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Statistics
Head of State:
Toqtamish Ak Urdu
Ruling House: Ak Urdu
Capital: Sarai
Religion: Sunni Islam
Culture: Mongol [unoffically - Turkish, Ruthenian, Russian]




Khan Toqtamish Ak Urdu
"Unifier of the Hordes"
"The Blessed"
"Flail of the Rus"

Great Khan of the Golden Horde, Overlord of the Grand Prince of Muscovy, the Prince of Ryazan, the Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal, and the Prince of Tver, and Khan of Nogai and Sibir



The Palace of the Great Khan at Sarai on the Volga

 
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The House of Toqtamish



Ghiyath ad-Din Toqtamish Ak Urdu - (b. circa 1350?) was born under mysterious circumstances. His mother, Tuli Khwaja (daughter of Chimtay, Khan of the White Horde), bore him not in matrimony but instead to an unknown father. Still, young Toqtamish was not abandoned, but was raised at court in Astrakhan and trained in the ways of a prince. Meanwhile, Tuli's brother, Urus, became Khan of the White Horde in 1361 and seized the throne of the unstable Blue Horde in 1364. With his external rivals defeated, Urus turned on his sister and his little nephew, exiling them from the realm, hoping that they would die in the wastes of the East. They did not, but instead found refugee at Samarkand, coming under the protection of the infamous Timur.

At Samarkand, Toqtamish was able to continue his education and became the protegee of the middle-aged Timur. Toqtamish admired the Conqueror, despite his blatant cruel nature, and frequently made his wish known to one day return to the Russian lands and take the throne that he felt was his by right, eventhough he was in Frankish terms illegitimate. Timur, for his part, saw much promise in the young man as a ruler and also saw a way of getting rid of a potential adversary. The Ulus of Jochi posed a great threat to the northern flank of Timur's empire and its capital. If he could make Toqtamish its master, then surely the Conqueror would have nothing to fear from that corner of the world and his wars could continue as he willed. So when news of the death of Urus Khan came in the spring of 1375, Timur was more than happy to aid the young prince in his mission to capture the thrones of the White and Blue Hordes by providing Toqtamish with 10,000 heavy cavalry, various nomad contingents and the service of a young emir named Edigu of Nogai.

Within two months, Toqtamish returned to his homeland with this army, defeating and slaying Urus' firstborn and heir, Tuqtaqiya, before Astrakhan. Urus' second son, Temur Malik (meaning iron king), raised a new army and fought on for another year before he too was captured and executed by Toqtamish. Now the twenty-six year old could be crowned as Khan of the White Horde, proud descendant and successor of Orda Khan, son of Jochi, son of Genghis, first Khan of the White Horde, but this was not enough for Toqtamish. The White Horde was the lesser in the bicameral Ulus Jochi, but the House of Batu had died out in the 1350's and the Blue Horde had fallen under an annual parade of new khans and upstart generals. From 1364 to 1375, Urus Khan had held both thrones, but after his death, the tumenbashy (General of the 10,000) Mamai, as he was not of the seed of Genghis, made himself Khan by his own hand and wished the Rus to pay tribute to him. His defeat by the Rus at Kulikovo in 1380 and his subsequent assassination at Kaffa presented Toqtamish with the opportunity he had been waiting for. With the aid once more of Timur, Toqtamish captured Sarai in 1380 and was crowned Khan of the Blue Horde, or as he revived its united relam's old name, the Golden Horde (Altin Ordu). The Khan then led a successful campaign in 1382 against Muscovy as a punishment for the Kulikovo defeat, forcing the prince to pay tribute once more to the Horde.

Today, Toqtamish is the most powerful man east of the Oder and is building a court at Sarai that shall equal the opulence and dignity of Samarkand, Cairo, or Constantinople. He is wary of his former mentor, Timur, as the Conqueror added more of the world to his empire every passing day and threatens the commerce of the Horde with the West. Rumblings of happenings among the Poles, Liths, Turks, and even the Franks reach his ears, but do not greatly concern him. For Toqtamish, only at the beginning of his middle-age, the future is bright and covered in gold!

The Wives of Toqtamish


Fatima al-‘Aliyya - The first and Great Wife of the Khan. The two met, courted, wed during Toqtamish's exile at the court of Timur. Fatima was the second daughter of Timur's relative and constable, Cheku Barlas, and both Timur and Toqtamish's mother thought the marriage a good one both politically and romantically. The two did and still do adore one another, but Fatima has lived up to her name as being high-born (al-‘Aliyya) and heavy handed. Though neither Mongol nor Islam law require primogenitor, Fatima made sure that her son, the firstborn, would be heir by her various means. She strictly rules the royal household and court, not tolerating impolite or immoral behavior among its members (not in her presence anyway). She and Toqtamish have had no more children together, but Fatima will continue to be the power behind the throne.

Irini Berdi - daughter of the Emir of Astrakhan and second wife of the Khan. The two wed in 1377 and till her recent conversion, she was a Christian by birth, but has changed for the sake of her husband and the unity of the new court at Sarai. By her Slavic mother, she is tied to the people her husband rules and is a voice for them as the Khan rebuilds the state, ruined by five decades of civil war. She remains humble and kind, even under the tyranny of Fatima, and does not seek power, but justice. In the most recent year, it is this gentle woman that has found the favor of Toqtamish, as symbolized in the birth of their son in 1378.

Sultana al-Zarqa’ - Emira (Princess) of Nogai, of Khazar blood, and the third wife of the Khan. The two were wed in 1380 in a political marriage in order to tighten the bonds of the eastern tribes to the reunited Khanate at Sarai. She is called al-Zarqa’ because she has captivating blue eyes. This alone has gained her favor with the Khan, but she is also a woman of grace and culture. With her love of poetry and music, she is helping Toqtamish in his ambition for a Tartar renaissance at Sarai.

Maria d'Altavilla - Lady of Naples and fourth wife of the Khan. She is not only the newest wife, but the youngest. She is hated by all the other wives, but Toqtamish views his new bride as a treasure, both politically and physically. Their marriage has cemented the alliance with the Kingdom of Naples and the Two Sicilies, which will come in handy if war with the Huns comes.

The Seed of Toqtamish

Jalal ad-Din - (b. 1376) son by Fatima. He was born soon after Toqtamish's crowning as Khan of the White Horde. The Khan has always taken this as a good omen and is training Jalal as his heir-apparent. The boy can ride and hunt as all Mongols can from their youth, but he seems to prefer the life of the court and the city to that of the steppe.

Karim Berdi - (b. 1378) son by Irini. He is quite young, so he has not done much.

Important Persons of the Realm

Isa ibn-Hâkim Chormaghan, Grand Vizer - (b. 1327) Chormaghan is of the one of the most prestigious clans in the realm, the Şirin. As first, one sees a shy, uneasy man of little martial note or other achievements, but behind this exterior Chormaghan is a master of organization and intrigue. After years of service to the White Horde khans, he betrayed the sons of Urus and joined the forces of Toqtamish. Since then it has been he who has been behind the rapid reconstitution of the Golden Horde, being in charge of appointing and directing governors, agents, envoys, and conducting war in the absence of the Khan. He is unmarried and uninterested in earthly pleasures. He has made his sole duty service to the Great Khan.

Kuyuk Beg, Marshal and governor of Astrakhan - (b. 1344) Kuyuk was formerly a lieutenant of the upstart Mamai, upon his death in 1380, Kuyuk went to Sarai and pledged allegiance to Toqtamish. He further gained the favor of the Khan during the 1382 campaign by leading a daring raid upon Novgorod; he was rewarded by being appointed governor of Astrakhan. Kuyuk is a plain man and plain spoken, like most soldiers. He has no time for culture, but is an efficient ruler and patron of justice.

Emir Tangut, Marshal and governor of Crimea - (b. 1335) Tangut is the scion of one of the great clans, the Qepchaq. He was born a member of the old religion as his father was still a holdout against the conversation en masse to Islam. This did not at all hinder Tangut’s rise as a commander first for the Blue Horde and Emir Nogai, then for Urus Khan of the White Horde. By this time, he married a Christian Slav woman named Anna, the daughter of one of his servants. He became enamored with the mysteries of the Church and the holiness of its clergy, so he converted. This again had not ill effect on his career, but instead he became a close adviser to Urus Khan. He had opposed the exiling of Toqtamish, but was overruled. He continued to serve and received the governorship of the Crimea in reward. At this point (1375), Urus Khan died and Toqtamish returned with a vengeance. Tangut overnight converted to Islam and sent a message to Toqtamish pledging his loyalty and offering his daughter Irini as a wife. This pleased the young Khan, who accepted both the submission of Tangut and the daughter, and Tangut became a trusted adviser and leading general. In the war against Mamai and the 1382 campaign, Tangut showed great courage in battle and brilliance in strategic operations.

Ali Batu Beg Saraev, Marshal and governor of Kazan - (b. 1351) Batu is a member of one of the great clans, the Barğın. He gained the Rus name Saraev, denoting the place of his birth. Despite this urban origin, Batu became a peerless warrior in the service of Urus Khan. After his death in 1375, Batu joined forces with Mamai and aimed at building a new Khanate in the north, centered on Kazan. He was at the battle of Kulikovo, during which he lost three fingers on his right hand and was shot in the thigh. That battle crushed Batu’s ambitious plans and he pledged loyalty to Toqtamish at Sarai soon thereafter. The Khan reappointed Batu governor of Kazan and gave him a free hand during 1382 campaign, leading to many excesses (including the burning of three monasteries and the massacre of a village hiding in their church). Batu is the epitome of Mongol manhood, but also has a predilection to be ostentatious. Radiant Chinese silks of crimson, blue, and gold, denoted his presence at court and on the field of battle.

Mevlana Mustafa bin Yusuf al-Misir, Religious Instructor of the Khan - (b. 1341) While he was in exile at Samarkand, Toqtamish met the scholar Mustafa for the first time. The Egyptian impressed the young man with his piety, stance on matters of religion, and philosophy. Toqtamish had not been especially devout, but he took the Egyptian into his service. Since then, Mustafa has been a moderate adviser to the Khan and a patron of the Tartar renaissance. He currently preaches at the Grand Mosque of Sarai.

Urgu Sa'dar, Mongol Sheik and Imam - (b. ?) As the greatest scholar in the Khanate, he is very well versed in Islamic shariah, fiqh, and as a memorizer of the Quran. He has a very strict view of the khilafah and he sympathizes with the Ottomans or anyone within range of supporting Islam. Some say it has been he that has urged the Khan to support the Osmanli as much as he has.

Chagan, Tumenbashy on the Lithuanian marches - (b. 1340) Chagan is the most devoted lieutenant of Toqtamish. After a brilliant career as a commander in the White Horde, he voluntarily went into exile with Toqtamish in 1364. During the exile, he continued the martial training of the future Khan and was given high command during the invasion of the White Horde in 1375. Despite his great service, he has not received the rank of marshal. The Khan instead has founded a greater duty for Chagan, making him a tumenbashy in 1380 and assigning him to guard the border with Lithuania. He has taken to this new job with the same devotion he has always shown.

Temur Qutlugh, Shadi Beg, and Pulad - the sons of Temur Malik, late Khan of the White Horde. Following their father’s capture and execution in 1376, the children fled the realm, first to Armenia, then Iraq, then Persia, and finally to Samarkand in 1383. Their goal is clear; they hope to repeat the success of Toqtamish in gaining the patronage of Timur in order to retake their inheritance, the White Horde.

Emir Edigü - (b. ?) a young man who first gained notice as a warrior in the service of Timur. His birth date and parentage is unknown to most, but he is from Nogai. Timur appointed him as second-in-command of the army which Toqtamish lead north in 1375 to reconquer the White Horde and again in 1378-80 during the conquest of the Blue Horde. This dark eyed soldier also has taken an increasing interest in the politics of the Golden Horde, but his rank as a general in the army of Timur often keeps him away from Rus.
 
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The Lands and Dependencies of the Horde



The State of the Realm

National Morale - 10
The unification of the Blue and White Horde along with the submission of the Rus have made the people very confident in their new khan. He is young, vibrant, and leading the Golden Horde into a new era of prosperity after fifty years of civil war and decline.​

Technological Knowledge - 6

Taxes and Tribute - 5[5] - 500,000 dinars
Since "tax per head" is collected from the Russian people, the census of the people are carried out (the first census was in 1257) and the baskaks (Mongol governor in Russian states) would collect taxes according to these censuses. Furthermore, a 1/10 property tax was also collected for the properties and goods. It has been observed that the darugah (regular governors) acted in the same way to execute their activities. According to the moral obligations and small feoffs, the native Turkish people were subjected to several obligations. However, those who were Tarhans were exempted from all sorts of obligations and taxes. The right of becoming a Tarhan was entitled by the khan and it was certified with the "small feoff and firman of Tarhan". The Church of Rus falls under this status as well.​

Cities and Provinces

There are 28 provinces proper in the realm and two have great ports, Azow and Taurida. The old capital was at Sarai Batu, now called Astrakhan, while the new capital, Sarai Berke, was founded in 1257 by Berke Khan. There are two dozen other cities of note in the realm. The prosperity of all these cities comes from commerce, as they well located for commincations and trade across the wide expanses of Rus.

Sarai(3), Astrakhan(4), Azov(2), Belgorod(1), Caucasus(0), Cheremissia(0), Daghestan(1), Don(1), Jedisan(1), Kalmuk(1), Kazan(2), Khirgiz(0), Kipchak(1), Mordva(1), Orenburg(1), Samara(2), Saratov(1), Sarkel(1), Tambov(1), Taurida(2), Tavan(2), Tchernoi Yar(1), Terek(1), Ufa(1), Uralsk(1), Ust Urt(0), Voronezh(1).​

Vassals

Muscovy - this way to Moscow
When the Mongols invaded the lands of Kievan Rus', Moscow was an insignificant trading outpost in the principality of Vladimir-Suzdal'. The outpost's remote, forested location offered some security from Mongol attack and occupation, and a number of rivers provided access to the Baltic and Black Seas and to the Caucasus region. More important to Moscow's development in what became the state of Muscovy, however, was its rule by a series of princes who were ambitious, determined, and lucky. In 1327 the Orthodox metropolitan transferred his residency from Vladimir to Moscow, further enhancing the prestige of the new principality.​

Ryazan - no directions
This area, situated as it is at the junction of forest and steppe zones, suffered from numerous invasions from the south. The early capital of the principality, Ryazan was the first Russian city to meet the Mongols of Batu Khan. On December 21, 1237 it was devastated and failed to recover to its previous position. Late in the 13th century the Princes of Ryazan moved their capital to Pereslavl.​

Suzdal - no directions

Tver - no directions
Formerly a land of woods and bogs, the Tver principality was quickly transformed into one of the richest and most populous Russian states. As the area was hardly accessible for Tatar raids, there was a great influx of population from the recently devastated South. By the end of the century, it was ready to vie with Moscow for supremacy in Russia. Both Tver and Moscow are the young cities, so the outcome of their rivalry is far from being certain.

Exasperated by Alexander "the Terrible Eyes" influence, Prince Yuri of Moscow engineered his murder by the Mongols in 1327. On hearing the news of this crime, the city revolted against the Horde. The latter joined its forces with the Muscovites and brutally repressed the rebellion. Many citizens were killed, enslaved, or deported. This was the fatal blow to Tver's pretensions for supremacy in Russia. In the second half of the 14th century, Tver has been further weakened by dynastic struggles between its princes. Two senior branches of the ruling house, those of Kashin and Kholm, assert their claims to the grand ducal throne.​

Former Vassals

Lithuania - this way to Lithuania
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania began its rise to great power status under the reign of the king Mindaugas beginning in 1238. The duchy expanded both south and west, incorporating large quantities of former Rus lands in both directions. The ease with which Lithuania built up an empire can be accredited to the diplomatic and tactical skill of Lithuanian grand dukes as well as to the Mongols and their weakening of all the Rus lands.​

Moldavia - no directions
 
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The Military




The Current Armies of the Realm
Total strength - 7 tumens [7o,ooo men]
50,000 "professionals" (mix of cavalry and infantry)
20,000 from the nomadic tribes of the White Horde (all light cavalry)

The Current Navies of the Realm
Total strength - 2 fleets of galleys
Main sea port - Azov​

The Composition of the Military


Light Cavalry - 40% The Empire of Genghis was built with men such as these. They were little or no armour and shy away from close combat. Speed on the horse and the lethal bow are their weapons of choice. For almost two hundred years this has been enough to spread terror throughout the world. Yet, times are changing and generals are starting to prefer the more expensive and heavier cavalry as they are a more decisive weapons of war.


Heavy Cavalry - 20% These are the elite of the Horde army. It is they who have always had the honour of taking the battle to the enemy. In return, the khan grants these men land to support themselves and they have tax exemption also. As modern warfare develops, heavy cavalry becomes all the more important for breaking opposing armies.


Light Spearmen - 30% The Mongols have learned that all the world cannot be conquered from the saddle. Not that any Mongol would degrade himself by being on foot. The light spear formations of the Horde are mostly Bulgar and Slav with Turks in command. They are not the most reliable force in battle, as the battle of Kulikovo proved, but in seiges and campaigns in the marshy north country, they are invaluble. They wear only leather for armour, but they are veiwed as expendable for the most part.


Guardsmen - 10% The guardsmen are a small elite whose main task is to guard the Khan and Marshals in battle and in camp. Sometime they have been known to lead assults, never failing to break the enemy with their pole-arms and swords. Still, their chain mail slows them down and it doesn't protect them from crossbow bolts or barbed arrows.
 
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Historia Tartarica



The Golden Horde (also known as Kipchak or Qipchaq Khanate) was a Tatar state established in present day Russia by unification of Blue Horde and White Horde around 1378. It was one of the four Mongol successor kingdoms in the wake of the Mongol Empire, the others being the Ilkhanate Dynasty of Persia, the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, and the Yuan Dynasty of China.

At his death, Genghis Khan divided his empire amongst his four sons. Jochi was the eldest, but he was already dead and his paternity was in doubt, so the most distant lands trodden by the Mongol hoof, then southern Ruthenia, were divided among his sons, Batu leader of the Blue Horde (East), and Orda, leader of the White Horde (West). Chagatai was next eldest son of Genghis, but he was considered a hothead, and so was given central Asia and northern Iran. Ogedei, third oldest was made Great Khan and given China. Tolui, the youngest, was given the Mongol homeland.

Batu conquered the Volga Bulgaria in 1236. He then commenced the Mongol invasion of Russia in 1237. The Mongols quickly gained control of the steppe regions incorporating the local Turkic people into their army. There he overran much of Kievan Rus', the Ruthenian state. He sacked its capital Kiev in 1240, ending its prosperity. All of Kievan Rus except Novgorod was captured, and even Novgorod under Alexander Nevsky acknowledged the Khan's supremacy. Unlike the central Asian steppe Ruthenia was not incorporated into the Golden Horde, but was an independent vassal state paying tribute to the Khan. The Horde regarded Ruthenia as a peripheral area of little interest as long as it continued to pay tribute.

Batu's Blue Horde continued west, raiding Poland and Hungary. In 1241, however, the Great Khan Ogedei died, and Batu turned back from his siege of Vienna to take part in disputing the succession. In the same year, the Blue Horde split when Batu's younger brother Shayban left Batu's army to establish his own horde east of the Ural Mountains along the Ob and Irtish Rivers. The Mongol armies would never again travel so far west.

In 1242, Batu established his capital at Sarai. In 1255 Batu died and passed the Horde on to his heir Sartak. The Horde quickly lost its Mongol identity. Most of its population were Turks, Uzbeks and other indigenous nomads. It became a settled rather than nomadic culture, with Sarai becoming a large and prosperous metropolis. The Horde also quickly adopted Islam, abandoning the animist Mongol beliefs.

The Horde's Ruthenian policy was one of constantly switching alliances in an attempt to keep Ruthenia weak and divided. In the 14th century the rise of Lithuania in North East Europe posed a challenge to Tatar control over Ruthenia. Thus the Khan began backing Moscow as the leading Ruthenian state. Ivan I Kalita was granted the title of grand prince and given the right to collect taxes from the other Ruthenian princes.

In 1357, the Khan Jani Beg was assassinated and the empire fell into a long civil war, averaging one new Khan per annum for the next few decades. During this time Dmitri Donskoi of Moscow attempted to break free of the Horde's power. Mamai, the Tatar general who did not formally hold the throne, attempted to reassert Tatar authority over Ruthenia. His army was defeated by Dmitri at the Battle of Kulikovo in the second Ruthenian victory over the Tatars. Mamai soon fell from power, and in 1378, Toqtamish, a descendant of Orda Khan and ruler of the White Horde, invaded and annexed the territory of the Blue Horde, establishing the Golden Horde. He sacked Moscow as punishment for its insubordination in 1382.

The name Golden is believed to come from the steppe color-direction system: black — north, blue — east, red — south, white — west, and yellow (or gold) — center. Most times in common talk, the realm is called the Ulus of Jochi and various derivatives of Kipchak.

For more information on the Historia - See Here
 
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Embassies and Treaties of the Realm


Foreign Relations

The Empire of Timur - Ill at ease While the Khan is grateful to the Great Amir for all the aid he was give over the years, it seems that relations are declining. The Khan offered a treaty of brotherhood that would have united Timur and Toqtamish in common cause, but Timur's son, Miran Shan, rejected it on matters of trade, as per the orders of his father. The conquest and brutal subjegation of Persia has also not been to the benefit of the Horde. Now there are rumours that Timur is urging the Franks not to trade with the Horde and that he plans to conquer us after his present campaigns are ended. We hope still that this is not trust and that friendship enternal might be established.

The Russian States - Pleased Since 1382, the Princes of Rus have repented for their inserrection and having taken advantage of the temporary decline of the Horde. Dmitrii III Donskoi, Grand Prince of Muscovy, has lead the princes in this and he is in the Khan's favor. Only Novgorod now stands free of the dominion of the Horde, but this too shall pass.

Lithuania - Wary One time vassal who is not in favor with the Khan. Still, we wish to preserve peace, if it is the will of their godless Grand Duke.

Ottoman Empire - Friendly Sultan Murad I is known throughout the world as a great ghazi and we are most pleased to have his friendship as ratified in the League of Sarai.

The Roman Empire - Amiable In the reign of Uzbeg Khan, relations with the Romans were so close that he did wed a lady of the royal house, daughter of the Emperor. It is the wish of Toqtamish to reestablish such good relations in this day.

The Mamluk Sultanate - Friendly The Kipchak were the pool from which the Mamluks of Egypt were recruited. Thus, the Golden Horde and Sultans in Cairo have always had a great love for one another and royal marriage between the two were quite common. Under the present, the reestablishment of these cordial relations is the primary goal.

The Italian Merchant States - Neutral Genoa is view with supicion by the Khan. They usurped the lands they now hold in the Crimea and have often made bad deals with Mongols. The fate of Mamai is an example; the Genoese murdered him instead of giving him refuge because one of their prized units of crossbowmen was destoryed at Kulikovo. The reputation of Venice is no less dark, but at least they have not taken the lands of the Horde.

Hungary - Old Enemy Batu Khan laid waste to this kingdom in a matter of weeks during the campaign of 1241. Toqtamish's greatest ambition is to one day do the same.

Embassies and Envoys

Matteo Orsini - Naples
Muhammad Batu - Jalayirids​

Treaties and Agreements

The League of Sarai
between the Khanate of the Golden Horde and the Ottoman Empire

Upon this day, 8 MuHarram 786 A.H., at the Palace of the Great Khan at Sarai did the Great Khan Toqtamish, Great Khan of the Golden Horde, Overlord of the Grand Prince of Muscovy, the Prince of Ryazan, the Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal, and the Prince of Tver, and Khan of Nogai and Sibir and Prince Yakub, son of Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar of the Osmanli and Emir of Rum did meet and agree that they should be of one mind and one action in the face of perfidious foes among the nations of the world.

I. The Golden Horde and the Ottoman Empire pledge devoted friendship and protect by means of a defensive alliance against all enemies that should attack either realm. Should one ally be attacked and call upon the other, then that other ally must come to the defense of the attacked.

II. In the event that the Ottoman Empire is attacked by the Frankish powers of Hungary and the like, and/or the Roman Empire, the Great Khan is pledged to provide 2 full tumen, that being 20 thousands strong, for the defence of the Osmanli realm.

III. In the event of a war with the aforementioned powers, the division of the spoils of that war, if it be carried to its greatest extent, shall thus; Cherson in the Crimea shall be annexed to the Golden Horde, the Golden Horde shall be given a concession in Constantinople or a fortified town nearby so as to protect her commerce via the straits, the conquest of all lands in Hellas and south of the Danube in the Balcans shall be recognized by the Golden Horde, and the Kingdom of Hungary shall be divided between the two power, with that of the kingdom below the Danube and Croatia shall be given to the Ottoman Empire and that above the Danube shall be rendered subject and vassal to the Golden Horde.

IV. The Great Khan also for the sake of peace and clarity recognizes the Sultan as overlord of the Bulgars, as thus the Sultan recognizes the Great Khan as overlord of the Wallachians and the Moldavians along with his right to enforce that ancient bond.

[x] Toqtamish, Great Khan of the Golden Horde
[x] Yakub, Prince of the Osmanli, on behalf of Sultan Murad
 
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Summer, June - August 1384

The Great Khan Toqtamish is currently holding court at:

The Great Encampment on the Don Plateau


The Royal Palace at Sarai

The Court of the Great Khan is now OPEN!​
 
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The Khan of Khans
A Feast of Burdens



Finally, to you that are newly appointed to watch over the Rus, be not harsh, for they have been loyal since my second year and have paid their tribute on time as was in the days of old. Come now, let us make merry and dine upon the food provide unto us. It is a gift of Heaven worth the praise. With that the Khan sat down again upon the throne and took a slice of beef from the platter one of the dark servants presented before him. His speech, the Khan felt, had lacked real meaning. The affairs of Horde were quite settled, it seemed, it comparision to the confusion and war of only a couple of years ago. The Khan had turned himself to building up Sarai and its high culture instead of readying the Horde for new campaigns. Peace and Security had triumphed over War and Chaos.

The Khan look out upon the hall and the persons seat in groups upon silk and fur cushions. His wives and their retinues had taken up three different positions along the right wall, prefering to keep separate from both the men and each other. The marshals and emirs sat as close as they could to the Khan and spoke to each other only words of praise about him or realm. At the far end of the hall sat certain Russian celebraties, who must have thought it ironic that they were having a feast at the court of a Muslim rule on one of their feast days, and two Genoese. The Khan had invited them to only to show the revived power of the Horde and not as a sign of friendship. Such persons were only useful on a short leash.

The Khan looked again at his quarrelsome wives and then again at the marshals and emirs. All wanted his favour in this new state and showed no tact in attempting to attain it. Such greedy hearts could not be feed by feasts and grand constructions, but only by the spoils of conquest. The Khan put this thought aside and filled up his drinking cup for another toast.
 

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Up from the Black Sea they came.

A trio vessels, each proudly bearing the emerald banner of the Ghazi State of the Ottomans. While no match for the massive, thick-hulled traders of the Christians, the sleek galleys were adept at threading their course through the more shallow waters that lead to the port of the city of Sarai.

Unlike the long, overland journey to Samarkand, Yakub Bey had time to reflect, it is an altogether far more conveniant trip to the capital of the Golden Horde. Ensuring that he was wearing his finest robes of silk, down to the ornate handle of the exquisite and experimental pistol thrust through his sash, he stood at the bow as his flagship coasted into the harbor.

Upon arriving, the sailors, most of Greek or Slavic descent from the islands of the Aegean, began throwing lines back and forth with those on the docks.

Thence, when all was securely strapped in, Yakub was the first to stride down the plank. After him, came many young pages from the court of his father in Edirne, each with a proclamation that read as follows,

"I, Yakub Bey, the son of Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar, have come to pay my respects to One True Khan of Khans. Our realms share much in common in that we are surrounded by a host of feckless Christian vassals, many of whom seek foreign alliances to throw off our rule. Our own vassal, the Roman Empire whom paid homage to my father in the past yet now seeks to break it, is even now engaged in insurrection. I have come with the full authority to conclude a treaty favorable to both our great leaders so that their glory shall never be dimmed!"
 

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The Turkish Embassy


Isa ibn-Hâkim Chormaghan

Chormaghan, the Grand Vizer, sent a runner to get the Khan while he went down to the docks with 50 guardsmen to guide Sultan's envoy to Gulistan as the suburb in which the royal palace sat was called. When Chormaghan arrived and realized the envoy was the son of the Sultan, he was even more impressed. He dismounted and bowed before Prince Yakub.

Your Excellency, we welcome you to Sarai. I am Isa ibn-Hâkim Chormaghan, Grand Vizer of the Great Toqtamish Khan. The palace is some distance, so I have brought horses so as to quicken your arriving for an audience and a bit of dining with the Khan.

The party mounted and left the docks, riding through the busy streets of the capital. Merchants, scholars, and poor children filled the way, but this hussle fade as they came toward the palace. The entire place was surrounded with gardens and fine small mansons for the ministers of the government. The palace itself was as mighty a sight to behold and Chormaghan hoped that the southern Turks were impressed and would no longer look upon the lands of the Qipchaq as full of rude steppe tribes.


The Royal Palace


Toqtamish Khan

Above from a window, the Khan looked upon the arriving party. He had expected the Turks to send one for sometime now as he had heard that the Emperor was displeased with the Sultan. He had also heard that the Turk had signed a treaty with Timur and this displeased Toqtamish. He had no great affection for the Osmanli, but perhaps they could be useful tools for Horde. Toqtamish sighed and entered the audience hall. He sat upon the throne and then gave the signal for the heralds to bid Prince Yakub entry. Toqtamish smiled and began to speak.

Prince Yakub, I welcome you to my court. It has been sometime since we have had the honor of having a scion of the Osmanli as a guest. Sit down and partake of anything that you may need.

This declaration you presented sounds quite urgent. What is it that so troubles the Sultan? Here it mentions the Romans. They have been good friends of the Horde and are a poor, tottering state. What trouble could they be to the Osmanli?
 
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Yakub accepted the offer of a mount with gratitude, taking only a half dozen of those whom had come with him so as to not take an overly long time to reach the Khan. The rest remained on the galleys for now, or busied themselves bringing their own horses onto the dock with the baggage required for a stay in the capital.

The Prince rode with a neutral expression on his features, gazing about him with his light brown eyes. Yet even he could not conceal his admiration for the magnificent palace that soon jutted above him. Striding towards the Khan seated on his throne, he went to one knee respectfully, listened to his words, and then replied in a determined and educated voice.

"Great Khan of Khans Toqtamish, there is much between us that must be explained and clarified. No less then a year past, there had been rumors spreading that the Golden Horde was without ruler and in fact was disintegrating into lawless factions. After witnessing Granada brutally conquered by the Christian Crusaders, we knew that we must have allies. At a time when we were keenly threatened, we sent an emissay to the only other stable and strong Muslim realm in the land. Yet no sooner was the ink dry on the treaty then the Khan broke his word and went East, leaving us. We now realize that we cannot hope to have a profitible alliance with one so far away.

"We then learned that the Golden Horde was as strong and mighty as ever under your rule. That made a decision simple, for we are far closer and more natural allies then we could ever have been with the distant Timurids. Though at the time, they were the only choice in terms of friendship.

"You speak of the Greeks in Constantinople and call him a friend. Pardon my words, Great Khan, but that is the same to calling a lice-ridden whore your lover. Such is their treachery that not only have they turned on the Heirs of Osmanli, whom by our assistance, they survived not only against the Catalans but also the Latins and the Serbians, but they have gone far and wide to organize a crusade against us. I doubt there is a court in Europe, no matter how small or mean, that has not been either visited by the Emperor in person or written to in public or private to solicit their aid against the Heirs of Osman.

"They will say any word to any ear that they believe will either give them the advantage or keep one from our own. My father took a Roman Princess, and his father before him. Yet they call us barbarians and much worse solely due to our Islamic faith. A faith we share with you as well. Thus, can not their many cruel insults be seen not just to the House of Orhan, but to all Muslim realms? If you have read the proclamations they have made to their fellow Christians, you would see this is so.

"Even now they have made an offensive alliance with the Kingdom of Hungary and whom knows whom else, in order to retake the lands that they deeded to my father in lawful ceremony. They label us the invaders where it is quite the opposite.

"Yet my father, Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar also knows that we are in a greatly similar situation. You also have many Christian vassals...Yet they will turn upon you in a second and seek similar foreign assistance to help them in their struggle. In the past, they have even schemed with the Crown of Hungary to throw off the rule of the Golden Horde.

"As bastions and vanguards of our faith, we must unite so that when our foes seek to break us, they will instead be broken, as a wave upon a mighty rock. Having borders with the Christians yourself and many of the same threats, we know you will emphatize with our position as Timurlane never could.

"You say you have friendly relations with the Greeks. Despite the fact that whatever promises and words of friendship they say to you will be no less then they have said to every nation upon the earth whom they thought might benefit them. They yapper like small dogs, and our rightful vassals besides, much as Muscowy is your own.

"Be that as it may. We would not ask you to break any 'friendship' with them. Though we know the Greeks themselves would break it in a moment if they were not frightened dearly of our own realm. But should the Greeks and the Hungarians come against us with swords, we would beseech the assistance of your Horde.

"Nor is this a one-sided treaty, Great Khan. For you have many enemies as well. Not one of your vassals is content with his status and will seek to relieve themselves of it's burden by allying themselves with other powers. This is the Christian way. They are dishonorable dogs. Yet you can be certain that when the Timurid return, they will also form a vice to catch you in.

"In that case, you will find an alliance with the Ottomans as beneficial to you as it would be to us now.

"This is the path of wisdom. I bid you walk it with me."
 
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The Turkish Embassy


Toqtamish Khan

The Khan listened attentively to the Prince as he explained various matters. Now and then, the Khan would interject with a comment, but he mostly listened. When the Prince explained what the Turk had thought about the status of the Horde, the Khan nodded and commented.

Most the world, I am sure, thought the same. The Rus wanted all the world to know of their victory over the usurper Mamai and the Venetians used it to make fun of the Genoese for offering their services to Tartars. Yet, the very year of that battle I had captured this city and reestablished the Khanate. Then in my second year, two years ago now, I brought all the princes of Rus back to heel and they gladly pay tribute since then.

As for Timur, I am saddened that he has disappointed you. Maybe once he has finished making war on Sinica (China), he shall have time to help his "allies." *laughs* I once looked upon that man as a father, but as a neighbor, he is a bad one and untrustworthy. I believe he has even told the Latins to stop trading with me, but I have no proof of it.

The Khan then fell back on listening as the Prince went into a strong speech against the Romans, comparing them with lice-ridden whores and calling them dogs. The Khan looked on with understanding as the Rus had attempted to lift their heads in such vile manners. But Toqtamish was no Mamai and no such rebellion would happen during his reign. Still, the offer of the Prince was full of opportunity for the Khan. He would not let this pass.

Your words are most pleasing, Prince Yakub. If it is agreeable, I would like to add some items to a treaty of alliance so that we may remain united in future days. I accept your words about the Romans, and as they have been your vassals but now lift their head against you and rise the Franks against you, I can tell you that the Horde shall have no problem in aiding the Osmanli in war against them and Hungary. Thus, for the sake of peace, let us make clear the division of the spoils in the wake of our inevitible victory. First, Cherson in the Crimea shall be given to the Horde. Second, as I, Toqtamish, Khan of the Golden Horde, shall recognize the Bulgars south of the Danube as the rightful vassals of the Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar, so shall he recognize the Valachs and the Romanians above the Danube as my rightful vassal, as they were in pass times. Third, the conquest of Hungary, if they do strike you, shall be swift and certain with the aid of the Horde. Let us divide the Maygar lands along the Danube as well. Fourth and last, I vow to send at least 2 tumen to the aid of the Osmanli in the event of a Frankish attack upon your realm. How does this sound as a full agreement?
 
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Yakub listened to the Khan's response, a thoughtful expression on his hellenized features. At length, he inclined his head in understanding and agreement.

"Great Khan, I believe that the knowledge that your mighty hordes would soon make short work of the Greek's possessions in Cherson will do much to keep the Romans in line. Furthermore, I do not think the so called 'Queen' of Hungary will be so quick to send her levies to their death in Greece, knowing that her own lands would then be ripe for conquest and pillage.

He then pauses with a faint frown, before noting,

"Yet to say these words, would judge them after our own insight. As Christians, they know little reason. Those of their Orthodox faith such as the Rus or the Serbians can often be dealt with after a fashion. Yet those whom look to their 'Pope' in Roman are a treacherous and violent lot. And it is to Rome whom the Greeks and the Hungarians pay homage. Once it is understood that way, we can almost expect them to declare an invasion anyways, hoping that their god and fate will prevail and paying little heed to sound judgement.

"I pledge to you, Great Khan, that the safety and prosperity of your own realm shall be looked upon with the pride and pleasure that my father would observe with pride and pleasure over our own state.

Then, bowing his head, he suggesting with an inflection of companionable amusement in his voice,

"I am afraid that I am not the best drafter of treaties. All men must have their strengths and weaknesses, I am told. Mine is in the spoken word, not so much the parchment. Perhaps one of your able stewards will draw up a comprehensive treaty so that our realms may be bound to each other in brotherhood? I, Yakub Bey, on behalf of my father Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar, agree with every word you have said."
 

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The Turkish Embassy

The scribes of the Khan immediately went to a sideroom and wrote up a treaty as per the things the Khan and Prince had discussed. They poured over their notes from the conversation and careful drafted each article, checking for spelling errors so that there would be no mistakes when the treaty would be latter transcribed on to parchment. In a few hours, after the the Khan, the Prince, and the other guest had supped, they returned and presented the finished draft of the treaty.

The League of Sarai
between the Khanate of the Golden Horde and the Ottoman Empire

Upon this day, 8 MuHarram 786 A.H., at the Palace of the Great Khan at Sarai did the Great Khan Toqtamish, Great Khan of the Golden Horde, Overlord of the Grand Prince of Muscovy, the Prince of Ryazan, the Prince of Vladimir-Suzdal, and the Prince of Tver, and Khan of Nogai and Sibir and Prince Yakub, son of Sultan Murad Hudenvendigar of the Osmanli and Emir of Rum did meet and agree that they should be of one mind and one action in the face of perfidious foes among the nations of the world.

I. The Golden Horde and the Ottoman Empire pledge devoted friendship and protect by means of a defensive alliance against all enemies that should attack either realm. Should one ally be attacked and call upon the other, then that other ally must come to the defense of the attacked.

II. In the event that the Ottoman Empire is attacked by the Frankish powers of Hungary and the like, and/or the Roman Empire, the Great Khan is pledged to provide 2 full tumen, that being 20 thousands strong, for the defence of the Osmanli realm.

III. In the event of a war with the aforementioned powers, the division of the spoils of that war, if it be carried to its greatest extent, shall thus; Cherson in the Crimea shall be annexed to the Golden Horde, the Golden Horde shall be given a concession in Constantinople or a fortified town nearby so as to protect her commerce via the straits, the conquest of all lands in Hellas and south of the Danube in the Balcans shall be recognized by the Golden Horde, and the Kingdom of Hungary shall be divided between the two power, with that of the kingdom below the Danube and Croatia shall be given to the Ottoman Empire and that above the Danube shall be rendered subject and vassal to the Golden Horde.

IV. The Great Khan also for the sake of peace and clarity recognizes the Sultan as overlord of the Bulgars, as thus the Sultan recognizes the Great Khan as overlord of the Wallachians and the Moldavians along with his right to enforce that ancient bond.

[x] Toqtamish, Great Khan of the Golden Horde
[ ] Yakub, Prince of the Osmanli, on behalf of Sultan Murad
 

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Yakub Bey looked over the treaty for a long moment, scanning it's contents. Finally allowing a smile to touch his lips, he nods in satisfaction before leaning over and making his mark upon it. Signing both his name, and that of his father's with a flourish, he then reached into his cloak and withdraw a silver signet ring to impress the seal of Orhan upon it.

"I believe that this marks the beginning of much prosperity between our realms, Great Khan. On the morrow I must return to my father, though the return trip is swift and sure over sea and river. I will leave one of our galleys in the Port of Sarai, so that communication between our realms shall be ever assured."

With that, the Prince would naturally enjoy the rest of the evening in the company of the Khan and his court, yet early in the morning, two of the galleys would be making the return trip to Edirne.
 

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Michael Paleologus, son of Emperor John V, finally arrived in Sarai with a richly adorned retinue. Michael, for several years now the Despot of Cherson, was by virtue of his apanage one of the richest men in the entire Black Sea. His revenues gained through taxation of Genoese, Ragusan, and Venetian merchants (along with the occasional bit of piracy) were enough to make sure he would not look too out of place in the court of the Kingdom of France. He just hoped that his rich garments and gifts would impress the Tatars enough that they would leave his despotate alone..

After gaining entrance to the Great Khan's hall, he bowed, in deference to the Khan's rank, and began to speak.

"Great Khan of the Kipchak Khanate, also overlord of all the Russians and the Crimea, I bring you greetings from my father, the Emperor of Rome, Equal to the Apostles, Ruler of Time and of Space, John V. I am the Despot of Cherson and Governor of the Black Sea, Michael. O Great Khan, the letter that you have sent to Constantinople has caused great excitement. Verily, it is true; the previous marriages between the Empire and the Kipchak Khanate have brought great prestige and glory, both to the Empire and to the Kipchak Khanate. With this prestige and glory, there has also arrived peace and friendship. You should be pleased to know, Great Khan, that my father was not long in accepting your proposal."

Looking carefully at the Khan to gauge his reaction, he continued.

"Great Khan, my father has instructed me thusly: First, to accept your proposal, and to offer you the hand of his daughter, my sister, the Princess Eirene. She is a beautiful woman of nineteen years of age, well-educated, and I have no doubt would produce many heirs for your house. Second, to discuss the dowry stemming from the marriage. If you were to accept, Great Khan, I must note myself that the dowry would be suitably.. imperial."

After a slight moment's hesitation, Michael continued.

"Furthermore, O Great Khan, I myself am unmarried. As you may be aware, your Grace, I am one of the wealthiest princes in all the Black Sea. My revenues rival even that of the Emperor of Trebizond, who garners vast profits from Trebizond's location on the roads from China and India. Would it not be profitable, both in coin and in security, to arrange two marriages between the Roman Empire and Kipchak Khanate?" After a few more seconds of thought, Michael quickly continued, "Or, of course, Great Khan, between myself and a daughter of one of your tributaries. The Emir of Crimea, or a Russian prince, perhaps."

The translator then finished speaking Michael's words, and awaited the Khan's reply..
 

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The Roman Embassy


Toqtamish Khan

The Khan tried to hide his amusement at the fact that this Roman was now before him just after the son of Sultan Murad, who had returned to the south only a few days ago. Yet, the Khan, from years of double dealing and backstabbing during his rise to power, was not about to turn away even this beggar even after binding himself to the Turks. Maybe he could even play the role of peacemaker and gain more prestige. Either way, Toqtamish won. He beconked servants to bring wine and bread for the new guest.

It is a joy to my heart to see you, Mikhail, and let us from this day foward be as brothers, for we share many of the same interests as we rule together in these northern lands.​

The Khan listened to the Despot and smiled at the offers. The dowry would indeed have to be imperial in order to please him. Eirene... he already had one wife of that name. Surely another could not hurt? It was be a fine balancing act, these relations with the Romans and the Turks, but Toqtamish wasn't worried. Neither had the ability to unseat him, no matter how much he displeased him. The Khan arose and bade the Despot to walk with him through the halls of the palace, guards lining the walls on either side.

Your proposals are most pleasing. The young princess seems quite the delight from your description, but the dowry is indeed a big question. What is the Emperor willing to offer?

As to a marriage for you, Mikhail, my friend, it can be arranged. Allah has seen fit only to give me strong boys, fit heirs to the Khanate, and no beautiful girls. Perhaps Eirene could change that, no? *laughs* Yet, the Emir of the Crimea, Tangut, has a daughter of 15 years and I can find out if any of my vassals have princesses of age.

Yet, Mikhail, we must talk of politics before love. I have heard rumours from the south that the Emperor has gone unto the Franks so that a new Crusade may be launched in the Balcans or Anatolia. I know that he may wish the old lands in Hellas to be returned to the Empire, but calling upon the Franks and the Maygars and betraying one's master is not the way. Let me act first as a negociator upon the Emperor's behalf. I think I have the words and the power to grant some concessions to the Empire.

Also, I wish to know what would the opinion of the Emperor be if I were to enforce the old obligations of Moldavia and Wallachia to the Khanate?​
 

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The Roman Envoy

The Despot sighed in relief as the Khan began to speak in Greek. Dismissing the translator, he began to walk with the Khan through the palace. As the Khan spoke, the Despot admired the decorations. It wasn't nearly as impressive as Blachernae, but what else could be expected in Sarai? For a Tatar, though, it was a fine abode. Smiling appropriately when the Khan made a joke, he waited for him to finish, and then replied,

"The Princess Irene is the third daughter of the Emperor John, Great Khan. Customarily, the dowry would be somewhat.. reduced, but since the proposed marriage would be to someone of kingly rank, so therefore, the Emperor John offers 10,000 golden byzants (1 eco) as a dowry."

As the Khan proposes a bride from the Emir of the Crimea, he smiles. Yes, such a marriage would be advantageous indeed.. "The daughter of the Emir of the Crimea.. if it can be arranged, Great Khan, I should like to marry her. I presume, of course, that the practice of dowry is also practiced in Islam?"

When the Khan mentions his brother going to France to press for aid, he turns more serious. "Great Khan, you know that rumors are not to be trusted. If I might be frank, I should note that among the traders visiting Cherson, there is talk that you eat Christian children and use their bones to pick your teeth. Like all rumors spread by base peasants, such talk is ignored among men of our rank, for we are above tales spread by men who should put their mouths to better use earning coin than spreading lies. The Emperor remembers well what happened in 1204, and has as much of a desire for a new Frankish invasion to be launched than he does to be beheaded, for that would surely be his fate if the Franks were to go on 'crusade'.

The Turkish Prince Murad, Great Khan, is no overlord of the Roman Empire. The Emperor John several years ago offered to pay tribute to Murad after a loss suffered by the Roman Empire. Even then, Emperor John still desires peace with the Turk, but also the recovery of conquered lands. However, Khan Toqtamish, if you can convince Prince Murad, who is my also my cousin, to return lands through words and not the sword, then you would earn the undying gratitude and friendship of the Roman Empire."


Finally, when Moldavia and Wallachia are mentioned, Despot Michael smiles. "The Princes of Moldavia and Wallachia have in the past taken up arms against the Roman Empire. They are Christians in obedience to Constantinople, but no friends of ours. I do not know what my father's opinion would be of you enforcing the obligations of the Princes of Moldavia and Wallachia, so I must contact him and await his reply. If I might be so bold, however, I could say with certainty that his reaction would be greatly influenced if he were offered something in return.."

The Khan and the Despot reached the end of the hallway, and looked out the door into Sarai. Standing there, the peasants and townsmen engaged in their activities, the Despot turned to the Khan, and grinned. "Perhaps the Emir of the Crimea is already here? Even though matters of state take precedence over matters of love, is not love, among men such as ourselves, not also a matter of state?"
 

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The Roman Embassy


Toqtamish Khan

The Khan stopped and grinned at the amount of the dowry. 10,000? Perhaps he could push for a bit more.

Tell me, how much money comes into the treasury at Cherson. If it is reasonable, perhaps half that income, a years worth could serve as dowry. As for the hand of the Emir's daughter, you shall recieve dowry of the Emir's choosing, most likely land.​

The Khan then continued walking and went out onto a small terrace surrounded by fragrant hedges. He paced as his listened to the Despot's passionate rebuke of the Turk and their lies. He then spoke again.

It is a good thing then that you have come before me and told the truth. I too am wary of the Turks as they have been lately friends of Timurleng, the fierce conqueror of the East. That man has sought to cut off the commerce of my realm and they made alliance with him. Still, I want to keep peace with them and I want the Emperor to keep peace with them. Give that pompous Murad no more reason to boast that he is ghazi and therefore the greatest prince in Islam. *scoffs*

And Mikail, you are indeed right. With princes, love is a matter of state. Herald, bid the Emir to enter.​


Emir Tangut

*enters and kowtows before the Khan* Great Khan, I have been informed you wished to see me the matter of the marriage of my daughter, Conchakin.

Yes, Tangut, as the Despot of Cherson is very eager to take her hand in marriage and he wants to know what the dowry shall be. This marriage is to renew the bond between our states, so it cannot be a trinket.

Oh, yes... of course, Great Khan. The best I shall be able to offer are bars of Persian gold worth 5,000 byzants recently captured from pirates, the profits of the toll on the port of Taurida, and 1o hides of land in Taurida (=1 eco). That should befit a worthy suitor such as Prince Mikail. Is this pleasing?
 

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A Meeting of the Divan


Toqtamish Khan

While the Roman prince entertained himself, news coming in from the marches made the Great Khan realise that he need to call a meeting of the Divan. The Divan, or council of state, is an assembly of high officials who assists the Khan in state affairs, as is common in Turkish states. The Divan of the Khanate consisted of the emirs (princes), governors of the realm (that are present at court), the marshals, and the ulema. It is run, naturally, by the Grand Vizer, and Toqtamish wishes to make the body the central organ of the new Khanate so that the instability of the past may never rise again do to perfidious vizers or incompetent khans.

The members enter and, in order of rank, kowtow before Great Khan on his cushioned throne. Each one then rises an sits before the throne in two parallel which strech to the door. Suddenly, the Great-Queen, Fatima al-‘Aliyya, also enters bows only slightly before her husband and sits on a red silk cushion beside the throne. Murmurs fill the room, but the Great Khan quickly raises his hand to silence them. It was he who had asked the Great-Queen to be here, for he sometimes trusted her with the burdensome matters of state that he dealt with. He look at her and then he rose to speak.

My minister, my emirs! War has erupted in the realms of the Liths. You well know that the Germans have made it so, but now also, thinking that he has the support of Sarai, the Grand Duke of Muscovy has declared war on the Liths. I was disposed to chastise that prince and his dog-like people for this, but then Chagan sent word from Kiev... the Lithuanians refuse our protection and seek only an alliance to save their skins. This made me look upon the wars in a different light. I feel no need to rush, as those pagans are strong fighters and shall hold out for many months. What shall the Horde do in this? Shall we wait till next spring and then launch war on the Lith? Shall we leave them in peace? Should we except this alliance and spill our blood fighting to Germans and even the Muscovites? What is the word of you, my mighty princes?


Ali Batu Beg Saraev
Marshal and governor of Kazan

The Rus are fools, but I fear for the Lithuanians. They have helped us from time to time and now they shall be destroyed by these fierce German monks, who I have heard kill and rape as much as the Horde of Timur! Who next shall they attack after the Lith? Our allies and ourselves, thats who they shall attack. That fool in Muscow thinks he is taking advantage of the situation, but he shall know differently when those knights burn the Kremlin and roast him, like a pig, on a spit. I say that if we do not aid them with arms, that we should at least send them gold to buy mercenaries.


Emir Tangut
Marshal and governor of Crimea

Nonesense! Batu remembers to well the days of Mamai when he served with the Lithuanian warriors and slept with their wives. *laughs while Batu gives him the evil eye* The Lithuanians are the fools. Our Great Khan offered them protect and they spit on it. Let them burn in hell for all I care. Furthermore, I say that we wait till next year and if the progress of the enemies of the Liths is good, then we too must carve of the hind. Kiev was once numbered among our cities and, inshallah, it shall be again. Let us reduce them to humble servants of the Great Khan.


Kuyuk Beg
Marshal and governor of Astrakhan

I must agree. They have disrespected the Horde and the authority of the Great Khan. They forget they were once vassals of the Horde and do not know their place. Let us make them know it again so that they shall never again challenge our power.

The Great-Queen then sat up on her cushion and looked directly at Kuyuk Beg. She shook her head and began to speak.

You know not what you wish for, Kuyuk Beg. If we destroy the might of the Liths, we destroy the fragile balance of power in the east. I agree they must understand that they must serve Sarai, but that can't be done by joining the Germans and Rus in diving their soverign lands. Pagan or not, their Grand Duke is a prince just as much as you are and his realm should be respected as such. The lowly Rus and these foul German have treated him with great disrespect and he has no choice but to defend himself. Let him do so and if need be, at a later time, sort out this matter of Kiev and Lithuania's place among the vassals of the Horde.


Isa ibn-Hâkim Chormaghan
Grand Vizer

Dear Queen, there maybe no later. The longer we wait, the soon the war will end, most likely in the double victory of the Black Knights and Muscovy. What do we gain from that; A weak Lithuania, but one that is still not paying tribute, and a stronger Muscovy and Teuton Order. Thus the Horde must grow strong as the same time and Lithuania must pay the price of disobedience.

Also, there is the threat of a crusade by the Hungarians against our friends, the Osmanli Turks. If we wait to deal with the Liths, we will find ourselves between two fires, not knowing wither to go. Thus I say, let us wait at most till next spring to decide our action. The men of the Horde are ready to follow and you into battle once more, Great Khan.

Others spoke on for an hour or so, but they all fell behind the Grand Vizer and Emir Tangut in asking the Great Khan to wait till spring and then decide whether or not to go to war with the Lithuanians. When the last man was finished, Toqtamish raised his hand again for silence and spoke.

It is well what you all have said. So it shall be. We shall meet again in the spring and decide on war and peace. In the meantime, make yourselves ready for war. I shall do my best to keep the peace.