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.
As the months passed, the Sultan kept a keen interest on the reports coming from the Jihad in Iberia. It seemed that the armies who marched under the Caliph's banner were going to be victorious, though it would be a long and bitter war. With many of the Ghazi Princes sending their troops to assist the Jihad, the Sultan Orhan saw these next few years as a prime opportunity to expand his dominion. Unfortunately this would mean putting off the Hajj until after the Jihad, though he was certain Allah would understand. Unfortunately though, many of the prominent members of the Sultan's court felt that the Hajj should be a priority for any great and pious ruler. This discontent bubbled away unnoticed by the Sultan, who dedicated his days to planning the invasion of Smyrna and his nights to his Harem. This soon paid off with the news that his first wife, the noble Nilufer was declared pregnant on the 14th of March.
However in the next month the Sultan received terrible news. The forces of Christendom had united together to counter the Sultan of Egypt under the leadership of Pope Benedict XI. On the 5th of April, the Pope called on the hordes of unbelievers to come together in a Crusade, to recapture Jerusalem and stem the advance of the good Muslim Jihad in Iberia. Allah willings, these infidels can be driven back.
On the 13th of April Sultan Orhan received a letter from his Grand Vizier. It informed the Sultan that the people of Smyrna had been persuaded to declare that Orhan was their rightful Bey. However his actions had been expensive and his tactics considered dishonourable in the eyes of the petty Ghazi Emirates. This was not important to the Sultan though, who now had his casus belli to annex one of the petty Ghazi Emirates. The move had almost bankrupted the Sultan though, so war would still be many months away. This then was the perfect time for Sultan Orhan to eliminate decadent members of his dynasty, such as his cousin Suleyman and uncle Gunduz. The Janissaries of the Sultan's personal guard were dispatched to Palaeokastron to arrest the decadent fools. The Janissaries rode through the night for three days, laying in wait until the morning of the 17th to seize their targets. As dawn broke, the Sultan's Janissaries stormed the home of Gunduz and Suleyman, dispatching their guards and killing their servants. Unfortunately for the Sultan, only Gunduz was at the house, Suleyman had reportedly spent the night at a whore house. Once Suleyman heard of the attack on his household, he fled to Dorylaion to continue his decadent ways. When the Sultan Orhan heard of the failure to capture the two men he was furious, though not at his Janissaries but at the Bey of Dorylaion who offered Suleyman shelter. On the 17th, Orhan vowed to punish the Bey and his cousin Suleyman.
looks an interesting start. For your images, you're better off signing up with one of the free hosting sites - photobucket/image shack et al. The 'upload' function on these forums isn't really designed to be used for regular transfers of images
if you're not sure check out the AARland FAQ, a link is in my signature