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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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"When the Christian Crusaders in the East fell upon that invincible order of Assassins, the order of free spirits par excellence, the lowest rank of whom lived a life of obedience the like of which no monastic order has ever achieved, somehow or other they received an inkling of that symbol and watchword that was reserved for the highest ranks alone as their secretum: ‘nothing is true, everything is permitted’, certainly that was freedom of the mind [des Geistes], with that the termination of the belief in truth was announced" ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

You must understand, my son, the world in which we live is a dangerous one. A life in the Shadows full of Freedom is not one to be taken lightly. In all things, even freedom, there must be a balance. Just remember the moment you make yourself known, the world will never stop hunting you.

The young man stood on a cliff overlooking the Fortress of Alamut under a torrent of rain. None below even knew of his existence, and save for the brief flashes of lightning, none would ever know he was there.

"Do not worry master..." The young man spoke to none but his memory "I will ensure that tyrants will never reign." Under another flash of lightning, the young man vanish behind the cliff.

Chapter 1
The Jihad of Hassan
A Hidden Fortress.png

The year 1089 by Christian Reckoning, the fortress of Alamut is silent. The only sounds are that of the insects chirping in the night. Yet, even in this eerie silence, a fire light flickered. A single torch, lighting up a passage deep into the heart of the Fortress. Glancing around, a hooded and robed figure insures that no one is watching as they swiftly move across the open courtyard and into the open doorway. Taking as secondary glance around, insuring their secrecy, the figure moves down the staircase and into the darkness of the underground. For what seems like hours, the figure walks, following the path not by sight or touch, but by memory. For all the innumerable times they have walked that path, and the countless times they nearly died, all of it had been leading up to one moment, this moment.

Following the blackness, eventually a small orange glow appears in the distance. They want to run towards the light, to have the ability to see the world once more, but caution, and experience overtake them. Carefully, they draw a small dagger from beneath their robes and enter into a well lit room. Glancing around they see no one, only a man sitting in the middle of the room, praying. Stealthily they approach the man, and place the dagger against his throat.


"Congratulations, you have succeeded in the initiation. Welcome to the Fedayeen, my Asāsiyyūn." The man stands up, revealing himself to be the Grand Headmaster of the Order. The initiate stands back and kneels before the Grand Headmaster.

"Thank you Grand Headmaster Hassan."
Hassan-i Sabbāh.png


"Now that you have passed your initiation, it is time for you to learn the truth of our order, and the cause of our Creed. Know these words and listen well, 'Nothing is true, Everything is permitted'. It is this creed alone that guides our order, and what we do. Understand this, we are not killers, we do not strike out at innocent civilians. Our goals are only to further the freedom of all by the removal of tyrants, and to secure the world from those who would seek to bring conformity to all."

The new Asāsiyyūn did not rise, but remained knelt, in true obedience and devotion.

"Now, rise, and join your brothers." The new Asāsiyyūn stood up, only to see that in his keeling, ten other Asāsiyyūn had appeared, seemingly from nowhere, to surround the two of them. Taking his place amongst his brothers, the gathered Asāsiyyūns stood in a circle around Hassan. "My Asāsiyyūn, I now impart upon you my dream, my Jihad. For too long we have stood by in the shadows, silently working to try and bring about change to this world. It has not gone far enough as those who would seek power for themselves still dominate this world. From this point forward, we will no longer hide in the shadows from our foes, but meet them out in the open. Let the world know the Fedayeen are here, and we will not allow tyrants to live."

All at once the Asāsiyyūns spoke, and in a unified voice cried out 'For the Creed'.

A Decade of Liberation
Following the Jihad of Hassan, the Middle East and Europe knew nothing but fear, with targets being assassinated left and right. Those who sought to dominate, and control were brought asunder by assassin blades. Those who sought to unite, and overthrow found friends in the Fedayeen as they would kindle the fires of rebellions across Europe. For ten years the Fedayeen, under the control of Hassan, continued to push their ideals and brought many people, of all creeds and races, under their banner. Yet it was not enough, as in the early years of Hassan's Jihad, the Fortress of Alamut was discovered and attacked by the personal guard of the Seljuk Sultan. A reprisal for the threat left behind by an Asāsiyyūn who attempted to scare the Seljuk sultan into staying away.

In response Hassan called his Asāsiyyūn to discuss what must be done. There were many voices to speak, some of whom were balked at, others were considered, but denied. Yet one voice, a young woman who was a recent initiate spoke of an island that would be perfect.

"For give me Grand Headmaster, but I do believe I know of such a place where none could touch you, and should the need arise, the Fedayeen would remain safe for all time."

Grand Headmaster Hassan nodded to this, granting her permission to continue.

"My home, the islands of Malta, would be perfect for us. It is far removed from the rest of the world, and the fortresses on the island are nigh impregnable should they remain well defended. It could be the place we have been looking for to try and protect our order, and the world."

Hassan pondered this for a moment, in the meantime, other, more seasoned Asāsiyyūn spoke up in defiance of this.

"Grand Headmaster, you cannot consider that. The Fortress of Alamut is our home, and it has kept us safe. True it was discovered, but that means little when our goals are so out in the open. Who cares if the world knows where our fortress is, I say let them come. The Asāsiyyūn of Fedayeen will strike down all foes."

"You will be silent." Hassan spoke up, bringing his opinionated Asāsiyyūn into line. "What is your name?" Hassan spoke as he turned to the young woman.

"Karmni Grand Headmaster." The woman bowed as she spoke.

"Well then Karmni, I task you with this mission. You are to go and capture the eldest son of the lord of Malta and bring him back in chains. Your role is the most pivotal in this whole venture, however should everything work out, the Fedayeen will have a new, secure, base of operations in Malta. Leave now, and fulfill the task at hand, the rest of us will eliminate the problem of the Sheikh." Without a word the young woman vanished to do as she was told.

Muhummed and His Son.png


It took her only three months to reach Malta, via horse and ship. Yet her return to the island did not bring her the joy she had expected. Upon arriving she learned that a disease had just finish ravaging the countryside. Many people had died, including her father and brother, those last living relatives tying her to her home. Unwilling to look at the place she once called home, Karmni set about her task of locating, and capturing the Sheikh's son.

Two Months.png


In spite of the expectations, it didn't take long for her to gather enough information about the Sheikh's movements to discover the best time to capture his son. After only two months, the plan had been set in motion to capture Ramadan. While his father was away inspecting the islands, Karmni posed as a servant girl, and laid in wait for the right moment to strike. When it did happen there was no blood, no screams, only a flurry of cloth and wind. Then, just as swiftly as it had happened, the nanny ordered to look after Ramadan stood in the halls of her lord's house alone, with naught but the wind to keep her company.

Shiekh's Palace.jpg


Returning to Alamut with her prize, Karmni was greeted by a very welcoming group of Asāsiyyūn. They accosted the child from her and moved him into a palatial prison.


"You have done very well Karmni." The voice of the Grand Headmaster called out to her as he approached from the rear. Spinning around on her heel, she got into a kneeling position.

"It was easier than expected, the Sheikh was less attentive than I had originally thought. The nanny was... distracted."

Hassan let out a light chuckle. "Good, that is very good, then I have one last task for you to complete before our conquest of the island can commence. Take this letter to the Sheikh, it is informing him of our demands. That he hand over the island of Malta to the Fedayeen, in exchange we will return his son."

Handing the note to Karmni, she gratefully accepted it and began to leave on her next assignment. However, before she left, she turned back to speak with the Grand Headmaster once more.

"My master, what if he refuses our demands?"

Hassan merely looked at her for a moment before giving her a casual smile. "Then we do what we do best."

With that she nodded and left to complete her goal.

3 Days and Languishing.png


It took another three months for her to leave and return, however the look on her face said volumes. Hassan spoke with her personally, in the Library of Alamut.

"I take it your mission was a failure?"

Karmni nodded, unwilling to look up into her master's eyes. "I am sorry Master, I have shamed the Order."

At this Hassan let out an exasperated chuff. "You didn't fail, it is not our way to discuss diplomacy. It seems as though the Sheikh will simply have to be taught a lesson in humility. You did at least inform him that refusal would mean war correct?"

"Of course my lord." Karmni responded quickly.

"Good, then it is time for Sheikh Muhammed to meet his end."

A Fortress to Fall.png


It did not take long for the Asāsiyyūns of Hassan to locate their target. The Sheikh was a fool of a man, zealous in his beliefs and of the mind that his skill in combat would save him from the hands of the Asāsiyyūns. Within a month they had already mapped out the routine of Sheikh and knew exactly when and where to kill him.

The Assassins are Everywhere.png


"My lord, we cannot be too careful. The Grand Headmaster of the Fedayeen himself has put out a death warrant on your head. We must be ever vigilant, lest the Assassins bring an end to your life. If you die the Island of Malta will fall, and the Fedayeen will gain control of the island. My lord, please, you must --"


"I know!" Sheikh Muhammad shouted in a moment of exasperation. "I - I know. The Fedayeen have eyes and ears everywhere. I..." Sheikh Muhammad let out a deep sigh. "I just need some time to think, some time to plan." Leaning against the railing overlooking the palatial grounds, Muhammad took in a deep breath.

"It is beautiful isn't it, the light reflecting off the water. I honestly love coming up here to think, it just helps me to clear my head. It -" The Sheikh's words were cut off as the railing he was leaning on snapped.

"Wha?" The last words anyone heard from the Sheikh were his cries of fear as he fell over a hundred feet to the cold stone below.

3rd of March.png


Seemingly on cue, an Asāsiyyūn arrived with a note addressed to the Grand Vizier of Sheikh Muhammad. Opening it, the Vizier's hands began to tremble, either in fear, or rage his courtiers couldn't tell. His emotions about the situation didn't matter, what mattered was his former liege was dead, and his current liege was in the custody of the Fedayeen. Without drawing a single blade, without facing a single army, the Fedayeen had conquered the island of Malta, and now ruled as the lords of the island.

Without a Single Battle.png


This victory over the Maltese Sheikh was a resounding success, and a wake up call to the rest of the world. The Asāsiyyūns of Hassan were not to be trifled with, and should they desire it, anyone could be a target.
Grand Ambitions
Upon arriving on the island of Malta, hundreds of Asāsiyyūn were there to greet Hassan. However the time for pleasantries were far from beginning. There was much work to be done to bring the island of Malta fully over to the side of the Fedayeen.

"Karmni, you are the one who has the most knowledge of this land, tell me, what are the defensive emplacements like? Is this island truly impregnable, or is that just a fantasy that people are told in order to keep them feeling safe?"

Karmni looked at Hassan for a moment, apparently pondering all the possible answers, before she finally spoke up.

"In truth Master, there are many flaws to the island. Aside from one small river that flows into the bay, there aren't many sources of fresh water. Although I am sure the mighty Cisterns could easily make up for that. No the biggest issue is defensive. The island has a couple large castles, but they don't defend the entire island, only a couple key points. If we were to make this island truly impregnable, then we need to advance the whole system and expand the defensive fortifications."

Hassan slipped a wry smile at this. "My thoughts exactly. With that in mind I would like to discuss your thoughts on a fortress, an impregnable fortress, for the island itself."

Under the mind of Hassan and his most ingenious Asāsiyyūn, the grand fortress of Hassan began construction.

The Fortress of the Asāsiyyūn.png


Yet ambition leads to the greatest of downfalls. In an endeavor to claim the straits of Gibraltar for the Fedayeen, Hassan sent his most able diplomat to do what the Asāsiyyūn did best, threaten, bribe, and cajole their way into power. After only a couple of years, the Asāsiyyūn diplomat returned with good news, the county of Algeciras in southern Castile.

An Attempt to Strike Out.png


"We are prepared Grand Master, the ships are assembled and the troops in order. We await only your command to take the county. For the Creed."

Hassan looked out across the water, knowing that beyond there lay something more, yet even the most skilled navigators couldn't possibly know what. "Good, then the Fedayeen will take the land of Algeciras for themselves. We will rise, and liberate those who are oppressed."

"Please Grand Master, you cannot go. Under the haze of the Hashish, I have been given a vision. Should you leave this fortress, you will surely perish." Hassan merely looked at Karmni, a mixture of contempt and pity on his face.

"I am the Grand Headmaster of the Fedayeen, it is the fates that should fear me." With that Hassan departed with his forces and sailed for Iberia. Yet it was all for naught, as, just as Karmni had seen, Hassan would meet his end on the fields of battle.

In an attempt to fight against the Fedayeen, and force back the growing influence of the Asāsiyyūns of Hassan, the King of Castile took the fight to Malta, and began besieging the fortresses there. In an endeavor to protect his people, and his home, Hassan sailed back with his army to face off against the armies of the Castilian King. It would be there, on the fields of his new home, that Hassan would face off against his ultimate foe, death itself.

Untimely Demise.png


Thus it was, Hassan-i Sabbāh, Grand Headmaster of the Fedayeen, and leader of the infamous Asāsiyyūn, died. The war for Algeciras was abandoned, and a new Grand Headmaster elected to the seat. The Jihad of Hassan was over, for now. But none can truly tell where end of Hassan's mission will truly end, as the Fedayeen have yet to abandon a life in the light.

A Change in Tactics.png
 

Crimson Lionheart

The House Always Wins.
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An interesting concept. Subbed
 

terr0rizm

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I'd love to read more about Hassan's Jihad. Ten years of deposing rulers and kindling rebellions sure make for some great stories. A shame he had to go so soon.

That said, I'm positive his successors will make their own exciting history and I am hereby subbed.
 

stnylan

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Intriguing