had been close allies for about 2000 years, how would world history be different?
A few days ago ysabetwordsmith
left a prompt to thesilentpoet
:In 97 AD, Chinese General Pan Chao sent an embassy to the Roman empire, but little came of it. Suppose China and Italy had united, how would that change things?This poem
was the result, outlining a whole timeline. If you know me you can imagine the rest, I wanted more and wanted to see what ysabetwordsmith
herself would do with a few prompts related to this alternate-history universe, thesilentpoet
agreed as well.
The result were The Treasures of Marco Polo
based on a couple of items listed in an inventory after Marco's death he never spoke about; The Lost and Found Legion
about the idea of the embassy and the identity of the ambassador and the , as yet unpublished The Tea Tempest
I was reading about the real embassy sent by general Ban Chao and how in Chinese documents it is said that ambassador Gan Ying turned back because of the info he got from some Parthian sailors about the lenght of the remaining leg of his trip to Rome and the dangers involved. Fact is that Parthians and Scythians were the middlemen of the silk trade and wouldn't have been too happy if the two empires started dealing with each other directly.
I couldn't help but imagine a pair of Parthians trying the same stunt on a very different ambassador, ysabetwordsmith
's Cai Luoma, the result was:Cai Luoma and the Parthians
They tried it on him, the two Parthian brothers.
The older spoke first, in sorrowful tones:
“This sea, o my friend, is so vast and large,
With terrible storms, and many hidden dangers;
It may take years to cross it at all”.
Then spoke the younger, with honeyed words:
“ This we say to you in token of friendship,
Your faraway lord, no matter how wise,
Could not have known the dangers you face”.
Insisted the brothers, concern in their voices:
“Providing for many, your friends and retainers,
Will tax your resources, will leave you stranded,
Turn back while you can, we speak out of care”.( But in truth... )