• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

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


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Hello everyone, this is my second AAR and first in the Crusader Kings section. I hope that those who wish to read this enjoy it and I'm welcome to any comments and questions that you would have.

In short, The Last Crusader is about the Crusades that occured in my game but will be told out in a narrative with a twist. The story will cycle in two timelines: the 1200's and the crucial years that the Knights Templar and Kingdom of Jerusalem had to face against the might of the Arabs and the later in the present day as history reflects upon the actions of the Crusades and more importantly the major question of one holy relic that has gone missing in the days of Crusades...

I hope that this will be entertaining for those who'll will read it.

Table of Contents
I: The Sands of Times (below)
II: The Cardinal in the Vatican
 
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Chapter I: The Sands of Times

Chapter I: The Sands of Times

I wandered the sands of the desert for more days than I could remember in 1204 A.D. the year of our lord. It was blistering hot under my chain mail armor and in my long white tunic it felt like over one-hundred thirty degrees. I couldn’t remember the last time I had any water to drink. About in the distance there was a small party of Knights Templars heading in my direction, their red cross clearly visible on the points of their lances. There were, at a glance, perhaps nine members in the party heading south to Jerusalem which was under siege by the Arab forces of Sultan Al Adil I of Egypt. Behind them the winds of times were gathering. It is here that our story begins, June 22, 1204 in the year of lord in the hills and deserts of Syria in the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem…

Peter de Arqah, the head lieutenant of the Knights Templar was riding at a fast pace on his horse nervously looking at the nearby hills and caves for a hidden force. The un-easy officer of the small caravan was extremely nervous being out in the hills of Syria with only nine knights and one young seven year-old squire boy Robert de Lyon where he knew the Arabs could have easily by now have overrun. Out in the distance he was relaxed when he saw one of his knights returning from his patrol for a nearby water source out in the distance.

Peter de Arqah slowed his horse and the caravan of small Templar Knights followed suit. Peter began, “Dear Charles, I’m glad that you’ve managed to make it back in such a harsh place. Any luck at finding water or shade?”

Charles held out his hand to try and grab the forearm of his lieutenant. Peter noticed blood seeping from the mouth of his knight, the warm, dark red wine like blood drizzled down his neck and tunic then onto the desert floor itself as he fell from his horse dead. Peter quickly grew weary as he panned the hills once again for any signs of Arab soldiers.

“They know we’re here and nearby,” he said to nobody in particular.

Eric de Nyuld rode forth, the young sergeant knight spoke his mind to his superior, “Peter, there’s a foul stench in the air. I suggest that we keep moving but not on the old faded road. We have a better chance in the country-side than on the road.”

“You’re right Eric,” responded Peter as he looked up to the bright blue and blistering skies above to see several vultures circling overhead, he then proceeded to wipe of the sweat from his face.

“What about him?” questioned Eric as he pointed to the body of his fallen brother.

“The vultures will get him for we cannot take the risk of taking him with us.”

“Then it’s settled,” answered Eric as he turned about to ride in the center of the caravan where his young squire Robert de Lyon was situated.

“Let’s move!” ordered Peter as he began to stir his horse of the road and up the hills.

“What will happen to him?” asked Robert to Eric as he glanced down at the body of the now deceased Charles.

“God has decided it was time to serve in a better place,” responded Eric to his squire.

Robert, with his long golden hair and blue eyes looked down at the fallen knight as the vultures began to land adjacent to his body and slowly move in. Robert grew sick and felt a sense of pity and piety at the knight that the others were leaving behind. The Templar Knights were now entering an even more dangerous place of Syria, the sands of times.


The hostile Syrian Desert.

In the hills out in the distance, an Arab soldier emerged from his cave with a bow in his hand and could see the small Gregorian flags that the Crusaders were carrying at the very top of their lances. He moved out to gain a better sight and turned back to the cave and spoke in his native Arab tongue, “We have infidels out in the distance.” And in a simple moment a small party of elite Arab soldiers slowly infiltrated the ranks of long and dying grass from their caves and began to stalk their prey.

Peter de Arqah became calmer as he could see the sun setting in the distance as well as a small lake and a lone palm tree off in the distance. Once again Eric de Nyuld rode forth to his commander.

“I don’t like the idea of being at the only source of water during the night. This is probably the home to Muslims that killed Charles.”

“You are most likely right Eric, we halt here only to gather supplies and continue to those mountains off in the distance and set camp for the night.”

Nearby in the brush an Arab soldier moved up, moving the grass and weed with his hand very delicately and peered out at the soldiers like a snake, being only several feet away from the talking Crusaders. The Arabic man then, just as he approached, slowly maneuvered his way back so he wouldn’t be exposed by the other knights that were searching the area.

Robert pulled over one of the knights, “I think there’s something in the grass Isaac. I saw the grass move and there’s no wind.”

Isaac laughed, “My dear boy, you’ll make a fine knight one day. Always has his eyes open for dangers, but I assure you young lad there are no Arabs here or I’d have found them by now.”

“I’m telling you Peter, the Arabs are like ghosts; you have no idea where they are or when they’re going to strike at you.”

“You’re not the only one who is nervous about being out here alone.


*****

~ Modern Day, New York City.

“How has you’re day been Professor Henry?”

“Why just splendid Carl,” answered Professor Jonathon Henry to his student. The remarkable history professor at the University of Long Island has long been interested in the Crusades as his students will say, his entire room is decorated with Crusading gear and pictures as well as the Ark of the Covenant.

“Well class,” he began, “you all know you had an assignment due today. Where do you believe the Ark of the Covenant is located? Now, regardless of religion or gender I hope you all completed it, please pass the papers forward and we’ll be getting into the Siege of Jerusalem in 1204 by the Arabs.” Professor Henry walked by to collect the previous assignment as he kept on talking.

“Professor, if I may I have an important question about the Ark?”

“Why of course Paul, what is it?”

“If it went missing all those years back, wouldn’t it be possible to say the Ark never existed?”

“Well, that’s like saying the Crusades never happened now. Rumor has it that during the siege that you’ll learning about today and tomorrow, several Knights Hospitallers left the city with many treasures of the medieval world that were centered in Jerusalem and took them to Acre. Now here’s the interesting part, they never made it so it’s all out there as the Bible says, it’s just a matter of finding it…"
 

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Yeah! A crusades AAR! And it's about the Ark! And I think It will end on an island with ghosts killing everyone!:D
 

volksmarschall

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Yeah! A crusades AAR! And it's about the Ark! And I think It will end on an island with ghosts killing everyone!:D
Thanks. But an island of Ghosts seems to dramatic don't you think? :p
 

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The Sands of Times

Peter de Arqah dismounted his trusted horse and began to walk towards the lake that was only several yards away from him. His fellow knights were quick to follow him to the water source for it had been days since any of the Christian knights have had any fresh water to drink,

The young Robert as he began to walk stared into the brush only to see it move again, this pained the young squire who was growing more and more nervous by every passing second. He moved quickly to the side of Eric de Nyuld and tugged on his tunic, "Sir Eric, I swear there is something in the brush following us."

"For the last time my dear child, I tell you there is nothing there but you're imagination," said Eric calmly as he leaned down to fill his small empty bag with water. However, the slightly weary knight looked into the brush shortly afterwards to see the tips of the grass begin to move as if something was coming in closer. He got up and walked over to Peter and pointed at the grass that was slowly being grazed.

"It's nothing but the wind," said Peter.

"There is no wind Peter," answered Eric quickly with force in his voice.

"If the Arabs were following us, I think they'd had killed us by now."

"And why do you say that?" questioned Eric.

"They are ruthless savage killers of the east and have no life to spare with the man of the west."

"For God's sake man open you're eyes. Charles is dead, Jerusalem is being assaulted one of the largest Arabian armies in the history of their people and we've been worried for days that they've been tracking us! For heaven's sake we have a grande total of eight knights and a single young squire, perfect pickings for Arabian soldiers wouldn't you say?"

"I kindly take you're words Sergeant-Major but I have no further need of you getting the other men wild-up about the situation at hand."

"Why does it matter for us to go to Jerusalem anyways? What would eight knights and a boy do for the defense of that city anyways?"

"It's the city that Jesus Christ walked and preached in."

"So? Does that make the city any better than Nazareth or Rome?"

"You're God walked and preached in that city. And as long as I'm in charge of this unit we go the holiest place in the Holy Land for the defense of the greater city of God and the Kingdom of Heaven!"

A knight came up to his commander, Peter de Arqah. He paused and looked about and turned his attention back to his lieutanant, "Sir, something is in the trees."

"Where?" asked Peter.

"Over there in the ta..." an arrow sliced into the throat of the talking knight. He fell to his knees coughing up blood like a volcano as the other knights were quick to form a circle around Peter with their shields facing outwards like the old Roman legionaires of old forming an near force field against archers.

Just as sudden twenty or thirty Arabian soldiers stood up from the fields and charged in towards the small party of Crusaders. Eric, from behind his shield and helmet saw the young Robert along by the lake looking for a place to run. He broke rank and charged forward in the intent of saving the child, only to inspire the other knights to charge forward agains the juggernaut of Arab soldiers.

Robert looked up to see an Arab soldier raise his sword in a motion to to swipe off the head of the young boy, then the sword of Eric de Nyuld landed a solid blow to the neck of the Arabian soldier, splitting through him like butter and when he withdrew his sword from the Arabian's neck, the Arab soldier fell quickly and motionlessly to the ground. Robert looked up to his savior and friend.

"Robert of Lyon, son of William of Lyon. I think you must be fit to carry a sword and protect yourself in times like this," said Eric as he picked up and gave the boy the sword of the dead Arab soldier.

Around the two, a fierce but relatively one-sided battle was taking place as the Arab soliders were quickly overturning the few Crusaders there were facing off against them. One by one they fell in a few moments only leaving Peter, Robert, Eric and one other knight alive as they moved in for the final kills. Peter de Arqah looked back and thrusted his sword into the body of an Arab that was coming up behind him.

Eric rushed to the lone Templar that was fending off two Arab soldiers. Eric took a hold of one Arabian with his bare hands whipping him to the ground and slicing at him with his sword. Only seconds later the Templar Knight finished off his opponent with a baseball strike to the head of the unarmored Arab. Eric turned to him with Robert directly behind him.

"May God be with you. Take him and get the hell out of here, now!"

"Right! Come Robert let's leave."

As the Knight moved away with Robert, an arrow stroke Eric in the back sending him down to his knees in utter pain as he quickly attempted to stand back up and get back into the fight. He then fell again to his stomach as blood spewed from his mouth.

Robert was running ahead of the Templar who was quickly jumped by a hidden Arabian soldier behind a tree who hacked at him when the knight fell to the ground and cried out in pain. Robert then dropped his sword and just as quickly saw an Arab soldier in front of him. Robert fumbled to the ground and retrieved his sword as the soldier moved in atop of him. The young boy reached forward, stabbing the Arab in the thigh causing him to fall to the ground in pain. Robert however being only seven didn't have the stomach to kill the poor man he had just recently wounded. He dropped his sword and continued to run off only to be tripped up by a branch in the long grass around the lake.

Arab soldiers moved in quickly and surrounded the boy, quickly taking him prisoner. Peter was unfortunate to be a Templar officer as he continued to fight killing several Arabian soldiers as a circle of Arabs began to form around him as he circled around looking at all of them with blood dripping from his mouth and his sword aimed directly out in front of him pointing at no one but everyone.

"Come on you damn cowards!"

An Arab soldier quickly jumped forward to finish the Templar off. The two quickly exchanged blows at each other with their swords but the Arabian was quick to jump the gun as he moved in for the killing blow, Peter thrusted with all of his might his sword forward catching the Arabian soldier in the abdamen killing him nearly instantly. He continued to cycle at his opponents who only watched him as his sword was having problems getting off the sand below him. Peter then collapsed to his knees and the Arab commander rode forward on his horse and shouted something in Arabic. His soldiers moved in kicked the sword away from Peter who was exhausted and didn't prove much a struggle now as he was before.

"I am Emir Omar, and I swear I mean you no harm if you only comply to my wishes and my God."

Peter spat blood at the Emir, "What God?"

"Allah," smiled Emir Omar as he snapped his fingers and his soldiers dragged Peter away and tossed him to the ground with several guards. "Now, what do we have here?" he said as he saw Robert standing in front of him shivering in fear. "Dear boy, there is no reason to fear, I mean you no harm. As a matter of fact I'm here to help you. Make sure you don't hurt this one."
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Simply outstanding!
 

volksmarschall

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Kurt_Steiner

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Thank you sir! I'm glad you to have your encouragement!
And I'm glad to have the chance of reading such magnificent writer!

Just a comment. IRRC, Templars were not caught prisoneros by the Muslim armies, as they simply were unwilling to rennouce to his faith voluntarily and the Islam didn't preach the forced conversion, so most of them were kileld (just see Hattin-, with few exceptions.
 

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The Sands of Times

Emir Omar strode along the desert floor heading towards the bleeding Peter de Arqah who was beaten badly and lying in pain next to his friend Eric who was on the verge of dying unless immediate attention was given to him. On his horse the Emir smiled down at the Templars and continued to pace in front of them and called one of his captain's over to speek to him. He whispered something into his ear and gave a quick glance and point over to Peter and Eric, both lying hoplessly on the now red-tainted sand.

"Can one understand the pain you and your God has brought upon my peoples and their families?"

Peter got up to his knees and spat a nice long stream of blood from his mouth and landed his eyes directly at those of Emir Omar's, "The best way to get into heaven is to kill an infidel!"

"Ah, I understand. So you people call yourself the true believers and follow a God who says kill the children of Allah. Or perhaps that is your idol worshiped Pope who sits all the way in Rome?"

"The Pope is more heavenly than you or any of prophets including Mohammed will and would ever be."

Emir Omar smiled at Peter and snapped his fingers as his soldiers took a firm hold on the injured Eric de Nyuld and stood him to his feet.

"Do you see this man, your friend standing before me?"

"Yah."

"I'll ask him a simple question, the right answer is the only way to survive," Emir Omar said as he rode forth to talk to the fading Templar Knight. Just as sudden, Emir Omar backed away and his soldiers began to beat the dying Christian Knight, sending him falling to the ground and beating him without mercy despite his screams and pleads.

Behind Emir Omar, his soldiers held the young Robert de Lyon in a tight grip making him watch the beating of his companion Knight as he tried to look away. On the ground Peter helplessly watched in horror as he expected himself to endure the next tyrade of Arabian soldiers. Peter mustered his nerves and tried to reason with the Emir as his soldiers backed off for a few seconds leaving the knight bleeding from all around on the sand.

"Please Emir, he's still breathing. Let him live, let him go."

Emir Omar simplied gave his synaster smile in the direction of Peter de Arqah and quickly turned his attention back to the dying knight on the ground below him. He snapped his fingers once again and his soldiers drew their swords and one held the knight up to his knees. The Arabian soldier moved in for the kill, swinging the sword like a baseball bat, taking the head of the knight off in an instant. Eric's body fell to the ground lifelessly and layed their for Peter to watch. Emir Omar moved in to speak with Peter de Arqah.

"See, in my religion it is holy to kill an infidel as well. Now comes the question I am dying to ask you my good friend. Will you openly announce the Coran and Allah instead of your satanic God you think is Jesus Christ and more!"

"I'd rather die at the hands of your blade than refute my God!"

"Very well."

Yet, Emir Omar decided not to kill the Templar Knight, rather he wanted to slowly kill him over time. Torture in the desert in front of the eyes of the young Robert de Lyon would be much more preferable in the mind of Emir Omar. This is however not to say that all the Arabian soldiers thought that this was going to be the right thing to do. Some wanted to let them go, convinced the desert would kill the knight, and the young boy would die as well or pose no threat to the Greater Arabian Empire which was slowly bringing the Kingdom of Jerusalem to her knees.

"Get up Templar!" ordered Emir Omar as he tossed him a rope and small pouch of water.

"What the hell do you want with me!?" said Peter in the presence of the Arab royal man.

"Tie him up to the horse, will see if he can handle being on his back for the next few days with only a small ammount of water to satisfy him."

"I'd rather be killed!"

"SILENCE! String him up. As you can imagine my good man, we are on our way to join the Arab Army of Sultan Al Adil at Jerusalem. If you survive until then, and your God helps your pagen king win the seige; perhaps you'll live. Otherwise, it appears as if you're going to die," said Emir Omar as he rode to the young Robert de Lyon about twenty feet behind him. "I assure you my son, cause us no problems and I'll let you go free in the end of this ordeal. You must then, do as I or any of my men say. Refuse, and you'll find yourself like your Templar friend overthere, and I doubt a little boy like yourself could handle such a beating."

"Yes sir," answered Robert de Lyon with his head down as the soldiers of Emir Omar began to string Peter onto the horse carrying supplies for the men. He looked at Peter who fighting the Arab men as they tried to tie him up, one soldier with a long whip took his best shots at Peter de Arqah until they finally strung him up to the large black horse.

*****

"Professor Henry?" questioned one of his students.

"Yes, Dale?" answered the professor.

"I'm just curious, um... what was the true reason for the Crusades besides the fact for the control of the Holy land?"

"Well class, please stop what you are doing and listen up; this might just answer some more questions. In 1096 the first Crusade was launched by Christian Crusaders mainly from France and Lower Germany to reclaim Jerusalem which was in the hands of Arab leaders who denied Christian pilgrams the right to visit the holy city. Pope Gregory then called for the Christian Kings of Europe to put aside their differences and head out for the greater good of the lord and re-capture his birthplace in the name of Christianity. In late 1099, the city of Jerusalem fell to the Crusades and by 1103 a Kingdom of Jerusalem was established. The following years saw peace until 1145 when the Second Crusade was launched in Spain and in the Middle-East, this was a great disaster thought the Kingdom of Jerusalem stayed neutral as the kings of France, England and Castile fought in Spain, Portugal and Armenia. By 1180, the new Arab ruler Saladin began to war with the Kingdom of Jerusalem but to little success other than a few major victories but near serious loss of land. Then in 1204 A.D., the new Arab Sultan the son of Saladin Al Adil brought a massive Arab force together to reclaim Jerusalem, the city of Islam. In short, nothing but religion started and was the cause for all the crusades."

"Religion kills," said a student from the back of the room.

"Religion has killed more men than all other wars combined," responded Professor Jonathon Henry. "Alright class, we will be getting into..."

"Professor Henry, there is someone at your door," said Carl.

Jonathon Henry walked over to the door, there stood a well dressed Catholic clergy-man in his robes and wooden cross hanging out for all to see. The students inside all tried to get a good look at the man who whispered something into their professors' ear and handed him a piece a paper. The Catholic man smiled at him, shaking his hand and bowing to him in thanks before leaving.
 

Enewald

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What God, bah, Allah is just the god translated in arabic...
I wonder how many medieval people know that, or how many don't yet know it today...
Still a nice aar!
 

unmerged(104889)

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An AAR about crusades and templars. Excellent! In my opinion the crusades are the most interesting event in the medieval history so I'm going to definitely follow this one.

Enewald commenting over an week after the beginning of this AAR? Is he losing his touch? :p
 

volksmarschall

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An AAR about crusades and templars. Excellent! In my opinion the crusades are the most interesting event in the medieval history so I'm going to definitely follow this one.

Enewald commenting over an week after the beginning of this AAR? Is he losing his touch? :p
Thanks, and I think that it was some of the most interesting times during the Middle Ages.

I hope I'm not losing my touch but I am caught up with Saints and Angels and with a few comments on this, I'm hoping to give people time much like yourself to find this AAR before I take off and it may become too big.

Thanks for the support! Much appreciated that you took the time to read this. ;)
 

Kurt_Steiner

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Yes. Too many lurkers, too few comments. And it's worse when to a CK AAR comes... Waiting for me!
 

volksmarschall

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Chapter II: The Cardinal in the Vatican

Chapter II: The Cardinal in the Vatican

St. Peter's Square, Modern Day.



Over the announcing voice on the microphone, speaking out to hundreds of thousands of people waiting for the news that the Archbishop William Balliard of France would give to the waiting people. On short, Easter Holliday was a time of celebration, but an unexpected event, and the free time of the holidays have led to Professor Jonathon Henry to be present in the eternal city on such a beautiful Easter Sunday.

Overhead, in the balcony, the Archbishop spoke to the waiting crowds, "As of now I have no information on the new Pope, please be patient. News of the new Holy Father will be within my hands shortly."

Professor Henry looked up to try and catch a glipse of the Archbishop, in front of him were thousands of eager onlookers and the Papal Guard, the daunting and colorful Swiss Guardsmen were a sight to see.

"As of now, voting within the College of Cardinals has ended. Votes are in the process of being tallied up, within moments I shall announce you the new Pope of the Holy Catholic Church and all of it's children."

Professor Henry waited, something however caught his eyes, there was an awkward shine in the rooftops to his left, he moved around several fanatic and screaming people to try and get a better look. Several people began to notice that his attention was elsewhere as the Archbishop continued to speak, causing several onlookers to ask the American professor what seemed to be so interesting. He simply pointed up at the roofs...

*****​

"As-Salamu Alaykum," said Emir Omar to his captives Peter de Arqah and Robert de Lyon. "Peace and God is with us all," he continued as they marched across the deserts of Syria.

Walking and badly beaten, still bleeding, and dehydrating an Arab soldier walked close to Peter de Arqah, he spoke with a sense of confidence and arrogance, "So where is your God now?" he asked him.

Peter said nothing, too delarious to know what was going on around him. His young apprentice, Robert stood defiant, the young boy spoke out against the cruel Arab soldier, "Surely Allah doesn't smile at you, you pig!" The Arab soldier turned back to see the boy was speaking up to him. He walked over to the young squire and smiled, drawing his sword and slicing at his neck, stopping just as the blade touched his skin.

"Speak out against Allah again, and the lord will not be as forgiving as I am," he finished and walked away leaving Robert in a state of shock.

Emir Omar strode backwards to his Christian Knights as his commanders and other soldiers continued their march towards Jerusalem or Damacus.

"God doesn't smile upon your city," the Emire said as they appeared over the ridge, the ridges overlooking the city of Jerusalem, home of the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the bastion of Western Christianity in the Holy Lands. "Just take a look for yourself," he finished to show them the sight of a massive Arab Army beseiging the Holy City, the Arabs moving forwards their seige towers and many a thousands of troops. It was only a matter of time, as the other Christian commanders and princes were too afraid to march on to relieve Jerusalem. They were instead heading for Acre instead. Emir Omar smiled as Peter de Arqah saw the sight and his eyes grew wide open.

 

Vesimir

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This kind of reminds of Age of Empires II, Saladin campaign.
I wonder what he saw there... Oh, It's good to know that this is alive.