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Imperialisium
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Postby Imperialisium » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:37 pm

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Constantinople....the Queen of Cities...


January, 1018 AD
Constantinople

The Great Palace of Constantinople as per usual teemed with people from all walks of life. The outer courtyards, Imperial Gardens, and fountain centered plaza's thronged with visiting populace. Servants, workers, lounging citizens and hardworking artisans that bellowed out their wares to passerby's. Nobles decked in colored robes, silks, and jewelry strode with purpose and authority. While the characteristic tramp of Palace Guards in their polished armors, plumed helms, and lacquered shields boasting what unit they belonged too. The mighty Hippodrome rose like a great oblong palace of the Gods above the city scape. The intricate, multi-faceted, concave, rotunda of the Hagia Sophia with all of its angles and impossibly brilliant engineering mirrored it as the ultimate place of Christian worship. The mighty city-scape like a ladies silk dress spanned Westwards across the Golden Horn. Its neighborhoods and forums providing an expanse of urban forest unable to be challenged else ware in the known world. Traders of every known nation, craft, and service could be found within the boundary walls. Themselves the impressive, unmatched, giant Theodosian Walls. Cradling the city in fortifications that have held off invaders for over seven centuries. Meanwhile the quays, wharfs, and sea lanes of the city were choked with water craft. Ranging from small dinghy's to massive barges loaded with goods and cattle.

Deep in the warrens halls of the Great Palace, in a throne room that itself seemed like a wide boulevard enclosed with a ornate painted ceiling, stood an aging man. Looking at an old ornate golden chair bearing great lions heads for arm rests. Lush red and purple velvet cushions were on the chair complete with matching carpetry leading up to it. Yet he did not seat himself upon it. Instead looking at the chair as if deep in thought. His garb was plain, just the Imperial purple, no jewels or fancy accolades drapped about him. No silver polished scepter. A golden, jewel encrusted, precious stone-muraled-crown lay on a small brown table next to the throne. No he did not wear it. He simply gazed solemly with wisened eyes and skin just now begining to crease with age. His piercing blue eyes like blazing stars casing their light on a dark world. His hair once black and deep now white with the passage of many winters. He stood of modest build and fair complexion. Like the ancient Laconians of Sparta this man was. From times long pasts and epochs half-forgotten save for the scriptorium librarians in the Imperial Library.

This was Basil, second of his name to wear the Imperial purple, Bulgaroktanus. The Bulgar-Slayer. A name that struck fear into the hearts of his enemies and culled any rebellion before it began. A man who would render 10,000 men invalids as a message to his enemies. But had that man passed? Was this the same man as his youth? Contemplation brought about such thoughts to a man's fore. For what is a man, truly, but the sum of his actions.

Troublesome tidings had come from the North, across the Danube, where the expanse of territory known as Kievan Rus' lay. That realm was ravaged by civil war, internecine struggle, and fragmenting to the point of near dissolution. Of course that information was weeks old at best and the situation could have escalated from there or subsided to calm. Such was the fate of the world to leave its autocrats unnerved by the fragility of man's stability. Then of course there was the Eastern Frontier. The Buyids had grown strong in Iran and else ware. Would they be able to be just as deadly as the Sassanids of old? Only time would tell and truthfully....that made Basil more anxious. A joyous laughter sounded off in the distance. A young lady, his daughter, a beautiful woman seemingly plucked by ancient fables. Like some ancient amazon of old she had a strong lithe body. Her features fair and beaufitul to behold. Powerful jaw, piercing eyes, and hair like the finest of textiles. He cast a gaze out into an inner courtyard adjacent to the throne room were she laughed with other noblewomen and young scions of other powerful Byzantine houses. What would be her fate should he perish today? Basil cast such mental machinations aside and walked with hands clasped behind his back. A small circular table there was. Laid out by servants. A pair of eunuchs stood motionless nearby, ready to serve their master's call, and themselves mirrored by a pair of hulking men in fine armor. Bearing great axes, swords at their hips, and spears before them while their shields remained slung on their backs. Varangians. The Emperor's bodyguards. Resolute, unyielding, and fearless in battle. They went were he went and while not Roman....was precisely why they could be trusted so readily.

On the table a map of the Empire was laid along with surrounding regions. Basil cast his gaze to the Georgian Kingdoms which of course may become a deadly battleground between Christian and Muslim once more. While North of the Danube the Pechenegs might be no longer in cheque with the power struggles North-East of them in Rus'. Perhaps emboldened they may seak to raid across the Danube and pillage even further North along the Black Sea? Believing themselves able to do so since they were no longer sandwiched by a Byzantine-Rus' bloc.

"Send word to the garrisons along the Danube. They are to go on alert for raiders from the Euxine Sea to Dorostolon. Addition, prepare a ship to head North to ascertain the situation in Rus'. Thirdly, prepare logistic plans for a march East to Georgia, notify all Tagmata commanders in the capital and the Strategoi in Cappadocia and Antioch." Basil looked up as one of the eunuchs furiously scribed verbatim the Emperor's words before handing them over with a bow. Basil largely was indifferent to the learned classes. But never neglected the necessity of reading and writing. Scanning the short lines of script, words he had just spoken, he nodded and rolled it up. Placed it on the table and with one fluid motion picked up a small decanter of hot wax and poured a dollop onto the parchment. Pressing his ring into it as it cooled. Pulling away slowly the eunuch picked up the paper gingerly, bowed once more, and hurried to the information dissiminated to the appropriate receptiants.
Last edited by Imperialisium on Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Toaslandia » Wed Oct 24, 2018 5:25 pm

Genoa, the City of Gold

Doge Simone was attending a council meeting in Palazzo Ducale when he received a message. "His Serenity, a message from Generale Liondi. News from the Holy See." Doge Simone took it in his hand. "My thanks, Viaggi sicuri."The servant bowed, and returned to his duties. Doge Simone looked at the seal of the Papacy, and opened it.

His Serenity Doge Simone,
I have received horrible news from Pope Victor II. Seven Catholic missionaries have been brutally murdered by pagans in Kievan Rus. The Pope wishes for us to stop our trade with them. I advise you to listen, as refusing would anger the Pope.
Your humble servant, Generale Liondi Gallo
"This is not good. The Pope demands we stop our trade with Kievan Rus, but we rely on them to receive goods from that area safely. I must consult with the council on this." He thought as he continued onto the meeting. When he addressed the issue to the council, the vote was to continue trade with Kievan Rus in secret, and appease the Pope with a gift of gold and incense. Doge Simone personally watched the caravan start it's way to the Holy See, hoping the Pope would be satisfied.
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Postby Pasong Tirad » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:48 am

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Kingdom of Sicily
Palermo
January, 1018



The Sicilian Weighing Scale


Rainulf, King of Sicily, was found at his country estate in the agricultural town of Corleone - ruled over by the lord of Corleone - presiding over a debate between his three tutors. The King wanted to bring in another tutor, a Jewish one, which set off some pretty violent reactions from his Sicilian teacher, who then began arguing profusely with his Greek and Arab counterparts. Were the King any other man, he would have stopped this argument before it even began, but Rainulf being who he was, he allowed the debate to continue as he sat there and listened to their points. Luckily for his Sicilian teacher, the King was unable to decide on this because riders had come in from Palermo, alerting him to the presence of the people he had requested to come to the Kalsa, the District of the Courts in the city. He and his tutors halted everything, they packed up, and set off for one of the largest cities known to man, perhaps overshadowed only by Constantinople in the East and Cordoba in the West.

It took them a day to get back to Palermo. They camped out a mile or so outside the city before continuing on. The royal retinue asked the king if they could continue and just arrive to the city at night, to which the king flatly declined. Rainulf had a flair for the dramatic, and he adored captivating the public. Unfortunately, this was trouble for his Norman Guard, but they were used to it by now. It just meant more guards had to be deployed throughout the streets. The mob, as the nobles liked to call them, very much loved Rainulf, and the multicultural Palermo - home to Sicilians, Greeks, Arabs, and Jews alike - was fanatically devoted to their king. He has done this a dozen times now, and he's still not tired of it.

On the morning of the next day people flocked to the streets, as they regularly do, to see the king and see him wave at them from on top of his horse. They waved and chanted "Il Carusu," or "The Boy," an endearing nickname given to him by the Sicilians. Sometimes, he would be dramatic and gallop around for their enjoyment - but not today. Today, he did his usual parade, but then he had to head off to his own court.

His throne room was small, but it was large enough to fit everybody in it. All the nobles stood in front of him as he sat down on his throne. The Sicilians were at the center, the Greeks were on his right, and the Arabs were on his left. Three distinct groups of nobles, all of which he had to placate to keep his kingdom from devolving into ethnic war. There was silence as soon as the king sat down. His brother, Asclettin the Marquess of Agrigento, sat to his right. His main advisors, his three tutors, sat on his left. The silence continued, before the King finally broke the ice with a joke. "What are you all staring at?" It wasn't the best joke, but it lightened the tense atmosphere, and got everybody chuckling. He proceeded to ask for the agenda for today, to which several of his nobles filled him in on the usual: several disputes of a more important nature, ranging from taxes and borders to the harvest and trade agreements, several instances of inter-ethnic conflict, primarily between a Sicilian and an Arab family. Rainulf's used to this, and most was delegated to one group or another. The dispute between the Sicilian and the Arab was delegated to his brother, the Marquess of Agrigento. Much off the smaller stuff usually was delegated here and there, and the main points that the King himself needs to consider are dealt with on the next day. The last item on that day's agenda was concerning the construction of the palace, the Palace of the Normans (Palazzo dei Normanni). The King's nobles and advisors have agreed that, the kingdom was rich enough to afford the construction of a new palace, and that no new taxes needed to be levied in order to fund it - provided that no calamities or wars come Sicily's way.

That day's meeting went smoothly enough, and the day ended with a feast. Sicilian, Greek, and Arab all dining together in the same hall would have been outrageous for many other parts of the world. But, for Sicily, it was necessary. It helped forge the bonds of brotherhood Rainulf desperately needed his people to form. Most of the nobles keep to themselves, but some among them do regularly use this time to get to know the nobles from the other camps, usually in the form of making agreements between two fiefs and an increasing amount also include marriages between two parties. It pleased the King greatly to see his experiment going well, but tomorrow there would be trouble and he knows it.


On the next day, all of the smaller items on the agenda were shelved because they needed the whole day to discuss the main reason everybody came to Palermo: the King wanted to establish a parliament. While surprising to the lords of the land, it was not something unheard of for their time. Especially for the most educated of their lot, stories of the Viking parliaments and assemblies have trickled their way down to their ears. The King himself, upon consultation with his three advisers, came to this idea upon recalling his time in Normandy, and remembering tales told to him of the Anglo-Saxon Witengamot.

"We're forming a parliament. A Parlamenti Siciliani. Not just one, but several. One in each of the five cities, one in all three vallis, and one for the whole kingdom. Now, before you all say anything, I must remind you all that this is not an uncommon thing, and it should not be out of the ordinary for me to ask this of you. Our Arab brothers, of course, already do have something like this known as the shura, a consultative group. Our Greek brothers will remember that in the great city of Athens there used to be a body that decided everything. We Sicilians should be aware that in our histories wehad a Senate that didn't just advise the emperors, but they even consulted the emperor, and were sometimes even capable of halting his wishes. Now, consulting with our people before we make decisions is something we should be encouraging. What if we propose something and they are opposed to it? We move on, of course, we're kings and lords, we shouldn't be swayed by the wishes of the mob - but what if that mob becomes violent? What if, in this very city, a Sicilian mob turns violent and wants to take out their anger? Who do you think they will turn to? Their neighbors? Of course not! They will turn to the Greek and Arab quarter, and the whole city will be a bloodbath. Tens of thousands of people will be dead before the next dawn. Our kingdom is a weighing scale, and if one person were to exert too much force on one side, everything will be out of balance and we will all fall!"

The whole room was silent. Rainulf liked this. They weren't angrily furrowing their brows, they were deep in thought. They were considering his words. He had to follow through.

"Now, if we consulted our people, if those people were allowed to send their representatives - carefully chosen, of course - to regional and urban assemblies, if they were allowed to sit down in a room and discuss important matters with their peers, then no doubt the outcome that will best satisfy all of them will come out - an outcome that will benefit the most people, and will make the most people prosper. Prosper. What do you think will happen if we kept the burghers happy? If we kept our peasants happy? Their lives will be better, and they will prosper! Your shares of the crops your tenants harvest will increase, the amount of income the city traders make will increase, and all of us will be richer even than the Holy Father!" This drew laughs. This was a good place to end it, Rainulf thought. He had to ask. "So now, I present the question to you, dear brothers. What say you?" He sat down, and stared at his noble assembly.

"Good speech," the King's brother, the Marquess of Agrigento, whispered to him. "I've been sold, brother."

There was silence for a moment, but then people began speaking. Rainulf officiated the discussions, and each noble that wanted to speak was given their turn. Discussion turned into debate, which luckily did not turn into hostility or aggressiveness. The king was able to give his assembly the proper space to feel that they belonged. He listened intently, and welcomed their comments. The discussion lasted for a good hour or so. The sun was getting high up and was close to its zenith when the discussions finally ended.

The nobles came to an agreement: yes, they are in approval that establishing parliaments can be great for Sicily, but it has never been done before and it must be tested first, lest it fail and the parliaments turn into corrupt bodies that would only serve to aggravate the populace further. So as part of the King's concession to their concerns, the parliaments and assemblies will serve as consultative bodies first, without any legal strength to write, enact, or halt the passage of laws; the parliament to represent the whole of Sicily will remain unchanged (meaning that the lords, bishops, and imams present in the King's hall would remain as the highest court of the land); and the marquesses of the three cities along with the Marquess will be given the right to approve the representatives who will serve in the parliaments. However, Rainulf had to push back as well. The lords of the small estates and fiefs would not be given the same right to approve representatives, as they would be expected to hold assemblies with the whole population of their lands. The marquesses will not be allowed to expel an already-approved representative without the express permission of a majority of the parliament. The valli parliaments and urban assemblies will be given a certain degree of freedom on who to send as their representatives. And, lastly, should a lord or count or marquess decide against the wishes of their assembly, the parliament will be given the space to insist upon the matter, and delay the passage of their orders by one day and on the next day they may return to present their case again.

This, so far, pleased everyone. The nobles still retained all of their power, and were even given more power over the parliaments that were to rise in the next year. The clergy were untouched, and would still be included in the meetings with the king. And, Rainulf had his parliament. The education his tutors gave him of senates, shuras, and assemblies has paid off, and he was able to begin establishing something he had only heard of in the histories.

And, best of all, there would be no inter-ethnic conflicts today. Everything was in order. Perfectly balanced, as Sicily should be.
Last edited by Pasong Tirad on Thu Oct 25, 2018 10:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Krugmar » Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:26 pm

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The Black Standard of the Abbasid Caliphs

Āl-e Buye
Ērānshahr
Sha`ban 19, 408 / January 10, 1018

No wolf is as fierce as a lion.
The sparrow’s cry does not reach the hawk.
گرگ را آی رسد صلابت ش ري
باز را آی رسد نهي شيب شخ


Reclined upon several soft cushions and shielded from the glaring rays from the celestial heavens by a small canopy set up around him, the Shah read aloud from the parchment he was holding; the children sitting before him, some his own, of which the eldest was a girl no more than twelve, his audience. He read each line delicately, it was evidently one of his favoured pieces for it seemingly touched him as it had its author, the work penned over a century ago rendering him immortal.

"Shahid’s caravan left before ours.
Believe me, ours will also leave.
Count the eyes, there is one pair less,
Measure the wisdom, thousands less.
Reap all that enriches your soul
Before death comes to bind your legs.
All you have struggled to find,
You must not lose easily.
Profit turns friend into stranger.
"

The Shah stopped as his eyes gazed upwards at the intruder and the ends of his mouth slightly curved upwards.

"Pay him less to ward off that day." He said, looking again at the intruder, placing the parchment upon a table next to him and with a wave dismissing his students. They were separated into various groups by those waiting in the wings of the open square within the palace and led off into the twisting corridors. The Shah pushed himself from his previous position but remained seated, beckoning for the stranger to seat himself upon one of the now empty cushions before him.

"Ador-Eil, I had not expected your return from Baghdad for some days now. How fares the Shadow of God?" He asked, offering Ador-Eil a goblet filled with fresh water, an offer graciously accepted.

Ador-Eil took a moment to compose his words, "He is well and sets an example of piety and modesty in his court which all do their best to follow. As I took my leave I noticed that he and many others still have on their minds anxiety about the expansion of Rome into Syria and Armenia. The collapse of the Hamdanids has opened up a vacuum and I am sure the Caliph is relieved by the knowledge of my Shah's protection."

The Shah's interest piqued when he heard of Rome, his eyes seemingly gazing past the confines of his palace to the very walls of Constantinople itself. "The Prophet, Peace be upon him, said that God shall grant us victory over the Romans after he grants us victory over Iran. Iran was conquered, but has fallen into impiety and rule by savage men. For now let the Roman have his way with Syria, and the Shah shall have his way with Iran."

"Am I to take it that you look to the rising sun, master?" He asked.

"Rising for now, but God willing it shall be returned to Islam as it sets. You have travelled far but I shall need of you service again and within a week hence. You are of the same creed as the Romans, go to Rome [Constantinople] and bring my message to their king and master. My eyes are set upon the east so long as the west is kept in peace and quiet."

Ador-Eil bowed his head slightly and began backing out of the square, an expert in judging when his master Sultan al-Dawla had deemed a conversation over. His choice was practical, He could speak the language of the Romans and was of the same religion though not creed, a distinction which for the Shah and those of his religion was irrelevant. It would be a long journey to Constantinople and he doubted his only purpose was to deliver such a simple message.
Last edited by Krugmar on Thu Oct 25, 2018 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Imperialisium » Tue Oct 30, 2018 11:37 am

Late January, 1018 AD
Syria, Near the border of Byzantine Syria and the Emirate of Aleppo

The sun cast rays of light on the rocky terrain and semi-arid climate of Northern Syria. The vegetation seeming to hug the villages and sheep farmer communities in the low hill lands. Depending much on the villages irrigation for sustenance as anything else. Only the most hardy of plants could survive far from such communities. To the East dust plumes whipped up from the desert wind. Providing baleful gusts of wind that scoured stone and skin alike. Passing in a long train a couple kilometers East of one of the many nameless, small, villages in the Syrian countryside was a large caravan. Easily one hundred camels and dozens of horses. over two hundred people, men, women, and children. All Muslim as they trudged through the hardened landscape. Their sandals scrapping on hardened, parched, dirt. To the rear, in chains, a couple dozen men and women walked solemnly saying prayers to Jesus Christ and the Lord above for salvation.

The Emir of Syria a decade ago had paid tribute to the Empire. Along with allowing tolerance for Christians within their territory under the Emir al-Kabir. Now, however, the new Emir that was installed in 1017 by the Fatimid Caliphs of Egypt. Aziz al-Dawla. Ended both. The first was tolerated by Basil though it raised alarms in Antioch and Cilicia about a possible impending Muslim attack. The attack never came. However, the second point sparked contention with the Christian rulers of Syria and other neighboring Themes of the Empire. While no open warefare was proclaimed, no large movement of troops undertaken, there was hostility. The Emir tore down the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and allowed the conduction of raids throughout his realm to burn churches and enslave Christians. Raids which, according to the Byzantine officials in Antioch, had crossed the border more than once into the edges of Christian Syria. Such events could not go unpunished.

The caravan wound their course through the low hills and dusty landscape towards the East. To Aleppo. To the West, another plume of dust rose, but this was not natural. Soon the dust plumes came with the added thuds of hooves on the scorched Earth. the sounds of riders and horses being carried on the wind. A few of the caravan members mounted on horses stopped and turned to the sound. A lone rider appeared on the horizon. Armored from head to toe in scale armor. A Byzantine Kataphract. He pulled something from his saddle. A horn. And blew three swift notes. A second later a row of riders appeared. Some were also heavily armored, but on the flanks the riders wore lighter armor and had bows at hand. The lead Kataphract pointed and put the horn away. A standard bearing the sign of the Orthodox ross was raised and the riders thundered in unison down the shallow hillock. The flanking riders let fly a barrage of arrows. Two of the Muslim caravan riders went down with arrows in their throats. A third found a pair of shafts rising from their back as he slumped in his saddle. Falling to the hard dirt a few seconds later. The sounds and cries of children, women, and men filled the air as the Roman cavalry closed in and rode through the caravan. Men who bore weapons were killed wherever they where found. Men running for weapons met similar fates. Women and children for the most part were left alone. Though a couple women running trying to bring weapons to the men were downed by arrows. It was all over in a matter of minutes once the Roman horsemen made it into the Caravan's midst.

The surviving men were rounded up and put on their knees. The prisoners in the back were unchained and began to be escorted West by a squadron of cavalry. The Muslim children and Women were positioned behind the men in a rough circle. Several of the horsemen dismounted.

"Funny that a Caravan would also have Christian slaves." said one of the Romansas he took off his helm to reveal green eyes and black hair. Spitting on one of the Muslim men. "Especially with Women and children in your party." The man, evidently an officer, walked slowly along the row of Men. "Does anyone here speak Greek? Yes? No?" Silence. "Fine then. Kill the women and children first." The dismounted horsemen drew swords and maces. Moving towards the women and children who began to shriek and gasp.

"Wait wait! Please! Allah have mercy!" shouted one of the men, slowly standing up.

"So one of you does speak Greek." the officer held up a hand. His men halted in their tracks. The Muslim man began to speak frantically in broken Greek. His accent touched with a bit of Egyptian Arabic. "We bought them, yes, sixteen miles North of here. A bunch of riders under the command of a man named Mohallamid was at a small village with them. Said he got them from a raid. Sold them to us!"

The man was telling the truth. The fear in his eyes was genuine. "Spare the Women and Children. For the Men. Take a hand." The officer put on his helmet and mounted his armored steed. Tugging on the reigns as he rode away with a few other soldiers. The rest of his troop dismounted and drew blades. Cutting off each man's right hand.

Coast of the Black Sea

A single Byzantine Dromon moved Northwards with the cool Black Sea air about the sailors and Marines of the vessel. The ship was stocked heavy with provisions. Marines walked sentry duty while sailors checked riggings, headings, checked stores, and cleaned the deck. The banner of the Imperial Fleet snapped in the breeze as it moved Northwards. Having left Constantinople two weeks prior. It's mission was to gather as much information as possible on the Kievan Rus'. They were to be emissaries of Basil II. Meeting local lords and peoples. Then report back with all haste.
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Postby Toaslandia » Tue Oct 30, 2018 1:01 pm

A single Genovese ship sailed into the port of Constantinople, carrying Lord Montaro. The ship docked in the busy port, and Lord Montaro stepped off the ship, flanked by two Genovese Infantry. Doge Simone had told him to had straight to the Imperial Court to meet with the Emperor and establish a trade route. Montaro began to walk towards the palace, his guards shoving people who refused to move. When he arrived, the court was in session, so he waited at the back of the room. Some noble said something to him in Greek, but Montaro only spoke Latin. When the court was finished and the nobles split into groups to talk, Montaro decided this was his chance. His guards stayed at the back of the room while Montaro kneeled in front of the Emperor. "Your imperial majesty, I am Montaro, Lord of Tortono and Genovese envoy to your empire. I am here to negotiate a trading contract between our nations."
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Postby Adab » Wed Oct 31, 2018 9:42 am

January 1018
Palais de la Cité, Paris

"Yes, 'tis true that the passage of years have dimmed the flame in you," said Robert II, King of the Franks, in the most sullen voice he could manage. He moved his cup sideways, to no one in particular, not even bothering to look at the man sitting across his table. "You are truly the blessed of God, lord archbishop. Not many men are like that today, not even the men of the cloth."

Such was the singularity of the King's voice, breaking through the stark silence of the place, that every word seemed to echo across the Salle de Roi, even though in truth the man sitting across him could barely hear the King at times. Morning broke through the great windows of the hall, and outside the birds flew past. If the man desired to speak, then he did not dare to, at least not beyond a collection of short, single words. Most of the time he devoted to letting Robert - who had looked at him a grand total of, what, three times since the poor man entered the hall? - ramble on the state of the nation and the loyal lords who, he convinced himself, were conspiring to depose him at this very moment.

"I vaguely remember your father, lord archbishop," the King continued, his voice taking on a more pensive tone. He held on to the cup, moving it back and forth. "Have I mentioned this to you? No, I haven't. I was all of seven years old, and King Lothair your father met my father in Paris. I was with my father, and the King received me very kindly. Shortly afterwards, my father and your father rode east to take on Emperor Otto and Duke Charles of Lower Lorraine, and they won a great victory. A very great victory. They took the great Charles' palace at Aachen, and turned his bronze eagle to face east to signify that the tide had turned against the East Franks. It was a great moment in the history of us West Franks."

Silence fell upon the hall as it seemed that the King had finally run out of words. There was no one there but the King and the Archbishop of Reims. The King had presided over a meeting with several of the most powerful men in his demesne, including the Archbishop who had been in this city the past two days. Everyone had been dismissed save for the poor Archbishop; why the King wanted him to stay he did not know.

Robert stayed silent, and finally his eyes fell upon the Archbishop for the fourth time today, though only momentarily. Still he said nothing, and it took a moment for the Archbishop to realize that it was now his turn. "I believe I remember that war, my king," said the cleric. "I was ten years old, and I remember that my father triumphed greatly. But I do not remember much about it. The news only came to me through the monks."

"Ah yes, the fate of the bastard. A life of prayer and devotion, away from the power and the politics. A blessing or a condemnation, depending on who you ask. I trust you are not too offended, lord archbishop. We both know it is the truth." The King breathed deeply, then slowly he leaned forward, towards the Archbishop. "But you used to engage in it in your younger years, the power and the politics. I still remember the details, when you and that same Duke Charles attempted to depose me and my father, when you and the Duke were imprisoned, when you yourself were deposed for treason, when your deposition was declared invalid and you were reinstated. Ah, we were young and green then." The King's eyes were once again on the cup as he continued moving it back and forth, left to right to left, and the Archbishop was staring at a man who was not looking at him.

"What I have been wondering about lately is this, and I hope you can answer me," Robert said, still not looking at the Archbishop. "Bastard or not, you have the blood of Charles. Many people, noble and peasant alike, would have gladly backed you. Your fathers sat on the throne for more than two hundred years. How do you let go of all that, the envy, the greed, the ambition? Do you not desire to see your blood in their rightful place? Do you not imagine yourself ruling this land?"

The Archbishop stared at the King, his voice barely giving away whatever he truly felt, his words short and succinct. "I found the Lord, my king."

"I found the Lord, too," the King replied, his voice starting to rise, "and then I lost Him, and then I found Him again. You must understand, lord archbishop, I am torn between two desires. One is to lead a clean, holy life entirely devoted to Him, ruling peacefully in His name, making peace in my realm. The other is to achieve what rightfully is mine by will of God. Everything that I have now, it is all from God. You may say that I was crowned king by my father, who was himself elected to the kingship, but it was by the will of God that we found ourselves on the throne. If the Lord willed otherwise, then He could have set the nobles' hearts in such a way that they elected Duke Charles or you all those years ago. My father would never have become king, and I would never have been crowned by him. The race of Charles could have continued their reign, but instead here we are, inaugurating a new age. We have been chosen by God, lord archbishop, you and me, to our respective lots.

"Yet there are people out there who are continually plotting to deprive me of the kingship and to deny me of my rightful inheritance. And dare I say that many of them are around here, so close to us, pretending to be our friends, while secretly plotting our downfall in the shadows. Ungrateful leeches, they are. And Otto-William is out there, convincing himself that he is the rightful Duke of Burgundy, even though it is mine by will of God and right of blood. Though my last effort was met by setback, I have resolved to myself that I shall come back there one day, and claim what is rightfully mine."

The Archbishop sat still, watching the King drink from his cup as he finished his speech. "Even the righteous is tested by the Lord, my king. They do not always find the road easy," he said. "But in the end they always triumph. They always do."

"That I believe, lord archbishop, and that is why I shall fight on to the end," the King replied, "for this does not concern me alone. It is a mission greater than myself. It is for the sake of God, our nation, our throne, and my son. One day Hugh will inherit all of this, and he and all who come after him will carry this nation forward to glory, but that will not be possible as long as those evil lords are not kept in line. One day they will all obey the rightful, God-anointed king, and serve him loyally, and give him what is his due, and by God I shall make sure that it happens."
Last edited by Adab on Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Inoffensive Centrist Democracy

Postby Greater Liverpool » Wed Oct 31, 2018 4:44 pm

February 1018, Samarkand, Kara-Khanid Khanate
Chapter 1: "The Warriors of Light"


"All hail the khan, all hail the mighty warrior of light, of Mani." a crowd of people shouted from the streets of the Capital of the Khanate. Most throwing flowers and other such items on the ground just in front of the Khan as he slowly walked on top of his horse through the center of the city. Man people had been working normally and as such the hussel and bussel of Samarkand was present with many shop owner behind the stalls giving waves to the Khan and his procession of warriors followed by a column of prisoners that had been captured from a recent battle. The Khan in a colorful red jacket that was said to have originated in China rode very front with his two most trusted commanders riding alongside him. "Is there such a strong love in the world then the people loving you my dear Khan." İsmail Erasyl Demirci said to the khan positioned to the left of the Khan.

"That is because the people see the Khan as their savior from the Arab darkness. The Khan is their protector and through him the Kipchaks, Karluks and even Persian and Sodgian peoples can proclaim their destiny of bringers of Light to a world of Darkness." Faridoon Ramazan Binici the man to the left of the khan replied is Ismail, however the khan remained silent listening to the people that praised him, the many languages that did so and the faces of his subjects each and everyone of them being looked at by the Khan. He knew he ruled over a vast and diverse nation but one thing united most of them and that was they were Manichaeists like him and they too had the fire in them that Ziya the Khan had. "These people will be the sword of fire and bringer of God's will on earth. They love me because they love god and Mani." The Khan spoke just as they entered the Registan of the city a newly built public square that had been built in the style of old Persian cities with pictures of Mani, Christ, Zoroaster and Buddha on the many walls of the buildings of the Registan. Samarkand was unique all though the Turks had own the city for a long time now the Persian and Sogdian people had moved them escaping Islamic Arabs in the south. This was the most case from much of southern half of the Khanate as many different group began to migrate there feeling the Arabs and well these people were welcomed in by the Khan permitted that they become Manichaeists and fight in his army. "Stop here." Faridoon shouted to the men behind him as the column came to a stop and the prisoners were brought to the front of it, guards quickly moved into position making a circle in the center of the Registan and from the Manichaeian temple came the archegos the head of the Manichaeian faith. He stud on a small platform with some of his Apostles as they watched Ziya from afar. The Prisoners were brought to the circle and were throw to their knees infront of the crowd. The Prisoners were Arabs from the Ghaznavid Dynasty who were captured near the borders of the Khanate, as they were place Ziya, Ismail and Faridoon dismounted standing in front of the prisoners. "His grace, the holy warrior of Mani, defender of light and Khan of the Kara-Khanid Khanate, has decided to be merciful in accordance with his faith. The great Prophet Mani said that those called to the light shall receive it and those that do not will be cast into darkness. Today god has called our Khan, Ziya Aziz Alp Khan to bring about his will, that all those that have seen the light and those that wish to join with the glory of god himself may speak now..." before Faridoon could finish Ziya raised his hand to silence Faridoon.

"I have brought you hear so you can see what the glory of god is. God granted me victory of you because he has assigned me as his champion, as a warrior of Light and his will. God is with us and that is why you are here so that you may accept the truth of God and rid yourself of the lies of the False Prophet Muhammad and accept that the last Prophet was Mani. Islam is nothing more then the work of the devil and if it was not then why I ask you is that you are all the way here, why is that your god has let you be captured. Because your god is the devil and the light will always achieve victory against darkness." Ziya shouted at the top of his lungs as the crowds let out a huge roar. many of prisoners intimated by the Khan and the soldiers that surround them. The Khan then allowed Faridoon to continue, "those that wish to join with the glory of god himself may speak now or if you retain to the false Prophet you will be executed and sent to one of the kingdoms of Darkness. Please those that wish to join the world of light and be seated by The Father of Greatness please stand" After a few moments of hesitation some of the prisoners began to stand up while others began saying prayers in Arabic quietly before one begins to shout the Shahada but is quickly silenced as a guard comes over and slices his neck open and blood soon covers the floor, as a few more began to stand up. After around 3 minutes of waiting the guards that formed the circle quickly close in pushing the ones standing up into the temple and the ones sitting were quickly killed. Body parts dismembered of prisoners still alive, tongues cut out of those praying before being stabbed and finally a iman that was with the group was taken away and placed into a ditch which was covered in tar and oil which was then set on fire. The prisoners that chose to become Manichaeists were quickly gathered into the main temple as the conversion began with a renouncing of their Islamic faith. Ziya, Fairdoon and Islmail all returned to their horses as the khan shouted "Bothers. Sisters. The Ghaznavids dynasty prepares to destroy us and destroy our Khanate. But let me tell you this that god is on our side. If the Ghaznavids want to destroy us then I say we kill them before we get the chance. People of the Khanate we go to war!"
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Union Princes
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Union Princes » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:07 pm

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Duchy of Lotharingia
Aachen, February 1018

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake

Ottokar von Degurechaff was feeling proudly ambitious, again. The current Holy Roman Emperor, Heinrich the II, still remained childless and without a suitable hair and that meant every Elector Count including Ottokar took this as an opportunity to seize some favors to be the next Emperor. But how can he, young and yet to test his mettle, prove himself worthy above all the squabbling aristocrats. Granted that he was among them but Ottokar saw himself to be something grandeur, that the Holy Roman Empire could be the next Roman Empire with Aachen as the third Rome. But first, he needs allies and strength.

The Duke had a strong contingent of knights with well over a thousand horsemen supporting them, plus he had a strong backbone of his army made from well-equipment men-at-arms further strengthen by peasant levies. He knew he couldn't fight the entire Empire at once to seize the crown, the dukes and counts outnumber him by far. Ottokar would have to seduce some of the nobility to his side, at least just enough to get enough votes to be crowned Emperor.

But who to ally with? The Duke of Bohemia? He holds a decent military force but Ottokar is unsure if he desires the crown even more. The Duke of Bavaria and Swabia? Potentially through a political marriage, which Tanya is not old enough to marry and is his only heir. The Duchies in Italy? Perhaps. Though their goals are still a mystery to him.

Maybe, just maybe, Ottokar could gain legitimacy to be Heinrich II's successor by joining his Imperial council. The Duke of Lotharingia shook as if he was struck by lightning. This could work since Ottokar is well educated in the Art of War through the teachings from his father and his generals. The Duke had a knack for instilling discipline while training troops. Ottokar called for pen and paper and quickly wrote to Heinrich II to request that he could perform an admirable job being in the office of Marshal since it is currently unoccupied for the moment when the last Marshal died.

To Kaiser Heinrich II,
My Imperial Majesty, I humbly request your blessing that I, Ottokar von Degurechaff, would fill in as you new Marshal. I may be young but I am well versed in training the men into discipline soldiers. You will not be disappointed from my services.
From, Duke Ottokar von Degurechaff
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Illegal Planets
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Ex-Nation

Postby Illegal Planets » Thu Nov 01, 2018 9:49 pm



January 1018
City of Skara
Angeir the Unbent




Two years had passed since the end of the war, but the scars upon the land were still fresh. It was not rare to pass a deserted village or hamlet whose humble cottages had been totally scorched, or a crumbling stone church, it's holy symbols defiled. Angeir did not hate the foreign monks and missionaries who still occasionally visited the kingdom, but many of his people did, although he was doing his best to undo the damage that Olof had wrought. So it was that he had taken his christian wife, Edda. She was young, almost seventeen years old and beautiful in a way that was different from most women. Edda was actually quite plain, with dark red hair and pale skin. It was her eyes that captivated Angeir. They were stark blue, bluer than his own. It was something in the way that she held his gaze, unwavering and even challenging. He had no illusions about what some might say about the marriage behind closed doors, but the union was necessary for many reasons.

She was the daughter of one of his subjects, a Norwegian lord with a great many longships and a rather large host of seasoned warriors and tested vikings, which was the true reason he had accepted the proposal. He had a number of his own ships, but he needed many more if he was to set out on his most ambitious venture to date. His settlements across the sea to the east were vulnerable, and it was time to solidify his hold on the coast and wrest it away from the tribes who resisted him. Angeir respected these men as fighters, and a part of him was remiss at the thought of such noble warriors being sold as thralls in foreign lands to the south. The coin earned from flesh was far too lucrative to let such weaknesses get in the way of the benefit of his kingdom, however. Those who did not surrender would receive an honorable death in battle. Those who found themselves captured would live out their days as slaves to strange masters.

"Angeir."

A voice still heavy with slumber spoke from behind him. He stood naked at a window, looking out feeling the chill of the winter air outside even as it was closed. Lost in thought. 'Brooding', as Edda would say. He turned to face his wife and couldn't help but smile. She had the furs drawn up around her body, hiding her breasts, her long hair disheveled and her eyes questioning. The flames from the hearth danced shadows across her nude form and along the wall behind her, filling Angeir's chest with that pleasant, tender feeling of love that men sometimes feel for their wives in the small hours of the night. She was pregnant with his first child.

"Come to bed. I'll not be alone on our last night together."

Angeir laughed softly at the stern, plaintive expression of her face. He crossed the room and climbed into bed and under the blankets, feeling Edda's warm body coil around him. He and a host of eight-thousand men would depart from the coast tomorrow and sail to Finlandi where he would begin his campaign. He did not plan to return for at least three years.

"Are you anxious?"

"No. I am eager to go."

His wife fell silent. He turned to face her and gently brushed loose strands of red hair from her face. She looked worried, almost frightened.

"Not to leave you."

"You'll miss me, then?"

Angeir chuckled. Her youth was showing now. "Of course, my queen." He kissed her forehead and held her in his arms until she slept. It was some time before he was able to rest himself, but as the fire died down his eyes became heavy, and sleep overtook the King.
Last edited by Illegal Planets on Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:05 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Historikal
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Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Historikal » Thu Nov 01, 2018 11:11 pm



Caliph Al-Hakim
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Al-Qahira, Egypt
January 14th 1018




"Allahu ackbar."

"Ashadu 'an la 'ilaha 'illa Llah."

By the third verse, the Caliph was awake. Sitting up in his plush bed, Al-Hakim, began to rub the weariness from his eyes. The day was clearly already underway, as the piercing Egyptian sun poured into the royal bedchamber, a light breeze licking at the silk curtains that desperate his quarters from the veranda. The Caliph's apartments were grand indeed, as befitting the true head of the ummah. Rich tapestries were festooned at every angle, and silk ribbons and bolts of bright fabric lined with ceiling. Lion-headed carpets roared on the floor as if the monsters were not truly dead, and gold dripped from every edifice. The sweet smelling incense he had lit the night before had clearly been replaced by his servants, still burning as it was.

With a gentle swing, the Caliph pulled himself from his sitting position, and stood, his light silken night gown billowing about him. As was his custom, the Caliph strode through the light green drapes and onto the veranda beyond. The view from the Royal Palace truly was the greatest in all of Al-Qahira. The city stretched out before Al-Hakim's very eyes, crossed by the ribbon of flowing blue water that was the Nile River. Beyond that, lining the horizon like mountains, the Great Pyramids stood guard, as though Allah himself had placed them there to watch over the city and its people. How many Kings had stared into these stone monoliths?

A voice broke the Caliph from his reverie.
"Sabaah al-khayr," the Crown Prince said, his newly deep voice cutting through the morning air.
"Sabaah ah-nuur," Hakim replied, placing a hand on his sons bare shoulder. The boy was but 13, and could not be more different from his father. Where Hakim was slight like a Nile reed, Crown Prince Ali az-Zahir was athletic. Where Hakim had a thick beard and thinning hair, Ali had a face unmarked, and curls that flowed near his shoulders. Where Hakim was cultured and calm, Ali was headstrong and gruff. Where Hakim was intellectual and cunning, Ali was bold and blunt. How Allah had created such a pair so close in bond yet so different in body was beyond the Caliph's understanding. For a boy his age to nearly eclipse his father in height took almost as much getting used to as the newly acquired gravitas he carried in his tone.

"Did you sleep well Ali," the Caliph asked, moving towards a stone bench that sat at the center of the veranda garden.

"Well enough," the Prince replied, blinking away his true feelings. "How long will you be away for?"

"Some days, no more. The trip to al-Iskandariyya does not take long."

"Must you go?"

The Caliph laughed, throwing back his head and pointing his aquiline nose into the air.
"Must is not a word one uses with royalty. We must not do anything but our duty. And, sadly, my duty takes me to al-Iskandariyya. When you are Caliph, you will understand. Our power rests there," Hakim gestured grandly towards the Nile. "In our people. They need to see us, feel like they know us. We must protect them. And al-Iskandariyya especially must be coddled. Our christian subjects too must believe we have their best interests at heart, even when Allah knows we do not."

"Will the fleet go with you?"

"A part, yes, though, a large portion remains, and even more are already past the delta by now. I shall join them there. You will not be alone here, son, only the Council travels with me. We have many matters to discuss, and many more to solve."

While his son may have not understood the meaning, Hakim knew all too well. For almost two decades the Caliph had avoided war, ushering peace, prosperity, and allowing the Fatimids to grow wealthy and decadent. Now, however, things beyond Egypt were looking less secure. To the North, the Roman "Emperor" Basil had appeared triumphant over his barbaric enemies. The Romans had been the enemies of Islam for centuries, and Hakim knew if war was to come, it would be in Syria. To the East, the Buyids sat ensconced in their fortresses, playing games with their puppets in Baghdad. Abbasid power was spent, their authority gone with their lands. Yet the Buyid upstarts had used their name and history already to seize power in Persia. How long would it be before they looked west?

Ali once again snapped his father from his trance like state.

"We should go to prayer," the Crown Prince said, standing. "it will be your last one in Al-Qahira for a while."

Hakim smiled, hoping beyond hope that that was not true.
Last edited by Historikal on Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Strala
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Ex-Nation

Postby Strala » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:31 pm

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The Forest Canton of Schwyz

The Canton of Schwyz appeared peaceful for this morning, and for many past ones, but everyone man, women, and children would know that isn't the case. The Von Radnitz have been trying to eliminate their opponents and currently, no major noble house in the Canton was safe from the rage of the Von Radnitz family. Signs of the rebellion, that happened 5 years ago were still fresh in the minds of the peasants and serfs, hence this was the reason the remaining noble families haven't actively rebelled yet. The castles that had stood for many generations were destroyed, burned and looted. Stone blocks were taken by the Von Radnitz family and used to create fortress along the passages of the Canton of Schwyz, wood was used to restore damaged houses and valuables were taken to the Von Radnitz coffer.

This year would be Weilheim's eighteenth year of life and yet he still didn't have a betrothed. The young lord of Schwyz and head of the Von Radnitz household held many ambitious and as many would say suicidal. His current body was nothing like what many would expect a knight's or even a noble's to be. He wasn't overly athletic and he definitely wasn't what ladies-in-waiting or young ladies of a noble house would dream of when they think of a knight courting them. His mother was a lady-in-waiting of some elector count's court and his father Heinrich was known as Heinrich the conquer and to some as Heinrich the butcher. He had unified Schwyz under a single house and banner, and while you could say did improve some lives at least for the serfs of his opponents he didn't steer that much off-course of the traditional path for nobles.

"Brother, wake up, your ministers have arrived."

A bright energetic voice was spoken from beside Weilheim's bed. Weilheim not wanting to leave his safe heaven called the bed, turned his head the other way. This was Weilheim's younger sister Emma Von Radnitz, at the age of 16 she was ready to be married off. Weilheim's current list of potential suitors was targeted rather not in his own Canton but rather in either the Canton of Uri or Unterwalden. Seeing her brother's unmoving body, she whispered "Brother, would you want me to spread the news that instead of your noble picture that most people imagine, your a lazy bastard that won't wake up when your ministers are coming?"

"Fine, Fine I got it, I'll get up now."

Weilheim's face was still half asleep as he slowly rose from his bed and exiting his chambers. He motioned one of the servants over and asked them to empty his chamber pot. He had thought about getting a lid for the chamber pot and the idea is becoming more and more attractive.

He continued to march in silence before entering his study room, already gathered there were his various ministers. These were recruited among the talented in each of the fields. The peasantry and the gentry were both considered equal in the eyes in god, so why should he differentiate. The only thing that set them apart was the talent of their ancestors', and their ancestor's luck. In Weilhiem's eyes, there are only those talented and those that aren't. In his eyes, if you're not talented then your not worthy of a post no matter if you were a noble with connections to him.

"Good day gentlemen, let us begin the meeting, first may the Treasurer tell us about our situation," muttered the blond-haired youth. He projected an aura of respect which was vastly different from how he was this morning. The Treasurer couldn't disobey and stepped up. It was well known among the ministers of the young count that failure wasn't tolerated. The Treasurer was a forty year old from a minor noble family called the von Neuman.

"My lord, the annual taxes from last year has been counted and the monthly taxes have been collected. The total amount of pounds collected over this amount of time was 6531 pounds. This is about a 1% increase from the previous year." The poor man was sweating by the end of his report. He could only hope that this was acceptable in the eyes of Count Weilheim. The other ministers on the side were also trembling at the sight of Count Weilheim.

"Oh is that so Treasurer, well done, continue on and see if you can get a 2% increase this year," the young count calmly stated, not batting an eye as the Treasurer immediately retreated back to the sidelines and rejoining the crowd. The man would keep his job for another year it seemed, but if the man didn't do his job as instructed who knows what would happen to him and his house next year. The rest of the meeting continued on in this fashion. By the end of the session each minister was evaluated and those that performed better than expected were rewarded with monetary rewards or they were granted some territory from those that didn't perform well or from those that didn't meet the quota.

"General, please stay behind, you and I have much to discuss to talk about." The young count dragged in an old man. He was Friedrich Von Werner. He was Weilheim's father's military advisor. In private Weilheim would call Friedrich uncle as he would often come over to see Weilheim as a child. After seeing out the rest of the ministers he turned to the old general "Uncle, please sit, I'll call in a servant and get you some refreshments." The young count beckoned in a servant and laid out a table of with cheese, local fruits, and wine. "Uncle please take what you want, we're going to be here for a while anyway, I'm sure you missed breakfast for this meeting. This isn't good for your old body." The young count let out a bellow of laughter before calming down.

The old general gave the young count a gentle smile before acknowledging "Worry not my lord, I might meet god soon, but in these final years, I'll serve you as I served your father. My body might have degraded but my mind hasn't yet, so my lord what is it that you called me in for. Is this about the recent Elector Count that has shown ambition to become the next Emperor? " He slowly his hand and grabbed a small cube of cheese, before popping it in his mouth. He slowly savored the taste as he calmly stared at the young Count.

Seeing that look the young count let out a sigh before proceeding "Seems like nothing escapes your eyes nor ears. I was sure that I would get you this time. My network has told me that he has sent a letter to the current Emperor asking to become his Marshall. I have a slight idea as what he is trying to do but I called you in to give me your opinion."

The old general thought for what appeared like an eternity before continuing, "Well my lord if your asking for this lowly servant's opinion then I believe he is trying to attain, the spot of the Emperor by joining his Imperial council. As you know Heinrich II has no heir and if he dies the elector counts would vote to see who would become the next Emperor. I doubt that he would ally with other elector counts as they all seem to be eyeing the throne hungrily. As for the rest, I have no idea what is going on or what is going to happen. Do you plan on allying yourself with this Elector count?"

The young count gave him a bloodthirsty smirk before answering. "What do you expect, if I wasn't planning on allying with him why do you think I asked for your opinion. If it were for something else do you think that I would call upon you? You our families greatest asset when it comes to war and training be called on for a house party? I doubt it?" He took a small breath to calm himself and continued "As you know, we lack horses and proper cavalry, even our knights can't compare to the others from the Holy Roman Empire. The only thing that is going for us right now is our easily defendable land and our superb infantry. The Von Radnitz's personal troops can counter against infantry but not cavalry. I want to test a new formation against cavalry that you and I created. I want that elector count to supply us with cavalry, horses, or just let his own knights to perform charges on our formation. When they lose that fear of knights and the horses charging then theoretically this formation should work."

"My lord if you ask me I believe we should ally ourselves. If we support the future Emperor than we would without a doubt be rewarded later. If one man doesn't risk himself than they shall never gain profit."

The young count chuckled once more and said, "Well said uncle, we shall prepare ourselves for this alliance. I want you to call spread the news among my vassals. If the Elector count agrees to our demands then I want you to inform my knights and the Von Radnitz personal army. I shall travel with a company of the family's personal troops and 50 of our finest knights. Now please excuse me Uncle may God grant you a safe journey back. I shall start on my letter." After guiding the old man and his escorts out of his study he set right to the letter

To Elector Count Ottokar Von Degurechaff,
I hope that you have been in good health Elector Count. I believe your daughter has turned three already, this is an assuring sign that she might live to adulthood. I hope that your wife will soon bare you a son for whom shall continue on your noble family line. I write in this letter to tell you that the Canton of Schwyz will support you militarily for the seat of Emperor. If your Duchy gets engaged in combat, our men shall support you. I swear on the name of Weilheim Von Radnitz, count of the Canton of Schwyz. I would simply request for some small demands from you before we finalize this deal. When your noble self becomes Emperor I hope that you will supply us with either some horsemen, horses and if I would like to request that you have your knights to charge at my companies of 100. I want to test something out, and if any of your knights or warhorses die I shall personally pay you what they cost you. I also would like to suggest that you would allow my Canton to gain autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire. If you ensure these demands of mine I will have no problem aiding you in times of Combat. May we have an alliance that will last us for a thousand years
From,
Count Weilheim Von Radnitz, paterfamilias of the Von Radnitz house
Last edited by Strala on Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Imperialisium
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Democratic Socialists

Postby Imperialisium » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:08 am

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Late January

The Emperor sat on his throne as the Genoan diplomat knelt before him. Offering to formally establish trade between the Empire and the Republic of Genoa. Trade between the two realms did occur, but to formally sanction it was to give international sanction and protection of Genoan ships in Byzantine ports and vice versa. "Very well. Carry word to your masters in Genoa that I agree to this proposal to formally sanction trade between the Empire of the Romans and Genoa."

Antioch, Byzantine Syria
February 1st, 1018AD


"You attacked a Muslim caravan!" shouted a stocky, average height, moustached man sporting brown hair from across a table inlaid with a mosaic of fish and sea turtles. At a man who was standing on the other side, armed and armored, with his helmet resting under his armpit. The former was Michael Dalassenos, Domestikos tes Anatoles, Domestic of the East. The commander of the Roman Army in the East and superior to the Strategoi of the Eastern theme. The man standing before him was an officer in the Imperial Army, not of the Thematic provincial troops but of the professional soldiers garrisoned throughout the Eastern frontier to support the defense of the provinces. He was a Kentarch of a unit of Kataphraktoi, heavy cavalry garrisoned in Antioch.

"They had desecrated a shrine to our Lord. Taken Christians as prisoners. What else was I supposed to do when they are breaching the treaty laid down by the Basileus?" responded the Kentarch in a temperate voice. The Domestikos stood up, "Where you not a Hero of the Empire, in the Basileus favor, I would have you hanged for this!" His voice rising to match the light redness on his face. The Kentarch kept his eyes matching the Domestikos and simply said, "Do I have my leave?" To the Kentarchs surprise, the Domestikos did not respond with an answer and simply handed him a piece of parchment. The Kentarch took it and read slowly the fine Greek letters transcribed upon it.

"War is coming and the Emperor has requested the Themes of the East to marshal forces to meet his forces on the road. He will strike first at the Emir of Aleppo for his breaches of diplomacy." The Domestikos' words resounded in the Kentarchs ears as he looked up from the parchment letter. "I will have my men prepared for the battles to come."

"Dismissed."

Constantinople
February 1st

The Emperor of the Roman Empire, Basileus, Basil II stood wearing a simple soldiers uniform. Lamellar armor adorned his frame in the typical Greek fashion. His snow white hair was freshly groomed and cut to stay out of his eyes. His bear trimmed short and even. His brilliant bright eyes looked at the columns of horsemen and infantry marching past the palace to the docks. Whereby, when one cast a look, they could see lines of Dromons and Galleys of the Imperial Fleet coming and going. Transporting the Imperial Army across the Sea of Marmara to the Anatolian Coast. Basil had ordered 16,000 men be moved across the straits from their garrisons in and around Constantinople. Companies of Varangians, Athanatoi, Optimatoi, Hikanatoi, Scholai, and Nourmeroi moved onto ships and made their way across. Around the Emperor stood a small squad of Varangians matched by a platoon of Heteireia guardsmen. The Emperor was taking a full company of the latter with him on campaign as well. Putting his hands on his hips the Emperor moved his simple red cloak out of the way to reveal his sword on his hip. His helmet was hanging from a leather strap at his belt.

"Father!" The Emperor turned around to see his only child and daughter approaching quickly. "Anastacia. You are supposed to be at the Argyros residence visiting them. What brings you here?" Basil's normally chiseled, calm, face relaxed as his daughter moved into his arms. She hugged him deeply and rested her head upon his chest. "Take me with you." she murmured in a low voice. Despite being a woman she was much more like her father than anyone would have remarked in Basil's presence. She was athletic, brave, and bearing a persistence much like her father was known for. But also tempered in other ways that her father was not. Where as Basil cared not for the arts, despite it flowering under the prosperity brought about by his reign, his daughter was a woman of letters and spent many evenings composing poems and whimsical tales of brave men in shining armor slaying devils before galloping off to save some Princess. Farcical, but Basil never chastised her for it.

"I cannot. War is not a Woman's place my child. One day you will understand that." said Basil in a soft tone. He motioned a finger and his guards nodded. Turning on their heels they marched out of their master's presence to give them privacy.

"How long will you be gone?" The Byzantine Princess inquired with a furrowed brow. "I expect to be back before the Autumn rains." replied her father. "You have been gone so much in my life. Why must you always go when you can send others in your stead." Her words started strong, but as she continued speaking her lip began to quiver, her cheeks adopting a pinkish warmth, a single crystal clear teardrop ran down her cheek to be caught by her fathers cloak. He released her from the embrace and knelt in front of her, holding her hands which were not the typical softness a court woman's should be, they had a tint of roughness to them. A woman who has spent much time out doors and engaging in rough sport like a boy would. He took her hands in his own rough, aged, hands and looked up at his daughter with nothing but pride in his eyes.

"My place is with the men who would serve me. A true ruler leads by example. Not just by what metal decorating their brow. I will write to you when able. Now go, the Lady Argyros will be looking for you."

"But their sons unnerve me." responded Anastacia with a voice all too child like. The warrior-princess replaced by the soft-spoken child wishing for her father to remain at home. "Many will seek your hand in marriage. You would not believe the letters and proposals I receive from every Patrician home in the Empire wishing to know whom will be wed to thee."

"But I do not like them."

"Love is a fickle thing my dear. Now." Basil rose back to his feet and adjusted his belt. "I must go. Try not to dwell, pray, and God will show you the way in life." Leaning forward Basil kissed his daughters forehead before moving off. A wave of the hand and his escort re-emerged from the shadows to form a protective cordon around the Emperor as he moved from the Great Palace of Constantinople into the streets towards the wharfs and thence to Anatolia.


Emirate of Aleppo
February 2nd


Aziz al-Dawla was technically a governor of Aleppo with the graces and approval of the Caliph Al-Hakim. Armenian by birth. However, as Emir and his distance from Cairo he was more or less an autonomous ruler. In fact the question of the Emirate was a complex one. In the late 10th Century the Romans had subjugated the Emirate, even garrisoning the city at times, while extracting an annual tribute. However, with the installment of Aziz as Emir this was halted and persecutions of Non-Muslims begun again. Aleppo resounded with the ending of the second daily prayer and the Emir raising his head from his prayer mat. Standing up slowly, looking in the direction of Mecca, the Emir clasped his hands behind his back. His groomed black beard was bushy and matched his black hair. His dark eyes cast looks about the place and the dozens of other Muslims that had been gathered in prayer. Now slowly receding out of the Mosque of Aleppo and back into the city.

A ghulam approached from one of the gates. Bowing deeply with a parcel of parchment held before him. The Emir took it quickly, snapped the wax seal, and unscrolled it. His brown eyes widened with anger and he crumpled the parchment as his brown skin pinked with rage. Throwing the parchment to the ground the Emir let out a shout, "How dare the Romans trespass into my domain!" The servant quickly stepped forward and retrieved the report as the Emir turned on his heel and made for the Citadel of Aleppo. An escort of Ghulams waiting for him along with his litter held by slaves. Stepping onto the litter the Emir rejoiced on the soft cushions and drapes that shielded him from the Sun. A man in black clothing and matching turban stepped into view as the litter was lifted and began to make its way to the citadel.

"Do you think the Roman Emperor will come?" said the black turbaned man. His name was Ali ibn Lu'Hakir, commander of the Emirate's military forces. The Emir scoffed, "Basil will not come. A matter such as this will be between us and whatever General he sends in his stead."

"What if he does?" inquired Lu'Hakir with a glance. The Emir held a ringed finger to his mouth for a moment, "If he comes then resisting the Romans will be more difficult. For he will bring many of his best warriors with him and will pursue the matter to a suitable conclusion to him."

"We should begin diplomacy as soon as possible. I will send a bird to Antioch."

"No. It is too late for that. I do not hide my contempt for the Christians. This land belongs to Allah and by the grace of the Caliph Al-Hakim the Romans will wash upon the walls of Aleppo."

"But we do not have enough men?" Lu'Hakir was speaking about the fact that the population of Aleppo itself numbered about 21,000 odd souls. Of which the Emirate had a further twenty-three thousand souls throughout its lands in various villages. Of that the Emirate could mobilize a total force of nearly 4,000 men. To compliment the 500 Ghulams maintained by the Emir from the taxes he levied on trade and non-Muslims.

"Gather the army at Aleppo. There is a chance we can hold the city. Also send word to Al-Hakim about what may occur." said the Emir as he began curling a tendril of his beard. Lu'Hakir bowed and moved away as the litter vanished into the confines of the Citadel.
Your Holiness, Al-Hakin, Rightful Caliph

Your humble servant, Aziz al-Dawla, humbly inform you of a possible impending war between the Emirate of Aleppo and the Empire of the Romans. As you are no doubt aware tensions between the Romans and the Emirate have been tense after I have ceased paying the infidels tribute, and imposing rightful Islamic jurisprudence upon them. To remind them of their place in the world of Allah's creation! I hereby request in the event of war that, if in your holy wisdom you see it fit, that you send aid to the Emirate to repel the infidel invaders who would seek to take this rightful land from the followers of the great Prophet Muhammad!

Aziz al-Dawla


January- Early February
Palace of Grona
Heinrich II, Holy Roman Emperor, King of Germany and Italy, and Duke of Bavaria. Reclined in a comfortably cushioned chair on a patio overlooking the River Leine. Which ran through the current Imperial capital of Gottingen. His lavishly adorned robes of yellow, red, and green bearing black images of the Imperial Eagle flowed down his slight frame and down to his ankles. His yellow, soft, comfy slippers kept his feet warm in the Wintry weather as a fire crackled next to him in an iron brazier. Keeping the air around him quite warm and comfortable. A red and white cap stuffed with fur provided safety from the cold for his scalp and head while in his hands he held a golden cup of wine. He had conducted his morning prayers, gone through half a dozen petitions, ate a three course luncheon of roasted pork, cheese, and steamed vegetables. Washed down by beer. And was now lazily sitting as he watched the freezing cold water moving like a melting mirror before him. The sounds and smells of the city could be present beyond the Palace walls. The Courtyards stone walls and heavy wooden doors were directly adjoined by the high stone walls, fortifications, and towers of the Palace's defenses. Archers and mail clad soldiers performed sentry duty on the walls and towers. Servants went too and from the various rooms, halls, courtyards, and grounds. While the Emperor's guards maintained close watch. The patio was closed in on three sides by Romanesque arches forming a colonnade that opened to the air in the middle. Which is where Heinrich II sat. The fourth side was open with a small stone staircase descending into a small passageway that was adjoining the lower fortress walls of the side facing the Leine. After all the chances of someone bridging the Leine and somehow scaling the walls was remote at best.

"Mein Kaiser. A missive from the Graf von Lothringen." The page boy bowed his head. "I have done all the petition work of the day boy." The page boy clutched the letter and bowed lower as he made to leave. He would have missed the Emperor's sudden hand signal were a guard not to casually point back at the Emperor. The page boy seeing a single index finger with a golden ring adorning it. A ruby set within the square girdle of the ring. "Give the letter to me. I could use for some reading out here." The page boy scrambled up hastily and handed the missive to the Emperor who clutched it in his gilded hand. Each finger boasting a ring of gold or silver.

Heinrich's brown hair was cut short and his face devoid of a beard or moustache. His blue eyes shown from under light, practically blonde, eyebrows. Snapping through the wax seal the Emperor read the missive with increasing curiosity. True, the position of Marshal was vacant. After the disastrous Battle of Cannae last year where the Byzantines had inflicted a crushing defeat on the Empire's forces in their attempts to bring Southern Italy into the fold of the Holy Roman Empire. Heinrich had never forgotten such a defeat and vowed a second expedition to recover Apulia and Capua. One could say that he had a personal grudge against the Bulgar-Slayer.

"This is bold of you von Degureschaff. Very bold." The Emperor spoke to no one in particular as he furled the letter and casually tossed it into the brazier. The parchment crackling in the flames. "Send word to von Degureschaff that he is summoned to Grona on the topic of his letter to me."

The page boy bowed and ran off to the scribes located within the Palace's apartments to send out an official statement to the Duchy of Lorraine.


Ottokar, Graf von Lothringen
I, Heinrich, Second of his name. Emperor and King, hereby invite you and attendant party to Grona for the matter pertaining to the Marshalship of the Empire. Should you decline this formal invitation then word must be sent with all haste to myself so that I may move forward with other matters of state.


Christ be with you,

Heinrich


February 17th
Emperor Basil IIBulgaroktanus (The Bulgar-Slayer)
In a lightning ride across Anatolia the Emperor, Basil II, entered into the Theme of Syria during the late afternoon on the 17th of February. This was second to his previous achievement of going across Anatolia in sixteen days. But he had stopped in Tarsus to rest and gather more forces from the provincial forces mustering there. Having left his Infantry behind while he raised across Asia Minor with his cavalry. Crossing into Syria and riding along the road, the labarum bearing the image of the Jesus Christ held aloft which was the Emperor's personal banner. His pace did not slow as he entered Syria. Reaching the settlement of Apamea on the right bank of the Orontes river just after dark and camping just outside the towns perimeter. There he would wait for the remainder of his army to marshal itself before moving against Aleppo.


February 18th-24th
Apamea
The camp outside Apamea would grow as 3,000 men from the Theme of Antioch under Damian Dalassenos, son of Michael Dalassenos, arrived in the late morning of the 18th. This was followed by the arrival of the Cilician thematic troops numbering 2,900 marching from Tarsus arriving by dusk. By the 20th another 400 men from the Imperial Army garrisons in Syria had arrived. But it was the afternoon of the 24th that the Imperial Foot of Basil II arrived after marching daily from dawn till dusk arrived. Tomorrow the Emperor would march in Aleppo.
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Postby Pasong Tirad » Sat Nov 03, 2018 4:46 am

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Kingdom of Sicily
Palermo
March, 1018



The King's Bedchamber


Rainulf was once again meeting with his tutors, but this time in his own private study. A room in the old Emir's palace had been converted into a place where Rainulf can continue his never-ending studies with the three learned men of the cloth that represent the island's three main religions. He was once again pushing for more representation for his Jewish community, something which his two Christian tutors were vehemently arguing against, with many of their arguments rooted in antisemitic vitriol that just was not to the king's liking. "They're Jews!" was their main argument, and Rainulf was having none of it. As a compromise, he would take this matter up on a later date, but he did want to take it up again, but noted that many of his other Christian nobles - Greek and Sicilian - would most likely be against this proposal. Still, the scholarly king was very much interested in learning what a Rabbi can teach him. His fondness for giving more rights to the Jewish community was not exactly helping his popularity with the common people, especially to the Sicilians in the Val di Mazara - outside of Palermo, that is, where much of his power and popularity with the common man is concentrated. Still, he had other matters to discuss, and his parliaments and assemblies were in the process of being formed - and many of the initial results proved to be quite popular, even among the nobility. The masses, that volatile yet highly important cog that kept the kingdom balanced, were reported to be well content. The nobles and clergy, especially the Christian ones who weren't exactly used to giving the people a voice to speak in most matters, were proving to be adaptable to this newly-found concept of equal representation (in a manner of speaking).

For the manorial lords, holding regular assemblies for their people was a large boon. The peasants felt that their needs were being heard, and while not all may be addressed, that at least was enough to make them feel just important enough that they weren't grumbling about this or that. Taxes were stable, and a majority of the complaints were coming not from the commons but from the nobility, whose taxes weren't even raised by that much - just enough to make the burden of taxation that little bit more egalitarian. Many sectors of society were becoming more represented, and the noble veto on the appointment of representatives was barely being used - Rainulf, as Marquess of Palermo, didn't even use his at all, as a token act of putting his faith in the parliament of Palermo. There was, however, one thing that kept all of the nobles hesitant about the king: his lack of a wife and, by extension, his lack of an heir. Rainulf and almost everybody else agrees that his younger brother, the twenty-four year old Asclettin, the Marquess of Agrigento, is the heir to the throne, which is actually a great boon to the dynasty because he already has two sons - the six-year old Asclettin II, the three-year old Rainulf II, and a third child on the way, who many also believe to be a son. The nobles, clergy, and even the commons all wanted to see the king wed. Many of the nobles were already suggesting some valuable parings, certain Roman princesses, a Sardinian, a Frenchwoman, a German, and one of the nobles even suggested an African wife. Rainulf, however, suggested an alternative. "A Sicilian. It has to be a Sicilian. Make arrangements for a... a suitable paring." The nobles went wild with this idea. All of them wanted to have their daughter married off to the king of Sicily.

The clergy, of course, were not exactly too keen on the idea of a Sicilian queen. They wanted a foreign pairing, one that would help create better relations with another kingdom. The Orthodox Greeks were pushing for a royal marriage with a Roman (Byzantine) princess, the Arabs were pushing a pairing with a Coptic noblewoman, and the Latin Sicilians wanted a pairing that would be possibly endorsed by the Pope.

Rainulf, of course, was not too fond of the idea of getting married altogether because of his different "tastes," mainly his lack of desire for female companionship - but this was a family secret, known only by the king, Asclettin, their departed brothers, and several members of Rainulf's household, who are sworn to secrecy on pain of death. The king's "partner" is a member of the Norman Guard. But, before the king could properly decide on any concern as trivial as a marriage, one even more pressing matter took away the king's attention as a messenger barged through the doors of the parliament screaming: "A pirate fleet has been spotted raiding ships in Siracusa! My lord says they are Muslims from Malta. They could be landing their forces within a day, my king! The Marquess of Siracusa-" who was absent at this meeting of the Parliament of the Lords, not an uncommon occurrence as the many nobles were always busy and surely have other matters that need to be attended to "- is begging for aid from His Majesty!"

Rainulf rose from his throne as quickly as he heard the news. His mind was clear, and he knew immediately what he had to do. "How many ships?"

"Nearly a dozen small galleys and one transport ship, Your Majesty. Over a thousand men, including rowers."

"Thank you, messenger. You will be my guide into Siracusa, and will stay by my side until the fighting is over." The messenger bowed, and left the parliament to wait for the king outside. "Assemble the Norman Guard!" Rainulf said, with several of his guard filing out of the hall to rouse the king's royal retinue. "My lords, I know I have no right to compel you to come with me to Siracusa," which was a lie, as the law clearly states the contrary, but the king's more democratic nature got the better of him. "But know that if you come and join me, I will be forever grateful for the aid that you give. The Norman Guard should be enough to deal with these pirates, there's no need to assemble your armies for your personal guard should do. Neither I, the Marquess of Siracusa, nor Almighty God himself will give a damn whether you're Greek, Arab, or Sicilian. We are all Sicilian today, and our brothers in Siracusa need our help." He left the chamber immediately, followed by his brother. All of the lords followed suit, ready to take up arms with their king in defense of the kingdom.

Sicily had no proper navy to speak of, but it had plenty of men who were willing to fight to keep the peace. The pirates possibly knew that Sicily had no proper navy to defend itself with. Pirate raids were a common occurrence in Sicilian waters, but they were never so bold as to attempt to land on Sicilian soil - that was an invasion, and the king was having none of it. The source of these attacks was something Rainulf wanted to find out, so that he could root out the problem from its very source. Sicily was up in arms now, and there was no stopping them from figuring out a way to send troops across the seas in the future to root out the home of the pirates.
Last edited by Pasong Tirad on Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Krugmar » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:48 am

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The Black Standard of the Abbasid Caliphs

Āl-e Buye
Ērānshahr
Shawwal 8, 408 / February 27, 1018

Why should your army’s valiant soldiers die
For worthless lands beneath an alien sky?
چرا سربازان شجاع ارتش شما میمیرند؟
برای زمین های بی ارزش زیر آسمان بیگانه؟


Sunlight sept into the chamber through silken blinds and intricately carved shutters. Its rays illuminated a heavy table overlaid with far-travelled fabrics and upon them an array of maps. Hands moved between the maps as voices were raised, a council for war was as near stimulating and frightening as a battle itself, Mardshad decided.

"The chaos in the east means that this is the Shah's chance to strike north and consolidate control of Mosul. The Romans and Ismailis will be too busy with each other to protest." Said al-Husayn, a Persian by birth but Arab by inclination.

"To move north will mean enlisting the aid of the Shah's Turks, those in Iraq have never been faithful and have always arrogantly viewed themselves as protectors of the Caliph." Replied 'Abd al-Samad. The aged Daylamite was looking straight at Mürsel, the lone Turk among them, and was clearly angered by his presence. His words were bold, but blood between the Daylamites and Turks had always been bitter.

"If they do respond then we shall be left defenceless in the east. Better yet to task the Turks with defending the Emir of Mosul while the Shah moves to the east." Spoke Ma'il, another Daylamite though far younger than his compatriot.

"And let the Tigris carry them to Baghdad? Folly." Retorted 'Abd al-Samad, his frightful gaze now turned to poor Ma'il.

The Shah, who had been as silent as a statue, murmured something under his breath before moving forward to the map. "The sun rises in the east." He said plainly, his finger planted firmly upon the city of Damghan, the gateway to Khorasan. "The unbelievers in Khwarezm have Mahmud distracted, I expect that his governors shall welcome us should he face defeat, and if not, they will with arms."

Mardshad pointed towards another placemark upon the map, the city of Tus. "While capturing Nishapur would give the Shah control over Khorasan, capturing Tus is I believe vital. The defeat of the Ghazni will open up Iran to attacks from these infidels. While an opportunity to win over more of his governors, it poses a threat should they cross the Kashfroud."

The Shah nodded, "The first priority is capturing the Gorgan, the second is of Khorasan. I shall come to terms with the unbelievers to keep my house in peace, but when God returns strength to us we shall smite them and drive them from Iran."
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Postby Greater Liverpool » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:37 pm

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Kara-Khanid Khanate, Samarkand, March 1018
Chapter 2: The light shines down





"Tughril Bey." Khan Ziya shouted just as he was about to approach his tent were many of the Khanate's warlords had gathered. "I have a very important mission for you Tughril." Tughril then stopped awaiting for the Khan to catch up with him who was walking with a fast pace and clenching his sword in his right hand, "My Son Erturgal. I am entrusting him in your good care, I believe you are well up for the task and your Oghuz Turk know how to fight." Ziya said to Tughril as he placed his hand on the left shoulder of Tughril.

"Of course, my Khan. I will make sure Erturgal is kept safe and learns a lot."

"Good I will also be putting into your care is his teacher Bilge the old... Also do not worry, you and your warriors will see the fight all the same and from what I hear the Oghuz Turks are some of the finest warriors in all of Turan." Ziya spoke calmly will giving off a small smile to Tughril who he patted on the shoulder and signaled for him to enter the Khan's tent. Tughril raised the flap door to the tent and proceed quickly followed by Ziya who immediately went to the table that had been placed in the center of the tent. As the other beys and warlords noticed the Khan's arrival a domino of people giving their respects to the Khan. "Beys of the Kara-Khanid Khanate is a pleasure to see you have all gathered here." Ziya placed both his hands on the table as he looked around at the different warlords that surrounded him. "The Ghaznavids time of ruling is coming to end and it us that shall bring about it. I have a plan but first I would like to hear what my beys have to say first." Before anyone could get a word Otkir bey quickly stepped in after Ziya had finished speaking.

"We should strike them at Balkh crossing the river and taking the city ourselves and wait for the Ghaznavids to attack us there." Otkir shouted

"Are you mad Otkir. With the Amy Darya to our backs if we were forced to retreat we would lose half our army trying to get back through the desert." A disgruntled bey shouted in response. The Khan quickly raised his hand silence followed. "Otkir has reasons for wanting to take Balkh and they are the same reasons as mine. Balkh is of the upmost strategic importance with is being the gateway to the rest of the Ghaznavids and most importantly Ghazan itself. But the bey is right our army can not risk getting caught on the wrong side of the river Amy Darya." Ziya picked up to horsemen pieces "but that does not mean that we won't cross it at some point and take Balkh." He places one horsemen at the city of Merv and another at Dushanbe. "We split our forces in two. One half will go and capture the city of Merv closest to Bukhara from there they can launch raids into Western Persia and also towards Herat. This is to get the Ghaznavid armies to attack in the open plains were our cavalry will dominate them. If we can destroy the main bulk of their army then the second half can cross the Amu Darya and attack Balkh opening up the heartland of the Ghaznavids." Ziya paused for a moment and turned around "Faridoon, how many men in total do we have for the campaign?"

"Around 70,000 my Khan. Far and wide from most of Turan."

"Good Faridoon." Ziya said as he looked foward picking up one the horsemen pieces and taking a second to admire it "40,000 for Merv and 30,000 to hold the Amu Darya. Tughril bey your horsemen are legendary so you will accompany me to Merv." Otkir Quickly raised his hand to try to get the attention of the Khan in a polite manner. "Yes Otkir what is it that you wish to speak."

"My Khan." He says lowering his hand now. "There is one last thing we must discuss, that being the Buyid dynasty who I presume that once the Ghaznavids are busy dealing with us will certainly take over their western territories and well what is there from stopping them."

"The Kopet Dag mountains. Once we capture Merv and defeated the main Ghaznavid army, I have no doubt that they will try to take the rest of western Persia. But the Kopet Dag mountains will be a good buffer between the two of us, not to mention that they would not dare strike so deeply and so close to our home territory if they were serious about beating us. No I believe that they will buy their time and wait for us but I have a plan for the Buyids but for now we must conquer the Ghaznavids first then we look truly west."
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Postby Great Confederacy of Commonwealth States » Sat Nov 03, 2018 5:15 pm

Kingdom of England
London
Tjúguskeggborg Castle


Calling the Tjúguskeggborg a castle would be somewhat of an overstatement to our modern minds. The castle was a wooden tower atop a man-made hill, circled by a circular wooden palisade and a simple waterless moat. The Motte and Bailey-type of castle was functional, although it was starting to become somewhat dated. Modern kings could construct central towers of stone, far better suited for withstanding enemy sieges. However, king Cnut had only been king of England for two years. He had only been in England for two years. There had been far more important things on the mind of the monarch. In this new year of 1018, however, the realm was back at peace. The Anglo-Saxons had all bowed to his rule, and those who hadn’t now hung from the old Roman gates. From atop his wooden tower home, Cnut gazed at the ringed city that had once been named Londinium, as his old tutors had told him. Nowadays, it was inhabited by a roughly equal mixture of Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians, most of whom were Danes. However, there were also Swedes and Norwegians among them, mostly settlers who had come to make use of the huge trading potential in the British isles. Most had been hoping to buy a tract of land, but the Anglo-Saxon landowners were jealously guarding their ancestral lands, and would only part with it for exorbitant fees. The cities of England were now inhabited by many disillusioned Scandinavians living on subsistence, learning crafts or trades to eke out a living.

Cnut sighed as he leaned over the side of the tower. The disheartened sigh was picked up by Thorsten, who had snuck up the tower unheard.

“Whatever makes the king sigh must be bad news” the veteran said with his signature, growling voice. Thorsten had been a companion of his father’s years, and when Sweyn had perished, he swore immediately allegiance to his young son Cnut. Thorsten had been a mentor and a guardian for Cnut, who at 23 was still young. Thorsten was in his 40’s, and had double the life experience Cnut had. He was gentle and fair, but Cnut knew he could fight like a lion. He had slain over a dozen Anglo-Saxons during the two Wars of Conquest, but afterwards had taken up the plough with vigour.

“Yeah…” Cnut said softly. He took a deep breath and let out another sigh as he straightened himself, and took a more regal posture. Thorsten came beside him and put a hand on the lad’s shoulder, with a firmness that was both slightly uncomfortable and incredibly comforting. It was a hand that had hewn limbs and felled trees, and that now fed oxen and harvested oats.

“I miss your dad too, you know” Thorsten said. Cnut felt bad that his father hadn’t been on his mind more. It had only been a few years since his unexpected and youthful death, and Cnut had the idea that he should have been sadder than he was. Life went on, after all, and he had more things to worry about than the afterlife his father had gotten himself into.

“Me too” Cnut began, truthfully. “But that was not what I was thinking about.”

“Ah” was the answer, a little relieved and surprised. However, in Thorsten’s signature style, he was immediately understanding and did not ask any questions.

“It’s just… So little has changed here, you know? Augustus…”

Upon hearing that name, Thorsten let out a laugh. “You have been listening to Osvald again, haven’t you?” Osvald was the other mentor of Cnut. He was archbishop of Canterbury, and where Thorsten taught Cnut about the ways of the Danes and their history, Osvald taught Cnut the virtues of Christianity and the history of Europe, including the Roman Empire. The day before, Osvald had taken Cnut on a tour of the old Roman city walls of London, explaining the proud history of the Caesars. Augustus, whom had found a city of bricks and left a city of marble, especially spoke to Cnut. They had been about the same age when they rose to power. Both of their fathers (biological or adoptive) had died before their time. Cnut found inspiration in his stories, and had gone over old historical manuscripts in the London archives. It had opened his eyes to the problems there were in his kingdom. Thorsten saw that Cnut was very serious, and quickly toned down his response.

“I’m sorry, lad. Things aren’t going fast enough?”

“I don’t know. The conquest was so rapid, I thought things were really going to change. Everything seems the same, rather”

“Building a kingdom takes time, lad” Thorsten said. “Winning a war is easy. You take your sword and put it in the other fellow’s gut. And when he tries to whack you, you put your shield in-between his sword and your soft parts”

Cnut smiled at the graphic metaphor.

“… But a kingdom, that is made of trade and law and long, long, boring meetings that drag on for hours while the king’s advisor would rather go home to bed early because he still has to feed the cows in the morning…”

“Is this your way of asking for leave from tonight’s council, Thorsten?” Cnut interjected, a friendly smile drawing up the corners of his lips. Thorsten didn’t immediately reply. “Well, you know…”

The two men laughed. Cnut now smiled as he looked at London.

“There is a lot still to do, I’m afraid” he said, now light-hearted but brave. Thorsten nodded.

“Aye. But you are up to the task.” He said, turning around towards the stairs. Just before his head vanished, he turned back to Cnut.

“You should ask Osvald about why Augustus was so popular with the rabble. It might give you insights”

Cnut looked at his tutor, but he could read nothing from the mischievous smile that quickly vanished beneath the floorboards. Thorsten always knew more than he showed at first, and he often made Cnut wonder about the life he had lived. Cnut would ask Osvald after the meeting of that night’s council, where he would of course be present. There wasn’t a lot to be discussed, so he figured Osvald would have some time.
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Historikal
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Founded: Oct 31, 2018
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Historikal » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:01 pm



Caliph Al-Hakim
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Al-Iskandariyya, Egypt
February 20th 1018




"The gall."

"The audacity."

"The terrible atrocity of violence."

"The idolizing fools."

"We must respond."

"We will be Allah's punishment."

"Strike, now!"

Al-Hakim lazily flipped through a small stack of parchment, eyes glazed with boredom as a near brawl erupted in the court before him. Open to the air, the palace at al-Iskandariyya was far smaller, but just as elegant as the newer one back in Al-Qahira. The courtyard below, normally a place of placid reflection that held numerous flowers and fruit trees in its beds, and swans and fish in the carefully manicured pond, now held a gaggle of men, perfumed and furious, raising their fists to the sky, and screaming in righteous fury.

"They must pay with fire and blood!"

"And who will extract this blood," al-Hakim said deadpan, the mere sound of his voice silencing even the most energized courtiers. "Will it be you Muhammad," the Caliph said point a finger at his particularly overweight Vizier, before turning his gaze to a wiry man festooned in gold, his treasurer, "Or maybe you, Salah?"
The Court remained silent, under the fiery eyes of their Caliph. News of the Byzantine raid near Aleppo had spread like wildfire through the Fatimid court, the Caliph still having the letter from Aleppo's Emir in his chambers. Al-Hakim had been enraged, he had fostered peace with Constantinople for years, but now, with the Bulgars disposed of, it would appear old Basil wanted a new challenge.
"No," al-Hakim continued, as he stood, his rich clothing draping over his small frame, soft leather sandals padding gently along the marble floor. Atop his head, a large turban sat, decorated with golden chains, green to match the colour of his gown. He began to gently stroke his wiry beard.
"No," the Caliph repeated, now in the centre of the gaggle. "It will be the men of our domain, our people who will draw this price from the Romans. The men of Egypt, Arabia, Libya, from Mecca to Tunis, it would be our people who pay the price, and extract a price in return. Do not be so eager to wage war when it is not you holding the sword."

"But sir," a courtier said, "We must retaliate, you must do something! We have appeased the Romans for too long, resting on our laurels, Allah wills that the accursed Roman be punished! Allah alone decides victory!"

The man dropped to the floor when al-Hakim hit him, hard, and fast, a strike to the fast like a snake. The Court recoiled. They understood the consequences of questioning al-Hakim, and those that forgot only had to remember the grisly display the Caliph had made of his regents some two decades ago.

"Allah wills our victory," Hakim said, striding back to the elevated dais where his throne sat, as if exhausted by the mere feet of distance. "But victory is also determined by preparation, strategy, the absence of disease and the availability of water, favorable weather, and strong soldiers. I will not rush to war over one caravan. I will not shatter a peace I have worked hard to create, and Allah has worked to maintain. your concerns are noted, I will advise you of my plan, Allah's plan, when it is necessary for you to know if it. You are all dismissed."

With nary a single grumble, the court filed out, and the palatial garden was once more calm. Pulling a piece of parchment from the pile, and sending for a scribe, al-Hakim dictated four letters, each in flowing Arabic calligraphy. One was shot and direct, a mere order for the Governor of Jerusalem to increase patrols and form a force for rapid response on the northern border of Syria. One was a letter to the Court of Al-Qahira to dispatch an envoy to Shiraz at once. The other two had more import.

As-salamu alaykum,
Aziz al-Dawla, Governor of Aleppo and faithful servant of the Caliph,

Your recent tiding brought me despair. It has been my duty and my honour to ensure the will of Allah is enforced in this world, a will that I have been proud to say has resulted in peace and prosperity through my realm. If what you say is true, if the Romans are mustering for war, we will respond. I have already signaled an increase in troops to be rasied in Syria and Palestine, and, Allah forbid, if the Bulgar Slayer himself takes to the field, I will be proud to carry Allah's standard to war.

Peace be with you,
His Holiness, al-Hakim bi-amr Allah, Rightful Caliph of Islam

As-salumu alaykum,
Basil, Emperor of the Romans

It has come to the attention of my realm and court that men under your flag have begun raiding the lands of my vassal, the Emir of Aleppo. As suzerain of this enclave of Islam, it is my duty to request you cease hostile actions, and keep the peace Allah has blessed us with for these past two decades.

The Holy Quran states that we must "fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors." I impeach you to not cause us to respond to your own transgressions, for I do not relish being the dealer of Allah's fury.[

Peace be with you,
His Holiness, al-Hakim bi-amr Allah, Rightful Caliph of Islam
Last edited by Historikal on Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Strala
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Ex-Nation

Postby Strala » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:56 pm

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The Forest Canton of Schwyz

Weilheim was gathered once more in his study room, scattered around him and on the ground were papers that he was working on. The Eastern part of the Roman Empire, now known as the Byzantine Empire was gearing up for war against the Emirate of Aleppo, what fouls were they. The Emirate was no doubt anything but an ant compared to the successor of what every European nation wanted to recreate the legendary Roman Empire and her neigh unstoppable legions that conquered Europe and brought former powerhouses to their knees. The Byzantines had a professional army that Weilheim strived to build but had no resources, time, nor organization to do so. Why were the Romans blessed with such fortune as these, Oh God why do you not gift those loyal to you and rather to those that use your name in vain? Is the pope not your speaker in these lands, so why are those that follow the orthodox church be gifted with wealth as great as the Byzantine.

Being lost in thought he didn't hear the gentle knocks on the door. It wasn't till his sister had rocked him back and forth to make her presence known. "Brother, what are you studying so hard for in this room. I never seen father nor any of my other brothers do the same?" Often this free-spirited young woman acted more like a man then what women should act like. This error of hers would make her a hassle for her future husband and god knows who else.

"Oh, hmm it's you, sister? I'm currently focusing on what is happening in the near east. The Byzantine Empire and the Emirate of Aleppo are locked in a war. Both of those nations are far more powerful than even 100 of our cantons combined. Even with that, the Byzantine have an edge as they are the successors of the Roman Empire and thus have the technology and the wealth that they had. Under the Rule of Justinian the first, they had regained almost all those that were lost during the fall of Rome. As you know to increase our power we must make strong connections, and while the Byzantine are out of our reach who knows what the future has in store for us and what happens in this war is left in God's hand." Weilheim paused before giving off a bellow "More like who has better commanders, both sides no doubt claim that God is on their side." This piece of information was a valuable one. If the Byzantine really loses then no doubt they had lost the grace of God and probably losing a decent swath of land it would make them more approachable.

An issue that the Canton of Schwyz faces was the lack of a proper heir. If Weilheim died then his two brothers would compete for the throne and god knows what the two idiots would do with this place that their father had dedicated his life to creating. They were left out of important positions for the fact they would only know how to pick fights, drink, party and do sinful acts that any amount of money wouldn't convince the corrupt cardinals, bishops, archbishops to forgive their sins. They are hellish creatures and by all right shall be sent to hell after this life. "So Sister what is it that you have come here to discuss with me. I noticed your stomach has grown rounder and large so don't give me bullshit, I want you to truthfully tell me what happened or I'll report this to your Governness and let's see how she deals with you."

"No, please don't send that hellish woman on me. I umm how do you put in a kind way, I um got into a relationship with one of the squares of your knights and um I'm pregnant."

A deadly silence overcame the room at that moment. Weilheim's mouth was open as he stared at his sister. He pinched himself in case this was a dream, but the surge of pain demonstrated otherwise, so he began speaking quietly and slowly "Sister why did you conceive a bastard with a man lower than your rank." His voice gradually came to a shouting point "YOU FUCKING IDIOT. MAY GOD STRIKE WHERE YOU STAND. DO YOU HAVE NO FUCKING CLUE HOW HARD I WORKED TO TRY TO GET AN ALLIANCE WITH EITHER URI AND UNTERWALDEN. THEY COULD HAVE DOUBLED OUR FORCES AND YOU FUCKING RUINING THAT BY FUCKING AROUND WITH A SQUIRE OF ALL THINGS." He deep breaths to calm himself down. His sister tried to retort by opening her mouth, but having no compassion or brotherly love he cut her off "SHUT UP. I DON'T CARE HOW YOU TRY TO EXPLAIN THIS. YOU WILL GIVE ME YOUR BASTARD WHEN YOU GIVE BIRTH, AND YOU SHALL NOT LEAVE YOUR ROOM. NOW GET YOUR DIRTY BODY OUT OF MY SIGHT BEFORE I DECIDE TO PUNISH YOU EVEN MORE."

His sister left without saying any more, if one looked carefully enough they could see the tears that were falling down her cheeks. Weilheim paid no heed to this as he called in his guards. "I want you to bring me the bastard that will be my sister's bastard child's father. If he refuses don't hesitate to use force. I want to see his face and see how he seduced my sister. If his family is a minor noble in this Canton do inform me. That house of his won't last for much longer." Seeing his guards out, he let out a sigh and slumped on his desk. His sister was a fool and now how could he explain that his sister had born a child out of wedlock.

Weilheim rose from his desk after seeing that no-one was left in his study.

"What do you want to do My Lord?" A crackly and weathered voice came from behind him. After seeing who it was he became more visibly relaxed. "Oh Uncle, how cursed am I? I have pigs as brothers and the only female of the family is going to bear a bastard. I was planning to marry her off to a prominent family in Uri or Unterwalden but who will take her now. All shall know what she did. Why has god forsaken me?" Weilheim cried out his worries when he talked the old general. "I have no heir and I fear that with god forsaking me I doubt I'll ever have one then what will happen. My brothers can't do shit, and what can that immoral woman that is my sister do."

"God hasn't forsaken you nor this family. Have you never contemplated that if the child your sister has is a boy then he might be a gift from heaven? Have you forgotten that William was bastard and yet he conquered Britain? If this child does the same and unites every Canton in Switzerland then shall your sister not be hailed as the mother of the uniter? If that happened we would own every Canton. Uri and Unterwalden can't compare to any of the low land Cantons." The old general paused before changing the topic. "My Lord I have contacted the vassals and your knights are ready to march. Give the word and we shall march."

Weilheim had finally overcome and his unwanted emotions for now responded. "Uncle Fredrich, please tell them to gather by the Von Radnitz castle by next week. We shall change course and set out for Uri and Unterwalden. We will attempt other ways to convince the Canton of Uri and Unterwalden to ally themselves with us. Now please excuse me, Uncle Fredrich, I'll be excusing myself back to my chambers." Weilheim silently continued walking down the hallways.

As he trekked down the hallways he could hear sobbing coming from his sister's room. Knowing that the cause of her suffering was him, he gently opened her doors and entered her room. A wave of nostalgia overcame him as he stared at this room. It hasn't changed over 16 years and the things that he gave her were still here although in different places. "Pardon my intrusion, my dear sister." Seeing as how she didn't reply made him swallow some salvia before continuing "Please excuse my rude words and actions my dear sister. I didn't mean to yell at you and say those things. My emotions have gotten the best of me. I haven't slept for a while and a wave of anger overcame me as I heard what you said. I deeply apologize to you. The bastard that seduced you I-"

"Stop" his sister hoarsely spat as she sniffled "Don't you dare call him a bastard. He showed me what love was like, he showed the pleasures of the body and he loved me and I loved him. This child is the proof of our love."

"Sister please listen to my words. That squire must have ulterior motives than just loving you. We are the ruling family of the Canton of Schwyz and he and his family would get a major rise in social standing if they married in. Why can't you see that I'm trying to help you here," Weilheim spat out. He sounded disappointed in his sister for lacking to see the picture he was trying to paint. "Sister if your child is a boy please let me take him and groom him to be my successor unless I have my own child. If it is a girl I don't mind if you raise her yourself. I always wanted to have a nice to spoil."

"Stop talking my "dear" brother, please leave this room. I don't want to be in your presence currently my lord."

Weilheim saw that there was no point of trying to convince her of his ways, so he left as quietly as he entered. When he retired to his chambers he muttered an oath to himself. "When I finally catch that bastard that ruined my plans to ally with Uri or Unterwalden and caused my sister to be like this. I will make him suffer and his family suffer a hundred times I am currently suffering."
Last edited by Strala on Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Toaslandia
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Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Toaslandia » Sat Nov 03, 2018 7:16 pm

A Genoan man stepped off his horse and walked up to the palace in Cordoba. His guards glared at the Cordovan guards standing at the great doors of the palace. As they walked in, his guards stood at the back of the room, and the Genoan diplomat walked to the Caliph and knelt before him. "Khalifatul Mu'mineen, I am Zhdanov of Genoa. I am here to ask for permission to move soldiers through your borders on behalf of my master, Doge Simone. I have also brought gifts to express our good will towards the mighty Caliph of Cordoba." he waves his hand for his guards to move up to him. They place two chests full of silk and gold in front of the Caliph, worth around 100,000 Italian Liras. "I hope the honorable Caliph will think on our offer."

Genoa

Doge Simone sat in his chair in his bedroom, hoping that if his envoy returns from Cordoba, that the Caliph will accept his offer. The lands in Iberia where rich, but ruled by squabbling kings. The small province of Qasa would be a nice start to his conquests as it was a small, independent, county. "The Pope will be pleased if I simply build a nice cathedral dedicated to him their, and I'll have access to the Iberian goods." He mused.
Last edited by Toaslandia on Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Andsed
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Andsed » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:28 pm

February 1018 AD
Edinburgh,
Kingdom of Scotland

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Malcolm II sat in his study considering the current state of politics in the region. Scotland and England were not on were not exactly friendly with each other with their competing claims on Ireland and the Scottish claim on England itself did not make it easy for the two nations to get along. But Malcolm was not concerned with being friendly with the English he was concerned with how a fight between the nations would go.

First off he doubted the Pope would be happy about two Christian nation so simply attacking England was out of the question. Besides he was unsure if they could beat England in a war by themselves. Scotland needed allies and there were two candidates that came to mind. Sweden and France. England had interest in places such as Norway which may bring them into conflict with the Swedes and that may allow Scotland to ally themselves with Sweden. And the Swedish were good fighters and may be valuable allies.

Unfortunately most of them were not Christians so allying with those who held beliefs considered heretical by the Pope would not gain favor with him and Malcolm did not want to anger someone as powerful as the Pope. So in hopes of not angering the Pope and through his influence many Christian nations he decided to not to ally with Sweden but maybe an unofficial agreement to work against England could be made...

But putting thoughts about Sweden aside he began to consider France. They were fellow Christians so no concern in angering religious authority's in Europe. And they were no friends of England so convincing them to allying with them against England would be terribly difficult. But there was the problem in which that many of the King´s vassal were able to rival the king in power making the kingdom a bit divided.

But Malcolm figured if there was one thing that could rally the French together if was messing with England and if need be he could always send in some support to the French King to help secure his position whatever that support may be. So he wrote up a letter reading.

To Robert II King of the Franks
Greetings from Scotland we come to you with an offer of an alliance. We both do not like the English and have similar goals of opposing them so it would only be natural for us to work together. We understand your nation is a bit divided currently and you are dealing with individuals wishing to dispose you and your family´s from your rightful positions. We will support you in consolidating your power should you request it and in return you will support us against the English if we request assistance. I do honestly hope you will accept this offer that will bring our kingdoms closer together against our common enemy.
Last edited by Andsed on Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Adab
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Liberal Democratic Socialists

Postby Adab » Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:25 am

March 1018
Palais de la Cité, Paris

The great officers of state filed quietly into the Salle de Roi, as guards stood tall at the doors. Above them torches lined up the hall, burning light breaking into the gloom of the night. The gentle wind was present with them, a welcome friend at the dawn of spring. King Robert and Arnulf, Archbishop of Reims, had been in the hall for some time, and they watched from their seats as the dignitaries made their way towards them. The King's eyes darted across the hall, making sure all the windows were closed. He had been occupying himself with reading the letter in his hands and counting the men, muttering their names to himself, making sure that no one important would miss tonight's meeting.

A few of the men had been with him for a long time, others for a few years. Theobald, Chancellor of France, was supposed to be on his way home to attend to his ecclesiastical duties, but decided to stick around for a little longer when the meeting was called. Following Theobald into the hall was Adam the constable, and behind Adam was William de Gometz, Seneschal of France. The dignitaries assumed their respective seats at the great table, and the guards were about to shut the doors behind them when Robert noticed in the nick of time and shouted at them to keep the doors open. One more person was expected at the hall, and the men kept their silence as they waited.

She did not keep the men waiting too long. The guards bowed slightly as she entered the room alone, in a flowing, resplendent white dress. Her expression was no more than a little smile, and even that barely gave away her emotions. The great officers rose to their feet and bowed respectfully as she trudged towards the table, leaving the King seated alone. Archbishop Arnulf was the first to greet her. "My queen," he said in a serene voice as Queen Maud treated herself to the vacant seat next to the King's. Once the Queen was seated, the others followed suit. With everyone present and accounted for, the guards retreated from the room and closed the doors shut, and Robert handed the letter over to Arnulf, who was seated on his other side.

"My king, I trust that this is a very important matter to us all," Theobald the chancellor spoke from his seat, turning his head towards Arnulf and pointing at the letter. Not everyone in the hall had read it. "Pray tell us, my king, what is in that letter that led you to call us all here."

"That is precisely what I am about to announce here. The Archbishop of Reims and I have read the letter, and it is quite interesting indeed. I have gathered you here to ask for your opinion regarding this situation," Robert said in a clear, loud voice, rising to his feet, the royal presence towering over everyone else at the table. Next to him, Queen Maud was looking at the letter with some curiosity. Glancing at the letter, Robert saw that Arnulf was reading it, and, with a tap on the archbishop's shoulder, had it handed back to him. The King then began announcing the contents of the letter. "We have received here a letter from Malcolm II, King of the Scots. He is offering to form an alliance with us. King Malcolm claims that he will support us in consolidating our power and overcoming our enemies in the realm."

There was an audible gasp in the hall, coming from either Arnulf or William the seneschal, and nearly everyone shook their heads and nodded and looked at each other in wonder and amazement. Robert stopped and waited for the full gravity of the letter's contents to settle in. "In return," the King resumed speaking, as he saw that all eyes were once again on him, "they ask that we come to their aid should they ever be in conflict with the English. Now, what say you on this, my lords? I do not have a good feeling on this. We do not know much of the Scots and their land, and we are not sure just how much we can offer."

"My king, if I may," Theobald stood up, and the attention of the hall turned towards him, "if what I've just heard here is right, that Scotland desires an alliance with us, I believe that nothing beneficial will come out of this. The Scots are as isolated from the world as humanly possible. They do not have a... prosperous town to boast of, nor a great army to call upon in times of war. We have no history of trade with their country that we know of. We can offer them everything, but we do not know what they can offer us that has a great value, aside from men and weapons. We know little about their numbers, though we can be assured that it is much smaller than ours, and their experience with the art of war. And if we do form an alliance with them, we risk becoming entangled in affairs that are not of our concern. Judging from the tone of the letter, am I right when I feel that they have... designs on England?"

"You mean to say that Malcolm intends to conquer England, lord chancellor?" the King responded, arms crossed, looking squarely at the chancellor.

"Yes, my king, I believe so," Theobald nodded, his voice turning somewhat dark.

"That is precisely what I am thinking, too, lord chancellor," the King replied. "I have my own opinion on this, but do go on, I'd like to hear more from you on this."

"We have enough problems here, and truthfully I wouldn't like to see our men go on an adventure to some foreign land for the sake of some foreign ruler. Not only does it deprive us of troops that we can for... more useful purposes closer to home, it will also be a burden to our treasury. We don't even know what we can gain from it. We-"

"Prestige!" Arnulf's voice suddenly disrupted Theobald's speech, coming out of nowhere, echoing across the hall as the archbishop slammed the table with a gleeful smile. The chancellor was visibly taken aback, but let the archbishop speak without saying another word. Arnulf now turned to the King. "I have suggested this to the King, and now I suggest this to you. For too long the lords of this realm have underestimated the King's authority, and now it is time to impose that authority and demonstrate to the world that we are much more than a powerless puppet. Scotland may not be able to offer us much of value, but even the idea of having a foreign ally is valuable in and of itself. They may not be able to provide us with many troops, but they can provide us with some."

"And just how much is 'some'?" William de Gometz interjected, waving his arms at the general direction of the archbishop.

"I have been thinking about this, and the truth is we do not need much," stated the King. "We have enough troops from our levies, and we will be able to pay some mercenaries if need be. My lords, do you remember the Duchy of Burgundy? Even today, as we all know, Otto-William sits on the throne still, even though it is mine by right of God and blood. We have waited far too long, and, if God wills it, I shall once again lead an army, this time including the Scots, into his land and take what rightfully is mine. A king cannot rest on his laurels for too long, otherwise his lords may think of him as weak and good for nothing, just like how the lords of this realm is thinking of me. We will do something, and we shall make those lords respect our royal authority."

"Even if it means being dragged into a conflict with the English?" said Theobald.

"If it does come to that, then, if God wills it, we and the Scots shall triumph over them," said Robert. "The English have left us in peace so far, and if they do go to war with the King of the Franks then it will be a shock, something that will be seen as an attack on the entire French nation. We have seen how that Dane Cnut and his father conquered England, and it is not impossible that they will come after us next. I pray to God that, if it does happen, then the entire nation will come under one banner - the royal banner - and we shall have a great victory, but of course I do not hope that it will happen. For now, the eradication of the pretender Otto-William and the imposition of royal authority shall be our priority."

The King now was looking at his wife, who was herself gazing up at her husband. "Hugh is now five years of age. Time passes quickly, and sooner or later he will need a wife, a woman of good standing and blood, to continue the royal bloodline. To seal our alliance and strengthen the relationship between our nations, I hope to secure for Hugh a betrothal with a girl from Malcolm's family. I have talked about this with the Archbishop of Reims, and if there are no more objections here, I intend for him to set sail for Scotland as soon as possible to announce my acceptance of Malcolm's offer and find some troops and a girl from his family to be betrothed to Hugh."

To Malcolm, King of the Scots, greetings!

Your letter to us requesting the formation of an alliance has been received and taken note of. With this letter we send our ambassador Arnulf, Archbishop of Reims, with ten armed companions to announce to you that we have accepted your offer and the terms included with it. We ask that you accept them in your land and give them the best lodgings available and protection on your roads, as befits an ambassador and his delegation.

To guarantee the strength and longevity of our alliance, we desire that a betrothal be concluded between our son and heir to the throne Hugh, who is currently five years of age, and a suitable girl of about the same age from your family, or a noble family in your land. The marriage shall be held when the younger of the couple has reached the age of fourteen.

Furthermore, we ask that you send between one and two thousand of your best warriors, with weapons and armor, to our land. For too long the evil duke Otto-William has reigned in Burgundy, occupying the throne that is rightfully ours, and we intend to assemble an army to claim our rightful inheritance and banish the duke forever.

May God be with you,

Robert, King of the Franks
Last edited by Adab on Sun Nov 04, 2018 12:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they've been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It's an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It's a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.
-Muhammad Ali

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Of the Quendi
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Posts: 14978
Founded: Mar 18, 2010
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Of the Quendi » Sun Nov 04, 2018 3:03 am

Al-Andalus
The City of Córdoba
The Caliphate of Córdoba


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The Black Standard of the True Caliphs




Muhammad al-Mahdi bi-llah

Shawwal 1, 408 / February 20, 1018





Muhammad al-Mahdi, Caliph of Islam, Commander of the Faithful, Leader of the Banu Umayya received the Genoese ambassador in the reception hall of his grandfather the indomitable Abd ar-Rahman, in the great palace-city of Medina Azahara, five kilometers west of the sprawling city of Córdoba. Medina Azahara was built by Abd ar-Rahman to awe those whom beheld it, and impress upon them the might and majesty of the newly founded caliphate of the Banu Umayya in al-Andalus.

Muhammad al-Mahdi received the ambassador seated on a divan at the centre of the reception hall, surrounded by his courtiers and concubines, governors and generals. Arabs, Berbers, Muladi, Mozarabs, Jews, slaves and mercenaries from faraway lands, supplicants and visitors from the Christian kingdoms to the North, qadis, imams, merchants, money lenders, trades- and craftsmen, tax collectors and secretaries all filled the great hall, watching as the caliph received the Genoese ambassador.

The caliph listened politely at the words of the ambassador, pondering their meaning and searching for duplicity or falsehood in them. For seventeen years he had now sat the throne of the caliph, longer than the father of his predecessor al-Hakam II, and for the last eight he had ruled in more than name. He was a young man no longer and he had begun to suspect that he would not be the great caliph he had hoped that day at Alcolea. He had held together al-Andalus when it seemed Allah himself had willed that the land should be divided and broken. But only just. And little more. Some legacy.

Discreetly the caliph sighed. Twenty-five years old and newly made caliph Muhammad had hoped for so much more. Then again Muhammad had achieved more during his reign than Hisham II ever did. He looked around his court finding the faces of his three wives and his seven sons. Whichever one of them would succeed him would inherit a more stable and prosperous realm then the one Muhammad II had received. Was that not the point of it all? Muhammad decided that it was. And that it was enough. Just.

Contenting himself with that thought the caliph cast his gaze on the two chest the Genoese ambassador had produced for him. The gaze of the caliph had the nonchalance possessed only by the exceptionally wealthy. Yet it was not a gaze of indifference. For while the caliph had plenty of chests like the two the ambassador had placed before him in his treasury the chests were symbolic of something of which the caliph had less. Respect. While most of the Christian kings to the north did not dare to refuse him tribute and homage, the caliph had never received a payment of tribute from an Italian city before. Even Abd ar-Rahman had never received tribute from the Italian mainland. Muhammad smiled. He was only forty, perhaps there was yet time to build a legacy of which he could be proud.

The caliph nodded slowly. "Your master, the doge of Genoa's, generous offer is well received ambassador. His city is known throughout the world for its beauty and wealth, and I am honored to receive offers of friendship from a man of his great standing." The caliph politely declared, as one of his tax collectors stepped forward and arranged for some burly African slaves to carry the chests away to the treasury. "For as long as your master seeks no harm to me or my people, to mine allies and subjects, friends and partners, and for as long as your master's troops does not pillage the lands of my people I shall allow your master to move his troops across my land, in the name of friendship." The caliph decreed.
Last edited by Of the Quendi on Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Arda i Eruhíni (short form)
Alcarinqua ar Meneldëa Arda i Eruhíni i sé Amanaranyë ar Aramanaranyë (long form)

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Toaslandia
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1315
Founded: Apr 29, 2017
Iron Fist Consumerists

Postby Toaslandia » Sun Nov 04, 2018 6:34 am

Zhdanov bowed and thanked the Caliph, promising that his master's soldiers would not pillage from Cordoba. Zhdanov mounted his horse and rode away, his guards close behind. The journey to Genoa would take a week, at least, and Zhdanov wanted to tell Doge Simone of the Caliph's acceptance of troop movements to Qasi, a city-state between Cordoba and Castile. Genoa would profit from the access to Iberian goods, and Zhdanov did not wish to be left behind.

Genoan Militia Training Grounds, Genoa
Doge Simone looked over the levies training. They were the soldiers of his realm, but most of them would march to Qasi, depending on his envoy's answer. "You called for me, your serenity?" Simone looked and saw his general, Liondi, kneeling before him. "Rise General Liondi. Prepare your soldiers for war. When my envoy returns and if the Caliph accepted our offer, we will march to Qasi. Raise the levies and train them for the upcoming war." Simone pulled out a small letter and handed it to Liondi. "This gives you access to the treasury. You may only use one-fourth of our funds for war preparations. Now go, General." General Liondi bowed and walked off.
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Union Princes
Ambassador
 
Posts: 1079
Founded: Nov 02, 2017
Psychotic Dictatorship

Postby Union Princes » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:07 am

Image
[align=center]Duchy of Lotharingia
Aachen, March 1018

Can you imagine what I would do if I could do all I can?

Duke Ottokar von Degurechaff was occupied in his personal affairs in his studies when a servant brought forward that came all the way from the Swiss countryside. How curious, there's no duke established there yet so it must be one of the cantons. But why would they need him? Sure Ottokar was a close neighbor but there are other dukes just as close. After opening the letter, Ottokar read its contents.
To Elector Count Ottokar Von Degurechaff,
I hope that you have been in good health Elector Count. I believe your daughter has turned three already, this is an assuring sign that she might live to adulthood. I hope that your wife will soon bare you a son for whom shall continue on your noble family line. I write in this letter to tell you that the Canton of Schwyz will support you militarily for the seat of Emperor. If your Duchy gets engaged in combat, our men shall support you. I swear on the name of Weilheim Von Radnitz, count of the Canton of Schwyz. I would simply request for some small demands from you before we finalize this deal. When your noble self becomes Emperor I hope that you will supply us with either some horsemen, horses and if I would like to request that you have your knights to charge at my companies of 100. I want to test something out, and if any of your knights or warhorses die I shall personally pay you what they cost you. I also would like to suggest that you would allow my Canton to gain autonomy from the Holy Roman Empire. If you ensure these demands of mine I will have no problem aiding you in times of Combat. May we have an alliance that will last us for a thousand years
From,
Count Weilheim Von Radnitz, paterfamilias of the Von Radnitz house

Intrigued and certainly grateful that even a canton would support him, Ottokar took this offer into serious consideration. After pondering in this idea for an hour, the Duke decided to write back.

Dear Count Weilheim Von Radnitz,
Your offer is most generous of you and I fully appreciate your support. I will get to the point and say that I will agree to your offer. If your support exceeds my expectations, then I will offer more to your reward. I swear on my father's name I will see to that when I become the Holy Roman Emperor.


Ottokar, Graf von Lothringen
I, Heinrich, Second of his name. Emperor and King, hereby invite you and attendant party to Grona for the matter pertaining to the Marshalship of the Empire. Should you decline this formal invitation then word must be sent with all haste to myself so that I may move forward with other matters of state.


Christ be with you,

Heinrich


A few days later, the letter that Otterkar von Degurechaff was expecting all along arrived while he was drilling his men-at-arms. Smirking after reading the message, the Duke began immediate preparations for his trip to Grona after writing a response message to the Emperor.

Heinrich II, Holy Roman Emperor,
Praise upon you and your house, I accept your invitation to Grona. I'll be there at all haste.

Ottokar von Degurechaff.
There is no such thing as peace, only truce between wars

I will return.

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