Lessons of Faroud el-Duatim

Main PageDomain and RegencyStrategies of EmpireLessons of Faroud el-Duatim
The emir Beysim ibn Faroud el-Duatim, Absolute Monarch of the Northern Marches, became ?absolute monarch? when his brother perished on a hunting trip. The new emir assumed the throne of Sendoure amid a wake of controversy, and even now many nobles thinly veil their displeasure at el-Duatim?s position. Only his power as a wizard and his allies in the Ghoudaiń Coster keep him secure in his rule. Living in a realm once famous for its trader and bandit-kings, the emir has created an exalted position for himself. Perhaps he created all his titles and honorifics (he has over 70 of them) to increase his claim to the legitimate rule of Sendoure, but most people believe he?s just got an imperial-sized ego.
Sendoure benefits from its location and its terrain. Lying in the only decent land route between the Khinasi states and Anuire, Sendoure also trades with the agrarian and peaceful halflings of the Burrows and the Brechts of Rohrmarch and Rheulgard. Beysim el-Duatim makes sure that all wealth passing through his realm touches his hands as well. But the emir owes much to the avaricious head of the Ghoudaiń Coster, the Brecht Helmut Gruber. Helmut, a self-made crime lord, resents the fact that he needs the egotistical emir at all, and takes pains to remind el-Duatim that the Khinasi regent needs the Brecht guildmaster more than ever.
After establishing his right to rule Sendoure (a long and arduous process), the emir felt he deserved a break. Unfortunately, his disgruntled nobles and his aggressive neighbors haven?t let the pressure ease on the Khinasi regent and he hasn?t been able to enjoy his rule as much as he?d hoped. Still, the emir of Sendoure doesn?t let weighty concerns get in the way of his plans:
Use the traditions and laws of the land to your advantage

Even though regents make their own rules, an emir ignores tradition at his peril. The emir el-Duatim used the traditions of the Khinasi realm to his advantage. When his brother died, he appeared to be the only logical heir and he seized the throne despite the objections of the nobles. He revived the old titles and honorifics attached to his family name (some refering to lands and offices not part of Sendoure for centuries) to bury his detractors in legal precedent and confusion. The commonfolk of Sendoure, seeing the overwhelming ?evidence,? sided mostly with el-Duatim and he became the ruler of the realm before anyone could recover and mount a counter-argument. Now, when the emir wants to do anything to increase his hold on the realm, he instructs his advisers to search through ancient scrolls and texts to find historical precedence to back him up. The other nobles, whose lines come from the selfsame precedence, dare not oppose him.
Use both sides of the law

For a regent to be effective, sometimes he has to put himself above the law while appearing to conform to its rules entirely. The emir recruited Helmut and his thieves? guild before he took over Sendoure?s rulership and used the Ghoudaiń Coster to eliminate or blackmail his most potent rivals. Since Helmut does all the dirty work, no direct blame can be placed on the regent.
Anticipate your enemies? strategies

In Khinasi, where daggers in the dark and poisons in the wine can be used in place of diplomacy, a regent has to stay three steps ahead of his rivals. The emir depends on the Coster?s spies and assassins to keep his enemies off-balance. Since the nobles who oppose el-Duatim have no such resources, they cannot anticipate the regent?s own actions.
Location, location, location

While el-Duatim had no control over where he ruled, he could not have chosen better. He continues to exploit Sendoure?s position between three Cerilian regions, keeping it a thriving trading metropolis. If the emir desired to make Sendoure a military power, or a center for diplomacy and intrigue, he could be torn apart by his neighbors. However, as a trading center, Sendoure proves itself much more valuable to its neighbors than it would be if conquered or destroyed.
The emir of Sendoure hasn?t made himself popular with his nobles or his people. Even his ally in the Coster isn?t satisfied with his actions. Most observers believe the emir thinks of himself as the ?Absolute Monarch of the Northern Marches? first, and someone with a responsibility to his subjects second. Here are some of his mistakes:
Confidence is good, ego is bad

When the emir set himself up to resist claims against his throne, he did so by cloaking himself in every title and precedent he could think of ? and it worked. His enemies could not refute all his claims (most of which were entirely legitimate, if outdated), but when they conceded publicly, he continued to rub their noses in his royalty. Now, he seems increasingly alone at the top of a realm once known for its egalitarian capitalism. More and more, el-Duatim cites ?divine right? as precedent for his decrees and decisions, and his people grow tired of their monarch.
Opulence is good, decadence is bad

Again, the emir oversteps himself. Sendoure has always been a relatively rich country, and its nobility lives well. However, in an effort to out-do his nobles and his predecessors, el-Duatim spends every spare gold piece on improving his court and making himself look rich and powerful. The people want to feel proud of their wealthy regent and visitors want to be entertained in an opulent court, but when the emir throws away more riches in an hour than a hundred commoners will see in a year, he invites scorn and envy.
Keep your friends close, your enemies closer, and your allies on a leash

The emir has few friends and his enemies are, for the most part, known to him ? but his powerful ally, Helmut Gruber of the Ghoudaiń Coster, needs to be defused. Helmut secretly despises the emir and wants to make sure el-Duatim knows he needs Helmut more than Helmut needs him. Recently, he has gone so far as to set up law holdings in the region, and he uses extortion and threats to bend the emir to his will. No longer does Helmut pose as the faithful lackey ? he has become a rival, and since he was once the emir?s most powerful ally, he knows el-Duatim cannot stand against him for long.
Your neighbors can see you

The Hydra and the Sphinx see how prosperous Sendoure has become. They want a cut of the action ? or they might cut el-Duatim out entirely. The Sphinx has already snipped off much of Sendoure?s southern trade, and the Hydra has practically taken over two of Sendoure?s eastern provinces. All this happened while el-Duatim arrayed himself in the trappings of nobility and tradition ? and fed his ego on sweetmeats and flattery. Even now, the emir?s nephew, the bastard son of el-Duatim?s brother, lurks in the shadows, awaiting the chance to overthrow the emir. If the Sphinx or the Hydra, or any of the emir?s other enemies, learn of him, they might back the young man just to put Sendoure into chaos.
Sendoure could recover from its troubles

The emir still has popular support with the people, and if he realizes what?s going on in his own kingdom, he could throw Helmut and the powerful Coster out using his army and some of the less disatisfied nobles. Should he take action against the Coster (a known band of bandits and assassins), he might even gain the support of his nephew ? at least temporarily.
Unfortunately, el-Duatim appears drunk on power and convinced of his own right to rule. He doesn?t understand that, on Cerilia, he who has the might often finds a way to gain the right.

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