“Treat others as you want them to treat you”…Confucius
Sala-hu-din, the Crusader’s worst nightmare
The politics of Jerusalem hath become turbulent due to a power struggle between the two powerful men next to Baldwin III the Leper, who was now dead. Count Guy de Chateurnay was married to Baldwin’s beautiful sister Isabel, but she had an affair with Count Balian, the son of Geoffrey of Bouillon. In addition, Baldwin hath died childless.
Baldwin could see that Balian was the better warrior and a more noble man. He asked Balian to marry Isabel and murder Guy, but Balian was too noble to do this. Evil was never part of his nature, and the means never justified the ends. His refusal, however, led Isabel to side with her husband. That year, the obnoxious Guy de Chateurnay was crowned king of Jerusalem.
In the meantime, Nassur and myself prepared the Seljuk army once again. We were able to recruit 300,000 warriors of Turkish and Kurdish origins into our army, and we trained them well over the years, but there was yet no provocation to attack Jerusalem, and even in Baldwin’s death, the truce still held true.
…if it had not been for de Chateurnay.
De Chateurnay ordered Balian’s countship to be revoked, for he was simply a blacksmith. Even if he was the son of Geoffrey of Bouillon, he was born out of wedlock. In truth, he was jealous of the Queen’s affections for Balian. And so, Balian was stripped of his nobility and forced to fight against criminals and other men sent by his nemesis.
With absolute power in Jerusalem, he sought to make war against the Seljuk empire and recapture Edessa. War was something Balian had always opposed, since he knew the Crusaders did not have the amount of men the Empire did.
One day, as Aisha was picking up flowers in the garden, she was captured and murdered by De Chateurnay’s men. To add insults to injuries, the Crusaders sent my sister’s head to me in a bag. It was war now. The truce had come to an end. Nassur wept for many days, for he was intent on avenging his wife’s death.
De Chateurnay’s army was waiting for our army. They had not known fear or much battle as Baldwin and Balian did. He was but a perfumed French noble. That day, however, he knew the wrath of Saladin. Our armies surrounded him in the area outside Jerusalem, and we showed no mercy just as he showed none to my sister. 50,000 Crusaders we butchered that day, and none of them survived.
When Nassur captured Guy, he hacked at him with his sword repeatedly, even after the body hath become lifeless. I held Nassur’s arm back. Much as I wanted him relieved of his desire for revenge, I didn’t want
him to lose the respect of his men or his own sanity. Then, he placed his face on my shoulder, and he wept without shame. Such was his love for Aisha, and no one who knew Nassur would call him a coward.
With de Chateurnay’s head on a spike, I surrounded Jerusalem and ordered whoever was in charge to come and surrender to me, for the city seemed to have no lord to rule it at that moment. At this time, Queen Isabel ordered Count Balian to be freed from his cell, and he took charge of the city’s defenses once again.