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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Fall of Constantinople

    The Fall of Constantinople
    by Edyzmedieval


    My first literary work, started off at a really young age back in 2005, first posted in 2005 on Total War Org and in 2008 on Total War Center. The first chapters of the book, mainly the prologue, cover the period of Manuel the IInd Palaiologos, the grandfather of the last emperor that died at the Siege of Constantinople in 1453. The theme of the prologue (and the rest of the book), covers the Fall of Constantinople under the might of the Ottoman Turks in 1453, and my work shall be offering an alternative and hopefully complete view of the world changing events that happened during that era, which I hope you will enjoy.

    Historical reality will combine with action packed events to create an explosive historical novel, which I hope the whole forum would love. The first five chapters of the book have been entirely edited from previous versions. If you have read them before, make sure you take another read now, it is completely different.

    I hope you enjoy your read, and as always, feedback is greatly appreciated.


    Chapter I is below.

    Chapter II - https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showp...54&postcount=8

    Chapter III - https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showp...0&postcount=11

    Chapter IV - https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showp...3&postcount=17

    Chapter V - https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showp...6&postcount=20



    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Chapter I - Clouds




    His hands were gripped tight on the rail, his breath came in ragged spurts, small wisps of steam formed around the edges of his tired face. Underneath his heavy eyes the spectacular beauty of the blue Golden Horn contrasted with the deplorable ruins that were no longer hidden from view when he glanced from the edge of his open balcony atop the Blacharnae Palace. Reflecting from the dark blue of the Black Sea, the sun's rays bounced off again on the imposing walls of Constantinople that were no longer the sight he was proud of. Crumbling and showing enough cracks to worry even the most optimistic person, Manuel no longer placed their faith in them. He did not place faith any more in anything except maybe on the people he trusted but he knew that even trust eroded just as the impregnable walls.


    Dressed in a simple purple silk caftan and red velvet shoes, Manuel huddled closer to the rail and crossed his hands at the sudden gust of wind. Despite the bright sun on a cloudless day, the air was still cold and the hairs on his back rose slightly to make him shudder for a moment. When the wind stopped heavy thoughts returned into his head, his heart aching at the problems he found himself into and the empire, or what remained of it, found itself in. He gripped the rail tighter just as if he wanted to crunch it into small pieces because of his simmering anger but it only served to dig his own sharp nails deep into his palm. Manuel shuddered again at the gust of wind that swept the open balcony, forcing him to return to the bedroom chamber of the palace. He dropped the caftan on his bed and went straight to the drawers in the corner of the room, waving the servant away.


    A long porphyry silk robe with embroidered golden threads slid over his slim body, closing the somewhat large knots over his garment to make it look larger and more imposing on his aged figure. He slipped on his favourite red velvet shoes and fixed the gilded crown atop his head, the embedded Eastern diamonds and rubies shining in the light of the candles scattered across the bedroom. With the crown fixed in position he turned to the crystal mirror given as a gift to the empire by an Indian emissary and gazed at his wrinkled forehead that looked even more obvious than before. He touched and straightened his eyebrows in order to make him look imposing, applying the same treatment to the bushy white beard that ran along the edges of his jaws. His high cheekbones, straight nose and large brown eyes made him an attractive proposition for women, but his mind forgot about the pleasures of life long time ago. Manuel sighed, remembering his long lost youth.


    He dipped his veiny hands in a bucket of cold water at the edge of the four poster bed, splashing the icy drops to sooth his senses and turn him slightly more alert. Drops dripped down his chin onto his expensive garments but Manuel did not care much about it, preferring to stumble from the bed and out of the chamber itself to the eastern part of the palace. He walked out of his room into a long and narrow corridor, cold, damp and with a strong current rushing through it, only dimly lit by acouple of torches right at it's end. As he walked through the darkness his mind swayed back to the problems and possible solutions of the diplomatic challenges he faced, and the concessions and advantages he still had that he could give away. Manuel smirked, stopping at the edge of the stairs that led to a another corridor, his displeasure visible at his lack of options.


    He was about the meet the dignitaries of the surviving Byzantine state, the shadow of a once powerful senate that used to hold the true power in the empire. The empire dwindled to a fraction of it's territories but the men in the senate were just as rich as those who held the power when the empire reached it's zenith, much to the annoyance and restlessness of the general population that baulked at the greed and opulence the senators flaunted. Manuel thought the same, but his concern was genuine rather than the pure jealousy of those who wanted the same. Shaking his head once more at the thought, he stepped over the stairs and advanced through a wider corridor at the top of the steps that ended in a booming laughter and brightly lit palace hall that expanded outside in the darkness with a strong echo.


    Manuel entered the Chancellery, a spacious rectangular hall with a golden chandelier hanging from the ceiling just above the velvet chairs positioned in an incline as if the whole senate was just a huge tribune of a Greek theatre. Almost every chair was occupied, as his eyes could see, exchanging quick glances and pleasantries with those who stood at the base of the incline and ahead of the golden throne. The mahogany desk ahead of him was filled with papers and parchments but it was not the piles that he had to sift through that annoyed him, it was the unusual stir that drew his attention and provoked his ire at the same time, unaccustomed to the blatant lack of respect for his own persona. The hush between the statesmen stopped the moment Manuel took his place on the throne. The Byzantine emperor glanced at them with interest, his eyebrows wrinkled in a small frown, his hands clasped together at the level of his nose. A heavy silence suddenly hovered above the Chancellery, a silence he came to expect by now.


    He knew the meeting would be delicate, and frightening at the same time. His own personal views often contrasted with the rest of the senate but this time he knew he had to impose his own will to rule over the personal interests of the factions within. Even more so over those who were clearly on the Ottoman payroll. Manuel reclined back on his golden throne and signaled to the servants who arranged the papers on his desk in an orderly fashion. He took one last glance at the senators and cleared his throat.


    “Senators, hear me out, it is time I speak out to you on a delicate issue that needs our utmost attention. I shall be brief with it, so only the necessary details will be spared. The other day I have received, with great surprise, an offer of alliance from Murad, the son of Sultan Mehmet, with regards to his military and political bid to the Ottoman throne.” Manuel paused, hearing a couple of muffled hushes and talks within the corners of the Chancellery. “If we support his attempt in the detriment of his brother, we shall enjoy our continued relations with them along further commercial concessions and mutual help from our Ottoman friends. In this time of only relative stability this presents us with a golden opportunity which I will try to fully maximise, and it is now that I expect from you the decision to extend our help to Murad, or, decline it.”


    A heavier silence filled the hall, a common expression of incredulity and disbelief at the seemingly outrageous proposal of an alliance with the Ottoman Empire. Some of the senators glanced at each other, baffled and some even laughing, not knowing what to make of Manuel's quick words. A tall, wiry man, stood up and cleared his throat, tilting his head backwards in an arrogant stance.


    “Is this a joke, Palaiologos?” asked Lysandros Kaligas.


    “Did Basileus Manuel make it sound like one?” came the swift comeback of Giorgios Sphrantzes, the emperor's own personal advisor who stood upright behind the golden throne, his green eyes twinkling with fury at the blatant disrespect.


    “I do not know, maybe it is, everything lately is a joke. We have to support this man so we can gain only some small benefits. I call this shameful!”


    “Why don't you do a better job, Kaligas? You seem to know everything,” countered Sphrantzes.


    “I'm sure he would do a better job at rousing the beggars away from Constantine's Forum,” said Demetrios Cantacuzenos, a burly senator with thinning hair around his head, well past his second youth.


    Manuel stood silent as the senators laughed. “No need for these words. We are here for the future of our children, not to discuss ironies and share jokes between us.”


    Kaligas smirked. “And support our fiercest enemies?”


    “Friends and enemies quickly change sides in these times, I only seek out an objective counsel,” replied Manuel.


    “I do not think it is the wisest of ideas.”


    “Can you come up with better, Kaligas?” asked Sphrantzes.


    Cantacuzenos stood up. “My emperor, how sure are we of Murad's success regarding his claim to the Ottoman throne?”


    “He assured me of his triumph in the letter he addressed me, backing it up with strong arguments.”


    “Such as?”


    “He is in complete control of the army, and the majority of the dignitaries support him unconditionally.”


    “And what would we gain if we support him?” countered Kaligas.


    “Commercial concessions in all of the Ottoman ports, good relations and almost no chance of an impending war which would irreversibly harm us,” completed Sphrantzes, reading from the document in his hands.


    “It sounds too vague, all these promises can be broken immediately,” replied Kaligas, shaking his head in disapproval.


    “I must agree with Senator Kaligas on this matter, despite my heavy heart, my lord,” said Senator Pavlios, another one of Manuel's enemies within the Senate. Manuel glanced at his prune face and almost emaciated body but said nothing.


    “I will remind you that the last time we supported an Ottoman Sultan only good came out of it,” said Sphrantzes.


    “Words can be changed my dear Giorgios,” countered Kaligas.


    “I would rather rely on them for the moment.”


    “And what if they are broken?” said Pavlios.


    “In the near future they will not, that we know as much,” replied Cantacuzenos.


    “Senator Cantacuzenos is right. For the moment such an agreement only brings us benefits.”


    “The near future does not interest me at all, Cantacuzenos, I want to hear the long term impact,” replied Kaligas.


    “I agree with Senator Kaligas,” added Pavlios.


    Cantacuzenos shook his head. “You two are always in agreement when it comes to the Ottoman problem. We have been presented with an opportunity, and we refuse it?”


    Kaligas nodded firmly. “Yes, it does not suit our interests.”


    Manuel held up his hand. “I see that some of you agree with it, but most of you are resisting the proposal I have made. Promises can be broken easily but it is better than to stand here and do nothing. If he wins, which I am sure he will, he will grant us at least some concessions. Nobody is cowardly enough to kick the help once it has been given.”


    “It is in the end our survival as a nation,” replied Cantacuzenos.


    “And within that nation, you come in too. You're a part of it, Kaligas.” completed Senator Laskaris.


    “I am still not convinced by your arguments, my emperor,” sounded the reply of Senator Menas from the back of the chancellery.


    Pavlios shook his head in agreement. “Not a good proposal to benefit us. I suggest we refuse it, not good enough for us considering what we can expect from those Ottomans.”


    “What do you want more than this, Pavlios? Perhaps Murad's own head once he wins?” countered Demetrios, his anger flaring.


    “Clear guarantees that an attack will not be unleashed upon us once Murad wins the throne,” came Pavlios' quick reply.


    “You will never get it,” replied Sphrantzes with a curt shake of his head.


    “Then why bother supporting him? We could simply try to have our own candidate in the battle for the throne,” replied Kaligas.


    “Enough!”


    Manuel's own voice roared through the chancellery, loud enough to silence the senators at least into a temporary shame. Sphrantzes stepped up from the side of the throne and took a parchment from the table which he unrolled and proceeded to read out loud.


    “My emperor, as my duty of Chancellor commands and as you kindly requested me, I wish to inform you that our coffers are nearly empty, or empty as we speak in this grand hall. There is nothing more we can sell and we have borrowed the maximum amount of money from the Genoese and Venetian banks, and from the Jewish lenders as well, and even with that money, our troops have still not been paid in the past months. Our rebellion risk is growing larger by the day and soon enough our own troops will rebel against us, if not then the general population will do that soon enough.”


    “Which makes it all the more worthwhile to support Murad,” added Cantacuzenos.


    A couple of faint murmurs of agreement sounded from the sides of the room but Manuel realised with regret that they were only a handful that supported his proposal.


    “Thank you Sphrantzes for reminding me, but I am sure everyone knows how bad it is.”


    “Brings us to the point of economic concessions, they could help our situation,” added the Chancellor.


    “We give in to the demands of our soldiers?” replied Pavlios with incredulity.


    “If you want your head chopped off and served to your wife, do not pay them. And plus, I believe your daughter would be more than delighted to take the whole regiment home and serve the guards personally,” replied Cantacuzenos, a sarcastic smile spread in the corner of his lips.


    Once more laughter roared inside the chancellery but to Manuel's dismay it only served to escalate the tension between the parties, ironies over ironies exchanged in the far corners. He stood up and went to the edge of the table.


    “Where is the Venetian ambassador who was supposed to attend our meeting?”


    Sphrantzes turned to the emperor. “He is currently with his officers at a party hosted by the Genoese podesta in the honour of the new territories acquired in the Mediterranean.”


    “Since when are the Venetians and Genoese such good friends?” sounded Cantacuzenos.


    “Since they signed a commercial treaty between them last year,” replied Sphrantzes.


    Manuel held up his hand. “Since this point has been reached, I wish to inform you that I have planned an expedition to Venice, Genoa and the French kingdom with the hope of securing foreign aid for our cause. The Imperial triremes will accompany me along with a small company of guards for protection.”


    Some of the members of the council seemed uninterested in Manuel's words but they struck a chord where it needed. Kaligas stood up once more. “We seek aid military aid in times of peace? The Ottomans will not like that at all.”


    Cantacuzenos threw his hands up in despair. “To hell with those barbaric bastards!”


    “Quite a shame if they manage to reach your villa outside Constantinople, would it not be, Demetrios?” countered Pavlios with a ironic smile.


    Silence was all he received and silence was given as the ultimate answer when the discussions ended late in the night. Despite the best efforts Manuel's proposal was rejected under heavy opposition from Kaligas, Pavlios and the rest of the factions but he expected that. Manuel knew the answer right from the beginning, he knew it would bog down into meaningless ironies.


    Tired and wary, Manuel returned lazily to his chamber, dismissing the servant who collapsed asleep beside the door in a twisted position. His eyes gazed absent in the flicker of the candle on the table where the mirror stood, suddenly reminding himself that dawn and a new day was fast approaching. Despite his tiredness, the bed seemed uninviting and he had no desire for sleep either. He dropped the long silken robe on the bed and remained in his white linen tunic that was damp with sweat from the whole nervousness of the discussions. Manuel knocked on the door of the eunuch who lived just beside his own bedroom and instructed him to call for Sphrantzes.


    Minutes later the Byzantine chancellor knocked on the door and entered, holding a rolled parchment and a quill inside his hand, rightly guessing Manuel's morning intentions.


    “Could not sleep, my emperor?”


    “Not quite, and you can guess why.”


    Sphrantzes shrugged. “No need to fret over the discussion we had, we both expected it.”


    “I know, and that is what pains me. Kaligas and Pavlios have always led their crusade against me.” Manuel sighed, creating a pressing silence inside the chamber. “Still, that is not the reason why I called you over here at this hour. I am tasking you to prepare two secret diplomatic missions, and I hope you will choose your men rightly for this.”


    Sphrantzes smiled. “Somehow, I always do.”


    “Now more than ever you need to. We need aid from the western kingdoms, in any form possible, since we refused Murad's proposal.”


    “You can override the Senate's decision, my lord.”


    “And risk complete separation between the Senate and myself? No.”


    Sphrantzes drew a frown. “Perhaps this is far more important than a simple personal issue. I suggest you do it.”


    “I refuse to.” Sphrantzes said nothing. “Now, you need to send two diplomats, one to the Pope and the other one, I do not know yet, I will think of a kingdom.”


    “Do you wish to prepare the letters by the morning?”


    “Yes, do that. And one more thing. Inform our generals with clear allegiances to our cause to prepare our men. I sense a war after Murad wins the throne and I do not want to be caught without our men armed and trained.” Manuel sighed loudly. “Leave, I do not want to keep you more than necessary. Wake me up in the morning when everything is prepared.”


    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I hope you have enjoyed the first chapter.

    Scroll down to read the rest of the chapters!

    I am open to feedback - open to comments and suggestions! Thank you!
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 02-24-2012 at 18:21.
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    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    interesting start edyzmedieval. But what will happen to your Teutonic Knight story? will you keep writing it as well as this one?

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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Ah! So that's what happened to Lord Lucan. He stepped into a time machine and became the Great Chamberlain of Byzantium! The mystery is finnally solved. . I thought the last Emperor was called Constantine. Still a very promising debut.
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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    He's just doing the foreplay before the real fun starts. Manuel II Palaelogus was the grandfather of Constantine XI Dragases.



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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Wiz,

    you should be promoted to Chief Historian at Oxford!!!! ~:D

    I won't forget the Teutonic Knights story.... I still have 2 more chapters to do!!!!
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Can you provide some feedback please??

    1.Do you like it?
    2.Are there any problems with it???
    3.Some new ideas if you have(don't worry, I already composed II and III, I will post them after I finish with the Teutonic Knights)

    Cheers!
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Ultimate Member tibilicus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    ohhhhhhhhh good story. Very interesting. I will await the next instalment.


    "A lamb goes to the slaughter but a man, he knows when to walk away."

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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Here's chapter II. Sorry, I couldn't have posted it earlier because now I've finished school.

    Enjoy the chapter!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chapter II – A bleak future


    The balcony of the Blacharnae Palace was occupied as usual by a single man thinking about his future and the future of the state that he was leading. This time Basileos Manuel was writing poems and letters, the view provided offering him an endless source of inspiration. Manuel was an emperor, a commander, a affable administrator, but also a distinguished artist appreciated in the circles of the cultured men of Constantinople. Seemingly satisfied with what he wrote today, he laid the quill down on the wooden table and looked at the clear sky, the sun setting down at the horizon giving the city a somewhat orange glow. The wind was blowing gently, striking against Manuel's wrinkled forehead and his large, airy garments. He immediately summoned his parakoimomenos and ordered for Sphrantzes to come join him on the large balcony.

    As he waited for his closest advisor to come, Manuel was wondering what would it take to rescue the Empire from the grave it was finding itself in. He knew it would take his entire skill to deflect the blows from an ever expanding enemy which viewed the Byzantines as a painful thorn in their ambitions to greatness and eternal glory. Analysing the painful history of the Empire, Manuel kept thinking why were the former emperors more interested in building villas after villas and indulging in opulent parties and erotic getaways, endlessly taking the money from the Empire's treasury, instead of expanding and consolidating the empire. Maybe that was his own vision, but he still couldn't find any explanation for the corrupt leaders of the Byzantine Empire. In the times of Nikephoros Phokas and Basil the Bulgar-Slayer, the coffers were bustling with gold and numerous riches which were feverishly displayed all around Constantinople for the mass to gasp and awe at the constant successes the Empire had. After the golden period, the point of maximum glory, came to decadence. Manzikert, Myriokephalon, Crusades... The thought of the Crusades sent a chill down Manuel's spine which he tried to ignore but found impossible. He was wondering if the diplomatic missions sent by him to the royal houses in the west would have any success at all. He was very aware of the fact that the Catholic Kingdoms of the West would not want a new crusade after the crushing defeat against the Ottomans at Nikopole in 1396, and even more, in these times of rebellions, heretic uprisings and war between nations, not much help could be gathered for the Empire's own battle against the Ottomans, which inside Manuel's thoughts, it already began. He didn't like it at all, just like his Senators, but the Crusades looked as if they were the only choice left for them.

    Sphrantzes entered the Blacharne Palace balcony with a vellum document holder which he held in his hands like it was some sort of invaluable treasure. Indeed, the documents held inside were of extreme importance to the Byzantine state and he guarded them with his life, not willing to risk anything. Manuel motioned for Sphrantzes to sit down on one of the chairs next to the table where he was writing.

    “Beautiful day, isn't it?” started off Manuel.

    “Agreed, but I have received reports which surely are of more importance and will make the day more relaxing than it was before.”

    Manuel came closer towards his advisor, visibly interested, as Sphrantzes laid out the reports on the table.

    “The ambassadors have both sent messages informing us that they have arrived at the western courts and they will be given soon meetings with both the Pope and Emperor Sigfried.”

    “Excellent.”

    “Until now, everything is going well for us.”

    “For the moment...” trailed off Manuel, exhaling audibly.

    Manuel changed his position on the chair, now resting his elbows directly on the table looking at the prepared reports.

    “Sphrantzes, what is the current state of our coffers? We all know they are in a very bad state, but how bad is it? Do not omit any details, I need to know everything. And as we both agreed upon, everything we discuss here shall not go past this balcony. Not a single word.”

    Upon hearing the words, Sphrantzes started to fiddle around in his chair nervously, avoiding Manuel's stare. He took out another set of parchments from the vellum holder and laid them out neatly on the table.

    “These parchments have been compiled by myself a couple of weeks ago, and indicate our posessions, number of troops and the detailed state of our treasury, including the rate of taxes that we have imposed and the revenue we get each year.”

    Manuel sifted quickly between the papers, stopping for a couple of moments on the heavily worded papers.

    “Sum it up for me please, I don't have the necessary patience to read everything.”

    "As you wish, Imperator. In those reports you shall find the sad truth about the remaining Imperial assets, information which was passed on to me from the old keeper of the treasury, who died a few years ago. At that time, you can imagine the surprise on my face when I was informed about the real status of the treasury.”

    After a brief pause whilst taking out one particular parchment, Sphrantzes continued.

    “After I took over, one day, he came to me and told me he had something important to tell me which had the utmost urgency. Naturally, I followed him without asking what was going on, so he lead me into the basement of the Blacharnae palace, just beneath our feet, opening a massive wooden door locked with chains which resemble somewhat the Golden Horn boom. He slowly opened it and we both creeped inside into a dark and humid room where the dampness made it impossible to breath, but it preserved what was inside, or what I thought was inside. Entering, I could see a large square shaped room with dozens of coffers and carpets on the floor where the jewels and riches were kept.”

    Manuel's eyes in the meantime kept growing bigger and bigger, visibly interested in Sphrantzes' story.

    “To my surprise, the old and highly valuable jewels of the Crown, the splendid jewels our imperial ancestors wore at spectaculous and fastuous ceremonies, are long gone. They have been sold a long time ago to Jewish merchants in exchange for immediate money. If you may recall, the Angheloi, to raise money to pay the Crusaders in 1204, sold some Imperial assets. Well, they didn't sell some of them, they sold almost all of them. One of those was a highly valuable jewel coming from the East, from Persia, which now is on your crown. But what actually is on your crown are fake jewels made out of rubies, the exact copy of that precious diamond made more than 200 years ago by one of the court artisans. The artisans' manufacture is impeccable and only a very experienced eye will detect that it is a fake jewel. The only thing that is truly authentic on the crown is the gold. It's pure gold mined long ago in the period of our glorious emperor Justinian. We can try selling them, both the crown and the jewels, but if somebody notices our credibility will be lost forever."

    The last words came as the final blow for Manuel, who let his head drop slowly on the table, cupping his hands over his aged face. He quickly recovered and looked Sphrantzes directly in the eye, who was shocked to see the desperation in his emperor's eyes.

    "What you have reported to me right now is beyond what I have expected and what I have prepared for.”

    He stood up shaking from all his joints, heading for the edge of the palace balcony.

    “What if we raise the taxes? The revenue seems to bring in a fair amount of nomisma to our coffers.”
    “I'm not sure if the population will react too well upon hearing this measure. Although vital supplies are in plentiful quantity, the usual trade has been dwindling heavily. Another tax will cause serious unrest.”
    “What is the situation of the army?”
    “Acceptable, I must say. Enough to defend our possessions, but a major assault which has been well prepared will easily tear our defences apart, especially in Moreea.”

    “Another error from my part. I shouldn't have refused Murad's proposal.” said Manuel.

    Seconds passed on, no man daring to speak a word.

    “We prepare for war then. Murad won't take the refusal kindly.” ended Manuel in a ghastly tone.

    Sphrantzes remained silent and motionless on his chair, opting to look at the parchments once more instead of replying to his leader.

    “Very well. Send a messenger to the dockyards to inform the naval engineers to prepare my Imperial trirema and 5 other ships for sail. I am leaving next year to seek foreign aid, hopefully the leaders will be more receptive once they see me in person. I know the first expeditions in the West were only moderately successful, but once they realize the actual implications and the situation we are facing, I hope they will intervene. You may leave now, and please keep me informed regarding our ambassadors.”

    After a quick bow which wasn't acknowledged by Manuel, Sphrantzes left the balcony and headed directly for his home, leaving the reports on the table for Manuel to read. Clutching his fists tighter around the edge of the balcony, the emperor started singing quietly an old cradle song which was always recited by his mother before he went to bed. Somewhat more relaxed after this melody, Manuel entered the porphyry dormitories, still thinking about the state affairs. He blindly hoped that the diplomatic missions would have some success, as it was all they had at the moment if Murad attacked.






    Arriving in Rome was no easy task for a foreigner, and especially when using a merchant trireme. The city itself was impressive, the imposing outlines of St. Peter's cathedral easily visible from the seaside dockyard, even if the structure wasn't complete. Along with the gracious statures of the massive Roman constructions, the dilapidation of the city's buildings was striking. The advanced state of decay of the homes and the neglect from the Roman citizens was so obvious that the Byzantine diplomats thought they were in the suburban slums of Constantinople. Shocked by this appearance but eager to leave the unsafe boat, the ambassadors stepped nervously on the creaking wooden quay, immediately meeting a team of cardinals waiting at a nearby wharf to guide them to the fortress of the Vatican. After exchanging quick pleasantries and gifts from both sides, the Pope's men took the diplomats with a double-horsed cart towards the acropolis of the city where the Pope's quarters were located. Arriving shortly after a detailed tour of Rome given by the priests, the ambassadors were quickly rushed in the waiting room outside Pope Innocentios personal study, sitting along with other emissaries and political figures waiting to be greeted by the Catholic leader. Within the Byzantine group, the leading ambassador was one of Sphrantzes' most trusted friends, Alyates Cerularius, a nobleman with illustrious ancestry. Intelligent but also imposing, he was an able diplomat who proved his worth in dealing with the formerly independent Ottoman states, rousing them to war against Bayezid the Thunderbolt during the siege of 1396. Along with him were two other diplomats, both young men who were picked by Alyates to join him in the delicate mission. They were here to learn from the master himself.

    The ambassadors did not have to wait for long to be invited inside, even if they were the last ones in the queue. Coming out of a room covered by a large oak door, a medium-sized stocky man with a few locks of white hair at the temples, dressed in a full white outfit with a small golden cross hanging from his neck smiled briefly to the ambassadors, courteously inviting them inside his personal study. Once inside, Alyates and his aids were most surprised by the austerity displayed by the leader of the Catholic Church. Apart from a few personal items which were scattered along the oak table which was inadvertently matching the door and an extensive library built inside the walls containing a wealth of perfectly arranged vellum-bound parchment manuscripts, nothing else of value could be seen in the Pope's personal quarters. A bamboo cross, most likely received as a gift from the Far East, was the only religious item on his table, sitting beside his tall, greasy candle which was light up during the night.

    Pope Innocentios invited the Byzantines to take a seat, collapsing into his own chair at the same time.

    “This most surprises you, I see. You are not accustomed to see such an important figure have such a austere personal chamber. Do not worry, you are not the first person to be amazed by this.”

    “Your Holiness, I cannot hide my surprise regarding your decorations. However, I am sure the manuscripts are valuable more than any material object that can be placed inside this splendid chamber.” replied Alyates.

    “Indeed they are. Along those shelves are simple Bibles translated into different languages, treatises of rhetoric and philosophy, but also histories of the glorious Roman Empire.”

    “Impressive...” trailed Alyates.

    The Pope stood up and headed for the nearest shelf on his left, extracting a large leather-bound book from the pile and gave it to Alyates. The ambassador noticed immediately the smooth texture of the leather cover and the painstaking detail the inscriptions were made, noting the Latin text – Istoriae Regnum Romanum. Alyates opened his eyes wide with shock, realising this was the original copy of the Roman history compiled in the time of Emperor Heraklios, stolen from the Imperial library during the 1204 siege.

    “Yes, taken during 1204.” confirmed the Pope.

    Shaking off his shock, Alyates didn't wish to waste any more time and dived straight in.

    “Your Holiness, I shall make things short and to the point, I do not wish to take your time longer that it is necessary, preventing other important ambassadors to take forward their message towards you. We have come here with a request of aid from our emperor, Basileos Manuel, who seeks help from your Highness to defend the last bastion of Eastern Christianity against the infidel represented by the Ottoman Turks. As you might know already, the status of our glorious Empire is as bad as it can possibly get, and any helping action towards us must not be delayed in any way. Our coffers are completely empty and we are confined only to a handful of territories around our capital Constantinople, Thessaloniki and Mistra. Relying on our army to defend our posessions isn't enough, we will not be able to withstand a full scale organised assault against our territories. Our leader, God bless him, is seeking help from your Holy Fist to take action and defend the Word of God in Eastern Europe. Only you can bring the armies of God together, to protect His word in the area where Islam has perpetrated beyond any imagination.“

    The Pope listened carefully to every word Alyates said, even if the sleepless nights were finally getting to him, slowing down his thinking and his movement. He weighed every possibility and every solution in his mind that might help the Byzantines, even if he didn't have them to his heart for their disrespect and hatred towards the Catholic Church. He kept his thoughts to himself however, not wanting to ruin the relationship between the two forces. He made up his mind quickly about his response, and it wasn't because he hated them, it was because he had absolutely no means of helping them. He continued however the dialogue, out of diplomacy but also willing to find out more about the problems of the eastern empire.

    “But I have heard you are at peace and friendship with the Ottomans...”

    “The new Sultan, Murad, is not friendly towards our cause and our spies indicate that they are preparing for an upcoming attack on our lands.” lied Alyates. He personally wasn't too sure either if this was now a lie.

    “Have you tried contacting him directly, asking for more information?”

    “He refused the audience for our ambassadors and warned that the next request will be met with total retaliation from his part.”

    Upon hearing the words, the Pope stared with horror at Alyates' face, who kept his cool and prevented any emotion from displaying on his face. He struck where it counted, and Alyates hoped that in the end it would have an effect on the Pope. The former cardinal quickly rebounded from his shock and readjusted his position on the chair, giving him the opportunity to look all diplomats right in the eye.

    “My friends, your presence here gladdens my soul and I am sure God himself is happy that you have chosen to help yourself with his followers. Your empire, and your capital especially, have maintained the spiritual and cultural greatness of Europe during those Dark Ages which hovered in this western part of Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire. We are deeply in debt to the Byzantine Empire and its people for keeping the flame of learning and Christianity alive, protected at all costs and ready to be passed on to the next generations, which your ancestors have done with grace and willingness. Regarding your current problems, I am fully aware of your current status, and I fully agree help is needed for you to continue the fight against your sworn enemies.“

    He paused briefly, clearing his throat in the meantime, so the words would have maximum effect.

    “Unfortunately, I cannot award you any help whatsoever at this very moment. Immediately after I took over the reigns constant rebellions erupted, mainly from the Ghibellin parties in Rome, and the subsequent return from Avignon of the Papal cortège, have drained all the money from the Papal coffers. If I impose new taxes and levies, it will give even more reasons for those bastards to revolt and lead the whole city to revolt against the Papal rule. But fear not, not everything is lost. Some of my trusted cardinals will be sent to every kingdom friendly to the Papal Throne to support your cause, using our entire skill to persuade them to join the fight against the Ottomans. And when money will become available, I shall send it to you so you can keep resisting, if God allows it. We shall triumph over the infidel in the end, do not worry my friends.”

    Dissapointed, Alyates could only bow to the Pope's words without any reply.

    “We thank you your Highness for your actions. We can only hope that our pleas won't fall on deaf ears, or else we are destined to disappear.” said Alyates

    The Pope slightly bowed his head and said nothing.

    “Your Holiness, we shall not retain your time any longer. We thank your for your patience and may God bless you.” continued Alyates, inviting his companions to the door.

    “Wait one moment.” said the Pope, taking the manuscript from the table and heading towards the group.

    “It rightfully belongs to you. The men who wrestled it from your grasp don't deserve to even be called men.”

    Alyates was more than impressed at this galant gesture from the leader of the Catholics, gladly accepting the gift.

    “My Emperor will surely cry of joy upon seeing this marvellous treasure.”

    “I hope he will.” replied the Pope, smiling to the group as they left his chamber.


    The emissaries left the Eternal City discouraged, albeit still impressed by the chivalrous gesture of their host. They expected his answer, but he managed to actually twist the knife in the wound by confirming their darkest of doubts. Surely at least one king or a prince would respond to their cries of help. They also hoped by that time the open confrontation would start, or their credibility would be forever destroyed by requesting help in times of peace.

    Back on the merchant trireme, heading towards Constantinople, Alyates was gripping the edges of the unstable boat while looking at the horizon. The water splashed on his face as the boat went up and down on the strong waves that were forecasting a gloomy night for the boat and its passengers. The Genoese merchant ship was a sturdy boat, but Alyates wasn't too sure about the crew which seemed to be a bit phased out by the force of the nature unleashing upon them. Breaking his reverie, one of his diplomats crashed into his back slipping on the watery deck. Alyates was nearly thrown off board but managed to get back on his feet, baffled at what had just happened.

    “I am sorry Kir Alyates. I slipped over the deck and crashed into you.”
    “Do not worry, Demetrios. Come join me if you wish.” said Alyates, returning to his place.
    “Thank you.”

    Demetrios, the son of a Constantinople merchant, graduated from the famous university in the Byzantine capital and quickly joined the ranks of the Byzantine diplomats after pursuing law and rhetoric. He was spotted by Alyates who admired him for his wits and the naturalness he emanated when talking, a great aid when it comes to diplomatic discussions. He was young, no more than twenty years of age, but his mentor already took him in the important missions Manuel assigned him.

    “Kir Alyates, what will happen to us? I am very worried about our future.” said Demetrios, looking towards the senior ambassador.
    “There's only one thing that will happen my dear Demetrios.”

    Alyates let himself breath deeply until continuing. He looked Demetrios straight in the eye and replied.

    “War.”





    He took over. He finally managed to do it. The sense of accomplishment overwhelmed Murad over any possible measure or restraint. He was barely 18 but he knew already how to defeat his enemies in diplomacy and fair battles. The turn of events in the recently ended civil war in the Ottoman Empire surprised everyone, as Murad's display of administration and military brilliance worthy of his glorious ancestors turned the tide in his favour over the pretender, Duzmece Mustafa. After a brief siege in Gallipoli against his enemy, he showed the entire world that he wasn't willing to talk it diplomatically with his foes, putting Mustafa immediately to death after his capture. Returning to the capital in Edirne, acclaimed by thousands of loyal troops, Murad became the sole contender to the Ottoman throne, receiving the blessings of the Imam and the entire population. He knew how to reward his friends and allies as well, offering valuable gifts to the Genoese general Adorno who greatly aided him in the storming of the Gallipoli palace. The recent civil war between the two contenders left the state in a complete mess which Murad sought to arrange and guide the empire back to its glory.

    Murad was a warrior and a distinguished general, but he was a man who greatly enjoyed sumptuous parties and a lavish lifestyle. He was enjoying the company of two young Egyptian girls, with their skin as soft as the silk sheets they were enjoying themselves in, when his servant came in, disturbing the act but also causing him personal displeasure at this sudden interruption. He was beginning to get bored of them anyways, so he signalled to them accordingly, the girls leaving his private quarters for the large harem which he had. He dressed up quickly, wearing a large cotton turban on his head and an elaborate caftan which made him look all imposing in front of anyone who laid his eyes upon him. Murad's servant led him into a nearby room which was his personal study, filled with shelves encastrated in the walls on which leather-bound manuscripts from all corners of the world were resting on display for every guest to see. The young Sultan let himself fall on the divan in the room as the servant brought in dates and other fruits on a silver plate.

    Murad was visibly enjoying his dates as a middle-aged person entered his study. Wearing a similar caftan but much larger and without any embroideries, with a larger turban and ceremonial sabre hanging by his decorated hilt, the man bowed slightly to Murad as the sultan invited the newcomer to take a seat beside him. Murad analysed his personal advisor and one of the most important statesmen of the Ottoman Empire, immediately promoted to such a position by Murad after he took over the power. His name was Candarli Khalil Pasha, the grandson of Hayreddin Khalil Pasha, the former Grand Vizier.

    “Enjoying your dates as always I see, my Sultan.”
    “Why shouldn't I? They're delicious.”
    “May I?” said Khalil, pointing towards the silver plate.
    “Help yourself.”

    Khalil took a handful of dates and chewed them slowly, watching the Sultan finish his.

    “I see that you have something important to tell me since you interrupted me from my pleasures.”
    “Unfortunately, I do.”
    “Speak then.”

    Khalil cleared his throat and started to speak.

    “I have received two days before, while you were in Gallipoli, an embassy from the Byzantine Empire. Unfortunately, they have refused the demand of help that you have sent towards them.”
    “Not surprising. Their lack of response until now indicated so.”
    “Even so, I did not expect something else. I have received a report from one of my men inside Mustafa's camp, and it seems that they have helped Mustafa whilst you were fighting him. Some of the men you have fought may have been Byzantine forces in a different uniform.”

    Murad stared dangerously at Khalil, sending a shiver down the latter's spine, fiddling with a date in his hands in the meantime.

    “This is most surprising. I thought Manuel was part of our camp.”

    “This is what we all thought so. We were proved wrong however.”

    “How trustworthy is your man?”
    “He's been serving me for the past three years without a single hint that would make me doubt his loyalty.”

    “So the reports are somewhat accurate in regards to their credibility.”

    “Indeed.”

    “I am dismayed by this duplicity, but I should have known better. The Romans were no better, turns out their descendants are the same. My warrior nature is telling me to attack but my other side is telling me to stay put. There are many tasks to do within the empire, we don't need any more expansions right now. We need stability.”

    “Our armies and ready and willing to support you my Sultan, if you decide to attack in any case. The demilitarization hasn't been made so far and the border guards are supplemented by regular troops at this very moment. The Yeni Cerii and Sipahis are training every day, ready to engage and fight under their new leader. The stability you are wishing for is so far assured by your amazing popularity within the empire.”

    After hearing Khalil's tirade, Murad smiled towards him.

    “You know it's easy to convince me. And you're pressing on.”

    “I'm just informing you of the state of your Empire, my Sultan. Doing my duty as a your loyal servant. It is your call.” came the diplomatic reply of Khalil.

    “Will the state treasury provide the necessary money for a siege?”

    “The treasury is of no problem.”

    “Very well. One thing Khalil, how do you know all these things? You're not a high ranked statesman, at least so far.”

    “Being your personal advisor has enabled me to have my own strong connections which can prove to be very useful.”

    “Old wolf...” trailed Murad.

    Khalil only smiled towards his leader. Bowing slightly after Murad's hand sign, his advisor left immediately leaving the Sultan all alone in his personal study. Walking towards the window which was offering a superb view of the entire city of Edirne, Murad chewed the last of his dates, spitting small bits outside.

    “I swear that I will conquer Constantinople...” muttered Murad to himself.


    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    I hope you have enjoyed this chapter.
    Scroll down to read more!
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 08-07-2009 at 17:05.
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    i love it edyz. give me more. i want more dammit....

    you give us this great story and i hang off your every word and then i get nothing for what seems like months. i think i might just be addicted. u might just have more of a life than me

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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    I'm glad that you like it...

    It's gonna be a very long story and who knows, I might publish it after I compose all the chapters that will take the reader in the Siege of Constantinople....
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

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    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country.

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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Chapter III. Hope you like it!!

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Chapter III – Wolves gather together




    Summer of 1422




    More than a year passed since Murad took over the leadership of the Ottoman Empire and he was ready to enter history. They say that what you're most afraid of, you will never escape it. The war that Manuel had been fearing for so long was on the verge of erupting, and what a show it would provide for the onlookers and for the participants as well. What the sun shines down upon doesn't necessarily mean the person is up to good deeds, or so a Roman would tell you upon seeing the large gathering outside the Turkish capital. Everything there was made for the people to look upon with pride, to be amazed at the display of power from their beloved leader. The full force of the army descending down the large boulevards in an organized march caused serious stir within the city, neither man or woman able to ignore the incredible spectacle provided by the young Sultan's armies.


    Nobody minded the excess of detail, the waste of money, the opulence and exquisiteness of the entire show. It was a real display of power in its purest form and it was supposed to be like that. The show was destined to have a powerful impact upon the viewers, and Sultan Murad was cherishing every moment of it. He basked in the adulation of the commoners who were simply hysterical at this display, seeing how powerful the empire they are part of is. It wasn't hard to impress the masses, Murad thought, and with a simple military parade and the announcement of the assault upon the Byzantine capital, his popularity was at unimaginable levels. The show provided a double strike, raising the morale of his troops in the meantime who clearly enjoyed seeing hordes of young women simply coming to them without even making an effort. The demonstration was subdued by the Sultan's personal interest, but he wasn't too concerned about it. Grinning proudly to the sun after he exited his lavish tent placed in the plaza of the Ottoman capital Edirne, Murad set on to examine his elite troops, the Yeni Cerii and the Sipahis, along with his own personal bodyguards, which would accompany his suite. He always stressed the important of hand picked and vastly experienced bodyguards as they could be the different between life or death, win or defeat, in a crucial battle. Shortly after his prolonged inspection which took him to the barracks behind the royal palace, satisfied with his bodyguards and his auxiliary retinue, Murad returned to his tent only to find a bleak figured Khalil standing with a small roll of parchment in his hands. He took the roll without saying anything, read it fast and then collapsed on his divan, ordering his servant to bring him dates. He struggled to keep his joy away but was unpleasantly surprised upon meeting the gaze of Khalil, who stood petrified in the same position where he was when he handed over the telegram.


    What's wrong Khalil?”


    I do not like this my Sultan. Everyone seems to be enjoying the display but I am far from impressed. Am I the only one realising the full implication of this assault?”


    Khalil, your attitude in the past months has been concerning me deeply. You initially supported my attack, and now you don't even want to hear about it. What's going on?”


    Subterfuge reports. It seems our Byzantine friends have reported to the Pope after you were enthroned, requesting for help, and also to the German Emperor. Not only this, but they have caused serious internal problems by stirring up the minorities and they have encouraged the independent principalities of Teke, Menteshe and Germiyan to revolt. So far nothing has happened, but troublesome reports have come from those areas.”


    Such as?” said Murad, Khalil noticing a trail of fear and precaution in his words.


    The population lately has been consistently demanding complete independence from the Ottoman Empire.”


    They can demand whatever they want, I won't give them even one dirrham. Your reports however are most interesting. Have you informed the Grand Vizier, Ibrahim-Pasha?”
    Indeed I have. He ignored my warnings.”


    We will give it a thought at the meeting we will have later on. For the moment, we won't take it into consideration. Go enjoy the parade, try to find some more women for your harem.” replied Murad grinning.


    As you wish, my Sultan.” said Khalil, leaving his tent.




    Even with all of the elaborate arrangements, something was still bothering Murad, and it wasn't Khalil's warnings. He had every reason to be pleased with what he had achieved in his life so far at this very young age, but even so, he was in a constant fight with his neighbours, especially those at the eastern border of the empire. With this assault, any mistake in the organisation, planning and execution of the siege and everything could be completely compromised. Any attack, any intent of attack, any skirmish between his forces and his foes could call off the siege, giving even more time to the Romans to defend themselves. The risks were huge, but for him, it was now or never, and as he so often thought, any risk can be taken when it comes to Constantinople. The city evaded the grasp of so many of his predecessors, but he was determined not to let it go this time. Although time was not lost, Murad considered it was his sole chance to take it and he felt up for the task. He quickly wrote a telegram for Khalil, ordering him to summon the high ranked generals in the Edirne Palace, and left for the palace himself.


    The lavishly decorated Ottoman palace could rival any Byzantine palace built in the 10th century, being a exact copy of the Roman governor's house of Ravenna, with obvious Turkish influences and other architectural additions which added to the beauty of the imposing structure. The Sultan galloped with a small force of bodyguards towards the palace, stopping to admire it at the entrance of the courtyard. Dismounting his horse, immediately followed by his retinue, Murad stepped inside the palace. He found himself inside a large hall adorned with splendid Persian carpets hanging from the ceiling on the sides, the floor covered with the finest oriental marble while golden excerpts from the Qu'ran were hanging from the walls.
    Outside the ceremonial hall, all ministers were waiting for Murad to arrive, dressed up in their ceremonial outfits as the protocol duly imposed. The Sultan didn't even bother saluting his cabinet, immediately entering the room without saying a single word, instead ordering his servant to bring him refreshments. He walked confidently to this throne, hurriedly and with firm steps, not glancing a look behind towards his ministers. Many rumours about their loyalty came to his ears, mostly coming in from his palace eunuchs who knew everything that was happening at the high court. Most of the discontent came from the fact that he was excessively taxing the nobility and subsequently attacking their own private interests, and this made him a vigilant man, as he knew they could take his throne away or simply just assassinate him. Murad took into the account even the possibility of a simple coup d'etat which could exile him away from his throne. He even employed personal hand picked bodyguards to guard him during his sleep, literally having a small private army at his door every time. Ignoring his intrusive and paranoid thoughts, Murad approached the throne and took his seat, sitting on the opulent golden chair, covered in precious Indian diamonds. Murad immediately started ordering around, willing to finish with this unpleasant meeting which he had to forcefully attend.


    "Map! And don't bother sitting down, this will be quick." said Murad, talking to his ministers, who were still outside the hall, waiting to be called inside.


    A beautiful young Persian squire, Murad's own personal assistant, brought 5 large parchments and rolled them neatly on the wooden table, forming a detailed view of the surroundings of Edirne and Constantinople, a work of the Genoese sailors and mappers on his payroll. They were a valuable aid to him, as they were educated and knowledgeable men, helping him keep secret ties with the Genoese Principality in the meantime regarding military information and international trade. The Sultan looked closely at the map, analysing different possibilities of attack, until he was interrupted by Khalil who decided to interrupt the silence and speak first.


    "My dear Sultan, if I am allowed to talk, I wish to remind you that the siege of this great city is very very dangerous and can pose useless peril for our empire. Whilst I understand the benefit we can gain from conquering the city, we cannot risk to expose ourselves so much in these times, so much so that it could lead to a complete loss of stability in case of a new attack.”


    Murad looked up from his maps, surprised to hear his advisor's words. Khalil then turned towards his fellow ministers and read out from a parchment he wrote on his notes.


    I have received reports from our spies which are actively providing us with valuable information behind the enemy lines in the Byzantine Empire and also in the beyliks situated at our eastern border. It seems that the Byzantines have been actively seeking aid from the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor and in turn they have been instigating the population of the beyliks to revolt against out rule and attack the pacifying troops settled in their area. With this assault, we practically leave our borders unguarded, and even a sudden, organised attack would break our thin defence lines, destroying the painstaking organisation which our ancestors have struggled so much to build unless we take action immediately. On top of this, Constantinople is very well defended and I am under no illusions that they will fight until the last man and until the last stone of those walls has been destroyed. The siege will not finish fast, and it will be a very big drain on the empire's resources."


    Murad just grinned to Khalil and clapped his hands after his advisor stopped his speech. Ibrahim-Pasha, the Grand Vizier, replied.


    Are you sure of this Khalil? Even if it is true, I wouldn't stop the attack. Those bastards need to be punished once and for all. And their city taken already!” replied Ibrahim-Pasha, the Grand Vizier.


    With all due respect Ibrahim-Pasha, the risks that we are taking are immense.”


    "My Sultan, with all due respect to your close advisor, Khalil does not know what he is saying. This is our golden chance! If we conquer Constantinople, nothing will stand in front of our powerful armies that Allah gave us. As Khalil said, before we conquer it, we are at peril, but with the grace of God and with his will, we can triumph on every front, we can triumph against everything that is hurled towards us. If our enemies do not decisively attack us during these times, we cannot be stopped any more. Constantinople is the jewel of Europe, and it must be conquered as soon as possible!" said Zaganos Pasha, the newly appointed Minister of War, half the age of Khalil.


    The risk of a decisive attack is very high, and if it does happen, by the time we mobilise our armies to counter the threat, the enemy can take most of Anatolia, as surely the beyliks will group together in an alliance and take our territories on four different fronts. Not a beautiful picture, and I am sure Zaganos you do not want to see it, especially when you are the minister of war.” spit Khalil towards his court foe.


    Gamble and win. Either way we cannot be defeated completely. We just lose territory we can easily regain. We win, we keep our territories, we get the best city in the world. We lose, we lose our territories, we rebound, we try again to conquer it.” said Zaganos dismissively.


    The siege will have considerable impact on the state's finances, my Sultan.” Alyadin-Pasha, the First Defterdar.


    Efendi, the risks are negligible. The amount of money we gain after conquering the city is far beyond our wildest dreams, I assure you.” replied Zaganos.


    And if we fail?” came the reply of Ibrahim-Pasha


    Well, we have to support the huge gap in the finances.” said Khalil.


    It won't be of a problem afterwards. We can manage it.” said Murad


    The displeasure of the ministers became obvious as they were increasingly annoyed by the fact that the conversation was going on and they were standing up. Murad decided to intervene and finish off the discussions so he can concentrate on more pressing matters instead of conversing with his ministers.


    "I deeply appreciate all of your contributions to today's meeting, and of course, your presence. I am sorry Khalil, but Zaganos and Ibrahim-Pasha are right. You can condemn my belligerent attitude as much as you want afterwards, but the risk must be taken in order for us to progress. Inform the generals to prepare for the march, were are ready to go forward and attack.”


    Nobody from that moment dared to reply to the Sultan, who was already busy examining the maps with the top generals of the Ottoman army. He motioned to the ministers with his outstretched hand, not even bothering to lay his eyes off the maps laid out on his table. From his part, the meeting came to a swift and decisive conclusion in his favour, imposing his will once again without much problem. The ministers left leaving Murad all alone in the hall, some of them visibly moaning and unhappy with the result of the meeting.






    Not before long Murad left the palace once again and after a brief meeting in the spectacular bright green courtyard, filled with all kinds flowers, with his generals, he mounted his horse and headed towards the walls of Edirne. Murad arrived shortly, saluting everyone around him as he climbed the stairs to the top of the main gate which was also the crucial entrance to the city. Climbing up the tower offered a spectacular view of the entire military parade, Murad laying his eyes upon the perfect formations of the elite troops . The walls of the city were formed in a U shape, enabling the young Sultan to see the entire bulk of his troops stationed inside this U, all eyes on him, every soldier attentive to every detail and every word Murad would speak. Beside him were his ministers with parchments in hand offering different speeches, but Murad resorted to one single word which had power over everything else.


    "Constantinople!!!"
    Resembling something of a volcano, from each and every soldier's chest army shouts and war cries could be heard, quickly changing to a single word rhythm which filled the air surrounding the city. "Sultan! Sultan! Sultan!". Grinning, he turned to his ministers who couldn't help but smile and applaud the impressive show, even Khalil setting aside his differences, participating along with the others. Murad winked to both Khalil and Zaganos as he left the tower, returning swiftly to his palace to prepare the final details for the assault on the Byzantine capital.






    Over a hill near Edirne, three man sat motionless, stunned by celebration of the Ottomans that was happening right in front of their eyes. The Byzantine spies sent by Manuel could not hide their amazement and disbelief, not moving a single finger even when the Ottoman armies started marching towards Constantinople. One of them suddenly woke up from his reverie and shook his companions, urging them to leave the place and return to Constantinople to escape and report their findings to the Emperor anxious for information.






    It was well past midnight but the two men in the private chamber of the Sultan inside the Edirne Palace weren't sound asleep as someone might expect, instead engaging in a heated conversation about the assault that was about to be unleashed over Constantinople. The two were seated on a low divan, Murad eating his dates as usual with Khalil joining in. Murad's advisor was looking through different military treatises, trying to study the Byzantine warfare in as much detail as possible, at the same time responding to his Sultan's questions.


    Since we are going to siege Constantinople, I want you to double the border guards in the eastern side of the empire, and supplement them with regular troops which will not be assigned to the siege. Those beyliks need to know that they should think twice before attempting an attack.”


    What about the cities? They need sufficient garrisons.”


    Forget it, they won't revolt. There's enough stability in the Empire. Any news regarding foreign intervention?”


    None so far, it seems.”


    Did your spies make anything of the Byzantine diplomats who visited the Pope?”


    It seems that he has rejected their request of help, out of the severe lack of funds.”


    And the one who visited the Holy Roman Emperor?”


    The same result. No help, at least not for this very moment.”


    So any chance of foreign intervention is out of the question, I understand.”


    Exactly my Sultan. Everything goes as you masterfully planned.”


    Perfect. Everything is set then. Inform me tomorrow morning when we leave Edirne if you have anything to say to me. You may leave. I need to get some rest before.”


    Yes, my Sultan. Have a good night.”








    The next morning, down the road leading to Constantinople from Edirne, merchants, peasants, noblemen and passers by alike were shocked by the grim spectacle offered freely for everyone to see. Hanging from a blossoming cherry tree right beside the road were three men, hanged from one of the branches. They were stabbed in the back by curved Ottoman swords, limbs cut completely and each had a piercing iron arrow shot in the neck, sent forth by the military groups organised and trained by Zaganos Pasha as counter-espionage...




    -----------


    Galata quarters, Constantinople




    The Galata Tower was the tallest building known to the easterners who never ventured out of the lands of their empire, each child and even adult awing at the sheer size of the fortification. It was imposing, but what caused the displeasure towards this structure was its ownership. The Genoese were one of the most hated people in Constantinople, along with the Venetians, who ironically, both of them, were close traders with the Empire and the imperial family. The two Italian Republics controlled the Galata commonly, but it was the Genoese who had more influence and much more territory within the quarter than their cohabitants.


    At the top of the tower on the balcony, the Genoese podesta Paolo Bocanegra and his longtime friend and companion Nicolo Doria were sipping through a bottle of French wine, discussing the recent events and court rumours, not only Genoese, but also Byzantine and Venetian. Rumours spread around the Galata quarter faster than disease, and every ball or special occasion which dictated a party fuelled the river of chit chat even more. It provided endless laughs and discussions, perfect for the taverns but also talks between men and women alike, each giving more and more time to these talks. Friends as they were, the two Genoese were significantly different from one another.
    The Genoese podesta, the administrator of the Galata quarter, Paolo, was born into a noble family which gave the first doge of Genoa, quickly becoming the podesta of Galata because of his connections. Tall and good looking, he used his position to impress the court women of Genoa, attracting even higher positions than he could have hoped for by using his family name. He distinguished himself early with his intelligence and ease when it came to diplomacy, and it soon became clear to the Genoese doge that even without his connections, Paolo was more than capable to become the administrator of one of the most important Genoese colonies, and surely the most delicately situated one. Paolo's friend, Nicolo, was the son of a Genoese merchant, joining the ranks of the army after he ran away from home to escape the constant beatings from his father. He initially wanted to become a merchant, but the thought of combining both warfare with trading appealed to him dearly, becoming a senior officer just after his twenty second birthday. A naturally gifted warrior, he served on the Genoese warships until he switched to the land armies, going wherever the Doge's armies went. Engaging in trading as well, it soon became so profitable that he quit the army and hired his own personal mercenary army which guarded him and protected his interests. Even with all the wealth he had accumulated, this didn't change his pleasant character at all. Paolo admired Nicolo for his loyalty and his firm beliefs, and from the moment Nicolo saved the life of his friend in a battle against the Algerian pirates, the two became best friends ever since. Paolo was the diplomat and the brilliant politician, while Nicolo was the general and the affluent merchant between them.


    What do you make of it? The Ottomans are marching forwards.” said Nicolo, motioning towards the walls of Constantinople.


    I think we're in for another spectacular Greek theatre from the balcony of the tower, that's what I make of it. Take another cup of wine when it happens and enjoy. The wine or the battle, you choose. The Ottomans won't break it, however.”


    What makes you think that?”


    Right now, the Byzantines are strong enough to hold their own with the army they have and think about it, they are protected by those massive walls. If we had those walls over here, nothing could break them and we would be living here forever.”


    Aren't you concerned about any possible attacks on our territory? The Ottomans won't have a good eye towards us when we are this close from the battlefield.”


    We have a neutral treaty with them. If we support the Byzantines, then it is a declaration of war between our states.”


    What if they ask for help?”


    Who's they?”


    The Byzantines”


    We won't give them any help whatsoever. We're neutral in this useless conflict. It's not within our interests to help whoever comes in our way.”


    Nicolo took another sip of wine and switched his position on the balcony, now looking dreamily towards the horizon, easily spotting Chalcedon and the Prinkiponisia Islands covered in the glow of the sunset.


    If you would be a Byzantine, how would you react to seeing the Genoese on the walls with their troops while their city was falling?”


    I would probably be extremely angry and I would curse those bastards to hell.” laughed Paolo.


    His laugh soon turned to terror as a messenger crashed through the door that lead from the balcony to the tower, sprawling on the floor and panting heavily after running up the narrow stairs inside the building. The messenger quickly rebounded from the crash and stood up, looking the podesta directly in the eye.


    My lord, Genoa has been conquered by the Republic of Milan! The doge has been deposed!”


    The two friends looked at each other in horror, Paolo's glass slipping from his hand in shock crashing to the floor in a flurry of glass shards, injuring himself at the same time.


    What do we do now?”


    We help them.” replied the podesta in a solemn voice.


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 08-11-2009 at 01:49.
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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Come on people... Please post feedback like what should I improve or what you don't like!!!!
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    One of the Undutchables Member The Stranger's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    also a good story, but it could be with a bit more dialogue. i actually like almost every writing style, so maybe ask monk to reply. He's a master

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    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Well, I think you story really needs details, and the pace is very strange. At some parts the story flows easily from one part to the next, and at times parts seem fragmented and even slightly confusing. You're also saying things twice... saying both the sultan climbed on top of the strongest gate, which was also the gate to the city is not needed. I fear you might be developing a habit of over-explaining, which is not a good thing to have (believe me).

    just imho of course

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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Edward, you need to get a hang of the conjugation. Saying things in the past continuous all the time just sounds strange. Instead of saying "was examining", say "examined": it's more direct and less heavy. Also, put in more description. I know must of us would know what Sipahis and Janissaries are, but it would be better to describe them. Somebody not having played MTW would not necessarily know that Sipahis are mounted warriors. Don't use numbers in texts unless you are writing a date. Say one minute instead of "1 minute", a hundred thousand instead of "100,000". You also don't mention the names of some of the people talking. During the dialogue between the Grand Vizier and the Sultan, a mystery person suddenly says : "- My Sultan, Grand Vizuer Halil does not know what he is saying. If we conquer Constantinople, nothing will stand in front of our powerful armies that Allah gave us. "
    Only later can we dedeuce that he is the Vizier.
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Thanks for the feedback....I'll try to improve it.....
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Chapter IV. Before the first siege.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chapter IV – First warning sign


    As the dark clouds gathered over the capital, standing in his usual balcony spot, undisturbed and melancholic, the Byzantine Emperor was only remotely thinking about his next tactical move, preferring to wonder about his and his children's future. He seemed somewhat out of this world, his aged face resembling something of a child dreaming of fantasy lands with lots of playgrounds and toys made for their enjoyment. But the reality was completely different, and his close friends knew it all too well. Even though his spies have been brutally killed, subterfuge reports still managed to get to Manuel on time to prepare his men and sound the alarm in all Byzantine possessions, from Constantinople to Moreea and Thessaloniki. He immediately ordered the engineers, carpenters and builders to repair the walls before the Ottomans would come, the only viable thing he could do at that very moment except to wait and see what was going to happen in the foreseeable future. Manuel was expecting the attack for a long time, but it seemed somewhat surprising to him it started so late after the initial shock provided by the Byzantine embassy to Sultan Murad. He didn't waste much time after receiving the reports, his administrative skills kicking into action and obliging him to take immediate measure for the protection of the Byzantine possessions. Manuel called everyone from the nearby villages inside the city, behind the shelter provided by the triple walls, and along with them came a significant amount of produce in the form of grain and livestock, which was more than welcome inside the city, supplementing the strained supply line necessary to feed the troops. Soon, the granaries were bursting with crops, something which could only raise the morale of the troops and bring hope for the future. Inside himself, Manuel was more than concerned about everyone's fate except his. His altruism was always on display but not many were able to see through his calm, impenetrable façade.
    By this time, his close advisors and ministers already knew where to find him almost daily, if they needed him for something. As he was walking up and down the balcony, Sphrantzes joined him on the balcony ready to report the daily information towards his grief-stricken emperor. Manuel observed him but for a couple of moments he did not say a word, completely ignoring Sphrantzes and waiting for him to break the heavy silence, which he did.

    "My Emperor, the situation is not good. The Ottomans are marching on with more troops that we could ever muster even in our glorious days, ready and eager to finally conquer the city. I trust you read the reports I have sent you this morning through my servants, but I thought I should deliver you the information once again in person.”

    Manuel was listening to everything but he didn't immediately reply, instead preferring to continue looking at the Blacharnae walls.
    “You seem very depressed Clarissime."

    "You know very well what's going on Sphrantzes. We have those bastards knocking at and knocking down our gates with their bows and curved swords, and we can't do anything about it. What kills me inside is the incapacity of retaliation from our side.”

    Manuel went inside his bedroom to grab a bottle of wine, which he shared with Sphrantzes afterwards.

    “Not only we are left helpless, but nobody in the West wants to help our cause either. Their despicable interests want us destroyed, erased from this world we live in with difficulty, that's what they want. What other message could we get from all these refusals? They engage in fighting between themselves, each prince vying for power while trying to kill their adversaries at the same time. There is no unity, it is just a petty interest called money which could give them the power they want.”

    Manuel stopped for a split moment, his attention distraught by an albatross circling around the palace.

    “I am not depressed, but I'm very saddened about the attitude of the foreign powers regarding our problem.

    "My emperor, I wholeheartedly agree with you, but do not lose all glimmers of hope. You know not all is lost. While I was discussing the affairs with Admiral Notaras, we have both found a short term solution to our problems. Notaras proposed to me that we should send diplomatic missions with requests to the Governor of Krete and the King of Kypros, who are friendly towards our cause, so we can recruit archers and soldiers which can be used to supplement our infantry divisions. Krete was always a friend of the empire, and I am sure lots of men if asked would want to join our cause, as they are true patriotic Hellenes."

    “Are you sure of this? Do you think we can make it? If we get refused, the treasury will suffer another blow, and this can be used with other purposes.”

    “I give my word for it.”

    “Very well, it seems like a good proposal and I approve this idea. I want you to send the messages at first daylight, we do not need to lose any more days thinking over it. Time is vital and our enemies are fast approaching. Go now and alert the emissaries."

    "Yes, Sire."

    Sphrantzes left the fray, leaving the Autokrator lonely once more the balcony. By that time the eagle drew closer and closer circling frenetically the palace, clearly spotting something of great interest. Manuel wondered why didn't his predecessors take care of Constantinople, instead of constructing those huge and useless palaces? For him it was completely out of his understanding. Although extremely fortified, the walls will some day crumble, falling the test of time which they have so gladly passed until this very moment.

    These were the final moments before the siege, the last crucial moments of silence which Manuel was sure he would dearly miss once the affair would start. It was well past midnight but Manuel was alone on the balcony as usual, looking at the beautiful full moon which was shining brightly on the night sky. He muttered to himself his cradle song, and when he stopped, he only had a few words left in his mind.

    “This will not be the last siege of Constantinople...”


    Byzantine military camp in Mistra, Moreea


    The main army barracks in Moreea were situated in the extensive Hexamilion wall constructed earlier by Emperor Manuel with the aim of guarding the important Isthmus of Corinth. The complex fortification system offered a protected place from which to engage in the training of the fresh recruits while being close enough to jump to the defence of the city or the wall at any time when required. It was the biggest system of military barracks in Moreea, the last independent Byzantine despotate, and thus it needed a large facility to house and train the soldiers entrusted with the defence of its independence and its sheer survival in the cruel medieval world. The soldiers' rooms were all placed in a square where in the middle the hand-to-hand combat training between the new recruits commenced every morning and every afternoon with almost obsessive exactness. For the officers who were inside the barracks, the training was the most important part of their duty as true Greek soldiers serving the will of their Emperor, and it was their passion and the job they have been doing since they were babies - fighting. The barracks resembled somewhat the original Spartan camps, being very similar in their layout and in their training equipment provided for the soldiers. This however enabled a better training for the warriors, something which would prove beneficial later on for the ever-diminishing numbers of men that were serving under the Byzantine Emperor's banner.
    One of the senior officers stationed that day in the barracks was Stavros Kakoulis, a distinguished warrior who participated in numerous fights and skirmishes with the Ottomans, the Latins who owned Athens but also Arab pirates who kept raiding the settlements off the Peloponese coast. Of middle height but as strong as a ox, Stavros was one of the main trainers as well, guiding the recruits through their “baptism” from the first moment they were passed on to his hand. Almost all of them thanked him at the end for his methods, albeit brutal, which turned them into real soldiers thirsty to defend themselves and the Empire they were part of against any enemy that would come in their way. Stavros today was relaxed offering his trainees an off day, letting them go down to Mistra and enjoy the company of women while he would drink wine and read the ancient Greek writers. He was a scholar just like his Emperor, creating many poems which would enchant any woman that would encounter paths with him. His day of calm would soon be disturbed by something that would inevitably change his life from now on, giving him a glimmer of hope to prove himself in a real battle, something which he had hoped for a very long time. Stavros was reading Cicero's treatises on rhetoric when one of his junior officers came inside his chamber with a yellowish looking object in his hand.

    “Kir Stavros, a messenger came to us just now and he gave me this parchment signed by Giorgios Sphrantzes himself.” said the young officer, handing his superior the roll.

    “Thank you, Ioannos.” replied Stavros.

    He immediately unrolled the parchment and started reading the contents out loud, catching brief glimpses of horror on Ioannos' face as he heard the words coming out Stavros's mouth.

    “Round the men up, we are getting ready for war.”

    It took some time before all the men were rounded up from Mistra by their officers and returned inside the barracks. The smaller garrisons from inside the city joined their comrades along in the training square which was seemingly small for the impressive number of men gathered in it, with Stavros and a couple of his officers right in the middle of the crowd.

    “Men, the moment you have all been waiting for, or not, has arrived upon us this day. I have just received a message from our Emperor in Constantinople to prepare ourselves for war which will be against our eternal foes, the Ottoman Turks, who have commenced their assault upon our glorious capital, Constantinople.”

    All recruits looked attentively towards their senior officer, not daring to say a single word.

    “We have been training for this moment for many years now, and this is the time to prove our skill and our courage in an honest battle against those sons of bitches. Take up the arms and get ready to defend your motherland, but also to prove yourselves as the worthy warriors you are! Too long we have waited for them to leave, it is now time to make them leave! You will be assigned to bolster and defend the troops stationed around Thessaloniki, our last major city apart from our marvellous Constantinople. You will have the chance to kill those pagans and send them to hell!

    Stavros paused, letting his words sink in the minds of his trainees.

    “Men, get ready to defend your motherland, your Emperor and the word of God!”

    Contrary to what he had expected and feverishly hoped for, a deathly silence engulfed the camp.


    Forum of Theodosius, Constantinople


    Being a peasant trying to sell his own produce in the busy markets of Constantinople wasn't the easiest thing to do with the stiff competition, as everyone who participated in this business would tell you. But for some, life was rosier than they would have hoped for, and this provided numerous advantages and disadvantages which differed from a person to another. Every day life however got considerably more difficult with a solution nowhere to be seen to relieve the problems, and it was because of the upcoming war that was on everyone's lips inside all Byzantine possessions and not only. Most of the peasants lost their lands and their crops once the Ottomans raided their villages, leaving them stranded without a home and without a future. Some of them however managed to save whatever they had and migrated in the city, living on the streets and eating whatever scraps they could find beside the markets or the bustling taverns and inns. The wealthy parecs who escaped the onslaught became merchants in the city, but their discontent towards the leadership was more than obvious, adding to the already growing unrest coming from the poor situation the Empire was facing. In these times, all the gossip between the citizens surprisingly stopped apart from a few who continued with this typical Roman habit, uninterested with the current affairs. The war was on everyone's lips these days especially in the markets, the unquenchable thirst for discussion of the merchants creating more than enough talking for the entire city.

    “Everything seems to go down the drain these days. Not even a visit to the Hagia Sophia can save us.” said Isidorus, one of the merchants

    “Do not worry about the future. I have faith in the Emperor.” replied his neighbour, Palamas.

    “Oh really? So what do you think about the proposed union between our church and those barbaric westerners, something our Emperor has suggested?” intervened another merchant neighbouring Palamas, Giorgios.

    “I can never understand you people. Why refuse when this is a great chance of coming back to our former glory! It can save us and we can forget of our current situation. We need to think about our children as well, mind you.” said Palamas

    “I will never accept to prostitute myself to those unwashed barbarians!” said Giorgios angrily

    “They have taken much of our knowledge and adapted it in their world, and some of them have been grateful and have returned the help towards us.” replied Isidorus.

    “Great help they have provided. 100 soldiers and 5 cannons, and that's it.”

    “It is still better than nothing.”

    “I couldn't care less honestly. The help we provided them is worth much more than a couple of heartless professionals who just want to be paid and the 5 cannons which are actually the ones they don't like because of whatever reason! So the help you have so greatly approved of means nothing to us.”

    “Sweet mother of God, stop fighting between each other! We have a war on our hands and instead of supporting each other in these times we engage in stupid discussions!” intervened Palamas.

    “Can't you see, we are truly Rome's descendants.” replied Isidorus ironically.

    “I for one, I don't agree with Manuel's decisions as an Emperor. He seems weak and plays second fiddle to those Turks.” replied Giorgios, spitting on the floor.

    “What's with him now? I have supported him as an Emperor. He can count on my side if he is to involve the population in one of his political problems.” replied Palamas

    “It is the economy which is suffering. Those Genoese and Venetians have more than half of their taxes gone while we struggle to pay ours, and when we don't pay our taxes, the guards come to our house to collect them!” intervened Isidorus

    “Cowards! Not only this, but our beloved Emperor has ordered to impose more taxes upon our broken backsides. The shame which we are facing!” replied Giorgios

    A couple of travellers and shoppers stopped in their tracks to listen to the heated conversation between the peasants-turned-merchants.

    “This is not the time, Giorgios! We need to support our Emperor in these hard times.”
    said Palamas
    “Why do you want to keep supporting him?”

    “He guided us through many external problems which could have meant our end. He was a diplomatic mastermind in relation with the Ottoman Empire.”

    “Instead of bribing their officials the money could have been used to hire more Greek troops and improve the trading and the economy of our empire. He didn't do it. And now we suffer! We have trouble feeding our families, living off the earnings of the day before! These things must stop! We cannot continue like this!”

    “Unification with Rome mi...”

    “Shut up with your unification, nothing good can come out of it! And nothing good will ever come out of this infested place ever again!” ended angrily Giorgios, spitting on the floor beside him once again.

    Just as the conversation reached a stalemate, the men were immediately interrupted from saying any further replies by one of the Forum's usual beggars.

    “Men, the time for conquest is not over! We shall not perish at the hands of the Ottomans who are already on their way towards us!”

    A loud shock was heard inside the large market.

    “Already marching on us?” replied a woman, visibly shocked by what she heard

    “How do you know beggar? Why should we trust what you say?” replied Giorgios.

    “Because I travel much more than you even if I am a poor beggar. They will come upon us with a force that the world has never seen before, but they shall not conquer us! Mark my words, and get ready for war!”

    Similar to what happened in the barracks, a paralysing silence took over the Forum.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 08-11-2009 at 01:55.
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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Also, your depiction of the relationship between orthodox and catholic Christianity is not correct, as far as I'm correct.

    Never in the whole wide world would the Pope so easily have consented his help and support to Constantinople. The catholics wanted concessions, chief amongst them the reunification of both churches following the Great Schizm. You see, the catholics viewed the followers of the eastern orthodox lithurgy as a bunch of God-defying schismatics, in no way better than the heretical Bogomils and their ilk. No, with such an easy opportunity to get power withinin the walls of ever-fabled Constantinople would not be passed by the Pope, and indeed it never was in history.

    A scene between the Pope and the Byzantine emissaries, in which the Pope knows he has the advantage -- the Byzantines are asking for help after all -- would have been very interesting, in my opinion.



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    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard
    Also, your depiction of the relationship between orthodox and catholic Christianity is not correct, as far as I'm correct.

    Never in the whole wide world would the Pope so easily have consented his help and support to Constantinople. The catholics wanted concessions, chief amongst them the reunification of both churches following the Great Schizm. You see, the catholics viewed the followers of the eastern orthodox lithurgy as a bunch of God-defying schismatics, in no way better than the heretical Bogomils and their ilk. No, with such an easy opportunity to get power withinin the walls of ever-fabled Constantinople would not be passed by the Pope, and indeed it never was in history.

    A scene between the Pope and the Byzantine emissaries, in which the Pope knows he has the advantage -- the Byzantines are asking for help after all -- would have been very interesting, in my opinion.



    ~Wiz
    Wiz,

    The unification happened, when the city was besieged(at the start). Cardinal Isidor was present also, and he even fought on the walls!!!!

    And, to answer your last request, check the date of the current story. It's 1422!!! The siege attempted by Sultan Murad II, not Mehmet II. Your request will be revealed in later chapters, that's all I can say, not to spoil the surprises.
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    Default Siege of Constantinople 1422

    Chapter V. Siege of Constantinople 1422.


    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Chapter V – “Pagans at our gates!”

    It wasn't long before the huge Ottoman army started their long march from Edirne towards the heavily fortified Byzantine capital. Drawing closer and closer to the capital, the army raided the nearby villages which stood in their path, destroying everything, from buildings to people's lives. The misery suffered by the poor, defenceless peasants was unbearable but there was no protection to be given from the Byzantine army who had them under their command. A couple of men, mostly young peasants, fought their way out or escaped and fled towards Constantinople, swearing full revenge upon their enemies. Along with the huge army, the baggage carts were just as impressive as Murad and his suite ordered full comfort and luxury in their camp tents, providing a stark contrast with the simple, spartan-like tents of his soldiers. Khalil opted for the same luxurious measures, while Zaganos Pasha and his close aids shared a tent visibly contrasting the opulence and the waste carried out by the rulers. It had a psychological effect on the “petty war” between the two viziers, Murad offering more weight to Zaganos' words after this small but impacting detail.

    Back in the Byzantine capital, the preparations for the defence were in full swing as entire teams of carpenters and engineers struggled to repair the damaged sections of the impressive walls before the arrival of the enemy army. Most of the able bodied men were conscripted into the army even if they had no military training whatsoever, including priests and even elderly men who were the eagerest of them all. Religious processions were carried out around the whole city, the population receiving the blessings and good wishes of the priests for the upcoming battle. Spiritually and psychologically, the citizens rallied around giving a massive boost for the morale of the army, who realised the entire city was behind them and ready to help at first signal. Organising a citizens workforce, the commanders ordered the construction of palisades and stockades around different areas inside the city, providing extra layers of defence for the Studion, Phanar and Psamathia quarters who were bound to be the first attacked if the Ottomans breached the stone walls. Some men and women however barricaded themselves inside their houses refusing to take part in the preparations, creating a walled city inside a city.

    Everything seemed to go the Ottoman way, however. Not before long, the Ottoman mounted scouts, sent forward by Ishak Bey, sighted the Byzantine capital for the first time, returning with conclusive and detailed reports about the terrain and the city defences. The Ottomans set up their camp less than a kilometre away from the walls of Constantinople, as per Murad's express orders, on top of the Maltepe hill. The Sultan set the camp and his tent atop the Maltepe hill which offered a perfect view, visually and tactically, of the Byzantine capital. He wanted the camp as close as possible in order to keep the troops fresh and eager for the decisive assault, but far enough from the range of the archers and ballistas hidden behind the small windows in the strong towers. The first night passed peacefully for both parties as they sought to prepare their actions and to carefully consider the implications of a breach in the walls. Along with the soldiers came strong cannons built by the Ottoman foundries, which provided a heavy barrage from the first moment they were set up, giving a head start for the besieging party.

    In the Blacharnae Palace of Constantinople Emperor Manuel was flanked by his generals in the porphyry room, who all gathered around to discuss the tactics and every possibility of victory and defeat. Most of the men were rather calm in comparison with Manuel, who struggled like a lion in a cage, accepting their fate and doing their best to turn the tide in the Byzantine favour. Occasionally a cannon ball would strike the walls around the palace, disturbing the calm conversation between the men. In the middle of the men was a long table which contained vellum maps showing the area around Constantinople and the city itself in amazing detail.

    “Men, I have called you here tonight for an obvious reason, but since we are so few, I want to stress a very important point – nothing of what we will discuss shall go out of this room. These are stressful times, and we not need to worry the population or the senators about the real problem. Deceiving can sometimes be a good thing for the benefit of us all. I hope my message is clear to all of you.”

    All the men remained silent for a few moments. There were only 9 of them, but they were the most important statesmen of the moribund Byzantine Empire.

    “I am gladdened by your response. Kir Sphrantzes has kindly offered me the necessary information which pertains to our purpose – defending the city and surviving the assault. According to his detailed report, we have around 8500 men, part of the Imperial army, and more than 12000 able bodied men ready to pick up whatever weapons they have and support our professional troops. Most of them don't have any military training at all apart from determination and devotion, making them a bit more useful than the average rabble. The situation is dire, and there is not much we can do about it, except to use every soldier to the maximum of their personal ability.” continued Manuel with sorrow.

    “I wish to mention that, although the report is fairly complete and portrays with accuracy the situation, there might be some extra help provided by foreign mercenaries from the Genoese colony from Galata. We cannot expect much, but I have sent two highly distinguished ambassadors to partake in diplomatic exchanges with the bailii of the colony.” completed Sphrantzes.

    “It doesn't provide us with much comfort, my dear Sphrantzes. We are left on our own, who would want to help us?” said Senator Komnen dryly.

    “There's no need to darken the waters more than it is necessary Komnen. I would appreciate if you would keep those comments away until this moment passes. It doesn't matter any more now who helps us, what matters is that we should start preparing for the actual defence before we start thinking about any external help. Before we do plan our defence, I want to hear your proposals on this matter. General Alexios, please.” replied Manuel

    “My Emperor, basing myself on Kir Sphrantzes' report, I propose that the bulk of our forces should be stationed around the main gates. The central St Romanus gate should be heavily defended, as it is the gate that opens up the most possibilities in case of a complete breach by the Ottoman forces. Their artillery is already battering the walls around that sector but so far, they are holding up well, as no major cracks and breaches have appeared. The filled moat provides us with an extra layer of defence, but their ladders can easily reach our walls. At the same time, it makes it easier for our men to take down the ladders since the base is so far out from the battlements.” said General Alexios, one of the top Byzantine commanders.

    “Regarding the defence of the Golden Horn, the boom protects everything in and out, so it should be fine for our ships. The water side walls are fairly strong, so we can leave only a light defence in that area, making more troops available where it is needed.” continued Loukas Notaras, the newly appointed Admiral.

    “Everything you presented is good on vellum, but what will happen when the Ottomans unleash their force on our walls?” replied Senator Lysandros Kaligas.

    “There's not much we can do except place the men atop the walls and let them shoot those sons of bitches. I'm sure they will use their infamous three force attack, and since the first wave is undisciplined and lightly armoured, they can be used as good practice for what's to come.” continued Senator Komnen.

    “Fair point, but how do we manage their towers? There are some parts along the line of the wall where the moat hasn't been filled or is not deep enough, and it provides a perfect opportunity for the siege towers. The protection and space provided by mesoteichion isn't enough. If you noticed their towers, they are immense, and damn hard to destroy.” came Sphrantzes' reply almost immediately.

    The entire room fell silent upon hearing Sphrantzes' words, each man looking at the other.

    “We use the ballistas from the towers. Light the bolts up and fire them in the towers, and we'll see what happens. Other than that we have no available solution. The cannons we have received as aid from the west won't be of much help against those monsters. Or....” trailed General Alexios.

    “Maybe we do. I need to talk to one of the engineers at the Imperial arsenal and I will report soon, Sphrantzes.” continued Alexios.

    “We place the bulk of our troops where the main gates are, continued Manuel, pointing at the big dots on the neatly laid out vellum maps. But how do we manage other important areas of the city? We have the palace guards for Blacharnae, but they will need reinforcements. Xylokerkou Gate, which is exactly near the Porphyrogenitus Palace, and the Studion quarters need an additional number of troops as well. I will have to be at the St. Romanus gate, which means that some of us need to guard the other areas. ”

    “The Blacharnae troops can be reinforced by the troops which are free after being relocated from the walls. I haven't noticed any use of ships around apart from a couple of small dhows which occupied the Diplokonion port earlier today, so therefore we need not the sea defenders that much. A naval attack is very unlikely looking at the conditions they are facing. Therefore, we can displace around 300 archers and 200 spearmen from the sea walls towards the Blacharnae.” said Notaras immediately.

    “That leaves the Xylokerkou without special protection. In the end, how do we divide the troops between the St. Romanus and the Second Military Gate?” said Manuel.
    “As you wish, Clarissime. It is your call.” replied Sphrantzes.

    “We do have one advantage which some might overlook. We know the personal ability of each, and we can make it count against the Turks.” said Senator Komnen

    His advice was somewhat ignored by the statesmen who were more concerned with the tactics and the balance of forces rather than the personal abilities of the soldiers concerned.

    “Very well, we shall see tomorrow morning. By tomorrow morning, I want to see all of you in front of the St. Romanus gate, and Sphrantzes, bring the maps of the city with you. We will get a better idea once we see the full Ottoman force.”
    “Understood, my Emperor.” replied most of the statesmen.

    “One more thing. How do we defend the moat-less parts of the walls? Their siege towers will go exactly towards them, and I've noticed a shift in their artillery tactics which now aims directly towards those areas.” said General Alexios.

    “I suggested the ballistas earlier. Nobody seemed to take notice, I observe.” said Manuel.

    “Strategos, they will have double the number of troops defending them.“ replied Notaras.

    “Since when? Troops from where?” replied Alexios, surprised.

    “My reserves.” came the cool reply of Notaras

    “How many reserves do you have?! We've been assigning your reserves everywhere, how do we split them up properly?”
    “Figure it out, you're the general, not me!” said Notaras, visibly annoyed by the incompetence displayed.

    “Enough! We have too many problems on our heads to start a stupid fight between each other.” intervened the emperor.

    The informal meeting continued long in the middle of the night until all statesmen returned to their homes, leaving Manuel alone in his room. The full moon was shining brightly against the grey walls of the palace, curiosity and excitement leading the emperor out of his private chamber. Outside on the balcony, he could see the small fires lit in the houses and the light shone by the moon against the whole city, offering an eerie sensation and an amazingly beautiful contrast between the lack of light and the silvery projection from the planet. It looked as if the light was strictly shone upon the city, as some sort of priceless jewel in the attention of everyone. Reaching for the edge, Manuel instinctively looked towards the west of the city, observing two specks along the rails of the balcony. Walking slowly closer he could see two small spiders vying for supremacy. One was considerably larger than the other but the agility and resilience of the smaller one turned him shortly into a cocoon of webs intricately laid out by his enemy. Manuel smiled to himself, thinking of it as a probable omen of what is to come, and left for his room to sleep.

    Little by little the sun's gentle rays peeked through the darkness of the night, the silence of the Ottoman camp blasted by a deafening sound coming from a loud horn, immediately rousing all soldiers from their deep sleep. Some of them were already awake readying their rugs for the daily prayer, something Murad appreciated in his soldiers, even if he didn't have the same habit unless it was a very special ocassion. Out of his suite, only Zaganos and a couple of other small dignitaries had the habit of praying in the morning which was admired not only by Murad, but especially by the soldiers who viewed this as an example which they duly followed. The camp guards roused up the remaining sleepers and not before long, the entire Ottoman army was ready and eager to fight.
    That Wednesday morning, the sun was shining brightly on the clear blue sky, reflecting itself against the perfectly arranged and synchronized three lines of the army. The sun's rays were gently touching the polished steel of the sabres and plate mails which clothed the elite units, blinding anyone from close distance who was unfortunate enough to set his eyes on the equipment. Artillery units were battering the walls continuously but some of them were shut silent after a strong response from the Byzantine cannons placed atop the walls, received aid from the Genoese colony of Galata. Sultan Murad planned his assault just as the Byzantine commanders expected – three lines of assault formed of Bashibouzouks, Anatolian infantry and when needed, the elite units composed of Sipahis and Yeni Cerii ready to support the assault. It was a real display of force with a clear intention of intimidating the enemy and striking fear even before the actual conflict had started. Each unit had their own distinctive and exquisite equipment, the Sipahis wearing heavy chain mail armour complemented by wicked maces and pointy coifs. The Yeni Cerii, somewhat different, had silk garments over their their armour, wielding large halberds, complemented by curved sabres at their hilts. The army gathered by Murad was culturally diverse and colourful at the same time, each group of soldiers differing from the other. Supporting the impressive assault were a contingent of hardy Mongolian archers ready to pepper the defenders stationed on the walls, a small group of Serbian sappers and the obvious artillery units made up of the most experienced siege engineers from the Ottoman foundries. After a prolonged discussion with the commanders, the engineers switched the artillery fire towards the main wall sectors which were of strategic importance to the Ottoman battle plan.
    Out of Murad's fighters, there was no question who were the most fervent and most devoted warriors. The first line Bashibouzouks were the religious fanatics, mostly comprised of low class men who had no future, and as always they were the first to be deployed and sent against the enemy. Equipped with light armour composed of padded leather and a chain mail tunic, wielding sharp sabres as their more experienced counterparts, their dedication and recklessness could not be matched by any other warriors, this providing a good battlefield advantage which was always put to good use by the Ottoman commanders. During open battles, they were most effective, but they have never been tested in a siege assault before. Murad and his commanders weren't too eager to deploy them, but they didn't want to send to slaughter their experienced troops either. Only later, when decisive and powerful support was needed, the Anatolians and Yeni Cerii would engage and defeat the Byzantine resistance, as the commanders planned. It was Murad's bet, and he was anxious to find out how it fared against an organised enemy. While he heavily underestimated the enemy in front of his subjects, the Ottoman sultan knew all too well that this assault had a very good chance of failing, and failing miserably.

    Standing on the top of the Maltepe hill, in a comfortable litter carried by Nubian slaves and surrounded by bright red cushions inside and dressed in a ceremonial outfit, Murad carefully examined the troops on the walls who were guarding the city. Along the lines of the walls, he didn't notice something special apart from the Emperor's banner which was standing on top of the main gate. Smiling, he ordered his slaves to lower the litter and returned to his opulent tent, gently brushing aside the beige silk sheets which were covering the entrance. Waiting for him inside without speaking a word were Grand Vizier Khalil, Vizier Zaganos Pasha, Admiral Suleiman Bathoglu and Ishak-Bey, the commander of the Yeni Cerii. He quickly went past them, ignoring their bows, going directly for his divan. Once seated, he motioned to the men to do the same and after all of them sprawled out on the comfortable couches, the Sultan started speaking.

    "As for our last meeting before the final assault, I want to listen to your arguments regarding our action. I'm sure most of the officers and lower generals would agree with this assault, but since you are the highest ranking people concerned with this matter, I have presented myself today to listen to your decisions and your opinions. We shall do this the democratic way, like the ancient Greeks once had. And for that, I have a simple question for you all: Do you approve this siege, assault, take it as you wish, or do you not? We have prepared carefully the attack, we have considered every tactic and every possibility of victory and defeat. Now it is all up to us, but before, I want to listen to your arguments. It is somehow very late to spark this discussion, but it must be done nonetheless, later than never." said Murad dryly.

    "My Sultan, if I am granted your permission to speak, I think you already know my opinion but I shall repeat it so everyone will be aware of what I think towards this unplanned and unprepared assault. Please, my Sultan, let me finish my point, continued Khalil, cutting of Murad who wrinkled his eyebrows and opened his mouth to speak. I do not approve it and I shall present my arguments towards you.”

    “In my humble opinion, my dear Sultan, I think we should call off the attack immediately and return to our positions and consolidate them; stay calm on our positions and make sure our foes are forgetting their thoughts of invading us.”

    Seeing Zaganos and Murad surprised, Khalil continued his tirade.

    “My personal informants which I have dispatched in all corners of our empire, which report directly to me and bypass your secret intelligence system my dear Zaganos, indicate the fact that Karaman has been bolstering his forces and started small raids along our common borders. A couple of villages have been completely razed and pillaged, and if we don't retaliate soon, we might find ourselves with a full fledged attack on our hands. I am and will always be a staunch supporter of strengthening our borders and maintaining a strong integrity before any other expansions carry out, especially when they are this risky and can easily backfire on our sustained efforts. Not only Karaman has been bolstering his troops, but there are many other small autonomous states within our empire which suddenly request even more autonomy and independence, trying to profit over our internal imbalance and unsteadiness. Unless we deal with them swiftly that is, ending all of their hopes for further independence.”

    “Your prudence and explanations are sound, Khalil. Let us hear the opinions of the others before we make a decision.” replied Murad, insisting on the word we.

    "I approve the assault without any questions or doubts whatsoever, said Zaganos Pasha, taking the word before everyone else could even open their mouths to speak. With all due respect for Vizier Khalil who is a prudent and calculated man, and has served and serves the Ottoman Empire with all his might and knowledge, over-prudence can block golden opportunities for the future. The plan that we have prepared in the past weeks includes backup options in case the assaults go wrong, and is almost flawless. The artillery barrage has been pounding the Byzantines for the past 20 hours, giving us a obvious advantage, especially a psychological one, do not overlook this aspect. It is time to push on and I wish to stress this point, what more can we need apart from Allah's will, bless him! Our brave soldiers are eager to fight, so why wait any more? The men are willing to fight, they are willing to die for Allah and for you my Sultan, so what do you reply to them? You call off the attack? Imagine the disappointment and the grief on everyone's faces. Some of them have been dreaming since they were children to capture Constantinople, and for them now, it is their chance. Let us fight, and we shall not disappoint you!”

    Zaganos' fiery speech took everyone present by force. Murad was pleasantly surprised by the belligerent attitude displayed by his young Vizier. Zaganos just passed his thirties but it seemed as if he was the most experienced out of all of his counsellors with his calm voice and rational thinking. Being part of an old and respected family with a Grand Vizier in the family, he was proud of his heritage and was never afraid to display it as such. Tall and intelligent, Zaganos commanded respect from everyone around him, even if rumours of discontent between Khalil and him got to Murad's ears, provided by his trusted eunuchs. Murad decided to continue with the suggestions, deliberately ignoring Zaganos' words, who seemed to relish his new position and the influence it brought to his side.

    "Suleiman?" said Murad, as he turned towards the Admiral of the Fleet.

    "There is not much our small fleet can do because of the boom placed around the Golden Horn. This prevents us from attacking their main port, while the ones on the western part of the city are sealed off as well with smaller booms. We conquered the small Diplokionion port which we will use in case the land troops need support. Effectively, we can provide siege support with catapults and ballistas as well as archer fire by bringing closer our ships."

    “I want your personal opinion, Suleiman. I know what you can do, I just want to know if you agree with this or not.”
    “Very well. I support Zaganos's views. I agree with the assault.”

    "Ishak-Bey? Your opinion?"
    "I wholeheartedly agree with Zaganos. Let my men attack, they haven't had their pay for some time as we all know and they are desperate for plunder."

    "Well then, it is settled. I took my decision – we continue with full force with the assault. I'm sorry Khalil, I respect your decisions and do not worry, I will talk to you about this matter another time. Zaganos, inform the bashibouzouks to attack. But before they do, tell the Mongolians to shoot so we can level off the defenders on the walls. That will bring us an extra advantage in the battle."

    You may have won the first battle Zaganos, but the war is far from over, thought Khalil.

    On the other side of the battlefield, Emperor Manuel and his 9 statesmen were all gathered together at the top of the St. Romanus gate, hunched over the maps which were neatly laid out in front of them resting against the battlements of the capital. Most of them were dressed in combat gear, whilst some of them were never in active duty, opting to retain their ceremonial clothes. For the soldiers on the walls, the heat of the day was simply unbearable in their heavy armour but they had no choice but to stand and wait for the enemy to attack. Until then, they would simply have to resist the oven that their armour had become. Even for Sphrantzes, who was dressed in his simple ceremonial robes, drops of sweat quickly appeared at the edge of his hair and at his temples. He climbed the last stairs leading towards the roof of one of the towers, and then quickly returned at the base where the generals were hotly discussing their tactics.

    “What did you see?” asked Emperor Manuel.
    “Exactly what we expected and we discussed before. The Sultan positioned his men ready to assault our walls in three waves, equipped with portable bridges, ladders and other small equipment which I wasn't able to identify. It shouldn't pose much of a problem if we take care of them properly. Are the ballistas and the catapults ready to engage?” replied Sphrantzes.

    “Indeed they are. The engineers completed them this morning and they are ready to fire. General Alexios, what's the final battle plan?” said Manuel, turning towards the group of generals.

    “We divided the army into separate groups. We have around 2.000 troops as a reserve within the city, and a quarter of those troops have been sent to reinforce the Studion quarter forces. Around 400 have been dispatched towards defending the Xylokerkou and making the junction with the Blacharnae palace defences. It might not be enough, but if help is needed we can provide reinforcements quickly if word comes to us fast. We have around 8.500 troops, as counted by Sphrantzes the other day, 2500 defending the St. Romanus, 3000 the Second Military Gate, while the others are spread all over the line of the walls, bigger forces being centred around the other main gates. Defending the main sectors is our aim, and that was the most important criteria when I have developed this strategy. Well, that's what we hope of achieving with our armies. They're not enough, but they will do their job properly, I hope.”

    “Very well. Strategos, you may go to your assigned place. Always keep two messengers close, we need information relayed quickly and keep me updated frequently.”

    “Yes, my Emperor. Good luck and may God bless you!” said General Alexios, leaving the fray. Manuel watched as the general descended slowly down the stairs, trying to adjust his huge body through the narrow spaces.

    “Now, it is time for war. Men, get ready!” shouted Emperor Manuel over the heads of the men gathered around him.

    Loud raptures of joy and clattering of spears and shields quickly filled the air boosting the morale and inspiring confidence, exactly what the Autokrator had hoped it would achieve. He watched closely as his troops slowly arranged in a perfectly organized defensive stance, ready for the waves of attackers that would be hurled like a giant hammer towards them. Personally, he was fairly pleased about the current situation, but he knew that unless the first wave of assault would be neutralized completely, there was no way they could effectively contain the enemy without a severe bloodshed. He couldn't make anything out of his instincts, so he decided to let time make its mark on the world's fate.

    Upon hearing the horns and drums from the Byzantines and subsequently from their own camp, the Ottoman army started their orderly march towards the triple walls of Constantinople. The sound of their boots and the hooves from the cadence of their march made the earth tremble beneath their feet and sent a serious warning towards the Byzantine defenders, who were already feeling the dread and fear as the enemy approached faster and faster towards their lines. It soon looked more of a military parade rather than a battle between life and death, existence and disappearance. Waiting patiently for their foes, it didn't take much time for the defenders to spot a first weakness in the organisation of the enemy army. Discipline was not one of the strong points of the Ottoman army and not before long, true to their tradition, the first Bashibouzouks started charging towards the walls in scattered groups, carrying the ladders and portable bridges with them. Their commanders didn't try to stop them at all, knowing that every effort was futile, sparing their vocal chords until it actually mattered. The first wave turned out to be useless waste of energy for both sides, confirming the Ottoman commanders' thoughts. Alone and without any cover, the impetous and disobedient fanatics were cut down to one by the accurate Byzantine marksmen equipped with powerful composite bows. Quickly responding, before the actual first wave of assault, the stocky Mongolian archers, dressed in typical steppe attire with pointed felt hats, light armour and strong composite bows, raced closer and closer to the walls, readying themselves mentally in the meantime. The Mongolians quickly fired three waves which visually levelled the defenders on the top of the walls. Unbeknownst to them, the defenders carefully hid under the protection of the complex ramparts and their steel shields, stealthily covering themselves and letting the Ottomans think their ploy of levelling the defenders has actually worked from the first time. In tone with the defenders, covered by the narrows slits in the towers, the engineers carefully prepared the ballistas and catapults with fresh rounds, readying themselves for the incoming assault.
    Encouraged by the sudden success of the archers, the ungodly Bashibouzouks swiftly arrived at the walls and were soon climbing the ladders which were angled towards the first levels, the mesoiteichion. Setting the ladders at a somewhat akward angle didn't prove a stumbling block for the determined soldiers, but it left them completely helpless in front of the arrow barrage that was about to be unleashed upon them. When most of the soldiers were in the middle of crossing the moat or close to the walls, all hell broke loose.

    Blindingly fast, as if the move had been choreographed and repeated to perfection, the defenders suddenly reappeared, almost all of them wielding bows and arbalests. A sudden flurry of arrows, large ballista bolts and rocks hurled by catapults inside the city clouded the sky and immediately cut off the Ottoman assault. Even though some troops managed to push on and set a foothold on the first walls, they were easily killed or driven back by the defenders. Most of the attackers quickly gave up, some jumping directly in the moat in hope of avoiding the threat coming skywards upon them. Some pockets however refused to give in forcing the defenders guarding the first tier of walls to engage in a battle of fine swordsmanship and shield skill. The assault was fully unleashed by the Turkish foes, waves and waves running towards the walls with fury and fanatic devotion. Desperate to drive the attackers away which were using every tool possible to climb the walls, soldiers and even unarmed citizens hurled stones and arrows, trying to hit as many enemies as possible. Melted tar was poured over the attackers, burning them alive and sending them in the water filled moat as their ladders burnt away. The St Romanus and the Second Military Gate were, as predicted, the focus of the Ottoman troops who tried to barge through and break open the gates. The organised stockades and the pointy logs served their purpose well as they stopped the attackers in their tracks buying extra time for the defenders and providing excellent targets for the Byzantine marksmen, who were backed up by a company of experienced Genoese crossbowmen, sent as aid from the Galata colony.
    In the sectors were the Bashibozouks managed to set a strong foothold in the detriment of the defenders, the fighting soon became very intense as hand-to-hand combat was the only way of either going forward or driving the enemy backward. Blood soon started to cover the grey walls offering a grim image to the mere spectators at this battle. The carnage continued with more intensity than before, as no side wanted to give even a foot of terrain to the other. More and more pockets of Ottoman resistance were formed along the line of the walls but in the absence of sustained support which was denied by the Ottoman commanders, they were slowly decimated and defeated by the skilled and disciplined Byzantine defenders. Being only driven by sheer strength and courage was not enough to overcome a prepared and spirited enemy which was defending its own home.

    Watching his soldiers fall into the moat and off the ramparts wasn't a beautiful image for Sultan Murad to digest. It was his mistake, his own inflated personal ambition and it looked like he was about to pay dearly for it. He was wondering if Khalil would prove to be right towards this siege. Maybe the belligerent attitude of Zaganos, Suleiman and Ishak got to his head too much, blinding him from the rational and calculated thinking he displayed before. He hated admitting his own mistakes, like any other Ottoman, but for the moment he dissipated any intrusive thoughts and focused on the problem in front of his eyes, as action was needed and fast.

    “Mustafa!” shouted Murad towards his personal assistant.
    “Yes, my Sultan!”
    “Run to Ishak-Bey and tell him to call off the assault. We cannot risk any more bloodshed.”
    “Yes, my Sultan. I am leaving now.” replied his aid.
    It became clear for everyone that unless help was provided from the idling camp soldiers the battle would turn into a severe defeat. Refused the help despite the loud protests from the soldiers, the remaining Bashibouzouks turned perfect target practice for the Byzantines, some clearly relishing the occasion of shooting Ottomans at free will. The archers were effective and the walls provided them with plentiful cover and good views from which to fire upon. The Ottoman commanders, seemingly distorted from the reality that was unfolding in front of them, were giving orders towards the soldiers to push on and enter the city, much to the shock and amazement of the nearby troops. Tired and wavering, the intact units retreated before even engaging, not willing to share the same fate as their fallen comrades. The last resistance pockets provided the fiercest resistance until they were completely annihilated, either killed or taken prisoner to be ransomed later by the captors. Some of the prisoners were even high ranked commanders, something which came as a plus for the Byzantine high command.

    After the last Ottomans retreated and night came peacefully with a full moon, walking alone on the balcony of his palace, Manuel knew this easy victory would only be a morale booster and a test for his armies, which he and his army passed without a single hitch. The war had just started, and Manuel immediately gave orders to the carpenters and engineers to commence the repairs, as much as they could, of the most damaged portions of the walls. Archers changed their shift and their numbers doubled as they sought to provide protection for the workers in case of a surprise attack. He continued to order the cannons received aid to bombard the Ottoman camp, the same orders being relayed to the catapults which were now installed on the stricken walls.

    In the Ottoman camp, nobody dared to speak, everyone was silent, remembering their fallen comrades. The unbearable silence was broken sometimes by the wailing and shouts of the soldiers, who were executed for their foolishness of openly attacking the Sultan, blaming him for the disastrous defeat and the loss of their brothers and friends. Even the artillery barrage stopped, in respect for the dead, which wasn't the case for the Byzantine ones however. The fires were dimly lit and only outside the tents, casting a ghostly shadow over the entire camp and adding to the sorrow. The guard was doubled voluntarily, some soldiers having serious nightmares about the suffering they endured and the sight of their fallen brothers and friends.
    The night passed slowly for both leaders, neither of them being able to sleep for long. Heavy thoughts ran over Murad's sorrow face, knowing Manuel had the advantage now. He was out of options, so he had to make the decision – he would continue the siege and prepare the decisive assault for the next day.


    The following morning came with dense fog which completely covered the entire Constantinople area, blanketing the city from the Ottoman view despite the close distance between the camp and the first walls. By the time the horn sounded again to wake up the soldiers, Murad was wide awake but he looked dismal as his eyes were completely bloodshot from an unslept night, his face was bleak and wrinkled from countless worries on his ageing mind. Mustafa, his personal servant, brought him breakfast complemented with coffee, a special Ottoman drink made out of Ethiopian black seeds. The drink was very popular with the Ottoman nobility and it soon became widespread, becoming a tradition to drink coffee before engaging in strenuous physical activity. After breakfast and the traditional prayer in the morning, the troops readied their combat gear and presented themselves just as yesterday, arranged in three neatly laid out lines. For Murad and Ishak Bey especially, the difference in numbers was so disheartening that both men had to force themselves greatly to stay impassible and appear concentrated and determined in front of their men. So many men died, and for what purpose? Murad thought.

    Not willing to waste any more time, Murad slowly let his raised ring-covered hand down, signalling the steady march of the troops towards the walls of Constantinople, this time all of them on the rhythms of the mehter, which was usually reserved just for the Yeni Cerii. The artillery barrage restarted as soon as the troops took on with their steady march, and by this time, the catapults and onagers which were unavailable before were assembled and firing at full power. The massive wooden siege towers started their descent towards the walls, their drivers angling them perfectly towards the moat-less areas of the wall. In striking contrast, on the walls of Constantinople, the defenders were seemingly uninterested with the bustling activity around them, fully focusing on the task ahead, readying their bows and spears. Alongside in his combat armour as usual, Manuel was ready and waiting, giving orders and sending messages wherever heavy troop movements were signalled. The tension was escalating rapidly until Manuel let his hand drop, signalling the archers to fire off their sleek arrows, ready to pierce the enemy armour and send their foes to oblivion.
    Just as the Ottoman troops entered the range of the bows, in an instant the cloudy sky turned black as the arrows raced towards the enemy lines, striking mercilessly into the light armour of the remaining Bashibouzouks and the shields of the Anatolians who were backing them up. The first wave of arrows didn't deter their plan, the battered Turks continuing to march steadily towards the walls without a single trace of doubt in their mind about their task. The powerful siege equipment continued to mercilessly batter the thousand year old walls, not sparing them of a single shot, each rock or cannon hitting their target with deadly accuracy. Large portions soon started to crumble, but fortunately for the defenders, they were in inaccessible areas, being either protected by the filled moat or by the smaller walls protecting the access towards the massive cubic towers. Not willing to refuse playing the game started by their foes, the Byzantine archers responded with volleys and volleys of arrows which visibly thinned the ranks of the Ottoman assault troops, albeit not considerably. Cracks soon emerged in the lower portions of the walls, the artillery concentrating their sustained fire in the same spots to batter the construction to the ground. In a isolated sector near the Kerkoporta Postern, in the far eastern part of Constantinople, a small group of mixed Anatolians and Bashibouzouks conquered the lower part of the walls, taking advantage of the opportunity presented as their sector presented no moat and the battlements surrounding it were destroyed. They didn't make the same mistakes as their more inexperienced comrades the day before, easily overpowering the depleted Byzantine battalions guarding that particular section of the wall. More and more soldiers started flowing towards the breach, spreading around and steadily defeating the groups of scattered soldiers who were defending the main walls. Watching in horror from his balcony in the Blacharnae Palace, which offered a direct view of the walls, Manuel quickly took action and raced down the marble stairs into the open garden of the palace towards his messengers.

    “Pagans at our gates!!! Xylokerkou has been breached!! Go to General Alexios and warn him of the situation!” shouted Manuel to his messenger, who immediately mounted his horse and set off.

    Trembling with fear but focused, Manuel didn't waste any time and headed towards his personal stables, reaching for his trusty Arabian steed. Mounting in haste, he started galloping towards the Military Gate, which he briefly left after being called to overlook the Blacharnae defences. As he exited the palace gardens at full speed, urging his horse even faster, he turned right towards the main road and headed for the Palace of Porphyrogenetus to warn the guards of the incoming attackers. It wasn't far from his palace, and as he arrived shortly afterwards, his steed accidentally tripped over a small log which sent him sprawling to the ground, covering him with dust and mud, right in front of the lower floor doors. He quickly recovered and shot for the door, bustling inside. It took him some time before he found the small armoury of the palace between the intricate maze of chambers and storage rooms but he found the armoury in the end. Going immediately inside, he could see the officers dressed in heavy chain mail armour, standing at a round wooden table chatting together and drinking their tea, seemingly uninterested with what was happening outside. Shocked and dismayed at the attitude the officers displayed, Manuel raced towards them and started shouting, ordering them to rouse the palace guards and send them towards the Xylokerkou Gate. Stricken with fear at the sight of their own Emperor, the officers left in a haste towards their posts. Sighing deeply and with his heart racing, Manuel drank the remaining tea left on the table and lied down on the bench, tired beyond measure. He quickly fell asleep, providing the Turks with a perfect opportunity in case they reached the Porphyrogenetus palace.
    Not far from the place where Manuel was resting, the fighting was bloody and intense, a battle between life and death, freedom and oppression. Neither side was willing to give up their positions, at the same time trying to strike the decisive blow. Both sides had to resort to hand-to-hand combat as it was the only option within the tight, damp corridors inside the walls. Individual prowess was vital, and the only chance for the defenders were the nearby palace guards, who were failing to appear.

    Defending the holes caused by the heavy artillery barrage from the attackers wasn't an easy task and the Byzantine troops would find out the hard way. Near the Gate of Charisius, the narrow space provided obvious advantage for the defending spearmen, clutching their weapons and shields closer, operating in a tightly packed variation of the Greek phalanx which the Ottomans had no chance of dispersing. Unable to attack the flanks or enter the city through another way, the Anatolians and the Sipahis had no other choice than to force their way inside by fighting the dense mass of spears and steel shields. The arrow barrage increased once they drew closer and closer to the defenders, and it didn't take long before their officers realised the futility of this complicated manoeuvre, calling for an orderly regrouping. The combined fire of both falcons and catapults resulted in more breaches in the walls, gradually knocking down even larger sectors providing perfect opportunities for the attackers to take advantage of. Backed up by large contingents of Yeni Cerii and small groups of Sipahis, the Anatolians charged head first towards the large cracks near the Second Military Gate clashing with the bulk of the Byzantine forces, leaving any trace of fear or doubt behind as their experience and skill took over their senses. Surging forwards like raging bulls, the shock brought by the unruly Ottomans rattled the defenders rendering their efforts of protecting the large gaps virtually useless. The attack forced the defenders to slowly retreat towards the city, gradually leaving more and more room for the Ottomans as they retreated from the narrow wall gaps . Continuing their deadly strikes, the Ottomans soon became oblivious to the sea of arrows soaring past their ears with blinding speed, striking whatever and whoever was in their path. Not even full strikes from some lucky defenders could stop their impetuous charge, so it didn't came as a surprise when the arrows didn't have the desired effect. Bodies started piling up from the wild sabre blows delivered by the Ottomans, obviously too sharp for the weak chain mail of the defenders. The force of the attack slowly but surely dwindled down as the defenders rallied together in small groups, heroically resisting the onslaught, immobilizing the enemy to a stalemate. The Ottomans finally ground to a halt but by that time, not only the situation was dire for the Byzantine defenders, but the fighting turned into individual skill and prowess, each soldier throwing away his shield and spear, engaging in hand-to-hand combat. The defenders were at a clear disadvantage, so it came as no surprise that the Ottoman were quickly gaining ground, spreading inside the city. It soon turned into a battle of stamina, strength and anticipation, each soldier leaving no room for error as they sought to cancel the enemy and strike the decisive blow. The clattering of weapons and shields reached levels that could be heard from the Hagia Sophia, sending a chill down the spine of every citizen alert towards the sounds from the city entrance.
    Seeing the carnage that was unfolding under his very own eyes, Andronicus Eutolmius, a lower ranked officer who was in charge of the sector which was under attack quickly sent his messenger to Alexios requesting more troops, whilst engaging his own bodyguards and reserves in the fight. The battle between the two empires was now disputed with swords and iron fists rather than clever words and complex pleasantries which were quickly forgotten once the confrontation between true men started. Reinforcements soon arrived for both parties but numerically the Byzantines now held the advantage, and the result was quickly seen.
    Inspired by the wave of friendly forces, the defenders rallied under the war cry of their officers which were urging them forwards to attack and repel the detested enemies. One of the officers immediately severed two Ottomans using his sword, seizing a battlefield banner and setting an example which his men duly followed. The assaulters, sensing the danger, tried to stem the incoming wave of swords but by that time, it was already too late. The area gained before slowly became smaller and smaller and using a clever pincer movement, the Byzantines caught their enemies in a tight corner, severing them down like a peasant reaping his crops.

    Small groups of Ottoman soldiers escaped and dispersed after the onslaught of their comrades, involuntarily penetrating deeper into the city, killing everything they encountered. The surrounding areas near the city walls were completely deserted, apart from only a couple of scattered houses which were were lucky for the owners still standing, adjoined with small plots of land destined for their owners. One of the scattered groups reached a small commune of thirty houses, all looking miserably poor and deserted. It resembled something of an already raided village. For them, the commune looked exactly like the filthy slums of Edirne which they were living in, so it was no shock for them. Everything seemed deserted as nobody had the courage to exit their homes during these times, barricading themselves inside with whatever weapons they could, nailing double or triple planks of wood to their doors to prevent anyone entering. The group was made up of 4 soldiers, all originally from Anatolia and Cappadocia except for one, who were immediately conscripted once they turned 16, gradually rising through the ranks and becoming one of the more experienced soldiers in the army. They entered the small commune, cutting away the stockade that was attempting to provide cover from attackers. It was desolate and empty, but they figured they could plunder something until they exited the city.

    “Aydin, go to the right side houses with Selim. Get anything valuable, kill anyone inside, and let's exit this place before those sons of bitches catch us. Me and Yusuf will go on this side.” said Orkhan, the leader of the group, motioning to the buildings nearby.

    Reaching for the nearest house, Orkhan stopped for a moment to look at it. It was a simple two storey wooden house with small windows and three plots of land behind it. There seemed to be no one around it as no sound came from its direction, and no animals as well roaming around. He motioned to Aydin, a short and stocky Mongolian, to go forwards, the two knocking the door down with their razor-sharp sabres. The two shouted as they entered the dark room but immediately stopped, seeing nobody inside. Looking around, the two warriors could only see different objects scattered around the room, looking as if it was a warzone. Pottery was lying crumbled on the floor, along with wooden planks which resembled something of a table, while at the far end of the chamber the two could see the stairs leading to the upper floor. As they moved closer to the remains lying on the floor, they didn't bother looking in all of the corners of the room, thinking they were all alone, judging by the appearance of the house. Or that's what they thought at least.
    Replying to their shout was a middle sized peasant, hidden beside the wall, which sent Aydin to the ground after striking him with his trident square in the neck. With his comrade motionless and lying on the floor, it was up to Orkhan to kill the peasant and save his skin. He quickly noticed that this was not your ordinary peasant which you would see on the fields, emaciated and defenseless. His enemy was of middle height, but his arms were immense and his legs resembled logs. Armed with a simple trident, he would have been more imposing without his weapon, but he knew how to wield it. The peasant-warrior didn't waste much time analysing his enemy and charged towards the Ottoman, who at the last moment deflected the trident with his shields, a loud scraping noise telling him the trident was made out of forged iron. Orkhan quickly moved towards the crumbled door with his shield raise, deflecting every angry charge and blow that came square towards his chest or face. Counter attacking, his sabre knocked the trident out of the peasant's hands, giving him some time to quickly exit the house. Now in the open, he would have more space for manoeuvre and therefore a better chance of killing his foe. He realised soon it was a big error.
    The peasant took his trident back and charged with even more vigour towards his enemy. Deflecting each shot was his only option. Speed and quickness wasn't Orkhan's strong points, knowing all too well that his attacks would easily be countered. The two men stopped for brief moments to look each other in the eye, Orkhan seeing his enemy's bright blue eyes which sparkled vigorously. Suddenly two loud cries were heard from the right side houses, shocking Orkhan. But what shocked him even more was his enemy.

    “I guess you won't be seeing your comrades any more.” said the peasant in perfect Turkish.

    The peasant didn't waste a moment, trying to take advantage of the setbacks Okrhan suffered. Wielding the trident with both hands, he let out a blow which shattered Orkhan's shield, splitting it into two equal parts. The charge had found its target, but the Ottoman countered immediately, striking a blow at the belly of his foe. Almost eviscerated, the peasant let his trident drop to the floor, screaming on the top of his lungs while looking like a mad bull towards Orkhan. Grinning, Orkhan charged to deliver the final blow but he immediately fell to the ground at the feet of his enemy, as if cut by a invisible hand.
    Delivering the final blow was the peasant's eleven year old son, who quickly fired the hunting bow his father had, striking the Ottoman right in Adam's apple, ending his journey in Constantinople.


    The scenes inside weren't too different from what was going on outside of the city. In other sectors of the walls, simultaneous with the infantry assault, drawing closer and closer, the excitement of the troops manning the lumbering siege towers turned to shock as the defenders appeared from their hidden positions on the battlements, repeating the move from yesterday's assault, this time wielding wicked steel siphons. Levelled down earlier by the rapid volleys of the Mongol archers, the defenders avoided and quickly returned to their posts, and in a matter of seconds, the massive siege towers caught fire from the deadly cannons which spewed volleys of Greek fire, collapsing them and killing those unfortunate soldiers who were manning the towers, hit by the wreckage of the falling superstructure. Other siege towers experienced the same fate but their companions were much luckier. Sensing the danger, Zaganos Pasha acted quickly and ordered the commanders to pull the towers away, not wanting to risk any more useless bloodshed which could end up in a devastating blow for the morale of the army. Slowly, the word got to the field commanders, the towers and their manners finally retreating under continuous heavy fire from the defenders, which thinned the ranks considerably by the time they were out of the range of the archers. The early retreat of their comrades didn't seem to have an impact on the crack troops as they marched forwards towards the gaping holes in the Byzantine walls. Far in the Studion quarter, anticipating the Ottoman moves, General Alexios quickly split up his reserve troops to bolster the existing defenders who were already arriving at the crumbled walls, ready to engage and defend their positions. The hardy and experienced Anatolians didn't waste much time and shot directly for the open cracks, ignoring the hellish arrow fire that was going around them. The fight however ended quickly as the defenders were far too powerful for the Ottoman infantry, being easily cut down by the numerically superior Byzantines.
    In the underground tunnels, the Serbian sappers employed by Ishak-Bey to aid the assault were encountering fierce resistance from the small Vlach detachments sent to destroy any equipment found and any hope of bringing down the walls from underneath. It looked as if the battle outside was being copied exactly underground and not only. Shovels countered small swords and daggers but in the end, grabbing whatever they could, the two Balkan groups engaged in a gritty and intense hand to hand combat which severed legs, arms and heads until the Serbians gave way under the intense pressure applied by the stoic Vlachs.
    It soon became clear for every commander that even this combined assault would end up in a defeat on all fronts. Trembling with fury, Murad left the grassy hill where him and his generals were camping to see the battlefield, leaving his suite to deal with the problem of the retreat. The three commanders looked towards each other with horror as Murad left, but immediately sensing the danger of the situation, Khalil, Zaganos and Ishak quickly collaborated to organise an orderly retreat, effectively bringing Murad's assault of Constantinople to a complete halt.

    Nobody tried to stop the Sultan as the descended towards the camp from the grassy hill. Whistling peacefully along his path, Murad seemed jolly and undisturbed, smiling towards his servants who were kneeling and bowing their heads touching the damp ground in the meantime. He kept smiling continuously, ignoring the shock and awe of those surrounding him, walking slowly and firmly towards the camp. The Sultan looked completely detached from the world he was living in and especially from his current duties. Entering his tent, he settled down on his divan and started chewing dried dates, his favourite fruit. Murad was left all alone to enjoy his snack for a prolonged period of time until his viziers and generals returned to his tent, along with the badly shaken Ottoman army. Once all of them were present, Murad started laughing at them until he stood up blindingly fast, erupting in front of his subordinates.

    “HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? THIS SHAMEFUL DEFEAT WILL BE PAID BY MANY WITH THEIR LIVES!!”

    His high pitched voice reverberated in the entire camp, striking fear not only in the hearts of his commanders but in the hearts of his soldiers as well, who weren't accustomed to hear their Sultan shouting. Simultaneous with his sudden outburst, Murad let his Saracen steel sabre out of its decorated sheath, letting it fly dangerously in the tent. It headed directly towards Ishak Bey's head until he miraculously ducked it at the last second, crashing on the small bamboo table set beside the divans. Continuing its path, the sabre ripped the silk cloth of the tent, striking the spine of one of the tent guards, sending him spiralling to the ground in painful convulsions, until he let out his last breath under the horrified eyes of his comrades. Ishak Bey, shocked beyond measure, slowly let himself fall onto the cushions of a divan, unable to comprehend the full implications of what has just happened. Murad violently twisted, turning his back and quickly breathed deeply to calm himself down, resuming his talk in a cold, low tone.

    “Khalil...” said Murad, trembling.
    “Yes, my Sultan.”
    “Explain.”

    Khalil looked around at all of the men gathered around him. Neither offered him any glimmer of hope or encouragement, leaving him all alone to suffer in front of his leader.

    “Padishah, you knew very well my opinion of this assault...”
    “This is not the time Khalil. Unless you want to end up like Yilmaz, my guard.” said Murad, increasingly impatient.

    A cold shiver ran down Khalil's spine upon hearing the guard's name.

    “Speak or else I'll tell the Sipahis to execute you!” thundered Murad.
    “Very well. As you might have seen, the first assault was virtually without peril towards the Romans. It was a useless bloodshed which could have been avoided.”
    “I am not in the mood for excuses. Get to the facts already!”

    Khalil remained impassive to the demands of his king and continued his tirade.

    “The Bashis attacked, but since they had no support, they were obviously easy pickings for the Byzantine archers...”

    Just as Khalil finished his sentence a messenger bustled in the tent, tripping and landing at Zaganos's feet. Helping the poor boy on his feet, Zaganos could see he was a young Christian boy, not older than 16, from the Devsirme who were used as messengers and spies. Gathering his breath, he could only utter a few words to Zaganos before falling to the ground. Khalil immediately turned white as his heart and blood pressure raced to incredible highs, dizzying the vizier for a split moment. Murad still had his back turned but noticed the presence of the messenger.

    “What did he say, Zaganos?”
    “My Sultan, the messenger reported that the Amir of Karaman has invaded our territories and is quickly advancing into mainland Anatolia, closing in on Brussa. He conquered Angora, sent troops towards Smyrna and is now spearheading the wave of attack with his own personal into our territory towards Nikaia.”

    At the same instant Ishak Bey fainted on the divan, unwilling to take the pressure any more. Murad remained impassive and turned around continuing to chew the dates, looking with disgust towards the fallen commander of the Yeni Cerii. He spat the last date on the ground, disgusted even more by the rotten taste of the fruit.

    “It seems that we are destined to suffer. So be it. Zaganos, rouse the troops in the morning and tell them to be ready. We are moving at first light with full gallop towards Brussa. How goes the siege in Thessalonika?”
    “The Venetians recaptured the city after they started bombarding it with their ships. They soon received reinforcements and eventually captured it, wrestling it from our forces who were already in the city by the time the Venetians attacked.” said Khalil, impassible.
    “Incompetence! This is utter incompetence! Send a message and execute the commander behind the assault. I cannot tolerate this any longer!”

    A deaf silence hovered over the Sultan's tent.

    “And about this coward, said Murad pointing towards Ishak, send him back to Edirne, I don't want to see him for the next couple of weeks. He should be thankful I'm leaving him to live to see another day. Leave now.”

    The men acknowledged their tasks by slightly bowing their heads, taking Ishak Bey with them as they left Murad's opulent tent. Khalil stopped outside his tent and glanced his eyes upon the fallen guard, who was lying dead in a pool of blood, with his back struck by the sharp sabre. Looking around and seeing nobody, as the other guard left for the doctor's tent, he quickly removed the sabre, wiped it of blood on his exquisite garments and hid it under his underwear, swiftly leaving the murder place as to not be seen by anyone.

    The next morning, at first light, as Murad has promised, the Ottoman army immediately broke camp and headed with full speed towards Brussa to counter the Karamanid attack. Similarly, contingents of Murad's army left the main force to make the junction with the defeated troops from Thessalonika, to attempt another assault to try and wrestle the city from Venetian grasp.

    Seeing the Ottomans leave, loud cheers and shouts of joy erupted in the entire city of Constantinople, filling the air with their happiness. Angry and annoyed at the sound of the celebrations, the Ottoman troops quickly razed and pillaged everything they could see as retaliation for their humiliating defeat, turning the countryside surrounding the city into a sorrow wasteland where not even the beggars of Constantinople would scatter for remains. To Manuel, this was a glorious victory for him and his loyal men which reverberated in the entire world. The Pope quickly sent his congratulations through one of his Cardinals in Constantinople, his message quickly followed suit by the kings and queens of Europe through their ambassadors and diplomats. Little did Manuel know that even with the congratulations received, there would be no more external help for a long time... And soon he would receive numerous other unpleasant surprises which would repay in full the victory he gained today.



    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Scroll down for more.
    Last edited by edyzmedieval; 08-03-2009 at 17:07.
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  21. #21
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Good action scene, but I thought the Varangians no longer existed after 1204.
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  22. #22
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    They've existed after 1204.

    But why does't anybody post?! Come on people, please, POST!!!
    I want to know if it's good or bad!!!!!!
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  23. #23
    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Quote Originally Posted by edyzmedieval
    Wiz,

    The unification happened, when the city was besieged(at the start). Cardinal Isidor was present also, and he even fought on the walls!!!!

    And, to answer your last request, check the date of the current story. It's 1422!!! The siege attempted by Sultan Murad II, not Mehmet II. Your request will be revealed in later chapters, that's all I can say, not to spoil the surprises.
    I fear you misintepret.

    You see, regardless of the fact that the Pope indeed consented to a union at several instances in history, he never did it as easily as you have depicted. Nor was the union itself easy, for it almost never worked.



    ~Wiz
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  24. #24
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Quote Originally Posted by The Wizard
    I fear you misintepret.

    You see, regardless of the fact that the Pope indeed consented to a union at several instances in history, he never did it as easily as you have depicted. Nor was the union itself easy, for it almost never worked.



    ~Wiz
    Indeed, it never worked. But the Pope, at the final assault sent 200 archers and food. Oh well..

    Do you like my story anyways?!
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Really good story dude!

  26. #26
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Thanks man!!!

    Anyone?! Come on, please!!!!
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    The Byzantines didn't call themselfs ''byzantines'', rather, they still indetified themselfs as Romans, and they called their empire, Roman Empire.

  28. #28
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Come on, you don't want me to write Rhomaioi. They considered themselves Rhomaioi, the original term.

    Do you like my story?!
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  29. #29
    The Usual Member Ice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    The virgin mary appeared? Lol.

    Pretty good story though.



  30. #30
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: Fall of Constantinople

    Quote Originally Posted by ghost908
    The virgin mary appeared? Lol.

    Pretty good story though.
    Thanks! :cheers:

    She really appeared, though. Check any historical fact about the Siege of Constantinople from 1422 and you will see that she appeared on the walls, just as the Turks were about to break in.
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