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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

Judge

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Promising start, I really liked your Hungary tale a lot and hope for a new great AAR on your part :)
 

Machiavellian

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Sorry for the delay. I really wanted to do an update soon, but unfortunately this AAR will be on hold for at least a week, probably more as I have to leave town for family related reasons. Sorry everyone.
 

Machiavellian

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The Battle of Elloc
Two miles south of Baghras Castle
July 19th, 1150 A.D.

Sayyid Ibn-Artuk sneered, his face contorting into a bestial mask as he rode up and down the line of the Muslim soldiers under his command. He didn't like his orders, but he would obey them nonetheless. A backward glance was tossed to the western army that defiantly fortified in the small village of Elloc, before he addressed his troops. "The Christians huddle in fear of us! They dare not attack and so we wait. Any who breaks line, I will personally send screaming to hell! We are the northern shield of the Atabeg, failure is death!"

Sayyid scratched his squared chin as he looked over the infantry. The look of relief he saw on many of the faces at his orders caused bile to well up in his stomach. Cowards and girls. He had no respect for any man who would not eagerly plunge into battle against the western invaders. Giving his horse several harsh kicks, it propelled him to the rear of his army, there the cavalry awaited him. True warriors, Sayyid thought to himself. Yet he possessed under his command less than two hundred horsemen, only sixty of which were lancers. The cavalry were far more vividly dressed, with colors of bright reds, blues, and yellows clearly defined in the hot morning sun. Each man a noble example of what a soldier should be. With them he was certain he could crush the Christian force, which by his advisors estimates numbered less then five hundred strong.

The dark skinned Bedouin growled to himself and cleared his throat. His tone switched away from the contempt with which he addressed the infantry, shifting to something more akin to respect. "It is clear we could crush the arrogant crusaders here, but that is not our task. We are to hold, to contain, and to trap our enemies in the North so that Antioch may fall. The lancers are to split into two units, one half will scout the surrounding area and the other will remain in reserve, with me. The rest, armed with bows, are to harry and harass from a distance, our arrows and the desert sun shall chase the Christians from the field. Ride now!"

The Turkish horse-archers let out a faint cheer which was quickly drowned out by their commands to the steeds. Dust and sand spewed up around Sayyid and the remaining lancers, as the quick Arabian mares and their skilled riders dispersed in all directions, fanning out to the flanks of the army.

*****​

"Curse the spawn of shaitan and this blasted sun!" Paul O'Cathal spat the words in his native Irish tongue as he swept a wet rag across his pealing and reddened forehead. His fair northern skin had developed some resistance to the sun during his years fighting in the second Crusade, but he still suffered. He guessed he always would. A few beads of sweat and water clung to his brown mustache as the former monk put hand to his brow to shield his eyes from the morning glare to look out at the enemies of Christ. They had well over the mere four hundred Knights gathered here in Elloc, but what they did not have was the blessing of the all mighty, nor as many cavalry. Each comrade-in-arms gathered with him today was a Templar, three hundred of which were mounted on heavy horses, though Paul was one of the few on foot. "No matter." He murmured to reassure himself. While he would truthfully rather continue his readings, he would not shy away from the task before him and would die for the Lord and his Son, Jesus Christ, if necessary.

Paul heard a command go down the line and hefted his crossbow up from the stone he rested it upon. Another wave of the Turkish horsemen swept the left, spewing a host of arrows from their curved bows. The mounted Knights raised their shields in defense of both their person and mounts, while the task of returning fire was left to Paul and the ninety-nine other Templars on foot like him. Ignoring the arrows the washed over his line, O'Cathal dropped to one knee and took careful aim with the ready crossbow. Targeting one of the Turks, he fired and quickly began to reload. A holler of pain temporarily broke Paul's concentration. Turning in its direction, he winced as he saw the rather affable Spaniard, Adiran, clutching at one of the three arrows that managed to punch through his armored suit. The one he clutched at broke in half, leaving one end buried in the flesh and steel painfully close to the soldiers groin. A quick glance revealed that a few other men had fallen, along with three or four steeds. By the time he had reloaded the crossbow to fire again, the enemy was out of range, fleeing behind their lines once more. He guessed that the right would be hit again soon enough.

Kneeling by Adiran, he placed that soaked rag on one of his lesser arrow wounds and made shushing sounds in an attempt to calm the Spaniard down. While he could not understand the Spanish coming from the man's lips, he understood that they were expletives rather foul intermingled with hisses of pain. Paul cast his gaze back in the direction of the main enemy line, noticing the hundreds upon hundreds of waiting infantry and quietly wondered why they weren't attacking.

*****​

"Why are they not attacking?" Mailhairer lisle de Escorant mused to his aide-de-camp. The fellow Parisian shook his head back and forth before answering. "Maybe they are afraid?" The aide-de-camp was clearer not confident in that assessment.

Mailhairer's dark eyes studied the muscular knight who served as his aide, then the enemy lines and back again. "No. That is not their game, mon ami. It is something else." Commander de Escorant took a slow sip from his canteen as he continued to survey the situation. The aide clearly saw the gears turning within the sharp mind of the commanding Templar. A quick smile, followed by a frown smeared across the tall frenchmen's face. "We have underestimated the size of the Infidels armies. This is only a portion of their force." His words then turned into hushed curse. "They are stalling us!"

Mailhairer lisle de Escorant pounded his fist, then pulled on his horse's reins, turning the steed about in a quick circle. "Bring out the reserve horses and have every one of our number mounted. We shall break their line and send the mongrel dogs fleeing back into the desert!" Mailhairer's words then trailed off, but the aide was certain he heard 'how dare they mock we with false combat' from the commanders departing voice.

The reserve mounts were soon armored and by early afternoon were led into Elloc, where those who were previously on foot or had lost their steeds to the rain of Turkish arrows remounted. Though some had fallen or were too injured to ride, for the most part the Crusaders remained ready to win a glorious battle for God that day. Mailhairer's plan was rather simple, the Knights Templar would wait until the next harassment and then charge at the passing horsemen, with the goal of pressing them behind their lines and cutting them down. The infantry would then scatter before the overwhelming might of the mounted Knights. It was a heavy risk and would rely much on the right timing and the help of the All mighty. Unknown to them, fate had deigned to intervene.

*****​

"Our scouts have noticed a small force of knights approaching our location from the Northeast, Sayyid Ibn-Artuk." The lancer reported to the Gorilla-like Bedouin who commanded the force at Elloc. He bravely spoke the words and did not flinch when the ill-tempered general snarled and cursed everything from the Christians to the very infantry under his command.

"Allah's will be done." The massive Bedouin said with resignation and perhaps some spite. "If it can't be helped, I will deal with this new threat to the flank.. personally. Gather the lancers and a division of fifty infantry for support." Sayyid turned to the bald northern Turk who served just under him. "Captain Ademze, continue the strategy here. Continue to harry them, I know their spirits will break before nightfall!"

The Turkish captain nodded and began bellowing out orders even as Sayyid Ibn-Artuk spurred his mare around. Sayyid's beady eyes focused on the thickly bearded lancer who had given him the scouting report. "Have you mingled with the infantry lancer?". When the lancer gave a simple nod, Sayyid continued. "Select the best of the rabble for the division and return to me. We will meet this small Christian force and destroy it!" Sayyid's words were followed by a ragged laughter. "I'll have glory yet!"

Sayyid Ibn-Artuk rode off in one direction to gather the rest of the lancers, while Ghassan Il-Hamzah steered his steed into a slow trot towards the infantry lines. He didn't know exactly fifty men to choose, but he could think of at least three.

*****​

Joscelyn II, technically still the count of Edessa despite the destruction of that Crusader Kingdom, fanned himself intermittedly as his full carriage bumped its way through the hinterlands towards the Castle Baghras and his ultimate destination: the city of Antioch. It was with great hope that he would be able to regain a place of importance within Constance's realm. Perhaps even to the point of persuading the knights to recapture Edessa for him.

A commotion rose up amidst his escort, the dire tones in which they spoke capturing Joscelyn's attention and sending a slight panic through him. He was about to demand an explanation as to what was going on when one of the Knights of his escort rode up beside the carriage and spoke. "My lord, a Moslem force is approaching from the west. They seem to have come from Baghras.." The good knight's words hung in the air and Joscelyn knew full well the implications of such. Fear continued to creep down the Count's back, causing his teeth to shake despite the desert heat.

"My lord.." The knight spoke again, his voice louder now so that he could be heard over the shouts and warcries coming from the west. ".. I, and fourteen of our number shall detach and attempt to hold off the infidel swine, whilst you and the rest of our escort turn south. God speed."

The knight turned away from the carriage, knowing full well that only with the full grace and strength of the savior Christ and God all mighty would he and fourteen others be able to turn back the approaching Moslem force. The remaining nine Knights and the rest of the escort broke off the trail heading west and began its escape into the desert. Fifteen Knights dismounted from their traveling mounts and lifted themselves with practiced grace upon their mighty chargers. Lances were lifted to the heavens, each flying a triangle shaped banner of crest and personal honor. The good knight turned back to his brothers in arms, his voice raised above the thunderous drum of approaching horse.

"ad maiorem Dei gloriam! Dominus vobiscum." his words were repeated by his comrades, the prayers to gods name lifted upwards. Then, as if struck by divine inspiration he rose high in his saddle and shouted. "Decursio! Decursio! ab Caelum nos equito!!". A roaring cheer passed along the Knights and as one they all lowered their lances and charged the nearing enemy.



*Latin: For the greater glory of god!
The lord be with you.
Charge! Charge! To heaven we ride!!
 

Machiavellian

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I was going to wait until I had a longer update. But I realize it has taken a while and I felt that this was enough at least for one update. I didn't really have a chance to go back over it, so be kind. I only hope that their are still people interested in this tale, despite the lack of speed in which I am updating it.
 

TreizeV

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Damn a cliffhanger charge! how come I never thought of doing that ;)

In any case, im really starting to like Sayyid Ibn-Artuk guy, reminds me alot about when I was writing my campaigns in Egypt ;)

but dont let my reminicsing throw my compliments off, this is a superbly done AAR and i quiver to think if i could match the dialogue that you have shown thus far. :eek:o
 
Last edited:

unmerged(12798)

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Machiavellian said:
I was going to wait until I had a longer update. But I realize it has taken a while and I felt that this was enough at least for one update. I didn't really have a chance to go back over it, so be kind. I only hope that their are still people interested in this tale, despite the lack of speed in which I am updating it.
I'm still interested in this tale of yours, so keep up the good work!!! ;)
 

Judge

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Nice to see a new update. I wonder how this will turn out, the knights seem to need all divine help there is to offer :)
 

coz1

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No doubt - it's great to see you pick this one up again. More fantastic storytelling above. Can't wait to see how the battle turns out, but it doesn't look good for the knights.
 

Machiavellian

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Thank you to those who responded and/or read this. It has been tough getting updates out regularly. I am trying to alternate between this and my nearly finished tale of Hungary. Free time has been rather limited of late, so I am sorry if it is taking so long, but hopefully I will be able to get more updates going.

I do have one question for the readers. Seeing as I have not even made it out of 1150 A.D. yet, do you the readers want me to speed things up more and give a larger overview or keep at this current pace? I optimisticly hope on having the story span till at least 1400, but I haven't even played into 1200 yet, so.. yeah, I would appreciate any feedback you want to give, even if it is "Stop writing"
 

unmerged(11439)

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for god's sake don't stop writing. I think the current pace is fine, but thats one man's opinion. But do what whatever you want
 

unmerged(21085)

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I am impressed by the efforts you poured into this!!! Either you got very fast typing rate or spend more time on it.

I would like you to keep going but it is understandable if you will or will not keep it going!!! Nevertheless, it alway can be picked up later on!!!

Joe (Sapphire)
 

Storey

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Machiavellian said:
I do have one question for the readers. Seeing as I have not even made it out of 1150 A.D. yet, do you the readers want me to speed things up more and give a larger overview or keep at this current pace? I optimisticly hope on having the story span till at least 1400, but I haven't even played into 1200 yet, so.. yeah, I would appreciate any feedback you want to give, even if it is "Stop writing"
I'm enjoying your story Machiavellian. As to what/how to write I think that's up to you. You're the one doing the work so you should decide how you want to do it. A little more overview would be appreciated. I'm going to download the scenario 3.0 this weekend and give it a try. You’ve inspired me and maybe I'll try the Kingdom of Jerusalem. ;)

Joe
 

cynos

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Machiavellian said:
------
I hope that you enjoyed the prologue. Welcome to my newest AAR. Now some information.
Latecomer that I am, I loved that prologue. Although I was rooting for Raymond
:eek: .

(But still a very cool prologue.)