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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Estonianzulu

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Oops, things did not go as planned. An early route in the face of the Saracens is not a great start to the campaign, lets hope the army can reform and turn back.
 

unmerged(59077)

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Well, not every attempt can end in success. Question is, do the Bretons have enough people and resolve to try again?
 

stnylan

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A defeat? That was not in the script - take two!
 

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Estonianzulu: No they didn't, I was quite surprised.

RGB: Enough to give it a few more tries.

TheConqueror: Soon enough :)

Mettermrck: I figured this would make for good writing.

stnylan: It's in the script now :p
 

Enewald

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Run for your life....
I didn't realize there was an update... :(
 

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Part X: Heathen Rivalries


PortraitChapter2.jpg

Duke Alan Kerne IV


It was a dreary, cold evening in the wastes of the Holy Land.

Alan’s army was battered, bleeding, and worse – defeated. Though the sight of man aiding man through the arid grounds of Palestine filled the Duke with some cheer, nothing could erase the terrible defeat they had suffered.

The Sheik of Beirut had proved a fearsome foe. The Duke was fooled like a naive animal into every conceivable disadvantage. Despite superior numbers, the Crusader army was easily routed – something Alan had never witnessed. At least, Alan thought, there were some friends to be had in this land. The Bretons were fleeing north to Tripoli. Luckily for them, the Sheik of Tripoli was an ardent Shiite and hated enemy of the Sunni Sheik of Beirut. With cautious but open arms, the Sheik of Tripoli fed and tended to the Crusader army.


PartXPicture.jpg



The Sheik Lewis Isa awaited the Crusaders outside the city of Tripoli – whether in victory or defeat. Though he knew that in the event of triumph, only a messenger would be have been sent. Encamped outside Tripoli, the Crusaders were humbled and uncharacteristically quiet. As the leaders of the Crusade and Sheikdom met around a campfire, Lewis Isa finally garnered some nerve to inquire about the campaign. With rough and thickly accented Latin, the Sheik asked-

“How can Turki Yaseen achieve such a victory? There are so many Crusaders here, more than I could possible field.”

While Alan simply stared into the fire, Count Louis de Rennes jumped at the opportunity to answer for him-

“I suppose, we are not yet use to the ways of desert combat.”

The Sheik of Tripoli was visibly unsatisfied-

“Allah does not favor this expedition, it is clear.”

The Sheik rose with all the grace of a Saracen-

“My home will still be yours, Christians, just know that I have begun to lose heart in your objectives.”

Lewnis Isa then left the camp, his heavily armored guards in quick pursuit.

Unmoved by the exit of the Sheik, Louis turned to Alan with unsettling humor. After a few moments, the Duke finally answered the question everyone was wondering-

“We will just have to wait for Jermen and Daniel. Hopefully, all has gone well.”

“Certainly.” Louis replied, before taking a vigorous bite out of Arabic bread.

Nikolaz, being adept at blending in, timidly emerged and asked the Duke his thoughts-

“Father, how do you think Count Daniel is fairing in Cyprus?”

Alan’s lips pursed in thought-

“I have no idea – I only know that Jermen is a fine commander. It is why I sent him there.”

Nikolaz’s spirits seemed to be dampened.

“If only Brient were with us today,” Alan added solemnly.​

TripoliPICTURE.jpg

Tripoli
 

unmerged(59077)

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Uh uh. They need success now, or else their Muslim allies will abandon them.
 

stnylan

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Well, it would not be a crusade without a failure of two.
 

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Part XI: Cypriot Wars


The mountains of Cyprus had been formidable for the young Daniel and his ally Jermen, luckily spring was fast approaching. No longer would the frigid snows be forced upon them. But with it came another menace – perpetual rain. Despite all its perils, Daniel had grown fond of Cyprus. The land was like nothing he had ever seen in Brittany or even Mallorca. As he admired the work God had created, Jermen tapped his shoulder and pointed across the road–

“The Greeks have taken position. Just a matter of time before the Saracens make their way through here.” the Count grumbled.

Daniel nodded in acknowledgment. As the rain beat against him from above, he recollected the last several months: the desperate retreat into the Troödos Mountains, meeting the leader of the Free Greeks on the island (whom were now fighting along side them that evening) and the border raids into Saracen provinces. The tremendous evil brought about war, especially one as vicious as that between the Muslims and Christians, caused him to forever throw out the doubts he had about Christianity. The Count Jermen, a rival of Duke Alan in many ways, had become a trusted friend – a powerful one for when the day comes. To his mind, the last few months were invaluable, even if everything hadn't gone to plan.

“We’ll jump those rats; we’ve got em’,” Jermen whispered with excitement.

The downpour drowned out most distant sound, yet the positioning of the Bretons was perfect. Daniel could see the entire valley and the small Saracen army marching through it. They were but a short distance away, slowed by the narrow, winding mountain road. Jermen examined the Greeks across the way-

“Huh.” Jermen grunted. “They are looking anxious; things are about to get going here.”

***​

The first act of the battle came as an inexperienced Greek slinger hurled a missile towards the enemy. Though he struck his mark, hitting a man above the eye, all surprise was lost. In a rage, the Saracens lumbered up the muddy pass – likely expecting a few Orthodox rebels. As they closed, the Greeks became more timid, retreating back – behind the position of the Bretons. Now in a terrible impasse, Jermen made the gut decision to attack.

To Jermen’s roar the Bretons – dirty, ragged, and hungry, emerged from the trees. On foot, Jermen and Daniel moved with the other heavily armored Knights. The surprised, lightly armored Saracen infantry were simply no match for the Breton nobility. As the Saracen march ceased, the Bretons cut deep into their ranks. Many on both sides would fall off the edge and into the valley below.


BATTLETROODOS.jpg


Daniel fought to keep by Jermen’s side but it was no use. The experienced warrior was far ahead, engaged with multiple foes at once. His impetuous attitude would cost him as he was knocked down by one Saracen and speared in the leg by another. With his Knights quickly surrounding him, the old Count was able to get back on his feet, shrugging off the deep wound.

When the enemy commander, Zakariyah al-Qasim, was thought killed, the Saracens routed entirely. They did not realize that he had merely been knocked unconscious from a glancing blow. With such a valuable captive, Nicosia and the surrounding towns were soon to fall.​
 

unmerged(59077)

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And - victory.

Having armour is always a good thing. Unless going for a swim.
 

stnylan

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Victory is good and very necessary.
 

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Enewald: Sometimes good plans just fail :(

RGB: No swimming in the future, thankfully.

stnylan: It was nice to finally take Famagusta.


Note -- I'll be posting a second update for the day shortly. The Chapter is about over and I'm excited to get to the end of it.
 

IamWhoa

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Part XII: Battle of Juniyah


It was now September. For many months, Alan’s army remained outside Tripoli. Time had passed quickly for the Duke in the famous library of the city. Little word had come from Jermen and Daniel until at least June, when a missive arrived detailing their plans to land north of the city of Beirut.

Over the last year, over fifteen-hundred Breton soldiers had been lost. Both against the Saracens and to local disease. Alan’s forces were left at a meager 3,000 men. Count Jermen claimed to have at least 2,800. Alan’s army lumbered south under the searing summer sun, with the shore just in view. For a week, Alan waited outside the town of Juniyah for the arrival of the Cypriot detachment. When Jermen’s fleet finally arrived, he was able to capture the town by sea and proceeded to disembark. Soon after, the Saracens arrived from the nearby city of Beirut.

Unaware that the town was in Crusader hands, the Saracens forded the river before realizing their error. The Sheik Turki Yaseen had now put himself at a considerable disadvantage. The battle was near, and Juniyah would be its grounds.

***​

Daniel watched the impressive scene unfolding before him – the Crusaders, who had come from countless miles away, lined up for battle against a very alien foe. The Bretons were heavily armed, yet lacking in archers to counter the rhythmic volleys of the Saracen skirmishers. The Bretons’ kite shields cast off the assaulting missiles with little concern. As the sun held its perch at the peak of the sky, the army under Duke Alan began to advance. Daniel turned towards Jermen who was barely able to stay afoot. Though he had demanded to fight, the draining heat had taken its toll on the now sickly man. Jermen leaned on a sword, periodically resting his head in exhaustion. The cloth wrappings around his leg wounds were in pitiful and unsanitary disrepair.

“Father is moving against them. Shall we?” Daniel asked.

Jermen was unresponsive. Adding a bit of force to his voice, Daniel spoke once more-

“Jermen? Are we to advance?”

As if nagged on by a bothersome mother, Jermen slowly rose, nodding in agreement. As he did, sweat dripped off of his pale face.

***

SaracensatLastBattle.jpg


The Saracen army occupied the high ground, making the short march perilous for the Bretons. When the numerically superior Crusaders finally reached the enemy lines, their supposed momentum proved as forceful as a breeze. The heavily armored Bretons immediatly faltered. Turki Yaseen saw an opening in the lines commanded by Nikolaz and pounced. In the face of the Sheiks heavy cavalry the inexperienced young Marshal, though well learned, failed to keep his soldiers rallied. The Breton army was now disunified, with Alan’s forces being clamped down upon by Yaseen. All efforts to relieve the Duke by Daniel were beaten back and the normally decisive Jermen was a deadweight on the movements of his forces. In hopeless despair, Alan sounded the retreat. Seeing the withdraw of his father, Daniel made the decision to return to the town.

The Battle of Juniyah was amongst the more brilliant of the Middle Ages. Turki Yaseen defeated an army almost twice his number, with few casualties. It is estimated that the Bretons suffered at least 1,300 losses. Whilst the Duke of Brittany was forced into another embarrassing retreat towards Tripoli, Daniel and Jermen were besieged within Juniyah until they could finally evacuate by sea. The loss was truly devastating. All talks amongst the Bretons had turned to just how they would get out.

Bad news what not shy in coming; Zakariyah al-Qasim escaped captivity in Cyprus and before long, he had raised an army and overthrown the tiny Greco-Breton garrisons. The news proved the tipping point for Duke Alan. With the entire Crusade crumbling, he made the decision to return home, much to the dismay of the other leaders. His troops were at the brink of mutiny and he’d had enough of the Holy Land. In November, a cease-fire was arranged with Sheik Yaseen.

So with a withered 4,500 Bretons and a ever more sick Jermen, the Breton Crusade came to an end – a failure.


Battle-of-Juniyah.gif

 

unmerged(59077)

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Wow. Now you know, Crusades with realistic results are rare, but this one certainly stands out noticeably.

And the writing is good too.
 

Estonianzulu

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That is an awesome map!
 

stnylan

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Aug 1, 2002
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A proper crusade - conquers from other Christians but fails utterly where the Muslims are concerned. :)