Cilician War, The

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1687 AD - 1688 AD T180

Georgia vs. Syria and Lybia

Syria: Diplomacy: See below
Omar, before his attention was distracted by other events, announced that the Syrian corn monopoly would be auctioned in 2 years time and that the minimum bid for same was 45gp. In his court, the Albanian representatives chortled eagerly, "Yummy corn! badgers like corn!" To support the hostilities that were about to be unleashed, the Syrians also borrowed a fair sum from the Persians to raise a new levy of infantry. Monies were then disbursed in turn to the Duchy of the Isles ( tribute, no doubt ).

In Cilicia, the lynchpin of the entire situation, the Syrian embassy - led by the notable orator, Tofar Ali, prepared to make their last ditch effort to convince the Sheikh to repudiate his alliance with the vile Georgians ( source of all evil! ) and rejoin their realm. Islander guards thronged around Ali, knowing that assassins would soon be seeking his blood. So it was too! Syrian traitors in the pay of the nefarious Georgians beset the lord Ali as he made ritual ablutions in his tent. Moments later, the lilac scented waters were thick with his blood and his samite robes drenched with gore. The traitors were immediately slain by the Maltese, but they perished with cries of prayer upon their lips. Now things would be settled with the sword and musket!

Georgia, Diplomacy: Cilicia / Tarsus (ea)
Lucuan, fearing that the tense diplomatic situation in Cilica might soon expand into a shooting war with Syria, took his personal troops into the field, put all border garrisons on alert and ordered the construction of a wide range of fortifications along the mountainous Georgian border. In Cilicia, meantime, the Lord Arslan undertook immediate negotiations with the Sheikh of Tarsus, even as the Syrian army advanced against his camps. The Sheikh was willing to pay a heavy tax, but he stopped short of open alliance with the northerners. Arslan barely avoided death at the guns of a pair of Lybian assassins who ambushed him in the privies in the palacio of Tarsus.

So, Arslan found himself facing 40,000 Syrians by himself, with only 29,000 Georgians and Cappadocians at Misis ( March 1687 ) on the Ceyhan river, just north of Tarsus. The Georgians arrayed themselves on hills behind the river, and prepared to slaughter the Syrians with shot as they crossed in the reedy shallows. Unfortunately, Prince Hosuan had a better command of the terrain - he sited his guns on the heights behind his side of the river, then attacked with his infantry under the cover of a withering counter-battery while his cavalry ( commanded by Sultan Omar, no less! ) swung north and crossed the Ceyhan at a ford some miles away.

The Georgian guns were smashed within the first hour by the superior range of the Syrian field pieces, and the Syrian infantry weathered the flurry of shot, arrows and crossbow fire that was inflicted on them. In good order, they charged up the shallow slope into the lines of the Georgians, bayonets fixed. The shock of their impact buckled the entire Georgian line back three ranks, and a fierce melee ensued under the hot morning sun. Meantime, Omar's cavalry had ridden hard down the Lyosis road and had ( by noon ) engaged Arslan's cavalry on the right flank. Outnumbered three to one, the Georgian knights were overrun and the Syrian lancers slashed into the unprotected, smoke shrouded, flank of the Georgian infantry.

Arslan was killed by a Syrian lancer within the hour, as he tried to form his troops into a square, and his army disintegrated. The Cappadocian duke was clubbed from his horse and taken prisoner. Hosuan's troops then scattered to mop up the field and take prisoners and loot. Omar's horsemen, seeing the rich pickings that their cousins were getting, ignored his commands to keep order and screen the south road. So it was that the Sheikh of Tarsus and his army came upon the Syrians in poor order late in the day. He, at last, had been convinced that honor required that he stand by his liege lord.

Thus, in the slanting gold rays of the afternoon sun, his knights thundered across the smoke-shrouded field in great wedges of steel and iron. The Syrian infantry that was busily looting the Georgian pack-train was ridden down and slain in gory passage. Behind the Ceyhan, on the bluffs, the Syrian artillerists stared in horror as the Cilician horse stormed into the disordered ranks of their brothers in arms. Immediate slaughter was the result, and Hosuan was frantic to rally his men back into ranks and form a front against the bands of Cilician horsemen running riot through the field. Heavy casualties the Syrians took before night fell and they had gathered themselves and extricated themselves from the field.

At dawn, however, they advanced again to the beat of the drum and the shrilling of the war-pipes and the snap and flutter of signal banners. And lo, the Cilician army was still upon the field! In the carnage of the previous day, the Sheikh had believed that the Syrian army had been broken. Not so, and now he paid in men for the lesson. The Syrians won the second day at Misis handily, scattering the Cilician horse and driving the Shiekh back to Tarsus. Then he was forced to abandon that city as well and flee in the mountains of Cappadocia. Omar contented himself with the recapture of Cilicia.

In other news, a Danish marine commando team ( landing from shallow draft boats in the coves along the Sea of Marmara ) attacked the residence of the Georgian governor of Bithnia and killed many of the Georgians in residence there. The Danish commander, Allgaier, who was held in the residence, was freed and spirited back to Constantinople.

Lybia, Diplomacy: No Effect
Hasan continued his efforts to keep all of the engineers, carpenters and stonemasons in the Emirate fully employed, as extensive fortifications were added to Al-Rhemish, Tobruq and Dungunab. A new series of water cisterns were built in Alexandria as well. Lord Maradah returned from the New World with his fleet and companies of feyaheen warriors. Though there had been no fighting to speak of, they had a nice trip and were well pleased with the native women they had acquired and the mangoes. The sheikh Salah, governor of Aswan, was killed by an outraged husband after he was discovered in the company of an Aswani matron and her daughters.

Just to get their licks in, a very large Lybian fleet and army landed on the Lydian coast under the command of General Beshar and seized the Georgian provinces of Lydia and Bithnia. The Georgians were pretty shocked by this, as the quarrel with Syria ( as far as they knew ) had nothing to do with Lybia.

1687 AD - 1690 AD T181

Georgia vs. Syria, Lybia, Persia, Sweden and Khirgiz

Persia, Diplomacy: None
One of Maqrizi's new commanders, Atabeg Chormag, now took that fresh 30,000 man army and marched it west into Tabaristan with orders to smash all resistance and "clean it out". This, with some advice from Bashar Siddig, he did with great energy and fervor. The Georgian garrison was slaughtered, along with many villagers. In line with this operation, the Naiman Kitbuqa took a fleet to Colchis ( via the Khirgiz canals ) to reinforce the Persian garrison there, lest the Georgian attack it.

Syria, Diplomacy: None
Before the storm broke, the Syrians raised a new city, Nuf, on the northern Sinai coast, bordering the Gulf of Cyprus. This new settlement was, in turn, handed over to the rule of the Duchy of the Isles. The newly conquered province of Cilicia was granted satrapy status, even as the Syrian army abandoned the province, falling back towards Mesopotamia. Unfortunately for Omar's plans, the province immediately revolted in favor of the absent Sheyikh. Too, the bey of Diyala died at the beginning of 1689 of the ague. His lands were placed under the direct rule of one of Omar's appointed governors. Finally, the Lebanese levies were sent west from Cilicia into Isauria in preparation for an attack on Phyriga. The revolt of the Cilicians stranded them, however, and they wound up camped in Antalya, eating bread and olives.

The dire events that would so haunt the Syrians began simply enough, with the death by strangulation of the Galatian prince that they had captured in Cilicia just previously. This was followed by the death of Omar, and the wounding of Hosuan, in an ambush along the Homs road. Hosuan pressed on to Baghdad, his heart filled with fear. Arriving there, he learned that Lord Hafiz ( who had been left in command of the city ) had been slain in a gruesome episode that had also included the deaths of Prince Mohen and Princess Ofra. Hosuan was stricken with grief - his children and his father were dead, the war was turning evil. There were 20,000 Persian mercenaries camped outside of Baghdad...

This last shocked the Sultan into full clarity. Though the city fathers assured him that the Persians were friendly, and had come to defend the capital against Georgian attack, Hosuan was filled with grave foreboding! He rushed his men to the gates, but his lead companies found them flung wide, and the Persians pouring into the city with the aid of some malcontents within the city!

A fierce struggle ensued in the winding, narrow, streets of Baghdad. The Persians attacked along several angles of approach, attempting to reach the Sultan's palace. The Syrians, dispersed throughout the city, struggled to form a cohesive defence. Here, again, the superior elan of the Syrian guards regiments, first held and then smashed back the mercenary attacks. Once Hosuan coordinated the defence, the condotierri were driven out of the city. Many surrendered, and others were chopped down in the close-quarters fighting. Hosuan, once more, was master of his own capital.

This was not the only trouble afflicting the Realm, however, for various groups desiring the fall of Omar ( and now Hosuan ) had risen up in Mardin, Beirut, Homs, and Damascus to test the mettle of the local garrisons. In Mardin the local satrap was strung up by the rioters and then the whole province rose up, casting out the pro-Syrian faction. In the other cities, there was fighting, but the local authorities were able to crush the rebels. Part of the Damascene university was burned down, though.

Georgia, Diplomacy: Aleppo / Antioch( t )
Lucuan, knowing that all matter of hell and damnation was about to burst over his tiny nation like the thunderbolts of the gods, gathered up his family and fled into the high mountains of Lazica. Behind him, he left General Awad and a strong force to hold Cerkes as long as they might. As luck would have it, the coffers of Georgia were deep enough to employ a sizable force of mercenaries to assist Awad in this defence.

The Georgians were not willing to stand still and take it on the chin, however; they mustered their forces in Cappadocia and waited for events to play out south of the mountains. Once they learned that Hosuan had returned to Baghdad, and was locked in battle there, they swept down out of the high passes, passed through Cilicia ( where they were greeted by cheering crowds ) and into Aleppo. The rulers of that province, who had only given Omar meager allegiance, were more than happy to bow before Lucuan and to pledge him their loyalty. The Georgians then slashed down the highway into Palmyra. Homs, already weakened by the rioting, surrendered to Lucuan, and the city fathers gave him many gifts of gold and slaves. Mosul and Ar'Raqqah were next to fall, undefended by Hosuan and his army, which had chosen to stand their ground at Baghdad. So Lucuan found his enemy, hiding in his den, teeth bared.

23,000 Georgians now came to the walls of the greatest city in the world, and Hosuan had a strong defence, 14,000 men, all veterans. "No one is coming to save you," shouted Lucuan's heralds to the men atop the walls, "surrender and bow before our lord, and you will be spared." The Syrians hurled back refuse and offal. "Never!", they shouted, "go back to your hill-women and goats!" Lucuan knew this would be their answer. He did not have the men to break the city, but the spectre of starvation had brought low many mighty places, and he had time...

While Lucuan waited, and his men were busy digging a great fosse around the city, the Cilicians roamed the countryside, murdering Syrian governors, tax-collectors and other appurtanances of rule. Arbiliq and Circis were lost to the Syrians in this way, and became independent domains once more. Still, the stores of grain in Baghdad were vast, and the Euphrates brought water to the city, despite an attempt to divert the river into the lowlands to the west. Hosuan was still in command, and unbowed as 1690 came to and end.

Khirgizia, Diplomacy: None
Alexandros, eager to please the power to the north, agreed to supply a large Swedish army that would soon be crossing the Khirgiz domain in return for the lands to the south currently held by the infidel Georgians. He soon learned that such efforts were not without consequence as the duke of Taman revolted against his rule, hissing that "we shall never lick the boots of Sweden!" When the Swedish Expedition passed through Khazar, they were joined by Lord Grigoriev and 12,000 Khirgiz horse troops.

After the northerners had marched away south, Torev was quick to open the crates and boxes that the emissaries of Claudia had left - this time they contained a cloisonne blue and white suit of parade armor ( sized for Torev ), a matched pair of engraved and gilded long barrelled and rifled flintlock pistols ( for Alexandros ), and several stuffed colorful Afriqan and Amerikan birds.

These fine gifts only presaged an even stronger Swedish presence in the steppe-lands of Khirgiz, as Torev was betrothed to the Princess Sonja Tukhachevsky, one of Empress Claudia's nieces. A great wedding celebration was held in Sarai, to which many hundreds of dignitaries came. Alexandros was well pleased at acquiring such a noble match for his charge. The disparity in ages was overlooked, even though it seemed more that Sonja was Torev's mother ( she was eighteen and he nine ) than wife.

Empire of Swedish Russia, Diplomacy: None
Claudia, expressing considerable martial delight, addressed the Senate and announced that, in accordance with the international arrangements with the realms of Khirgiz and Persia, that Sweden was formally declaring war upon the disintegrating Georgian regime. Two expeditionary forces, one by land and one by sea, were already on their way to Georgia, as was a strong force of Khirgiz. The Georgians in the capital, mainly a trade representative, were immediately placed in protective custody and all Georgian ships in Swedish waters were interned.

The Swedish attack on Georgia consisted of two main thrusts - one by sea from the fleet at Merrakesh ( sealifting the Siege Corps, as well as V Corps and the Knights of Adoration ), which passed throught the Golden Horn and landed in force outside of Cerkes at the end of 1689. The land expedition ( under Anderks and Sourov ) was still hacking its way through Kuban and the Caucasus when Torstensen's men landed. The Georgian general Awad, therefore, was able to engage the seaborne attack with his full strength.

The Swedish landed 15,000 marines at Chakva to find 21,000 Georgians poised to sweep down upon the beaches. It was a debacle for Sweden as Torstensen lost the landing force entire, and was sorely wounded himself trying to evacuate the survivors in the bloody surf. The fleet was forced to abandon the shore and seek harborage at the Persian city of Colchis in Paphlagonia.

Meantime, Anderks and the far larger Swedish army had overrun Kuban ( which became a Khirgiz protectorate ) but had been stopped by winter snows from crossing the Caucasus. Spring of 1690, however, saw them fighting Awad's men in the passes at Khlukorsky, though now the Swedes had 50,000 men to throw at Awad's defences. Despite a strong position and a ferocious defence, Awad lost the battle in the passes and then the Swedish and Khirgiz cavalry chopped apart his men as they attempted to retreat. Cerkes was soon besieged. The siege-corps relanded from the fleet, and the skies over the city soon darkened with the ominous shapes of Swedish draken. Awad, again, fought fiercely, but against the weight of Swedish guns, he had little chance and Cerkes fell. The Swedes, however, stayed the hand of their troops and did not despoil the city, or its inhabitants. Georgia, and the town of Baku, were also captured. Both provinces were placed under the administration of the Khirgiz.

Lybia, Diplomacy: No effect
Hasan showed the merchants what they could expect from him when he appeared at the gates of Oran with 28,000 men ( nearly all Emirate Guards ) and a massive fleet. The Falconer captain al'Baha, seeing destruction on the wind, fled with his small squadron of armed merchantmen to the west, slipping the noose now drawn tight by the Lybian fleet and army. The Oranii, however, did fight to protect their city, though the first assault of Lybian guardsmen carried the main gate and then the citadel.

Cruelly, the only casualty of note was Hasan himself, slain by a hurled paving stone within moments of entering the city. His body was carried away in state by his Guardsmen, and word sent to Prince Awab that he, now, ruled the Lybian state. Within the realm, of a wonder, there was little dissention, save for the ever-rambunctious Tunisians, who refused to pledge new oaths of fealty to Awad.

1687 AD - 1692 AD T182

Georgia vs. Syria, Lybia, Sweden, Denmark and Khirgiz

Persia, Diplomacy: None
"I'm not surprised," said Maqrizi with a fatalistic shrug, "why should the richest and most powerful empire in the world be able to hire some mercenaries to do its bidding?" The lack of mercenary condotta to aid the Persians in the doings that were now coming to a head did not slow Maqrizi at all. Messengers hurtled the length of the empire bearing orders to the frontiers, to the provincial capitals, to the mountain-top fortresses of the clan chiefs. The Khan of Khans summoned all Persia to war and from Kuwait to Balkash and Kabul to Hamadan all his subjects hastened to obey. Two full new armies of 26,000 men were raised from the qizilbâsh at Ormuz in Bandar and placed under the command of lord Kirakos and the Bashar Qum. The frontier city of Al-Harkam in Carmania was fortified and its garrison reinforced.

While the empire girded for war, Tuat was distracted by the deaths of his old teacher, and longtime advisor, El-Waz, who perished of yellow fever in Tehran in the winter of 1691, and his daughter Denak, who was five. The Atatbeg Chormag, whose army had seized Tabaristan from Georgia previously, now abandoned that province and marched his men the length of the empire to the Khyber pass. Even as winter settled with icy fang upon the Hindu Kush, Chormag launched an attack into Aballachi Und.

Chormag's attack was met with great success, as the mostly Moslem population of Und and Peshawar rose up in wild revolt even as his first cavalry patrols rode out of the Khyber onto the flat plain of the Upper Indus. Finding no Aballachi forces to oppose his advance, Chormag pressed on, overrunning Punjab and seizing Sahis. Lahore was besieged, though the Persians made no move to assail the walls of the city. Starvation would bring low the defenders.

In the south, the two new armies raised at Ormuz marched east through Carmania and into Edrosia, where the the Lord Ayof and Duchess Elionwy found themselves and the 'home guard' besieged inside the Black Tower. Fifty thousand Persians set up camp outside the mighty walls of the city and, to the unending horror of the Hussites within, began building a mighty circumvallation. Thousands of Persians labored in the blazing sun to throw up a double-ring of fortifications around the landward side of the city, while at sea the Persian fleet arrived under the command of the Amir Ibn al As to place the city under blockade.

To make matters worse, within the city the Hindic and Sikh underclass was growing restive - intermittent attacks on Hussite townsfolk culminated in the unexpected and devastating explosion of the number four powder store, an event that set part of the city afire and killed hundreds. Ayof had sufficent troops to man the walls, fight the fires and to keep the Persians off if they made a probe at the defences of the Tower, but there was no hope that the siege would be broken by his force of arms. Morale in Schwarzkastel was abyssal.

Messengers from Jiddah had reached Persian outposts on the Warm Sea and carried a tale of infidel invasion and piracy, So, Ibn al As departed in the spring of 1692 to deal with the incursion of the Timorese into Arabian waters, but returned soon after to continue the blockade. That worthy admiral died late in the year of black bile, but Ibn Faras Asad took command of the fleet. Sind was occupied by the Persians to secure the approaches to Edrosia. So things stood at the end of 1692, with the Persians showing every patience.

Syria, Diplomacy: None
The Sultan and his men in Baghdad settled in for a long siege - well, they hoped that it would be a long siege! Syrian commanders in the west raised new armies at Beirut and Akko to attack the Georgian rear areas. Otherwise, Hosuan hoped that the attacks of the western powers would relieve some of the pressure from him... sadly this was not the case, nor was he himself able to avoid a severe wound at the hands of assassins ( even in the heart of Baghdad ) despite ferocious defence on the part of a collection of boyguards rarely equalled in recent times. His trusted aid, Ali ben-Korhes, was killed however and now the situation became quite grim in the city.

Georgia, Diplomacy: None
Unlike many others, the Georgians were able to obtain the services of many mercenary companies - gathering them at Ar-Raqqah in support of their campaign against Baghdad. Galtos brought these reinforcements to the city, where Lucuan offered the wounded Hosuan 'honors of war' if he would surrender the city. Hosuan refused, even though famine now weakened his men. Now that Lucuan was reinforced, he launched a strong attempt to capture the city. An attempt by Swedish agents to kill Lucuan was rather easily foiled by his guardsmen. At the same time, the Cilicians swung back to the west to deal with the Syrians in the Levant, and an army was sent to seize Diyala. Both Diyala ( and Khanaqin ) and Edessa ( and Marah ) were captured by the Georgians by the end of 1692.

The siege of Baghdad lasted for three months in its active phase, as Lucuan and his army hammered at the walls, bastions and gates of the great city. The Syrians put up a fierce defence and the battlements were washed crimson by the dying. Yet in the end the numbers of Georgian, Persian and Egyptian troops were too much and the last of the Syrians fell defending the palace of the Sultan. Hosuan, near dead from fever and his wounds, was captured. Those Syrians that had surrendered in the last hours of fighting were slain and the Sultan locked away deep in the dungeons of the palace.

In the west the Cilicians rode up the great highway to Homs, then - learning that the Lebanese shi'a had attacked into Aleppo - hastened on to meet the new threat. The Cilicians, numbering some 8,000 men, caught the 2,400 Lebanese outside of the town of Idlib and destroyed the raiders. The Cilician horse then swung south and overran Syria, capturing Damascus.

The Syrian state was forced to relocate what remained of its government to Akko in Levant, where Hosuan's cousin Sadir, was proclaimed Sultan.

Khirgia, Diplomacy: Taman( nt )
At the orders of the regent Alexandros, any and all Georgians caught within the confines of Khirgiz proper ( merchants, travellers, etc. ) were arrested and crucified. Their bodies were used to line the roads leading into Astarkhan atop high iron poles and feed the crows. Explaining these harsh acts to some horrified Persians that were visiting, Alexandros said "Fie upon the skulking slinky dogs of Islam and their false god! Despicable backstabbing loathesome worms, we spit upon you and your nasty heretical prophet!"

In the previously Georgian domains, Lord Grigoriev was reinforced by another 12,000 men from the north and a passel of Jesuits and domini-canes. So equipped, the Khirgiz undertook a deadly campaign of religious conversion in Abasigia itself. When the mosque burning began, the populace rose up in fanatical revolt under a blinded religious leader named P'aul - after an unexpected defeat at Kosenos in the spring of 1691 the Khirgiz were forced to fall back into Cerkes to regroup. In the fall, however, Grigoriev counter-attacked and scattered P'aul's forces into the mountains. Cerkes and Abasigia were at least nominally Catholic by the end of 1692.

Swedish Empire of Russia, Diplomacy: None
And in Anatolia, the marsk Sourov had marched his army out of Cerkes and slashed west along the coast of the Sea of Darkness through Pontus, Galatia and into Paphlagonia. The Georgians having long abandoned those provinces, the campaign was an easy one and all three of these provinces ( as well as the cities of Trebizond and Amisus ) became part of the new Exarchate. Piotr was more than a little ill to see the state of his new palace in Treb ( the Polish Light Horse had had it before him ). By the end of 1692 they had returned to Cerkes to find that parts of the city had been burned down in the religious fighting.

General Anderks, meantime, had charged off at the beginning of 1691 in pursuit of the recently fled Georgian government. The trail led him and his men up into the snowcapped peaks of Lazica, through Armenia itself and finally down through the Gordian passes into Kurdistan. Harried by Kurdish bandits, Georgian garrisons and harsh weather, Anderks reached the highland plateau of El'Burz in the winter of 1691. His scouts reported that the Georgian government had fled to the Persian city of Tehran and was currently enjoying a lot of hot baths and home-cooked meals while he and his men were dying of frostbite and hunger under the shoulder of Posht Kûh. Still, the location of the enemy was well known and his orders were clear...

The Swedish force filtered down out of the hills into Persia proper as soon as it was even vaugely possible to move in the mountains. The streams swollen with snowmelt were forded at hard cost in men and horse. The high country villages were plundered for food and bearers. Anderks came down with 12,000 grimy, weathered, hunger-thinned, men - yet all were filled with fire to see the Georgian scum brought to bay. With haste they force-marched to Tehran, avoiding the main roads and leaving no witnesses to their progress. At last Tehran was in view, a city of shining towers and minarets. Anderks ordered his remaining cavalry to swing wide of the city and prevent any fleeing citizens from alerting the Persian government.

His supposition that his scouts and pickets were the match of the Kurdish mountain-men in the pay of the Georgians was ill advised. His progress had been watched since he and his army left Abasigia a year and a half before. Even his invasion of Persia itself had been relayed to the Imperial government in Bukhara. Now, as the Swedish marines hustled towards the walls of Tehran, a mighty trap was sprung.

The Persian army under Maqrizi had hurried forth from Bukhara to deal with the Christian incursion. Now, as Anderks and his commando prepared to fall upon the unprepared city, a thousand trumpets sounded and the mighty roll of drums echoed back from the walls and battlements. The startled Swedes halted in horror and the sky behind the minarets of the city was suddenly filled with flight after flight of draken. From the hills around and about ten thousand pennants unfurled and Anderks crossed himself to see ten times ten thousand lances spring forth from the fields, glittering like stars under the morning sun. All about the Swede, the host of Imperial Persia rose, more than a hundred thousand strong.

A rider approached the Swedes, who had as training required, formed a square. Brightly caprisoned was his mount, and his mustaches waxed to long points. His bearing was noble, his face strong and his eyes bright with humor. He reined in before the grim-faced marines and raised his kidskin gloved hand in greeting.

"Ho, northerners!" said the knight in passable Norman, "Who commands here, amongst you?"

Anderks stepped forward, his grizzled beard thrust forward in defiance. "I, Anderks, son of Anderks, command here. Summon your master, herald, I will speak with him of terms."

The rider laughed, his long dark braids spilling over his mailed shoulder. "Should my master come, northerner, the sky wouldst split and all heaven shine down. I am Maqrizi, the master of this land and all that dwell in it. By whose leave do you come creeping, seeking to harm those under my protection?"

Anderks swallowed, for he now knew that the King of Kings stood no less than a lance-length from him. His heart was glad to see the uncommon bravery of the man. Yet he too had his pride; "I come in the name of Octavia, Empress of Russia, Queen of Sweden. My men and I seek criminals and diabolists of the darkest stripe - worshippers of the dark gods - men who cower in yonder city, under your flag."

Tuat patted the side of his horses head and nodded in agreement. "Aye, general, the men you seek do currently reside in my city. They have sought my protection and I have given it. I know the fears that drive your Queen, and you, ,to such extent - but I tell you now that you shall not have them." The Shahhanshah waved to the mighty host that stood to arms in all four quarters of the world. "I will tell you how things will transpire. You will lay down your arms and you will accompany me, as befits honored guests, to glorious Bokhara and there you will be entertained and feted as never before - and in time, as arranged between your Queen and I, you will see your homes again."

And so the Khan of Khans spoke, and so it was done.

1687 AD - 1694 AD T183

Georgia vs. Syria, Lybia, Sweden, Denmark and Khirgiz

Syria, Diplomacy: None
His back to the wall, and his Moslem allies deserting him, Sadir made a deal with the devil and granted the Danish Empire a protectorate over the province of Leavant as well as the city of Jerusalem. The port of Akko, his current capital, Sadir kept for the Sultanate. More levies were raised and a new army cobbled together in the capital. With these forces, the Sultan cowered in Akko, waiting for relief...

Georgia, Diplomacy: Carhae/Mardin( nt ), Arbiliq/Kirkuk( nt )
For his part, Lucuan and his men labored mightily to repair the defences of Baghdad. At the same time, many refugees were trickling down from the north and from Persia to join the Georgian army, which had decided to make a stand at the ancient metropolis. Lucuan breathed a huge sigh of relief when word began to reach him that the Persians had convulsed in civil war; it meant just a little more time for him to prepare. Digging continued and new walls were raised.

Swedish Empire of Russia, Diplomacy: None
Aside from spending a lot of blood in the Persian highlands, the Swedish engagement in the Middle East continued to expand as money and missionaries were poured into Trebizond and other Swedish Corps continued to keep the peace in Cerkes.

Danish Empire, Diplomacy: No effect
The Emperor then spoke out to the assembled nobles and lords of the Empire; "We have travelled far and seen much, much that has long been shrouded in darkness. We have seen true evil and We have grappled with it in unknown places. Darkness is moving against us, against all civilization. Many men who profess the light have corrupt hearts and the worst of these traitors hide amongst the peoples of the East. Indeed, the nation of Georgia is ruled entire by the minions of the gods of darkness. Even now they threaten Holy Jerusalem with their corruption. We will not allow this to transpire. Jerusalem will be saved. Georgia must be destroyed!"

Kristatos was true to his word, within weeks of these pronouncements no less than four separate armies of Danish troops landed on the Levantine coast. The generals Kann and Sasias made landfall at Akko and spent a month unloading 40,000 men and their horses and equipment. At the same time, another Danish force of considerable size landed in Aleppo and laid siege by land and sea to Antioch. The Syrian government welcomed the heathens, showing how weak its position was, and urged its people to accept the aid and assistance of the Danes. These pleas met with little warm reception. Many still remembered the recent attempts by the Danes to take the Holy Land by force.

The Danes were at last ashore and marched inland, passing the Sea of Galilee and climbing up the hills beyond to enter Jordan. Sullen villages passed by as they marched into the east. They entered Syria and found that the Georgians had abandoned the province, leaving Damascus a burned out ruin ( again ). Syrian troops slunk along behind the Danish army, reoccupying and restablishing Syrian control over Suria, Palmyra and Mosul as the Danes advanced far east into the heart of Georgian territory. At last, the fields and dykes of Mesopotamia were reached and Kann and Sasisas looked out over the plain of a hundred cities. A molten sun beat down upon them, but both had served in Mansura and knew its heat. Baghdad lay ahead.

Within that mighty city, Lucuan had gathered his remaining armies to him, calling all of his allies and feudatories to him. Despite the thought of the Dane, he did not account any mercenaries part of his company - they were all well employed in Persia. Still, he had mustered 22,000 men to defend Baghdad. Kann was not impressed by the siegeworks and ordered his men to encircle the city and begin putting up a revetment and ditch to trap the Georgians within.

The second siege of Baghdad ( April 1694 ) was a nasty affair, filled with pestillence and death and the screams of the dying. There was no honor to be had in the mud of the trenches, or the gun pits that ringed the embattled metropolis. Despite struggling with a very long supply line ( all the way back to Akko then by ship to Thessaloniki ), the Danish engineers knew their business and had shredded the Georgian defence within weeks. Imperial Danish infantry swarmed through the breaches into the city and then it was just cruel work, house to house, until all of the Georgians were dead. Then the Danes really cut loose, slaughtering thousands in the city in a wild attempt to smash the heart of the Georgian cause. The Syrians, horrified, attempted to halt this massacre, but were unable to prevent the deaths of many.

Sated, the Danes returned to the Levant, where they celebrated a Christmas mass at Bethlehem. Neither Kann nor Sasias lived to see the new year, however, as both suffered from a shivering sickness that claimed then a few days after Christmas.

Lybia, Diplomacy: Not much apparent effect

1687 AD - 1695 AD T184
Georgia vs. Syria, Lybia, Sweden, Denmark and Khirgiz

Syria, Diplomacy: None
Great quantities of wheat, maize, barley and cotton were sent into Persia ( before the troubles really began ) to aid the great benefactor of the Syrian state. Sadir, at last, was able to begin rebuilding his army, and the peace agreement with Georgia meant that much of his lost kingdom was returned to him. A new university and school was opened in Akko. The emir al'Adora was sent north to Antioch to secure the rule of that province from the Danes, who were withdrawing back to their new protectorate of Levant. The provinces of Diyala, Arbiliq, Carhae, Edessa and Cilicia were all returned to Syrian rule by the settlement with Georgia. Unfortunately for the Syrians, neither Cilicia nor Carhae desired to be under the thumb of the Four and there were insufficent troops to garrison those provinces, which became indipendent.

The Syrian ambassador to the Court of Octavia, Empress of Sweden, was dragged onto the carpet over the matter of a small loan that the Syrian government had failed to reimburse the state bank on. Octavia, regal in her silver robes, lambasted the poor fellow for more than an hour on fiscal responsibility before telling him that the Crown had made good the debt and he would be wise not to be so irresponsible in the future. In comparison, the Danish ambassador to Sadir's court in Akko was quite gracious and made fine restitution in gold and silver coin to the citizens of Bahgdad for the losses they had lately suffered.

Georgia, Diplomacy: Small effect
Gazan, having ascended to the blood-stained throne of Georgia, and having cast aside the darkness that had so infected his predecessors mind, laid his pride down for the good of his people and made peace with Syria, Sweden and Denmark. He considered peace with Khirgiz as well, but events in that benighted country so horrified and disgusted him that he could not countenance such an action. As part of the peace brokered by Denmark, Georgia abandoned the provinces of Edessa, Diyala and Arbiliq to the Syrians. An attempt was made to turn Cilicia over as well, but the citizenry refused and the Syrians did not have sufficent troops to convince them otherwise, so that province remained within the Georgian domains.

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