The march of the Eastern Eagles - PART 1

Author: WhiteSide
Published: 2017-08-29, edited: 2017-08-29
In this AAR I am playing as the Selçuk Sultanat with HIP mod. The start date is 1055 until I decide the story is good enough to stop. I am not totally used yet to the game but hey, at least i want to tell my adventure no matter how bad it gets. Enjoy! (PS: Im not native english speaker so please if you see a mistake dont panic and if you want just tell me)

Part of the campaign:

The march of the Eastern Eagles

We are in 1055 AD, Tughril 1 (Rukn al-Dunya wa al-Din Abu Talib Muhammad Toghrul-Beg ibn Mikail for the purists) just captured Baghdad after a bloody revolt from the Buyids and was the founder of the Seljuk dynasty and thus the Seljukid Empire. He had done a long way to power; from uniting the Turkic tribes in the wildness of the Eurasian step to Emperor of one of the most powerful empire in Middle East.
Our journey begin on the 1st January 1055, during a cold winter which can sometimes happen in Persia's highlands. The empire is now politically stable and peace is part of daily life for the moment.
In Isfahan, the capital, Tughril just finished assisting the first pray of the day. He is now an old man, shaped over time by uninterrupted wars. His thoughts, as we could reasonably guess, are not directed to his wife or his family or even his people. Anatolia and the Byzantine Empire are his main preoccupation. It is time now, he thinks, for the central turkey to have a new ruler to obey to!
Even if he had a great skill in governing, as every king he needed to have a council to "guide" him in his decisions. He had the respect of almost everyone in his council exept Atabeg. Tughril didn't especially appreciate him, but he was as good advisor as he could upset him. The sentiment was the same for Atabeg. If Tughril wanted to maintain an efficient council to rule the big empire he had created, he needed to have everyone in his pocket. Thus, a cold afternoon, he invited Atabeg to the royal Hamam. The two men discussed for minutes before Tughril finally showed him the real reason for what he had invited him; a pure golden bracelet, a sword forged by the finest smith of the empire and a porcelain vase imported directly from china. Once Atabeg saw all these presents, he imediatly said that he would prepare a great banquet in Tughril's honor. He now controlled the entire council.
The next day, the emperor desired to know what exactly the religion situation in his empire is. His wife, native from the region could have informed him. But he refused, pretexting that a woman should not talk in such matter. (no offense by the way, back in those times, this was the mentality) So once he had his personal imam dispatched, he asked him. Most of the Seljuk empire is Sunni which is a blessing for Tughril as it won't affect his realm's stability. But as the Imam continued to inform him, he winced when he heard that a small region under the Caspian sea was totally converted to Zaidiyyah. This heretic muslim sect, he would have to deal with it after his conquest of Anatolia and be merciless. He next learned that southern and northen Iraqi's region was Shia, this was not a real problem for Thughril, but like the Zaidiyyah, they would have to convert or flee. For now, he whisely decided to send his Imam in the southern Caspian province to make regular report of the religious situation.
It was now time for the emperor to review the integral of his army. He walked away to the stables, picked his favorite horse up, and went for the city's barrack with the royal guard. When he arrived, he quickly noticed that his army was lesser than usual and asked why. An officer came and after saluting the emperor, told him that he permitted few men to have permission as the wars finally stopped. Tughril was really angry, but he knew that a demoralized army could not do much against the Byzantine army. The day passed and he now knew that his army was strong of more or less 11,500 men, that should be more than enough for the conquest of Anatolia.
Tughril, despite being a warrior, was also a man of faith and as he approached to the end of his life, he wanted just after the conquest of Anatolia to go on a pelerinage to Mecqua. He wanted to prepare it before the war and began with the royal library, where he could plan his trip and make sure to be prepared to all the dangers waiting for him on the road. As he was reading an ancient scroll about Muhamat, a courtier came to him and with an extreme politness asked the Emperor if he could accompany him on this holy Hajj to Mecqua, notifying him that it is an emperor's religious duty to be charitable. Tughril looked at him for several second before saying that he would rather go alone for it is his destiny to find his spiritual way by himself. The courtier, knowing that insisting could cost him a sever punition, preferd to agree and left without saying any other word.
The Emperor woke up early on that 9th of January 1055, he could not prevent himself to think about the goal of his life: fighting and defeating the Byzantine Empire. Almost all nights he was thinking about his armies, victoriously crushing the Varangian guard of the Basileus, and facing him in an epic duel. This didnt prevent him to give his wife all the attention she needed. Despite being rude and tough, he was a good husband and never neglected his wife. Tughril was finishing his breakfast with a tea while an officer irrupted without even knocking. The emperor was about to shout for the guards to beat him when, deeply breathing, the officer informed the king that the outpost in the lower Caucasus, at the border with the Byzantine Empire, has been attacked. This was the occasion he was waiting for, the imprudence of the Basileus will cause his fall. He immediatly told the officer to alert the army camp athe frontier and wait for him to join them and command them for the coming war. The officer immediatly obeyed and so began his biggest life challenge.
In the capital, everyone was overexcited. War against the Byzantin Empire! This mighty empire which, yes, has had bad time but is still very powerful as well in term of military than wealth. While the royal escort was preparing and everyone in the palace were running everywhere, a vassal named Atabeg Kaykawus came to the king and took the opportunity of the mess to tell the Emperor that he thinks that Beg Mawdud, a vassal of Tughril, should serve him instead of the Emperor for he thinks he would better serve him. Being opportunist with Tughril was a mistake he would never forget, for the Emperor, far away from being stupid, told him to bring Beg in front of him and, once he was there with Atabeg, gave him a whip and asked him to inflict 5 lashes to that insolent Atabeg. He has been humiliated in front of the court and right after, begged Tughril for forgivness.
When the Seljuk Emperor arrived at the frontier casern, it was a complete mess. The Seljuk army is reputed for being fearless and true warriors, but lacks of discipline. Half of the army was yet to come and Tughril had to act quickly if he wanted to not get any bad suprises. In the biggest room of the fort, he was discussing with his general about the Byzantine army. A young but skilled general first talked and said that, for what he knows, the Byzantine army is weakened by the unceasing revolts which often occure. They should not meet more than 7,000 on the battlefield. Tughril listened with great attention for he knew that this general has been here at the frontier for a long time. Another general spoke and told the Emperor that it could be a trap, that the Byzantine let that information leaked on purpose. But Tughril knew that what the young general said was true for he has read alot about the regular report of the infiltrated agents and the History of the Byzantine empire so he decided to not listen to the eldest general.
Right after the meeting, Beg Musafir, a vassal who is very appreciated by Tughril, came to him and asked him to walk along with him. The Emperor accepted. While they were walking along a hill with a single tree on it, Beg Musafir told Tughril about his wish to become his new Spymaster, claiming that he has better skill and knows better how to deal with plots. The Emperor knew that Beg Musafir has been a very talented trader and has an oral skill and a sense of the danger that almost no one he had known in his life has. He didnt respond for some minute and continued to walk. The landscape of the lower Caucasus was breathtaking, the mountains were still covered with snow and nevertheless, you could still hear the birds singing. After a moment he finally spoke and told Beg Musafir that he accepted his requested, putting a smile on Beg's face.
Some days later, the army was finally completed. From a hill, the Emperor Tughril 1 considered an army of 21,750 men, all determined to fight to death. Impatience gained his heart and he began to speak:
"My companions, I have crossed many countries with you! Together, we conquered all the middle east by Allah's will and today, here we are again, begining a new conquest! This conquest is why you have been conquering all Persia! The Byzantine Empire should already tremble just by hearing our army's horns sound in the distant! I know you will fight with hounour my companions, serve your Emperor one more time, and all the riches of Byzantium will be yours!"
After a huge cheer from his army, the emperor went to sleep, but that night he could not close his eyes.
The next day, the army finally began to march West. When it arrived at the frontier, the Emperor, without consulting his generals, decided to split the army in half. One will go North to the greater Caucasus and the other half, with him, would march to Anatolia.
Tughril knew that marching across the lower Caucasus would not be as easy as crossing Persia. The rocks were steep, the climate was rude and cold, the supply was not abundant and the trails were difficults for the horses. Things could not get any worse when snow began to fall. During the first day, at least 50 men and 20 horses slipped and fell in the deep mountains. Tughril kept hoping to cross these mountains in less than a week. An evening, after an exhausting day, Tughril entered in his tent after the camp have been build up. He felt tired suddenly, as if all the adventures he lived in his long life suddenly fell on his shoulders. Beg Musafir entered in his tent to drink a warming tea, very appreciated after a cold winter day in the mountains. The emperor began to speak;
"During my youthness I always dreamed that one day, I would conquer the world and be the greatest emperor who have ever existed. I conquered a huge empire and now here I am, leading my troops in the far east of the Byzantine empire. History can easely forget you, my brother, but I managed to be immortal. In a thousand year, people will still talk about me, how I went from simple chief of a tribe to the greatest emperor of the middle east and Eastern Europe! After this war, we will conquer Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs, and even Greece, and the Tsardom of Bulgaria and why not the mighty Rome! You will see, I will be Immortal"
They cheered and after a brieve talking, the emperor went to bed.
In this fresh morning of February, the Emperor Tughril 1 did not wake up. He passed out in his sleep, dreaming of his empire and his immortality. Many cried when they learned that the Emperor has passed away. But not a single man in the army decided to return back Everyone decided to continue and provoke the fall of the Byzantine empire, in memory of the greatest man they have known, in memory of their companion.








There ends the first part of this AAR. If you have any suggestions, something that I can improve, that I could stop, dont hesitate to tell me! I will try to post the next part the next week!

Next chapter:

Game: Crusader Kings II

The march of the Eastern Eagles - PART 2

Images: 9, author: WhiteSide, published: 2017-09-01, edited: 2017-09-03

Check out another AAR:

Game: Crusader Kings II

Not Yet Lost (Chapter XII): The Sword of Damocles

Images: 21, author: Malafides, published: 2018-01-23, edited: 2018-02-17