Lands of Red and Gold

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Jared, Dec 16, 2008.

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  1. CyberPhoenix001 Hail the Solar Empire!

    Feb 5, 2012
    Republic of Australia
    Along with providing a lot more material for the writers of cheesy thriller novels.
  2. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    I can sympathize, it is probably quite a mental chore. :) :D On a related note, I myself have tried to imagine the voices, accents and diction of the characters while reading most chapters of LORAG.

    And Hope. Speaking of which, this is not just an anglophone thing : Literal analogues of Faith and Hope - Viera (generic) and Nadežda (from Russian) - exist in several Slavic languages. I guess when abstract names are in vogue, they really spread, like any other fad would.
  3. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Holding together New Zealand won't actually be that easy. Ironworking is nice, but the geography is against holding together the whole of both islands. The interior isn't that amenable to building and holding together a dominant state over both islands. Even Nangu shipbuilding technology won't help too much with that.

    Which is not suggest that King Arapeta and his successors can't go a long way, but conquering - let alone maintaining - rule over both main islands is probably beyond them. Even with the inevitable consequences of Old World plagues.

    European powers will probably trade with the Maori soon enough. Once the Maori get over their instinctive mistrust of all foreigners, Euros will be trading there. Perhaps not doing much more than trade, but still, selling a lot of muskets would probably be enough.

    This touches on something that I'm still thinking through at the moment. As we discussed a couple of months ago, it's possible - though still far from proven - that the OTL spread of Pama-Nyungan languages was related to the spread of South Asian genes, and possibly also to the dingo. I retain my extreme skepticism that this involved any direct contact with the Harappans (or other technology would have spread).

    ATL, things are different. The OTL languages of mainland Australia are butterflied away (though those of Tasmania are not), but an ATL equivalent of Pama-Nyungan still develops in the north of Australia and spreads over much of the continent sometime between 3000-2000 BC. Along with South Asian heritage. But it stops dead when it comes to the farming civilizations of the Murray - by then, the Proto-Gunnagal peoples have spread along the length of the Murray, if not much further.

    So the peoples further south and east - south-eastern South Australia, all of OTL Victoria, and parts of eastern New South Wales - will remain non-*Pama-Nyungan. The Gunnagalic-speaking themselves will then expand outward from 1000 BC onward, engulfing most of the remnant non-*Pama-Nyungan peoples in Victoria and New South Wales (except for Junditmara, Nguril, Kaoma, and Bungudjimay) and pushing aside some of the *Pama-Nyungan peoples too, e.g. in the Eyre Peninsula and in much of inland New South Wales. Farming spreads further, e.g. the Atjuntja and their relatives in south-western Australia, who are *Pama-Nyungan.

    Will the *Aborigines of the Gunnagal and southward even have much South Asian ancestry? Quite possibly not. That would leave an intriguing genetic divide when it comes to later studies of the ancestry of Aururians.

    There's going to be all sorts of weird theories. Egyptians will be an obvious supposition as having visited, because they were ancient, y'see, and reed boats could sail the whole world, therefore they must have done it.

    The Indian connection will have many contradictory variations.

    New World connections to Aztecs, Olmecs (stone heads of Bungudjimay), and Easter Islanders. Links to Great Zimbabwe, though there will be arguments about which way the connections ran. The Muslim traders who must have inspired Plirism. The Buddhists who must have inspired Plirism. The Chinese Taoists who must have inspired Plirism.

    And did you know Zheng He visited the Island in 1422 en route to using the southern route to discover the Americas?
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2013
  4. Threadmarks: Lands of Red and Gold Interlude #4: Eostre of the Dawn

    Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Lands of Red and Gold Interlude #4: Eostre of the Dawn

    In similar vein to the LoRaG Christmas specials, here is a short exploration of another significant day seen through the distorted mirror of allohistory...

    * * *

    14 April 1974 [Easter Sunday, Western Christian reckoning]
    Kesteven [Boston, Massachusetts], New England

    The man handcuffed to the chair looks too young in all respects, save one. Fresh-faced, his smooth cheeks hardly need a razor; a scraggly blond moustache almost disappears into those same cheeks. Cap worn to the side like some disaffected youth who confuses poor fashion sense with parental rebelliousness. But his gaze is steady, eyes wide, unflinching.

    “You are alone,” says Detective-Cornet Jamet Mabbinck. “Captive. Never to be released until I am satisfied.”

    The man’s gaze stays fixed on Jamet. “I am never alone, so long as one member of the League continues the fight.

    The detective-cornet laughs. “Companions who you will tell me about. Who they are. Where they plan to strike next.”

    “You will never know,” the fresh-faced man says.

    Never is a short word for a long time,” Jamet says. “Even one day can seem a very long time, in the right circumstances.”

    “You will never know,” the man repeats.

    Jamet smiles. “We already know. About you and your League, and your plans. How you few foolish hot-heads want something that no other nation in the world supports.”

    “We have more support than you know! We will continue the fight. We will-” Abruptly, the man stops.

    “Oh, you will never win your little war, as the GG has so aptly called it,” Jamet says.

    The man’s gaze still remains fixed on him, despite everything. “A little war, but our “little warriors” are part of a big struggle. We will prove that to you. And to the world.”

    “Yes, your little warriors. Your boyz, you call yourselves.” Jamet’s grin returns. “That proves merely that you are much poor spellers as you are misguided.”

    “The boyz will never give up. We will make the world listen to us, and heed us. New England is just the start.” His glare still has not moved.

    “What you will do is tell me what I want to know,” the detective-cornet says. “How long that takes is up to you. It may take a day, or a year. But I promise that even a day will seem like a year.”

    * * *

    27 April 2008
    Tensaye [Easter Sunday, Ethiopian Orthodox reckoning]
    Gondar, Ethiopia

    Yared Bikila smiled as he looked across the back yard of his new house. The early morning sun showed it for what it was: small, as yards went, with a handful of gum trees overshading most of it. But the yard was his. The house was his.

    For the last week, the yard had kept the noroon [emu] he had been feeding himself, twice a day. Too many people nowadays seemed to have given up on tradition. They just bought their “Paschal chicken” from the megamart rather than feeding it and slaughtering it themselves. But they should know better. The proper way had always been to feed the Paschal feast before it fed you.

    His wife, Tirunesh, came to the door. “Pity you couldn’t buy one that lays,” she said, with a smile on her face. “Would’ve saved me buying an egg for the omelette.”

    Yared laughed. “One egg, for the Paschal omelette.” This is the first year he has felt rich enough to buy a proper noroon egg. Before that, he and his family had always made do with chicken eggs. Though costly at the best of times, noroon eggs always became ten times the usual price in the days before Tensaye.

    The egg sits in a bowl in the kitchen. A large bowl. The dark green shell holds the weight of a dozen chicken eggs, or thereabouts. Enough to make a good-sized omelette for him, his wife, and their three sons.

    That is his wife’s job, of course, along with helping the boys decorate the cast-aside eggshell. His job waits outdoors. And even in a small yard, it is difficult to catch a noroon which does not want to be caught.

    Yared said, “Be back soon. I’ve got to go catch the Paschal chicken.”

    * * *

    30 March 1975 [Easter Sunday, Western Christian reckoning]
    Horeb [Providence, Rhode Island], New England

    “Mother of God!” Detective-Cornet Jamet Mabbinck knew it would be bad, to be called down from Kesteven for something the local wrecks [1] cannot handle.

    Now, he sees for himself. The megamall is a large two-storey building, a good two hundred yards long just on this side, filled with stores. Or it was. Now smoke rises from a gaping hole where most of the nearest wall and its roof have collapsed, with only small portions at either end still upright.

    He barely hears the explanation from the local sheriff how the League boyz somehow broke in and drove a car laden with explosives through the megamall until they detonated it between some shops.

    When the sheriff’s account winds down, Jamet says, “The only mercy is that no-one was inside.” He pauses. “Was anyone inside?”

    “None we’ve found, sir. Not that the League bastards would’ve cared.” The sheriff spits expertly into the gutter.

    Jamet is not so sure about that. The boyz are bastards, but know that they are fighting their “little war” for the hearts and minds of the people. Easter Sunday is one of the very few days where not only can they get in undetected, but expect that they will not kill anyone while doing so. All the same, he holds his peace.

    “Do you know what shops were closest to where the car bomb went off?” Jamet asks.

    The sheriff nods. “Two fashion stores. Delarkey’s and Musora.”

    “Those won’t have been the targets,” Jamet says. The League cares nothing for women’s fashion stores, unless they are selling lingerie. “What else was nearby?”

    “On one side a doctor’s practice and a shoe store, on the other, a pharmacy and a tobacconist.”

    “Ha! That says enough,” the detective-cornet says. “I’m surprised they didn’t use two cars.”

    “Sir?” the sheriff asks. A perfect example of Horeb’s finest.

    “Never mind,” Jamet says. “Let’s get to work. We have some boyz to track down.”

    * * *

    3 April 1994 [Easter Sunday, Western Christian reckoning]
    Oxford, Pembroke [Cambridge, Maryland], Alleghania

    Jessica Cuffin counted the Easter eggs in front of her, slowly. Then she counted them again. Twelve eggs! Twelve! She had to count them a third time, just to be sure.

    “Twelve eggs!” she said. The Easter Duck had really come! So much for Emily next door saying that the Easter Duck wasn’t real! How else could she have gotten twelve eggs to eat?

    * * *

    26 March 1978 [Easter Sunday, Western Christian reckoning]
    Newport [New Haven, Connecticut], New England

    “This is turning into a very bad Easter tradition.” Detective-Cornet Jamet Mabbinck frowns. “Five years in a row, responding to the League.” For what he has done to fight the League, he should now be a detective-ensign, but he keeps that thought to himself.

    “I don’t know what you’ve done before, but this must be the worst,” the sheriff says. One of the few surviving sheriffs from the Second Precinct, and that only because he was off-duty at the time and too far away to respond to the call to duty.

    They have left the ruins of the station, but Jamet knows that the images of the destroyed Second Precinct will forever burn in his memory. No-one who was inside at the time still breathes. Nor do most of those who answered the call to duty. Or should it have been called a call to arms?

    “Fifty armed men, if not more,” Jamet says. “In three groups who struck with well-coordinated precision.”

    He has never believed the rumours of League training camps in the Nya Sverige backwoods. But how else to explain a blow on this scale? No mere collection of disaffected boyz could manage this.

    “One thing’s for sure, sir.” When Jamet raises a polite eyebrow, the sheriff continues, “Containing the League can’t be called a police action. Not anymore.”

    Jamet lets out a long, slow breath. “I fear you’re right. Not even the riot squad could handle this.” What will it take? Special armed forces, perhaps. God forbid that the Army needs to be deployed on its own soil, against its own citizens.

    Another sheriff comes up to them, and hands over a photograph. “This shows what was left at the entrance to the Precinct, sirs.”

    Jamet takes the photo. It shows a note placed carefully amongst blackened ruins of what was once a door. The message is simple:

    That for the lackey’s of inaction! The League will triumph!” The signature reads: Mary Jane.

    The detective-cornet stares at the photograph, reading the message over and over without taking in the words.

    * * *

    22 April 1984 [Easter Sunday, Western Christian reckoning]
    Irving [Columbus, Georgia], Alleghania

    The first rays of the sun just began to poke between the apartment blocks to the east. The light was dim, but enough for what Barcoo and his friends planned. They stood on the parkland that ran along Jacks River [Chattahoochee River]. The grass was still cool with the night’s dew.

    Importantly, the park had a walkway that ran alongside the road, all the way to downtown. Even now, early in the morning on what the unegas [whites] and blacks called Easter Sunday, a few people strolled back and forth along it. Enough people, for their purposes.

    Jimmy unveiled the statue: a three-foot high wooden figure carved from river oak [2]. It showed a naked woman, abundantly female, with her hair hanging in artfully-carved tresses down her back. The boy had done the carving himself, and was justifiably proud of it. Barcoo had never been able to ask which girl, or memory of a girl, had been the inspiration.

    The four boys arranged themselves to the west of the statue, and went down on their knees. Jimmy spoke first, in a loud voice, “Hear us, o, Ēostre, Goddess of the Dawn. Heed us, your faithful servants.”

    The ceremony went on in a similar vein. Barcoo, Jimmy, Hando and Modibo took it in turns to offer loud invocations to Ēostre, the pagan goddess that the unegas and blacks had named their supposedly Christian festival after. They raised their voices even louder whenever someone white or black came by, and quietly chuckled whenever the passers-by passed by even faster after realising what they were seeing. Barcoo and his friends did not bother to raise their voices whenever the occasional Congxie wandered past.

    After a time, Hando pulled the eggs out of the cartoon, and handed three eggs to each of the other boys. “Time for a sacrifice.”

    Jimmy took the first turn, as he usually did, cracking one of the eggs open at the base of the statue, and invoking Ēostre’s name. Hando took the next turn, then Barcoo stepped forward to do the same.

    “Stop right there, you boys!” a commanding voice demanded.

    Barcoo looked up to see a woman bearing down on them. A large woman, who he didn’t recognise, but whose prominent jawline and high cheekbones proclaimed her as Congxie. Her skin was on the lighter side for a Congxie; either she was one of the few remaining descendants of the old great families, or she had a more recent unega in her ancestry.

    “Young fools, you! Why borrow trouble?”

    Jimmy ventured, “We are venerating our God-”

    “Bringing discord is what you are doing!” The woman was tall; she overtopped even Hando. But the command in her voice would have given her the same authority even if she had been shorter than Modibo. “Get rid of this nonsense right now, and go somewhere that you can do something decent.”

    The boys exchanged glances, but no-one dared disagree. Jimmy reached for the sack and re-covered the statue.

    “Better,” the woman said. “Save that kind of mockery for Christmas where it belongs.”

    * * *

    15 April 1979 [Easter Sunday, Western Christian reckoning]
    Green Mountains [Vermont], New England

    From his seat at the front of the rotorala [helicopter], Sergeant Mitchell Rabson keeps a keen eye out on the passing mountain slopes. So do the other troopers at every window. No-one wants to let the League boyz go unspotted, if any of them is out here today, of all days.

    The sun still hangs low in the sky to the east, but there is enough light for what they need. The boyz rarely move in daylight, even this early, but they may have been careless.

    Trees and mountain slopes stretch out below them. To the west, the rocky profile of Mount Vert [Mount Maxwell] stretches out like an elongated human face. The boyz might be there; it would be like the League to choose the highest peak in the Green Mountains for one of their refuges.

    “Stay on the game, lads,” Mitchell says. In truth, he expects his men will do well. Corporals Winston Rose, whose prickly nature belies his name, and Johnny Champion, nicknamed “Chimpo” in the manner of soldiers, are both very good men. He would call them super troopers, if he were not afraid of boosting their egos too much to listen.

    “Movement!” Chimpo calls. “Ten o’clock!”

    “Human?” Mitchell asks, as the pilot brings the rotorala around to the new vector. He brings the binoculars to his eyes and starts searching.

    “Think so. Didn’t look like no deer,” Chimpo says. If it is people, they have to be the League, or their supporters. Half the Green Mountains are excluded territory these days, including Mount Vert.

    Mitchell looks back and forth, with binoculars and without. His fellow troopers do likewise. No-one finds any signs of movement.

    Knullar!” Chimpo says. “I’m sure I saw something.”

    “Take us closer,” Mitchell says. The pilot complies, and the rotorala slips forward slowly.

    Something streaks out of the trees, ascending on a pillar of smoke. Mitchell just has time to yell “Torpedo!” before it hits the rotorala.

    * * *

    30 April 2000 [Easter Sunday, Eastern Christian reckoning]
    Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

    Yelena Ivanovna knew she should have done more to celebrate Pascha [Easter] properly. Morning was giving way to afternoon, but she had not eaten the kulich [Easter bread] before breakfast, as she should have. She had certainly not attended the Paschal Vigil to have the kulich blessed. Even for Pascha, she would not go to church at midnight!

    She should have made pashka [3], but she had broken the mould last year, and not bothered to buy a replacement or some store-made pashka either.

    Motivation was hard to find nowadays.

    She could not believe that the government had followed New England’s lead. With so many obscure countries to listen to, why would anyone listen to the dictates of a handful of ideologues turned revolutionaries on the other side of the world?

    Alas, for whatever misguided reason, the government had listened, and now her favourite hobby was illegal. Deathly illegal.

    What was the point?

    * * *

    7 April 1985 [Easter Sunday, Western Christian reckoning]
    Taken from the Chelmsford [Hartford] Courant


    ... Under the deal, the siege of Kesteven was lifted. In emergency session, Parliament passed the enabling legislation last night as the Prohibited Substances Act 1985. No changes were made to the draft bill tabled by the League at the start of the Little War...

    The Cannabis Abolition League of Insurrectionists has fulfilled the vision laid out by its founders, after thirteen years of armed struggle. New England is now the first nation in the world to prohibit the possession and inhalation of Cannabis...

    * * *

    [1] “Wrecks” is the informal name used among themselves by the Republican Elite Constabulary in New England; the closest equivalent they have to the contemporary FBI. Not recommended to be used by those they catch, unless they no longer feel attached to their teeth.

    [2] River oak is the common name for a tree that is widespread in allohistorical Georgia and Alabama. It is a species of Casuarina (C. cunninghamiana) that is used for agroforestry purposes to prevent soil erosion, as a windbreak, and to revitalise the soil. Historically, the species (misnamed Australian pine) has become invasive in Florida.

    [3] Pashka is a cottage cheese dish moulded into the form of a pyramid, and in both historical and allohistorical Russia is traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday (after being blessed the previous night).

    * * *

    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  5. Beedok I exist.

    Dec 14, 2008
    Centauri Commonwealth
    Guerilla Warfare to end Marijuana use?:confused:
  6. Roberto FREE SUSAN O.

    Aug 22, 2007
    The Impenetrable Fortress of Kr'Rundor

    I'm guessing that the Boyz are at least, in part influenced by Plirite groups that forbid substance use?
  7. mojojojo Member

    Sep 9, 2006
    How did Congixie boys come to be worshiping Ēostre?
  8. Flubber Banned

    Nov 15, 2011

    They're satirizing the Christian holiday of Easter by publicly "worshiping" Ēostre. It's a stunt, a prank, a poke in the eye to the establishment, and not an act of religious faith. Hell ,the Congxie matron who upbraids them for their little attempt at street theater even reminds them such pranks are normally only done during Christmas.

    I swear it's like we need to pass out flash cards around here sometimes. :rolleyes:
  9. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    Well, damn. :eek: This puts the whole Pliri suicide bomber foreshadowing into a completely new light. If I may ask: To what extent do the New England groups consist of Congxie and do they have contact with Alleghenian Congxie ? :confused:

    I have to admit, this is a really classy alternate name for a helicopter. :D :cool:

    Paska and pascha are in OTL popular general names for various folk Easter dishes among the churchmen of eastern churches, including Greek Catholics and the various Orthodox churches. :) Given the etymological connections, I'm not surprised. Over here, in the east of my country, the locals that belong to Eastern rites churches regularly have baskets with basic foodstuffs blessed by their parish priest on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, shortly after mass. The act is called "the blessing of the paska", with the paska in this case referring to the food being blessed. Even the Roman Catholic parsonages of the region have taken up this tradition, due to the popular influence. :)
  10. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    A minor nitpick, Jared : In a previous installment, you said the replacement for OTL Cambridge in Maryland is called Shrewsbury, not Oxford. Continuity error or did you mean a different Cambridge in Maryland ? :confused:

    Also, I wonder why the Congxie and their affiliates would want to ban cannabis, etc. Something to do with removing competition for kunduri or what ? And did that Russian woman want to use hemp in her recipe or what ? :confused: I kind of don't understand the implications. :eek:

    However, it is an ironic reversal to OTL that New England is "the first country to make drug XY illegal". A real contrast to the OTL efforts of decriminalizing certain organic drugs. :p
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  11. Roberto FREE SUSAN O.

    Aug 22, 2007
    The Impenetrable Fortress of Kr'Rundor
    The joke was that not being able to smoke pot made her lose motivation. Ironic, eh?
  12. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    Huh... Well it wasn't all that obvious. The other two non-NE vignettes had nothing to do with the cannabis ban.
  13. forget Banned

    Jun 19, 2012
    The first thing that comes to mind when reading this update is um what......
  14. vasp Well-Known Member

    Dec 9, 2008
    Im just glad that sweden have some kind of precense in north america. The Nya Sverige mentioning.
  15. CyberPhoenix001 Hail the Solar Empire!

    Feb 5, 2012
    Republic of Australia
    Once again, a fine and entertaining update.

    Shouldn't it be rotorala?

    I have to say, I found it very intriguing (and a little amusing) that in the LORAGverse there exists terrorists fighting to outlaw cannabis. Along with the "Easter duck", that's another thing that's going to throw inter-dimensional travellers off their game.
  16. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    This would probably be the time to point out:

    - I said this was a post about a significant day in allohistory, not a significant few days
    - nowhere did I call this post an Easter special
    - it was posted (allowing for time zones) on Easter Monday (1 April), not Easter Sunday.

    The meaning of this is left as an exercise for the reader.
  17. CyberPhoenix001 Hail the Solar Empire!

    Feb 5, 2012
    Republic of Australia
    Oh, Jared. You sneaky bastard.

    I have to say, you got me good. Congrats!
  18. Admiral Matt Member

    Jan 18, 2004

    And wow, yes. Direct hit.
  19. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    Not a canon chapter, then ? ;)
  20. B_Munro Member

    May 28, 2004
    Heh heh.

    Although with alternate history, figuring out what is the joke and what is the, um, Easter Egg can be hard.

    They just bought their “Paschal chicken” from the megamart rather than feeding it and slaughtering it themselves

    I do hope the implication here that Ethiopia has modernized much better than OTL is part of the actual TL rather than part of the joke.

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