Time on My Hands Chapter 35 - 326-330 CE: Repositioning Clan Corvo

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Time on My Hands
Chapter 35: 326-330 CE: Repositioning Clan Corvo

Raben wanted better for the Clan Corvo. To this end he decided to allow same sex couples to marry with the blessing of the Clan Corvo Church. Same sex couples could also start families using surrogates or adoption. Raben understood there could be a difference between a person’s physical sex and their gender. Intersex people like himself would have the right to choose their gender presentation or even to switch back and forth. The right to choose their gender presentation also applied to people who were mentally intersex {transsexual}. In addition, as he had done when inducting the captured Alemanni into the ranks of the Clan Corvo, polygamy was accepted in all it’s forms, polygyny {1 husband, multiple wives}, polyandry {1 wife, multiple husbands}, or a group marriage {multiple husbands and wives}.

Regarding physical sex, only consensual relationships were allowed. It was forbidden for children 12 and under to engage in sex. {Historically it was not unusual for girls to marry at age 13.} Anyone doing so was considered a rapist. If during a sexual encounter a partner says NO, that means the encounter stops. Anyone who forced a person to have sex, even a spouse, was a rapist. The punishment for rape was public castration for males and female circumcision for females. If there was a legitimate question that the sexual relationship was or wasn’t consensual, the supposed rapist was jailed until Raben could question the parties involved. With his empathetic abilities, Raben could determine if the accuser or rapist was telling the truth. The lying party suffered public castration if male or female circumcision if female, then was ejected from the Clan Corvo and sentenced to slavery for the rest of their life. Needless to say, the punishment for involving Raben in a case of was intentionally quite harsh. It served as a deterrent to false accusations and false pleas of innocence.

Raben also made several rules for recruiting a fixed number of people for relocation or other public service. First was the recruits would be adult volunteers ranging between ages 16 to 30. Second was married couples could volunteer. Third was that children under age 15 did not count towards the adults needed. Fourth was that unmarried adults were to be a 50/50 mix of male/female and would be expected to eventually marry and start families although exceptions were made for same sex relationships. Fifth was that if the number of volunteers fell short of the number needed, a draft was conducted.

To that end a lottery system was drawn up to select those to be drafted. All able bodied men and women between the ages of 16 and 30 were in the draft. If the draftee is married, their spouse and children will automatically be included. If the extended family or a part of the extended family wants to stay together, they can volunteer to join the draftee. The same will apply to the partner of those who have yet to marry. In this way it would reduce the number of draftees needed.

Raben had not been idle while the ever present imperial turmoil roiled the Roman Empire. The hierarchy of the Church in the region of Barmaz/Octodurum consisted of members of the Clan Corvo. After serving thirty eight years he resigned as bishop of Barmaz, being succeeded by one of his kin, his not aging once more being a major factor. In addition, the Clan Corvo had grown to 961,000+ people. They had either married into and absorbed the entire population of the expanded province of Alpes Graiae Et Poeninae. The few who resisted had slowly died off or move away. The Clan Corvo militia training provided skilled recruits for the Raven Raiders who served as the provincial troops of Alpes Graiae Et Poeninae. All officers, all non commissioned officers and enlisted personnel were members of Clan Corvo They owned 100% of the expanded province of Alpes Graiae Et Poeninae. All Clan Corvo members still had lifetime militia commitments. In the event of an invasion, they could retreat into Barmaz Bailiwick. All excess food supplies were kept in Barmaz. Raben had even greater plans to begin implementing.

By 326 Raven Raiders were stationed at the many fortifications guarding the entrances into the expanded boundaries of Alpes Graiae Et Poeninae. Central bases with quick response units were established. Every mountain pass and canyon giving possible access was included in the extensive system. The units were rotated on a regular basis to prevent boredom. In addition, the effective raven messenger system and airborne observers were a vital part of the expansion.

All along the recently acquired Alloborge area Rhone, work was being done. Starting at Geneva, section by section, the southeastern shore of the river was isolated by the use of wooden coffer dams 15 feet from the shore. Trenches 60 feet wide and 15 feet below the streambed were excavated and leveled. The trench was filled with cut and fitted stone to form a solid construct 55 feet wide and 15 feet tall. The next stonework atop that was 30 feet high. The interior wall was vertical, flush with the interior of the base structure. The stream side began 7 feet in from the outer edge of the base, rising to form a 75°glacis. {8 feet thick at the base, 30 feet 90°upright, 31 feet 75° slope} The glacis was integral to the 40 feet wide by 30 feet high wall supporting it. Once the glacis was completed, the coffer dam was removed and the river shifted against the glacis.

The main defensive wall was built atop the glacis layer. The outside of the solid stone walls was vertical, 40 feet thick at the base tapering on the inner side to 20 feet thick at the top. Atop that a stone arch arcade with a central height of 7 feet was built with arrow slits facing out and windows facing in. The outside wall of the arcade was 5 feet thick with the inside wall 18 inches thick. The space 13.5 feet space between the walls provided weather protected access pathway atop the wall, a vital concern during the winter in the higher altitudes. Atop the arcades a gently sloping flat thick slate roof/walkway drained to the inside. The 5 foot thick outer wall of the arcade continued to the level of the top walkway where 18 inch thick crenelated walls provided fighting positions. Round watch towers 60 feet in diameter were 10 feet higher than the wall protruding 10 feet beyond the main outside wall were built every 1000 feet. The outer protrusion was made of solid stone intrinsically built as part of the walls. The arcade extended into and through the watchtower with arrow slots. A stairway led to a second room level with the crenelated walkway of the walls. This room had lookout windows that could be used as arrow slots. Another stairway led to the top room which had stone battlement and lookouts but was topped by a conical sloped wooden roof to protect the guards. On the inside of the walls the round tower went down to ground level. Those walls were 18 inches thick. With the taper of the inner walls that left a rounded first floor room 42 feet long by feet 8.5 feet deep, the second floor was 47 feet long by 13.5 feet deep, third was 52 feet long by 18.5, the fourth floor 57 feet long by 23.5 feet deep. The fifth, sixth and seventy floors were 53.5 feet diameter. Each watchtower served as barracks for the militia guarding the walls.

Similar coffer dams and techniques were used to build defensive walls and eliminate the shore along boundary along the streams La Bourne, Isere River, La Fure, L'Ainan, Le Guiers and the southern shores of Lac Leman from Geneva across the upper Rhone River valley. Stone wall fortified harbors were built at Geneva where the Rhone exited Lac Leman, at the village of Hermance where the stream Hermance entered, at Tougues where the Ruisseau des Lecheres entered, Thonon-les-Bains where the Dranse entered, and at Port Valais where the Upper Rhone entered. The wall continued along the southern shore to {GM 46.413318, 6.930303} into the steep foot of the mountain peak Les Dentaux. The land entrance gate complexes, including those at the stone arch bridges across the Rhone, Le Guiers and Isere rivers, were all similar. The base of gates was identical to the base of the walls along shores complete with 30 feet high 75° glacis. Atop that were twin blockhouses with a 30 feet wide space between them with a arched stone bridge over the gate connecting the blockhouse towers. Because they were atop the glacis, the approach roads had to be ramped to the gate. The ramp was curved to hinder the use of siege towers. The ramp stopped 25 feet from the gate, the gap crossed by a wooden drawbridge. The draw bridge was backed by two iron portcullis’ 2 feet apart. Inside would be a 30 feet wide road between battlement walls 40 feet high. The road formed a dogleg so it was impossible to see from one end of the 1400 feet long kill-zone defile that ended in an exit gatehouse complex identical with the entrance. The kill-zone battlements had 10 feet high towers every 200 feet. A company of Raven Raiders was stationed at each gate complex. At the end of the kill-zone was another set of twin blockhouses identical to the first. The harbors were built along similar designs with the actual docks inside the defense walls.

Stone arch bridges across the lower Rhone were built at Geneva {GM 46.203123, 6.131773}, Plaine {GM 46.175889, 6.000749}, Collonges {GM 46.120303, 5.904547}, Bellegarde-Sur-Valserine {GM 46.103663, 5.819702}, Seyssel {GM 45.958468, 5.832751}, La Loi {GM 45.848936, 5.802870}, Coron {GM 45.754365, 5.708027} and the last at La Bruyere {GM 45.638492, 5.622991} by the Mont de Cordon at {GM 45.632565, 5.627402}, the western most point of the Clan Corvo. A bridge was built across the Le Guiers River at Saint-Genix-sur-Guiers {GM 45.598057, 5.631169} and another at Le Pont-de-Beauvoisin {GM 45.536059, 5.672427}. A bridge was built across the Isere River at Valensole {GM 45.068768, 5.262133}.

The plans called for the channel of the Rhone to be altered at 2 places. Just north of Praille {GM 45.805561, 5.792582} the river was diverted around the north and western sides the small hillock {GM 45.812055, 5.767294} northwest of the small town of Lavours. This eliminated the eastern Rhone channel at Chanaz {GM 45.809077, 5.783765} The other at {GM 45.637071, 5.656057} to divert the Rhone north of the Mont de Cordon.

In addition, work was ongoing to channelize in stone the more substantial streams to prevent erosion and enabling the streams to be stocked with trout and other fish by creating suitable habitats for each species. Weirs were placed just above where the streams exited into the Rhone or Lac Leman to keep the fish from escaping. In addition, most of the smaller alpine streams were dammed to supply water to the terraces for irrigation. They were also working at paving every path and road like the Roman roads thus speeding up movement. Those routes that were critical for troop movement were priorities.

The School of Agriculture at the Clan Corvo University, had taken over tree breeding/nursery. They organized and conducted animal breeding. At the same time concerted efforts were being made to crossbreed grains and other crops to increase hardiness and yields.

Constantine hated the city of Rome and it’s ingrained status quo that was stagnated with bloated governmental bureaucracy. Instead of trying to reform the rampant corruption, he decided relocate the government. To the east was the city of Byzantium, which had already been extensively rebuilt on Roman patterns of urbanism during the preceding century starting with Septimius Severus and Caracalla, who had already acknowledged its strategic importance. The city was dedicated on May 11, 330 and renamed Constantinopolis ("Constantine's City" or Constantinople) when Emperor Constantine took up residence. This effectively moved the capital of the empire. In Rome the senate was stymied, having lost what little influence they could exert whenever the emperor was in Rome. The impact was felt in nearly all aspects of Roman life. Many artists and craftsmen in the city of Rome found their business evaporate as the upper class who supported them as well as the inevitable greedy governmental hangers-on relocated to the city on the Bosporus between Europe and Asia.

Raben knew it would be prudent to set up and open a new office of Corvus Scriptorium near the new capital. Like Mazbar and Zamrab, they needed to be outside the city. A place that was accessible to Constantinople yet separate. The search began.

By this time the populations of Mazabar reached their target population of 2500. Raben knew he’d have to expand the site so began purchasing targeted adjacent properties. Zamrab also had a target population of 2500 but had reached it’s target population in 327. At an average annual 2% population growth, each location had 50 extra people per year. Raben asked for volunteers to temporarily relocate to Barmaz, allowing families to move as a unit.

Raben’s plans called for a great deal of planning. A private port on the Mediterranean would be needed to support the colonial expansion he was undertaking for the Clan Corvo. Marseille was conveniently accessible to the Alloborge area of the Clan Corvo, however the port was already crowded. Looking about he found the nearby Étang de Berre, a brackish 660 square mile lagoon, created at the end of the ice age, located 10 miles northwest of Marseille. More importantly, it was only 12 miles from the southwestern tip of the newly acquired Allobroge area at the town of Aix-En-Provence. The nearly sea level lagoon {16 inches ASL} had a depth variation of between 6 to 9 meters and connected to the Mediterranean via the Chanel de Caronte. Raben purchased a 3 mile by 4 mile 12 square mile site on the northeast side of the lagoon including the villages of Berre-l'Étang and Velaux. Hiring local labor he began constructing twin curving jetties would create a 2 mile long harbor along the shore. Plans called for a 2 mile long shore line stone quay built out far enough from shore to have with docking facilities for 100 ships. Inside the Jetty protected would be anchorage for 200 ships. In addition, a ship yard would be added to build and refit ships. Housing and warehouses would be built ashore. This would be the Clan Corvo port of Zarbam. If anyone questioned why the Clan Corvo was building a port, the answer would be the newly established Corvus Shipping. In addition to the port purchase, he began buying up property in the surrounding area to connect the port to the Allobroge area and secure the coast adjoining the Etang Du Berre, an area of 3300 square miles. Once the land was secured the Clan Corvo could begin walling in those areas.

To get Corvus Shipping started, Raben set the headquarters for Corvus Shipping up in the newly created and under construction Zarbam. Raben headed back to Ostia and the adjacent harbor and shipyard at Portus. Began by Emperor Claudius in 46 CE. A canal was dug from a bend in the Tiber to the Tyrrhenian Sea emptying into a constructed port with moles on both sides to stop the disruptive waves of the southwest winds. In 103 CE inland from the harbor Claudius built, Trajan constructed a second harbor, a hexagonal basin {GM 41.779628, 12.262106 still in existence as Lago Traiana, the harbor of Claudius is silted up and now a mile inland from the sea shore.} enclosing an area of 97 acres connecting by canals with the harbor of Claudius, directly with the Tiber, and with the sea. It was surrounded by extensive warehouses. A huge imperial shipyard was constructed on one side of the hexagonal basin to build and repair ships, make ropes and make canvas.

Raben headed into the offices where he spoke to the director of the shipyard. As a senator, his request for a tour was granted. They were soon visiting the various departments. The guide sat snoozing while Raben spoke to the workers explaining he was starting a shipyard and was in need of experienced master shipbuilders, rope makers, canvas makers and apprentice workers for each. After finding out when their shifts were done he offered to buy them drinks at a nearby inn to discuss matters further.

At the inn Raben paid for the drinks and discussed hiring experienced and men and apprentices in each craft, wanting several dozen men willing to relocate with their families to the northeast beyond Marseilles to work and live. The wages would be better than they now earned and all transportation costs for their families would be covered. The men were told to think it over and discuss it with their families and when he returned in August they could give him their answers. As a precaution he told them if word got out that he was trying to hire them and they lost their jobs they and their families were to go to Mazbar where they could stay until he returned.

Raben also spent time on the docks and inns of Portus and Ostia talking to captains and crews of commercial ships. He let it be known he was starting Corvus Shipping and looking to purchase ships and hire captains and crews. While some commercial voyages would be made, the main purpose was to build up a fleet and train raw recruits as competent crew. In addition, if a captain and ship had contracts, Raben would accept their commitments or pay off the commitment. Several ships, captains, and crew joined the incipient Corvus Shipping. The first priority was to refit the vessels.

Once things were set in motion Raben headed north to Barmaz. There was no shortage of young volunteers, again both male and female, to learn to sail so two weeks later 150 people were dispatched from Barmaz to learn how to sail ships. This group of 150 would form the core of the Zarbam based fleet of Corvus Shipping. The crew rode Corvus Shipping wagons in a convoy with other wagons transporting supplies. They were accompanied by a battalion of Raven Raiders as they traveled south to Zarbam. They arrived a month after Raben left.

The Raven Raiders were assigned to Zarbam to serve as security and to assist and oversee the construction of defenses. Three docks, group housing dormitories, a kitchen/dining building and a warehouse had been built with more in process. By then 10 ships had been bought and based at Zarbam. The sailor recruits met the experienced captains and sailors who were shocked to find women amongst them. They began training on the 10 vessels. As more ships were acquired, they were refitted and the crews began training on them.

Raben prepared for a trip to another Scandinavia but this one would be special. Previously he had sent a note to Olvishaugen via raven mail with several requests including that 20 ships be sent with iron shipment to ferry colonists. In Barmaz in addition to the normal 25 teens moving to Olvishaugen he put out a call for 250 adults, again both male and female, to travel north to spend a year learning ship handling, maintenance and repair and open sea fishing before heading off to colonize an unpopulated island out in the Atlantic Ocean. The adults could be married with children.

Corvus Shipping took over responsibility for the iron shipment wagon convoys heading back and forth to Bonna. Many areas of the Empire were unsafe for commerce except in larger groups. Once established, Corvus Shipping organized regular inter city caravans of their own wagons inviting other merchants, for a small fee, to join their caravan. The fee was cheaper than hiring their own guards plus they benefitted having trained well armed troops. Each Corvus Shipping caravan was accompanied by a unit of the Raven Raiders. The size of the Raven Raider contingent was dependant on the destination and danger. Each armed escort served as training mission for the elite troops. Corvus shipping and the Raven Raiders remained separate but firmly intertwined.

Raben accompanied the 350 adults and children heading north to Bonna to get the yearly shipment of iron. Needless to say the Corvus Shipping caravan was much larger than previous iron trade wagon trains to accommodate the colonists and their supplies. To provide safety they were accompanied by a Brigade of Raven Raiders.

Raben was warmly greeted by the crews of the 3 Norse ships now making the yearly trip from Olvishaugen as well as another 8 vessels from the settlement. Hoping to latch onto the benefits Olvishaugen gained from their relationship with Clan Corvo, 9 ships from adjacent farmsteads made up the needed numbers. On each of his previous visits north he’d bought a ship to add to the vessels at Olvishaugen. This year he bought three. The Olvishaugen crews split up to man the 3 new vessels while the 25 teens, 350 colonists and their children did the same. The Barmaz landlubbers learned the basics of sailing on the trip north.

When Raben first arrived in Olvishaugen 34 years before, Olvris had been the third generation head of a by then robust farmstead with his siblings married into the neighboring farmsteads. Olvris had been a wise and shrewd man who grew wealthy because of his relationship with Raben. Since meeting Raben, the secure yearly sales of iron and the knowledge and skills gained from marrying his grandchildren and great grandchildren as well as nephews and nieces to the 825 members of the Clan Corvo sent north over the years had proven quite advantageous and profitable. Olvris quickly rose to be the leader and founder of a new clan. Due to Raben’s and the Clan Corvo’s influence, Olvris named his emergent clan the Clan Ravn, the Norse word for raven. By this time all of the extended Olvris family were also members of the Clan Corvo, if not by birth then by marriage to the 825 teens who headed north over the years. By the start of 330 the Clan Ravn occupied and controlled an area 27 miles long by 4 miles deep with a population of over 4000. The militia Raben had helped establish, modeling it on his own, was strong and disciplined with everyone thirteen and older active. They had more than adequate military prowess and were able to quickly respond to fend off any foolish attempted depredations. They did not seek to rule over their neighbors nor were they beholding to anyone but Raben.

Raben had been aware that four years before Olvris had retired naming his grandson, Bjorn, his successor. During those four years Bjorn led with guidance from the old man. Bjorn had proved his ability to lead with Olvris openly approving and praising his decisions. Olvris had died just after the start of the year. The burial mound of Olvris was huge, 180 feet in diameter and 20 feet high, befitting a man of his stature and position. {To this day it is one of the largest burial mounds in Norway.}

The Clan Ravn had followed Raben’s advice of not draining the bogs for farmland but instead expanding the bogs. As the clan territory had grown, they even reversed the loss of bogs that had been drained, restoring them as sources of iron. When Fiach first came north, the annual processing of bog iron into raw iron had been a ton {2000 pounds}, half they used the rest they sold. After ten years of territory expansion bog iron production had increased to 2 tons. By 25 years, the expanded/reclaimed bogs came into production increasing processed bog iron to 4 tons. The current production reached 6 tons of processed bog iron. They now used 1 1/2 tons and shipped the remaining 4 1/2 tons south to Barmaz. Due to territorial expansion and the expansion of existing bogs, production of bog iron was increasing by an average of a half ton a year.

Upon arrival at Olvishaugen, Raben was greeted by Bjorn Olvrisson. Under Bjorn, now himself a happy grandfather, Olvishaugen was still growing rapidly. The new ideas brought in from the Clan Corvo were readily adopted by his generation and those that followed. In honor of his mentor, Raben, Bjorn decided that with the continued steady influx of mates from Clan Corvo, that his Clan Ravn was in reality a branch of the Clan Corvo. Bjorn was wise enough to understand that his wife and all his children, grandchildren, siblings, nephews and nieces were Raben’s kin. With Raben never aging, his council and vision was providing firm leadership in guiding the Clan Corvo and had done same for the Clan Ravn.

The crews of the 9 vessels that had assisted transporting the people from Bonna were invited to and accepted invitations to attend a gathering to celebrate Raben’s return and those who came north with him.

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Raben's Navy

joannebarbarella's picture

Corvo Shipping will soon become a navy. I'm dying to know what is the uninhabited island in the Atlantic and how did Raben know about it.

That will be coming out in a future chapters.

At times it gets difficult for me to keep track of all the information and plot twists and turns. When you asked I had to go back and check I didn't miss something.

Boys will be girls... if they're lucky!

Jennifer Sue

I love this story

Wendy Jean's picture

I am curious where it is going? It doesn't feel like an alternate universe

It's getting there.

Each change moves a tiny bit away from our reality.

Boys will be girls... if they're lucky!

Jennifer Sue

I wonder

I wonder where we'd all be had such progressive changes been encouraged so far back in history.

Enjoying the story.