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Time Traveler Journal
 

Time Traveler Journal

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    Time Traveler Journal Time Traveler Journal Document Transcript

    • -2311400454025<br />-2066925238125<br />February 10, 1210 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />I have begun my journey to the barbaric Mongolian empire. When I first arrived, I was disappointed, to say the least. I was surrounded by barren grassland, with little else in terms of geography. I had expected it to be more varied, at least a few trees or some fields of crops. There were dark mountains rising from the horizon, but they were many miles away. It is also bitterly cold here. It is a cold that pierces clothing, and makes the ears and nose fall off. My fingers feel as though they have been placed in fire; however, I receive none of the fire’s heat, only pain.<br />I started searching for any signs of life, but had difficulty. I climbed a nearby hill trying to find something, anything to free me from the cold. Looking around, I see nothing. Then, though, I noticed small white dots out of the corner of my eye. I ran towards them, noting that they appeared to be small tents. I only hope they will offer me warmth, and not hostilities. <br />Sam<br /> The harsh Asian Steppes The tents I spotted<br /> February 11, 1210 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />Upon my arrival at the tents I spotted earlier, I realized they were made of felt, and, unlike a modern tent, featured wooden doors. There were several goats and horses nearby. I knocked on the door, and was met by a man who had high cheekbones and was quite large in stature. At first he looked shocked to see someone wearing little more than a tee-shirt (he was dressed heavily in fur) in the freezing weather. He began appearing suspicious, so I held out my open hands to show him that I meant no harm. <br />“Please, may I come in? I’m freezing,” I said.<br />“Yes, you are not Chinese and pose no threat,” he replied.<br />I was invited in, and stayed for a while. I learned much about Mongolian culture and customs from the man, Chulunnbold Besud. Their tent, called a ger, is easy to take down and rebuild. Despite the cold outside, the tent helped retain body heat, quickly warming me. We ate meat and drink milk, which they said was from the goats outside. They explained that the goats help their nomadic lifestyle, where planting would not. <br />Eventually, I remembered our conversation earlier, and the man’s strange response.<br />“What did not being Chinese have to do with your kindness?” I asked the man. <br />“Everything. The Mongolians have been fighting the Chinese for many years. A strong distrust has formed over time,” he answered.<br />Soon, I had to leave. Before I departed, the family gave me wool clothing, made from the goats as well, to help against the freezing temperatures. I thanked them, and then said goodbye.<br />As I was leaving, I looked at their tents one last time, and truly saw how little they had. They constantly had to move around, so they didn’t have a location to call home. They had no running water, no electricity, or anything we have today. One animal provided clothing, drink, and food. <br />Now that I have seen how the average Mongol lives, I will pay a visit to the most powerful man in this area of the world; Genghis Khan, ruler of the Mongols.<br />Sam<br />The Besuds’s goats, and their ger<br />February 12, 1220 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />I began my search today for Genghis Khan. I was lost in the grassland, until I saw a large mass moving across the landscape. I headed toward it, and saw the mass was at least 100,000 cavalry. I walked toward the head of the column hoping to find the Khan, or emperor. <br />I saw Genghis Khan moving in front of his men, and I ran toward him. Suddenly, scores of Mongolian warriors surrounded me. They had spears and bows aimed at me, ready to kill me if I moved. Genghis Khan moved over to his warriors who were surrounding me, and looked at me.<br />“Release him,” he told his cavalry.<br />They looked hesitant and didn’t raise their weapons.<br />“Release him. Not only is he just a boy and unarmed, he’s not Chinese,” Genghis said.<br />This time the warriors raised their weapons so they were no longer pointing at me. Genghis Khan gave his soldiers an order to get back in formation, and they did, without hesitation. I walked by Genghis Khan and learned that they were headed toward the Islamic city of Balkh, as the Mongols opposed Islamic culture and wanted to destroy it.<br />Traveling with under the protection of the Khan gave me time to study the warriors without fear of being attacked. All rode horses with skill and ease, and carried bows with quivers of arrows on the saddle. Each had a scimitar sword on his person, and several others also gripped large axes or spears. Some of the warriors donned overlapping plates of armor on their horses and themselves, but most of the fighters wore little or no protection. I’m glad I was able to view the Mongolian military might from this point of view and not at the end of their spears.<br />Sam<br /> <br />One of the Mongolian scimitars and some of the cavalry advancing<br />February 13, 1220 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />Any thoughts of Mongolian kindness I may have had were lost during the assault on Balkh.<br />When the Mongolians arrived, their superior fighting skills granted them an easy victory. They attacked strategically, retreating when necessary to lure their enemies away from the safety of their walls. The Mongolians were far more skillful with bows than the enemy, and could kill them far before they were spotted.<br />The Mongolians had set up catapults and siege weapons from poles and materials they brought. These fearsome weapons destroyed the city wall, allowing the cavalry to advance. Once the walls were breached, the enemy soldiers didn’t stand a chance.<br />However, the carnage didn’t come from the battle; it came from the slaughter of the remaining civilians. Genghis Khan, who had protected me just yesterday, ordered the entire population, including women and children, to be taken out to the plain and killed by sword. They then returned to the city, hunting down every last survivor and killing them mercilessly. <br />After the population was annihilated, the Khan turned his attention to the city. He and his soldiers tore down every wall and building, to erase all trace of the culture. They did all of this without flinching, or evening grimacing at the bloodshed. They were so absorbed I was able to slip away, unnoticed.<br />Sam<br /> <br /> One of the catapults preparing to fire The ruins of Balkh<br />February 14, 1227 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />I have gone 7 years from my last excursion in the 1200s, ending up in 1227 AD. I was determined to find some evidence of the kindness Genghis Khan had originally showed me, before the killing. After exploring the area, I noticed something very strange moving across the plain, moving toward the mountains. It appeared to be a large funeral procession, with at least 2,000 people. I noticed about 500 of the followers were armed, with bows and scimitars, similar to the cavalry. They seemed to be protecting an ornate golden coffin that was carried in a large ox cart. <br />I began to approach the procession from one side, when I saw a few others trying to do the same. They appeared to be average Mongols, and I stopped to see why they had to sneak up to catch a glimpse of the procession. I didn’t have to wait long to find out. As they grew closer, the armed men, who appeared to be soldiers, pulled out their bows and shot all of them. Every one of the civilians collapsed, arrows protruding from their bodies.<br />I was in shock and wondered why they would do this. I noticed a few other Mongols who were not part of the procession, and I approached them.<br />“What happened? Why would the soldiers kill the civilians? They were unarmed!” I whispered quickly, hoping to not draw attention to ourselves.<br />“That is the funeral procession of Genghis Khan, the emperor of the Mongols. The soldiers are killing everyone who goes near the coffin so that his resting place may be a secret,” one of them replied.<br /> Even in death he was as brutal as in life, killing even more innocent people to add to the body count from Balkh. So much for trying to find kindness…<br />Sam<br />Genghis Khan, the ruler of the Mongols<br />February 15, 1268 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />I am going forward in time to Kublai Khan, the next great ruler of the Mongols and the ruler of the largest land empire in history. My hope is that he will be different than his predecessor, specifically in his merciless ways.<br />I happened upon another small grouping of tents, and talked with the Mongolian people there. I found out that Kublai Khan had established his capital in Dadu, modern day Beijing. I set off, heading toward the city. It would take a while, and, as I didn’t have a map, I would have to ask for directions as often as I could. This journey would give me a great opportunity to see more of the empire, and interact with the people.<br />I used a system of trade routes to reach the palace. As I walked, I was worried. For even though I am not Chinese, I am obviously not a Mongol, and I am unarmed. I was sure, sooner or later, I would be attacked by bandits. After I while, I noticed someone approaching me in the distance. I became nervous, until they grew closer. It turned out to be a middle aged woman, carrying a large bag. I was puzzled by what she was doing, so I began to talk to her.<br />“Why are you alone? Aren’t you worried you’ll be attacked?” I asked her.<br />“No, of course not. These routes are the safest in Asia. Why, I’ve been carrying this bag,” she said, holding up the sack, “for three days, and not once have I feared to be attacked. Even with what I’m carrying,” she continued, opening the bag. Inside were gold bars, piled on top of each other. I stood in awe as she continued, unafraid. <br />After seeing her confidence in the routes, I too continued, now unafraid about what the rest of my journey would bring. <br />Sam <br />One of the roads I traveled on<br />February 16, 1268 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />I reached the city of Dadu, or Beijing, today. I noticed the large, walled capital from afar, and was amazed at how well fortified it was. As I approached the city, I saw there were multiple gates, each with a palace above it. The walls themselves were at least 50 feet high, with soldiers patrolling from the top on the battlements.<br />Surrounded Dadu were numerous suburbs, which sprawled for mile away from the walls. These suburbs were packed with thousands of buildings, ranging from stables to elegant, decorated houses. Hundreds of people, horses, and carts filled the paths from the city to the suburbs, carrying silk, spices, and other items for trade. <br />I was exhausted from my journey, and decide to find lodging for the night. I found an inn, but, as I lacked any form of currency, I had to exchange my fur clothing that I had received from Chulunnbold Besud for a room. I explored the town for a short while, and couldn’t help but notice how many people occupied such a small area.<br />A lot of the traders were selling silk. I walked up to one, hoping to find out why.<br />“Hello,” I said, introducing myself. “Why are so many people selling silk?”<br />“Silk is a very expensive and rare commodity. Its price is high, because foreigners are willing to pay it. Many don’t have silk where they come from.” <br />I thanked him and left. As I did, I began to notice that I saw quite a few none-Mongolians, like the trader had said. They spoke a wide range of languages, most of which I have never heard. I was able, however, to understand some conversations. Many of the foreigners were speaking about what gifts they were going to give to the emperor, or Khan.<br />I became worried then, for I hadn’t brought a gift for the Khan, and I had little except for the clothes I was wearing when began my trip. I started to head back to the inn, when I remembered that I was from the future. Any of my knowledge would be gift enough! With this reassurance, I headed up to my room, and fell asleep quickly.<br />Sam<br /> <br />One of twelve city gates into Dadu Silk, an expensive trading item<br />February 17, 1268 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />Today, I got up and prepared myself to meet Kublai Khan. I decided what I would tell him to gain my trust, and set off to the city. I passed through one of the many gates, and I was given my first look at the city of Dadu.<br />The city was extremely well laid out; the streets were so straight I could see the gate opposite the one I had entered, miles away. There were many buildings here as well, but they were not nearly as packed as those in the suburbs. <br />One feature caught my eye. It was a second wall, inside the first, outer one. I walked toward it, soon noticing that it was as high as the first wall, and the gates were similar. I was able to walk through the wall, where I saw eight large palaces and beautiful gardens surrounding a walled area, which was only a slightly smaller version of the walls and palaces I was passing now. I looked at some of these outer palaces, and saw slaves and guards transporting weapons and war gear into the buildings. Bows went into one, saddles into another and other equipment into their own palace.<br />I saw one guard test a weak-looking bow. He drew the bowstring back to what seemed like a normal length, but he kept pulling. Suddenly, the bowstring snapped with a loud crack, and the guard stumbled back. He fell into an ox cart of bows behind him, spilling the weapons to the ground. I had a difficult time keeping myself from laughing, but I thought it would seem rude, and hinder my efforts to see the Khan.<br />I went through the third set of walls, and I saw a large, one-story palace. It was decorated with gold, and shined brightly. I made an attempt to walk up to the palace, but was stopped by a guard.<br />“What are you trying to do?” he said to me, defensively.<br />“I’m only trying to meet the Khan. I come bearing gifts,” I replied, hoping he would allow me to pass.<br />“But you aren’t carrying anything. Are you trying to fool me?”<br />“I am not. My gift for the Khan is that of knowledge. As you pointed out, I am carrying nothing, so I pose no threat to the Khan. I have traveled a great way to speak with him,” I retorted.<br />The guard looked at me, and then led me into the palace. Whether he knew I posed no threat, or saw that I was unlike any foreigner he had seen before, I will never know. I followed the guard up a marble staircase to a great, massive hall that could easily sit 5000 people. The ceiling was covering in gold, silver and amazing paintings.<br />Sitting at the head of the great hall was Kublai Khan, ruler of the largest land empire in existence. The Khan was dressed in red and yellow silk, with numerous gold fastenings and pearls. Next to him was his wife, who I later learned was Chabi.<br />I was led to them, and bowed. Then, the emperor began to speak.<br />“Why are you here?”<br />“Sire, I am here to bring you gifts, and to learn of your customs and empire, I said.<br />“What gifts do you bring? You do not carry silk or any item of value. And where are you from? Your clothing is strangest I have ever seen,”<br />“I bring the gift of knowledge of technological advances far beyond your wildest dreams,” I answered, although he would never learn of America, so instead I replied, “As for my country of origin, I am from the west, far from the boundaries of your great empire.”<br />“What knowledge do you speak of?”<br />I explained to him how we have buildings that reach in to the sky, how we have weapons that fire much faster and farther than any arrow, and how we have put a man on the moon, among other advances. Kublai Khan seemed more and more amazed with each future technology. Eventually, he made me an advisor, and gave me a paiza, or golden passport. It was a tablet made of gold, engraved with a lion, falcon, the sun, and the moon, with writing, that I couldn’t read, carved underneath the images.<br />“This paiza will allow you to use any horse, hostel or inn, or road you wish, along as it is in my empire,” he explained to me.<br />The Kahn also handed me a large amount of black squares. They all had a golden seal, along with a strange symbol on it. He explained that they were paper currency, a new concept in his empire. They were made of bark, but cut very thin. If they ever ripped, I could bring them to the mint to have them exchanged for new ones.<br />With this, I took my leave, eager to try my newfound power and wealth. <br />Sam<br /> <br /> Kublai Khan, and his wife, Chabi Kublai Khan’s empire, covering most of Asia <br />February 18, 1320 AD<br />Dear Journal,<br />Today was the worst of my trip. The death I witnessed was more horrifying than the assault of Balkh or Genghis Khan’s funeral combined.<br />I set out to see how the empire had changed in 100 years, since the beginning of my journey. There was a small settlement of gers, so I headed toward it. I was not prepared for what I would find. <br />As I approached the gers, I noticed that there were fires burning, but no one tending them. I grew closer and then I saw what happened to the owners of the tents.<br />The bodies lay spread across the ground, covered with black bumps and marks. Everyone had died in the same manner, and all were left to rot on the ground. Looking around, I saw nothing that could cause these marks. Then, it hit me. These people were killed by some sort of virus or plague, which had caused a horrible death.<br />I backed away, not wanting to become infected. Eventually, I turned and ran up a small hill and looked back at the camp. Mongols on horseback had approached the camp, but didn’t seem surprised by the deaths. One jumped off his horse and grabbed a log from the fire. He threw it into one of the gers, which caught fire quickly. He repeated this process until all of the tents were on fire. He and the other Mongols searched the camp, and grabbed any silk or other items of value, and rode off.<br />I ran, wanting to get out of there. In the distance, I could see smoke from other camps, a half dozen of them, burning to the ground. The whole valley was dead.<br />Sam<br /> <br />Some of the horrible marks I found on the dead<br />February 19, 1370<br />Dear Journal,<br />I have traveled far from the last date; I want to get as far from those bodies and that horrifying death as possible.<br />The Mongolian empire has appeared to change little. I walked along paths hoping to find someone who could explain what was happening now. Surely not many could have escaped the wrath of that plague.<br />I didn’t have to wait long. A man came walking along the path, opposite the direction I was.<br />“Hello. Would you be able to tell me what’s happened the last 50 years or so?” I asked.<br />“Fifty years? Where have you been? Kublai Khan, the great Khan died. The empire split into five groups, each ruling their own land,” the man replied, still shocked at my question.<br />“Why wasn’t another Khan elected? The empire might have been able to stay together.”<br />“The groups just lost unity over time until they would no longer act under one government,” the man answered, then walked off, annoyed with my questioning.<br />So that was how the empire fell apart; Kublai Khan was the only thing holding it together. When he died, the empire broke apart, and, as I later learned, was slowly being conquered by the Russians and Persians. After well over 200 years, the greatest land empire in history fell apart simply because it couldn’t, or wouldn’t, unify itself. The Mongols had dominated the cold, grassy Asian Steppes in numbers and military might. When they were divided, they had neither.<br />As I was considering how the empire had collapsed, an arrow shot passed my head. I turned to see a group of five men rushing toward me on horseback, all swing swords above their heads. Over the sound of beating hooves, I could just make out some Russian, but I have no idea what was said.<br />I turned and sprinted, desperate to escape. I saw a bramble of bushes, and dove into it. Looking back, I saw the men loading bows with multiple arrows each. I barely made it back to the present before a barrage of arrows tore the bushes apart.<br />My opinions have change dramatically since the beginning of my journey. When I set out, I thought the Mongols were barbaric people, but my experiences have showed me that while they were sometimes violent, many were often kind and far from the vicious stereotype of bloodthirsty mass-murderers. <br />Sam<br /> <br />-1985645-186055<br />