News Turn 2 - At the Midwinter of 1187

We see out now this year of 1187 at this time and the Covenant of Peace is called amidst the steps and benches of the Senate building in Constantinople, largest and richest city of the world. Great calamities and joys have been seen in this past year in equal measure and now we look to see what may be done to consider those futures that the great and the good may make for all of the rest of us.

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.

A proclamation of Al-Afdal ibn Salah ad-Din

A proclamation is issued from Damascus, and quickly circulates around the markets and bazaars of the Holy Land:

“Know you, people of all faiths, that the Al-Nazihah family are upstanding and honest in the extreme, and that any words spoken against them by the likes of Raymond de Forcalquier are lies, especially those lies with regards to the hospital of Damascus. Know that it was Raymond who drew blood in the hospital, along with his sinful comrades, and that the rumour against the fine and honest traders of Araby was a soiled attempt of his to blackmail them into betrayal and apostasy. Do not heed the lies of Forcalquier!”

The Weakness of the Latin's Navy

A letter from Castellian Tancred of Antioch, newly returned from Rome:

… and though piracy is much reduced in our home waters, few of these buccaneers have been hung, for they have simply moved to the seas 'round Italy which now teem with scum and villainy. My galley, flying proudly the colours of my lord, was pursued by three such ships as we ventured through the Straits of Messina for two nights and a day until a storm blew up and in the gales and spray we escaped.

None suppress this banditry upon the waves for Genoa, Venice and the Papal States keep their fleets and armies close now, for great tension and division has arisen between them. Though the Italians are famed for their quarrelsome nature I do imagine these several kingdoms as like duellists with their hands upon their hilts and only one more insult needed to see steel shown.

And this is not best for Antioch, for ever have the Kingdoms of the Crusaders relied on the navies of the Western Kingdoms and have but little strength of fighting ships of our own. Even now the war galleys of infidels and schismatics dare to sale within sight of these towers…

The Pirates Sent to the Deep

A report, supposedly to the Venetian governor of Krete

“The precise measures or any agreements, if there be such, cannot be discerned, but it is true that the pirate operations of the Eastern Mediterranean have been incredibly decreased. The Byzantine Navy, now growing, has acted against the major bases of piracy, notably Rhodes and Cyprus, from which our shipping too has suffered. Though not every pirate Captain has fallen to the Byzantine galleys, I cannot think of many who will bravely sail the waters for a year or more.

Likewise, I write of Salah-din's ships, which have sailed the coast from Alexandria, to Cyrenaica and beyond, almost to African Tripolitana, and there razed every known pirate ship.

Quite remarkably, the Mediterranean to the East may now be safer and more free from these actions, and I cannot but conclude that we must seek to profit as best we can.”

Heretic or Visionary?

A note scribed by Dominic Lieven, a Rus visiting the city of Jerusalem on pilgrimage.

I heard him speak and the truth carried through his words. He spoke of his dreams, he spoke of his visions and he spoke of the love of God. He spoke of the horrors that were to come unless we put aside our angry wars and hatreds and of the swarm of insects that shall be sent across the devestated land. He preached peace, he preached love and he preached hope; how can this distant Pope declare this man, Mathieu Belibaste, to be anathema?

The End of the Seljuk Empire

Certain letters circulated around the Byzantine Empire and news reaching into Europe, the Holy Land and Egypt

”… the Roman General Karantenos, is said to have taken his force with a speed befitting Hermes to the Turk's capital, and there, besieging it for but two days, had taken every defender and captured the Sultan. Without such speed, who could say how prepared the Turks have been?”

“I cannot be sure if these reports are true, but it was said that all Seljuks upon the borders were affected with a blindness, no doubt the Wrath Divine, and let the Romans through to take their land. How else such failure could be explained I cannot countenance - so surely this must be true!”

”… and he had marched here, to Ancyra - I later was informed that the General claimed that the Emperor was set against him, and that he was German, or that his soldiers were (and they were surely nothing of the sort, nor him). And then just as suddenly he returned, and I hear too to the Turkish lands again…”

“The Mercenary General and a great number of the Turkish troops were sent away! Away indeed to Baghdad ther to hunt the Manticore for the Sultan's pleasure. Though I have heard many say that it was the whispering of the Grand Vizier Nizam Ata that has caused this. Or perhaps the Sultan is simply mad, or the Vizier also. Though why the Romans would now choose to take…”

“Oh it is true, the Turks still remain a threat, though the Empire is no more. I am reliably that they have sworn themselves to some General.”

An extract from proclamations issued soon after the reported capture of Hamadan and Sultan Turgal III

”… that the themata of the Roman Empire be restituted and that the rule of the Emperor of Constantinople be returned to these lands. All land formerly held by the Turkish invaders are now returned into the Empire and such Governors as shall be appointed, and such Exarchs as be sent out, shall be made known…”

”… appoint Nizam Ata as the Dukos Exarchos of the new Ducate of Cappadocia, of former Turkish lands…”

Note that the Seljuk Empire has ceased to exist as a faction. That does not mean that all the Turks have disappeared - a great many of them are now simply in Byzantine lands, and the Byzantines' problem.

Chaos in the Kingdom of Jerusalem

A story told by the merchant Matthew John Norris

…and the heavens opened and there issued forth the chorus of the divine choirs. Down came a celestial light, a golden shaft that struck upon the crowd gathered below. From the rift in clouds came an Angel of inhuman beauty; its skin bronze, it wings a gleaming silver and its eyes burning with a celestial fire. In one hand it held a spear of gold and in the other a burning sword. Behind it came four smaller winged figures that I assume must have been cherubim. Between them they carried a great beast, a massive grey thing that I have heard called an elephant, and they bore it down and set it upon the plaza by the crowd. The noble Angel alighted before the beast, which looked much perturbed at its treatment, and in a voice that thundered with the trumpets of heaven declared:


Then the glorious creature bowed low before the elephant and with a great beat of its wings rose into the sky and was lost within the brilliant light above. The crowd was left alone on the plaza with the…King.

Lord Roustan de Comps in a letter to Richard of England:
The feast was interrupted when a terrible voice filled the Hall; deep and menacing, which in its dread tones cried;

“Ladies and Gentlemen, behold the Kingmaker!”

Then from the rafters high above us sprung a figure like some demonic bat. It wore the black garb of an executioner and held in its hand a great axe. It landed upon the high table and with a single blow it cleaved Queen Sibylla’s head clear in twain, killing her instantly. Before the court could utter as much as a scream the devil pulled a crossbow from beneath its tunic and shot Lady Isabella through the throat, her death rattle was the only sound in the Hall. That moment seemed to extend itself into hours as we looked on in horror. At last the guards leapt forward to apprehend the monster but with a great explosion of acrid smoke the figure vanished. When the vapour cleared we were left alone in the Hall with the bodies of the dead Queen and her sister….Of course with Baldwin presumed killed and his mother and aunt assassinated the only serious claimant to the throne is Philip of Jerusalem…

Warrant of Arrest issued by Raymond of Tripoli, posted in every public space in Jerusalem

Philip of Jerusalem, Count of Acre, is hereby accused of the murder of the Royal family; King Baldwin V, Queen Sibylla and Lady Isabella of Jerusalem. His attempt to place himself on the throne has failed and the Privy Council has declared him a traitor to the kingdom of Jerusalem and demands that he present himself for trial and punishment within the week. All allies and advisers who consort with this usurper are to considered equally guilty of the crime of treason.

Warrant of Arrest issued by Philip of Jerusalem, posted in every public space not in Jerusalem

Raymond of Tripoli, former Regent to King Baldwin, is hereby accused of the kidnap of King Baldwin and the murder of; Queen Sibylla and Lady Isabella of Jerusalem. His attempt to seize control of the kingdom has failed and the nobles of King Baldwin's Realm declare him traitor and betrayer to the Crown. He is hereby ordered to present himself for trial within the week and to relinquish the powers of Regent once granted to him.

At last Catharism is in retreat!

From the letters of Father Dougan of the Order of St. Emilia

At last they are taking the Cathars seriously and preachers have been moving amongst those who had fallen to the twisted words of that sad heresy and returning them to the loving arm’s of God’s True Church. That combined with those of the street population that joined the Beggar’s Crusade formed against the City of Damascus in retaliation for their stealing of our King has meant that the numbers of those heretics has collapsed in our population.

And then I heard tell that Michael of Bethlehem, a true knight of the Lord went amongst these people himself and at last tracked down that whoreson Mathieu the Heretic. He moved to arrest him, with his Holy Order proud to see a man act upon the Papal Decree but that Mathieu escaped by some devil’s trick so that Michael had to make do with the Devil’s servant’s right hand man, Daniel the Brown! Using him we will find the root of these crimes and cut the rot out at last!

A Proclamation by the Pope / Antipope

A papal bull issued by Pope Peter II, true bishop of Rome and apostolic successor of Peter:


Peter, Bishop, servant of the servants of God, in lasting memory of the matter.

The One True Catholic and Apostolic Church hereby acknowledges the piety and devotion of the city and state of Venice that it does serve God and the Holy Church founded in the true teaching of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In our gratitude for the devotion shown by the people of the city and republic of Venice to Mark, the saint known as Evangelist, do we make our pleasure known. For the care and rescue of the bones of this great father of the Church do we praise the City and remark upon the special favour to which it is due and in which all children of God should hold its citizens in their highest regard and upon earth see that the Venetians receive their due reward of spirit and hospitality as Our Father in Heaven shall welcome them within his Kingdom.

Parade in Constantinople

Breathless gossip in the Imperial Palace at Constantinople:
“It was the most marvellous of spectacles since the time of the Emperor Justinian, perhaps even since the time of the Emperor Constantine, more than five dozen elephants marching through the city and with Loxos the Golden Tusk at their head - in fact on the head of the tallest beast. Why the elephants were so enormous they were almost half the height of the city walls! And each wearing the livery of one of the nobles; I hear it cost a pretty penny to get your colours on the beast itself. Some of the riff-raff had to make do with the camels.”

“Loxos made quite the impression in the Senate. I hear the emperor himself almost came to listen until someone let him nose it wouldn't be a good idea, if you catch my drift. Not surprising that outrageous tax on his beasts is gone now.”

“I never thought I'd see something that would unite those two factions. Blues and Greens cheering together at the top of their voices in the Hippodrome. Elephants, peacocks, monkeys and camels and standard bearers marching around the race-track. Why it was like a return to the glory days of the Empire! At least I imagine so.”

“And have you heard about the Patriarch's cousin, Herena Sarantenos? Well, let's just say that I hear a tusk has been ruffling her skirts!”


From Governor Telemachus of the Thema Kypriakon (Cyprus) of the Roman Emprie of Byzantium:
… for the plague in Limasol grows worse. My guards upon the roads say that many now flee the city, and no few of them show the sores and pustules of the disease. Only the bravest of my soldiers dare to turn such back and many barracks are now placed under quarantine. My strength diminishes even as the desperation of the citizenry increases. I fear it is not long now before I shall have to order the other cities of the island closed…

From Castellian Tancred of Antioch:
I know not how the plague reached us, only that it started not in the docks but in the monastery of the Benedictines. It lies heavy upon my heart to know those good men and women have fallen prey to the disease, and it means that many of Antioch's healers were in their sickbeds before we knew the disease was upon us, but it has contained the plague. I believe, I hope, that it was walled within the grounds of the abbey and the foul air which creates it will remain within as well. But every day I fear that some news will reach me from elsewhere in this city…

Papal Pecuniary Problems

Extract from a correspondence from an ambassador to the Holy See

Tensions are high within the Vatican at the moment. The Pope has called an audience with several high-ranking Cardinals including her legate to the Holy Land, Cardinal de Tartarts; the head of the Vatican Bank and the Chief Inquisitor of the Papal Inquisition. Rumours are flying that a large sum of gold, destined for the Holy Land, has been stolen. Her holiness is said be furious with those responsible for its shipment and appropriation…That anyone would steal from the Holy Mother Church is surprising enough but that they would dare do so within the realms of Christendom is even more unbelievable…One must wonder what impact this will have on the Church’s activities in the Holy Land; will the Holy See have problems supporting the Orders and their work in the Levant…I have been unable to determine what this princely sum of gold may have been intended for in the first place…

The Call to Angels

From a letter sent to Jerusalem from a French nun scribe

”… true wonders now seen in our lands. We were all called to witness wondrous happenings at Valence. Grandmaster Lucien, of the Order of Saint Mary Magdalene had gathered a great number of people there. Though he needed help in standing, he spoke in a clear and loud voice…

… and finally came to such a proclamation - that he would summon the Heavenly Host before us all, that we may see the Servants of the Lord, and our hearts be steeled. And there was a great silence, in truth, I believe that every man and woman held their breath for a considerable time. Then the Grandmaster was on his knees and praying, and then he was calling to the sky…

… and suddenly before us, Angels appeared, singing, purely clothed in white and each carrying a fine sword of white metal. With such benevolence upon their faces…

… though you might not believe, there are many here who would assure you, and I can only report what I saw to have happened.”

Muntasir, Enemy of the Public

A public proclamation, emanating from the Turkish States of the Byzantine Empire:

“Sultan Turgal III, wishes to announce that the adventurer Muntasir is a criminal, any any found to give him shelter of Sanctuary will be charged with aiding him in his crimes. He is charged with despicable acts of Violence against the Al'Nazihah traders, and the palace will see him brought to justice.”

The Travelling Al-Nazihah Written-Word Bazaar Extraordinaire

A flyer circulating the Crusader Cities:


Damascus Stands while the Westerners Rout

An account of the “Battle of the Bloodied Gardens” by Zarwesi Nisser

And the walls of our great city still stand free of the scourge of the uncivilised heretics all clad in steel! They came with their standards, their pennants and their colours all fluttering in the sweet breeze that flowed around us from the east and kept even their foul odour from entering our fair city! All arrayed they did come and form up before our walls, but our Emir had prepared well for their arrival and he did grant them all of the hospitality that an uninvited guest arriving under such immense numbers of arms was due. While the huge explosion amongst their charging lines did destroy the great gates of the Paradise Gate as well as the pools, fountains and gardens that once surrounded it, but our heroic soldiers were prepared and pushed them aside from the gateway with a single charge!

But not all was such wondrous news for it seems that Saladin’s son was captured during one of the valourous sallies against the foe and it is said that the Court of Jerusalem shall hold him for ransom!

A Tragedy in Flame!

A letter from Gertrude Walsrode to her cousin Heidi Fallingbostel

A hero of our people is dead, along with so many of our brave men! At the walls of Damascus William of Shrewsbury stood against the terrible infidels and drew in all the power of the sun into him and then poured forth all that he had gathered unto him, releasing an explosion of enormous proportions destroying the Heretic’s gate! But where once he had stood there was only a huge glass disc, some half-mile across, blackened and charred. He was not to be found.

Third Year of The Mantykorii

Despite rumour of the Manticore being captured and delivered to Damascus, the Baghdad killings have continued to escalate.
Another fast-travelling speech from Baghdad:

”…kicked in the head, kicked in the crotch. But you still shouldn't listen to his ravings! There are no mutilated bodies within the city, and even if there were, this does not prove anything about The Manticore wandering our streets! Neither are there any giant paw-prints, regular patrols of Jackals, or men in our hospices suffering from venomous scorpion stings. NO GREAT SHADOW HAS DESCENDED OVER OUR CITY! OUR DEFENSES ARE NOT BREACHED! THESE ARE ALL RUMOURS! THERE ARE NO STREET-QUAKES DUE TO SAND-WYRMS, OR SPHINXES WANDERING OUR GRAVEYARDS! STAY IN YOUR HOMES! THIS IS NOT TO PROTECT YOU FROM HARPY-SNATCHINGS, AS THERE ARE NONE!”

Since Last year, a further 67 men have disappeared, having left to kill the Manticore.
This puts the Grand Total of Manticore or Baghdad Beast based killings up to 120.

A Catchy New Song

This song, its origins unknown, has begun to spread across the Levant:

OC note: To the tune of Friend Like Me from Aladdin.

Well Loxos is as flash can be
A showman as some might say
But People you in Luck, 'cause you will see
His Parade will blow you all away
You will Marvel at his stunning Feasts
Just amazed at what he can do
His Elephants, fearsome, Beautiful beasts
Even more so, when they're coming at you
And he'll say

Ladies and Gentlemen
What can I do For You?
Just sit back, Relax
and Settle Down
You ain't never seen a thing like me
Woah oh oh!

This is the greatest show
And I'm you presentee!
Just do not stop, or interrupt my flow
You ain't never seen a thing like me!

Yes He likes to entertain us.
He's the one, we're here to see!
He's such a dish
You Know? I wish,
I could go and take him with me

Just look at the peacocks
And don't miss the monkeys
I'll show you now, and you'll say Wow.
You ain't never seen a thing like me!

So doncha sit there slack jawed, buggy eyed
Get up, get off, just Dance.
Join us and get Mystified
As Loxos begins to prance
We've got creatures to blow your mind
So come on up and get right in close
You've got to look, and smell and you will find
That Elephants these make the greatest host, woah

You know this Loxos, he's a real swell Guy, he doesn't have a care
He came prepared, so don't be scared
You ain't never seen a thing, never seen a thing
You ain't never seen a thing, never seen a thing
You ain't never seen a thing like me


  • Raymond de Forcalquier is the Great Satan.
  • Simeon Gabriel really gets around. He seems to be trading in every port in the Mediterranean.
  • William of Shrewsbury is was is with the Great Satan.
  • That strange Al-Nazihah girl came and asked us if she could buy uncle's headscarf. Of course he's not right in the head, but it's a shame to see the same in someone so young.
  • Muntasir is definitely the Great Satan.
  • It wasn't a sea monster, it lived in a pond!
  • For servants of the Almighty those cherubim sure kept swearing a lot.
  • “Have you heard what that idiot general is asking for now? He wants all the Ballistas on the East wall to be replaced by different colour ones, says they clash with the city walls.”
  • Praeceptor Abelard is not necessarily the Great Satan, but that's no excuse.
  • Jamila ad-Dar does awaken a great tiger within the super-tight pantaloons of Prince Basarab.
  • Satan is no longer the Great Satan - he's been relegated to make room.
  • The Grand Vizier is all wet.
  • Dydy pawb Cymraeg brad!
  • Pyotr Loria has within a year slain two dragons in different corners of the world
  • There are nuns on the run…and they have gold!
  • Door's are dangerous things.
  • “Because the Batman’s the hero Jerusalem deserves, but not the one it needs right now…and so we’ll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he’s not a hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector…a Dark Knight..oh yeah, and he killed the Queen.”
  • It wasn't a dragon, it lived in a pond
  • You're not taking my hair! What are you, a crusader?
  • Brother Ambrose has taken an Arab under his wing or his angel wing or something.
  • The Emperor of the Romans is in excellent health.
news/2.txt · Last modified: 2009/05/11 14:57 by dave
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