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The Martian City of Fadath

by Ni Ke Hsin

Martian Town by Kandinsky
Martian Town by Kandinsky

Space: 1889 Statistics

* Population: 120,000
* Form of Government: Weak Prince, Strong Priests
* Corruption: Very Corrupt
* Economic Type: Mercantile
* Economic Vitality: Prosperous
* Army Quality: Excellent
* Mercenary Quality: Good
* Fleet Quality: Trained
* Fleet Size: 12

Recent History

Prince Gisra, the reigning prince of Fadath, wooed and married Princess Anraabu of the royal family of Melas. Within a couple of years of the marriage, Gisra was killed in a cloudship "accident" leaving Anraabu to reign without him. Gisra's uncle Hastuun had hoped that Anraabu would simply return to her home city, leaving the throne to him. But by then, the Belgians had taken over Melas. Anraabu had no home but Fadath.

Shortly after Gisra's death, Anraabu converted to Catholicism. While she had always been fascinated by the Earthmen and their ways, this shocked many people, and caused a great deal of resentment, especially among the strong priest class. Furthermore, Anraabu (who had changed her name to Kristyaana Anraabu in honour of her conversion) followed up on her new beliefs by outlawing slavery within her city-state. This caused a great deal of resentment among the wealthy, but raised the popular opinion of her.

The Oenotrian Empire had long been forcing Fadath to pay tribute. With the Empire at war with the British, Kristyaana declared her neutrality in the conflict, and politely added that such neutrality could hardly be maintained while paying tribute to one of the belligerents. Two Oenotrian regiments were sent out of Skorosia to punish the upstart city, but they hadn't counted on the determination of the city's new army. Manned largely by recently freed slaves, and trained by Terran mercenaries, the Fadathian army showed an amazing amount of courage and determination, winning a costly victory over the Oenotrians.

The victory won even more popular support for Kristyaana, but cost her even more with the merchant princes of the city. Following the Battle of Fadath, trade with Oenotria virtually ceased. New trade avenues were opening up with the British Colony at Syrtis Major, but the established merchants were too entrenched to make good use of them. So while Kristyaana has the support of most of the army, the general populace, and the rising nouveaux riches merchants, she has greatly offended the priests, the established merchant princes and her husband's uncle, Prince Hastuun. She is continually on guard against plots from these quarters. Prince Hastuun, of course, is fully backed by the Oenotrians, should he stage a coup. But he is, at present, afraid to flout Kristyaana's popular loyalty.

Prominent Personalities in Fadath

Princess Kristyaana Anraabu

At first glance, Kristyaana Anraabu seems the perfect Martian Princess. She is beautiful, courteous, well-read, kind, just, and strong-willed. But she lacks one thing that makes her job very difficult: she doesn't have a politician's mind. She is reluctant to think the worst of people, and is forever surprised by the greed, envy, and mean-spiritedness of her political rivals. Kristyaana has seen first hand the atrocities Earthmen are willing to commit on Mars, for her home city is now under the brutal rule of the Belgians. But she finds herself frequently trusting Europeans, because their interests are less likely to be disguised and tainted by the intrigues of the city.

Prince Daanyo

Daanyo is Kristyaana Anraabu's brother-in-law. He is young, vivacious, charming, and not all that bright. He is a hero of the recent battle against Oenotria, and loves Kristyaana like a sister. Daanyo has converted to Christianity, and has been baptized as both a Catholic and a Baptist (the theological implications of this elude him entirely.) His true religion is rugger, which has become a national sport. One Scottish sapper reported that he'd rather "be hit by a locomotive than 'is majesty's broad shoulders, thank ye very much." Daanya is very loyal to his city and his sister-in-law, but politically he is inept. He is too forthright and trusting to be an able conspirator, and the details of administering a city-state don't interest him at all. However, Daanyo isn't stupid, and his naivete does have limits. While few people fear his wit, fewer still wish to cross swords with him on the dueling ground.

Chief Secretary Gi'iloss

Gi'iloss is an elderly, toadying man, stooped and narrow, who nonetheless is able to keep straight in his mind all the various interests of the city. Politically and religiously very conservative, he whines about every change Kristyaana has made, and is constantly wheedling and pleading to bring back the old days. He is nonetheless an important part of the administration of the city, and is rarely far from the Princess's side.

Prince Hastuun

Hastuun was the uncle of Kristyaana's late husband. He is a proud man of military bearing and temperament. He makes no secret that he disapproves of Kristyaana's radical changes in city politics and her even more radical rejection of the city's religion for an off-world cult. Hastuun poses as an honourable man, and may well be one, though he does nothing to hide his association with the Oenotrian spies and sympathizers in the city and abroad. He is quite frank that he considers Kristyaana unfit for the throne, and would take the honour himself if the opportunity were provided. He is clever and cagey, and a formidable duelist.

Metropolitan Shiog'ii

The chief religion of Fadath, and the whole Syrtis Major basin, is a cult founded by the prophet Mrohzan. Its followers are known as Mrohzanji, and almost every important person in the Oenotrian Empire pays homage at the Mrohzanji temple. Mrohzan was a fairly typical prophet, asking people to get along, work together, and earn a choice spot in one of his many levels of the afterlife. But like most religions, it became institutionalized, and the interests of the institution were understandably divided between promulgating the gospel according to Mrohzan and protecting and cultivating itself. The chief priest of any city is called the Metropolitan, and though there is no central authority equivalent of a Pope, some metropolitans traditionally have more prestige than others. It just so happens that Mrohzan gave his final sermons in Fadath before passing on to the next Heaven, rendering the Grand Mrohzanji Temple of Fadath the most important shrine of the most important cult of the Oenotrian Empire. Metropolitan Shiog'ii considers himself to be in exile in his own city. While the Mrohzanji faith has never been exclusive, the new Christianity is. And while Princess Kristyaana has never made a move to forbid other religions, the fact that she endorses the worship of this foreign god, who DIED for Mrohzan's sake, is intolerable. The omens have been all wrong since her baptism: the birth of two-headed gashants, the sudden appearance of stars, formation of whirlpools in the canals, reports of fire falling from the sky, etc. While Shiog'ii hates Kristyaana, he is never uncivil to her. He is a shrewd old man who keeps his secrets close to his chest. He does rail against the new god, and has often spoken kind words about the Oenotrian Empire in public.


The renowned pirate who has preyed on Oenotrian shipping for years. He was recently pardoned by the Oenotrians and turned loose against Fadath shipping. He is tall, handsome though scarred, and courtly in a rough way. He is also thoroughly mercenary, and has no loyalty or even gratitude for the Oenotrians who didn't hang him when they had him. The only thing that will temper his self-serving attitude is if he is humiliated. Qizgali is not a man to cross lightly. His kite is known as the Black Wind.

Posted Monday, 04-May-2009 19:52:03 EDT

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