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 Archbishop of Córdoba summoned the pastor of San Acisclo’s parish before the synod. The Vatican had sent a papal legate to investigate the rash of religious disturbances in Spain. “The Holy Father is concerned over the outbreak of so-called martyrdoms.”
“How can I assist Your Eminence?” Father Juan asks. He sits on a low stool facing the ten members of the synod seated on great thrones mounted high in front of him. Seated directly in front of Father Juan is the archbishop who conducts the investigation on behalf of the papal legate, an elderly Roman cardinal.
“Tell us what you know about the death of Father Prefectus.”
“What does your Eminence desire to know?“ Father Juan asks. Father Juan had been Father Prefectus’ assistant.
“The Holy Father is concerned that this Father Eulogius and his Exalted Ones are responsible for the insults to Islam that led to Father Prefectus’ execution,” the archbishop says. “What is your opinion of Father Eulogius?”
“Father Eulogius means well, Your Eminence,” Father Juan replies.
“The road to perdition is paved by good intentions,” my son,” the archbishop remarks.
“Nor are good intentions what I want to discuss with you here today.”
“I am your humble servant, Excellency,” Father Juan repies with a bow.
“Nowhere do Christians gather together where the Emir’s informants are not present.” the archbishop booms out harshly.
The silent expression on the old priest’s face convinces the archbishop that Father Juan had no idea what he is talking about. An uncomfortable silence envelops the two men. Finally Father Juan says, “Father Eulogius is on a mission. I don’t believe he thinks about who is watching him.”
“Father Eulogius is on a mission, all right,” the archbishop responds. “But he seems to have fallen into grievous error and sin.” The archbishop glancea over at the papal legate. The archbishop knows that his cardinal’s ring depends upon what the papal legate reports back to the pope.
“Father Eulogius is unable to control his passion for serving Jesus Christ,” Father Juan explains.
“He seems very angry,” the archbishop replies. “Father Eulogius behaves more out of hate than out of love “
“Your Eminence,” Father Juan pleads,“Father Eulogius has a powerful faith. He believes that he is doing God’s will. Certainly we can’t condemn him for that.”
“He has taken the vow of obedience,” the Archbishop remarks, “as have you.”
A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 8 3
“Forgive me,Your Eminence,” the old priest remonstrates. “I had no intention of challenging your authority.”
“I understand, Father Juan,” the archbishop chides,“sometimes a sudden elevation in status makes a person forget their vows and their duties. You seem fond of your own ideas. Pray for humility.”
“Yes, Your Excellency, please forgive me.”
“That is better, my son.” The archbishop had reservations about appointung Father Juan as Prefectus’ replacement. He was rather old. But all the younger priests with any experence seemed to be assoiated with Eulogius’ Exalted Ones. He resolved to watch the old priest. “Tell the synod how did Eulogius involved Father Prefectus in his martyrdom scheme.”
“Father Prefectus was not a member of Eulogius Exalted Ones,” Father Juan explains. “Father Prefectus was tricked into becoming a martyr.”
“Tricked!” the archbishop responds. “Explain yourself.”
“A group of Muslims engaged Father Prefectus in a debate.”
“The Muslims wanted to discuss the relative merits of their Prophet and Our Lord.”
The archbishop snaps, “Father Profectus knows that I have forbidden any such discussion with the infidels.”
“The Muslims promised Father Prefectus that the discussion would be a private affair between scholars.”
“And was it?”
“As soon as the discussion began, they were shouting at each other. The Muslim clerics denied Christ was God. Father Prefectus attacked the Prophet as a blackguard and an adulterer. The shouting got so loud that the al-Khurs were summoned. In the presence of the al-Khur officer, the good father continued bellowing his insults.”
“And Father Prefectus could scarcely retract his statements before the cadiz.,” the archbishop muses.
“And the cadiz condemned Father Prefectus to death,” Father Juan says. But this is not the complete story.
Abbot Spera, the pastor of San Zoil’s parish, claimed that he had found a way to demonstrate the falsity of Islamic teachings to anyone with an open mind. One day the abbot made his idle boast to Father Prefectus. Prefectus decided to master Spera’s irrefutable logic. The two clerics spent many hours developing Abbot Spera’s arguments by assembling facts that no reasonable person could deny. Daily, Spera and Prefectus honed their arguments never considering any counter arguments or admitting contrary facts. They practiced their rhetorical refutations until the power of their argument was overwhelming. At that point Spera and Prefectus believed no person could deny that it was Christianity’s destiny to rule the world. Eulogius and Alvaro studied under Spera and Prefectus. Eulogius and his ‘Exalted Ones’ praised Spera and Prefectus to their parishoners, declaring them to be God’s prophets. Spera and Prefectus committed their arguments to writings. It was these writings that the Muslim imans challenged Profectus to defend.
“Do you know what the emir’s informants are telling him, Father Juan?”
“No, Your Excellency.”
“They tell him that a conspiracy exists among Christians to overthrow his rule. They name Garcia, Alvaro, a renegade Jew turned Christian, and Father Eulogius as the leaders of other insurrectionists called the The Exalted Ones. That’s what the emir is being told, Father Juan.” Once again the archbishop glances at the papal legate, but the pope’s representative has fallen asleep. The archbishop turns back to Father Juan. “Soon these mad fools will exhaust the emir’s patience, and his al-Khurs will begin wielding the executioner’s scimitar.”
Father Juan says nothing.
“Do you know that every third man in Eulogius’ Exalted Ones are one of the emir’s spies?” the archbishop asks. The priest’s eyes flash. Didn’t know that? the archbishop gloats. “But that’s not my concern.” The archbishop glares at the priest. “Do you want to know my concern, Father Juan?”
“Yes,” Father Juan replies, “if Your Excellency wishes to share his concern with his humble servant.”
“I am concerned that our Christian community will suffer for Father Eulogius’ heresy.” The archbishop leans forward emphasizing his words.
A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 8 7
“What would you have me do, Excellency?” Juan asks.
“We must convince the emir that the Catholic Church is not behind this disturbance,” the archbishop replies. “He must be informed about our efforts to maintain the Peace of the Prophet.”
“His Holiness does not want tbe emir to see the Christians of Spain as a group of dangerous troublemakers,” the papal legate interjects.
“Do you understand, Father?” the archbishop asks.
“You must communicate with Father Eulogius,” the archbishop commands..“Tell him how we feel.”
“Yes, Your Eminence,” Father Juan replies bowing low.
Offering his ring to the lips of the old priest, the archbishop dismisses him, with a wave of his hand. Father Juan wastes no time communicating the synod’s concerns to Father Eulogius.
“The first duty of the Church is to survive, my son,” Father Juan informs Father Eulogius. Father Juan summoned Father Eulogius under the authority of the synod. “You and your followers, those madmen you call the Exalted Ones, could provoke the emir into destroying us altogether. You do recognize that he has the power to wipe out the Christian quarter, don’t you?”
“Might does not make right. Father,” Eulogius responds. “If we do not resist these blackamoors, they’ll destroy us. Not all at once, but by wearing down our faith, by stripping our churches of penitents and by showing our young men an Islamic heaven where each man enjoys six concubines.”
“You, Alvaro and your entire band of exalted followers are going to bring down the emir’s wrath upon Catholic Church.”
“And if we, ourselves, are martyred?” Eulogius asks.
“When a man embarks upon a course of action that deliberately causes his own death, he is committing suicide,” Father Juan chastises the younger man. “Suicide is a grave sin.”
“I find this line of reasoning strange,” Eulogius says.“You could have made the same accusation against the saintly martyrs of the early Church.”
“No, Father Eulogius,” Juan replies. “The early martyrs were true victims. They suffered for being Christians; they resisted to the death the worship of the Emperor as a god. Here nothing of the sort takes place. Here, you and your fanatics are bent upon provoking emir. Christians dwell peacefully in this land. We practice our faith freely and are not forced to worship Allah. We’ve been, for the most part, able to keep our churches open, say Mass, hear confessions and bring our children up in the Christian faith, without hindrance. Why do you provoke martyrdoms by insulting an Islamic faith that hath treated Christians most kindly.”
Eulogius rolls his eyes to the sky as if to pray for guidance before responding. “We are the guardians of our flock. Daily our flock chafes under the heel of this dusky tribe of Africans who extort life’s toil from our men and cheat their children of their patrimony.”
A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 8 9
“Your meaning is unclear, my son,” Father Juan says..
“We have met with many of the Christian nobility. One of their chief concerns is the taxes they must pay to the emir.”
To this, Father Juan answers,“We all must pay the emir’s taxes. But taxes do not threaten the existence of the church! Taxes are imposed even by Christian rulers.”
“The emir has enacted a prohibition against the sweet sound of church bells. He has forbidden the passing of holy images in solemn procession through the streets.” Eulogius repeats the list of Christian grievances.
“Martyrdom is justified when the faith’s in danger, my son,” Father Juan explains. “Here in Córdoba, our faith is protected by the highest power of the state ____ and endangered by mad fools like you.”
“I may be mad,” says the priest, “but I am far more interested in saving our faith here in Spain than you realize. You think the battle here is between the Christians and Muslims. But everywhere heretics, schismatics and apostates assault the One,True Catholic Faith. We must deal with Gnostics, Manicheans, Dolomites and, worst of all Arians.Yes the True Church is under threat, but not by these sons of Ham who will soon be back
where they belong. We are threatened by the heretics in the ranks of the true
Christians. In this battle, no quarter is asked or given.”
The elderly priest pauses to reflect. Of course, he knew of these heresies. Withholding comment, Juan says, “Go on, my son.”
“You see, Father,” Eulogius continues, imitating Abbot Spera’ legendary patience, “we have a choice whether or not to be victims.”
“How is that, my son?” Juan asks. The elderly priest is really intrigued.
“Victims believe in the permanence of the world. They cannot look into the future and ‘see ’what can happen, what will happen or what must happen. Victims lack the intelligence to carry out the destiny that God has ordained for them.”
“We of the True Catholic Faith,” Father Juan concedes, “must, as you say, contend with dangers which threaten our existence ____ heresies, schisms as well as the plots that secular powers hatch to further their own ends. But the Church cannot lose priests and parishioners at a time when our numbers are yet small and growing smaller.”
A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 9 1
“Father, let me explain the Abbott Spera’s teachings.” With that Eulogius launches into a discussion that he believes willl impact Father Juan’s thinking.
“Man is the only animal whose restlessness is projected as a religious principle,” Eulogius says. “Father,” You must tell the synod that I, too, fear for the existence of the True Faith. But I know that the threat comes not from the emir and his dusky darkies. They have not the intelligence to build a lasting civilization. They are not smart enough to defeat us. Their only purpose is to give us the resources and the time necessary to defeat our real enemies. Our real enemies, if given the opportunity, can and will destroy us! Even as we speak, agents from the kingdom of Asturias are gathering the intelligence necessary for the conquest of Spain by Arian Christians. This conquest will eliminate the Moors and establish the rule of the Goths under Arian Christianity. And the One,True Catholic Faith has no worse enemy than this Arian heresy. I believe that even the archbishop and the papal legate would agree that far better to sacrifice the blood of
martyrs and prevent the re-emergence of the Arian heresy.” And with that Father Eulogius departs.
Father Juan reports back to the archbishop and the papal legate. The archbishop summons Eulogious to another meeting of the synod. The archbishop had no idea that Arian Christians were massing in the kingdom of Asturias. They would wipe out Muslims and Catholics as well. If King Alfonso conquered Spain, the Holy Father could not rely upon the Christian church of Spain to be completely loyal to the One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church of Rome.
“My lord archbishop and distinguished members of this Holy Synod.” Father Eulogius addresses the synod, confident of the outcome. “Agents of the Arian heretic, Alfonso, have predicted that Alfonso will defeat the Muslims. Even the Moors, themselves, have heard the prediction.”.
“Who would spread such blasphemy?” asks the papal legate.
“Abu L ’Fath Nasr, the Emir’s own vizier,” replies Eulogius.
“And, if this defeat comes at the hands of the Arian, Alfonso, what hope will there be for the One True Catholic Church in Spain?” Eulogius looks around and knows he has the synod’s attention.
“My lords,” Eulogius continues, “that castrate, Abu L ’Fath Nasr, plots with the Christian heretics serving Alfonso. If we of the True Catholic Faith do not act, those Asturian barbarians will spread Arianism throughout Spain at the point of a sword.”
“What do you recommend?” the archbishop asks.
“We must look to the learned Abbot Spera for guidance,” Eulogius replies. The ambitious
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young priest looks over at the abbot sitting as a member of the synod. The abbot nods to his protégé.
“My Lord Abbot?”
“Your Excellency,” the senior cleric answers, “Father Eulogius has shown us the way. Those heretics that Alfonso has placed among us must pledge their obedience to the True Faith, by their own martyrdom, if necessary. And the plot against the emir must be foiled.”
“What is the nature of the plot?” The papal legate asks.
“Nasr plans to overthrow the emir and put the emir’s cousin, al-Kamil ibn Abd al-Karim on the throne.”
“Who is this al-Kamil?”
“He is the illegitimate son of the Goth, Alaric Teudisson. Teudisson, an Arian. His son’s seizure of the throne will pave the way for King Alfonso’s invasion,” A hush falls over the synod.
“My Lord,” the archbishop gaspss, “do you think they will succeed?”
“With God’s help,” Eulogius exclaims, “we will defeat them.”
“May I address the synod?” It was Father Juan who speaks.
“Speak, my son,” the archbishop says.
“Your Eminence, I believe that Father Eulogius presents one of the greatest challenges facing the Church since the time of the great persecutions and the catacombs.”
A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 9 7
“What is your recommendation, Brother?” the archbishop asks.
“I recommend that we appoint Father Eulogius to lead us in this struggle,” Father Juan says, “and that he be appointed to fill the vacant post left by the late bishop of Toledo.”
The synod approves Father Juan’s recommendation immediately although none of the members understood how sending Father Eulogius several hundred miles away from Cordoba would help in the struggle.
A V I C T I M ’S G U I L T 9 9
If the al-Khur sentries posted on the Alcazar’s wall had been watching more closely, they might have noticed a solitary, lurking figure. The tall, bearded priest keeps to the shadows, cautiously groping his way towards a secret entrance. The priest was wrapped in a magical black robe. The robe was not brilliant or shining like the black robes worn by the great prelates and wealthy lords. Nor was the robe a stern, overpowering black like those worn by the al-Khurs. The priest’s robe was a dull, lightless black ___ like the black of a sorcerer’s cloak which could absorb all light so that all that remained was invisibility. Silently, an opening appears in the wall and the priest slips into the Alcazar. Within minutes, he is shown into the grand vizier’s private apartments.
“Welcome, Father Juan,” Abu L ’Fath Nasr greets his guest. “Please make yourself comfortable.”
The elderly priest finds his way over to an ottoman. Nasr’s apartment occupies an entire wing of the vizier ’s palace. The high domed reception area holds a battalion of slaves standing attentive to their master’s commands.
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Mountains of fruit, meats and pastries served in plates of gold lay on the sideboards; wine, white and red, is available in golden goblets. Musicians, dancers and other varieties of entertainment are immediately available. Nasr’s palace boasts luxury and ease.
“My Lord Lengvold …”—as that was Nasr ’s Gothic name, “I bring news.”
“What is it ?”
“At Eulogius’ insistence, the synod decided to launch an inquisition against us.”
“Were you not successful in getting him appointed to the bishopric of Toledo?” Nasr asks mildly. “At least that is what my agents inform me.”
“Yes, milord,” Father Juan replies, “but even so, he declared that we who serve good King Alfonso are heretics and the synod authorized him to take measures to root us out.”
“I feared as much,”Nasr observes. “Eulogius was never a man of his word, but when ambition controls a man’s soul, he is no longer useful. So now Eulogius believes that he can outwit me.”
“Eulogius intends to capture the informants we have inserted into his Exalted Ones. He means to blind us.”
Nasr holds his hand up to his visitor as he ponders these developments. After several minutes, he nods for Father Juan to continue. “Eulogius has put himself in a very strong position, m’lord. He knows we can’t touch him or else he’ll make our plans known to the emir. And …”
“And both of us will loose our heads,” Nasr says completing the Arian priest’s thought. “Intelligent men, my good Father Juan, leave nothing to chance. There is only one kind of luck ___ bad luck. Eulogius must be eliminated before he becomes our undoing.”
“As you know,” Father Juan says, “I am a true servant of my God and a loyal subject to our liege lord, King Alfonso, but as I stand here, I believe much use can still be made of Father Eulogius. I believe him, in his heart, to be a true Arian. Once we begin our march,
he will serve us well.”
“How so, Father?” Nasr asks.
“Eulogius wants to destroy Arab rule over Christianity,” Father Juan observes. “And in this endeavor, I believe him to be right. It is not God’s will that Moors rule over white men. We will not be their victims.”
“You intend to lecture me on the principles of arianism?” Nasr sneers. “I am one of those who have sacrificed all for our eventual triumph.”
“Of course, you are right, milord,” Juan replies. “We of the noble race must take back the innocent conscience of the beast of prey,” Father Juan repeats the arian credo. “Arians rule triumphant. Arians murder, rape and torture with an innocent soul. Our God Jesus Christ provided us the sign of the cross. It was he who gave us the sign of power, the sign of death. In the words of our mighty ancestor, Charlemagne, In hoc signo, vinces, in this sign, we shall conquer. Our deeds provide poets and historians with material for song and praise of the noble race, beasts of prey, splendidly merciless, prowling about in search of loot, spoils and blood. Our civilization continues to grow and expand because our people remain true to the Arian faith.”
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“How quickly we forget the old ways and the old beliefs,” Nasr lectures. “We live under
the decadent rule of these black devils and I think that we must be constantly on guard for the protection of our immortal souls.”
“I understand, m’lord,” Father Juan agrees. “Until we have taken control, Eulogius is to be considered an enemy.”
“After all,” Nasr warns, “Eulogius could disrupt our liege lord, King Alfonso, and his plans.”
“So what is it that you propose, milord?”
“Report back to our liege lord, King Alfonso,” Nasr says. “Tell him our plans.”
“I will do as you command.”
“Tomorrow, I will inform Lady Tarub that she is to proceed.”
The next day Prince Kamil sat at his usual place in the vizier’s palace working on a mountain of correspondence for the emir. But Kamil was not concentrating on the emir’s work; he was thinking about the emir’s wife. Kamil was in love and everyone around him knew it ___ they just didn’t know with whom. Kamil thought only of tonight. Tonight everything would change. Kamil turned the whole thing over in his mind. This is absolute folly, Kamil tells himself. He would be tortured and beheaded. But Kamil didn’t care about getting caught. The idea of being tortured didn’t matter. He could still feel her body crushed against his. Her frangrance lingered, stimulating his every nerve. His body tingles just remembering her feel, her touch ___ and the ache in his loins was as real as the death that follows from the thrust of a spear. But all of this he would endure for spending a night of ecstasy with his Umm, the Lady Tarub.
Nasr had directed al-Harrani, the emir’s physician to prepare a poison that Tarub would put into Al Rahman’s drink. The physician sent a warning to the emir through another wife. The Lady Fakhr, an Egyptian princess, had been the emir’s favorite wife until she was displaced by the fair-skinned Tarub. The emir didn’t trust the Lady Fakhr ___ for obvious reasons. Fakhr hated Tarub. The court physician’s warning seemed to have gone undelivered. The danger for Lady Sumayla and her foolish son increases.
“Thank you for attending me, milady,” Nasr says. He was sitting on Lady Sumayla’s own dais in the great reception hall. Nasr was a man of above average height, but he appeared smaller because of the girth of his middle. Nasr was dressed in the resplendent robes of a Moorish nobleman. From the round paunch, hangs a dagger in a golden scabbard. Nasr’s jeweled fingers continually plays with the dagger, his arian heart yearning to plunge the dagger’s razor-sharp blade into the heart of some pitiful slave. Nasr’s steel blue eyes gaze at Sumayla from beneath his close fitting white turban.
“Lord Nasr,”Lady Sumayla advances towards the grand vizier. “This is an unexpected surprise. To what do I owe the honor of this visit?”
“I think, Lady Sumayla,” Nasr says, “we must move more quickly with our plans.”
“Why the suddenness?” the princess asks.
“Since the execution of Father Prefectus, the emir has become more cautious,” Nasr says. “Will this block your plans?” Sumayla asks, hoping that everything will come to a stop.
“I control the al-Khurs,” Nasr snaps. “But now that we have given Eulogius his martyr, we must begin the next phase of our plans, immediately.” Nasr’s eyes denote his excitement. “You do want your son on the throne, don’t you?”
“I have a mother’s fear for the safety of her son,” Sumayla answers.
“Don’t worry,” Nasr assures his protege. “Everything is in place. Before we are finished, Eulogius and his Exalted Ones will have created so much confusion and instability that, after the emir’s death, Kamil will be welcomed onto the throne.”
Sumayla doesn’t trust Nasr.
“And with him,” Nasr smiles glancing over at Frank Yerby, “we have the ability to assure our success. What information have you gotten from your guest?”
“I’ve been hesitant to approach him with any specifics,” Lady Sumayla confesses.
Nasr eyes his long-time protégé considering how much he will enjoy killing her once he doesn’t need her anymore ___ which will be very soon. Nasr hates her black face and her superioir attitude. The stake will change that look, Nasr laughs to himself. But I must learn how to control this Frank Yerby, first, Nasr tells himself. Then I will have my own crystal ball and be done with this nigger. And I’m going to enjoy watching her die ___slowly while she’s thinking about it. But to Sumayla Nasr says, “As you know, we have labored long over our mutual goal of putting your son on the throne. Has this not been uppermost in your mind since his birth?”
“Yes,” Lady Sumayla admits. “It has been my earnest desire to see Kamil on the throne, but how can he become emir if they behead him?”
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Kamil must have told her about his affair with Tarub, Nasr thinks to himself. The emir will hear about Kamil and Tarub very soon. And then I’ll all be undone. I must get this thing moving. Nasr stares at Sumayla. His eyes are cold and cruel. “Yes,” Nasr confesses, ”your son has had an indiscreet relationship with the Lady Tarub. The two of us must save him. If the emir leanrs of Kamil’s indiscretions his head will decorate a pole on the wall of the Alcazar.”
Sumayla gives a start. Nasr still has her completely under his control.