News Turn 3 - At the Midwinter of 1188

The winter of 1188 approaches among the many turmoils already having taken place. The Peace of the Covenant is being prepared and all are summoned to the cosmopolitan streets of Antioch, to talk and resolve their many, many differences in a city that has been held in many hands. So the heads of those many hands must come and settle the disputes of the wars and arguments of queens, princes, generals and statesmen.

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 Glorious New Regime in Jerusalem

Lord Roustan de Comps in a letter to Richard of England

My Lord.
The situation in the Kingdom of Jerusalem is still tense even though the “Civil War” has ended. Raymond of Tripoli lies dead beneath the walls of his citadel at Jerusalem, slain by the same masked assassin that killed the Queen and her sister a year ago. Your kinsman, Baldwin, has been returned to throne after apparently spending the last two years under some evil curse of Arabic sorcery wrought by the traitor Raymond. The new regent is the knight Michael of Bethlehem who has proclaimed himself the saviour of the kingdom and God's chosen protector of the boy King.

Count Philip has been arrested for arranging the murders of his family in order to place himself on the throne. He is currently held at the fortress of the Order of Mary Magdalene at Bethlehem. His imprisonment has been deeply unpopular; he is much liked by the people of Jerusalem and even the young King is said to have asked for his release. Philip will have to stand trial for his crimes and either answer for them or be acquitted, I only hope that the Military Orders do not attempt to harm him or the Kingdom may disintegrate entirely. Both the Byzantines and the Arabs are watching us closely and I fear unless strength and harmony are returned to the Holy Land soon then we many lose it to the infidels.

May God have mercy on us in this time of strife.

Patriarch speaks out against the Trials of War

In her homily the Patriarch of Antioch speaks
“So it comes to pass as we have known it would. Our far Antioch stands at the gates of three nations again and all stand ready for war! Between them they shall destroy all we have struggled to build, they shall wipe out so much we have worked for. So I denounce them all! Each and every one of them! All of these people that attempt to make their rule upon this earthly world when it is the spiritual enlightenment they should instead be striving for, when it is the Kingdom of Heaven we should be straining for. Our prayers, our good works and our charity that shall renew this place, not there petty politics which serves no one but the Great evil himself, the Horned Beast! I stand here and I say that those within our community, within this great city, within our won families who declare for war and demand that we fight against those who are without our walls; they are anathema! The Lord is the peacemaker, he is the Lord of Love and of Hope! Know him in your hearts and we shall all be saved!”

Fall of The Mantykorii

Rumours and Wind-Talking…

”…a thousand Bedouin charged into the city, proclaiming the will of Allah, wielding flaming torches, the Al-Nazihah at front, descending into the fray…”

”…and he spoke “People of Baghdad, fear not! I, Al-afdal, first son of Salah ad'Din have arrived to free you from the tyrannical rule of the Mantykora! No longer shall you live in fear of fiendish creatures baying at your door, of demonic beasts gnawing on your roofs. We shall drive out the beast within, and take this city back! Allah is great! HOUJOUM!!”

”…the elephants crushed the dogs beneath their feet! Joy had returned to Baghdad, ready to stamp out the oppression and gloom…”

”…and with an arrow each the Princes blinded the Great Beast, it's rage tearing at the heart of every man…”

”…the Al-Nazihah's blade, his eyes aflame, screamed hatred and descended from the rooftop, his blade bisecting the She-Thing in twain…”

”…the Ragged Man's concentration broke, his song ended, the Al-Nazihah Trader's foot in his crotch…”

”…with but a crossbow bolt, The Princess shot the Beast, and it fell, dead in the sky…”

”…a bonfire surrounded the Great Beast. But within moments it's fear subsided, the Monster knew of the flame's nature, and charged the Al-Nazihahs…”

”…and Muntasir laughed, his fingers entwined in it's fur, refusing to let go with every bucking stride…”

”…the trap was sprung, the Beast enraged, swept at the Maiden, dashed to the ground, her entrails spraying like a dustcloud…”

”…and Al-Afdal proclaimed the Lion of Tikrit the City's protector. And the City laughed. And Al-Afdal laughed. And the Al-Nazihah laughed. And the Byzantine Prince laughed. And the Rus Princess laughed. And Muntasir laughed. And the Manticore laughed. For it was a most funny joke…”

Baghdad has been purged of the Great Beast and it's Armies. The City is Destroyed and in turmoil, but it's morale stronger than ever before. The Great Beast is a prisoner within it's own domain, caged like a mere animal.

A Man For All Seasons?

A speech spoken by a holy man, much repeated in Jerusalem.
“And I say unto you that they do bring war upon this Holiest of places, that it is their hands that have brought their own kin to the gates of this fair city and it is on their hands that the blood shall show upon the last of days and our Lord shall know that they have rendered the innocent and the meek much abuse and pain and have done great sin while obfuscating it with the Almighty's name! What Blasphemy they reek upon us and him, what darkness they bring upon us all and I shall name now who he is the source of this pain, he who is the cause of this cancer at the heart of this realm and his name is Raymond! Raymond I tell thee!”

The Kindness of Strangers

News noted among those listening out for news from the beggar population of Jerusalem
“So must be noted a great generosity from some quarter or other towards the beggars. I have not seen quite such a good time for these downtrodden of Jerusalem - for they say to me that many generous men have been around the city, giving freely. From the very goodness of their heart it must have come, for now they do well for themselves and speak with the occasional smile!

It is still hard to tell why such a thing occurs, but perhaps the Mercy of the Lord truly shines upon the meek this year. Or it is possible that a stranger has chosen to visit such kindness for some purpose. But what can one get from the beggars except some small gratitude?”

The Lion of Jerusalem

An overhead conversation between two ladies of ill repute on the streets of Jerusalem:

“Have you been to see the Prince yet?”

“No, but I’ve heard he’s looovely. A handsome Arab and hung like a camel to boot”


“Right you are. That Prince Khawan is a charmer to be sure, and so generous with his gold I hear. They say he has thirty girls pleasure him day and night and that he only stops when they have all passed out from exhaustion”

More Giggling

“You know I heard he went to kill some great monster in the east and put its corpse in a cage”

“Well I don’t see how; he never leaves that personal brothel of his except at night.”

“Pah! What matter? If he’s got the gold who cares what he spends his time doing…as long as its one of us”


A Proclamation Concerning The Knights of The Hospital of St John

Issued forth by Helena of Trier herself:

“I, Grandmaster and Praeceptor of The Knights of The Order of The Hospital of Saint John, do from this moment strip Raymond De Focalquier of his Honourable title of Knight Hospitalier, and consign him to the dirt of The Levant as a Rogue and a Heathen.
His frightful, Un-Christian actions in Damascus in 1186, and his continued pursuit of said-actions have left me no choice but to remove him from This Most Saintly Order.
He and His Knights are hereby stripped of their Titles and Position within The Order, and let all God-Fearing Christians know of His Heresy and His Betrayal Of Our Faith.”

The Condemnation of Michael of Bethlehem

Surprisingly from an account by the newly appointed Dominican Prior of Prouille.
“It is said it started with a single voice, clear and clarion on a street corner, the voice of my erstwhile enemy, Mathieu Belibaste. That voice carried into the night and the echos of it reverberated round the walls of the Holy City and then it ran freely from that city and spread throughout the Holy Land itself. Soon those same whispers sounded throughout the Levant.

It is sometimes said that a lie can be half round the world before the truth has its boots on - that is wrong, because the Truth is a much more powerful thing than any lie can be. The Truth can burn through lies as though they were ust papers in the face of a firestorm and we all knew the truth of this when we heard it; that Michael of Bethlehem is a man of evil, whose only wish is to claim power as his and to lay low the good souls who struggle within the Kingdom of Jerusalem and wider Christendom. And now he lays his hands upon the throne of young Baldwin the Fair and seeks to steer that ship of state. Without doubt with him at the tiller the nation shall founder.”

Al-Nazihah Library! Featuring Muntasir!

Flyers scattered around the Holy Land:


The Fall of Edessa

From reports circulated from Constantinople, upon the victory over Edessa
”… taking the Roman armies to the Turks in the region of Edessa who were not content to be subjects of the Emperor and citizens of the Empire. Thus the Strategos Karantenos invested the city, which had been taken by the rebelling Turks, and through siege seized control, and so returned the city and its lands to the theme of Mesopotamia.

All the rebelling Turks have now been either destroyed or captured and the Roman territories, once cruelly usurped by the Seljuk, are restored to the Emperor and the Turkish populations accepted into the Empire…”

News from an observer, a resident of Byzantine Samosata
”… and fell upon the camp again and again, each night, the silent killers striking another handful of officers. It seems only the Strategos remained untouched, though it is said that he never slept and surrounded himself with the best bodyguards that come from the Northmen. Then the army of mercenaries arrived, and we feared that they would join with the Seljuks, who had harassed our camp every day, so that we watched for their attack every hour. Yet at the crucial moment, the Rus of General Korovic turned upon the Turks and scattered their armies. It is only those within Edessa that remained…”

”… the Rus Princess that had come with us, now was sent on some task with the Rus General into the North. It was only clear once they had returned that they had cleared out the nest of killers that had plagued the Rus and Roman armies. Though it came perhaps too late, for Strategos Karantenos was the last officer of the army left alive from those that had been with him when the campaign begun. Such cruelties I can little bear to speak of, and the further details I must witholds…”

Rumour spoken of around Edessa
“Every night they visit you
Every nighty they come
And bit by bit
They kill your men
And feed them to Shai'tan!”

Marriage Delayed

A description of Anna Doukina – the young niece of Isaac Angelos II, the Emperor of Rome – sent to Philip of Jerusalem. Upon learning that she is to be his bride many similar descriptions reach the ear of the other nobles of the Crusader Kingdoms:
“She stands upright like some young sapling, erect and evergreen, all her limbs and the other parts of her body absolutely symmetrical and in harmony one with another. With her lovely appearance and charming voice she never ceases to fascinate all who see and hear her. Her face shines with the soft light of the moon; it is not the completely round face of an Assyrian woman, nor long, like the face of a Scyth, but just slightly oval in shape. There are rose blossoms on her cheeks, visible a long way off. Her light-blue eyes are both gay and stern: their charm and beauty attract, but the awe they cause so dazzles the bystander that he can neither look nor turn away…Generally she accompanies her words with graceful gestures, her hands bare to the wrists, and you would say it was ivory turned by some craftsman into the form of fingers and hand. The pupils of her eyes, with the brilliant blue of deep waves, recall a calm, still sea, while the white surrounding them shine by contrast, so that the whole eye acquires a peculiar lustre and a charm which is inexpressible.”

An account of her arrival at Acre:
The harbour of Acre was already much crowded with ships of the fleets of the Romans, for in the confusion of the restoration of King Baldwin (God Save the King!) to the throne and the matter of the regency, they tarried in the stronghold of Philip. The ship that carried Anna Doukina to the of her husband to be was still mightier than any of the galleys of war in the harbour though. Five banks of oars pulled in steady time to move that behemoth of ancient oak and much gold through the waters, for she arrived upon a vessel fit for an Emperor. And well she might for she is of the imperial blood and the match approved by her uncle.

The bride of Philip stays now in his citadel though her husband-to-be languishes in a dungeon, and they have not yet set eyes one upon the other. She is tended most courteously by the servants of the Count and his man Eustace de Boulai, Chancellor of the Countship, sees to her desires which are not many for it seems she does pine in some small way. I think the match was not a disappointment to her. I have listened too to the gossip of the servants and they say that, though her Latin is halting, she is fair of face and fair of manner though she speaks of matters which are better in her homeland.

I fear that the Romans think the matter an insult to them, and the people of Acre tolerate these invaders with more patience than I should expect, for they hope that their Count shall be restored to them soon. Even the priests of the most Catholic Church hold their tongues for now at the presence of the chaplains of the Romans loyal to the patriarch and not the Pope as all Christians should be.

Nor is this an idle matter for the Romans have some agreement with the false pope who styles himself “Peter II” in opposition to the Holy Mother in Rome. The ships that fly his flag, mostly of Venice, though some few of Genoa, and none in great number yet, do receive escort from the Roman galleys. Piracy is much reduced these last two years but even so the merchants note that if they claim loyalty to the antipope they may pay fewer guards and suffer fewer losses to pirates.

I do not think that Philip's people approve of this matter but they will not act 'gainst their allies without the word of their Lord.

They come in the Night!

A telling from a frightened Christian trying to purchase his way from the docks of Alexandria
“I saw its claws first, shining steel in the darkness, moonlit in the pale. It scratched and scraped at the bottom of the door, at the gap through which the warm night breezes blow, trying to find purchase with which to lever it open, to gain access to our room. I hide the children underneath the bed and told them to be silent, but their sobs still came and the tears flowed free and it knew we were there, but when it knew it could not enter, could not beat our bolts, then it moved away.

I heard it with its fellows all hunting down the street, those demons in the night that pulled our neighbours from their beds and dragged them to the Church, the church from which they come each night and by day none of us shall enter. Each morning we see the blood drying in the dawning sun in the doorways of the Church and we know that within is the Patriarch still for we hear his laughter, high and mad, all the time, never ending…”



A letter from an Orthodox priest newly established in a parish in the bishopric of Caesarea.
”… all is new here, for it has been nigh on four centuries, the rule of many emperors, since this church was last opened and mass celebrated. My congregation is still small but it grows steadily; as St. Thomas said “It is like a mustard seed, the smallest of all seeds, but when it falls on prepared soil, it produces a large plant and becomes a shelter for birds of the sky.” I am well-prepared for I have my bible, and I have the new Book of Common Prayer that the Turks might be taught the better and I have an icon new recovered.

All this I owe to Bishop Giannopoulos and I am not surprised that the Patriarch has seen fit to reward him. I spoke with him but briefly in Caesarea, for he is oft absent from his humble palace, for he must always be about the business of the Church. I confess I am confused about the significance of elephants…

… we must still tolerate the infernal cries of the false priests of the demon Allah. I have complained to the governor, and I have even written letters to General Karantenos and the Duchos Exarchos. Everyday he leads his poor followers in their false worship of false god their souls are stained still further. Our armies are victorious upon the field of battle, why do they not use their arms to drive out these servants of the adversary and ease our victory spiritual?”


Reports from a merchant trading in the newly safe region around Edessa:
… encounted many missionaries loyal to Pope Peter II. Here it is not wise to call him “antipope” for he has many followers in the Roman territories that border the Crusaders. Many times more than those Christians loyal to the Patriarch in Constantinople or the Pope who dwells in Rome.Now he has raised up from amongst his followers new bishops and two new Cardinals, for if he is pope he has the right and it is true that the Christians here about need ministers and organisation.

The Romans seem happy to tolerate him for now, but then they do not even act against the followers of Allah but leave the minarets untoppled and make no move to remove the priests of that Arabian faith. And in truth there still be more of them than of any good Christian men or women…”

Islamic Reaction

One of many similar speeches by the imams of the former Seljuk Empire
The People of the Book may live in peace, for they have started upon the path of righteousness and, though they tarry, there is still hope that they will reach the destination which is Allah and his truth as written in the Qu'ran. There are those who have heard the words of the prophet and moved amongst you as his followers, even in this very mosque, and yet have turned from the certainty of Allah. These apostates, for such are all those who reject the truth and fall away to Bible or Torah. Many they have become but their crimes will be judged by Allah and they shall not enter into paradise.

The punishment for apostasy upon this Earth is clear, and the scholars of Islam united in their teachings. They shall be given but three days removed from their fellows, that they might listen to their consciences and be saved, and if they do not renounce their folly their lives are forfeit. For the price of apostasy is beheading!

The Romans, and in particular the forces of the Duchos Exarchos Nizam Ata, take a dim view of such matters and acts of violence against Muslim converts are sporadic but not necessarily uncommon.

Papal Bull on the Formation of the Papal Inquisition

Her Holiness Pope Urbane III hereby decrees the formation of the Grand Papal Inquisition under the oversight of Cardinal Tristitia. The god given aim of this hand of the Holy See is to route out and put to the flame the heretics and unbelievers who have come to so vex the true followers of Christ as they seek to impart his divine word. They shall hunt down and bring to justice those who would deny the divinity of Christ or the primacy of his church in Rome, they shall show no reservation or mercy in this noble task.

Her Holiness hereby grants her inquisition a free hand in the lands of Christendom and the authority to scourge them clean with the righteous fires of God in the name of the Holy Mother Church. All faithful clergy and laymen alike will lend what aid they can to this great cause and shall treat the inquisition as a personal prefecture of her Holiness.

Crusaders Gather in Italy

News from Venice, carried by a merchant ship to the Levant:
… a great army gathers upon the plain of the Po. The Lords of England and France and the Holy Roman Empire – King Philip, King Richard and Emperor Barbarossa – have gathered round them a mighty host of chivalry of those chilly nations. The peace between them seems firm, despite the strong words and clash of arms not more than a year ago. Round them too gather peasants for the preachers in England, France and Burgundy have once more remembered that to fight and die in the name of Christ and in the liberation of the Holy Land from infidels and usurpers is a Holy Duty and those who fall in the name and service of Christ will have their sins remitted and see the Gates of Heaven at the end.

The several rulers of the many Italian States are little pleased to have this army in their midst. Like all armies it must be fed and so many hungry mouths threatens to strip the lands around their encampments bare. The Genoese and Venetians make much money in selling the army but little, and they and the emissaries of the Papal States do vie for favour in recruiting this mighty force to settle the petty disputes that consume them.

In truth I do not think this host shall move this year. The navies of Italy are gathered close and none dare sail for fear their rivals will seize advantage in the meantime. The Roman Navy is stronger now than for many years; they and the fleet of the infidels in Alexandria together control the ways East by sea and Venice or Genoa must needs show much determination and no few losses to attempt the passage without their permission. Or perhaps cooperation but that seems even less likely. The route by land lies now entirely through the lands of the Romans and I fear they have not forgotten the cost of a hungry army, nor the “promises” they claim were given to them by our forefathers…

The Emperor Wounded

A letter from a junior courtier at the Imperial Palace of the Roman Empire, poor enough to send it to many people:
The Emperor had not been seen for many weeks, prompting speculation that he had been assassinated by his favourites, since they still claimed to speak with him and relay his orders. I myself thought there might be some truth to the rumours for the slave girls and mistresses of the Emperor – even that Turk – have been untroubled by his appetites in that time.

It seems though that these rumours were unfounded, but that other rumours I had dismissed as implausible or even unthinkable had some truth in them. For the Emperor has emerged with the most hideous burns upon the side of his face, wounds which have not yet healed. If rumour is to be believed an assassin, dressed in the manner of a bat, attacked him in his chambers but was driven off by Varangian Guard. The Emperor's life was saved but his looks were not. I do not know if this creature is some demon, but I fear it must be so to strike at the Emperor in his own home.

I have heard tell that assassins struck against the armies of Rome that liberated Asia Minor, and I have heard that such a bat-creature haunts Jerusalem where it feeds upon the flesh of the petty nobles there. This terrible apparition…

Orders Decimated

A common sentiment among the Orders over recent weeks

“A caped crusader killer is stalking the Orders. It’s the same devil implicated in the murder of the Queen and who burned Raymond of Tripoli to a crisp. He’s already killed members of the Hospitallers, Templars, Venerable Bede and the Order of Mary Magdalene. They say he hunts us in the dark of Jerusalem and strikes from shadows. What sort of monster would kill the soldiers of Christ? Well no longer! The Orders will not stand by as this demon slays the righteous, we shall take up our blades and smite him with the vengeful wrath of the Almighty. The fiend will be caught and brought to justice for his crimes against the State, the Church and God. Death to the dark knight murderer!”

A Catchy Tune

Another popular song, its origins unclear, has come to the fore in the Holy Land.

OC: Sung to the tune of 'I'll make a man out of you' from Disney's Mulan

Loxos is our Hero
He keeps his cool
Armies flee before him
Because he is no fool.
His Elephants are mighty beasts of yore
And you can bet before he's through
Mister, He'll put a show on for you.

With the Strength of an Ox
And Courage within
Once he is behind you
You are sure to win.
He's a charming, dashing, handsome man
See him and you'll know it's true.
Mister, He'll put a show on for you.

Your never gonna stop him now.
He even entertains the Emperor
Boy, he is a light, so bright, fighting the dark.
He's got them Scared to Death
With just the power of his voice
Now he's going to show us just what he can do

He's the man
Who will drive our foes before us.
He's the man
With all his force of Elephants
He's the man
With all the strength of a raging fire
With him, there is always an Elephant in the room

Loxos is our Saviour.
And a showman too.
You should watch him carefully
He'll know what to do.
The one we adore
Please show us more.
He's the one we want, it's true
Mister, He'll put a show on for you.

He's the man
Who will drive our foes before us.
He's the man
With all his force of Elephants
He's the man
With all the strength of a raging fire
With him, there is always an Elephant in the room

He's the man
Who will drive our foes before us.
He's the man
With all his force of Elephants
He's the man
With all the strength of a raging fire
With him, there is always an Elephant in the room


  • The deaths in Edessa are satanic Pagan magic
  • Raymond of Tripoli is the Great Satan…well not any more.
  • One of the Ophanim is the Great Satan.
  • Tapir is the Great Satan.
  • Muntasir is not the Great Satan, he's just a bit of a tosser.
  • Helena of Trier is betrothed to the no-nosed Greek!
  • It's a Zionist Conspiracy!
  • The cat's got its paws in three big cookie jars.
  • One does not simply parade into Mordor.
  • Don't let assassins into your fortress if you know what's good for you.
  • The Kingdom of Jerusalem is in Excellent Health.
  • Plagues don't just happen. Pixies cause them.
  • Bat-Anti-Emperor-Spray: Angelos Tested, Batman Approved.
  • NEWSFLASH: Camel population soars! Camel breeders exhausted.
  • Love triangles are not as complicated as love tetrahedrons.
  • Faces don't often melt just by themselves, but I hear that there is a man who knows a woman who knows where to find a djinn who knows how it's done.
  • I hear that you can catch the plague just by looking at a doctor! That's why I never trust these cutters.
  • The Manticore made a better Emir of Baghdad than Prince Khawan could ever be.
  • I can't believe it's not a library!
  • All hail the Black Elephant King Pope, may he live and rule for ever.
  • I don't know if you've heard my little tip: don't let crusaders solve your problems. Unless you want them all dead - all they can agree on is killing each other. That's what they've done to Philip.
  • Shh… he lives… you can never catch him… for he is not just one man…
  • Ha! A coup in Jerusalem…when elephants fly!
news/3.txt · Last modified: 2009/05/18 14:49 by ivan
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