The march of the Eastern Eagles - PART 3

Author: WhiteSide
Published: 2017-10-01, edited: 2017-10-07
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

Previous part:

Game: Crusader Kings II

The march of the Eastern Eagles - PART 2

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

Even if the winter was nearly finished, the cold was still present amongst them. It was now a month that al-Mu'azzam had left the capital under escort. The trip across Persia had nothing to see with a healthy trip, the paths were often abrupts, and the almost non existing via which were build up by the mighty Parthians were in ruins. The Sultan would have to think about that after the war. When he arrived at the Byzantine frontier, a messenger told him that the army had set up a camp beyond the frontier after Tughril the Great's death. That is at least a good new for he thought that after the great emperor death, there would be many coward who would desert. He than ordered his escort to march West. He followed the same path as his brother, across the breathtaking mountains of Armenia, still without encountering any resistance from the Romans.
Even he knew he was weaker than his brother, the cold bite of the Anatolian winter did nothing to a child of the steps. After few days of marching, a scout reported a camp with Seljuk banners. A great relief. The escort was acclaimed by the soldiers, assembling around it. al-Mu'azzam now felt like a respected emperor who has already the respect of his troops. He knew it was a crucial element for him if he wanted to win this war, but in the Turkish tradition, even if you are Sultan, you must prove your men that you can be a true leader.
In the evening, the Sultan gathered his generals, he than learned that a small byzantine army was sationned not far from his camp, maybe two days of march.
"We will lift the camp tomorrow" said the Sultan
The morning was more cold than ever. As soon as the sun showed up, the drums could be heared and the officers shouted to hurry up. Eve, for the emperor, the awakening was hard for he was still tired of his long journey across Persia. At noon, the camp was completely dismounted and the army ready to march. After two days of intense tension, the scouts finally reported a byzantine force. It was much smaller than expected but it was still enough to gain the respect of his men. They were trapped and could not flee in Georgia for they were not allowed to. The two armies faced up; the Seljuk warriors shouting and singing and the byzantine still and disciplined. After a brief moment of facing, al-Mu'azzam ordered the cavalry to charge. He was on the first rank and for what seemed to last hours, they finally reached the byzantine ranks. As soon as he got his spear in a young soldier, the rest of his men followed him. The snow was soon covered in blood and the legendary discipline of the Romans suddenly broke and they started -even the officers- to flee. The massacre lasted an hour until almost all were dead or made prisoner. al-Mu'azzam was now a respectful leader to follow.
Anon, a small fort well built in the mountains. The remaining of what was before an army withdrawed to this fort, but it was not important for the Sultan. He knew they were now more like scared rabbits than real soldiers of the Byzantine Empire. After the previous battle, he would still not tolerate any kind of alcoholic beverage in his camp. The byzantine where weak for sure, but a wounded beast is the most dangerous to fear. The evening was a bit warmer than the previous ones, probably a sign of Allah to tell him he is on the right path, or maybe from the mighty Tughril himself! In this starry night, he began to miss his beloved wife. Ah, how he missed being at her side on the balcony, simply looking at the mysterious stars. A noise of steps interrupted him in his relaxing thoughts, somebody was behind him. He turned back and saw Atabeg, a faithful councilor who has been graced by Tughril.
"I was looking for you, al-Mu'azzam" Atabeg said
"Well there I am under your eyes my brother, now tell me what you wish to talk about"
"I wanted to congrats you for your victory. You showed you were not a coward by charging at the head of the cavalry, I admire your for that."
"Thank you Atabeg, may Allah bless you"
"You know" replied Atabeg "I have always wondered what it is like to be in battle, to plant your spear into a man, a father, a son and to stay focus on not being killed by an arrow or anything"
After a brief silent, the Sultan replied
"You know, since I killed my first man I don't stop praying for the souls I have sent to Allah. War is a horrible thing, but it is necessary for the human to not fall in complete madness. So praying is all I can do. And when you are into the fire of the fight, you don't think, you act like an animal, nothing more."
They spent the rest of the evening talking until it was time to take a rest for the hard days to come. The next day, The Sultan decided it was time for him to join the second army, marching into West. Here, the hostile forces were confined into this small fort and he had nothing left to fear. He left the army under the command of Atabeg and few other generals he trusted the most and began to march with his escort. When he arrived, the second army had already set a siege on
After being installed in his tent and ready to take a rest, a messenger came to him with a letter from the capital. Sahdokht Farva! His beloved one! He immediately rushed his desk, took a sit and ordered to be left alone. He opened the letter and began to read
"My dear husband,
How I miss those nights with you, how I miss you presence and how I miss your voice. I hope that Allah is watching you so you would come quickly back to me. The realm is getting more and more wealthy and your son is doing pretty well at governing, I see your determination and your will in him. Unfortunately, I must tell you a bad new; the nobles from the Glory Faction are a bit upset in you absence and they try to get a bit more power for themselves. I think your son will deal with them but I judged it necessary to warn you about those unfaithful people.
I love you, please take care
Your devoted wife"
A tear was slowly flowing on his cheek, he missed his wife more than ever. However, an Emperor had no place for weakness in his hard life. The Glory Faction? Those filthy snakes, they only care about their wealth and their own person. They would sell their family for power. He would have to be a bit more severe to them so they won't forget who makes the rules in the Seljuk Empire!
Few days have passed since he arrived. Each day resembling to the others with few exceptions. Besides the fact that the Byzantine tried to install panic in the camp by a night attack, which ended up in a hundreds casualties... for the Byzantines, the life in the camp was not that hard. In fact, the people in Manzikert suffered way more than his men for it was a mountainous fort without any ways to get supplies.
One day, a few group of civilians tried to flee during the night. As they approached the cap, they were immediately caught up. He came up to them and asked what they desired.
"Water" one man said. He ordered than to his men to bring them water and to let them go, but South (to make sure they were not spies and would go back to the fort).
In the afternoon, a messenger (again) came to him with news from the first army. Their scouts have reported a thousands man strong Byzantine's vassal army marching North to Georgia, probably to get around the first army an besiege the forts at the frontier. At first, he wanted to execute the messenger for he thought it was a joke, a thousands of men, really? Is he kidding the Sultan? But after he saw the signature of Atabeg, he understood it was serious. He laughed for a while and threw the letter in the fire place. He will get rid of that small band after the siege of Manzikert. He told his guards to make sure the messenger would get a proper dinner and a decent place to sleep.
Suddenly, he began to think. Could not that be a diversion from the enemy to lure him into thinking they are weak? That could actually make sense as he had not yet encountered any serious resistance. However, that would be very stupid for he could easily detach two thousands men of the first army to chase them down and still get a numerous advantage in the region. There was at the end no real need to worry, but prudence should be always present and he knew that very well.
He suddenly was waken up by noises of fight. He immediately stood up, took his sword and got ready to fight to death. But as soon as he got out his tent, he found out the noise was coming from a single location of the camp. He put his armor and his sword and went to see for it. He saw a group of men, assembled around something. When he yelled, everything stopped and he ordered to be told what was going on. The group dispersed and he saw at the middle two man, still holding each other as if the fight have been paused. The Emperor advanced to them, and told them to tell him immediately why they were fighting or both would be executed. They both bended the knee in front of the Sultan and lowered their head, fearing to look at al-Mu'azzam in his eyes.
"M... My liege" one began
"Tell me just what happened I don't want your politeness!" the Sultan shouted.
"I saw what happened!" spoke out loud a soldier before saluting the Sultan.
"Speak" said al-Mu'azzam
"It was Atabeg Azarasp, he came to one soldier and began to hit him without any reason"
"Is that true?" asked the Sultan to Atabeg Azarasp
"Y-ye.. yes my liege. He he wa..was looking b..badly at"
"Come closer" He ordered "You are drunk"
" my Sultan!!"
"Try once again to lie to me and I will cut off your tongue"
He looked down
"Y.. yes I.. am"
"Where did you find the alcohol?"
"One v..villager g..gave it me on th..that night.."
"Put this man under arrest, said the sultan. You are lucky to not be a simple soldier or I would have cut your head off your body right now"
The guards took the man away from his sight.
"If I anyone else has token alcohol from those civilians" said al-Mu'azzam "he better throw it away right now because if I discover it, you will be executed within the day!"
He returned to his headquarters. This kind of behavior is exactly why he could not let his men drink. It is not a right behavior for a servant of Allah, and not a right behavior for a Seljuk warrior above all!
The snow was still there, but it was not snowing anymore and the sun was more and more present. That means that the logistic would get better for him.. as well as for the Romans. al-Mu'azzam was reading the Quran when someone asked to come in, which he allowed. It was Beg Mahdi, an excellent officer, he proved in battle that he has great skills and was a very good element to keep.
"Speak, the Sultan always have an attentive ear for a brave warrior like you"
"My Sultan" he said "I have served the Empire since its genesis, and I served your beloved brother before. Always I have followed Allah's will and never I would betray my faith and my loyalty for you my Sultan!"
"May Allah hear your devotion and lead you to the paradise when your time will come!"
"But today, my Emperor, I come to ask you a not so easy favor"
"Speak, I will see if I can realize what your heart wish for!"
"I want to serve you even more. This is why I would like to ask you to become your new Marechal. If my demand seems too audacious and insulting to your great highness, I will accept to be punished"
The Sultan was quite surprised by such a proposition, and for sure he would have given him what he desired for. But, the law would forgive to have two military councilors. In addition, the current one, Beg Musa Yaghbu was an old friend of Tughril. Replacing him would cause too much troubles and that is the last thing he would need right now.
"My brother, I am sorry, but I cannot give you what you wish for right now. Beg Musa Yaghbu might be less skilled than you, but he is very wise and never he has made a single mistake for he advises good. However, and Allah witnesses my words, once his time will come to join Allah, you will have what your heart desires"
Beg Mahdi looked disappointed, but he understood the Sultan's decision and he knew that it is his destiny to be the Emperor's military personal advisor.
The night was yet to come and the Sultan already wanted to sleep. But he could not stop thinking about what could Allah be preparing for him.
The fortress of Kumayri was being under siege since the beginning of the year. From the Seljuk camp, the soldiers could see that sometimes, byzantine soldiers where trying to escape, but where immediately shot down by an arrow. It was now the evening and Atabeg, who was in charge of the army since the Sultan left to march west with the rest of the troops, was in a furious debate with his commanders about whether or not they would finally lead an attack to take the fortress once for all.
"This is nonsense! We should not lead an attack and waste many life which could be useless in a more efficient tactic!" shouted a commander
"I recommend that we should lead this attack anyway! We have enough men, we have siege equipment, and we also have the advantage that the enemy is now weak!"
All began to talk at the same time, leading to a huge cacophony.
"Enough!" shouted Atabeg
Everyone suddenly sat still
"By Allah, I swear I could see merchants trying to negotiate rather than real Seljuk commanders! We are not here to talk about whether or not we should waste our resources, Allah gave it to us, and our men are here by their own will! They are here to fight bravely, and to seek glory, who are we to private them from this privilege and wining a siege but letting the enemy starve? Is that a honorable behavior to have?
My decision is token, tomorrow we will attack in the morning and give them a honorable death, so has decided Allah! And the first one I hear complaining like a child I will cut his balls off! Now, go take a rest, tomorrow will be a hard day"
Everyone retired in silence, not knowing what to say more or not daring to protest.
The morning was cold even if it was the summer. The men were already ranged in ranks, a good kilometer away from the walls of the fortress. Atabeg was on his horse, passing in front of his men. He knew well what he was asking them, and he knew also that they would do anything for the Empire of the Seljuk, blessed by Allah. After what seemed to last an eternity, he finally ordered the assault. A thousands men began to run to the walls, soon being showered by arrows. Many began to fall on the ground, some wounded, some shot in the head and some in the chest. They went for the walls wit the laders and began to climb it. Once on the walls, the close combat began and blood began to spill. It didn't take long for the Byzantines to get outnumbered and soon they fell back to the dungeon. The combats continued in the streets during some hours before it finally ended by the surrendering of the remaining men in the dungeon. The Seljuk had taken their first province from the Byzantines.
The Armenians mountain were such a beauty. The sun was already high in the day, but it did not influence on the wonderfulness of the landscape. al-Mu'azzam have always been fascinated by the gifts the nature could offer to his eyes. Never he has seen a landscape similar to another, and this one was no exception. The mysterious beauty of the mountains reminded him of his beloved wife and the majestic size of them reminded him of the almighty Seljuk Empire. But he did not have much time to think about that for now, war was calling him back to his duty.
He was walking back to his tent when his spymaster stopped him, telling him he had an urgent affair that requires all his attention.
"My Lord... I am afraid, but I have serious reasons and proofs which indicate that Atabeg is involved in a matter of treason."
The new sounded like a shock wave in the Sultan's mind. Atabeg? One of his most devoted councilor? The man he trusted and to whom he gave the command of an army? That cannot be true!
"Do you realize that what you are telling me is very serious? What proof do you have of that?"
"My Sultan, I heard of my most reliable source that he was planning to overthrow another lord to take his lands and grow more powerful so he could take the throne. I even know he already has a claim of those lands and a part of his money is missing, probably for an army of mercenaries!"
Now, he knew that his spymaster was not lying. Even if his heart did not want tot believe it, he had to admit the evidences that were reported to him. He had to make a difficult choice so he thanked his spymaster and went to his tent.
How will it end? If it was true, Atabeg might already be to powerful ad could lead to a civil war. But if it was not true, he could loose the support of Atabeg forever.
He passed the night to think, he could not sleep. Why does this had to happen? Why does the human cannot unite instead of seeking for power and plot against their liege?
The sun was just rising as al-Mu'azzam was talking to a man on a horse. There was still a light fog so no one could clearly see who it was. Suddenly, the man got away and raced as quickly as he could.
Later in the day, in the HQ, all the generals were there, the Sultan had summoned them all.
He entered and began
"My brothers, hard times might be ahead. I took the decision to arrest Atabeg."
Whispers of incomprehension rose in the room, Atabeg? Under arest? Impossible!
"Which reasons do you have to arrest a councilor my Emperor? The law forbids to arrest people just by your own will!"
"It has been reported to me that he was involved in treason. I have had serious evidences be sure of that! If he has nothing to hide, he will come here and will explain all. If not.. this might mean the civil war"
Three days have passed without a single new, and one day, a guard shouted that a horse was incoming.
"A horse?" thought al-Mu'azzam. He quickly went to meet him and indeed, it was just a horse.
But on his side was a heavy, round bag. He ordered to open it.
A head fell on the ground and rolled to the Emperor's feet, with an inscription on it: WAR.

That's it for the third part folk. I'm sorry for being late but lot of shit happened since the second part and I did not really have the time to write? I will try to write part four within the month, until there, take care and see you!

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Images: 15, author: Findan, published: 2017-07-03, edited: 2017-07-07