The history of our people is laced richly with legend. We originated as nomads storming across distant plains. It is rumored we were fleeing a great enemy and looking for a new safe home. Nomads from the frozen Steppes likely drove us down between the two great seas. Underneath the Caspian and Black sea we found a land that was relatively safe.
There are many important leaders of our people but the greatest may very well have been the first. Our first leader, or Sultan, was Ertoghrul. No more than a chieftain he wanted the best for his people. With four hundred horse he moved across Asia Minor. At some point he came across a battle. In a Chivalrous move he choose to fight for the losing side. This turned the scales of the battle and Ertoghrul found out he had helped out a very powerful chieftain. As his reward Ertoghrul was granted his own fief and would later earn his own insignia of sovereignty. This would present itself as a banner and drum. Ertoghrul was a non-moslem but his son Osman would become the seed from whence an empire would grow.
Osman had fallen in love with a moslem girl but the father forbade the marriage for several years. Eventually Osman read the Koran and stayed up all night devouring the pages of the book. Having read the book he had several visions. In one vision, after falling asleep near dawn having read the Koran all night, an angel appeared to him and uttered: "Since though has read my eternal word with so great respect, thy children and children of thy children shall be honored from generation to generation."
How powerful this must have been for a nomad in a strange land. Osman had other prophetic visions as well. It is not clear whether he was converted to Moslem before or after the following but the vision speaks for itself as being prophetic:
"...Then from his loins there sprang a tree, which as it grew came to cover the whole world with the shadow of its green beautiful branches. Beneath it Osman saw four mountain ranges - The Caucasus, the Atlas, the Taurus, and the Balkans. From its roots there issued four rivers, the Tigris, the Euphrates, the Nile and the Danube. The fields were rich with crops, the mountains thick with forests. In the valleys were cities adorned with domes, pyramids, obelisks, columns, and towers, all surmounted by the Crescent. Their balconies rang with the call to prayer, mingling with the song of nightingales and bright-colored parrots, perched among interlaced, sweet smelling branches.
Their leaves started to lengthen into sword blades. A wind arose, pointing them toward the city of Constantinople, which, situated at the junction of two seas and of two continents, seemed like a diamond mounted between two sapphires and two emeralds, and appeared thus to form the precious stone of the ring of a vast dominion which embraced the world."
Before he could put the ring on he awoke. People took the vision as a sign from God. It is this vision and Osman's determination that still motivates our people today. Osman's vision became a reality when in the next century our people conquered the heart of infidel power in the east, Constantinople. It was a test of resolve. A sacrifice of great numbers as many died trying to capture the great city.
I sit in a hallowed hall in the now great city of Istanbul. I write this journal inspired by my father Abduraham Edhem.
Mustafa II had appointed him but there is much to be done. My father has convinced the Sultan not to pursue aggression against Russia any longer. Our diplomats now seek a peace agreement with the various powers of Europe, including the Hapsburg's of Vienna. Although I am too young to remember the city of Vienna was nearly in our grasp several times but it would appear that for the moment that would be too lofty a goal to achieve again. There are troubles here in our homeland as well. In the land of the fertile crescent a new movement of Islam is gaining ground. This Shia sect has spilled over into Mesopotamia from Persia. It has caused great strife that will have to be dealt with. Mustafa II, with my father's guidance, has decided to forestall action in Europe and focus on this new threat to the east. However before this can begin much reform is necessary. The ceaseless wars with the west and the Russians has caused our infrastructure to degrade. Many taxes are not collected and the farms of the empire have stagnated with inattention. So for the first time in recent memory Europe will have to wait as we consolidate and focus on inward growth.