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King Martin





The festivities began on Saturday, a day before the actual coronation, in the afternoon. But the expectation had begun to flare high as much as a week before that: merchants and traders and noblemen of varying rank had kept arriving in Avignon -- they just kept coming, coming, coming, as if the entire world wanted to witness the coronation, and the always crowded city became so crammed that the court of His Holiness fled the city for the silent and calm Villeneuve-lèz-Avignon. Innkeepers and pickpockets got rich, a hundred pounds of the Holy Cross was sold: business flourished in the Other Rome as though there was a Jubilee going on, and the Other Rome loved the Pope and the King-to-be for it.

Martin of Aragon was to arrive in the city from Villeneuve through the Bridge Saint Bénézet, taking the Road of the Pilgrims towards the Palace of the Popes. The Prince's way was surrounded with spectators on both sides: the nobles were sitting on stands, rising from the mass of commoners in the way cliffs rose from the sea.

Excitement rose as time passed until, not long after Vespers, the bells began to ring in all the churches of the city: first in Villeneuve, in the Little Notre Dame, silently, then the sound of the bells climbed slowly in loudness, intensity and urgency as the other churches of Avignon joined in, those great many churches, those great many bells, until there was nothing but the thunder of the ringing bells, painful to the ears. The sharp-eyed now glimpsed the procession in the distance, but their cheers got lost in the deafening din. First came the spearmen of the Breton Guard, clearing the way (the screams of pain got lost in the deafening din), followed by some twenty horsemen who were there more for decoration than anything else, their faces set, solemnly emotionless. And then the procession suddenly turned into a religious one: monks came, Benedictines, in fact a choir (their song got lost in the deafening din), and after them came the Apostolic Cross, carried by the Gautier Cardinal Gómez who had been, as the only cardinal from Iberia in the absence of the Cardinal de Luna, chosen to be the advocate of the King-to-be's cause during the ceremonies.

Many bad things can be said about the Church, Universal and Apostolic, but one thing cannot be disputed: they knew how to manipulate people, how to manipulate emotions; they had a millenia of experience. Thus it's no surprise that by the time the King-to-be appeared, wearing his monk's habit, escorted by four monsignors, the crowd exulted and cheered in a maddened joy. Even the nobles were shouting and screaming like peasants, forgetting about pompousness and scepticism. Even though the ceremony was a mundane one, a religious rapture took over the minds as the Prince Martin was escorted in the Notre Dame Cathedral where he would spend all the night awake, praying for guidance and doing introspection, all alone in the grand basilica.

The crowd felt only emptiness and a strange disappointment when the bells fell silent and the gates of the Notre Dame were shut closed after the Prince Martin. The people lingered for a while, surprisingly quietly, then the crowd slowly dispersed: a few chose to follow the Prince's example, but the most retired to the inns, taverns, guesthouses... There was intense expectation in the air; Avignon awaited the tomorrow.



Sunrise, a new day breaking forth. The Prince Martin was thoroughly confessed, was bathed, and was clothed in royal garment: these activities took three long hours. In the meanwhile the crowd gathered again, filling the streets where the procession towards the Palace of the Popes would go through. But today the procession was different: only one churchbell was tolled, its lone, shrill voice just increased the expectations. The crowd was dead silent. The procession reached the Palace: there was a richly adorned wooden stand built before it, so that the crowd could witness the coronation. The procession reached the palace, the Prince Martin fell on his knees before the stairs leading up to the empty throne of Saint Peter.

Upon the hallowed silence came the sudden scream of trumpets: ta-ra, ta-ra-ra-raa, ta-ra-ra-ra, a throbbing, annunciotary voice, followed by the tenor cry:

"Appropinquat agnis pastor et ovibus pascendis..."

Clemens Pappas Septimus gestured his blessing towards his flock with a condescending and contented smile on his face.

"Ahleluia, ahleluia, ahleluia...!"

Cardinal Gómez approached the throne and knelt.

"Sancte Pater, ab sapienta summus petimus...," he sang in a plain chant."Holy Father, we ask from your highest wisdom to make this Martin, at whose piety and honour many have wondered, King of Mallorca, for it is not good for a Kingdom to be without a King..."

The request was long and tense, it somehow managed to make it seem as if it were a request real, not merely ceremonial.

"Gratissima nobis causa, fili," Clement expressed his doubts. "It is great concern, children..." Then he went on to explain that even though he would favour the idea, he is now somehow discouraged, hesitating to make such an important decision: he asked all to pray for guidance.

The choir and the crowd sang the Litany of Saints together: "Father-of-Heaven, God, have mercy on us! Son, Repurchaser-of-the-World, God, have mercy on us! Ghost-Most-Holy, God, have mercy on us! O Sacred Threefoldhood, God-One-and-Only, have mercy on us! Holy Mary, pray for us!" Cardinal Gómez repeated his request, Clement once again prayed for guidance. "Kyrie eleison...! Christe eleison...!

Cardinal Gómez pleaded the Pope yet a third time. "We, who are Peter himself..." Clement intoned his positive reply, rendering his decision under the guidance the Holy Spirit, calling the Prince Martin up to before him, and now it was the Pope's turn to plead and be rejected: the Prince rejected the crown twice, only to accept it for the third time.

Martin of Aragon was anointed with the Holy Oil brought right from Reims, of the very same chrism Pepin and Charlemagne had once been anointed with; the substance smelled of age.

"Benedicat te, omnipotens Deus..."

Clement placed the crown on Martin's head, and then he presented the newly created King with the sword:

"This is the sword of Saint Peter," the Pope recited, "may you unsheathe it when the Patromony of Peter is endangered, may you use it skillfully and well against the heretics, schismatics, infidels, the enemies and presecutors of the Church, Universal and Apostolic..."

Then King Martin swore the well-learned oath on the Bible: "I, Martin, by the Grace of God King of Mallorca, from this hour forth shall be faithful to God, St. Peter, the Universal and Apostolic Church and to my Lord Pope Clement and all his successors elected and ordained in a proper manner. I shall not bring it about by deed, word, consent or counsel, that they lose life or members or be taken captive; to the contrary, I shall prevent them being harmed, and I shall aid them to the best of my ability with kindly given advice and princely service. Any counsel which they entrust to me through themselves or through their envoys or through their letters, I will keep secret, nor will I knowingly disclose it to anyone to their harm. I shall aid to the best of my ability in holding and defending against all men the Patrimony of St. Peter, and I shall never cease to donate charitable gifts to the aforementioned Apostolic Church: namely, the aforementioned Apostolic Church shall receive yearly a hundred golden ducats, and more if my Lord the Pope wishes so. And I bind myself and my successors not to try to counter any of these things; and if I or anyone of my successors shall attempt this, whoever he be, he shall lose his rights to the Kingdom. So may God and these holy Gospels aid me."

"Long live the King," His Holiness announced in his loud baritone, "long live King Martin!"

The chorus burst into the Te Deum, and then the Pope, the King and their escort proceeded back to the Notre Dame: the King on foot, walking before the Pope's throne in the way once, back in the pagan times, the captured barbarian leaders walked before the triumphant Emperor. In the basilica the Pope himself celebrated the mass: there were so many people in there that his helpers had a hard time getting him through the crowd; the newly created King was almost squashed to death.

And only now began the real celebration: the commoners were given free ale and wine at the Palace of the Popes, the richer were drinking in the taverns, the cardinals held great feasts in their Livrées, but the greatest feast was given by the Pope himself in his summer residence in Villeneuve-lèz-Avignon: there were three feasts, actually, one in the courtyard, for the retainers; one in an outer hall, for the lower-ranking nobles; and one for the privileged only. Here His Holiness sat at the head of the table, with a King on both sides: on his left sat the King Frederick of Sicily; and on his right the King Martin of Mallorca.



 

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The Dark Barakah of the Sorceress III



The eastern Sage of Persia is summoned to Baghdad...


Outside Kerman, Persia...

The sun shone high in the sky and the clouds flowed uneasily across the barren sky as the three lone riders, armed with sabres and their written words of their Khan, caused a great trail of dust on the southwestern roads of Persia. One of the riders was a man of importance, an Amir of the Sultan and Khan Ahmad, and the others were armed paladins of the Khanate, to protect him on his mission... They were on a most important mission for the Khan, to find a man.

It was not long ago that the Khan's sister is whispered to have gone completely mad, and the Khan, seeking any cure he could for her sent out a search for any physical or spiritual healer who could claim to cure her. So far, the Khan had had one beheaded for being a fraud, and the other two only seemed to employ strange herbs and drugs to relax her, and failed to cure her, and were dismissed. No one seemed to know how to cure what afflicted her, and worse, she was growing more vapid, violent and sickly by the day.
Yet the Amir Nasir truly knew what was wrong with her... in his distress and confidance for the mission, the Khan and Sultan had told him.
All this talk of demons and djinn made the Amir most uneasy, for he himself had a strange experience as a child, and would never forget it. And even worse now, he had to travel through the deserts of central Persia - the called 'Dead Lands', a place many said the evil Djinn on Earth inhabitted.


The Dead Lands of Persia...
Said to be a place of Djinn Inhabitance

The wind blew thickly through his hair as he shook these superstitious thoughts off.
Amir Nasir al-Bihnami, Governor of Basrah's and his riders spoke nothing to each other, knowing full well that they needed to complete this appointed mission... the Khan seemed most distressed at these events, in any case. For not the Amir would ignore his own initiatives in his land until he had properly helped his Khan and Sultan... and perhaps gained some more influence in the process. He could hear his horse breathing heavily as it strode forth across the brown and encrusted Persian plains at full gallop.
Passing through the dry plains of Awhaz, thirst bothered the Amir's throat and those of his men as well, yet within a few hours they had reached their goal... the old city of Kerman in Persia. Truly, the old Persian city had a mystical air about it... a place were great ancients rose and fall, and where the armies of demons and angels of Allah, and other such events were said to occur across this land. And a grand city all the same... the Amir Nasir and his men all seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. Entering the city and speaking Farsi (except of course for his Islamic greeting), and then the Amir asked a local merchant,


Nasir al-Bihnami ~ Amir of Basrah
On a Mission for his Khan

"Salaam, friend, where might I find the most famed Jameh Mosque...? Myself and my friends are on... a pilgrimage of a sort."

The old merchant nodded, almost toothless, and replied back,

"Follow this street up five blocks, and turn right... you shall see it's towers from there. May Allah guide you, my friend!"

Tossing him a coin, the Amir Nasir and his men follow his direction's through the city's great bazaar, follow of merchants selling their trinkets, perfumes, fruits and vegetables, and catching the eye of some of the patrolling guards, who were of a Mongolic stock indeed - the malevolent and infamous Tumir Lengh's city guard. Nasir made a note in his mind to avoid all possible instances with these men...


Jameh Mosque, one of the oldest in Persia

And then they saw it, where the man they were looking for was known to commonly be seen at... the Jameh Mosque. Approaching it and removing his shoes, and disarming his sabre as well as those of his men (to ensure their peaceful intentions were known), the Amir and his party entered the mosque.

Walking through the interioir, smoke was in the air and silence about as the Imams and other holy men prayed, some even to local saints! Truly these Persians were of a strange sort. The Amir thought this, but kept his peace as he walked some stairs silently to an upper level, near the roof.


When he reached the top of the stairs, he looked at a Holy man who was passing him,

"Salaam, might you be so courteous as to inform me of where I might find the great Sage, Zalchan Khalil-Shen?"

The holy man said nothing, but pointed to an open doorway nearby...

The Amir nodded to the holy man and then walked into this upper chamber of the beautiful Jameh Mosque, a building dedicated to spreading the light of Allah, then saw the famed man; a renown Sage and Mystic, and Imam as well, Zalchan Khalil-Shen, whom was bowing deep in prayer.



"Your faithful grace?"

The man continued to pray for almost a minute before he stood and turned to Nasir.

Nasir then looked the man over - he was indeed old, and his eyes seemed to glimmer in a way Nasir could not describe. The was famed for his knowledge of Islam, the mysticism of it and even furthermore his knowings of the ways of Fire and Zoroastor and other eastern things... and he was even more well known among the Magi groups and clans.. Nasir indeed had found his man.

The Sage put his hands together and bowed his head in a priestly way,


Zalchan Khalil-Shen
Sage and Mystic of Persia

Ah, Salam my friend.. and what brings you se far north and east as this Jameh Mosque, hm? You seem of Arab stock, true enough."

Nasir was surprised by how keen the man's senses were, and thus replied to him, "I am the Amir of Basrah, Nasir al-Bihnami. I have come to see your grace on a most delicate mission, and ask humbly for your aid in a terrible situation within Baghdad."

The Sage Zalchan frowned... and looked at the Amir's men, who were listening to the whole thing.

Switching his language into Arabic, the Sage asked, "And what kind of mischief would to Khan of the Jalayir summon be for, pray?" his eyebrow raised, skeptically.

Nasir continued, looking desperate, "It is the Sultan's sister... she is possessed."

His sister?! The Sage looked distressed at this, but said nothing for a moment. Nasir noticed this... did the Sage know who the Sultan's sister was?

The men with the Amir who had accompanied him however were shocked to hear this - not even they were privy to this information yet.

And yet in understanding, the Sage nodded to him immediately and within an hour, they were on fresh horses with food and supplies, to ride west, to Baghdad.
 

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The Dark Barakah of the Sorceress IV



The Persian Mystic and Sage
Zalchan Khalil~Shen investigates...


Within the Abbas Palace, Baghdad...

With all his books relevant to the subject in order in a chamber granted to him by the Khan to study his cure, the Persian mystic and Sage Zalchan Khalil-Shen marvelled at something he had not had experience with, well, in years. Djinn exorcisms were just not common, not real ones anyway... he knew well of the mental disorders that some of these 'victims' in the past had come to him with claiming their power of evil had overcome them... but the look in the Sultan's eyes when he met Zalchan and asked him personally to cure his sister - now it was a look real fear.

And so left some time to study alone beforehand, Zalchan opened his book, Allah's Miracle of the Djinni, and look at the total information and references he he compiled from it

Turning open the book he saw a fanciful drawring within the cover...
Much imaginative, he thought.

Allah's Mircale of the Djinn (Jinn)



The jinn are not fallen angels. They were created from a smokeless flame of fire. The first recorded jinn to be disobedient is Iblis. Disbelieving, disobedient jinn and humans are known as shayateen (satans).


The Noble Qur'an - Ar-Rahmaan 55:15, 15​

He created man (Adam) from sounding clay like the clay of pottery.

And the jinns did He create from a smokeless flame of fire.

The Noble Qur'an - Al-Hijr 15:26-42​

26. And indeed, We created man from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.

27. And the jinn, We created aforetime from the smokeless flame of fire.

28. And (remember) when your Lord said to the angels: "I am going to create a man (Adam) from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud.

29. "So, when I have fashioned him completely and breathed into him (Adam) the soul which I created for him, then fall (you) down prostrating yourselves unto him."

30. So, the angels prostrated themselves, all of them together.

31. Except Iblîs (Satan), - he refused to be among the prostrators.

32. (Allâh) said: "O Iblîs (Satan)! What is your reason for not being among the prostrators?"

33. [Iblîs (Satan)] said: "I am not the one to prostrate myself to a human being, whom You created from sounding clay of altered black smooth mud."

34. (Allâh) said: "Then, get out from here, for verily, you are Rajîm (an outcast or a cursed one)." [Tafsîr At-Tabarî]

35. "And verily, the curse shall be upon you till the Day of Recompense (i.e. the Day of Resurrection)."

36. [Iblîs (Satan)] said: "O my Lord! Give me then respite till the Day they (the dead) will be resurrected."

37. Allâh said: "Then, verily, you are of those reprieved,

38. "Till the Day of the time appointed."

39. [Iblîs (Satan)] said: "O my Lord! Because you misled me, I shall indeed adorn the path of error for them (mankind) on the earth, and I shall mislead them all.

40. "Except Your chosen, (guided) slaves among them."

41. (Allâh) said: "This is the Way which will lead straight to Me."

42. "Certainly, you shall have no authority over My slaves, except those who follow you of the Ghâwîn (Mushrikûn and those who go astray, criminals, polytheists, and evil-doers, etc.).

Solomon's Experience with the Jinn​


Allah made all the jinn subservient to the Prophet Sulaimaan (Solomon), a gift from Allah, swt, that will never be granted to another after him.

The Noble Qur'an - Saad 38:35-39​
35. He said: "My Lord! Forgive me, and bestow upon me a kingdom such as shall not belong to any other after me: Verily, You are the Bestower."

36. So, We subjected to him the wind, it blew gently to his order whithersoever he willed,

37. And also the Shayâtin (devils) from the jinns (including) every kind of builder and diver,

38. And also others bound in fetters.

39. [Saying of Allâh to Sulaimân (Solomon)]: "This is Our gift, so spend you or withhold, no account will be asked."

The Noble Qur'an - Saba' 34:12-14​

12. And to Solomon (We subjected) the wind, its morning (stride from sunrise till midnoon) was a month's (journey), and its afternoon (stride from the midday decline of the sun to sunset) was a month's (journey i.e. in one day he could travel two months' journey). And We caused a fount of (molten) brass to flow for him, and there were jinns that worked in front of him, by the Leave of his Lord, and whosoever of them turned aside from Our Command, We shall cause him to taste of the torment of the blazing Fire.

13. They worked for him what he desired, (making) high rooms, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places). "Work you, O family of Dâwud (David), with thanks!" But few of My slaves are grateful.

14. Then when We decreed death for him [Sulaimân (Solomon)], nothing informed them (jinns) of his death except a little worm of the earth, which kept (slowly) gnawing away at his stick, so when he fell down, the jinns saw clearly that if they had known the unseen, they would not have stayed in the humiliating torment.


The Noble Qur'an - An-Naml 27:17-19​

17. And there were gathered before Sulaimân (Solomon) his hosts of jinns and men, and birds, and they all were set in battle order (marching forwards).

18. Till, when they came to the valley of the ants, one of the ants said: "O ants! Enter your dwellings, lest Sulaimân (Solomon) and his hosts crush you, while they perceive not."

19. So he [Sulaimân (Solomon)] smiled, amused at her speech and said: "My Lord! Inspire and bestow upon me the power and ability that I may be grateful for Your Favours which You have bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do righteous good deeds that will please You, and admit me by Your Mercy among Your righteous slaves."

Fortune-tellers/Soothsayers

Hadith - Al-Bukhari 7.657, Narrated 'Aisha, r.a.​
Some people asked Allah's Apostle (saaws) about the foretellers. He said. -They are nothing." They said, -O Allah's Apostle! Sometimes they tell us of a thing which turns out to be true." Allah's Apostle said, "A Jinn snatches that true word and pours it into the ear of his friend (the foreteller) (as one puts something into a bottle). The foreteller then mixes with that word one hundred lies."

Shaytaan​


The shaytaan (satan) can be human or jinn...


The Noble Qur'an - Al-An'aam 6:112​
And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies - Shayâtin (devils) among mankind and jinns, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception). If your Lord had so willed, they would not have done it, so leave them alone with their fabrications.


Know your enemy...

The Noble Qur'an - Faatir 35:6​
Surely, Shaitân (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing Fire.

The Noble Qur'an - Az-Zukhruf 43:62​
And let not Shaitân (Satan) hinder you (from the right religion, i.e. Islâmic Monotheism), Verily, he (Satan) to you is a plain enemy.


Shaitaan tells you to fear people instead of Allah, swt...

The Noble Qur'an - Az-Zukhruf 43:62​
It is only Shaitân (Satan) that suggests to you the fear of his Auliyâ' [supporters and friends (polytheists, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allâh and in His Messenger, Muhammad so fear them not, but fear Me, if you are (true) believers.

The jinn's power is to Whisper/Deceive


The Noble Qur'an - An-Naas 114​

1. Say: "I seek refuge with (Allâh) the Lord of mankind,

2. "The King of mankind,

3. "The Ilâh (God) of mankind,

4. "From the evil of the whisperer (devil who whispers evil in the hearts of men) who withdraws (from his whispering in one's heart after one remembers Allâh),

5. "Who whispers in the breasts of mankind,

6. "Of jinns and men."

The Noble Qur'an - Al-An'aam 6:128​
And on the Day when He will gather them (all) together (and say): "O you assembly of jinns! Many did you mislead of men," ...

The Noble Qur'an - Al-'Anaam 6:112​
And so We have appointed for every Prophet enemies - Shayâtin (devils) among mankind and jinns, inspiring one another with adorned speech as a delusion (or by way of deception)....

The Noble Qur'an - An-Nahl 16:99-100​
Verily! He has no power over those who believe and put their trust only in their Lord (Allâh).

His power is only over those who obey and follow him (Satan), and those who join partners with Him (Allâh) [i.e. those who are Mushrikûn - polytheists - see Verse 6:121].

The Noble Qur'an - Ibrahiim 14:22​
And Shaitân (Satan) will say when the matter has been decided: "Verily, Allâh promised you a promise of truth. And I too promised you, but I betrayed you. I had no authority over you except that I called you, so you responded to me. So blame me not, but blame yourselves. I cannot help you, nor can you help me. I deny your former act in associating me (Satan) as a partner with Allâh (by obeying me in the life of the world). Verily, there is a painful torment for the Zâlimûn (polytheists and wrong-doers, etc.)."

The Noble Qur'an - Al-Israa' 17:61-65​
And (remember) when We said to the angels: "Prostrate unto Adam." They prostrated except Iblîs (Satan). He said: "Shall I prostrate to one whom You created from clay?"

[Iblîs (Satan)] said: "See? This one whom You have honoured above me, if You give me respite (keep me alive) to the Day of Resurrection, I will surely seize and mislead his offspring (by sending them astray) all but a few!"

(Allâh) said: "Go, and whosoever of them follows you, surely! Hell will be the recompense of you (all) an ample recompense.

"And Istafziz [literally means: befool them gradually] those whom you can among them with your voice (i.e. songs, music, and any other call for Allâh's disobedience), make assaults on them with your cavalry and your infantry, mutually share with them wealth and children (by tempting them to earn money by illegal ways usury, etc., or by committing illegal sexual intercourse, etc.), and make promises to them." But Satan promises them nothing but deceit.

"Verily! My slaves (i.e the true believers of Islâmic Monotheism), you have no authority over them. And All-Sufficient is your Lord as a Guardian."

After closing the book, Zalchan was not satisfied.


Zalchan Khalil-Shen
Sage and Mystic Holy Man


"By Allah, still only Qu'ranic passages the misleading information... no one truly has a graps on what the evil Djinn are, other than the Angels of course..."

He then was silent for a moment in thought, as he often was... it was true, he had known the Princess as a student when he stayed in Baghdad, he was an Imam and he and some other associates of his had introduced the most willing to learn Princess to the knowledge of mysticism and the ancients, something forbidden in much of the Islamic world. It was why he felt it was his duty to cure her, for he had introduced her to these most forbade of arts.

The Angels..! Of course!

He opened his Qu'ran and flipped through it, until he found the proper passage...

Running his finger down the pages of the holy text of his personal copy, he found the words - the words the Angel Jibril had passed down unto man.

'I seek refuge with the Noble Face of Allah and with the complete words of Allah which neither the good person nor the corrupt can exceed, from the evil of what descends from the sky and the evil of what ascends in it, and from the evil of what is created in the earth and the evil of what comes out of it, and from the trials of the night and day, and from the visitations of the night and day, except for one that knocks with good, O Merciful!'
Taking his Qu'ran in hand, he also turned to his right, looking over the other item he required in his exorcism...

His staff. But he knew that according to the Holy words of Allah, after the Djinn was removed, the possesed host would be left unharm from any beatings incurred during the exorcism.


His face red, he decided he was ready. Walking down the hall to the Princess's chambers, he motioned to the guards to let him inside the barricaded door.

They looked at each other uneasily, and moved aside, pulling away the wood that was binding the door shut. A faint growling could be heard from the inside...



Zalchan Khalil-Shen
Sage and Mystic Holy Man

"Do not fear for me, noble guard, for I shall be ensured safe in the light of Allah. Peace be with you."

The guard nodded, and opened the door. Taking a torch in hand, the Sage Zalchan was disgusted by the hot smell that flowed from the room. Bringing his torch inside, as it was pitch black, he could see ripped material everywhere... she had torn the entire room up. But he could not see the Princess. Just then the guards closed the door behind him, as agreed.

"Princess Fusun...? Allah guides and watches over you, you have no need to..." He heard a rustling sound, and looked to the far corner of the room... and there he saw her. A pale white face, and reddened eyes, and hissing, spitting teeth... and what was worse, was that she was hanging upside down, beside his face..!


It only took a moment before his screaming was heard.
"ARGH!!" He cried out, and the guards were curious to hear a terrible screaming for almost a minute. When they ripped open the door and as quickly as they could, pulled the Sage out of the room, they could see he had two broken arms - snapped clean at his forearms! He was sweating a crying... the guards did not know what exactly happened, but all he could mutter was,

"Ba... ba... Ballim... Ballim..."
 
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The Deliverance of Satan, a Girl, and a King...
unto His Holiness in Avignon



Into the city of Avignon came a train of fine carriages bearing the flags of Castilla y Leon. Surrounding and escorting the carriages, and in a train of pairs fifty long, mounted Hidalgos rode with lance tips shining and pennants streaming out behind them.

In the first carriage, rode King Juan Trastamara of Castilla y Leon and several retainers, noble lords who wished to attend the coronation of King Martin of Mallorca, brother in law to Juan.

In the second carriage, rode Joanna of Naples, recently fled of England seeking her crown as Queen of Naples, and being taken to Avignon under command of His Holiness. Along with her rode several prominant ladies, whose husbands rode in the carriage of the King.

In the third carriage, rode the Queen-dowager, step mother of King Juan. Along with her rode her daughter Lady Penelope de Coria, and notably Count Ferran of Aragon escorted the ladies. King Juan's children also rode in the carriage. It was rumored that much paper was crumpled and thrown out the window on the ride.

In the fourth carriage, rode Gregory of Rome, selected by the Cardinals of Rome in the Basilica to be given the mantle of Pope, yet under heavy guard and escort. He had been escorted away from Rome by the men of arms of Castilla y Leon. Notably, his closest advisors who he had brought sat with him, and his clerks and guards also were allowed to accompany him in the next three carriages, though unarmed.

The following ten carriages carried various nobles, their families, and administrative staff associated with King Juan's domains.

Upon arrival and being hostled in accomadations provided in the form of a villa belonging to a second cousin to the King who was well compensated, the nobles, including Joanna, but excluding Gregory attended the cornonation of Martin. King Juan made his presence known to Martin with a friendly bow of the head from across the plaza, but the day did not have time for a meeting with the festivities.

The following day, saw a smaller party made up of King Juan and his closest advisors return to Avignon with Joanna for presentation, and Gregory under guard to be put forth before his Holiness. Gregory was allowed to be accompanied by his own advisors, and the court of Castilla y Leon was of broad thought that in any case, Pope Clement would want all of Gregory's minions in one swoop.

King Juan kneeled in the Audiance Hall.


"Your Holiness, I come before you humbly, turning over to you both Joanna of Naples and the one of Rome, and to seek your guidance on furthering your will."
 

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Silk/Spices Trade: Part 1


Alexandria, Egypt

Mikac Ljudevit’s eyes opened to the brightness of the white sun, the very air is hot, he kneed in front of the alter full of gleaming gold which make light from Sun reflected around the church making it into hall of rainbow. The church has three altars: the main one is dedicated to Sveti Vlaho – patron against throat sickness; on both sides of Sveti Vlaho are the images of Santa Luzia – patron against eye illnesses; and that of Santa Apolonia, patron against teeth ailment. The staff in the hand of Sao Bras is of pure silver. The side altars are dedicated to Our Lady of Health and Our Lady of Victory along with that of St Joseph.

This hall of rainbow is the Church of Sveti Vlaho, a church paid by Ragusan merchants who travelled all the way from Ragusa to gain the richness of far Eastern goods such as silks and spices and other great goods.

Mikac Ljudevit was just finished his prayer when his group of guards came in, as devote Catholics, they bowed to the Cross and the gleaming figure of Sveti Vlaho which stood in small opening in the front wall. Suddenly, a guard suddenly went into bout of coughing, it is well known that guard was suffering from large amount of dust and hot air and his body did not simply agreed with it. Smiling, he stood up and walked away from the alter and after few metres, he walked out of the hall of rainbow into hot air of Egypt and her vast city of Alexandria.

Gathering his small band of guards and other merchants who decided it is safer to move about in group rather than alone, a wise decision considering there are many raiders who would not dare attack just a large group. They arrived at the great marketplace with all the goods from far flung East are such as spices, cottons, indigo, black pepper, cinnamon, cardamom, wax, ginger, Chinese furniture, cloves and much more.

Merchants bought from Ragusa woollen and linen cloth as well pure silvers mined in Balkan. They began trading with other merchants, and after long hard day. They managed to sell all their goods and bought up luxuries from Far East and India such as spices, and silks and other goods. These goods will fetch for high prices in cold Europe.

Then once they finished, they started for the journey home on their ships…
 
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Crete

Mikac Ljudevit’s eyes looked around the sea and spotted land in sight, it is great island kingdom of Cyprus. They had been sailing north from Alexandria for several days. Few hours later, they went into harbour. After stocking their supplies quickly, gathering news about the world around them from Venetian merchants who disliked them but still happy to talk. They mentioned that Venice for some strange reason is quiet but the news about Venetian colony in England made Mikac rather mad considering it will bring advantages over them. However, times grew short and so they set sailed next day onto Achaea.

Achaea

After riding out few storms, they finally arrived at Neapolitan port in Achaea, what the crews did noticed that there were general anxiety in the port, not surprising since Romans and Sicilians have always desire the port of Achaea and the rumours reaching them that there is now a new king called John and the Charles have died in strange manner but all will be fine since John is fine by Pope’s eyes. Mikac however treated it rather happily; maybe his people can actually make good trade agreement. Along the way back to his ship, he and his group came across bands of builders under command of an Ragusan envoy who want to build a small offices for him and large buildings for merchants so they can sleep safely. He however known to Mikac since he and Mikac been fast friend in one of the inns back at Ragusa. Anyway, envoy told him that since the treaty of Neapolitan-Ragusan Trade Accord of 1385, Ragusans was able to get the rights to construct and maintain merchant houses, warehouses as well as accommodations for its own merchants in the cities of the Kingdom of Naples, even more vital, King of Naples granted the sole right to export spice and silks into the Kingdom of Naples to the Republic of Ragusa. Although they have to sell spices and silks cheaper than normal prices. Sadly, time flies, Mikac however was gloating about Venetian merchants screams that bouncing off the Moon. They then set sailed onto Corfu.

Corfu

Arriving at Corfu have some surprise, there are large construction sites around the harbours, especially with large numbers of Ragusan ships moored as well. After stocking up supplies and waters, the rumours mentioned about Duke wanting Corfu to be a centre for Ragusan trade from Ragusa out to Mediterranean Sea, only times will tell. From Corfu, stopping by Durazzo for short moment, Mikac gained little news about new warehouses and brand new office standing on the wharf flying little flag of Ragusa. Finally, the last port of call, the great city of light, Ragusa!

Ragusa

After two hours of smooth sailing, the three ships had docked into the port of Ragusa. Mikac got off the first and ordered his merchants to unload great goods of silks and spices. He then went on to locate officials to pay tolls and paid it with annoyance. The goods were then bought to great market of Ragusa where silks and spices then bought by Ragusans whom going to Kingdom of Hungary, Naples, Sicily, Bosnia and Serbia. There, they bought massive profits. Ragusa gained from these great prize and the tax revenues it bought in. Oh what a good time is to be an Ragusan!
 
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~ The Sage's Tale ~
A Burning Premonition



The Tale and Testimony of the Mad Arab


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Abd al Hazred
Writer of the 'Al Azif'

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


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

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


Zalchan Khalil-Shen studies the ancient
languages and writings

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

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


A Temple of the Ancients at Ur...

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


Inside the ruined temple...

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


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

IA ATHZOTHTU! IA ANGAKU! IA ZI NEBO!
MARZAS ZI FORNIAS KANPA
LAZHAKAS SHIN TALAS KANPA
NEBOS ATHANATOS KANPA
IA GAASH IA SAASH! IA KAKOLOMANI-YASH
IA MAAKALLI!​
As he stroked down the words and terms, Zalchan seemed to feel sheepishly tired. The journey south and east, from Damascus, had taken much out of him, and he had smoke much kif the entire way there, as Abd al Hazred had promoted, in order to calmly approach the entire thing...
He read the words he had copied, with the proper pronunciation as noted in his books...


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


Zalchan notices an ancient statue

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

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


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

 

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~ The Sage's Tale II ~
An Eastern Cleansing



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



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


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

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


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

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

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



Baha'ud Din Naqshband
Sufi and Islamic Mystic

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

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


Zalchan Khalil Shen
Sage and Alchemist


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

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

The Sufi grimaced in horror at the sight of it.


Baha'ud Din Naqshband
Sufi Cleric

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

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

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


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

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The Rising Sun



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


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


Arigh Chinqal,
Exiled at Youth

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

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

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

... Promised lands?

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


Trudging through the rocky Circassian lands...

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

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


The wandering exile sees the northern roads ahead...

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



 
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A Long Trek Due North



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


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

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

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


Young Arigh Chinqal

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

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

The answer lay in the river.


A merchant's ship on the River Dneiper

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

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

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

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Mobilization

It all started with a flurry of activity from the royal couriers. In under two weeks, every Danish nobleman in Halland and Skåne had received a letter containing roughly the same content.
First, polite greetings and wishes that the letter found the nobleman and his family well.
Then, polite reminders of the sworn oath of fealty, stressing the point that said oath promised military assistance and defence of the land, should Denmark find herself under attack.
And finally, an order, phrased more or less politely depending on the noblemans strength and friendship with the throne, to prepare that such military assistance would most likely soon be required.

The reactions to that letter varied.
Many, such as Abraham Brodersen, had close contact with Swedish nobility. From here, letters were sent to their family or allies in Sweden, either alerting them to the possibility of a war, or even, in two cases, ensuring that in case of war, the nobleman in question would fight on the Swedish side.

But the majority reacted more loyally. It became a common sight to see peasants spend one afternoon per week practicing formations. Either with weapons and equipment owned by the nobleman, or, in case of the poorer or greedier nobility, with whatever farming tools could be improvised to be lethal.

Letters were also sent to a few other nobles, and to almost all towns. As part of the price for marketpriviligies, most towns with a harbour were required to supply a few ships of war. And some nobles, holding rich fishing rights or even owning harbours of their own, had their obligations to supply troops replaced by a demand for ships of war in case of warfare.
Their preparations were more expensive than for those merely supplying men. Many of the ships had not left harbour for years, and were desperately unequipped for any journey. Tar, cloth for repairing sails, timber for emergency repairs at sea, barrels to hold either water or rations were being purchased and stocked. In addition, numerous minor repairs were being carried out on the ships. A few cities even took their preparations so far that they actually started carrying out anti-piracy patrols.


But so far, there was little indication to what use the men and ships would be put. The foreign policy of Denmark hadn't changed much lately, and there had been no diplomatic preparation for war. The weapons were being sharpened, but not yet pointed at anyone..,
 

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A Return to the Absu



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


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

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


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

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


Zalchan Khalil~Shen

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

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


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


"ISS MASS SSARATI SHA MUSHI LIPSHURU RUXISHA LIMNUTI!
IZIZANIMMA ILANI RABUTI SHIMA YA DABABI!
DINA DINA ALAKTI LIMDA..."

He feld himself trembling, and feeling odd. Still, the words began to flow as he read on,
"...ALSI KU NUSHI ILANI MUSHITI!
IA MASS SSARATI ISS MASS SSARATI BA IDS MASS SSARATU!"

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

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


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

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