The Tamita-Pinjarra War

Pinjarra Shoals, Irukandji

The war that created a nation

Irukandji Ministry of Heritage and Culture, stories and legends

In 1975, after more than a century as a British colony, the small South Pacific nation of Irukandji gained independence.

Still tribal in nature, but accustomed to the British system of government, the elders decided to establish their new country as a kingdom, with an advisory council comprised of the elder of each tribe.

Irukandji motto - freedom, peace, integrity

The person chosen to be King would hold the throne for fifty years, and if he died, his tribal heir would take over. At the end of his clan’s allotted time, the elders would meet again to decide their new King.

Given his diplomatic and wise disposition, coupled with his tribe’s traditional distaste for conflict, Daniel de Weta, elder of the Weta tribe in Irukandji’s northeast, was named King.

With much of the colonial infrastructure still in place; its buildings, utilities, and procedures, the transition to nationhood went smoothly. New connections were made with other nations, which in the absence of European interference, were happy to take advantage of mutual trade and relations with the new kingdom.

Note: if you are trying to visit the current Irukandji world, the landing sim is Arius on the DigiWorldz grid. The region is hypergrid enabled for easy teleportation from other Open Simulator virtual worlds. If you have the Firestorm viewer, use this link to teleport to Arius.


For four years, prosperity prevailed, until suddenly without warning, King Daniel died, his death attributed to a weakened heart.

While sad, that contingency was allowed for. Under the terms of his ascension, his next-in-line would take the throne. What had not been considered however, was betrayal. Within days of Daniel’s passing, a despicable coup began.

All eight of his children went to the private sanctuary on Weta Rim to grieve. It was a chance to heal and for the heir to find her feet, but before the process could begin, mercenaries rowed ashore with machetes and swords. Unprepared and defenceless, all of Daniel’s children were murdered.

Weta Rim region at sunset, 2007

A very long game

While the advisory council tried frantically to identify the perpetrators, one elder amongst them – aware that his warriors were about to be uncovered as the assassins of Daniel and his kin – subtly vacated his post. The Pinjarran prince, Kebo Kebo.

Kebo was a scarred man psychologically. Pinjarra Island’s history was not a pleasant one, and the angry rants of his grandfather, the mighty Pinjarra himself, had taken their toll. Now in his sixties and with a lifetime of hatred poisoning his mind, Kebo finally played his long game.

With a hundred paid mercenaries, Fijian ex-military, and the strength of his own army of warriors, he divided and conquered. Half of his force charged north to the naval base at Split Rock Mountain, capturing it with ease. The other half raced southeast to Old Fort Island and over-ran the army base. From each outpost, they began encircling the islands, cutting off help from the outside world.

Pinjarra Island, one of the Twin Pearls of ancient fame.

Kebo made his demands on the council clear. The Irukandji experiment was over. Submit to Pinjarran rule. His confidence and arrogance were absolute.

The elders gave no official reply while one by one, the outlying states were overrun by Pinjarran forces. Aboyo and Manatu in the south and southeast, were the first states to fall, their people rounded up and put into camps.

Meanwhile in the north, Weta, leaderless in the wake of the royal family’s assassination, suffered the same fate. Only one family member survived, Daniel’s pregnant sister. Overwhelmed to the brink of insanity, Jalna couldn’t function.

Her husband whisked her away in the night, turning to the only ally he knew could be trusted beyond all doubt. Savu – Daniel’s dearest friend in the world.

The king maker

World War 2 cannon emplacement atop Tamita Peak

Everyone on the council knew that Kebo’s final prize was Tamita Island. It was the former colonial capital and remained the largest city in Irukandji by a long way. As such, it controlled the nation’s infrastructure and much of its wealth. If Kebo conquered Tamita Island, all of Irukandji would fall.

Yet for all its assets, Tamita Island had few defences to speak of. A lone cannon sat perched on the mountain which had not been fired since World War II, and a small civilian police force patrolled the surrounding seas. In fact, all of Tamita’s strength lay in its people, its clans, the once-powerful Tamita warriors.

Savu de Tamita was an understated man. Like Kebo, he had sat as an infant at the feet of the great revolutionary, Lady Uba Uba, hanging on her every word. Later as an adult, again like Kebo, he fought a war against the British for Irukandji’s independence, his banshee cry deafening as he led his clansmen into battle.

Savu, elder of the Tamita tribe
postcard of Prince Savu in his youth

The battle-weary warrior

Now in middle-age and with independence gained, Prince Savu wanted the second half of his life to be peaceful. He meditated often. Nowadays he was calmness personified.

Quiet at council meetings, he listened in silence unless he had something constructive to say. His self-control, along with his heroic past, made Savu’s voice loud amongst his peers. Indeed, it was Savu’s careful and considered arguments that saw Daniel crowned king.

Savu was the same when out amongst the people of his tribe. Justice was dispensed thoughtfully and quietly. His word was final and never appealed. To his people, his solemnity and gravitas made him a god.

So it was, that when King Daniel died – Savu’s childhood friend, and on occasion in their youth, his lover – Savu wept. He wept hard. In dignity and in private, he spent two nights alone with his sorrow.

But then, as news arrived of the massacre of Daniel’s children, he seethed. He felt it. The fire. His insides tore, yet somehow he maintained his outer calm. Then finally, the threat came. It seemed like an eternity but in truth it was just a day.

“Submit or be killed.”

Kebo had killed his friend, and then his friend’s children, and now threatened the kingdom he and Daniel had fought so hard to free from tyranny – just to have another tyrant threaten to tear it apart with another war. Without warning or hope to deny it, the warrior blood of Savu’s ancestors boiled over.

Declaration of war

Barefoot and dressed in nothing but a tribal loincloth, he went out into the street and screamed in rage. Then with spear on his back and shield on his arm – like Hiahungi come to life – he climbed the slope of Nouvelle Kiribas and stared down at the gathered throng.

Thousands of faces stared up at him. The sight of their noble elder, angry and eager for war, made the entire kingdom fall still. Such was the silence that a gull could be heard a mile away.

When finally he spoke, his voice was calm yet deep as thunder. He called upon the people of Irukandji, natives and whites, men and women, young and old, to fight at his side. And they did.

Even on Pinjarra Island itself, Kebo’s support began to fall away. Three months of bloody war followed, as island by island, Savu’s forces, armed only with weapons of old, pressed on. Finally, they freed all the outlying states then set their sights on Pinjarra Island itself.

The locals yielded willingly and still Savu raged. Finally, Kebo was cornered in his villa on the atoll he had named for himself, Kebo Atoa.

Kebo Atoa, named for the architect of the Tamita-Pinjarra war, Kebo Pinjarra.

Now cornered and panicked, Kebo begged for mercy, citing their kinship of old. Savu speared him and dragged him out onto the beach. Deaf to the traitor’s pleas, remembering only the fate of poor Daniel’s children, he gave into his rage and hacked Kebo to death.

What was left of Kebo’s body was thrown to the sharks in the lagoon. His family was rounded up and imprisoned and his villa burnt to the ground.

The Tamita-Pinjarra War was over.

Prince of princes

In the days that followed, civilian order was restored. The tribal elders met to determine Irukandji’s future. With his rage vented, Savu was himself again, his manner quiet and controlled.

He spent his days with Daniel’s sister. Her husband was killed in the final battle for Weta. Her mind was all but gone now and it was clear she could not fill Daniel’s role. She was near full term. Twins apparently.

He wondered how she would manage looking after the newborns when she couldn’t care for herself. Regardless, they were the sole remaining heirs to the Weta royal line. Savu knew they had to be protected at all cost.

Such were his thoughts when he attended council a week after Kebo’s death.

In his own eyes, he was the same man he had always been, however his peers saw him for what he truly was; a hero, a living legend. The godly light in which his tribe perceived him now shone throughout the entire kingdom. Without voting or debate, the crown was handed to Savu. He regarded it for long minutes then pushed it away.

“Irukandji has only one king. It is Daniel,” he said, “I will serve as your prince of princes. Let us govern together, with kindness and wisdom, so our king may live forever.”

So it was that Irukandji became a kingdom without a living king.

Pinjarra must pay

Savu established the Council of Princes, comprised of the elder and first-born of each of the Irukandji states. All but Pinjarra.

Kebo’s progeny had yet to pay for their war crimes, not least of which was their direct involvement in the massacre of their fellow princes. It was decided that they would be punished under the tribal laws of old, in particular Pinjarran law.

Thus, all but Kebo’s eldest child were killed by spear. The surviving heir was locked in chains and became a slave to the crown.

It was further decreed that as penance for three generations, such would be the fate of each firstborn Pinjarran child. They would be allowed to breed a single heir in order to preserve their bloodline, but with the knowledge that said child would be nothing but a titled slave.

The new century

Time passed, and for the people of greater Irukandji, life returned to normal. Twenty-five years of prosperity followed. Savu saw the new century in then in 2005, passed away.

His royal house still had another 25 years to reign before another tribe would take over. His own son, Aron, had died early before having the chance to ascend. Hence, Savu’s grandson, Xay, succeeded him as Prince of Princes.

Meanwhile in Weta, one of Jalna’s twin sons, Roth de Weta, served as elder. Roth already had four children of his own, two boys and two girls, ensuring the continuation of his royal line.

In 2007, at the request of Prince Roth, Rah Pinjarra, the third Pinjarran heir born into slavery was granted freedom for outstanding public service to Irukandji.

That same year, the Council of Princes welcomed Rah into their ranks, and the Pinjarra nation was re-admitted as a full member state of Irukandji.

Prince Rah of Pinjarra at the winter palace, Hephaestion 2008

Andrew Thompson a.k.a. Xay Tomsen

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