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Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II

"The fruit of silence is tranquillity."

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a character in “Crowns, Empires & Swords”, originally authored by Ragnarök, as played by RolePlayGateway

Description

Image

Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II (The Just)

Age:
54

Title(s):
Caliph of the Caliphate of Andalusia
Sultan of Harad
Sultan of Granada
Sultan of Malaga

Family:
Father: Caliph Tamim (The Butcher) (Deceased)
Mother: Sultana Randja (Deceased)
Wife: Sultana Tadbal Z'ergha (30)
Sons: Prince Afaghis (26), Prince Aberbal (18),
Daughters: Princess Randja (20), Princess Tammunt (18), Princess Zahida (14)


Appearance:

Image


The Sultan is by no measure a big man. He is of an average height and build for the people of his homeland with the same dark hair and eyes. It is those same eyes however that set him apart from most other men. There is a wisdom, a depth of understanding and a cunning that makes most anyone pause to study this fascinating man. He did not become Caliph by accident and his cool, quick movements betray the man of steel and action beneath.


Skills:

Caliph Khaled is the ruler of a dozen races, master of countless conquered tribes and nations. It is only natural that he would become skilled in many areas. He speaks fifteen different languages fluently, is an excellent administrator, brilliant military tactician, lover of wine and women, and many other great qualities one might expect in the leader of such a powerful empire.

He has never claimed to be an excellent foot-soldier however. In combat he is as skilled as your average man-at-arms but is not quicker, faster nor stronger than other men. This is perhaps not so much of an issue now that he no longer needs to lead his armies from the front.


Personality and History:

There was a time that the young Prince Khaled had had to draw his sword and fight as his father, Caliph Tamim (The Butcher) , waged his war across the southern lands of the world. One by one the scattered tribes and nations of the south fell before his armies. Of all his commanders none was as skilled, as daring, and as unpredictable as his own son, Prince Khaled.

The young Prince led from the front, earning his own battle scars and tales as he went. He excelled in many aspects of his life but has never claimed to be an expert swordsman though he is, or was, certainly faster than most, a skill that kept him alive for so long on the field of battle. His actions, and loyalty to his father, earned him the title of Sultan of Harad following the regions conquest by his fathers armies.

Here he earned the respect and grudging admiration of the conquered people. His approach to all, both conquered and victors alike, was fair and just at all times. None were considered superior to others and all were taxed at the same level. He built universities, hospitals, sewers and grand buildings that brought the formerly savage Haradrim a new level of prosperity and meaning they had never experienced. It was under his leadership that Harad become the wealthiest and most powerful of the Caliphates provinces.

When his father died, choking to death on his own tongue at the age of 67, twenty six year old Prince Khaled suddenly found himself Caliph of Andalusia. The patience and sense of right and wrong that he had applied in Harad he now applied to the Caliphate as a whole. 28 years later the changes he has brought to the Caliphate are all to obvious.

Where once there used to be scattered garrisons in the midst of hostile, conquered peoples, there are now powerful cities and towns filled with folk who come seeking education, wealth and futures brighter than they might have ever imagined in the animal hide tents of their ancestors. His marriage to the daughter of a Haradrim noblewoman helped ensure the peace for Sultana Tadbal Z'ergha is loved by her people more than any of her line before.

For over twenty years there has been peace, prosperity, and a new found love for all things beautiful. Gone are the days of men sharpening their swords, though the armies remain strong and well trained, the Caliph himself has turned his mind to making the Caliphate the shining light of the world.

Other: See Caliphate OOC

So begins...

Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II's Story

Setting

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Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II Character Portrait: Princess Randja of Caliphate
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Sevilla
Caliphate of Andalusia


The Fortress of Sevilla reared out the Ocean of Fire like some great beast, it’s square towers and fluttering pennants an alien sight in the middle of the vast, never ending sea of sand dunes. Five hundred miles of desert and desolation lay to its east and west, broken only by the small-fortified wells that served as way stations for travellers so that they might find shelter for the night.

The Spice Road passed beneath the Fortress, following the route of a nameless underground river that served to provide water for the watering places, without which no traveller could survive the crossing.

For the Caliph it was a familiar road he had travelled many times over his years on this earth and he looked forward to his visit to Sevilla. It was a miracle of life in an otherwise endless desert, built within a volcanic crater that provided shelter and life to all within.

“They have seen us my lord!” Called the lead rider and indeed, as he spoke, a flare arched into the sky to let them know they had been marked by the sentries. The Caliph made a mental note to have the sentinels rewarded for their vigilance. He knew how boring it could be to spend your days staring out over the endless unchanging desert.

There were twelve riders in total; he, his daughter Randja and ten bodyguards who rode about them in lose formation. They had been picked for their skill on camelback, their endurance and most of all for their loyalty. He knew that each of them was sweating foully under their armour as he was but none complained. Randja on the other hand looked disgustingly cool and happy in her light riding gear and he could not help but smile at her excitement. She had never been to Sevilla before.

It took them another three hours to close on the fortress, the walls rising ever higher as they approached. He could see small figures moving on the bridge that connected the main castle to the keep, his green banner streaming in the wind to warn the garrison of who was approaching.

They passed beneath the high bridge, Randja craning her head back to look upwards before smiling at him, eyes glittering in excitement. He smiled back and then turned his horse left, leading the party as they started to climb the roadway hacked from the rock towards the Shadow Gate, so named for its place beneath the shadow of the castle.

Hooves sounded suddenly loud on the stone after so many days of riding on sand and the smell of the city beyond reached out to them as they climbed the long roadway. It was much like a huge ramp, ending at a great drawbridge that rested over a chasm that dropped two hundred feet to the sand and jagged rock below.

The Shadow Gate was set nearly halfway up the carter wall, the sides having been smoothed for the last two hundred feet so that an unbroken barrier surrounded the city.

People and animals scattered in front of the Royal banner and all knelt to the Caliph as he passed, more than a few calling out greetings and blessings as they passed for the Caliph was well known for his generosity and fair treatment of all.

Despite their high perch on the camels the riders did not have to duck to pass into the Shadow Gate though they did have to slow for the defences of the place required them to make several ninety degree turns and pass through three more gateways built into the tunnel walls before they burst into the sunlight once again.

The Shadow Gate opened onto the high ledge that allowed one to look out over the entire city and the Caliph heard Randja gasp and could not blame her. The inside of the crater was like nothing someone looking at from the outside could imagine.

Houses and shops hugged the high sides of the crater, serviced by roads chiselled from the stone. In the middle of the city lay a large lake, perhaps half a mile wide, into which a waterfall poured at one end. Trees and flowers bloomed everywhere, supplied by aqueducts that drew water from the head of the waterfall and hurried it away to great cisterns that in turn supplied every home with fresh running water.

On every side the crater walls rose high above the city, providing it shelter from the sand storms beyond and shade during much of the day to protect it from the heat of the sun.

The ledge parted into two roadways here, one descending into the city while the other passed through another gatehouse before climbing upwards towards the castle and its perch on the highest point of the crater.

It was up this road that the Royal party spurred, soldiers saluting as they passed, trumpets screaming a warning to the garrison further up the roadway. Even here the roadway was perilous, dropping off sharply on the right into the city below.

They soon reached the main gateway to the castle, two brutal towers that had been hacked from the living stone, flanking a doorway of great dried oak covered with steel to prevent them from being set ablaze.

Reaching out from the two towers were the battlements, once again carved into the crater lip and running the circuit of the city. A second smaller castle was visible at the extreme end of the lake, standing guard over the water supply.

The Caliph paused here on the doorstep to the fortress and turned, taking a moment to look over the strange oasis that lay sheltered below him. He patted his daughter’s hand.

“Welcome to Sevilla my dear.”

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Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II
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Sevilla
Caliphate of Andalusia


General Sayid Jarrah arrived only a day after the Caliph, riding in from the East with a small escort of swift desert horsemen. He was younger than the Caliph by several years but the two of them had shared many battlefields together. Of late he had been tasked with marshalling the Armies of Andalusia in the East and preparing them for War, should the negotiations with Rhun turn sour.

His horse clattered through the Shadow Gate and turned to make the long climb up into the main fortress. He passed through the outer gates, nodding recognition to the soldiers who stood guard. He had many skills but one of the greatest he possessed was a flawless memory everything he saw, read, or heard was with him forever. It was a double edged sword for he could fondly remember all of the women he had been with, but his battles would never truly leave him either. A mixed blessing from the Goddess.

"The Caliph waits you in the Caliphs Towers, he says there is no need for haste." This came from a young stableboy who took the Generals horse and led it towards the stable where it would be watered, rubbed down and fed.

He stretched, glad to be out of the saddle and once again mentally blessing the Caliph who never rushed anything. He allowed himself to be led to a guest suite that had been set aside for him. Like most of the fortresses in the Caliphs domain the interior of the Sevilla Fortress was simple, practical, and inviting.

A small bathhouse was available on this floor, the water being pumped from below by great wheels that turned ever so slowly but managed to draw the water upwards. The hot bath had been stoked the minute he came into view and so now, as he lowered himself into the water, it was almost unbearable.

He relaxed, allowing the hot water to soak away the tension in his muscles and ease the pain in his lower back, riding a horse for hours on end tended to make one uncomfortable. Then he dunked his head, scrubbing at his beard and body, washing away the grim of his journey and the sand from places he did not wish to think of. Then he called for a servant and allowed himself to be properly washed, shampooed and scrubbed down before climbing from the water.

He chose a simple white robe trimmed with green. He did not bother to tie up his long hair but rather let it hang lose. A pair of sandals and his sword were the only other items he allowed himself before making his way through the fortress and into the lower portion of the Caliphs Tower. The lower floors of the tower were taken up by the Caliphs bodyguard, big men who watched him silently, returning his nod. None moved to stop him, they all knew who he was.

As he climbed the tower he passed through a suite of rooms on one floor that had been closed off and he could hear sweet singing coming from within. The Caliph must have brought one of his daughters along. Two guards stood outside this door and like the others they returned his nod but he knew they would not let him pass. No one saw the Caliphs daughters without his express permission.

He passed the Caliphs bedroom, then the upper library and at last he stepped through a final door and out onto the very top of the Caliphs Tower. The view, as it had always been, was awe inspiring. One one side he could easily see into the City of Sevilla, on the other three the endless Ocean of Fire stretched to the horizon.

A large awning had been stretched across the entirety of the towers summit and two cushion had been set out. The Caliph was alone, sitting cross legged and reading a series of manuscripts. A pile was on either side of him, one held down with his sword, the other with his helmet. He turned as the General appeared and offered him a smile.

"Welcome General Sayid Jarrah. How was your journey?"

"My Caliph." He responded, bowing low. "It was as I expected, long, hot, and full of sand. It is always a welcome thing to enjoy a bath after such a trip."

"Isn't it though." Said the Caliph as he gestured to the cushion across from him. "Please, sit."

The General did as he was bidden. The Caliph continued to read for a moment and the General recognized his own report in the Caliphs hand.

"So it is war?" Asked the Caliph as last as he put the manuscript down under his sword.

"I am afraid so sire. The King of Rhun seems quite determined to press his claims to Harad." Said the General. The King of Rhun, a fat toad like man, was a cousin to the former King of Harad, removed by a couple of generations but a blood claim none the less.

"I suppose if we must, we must." Said the Caliph in reply as he let out a heavy sigh. "So much for peace."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II Character Portrait: Princess Randja of Caliphate
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After a long ride out to Sevilla, the Princess Randja rewarded herself with a warm bath, cleansing her hair and body that had been invaded by sand.

Now she sat at a vanity mirror, combing her long raven locks humming a soft tune.

She was glad to be out and about, especially with her father. In her younger days she hadn't been able to travel with him as often as she had been, but at the same time, these were times of peace, a gentle calm was about the realm now.

As she finished combing her hair, she dressed.

She wore a long pale blue sari, with trimmed gold embroidery, atop her head was a similar pale blue veil, adorned with the same gold trimming. Her warm olive skin held a sunkissed glow, her teal grey eyes lined with dark liner, making the color show even more vibrant, resting across her forehead were strung gems, shaped as a flower, with a large jewel that rested in the middle of her forehead between her brow.

She smiled softly at her reflection and made her way out of her chambers with the intention of going toward the nearest library. The armed guards at the door bowed respectively. "Malik," She greeted with a small curtsey "Jaheem." She said with a smile. "Will you escort me to the library?" She asked them. The three of them knew it was merely a formality. They'd follow her whether she wanted them to or not, but she felt it was right to ask them, so they knew she cared for their feelings and opinions.

Shortly after, as she and the two guards lead her toward the library, she noticed the door that lead to the Caliph's Tower.

She hadn't seen her father since they'd parted shortly after their arrival and felt she should check up on him. Her father was in perfect health but he wasn't getting any younger and she knew that being Caliph could be quite stressful. "Malik, Can you inform my father that I wish to enter, I'd like to know if I can be of any assistance before I begin my reading." She said, knowing that sometimes she could get lost in the written word.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II Character Portrait: Princess Randja of Caliphate
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Sevilla
Caliphate of Andalusia


Randja may have wished to see her father but the Caliph had given strict instructions we was not to be disturbed until sun down. The Princesses bodyguard gently informed his charge of this news and then led the way towards the library. Even if they had wanted to press the issue, the door and the proceeding floors were guarded by men who did not question their Caliphs orders and would not hesitate to bar passage to anyone, even the Princess, when ordered.

On the roof, the sun slowly angling low enough that it could peak beneath the tent, the two men sat in quiet consultation. The Caliph was listening, and had been doing so for much of the last few hours. He was older yes, more experienced in war, but things had changed since he had been a battlefield commander. He had led the war against Harad, defeated the great Oliphaunts and brought Harad to heel. The General however had been east and seen the war they must fight. Between the two men, a plan would have to be struck.

"Rhun is a vast country, not unlike Harad, however it lacks the iron ring of mountains that made taking the City of Harad so difficult. Much of it is open terrain, broken by low rocky hill regions and dark forests. It is a land of some wealth if they knew how to exploit it properly." Said the General as he tapped the map in front of them with the tip of his knife. "Their armies are not unlike Harads, some larger war beasts with a heavy dose of cavalry and plenty of infantry to go with them."

"How are our armies faring at the moment?" Interrupted the Caliph with an apologetic smile.

"Quite well I should think. Chaffing at the bit to do something other than sit around I would think. We have almost two dozen Oliphaunts trained now, to go with the dozen we took from Harad following their surrender. We've integrated the Haradian troops as best we can, scattering them amongst our main army so that if they prove disloyal we can deal with them quickly."

"Our biggest obstacle will be the various fortresses that protect key areas of Rhun. Much of their water is like it is in the desert, underground, and the watering holes are heavily protected. Food is also going to be difficult since their agriculture is concentrated mostly in the east where the growing season is more mellow. In the west we're looking at lots of woodland. I am sure we can hunt but that might not be enough."

The General paused here, thinking for a moment before putting his dagger tip on Malage and drawing it across the paper to Harad, and then onwards into Rhun.

"If we were to land a large force along the coast, preferably here," This time he tapped the Rhunish City of Balchoth. "We could possibly force them to divide their own force and allow our fast moving forward units to strike and seize watering holes while their attention is elsewhere."

"I like it." Said the Caliph, stretching his back slightly as he spoke. "I will lead an army from Malaga, you will lead the main army across the River Nurnen and strike for their capital at Khand. I will take Balchoth and then bring my forces north to link up with yours. Not fancy plan but if we make it overly complicated, it will never work."

The General nodded. "I can be prepared in a month."

"I will return home tomorrow, then ride for Malaga and summon my personal divisions to sail within a week for Harad. We will wait there until the end of the month. Then I will sail for Balchoth. That will give you a week to wait until you open your own campaign."

The two picked up the wine glasses that had sat untouched until now.

"To victory and the glory of the goddess."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orys Baratheon Character Portrait: Kenna Caitlin Character Portrait: Davina Mikaelson Character Portrait: Amelia Stormborn Character Portrait: Captian Robyn Sheva of the Harbinger Character Portrait: Queen Tenanye Ananse Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II Character Portrait: Deacon Lesseth
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The festivities were a welcome diversion, Moloch supposed, though he would have preferred Drake City's over the general debauchery which King Robert Baratheon indulged in. He was seated next to Ser Orys, now Prince Orys, and, while Cyrus enjoyed listening to an old Pacific song he heard in his youth, Eirene was becoming increasingly agitated. This, of course, came as no surprise to Moloch. These festivities did not foster the most respect for women, even dangerous women such as herself.

"You fought well, ser knight, but I am sure you are a lady beneath that armor," one of the joust's constestants slurred. Cyrus began to count under his breath as Eirene's body tensed. On three, she had tossed the knight, armor and all, across the room and into a roasted bore. Coincidentally, his head became stuck in its mouth.

"I cannot say the irony is lost on me," Eirene stated with a smirk. Cyrus laughed uproarously and Moloch smirked. He raised an eyebrow, however, when he saw a familiar face in the crowd. So, the pirate queen had escaped already. He gave a nod to Cyrus, who excused himself to use the privy. Soon enough, he would be walking unseen near the sea captain and the older knight Moloch, meanwhile, turned to speak with his friend.

"You look as if you are condemned to death rather than being made heir to an entire kingdom. You should not be troubled. You have the respect and love of your people and you are a capable warrior. Not to mention you are of royal blood and have plenty of common sense. If this kingdom can survive your uncle, it can survive you."

He couldn't resist a small chuckle as the king chose this moment to introduce Orys to the Queen of the Ananse.

"Well, your uncle certainly understands arranged marriages if that is what he meant."

***
"Of all your reckless stunts, Prince Kallias, this is the worst," a bearded magi told a youth on horseback. Accompanied a full company of Drake knights, the two rode into the desert, the magi a little more reluctantly than the youth, "King Moloch left you in charge of the Royal Court and you just abandoned your duty to chase after one of your imaginary quests!"

"The city is in good hands. Steward Vandoler is a good man. And it's not an imaginary quest. I have a younger sibling to find," Kallis replied easily.

"A bastard sibling. In the Caliphate! If Caliph Khaled is anything like his father, he will not be pleased you came unannounced. And your relation could be anywhere. Your father did not care. Neither should you," the magi stated.

"I am your prince," he reminded him.

The magi sighed, "Oh King Moloch, why did you have to inherit your father's brains and leave nothing for this one?"

***

"Farid! Prepare a tray of refreshments. I want you them to be ready as soon as the Caliph requests his evening tea," the head servant ordered, her hands on her hips. Farid looked up from where he was cleaning a set of silverware in the kitchen. Truthfully, he was lucky to be employed in the Caliph's kitchens, but that didn't mean he didn't long to take a break in the gardens.

"Yes, mistress," he stated, doing as she ordered. His mother had been a servant as well, but she had died a year ago. He wished he knew who his father was, but that was just wishful thinking. He could be anyone really. He looked foreign so he could have been a visiting ambassador, but that was small comfort. Truthfully, he didn't care anymore. He just wished something more exciting would happen than washing dishes.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orys Baratheon Character Portrait: Kenna Caitlin Character Portrait: Amelia Stormborn Character Portrait: Queen Tenanye Ananse Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II
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Moloch, King's Landing

Moloch looked upon his old friend, allowing kindness to seep into his features. It was not often that he could afford to show compassion without the undercurrent of command in his tone, but here, among his friends and equals, he felt he could. He gripped Orys' arm.

"Do you think I came to my throne under ideal circumstances? My parents were murdered and my own nobles plotted with our enemies to usurp the throne. I was armed only with my intellect and force of will to oppose my enemies and protect my city, my people, and my little brother. If I couldn't rally my people to war at that time, I do not doubt that I would not be alive right now."

He paused for a moment, smiling slightly at his friend, "Of course, you would say that I couldn't have done it without your uncle's support and you would be right. My army was superior, but outnumbered. But, you will not be alone either. You have your uncle, your father, and the love of your people. Lord Stannis disagrees with his brother nine times out of ten if I recall correctly, but he is always there for him. How much more would he be there for you, his own son and one of the few people he values outside of Ser Jorah?

"You also give yourself too little credit. You are an incredible warrior. I would be hard-pressed to defeat you in battle. You excel on and off the battlefield. You are wise and just. You have your father's mind, but you have your uncle's heart. It is a potent combination. The gods favor you. And, if it comes down to it, you will always have me as a friend."

He allowed his words to hang in the air for a moment. He eyed Princess Kenna across the room as well as Queen Amelia. He was beginning to have his suspicions about just who was joining her, but he had no definite proof yet. He continued, his voice sterner this time, but not accusatory. Rather, he was totally honest.

"But you will have to make difficult choices, Orys. Will you be willing to betray me if my enemies are more numerous and powerful than before? What if Queen Amelia rode out against me at Princess Kenna of the South Atlantic Kingdom? Would you join me? Her? Or will you find a way to dissuade her?"

Again, Moloch looked on Orys with compassion, "Don't worry, though. No matter what happens, I will always consider you my friend."

Western Desert
Caliphate of Andalusia


The desert was everything Kallias had read about. The sun scorched the desert with its light an one could see for miles. He and his men sweated beneath their heavy armor and it was only thanks to their Andalusian guide that they had not gotten lost or become dehydrated as he directed them to the oases hidden in the desert. Kallis did not complain once. Despite his luxurious upbringing, he was too enamored with the beauty around him to care about his discomfort. He even ordered a rest at dusk so he could watch the sun set.

"It is beautiful. You say that you can guide us using the stars?" Kallias asked. The guide had donned his country's clothes and Kallias could not help but mark how at ease he looked in his turban and loose clothes.

"Yes, my prince. My people had learn to use stars Al-'Uzzá made. The sands move," his guide stated.

They had rested only a couple hours when they set out again. They had traveled only a while before they ere hailed by a contingent of the Caliphate's soldiers. Kallias grinned and waved at them.

"Of course! Come close! I am Prince Kallias of Drake, here to pay my respects to your Caliph!"

The company's old magi grunted. The prince could play the diplomat, he'd give the boy that. Still, he was far too reckless.

Caliphate of Andalusia

Farid stood nervously outside the door leading to the Caliph's rooms. He was aware that the Caliph could easily order his death if he displeased him. The tales that the older servants told about the current Caliph's father was still used as a bedtime story to teach the younger servants and slaves to behave. His mother hadn't liked him to hear them, but she could never stop him from listening, especially now that she was dead.

Still, it was past sundown and he was ordered to bring the Caliph and the general visiting him refreshments. If the Caliph was displeased, he felt that he wouldn't blame him and, who knows, he might catch a glimpse of Princess Zahida. He knocked the on the door and held the tray in front of him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Orys Baratheon Character Portrait: Kenna Caitlin Character Portrait: Davina Mikaelson Character Portrait: Dalila Malyns Character Portrait: Amelia Stormborn Character Portrait: Mira Alington Character Portrait: Ajax Alexander Character Portrait: Queen Tenanye Ananse Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Jasunr Alington Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II Character Portrait: Deacon Lesseth Character Portrait: Ariana of Atlantia
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Western Desert
Caliphate of Andalusia


The Caliphs soldiers approached in the darkness, watching for any signs of treachery. As they drew closer the horses of the Drake men shied away from the camels, a common occurrence for camels are not only much larger than a horse but their smell is very foreign as well. Saheeb had drawn a small golden figurine from under his robes and now, as they halted a dozen paces from the Drake Knights he murmured several words to the figurine and tossed it to the sand.

In an instant the golden figure had seemingly melted into the sand and a woman’s figure rose, a sandy shape that walked forward several paces and then bowed most correctly to Prince Kallias. Then it spoke flawlessly in the Common tongue.

“Prince Kallias. You are most welcome to the Caliphate of Andalusia. The Caliph himself is aware of your coming and has asked me to direct you to Al Qasr.” The sand woman’s face was finely formed and almost beautiful in the moonlight that now washed across her. “These soldiers will provide you an escort to the Western Gateway where I will greet you personally. Until then my lord.”

The figure offered another bow and in an instant vanished into the sand again as if it had never been.


Sevilla
Caliphate of Andalusia


The knock on the towers lower door came as the sun was dipping on the horizon. The Caliph sighed and stretched his back as he listened to the exchange between the serving boy and the bodyguard. Farid was prized for his ability to do his duties quietly and without comment, a skill the Caliph prized in any servant but few could accomplish so well.

The General didn’t even glance up from where he was writing as the serving boy and a bodyguard appeared on the tower roof. The Caliph noted the look of amazement on the boys face and smiled to himself, he doubted the boy had ever been to the top of the Caliphs Tower before, the view was an incredible one.

A pot of steaming mint green tea was placed with two cups, then the boy bowed and backed away without a word, vanishing back into the tower with the bodyguard. Once the door had closed again the Caliph stood, stepping to the edge of the tower rampart and looking down over the city far below.

“We have built some amazing wonders in this desert land.” He said aloud and heard the General stand and made room for the other man to join him.

“Yes we have lord. It is no wonder they call this land the Jewel of the South.”

They were silent again until a sudden swirl of air made them both turn and a female shape formed itself before them. It bowed low to the Caliph who nodded in return.

“My lord Caliph, a Prince of the Drake Kingdom has crossed into our lands under the guidance of an Andalusian. One of our patrols has intercepted him. I welcomed him in your name and directed him to Al Qasr to await you orders.”

“Thank you Priestess. Please inform your sisters there that I will require a portal for myself by this evening. My personal regiment is also to transport to the city. We must greet this Drake Princling in the style I am sure he expects.”

“My lord.” The figure bowed again and vanished into nothing.

“A Prince of the Drake Kingdom…” The Caliph mused as he looked Westwards. “I wonder what mischief is brewing in the west to bring a man like this to our land.”


The South Pacific Kingdom

A woman moved through the crowd, a smile on her face that would have charmed the birds from the trees. She was shorter then the Western women by several inches but her beauty was undeniable. An hour glass figure, long black hair that fell to her waist in long curls, and slightly tanned skin that highlighted startlingly blue eyes.

She offered smiles to all and exchanged words with any who approached her. She bore no marks of a nation though it would be plain she was not a local, perhaps a citizen of the Triphate.

There was nothing sinister in her actions for all she did was listen, quietly marking everything she heard and saw. The alliances that formed, the word play between nobles, the glances and their implied meanings, all of it.

The Caliph had suspected that war might be in the offing and she was certain now that he had been right and that the lines were being drawn in the sand, and sides chosen. She knew well that the Caliph would not commit his own armies to any “White War” as he called them, but the Caliphate would eventually be affected one war or another.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II
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Western Desert
Caliphate of Andalusia


Kallias couldn't help it. The smell was terrible. He pinched his nose in order to keep the smell from entering his nostrils with little success. Most of his men resist the urge, though the magi spluttered as though he couldn't breathe while their guide didn't appear to have noticed it. However, Kallias forgot all about the unpleasant smell of the Caliphate's camels as a woman appeared out of the sand thanks to one of the Caliphate's soldiers planting it in the ground. He grinned in excitement.

“Prince Kallias. You are most welcome to the Caliphate of Andalusia. The Caliph himself is aware of your coming and has asked me to direct you to Al Qasr.” The sand woman’s face was finely formed and almost beautiful in the moonlight that now washed across her. “These soldiers will provide you an escort to the Western Gateway where I will greet you personally. Until then my lord.”

"Well, Saras, can you do something like that?" Kallias asked the group's magi with a grin. The older men scowled but shook his head.

"All lands have their unique magics, Your Highness," the magi replied.

Kallias grinned, "Marvelous. Let us make haste. I have long wished to visit a city of the Caliphate."

Setting

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Character Portrait: Moloch Markus Character Portrait: Caliph Khaled ibn Tamim II
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Western Desert
Caliphate of Andalusia

It grew apparent that they had been traveling during the wrong time of day. It was a lot more bearable to travel during the night. Was that how all people traveled in the Caliphate? Kallias did not know. The desert was beautiful and he wasn't the only one to think so. Several of his men could not help but glance at the sites with interest before returning to their professional, disinterested demeanor.

At long last, they reached civilization. The lush, green vegitation clashed greatly with the desert they emerged from, but what caught his attention was the boy and veiled woman greeting them at the final gateway into the great Western Gateway.

"Welcome my lord, to the City of Al Qasr, known in your tongue as the Western Gateway."


"You seem to have anticipated my purpose, if this boy is who I think he is. Hello, little brother," Kallias greeted brightly.

Farid, shifted, confused. He had been bathed and dressed in fine clothes so that his blonde hair showed brightly in the desert sun. His eyes were wide as he looked from the priestess to the foreigner before him. He hadn't questioned her when she demanded his prescence. One didn't question a Priestess of Andalusia. But now... He was speechless.