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WAR GODS OF AFRICA, Alternate History - Shola Adedeji FEEDBACK OKAY


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Name - Shola Adedeji


Title(s) - War Gods of Africa, The Hollow Glory of a Dumb Kingdom

 

Genre - Alternate History

 

Comps - 

• the “what if?” spirit of S.M. Stirling’s Black Chamber series.

• the world building of Guy Gavriel Kay’s The Lions of Al Rassan.

• significantly influenced by the originality of Octavia Butler’s Kindred.

 

Hook Line -

It is the 1300’s, an untested and naive emissary from a technologically advanced nation in Africa, inadvertently finds himself the only one capable of preventing a genocidal war set into motion by a murderous Pope and his Imperial Roman allies at Constantinople.

 

Short Pitch -

In the 14th century, the nation of Yahwudi enjoys its existence as a technologically advanced nation centralized in the sudanian savanna. Nawaa is an emissary sent to Spain as the European continent reels from an affliction known simply as The Pestilence. Spurred deeper into sickly Europe through his concern for newfound friends, he attracts the attention of the Avignon Papacy. Given access to the palace, Nawaa unwittingly strikes fear and suspicion into the heart of the serpentine Pope Clement VI by his demonstration of Fire Sand, the alchemical catalyst behind Yahwudin technology. Clement immediately decides to unify Europe in paranoid preparation for “The Black Death” he imagines to be arriving in the form of a Yahwudin invasion. The East-West schism is undone by the Papacy with the Eastern Roman Empire graciously accepting the truce, soon infected as they are with Clement’s newfound fears.

The factious nations of Europe unite into one body, the unprecedented turn of events causing Nawaa to despair at the prospect of returning home. Miraculously rescued by the forsaken Knights Templar, he is left questioning everything as new villains and benefactors spring up on every side. He nevertheless strives through the unparalleled carnage in the desperate hope that ultimately, the true enemy will be found at the end of his rifle.

 

Prose -

A gust of wind marked The Holy Roman Emperor’s entry into the Chambre du Cerf, Pope Clement VI’s favorite room in all the Papal palace. The unmistakable scent of burning flesh rushed through his nostrils having been carried inside by the newly opened door.

A trio of papal enforcers entered in from the tower’s staircase. They waited for the Emperor to pass and then moved behind him, several chained men in tow. Having no doubt caught the whiff of immolated bodies upon entry, one of the captives began begging for his life.

“We didn’t see or hear anything!” He exclaimed. “Have mer-“

The man’s request was cut short by an armored backhand to the face.

“Keep quiet!” His assailant commanded.

He examined his freshly bloodied iron mitten, its disc shaped rondel had clung to the man’s mouth shearing it to pieces as he followed through his strike.

“If you bastards had departed as you were so ordered this wouldn’t be happening.”

The assaulted man placed his hands over the tattered bits of flesh that hung from where his mouth used to be, whimpering violently.

“For what it’s worth,” the armored assailant began. “I didn’t mean to do that.”

Another one of the chained men scoffed in incredulity, “Aww look,” he smiled. “He’s the considerate type of murderer.”

Though wearing a brave face; it was pale. A telltale sign of the fear that assuredly coursed through his bowels.

“His name is Rigault, by the way,” the man boldly continued. “I’m sure you want to know the name of the man you permanently disfigured. Unintentionally of course.”

The enforcer wore a look of dissatisfaction as he began to pick out the pieces of lip that had become lodged in his gauntlet’s unintended circular saw and its various crevices and articulations.

The Emperor, Charles IV, turned to address Pope Clement.

“Your Holiness,” he began. “The ringleaders are confirmed dead and your nephew assures me that this is the last of them.”

As if on cue, a young man draped in red Cardinal attire emerged from the staircase door and hustled toward them. Pierre Roger de Beaufort was the Papacy’s youngest Cardinal and the Pope’s namesake.

Charles addressed the young Cardinal as he stepped over the fetal prisoner, gurgling in agony.

“I was just ensuring our father that this is the last of them.”

The Cardinal nodded in agreement, “Yes, the five that were immolated and these three were the only ones of the Papal Collectores unaccounted for at the time in question.”

Clement remained seated as he watched the bloodied Frenchman continue to writhe on the floor.

“And what do they know?” he asked, averting his gaze upon Charles.

Charles kept his eyes to the ground, refusing to look the Pope in the eye, “I’m sorry for having you go through this, My Father.”

“What did they hear, Wenceslaus?”

“Nothing!” The captive screamed, unclasping his dripping hands from his face.

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