Assassins of Alamut
Foundation: 1447-1462 (T91-T94)
Religion: Possibly originally Islam; later Nyarlathotep.
By Rob Pierce and Martin Helsdon
The Assassins of Alamut, or simply the Assassins, or hasheshin, are a secret criminal organization that typically would hold empires at ransom at the risk of having their leaders, or even the Emperor, (not so) quietly killed. Their ancient headquarters of Alamut in Tabaristan was discovered and destroyed by a massive army that included Danes, Swedes, and (possibly) Persians. They had not been heard from for a very long time, but appeared to have resurfaced around 1743 (T207) in advance of the War Against the Beast and subsequently as the Polytechnic League and numerous Ismali’i in north Afriqa and Asia.
Still to be written.
HIR: A Majlis leader was seized by agents of the Assassins when he approached the Emir of Tabaristan with an offer of alliance.
Syria: The failure of the Syrians to acquire their mercenary contingents, meantime, had led to the collapse of many of their plans. One of them, carried out by the Assassins, succeeded however and the beleaugered commander of the Jalayrid army in Tripoli found himself faced by a popular revolt even as his army disintegrated under him. While the populace took up arms, a small force of French Foreign Legionnaires under a Syrian commander arrived to provide a core for the rebels.
HIR: The Assassins took pity upon the Republic and condecended to release their captive (at a hefty ransom, of course).
Jalayrids: Khemeni, meanwhile, had gathered his few remaining retainers together and had determined to escape to the promised safety of the Japanese fleet. Leading his motley group out in secret he travelled into the forbidding highlands of Tabaristan, a region dripping with legends of more horrible evil and villany. After some months of rugged travel, Khemeni's small army found itself looking down into a valley of dark mist, a valley surmounted by the ominous shape of the vast and malefic fortress of the Assassins. Khemeni then conceived of a plan, a daring plan, a plan wihtout equal. He would lead his force upon an assault on that dank and morbid place and seize the vast treasures therein - thus financing his triumphal return to empire. Unfortunately, we shall never know how he intended to seize one of the most impregnable fortresses raised by man... for no man of that army was ever seen again by mortal man!
Syria: David al-Roi II started the turn off with a bang by dying of a heart attack on the morning that he was to leave for the Berber Emirates to visit his new wife. Meanwhile, over in Oran (beautiful capital of the Berber Emirates) Fatima had opened divorce proceedings in the courts and had abdicated the throne in favor of the youth, Yeshua (now all of three years old). The Syrian lawyers were waiting for Fatima, however, and produced sufficient reams of Islamic law to show that she could not divorce David while he provided child support and did not do really nasty things to her. Dave's death made all that moot, though. Three weeks after Dave's death, his three sons of his previous marriage were found dead in a bath house in the lower city of Damascus and the fat was squarely in the fire. At this point the boy, Yeshua, was technically the heir to both thrones - David's death and Fatima's abdication being more or less simultaneous. His regent, the Comte Du'Dascoyne - Commander of the French Foreign Legion and a man of honor, was in a serious fix with trying to arrange some kind of deal between the relatives of both families and the usual power brokers.
While serious deliberations were underway in Oran, the death spree in Syria was in full swing as the Assassins methodically axed, icepicked, drowned, blew-up, garroted, knifed, hanged, shot, burnt, and poisoned every highly placed Syrian leader, noble or relative of the late David al-Roi. Not to be outdone in the dirty tricks, Hezekiah the Prophet (a crazed yet convincing Cistercian monk) was rabble-rousing in the Berber Emirates - touting the boy-king Yeshua as the successor of the Al Roi and Caliph of the East (not to mention Emir of the Berbers and Sultan of Syria). He was eventually wasted by an Assassin killman team, but not before he had started a movement in the Emirates in favor of the Roiist faction. Similarly, the Fatimists had been at it in Syria, pushing the "Yeshua, King of the Berbers and the Syrians" idea. Eventually, after all was said and done, and about 700 gold had been spent by all concerned, it came down to: Who gets the kid? The Roiists (what's left of them) or the Fatamists?
Then Yeshua caught pneumonia and died at the age of four.
Well. That upset everyone's apple-cart and rendered it all a fat waste of time. With no heir to either throne, everything was up in the air again. Fatima reassumed the throne, whereupon the Syrian lawyers agreed to her divorce. Syria trembled on the edge of an internal civil war for a year and then managed to choose a new Sultan. The Roiists in Berber were quashed by the army and peace was restored there. The Fatimists in Syria, lacking a rallying point, also faded out. A mammoth civil war had been averted, as well as numerous dynastic takeover attempts.
Ottomans: Two Ottoman armies crossed the High Taurus and seized the provisional Jalayrid capital of Ninveh, in Kurdistan. They were not opposed, as the Jalayrid army had been consumed by the Valley of the Assassins somewhat earlier.
HIR: On the Iranian plateau, the Majlis concentrated its forces against the alliance of the Iranian emirs and demanded fealty of them. The Iranians, a proud folk (particularly after pulverizing the HIR army last turn), refused and demanded that the HIR forces leave. Battle ensued and, thanks to a little hatchet work by the Assassins, the Iranians were soundly thrashed. As a result the Majlis extended its authority over the Khurasan, the Al Zagros and the Iranians.
Jalayrids: The Jalayrids failed to secure a rescheduling of their loan and, assisted by the Assassins, passed from this earth...
Syria: The Syrians were once more subjected to a methodical and efficient elimination of their ruling hierarchy, including the Sultan. With this latest series of outrages, the government was forced to shift over to acquiring its leaders from the Merchant Houses and the small civil service. Once again, the actions of the Assassins prevented the Syrians from getting anything done. The Syrians did manage to purchase the old Jalayrid holdings from the Islamic bankers, however. All those areas revolted soon afterwards, however.
HIR: The Republicans also noticed some violent activity on their western border.
Syria: The Syrians, having had their government and nobility slaughtered by the Assassins in the past decade, found themselves forced to invest more power and responsibility in the major merchant houses and trading guilds - as these were the only remaining institutions with the education and power to sustain the government. The new merchant government also declared the Order of the Assassins outlaws within Syria and membership in that Order to be punishable by death (a safe move, considering).
Ottomans: There were some mysterious orders delivered to the armies on the eastern frontier, resulting in them taking part in momentous events in the highlands of Tabaristan...
Crusader State of Achaea: The night before the Achean Host of God marched east into history and glory, Marco Girolamo, the Sword himself, was walking in the camp, going from campfire to campfire, speaking with his men, urging them to bend their prayers to God and to victory, to disavow fear, to let only righteousness guide them. Thus he came upon a group of men, sitting about a merry blaze near to the strings of horses maintained by the Host, and sat with them awhile and spoke of the Word of the Lord. And he found these men to be well versed in the scriptures, and well spoken too, and not afraid to contemplate the questions that have often vexed the mighty. Girolamo was most pleased to find such learned men amongst his troops and, at length, inquired of them their names and from which city or province they hailed.
"Why," spoke their leader, rising from his seat, "from the distant Tower of Eagles, lord, from Alamut the Mighty, from the Throne of the Finger of God." And then the encamped men fell upon Girolamo and bore him down, neatly clubbing him unconcious. And so was the Sword borne away in darkness and fell into nighted seas of mystery and deceit and was not seen again.
Persia: Unknown persons attempted to destroy the government offices in Burkhara during a busy midday conclave of the Imperial ministers. Much of the west wing of the palace was destroyed by a massive gunpowder explosion, but remarkably few people were actually killed. A great many clerks were shaken up, however. Similar attacks rocked other cities throughout Persia and in Merv nearly three thousand people were killed when the blast sparked a city-wide fire.
Persian armies under a constellation of generals from all over the empire (and overseas) converged on Basra in '43. Fleets thronged the port, a great din was raised as regiment after regiment trooped ashore, and the roads into the north were clogged with endless lines of men, horses, camels, carts, mule-trains and artillery. A great host was massing to do war...
A great number of foreigners were expected as well, but before the Danish Expedition could land, trouble broke out among the Persian generals. Within the space of a fortnight, the lords Sarai Owaiis, Bashin al'Yazdur and Ibrahim were all murdered. Their bodies were found disembowled, limbs strewn about their chambers, heads missing, entrails arranged in horrifying patterns. All three men had enjoyed a strong and vigilant guard, yet those men had heard nothing.
In the armies assembled in the cane fields and caravanserai, only one word was uttered - causing all men to fall silent and make a sign against evil - hasheshin. Further away, in the capital, minister Abu'zaid also perished under strange circumstances, though no one could rightly say the wind-spirits had done him in. Despite these poor omens, the muster continued, though now the young general Rashad found himself in command of a vast army.
EDITOR'S NOTE: While the leader assassinations were popularly attributed to the hasheshin, they were more likely simply victims of pre-emptive strikes by Georgia in the The War Against the Beast. However, after the defeat of the Daemon Sultan, the Assassins later employed the Polytechnic League as a front and were determined to have sites all across the Mediterranean and North Afriqa, and possibly beyond.
1763 - 1764 T217
Carthage: As the Royal procession approached Egypt, Lieutenant-Colonel Ashtzaph and General Eshmunazar were busy in the province, preparing security and planning festivities. Soon after the Emir’s arrival, Eshmunazar led his army south into the Faiyum (supported by Ashtzaph and Captain Gisco) and launched a full scale attack against a secret underground desert fortress filled with thousands of fanatical Ismali’i assassins. There was unexpectedly fierce fighting, for several of the desert tribes thereabouts had fallen under the influence of the Ismali’i’s. Both Eshmunazar and Ashtzaph were killed in the fray, and the unprepared Gisco was forced to take command. Luckily for him, numbers soon told and the cultists were wiped out.
Within a few weeks of the Emir leading an attack against the secret Polytechnic League enclaves in Egypt, General Hanno had launched his own purge in Ad’diffah and Lybia itself. A number of criminal gangs were broken up as a result and many arrests made – all part of a much greater pan-Hussite effort against the despicable cults infesting the Mediterranean ports. None of the fighting cost as dearly as that in Faiyum, though part of Al’Hasan in Thebes was burned down amid panicky rioting as a result.
Shi’a Imamat: Ayatolla Rhemini and Mullah Vikrandita met with a turbaned person in dark alley. The Ayatollah spoke quietly to the stranger and gave him a large sum of cash. “We have heard of your skills of deal with dealing with the unbelievers. We give you all the money of our temples to rid our country of the evil Theocracy of the Organist. We wish peace in out lands, but we are not able. This sign, for the service of Allah, is for the killing of all of their leaders in Chandellas, the lands of the great lion! We know you will not fail us, for you have not done so in the past! Your faith in Islam is that of a great mountain. Go forth and purge our lands -- for Chandellas and Islam!!”
The stranger bowed. “ Yes, my lords. Allah's wish shall be done!” He then turned swiftly and vanished into the streets of the city. Rhemini shook his head, wondering how things had come to such a sordid pass… Vikrandita held the old man's arm as they walked quickly back to the residence.
EDITOR'S NOTE: 'great mountain' is possibly a reference to the great mountain fortress of Alamut.
Last updated: 31 March 2005
© 2003 Robert Pierce