The Fatimid Caliphate: Defiance
Outside the imposing walls of Damascus, vast siege towers lay burning. An emerald banner still flutters at their base, among fire and the dead.
At two bows distance a ragged army stands arrayed on the windswept plain in one perfect, massive line. They are the unwavering, unfaltering, unshakable personification of Allah's will. They bear the scars of a thousand lances and swords, of arrows scimitars and boiling oil. Before them the Kings of England, France, Poland and Leon have knelt and asked for mercy, before their iron resolve every charge and fortress has faltered. Now here they stand before mighty Damascus, seven great banners of the twenty that mustered ten years ago, and they're sick and tired of it.
At one bows distance a tent is raised, shining white to denote the presence of the True Calipha of Islam. Around his presence stand the Sayeedi Guard, stern men of holy blood. The image of the lighthouse of Pharos emblazoned on their chest and banners, a representation of the guiding light of Allah and his Calipha on earth.
Under the tent sat the Fatimid council of war, the young Fatimid brothers; Calipha and Grand Vizier, Master of the Hassassin Nasiba Fatimid. As well as the german mercenary commanders that had to be brought in for the tactical acumen so sorely missing among the scholars and merchants of Alexandria.
The aging Master of the Recruits Werner Murat was a stocky little man with an excellent eye for bratwürst and budding captains-to-be. The great war college of Alexandria had been his brainchild, receiving obscene amounts of royal funding, much to the consternation of the mullahs. The competence of his students had been a linchpin of Fatimid strategies, allowing the levantine regiments to operate a successful guerrilla warfare champaign against Polacks four times their numbers. Finally extracting a great ransom for capturing their king in a daring nighttime raid and allowing the nile regiments some breathing time.
Next to him sat his younger countryman, a great beast of a man with a shaven head and shoulders like an oxen, called Levithan by his grizled engineers. Master of the Siege von Wittelsbach was the man who had held Baalbek against odds so unbelievable Muhammad had dismissed the initial reports as some form of Polish ruse. But they were all true, soon the small city of Baalbek was littered with enough traps, catapults and killzone funnels for enemy troops to make Archimedes blush. When the Calipha moved against the Damascid pretender Hisn Yousif von Wittlesbach was elevated to the rank of Warmaster and given command of the finest builders and engineers gold could buy. Soon the fortified cities surrendered at the very sight of one of his mighty siegetowers being constructed, one by one they fell. All except Damascus.
Calipha Muhammad sat uneasy, by any counting midday had come and passed hours ago. Even in the shade the temperature was murdering, to say nothing of what the armored men had to endure, and not a whisper of a breeze could be felt.
"I should have the city burned for this insolence." He growled "They know defeat is inevitable, yet they insist on letting my army cook under this wretched sun! Do they not understand what my men will do when they finally enter this damned city? They should be groveling at my feet!"
"Let us withdraw the line sire, and give them rest" The Leviathan Master of the Siege advised in broken arabic. "My crews would cheer at a chance to avenge yesterday." He motioned at the wreckage of the towers repelled by the devilry of a company of "mercenary" Antiochean grenadiers. "A further week of bombardment should put them in a more groveling mood"
Muhammad groaned "I cannot waste more time on this pretender, for goodness sake he does not even hold the name and yet he insists on calling himself the Fatimid ruler! I do not have the time nor the men to chase down every loon who believes we are a bunch of stuttering coward al-Mustandirs! By Allah! Alexandria is being burned by savages and we linger here!"
"They will let themselves be bought by our coin as all barbarians." Nasiba calmed "Their little raids will be forgotten by Ramadan, Alexandria's wealth lie in caravans and trade fleets. A few broken levies and stolen camels will not end us"
"If you let one stray dog steal from your table it will not be long before the flock is tearing you limb from limb." Murad cautioned.
"Bah, I have had enough" Muhammad exclaimed "Pull back the.."
The battered gates of Damascus creaked and screamed, then gave way and slowly opened with a dull crack. Three riders exited and rode towards the tent. One banner bearer and a page on gnarled ghosts of horses, and a noble clad in fine robes riding a steed who had seen better days. Emir Yousif.
After what seemed like forever the riders arrived, the page coughed and and began the court rituals.
"His Eminence, the King of Damascus, defender of the Fatimid title, Emir of..."
"We know who the old sheep-romancer is!" Sayeed exclaimed. "Get your pompous behind of that sorry excuse of a mount and kneel before the one true Calipha!"
The Emir painfully motioned to his page and ungraciously slid of his horse, kneeling before Muhammad.
"Oh great one, I have only ever claimed to defend a title the fool Mustandir was unfit to claim! I humbly throw myself at your feet an surrender any pretense of being more worthy of the emerald and white than you oh mighty Calipha."
"I give the groveling a seven out of ten, not enough fawning" Sayeed smirked
"Your defiance has been great emir. I will spare your life, but your titles and power is forfeit" The Calipha started
"My great apologies mighty lord, but it is not within your jurisdiction" The Emir slowly raised himself
"What poisonous heresy are you spitting snake? I am the Imam of all Islam! My command is the True Word of Allah and my jurisdiction is All!" The Calipha exploded
"Alas excellence Damascus is beholden Christ and the king of Nubia! Long live the king!" Yousif screamed, turned on a dime and threw himself on his horse. All the riders setting of in a wild gallop for the city gates.
Muhammad stood an looked as they disappeared in a cloud of dust, dumbstruck. Slowly he turned, a vein in his forehead bulging threateningly, his left eye twitching. They all held their breath.
"I. Want. That. Wretched. Whoreson. Dongola. Dead." He slowly drew a breath. "I want him dragged behind a camel from here to al-Andalus. I want the head of every male of his line on a pike outside my palace. I want I want his councilors put in a bag and thrown in the Nile. And I want all of Nubia burned. Order the army to march."