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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning


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~ The Sage's Tale ~
A Burning Premonition

The Tale and Testimony of the Mad Arab

Let all who read this book be warned thereby that the habitation of men are seen and surveyed by that Ancient Race of gods and demons from a time before time, and that they seek revenge for that forgotten battle that took place somewhere in the Cosmos and rent the Worlds in the days before the creation of Man, when the Elder Gods walked the Spaces, the race of MARDUK, as he is known to the Chaldeans, and of ENKI our master, the Lord of Magicians.

Know, then, that I have trod all the Zones of the Gods, and also the places of Azonei, and have descended into the foul places of Death and Eternal Thirst, which may be reached through the Gate of GANZIR, which was built in UR in the days before Babylonian was.

Know, too, that I have spoken with all manner of spirit and daemon, whose names are no longer known in the societies of Man, or were never known. And the seals of these are writ herein ; yet others I must take with me when I leave you.

~ From 'Testimony of the Mad Arab', Abd al Hazred

Near Al-Baihah, Irak ~ Ten Years Ago...

The sun was so hot it almost baked him alive. He knew it was never good to travel near such evil places as the desert at this time of year, the clues he had been given... this was not something he could ignore. The book, it was all that was important.

Sweat beaded down his face as Zalchan's camel trotted uneasily, packets of food and water swinging at his side, and his servant, an Arab youth named Ali who spoke little, and knew to obey orders of his master.
Zalchan looked around him - nothing but dry earth. Truly, this is the land of the Dead. he thought, a place deserving of a work such as this. He looked to one of the bags strapped to his camel... his most precious cargo.
He and his servant had travelled from Isfahan in Persia south and west, to southern Irak, a land of the Jalayir, a Mongol tribe that cared little for Arab or Islamic affairs for that matter. Passing through the lush plains of river Al Furat, called by the Christians the Euphrates, he travelled even further south, into the dead lands, the lands of the ancients. But this was exactly where he wanted to go...
He had to see. Zalchan just had to know for himself.

The book he had on him was the work of a man many had called 'Mad', however all the same his books were labeled by the old Islamic Clerics as dangerous, and were hidden away. It was indeed a most dangerous text however... it was the fabled recordings of instructions to the divine - infallible incantations of the ancients, to contact the Djinn world - It was the book of the dead ones, the book of those whom stirred under the moon, it was Al Azif, the Necronomicon. The written work itself, a collection of the translated rituals and incantations of the ancient ones, was said so powerful, in the end it was said it destroyed it's own author Abd al Hazred, called 'The Mad Arab'...
Zalchan remembered the story and writings he had researched in the Libraries at Baghdad, Damascus and Alexandria well;

Indeed, Abd al Hazred lived during the time of the Caliphs of the Omayyads, heirs of Muhammad, at the city of Damascus.

Abd al Hazred
Writer of the 'Al Azif'

Abd al Hazred, an Arab and a Christian during the Caliphate of the Omayyads was a scholar and somewhat of a mystic. Around the Christian year 730, he made a scholarly expedition and had travelled to many fabled and forbidden places of the ancients, the Temples of Babylon and Ur, and even to the lost fabled city of the Sands, Iram, which Allah in the Quran tells us was destroyed for it's sinful decadance in times of old.
Yet within these places there still held the mystical and astrological knowledge of the Ancients from these temples and from the inhabitants of Iram, which is said to be inhabited by the djinn now.

Abd al Hazred supposedly at the
fabled city of Iram, Atlantis of the Sands

Within these fabled places, Abd al Hazred studied for over a decade, mastering them, and translating their ancient rituals and writings, in secret.
Then he recorded it all... yet even as he had warned the readers that he would not last long after he had recorded these forbidden things, he was mysteriously kidnapped and tortured, his tongue being cut out among other most terrible vices placed upon the man... however, his 'great work' had still survived him, despite mysterious and unknown efforts against the mysterious work's creation. Yet Zalchan Khalil-Shen only had parts of the manuscript; much of it's completed incantations were removed, some parts destroyed. He needed to match them with the original works, that Abd al Hazred had said the ancients had created. He needed to find the temples...

Zalchan Khalil-Shen studies the ancient
languages and writings

And so, eventually locating recent translations and scripts helping him learn the languages of the ancients and Canaanites, he had eventually pieced each and every part of the puzzle together.

The unique skills taught within the works were also said by al Hazred not to be toyed with, for one of The Mad Arab's followers was most painfully devoured, in a public square within Jerusalem by one such demon he had summoned, in front of many terrified witnesses. Zalchan had even confirmed the accounts from the Library in Baghdad, as little left of it as there was after the eastern invasions.
So it had all truly happened... He wondered. Every source on the subject was backed up by accounts and writings, and his reseaches all lead to the same places.

A Temple of the Ancients at Ur...

While these thoughts occupied his mind, the great building, temple, it came into view. It was enormous, truly a massive work of the ancients... a place Abd al Hazred had been to himself, and where he had reportedly completed his writings on the Incantation of the Gates, the important section of the book not to be found almost anywhere else.
Arriving at the foot of the temple, he paid no attention to his servant boy, who knew to stay behind and watch the camels as he began to climb the tall and browned steps which seemed to endlessly lead to the sky.
This was the Temple of Ur. Finding his way to the top, and into a small entrace - not totally undug, he drops inside, seeing only the light from the sun above shining in.

Inside the ruined temple...

Zalchan seemed to enjoy the cool air of the inside of the temple much more. It was much cooler indeed... still, he made his way down the short passageway, and into a turn, which, had a wall panel, with writing carefully carved into it. It was exactly what he was looking for.
Going through the satchel he carried around his shoulder, Zalchan Khalil-Shen removed a book, written in Arabic, 'On the translation of Old Languages into Allah's Own', and browses through it, and then, taking his own jar of ink out and a quill, he begins to fasion text on a clean parchiment of paper he places on the flat stone ground, meticulously looking through the book and the text on the wall, copying it work for word...

He copied the words as quickly as he could, reading them aloud as he did so. As he wrote, he began to feel nervous... as if he was being watched. He certainly did not feel alone, within that old and dark place. Forgetting these things, the Sage turned and wrote the final phrases;

As he stroked down the words and terms, Zalchan seemed to feel sheepishly tired. The journey south and east, from Damascus, had taken much out of him, and he had smoke much kif the entire way there, as Abd al Hazred had promoted, in order to calmly approach the entire thing...
He read the words he had copied, with the proper pronunciation as noted in his books...

Then, it all came together in his mind. These people were to powerful, too great to fall... had they suffered the same fate Al Hazred told of? Kutulu...
He saw it, the greatness of what they once were. The temple he was within must have been used as the gate, to the stars and astral plane, of which Zalchan had learned Abd al Hazred insisted could be reached, through the proper gates and incantations...
As he finished writing he felt the eyes watching him..
By Allah, begone.. He thinks, hoping that his paranoias would not get the best of him...
Still, ye yawned, he had felt like he had awoken from a deep sleep.

Zalchan notices an ancient statue

The statue made him quite nervous. He decided he had copied everything he needed, and turning from the hideous statue, Zalchan strode out of the shadows of the ruined temple of Ur, and to the steps...

But something was amiss. Where was his servant boy? The camels were surely there as he had left them and the servant, yet surely the boy was mad if he was to sneak off without a camel, in this hot plain in the middle of nowhere? the whole thing made no sense to him...
And then he saw it. The boys tunic, on the ground... torn, and with stains of fresh blood on it.
But there was no person for miles... no blood on the sand. No body either...
Taking this as a bad omen, the Sage, with his forbidden texts completed, decided to leave this damned and accursed place.

Zalchan Khalil-Shen returns home...
Without his servant



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~ The Sage's Tale II ~
An Eastern Cleansing

The Sage Zalchan Khalil-Shen in the Punjab...

Somewhere in the Punjab mountain hills
Eight years ago...

The snow surrounded his shoes as he walked on foot, leading his tired steed with a right arm much needing rest. The treacherous hillsides and valleys had lead further to fearful slopes and curvatures within the earth, and the cold winter season did it no better.
The nights were the worst. He could hear the wolves, howling for him. Just like the Mad Arab did. Had he not heeded the warnings carefully enough? Had he stepped too far through the upper gates? Too many questions and fears plagued his mind...
His dreams began to be haunted by nightmares... it was sleeping, but it would come back, or else it's lackeys would find him and kill him. As long as he remained within that impure state... his soul would be endangered. He knew the wolves howled for him at night... Damascus to Tehran, to Samarkand, and now east. But the Maqlu were after him, and no matter how far he travelled, he could not make it too far from them.

There he was again, talking like a madman. The Sage, Zalchan Khalil-Shen truged through the snow, a troubled mind.... and saw that it began to flutter in the air. He was looking for a famed man;

Baha-ud-Din Naqshband,
Founder of the Naqshbandi Order of Sufi'ism

Only this man could help him, and was his last resort... lest he go mad or be devoured, as Abdul Ben-Martu had been!
He was about to collapse, in hopelessness, when he saw something that inspired him to go on a bit more - the colour of black afloat in the air.
Smoke, from a fire. Almost there... He shielded his face from the wind, and pushed on, walking towards the settlement. Finding small, round brick and mud houses, he walks to the chief one seeing a stable and places his horse therein, and then with his pack, he barely makes it to the door, banging on it hard.

There were some clerics within and a warrior with his dagger drawn, and at the back, the man he was looking for. Zalchan still lay on the floor on his knees, exhaused still, as the man stood before him.
Baha'ud Din, the Sufi mystic and spiritualist, was a famed man wise in the ways of mystic and spiritual healing. A Turkmen by birth, he has travelled through India and even said beyond, learning of the ways of the spirit, and how to cleanse one's self.

Baha'ud Din Naqshband
Sufi and Islamic Mystic

"My blessed and splended son, what brings you in such a state to such a remote place as this? You look weary, my son. Lay down here, and speak not; For it is when the Creator, Allah wills it, then your tongue shall tell all, when you are rested, and Allah willing you are ready..." His voice was soft and comforting, for from the high altitude Zalchan's lungs felt as if they might burst, and he was becoming dizzy and wanted to pass out... and he did so, falling into the first sleep he had in days.

Awaking in a more comfortable bed within the same small building, the Sage Zalchan yawned, and ate the food that was obviously left for him, and gratefully. When the great Sufi of Naqshband returned, smiling to him, Zalchan confessed all;

Zalchan Khalil Shen
Sage and Alchemist

He told the Sufi master of how he had read the forbidden texts, and completed their passages against all warnings, and now he truly believed his soul was cursed, and even worse, endangered. The mystic listened silently, taking in every word with his eyes staring and thinking rapidly..
After Zalchan had spoke of the wolves and demonds he thought were chasing him, as confirmed by the texts of Abd al Hazred, the Sufi's face grew worried.
Zalchan finished by speaking, "And it is all from this, these writings here.."

He opened his satchel that the Sufi Cleric's men had not touched beside his bed, and revealed the awful work - the book of the dead, 'Al Azif'.

The Sufi grimaced in horror at the sight of it.

Baha'ud Din Naqshband
Sufi Cleric

Picking it up, he looked at the fire burning, "Then my son we must get rid of this evil work, and we shall pray to Allah, the One, for he is the only one that protects us, and guides us. These demons and evils have no power compared to the unity and divinity of the One."

Throwing the book into the fire, he pulled out a beautiful silk cloth from a box lain aside, and opened it, to reveal part of a very old parchiment.

"This is from a copy of the Quran Omar himself carried into Persia, allowed drawrings upon it surprisingly enough. It is the holiest of manuscripts I have, and it speaks of how the One shall protect man from the Shaitans of which you flee from. Drink this water my son, and lie down to sleep, and we shall both pray...."

And so fasting, and for days to come of more fasting and prayer, apologizing the Allah for his sins and begging salvation from what he feared, Zalchan the Sage was enlightened in those mountains so long ago... It took over a year of these prayers to cleanse his soul, and finally, then after he had studied the mysticism of the love of Allah as the One, it seemed finally that the wolves stopped howling at night.


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The Heirs of Temur and the Baghdad Audience

Temur Qutlugh, Shadi Beg and Pulad Speak with the Khan...

The Khan Ahmad looked them over. They seemed honest enough, but like him, they were of Mongol stock, and hardly meaningful of their true word.

Ahmad still looked apparantly very distressed over the madness of his sister, and seemed not to dwell on the Prince's request for aid. He might de better to send their heads to Toqtamish, and perhaps gain him an alliance... How could he trust them?
No, let them prove themselves sons of Temur.

Ahmad Khan of the Jalayirids
Great West Khan and Sultan of Baghdad

"Great Warrior sons of Temur, if you are indeed the heirs of the great Hordes you speak of, I do not see mighty armies following your stead! Truly!

However, I am a generous ruler and I shall give you a chance to prove yourselves. One of my Amirs, the Governor of Ray has rebelled against my rule, his protectorate bordering the northern lands of the Kudish and Turk sheep people. I want his head... yet his forts are well prepared, and defended.

If you are truly the heirs of Temur, mighty Princes, then I wish to offer you a chance to prove your acclaimed worth unto this court and me.... you shall be lead my horde of 2,000 warriors, of which over half are mounted against the treasonous Amir and his northern allies, with my brother Prince Shaikh 'Ali to oversee your noble warriorhood, which you claim is in your blood and bones...

A man stepped forth,

Prince Shaikh 'Ali

"I am honored to meet your mighty selves, great Princes.."

It was a mighty warrior and commander, the Khan's youngest brother, Shaikh 'Ali. He would accompany the Princes and oversee their campaign, should they choose to accept it, and fight the Amir of Ray 'Adil Aqa and his Kurdish and Sheep People allies..

The Khan found his trust and loyalties among those who served trustworthy in battle... would these Princes prove themselves to him? If they betrayed him or his brother, they knew they would suffer a harsh fate... but if they succeeded, would gain great favour of the Jalayirid Khan.
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The Rising Sun

The exiled youth of the Jalayir travels through
the Mountains of Circassia with Kurdish nomads...

Young Arigh breathed in the deep and cool air as he looked to the north... So many mountains, and all so tall. The young lad, of Mongol stock, was truly tired and needed rest... yet his travel party was indifferent to his wishes, or survival for that matter. He was not even of their people.
He knew how being a nomad, like his people once were, was like.

Arigh Chinqal,
Exiled at Youth

He had spent most of his life travelling... in exile. His mother had been a Chupanid heiress, and when the tribe betrayed the Khan he threw her and her son out, declaring them both unfit to be wed to him and forbidden to use his name as their own. And so dishonored and depressed, his mother soon grew ill and after she had died of pneumonia a few months later, young Arigh at age four was left impoverished and homeless, the young Mongol 'Prince' had find a way to survive, and thrive; begging, stealing, and eventually even learning the art of fighting with his bıçak, or, a Turkmen styled sabre-like dagger than he had stabbed a man before with... although, he had never killed.
The boy spent most of his life running from things, rather than confronting them.
A Prince and a beggar at the same time. Arigh was utterly restless from lack of sleep, and food, and dwelling on these thoughts never helped him. In fact it was true he had nearly all but forgotten his heritage, in favour of survival among his father's enemies...

One of the leaders of the band of Kurds he travelled with, and had become friendly with to a point, spoke aloud as he pointed to the mountains to the north...

"Beyond there, Gürcistan!" Trotting closer to the bearded and nearly toothless man, Arigh was curious as the man took his shoulder and spoke reassuringly, "...The gateway to the Promised Lands, boy!"

... Promised lands?

All his life young Arigh had travelled... from Irak to Syria and Kurdistan, then Armenia... and now, it seemed the time had come where it would be most convenient to travel into the lands most unknown to him.
How were they of promise? He had heard there were great and large forests to the north, and men whom resided within tall houses, and worshipped a Suffering God, whom had been tortured to death long ago. How could anything 'promised' be given to people who worshipped something so terrible as that?
This did not sound like much to the young Arigh. But then again, he had not been impressed by many places he had travelled to, being mostly gutters or within the rural regions of lands.

Trudging through the rocky Circassian lands...

Still, Arigh remained silent and ate only the little scrappings, goat milk and sips of wine the Kurdish groups would offer him, as they made their way into the terrible, windswept mountains. Wrapping the cloth he was using to sit on his pony with around his body, he began to shiver as the sen went low into the mountainsides, and the utter chill of the northern winds - the first of such caliber, from this 'promised land' as he had now known it to be called, frightened and mystified the young Arigh.
After some few nights of this, the joruney through the mountains ended. The Kurdish band had made their destination, and offered him companionship no longer - all the better, he had stolen enough food from them over time to last him a week or two.

But where might I go? He wondered. He knew he would put his life to the sword, to return south the Baghdad, ever. His enemies and his father's lay to the east, and the west was but a sea, after the Slave Kings of Egypt. Yet he knew nothing of the north, except of course, that it was someone's promised land. The people whom he asked of Turkish language explained to him that it was a very long way north between Georgia and civilization, 'but for trade's sake it was very much worth it'...

The wandering exile sees the northern roads ahead...

This was all the evidence the youth needed. Speaking with the trading and learning the proper directions the young Arigh was soon prepared for his trip north.
And so almost immediately, Aright Chinqal and his steed (itself stolen from some fool in Mosul), departed from the Kurds and from the borders of Georgia, and began a long ride north... Looking the path, there were few to no travellers willing to make such a long journey.
A very long ride, indeed.
He would find this promised land... it would be his promised land.

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A Long Trek Due North

Young Arigh Chinqal rides the roads north through the Circassian mountains,
and into the Russ lands...

The cold froze his skin and his very blood as they made their way through the final stoney peaks of the high mountains of the Caucuses mountains and Georgia... Arigh was glad to finally have left that frozen and godless place.

Truly, the Creator made such mountains to seperate the Christians and Muslims... He thought to himself, knowing full would he would never forget how hard the trek had been, and that, not for many years did he plan to take it back, or return to his homeland of which he was so rejected from.... No, those mountains were his barrier. They were dry, cold, and untamed - more savage than any place he had been so far, and being a sort of drifter, Arigh had seen many terrible places and gutters. And after leaving his fellow travellers, Aright took the road onto the plains of this Christian land over the mountains, and soon be further on his way north... And so after the highland ridges, he seemed to find himself in steeped valleys, leading to plains... and so many trees.

The young Aright was shocked - he had seen forests, sure, tiny ones in the dry rugged regions of his homeland, and north. Yet never had he seen such green grasslands, and forests, not in his lifetime.

Young Aright Chinqal

"Truly, I have never seen a land such as this... so green!"

So many piney trees, always around him. He could not seem to get away from them, and their minty smell. All day and all night, he and his short pony rode the roads from the snow capped and terribly windswept peaks of the mountains of Caucasus, he only stopped within the strange Christian Khanate called 'Gürcistan' (Georgia) whenever he found opportunities to steal any foods he cound find, or drink. He would steal these things from sleeping travelers at night, merchants, drunks leaving the taverns of the towns he passed, and other places... soon he began to pass people who did not speak his language at all. But it concerned the adventurous Arigh not.
Travelling the lesser known roads through the coasts of a sea called Azov, Aright was forced to sell his steed, in order to purchase a supply of food... but how would he travel north, without a steed?

The answer lay in the river.

He knew this river was called Dneiper, and that it would take him quickly far, and to the north. But he did not commandeer a ship... he would have to have his way, the old way.

Shortly after arriving at small river town and river docking, Arigh, with his satchel snuck where no one might see him. He crept around the village's exterior, and nearing the docks, he ducked beside a barrel. Seeing a trader or merchant of some sort walking off the docks, and into a small house - probably a goods warehouse - Arigh found his chance... he ran, his feet sounding as light as a fox in the forest, and pounced onto the man's afloated river vessel, of medium size, and fixed himself under a leather like tarp - to protect his goods from rain - and made space for himself under it, hiding between some barrels and boxes of goods, and to his horror and disgust, near a crate of salted, but rotting fish. Good luck comes with bad... He thought, trying to think of other things..

And so, as a stow away, the young Arigh continued his journey north..


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A Return to the Absu

The Persian Mystic and Cleric
Zalchan Khalil~Shen once again looks into the dreaded book...

Zalchan flexed his arms. A bit of pain, but not much. And he could move them. His woulds had healed fully, but the Princess, the girl was still mad. And his exorcism had not worked... he had known, in his heart however, that it wouldn't. What was inside her... it was older than even Islam. It was older than Jesu, or Moses, or even Ibrahim. She had accidentally brought something horrible into the palace, and into herself. She was not just plain mad, as some believed - for Zalchan had seen into her eyes, and it was truly not hers.

He looked to his blank papers, and his books. He had burned his old copy of Al~Azif years ago, but now it seemed fate was ironic, and it was the only way to save her. He immediately went to the library within the Abbas Palace of the Sultan and Khan Ahmad.
Much of the library had been destroyed during the old Mongol invasions, but many of the old tomes in other libraries within the city had copies, and other older tomes were saved by the clerics, when it was heard the Mongols were coming for the city. The library was nowhere half as grand as it had once been... but it would have to do.
Searching the old and some even ancient tomes, the Cleric found an interesting section of the library relating to the Omayyad period. Within half an hour he had found what he was looking for;

The manuscript of Al~Azif,
The Book of the Black Earth

Picking the page up, his hands almost shook. I swore that I would never... never again. He put it down. No, he picked it back up. It was the only way... With a determined look in his eyes, Zalchan stook and made his way back to his appointed studies, and read once again, the works of Abd al Hazred, the forbidden text. He read it again and again, mystyfied by it's passages for hours into the evening.

Zalchan Khalil~Shen

"Now I know what must be done..." He stood, and cleared out some space, lighting some candles, and of course, smoking some kif.

The book was not ordered well in it's abhorrent teachings, although in order to exorcise the girl he needed to use the forces the book dictated to aid him. In this case, to summon a sort of protector spirit... what al Hazred calls a 'Watcher'. He prepared himself as instructed, and then, with flour, drew a circle on the floor around him, a large one so he had much walking space. He then made another circle of flour again around him inside the first, placing a new bowl between the circles, to the direction of the northeast, as dictated.
Within the bowl he lit a fire. He then drew in the earth what the book of the dead portrayed on later pages;

He then placed the bread into the fire in his bowl, and could smell it burning. It was required, the book said, as a sacrifice. He remembered also he had locked the door, so no one might barge in on him...
He began reading, remembering the proper pronunciation in mind, and began to speak the dark and old language in a chant,


He feld himself trembling, and feeling odd. Still, the words began to flow as he read on,

Upon saying these final words, he then thrust his blade clipped to his side out of it's decorated and mostly ceremonial sheath, and stabbed it into the floor.

Then he saw it, in the darkness. Something.. someone.

Zalchan knew the book claimed this would protect him during his journey... it was to be either a beast, an old man or a warrior. This Watcher was a warrior.... the burning of more kif in the fire fumed smoke throughout the room.
Zalchan following the work exactly made a show of placing his hand on the hilt of his sword, as the book dictated that the Watcher would recognize this as his caller and would ensure he was protected from any evils.
He then began to walk around the circle, seven times as dictated...
And soon, his consciousness faded, and he could feel himself transcending into somewhere. Then he saw it, he saw it all now!

... Yet as this unearthly stranger within the room stared at Zalchan's actualy body, it seemed to be convulsing, and his eyes, blinking.