News for the Winter of the Year of Our Lord 1185 (Turnsheet 0)

News in the world of Crusade! is distributed by two major methods - from the pulpit and through private letters. Much is passed on to populations at large by priests and imams (though information often corrupted and inflamed). More is passed on by private correspondents, who write letters to the rich and important, describing the major news and events of their area, for which they are paid a small fee by the recipients. All are assumed to have access to the latter and naturally hear news of the former.

The City of Jerusalem

The ancient seat of the house of David and the most Holy City in all the world, at the centre of all the faiths of our world it sits upon the site of the Temple of Solomon and all those other places that have inspired generations in the service of the Lord. Somehow, despite the troubles it has faced throughout the years the city has managed to maintain a very cosmopolitan air, with a welcoming and affable tone to the streets and the people one meets. Cultures and their constant meeting, along with the faith they bring through the continued foot fall of the pilgrim's progress flows through the city as though they are its very blood.

Leprosy Outbreak

“It was terrible! I've never seen Sicily look so bad. Syphilitic madmen run riot! The pox on every child! And of course, leprosy! The modern day's bane! Half the city, I heard, all sick and falling apart. I had heard the Damascan physicians were already caravanning across the desert at nag-knackering speeds within days; hats off to them, they know how to respond to an outbreak, darkskin or not. We heard the Lazarians were on their way too, toes falling off in the wind.

Shame really they were shown up by the Hospitaliers. Faster than any Ayyubid medicine-hound, Grandmaster Helena of Trier and her First Retinue of The Hospital of St. John were luckily in the area, responding like a lightning strike to a dead dog! Medicine tents were set up within hours. Praise be to Helena of Trier! Praise be to Jesus in Excelsi!”

Death of Pope Lucius III & Proclamation of Heresy

Two Decrees issued by the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church; announced in every Catholic Church and monastery in the land and received by every head of State in the known world.

“His Holiness Papa Lucius Tertius has been taken to the bosom of the most high on the 25th November in the year of our Lord 1185 and the Holy See is now sede vacante. The College of Cardinals has been convened and the conclave will commence at the end of the novemdiales, after his Holiness has been interred within the Vatican Basilica. The faithful should be assured that the Church will be guided by God in this time of darkness and uncertainty until a new Bishop of Rome ascends to the throne of St. Peter. Until then Holy Masses and prayers shall preserve us.”

“It has come to the Holy See’s attention that the Heretic and blasphemer, the self styled Pope Peter II, has once more emerged from the shadows in this time of mourning. The flock of St. Peter must be vigilant against the allies and servants of this antipope lest they be corrupted by his satanic message. We have reason to believe that this accursed corrupter of souls is heading towards the Holy Land; any who lend him succour, sanctuary or aid are enemies of the Church and shall answer for their crimes in the flames of hell.”

Tensions in Jerusalem

Excerpt from a letter from the Rabbi Isaac Abrabanel

“Stay away from the Holy City my friend for the chosen people are now strangers here and it is a place of much sorrow. Though they tolerate us for our gold and caravans they hate our presence in this place; if we stray too close to Temple Mount we are chased away with rocks or worse and at night drunken gangs beat on our doors with clubs hoping to frighten us out. To even be seen wearing a kippah is a virtual death sentence. Do not come, stay at home safe with your family and pray for us.”

A Wonderous Spectacle

From the patter of montebank and swindler Joseph Greatcoat who travels some days ahead of the train of Loxos the Golden Tusk.

And what marvels you shall see! For my friend Loxos, yes I see that even here word of Loxos has arrived, my friend Loxos is master of the mighty elephant. Loxos commands nigh on five dozen of these mighty beasts. Even a single elephant spells the end of a dragon, for elephant and dragon are mortal enemies one of the other. But I digress, for I was telling you of the great parade of Loxos the Golden Tusk! It is not just elephants that Loxos commands but a myriad of other beasts. There are camels and peacocks and monkeys from distant Persia.

But sadly this menagerie must be fed… and without gold to pay for that food it may be that he will have to take a different route… it would sadden him so. Perhaps if you were to find some gold to show him your generosity or if you were even to fed his friend Joseph Greatcoat, for so I style myself, so that he knew here he would be welcome…

Hopsital in Damascus

Excerpt from a report by a scholar of Constantinople to his fellows

Iṣmat ad-Din Khatun, the commander of the garrison at Damascus, has ordered the hospital of which he is patron of to be expanded once more. It is said by expending such lavish effort upon the care of his troops he seeks to impress the Emir of Damascus, Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din. Many of the wealthy of the city now seek treatment there, for the most learned doctor in the a city of scholars has made her home there. It is said that though Jamila bint Tariq bin Suleiman ad-Dar has a skill which shows that she is beloved in the eyes of Allah, she has a manner that would disgrace a camel…

The Cathars, also know as the Bogomils

Excerpt from a sermon by a Catholic priest

”… and this new heresy arising, some say carried from far-off Armenian heretics and Bulgarian sects. Are we now to fear foul heretics spreading from Frankish lands, the Langdoc becoming infested with the vermin. Though we may know little about their corrupt and Devil-whispered beliefs, every man and woman must know that they must be hated and despised.

Do not let their lies fill your ears if they should come, and reject them as all heretics must be rejected, and call to me, that I may find burn them.”

Similar messages have been heard across all Catholic dioceses

General Karantenos - an aspiring Belisarius?

Excerpt from a letter from Nicea

”… furthermore, he scattered this previous year a raiding party, some say of bandits. Yet I have also heard that they were well-organised, and General Karantenos, with a smaller force, scattered them with some ease, though he had been likely to retire. This has followed other notable victories against the forces opposing our Empire in the Balkans under our Emperor Manuel. If war should come, or the Emperor choose to continue the expansion of our borders, we can perhaps be sure of a new General like the heroes of earlier Roman glories. In the west, I hear that Lydia…”

Seljuk Power Shifts

Expounded upon by a travelling diplomat in a bar:

“So, as I was saying, that civil unrest that's been going on for a while in the Seljuk Empire has been pretty much dissipated recently, because of the new edicts from the throne, from Turgal III, which came into force pretty recently. Everyone's talking about the Sultan's court, the guy who leads it is the Grand Vizier - impressive bloke by all accounts - and word has it they've enacted these demands with zealous force, and the Seljuk generals managed to crushed the insurrection before it had a chance to spread.”

“Then the Grand Vizier, I think his name is Nizam Ata, issues this massive proclamation on behalf of the Sultan which goes on for ages about the glories Turgal's reign has achieved; something like 'bringing the ailing country back from the brink of domination by Georgian and Arab incursions', solving 'internal crises', and 'resecuring the Seljuk place in the Levant', or some such nonsense.”

The Al-Nazihah

Posters seen all over Jerusalem, in Low Greek:


The Declarations of Queen Tamar

Excerpt from the recent Proclamations from the Court of the Virgin Queen:

And therefore Her Majesty does demand that Georgian interests be represented in the Levant and at the Winter Meetings that are protected by the Peace of the Covenant. Any person willing to travel to those distant lands in order to serve their country shall be well rewarded. They shall be required to deliver the messages and edicts of the Queen and Her Court to those there assembled and report on the happenings they witness. For whilst Georgia's greatness is clear to all who dwell therein, it is Her Majesty's wish that it be revealed to all.

Further Her Majesty declares that her Court will hear the interests of foreigners as it so please Her Majesty to enter into diplomatic accord with them. The nation of Georgia has much to offer the world and hopes for much offered in return. The generosity of Her Majesty is matched only by Her wealth, and Her power is supreme.

The Shining Host Gathers?

Homily by Bishop Frederick Graben, of the See of Damascus, though that Bishopric be now lost to the Saracen

“And as it says in Matthew 13:39-42 that “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire!” And that time is coming for many of us have heard of the great army of the Shining Host that assembles in the East, in the fabled land of Nod and we know they shall come soon to destroy the infidels and make upon this earth the heavenly Jerusalem! And we should rise up now, for the mighty Lord does call upon all good Christians to do so, to drive those hounds of hell back into the deepest deserts wherefore the Morningstar and his corrupted masses shall feed upon their souls, their hearts and their nevernever bits!”

A Party at Acre

Letter to the Court of Henry the Young King from its emissary in the Holy land

“I recently attended the most sumptuous party in the city of Acre as the guest of Queen Sibylla and the Count of that city, Philip of Jerusalem. The feast was of surpassing excellence with a plethora of foods from the western kingdoms and even further afield. The kings advisor, Getan de Reys, had somehow managed to source a lion that brought the young king Baldwin his desert nestled within a golden crown that had somehow been affixed to the beasts head, of course the young king squealed in delight at this…

…Incidentally Queen Sibylla has asked me once more to appeal to your beneficent nature in sending more weapons and troops to the Holy Land. Her fears for the future of her son's kingdom have increased of late I think.”

A new Prince in Gallicia

Part of a letter reporting from the Crimea

”… acquiring new allies. Though Gallicia-Volhynia, as this Principality is known, has acquired many friends, it is this new one that must be the greatest. Quite how I do not know, but Prince Basarab of Wallachia has concluded a peace under which he is said to stand under the banner of Gallicia, becoming part of the growing province.

I am also informed that he brings with him an experienced troop of soldiers, and shall retain his titles and honours. I intend to watch this man, for he must surely play a great part in the squabbles of the Rus'…”

Grand Master Templar Captures Spy

Overheard gossip between two Courtiers:

”…Gerard de Ridefort really made an example of that guy, didn't he?”

“Yeah, I heard they strung him up… or, wait, didn't they put him on a spike?”

“I don't know, but either way he isn't going to be walking around again any time soon-”

”-If at all.”

”…Indeed. I wouldn't want to be a spy of Saladin's amongst the Orders after that. Dirty Muslims think they can get away with anything these days.”

“Spy? I bet De Ridefort's own mother doesn't want to be friends with him.”


The words of a City Guard General in Baghdad have spread fast:

“None should panic! Simply stay in your homes until second horn! We cannot confirm whether it is the Mantycori at this hour, or merely a Roc Chic or Greater Sphinx. No, we cannot confirm that up to eight bodies have been rescued from without the city walls. We recommend any trained hunters - AND ONLY TRAINED, STREET RAT! - take your bows and follow us to the City Walls. I must repeat: This is not Monster-Hunting season, no matter what Muntasir -spits- has said! We simply ask you to keeop inside while these dust devils keep blowing!”

Along with these words, rumours of Sphinx, Roc, Matycorii, Efreetii, Skeleton Soldiers, Naga, Harpies, Sandworms and other beasts have spread far from Arabi.


Testimony of a Muslim peasant upon the southern borders of the Crusader States.

”… and the Captain struck the gate and he was most angry. I did not hear what he said, for I was some distance away in the fields, but it must have been a mighty shout for I did hear the word 'Cairo'. The soldiers and the horses looked tired, like they had ridden hard. When they were let in it passed from my mind… till I saw the bodies fall from the tower.

I fled at that, my lord, for I did not know what madness had taken the soldiers. But some from the garrison came to the village the next day, as is their habit, to buy supplies. They did say they had slain the newcomers and their captain would sell the fort to the Christians and then they would be rich…”

General Vassily Chekatilo's Seljuk Contract

A part of a report from a minor servant of the Turkish court

”… and the Sultan is gladdened by the contract with General Chekatilo. Hailing from the lands of the Rus', he was contracted by His Magnificence for the defence of the borders, and has already scattered the Sultan's enemies. We cannot but be amazed by the ferocity of the Rus and the impressive command of General Chekatilo. It is even possible that this General will be a tool in the hands of the Sultan in expanding the borders of the Seljuk lands. The Sultan in particular is ecstatic that…”


  • They say that if you put your ear to Saladin's chest it is as cold as ice and beneath one can hear a sound like tick and then tock. No man can say what it means!
  • The Pope's secretly a woman!
    “Why would you keep that secr…”
    Because she's the evil twin of the real pope! My horse told me so.
  • General Aprenos knows a good wine, and he knows how to share it! Just the aftertaste in my mouth takes the edge off my hangover… Pity he doesn't know so much about being a general.
  • “As big as a house, and grey, but it was the snake stuck to its nose that was most terrifying. I think the man called it an eel-e-font.”
  • “Mecca can fly, it's how the Arabs beat good Christian soldiers. Spies in the sky! It's held up by terrible demons I hear.”
  • “Have you ever heard of a Vizier who was…” *thud* *thump* ”… lesh zan vundervul?”
  • All alchemists know how to do is turn gold into glassware and scrolls. If you want some magic you need to find someone who knows those strange Rus sigils, and hope he doesn't want to write them in your blood!
  • Friar Gregory set my bones and sewed my cuts. For free! And he didn't hit with his cane either.
  • …and when they took the poker out…the cat…it had changed colour…
  • Appearances can be deceiving, and what one man says, is not always what he means, or what he believes.
  • … secrets ever buried, ever sleeping, to be revealed in a far off lands of many journeys…
  • You may think that lions of the desert are fierce creatures, but truly they are soft and beautiful on the inside.
  • “Summoned an Angel? Impossible, who has ever seen an angel anyway? They work invisibly all around us”
news/0.txt · Last modified: 2009/04/28 12:21 by oliver
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