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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
May 17, 2005
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No1Titlepage.jpg



On the edge of the Zagros mountains two young brothers play amongst a rocky outcrop near a small number of tents while the sun sets on the warm sand dunes.

“Captain, the enemy approaches.”

“Hmmm, yes I see, a reconnaissance force, prepare for battle.”

“Obed, Gera…where are you?”

“Captain, we are well positioned for a surprise attack.”

“Oh stop hiding, come out now.”

“Wait for it, on my command…ATTACK.”

The two scuttled out of their hiding place from under the cleft of a large rock, yelling and screaming as they went while swinging their swords furiously around their heads. Zipporah their little sister smiled in amusement as the two encircled her and began prodding her with their sticks.

“No quarter Captain?”

“Gera, Obed” she cried out as she put her hands up “I surrender.”

“Okay Obed, my loyal brother, lets take our spoil back to camp and celebrate our victory.”

“You two can be so silly.”

------------

The Egyptian traders were several days journey west of Esfahan, where they had collected silks, pepper and other spices at the great market. They would then cross the desert plains of the Kaliphate and Syria on their way to Tripoli where they would sell their goods to a local merchant who in turn would sell them to Venetian, Genoan or Turkish traders.

They had pitched their tents in a circle around a fire, here they ate their dinner while the men told stories that had been past down from generation to generation of great battles, empires of old, and deeds of mighty men while the children listened intently. After dinner the women and children went to bed while the men continued their talk.

“Goodnight father”

“Good night my children and remember Allah loves you, as do I”

---------------

Later that night the embers were all that was left of the fire and all were asleep when the camels became restless and began to stir. Obed’s father awoke and walked out the tent to see what was going on when he heard the sound of many hooves thundering in the distance approaching fast.

“Shishak, Bozath, Mizraim, Necho, Hadad arise” he bellowed out towards the other tents before running back into his own. “Poithar hurry, wake the children and hide yourselves” he shouted to his wife as he found his sword and ran out. The boys were awoken by the noise, “Gera, take your little brother and sister to the rocks beyond and hide yourself, I shall come soon.” The terror in her voice jolted him into action and he picked up his sleeping sister and ran from the tent towards the rocks with Obed following. As they slid under the cleft of a large rock a horn sounded followed by the clash of steel. They saw from there hiding spot the camp lit up with torches, a large company of men on horseback, swords slashing as they rode through creating havoc, one tent was set on fire as screams of pain were sent across the desert sands.

Out of the chaos the children saw a figure staggering towards their general direction. Obed could tell from her outline (for she was pregnant) and exclaimed “It’s mother”! She was very slow, staggering as she went, “Come on mother, hurry” Obed said within himself, though it was in vain as two horsemen emerged out of the darkness galloping after her, the children were gripped with anxiety then filled with horror and panic stricken as the first horseman came along side her, he grabbed at her, ripping her clothing off as she was knocked to the ground merely twenty metres away from their hiding spot. He wielded the horse around then jumped to the ground and began molesting her, she lashed out, so he punched her in the face several times until she quietened then he began to rape her. The other rider reined in his horse.

“Ha ha ha ha, leave some for me you filthy dog”

Zipporah then drove her face into Obed’s chest while she grasped tightly onto his shirt with her little fists. At that moment Obed realised that Gera was not with them, but had slid out and even now he saw him running towards the men with his small dirk poised in his hand. The men were seemingly oblivious to him as he drew near, Gera then lunged towards the large man on top of his mother, but at the very last moment he caught sight of him from the corner of his eye and instinctively swung round, collecting Gera’s head with the back of his hand, sending him flying into the sand. The bandit on horseback broke out laughing hysterically, while the other stood up and clasped his forearm where the dirk had drawn a long wound. “Curse you boy”. He then grabbed Gera with his left arm and lifted him off the ground to his eye level while he clenched the boy’s hand with his own. He stared into Gera’s dazed eyes, “Kill me will you boy?” He then raised the boy’s hand still clenching the dirk to Gera’s throat and slit it and threw him to the ground. Mother screamed out loudly… anger, fury and rage swelled within Obed, though he remained motionless, frozen in time while he watched the horror played out before him. The large bandit seethed with rage as the screams mixed with wicked laughter echoed through his ears, he drew out his sword, swung around and brought it down on her, slicing her torso almost in two, her innards as well as her baby spilled out as the screaming ceased. Obed looked away, tears streaming down his face, in a state of deep shock, he looked down at his sister who had pressed her face tighter into his chest while her body was shaking greatly, though Obed was unable to move let alone say anything to comfort her.
 
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coz1

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Those are some nasty fellows. I have to agree - let's hope they get some payback, and soon. Strong start. Good luck completing it.
 

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A very fierce start, right 'in media res' as they say. Let's see how this pans out.
 
May 17, 2005
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jwolf - Cheers, I hope so too.

Duke of Wellington - Thanks :)

gorjak - Hi, all shall be revealed in the passage of time.

coz1 - Cheers, I will complete it, I solemly promise (as in my sig) :D, no more incompletes. I have a basic script/layout in mind, it may develop into a pictorial AAR though once the game itself gets going.

stnylan - Hi, yes I like blood and guts :D .

Thanks for reading people and thanks for your comments they are much appreciated. Next part is almost finished, though I may only release them weekly.
 
Last edited:
May 17, 2005
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Ah what the heck, here it is.

2ndTitlePage.jpg



Obed’s twisted and turned as his tormented mind was filled with fire, blood and his mothers screaming.

“Gera, Gera, no, no, no, mother, no, no” he mumbled.

“NO, NO, NO, MOTHER” he shouted aloud as he woke with sweat streaming down his face, it was a dream? He turned his head and looked towards the camp, his mother and brother lay still in the sand and beyond small pillars of smoke were where the tents had been, the camels were gone as was their cargo and all was quiet. He was shivering, the sun was only just rising and it was very cold. He looked down at his sister, she laid very still, her little fists still tightly gripped to his shirt. Obed shook her gently “Zipporah, Zipporah wake up sister”. She didn’t wake so he shook her harder “Zipporah, Zipporah”, she did not move, then Obed realised she was not going to (intense shock and cold had killed her), in panic he quickly grasped her freezing wrists, pulling harder and harder trying to free his shirt from her iron grip without success, he then fumbled with her fingers, forcing them back one by one, then tearing his shirt from her, he pushed her away before vomiting on himself then cried himself back to sleep.

………….

He awoke and looked out towards the camp once more, it was very quiet, so he crawled out slowly, looking all around as he went. The sun was well overhead now and it was hot, he walked past his mother and brother without looking at them and into the camp, all he could see was dead people strewn everywhere. His father, all the other traders, their families and the servant’s dead. He sat down beside his father, held his hand and stared at him blankly.

The sun was setting. Obed seemed to come to his senses and stood up, he walked back to Gera his brother and with great difficulty dragged him back into the small cleft under the rock. He then walked back to his mother, but could not look directly at her as he picked up the dead baby, which he also placed with his brethren. He gave his brother and sister a kiss on the forehead and closed their eyes before filling the cleft in with sand. He then found a scorched blanket in the remains of one of the tents, curled himself up next to his father, placing his head on his fathers shoulder before pulling his arm around himself and fell asleep.

…………………..

“Boy…boy”

It was morning. Obed opened his eyes slowly and saw an old man peering down on him from a donkey.

“Who did this?” the man said before biting into a piece of bread.

Obed knew only a little Persian, though it was enough to tell him it was Persian, but he had no idea what the man was saying, he said nothing. Seeing no reply the man casually turned his head around to his left then right as he surveyed the carnage, seemingly unaffected by it.

“Did they cut your tongue out?”

Still silent, Obed’s eyes fixed upon the bread in the mans hand, for he was very hungry.

“Are you hungry? Here, have it” he outstretched his arm, offering the small chunk of bread. Obed slowly got up, cautiously he walked towards him and took the bread before he took several steps back then quickly gobbled it down. “Come with me”, the old man waved his hand, gesturing for him to follow, before encouraging his donkey forward. Obed stood still and looked around, there was nothing left for him here, all he had known was now gone. The man looked back over his shoulder “Come”. Obed began walking a short distance behind the man, looking back several times at the camp until he could not see it anymore.

After a long days walk they had arrived at a small village near the mountains, and the man, who Obed had learned was named Bel-te-sha-zar introduced him to a woman named Ath-a-li-ah, whom Obed presumed was his daughter and a young girl about his age named Az-a-ri-ah who he believed was his grand daughter. Though Obed did not utter a word.

…………………..

Days past into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, Obed had learned a lot of his new family and had settled into a daily routine of working on their small plot of land, looking after a herd of goats, exploring the mountains and playing with Azariah, whom he considered a sister, although he had recently begun to have different thoughts about her as she was becoming of age. All through the years however he never said a word to them, even though he now understood them well.

He also had spent a great deal of time with Belteshazar, being instructed in the use of weapons of war. He became adept with the spear, the sword, the shield, the bow and the basics on how to ride a horse, learnt on Belteshazar’s donkey. The old man had joined Timur the lames army in his younger days after Timur had conquered Persia from other Mongol Khans and fought in his campaigns against the Golden Horde, India, Georgia, Mamelukes and the Turkish Ottomans, however it was there were he lost his right hand and his only son, Me-shach. Left for dead in Asia Minor he miraculously made it to his daughter in laws home, where he had dwelt ever since. Once a year he would make the journey to Esfahan for Shiite festivities, it was on his return from these festivities seven years ago that he had found Obed. Though Belteshazar had explained to Obed that the Persian Shiites had little to be festive about, being cruelly oppressed by their Sunni overlords, forced to pay exorbitant taxes to fund their lavish buildings in Samarkland and Bukhara to the East, while little justice was in their land where they were brutalized and often slaughtered for minor offences. Rebellion was common though they were crushed with brutal vigour, tens of thousands of Persian Shiites had been executed in Esfahan alone since the Timurids arrival. Fortunately, the little village were they dwelt was rarely visited by the Sunni authorities.

………………..

However one day a tax collectors representative from Esfahan accompanied by three soldiers had arrived in the village and was entering each house taking goods as payment. The collector and two of the soldiers were in Belteshazar’s dwelling demanding payment when Obed was just returning to the village from collecting firewood in the mountains. He noticed a soldier sitting on a horse, next to three other horses tied up on the other side of the village. Obed had a sharp mind and quick eye, he did not miss a lot.

“You took the last of my herds last year and the drought still has not lifted, like I told you, I have nothing for you, we are living off the dust now as it is!” Belteshazar exclaimed.

The collector grabbed a spear off one of the soldiers and started striking the old man with its butt, Belteshazar falling to the ground under the beating.

“Liar, where is your secret stash? I know you Shia’s, you will pay up,” the collector shouted.

“Please! Please stop” Athaliah pleaded with the man as she grabbed the butt of the spear. The nearest soldier then drove his fist into her jaw, sending her reeling across the room and into the wall, where she collapsed on the floor. The other soldier then gripped Azariah’s arm and pulled her to his chest, holding her tightly around her stomach with his left arm while he groped at her breasts with his right hand, she struggled to free herself but he was too strong.

“Here we have our tribute I say” he bellowed, the other soldier broke out laughing as Azariah screamed loudly.

The screams rang across the village and into Obed’s ears, he immediately dropped the basket of wood and ran for the door of his house gripping a large axe. On arriving at the entrance he saw two men to the right, one laughing, Belteshazar on the ground trying to get up, Athaliah slumped against the wall directly opposite him, blood flowing from the corner of her mouth down her throat, and Azariah to his left struggling to break free from a large soldier, who had a long scar running down his right forearm.

That fateful night seven years ago flashed before his eyes, Gera choking on his blood, mother screaming, wicked laughter and a large man filled his mind… THAT large man. In a moment a powerful force deep within him exploded as an overwhelming surge of adrenalin rocketed through his veins, “NNNOOOOOOOOOO MOTHER” he exploded his first words in seven years. Like lightning he was upon the large soldier, before he even knew what was happening Obed lifted his head clean off his shoulders with the sharp blade of the axe, Azariah ripped herself free and dived out of the way as blood was erupting from the mans neck, shooting into the roof and showering everyone while he dropped to the floor. By this time the other soldier had freed his sword from its scabbard and was lunging at Obed swinging it wildly. Obed turned and ducked while he swung the axe with all his might deep into the soldiers side, slicing through ribs and flesh alike, the force sending him flying into the wall, where he slid to the floor and didn’t move again. The collector had dropped the spear and had bolted out the door. Obed, oblivious to everyone else with only one objective in mind, ran for the entrance, scooping the spear up in his right hand as he went. From there he saw the last soldier on horse back beginning to charge in his direction while the collector was running for the horses still tied up. Obed paused a second to weigh up the spear in his hand before he ran a few steps and launched it at the collector, with exceeding velocity it pierced the man between his shoulder blades and lodged deep into his rib cage, he fell face first into the dust. Obed then turned his attention upon the rider who was almost upon him, then waited for the last moment before he crouched down, the rider only just missing his head with his sword as Obed swung the axe at the horse, catching the lower right hind leg, cutting it off, such was the force he delivered. The horse buckled, then rolled on to its rider as it crashed to the ground with great force, whining in agony as it went. Obed walked slowly up to its position, seeing the head of the soldier poking out from under the horse, he was only a boy, probably a few years younger than Obed.

“Please, mercy” he screamed.

Obed lifted the axe up high above his head and brought the blunt end down upon the soldiers head…once, twice, three times…

................

Athaliah came to her senses and looked around the blood filled room, seeing the bodies of the soldiers, “What has he done, this will be the death of us all” she exclaimed.

Belteshazar finally got to his feet then bellowed “Silence woman”, and then said in a low stern voice, “His beast is unleashed, Allah be praised”. He then staggered to the door way and saw Obed repeatedly smashing his axe into what was left of the soldiers head and upper torso, while the horse squirmed in pain.

“Meshach, Meshach, stop it, stop it now…MESHACH!” (For he called Obed after his own son).

With his blood vessels popping from every muscle in his body, dripping in sweat and drenched in blood, Obed turned to the old man and firmly said in a coarse tone “My name is Obed”. He slowly turned and brought the axe down upon the horse’s head extinguishing its agony.
 
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stnylan

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A demon has been loosed, and the cruel overlords are surely going to pay. Nice scenes.
 

coz1

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Payback can be quite brutal. So I sense the rise of Persia from these bloody escapades early on. Excellent!
 

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With such a brutal start, I fear the retribution will be bloody. Nice start and I agree, it is hard to believe this is your first attempt!

;)
 
May 17, 2005
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Duke of Wellington - Thanks again, my past AAR's have been primarily pictorials with minimal writing :) .

stnylan - Indeed and I think they will :), thanks.

coz1 - You may very well think that, I couldnt possible comment :D :D , thanks.

Stroph1 - It was a brutal time in a brutal place, thanks :) .

gorjak - I like blood and guts :) and you may very well think that, I couldnt possible comment :D :p :D . Thanks.

Again thanks for reading and your kind feed back. Initially I thought of not starting the posting of this AAR until I had completed the game and writing due to my woeful record of incompletions. However as you can see I changed my mind and your feed back has encouraged me to do better and perhaps more writing than I otherwise thought I would.
 
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An eerie silence had fallen over the village as its inhabitants had begun to filter out from their dwellings and a small crowd formed around where the collector lay. Then after a few minutes a couple of the chief men began to raise their voices in anger and chide against Belteshazar and Obed.

“What have you done? We are as good as dead men.”

“Why have you brought this great evil upon us, you have killed us all, the Timurids will kill us all for this.”

Belteshazar’s anger rose and his patience was almost exhausted on these people when he turned to face them and opened his mouth at them in a loud harsh commanding tone like Obed had never heard from him before.

“Silence!!! Listen men and hearken unto me and do not murmur amongst yourselves or talk of the retribution you think you may face at the hands of the Timurids. For we are already dead all the day long, living like dogs, we have suffered greatly by their wicked hands, burdened by heavy taxes we are beaten for the smallest things, while our women are molested continually, being scared of the next blow. Let us now take heed and follow Obed’s example and rid ourselves of these cruel foreigners and cast their evil yoke from off our backs. For as you all know, that in ancient times past that we were a proud and mighty people who ruled over many with a strong hand, now let us take up the mantle of our forefathers and ruthlessly crush our enemies once and for all.”

They were a little taken back, not knowing how to react, then suddenly began to roar, yelling and shouting broke out as they threw their arms in the air praising Allah, Belteshazar and Obed alike, while the chief men who had spoken against them stood ashamed before joining the crowd in hacking off the collector’s and the remaining soldier’s heads and thrusting them on spikes in the centre of the village. The people then celebrated for the rest of the day in feasting, singing and dancing, while Belteshazar sent messengers to the chief men in the surrounding villages and to the high Shiite cleric in Esfahan informing them of what had occurred.

The chief men of the surrounding villages on hearing the news and what Belteshazar had said rejoiced greatly and immediately gathered their fighting men to join him, such was the hatred of the Timurids. The high cleric in Esfahan however gathered his trusted men for counsel before committing himself to anything. He, perhaps more than any other wanted to see the rise of the Shiite peoples and the destruction of their Sunni oppressors. Though since the last great rebellion ten years ago, where large swathes of residents in Esfahan were put to the sword, including his predecessor, he was now more cautious and was awaiting the right time to strike. He pondered if it was going to be now.

The news of the village eventually filtered to the common folk in Esfahan where they rejoiced quietly within themselves (for there was a garrison stationed in a fort on the edge of the city, and they did not want to awake their wroth). Timurid spies however soon caught wind of the news and told the chief captain of the garrison and he ordered six hundred heavy cavalry to prepare to leave for the village the following morning.

“Leave nothing standing, raze their dwellings, kill their herds, kill their women and children, kill them all, only bring me the heads of this Obed and Belteshazar so that I may show these insolent people what happens to rebels, by Allah, they should already know by now.”

The high Shiite cleric had his own spies working within the fort and they quickly informed him of the captain’s orders. The high cleric then sent a fast messenger to Belteshazar that night to warn him of the impending force being sent. The messenger arrived early in the afternoon the following day (this being six days after the slaying of the collector), being directed to Belteshazar and Obed who were in the midst a large gathering of fighting men, three hundred and eighty two strong. These were the men from the surrounding villages who had answered the call to fight.

“Belteshazar, I am Saada, greetings from the high priest Safi al Din at Esfahan. He sends you a warning that six hundred of the Timurids heavy cavalry are on their way to destroy you and your village, by my calculations, if they ride as hard as I did, they should be here by early evening.”

“And what news of Esfahan? Do they rebel? Do they fight with us?”

The messenger looked down at the ground then slowly lifted his eyes back to Belteshazar’s.

“No they don’t, not yet, I, I believe the counsel is waiting to see what will become of this”

Belteshazar clenched his teeth while some men looked at each other in disbelief and alarm.

“Do you fight with us Saada?”

“By Allah I chose to bring this errand to you so that I would be here, I am here to fight”

“Good man, if more were like you...” Belteshazar bellowed to the men “We be fewer than they, though we are stronger because we fight for freedom and justice, while they for gold coins. Be strong and of good courage and we shall overcome them. Now let us take our women and children to the mountains and there prepare ourselves”

They packed all their belongings they could carry and travelled several miles North before finding a suitable area in the mountains to hide the women and children.

……………………………….

Late that night the six hundred heavy cavalry entered the village and on finding no one they promptly torched all the houses. “Curses, these stinking mountain goats have gotten word of us and fled, taken to the hills and hidden themselves no doubt.” Needing to rest themselves and their horses they pitched camp just South of the village while Obed who had watched their proceedings from afar returned to where Belteshazar and the men at arms were.

“They have arrived and torched the village, before settling in for the night, just South of the village”.

“Very good news, they are over confident and have made a grievous mistake by camping there and shall not be expecting us, we shall wait some hours for our prey to fall asleep, then we shall pounce on them, eh Obed.”

A big grin spread out on the old mans face. This was a side of Belteshazar Obed had never seen before, he seemed youthful and his presence dictated a powerful authority. It was as if the man was reliving his glory days in Timurs army and was revelling in this new challenge.

………………………………

In a light trot they came, very quietly, about one hundred abreast and four deep in most places, three hundred and eighty three in total, now about nine hundred metres across the sands to the enemies camp. The pace intensified, while the men drew their swords, faster, faster, faster the horses galloped. Obed’s senses heightened and his mind was electrified with excitement as he could feel his heart pounding and the adrenalin rushing through his veins in anticipation.

About two hundred metres away he heard the first shouts of panic come from the camp, he bellowed at the top of his voice “Kill them all!” Within moments they were upon the camp, their dense formation trampling all in their path. The defenders were in chaos, some scrambling for their horses while others were grabbing their weapons attempting to fight on foot, but they were too sparsely laid out and they were either crushed by the horses or easily hacked down by the attackers. In minutes their puny resistance was broken and it became a rout as they were gripped with fear and many began to flee, while hundreds of Timurids already lay dead. “Muahahahahahaha” Obed broke out in wild laughter, taking great delight in every moment as he caught up to another fleeing soldier, bringing his sword down upon his head, cleaving it in two, blood spurting in all directions, while thinking to himself with immense elation “I love it", before lining up his next victim.
 
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stnylan

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Lots of guts being spilled that they can use as their garters. Havoc and war.
 

coz1

GunslingAAR
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May 16, 2002
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Obed may be the man to help his people rise up, but he certainly is bloodthirsty. I'd hate to see what he would be like once he has any power.