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Thread: In the Service of Mankind: A Knights of Saint John AAR

  1. #21
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    November 9th, Feastday of Saint Theodore of Amasea, in the 1404th year of our Lord.

    Events move slowly in this great, wide world of ours. Far too slowly for an old man like me. But at last, events are moving in favor of the Order.

    The spies we planned to send to Cyprus were expensive, so I have ordered my spymaster to bide his time until I can come upon a sufficient sum of gold. However, in my absence from the island, the smallcouncil recieved and accepted offers of alliance and aid from none other than the Pope himself. Using our newfound, powerful allies, I have declared a crusade upon the Karamani, and a great sea battle is now being fought off the shores of Rhodes. The combined navy of the Papal States and the Order are more than sufficient to decimate the Karamani fleet, but I fear the invasion will not go so well.

    By all reports, the Karamani army is five thousand men strong. The Order's own forces still stand at only one thousand, and while the Papacy can field over seven thousand men, they lack the transports to bring them to bear against Karaman. This is still a step forward for the order, and I believe that we will shortly stand upon the shores of Karaman as victorious conquerors, and those that come after us will laugh in disbelief when told tales of the Order's past weakness.

    *******


    In addition, I have decided upon the creation of a new unit in the Order's military. In Adana, we have found healthy new converts to the true faith, many of whom are warriors, and these men are all too eager to serve Christ and God on Crusade. I am therefore ordering the creation of the Christguard, an elite force of Anatolian cavalrymen, to carry the banner of God against our enemies.

    ******


    Instead of creating a new post every time, I have decided to append relevant information to the end of the latest post. In this case, I began the war with Karaman at the start, so information regarding the war will be added to the end of the post until the war ends.

    The Knights of Saint John's First Crusade against Karaman (1403 - 1406) (Defeat)


    10th of February, 1404 - It is with great pleasure that I record this great blow that has been struck against our enemies. The Karamani fleet was no match for the combined strength of Crusader and Papacy, and thought it did manage to evade capture in the seas off the coast of Rhodes, we caught it in the Gulf of Cyprus, and smashed it to pieces upon the rocky shore. With this, Karaman is no longer a threat to the Order's headquarters, but its succesful and quick siege of Alexandretta, and resulting occupation of the province of Adana, is a grim blow to the order. Our first course of action will be to reclaim the province.



    The Karamani flagship, scuttled on the shore of Cyprus.


    9th of April, 1405 - We have fought eachother to a standstill. In a desperate effort to retake Adana, I landed ashore with my small force. We were crushed by a six-thousand strong army of Karamani, and a bare handful, including myself, survived to escape. I now bide my time on Rhodes while I await the creation of a new host, and hope that reinforcements from the Papal States arrive soon.

    January, 1406 - Disaster and humiliation. We have been forced to sign a peace treaty with the Karamani envoys, after a disastrous defeat on Karamani soil by a weakened yet still strong Karamani army. Despite outnumbering our foe, the levies raised by the Papal States and their ally, Urbino, were crushed utterly.

    We must continue to bide our time, and hope an opportunity presents itself.

    Last edited by Taiisatai64; 01-02-2012 at 04:37.

  2. #22
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    A little bit of gameplay commentary now, while I take a break from the game.

    First off, this is bloody hard. When I peaced with Karaman, the only peace I could get was to break all my alliances and pay most of my gold to Jalayrids, the alliance leader, otherwise I would have lost Adana. The Papal States were pathetic allies; the guys didn't even send an army until near the end, and when they did it was 4k men, with Urbino sending 2k. Now that I think about it, I don't know how they lost against Karaman...

    Anyway, it appears that I've finally got luck on my side. Aragon has called a crusade against Morocco and most of Spain, and in fact most of Africa, is at war with them, meaning this is the perfect time to strike and take some land. Unfortunately, all that land is "distant overseas"... because the Mediteranean is so big, eh? So I won't be getting much out of it... I will, however, get forcelimits, which I desperately need.

  3. #23
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    Philibert slammed his mailed fist down upon the railing, his face twisted with anger.

    When he had joined the Order to the crusade, he had expected he would be allowed to take a castle or two, along the shores of Morocco. But as days passed and the fleet sailed along the shoreline, all he saw were Aragonese, Sicilian and Navarrese flags, planted atop hilltops, coastal forts and ships. Now, finally, he had found a stretch of coast that was not occupied by his allies already.

    His cartographers called it Gifni. Sand-speck was a more apt term, Phil believed. It was desert and plains, with no trade to speak of and a pathetic population of lackwits and nomads. Yet it was the only region that he could properly conquer, at least until the Europeans departed.

    Personally, Philibert just hoped that his thousand men would be enough. His allies had brought an additional five-thousand to the fight, but they had made it quite clear that these men would go where their commanders wished, and not follow his orders whatsoever.

    With a sigh of pent-up frustration, Philibert ordered the landing parties to go ahead. A beggar was in no position to be picky over the leavings he was given.

  4. #24
    People's Commissar of the Navy Demi Moderator Avindian's Avatar
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    I really like this AAR! You have superb characters, and you're doing a great job of showing how difficult it is to play as the Knights. I can't wait to see what happens next!
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  5. #25
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    At the town square, Philibert reined in his destrier, wheeling it around in a circle to survey the destruction around him. This town was one of several that served as this pathetic provinces cities, though it was nothing in comparison with a true city like Rome or Paris, or even Alexandretta. Right now, it was in fairly dire straits, Philibert surmised, a wicked grin creeping over his lined face. This was quite possibly the most fun he'd had in years. All agreed, killing heathen savages suited a godly man like himself.

    Each of these towns were the same. Surrounded by a low, sandstone wall, and filled with hovels and pathetic attempts at civilised living, with slums that often spilled over the walls, getting his men inside was an incredibely easy affair of climbing over the head-high wall and opening the gate. The guards were undisciplined and often dismayed by the very sight of his host, such that several townships had surrendered without a fight. Not that that had spared them their suffering.

    Down the street, a party of guardsmen were organising themselves into a spear war. Or trying to, at least. Philibert waved the Christguard forward into a charge, while he himself hung back, sword in hand. The Christguard charged forwards in a flurry of hooves and white cloaks, lances lowered and ready. The guards went down like corn before the scythe, and Philibert cackled in delight. So it was that he was greatly surprised when he found himself on the ground, a barbarian peasant standing over him with a rusty scimitar in hand, ready to take off his head. Stunned as he was, Philibert didn't waste time as he grabbed his dirk from the sheath at his belt, drove it upwards into the peasants groin and dove away towards where his sword lay on the ground.

    He had managed to regain his mount and sword by the time the Christguard had returned to his side, but the joy had gone out of the burning and pillaging, to be replaced by the anger of a man caught in a foolish act. With a curt hand signal and a growled word, he ordered his regiments on to the next township. There were more infidels to slaughter before this land could belong to the Order.

    ******


    Philibert gritted his teeth against the pain, but he could not stop from crying out.

    Curse these savages, and their bloody deserts, he thought.

    He had thought luck had been on his side at last when the Aragonese struck a peace deal with the Morrocans. Striking quickly, he had sailed with his host to Tangiers, leaving behind his allies - and the majority of his host - to lay siege to the city of Taroudant in the province of Sus. They had laid siege to the castle there, and he had believed that they would easily win the war now, with Morocco lacking a military of any sort and being invaded from the east by Algiers.

    But the bastards had tricked him. While he sat and sieged the castle, their lords, much as they were, had been gathering together mercenaries, and it was only a short while before the trap was sprung. Two thousand mercenary infantry had struck his besieging force in the rear, inflicting heavy losses at first, until the Order had withdrawn and reformed into a more orderly battle-line. But no amount of discipline could make up for being outnumbered four men to one, with his host reduced to a bare five hundred by the original attack. Philibert had begun an orderly retreat to the coast, where he would load his men aboard the waiting fleet, and sail down the coast to Safi, a province now held by the Aragonese.

    But the infidels did possess a certain low cunning. They had set cavalry to harrying his retreating force, a hundred or so, outnumbered by the two hundred members of his Christguard. Philibert had pursued the harrassers, Christguard in tow, and ridden straight into a trap. Even thinking about it, Philibert could remember the icy feeling as the arrow slid through his belly and forced its way out his back, leaving a burning fire that consumed his senses. The remaining Christguard had rescued him, and escorted him back to the column, pursued the whole time by horse archers and lancers. Only twenty had made the journey back.

    And now Philibert was to die of infection, and he knew it. There were no doctors here who could draw it out, they had all died in the Sally of Fort Tangier. Fever clouded his mind, and if he waited any longer, he knew he would not be able to state his final command, the raising of the new Grandmaster.

    Filibertus was his name. Silver-tongued and glib, the man knew only enough of warcraft to suffice, and less of adminstration. But it was a diplomat that the Order needed, more than anything, a diplomat to bring strong allies to the cause. He only hoped the man would be able to finish what he had started in this campaign, and win the war.



    The new Grandmaster. If you'll forgive me for going out of character, I'd just like to say that I absolutely despised the name Philibert, and now I get this?!

    Last edited by Taiisatai64; 01-02-2012 at 07:07.

  6. #26
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Avindian View Post
    I really like this AAR! You have superb characters, and you're doing a great job of showing how difficult it is to play as the Knights. I can't wait to see what happens next!
    Thank you! That actually means quite a lot, coming from someone like you who has written a number of good AARs yourself

  7. #27
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    Filibertus' ascension to the post of Grandmaster had been a quick affair, like a battlefield dressing on a wound. It had all been done aboard the deck of the Garnier de Naplous, flagship of the fleet, and the captains and commanders of the army and fleet had stood in the place of the absent members of the small-council.

    Twenty of the remaining Christguard had lined the deck as he made his way to the hastily constructed altar at the prow of the galley, where stood the members of the small-council and their substitutes. Filibertus had walked along that column of Christguard, with every eye upon him, the deck rolling slowly under foot. He had been told to dress in the Order uniform; red surcoat with white cross, white cotton trousers, black leather boots and red cloak trimmed with sable. He struck a dashing figure in such garb, and looked the true, gallant knight, although he had been born a commoner's boy.

    Alongside his clothing he had worn the Grandmasters greatsword, a five-foot, ornate monstrosity sheathed over the shoulder that required almost all of his strength to wield at all.

    The coronation had mostly been a day of pious preaching and rambling, during which he was forced to kneel before the altar, the greatsword weighing down upon him and making his back ache, until finally, with dusk spreading its shadowy fingers across the deck, he was blessed with the sacred oils of the Order, and pronounced the Grandmaster.

    Filibertus rose, and prepared to continue the Order's crusade against the Moroccans.

  8. #28
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    May 3rd, Feastday of Saint Juvenal of Narni, in the 1413th year of our Lord.

    It is 5 years since my appointment to the post of Grandmaster, and yet this is the first time I have written in the Book of the Order. The Travelling Book, taken on campaign, was washed overboard during the voyage home to Rhodes.

    I return to chaos. Despite continuing the previous Grandmaster's efforts to increase the trade and productivity of the order, we are still dangerously lacking of income. We do have the manpower, and the funds, to support several thousand soldiers, however, and so no longer rely upon a bare thousand men in foreign campaigns. Exhaustion from the constant warfare is taking its toll on the Order, however, and few are as spirited as they once were.



    The Crusade against Morocco yielded results. We siezed the peninsula of Tangiers and its fortress from the infidel before forcing them to a peace, but our control over the area is low, and whatever taxes we collect are often lost to piracy along the unprotected sealanes. We must build a larger fleet if we hope to reap the proper rewards.



    Now, to worse tidings. We returned to find the stronghold under siege from the local Greek peasants. Despite butchering them when they put up a resistance, this has only increased the enmity the Order is facing from the natives of Rhodes. The worst news is that Adana is broken out in open revolution, headed by the exiled remnants of the Ramazani government. We will have to put down this rebellion quickly, before they can establish their strength.



    Now, to take a break.

  9. #29
    Colonel vasziljevics's Avatar
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    You should have chosen the other Crusading Order for cool names but the style You have really fits this AAR.

    being very opportunistic is the only way for a small country like the Knights to expand, hope the new Grandmaster understands that - at least he has the diplomatic skill for it!

    and Cyprus is a good target, but you won't necessary need spies - should be enough when France is distracted in a major war elsewhere.
    You can call me Dan.

    If you want to see my Tripoli (not so) horribly fail... PiRAAtes! Ongoing again. Hopefully.

  10. #30
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vasziljevics View Post
    You should have chosen the other Crusading Order for cool names but the style You have really fits this AAR.

    being very opportunistic is the only way for a small country like the Knights to expand, hope the new Grandmaster understands that - at least he has the diplomatic skill for it!

    and Cyprus is a good target, but you won't necessary need spies - should be enough when France is distracted in a major war elsewhere.
    I thought I would get better names than Filibertus. I swear, if I have to write out Filibertus or a variant there-of for the next ruler, I'm just calling him "Phil". And what kind of Grand Master is called Phil?!

    I actually just realised (read: got told) that I would just have to wait for France to be at war to grab Cyprus. I thought I would have to break the guarantee by destroying their relations. Also, opportunism is something I consider myself very good at

  11. #31
    Colonel Memento Mori's Avatar
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    Very fun aar, reminds me of a game in which I played Cyprus. And I proved that these "vain and sinful people" are realy the true heirs to Jerusalem! (and everything around it from Morroco to Anatolia.) Even won a few wars agains Turkey, albeit with the help of Poland and Hungary. You are right, overseas is a pain if you hold North Africa, but at lest you are not on some blasted island, and it is possible for you to have a land connection if you bash the Mamelukes a bit

    By the way, reading about the Knights is so much more fun after reading Tim Willocks' "The Religion". A bit later date, but the siege of Malta was a hell of an epic fight

  12. #32
    Second Lieutenant iskallinn's Avatar
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    Things are looking tough for Grand-Master Phil

    Excellent writing!

  13. #33
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    Filibertus sat upon a log outside the Grandmaster's pavilion, honing the greatsword of the Order with a wetstone. Around him was the encampment of the rest of his host, some one thousands knights and men-at-arms, many of whom were veterans of the campaign in Tangiers.

    Before him wound a shallow river, easily forded, and over that lake was the city of Alexandretta. Looking at it, Filibertus could only chuckle sardonically. Oh, how the revolutionaries had fallen.

    Surrounding the city was a small host of some four or five thousand men, judging by the number of tents, and at night, the number of campfires. Patriots, they called themselves, in service to the Ottoman Empire, though Filibertus named them rabble-rousing opportunists. They were not officially an army of the Osmanli, rather, they were peasants and men at arms, who had raised the yellow crescent to annex the province into the Devleti and earn favor for themselves. The Osmanli would not acknowledge their existence, not until they had taken the province fully.

    And Filibertus was not about to allow that to happen.

    But for all his determination, the man had no idea how to accomplish his objective. Years under the hot Morrocan sun had browned his skin and hardened what little fat had been left on his body into tough, sinewy muscle, but surrounding a city with an army and fighting the occasional skirmish had not built tactical skill. Perhaps if he departed, and waited for the siege to end, he could wait until the rebels marched on their way, and quickly ride in and retake the city. That seemed to be the only option...

    Filibertus raised his head as he heard the shuffle of the tentflap opening behind him, and saw Geralt, the new Grand Marshal, emerging from the tent. The smallcouncil had just held council, and they must have finished by now...

    This Geralt was a gigantic man. Tall, broad-shouldered and huge-chested, with arms like tree-stumps and legs to match. Filibertus had seen the man in battle, as well, where he wielded a massive battle-axe near as tall as Filibertus, who prided himself on his height. While Filibertus had taken the measure of this man in battle, his skills as Grand Marshal were an unknown. Perhaps it was time for him to prove himself...


    All I have time for today, sorry. Not even any gameplay

  14. #34
    Colonel vasziljevics's Avatar
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    this is your AAR, no reason to apologize
    You can call me Dan.

    If you want to see my Tripoli (not so) horribly fail... PiRAAtes! Ongoing again. Hopefully.

  15. #35
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    This Geralt truly is a man of his word, mused Filibertus. The ground he stood on was powdered with ash and strewn with debris, and he could just make out the foundations of the building beneath the chaos. Outside the front of what had once been the door, a sign still stood, though the only word still discernible was the Turkish word for 'Inn'.

    Turning, he surveyed the rest of Alexandretta. The entire city was a smoking ruin, with great rents torn in the walls, most of the buildings flatted and burned, and the streets strewn with blood and bits of corpses. On the hill where once had stood the palace of the Ramazani kings, which later had been converted into a second residence of Grandmaster Philibert, there now stood an empty hulk, the palaces floors burnt out and the stones that made up its walls twisted from the heat. Most of the towers had collapsed, though one still stood, with only its top broken off, like some obscene, crooked stone finger reaching up to the sky.

    "Geralt... this brutality was unnecessary," he said with a sigh, "but there is no repairing things now."

    "No, my lord, there is not. I say it was neccessary, however. We must show the infidel who is the master here," Geralt grunted, his voice thick with drink and hoarse from the smoke that clung to the air.

    "We need taxes and money, not domination, Geralt. How are we to extract taxes from the dead and burned, hm?" before Geralt could speak, however, Filibertus held up a hand, "but, I concede your point. It would have been all too simple for the infidels to rise up again in rebellion. Tell me, did you find the recruits I was looking for, during the siege?"

    "Aye, my lord. A thousand of the finest horsemen this land can offer, all fresh converts to the Faith. They will make a fine addition to the Christguard..."

    "Good, good," Filibertus ran a hand through his thick, brown hair, feeling the rasp of ash against his hand. The stuff was falling like snow... now there was something he missed from his boyhood days... pure, white snow...

    With a jerk of his head, Filibertus signaled Geralt to take back command, and leaped into the saddle, riding at a canter towards the burnt-out gates.

  16. #36
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    July 15th, Feastday of the Dispersion of the Apostles, in the 1416th year of our Lord.

    It was with great reluctance that I requested of the Pope a claim upon the lands of Mus, owned by the Sheikdom of Dulkadir. The relations between me and the Pope have never been strong, for he sees me as a lowborn who has been raised above his station. The fact that noble blood bears no weight amongst the Knights of Saint John appears to not be of the concern of the Papacy.

    Therefore, I was suprised when my request was accepted, and the claim of the Knights of Saint John upon the province was established by Papal Decree. Immediately, I struck against the infidel, and with the aid of the godly Italian Kingdom of Ferrara, I decimated the Dulkadiri army among the hills and mountains of Mus. Many casualties were incurred, with the Dulkadiri forces firmly entrenched upon the mountain forts, but in the end our numerical superiority and discipline enabled us to break the infidel.

    I have now laid siege to the fort-city of Mus, while the Ferraran forces chase down and destroy the remaining Dulkadiri forces. I have personally led skirmishes against the pockets of resistance that still dot the mountains and hills, leading the Christguard in a great purge against the heathen.



    Our victory, I will admit, was surprising to me. The Dulkadir have long lived under the yolk of the sons of Tamerlane, and I expected to have to fight their hordes, a battle we could never win. In a stroke of good fortune, however, the Timurids are far too entangled in their struggle with the Osmanli to aid their servants, and thus the worst we recieved were a spree of diplomatic insults and threats, with no military backing whatsoever.

    Financially, the Order is struggling, part of the reason for my petition to the Papacy. This can be put down to a simple fact; we lack the land to support even our feeble military. We cannot even fund the missionaries to convert the populace of those provinces we conquer. With more land, our economy will stabilize, and we will be able to expand further, and illuminate the infidels with God's light.



    We are minting our own coin, but the value of this coin decreases dramatically with every passing year. If the conquest of Mus is unsuccessful, we will quickly dip into deficits, and the Order will be reduced to a shambling wreck.

    *******
    \

    April 25th, Feastday of Saint Mark the Evangelist, in the 1417th year of our Lord.

    The city of Mus has fallen to us, and the remaining Dulkadiri administration quickly signed the peace treaty at sword point. All of their lands are now ours by law, and the Pope has enforced our claim to the land in the eyes of other true Catholic nations.



    This is the sign of the rise of the Knights of Saint John. We have ascended from being a bare cut above zealously religious pirates and seafarers to a minor land power in our own right.



    Our next aims should be the conquest of the Morrocan nation, a long-time sponsor of the Barbary Pirates, and of the Karamani Sultanate, while we await the right time to strike against the corrupt Cypriots. We have not forgotten the wrong done to us by the Cypriot scum.

    Last edited by Taiisatai64; 04-02-2012 at 05:32.

  17. #37
    General Taiisatai64's Avatar
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    The shipyard's master's face lit up when he heard Filibertus' request.

    "A carrack, m'lord?" he said, a great grin spreading across his face, "why... why of course! This is most excelent, my lord! It shall be the finest ship you have ever laid eyes upon, I swear it!"

    Filibertus doubted that. The finest ship he had ever laid eyes upon had been the Spanish flagship Santa Anna, a monstrosity of a thing when it came down to efficiency on the waves, but beautiful and graceful to lay eyes upon, with precious metals and rich woods decorating the hull. He hoped he would never see that ship again...

    "I care not about its looks, Master Jacobs, so long as it is seaworthy and efficient. How quickly can you get the ship on the sea?"

    At that, Jacobs could do little but wring his hands and glance around, "Err, my lord... the people, you understand, they are exhausted from this constant warfare, and I have trouble finding the workers to keep the current fleet in good shape. You understand that it will take... take some time to build the ship without a proper quotient of workers, of course? You were a man of the sea, before, were you not?"

    "How long, Jacobs?" growled Filibertus. He didn't like to be reminded of his past before joining the Order.

    "Errmmm... more than two years, m'lord,"

  18. #38
    Recruit xbriannova's Avatar

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    I could imagine Filibertus' face when Master Jacobs said that. Hehe... Artistic Omission. Gotta love it

  19. #39
    Colonel vasziljevics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xbriannova View Post
    I could imagine Filibertus' face when Master Jacobs said that. Hehe... Artistic Omission. Gotta love it
    have you ever tried building a warship?
    You can call me Dan.

    If you want to see my Tripoli (not so) horribly fail... PiRAAtes! Ongoing again. Hopefully.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by xbriannova View Post
    I could imagine Filibertus' face when Master Jacobs said that. Hehe... Artistic Omission. Gotta love it
    Aye War exhaustion more than doubled the construction time, my own face was not too happy when I learn't I had to wait 867 days before I would get my tariffs from Tangiers.

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