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Clan Amir of Berant

Ernest Bywater

Cover

Clan Amir of Berant

Ernest Bywater as Ernest Edwards

All rights reserved © 2007 - 2019

This is a compilation of the books below in the chronological order of the events in them. They follow the problems of a country fighting for it's independence, plus the key parts in the lives of their warrior leaders and the lives of the country's people. Some sections of duplicated background material have been deleted or amended without the loss of content to make for easier reading, but some of the duplicated material hasn't been removed due to how the original books were written and it was felt the changes would detract from the story the material is in.

About Berant

A Fighting Heritage

Falcon Chick

Falcon Fledgling

The Day of Blood

The Falcon in Flight

The Shukra War

The U MAMA War

As well as the book titles above they have also been previously published as the two anthologies:

The Falcon

The Berant - U MAMA Wars

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Clan Amir of Berant

Copyright © 2007 - 2019 by Ernest Bywater as Ernest Edwards

This is a work of fiction. All of the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. All rights are reserved by the author, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

Product names, brands, and other trademarks referred to within this book are the property of their respective trademark holders. Unless otherwise specified there is no association between the author and any trademark holder, nor are any expressed or implied. Nor does it express any endorsement by them, or of them. Use of a term in this book should not be regarded as affecting the validity of any trademark, service mark, or registered trademark.

Cover Art

The foreground image of the bird is the copyright of Eric Sloan and used here with his permission. The background is from an image titled DSC00686Cairns.jpg uploaded to Wikipedia by Tim35 released to the public domain on 22 May, 2007. The manipulation, and adding of text is by Ernest Bywater. All rights to the cover image are reserved by the copyright owners.

29 April 2021 version

Published by Ernest Bywater

E-Book ISBN: 978-1-387-34335-5

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Dedication

Over the years I've seen many definitions of what a hero is. I can't remember if this is a direct quote or paraphrasing of what another has said, but I believe a hero is:

Someone who does what they see as their duty or the right thing to do in exceptional circumstances regardless of the dangers or risks to themselves.

All of the stories in the series in this anthology are dedicated to the many heroes who are the brave men, women, and children who've fought for their people or their country against human or animal dangers or in natural disasters during times of peace or times of war. This is especially dedicated to those who have fallen in the front lines while they strove with all they had to help or protect others. People such as firefighters, medical staff, police officers, soldiers, sailors, airmen, or general civilians helping out in an emergency.

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from 'The Fallen'

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:

Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.

At the going down of the sun and in the morning

We will remember them.”

by Laurence Binyon

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The titles in use are a Story, a Chapter, a Sub-chapter, and a section.

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Note: These stories were all originally written in the US Trade 6 x 9 inch book format as several books and were then reformatted for an anthology print edition of an 8.25 x 10.75 inch hard cover book which is no longer used by the original printer so it is now in a US Letter 8.5 x 11.0 inch book format. The format changes caused a few odd widows and orphans in the print edition so I worked to minimise the number of short paragraph breaks across pages with each format change. A few other minor layout changes have also been made to reduce the overall book size and print costs by reducing the number of pages in the book. At the same time as making these changes the stories were reviewed, which resulted in some word choice and sentence structure changes to provide a smoother read with a clearer understanding of the story as the original story texts were often a little compressed to fit the original book page sizes.

While the format changes affected how the stories displayed in the print book versions they had no effect on how the e-book versions displayed. However, the way the e-book versions are made has also changed to provide what should be a smaller and easier to use e-book files now available through the publishers' websites.

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Author's Note on Australian properties: The majority of the large rural properties in Australia are not freehold titles, but are long term leases of the land from the State Government. Most were ninety-nine year leases when originally leased out. People sell the lease to the land to another person when they wish to leave the property. At that time the buyer of the lease can negotiate with the State Government to pay to have the lease extended out to ninety-nine years from the date of their purchase of the lease, or they can just let it run for the remainder of its existing term. At the end of the ninety-nine years the current leaseholder is the first person to be offered a new lease on the land. When a lease changes hands people usually negotiate an extension of the lease when they buy the lease.

Most of the rural leases have an initial lease purchase price paid to the leaseholder to take over the lease, and then there's usually an annual lease fee paid to the State Government to use the land for the stated purpose in the lease. In the past there have been different State Government lease schemes, so not all of the leases are the same. However, the basics are the same and aren't worth going into further detail about them. The only times the State Government buys a rural lease property back from a leaseholder is when the lease is current and the government wants to use the land for their own purposes. If a person no longer wishes to work a rural lease they can surrender it up to the State Government and leave the property without paying any more lease fees to the State Government. Thus the State Government gets the lease back for free and they can then sell it again.

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About Berant

Ernest Bywater as Ernest Edwards

All rights reserved © 2007

Recent History

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Author's Note: This book section about Berant was originally an appendix because some of the information in it details the situation after the first real story about the rebellion. However, my editors convinced me to place this at the front of the book for those who want to read about the society before they read the stories. What little that does change between the first story and the second story has little bearing on the stories, so I've moved it. There is a little bit of duplicated information which allows people to skip this section if they wish to do so but not lose anything important to the story.

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The Amir (pronounced a-mear) Clan has ruled Berant since the sixth century AD / CE. For over a thousand years they're the premier clan in the Amiri tribe (pronounced a-mear-e) and the largest clan in the country. The crown goes to the eldest male of the senior Amir line, usually the King's eldest son, unless an Amir Clan Council rules that person ineligible, which is a very rare event. If the King has no sons it then goes to his eldest living nephew. If no living males can be found from the descendants of the last three generations the same process is applied to the King's daughters, nieces, and cousins with their husband becoming the new King. This process then goes back another generation at a time until one can be found, or all of the descendants for the last ten generations are known to be dead.

Berant becomes a French Colony in the late eighteenth century by an agreement with the King who wants to avoid a losing war. Spears and arrows aren't much good against firearms and cannon. The King sees this so he negotiates the best result he can get for his people. The country is hardly affected by this as they have no publicly known natural resources of any value. Nothing that's worth the effort of an organised removal. The country is untouched in the Great War (later known as World War One), and the Japanese occupation in the Second World War is little more than a minor inconvenience for most of the people. The French are asked to not return after the Japanese and Allies go while leaving behind them enough modern weapons to keep the French out of the country. The French don't see Berant as worth the cost of conquering it in the mid-twentieth century. The same is true for the neighbouring countries of Dareed and Shukra. Dareed and Shukra did have some natural resources worth taking, but most of those resources were removed by the French prior to the Second World War, and what's left isn't worth fighting for.

The ruler of Berant from 1922 to January 1st, 1946, was King Marshad, a wastrel. His father thought it a good idea to send him to Europe for his education in the hopes this would let Marshad fit in better with the French Colonial Government and to be able to deal with the French a lot better than he, the current King, does. However, schooling in Paris from ten years of age has Marshad attending school there at the start of the twentieth century. Instead of learning how to work hard he learns how to party hard and to enjoy life to its fullest. He's only interested in having fun. The country is lucky his younger brothers are trained at home under the tribal laws, so they do the real running and administration of the country.

The only good thing that can be said about King Marshad is he was a lot better than the Rebel Generals who killed him in January, 1946, to introduce a 'democratic' government of the type that never has a public vote. The difference between them is marginal, but Marshad didn't arbitrarily kill people in large groups. No formal laws were ever passed by the Rebels.

When the Generals attacked the Palace the Princes fought a fierce battle with the Rebels to cover the escape of four Princesses: the King's two daughters and his two nieces, the daughters of the Princes. The Princes, their sons, and all of the Palace Guard gave their lives for their country's future. Proving the country still had warriors who were prepared to stand up and fight for what they believed in was the right thing to do.

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When King Edward comes to power in December, 1948, he changes the way the monarchy works, and he creates a constitutional monarchy. This is difficult because much of the country is under tribal law and the people want the old monarchy as they were unhappy with democracy as introduced by the Rebels. Also, large sections of the country no longer have formal tribal councils because the tribal councils had been totally destroyed by the Rebels' pogroms. King Edward needs something acceptable to both areas. Using the Australian Constitution as a base, because he's familiar with it, he creates a hybrid variant to make both groups happy while he introduces a high level of elected democratic government for the domestic management while maintaining the International affairs as a Royal responsibility. When voted on the Constitution receives ninety-nine percent support of the population. After getting the Constitution through he sets about creating a uniform set of laws for the whole country. The process isn't complete, and it never will be due to the continued existence of some of the Tribal Councils wishing to maintain some aspects of their Tribal Culture. It takes sixty years for most of the laws to be ninety-nine percent uniform across the country.

Later there's a summary of the government and legal systems after King Edward's reforms are put into place. This isn't a detailed list of all of the laws, although some very important ones are mentioned, but it is an analysis of the system itself. Many people see this as a perfect constitutional monarchy while others don't. This Constitution works for Berant and its people, and that's the best you can say for any political or governmental system.

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Selection of the Monarch

The head of government is the King. Under the new Constitution the King is the husband of one of the King's daughters or nieces or cousins. If need be the line tracks back one generation at a time until a suitable candidate is found. The Amir Clan Council decides which of the suitable candidates is to be the King. When possible the King selects a suitable heir whilst still alive, and he helps to train them for the role. This way there's no point in intra-family squabbles as a male born to the Royal Family can never rule, while their brothers-in-law have to worry about being voted in by the eligible clan members because only blood members of the clan have a vote.

After King Edward the King has no control of any money or assets of the clan or his own. King Edward introduced the change but he couldn't make it retroactive. King Herbert is the first King the new Royal property laws apply to. Any property or assets he has must be handed back to his family or handed over to the clan trust when he's appointed. This way the clan has a control over the King by simply refusing to finance his actions. Also, the Clan Council can recall him by a unanimous vote.

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Important Swords

In Berant there are some very ancient and important swords. They're so old their creation is more legend than history. One was forged for the King and the others were part of a set where one was forged for each major clan.

The 'Sound of Battle' can only be worn by the King or a member of the Royal Family. It makes a ringing sound like a bell when struck against another sword in battle or against something solid. One use is to strike it three times to call all of the clans to war as a group in support of the King.

The other is the 'Clan Honour Sword' and it's inscribed with the clan's motto with one for each clan at that time.

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Geography

Berant is an old kingdom in tropical Asia where the mountains are tropical jungle or dense tropical forest. The majority of forest trees are exotic hardwoods while the jungle is mostly softwoods. The jungles, forests, and plains abound with local wildlife, most of it is small and harmless. Apart from humans the only dangerous animals in Berant are the local mountain lions who live in the tropical jungle very close to the tops of the mountain ridges, most are in the Burran and Amir Mountains. Attacks by lions are very rare, but they do occur; usually when people wander into the lions' hunting ranges and they don't take proper precautions to avoid the lions.

The western border is the centre ridge tops of the Burran mountains. This high mountain range is the western border of the Kingdoms of Shukra, Berant, and most of Dareed; with the lower quarter of Dareed being a peninsula. The almost straight ocean shoreline forms the eastern border of these countries. Most of the shoreline is high sheer cliffs with many nice bays and beaches along it. Berant's southern border is the Darunch Mountains with Dareed south of the mountains. The northern border is the Sharten Mountains with Shukra north of Berant. In land area Dareed is almost the size of Berant and Shukra is about the same size as Berant.

Berant is like an out of shape hour glass because it pinches in on the western side. The narrowest point is at the Amir Mountains where the country is only one hundred and sixty kilometres wide, and twenty kilometres of that are the mountainous tropical jungle of the Burran Mountains. The Amir Mountains run from there to the coast to make an effective barrier that almost splits the country in half.

Northern Berant consists of the Sharten Plain running from the Sharten Mountains to the Berant River. This area is a rough rectangle of three hundred and twenty kilometres across (east - west) and four hundred and eighty kilometres deep (north - south). The Amiri Plain runs four hundred kilometres south from the river to the Amir Mountains. Southern Berant consists of the Kotar Plain running six hundred and forty kilometres from the Amir Mountains to the Darunch Mountains with the Kotar river splitting this almost in half to create the Northern Kotar Plain and the Southern Kotar Plain. This plain widens out from one hundred and sixty kilometres at the Amir Mountains to three hundred kilometres at the Darunch Mountains. Dareed is seven hundred and twenty kilometres long from the Darunch Mountains to the peninsula tip. It's from two hundred and eighty to three hundred kilometres wide until the peninsula, which is one hundred and twenty kilometres wide for most of its one hundred kilometres of length. Shukra is much more of a rectangle of three hundred kilometres across (east - west) and nine hundred and sixty kilometres deep (north - south) with the Shuk Mountains as its Northern border. The assimilation of Dareed into Berant after the Battle at Marley's Landing was a very significant increase in the size of Berant's land area and population.

There are many known passes across the Sharten, Amir, Darunch, and Shuk Mountains, and these are all marked on good maps. There are no known passes across the Burran Mountains, or if they're known they're well kept secrets of the family or clan or tribe. Rumours of hidden passes have been around for over a thousand years, but none have been found by the authorities or reported to them.

The capital city, Berana, is sited on the southern side of the Berant River and is virtually the centre of the original old kingdom that consisted of the Sharten and Amiri plains. The Kotar Plains became part of Berant a thousand years ago. King Edward set the Parliamentary Government up in Berana since it was almost the centre of the country at that time, and he made the old Royal Palace a national museum and culture centre. He established his own palace, Highcliff, between the coastal towns of View Port and Carmel about sixteen kilometres north of the Amir Mountains, almost at the opposite end of the Amiri Plain to the Parliament.

Carmel is a holiday and tourist resort established by King Edward. He also built a major marina between Carmel and View Port to attract International visitors and money. The administrative domestic government is at Berana while the main government with International affairs is at Highcliff. With the King now living in the middle of his tribal lands and safely surrounded by loyal members of his tribe and clan it'll be a lot harder for another group of Rebels to kill the King. This arrangement also makes it harder for any national disaster to take out the whole governmental structure. Also, being near the main tourist resorts allows them to use the Palace and monarchy as a tourist attraction. This works well because it brings in many tourist dollars from people wanting to see a monarchy in action.

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Financial System

Over the centuries Berant has used three financial systems. Prior to the French colonisation all transactions were by a form of barter where goods or services were exchanged on an immediate basis or over a time period. People gave their word and they honoured it. Promises were kept. If a person was unable to meet a promise their family, clan, or tribe did it for them and collected off them later; in blood if need be. This was because an individuals actions also reflected on the honour of the person's kin and tribe.

The French administration brought French Francs, the concepts of accounts, credit, bookkeeping, record keeping, bureaucracy, and corruption. The crime rate soared. The Berant people weren't angels, but theft, rape, and murder were next to non-existent as tribal laws had ways to handle them. Raiding between tribes was a common thing, but once you got out of a tribe's lands with anything you stole it was a successful raid and the goods were yours. This meant the people were raiding (i.e. stealing) from other tribes and not within their tribe. Rape and murder had some very severe punishments that made death the easy option. The French colonists taught the tribes how to steal from their families, clans, and tribes through overcharging, not meeting debts, and asking for bribes. The honest people of the tribes learned all about corruption from the French Colonial bureaucrats. Most of the tribal members remained honest, but not all of the tribal members were honest in all of their dealings after that.

After the French were refused permission to return following the Second World War King Marshad introduced a new monetary system by calling them dollars and cents to differentiate them from the French Francs. They had to make new notes and coins, so they did a whole new system with new designs. There was very little organised International trade until the mid 1960s, so external monetary matters were of no interest and had very little effect on Berant. By the time they did the trade was very evenly balanced. All this time individuals were involved in local and International trade using the traditional barter processes. People near the borders traded goods with people from over the border and cash wasn't used much at all, until the last third of the twentieth century AD / CE. For the little International trade conducted overseas foreign currencies were used.

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Revenue Sources

There are four main sources of revenue collected for the running of the government at all levels.

Customs Excise collected by Customs Officers are used only by the King for funding his areas of authority.

Sales Tax is collected by the Parliament and Tribal Councils of the area where the sale takes place, the relevant authorities collect it and spend it on the areas of their responsibility. This is the only form of revenue the Tribal Councils can count on receiving. Sales Tax rates are Constitutional Laws and are the same across the country.

Income Taxes are levied on all corporate businesses and are collected by Parliament for funding their areas of responsibility. The Parliament is the only government body to collect Income Tax, despite it also applying to businesses in Tribal Lands. This is used to fund the police services, the Berant Army, and a few other nationwide services they also provide in the Tribal Lands by agreement with the Tribal Councils. Individuals, owner operated businesses, and partnerships are not subject to income tax. Incorporating a business allows the owners to limit their liability to the business, but it also subjects them to income tax.

To further constrain the various government authorities rates of customs duty and taxes are hard to change because these are all Constitutional Laws which the bodies can't arbitrarily change, see Classes of Laws. Tight purse strings should keep all of the levels of government under reasonable control. This is all in the Berant Constitution. People think very hard about voting for tax increases before voting them in.

Donations are fifty percent tax deductible and can be accepted by the King, the Parliament, or the Tribal Council, but they can be used only for the task or tasks nominated by the donor. Individuals and businesses can make donations and designate what they're to be used for. However, most donations are made by corporate businesses because they get the best tax benefits out of making donations. It doesn't matter who the donations are made to, they're still a deduction for the business income tax purposes. While donations are a way of giving the King or Tribal Councils additional funds while cutting down on what the business pays to the Parliament, it also means the business does pay out a lot more money with a donation than if they had simply paid the income tax because they only get a fifty percent deduction of the donation from their total taxable income value.

Fines for breaking the laws is a fifth revenue source, but because it isn't regular it's not seen as a true revenue source. The money from the fines goes to the relevant authority whose laws were broken. In most cases the money from the fines is added to the budget for the service responsible for administering the law broken. Also, part of the punishment for certain major crimes can include the confiscation of money and other assets of the criminals, and all confiscations go to the King for disposal and use for his areas of responsibility.

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Authority Structure

The King has overall authority in all things. However, the basic day to day running of the country is done by the Parliament and the Tribal Councils. The King has varying levels of authority on the final approval of what they do and how they do it, see Classes of Laws. The Berant Constitution acknowledges the King's Royal authority and he voluntarily subjugates himself to the Constitution by passing many of those authorities and powers to the Constitution. The Constitution also recognises the responsibilities and restraints placed on all of the people and the other authorities by the Constitution.

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King

The King is the head of state who has the final responsibility where he has to give final approval to all laws before they can come into effect. He may reject any proposed law. Any rejected domestic administration law may be put to the people at the next election, the King and the Parliament must abide by the outcome of the people's vote on the law. Such a law requires another vote before it can be changed in any way as this process raises the new law to the same status as a Constitutional Law.

The King is also the very last avenue of judicial appeal for all legal matters across the country.

The King has four main bureaucracies working for him. He is responsible for providing all of the staff, facilities, equipment, regulations, laws, security, policies, and procedures for them, including salaries and pensions. The bureaucracies are:

1. The Office of International Affairs. It covers embassies and all International agreements, immigration, tourist visas, etc. It includes the Royal Customs Service which administers customs operations and the collection of excise.

2. The Royal Guards. Military services loyal to the crown, and it can't exceed five percent of the population.

3. The Protector's Office. This is responsible for the protection of the citizens, and it has special sub-offices. Its head is the Royal Protector when there is one, and the King when there isn't a Royal Protector appointed by the King.

- Royal Protector - the King's special representative who has the full authority to act in the King's name.

- Royal Intelligence Service (RIS) - collects and analyses all domestic and foreign information: i.e. spies. This group also conducts investigations into many matters. It has some special agents appointed by the King to act with the King's authority as needed, and they report directly to the King. The special RIS agents appointed in this manner have the special designation of Falcon and their code number.

- Child Services Office - child welfare services, they investigate claims of abuse etc., oversee orphans and similar matters; including the welfare of the mentally disadvantaged. In depth investigations are often done by the police or RIS upon a request from the CSO to conduct an investigation on their behalf.

- Slave Welfare Office - checks slaves aren't abused or mistreated by their masters, and it administers the regulations on slaves. The police and RIS assist in investigations when requested to by the SWO.

- Citizen's Welfare Office - investigates any reported abuses of people, the CWO usually asks RIS to conduct any investigations for them. The CWO also administers welfare payments and support services.

4. Royal Advisory. A group of advisers to the King which he selects people for as required or wanted.

The King must provide, staff, and fund his own residence as well as the Royal Reception Area which is used for official functions within his area of responsibilities. He must also provide any shortfall in operating funds for the organisations that assist him in carrying out his constitutional responsibilities and duties. Such as the Customs Service and the embassies, etc.

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Parliament

The Parliament draws its power and authority from the King via the Constitution. It's responsible for the limited day to day administration and management of the domestic aspects of the country, as set out in the Constitution. It has two elected bodies: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The House of Representatives' members are elected every four years, one hundred members with each representing one percent of the eligible registered voters of Berant. Voting boundaries are reviewed every ten years or when there's a major change in the country's population or boundaries, like the adding of new lands. This house drafts the laws and actually administers them. Voting is on a weighted scale of voter priorities. The members of this house vote on who will be Prime Minister from the elected Representatives, and that person then selects a cabinet of ministers. The Prime Minister usually ends up being the leader of the majority party in the House.

The Senate has one hundred members elected to serve for eight years, fifty are elected every four years. They're elected from a single national voting group. If a number of people register to stand together as a party then the votes for that party are split equally between all of the members of the party. No person can be appointed unless they have the support of at least one percent of the electorate. If forty-five people get ninety-six percent of the votes and the forty-sixth has only a half of one percent, then only forty-five senators are appointed at that election. This house reviews proposed laws and may reject them. Voting is on a straight one vote one point basis with no priorities. The one with the most vote points wins the election and is appointed. In the Senate this means the top fifty with the most points, as long as each person's votes are one percent of the electorate or more.

Should an appointed person step down during their term in either house the eligible person with the next most points is appointed. This discourages whimsical or politically motivated resignations.

Parliament controls all of the lands that aren't Royal Reserves or Tribal Lands. The Parliament controls and manages the Army, which can't exceed eight percent of the population. It appoints the magistrates and judges for the legal system. There is a special body established to review on the eligibility of judges which also provides advice to the Tribal Councils on the suitability of the people selected to be Amur Elder (Wise Elder) of that tribe. The Amur Elder is the equivalent to the Chief Justice for their tribe.

The Berant Constitution is quite clear about the Parliament being there solely to allow the people to govern and administer internal matters. Since International affairs are nothing to do with self-administration or self-government those powers are retained by the King to limit the risks of foreign groups 'buying' the Parliament and giving the country away. Many professional politicians get very upset about the powers the King retains when they see the power politicians have in other countries and how their power in Berant is limited. Thus they seek ways to increase their powers by getting them from the King.

The legal system is: Magistrate's Court, District Court (single judge, or judge and jury - as chosen by the accused), Appeals Court (panel of judges), Supreme Court (single judge), Appellant's Supreme Court (panel of judges), the King.

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Note: As required by the Constitution new lands always come under Parliamentary control, regardless of what they'd been before being assimilated by Berant.

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Tribal Council

Tribal Councils now draw their power and authority from the King via the Constitution. They're responsible for the day to day management and administration of the domestic aspects of their tribal lands as set out in the Constitution. The Councils' membership and appointment method are by the traditional methods used by that tribe for appointing tribal elders. These bodies make and pass laws as per their traditional methods. They may raise a militia from within their population if they wish to, but the militia can't exceed two percent of their population, unless approved to by the King and Parliament.

The legal system is: judgment by an Elder, Chief Elder, Amur Elder, Council of Elders, the King.

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Note: Prior to the Berant Constitution the power of the Tribal Council came from its members being the leaders of their clans and them representing the members of their clans. Also, the Council of Tribes had a lot more power in dealing with the King as a united group to also provide some direction as well as advice on many matters. With the loss of so many Tribal Councils during the rebellion this traditional system wasn't viable in much of the country due to the heavy loses sustained, so it was changed to the above system so it could retain power and authority while still maintaining as many of the old ways as possible.

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The Council of Tribes is an organisation where representatives from all of the Tribal Councils get together to discuss matters that concern more than one tribe. It's a loose coordination body without any powers or responsibilities. Each tribal council has a member on it, the King and Parliament have observers only, although their input is welcomed. With the reduction of tribes to two it almost never meets after the rebellion. Most matters needing co-ordination are usually done via special meetings called by the King or the tribal Chief Elders. Matters are often sorted out by the Chief Elders visiting each other to discuss them, then they reach an agreement on the issues.

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Classes of Laws

There are three classes of laws in Berant. None of the laws recognise a legal entity that isn't a living physical person. All companies are seen as the property of their owners or the senior executive officer living in the country. Due to International politics this is later changed for some restricted situations involving International companies.

Royal Edicts are just that, a written statement by the King as to what he wants done, and it becomes law. These usually apply only to the areas that are his sole constitutional responsibility. Most relate to International affairs, customs operations, and welfare activities. If he feels the need to change a law relating to domestic aspects he confers with the Parliament and the Tribal Councils to have them pass suitable local laws on the matters he raises with them.

Constitutional Laws need the approval of over eighty percent of the members of the Parliament, over eighty percent of the Tribal Councils, over eighty percent of the eligible voters, and the King before they become valid. These affect the Constitution because they constitute part of the Berant Constitution. All laws relating to governmental revenue raising (taxes and excise), marriage, slavery, welfare, brigandage, treason, piracy, murder, and attacking a member of the Royal Family are such laws.

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Note: The provision for approval by eighty percent of the Tribal Councils made sense when the Constitution was written and voted on, but within a few years it became irrelevant as there were only two Tribal Councils still in existence. Many of the Tribal Councils disbanded after the Constitution came into effect, due to the heavy losses within their tribes during the period under the control of the Rebels they felt they didn't have enough tribal members left to properly operate as a Tribal Council.

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Domestic Administration Laws, whether passed by the Parliament or a Tribal Council. These need a sixty percent approval of the administrative body, Parliament or Tribal Council, to become a proposed law. They still need to be approved by the King to be enacted. If rejected by the King they can be put to the voters at the next election, where it requires approval by over sixty percent of the eligible registered voters in the area affected by it for it to be made law. The King and the local authority must abide by the will of the public as shown in the vote. Laws decided on in this way require another vote before it can be changed in any way as this process raises the new law to the same status as a Constitutional Law.

Domestic laws include communications, military management, crimes, transport, building, education, forestry, licensing, business, hunting, weapons control, consumer, manufacturing, fishing, zoning, and the definition of adulthood, etc.

The Parliament and Tribal Councils have equal authority and power to make laws within the areas under their control. Whenever a Tribal Council wishes to pass on the actual making of an area of law to Parliament it may do so by a sixty percent vote of their council and approval of the King. Once they pass over the power to make a law they can't take it back. In such a case the Tribal Council is still responsible for the management and administration of the law within its boundaries, unless the Tribal Council disbands or the Tribal Council makes arrangements with the Parliament for them to administer it on their behalf; the national police service is one such activity and the national fire service is another. Disbandment requires the approval of over eighty percent of eligible tribal members for the disbandment to occur. Passing over the law making responsibilities is encouraged for many common matters because it makes it easier to maintain uniform laws.

The Parliament and each Tribal Council give automatic recognition to any authority or licence issued by the others. Even if the laws they're issued under are different.

Differences between the Parliamentary and Tribal laws are very few. The biggest differences are the laws on recognition of adulthood. The Parliament do this as an evaluation test of a person's mental stability which is usually conducted when the person is sixteen years old, it may not be done before they're fourteen years old. Also, they're automatically an adult at eighteen years of age unless declared by a court as not competent; which is sometimes done for some of the intellectually challenged who then come under the control of the Protector's Office, Child Services. The Tribal Councils have their own traditional tests of adulthood. These are usually done when the person is twelve years old, but the person may stand for them at any prior age, provided they have the support of their clan and they pass the initial skills tests. Most stand at thirteen or fourteen years of age. Thus a Tribal Council may approve an eleven year old as an adult and the Parliament authorities must recognise that status, despite them being too young by their laws. Over time the tendency is for people to just wait until they're eighteen years old, because it's a lot easier.

As the majority of the laws are the same across the country the Tribal Councils have an arrangement with the Parliament to provide police forces to police the tribal lands, and thus create a uniform police force and its administration. The Tribal Council retains their traditional tribal police, the Guardians, these provide support to the police and they also administer the few laws that are specific to that tribe only. In these situations the Tribal Council provides facilities for the Parliamentary agency administering the law.

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Note: By 1994 all of the Tribal Councils have passed to Parliament the law making authority for all laws except those relating to the definition of adulthood, compensation, weapons, fishing, hunting, forestry, crimes, and criminal punishment. Even so, the laws on weapons, fishing, hunting, forestry, and most crimes are the same. The Tribal Councils amend them as soon as the Parliament does, they just want to retain full control of them.

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The majority of the laws of Berant are very much like the laws of other countries. Legislation about how to handle commercial dealings in a manner fair to all, laws against harm to people (murder, rape, etc.), laws against harm to property (theft, damage, fraud, etc.), laws controlling interactions (libel, communications, slander, etc.), laws on safety aspects (OH & S, road rules, etc.), laws to protect the lands. However, some are a bit different because they grew up out of the local traditional practices and they aren't common to all of the other countries, although some do have similar laws and practices. All of these laws have sound practical reasons for their existence and the way they're worded.

Listed next are some of the more important laws that are different to most countries.

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Summary of Some Laws

Taking Possession of Property

The King may confiscate the property and assets of any person found guilty of treason, brigandage, piracy, or attacking a member of the Royal Family. Under no other circumstances may any authority (the King, Parliament, or a Tribal Council) take possession of any property, except the person sells it willingly and they're paid the full current market value for it. Property and land owned by the King is known as the Royal Reserve and includes land the King buys for use by his agencies or land that reverts to him because it's unowned; this doesn't include the property owned by his clan. Property and land owned by Parliament is known as Crown Land. Property and land controlled by tribes is known as Tribal Land, even when owned by clans or individuals or businesses.

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Eligible Voters

Any Berant citizen who has attained adulthood is eligible to register and vote in elections for the area of their current residence, provided they're not serving a prison sentence or serving as a slave. They may only be registered in one area at a time. A person who splits their living and work between two areas must choose which they wish to register in. Voting is voluntary.

Any person found guilty of treason, brigandage, piracy, or the murder of a Royal Family member automatically loses their right to vote. Some long term habitual criminals may have their voting rights removed by the courts or the King, but only after the due legal processes have been taken.

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Prison

Criminals sentenced to prison provide a labour force under armed guard; mostly road construction and similar unskilled labour. They're provided with reasonable food, accommodation, and clothing. Some may be offered the opportunity to convert their sentence, or what remains of it, to slavery as a domestic servant or a farm hand.

Berant has no low security prisons because suitable prisoners are allowed to convert their sentence to slavery, usually as farm hands or domestic servants. They are then released into the care of their master and they live within the general community, usually at the residence of their master.

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Execution

The sentence of death by execution is only applied to a person found guilty of brigandage, piracy, treason, murder, or attacking a member of the Royal Family. The sentence must be confirmed by the King or the Royal Protector. Often such convictions are commuted to a twenty year prison sentence or slavery for twenty years.

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Slavery

Ten years is the maximum period a person may be sentenced to be a slave for a normal crime. Seven years is the maximum period a person may voluntarily enter into slavery for debt recovery or financial return. Slaves must be provided with reasonable standards of clothes, proper accommodation, and proper meals; as per the basic standard of living requirements. They're also to be allowed one half day off per week, and are paid a weekly personal allowance, as set out in the Regulations for Maintaining Slaves.

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Multi-spouse Marriage

Multi-spouse marriage is permitted, but only as a polygamous or polyandrous marriage where the member who is of the single gender is the main income earner of the family and the family income is higher than the basic wage as calculated in the following manner. First spouse basic wage; for additional spouses add double the basic wage for each spouse. That is, three times the basic wage for two spouses, five times the basic wage for three spouses, seven times the basic wage for four spouses, and so on. This is to ensure the family has sufficient income to properly see to the needs and welfare of all of the spouses and their children. The assets of all spouses becomes part of the family assets, unless special terms are agreed, written down, and signed by all spouses before the marriage.

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Concubines

This is a type of limited marriage arrangement in that neither party has a claim on the property of their partner in the event of the partner's death or they split up. It's recognised a concubine will live with their partner as if a spouse and all other marriage related laws apply, such as the multi-spouse marriage laws on finances. The concubine's assets don't mix in with the family's assets at all. A concubine is also paid a minimum weekly personal spending allowance double that set for a slave. Being a concubine is a contractual arrangement which sets out each person's responsibilities in a clear manner. Such contracts are often used to introduce a potential new spouse into the household for full evaluation prior to final commitment, i.e. a trial marriage arrangement. For the purposes of this law a concubine may be male or female. The contract must include terms for the care of any children conceived during the contract.

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Persons

Berant laws allow for a person to have various legal states: child, adult, concubine, slave, prisoner, etc. However, they require the people to be living and existing. A dead person can't own anything, nor can a non-living entity. Corporations with shares are unusual because the shareholders are seen as the collective owners who have shared and limited ownership and responsibility through the shares, the same way as a sole trader has a more direct ownership and responsibility.

Families, clans, and tribes can collectively own things, but the legal ownership is seen as being in the hands of the person or persons in overall charge of that body. A Clan Father is the legal owner of all the clan common property, and he manages it as such. The single gender member of a multi-spouse marriage is seen as the legal owner of all of the family's collective property. In many cases families leave property as being owned by the individual who brought it to the family to simplify the ownership and control.

To be able to conduct business in Berant you have to be a legal entity in Berant and living in the country. If the person who provides the money lives overseas the senior person living in Berant who manages it is the person seen as the sole legal owner as far as the Berant laws are concerned. Provisions do allow for owners to have proxies in place while they're overseas for business or holidays for up to two years in any four year period, provided no single period is not longer than one year.

As one investment adviser put it, “To be a legal entity in Berant it must be possible for someone to punch you in the eye.” In this regards foreign businesses setting up in Berant don't retain legal ownership of property because the head of the business in Berant is seen as the legal owner of all of the company property in Berant. Most Berant laws provide for major breaches of laws committed by businesses to be punished by their owners being heavily fined and imprisoned. When the offender is a foreign owned company the Berant senior manager goes to prison while all of their personal and business property is confiscated if the sentence calls for it.

The changes in 2013 make provisions for ownership to be allowed by people outside of Berant, as long as they're legal entities in their own country. Fines for breaches by such owners are ten times that for the local owners because a prison sentence is not always possible with the foreign owners. The changes also include restrictions on Berant citizens involved in the ownership of foreign based companies that have operations within Berant. This is to stop a Berant citizen from avoiding the Berant laws by owning a foreign company that then operates within Berant. The changes do not affect a Berant citizen from owning a Berant company that also operates overseas as long as their ownership is in line with the usual Berant ownership laws for locally owned businesses. These changes were due to an International political agreement.

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Heritage

Ernest Bywater as Ernest Edwards

All rights reserved © 2007

A People

It's said a people usually get the kind of government they deserve. In a democracy this is usually so, in a system of inherited authority this is not always so. Since the beginning of time human societies have tried various methods for selecting those who'll lead and control the society. Those that work for a society continue to exist, while those that don't work for the society vanish when that society changes the selection process or when the society ceases to exist. Sometimes the selection process ceases to exist when the society ceases to exist, usually due to outside influences. The best that can be said for any form of government is: 'It suited the people of that society at that time.'

A country is the collective sum of its people and its lands over time. A culture is the collective sum of its people and their actions over time. A society is the collective sum of a country and its culture at a specific point or period in time, as influenced by its past. Cultures and societies change as the people change due to internal or external influences. Hunter-gatherer societies change when the people in them take up wild farming. They change again when they take up cultivated farming, and again each time the society becomes more complex. External influences like war will cause changes, as will internal conflicts like a rebellion or a major widespread change of religion within the country's population.

One can tell a lot about a society by its myths, legends, heroes, anti-heroes, traditions, and mores. A good understanding of them can tell you about the society's expectations of an individual, and what the society regards as the proper or ethical behaviour of the people within the society. While being a warrior is different to be being a fighter or a soldier. Being a warrior is an attitude, a way of life, a way of approaching life, and a way of dealing with certain types of problems or issues.

The existence of a Warrior Society doesn't mean all of its members are warriors, only that they applaud and honour warriors while expecting members of the society to behave within their accepted warrior code for all or most of the time. Many members of warrior societies don't ever have to live the life of a warrior, while others may only need to be warriors for short periods which is often at the end of their lives that are usually shortened by the need to be a warrior.

During the twentieth century the honouring of warriors by most nations around the world decreased a lot as the years passed. There were brief periods where warriors were once again honoured while those nations were involved in major military conflicts. However, it faded again after the end of the conflict.

How does a warrior society with over two thousand years of history honouring warriors and being led by pragmatic warrior kings, for most of the time, deal with the many changes required of it by the International community in the decades after the Second World War? Many countries faced the challenge at that time while they also dealt with internal and external conflicts as well as the influences brought about by the war and its end. Most of the countries had major changes to their societies and government structures. Each met the various challenges in their own way, each unique to their society and culture.

However, more important is: How do the people and the new generations deal with these times that are at variance with their heritage and traditions? Do they change a lot, or do they adhere to the old, or do they build new traditions along the lines of the principles of the old ones?

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Prologue

The Amir (pronounced a-mear) Clan has ruled Berant since the sixth century AD / CE. For over a thousand years they're the premier clan in the Amiri tribe (pronounced a-mear-e) and the largest clan in the country. The crown goes to the eldest male of the senior Amir line, usually the King's eldest son, unless an Amir Clan Council rules that person ineligible, which is a very rare event. If the King has no sons it then goes to his eldest living nephew. If no living males can be found from the descendants of the last three generations the same process is applied to the King's daughters, nieces, and cousins with their husband becoming the new King. This process then goes back another generation at a time until one can be found, or all of the descendants for the last ten generations are known to be dead.

Berant becomes a French Colony in the late eighteenth century by an agreement with the King who wants to avoid a losing war. Spears and arrows aren't much good against firearms and cannon. The King sees this so he negotiates the best result he can get for his people. The country is hardly affected by this as they have no publicly known natural resources of any value. Nothing that's worth the effort of an organised removal. The country is untouched in the Great War (later known as World War One), and the Japanese occupation in the Second World War is little more than a minor inconvenience for most of the people. The French are asked to not return after the Japanese and Allies go while leaving behind them enough modern weapons to keep the French out of the country. The French don't see Berant as worth the cost of conquering it in the mid-twentieth century. The same is true for the neighbouring countries of Dareed and Shukra. Dareed and Shukra did have some natural resources worth taking, but most of those resources were removed by the French prior to the Second World War, and what's left isn't worth fighting for.

The ruler of Berant from 1922 to January 1st, 1946, was King Marshad, a wastrel. His father thought it a good idea to send him to Europe for his education in the hopes this would let Marshad fit in better with the French Colonial Government and to be able to deal with the French a lot better than he, the current King, does. However, schooling in Paris from ten years of age has Marshad attending school there at the start of the twentieth century. Instead of learning how to work hard he learns how to party hard and to enjoy life to its fullest. He's only interested in having fun. The country is lucky his younger brothers are trained at home under the tribal laws, so they do the real running and administration of the country.

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During the Second World War Japanese occupation of Berant a US officer hiding in the Amir Mountains found out about the Amir Diamond Mine. After the war he told his father who told his brother-in-law, the owner of a major arms company in the US. They decided to get control of the diamond mine to use it to become billionaires. They needed help to do this so they brought some friends in on the deal. Since most were part of U MAMA they decided to use the U MAMA resources to get what they wanted. This, in turn, involved people they knew in the OSS who moved to the CIA for help. The CIA people had some of their people approach and bribe senior members of the Berant Army to take control of the country and let the U MAMA people in to take over parts of the country for their own purposes.

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Treason and Rebellion

At 7:30 a.m. on New Year's Day, 1946, a meeting is taking place in the Berana Royal Palace between Prince Nurshal, Prince Pardey, Queen Kara, and Colonel Chektar - the commander of the Palace Guard. The Colonel says, “It's confirmed, the Army is in open revolt and it's marching on the Palace. We haven't got a hope of stopping the Army from taking over control of the country.”

Queen Kara sighs then says, “How long can we hold them here in the Palace, fighting? We want to inflict very heavy casualties on them, but, more importantly, we want to buy a lot of time as well.”

The Colonel replies, “An hour, possibly two, three if we're very lucky. What good is that?”

Prince Nurshal responds, “The longer we hold them here the longer it is before they start looking for the children. We must send them away, at once! Have Captain Chesway report to me in Princess Mara's rooms wearing civilian clothes and very well armed.” The Colonel nods yes and departs while running fast.

Queen Kara says, “We must tell everyone who can't fight to flee, and have the rest prepare for the battle. We must buy the children all the time we can. We make Stand, here in the Palace!” The others nod their agreement. They all leave, heading in different directions at a run. None bother to tell the King because he's still in a drunken stupor - as is usual for him for most of the day, let alone in the morning.

In Princess Mara's rooms Prince Nurshal finds the four girls in the middle of discussing what to wear today. He says, “Quick, dress in clothes to go hunting in the forest, and wear good boots. Load your packs with similar changes. You've only got a few minutes to leave the Palace.” They glance at his expression before they quickly depart to do what he says.

Five minutes later the girls are back, dressed for a jungle hike with packs on their backs. Captain Robert Chesway and Queen Kara arrive at the same time. She hands the Captain a pack to carry on his back while saying, “Food, water, and some important things for Mara. Keep them safe, Captain, as The Sound of Battle goes with you.” He nods his understanding, because the knowledge of the Sound tells him how dire things are. After turning she hurries away. They've no time for goodbyes, not if some are to live.

Prince Nurshal asks, “Captain, your river boat, it'll carry five with ease, yes?” The Captain nods yes, “Take the girls, head for the coast. Don't stop for anyone. Don't trust anyone. Get the girls out of the country. They must live, to see the country reborn.” The shocked girls are near to tears, but they hold them - for now. The Captain nods again, then he collects the girls by eye while he turns to head for the rear entrance. They all run down the hall to the sound of the Prince's, “Good luck, God bless, goodbye.” He turns and he heads to his room to dress for the battle to come. They must keep the Rebels busy for as long as possible. Today the Amir again stand and fight for the future of their people and their country.

The Captain and his charges exit by the Palace rear entrance. They're five amongst over a hundred palace staff and servants who don't know how to fight, so they're all being sent away with all of the staff children to save their lives. A few blocks away the group reaches the Captain's home. He opens the garage then he drives his ex-US Army Jeep out. The girls get in and he drives off through the back streets as he heads for the edge of the city. While he drives he says a prayer of thanks for his wife's decision, last week, to take their children to be with her parents for the traditional clan New Year celebrations. They're away in the mountains, so they're safe from all of this trouble in the city.

Forty-five minutes later they stop at a small village just north of the city. This is where the Captain keeps his fishing boat, it's an ex-US Navy Patrol Boat that's small, seaworthy, and very fast. After he stops the Jeep he sends Princess Lena to knock on the door of the house while he leads the rest of the girls to the boat shed. On opening the shed he's quick to check the boat is ready to go and the tank is full of fuel, then he loads all of the spare filled fuel containers onto the boat. Princess Lena returns with the owner of the house and shed. The Captain says, “Morning, cousin. Take my Jeep, refill it, and head for the hills with your family. The Army's gone mad and it's hunting Falcons.”

His cousin gulps, “Thank you! Can you take Tara with you as well?” The Captain nods yes. If he takes his cousin's eldest daughter the rest of his family will fit in the Jeep; also, she can help with the boat. It's big enough to carry eight or nine adults, so six will be no trouble. The man turns and runs for the house. Lena passes her pack into the boat then goes with him. By the time all is ready at the boat Lena and Tara are back with a backpack and two boxes full of food and drinks. They climb aboard. Captain Chesway is careful in backing the boat out of the shed. While he does so he glances around, and he sees his cousin driving off with his family. The neighbours are loading their families in their cars too. The word is spreading fast. He wishes all of them luck in reaching safety away from the city and the fighting to come.

On the River

The Captain tells all of the girls to get into the small cabin of the boat as he wants them out of sight. At full speed he heads down the river for the sea. He hopes to stay ahead of any search. He knows they'll search to the east and south first, despite the bulk of the Army being south and west of the city. This is because the Amiri tribal lands are to the east and south so they'll expect the escaping Royals to go there. By using the river to go north and east they hope to gain extra hours and a clear path to safety. The news of rebellion will fly faster than the wind, then people will soon choke the roads while they try to escape to safety ahead of the fighting. The Army will block the roads to search them first because they don't think in regards of transport by water at all, as all of their training is land based.

Mara has the radio on the local frequency listening to reports. They're not good. 11:30 a.m. finds the escapees well along the river when the radio operator in the city declares all of the Royalist forces in the city have been defeated. A warning goes out to all of the Army units to watch out for fleeing members of the Royal Family because they haven't yet accounted for all of them. The Palace Guards are dead, so are the few members of the Army who fought with them. The King, Queen, all seven Princes, and their wives are confirmed dead. The boat is heavy with grief as all of them have lost family this morning.

In the early afternoon Captain Chesway stops near the river mouth to refill the fuel tanks from the cans. Fifteen minutes later they're on their way again. On exiting the river he heads north toward Shukra. They won't be able to stay there, but he knows where he can get help from friends there. Help to go to Australia where they can get help from more useful friends there.

At 5:00 p.m. Captain Chesway pulls into a cove in an islet about three hundred metres off the coast. He moors up against some large overhanging trees before he fills the tank with the last of the fuel he has. They've about six hours' worth of fuel left, and he hopes it'll see them past the border. Hearing an aircraft they look up through the trees to get a glimpse of a plane flying slowly south down the coast. It seems the Generals may be checking the coastal waters for boats. Captain Chesway decides to wait until dark to leave so they won't be seen by a patrolling aircraft. They all sit around the boat, and they break out some food to eat.

It's full dark when Captain Chesway starts the motor, heads out, and goes seaward around the islet to head north. This far out from the coast his motor shouldn't be heard on the shore, and they shouldn't run into any patrolling boats because Berant doesn't have much of a real navy nor does it have many boats. They sail into the dark night like a shadow as they run with no lights on while at an economical speed to get a greater range and make less noise. The cloud cover blocking the moonlight is helpful in hiding them from any eyes in the night.

Around 10:00 p.m. they see the lights of one of the few small coastal patrols boat making its slow way south along the coast, but it's about halfway between them and the coast. Captain Chesway has one of the girls watch it while he continues north. At 12:45 a.m. he figures he's into Shukra waters, but he isn't sure. However, he has no choice about heading into a port because he must refuel soon. A little later he sees the lights of a medium sized port on the coast ahead. Angling west he heads toward the port with the lights guiding him in.

It's 1:30 a.m. the morning after they started their trip when they pull up to a dock in a medium sized port. Warning the girls to keep watch Captain Chesway gets out and he goes to find out where they are. Ten minutes later he finds a shop with a newspaper banner. He's shocked to learn they're still in Berant. While they're very near to the border they're still on the dangerous side of it. He's standing there looking at the news headlines when a police officer walks up to him.

In a soft voice the policeman says, “Two piers north of your boat is a fuel station. The owner forgot to lock it up tonight. If he's not careful someone may steal a boat load of fuel. Anything left in the bucket near the fuel station will stay there until he finds it in the morning.” When a man walks toward them from the other end of the harbour the officer speaks aloud, “Now don't take too long in getting yourself off to where you belong, Pierre.” The policeman walks off toward the other man and he engages him in a conversation while walking off in another direction.

A smiling Captain Chesway returns to the boat and he hops in it to quietly move it north two piers. Finding the fuel station he fills the tank and all of their empty fuel cans. Noting how much it costs he counts out the money, then he adds a ten percent tip for late service. He puts the money inside an empty can and he places the can in the bucket. He notices the bucket has quite a few late night donations in it. So they're not the only ones getting out by boat tonight.

When they head out of the harbour he says, “We're still in Berant. A few more hours to go. It seems there's a few people who don't mind helping escapees, as long as they can avoid getting caught at it.”

Shukra, In and Out

Thinking the Generals will keep an eye on all of the Shukra ports just north of the border Captain Chesway keeps heading up the coast until he's almost out of fuel again. At 2:00 p.m. the next day he pulls into a small port a few hours north of the border and about the centre of the lower Shukra coast. Refuelling again, and paying with US dollars, they continue to head north. At 5:00 p.m. Captain Chesway pulls into a small Shukra fishing port that also does some tourist business for people diving on the many old shipwrecks just up the coast.

After docking Captain Chesway goes ashore to seek out an old friend. He finds his old friend from school, and they discuss the situation. The friend had come up here for a short term job just after finishing school. He met a girl and he married her. He now works in his father-in-law's business. The Captain makes a deal with a cousin of his friend's wife.

In exchange for the patrol boat, which is a very handy addition to their diving business, the Berant group is given an unlisted flight to Queensland, Australia. The plane, a Catalina flying boat, is going over to pick up a group of divers in a few days. Instead of going empty it's taking them out of Shukra with no record of their arrival in the country nor a record of their departure from the country.

The sea plane makes an unscheduled landing in the quiet waters of a secluded cove of northern Queensland where they're met by a boat crewed by another cousin-in-law of Captain Chesway's friend. The plane departs to arrive in Brisbane on time. The boat takes them down the coast to its home port of Townsville where the six travellers catch a plane for Brisbane, then they connect to another flight to Sydney. All of the useful contacts they've got are businessmen in Sydney or Melbourne.

The girls find it hard to believe. Five days ago they woke up in their own beds in Berant and now they're in Sydney, Australia, as refugees and illegal immigrants. It's been a stressful five days, but they appear to be ahead of the Generals' killers - for the moment. The only advantages they've got in this game of hide and seek is the lack of photos of them because few were ever taken of the very photo-shy girls, and their location is unknown - for now. They can't afford to go into complete hiding because they'll soon have to make a public appearance to denounce the Generals and their actions while declaring their existence means the continued existence of the legal Berant Royal Government through them.

Back in Berant

On the morning of the rebellion some of the staff leaving the Palace recognise the four Princesses also leaving. They mention the escaping Princesses to others with them. They all mention the escapees to the family and friends they hide out with, also, they all tell others of the escapees. Very soon the whole country knows a palace guard got the four Princesses out of the blood bath in time and the Princesses are safe. This news is very fast to spread across the country. The knowledge strengthens the people and it gives them courage, because all isn't lost. There's reason to hope, Falcons live. They fly away to grow strong so they can return when old enough and strong enough to fight the Rebels. The Falcons and the country will rise again - one day.

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Australia's Sons

In Sydney, Australia, Captain Chesway wants to make contact with an Australian he met while fighting against the Japanese, Corporal Barry Newly. He wants to get some local protective help before doing anything else. It takes the Captain most of their first day in Sydney to track Newly down. They arrive at his friend's business just on closing time. As they walk into the shop a bell on the door jingles when Chesway opens the door. He sees Newly bending over a counter while studying some paperwork. Without looking up Newly asks, “How may I help you?”

A grinning Chesway says, “I'd like a half dozen blue orchids, four tanks, a well done porterhouse steak, and an ice cold beer. Remember that order, Mate?”

Newly's head whips up. He jumps over the counter while saying, “Cheesy, what're you doing here?”

An older man enters from the shop's back room while asking, “What the hell sort of order's that?”

Barry says, “Father, this is Robert 'Cheesy' Chesway, you've heard me talk of him. One day we were talking while waiting for another enemy attack, and we decided there were four things that, for a soldier in the islands, were in the realm of fantasy. Air support, tank support, a decent steak, and a cold beer. A major miracle may see one fulfilled, but all four made it an order impossible to fill.” They all laugh.

Princess Mara says, “Cheesy, I like that name.” Chesway spins around and glares at her. She just grins at him.

They end up going back to the Newly house for dinner. On learning they've no accommodation arrangements made they're invited to stay the night. Barry and Robert talk late into the night. Robert tells how his party is being hunted but not why, and how he needs some quality local protective help. So Barry offers to put him in contact with some quality help.

The next day Barry makes a few phone calls. Ringing home at 10:00 a.m. he tells Robert to be in a particular milk bar, which is an early style of a fast food place and a predecessor to a café in Australia, by 1:00 p.m. with his party. Some people will talk to Chesway about helping to protect his group.

Just a few minutes before 1:00 p.m. the group enters the milk bar in the suburb of Burwood. They see Barry sitting at a large table with two men. They go over and they all sit down at the table. When they all sit down another patron looks them over. He pulls something out of his pocket and he looks at it. He stands and he starts to leave. One of the men with Barry sees this. When the man leaving passes their table the man with Barry grabs the man's wrist and looks up while asking, “OK, Diddler, what's up?”

The man gulps as he pulls a copy of a photo of Chesway out of his pocket while saying, “There's a big reward for anyone who can say where this man is, and the four girls with him.”

The man lets him go as he says, “You never saw them or me. Not if you want to stay alive.” Diddler nods yes, and leaves. The other man with Barry shakes his head no, stands, and leaves. The first man sits there looking at Mara for a few minutes before saying, “OK, Barry, you and Mister Photogenic better get lost in one direction while we go another in a few minutes. We'll wait long enough not to be immediately associated with you.” He turns to the girls, “I hope you've got everything you need in those bags?”

While the girls nod yes Chesway hands over his bag as he says, “This is theirs as well, and they need to speak to someone in your government sometime in the next few weeks.” The man nods yes as he takes the bag. Barry and Robert leave the milk bar; Barry to go to work, Robert to go to the Berant Consulate.

A few minutes later the other man Barry had contacted returns with ten rough looking men. One man with five young women are sure to be easy meat for eleven experienced roughs.

In the mirror of the bar the man remaining with the girls sees the group enter the shop. To the girls he says, “Escape out the back.” Coming out of his seat fast he spins and he throws a knife. The man who'd betrayed them is surprised by his speed, so he doesn't move quick enough to avoid his right eye receiving the knife thrown at him. He dies in the doorway. The front man reaches for the defender, only to be picked up and slammed onto a table on his back which breaks his spine in four places. He lies there, dying from a broken neck. The second attacker grunts when a combat knife in the defender's other hand slices through the attacker's ribs and into his heart, he falls backward while his chest goes red with blood. Three of the other men go straight for the girls while thinking their mates will deal with the man.

The first one is unlucky enough to reach Mara. Using the built-in seat for leverage she jumps up high to kick him under the chin. The snap of his neck breaking is heard across the room while he's thrown back. She lands where he'd been, and she punches the next man in the throat with a rigid hand. He falls to the floor, gurgling his life away through a crushed throat while a ruptured artery fills his lungs with blood. Lena lets the last of this trio have a butter knife in the eye. Screaming, he staggers back, to be struck on the side of the neck by Mara. He falls with his neck broken at the second vertebrae because she knows they can't afford to leave any of them alive.

Mara turns from her little action to see the man with them leap into the middle of the remaining group of five men. Grabbing one he tosses him against the nearest wall. A sickening crunch like thud is heard, then the man slides down the wall while he leaves a blood trail where the back of his head is crushed from hitting the wall. Their defender punches an attacker hard in the balls, the attacker staggers back as he bends over while holding his balls and moaning. Lena steps forward and she punches the back of the attacker's neck where it joins the skull. Thus he falls, dying due to a crushed spine.

A flashing combat knife slides into the next attacker's right chest as it slices through his rib cage and into his lungs, cutting them to pieces. Groaning, he staggers back and falls down, dying while his lungs fill up with his blood to drown him in it. One attacker turns and flees for the door. After a quick arm movement the combat knife is buried to the hilt high in his back, severing his spine to make him drop to the floor. The last man has a gun in his hand. Moving as fast as a striking cobra the defender has the gun hand trapped in his own large hand. He breaks the man's forearm as he turns the gun hand inward and upward. The defender pulls the trigger with the barrel jammed under the attacker's jaw and against his throat. One shot. It blows the back of the man's head over the wall behind him.

Dropping the corpse the defending man steps over the body, then he draws his knives out of the two men in the doorway. He makes sure they're both dead by giving their heads a quick twist to break their necks. He does the same for the man with the cut-up lung. All eleven attackers are dead. He uses a handkerchief to clean the handle of the butter knife thrown by Lena and all of the furniture they touched in the shop, because he wants no evidence traceable to them left behind.

Turning to the owner he says, “Sorry about the mess, George, I hope you don't mind if I don't hang around to clean it up.”

While walking into the back area of the shop the owner says, “What mess, I see no mess. I'm busy in the back of my shop. I'll be out soon to see if I have any customers,” as he vanishes through the doorway.

The defender has a big smile while he leads the girls down the side passage and out the back of the shop. They go through the yard and into a lane to soon head away from there at a moderate jog.

Elsewhere in Sydney

An hour later when Captain Chesway arrives outside the Berant Consulate four men try to kidnap him just outside of the gates. A fight ensues. The attackers are killed and Captain Chesway is fatally wounded. Staggering to the Consulate he shows his Palace ID, and he's let in.

They give him first aid. He knows he's dying and their first aid won't be of any use. Grabbing the coat of a Consulate staff member he knows he lifts himself up and says, “Tell my family what happened to me. Tell them I completed my mission. The Falcons fly free, they're safe. The Falcons fly free.” The news is a shocking surprise for the staff because Robert can only mean he's brought members of the Royal Family safely to Australia, thus some of them must still live. The falcon is the symbol of the Berant Royal Family and they're referred to as The Falcons. The staff rejoice at the news. The Consul rings the Berant Ambassador to tell him, while others ring their friends and family. Falcons live and are free in Australia, all hope is not lost. A few minutes after making his statement Captain Chesway dies, he dies happy to have served his people and his country. He dies the way he lived: a warrior true to his word, training, and heritage.

The search for the missing Princesses heats up because the Generals' killers now know they're in Australia, due to information from their spies. However, so do the Royalists. Now both sides have agents out looking for them. Nobody can find them because they've vanished again. Both sides have hundreds of agents spreading out through Sydney while they search for the Princesses.

This news of the living Royal Family members in Australia seeps back to the Berant population and it increases their hopes for the future, once they live through the bloody present - if they can.

______________________________________

Quick Mover

After leaving the milk bar the defender leads the girls through several short lanes to Burwood Park and they cross the park at the end furthest from the main road. Stopping at a nearby girls' school he knocks on the front door, and when it's opened he asks to speak to one of the staff. They're shown in. He talks to a staff member, and then he makes a few phone calls.

Twenty minutes later one of the staff members is handing the girls school uniforms. The man tells them to get changed, but he doesn't leave the room. Mara clears her throat. He stares at her while saying, “Lady, get used to it. From now on none of you leave my sight for any reason, unless I say so. Get changed, now!” His order is so commanding they're undoing the buttons of their blouses before they realise it. They're quick to strip and change into the school uniforms, blushing the whole time. Their bags are placed in suitcases addressed to Mount Victoria Railway Station then they're put aside to be shipped out later. The one bag Mara insists they take he carries on his back as if it's his own. The girls clean their faces of all make up and they do their hair the way the school requires all of the students to do their hair. They now look like five senior schoolgirls.

School doesn't operate at this time of year, but this school has some students on a year round live-in basis. Mid-afternoon a teacher leads a group of twenty-five schoolgirls to Burwood Railway Station as they're going into the city to watch a play. Twenty-five students get on the train, amongst the other passengers getting on is a rather rough looking individual who followed the girls down the road. A number of very interested people are looking at everyone getting on the trains. The group of schoolgirls is allowed on unchallenged after only a very brief inspection by the many watchers.

At Redfern Station five of the schoolgirls get off the train to duck into a staff room, followed by the rough looking man. Inside the staff room a young woman hands them clothes to get changed into. Mara opens her mouth, and the man says, “Get changed.” Embarrassed, they all do as told.

The local young woman smiles when she says, “You must be really enjoying this. Five lovely girls getting undressed on your command.”

He grins, he nods yes, and he says, “Yeah, it's great, but getting them to into my bed may be another matter. I don't think anyone trying to rape them will get up with their balls intact. They know how to fight, and they fight very well.”

Mara looks up, “You can be sure of that! But things may be a lot different for you, much more so than you realise. You've absolutely no idea what you've got yourself into now!” He gives her a very pensive look while he ponders on this statement, and he wonders what it holds for the future, since it clearly means something to her and the other girls.

Once the girls are dressed in smudged work clothes the local young woman does their hair very differently. She also packs the school uniforms into a suitcase then she takes the suitcase to the luggage section of the railway station to be shipped back to the school. The man changes clothes while the local young woman is taking the bag to the luggage section. Mara and the girls take the opportunity to try and embarrass him by taking a good look at his body while he changes as he has many scars on his body. He upsets them because he doesn't blush while changing.

Several minutes later a large number of factory workers arrives on the station, all of them are heading home for the day. A man and six young factory workers leave the staff room to catch the train for Bankstown. From the Bankstown railway station they walk several blocks through two streets to a house. They stop to get some hot fish and chips along the way.

Arriving at the house they're greeted by a man. He says to the man leading them, “I should've known you'd be responsible for my dinner being late.” Noticing the aroma of the food he adds, “Well, at least you've been good enough to bring it with you. And who are all these extras?”

He laughs, “I've decided to go on the road with my own harem, this is it, so far.” They all laugh.

Mara says, “There's more truth in that than you realise.” He turns to stare at her. She smiles as she winks at him.

They sit down to eat, but the pile of food is huge. This is explained a few minutes later when a knock on the door is followed by the entry of seven other men. They all nod at everyone as they sit down and start eating. One of the men places a bag of cold beer bottles on the table. Bottles are opened, glasses handed out, and filled with cold beer to have with the food.

After the meal one newcomers asks, “OK, Rocky, what's the deal?”

Looking up the man says, “Protection detail. Someone's paying a big reward to find these girls to turn them into hamburger. I fancy this lady here,” he points at Mara, “so I don't want anything bad to happen to them. I don't know why they're being chased, yet, but I will soon.” He turns to Mara, “I'm Edward 'Rocky' Rochester, and this bunch of out-of-work misfits are part of what used to be my platoon during the war. Barry said you needed to hire bodyguards, we're it. As you know, I'm good but they're better.”

A smiling Mara responds, “We're from Berant, some generals have rebelled and they want us dead because we can make life very difficult for them. Protecting us is going to be hard.” The men all grin while they nod their understanding. “I've some valuable gems to sell. I'll pay well, once I can sell them.” Turning to Ed, “As for you! Your comment about a harem is true! We're products of our culture and will follow our cultural training regardless of where we are. Can you comprehend that point? Regardless of the laws here we'll act as per the laws of our culture, no matter what?” He nods his understanding, “Good. Because, in our culture it's a very bad thing for a woman to be undressed in front of a man for any reason, with very few exceptions. And the same applies to the man just as much as the woman. By commanding us to get changed in your presence you've set off those cultural triggers then you reinforced them when you changed in front of us.” She stops for a drink while he looks at her, “In our culture it's accepted a woman will be undressed in front of a man or the reverse if one is a doctor and the other is their patient, or if they're married, or if they're betrothed and soon to be married, or if he's raping her - then other things come into play, or if she's a whore. They're no other possible situations! That's it! At our level of society the embarrassment and shame of being seen as whores requires us to kill ourselves in a very messy way.” She stops to look at him while he gulps. “None of us are married or betrothed, you aren't a doctor, you didn't try to rape us. So it comes down to this, do you regards us as whores?”

While gulping hard Ed replies, “No, I don't, and I never did!”

She slowly nods, “I didn't think so! The way you looked at us would've been different, if you did. Are you a warrior and are you known as one? I ask, since you fought well today.” The others look questions at them.

One of the other men chimes in, “Boy, is he a warrior! As to how well known, only in certain circles. He has a few medals for bravery, but the details aren't made public for security reasons. He's known as a very good warrior to a select few. He withstood five days interrogation by the Kempeitai.” The woman who lead them there and her husband are shocked by this, and it's obvious they didn't know this information about Ed.

Mara smiles, “Good! Because there's one very special variant on the above. Before I get to that, in our country a man may have as many wives as he wishes. Our wedding ceremonies are either very grand for the rich or very simple. We care about the validity of our laws and ceremonies, but we care not if other countries recognise them or not. Do you understand?”

Ed smiles, “I think so. What you're saying is if we marry according to one of your simple ceremonies you'll see it as binding, regardless of what our laws say, correct?”

She nods, “Yes, exactly! Because of what's happened today we must kill ourselves by lunchtime tomorrow. However, there's an ancient way out of this for us all. The question is: are you man enough for it?”

He nods, “I believe so. Speak about it and we'll see. I didn't save you all to let you kill yourselves!”

She grins as she says, “The Warrior's Rite.” The rest of the girls gasp as this hasn't been called upon for over two hundred years, but it will resolve the situation. The other girls giggle. “When a warrior of note has fought for or is about to fight for an unmarried woman he may exercise the Warrior's Rite to take her as his wife without any further ceremony. He commands the woman to do something, if she refuses to obey his order she's rejecting him. If she obeys the order she's accepting him as her warrior. Once he gives her the first order and she obeys it, by the next dawn he must consummate the marriage. So, simply, we must kill ourselves tomorrow unless you marry us and take us all as your warrior wives by dawn.”

Ed's jaw hits the floor, figuratively, while the rest of the Australians present are laughing hard at his stunned expression, and the girls are all blushing. He looks at them, one at a time; each smiles and lowers her eyes. He can tell they like this idea. Gulping hard he says, “Give me a drink of water. I need to stay sober to deal with this. For once I've gotten in well over my head.” Their hosts laugh, very hard and loud.

While handing him a glass of water the woman who brought them from Redfern asks, “Well, Brother, how come you were in the hands of the Kempeitai and we've not been told?”

He looks up, “Security, secret operation, some of the intelligence was wrong. I knew we had to hold out for a week then we'd be right because the rest of the unit would be in to rescue us. So I did. Simple, end of story. Leave it there.”

She slowly nods her head while thinking, Yeah, simple, five days of being tortured by the Imperial Japanese Secret Police. The guys that made the Nazi Gestapo look like beginners in the torture stakes. Secret operation, hell, he must've been in Z Force. No wonder he had nightmares for so long after coming home. More than a year of him waking up in the dark and screaming into the night. Hell, this whole lot must be Z Force. She looks up at them. They're all looking at her. She slowly nods again, and she says nothing. They smile back. They know she'll keep quiet about their history she just learned. They're not ashamed of what they did, but they don't want it public knowledge either as much of it's still top secret.

 

That was a preview of Clan Amir of Berant. To read the rest purchase the book.

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