This will be my first AAR, following the rise of the Ottoman Empire from the 1st of January 1337 under the leadership of Sultan Orhan I. At this time the Ottomans were the most powerful of the Ghazi Emirates in Western Anatolia. The aim of this AAR is to take the Ottoman dynasty from a humble Ghazi Emirate to the powerful Empire the Ottomans would come to rule. Therefore, I must introduce you to our hero; Sultan Orhan I.
After years of fighting the infidels and Christians of the Byzantine Empire, Sultan Orhan stood proud as the most powerful ruler in Anatolia. Unfortunately though, the neighbouring Turkish Beys refused to acknowledge Ottoman supremacy. This all changed though when the weakened Bey of Laodikeia, surrounded by hostile princes, submitted to the authority of the Ottoman Sultan. In an elaborate ceremony, the Bey surrendered his authority and begged for the protection of the Sultan. By humbling this minor lord, Orhan was able to send a clear message to the other Ghazi Emirates, that the Ottomans were to were chosen by Allah to rule Anatolia. During the ceremony, the Grand Vizier advised the Sultan to marry the fair lady Gulay Allianoi, a noble from Laodikeio, to solidify Ottoman rule oover the region. The wedding was held on the 12th of January in a small private wedding in the mountains surrounding the city Nikea. After the ceremony the Sultan met with his council to discus important matters of state. While his administrators were dispatched to various parts of his realm to spread good Ottoman governance, the Sultans Grand Vizier was dispatched to the near by Sultanate of Smyrna to justify Ottoman rule over the region.
Weeks later, while the Sultan was making preparations for the invasion of Smyrna, a rider arrived from the Caliph with a sealed letter for the Sultan. The message informed the Sultan that the Caliph was calling on all the petty Ghazi Emirates to join the Sultan of Egypt in a Jihad to reclaim Iberia, beginning with the Kingdom of Aragon. However, while the Sultan believed it was his divine duty to be a part of this Jihad, he was deeply insulted by the suggestion that he was only a petty Ghazi Prince. The Ottoman Sultan could not be expected to serve under the Sultan of Egypt, for he was no mere Prince.