Continuing the series of nations after the Cataclysm comes only two in this article, as there was a lot of information for the Zulu Empire. Remember to suggest which nations you would like to see featured by leaving a comment below.
In 1991, South Africa was facing a crossroads. While Apartheid had not yet formally ended, the country was in the throes of intense negotiation between liberation movements, politicians and civic society. In the back-drop, a low-key civil war was raging between tribalistic factions and recently decriminalised anti-Apartheid groups.
When the Vortex opened and the Cataclysm arrived, South Africa did not get to choose its own way at the crossroads. Martial law was declared, and an interim parliament and cabinet was appointed from key figures of the previous government and new liberation movements. Apartheid was ended by decree as the country faced the new threat of magic and monsters.
This martial law persisted in name only until 1993. The country was ruled by chaos, informal civil war, sorcerer warlords and hordes of monsters.
On the 10th of May 1992, the Zulu King and his heirs were killed by opportunistic criminals, backed by a sorcerer warlord. With the royal line severed, leaders elected a new man to take the place of the murdered royal family.
On the 15th of May 1992, King Ukuhleleka I was crowned. He was a decisive leader, unsatisfied with waiting for the national government to bring order. He commanded great respect among the disparate groups of the Zulu people, in part due to his sorcery and also due to his sheer drive and natural authority.
Zulu political groups, unions and outlying tribes were brought into the fold and either consensually or forcibly came in line under the King’s absolutist vision for a new Kingdom. Migrant workers, previously living far from the Zulu homeland, rushed home to be a part of the new King’s vision.
The creation of a Zulu military was an open secret, which the national government didn’t even attempt to stop, as they faced a breakdown in society.
This new military and the subsequent creation of local militia under a system of decentralised chieftaincies that all owed absolute fealty to the King, brought order and relative peace to the Zulu territories. Many policemen quit their jobs and joined the unofficial law enforcement of the King.
While the rest of the country was facing complete turmoil, worse than civil war in some instances, the Zulu territories were peaceful and prosperous. Seeing this, the King approached the government of South Africa and asked for a position in cabinet. He was refused – he suspects due to fear, spite and tribal conflict.
On the 11th of October 1993, the King led an army of 15 000 impi (warriors) to the South African capital of Pretoria. The Zulu King and his personal bodyguard (the Untouched), stormed the Union Building during a cabinet meeting. The King gave the government an ultimatum:
“Accept me as Emperor, as God has decreed, and I will save this country. We will know peace and prosperity. Our children will be able to live in safety. God knows this. My people know it. And I give you all a chance to know it for yourselves. Allow me to save this country, or die here.”
The cabinet refused and the King killed them all with a flash of immense power, leaving nothing but ash. The already large force of 15 000 was reinforced by others, including groups from the army and police who agreed with the newly crowned Zulu Emperor.
Gauteng, South Africa’s most populous and richest province, was annexed and the Emperor didn’t delay sending out his commanders to secure the rest of South Africa. A large army was sent west, towards the Cape.
The army pressed unopposed up until Port Elizabeth, where it met a concerted defence by the remainders of the South African Defence Force (SADF). The Zulu army was larger, more well-trained, and had superior access to sorcerers and mages. The SADF was crushed and had to pull back.
The Zulu advance was halted not by the SADF, but by trouble in Gauteng. Mass protest action had erupted as a result of Zulu occupation. This came to a bloody head on the 18th of November 1993, when 156 protesters were killed, and thousands were injured in clashes with Zulu impi. The protesters that survived went underground, forming a group that came to be known as Goldfield.
With this insurgent group at home, and increasing monster attacks, not to mention surviving SADF troops constantly probing for weaknesses, the Emperor’s forces were in danger on all sides.
In 1994, the Emperor struck a deal with two warlord dynasties – an Earthborn Vampire clan called the Izingane Zgazi and a cabal of Necromancers who had formed an army of the undead that came to be called Shaka’s Chosen.
The vampires and necromancers plunged into both Gauteng to hunt down insurgents, and towards the SADF front. The new forces were brutal and came to be known to kill Zulu troops alongside actual enemies. Yet, they were effective.
Goldfield attacks and an attempted coup in the heart of the Zulu homeland resulted in forces being pulled back. The SADF pressed forward and made it to Port Elizabeth once again, until they were decimated by the vampires and necromancers.
The surviving forces pulled back to a series of bridges called the Three Point Line, which they manage to hold against the Zulu Empire to this day.
Upon the Western Cape seceding under Peter Jacob’s new idea of political reformation, the Zulu Empire halted their advance towards the Three Point Line and began to consolidate their captured territories – putting down rebellions throughout the Eastern Cape and northern provinces.
Goldfield insurgency never stopped, sapping Empire resources. The use of vampiric assassins to track down the rebels started to result in many dead vampires, as Goldfield developed the Extermination Corps, dedicated to eliminating vampires and monsters.
In 1999, the biggest blow to Zulu imperial authority was dealt. While on manoeuvres with his Untouched, Emperor Ukuhleleka I was assassinated by the Mage Corps of the Goldfield Movement. His son, Ukuhleleka II took the throne immediately, but was not as fierce as his father.
The Cape Defence Force (CDF) pushed past the Three Point Line for the first time since 1993 and the Goldfield Movement came out of hiding and decisively took over Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Ukuhleleka II split his forces too thinly to attempt to combat both the CDF and to retake Pretoria and Johannesburg. The CDF managed to make it all the way to East London, where it stopped due to overstretched supply-lines.
The Zulu army faced profound defeat when attempting to re-take the Gauteng territories, and were pushed south until Goldfield owned the old territories of Gauteng, North West and the Free State.
CDF forces were only dislodged after Ukuhleleka II made a deal with the vampire clans, granting them power to rival his own over the Eastern Cape. He accepted. Vampire armies stormed the Eastern Cape.
In 2002, the CDF retreated back to the Three Point Line and accepted a ceasefire with the Zulu Empire. Conflict continued between Goldfield and the Empire until 2006, when a formal treaty was established, and the Empire agreed to recognise the Goldfield Magocracy as a sovereign state.
The Zulu Vampire Clans ruthlessly rule over the Eastern Cape, causing the international community to harshly condemn the Empire, but despite Ukuhleleka II not being his father, the Empire’s military was still the largest, most advanced and readiest armed forces in Southern Africa. International condemnation was hot air.
While skirmishes have persisted between the CDF, Goldfield, Lesotho, Swazi and other groups against the Zulu Empire, the Empire has remained as a regional hegemon. A constant in the world after the Vortex.
While Odin was elected democratically to what became the Scandinavian League, and most of the Greek god trapped on Earth have kept quiet, the Egyptian god Anubis was not content to live as equals with the denizens of Earth.
Immediately after the Vortex opened, Anubis found himself in the nation of Egypt. Without a care for learning Earth’s customs, he summoned forth a horde of demonic Anubites to serve in his army. This army tore across Egypt, ravaging the countryside and securing strategic locations near the Nile, which was revealed later to be a powerful weyline.
Anubis’ conquest was halted, however, by the modern Egyptian military. While Anubites were strong, they were not well-armed and could do nothing against modern soldiers. Anubis had to prey on civilians to feed his forces.
This marauding continued until 1996, when a coalition of nations aided Egypt against Anubis, crushing his forces. He disappeared into obscurity, where he came into contact with a cult that had formed in his honour. Intrigued by these holy images of himself, he agreed to learn Earthly languages and ways. He learnt of technology and why his efforts at conquest were thwarted.
In 2001, Anubis formalised his cult into the Anubite Syndicate. With the help of fanatics, planted inside the Egyptian military, he trained his own human army of mages and soldiers, backed by his Anubite army.
In 2002, a military coup weakened the Egyptian army and government, allowing Anubis to come out of hiding. He secured major cities throughout the country, killing all those who opposed him.
In 2004, the whole of Egypt was conquered by the Anubite Syndicate. Coalitions of neighbouring nations attempted to fight the threat but were unable to fully occupy Egyptian cities for long. By 2010, none of the coalition nations continued making an effort. Anubis became de facto leader of Egypt.
Following 2010, Anubis has struggled to expand his borders. His army relies mostly on a rich supply of weyline, limiting their ability to travel far away from the Nile. This has kept the region safe from his grasp.
Life for a human under the Anubite Syndicate is hard. Only a select elite are granted any sort of privilege but are still underneath Anubites on the national hierarchy. A race that has found the new nation pleasant, however, are wights – sentient undead. While unwelcome everywhere else, wights are seen as a natural elite in the Anubite Syndicate and given positions of power.
Anubis continues to rule the Anubite Syndicate with an iron fist and has never stopped his lusting for more territory. One day, he may build an army that can trek far past his own borders. And when that day comes, will the world be ready to face him?
Read more about life after the Cataclysm in the Kat Drummond series, available now.