Q'aba Jihad, The

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1633-1634 T153
Sultanate of Syria: The Syrians, committed to the war in Africa, moved up a fleet to support the army in Mogadishu. The fleet commander, based at Tuamorotu on Socotra, received several conflicting sets of orders, but decided to follow the ones that ordered him south to sweep the Masai coast clear of the Copts.

Mecca, Ramadan, 1633. Thousands of the faithful are close pressed in the passages and halls leading to the court of the rock of the star. Nubians, Syrians, Indians, all races and colors are represented here as the swirling mass of humanity surges forward through the chained walkways to the great square. There, under the vast black edifice of the Qaba lies the Holy of Holies, the Black Rock that fell from the stars to mark the Ascendance of the Prophet Mohammed. Princes, kings, shepherds, all must come at least once in their lives to make the haj, the pilgrimage to the center of all Islam.

Today,as the great gates, scribed with the words of the Quran in lapis-lazuli and gold, grind wide, the backs of hundreds of the faithful heaving against the ancient cedar doors, the imams and mullahs raise their hands to the rising sun and sing the praises of Allah. The pale rays of the Arabian dawn fall across the spreading carpets that blanket the ground of the Great Square, picking out delicate blues, red and god. The vast canopy that shades the Qaba is flushed with the red of dawn as well, though by day it will show only a deep black.

The eldest of the imams strides across the thick carpets to the Stone itself, his duties to offer the first prayer of the day to the memory of the camel-merchant that reshaped the world. His beard is white and curled in rings, his eyes deep and blue. Through nigh eighty years, his step is strong and his hands steady as he parts the curtains of cloth-of-gold that shroud the inner mystery from the eyes of men.

His strangled cry of horror echoes back from the arching vaults of the surrounding palace, rippling through the packed masses of the believers in the cool dimness of the grand hall. Guards in the white turbans and red sashes of the mujhadin leap forward from their seats at the sides of the Great Gate.

At his side, as the eldest grovels before the looming mass of the Qaba, they stare in horror, lips drawn back in a grim rictus of despair. The black stone, long polished smooth from the hands and kisses of the faithful, lies still in its deepset cubicle in the side of the vast monument. Yet now it lies broken into pieces, smeared with dung and white fat. Spattered above the cubicle are words in Aramaic, cursing all Islam and the people of Mohammed to eternal fire for their sins. The chief guard, eyes pits of fear, turns from the ruin of the Holy of Holies.

"Copts", comes his broken voice, "the revenge of New Salem has come...". Yea, for the ankh and cross of the great Coptic Church is slashed in blood above the cubicle and twists of ganga lie burnt before the desecration. One of the medallions that comemorated the Lybian-Egyptian victories was brazenly displayed as well.

The days that followed at Mecca were after known as the "Hours of the Devils" for the throng of pilgrims at the gates and in the many camps around the Holy City raged and rampaged for five days and nights, slaughtering their fellows and drenching the ground with blood. As the pilgrims fled they carried the word of the defilement and the architects of that atrocity to the far corners of the Earth...

The fires of anger that flashed then throughout the Moslem world found tinder of greater and less fuel. In Syria itself the wars against the Cleansing Fire had slain well all of those who held Islam first in their hearts The Merchant Council was pressured on all sides to restore order in Mecca and ensure that no such thing occured again. So too was trade with the Copts hotly debated. As Dirgham was in the south, commanding a fleet against the infidels already, the Council was forced to close the Egyptian border and all Syrian ports to Coptic shipping.

The tribes of the interior could offer up little (their zeal having been extinguished in the great war of the Cleansing Fire as well) but the southern princes and emirs could and did, gathering a host of lances and spears like the stars in the heavens at Sana in Aden. From there they struck north and expunged the Coptic province of Yemen (from where, doubtless, the perfidious ones had organized their defiling strike) slaughtering the Lybian garrison and razing Burhine to the very stones. From thence they marched north to Madina and swore terrible oaths upon the violated shrines.

The Northern Jihad: Encamped at Akko in Levant, sharpening their swords and cleaning their guns.

Lybia: ...Later in 1633 this did not seem to be such a swell plan as the news of the defilement of Mecca sprinted from one end of the Sahara to the other and the western tribes. The Berbers and Tauregs of the westrn periphery exploded into violence. Combining under the guidance of the war-chief and raider Pharusii they descended upon the Masai trade station at Awlil with intent to destroy and ravage. Sadly for their plan they found the city far too well defended for them to take, though they drove all Masai out of the province. Gathering local levies they pressed north up the coast, storming through Arguin like the wind. Again they gathered local forces and destroyed Emphyro (which was undefended) before sweeping into Idjil to find themselves facing... The Aztec army!

Federal Imperial Republic of Ethiopia: Emperor Hailie first learned of the Jihad with the arrival of refugee ships from Burhine in Aseb. Alarmed, he dispatched riders south to recall his army with all due speed! The excitements in the south, however, delayed their arrival and Hailie spent a lot of time tearing his hair out. Near the end of 1634 he looked up in horror from his desk to see (through a high window in the fortress of Debaraj) a great black fleet sweeping into the Gulf of Tadjoura. The Emperor made a swift choice and abandoned the province for the safety of the highlands. Issas and Debaraj fell in fire and slaughter to the enraged Musselmen from India.

Indian-Arabian Jihad: Encamped at Medina and in Djibuti.

The Axamaloatl Kingdom of Mixteca: The Mixtecs, upon hearing that the Jihad had roused the tribes of the Sahara to blood and slaughter, declared that none would pass their lands to invade Egypt! The Mixtec DeathJackal Legion also undertook campaigns against the tribes of Kanuri and Zerma, and exacted tribute from both and undying oaths of loyalty to the Axamaloa.

Beyond the Mixtec frontier, the jihad stirred and swelled in the tribes of the Borkou and Faya, erupting into a sweeping attack by those tribes that rolled across the Egyptian frontier and reclaimed the provinces of Batha, N'Jimi, Kreda, Salamat, Wadai and Darounga from the Copts. Understand that the JIhadii did not take these provinces but turned them back to the native peoples (who resumed Islam as well). Koumogo, cut off from the rest of Egypt, revolted.

The Maasai Kingdom: The Egypto-Lybian-Syrian army, meantime, that had been waiting at Mogadishu at last recieved the word of the Jihad and, needless to say, there was a great deal of consternation. The Syrians were outraged that Coptics would so cruelly treat them; the Copts and Catholics were equally outraged that someone would defile their honor so! Generals Saladin, Ram'sos and Kilij all appealed for calm and were faced with thousands of angry troops. Despite virulent rumor (including one regarding the death of Emperor Hailie at Arab hands) calm was maintained and the troops remanded to barracks. Sultan Dirgham arrived with the Syrian fleet and was soon joined by the Egyptian General Tusan. Emir Yusuf and the survivors of the fleet action off of the Comoros were next.

At this point council was taken and the Lybians declared that they must needs return home to succor their countrymen who would now face fierce nomadic attack from the west. Thus Yusuf and his men began the long trek north. Dirgham and Ram'sos also conferred and the Egyptians came to the unpalatable conclusion that their own nation would soon be under attack. And so they marched away north as well, leaving General Tusan and a strong force to maintain a watch on the Masai frontier.

The Lybians and Egyptians reached Djibuti itself by the end of 1634, but were unable to come to grips with the Jihadists who had just finished destroying Issas and deBaraj.

Back at Mogadishu, Rotai was finally assaulted and taken by the remaining Egyptians under the command of Tusan. The Syrians, intent on thrashing the remaining Masai, were ordered south by Dirgham. "Devil Copts lie before us and behind! Let us bring low the capital of the Masai for there will be rich loot for all!" Cheering, his men swung south with high hearts. Sweeping into Brava, they assaulted and took Malindi, which was destroyed with much the same vigor and ferocity shown by the Jihadist armies in the north. Dirgham granted generous portions of the loot to his troops and they again marched south.

New Mtwara was again defended, this time by a relatively small army of 23,000 Masai. Seeing that there were no less than 80,000 Syrians were pounding south to kick their bootie, they fell back over the mountains into Kimbu to protect the new capital.

Dirgham was displeased to find that his true target had slipped through his fingers, and gave his men free reign to butcher the hapless inhabitants of NewMtwara in an orgy of destruction and slaughter that caused even veteran officers to blanch in horror. Then laden with gold, slaves and loot of a thousand kinds, the Syrians marched back north, reaching Rotai in Mogadishu by the end of 1634.

1635-1636 T154
Lybia: The Lybians, tired of the fleas, flies and disease of the east Afriqan coastal plain, packed up their bags in Djibuti and returned home to the cool breezes of the Mediterranean and the white-washed houses of New Oran. The threat of the Jihad, of course, had nothing to do with this...

The Sultanate of Syria: The Syrian fleet, which had been laying to at Mogadishu in support of the army, sailed north to Medina where they hoped to meet with the Arabian Jihad and take them aboard ship. However, the Arabian Jihad had already left town at that point. Questioning of the locals revealed that the Jihadii had gone off to kick serious Coptic buttinsky, which meant only one thing! The fleet turned tail, now joined by Admiral Awad, and pushed canvas south to try and rejoin the main army.

The main army, under Saladin, meantime, had marched back south through Brava (crushing the local prince who had barely stuck his head out from under a rock) and into Mombassa again. There they found some jackals sniffing the remains of the thousands of dead left over from previous battles. Saladin eyed the escarpment of the Uluguru range with distaste. The Masai would be lurking behind every rock, bush and ridgetop with a long rifle. Nevertheless, the Sultan ordered and he would obey! The Syrian army marched inland.

No sooner, however, than the Syrians had reached the ridges of the Uluguru than riders came from the coast recalling Saladin and his men, so, footsore and just a little disgruntled, they turned around and marched back to find the expected fleet nowhere in sight....

The Northern Jihad: Unknown to Tughlugh, some of his distant cousins were coming to aid and assist him in his war against the infidels. The Karatao, LangShan, and LobNor tribes had at last recieved the news of the Defilement and, filled with righteous zeal, marched west with the speed of the djinn! By the end of 1636 they had reached Tehran in Persia, green and white banners streaming in the north wind, lances ready to soak up the blood of the defilers!

South of Akko, at the foot of Mount Carmel, the Jihad raised a great fortress (the Rock of Allah) astride the highway leading down the Levantine coast to Mansura and the Krak de Chevaliers. This they garrisoned with strong men and true, to ensure that the road for further feyaheen remained open.

Tughlugh was also well pleased to recieve substantial tributes of grain, cattle and gold from the Syrians. He declared that they were fine Moslems and strong in the spirit of Allah. Well fed and fatted upon the calf, the feyaheen marched south from Akko singing their favorite song "kill, kill, kill the Coptics! Kill, kill, kill the defilers!" with the stirring chorus of "maim! maim! mutilate!".

Tughlugh led off the thrust deep into the heart of the infidel with a swift force of a 100,000 nomadic horse that thundered down the great highway, through the wide fields of Mansura, and into Egypt itself. There the swathe of their burning was great indeed and the skies over Alexandria blackened with a deep pall of smoke, rent only by the lamentations of the populace. The Ethiopians had already abandoned the city, declaring it "open" and had fled south behind the Great Nilotic Wall. Tughlugh and his lancers carved a wide swathe through the hapless citizens clogging the roads south and launched a daring cross-Nile attack from Egypt into Ghebel-Gharib, where the wall defences were least...

30,000 Germans, Italians, Tauregs and Syrians held the river against no less than 176,000 Jihadists. The mercenaries broke even as the first rippling barrage of Jihadist artillery fell among their positions and a hundred thousand throats shook the heavens with a cry of "Allah Muq-hadi!" and swarmed across the broad brown snake of the Nile.

The feyaheen had regouped after chasing down the remaining mercenaries and were preparing to strike across the bridges into Faiyum to take the city of Meroë when, from the south, in a great roil of dust the Ethiopian Host of Jah approached. Tughlugh rallied his lancers and his infantry swarmed forward into their lines, Avar-fashioned muskets and bayonets glittering in the searing desert sun.

The epic battle of Qêna (August, 1636) focussed everything down to one cast of the dice of Fate for the Empire. The Lybians had gone home, the Syrians were having their own problems in the south, the entire Imperial army had been rushed north to engage the Jihad, save for a small force with Emperor Hailie in Darfur. 78,000 Ethiopians took the field in the blasting heat of August against the 173,000 Jihadists. Ram'sos, who had already waded through the carnage of Mersa-Fatma was sick at heart to the see the numberless columns of the Jihad march onto the broken fields and copses of the Nile plain. Tughlugh commanded a vast force, mostly cavalry true, but anchored upon a solid core of Avar and Syriac infantry. Ram'sos sweated, pulling at the thick high collar of his uniform jacket, his men were better trained, long used to standing together. Everything else was against them, numbers, guns, even freshness. Distantly, horns sounded and the Jihadist cavalry began a wide flanking motion. In the center, the Jihad foot advanced at a steady pace under the sea of green banners...

Two days of hammer-and-tongs slugging back and forth ended with the last Ethiopian square going down under the mirror-bright lances and sabers of the Karluk horsemen. Those few Ethiopians who managed to flee the Jihadist pursuit reached Gozer with tales of hideous slaughter and defeat.

By the very end of the turn the Northern Jihad occupied Egypt, Faiyum and Ghebel-Garib. All three provinces (mostly abandoned by the Ethiopians) became Shi'a.

Federal Imperial Republic of Ethiopia: Egyptian armies were hastily mobilized throughout the realm, generals dashing north and south to try and stave off the Jihadist attacks. In the north a motley collection of mercenaries had been thrown together at Meroë and deployed behind the wall.

In the west, the Jihadists in Darounga first crossed into Ennedi to the north (where they found nothing worth their while) and then descended south with frenzied warcries to ravage the lush fields and rich orchards of Darfur... Not! The Emperor himself, with a strong army, was awaiting their invasion and was swift to march to do battle with them. After a sharp engagement the nomads were shown the value of artillery and fled back into the wastes beyond the Wall of Jah.

The Indian-Arabian Jihad: While everyone else was posturing and posing and exchanging notes and throwing dirty laundry out of windows the Indian-Arabian Jihad was attending to matters of greater personal concern, like how they wouldn't mind just a little land to call their own. Medina, in which they were already encamped, was placed under the direct rule of the Pasha and the feyaheen marched north in bright array, stomping Hijaz and Petra under their heel. They ended the turn in Levant, where the supplies and cool breezes of the Rock of Allah under Carmel were welcome to them.

While Bahrun was subduing the Aramaic tribes, Haji Selduz and his men in Djibuti had packed up their kitbags and scampered north into Zeila in hopes of staying a step ahead of the very angry Ethiopian army force-marching out of the south. The Baron of Walaga however, and 5,000 of his cousins, brothers and uncles intercepted them at Mersa-Fatma and blocked their advance (by getting slaughtered) long enough for the main Ethiopian army to catch up and fall upon the feyaheen like sand-devils!

85,000 Ethiopian troops under General Ram'sos, smashed into the 72,000 Jihadi under Haji Selduz on the sandy plain before the looming black walls of Mersa-Fatma with a great cry of "Jah is great!". The green banners of the feyaheen rippled in the strong seaward breeze and then vanished in the catacylsm of smoke and fire as the Jihadist guns opened up.

Despite a ferocious pounding the Ethiopians held to come to grips with the feyaheen and crushed their army in a no-holds-barred toe-to-toe slugfest that left over a hundred thousand dead on the field of battle. Wading in blood, the Ethiops slaughtered the remaining Jihadist troops to win a very costly victory.

The Ethiopian army then was forced to regroup and then march north again to confront the even greater invasion from the north. Luckily, they were joined by another army from the far south and together, again numbering near 80,000 men, they marched into Ghebel-Gharib to find, to their lasting dismay, that the Northern Jihad had already crossed the Nile and scattered the mercenary bands... [Back to the North Jihad results].

Gamo-Gofa, Kefa, Loriu and Chalbi (partially aided by the Masai) revolted by the end of the turn.

Republic of Sud Afriqa: In the Indian Ocean, an RSA squadron seized the Comoros and Zanzibar from the local inhabitants (the Lybians having abandoned both islands some time ago). This force was joined, by the end of 1635 by the rest of the Sud Afriqan fleet as well as a force of marines. The main fleet then sailed north into the Somali Sea where, lo, in ran smack into Sultan Dirgham (and the omnipresent Admiral Awad) and the entire Syrian fleet! The Afriqans seriously mauled the Syrians and they fled (in the end) back to the safety of Basra in Abadan.

Ashore, General Saladin shook his head and marched his army back north (again) chopping his way through Brava and Mogadishu into Scebeli, where he wintered in 1636. The Sud Afriqan fleets dodged around on the coast, liberating Râs Hafun and Berbera from the Ethiopians. Mogadishu, conquered and re-conquered, was indipendent by the end of the turn.

1637-1638 T155
The Sultanate of Syria: Faced with unending trouble, the Syrians declared themselves neutral, at peace with everyone and their army in Scebeli marched north, weary and dulled by endless marching, heading home at last. NurAhan in Scebeli was destroyed, levelled, razed, as a gesture of contempt for the Masai. Dirgham proclaimed his disgust with the ineptitude of the Egyptians. The army, avoiding the rampant conquest of the Egyptian Sultanate, reached Sinai by the end of the turn. Dirgham's ministers in Damascus watched in horrified awe as endless lines of nomadic muhajhin rode out of the east and down the Great Road to Egypt, their lance-tips a flowing river of silver. The historian al-Azif, watching from his balcony for four days and nights, wrote that "whole peoples had moved from the east, in a torrent of humanity, some 600,000 souls I did see pass by, until mine eyes were worn from the counting."

The Sultanate of Egypt: Again, vast wagonloads of food, grain, figs, dates, herds of sheep, long trains of oxen, countless bolts of linen and flax poured into Egypt from Syria to support the fledgling kingdom. Tughlugh turned his sights south, intending to smash the reeling Ethiopians against the Anvil of the southern mountains. To celebrate the coming campaigning season, Tughlugh also ordered the formation of a Drum & Bugle corps to embolden his warriors and to strike fear into the hearts of the mewling wimps of the south. Soon after its formation, the Amir also wrote the first 'fight song' which goes like this...

Allah's Will Is Being Done
As We Form Our New Kingdom
Kill All Of the Infidel
Send Them All Straight To Hell
Kill Kill Kill Kill (Chorus)

Tughlugh led his personal forces south like a storm of locusts through Aswan and into Suakin, where he besieged Gozer.The city, though well defended, could not stand, unaided against the Amir's heavy siege guns and fell at last to the flowing wave of green banners. In the west, the Karluks lanced south along the Nile, sweeping though Thebes, Dongola and Alwa before fetching up at the walls of Mulkur in Kordofan...

Late in 1638 Tughlugh was more than a little concerned to learn of the destruction of the Karluks. These Ethiopians, he thought, they have not yet learned who is the master! I will have to teach them thoroughly... His demeanour was improved, however, by later dispatches that informed him of the arrival of the Arabian feyaheen, as well as those of Borkou.

Federal Imperial Republic of Ethiopia: The Ethiopians ran about screaming "the sky is falling, the sky is falling!". This did little to prepare their nation for the onslaught coming from the north. Emperor Hailie, stricken with grief to see his nation brought so low, died in the winter of 1637, leaving his fourteen year old son, Kuze, to rule a rapidly shrinking Ethiopia. Despite the general rotational momentum, General Siashi (with his cronies at the Ministry of War) were able to field a new army of ill-trained levies, and to hurriedly erect fortifications for the various cities exposed to feyaheen attack.

Lacking the forces to stand against Tughlugh and his Avar-Syriac regulars, Siashi decided to let them do as they pleased in the east, while he attempted to engage the Karluk advance in the west. This was easily accomplished by camping at Mulkur until the nomads swarmed before its walls. Prince Coufe marched forth to do battle, and the Karluks were willing to oblige him at Ed Debba on the Wadi'el'Qaab (August, 1638). Coufe led 69,000 men (the entire Ethiopian army) against the 75,000 Karluks (all light horse). The Karluks, confident to the last, charged the Ethiopian lines in full battle cry. Coufe held his fire until the nomads had passed the first of his ranging stakes and then ordered battery fire and then muskets by volley. The Karluk horse vanished into the surging black cloud of cordite smoke and spitting hell. The entire Karluk army was either slain or captured, with only a few bare thousands escapng in utter disarray to the north (ne'er to be seen again, most like). The Karluk khan was slain as well. The Ethiopians lost 6,000 men (the Dongolans in the main, shattered on the right wing by the edge of the Karluk charge). Coufe led his men back to Soba to regroup and prepare for the next battle.

The Maasai Kingdom: The Maasai gathered a few paltry more levies and moved to meet with the Sud Afriqans at Mombassa. Once there, they found the Afriqans afflicted with an unaccountable torpor. Despite the pleading of the Maasai commander, the Sud Afriqan fleet did not persue the Syrians north and thus the Moslems escaped the trap...

1639-1640 T156
The Sultanate of Syria: Eager to regain something of their ancient trading empire, the Syrians once more put to see various large dhow fleets to trade in the Mediterranean and in the Indian Ocean. The Merchant Council, which previously had been dominated by various princes, warlords and generals, actually wound up with a merchant in it. The port city of Akko, in Levant, was declared the new capital of the realm, as Damascus - the previous domain of the Caliph - had been destroyed for some time.

Prince Saladin, commanding the sizable royal army, marched south from Akko, detouring around the Jihadist fortress (the Rock of Allah) at Mount Carmel, before striking south into Petra, where the Jihadist garrison was rousted out! The Syrians continued their campaign down the coast, reclaiming Hijaz and Madina from the religious right as well. Relations with the Egyptians soured at this point and the frontier between the two nations was closed. Within Syria there was continuing grumbling about the lack of religious fervor on the part of the government, but nothing much came of it.

The Sultanate of Egypt: Various attacks on the Egyptian Arabian posessessions were weathered by Tughlugh, who knew that his main enemy still laired to the south in myriad cities and fortresses.The newly arrived LangShan were requipped with a vast store of arms and marched off south to do battle with the infidels. Newly captured Gozer in Suakin was fortified as Tughlugh prepared to recieve a counter-attack. This did not develop immediately, however. During the summer lull, Tughlugh once more turned his pen to the parchment and soon a new fight song was hurrying to all corners of the realm:

Allah's fist is coming down,
to smash the Copts into the ground.
They run, they shout, they cannot hide,
for Allah's might is on our side!
Chorus: Here we come, we'll kill you all!

While Tughlugh dug in at Gozer, his son, Juchen and the Khan of the Karatao were having words in Alexandria. Juchen desired to march south with the Karatao horse-archers whilst giving over his own infantry battalions to the Khan. The Khan would have none of this and after a week of fruitless wrangling the Prince ordered the Karatao south along the Nile while he marched to reinforce his father. At much the same time relations with the Syrians worsened and certain imams within the Egyptian government discovered that many of the Syriac battalion commanders were, gasp!, in the pay of the Syrian Sultan. Mass arrests and executions followed, much to the delight of the Turkish leaders that had recently come to the jihad and were jealous of the southerners that were already in places of power.

The Karatao prince set to his assigned tasks with great relish, for this involved the very extripation of the Coptic populations of Thebes and Aswan. A bloodier and more heinous series of atrocities then ensued as to make the hearts of civilized men quail and flinch away. Shortly put, both provinces and the city of Dungunab were "ethnically cleansed" of those professing the Coptic faith and replaced by Karatao and their families. At Dungunab a pyramid of skulls thirty feet high was reported by a Somali trader and the streets were said to run gutter to gutter with the blood of the citizens.

Much of 1639 passed peacefully on the northern front as Egyptian armies mustered and marched hither and yon, but as the winter rains passed and 1640 was fully underway, so too did the campaigning begin. Almost simultaniously Tughlugh marched south from Gozer into Adulis and the Borkou horse swept south out of Dongola into Kordofan to threaten Mulkur once more. At the same time various wild rumors filtered out of the south of a seaborne invasion...

The Ethiopians, hoping for a victory somewhere, abandoned the northern cities and Tughlugh spent the spring hammering at the city-fortress complex of Mt'Suia, which eventually fell to him, though not without cost for the Ethiopians had now heard of the slaughter in Thebes and Dungunab and knew the fate that awaited them. The defence was fanatical. After the fall of Mt'Suia Tughlugh turned south and west and advanced into Atbara, intending to pressure the Ethiopians into abandoning their campaign in the south to protect Soba. However, no one showed up so he spent the rest of the year balsting away at the walls of Kassala. The city fell by the end of 1640, but so too did the redoubtable Tughlugh, felled by the main murderer of his troops, cholera (which was epidemic in the siege lines around the city). Jurchen, already in place, assumed command.

In the west the Borkou, unmolested, invested the great city of Mulkur and - promising the spare the city - secured its surrender in late 1639. The LangShan made the march into the southern theatre and besieged Omdurman, whose defence was captained by Lord Ky'mystr. Despite the unfamiliarity of the LangShan with their newly aquired guns and artillery their numbers (some reports placed them at over 200,000 men) were more than sufficent to flatten the defences and bring yet another Coptic city under the green-and-white banners of Egypt.

Federal Imperial Republic of Ethiopia: The Ethiopians, determined to not be outdone by some smelly Muslims, announced that they too had a fight song:

Pthggh, pthggh, pthggh!
Poop on the Jihad!

Music critics felt that while it lacked something in technical complexity it made up for it sin plhegm and spirit. Joachim holed up in the great fortress of Tabrat and pondered the destiny that had brought his realm to this unfortunate state of affairs. Messengers arrived daily bringing worse and worse news. Mt'Suia in Adulis was under siege, Mulkur in Kordofan was surrounded, a great host of the Jihad had marched into Axum and was nearing Omdurman. A Masai army had landed at Djibuti and was crossing the Adal desert to attack Jahar. The Ethiopians retained only one army. Prince Kuze roused himself from the severe depression that had gripped him since the death of his father to order Joachim to save at least one city. Joachim flipped a coin and sent the army south to face the Masai at Jahar.

The Maasai Kingdom: Various Masai operatives, informers and other agents got knifed, garrotted, drowned and shot during the turn. Despite this the Masai army was sealifted by the Suf Afriqans into the desolate wasteland of Djibuti. Under the command of Prince M'Gumbu the 70,000 Masai marched inland along the Imperial Highway towards Jahar and the great fortress there that straddled the road to the highlands. M'Gumbu advanced, confident that the Ethiopians would be entirely involved in repelling the assaults of the feyaheen in the north. Thus he was amazed to crest the last salt-bush studded ridge to look down upon the valley of Asebot Terara Afden and see the smoke of a thousand fires and the clear sight of a large Ethiopian army encamped under the white-washed walls of Jahar.

The Battle of Jahar (September 24th, 1639) was really a sideshow in the greater war, but it was a bold move by the Ethiopians. With a smashing victory at Jahar an entire front could be retired. If the Jihad continued to waste its energies reducing Coptic cities one by one then perhaps forces could be gathered to throw them back. At least the mountainious heartland of the Empire would be retained. M'Gumbu's 50,000 Masai infantry marched into the valley in high spirits, their enemies nation was crumbling under heavier and heavier blows. The Ethiopian general, Gorain, deployed his army in two wings with his artillery battery at the center. M'Gumbu, lacking any light field artillery (he had a plethora of siege guns), flanked to the right and Gorain moved to counter. Once the armies had met, Gorain proved tenacious and pinned M'Gumbu's line while the Ethiopian infantry laid down a withering fire, supported by a constant barrage of artillery.

Without any counter-battery fire to support them, the Masai fell in windrows and then suddenly broke, streaming from the field in flight. M'Gumbu, attempting to rally his men, was felled by Ethiop infantry and taken captive. That of the Masai army that survived fled into the wastes of Adal and many perished there. Gorain had lost less than 3,000 men in winning one of the most one-sided victories seen in a long time. Enheartened, he marched back north with M'Gumbu in chains at the side of his horse.

Republic of Sud Afriqa: The Bank of Sud Afriqa intervened on the international cartel level to bail out of the Masai kingdom, which otherwise would have defaulted on a major loan. Uige, Karoo and Swazi became Roman Catholic. Darian in Matopos expanded a level. The Vice-President,Goree, died while walking in the woods near his home in Rozwi, attacked and savaged by a lion. An effort to get involved in the Cape Verde sweepstakes was upstaged when the Sud Afriqan ambassador was forced to flee in a laundry boat as the Danish fleet attacked. Other ambassadors, faced with unknown destinations and hostile tribes, or cultures that really were not that fond of them, met with equal success. The Sud Afriqan Red Cross, a medical aid hospice group, was founded to aid the afflicted and injured in the East African War.

In the Horn of Africa the Sud Afriqan fleet made a massive appearance, landing the ill-fated M'Gumbu and his Masai army in Djibuti and striking against Zeila and the fortified city of Aseb there as well. 43,000 Sud Afriqan troops were landed at Aseb under a sprinkling of draken for air cover (the ciyt defenders almost immediately knocked down two of the balloons with heavy ballista and light cannon). Unlike most Ethiopian cities, the defence of Aseb was not well led and the Sud Afriqans had a free hand in attacking it. Indeed, when the Afriqan marines stormed the gates they found the populace weeping with joy to see that they were Christians and not the Devil-Plague from the north. The province was easly secured. The Afriqans then struck at Mersa Fatma in Danakil and found it well defended, but no match for the heavy guns of the fleet or all that siege artillery that they had been trucking around. The fleet finished off the turn with a dawn assault on Tuamorotu on Socotra, which was seized from a surprised and sleepy Syrian garrison.

1641-1642 T157
The Sultanate of Syria: Once more the Danish wardens of the Krak De Chevailers watched in amusement as myriad throngs of Arabs swarmed past into fertile Egypt. This time the green and gold banners of the Sultanate were on the march to war. Dirgham at their head, the Syrian host plunged into the delta with a simple intent - KILL THE FEYAHEEN! Now would empire be restored to its glory of old when Syria stretched from the gates of Bukhara to Cathage!

The Sultanate of Egypt: But first, this turn's fight song...

Green and white, our banners fly.
Allah we serve, for him we die.
A garden in Heaven awaits us well.
But for the infidel a place in Hell.
Great and terrible is Allah's might
setting all the infidel to flight.
Through wind and storm, fire and hail,
Allah's glory shall prevail.
Run. We will follow you.
Hide. We will find you.
Fight. We will kill you.
Surrender to us now.

Juchen was pleased that his father's love of ditties continued to inspire the troops. He ordered that the singer or poet who produced the finest fight song in the realm would be given a hundred pieces of silver. Competition was fierce and above you see the first yearly winner. Prince Bilak made a leisurely tour of the Lower Nile provinces, tasting the local wines and delicacies before settling on a Theban princess to call his wife.

While Juchen and the siege army rested in Kazala in Atbara, General Takash and the Karatao had regrouped in Alexandria to train up a new flock of troops to fight as infantry. Thus they were at ground-zero as the Syrians attempted to decapitate the Sultanate. No sooner than word had reached Takash of the advance of the Syrian army through Mansura than the Karatao rose up in wild revolt, besieging his barracks in Alexandria. At the same time assassins attacked Juchen in Kazala, Prince Bilak in Aswan and the Borkou and LangShan khans in the south. In an odd turn only Juchen fell to the assassins, choking on his own blood.

Bilak hurried south and regrouped his father's forces at Adulis, summoning the LangShan and the Borkou to him as well. They had just finished overrunning Kassala province so they easily joined him. At Alexandria, however, things were much chancier. The Karatao had declared for the Syrians and Tashak was hard pressed to hold the city against them. Things got worse with the arrival of Dirgham and the Syrian army. 70,000 Syrians and Karatao stormed against the Alexandrine walls and Tashak had only 27,000 men to hold the city. The Karatao khan was not used to this city siege thing, but he listened to Dirgham and did not charge the walls pell-mell. After an abortive attempt to take one of the southern towers failed messily, Dirgham convinced the Khan to wait and let the city stew for a bit. Meantime, Prince Saladin, son of Dirgham, had marched the main Syrian army south into Ghebel-Garib and thence to Aswan, where he declared that he was restoring the province to Ethiopian rule. This earned him black looks from the Islamic, feyaheen, populace.

Bilak, meantime, was pushing his army as fast as it would move up the Great Highway from the south. Thus he came upon Saladin encamped at Dungunab. Saladin had previously depoyed a thick cavalry screen to keep him apprised of any enemy movements, but he had not expected the local citizenry to take such an exception to him. With local feyaheen aid Bilak was able to evade the far-ranging Syrian patrols and come upon Saladin almost unawares!

The battle of Mount Hamata (on whose slopes the Syrian and Egyptian armies spilled much Moslem blood) occupied the whole day of August 23rd, 1462. Saladin commanded 108,000 Syrian troops, whilst Bilak led 208,000 Egyptian feyaheen. Critically to the battle the Syrian army had a large and efficent artillery complement, while the Egyptians were entirely lacking in field pieces. Against this Bilak attempted to bring his substantial cavalry into play, but it was tough sledding against Saladin (a very accomplished commander). Bilak gritted his teeth ordered his veterans into the heart of the Syrian storm, taking massive losses from artillery fire and the close packed Syrian infantry fullisades. But all he needed was to get to grips with the Syrian line and his men, howling the battle-cry of the steppes, got that for him in blood.

Once the Egyptian line had locked with the Syrian front it was all over. Despite his artillery plowing furrows through the screaming mass of Egyptian troops his own lines could not hold against the pressure and began to buckle on both ends. With his infantry engaged, his artillery was unable to have free play and the Egyptian cavalry swooped around his flanks, brushing aside his meagre horse. Saladin ordered a walking withdrawl by regiments and prepared to fall back to Dungunab. But now Bilak had all the leverage he needed and his forces enveloped and smothered the Syrian army in an awful display of carnage. Saladin was captured, dragged from under the broken cassion of one of his own guns. Bilak watched himself as the torturers poured salt into the Syrian prince's eyes and emasculated him. "You will live at my side," hissed the Sultan, "my servant in all things, for a hundred years..." A Danish traveller, at the court of the Sultan after the battle, observed the captured Prince, suspended in a wire cage so close fitting that his skin bulged between the wires, was ever kept near to the Sultan and tended by three physicians.

Dirgham did not take the news well when it reached him at his camp outside of Alexandria. The defenders, staunch under the command of Tashak, refused to yield. Disgusted at the end of his strategem, he withdrew his army and that of the Karatao to Levant to brood and prepare for a second round of war. Bilak reached Alexandria by the end of 1462 with his army and encamped there to consider what to do next.

Federal Imperial Republic of Ethiopia: Things were very bleak in Ethiopia, what with the feyaheen at the gates and the Sud Afriqans and Masai sniping at the coast. Luckily for Kuze, his hopeless situation was going to get a year's reprieve. After sweeping through Kassala the feyaheen dissapeared. After learning of the Syrian attack in the north, Kuze ordered a limited attack to the east to clear the road to the coast and reopen trade with someone, anyone!

1643-1644 T158
The Sultanate of Syria: Al-Asfashani, disgusted with the progress of the war in Egypt, threw caution to the winds and scrapped his merchant fleets to raise yet another huge army with which to crush his enemies. At the head of 87,000 men the Sultan once more marched down the blood-stained flags of the Akko -Chevalier highway determined to bring down the feyaheen in ruin...

While he was away in the south, turning the Nile red with blood, a mercenary force commanded by Imad al-Hadi landed at Antioch and attempted to sack that great port city. Unfortunately for the raiders, their numbers were rather less than they expected and the city was very well defended. Further, the religious unrest that they had been hoping to take advantage of was focused farther south. Al-Hadi, after burning parts of the countryside and picking up some loot, abandoned the effort.

The Sultanate of Egypt: Now clearly locked in a mortal struggle against both the descrating Copts and their own treacherous Sunni brothers, the Shi'a imams in Alexandria launched a massive campaign of conversion to roll back the laxity and sloth of the Syrian moslems. So effective was this effort (given the recent efforts by the Syrian government to reduce the strength of the Sunni church within their realm) that the provinces of Sinai, Petra, Jordan and Bostra became Shi'a. In a peculiar aside, the Druze of Lebanon (and many of their Gnostic and Sunni fellows) accepted Hussite christianity.

Whilst the struggle for hearts and minds continued, Bilak took more concrete steps, fortifying the east bank of the Nile and hurrying to rectify his oversight in supplying his army with artillery. The Danish arms merchants in the Krak de Chevailers made a tidy profit therefrom. The Syrians, however, were not napping either and scored a coup of sorts with the successful kidnapping of the Khan of the Borkou (recently made an admiral by Bilak). The Khan of the Langshan, now a power in Egyptian politics, refused to split his army and remained in Alexadria in the company of the Bashar Takash to await the inevitable Syrian onslaught. Bilak himself went away south to talk to some people.

Before leaving, however, he did ensure that the fight song for this turn was well posted throughout the land. Later, Bilak related to a scribe that this was really his favorite of the songs made so far. After spending quite some time in Dungunab, Balik barely avoided a technically impressive attempt to murder him with a boiling vat of pig-fat. Though it did kill three of his favorite concubines (and two of his offspring) he escaped with only a trailing burn scar on his right buttock.

Flashing swords, raised on high,
We spit in the Syrians eye.
Blackards all, cowards as well,
they shall join the Copts in Hell.
Flashing swords, readied now,
we'll never surrender, this we vow.
To Heaven we will go, singing our song,
for life is short and eternity is long.
Flashing swords, red with blood,
our enemies lie trampled in the mud.
They shall pay, sooner or later,
the cost of being a backstabbing traitor.
We are Allah's hammering fist,
his muscled arm, his supple wrist.
We are Allah's cleansing fire
We are strong, we shall never tire,
We are Allah's Lightning Scythe,
cut in twain our enemies writhe!

The Danish garrison of the Krak watched with amusement as the second Syrian army marched past, heading for the Nile with banners high and proud. Shaking their heads at the idiocy of war, they went inside to have some cool drinks and count the money mad selling arms to either side.

This time Dirgham found the Nile held against him, with strong breastworks and strongpoints on the far side. Too, the full might of Egypt was now deployed against him as he had heard. He consulted with his commanders and they counted up the odds. 115,000 Syrians and Karatao against 126,000 Egyptians dug in behind a river and strong defences. "Hmn," said Dirgham, "I don't like the looks of this. Perhaps we'd better go home." And so the Syrians did, marching back through Mansura to the jeers of the Egyptians and the consoling looks of the Danes. At Alexandria Tashak collected thirty gold bezants from the Khan of the LangShan for winning the bet.

Federal Imperial Republic of Ethiopia: In an effort to rally the common people around the cause, Kuze cut taxes and raised the pay of the army. Everyone liked this, but hoped that it meant that things were getting better and not worse. His efforts to hire some mercenaries, failed, but he stalemated the Sud Afriqans in their equal attempt as well. Kuze, shaking off the torpor that had hamstrung Ethiopian efforts to defend themselves, declared (after a lengthly conclave with various Jahist religious leaders) a counter-crusade to drive the "smelly punk moslems" back into the sea (or at least Syria). This effort did not go as well as he might have hoped, but a few thousand fanatics did swell the ranks of his armies at Addis-Adaba. Now the army stood poised to repel the next wave of attacks...

1645-1646 T159
Lybia: The Lybians watched the eastern frontier with some concern, presuming that the Egyptians would eventually notice that Ad-Diffah remained in Ethiopian hands. Sure enough, the watch beacons soon lit and carried news of a large Egyptian army marching against Tobruq. Sayyida said extra prayers at night, hoping that war did not engulf her nation as well. General Kilij went on maneuvers in the desert with his army, just in case...

The Sultanate of Syria: On the battlefront the Syrian army marched south from Akko once more under the cover of night. In their fortress on Mount Carmel, the feyaheen watched the long snaking lines of torches wind away southward below them. Some scouts snuck close to the line of the march; hiding in the deep shadows under a grove of olive trees they heard the troopers singing as they marched along under the silver light of the moon:

The time for singing is when you have...
a wench on your lap,
a wineskin in your hand,
victory in your grasp.

When the master of the fortress heard this he chuckled and rebuked the scouts for falling to such a transparent ploy. "That was no army of the Sultan, for they spoke of wine, and all followers of Allah have foresworn such to reach paradise." The scouts were sent off to examine the latrines. Some weeks later, however, news reached the fortress of astounding events in the north and the garrison wondered if that had not actually been the army...

What had happened was unforseen by the feyaheen, but Dirgham was rubbing his hands together in glee. As you may remember the Syrian state has had for the last hundred-plus years engaged in an agressive campaign of weakening the strength of the Islamic church within its borders. This precipitated the frightful and divisive war against the Cleansing Fire of Allah, a war which ended with the defeat and slaughter of many staunch Moslems. Then the Jihad against the Copts came and even more of the devout were called away to fight and die in Africa. Now, into this increasing religious vaccum comes a strong religion, well founded in the traditions of the Old Testament. One espousing strength and will. One with a lot of money to spend and fervent, nay fanatic, missionaries.

With the willing connivance of the Sultan, Hussite missionaries in numbers not seen ere before swarmed into Syria and, by the end of 1646 had essentially converted the entire county. Needless to say these events were not met without some consternation and outcry on the part of the nobles (or the Sunni imams) and Dirgham was forced to suppress various local revolts and plots with a bloody hand. The Syrian army had been cleverly sent out of harms way, meantime, having been shifted via a Danish fleet to Tobruq. Unfortunately for Dirgham's plans a larger than usual proportion of the Moslem faithful remained in the army and now they were all together.

Jordan, Sinai, Petra, Hijaz and Madina all revolted, declaring themselves Shi'a states. Lydia, Phrygia, Psidia, Vaspurakan, Lazica, Isauria, Cilicia, Aleppo, Edessa, Armenia, Urmia, Azrebaijan, Kurdistan, Carhae, Arbiliq, Mosul, Syria, Levant, Palmyra, Circis, Selucia, Mesopotamia, Hahmar, Abadan, Kuwait and Fars all became Hussite.

The Realm of Four: The Four control Levant, Sinai, Jordan, Bostra, Petra, Hijaz, and Madina. They are not pleased with recent events... Levant was reconverted to Shi'a after its capture by the Four.

The Sultanate of Egypt: Bilak, preparing to ride south to deal with some concerns in the south, paused a moment in the Palace of the Viziers in Alexandria to peruse the latest song entries from the minstrels and poets of the realm. This he chose as the finest entry amongst those submitted in 1645:

Syria, Syria, once so proud,
Hidden now in a burial shroud.
Syria, Syria, we see your shame,
Your country broken, your horses lame.
Syria, Syria, your Sultan's an ass.
Callous and cruel, he has no class.
Syria, Syria, your leaders are fools.
Stubborn and stupid, as are mules.
Syria, Syria, we fear not your attack.
You are only brave when stabbing in the back.
Syria, Syria, we've beaten you back.
You have no heart; it's courage you lack.
Syria, Syria, we fear you not.
We shall win, and you shall rot.

There was another top entry, but it was silly and made Bilak laugh aloud, so he felt that it did not evince the proper disrespect for the Syrian dogs. This done he travelled south to Suakin where he considered setting the entire province to the sword if they would not accept Islam. Unfortunately it was quite populous and instead he found himself forced to negotiate with the locals to achieve some kind of accomodation between Mohammed and Jah. He also watched in disgust as the Ethiopians retook Axum and Kordofan, powerless to stop them.

Back in the north, the Khan of the LangShan had undertaken to launch a "cleansing" campaign against Ad'Diffah whilst General Takash defended the Nile against the Syrian army that rumor held was quickly advancing once more into Mansura. The LangShan advance at first met with only startled local opposition, but upon reaching Tobruq the Khan found the city strongly held by a combined Syrian-Lybian army. Discarding his bemusement at seeing the two ancient enemies now bosom allies, the Khan besieged the city. His scouts soon observed that more and more Syrian troops were being brought into the city by a Danish fleet. With this pretty pass at hand, the LangShan khan dispatched riders back to Alexandria with word that a large force would soon be advancing out of Tobruq and settled down to watch.

Back at the capital, word had also reached Takash concerning the movements of a very large Syrian host through Mansura, as well as the religious events in the north. Faced with the prospect of an attack from either side, he sent orders to the LangShan to fall back that their armies might fight as one. This occured.

Meanwhile, in Tobruq, the Danish fleet deposited the last of the Syrian troops and then sailed off for India on some other business. Soon after this word arrived of the massive religious conversion in the homeland. The Karatao Khan, as well as Feyaheen Muhammad, were stricken dumb at the audacity of Dirgham's plan. The major Moslem lords in Syria were now stranded in Lybia, hundreds of miles from Akko, with a very hostile army in the way. The Danes, obviously deep in this plan, had now gone while their religious zealots were sweeping through Syria itself. Shaking their heads at the masterstoke, they took counsel with the Bashars el-Kebr and Asuf Aram and soon all four commanders addressed the assembled multitudes of the Syrian army. When their words were heard the thousands gathered before them were stunned into complete silence for long minutes. Then, as one, the Moslems amongst them rose up in unholy hatred and fell upon the Druze and the Hussites amongst them, against the Jew and the B'nai and there slaughtered them in such numbers that the hill beyond the walls of Tobruq to this day is stained red as blood and is called the "Hill of Slaughter". The Copts and Catholics in Tobruq now closed the gates of that city against the army, for it was gripped in a great anger. The goods and parcels and servants of the army were sent out into the field, where many of the servants were slain by their masters - for they were not of the faith. Amidst a great wailing and the clashing of arms, the four commanders swore blood oaths upon the Word of the Prophet to restore Islam to its rightful sway in the Middle East, their grim faces lit by the setting sun, swirling down into a bloody haze in the east.

The flags and symbols of Syria were stripped from the arms, the armor, the tack and the barding of the whole host. In its place, the simple moon and star of Mohammed was graven and with a great shout, as of trumpets, the Army of the Four marched east.

Meantime, in Alexandria, the LangShan had returned and Tashak was concerned by the failure of the Syrian army of the East to reach the Nile. Secretly, he sent forth scouts and soon discovered that the province of Mansura contained only its usual complement of Danes. Setting a strong watch upon the Nile forts, he then marched west against Ad'Diffah once more, this time with the full host. And it was thus that he came upon the Army of the Four near to the coastal town of El Alamein. Seeing that the Army of the Four no longer bore the banners of Syria, Tashak sent for emissaries and soon learned of the Great Oaths. With great fortitude he did not say "I told you so", but rather expressed equal outrage and horror. More to the point, he offered the Army of the Four free passage through Egypt and grain, weapons and powder to carry their holy mission forward. This the Four gladly accepted and their passage east was greatly speeded.

Like the summer thunder, the Army of the Four struck up the Akko Highway, sweeping to the gates of Akko by the end of 1646, driving the al'Turchik government in flight to Antioch. The feyaheen of the Rock of Allah cheered their coming, as did the lords of the southern Shi'a provinces, who came to pledge their loyalty in the war to reclaim the heartland of Islam...

And while that was occuring, Tashak took the opportunity to sweep into Ad'Diffah with his whole army, chase the Lybian army out, flatten the walls of Tobruq and convert the whole province before heading home for a cold iced tea. The Lybians made raspberries at his back, but stayed on their side of the line.

Federal Imperial Republic of Ethiopia: The Ethiopians held their heads at the news from Syria and banged them against a nearby wall.

1647-1648 T160
Lybia: Sayyida, concerned about possible repercussions, sent a nice letter to the Egyptians indicating to them that she didn't want no trouble. The Church also indulged in a little missionary activity in the highlands of Al'Hauts but quarrelling between the Catholics and the Hussites reduced its efficency somewhat.

The Sultanate of Syria: Dirgham sat in the citadel of the Birds in Antioch and wept at the dire straits that had overcome his nation. Daily he prayed for deliverance from his enemies and lo, it came on white winged ships from out of the uttermost west...

Danish Empire: In the east, Jacobus Hohenstaufen and 20,000 Danish regulars were landed at Antioch in support of the Turchik sultanacy of Syria. Upon their arrival they found the city under siege by a strong force of feyaheen and the Syrian regime in utter disarray. Jacobus placed himself at the disposal of Dirgham's commanders, but received no orders. Puzzled he watched the Syrians cower in their palace while the Host of the Four raised a great deal of dust building siege lines and earthworks just out of cannon range. Finally disgusted he demanded of Dirgham that the combined Dano-Syrian army (which happened to outnumber the Host of the Four) sortie from the city and drive the besiegers away. No! replied Dirgham, we wait for a sign from God.

Jacobus returned to his quarters and drank quite a bit of wine. Beyond the walls the Host of the Fourt completed a long fosse encircling the city and began building approach trenches to the walls.

The Realm of Four: A note of correction: At the end of last turn the Four captured Akko from Syria.

Borrowing from their friends and allies, the Egyptians:

Crescent moon, Allah's star
Upon our banners, seen from afar
Shall lead the way to Syria's land
Ruled by the proud, spiteful and damned.
Allah's fist will smash your pride
Like rabbits will you try to hide
But Allah's fury shall cleanse the land
In the blood and fire of the Four's hand.
Your widows will mourn, your orphans weep
The whirlwind of death shall you reap.
For Syria has sown the seeds of war
until Allah's lands are united once more.

The armies of the Four, charged with holy zeal, lashed out of their stronghold in the fertile crescent like veritable bolts of lightning. Armies crashed into Lebanon, Syria and Circis. The Syrians, hiding in Antioch, wailed and lamented, beating themselves with flails and mongooses and all manner of whelks and fishes. Lebanon fell to Asuf Aram and the slaughter of the recently converted Hussites there was frightening indeed. Many thousands fled north, choking the roads to Aleppo, whilst many other thousands cast down the churches of the Hussite and proclaimed themselves Shi'a. At the same time Muhammad himself had swept up the ancient highway through Syria and into Palmyra.

Homs, a strong city, surrendered to Muhammad in spite of Dirgham who had not budged from Antioch even while their messengers came unto him nigh daily. Now the Host of the Four came to the walls of Antioch itself and found them strong and well manned by the minions of Dirgham and Muhammad encamped there and pondered the question of assault or siege.

To the further east, the Bostrans swept through Circis, Mosul and into Carhae where they captured the city of Mardin. In all these provinces, even as in Lebanon and Syria and Palmyra, the Hussites were driven forth and slaughtered, while the Shi'a and Sunni lords and peoples were once more elevated to rule. Many thousands fled both north to Hussite lands and south to Moslem lands as entire provinces were cleared off the hated foe.

A small Swedish fleet, commanded by the Jarla of Trondelag, raided the Levantine coast, burning small villages and indulging in rapine and slaughter. The minimal garrison was unable to prevent this rampage. Akko, still the strongest fortification on the coast, easily repelled the one attack upon it.

At Antioch Muhammad ground his teeth in utter frustration. The forces that he could bring to bear were insufficent to breach the city, while his foes would doubtless gather strength in time and bring ruin to him. Regardless, he dug in around the city and prepared for a long and possibly fruitless siege...

The Sultanate of Egypt With the Ethiopians busy with other matters and the Four using their fight song for the turn, the Egyptians had to content themselves with sending an army on river barges up the Nile to attack Mulkur in Kordofan and overrun that province as well as Axum. The inhabitants of Mulkur and Omdurman were weary and apathetic as the Langshan troops marched once more through their streets. The vigorous conversion of those provinces to Shi'a was met with little resistance, so thuroughly demoralized were the locals. It was noted by the Bashar that there were a fair number of Hussites living within Egypt and he ordered the expulsion of all Hussite clerics and priests.

1649-1650 T161
The Sultanate of Syria: The Turhick rulers remained in their fastness of Antioch throughout 1650. The Iroquois and Danish armies marched forth to contest the Realm of the Four, but the Syrians remained at home. Even the depredations of the Georgians in the north did not stir Dirgham from his fortress. "Why go forth to war?" he replied to his advisors, "our allies will fight and die for us, reclaiming all our lost lands..."

Danish Empire: At Antioch the Danish general, Jacob Hohens, gave a stirring speech to his troops, exhorting them to victory, and then died in his chambers the next night, apparently of a heart attack. This left the Danish contingent angry and confused. Rumors surfaced that the Syrians had murdered the general. All this was put paid, however, by the arrival of the Danish fleet under Michos Paleologos, who loaded everyone back aboard and sailed south to land the Danish forces at Levant. His intent, capture Akko and reclaim Jerusalem for Christenden!

The Realm of Four: The Four, determined to avoid any "religious entanglements" not of their own making, declared Jerusalem an "open city" and provided for safe passage of pilgrims from Akko and the other Levantine coastal cities to the Furthest Sanctuary. For his part Muhammad abandoned the siegeworks at Antioch and fell back behind a heavy cavalry screen to Homs, where he prepared to put up a fight. Ali the Baybar, commanding the siege preparations of the city, was found icepicked to death the upper rooms of a bordello. Muhammad sighed and ordered his men to carry on.

At the same time the Karatao and Bostrans were busy in the east, sweeping into Arbiliq and Mesopotamia to cut Syrian trade with the Avars in the east. Both Arbiliq and Mespotamia reverted to Islam (Shi'a) with this conquest. The arrival of the Islamic forces on the Persian border was met with cheers and a warm welcome by the Avar boder guards who had taken the news of the Hussite conversion badly. The Karatao advance into Hahmar was turned back by the surprise appearance of Madagascarene troops on the highway. The Khan sent a letter back to Muhammad at Homs indicating that there was a new power in the Gulf.

The Sultanate of Egypt: First, the combined Egyptian / Realm of Four fight song:

Allah Akbar! This is our song
For we are right and Syria wrong.
Allah Akbar! We go off to fight!
All through the day and into the night.
Allah Akbar! Our banners stream high!
Green and white, they float to the sky.
Allah Akbar! We show Allah's might!
For the true believers, we're a glorious sight.
Allah Akbar! Fist and Fire!
We are strong, we never tire.
Allah Akbar! Fang and fury!
We come to see Syria buried.
Allah Akbar! We pray for the day
Syria is cast down and made to pay!
Allah Akbar! To our brothers we cry,
remember Allah, for his judgement is nigh.
Allah Akbar! We'll finish this war,
and then we'll rest and song some more!

Suakin was converted by the sword, amid horrible slaughter and deprivation. Bilak shook his head and granted mercy in the final days to the children of Gozer, sending them off to be raised in Moslem monastaries in the Sinai. Far in the south the remaining Ethiopian defenders of Jahi and Darfur were scattered by the advancing Langshan. The provinces of Ain'Farah and Kosti were also cleared of the Ethiopians, but then allowed their indipendence.

On the Levantine coast, Prince Takash marched north with a strong force of men to Akko, which he intended to hold against the infidels. And lo, even as his troops barracked down in Akko and the Rock of Allah (a mighty fortress on the slopes of Mount Carmel, south across the bay from Akko) the Danish fleet made a landing in the bay and disgorged an army of some 31,000 men.

Within Akko Takash commanded a force of 15,000 behind strong walls and fortifications. After Paleologos invested the city and drew up siege lines the Danish commander found himself facing a considerable dilemma. His army was insufficent to break the city, even with the support of his fleet offshore. Disgusted with this turn of affairs, he settled in to starve it out. A force of knights was sent south to Jerusalem, which they took with ease.

Back north, at Antioch, the Iroquois commanders spent some weeks arguing fruitlessly with the Syrian government. Finally disgusted, the Iroquois loaded up their wagons and marched out of the city. Their scouts found the tracks of the Four heading east to Homs and the Iroqouis (sweating a bit in the hot sun) marched off to find them. Dogged only by distant cavalry patrols, the Iroquois advanced to Homs in good order. There they found Feyaheen Muhammad and his entire army encamped in the city and around about it in strong fortifications. By this time word had reached the Iroqouis commander of the siege of Akko. Counting on both fingers and toes, the Iroquois commander smiled... All of the rats were in the trap!

The Iroquois Crusaders advanced with haste and Muhammad sortied from the city to meet them. The battle of Hamah (May, 1649 AD) pitted 33,000 Iroqouis against 45,000 feyaheen. The feyaheen had the advantage in guns, in fortifications and in numbers. The Iroquois were fearless and filled with the Light of God. The slaughter in that dry valley under the red sandstone walls of Hahmar was awesome. Muhammad wrote himself a bloody entry in the annals of war, demolishing the Iroquois army in a classic feint, envelopment and crossfire that proved the efficacy of the feyaheen guns. Both Iroquois generals were slain and a bare 2,000 Iroqouis horse escaped the slaughter, fleeing back north to Antioch and the safety of their fleet.

Following this crushing victory, Muhammad marched south to Akko where the second act now began. Paleologos, hearing from his spies of the defeat of the Iroqouis in the north, was faced with a quandary. He solved it by abandoning the siege of Akko and retiring to Groza on Cyprus where he could refit his ships, rest his men and wait for the Emperor to send him reinforcements.

By the end of 1650 the feyaheen were once more encamped before Antioch, their siege guns exchanging fire with the Syrians within the city. Muhammad shook his head in disgust, would this never end? He needed a better plan to wrinkle the Turchik out of its hole...

1651-1652 T162
The Old Sultanate of Syria: Dirgham, still holed up in Antioch ranted on that he would fight, yea, fight until the very end and destroy all of his enemies! None had ever defeated Syria! His generals quailed away from his madness and some fled the city. The army, despondent, worked listlessly to fortify the walls and prepare for the final assault of the Four and their allies. The accountants, on the other hand, were even deeper in despair for there were enormous loans that would soon come due...

Prince Ephraim, however, took the counsel of his Ukrainian advisors and sent his men into the cellars and churches of the city looking for a sign. He, too, confiscated the properties of all of the merchants of the city and raised a new host of men, infusing them with new fighting spirit. "Now, we will do battle!" he declared and mustered his men for the fight to come...

The fall of Antioch dealt the final blow to the Syrian realm. The failure to meet the extensive loans that had previously financed the realm led to the collapse of the great mercantile house of Tewfik-Bashaad. This, combined with the utter defeat of the Turhick house splintered the remainder of the realm; Cilicia, Isauria, Phrygia, Psidia, Edessa, Kurdistan and Selucia went indipendent.

The New Sultanate of Syria: Muhammad, seeing that he had reclaimed near all of the ancient realm of Syria, declared himself Sultan of that state. This he did from the siege lines at Antioch. There Muhammad awaited reinforcements from his allies - for the Egyptians and the Seahold armies were marching to his aid. The Egyptian fleet arrived first, blockading the port. Now Dirgham's situation was dire indeed and Prince Ephraim saw the only solution to this conundrum. His men he whipped into a frenzy, brandishing the True Cross (found by his agents in the city). The Hussite army swarmed out of the city, raising a great shout. Muhammad was startled at this bold stoke and ordered his men to their positions.

19,000 Hussite Syrians charged pellmell into the lines of the 28,000 feyaheen. Despite a ferocious struggle and hysterical bravery by the Hussite troops they failed to break the feyaheen lines and were thrown back in slaughter from the revetments and redoubts. The heaped dead lay in windrows before the Moslem positions. Ephraim, sobbing, was carried back into the city, his army destroyed. Now the siege would begin in earnest.

Egyptian and Abadani troops arrived by the end of 1651 and Antioch was put to the storm of siege. Constant barrages by guns on land and sea hammered at the ancient walls and the new fortifications raised by Ephraim's engineers. Above the city Abadani and Hussite draken dodged and clashed, spitting fire and smoke. Men grappled on fighting platforms far above the burning city, many falling to hideous deaths on the roofs below. The Hussite airships proved the master, a lone victory for the defenders. 6,000 Hussite defenders held out for six months against the 34,000 besiegers before the last rooms of the citadel were cleared. Ephraim was slain in fighting on the Suq and Dirgham was captured, still plotting in his rooms in the palace, moving markers representing armies that no longer existed about great mosaic maps of the realm he once ruled. He was carried off to meet the Wire Maiden and the Egyptian torturers. John the Bold and the Ukrainans escaped, finding new work as mercenaries on the Middle Sea.

The Sultanate of Egypt: What would Egypt be without the yearly contests for fight song? We wouldn't want to guess, so here's this turns winning tune, with a small addition of my own:

We have come to see, as we stand proud and tall
The head of Dirgham Turchik upon the wall.
Inside his city, he hides and weeps.
His people suffer for the company he keeps.
He has counted on others, his skin to save
but all he'll get is an early grave.
He's not to be trusted, he speaks only lies,
his only friends are assassins and spies.
But we're not afraid, for our cause is true.
We'll win this war, and here's what we'll do:
We'll raise out banners high to the sky.
To victory for God! Shall be our battle cry.
Down shall come the walls, down shall fall the city.
Upon the Hussite we shall show no pity.
Your widows will mourn, your orphans weep.
Your people, in despair, fro the walls will leap.
And still we will come come and still we will fight!
To erase forever the Syrian blight!
There shall be no end to God's Holy War,
until Syria and the Turchik are no more!
Go Suns!

Bilak acclaimed Muhammad as Sultan of Syria and sent him many gifts. The Egyptian fleet sailed off to blockade Antioch, precipitating the final act of the Turchik dynasty. Darfur in the far south was converted to Islam.

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