LEGEND OF THE TAKING OF THE CASTLE BY THE CHRISTIANS
1. Lia's kindness
2. Ben Iussef's stratagem
3. The Christian's Marriage to the Moor
4. the conspirator and the crime
5. the transfiguration of Lia
6. the plan of revenge
7. strange events
8. the murderer's meeting with the old woman of the water
9. The fulfillment of the prophecy
10. The castle robbery
11. Ben Aligula's escape
7. Strange events
But it happened that the strange events that took place in his room increased in violence and one night he had to fight with a spirit that seemed to him to be flesh and blood and left very clear signs on his face.
Not being able to hide his uneasiness and, why not say it, his fear any longer, he went in search of the Old Woman.
- The fame of your virtue and of your knowledge has reached me. I turn to you to reveal to me the past and to foretell the future.
- Ben Aligula, the years and studies have given me much knowledge and my experience and knowledge of things and men have opened the doors to the unknown, but this is not enough for me to know your past and reveal your future.
I must study the stars, I must know their reactions, but first I need you to tell me what your restlessness is in order to question the stars in that sense.
Tell me clearly: what do you want from me?
- I want to know what it is that brings me in alarm. I need you to tell me if the Christians are secretly preparing to invade my domains and with what power and when.
However, before knowing the future, I wish to know the past, because I understand that it is easier to know what has happened than what is about to happen. With the accuracy with which you reveal the past to Me, I will judge what you can know about the future.
Of all the extraordinary facts that happen in the castle I want you to explain to me why they happen, what is their reason.
- Come back in eight days and you will be informed of everything.
- I'll be back, but I'm warning you now that if you don't come to terms with what happened to me in the past, you'll be hanged right here so that no one else will be fooled by your lies.
- Go away, that won't happen.
In this time of waiting, Lia had several encounters with Jineff.
8. The meeting of the murderer with the old woman from the water
Let us now hear the conversation the old woman had with the Moor:
- Ben Aligula, in your horoscope there are shadows denouncing that your past is not clean. Many have been your crimes and your hands are stained with innocent blood.
Without good reason, but out of simple ambition for power, you murdered your brother.
With such a crime on your conscience, how can you not hear the voices of your remorse? The spirit of the innocent flies around you, and you will never be rid of it as long as you inhabit the castle.
Are your dogs howling? It is the blood of Lia that you have given them to drink and it burns in their veins. So they, like you, can have no rest. And if you do not change the course of events that are about to take place, they will drink your own blood.
These events have already begun to manifest themselves. Yesterday a shadow, a spirit hovered in your room. This spirit left its mark on your face. I can see it. But a few days before...
- Shut up, you. From the past I wish to know nothing more...
- Then let's move on to the future. Your horoscope in the path of the future is not favorable for you either. The blood of the innocent calls for revenge and the time of reckoning approaches.
The Christians are actively preparing to invade your domains and all your power will be powerless to stop them.
You will suffer tremendous defeat and you will see your men passed by the edge of the sword and many of them eaten by the wolves and bears that will come in his army. You will be taken prisoner and Lia's father will have you hanged from the amea where you watched the fire that burned his daughter.
- How dare you say that to me? A prisoner myself? For can anyone pass through the gates of the largest fortress dependent on the Kaliphate of Cordoba?
It is you who will be hung from the battlements of the castle, you old fool, who think you can frighten me with your nonsensical prophecies.
- Stop there, Aligula. You can dispose of my life as you did your brother's and Lia's. You wanted to hear me and I was willing to speak to you, but only to tell you the truth.
I have spent many a sleepless night to read your future in the stars and what I have found out I will not fail to communicate to you.
Then I shall be at your disposal; then you may take me with you, and, if you wish, hang me from the amber of your castle. I am old, life for me has no more charms, but only sorrows and griefs. I will not oppose your designs. Then hear the rest.
The most important communication I have to make to you is this: The gates of your fortress will not be forced by your enemies, they will be opened wide by your men.
Within the castle there are traitors who, for a very small price, have undertaken to sell you to your enemies.
And now, to enlighten you better about the future, I must return to the past. Lia lived happily with your brother, but he was a hindrance to your ambitions.
For you to ascend to the Kaliphate, he had to disappear, and with him, Lia.
With the intrigues and falsehoods you brought to Cordoba, you were given power in the castle. But how could you take power if the entire garrison was hostile to you?
In vain thou soughtst to bribe some men to arrest Lussef, but, as thou couldst not, and thy ambition had no bounds, before an embassy was sent to Cordova, where, after the facts were made clear, the prisoner would be thou, thou didst stain thy hands in thy brother's blood.
The remorse which immediately after so abominable a crime seized you and filled you with dread took away your courage to plunge the dagger into Lia's heart.
Then you handed her over to a platoon who led her to Corujeiras and, after drawing her blood for your dogs, burned her.
One of Lia's murderers, gnawed by remorse, came to your father some time ago and told him everything. You can imagine the anger of that man who vowed to have no rest until he had reduced the fortress to a heap of ruins and its inhabitants to ashes.
At this moment, his emissaries travel throughout Christendom raising troops against the tyrant murderer of his daughter. This army, driven by the desire for revenge, will take everything by fire and sword.
To its destructive impetus, nothing will resist. In the day of reckoning, yours will betray you and you will be handed over to your enemies. Your sentence is already written: you will be hung on the amea where you were watching the fire that burned Lia.
But you, in flight, may yet save yourself and your own. The heart of Christians is not given to revenge. Lia's father will be content to burn the fortress and will not pass on.
Accept to flee to Coimbra and there, if you are content to serve as a servant, you may end your days in peace, if a murderous heart can have peace.
And now, that you may know that what I have said to you is true, I will give you a testimony, and thus you will take for granted what now seems doubtful to you.
At this moment, his emissaries travel throughout Christendom raising troops against the tyrant murderer of his daughter. This army, moved by the desire for vengeance, will take everything with iron and fire.
Nothing will resist its destructive impetus. On the day of reckoning, yours will betray you and you will be handed over to your enemies. Your sentence is already written: you will be hung on the amea where you were watching the fire that burned Lia.
But you, in your escape, will still be able to save yourself and your people. The Christian's heart is not given to revenge. Lia's father will be content to burn the fortress and will not move on.
Accept to flee to Coimbra, and there, if you are content to serve as a servant, you may end your days in peace, if a murderous heart can have peace. And now, so that you may know that what I have told you is true, I will give you a testimony, and thus you will take for granted what now seems doubtful to you.
Tomorrow, when you wake up, you will find near you the sign of truth - the image of him who gave his life for men.
When you retire to your room examine thoroughly all that is there to be sure that she is not there and cannot get in if you close all the doors and windows securely.
The appearance of the cross during the night is the sign of truth, the testimony of what I have affirmed to you.
- Go prepare yourself, old sorceress, to leave this life. I will take such precautions that nothing may enter my room without my consent.
Know that it is not possible for any sign to appear there and the non-appearance of that testimony of which you speak to me means your death sentence. You will be burned as a wicked witch.
- But I say to you again that He, the Christ of Mercy, will be in your room in the morning. And before his presence will you still doubt the Old Woman?
- Now you're trying to get me to take credit for the impossible. You're crazy. And I've come to believe in your knowledge.
How could I not have seen, from your eccentricities, that you were a lunatic? But a dangerous lunatic for the ignorant, for just as you seem convinced that you speak the truth, you want, by force, to make people believe you, and this may cause great harm.
Did you not say a moment ago that if I wanted to save my life, I had to flee to Coimbra? If I believed you and fled, might I not compromise the security of the Kaliphate of Cordoba?
No, old fool, I cannot consent to your foolish prophecies in my domain.
In the morning I will send for you, and in the afternoon you will be burned in the castle's Plaza de Armas. I will leave you alone during the night so that you can ask Allah for forgiveness for your follies.
- What if the sign appears, Ben Aligula? And if thine eyes behold the Redeemer of Christians, wilt thou still command me to burn? On the faith of my soul, once more I swear to you: The Crucified One in the morning shall be with thee that thou mayest know that Allah is with the Christians and that Allah has forsaken thee because of thy crimes.
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