The Kingdom of Portugal during the Year of 1082
Affonso, who now had rejoined his army, resumes his march on Leon, its walls becoming cleared each day. He had bolstered his forces with the dowry he was given during his wedding, now they welcomed a troop of mercenary Crossbowmen and Spearmen. The leader of the Spearmen had said he knew the layout of Leon like the back of his hand. He even claimed that he had once been the Captain of the Guard till he fell out of favor with the Prince who governed the city. Affonso, who was intrigued by the mans information, quickly hired him. As for the crossbowmen...he just enjoys the company of those men who delighted at the idea of marching against the Moors and their Islamic brothers.
The news of the assimilation brings much pleasure to the ears of Johao. He dispatches an emissary to King Henrique letting him know of his success. In the mean time he sends orders to Captain Rodrigo, who has taken notice of the rebel castle to the south, to stay his spear hand and to begin to govern the city, much to Rodrigo's distress. Johao orders the construction of roads to connect the city to its neighbors and potential trade partners, along with ordering the clearance of the land in his own province to feed to newly recruited troops.
Betrayal of the Cloth
Affonso continues the siege of Leon, worries of his sister now far from his mind. As he watches the rams and siege towers a messenger, bearing the insignia of his father, delivers an urgent message.
Today, July 17, 1083, an emissary from the Papal States appeared in my courts. He carried with him a dire message; an order to cease our hostilities against the Spanish or face excommunication if we continue our endeavors. As King of the Portuguese people, and as a Portuguese man myself, it is my sole desire to force the Spanish from the Iberian Peninsula. Yet as a man who fears God and all his might, and thus his holy avatar, I must heed these words.
My Son, I ask of you to call off the siege of Leon. I have sent word to Admiral Martio to sail north from Lisbon's harbors and allow you and your men to board. He will transport you to Lisbon; we will discuss what is to come upon your arrival.
~Signed in the Hand of King Henrique
Dire words indeed. Affonso quickly gathers his men, ordering them to cease the construction of the siege weapons and to gather their things. Their destination has been changed; they will take the Moorish city of Cordoba.
News of the Popes request has reached Maria. Abandoning her fatherís orders to contact the French, she turns and makes her way back into the Peninsula in hopes of securing a Peace Treaty with the Spanish, for her brotherís sake of course.
Lopo, through his numerous contacts, gets word of the news. He finds the Pope's movement odd; normally the Papal States do not interfere with warring Kingdoms if they are of roughly equal size. Still he turns back from Toledo, sending word to Affonso that he has done so. Thinking a step ahead he sets out for Cordoba, if the Prince can not follow his Fathers orders then surely he will set out on his self-proclaimed crusade against the Moors.
When he reaches Cordoba, under a new guise and less welcoming of naive palace girls, he finds that the once sparsely garrisoned city has been dramatically reinforced.
News rushes franticly to the court of King Henrique. His faction has been excommunicated by decree of Pope Gregory. Amazed, shocked, and very much distraught Henrique disappears into his chambers shortly after hearing the news.
Affonso takes to the news vastly different than his father. He quickly sends his army back to Leon while riding out to meet the Admiral and ordering him to blockade the Spanish Port near by.
A day of harsh riding joins him with his army once again. The men are confused about what is going on, few outside of Affonso's Personal Guard know of the Papal States Treachery. He addresses his men the night they make camp aside a Spanish road. He tells them of what has happened and rallies the men to follow God no longer, but the flag of the Portuguese Kingdom. The night sky is filled with cheers for future victories and triumphs.
While the men sleep Affonso sends orders to Lopo, Johao, and Maria.
Lopo receives the news merely days later. Affonso's orders reach him a week after he sets out for Toledo. The day Lopo draws near to the Spanish Castle he uncovers a large army camped outside. He infiltrates the army, discovering the Spainís intentions in the process; they are going to march against the Prince to the North with this force and are attacking Lisbon with another force that is being recruited. For the first time in many years Lopo experiences fear, not for himself, but for his Kingdom. He leaves the army, which is comprised of many light infantry and spears, and a few units of heavy Calvary and missiles to contact the Prince himself, trusting the information he has to tell to no other outside of the Royal Family. He discovers that Maria is not too far from his position and sends word to her as he sets out for the Prince.
Upon hearing Lopo's words Maria takes it upon herself to help her brother by any means possible. Her hopes of securing a Peace Treaty with the Spanish are quickly tossed aside; the Spanish are preparing for an all out war against her 'heretic' Kingdom, they will not pass up this opportunity to claim more land for their Kingdom. While riding to intercept the Spanish army she dwells upon Lopo's words.
"How can I possibly stop an entire army?"
She then recalls that in Lopo's report the army was headed by a General, not a member of the Spanish Royal Family; an unhappy General. She smiles, having found a weak spot in the Spaniards armor, as she sets out to steal away an asset from her enemy, even if it means sacrificing herself. After all, it will be for the good of her beloved brother.
Vaasco, man who shows an undying dedication for his wife. Though his love may be unrequited he will not falter. His loyalty to the Spanish Crown was little, but his dedication to his new Kingdom is almost immeasurable. His men are shocked at his sudden defection; how is it possible for their former commander, a man they held much respect for, desert them for a woman?!
. Even the King of Spain, Afonso, is shocked by this sudden turn of events. Vaasco's former army quickly attacks him and the few knights that are loyal to him. Vaasco retreats, but is hounded mercilessly till he stations himself on the border of Zaragoza and Toledo, his 'beautiful' wife at his side.
As he and his ragged unit of Knights ride into the city of Zaragoza he is hailed as "brave" to stand up to such a mighty army and live to tell about it. They claim him to be a "fair fighter" for his men even captured a few peasants during the fight and released them soon after. However the veil of bliss is now falling from his eyes. He notices over the next few mornings that his "wife lacks charm", thus causing him to avoid any urges to 'conquer' her in the privacy of their room. Soon the people of Zaragoza title him as their governor, he accepts the title graciously, welcoming a change of pace in his life.
Neither man knows what Maria has done, how she has 'conquered' a man with her non-existent charm. When Lopo reaches Affonso he reports his findings. Affonso in turn begins to contemplate a plan of action.
His father, Henrique, has not been heard from in months. News is that the only times he leaves his chambers is to beg for forgiveness in his personal chapel. This effectively puts Affonso in the role of King in all but name. He would be rejoicing in his father's ineptness if it were not for the unnerving news of a massive Spanish Army readying itself to the south. The siege of Leon is lifted; it would be pointless to take the city for it would become his prison in the matter of months.
He orders Lopo back to the Toledo region, his expertise in subtly is needed to spy on the massing armies of the Spanish. Affonso's new plan is to attack the Spainís forces directly, and from there he can take the cities with relative ease. He sends word to his father, Johao, and Zaragoza requesting that each city send any men they can muster to join his army.
The morning he dispatches the riders who will carry the messages the rider due Southeast to Zaragoza turns back to impart information he has just found. It seems that a small Spanish Army has left Leon and is marching to the South, most likely to join the massing armies that are camped outside of Toledo. The news at first puts Affonso into a distraught state, then he delights at what he perceives as Spainís folly. A plan has hatched in his mind, and within the hour his men are mobilized to intercept the Spanish Army. Affonso hopes that the attack will draw the Spanish Prince, who still resides in Leon, out.
"I will be killing two birds with one stone."
He tells himself as approaches the Spanish Army, their banners on the horizon.
Battle of Two Princes
On a cold afternoon Affonso's forces catch up to the Spanish Army. Affonso's thinking could not be better, his men are positioned next to a cliff that is accessible from two ways.
He positions his missile units, four crossbows and one longbow, along the edge of the cliff. His bodyguard, infantrymen, and spearmen guard the slope left of the missile units. His plan is not to attack, such a thing would be a waste. Instead he orders all his men to guard their positions and await the army...
As the tiny Spanish force draws near the Prince, who is to reinforce the main army, is seen on the white horizon. A smile creeps onto Affonso's face as a symphony of arrows whistling through the crispy air plays behind him.
Distraught the Spanish force retreats from the Cliffside, moving to another in hopes of a safe passage.
...but no such passage is granted. Arrows continue to hail from the heavens as they begin another climb....
Disheartened the enemy begins to route...
Only to be slaughtered from behind by the Prince and his force of bloodthirsty Calvary.
Smiling, face covered with blood of a fallen enemy, Affonso motions his men to attack the Spanish Prince who is stationed to the West
The Prince, being no fool and knowing when defeat is upon him, turns tail and flees. Affonso calls a halt to his men, "It is pointless for the men to chase after an enemy who is seated on horse..." Affonso turns his horse round, gripping the reigns of his saddle tightly. Even though he has won the battlethe Spanish Prince has escaped and with him Affonso's first step for victory against the Spanish.