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Thread: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

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    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
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    Default In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    This thread is for the players in the Broken Crescent hotseat game to post creative writing related to the game.

    This can take the form of full or partial turn write-ups, battle reports, stories or other creative writing forms inspired by the game, so long as the posts are consistent with and related to events in the game.
    frogbeastegg's TWS2 guide....it's here!

    Come to the Throne Room to play multiplayer hotseat campaigns and RPGs in M2TW.

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    be champions Member 00jebus's Avatar
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    Default the passing of the flame - 1175

    To Merchants traveling along the silk road, the ancient city of Merv was usually a true pleasure and wonder to pass through, not just a respite from the never ending sand of Iran, not so today, it seemed more like Allah himself was sorry, most of the men looked downtrodden, although the bazar was legendary little trade was done, all around the walls flags flopped downwards at half mast, the weather was clear, but felt sticky and lifeless and from the council chambers two messengers and their retinues rode out.
    Today, would be considered a very special day by the worlds christians, the 25th of December, but to the people of Khwarezm, it was a tragic one, 2 days ago the shah had died in his sleep.
    Nobody suspected foul play, considering his age, and nobody doubted he would be denied passage to paradise, considering his piety and chivalry, but the people were still sorry to see their king go. He did after all take excellent care of them, new civic building projects sprung up all over the shahdom during his reign, and he was responsible for ensuring so far lasting peace with both seljuk and ghanzi

    The two messengers that were dispatched had the unenviable task of delivering news of this great man's passing to his sons, Malik and Muhammad.

    Malik was first to hear the news, and his part of the will, he was to become Viezier - i - azam, or Grand Vizor, as a budding beaurocrat and efficient taxman, he would be in charge of the peaceful aspects of the shahdom until he died, with his brother and nephew being the next two in line for the throne.
    Even though he was older than Muhammah, Malik accepted this anyway, he knew he would be best at this and enjoy it allot more than what Muhammad got upto, it would be important for him to protect the kingdom from his younger brothers occasional moods and odd habits.




    The messenger that was sent to tell Muhammad had never seen a seige before, or the aftermath of one, he arrived at Tus early in the morning and was shocked to discover the entire army awake and at work, clearly a battle had happened the day before, and a one-sided one by the looks of things. Ladders were still on the walls, and a large square pit had been dug in which soldiers where throwing corpses haphazadly, they hadn't even been wrapped in cloth, holding back his vomit the messenger was about to ask a passing soldier where his general was, when he heard a loud argument erupt a short walk away

    ".... I dont give a toss if its against the Qua'ran!" A man in blood soaked armour thundered at a man who could only be the local Iman "Their dead! all of em! and I'm gonna burn them!"

    the Iman spluttered to respond "But their souls may not enter paradise!, nobody has even gave them a burial prayer!"

    "that would be your job wouldn't it? Im not changing things! the army is in the middle of a campaign, why wait a week to do it all properly? I suggest you do what you can for their souls..." he sneered

    The Iman was clearly at a loss for words, a look of shock and frustration upon his face he turned and marched off towards the pit, a look of utter loathing on his face, the messenger stopped him, but before he could speak the Iman said
    "Yes thats the so-called Muhammad the mighty, he's killed over a thousand muslims today.. if that deed gives you that title than its one I dont want... He has no idea about Islam at all.... even caught him eating pork yesterday... so if you must speak to him, keep religion out of it" before continuing his march.

    The messenger caught the generals attention, bowing he began.
    "Excuse me? sir? I have..."

    "...if its a problem with attacking a city in the night and killing half the garrison in their sleep, I dont wanna hear about it! nor do I wanna hear about how my wonderful brother is such a saint, and I deffinanlty dont wanna hear that Im going to hell or wherever..."

    looking slightly shocked and again holding back his vomit the messenger continued... "no sir, not, er, that.... your father, theres no easy way to say this, but he's passed away"

    Muhammad Looked softer and like he was about to cry for a second, but only for a second before he scoffed
    "Has my wonderful brother decided whether I can carry on conquering... just like father wanted or has his weaklingness got the better of him? idiot barely knows which end of a sword to hold...."

    Bowing again "no, sir, your the new shah",
    "god save us all" he added under his breath

    "Good, nobodies expecting me to hang around building stuff cause I've got better things to do than look after peasants, and nobody expects me to care about the servant classes all of a sudden? And nobody expects any Hajj or Zaket of me"

    "No, Malik will take care of all of that"


    the new shah's eyes glinted, smiling he said "father really did take care of everything! great, now if you'll excuse me I have to get some sleep.."

    "but sir, its early...."
    the messenger tried to protest, but quaked under the new shah's gaze.

    In a tone that sounded as if it had been practised for the past few years, Muhammad proclaimed "do raise an army in the north for my son... I think now we can afford it," make sure its all infantry, If I have to hear him moan about horse archers again I'll do that christian thing where they hit their kids... only I'll use a mace..."
    though the end seemed a spur of the moment thing

    and that was how the reign of shah Muhammad the mighty began.






    OOC, first ever AAR much harder than I thought it'd be, but included as many traits as I could.
    WotB: Timarchos Anaias Mysiakes, marching round the arche beating up rebels

    LotR: Lisas Attaliedas, currently in reserve

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    The longest lasting leper ever Member rossahh's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Jerusalem, 1175 AD


    It was hot, very hot, just as it always seemed to be that way in this Kingdom. The man on the horse wrinkled his nose. The city always smelt terrible when it was hot. It made it hard to think, hard to concentrate - yet he needed to do both at the moment.

    Why have I been summoned? Why? he thought to himself. He had carried out his orders, the King's orders, yet he felt apprehensive. Gaza was taken and pillaged, all for the loss of but two knights. Indeed, he had still been carrying out the King's orders - March at best speed with the army to reinforce the army at Damascus - when the summons came.

    What had gone wrong? What did I do wrong?






    The King's chambers were just as they always were. Dark, cool, forboding. Standing proud and tall in the ante-chamber, the man waited, sweating from more than from just the heat outside.

    "Enter" said the soft voice.

    Entering through the curtains, the man came into the mix of darkness and candle-light. As always, it took a moment for the eyes to adjust to the drop in light before the figure on the cushioned couch came into focus. The figure was but an outline of a man, except for the eyes. The bright, shiny eyes pierced the newcomer and seemed to be searching him, reading him, judging him with their glance.

    Nervously, the man bowed low and whispered in a suddenly dry throat, "My Lord".

    For a moment, the figure did not stir. The eyes gazed silently back at the man. Finally, the soft voice spoke again, muffled from the mask, "Please sit down". The man quickly sat down, opposite the couch on which the figure lay. As he did, he noticed for the first time the multitude of papers scattered around the couch. Dozens of papers, parchments and letters, bearing all manner of seals and insignias.

    As soon as he had sat down, the man began, "My Lord, I most humbly apologise for any offence which..." The man was stopped midsentence by an upraised hand from the figure. In the hand was a document, a letter, bearing a seal not known to the man. The man's heart began to thud faster and faster as he watched the King unroll the letter. What was in it? Was this the reason I was summoned? Was it his execution?

    The soft voice spoke. "Jerusalem will not long survive in a war with the Muslims. Already, the Kingdom is divided. Of the northern states, only Tripoli answers to us. Edessa and Antioch have ceded and the Emir in Aleppo is openly hostile."

    The figure paused and the brandished the letter to the man,

    "But this is the future of Jerusalem. The Sultan and I have made peace."

    The man began to panic. If the King had made peace with the Muslims and I had attacked them, had I violated the pact? Had I destroyed the future of this Kingdom? His heart stopped beating.

    Unaware of the man's thoughts, the voice continued,

    "Damascus and Homs have been surrendered to us. The eastern borders are secure. Peace has been restored between Christian and Muslim."

    Relief flooded the man's body. He was able to breathe again, and his heart pumped blood once more.

    "You have played you part well, and we thank you for that. Though peace with the Muslims has been obtained, the future is not yet secure."

    The hand dropped the letter it was holding and picked up another. On this one was a seal that the man recognised. It was the seal of Joran, the representative of Jerusalem in the Court of the Caliph.

    "News from the court speaks of trouble brewing in the north. Beyond the northern counties, a threat is growing. The Takavor in Armenia, it seems, is pulling away from us and towards the Turks."

    The man frowned. The last that he had heard of Armenia was that were to be allies of the Kingdom. Strange that they would be courting the Turks against us. But perhaps I heard wrong. The man nodded to himself, it was quite some time ago that he had heard the stories about Armenia, after all.

    "With the situation in the north as is, we have set a task for you."

    The man ceased his musings about Armenia and focused on the eyes. Now that he knew his fate was safe, he was anxious to know what was to become of him now.

    "It is time to strengthen the northern border. The counties of Edessa and Antioch are to be returned to the control of the Kingdom. It is our desire that you march the army of Jerusalem to the north and reassert our claim on the northern counties. Tripoli will assist you with whatever troops they can spare."

    The man smiled at the mention of Tripoli. His uncle was a good soldier and campaigning with him was always a joyous affair. However, he frowned as he thought about what the King had first said. He saw a flaw in the King's plans, and felt he had to say something, yet he didn't know how to phrase it without offending the King. Tentatively, he inquired.

    "My Lord, what if Antioch and Edessa reject your demands?"

    The King's head tilted to the side. The eyes gazed intently at the man.

    "Then you will force the demands upon them."

    The voice had not changed in volume but there was an intensity in that sentence that frightened the man. The King is not one to be trifled with, I see the man thought to himself. How appearances can be deceiving.

    The man waited for the King to say more, but he did not utter another word and just gazed at the man. The man understood that he was dismissed and so stood up, bowed and said, "It will be done My Lord".

    The eyes twinkled back at him and the soft voice said, "Yes, we know it will."

    A shiver went down the man's spine, and not from being in the cool room. Suddenly, he felt afraid again. He quickly turned to stride out of the room. As he did, he noticed something strange. The King had a third letter next to him, one that he didn't show the man. Though he couldn't see much of it in the dim light, from his angle it seemed the letter bore the official seal of the Roman Emperor. The man paused and looked back at letter, before leaving the room. Strange that he didn't mention that seeings they are one of our northern neighbors. It must not be important...





    And so the army marched north, the man on the horse in the lead, its purpose clear.

    The Kingdom would be united again under one banner.




    Edit: I'd appreciate some feedback, if you want to give it. I've never done a story before for TW, but I hope you like it. If you do want to throw me some feedback, I suppose a pm is the best way so as to not clutter up the thread.

    Edix x 2: Thanks for the feedback guys. We all know where this ends up so I'll do a few more, and be as truthful as possible, to show the path to war.
    Last edited by rossahh; 03-23-2008 at 07:01.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    The longest lasting leper ever Member rossahh's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Antioch, 1175 AD

    The Message Bearer rode hard.

    Messengers from Jerusalem were not as welcome in the Principality as they once were. The sanctity of the Bearers was not what it once was either. Though the road ahead in Armenia was no safer, he knew the sooner he was out of the Principality, the better. Besides, the utmost importance had been placed on this message. It bore the seal of the King himself.


    Time was of the essence, he was told.


    The Basileos was waiting.
    Last edited by rossahh; 03-23-2008 at 08:41.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    The longest lasting leper ever Member rossahh's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Tartus, County of Tripoli, 1175 AD


    Raymond III, Count of Tripoli, sighed. The road below him twisted and turned through the sands like a serpent, leading off to the north, south and east. A cool breeze ruffled the man's hair. It smelt like the sea, that blue haze on the western horizon. For some reason he liked looking at sea and liked its smell, it made him feel calm.

    Raymond sighed again, and turned his gaze from the sea, back to the road.

    Rumours he thought to himself. Lots of rumours. Too many rumours. What does it all mean?

    For months now rumours had flown throughout the County. Rumours of war, rumours of peace, rumours about everything. Some had proven to be true while others were just wild fantasy. He had even seen things himself that he did not understand and fuelled the rumours.

    What does it all mean? Raymond asked himself again.

    The breeze flowed through the air again. Another man began to climb the hill. His tunic was blue with the golden cross emblazed upon it, and it shimmered in the sunlight as the man picked his way up the hill.

    The Count smiled as he watched the man climb.

    I think I'm about to find out.




    The man in blue reached the top of the hill, panting slightly. For a moment, both men looked at each other without moving, before embracing.

    "Uncle!" greeted the man in blue.

    "Nephew" replied the Count in his deep, thoughtful tone.

    They separated and the Count looked the man up and down, smiled and nodded.

    "So, leading the army treats you well I see. I'm glad."

    "I see Tripoli is still in good hands" replied the man with a smile of his own.

    The Count chuckled and said "Always". His face lost its mirth almost instantly as he gazed back northwards, motioning for the man to do the same. The Count tried to hide his anxiety as he looked down at the road.

    "So tell me. What news from the south? I have heard many a strange tale, and they cannot all possibly be true."

    The man looked down at the road before looking back at the Count.

    "Most of it is true."

    "Even Damascus?" asked Raymond quickly.

    "Yes" replied the man.

    The Count sighed. A self satisfied sigh. A sigh of relief. He closed his eyes.

    Thanks be to God that that rumour was true he thought to himself.

    For years, the Emir in Damascus had sent raiders into the County, and for years the Count had beaten them back. For the past month, a rumour of the surrender of Damascus to the Kingdom had been heard in the County. The Count had not dared believe such a blessing. Not even tales of Muslims and Saracens marching southwards back into Egypt and that peace had been struck between Christian and Muslim in the south, had been enough to convince him. But now, now he knew it to be true.

    The man noticed the relief on his uncle's face. He knew what it meant for the County and his uncle. He knew it meant that the County was safe once more. Safe as the rest of the Kingdom that is.



    It was some time before either spoke again. The only movement came from the breeze whistling between them. The man smelt the sea on the breeze and smiled to himself. He'd always like the smell of the sea. However, the man had more to tell, and so finally he broke the silence.

    "There is more."

    Raymond looked at the man again.

    "You have received orders from the King?" asked the man.

    The Count nodded gravely.

    "Yes, we were assemble the County and prepare to march with the army. That I have done, a thousand men in all." The Count paused. "To where, the King did not say. Many others though, have said." The Count looked at his nephew, square in the eyes. "The rumours said that we were to march north."

    He hesitated, "Far north."

    The Count gestured to the road running northwards. Northwards into the Principality. Northwards into Cicilia. Northwards into Anatolia.

    The man gazed intently back at his uncle, and nodded. "Yes, we are to head northwards."

    "How far northwards?" asked the Count hesitantly. He had heard many rumours. Rumours from the caravans coming down from the north and from the east. Rumours from the travellers on the north road. Indeed, he himself had even seen things. Worrying things.

    So it's true...

    "Antioch" said the man, breaking into Raymond's thoughts.

    Confusion flooded into the Count's mind. Antioch? But what about...

    "Are you surprised?" the man cut across Raymond's thoughts again. "You of all people know that the Principality no longer answers to the King."

    "No," said the Count as he tried to shake the confusion from his expression. Far below them on the road a lone horseman was riding, a plume of sand rising behind him. "I have just heard..." he trailed off.

    "Heard what?" asked the man, confusion now on his face.

    The Count paused. He turned and faced the man. Hesitantly, he spoke.

    "I heard whispers of trouble up north, and I've seen, things."

    The man sensed his uncle had something important to say, something secretive. He was determined to find out.

    "Uncle, what is it?"


    The Count turned away. His eyes went down to the road and tiny figure. For a long time, he did not speak. A strange dark mood seemed to fall over the hill. Finally he began in almost a whisper.

    "Traders from the north, from Antioch and afar, have been bringing tales of the people beyond the mountains. They say war is brewing. They say the Levant is threatened. They say messengers have been travelling many leagues along the roads for months. Messengers bearing the royal insignias of many a king."

    Raymond stopped for a while, but the man made no move to reply. Eventually, the whisper continued.

    "I have watched the roads many times, and I too have seen messengers. Lone horsemen riding at full gallop, following the roads to the south. Like that one," pointing to the rider moving southwards down the road into the Kingdom below them.

    The Count lifted his eyes and looked at his nephew.

    "Something is going on up north. I feel it."

    The man looked back at his uncle. A multitude of thoughts was going through his mind. He could think of nothing to say. On the road north, he had heard nothing. He knew only what the King had told him. He thought it was all so simple - recover the lost Counties. But now? he thought to himself. He felt perplexed and had the feeling, like his uncle seemingly did, that something was happening around them. Something terrible.


    Suddenly, a big gust of wind and the smell of the sea struck the hill. The darkness that had been there before abated instantly. The Count seemed to gather himself and briskly said to the man, "Come, we have much to discuss" and set off down the sandy hill.

    Surprised by his uncle's sudden change in demeanour, the man was slow to follow the Count. As he turned to obey, his eyes were drawn to the rider on the road, heading southwards. For an instant, a flash of sunlight lit up the figure, and the man was sure that he saw the figure bathed in purple.

    Strange. I know that colour, but from where? the man asked himself.

    Shrugging his shoulders, he started down the hill, towards the hundreds of tents spread out before him.


    His uncle was right about one thing. They had much to discuss.
    Last edited by rossahh; 03-24-2008 at 05:06.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    The longest lasting leper ever Member rossahh's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Baghdad, 1175 AD


    "Why does he say such things?" whispered the first voice.

    "It is not him, it is the other one" replied the second voice.

    "But he should be our friend!" exclaimed the first.

    "Should does not mean is. This is politics" said the second.


    The candle flared and the room was given light. The old man sat down at the desk. He grabbed some parchment, dipped his quill in ink and began to write.

    The other man nervously paced to room, looking at the old man writing and then looking out the window. The city was dark and the night was in full force. He could stand not doing anything any longer and began,

    "Joran, who are..."

    "The King" the old man cut him off harshly. "He must be told!"

    The other man shut his mouth and resumed his pacing. His thoughts were flying around and around his head.

    He should be back by now.

    He should be back by now.


    The writing continued.



    Suddenly the old man stopped writing and put down his quill, frowning. The slightest of noises could be heard outside the door. Silently, the other man drew a long knife with a shaking hand, and reached for the door. A muffled voice came through it before it was opened,

    "It's me."

    Sagging with relief the other man opened the door. A man, much younger that the other two, entered hurriedly, panting slightly. The other man shut the door quickly behind him, while the old man faced the young one.

    "What did they say?" he demanded.

    "They said it changes nothing." he said between breaths.

    The old man closed his eyes. While the other man's eyes flared in panic. In a gravelly voice, he said,

    "So be it."


    He turned back to his letter and continued writing. The other men stood awkwardly in the room, waiting for the old man to finish. Eventually he did, sealing the letter with wax and his mark.

    Turning to the young man, he handing over the letter and said "To the King. Now."

    The young man ran to the door, flung it open and ran out of the room.

    Hurriedly, the other man shut the door, and faced the old man.

    "What does it mean? What will happen?" His voice was shrill, his face clammy with sweat.

    The old man rubbed his forehead with his hands. In a strong voice, he said simply,

    "War."
    Last edited by rossahh; 03-24-2008 at 03:43.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    The longest lasting leper ever Member rossahh's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Camp of the Army of Jerusalem, Siege of Antioch, 1176 AD


    The blue banner with the gold cross hung proudly in the air.

    The messenger dismounted from his horse, and hurried towards the tent. He had ridden four days straight and was exhausted, but excited to deliver this message. Rarely did anyone see the King, let alone bear a message from him personally. It had been an honour, but still it was tiring all the same. The guards at the tent moved aside to let the messenger past - they saw the ring on his finger, they knew where he was from - and the messenger entered the tent.

    The tent was large, spacious even, with maps and papers scattered here and there on tables and chairs, as it was for the commander of the army of Jerusalem. The commander looked up in mild annoyance at being disturbed unannounced - as if he didn't have enough to worry about at the moment.

    The messenger bowed quickly, pulled the message from its carry-case and offered it to the commander.

    "My Lord," said the messenger, "from the King."

    The man in the tent took the message, his annoyance only deepening with the news.

    What now? he thought angrily to himself.

    Slowly, the man began to read.

    The messenger waited and watched the man read. He saw the expressions come and go on the man's face. Confusion, disbelief, anger, thoughtfulness, resignation. Eventually, the man finished reading. Looking up at the messenger, he nodded and dismissed him.

    The messenger hurried from the tent. His job was done, the message was read and understood. The rest was in the man's hands. He started to walk through the camp, back to where his horse was.

    Where can I find some food around here?







    For a long time, the man in the tent thought about the message. He thought long and hard, but still the answers did not come.

    Why that? Why now? he questioned himself silently.

    To that he could find no answer. Eventually, the man sighed and stood up.

    "So be it" he told himself.

    He called for his overseer and his most trusted knights. He had orders from his liege, though he did not yet understand them, and he would carry them out. They were not going to like this...







    After dismissing his men, the man sat down. He felt suddenly weary, yet he knew that rest would not be easily found on the roads ahead.

    "My lord?" inquired a voice from the doorway.

    It was his overseer, a trusted friend, who had lingered after the meeting.

    "Where are we going?"

    The man sighed. It is better they know now, than later he thought to himself. He looked up at his friend and smiled ruefully.

    "Cicilia."

    For a moment, the overseer looked at man, no expression on his face. The man knew a multitude of thoughts would be racing through his mind, as it had for the man's very own not long ago. The overseer finally nodded and bowed, and hurried from the tent.

    The man closed his eyes. Outside the tent, horns were blowing. He opened them again. It was time.


    There was so much work to do.
    Last edited by rossahh; 03-25-2008 at 03:37.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Actually to keep this flowing, ignore this post, and just go read below!
    Last edited by The Lemongate; 04-01-2008 at 02:15.

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    The longest lasting leper ever Member rossahh's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Jerusalem, 1176 AD



    The figure looked out over the city. It was early morning and the city was just waking. The figure took nothing in - its thoughts far away to the north.


    They lie, they provoke, but we are on the wrong side?

    We are the aggressors?



    The figure shook its head slightly.


    He was right. They should be silenced.


    But what will the others think?


    What will the others do?



    The figure sighed inwardly at those thoughts.


    Only time will tell.




    Another small voice appeared in the back of the figure's mind.


    You have brought doom upon us.


    The figure closed its eyes. These thoughts had haunted him for weeks. The other voice continued.


    The others will decend upon us and we shall be powerless to resist. You will be forever remembered as a failure!


    The figure shook its head to clear those thoughts. The Kingdom did not need those thoughts, it needed strength now.


    We will prevail the figure told himself silently.

    We must!


    A faint echo of laughter reasonated through the figure's mind.


    We fight for ourselces, not for them.

    We agreed, and so it shall be done.





    The figure bowed its head.


    It is too late to turn back now.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Ceyhan River, Armenia, 1176 AD


    They were late.

    The messenger had been waiting at the crossing for six days. The meeting was supposed to have taken place on the first of the month. That was four days ago.


    Trust the crusaders to be late he thought crossly to himself, only showing up when they want to. The messenger smiled, not that they're going to like this message. He had secretly read the message while he had waited. The Basileos was insane if he wanted the Latins to follow Roman orders. He had also wanted the Latins to take the western part of Armenia, conveniently ignoring the fact that it was the most heavily populated, spread out and defended part of Cicilia. They'll never agree to that unless the Basileos has offered them something in return the messenger thought to himself, something big. He had thought a bit on that subject, but could think of nothing that the crusaders would want in return for giving half of Armenia to the Empire.

    "Obviously I wouldn't make a good Basileos," the messenger said out loud to himself with a smile.

    "You don't even make a good sentry," snarled a deep voice from right behind him.

    The messenger jumped a foot into the air and whirled around, clutching for his sword.

    "Looking for this?" a pale, gloating face said, waving a sword around.

    The messenger's hand reached his empty scabbard. How the hell...?

    The pale-faced man laughed out loud as shock and surprise filled the messenger's face.

    The messenger flushed darkly. How dare this pig laugh at a Basileos's message-bearer?

    The man noticed the deepening colour. His laughter from before vanished and an ugly expression arose. Waving the sword at the messenger, he said "We've been watching you for a few hours now, so come on. The Count and the Lord are waiting," and started to walk back through the trees.

    The messenger gathered his case, anger still flowing through him. THEY'VE been waiting?! What about me?!

    "Come," the man said again, not looking around, "we've got much to discuss."
    Last edited by rossahh; 04-11-2008 at 11:44.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

  11. #11
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
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    Default The Caliph's Dream

    The Caliph dreamed.

    He was one of a multitude surging through the narrow lanes of the bazaar in Baghdad.

    There were men there of every country in the world, their stalls, carts and trays overflowing with the bounty of the earth.

    Exotic dyes, spices and reams of cloth of every hue and texture dazzled the eye. Food sizzled on grills and bubbled in pots, and an array of odours assailed his senses. Music came flooding from every direction, strange and haunting melodies that spoke of foreign lands long distant.

    He left the bazaar and passed through the city.

    In a square shaded by date palms he saw a throng of holy men engaged in lively debate. There were men of Muhammad and men of Christ, men of the Hindu gods and many more he could not recognise. They smiled and embraced each other as they spoke, and seemed to come to an agreement.

    Past the square were the city gates, through which came a procession of carts loaded with freshly harvested produce. The line of carts stretched down the road to the horizon, and flanking the road on either side were fields of green crops and dark, earthy loam which seemed loaded with the promise of an endless fertility.

    As he passed through the streets of the city it seemed to him that the people lived their lives in peace and harmony, unthreatened by war, hunger or religious oppression. He saw no signs of sickness or poverty, and no man he saw carried weapons.

    Looming over the city was the Royal Palace. Now he was at the foot of the great stone staircase which led to the giant golden doors. Looking up he saw in front of the doors, seated on a dazzling throne the figure of an old man, the Caliph. Surrounding the Caliph were children of the city, seated at his feet and listening intently to his words.

    He started to climb the stairs but as he placed his foot on the next step he slipped and, teetering for a moment trying desperately to regain his balance, he met the Caliph’s eyes and fell.

    The Caliph awoke in his chamber. As he sat up on his hard cot the room seemed to be very dark and cold.

    An unfamiliar rattling sound came from the darkest corner of the room. He heard the chattering of voices in an alien tongue, and harsh laughter rang out.

    As his eyes adjusted he saw that there was a gaming table set up in the room, around which clustered a group of djinns. They were casting dice and gambling with pieces of gold.

    He rose from the cot and approached the table as quietly as he could, shocked and overcome by the fearsome sight.

    As he drew closer he saw that the surface of the table was a map, with the Caliphate and all the surrounding nations marked on it. The djinns were moving small squirming figures around on the map and seemed to be forcing them to fight.

    In the part of the table which showed Azerbaijan a tiny knight on a white charger struggled with a giant eagle which tried to bear him aloft.

    The djinns cackled and clucked at the sight.

    The Caliph was no longer fearful but overcome with rage – he overturned the table in his anger, scattering the dice, gold and playing pieces on the floor, shouting and waving his arms at the djinns to shoo them from his chamber.

    With a start they threw open the shuttered window and, grabbing his arms, bore him aloft from the tower and out over the city streets.

    Below him Baghdad was aflame - the people rioted in the streets burning effigies, spurred on by the hateful diatribes of Imans. Sick and starving children roamed in packs stealing from beggars and tormenting mothers who wailed after their dying infants.

    A host was at the gates, pounding on them with a great battering ram with the head of an ox. Behind them and to the horizon the land was scorched and barren under skies filled with black smoke.

    The djinns bore him higher into the air as he struggled and wailed for release. Now he was miles above the earth and looking out into the east across the great desert.

    On the horizon he saw gathering dark clouds and flashes of lightning.

    Across the desert, from the east towards the city, great twisting sandstorms came, fifteen in number, tearing the palms from the earth and destroying all trace of life in their deadly path.


    The Caliph awoke in his chamber which was bathed in the warm morning sunshine.

    Interesting, he thought.

    He meditated on the dream as he performed his morning prayers on the reed mat by the window. Afterwards he sat in a chair, lost in thought until a knock on the door interrupted his reverie.

    The Vizier entered, with a pair of manservants, one bearing a tray of dates and unleavened bread, the other with the Caliph’s robes.

    ‘My lord Caliph, the Court is assembling. It is said that the Georgians and the Seljuks will today announce the peace that you have brokered between them.’

    ‘That is excellent news old friend. I will attend Court presently to hear the announcement. Have the palace ghulams prepare a feast for our guests.’
    Last edited by phonicsmonkey; 04-17-2008 at 06:51.
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  12. #12

    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Konstantinopolis, Autumn of 1174

    A man is standing on a balcony in the Blachernae Palace, the greatest city in the West sprawling before him. He takes a deep breath inhaling the scent of metalworks smelting iron casts, fisheries fresh from the Sea of Marmara, honeys and spices from Anatolikon being traded in the great markets and wines from the Frankish kingdoms and Italia. The scents of a thousand lands that have all known the touch of Rome, eternal Rome...

    He chuckles.

    Rome. What was Rome? This city was founded under the name Nova Roma; it’s inhabitants had soon came to refer to it as Roma Konstantinea, Constantine’s Rome. The founder of the eastern half of the roman world had wanted it to become a central capital from which his successors would rule a united world under the peace and protection of Christ. In Hoc Signo Vinces.

    It had been ages since that dream had been shattered. Bad imperators in the West, a bickering Senate, lack of virtu, that quintessential roman quality: the valour of a warrior and the wisdom of a philosopher. All had conspired to bring Rome down to its knees, bleed it white of men and women capable of producing a new generation of Romans. Yet here it stood. Rome.


    Oh the city had changed. It wasn’t even called Rome anymore. Most people referred to it as Konstantinopolis, Constantine’s City. But the dream that was Rome was still there. The man could feel it in the air, see it in the eyes of the people when he walked in the streets, hear it in the toll of church bells. The Komnenoi had begun to return to the people of Graecia and Anatolikon their pride. Maybe one day the chi rho cross and the eagle would once again float over the old provinces of the East. Maybe one day, the dream of Rome would come back to walk with mortal men and a glorious peace would settle over the world.

    But there was still much work to be done until then. The Normans, the Pechenegs and the Hungarians had been pushed back, but Sicily had eluded the Basileos’ grasp. The Popes of Rome had long taken their distances with the Empire, and the warriors they had sent forth into the Levant had their own kingdoms with little regard for imperial authority. Even the Kings of Cilicia dared to refuse roman protection. And then there was the Turks.


    “My lord?”

    The man turned from the bustling city to look at the courier he had just summoned. The Emperor and his council had at last decided of a course of action in Anatolikon. One that, if played right, would return all of Asia Minor to Rome. He smiled at the thought of Rome.

    “You are to bring these orders to the generals in Nikomedeia, Nikeia and Smyrna. They are to assemble their troops and march East. The Basileos can no longer suffer rebellion in his lands. You will then sail to Nikoseia and tell Megas Dux Kontostephanos to take what men he has and recapture Ammoxostos. Tell him he should preserve their strength. The Basileos will not tolerate another fiasco like the one in Aegyptus.”

    The courier saluted and left immediately. Leaving the balcony behind, the man walked into his office. On a table lay two sealed parchments. He would have to convey those messages himself. The Basileos counted on his discretion to bring those messages to their respective destination: Tbilisi and more importantly, Jerusalem.
    Last edited by The Lemongate; 04-07-2008 at 14:13.

  13. #13

    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Konstantinopolis, beginning of Winter 1175

    Manuelos Komnenos was sifting through reports from all over Asia Minor and Syria. Prospects looked good. Rebellious towns had been captured in central Anatolikon and Cyprus was once again Roman.

    “At least this time that fool Kontostephanos hasn’t completely failed me.”

    King Baldwin of Jerusalem had also sent his approval for joint operations in Cilicia. A positive step in bridging the gap between the two great branches of the Christian faith. The Empire had given shelter to Armenian refugees when the Seljuks had invaded a century earlier. Since then, relations between liege and vassal had waxed and waned. Though the little Cilician kingdom had helped both Latins and Romans, neither could fully trust them. Their deviousness and willingness to side with the Turks could not be tolerated and so an invasion was underway.

    Tbilisi too had agreed to an alliance. Though Rome didn’t need the mountainous kingdom’s support in the immediate, the Georgians, through ingenious use of terrain, could resist for years to pressures from the East. A day might come when they would play a crucial role in Rome’s defense.

    Nearly everything had gone according to plan. Nearly.

    The Sultanate of Ikonion, Konya as the barbarians called it, had proven very aggressive in its negotiations. Not only did they not recognize Rome’s prior claim to rebellious towns still inhabited by Greeks and Romans, they threatened to storm Konstantinopolis itself while loudly clamoring their peaceful intentions at the court of the Arab Basileos…


    “And to think that these mongrels, these barbarians feast only a few days ride from our heartlands in the very city where St-Paul himself gathered the faithful to perform the Eucharist!”

    The Basileos was unnerved. He was a pious man. He had vowed to defend the holy places of Christendom whatever the cost to his person or to Rome. In his soul he was as much a crusader as his frankish allies but Turkish might was not to be underestimated. Unlike the Westerners, Rome had weathered the tides of time and had learned the hard way that patience can prevail where rash actions led only to disaster.

    A sudden rustling of feet drew the Emperor from his musings. An aid entered his office.


    “My lord, the men you requested are here.”

    Manuelos answered with a nod.

    The aid disappeared and ushered in a trio of eclectic warriors closely followed by four imposing varangian soldiers bedecked in full armor. The Basileos observed the men.

    One was a warrior from Rus, a Kievan by the looks of him. His eyes were a pale shade of blue and his blond locks fell in waves from his helmet. He was dressed in an ample brown garment with little decoration. A vicious looking ax hung by his left side, while a byzantine-style sword was at his right hand. A large metal-rimmed shield made of wood was hung over his back.

    The second man was from the steppes. A Cuman, or maybe a Turkman. His skin was darker then that of Greeks and Romans and his eyes had the cold black stare of Asia. His face was emotionless. One could barely discern a tiny smile creeping into the corner of his mouth which would send shivers down the spine of lesser men. Manuelos noted that there might have been as many as seven different blades on the mans accoutrement, each of a different and exotic design. The man must have let the small, compound bow for which his kin was known with his horse.

    Finally, the last man was a Norman. Towering a foot above his two companions, he was a match in size and muscle even for the varangs which escorted him. His dress was simple for the occasion. He wore no armor and his bare arms showed the scars of many battles. Scars earned fighting Rome no doubt…

    The Basileos admired the men before him. Some of the greatest warriors of this age, all come to sell their strength to Rome. And Rome was paying in gold and silver.


    “How many men do you command,” he asked?

    “Eighty knights from Apulia, armed and armored in the finest norman steel.”

    “A hundred infantrymen from Kiev and another hundred from Novgorod.”


    The asian looked at his companions and smiled:

    “Five hundred horsemen from the steppes armed with bow and javelin.”

    Manuelos was pleased.

    “I shall take command of the host myself. We are to meet the Roman army at Dorylaion and move to the front at once. If the Turks want war, we shall bring them war!”
    Last edited by The Lemongate; 04-30-2008 at 14:26.

  14. #14

    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Ikonion, on the Ramparts near the Eastern Gate, Early Spring 1176

    The man looked at the row of Turkish bowmen perfectly aligned on the wall, their gazes level, fixing some distant point on the horizon. The plain below the city was cluttered with caravans from Cilicia, Georgia and even distant Aegyptus.

    All these lands had been Roman provinces once.

    He turned around to face his Turkish counterpart.

    The Turkish diplomat was dressed in flowing blue and red robes. Seljuk royal blood no doubt. His hands were bedecked in rings of gold and silver. He was small for a Turk, but strongly built. Someone more apt to trust a dagger in your back then to charge down his opponent from horseback. His nonchalant attitude was only betrayed by the slightest tension of his muscles each time he took a step or let out his little, dry laugh. A dangerous man.


    “Sultan Killij Arslan has only the most peaceful intentions. We truly wish to make of Rome our friend. But you must understand our concerns. Your emperor has moved up vast armies right on our borders. This very city, the seat of our great Sultan is only a few days ride from your greatest armies. If only you would give us some breathing room, it would prove your good faith. We would then be able to discuss the matter of those rebels, the Armenians and the Kingdom of Jerusalem…”

    “We already have our arrangements with the Latins,” the Roman curtly noted.

    “Yes. But they are dangerous and have only warlike intentions towards all of Anatolia. If our two kingdoms were to unit in an official alliance we could then move in from the North with the Ayyubids coming from down South. And if you were to land your troops through a naval assault…”

    “We will not interfere with your plans in the Levant, but do not count on our military support. We do not wish to fight Jerusalem.”


    The Roman’s tone was final.

    “We have troops moving into Cilicia as we speak. We will not let the Latins act alone in Anatolikon. I hope this does not interfere in our truce. As for your demands, we shall consider them and perhaps call back our troops to Nikeia. Do not betray the Basileos’ trust, Turk. He does not take kindly to treachery. Just look at the Armenians.”

    The Turk smiled broadly: “I believe we have an agreement then.”

  15. #15

    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Cilicia, Roman Camp on the Kalykadnum River, Early Spring 1176

    The Grand Duke was not a lucky man.

    Every time he was given an assignement, he was forced to operate in abysmal conditions with the dregs of the thematae.

    A few years earlier, the Basileos had put him in charge of commanding the combined Roman and Crusader forces at the siege of Damietta. The armies had been starving, the crusaders would not want to have nothing to do with a Roman general, the Hospitaller Knights had acted like blind fanatics, unswayed by reason or logic and the Fatimids had delayed negociations long enough to make the whole expedition a terrible disaster.

    And now, the Emperor had sent him with only a few hundred men to capture all of Cilicia! The Crusaders, one again, were supposed to provide assistance…


    “Megas Dux, the men are ready! Do we march on Antioxeia?”

    The voice was young and eager. Hah! A green fool who still believed Roman arms never fail!

    “I will take two units of cavalry with me and build fortifications along the river. You, captain, can move towards Tarsus with the rest of the men. With any luck, the city won’t be reinforced and should fall within a season…”

    His voice trailed off, showing no conviction.

    The Grand Duke was not a lucky man.
    Last edited by The Lemongate; 04-08-2008 at 22:07.

  16. #16
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Wednesday, 10th day of MuHarram 571 Anno Hegirae, the year of the Hijra, التقويم الهجري
    July 30, 1175 AD, Christian Calendar

    Karaman, central Anatolia


    The seige of the rebel stronghold goes well. They have but a few infidel soldiers guarding their wooden walls, but a direct assault will still be costly. These people are outlaws and thieves, and recently bandits from the area were spotted in Konya, the home of our most magnificent Sultan. Kilij Arslan himself, the pious leader of the Anatolian Turks, commands the seige forces.

    "Soon they will rejoin the civilized race of men," Arslan said to Allah, with whom he frequently spoke. Allah said nothing in return of course, but Arslan knew that his deeds were pleasing to the lord, and counted only the Almighty among his allies.

    But all that was set to change. The negotiations with Armenia had begun. Although we do not trust these people, we do not begrudge them their Christian faith. Indeed, Arslan is a man most pious, but most welcoming of other Men of the Book. And the rumors of an assault on Cilicia would put the young Turkish Sultanate in a very difficult position. Being wedged between three hostile Christian powers, the Roman Empire, the Georgian Kingdom, and the Holy Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Turks were but a struggling outpost of the Great Islamic Civilization.


    Yes, truly the heart of the civilized world was at Baghdad, the nursery of the entire world and the center of all learned thought. The radical and heretical teachings of Christian Europe have clouded their scientific advancement, and they have for hundreds of years fallen behind the great Islamic Caliphate in terms of literacy and raw scientific knowledge. They call us barbarians, but do they speak the language of science, Arabic? It is we who have revived the ancient but advanced teachings of the European masters, the Greeks.

    Our advancements over the Christians include the inventions of the astrolabe, the parachute, and an ingenious mathematical device known as the analog computer. Our knowledge of astronomy, physics, mathematics, and chemistry is matched by none in the known world. We developed the first true soap centuries ago, and the unwashed Christians still do not possess any. Still they call US barbarians while they battle plagues caused by their lack of sanitation and their severe poverty. The Islamic world is rich and beautiful, and we have no idols scattered around to divert our attention from the one True Faith, as the Christians do. Their sad devotion to that man in the white dress and pointy hat is probably the reason for their apparent lack of forward progress.

    However, the Sultan still welcomes Christians in his land. Perhaps under our tutelage, they too will join the race of civilized men. Inshallah, they will prosper under Islamic rule. The Sultan sees great potential in the Europeans, if only they would welcome the teachings of the Prophet as much as we have welcomed the dhimmis; Jews, Christians, Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Mandeans, and, in the far east, Hindus and Buddhists. People of all faiths prosper under Islamic law, and unlike the intolerant peoples of Christian Europe who do not even welcome their brothers of the faith, we welcome Christians, Orthodox and Catholic alike, and their many different churches.

    Allah has smiled upon the faithful in this rich and glorious land. The Islamic civilization spans from the distant shores of west Africa all the way to the distant Chin peoples of the far east, and still we are growing and bringing more infidels under the Prophet's enlightened teachings. If only there could be peace between the Christians and the Muslims, the world would be such a wonderful place to live, the Sultan observed. He vowed to bring about such a world, and make friends with the Christians, and spread his philosophy of tolerance and brotherhood to the war-torn peoples of Europe.

    His overtures towards the Roman Empire, however, were met with much skepticism. Still, we have reason to believe there might be peace with them, as they are considering our offer of alliance in exchange for a demilitarization of our border, so that we may turn our righteous arms towards the Crusader infidels of the Muslim Holy Land, Jerusalem, who even now advance north towards Syria... for what diabolical purpose, only Allah can know. But we must find friends and allies, or else this land could be torn apart by war. The Sultan hates war... but he is prepared to fight, if the time should come.

    A messenger arrives from the north, bringing good news:


    "The Kypchak tribes of the North have united! They have pledged their allegiance to us in exchange for a military alliance against aggressors!"

    The Sultan smiled. The northern tribes were no threat to us, and they were pagans, but they had great potential as friends and allies to become part of the Islamic civilization. If they would allow our Imams to spread the word of the Prophet, we will back them in battle against all foes. The Sultan dispatched an emissary towards the Georgian Kingdom, which is now allied to the Roman empire. Although these people had declared their intentions to expel the Muslims from Anatolia, our recent peace overtures have been welcomed, and they seem to be holding their swords. All is going according to plan, thought the Sultan. Surely nothing could happen now which would bring war to Anatolia. The Romans have been offered an alliance, and the Kypchaks have joined us, the Armenians and the Georgians are our friends... nothing can stop the peace process now.

    Nothing at all...
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 04-08-2008 at 23:55.
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  17. #17
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Tuesday, the 14th of Jumaada al-Thaany 571 التقويم الهجري
    December 30, 1175 AD, Christian calendar


    Konya

    A messenger arrives, bearing important news.

    "My Sultan, the Armenians have accepted our offer of an alliance!"

    Excellent, the Sultan thought. The peace negotiations have produced much security and prosperity in this land. The Karaman and Amasian peoples have joined our Sultanate and accepted Islamic law, and we now have two allies. What else can go right today?

    Another messenger arrives, bearing two scrolls. My messenger must have reached the Abassid Caliphate in Baghdad and Sallahuddin's forces in Egypt. Indeed, written upon the scrolls was the response the Sultan expected. Sallahuddin's forces have staged a coup and he crowned himself the Sultan of the newly founded Ayyubid dynasty. Sallahuddin is our friend, and so we welcome his rule over the Muslims in the former Roman province of Aegyptus.

    A small gift was enclosed, but inside the box was something both heavy and valuable. The Sultan knew what it was, and ordered his trusted servants to put it someplace safe. Next, he read the scroll from the Caliph:


    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Greetings, my faithful brother.

    We agree to your terms of open borders for trade and merchants, as well as an exchange of maps. How goes the peace process in Anatolia? The Caliph is most concerned with your situation, as it seems you are surrounded by the infidels who mean you much harm. We cannot commit to an alliance at this time, but if the forces of Christendom prevail against you, the time may come when our neutral stance may change. For now, please accept our apologies, as we cannot commit our forces to secure your borders, and we do not wish to get involved in matters of state between you and your neighbors.

    Warm regards,

    Caliph an-Nasir of the Abassid Caliphate


    The Sultan was mildly disappointed that he did not receive everything he had asked for from the Caliph, but he was glad that the Caliph did not consider his terms of an equal partnership alliance to be an insult. The Caliph is not like his predecessor, who was most belligerent. This Caliph is a man of peace, and is worthy of being the leader of the Islamic world.

    The Sultan smiled again. All the rebels in the realm had nearly been brought back into the fold, and there was peace with many nations. The Sultan was beginning to wonder if he had not already died and gone to the glorious afterlife. The only thing missing were Allah's gift of virgins! Another messenger arrived bearing word, this time from the Roman empire.

    "The Romans have agreed to the alliance, mighty Sultan!"

    "Excellent! All that remains is to ask Jerusalem to keep their forces outside the Armenian border, and peace will be everlasting in Anatolia," thought the Sultan. "This is the happiest day of my life."

    Peace and prosperity were finally at hand. No more would there be talk of rumors of an attack on our Armenian friends in Cilicia, for the teachings of Christ are honourable, and the Romans were honourable as well. They agreed to an alliance with us, and since they knew the Armenians were our friends. "Surely they would not put our new alliance in jeapordy by declaring war on their own Christian brothers now."

    No sooner had the Sultan muttered these words than a final messenger arrived from the Armenian King.

    "Rome has declared war on Armenia! The Kingdom of Jerusalem is at their gates as well!"

    The Sultan nearly fell to the ground, his smile wiped from his face, replaced now by a look of horror. What had he done? The alliance with Rome is directly incompatible with the alliance to Armenia in a time of war! Now the Sultan had to choose between two friends... the powerful but aggressive Romans, or the nearly defenseless nation of Armenia. Keeping the alliance with Armenia also meant eventually declaring war on the Kingdom of Jerusalem...

    The Sultan could not bear this news at all. Cold sweat poured down his back, and his fingers trembled with fear, confusion, and a tiny hint of rage. Why? Why had the Romans attacked our friends? Why was this war even necessary? Armenia was no threat to anyone... Why would the Christians declare war on a neutral and peaceful people? The Sultan took a long, hard look at the scroll containing the treaty of Alliance with Rome.






    After several long, difficult minutes, the Sultan tore the scroll to shreds.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 04-09-2008 at 00:16.
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  18. #18
    Know the dark side Member Askthepizzaguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Tuesday, 6th day of al-Hijjah, in the year 572 التقويم الهجري
    June 15th, 1176 AD, Christian Calendar

    Konya





    The Sultan was preparing his forces for war to defend Armenia when a messenger arrived from the treacherous Latin peoples of Jerusalem. "What do these infidels want with us? Surely they do not expect us to surrender before we have even drawn our swords?" the Sultan seethed. Arslan was not a man who smiled much anymore, in fact the scowl on his face seemed permanent.

    The messenger trembled before the Sultan and spoke in a tiny voice:


    "King Baldwin has offered you peace and trade rights in his lands, and he will even offer you a small token of gold if you will remain neutral in the Armenian war."

    The Sultan grabbed the scroll and looked at it incredulously.

    "Do they think that we can be bought and paid for like slaves? Do they think so little of our loyalty that we would betray an ally in a time of war for a few tiny pieces of gold? I spit on their offer of peace! I spit on the name of King Baldwin! I spit on their insulting offer, and I spit on the Romans for starting this unholy war!!!"

    The timid messenger fled from the room in terror, as Sultan Kilij Arslan tore this offer of peace to shreds and began to upturn the various priceless furnishings adorning his Palace, smashing pots and destroying murals.

    His rage was building. He could no longer bear such insulting offers of "peace" from traitors of their own people, and cowards who strike without warning. However, a thought crossed the Sultan's mind...


    "I don't have the strength yet to take on both Rome and Jerusalem. I wonder if I can stall the treacherous Latin scum by accepting their pathetic offer of tribute and agreeing to their ridiculous terms of peace?"

    More thoughts began racing through the Sultan's mind. What of Georgia? Would they attack us next? Would anyone offer aid and assistance to the Turkish people in Anatolia? How could we possibly defeat the Roman Empire in battle anyway? Their forces are much more powerful than ours!

    The messenger from before crept back into the room quietly, and shaking with fear. The Sultan turned to him and said "Come in, my friend. I must apologize for my temper recently. This war has put quite a strain on my patience."

    The messenger approached cautiously, and handed the Sultan the scroll, bowed quickly, and fled from the room as fast as his legs could carry him. The Sultan smiled a little bit at this humourous sight... and realized that was the first time he had smiled since the news of the Roman attack on Armenia. The smile quickly faded as he read the news.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Message from the Armenian King

    Great Sultan of the Turks, I have terrible news. Our cities have fallen before the might of Roman arms and the invading armies of King Baldwin. We only have one more settlement left, and are in danger of being wiped off the face of the Earth. There is word of the pillaging of our cities, and the selling of our goods, and the burning of homes of those who resist. Fortunately the Latins have not sunk so low as to butcher the entire civilian populace, and they have released what few prisoners that surrendered, and the rest of our armed forces have been killed in battle.

    We thank you for honouring our Alliance, as you are the only nation who has come to our aid. Please accept what little remains of our Kingdom's treasury, as we no longer even have a Palace vault to keep it in. Please use it to avenge our deaths.

    The Latins are approaching, and I have no more time. I wish I could say more to thank you, but we fear that help will come too late. I am sending this message now, as in a few moments I will be captured by Baldwin's forces.

    May God bless your people, and may God reserve a special place in hell for the treacherous Romans and Latins. Good-bye, my Turkish friend...


    The Sultan read the final words of the Armenian King and wept bitterly for several seconds. But more than sadness for his lost friend, he felt an almost inhuman amount of anger towards the King of Jerusalem, the lame King Baldwin IV, who he once thought to be an honourable man. He hated the Romans only slightly less.

    He became deathly silent for a moment, and all the servants in the palace felt a cold chill in the air. The Sultan drew his curved sword and for a moment began thinking about killing someone in a blind rage... but he held his temper in check and put the sword back down.


    "Anger will serve me in battle, but it will not help me think. What can I do for the Armenian refugees who now pour across our border asking for food and shelter? What can I do for my brave friends who have been betrayed by their Christian brothers?"

    The Sultan thought long and hard... and finally decided that the Armenian refugees will be given a modest castle in the East, Sivas, which is relatively empty and close to the Armenian border anyway. They can be resettled there, for now, until more appropriate quarters can be prepared for them. The Sultan turned his thoughts of vengeance into thoughts of mercy and compassion. However, the Sultan was not even sure that anyone, even Allah, would be able to save the Armenians now.

    He left the duties of preparing shelter for the Armenians to his trusted second in command, Kaikosru. Then he took his mightiest general, Malik, and stormed all his forces to the south, towards the nearly defenseless Roman province of Attalia. There he would make the Romans pay for their insolence and their betrayal, and force the Roman empire to it's knees. For now, Jerusalem would have to be bargained with, pleaded with, and pressed for peace. It was an intolerable situation, but the Sultan handled it well. He ordered his messenger to speak no ill regarding King Baldwin the Tyrant in the Council Chambers of the Caliph, but he vowed that one day he would expose their treachery.


    Two weeks later, the Turks reached the Roman province and promptly began the seige. The Armenian conflict was nearly over in a crushing defeat for our allies... but the Anatolian War had begun.

    In a rare bit of good news, the Sultan received word that certain Muslim states had pledged financial assistance. Truly, the Sultan's war was righteous. It was a war he vowed to win quickly or die trying. Already he began preparing his final will and testament, in case he failed against the might of the Roman forces.


    The seige towers were completed, but more forces were still arriving from the north. When winter comes, Attalia will fall.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 04-09-2008 at 07:19.
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    The Final Day


    Sultan Arslan, having captured the town of Attaleia, moves his forces west, with his First and Second Ranks. He personally commands the First Rank infantry forces and seiges Amorium, backed by his heir, the Crown Prince Kaikosru and Malik, his top general, in his all-cavalry Second Rank. His Third Rank, under the command of Toghrul, the shifty but competent general, lies in wait to the north, hidden in the forests of Ankara. The Romans have apparently left their eastern cities to be destroyed by us, and we sent in a small seige force to take Dorylaeum, to goad the Roman commander into attacking us.

    If he takes the bait, he will be in range of our forces and we will crush them. Our armies make camp ourside of Amorium, and the Second Rank defends the bridge between Amorium and Attaleia, to prevent any possible counterattacks from the rear. Our strategy is most ingenious, and will not fail.

    Night falls... and soon, our forces will emerge victorious. The Sultan Arslan rests comfortably, secure in the knowledge that the next day will result in a great victory for the Turks.
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    The Final Night

    Battle of One Thousand Tragedies

    The Romans had already landed on the shores of Attalia, and had quietly marched towards the Turkish encampment. The Roman Emperor had dispatched his finest horsemen to ride the extra distances required to meet with his top General. The Turks were sleeping.

    It was well past midnight, and his men were tired from all the marching. But still he ordered his forces into battle.

    The Romans, clad in the finest western armour, wielding axes and maces and swords of all kinds, and their mounted knights and Cataphracts had all joined the battle. The Roman Emperor had already dispatched the small seige of Dorylaeum, and was ready for his second battle that week. This time, the Turks would be caught unprepared. The Emperor smiled, as his trap had succeeded brilliantly.

    The sound of a loud horn shook the Turks from their rest, and they quickly armed themselves and ran quickly to the battle, but it was already too late. They were surrounded on all sides by Roman forces, and their pathetic unarmoured infantry was no match for the might of the finest western army ever to be assembled in this century.

    Records of the battle were lost, and few who survived could even tell the tale, as it was too dark and confusing to know what had happened. Only the Romans know for sure exactly how the battle transpired.

    The Sultan Kilij Arslan rode quickly into the melee, and fought gallantly, even while greatly outnumbered. He took as many Romans down with him as he could, chanting the name of Allah at the top of his lungs. An axe struck his horse, and Arslan was knocked to the ground. The armoured Roman infantrymen immediately pummeled him with maces and fists and stomped on his bloodied body, but the Roman Commander called for Arslan to be captured alive. He was smashed over the head with one deafening blow from a soldier's gauntlet, and Kilij Arslan was knocked unconscious. The rest of his men fought on for a while, but when they found out their Sultan had been captured, they began to flee, only to be cut down by the Roman Cataphracts and the horsemen of their General himself.

    Many wails of death were heard that night, and few escaped with their lives. But that was only the beginning. The very next morning, Crown Prince Kaikosru's position near the bridge was assaulted, and although many cavalry fled with their lives, they took heavy losses from the surprise attack, and were very much demoralized by their crushing defeat.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 04-09-2008 at 07:03.
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    Default The end of Arslan

    The legendary death of the Turkish Sultan, from Turkish lore:

    I caution you, it's quite explicit. Do not read this if you have a weak stomach.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The Trial

    Kilij Arslan spoke with Allah that night. He asked Allah why he had failed to protect his men... why Allah had saw fit to allow Arslan to be captured and placed inside a dark and wet dungeon. He had been tortured all night, and forced into making a "confession" to his Roman captors. They bound him in chains and took him out in the hot sun, to be brought before the Roman military court, which had assembled that morning. A wooden chopping block had already been prepared. Arslan readied himself for his fate.

    But Arslan smiled... for Allah had spoken to him in the morning, before his captors had taken him from the cell. After so many years of prayers and sacrifice, Allah had finally answered him.

    Kilij Arslan was to be a martyr... a holy warrior of Islam who fell in battle, the first of many. Allah had asked for his sacrifice and was impressed that Arslan had offered it without hesitation. The death of Arslan would put Allah's will behind the Jihad that Arslan had called on behalf of the Turkish people, and indeed all the people who were threatened by Roman aggression.

    The Roman Emperor himself presided over the Judgement.

    "So... Kilij Arslan... the 'indestructible' Sultan of the Turkish scum. How laughable. Now that you have led your men to their untimely demise, been bloodied, captured, and are now on trial for crimes against the Roman Empire, what do you have to say in your defense?"

    The Sultan looked at the Emperor with a calm smile, and said nothing.

    "As we suspected. There is no defense or excuse for your actions against Roman citizens. I find you guilty of murdering innocent Roman civilians, and declaring an illegal war against the Mighty and Righteous Roman Empire. You are also guilty of Treason against your rightful lord and master, the Basileos of Constantinople. Now kneel before me like the dog that you are, and BEG FOR MY FORGIVENESS!"

    The Sultan's eyes simply looked past the Emperor as if he weren't even there, not even bothering to acknowledge the demands. He looked as though he were actually enjoying himself. Almost toying with the Emperor.

    "Guards, force him to his knees"

    The guards at the Sultan's side took thier clubs and proceeded to beat Arslan within an inch of his life, and Arslan fell to the ground, coughing up blood and trembling with pain. The spectacle was satisfying for the Roman Emperor.

    "Now, you will open your wretched little mouth and use your forked and twisted tongue to BEG for your miserable life, you pathetic barbarian scum!"

    Arslan, arms still tied behind his back, somehow managed to prop himself up onto his knees, blood still pouring from his lips. But there would be no pleading for his life at all. Instead, the Sultan looked past the Roman Emperor again, and smiled as he gazed into the heavens. Allah was calling him.

    "You have already confessed your crimes. But I want to hear you repeat that confession here, right now, with the citizens of Amorium as witness to your despicable actions as the leader of a pathetic band of rejects from the once powerful Great Seljuk Empire. Your people are a disgrace, and you are the greatest fool ever to have dared attack the Empire of Rome. Speak your crimes, you pathetic worm!"

    Arslan stood up and smiled at the Roman Emperor, and again said nothing.

    "Very well. If you refuse to obey your new lord and master, I will have to punish you for your insolence and disobedience. Witness now the awful consequences of being a traitor to the Roman Emperor! Let all assembled here witness the disastrous results of opposing the Roman Empire!"

    With those words, the guards grabbed the Sultan and began to drag his broken body towards the chopping block. Here, the Sultan was tied down and stripped of his once majestic robes. He now looked quite frightful, naked and bruised all over, with large black marks all over his body from his constant beatings. The torturer then took out a deadly looking whip, at the end of which was a small piece of jagged metal, with small blades protruding from it.

    "Begin the purification of this wayward fool!" commanded the Emperor.

    The whip was drawn back, and the lash came into contact with Kilij Arslan's back. The metal edge left a horrifying gash across the entire back of the Sultan's body, which cut at least three inches deep in some places. Blood poured out from these gaping wounds, and Arslan began to tremble with pain and he screamed at the top of his lungs. The terrible lash continued to connect with his body, and large chunks or Arslan's flesh were hacked from his prone form.

    This display disturbed most of the assembled witnesses, and some began to cry out in protest. But the Roman King would not hear them. Next, the torturer lifed a large, sharp poker made of iron which had been heating over a flame, and was glowing red hot.

    "Now confess your crimes, or nightmarish pain will force the confession out of you. Your sins must be heard before me, before my people, and before God himself. SPEAK, YOU MISERABLE VERMIN!!!"

    The Sultan was bleeding profusely and barely conscious, trembling with pain and agony, and his face was bright red with anguish. But still the Sultan said nothing to the Roman scum.

    "Do it!" the Emperor commanded.

    The Torturer took the sharp, red hot iron poker and swung it lengthwise against the back of the Sultan, crushing his vertebrae and cauterizing his bloody flesh instantly. There he kept it, and the smell of burning flesh filled the air. The citizens of Rome were disgusted by the stench, and many of them began to leave, but the Roman guards stopped them. Many simply turned away from this awful sight, and refused to cheer for this awful torture.

    Then the torturer took the sharp end of the metal poker and stabbed Kilij Arslan through the back, impaling him through the kidney, and the metal spike tore through Arslan's body and got stuck halfway through. The torturer tried to remove it, but it had gotten completely stuck. Arslan could no longer feel the pain, and it was a curious sensation.

    As the Roman Emperor watched the torturer struggle to remove the object from Arslan's body, even he began to wince at the spectacle. This was becoming far less amusing than it once was. Nausea rolled through his body like a wave, and he lurched forward as if to vomit. Only by turning away was the Emperor allowed to keep his breakfast down.

    "Enough" said the Emperor, as the crowd became louder and more restless, some cries for mercy were heard. The Romans like a good death spectacle, in the arena where gladiators fought, and were pleased to fight any battle, but this display of tormenting an unarmed and helpless man did not sit well with anyone. Even the torturer turned away from what he had done.

    "He is guilty. Take off his head, and do it quickly for God's sake!"

    And so the torturer grabbed his axe and prepared to swing it, but could not bear to look at the twisted body of Arslan, who finally managed to utter something. He moaned loudly, and his words were incomprehensible. The crowd went silent, as everyone listened closely to what this man had to say. They did not even breathe.

    "I fought.... for Armenia."

    The crowd stood, with white, sickened faces, and realized what they had done to an honourable man. Some of the women were crying, covering the eyes of their children. Even the men could not bear to watch.

    "...for Allah." The Sultan said.

    And then the executioner swiftly lowered the axe, and ended the Sultan's suffering forever. It was at that point that everyone finally exhaled. They watched the blood pour from the beheaded corpse of Arslan, spilling his essence onto the dusty ground, which became a dark and unpleasant shade of red. The silence was deafening.

    Even the Roman Emperor walked away with disgust. "From now on," he thought to himself, "I will simply kill the enemy honourably on the battlefield. I don't want to be remembered as a butcher and a tyrant."


    _________________



    Word of the brutal torture and execution reached the Turkish people, who became enraged. What happened next only brought every single Turk to thier feet, swords raised in the air. It was the reprinting of the last will and testament of Kilij Arslan the Indestructible, which had been sent to every Turkish city from the desk of the new Sultan, Kaikosru.

    Crown Prince Kaikosru himself was astounded by what the former Sultan had wrote...
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 04-09-2008 at 02:16.
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Oh there will be another version of this for sure

    Whenever I have the time.

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    Default Last will of Kilij Arslan and the coronation of the new Sultan

    Crown Prince Kaikosru of the Turkish Sultanate, survivor of the Roman counterattack at Amorium, is handed a scroll from a bloodied soldier. The Crown Prince is told that these are the last words of Kilij Arslan.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    The last will and testament of Sultan Kilij Arslan the Indestructible, Holy Warrior of Islam

    Friends and brothers of the Council, if you are reading these words then the time of my death has come. But you should not feel sorry for me, because I died doing what I believe was the right thing. I lived my life to support the cause of truth, justice, and freedom, and I never once gave in to imperialist aggressors. Should I die valiantly in such a cause, then my Muslim brothers should not fear, nor should they mourn my death.

    Indeed, it is a cause for celebration that a brother of the faith has died defending Armenian freedom, Turkish freedom, and in trying to prevent the forces of imperial aggressors from claiming more lands in the name of greed and avarice. Would you see this day as a defeat, I would ask that you raise your chin, and praise Allah's name. For the same manner of death that befalls the Sultan Kilij Arslan can happen to our enemies as well. Indeed, Allah has willed that no man be immortal...

    Some have questioned the use of my nickname, "the indestructible", as if it were to imply that my mortal vessel were somehow eternal. This is not so. Those who strut and smirk and taunt because they managed to defeat a man in battle have much humbling in their future, because they are but mortal men as well. No, "the indestructible" refers to the truth that freedom will always triumph over tyranny. No matter what happens, no man can bend, break, or destroy the truth of our existence, part of that truth which binds humanity together is the fact that given the choice, men would rather stand up and fight against tyranny, instead of stand idly by, or join the cause of evil.

    One might look to our current situation. Let us suggest that the Rum Turks have indeed been defeated in battle, and they are either to be vassals or destroyed by the Romans or the Latins. Is the battle of Anatolia over? For now, perhaps it is. But the war is not over.

    No, the war against the forces of tyranny is never over. No defeat, no setback, no fear, and no despair can ever stop the forces of freedom from challenging tyrants such as the Roman Imperialists and the Levantine traitors of Christ.

    The men who remain in Rum will never surrender, never falter, never waiver, and never accept defeat. They have all taken a solemn vow to stand up and fight against Imperialist aggressors. It is my legacy that the Rum Turks will fight to the last man in the cause of freedom. We will also honour our agreements with the BRAVE men of the council who chose to support our just cause.

    The snickering and taunting of the Romans will soon be silenced, for they do not yet realize how hollow their victory is, and how soon death will be at their doorstep. If they think the endless and mighty armies of Islam will stand idly by and watch their fellow Muslims get slaughtered, then they do not understand the concept of brotherhood. If they think that their aggressive and warlike actions towards their own Christian brethren and the council will go unpunished, then, perhaps like myself, they have miscalculated. And just as grave as my apparent miscalculation, the Romans will find their own error to be just as deadly.

    Friends and brothers of Islam:

    I now declare a Holy Jihad against the Roman imperialist aggressors. The city of Constantinople will fall before the might of the armies of Islam. These cowardly traitors who backstab their own friends and brothers of their faith, who trade loyalties in brothels for coin, and who have declared war on all their neighbors, they will not live to see the day when they can peacefully coexist with the vast and eternal armies of Islam.

    The remaining Rum Turks have all joined this sacred quest, upon my death, they are all to summon their courage and march on Rome. I call upon my Muslim brothers, in my absence, to aid them in their cause. For now, I can no longer guarantee that any further tribute can be repaid, but I can guarantee that any further support to the Muslim Turks of Anatolia will bring more warriors of Islam into the fight for justice.

    Perhaps you do not all trust one another. Perhaps you have pressing matters at home to attend to. Perhaps you are busy quelling riots in rebellious provinces, and cannot afford to struggle in the name of Allah.

    Then you have a choice: You can watch the Turks of Anatolia die bravely in their cause, and do nothing to prevent Imperial Rome from marching towards your homelands...

    Or you can stand with my brothers and children this day, and declare in one voice; we will never surrender to the forces of Imperial Rome. We will never vanish into the night, we will not roll over and die without a fight, we will not allow the armies of the infidel to continue killing good Muslims without retribution, we will not allow the great and noble Islamic civilization to fall to backstabbers, traitors, tyrants, and cowards!

    Join me, my brothers! Join me!

    I bravely accepted this challenge, and I did not waver when staring death in the face! I never backed down from my principles, and neither will the Rum Turks! Join me, warriors of Islam!

    My final request to Caliph an-Nasir of the Abassid Caliphate:

    Approve my call for a jihad, that the vast and endless armies of Islam would descend upon thy unclean and treacherous foe... Only when Constantinople falls, will the aggressors against Christian and Muslim nations alike finally realize that to attack a Muslim nation without cause is to invite every able bodied Muslim to their doorstep, wielding great assortments of razor-sharp weapons, chanting the Holy name of Allah!

    By the death of Sultan Kilij Arslan, the Indestructible forces of truth and justice will swarm upon our treacherous foe, and the vanquisher will become the vanquished!

    Let there be no peace with bullies, aggressors, and tyrants! Let there be no peace with those who declare war on their neighbors and brothers! Let there be no surrender, no vassalage, no tribute, no treaty! Let there be no appeasement of tyrants! Let there be no shame and fear in fighting to our deaths to defeat the scourge of the Islamic world! Let there be none who question the just cause of freedom! Let there be an eternal jihad against the treacherous forces of slavery and oppression! Let the proud and holy name of Islam be shouted from the rooftops, from the streets, from the hills, from the mountains, from the Ghorid emirate to the nation of Saladin Ayyubid, from the Khwarezmid nation to the Imamate of Oman, from the vast territories of the Great Seljuk, to the honourable state of Ghazi, from the Abassid Caliphate, to the Rum Turks fighting against Imperialist aggression, let the proud and holy name of Islam declare forever and unending war against injustice!

    Let the indestructible cause of truth and justice lead the swords of Islam to the throats of the oppressors and invaders of Anatolia! Let the anger and wrath of Allah for these great injustices and war crimes be swiftly and forcefully dealt in stinging and crippling blows against the infidels who will one day kneel in fear of Islam!

    Let my death mark the beginning, not the end, of the eternal struggle against the sinners and heretics, the pirates and criminals, the imperialists and the Crusaders. Let my death clear a path for those to follow in my brave footsteps, to finally put this vicious pack of wolves on their backs, and unapologetically cut off the heads of these serpents.

    Let there be war with those who make war, and peace with those who make peace! Let the sons of Islam, and all others who care truly about justice, rise as one and SMITE THE INFIDELS!

    I will be at the right hand of Allah to guide your struggle... for now that I have ascended, a proud warrior, into the kingdom of heaven, I am indeed indestructible, and so is the truth of the message I bring, and so is the concept of freedom and justice for those who would fight for it.

    LET THE ROMANS HAVE THEIR HOLLOW VICTORIES, FOR THE WRATH OF ISLAM WILL DESCEND UPON THEM AND SHOW THEM THE SAME MERCY THEY SHOW THEIR ARMENIAN BROTHERS!!!

    LET THERE BE HOLY WAR AGAINST THE TRAITORS OF CHRIST!!! LET THERE BE....

    JIHAD!!!!

    Allahlalalalalalalalalalalalalallah!!!


    After learning of Arslan's death, Kaikosru vowed to do whatever it took to avenge his former master. He was crowned the new Sultan in a quiet and somber ceremony in the former Roman city of Attaleia.
    Last edited by Askthepizzaguy; 04-09-2008 at 18:44.
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Northern Armenia, 1176 AD


    The country was in a state of panic.

    Months before, the Takavor and the army had marched south to defend against the Roman invaders. Word had come from the south of a great victory for the Armenians. That was six weeks ago.


    Four weeks later, the refugees started arriving.


    They spoke not of victory but of defeat. The crusaders had come, they said. The roads were thick with Latin troops on the march, both southwards and northwards. The garrison near the river was defeated, the fort burned to ashes.

    The army was gone, they said, the Takavor was trapped. Adana's gates had been thrown down - some died during the occupation, while others fled north. The crusaders were hard on their heels, seeking to cripple the last of Armenia's military. It was hopeless, they said, Armenia will fall.


    The last Armenian commander of the castle had, at first, been angry with his countrymen. How could they flee when they should fight? he had raged to himself. His anger had grown and grown as he watched more and more of his countrymen run northwards towards the Turk's lands, towards safety. Some of his own men had panicked and taken their families and followed the refugees. The commander had cursed their names into damnation and felt nothing but hatred for the cowards.

    Then the crusaders came.


    The castle was under siege, its garrison and population were trapped. The only troops marching from the south were Latin ones. The last messenger had come from the north last week. Crusader cavalry have closed the northern roads. No one can help you. You are on your own the scrawled message had said. The commander wasn't angry now. How he wished that he'd fled with his family like the rest of the his countrymen.


    Yesterday, the crusaders had demanded his surrender. He had refused. If the Count of Tripoli wants me, he'll have to come and get me the commander had taunted the messenger. He vowed to die fighting like a man. His last wish was that his family would survive.


    Far off in the distance, a trumpet blared.



    The end was nigh.
    Last edited by rossahh; 04-11-2008 at 11:45.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Near Adana, Armenia, 1176 AD


    The man on the horse had led the army out of Adana days before. They were on the march westwards. Spread out behind him, the army of Jerusalem shone in the sunlight as it marched in a vast column. The man felt nothing by pride as he looked behind him. Adana had been taken with minimal losses - its 200-strong garrison had been slain or captured easily. Now, the final Armenian army and its ruling family beckoned. The man had never felt so proud, so secure and so eager.

    It was then that the attack began.




    Takavor Rueben went down fighting, that much had to be said. To challenge 1200 men with 300 would be foolish, to challenge 1200 with just 35 was nothing short of suicidal. The heavily armoured cavalry appeared atop the sandy dunes overlooking the road, and had charged the center of the column so fast that none had a chance to even move before horses slammed into them. Swords swung left, right and center, cleaving man and shield in two. But for all their valour, the horsemen were doomed. For every man they cut down, ten more appeared in their place. On all sides, spearmen clamoured to unseat the riders, while cavalry flanked to the rear, preventing any retreat. For the horsemen, that meant nothing. They never had any wish to retreat. One by one, they fell. Eventually only one remained. The Takavor had fought many wars, but this was to be his last. Around his horse was a scattered circle of bloodied bodies of soldiers. Every man that challenged him fell, but he could not hold on forever. Eventually, his horse was cut down from under him. His body fell towards the ground and the speartips reached out for him. By the time the body, still clasping its sword in defiance, reached the ground, the last Takavor of a free Armenia was dead.





    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    In case you are confused, I was marching my army to attack the last Armenian force when I was ambushed by the king and his bodyguards alone. Needless to say he was a tiny bit outnumbered and was killed. I have screenshots, but they aren't very good. I might just put them up in a spoil tag to give you some visuals. I hope you're liking it so far. There's still a little bit to go in Armenia yet.
    Last edited by rossahh; 04-11-2008 at 11:44.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Seyhan River, Armenia, 1176 AD


    It was slaughter. The finest soldiers the Kingdom could assemble, challenging the last of the weary troops from Armenia. Out-numbered, starving and trapped, the situation had been hopeless for the Armenians enough already, before the Emissary from Jerusalem had reached them that very morning. He had thrown the Prince a package and then ridden away at top speed, towards the dust clouds of marching feet coming from the east.

    The Prince had opened the package and in it was a bloodied finger, cut from the hand of his father. It bore the ring of the king. Along side it, the parchment dripping with his father's blood, was a message. Hail to thee, Takavor of Armenia. May your reign be short. We shall be with you soon.

    In the afternoon, the battle had begun. The crossbowen had driven the Armenians back, away from the bridge. Every step the desperate Armenians took backwards was countered by a step forwards by the men from the Kingdom. Men fell in their droves. Horses neighed and threw their riders as the bolts pierced their hides. There was nowhere to run. The Romans were pushing in from the west, and the men from Armenia were trapped. Eventually, when all others had been slaughtered by the hundreds of bolts fired across the river, only the King and some loyal horsemen remained. The men were loyal to end, shielding their king with their bodies until the end.

    On the other side of the river the man on the horse waited to give the final order. They were so close to finishing them once and for all. He paused to savour the moment - victory always felt good.Then, in a booming voice gave the command.

    "FIRE!"

    A hundred iron bolts flew across the river. From a distance, the man on the horse watched in morbid fascination as the final Armenians fell, agonisingly slowly to the ground. Suddenly, there was a deathly silence in the air, and nothing and no one moved on either side of the river. It was over.





    Later, the man looked down at the face of the Takavor. The dead eyes gazed back vacantly. A bolt had pierced his throat and two more could be seen in his torso. The man was not put off by the gruesome scene. He kneeled next to the body and gently closed the body's eyes for the last time. He bowed his head and prayed silently. So it must be.

    "My lord, a rider approaches."

    The man stood up and looked to where the knight was pointing. A rider was coming along the road from the west, cloaked in Roman purple. Excellent the man thought to himself, good news from the west.





    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    This battle really showed how unfair it is to let the AI fight your battles for you. This was a bridge battle where the Armenians had (in units): 1 archer, 1 light spear, 1 heavy axe, 2 heavy cavalry, 1 bodyguard and 1 javelin cavalry. I simply used my crossbowmen, who outranged the archers, to slaughter them without ever having to get close. I did not lose a single man. If a human was in control, I would've lost at least 2 units of my infantry trying to storm the bridge-head.
    Last edited by rossahh; 04-12-2008 at 04:04.
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Jerusalem, 1176 AD


    A tiny feather fluttered off the edge of the balcony, gently floating down towards the bustling city below. The balcony was the one place in the whole city where the King could come and think in peace and tranquility. He had been doing much of that lately.


    Word had filtered down from the north over the past months. The Lords had reported nothing but success and victory in the name of the King. In the south, Adana had been plundered of all valuables. Rueben and his son had been killed, their men dead alongside them or fled. In the north, Tripoli had seized both castles with few lost. The entire eastern part of Armenia was under Jerusalem's control. Everywhere, the men had followed the King's explicit orders:

    All soldiers are to be released upon surrendering their arms.

    All knights and noblemen are to be realised upon the payment or promise of payment from their estates.

    No civilians are to be deliberately harmed. Those that resist, however, are to be dealt with as the Lords see fit.


    The King was pleased that his order had been followed to the letter. He had feared that it would not be so. The Ibelin family had more cause to hate the crown than any other in all Outremer - more than the Saracens even. The shame and humiliation they had suffered during the succession controversy stilled resonated deeply in their veins. It is such a shame the King reflected sadly, the Count had been one of my greatest teachers. I learnt so much from him. The true path of a man is through chivalry and honour, he once told me.

    The King laughed bitterly at himself at those thoughts.

    Chivalry and honour? Look where honour has brought us!

    The King shook his head ruefully.

    Look what my chivalry has been reduced to...

    His cheeks burnt slightly as he thought of his final order to the Lords:

    All members of the royal family are to be immediately executed upon capture.

    It was a travesty to do such a thing to any man, but it was necessary. By shattering Armenia's ruling family, the kingdom would be split into independent provinces, vassal-states in waiting - vassals that would serve to protect the heartland of the Kingdom. The King smiled ruefully to himself, We were so close, but they slipped through our fingers like sand. If only...

    The King suddenly banged his hand on the balconies rail in anger. If only they were not so incompetent! If only they could take that town, that one town! If only...

    The King stopped himself. A ruler could not dwell on anger. Anger would lead men astray, and a king could not afford to be led astray.

    It is done, and cannot be changed now.

    The King openly sighed. There was no point dwelling on the past while the future beckoned. What now? he asked himself silently.

    Do we pursue them, hunt them down and wipe them out?

    Do we force a war that we have no desire to fight?

    Or do we let them go, leave them to regroup and one day return?


    The King had dwelled on these questions for many a day to no avail, but the answer was due soon. What do we do now? he asked himself again.

    Was it all for nothing?




    "My lord?" a tentative voice asked in the darkness.

    The King's eyes opened. Sunlight still shone brightly onto the balcony. The King's body felt heavy, heavier than usual - he had fallen asleep in the sunlight.

    "Are you well?" asked the voice again.

    The King's eyes gradually returned to focus. His scribe and servant stood over him, obviously thinking his liege had fallen because of his sickness. The King slowly got to his feet, using the rail as a support. He had no comprehension of how much time had been spent sleeping on the balcony, but he knew one thing - he now had his answer.

    "Aswar, please send a message to Lord Ibelin and the Count of Tripoli. Tell them this, and this alone," said the King in no more than a tired whisper, pausing as his scribe hurriedly brought out his quill. The King suddenly felt a fresh wave of tiredness wash over him. This decision had weighed heavily upon him, even in sleep, but it was the right one, he thought..


    "Let them go."
    Last edited by rossahh; 04-11-2008 at 12:52.
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

  28. #28
    The longest lasting leper ever Member rossahh's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    Baghdad, 1177 AD


    Joran had always disliked the visitor. He had only met him once before, but had disliked him from the onset. He was too arrogant, too blood thirsty. He was every bit as vulgar and callous as his reputation said he was. He was a foreigner - a European lord in Outremer, no less. And yet he was here, in Joran's own quaters in this Muslim city. The old man sighed, One does not argue with this man and live he reminded himself.

    "So, back again are you, old man?" sneered the visitor.

    Joran's patience nearly broke then and there, but with false sincerity, he replied, "Of course my lord, this is where the King commands I be."

    A smirk appeared at the corners of the visitor's mouth at the mention of the King. "Yes he does, for the moment," he said in a quiet voice that was barely audible. "I am here for your report on what our northern friends say" said the visitor in a much louder voice.

    "Yes, of course," motioning behind him, his aid started forward with some papers. "We have prepared some of the transcripts for you, they should make interesting reading."

    The visitor visibly became angry. "I have no desire to read their lies, I want to hear what they have to say from your good self," he snarled.

    You can't even read, you ignorant fool? Joran thought to himself, hiding the sudden pleasure at the thought. So much the better...

    "If that be the case, my lord, let me tell you that they do not deny it. They say they act on behalf of their allies and the people of Cicilia. They blame us for it all."

    "They WHAT!?" nearly shouted the visitor, spit flying from his mouth in rage. "They attack us, and then blame us? The heathen devils!" bellowed the visitor, his face red with fury.

    "That is what they say." Joran said, with false sympathy for his visitor's outburst.

    The visitor's demeanor suddenly changed. He suddenly became cold and silent. A shiver went down Joran's spine. The visitor suddenly seemed like a very dangerous person to be around. I see how he gets his reputation...

    "Do they say why?" asked the visitor in an incredibly calm voice. Almost, too calm...

    Joran, suddenly wary of where this was leading, but bound by his office and duty, replied cautiously "Like I said, they say they acted on behalf of their ally."

    The visitor tilted his head slightly, his eyes piercing Joran. "An ally they would not support when they were needed most?" he asked slyly.

    "They say that they could not help their ally during the attack, as it was too sudden for them to respond in time." said Joran, not yet aware of what the visitor was so fixated about.

    The visitor laughed out loud. "They said that, did they? Ha! If only their ally knew the truth then!"

    Joran was not a military man, but could suddenly understand what the visitor was driving at. If it were true, and if we could prove it was true...

    The visitor spoke again, completely changing the subject. "So, did they accept our terms?"

    Joran shook his head. "No, my lord, they did not. They blame us for the incident and want nothing but a cessation of hostilities."

    "For free? Not a chance!" said the visitor, almost with glee.

    "Is that what the King says?" asked Joran cautiously.

    The visitor became icy again, his voice menacing. "It's what I say, and that should be enough for you."

    Joran quickly nodded his head to appease the brute. A sudden, terrible thought gripped him, What if the King doesn't know that he's here right now? What is this European planning?

    The visitor stood abruptly. "I've heard enough, I will take my leave now" and walked out the door closing it with a snap, leaving a very stunned room behind.



    Joran remain seated at his desk for some time after the visitor had left, mulling things over. Eventually, he wrote a hurried message, sealed it and handed it to his aide. "To the King, and as fast as possible. Go yourself."

    The man nodded and hurried from the room. Joran remained, thinking deeply. What is that animal planning?









    The visitor remained hidden in the shadows, waiting. It was not smart to linger in this city. What would the Muslims say if he was discovered and captured? The visitor slowly twirled his dagger between his fingers. If I read that fool right, he should be coming out anytime now... A cloaked figure suddenly appeared from the doorway opposite. Head down, it hurried towards the stables. A cruel smile appeared on the visitor's face. He had read the old mad correctly, all right. He set off down the road, following the figure, the dagger now firm in his grasp. Just one more thing to do before I leave...
    "Okay, here come the cavalry, get your swords out lads!" - the Captain details his orders to the pikemen

  29. #29
    be champions Member 00jebus's Avatar
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    Default Re: In the Lands of the Faithful: BC Hotseat Story Thread

    November 9th 1178 cave near Shiraz

    A man had built a fire, this fire reflected the man, and the blade he held to his own heart
    He would fall in the fire after stabbing himself, remove the one remaining evidence that lead to his paymaster
    He had truly, failed utterly
    Discretion was key, but he had been seen by hundreds
    Secrecy was a virtue, but he had left behind him his sword, It had a pattern on the handle which would surely be traced to Balkh.
    Silence was golden, yet he had let a trail of peasants hear his voice and true accent.
    Not attracting attention was his true goal, and he had failed utterly, two forts with small garrisons had been built at river crossings, boxing him in, forcing him to return to his masters punishment, better end it now the failure thought
    The flame reflected the glare of a lion on a rock, blocking out a blackened part of his skin
    it was then he saw it, his chance at redemption, he dropped the blade, tonight he would go
    No punishment, the people who saw him would think he was a petty theif
    the dropped sword wouldn't matter, the Calph used mercinaries from all over the Islamic world, without him the sword made no sense
    the people he spoke to would think he was a shabby diplomat from some Miserable nation of the Kara-Khathi
    Another step closer to his goal, another test of the man, but he would have to pass brilliantly......
    Last edited by 00jebus; 04-11-2008 at 15:21.
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  30. #30
    Throne Room Caliph Senior Member phonicsmonkey's Avatar
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    Default Baghdad, 1178

    Caliph An-Nasir sat cross-legged on a cushion in the shade of a palm in the courtyard of his palace meditating and watching a line of ants.

    The ant-line stretched several meters from a crack in the flagstones, across the paved courtyard, halfway up the wall of the scullery, and into a crack in a wooden windowframe.

    Some ants were beginning to return from the window bearing crumbs of bread almost as large as themselves, passing their fellows on their way back to the hill.

    He imagined the successful raiders shouting encouragements to their brothers as they passed.

    To the Caliph's side, on the ground and fluttering in the slight breeze, sat the scroll he had finished reading some moments ago.

    It had informed him that (Praise be to Allah!) the initial stages of his grand plan were now complete, and the Caliphate now stretched from Edessa in the west to Shiraz in the East.

    It was hard, however, for him to take this news with the satisfaction it no doubt deserved, for earlier that morning his old friend the Vizier had shared with him the dark tidings that his unruly neighbours the Great Seljuks had declared war on the Khwarezm Shah.

    Coupled with the ongoing disaster in Anatolia, which showed no signs of relenting, this created quite a headache for the Caliph.

    These were dark days indeed. He recalled his dream: the markets teeming with exotic wares, the coffers overflowing, his people prosperous and contented. This promised bright future seemed further away with each passing day. And each night that passed seemed to drag inexorably closer the nightmare that had accompanied it.

    He shuddered as he recalled the snarling faces of the djinns as they bore him aloft towards the darkly clouded horizon and the fearsome cyclones.

    The Caliph reflected on his newly acquired title 'the Peacemaker', bestowed on him by the Imans of the Caliphate. Fond as he was of it, he felt it had not yet been truly earned. The Seljuks and Georgians, the Ghorids and Rajputs, all had seemed eager to negotiate and cease fighting.

    These arrogant Romans and irascible Turks were a different matter altogether, and to truly live up to his new name he would have to drag them to the negotiating table one way or another.

    He sighed deeply and went back to studying the larceny of the ants.
    Last edited by phonicsmonkey; 04-17-2008 at 06:31.
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