BINKY AND THE AQEDA DAGGER
Following the adventure of the White Queen the party has been having a well earned rest in Mukdeesha and is now helping Prof Incontinente to catalogue and write up the discoveries. He has no intention of publishing the whereabouts of the city of Mophir for years to come. None of you want that particular civilisation to be conquered or colonised.
The Italian commander sent a message that a recently arrived Englishman has asked to see you, Gerald and Adrian. So you are here at his hotel. He is older than you, maybe in his late thirties and speaks with a soft voice. He introduces himself as Captain Tim Bootnick, late Royal Marines. He was once fit but is now running to a little fat. Too much time behind a desk he says patting his stomach.
He hands Gerald a bundle of papers, “These will tell you almost everything that we know about the dagger, Prof Incontente is the real expert on the subject, though most of the salient points are covered.
“The knife itself is of no great value, it has no jewels, no gold no silver. It is an entirely unremarkable knife. It is the “power” that it evokes in some people that gives it its importance. Throughout history it has been attributed with good things, verging on miracles, in the hands of a good man but it also has the reputation for evil when in the possession of a corruptible or evil man. Its main power is that it is reputed to allow direct communication with God.
At the moment we, Her Majesty’s Government that is, believe that it is in the possession of the renegade Mullah Madassah Hattah. Normally this would not concern us much but we have heard that he is raising the tribes in Northern Morvalistan and creating his own Empire. He is attracting followers from Islam, the pagan tribes and also the so called “Christian” tribes of the region. Arab traders, slave traders, also supply him with recruits and camp followers. The infamous Sayeed Yadun Iht has been linked with him in a number of reports.
He is last reported in the region of Mariba and along the shores of Lake Albert. There he has carved out a sizeable empire and is threatening the town itself. He has several hundred armed followers and has some artillery. His political and religious power comes from the knife which he uses in rituals to bring on visions. These rituals always involve blood letting. Usually an animal or his own. The visions invariably predict growing power and admission to paradise for his followers. They also predict that the Mullah will rule over a religious paradise that stretches from the Black Water (the Ocean?) to Mountains of the Moon.
His power would not have risen so fast without his French Lieutenant, a rogue called Marc Auredeville. This blackguard is infamous, a charlatan, a self styled sorcerer and scholar. Quite brilliant they say. He is certainly gifted in languages and has considerable ability in getting the tribes to fight without petty jealousies and rivalries getting in the way.
The current way of operating is for Madassah Hattah to stay in the base camp with, it is said, some Ruritanian military advisers while Marc Auredeville travels the land with a strong force forcibly recruiting villagers, tribesmen and travellers to the cause or to slavery. This has so far been successful. The longest of these forays has been about 3 months as he has to travel further afield now for his recruits.
It is important that we stop the rising before it gets too powerful. That said it is not as simple as killing or capturing the Mad Mullah Madassa Hattah and Marc Auredeville to do so would create martyrs and we all know how powerful martyrs are to religious fanatics. The involvement of the Coast Arabs is most worrying. And so, Gentlemen, the game is afoot.
Now on to some of the detail, by the way, I trust I am correct in assuming that you will take up the challenge? Yes? Excellent.
We have a steamer that will take about 25 people plus some limited stores to Mukhdeesha and thence by gunboat, HMS Insufferable is showing the flag there to remind the Italians and Sultan that Britannia rules the waves. The ship will take you to Gashni where you pick up the train to Kasoshi.
At Kasoshi you are to meet up with our agent, Mr Allardyce Sloadid, who will brief you further on your trek to Mariba and the Mad Mullah.
A few words about Kasoshi itself. The town itself is set in the savannah by a group of permanent water holes. The land is arable and the natives, mainly waNyamwezi and waTembi, are friendly. The tribal leaders are both quite young and are rivals for power so there are frequent squabbles about cattle and grazing land. The District Commissioner, Theraul Aginmie, is frequently called upon to mediate. The town also has an increasing Coast Arab population with a sprinkling of Indians – mainly Sikhs.
There is no doubt at all that once the Army gets there the Mad Mullah’s rebellion will be short lived. The main damage will be done to prestige if Mariba falls. It will leave the way open for the French and Italians to expand into the area.
It is imperative that the rebellion is disrupted long enough for the Army to arrive from down south.
On to see the action at the market! (part 1 of this adventure)
On to the crossing of the Omigoligosh River (part 2 of this fine tale)
On to the Turk's Trading Post (part 3 of this spiffing yarn)
On to the Waterholes (part 4 of this grand saga)
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