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ARMIES AND ENEMIES OF AFRIBORIA.
The Afriborian Campaign is situated in an imaginary world that resembles our own planet and it's history (roughly 1874-1914), but events that took place in our world might be set at different dates or in different places in the Afriborian world, thus making any resemblance between Afriboria and real history, -people, -events and -places purely a matter of imagination.
THE PYGMIES OF THE CONGO.
Over the last couple of hundred years Afriboria has had more than its fair share of (would-be) black empires, the most recent example being the birth of the powerful Zulu nation. Every time a tribal chieftain waged war to carve out an empire for himself, large migrations were the result: the expanding nation pushed the neigbouring tribes in front of its armies, creating a concentric shockwave through the land, and - as always - victimising the weakest. In Afriboria this means... the pygmies. Time and time again they were driven from their hunting grounds and farmland, to end up with their backs to the next natural barrier, usually a river. This resulted in them starting to concentrate on what the rivers had to offer in form of food, making them not only expert fishermen, but also skilled boatbuilders. Since they had to move so frequently, they abandoned the raising of cattle completely, concentrating on chicken-farming instead. Chickens did not only provide them with eggs and meat, but were far more easy to move around (quickly) than cattle. This also resulted in the "cult of the Feathered God" - a rooster-like idol - worshipped by their shamans who are the true (spiritual) leaders of the pygmie tribes. The shamans elect from their ranks a highpriest for a 20 years period, who virtually reigns all tribes, much in the way a Muslim Ayatollah does. The title of this supreme spiritual leader is "Chuculechu", which translates roughly as "Chicken-look-Wizard" in English. Once in office, the Chuculechu only appears in public wearing the mask of the feathered god, never to reveil his face. Every few months or so, all shamans take part in a secret meeting, receiving new directives from their high lord and master. These meetings are called "Call of Chuculechu".
All of this was of rather little interest to the European powers untill - two years ago - a strange incident took place: John Carrol - a notorious gunrunner - was chased by a small British patrol boat and finally cornered in the mouth of a river...
... The Lieutenant commanding the patrol boat proceeded with caution and Carrol was able to escape upstream. The patrol vessel anchored in the mouth of the river and played the waiting game. The next day - much to the surprise of the crew - Carrol showed up on the river bank, waving at the ship and calling out to come and get him. Once aboard, he claimed that he had been attacked by a fleet of powerful war-canoes, manned by pygmie-warriors, who killed the rest of his party and stole his merchandise. He barely managed to escape with his life in the confusion of the fight. Although a true gunsmuggler, he would never sell his firearms to the natives (bad for business in the long run) or make illegal copies of anything, so he asked the Britsh Lieutenant to investigate the matter.
Picture: Pygmie war-party with shaman and chieftain (figures by Kallistra).
The patrol boat was moved upstream, soon to find out that Carrol was telling the truth: no less than 10 huge war-canoes filled with warriors surrounded the ship. The Lieutenant and his men - after putting up a fierce fight - were forced to surrender. Both he himself and the remainder of his crew would surely have been killed if the pygmies hadn't been called back by a tall white figure, clearly their leader and judging by his dress to be no less than the Chuculechu! The British were robbed of their rifles and the vessel's machineguns, before being escorted back to the open sea. When the young Lieutenant reported his misfortune to the British commander in Afriboria - Lord Alan Hamilton - it was cristalclear that something had to be done about this: no one messes with the Royal Navy and gets away with it!
Picture: one of the powerful pygmie war-canoes on patrol (figures by Kallistra & toy canoe)
However, the matter seemed rather trivial to the British government
and Lord Hamilton was granted neither funds nor troops for an expedition
against the pygmies. At his own expense, he consulted the famous dedectives
Herlock Sholmes and Hercule Pommeau, but this proved to be a dead end:
these esteemed gentlemen finally came up with 5 suspects: 2 of them
blacks (an impossibility), two others no longer amongst the living and
the fifth one a part-time explorer, part-time singer/piano player, performing
under the name of Jerry Lee (and scoring some typical Victorian hits
such as "Chantilly" and "Lace"), very unlikely to
be the grand wizard indeed. Meanwhile, the military power of the pygmies
continues to expand under the leadership of their white Chuculechu.
His title in English - "the Chicken-look-Wizard" - has been
shortened to "Chicklewiz", as he now is referred to by the
British. Sir Hamilton for one, hasn't forgotten about him...
Picture: the mysterious white pygmie-ruler with one of his warriors (figures: Foundry-conversions).