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From Whence We Came (My First Story)

Dezzilisk

THIS GUY.
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
518
Location
NZL
I have decided to write a story as i really enjoy reading the work of others and wanted to give something back.:)

This is based on a game of mine including Europe and most of Mesopotamia, dates are not exact and the first part is a leadup to the start of my game (the fall of Constantinople).

This isnt based on what really happened as im not a historian although i wanted to use Mehmed the conqueror to be the one who conquered Byzantium and he will come into the equation later on as ive already started the game.

Im playing as Macedonia/Byzantine Greece
Difficulty: Monarch
Map Size: 160x160
Opponents:
 
Ptolemais, Egypt, 1450 A.D

Raktor was a shadow of a man. His fame and fortune, once famous the world over was now forgotten, how he had waded through enemies in Greece, Persia and much of the world.

He lowered the gaze to the parchment in front of him and rubbed his eyes, he was a warrior, not a scholar and these long days did his face no favours. Not that it had changed much these past 1400 years.

He was almost finished, this epic work he had spent so much of the past years on was almost done, he had told himself time and time again that it would be worth it and that everything would be better once it was finished.

"I hope that will be the case" he murmered as he rested his head upon the desk and drifted off to sleep.


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Miles away, sitting in a tavern, Tonlor Bruncht sipped his ale and enjoyed himself. The time for his retribution was near, and his quarry would feel the cold metal of his blade on his neck.

He had tried, for years to rid himself of the past, he didnt want to hate anymore, but it was inevitable, this man may have changed but every time Tonlor heard his name, or saw his face in a painting......the hatred came back.

Raktor would die. Soon.
 
The door slowly creaked open and a figure flitted into the darkened room.
After a quick scan it was decided that this room was empty and the figure heaved a sigh
"Again!" exclaimed Tonlor as he let his cloak fall on the floor and sheathed his knife.

He walked slowly over to the oak chest in the corner of the room and opened it, wary of what he was going to find in its depths. Notes? No, a sheild bearing the Byzantine coat of arms and an amulet, Perhaps these could be of use? he thought as he lifted the sheild up to the light and checked its quality.

"Hmph, what good is a sheild in this day and age?" he asked himself under his breath. Tonlor scratched his head and began searching the room for clues as to the wherabouts of his prey.

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Raktor ran down the alley with and armload of papers and dodged the masses of people coming the opposite way. He had been warned as to Tonlor's wherabouts, the boy was becoming something of a problem and would have to be dealt with soon.

A pie seller offering his wares caught the attention of Raktor who realized he was actually quite hungry, he put down his notes and bent down to examine the pie stall's wares in one fluid motion.

And narrowly avoided being shot in the head.

A lead musketball imbedded itself in the wall in front of where Raktor had just been standing and peices of dirt and rock flew everywhere.

It was pandemonium, people running everywhere and children screaming in terror, only Raktor kept his head and did a quick roll underneath the stall.
He poked his head up above the top of the stall and surveyed the marketplace, no way to tell where the shot had come from with all these people running around.

Raktor threw himself sideways to the ground where his papers lay and scooped them up, one or two fell out of the bunch and onto the ground as he ran, 'collateral damage' he thought quickly before sidestepping a crying mother and running off down another alleyway.

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Simphous narrowed his eyes as he stood amoungst the scattering citizens and local militia that had come to quell the unrest, the bearded man had gotten away and his father was not going to be happy. For a second he considered not reporting his failure to his father, instead telling him that he had eliminated his target, but that would not be wise because for all this father's naivety and dispite appearances he was not stupid. Something he had learnt the hard way during his childhood.

He also considered disobeying his father and following this man to kill him, he seemed old and frail enough to be dispatched with a single blow, but this too he disregarded as he didnt know much about this man apart from his fathers stories. Simphous the assassin settled for picking up the discarded papers and trudging back to where his father was waiting for him.
 
Great story. Since Conquest of the World is on extended leave, this will be my number one story.
 
Bursa, Asia Minor, January 1451 A.D

The crown roared as Mehmed walked slowly onto the balcony of his palace. It was as it should be, his people loved him and rightly so, he intended to lead his people to glory.

"Halil, I asked you're opinion on the status of the army and you did not answer, I am waiting and bear in mind that i am not especially patient on this day of my coronation" he said as he waved to the crowd.

"Sultan Mehmed II you may be now but i remember you when you were knee high to a grasshopper, and i mean this with the greatest respect possible of course" said Halil with a grin.

"The army is in better shape than ever and the captured christians from Thessaloniki late last year are going to make fine additions to our Janissary corps" he added as he saw the look that Mehmed was giving him.

Halil leaned against the wall and folded his arms casually across his chest.
"Why did you ask for my 'opinion' when it was clearly a report on the status of our military you wanted?" asked Halil, narrowing his eyes in suspicion.

"Let me make myself clear, I intend to capture Constantinople"

"Seige Constantinople!?"

"Not just seige, Capture, for eons the Greeks have been the adversaries of our people and now after our recent victories they whisper about my ability as a ruler" said Mehmed quietly stroking his beard.

Mehmed was 19 year old with a thin beard and a muscular frame, standing alongside Halil Pasha made him look like a scrawny chicken, a fact he was well aware of and strove to aviod.

Halil himself was a 43 year old veteran Janissary and considered himself past his prime, his sole reason for being in the capital was to institute Sultan Murad's dying wish that he keep an eye on his son until he deemed him fit enough to look after himself.

"It has been tried before Mehmed, and it failed, just as it will fail this time"

"I will not fail in this task, i have consulted with many of our military leaders and they agree that it can be done"
Halil stepped forward into the light of the balcony and stood in front of his Sultan, making him feel even smaller than he already did.

"When did you discuss this!?" he demanded, his face showing the anger he was feeling.

"I think it is time for you to leave Halil, i would appreciate if you could accompany me on my campaign as we will be setting off tomorrow for Anadolu to make preparations"
Mehmed nodded to his guards and Halil was led away from the balcony.

Mehmed strolled off the balcony and retired to his quarters.
It was time to go on campaign.
 
Meditteranean Sea, 1451 A.D

The mast collapsed onto the bridge of the ship and splintered the deck into a million peices, men scrambled for hand and footholds as they were tossed end over end into the unforgiving sea.
Amidst the chaos, Raktor stuggled to keep hold of the pack which contained his notes and keep himself upright, it had been a bad move hitching a ride with Egyptian pirates.

A gigantic wave crashed against the crippled ship and swept more men into the water, somehow he managed to keep his handhold and avoid being swept in, grappling hooks tore into the wood of the ship and he caught glimses of dark shapes shimmying down the lines toward him.
"Surrender or be slaughtered!" yelled a voice from the chaos in gutteral greek.
"I surrender!"

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The next morning as the prisoners were rounded up on the deck of the Fatmid ship there were found to be 23 prisoners of different origins, mainly Egyptian, amoung them was a scholar of no particular consequence who 'Just happened' to be traveling with these pirates.
The Captain listened to the scholar's version of events with interest and rested his hands on the desk in front of him before speaking calmly and clearly in greek,

"I am willing to accept your version of events"

"Many thanks sir, you won't regret it" cried Raktor, getting to his feet and attempting to shake the Captain's hand.

"But", he said "There is a catch"

"Oh?" said Raktor, raising his eyebrows and sitting down slowly.

"My son, Galen is a very irritable boy, much like his mother in many respects and so i would like you to teach him the ways of the world"

"And why should I do this?"

"If you agree to do me this favour, I will not kill you, and I will deliver you to the port of your choice" explained the Captain with a smile.

"I suppose i dont have a choice, do I Mister.....?"
"Ismalli, Captain of the Khalil Sultan"

"I hope this marks the beginning of a long and fruitful friendship, Mister Ismalli" said Raktor as the two men shook hands.
 
Port of Gortyna, Crete, 2 months later.

The flagship of the Fatmid navy, The Khalil Sultan entered the harbor of the Caliphate controlled city of Gortyna, its reflection clear on the smooth waters. Small children stood on their father's shoulders for a better look at something that was bound to happen only once in a lifetime.

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On board the Khalil preparations for docking were made and everybody had a job to do. Raktor watched the sails of the ship being furled and how professional the sailor's were at everything they did, it reminded him of the Byzantine navy at its height and he felt the weight of the papers in his backpack all the more.

"Excuse me Master Deo, we will be docking momentarily" said a shrill voice that forced Raktor to turn to address the speaker.

"Many thanks young Galen, I must see the captain before I depart as I wish to say goodbye" replied Raktor, ruffling the boys hair and laughing as he squirmed and tried to move his head out of range.
Over the ensuing months since his capture he had schooled the boy in many things he had learned in his lifetime, including swordsplay when he had learned of the boy's ambition to become a marine.

"You will be a great marine one day Galen but you must promise me that for now you will listen to what your father says eh?" he said, placing his hands on the boys shoulders.

"I will Master Deo and I wish you well on your journey"

"It is my wish that you take this as a token of my gratitude" said Raktor, reaching into the folds of his cloak to produce a medallion, gold plated with the Byzantine Imperial seal inset into the gold.
"This was given to me by the Byzantine Emperor some years ago and has been my greatest treasure; I give it to you now because I see the potential in you to be great just as it was seen in me by him"

"I cannot accept this Mister Deo, my father would kill me!" cried Galen, his eyes widening as he saw the medallion.

"Your father need not know about this, I hope I will get the chance to see you again but we must part for now"
He pressed the medallion into the youth's hand and strode off toward the Captains quarters to bid farewell to Galen's father.

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Is this loosely based on your game, like Pax Romana, or will it turn out to fit tighter to the path of the scenario? It seems now that you're on the Pax Romana path, which is fine with me because I like the dialogue and emotions displayed by the characters so far.

I have many questions that I want to know the answers to, but will have to wait until the story progresses. Don't leave and abandon it-I think it is phenominal.

Will Galen grow up to be a marine general? (My guess) Maybe
Will Raktor die? Probably
Will Galen avenge his death? I hope so.
 
Is this loosely based on your game, like Pax Romana, or will it turn out to fit tighter to the path of the scenario? It seems now that you're on the Pax Romana path, which is fine with me because I like the dialogue and emotions displayed by the characters so far.

I have many questions that I want to know the answers to, but will have to wait until the story progresses. Don't leave and abandon it-I think it is phenominal.

Will Galen grow up to be a marine general? (My guess) Maybe
Will Raktor die? Probably
Will Galen avenge his death? I hope so.

I do have some ideas for the story and it will be more based on what happens in my game once the leadup is done.

Compared to Pax Romana this story isnt worth crapping on but ill keep writing.

If anyone else has any ideas or comments about how i could improve this then feel free to post.

Ive got 2 weeks of holidays starting today so i will update this quite a lot hopefully:) Thanks for reading!:D
 
Athenai, Byzantine Greece, 1451 A.D

Throngs of citizens lined the walkways of the harbor, welcoming home the men and soldiers who had been away so long.
Tears were shed for joy and sadness as the marines solemnly hugged their children and wives.

'A bittersweet moment' thought Simphous as he watched from afar.
It gave him great pleasure to watch the masses going about their buisiness, content in the knowledge that he was above them.

His mind snapped back to the task at hand as he caught sight of two cloaked Scandinavian men walking toward the jetty and the docking ship.
'Ahhhh, Varangian Guardsmen, I must be on the right track'

Simphous also noted that these men were armed, not because it was obvious but because of the way they walked, sure of themselves.
And their task, he was sure, was to collect Raktoruis Deo.

Simphous walked over to a small beverage stand to await the reappearance of the two Guardsmen and caught sight of a young woman.
"Hello" he said, smiling at her and leaning against the stand, one eye on the jetty.

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Dyre watched up the jetty as the man walked over and began talking to a woman.
Perhaps he was just a little on edge, and rightly so, the Emperor had entrusted him and only him with the safety of this man.
No one was to be trusted. Not even his counterpart who was at this moment inquiring as to the wherabouts of their package.
Dyre didn't know why this man was important or why the Emperor had sent him to bring him to the capital but that it was very important to him was evident;
'This man is like a father to me' he had said, and Contantine was like a father to Dyre.
And as such he would do his utmost to carry out his wishes.

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Raktor was escorted from the ship by the two men, none of whom were very talkative.
He noticed that the taller one's eyes drifted toward the stall off to the right and he followed his gaze.....Nothing, just a couple of lovers talking animatedly and a few people drinking coffee....But that face, it was familiar?

The nose, the chin, he had seen it somewhere before. His eyes narrowed and he stopped walking for a second as he tried to place that face...

All of a sudden the features of the face changed, the smile was gone and a different emotion took over the features,
Determination.
Suddenly he knew those features, and was truly afraid.

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Simphous watched as Raktor approached the place were he was standing, caught sight of him and looked puzzled for a moment.

He watched as his eyes widened in fear and he turned to run, he was indifferent as he pulled the dagger out from under his coat.

Expertly he spun the hilt away from him and threw it with all his might at the target, from this range, he could never miss.

And he didnt.

The knife whipped through the air and embedded itself into the old man's spine, stopping him in his tracks and laying him out on the ground like a slab of meat.
The Scandinavians were quick to react, drawing their blades and rushing to the aid of the fallen man but as quick as that happened, a shot was heard and Simphous was thrown backwards into the stall, sending drinks and splintered wood everywhere.

The world swam in front of his eyes as he tried to push himself up onto his elbows and at the same time realized that his intestines were pouring out onto the cobbled road.

It was weird, being on the receiving end of a shot.

Nothing like he thought it would be, he didnt care that he was about to die, all that mattered was that he had accomplished his mission.

And with that final thought, Simphous breathed his last.

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Tonlor abandoned his weapon and jumped down from his vantage point, in the ensuing chaos he was bound to get away, as for being noticed by the Scandinavians, too bad.

He had, up until a few moments ago, been blissfully unaware that anyone else had been hunting Raktorius.

The reason that boy had for being here was of no consequence, what he was there to do did, and he had failed.
His reasoning must be shot if he thought he could just stand there and kill someone like Raktorius Deo.....why had he stopped?

'Why why why!?' he thought furiously as he slowed his pace to a walk and nodded to the passing Militia squad evidently on their way to the docks.

Raktor had slowed down and stopped to look at the boy, giving him the chance he needed, had this not happened the assassination attempt wouldnt have been possible.

The boy had thrown his knife before Tonlor had a chance to fire, the throw had been a good one, he had obviously been instructed by someone who knew what he/she was doing, but his aim left something to be desired and although it had brought Raktor down it was not a fatal wound.

'Hes mine' he thought as he melted into the crowd.
 
Unknown Location, 1451 A.D

The room stank of human sweat and excrement, the only light that entered was from the space under the door and the small window at the top of the cramped room.

The only thing setting it apart from a crypt were the bars on the window.

A middle-aged man crouched near the wall on the opposite side of the room, farthest from the door.

His face was shrouded in darkness and he mumbled to himself as he scraped at the wall with a sharp piece of stone.

His hands bled but still he scraped and scraped at the defaced wall, he was past caring.

His downward spiral had started several weeks ago when messenger had bought news of the death of his only son, he had thrown himself into a rage and broken nearly all of his possessions.
The local Militia had come to see what the noise was and were set upon, screams echoed up and down the small suburban street as man after man was felled as a result of his bloodlust.

It had taken 25 cavalrymen to subdue him and afterward it was said that he had killed more than 100 men as well as doing countless Manilas of damage to peoples property.

The door to his cell suddenly burst open and a brutish looking man entered the doorway, "Mornin' Andahcris!" he bellowed as he walked in.

Quickly he threw the man's sunken form over his shoulder and walked out of the cell, as the light hit his face it was seen that the man had olive colored skin and a sharply defined chin, his face screwed up in a grimace as he was set down on a stool and a mug was pressed into his bloodied hand.

The brutish man threw himself down into a straight backed chair across from the prisoner and surveyed him, the big man had pale skin and a neatly trimmed goatee.
He might have looked quite respectable had it not been for the long scar that began on the top of his left eyebrow and extended halfway down his cheek.

He smiled, showing a row of white teeth and began to speak, "Now, from our other...'conversations' I have learnt that you are father to Simphous Andahcris who was killed in Athenai several weeks ago".

The man sat, stared at the floor and did not speak.

"Durhyn, surely by now you know that there is nothing to be gained by your silence" continued the brutish man, unfazed by his subject's silence.

"What if I told you I could secure your release to hunt down the killer of your son?"

The man named Durhyn raised his gaze until he looked the man squarely in the face, "I would ask what the price for such a thing would be?".

"The only price would be me accompanying you on this.....errand" replied the brutish man, looking smug.

"Who are you and why are you doing this?" asked Durhyn, growing suspicious and eyeing the sword belt hanging over the back of the other man's chair.

The other man followed his gaze, laughed maniacally and slapped the side of his leg before speaking,
"My name is Simev, and I work for a group of influential, uh lets just call them businessmen for want of a better word"

"And why are you here?" asked Durhyn again.

"I am here to offer you this deal on behalf of the V&G shipping federation, who have heard of you're exploits in the east and want some proof that you are the best money can buy" explained Simev as he got to his feet and strapped his sword belt on.

"So what's it going to be little man?, accept my proposal or its back in the hole"

Simev walked toward the door and slowly laid his hand upon it, taking great care to accentuate his movements.

Durhyn rose to his feet and stared at Simev, "I agree, but on one condition" he said.

"Name it"

"I must be allowed a month for reconditioning and I am in charge, you don't get a say"

"To things relating to the mission? Of course" said Simev, letting his hand drop from the door handle and turning to face Durhyn.

"Welcome to the Venetian & Genoese Shipping Federation Mr Andahcris".
 
Aegean Sea, 1451 A.D

The Khalil Sultan was a wallowing behemoth of a ship, just over 400 feet in length and oddly narrow in proportion, except for the deck at the front which housed a massive mounted cannon, any ship caught in front of that cannon was a goner.

A fate that a Venetian ship had just succumbed to.

Durhyn was locked in a tit-for-tat exchange with his Arab foe. They battered each other, blocking passes, chasing an opening. Their footing unsure on the rocking deck of the Fatmid warship.

A few yards away Simev cracked the skull of an Arab marine, as he went down he caught a clear glimpse of an archer, drawstring taut, aiming at one of the Venetian marines. There was no time to act. The arrow released, ending a duel the Marine would have won.

Simev switched his sword to his other hand and plucked a snub nosed throwing knife from his belt, he took aim and threw it with all his might.
It thudded into the wood of the main mast a mere hand span from the archer's head.

He looked around wildly, spotted Simev and reached into his arrow sheath, Simev felt for his last knife. He teased out an arrow and notched it. Simev drew back his arm. He pulled on the bow. Simev lobbed the blade.

The arrow whistled past Simev's ear as the threw himself to the left, he looked up and saw the archer still standing. There was a moment of panic before Simev noted the blade sticking out of the mans chest just below the collar bone.

A patch of red spread across his chest and he fell from his vantage point to crash with a bone crunching finality to the deck below.
Simev turned and rejoined the fray.

In the thick of it Durhyn's blade knocked his Arab counterpart's blade askew and he lost his balance, toppling into the frothing waters below.
Andahcris did a quick spin to bury his blade in the back of a young-looking marine who was locked in combat with one of his comrades. The man fell like a stone to land face down upon the ground.

Durhyn regained his footing and reversed his grip on his sword, he leapt like a cat to sink his blade into the wood of the forward mast and slide down to the deck below.

Simev's duel with the Arab soldier was frenzied and short, he bashed his sword again and again with little thought given to blocking or parrying his blows, Durhyn dropped down beside him as he wrenched his blade from the fallen warrior.

And they found themselves face to face with a dozen armed men.

They looked at each other and for a fleeting moment wondered whether they should surrender. A fleeting moment before they launched themselves into a frenzied attack against the Fatmid marines.

Simev scored a hit against the jaw of one of the marines before bringing another down with a swing of his broadsword, the space was cramped and he watched with amazement as His older compatriot downed three men in short succession, keeping the rest at bay he drew another sword and swept it in a low arc to slash across the knees of two of his attackers.

At this demonstration Simev redoubled his efforts and parried a high blow from his closest foe before gutting him like a fish.

The combat that ensued was both bloody and short.

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Watching from the bow of the ship Galen could take it no more and drew his father's dress sword from the sheath hanging over his chair, he rushed out into the storm and engaged his nearest foe, a Venetian who looked like he ate children for breakfast.

It was only the most brief of battles as the Venetian lost his balance and toppled over the edge of the wooden balcony to land on his neck, it broke with a resounding snap that made Galen shudder as he ran over broken bodies in search of his foes.

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Simev and Durhyn, accompanied by the few remaining Venetian marines cut their way to the port side of the ship until they could see the grappling hooks, shouts accompanied them as they shimmied over to the remaining Venetian Galleass, It had been raked by cannon fire and was floundering.

Just as Durhyn got off the grapple rope it was cut from the other side, sending a half dozen men to their deaths.
Shrill screams echoed about the ship as it was brought to bear and the signal for retreat was sounded.

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Sunlight illuminated the whole gory scene.

Galen waded through blood and gore until he came to the fallen form of his father.

Tears escaped him as he hunched over the fallen form, but they were short lived.
He had no time for emotions, the only words he remembered were those of his teacher, Raktorius.

'Revenge is a powerful thing, it can inspire men to do extraordinary things',

What his teacher had said afterward was forgotten as the anger took hold of him, he vowed he would find his father's killer.

And he would suffer.

Galen allowed himself to be taken away by the men. His men. Little did they know that they would be the instruments of the destruction of the Most glorious empire the middle ages had yet seen.
 
Constantinople, 1451 A.D

Footsteps echoed throughout the antechamber of the great palace, the floors shone and were polished to such an extent that one could see their reflection in the glassy surface.

Bearded Scandinavian soldiers guarded every exit. The beards giving them a scruffiness in stark contrast with the elaborate uniforms that each of them wore and the jewel encrusted swords at each of their hips.

Raktorius was escorted through the hall by his two companions, walking was still not easy and so he was supported a great deal by the man he had come to know as Dyre.

They approached the great doors of the entranceway and were exposed to a quick search by the guardsmen, nothing too elaborate as the guardsmen had recognized their brothers in arms.

The throne room was much as Raktorius remembered it. Save a few new paintings and of course the new face that was staring at him from a sitting position on the finely engraved throne.

Raktor tried to get into a kneeling position at the foot of the throne but was unable to do so, the Emperor seemed perplexed as to what he was actually doing, but rushed down to grip Raktor's hand in a supporting gesture and for the first time he spoke,

"Please Master Raktorius you are one of the few people whom i respect, and those I respect need not bow in my presence, please have a seat."

The Emperor gestured to a small Bolt hole door to the right side of the throne and once through it was seen to be a lounge area with platters of food laid out, evidently the Emperor had been in the process of eating when they arrived.

Raktorius gingerly sat in the most humble-looking chair and unslung his note bag from his shoulder, taking care not to bump his wound.

"I thank you very much for your hospitality" he said as Constantine sat down opposite him and the two guards left the room, "I will speak with you later", Constantine added to the pair as they left.

"As for you Master Raktorius it is my immense pleasure to have you here, my father often told stories of you and it was one of his final wishes that I meet you and read this account of events that you have labored over"

"Labored over is a massive understatement M'lord if you don’t mind me saying" replied Raktor, pulling the binded notes and book out of his bag.

"This is the end result of years of my life, some spent in study, others fighting for causes I deemed to be just."

"I must ask you something, Raktorius" said Constantine, his face turning serious.

"I must ask you if you will fill the position of Patriarch of Constantinople, you need not respond now but it was one of the chief reasons, other than this epic work, that I brought you here"

Raktor smiled and locked eyes with Constantine, taking in the boy's appearance. He had much of his father in him, but the attitude towards other people was most assuredly inherited from his mother.

The clean cut appearance did not fool Raktor. The muscle bound arms could give the illusion that this man was a fighter, when it was plain from his demeanor and attitude that he had never killed a man.

"My answer to this is no, and this is how it always will be so do not try to sway me" added Raktor when he saw Constantine open his mouth to respond.

"I will however stay in the city as an advisor, if you wish" he said after a lengthy silence.

"It would be my great honor to have you as an advisor, living here in the palace?" asked Constantine, obviously pleased with the idea.

"I must turn you down on that issue I’m afraid, I don’t want to intrude and frankly the high life doesn't suit me"

Raktorius got to his feet with some effort and handed the notes and book over to the young Emperor who graciously accepted and called for his servants.

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That evening a great celebration was held to welcome the Emperor's new advisor to the ranks, although not all were happy to see Raktorius Deo induced into the favor of the Imperial court and there were mutterings about how he had wormed his way in.

The Emperor was oblivious to this as the months wore on and it was only bought to his attention when one of his intelligence agents caught wind of an assassination scheme against Raktorius, it was foiled but one thing was a given......all was not well in the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
 
Ottoman Military Encampment, Anadolu, 1452 A.D

The sound of drilling soldiers, screaming captains and bustle of the military camp was comforting to Mehmed.

Since arriving he had drilled with his soldiers constantly, providing support.

He was a symbol, and symbols, as Halil Pasha was fond of saying, are most effective when seen.

The task he had set before them was a big one. Many men would lay dead before he was able to walk freely through the gates of the fabled Theodosian walls and sip tea inside the Hagia Sofia.

But the day would come.

Halil strode out of the smithy, a giant structure devoted to creating the immense firepower needed to tear down the walls that protected the great city of Constantinople, and walked straight toward Mehmed.

The guards on either side of him knew better than to get in his way, as he approached though his stride slowed and he came to a halt a few feet from his Sultan.

"M'lord, I have some good news" said Pasha after a stiff bow, he whirled around and beckoned for Mehmed to follow him before re-entering the forge.

As Mehmed entered he was treated with the smell of sulphur and gunpowder, not to mention the boiling hot air which almost scalded his pampered skin as he walked past the main smithing area.

As the party of men drew closer to the other end of the structure they caught sight of something that took Mehmed’s breath away.

A cannon.

Gleaming black, its rim stood at about shoulder height, the heavy chains draped around the sides were hanging limp.

'Beautiful' thought Mehmed as a smile spread across his face.

"A masterpiece!" he cried as he stepped forward to touch the cannon.
He ran his hands across its smooth surface and thought evilly of what devastation it would cause to his enemies.

"A thousand Kurush to each of the casters, smiths and helpers!, and five thousand to the designer of this glorious project!" he said, still running his hands over the cannon as if it was going to dissipate at any moment.

Over the ensuing hours the Sultan gave orders commissioning 25 more cannon and proclaimed that, after watching a test fire, the weapons would crush the Christian Infidels.

Halil Pasha watched this with a look of distaste on his face, as though he were watching a bad play, the actions of his Sultan were not his to question, but he would not stand idly by and let him act foolishly and rashly.

Mehmed would have to be stopped.

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The wave of men, lines of finely drilled soldiers moved in unison as the departed from the camp that had been their home for the last year, they bade farewell to the whores and illegitimate children that had inevitably accumulated in the small community around the fortress of Anadolu.

The fortress itself was large and imposing, the small sloped walls had been designed to let off volleys of shots and keep out the cannonballs that plagued this generation of warfare.


The Seljuk flag hung from the battlements, waving slowly in the wind before it was struck down and a new one raised in its place,


The deep red, Crescent and star of the Ottoman Empire.
 
Might be a wee while til the next update as im having girl problems plus school started again and lots of stuff including a big ass graphics portfolio due in over the next couple of weeks.

I do however have the next part almost done so ill post tomorrow.:)
 
Strait Of Bosporus, 1452 A.D

The sails were full of air and the sounds of the crew going about their duties was all that filled Simev's ears.

The passage to Constantinople had been a treacherous one.
Having to stop many times a day for makeshift repairs as it was dangerous to dock in most places was never something to be desired.

Durhyn had withdrawn since the battle, and on the rare occasions when they made port he disappeared for hours at a time without explanation.

The first time this happened Simev spent a day tearing his hair out (or would have if he wasn't bald) and was on the brink of ordering his men to search the city for Durhyn when, sure enough, he returned.

It was, from then on known that Durhyn would always return from his
gallivanting, or whoring as the rumor going about the crew suggested-
Pleased and in a charitable mood.

As Simev pondered how best to shadow Durhyn when they reached Constantinople, a screeching cry from the lookout jolted him back to reality.

"Genoese Warships!"

In a flash the crew were manning the guns and the Marines were lined up on the starboard side of the ship in the darkness, cutlasses drawn, Ready to repel boarders.

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The Khalil Sultan hugged the shoreline.

The men were silent as the hull twisted around the jutting clifface, making a scraping noise comparable with fingernails on a chalkboard.

Galen Ismalli stood outside his cabin, dressed in his father's gold tasseled uniform.

His dress sword hung limply at his side.

He steeled himself inwardly, awaiting this confrontation with the man who murdered his father.

Emotion would not hamper this upcoming battle.

He was in control.

This was proved to him as the massive warship rounded the clifface and a smile played across his features.

The Venetians.

The Venetian ship was engaged by two and none of the combatants had yet seen the approaching Arab vessel.

Galen's eyes widened with maniacal glee as the massive mounted cannon was loaded and primed.

"Clear the cannon deck!"

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On the Venetian ship, The Sovereign, Naught was heard but the splashing of oars and a steady count on Latin drifting faintly toward them over the water, and then Simev called, "Fire as she bears!"

The guns below deck roared, red fire and smoke spitting; the mingled sounds of screaming and splintering wood treated the ears of the seasoned Marines, just to let them know that the shot had gone true.

On went the guns as the Sovereign made a ponderous turn; but after they had spoken once a massive blast broke the air.

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Durhyn was thrown into the ground with a crushing force that knocked the wind out of him and the ship rocked again and again, throwing him about the deck like a rag doll.

The sounds that filled his ears were a mixture of cries splintering wood and the great rushing of water.

He opened his eyes and surveyed the carnage from a sitting position on the ground.

Marines, parts of marines and gore coated what was left of the deck, a great behemoth of a ship emerged from the darkness to ram the crippled ship. Opening up a great rent in the side of the outclassed Venetian galleass.

Durhyn struggled to get to his feet and caught sight of Simev slumped over on the ground before he lost his footing again, he bashed his head on the railing of the ship and slipped into unconsciousness.

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Galen Ismalli stared as the great cannon fired for the first time under his Captaincy, crippling the already damaged Venetian ship.

“This battle was won from the start!” he yelled as the Venetian ship began to slip beneath the waves, he caught glimpses of unconscious forms sprawled over the deck of the enemy ship and his lips curled in a sneer.

Vengeance was his.

His moment of glee was interrupted however when he heard a low resounding horn blast from the north.

Almost before Galen had a chance to turn and investigate the Byzantine ships were upon them.
 
Port of Constantinople, 1452 A.D

The flag of the Byzantine Empire flew above the 13 ships as they returned to port with their prize in tow, the three smaller vessels also flew the flag of Byzantium but it was evident from their state of repair that they were not a part of the imperial fleet.

The two Genoese Galleasses were chained together to prevent drifting and their crews operated under the watchful eye of blue-clad Venetian marines.

The Purple uniforms of the Genoese Marines were easy to pick out from the docks which were lined with spectators.

Emperor Constantine XI waited at the Docks, surrounded by his guard regiment and chatting animatedly with a burly man to his right; as the ships furled their sails and dropped their anchor he stared toward the boats already lowering into the water.

The boats moored at the docks and soon after a precession of men were standing to attention in front of the Emperor, their prisoners bound and on their knees before their captors.

"May I have your report Captain?" asked Constantine as a finely dressed Marine approached him and stood at attention;

"But sir......I am not the Captain" he answered surprised and looked to the rear of the precession.

From the line of men emerged a scruffily dressed man.

His appearance was in kind to that of a street urchin; his bare feet were so dirty they were almost black and a blade topping five foot long was strapped to his back with a length of leather.

His hands were held steadily at his side as he walked straight up to the Byzantine Emperor and held out his hand,

"Jimm Spratt, Pleased ta meet yer!" he said heartily and shook the Emperor's hand with a lot of enthusiasm.

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An hour later the men from the wharf were seated inside the Imperial Throne room at a long table;

At the head of the table sat Constantine and on his left Raktorius Deo, unofficial Patriarch of Constantinople.

This is how he had been known as over the ensuing months since his arrival he had managed to take on most of the duties of the Patriarch without actually taking the title.

On the right of Constantine sat Giovanni Gotaras, Venetian Captain in charge of the main Garrison in Constantinople.

At the opposite end of the table, in the seat usually reserved for the Patriarch, sat Loukas Epistula, Megas Doux of the Byzantine Empire.

Along the rest of the table sat Jimm Spratt, looking out of place among the European Dukes and Counts currently in favor at the Imperial court.

Matters being discussed were the prisoners, or, in fact, if the prisoners should be released at all.

Giovanni Gotaras got to his feet and broke the silence,

"Two of my men, Simev Marcian and Durhyn Andahcris have been imprisoned and I would like to have them released into the custody of my Employers; The V&G shipping company"

"Also, after hearing news of the newly formed Ottoman Empire Janissaries marching on Constantinople, the V&G shipping company have approved funds and a temporary ceasefire between Venetian and Genoese Vessels in the Aegean as per the Pope's wishes" he continued without glancing up from his papers.

"The Fatmid Vessel that escaped our attack was acting alone and outside approved orders of the Fatmid Caliphate, It is therefore to be treated as a hostile Pirate vessel"

"We also have news that the ship has joined up with the Seljuk-Ottoman Navy and they are both on their way here now, I am sad to say that their combined forces are more than our small navy will be able to combat"

At this Jimm snorted with laughter and got to his feet,

"You know how yer sink an Arab boat?" he asked with a serious expression on his face.

"No, would you care to enlighten us sir?" asked Raktor with a twinkling in his eyes as if he knew the answer.

"Yer put it in water!" yelled Jimm and laughed uproariously,

"Ill take the sea defence if that’s okay with Mister Consta over there" he continued and everyone looked to the head of the table.

Constantine finished taking a sip from his goblet of wine and looked up,

"Captain Gotaras will be in charge of the Land-based defence of the city, Captain Spratt will be in charge of the sea defence, the prisoners will be released and permitted to either leave the city or join the defence force"

He rose to his feet and turned to look out the window of the throne room at the setting sun,



"Gentlemen, The Ottomans will be here within the week, I suggest you prepare"

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