Dray of Rhodes
Career: 1447-1486 (T91-T100)
Headquarters: Antioch in Aleppo
By Rob Pierce
Dray of Rhodes is one of the most legendary individual figures in (Lords) history. As a mercenary captain his activity played a part in a host of pivitol events in Europe and Africa in the late 15th century. Had he the interest to build his own realm, few doubt that he could have built an empire on the scale and speed of Alexander the Great of Macedonia.
In game terms, Dray was a leader that every player dreams of having at his disposal. He had ratings of 'B' for both Leadership and Diplomacy, making him not only one of the most brilliant of leaders, but also one of the most beguiling.
His adventures have included:
Hired by France against Ife (1447-1454, T91-T92)
- captured the Ifen capital of Lagos, then was captured himself.
France: The French fleet sailed south, heading for the African coasts...
Ife: With the Empire beset by foreign invasion and strained by co-habitation with the Coptics, the more restive tribes of the Empire decided that this was the time to throw off their shackles and run riot in the streets... Kuba, Oyo, Vili, Mbundu, Kano, and Borogu revolted.
On the warfront, an Ifen army made a sortie into Monomatapa, encountered the FSA army and beat feet back to Lenje with the FSA in hot pursuit. Once in Lenje the Ifen and turned and, reinforced, engaged the FSA army. Unfortunately for the Ife, they were still outnumbered four-to-one and got smashed to a pulp. Having destroyed the Ife, the FSA troops returned wouth to Rozwi.
FSA: Diplomacy: No effect
Trade Partners: (4C) Ethiopia
The French buit a great fortress complex (Castle de la Rouche) in Dyola in preparation for the ensuing war against the Ife. Opening the war against the Ife, French assassins killed Dorhazai the Sixth - while their agents spread unrest and revolution in the provinces. Two mercenary armies, one under Dray of Rhodes and one under Chief Topoka, issued forth from the Castle de la Rouche and swept the African coast. Dray's army pushed through Dyola, Akan, and into Yoruba before encountering resistance in the form of 30,000 Ifen regulars. Despite the loss of all their horses and many men to the jungle fevers and the insects, Dray's troops beat the Ifen troops and drove them back into Ife itself. When Dray managed to drag his forces out of the jungle and into the Ifen deltalands he faced the remains of the previous army and another 48,000 reinforcements. The battles that resulted, as Dray's army pressed along the coast toward Lagos, climaxed at the Battle of Nuikir (9th of August, 1449) where 21,00 European mercenaries smashed 70,000 Ifen troops once more - a victory that carried them to the walls of Lagos. The ensuing seige was short and bloody, with the city falling after three days of hard fighting. The other army marched north up the coast to Kru - where they found themselves faced by 24,000 Ifen allied troops - whom they crushed with superior firepower and artillery. Temne and Susu fell soon after and Conakry had its wall blown down.
The RSA and France merged into an uneasy alliance.
Ife: The Ife massed huge armies and attacked the French mercenaries holding the capital and homeland. There, the formidable Dray of Rhodes was entrenched with a motley collection of French regulars and mercenaries, some 6,000 men in all (not counting maries or seige engineers). The Ifen host numbered over 42,000 men. The resulting battles and seiges were long and bloody, but the French were swept away in the Ifen tide. Dray was captured by Benin tribesmen and brought before Dorhazai, who - after a short conference - released him. Dray then returned to Europe, agreeing to abstain from accepting French contracts against the Ife in the future. Lagos fell soon after to the victorious Ifen legions. The mercenary fleet was captured and swore Oath to Galzar, and made to return north to more hospitable climes, but was destroyed in a storm off the Kruian coast.
Ottomans: Diplomacy: The Aleppans also refused to join the Turks.
Syria: Diplomacy: The Shah of Aleppo politely refused the gifts.
Ottomans: A great state holiday was declared upon the marriage of Suleiman to the daughter of the Shah of Aleppo. This, and the exchange of many gifts and other concerns, saw the return of Aleppo to the Ottoman camp. The Emperor has pledged to allow Dray of Rhodes and his mercenary army to base there without hindrance or tax in perpetuity.
© 2002 Robert Pierce