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The Kingmaker

AlexanderPrimus
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BraidsMAmma

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Timur is here, about 20 year too early though according to wiki.
Well, well, awsome Transoxanian update even though I find it hard to care for Taymiyya...
Since I assume neither Timur, nor Taymiyya were part of the actual game, I guess this is where the story really diverges from CK?

And you have the next PDF-chapters on your e-mail now =)
 

Deamon

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Tamerlane a Komnenos! I wasn't expecting that.

And it seems like Taymiyya has a plan to defeat the romans in detail but who is it who lurks in the details? The Devil or God/Allah? (And I just said that so I could post this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evJelMKDKiw couldn't resist.)
 
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unmerged(59077)

Tzar of all the Soviets
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Shahhan, I suppose. Hm hm.

Mixing Komnenoi with the Mongols was alwaya a bad idea! For the Romans.

Awaiting your next update when real life permits.
 

JackTheRipper21

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Nice couple of updates, in all honesty I was starting to forget about reading the AAR, but these pulled me back in and reminded why I liked it so much in the first place. Anyway good luck to the interim writers for Theodoros I look forward to reading your take on the character.
 
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BraidsMAmma

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Spent a 10-minute shower yesterday by thinking of the possibility to turn Rome AARisen into a epic TV-series...
While the story fits great for a TV-series episode/season narrative I'm more worried about the problem of ever aging, ever changing main characters...

Ah, one can dream... :eek:o
 

Nikolai

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A tv series like star was the clone wars perhaps, animated and way cool. :p
 

Nikolai

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This is getting creepy...:p
 

von Sachsen

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Perhaps in a few years HBO can buy the rights off of PI and make it a GOT-like series. The first season can be the early years of the Megas, and the second until the end of the rule of Nikolaios...
 

General_BT

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It's been a ridiculously busy two weeks--full time work schedule, as well as moving in a new roommate. I apologize both for the delay in the story, as well as my postponement of replies until tomorrow or Friday (when I might, I hope, have time to do some to both updates). In the meantime, here is the next part of the story, finally finished after a long delay...

andronikosiibannercopy.jpg


“Circumstance makes for strange bedfellows.” – Alexandros Dumas


October 18th, 1313


Andronikos Komnenos wanted to sigh and stretch—the cool autumn rays of the setting sun seemed to barely warm his tent, and the Megas Komnenos felt like nothing more than wrapping himself in warm Danish furs and taking an early nap.

Duty, however, had other plans.

So now the Emperor of the World found himself still sitting painfully upright on his camp stool, all the pain of the world lingering behind his twitching right eye. With one eye he looked up at the still shaking messenger, his lamellar armor the blue and gold of an athloutkos of the Mongoloi. Few men could admit to ever seeing a Mongol shiver, but even those impetuous horsemen shied away when the man called 'Ararat' by his own people walked into view. The emperor's other eye was squeezed shut by the piercing pain of the headache.

First the ambassador from the Taymiyyite rebels, and now this?

“You're sure?” Andronikos gritted his teeth and asked. “Palmyra?” Andronikos rubbed his head—the headache had been lingering for hours, but there was always something to plan, someone that wanted a meeting, all manner of distractions that kept him from the ministrations of medicine. The Emperor looked over at his medicus—Kaleb abd-Hinnawi was busily mixing his emergency concoction of pig's blood and spiced wine, as well as setting up a strange smoking device he procured from a Yemeni long ago called a hookah that was normally filled with cannabis. Andronikos looked back at the messenger and waved his hand. No use keeping the poor lout here, the Emperor groaned. “Is that mess ready, old man?”

Hookahcopy.jpg

“The function approaches zero!” abd-Hinnawi grunted, his eyes never leaving the stewing pot in the midst of the spartan imperial tent.

“Goddamn Isaakios, and everyone in his army! They shag sheep in the morning and jackasses at night!” Andronikos roared to no one. This time, the sentries outside his tent didn't peer inside—they'd grown used to their emperor exploding into a rage during this campaign. First the Taymiyyites deny me battle, and now the Persians attack Palmyra? Palmyra belongs, by rights to Komnenoedessa, and thus, me! Not some lowborn soot-eyed dandy from across the Zagros!

Andronikos had marched south with a mighty host, intent on ending the Taymiyyite rebellion once and for all.

“The vultures gather,” du Roche had warned in his last letter. The City was missing the stabilizing influence of her Emperor, as well as his Palatinoikoi. Du Roche had a few regiments of his own within the walls, but even the considerable skills of the Megoskyriomachos and co-Regent were being stretched. Prince Angelos has already gathered partisans in the city to his banner to oppose the decrees of the Regency. I pray Your Majesty finds victory and a road back to Konstantinopolis as soon as God allows...”

To save your goddamned Regency,
Andronikos hissed to no one, another flash of pain racing through his head. Du Roche had blocked several key appointments, including raising Prince Angelos to Megoslogothetes until the Emperor's return. He's just like my mother... he forgets I am emperor, I decide who is promoted where! Andronikos wasn't a fool! He knew people spoke openly that his mother and du Roche, two “foreigners” ruled while he was away on campaign! So what does my Regent do? He blocks Angelos, agitating Ikonion! Galilee can't stop this Taymiyya, then the Syrians can't, and now du Roche is acting like a child! I am surrounded by morons, fools, and dolts!

And now, as if nothing else could happen, there were 30,000 Persians in Palmyra!

palmyracopy.jpg

Demetrios Megas was crowned Prince of Syria and Kappadokia in Palmyra! Andronikos fumed. If the Persians took Palmyra, it wouldn't matter that Andronikos had destroyed Taymiyya—the dynatoi would cry that the great enemy of Romanion, the host of the lecherous Gabriel and the catamite Alexandros, was once again trespassing on Roman soil. Maybe the would begin to speak of a weak son who let foreigners run his court while he let Persia take Roman lands...

While outside the bellow of orders and the scrape of whetstones on steel echoed throughout the camps, inside the Emperor's tent, the only sounds were Andronikos' fingers drumming quietly on the camp table and abd-Hinnawi's puttering over his boiling concoction. They would not let it stand... I will not let it stand! he fumed. Now Taymiyya needed to be destroyed, and[i/] the Persians needed to be driven back! There was a reason Andronikos had brought the largest Roman army since the days of his father south to the Levant—Taymiyya had consistently and completely demolished every Roman force sent to stop him, often with pitiful numbers. I know I'll lose a good number of men destroying him—is the Palmyra force merely a vanguard? How many Persians will follow? How..

The drumming stopped. He is coming within the hour, the Emperor grimaced. What is his game?

“Old man,” Andronikos sighed, “What should I tell this rebel? Why is he meeting me?” Abd-Hinnawi is brilliant... surely he can think of something...

“I... oh!” the medicus suddenly looked up, surprise leaping from between his whiskers, “Majesty, this integer is most apologetic. My function of purpose was completely distracted by Your Majesty's medicinal variable, and...”

Andronikos winced, another wave of pain came back. Listen, you bastard! I need your advice! he wanted to roar, but the words held just before the tip of his tongue. “Ibn Taymiyya,” the Emperor groaned. “What to do about him?”

quandrykonstantinopoliscopy.jpg

“Ah, um... Majesty, this is clearly not my set of...”

“What...to...do...about...him?” Andronikos snapped. God, abd-Hinnawi can be an idiot sometimes! Listen, old man!

“I...um... well...” abd-Hinnawi stammered, “Majesty, perhaps it would behoove you to ponder what integer of humanity is truly an enemy. Some men are constants, unchanging rocks in the equation that is life. Some men are subject to variables,” abd-Hinnawi shrugged. “Some are not even integers, and carry fractions of this or that illogically added together. Know your functions, Majesty, and you may know who your enemies truly are.”

“Mm,” Andronikos murmured, tapping his lip in thought. Could Taymiyya be turned? Is that what he meant? It must be! Master Bradwardine—the Emperor's tutor when he was no more than a boy in far off Havigraes, had a favorite quote-- “A man may be killed, an idea will live so long as people believe in it.” Taymiyya's ideas were believed by a great many—killing him would only strengthen his ideas, making the call for a Muslim homeland stronger, more urgent, and more feverish. No, I won't kill him—I'll see him, and think of what to do? Andronikos asked himself for a moment.

A few minutes later, precisely on schedule, a herald arrived. My, this Taymiyya is punctual, Andronikos thought, as abd-Hinnawi handed him the hookah and its smoking contents. The Emperor took the pipe linked to the contraption, and inhaled deeply as he motioned for the messenger to speak.

“Majesty,” he bowed, “Ibn Taymiyya has arrived. Alone.”

“Alone?” Andronikos almost spat up his wined medication. He quickly took the pipe and inhaled again. Is he insane? He surely knows... The Emperor's eyes narrowed. Something is going on...

“Send him in,” Andronikos found himself saying. A man's voice gives a measure of him. Let him speak, and let's see what this ibn Taymiyya is made of...and how we can end this whole...debacle...

The messenger bowed and disappeared, returning a moment later with what should have been the most important man Andronikos had met so far in his short reign. The Bane of Christ, as the Patriarch had dubbed him, was physically not nearly as impressive as Andronikos had imagined. He was on the shorter side, even for normal men, a slight pudge in his belly and a stocky frame speaking to a man in the height of late middle age, not some demigod of war. His graying beard was well kept, his linens bright and clean, but he wore no rings, nor adornments of his supposed title as 'Sword of God,' or 'Commander of the Army of the Faithful,' as some of Andronikos' scant number of prisoners referred to him. Most of him reminded Andronikos more of forgetful old Master Bradwardine, and not a peerless soldier who'd destroyed every Roman army he'd encountered...

oldertaymiyya2copy.jpg

...except his eyes. They were quick, calculating, flashing all about the tent, weighing, gauging. After a brief moment, they finally settled on Andronikos, and for several moments, Emperor and Amir[i/] stared at each other. Finally, ibn Taymiyya's lips widened slightly into something resembling a half-smile.

“My manners. My Lord,” he nodded politely, but did not bow.

“Imperial Majesty,” Andronikos said quietly, nodding in return. “Master Taymiyya,” the emperor added, forcing the frown he wanted to give underneath the surface. He seeks to insult me. I won't give him the privilege... “Would you care for a smoke? My medicus advises me that it does wonderful things for the constitution.” The Megas Komnenos motioned behind him, towards the still puttering abd-Hinnawi as the medicus set a goblet filled with his thyme, rosemary, wine and pig's blood concoction next to the imperial hand. “Old man, I presume you have heard of Taqi a-Din ibn Taymiyya. Master Taymiyya, my personal physician, Kaleb abd-Hinnawi.”

“Master ibn Taymiyya!” abd-Hinnawi came around and bowed. “I truly multiplicated honor! The joy of this day is divided by the truth following—that Taqi a-din ibn Taymiyya, a man with an intellect that approaches numerics held only by genius integers, has picked false when he should have selected truth, and followed the words of al-Abadi... it is a shame of most asymptotic proportions.”

Andronikos winced—his medicus had never been known to truly think about what he was saying. Ibn Taymiyya bowed in return, a pearly white smile on his face. Is he truly smiling? Andronikos wondered, as the man who had bamboozled Roman armies for nearly a decade spoke.

“I am pleased to be in the presence of a mind as renowned as that of Doctor Kaleb abd-Hinnawi, renowned churigeon and author. It distresses me,” Taymiyya replied, the smile on his face growing cold, “to see a gifted man as yourself misled by the charlatan you called The Timeless One, when your mind could do so much good walking in the true path Allah intended...”

A riposte, the Emperor thought. Most men simply couldn't follow abd-Hinnawi's peculiar speech, or dismissed his words outright. Taymiyya rebutted, as if he was talking to a fellow scholar... Andronikos suddenly leaned forward as the two scholars began to talk—abd-Hinnawi made a point about logic and faith, Taymiyya countered.

Maybe Taymiyya's more clever than I thought, Andronikos sipped on the foul tasting brine sitting in his goblet. He wanted to cough the mixture up, so he smoked from the pipe once more—it seemed to calm his stomach. He'd learned long before that sipping it slowly the smoking from the hookah made the effects last longer, while gulping it down or not smoking from the hookah[i/] tended to make his stomach quail and rebel. The Mongols counted the remains of a 50,000 man camp, with tracks leading south and east. Andronikos took another sip, as abd-Hinnawi replied to another one of Taymiyya's points. The two men were seated, but behind the veneer of politeness the Emperor could almost see their intellectual shades circling the room, like two jackals snarling and spitting over a prize.

He's sneaking his army out of Damascus, too... Philadelphia...and then... Jerusalem? That had to be what Taymiyya was planning! His men would defend him to the death! It's the only explanation—a man expecting martyrdom wouldn't become engrossed in a theological debate...

taymiyyaplancopy.jpg

“Logic is not a variable in the equation of life for the presence of God!” abd-Hinnawi shook his head vigorously. “It is factual evidence of the existence of God!”

“Logic is a gift from God,” ibn Taymiyya nodded, “but what of Faith?” Taymiyya rolled his eyes. “Is that not a greater gift? You Aionites presume that through your earthly wisdom you can simply deduce God's Will! You are attempting to comprehend the incomprehensible, and rationalize the irrational! That mark of arrogance has always stained the preaching of your Abadi! Reason is not a tool to you, it is an idol, a mark of the pride of Shaitan, not a holy man!”

“You cast away reason for blind faith, an equation without variables or solution!” abd-Hinnawi talked even louder, “Allah, in his wisdom, put logic as a component of our frail matrix! It is the work of a fool to spurn...”

“You think you can know what God thinks, know what God knows?!” Taymiyya was suddenly snapping.

“..what Allah has given you, simply because your equation of choice is to not choose to try to understand God?”

No... he does not expect martyrdom, Andronikos decided, he expects, wants time! Perhaps I can get him to speak. Perhaps...

“Logic is the path God has laid out for faith. They reinforce one another, as the sun follows the moon, as winds make waves,” Andronikos jumped in, using the same trite quote from Patriarch Thomas of Aquino he'd learned as a child. Our tutor would be rolling in his grave if he heard these two prattle on! Despite Andronikos' hopeful interjection, the two scholars barreled onwards without paying the Master of the World a scant bit of attention.

“You,” Hinnawi laughed, “have a stubbornness equal to the most obtuse of donkeys! Surely...”

“Ah, insults are not the debating field of gentlemen or true scholars of faith!” Taymiyya rejoined.

“I was observing, which is not of equivalence to insulting!” abd-Hinnawi shot back.

“Stop equivocating!”

“Gentlemen...” Andronikos blinked. He's not stalling any more... he's genuinely engrossed!

”Which integer of humanity is your enemy?” The question echoed in the Emperor's mind as abd-Hinnawi and ibn Taymiyya continued their verbal barrage. Andronikos looked at the Bane of Christianity once more, as he jabbed another finger at abd-Hinnawi. His own face seemed aglow with energy, intelligence, furious and quick, leaping all over every point the Emperor's personal medicus laid out. He's no warrior... he's a scholar...

Andronikos blinked yet again, the news of the day filtering through his mind. The Taymiyyites have left their camp once more...There are 30,000 Persians in Palmyra...Taymiyya hopes to become a martyr...

Ruthless, cunning deadly...


Ruthlessness would simply make Taymiyya a martyr, a holy icon like-minded rabblerousers would rally around. Deadly meant a pitched battle—Taymiyya and his qabbatin had savaged other Roman armies. 30,000 Persians in Palmyra... and damn Isaakios is probably gleefully waiting for me to be mauled by the Taymiyyites so he can pick apart the carcass of my army...

“...The vultures gather...”


Cunning won—it was the only option left. But what was the cunning way to defeat a scholar? Not just the man, but the idea that man has created?

No bribes, the Emperor realized—neither would threats serve to move such a man. He was a principled, religiously devout and supremely focused man by all descriptions. Those men are the most dangerous... how to gauge him? How to move him?

For several moments, a pair of scholars argued over fine points of philosophy and logic, as competing thoughts debated and discussed in the Emperor's mind. Cannot kill the man, cannot kill the idea—we must make people forget it! How? Is it possible?

Master Bradwardine would say no.

Aristotle? What did Aristotle say... um...

Patriarch Thomas of Aquino swore that only God could move a righteous man...

Taymiyya is a heathen? Is he still righteous?


righteousheathencopy.jpg

“Your Shariah flutters in the wind - it is not a path to the oasis, but a winding narrow path leading to the brink of a cliff!” abd-Hinnawi was shouting. Both men were now standing, chest to chest, all veneer of politeness gone as they bellowed. “Why follow such a precipice when God has given you eyes to see the straighter path to Him and His Will!”

“Because,” Taymiyya was snarling back, “your listless Aionite faith, just like your callous princes and scheming priests, seeks to usurp the Will of God for you own purposes, whatever those might be, whenever it might suit you, and not to understand God! I truly think,” he was already jabbing a finger into abd-Hinnawi's chest, “that you, your Aionites, and your princes would be perfectly happy with no law, your wishes leading you down whatever sinful, treacherous path you desired, with reason alone whispering your your ear that all is well!”

All is well... The words rippled distantly in Andronikos' mind somewhat distantly as he watched them. A thousand ideas seemed to be running through his head at once now, everything from what to do about du Roche, his mother, Prince Angelos and the whole lot in Konstantinopolis, to Taymiyya, to where the army should dig their latrines at the next camp. A gust of wind blew through the tent, and the Emperor swore it went through him.

All is well. Andronikos heard the words again, and wanted to laugh. It clearly wasn't! Romanion's archnemesis stood in his tent, arguing with his personal physician, while his army slipped around Andronikos', and the Persians besieged Palmyra! The Emperor forced back a snicker. No, it was bad, terrible! He couldn't kill Taymiyya, no, but...

...wait...

One cannot kill an idea, but one can use it for one's own ends...who said that? Andronikos asked himself. Aristotle? My mother? Heraklios after he drank three cups of stolen communion wine all those years before?[i/] He heard someone in the room giggle. Yes! Take his idea! Oh, it would be funny to do...

Focus!
another voice yelled at him. He contorted his face, forcing a frown in place, before inhaling more of the smoky mixture coming from the pipe. Yes, take Taymiyya's idea... then... maybe...

Piece by piece, jagged chunks of thought sliced through the Emperor's mind, each cut unleashing another thought, then another, until in a moment another torrent was rushing through. Those shards started to assemble, rickety at first, into a larger plan...

...Andronikos looked up. Both ibn Taymiyya and abd-Hinnawi were staring at him.

“Does Your Majesty's base function of hilarity register true due to our debate?” abd-Hinnawi asked slowly.

Andronikos frowned, this time in confusion. For a moment, he stared back at them, until his face fell. I giggled, he realized. Damn abd-Hinnawi's vile drink!

“I...um...” he misspoke for a moment, before deciding to ignore his medicus. “Master ibn Taymiyya, you are no bandit, are you?” Andronikos asked cautiously. Careful, Andronikos heard a chiding voice say in his mind. It sounded strangely like his mother. Gauge him—he's proud, he won't like the idea of kneeling. Walk him towards it... let him see it for himself...

“No more than you are a lowborn peasant,” Taymiyya said slowly, confusion dripping from his words.

“And,” Andronikos fought down that strange, inappropriate urge to smile, “You came here with no terms, did you?”

“I...have no terms, my lord...”

“Majesty,” Andronikos said gently, reminding him. “You think I'll kill you, don't you? Well,” Andronikos went on, before the rebel could speak, “you're wrong. I don't. In fact...” he let the smile that wanted to erupt finally break through, “I have a question for you! You wish for a Muslim homeland?” Andronikos raised an eyebrow.

“With all my heart, Majesty,” Taymiyya replied after a mere moment's pause. Andronikos' eyebrows rose even more. After a constant stream of attacks on abd-Hinnawi, of all people, he pauses...

“I can grant you that,” Andronikos dangled his candy in front of his opposite. Cannot kill the idea, take it...

“Majesty, with all due respect,” A stillborn smile spread across Taymiyya's face, “I have come to know that a Roman grants nothing without demanding everything.”

“Demanding everything? I...” A distant spark of pain rippled across Andronikos' forehead. He winced for a moment. The headache was pushing itself back, fighting past abd-Hinnawi's treatments. “I am not like other Romans, you will find,” he finally managed to say as he rubbed his temple. Words were coming hard to him for some reason. I...shouldn't be stumbling over my words. I'm the Emperor! he wanted to laughed. “I am generous and true to those who are the same to me. Ibn Taymiyya, they say you are a true, honest man?”

The smile on the Arab's face faded somewhat, a thoughtful look taking its place. “I, like all, have sinned and fallen short of what Allah requires,” Taymiyya said after a moment. “I try my utmost, however, to be as you say.”

“Your answer speaks for you,” Andronikos nodded. Spoken like old Bradwardine. “If I were to offer a pact, Ibn Taymiyya...”

“...a what?” A perplexed look flashed over the Arab's face, his big eyebrows rising up in surprise and confusion.

“...a pact, I did not stutter,” Andronikos smiled happily. “If I were to offer a pact, one that would safeguard you and your followers, would I have your word, solemn and true, that you would hold to it?”


“I....”

“I simply asked if you would hold to your word, Master Taymiyya,” Andronikos laughed.

“If I would ever agree to such a pact, yes, my word would be my bond...” The Bane of Christendom glanced over at his former rival—abd-Hinnawi glanced back, a blank look on his face. “I...however... I must warn, Majesty, that you should save your breath,” Taymiyya caught himself, crossing his arms. “I will not agree to any truce, pact, or arrangement, and even if...”

“I grant you the Levant, from Galilee to the Sinai, minus treatied settlements around Bethlehem, Nazareth, and a few jointly agreed holy sites. Jerusalem will be an open city, as it was under my father, and emperors before,” Andronikos said, the ideas rushing through his mind turning into words for the first time. It is clever! It'll show mother, and du Roche, and all the others that I rule!

“For?” Taymiyya asked. It was one word—a simple, lonely word, but that was all Andronikos needed to know that he had him. The Emperor smiled—the pain was starting to ebb once more, a very faint drum overwhelmed by the din of euphoria.

“I thought you didn't make truces or pacts...”

“Humor me,” Taymiyya crossed his arms.

“But I have more to offer first.”

“By all means,” Taymiyya tapped his foot on the ground.

“Your men, as well as their wives, children, chattel and slaves will be allowed to retain their settlements and lands in the Levant as well. You may form villages of your choosing, or retain towns you hold—the only requirement be that they have no walls greater than palisades of wood to keep out bandits...”

“...A generous offer,” Taymiyya's fingers traveled through his beard for a moment. “For?” he repeated himself.

Andronikos felt his smile somehow grow even larger. “My price is simple. I have 20,000 politikoi—landed veterans—who are in need of land to farm, and fisheries or harvest. They will be settled in the walled cities, Joppa, Acre, Ascalon, and Jerusalem, to help ensure your end of the bargain...”

“...and?” Taymiyya's eyebrow raised.

“Your followers will answer directly to the Emperor in Konstantinopolis. I will appoint a special Logothetes ton Levantikon from your ranks to administer the region in the name of the empire, as well as serve as the official voice of my Muslim subjects in my court.”

“Majesty, I...”

And I will require the services of your armed men—40,000 of them, for the next five years,” Andronikos delivered the last line of his demands before Taymiyya could reply. It was based in good imperial tradition—hire in the soldiers of defeated foes to buffer the imperial armies. I'll split them into small units, and use them to strengthen frontiers away from the Levant! Andronikos giggled in his mind.

andronikosoffercopy.jpg

“I...” Taymiyya flashed another look over at abd-Hinnawi, his eyes wide. “Majesty, I don't know how my followers...”

“They call you Commander, do they not?”

“I...” Taymiyya stammered.

“They listen to your every word, do they not?” Andronikos bowled onward, not caring that he interrupted. “They follow your lead, follow your religious example? They would follow you to the Gates of Hell, I am told?”

“Majesty...”

“They will follow what you say, Master Taymiyya,” Andronikos pressed. “Yes, you could always refuse,” Andronikos laughed, “and then I could march my army out of the Golan and catch yours as it crosses the Jordan! I'll lose many men,” the Emperor giggled, “and probably won't be able to stop the Persians, but I will annihilate your Jayshallah! Oh! Oh!” Andronikos' giggle rippled through the tent, “I'll then tell my men to ignore the Persians, and put every town of yours in the Levant to the sword! That'd be... hilarious...wouldn't it? Don't you agree, old man?”

andronikoscreepycopy.jpg

“I...Majesty...I...” abd-Hinnawi stumbled.

“I thought you did!” Andronikos wiped his eyes. The look of confusion and terror on ibn Taymiyya's face was priceless! “So... my good friend, what will you choose? A pact and stopping the Persians, or... obstinate death? Obstinate...” Andronikos snorted. The word was funny.

Ibn Taymiyya openly stared at him, eyes wide. He thinks me mad? It is madness, but it's cunning madness! Andronikos laughed.

“I...”

“Master Taymiyya, it is a fair and true offer,” Andronikos smiled at his pinned opponent. “Your people get lands, homes, and freedom to worship. I get a peaceful frontier, and soldiers for my ranks. Let's ask the opinion of another learned man. What do you say, abd-Hinnawi? Is my offer fair and true?”

“I...” the medicus sputtered, first at his lord, then at the man he'd only minutes before called an obtuse donkey. “He... the logic of your proof is...”

“Sound, is it not?” Andronikos smiled sharply at the medicus. “Yes it is,” Andronikos nodded finally, before his eyes flashed towards the Bane of Christendom. “So, Master Taymiyya, what do you say? Freedom and land, no Persians to oppress your followers, and drive them out into the desert? I have heard such things are happening...”

“I...” Taymiyya stuttered yet again. For someone who eagerly debated theology earlier, this Taymiyya seems quite tongue tied... the Emperor mused.

“I don't need a complicated explanation, a theorem or a philosophical ramble,” Andronikos rolled his eyes. “I need a yes, or a no, Master Taymiyya! One or the other—it will determine the fate of your people, might I add...”

“What of your...religious leaders?” ibn Taymiyya finally managed to ask. “Won't they disapprove of...” He stopped speaking as another giggle came from Andronikos lips.

“You don't understand, do you?” Andronikos snorted. The look on his face! It's hilarious! “I am Vice Gerent of Christ. God's appointed ruler of the Romans. The Church will follow, and will do as I say!” Just like my mother, and du Roche, and Prince Angelos and all the other rascals will once I return to Konstantinopolis in triumph! “Especially, Master Taymiyya, when I bring you to Konstantinop...” Another flurry of chuckles escaped Andronikos' lips at Taymiyya's suddenly thunderous face.

andronikoswideeyedcopy.jpg

“I won't...” the religious man started to snarl.

“...be a prisoner?” Andronikos snorted. “Of course not! Think on it, Master Taymiyya! What displays the power of the monarchy more—you bound in chains, or you willingly following me into the city!” For a brilliant man, he's VERY slow! “There's a Muslim Quarter in the city in need of a new imam[i/] since the last one passed on five years ago. Perhaps you can take up quarters there? Perhaps you can be Logothetes ton Levantikon? Perhaps...”

“I...I must think on...”

“Fine... have you thought?” Andronikos arched an eyebrow, before taking another puff from the hookah. “You've had time. Yes, or no, Master Taymiyya! I need your answer now...
 

humancalculator

Lt. General
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I think he will say yes. Can't wait for the next update!
 

The Kingmaker

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That was truly splendid. The encounter between Taymiyya and Hinnawi was epic, and the fact that Andronikos was getting stoned while it was going on... just priceless.
 

Lord Strange

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Wait, did he just solve a major disaster for the empire while high?

I LOVE THIS EMPEROR!