Friday, January 4

The Arabian Knights of Saladin - An Arabian Themed Bretonnian Army Project

As a part of my new year resolutions, I will be starting a new WHF army. I've been thinking on what will be the theme of this army for quite some time and came to a conclusion finally: An Arabian themed Brettonian army. I already placed many of my orders. They are yet to arrive but I'd like to share the fluff of my would-be army.

"Victory is changing the hearts of your opponents by gentleness and kindness."- Saladin.

The knights of Arabia are feared and respected throughout the world. Men of valour and honour, they are exceptional warriors and guardians of their land that was founded upon the most heroic of ideals. In the name of the Genie and for the glory of the Emirs and Sultans, they sweep aside evil on the field of battle, for none can stand against their glorious charge.

The Arabs are a powerful army formed around a core of brave knights supported by scores of low-born peasants. The knights range from the youngest Desert Knights, eager to prove their worth, through to the Oasis Knights, defenders of the land. Rarer still are the Sandstorm Knights, wandering warriors engaged in the quest for the Magic Lamp of the Genie, and the legendary Genie Knights themselves, who have succeeded in their quest and granted the vision of him. Some knights ride to battle borne upon the backs of giant vultures, flying high above the army to descend on their foes. When the Arabian Knights march to war, their Esirs march beside them, as do a levy of Fremen with their bows drafted into service.

THE GENIE (The Lady of the Lake)

Since the ancient times, the Arabians have worshipped the "Genie" as their god, a figure of myth and legend, who guides the sultans and protects their land from harm. Worship of the Genie can be traced to the earliest days of the sultanate. It is said that he arose from a magic lamp before Saladin and his knightly companions on the dawn of the Great Victory of Hıttin.

Appearing as coming out of a magic lamp, the Genie will only appear to those who faced great peril and are pure of heart. Many knights, wishing to prove thier valour, declare that they will go on a Genie Quest and seek the magic lamp and become one of the legendary Genie Knights, warriors of unsurpassed skill who are incapable of malice and impure thought. Sacred oasises and areas of mystical power are his dwelling places, and the Genie Knights are his protectors devoting themselves to upholding his honour.

Throughout Arabia there are many Genie chapels built upon sites where the Genie is said to have been encountered. It is the sacred duty of the Genie Knights to protect these shrines and often such knights will devote the remainder of their lives to defending the Genie's shrine from defilement.

DEVOTED OF THE GENIE (Prophetesses and Damsels)

Sometimes, young children within the desert people are seen to have strange and mystical powers. A superstitious people as a whole, whether noble or low-born, the Arabs will generally be fearful of such gifted children. Before they reach puberty, almost all children with these strange talents will be visited by the Djinn, a myhtical creature and servant of the Genie. He takes them with him to Araf, and they are mourned by their parents as if they were no longer living. Nevertheless, it is a great honour to be taken by the Djinn, and it is believed they go on to a better place, where their powers are used to serve the blessed Genie himself. While nothing is ever seen of the boy-children again, sometimes the girl-children will return to Arabia years later as "Hatun"s and "Hanım"s.

The devotees of the Genie perform mystical rituals from time to time, known as "bellydance" to the common people. Dressed in the most provocative ways, these sacred ladies try to get the attention of the Genie on themselves. It is believed that the bellydance is the most favorite thing to watch for the Genie and he rewards a bellydance which is performed beautifully. Even though the Hanıms and Hatuns never get pregnant, the common belief says that for each bellydance performed to perfection, a future knight is put in a mother's womb somewhere in the desert lands as a blessing from the Genie.

DESERT KNIGHTS (Knights Errant)

All noble sons of the desert are committed to the path of knighthood from the moment they are born. Though birth into nobility guarantees his place within the circles of the knighthood, a young noble is not honoured until he has proven his worth. Some earn status through faithful service to their lords, others through powerful connections, but the most glorious and only true way for a young knight to fulfil his calling is to test himself against the foe on the field of battle. Those whose skill and bravery are proven will go on to become Oasis Knights.

OASIS KNIGHTS (Knights of the Realm)

Once a Desert Knight has proven himself worthy of his station, he is confirmed as an Oasis Knight. Upon his investiture, the knight is given the responsibility of administrating a domain - generally a few acres of land, a village and an oasis.

SANDSTORM KNIGHTS (Questing Knights)

Since the days of Saladin, the Magic Lamp of the Genie has been the ultimate symbol of Arabic chivalry, the ultimate goal of any true knight. A knight who begins the quest for the Magic Lamp relinquishes all his worldly possessions and all ties to his domain. Sandstorm Knights live a solitary existance, the Genie their only companion. Driven by the visions of the Magic Lamp and guided by the sandstorms, a knight may travel for countless leagues. The quest for the Magic Lamp knows no physical boundaries and it is common for a Sandstorm Knight to travel far beyond his domain and often beyond the realm of Arabia itself. The quest is always foremost in the knight's mind, daring to hope that one day his efforts will be rewarded with a sight of the Magic Lamp.

GENIE KNIGHTS (Grail Knights)

Only when a Sandstorm Knight has proven his valour and purity beyond all doubt does the Genie appear to him in a vision, rewarding him with the sight of the Magic . Those who experience this are changed forever, granted lifespans many times that of normal men, as well as other, stranger gifts. From that moment on the knight is irrevocably committed to the service of the Genie, a bond that can only be broken by death.

GENIE RELIC (Grail Reliquae)

Whereever the Genie Knights travel, they gather a trail of fanatical worshippers whose only goal in life is to bask in the reflected glory of these mighty individuals. To such zealots, most prized of all the possessions is a sculpture of the Genie and his Magic Lamp itself which they carry whereever they go. This sculpture is the ultimate icon of their devotion to both the Genie and his knights  - mobile shrines from which the chosen amongst them can preach their creed.

ESIRS (Men-at-Arms)

Each midsummer, commoners flock to their lord's oasis to present their sons in the hope that they will be trained as Esirs, slave warriors. For a peasant to have a son accepted into the ranks of a knight's household is a great honour. All morning and afternoon the knight inspects the candidates.  By dusk, the luckiest and strongest are selected and are taken where they are given basic training and outfitted in the livery of their lord.

MOUNTED ESIRS (Mounted Yeomen)

As they hold such priviledges positions as head gaolers and militia sergeants, to become a mounted esir is the highest rank to which a peasant can aspire. Though no peasant may ride the camels of the Arabian lords, mounted esirs are permitted to ride to battle on horses. Such troops will often scout ahead of the main army and keep the knights informed of enemy movements - a dangerous task, and one which earns no honour, so it is a task that the nobility believe is best performed by peasants.

FREMEN (Peasant Bowman)

When the call to war comes, every peasant able to fight must serve in the armies of Arabia. Most are employed as levies of longbowmen who are expected to engage enemies unworthy of a knight's attention. Unlike the Esirs, Fremen are not equipped from the armouries of their lord and turn up to battle in all manner of garb.

VULTURE KNIGHTS (Pegasus Knights)

Most Vulture Knights hail from around the heart of the desert, where many of those noble mounts can be found, feasting on the corpses of the fugitives. Only the richest and most influential knights can boast of owning a battle trained giant vulture, for the creatures are difficult to capture and harder still to train.


The Arabian Knights owe their success not only to their own valour and skill, but also to the endurance and temper of their steeds. So highly valued are these beasts that a royal decree of many centuries standing forbids the export of these magnificent animals. Naturally, only a noble is permitted to ride a war camel, though a few lucky and trusted peasants may be allowed to act as grooms and stablehands, and thus sleep in the same barn as one.

MANJANIQ (Field Trebuchet)

Manjaniqs are immense wooden-structured war machines recently introduced into the armies of the Arabs. Through a series of levers, cogs and winding mechanisms, the large arm of the manjaniq is drawn into a firing position, with immense masonry counterweights attached to the other end. A large sling is attached to the arm of the manjaniq that can hold rocks, masonry or even dead cattle. When the manjaniq is fired, the extra impetus that the sling adds to the firing arm means that it can fire further and with more power than a regular catapult. Although a knight would never stoop so low as to operate a missile weapon himself, let alone a war machine, that is not to say that he could not grudgingly see the strategic worth of it and allows his low-born servants to use them, for beign peasants they don't understand the concept of honour anyway!


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