A Namir in the Desert

A Namir in the Desert

Farzan spurred his Arabian mare farther and farther from Cairo, hoping desperately that he would outpace his but recent Hash-Ashin brethren. He cursed his ill fortune but above all he cursed his cowardice for not with-taking of the sacred flower that gave the practiced killers an advantage over the Franj. He did not care that seventy-seven virgins no longer waited for him in the afterlife; all that mattered was prolonging the first one.
But now, three days into the desert, the cries of his pursuers came to him on the wind. And in the evening gloam on the windswept Eastern horizon came dots as black as the abyss, that grew larger and larger. Cries of “Allahu akbar! Apostate, apostate!” Swept toward him. He could see the riders, the assassins, as the Franks called them, their slender Damascene swords drawn. They were almost upon him, and so he closed his eyes and breathed a prayer, strangely to another God, other than Allah. And then….
A cry pierced the desert twilight in a language must rougher than the tongue of the Franks. “Gratte Gud, for fraid!” A giant of a man swooped down on a small, hairy black steed. He bore a much heavier sword but could wield it as easily as the slender blades of the assassins. The fittings were strange but the blade was of Damascus steel; odd for it was unknown among the Franks. Besides this he was dressed as much similarly to the Frankish warriors. The man fought with great skill and easily dodged the licking Saracen Blades. Assassins usually rode lightly armored, but still the men knew the places to perform cuts, draws and thrusts. His watered steel was soon stained with the blood of the assassin riders. Had Farzan been able to think, he would have turned and spurred his mount in the opposite direction, but he was too awed at the strange knight’s prowess.
The strange warrior cut down the last of Farzan’s pursuers and afterwards did something very strange. He began to weep and muttered something that sounded like a prayer in that same strange language. “Grotte Gud, nie giltas…”
Not expecting an answer, Farzan asked, “who are you, Sir, and why did you rescue me? Those of our creeds hate each other.”
Farzan was taken aback when the Frank answered in perfect Arabic “the peace of Jesus, to you, my friend. I follow Jesus, not the misguided ones who claim to be his followers. I am on the side of peace. As for my name, I am Sigurd Eriksson, known among your people as al-Namir. You are free to go. Salaam.”
Al-Namir. The tiger of the desert. Hunted by both Godfrey, defender of the holy sepulcher, and Kilij Arslan. They said he was a demon who road Shaitan’s black horse, slaying all in his path. And yet, why did he spare Farzan’s life. Maybe there was something to this Jesus.
“If you’ll permit me good Sir, I want to stay with you neither my brother assassins, nor much less the other Franks have ever show me any kindness. If kindness is the way of this Issa you serve, I should serve him to. Will you tell me more of him, al-Namir.
“Gladly, little brother. I have prayed for forgiveness. Come let the desert bury the dead. May the Lord have mercy on their souls. I pray that the light and peace of Jesus may once again illumine these lands.”

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