Time on My Hands Chapter 47 - 364-365 CE: Bazram Absorbs Her Neighbors

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Time On My Hands

Chapter 47: 364-365 CE: Bazram Absorbs Her Neighbors

Fiach again moved about so all could see the entrance and exit wounds heal while they watched.

“I’m going to be totally honest with you,” Fiach declared after rolling her shirt back down after the wounds disappeared. “The Clan Corvo is expanding and we are taking over neighboring farmsteads. We will not take farmsteads by force unless they start the violence. We will loan money to farmsteads at fair terms and rates as a few of you are already aware. If the loans default, we assume ownership of the farmstead, buying it at a fair price paying the owner the difference between the loan and the value of the farmstead. If they are interested, we work out terms for the ex-owner to continue as a tenant farmer.”

Fiach paused to let the freemen process her words.

“While we try to be peaceful you need to know that everyone in the Clan Corvo, male and female, are trained to be the best fighting force in the area and we will fight if we are attacked,” Fiach continued. “Our defense plans are simple, annihilate anyone who attacks us. Survivors will be enslaved and all possessions will be confiscated as punishment. I have brought with me 2 battalions of Raven Raiders, 1492 men who are well trained and full time elite warriors. Again, we do NOT want to fight, but we are prepared to do so if attacked.”

Again Fiach paused to let her words sink in to those who were listening.

“As many of you know, all who marry into the clan are granted full clan privileges,” Fiach informed them. “We also offer and encourage the families of those who marry into the Clan Corvo to also join us. We will eventually expand to occupy the entire Trondheim Fjord. We started with the Olvishaugen Farmstead 66 years ago and we have grown slowly but steadily since then and will continue to grow until we control the entire fjord. Hopefully we’ll do this peacefully by marriage.”

“The Clan Corvo is honest,” Fiach stated. “That is why I’ve showed you my Curse and told you that I am a Demon Slayer. I’ve personally killed 843 men in combat. I do not like to fight but I’m damn good at it. The Clan Corvo does not want to fight you. We invite you to join the Clan Corvo and grow with us. We do not want you to be afraid of us nor do we want you to hate us. If you don’t want to join us, we will buy your farmsteads for a fair price so you can move to another place. But know this, there is much cheating and fighting out in the world. Joining us will ensure your safety as well as that of your future progeny.”

Again Fiach paused to let the guests absorb what she was telling them.

"The Demon Slayers are the head of the Clan Corvo," Fiach continued. "The Clan Corvo owns all property and vessels. No one owns property or ships, members of the Clan use them. That means no one is rich. As you have seen and will see, we share all we have. All positions are granted by merit. No one is poor. No one is abandoned. Slaves can earn their freedom and membership in the Clan after 3 years. You have witnessed the happiness of our members here. We offer you membership in our Clan. You can ask anything you like of me or Svenn. Talk to our Clan members. Now, let’s eat, drink and be merry!”

A lot of questions were asked and answered. By the time the gathering ended, everyone knew the intentions of Clan Corvo and that the end plans would not come to fruition in their lifetime, perhaps not even in the lifetimes of their children and grandchildren. Their fears had been alleviated. The years between now and then would be of adjustment and acclimation as they gently slipped into the folds of Clan Corvo.

Over the next weeks Fiach helped in the refitting of every ship with a Scorpio mounted on a small foredeck with flammable projectiles. Each scorpio was equipped with frames that allowed the quick and effective mounting of shields to form a protective shield wall. In addition, the prows were reinforced with straw packed boxes to safely cushion and hold flammable grenades that could be easily tossed into enemy vessels. After training the crews how to use the artillery and grenades, she had the vessels train in disciplined coordinated maneuvers. Each future iron shipment would be accompanied by 5 fighting ships. In addition, she wanted 30 ships to head to Zarbam to join the Corvus Shipping Fleet. The crews would be trained to sail caravels and would return north with 30 - 100 ton caravels to add larger stronger floating fighting platforms.

The Raven Raiders worked with the militia training them in individual combat as well as unit combat. Shields were redesigned to align and interlock. Five darts were mounted to the inside of the shields. As lines of warriors closed for hand to hand combat, the weighted darts would be tossed underhanded to arc over the front line of their enemy crashing down into the enemy's ranks to create injuries and havoc within their ranks.

Svenn had extended Clan Corvo control west over the rest of the short peninsula to it's end at Point Hynne as well as the island of Tautra a mile north of Point Hynne. The Raven Raiders were stationed on Point Hynne with lookouts on the island. They could monitor all water traffic heading up Trondheim Fjord. Trondheim Fjord northeast of that point was under the control of the Clan Corvo as they had absorbed the farmsteads along the shores of the inner fjord. They had intermarried with many farmsteads. Beitstad Fjord came off a 2000 feet wide channel at the northwest end of Trondheim Fjord. Svenn had bought the farmsteads on either side of the entrance as well as the island of Ytteroya which covered the entrance. The 500 feet wide entrance to Borgen Fjord was 5 miles east of the entrance to Beitstad Fjord and Svenn controlled both sides of that entrance.

A rough line between the coastal town of Namsos, the lakeside village of Snasa and the inland town of Sorli formed an informal boundary north of which the people were a different ethnicity. The Sami people have lived and worked in an area that stretches over the northern parts of the regions now known as Scandinavian Peninsula. They have inhabited the northern arctic and sub-arctic regions of Fenno-Scandinavia and Russia for at least 5,000 years. The Sea Sami and the Mountain Sami are two classes of the same people. Sami livelihoods included coastal fishing, fur trapping, sheep herding and semi-nomadic reindeer hunting. They were also involved in agriculture and iron work.

The Sami and the Norse occupied very separate economic niches. Their languages were quite different and communicating complicated ideas and concepts difficult. The Sami hunted reindeer and fished for their livelihood. The Norwegians, were concentrated on the outer islands and near the mouths of the fjords, with access to European trade routes so that in addition to marginal farming they were able to establish commerce, supplying fish in trade for products from the south. The two groups co-existed using two different food resources. As with most arctic peoples, they were cautiously hospitable, willing to come to the aid of those in need but also ready to fight if the need arose. The Sami respected that the Clan Corvo was much like them in respect of helping those in need and being hospitable while prepared to fight.

However the spread of the Clan Corvo as they moved north through the tributaries of Trondheim Fjord were beginning to create friction. Svenn had temporarily halted northward expansion, telling the Sami he had requested the leader of the Clan Corvo to come to speak to the leaders and shamans of the Sami. When Fiach had arrived in Bazram, word had been sent to the Sami asking for the meeting. The meeting would be held in Snasa

Svenn took Fiach to the northern end of Beitstad Fjord, then up the Steinkjerelva river to the Byaelva
River to Lake Reinsvatnet to Lake Fossemvatnet to Lake Snåsavatnet. At the northern end of the lake a small stream, the Vibekken, entered the lake with a tiny fishing village. A half mile upstream was the village of Snasa. Fiach noted the style of the buildings, boats, dress, and appearance of the people were different. The party who made the short trek inland to Snasa consisted of Fiach, Svenn, his wife, and four other married couples.

One couple, who lived at a fairly new farmstead, Holum Vest, 6.4 miles southwest on Lake Snasavatnet had learned a basic Sami vocabulary and were trusted by the local Sami. Fiach was introduced as the head of the Clan Corvo. Fiach had used her affinity for languages to pick up the language and took over the introduction. Needless to say the Sami were stunned as she began to fluently converse with them.

Fiach explained that she was dual spirited, physically both female and male and that she was currently presenting as female while at other times she presented as male using the name Raben. The Sami Shamanistic culture accepted dual spirited people naming them ergi. She then explained her family curse and that she was known as the Demon Slayer meaning she could not be killed. Then she explained that she was blessed by the superior celestial deity of the Sami, Jubmel with the ability of languages, not only with people, but also with animals. Upon seeing they were politely skeptical she smiled.

Pointing at village dogs lingering nearby she barked. The ears on the dogs promptly perked up and all looked at her. Upon barking a second time every dog in the village raced to her. With a nod of her head they sat quietly in a semi-circle facing her with their tails wagging. .

Fiach then tipped her head back and raucously krocked. Answering krocks came from the trees surrounding the village, startling the Sami. After krocking a second time nearly 2 dozen ravens flew from the trees to circle around Fiach. Fiach momentarily barked and the dogs laid down, then she krocked. The ravens swooped in landing in pairs on the backs of the dogs with another pair landing on her shoulders.

“As you can see, I talk to and command animals,” Fiach declared as she drew a knife from a sheath at her waist. “We will have a feast to celebrate our alliance. Follow me into the forests while I find a bear. I will tell the bear I will kill him so we can eat him. Naturally he will not be happy and will attack me. We will battle to the death, his death. I will be mauled and bloodied, but I will heal as you watch. I will send the ravens to guide us to a bear.” Fiach spoke to the Ravens who took to the air as she stripped down to a thin shirt and pants.

Svenn led the Clan Corvo members as the disbelieving Sami leaders, villagers and dogs followed. The krocking of ravens echoed through the forests as Fiach led the disparate group. The humans could tell Fiach was listening to the Raven speech and following their guidance. It took half an hour as the ravens clearly guided her.

When they reached the bear it was clearly agitated by and at the krocking ravens in the trees. Fiach told the people and dogs to stay back as she approached. Picking up her scent, the bear turned to face her roaring angrily. Fiach promptly returned the roar, challenging the angry bear and startling the listeners. The 770 pound brown bear reared up on his hind legs to a height of 8 feet, roaring and threatening, swinging his front paws with the 3.5 inch long sharp claws exposed. Fiach again roared brandishing her knife as she returned the bear’s challenge. The 4 feet ten inch tall, 95 pound girl showed no fear or hesitation. The Sami thought she had to be utterly insane as did her own people.

When the bear charged so did Fiach, both screaming their war cries. The bear dwarfed her as their bodies crashed together. Naturally the bear overwhelmed her, his huge maw engulfing her head as they tumbled to the ground. Wisely, Fiach had closed tightly to the bear thus avoiding it’s rending front claws while her knife struck true. However, the sharp teeth dug into her flesh and skull. The battle lasted no more than twenty seconds as the combatants stilled and fell silent. Fiach was not even visible as the bear completely buried her.

The forest was suddenly silent. Even the ravens fell silent. The humans looked on in stunned disbelief. The bear was still! Had she managed to kill it?

Then the bear began to move panicking the humans until they noticed it was not a natural movement. An arm poked out from beneath the bear, then another arm. As they watched Fiach pulled herself from beneath the bear’s still bulk. As her head emerged they gasped seeing her bleeding shredded face and scalp. Once she was free she slowly stood. One ear and a hank of hair dangled to a shoulder. Her jaw hung askew with her mouth ripped open through her cheek nearly to her other ear. Blood oozed from the wounds.

Even though the Clan Corvo people knew she would heal, the injuries were horrendous. The Sami were stunned to see the ravaged girl was still alive. The wounds were so horrible none could look away.

As they watched Fiach flicked her head flinging her blood soaked hair off the open wound that had been her ear. Then she gently maneuvered the dangling flesh back into it’s proper location pressing the ends of the flesh together. Then she grasped her distended jaw and wrenched it back in place. Next she pressed the torn open cheek together to her mouth. By that time the bleeding had stopped. Slowly she worked her jaw as it reset itself. The horrendous wounds were healing as the startled onlookers watched.

“As I said, I am a Demon Slayer. I can’t be killed,” Fiach told the awed Sami. “Let me wash this gore off in the stream. Svenn, can you prepare the bear for transport?”

Svenn set two men to work cutting a strong sapling to use as a portage pole as they gutted the huge bear. The women gathered the organs and intestines for later use. They tied the rear legs together, did the same with the front legs, then slipped the portage pole through the legs. By then Fiach rejoined the group. The Sami were stunned by how rapidly she was healing. She ignored her torn clothing. The younger Sami assisted carrying the bear back to Snasa as Fiach released the ravens to feast upon the abandoned portions of guts.

As soon as they returned to Snasa word of Fiach’s encounter with bear spread through the Sami like wildfire. Many doubted the veracity until they saw her torn clothes. The Bear was skinned and butchered and spitted. Fiach told the Sami they could keep the bear skin as a totem, as well as her shredded clothes and the knife to take from village to village as they told the tale of the Demon Slayer.

The feast was spectacular as Fiach told the Sami the story of the Clan Corvo and their goals. She informed them that the Clan was growing and spreading north into the areas they occupied. “There are more Clan Corvo members that there are stars in the sky! I tell you this so our peoples don’t fight for if we fight we will win and you could be destroyed. We do not want that! We invite the Sami to join us as full members of the Clan Corvo. You do not have to give up anything as we share all we have with you. The Sami people have great knowledge and skills. The Clan Corvo has different knowledge and skills. By combining we all grow and prosper. As we have done since our beginning, we incorporate the history, beliefs, legends and language of those who join us into the larger Clan. Grow with us! To further convince you of the truth I have spoken, we invite you to send at least 5 trusted elders to travel with me for a year while I show them the Clan Corvo. They can verify I speak the truth.”

Fiach spent the next 2 weeks with the Sami elders and Shamans answering their questions as she complied a lexicon of their language for use in facilitating communication. After much discussion 7 elders, 5 men and 2 women accompanied Fiach.

Upon arriving in Levanger, Fiach asked for a vow of secrecy which the Sami elders gave. Fiach then explained that she was, in fact, the original Demon Slayer... that she was 203 years old and that the Curse had frozen her physical maturation as she had been at that time. She went on to explain that her longevity was what made the Clan Corvo unique in human history. Wise great leaders often rose in human history, but their normal life spans required others to assume control when they died. In every case, within 2-3 generations the founders vision floundered and corrupted. The current situation in the Roman Empire was reflective evidence of that weakness. All too often a leader who started out doing what was right was corrupted by power and wealth becoming an autocratic megalomaniac. Since Fiach didn’t age and couldn’t be killed, she was able to carry her visions for the Clan Corvo to fruition over successive generations. Her greatest strength was her ability to listen to and take advice. She refused to separate herself from her people keeping a finger on the pulse of the people. For the first time in human history, she provided stability and open honest leadership.

When Fiach headed south in a 100 ton Caravel, the 7 Sami elders sailed with her. The size of the ship amazed them as did the open sea voyages. As they sailed Raben taught the Sami the Clan Corvo language including the rudimentaries of reading. They marveled at the magnetite compass that guided the ship to each island port along the newly established sea routes. Fiach explained the sailing pattern used by Corvus shipping. Whenever possible, the ships would land every 3 days to replenish supplies, spending a day in port doing so and making any needed ship repairs. Since nearly every port was 2-3 days apart, the system was easy to maintain.

After stopping at Gibraltar it was on to Ibiza and finally Zarbam and the Clan Corvo homeland of Barmaz. Upon seeing the massive stone fortifications the already amazed Sami were nearly speechless. Traveling through the country side they could see mile after mile of farms and clean, well kept villages. Adoring smiling faces greeted Fiach everywhere they went, convincing the Sami the Clan Corvo truly respected and even revered their clan leader. They In Barmaz proper they were stunned by the Clan Corvo University and the Corvus Scriptorium. There were too many tomes in the library to count. They saw everything Fiach had told them was accurate but even more awesome than she described. That she was recording their stories and legends as they traveled was a marvel to their oral traditions.

Just before the snows closed the Peoninus Mons they crossed the high mountain pass into Italy heading south into Rome to and Mazbar. Again they were stunned at the massive fortifications guarding the settlement. Fiach took then on a guided tour of Rome itself, showing them the grandeur as well as the extreme poverty. She explained the wealth and greatness of the Roman Empire came at the cost of the oft grinding poverty and subjugation of it’s own citizens.

Traveling on to Ostia they took ship to Stromboli, then on to Zawiyat/Minqar Rabih and finally Alexandria where they saw the Fortress surrounding Zamrab. They joined in the celebration of the new year. The hot dry desert wasteland was totally foreign to their experiences. They marveled at the ancient Egyptian monuments along the Nile. They returned to Barmaz arriving in mid February then back to Gibraltar by the end of the month.

When they left Gibraltar they headed to Madeira for a 2 day stay then on to the Azores for a 3 week tour, back to Maderia for another brief tour, then to the Savage Islands and on to the Canary Islands before heading back to Madeira before heading to Gibraltar in time to join the spring 365 colonial fleet.

Ibiza received 8000 colonists, Bel en Mer took 2000, the Isle of Man had the largest influx at 10,000, the Shetland Islands received 6050 colonists. The final 3000 colonists went all the way to Bazram. The Sami elders were impressed with the organization and skills of the Clan Corvo.

It was mid may when they returned to Snasa, the elders couldn’t get done telling how impressed they were by the Clan Corvo. The extent of the Clan Corvo boggled their minds but they confirmed the analogy Fiach used comparing the number of Clan members to the number of stars was quite apt. They enthusiastically recommended joining the Clan Corvo would be beneficial to the Sami.

Fiach repeated her urging of the Sami to join the Clan. She explained those who wanted could opt out of joining and would be allowed to keep their homes and lifestyles as long as they remained peaceful. Upon joining the Clan, the Sami would be allowed to move into other Clan Corvo areas. Their youth would be able to attend the Clan Corvo University. They were encouraged to join the Pathfinders learning to sail Clan Corvo ships and learning road building and similar skills.

For six weeks Raben traveled with the elders to dozens of settlements to talk with the Sami villagers. By the end of the summer over 10,000 Sami joined the Clan Corvo. The new area went north to the coastal islands of Nord Heroy {GM 65.972417, 12.268732} and Donna {GM 66.315970, 14.149496}, which are the entry point into the Ranfjorden which ends at the village of Mo I Rana {GM 66.315970, 14.149496} which is 1 mile south of the arctic circle.

Fiach then headed south reaching Gibraltar. The ship was being checked over and re-supplied while she checked out the progress on the site. A the dredging and mole construction had created a nice harbor. Cisterns and water capture channels were functioning. Tunnels were being dug into the rock. The old Greco-Roman altars and temples dedicated to Hercules were dismantled. The few complaints that action drew, coming from residents in the Roman ports across the bay, were quickly extinguished by reminding the complainers that Hercules was a false god in the era of Christianity.

Then things changed. Raven mail messages had been sent out to notify Fiach of a disaster. Just 35 days before, on July 21, 365, a massive earthquake shook the eastern Mediterranean sending destructive tsunamis crashing into the shores. Alexandria and the Nile delta were devastated but Zamrab had been spared. The Clan Corvo bases at Zawiyat/Minqar Rabih and Kardiotissa had been hit hard but with no loss of life.

Fiach immediately ordered a massive mobilization of the Corvus Shipping to take food, medicines, clothing, and lumber to the devastated areas. Fiach ordered repair fleets sent to Zawiyat/Minqar Rabih and Kardiotissa to rebuild the bases. She promptly took the fastest vessel available to Alexandria.

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Very Enjoyable

I'm still enjoying your vision of an alternative to the collapse of Europe during the decline of the Roman Empire. Keep up the good work!