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Thread: Stories Thread

  1. #1
    Senior Member Senior Member Ibn-Khaldun's Avatar
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    Stories of the Ptolemaioi

    This thread is for all in-character stories, except for Battle Reports, which have their own thread. Any post in this thread which is not an IC story will be moved or deleted.

    Note: If your story involves interaction with another player's avatar or otherwise intrudes into an IC area that another player would be expected to have creative control over, you must get the permission of that player before posting your story.

  2. #2
    Peerless Senior Member johnhughthom's Avatar
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    Leontiskos grumbles to Apollonios as he surveyed the army sent south from Sidon.

    "Look at them, all higgledy piggledy and jumbled up. Gah, I hate my army being in disorder, I came up here to assemble them for marching and find this motley crew. I'll wait until next season, until we are actually ready to move south, then combine the two forces, in a nice, neat, orderly fashion. Like a real army. Flaming Chancellor, no wonder the homeland kicked him out, messing up my army like that..."

    The scribe raised his eyebrows and smiled at the childish complaining.

    "I think a bigger concern should be your brother."

    "Why, I know he annoyed our uncle at court, but surely he knows Alexandros' ways by now? He would hardly punish him for that?"

    "No, his request to come with you. It would leave Hierosylma ungoverned and ungarrisoned, as you like to keep reminding Alexandros, those Jews are rather unruly. My main concern, though, is that both of you fighting in the same army is dangerous, you are all that remains of your father's line, except your sister and daughter. If you were to perish the Thraikikos name would perish with you."

    "So you think I'm going to lose, nice."

    Apollonios shook his head with a rueful smile.

    "That's not what I said and you know it. Fine, if you don't want to talk about it, we won't. If the worst happens I'll remind you of this conversation."

    Leontiskos rolled his eyes.

    "Yes my dear friend, when I'm dead and face down in the sand, you being right will haunt me."

    "There are all sorts of hells, perhaps yours will be me crowing over being right for all eternity."

    Another roll of the eyes.

    "Yeah, whatever. Where did you say that brothel was?"

    Alexandros jumped off his horse, his brow and back damp with sweat and sticky with the dust that was so common in these parts. He handed the reigns to some youth and hastily signaled for a pitcher of water. A numidan slave brought it, her heavy bosom exposed under the thin linen tunic she wore.

    "Helles has green pastures and gentle springs, yet we must trudge trough the harsh sun and endless sand. - Alexandros's face was tanned from two days worth of riding in the sun, and his white teeth made his smile more prominent because of that. - So, Apollonios fears for our bloodline? Perhaps I'll have to sire a child whilst on the march brother. To be safe, if anything." Alexandros laughed and took a swig out of the clay pitcher, then offered it to his brother.

    Leontiskos looks at his older brother,

    "Sire a child? Pfft, you wish. I saw you watching the dogs the other day, if you want to learn how it's done come with me to that brothel. I'd hate for you to spend your life thinking there's only one way to do it. Though if you got stuck with an ugly wife that might be for the best.

    Anyway, I think you should probably ask the Basileus for permission to go with me to Paraitonion. I don't think you technically need to, but you annoyed him in Council and if you are going to leave those Jews unguarded you had best have his blessing. If they rebel and you're halfway across the Kingdom fathering a child will be the least of your worries. You know how cranky uncie Phil can get, send some wine with it or something."

    "He does not respect me as the governor of Hierosolyma and did not wish to grant me these armies which now you lead, instead stomping his foot like a stubborn child and yelling - MINE!" Alexandros replied as he examined his spear and sword. "I also proposed to leave a unit of Toxotai in the town to prevent unrest. But my edict was overruled, so let him worry about it. It's all HIS anyway, right? I go where I please, and I please to be alongside my brother in battle. Also, I've never had to pay for it brother. But how would you know, you got yourself ensnared in marriage at such a young age, you're bound to have missed out on the fun I've had!"

    Apollonios goggled at the elder Thraikikos, then looked at Leontiskos with wide eyes.

    "Don't worry my friend, Alexandros is well aware that his comments will get back to the Basileus. I haven't quite decided whether he wants to lose his head or has this strange idea that such comments will make uncie Phil respect him more for being brave enough to speak his mind. My uncle knows well Alexandros doesn't speak for me, or my friends."

    He looks at his brother.

    "Your comments don't really make any sense, he acted like a selfish child in not giving you the army, then gave it to me? We have had to disband units across the Kingdom, we are in a perilous financial situation, which is why we need to end the Seleucid naval dominance and bring Paraitonion back under our control. That's why new men in Hierosolyma were not approved. A firm hand in Judaea would be of great help to the Kingdom, I've already told you my opinion on that though and won't stress the point. Your edict wasn't overruled, if you took our uncles vote out you still would have lost, even I voted against it!"

    He sighed, and placed a hand on Alexandros' shoulder.

    "You see what you do to me? I'm supposed to be the irresponsible younger brother, and here I am counselling you. Wisely I might add. Let's go train some of these guys, I've heard the local spearmen are quite handy, time to see what they're made of."

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    OOC: Can we rename this thread The Thraikikos Family Thread?

    "When the Basileus speaks, others follow. Each with their own reason, but they do. My edict made sense but an outburst from our ruler ensures few would support it. I proposed we only use the garrisons, as you are doing now. But to march them North and take the poorly defended Seleukid settlements, the ones who are within two days march from here. Take note of our spy reports when you have the chance. Not to mention that marching two armies side by side is safer, should the garrison of Damaskos decide to sally and cut us off. But it is too late for that. Now he shall have to wait for the Heir's army to come, and also pray that none of the scum in Africa decide to set their gaze upon Alexandreia.

    I have no doubt uncle has eyes and ears everywhere. He also knows that men who speak their mind openly do not resort to conspiracy. He has little to fear from me as I still serve him and the realm to the best of my ability. And I genuinely think that aiding this army and yourself in battle is a better use for me and my retainers than governing Hierosolyma.

    Though I think marriage has made you a bit meek brother, if you find it necessary to separate yourself from my words as if you were avoiding a leper. Fear not for your position, and let us get on with the training of these men. I think the sun might have made them lazy and lax."
    Last edited by Ibn-Khaldun; 06-18-2011 at 08:41. Reason: merging the conversation between john and Myth into one post

  3. #3
    Peerless Senior Member johnhughthom's Avatar
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    The desert sands whipped about Leontiskos' face as he looked toward the mountains far to the south. To his north, east and west was nothing but rock and sand. He looked around a Apollonios cam up behind him.

    "So, you're determined to go ahead with it?"

    "Would you have me go back and sit in that hovel on the coast? I'll leave that to my brother."

    Apollonios took a scroll from his cloak.

    "Perhaps this might change your mind."

    Leontiskos' expression does not change as he reads the scroll.

    "You think I should go back and second this call for an emergency session? So that I might be given command of the heir's army again. You're a smart man Apollonios, you don't have the heart of a soldier though. I have fought with these men, more than a hundred died under my command, I am not going to abandon the rest for a command I've already turned down in the past. Let the likes of Bothos scramble for the Basileus' favour. I aim to follow Megas Alexandros."

    "What of the heir's army then, I'm sure your voice will be needed at Council."

    "When we sink the Seleukid navy I'll support Alexandros to take command and sail north, assuming Eurgetes doesn't recover in time to take command."

  4. #4
    Strategist and Storyteller Member Myth's Avatar
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    Alexandros had left for the capital on the swiftest horse he could find. His younger brother found an exquisite iron knife in an encrusted leather scabbard and a note, left on his bed. "A gift to commemorate your victory yesterday brother! Keep safe, until we meet again. Signed: Alexandros"
    The art of war, then, is governed by five constant
    factors, to be taken into account in one's deliberations,
    when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field.

    These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth;
    (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
    Sun Tzu, "The Art of War"
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  5. #5

    Cool Re: Stories Thread

    King Meleager – Part I

    The city was wracked with a living terror. Soldiers were barking orders, women screamed and children cried. Everyone was running in some frenzied desperation, rats abandoning a sinking ship. Rumors had been trickling from the frontlines for the latter part of the day that the fighting against the barbarians had gone bad, that something terrible had occurred on the frontlines. Whispers of calamity had circulated all night.

    Then they had arrived.

    At first in smalls groups, no more than a few dozen people. And then more. And more. And more. Refugees from all of northern Macedon. They were rolling in by the hundreds carrying their every possession, weak, haggard, tales of howling savages spreading like wildfire. By the mid-day, the capital had become a cacophonous wreck, an upturned anthill of fear and confusion. There were street fights between Macedonians and Thracians, Illyrians and Greeks. Looters ran unchecked while a few hot-headed nobles tried to rally their tribes to march upon the invaders.

    The news eventually reached the royal palace that the King had died. Ptolemy ‘the Thunderbolt’ had been massacred by the Celts. The panic-stricken population was already too hysterical to care, yet Queen Arsinoe spared a smile upon learning the fate of her hated husband and half-brother. The daughter of Ptolemy Soter hadn’t married out of love. She was daughter of royalty and twice Queen of Macedon and Thrace. Her time at the Alexandrian court of her father had made her wits as keen as a razor’s edge and her soul just as cold. Watching her erstwhile husband’s kingdom fall into anarchy from her palace window, Arsinoe’s allowed her facade to relax. There was only one obstacle left between her and true power, only one blubbering fool.

    Amid the chaos and confusion a cry resonated somewhere in the palace courtyard:

    “The King lives! All hail Meleager King! All hail Meleager King!”

    Few returned the call.

    The Queen laughed. It was a cold and cruel laugh, drowned in the cries of a dying city.
    The supreme, the merciless, the destroyer of opposition, the exalted King, the shepherd, the protector of the quarters of the world, the King the word of whose mouth destroys mountains and seas, who by his lordly attack has forced mighty and merciless Kings from the rising of the sun to the setting of the same to acknowledge one supremacy.
    -Ashurnasirpal II

    Org Games
    Kings of the Nile - Chancellor Meleagros Ptolemaios, Nomarch of Upper Egypt
    Clash of Gods - Kingdom of Castilla y Leon
    Wrath of the Khan II - Kingdom of France

  6. #6
    Peerless Senior Member johnhughthom's Avatar
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    It was small by Memphis or Alexandrian standards, but Leontiskos' abode was by far the largest in the small town by the oasis. He lay abed, sweating in the heat, just now recovering from the illness that had claimed him after taking to town.

    "Apollonios, what news of my army?"

    "They have left, the Basileus ordered them back when the locals declared you King."

    "Damn him, does my uncle have no patience? My brother has not answered my letters, I'm expected to take the region alone?"

    He saw the expression on Apollonios' face.

    "What, what aren't you telling me?"

    "You'll be lucky to hold onto Ammonion, never mind conquer more. There is a large army to the south, we don't know who they are and our scouts haven't been able to get close. The town has no walls, they could attack at any minute."

    Leontiskos tried to get out of bed, then lay back, groaning.

    "Let's hope they give me time to fully recover before attacking."

  7. #7
    Involuntary Gaesatae Member The Celtic Viking's Avatar
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    Ankyra, 260 BCE

    Philadelphos Ptolemaios was sitting in his private dining room together with his military and political advisors, drinking wine, eating biscuits and discussing the current situation of the kingdom.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    Note: for brevity’s sake I will shorten “military advisor” to “MA” and “political advisor” to “PA”.

    MA: Your lands now include the strategically and economically important city of Antiocheia, and with the capture of Edessa it can be put in a pretty safe keeping. The only direct threats to it right now are from Palmyra, which is held by those ridiculous Arabs – they’re nothing to worry about – or from the north by the Seleukids. I don’t think they have what it takes to take it back just yet, though, at least not while Timon is in the area. However, I think it’s only a matter of time before they do assemble enough strength to embolden them to another offensive. You should probably follow Timon’s advice and create a garrison for Edessa, so that it is safe while you order him to go north and create a buffer zone there first.

    Philadelphos: No, I don’t think so. I…

    Philadelphos spots something, and then turns to one of his bodyguards.

    Philadelphos: Oi! Look alive, son, and earn your pay! In that corner there, there’s a spider. Kill it.

    Guard: Right away, sir.

    The guard goes over and stamps on the spider, killing it.

    MA: You were saying…?

    Philadelphos: Oh, yes. I was saying that we needn’t worry about the Seleukids right now. The worry we should have, the first and foremost threat to our kingdom right now, is not from without but from within. Left to themself, our forces can defeat any enemy that is set against them. That much we have proven by now. The problem would be if the enemy found out about our plans, or about the weakness of our Council, and this they will find out if we do not divert a lot of our resources to eliminate all foreign spies and traitors.

    PA: But sir, what “spies and traitors” are you speaking of? Sure, there are iffy people one would be less than wise to trust, and yes, it would be naďve to think that the enemy did not have some number of informants infiltrated amongst us. However, I do not think there are too many of them, or that they have much of a chance to get any important information out to their masters. To give them undue atten…

    Philadelphos: Not much of a chance? Did I not just now catch a foreign spy, which had managed to make it into my palace, pass my guards and come this close to my own person? Had I not been so observant, it would no doubt have succeeded in disseminating everything that has been said here.

    PA: Your forgiveness, my Basileus, but… what spy?

    Philadelphos: What spy? What spy?! Are you a fool, man, or just blind and stupid? You know all spiders are working with the enemy, and all arachnids are under suspicion. There’s no trusting any of them, and who knows how deep they have infiltrated our ranks? They will find out something important soon enough, if they haven’t already. They must be taken care of.

    MA: But not at the expense of our military security, surely! It won’t do to spend so much resource on protecting our secrets that we lose so much power that protecting them is no longer important. We must secure Antiocheia!

    Philadelphos now got rather annoyed, even slightly angry.

    Philadelphos: Don’t you think I know that?! What do you take me for, some petty farmer in Nubia? I know my strategy. You of everyone should know that.

    MA: Yes, sir, but then I must ask again. What about the Seleukids to the north? Tarsos is hardly strong enough to secure the passage between Syria and Sophene. You must either conquer Sophene or at least create a force strong enough to guard that passage.

    Philadelphos had now visibly calmed down again. His mood now seemed even joyful and light-hearted.

    Philadelphos: Don’t you worry about that, my friend. I have plans and I know what I’m doing. It shall be taken care of, but as you yourself admitted, that is not an immediate concern. They do not have the strength to strike us right now. I will let Timon go south and take back Palmyra, if he so wants to. I don’t see why; but then again, as long as he doesn’t shirk his responsibility in defending Antiocheia, he can go fish in a desert for all I care!

    All three men laughs as a man enters the room. It is one of guards posted at the door to the palace.

    Guard: Sir, the Keltoi nobles are here to see you now.

    Philadelphos: Right. Thank you, soldier. Show them to the meeting room and let them know I will be right there.

    The guard salutes Philadelphos, who returns it and then turns to his advisors.

    Philadelphos: Well, gentlemen, shall we?

    Without any further words being spoken, Philadelphos and his advisors stood up and left.

  8. #8
    Member Member Folgore's Avatar
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    It was a warm spring morning in Edessa. The people were adapting to Ptolemaic rule slowly, but with the garrison growing quickly and without any sort of Seleucid intervention their incentive to rebel against the occupying forces disappeared as quickly as the melting snow. On a day as nice as this, most people forgot about the war between the two empires and went on with their daily affairs. Even now, the town market was a hive of activity, Timon thought, as he looked on the town square from his second-story window. Edessa lay right between Mesapotamia and the rich lands of the Mediterranean coast. Merchants from both sides gathered here to exchange their goods, even as the war dragged on.
    "My lord Timon..." a coarse voice called out from behind him, disrupting his train of thought. "My Lord, all the officers have arrived. We are ready to start the meeting."
    "Very well." Timon said. As he turned around he saw seven of his officers sitting at the large oaken table. The eighth and final officer, his commander of cavalry and the man with the coarse voice, was standing in front of him. Nicanor, as he was called, was Timon's finest officer and acted as second-in-command whenever he was unable.

    As Timon approached the table he could see the large map draped across it. On it were small tin statues, representing the position of friendly and enemy forces no doubt. A beautifully crafted miniature hoplite with a large shield decorated with a proud golden eagle stood sentry atop a small ink dot labelled "Edessa". The area to its west was covered in arrows and notes of previous plans, marches and battles, but on the other side the map was clear. Only two meandering lines labelled "Tigris" and "Euphrates" carved up the blank landscape. The closest statue to the hoplite with the golden shield was a small grey pikeman, of notably lesser quality, somewhere to its north-east, near a place called "Karkathioterka". Timon repeatedly pronounced it in his head, trying not to miss any syllables.

    The coarse voice broke the silence. "With the capture of Edessa..." it started, pausing quickly just to see if he had everyone's attention, before continuing "we have guaranteed the safety of Antiocheia and we have opened the gates to many new possible offensives."
    "To our south the desert town of Palmyra," he pointed to another miniature soldier on the map, this time a bronze-coloured figurine "which the Arabs took from us as we hurried to rescue Antiocheia."
    "And, to the north Karkathiokerta," this time pointing to the small grey pikeman "capturing it would cut the Persian royal road in half and the Seleucid empire with it." The royal road was a thick black line, running from the very western end of the map, near somewhere called Sardis, to the eastern end, near Susa. The Persians and the Seleucids after them made frequent use of this road and control of it was of vital importance to linking the western and eastern parts of their fragile empire. Timon knew, from the sound of Nicanor's voice, that he saw going north as the logical choice. That and Nicanor's frequent complaints as they had set out to Palmyra three years ago.

    "We will not be going north, Nicanor" Timon said.
    "But... My lord..." he stammered "There is nothing there but sand. I told you three years ago, this town is not worth the effort. It's people will not..." but Timon interrupted him before he could finish his sentence. "We will not be going south either".
    As his officers looked at him questioningly, Timon proclaimed "This is where we will go", as he picked up the tin hoplite with the golden shield and moved it far to the east, well past the grey pikeman and in between the meandering lines on the map.

    As the eyes of his officers grew larger, a look of disbelief and confusion on their faces, Nicanor nudged the tin soldier slightly, to make sure the name on the map was what he thought it was. There, under the fierce looking tin soldier, on the meandering line labelled "Tigris" it said the name, in large bold letters, underlined and with a little star to its left: "SELEUCEIA".

  9. #9
    Involuntary Gaesatae Member The Celtic Viking's Avatar
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    Default Ankyra, 259 BCE

    In the Basileus' war room, Basileus Philadelphos Ptolemaios sits quietly on a chair studying a map, with his closest generals waiting for him to speak. As this goes on, a man enters and salutes Philadelphos, who shows no sign of noticing him, obviously lost in his thoughts. The man is Hermokrates.

    -"Sir..." he begins a little uncertain, as if groping for words to say. Philadelphos still doesn't recognize his presence.
    -"Sir, Timon Arrhidaeos has invaded Babylonia, laid siege to Seleukeia, assaulted the city and..."

    Hermokrates became even more nervous as Philadelphos now, slowly, shut his eyes and turned his head downwards and away from Hermokrates. After drawing a breath, and catching up some courage, he goes on.

    -"... and he has sold the population into slavery."

    Philadelphos hits the table with his right hand so hard that one of the stones holding the map on place bounces off the table, forcing the closest general to quickly grab the map so it didn't roll back. Taking no notice of that, Philadelphos starts roaring.

    -"What is this?! Did I not give that man specific orders, SPECIFIC ORDERS, that he was not to go into Mesopotamia? What is this, a conspiracy? Is there no man I can trust enough to obey his own Basileus? His own Pharaoh? His own Setrepenrameiramen? How can I fight a war when my generals go every way they wish, completely ignoring my commands? I should have him hung for treachery!"

    The generals all looked nervously at each other. Hermokrates squirms a little as if he's dying to say something but doesn't quite dare to risk it. Finally his urge to speak defeats his fear, though from hearing him you would think it won only a battle but not the war.

    -"But sir... Sir... the messenger you sent, he... he didn't make it. The Seleukids got to him half way. Mr Arrhidaeos never received the orders to stay out of Babylonia."
    -"So why didn't you send out a new messenger, then? Think, lad, think!"
    -"I did, Sir, but he didn't make it in time. He..."

    Philadelphos stands up with a jerk.

    - "Didn't ma...!? He should've..."

    Philadelphos doesn't finish that sentence, and instead stretches out his hands in front of him, as if grasping for something invisible in the air.

    -"... and what about Timon himself? Huh?! Is he a complete fool? Does he not realize that he, by running off east like a some horny teenager spotting a nice pair of tits on the beach, leaves the center completely open - completely open mind you - for the Seleukids to attack? Does he not realize how he by this fool's errand into Mesopotamia allows our enemies to divide my kingdom in two?! Does he not realize that he has just given the Seleukids a clear path not only to Antiocheia but to Alexandreia herself?! What if they strike there, what then? Who would stop them? Who could?! This is madness!"
    - "Sir, I'm sure he's got your best in mind. I'm sure he just wanted to capture the Seleukid capital - perhaps he hoped this would cripple them, sir? I think you're being too hard on him."

    Philadelphos calmed down, but remained standing.

    - "Too hard? I've been too gentle. Here I am, humping my ass to defend my kingdom, all the while I have to do the day-to-day running of the kingdom as well. During my reign, I have made Alexandreia into the most enlightened city in the world! I have increased our borders manyfold, I have taken Antiocheia, I have secured the kingdom and improved its economy, culture as well as the military strength it can draw upon. For this I have even taken my own money to do, my own, the Basileus. What thanks do I get? A bunch of cowboys who think that the laws are nothing more than mild suggestions. Perhaps if I hadn't been so lenient about each and every of the slightings I've suffered, if I hadn't been so merciful with the overstepped boundaries, people would think a little more about me and the kingdom and a little less about their own, very personal coffers. Perhaps if I had taken the time to teach them that honour and fame comes through faithful service to their king, perhaps this whole mess could've been avoided in the first place."

    There's a moment of silence as Philadelphos Ptolemaios seemingly falls back into thought. It doesn't take long though before he turns to his chief military advisor.

    -"So... what do you propose we do now?"
    -"Well, sir, as I see it there are two options. One is that we use this victory - after all, we have Seleukeia. Perhaps Arrhidaeos is right after all - this does have the chance of destabilizing the Seleukid kingdom. Baktria, Hai and Pontos may very well get even more cheeky and force the Seleukids to weaken either front a lot or both fronts a little. It is even possible that it might implode and give birth to new, smaller kingdoms, though I think that unlikely. In such a scenario, taking Babylon should be easy now that we have Seleukeia, and then we shall have a rich land to rule from."
    -"And the other option?"
    -"Peace. We have their capital now, what greater bargaining chip could we get? Give it back to them at favourable terms and gain a peace, during which we can turn to our backs and take care of those pesky Arabians. Their garrison in Palmyra has only grown and grown, to such an extent that it can now seriously threaten an invasion of our lands. Since they are allies of the Seleukids, they could easily attack simultaneously there, easily defeat our garrisons while keeping you busy in Anatolia. That way they could easily defeat you, force you into a humiliating and dynasty-ending surrender, or wipe you off completely, all at their own mercy. One could even argue that the Arabians could do this even without any Greek help, all the more to your humiliation. If this was done, the Seleukidai wouldn't need to worry about their loss of Seleukeia. They'd get it back anyway, and you would be undone."
    -"So I would recommend you the second option. I would recommend you make peace with them, sir."

    Philadelphos sat down; on his face there was a great smile.
    Last edited by The Celtic Viking; 09-15-2011 at 19:03.


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