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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Prufrock451

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The Hedjaz

About time someone did a Hedjaz AAR, right right? Right!

No coding. No gimmicks. Just me and the AI, mano y mano. *puts up dukes*

Hard and Furious! Not just a double entendre as blatant as "releasing the vassal"- also the game settings!

It begins tonight. Unless you're in Europe, in which case it begins tomorrow morning. If you're in the Pacific, it begins around teatime tomorrow. If you're in outer space, you have better things to do than read this AAR.

Grit your teeth and gird your loins!
 

unmerged(9046)

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Good luck with the Hedjez. I tried them being nice a while ago and didn't get very far.
 

Prufrock451

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The Mother of Cities and the Last Jihad

Mecca- January, 1419

(OOC note- I will be using Christian dates throughout the AAR. What it suffers in realism will, I hope, be balanced by the gain in readability. :))

Al-Hasan II, Guardian of the Holy Cities, Sultan of the Hedjaz, Lion of Muhammad and Guardian of the Dar al-Islam, bowed his head in prayer. He was not a bright man. He understood that much. And he was not an energetic man- not even in his childhood had he been partial to the demands of war and statesmanship. But despite his failings, Al-Hasan was well-loved. He was a devout and kindly man, who treated his people well. He had been thinking deeply in the sunset of his life about the path his kingdom would take. His son, Barakat, raised himself beside him. The setting sun blazed into fire, sinking into the Red Sea.

“Honored Father. What are you thinking?” Al-Hasan smiled.

“I am thinking of your excellent plan to reorganize the collection of taxes here in Mecca.” Barakat bowed. “No need, son, for it will benefit the people and the pilgrims of the Hajj as it shall enrich our coffers.” Al-Hasan stretched his back- he found bowing for prayer more onerous with every passing year. “And I have decided to forward your suggestions to the Council of Imams. You are right- the people need more freedom.” Barakat nodded firmly.

“The purpose of Islam was always to set free those who were enslaved, and to make humble those who had stolen what belongs to all.” Al-Hasan arched an eyebrow.

“But does not the Caliph himself pay homage to Timur’s Mongols, who are now Muslims themselves?” Barakat scoffed, curling his lip in disgust.

“They are murderers and kuffar (OOC- unbelievers). They’re worse than our overlords in Cairo.” Al-Hasan nodded sadly.

“What would you have me do? We cannot hope to stand against the Mameluke army. They stopped the Mongols- our cavalry would evaporate like dew against them.” Al-Hasan chewed his lip, nodding in frustration. An idea suddenly flashed into his head- a plan of delicate balance and subtlety. Could he make it work?

In our world, he decided to swallow it down and defer to his father’s wishes, the moment gone and the opportunity vanished forever. Here and now, though, Barakat opened his mouth, cleared his throat- and spoke.

“Father,” he said, his heart pounding, “I think I know a way out.”
 

Prufrock451

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The Mother of Cities and the Last Jihad

Freedom


September, 1420


The Mameluke functionary was bored. It was obvious that he had better things to do than deal with a mere vassal, even if he was lord of the Hejaz and guardian of Mecca and Medina. He could barely stifle a yawn as Al-Hasan went through the usual stack of papers. He barely noticed when Al-Hasan handed him a scroll bearing the crests of both the Mameluk Sultan and the Sultan of the Hedjaz. Suddenly, he shot bolt upright.

“You accept the alliance?” Al-Hasan nodded.

“There has been a great friendship between our nations for generations. It is only fitting that we support you in your just wars.” The emissary’s eyes lit up- to think that he was the man who finally closed the trap on the leg of the Hedjaz’s Sultan! This cooperation would open the way for the Hedjaz’s annexation, and the Mamelukes would own the Holy Cities. Such wealth and prestige… and naturally some of it would trickle down to the man responsible…

The emissary could hardly be blamed for missing Al-Hasan’s next statement.

“I’m sorry, what was that, your Majesty?” Al-Hasan smiled indulgently.

“I said, it is also only fitting that the Hedjaz break the oaths of vassalization that have bound us to the Mameluke Sultan. A Sunni people deserve a Sunni ruler, do they not? Does not the Koran itself state that no one rules but Allah? Does not the Koran state that each person is granted an equal portion of the earth, that we should live as brothers under our great Father? It strikes me, therefore, as the logical conclusion that the Hedjaz should, with great regret, obviously, break the oaths. We are an independent nation again.” The emissary shot out of his chair, his turban slipping.

“You- you- you can’t! Why, why the Sultan will-“

“Declare war? Against his ally?” The emissary blinked. Suddenly, his trip back to Cairo looked rather less pleasant…

June, 1423

The Sultan and Prince Barakat looked over the stack of reports. Al-Hasan adjusted his spectacles, peering closely at the parchments. Finally, he leaned back and sighed, rubbing his eyes.

“What do you think?” Barakat smiled.

”It appears to be working. Tax revenues in Mecca are up twenty percent from last year’s receipts.” Al-Hasan scratched at his chin.

“Considering the fuss the sharifs made over my decree on the tax code, it seems like a poor return.” Barakat snorted.

“Those old fools just don’t want to see any competition. Their sons can read and write, and that means that these posts will fall into their hands sooner or later. They’ll come around. Mind you, on top of the controversy over Hussein ibn-Gabril, it has made for some headaches.” Ibn-Gabril was a philosopher who taught in Medina. He had stirred up controversy by his spirited defense of Christian philosophers. The Sultan had thrown his weight behind him, protecting him from conservatives, but it had cost Al-Hasan a great deal of political capital. Al-Hasan leaned forward, gazing steadily at his son.

“The country is unsettled, and the Mameluke alliance is weak. We have alienated a great many important people. Are you sure we can continue to walk this path?” Barakat nodded vehemently.

“Father, Islam is sick. We are rent by schism, the Caliph is the prisoner and puppet of barbarians who destroyed the wonders of Persia and tore down the buildings of Baghdad. The Christians held the Holy Land for a century. For a millenium, Islam has been the light of the world, the center of learning, art, culture… now, we are frightened. We turn in upon ourselves, rejecting the outside world. How grand would Mecca be today if we had burned the works of Aristotle and Plato, if we had smashed the astrolabes and the maps? Another generation or two, and Islam will no longer be a beacon to the world. It will turn dour and suspicious, backward and intolerant- forever. We must do what we can to turn the tide.” Al-Hasan blinked and thought for a long while. Finally, he bowed.

“You see farther than I, my son. You will make a powerful and just prince. May Allah bless your path.” Barakat bowed. “I only hope that our reforms will not attract unwelcome attention.”

March, 1425

Barakat burst into his father’s chamber. Al-Hasan was growing steadily weaker, and rarely left his rooms. He held up a parchment bearing the seal of the Caliph.

“It is jihad. The Mongols have pushed the Caliph to declare us infidel.” Barakat slammed his fist on a table. “They just can’t bear to have any sort of happiness just across their border.” Al-Hasan stared in horror.

“We can’t fight the Caliph- his armies outnumber ours three to one-“

“No, but the Mamelukes can.” Barakat stared at a map that ran the length of the northern wall. “I think I have a plan.”
 
Last edited:

Sorcerer

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Do I understand this right that you try to...eh, will make the Hedjaz a free, tolerant, and innovative nation?

Well, anyway I'll read this with interest.
 

Norgesvenn

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So, Prufrock... when are you going to start modding? And where's John Miffling-Hodkings??? :)

The Sultan and Prince Barakat looked over the stack of reports. Al-Hasan adjusted his spectacles, peering closely at the parchments. Finally, he leaned back and sighed, rubbing his eyes.
Spectacles?
 

Lord Durham

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Great start. Every time I read the name Barakat I think of baccarat and reach for my card deck. :)

BTW, doublecheck your June heading. I had to reread it twice to make sure you weren't jumping centuries... but of course, you did it on purpose for that reason... good idea... :)
 

Storey

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Good start Prufrock451. I'm looking forward to seeing where you take this.

Joe
 

unmerged(7784)

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Norgesvenn : Spectacles were invented in 15th century Venice if I'm not wrong.. forgot the exact year.

Well, he is a Sultan after all. All that wealth should be able to sustain a harem, a nice palace, and of course good eyesight with the latest gadget from the Venetians. :D
 

Prufrock451

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JP- No! I killed him! Noooooo!

Stroph- I'm doing pretty well. Of course, I'm not being very nice either...:D

CA- Honest! no editing!

NOD, Vald- Thanks!

Sorcerer- y'got it!

Norg- 1. Dammit, no modding. 2. Johnny will make a guest appearance somewhere- he has in all of my other AARS... :D 3. They had spectacles. It's not anachronistic.

LD- You're right! It was on purpose! Now that it's served that purpose, of course, I can go back and edit it to the correct century. ;)

Storey- I'm just getting started! muahaha! *cracks knuckles*
 

Deaghaidh

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Update now!

<waves threat fronds>

Oops, worng AAR :D

If things get too easy for you, the Zorthons could always make an appearance, I suppose :D
 

unmerged(9046)

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Nice start.

Break the alliance and keep them as unwilling allies. Hope they behave until you are ready to dispose of the garbage.
 

Syt

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A very nice startm and it shows very great promis for a wonderful tale. :)