum raiders time and again. Indeed, the Proconsul himself was nearly captured in one skirmish and escaped with a broken leg courtesy of an well-aimed slingstone. Thereafter he decided to give up raiding in favor of being fanned in Amara by comely sycophants.

Far to the south, on March 22 of 438 an Axumite army under their emperor Tewodros Ella Asgad, assisted by Nezool the Crafty and lord Ebana, crossed into Beja. With a vaguely plausible cassus belli (see Axumite Empire) about 20,000 entered Nobades territory. A small army under Prince Menas was quick to respond and soon was contesting with various Axum units with his force of less than 3000. As might be expected, and despite some notable acts of bravery on the part of the Prince, Beja fell and by the end of April the Nobades settlers and Beja natives alike bowed to the emperor.

Of course Zakarias and Phillipus, the two kings, had pushed their armies southward along the Red Sea coast, and by July were entering Blemmye proper. To their disgust they ran across foraging parties of Axumite troops, and quickly planned a campaign against their enemy. By September the two armies had maneouvered into a confrontation near the fishing village of Khor al Mog, so named by the Arabs who traded there. Bounded by brackish estuaries and rocky hills, an obvious battlefield presented itself. The ensuing conflict was later termed The Battle of the Three Kings by the victors who, of course, wished to imbue it with as much grandeur as the usually butchery of war could support.

Battle opened at dawn on September 12th, with the sun glinting off the golden sun standard of the Royal Camelry, mailed warriors armed with lances, swords, maces, and javelins, the pride of the Nobades army, lined in the center their outnumbered host. The place of honor was of course held by old King Zakarias and his son, who had just entered his teen years, at the head of their barbarian horse and runners, most armed with lances cruelly tipped with seven iron barbs and plying long bows, wearing the skins of lions and leopards, some with various teeth - including human - worked into necklaces. King Phillipus Silko had, aside from camelry, his own cavalry along with foot spearmen clumped into vague formations supported by mailed archers, armed with long bows and handaxes.

Tewodros was unimpressed. His army was half again as large as what he knew the enemy to field. Further, his massed archers would probably shoot down any mounted troops before them and the emperor felt good sitting atop his favorite elephant. Nezool was concerned by the large number of horses and camels he saw, and urged his master to be cautious about the flanks and rear. But Tewodros ignored him, and deployed more archers from marching columns on the flanks, filling the gap to the sea and spreading up a hillside to the left. This forced the Nobades forces to thin their lines to match the invaders' frontage, as the emperor foresaw. He smiled knowing that his heavy troops could punch through that line and roll it up. He ordered his aid to blow a silver-chased ivory horn to signal a general advance, and a cheer arose from his men as they stepped forward.

Zacharias was unconcerned. He had seen 60 blazing summers, and was as wily as they came. What he appreciated, and the invaders did not, was that the sea was very shallow along the beach, not up to a man's neck for an arrowshot distance from the sand. Leaving his young son with a tiny guard and the royal standard with Phillipus, he shifted his horse to the left of the line. When the Axumite men had advanced to within a fairly close distance he turned his thousand men and trotted them into the water. Lord Ebana was heard to laugh and point as the barbarians appeared to commit suicide, while his aides gave each other nervous glances but said nothing. Once the horses were in water nearly up to their knees they turned and charged through the nearly non-existent surf, splashing each other incidentally and their white teeth showing bright as they grinned.

A few heartbeats later the end of the Axumite crumpled as horses and men thrashed amongst them. Zakarias lead a few hundred around the end of the melee behind the Axumite line, his men whooping and causing a general panic. They crashed into the enemy reserve cavalry and dispatched them easily, Ebana's body pounded into the sand by the milling hooves. At the same time Phillipus had ordered a general charge, and the two lines crashed into each other with cries and yells. Some of the Royal Camelry appeared from a gully and set upon the western end of the enemy line, where those archers loosed a few arrows before the dismounted heavy troops charged among them and causing a great slaughter.

In the center the Nobades spearmen had charged in a block and carried the fight to within a few yards of Tewodros, who was forced to use his bow to shoot down several soldiers poking spears at his mount. But one of the spearmen whose weapon had broken picked up a stone and threw it, hitting the emperor in the face. He slumped in his seat, as his guard redoubled the effort and slew all the spearmen before them. Seeing a defeat, Nezool the Crafty ordered a withdrawal in order to save the remainder of the army. This he managed with care, using squads of light troops to harass pursuers as the Axumite army marched down the coast towards home. This minimized the number of survivors picked off by the Blemmye pursuers, who were not interested in prisoners.

Prince Menas showed up a few days after the battle with news that the north was under threat from Romans. A large Faiyum army had the prior year reduced Thebais and looking as though it might move further. Phillipus grated his teeth at the news. The beach within walking distance of this tent still washed up the bloated corpses of Axumite invaders, and he longed to make the Red Sea live up to its name once more. Thus against the advice of several of his nobles he ordered the army to push ahead into Beja to retake the region from Tewodros, and incidentally deny Elizabeth any chance to create a kingdom on Nobades or Blemmye soil. Zakarias was fully behind this strategy, of course, and so the commanders set about organizing their men for another march.

By the time supplies had been arranged and scouting accomplished the army was able to enter Beja only by March of 439. The Axumite emperor considered withdrawing his army back across the original border and abandoning his conquests entirely. But he trusted in his troops, who had shown substantial pluck in the march out of Blemmye. Tewodros himself was in no condition to fight, having suffered the loss of an eye, a severe concussion, and an infection which had nearly claimed his life. He also hoped that the incursion of Imperial troops into Nobatean lands and the fall of Amara the previous year would distract Phillipus.

Unfortunately for Tewodros his enemies were out for more blood. On the night of May 14 439 he was awakened by a rough hand shaking his shoulder. His bodyguard carried the stricken emperor through the brush to some waiting horses, while behind them arose shouts, cries, and flames. For the Royal Camelry had padded up to the Axumite encampment, slit the throats of a few guards, and charged among the tents and campfires, putting the torch to anything flammable and cutting down anyone in their way. Fully half the army was butchered while the remainder trickled south across the border into Danakil, the largest group lead by Nezool who, true to his nickname, had craftily used a decoy tent and thus avoided assassination.

Phillipus thanked Zakarias and sent him home, for the Nobatean king had a new war to prosecute on his own: war against the Roman Empire. This he opened by marching across Makuria to Alwa from whence he could look across the Nile at the Roman encampment about Amara. The month of August 439 was expended scouting and consulting, all which resulted in his sad conclusion that attacking the invader's camp was out of the question for the moment. This was especially painful for Prince Menas, whose late wife was raised in Amara. At least the locals in Alwa were happy to see the king, whom they hoped would protect them from further depredations.

Years of patient work on the part of lord Shenouda lead to the marriage of the dux of Berenice, Ptolemy, to the princess Tabiry, sealing the departure of the port city with its lucrative trade from the Eastern Roman orbit. The senators attending the wedding in September of 440 were however a contentious lot, having witnessed the ravages to which the kingdom had been subjected. But the wine was good, the couple young and hopeful, and the homily blessedly short, so the wedding party was considered a success. A few months later it was announced that Tabiry was great with child, and the nation had something in which to have happy anticipation - for a change.


Orthodox Zoroastrian Church         Fravashi

(Orthodox Zoroastrian Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Azareth, Mobedhanmobed
Diplomacy: Nihawand (CA), Media (AB), Ecbatana (MN), Persia (EC)

Azargoshasp took to a palanquin for his long journey to Nihawand from the court at Ctesiphon. The Mobedhanmobed was not well, and at every stop the people came out to give their support and receive his blessing. Finally at Nihawand, he met extensively with citizens high and low, resulting in the consecration of a complex of buildings around an agiary - or rather the ground on which would be built these, since Azargoshasp was barely able to move. The day after the ceremony he died, and the following day his body exposed in a tower specially built for the purpose.

The mobed Bhikaji lead the ecclesiastical troops into Asuristan to help hunt down the Visigoths (see Visigothic Kingdom). In the wake of failure, the holy man tried in vain to minimize atrocities against the few remaining Romans. Namirog, Dastur of Mosul, was sent to his home district. Despite the high regard in which the priest, now in his ninth decade, was held, nobody converted. Slight results were also the result of massive efforts to convert locals in Osrhoene and Mesopotamia, where the minorities usually held fast to their own ancient traditions. Some Christian, Jewish, and Manichean families did take up worship at a fire temple.

Kingdom of Armenia

(Monophysite Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
King Tigranes II
Diplomacy: Adurbadagan (UN)

On his way to observe the Shahanshah at the annual chahar shanbeh soori fire festival, King Mazdak suffered a sudden siezure and died on the cobblestones of Ctesiphon. Word spread quickly north to Urmia, where the only son of Mazdak, Zoltan, was named king by a few courtiers and the royal priest. The royal army was in Ctesiphon, leaderless though well-treated by their Persian hosts.

The young prince was not, however, popular in many circles, including Tigranes Prince of Armenia. Within a week the ambitious old man was marching with his armed nobles and freemen towards Urmia. Zoltan's sister Varhia, who had been about to depart for Ctesiphon to wed the Persian nobleman Megabazus, took advantage of the confusion to delay her journey. She was in no way anxious to leave for a new life in Persia.

The Armenian force, the only organized army in the area, received the loyalties of the rebellious Kelat, Artaxata, Van, and finally the city and province of Urmia. Negotiations ensued, a few duels were fought, with the result that Varhia was married on Easter Sunday of 437 to Tigranes II, son of Tigranes. He was a smooth talker and not bad looking, and had good prospects. By the end of 439 she had given birth to two healthy little boys, thereby adding the verdict of Heaven to the enterprise among the common people.

Having taken the throne for himself and seen the birth of grandsons, Tigranes died in August of 439 after a long illness. His son was acclaimed king with no dispute, and it looked as if the political crisis was over. Tigranes II announced a policy of neutrality between Constantinople and Ctesiphon. Adurbadagan and Adhur Gushnasp remained unimpressed by either Zoltan or Tigranes and kept to their own.

Kingdom of Persarmenia - Sasanian Persian Satrapy

(Monophysite Christian Barbarian Open Empire)
King Zoltan, Satrap

The exiled king spent many months at imperial parties, chatting up bureaucrats, and generally pleading his case with any who would listen (see Kingdom of Armenia). Zoltan hoped that his small force, bolstered by a Persian army now idled by peace with the Romans, might return him to his birthright in Armenia. Ghilan alone, on the pleasant shores of the Caspian, remained loyal to him, and he cursed the selfish and fickle nature of the Armenian nobility.

Sasanian Persian Empire         The Shah frolics

(Orthodox Zoroastrian Civilized Open Empire)
Varhanin, Shahanshah of Persia
Diplomacy: Ahvaz (F), Osrhoene (EA), Asuristan (F)

Varhanin had secretly sent an envoy along the Silk Route to distant Talas, agreeing to a revolutionary bond between the traditional Turanian menace, the Hephthalites, and Iran. The barbarians had already sent four young princesses for the approval of the Persian lord, and he had agreed. So it was that two sets of identical twin girls were married off to seal the deal. The newly-acclaimed heir Khusros was wed to Ila, his brother Darius to her identical sister Zeynap, and finally Xerxes and Mazdak, a distant cousin who had managed the long defense of Merv against the Kushan, to the twins Ozge and Asla.

These girls were all daughters of Ilginc and the famed khanum Umay, and thus their children would have claims against the realm of the Hephthalites. As these princesses were at marriage only 11 and 12 years of age, few expected much from them.

Aballartes, the new eran-spahbad, moved swiftly with the main army to crush the Roman enclave in Asuristan, while another force under Ephialtes sought to cut off the Gothic escape route. Despite valiant efforts the Visigoths slipped away across the Euphrates (see Visigothic Kingdom). Enraged, Varhanin ignored the pleading of the Bishop of Ctesiphon and ordered the hundreds of captured settlers, men, women, and children, crucified along the river, facing the direction of their army's retreat. So great was the fear of Varhanin engendered that none dared cut down the bodies, and there they remain to this day.

The Shahanshah was never quite the same after this episode, and his behavior became more and more erratic. He was prone to sudden mood swings - usually from violent to sullen - and his concubines sought any excuse to avoid him. A seizure in February of 438 forced him to remain indoors, and bureaucrats saw to the affairs of state. At length the mobedanmobed saw to it that he was put in restraints. The empire was thus adrift and rudderless, with the death of the eldest prince Khusros on August of 438 casting yet a darker pall over the palace. The death of Varhanin on May 29 of 439 was seen as a relief by some, though most viewed this with dread.

For the Khusros had not named a successor. It was feared the two remaining royal princes, Darius and Xerxes, would fight over the empire, plunging the newly-peaceful Persia into carnage over which only Ahriman and his cousin, the Roman Emperor, would smile. Yet few outside the palace knew of the strong bond between these two, who had vowed to each other not to fight over power. Thus despite the whispered pleadings of courtiers Xerxes, the elder, would not organize a coup to oust his brother. Darius was crowned Darius IV on June 14 of 439 and there was much rejoicing from Nisibis to Merv. Perhaps yet more amazing was the birth of a healthy boy to Ila, child widow of Khusros, the following month, who was but 14. Her sisters considered her fortunate, as Xerxes' long-time concubine had given birth to a daughter that spring, causing them some consternation - should his wife Ozge be outraged or relieved?

Those who had fled the advance of the Goths were returned to their lands in Asuristan. Soldiers loyal to the Kushans were enslaved and put to work in the mines, while captured sailors from Sindhu were put to work patrolling for pirates. Dasturs sent to preach the gathas in Merv so offended the locals that thousands converted to Buddhism in protest. Megabazus was secretly relieved that he would not have to join the trend and take to wife some barbarian girl (see Kingdom of Armenia) and instead partied in Ahvaz, where they appreciated his poise and flair.

In the east, the armies of the Shahanshah were busy spreading his glorious name and restoring the empire. The spahbad Gaidam campaigned in Und with a Hephthalite force to liberate it from the Kushans, indeed sending their Queen scampering back home. He then aimed at the heart of the Kushan Empire (see Kushan Empire), with mixed results. Nonetheless, the Shahanshah ordered the drafsh of Gaidam flown over the palace.

Visigothic Kingdom         When Good Goths Go Bad

(Orthodox Christian Civilized Open Empire)
Athaulf, Rex Gothicus
Diplomacy: Arabia (PT), Petra (P), Petra City (PT)

The courier ran up the steps to the royal chambers, paused, gasping, then tapped the door with his booted toes. The night was cool enough to make the man's breath form a temporary fog lit by the candleholder on the wall. Athaulf himself, wearing only a skirt, opened the door. The old man still cut an impressive figure and snatched the scroll from the sweating soldier and opened it. "Scribe!" he yelled, and from an adjoining room a large native man emerged. The scribe quickly scanned the paper.

It held news which would keep the King of the Goths from easy sleep for years to come. For the Persians were coming, not with baskets of figs and jars of oil, but with iron and fire. Horses raced all through the new kingdom in Asuristan, spreading the word to the farmsteads and manor houses that it was time to leave. While disappointed, nearly all Goths knew that their situation was precariously poised between two large empires. A very few chose to take their chances with the Persians, but nearly all families already had their valuables ready to move.

Athaulf spent one day only trying to convince one family, lead by a cousin, to evacuate. Riding fast with a few guards, he was ambushed by a score of men on horseback wearing Persian garb. Arrows flew thickly, and the rex was only saved by the quality of his armor, and that of his horse. While the guardsmen fought, and died, holding off the pursuers, Athaulf rode off. Or so it seemed, for he had given his mount an order practiced often, to race home, while he had dismounted and hidden in an irrigation ditch. The hand of Persia was indeed close on the Visigoth's throat.

By March of 437 the volk were on the move. Close behind was the Persian army under its new eran-spahbad Aballartes, who had mustered his men in Ctesiphon and ordered them downriver on the road to Asuristan. The lesser spahbads were amazed at how efficiently he managed to get the troops moving, how depots were set up along the line of march, even how a supply of spare sandal straps was arranged. Thus every paighan and dihqan was certain of catching these Romans and kicking them out of their realm.

Athaulf was however motivated by survival, his own and that of his people. Thus it was that on April 14 the last column of Visigothic troops, who had ushered tens of thousands of families across the Euphrates and fought a number of skirmishes with the advancing Persians, boarded barges. It was noon when a cloud of dust was spotted on the northern horizon. Everyone knew this was not God's storm, but one of hooves and steel. A few men panicked, but most simply sped up the operation.

And truly God - or to some older men, the gods - was with the Goths at that hour, for chaos was avoided, while the Persian host ran pell mell for the river and thus did not make the distance as quickly as they wanted. The last Gothic barge was in the middle of the Euphrates when the first Persian rider scrambled up the low berm at the shore. Within minutes a few archers had loosed arrows at the escaping enemy in frustration.

Over the next months the sunburned mass marched through a nearly-vacant Sawad, were shadowed by Arab raiders in Bostra, and finally confronted by a local army in Arabia. The few thousand locals tried to raid the Gothic camp, catch stragglers, and defend oases, but failed against superior numbers. A few score archers died, but the Arabians were subdued and the host moved on.

So it was that in the Spring of 438 Athaulf lead his people down the trade route to Petra, the old homeland of the Ghassanids. The natives welcomed them, showed them the best approaches to the city, where to find water, and generally hailed the Goths as saviors. Athaulf smiled upon them and drove the hated Lakhmids from their holes, to be dispatched by mobs of Arabs. Similarly the city of Petra was cordoned by the Visigoths just as it had been by the Lakhmids years earlier, and the citizens rose up and slaughtered the garrison and welcomed in the Visigothic host.

This happy event coincided with the birth of a daughter to Sarus' wife, a Goth girl named Lilith. To celebrate, Athaulf called the leaders of the newly-liberated Petra to a feast in the city. Wine cups were raised, songs were sung, and late in the night the king's household guard silently slipped into the hall, each wearing mail, helm, and carrying a great ax. Within minutes the chamber resembled more a charnel house than a party, with large blond men grimly cleaning their blades on the silks of their Arab guests.

Within a week nearly all the population of the city and country had been rounded up to serve the Visigoths. These Arabs cursed their fate, some few going so far as to praise the forebearance of the Lakhmids, who were at least coreligionists. Those escaping into the desert headed in all directions, but some few purposefully riding south. Meanwhile, the ruddy invaders worked the men and violated the women with impunity, seemingly awaiting a stroke of retribution from some quarter.

South Asia

Lambakanna Sinhala - A Kingdom of Chera

(Buddhist Seafaring Component Nation)
Chandra, Raja

The region was at peace, and the heir, prince Dipak took the opportunity to learn to swim.

Buddhist Stupas

(Buddhist Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Master Sanath

The adventures of Vis'vadeva in China were of great interest, and his letters back were widely copied and distributed.

Chera Kingdom

(Hinduism Seafaring Open Empire)
Veerpal, Rajadhiraja

At 77 Gaman, the rajadhiraja, passed away in his sleep. His son Veerpal was acclaimed king, and life went on in peace. A baby boy was born of his favorite concubine, and more joy ensued.

Pandya Kingdom

(Jainism Seafaring Open Empire)
Jahala, Rajadhiraja

Mindha was at last prevailed upon to end his regency, and Jahala was crowned leader of the people in 438. The same year a son was born to his only concubine.

Empire of the Guptas

(Hinduism Civilized Open Empire)
Skanda Gupta, Maharajadhiraja

The progress of campaigns in the northwest kept the attention of the court. The birth of a daughter to Lakshmi late in her years took everyone by surprise - and delight. Large bureaucracies are able to move ahead for a time without direction, and this was the theme of these years as Skanda spent a great deal of time hunting, reading, and carousing.

Kingdom of Sindhu - Gupta Tributary

(Hinduism Civilized Component Nation)
Abhayatta, Maharaja of Pattal and Sindhu

Rudradaman died after eating some suspect shellfish, and his ally Abhayadatta took the reins of power.


(Hinduism Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Virasenadeva, Guru

The guru taught widely in his eighth decade and his wisdom was well-received.

Jain Sects

(Jainism Civilized Primate Religious Authority)
Sarvanandi, Acharya

Sarvanandi spent a great deal of time keeping peace between the various threads of the faith.

Kingdom of Nepal - Gupta Tributary

(Buddhist Barbarian Component Nation)
Biscotti Licchavi, Rajadhiraja

The birth of a son of the aged Biscotti surprised many, and as surprising was how captivating was the infant. Thus emboldened, the rajadhiraja announced all nobles would vow fealty to the kingdom explicitly. His proposal went down with nary a whisper of discontent, and the Licchavi family tightened its grip on the reins of power.

Pallava Kingdom

(Hinduism Seafaring Open Empire)
Mahendravarma I, Rajadhiraja

A sudden seizure claimed the young son of Mehendravarma at the age of 19, leading to much mourning. This left the court with no obvious heir for a leader in the twilight of his life.

Vakataka Kingdom - Gupta Tributary

(Hinduism Civilized Component Nation)
Damodarasena, Rajadhiraja
Diplomacy: Asmaka (UN), Kosala (UN), Satava (UN), Palura (UN), Kalliana (H), Nasik (UN)

On August 3 of 440 Divakarasena passed away after a short illness of unknown type. His death galvanized the anti-Gupta party lead by General Varijchopra, who was in Kalliana overseeing the settlement of loyal citizens there. Opposing him was regent Prabhavati Gupta who put forth Divakarasena's brother Damodarasena to be the successor. On hearing of this division, Chakrapalita, the raja of Asmaka, decided that he was tired of this and revoked the Vakataka royal charter over him, revolting. Kalliana was thrilled at this development with the city leaders declaring themselves independent as soon as the garrison marched out of the gates.

As Damodarasena was setting up his government in Pravarapura General Varijchopra was marching over 2000 men through Satava and Pawar. By November 5 his small force was on the outskirts of the capital and his herald demanded a meeting with Damodarasena. What happened instead was that his army found itself surrounded by the main army under Charanjit Atwal. When the rebel general demanded his men make a frontal assault, they mutinied, one mahadanda grabbing the spear of a guardsman and running Chakrapalita through the heart.

Thus ended a rebellion which left Vakataka in tatters but the Gupta grip on the people as tight as ever.


Rules Hint of the Turn

As your reward for reading this far in the newsfax here is a useful rules hint. The other goal is to let all of you know what the players who are also LOTE GMs know.

Filling Out Orders

Here are some more gentle reminders:

  • When demobilizing units, enter them in the builds section as e.g. "-4XI". The minus sign ensures the units are deducted from the list.
  • Intel, Assassin, and Religion ops should have only the Op Code listed in the spreadsheet cells headed "Op Code," e.g. BA not "Run 1 (BA) Battle Assistance OP"; computers are picky.
  • Under and cell headed "Location" please use a map location, e.g. "Nan-Hai", and not a person's name, which belongs under "Notes".
  • When building a new city, just using the code "[1]" works.
  • When increasing a city size, using the code "[+1]" works.

Diplomacy of Pacified Regions

Under the Basic Rules diplomacy (DP) may not be performed on places at a Control Status of Pacified. This is not strictly true any more. One may indeed DP regions and cities at P status, but the effect is not an immediate change in that status. Instead the Years from Conquest number, i.e. YFC on your stats sheet, is changed by the result from the diplomacy. The software checks this number each turn and determines whether the region flips to a better control status. Which is to say that wooing people who hate you may yet yield dividends in the long run, but it may take many turns to see a result.

Change to Troop Recruitment

Because the leader action Preach is now named (or renamed) Religious Conversion, the campaign-specific rule Recruitment needs a name change to avoid confusion, since both are called RC. This is now called RT so please use this code from now on. If you have not done so, take a look. It is one way to get free troops ...

Hope this helps. Please see prior turns' newsfaxes for more hints at the bottoms of those pages.

A list of hints:

Chris Cornuelle / lote13gm at xmission dot com / last modified Friday, 18-Aug-2006 11:28:17 MDT
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