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Crimson Drakon

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Al-Iqritiya-the Saracens of Crete: A Hafsid Old Gods AAR
The_Cretan_Saracens_defeat_the_Byzantines_under_Damianos_zps55a83c92.jpg
The Cretan Saracens defeat the Byzantines under Damianos (Fol. 39v top) from the History of Skylitzes
On the right side of the picture, in Greek, it reads Cretans and on the left side it reads Romans


Hello and welcome to this AAR! This is my first attempt to write an AAR, although I have played quite a few CK2 games, maybe one day their story will be told here!

This tale concerns the Emirate of Krete under the Hafsid Dynasty, which historically came from Andalusia after being expelled as a consequence of an uprising. Some people left en masse and at first conquered Alexandria, to then being ousted to the island of Crete to the north in the Mediterranean.

I hope you like this AAR and a warning; English is not my native language!

Table of Contents:

Chapter 1: The Successor of Al-Iqritish(the Cretan)
Chapter 2: Umar II the Ibadi
Chapter 3: Emir Ahmad – the man who enjoyed life the most – part 1/ the denial of the Ibadi faith, the decadent lifestyle and the envious Emirs’ Game of Thrones
Chapter 3: Emir Ahmad – the man who enjoyed life the most – part 2/ the holy war of Aleppo and the final years.
Interlude:The caravansaray of Tripoli
Chapter 4: Emir Umar the III the Warrior Poet
Chapter 5: Emir Ahmad II the Invader of Greece
Chapter 6 : The Foundation of the Hafsid Sultanate of Syria – The Subjugation of the Romans
Chapter 7: The fall of Constantinople, the subsequent mass conversions and the resurgence of an old belief
Chapter 8: The Decadence of the Hafsid Caliphate- The struggle for restoration – The boy in the golden cage- The Hafsid Dichotomy
Chapter 9: Sultan Ashraf Hafsid the Great
Chapter 10: The first Nestorian Hafsid Sultans- The Christianization of the Hafsid Sultanate- The Holy War for Jerusalem
Chapter 11: Sultan Ashraf II the Blessed Hafsid- The Holy Warrior
Chapter 12: Saint Thomas's Dream
Chapter 13: Armageddon
Epilogue: The Messalian Light Bringers – The Preparation for the End of the World
 
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Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 1: The Successor of Al-Iqritish(the Cretan)

On his 57th year of his life, Emir Shuyab of Al- Iqritiya stood and gazed from the balcony of his castle the endless sea.

Many many years ago his father conquered this island from the loose control of the Romans on a desperate flight of adventure from his homeland: Andalusia. At first, the exiles captured the city of Alexandria but it was obvious that they could not make their base on a Muslim held domain and so they set sail to the north.

Few against many, his father in an effort to instill fear and desperation to his fighters, he burned every ship they came with and made haste to annex the most important centers of administration of the island, as it was obvious that a handful of Andalusians could not subjugate every single mountain village that existed.

And so with years, his father elected that a new stronghold named Al- Khandaq would be erected as to fortify the Saracen position better. Indeed this new castle served most prominently to the cause of the Emirs and strengthened their position. However, their reign upon Crete would always be dubious if the threat of the Roman Basileus was present. To this end, “gifts” and envoys declaring their good will to Nova Roma- Constantinople would always come and go.
But all what was foretold had been father’s work. What had Emir Shuyab achieved for his dynasty?

hafsid_shuayb_1_zpsad5c4c7c.jpg


He was envious by nature, fearing the past would dwarf his contribution both to his domain and to Islam, with which he had a loose connection as a detached priest.

A knock came from the door, and the palace guards proclaimed it was his Grand Vizier, requesting an audience.

The sound broke his chain of thoughts and with a loud voice, he allowed entry.

“Salaam, my most noble Emir, radiant star of the Aegean, most holy of…”

“Get on with it, what is it that you wish?” the Emir cut him off from his usual flatteries, probably picked up from the vast time spend on the court of the Roman Basileus

“My great Emir, I wish to inform you that the Roman Basileus, Basileios bring us his good will and reminds us of our annual gift of loyalty towards his person. He is preoccupied with defending the island of Sicily from the attack of the Sultan of al-Ifriqiya..sadly our brothers in faith have miscalculated and the Byzantine Fleet will be upon them soon enough…”

The Emir frowned, for he knew that when the targets of the Basileia Romaion ended, then it would be his turn, whether he gave gifts and flattered the Roman Basileus or not. One by one he saw, the independent Emirs would bow down once again into the domain of the Roman Empire and the Caliph would do nothing but spend his time eating grapes and squabble with his brothers.

His southern neighbors were not better, the Tulunids, for they although they had military strength, their lack of a fighting navy would offer no aid in case the Romans attacked Crete…

..and that was it..an island without a navy, was an obvious joke.

“Grand Vizier, continue your work into influencing the paragons of the Roman court. Send them our renewed good will. Meanwhile, send word to our Steward to begin the construction of naval shipyard facilities, from the plans our spymaster managed to obtain while you were occupying their Admiral…”

“…my Emir, new ships? Surely your elderly father would not have approved…”

“…I do not care what he would have approved or not, first he is not here anymore, secondly have you imagined what would happen if we do not have ships, in the worst case the Roman Basileus decides to slaughter all our Andalusian brethren and puts us at his sword? Of course not, you have not thought about it. Go then, and spare me the advice!!”

The Grand Vizier bowed his head low and left the room, without turning his back to the Emir.

“Father” he thought “ I’ll have you now. I shall build a navy and with that, not only the Andalusians wont flee, but in fact, we shall conquer the Aegean and beyond!!”

Year 872 of the Christians, Crete

Time passed by and the Emir rebuilt the naval shipyards, both at Al- Khandaq and at the new Mosque at the town the Christians call “Agios Nikolaos”. New ships with the banner of the dynasty sailed the Aegean, for trade and, as rumored, piracy.

The Emir took 4 wives and was blessed with more children.

In fact with time the Emir changed. He took a pilgrimage to Mecca which elevated him in the eyes of his fellow Muslims and became prideful of his accomplishments. In the chronicles of history he was now known as the Proud, in homage to his character.

He became charitable and temperate to those who would seek his mercy. There were rumors though that he was also a hedonist, as a result of his decision to have more wives than it was needed for his status.

However, on a rainy day in Crete, the Emir mistook a step on the marble staircase, hurting his head and rendering him incapable to rule.

hafsid_shuayb_2_zps722e389a.jpg


His son Umar, became Regent of the Emirate of Krete for one year, till his father passed his spirit after lying comatose in bed.
His loss was felt and there was mourning on the Andalusian quarters of the island. Otherwise, the Greeks could not care any less.

hafsid_shuayb_3_zpsffaaeec7.jpg
 
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DensleyBlair

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I'm intrigued by your choice of starting position, and am equally looking forward to seeing where you take the Hafsids. Consider me subscribed. :)
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 2: Umar II the Ibadi

Year 915 of the Christians

“My Emir? Although it does not befit the position of a mere scribe to question your rule of judgment but shall we truly write this phrase into the chronicle of your father the Emir Umar II the…”

“…the Ibadi?...the Cruel?... is that what you wish to write? Gossip of the common folk who envy our glorious position? Don’t anger me scribe or I will call the guards to drag you to the Qadi for treason! Do you hear?!”

The scribe averted his eyes from the aged yet filled with wroth Emir and focused on the papyrus before him.

“Yes my lord..I am sorry…so we shall write the..”

“…Emir Umar II the Resourceful. Yes that he was indeed…”

hafsid_umar2_1.jpg


A posthumous painting of the Emir Umar II, commonly known as the Cruel and the Ibadi


The Emir laughed on his own while he seemed lost in memory.

“Oh don’t you remember that prank he pulled on uncle Muhammad ,when he disobeyed his command to stop that slothful lifestyle he was following? He came at night on his bedroom and who knows what happened…the whole palace was filled with Uncle screaming like a little girl and promising to recant his way of life!! Marvelous!”

hafsid_umar2_2.jpg


“Or that “Law of Silence” he enacted when people stood by his presence? Not a single murmur was heard or else it was off to the dungeons for the lawbreaker!”

hafsid_umar2_3.jpg


I should have kept that law myself…but everything Umar had established I had to amend to keep order on the island.

“Put that quill down scribe…we shall continue another day.”

“Yes my honorable Emir, as you command Your Eminence” said the scribe and with his eyes following the floor, he left with discretion.

As soon as the scribe left, the Emir with much difficulty stood from his sick- bed and opened a locked drawer. Inside was a red small book, weather-worn.

“And that is how it begun…” the Emir whispered and read once again Emir Umar II’s real legacy.

7 September 880

hafsid_umar2_4.jpg


I ponder upon the texts from the Holy Book that my Imam had brought me. I cannot decide whether he is a madman or an enlightened visionary.

Actually I cannot decide whether this pretext can serve me expand the Emirate on to my decadent neighbors, or I should stay quiet and enjoy life as it is…

…my worthless Grand Vizier all he does is flatter and soothe the Roman Basileus but how long? Already two generations of servitude I can count, will I be remembered as a servant of the Basileus as well? At least he has not called me to Constantinople to tend his stables or such…

… It is decided! I shall embrace the Ibadi faith and expand upon my former Sunni brothers! May the Heavens have mercy on my soul!

*a date illegible*

I am recovering from my sickness and I feel as I could eat an entire horse on my own, as I did before this illness! That food they serve on this campaign is terrible..I shall hang the cook if he poisons me again with something inedible..maybe I was poisoned?


hafsid_umar2_5.jpg


In other words, my campaign against that Greek eunuch is going well! My Court Imam called a holy war against the decadence and tyranny of the independent Greek Sunni eunuch named Kantakouzenos, who broke off from the Caliph when the latter decided to have another eunuch to tend to his needs.


hafsid_umar2_6.jpg


The lands of Beirut and Sur shall now be Hafsid heritage. Who knows, with these Ibadi warriors from all over the protesting Muslim world, I may one day be crowned Sultan!

7 July 890

hafsid_umar2_7.jpg


Woe unto me! My Court Imam was trampled down by these unruly Greeks, when he began spreading the word of the Ibadi faith! They would not renounce their Christian faith, well, let them pay then the taxes I have set…I am getting richer.

But it fills my heart with sorrow, for without this man, how can I now bring the protesters of the world to my flock? And what is worse, both the Caliph and the Sultan of Egypt are getting stronger..I should examine my moves.

16 April 893

Oh joyous day, I was given a present from a Turkish Sheikh named Berkan, the servants say it was an elaborate caftan and it was given to me as a recognition of my superior skills in statecraft and military prowess! I shall wear it on the afternoon and bask in splendor!

There was no entry after that day…


hafsid_umar2_end.jpg
 
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DensleyBlair

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'Resourceful' is definitely one way of putting it. Those traits seem as many as they are varied – and God knows Umar would have been a very interesting figure for them. His reign seemed competent enough, though I can't help but feel that the Hafsids will soon have to look beyond their border if they want to survive and thrive.

If Umar is later known as 'the Ibadi', am I to take it also that the heresy hasn't survived within the family?
 

Crimson Drakon

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'Resourceful' is definitely one way of putting it. Those traits seem as many as they are varied – and God knows Umar would have been a very interesting figure for them. His reign seemed competent enough, though I can't help but feel that the Hafsids will soon have to look beyond their border if they want to survive and thrive.

If Umar is later known as 'the Ibadi', am I to take it also that the heresy hasn't survived within the family?
Firstly, thank you for your subscription to the thread!

Yes, Umar did have his way towards bringing his goals to completion, in fact he persuaded his brother not once, but twice to steer away from the path of vice and decadence :)

As of your guess.. you will find out on the next chapter, I promise ;)

Well, this is certainly an intriguing start. Hopefully the Byzantines and the Caliph won't give you too much trouble before you can expand a bit further.
Thank you for your comment, so far the Byzantines are at bay with their gifts and diplomacy, but they eat away the Muslim world in their de jure area bit by bit... Basileios Makedon (Trademark) feature :)

Well the Caliph so far was fighting with his brothers most of the time, and not only on words, but it seems that too will end and some Abbasid Caliph with good quality will strengthen their stand against Byzantium (and me?)
 

alscon

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Hafsids! An interesting place to start, dangerous with the shadow of the ERE looming...
Umar II's diary certainly was an entertaining read.

Sadly you could not be able to hold on to your heresy, if he is known as 'the Ibadi'.

And in the last picture you have already sworn fealty to the Caliph.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Hafsids! An interesting place to start, dangerous with the shadow of the ERE looming...
Umar II's diary certainly was an entertaining read.

Sadly you could not be able to hold on to your heresy, if he is known as 'the Ibadi'.

And in the last picture you have already sworn fealty to the Caliph.
Thanks!

Sadly I could not keep at the moment the Ibadi faith, as intriguing it was, it is enough to be on the eye cornern of the ERE, I wouldnt want the Sultan of Egypt or the Caliph to overrun me too :) But who knows in the future!

And as of my little secret, it shall be revealed in the next chapter without further delay! :)
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 3: Emir Ahmad – the man who enjoyed life the most – part 1/ the denial of the Ibadi faith, the decadent lifestyle and the envious Emirs’ Game of Thrones



Emir Ahmad- a mastermind strategist marshalling the armies of the Caliph but decadent to the core... and Cruel as usual



..maybe ordering the execution of one of his many wives was the reason for this nickname? According to harem intrigue, in a quest to become the first wife, she procured a poison to “remove” from the way the Emir’s lawful first wife. When caught in the act, Emir Ahmad, pursuing his idea of justice, forced her to drink the vial herself, and end her life on her own.


Emir Ahmad began his ascension to the throne of being Emir of Krete and Sheikh of Sur and Beirut. Back then, he was raised with the principles of the Ibadi faith, which had all but died out from the Muslim world. The bastion of the Ibadi, the Rustamid in Africa had fallen to the Sultan of Africa and the Umayyad Sultan respectively, rendering him the only existing independent Ibadi state.

For a time he believed in his cause. He had read most of the holy texts and actually believed that one day, he may even set up anew the Ibadi Caliphate.

But who would have recognized him? He was neither Sayyid nor Mirza. A son of his perhaps? Yes…but to make such an heir, he needed to marry a Princess. Of the Caliph? Of the Andalusian Sultan from which they ran off? Of the Shia Idrisid?
And to that answer, Emir Umar the II had foreseen: he betrothed him before he turned Ibadi and with the law of betrothal there was no annulment and so the marriage was concluded….

….but not complete, as the bride refused to be even near the presence of the Ibadi Emir. She wore her veil as tight as she could and dodged the wroth tantrums the Emir threw at her. She knew that the Emir could not touch a hair of her, for her blood was Abbasid, and she carried sacred blood in her.


A later painting of one of the many wives of the Emir, but she was royalty!

“There is only one way you can see my face and I shall become your lawful wife…”

The Emir turned all his attention to her, for she was now his unobtainable goal.

“You will renounce being an Ibadi. You will arrive at the palace of the Caliph in front of the whole world, your eyes lowered and shall bow and hold lightly the lower fabric near the shoes of the Caliph, you shall bring it to your forehead and publicly denounce what your father had passed you down in faith…”

The Emir was struck by anger and was about to harm Shokouh. Before though he was ready to express his wroth, she quickly completed her phrase

“…and I shall comment your actions to the Caliph and vouch for your sincerity. You will be spared beheading and accepted back to his flock of believers, and shall ensure your protection from any foes that dare beharm you. For I am royalty and of his blood. A disgrace upon you, is a disgrace upon the Caliph himself through me. “

He saw the jewel that shone at that moment. Of course he would be humiliated…but he would also be safe. And his domain would be intact, with the security of the protection of the Caliphate no less.

“ I will think about it, woman. In the meantime… make yourself at home”

And so it was that on a holy day of Islam, the Emir of Krete did as his wife had told him and humbled himself before the Caliph, renouncing three times the Ibadi faith. But the Caliph did not immediately keep his end of the bargain, thinking that providing him the mercy of not executing him for his betrayal was enough of a gesture of philanthropy.

The Emir, twice being lowered in prestige, first from returning to the parent religion and secondly for not being immediately accepted into the protection of the Caliph, decided to find other ways to restore his fallen status.

Thus he attacked the independent Emir of Tripoli, who was also beset upon by the Doux of Antioch, a sovereign Doux not in the service of the Empire.

In a few years, he managed to conquer Tripoli and defeat the remnant of the rival Emir’s army.




The other sheikhdoms would soon follow, and Emir Ahmad became the Emir of Tripoli as well, adding face to his lost status.

These victories gave the Emir Ahmad a sense of security on his own and as the Head of his Dynasty, he was allowed to do as he wished…

…this of course gave rumors upon the populace, especially of the newly conquered Levantine Muslim ones who were more sensitive in their matters of faith.

In fact, one day as the Emir was strolling incognito the streets of Tripoli, he overheard the discussion of a few merchants:

“….And now our taxes go to Emir Ahmad, yet we have not seen even a road ditch being covered with dirt…they all go to the coffers in Crete….”

“…if they went there it would have been good, I have a feeling he uses our taxes to shower his favorite ones and his wives, also to feed his belly like his father the Ibadi before him…”

“..when was the last time he observed Ramadan..we cannot even remember!”

They laughed, but soon their laughter became cold when they saw the Emir, revealing his incognito identity and staring them with anger...



Peasant talk, is it bad to enjoy life when you can?

Despite the rumors of his decadent way of living, the Caliph a few years later accepted his oath of allegiance.




The Caliph bestowed the honor to Emir Ahmad to be the Marshal of the Caliphate. Of course he accepted, he would have all the opportunity to dwell in the exotic lifestyle of the capital!

Time passed by and the Emir grew his personal domain, at the expense of independent Sunni sheiks but also against the Sultan of Egypt, who was now an Abbasid and also Emir of Baghdad. Since he was just a boy and he already faced internal struggles, the Emir took the opportunity and seized lands belonging to him in the Syrian region.

The Caliph was so pleased with Emir Ahmad’s progress, that he bestowed to Ahmad’s son, Umar, a most precious gift: he was made Emir of Galilee at the age of 8!



But not all was a path of roses for the Emir Ahmad, who slowly regained his lost prestige by bringing lands into the Caliphate and also from his grandiose way of life.

In the darkest corners of the Caliphate, there were envious Emirs and Sheikhs who did not like that Andalusian upstart. They plotted and schemed to remove the title of Emir of Tripoli from it’s decadent holder. The spark of this flame was given when a vassal of his in the area of Tripoli refused to stop participating in this treachery and avoided his capture from the guards of Emir Ahmad.






With his wealth, the Emir hired mercenaries in addition to his forces to hold back this plan from fruition. The winds were favorable and he thought of a paralyzing stratagem: he would bring the fight to the mastermind of this plan, the Emir Zakariyah of Damietta himself



Emir Ahmad besieged the offender’s domain and in the process acquired much loot. The war was concluded with the Emir of Krete and Tripoli’s victory, and the returning ransom of the scheming rival Emir to his family.
Meanwhile, in the heart of the Caliphate, Shia practitioners in hiding rebelled and aimed to acquire the Sultanate of Mesopotamia:



Resistance was futile


What was worse, only a few years later, another plot took place to overthrow Ahmad as the Emir of Tripoli



This time, the new plot had even more participants, not in defense of Emir Ahmad, and so the Emir had to settle for a white peace…

…for he had other plans to fulfill than fight petty envious supposed “brothers” in faith. He had also to show the Muslim world that he was devout and following the true faith. And the timing could not have been better, when the Roman Emperor Leon the VI had in the meantime, declared a Christian Holy War to acquire the former Duchy of Aleppo and protect the Orthodox population.



Saracens and Romans fight near the Sheikdom of Asas

Emir Ahmad would launch a full scale holy war on his own against the Doux of Antioch!



Roman soldiers spoiling the lands of Aleppo, while the Emir Ahmad(on the left) laid war on the holy town of the Orthodox, Antioch




A few months later, Antioch was Muslim and in the grasp of the Emir of Krete and Tripoli.

“I have lived such interesting times! But now I am infirm and old, yet still I feel as I have so much to do… a few years back the Romans removed from the Caliph the Emirate of Aleppo, and with it my relative in law- the Emir. Should we let this go by lightly?”

“And what is worse, this stroke was blown by a woman. A Roman Empress!! The Emperor Leon the VI perished to Pneumonia and the mighty Emperor Basileios was slain by my father in law Caliph Idris in an epic battle!”





The Emir pondered on his own, then shouted for the guards to summon his master of spies.

The master of spies, a silent and glooming man, bowed in the presence of the Emir then awaited his instructions.

“You are to go to Constantinople once again and gather information about what happens in the Roman court, now that the rumor of Leon the VI was grasped by death. You are to report directly to my person of your findings…you are dismissed!”
 
Last edited:

DensleyBlair

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Well, Ahmed's reign seems to be going swimmingly – and the question of the Ibadi heresy was certainly put to rest. For now at least. That was a bit of luck having your heir created as Emir of Galilee. I've never had an heir given a title, though I have had active characters honoured with dukedoms and such. Hopefully it's auspicious, in any case.
 

Crimson Drakon

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That was a bit of luck having your heir created as Emir of Galilee. I've never had an heir given a title, though I have had active characters honoured with dukedoms and such. Hopefully it's auspicious, in any case.
The only logical explanation I can give to it, is this: There was no holder for the Emir title, and I had given to my heir the Counties of Sur and Beirut. Probably the AI to remove them from my vassalage, since those areas are not de jure mine, the AI gave the Duchy title , irrespective whether the holder was my heir or not..but it was a nice rp twist :)

Cant explain it otherwise
 

Specialist290

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Bowing in supplication before the Caliph was probably a sound move for Ahmad in the long term, however much it must have rankled. It certainly hasn't slowed down Crete's expansionistic adventures any, I see.

Still, the Byzantines are making some rather worrisome inroads into the Caliph's realm. How long shall it be before their Empress starts eying Antioch as her next prize, I wonder?
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 3: Emir Ahmad – the man who enjoyed life the most – part 2/ the holy war of Aleppo and the final years.​

A typical July noon in Krete, the weather was intolerably hot and everyone had withdrawn to their homes as to avoid the direct scorching sunlight. The silence was broken by the thundering galloping of a horse, with a hooded man riding with frenzy towards the castle of the Emir.

He stopped only to show his insignia of recognition and stormed the castle, heading directly to the Emir’s palace chamber.

“Inform the Emir! Inform the Emir!”

The Emir woke from his sleep, grumpy and aching from being old.


“This better be good…for all of your heads’ sake!!”

The spymaster bowed with respect and immediately gave a scroll which appeared to be a map to the Emir, and began talking with haste



“The Roman Empire has fallen in disarray!! A revolt has broken out, demanding for the Basilisa to step down from rule and hand it over! Meanwhile the marriage of the Basilisa to a near relative of the House of Makedon has further given wind to the flame, half the empire is in rebellion!!”



The Emir inspected the map… without a doubt, this was an opportunity to expand against the Roman Empire. But to which direction?

The Aegean Islands, which were near the Emirate? The Duchy of Achaia, which was as well near and had a substantial amount of wealth? Or perhaps the Duchy of Samos, which in addition to the rich county of Smyrna, also was considered a holy site of the Orthodox creed?

Then again, the ambitions of the Emir were boundless. Just a border away from his new conquests into the Syrian land(which traded quite much with Krete), was the Duchy of Aleppo, held by non other but the Basileus Consort Amphilohios. If Aleppo was part of the domain of the Hafsids, they could in the future, even the near one, to name themselves Sultans, a considerable elevation from being an Emir.

“I like the sound of Sultan Ahmad…it could even put an end to all those intrigue schemes which wish to remove me from my control of the Syrian lands. I would be by law now the rightful owner of these lands and no one would doubt me furthermore…it is settled! The lands of Aleppo shall fall to my might!”



“Summon my relatives in law and bid them to aid in our quest to remove the Christians from the Syrian lands!”

The master of spies nodded and was quick to deliver the message to the Grand Vizier, who in turn issued the messengers to go across the borders of the Caliphate and ask the hand against the enemies of faith.



Warriors from the lands near Persia, agreed to Emir Ahmad’s request, travelling to Aleppo


The plan was set in motion and the Saracen armies of the Emir and his allies were ready to strike Homs, Hama and the other nearby counties.

But as the siege was going well, an exhausted messenger arrived, bearing news.

“My Emir, most worthy one…I invoke the law of messengers and ask of your mercy…” the messenger with fear said, knowing the wrothful nature of the Emir.

The Emir gave him a dark look…without muttering a word, he awaited what news the messenger brought.

“I fear the rebellion has ended. The rebels, witnessing the invasion of enemies of their faith, decided to put down their arms and unite with that of the Basilisa, in exchange of pardon. The Basilisa was quick to comply, and already thousands more of Imperial troops are upon us.”

The Emir, despite his age, shook with anger and with a motion of his arm, threw down all the utensils in the tent to the ground…

A guard murmured

“May the Prophet save us…we are doomed..”



A year later, with a few skirmishes happening in the lands near Aleppo, the Emir was forced to sign a humiliating peace treaty, giving war damages to the Basileus now, since in the meantime the Basilisa was forced to abdicate in favor of her husband, Roman-Byzantine politics. The war damages accounted for an extravagant amount, which bankrupted the Emir and plunged his lands into darkness.




His decadent rule, and now this ill turn of events, gave rise to highway band robbers, thieves’ guilds, smuggler rings and whatever invention of crime could be thought… he was now one of the most notorious rulers in the Caliphate.

In fact, such was his desperation, or perhaps malcontent, that he actually thought to pay the criminals to move elsewhere and stop their activities



Time passed again, obviously with no intent of expansion but to pay those from whom he borrowed to repay the Basileus, mainly Jewish merchants, the senile years of Emir Ahmad caught up with him and one day, he did not wake from his sleep nor talk anymore. Despite that, the court medic could hear his heart beat and so deemed the Emir incapable to rule, but alive.



A Regent was placed to take care of the matters of the court, and do his best to bring a positive sum to the Emirate treasury. Around those years, the Grand Vizier died, who was Hafsid as well and an uncle of the Emir Ahmad. He was notoriously known as decadent in the Muslim world as well, and lacking a wife and children, he was mourned by few.

9 March 922 of the Christians

The Regent of the Hafsid Emirate, sprawling from Krete to Tripoli and the Sheikdoms of Antioch, Iskandarun and else, was again put into a dilemma of opportunity. Some years ago, with much sacrifices and austerity measures, the Emirate had a positive flow and intelligence reports proclaimed that the Roman Empire once again was split. The Basileus fought with his wife, the Basilisa who was before the sole Empress of the Romans and not Consort, this time in a fight to reverse the roles once again and the Basileus Amphilohios to hold a decoratory role near his wife, and she to hold the reigns of the Empire.

What changed the facts from last time was that now, it was not some upstart Doux who wished to pass fewer laws or some other complaint. This time Emperors fought, and there was much bad blood over their relationship status, despite their marriage. This revolt, supposedly could last further more.

“Inform the Rightful Heir, Emir Umar of Galilee, that we shall march against the Romans, with his agreement, in a second holy war to reclaim Aleppo!! Call also upon those who cherished the memory of the Emir to support us in our claim!!”



And so the second Holy War for Aleppo was called upon, with hopes it would not end an utter disaster


Preparations were under way, and the fact that the Basileus had called upon war to the Caliphate also helped to split his troops into two fights. The troops were mustered, minor skirmishes were held but alas…on a fateful day…the court medic nodded gravely and signed what everyone expected to happen sooner or later…

 

alscon

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Bad luck for Ahmad, not being able to profit from the civil war. At least he gets to ride with the white Camels now. Umar has Galilee, but has lost Antioch. Will he be able to continue the cruel legacy and expand Hafsid territory once more?

Also, I liked the message boxes in the last screens: Ahmad's great martial ability as incapable to execute the highway robbers and his wife fleeing Crete after his death. Surely the Caliph's court is better then Crete, although the temperature may be the same.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Bowing in supplication before the Caliph was probably a sound move for Ahmad in the long term, however much it must have rankled. It certainly hasn't slowed down Crete's expansionistic adventures any, I see.

Still, the Byzantines are making some rather worrisome inroads into the Caliph's realm. How long shall it be before their Empress starts eying Antioch as her next prize, I wonder?
For the moment, the Empress isn't eyeing Antioch... but in reverse to the gift of the Emirate of Galilee to the heir of Ahmad, the Caliph created the Emirate title and gifted it to one of the Hafsid Sheikh relatives.., thus prying it away from the immediate hands of the Hafsid Cretan rulers. Ah well, we cant have everything :)

Bad luck for Ahmad, not being able to profit from the civil war. At least he gets to ride with the white Camels now. Umar has Galilee, but has lost Antioch. Will he be able to continue the cruel legacy and expand Hafsid territory once more?

Also, I liked the message boxes in the last screens: Ahmad's great martial ability as incapable to execute the highway robbers and his wife fleeing Crete after his death. Surely the Caliph's court is better then Crete, although the temperature may be the same.
As for the first question: who knows, so far he has inherited a holy war with the Byzantine Empire...who knows if the rebellion will last and the Imperial couple reconcile and dont take their family matters into the field of war :D

As of the message boxes, yes Ahmad probably fooled everyone and went into crime fighting at night, while at day he was sleeping :D Maybe with the regency overhaul, these kind of message boxes will be corrected, or not fire at all..

One is certain though: the decadence was way lower at the Caliph's court than at the Hafsid one..70%.. Ahmad and his uncle sure did give a bad name to the dynasty

Thanks for your interest in this AAR! :)

It's a shame to see Ahmad's ambitions dashed so utterly like that, as well as having his very mind itself taken from him in his last days. Let's hope Umar can avenge his father and claim Syria for himself.
The revolt looked prominent enough, the rebels had about 2/3 of the Byzantine Army while the Empress had the Imperial Retinue and some levies...it was fleeing for life when the Empire regained its composition quickly

It would have been terrible from one hand to have such riches and a stable realm overall( despite the decadence) then drain it down to the ground with the enormous war repayment..

Thanks for following!
 

Crimson Drakon

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Interlude: The caravansaray of Tripoli

In a caravansaray along the trade road of Tripoli, a seedy pair of hooded men talked in quiet murmur and hidden grins. They split gold discretely and a dagger waived to and from pointing direction, as for to prevent a cheat in the share. There was honor amongst thieves after all


“Hehehe, look at all this gold we got from the late Emir…we closed the Thieves’ Guild , only to reopen it when the Regent took over..hahaha..”

“Yes, and we broke into the Regent’s house and stole that nice vase we gave to the fence..Quite a loot..I tell you if his son Umar the III of his name is of the same stock we shall grow rich in this decadent, opulent city… trade blooms and so does our purses…”

“Well I got myself an idea…why don’t we, ah..take a peek at the mausoleum of the late Emir..maybe we find a ring or two..a gem or something..”

The men eyed the thief who proposed the grave robbery

“We don’t do that stuff… all do their job, but we are made for better ones. Besides, remember Alim and his lackeys? They hang now by the gate and not in good composition…”

The others let a loud roar from the black humor, silencing the grave-robber wannabe.

“Besides…Emir Ahmad may still live in there and wait for us from the dead to take us with him…or even his daughter might hang out there and take us into the Eternal Hell.. “





“A nice face but a creepy one..wouldn’t want her for my first wife, even if they paid me”

“You talk too much…where will we hit now?”

They all closed in together in a circle and looked at a map.

“After our glorious Emir signed that hasty peace treaty with the Roman Basileus, the lands of Aleppo are up for plunder…whatever loot has been left, since the Emir’s troops took much from the siege of towns and Christian churches… “



“That was quite a glorious victory, not a sword clashed, and the Romans fought one another to enthrone husband Makedon or wife Makedon…imagine what would have happened if our wives revolted too!”

The thief smacked the back of the head of the one who talked.

“I SAID.. you talk too much…”

“Well then, we still haven’t decided where to…”

Suddenly the door breaks open and a good number of guardsmen enter running with their full panoply of war. They surround the table of the thieves and the captain marched in, a tall lone feather hanging upon his helm. He opened up a scroll and began reading

“By order of our illustrious Emir Umar the III of his name, may he live long and prosper, you are accused of robbery,assault,high treason and other numerous crimes which cannot be written. As captain and judge of this area, your sentence is to be carried out immediately! Guards, seize these men!!”

Before they had time to react, the guards were upon them and what followed was utter chaos…

…those few who managed not to perish in the caravansaray fight, were executed
 

alscon

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There is no honour under thieves. Paid to leave, but returning at the first occasion.

But the spawn of shaytan in a woman... when I got that event with a patrician daughter, I immediately murdered her. I don't know, do Muslim women eliminate their kin as demons too? Could be game over then sooner then you think.
 

Crimson Drakon

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Chapter 4: Emir Umar the III the Warrior Poet



How can one respect the ruler, if his dynasty lies astray? How can he not rebel, if his kinsmen to their head of dynasty not obey?







How can he expect to fight with vigor to support a state so decadent? He would rather flee and let make without him those in charge who are maleficent



Then the ruler had to mercenaries to rely, who swore to no Cross nor Moon, but gold paid exactly at noon

And would he let the state bankrupt as before? So robbers and thieves to gather and plunder his subjects to the core? But no, he looked upon his family tree which sprouted many branches and leaves…





..and a suspected decadent branch, prideful, lustful and shameful to the office of Court Imam, which had no male seed…




…it indulged in wine, which was forbidden to our faith, and it took him to the grave.



As I was fighting , against the slave army of the Sultan of Egypt, an arrow crossed my ear and made me dizzy. A scimitar was about to cut off my head, so I galloped away, better red from embarrassment than dead

But when I went to Mecca, and talked to an old man he said to me :



So how should now prove to the world, that I am a valiant foe? Yes I shall find that snake in court who has caused me much woe







My liege did not believe his ears with my righteous cry, so I have had a better plan for him by my sword to lie





Again my plan was foiled , ruined by court intrigue I am sure, I shall now unleash my fury upon my household once more!





But wait, what does my spymaster tell me, again an ambitious vassal wants to topple me off…?





…so I shall send him off, with his undergarments and upon a donkey and nothing more



Another day, when I was eating dates, I heard cries from the kitchen, was the roast lamb ablaze?

It seems the boy emperor, which was the settlement between his parents on who to rule, wanted to send me to the afterworld too soon.

Why he did such a depraved act? Well, he had his reasons I guess, my spymaster send an assassin against his favorite warrior teacher, who is no more, but that fool agent spoke and let his tongue let them know.

Ah well, who cared, because now we have a war at hand, the Caliph invades Armenia and I am by his side…




The minor skirmish was over, and we rode straight to Turbessel, to fight the infidel Romans










The Caliph was victorious, it was a wonder for our faith!! The Romans all lied dead, crippled and dismayed!!

And now I shall commence the plan for years I hatched, I shall invade Greece and seat on Constantinople itself and I shall be unmatched!!





But wait, what is this rash which always itches upon my hands and does not let me write with ease, I should call to my doctor, my head feels most ill..