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Catherine, Czarina of all the Africas (1st story)

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Stories & Tales' started by BuckyRea, Feb 24, 2006.

  1. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Catherine, Czarina of all the Africas
    (Vanilla, Monarch, Sol III map)

    As a child my father used to tell me that our people, the Russians, were an ancient people. But like the phrase "I come from an old family," the notion of any nation of people being older than any other people is, on the face of it, absolutely silly.

    No, think about it. All people are ancient, since we are all descendents of Adam and Eve, who were certainly ancient people by any measure. Or--if you prefer--assuming we all descended from apes or monkeys or marmosets, or what have you, you can certainly say that all families, being siblings in the brotherhood of man, are equally old. Or even equally young.

    To say that Russians are any older than, say, Aztecs or Zulus or Babylonians, is an absurdity. The claim rests solely on the conceit that our people dwelled first in the cradle of mankind, the grasslands of eastern Africa. But even then all our cousins, the other nations of humanity, are just as old. They just happen to be the offspring of wanderers, while we stayed home and built what my father assures me is the perfect civilization.

    Papa is myopic like that.

    But I'm not here to tell you about my papa (tho undoubtedly I shall during our studies mention dear Papa a bit). Instead, I'm here to educate you. I'm your tutor, young Alek, and my job is to get you ready for your world history classes this fall. Your mama says you have a sharp wit, but a niggling impatience when it comes to acquiring facts. My task is to get your spongy wit to soak up a few facts before you face the hazards of university scholarship.

    So sit up, now, and pay attention. I'm going to give you a few facts. The world is large, little Alek. It is large and 70% of it is covered by water. Yes, 70%. So you see we humans are already a bit less important than we think. The world, according to geologists, is 4 billion years old, and even the oldest of families have only walked upon it, according to anthropologists, for one million years. So now you should feel even less important. Of course theologians will tell you humans have been here a mere 6000 years, and logically speaking that would make us yet even less important than what the anthropologists say.

    Do you feel small and insignificant and cowering before the vastness of all creation now, Alek? Good! Then hold onto that feeling and soon you'll be ready to experience life as a university freshman.



    Now where was I? Ah, yes, cradle of humanity. Well, long after the nations of the world migrated off--mostly heading north into Eurasia and Oceana and the Americas, our ancestors started to learn tricks to make them mightier than the pumas and elephants and rhinoceri we shared the continent with.

    No, lad, not just spears and flint knives. The most powerful weapon of early man was the plow. With that and the calendar to time his harvests, there was no animal that could hope to defeat humans.

    Our people's first permanent settlement was in the grasslands known as the Horn of Russia. Where man settled, the wild game often fled to escape his voracious hunger and the hunger of his plentiful children. By the 4th millennium BC, the travelers and seminomadic huntsmen of our nation knew of the mountains along the Great Rift Valley and the coastal savannahs along the equatorial latitudes.



    It was in these last days of prehistory that our people learned the secret of creating incense from the plants of the deserts and began to value ivory and gems in commerce and the arts. We learned of lands far to the south where our excess populations could migrate and settle. Even in these despotic ages, we were gradually shaping our culture into a true civilization.



    The People of the South

    It was in the 4th millennium that Russians first met the people of the south--the Iroquois. Where other early hominids had migrated north to the outer continents, the ancestors of the Iroquois (or "Haudenosaunee" as they called themselves) had moved south and found the excellent farmlands of the Subcongo. We greeted them and we spoke as neighbors, cousins. No ill will passed between us in this epoch. We greeted them as brothers and they met us as friends.



    It is said, by anthropologists who study such things, that the earliest religious practices were borrowed from the rich and symbol-laden traditions of the southerners. Perhaps it is true. But truly patriotic historians would also note that the development of bronze tools (and the refinement of bronze metalsmithing) did not emerge in the Subcongo until after contact with Russia and their advances shows the distinct influence of Russian techniques.

    So we gave them metals and they gave us gods. You could say (as my father often did) it was a fair trade.



    Sadly, our little Eden of fair trades and kindly neighbors was not to last...

    Table of Contents
    Spoiler :
    Chapter 1: Anthropology and God + Chapter 2: The People of the South
    Ch 3: The Downside of Being Nice to Indians
    Ch 4: Incensed!
    Ch 5: When in(spired by) Rome...
    Ch 6: Let Russia be Russia
    Ch 7: Roman Deal Bread
    Ch 8: WAR! (*huhnh!*) What IS It Good For? Absolutely Nuthin' (Say it again!)
    Ch 9: Forgotten Bits of History
    Ch 10: The Second Roman Wars
    Ch 11: How Old Gandon Could Have Saved Us All a Lot of Trouble
    Ch 12: The Brief Times Between the Violence
    Ch 13: The Bad News Bearers
    Ch 14: Round 2
    Ch 15: Catherine's Quick Little War
    Ch 16: A Cure for Pride
    Ch 17: The Dark Age
    Ch 18: Burgundians are Basically Stupid
    Ch 19: Renaissance Ideas
    Ch 20: Years of Turbulence and Change
    Czarina Catherine's 1130 AD World Atlas
    Ch 21: Final Musings about the Renaissance
    Ch 22: The Final Teuto-Roman War
    Ch 23: Balancing Acts
    Ch 24: Without Honor by Mikhail Herskowitz Preface: Coffeechat
    Ch 25: Without Honor Chapter Three: Prime Minister at Last and Chapter Four: November Ninth
    Ch 26: Without Honor Chapter Five: The Partition of Englandia
    Ch 27: Without Honor Chapter Seven: Englandia's Sorriest Hour
    Ch 28: Without Honor Chapter Eight: Bloody Faith
    Ch 29: Without Honor Chapter Ten: Endgame
    Ch 30: A Sunday Stroll
    Ch 31: The Glorious Monarch
    Ch 32: The Auction, or how Kathy got her groove back
    Primary source documents for The Auction of 1578
    Ch 33: All That Glitters Fades
    Ch 34: The Septembrists
    A review of Russia's diplomatic relations as of 1630
    Ch 35: The Golden Age of Democracy
    Ch 36: The Age of Colonization
    Ch 37: The Unsteady East
    Ch 38: The Franco-Japanese Conflict
    Ch 39: Might As Well Jump! The gross chapter about evolution
    Ch 40: Give War a Chance
    Ch 41: coming in June!
     
  2. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    Wow, 3 luxuries so close to each other in the second picture. You gotta grab that spot for sure!
     
  3. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    The Downside of Being Nice to Indians

    Of course, the Iroquois and we were not the only inhabitants of fair Africa. The Congo Basin and the Great Rift Valley were riddled with violent, barbaric tribes--some so savage and animalistic that they did not even have names. And to befriend the Iroquois, it seems, meant also to acquire their enemies as our own. Unfamiliar with these southern lands, all too often it was the case that chance encounters with the savages of the south would lead to death and tragedy. Our ancestors lived in very dark times.



    By the close of the fourth millennium our horizons spanned the oceanic coast from the eastern Sahara to the wild forests of Iroquoia. Repeated encounters with the savages who hated the Iroquois first, then came to hate us next, taught us, gradually to fight as passionately as we farmed and explored.



    Early in the 3rd millennium bc the village of St Petersburg began to grow in the rich farmlands of the interior. Closer to the desert plants that provided the sources for our people's distinctive incenses, the town of "St Pete" was to grow and prosper, almost as a second capital to our people.



    Almost. Again, the enemies we acquired from befriending the Iroquois brought us years of torment and misery. Attracted by our wealth and success, brutal savages soon descended from the mountains and sought to bring destruction and violence upon the gentle peoples of St Pete. Wave after wave of grunting, drooling cannibals blundered into our refined interior villages. By 2500 the last of the brutes had been driven back. In this time, our peaceful ways had been altered, our culture augmented with the secrets of warcraft and violence. We were stronger and more secure, sure. But we were never again to be quite as innocent as we were in the beginning of our little Eden.

    We had learned to do more than just kill. We had learned to enjoy it.



    to be continued, of course
     
  4. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Vini, vidi, vici, baby! That's exactly where we planted St Petes.
     
  5. tupaclives

    tupaclives Tupac Lives on!!

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    Wow fantastic start! looks like a very promising game and story, what difficulty are you playing on?
     
  6. Rik Meleet

    Rik Meleet Top predator Retired Moderator

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    You put me on my wrong foot. I wondered: "How do the Iroquois (Agri - Commercial) get a scout?? " - then I saw "vanilla".

    Nice story ! :)
     
  7. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Either monarch or regent. I forgot to mark it down when I decided to start recording it for a postable story. Sí, señor, estoy el nubio.

    And thanks, Rik. I'm still experimenting with the form, so I'm glad to see I can edit this stuff. The stories I've read around here in the past have been a real inspiration to me.
     
  8. conquer_dude

    conquer_dude Imperial Slave

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    It says monarch on the top of his thred. Good read. :)
     
  9. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Incensed!

    Alek, Wake up! Wake up you pampered little twit! I'm not going to waste my valuable tutoring time while some lazy little dilettante sleeps off his hangover. Snap to! Oh spare me the yawns, boy. Let's get to today's lesson.



    By the mid 3rd millennium BC, Russia was unchallenged for power in the middle portion of our continent (and unthreatened by the great southern power of the Iroquois). Instead the tribal matriarch devoted their people's energy toward commerce, religion, and learning. The desert lands west of St Petersburg proved excellent for the cultivation of incense bearing plants. To the east were natural grain farmlands in which the cultivation of creosote into wheat and corn led to a surge in population.



    For several centuries the tempo of life was smooth and unhurried by outside events. Given peace the people concentrated on the arts, learning, the development of domestic crafts. A lust for adventure arose in the menfolk, who often felt they had no central role in the cultivation of communities. Instead, they moved about the Congo basin and the brutal Sahel, seeking adventure and hoping for the glory of discovering the mythical elephant burial ground.



    The location of the elephant burial ground in the 23rd century bc led to a growing interest in the African interior. Modern zoologists tell us that this was merely a neutral gathering spot for herd of the smaller forest elephants of the Congo, but to the ancients the discovery was a gift from the gods and the occasion for creating a great shrine deep in the interior that could spur national development and new outroads to commerce.

    Across the Sahara, meanwhile, subsistence living nomads began to tell our folk of the existence of a new northern empire, the dusty-footed Romans, a fierce and haughty people. But the early Russians had more immediate security concerns.

    As pilgrims and merchants began to explore the Congo, the local tribes came to resent our incursions into their hunting lands. Occasionally bands of barbarian warrior would rise up and threaten the travelers. By the 21st century tensions had been ramped up to intolerable levels, and in the 2150s a great violence broke out between the leading barbarians and the Russian clubmen protecting the seekers of ivory. Within a decade the overmatched barbarians were crushed and driven deeper into the jungle.



    2b cont'd
     
  10. conquer_dude

    conquer_dude Imperial Slave

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    Great update. :goodjob:
     
  11. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    When in(spired by) Rome...

    By the opening of the 2nd millennium bc our ancestors were traveling and trading with surrounding tribes across central and eastern Africa. The distinctive clicks and trills of the native Russian tongue were taking root in our language and our people had begun to learn the secrets of fermenting vodka from yams and peanuts.



    A trickle of trade traveling down the Nile river eventually brought the Russian and Roman empires into contact. The first Russians to entire Roman lands did so in with an act of gallantry, hoping to win Roman favor, as the reputation of the fierce Redmen far preceded them. In the 1700s bc, adventure seeking Russian warriors learned of a devastating barbarian attack on the Roman city of Cumae. Quickly joining the fight, the Russian tribesmen defeated the savage onslaught, probably saving the city from a horrendous sacking.

    But rather than reacting with gratitude, the gruff Mediterraneans angrily demanded that their saviors immediately evacuate the land they just saved. They were not, it would seem, the most enlightened of peoples.



    Nonetheless, the peculiar Romans must have seen some value in trading with, rather than fighting against, our mighty warriors. Within a few centuries they were learning to appreciate the superiority of Slavic pottery, and in exchange teaching our people the secrets of their superior weaponry. From the Romans the Russians learned the importance of military discipline in maintaining cohesive fighting units.

    That weaponry and discipline was first put to work in the Russian conquest of the Guinean coast. In the early 1700s bc Russian warmen moved to the Atlantic coast of Africa in search of new game and tradable goods. Instead they found the last major barbarian band on the continent--the Etruscans. A new war commenced as the brave Russians applied the tricks and war codes of Roman fighters against these brute savages. Attack and counter attack in the now-fabled Battle of Gabon led to the destruction of the major fighting force of the Etruscan flesheaters. The Etruscan homeland was still far away, but the great barbarian bands would cease to be a threat to Russian traders of the interior.



    With the great military victory entering our people's national psyche, a natural reverence for the fighting mystique of the Romans arose in Russian culture. Our early poets seemed to equally fear and envy the Red-clad warmasters of Rome. Their warcraft, their war codes and awesome discipline had inspired in us a similar desire to meet threats with discipline and vigor as well as our own natural zeal and passion. They taught us well, but we were eager students in the school of war. And yet, our people even then must have suspected that a day would come when Rus warred on Rome and the student would have to surpass the master.

    Yes, yes, I know it's a horrid cliché. I still get a kick out of saying it.

    Bohemoi! Look at the time, young Alek! Get off your duff and go report to your uncle that you've finished today's lessons. Your fencing instructor is waiting for you and I have to go peel some yams for my supper tonight.
     
  12. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Let Russia be Russia

    Oh, Alek, you govniuk, why do you wake me at this hour? I'm trying to rest so I can be fresh when I go to mop up at the library tomorrow! I'm a tutor, not your damned servant. Ischenzni!!

    Fine, fine, I'll continue the story. You picked the stupidest night to turn into a scholar, boy. Where was the story left off? The 1600s BC? Blin! Okay, let me suckle from Mother Vodka and I'll continue the story...

    The rest of the Primitive Age is a story of increasing discoveries, growing wealth...



    ...expansion, trade, and learning. The annual tributes from Bulgar tribesmen of the inner Congo began in this age. Our tribes grew to the southern reaches of what we now call the "heartland" of Mother Russia during the second millennium. The earliest spoken legends come from this time of growth--an age of heroes and vicious despots ruling the people and vanquishing our enemies.



    It is in this epoch that our unique Russian sense of humor, what unsophisticated foreigners call "sarcasm," began to emerge.



    Somehow the sincere and earnest Iroquois remained our friends throughout this period--which is quite a testament to their good nature (or perhaps just a testament to their lack of wit). Either way, our empire was growing and we looked eagerly for more opportunities to expand our power and influence.



    Our most far sighted wise men saw the Nile as our destiny. The tumbling desert river was famous for its annual flood cycles, which in turn made the rich silty soil some of the most fertile farmlands on the planet. The despotic matriarchs often referred to it as the "breadbasket of the gods" and the "green band of gold."

    So you can imagine the horror our early explorers felt when they scouted out the Nile for future plantation sites at the turn of the first millennium bc, only to find Roman colonists already settling down on what should have been our promised land. Unhappy days were certainly ahead.



    What? Huh? What's with the coat, boy? I just got started in to telling you one of the greatest epics of early history and you start fidgeting and heading out the door? Are you daft? "Got to go" where, young Alek? Fine, fine, get out. Pester a brilliant scholar who's doing your parents a favor, then, why don't you? Manners of an ugly pig. I'll see you for our regular session next week. Just don't come knocking on my door late at night anymore, you!

    (You huyesos)
     
  13. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Come, sit down, Alek. You seem a bit hungover, m'lad. Could it be that you went out drinking last night and used your visit to me as an excuse to get out of you mother's house?

    What's that? I can't hear you when you're mumbling like that!! Oh, me SHOUTING right NOW?!?! So sorry, no wonder you were cringing. Didn't mean... I say I didn't mean to startle you like that, m'lad. Not when you're hung over and such.

    Heh.

    Anyway, let us get back to our story. Today's lesson is about the conflicts over money and control of the golden grains harvested in the fertile Nile valley. It's a little chapter in history I like to call...

    Roman Deal Bread

    For many years we traded with those surly and unpredictable Romans. We took their insults and endured their vicious bargaineering in commerce. They were our friends and we believed that good neighbors ought to ignore each others' insatiable lust for gold. In their camps and taverns, they told Russian jokes and we told Roman jokes. But our two peoples never warred. There was business to do. They got masonry; we got slaves. It was all very civilized.



    They made for excellent slaves, by the way, but what really attracted our merchants to their trade was their seeming inexhaustible supply of new technology. We've always been a curious and open people and they kept coming up with new tricks for us to learn--like this writing thing they taught us circa 1000 bc. We thought we were far more advanced than they. So where could they be getting their tricks from?

    Well, we had our suspects...


    Whatever the source of their learning, it was nothing they seemed willing to share with us. Each succeeding matriarch of all the Africas grew increasingly put out at the Caesars' for their insolent and standoffish attitudes. We would ask for contacts beyond our humble continent, but they never offered reasonable prices.

    Were it not for their fearsome armies and brutal reputation, we would have demanded better conditions. But as it happened, they were big and scary guys who refused to allow our traders to gain maps and knowledge of their realms and far borders. Since they permitted no curiosity about their lands, we assumed that they had no curiosity about ours.

    Thus at the dawn of the new millennium, 1000 bc, we came to see a different side of our erstwhile friends. These same Latin rascals suddenly demanded that we introduce them to our friends, the Iroquois, yet offered no payment in return for this favor. The Czarina Catherine told their swarthy ambassador exactly where he could get off.



    Rome's reaction was not favorable. The fight we had so long dreaded was now going to be a reality.

    Gulp.
     
  14. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Absolutely Nuthin' (Say it again!)

    28.jpg

    Excellent question, Alek! In fact, you are right. We were not dependent solely upon the Romans for trade in ancient times. Nomadic bands of "Americans"--a tribe closely related to the Englishmen of the Asian Steppes, but who came from a much cooler place--were an intriguing source of much learning among our fathers. Around the same time as the wars began against the Romans, about 900 bc, Russian traders encountered American herdsmen in the Himmel-Aeyun Mountain--perhaps driven south from their Arctic homelands by the "Little Ice Age" that occurred 3000 years ago.

    Despite a very short period of exposure and what must have been very awkward communication between them, the influence of the Americans on Russian culture was tremendous. The Russians learned of literature and horseback riding from these pale northmen. We learned of trade routes for reaching the English and the Azteki--while they learned of Iroquoia and treacherous Rome, of warrior codes and the mystic reverence for the gods.

    But this was not the great concern of the day. Our people were busy villefying the hated Romans.
    An early attempt at propaganda, probably unsuccessful for its use of sarcasm and anachronistic paraphernalia.

    So now let us learn of the war. Yes, boy, "finally the good stuff." Yet believe me, the time of the wars between the Ancient Romans and the early Russians was not a pleasant epoch. But it was certainly an example of how the arrogance of man can lead to senseless slaughter. Your high school textbooks that oversimplify so much do seem to at least have gotten this bit right. Caesar of the Romans indeed did declare war in a snit because our Great Lady, the Matriarch Catherine, refused to introduce him to the Iroquoian ambassador at a cocktail party.

    On the other hand, economists will always give you a more complicated--and ultimately more satisfying--answer to any question in history. They will tell you that the clash between Russia and Rome was inevitable: two great warrior powers facing each other over the bare expanse of the Sahara, the Golden Band of the Nile a treasure each desired to control. It was not just our leaders, but our civilizations' fundamental interests that clashed.



    Thus, when the Romans declared war against us on the most trivial of excuses, it may have been as much in jealousy as it was in snittiness. Our troops controlled the vast Sahara. Our ancient ax bearers patrolled the simple fishing villages along the Atlantic coast--villages which the expansive Romans threatened to swallow up--and our able archers held command of the upper Nile Valley. Russia was hardly "destined" to win any war against Roma, but our forces were certainly better positioned to fight it out on their lands.

    The great general Igor Plotsky's first order was to drive north down the Nile and capture the southern Roman city of Ravenna.

    General Plotsky proceeded to do that, but travel was inordinately slow in those days. Resistance, obstruction and pacifists prevented quick conquests. Generation after generation of warriors grew up and learned to despise the Romans; as I'm sure the reverse was the case among the Romans and how they raised their children to loath us. By 800bc our superior Roman archers commanded the vales upriver from the farm country of Ravenna.


    And yet conquest took another 25 years. Oh, these Romans were determined fighters. At long last the town elders declared their battered capital an open city and our forces marched in to what was now the northern most city of the Russian empire. The central and upper Nile was ours.



    This brought the war to an end, for a while. The people celebrated while the Romans muttered to themselves that they didn't want to bother with the control of a swampy little outpost like Ravenna anyway. But in truth hostilities still brewed between Romans and our people, who now proudly called our royal family the "Roman-offers."

    As you must know, the wars did not end there. In the centuries to come our leaders would have cause to earn their name.
     
  15. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    Hahaha :lol:
     
  16. Mirc

    Mirc Not mIRC!!!

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    Nice story! It's hard to post russian words like "Good day" (or is it good morning? I don't know enough Russian to say) without Russian chracters.

    I like the joke with Caesar!:lol:
     
  17. BuckyRea

    BuckyRea Boldly Going

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    Thanks, guys. The only Russian words I've been able to work into the story are a few gems like huyesos, which is not something I'm inclined to translate on a kid-friendly discussion board.
     
  18. conquer_dude

    conquer_dude Imperial Slave

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    Updates?

    This is a good story. :lol:
     
  19. Sima Qian

    Sima Qian 太史令

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    Oh please, BuckyRea just posted his last update less than 2 hours ago, and you want more already?

    Patience, young man!
     
  20. conquer_dude

    conquer_dude Imperial Slave

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    Oh I wasnt there at the time and I wasnt looking at when he posted it. :lol:
     

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