Lands of Red and Gold

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

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  1. atlatl Well-Known Member

    May 10, 2012
  2. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    I think the more typical OTL didgeridoo music would fit the prehistoric and antiquity phase of Aururian cultures the best. Then we'd probably have to add instruments with a distinctive and slightly otherworldly sound to the mix. Maybe something like Korean gongs and Tibetan dungchens, plus some odder sounding string instruments (can't remember whether they're common in this timeline, but I'm asuming yes). It's obvious that most of the Aururians have moved on from the Paleolithic roots of their music, in stark comparison with the humbler and more static OTL situation.
  3. Tonymecury Well-Known Member

    Sep 25, 2011
  4. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Having looked into this in a bit more detail, I have the following broad outcomes in mind from the changed Dutch and Portuguese colonial empires:

    (1) The earlier wealth and prestige of the VOC, and the apparent earlier weakening of the Portuguese due to the plagues, means that Rajainsghe II of Kandy makes an equivalent treaty with the Dutch in 1634. The Dutch and Kandyans between them push the Portuguese out of the east coast and Jaffna (the north), leaving the Portuguese with Colombo and most of the west coast.

    The looming end to the Seventy Years' War (in 1638) means that a truce develops between the Dutch and Portuguese in Sri Lanka and India after this point, meaning that for a while at least Sri Lanka is divided between Dutch, Kandyan and Portuguese territories. Portugal also keeps its remaining Indian ports, again for the time being.

    (2) The Portuguese keep some island forts off the Omani coast for a while, though they will probably be driven out of any mainland enclaves.

    (3) There will be some more Portuguese support for Christians in the Maldives, although I need to look more into the details to know whether this is viable in the longer term.

    (4) Makassar is one of the victims of the wealthier VOC and weakened Portugal, and falls sometime in the late 1630s.

    (5) The West India Company has more money than in OTL, thanks to some reinvestment from the VOC, and tries to spend this to create greater profits in its various outposts. This leads to more raids and outposts in Africa and South America, and better defences in several places, notably New Amsterdam and Recife. However, it also leads to more attempts to set up patroonships and otherwise exploit the locals; most of the extra immigrants which the WIC attracts are would-be sugar planters and the like who cause more trouble than anything else.

    Dutch Brazil will be around for slightly longer than OTL, thanks to the extra fortifications at Recife, but will not be any more profitable, really. The lasting changes will be a stronger Dutch presence in New Amsterdam, thanks both to defences and to some extra religious migrants from Switzerland and parts of Germany, and a relatively stronger presence in the West African slave trade (in the Gold Coast and probably elsewhere).

    Somewhere between the South and the sugar islands, I suspect. This is largely because the disease environment is less bad than the worse alternatives, and because the Plirite beliefs of many of the slavers will have certain consequences for the acquisition and treatment of their slaves.

    I can't really recommend any particular music to listen to, but if it helps, most of this timeline was written while listening to some combination or other of Loreena McKennitt, Chris de Burgh, Roxette, Def Leppard, Evanescence, Duran Duran, and The Police. For battle scenes I usually pick Rammstein.

    Still not entirely decided, but mostly, the history of northern Australia will be the history of colonial powers displacing hunter-gatherers. Some of these colonial powers may well be other Aururians, however, most notably the Nuttana, but also some of the inland peoples who live in OTL southern Queensland, and have already been spreading north.

    Perhaps a couple of the more populous groups of hunter-gatherers will pick up the crop package in some form or other, but it will be a difficult task when facing with the multiple problems of successive waves of plagues and invading technologically superior farming colonists.

    They do use brass instruments. This has only been touched on in passing in the posts (mostly posts #9 and #18), but a wide range of brass instruments have been developed in the Five Rivers. Some usage of brass instruments in music has spread, particularly brass chimes that are so associated with Plirite temples.

    The didgeridoo may be a relatively recent invention. Archaeology finds it hard to date wooden instruments (for obvious reasons), but it may well have been invented sometime in the last 2000 years. In any case, the didgeridoo was used mostly in northern and central Australia, i.e. regions which are still hunter-gatherer ITTL right up until European contact.

    Yes, the music which the Aururians develop will be quite unlike anything in OTL Australia, or, really, any individual OTL culture. I've already depicted a combination of brass musical instruments in horns, gongs, cymbals and a four-valved thing a bit like a trumpet.

    I like the idea of a different kind of stringed instrument being added to the mix, though I'm not sure what the most likely prospects are. I wouldn't mind the idea of something which looks quite esoteric from the perspective of a modern Western musical tradition, but offhand I don't know of any kind of stringed instrument that would qualify.
  5. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    A lot like the rather late introduction of the bow (via Indonesian sailors) to some of the northern native cultures in OTL, right ?

    Or how in OTL, the Australian boomerang served as a true hunting weapon (for hunting waterfowl) only in and around the Murray river basin and surrounding billabongs.

    While I've started my sketches of boats and domesticated fauna months ago, I still haven't finished them. But now I might give it a second shot and then move on to making sketches concerning the possible appearance of Aururian musical instruments. :cool: I promise I'll post it all here once I'm finally finished. :eek:
  6. CyberPhoenix001 Hail the Solar Empire!

    Feb 5, 2012
    Republic of Australia
    Hey J-Red,

    I've been reading Decades of Darkness from start to finish for the first time (a herculean task, I know) and I'm currently on the home stretch; it's really, really good; I literally cannot focus on any other reading material at the moment (it's a good thing I'm on holiday).

    Anyway, I've been thinking: seeing as we're moving into a new phase of the LoRaG TL, perhaps it would be a prudent idea to open it with a global survey of sorts, where a summary of the events affecting each nation or polity is recounted and their current state assessed (like what came up occasionally in DoD).

    I only ask because the focus of the timeline has become very wide in scope (as with DoD), so all the simultaneous events happening both in the foreground (Australia/Aururia) and the background (Old/New World) have become hard to keep track of.

    Therefore, I think it would help everyone interested in this TL to get a quick overview, just to recap, refresh and help us prepare for the deluge of detail that I am sure you are preparing to unload upon us in the next installment.

    As always, keep up the great work!
  7. Sovereign12 Well-Known Member

    May 1, 2006
    Right now? Uhh. Crap! I think I'm lost.
    I could see some form of the glass harmonica developed, since some Aurarians are good with glass. It would be an interesting sound to accompany the sound of a didgeridoo (or its various offshoots).
  8. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    Interesting idea, I'll consider it.
  9. Sovereign12 Well-Known Member

    May 1, 2006
    Right now? Uhh. Crap! I think I'm lost.
    It would be an interesting combination with religious/political ceremonies atop
    the glittering glass pyramids. (symphony of the skulls?)
  10. Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    It's a reminder that Aboriginal cultures were not static in terms of technology, but rather that they did develop new technologies over time. It's also a reminder that there wasn't one Aboriginal culture, but a whole variety of different cultures with different languages, customs, technology etc.

    I'll look forward to it.

    Good idea. I'll give this some thought. It won't be quite the first post of Act 2, though; I'll be opening with the framing device I have in mind for that act, which is broadly inspired by Young Guns 2.

    I also expect that the summary will basically be bringing things up to date in Australia/NZ since 1619 - essentially following what was described in post #11.

    I'll probably give a brief overview of what's happened in the wider world - particularly the effects of the spread of Aururian crops and gold - but not go much into the details. Partly this is because I want to keep the main focus on the foreground, and also partly because I tend to recap the relevant history as part of any posts which do go into more detail about part of the wider world.

    Aururian glassmaking is rather technologically behind where Europeans were when glass harmonicas were invented, since they lack glassblowing among much else. But there must be something they can do with the harmonic properties of glass.

    Suitably creepy but evocative, yes.
  11. prettydragoon Arabella Mondegreen

    Jan 16, 2012
    This one time, at banned camp
    There's plenty that can be done with glass.
  12. Nasei Well-Known Member

    Apr 25, 2008
    Just one question about Dutch Brazil, has the governor a similar mind as Nassau?
    Them I have nothing more to add.
    If the governor is more like the XIX, then the rebelion will be faster and Dutch Brazil will be quiclky shrunk to the size of the combined range of the canons of the Dutch fortifications in Brazil.
  13. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    Good point. Perhaps a xylophone made from hardened pieces of coloures glass could work ? :D :cool:
  14. Battlestar_Cydonia Le singe conduit l'autobus!

    Mar 23, 2008
    It works in real life...
  15. Threadmarks: Lands of Red and Gold #70: True Colours

    Jared Voldemort Jnr

    Mar 9, 2004
    Kingdom of Australia
    Lands of Red and Gold #70: True Colours

    This forms the prologue to Act 2 of Lands of Red and Gold. I’m still reformatting the whole structure of the currently published timeline to date and will eventually repost this, perhaps in a separate thread. But in the meantime, this is the opening framing device (and something of a teaser) for Act 2: The Four Horsemen.

    * * *

    24 December 1912
    Gerang’s Falls [Buckley’s Falls], near Cumberland [Geelong, Victoria]

    Carl Ashkettle paces slowly up and down the road atop a dam. He steps from one length of the dam to the other, then turns around and repeats the process. The dam is small, and in truth he could walk it quickly if he wishes, but he is in no hurry. Or rather, he is in a hurry, but this slow walk will have to do as a means of marking time.

    To his right – as he now paces – the waters of the lake grow ever darker as the sun sets behind them. The lake is only small; the River Wandana [Barwon River] has been dammed here purely to hold water for fishing and aquaculture. He supposes that the dimming glimpses of the lake might be soothing, if he were in the right mind, but all he cares about now is the much-delayed arrival of the source he has arranged to meet here.

    Moments later, he notices a man walking down the road at the far side of the dam. Walking. The man has come here on foot. Strange, that.

    As the man draws nearer, Ashkettle studies him with a practiced chronicler’s [reporter’s] eye. Old and short, are his first impressions. The man barely reaches Ashkettle’s shoulder, and Ashkettle himself is far from the tallest of men. The man’s advanced age is obvious from the whiteness of the hair on his head and neatly-trimmed short beard. Something is odd about his face, though; it nags at Ashkettle, but he cannot place it for now.

    The newcomer’s clothes are undistinguished. He wears dark green linen overalls with a few blackish stains. Nothing that would be out of place in any of Cumberland’s many mills [factories].

    “Good evening, Mr... Clements, is it?” Ashkettle says, with the briefest hint of a bow, but with no effort to shake hands.

    “So I’m called,” Clements answers, with a vague hint of a bow in response. “My most recent name, that is.”

    Ashkettle raises an eyebrow, but the other man does not elaborate. After a moment, Ashkettle says, “Why did you ask me out here, Mr Clements?” A little abrupt, perhaps, but the long waiting past the appointed hour plays on his nerves.

    “Because I want you to tell my story,” Clements says.

    “The tale of your life, or just one particular story that you want the world to hear?”

    Clements grins. “Oh, my life story. Enough as would interest the world, any ways. I dare say they’d be right taken with most of it.”

    “Enough to pay to read it?” Ashkettle says, in what he hopes is a disarming tone. Lots of people think they have stories worth telling, but usually other people do not find those stories worth listening to.

    “I’d say so. Yes, I’d def’nitely say so. Not that it matters much to me, you see.”


    “Don’t care nothing for this,” Clement says, and rubs his thumb against his first two fingers of his left hand. “Make what cash off’ve my tale as you can. Only one condition I have for you.” At Ashkettle’s inquiring noise, the old man says, “Write as much as you can while I live, to get yourself ready. But you can’t print nothing in your paper or books til I’ve gone.”

    “Ah.” That kind of story could well be interesting. Perhaps not, but the chances are so much better. And a story for which he pays nothing will cost him only his time. Easy enough to stop hearing the tale if it proves worthless.

    Ashkettle produces a notebook and pencil. “Shall we begin? The short version, to start with.”

    Clement chuckles. “No such thing, with my tale. But we can go from the beginning.”

    “As good a place as any, I suppose. Where were you born?”

    “Yigutji [Wagga Wagga]. The city. The old city.”

    Ashkettle has to think for a moment. History has never been his forte. “Ah, yes. The old – very old city. Must be a tale there. How did you come to be born in an archaeological site?”

    “My mother didn’t live in no place of diggers. When I was born, Yigutji was still a real city. A living, breathing place. The heart of its kingdom.”

    Ashkettle gives a hollow laugh. “Oh, your mother borrowed a time machine before she gave birth?”

    “Not on your life. Born there too, she was, may she rest in peace.”

    Ashkettle considers whether to rip the page out of his notebook and walk away on the spot, but decides to indulge this would-be scammer a little longer. “How old are you, then?”

    “Don’t rightly know, not to the day. Live long enough, and the oldest times start to blur in your head, know what I mean?” Clements looks at him, and apparently recognises how close he is to leaving on the spot. “But I dare say I would’ve been born around 1610, give or take.”

    “You’re telling me you are three hundred years old?”

    “That I am, or thereabouts, any ways.”

    “And I’m Prestor John. I think I’ve wasted enough time here,” Ashkettle says, and tucks the notebook back into his pocket.

    He goes to put the pencil in after it, but Clements lays a hand on his shoulder. “I assure you, Mr. Ashkettle, that hearing me out will be worth your time. I am offering you the biggest scoop of the decade, if not the century, and you are not willing to listen.”

    The change in diction is astonishing. Ashkettle knows he is staring, but cannot stop.

    Clements chuckles. “Oh, yes, I can sound like an educated man, or a common oaf, as I prefer. Or any of several other guises. Live as long as I have, sir, and you will learn to play many roles. If only so you can go on living a while longer.”

    Ashkettle looks at the man more closely. His ancestry appears muddled enough that he could be telling the truth about being a Yigutji man of pure heritage, even if he lies about his age. Or he could have a white man or two somewhere in his ancestry, and be a Junditmara [1]. It is difficult to tell.

    After studying the man, Ashkettle realises what has been nagging him about the old man’s face. There are lines on it, as befits an old man. But there are no other blemishes on it at all. No scars, no moles, nothing but the patchwork of lines. Clements is old, but somehow he looks less worn than he should.

    Three hundred years old?” He does not believe it. He cannot believe it. But he writes it down, just the same. Whatever story Clements has to tell may be worth publishing, even if it is just entertaining fiction.

    “I’ve already said I cannot tell you, not to the year. My family were not wealthy, and in that era, few low-born families kept what you would call accurate records. But I was alive and old enough to hear and remember the first confused tales about the “raw men” – de Houtman’s expedition, that is – when they spread to Yigutji in what would have been 1619 or 1620. I was still considered a child then, and boys were thought of as men quite young in those days. So I think that I was born around 1610, and in any case no later than 1615.”

    “Is there nothing you can place that would... Actually, forget that for now. It can wait. You don’t look that old.”

    Clements smirks. “You expect a three centuries old man to look like some decrepit half-mummified corpse with a beard down to his knees?” He shrugs. “In truth, for most of that time I did not look old at all. I reached the age of twenty-five, and that is where I stayed, in outward appearance. As far as looks go, I did not age at all. Which made saying in one place for too long an unwise idea, as you can imagine. I had to keep moving on and changing my name.”

    Clements clears his throat. “Anyway, until about twenty years ago, I looked young. After that, I started aging. Quicker than a normal man, which is why you see me as I am. I expect that I will live a little longer, but now I can see death approaching. Time to tell my story.”

    The man certainly sounds convincing, enough to make Ashkettle wonder where the scam can be found. “The story of how you met everyone famous in the last three hundred years, I suppose.”

    “A few over the years, but not so many as you might think. My preference has always been to avoid attracting attention. Living in the courts of the rich and aimless was never a good way to remain low-key, since too many people would be likely to remember me.” He pauses, as if thinking. “But I rode with the Hunter during the great crusades. I was in the crowd at Wujal [Cooktown] that cheered Korowal home when he brought his ships back from sailing around the world via the three capes. And Pinjara considered me his friend.”

    Ashkettle makes what he hopes is a non-committal grunt. He would have expected a confidence man to claim that he knew many more famous people than those named. Unless he does not want to be caught out giving false details, of course. But then again, years of journalism have taught Ashkettle how fallible human memory is; any man can misremember things even if they are being honest. “What can you tell in your story, then?”

    “I can tell you about the way things happened to ordinary people. I saw that. I saw it all, from the earliest coming of white men. I saw their coming. I saw the new marvels they brought. The new hope. And I saw what came after. The wars, the plagues, the famines. The deaths, so many deaths. I lived through it all.”

    Ashkettle’s skepticism returns. “You did all that? You lived through the plagues?”

    Clements nods.

    “Even, hmm, smallpox? Where’s your scars?”

    “I do not scar,” Clements says. “That is probably part of why I have lived so long. If I get cut, I heal without scars. I even had half a finger regrow once. Though that is an experience I would prefer not to repeat.”

    That is something that can be verified,” Ashkettle says.

    “Not if I die of infection, thank you all the same,” Clements says. “If you want me to prove my veracity, there are safer ways. I can tell you things about my life, things which history does not remember.

    “Listen, and I will tell you.”

    * * *

    [1] Native Aururians of the Five Rivers (Murray basin) have slightly lighter skin than most other Gunnagalic peoples. In turn, other Gunnagalic peoples have slightly lighter skin when compared to other native Aururians, and the Junditmara have somewhat darker skin than just about everyone else.

    This is a consequence of the history of adoption of agriculture. The shift to agriculture meant a lower animal protein diet, which in turn meant less dietary vitamin D available, and thus led to natural selection for lighter skin (i.e. faster biosynthesis of vitamin D in the skin). This process started earliest with the Gunnagalic peoples (the earliest farmers), and spread with them during the Great Migrations (900 BC – 200 AD) as they expanded across eastern Aururia (see also post #6).

    However, during these migrations, the dispersing Gunnagalic peoples were hunters as much as farmers (due to the disruption), and so the selection pressure halted for most of the millennium. Within the Five Rivers itself, however, the hunting grounds had largely been exhausted, and the aquaculture collapsed with the Interregnum, so the selection pressure continued throughout that period. Even after the Interregnum ended and aquaculture (and domesticated birds) became more common, they were still a high-status commodity, and so the selection pressure continues.

    The Junditmara maintained a long tradition of aquaculture throughout this period, and thus had as much vitamin D as they needed, and retained a darker skin tone.

    * * *

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  16. Huehuecoyotl Reinar es Agridulce

    Oct 6, 2010
    Interesting... Either the Eternals thread is leaking into LORAG, the old man is a liar, or something truly remarkable is afoot.
  17. Derekc2 Marxistball 9

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA
    Wow, we get to see a 300 year old man! AWESOME!!!!
  18. Sam R. Well-Known Member

    May 11, 2011
    No, he's "a liar" though his story will be almost seamlessly "true". He is indicative of a resistant oral tradition directly transmitted in high quality though. And that is going to mess with the discipline of history as we know it from start of the post-colonial era.

    Sam R.
  19. Fenrisúlfr Worse than madness, I am sane.

    Mar 2, 2013
    Reminds me of Hobb from Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, what a fascinating character and a brilliant way to frame a story/get the information you need to across. :)
  20. Petike Sky Pirate Extraordinaire

    Jun 25, 2008
    Clockpunk Zemplín Kingdom / Franz Josef's Land
    *finally cought up with the TL, eagerly reads new update*


    My, my... :D Or is it ? ;)

    Congratulations to starting Act 2, Jared ! :) If I may ask, what was Act 1's "title" ?
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