ancient collection of stone
tablets recently found in a
cave has made it possible to reveal some of the history of a
previously unheard of kingdom that once existed in central Africa.
It was a highly developed nation for its time, around 3000 BC, having a
written language, cities and roads, a system of international commerce,
and government by a constitutional monarchy.
The tablets found in the cave were apparantly an attempt by the
Akirumans, as they called themselves, to preserve a record of their
dying civilization. Unfortunately, no other archeological evidence
exists, due to the fact that the Akirumans built nearly everything out
of wood and other biodegradable materials, and the jungle has now
overgrown the site of their country. Translation of the tablets was
easier than it might have been because their language strongly
resembles Old English, in which I am fluent, and which leads me to
believe that the Akirumans were ancient ancestors of the Angles and the
Saxons who later settled in England.
The tablets relating early history appear to have resorted to myth and
legend, while later volumes appear factual, though biased. This is
common among civilizations, and it is difficult to say which approach
gives the reader a truer picture of events and people.
The following is from the first tablet:
In the year 'nothing' the great and mighty King Clod was born whole
a grown man from a tree in the jungle. In the beginning was the wood,
and the wood was with Clod, and the wood was Clod; blessed be the wood
And Clod rose and drew a sword from a stone and said, 'Behold, for I
shall make Akiruma a powerful nation which shall endure forever.' Then
Clod roamed Akiruma and gathered unto him a great army, and he drove
out the hostile barbarians, and he said to the people, 'Behold, for I
am Clod, your king.'
And the people said, 'Verily, he is King Clod.' This was the year
'one'. Clod chose a queen from among the lovely wenches offered him,
and she was called Clodette. They bore a son, and he was Balded.
Clod was revered as the founding father of Akiruma. His victories
over the barbarians enabled the Akirumans to practice agriculture with
less danger and more stability, which led to population growth and the
beginnings of civilized life.
However, his monarchy was but nominal. Akiruma had four major cities:
Salad, in the south, Selegna in the west, Kroy in the east, and
Clodsdale, the newly created capitol city located in the north central
area. It took weeks to travel from one to the other. The cities ran
themselves, the farmers farmed, and the King's only task was to oversee
the army that guarded the borders.
This remained the situation during the reign of Balded, who ruled from
55 AC (After Clod), when Clod died a natural death (legend has it that
he walked off into the jungle and reverted to a tree), until 101, when
he was murdered by his own son, Watt, who then assumed the throne.
Succession by patricide thereafter became an unbroken tradition in
Akiruma. It was widely accepted that the act of killing his father,
thereby putting the desire for power above sentiment, was proof that
the prince was qualified to be king. This system tended to replace the
monarch before he became too old to govern. It also resulted in the
practice of planned parenthood by kings, sometimes retroactively.
In 113, when he was but 12 years old, Watson killed King Watt by luring
him into a pit trap the boy had dug on the palace grounds. Later
regretting his deed, Watson had a new royal residence erected, much
larger and finer than the old one, and he named it the Watt Castle.
Beginning around 217 AC, Akiruma maintained hostile though
technically peaceful relations with a rival nation to the north,
Ayesur. The reasons for the hostility are uncertain. Akirumans seem to
have believed that the Aysurians had a different form of government,
but it is not clear from the tablets how it differed or why this
mattered. Nevertheless, both nations maintained huge armies to protect
themselves from one another.
Akiruma was, by this time, a highly populated kingdom, with several
large cities separated by wide expanses of farmland. It owed its unity
and greatness to its excellent system of roadways and to its
camel-based transportation system.
The camel was introduced to Akiruma in 144, imported as a curiosity
from North Africa. Prior to that time the kingdom had been a loose
confederation of cities, isolated and agricultural. The people took to
the camel as a duck to water. The animals were imported in droves, and
soon there was hardly a street in any city that did not have a new or
used camel lot. Highways were built, and intercity trade and travel
turned Akiruma into a cosmopolitan country. Camel power ran grain mills
and lumber mills. Camel caravans ventured outside the kingdom,
beginning international commerce. Art, music, and sex flourished. The
economy boomed, and many fortunes were made.
In 194 an inventor named Rufus made the discovery that camel manure
mixed with cconut milk made an excellent building material. He called
it 'plup'. It began to supplant wood in housing construction. By
varying the formula, it could be used to form cookware, sportswear,
tools, souveniers, and children's toys. Thus, the camel became an even
more integral part of the growing economy.
Even prior to this development, when attempts were made to introduce
the horse and the donkey, they were met with disinterest. The horse
seemed too dangerous and the ass too stubborn. Akirumans loved their
camels, and would accept no substitute.
The year 220 ushered in a revolutionary invention by a scientist named
Oneglass, who developed the camel manure explosive device, commonly
known as the S-bomb. Useful in roadbuilding and demolition, the S-bomb
was also a fearsome weapon. Previously combat had been hand-to-hand.
Akiruman soldiers traditionally used the fukwuth, a club smeared with
Now the S-bomb could be flung with a catapult into an enemy stronghold.
The resulting explosion would drive foul-smelling shrapnel throughout
the fort, maiming indiscriminately. Both Akiruma and Ayesur vowed never
to use this weapon first in a war, though neither quite believed the
By 230 the camel-spurred economy had stagnated, though it was kept
artificially supported by salaries paid to the huge army
which was justified by the Ayesur threat. Ayesur, of course, had
similar problems, and explained its army as a guard against Akiruman
aggression. This stalemate became the status quo.
Around 239 Akirumans became aware of a disturbing problem. Camels were
no longer breeding inside the kingdom in
sufficient numbers to fulfill demands. They had always reproduced
slower in steamy central Africa, but now they had slowed to a trickle.
Camels could be imported from north Africa, but the price was high.
Akiruma began to worry about its increasing dependance on foreign
camels. Occasionally bad weather or a raid by the barbaric tribes on
the trade route
resulted in temporary shortages. Many of the camel lots closed down,
and camel-less citizents stood in line at the open ones.
Again attempts were made to introduce horses and donkeys, and some
people, desperate for affordable transportation,
or work animals, began to buy them, but they were often looked down
upon by their peers as odd and un-Akiruman.
It was commonly believed that the Ayesurians used horses and donkeys,
and the adoption of any practice of Ayesur was socially unacceptable in
Akiruma. Only the ruggest of individualists continued to brave the
ostracism, verbal abuse, and occasional attacks with a fukwuth for
their maverick rationality.
Akiruman conservatism and blind prejudice eventually led to the
downfall of the civilization. As the camel shortage became more and
more severe, travel and trade within the nation slowed nearly to a
standstill. The related camel manure shortage closed down the plup
industry, while the government continued to stockpile manure with which
to make S-bombs.
With trade and travel in sharp decline, farmers reverted to subsisting
on their own crops. Tax revenue diminished, so the government could no
longer pay the large army, and the soldiers began to wander off and
travel in search of opportunity. The merchants and workers abandoned
the cities, and the last of the kings, Kneedor, unneeded as a ruler,
lived to be an old man, for his son Knore knew no ambition for the
And so a civilization melted away, leaving no trace but one historian's
carved stones. Even the once-mighty weapons became but fertilizer in