• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

cccino

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-= RUMOURS =-


They travel faster, it seems, than the messengers, spies or simple pilgrims can carry them. Rumours are your most important tales for those who don't frequent your court.

Put copies of your very best posts in this thread, or leak the latest goings on in your realm to the world at large...
 

unmerged(17489)

General
Jun 7, 2003
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Gripsholm, Mariefred


"Don't you want to be king, Bo? Don't you want a fancy golden crown and more titles than you could ever dream of? Don't you want to travel around in Europe meeting with other kings and queens of Europe?"
Karl Karlsson av Ulfåsa was the one asking this time. God knew Bo had got that question countless many times before. Not just from Karl's father who had been Bo's friend until he died in Napoli in 1372 during his mother, Holy Bridget's pilgrimage to Jerusalem. But also from countless other Swedes who were tired of the German duke. The same German duke who had been so welcomed by the nobles before was now one of the most hated men in Sweden with only about a third of the nobles and clergymen supporting him and extremely few if any in the peasantry. What was holding the country together know was the German mercenaries who had been placed by the duke to keep order.

Bo opened his mouth as if he was to say something but closed it again. Instead he sighed. Karl was much younger in the mind than in his body, which was both a benefit and a weakness. He was unintelligent and rarely thought before he acted, while on the other hand he was quick in the thought and bright when it came to understand things. Bo smiled and made another try saying something. He spoke to Karl as if he was a little child, with a fatherly voice.

"Karl, you're very like your father. Naive, but bright and quick in the mind. Sometimes however, you need to sit back and think about the pro's and con's of a desicion or else you might end up like your father did. Your father sinned, did you know that? His death was the punishment of God, Bridget was ashamed of him. Maybe I'll tell you the story son, maybe I will, one day. You're certainly old enough to hear it. Or perhaps it's best if it remains untold, some stories are forgotten you know son, and rightfully so. Only our children and brothers can decide what of our stories will be told about us in the future."


He paused, sipping the wine he had imported from Germany. Expensive wine, but Bo was the richest man Sweden had ever seen and ever would see. With possessions all over the country he had an income which could supply him with barrels of wine, every day. When Karl didn't say anything, the poor boy was probably shocked by these news, Bo decided to answer the question.

"Do you know what it means to be king, Karl? Do you know how heavy a crown can be? I have seen the other side of the coin, my son. I have seen the ugly head of royalty and I don't want to see it again. A king is subject for hatred. Everyone in this country blames their problem on the king. It isn't bad luck that Sweden has been destabilized for centuries, it isn't incompetence by the rulers that throws Sweden into civil wars every now and then. The Swedes are a rebellious people with lots of problems, the Swedish peasants are more free than in any other European country, but with freedom comes wishes of more freedom. I have enough trouble with my own land, only a madman would want to govern the whole land. A madman like the Mecklembürger duke curently on the Swedish throne, I admit."

Karl, who seemed to have forgot the news of his sinful father as fast as he was struck by them wasn't convinced. He was more excited than ever, looking at the old man in front of him with eyes burning of enthusiasm. It was an ugly and short man in front of him, crooked and with a small hunchback. This man was the most powerful man in Sweden and if Sweden was ever going to get a Swedish king it was going to be this man!

"But Bo, Sweden needs a strong king! A king who can unite the country and defeat the foreigners who wants their dirty hands on our crown and a king who can solve their problems! The people wants a Swedish king, a king like you!"


"I am old, Karl, and with age comes weakness. It doesn't look like it from the outside but between you and me, I'm getting weaker and weaker and I believe the lord is counting my days. I'm actually in the process of drawing up a will on how to split my possessions. Honestly I don't think my son is capable of governing it all, and I have told him so too."

Bo sipped the wine again. Expensive drinks were drunk slowly, so that you enjoyed every drip of it. Wastefulness was also a sin. Karl didn't say anything, the fire in his eyes had been replaced with sparkling amazement, as if he had just been told something very important and was trying to figure out what it meant. Bo couldn't help to smile at the young man.

"And besides, what does it mean to be king other than having a fancy title? I've got a personal empire stretching over one third of Sweden, I'm wealthier than any king has ever been in Sweden. I'm the most powerful man of Sweden, I could make the king bow for me if I wanted. Why would I want a crown and a title? Vanity is a sin Karl, it is hard work that is appreciated by the lord, and it is with hard work I have got what I have. I deserve every öre I earn, and I am proud of what I have achieved in my life."

Karl spoke now, and his usually so joyful and enthusiastic voice was replaced with something else, something serious. It was as if he was imitating Bo's adult voice.

"I wish I had an ounce of your wisdom Bo, and I would be able to become king of both the sun and the moon."

Bo laughed. It was a joyful laugh, which didn't go well with his slightly deformed appearance but still a laugh.

"Haven't you listned to anything I've said, silly boy! You don't want to be the king of the sun and the moon, at least not if they are as rebellious as the people who lives in this country. And I bet they are, for they are blessed and created by the lord, just like the Swedes and the Goths."

Bo stopped laughing and he got back to his normal serious self.

"May God be with you Karl, live a faithful life and don't go the way of your father. I'm leaving now for the sleep we all need, think of what I said and don't rush into decisions you shouldn't take."

With those words, the old deformed man rose with an effort

"The world isn't black and white." he whispered and dissappeared through the corridor towards his bed chamber, leaving Karl on the chair feeling like he was ten years old. His wisdom compared to this man's was at least proportional to a ten year old's to himself he stated dejectedly, and walked towards his own personal "guest" chamber in the castle. When he had been here for the fifth time in one month Bo had laughed at him and given him a permanent guest chamber as his own. If he only had a fraction of the knowledge of that man...
 

Mettermrck

The Fuehrer of the Dance
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Marienburg



Von Oerselen set down his drink and glanced frankly at the Grandmaster. ”They are no better than the Prussians, milord. Samogitia is simply a reflection of what our lands once were, before the benevolent hand of God brought us here to instruct these natives in righteousness and Christian humility.” He nodded in satisfaction, the pride of the Order being reflected in his own words. He was always an outspoken knight, perhaps the most zealous of von Rothstein’s knights, and the Grandmaster wasn’t sure if this made him nervous or pleased.


For the moment, he managed a neutral nod. ”War is coming, Adolf. No one can deny this, except perhaps the catamites in Trakai and Warsaw. I want you to be at the head of it. The dismantling of the pagan abomination in the region will require a proper Christian foundation to be built up in its place. I know I can count on your zeal, Adolf. But can I count on your dedication…your loyalty?”

That was it, then, they both thought. The price of it. If a man believed less in God than the pair of them, they might call it a deal with…well, something sinister and best left unmentioned. Neither man did mention it, and instead put out their hands. ”I will give you your conquests, Grandmaster. If you give me my free hand.”

Only a second’s hesitation, and then a nod. Within a sunset, the Ordensmarschal departed Marienburg for Memel.
 
Jul 28, 2003
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Ecce ad Tyrannum




In the name of the holy & undivided Trinity, Father & Son & Holy Ghost. Amen.



Clemens Septimus, Bishop of Rome, Servant of the Servants of God: to all the bishops, priests & deacons of the Church throughout the world; & to all the faithful believers in the one true Church, Universal & Apostolic, these chosen ones of God, who are subject to Us as to Peter, the one & only shepherd appointed by Christ to become the head of His mystical body, hereby sends greetings & the Apostolic Benediction.



Look at the tyrant Charles of Durazzo, look how he sits enthroned on the heap of corpses amidst a sea of blood, how he boasts his odious deeds! Having Our beloved daughter of blessed memory, the Queen Joanna, strangled while she was in prayer, now this bandit is perching on the Kingdom of Naples as though he was King, harassing Our prelates and having Our legates imprisoned, resisting Our calls and disobeying Our commands, hence resisting the call of the King Christ We are the Vicar of, hence disobeying the Lord God.

Know ye, that the tyrant Charles of Durazzo and his household, having by their own deeds been excommunicated, are hereby declared by Us the enemies of God and the Holy Catholic Church. We declare them cursed, condemned, cast out, cut off from the Body of Christ, out of which there is no salvation. And for crimes against the humanity and the Church, We declare Charles of Durazzo deposed of his offices, stripped of his titles and dispossessed of his properties. We absolve his former subjects from all oaths of obedience to him, and on the pain of excommunication We forbid all Christians from serving or obeying him in any way. He and his household shall be given no shelter, nor food, he shall not be protected by the laws of men and God.

Moreover, so long as the abovementioned Charles, bandit, heretic, simoniac, murderer, schismatic and atheist, remains in power in the Kingdom of Naples, the said Kingdom shall be laid under interdict by Us: all ecclesiastical courts and all churches shall be closed, no Masses shall be celebrated, no confessions shall be heard, all sacraments, except the last rite, shall be withheld.

Moreover, let it be known that all the clergy and laity who dares to ignore these commands of Ours shall be ipso facto excommunicated.

Furthermore, herewith We command all the former subjects of that Charles of Durazzo to gather under the banners of Our beloved son and vassal, Louis, the Duke of Anjou, who has been crowned King of Naples by Us, and whom We have ordered to wage a holy war against the abovementioned Charles, and who received Our blessing on his armies. Whosoever among the faithful is fit to bear arms shall, upon undertaking to wage war against the heretical tyrant, recieve from Us an indulgence for all his sins and remission of all his temporal punishment; his only penance shall be to wage war against the forces of the tyrannic usurper, and should he die in battle, We, who hold the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, shall unlock the gate thereof for him, so that he may enter into the Holy Presence.

Likewise, so long as the abovementioned Charles remains in power in the Kingdom of Naples, We encourage all the Christian rulers on the Earth to take up arms against him. They shall receive Our blessing through our venerable Brethen, their bishops, on their righteous enterprise. Similarly, We declare all war waged against the tyrant a war righteous, and pleasing to the Lord Almighty.​

In Dei Nomine

Clemens PP. VII
 

unmerged(35921)

Benevolent Despot
Nov 7, 2004
118
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Prospects

The sea is a fearsome place, and yet men flock to its shores in herds. Why would a man willingly go to a place that puts his wellbeing in jeopardy? The specific answer to that question lies in the hopes and dreams of the individual, and thus can not be said. However, in a general sense it is the prospect of a better life that draws man to the sea. Since the beginning of time the sea has given great wealth to those brilliant enough to seek it. In this age, in the far and bitter north, that wealth comes in the form of fish similar goods. In their pursuit of riches, as determined by the eye of the beholder, men are driven to do extraordinary things. Very few series of events, related to the sea and desires for earthly possessions, can be remarked as more strange than those concerning voyages to the Icelandic shores...​

******​

The expedition was to be a simple one, or so states the story that peasants whisper over their suppers. Originally, the concept of the expedition had been to seek new fortunes in Iceland. This was, by no means, a new idea in Norway but it was intriguing enough a prospect to raise interest among those informed of it. The plans for this particular expedition were crafted Harold Krabbe, an estranged member of one of Norway’s ruling families. Harold’s original idea of transporting several groups of men to Norway’s “new” frontier in Iceland and exploiting their labors, it has been said, was crafted amidst a night of far too much drinking. This disputed fact cast a shadow over the future of Harold concept from the very beginning. As the story continues, Harold, after recovering from the night upon which he conceived the idea of a voyage, realized the daunting demands of such a mission. The rowdy and rather drunken man found that if he was to continue with his outlandish scheme, he would need to suddenly come upon a rather sizable supply of both men and money. Harold, who by himself was a man of simple means, saw only one way to come upon those two necessities. That being, to beg them of his parents, who were at this time still grasping to some power in northwestern Norway.

Next, in pursuit of his plan Harold traveled to the quaint estate of his parents. Upon his arrival on the land he received a rather cold welcome. Despite the unconcealed tensions existing between Harold and his parents the two parties sat down in a simple meeting. At this point with the story, details become rather obscured. As a direct result, it can not exactly be told how Harold was able to convince his parents, with whom he had fallen out of favor, to fund and supply his drunken scheming. Perhaps, some theorized, the young man had enlightened his parent as to the potential profits to be had from establishing a successful link to Iceland. Despite that such would have been an overstatement of fact, it seems the most likely reasoning. Anyway, by some means, Harold acquired his parent’s favor. And therefore, he had found a sponsor for his planned voyage. With his parents now reluctantly funding his actions, the would-be voyager made the necessary arrangements for a ship to be crafted and supplies conscripted. Next, in the process of transforming his scheme into a calculated plan, Harold found from among his parent subjects a group of men and women willing to commit themselves to a new life. These poor souls could not possibly have known to what they were applying themselves, but all the same they agreed to travel to Iceland. Following the acquisition of these souls, Harold found himself in a rather peculiar position. He then had the fate of a group of men entrusted to him. The fate of those souls would soon be decided…​
 
Feb 23, 2002
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Charles the Short

The Queen, Marguerite, entered her husbands chambers, late in the evening. She longed to be in this room, indeed, they didn't meet much nowadays. Last time was about a month ago, when Charles defeated and hanged Joanna. Charles was busy, and especially busy now. He had secured his Kingdom, but he still had enemies in Louis, and now he feared, the hungarians. Although, he had great support amongst the hungarian nobles. Not to mention this Papal Feud.

Marguerite noticed Charles sat on a chair and wrote.

- "Dearly beloved, what are you writing? Can't you never take a break from work?"

- "Work? You call this work? This is my life, your life. Now what do you want?" Charles answered, being in a grumpy mood.

- "Charles... I think I am pregnant..."

- "You? You are too old. You can have no child. Now leave me."

- "But Charles..."


SLAP!

Charles slapped her, and Marguerite ran out of the room. They had never been a perfect couple, Charles had been busy for most of his life. And now Charles had slapped her. Again. For it was not the first time he had slapped her, he slapped her in front of the court or even their children, if he was mad enough. Marguerite went to her room. She cried, and didn't notice young Joanna entering the room. Marguerite hulked, and laid down on the bed with her face buried the pillow. "Mum?" Joanna uttered. "Did Daddy hit you again?"

More quiet crying was heard from Marguerite's room that night, but atleast she was not alone. Charles sat up, long into the night. Working, working and working...
 

unmerged(31994)

Zardishar
Jul 15, 2004
1.085
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Part 1

Rose of the High Summer
A New Path for the Rose Kingdom

"Granada is the Damascus of Al-Andalus" commented the Emir as he strode his fine Andalusian stead through the olive groves of Loyyja by the Alpejjuras.His followers could only nod their heads in approval as they admired the beauty around them.Emir Mohammed rarly allowed himself to sink into the eternal beauty of his realm or worldly pleasures, for the Kingdom had bestowed upon him too many problems to bear since he rose to the throne but he couldnt help it , Al-Andalus was too beautiful for mere mortals, a piece of paradise.

Clans and factions battled for the throne of the Kingdom, which he rightfully held as a pure Nasrid and to top all that, he had to contend with the ethnic strife between Arabs and Berbers within Ghernata and the outlying countryside.He needed time to think , away from Granada,away from the bickering faction leaders, away from Alhambra to the Alpejjuras were only the sleepy Muslim villages dotted the ever Green landscape.

He cleared his mind of all things and began to consider and weigh the problem logically, as Ibn Ar-Rashid suggested in his book "meditations".His first order of business was obviously, to reconcile between the two main clans, the Banu Sarraj and Banu Gayys, and then he would procede to speak with the Berber and Arab leaders.He would also have to consider centralzing and consolidating his power...slowly of course, since he could not afford a civil war in his Kingdom,especially with the Christians waiting for a chance to snatch the Northern towns.Even though the Kingdom of Qistallah wa Leona (Castile y Leon) was being hacked by the swords of her own people in civil war, he could never stop the Rizzas from fanatical Christian lords on the borders.No...centralization would have to come slowly for the sake of the Kingdom and only when all factions have been pleased with the situation in the Alhambra.However, the Kingdom's lands were continously lessening thanks to the Nasarah, and the treasury was slowly depleting, perhaps economic revitalization was in order?, they didnt call Granada the bread basket of Al-Andalus for nothing.

********​

Though small in size,the kingdom of Granada was one of the most affluent states in the Mediterranean world.its prosperity (the envy of its northern neighbours) was based on a judicious exploitation of its natural resources, both mineral and agricultural.The entire kingdom was dotted with farms,orchads,wineyards,mulberyy and olive plantations.The land was irrigated by numerous canals which distributed the waters of the Xenil and the Darro.Neither distance, nor rocky terrain stoof in the way of their irrigation projects.The Granadine vega (al-fahs) which stretched as far as Loja was the granary of the kingdom.Irrigated by canals, the vega yeilded year after year bumper crops of the finest wheat.Numerous water-mills - one hundred and thirty around Granada only converted wheat into flour.

The Kingdom was in fact a cornucopia of grain, fruits and flower.The markets were full of fruits throughout the year.Ibe Buttutah (famous muslim traveller) was amazed when he saw a heap of grapes being sold in a fruit market of Malaga for a mere piece of silver.He relished the ruby-coloured pomergrantes, the figs and almonds of Granada.The exploitation of agricultural resources went hand in hand with the working of the mines.The Kingdom was rich in gold,silver,copper,iron and lead.


Exquisite marble,jasper,alabaster were found in abudance.The influx of refugees from the territories seized by the Christians brought diverse skills which gave considerable impetus to industry.Malaga,Almeria, and Granada were cheif centers of oranized industry employing hundreds of workers.The manufacturies embraced cotton textiles, curtains, domestic utensils, glasswear,leather goods, gilded ceramics,cutting and shaping of precious stones for ornamentsm swords and ornamental dagger,carpets and articles of luxury.Ibm Khaludun praised the poeple of Granada for their effecieny in making musical instruments,carpets, well planned houses,metal works and pottery.Malaga has a flourishing export trade for its golden pottery.

The kingdom of Granada was proud of its silk industry.Except Iraq,no country could compete with the silks of granada.The silk industry brought affluence to many families.Silks of different colors with gold borders (washy) were known in Europe under the names of "Alvici" and "albeci".Malaha and Almeria were emporiums of foriegn trade in silk and pottery.

 

N Katsyev

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Nisava River Valley - 1381
Part I - The Doe and the Tree


Bojan Borislavic lent down and prodded at the soft muddy turf with his fingers as his keen eyes slowly made their way up the rough track which meandered along the banks of the Nisava. A soldier standing not far behind him stood in absolute silence, afraid to disturb his comrade of whom such stories were told of his unpredictability and martial talent. The soldier, a young man with curly brown hair from the south of Kosovo watched Bojan's breath against the cold still air of the morning and painfully listened for any sound. Aside however from the creaking of his bones and the mumbling of his stomach he picked up nothing. Then, as if Bojan read the young man's thoughts he spoke quietly as a wind passed over them from the west, "Goran Konstantinin, what do you hear?"

Maybe it was simply the frosty chill of the morning air, but Goran's face seemed to darken in its red hue as if the young soldier feared that his creaking bones and grumbling stomach were annoying the great Bojan Borislavic. After a moment of awkward silence, Goran spoke replied shakily in a whisper, "N-nothing sir…"

Bojan smiled to himself, this wasn't the first time he had been sent out scouting with an intimidated youngster - indeed, he had been one himself not many winters ago. Still, he enjoyed his reputation and was not ill-inclined to 'take advantage' of it as it were. As far he could tell the only thing that had passed over this way in the last couple days was a limping farmer, a cart and a particularly badly shod horse. If the young soldier with the curly hair believed they were on the path of some Turks however, it was probably for the better. Might just keep him silent and stop him from asking stupid questions, after all while this wasn't a Turkish track, there could very well be Turks about. Goran was forced to wait a few more agonizing moments of quiet before Bojan responded, "Exactly, even the birds are quiet this morning. This track is old, we'll go through the wood, there's a hill from which we might gain a better vantage."

The sky was dark and though dawn had no doubt broke a couple hours prior, it was still difficult to make out much at a distance. Bojan and Goran strode quietly across a field that looked as though at one time it was used for hay, but now the grass was long and wet with the morning dew and the rain from the night before. Staying low, clad in grey, both men passed nearly silently and almost invisibly to the untrained observer the only noise they made was that of the grass rustling and Goran made sure to follow in the wake of his more experienced comrade. Before long they entered the shadows of the forest, though to Goran it seemed an eternity in the peculiarity that the minutes on such dark, chill mornings seem to draw on unnaturally. Pushing through the underbrush at the forest's edge the two scouts were greeted with the heady earthy smells of a wet forest on a cold autumn's morning. Such a smell as it made the soul rejoice and the nerves tingle, a feeling that combined with the inherent danger of tracking the enemy created such a combination that was wholly addictive and frightening in its own attractiveness.

Slowly the ground began to ascend toward the hill that Bojan had mentioned, the trees began to spread about and as they climbed rocks jutted from the floor of needles and fallen leaves. Once or twice Goran had to catch himself as he nearly slipped on the wet stone or the uneasily settled forest floor. Bojan led onward, but would always halt when the wind died completely, his dark hair wet and hanging about his brow he would look about him with his hand on his sword pommel and listen intently. Occasionally he caught Goran's eyes looking expectantly at him and always Goran would look away once more. They weren't far from what Goran hoped to be the peak when Bojan stopped once again, listened and before Goran could look away tapped his own nose and pointed. Goran looked as indicated to see some ways beneath them a doe drinking at a brook that no doubt met with the Nisava. A smile lingered at Bojan's lips just long enough for Goran to see it before the former with a nod of his head indicated it was time to move on. Goran cast one more glance down to the brook and the graceful creature by its side before following dutifully.

Briefly it was before the ground began to level and the two found themselves at the edge of a steep slope, beneath them was another bend of the same brook which evidently wound its way around the hill upon which the two Serbian scouts now stood. Goran strained his eyes in the darkness of the forest but could make little out, of any real importance anyway. Just as he was about to turn and ask Bojan what he hoped to see from here he heard the scratching to his side of Bojan's boot against the bark of a tree as the latter hoisted himself up into the branches. Goran hesitated a moment to follow until a harshly whispered, 'Come on' made up his mind for him. Not having climbed a tree since boyhood, Goran looked at the tree for just a moment before pulling himself up onto the nearest branch with a quickly stifled grunt of effort. The bark of the tree was cold and wet against Goran's already chilled and half-numb fingers as he followed Bojan high into the tree's limbs. It took him a good minute or more to catch up with Bojan who had already stopped and stood upon a branch, hugging the trunk with one arm and surveying the country about them. His breath rising in thick vapour before his face Goran finally stopped beneath Bojan, his arms propped on the same branch upon which the latter was standing. The land about them was beautiful under the cold grey sky. Though the trees were largely bare, the grass of the hills and fields were such a healthy dark green. Goran first looked back to where they had come from, clearly now seeing the trail along the Nisava and the brook at the toes of the hill. Bojan's eyes were fixed however on barely distinguishable figures in a small group along the river to the east. Goran noticed Bojan's attention and looked out, now seeing for himself the unidentified party, "Who-?" he began before Borislavic interrupted him.

"Scouts, mounted. The Turkish van is there.", Bojan said as he pointed to vague hills amid the mist and further down the Nisava.

Squinting in vain, Goran whispered back, "But how can you see?"

"I don't.", was Bojan's quick response as he looked beneath him now, searching for his way back down the tree.

"But then…", continued Goran, feeling himself suddenly quite startled and yet terribly excited at having 'seen' the enemy.

"I just know, let's go. There isn't much time."

 
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unmerged(31994)

Zardishar
Jul 15, 2004
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Part 2

Rose of the High Summer
Granada's Path in the Morning Dew

"How was your trip to the Alpejjuras Master?has all went well?" it was Az-Zaffir Bideenallah, the Suqlubi Enunch of the Almabra of Slavic origins.In the Golden Age of the Ummayed Caliphate many aristocrats and nobles imported slavic slaves to work as servents and physicans for the affluent Arab families.The slavs became, in their own right, a seperate Taifa, the Saqaliba or the Muwallas assumed controlled of Toledo and all taifa cities north of the Tajo river.However, in the Kingdom of Granada the slavic community wasnt large enough to interfere or influence the Alhambra, one less problem to deal with, the Emir thought."Fine enough" Mohammed replied as he unpinned his cloak and removed his helmet "Zaffir, dispatch a Rasul(messenger) to the Sheiks of the Bani Sarraj and Qayys,to the merchants and nobles of Granada, inform them we are holding a banquet in the courtyard of Lions.This also includes that you oversee all preparations for the feast".The Red haired slave bowed "Anything else my lord?".The Nasrid unsheathed his scimitar and threw it gently on the armoury rack.The Emir grinned , he held the air of one apathetic to the matters at hand "Bring me Ibn Yassir's 'Reflections between Aristotle and Plato'a chalice of fine Malaga wine and a hufnah(a few) of pomegrantes.I shall be in the gardens" the Emir waved the the slav away as he proceded to undress.

He wore his smooth silk robes and comfy Almerian Sandals.The Emir perfumed himself with fine Granadian incense and Rose valves.Once his hygenical rituals were completed, he left for the Gardens.He bypassed the Alhambra fountains and entered the maze, a tradition of the Nasrid Sultan when they seeked solitude and silence from the court.He turned left and right in the zigzag maze, confident of his way.He reached a marble terrace with a stone bench, the book, chalice and bowel of pomegrants lying expectantly for him.Only a few knew of his "special" place, his most trusted confidents.

He proceded to read the tomb of knowledge composed in Baghdad.He had the habit of reading aloud passages he enjoyed "Aristotle in a sense raped reason when he suggested that happiness can be achieved without misery, and that life could be enjoyed without death, peace without war and love without hate" the Emir chuckled, truly that was his main problem, the factions didnt appreciate their freedom ,never aware of the death and war the Christians bring on the tip of broad swords.They must understand that the Rose Kingdom walks on a perilous path and unless they stopped fighting, their little plot of paradise and Janna may be banished forever.The Emir shuddered at the thought, the Christians werent exactly known for tolerance and upholding their word.The faces of refugees from Cordoba and Tulliytillah still haunted him.He would have to convince the Clans to stop fighting if he would like to put a halt to his unravling Kingdom.He needed to establish a permenant line for the throne, he had enough of the Alhambra being controlled by the Ansar clans, now was the time to draw a line in the sand...lest smaller Al-Andalus faces the same fate as the one which befell the Greater one...

*******​

Andalusian Music flowed through the Halls of Alhambra, the clatter of wine glasses and the laughs of the conveyed Granadian Nobility and aristorcracy.It was a banquet surviving on the shadow of splendor of the Caliphate of Cordoba, a deillusioned haze that Granada was safe the greedy Christian states, as if the walls of Alhambra could wisthstand the hordes of Iberia.The aroma of good food and Rose perfumes dampened their senses, the winks of beautiful maidens and delightful boys blinded their eyes, the fine Andalusian wines of Marbella and Malaga devolved them into foolish children, oblivious to the world.

The Emir walked into the forest of guests scattered throughout the court.His presence was unnoticed by the entertained High Social circles of Granada.Mohammed walked torwards the Lion Fountain with confident steps and roughly stood up the fountain ridge, elevating him over the rest of the crowd.With a gesture of his hand, the Musicians stopped.The eyes of the nobility were at him, he had gained their undivided attention.He nervously whipped the accumulating sweat on his forehead by the rim of his Silk sleeve "Oh people of Ghernata!lords of Baza!lords of Purchana!lords of Finana!lords of Guadix!lords of Moclin!lords Lanjorn!lords of Almeria!lords of Juvilee!lords Antequerra!lords of Zahara!lords of the Green Jazira!lords of Malaga!All those that are of the high blood of the Ansar, all those that are Muslims in heart!Who am I to you?"

One of the nobles stepped up and spoke "Emir Mohammed of the Nasrid throne, of fine stock and blood, with a heart in Islam and a mind with reason, the finest among us to rule the land of the Kingdom" the aristocrats nodded.The young noble expected praise and a gift from the Emir for such compliments thus the answer of the Emir shocked him "Nay!I am no ruler!there is no Nasrid Throne!" Mohammed grabbed a chalice from one of the nearby guests and audaciously threw it in the middle of the courtyard.The shatter of the glass sent a wave of shock followed by gasps from the crowd.

"How can I be an Emir when my throne is run by the whims of nobles?how can I run my Kingdom when I am forced to contend with Arab and Berber infighting?how can I appoint an heir when he will be most likely disposed by the Bani Sarraj or Qayys?" the Emir's shouts silenced the discontent in the crowd.

"We have paid a steep price for our freedom.when my ancestor Mohammed al-Ahmar was forced to hand Jaen to the Christians and help them siege Seville in 1246,wasnt that for the sake of remaining independent?.Everday more Muslims flock to us from the North fleeing the tyranny of Qistallah, but we have nowhere to flee!for the sea is behind us , the enemy infront of us!and what do we do?we meddle into the affairs of the state to install a cousin or a brother, we enjoy life and remain apathetic to the pain of Islam!Where is Bani Jaلd of Seville?Bani Qassim of Valencia?Bani Nassar of Toledo?they were far more powerful than any of our clans, they were Taifa kings, do you know where they lie?in their graves, their legacies and glory shattered by the Christians.Do not dimiss this thought!this is solid reality, it can happen there, it can happen here.Only some decades ago did we face a Castillian invasion but the threat still remains!"

"Oh people of Granada!the Christians have taken Cordoba, Ishbillia, Tulleytillah,Bayyalnisyah,Murssiyah,Badajoz, Al-Garb , so many cities of Islam, and we remain as the last stronghold of the true faith in Iberia!how can we survive if your Emir is a man with no power?a shadow and a puppet to your mindless games?I plea the Bani Sarraj and Bani Qayys to halt their tribal bickerings, for the sake of the Kingdom!I ask the Berbers and Arabs to reconcile for Allah said "And Embrace the rope of Allah in unity" he also said "Oh people !God created you from man and woman, and has made you nations and tribes so that you may know each other!the best of you is the most gracious and virtuous" We are one nation!a nation of Muslims!I plea to you as a weak Emir to peek into reality, from your mansions and palaces, the reality of the Kingdom!if we do not unite in this dark hour, our last refugee , little Al-Andalus may very well fall"

He gulped the spit in his throat and continued "Kingdoms and Empires take a long time to die out my brothers!Before they crumble to dust, they are eaten up by a long wasting disease.Strife and hatred plauge every vein and vital system in the state.The nation then dies.The fall of the Caliphate of Cordoba came suddenly, like the tragic end of a person who only yesterday was in the pinnacle of his health!Do you wish that same fate?If we do not put our differences aside then all is lost!.The Magnificent Caliphate was broken down into Taifas, as some of you aim to create here within our already minute Kingdom, and they were eaten up by the Christians.We came under Almorabit and Almohad rule, and where has that gotten us?to the edge of Al-Andalus!I plea to you as your Emir, the last Muslim soverign on these lands."

"Please, for the sake of Islam, hear my pleas..."

To be continued......
 

unmerged(31994)

Zardishar
Jul 15, 2004
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Part 3

Rose of the High Summer
The Moors and the Alhambra Baya

Baya Moves into the Throne Room of Al-Ahmar
************************************************

A nerving silence blanketed the assembled aristocrats before him, as if Allah had made them mute out of spite.A lone sheik then emerged from the nobles, the Emir recognized him, it was Ahmed son of the Sarraj clan of Loja.The old man squinted his eyes at the Emir, his face stern "Emir Mohammed, I, Ahmed son of Zafran,son of Obeyda,son of Khalid, son of Ahs,son of Kadir, son of Obeyda Amr ibn Al-Jarah, of the estemmed As-Sarraj clan am the first, amongst the equals in your kingdom that shall bow to your power.I heed your plea, your pain is my pain, and I will not allow Al-Andalus to fall, the burden of these lands shall be taken up by the Bani Sarraj!La Galiba Illah Allah! (There is no victor except God)Allah be praised my Emir, any man you position on that throne shall be accepted by the Bani Sarraj, we shall withdraw from the Alhambra, and secede all our titles for you, for we have no wish to carry the blame of losing this Kingdom on our clan" the wizend sheik's support for the Emir was totally unexpected, it even shocked Al-Gani, it was beyond his expectations.

"Hah!the Bani Qayys support the Emir!we cant allow the Bani Sarraj to dusk in all the glory alone " joked Sheik Fawwaz, the leader of the Qayys clan.One by one the Granadian nobles and aristocrats followed suite."I propose we make a Baya (a firm choosing) for the Emir right here and now, and may Allah be our witness" suggested Al-Rindi, the High Qadi of Granada & Malaga.The old Qadi turned to one of the servents "Go and fetch the scribe with fine papyrus and ink!".A few moments later the Iberian Scribe of the Alhambra arrived carrying his sheets and ink pot,confused at the whole situation."Write what I say Scribe!"


In the name of Allah the Merciful and Compassionate
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Bayat Al-Mumineen Al-Amir Al-Mumneen Emir Mohammed V Al-Mulakab Bil Gani
بيعة المؤمنين على أمير المؤمنين محمد الرابع الملقب بالغني


We the people of Ghernata , hereby give our Baya to the Emir of the Kingdom, Mohammed V of Bani Ahmar, rightful ruler of Grenada and Al-Andalus.In the air of protecting our lands, freedoms and faith, we grant him the absolved power over the Kingdom and our solemn oath never to interfere with the Alhambra or question the Emir's decisions.May this Baya stand forever as a testement to the glory of the Kingdom.

Signed, Nobles of Ghernata and the High Qadiz clans
The nobility proceded to sign the small yet significant Baya.Emir Mohammed was pleased, the support he had gained in the courtyard of Lions had given him confidance that Grenada's fate wasnt completely bleak.However, this was only a given ceremony, the real test to his authority would come, by trying to implant his rule over the clans and nobles.

The noblility was mobilizied into an elegant feasta of enthusiastic chaos.The whole of the aristocracy moved from the courtyard of lions into the Throne room, were they installed Emir Mohammed proudly as a sign of their affection and support, no one could contest his right to rule now in this aura of recognition and adulation.The Baya of the Alhambra as it came to be called, was the first step taken by the Emir and his supporters to unravel the Political stigma which congested the Kingdom.Slowly the Kingdom would centralize, and the Nasrid throne would be secure for Bani Al-Ahmar, and perhaps, Al-Andalus will be safe from the Christians....one can dream,no?.
 
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Two Tyrants



La Massino, along Lake Como, September 22, 1382

It appeared as if the summer had lasted for ever, and still now – late September – it was extraordinary pleasant weather. The giant mansion of the Visconti family lied in the shadow of many trees, but after such a long summer the corridors felt dense and it felt as if they emitted warmth themselves. As of such, most of the servants had found an excuse to spend as much time outside as possible. Gian Galeazzo Visconti sighed when he saw tow young priests sitting under a large oak tree, talking. He couldn’t blame them of course. He himself had fled the heat of the Po plain, and had hoped to found some refreshment in the mountains. But to no avail.
Gian Galeazzo wore plain linen cloths, as he always did in summer. Many powerful and rich people insisted on showing off their wealth by sweating their ass off in exquisite clothing, but not Gian Galeazzo. He loved to show off, though, but not here and not now, in a private villa surrounded by peasants.

A small etched wooden cylinder was on his desk. Gian Galeazzo Visconti was staring at it. The cylinder had arrived at La Massino three days ago, and had laid there ever since.
And until now, Gian hadn’t found the guts to open the cylinder. As he knew what it contained, and he feared it. But there was no way around. After all, he was the one who had instructed to start the investigation, and he reasoned his hunger for the truth was growing bigger than his fear. The report could be positive after all. Gian Galeazzo doubted this, though; after all he had heard the last week. Rumours of mercenaries spreading horror through the area also reached La Massino – which was logical, as it was considered one of House Visconti’s seats of power, and House Visconti was to be held responsible. Soon he overheard a chamber maid talk about a massacre in Lugano.

Gian Galeazzo had order his condottiere, Vincenzo Lancia, to send a scout ahead to investigate Como and Lugano and report back to him. Somewhat to Gian Galeazzo’s surprise, the boy had returned, and he reported that Giammastino Visconti had ordered the pillaging of his own city, Lugano. Apparently, the pope had appointed a new bishop to Lugano, without consulting with either Giammastino or his father, and young Giammastino reasoned that this bishop should be removed. Lancia’s boy scout didn’t know if his father had approved, but Gian Galeazzo knew his uncle certainly wouldn’t mind such an act. The old man was paranoid enough to do such a thing himself.

The contact between Gian Galeazzo Visconti and Barnabò Visconti had quickly declined the past year. The relation between the two should-be co-rulers had been cold since the death of Galeazzo Visconti, but recent differences completely alienated the uncle and nephew. Soon after his father’s death, Gian Galeazzo had sent a spy into his uncle’s court in Milan to keep an eye on him. His father had warned him that his brother and his reign could become instable when he would loose his brother as a co-ruler. Galeazzo had reasoned that he had always balanced his elder brother in ruling Milan, making the Visconti rule less threatening and thus lower revolt from other Houses. Knowing how brother, he feared Barnabò would otherwise use drastic measures to strengthen his reign. And Gian Galeazzo knew he was right.

Gian Galeazzo opened the small wooden cylinder. He red the entire report, red it another time, and he knew he had to act. He took a piece of parchment and began to write a letter to his sister in Lodi…
 

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The Winter of King Juan, the heart of the Kingdom lost...



The Throne Room, Madrid

A cold breeze blows through the halls of the palace as snow falls outside.

Long has it been since laughter and joy graced these halls. The Royal Family has fallen into a pallor... only the child Isabella is immune, her tiny lungs projecting her three month old screams into the fridgid air.

It was three months ago, on Isabella's day of birth that Eleonora of Aragon, Queen of Castilla y Léon, passed away. She sucummbed to a darkness brought on by the exhaustion derived from bringing forth life, and while Isabella lived... her mother did not.

The passing of the Queen caused somthing to die in the heart of the King, Juan I Trastamara, and he lost his smile and laughter which once dominated the halls of the castle. His three elder children, young as they were, stayed away from his increasingly harsh hand. Even if he were to be comforted by the laughter of his eldest child, Consuela, she too had fallen silent with the passing of her mother.

King Juan brooded on his throne, and when not involved with affairs of state, prayed in the chapel on the urgings of the Royal Confessor to throw himself unto the Lord's work.

The months of winter passed this way... dragging on. Both the season and the mood in the royal family persisted unaturally, such was the joy Elenora of Aragon brought to the lands of Castilla y Léon. As the family was incomplete, so was the very essence of the Kingdom. Only the cries of the child Isabella, flailing in the arms of her wetnurse, filled the cold halls of the castle.

Like in all years, however, spring does dawn...
 

unmerged(31994)

Zardishar
Jul 15, 2004
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Rose of the High Summer
Age of Chaucery and Feuds


"Allah Akbar, Allah Akbar, La illah Illa Allah, Mohammedan Rasul Allah" chanted the Imam from atop the Andalusian Minaret.His voice echoed in the heavens, beaconing more of the faithful who had anticipated his call.As the people flocked into the Mosque of sheik Zayidon of Ishbillia, a muslim hero whos reputation is now shrouded in idealistic reverance as the reconquesta grew more bloodier with each passing year, a cavalry of Andalusian horsemen bearing the banners of Ghernata rode into the sleepy town of Guadix.

Their mission?to enforce the will of the Nasrid Sultan.The town's prince , Emir Jalal of the Bani Sarraj wasnt sending the quota of taxes set by the Sultanate, a clear act of insurgency or at least which passed as one.The faithful of Guadix were startled as the horsemen jetted into the town's plaza.The Emir emerged from the Mosque followed by his guards and servents.

The captain halted his Arabian mount with a grip on the Lijam.He unveiled himself and smiled "Emir Jalal, you have signed the Baya, have you not?" the Emir squinted his eyes at the captain's silver crescent medallion "Yes I have"The captain laughed "Very well my Emir, the treasury is lacking the taxes from Guadix, and since you signed the Baya, such things can not be overlooked.We cant have the Merdinand incident again can we?" the captain was pointing at the incident which saw the overthrow of the Sultan Mohammed V al-Gani from his throne in 1355 by rebel princes, and one of them was the Emir before him.It was only the threat of a Castillian invasion and the loyalists of the Sultan which oversaw his reinstitution on the throne of the Alhambra.The Emir's cheeks reddened "I..." he couldnt muster an excuse, the Sultan did grant him forgivness, and he couldnt refuse sending the taxes.He turned to one of his servents "Grant them what is due on Guadix to the throne" he averted his eyes as he turned back to the captain "Anything else?".The captain grinned "Nay my lord, except that you send the taxes at the appointed time to avoid such....unpleasent confrontations" the Andalusian pushed the Lijam of his mount, triggering it's legs to the wind, his men followed suite.

The Emir sighed as the dust of the horsemen settled "I have never seen such men..." he frowned "Times change old Jalal, and long live Sultan Mohammed of Bani Ahmer" he mused, the Baya is final.

*********​

Yassir Al-Ahmer was a rich merchant who traded in ceramics and Silk carpets, the quality of his goods made him the most celebrated plutocrat in Ghernata.His mansion was situated in the rich district of Al-Kharantha, overlooking the Pedro hill range ordained with beautiful Mallbury and Almond trees.With wealth comes political influence, which he exerted continously , forging alliances, killing off his enemies, and even joining some coups on the throne, his most successful was the 1355 incident.Some say he even orchestrated the death of Yusuf the first, in 1354.

Of course, his failure in that endeavor didnt stop him, he still funded Ishmael the small and Abu Abdullah of Zaragoza in their quest to take the throne.His line of thought was interrupted by the shy knocks of a servent "My lord, a group of veiled men in black cloaks are asking to see you" Although he signed the Baya in the presence of the aristocracy and the Sultan, he refuted it in his heart.It was simply a move for him to gain more prestige in the court.

"Inform them Im busy" he said gruffly whilst stirring the precious liquid of Almerian wine in his gold emerald studded chalic.The servent left but returned moments later "They insist, they say they are old colleges..."

"Old colleges?" he had many contacts but he continously exchanged messages with them, they also knew that he loathed unexpected visits.He tucked his silk and linen "outcroppings" into his robes, trying desperatly to hide the fat sticking out in every direction of his overly indulgent body as he passed his enclosed garden torwards the gate, where his supposed colleges awaited. "Salam Alekum, my servent informs me that you are contacts?".He hadnt taken notice of their complextions, but once he laid his eyes on them, he took note of their black attire and veiled faces.The one with the dangling silver crescent medallion spoke "Have you heard of the Angel Yezrael?" Yassir was confused "The Angel of death?" the mysterious man unveiled , revealing his North African face "Yes, you shall meet him soon" Yassir's eyes widened with terror as the men drew their scimitars.In a few seconds, before he could even produce a scream, the men plunged their scimitars into his body, sipping the life out of him.He took one last look at his murderers before passing into oblivion...

*********​

Sarah had lived as a slave for most of her life serving the Al-Jattri clan, a family known for its adrehent support of Saqqah Al-Ahmer,an exiled dynasty prince living in Ceuta.Though she had little knowledge regarding her master's political direction, she could gather though he didnt have "warm"feelings with the Sultan of Ghernata.

Her master, lady Vasa had dispatched her to fetch the household's needs from the market.Being a conservative miss of good uprbinging, she avoided the more "merry"parts of the metropolis as she headed to the bazzar.In the markets, merchants of all colors ,Armeniens,Castillians,Africans,Berbers expounded their goods & wares to the moody Ghernatian populace.She haggled hard and gained a fair bargain for most of the goods her master had assigned her to bring.

She was to return immediatly to the mansion to ready her master's supper, sweet roasted Chicken and Andalusian Salazars.As she reached the gate, which was strangly open, she caught the piece of a black cloak slipping in the corner.She fondeled her robes after locking the gate to find the keys to the mansion.To her shock the door too was open...by force."Lady Vasa?" she called out, but found no reply.She took slow steps into the interior, torwards the main seating room.She stepped on something damp, she looked with fear.

blood...

She followed the stream of death torwards the seating room, furniture overturned, Vases wrecked, and bloody hand prints on the wall.Every strada in her body trembled with fear, she couldnt believe this.She closed her eyes as she approached the curtain covering the seating room.With a hand shaking purposefully she slowly moved the linen aside.Before her, the bodies of her Master and his family were scattered about.She dropped the fruits to the ground, splattering them throughout the bloody floor.She ran as fast as her legs could carry her torwards the Shurtah of the District.

*********​

The kingdom of Ghernata carried within its polity,the seeds of its own decay.The Sultan had read of how the Caliphate of Cordova fell because of the ethnic disputes between the Arabs,Berbers and Slavs.The kingdom of Ghernara was likewise sapped by factions led by cheiftans of powerful families and a host of pretenders to the throne.The descendedants of Ismaeel, the brother of al-Ahmer, the Zegris who belonged to the family of the former rulers of Ghernata, and a crowd of brothers, cousins, and nephews - all offspring of bigamous marriges armed in queue for the throne.The African volunteers who supported the Kingdom in times of Jihad also fished in troubled waters.The Bani Saraj and Bani Qayys, influential Arab families , continously clashed in bitter conflicts for power.These powerful families and clans were in fact political parties, and they were prepared to go to any extent to place on the throne of Granada a king of their choice.In the mad scramble for this crown which the Sultan adorned his head with, all ethical considerations were thrown to the winds.A son rebelled against his father, a brother against brother, and a nephew against his uncle.The administration was rotting from within due to mutual jealousies,intrigues,and backbiting.

Although the Andalusian Sultan had made the decision to centralize slowly, he was persuaded to raise the tempo of change and crush the crowds of political enemies scattered throughout the kingdom.Two events had triggered this choice, one being the peaceful gesture the Christian Kingdoms had portrayed for the Andalusians, giving him some time to consolidate his rule without dear of a Christian invasion, and two the Baya of Alhambra where the aristocracy of the kingdom had asserted their loyalty and faith to the Sultan.He knew that most of them were dirty liers, aiming to gain his favour, hypocrits, though the Bani Saraj and Bani Qayys were obviously sincere, he had known their sheiks well, and they wouldnt dare go back on their words, no traditional Andalusian would do such and anyway...he was in much favour with the Bani Sarraj, the more powerful of the two clans.

For him to consolidate his rule over the Kingdom he had to dispose and eredicate the army of pretenders to the throne.He had found his solution in the Order of the Silver Crescent.The Order was formed somewhere in 1150s under the patronage of the Almohad Caliphs.The Almohads were quickly losing lands in al-Andalus in face of the Christian offensives and had utilizied ever resource they could in face of the Castillian-Leonese-Portueguese-Aragonese hordes.The Silver Crescent was an order dedicated in producing fanatical Assasins for the Almohad Empire.They had achieved spectacular victories with their consequative assasinations which even baffled the Almohadi Caliphs.Amongst their victims was the Count Leon of Toledo, Lord Joan of Algarve,Prince Joshua of Majorca and the Regent of Asutris Lord Diego II.They had an impressive record, but not even their efforts could stem the Christians, and with each Muslim defeat they located further south.In 1212 after the battle of Las navas de Tolosa they relocated to Cordoba, and in 1214 after the death of the Caliph Nasir and with the empire plunged into chaos , they moved again, this time however, beyond the straits, to Fez.

The Order had faded from the political scene, rarly appearing anymore, it was as if they had completely disppeared, and would be discarded as a piece of history...or so the Sultan thought.When he was exiled from Ghernata, before his return in 1362, he was approached by the Order's Master, Wali Al-Mutaz billah in the Court of the Merdinand Sultan whom he was under the patronage of at the time.The Master had offered his services to Mohammed, but the Emir declined for his lack of funds.

He had contacted them once again after the recent events and had employed them to eredicate the massive numbers of political enemies to the Sultanate, people who greedly wanted the throne for themselves.He knew that with the Baya, his position was secure for the time being, and he had the chance to consolidate his rule without real opposition.Although it was muslim taboo to kill other muslims, extreme situations demanded extreme solutions.The assasins had already disposed him of his nagging uncles, bothersome nephews, the emirs of Moclin,Malaga, and Juvilees, whilst at the same time seccumbing other princes like the emir of Guadix and Galeria from even considering revolt.The Order had also done quick work with the Merchants and Aristocrats who funded former revolts and coups, eredicating the notorious Yassir Al-Ahmer as their first victim in their killing spree.

The Sultan expects resistance and some trouble to arise, but with his main adversaries and enemies dead resistance would be futile.He had also put to the sword most of his family, especially that old hag Murranda, the infant Ismail, Al-Mutaz, his nephew, and several others.They would have killed him anyway if they had the chance but he was quicker.The culling of the Nasrid dynasty had in the long run, made the kingdom more stable as a more defined line to the throne emerged.His son Yusuf II would ascend the throne without much trouble except a few disturbance that were unavoidable.

"Oh Ghernata forgive me...for I have made your streets ditches of blood, I have made your Merry orchads grave yards to those that oppose my rule, and your proud hills gallows to those that would seek my death....forgive me..."he sighed as he produced a pouch of Gold for the veiled Master, Wali Al-Mutaz billah, who nodded his head in approval as the glitter of the Golden dinars danced in his eyes.

The Assasin Master bowed and as he walked away, he turned to the Sultan and gave him a cold glance "Al-Andalus shall be reborn my Sultan, the death of some is nothing to the death the Christians bring, hold no guilt, hold no sympathy, hold no mercy " before the Sultan could reply to him, the elusive Master had disppeared from the Alhambra, into the alleyways of Ghernata.
 
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Cecasander

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Premenissions of another crusade?

Onto my elder brother, Gian Galeazzo Visconti, Lord of Pavia

Dear Gian, your reports trouble me. Yet it doesn’t surprise me. It doesn’t surprise me that our cousin Giammastino defies the pope and allows his own city to be plundered, because he has always been a young fool. It doesn’t surprise me that our uncle allows him to defy the pope and murder his subjects on such a scale, as he is a cruel and irresponsible man. It doesn’t surprise me that, after the cardinal of Milan objected Giammastino, Barnabo threatened to remove him as well. And now, it doesn’t surprise me that we might get into war against the papacy. My dear brother, don’t get me wrong, but Lodovico is a decent and fair man, much unlike his father. But after the events in Lugano, I start to wonder his sanity, now that to openly supports his father and his brother. Gian, a priest told me that, if the relations between the House Visconti and the pope get soured even more, we might have to fight another crusade. And I know that if we do, we will fail, and House Visconti will fall. Please, save me, for the sake of the House, of Milan, and most of all for our father, the great Galeazzo Visconti.

Love, Violante Visconti, Lady of Lodi​

City Palace, Pavia, October 4, 1382

Gian Galeazzo sometimes felt a stranger when he walked the halls of his father’s palace in Pavia. Every year, dozens – if not hundreds – of people came to Pavia to study at the University. Even though it was less than two decades ago when it was founded by his father, it had quickly developed into a major centre of education. Now, the university occupied half of the palace, as well as several buildings around the great market square. Gian Galeazzo still felt save in these halls, where nobody was allowed to bear arms. Only guards could bear light arms, and they were personally selected by Gian Galeazzo, and were no mercenaries.
Gian travelled to the small church chapter within the palace. The chapter was connected to Pavia’s cathedral, where the bishop held seat. Three monks were meditating in front of the alter. “Prior” One monk stood up, and noticed Gian. “My lord?” he asked. “Prior, I think we must talk”. The head monk nodded, and pointed at the chapter room next to the chapel. As the two other monks continued their meditation without saying a word, Gian and the prior entered the small plain room. “Prior, are you aware of recent events in Lugano?” Gian Galeazzo started. The prior nodded slowly and carefully. “I have heard… several things, from Lugano as well as Milan, my lord”. “My cousin and my uncle are foolish”, Gian stated, but he got no reply. “I mean, they are fools to defy the pope in such an open way, over such a… small matter”. “My lord thinks the appointment of a bishop is a small matter?” Gian Galeazzo laughed. “No. Well, it is, compared to what House Visconti went trough during the last war with the papacy. If it would be trivial matter, the pope would surely be able to come to a settlement, no?” The prior shook his head. “The pope would never do such a thing. Lord Barnabò knows that relations with Rome have always been sour at best. My lord, the pope and lord Barnabò hate each other”. Gian nodded. “So if the papacy hates my uncle, would this include most of Milan’s clerkecy?” “Lord, we make no secret for the fact that the church loathes the current ruler of Milan”. Something suddenly came up to Gian. “Thank you prior, you have helped me… a lot”.
 

Txini

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Sounds of Mourn reaches the streets of Heidelberg, priests all over the Palatine Land where reaching Heidelberg Castle, the Home of the Count-Elector, people started to worry as they had no more info than what they could see, rumours started to move along the city talking about the death of the Sovereign Count-Elector, others thought Countess Palatine Elizabeth von Nürnberg could have been the victim of death, as althought she was energical woman, her pregnancy could be a cause of problems for her health, none feared about Countess-Widow Irmengard who had survived already to her husband, her brother-in-law, a daughter and a pair of grandchilds, she was near 80 years old, and some people thought she would never die, the rumours started to become fluent and clear when some people could see Count Palatine and Heir aparente Ruprecht to come back from his hunt with a half smile, so it was not his daughter in law nor one of his grandchilds, neither could be his mother Countess Irmengard, it was for sure a member of the countal pair. Some hours later there was an announcement from Heidelberg Castle to all Palatine people:

Today 25th of November 1382, our great and beloved Countess Elizabeth van Namur was called by Our Lord Jesuchrist to participate of His Death and Resurrection. The Count Elector Ruprecht I ask his people to pray for her soul, and indicates all noble families of his lands and of the Empire that her funeral will be the 9th of December, in Palatine Cathredal in Worms and later buried in Countal Panteon in Neustadt a.d.Hart

Countess Elizabeth van Namur

(ooc: Court of Pfalz Open)
 
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Age of Chaucery and Feuds


Ghernata by the mountain ridge

"So tell me my Hajib, how goes the work of the Order?" the Sultan asked dulfully as he thumbed a scroll in his hands.The subject of autonomy was of intrest to him but lately, the matter of the state were gaining his attention.His Hajib Ibn Rizwan smiled "The bloodshed had been quick & unnoticed, their followers had no time to react , the snake had lost its head except for a few...." the Sultan cocked his eyebrow "Who else is left?" the Hajib stuttered "...eh Abu Abdullah still lives" the Sultan frowned "The bastard killed my father and claims this throne blindly, he has grown crazier than I thought!that Berber has no blood in al-Ahmer to begin with...." he sighed " We will catch him eventaully, and our ambassador to the Rum?" Ibn Rizwan nodded "He has sent us some messages from the east, the Rum are willing to accept our political prisoners" the Sultan smiled "I never wish to kill these people my Hajib, but they give me no choice.However I spare there families for Ibn Rush (Averoes) once said "It is not valiant for one to be good to his friends but generous to his enemies" it is the only way I know..."

*******​

Lucena lies by the Genii river, an outcropping from the Guadalquivir.The town is known for its fine mallburry trees and conservative Berber population.Its white washed housing glistened under the Andalusian sun, her wheatcrops and mallburries danced with the smooth breeze of Al-Andalus.A stranger from the North arrives in horseback and hands a letter to the Emir of the town, Lord Kamal Diego dela Badajozi, a Berberi who traces his lieneage back to the Berbers of Oran and Constantine.

It was from Abu Abdullah, his supposed "Sultan" and biggest benefactor.Although he signed the Baya and had some visits from the Black cloaked men, the attraction of rising up in rebellion and putting Abu Abdullah on the throne was too strong, he had enough of Mohammed al-Gani's efforts to centralize and the Arab aristocracy's asabya (racism) against Berbers.He could see it now, he would be appointed as Hajib of the Kingdom instead of being just some lowly Emir.He wrote a scroll and handed it to the messenger.The same reaction came from the Emirs of Benameji and Priego, all enthusiastic to overthrow the current Sultan and Arab aristocracy ,to free themselves from the growing centralization of the Alhambra....the time for change had come.

Most of the other Emirs had cowered, they dared not even send a reply for they had no will to die by the mysterious Order's hand and with most of the political adversaries of the Sultan dead, the south and east of the Kingdom was secure...except for the hardy berbers of the North.

********​

A letter arrives from the south to the residence of Abu Abdullah al-Cordobi some days later carrying the approval of the three towns of Lucena,Priego
In the name of Allah the Merciful and Great
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم​
Unto Zultan Abu Abdullah al-Cordobi
الى السلطان أبي عبدالله القرطبي​
We have heard your call to arms my Sultan, and the Emirs of the North rise up in your name.Our forces and Dinars are at your command, please grace us in Lucena, the farthest town from the Alhambra so we may discuss the matters at hand to bring down the upsurper.
لقد سمعتا ندائك واسنجادك فأمراء الشمال لك خدما وعونا.رجالنا وأموالنا تحت سلطانك .يا مولانا أفلا تأتي الى لوكينا لكي نتحدث عن أمور غرناطة؟نحن في انتظار قدومك​
 

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Time has reached for the Deceased Countess to have her funeral and burial, presently in the Cathedral of Worms were his widow Count-Elector Ruprecht 'der Rote', the Heir Apparent Ruprecht with his mother Countess-Widow Irmengard, and Count-Palatine Ruprecht and his sister Duchess Anna who came from Berg, Countess-Palatine Elizabeth von Nürnberg and her child with Ruprecht had started a travel to Amberg, where the Palatine Family will set up their residence, as Ruprecht known as 'Klem' had been selected by his granduncle to serve as Pfalzian Embassor in Bavaria, Bohemia and Nürnberg, and as Permanent Delegate of the Electorate in the Imperial Diet.
Bishop Hans von Mainhem directed the Holy Mass for Elizabeth's soul:

Milords and Miladies, we are here to remember our sister Isabella whom Our Lord has called to His Reign, may she be remembered as what she was, a faithfull wife and a beloved Countess, who was with his Husband in the difficult moments of his rules as well as in the best moments of the same. We shall pray Our Saviour as well to desire that he will guide our Count-Elector now that he hasn't her at his side anymore and that he grants him many more years of deserved rule over our lands.


Bishop Hans gave the bendition: In Nomini Patri et Filii et Sancti Spiritus

After that the Pfalzian Wittelsbach splitted their ways, Count-Elector Ruprecht continued with his deceased wife till she was finally buried. Count Palatine and Heir Aparent Ruprecht went with his mother Countess Irmengard to the new little palace she had made built for her in the same city of Worms, were she expected to live during all his live and that it would be long enough to see his son in the Electoral Chair. And Finally Ruprecht 'Klem' invested his friend Ludwig Heinzelder as the representant of the Imperial Faction in the Electoral Court always he is far from Heidelberg and after that departed to Praha to meet with His Most Catholic Majesty Wenceslaus.
 

Benedict Arnold

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The Dream....
The Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitalier tossed in his sleep, mumbling and sweating despite the relative coolness of his room. Suddenly he awoke with a jolt, his eyes flashed open and it was as if he just gained his sense of sight. It was all so clear now, all so obvious! Why hadn't he realized it earlier, why hadn't any of them? Action was needed, and quickly. He threw on his cloak and called out to the guard outside his room to call the leading Knights and council members for a meeting in the main chambers immediately.

Master Fr. Juan Fernández de Heredia had been Grandmaster of the Knights for the past seven years, and had been the second in command for numerous years before that. He was sent from Spain to correct the corruption seen developing within the order so as to prevent the destuction of the order as had happened to their former chief rivals and brothers the Templars. Juan had succeeded in his mission, but he always felt that something was missing, something was wrong with the present order as it stood. His dream had shown him the answer in all of its remarkable simplicity. What had the Order been founded to do? To fight? To become little more than pirates, attacking Muslim shipping in the name of God and profit? No, it had been founded to provide for the pilgrims who went to Jerusalem, to defend and to heal, not to attack and defile. It was the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, yet until this very night Juan had forgotten that, as had his predecessors. What had they gained by abandoning their original mission? They lost Jerusalem, they lost the entire holy land for that matter, they lost the place of honor they once had, and they had lost their true calling. Peace was the answer, fighting had brought them nothing but failure and bloodshed. Perhaps if the City of Acre could be purchased from the Mamlukes, where all the armed forces the Knights could muster had failed to hold onto. Their mission must be brought back to the Holy land and be brought back to a goal of healing and defending, not fighting. There would be much resistance to this change, but it was necessary, Juan could see that now, he only hoped his fellow knights would also see...
 
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A conversation of the fates


"Well just look at this place," Niccolo said as he dropped his hand heavly upon the table. "The son of God himself could return to earth here and nobody would know because this town is so quiet."

Niccolo and his brother Alberto were in Comacchio. A small fishing village on the Adriatic. Comacchio, however, had been selected by Niccolo for a grand project to be built into fortress port. In his dreams it would be a jewel on the Adriatic.

"Im not arguing with you about the desolation of this place," Alberto said. "Im just saying, we need to be realistic about these things, and Ferrara does not have a tradition of seamen ship so it will be hard to create one."

"Ha," Niccolo bellowed sarcastically, "Everything here is driven by money. We are Italians, and where there is money there is sure to be someone to take it," Niccolo said with a smile. "With the help of the Venetians I will have my ships, and with our planned revenues from trade we will hire the seamen to sail them."

"Well, not everything goes to plan, brother. So let us make sure we dont bankrupt ourselves in some romantic scheme." Alberto said with a cautious face.

"Romantic, yes, but where would be the fun in being Lord if I just sat in a dark castle all day," Niccolo said with a smile.

"You got me there," Alberto said as he rolled his eyes.

Niccolo could see he his sarcasim was starting to get under Alberto's skin, and there was no chance he would change his mind anyways so he switched the subject. "How is your prospects of a wife?"

"Still not good, at least here in Italy. Tuscany, Mantua, Pisa, etc. do not seem to be courting suitors at the moment. I was thinking about contacting those in Milan, but after dwelling on it I thought why not bring the d'Este house into grander circles. France for example, the Savoyans, or the Anjous."

Niccolo nodded his head in approval."France would be good, so would the Anjous. As Lord of Ferrara and your brother I would support a union with the French....I have heard Obizzo as well expressing his wish to marry into a grand house of Europe, and I am preshuring my son when he grows older to set his sights on France or Iberia." Another smile creeped across Niccolo's face. "If we cant defeat our enemies, then by God we will marry them." As he said this he lifted his cup of wine into the air in a mock toast, took a drink, then slammed it back onto the table. He was starting to get a bit drunk.

He looked around the room a bit, it was getting dark as the sun went down. "You know, Im beggining to like this sleepy town more and more. Once our grand Castle is finished in Ferrara, I think I might build one here so I can vacation in style." As he said this he slumped back in his chair and put his hands behind his head and closed his eyes.

Alberto just looked at him. "Castles and ships....I think your drunk."

Niccolo opened his eyes, "But sober enough to do it."
 
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In the name of the holy & undivided Trinity, Father & Son & Holy Ghost. Amen.



CLEMENS EPISCOPUS
SERVUS SERVORUM DEI

AD PERPETUAM REI MEMORIAM



JUDAS SOLD Our Lord Jesus Christ to the heathen for twenty silver pence, thus condemning himself to eternal damnation; and so did Our son the King Peter of Aragonia when he sold the Baleares to the heathen for twenty hundred golden ducats, sentencing the people of the said islands to lifelong slavery, carelessly giving away what his great-great-grandfather of blessed memory did painfully acquired. What the ancestors saved, the descendant spoiled. Our son, the said Peter of Aragonia, has gone astray indeed.

However, just like the King Christ forgave Judas, we shall forgive the said Peter of Aragonia, supposing he shall show suitable repentance for his very great sin by donating the dirty gold he had recieved to the Universal and Apostolic Church, thereby cleansing it of the heathen filth. Furthermore, as penitance, the said Peter of Aragonia shall immediately take up arms against the heretic tyrant Charles of Durazzo. Should he go to war against the tyrant, he shall be absolved of his very great sin.

Moreover, We hereby wish to affirm that a Prince has the right to sell anything that is rightfully his; a Prince also has the right to give up any claim he has on anything that is rightfully his. We shall, therefore, acknowledge that the said Peter of Aragonia has given up all the claims he held on the Kingdom of Mallorca, and thus We declare that the said fief has reverted into the ownership of the Universal and Apostolic Church. We decree that so long as We, the Roman Pontiff, do not find a suitable man We would crown King of Mallorca, the said fief shall be governed by the Bishop of Mallorca, under the supervision of Our Legate, Peter Martinus of Luna.

We hereby call all the men in the world maintaing claims on the said Kingdom to present these claims, so that We could weigh the claims and judge the persons.

Moreover, We herewith command the said Bishop of Mallorca to call all the able men on the islands into arms, and We order him to fight off any possibly invasion of Saracens, for such an invasion is likely to happen indeed. Upon undertaking this most rightful enterprise of defending the islands, one shall recieve from Us an indulgence for all his sins and remission of all his temporal punishment; his only penance shall be to defend the Kingdom of Mallorca..

Furthermore, We command all the Christian Princes near and far to undertake this most holy enterprise of fighting off the invading Mahometans.

And We also warn the King of Grenada, who has tricked our beloved son into this most sinful and wicked business, not to try to seize Christian lands, else the Wrath of God shall befall him.




Ego Clemens Catholicae Ecclesiae Episcopus


Given in Avignon, in the Year of the Incarnation of Our Lord MCCCLXXXIII, in the fifth year of Our Pontificate and fourth year of Our Exile, in the presence of Pietro Cardinal Corsini, Jean Cardinal de la Grange, Jacques Mantennay, and many other prelates and priests and deacons of the Holy and Universal Church.