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Revised/Abridged

Frank Yerby’s: A Victim’s Guilt

 

The Spanish Crusade: An Assault


On Islam


Episode One: Harem Seduction [Click Here]

 

Episode Two: Peace of the Prophet   [Click Here]




Episode Three:  Nasr Strikes


The Final Episode Of The Yerby Adventure

The Spanish

Crusade:



An
Assault On Islam
 

Can You Find The
Victims and the cause of their Victimization?

 



Episode Three: Nasr Attacks [Click Here]


 

Final Episode: The Emir Toys



 

“I propose we eliminate the emir before he learns of Kamil’s, uh, indiscretions,” Nasr informs Sumalya. He needs her complete cooperation. Sumayla’s insides churn over the threat to Kamil’s life. “What do you think?”

 “What does your lordship want me do?” Sumayla asks.

“I want you to learn from your friend, here, whether there is success in my future.”

“Frank, do you have any information which will help Lord Nasr save my son?” Sumayla’s eyes plead with Yerby.

“I was lying in a hospital in Madrid when I began to have these experiences,” Yerby replies. “In this one, I found myself in your castle.” He looks first at Sumayla and then at Nasr. “That’s all I know.”

Nasr stares at Yerby for some time.  “Mr. Yerby, I need to know if my lord Alfonso, will reconquer Spain for Christianity. And I want the information, now!”

Yerby says nothing. Infuriated Nasr claps his hands. He motions to two muscular Negroes who seize Yerby and half carry and half drag the author down to a torture chamber in Lady Sumayla’s dank, foul-smelling dungeon. In his cramped  holding cell, Yerby sees another victim hanging from chains ____  his lifeless body mangled beyond recognition.

 

Nasr nods to his inquisitors to stoke up their fire and sharpen their implements. Nasr takes a seat in his specially constructed dais which gives him full view of the proceedings. The christian Goth enjoys watching the searing of flesh and the breaking of bones. He especially delights in the screams of his victims. But before the torture can begin, a messenger from the emir, escorted by a cohort of al-Khurs, breaks into the chamber and gives Nasr a parchment with the emir’s seal. After reading the message, Nasr barks out orders and disappears up the dungeon stairs and out of Sumayla’s palace.

 

Meanwhile one of Sumayla’s spies in the emir’s court, a hawk-eyed eunuch, whose skin is as black as his mistress’, enters her reception hall. Looking around, he satisfies himself that none of Nasr’s people remain and that he and his mistress are alone.  Quissan then kneels and kisses the hem of Sumayla’s robe.

“My lady,” the eunuch confides, “you asked me to watch and listen for word of any plot against my master, the emir.” Quissan has served Sumayla all of his life. He was a fondling who was left at her palace by an unfortunate slave woman. Though he and Kamil are about the same age, neither likes the other. Kamil especially dislikes Quissan for his slavish devotion to his mother. On the other hand, Quissan considers Kamil a self-centered pretender.

“Yes, Quissan,” the Princess replies. “What news have you?”

“My master, the emir, sent the al-Khurs to fetch the fair-skinned Goth, known as Aizun ibn al-Quitiyya.”

“Why did the emir send for Aizun?” Lady Sumayla asks.

“My master desired that Aizun explain his marriage to Natalia, the daughter of my master’s youngest brother. As you know, a Christian cannot marry a Muslim woman without the woman renouncing her faith. However, if she renounces Islam, she is a heretic and must be punished with death.”

Sumayla gasps. She knows that the emir would implement the holy law, no matter what. Al-Rahman would even execute his own niece if she was found to be a heretic.

“Milady need not fret,” the eunuch continues. “Aizun explained that the Lady Natalia’s mother was a Goth and a Christian. She raised Natalia as a Christian and so no heresy occurred.”

“That’s a relief,” breathes Lady Sumayla.

“Yes, especially for my master, for he dearly loves his young niece.”

 

1 1 0 F R A N K Y E R B Y :

 

 

“What other news have you, my faithful Quissan?”

 “Before Aizun left, the emir thanked him for his warning.

“Warning?”

Quissan hesitates briefly. “Yes,” the eunuch says. “Aizun inforned the emir about the harem plot.” Fear clutches at Sumayla’s innards. “But the emir told Aizun that he did not believe that there was a harem plot and that Tarub would never plot against him.”

“So the emir dismissed the idea of a plot, then?” Sumayla asks.

 “The emir told Aizun that he trusted Tarub,” Quissan reports.

“And the emir left it at that?”

“The emir appointed another royal taster,” Quissan says. “He tells Aizun that he would have Tarub do the tasting herself, if he could be certain the silly trull wouldn’t kill herself.”

“So, the emir knows of the plot,” Sumayla says.

“Yes, milady,” the eunuch replies. “The emir knows.”

 

Sumalya sends a guard down to the dungeon to free Yerby. “Frank, I know now why I called you.” Her voice is tinged with fear, but Yerby doesn’t hear it. His close encounter with Nasr’s Dominican inquisitor leaves him scared silent. “You are to accompany Quissan back to the Alcazar,”  Sumayla tells Yerby. “I want you to rescue my son.”  Looking deep into Yerby’s eyes, she says, “Kamil’s life is in your hands.”

 

******

 

 

Abd al-Rahman II, Commander of the Faithful and Emir of Córdoba, carefully cultivated his courtly persona. Though he willingly beheaded anyone who threatened the Peace of the Prophet, he did as his uncle instructed and tried to appear mild, even timid by his people. Al-Rahman is tall and has a beaked nose that reminds many of the hawk-headed God, Horus.. The emir’s red hair is dyed each day by his personal barber. His long beard remains as black as the night, as black as his ceaselessly winking eye. However, though his court believes the contrary, Al-Rahman is utterly indifferent to the spilling of blood and taking of life.

“Bring in those dogs!” the emir cries out from his throne high up in the great audience hall of the emir’s palace.  Immediately, gigantic doors open and ten heavily manacled Negro slaves are driven between two files of al-Khurs. All the Negroes are naked except for cloths covering the area where their genitals should have been. However, since all are castrates, their loin cloths cover only scars and memories. Two of the eunuchs march in, tall, proud, unafraid, looking neither to one side or the other. All the others gaze about wildly ___   desperately seeking a way to forestall their fate. These latter half walk, half stumble forward. Some of them even drop to the ground, crying out piteously for the emir’s mercy. These eunuchs had been responsible for guarding the emir’s harem. After discovering the harem plot, the emir decided that their heads would be the first to roll. One by one, the guards’ heads are placed upon a block. Ten times the headman’s axe flashes and ten severed heads roll upon the tiled floor.

The Vizier of Correspondence sitting at his accustomed place, observes the executions with quaking knees and wild eyes. The old man should have used the short time remaining to him in preparing for his death.  However the emir’s personal secretary was frozen in a state of terror. Only that morning had he learned that his assistant, Prince al-Kamil, had engaged in profane behavior towards the emir’s wife. With the beheading of the last harem guard, the vizier begins praying to Allah that the emir’s anger has been satisfied.

“Take those heads back to the eunuchs’ sleeping quarters,” Al-Rahman orders. “I want all to know the fate of any who fail in their duty to me.” An army of servants bear the severed heads and trunks out of the great hall. So quickly did the slaves scour the floor that within a brief space of time the grisly scene vanishes as if the eunuchs had never existed.

 

 

A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 1 1 3

 

 

 

Now the emir turns to gaze upon his court. His eyes wander over the assembled nobles and dignitaries until they settle upon the unfortunate Vizier of Correspondence. “Seize him!” the emir thunders.

“My Lord,” screams the vizier, “please have mercy. I am innocent. I have served you faithfully. What wrong have I done?”

Though the hapless victim of court intrigue, the emir is pitiless. “You have cost me a most talented and gifted secretary,” the emir answers the doomed man. “I doubt that I will find your like again.” Al-Rahman nods to the headman who forces the Vizier of Correspondence down onto the block. As quickly as before, the axe flashes, and the head rolls away from the body.

“Put his head in the viziers’ palace,” the emir orders, his left eye blinking wildly. “They need a reminder that they have taken an oath of allegiance.” Once his secretary’s body has been removed, the emir dismisses the court. He is left alone to take council with his brothers.

 

“I rather enjoyed that,” Al-Rahman confides. He and his brothers adjourn to an intimate salon close by the throne room. “That should put some fear into those slackers over in the Dimashiq,” the emir says, referring to the viziers’ palace. “Did you see their faces?”

“Yes,” al-Mugira smiles, “it’s good to make them fear the wrath of Allah.”

“I just don’t understand why you indulge Tarub,” al-Wallid snorts.

“Our brother is always indulging his women,” Al-Mugira laughs. “But she’s a real problem you know.”

“How so?” the emir asks.

“She’s a white witch,” al-Wallid interrupts. “She gives the Christian community a bad name.” Al-Wallid’s opinions are colored by the fact that his wife is a Christian Goth and hates Tarub. Tarub tried to manipulate the emir into executing the emir’s niece and al-Wallid’s daughter, Natalia. Al-Wallid and his wife want revenge for Tarub’s insult.

“And uncle warned you about Nasr,” al-Mugira adds.

 “Yes, yes, I know!” Al-Rahman moans. He enjoys the company of his brothers; they tell him things others will not.  “But neither of you two want me to have any fun. I like playing with my wives. What’s wrong with that? Each of us must find our happiness in our own ways.”

 

 

 

1 1 4 F R A N K Y E R B Y :

 

 

Neither al-Mugira who was blatantly homosexual nor al-Wallid, himself married to the daughter of a Goth, comments. They know that their brother wishes for nothing more than to bestow the Peace of the Prophet upon his subjects and to play with his wives. Unfortunately, his subjects were not peaceful and his wives always played rough. And that was the way the emir liked it.

“It makes the lovemaking afterwards so much more interesting,” Al-Rahman explains.

 
 

The emir’s visits to his harem are the highlight of his day. He prepares by luxuriating in a bath and saying his prayers ___ cleansing both body and soul. He loves his wives subtle and not so subtle attempts to seduce him. Many of them are as indifferent to him as he is to them. Not Fakhr. The Egyptian beauty never ceases her wiles to take him away from Tarub. I should reward Fakhr for trying to warn me about Tarub’s plot, Rahman tells himself.  But not today. Today I must deal with my lovely, but deadly Gothic princess.

 

When Al-Rahman enters the outer chambers of his harem, all is strangely quiet. Ordinarily you can hear the women through the harem doors and out into the gardens. The emir enjoys the harem’s ceaseless chattering. It reminds him of his childhood. But today the women are very quiet. None of wives lounge about in various states of dress and undress. No little children chase about, being tended by their own personal slaves. The vast common hall with its baths and and lounging areas is almost empty. Most of the women have secreted themselves and their childrens within their own separate apartments.

Rahman doesn’t mind the quiet. He enjoys the serene, almost peaceful atmosphere.  It’s a blessing to have quiet, respectful wives, he smiles. However, as Al-Rahman is beginning to enjoy the rare harem serenity, some of his wives begin to enter the great hall and take discreet places away from the emir. Some preoccupy themselves with sewing or weaving, others lounge about, talking quietly, while casting surreptious looks first  at the emir and then in the direction of Tarub’s apartment from which the emir’s favorite wife has yet to emerge. Fakhr remains in her apartment, fearing the emir’s displeasure. The old goat might punish me for what his ‘white bitch’ did, Fakhr tells herself. I could loose my head just for trying to warn him.

Resting upon a luxurious recliner, Al-Rahman is deciding whether or not to play the bogeyman when the delightful Tarub bursts from her apartment. A true daughter of Aphrodite, Tarub is one hundred and twenty pounds of wickedness and sin. The sultan gave Tarub to Al-Rahman as a gift when becoming Emir of Cordoba. The first time he laid eyes upon Tarub, Rahman was smitten, but Al-Rahman knew that this woman was wild and dangerous. And from the day the sultan had given this gift, Al-Rahman puzzled over how to get her to both respect and fear him. Today Al-Rahman had an opportunity to teach his favorite wife a lesson that, by the Prophet’s beard, she would not soon forget.

 

Racing up to where the Al-Rahman reclines ___ seeming to be unaware that anything was amiss ___ Tarub throws herself upon his lap. But the emir is cool to her touch. Tarub is accustomed to driving Rahman mad with desire. His coolness annoys her. God’s wot! I will be happy to be rid of this old man, Tarub tells herself. But out loud, she purrs, “Please, milord! How have I displeased you? “As she speaks, Tarub exhales her breath into his face while rubbing her scantily clad body against him. Her seductive eyes  promise the ecstasy of sexual fulfillment. Tarub places Rahman’s arms around her waist while she strokes his neck and face. The emir remains impassive. Clapping her hands, Tarub directs her slave to bring a golden goblet filled with the dark red liquid that the Commander of the Faithful thoroughly enjoys. “Drink, milord,” Tarub says.

 

Without hesitation, Rahman motions for his body servant to take the goblet. Departing the harem, the servant takes the cup to Adin, the royal taster, who waits, as instructed, in the hallway, just outside the harem. Until the taster had been a homeless urchin, begging the streets for his daily fare. A chance meeting with one of the emir’s house servants led to Adin being offered a servant’s position in the Alcazar.

“For you to be accepted into the emor’s household, you must be tested,” the orphan was told

“I will undergo whatever trial the emir asks of me,” Adin says. So outside the harem doors, he is offered the golden goblet that Tarub had prepared for the emir. Eagerly, Adin gulps down the red liquid. It warms him. He feels satisfied and content. But then the orphan’s vision blurs and his legs and arms go rubbery. Then the taster loses his balance. As his body hits the floor and his mind loses consciousness, the young victim is unaware that he will never see his seventeenth birthday. The emir’s servant returns.

“Master, the taster is dead.” Al-Rahman turns to Tarub. She notices that his eye does not twitch and she begins to understand.

“Your betrayal has been discovered,” Rahman tells his wife. Then he calls his guards. “Escort the Lady Tarub to her quarters where you will attend her while awaiting my pleasure,” the emir orders. Tarub betrays not the slightest trace of fear, but giving the emir a haughty look, she marches towards her apartment, undisturbed by what the emir might either think or do.  ‘What a woman,’ Rahman tells himself.

 

Al-Rahman returns to his great audience hall where his brothers have assembled the emir’s court. “Bring me Abu L’Fath Nasr!” the emir roars out. To al-Wallid, he whispers, “Now you see why I love Tarub so much? I haven’t had this much fun in months.”

“Praise Allah,” al-Mugira comments, “we’re finally getting rid of Nasr!” Nasr marches into the hall escorted by two rows of al-Khurs. “Put him down,” al-Mugira shouts, “the emir does not wish to see his face.”  Now the man who was as powerful as the emir, himself, is forced to grovel before his master.

“Milord vizier,” the emir says after awhile, “please rise and drink from this golden goblet that is forbidden to the faithful but which brings such enjoyment to your people.”

“But, milord,” Nasr protests, “thou knowest that I converted to the True Faith and wine is forbidden.”

 

1 1 8 F R A N K Y E R B Y :

 

 

 

“Yet,” the Commander of the Faithful replies, “well do I know that in your own apartments, much wine do you keep which you share with your visitors ___ especially those who come from the kingdom of Asturias.”

Nasr’s face pales and his body gives an involuntary shudder. Yet, the soon to be ex-vizier is no coward. Stiffening his shoulders, Nasr accepts the cup. Turning about, the Grand Vizer takes a final look at the great assembly before facing his master once again and draining the poison cup of wine, completely.

“His death was too kind,” al-Mugira comments.

 

The emir appoints al-Wallid as Nasr’s replacement. Al-Wallid wastes no time identifying everyone associated with the former Grand Vizier and dispatching al-Khurs on an orgy of violence and mayhem. News of the executions spread throughout Cordaba. The roads leading away from Cordoba are choked with refugees. The al-Khurs round up anyone known to be loyal to Nasr and were foolish enough to remain in Córdoba. Many of the christian Goths  are executed; others are sold as galley slaves. Several thousand names are on the al-Wallid’s execute list. Topping the emir’s execute list is Kamil.  

 

 

****

 

Quissan and Yerby find Kamil sneaking through a secret passageway trying to get back to Lady Tarub.

“We’ll return you to your mother’s palace,” Yerby tells the young prince.

“I need to save Tarub before Rahman beheads her,” Kamil explains.

“I don ’t see how you can prevent it,” Yerby says matter-of-factly. “You can’t even get yourself out of the Alcazar without assistance.”

Kamil considers the matter and admits that he needs help to escape the Alcazar. Quissan hides Kamil in a damp, dank section of one of the Alcazar’s many dungeons. “Wait here,” he instructs the prince. “The stranger will bring you some less distinguished garb and I will go ahead and mark your escape route.”  After what seems like hours, Yerby returns. “Kamil! Come quickly!” Yerby hisses. “Take off your clothes, and put these on.” Kamil dresses in a ragged pair of pants, a rough-spun hairshirt and a black cloak with hood. As soon as he is dressed, Yerby whispers, “Follow me!”

Quissan told Yerby where to look for his markers identifying the escape route.

“What about the al-Khurs?” Kamil asks.

“The emir ordered you found,” Yerby responds. “He knows you haven’t left the Alcazar. He wants you beheaded.”

“How do you plan for us to get over the wall?” Kamil asks.

“Quissan believes the best escape route is by way of the channels flowing under the Alcazar’s wall into the Guadalquivir River.” A mill outside the Alcazar pumps clean water from the Guadalquivir into the Alcazar and pumps out the Alcazar’s wastewater through partially hidden channels.  

“The river?” Kamil shudders. “I’m not going to get in the river. I don’t even know how to swim!

“Don’t worry,” Yerby assures the prince. “All we need to do is get to the canal without being spotted, take the canal under the wall and we’ll be safe.” Yerby and Kamil creep down a dark passageway until it dead-ends into a small alcove partially hidden by tapestries.

“I know this place.” Kamil says. “There is a secret door behind those tapistries.”

“Where does it lead?” Yerby asks.
“Through this door are private gardens,” Kamil smiles. “Many times Tarub and I met here in secret.” Kamil can still smell her scent. In the garden, Yerby gropes about for Quissan’s marker, partially hidden in the dusky evening shadows. “Found it!” Yerby whispers. “This way,” he points out the direction, “through the gardens down to the canal.”

Creeping through the labyrinth of interconnected gardens, seperated by high hedges, trees and flowerbeds, the pair work their way toward the channels. Past the gardens, they now negotiate their way between and around the stables, armories, kitchens and sleeping quarters, supporting the Alcazar’s thousands of retainers and workers. They pass through this maze, alternatively blending in with the workers who scurry back and forth and avoiding the al-Khur patrols by keeping to the early evening shadows. Even with Quissan marking their escape route and the shadows providing cover, their ability to slip by the emir’s guards, completely unnoticed, is more than mere good fortune. Once they approach the Alcazar’s outer wall, the final obstacle to their escape is the knots of sentries patrolling the top of the wall and the others manning the gates, challenging everyone passing in and out.

 

1 2 2 F R A N K Y E R B Y :

 

 

Yerby motions Kamil to follow him to a spot hidden from the view of guards on the wall. The irrigation channels gurgle steadily as the water disappears under the Alcazar’s outer wall joining the Guadalquivir on the other side. The channel openings are broad, but very low. To Kamil, it doesn’t seem possible that either man could squeeze underneath without completely submerging himself.

“Now young master,” Yerby says, “do as I tell you.”

Kamil says nothing, but his eyes reflect his fear of the watery ordeal he is facing.

“Remove your shirt and slippers and wrap them in your cloak, just as I am doing,” Yerby instructs him. “Breathe deeply, then hold your breath as you get into the water.”

 

The channel is shallow. The water barely reaches Kamil’s waist. Taking a long cord that he carries beneath his cloak, Yerby ties one end around Kamil’s chest and under his armpits. He ties the other end around his own waist.

“Now we will go under the wall,” Yerby instructs Kamil. “Hold your breath and hold on

tightly to this rope and I’ll drag you through.” And then to his own surprise, Yerby prays silently, Please don’t let this young fool drown me!

 

Kamil did as he was instructed. Managing his fear of the water, he slides into the channel and follows Yerby under the wall. To his surprise, the water does not cover Kamil’s head. Between the water and the bottom of the wall, Kamil has room to breathe. Once again fortune smiles at Kamil.  But then, on the other side, before they realize it,  the channels join together and the water becomes considerably deeper. Kamil loses his balance and sinks completely beneath the surface. Yerby tugs at the cord, trying to pull Kamil as well as himself towards the bank by the mill. Kamil is kicking and splashing about. His head disappears below the waters, but his foot hits the bottom and . he is able to propel himself forward. Himself gasping for breath,  Yerby pulls the sputtering and coughing prince onto the rocky beach.

“Head for those shadows by that mill,” Yerby instructs Kamil. Strangely, none of the guards on the wall face outwards and do not see the two fugitves escape. Half crawling and half running over the sharp rocks, Kamil and Yerby try not to attract the attention of the al-Khurs who seemed intent on not seeing them. The inattention of the al-Khurs resulted from assistance that Quissan received in plotting Kamil’s escape route from a member of the royal family. Now the pair reached the shadows of the mill. There they rested as dusk fell and the purple evening shadows bring on the night.

 

 “We’d better get going,” Yerby says getting up and wraps himself in his wet cloak. “We need to get to your mother’s palace and  it will be light before we know it.”

Kamil just looks at his rescuer and says. “Frank, thank you for showing me this escape route. Now I must go back.”

“What?” Yerby almost shouts. “Are you mad?”

“Tarub is in danger. With Quissan’s markings and you showing me the way under the wall, now I can save her.”

“Kamil, you can’t save her! You’re going to be caught. They’re going to cut off your head!” Yerby shouts.

“Tell my mother ___,” Kamil chokes up. “Tell her I will see her in Seville.”

“But, Kamil ___,”Yerby protests.

“Go!” Kamil dismisses Yerby. Taking his cloak,shirt and sandals and hiding them in the

underbrush, he ties the knotted cord around his waist and plunges back into the canal and disappears below the water, under the wall and back into the Alcazar.

 

 

 

 

A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 1 2 5

CHAPTER EIGHT


"Where’s my son, Frank?”

Yerby had `failed to save Kamil. Now he had to break the news to Sumayla.

 “Kamil was determined to go back for Tarub,” he tells her. “He’ll meet you in Seville.”

“They’re going to kill him,” Sumayla says, simply. “They’re going to kill my son! Never again will these eyes gaze at his face.” Her words are not hysterical. They are heavy with a mother’s sorrow.

 

But Sumayla realizes that her grieving  time must come later. Right now she must move quickly, if she is to save her household ___ and herself. “Yazmin prepare the others to depart for Seville.” She had been preparing her household for the possibilty that they might  be forced to leave Cordova. But it was too late. The tramping of horses and shouting in her courtyard  announced the presence of a company of al-Khurs who, even now were pounding at her doors.

“Open for the emir’s emissary,” an al-Khurs captain shouts out.

“Admit them!” Sumayla orders. She knows that resistance would be pointless.

 

1 2 6 F R A N K Y E R B Y :

 

 

Lady Sumayla receives the emir’s emissary in her reception hall. “I have been sent by the Grand Vizier,” the emissary announces.

“The Grand Vizier?” The emissary’s announcement surprises Sumayla.

“Al-Wallid is now the emir’s Grand Vizier.”

“How can I serve the Grand Vizier?” Lady Sumayla asks.

“The emir has no fondness for executing women,” the emir’s emissary begins. “But he will not tolerate any discussion of the incident between his wife and his cousin.” Al-Rahman was not a vain man, but he could allow the story of Kamil and Tarub to be circulated.At the the same time, the emir knew that the quickest way to spread the story was to continue with the executions. How many heads would fall before every tongue in Córdoba would wag and every household would be seeking vengeance for a lost father, son or brother? The emir had asked himself.

“I know nothing of such matters,” Sumayla replies.

The emissary stares at the black woman for awhile. Al-Wallid wants to know if the Lady Sumayla is a threat. The emir’s emissary concludes that she isn’t. “The emir wishes you to move to Seville with as little attention as possible,” he confides.

“In return for my life, what does the emir want?” Sumayla asks.

“The emir would be grateful if the Lady Sumayla would acknowledge the emir’s generosity,” the emissary replies.

“You may tell your master that word it will be done.”

Lady Sumayla summons a servant and whispers briefly in his ear. She gives him her signet ring and a pouch of gold coins. The servant backs away with a bow.

Turning to the emissary, Sumayla says, “I have sent word that all must serve Abd al-Wallid as faithfully as they served Nasr.”

The emissary is pleased that the Lady Sumalya is so cooperative.  “The emir has always admired the Lady Sumayla,” the emissary says. “He is especially grateful to you for bringing so much happiness to his uncle in his declining years.”

“I only tried to return a small part of the happiness and joy my husband gave me,” Lady Sumayla replies. She is aware that the court still gossips about her and her late husband.

“Al-Wallid also holds you in great esteem,” the emissary continues. “He desires that the details of your departure be handled without any concern on your part.”

“The Grand Vizier is kind.”

“Furthermore, Al-Wallid proposes that your servants remain on his staff as permanent liaison between yourself and his royal highness.” Sumayla’s eyes narrow. They intend to keep a muzzle on me, she tells herself, but she says nothing to the emir’s emissary.

 

The al-Khurs assist Lady Sumayla’s servants in loading the many carriages and wagons with the personal and household items. Once loaded the great caravan crosses the river and heads for Seville. Several hours into their journey, a royal guardsman catches up with Lady Sumayla’s caravan.

“My cousin who guards the emir’s prisoners has informed me that your son, Prince al-Kamil ibn Abd al-Karim, was captured and thrown into a dungeon just after sunrise yesterday,” he informs Lady Sumayla.

She gasps involuntarily. “Is he all right?” she asks.

“When the emir was informed of your son’s capture,” the guardsman continues, “he ordered him beheaded, immediately.”

“Where is his body?” Sumayla asks.

“He’s buried in an umarked grave.” Sumayla decides to asking her network to find his body. However, the guardsman quickly dashes her plan when he says, “Those who buried him have gone to their graves as well.”

Upon hearing this news, Sumayla’s lets out an involuntary moan and she faints. When she regains consciousness, her cries and moans are most piteous.

“Everything is gone,” she wails. “My son and my life.”

 

Sumayla takes refuge in Seville. When the Asturian knights of King Alfonso drive Islam out of Spain, the Lady Sumayla tries to take satisfaction for death of her son ____ but it does nothing to ease the pain. And, of course, once the christians take control of Spain, no black woman was allowed to own property, nor have the social status of a lady.