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All The Sultan's Men

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July 26. Port of Wulumuqi. Noon.

The young Bozaanist was nervous. Even flanked as he was by other men with clubs and swords, he continued to adjust his dusty, scratched spectacles. As the three dozen of them entered the main square of the Foreign Quarter, those holding banners let them unfurl. The red cloths bore slogans like "Expel the foreign menace and secure liberty at home!" and "One Fulgistan, democratic and free!". Poor, nervous Hussein climbed onto a fairly tall crate, no doubt containing goods meant for export, and donned his own red armband.

"Peasants, workers and downtrodden of my country!"

He gulped. That probably didn't sound very convincing. Maybe he should try waving something around. People in the posters were always waving things around. Hurriedly, he grabbed a sword from one of his fellow disciples, and hefted it above his head.

"The Sultan and the foreign devils at his back take all from this land and give back nothing but more toil and more suffering! We live in time of modernity, and yet our people work as slaves! Brothers and sisters, now is the time to make anew our nation, one ruled not by kings but by quorum and the people!"

At this point, a few people had begun to take notice, most of whom looked either nervous or dissatisfied. A few Madrians sat in the shade of a building, smoking, while various company men did their best to ignore the armed dissidents in their way. Hussein, emboldened, decided to go out on a limb.

"Who builds the railroad?"

A silence. One of the other Bozaanists, hoping to prompt the crowd into answering, shouted "Fulgiyanis!"

Hussein tried again. "Whose backs are broken in the sugar plantations?"

This time, the crowd had caught on. Nearly a score of voices responded, with varying volume, "Fulgiyanis!"

"And who must pay the Sultan's debts in their sweat, blood, and sorrow?"


"Brothers and sisters, children of this soil, who is it that will retake their country?"

The response, this time, was loud and widespread.



It was at this point that behind the unwashed faces of the crowd, the noon sun glinted on the bayonets of rifles, held by troops of the Royal Army. As the soldiers, roughly seventy in number, attempted to force their way to the center of the square, the Bozaanists gripped their makeshift weapons, and many of the peasants in the crowd picked up rocks, knives and hammers. All hell was soon to proverbially break loose.

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July 26, in the Port of Wulumuqi, at around noon.

It had been hard for Matteo and his crew. Ever since the dirty Mauridiviah tribe had taken over their homeland, they've been following one of the leaders of their true Madrian tribe of Triunforoh. That old man had taken them to the ends of the Earth and back, and has now dumped them in the colonial backwater of Fulgiyan.

Matteo and his pals had however established a proper business here, in the highly competitive market of shoe shinning. Of course, competing with all those 14 year old Fulgiyanis often caused them not to have enough money. Matteo however had a back-up plan for that: heroin. A lot of the locals lack the connections to get the high quality stuff, produced and processed back in Madria. Plus, it is a very lucrative market considering all the suffering happening around here.

And so, there he was. Smoking a joint with Victor and Fausto after a hard half day's work, polishing shoes and selling heroin on the streets of Wulumuqi. Of course, something had to go wrong right about now.

As that small man stood on some crates, wildly shouting in Fulgiyani about peasants and railroads, the trio's attention shifted from whether or not to continue working after this to the little man.

"Man, is that guy like, that Buzen guy all the peasants are talking about?" said Victor, coughing and red-eyed from the joint.

"Vozen, you idiot" snapped Fausto, finishing his own joint.

"It's Bozaan. BO. ZA. AN. It's not that hard, guys." said Matto, sighing and also finishing his joint. "We gotta get out of here. Wherever this guy is, there's trouble, and I'm too high to deal with trouble."

On cue, the Royal Army began to approach the square. Matteo, reacting quickly grabbed Victor's joint and threw it on the ground. He then proceeded to slap Fausto back into reality and, dragging them both by their collars, they began to push their way through the crowd, which was preparing for a bloody massacre. Whatever the outcome, one thing was for sure in Matteo's mind: He was not going to be one of the dead.


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August 1st. Outskirts of the village of Guhuan, Western Fulgiyan.

"We are gathered, Big Sword of Jochi's Orda. What have you to say to us?"

The group of chieftains sat astride their horses in a loose circle, their mounts bedecked in finery and hunting trophies, damascened swords and imported pistols hanging at their sides. All of them had answered Jian Bozaan's summons out of respect, but not all were sympathetic. The one who had spoken, Batbayar, was one of the latter. Jian's horse stepped forward into the ring of men; all eyes were on the revolutionary who seemed to have changed so much in a few short years.

"We cannot live as this. You know it is so as well as I. "

"Such is our way; it has been thus for centuries."

This was Nergui, of Baliq's Orda. A good man, and level-headed. Jian would have to win him to have any chance at the rest of the north.

"Nergui, in those days there were no steamships. No railroads, no aeroplanes. Our world is changing, turning like a great wheel. We must either jump onto the wheel or be crushed by it. Even now, our sons and brothers work like slaves for the outlanders. This is not our way; it has never been our way. I have read the works of the Iberians; they understand the plight of the Fulgistanis better than Selim the dog ever could."

If the others were discontented at Jian speaking badly of the Sultan, they did not show it. Their horses shuffled and pawed anxiously, awaiting a break in the tension. Batbayar nudged his mare forward, bringing him into the circle with Jian. 

"You talk of foreigners debasing our country, yet you would remake it in the image of a crazed Europan. Fulgistan is not like Iberia; Fulgistan is Fulgistan. You want to erase our way of life, not preserve it, Big Sword."

"You raise a fair concern; I have studied the text, and I find that it, unadulterated, will not suit our people. However, if we make changes, to suit ourselves and our nation, I believe that communism is the way forward for the people of this nation."

"The way? To throw away our riches and our herds, our land and our property? 

This was a clear challenge, and a tipping point. He had to win them over now, or all was lost.

"Would you not care for your child? For your sibling? Your parents and grandparents? Of course, this is your duty and your great love. Is it not right that we should each treat one another like sons, brothers and fathers alike? That no one in this country ever need go hungry, that no foreign devil ever again make exploitation of us? Friends and brothers, this is that time. And we are the ones who alone can bring about this. To you who answered my call, I promise you this: join me, embrace communism, and the ordas of the people shall bear your names into eternity. To those who will not join me I can promise only their erasing from history. So says Big Sword Bozaan."

There was only the whickering of the horses until old Nergui pointed his sword skyward. There was no shouting, no adulation, as the other chieftains did the same. All were resolved: this, or death.


Jian Bozaan, aged roughly 42, 1920

Edited by Fulgistan
Forgot the photo, like a fool
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