Tum-Tum-Tum-TUM-Tum-Tum-Tum-TUM-TUM-TUM
rating: +36+x

Iran, 1838. 25 years since the end of the First Russo-Persian War.

'Abbas had not expected this.

There was a cannon sitting in the centre of the hut. It was clearly Russian, old, and looked like it had taken more than one battering. The quality of the craftsmanship was still excellent after all these years. 'Abbas recognised the model; it was the same that he'd faced at Ganja and Sultanabad, many years ago.

'Abbas had done well from the Russian wars, despite his Iran's losses. His aristocratic family had played up his heroism in a desperate bid to elevate themselves. He'd gained the favour of begs, khans, and now the Shah. He was a provincial governor, rich, with beautiful wives and a brilliant villa in the capital.

But today 'Abbas could not think about that. Today 'Abbas was in the countryside, on the outskirts of his family's old holdings. He didn't like to come here. It made him think of the old days, the penniless days before his rise to fame and fortune.

But his brother was here, so 'Abbas had to be. His older sibling was crouched over the weapon, smeared in grease and mud, his grey hair falling around his shoulders, unkempt and lank. 'Abbas remembered when it was long, his beard neatly trimmed, resplendent in his uniform, alive, awake, alert, funny, the handsomest man in the division, laughing and joking at his superiors-

Jamshid stood up, saw his brother, and laughed. "Salaam, brother!" he yelled. "Have you come to see my work today?"

'Abbas moved closer, out of the doorway. "Salaam, Jamshid. Is this what you've been doing here, all these years? It's just a cannon. An old one at that."

Jamshid shook his head. 'Abbas saw a madness in his eyes, the kind that he had seen before. Thirty years fighting against Russians and rebels and whatever else the world had to throw at him had taught him where a man's breaking point is. Jamshid had long passed that.

"It's not just a cannon, brother! It's a message! A plan! It's all- all in my head, you see!"

Jamshid stumbled. 'Abbas caught his brother, and- noting how little he weighed- sat him down at the edge of the barn. "It's a cannon, Jamshid. It's just a cannon."

"It isn't!" His brother's voice was a snarl now. He lashed out at 'Abbas, pushing his little brother slightly away. His eyes darted towards the cannon, looking at it, his lip trembling.

"I asked around at the embassy for you", said 'Abbas. "They don't know of any composer called Tchaikovsky. They didn't know what I was talking about. I looked like a fool."

"Of course not! I told you as much! It's not been written yet! It's in my head, brother… tum tum TUM tum tum tum TUM TUM TUM…"

Jamshid rose unsteadily to his feet, rocking slightly. "You'll see. One day, this music will be heard in every concert-hall and rattle in the eardrums of every man in Europe and Iran. One day, Tchaikovsky will write his piece, and the cannon… the cannon will be perfect…"

"No." 'Abbas had had enough. He waved towards the door, and several uniformed soldiers entered. "I'm taking this away. You've laboured over it long enough."

"No!" Jamshid lunged towards the nearest soldier as he began to lift his end of the cannon. The soldier batted him away, sending him sprawling.

"I said not to hurt him!" barked 'Abbas. The soldier looked down, ashamed of having forgotten himself, but 'Abbas was already running towards his brother. As the cannon was hauled out, the old man nursed his elder sibling.

"You can't take it away, 'Abbas, you can't… it's not ready… the timing's all wrong, and I can't, the river, I have to draw more water from the river-"

"It's going to a collector, Jamshid. A Frank I know, interested in old weapons. You won't see it again. It's for the best, Jamshid. You'll see. We'll find someone to cure your mind."

But Jamshid just rocked, back and forwards, back and forwards, his mind still entranced by the cannons of Ganja and some arcane music that only he could hear.

Item Description: An early 19th century cannon of Russian manufacture. Cannon will prime, load and fire blanks (with no visible source of powder) if the finale of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture is played within audible range of the artillery piece. The timing of the shots is slightly off and inconsistent with the music.
Date of Recovery: ██-██-████
Location of Recovery: Napoleonic Wars exhibit, ████████ Museum, ████████.
Current Status: Maintained as a lawn ornament in the staff garden at Site 12. Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture added to Site Blacklist of restricted materials.

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