Cambulac, Mongolian Empire, Cambulac Palace
|Cause of Death||
Murdered, stab to the gut
Ahmad is Kublai Khan's trusted financial advisor and later became Vice Regent at the court of Cambulac as well. He is commonly referred to as the (almost) adopted son of him and his wife, Empress Chabi, which shows their close and trusted relationship.
Ahmad enjoys the Khans full trust and is highly respected at court.
Upon Marco's arrival to the court of Kublai, Ahmad is not fond of him and does not accept him as a friend.
On their first encounter Ahmad asks Marco what he has learned while he accompanied his tax collector Sanga through Cambulac. Marco describes what he saw and mentioned that he thinks it is smart to let the people pay their taxes if goods as well if they can not pay it in coins. In answer to that Ahmad asks why he did not received any goods this time then, hinting that his collector must have kept them for himself. Since Marco tries to cover Sanga by saying that he was speaking about the concept and not any received goods. Ahmad reminds him that spreading lies would be an assault of the great Khan and ends with dead for Marco. Even though troubled with guilt Marco confirmed that Sanga had confiscated linen by a woman from the Jurchen tribe but adds quickly that Sanga probably just forgot. Ahmad seems satisfied agrees, sending Marco away. The next morning Marco witnesses an execution. The person who got wrapped in a carpet and run over by horses was Sanga the tax collector.
During the first season Ahmad was one of the supporters of going into war against Xianyang. In different council meetings he has often disagreed with Prince Jingim and Vice Captain Yusuf who were both for peace with the walled city.
It was also Ahmad who accompanied Prince Jingim to the parley with the representatives of Xianyang. While the prince tried to come to peaceful terms Ahmad confronted the ministers with conditions that were both humiliating and obviously impossible for Xianyang to fulfill. Angered the prince had to send Ahmad away in order to continue the negotiations.
In the finale, Ahmad reveals to Mei Lin that he was planning on destroying the Khan all along and shows the mural that has need painted during the entire season. It is painted by one of the finest painters of the Song dynasty and shows a kingdom in flames with Ahmad on the throne holding Kublai Khan's head.
In episode 4, Ahmad and Jingim visit Kaidu in Karakorum. Orus kills their horses, and injures Ahmad's leg, sending them fleeing. Jingim and Ahmad stake out and hide in a cave until they are rescued by Kublai Khan's men. While taking shelter in the cave, Ahmad is feverish and Jingim cares for him. Jingim asks him to talk about his mother and Ahmad says she was slaughtered along with his father by Kublai's men during a raid on his home village and that she had written a song that she used to sing for him. Ahmad hums this tune for Jingim. In a later episode, there is a flashback to Ahmad enjoying the company of an exotic prostitute from his Arab land. At the end of their encounter, she sings a tune (the same tune we heard Ahmad humming to Jingim). He asks where she heard that tune and she answers that she wrote it for her son (who she had said died along with her husband during a Mongol raid). Ahmad seems affected by this information and when her back is turned, he strangles her.
Relationship with Mei Lin
With Mei Lin living in his palace quarters, Ahmad begins to form a relationship with her. Throughout Season 2 their relationship intensifies, from occasionally sleeping together, to Ahmad promising the role of Empress to Mei Lin, according to his plan of becoming Khan. Ahmad mentions to Kublai Khan that under different circumstances, he would have made her his wife. Mei Lin's affection for Ahmad immediately ends when he reveals that he plans to use her daughter, Ling Ling, as a sexual bargaining chip for winning Prince Nayan's favor in the Kurultai.
Ahmad's early life in the court of Kublai Khan is revealed during Season 2 in flashbacks. Before he became the Financial Advisor to Kublai Khan, he took a short leave from the palace. During this time, he polished his financial skills and got to know the people within the Khan's territory. At some point Ahmad became acquainted with the mistress of a brothel who owed a hefty sum of 60,000. Unable to come to an agreement, the mistress offered Ahmad the choice of one of her 3 "cleanest" whores. He ended up choosing the third of which he didn't know was his mother who had actually survived all those years ago. After sleeping together, his mother began singing the song from his childhood. Ahmad asked her where she heard that song. She responded by saying she made that song for her son who she lost many years ago. At this point, Ahmad realized his mother is alive and they had lain together. Ahmad grabbed a ribbon of cloth and proceeded to strangle his own mother to death. Ahmad decided to blame the Khan for this traumatic event, as the Khan was the one who separated Ahmad from his birth family by invading his hometown of Banakat. This series of events would be the catalyst for Ahmad path of betrayal.
The character of Ahmad is based on historical figure Ahmad Fanakati, or "Ahmad of Fanakat" (احمد فناکتی), a Persian Muslim born in the town of Fanakat (or Banakat, as both variations have been written), on the banks of the Syr Darya in the Khara-Khitai khanate of Central Asia. He is historically noted for his massive corruption, while widely considered by scholars to have effective skills as an administrator.
On the Netflix show, Ahmad is depicted having a bondage fetish where he is tied up with red ropes, bent over and pegged by Mei Lin.
"Do you feel no shame for what you've done to your sworn lord?"
"Shame is for the weak and the bored, Kaidu."
(Kaidu and Ahmad, S2E6)