The Fifth Crusade (Game Thread)

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Our Out Of Character Thread- http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/540.378257-The-Fifth-Crusade

The Fifth Crusade

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-Naval battles are a mess.... Especially when they pour to land battles

1218, August 25th

A salty sea breeze passed through the remains of merchant fleet as the ships loaned from Venice and Genoa stayed off the shores of Damietta, a city ruled over by the Ayyubid dynasty of Egypt. The tired sailors kept the ships at the mouth of the port, locking access to the city from the sea and keeping a tight grip on the siege. It had been several months since the siege had begun on the city, but the Muslims had not given up.

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-If only it could have been as east as Antioch...

They had not given up till this very morning, when allied Christian forces pushed through the city's outer defenses and mounted an attack on the large tower overlooking the land, taking it in the process. The city's large walls serving as its last line of defense proved to be a thorn in the side of the crusaders as disease claimed more pious men away from this earth. They had to push forward before their will to fight will be lost.

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-Great men lost due to sickness... I blame the Jews.

Allied forces from all of Christendom, Knights to simple armored men stand shoulder to shoulder against the defending Muslims. Time will run out and with it their will to push forward, but fear not - They were certain that taking more land from the Ayyubids will force them to cede Jerusalem.

If they refuse to exchange Jerusalem for Damietta, their capital will burn.
Onwards to Cairo, with Christ in your hearts and a murder of crows following you up above.

1221, July

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-Scottish Knights and Men at Arms... They will be with us in spirit...

The infidels refuse negotiations. They must agree to hand over Jerusalem and allow pilgrims to visit the holy sites. Our armies sitting on the edges of Damietta, now led by a messenger of Rome and the new lord of Damietta, Pelagio Galvani, move south to besiege Cairo and force the Sultan to free Jerusalem.

You leave the city and travel further inland to the city of the infidels, but the plague doesn't let go. It follows you around whenever you turn, causing great soldiers and knights alike to lose grip on their soul and return to God in heaven. Murders of crows follow the expedition as more and more German soldiers declare their own crusade over and turn back - and away from the cross, to their homeland.

The terrain was hard to traverse, but you pulled through quite nicely. The marching army sends out scouts periodically to warn them of any threats in the distance, but it seems like none had returned for the past day. The officers prepare their men to battle, each with his own group, all different nationalities separated by birth and tongue standing united together by the cross. They are coming.

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-The forces of the Ayyubid empire sent to destroy us. Fear not for Christ is among us - We shall prevail!

The Muslims are coming.

Mameluke cavalrymen ready their horses for a spectacular charge into the Christian lines. Many men-at-arms and a handful of knights ride out to meet them, though most remain steady at the line. A shield wall is formed in most of the front, a rather barbarian tactic to use against a barbarian people. They will soon meet the spears of the soldiers of the Holy Roman Empire and their Arabian horses will fall to the might of European steel.

They clash. The cavalrymen fight against each other, men-at-arms against fully armored mameluke horsemen. Cries of pain come from the front as strong Hungarian and Austrian horses give in to the blows of the infidels and leave their knights and armored soldiers in a sea of mounted Muslims. A rain of steel descended upon them.

Archers from the French and Hungarian forces, as well as the many warbands drawn to the cross unload their deadly arrows blessed by our priest and guided by the sight of Christ to impale even Muslim in the crowd in their hearts, but the horses continue with their charge at the Christian lines. Endless lines of armored infantry appear at the horizon behind the horsemen and scare those men in the front that could see them. The battle is not lost yet.

Lords and warband leaders speak up in their tongues to rally their men to the cross and prepare to face the enemy. Jerusalem awaits us, they say, if we only defeat the Egyptians they will concede our great land and we will go there as true righteous pilgrims. The tower of Babylon it were, as Hungarian lords spoke to their serfs standing shoulder to shoulder with Austrian, Bavarian and Dutch soldiers. All are united together for one goal.
Retrieve Jerusalem.

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-Heavily armored Muslim horsemen. Beware of maces

Steel clashes as Arabian horses fall forward and attempt to break the line of shaken soldiers at the center of the Christian forces. Some knights unmounts to join the fray while others break away from the line of infantry and move aside to harass the incoming flanks of the Muslim footmen. The remaining Mameluke horsemen retreat, yet are stopped by a small group of French knights. Swords penetrate mail armor and flesh, followed by a series of screams of pain in foreign tongues. The French knights move aside and cheer as they are covered in the blood of their enemy, quickly rejoining their men-at-arms as they move forward to meet the flanks of the Muslim infantry.

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-A proper Mameluke heavily armored infantryman. Not to be toyed with.

The Muslim infantrymen ran forward to meet to Christian lines, yet little bowmen appear to be among them. A rain of death falls upon the Muslim footmen, but suddenly Venetian mercenaries fall to the ground dead, arrows pierced through their armor. Archers on horseback move from the side and pick off an unfortunate Christian soul unlucky enough to meet an arrow before they meet the enemy.

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-Egyptian horse-archers.

A group of Frisian knights break the lines and run forward to meet the mounted armored archers, yet fail to realize they cannot catch up to their speedy horses. They are soon killed off by their precision shots and superior marksmanship, leaving Dutch corpses to rot in the grounds of Egypt.

A curved sword hits a kite shield, and the Tuscan mercenary ducks down, pushes the shield forward and lunges his sword into the side of the Egyptian footman in front of him. He pierces through an opening in his chain armor underneath his left arm and pulls the sword back, then raises his left foot up and kicks the bleeding man back.

A knight loses his horse as an arrow lodges itself in its eye and pierces its head, causing him to fall down. Fortunately for the Austrian, he pulls himself out safely but encounters a group of Muslim footmen ready to kill him. They throw a few rocks at him as he tries to attack them, his heavy plate armor and chain shirt stopping any of his enemies from drawing his blood. The footmen holding spears slowly walk around the nobleman as he tries to frantically stop them, jumping forward and plunging his sword into the unarmored chest of one of them. Two men from behind hold the knight and pull him back to the sand, grabbing his sword away from his arm. The man holding the heavy European sword attempts to stab the knight through his chest but he remains unharmed. Almost completely berserk, the Georgian slave jumps at the knight and holds the pommel up, beating his helmet in and slowly distorting it, breaking through the Austrians' skull.

In the midst of battle you are pushed to the edges of the field as some of the smaller bands of men retreat on their own accord. A man dressed in fine clothes riding a steed unarmored and unarmed calls you on to meet the enemy on a different field. You are pushed back and agree to follow the man away from the main battle, claiming that the King of Hungary himself is fighting the Egyptians on a different front and he needs your aid.

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-A rather posh looking advisor

You follow the man for the rest of the day and away from the crusaders. A feeling of doubt slowly forms in your heart as you lose sight of the battleground and the man continues to draw you away. He says he is the Hungarian King's advisor and that he requires your aid, an escort to the grand city of Cairo to negotiate peace with the Egyptians. You are baffled as to the change in the man's goals, as it appears like he had lied to you earlier.

You find yourself among a few other men, some knights and others mere soldiers or even pilgrims that followed the Hungarian advisor on a different pretense. Dissent and unrest grows as you continue to follow the man the second day, now joined by a foreigner. They both speaking Arabic with each other, and you suspect they are hiding something from you. You have the chance to speak with your new brothers in arms as the journey to Cairo continues.

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-A beautiful guide to the desert

You stop for your second night away from the main force in a small village. Most of you sleep in the stables with the horses while some are lucky enough to sleep in the house. It seems like the Hungarian had paid for the lodging, but troubles arise as disturbing news reach the ears of one of the more educated men in the group. The Hungarian spoke with the guide about the main army being overtaken by the Muslims, and how most of the army is now awaiting to be ransomed back to Europe. The news incites the group against the Hungarian advisor, but before you could demand answers from the man you see the tavern some of you were sleeping in catching on fire. Chaos unfolds as angry villagers leave their homes at night and attack several of you. You quickly attempt to flee the village by following the Hungarian advisor.

You run away from the village at the middle of the night, the Hungarian advisor leading you away from the area. He tells you that the news of the main army being defeated change matters entirely and that now he will lead you back to the northern coast where you will be able to hire a boat to return to the Italian mainland.

On your way back to the coast you stop before a strange sight. A sole Mameluke fully armored soldier walking in your direction. Some of your prepare yourselves for battle as the Muslim approaches you.

Character Sheets...

Major NPCs and plot synopsis so far.

Throughout Damietta Ryan had been playing his role as an archer until the arrow storms began.
He had watched as his comrades in arms were murdered around him, being forced to retreat, as the last surving man of his battle company he panicked at the sight of the dead men. He saw the unarmoured man call for help and rushed to his aid, having no other choice than to follow this man or die with the army, he took the safer choice and followed him.

Ryan spent most of the travelling time in silence, answering most questions that came at him straightforwardly, otherwise lying when required to protect himself. When they had reached the tavern he had paid for a small room and had rested in it until the town attacked. He snuck out of the tavern when this happened and had tailed the group until he had cleared the town, joining them again afterwards.

When the mameluke approached he slipped his dagger into a spot with easy access and little to no visibility on his person in case the muslim attacked.

Falk had been following his master as usual, an act made harder to achieve by the fact that he insisted on rushing headlong into swayths of enemies at every opportunity. He remembered disembowling an unarmoured militiaman, a typical swift and single blow, that had been attempting to sneak up on Hest Jr.

And then nothing. He remembered being hit by something, presumably a rock since it hadn't caused any permanent damage beyond a rather large dent in his cap. When he came to, stumbling around half-conscious, he had somehow ended up following the Hungarian advisor. He wasn't entirely sure why.

***

As the mameluke approached the group, Falk gripped his voulge tightly. Why was this man by himself? And what did he want? And what the hell had happened to Gerfried?

Sir Jacob's dreams of becoming a hero of Christendom had been frustrated by the low-paced action of the seige of Damietta: forced into unwilling idleness by the nature of the investment, the English Knight had been left with little more to do then swing his sword in the drill yards and attempt to pick up some of the various languages around him. Then more misfortune had struck as allied Christian forces stormed the largest tower defending Damietta, robbing Jacob of the glory he was entitled to! When Lord Galvini had mustered his troops to march south and attack Cario, Jacob lept at the chance to fight, determined to avoid spending his Crusade sitting in the blazing heat around a series of impregnable castles.

Then battle had been joined when Galvini's men had met fresh Moslem forces and everything went wrong.

Unhorsed by a heathen arrow, his mail rent and torn by furious sword blows and barely avoiding a crushed helm from a mace, Jacob had been driven away from the main body of Crusaders by Mamelukes. Used to Norman farmers, he had been rudely awakened by the ferocity of the infidel soldiers and had barely managed to survive, fighting his way towards a small group of Crusaders whose leader, a finely dressed man, offered some sort of cohesion amidst the chaos.

The Knight had kept to himself whilst following the group, partly mulling over the realities of fighting in the Holy Lands and partly defeated by language, before suffering the indignity of sleeping in the barn once the group had a village.

---

When the Mameluke approached, Sir Jacob's grip of his sword remained tight though his mind rushed to different conclusions over the Moslem's purpose: a scout for a larger body? A deserter?

Daybreak. Two men stand upon a small fortress, watching as an Egyptian force assembles on the horizon. One man, a knight, a corporal of the mercenary force defending the post. The other a soldier, a lancepesade, the knight's subordinate and friend.

The soldier is nervous. He speaks to the knight in Venetian.

"You are sure he is true to his word?"

"Lord Allierno has paid the Captain for our service. Our company will join his men and attack the Moor."

The soldier shakes his head in disapproval.

"I am not sure we can hold this position, Sir. We have never faced an army of this size before."

"Relax my friend," the knight responds. "We have defended this ground for two months. The Moor have attacked us five times, and each time our arrows, our spears and swords have driven them away. They will not route us from this spot. This will be an easy fight. I assure you, this will be an easy fight."

"I trust your judgement Marcel, as always."

Marcel places a reassuring hand on the soldier's shoulder.

"Adrien. Do you truly believe we will lose this battle?"

"No Sir."

"Then what is it that ails you?"

"I do not know. Perhaps it is only my nerves."

"Have faith in our Father, Adrien. Our faith is what will carry us through this day."

The knight takes his hand off Adrien's shoulder.

"Look at me. I will not lie to you, the wretches are as numerous as rats. It will be a long fight, but our victory will be celebrated at home. Fight well and your family's name will be restored."

Marcel pats Adrien on the back.

"Rile the men. We will strike now while the day is young."

"Yes Sir."

Only an hour later, the band of mercenaries stands with the Lord's men and faces the enemy. They are not as numerous as Adrien had thought. Indeed, it seems as though the Venetians outnumber the Egyptian force.

Lord Allierno shouts to his men.

"Forward! Push them out!"

The company rushes forward and meets the Moors at spear point. The Egyptians' shouts of anger turn to cries of pain and fear as the men in front are run through. Adrien smiles. This will be an easy fight.

The sound of hooves gallop on the Venetians' left flank. A soldier shouts.

"Ambush!"

Arrows fly from the side, surprising the band of mercenaries. Many cry in shock as they are hit. Others die and crumple to the ground. The living trip over bodies of the fallen as they rush forward.

Adrien stops in his tracks, and in the nick of time. An arrow whizzes past his face, hitting the man next to him. Marcel yelps as the arrow punctures his lung.

Encouraged by their cavalry, the Moors break through the front line and cut into the Venetian ranks. Adrien breaks away from the front and flees, but is overtaken by two horsemen. The archer rides close with his bow drawn and fires. Adrien holds up his buckler and deflects the arrow, the force of the impact spraining his wrist. He slashes at the horse's side, severing the man's leg.

The other horseman gallops to his comrade's aid. He swings his club at Adrien as he rides, hitting him in the back of the head. The blow knocks him unconscious. He crumples to the ground.

Adrien breathes in the cool night air and opens his eyes. For a moment he wonders if he is alive or dead. He touches the back of his head. It feels warm. He looks at the blood on his fingers and makes up his mind. He is indeed still alive.

Adrien pushes himself off the ground and sits up on his knees. He looks over the battlefield.

The company has been routed. None were spared.

A few of the Moorish infantry remain, walking among the dead, driving their pikes down into any unlucky sod still breathing.

He ducks low and picks up his helmet, looking into the metal surface as he holds it in his hands. The blow was more than adequate enough to dash his skull. It is a miracle the helmet stood up to such force. He stashes it behind him and quietly slips away.

Adrien breaks into a run as soon as he is a safe distance away. He moves as fast as his legs can carry him, putting as much distance between him and the battlefield as he can. It is at least an hour before he comes across a band of friendly Crusaders retreating to another front.

***

Adrien grasps the hilt of his sword. He shouts at the stranger in Arabic.

"Hark! Have you come in war or friendship?!"

Guillermo stayed in the rear of the battle lines like most of his stay here in the Holy lands. There he watched the chaos unfold from one ambush to another and even more bloodshed. He had tried to watch his lord's banner, and wrote down how the battle went but even from here it looked the battle was no easy victory as much as they have hoped. The fight was harsh and bloody but most importantly the heat was sweltering. Guillermo wrote feverishly on his paper scrolls, filling them from side to side with writings and no time for proofing.

Then, much to the horror of the men in the rear, small bands of their soldiers were retreating from the battle and one of them was a standard bearer for the Knights of Cyprus. He fell off his horse with an arrow sticking through his side and Guillermo rushed to his side, seeing if he can do anything to aid him.

"Lord Allierno... he is slain.... flee Guillermo... this battle is lost...." The knight said before he breathed his last breath. Guillermo looked up at the banner of the Lord Allierno and snatched it off pole. He stuffs it into his pack as more crusaders pass him in an effort to run away from the battle. An arrow whizzes past his head and now he decided that it was time to leave. He sighted some lightly armored Egyptian Cavalry cut through the swath of retreating men not too far from him so using his walking stick, he hobbles to his tent to fetch as much as he can before leaving.

While trying to get away he spotted an advisor with a small group of crusaders along with him. He asked if he could join, offering his service in being a translator in such a hostile land. Luckily, he accepted.

____________________________________________________________

Guillermo looked up from his walking to see a lone Mameluke walking towards them. Initially he stood behind the more well-armed men in his group but he saw something different about this Egyptian. He leaned on his walking stick, eyes on the Mameluke wondering what his plan was.

The past few weeks had been one avoidance after another for Khaled. He had stayed behind to ensure his master's enemies did not follow, only to be killed by one of the Great Saladin's son's armies. He'd come upon the scene of slaughter and turned back to enter Cairo as a failure, but living long enough to face his shame had been taxing. The European Crusaders had again rampaged across the land, killing anyone unlike themselves and burning what they did not understand, Khaled had strayed far from armies on both sides, as he was Mameluke, and being without a master labeled him worse than a deserter.

Although he followed Furusiyya and Mohammed's teachings as best he could, his faith had begun to wane as of late and his horse was feeling the effects of their loss just as much, if not more keenly, than himself. He had stopped riding his stallion many days before, to save him as much as he could for when they really needed to get away. And it had come to this.

A group of Christians he had wandered into because of his own mistake. He saw more than a few glares in them, and more hands on weapons than he could count. These invaders were ignorant of the greater teachings of the world, but they came in numbers and with leaders that understood what they were doing. They didn't have the finesse of true warriors, but they did have men in full armored suits that protected them from more punishment than any one man should be allowed to take.

"Hark! Have you come in war or friendship?!"

He looked to see a man in bandages come forth, sword sheathed, but tightly held. He most assuredly didn't know that he had just asked if Khaled came in brutality or love, but the message got across. Judging from his appearance and his own dealings, Khaled answered in French,"I come in neither, Christian. I simply wish to travel past you and towards the setting sun."

Adrien relaxes his grip, but keeps his left hand on his scabbard.

"Apologies. You did not greet yourself in custom."

He raises his right hand and points West.

"There is only desert that way."

The battle was going badly; anyone could see that. Had they a strong position, the the Christians could have relied on their weighty but resilient gear to weather the heathen storm, but now the knights were in disarray and the enemy's light cavalry were closing in like the scavenging birds of the dessert.

It was no place for a man with a bow to tarry, and William began to consider what he would do if things got any worse. Almost in reply, a single horseman emerged from the melee, looking confused and with a dent in his helm looking like it came from a Venetian mace. A shaft had him off his horse, and quick as you like William recovered his arrow and vaulted into the saddle.

From higher up, the battle only looked worse for the Army of God, and William resolved to advance on his good fortune. Kicking the horse into a gallop, he quit the battlefield with all speed.

Soon, a group came into view, looking to be a band of Europeans. All looked tense, and perhaps violence was in the air, but in the aftermath of a battle, any company was better than waiting to be caught on your own. And so he had come into the company of the strange advisor, and without any Arabic he was forced to follow the man for his very survival in this hostile land.

---

The mamaluk looked wary, but did not seem cowed by the Europeans. Keeping an arrow notched, he listened tot he conversation.

As he heard French spoken, he kept his mouth shut. However, it was worth bearing in mind that if the mamaluk lived, they would not rely on their strange leader to guide them through this land.

Adrien hears the archer nock his arrow.

Fantastic. Seems we start a fight wherever we go.

He turns his attention back to the Moor.

"You still wish to travel West?"

Battle had been joined. The armies clashed. From his vantage atop his horse, Heinrich could see the battle begin to go poorly. Hope was not lost, the most glory was won from battles where things weren't going your way.

Ruhm quickly dispatched an unarmoured peasant at his horse's flank. The man had bravery, but too much to attempt battle with a fully armoured and mounted knight. Another swipe of Ruhm, and another common soldier dispatched. He admired these men for trying to best him, but their was little glory in killing peasants, he needed a tougher opponent. Not too far in front of Henrich an enemy on horseback was engaging three men on foot. One attempted to flank the horse and received a slash to the face for his trouble. The two remaining tried to pressure the horseman, and drag him off his horse but the mounted fighter was too skilled for that. He kept his distance, slashing if either of his opponents came too close. As the two soldiers attempted another rush at the horse, the Mameluke suddenly reared his horse catching one of the soldiers in the head with a hoof. The last soldier was dispatched with a quick slash of the sword.

The entire encounter had only lasted roughly a minute, but it had seemed longer to Heinrich. He was a fool for sitting still for so long but at least he had found a worthy opponent. Spurring his horse forward he gave a shout, challenging his opponent. The man turned toward Heinrich, but just as Heinrich readied himself for the rider to rider conflict he felt himself tumbling through the air. Landing chest first in the dirt, the wind was knocked out of him. He heard the horse whinny in pain, and the sound of it crashing to the ground accompanied by breaking bone. A man set upon Heinrich before he had time to recover, slashing for his neck. Heinrich rolled to safety the man's sword whistling through the air. By the time the man pressed his next attack Heinrich was on his feet, shield at the ready. He caught the blow shifting his weight to shove Ruhm through the man's chest.

As Heinrich wrenched his sword free, and the body slumped to the ground, the sound of hoofs came from behind. Not very honourable of his opponent to set upon him like this, but what could he expect from these heathens. Twisting quickly, Heinrich brought his kite shield in front of his head. The blow surprised him with its strength, wrenching the shield from his grasp, sending it flying over his head. The horseman pulled his mount around, kicking the horse in to another attack. Pivoting at the last second, Heinrich ducked and slashed at the horses legs. It whinnied in pain, as Heinrich's horse had done only minutes before. This rider was not so lucky as his horse's full weight crushed him as they both met the ground.

Picking up his shield, Heinrich wiped his brow. His helmet had been lost in the tumble from his horse and he had no idea where it had landed. A fellow knight bumped in to him as he ran, in the opposite direction away from battle. Heinrich called to the man in their native tongue, "Where are you going, sir? The battle is this way."

The Knight did not stop as he yelled back, "We have lost, there is only slaughter in that direction."

Sure enough Heinrich watched as his comrades were being routed. Men fled and were chopped down by the pursuing enemies. How had this happened? He felt the urge to stay, to battle until he could no more. There was no honour in defeat, but to rush to ones own death was foolish. He followed the direction of his fellow Knight, they would regroup and regain their honour yet this day.

Heinrich spotted a group of what appeared to be Crusaders. The leader was a fine dressed man, a noble of some sort. This man would be of import, so Heinrich decided to join him. Perhaps he would be able to bring the army together.

--

They had been travelling together for two days now. After last night, with the attack from the town, the group had set out again. Heinrich was disappointed that the finely dressed man had no intentions of gathering the armies back together and instead they were fleeing back to their homes. The armies were scattered and fragmented anyway, not enough men left to fight on.

They noticed the Mameluke approaching, though it seemed he hadn't noticed the group until he was quite close. Perhaps he was lost in thought, still disoriented from the battle two days past. Heinrich kept his hand on Ruhm's pommel as one from the group addressed the Mameluke. There was no fear, what could one horseless Mameluke do to a group of this size?

Guillermo heard French words escape the Egyptian's mouth and almost immediately he thought of the heathen in a new light. Normally Arabic was the only language on their tongues but this one was different. He was intrigued by this Mameluke and slowly stepped from behind the armored men. Guillermo spoke up to the group and raised his free arm, then lowered them down.

"Lower your weapons, brothers. Do you not see this man seeks no quarrel? Otherwise he would have charged at us blindly like his other kin. This one is different, it is easy to see if you aren't blinded by hate or contempt." Guillermo looked to the Mameluke and spoke up in Arabic.

"If you seek passage then I can only warn you that there are more of us, Christians, behind this very group that may not take kindly to a lonely Mameluke in the desert with a French tongue." Guillermo said, although even he wasn't sure if there was any Christians left after the battle but he saw some bands of their bretheren flee in a number of directions. He just hoped that the Mameluke would not see through his bluff. Then Guillermo drew his leather canteen, still with some water he gathered while at the village. "Here, you seem tired and parched."

He walked forward with his walking stick in one hand and his canteen with the other. It was obvious Guillermo wasn't armed but all he cared for was that the Mameluke would not think lesser of them although he probably already has considering his group's actions towards him.

"If you seek passage then I can only warn you that there are more of us, Christians, behind this very group that may not take kindly to a lonely Mameluke in the desert with a French tongue."

"It is nice to have at least one of you Christians know a tongue other than your own, though perhaps you would prefer," He switched to Latin,"Latin? It has appeared to be the one language that you Christians share with us, your command of the French tongue is broken at best. As for how many of there that you are, it would appear that many of your company are wounded, you are not a vanguard for an army." He looked them over again,"You are deserters, am I right? I travel to Cairo, where I may be held accountable for my crimes, you are fleeing Great Saladin's bastard son's greed, are you not?"

Adrien mutters to Ryan.

"I have been speaking in Arabic this whole time, and he speaks with the scribe instead. Fantastic."

He hears the stranger speak in the tongue of his church. Shame he never bothered to learn Latin.

"What is he saying now?"

Ryan mutters to Adrien.

"He is travelling to Cairo, he believes we are deserters of the siege."

Ryan begins to translate when needed for the other party members.

Heinrich kept his firmly gripped on Ruhm's hilt. Marmalukes were not reputable soldiers because they charged blindly in to enemy masses with no intelligence. He had enough honour to admit that his enemy had the capacity to be cunning.

The beginning of the conversation between the scribe and the Marmaluke passed through Heinrich's ears unrecognized, but then they switched to Latin.

"Latin? It has appeared to be the one language that you Christians share with us, your command of the French tongue is broken at best. As for how many of there that you are, it would appear that many of your company are wounded, you are not a vanguard for an army." He looked them over again,"You are deserters, am I right? I travel to Cairo, where I may be held accountable for my crimes, you are fleeing Great Saladin's bastard son's greed, are you not?" At least the Marmaluke sounded sincere. He would have to be in some serious trouble in order to befriend a group of Christians.

Adrien spoke up next seeming a bit put off that the Marmaluke ignored him in order to converse with the Scribe. The soldier clearly thought himself a bit above his position.

The Scribe was translating for Adrien so Heinrich stepped forward and spoke up in Latin, "What is your name, sir? If I may ask." He included the title as he had respect for nobility even if it was from the enemy side.

Samuel looked around his command, he was down to one platoon of troops, most of them officers and the flanks were either starting to disintegrate or retreat, Sam gave the order to his remaining troops to abandon the fight. Their lord had died, their flanks were gone, and the front line was held only by some of the greenest, most fanatically unaware Knights he'd ever met.

And they too were buckling. In the retreat, Sam noticed some Knights gathering near some king's court-man. Sam ordered the dozen or so officers and a few common footsoldiers who had particular enough talent to live through the slaughter. Sam would promote them, but being promoted to command the sand was meaningless. As soon as Sam and his troops caught up, he yelled in Latin "Hail, Knights! The line is broken. My troops and I fought as long as we could, but... Well, I used to command a force, these are all my survivors. I imagine you all have similar stories?"

Ryan walks over to Samuel, he speaks in latin "The siege was lost... Most survivors have been taken captive by the muslims."

He begins to fiddle with his blade again...

The travel wore down the old man, but Alexander knew he had to endure till he had reached Cairo. He had a mission to perform, and even if the crusade had failed he could still follow through if this rag-tag team of the remnants of the armies of Christendom could protect him competently. He knew they would have some trouble getting into Cairo and navigating the city, and now with the Bedouin lost, he had lost his guide.

"Mameluke-", the advisor began speaking in a high level of Arabic, one only a few Europeans understand, "-I am to acquire your skills of navigation. A quarter loaf of gold if you bring me and the others to Cairo. We wish to surrender, and if you will, submit to the wish of Allah. May he be blessed. I came to meet a scholar friend of mine and settle in the city, the crusade had only been a means to walk the war-torn land to Cairo. Freed slave, I ask of you to accompany us through the gates. We will repeat the Shahada in time, I give you my word". Even though he knew more lies will get him in trouble, he knew there was no other way to enter Cairo in this situation. He would have to lie to his war party further.

Ryan hears the advisor speaking and walks back to the group.
He slips his knife back into its spot.
He says to Adrien in venetian "Did you understand him?"

Guillermo's ear perked up when the advisor spoke to the Mameluke in a higher Arabic. He was able to understand what the advisor said but what he said concerned him a bit. Guillermo was concerned that for the most part that the group wouldn't act very kindly to information that isn't so widely disclosed. It would spread distrust among their already diminished ranks.

He thought about going up to the advisor and asking if that was such a good idea. Guillermo began to hobble to him until he heard Ryan asking Adrien about what the advisor said. He needed to make sure they were all one page and at least diminish the amount of questions in their heads. Guillermo went up to Ryan.

"He's negotiating the Mameluke's help to get us to where we need to be. The Mameluke knows this land better than us and I can only pray that he accept the offer. We must accept his help even if it means swallowing our pride."

Ryan mulls it over for a moment in his head, having already distrusted the Advisor for lying in the first place.
Ryan says to Guillermo in venetian "That makes sense."
He goes back to fiddling with his blade.

"What is your name, sir? If I may ask."

"I am Khaled Massri, protector of his late Sultan as-Salih Ayy....and traitor to his death."

"Mameluk"
He replies in kind,
"I go to Cairo as well, Christian. What do you need of one such as me? You are not of Allah's faith, yet you know of the shahada, I will guide you. Allah has sent me to you, to teach you his word, I know not, but he wishes me to help you. Otherwise we would have never met."

Adrien takes Guillermo by the shoulder and whispers to him.

"He is leading us to Cairo, is he not? We will be slaughtered before we even reach the gates!"

"The Mameluke knows a way but it'll cost the adviser a handsome some of money from what I gather." Guillermo whispered back to Adrien, knowing full well what he thinks the adviser said to the Mameluke.

He listened on and heard the man's name for the first time. But Guillermo was especially glad to hear that the Mameluke would help the group get into Cairo and help them along their journey. It relieved him and made him wish more men were like the Mameluke.

"The Mameluke has accepted the deal! Thank the Lord almighty!" Guillermo said aloud in Latin so the others could hear him.

"May He have mercy on our souls."

Adrien mutters under his breath. He offers a Hail Mary and does a quick sign of the cross. He turns away from his comrades and speaks to the rest of the group in French.

"Well, the rest of you lot seem awfully quiet. Not that I expect you to understand what I am saying, but..."

French, Arabic, Latin: it was all foreign to Sir Jacob, who knew barely enough French as it was, let alone these more complex languages. However, the other's body language, whilst tense when the Moslem had approached and begun to talk to a fellow who understood his tongue, showed no sign of open conflict and the knight was able to relax his sword grip, if only a little. For now, it seemed the ragged group was milling about, deciding on their purpose and while being out of the loop made the Englishman very uncomfortable, especially so deep inside enemy territory, there was little he could do but stand and observe, eyes scanning the distance for approaching heathens who may be less talkative.

The robed Christian, whom Jacob had taken for a lordly advisor or scribe and had no idea how such a poorly equipped man could have survived the battle, was hailing the group but again in one of those damnable foreign languages! Then another man, more properly equipped for a Crusade spoke up and this time Jacob was able to catch a few words and reply in broken French.

"I understand little, speak English yes?"

The speaker may have been French but at least he was a honest Christian, at least if the sign of the cross was anything to go by.....

Samuel turned to the English speaker and spoke in Flemish "Do you know my language better perhaps?" Samuel walked further into the group, ordering his men to sit down and rest, re-arming and resetting any armor that might have been coming off.

The greenest of them fainted, the second-greenest started tending to him as soon as he was done holding his nausea.

A soldier armoured in studded leather and displaying a promiement cross around his neck began speaking to Jacob, talking with the air of a veteran, an impression assisted by the handful of Crusaders following him. Although the scruffy haired man spoke Flemish as a comrade saw to his battered armour, it was close enough to the dialects Jacob had heard whilst fighting in Normandy for him to roughly understand. He responded haltingly, while keeping his guard up-the presence of a Mameluke seemingly in deep conversation with Christians was making him edgy. Who knows what their heathen language could be concealing?

"I speak simple. Your name and position?"

Samuel nodded "I am Samuel Kateem, Lieutenant to my late lord, which makes me Commander." Samuel motioned to the others "They are speaking to that Muslim about a deal, he leads us to Cairo for what sounds like a large amount of gold, but I know not why we're going there. Your name, Knight?" Samuel didn't sound hostile, but when he said 'knight' he didn't have the fearful reverence of many others.

He was experienced enough, he said it like he'd say 'commander' or 'general'.

Respectful, but not afraid.

Heinrich abandoned his conversation with the Mameluke, turning toward the others in the group. Some seemed to be switching between languages, attempting to find one they could both speak. Heinrich couldn't understand any of the ones they chose and decided against trying to join that conversation. It was going to be a real hassle working with this group if they did not have a common language. At least the man in fine clothing could translate for them, when he wasn't busy making plans that was.

He had relaxed his grip on the sword once the Mameluke had responded, deciding the man had enough honor to trust him for the time being. The Mameluke was still an enemy soldier however, and Sir Haugwitz was going to keep his eyes on him because of this.

They had been travelling together for a little while now, but they hadn't really had time to get to know each other much. For the first time Heinrich looked around at each member of the group, trying to assess something about each one. There were a few Knights, some soldiers as well as some Commoners. It would be hard to tell if any of these men had true honor until he was in combat with them, but for now he was satisfied with what he had seen from each of them.

Ryan watched the Mameluke and Advisor with suspicion before taking another look at his group and realizing they were still trying to find a common language.

He decided it would be easier to trust the mameluke than to trust the Advisor who had already lied to him twice about the purpose of the warparty... Mamelukes had honour and that was enough for Ryan to trust him.

The language situation was more pertinent however...

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