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The Kingmaker

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THE CHRONICLES OF THE GOLDEN CROSS
An After-Action Report of the Kingdom of Jerusalem



Table of Contents:

A Prologue to Glory: The Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1186
Godfrey I (1099-1100)
Baldwin I (1100-1118)
Baldwin II (1118-1131)
Fulk and Melisende (1131-1143)
Baldwin III (1143-1162)
Amalric I (1162-1174)
Baldwin IV, the Leper (1174-1185)
Baldwin V (1185-1186)



Guy de Lusignan and Sibylla (1186-1213)
I: Dramatis Personae (1186)
II: First Blood (1186-1187)
III: Impending Doom (1187-1189)
IV: The False Emperor and False Friends (1189-1191)
V: A Neighbor in Need is a Vassal Indeed (1191-1193)
VI: Enter the Lionheart (1193-1196)
VII: All's Fair in Love and War (1197-1203)
VIII: Matters of Life and Death (1203-1207)
IX: The Calm Before the Storm (1208-1209)
X: Signum Falconis (1209-1211)
XI: Cry Havoc! (1211-1212)
XII: By the Rivers of Babylon (1212-1213)
XIII: The Unlucky Number (1213)



Godfrey II (1213-?)
XIV: Long Live the King! (1213-1214)
XV: The Roaring Lion (1214)
XVI: Man of God (1215)
XVII: Blind Vengeance (1215)
XVIII: The Fourth Crusade? (Coming Soon!)

___________________
Videos:
1. The Battle of Antioch - 1187
2. The Siege of Masyaf - 1187
3. The Storming of Famagusta - 1190
4. The Battle of Caesarea - 1193
5. The Battle of Giza - 1196

___________________
Music:
1. Theme of the Kingdom of Jerusalem
2. Part VIII: Matters of Life and Death
3. Part IX: The Calm Before the Storm
4. Part X: Signum Falconis
5. Part XI: Cry Havoc!
6. Part XII: By the Rivers of Babylon
7. Part XIV: Long Live the King!
8. Part XVI: Man of God

___________________
Miscellaneous:
1. Status quo - Outremer in the Year of Our Lord 1187
2. Map - Seigneuries of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, A.D. 1210
3. Character Gallery - Jerusalem's Next Generation
4. Military Featurette - The Army of Jerusalem in the Reign of King Guy
5. A Glimpse of the Distant Future - 1: Colder Than Ice (1940)
6. Status quo - Summary of the Reign of Guy de Lusignan
7. A Glimpse of the Distant Future - 2: Seas of Blood (1675)​
 
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The Kingmaker

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A PROLOGUE TO GLORY:
The Kingdom of Jerusalem, 1099-1186



Salutations, worthy readers! It is with the greatest humility that I, William of Tyre, do proceed to write this, the Chronicle of the Kings of Jerusalem. I, who was witness to these events, do write the things which I have both heard and seen.

Know then, that in the Year of Our Lord 1095, His Holiness Pope Urban II issued a call to all Christendom to free the Holy Land from the hands of the Infidel. The greatest of all Christian lords and knights answered his call:

Godfrey of Bouillon, Duke of Lower Lorraine
Baldwin of Boulogne, his younger brother
Bohemond of Hauteville, Prince of Taranto
Raymond of St. Gilles, Count of Toulouse

These brave lords and others journeyed to Constantinople, where they pledged to the Byzantine Emperor Alexios Komnenos that they would free the Holy City of Jerusalem from the Turks and the Egyptians. Over the course of many years, they fought across Anatolia and Syria as they headed for Palestine.

Through his skill and treachery, Baldwin managed to obtain for himself the city of Edessa, and became its Count. Bohemond took the city of Antioch and became its Prince.

Godfrey I (1099-1100)

Together, the remaining crusaders sacked Jerusalem on the 15th of July, 1099 in a bloodbath of biblical proportions. The surviving crusaders wished to make Duke Godfrey their king, but he would not wear a crown of gold where Jesus Christ wore a crown of thorns. So it was that Duke Godfrey of Bouillon became Prince of Jerusalem, and Defender of the Holy Sepulchre.

Raymond of St. Gilles wished to have a province of his own, and so besieged the city of Tripoli. Though Raymond died in 1105, his eldest son took the city in 1109, and became the first Count of Tripoli to rule in the city itself.


Godfrey of Bouillon, the man who would not be king.

Baldwin I (1100-1118)

Unfortunately for the crusaders, the saintly Prince Godfrey died of a sudden illness in the Year of Our Lord 1100. His brother, Baldwin of Edessa, had no compunctions about reigning in Jerusalem as king, and so the reign of Baldwin I, King of Jerusalem, began in the Year 1100. Baldwin strengthened the crusaders’ hold on Palestine, capturing many important fortresses. He died of an illness in 1118.


Baldwin I enters the city of Edessa in triumph.

Baldwin II (1118-1131)

Having no sons to succeed him, Baldwin was succeeded by his cousin, Baldwin of Le Bourcq, who had succeeded him as the Count of Edessa when Baldwin I became King. In the year of his succession the Order of the Knights Templar was formed, and Baldwin granted them a wing of his palace to use as their headquarters. (His palace had previously been the al-Aqsa Mosque.) Baldwin II died in 1131.


Baldwin II gives the Knights Templar a new headquarters.

Fulk and Melisende (1131-1143)

Having four daughters but no sons, Baldwin II was succeeded by his eldest daughter Melisende, and her husband Fulk of Anjou. Fulk was already Count of Anjou, which title he left to his son Geoffrey from a previous marriage. (Geoffrey’s son became King Henry II of England, and his son in turn was Richard the Lionhearted, the warrior of great fame, but that is another tale.) From his marriage to Melisende, Fulk had two sons, Baldwin and Amalric. Thus, when Fulk died in a hunting accident in 1143, his eldest son Baldwin succeeded him as king, with his mother Melisende as regent and co-ruler, since she was already queen in her own right.


The marriage of Fulk of Anjou and Melisende of Jerusalem.

Baldwin III (with Melisende, 1143-1153; as sole ruler, 1153-1162)

Ten years later, in 1153, Baldwin threw off his mother’s yoke and caused her to “retire” from the throne. He thus became the sole ruler of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. During his reign, the Muslims retook the city of Edessa, and the Second Crusade began under the leadership of the Kings of France and Germany. Baldwin III died in 1162, one year after his mother. It was rumored that King Baldwin was poisoned.


Baldwin III accepts the surrender of the Egyptian garrison at Ascalon.

Amalric I (1162-1174)

Upon his childless brother’s death, Amalric succeeded to the throne of Jerusalem. Amalric was already married to Lady Agnes, daughter of the last ruling Count of Edessa, but the clergy of the city refused to allow her to be Queen, claiming that she was of dubious moral character. Thus, the marriage was annulled, even though the couple had had two children already: Baldwin and Sibylla. Amalric then married Maria Komnena, a Byzantine princess, who became his new queen.

Amalric fought against the new Sultan of Egypt and Syria, the man called Saladin, and managed to hold his own, but he died of dysentery in 1174, in the midst of the bloody wars.


The marriage of Amalric I and Maria Komnena.

Baldwin IV, the Leper (1174-1185)

Amalric’s son Baldwin succeeded him in 1174. He was a skilled tactician and a great diplomat, but his physical courage and dedication to his kingdom were hampered in every aspect by the terrible disease of leprosy. Saladin respected Baldwin as a great general, and the two might have been able to come to an arrangement of peace, but Baldwin died of leprosy in 1185.


Baldwin the Leper, a noble, tragic sovereign.

Baldwin V (1185-1186)

The young child Baldwin, son of Baldwin IV’s beautiful sister Sibylla and her dead husband William of Montferrat, succeeded his uncle as King of Jerusalem. He was carried to his coronation on the shoulders of the great nobleman Balian of Ibelin. Baldwin V’s short reign was marked by manipulation from his uncle’s powerful nobles, and he died of disease a year later.


Baldwin IV passes away; Baldwin V is crowned King.

Guy and Sibylla (1186-?)

Baldwin V’s mother Sibylla succeeded to the throne as Queen in her own right; she was the daughter of King Amalric. However, she reigned jointly with her second husband, Guy de Lusignan, as King-Consort. Thus did the realm change again in the Year of Our Lord 1186…


King Guy de Lusignan and Queen Sibylla of Jerusalem.
 
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The Kingmaker

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OUTREMER

in the Year of Our Lord 1187


Hail to thee, fair reader! I am Alexander of Safed, and with great regret, I must inform you of the passing of William of Tyre, our noble chronicler. It is now the Year 1187, and the Holy Land has been in the hands of Frankish crusaders for 88 years.

Behold the Map of Outremer, the Land Beyond the Sea!



This is our world.

The Byzantine Empire in the west struggles to reestablish its hegemony over the eastern world, and fight off the Turkish Sultanate of Rüm.

To the south and east, the Sultanate of Egypt and Syria is ruled by the great Saladin. His Egyptians dominate the Middle East.

Farther east, the Abbasids of Mesopotamia and the Khwarazmians of Persia are also strong, though none can yet equal the great Saladin in potency.

To the north, the Armenians and Georgians struggle for their very lives against the ferocious Turks.

And in the center lie the four realms of Outremer. We are the center of the world.



The Kingdom of Jerusalem is largest and strongest, with our new king Guy de Lusignan to reign over us.

North of the Kingdom of Jerusalem is the County of Tripoli, ruled by Raymond of Tiberias. Once independent, this realm now owes fealty to King Guy.

Beyond Tripoli is the Principality of Antioch, ruled by Bohemond, the latest heir of the great crusader of the same name. Though small, they are as yet an independent nation, and call none Lord but Bohemond and God.

To the north and east of Antioch lies the County of Edessa, which once knew a Christian lord but is now again in the hands of the infidels. Perhaps some day crusaders may rule there again.

And thus is the board set. The pieces are moving.
 
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The Kingmaker

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THE REIGN OF GUY DE LUSIGNAN (1186-1213)

Part I: Dramatis Personae


Greetings again, dear reader. Before embarking on the history of King Guy, one great caveat must be made. Aside from the royal demesne, the political power in the Kingdom of Jerusalem resides in the hands of several key nobles. The impact of the decisions made by these individuals on the kingdom cannot be overstated. The future of Jerusalem rests in their hands. So without further ado, I present to you the noble defenders of the Holy City.

The King:


Guy de Lusignan:
King Guy is both impetuous and foolhardy. He can be easily swayed by his advisors, and he is reckless enough to act boldly on bad counsel. Once Guy gets an idea in his head he will follow it through to the end, though the odds be insurmountable. Perhaps Jerusalem needs a king as passionate and courageous as he, or perhaps his reign will be the last that the Holy City will ever see. Only time will tell.

The Queen:


Sibylla of Jerusalem:
Beautiful, devious, and intelligent, Queen Sibylla has nonetheless been the pawn of manipulative kings and conniving barons for years. This has taken its toll on her; Sibylla’s many years and husbands have not been kind to her. Her marriage to Guy was of expedience rather than love, and she perhaps trusts him the least of anyone. Now she uses her considerable influence to ensure that the Holy City -- and her young daughters -- will have a strong future, or even any future at all.

The Barons:
The Count of Tripoli & Prince of Galilee:


Raymond of Tiberias:
In his younger years, the experienced Raymond of Tiberias was marshal of King Baldwin’s armies. Now he maintains his own fiefdoms in the north with care and impunity. He is noble, wise, and just, but neither trusts nor respects King Guy, whom he believes will be the ruin of the kingdom. He supports the King out of loyalty to the title rather than the man, and if Guy were to make a particularly rash decision, Raymond would likely refuse to support him further.

The Prince of Oultrejourdain:


Reynald de Chatillon:
Reynald is a cruel and bloodthirsty warmonger, and craves power above all else. He was formerly Prince of Antioch by virtue of his marriage to the heiress Constance, but was forced to relinquish that title upon her death. Now married to Stephanie, Lady of the Lands-Beyond-Jordan, Reynald lays claim to the lordship of that realm. He may be loyal to King Guy but is unpredictable and dangerous. Reynald desires a new crusade against Saladin, and already plans to provoke the great Sultan to war.

The Count of Jaffa and Ascalon:


Balian of Ibelin:
Lord Balian is dark, brilliant, and reserved. In the past he has played the part of Kingmaker, even carrying the boy-king Baldwin V on his shoulders to his coronation. Now he rules justly in the southern fiefdoms, observing events with a keen eye. The consummate pragmatist, Balian shares Count Raymond’s reservations about King Guy, but is perhaps less likely to rebel. Whether his loyalty will endure in future remains to be seen. His true motivations are his own.

The Nemesis:


Salah al-Dīn Yusuf ibn Ayyub:
Despite being a Muslim, Saladin has garnered a reputation among the Franks as the paragon of chivalry. In his youth he served Nur al-Din, the Lord of Mosul and Aleppo, but upon that man’s death, Saladin decided to take the fate of the Near East into his own able hands. Through his great acumen and brilliance, he soon gained control over all of Egypt and Syria. He has sworn to avenge the wrongs committed by the crusaders against his people, but has also shown a hesitance to shed blood needlessly. Nevertheless, should he be provoked, he will likely react with terrible, crushing fury.

And thus the reign of King Guy I of Jerusalem begins…
 
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stnylan

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Good overiew and history posts.
 

coz1

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A very nice opening. Complete and well presented. I'm looking forward to where you take the KoJ.

Welcome and good luck!
 

The Kingmaker

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@ stnylan and TC Pilot:

Thanks very much. I have a degree in history, so this stuff is sort of my specialty. In fact, I wrote my capstone paper on Godfrey of Bouillon. :)

@ coz1:

Thanks. Since I've established Guy de Lusignan as a dangerous, reckless man, I'm thinking of playing his reign erratically to see what happens. It could be quite entertaining. Of course there needs to be a balance, or I just might repeat history and have a very short AAR indeed! ;)

You guys can expect the first big installment in the next couple of days, if I don't manage to have it finished by today.

-Alexander
 
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Hmmm... lets see if this Kingdom of Jerusalem can avoid a Hattin...
 

unmerged(9310)

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Holy Moly, I love all the hard work you have put into the characters and pics :)
 

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THE REIGN OF GUY DE LUSIGNAN (1186-1213)

Part II: First Blood



When Guy obtained the throne of Jerusalem in 1186, he made certain that the grand offices of the realm were held by trustworthy individuals, loyal to him personally as their liege lord. Many of King Baldwin’s old courtiers were now feudal lords in their own right; Balian of Ibelin had been the royal chamberlain, Raymond and Reynald and even Guy himself had held the position of royal bailiff. As such, Guy now appointed new officers to the important court positions, thusly:


Chancellor – Amaury de Lusignan, brother to the king
Steward – Raoul de Preuilly, a royal knight; not terribly bright but extremely loyal
Marshal – Gerard de Ridefort, Grandmaster of the Knights Templar
Patriarch – Guillaume d’Angoulême, a pious, experienced Templar
Spy Mistress – Queen Sibylla herself. Only she truly knew all of the dealings of the court.

With his Court now properly organized, on New Year’s Day, 1187, King Guy held a royal banquet for the great nobles of the realm. The warmongering Reynald de Chatillon and Gerard de Ridefort soon caught the King’s ear, filling his head with notions of a unified Christian Outremer, of how Reynald was once Prince of Antioch, though his excommunicated stepson ruled there now, and that there was thus no need to manufacture a claim on that title. Prince Bohemond might easily be… convinced… to swear allegiance. Guy nodded in pleased approval.

The next day, the Royal Chancellor sent out swift messengers to Bohemond of Antioch, demanding that he swear fealty to his rightful lord. A few weeks later came the cold reply: “No.”


Gerard insisted that Bohemond must pay for this great insult. If they would not come willingly, the Principality of Antioch must be forced to submit. He said nothing of how Bohemond was the patron lord of Gerard’s rivals, the Hospitallers, or of how depriving them of their sponsor might strengthen his own Knights Templar. Guy was elated at the thought of battle with Antioch, and agreed at once. Gerard offered to augment the royal host with a sizeable contingent of Templars. Yes, there were definitely benefits to having a Templar Grandmaster as Royal Marshal, especially one as capable as the great Gerard de Ridefort.


Guy’s army marched north, with summons and orders sent to the great feudal lords. Balian was to remain at home with his retinue to defend the kingdom, while Reynald and Raymond of Tiberias marched north to Antioch with Guy. Reynald of course was ecstatic. Raymond, however, was reluctant to attack Bohemond, who had been an ally of his in times past, and so sent only a token force. His loyalty to Guy was shaken by this foolish war among fellow Christians.

As the royal forces neared the city of Antioch, Bohemond himself rode out with all his host.


Bohemond the Stammerer was a far cry from his legendary Norman ancestor in both appearance and disposition. His stutter made him appear weak in the eyes of his peers, and his heretical wife had already gotten him excommunicated. Now Guy de Lusignan wanted to deprive him of his independence too! This was the last straw. Bohemond was not about to go down without a fight.

The Citadel of Antioch was perched high on a mountain, and overlooked the plain where the two hosts met. The armies of Jerusalem were arrayed with Guy and Reynald in the center, Gerard and his robed Templars on the right flank, and Raymond’s crimson-clad Tripolitanians on the left.

As the Antiochenes came into sight, Gerard led his Templars in a reckless head-on charge. Guy ordered his own knights to follow suit, and thus the battle began. Jerusalem’s infantry was left behind to shoot flaming arrows over the knights’ heads at the army of Antioch.


The din of crashing lances and slashing swords soon gave way to the cries of the wounded and dying as the Antiochene infantry were trampled under foot, their powder-blue livery stained with dust and blood. Many of the enemy cavalry were forced to retreat in the wake of such an overwhelming charge. Bohemond rallied his remaining knights, but he too was soon forced to withdraw to the citadel. The Battle of Antioch ended in a magnificent victory for the Kingdom of Jerusalem! Naturally, Grandmaster Gerard and the Knights Templar gained tremendous prestige for their courageous first attack on the enemy.


Witness the Battle of Antioch – 1187

Guy’s army besieged the citadel, and soon took it by a bloody storm. Though many valiant men died on both sides, the victorious men of Jerusalem were ordered to refrain from sacking the city, as it was populated by God-fearing Christians like themselves.


Prince Bohemond was dragged out of his fortress to the feet of King Guy. Would he be forced to renounce the throne of Antioch? The Crusaders watched in wonder as Bohemond stammered an oath of fealty to King Guy, effectively pledging his lands and people to the service of the Crown of Jerusalem.

The peace terms indicated that Bohemond would retain the title of Prince and continue to rule Antioch as his personal demesne. Bohemond's vassal son in neighboring Alexandretta would also be allowed to continue in his position. All that was required of Bohemond was a modest tribute and an oath of fealty to Guy!

Reynald was incensed. Why had Guy allowed Bohemond to retain leadership of the Antiochene domains after so crushing a victory? Didn’t he know that Bohemond was likely to be treacherous and disloyal now that his life was not his own? Surely Reynald himself would be a far better Prince of Antioch?

Guy retorted that one more disloyal baron would not pose a problem. Having many weak, disloyal vassals was far better than having one powerful, scheming nobleman. And this way, the royal vassals were all forced to cling to Guy, as the strongest Christian lord in Outremer, for protection from the surrounding Muslims.

Reynald was both shocked and impressed at Guy’s insight. Perhaps his “friend” was not as gullible as he had thought…

Then messengers brought urgent news. Scouts in the hills around Antioch reported seeing a vanguard of the neighboring Hashishin of Masyaf observing the battle. Their Lord Sinan was hoping that after the two Christian armies had sapped each others’ strength with their petty infighting, his own eager Muslim army would be able to exploit the Crusaders’ weakened condition.

But the Host of Jerusalem yet remained intact, and now had the added presence of Bohemond and his Antiochene warriors. Sinan would pay for his treachery.

“To Masyaf!” shouted Guy, “Deus Vult!”


And so it was that without any respite from campaigning, and despite being heavily in debt from the Antiochene War and having an army depleted in morale and stamina, Guy de Lusignan invaded the realm of the dreaded Assassins…
 
Last edited:

The Kingmaker

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Update:
The Battle of Antioch video is now uploaded and linked to the new "First Blood" post.

I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to get it uploaded to YouTube tonight, as the connection seemed much slower than usual.

I used Medieval II: Total War: Kingdoms: Crusades Campaign (how's that for a game title with a lot of colons!), which is really quite graphics intensive and thus the video lags a little bit at the end. I also haven't figured out how to get the sound effects recorded properly, so the only sound in the video is the music, which I thought quite apropos for this particular battle, I might add.

This is also my first attempt at using the "GameCam" program, so please pardon any flaws in the video. I don't think it's too bad for a first try. :)
 
Last edited:

Kurt_Steiner

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Get rid of Guy, marry the fair Sybille of someone with a bit of brain, please.:D

Awesome AAR so far! Good luck with it!
 

coz1

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I was just about to suggest that the Muslims may take advantage while the Christians are fighting each other, but you beat me to it. Deus Vult indeed.
 

stnylan

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Typical - the Christians fight amongst themselves while the infidel grows strong... :)
 

The Kingmaker

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@ Chilperic, Jeffg006 and 2Coats: Thanks for the compliments! It's been fun so far. :)

@ General_BT: Avoiding a Hattin was the general idea for this AAR. Historically speaking, I think I've already managed to avoid Hattin -- IIRC, the Battle was fought on the Fourth of July, 1187, and that's about where Part II ended. Of course, the perpetual goal is to continue to avoid such a kingdom-killing debacle...

@ Kurt_Steiner: Good suggestion. ;) While I would like nothing more than to have King Guy die "accidentally," the problem would be that due to CK's game engine, his current heir is some half-wit cousin in Lusignan, France. The throne of Jerusalem should really go with Sibylla to her next husband. (That was the Kingdom of Jerusalem's big problem; lots of able daughters, not enough suitable sons.) I'm not sure how to make the game do that though, so I'm open to anybody's suggestions.

Nevertheless, Jerusalem's succession may be out of trouble because... (little spoiler for Part III) Sibylla is pregnant again!

@ coz1 and stnylan: Yep, the neighboring Muslims want to finish off the crusader states, if they can. The hardest objective for me as the KoJ is to avoid provoking Saladin into a needless war while still maintaining such a boorish, bloodthirsty dynasty.

@ all: Hopefully I should have Part III out today if all goes well, with a battle movie coming out later. If not (or if real life intervenes), you can definitely look for it early next week. :D

-Alexander
 
Last edited:

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THE REIGN OF GUY DE LUSIGNAN (1186-1213)

Part III: Impending Doom



The new Crusade against the feared Hashishin was to proceed immediately. Guy graciously allowed the newly subdued Prince Bohemond some added time to call up his feudal levies and rebuild his battered army. In the meantime, the combined hosts of Jerusalem, Tripoli, and the Templars marched on to the Hashishin sanctuary of Masyaf, which lay within the confines of Archa Province. After a brief skirmish with the Muslims, the Crusader army laid siege to the city. Weeks turned into months as Lord Sinan’s people seemed able to outlast the Crusaders interminably.

Known to most simply as the Old Man of the Mountain, Rashid ad-Din Sinan remained a formidable mystery to the Crusaders. As Master of the Order of the Hashishin, he was as much an enemy to Sultan Saladin as he was to King Guy. His true motivations were ever an enigma, and his deadly Assassins stole life from the inattentive like a thief in the night.


As the Year 1187 neared its close, the Army of Jerusalem spotted the Antiochene host on the horizon. Bohemond was joined by a detachment of the Knights Hospitaller led in person by their Grandmaster, Roger de Moulins. In short order these new allies arranged themselves in battle lines around the stronghold. Messengers brought a short epistle to Guy from Bohemond, who preferred to write rather than speak, as his pen was unhampered by his stutter. Bohemond’s short message was both curt and contemptuous: “What are all your men just sitting around for, my lord?” At the very moment the messenger finished reading the note, the earth shook as flaming projectiles from Antioch’s trebuchets smashed into the seemingly indomitable ramparts of Masyaf.

Jerusalem’s knights were astonished to see the Antiochenes and Hospitallers climbing over the citadel’s walls on ladders as rams battered down its gates. Broad-shouldered Hospitallers wielding two-handed swords hacked away at the Assassins atop the battlements while the Knights of Antioch charged through the broken gates, eviscerating anyone foolish enough to be caught in their path.


Assassinate this!

The battle was hard fought, however, and the Antiochenes were rapidly being depleted by the superior forces of the Hashishin in an uphill battle through the streets of the mountain fortress. At that point, Marshal Gerard finally had the sense to close his gaping mouth and order the Knights of Jerusalem into the fray. As the fresh Christian reinforcements poured into the breach, the Muslims began to buckle under the strain. At the last, the remaining Crusaders stood atop a pile of Muslim corpses and faced Sinan himself, who stared down at them from the walls of his keep with the last handful of his warriors.

“The infidel Franks will suffer a thousand times over for this unpardonable sacrilege!” he shouted down to the knights below.

“Get down from there, cur!” called Guy, “And face death like a man!”

“You are a lesser king than your predecessor!” Sinan spat, “You dishonor his memory!”

“Baldwin?” Guy responded, “That leper was only half a man!”

“And as half a man, he was thus ten times the man you are!” came Sinan’s stinging response. With that, the last of his Assassins flung themselves from the walls of the citadel onto the waiting blades of the crusaders below. And in the midst of the tumult, the great Sinan disappeared.

No one knows what happened to the mysterious Old Man of the Mountain. His body was never found. Some say he was struck by a well-aimed bolt slung from an Antiochene crossbow. Others say he too threw himself from the parapets of Masyaf to an honorable death. Still others claim he escaped by means of a secret tunnel and returned to his hidden fortress of Alamut in the northern mountains of Persia. Regardless of his fate, his fiendish laughter can still be heard echoing in the halls of Masyaf to this very day.

Witness the Siege of Masyaf – 1187

As the knights celebrated their great victory, the fiefdom of Masyaf was bestowed upon Prince Bohemond of Antioch as his prize for storming the castle. Per usual, Bohemond’s acceptance of this honor came in stammered dignity.

Also as usual, Reynald de Chatillon was incensed at a perceived slight to his own actions. “Am I not the most loyal of your vassals?” he raged at Guy, “Is it not customary to reward friends instead of enemies, and badly beaten enemies at that?”


Page duties? Bah!

Guy’s response was another of the brief moments of perverse genius that punctuated his uncouth, impulsive life. “Bohemond won the citadel by the blood of his warriors,” he said, deliberately speaking slowly so that Reynald would understand his true meaning, “And if I reward him now, I won't have to fight him later! Now, if you want more lands, choose one of the four winds; we have enemies on all sides! Think on this for a time, and at the feast of Easter in Jerusalem, tell me where it is you would go, and together we will do battle there!”

At these words, the ears of Gerard de Ridefort (who was standing nearby) perked up. He was all for expanding their power and lands, but in any direction? Such a promise was extremely dangerous! He resolved to keep an eye on them, just to be safe.

Thus did the soldiers for Christ return to their homes, and Guy and his nobles to Jerusalem. Soon after, word reached the Eternal City that Roger de Moulins was leading his men on another crusade… this time to the Balearic Islands.


Why on earth the Hospitallers would choose to fight a Muslim emirate of little significance on the far side of the Great Sea was beyond any understanding, especially considering that they were surrounded by perfectly good Muslim targets on every side. No one ever said the Knightly Orders were logical.

Moreover, small parties from the Emir of Erzerum in Mesopotamia were constantly raiding the northern provinces, seeking revenge for the defeat of their ally Sinan. This incursion of hostile Muslims forced the lords Raymond and Bohemond to re-mobilize their respective armies of Tripoli and Antioch to counter the new threat.

Meanwhile, the Royal Court of Jerusalem prospered. The Year 1188 bloomed with an influx of gold into the royal coffers. Princess Alix, eldest daughter of Guy and Sibylla, formed a close friendship with her mother, who was the principal source of her education in courtly affairs. At a very tender age, Alix was already showing a prowess in all fields of study that far exceeded either of her parents. Should she survive her childhood, she would be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come.


As spring reached its apex, Eastertide came at last. Gerard situated himself close to Reynald and the King at the royal table in order to hear what was promised.

Sure enough, Guy leaned over to Reynald and asked him what he had decided.

Gerard watched in horror as the words seemed to drop like poison from Reynald’s lips: “The County of Edessa is still in the hands of infidels. Let us take this great force of ours, cut a swathe across Aintab and Melitene, and fall upon Saladin’s dogs like a hard rain!”

The battle-hardened Templar instantly cut off Reynald at that point: “No, my lords! If we wage war on Saladin now, while we are weak, he will annihilate us! Let us strengthen ourselves, draw more warriors to our banner, more lands to the crown. And the Hospitallers are mostly gone to Menorca! Heaven knows I have no love for them, but their swords are sorely needed for any war with the Sultan. We must be strong enough to face the entire Near East before we can defeat Saladin.”

“What?” Reynald scoffed facetiously, “Don’t you think that the power of Christ will strengthen us?”

Gerard scowled. When he finally answered, it was to Guy, not Reynald that he spoke, his voice a harsh whisper, “If my King follows this course of action, the Knights Templar will not participate in his campaign.”


Ain’t gonna make me go to Aintab, I say no, no, no!

The Great Hall fell quiet instantly.

Guy laughed, as if he did not take Gerard’s threat seriously. “Gerard,” he said, “Your Templar brethren are sworn to slay the infidels! Are you telling me that they would refuse to fight the enemies of the Cross?”

“My lord,” the nearby Raymond of Tiberias intervened, “With respect, the Templars are sworn to defend the Holy City. They are poor defenders if by rash action they hand Jerusalem over to Saladin.”

Guy realized that the situation was far more serious than he had realized. If he was not careful, he might be facing a barons' revolt. “Very well,” he relented, “You are ever the voice of reason, Tiberias. We will postpone the re-conquest of Edessa until we are adequately prepared.” He laughed again, trying to lighten the mood. Reynald was not amused. Refusing to speak for the rest of the feast, he simply sat and stared daggers at Gerard de Ridefort.


The summer of 1188 proved very eventful for the Kingdom.

The Estates General had a meeting with King Guy, who craved an exorbitant contribution to prepare the kingdom for the war with Edessa which was now postponed indefinitely. The council relented and filled the royal coffers with coin, but the stability of the realm was shaken by Guy’s decision.

As a result, many of Guy’s Muslim subjects began to revolt. Guy ordered them crushed. The subjugation of one rebellion opened up others elsewhere. The King’s orders were that all Muslims found in insurrection should meet the same harsh fate.

Instead of pressing his desires for war, Reynald acted amiably towards King Guy. He invited him on many hunting trips and feted him with large banquets. When the time was right, and Guy was properly bought, then, and only then, would Reynald make his move.

Autumn brought good news; Queen Sibylla was again with child. If it was a boy… the throne of Jerusalem could finally stop being passed along by daughters! The succession would be secure at last! Sibylla hated having the offspring of the false King Guy within her womb, but then, she could probably influence the child to do her bidding, as she was already succeeding in accomplishing with young Princess Alix.


It’s not hard to produce royal heirs when your Queen looks like Eva Green!

As winter dragged on, Gerard de Ridefort moved fastidiously to counter the irrational suggestions of his erstwhile ally, Reynald de Chatillon. He convinced Guy that some of the vast wealth accrued by the royal treasury could go towards constructing a new Chapter House for the Knights Templar in Jerusalem, so that they could expand from their cramped headquarters in the wing of the royal palace already devoted to them. He also suggested that the Templars deserved a province of their own in order to support themselves, and to be the equal of the Knights Hospitaller in power and lands. Guy agreed, and granted them the fiefdom of Ascalon along the coast.


The Year 1188 ended peacefully enough for the Kingdom of Jerusalem, though the superficial tranquility could not conceal the steaming pot of imminent doom percolating underneath, threatening to boil over.

And then on New Year’s Day, 1189, the Pope issued a new proclamation, calling for a Third Crusade…
 
Last edited:

coz1

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Oh boy. Well, maybe the swell of Crusaders will help Guy find the strength to defeat Saladin.

Nice touches in that update. Enjoyed it very much. :)