The Horse and The Jaguar

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by phildup, May 29, 2014.

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  1. phildup Well-Known Member

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    Mar 25, 2014
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    FloriDUH!
    I am re-posting a time line that I wrote in my previous life on AH.Com. I am in the process of re-re-rewriting it and will post new chapters as they are revised.

    The premise is going to raise a lot of questions, but I feel pretty secure in the plausibility of the "machinery" that kicks this off. There will be at least two other timelines I expect that will spawn from this one.

    The POD (in simplified form) is 1293, the failed Mongol invasion of Java. The commander of the expedition decides that it is too dangerous to return to China and determines to set up his own Khanate somewhere in the Indonesian Archipelago. At least that is what he plans.

    I know that there will be strong objections, cries of ASB and Butterflies.

    But I had fun on the ride, so lets see if you do to.
     
  2. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    FloriDUH!
    The Horse and The Jaguar...1 The Will of the Tngri

    [FONT=&quot]Chapter 1[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The Will of the Tngri[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]In 1293, Kublai Khan sent a force of 30,000 men and 1,000 ships to set right a slight which he had received at the hands of [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Kertanagara, the King of Singhasari on the Isle of Java.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The invasion, which is not the subject of our story, did not go well, despite the capture of the Javanese fleet by his Admiral Yighmis. Initial successes were followed by treachery on the part of[/FONT][FONT=&quot] Raden Wijaya of Majapahit, which took the lives of 3,000 crack troops. Shi-bi, the Mongol General given command of the expedition by Kublai Khan, barely escaped death himself and reached the Imperial fleet only with great difficulty.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Having been driven from the shores of Java by treachery, Shi-bi pondered his next move. His fleet had sustained minor damage in it’s battle at the Surabaya Strait, and still numbered over 900 vessels and his army stood at 25,000. He could still try to defeat Majapahit to satisfy the Great Khan but there was little time left in the season. If they were to return to China, they would need to do so very soon before the winds turned against them.

    His subordinates, Uyghurs Ike Mese and Yighmis and the Chinese General Gaoxing were of separate minds, Ike wanted to land and pillage the kingdom but Gaoxing felt they must return to China. Yighmis was willing to support either side, as long as he could keep his fleet intact. Shi-bi balanced their arguments and decided the Chinese Admiral presented the wisest course of action. The fleet had re-provisioned while the army was on campaign so they were well supplied and would be able to make the return to Quanzhou without shortages. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The Great Khan would be unhappy at the defeat of his army, but he would be even more unhappy at the loss of troops and ships if they were wrecked by a typhoon. In any case, there would be hell to pay when they returned to Da-Du without redressing the insult to Kubali’s dignity.

    The fleet sailed north-east, to the straight between Nusa Tanjungnagara and Sakasanusa with the goal of crossing the Sulawesi Sea and turning north toward China. Shi-bi wanted to avoid the Majapahit fleet that was almost certainly expecting them to return via the more direct Java Sea route and was probably lying in wait to ambush them. His was an invasion fleet, not a war fleet, and while he had numerous war junks, they were needed to protect the transports and supply ships and he could ill afford to lose them by challenging the fleet of the Javanese maritime kingdom.

    As the great Yuan fleet sailed through the islands that dotted the entrance of the straight, an unseasonably early storm struck and scattered the fleet across a great distance. In the confusion and difficult conditions caused by the storm, many ships were sunk or foundered on the shores of the islands and when the fleet regrouped off the coast of Sawaku near Tabalung, they discovered that the storm had claimed nearly 200 of Shi-bi’s ships, mostly war junks. There were no longer sufficient war ships to adequately protect the remaining fleet. Additionally, several thousand more men had been lost in the wrecks, among them, Gaoxing, whose ship had been driven onto the rocks and broken.

    With the strongest voice for a return to China now silenced, Shi-bi again considered his options. A significant portion of the Khan’s fleet had been lost and over 6,000 soldiers would not be returning to Quanzhou and he had failed in his mission to subdue Java ib the Khan’s name. To return to China now would certainly mean loss of status, position and property for him and his family, not to mention the possibility of physical punishment or death. If he did not return and fled to another land, exiling himself, his family would still suffer loss of status and property and the Khan would send a fleet out to destroy him. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]If, however, his fleet was lost at sea, his family would remain with their status, position and possessions mostly secure.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]And so Shi-bi set out to be lost at sea, at least for a time.

    Ike Mese and Yighmis were surprised by the direction their commander’s thoughts had turned. Shi-bi had consulted the navigators and geographers on board to determine the where the knowledge of the court in Da-Du was weakest and where it’s tentacles did not or could not reach. He wished to find a land where the Khan would not find them too quickly, if at all. Shi-bi was now of the mind that once they had found a sufficiently remote place that could support the army; they should land, conquer the local peoples and carve out a new kingdom for themselves until the time was right to return to China.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Shi-bi settled on occupying the island of Halmahera in the Maluku islands. Halmahera was large enough to feed his men and would be a good place to set up a Khanate in the East. It would take Kublai some time to find him and by then it would be more advantageous to accept his allegiance as a tributary kingdom than to wipe him out. The Great Khan’s anger could be tremendous, but his pragmatism was even greater. The influence of China, Shi-bi thought.

    Pickett boats returned with word that the Majapahit fleet had been sighted and was sailing their way in company with a great number of pirates. The weakened Yuan fleet could still put up a good fight, but the hope of victory would be low. Shi-bi’s ships were larger and faster, but the Javanese fleet would be far more maneuverable. Shi-bi did not want to risk his future on an unnecessary sea battle with a significant chance of defeat, so within a day, the fleet was once again underway, this time north-north-east to the Sulawesi Sea and then East to Halmahera, a distance of nearly 4,000 li. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Shi-bi and Ike Mese concocted a plan to tell the fleet that in the unlikely event that the invasion failed, The Khan had ordered them to conquer an Island in the Malukus to use as a base against Majapahit. They were therefore sailing for Halmahera; there to found a new Khanate for the glory of Kublai, The Khagan.

    As fate would have it, the conquest of Halmahera was not to be. The Yuan fleet had no sooner entered the Sea of Sulawesi and turned east, with the intention of sailing through the Sangihe islands north of Tagulandang, when they were again hit by a violent storm. This tempest raged for four days, it’s terrible winds driving the fleet north-east, into the grip of a strong easterly current.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]As the storm abated the prevailing winds continued to blow strong toward the east, and attempts to sail against the wind and current were to no avail. Yuan ships could be seen on the horizon all around Shi-Bi’s junk and he signaled them to rally around him. The signals were passed on from ship to ship beyond the horizon, and within two days the remaining fleet was once again sailing in company.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Where? They did not know.

    Again, Shi-bi had lost a great number of ships and men. His force was now consisted of fewer than 500 ships and their crews, 10,000 soldiers and numerous assorted support personnel. He ordered the ships to be examined and supplies concentrated on the most seaworthy of the remaining vessels. He similarly had the soldiers, horses, livestock and other supplies re-distributed. With his force now more secure, he summoned Ike Mese, Yighmis and his other commanders as well as the seers, shamans, monks and holy men who traveled with the army.

    He gave them one day to consider three things and render their thoughts;
    · The army had been defeated on Java.
    · The fleet had suffered great losses in two great storms.
    · When they chose to return to China, the universe sent them in another direction.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]Shi-bi had been born northwest of Karakorum on the steppes of Mongolia. His childhood had been that of a traditional Mongol boy, horses, archery, and hunting. Moving from pasture to pasture, following the ways of the steppes, as had been done for all time. He had gone to war with the conquerors of China and had earned great honor at the Battle of Yamen, when he was only twenty three. Throughout his life he had clung to what he knew were the fundamental things that made Mongols what they were, rulers of the earth. He held the traditions and beliefs of his people as truths, and while he tolerated other beliefs, as was the Mongol custom, he was unswerving in his faith to the truth of Mongol life. He was exceedingly superstitious.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]-----

    Shi-bi gathered these men together the next day and asked them for their musings. He heard many things, from the mystical to the mundane, from the “will of Heaven” to simple bad luck, but none seemed to explain the misfortune the expedition had endured. Then, a Mongol Shaman named Megujin spoke. He was an old man of the steppes who had spent much of his later life in Da-Du. He had studied Buddhism and Taoism as well as Muslim and Christian scriptures. His words were worth listening to when discussing matters of the Gods.

    Megujin said; “We could not conquer the Majapahit for that was not intended. Storms have twice ravaged the fleet and army and taken a great number to their deaths so we have been cleansed. We cannot sail where we wish for we are meant to go somewhere else.” And then he fell silent.

    Shi-bi was quiet for a moment and then asked Megujin; “If we were not meant to conquer Java, what are we meant to do? You say we have been cleansed by the storms, but why have we been cleansed? Where are we supposed to go?”

    The reply was measured and quiet; “I will tell you from back to front. The Spirits want us to go where ever they deign to bring this fleet and they have cleansed it in preparation for a great task to be done when we come to the end of this voyage. Köke Möngke Tngri (Eternal Blue Heaven) guides us and Qurmusata Tngri keeps our fires burning for this purpose. Were I Buddhist, I would say that the Buddha guides us on our journey. If I were Muslim I would declare that Allah commands us to go. The Chinese would tell you that it is the Will of Heaven. But I am a simple Mongol from the steppes. We must trust that Köke Möngke and Qurmusata have set a task for us and we will recognize it when it comes, until then, we must follow their will and let them guide us.”

    Shi-bi grunted and looked at the old Shaman. Then he stood, dismissed the gathering and returned to his cabin.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The fleet sailed on, pushed by the wind and current through the night as Shi-bi wrestled with his thoughts. He had failed in the mission set for him by the Khan. He had lost many men to battle, illness and storms. The heavens had taken half of his ships and thwarted every move he had made. He himself had conspired against the Great Khan to set himself on the throne of the east as Khan. The 99 Tngri must mean for him to cleanse himself to atone for these things, and atonement must lie farther to the east. The fleet would sail on as the Tngri directed them.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Shi-bi sent the holy men out to explain to the men of the fleet why they continued toward the east. A sense of unease settled over the ships as the men digested the news that they would not soon be going back to China or conquering a new kingdom for the Khan, but were instead sailing into the unknown Eastern Ocean on a mission decreed by the Mongol’s Spirits. The rational that the deities, in whatever form you perceived them, were behind the defeat, storms and suffering of the army, did have some resonance with the men. The nearly universal agreement of the holy men that Shi-bi was following the correct, preordained path served, in due course, to resign the men to this mysterious course of action. Let the Divinities, Buddha, Heaven, Allah, the Tngri, and God determine the fate of the host and it’s ships. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]And so the fleet continued eastward, ever eastward. The winds would die and the ocean itself would carry them farther to the east. Storms would batter and blow them more quickly eastward, but never west. The Sun shone with the intensity of summer in the Taklimakan. Men continued to be lost to the storms, but now also to the sun and disease. Shi-bi converted some of the ships to care for the sick so sickness would not spread to the healthy crew, but diseases contracted in Java or carried from China and spread among the crew were already quietly infecting the seemingly healthy. The storms claimed more ships as well and Megujin again proclaimed that it was a cleansing, as was the sickness.

    Land was not seen at any distance and the men grew restless at the endless journey across an endless sea. Some food supplies were running short and Shi-bi set the men to fishing. Water was collected from the storms that pressed them toward the east. Eggs from the chickens and ducks and milk and cheese from the horses, cattle, sheep and goats also helped to sustain them. They had yet to reach the desperate measure of bleeding their horses for sustenance. Shi-bi was not sure how the Chinese, Uyghurs, Koreans and other nationalities in his force would respond to that particular Mongol solution.

    The core Mongol contingent was small in comparison to the others, only about a thousand men and he relied on them as the center of his strength. The Uyghurs were the next most reliable, Led by Ike Mese who had completely supported Shi-bi, he felt they were nearly as reliable as his Mongols, They were after plunder, wealth and glory as well. The Chinese, now led by Zhong Yu as the most senior Chinese officer in his force, were less tractable. He sensed the resentment the Chinese felt toward the Mongols as occupiers of their lands. He would have to address their loyalties at some point. Perhaps he would break the Chinese up into smaller groups and integrate them deeper into the Mongol, Uyghur and Korean forces. The great Chingis had done something similar when he broke the clans by requiring men to serve with warriors from other clans. He would combine their different skills into cohesive battle units. He had the time to do it since the Gods had not brought them to where they were going yet. Time was both an ally and a foe so he would begin to integrate the forces now.

    As summer faded into autumn with little outward sign of the passage of time, the fleet pressed ever eastward. On a few occasions they saw birds that live on land or caught the odor of plants and earth, but no mountains rose from the sea. One of the outlying ships had seen a sail of strange shape on the horizon, but it came no closer and was gone in an afternoon. Shi-bi believed that there was land here, not far from their route, but it could not be the land he was meant to reach, for the Tngri sent him past these things into the unchanging sea.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]By early October, Shi-bi had begun to question if there was any purpose to this voyage, divine or demonic. His fleet had dwindled to 300 ships out of the 1,000 that had sailed from China. His once great army of 25,000 men was reduced to only about 7,000. Supplies were nearly consumed and rations had been cut for man and beast. Even the fish had abandoned him and few were caught for the table. He determined to make for the next hint of land, if the Gods would allow.

    Within a few days, they again saw land birds and caught the aroma of plants and earth. A day later, under a cap of clouds, an island was seen to rise from the sea to their north. Shi-bi determined to reach this island to refresh his supplies if he could and ordered the fleet to make for it. At first the Gods seemed to allow this change in course, but as they neared the land, the winds strengthened and the fleet was again pushed to the east leaving the island resting in the arms of the setting sun.

    On they sailed for the next three days, never leaving the smell of land behind them, never without the company of land birds. Shi-bi thought that these constant reminders of the island were punishment for defying the Tngri and trying to land. Frustrated and morose, he kept to his cabin and spoke little. He knew the men were weary, angry and fearful. He knew the dwindling stores would not last forever. He knew that his ships would be lost one by one until he was alone and dying far from the grasses of his beloved steppes.

    In his quarters late one morning, Shi-bi became aware of growing activity on deck, men talking excitedly, the sound of men moving ever more quickly, tension in their voices and movements. He left his cabin for the first time that day and came face to face with an excited Mongol warrior in the companionway.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]“LAND Great General! LAND! To the east as promised by Köke Möngke and Qurmusata!” he cried, and ran off to spread the news.

    Shi-bi hurried on deck and to the forecastle. On the Horizon he could see a row of mountains lifting the clouds above the horizon. The shoreline was not yet visible and he knew the land was still some distance off, but it was unmistakable. He now joined the captain on the sterncastle and ordered the fleet to be signaled to move closer together. The mountains were directly east, and the fleet moved, as always, without deviation, in that direction.

    As the hours passed and the fleet continued east, more and more land could be seen. The mountains grew inexorably nearer, spreading farther to the north and south. The day faded and the setting sun illuminated the hills on the horizon as if they were a brilliant promise about to be kept. The captain suggested that they may not want to approach the unknown shore in the dark of night. It might be best to heave to and await the morning light. Shi-bi so ordered. Even the great current that had carried them across an ocean and through the calms seemed to have stopped, as if it’s work was done and the fleet drifted slowly through the dark sea.

    They had drifted closer to the land during the night and the dark silhouette of the mountains gave a rough edge to the horizon that the fleet had not seen during their many months at sea. Shi-bi did not sleep well that long night and he wanted to be irritable, but the sight of the white line of surf lifted his soul and he smiled broadly for the first time in nearly a year. He ordered the fleet to set sail for the land.

    And so they did. By mid morning they were close enough to see that there was no safe anchorage along this stretch of coast. There was a point a short distance to their south where the land curved away sharply to the east. To their north the shoreline continued to nearly merge with what appeared to be a large island stretching toward the west. Shi-bi sailed north along the coast, knowing that the Gods were happy with this decision, because they had allowed him to do so.

    It soon became apparent that the west tending land was indeed an island. They sailed between this island and the coast and found themselves in a great bay. Surely, this must be where they were going. Shi-bi tested the Gods one more time and ordered the fleet to drop anchor off the north shore of the island, where they would be protected.

    He surveyed the bay from the stern of his ship, noting another island to the west of his anchorage as well as the headland that enclosed the west side. To his north, another island between the shores and on either side of that a channel that lead farther northward. To his east lay the shore they had first seen, with its low mountains clad with dense forest. All about them was green and alive, gently rolling hills, mangroves and beaches. The gentle waves were no longer the blue black of the ocean, but dappled with the blue-green shades of shallow water. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Above it all, Köke Möngke, Eternal Blue Heaven.[/FONT]
     
    miner249er, Puzzle, Ameck16 and 2 others like this.
  3. Huehuecoyotl Reinar es Agridulce

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Location:
    Driftmark
    I've no idea whether all this is plausible or not, but I'm definitely going to be following this very closely.
     
  4. Historyman 14 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2013
    Location:
    In the Land of the Ancients.
    ASB. Maybe. This is good. Keep on!!
     
  5. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    The ASB part, could be due to the weather. This does rely on 1293 being an El Nino year. No way to know for sure, but they are frequent enough that the odds are not that bad. El Nino does strengthen the currents necessary for this and can also influence the prevailing winds to cooperate.

    Thanks for the interest!
     
  6. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    A little Geography

    The Yuan fleet has landed in Panama. Below are the locations referred to in the timeline.

    (Mongol name

    • type of feature (OTL name)
    • Relevant Info)

    Alagh


    • Body of water (Gulf of Montijo)
    • Bay where fleet landed
    Ara lNagan

    • Island (Isla Cebaco)
    • Located at the mouth of the Gulf of Montijo
    • Site of anchorage and first camp.
    Aral Arslan


    • Island (Isla Leonas)
    • Island north of Cebaco near the head of the Gulf of Montijo
     
  7. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    The Horse and The Jaguar...2 The Anchorage

    [FONT=&quot]Chapter 2[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The Anchorage[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Through the balance of that day, no signs of life were seen in the bay. There had been no sighting of boats and no trails of smoke rising from the land, no cultivated fields and no fishing weirs. Shi-bi entertained proposals for the exploration of their anchorage and the surrounding shores from his subordinates, some of whom wanted to take the fleet farther in towards the headwaters, others felt it would be wiser to send pickets out to survey and a few wanted to land on the island between them and the sea and set up a base of operations before doing any exploration. Shi-bi knew the horses needed to be landed as soon as possible and decided to send a landing party to scout the island the next morning and pickets to explore the bay. If the landing party found reasonable pasturage and water the horses would be landed along with the remaining cattle and men to protect and care for them. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]As dusk turned to night, the dark of the surrounding land was punctuated by the glimmer of campfires scattered through the hills. Shi-bi came up on deck to see for himself. As he watched, more and more fires appeared, although the island behind them remained dark. They seemed to be concentrated in several areas, some no more than a few li from their anchorage, but to the North West, where there was a low headland if his memory served him, there were many fires, almost looking like an army encampment. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]He ordered the watches doubled.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]
    This had been a day of harvest in the village and most people had been in the fields all the day. The few women remaining in the village to care for the small children had kept them close while they went about their daily tasks. Unlike most days, no one had gone out to fish in the bay or beyond the islands, there was too much to do inland that day. None had ventured down to the shore and no one had witnessed the arrival of the monstrous things that now lay close by the far island.

    While the villagers rested by the fires as the evening meals were prepared, one youth of 15 years wandered down to the beach where the canoes had been hauled up into the trees, well above the tide line. He went to check his most prized possession, his canoe. Actually the canoe belonged to his family, but his father was ill and his brothers and cousins too young to fish on the water, so he thought of it as “My Canoe”. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]As he approached the trees lining the edge of the beach something caught his eye, something he had only seen during certain times of the year. Fires were burning on the water near the island where the fishing was always good. For a few weeks each year, the men of the village would go out to fish at night along the shores of the island and would carry lighted torches on their canoes to attract the many armed fish. This was the wrong time of year, and the fisher men were all in the village. It could be men from one of the other villages, but there were too many lights. There were too many fires as well and they were stacked on top of each other. None of the neighboring villages were large enough to send out that many canoes, even if they all banded together. The Headman and the Shaman need to see this he thought, and turned and ran back up the hill to the village.

    The harvest had been very good and there was much celebrating in the village. The boy had difficulty getting the attention of Nets-are-full, the Headman, and when he whispered into his ear that there were fires on the water near the island he got a sharp look that said leave me alone boy! He did not. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Fifteen minutes later, Nets-Are-Full, the Shaman and the boy were on the beach, the Headman had brought all the men of the village in order to put the boy in his place for interrupting the celebration. That changed on the beach. Nets-Are-Full saw the fires burning near the island and knew it was not right. The Shaman and the village elders had no explanation. He called his best boatmen and sent them to find out what caused the lights, advising them to be careful and quiet. As they paddled away in the dark, Nets-Are-Full wondered what they might discover, the boy, also wondered the same thing and had visions of magical beings come to bring the Ngöbe to glory over their neighbors.

    That was an odd thought to travel through his mind. His was a peaceful people who fished the bay, farmed the soil and hunted in the forests. The neighboring villages were all the same, some bigger and some smaller, but normally at peace with each other. In his life, his people had been raided a few times, pushed out of fields that another village claimed and claimed fields that other groups had wrongly taken over, but these were short lived conflicts more often settled by talk than weapons. Traders of all the villages traveled together far to the north and south, or even over the mountains to the other sea. A few had gone as far as the great stone villages of the Maya.

    The Ngöbe canoes paddled quietly closer to the Yuan fleet. They avoided Shi-bi’s picket boats which were easily seen because of the torches they carried. They had never experienced anything on the water that was like these things, so large, so tall. They saw beings moving about on the…boats? The small torch bearing boats they had seen were familiar enough, although the shape was all wrong. These huge things also seemed to float on the water, so perhaps they were some new and magical type of boat. Perhaps the beings on them were spirits. Perhaps the Maya had found a way to move their great stone villages over the water. After moving among the huge “boats” for a time and losing count of their number, the Ngöbe silently paddled into the night. Returning to the village in the pre dawn, they gave their report to the Headman and the Shaman.

    Nets-Are-Full was at a loss. If these beings with the great boats were the Maya, why had they come to his quiet bay? The Shaman had told him the Maya spirits needed blood to live and keep their powers and the Maya fought and captured people from other villages to feed to their spirits. At least that was what his father, the old shaman, had told him. In his youth, he himself had ventured to a Maya stone village and seen blood soaked images of their spirits.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    Of course they might not be Maya, they might be spirits who have lost their people and are seeking new ones to take care of, or to take care of them. How could he know?

    Nets-Are-Full decided caution was the best way in this case. Runners were sent to the other villages so they would know what was in the bay. The villagers quickly packed up what they could and Nets-Are-Full sent them up to the grass camps beyond the trees where they would be safe and could vanish into the forest if these were Maya looking for spirit food. He would take some of the best men in the village and go south along the shore, closer to these boats. The Shaman would come with him.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​

    [FONT=&quot]That morning, Shi-bi dispatched a landing party to the island and sent one of the smaller armed junk to explore the point where the fires had been seen. It carried a small contingent of archers, twenty foot soldiers and three Buddhist monks. The vessel sailed west, along the island and then turned north to parallel the shore toward the point. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]
    Nets-Are-Full, paddling south with his canoes, saw the ship heading north and moved his men from the open water into the mangroves along the shore. They made slow progress down the coast as far as the shelter of the trees allowed. There they stopped and watched as this “spirit canoe” went by under great wings that spread from trees that it carried. They turned and followed as best they could in the tangle of mangrove knees. The spirit canoe was faster than they were and soon reached the site of the village beach. There it folded it’s wings and stopped. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​

    [FONT=&quot]Namgung Seok, the Korean captain of the scout ship had noticed the telltale tracks where the canoes were hauled into the water and chose that spot to anchor, feeling that a settlement could be nearby. Boats were lowered and the landing party was sent ashore. The captain increased the watch while he waited for the party to return from the shore. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​

    [FONT=&quot]Nets-Are-Full and his men saw the boats lowered and the spirits landing on the beach near where the canoes were brought ashore, and brought his boats as close to the spirit canoe as the cover of the mangroves would allow. He sent half of his men to track those on the beach. None of the Ngöbe had yet gotten close enough to get a good look at these beings, although they certainly seemed to be very much like ordinary men.

    The native trackers, concealed in the tangle of undergrowth, were the first to get a good look at the newcomers who were examining the canoes and gear that had been left on the beach. They appeared to be of similar stature to the Ngöbe but their clothes covered almost all their bodies, so their physique was hard to gauge. They even had clothes on their feet. Parts of their clothes shone like wet stones or the obsidian blades made by the villagers in the west. They wore hats that looked like the Shaman’s hat, but seemed to be made of some grey, shiny and hard material with animal fur around the bottom. Some carried strange bows and quivers of arrows; others had long spears with shining grey points. All wore the most amazingly shaped blades of this same hard and shiny material. There were three of the men who were dressed very differently, they wore cloth of the brightest color the Ngöbe had ever seen, it was the color of the clouds at the setting of the sun and seemed to flow like water. These men, they could tell, were shaped like the Ngöbe, but like all the others had oddly colored skin. The strangers spoke to each other in a language that could not be understood and sounded strange but musical in their ears. Occasionally, as they moved from canoe to canoe, or turned to speak to one another, their clothing would make a sound similar to that made by gold striking gold or copper striking copper.

    From the cover of the trees, the village men followed the strangers as they took the path up the hill to the village. Along the way were some small gardens kept by the old women. These men stopped and examined them, pulling vegetables from the ground and fruit from the bushes. When they reached the village the strangers carried their long grey knives in their hands and the men with the bows put arrow to string. The wet-sun men walked behind those with knives as they went from house to house. Some things had been left behind in the rush of the villagers to leave and these men examined the pots and utensils that were strewn about. They paid close attention to the hearths which were still warm. One of them went into the Shaman’s house and returned carrying some of the old man’s gourds filled with his potions and handed them to one of the wet-sun men. Another entered the house of Nets-Are-Full and soon called one of the wet-sun men to come into the house. When they came out of the headman’s home, the wet-sun man held up the necklace that Nets-Are-Full wore only on the most important occasions. From the band of bright pebbles strung together hung the golden effigies of the five world spirits who protected the headman and his village. Somehow, in the rush to leave for the fields of grass, Nets-Are-Full’s wives had failed to take this most important sign of his office.

    [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The strangers soon left the village, carrying some of the things they had found, but only one thing of real value, the Spirit Necklace. As they passed the old women’s gardens, some collected vegetables, tubers and fruit which they carried down to the boats on the beach. Some of the strangers stayed ashore when most of the others returned to the spirit canoe, spread it’s wings and returned the way it had come. Ten men with bows and another ten with long knives and one of the wet-sun men remained behind and began to prepare a camp just inside the trees along the beach, near a stream. A few of the trackers remained near the beach to watch the camp while some quietly returned to the village to take stock of what had been taken and what had been seen. The rest made their way back to Nets-Are-Full with the sad news of the loss of the Spirit Necklace. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​

    [FONT=&quot]Shi-bi, in the mean time had sent other boats to explore the other shores and the contingent of men sent to the island to reconnoiter reported that there was good water and some good grazing ground. There appeared to be no one living on the island, although they had come across some abandoned camps. They had also seen signs of deer and other game as well as many birds. One of the boats that had been sent to survey the island’s shore discovered that the island was about 62 li in length and 15 li at its widest.

    Shi-bi ordered that a camp be built for his troops and that the horses and other livestock be landed to graze. And so the Yuan army set foot in this new land for the first time.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]When Namgung Seok returned from his mission to the village, Shi-Bi, Megujin and Ike Mese listened to their report and examined the objects they had brought back with them. There seemed to be little in the way of metal work, aside from the necklace with the five gold effigies. What there was consisted of small copper vessels, most of which had been found in one hut. Megujin, examining these small bowls and their contents, concluded that these belonged to the village shaman. While he did not recognize the substances, the patterns and designs on the bowls seemed to reveal their purpose to him as a kindred spirit.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The General ordered the Korean captain to return to the village and make a full survey of the area and find out where the villagers had gone if possible. A picket boat was to return with a report daily. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]When Nets-Are-Full received the news of the lost Spirit Necklace, he was badly shaken. The loss of this symbol meant that the Spirits of the Earth were no longer favoring him and his people. He could not abandon his responsibility to his people however. He would return to the village with his men to see the stranger’s camp for himself and would then go up to the Grass camps to meet with the leaders of the other villages on the bay.[/FONT]
     
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  8. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    This is going to be a 2 part chapter, going to to a family dinner tonight.

    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Guō Sh[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Helvetica, Geneva, Arial, SunSans-Regular, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]ǒ[/SIZE][/FONT][FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]ujìng[/SIZE][/FONT] developed the [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][SIZE=-1]Shoushi calendar in 1280 on orders from Kublai. this calendar is extremely accurate, as accurate as the Gregorian calendar developed 300 years later.

    I havn't found any references that tell me when the Shoushi year starts, but the the Shoushi epoch starts on the winter solistice. so I am using that as the Yuan New Years Day. in 1293 that would be December 13.

    I know a lot of these last two posts have been exposition. AH is going to continue in the next post.
    [/SIZE][/FONT]
     
  9. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    The Horse and The Jaguar...3 Discovery, Domination and Disease...Part 1

    [FONT=&quot]Chapter 3[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Discovery, Domination and Disease[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Part 1[/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]With his army in winter quarters on [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Aral Nagan, as Megujin the old Shaman, had named the island that protected the anchorage from the great ocean, his horses and few remaining cattle and sheep thriving in newly cleared pastures, the swine in their pens near the camp and the chickens and duck happily laying eggs, Shi-bi could be forgiven for taking a brief respite from the responsibilities of day to day management of his army. That was not his style however, and he had used the winter to firmly establish himself as the dominant force in the Bay of Alagh.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]There had been some resistance from the Ngöbe as his forces widened the Yuan area of control. They proved to be good fighters whose bows were very creditable weapons (indeed, Ngöbe bows were traded far and wide because of their strength and power). When extended resistance was offered by a village, the settlement would experience an example of “Mongol Diplomacy”. This would quickly end the hostilities in the Mongol’s favor. After witnessing a few instances of this tactic, all the remaining villages in the surrounding area decided that it was wiser to accept the Mongolian presence than try and resist it. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Those villages that had promptly submitted to the Yuan forces were doing quite well. They had been allowed to continue largely as they had before the fleet arrived, being required only to provide a portion of their harvest from the fields and catch from the bay as tribute. In return, they had received some metal implements which would make farming easier and were learning new techniques in pottery and weaving from the Mongols. In every village that submitted, the Mongols took hostages back to their camp to ensure good behavior. They were normally a prominent adults who were returned once they had seen the might of the Yuan army and fleet, but there were always a few women and children as well. Shi-bi had ordered that they be treated well and nasty incidents were few and the perpetrators rapidly dealt with. As was the custom, hostages of this type were treated largely as guests, children were raised in their host’s culture. It was not a particularly harsh existence, although they seldom saw their own people other than their fellow hostages.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Each village headman was required to surrender his “Spirit Necklace” to Shi-bi’s representative who, along with a contingent of troops, took up residence in every tributary village. Possession of the necklace rendered that person inviolable and gave them ultimate authority. As it was though, Shi-bi’s men largely allowed the headman to continue as before, but with support and guidance from above[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]
    A complete roll call of his forces was one of Shi-bi’s first undertakings. He had left China with over 28,000 soldiers, 36,000 sailors and crew, 1000 ships and 1500 horses plus an assortment of servants, monks, shamans and other support people. He now had 7,200 troops, 3,500 naval infantry and 7,100 sailors. There were also about 320 assorted support personnel, smiths, herdsmen, armorers, various clerics to attend to the needs of his polyglot army, scribes, accountants and such. His fleet was reduced to 205 ships of assorted types. This included 23 of the great War Junks,16 troop ships, 46 supply vessels and 120 various other vessels; Pickets, smaller armed junks, water carriers horse transports and others. He had 600 horses remaining, so he would be pressed to field 200 cavalry in battle. In addition he had landed 150 cattle, 235 sheep, 140 pigs, 300 chickens and 100 ducks on the island. Animals of both sexes had been carefully saved to ensure that there would be a breeding population. This included the horses of course. Mongol war horses were predominantly mares because the milk was a vital food source, particularly on campaign. Shi-bi, knowing that he would need to rebuild his herds had guaranteed the survival of several of the best stallions during the long voyage.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    The Mongol troops had survived in greater proportion than the other nationalities, partially because they were officers and partially due to favoritism. Of the 1000 Mongols who sailed from China, nearly 700 were still with Shi-bi. Most of these were light cavalry archers, one of his most effective forces. He had nearly 2,500 Uyghurs remaining out of 8,200. Again, many were officers, but many of these men had started out as heavy cavalry. They would need horses to be most effective, but Ike Manse was now training them as heavy infantry. Chinese made up most of the balance of the force; primarily sailors, naval infantry, archers and regular infantry as well as engineers, there were about 10,700 in all. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]With an army that was largely conscripted, he had a variety of useful skills available to support his efforts in Alagh. There were weavers, farmers, apothecaries, fishermen, herders, carpenters, stone masons and more. . Naturally, the ships crews were complimented by shipwrights, sail makers, makers of ropes and cables. Nearly every talent that one might want in their current situation was available [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    Shi-bi had a significant force for the time and place, but he knew too little about both to be confident, so he was cautious. In December he sent scout ships north and south along the coast. In both cases they encountered contrary winds and currents, but slowly made their way, landing reconnaissance parties along the coast. They were tasked with mapping the shore, looking for additional settlements, discovering potential enemies and finding needed resources, particularly iron.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]-----[/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]
    As the new year approached Shi-bi took stock of the progress made in securing the army’s situation in Alagh. The herds and flocks had settled in well. Mares, cows, sows and ewes were pregnant. The flocks of chickens and ducks were growing. His own men had learned new techniques of fishing from the Ngöbe and had shared some of their own methods, so catches were going up for both groups. The local villages were supplying additional seafood as well as vegetables, tubers and grain. Many of the fish were unfamiliar as was the produce supplied by the Ngöbe. There had not been a supply of seeds and planting stock on board the fleet, so they were learning to eat many new things. In the forests and fields, the hunting was very good with many deer and more new animals and birds. Many of the birds had brilliant plumage that the Ngöbe used to decorate clothing and to indicate high rank. The most extravagant of these birds were extraordinary in their beauty and were taboo for the Ngöbe to hunt.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]There was copper in the earth and the Ngöbe learned new methods of extracting it from the ground as well as the limited gold ore found in the region. Most importantly, Iron had not been discovered and was unknown to the natives, so badly damaged ships were cannibalized for their fittings and whatever else could be used to maintain the sound vessels.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    Shi-bi’s domain encompassed the entire Bay of Alagh and it’s islands as well as the surrounding coastal areas. The great peninsula to the west of the bay was mostly his and he also controlled a large island in the sea to the southwest. There was a population of several thousands of Ngöbe in the nascent Eastern Khanate who were now taking advantage of the knowledge the men of the Yuan army could provide. Some of his men had taken up with Ngöbe women and there would undoubtedly be children on the way before long. Shi-bi declared that any children of Ngöbe women and Yuan men were to be raised as Mongols, even if the father was Chinese, Korean or Uyghur. Few thought this would actually happen though; there were too many other nationalities and too few Mongols.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The shamans had discovered that the Ngöbe were co-religionists of sorts, believing, as did the Mongols, in numerous spirits that inhabited their world. The Buddhists, Taoists and Muslims as well sought out adherents among the Ngöbe with limited success. They seemed content to know about these new beliefs and mix and match their tenets as suited their own environment. Shi-bi was somewhat surprised that the Muslims, few in numbers though they were, seemed to be drawing more attention than the other faiths, even his own Tngriist Shamans. He was a tolerant man as most Mongols were when it came to religion and custom so he thought little of this. They could believe what they wanted as long as they knew he was in charge.

    The expeditions sent to reconnoiter the coasts would not return for many weeks so knowledge of the area was limited to what they had seen and what the Ngöbe could tell them. Several of Shi-bi’s men were adept at learning new languages and the Ngöbe proved to be surprising in their ability to understand and communicate with his polyglot troops. There were, the Ngöbe said, people far to the west and north with huge villages in the dense forests. These villages were made of stone and the people there worshiped gods who drank blood and ate men. There was another sea to the north as well, and the people from the Stone Villages used huge canoes to move along the coast trading and sometimes looking for men to feed their gods. Farther to the east were more people like the Ngöbeand they had contacts with more tribes that lived in stone villages along the western coast and the hills to their south. Their gods did not need man’s blood but survived on fish and grain and colorful birds. And so, Shi-bi knew he was not alone. The “stone villages” were obviously cities, and that indicated developed nations that he would need to deal with at some point. The bloodthirsty gods of the men to the north and west sounded more like demons, so he tasked the Buddhist monks and his shamans to learn what they could about these people and their gods.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot] [/FONT]
     
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  10. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    The Horse and The Jaguar...3 Discovery, Domination and Disease...Part 2

    [FONT=&quot]Chapter 3[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Discovery, Domination and Disease[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Part 2[/FONT]​

    [FONT=&quot]
    [/FONT][FONT=&quot]During the time the Yuan fleet had been crossing the great ocean, illness had ravaged the army and the crews of the ships, taking the lives of many men. Eventually, the infections became less and less severe as the diseases seemed to burn themselves out. In mid December, shortly after the solstice, the Ngöbe began to fall ill with the pox. The Asians thought little of it since it was a fact of life in their world, but the Ngöbe were at first mystified and then terrified. They had never seen a disease such as this one. It spread rapidly among those who had close contact with the Yuan troops. First, among the women who had paired with Shi-bi’s men, then the hostages, then the villagers who frequented the army’s camp. When Shi-bi’s advisors realized that the Ngöbe were dying in great numbers they became alarmed, six of every ten who fell ill would die. It was as if the Gods were again cleansing the world the great mission they had prepared for Shi-bi.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    The plague spread rapidly among the villages and beyond to the neighboring peoples with devastating effect and soon it was raging throughout the entire region. It quickly followed the trade routes that linked the tribes and then to the peoples on the coast of the northern sea. There, it traveled by land and water to the cities of the Maya, and from them to their farms and villages.

    In the other direction, the pox made its way from coastal village to coastal village in the wake of Shi-bi’s ships. From the coast it traveled inland and eventually reached the foothills of the Andes. The illness had weakened somewhat as it moved southward across the mountains and along the coast. Wide expanses of desert hampered it’s progress, but it moved up the river valleys to the mountains and then along the mountain paths only to spread down the next valley. Instead of the great death toll experienced in the more tropical lands where the plague started the cities and villages in this region lost one in ten of their population[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    The Chinese had long been using a method which was somewhat successful in controlling this disease. It involved grinding the scabs from the sores of infected individuals and blowing them in the nose of a person who was not infected. The goal was to induce a mild case of the illness which would result in stronger resistance or immunity, much like modern inoculation. There were a significant number of deaths which would result, but considerably fewer than if the disease was left unchecked. Shi-bi, knowing that he needed the local people to help support his efforts, had those with knowledge of medicine treat Ngöbe and other villagers in this manner in the hope that they would be able to survive the Pox. This effort was successful to the extent that when new cases arose among the people far fewer ended in death. Of course, many of the survivors were physically scarred for life as a result and those who did not fall ill, or who survived without the marks, began to treat them as outcasts.

    Shi-bi could not tolerate further weakening of the community his men relied on and promulgated the story that these marks were a sign of favor from the Spirits. They were proof that the Gods so valued these individuals that they had made them live on when they were supposed to die. The surviving Ngöbe Shamans were convinced by the Mongol Shamans that this was the case and the belief that these survivors were blessed began to take root among the people.

    As the epidemic ran its course there were fewer and fewer Ngöbe to work the fields, hunt, fish, or otherwise provide for their needs, despite the best efforts and effects of Chinese medicine. Caring for the ill, dealing with the dead and finding enough to feed the surviving population became the focus of life. This lead to many of the Chinese in the Yuan army, who had worked in the fields before being conscripted, becoming increasingly involved in farming and food production, initially to insure the supplies needed by the Asian forces. The Chinese and Ngöbe worked together, sharing knowledge and blending the two farming traditions. It was soon apparent that this would result in a significant increase in food production over time, even as the growing Asian livestock herds and flocks would increase the dietary variety available to the Ngöbe and other natives.[/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Ngöbe shamans learned the technique of immunizing the people from the Yuan and shared the knowledge among their villages and with the surrounding peoples. This knowledge spread along the same routes already pioneered by The Pox and soon the epidemic was coming under some level of control. Shi-bi’s scribes calculated that nearly a quarter of the Ngöbe had been lost. By the beginning of summer the epidemic had largely run its course and there were fewer new cases of Pox to deal with, although it would never be completely gone, and would occasionally return to ravage the Ngöbe and their neighbors. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]Elsewhere in the region, the losses had been greater; some villages lost two thirds of their people and were on the verge of disappearing. In the great Mayan cities the ill had been quarantined and the remaining population treated with the Chinese method. Many cities were reduced to the extent that they could no longer feed themselves and others, which fared better, were weakened to the extent that they could not extend hegemony over their less fortunate neighbors. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]-----

    [/FONT]​
    [FONT=&quot]The Asians, with their huge ships, strange animals, powerful weapons and tools, as well as their seeming immunity to the pox were viewed by the Ngöbe as approaching semi divine. To be favored by them was to gain status in the villages, to be around them conferred protection. The Ngöbe, ignorant of the real differences between Mongol, Chinese, Uyghur, Korean, Vietnamese or any of the other nationalities that made up the Yuan host, had defined their own hierarchy based on factors that were easily discernible. The Mongols, though few in number, had the highest status, but as a group they also seemed to have the worst hygiene, wearing the same clothes day after day, rarely, if ever, bathing. Many of them were perfectly happy to leave their skin unwashed and covered with a discernible layer of grime. Uyghurs seemed to have a slightly higher status than the Chinese and were only marginally less unwashed than the Mongols. The Chinese, who were by far the majority, were of lower status and did most of the menial work, but they were the cleanest on the whole, tending to bathe when the opportunity arose. The exceptions to these rules were the high ranking members of each group. Shi-bi and Ike Mense were nearly always dressed in clean clothing and bathed frequently. The Chinese of high rank, such as General Gaoxing and, Admiral of the Fleet Chun Bo Fen tended to be the best groomed and best dressed, often appearing in robes that were brilliantly multi-hued and covered with intricate images of strange birds and bizarre caiman-like lizards. [/FONT]

    [FONT=&quot]As a result of the high status the Yuan forces held, Ngöbe women were willing and eager to catch the eye of even the lowliest Chinese sailor. One of the changes that arose from this fraternization was the gradual revision of Ngöbe social structure. Traditionally, family ties were followed through the woman’s line. Her family owned the land (or rights to it) and often helped support the in-laws. A man could have more than one wife, but only if he could support them, so as a man grew in stature and wealth he might take additional wives, and as he aged and his power waned, he might lose them back to their families.

    Many Ngöbe women left their husbands to pair with a Mongol or an Uyghur. This brought additional status to her family although the abandoned husband lost status. Girls were encouraged to find a mate among the newcomers as well. The new norm that was developing among the Ngöbe was one wife, one husband. Because the plague had severely depleted Ngöbe numbers there was a greater demand for the limited number of women which resulted in some strife within Shi-bi’s men and growing resentment among the Ngöbe men. Eventually, many of the women would find that they preferred life in the villages to life in the camp and they began to drift back. Many of them were pregnant by their Asian partner and there were numerous cases where the women brought the Asian husband into the family and the village’s life. Because of the status this particular group of Ngöbe enjoyed based on their relationship with the semi-divine Yuan army, women from several of the badly decimated villages in the hinterland found their way to the Ngöbe of Alagh and, by their presence, eventually defused the tension between the Ngöbe men and the Asians.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    It has already been mentioned that Asian and Ngöbe agricultural practices were being combined to produce higher yields. At the same time, many of the Ngöbe were also learning the intricacies of animal husbandry. The Mongols employed many of the natives as shepherds and to care for the cattle and swine. They were very protective of the horses however and prevented the Ngöbe from working with them. In fact, they did not even allow them to see the horses except when they were riding them. The Ngöbe proved to be very adaptable and quick learners. They provided tremendous amusement to the Asians as they tried to herd and catch the livestock and particularly when they began trying to ride the cattle as the Mongols rode their horses. This was an extreme learning experience for the village men as they fell off, slid off, and were occasionally thrown off when they attempted to mount a bull. As the year progressed, Shi-bi moved most of the livestock from the island to the area known as the grass fields which were above the head of the bay. Only the horses were kept on the island where they could be watched over and protected as the herd grew.

    The clothing of the Ngöbe was normally made of plant fibers, which were processed and converted into passable cloth. They were amazed at the silk worn by so many of the Asians and could not understand where the vibrant colors came from. Many thought that silk was made from the feathers of colorful birds, such as those they were familiar with from the forests. Silkworms would have been useless in an invasion fleet, so there was a very limited amount of silk available, and that was primarily in individual stores, reserved to repair the clothing of officers and others of high status. The Ngöbe would, however, learn to shear sheep spin wool and weave cloth. At this the Ngöbe again proved to be highly adaptable and eager to learn. The native women quickly began to rival the skills of the Chinese weavers in the fleet.

    Shi-bi was eager to provide as many of the skills necessary to sustain the army and support his goal of an eastern Khanate. As time progressed, the local population not only learned enhanced agriculture, animal husbandry and cloth production, but also tanning, carpentry and aquaculture. The Asian shipwrights were able to enhance the design of the Ngöbe canoes so they were able to carry more men and fish and could stay out fishing in rougher weather. The smiths in the army were amazed at the skill with which the Ngöbe worked gold and copper, the only metals they seemed to have. As a result, iron working was added to the list of knowledge that was not shared. The only iron the Asians had was what they could salvage from scrapped ships. As talented as the Ngöbe were at metalwork, iron working was, along with horsemanship, bow making and sailing, one of the things which gave the army an advantage and reserved to the Asians only.

    The Asians, for their part, learned from the Ngöbe as well. There were new hunting techniques, including the blow gun, that were suited to the dense forests of the region. This hunting tool fascinated the Chinese, who soon turned it into a weapon that they could use if they needed to fight in those forests. The shamans shared their knowledge of local medicinal plants and animals with the Chinese physicians. Specific techniques to enrich and maintain the soil for farming and new food crops were added to the Asian agricultural repertoire as well as new animals and fish. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]
    A culture of interdependence developed as the Asians recognized that the Ngöbe filled many of their needs and allowed them to function at a far higher level in this new land. For their part, the Ngöbe recognized that having survived the plague, they were learning new skills and production methods which made their trade goods more valuable, provided more food with less work and delivered many benefits that impacted every aspect of their life. They had never really experienced want before the coming of Shi-bi, but they had never experienced consistent plenty either.

    [/FONT]
     
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  11. Huehuecoyotl Reinar es Agridulce

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Location:
    Driftmark
    Keep it up, it's getting interesting.
     
  12. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    some thoughts

    I have been enjoying myself as I have gone back and re-created this TL and am encouraged by the steady number of views. I had expected some input however and am surprised at how quiet thins have been.

    Please let me know if you have suggestions on writing style, are my posts too long? Too short? did I miss something, do I need to elaborate on a something I have alluded to?

    I have a pretty good idea where this is going, but I do appreciate constructive comment and criticism.

    Thanks for reading, more tomorrow
     
  13. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
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    FloriDUH!
    Thanks, with a name like Huehuecoyotl I really appreciate it:)!
     
  14. Huehuecoyotl Reinar es Agridulce

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2010
    Location:
    Driftmark
    It's just like that here sometimes, don't be discouraged by a lack of comments. :)

    I don't have any issues with the length, and the paragraphs are distinguishable and consistently-spaced, so it isn't hard to read.
     
  15. Grouchio Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2011
    Location:
    Gorham, Maine, USA
    The premise and writing layout are both perfect. Keep it up!
     
  16. phildup Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2014
    Location:
    FloriDUH!
    Thank you!
     
  17. Bavarian Raven Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    Vancouver, Canada
    Nice TL . Keep it up. :)
     
  18. ImperatorAnonymous desparchado

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2012
    Location:
    The Lands were gold-clad men used to swim
    very interesting indeed... I'd love seeing where will this go
     
  19. Strategos' Risk Oriental Orientalist

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Homeline
    I really enjoy this, as well. I've long held that it would be natural for an early discovery of the New World to happen from an exile fleet of some sort. I really liked your POD being the failed Mongol invasion of Java (which is an interesting scenario for alternate history of its own). Definitely interested in seeing how cultural contacts continue.
     
  20. Richard V Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2013
    For once it would be nice if the natives catch a break and get infected with variola minor instead. Lethality <1% compared to 30% with variola major, survivors inoculated against all strains of smallpox. There would still be plenty of other diseases, but it might mean one fifth of the natives surviving a century later instead of one twentieth.
     
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