አፍሪካ, አባታችን (Africa, our fatherland) - Ethiopian-led African Union

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  • Ebanu8

    Emperor of Axum
    Nov 29, 2017
    A/N: This will be presented in a different format, basically where events that are being reported have already happened after the entirety of the campaign. I came up with this AAR after playing several African nations on HOI4, and having seen not that many African AAR's made in the same game.

    This scenario is inspired by another AAR I read, which was written by General Grant, titled African Unification. It's only two pages long, but the content was enough for me to write a similar scenario, only with major differences, and it will be centered mostly around Ethiopia, my favourite African nation.

    Other than that, enjoy.

    The rise of Ethiopia, Volume I, prolouge
    Ethiopia is one of the oldest African nations to ever exist, it's existence dating back to the second millennium BC. It is a country rich in cultural heritage and history, having been the site of the fabled Migration to Abyssinia by Prophet Muhammad, and is home to the oldest Muslim settlement in Africa at Negash, and Africa's most populous Jewish community, the Bete Israel.

    It is a country long plagued by conflict, both within and without. The Ottoman Empire, the Sultanate of Egypt, and the Kingdom of Italy, the Empire's enemies were numerous throughout its existence - as is what befalls any long-lived empire - and maintaining its independence was a battle paid dearly in blood.

    The Age of Princes was a time of weakness and civil strife for Ethiopia, its feudal lords tearing the country apart from within with their power struggles and petty wars. Brother fought brother, and swords clashed in battles waged in the name of egos and political interests.

    But it was not Ethiopia's destiny to be conquered by foreign powers and quashed into obscurity.

    Since the time of Emperor Menelik II, Ethiopia had undergone a period of rapid modernisation and industrialisation, and wide-spread education led to the changing of Ethiopian society as a whole, with new values introduced and old values abandoned or adapted to suit the modern world. Its military had also rapidly modernised, and soon the Western powers were forced to acknowledge that it was a country capable of standing toe-to-toe with the Western countries.

    All this would culminate in the rise of Ethiopia as a strong world power, and the dominant power in Africa. It would also become the founder and leader of Africa's political and social union, the African Union, which also serves as a military alliance between the African nations.

    And the most famous figure in Ethiopia's history, one of its strongest leaders who would come to be the first Chairman of the African Union and the father of Ethiopia, the leader behind the country's transition to a modern, first-world country, was none other than one man, the man who led Ethiopia in a time of brutal conflict during World War II.

    His Imperial Majesty Haile Selasse I, Emperor of Ethiopia, conquering Lion of Judah, and ruler of Africa.
    Volume I, Part I
  • Ebanu8

    Emperor of Axum
    Nov 29, 2017
    Volume I, part I


    In 1887, two years before the ascension of Emperor Menelik II, significant events were taking place that would change the course of history for Africa, one that would radically change the balance of power in the continent, and which would see the rise of an alliance that would challenge the West as a whole.

    It began when in the same year, Liberia declared full independence from its American overlord. Prior to this, Liberia was in a time of economic stagnation due to little economic development taking place in the small country. Its infrastructure, though well-developed in some areas close to the capital, was underdeveloped in the rest of the country, and undeveloped land comprised over 85% of the country's landmass.

    This, combined with heavy embezzlement of funds by the government, caused Liberia to suffer a debt crisis, and as a result, private enterprises were faced with much difficulty in expanding their businesses. Some have had to even prematurely shut down as a result.

    The Liberian Police Force was terribly understaffed as well, and severely underfunded. Due to these factors, it could not adequately maintain order throughout the country, and the Liberian Army had to be relied upon as a result. Worse still, corruption was rampant throughout the Police Force, with police officers deliberately allowing gangs to run amok by being bribed, due to them earning abysmally low wages.

    Guards had to be posted at factories to protect them and workers from territorial gangs, and the lack of adequate security outside of their workplace was something many Liberians – both indigenous and Americo-Liberian, blamed the government for.

    In an effort to gain sympathy among the indigenous Liberians, Edward Johnson, the then President of Liberia, put forth the Liberian Citizenship Act, granting full citizenship to all Liberians and the universal right to vote. This, however, would prove to be his downfall, when he called for a unification referendum with the neighbouring Kingdom of Ashanti.

    The Kingdom of Ashanti, under the leadership of the then Mamphoghene – or regent of Ashanti – Owusu Sekyere II, was overseeing the final stages of modernisation in Ashanti, with Ashanti soldiers training in the usage of modern rifles and artillery, and new construction techniques being used to connect the whole of its domain through roads and railroads.

    Some of the most prominent industries at the time included canned food, cement and steel, and these three proved vital to feeding the Ashanti economy's rapid growth, and eventually its war machine.

    A portrait of an Ashanti factory, staffed by both local Ashanti and foreign workers

    Through three wars of conquest, it annexed the Ivory Coast and Togoland – comprised of both Togo and Benin – and the area now known as Burkina Faso under its domain, and Ashanti was looking to improve the infrastructure in those areas to facilitate domestic trade and interconnect the territories of its expanding empire.

    Its economy was undoubtedly stronger than Liberia’s, due to heavy economic development by both the government and entrepreneurial businesses, and the amount of wealth it amassed was much needed to revert the debt crisis Liberia faced at the time.

    Liberians who travelled to Ashanti to find work brought back tales of a socially and economically strong country, with its citizens enjoying a higher standard of living and stable economic growth, and adequate security from both the army and police force.

    This served to arouse a general desire of merger with Ashanti, as many believed that under the Ashanti monarchical rule, they would not have to deal with the corrupt administration any longer, and their financial woes would be a thing of the past. This was championed by a separatist, megerist faction in the True Whig Party, led by a man named James Benedict, and it soon gave rise to a schism within its ranks, causing it to split into two factions: the pro-mergerists and anti-mergerists.

    Merger sentiments gradually grew among Liberians, and they began crowding around the Liberian Presidential Palace, demanding merger with Ashanti. Soon, Edward Johnson knew something would have to be done about this, lest he risk an outbreak of violence in his country. In a moment of desperation, he capitulates to their demands and calls for referendum, with pro-merger votes exceeding 80% of the total vote.

    With this, the Liberian President is forced to retire, and James Benedict then enters negotiations with the Mamphoghene about the type of government the new country would have. After a quick round of discussions lasting three days, the new country of Ashanteria is proclaimed, with the Ashanti monarch as head of state and James Benedict serving as Prime Minister and head of a democratically-elected government.

    Almost immediately, funds were allocated to paying off Liberia’s massive debts, and corrupt Liberian politicians were arrested and jailed. Factories were being constructed, and financial incentives were used to stimulate the growth of Liberian enterprises. Corrupt Liberian police officers were also arrested, and some were even executed for severe law offences.

    Following this, a punitive crackdown on Liberian crime gangs was launched, and many were cut down to size. It was not unknown that police brutality was employed to police these overly violent gangs, as gang members were beaten during clashes. Some saw this as a necessary evil, others did not. They could all agree, however, that the streets of Monrovia became much safer, as gangs did not dare confront the new Ashanterian Royal Police so openly anymore.

    Those that were arrested were then used as cheap labour to facilitate the many construction projects in Monrovia and the Grain Coast, including coastal fortifications and shipyards. Monrovia was also fortified against naval invasions, given its vulnerability to naval invasions.

    Two years of economic growth and stability and decreasing unemployment rates led mergerists to believe the merger was the right choice, whilst anti-mergerists lost their support to the pro-mergerists. A modernisation programme of the Police Force and Army had also been launched, and vacancies were quickly filled, though it would take time for them to be disciplined, professional forces capable of serving the nation.

    It is known that due to the initial language barrier, many Liberians found it hard to communicate with their Ashanti superiors, and progress of the modernisation programme was stalled as a result. To counter this, the Ashanterian government passed a new law requiring all citizens to learn both Asante Twi and English, in order to counter the language barrier.

    As part of its industrialisation efforts, a new national railroad, known as the TransAshanterian railway, was commissioned by the Ashanterian government and endorsed by the monarch, and sizeable sums of government funds were allocated to fund its construction.

    A section of the TransAshanterian Railway under construction
    Such a huge undertaking was expensive, and it required international loans numbering as much as hundreds of thousands of US dollars at the time. It was a risky project, but it was predicted that once it was completed, it could generate as much twice the amount of revenue, allowing the country to pay back its debts.

    As economic development was taking place, Ashanteria was in search of allies to help secure its independence from ambitious colonial powers, and the one and only answer was Ethiopia. Diplomatic relations were initiated, and the two countries were becoming fast friends on the political stage.

    Ethiopia had been expanding outside its borders, with the states of Kenya – then known as Nairobi – and Uganda being colonised by Amharan settlers, and the whole of Sudan being annexed by Ethiopia after a brief war with Egypt.

    Years earlier, in 1874, Ethiopia had suffered a disastrous, humiliating defeat at the hands of the Egyptian Army in the Battle of Gedaref, resulting in over 25,000 Ethiopian casualties and Egyptian casualties numbering less than half at about 9,000. This had occurred years after the Zemene Mesafint, though Emperor Tewdros II's efforts to modernise Ethiopia were met with resistance from staunchly traditionalist Mesafint and Mekwanint, the Ethiopian aristocracy.

    Their armies were a loose coalition of factions, and it was a dismally difficult task keeping such a divided force together. Furthermore, the Egyptian Army was far more advanced than the Ethiopian Army, with its soldiers utilising flintlock rifles and cannons, whilst the Ethiopian Army consisted primarily of mounted cavalry wielding swords, spears and shields, with the occasional brigade of archers complementing a regiment's worth of soldiers.

    With such a huge difference in firepower, the outcome of the First Ethio-Egyptian War was already decided the moment it began, and as a result, the then Emperor Yohannes IV was forced to accept a humiliating peace, nominating Ethiopia as a puppet state of Egypt and forcing the country to pay reparations with captured Ethiopians as slaves.

    Barely a year afterwards, Emperor Yohannes IV was promptly overthrown, and his son, Ras Mengesha Yohannes, took his place as Emperor Yohannes V of Ethiopia. With help from a prominently powerful, reform-minded Menelik, they removed many traditionalist nobles and much of the opposition to his rule from power and permanently revoked their privileges as aristocrats.

    Portraits of Ras Mengesha Yohannes and Menelik II respectively

    They then proceeded to seize their assets and wealth, putting them to use for the benefit of the state; their estates became sites for industrial factories and farms, and their wealth was used to pay for construction of such sites and railroads connecting the Ethiopian Heartland.

    After ten years of peace, in 18th May 1884, the Second Ethio-Egyptian War was initiated when Yohannes V declared war on Egypt, his casus belli being the liberation of captured Ethiopian slaves and the avenging of his country's humiliation.

    The war lasted a year, resulting in an Ethiopian victory and the annexation of the whole of Sudan as a result. Days after signing the Treaty of Khartoum – the treaty that brought Sudan under Ethiopian rule, Yohannes V officially outlawed slavery throughout the Empire, ending Sennar's lucrative slave trade and emancipating over eight million slaves.

    These emancipated slaves were quickly sent to schools to be educated and eventually integrated into Ethiopian society, and as a result, millions were added to the Ethiopian workforce, fueling the Empire's industrial growth.

    The slave owners were promptly bereaved of their wealth, following round-ups by Ethiopian police officers who seized their assets and transferred possession of them to the Ethiopian government.

    Sudanese slave owners were angered by the abolishing of slavery, and they revolted in 10th January 1886. The revolt was crushed swiftly, and the rebel leaders were swiftly executed as a result. Yohannes V, however, was wounded by a gunshot to his side, though he managed to survive. Following the end of the rebellion, Yohannes V implemented a new law, threatening harsh penalties for illegally practicing slavery, including the death penalty.

    The gunshot wound had taken its toll on Yohannes V, and in March 1889, he passed away, and in his will he named Menelik his successor, who then became known as Menelik II.
    Volume I, Part II
  • Ebanu8

    Emperor of Axum
    Nov 29, 2017
    Volume I, part II

    1889 onward...

    Shortly after Menelik II's ascension to the throne, he immediately formalises an alliance with Ashanteria, and in order to secure international aid against the Western colonial powers, he initiates diplomacy with Emperor Meiji, along with the newly crowned Asantehene of Ashanteria, Otumfo Nana Prempeh I.

    Pictures of Asantehene Otumfo Nana Prempeh I and Emperor Meiji of Japan respectively

    As the three countries found themselves shunned by the western powers despite their rapid growth in economic and military might, the three become fast friends, and in exchange for an alliance, Japan agrees to send a military mission to both African countries, and a royal marriage between two daughters of the Imperial House of Japan and the monarchs' sons is held.

    A Japanese military mission is sent to both countries, and during their time spent overseas, these Japanese soldiers wrote down their experiences of the wondrous civilisations of Ethiopia and Ashanteria, either in books or in letters addressed to their families back home.

    My dear Mizuki, it's been two months since I was posted to the country of Ethiopia, and I must tell you Ethiopia is a wondrous place to live in. Develop tolerance for the hot climate of this place, and you will see that the people's culture is in no way inferior to that of the West...truth be told, I am beginning to develop a love for the country of Ethiopia, and though Japan is my birthplace, I would not mind living here, were circumstance to permit me. I hope to hear from you and our dear daughter soon.

    Your dearest,

    - Excrepts from a letter written by a Japanese officer to his family

    Some were in disbelief, thinking the soldiers to be writing tall tales for their own amusement, whilst others, seeing truth in their words or needing to verify it, decide to migrate to the two African countries.

    It is only a slight exaggeration to say that upon receiving tales of the two countries' splendour, Emperor Meiji organised state visits to both countries with his family, and though there were complaints about the hot weather, it was no secret that they were not disappointed in the slightest.

    At the same time, both countries begin diplomatic talks with the German Empire, and Emperor Wilhelm I and Chancellor Otto von Bismark were known to have their reservations about aiding two 'backwater' African countries at first, for fear a possible alliance would be a fruitless endeavour. For the time being, they were nothing more than acquaintances on the political stage.

    At the time, both Britain and France were alarmed at the emerging African powers, powers who could contest their colonial hegemony in Africa. Italy, around the same time, was pressing its claims on the Ethiopian heartland, looking to annex more land and expand the Italian East African Principality, in order to connect its colonies of Eritrea and Italian Somaliland.

    Anticipating possible war with the British and French, both African countries quickly expand their military industry, and armies were beginning to gather at their borders. Around the same time, reports of increased German military activity were reported along the borders of their African colonies, though war would not break out yet.

    On 1st March 1896, Italy declares war on Ethiopia, and the Battle of Adwa ensues as Italian troops clash with Ethiopian ones along the Ethiopian-Eritrean border. Thus began the First Italo-Ethiopian War.

    An Ethiopian painting of the Battle of Adwa

    In the initial stages of the war, the two armies were locked in a stalemate, their equipment and firepower equally matched in terms of the technology employed. As more men marched towards the battlefront, Italian troops soon found themselves being inexorably pushed back at an alarming rate, with more Italian casualties sustained than Ethiopian ones.

    A combined Ethiopian-Japanese force ranging between 74,000 to over 120,000 clashed with about 30,000 Italian ones in the Battle of Adwa, and at the end of the battle, 10,000 Italians, 2,000 Japanese and 8,000 Ethiopians died, and the Italian troops had to retreat back to the Eritrean capital of Asmara.

    Unfortunately, Ethiopian reinforcements were rapidly deploying across the front lines at a fast pace, thanks in part to the extensive railway network that encompassed nearly all of the Ethiopian heartland, and their Japanese allies were fighting alongside them as well.

    The Italians, on the other hand, suffered from the lack of proper infrastructure in their African colonies, and were unable to quickly move in response to constant attacks on their territory. This, combined with their use of outdated weaponry and an overall low morale among the Italian troops, culminated in their loss in the war.

    Towards the end of mid-March, nearly all of Italian East Africa is taken by the combined Ethiopian-Japanese armies, and the King of Italy is forced to sue for peace. The treaty of Addis Ababa is signed, ceding Eritrea and Italian Somaliland to Ethiopia, strengthening the Empire's control over the Horn of Africa, and recognising Ethiopia as an independent, sovereign state.

    The Italian troops who were held captive in Ethiopia would find themselves as astonished at Ethiopia's civilisation as their Japanese allies were, and it was soon revealed that despite their status as prisoners of war, they enjoyed good living conditions and were treated well in their captivity.

    News of a European country's defeat against an African one shocked the world, and among the western governments and white supremacists, such news was not well received. In Italy, public opinion was outraged, and the situation was as what Chris Prouty described in the following statement:

    When news of the calamity reached Italy there were street demonstrations in most major cities. In Rome, to prevent these violent protests, the universities and theatres were closed. Police were called out to disperse rock-throwers in front of Prime Minister Crispi's residence. Crispi resigned on 9 March.

    Troops were called out to quell demonstrations in Naples. In Pavia, crowds built barricades on the railroad tracks to prevent a troop train from leaving the station. The Association of Women of Rome, Turin, Milan and Pavia called for the return of all military forces in Africa.

    Funeral masses were intoned for the known and unknown dead. Families began sending to the newspapers letters they had received before Adwa in which their menfolk described their poor living conditions and their fears at the size of the army they were going to face.

    King Umberto declared his birthday (14 March) a day of mourning. Italian communities in St. Petersburg, London, New York, Chicago, Buenos Aires and Jerusalem collected money for the families of the dead and for the Italian Red Cross.

    France and Britain, in particular, refused to acknowledge the fact that Italy lost to Ethiopia on fair terms, and promptly declared war on both Ethiopia and Ashanteria, looking to cut them down to size. At the end of what would be known as the War of Containment, Britain and France were on the losing side, and they would be forced to cede land as a result; Ashanteria would gain Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria, whilst Ethiopia would gain half of French Equatorial Africa, comprising what was Chad, Niger and Central Africa.

    News of the French-British defeat at the hands of African armies shocked the world once again, and this time foreign dignitaries from all across Europe were organising visits to the independent African countries for diplomatic and personal reasons.

    Not much is known about what went on with the private meetings between the African and European monarchs, but what is known is that afterwards, the monarchs were heard ordering their officials to prepare for other future diplomatic interactions, regarding trade rights and possible alliances with the two African countries.

    Following the string of meetings with European monarchs, the African monarchs and their officials themselves began engaging in debates regarding a possible continental union between their two countries, in order to strengthen their position in the region. Following this was Ethiopia making a gradual transition into constitutional democratic rule, and elections were well underway.

    In February 1897, the first Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abaynesh Tesfahun Mekdem, was elected, and the first woman other than royalty and nobility to take a high position of power in the government. She was the leader of the then functioning Liberal Democratic Front(LDF), and her party was a juggernaut in Ethiopian politics, dominating it for the next three decades. Some of her most notable political manoeuvres were the establishing of a mandatory reservation of 45% of Parliament seats for women, and the enacting of universal suffrage for all Ethiopians, regardless of gender.

    Haile Selassie, in particular, was known to have continually highlighted Ethiopia's and Ashanteria's need to band together in a common alliance against 'any and all who threaten African (our) sovereignty and try to enslave Africa's soul', not merely for a period of one to two years but for generations to come.

    Near the end of April, 1896, the African Union was formed, with Ethiopia and Ashanteria as its founding members. Haile Selassie was elected as its first Chairman, and shortly after his induction, he made a speech on congratulating the progress made by the AU's member countries before its founding, and highlighted possible wars with the French and British Empires in the future. The following paragraph is an excerpt from that speech.

    Let us all remember the day, my African brothers and sisters, the day that we children of Africa declare ourselves united in body and soul! United against the face of oppression and tyranny, as the African Union! Let us all remember that we shall never surrender our integrity, our sovereignty, and our souls to the devils that would see our progress undone! But let us remember as well that our fight is not with westerners in general, no. That is merely condemning those not guilty of the crimes those guilty have committed. Our fight is merely with the governments of the westerners who have sought to exploit our brethren and fatten themselves on the riches of others! So remember the eternal fight, my brethren! The fight for Africa's soul! Lezelalemawī ābatineti!

    His Imperial Majesty's speech was reported in newspapers across the world, and now Africa was beginning to gain the world's attention. Some western newspaper presses have reported it as a thinly-veiled statement of aggression against the colonial masters in Africa, others watched events unfold in Africa with caution and skepticism. In Belgium, many laughed off Haile Selassie's speech as utter garbage, believing that their armies in the Belgian Congo were more than enough to repel the 'backwater savages'.

    Despite this, no wars were initiated in Africa for at least two decades. In 1914, however, things would change in Europe almost overnight, signalling the start of one of Humanity's bloodiest conflicts in history.

    And it would all begin with the assassination of the Austrian Archduke and his wife.

    Facts about Ethiopia:

    -Little Japans in the Empire

    As Japanese soldiers stationed in Ethiopia wrote back tales of Ethiopia's civilisation to their families, and with the Imperial Japanese Family's visit to the Empire, a wave of Japanese immigrants flooded towards Ethiopia, many hoping to experience such a unique civilisation for themselves. It was fair to say many were not disappointed by what they saw and experienced, and have even settled down in many parts of the Empire. Addis Ababa and Asmara are home to small towns known colloquially as Little Japans, and visitors can enjoy Japanese cuisine in these towns or in other places where Japanese communities have taken root.

    Since 1914, some 5,000 Japanese immigrants are found in Ashanteria as well, but their numbers pale in comparison to the Japanese population of Ethiopia, which numbers as many as 30,000.

    -Politics in Ethiopia

    Politics in the Empire tend to involve very controversial matters and policies at the time, but tend to be terribly raucous affairs as well, with debates taking place in public areas most of the time, most especially in coffee shops and cafes. Even so, privacy and discretion is still practiced most of the time, and with media journalists possibly eavesdropping on the conversation, politicians take care to watch what they say in public, lest a scandal ensue and prematurely end their careers.

    Facts about Ashanteria:

    -Italian influence

    When people hear that there are Italian villages in Ashanteria, there is the common expectation of Italian immigrants living there, building their little Italy in their corner of the Kingdom. Most of the time, this is not the case. Rather, it is due to Ashanterian immigrants bringing back Italian influence from Italy after working there for a time. In the outlying, rural villages of the Burkina Faso region, most of the inhabitants experience poverty even with Ashanteria's rapid economic growth, mostly due to the economic development not reaching their areas yet.

    Some moved to Italy to find work, and through the wealth they accumulated over the years working there, when they came back, they invested it in the development of their home villages, from building roads to establishing small businesses. Some have also brought back recipes for cooking typical Italian cuisine, including spaghetti and lasagna. There are, however, Italian immigrants living in a few of those villages, though they collectively number no more than about 100 or so.
    Volume II, Part I
  • Ebanu8

    Emperor of Axum
    Nov 29, 2017
    Volume II: World War I

    Part I

    28 June 1914, the day that would become infamous in Human history, the day Archduke Franz Ferdinand I and his wife were assassinated in the streets of Sarajevo by a Serbian nationalist named Gavrilo Princip.

    A painting depicting the infamous assassination of the Austrian Archduke and his wife.

    The Archduke's death led to souring relations between Austria-Hungary and Serbia, and in response, nearly a month later, Austria-Hungary issued an ultimatum to Serbia, demanding the punishment of Gavrilo for the murder of the Archduke. Serbia's response was to flatly refuse, and the two countries moved to a war footing.

    Russia declared its support for Serbia, and answering in accordance with its alliance with Serbia, declared war on Austria-Hungary. Soon, Germany declared war on Russia, and then the Triple Entente Alliance – comprising Britain, France and Italy, declared war on the Germany and Austria-Hungary, who together with the Ottoman Empire, formed the Central Powers Alliance.

    Italy, however, would not join the war on the side of the Entente until a year later, in 1915.

    With the series of interlocking alliances between the European countries, war broke out across the continent, and soon armies marched across the continent, intent on waging war against their enemies.

    Across radio channels on all frequences, word of a massive outbreak of war across Europe reached the ears of all, and newspapers across the world reported of the bloodshed that was to come.

    Yet with the outbreak of war in Europe, war was to break out in other parts of the world as well.

    Taking advantage of the war in Europe, the African Union was quick to declare war on Germany, Britain, France, Spain, Belgium and Portugal, intent on breaking their colonial hegemony in Africa and expanding their influence across the continent. Already, the thousands of troops and tanks that gathered on the borders, well-rested, well-equipped, well-trained and well-supplied, moved in response to the declaration of war by their leaders, and soon, colonial militias clashed with African armies as war raged across the continent.

    As Ethiopia and Ashanteria marched to war, Japan, intent on honouring its alliance and expanding its influence, declared war on both the Allied and Central powers, allying with the African Union. The first things it did was seize German colonial possessions in Asia and Oceania, broadening its sphere of influence.

    In the years of World War I, its massive navy – built in anticipation of eventual clashes with the massive British navy – sailed across the waters of the Pacific Ocean, and many ship casualties sustained by the Entente would be inflicted by Japanese ships.

    Initial expectations among the Entente was that the war would be over relatively quickly, and that the soldiers would be home in time for christmas. For that reason, many of their trenches were dug hastily, and not outfitted with proper amenities.

    The Germans, however, sensing that the war would be prolonged into stalemates, laboriously dug their trenches, making sure that not only would were more easily cleaned, they had running water and electricity.

    The Austro-Hungarians were also quick to adopt the German standards for digging trenches, both out of concern of the war dragging on, and wanting to ensure their soldiers did not die of disease.

    World War I would also see the extensive deployment of biplanes – predecessors to the modern aeroplanes – for war purposes for the first time, and it would come to shape the future of aerial combat and lay the groundwork for future extensive use of aeroplanes, both for military and commercial purposes.


    30 September 1914

    11.30 AM

    The interior of the destroyer they were in was stuffy and cramped, crowded with dozens of sailors eagerly anticipating the action they would face in the North-west African threatre. Many were growing anxious and uneasy at the cramped conditions in the ship as well, and hoped for the eventual disembarking in Africa, if only to not endure it any longer.

    The men onboard the HMS Defiance were men who spent months of training in the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and Britannia Royal Navy College, all sharing a common love for the sea and a desire to establish a distinguished military career in the Army and Navy. All did not expect the cramped conditions they had to suffer now, and envied the Captains and other higher-ranking officers who had it easier with more spacious rooms to themselves.

    Among the gathering of soldiers and sailors was a mix of different ethnic groups in the British Isles; Scottish, Welsh, English, and Irish, though those of the last ethnic group were noticeably discriminated against, and most Irish in the expeditionary fleet did not join voluntarily but were forcibly conscripted.

    Among them was Malcolm Mccarthy – better known as Maolcholm Ó Maolmhochóir among fellow Irish, an Irish Catholic who harboured a deep resentment for the British ever since he was a young child. Since young, he saw British landlords suck poor, penniless Irish workers dry and rewarding them with little or nothing at all. He saw fellow Irishmen suffer under the yoke of the British Crown, forced to cater to the English monarchy's demands whether in war or peace.

    Like many Irish soldiers serving in the fleet, he was pressed into service, and given the barest military training to survive upon. Others mocked and laughed at him, spouting taunts and curses and suggestions that he would be among the first to die in an assault.

    Fucking British, always treating us Irish like slaves on our own country, Michael cursed inwardly, There'll come a day when Ireland is liberated from British rule, I just know it.

    “What's the matter, Irishman? Hate the ship's conditions?” A British sailor taunted, the others looking on.

    Malcolm knew who was talking to him; Lucas Lane, a so-called prodigy among other British cadets enlisted in the army, obtaining better results than most. Some of the British hated his guts at times, but like all other British, they held no high opinion of the Irish.

    “I'm fine,” Malcolm said, “Just peachy.”

    “Well, good to know!” Said Lucas, “In fact, we're all just very peachy as well, ain't we?”

    “Aye!” Chorused the other sailors.

    Just then, the intercom system sounded, and the announcement was as follows: “Attention, all crew members, we're coming within sight of Algiers. We will soon dock at the city. I repeat, we will soon dock at Algiers, please prepare to disembark as soon as we dock.”

    “Well, how convenient; we're already nearly there, eh?” Said Lucas, “Not that it matters to you, yeah? I mean, you don't seem to mind the ship's cramped conditions, eh?”

    Malcolm grumbled, instantly getting irritated by Lucas' words, but he reigned in his anger; it would not do for him to give in to his taunting, that much he learned. Instead, he replied, “Yeah, it doesn't. But I suppose you British don't mind either, do you? I mean, we all went through hell in basic training, didn't we? I'm sure that as a hardy Brit, you wouldn't mind getting sneezed on or having snot on your face, won't you?”

    Lucas wanted to retort, but instantly recognised that he would be playing into Malcolm's hands; if he were to resort to violence, no matter whether it was an Irish victim, he would still get into trouble with his superiors for initiating violence.

    With a snort, Lucas said, “Aye, we don't, not much at least.”

    As soon as the ship docked at the port of Algiers, and the ramp was placed next to the ship's deck, the dozens of sailors and soldiers on board quickly disembarking; the former were only resting temporarily or performing maintenance work onboard the Defiance, while the latter were to report to British Command Post for dispatching to the war front in Southern Algeria, where Ethiopian troops were pushing hard against French troops stationed in the trenches.

    As they disembarked, the soldiers quickly boarded the trucks stationed there for their pickup, and soon they began driving towards the command centre.

    With little to do in the truck and unwilling to talk to the other British with him, he settled for looking around, absorbing the scenery before him to ease his boredom.

    The buildings they came across were of both French and Ottoman architecture, the former more prevalent throughout the city, a sign of its status as a French colony. Along the kasbah – or the central part of the city, whitewashed buildings lined the streets like white-painted fence posts placed side-by-side, well-maintained and seemingly spick and span.

    Along the streets walked both Frenchmen and the local Algerians, going about their daily business as ordinary civilians. Some of the indigenous Algerians, dressed in uniforms, were reciving orders from French officers, and he could tell they were conscripted militias of sorts, made to fight for their French colonial masters.

    These Africans aren't that different from us Irish; always made to fight wars for our 'masters' and getting little to no reward for the blood we spill, always made to slave away for their benefit, Malcolm thought bitterly.

    As they passed by the kasbah, they soon came within sight of a less populated area, where more uniformed soldiers than civilians could be found traversing the streets on trucks, and where more tanks and cavalry than horse-drawn carts and cars were found.

    “Well, what do you know, we're here already,” Said Lucas, fanning himself with his hand, “God, how the hell can these French and Africans stand this heat?”

    “They just got used to it, I'd say,” Said another British soldier, “God bless them for staying alive in this blasted heatwave.”

    Malcolm found himself sweating heavily like his fellow soldiers, feeling the sun bear down on them mercilessly like a wrathful god.

    For once, I'd have to agree with these Brits; how the hell can they stand this heat? Is it always this hot in a desert? He thought to himself.

    Soon enough, he found the truck temporarily halting at a check point of sorts, the truck driver and a guard exchanging words and papers briefly, before the truck started moving again.

    Inside the compound they entered, Malcolm saw battalions of men training hard under the sun, their sweating officers barking orders despite the sweltering heat that threatened to give them heatstroke. Among them, he saw dark-skinned men training alongside their European counterparts, their number approximately half or so of the Allied fighting force positioned in the base.

    The Askari militias, comprised of the British and French's colonial subjects, Malcolm noted.

    Parked in neat rows were tanks and artillery pieces, all well-maintained under the scrutinising eye of the engineer corps that served in the expeditionary force, and dozens upon dozens, perhaps hundreds of horses kept in the nearby stables, mounts for the cavalry corps that was going to fight in the dense jungles and open deserts of the African continent.

    He then felt the truck come to a halt, followed by a soldier unlocking the back railing of the truck as he shouted, “Come on, you lot! Your commanding officer's not going to wait to all in the sun!”

    Malcolm and the rest of his regiment then disembarked from their trucks, and as they did an officer came into view, and he was quick to note his grizzled, aged and sharp features, and his steely, piercing blue eyes, his greying hair cut short and covered by a pointed red beret hat. On his breast were several medals of honour.

    An experienced war veteran... seems the Brits aren't taking chances in their war with the African Union, Malcolm noted, I scantly recall the British and the French suffering humiliating losses in the War of Containment years before, I suppose it's only logical they take extra caution.

    Harrumphing to get the recruits' attention, the aged officer said, “Gentlemen, welcome to Algeria, a hotly contested land between us and our enemies, the African Union. I'm your commanding officer, Captain James Bergelson, of the 78th Infantry Division, better known as the Battleaxe Division.”

    The recruits remained silent as he continued, “As soon-to-be participants of the British Expeditionary Force in this part of North Africa, I'm here to make sure you lot are whipped into shape, and ready to fight in this godforsaken desert under this blistering heat, and that means grueling training for a period of two weeks under the hot sun. Make no mistake, this is not Britain, or any part of Europe; there's no telling what kind of dangers lurk in the desert, and a single mistake can cost you your life. Already, we've lost dozens of soldiers to local predators, dehydration, and severe heatstroke, and I'd prefer you don't lose your lives like that. Now, any questions?”

    Lucas was the first to ask, “Sir, why are we deploying this much firepower to Africa? Is the situation here that serious?”

    “And what do you mean by that, recruit?” Asked James, “Are you thinking that our African enemies aren't that serious of a threat?”

    Shamelessly, Lucas replied, “Aye, Sir! I think all the history about Britain's loss against these African is just hogwash, really!”

    And the other recruits laughed, sharing his sentiment.

    All except Malcolm, who was more sceptical of the Africans.

    If European powers lose against African powers, it means they aren't as backward and primitive as others think them to be, He thought, And that also means they aren't to be underestimated. How else do you explain how European casualties were higher than African ones, and that the African powers manage to seize their colonies by both war and diplomacy?

    Waiting for the laughter to die down, James said, “I see that you believe it all to be hogwash. Well, since that's the case, let me tell you that right now, you're not prepared to fight on the front lines.”

    The assembled recruits quietened down, looking at the aged Captain with questioning looks. Lucas, in particular, looked like a boy given a scolding for no apparent reason, while Malcolm did not seem as surprised as his British counterparts, as if the Captain's words made sense to him.

    “You're all not prepared because you take the Africans too lightly,” James said, “You take this war too lightly; you take your enemies too lightly; you take the dangers of the land too lightly; all of that will lead to your deaths. Do any of you want to die prematurely because you took the enemy too lightly?”

    Lucas was the first to answer, saying, “Captain, with all due respect, is it really necessary to take these Africans seriously? I mean-”

    “I know what you mean, recruit, and I would appreciate it if you keep your mouth shut,” James said sternly to Lucas, his eyes boring holes into the poor man.

    Unable to retort against such an authoritative figure, Lucas wisely backed down.

    “As for why we should take the Africans seriously, let me say it this way; I was once like you all, wholeheartedly believing in British superiority and that the Africans were primitive barbarians easily defeated and not worth mentioning as a formidable enemy.”

    The recruits remained silent as he continued, “Then, more than a few months ago, I and the regiment under my command attempted to storm an Ethiopian garrison in the heart of Niger, thinking them easy prey. What do you think happened, then?”

    Malcolm found himself answering, “It was a mission failure, sir?”

    The other recruits looked as if they wanted to rebuke him for such an answer, but they were surprised when James answered, “Yes, that's correct.”

    Lucas, unable to keep silent at that, said, “But Sir, is that even possible?”

    Turning to face him with steely eyes, James said, “Are your ears so full of earwax that you can't hear proper English?”

    “N-No, Sir, I heard you loud and clear,” Lucas squeaked.

    “Then let me finish,” James said to Lucas, before saying to the other recruits, “We thought the Ethiopians an easy target, but we were wrong; we were caught in a well-timed ambush that caught us off-guard and cost us half of our men. We were trapped in enemy territory for two weeks, with dwindling rations, the sticky heat and rampant mosquitoes to contend with, all the while having to fend off guerilla attacks before we were finally extracted to safety, and we were down to a fraction of our strength. So yes, that is why I'm taking them seriously, and why you should as well.”

    With shock registered on their faces, many were unable to form words in their mouths; to them, the idea that a squadron of British soldiers, part of one of the most disciplined and well-trained fighting forces in the world, was defeated by an African force of all things was simply unthinkable.

    And yet, in front of them, was a war veteran claiming to be a survivor of an African strategy that nearly eliminated him and what men he had left.

    “But you,” James said to Malcolm, “What made you come to such a conclusion?”

    Looking around, Malcolm found all other eyes on him, the Captain's included, as he said, “Are you asking me, Sir?”

    “Yes, I am,” James clarified, “So why such a conclusion?”

    Feeling slightly uncomfortable under so many staring eyes, Malcolm said, “Um, I just feel that if a power as mighty as the British Empire was to suffer defeats in a war against an African power, it'd have to be for a very good reason, I believe.”

    James nodded, looking satisfied at Malcolm's answer, and he said to the recruits, “You see, that's the sort of mentality you should have; don't isolate yourself in the small world that the Africans can't hand our arses to us, but always believe that the Africans can and will do so, if we aren't careful, am I clear?”

    “Sir, yes Sir!” The recruits chorused.

    “Very good,” Said James, “Now that this is out of the way, all of you follow Sergeant Wallace to your assigned bunks and unpack your belongings there, then report to the training course. Dismissed.”


    The 78th Infantry Division was one of multiple divisions of infantry and cavalry of the Allied forces stationed in Africa, direct participants of the African theatre in World War I. The British, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Belgian forces deployed a combined total force of over 300,000 soldiers and 800,000 porters, drawn from both their home countries and African colonies.

    Of that number, less than half would survive to return home; many died on the front lines, shot by bullets, pierced by bayonets, or mangled by artillery shells; many more died of disease in the forest – mostly by dengue fever, malaria, or poisoning by the local wildlife, or by dehydration and heatstroke in the hot deserts.

    European soldiers would come to tell tales of the ferocity of their Ethiopian and Ashanterian counterparts, of how they rarely ever faltered in the face of hellish war, possessing the same discipline, training and weaponry on par with their armies; some say they even rivalled Prussian discipline, only retreating when their commanding officers gave the order.

    Assembled formations of Entente troops and Askari colonial militias, stationed at the African theatres in World War I.

    Though Ethiopian-Ashanterian casualties were higher, with over 320,000 soldiers and 840,000 porters dead, the African Union emerged as the victors over the European colonial masters, and this would form the primary reasoning behind the Entente's allergy to ever trying to recolonise Africa again.
    Volume II, Part II
  • Ebanu8

    Emperor of Axum
    Nov 29, 2017
    A/N: Been a while since I last updated this AAR. School homework’s been occupying much of my time lately.

    Eric The Red 33: Not really, no. This was imagined from all the Hoi4 and Victoria 2 gameplays I did as Ethiopia, and possibly Ashanti, and this took quite a while to work out the script for the AAR.

    Volume II: World War I

    Part II
    21st November 1914

    Two months. For two months, Malcolm and his fellow squad mates languished under the tyranny of the blazing sun, training to fight in a barren desert with much heat, little rain and rationed drinking water.

    Rivers and oases were difficult to find in the expansive sandy landscape, and from what they were taught by their commanding officers repeatedly, those who suffer dehydration under the hot sun tend to become delusional and see mirages, delusions of the mind that show features and other things that do not actually exist before them.

    He heard that a small number of troops who unluckily got separated from their main forces whilst travelling the desert were never heard from again, and those the army did manage to rescue recounted tales of seeing mirages as they slowly wasted away from thirst. And of what Malcolm could hear about the ongoing war effort, the odds were badly arrayed against them in the beginning, and for the time being, at least, it had ground to a stalemate, though Niger and Cameroon were lost.

    Worse still, Libyan rebels stirred tremendous upheaval throughout the southern desert, and the Senussi tribes were causing massive headaches for their Italian overlords through skirmishes and ambushes aimed at wearing them down through attrition. The southern frontier of central Africa fared little better, with the Belgians losing nearly a third of the Congo and the Portuguese losing substantial ground to well-armed rebel bands in the jungles.

    With how sour things went in the African theatre, Germany was forced to pull out of the continent entirely, and sued for peace with Ethiopia, ceding control of Tanzania and Cameroon to Ethiopia. Similarly, the Ottoman Empire, bogged down by threats both within and without, sued for a white peace with Ethiopia, securing its easternmost border with Egypt and allowing its troops to fight elsewhere in the Middle East.

    Austria-Hungary, having no African colonies to speak of or any interest in the continent itself, had no reason or need to attend the talks at Khartoum, and the subsequent signing of the peace treaty. The war with Japan, however, still raged on, with Germany refusing to surrender its oceanic colonial possessions to the Empire of the Rising Sun, though Tsingtao was already lost to the Japanese.

    Malcolm shivered at the thought of dying here; by no means did he ever want to die in any horrid ways, and in a place so far from home. He knew he was tempting fate, but was it wrong to just wish for something good or favourable?

    As he rested under the shade of their barracks, taking a long sip of water from his canteen, the damned bastard called Lucas decided to sit next to him, taking out his own water canteen.

    “Hello there, mate,” Said Lucas, his infuriating smirk never disappearing, “Enjoying your stay?”

    “How about you?” Said Malcolm, “Enjoy training in the desert?”

    Lucas suffered slight irritation, but was quick to mask it with his effervescent smile as he said, “Oh, just peachy. Could’ve been better, but I’ll be fine. Besides, you might be dying before you get to have a share of the glory.”

    “Glory? Glory for a poor Irish man forcibly conscripted into the army at the whims of the English crown?” Malcolm said, clearly displeased by Lucas’s attitude.

    “Oh, yes,” Said Lucas, his smirk becoming more condescending by the minute, “You’ll die, I’ll live, and I get to have all the glory on the battlefield, and there’ll be none for you. Such a shame, really. You would’ve made a fine soldier.”

    Malcolm simply ignored him, having no delusions about his lot in life; however he may hate the thought of dying for English overlords, neither did he hold dreams that he would be accepted into the higher echelons of any part of British society, not that he wanted to; he was Irish, and the English looked down on them.

    It was just as simple as that.

    “Maybe so,” Malcolm conceded, “But I sometimes have to wonder if you won’t die first before you get the glory you dream of.”

    That seemed to set Lucas off, who slammed down his closed canteen where he sat and stood up, moving to latch his arms around Malcolm, saying, “Why you little-"

    “What is going on here?”

    Both men went rigid at the sound of Captain Bergelson’s voice, and Lucas quickly retracted his hands and placed them at his side as he saluted, saying, “Captain, Sir!”

    Malcolm did the same, masking the lack of enthusiasm in his voice as he said, “Captain James, Sir!”

    James nodded at that, saying, “At ease, you two. Now mind telling me why were you about to get into a fight with each other? I’m curious as to what’s causing you to be at each other’s throats before we march to the battlefield.”

    “We were just having a small chat, sir,” Said Malcolm, “He must’ve taken something the wrong way, though with the heat bearing down on us, I wouldn’t be surprised.”

    Lucas glared holes into Malcolm, though the Irishman simply ignored it.

    “Really, now?” Said James, “Would it be about the possibility of either of you securing glory on the battlefield?”

    Both shared looks of surprise, and Lucas found himself saying, “Sir, pardon the directness of my question, but were you eavesdropping on us?”

    “Well, I happened to be passing by, and I just overheard you,” Said James, “So yes, I was eavesdropping, and quite frankly, Lucas, I don’t think you’re prepared to fight this war, even with your training.”


    James merely sighed heavily, and with a forlorn effort to remain impassive, he said, “Well, I suppose you will only learn the hard way, when you’re in the thick of the real fighting. I will, however, not tolerate either of you starting any fights in the camp just because of some misunderstandings or other reasons. Am I clear?”

    “Sir, yes sir!” They both chorused, snapping to attention.

    “Good. Carry on.”

    And as Captain James left, Lucas glared at him with angry eyes, eyes that burned with righteous fury as he said, “Don’t think this is over, Malcolm.”

    And with that, he stomped away and left. Malcolm resisted the urge to giggle and send a snigger his way, grateful that he had a brief respite from his antics.

    Who was to say he couldn’t have a little fun with what little time he had left, since he was going to die soon, on the battlefield? It may as well be the last time he could.

    22nd November 1914

    Malcolm awoke with groggy eyes as the first rays of sunlight filtered into his squad’s room, the golden rays piercing past the veil of sleepiness cast over his heavy eyelids. Opening them, he yawned rather loudly as he stretched his limbs, preparing to visit the toilet to freshen up for the day.

    Brushing his teeth and taking a morning bath, it became part of a monotonous daily routine that he had long ago accustomed himself to, one that allowed him to trudge through the motions of his damned life.

    Dressing in his attire, he quickly assembled with the rest of his squad mates at the battalion parade square, where Captain Bergelson was already waiting for them. Alongside him was a familiar face, one that was haggard and sunken but professionally stern and hardened – the features of a war veteran – and physically as youthful as the other recruits.

    Lieutenant Andrew Baker, of the 78th Infantry Division, a soldier who quickly rose to prominence in the early stages of the First World War, famed for having skilfully directed a successful assault on a heavily fortified Ethiopian position and took the trench with far fewer casualties than expected, with over three-quarters of his squad surviving.

    Known for his leadership and calm demeanour in the face of danger, he was a man many soldiers, British or otherwise, had come to respect, though Malcolm, having not encountered any fights alongside him yet, failed to see the reasons why.

    “Gentlemen,” Said Lieutenant Andrew, “We’ve just received news that we’re being deployed to the front lines with due haste, in the Eastern parts of Mali, where the fighting is fierce.”

    Looks of questioning and confusion were shared among the recruits, many wondering why they were being deployed so soon; they had gotten barely two months of training where most were expected to undergo four more months of such, and they were still so green they could barely hold their rifles.

    “I am aware the suddenness of all this has confused you,” Said Captain James, “So let me explain; the Africans have renewed their assault eastwards of here, and the ferocity of their attacks have caused severe casualties among the units stationed at the trenches there, so they’re now short on men.”

    “Because of this, as we are among the expeditionary forces closest to that position, we have to deploy on such short notice towards the eastern frontier and quickly,” Said Andrew, his face expressionless.

    If one were to look closely, though, one could see that Andrew and James shared the slightest of looks of displeasure between themselves, and it was not lost on Malcolm; before being forcibly conscripted, he stayed at a pub where his parents worked at, and having had to spend most of his time there, he saw many patrons come and go, patrons of different backgrounds and personalities and wearing different masks.

    Overtime, he came to hone his skills of observation as his exposure grew, and that was how he noticed their displeasure beneath the veneer of professionalism and stoicism they adopted.

    “Permission to ask a question, sir?” Asked Lucas.

    “Permission granted,” Said Andrew, “So what do you want to ask?”

    “With all due respect, Sir,” Said Lucas, looking uncertain, “Is it… an order? From the higher ups?”

    With a long, drawn out sigh, he said with a falling face, “It is, recruit. And as soldiers, we’re expected to follow them to the letter.”

    At this, many of the recruits could not suppress the groans that made their way out of their lips, though Bergelson was quick to silence them with a round of harrumphing, and he said, “You can all complain as much as you want, but if you blokes want to survive, you’re going to have to fight, and I mean like your life depends on it.”

    “Departure is in fifteen minutes time,” Said Lieutenant Andrew, “All of you change to combat attire and pack your things. Now, double time it!”

    “Yes, Sir!” The recruits chorused, and with practiced haste and efficiency, they went to packing their things.

    Malcolm and Lucas shared one look, and in that look they both realised they shared the same sentiment: They did not want to die a gruesome death in Africa.

    One, however, could only pray for such, what with the hand that fate has dealt them.

    The Treaty of Khartoum, signed by the Central Powers and the African Union, marked a period of temporary ceasefire between the two Alliances as the First World War ravaged much of Europe and Asia.

    Thousands of German casualties were sustained in Africa in the first few months of World War I, primarily due to the Ethiopian and Ashanterian troops using their knowledge of the local geography to its fullest effect, launching ambushes and guerrilla warfare at every possible opportunity, wearing down the European colonial troops severely and stretching their supplies thin.

    Heavy usage of poisonous gas, concocted from the natural toxins of many flora and fauna native to central Africa, created devastating effects against the European troops stationed there, eyewitness accounts and medical records describing horrible effects on the Human body; some had eyes that never stopped watering for days, some chocked and gurgled on their own saliva in a fit of asphyxiation, some had purplish veins on their skin as they collapsed to the ground spasming continuously.

    Officially, this chemical weapon at the AU’s disposal was known as Bulgu gas, named after a terrifying creature from Ethiopian mythology. Among soldiers, it was colloquially known as Hellhound gas.

    This, combined with the losses the Central Powers suffered against both the African Union and the Entente, forced them to sue for peace with the AU, though their war with the Entente would continue throughout the rest of the War.

    Many white supremacists or others who held no belief in victory for the AU were astonished by the turn of the events, and once again, the beliefs of white supremacy over blacks was challenged.

    It was a humiliating treaty for Germany to sign, but it allowed the Kaiserreich to refocus its efforts elsewhere, primarily in Europe, where the wars with Italy, Russia and France were demanding more attention.

    This would also mark a turning point in history, for the tides of fate would take another turn, one that few could half-expect to turn out this way.

    In Asia and the Oceania, whilst German colonial forces were putting up a fierce fight against their Japanese adversaries, they slowly but surely lost ground to the Japanese, and many in Berlin feared that the war effort would not last there, and that they have to retreat back to Europe soon enough.

    It is known from eyewitness accounts and disclosure from the German Imperial court that Kaiser Wilhelm II was unhappy at the suggestion of retreat from Asia, and he was quoted to have said, “It would shame me more to surrender Tsingtao to the Japanese than Berlin to the Russians, just as I was shamed in being forced to surrender Cameroon to the Ethiopians.”

    A/N: Shorter than I would've liked, but at least it's a good update, I believe.
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    Volume II, Part III
  • Ebanu8

    Emperor of Axum
    Nov 29, 2017
    A/N: Been a long time since I last updated this forum; plenty of things I had to take care of. But now I’m back.

    World War I, Part III

    The interior of the command tent was a controlled atmosphere of chaos and order combined, officers and other command staff barking orders left and right as missives and letters were handed, signed and given to couriers, others peering over maps of the battlefields nearby their position as a cacophony of gunfire and artillery fire rang out outside, threatening to dim out the officers’ voices.

    With grim determination and anticipation, Brigadier-General Bezuayehu Zemichael Adane organised the 2nd Kebur Zabagna – the Imperial Guard - in defensive formation around their forward military outpost as Entente troops attempted to storm the trenches, cut down by swathes of machine gunfire and shells, their limbs and blood irrigating African soil like a river.

    A veteran of several battles and skirmishes in the opening months of World War I, he proved his position was earned by merit and skill, not by connections as some would believe, and distinguished himself in the defence of the city of Kampala from a particularly aggressive assault by Entente troops; 400 of his troops against twice that number, they prevailed not by weathering out the assault in their defensive positions, but by conducting preemptive strikes that sapped enemy morale and disrupted their supply lines.

    Still did a hundred of his troops perish from their wounds, but Entente troops suffered nearly five times that number, and unable to sustain their assault, the attackers surrendered. Bezuayehu was known to have provided ample medical treatment for the wounded and accommodations for the survivors.

    So far, said survivors were yet to be released, for they were de facto prisoners of war, and in times of war, Bezuayehu knew he could not let them go just yet, and so their temporary home of Kampala served as a gilded cage for the Entente POWs.

    Another shell not far from the trenches, and Bezuayehu found himself cursing as he shouted, “Where’s our armoured support!? We need tanks to push back the infantry! And where the hell’s that artillery bombardment coming from!?”

    “2nd Imperial Armoured Battalion’s still half a mile away, sir!” One of his junior officers replied, “And we haven’t a clue where’s the enemy howitzers!”

    “Damn it!” Cursed Bezuayehu, “Sergeant Yonas, Get some infantry to sabotage that artillery once the coast’s clear; have the use the nearby forest as cover! And make damn sure they don’t get any closer into the trenches!”

    “Yes, Sir!” Yonas said, leaving to perform his task.

    Another shell detonated near his position, and again he mouthed a curse; with every artillery shell landing closer and closer to his command tent, he began desperately hoping for the promised reinforcements that seemed overdue to arrive.

    Minutes passed, and as they trickled by like a slow river, Bezuayehu felt that the cacophony of gunfire was reaching its greatest crescendo since the afternoon, and with more and more screams of the dying and frantic echoing outside of his tent, he knew he would have to order a retreat soon if the artillery was not silenced – if he could even retreat at all.

    Just then, sounds of thunder echoed throughout the battlefield, and Bezuayehu wondered if the strike force sent to sabotage the artillery had failed.

    Another thunderclap of firing, and Bezuayehu could hear a slight, yet distinct difference in the shot that was fired.

    With disregard for his safety, Bezuayehu moved out of the command tent to see just what was happening, and what he found was a sight for sore eyes.

    Three tank companies charging the enemy attackers, forming the spearhead of their counter-assault, with infantry teams trudging closely behind, using the metal machines as mobile cover. Better yet, he saw the strike team he sent returning from the nearby foliage, bruised and battered but mostly alive, though half their number remained, a sobering indication of the casualties sustained.

    Yet nonetheless Bezuayehu and his unit had their spirits raised at the turn of fortune, and with this he barked the orders, “All units charge! Show those British what we Ethiopians are made of!”

    A roar of approval echoed amongst his men, and together they climbed over their trenches and ran straight across the battlefield, pockmarked with mini-craters from artillery shells and black soot. The British, in the face of the renewed assault, quickly organised a tactical retreat as the remainder of their force attempted to escape.

    Needless to say, it was turning into a slaughter, and many British were cut down by gunfire.

    Any British who managed to escape would be fortunate to live another day, if they could first get back behind friendly lines.


    Malcolm cursed as another tank shell landed a few metres from where he stood, barely avoiding being turned into a pile of gory confetti as the impact knocked him off his feet, losing his grip on his rifle.

    The unfortunate Irishman cursed and swore in his native dialect, wondering just what sort of madness infected the minds of British High Command on this attack being feasible; already over half his unit was killed, and the remainder were metaphorically limping away as Ethiopian troops and tanks took to the field.

    Ethiopian tanks were unremarkable physically, but they showed terrifying power and manoeuvrability despite their rather cumbersome size; he had to give the Africans credit, for they proved surprisingly innovative engineers when they put their mind to it.

    Taking cover behind a tree, he saw what remained of his unit gradually fading into the background the further they went. Lieutenant Andrew and Captain Bergelson were valiantly leading their withdrawal as what remained of their armour took the brunt of the enemy’s onslaught whilst acting as the rear-guard.

    Private Lucas, much to his chagrin, still survived, the bloody bully limping away like a cornered rat as he tried to limp to safety, bravado be damned.

    For all he cared, the unit could live without him; he was unwanted among the British Army, save as cheap cannon fodder, that much was certain, and whether or not he lived or died this day did not matter. From this moment on, he was a free man, and he would die such.

    And then, a harsh impact knocked him from his hiding place, knocking him unconscious as his ears rang from the noise.

    His last thoughts were that of his home, in the city of Cork in the province of Munster, and that of the raucous laughter echoing in his family’s bar, the River Lee that ran through the city’s canals, and the time he spent playing hurling with fellow Irish children.

    He thought of his mother’s motherly compassion and saintly patience, never shouting at him when he did something wrong, taking her time to slowly explain the consequences of wrong actions; he thought of his father’s stern countenance and stoical demeanour, stubborn like a mountain and unyielding in the face of his family’s dire financial straits, yet proving no small amount of love into raising his son.

    He thought of his baby brother, little James, the young chap who proved so bothersome both to him and their parents in an annoyingly fun and jovial way, his mischief lightening the atmosphere of an otherwise dull life of poverty.

    Then darkness took him and he knew no more.


    What remained of the Battleaxe Division returned to allied lines with a sombre, dispirited air about them, the grim reminder of the tragically ill-fated battle still lingering in their minds; nearly three-quarters of their number gone, with no results to show for it. Their enemies, on the other hand, lost less than half.

    Lucas, having seen first-hand how badly they lost in that battle, now stood uncharacteristically silent, his eyes staring into the distance at nothing in particular; he noticed Malcolm was no longer with them, perhaps an unfortunate casualty that died earlier.


    The traumatised man barely registered the voice of Captain Bergelson, standing to attention as he faced him.

    “Sir?” Asked Lucas, his voice a half-whisper.

    “Staring into the distance?” The captain asked, a knowing look in his eyes.

    “I… yes, Sir,” Replied Lucas.

    The captain nodded, saying, “Not surprised, really. That’s the same look all fresh-faced recruits get when they’re exposed to enough bloodshed.”

    Lucas nodded in response, then asking, “Sir, what do we do now? Does High Command still want us to push the assault?”

    Privately, Lucas wished he was just out of Africa, back home and flirting with waitresses and female bartenders whilst drinking in bars without a care in the world. Moreover, he, Captain Bergelson, and their unit knew that with their numbers so badly decimated, there was no chance for a successful attack; either they retreated to recoup their losses, or their unit died.

    To his relief, Captain Bergelson shook his head, saying, “High Command’s decided to get their asses out of their heads; we and other similarly mauled units are temporarily retreating, so we can lick our wounds. Hopefully the Africans won’t attack again for the better part of the year before we relaunch our assault.”

    Lucas sank to his knees, vaguely aware that his rifle fell out of his hands as he steadied himself from collapsing onto the ground entirely; he felt hot tears prickling at his eyes, grief and sorrow flooding his mind as he thought of his fellow recruits who perished in the battle; young British men who held promising futures, their lives extinguished in the hellish crucible of war.

    No one bothered to stop him from crying, each British soldier too tired to even cry out in anguish as they sank to the ground, exhaustion making their bodies numb to movement.


    Malcolm slowly stirred awake as his bleary eyes adjusted to his new surroundings, and already he found himself in unfamiliar surroundings; a white-linen tent filled with the injured and dying, the moans of over a dozen patients echoing in the tent’s confines as nurses and doctors, dressed in combat fatigues tended to the wounded and sick. Bloody bandages were replaced with fresh ones, syringes of morphine were injected to dull the pain.

    Some patients were lucky enough to sustain minor scratches, lacerations or minor gunshot wounds, capable of walking around after their treatment was complete. Others were less fortunate, losing limbs or copious amounts of blood. Some were even paralysed, unable to walk ever again.

    One thing he noticed, however, was that a huge majority of the doctors and nurses were black-skinned, and he realised he was not in a British tent, but an African one.

    One nurse came to his side, presumably to check on his condition. Looking at his own body, he noticed that it was bereft of injuries, save for a small bandage around his head. Lucky him, he was one of the luckier ones.

    “You awake?” Asked the nurse in thickly accented English.

    “Peachy,” Malcolm replied.

    The nurse nodded, then said, “Just so you know, you’re not going anywhere; you and those Brits we captured are staying here ‘till the Brigadier-General says otherwise.”

    “I get it, we’re POWs,” Malcolm affirmed, “And for your information, I’m Irish, poor sod who got forcibly conscripted into the British Army.”

    The nurse raised an eyebrow at that, saying, “Huh, explains your different accent. Haven’t met any Irish before, could’ve sworn you were British though, what with your uniform.”

    “I’ll just say I’ve no great love for the Brits, damned bastards rule my country like it’s their fucking slave colony,” Malcolm said, a tone of derision in his words, “What’s the situation though, on the frontline, I mean.”

    “Entente troops are halting their offensive for the time being, hunkering down in their trenches instead,” Said the nurse, “Serves them right, I’d say; damn British and French have exploited our home continent for too long, about time we beat them back.”

    “Amen to that,” Said Malcolm, “Mind if I ask what your name is?”

    “Why ask?” Asked the nurse.

    “Well, I can’t exactly just call you ‘Miss nurse’, can I?” Said Malcolm, “I’m Malcolm McCarthy, by the way.”

    “Sofia Makonnen,” Said the nurse, “Now if you don’t mind, let me take your temperature…”

    A/N: Really apologise for the long delay, had to study for two re-tests since nearly my whole class failed two subjects.
    Volume II, Part IV
  • Ebanu8

    Emperor of Axum
    Nov 29, 2017
    World War I, Part IV

    23rd November, 1914

    11.38 AM

    Just a day had passed since his capture by African Union forces, and now it was the calm before the storm; with casualties suffered numbering in the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, the Entente and African Union entered an uneasy, unofficial truce, the bloodshed temporarily ceased for the duration of the month.

    In Europe, the war continued to rage on, with no end in sight – a stark contrast to predictions that the war would end by Christmas. The Central Powers and Entente had entered a stalemate, however, with no noticeable progress gained by either side, and analysts remained unsure when the war would actually end.

    In Africa, Entente troops remained outright leery of their African enemies, who had, time after time, delivered crushing defeats to their European colonial masters – despite avenging a number of such defeats, their ideals of White superiority and Black inferiority still adamantly entrenched in their minds. The Africans were just as mistrustful of the Europeans, staring daggers at them where possible from the safety of their muddy trenches.

    Malcolm had the luxury of staying in the relative safety of the fortified and hygienic of the hospital in the city of Niamey – the site of an earlier pitched battle between the AU and Entente, half rebuilt by the efforts of its inhabitants and the garrison stationed here. He idly scratched the bandage on his temple, thinking heavily on his recent fortunes.

    He was technically a prisoner, yes, but the surprisingly clean conditions and hospitality he enjoyed – compared to the hell he called a British barracks – made him think twice about the living conditions the Africans had. Granted, it did not extend to every single corner, but clearly, Ethiopia and Ashanteria were not the backwater nations that he, admittedly, thought them to be – just like his British counterparts.

    The fact the Africans gave such humane treatment to his fellow POWs - British from the different provinces of Britain, was a testament to just how far they progressed as a society; most believed they subjected their prisoners to inhumane and unsanitary conditions that would prove their death.

    An African nurse tending to British and French POWs in a hospital, one of many being built in the newly-liberated African territories.

    A lack of accurate and unbiased material – or at least, as unbiased as possible – on the virtues of the two African monarchies contributed to his ignorance regarding their peoples’ ways of life.

    Guess I was right to not underestimate them, Thought Malcolm, Wonder what about the Battleaxe Division? Did they escape? I daresay they did; Captain and Lieutenant’s got good heads on their shoulders. Don’t think they’d die so easily.

    With a heavy sigh, he took a sip of the local tea – a blended drink of spices, not a true tea – and indulged in the heaty sensation it imparted on his tongue and throat. Most people in Europe would prefer drinking something cold in such hot weather, so to hear that they drank spiced tea came as quite a surprise to him.

    “Enjoying your stay?” He heard a familiar voice ask.

    Malcolm turned to face Sofia, the stern-faced nurse holding a tray of food as she walked into the ward he stayed at, other nurses following behind her with the same contents on their trays, some bearing additional medical prescriptions for some patients.

    “It was far better than the British barracks I stayed at,” Said Malcolm, “There, the friendly British treated me like shit, an outcast. Here, at least my stay’s more comfy and homely, even though it’s like my de facto gilded cage.”

    “I see,” Said Sofia, setting down the tray at the small table he sat at, “Your lunch; Injera Be Wot.”

    Looking at his tray, he found a pile of assorted lentils, shredded meat and other saucy dishes, all piled on a layer of plain-looking greyish flatbread, no silverware served with it. A rather simplistic looking, perhaps plebeian dish, but he could not deny that his stomach was rumbling. Unsure of what to do, he cautiously looked around and saw the African patients eating with their hands, or more specifically their right hand.

    None he saw ate with their left hand, and he wondered why. Was it a cultural taboo to eat with the left hand here?

    Looking at Sofia, he reached slowly with his left hand, watching her reaction, which quickly proved to be one of displeasure. At this, he withdrew his left hand, reaching with his right hand, only to stop, unsure of the eating customs.

    At Malcolm’s confusion, Sofia said, “Peel of a piece of the flatbread and scoop a little bit of a dish with it, then pop it into your mouth.”

    The Irishman did as Sofia asked, and when he ate his first bite of Ethiopian food, he was pleasantly surprised at how delicious it tasted.

    “Enjoy it?” Asked Sofia, to which Malcolm nodded.

    Swallowing, he said, “Far tastier than some of the Irish fare I had at home. Notice you don’t really like eating with the left hand, though.”

    “That’s because according to our custom, it’s considered unclean to eat with the left hand,” Said Sofia, “We prefer eating with our right hand.”

    “Duly noted,” Said Malcolm, “And damn, never thought African food would taste good.”

    At this, Sofia allowed herself a small smile, then took a seat and sat next to him, taking out a clipboard and scribbling down some notes. Idly, she found herself staring at Malcolm more than she thought, and the clipboard proved an inadequate distraction.

    Noticing the stares, Malcolm asked, “You never seen a man eat before?”

    Stoically, she said, “I have.”

    “Well, you seem to be paying me a lot more attention,” Malcolm pointed out.

    Sofia said, “Consider it a little… curiosity; I’ve never seen an actual Irishman before, only British.”

    “Ah, right. You know Ireland’s been a part of Britain for a long time, now?” Said Malcolm.

    Sofia nodded, saying, “Only that it’s been under British control for centuries now.”

    Malcolm grunted in disgust, saying, “Damn British have treated my own people as slaves and my home as its property. They don’t give us the rights we deserve, and they’ve been trying for years to erase our native culture and language, our historical identity, since they first conquered the isle.”

    “So you chafe under British rule, like many Africans,” Said Sofia, “We’re not so different, in that regard.”

    “Aye, though the difference was that they held their African territories for far shorter than they held Ireland,” Malcolm said, “Heard they never did so much as to ‘civilise’ the ‘savage barbarians’, despite their claims.”

    “They never did impart their knowledge and crafts,” Sofia said, “Didn’t think it was worth their time and effort.”

    “What about the tribes conquered by Ethiopia or Ashanteria, though?” Asked Malcolm, “What did they do with them?”

    “Assimilated them and directly imposed our culture and language,” Said Sofia, “Though they went the extra mile to educate them and teach them our crafts and technology.”

    “Erasing their original culture and language,” Muttered Malcolm, “Well, I suppose in comparison, the indigenous natives didn’t have a real culture in comparison to the Europeans, or even the Asians, I think. That doesn't mean I'm supportive of imposing culture, though.”

    “Most were cannibalistic, hunter-gatherer societies with no knowledge on agriculture, architectures, basically the basic tenets of a civilised society,” Said Sofia, “Initially, they did resist all efforts at civilization, but the younger generation eventually did began adopting our customs and knowledge. Older generation stubbornly refuses though, along with some other tribes.”

    “So not exactly a smooth assimilation process,” Malcolm surmised.

    Sofia shook her head, saying, “We only held our new territories for a century at most, some for shorter periods. It’s not something you can do overnight.”

    “But you’re making sure you don’t treat them as slaves, right?” Asked Malcolm.

    “I don’t know the specifics, Malcolm; I’m just a nurse, not a government official,” Said Sofia, “Though our government has implemented friendly policies aimed at giving them better treatment and full citizenship rights, so long as requirements are fulfilled, of course.”

    “Huh. Wonder if any corrupt officials're abusing their position, though,” Muttered Malcolm.

    “Like I said, it’s not that clandestine,” Said Sofia, “But I suppose treatment of them is better than what you Irish suffer, if your word’s anything to go by.”

    Looking up at a nearby clock, Sofia said, “Oh, look at the time. Sorry, but I have to go. Duty calls.”

    And as she hastily went out of the hospital ward, Malcolm wiped his mouth with a napkin graciously provided by the hospital, and sighed heavily.

    She’s real pretty for a nurse, and an African, Thought Malcolm, Wonder how much longer I’ll be here for, though; no telling what the future has in store for me.


    10.30 PM

    “…God damn it, why the hell can’t you see this isn’t going to work!? We lost almost half the expeditionary force sent here, and the war in Europe’s ground to a bloody stalemate! Why don’t we just abandon the damn continent and let the Africans have what they want!?”

    “We just can’t leave Africa to these… inferior Blacks! I say we deploy more troops, let these Africans see the might of European steel!”

    “And our damn European steel’s proved unable to win us the war in Africa! Captain Bergelson’s right, we should focus on the war in Europe! Let the Africans have the damn continent if they want, if the Central Powers win the war in Europe, we lose the damn war!”

    “And you would leave the ignominious defeats we suffered go unanswered!? My fellow Frenchmen died at the hands of these inferior blacks, and I’ll be damned if we let the matter slide!”

    “Our fellow Frenchmen died in a pointless war! I say we pull out!”

    The argument between French and British High Command raged well into the night, and they were divided between two sides; one side wanted to pull out of Africa entirely, while the other, for the sake of national pride, wished to stay and fight on.

    Captain Bergelson and Lieutenant Andrew were firmly on the former side, whilst many traditional white supremacists and bureaucratic excuses of officers were on the opposing one, eager to preserve their damaged prestige and image and repair it through attaining more glorious victories – a notion that many bloodied recruits and veteran officers vehemently disagreed with.

    No headway was made by either side, and it seemed they would remain at an impasse, what with the two factions stubbornly adamant in the fulfilment of their agendas, but neither side could deny that with the war cooling in Africa, there was greater need to defend their home territories rather than distant colonies.

    With the German Empire and Austria-Hungary gaining victory after victory and the Ottomans making a surprising resurgence in the recent war, those troops in Africa would better serve defending the home front in Europe instead, and an increasing number of officers, both lower and higher-ranking ones, began clamouring for such a move to be initiated.

    “Ah, blast it! This meeting’s adjourned! We’ll discuss this tomorrow!”

    And with the doors flinging open, a red-faced Captain Bergelson stormed out of the meeting room, Lieutenant Baker following close behind, equally angered by the fruitless meeting.

    Once a safe distance from the ears of High Command, Bergelson punched the nearby wall, uncaring of who could hear him nearby as he cursed all manner of profanities.

    “Damn it!” He roared, “Why can’t they see this war’s doomed from the start!? We can’t beat the Africans on their home turf, and the war in Europe is what demands our immediate attention! Why!? Why, damn it!”

    “Believe me, Sir, I want to get out of here as well,” Said Lieutenant Baker, “But you saw the state of High Command; they’re terribly undecided, no thanks to the bloody idiotic bureaucrats of officers, and unless someone forces them to make the decision, we’re essentially stuck here.”

    “I know that, Lieutenant,” Said Bergelson, having calmed slightly, “I just wish it’d come sooner.”

    “You and me both,” Said Baker, “Speaking of which, I don’t see Malcolm with us.”

    “The boy’s survived, I last saw him alive before we retreated,” Said Bergelson, “Poor chap’s probably been taken prisoner, though.”

    Baker sighed heavily, then took a pack of cigarettes from his pocket, offering one to his Captain, who accepted it and his help with lighting the cancer stick. Lighting one for himself, Baker then inhaled a long, deep puff of smoke, then slowly exhaled, relishing the comforting feel it imparted down his lungs.

    Looking up at the sky, Baker saw the full moon overhead and the blanket of countless stars twinkling in the night sky, and he gazed wistfully at the sky itself, a sense of longing in his heart.

    “You know… like most other people, I once thought there’d be a quick end to the war,” Baker said, “That I’d be home for Christmas, greeting my lovely wife, my caring parents, raising our twin children as we tended to the family farm.”

    Baker gave a mirthless chuckle as Bergelson listened on.

    “Like most others, we never expected the war to be so bloody and gruelling, so time-consuming. We never expected to lose so many fellow brothers to bullets, steel or worse, and never the hell we faced when fighting these Africans.”

    “Almost none of us did, even with past records saying so,” Said Bergelson, “You miss your wife?”

    Baker’s mirthless smile fell, and in that moment he never looked more solemn and regretful than he ever did.

    “I want to go back, Captain,” Said Baker, “I want to return home and hold my baby children in my arms, kiss my wife, celebrate the good and bad with them and get away from all this. I… I know our duty as soldiers doesn’t end so soon, and not so simply, but…”

    “I know, Baker,” Said Bergelson, “Believe me, I want to go back and help my daughter raise my grandkids, give them a good upbringing.”

    “Then we’ll just have to survive the war, don’t we?” Said Baker.

    At this, a smile of hope crossed the Captain’s lips, and he said, “Let’s hope to that.”


    24th November, 1914

    2.14 PM

    Dolmabahçe Palace, seat of power of the Ottoman Sultan and house of the Osman Dynasty’s scions since the reign of Abdülmecid I. Bearing the contemporary style, luxury, and comfort, equal to that of modern European palaces, it was a residence fit for Kings and Emperors, the marble architecture a testament to the talent of the Ottoman Court Architects, the façade an adequate representation of the Sultan’s power.

    Yet hard times had fallen on the Ottoman Empire, and degradingly called the Sick Man of Europe, it had failed to pull itself out of its sickness despite its latest attempts to modernise, and for many, this represented many things; to the Ottomans, the impending doom of their empire. To their enemies, a chance to defeat a centuries-old foe, and divide its assets for their taking.

    The current Sultan, Mehmed V, was a man genuinely motivated to modernise the ailing Empire, not just for the sake of revanchism, but to ensure it was not easy pickings for the Western powers, who no doubt eyed their oil reserve hungrily like hyenas; they would want the Middle East divided between warring states, easy pickings for their military might as they coerced Middle Eastern governments into trade terms more favourable for them than the Middle East, and the region would be plagued by open warfare for decades to come. To ensure that never happened, a regional power must dominate the Middle East, and it shall be the Ottoman Empire; not the Persians, not the Arabs, and most certainly not the Western powers or the Russian Bear.

    Such were the thoughts of one Akoren Erkan, a government official of the Imperial Court, one of the pro-reformists clamouring for change in the Empire. A young man of humble origins, he earned his degree in law after attending and graduating from a prestigious university, he went to pursue a career in politics, focusing primarily in civil administration, believing the current bureaucracy in dire need of reformation.

    As he shifted through the latest pile of paperwork currently on his desk, he heard knocking on his door, and he called out, “Who is it?”

    “An old friend and student, Akoren,” Asked a youthful voice, “Might I come in?”

    “O-Of course! Please, come in, Your Highness.”

    The door opened to reveal a young man, nearing his twenties, dressed in military garb with badges of honour pinned on his breast. On his hip was a ceremonial sabre, his hand not resting naturally on it.

    A man of striking looks and confidence, Osman Fuad held grand ambitions of honouring the legacy of the dynasty of Osman, serving the Empire in his best possible capacity by leading its military against its enemies, whether it be rebels or foreign invaders.

    Osman Fuad Effendi, of the Imperial dynasty of Osman.

    And damn, he looked like a real military general in his uniform, despite having not served on the battlefield.

    “I do hope I’m not disturbing you,” Said Osman, “I came in to check on you, see how you were doing.”

    “I’m perfectly fine, Your Highness,” Said Akoren reassuringly, “I’m used to dealing with this kind of paperwork, and I’ve just gotten through half of today’s workload.”

    Osman let out a small chuckle at that, saying, “Always the hardworking man, aren’t you? Unfazed by the demons of paperwork.”

    Akoren allowed himself a small smile, saying, “It’s really second nature to me, nowadays. It was a lot harder back then, though. But anyways, is there anything else to discuss?”

    At this, Osman’s smile fell, and adopting a more serious tone, he said, “Uncle… I’m planning to serve in Tripolitania, leading the Imperial Armies against the Italians.”

    Akoren looked at Osman in shock, and he asked, “Are you sure? You do know you haven’t recovered from your head injury, yes?”

    Osman reached to touch a small bandage around his head, absentmindedly gliding his fingers along the white linen.

    “I know, Uncle. I know,” Said Osman, “But I still want to do my part for the Empire, and you know I’ve always wanted to serve in the military.”

    Akoren let out a heavy sigh, and said, “We don’t know if your injury may act up again, and if you’ll be as lucky as last time, when your submarine was torpedoed; thank Allah you were swiftly operated on and evacuated to safety, but you might not be so lucky again.”

    It was Osman’s turn to sigh, knowing that his Uncle-in-all-but-blood worried for his safety like a caring father would. He saw Akoren rest on his chair with a posture reflecting his uneasiness, and with knowing eyes, he heard Akoren ask, “I believe you’ve made your decision?”

    Osman nodded, saying, “Yes, Uncle. I have.”

    Akoren let out a deep exhale, and standing up, he went towards Osman, slowly inching towards him until he was within arm’s reach. Placing his hands on Osman’s shoulders, he levelled his eyes with Osman’s, and he said, “Come back safe, you hear me?”

    The message was short, simple and to-the-point, and Osman replied, “I will, Uncle.”

    A/N: In case any of you are wondering, Osman Fuad really did suffer a head injury when departing from Germany to the Ottoman Empire, back when the First World War broke out.
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