The Plot, Debacle, and Jihad
Algiers 1088 Qasim’s Journal
I have finally had enough! Word has reached me that Sultan Miswar has given the Valencia province to the Portuguese!!! He has again compromised with the enemy and this time to their benefit. How can giving land to our enemies help us in the long run. They will be much harder to push off the peninsula now with more resources and manpower under their control.
What in Allah’s name can the Sultan be thinking?! Many brave Moors gave their lives to conquer Valencia and now it seems in vain. Will Miswar gift Cordoba, the capital of our great nation to the Pope himself? He is undoing everything that his father has built. I saw the horror of the war that unified our great nation. I fought by our first great Sultan as he brought together a people driven back by the Spanish from their ancestral homes in Iberia. I stood with him in triumph as the council recognized his right to rule and we entered into a new age.
But now I see all that he accomplished on the verge of collapse because of a weak son. I will not stand by as our nation heads toward ruin and extinction by the infidels. Time after time Miswar has given way to the European dogs and now sensing our weakness; the Sicilians have sunk our new warship and blockaded one of our ports! Yet the Sultan has not declared a state of war!
I have thought long and hard about this and I feel now is time to act. I have the support of the council and the southern Moorish army. I am now preparing to march to Cordoba and confront Miswar as he returns. He does not deserve to be leader of our people. He will either give up his crown or he will die like the sheep he so elegantly mimics. May Allah be with me for there is no turning back. The supplies are being readied, the men armed and prayers said. I will either be the new Sultan or die a traitor!
Granada 1088 Miswar’s Journal
I am filled with mixed emotions about the events of the past two years. Valencia was a complete failure. I tried untiringly to bring it fully under Moorish control but it was not to be. Religion seems to motivate people in ways threats and violence cannot. Nothing could stop the religious fueled riots that broke out in the city in what was almost a daily basis. I’ve have been kept busy for 2 years and it had taken its toll on myself, Ayyub, and Hamdin. I also missed my younger brother’s marriage ceremony.
Many of my men came to believe that Valencia was cursed and El Cid’s spirit was behind all our misfortune. I knew that the real reason was that Allah was punishing me for taking the glory instead of honoring him after we won the Battle of Valencia. I prayed day and night, praying that he would forgive me and quell the unrest but to no avail.
Last month, I finally gave up. Valencia would never be mine. I sent a diplomat to my allies, the Portuguese, and arranged the giving over of Valencia as a gift for being such great allies. This was accepted with great joy by the Portuguese, but not by my countrymen. I could see the disappointment, mistrust, and anger in their eyes as I told them the news. It felt as if the whole world had rejected me. No news had come from Cordoba for months and I knew almost nothing about what was going on at the capital. I only foresee the council plotting my removal and my death by an assassin’s hand. This was the focus of my thoughts as I marched with an army that despised me on a march of shame to a city that would reject me.
This was the state of affairs as we cross back into the Granada province, when we came upon an imam standing in the middle of the road as if to greet us. As we came closer he shouted to us saying,
“Great Sultan, I am Fakhir, known by many as the Unorthodox. I bring word from the all-powerful, Allah. He has seen your trials and hopes you have learned your lesson. He has not forsaken you. Your rule will be never forgotten if you will but obey and submit to the will of Allah.”
I was awe-struck. I had known Fakhir to be an advisor to my father and a revered imam of the true religion. He had disappeared after the Unification War which had ended 13 years ago so to see him before me was no little surprise.
After recovering from my astonishment, I unmounted my horse and bowed before Fahkir.
“I have sinned against Allah. I ask that he will forgive me for not giving him what was rightfully his but I swear before all present and Allah that I will do whatever he may ask, even in giving up my crown.”
Fakhir laid his hands upon my shoulders and stood me up. He looked into my eyes then turned to my men who were looking upon the scene. He raised his hands and exclaimed, “All hail the Sultan, ruler of the Moors and chosen of Allah!”
At this, my soldiers, who before felt ill toward me, bowed in one accord shouting, “All hail the Sultan!” Then Fakhir turned to me and shouted for all to hear:
“Allah has chosen you to do his will. If you do what he has asked, he will bless you, if not, he will curse you. He has seen the wickedness of the Spanish and what they have done to his faithful. He has chosen you to be his hammer and deliverer of judgment due them. You are to wage holy war against the Spanish and drive them off the face of the earth.
“Do not continue home but go straightaway to Leon and show them the power of Allah!”
There was complete silence. The men stood, looking to see how I would answer. I unsheathed my sword, raised it to the heavens and yelled with all my might, “To Leon!!!”and set out immediately for Spanish territory.
And this brings me thus to the present. Fakhir has stayed with us and his presence has already proven well. I finally found out why no news had come from Cordoba. My messengers were being captured by the Valencian rebels and killed. But one escaped and has brought me word of the state of affairs. The Sicilians had attacked and destroyed our navy, which I was planning to expand, and had blockaded Granada. I have immediately sent messengers to Qasim and the council declaring a state of war and authorizing Qasim to attack the Sicilians immediately.
I also sent back Ayyub to look after the capital just in case the Portuguese decided to renege on our alliance. I meanwhile am camped on the borders of the Toledo province which I plan to take from the Spanish and use as a springboard to attack Leon. The die is cast there is no turning back.