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The Queen's Consort

Page history last edited by Michael 3 years, 3 months ago

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     Early October, 1896.

     A weathered chunk of liftwood has been brought to the attention of the British government. It was found in the southern part of the Sudan, and is at least a century old. It's no longer able to float, but still has some of its anti-gravitational properties. A previous expedition was sent there six months ago, but never returned; and there are reports of aerial flyers missing in that general area. The remnants of the Mahdi's armies have cannons, perhaps able to fire on flyers.

     The goal of the previous expedition -- and the new one -- is to discover the source of the liftwood. Botanists have not been able to identify the sample as any known species of Martian liftwood.

     Liftwood on Mars still is only found on some tall mountains; the Terran powers have driven off or destroyed the High Martian tribes who used to control the groves. However, the trees grow slowly, and all the largest groves have been decimated. No substitute has been developed (although lighter-than-air craft and some aircraft exist), and liftwood begins to lose its useful properties after a decade or two.

     Orbital surveys show a lot of vegetation on the mountain known as Jebel Marra; the previous expedition was sent there.


Very Short Summary

     October, 1896. An ancient piece of liftwood -- centuries or millenia old -- was discovered in central Africa; a previous expedition to locate the source of this went missing. You are asked by the Explorers' Club (acting covertly on behalf of the British government) to investigate! If there is a source of liftwood on Earth, locating and taking possession of it would be hugely valuable to any government.




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The Explorers' Club




  • alat alttayran (Arabic):  flying machine

  • jawhar al-hayat (Arabic):  life essence

  • al-maleekat al'ahmar (Arabic): The Red Queen; referred to as just "the queen", it's al-maleekat.

  • jebel marra (Arabic):   bad mountain

  • al-kazar (Arabic):  the palace




  • bey (Turkish and Arabic):  a title attached after a man's given name (for Arabs, at least), indicating a chieftain, or senior officer (lieutenant-colonels and up). If the person controls an area of land, it will be called a beylik. Bey is also a courtesy title for a pashas's son. The feminine form is begum. 

  • effendi (Turkish and Arabic):  lord, or master; the title is attached after a man's name to indicate an educated or land-owning gentleman

  • emir (Arabic):  an officer, general or prince (usage varying a lot by region and historical period); in the Sudan of the late 19th Century, this title is applied to tribal chiefs. The feminine form is emira. 

  • fellah, plural fellaheen (Arabic):  the peasants or laboring class in Egypt

  • pasha (Turkish):   a title, attached after a man's name, to indicate a high military or court official. Within the Ottoman Empire, there are actually three grades of pasha, but we won't worry about that too much; the title can be hereditary or not. The territory ruled by a pasha acting as a governor is a pashalik. Sometime Anglicized as bashaw.

  • shiekh (Arabic):  a title indicating chiefly status; in the Sudan, applied mostly to persons in charge of a town.


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