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Thread: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!) Complete + Behind the Scenes

  1. #261

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Nice part, as always.
    What made me engineer cringe: You switch between kilometers and miles. For an authentic feel, the latter is clearly better, as all SI-units are the child of the enlightenment postrevolutionary France - especially the km's, which, if I remember correctly, were designed thus that they'd be 1/40000th of the earth circumference. They didn't have the exact measurements of the earth at that time though.

    It'd say it's borderline impossible to ride 100 miles in a day. You'd have to have fresh horses ready at steady intervals, etc. And there's a whole lot that can go wrong on such a travel. So the ETA of "late afternoon" was somewhat weird.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Gilligan
    I can't think of a movie where I like it that the bad guy gets dumb, because it's like I want the bad guy to be smart smart smart, so the good guy has to be even smarter!
    Please stop using politics as an excuse for bad writing.
    That being said: A deep philosophical take about god, Nietzsche, Marx & faith.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    So deep!
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    A polished masterpiece!
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    Hey! I never said any of those things!

  2. #262

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Wot. I swear it was miles earlier on. No? Blast it. Thanks for pointing that out. I think I'll stick with miles then.

    I probably should have made it clearly that it's early in the morning when Jean is in Jerusalem, but you're also right - it shouldn't take such a short amount of time. Nevertheless I do believe if they did embark on such a venture they'd make all possible haste, so I gave them till evening this time Thanks for the feedback!

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  3. #263

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    This is nice Swaeft, and brings us one step closer to the end. To be honest though, I still don't think Jean is gonna die. I feel like you've become too attached to the boy to cut him loose so easily, even if it would be a noble sacrifice. But I can see you working up to it... Only time will tell.

    Regarding Cookiegod's comment on 100 miles, I also agree. Not only is that a good distance, but it's over terrain that will have, at best, terrible roads, and very little water to keep a horse going. I would also assume that crusaders would be somewhat inept at desert crossings. I mean, yeah, they've been there a while now, but they still aren't really "people of the desert", and I assume they would lack the necessary skills for a rapid crossing of that terrain. I don't know if anything hinges on them being able to reach Acre by nightfall, but if not, I'd suggest switching it to "by morning" or something. But other than that, a good entry!
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  4. #264

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    How dare you accuse me, the writer, of being attached to my characters! Guards! Seize him!

    I kid, I kid, but I am trying to avoid cliches here, so we shall have to see how it goes. About the horses - I did do a bit of research before putting this up - their stamina varies wildly, some can gallop for hours, and trotting means they can keep going as long as they get breaks and water. I did take into account that the desert is a harsh environment, but also that the horses here would have been suited to it by now. In addition, Gaston is a spy, he'd know the trails between the two biggest settlements of the Crusader States reasonably well. Last but not least, it's not uncommon for riders and messengers in an emergency to ride their horses very hard - or even bring multiple horses with them. I think Lord Jean frantically trying to appear before Lord Philip at Acre would make him pull out all the stops to do so, if he had decided to do it.

    Long story short - there isn't really anything hinging on them being able to reach Acre by nightfall, so although they could probably make it by nightfall, I'll change it to morning. Thanks for the feedback!

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  5. #265

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Don't overthink it Swaeft. We're with you regardless!
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    If you do want to overthink it, however:
    He likely wouldn't have traveled through the desert regardless, but on roads. Most likely either to the coast at Jaffa and then along the coast through cities such as Caesarea and Haifa to Acre, or through Nabalus, Sebasta to Nazareth and then to Acre at the coast. It could've been done, I agree, but it'd take more than one horse, light to no equipment, no major issues along the way, they'd've had a very vaguely estimated time of arrival, because with such distances you simply cannot know if you get there a few hours earlier or later, and also, far more importantly: Isn't the city under siege and the entire country beset by huge armies?! In which case I don't entirely get how Philip could go away that easily (or why, since he'd expect their morale to falter immediately), but also, every gate would be blocked (which they would regardless at night), there'd be troops all over the place that would at the very least stop those very suspicious few riders and question them, if they're lucky, or, if they're unlucky, attack them immediately.
    And crusader troops wouldn't necessarily recognise their king immediately and could expect a scheme, especially since they'd more likely assume their king to be dead, and Muslim skirmishing parties wouldn't likely be informed about the deal their sultans had made, and marauding soldiers on either side would be tempted by any riches the riders might've had on them, so riding with some crown or other would likewise have been unwise.

    So traveling at night time would've possibly even been safer for them, except for the fact that it'd've had to happen at much slower pace due to the lack of light and only been possible at all with a lot of moonlight.

    Which is why I say again: Don't overthink it! There's a reason why you're at chapter 38 already, and I'm only at the beginning of chapter 2 (disregarding the masterpiece of an entire book I've finished within 2 days on this forum which you haven't read, possibly because you hate comments such as this one).
    Quote Originally Posted by Vince Gilligan
    I can't think of a movie where I like it that the bad guy gets dumb, because it's like I want the bad guy to be smart smart smart, so the good guy has to be even smarter!
    Please stop using politics as an excuse for bad writing.
    That being said: A deep philosophical take about god, Nietzsche, Marx & faith.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    So deep!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    A polished masterpiece!
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Hey! I never said any of those things!

  6. #266

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Well, I do have to put some thought into it, don't I? But yes, I try not to overthink it as you have said...and that leaves room for some errors But of course with some imagination you could always think of a reason why something can happen, and that's how I've been going at it so far, not too unreasonable such that its ridiculous, but not too 'perfect' to have all angles covered (also because I don't have time for that )

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  7. #267
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    What a terrible choice for Lord Jean! The rawness of his anger towards Lord Philip is very believable.

    I wonder if the Sultan intends to keep his promise about what he won't do, if Lord Jean returns as the Sultan demands. If the Sultan is able to do what he threatened to do, maybe he intends to do it anyway (regardless of what Lord Jean chooses to do now) - unless this was a bluff and the endless lines of tents in the Sultan's were not actually occupied by soldiers. You've got my mind whirling with speculation about the possiiblities and trying to find a way out for Lord Jean - a sign of the success of your writing!

  8. #268
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    I agree with Alwyn on this one! So many things can happen, so many possibilities to be had. My scheming mind is trying to figure out every outcome to this situation. Suffice to say I'm very much intrigued and I can't wait to be released from the agony that is called uncertainty Really a job well done!

  9. #269

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Alwyn View Post
    What a terrible choice for Lord Jean! The rawness of his anger towards Lord Philip is very believable.

    I wonder if the Sultan intends to keep his promise about what he won't do, if Lord Jean returns as the Sultan demands. If the Sultan is able to do what he threatened to do, maybe he intends to do it anyway (regardless of what Lord Jean chooses to do now) - unless this was a bluff and the endless lines of tents in the Sultan's were not actually occupied by soldiers. You've got my mind whirling with speculation about the possiiblities and trying to find a way out for Lord Jean - a sign of the success of your writing!
    The endless lines of tents thing didn't cross my mind, but now that you mention it I suppose that would be a great bluff...were it true. I can assure you in the campaign I am very much surrounded by Ayyubid stacks Thanks for the compliments.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    I agree with Alwyn on this one! So many things can happen, so many possibilities to be had. My scheming mind is trying to figure out every outcome to this situation. Suffice to say I'm very much intrigued and I can't wait to be released from the agony that is called uncertainty Really a job well done!
    Well, I always did love action and thrillers, I do hope the ending will be as hectic and action packed Scheming mind, eh? Well, I will most certainly try to out-scheme you!

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  10. #270

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Character List

    The Royal Family
    Marie de Lusignan – Wife of High Lord Jean, Queen of Jerusalem and the Crusader States
    Lord Jean de Brienne – First Prince of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, War Council Member
    Joan de Brienne – Wife of Lord Jean, Princess of Jerusalem and the Crusader States
    Henri de Lusignan – Close friend, cousin and later brother in law to Lord Jean
    Yolande de Lusignan – Older sister of Lord Jean, wife to Henri de Lusignan, Princess of Jerusalem and the Crusader States
    Baudouin de Brienne - Younger Brother of Lord Jean, Second Prince of Jerusalem

    Notable Nobles
    Bohemond de Poitiers the Chivalrous – Count of Tortosa, War Council member
    Philip d’Ibelin – Duke of Nicosia, Acting Grandmaster of the Knights Templar
    Lord Tigel de Linus - Commander of Jerusalem's garrison, its Master-at-Arms, and Adviser to Lord Jean, and now Constable of Jerusalem

    Other Characters
    Sir Raimondo - The First Prince's bodyguard Captain
    Gaston de Rocafolio – Spymaster
    Robert de Quar - Junior Master scribe to the Royal Chronicler



    CHAPTER THIRTY NINE


    From the Perspective of Lord Philip, False Regent of Jerusalem, The Road to Acre, 1239 AD

    “My lord!” A cry rang out, followed by the frenzied thudding of horse hooves.

    A rider garbed in the white cloak of the Templars reached the head of my column and hailed me. “Jerusalem is lost, my lord.”

    The blood in my veins turned into ice, and the men riding with me nearly fell off their horses.

    “Silence, fool, do you want to spook the entire army?” One of my sergeants roared, and the rider looked at the ground, ashamed. I nudged my horse over to his and grabbed his shoulders – the poor man was trembling. I slowly guided him aside, and let the column continue marching, oblivious.

    “Do elaborate.” I gritted my teeth. The Sultan had promised me time to settle my affairs at Acre. “Have the Ayyubids taken it?”

    The rider shook his head, and murmured something about desertions.

    “SPEAK UP, MAN!”

    That seemed to jolt him into action, and he quickly spewed forth the disastrous details – Lord de Linus had seized control of the city on Lord Jean’s orders, taken the token Templar garrison prisoner, and evacuated all who were willing to leave from the city, essentially welcoming the Saracens into the heart of Christianity.

    My first reaction was disbelief. How could this happen? Lord Jean lives? Then, rage. The Sultan broke his word! He kept Jean alive? And then, the desire to slake my thirst for vengeance. They will all die by the sword.

    “THE COLUMN WILL HALT!” I yelled.

    As the sergeants barked out orders, one of them came riding to me, questions in his eyes. “Take twenty good men, and ride for Acre. Seize the royal family and spirit them to my city of Nicosia, then await further instructions. No one is to have any contact with them once they are there.”

    If the sergeant had any misgivings about this task, he did not show them, but I was certain he had none – for these officers were all my most loyal of men, recruited killers deciding to become Templars in order to murder in the name of Christ, to kill with the blessing of the Church.

    And all were very well paid.

    “WE MARCH FOR JERUSALEM!” I bellowed. They will not take this city. They will not rip out our heart. We have lost too many for that to happen.

    And if anything did happen, well…Jean’s family would pay the price for this terrible betrayal.

    From the Perspective of Lord Jean, First Prince of Jerusalem, The Outskirts of Jerusalem, 1239 AD

    The last of the Sun’s rays streaked across the sky, beautifully creating a golden sheen off some of the orange tiled rooftops. I sat on the top of the gates of the Royal Compound, where I had sat many times before when I was younger, simply admiring the view.

    It looked oddly peaceful from here, if one were to block out the noise from the city proper. Dozens of citizens mulling about, smoke rising from the blacksmithy, and the flooded market square being host to the largest gatherings in the city. The houses followed the downwards sloping lay of the land, making it possible to lay your eyes on hundreds of homes at the same time.

    The docks were flooded with soon to be refugees, carrying whatever personal items they had with them, all clamouring to get onto a ship, any ship, before the inevitable fall of the city. Hundreds had left already, but thousands still remained, either frantically trying to pack as many of their belongings with them, or deciding to remain in the city despite the imminent threat of a foreign conqueror annexing their home.

    I couldn’t blame them. Not everyone here was a crusader, come to live in new lands all the way from France or England. Riding behind father, I’d seen the men who spat at the royal procession as it passed by, angry that we had forcibly taken over lordship of their city. I couldn’t blame them either. It was the exact same fear I was feeling now, with thousands of men just miles from the city walls.

    Or at least, that was the fear that should have been occupying my mind, but alas, a far more terrifying thought had taken up that role. A thought with a more permanent consequence.

    Footsteps echoed off the ground as someone ascended the steps. “Jean.” Only Henri dared to call me that, though I had never really bothered with the titles and the pomp.

    “Why aren’t you on a ship?” I gazed morosely at him, and his ashen face stared blankly back at me. This was not a happy meeting.

    “Soon. I came to say goodbye…again. Many have already boarded what few ships we have, but still more await their turn to depart the city. The evacuation is still under way. We need more time.”

    “They’ll get it.” I replied. “It’s about time for me to leave as well.”

    “That’s…what I came to tell you too. I –”

    “It was very good getting to know you, Henri.” I proffered my unarmoured hand, and Henri’s mailed fist grabbed it firmly. Perhaps he wanted to say something, perhaps he had some farewell speech he wanted to convey to me, but in that moment the both of us said nothing and simply stared off into the sunset, knowing that words could not have bettered the sense of companionship we had felt just by being at each other’s side, one last time.

    “May I walk you to your horse?” Henri finally uttered, breaking the tranquil silence. I nodded gravely, and Henri led the way to the stables.

    Chirgeon, the stable master, was still there, much to my surprise. “My…Prince.” He mumbled, a rather forgivable mistake which I did not bother correcting. “Leaving the protection of the walls?”

    “Yes.” Then I smiled. “I’ll take your worst horse once again, please.”

    Henri let out a slight chuckle as Chirgeon hurried to obey, bemused. When an old, white mare with drooping ears sauntered towards me, I smiled again and, with no assistance from Henri or Chirgeon, mounted it swiftly, something which was much easier when not garbed in full plate.

    “I’ll do my best in Rome, Jean.”

    “I know you will.” I grasped the reins tightly. “Take care, Henri. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to protect your wife.”

    “I’m sorry too.” And perhaps our apologies could have continued forever, for there was a depressingly long list, my father banishing him to Gaza chief amongst the worst offenses.

    And so I set my mount off at a gallop, for fear that if I did not, I would have never mustered the necessary willpower to leave.

    From the Perspective of Princess Joan, Princess of Jerusalem, The Fortress of Acre, 1239 AD

    I fretted every minute about Jean. How brave he must be, defending the walls of Jerusalem from the heathens. And yet I knew his safety was almost a foregone conclusion.

    I bit back a sob. It was true that he hadn’t been the best of husbands, but I knew what I was getting myself into, marrying the man who would become a warrior king. I had expected an unhappy life of duty, to become a slave to the machinations of the Crusader States, all for the betterment of my family and England.

    Eventually, English sons would rule the Crusader States, and the Plantagenets would earn the Pope’s favour, something that was sure to keep us in power in England as well. This was to be my sacrifice, as the fourth-born princess of England – to achieve power at the cost of personal happiness.

    But in the time that I had known my husband, I found him to be everything I didn’t expect. True, he initially fell for my charms like any other man would, but I think now I have begun to fall for his nobility, his kind heart, and his way of justice tempered with mercy, and his abhorrence of war.

    It was also how I knew he would not last long in Jerusalem – he wasn’t that good at the art of war. I prayed he would be taken captive rather than killed, for there was nothing else I could do for him now, more than a hundred miles away from the fighting. I came here at his command, hoping to escape the fighting and one day beome Queen, and yet now I didn’t want to live without him.

    How ironic…

    A knock on the door startled me, and I managed to wipe away the tears and compose myself before allowing entry.

    The man who I had come to know as John peeked in. “My lady.” He began. I wondered what one of the spymaster’s underlings had to say to me at this time of day. Though he had not treated me unkindly in any way, I had always distrusted those who dabbled in the art of deception. “If you would kindly follow me.”

    Curious, I did as I was bid, and before long I stood in the Queen’s chambers, where the rest of the de Briennes had gathered.

    “We will not be safe here for long,” John spoke softly, as if he was afraid of being overheard. “It pains me to say this, but I beg you all to leave.”

    “What?” Queen Marie looked shocked, and I was very perplexed as well. “Leave the safety of Acre’s walls?”

    John’s reply was swift, as if he had already planned for this. “Acre won’t be safe for long, your highness. I was ordered by Gaston to leave if he did not return with your husband, the King, in good time.” He then lowered both his voice and his eyes. “Pardon me, your highness, for I’m not very good at this sort of thing. I’m sorry to have to say this, my ladies, but there has most probably been a coup in Jerusalem, led by the Templars.”

    All the energy seemed to leave my body, and I crumpled into a chair. Jean!

    As John continued to profess that he could find no reasonable explanation for King Jean not wanting to see his own family, I looked away in the direction of Jerusalem, mourning the setting of the Sun and clinging to what few happy memories I had of Jean and I.

    “You say you can get us out of Acre, but where will we go?” The pain in Queen Marie’s voice was clearly audible. “Nowhere will be safe, if what you say is true.”

    For this, John had no answer, and all I could do was gaze out the windows at the rolling desert dunes.

    From the Perspective of Lord Jean, First Prince of Jerusalem, The Outskirts of Jerusalem, 1239 AD

    I dismounted and knelt, feeling my knees sink into the softness of the sand.

    “You are crazy, Prince of Jerusalem.” The harsh tone of one of the Sultan’s retainers wormed into my ears. “No sane man would do this.”

    “Indeed.” The Sultan himself remarked. “I was not expecting your return.”

    I continued to kneel on the desert floor, my mind in a whirl.

    Then I heard it. The sheeeeng of a sword being drawn from its scabbard. My heart pounded so fast I thought I was going to die of aggravated excitement.

    “This is the sword of…in your tongue, we call it Justice.” The Sultan spoke calmly, but as the sweat dripped off my brow I did not dare to look up. I did not intend to retch from fear right before dying, though that may ultimately be inevitable, for I was already shaking like a leaf.

    “The Ayyubid Sultans have always been charged with using it to deliver justice to our enemies, in accordance with our laws and beliefs.” The air whooosed as the Sultan flicked it around. From the sound of the air being cut I could tell it was a scimitar of sorts, a curved blade unlike the long straight ones we usually used. Just me filling my head with useless information to take my mind off the -

    “I know my ancestors will look kindly upon me when they see what I’ve done tonight. My father, especially. He would be proud.”

    And then, as I heard the Sultan step back in preparation for the final blow, I closed my eyes and said a little prayer.

    I’m sorry, Joan. I’m sorry, Father. I’m sor –




    Author's Notes
    So, after a longer wait than usual I'm pleased to bring you the second last chapter of God's Justice! That's right, the next chapter will be the final one, and then a short epilogue after that. And then, perhaps as a great writer once did, an AAR within an AAR...
    Last edited by Swaeft; June 13, 2019 at 08:32 AM. Reason: Formatting

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  11. #271

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Hey Swaeft, it's sort of intense seeing you reach the end here. I mean, AARs are stories like any others, and so an end is inevitable, but I guess the fact that we're tooling along with you makes it seem somehow odd for it to come to a close. Anyway, this is a good update, and I am still somewhat on the edge of my seat about Jean's fate. You've set things up somewhat neatly so that it can be Henri at the Papacy in the prologue chapter you started with, but I still don't quite believe you will kill off Jean.

    One critique for this chapter: In the second part you talk about docks and boats as though Jean is watching that all, but Jerusalem is thirty miles from the sea, and (if I recall correctly) also separated from the coast by a series of low hills. I think the big thing for me is that you describe events that could only happen in a port city, and Jerusalem is not that. Maybe just add in something like "Reports had come in all morning of people scrambling onto boats in every port town." But that was it.
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  12. #272

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Oooh, good catch! I guess I've been staring at Jerusalem's position in SS for too long (Not that it's that near to the ocean either). I think I'll keep it though, if you don't mind, as a reminder to myself to be more careful in future.

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  13. #273
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    The chaos and desperation of the people who are fleeing come across well, and the scene with Lord Jean and the Sultan is suitably intense. I guess that Lord Jean felt that every other option was worse and he's gambling that the Sultan will keep his promise. Perhaps the name of the sword is a hint that the Sultan will act honourably, even though he has the military force to do whatever he wants.

  14. #274
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    So we are nearing the end! The stakes have been set perfectly for a climactic closing to the tale and I'm very excited to see how it will go.

  15. #275

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    @Alwyn Thanks! Quite ironic both sides want to work towards some sort of Justice, eh?

    @Turkafinwe Yes, we are...I have really mixed feelings about it, but more on that later. Onward!

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  16. #276

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Character List

    The Royal Family
    Marie de Lusignan – Wife of High Lord Jean, Queen of Jerusalem and the Crusader States
    Lord Jean de Brienne – First Prince of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, War Council Member
    Joan de Brienne – Wife of Lord Jean, Princess of Jerusalem and the Crusader States
    Henri de Lusignan – Close friend, cousin and later brother in law to Lord Jean
    Yolande de Lusignan – Older sister of Lord Jean, wife to Henri de Lusignan, Princess of Jerusalem and the Crusader States
    Baudouin de Brienne - Younger Brother of Lord Jean, Second Prince of Jerusalem

    Notable Nobles
    Philip d’Ibelin – Duke of Nicosia, Acting Grandmaster of the Knights Templar
    Lord Tigel de Linus - Commander of Jerusalem's garrison, its Master-at-Arms, and Adviser to Lord Jean, and now Constable of Jerusalem

    Other Characters
    Gaston de Rocafolio – Spymaster
    Robert de Quar - Junior Master scribe to the Royal Chronicler



    CHAPTER FORTY



    From the Perspective of Lord Henri, The City of Rome, 1240 AD

    “You will tell us where he is, as you have promised. Where is the King of Jerusalem?”

    The entire hall had their eyes on me. All the bishops, all the cardinals, all the scribes, and all the masses. It was both imposing and unsettling.

    “Regrettably, the King is dead, your holiness." A lump began to form in my throat. "He was executed by the Saracen Sultan outside the walls of Jerusalem.”

    The chamber erupted into a vicious frenzy before I could even properly finish my sentence. As with before, it took a few moments for the general pandemonium to die down and for a few distinctive voices to be heard. Even then dissatisfied mutterings and appalled glances were exchanged, creating a stir that couldn’t really be suppressed. I took this time to choose my next words very carefully.

    “The rest of the royal family have gone missing, your holiness. Their whereabouts are unknown to even the spymaster of Jerusalem.”

    Many of the novices and priests had sighed or shook their heads in dismay, but I noticed that the cardinals and the Pope himself didn’t look as taken aback as I imagined they would. In fact, they almost seemed as if they were expecting such a scenario.

    “And Jerusalem?”

    “Taken over peacefully by the Saracens. The remainder of the crusader forces have retreated to Acre. I was told they have enough provisions for two years. The rest of the minor lords have fallen back to their own holdfasts and personal holdings.”

    Once again the angry murmurs began, but this time some of the clergy had visible tinges of fear upon their face. The Pope gathered the Preferati – a group of the most likely future Popes – and held a short but intense discussion, before they returned to their seats and the Pope once again called for calm. Then, he stood, looking very regal in his flowing white robes, and addressed the entire congregation.

    “The holy city in the hands of the infidels, the True Cross lost to the heathens and the populace suffering under the tyranny of the Saracens. This will not do at all. God is deeply disturbed.”

    “As are we!” A voice declared, followed by another which too punched above the deafening din. “Your holiness, I beseech you, gather the might of the Christian armies and declare a new crusade to take back what is rightfully ours!” The chamber once again erupted, but this time into organized chants of ‘aye!’ and ‘for the glory of God!’

    The level of energy with which this was perpetrated shocked even me. I exchanged a look of alarm with my friend – this crowd would not take kindly to hearing Jean’s wishes of peace, much less agree with it.

    For a fleeting moment, I considered marching in the Jerusalem City Watch to seize control of the situation. The men had disembarked and were waiting in the city for my order, as signalled to me not minutes ago by one of the officers with a flag. As tempting as it was to give the order, I reluctantly banished the thought from my mind – it would cause way too much trouble and would ultimately call into question the legitimacy of King Jean’s orders and his legacy, not to speak of the excommunication and the gallows that awaited us if we failed.

    Lord de Linus and I had discussed this possibility, as blasphemous as it was, on the sea voyage here, along with many other potential courses of action. The long journey had afforded us the opportunity to gather our innermost thoughts, and carefully devise plans that would give us the best chance at fulfilling Jean’s last wishes.

    I’d stayed in this city for three days, and all the nobility and the common folk could talk about were Jerusalem and its many fabled treasures, as well as how it was being looted and pillaged by the Ayyubids and the Seljuks. The streets were rife with many unfounded rumours, and one of the best I heard was the Church of the Holy Sepulchre radiating holy light to banish the foreign invaders.

    The people had fallen in love with their own myths and legends, and it was nigh impossible to sway anyone to the side of peace and reason. Of course, in a city ruled directly by the Holy Chair, this was not be to entirely unexpected. Even I would feel a deep, primal desire from time to time, to return to the Holy Land and wrest back control from the Saracens.

    Lord de Linus and I both agreed that we could use this sentiment to our advantage. If it wasn’t possible to dissuade them from launching a fresh crusade, then perhaps…

    “Your Holiness.” I began, and though many people continued to chatter and yell, I did manage to capture his attention. “Allow me to lead the crusade.”

    At this, the crowd fell silent, and I seized the opportunity to further plead my case. “My name is Lord Henri de Lusignan, and by my marriage to Princess Yolande de Brienne of Jerusalem, I claim the right to lead the armies of God to reclaim Jerusalem.”

    The Pope looked nonplussed, as did the rest of the cardinals and priests. “You are a Lord? You told us you were a mere messenger from Jerusalem.” He looked me up and down. “Besides, you are but a boy. Assuming you are a Lord, why should you lead the crusade?”

    “Your Holiness, with the death of King Jean and presumably, the rest of his family, well, the throne passes to me.”

    “It is indeed so.” The Pope declared. “And yet, what experience of military matters do you have?”

    “More than I can list, your Holiness. I fought beside the King on many occasions, and before that I studied military tactics and strategy from a tender age of five. I was also…appointed as the commander of the fortress of Gaza, after we had seized it from the…infidels. Besides, I have many capable men advising me. One of them is even here.”

    I gestured to my companion, who stood up and bowed. “Lord Tigel de Linus of Palermo, your Holiness. Constable of Jerusalem, commander of the Jerusalem city watch and formerly its master-at-arms. I fought in the previous two crusades, and have seen more than any man in this hall.”

    Silence befell the chambers as the Pope once again consulted his Preferati, this time taking more than a few minutes, then nodded and beckoned me forward. One of the cardinals brought forth a large cross, big enough that it required two men to transport, yet smaller than what I remembered as the towering spectre of the True Cross. I guess this is the True Cross now.

    “Kneel.” I was commanded, and so I did.

    “Do you, Lord de Lusignan, vow to uphold the laws of a good Christian and bring God’s Justice to the Holy Lands?”

    It took every bit of my willpower not to most inappropriately burst into laughter. What does he know of God’s Justice? What do any of them know? “I do.”

    “Then I declare you leader of the Sixth Crusade, Lord Henri de Lusignan.” The Pope intoned. “Very soon the armies of Christ will gather under your command. Do not fail them.”

    I’m coming, Yolande. I pray John has kept you safe.

    “I will not fail.”


    From the Perspective of Lord Philip, False Regent of Jerusalem, The City of Nicosia, 1240 AD

    I deserve this.

    I knew I did. What man could boast a more stellar record of servitude? What leader could claim to have united the Templars against the infidels? Which man alive would dare dispute my dedication to the cause? I am Jerusalem’s finest warrior. And I deserve this.

    My ship, flying an Armenian trade vessel’s flag, was almost ready to depart, my men loading on the last caskets of wine and other foodstuff. It was already fully laden with all the gold, silver, and the rest of the plunder I had accrued over the years. Foucaud thought I was hiding supplies for an army. I chuckled to myself. Little did he know these were all for me!

    After the Saracens took Jerusalem, I knew it was fool’s thinking to try and take it back with the amount of men I had. There was no time to gather more, for it was only a matter of time before the rest of the settlements would fall. And I had sacrificed too much of my life to see it all go to waste. I hadn’t defended Jerusalem for years just to die seeing it in the hands of the enemy. No. It was high time I was rewarded for my years of meritorious service.

    I had commanded the Templars to move all the gold in Jerusalem’s treasury to Nicosia for ‘safekeeping’ the day I killed High Lord Jean. Now, a life of peace and prosperity awaited me back in France. I would move back into my family estate, and with this gold I would raise a herd, build a castle, and father more sons and daughters. My family would become one of the most powerful in France, and I definitely deserved it. I could already see it happening – my sons would have the ear of the King, my daughters would be the most sought after marriages in France, and I would spend my time riding, hunting, and jousting til I could no longer do any of those.

    It is what I deserve. It is just, even if it’s not God’s justice.

    A man walked up to me and bowed his head. “My lord, the last shipments have been loaded. We await your presence in the captain’s quarters.”

    I grunted and headed for the ship, the man following close behind. Peace and prosperity. How ironic, that Jean gave his life for those ideals, and in the end, I would be the one getting –

    A searing hot flash of pain erupted from my back as a sharp object buried itself deep into my body.

    “You had a Cardinal tortured, Lord Philip. The Pope does not approve, and he requires your dismissal.”

    More burning sensations exploded all over me as I felt the knife sink in multiple times. “A new crusade will eventually be launched, with a new puppet at its head. You are no longer needed. Consider yourself excommunicated.”

    Then, I slumped to the floor, my last haggard breaths spent watching the man known as Stefano slinking away.

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  17. #277
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
    Content Director Patrician Citizen

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    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    I wouldn't want to be in Lord Henri's situation, caught in between of Jean's wishes of peace, the demands of the clergy and the superstitious beliefs of the people. Of course, being in Lord Philip's situation would be even worse!

  18. #278

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Aha, yes, death is certainly worse than a life not worth living! Or is it? At least Jean doesn't have to deal with this quandary anymore

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  19. #279
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Soulforged
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    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Thus ends Lord Philip's life, assassinated by his shady employers. A grand conspiracy is unfolding right before our eyes here and I too pity Henri's position in all this. All in all consider me intrigued.

    I'm going to do a GRRM here and won't believe Jean to be dead until I see his dead corpse.

  20. #280

    Default Re: [SS 6.4] God's Justice (Crusader States AAR, with BGR IV and more!)

    Quote Originally Posted by Turkafinwë View Post
    Thus ends Lord Philip's life, assassinated by his shady employers. A grand conspiracy is unfolding right before our eyes here and I too pity Henri's position in all this. All in all consider me intrigued.

    I'm going to do a GRRM here and won't believe Jean to be dead until I see his dead corpse.
    Well not much intrigue left I'm afraid with only the epilogue to go! But I'm glad you liked it Wait, is GRRM known for 'killing' characters but not actually doing so? I've read the five ASOIAF books and I haven't got that vibe :S In any case, I think I might have done a D&D here...

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