Crusader Gold

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Logline or Premise
Facing the pointless end to the third crusade, the knights were looking to return home with more than just terrible nightmares!
First 10 Pages


The Treasures of Alexander the Great have intrigued people ever since he amassed them after his victory at Damascus. The lure of such vast amounts of wealth has taunted people for centuries. Many risked their lives to acquire them. Many gave their lives to protect them. This story takes place in the twelfth century at the end of the Third Crusade, when European monarchs strove for empirical dominance. It was a time when life was brutal, men were courageous, and women were at the behest of these men’s desires. Crusader Gold follows the fortunes and misfortunes of those who defended Alexander’s treasures, and the Crusaders who went to great lengths to seize them. Those French Knights intended to use their hoard to fund future humanitarian ventures across Europe. But as history has shown, the relocation of the treasures to places of safekeeping has led to the mysteries that have enshrouded them to this day. When the young Alexandrian, Yasheed, breaks his oath to the protection of Alexander’s treasures, to spare his and his father’s life from the gallows, he sets a course that changes his own future as much as it does for his executioners. The knowledge Yasheed shares with the French General Pierre Favre and the French Knight Colonel Bertrand Resolu, sparks a thrilling adventure into the mysteries of hidden treasures, and the lengths men will take, to possess them. When the stakes were high enough, lives were expendable, and combat was brutal. Crusader Gold is a story of courage, commitment, camaraderie and daring. However, it is also a story about Alexander’s treasures and the spirit and determination of the men and women committed to their protection. Following Boomerang Gold and Masquerade Gold, this is the final book in the “Gold” trilogy

Syria 321BC

The General crouched behind the crest of a sand dune, out of view. Despite the sting of the sand that whipped his face and the heat of the desert winds which drilled into him, Ptolemy maintained his focus. From his vantage point, he watched what seemed to be an unending trail of camels, horses, and humans as it meandered between dunes and dry-river desert plains. The General knew the sarcophagus resting in the gold embossed palanquin near to the front of the procession was where his former commander’s body lay. Alexander had died two years ago, but it was only now his body was making its way back to Macedonia. However, Ptolemy, being one of Alexander’s Generals as well as one of his closest friends, knew this was not the wish of his former King. Alexander may have died without naming a successor, but Ptolemy had discussed death with his King on many occasions and a decision to lay his body in Macedonia had not been his commander’s wish. Ptolemy’s most trusted scout, Mateo, was with him, high on the dunes. Even though they were well out of hearing range and in a position where they believed they were out of sight, Mateo whispered. He asked, “General Ptolemy, do you still expect us to take Alexander the Great’s body today? We have surveyed the caravan. It’s men far outnumber our own!” “Alexander The Great? Is that what people are calling our former Commander and King now, Alexander the Great?” asked Ptolemy.

“Yes General. It is quite common around our army that Alexander is referred to as a ‘Great’!” “I like the sound of it!” remarked Ptolemy. “As for the reclamation of Alexander’s body. Yes. We will eventually take the sarcophagus. Mateo asked his General, “Eventually? We are looking at the funeral procession you had me follow. What plans do you have for the sarcophagus and the treasure? I see the men are behind us, ready for battle.” Ptolemy paused, “While you all prepared for what may have been a violent incursion into the funeral procession, I devised a plan so it could be done without bloodshed! I just had to ensure we made it to this point in the journey.” Mateo was stunned, “Recoup the body, without conflict or bloodshed? How?” Ptolemy’s sun-cracked lips broke into a smile, “I bribed the head bodyguard to redirect the route at this point. Those in the procession will be none the wiser until it is too late. So, we will shadow the procession, to make sure there are no threats to what we see before us. When it is safe to do so, we honour our King’s wish and act to rest his body at his chosen place: The Oasis of Siwa!” “The Oasis of Siwa?” Mateo was apprehensive. “Are we to move on to Siwa after securing the King’s body?” “No, young Mateo,” Ptolemy explained, “We will assure safe passage of the King’s remains to Memphis. While Alexandria is being built and fortified, our former commander will rest in Memphis.” The General added, “Should I die before the city is built, I will have my successor’s move the King’s body to Alexandria and then to its final resting place in Siwa. Those were the wishes of our esteemed leader, the one you refer to as Alexander the Great!”

The inquisitive Mateo showed more concern, “The sarcophagus is plated in gold and stands at least three men tall. Will we be the target of Arabian bandits on our move to Memphis?” “Quite possibly, Mateo, though those below us have travelled from Babylon and have braved the conditions and hazards of these desert plains, so I see no reason for our army to be concerned. The riches of Alexander are not with that procession down there. Most already know that.” Ptolemy sounded reassuring. Mateo nodded, as he accepted his general’s reasoning. He whispered, “Yes, one of my first assignments as a scout was to assist with the transport of the conquered treasures of Persia to Greece.” Ptolemy let out a small sarcastic laugh. “Mateo, yes you helped move great amounts of wealth to Greece. However, Alexander knew an over-abundance of such treasures would corrupt the country. So, while you were escorting much of the riches back to Greece, large portions of it were taken to other locations, stored in waiting, ready for Alexander’s move to Alexandria. Alexandria was to be the centre of his empire!” “How by the grace of the Gods did you accomplish that, without there being any talk about it?” asked Mateo. Ptolemy explained, “Those involved were well compensated as they were sworn to secrecy. They were offered a Brotherhood. You may have heard of them, Brothers of Order?” “Perhaps, General,” replied Mateo. “I have heard rumours that such a Brotherhood exists. So, what happened to those who wished to return to their normal duties following the concealments, and those who may have been tempted to divulge such secrets?” “Well,” said Ptolemy, “At first, this Brotherhood became a somewhat bloody affair, but those who remain, respect the cost a man can pay for dishonesty and distrust!” Mateo gulped, “You mean death, don’t you!”

“Yes,” replied Ptolemy. “We could not afford the locations of the treasures to be revealed. And in honour of our deceased leader and friend, I wish to continue the desires of Alexander the Great to make Alexandria the most powerful city in the world!” Mateo paused. He looked down from the dune. The caravan had stopped as man and animal alike rested. He had realised his general’s motives. He said, more as an assertion than a whisper, “That is the significance of us retrieving Alexander’s body. His presence shows power wherever it may lie!” Ptolemy looked Mateo in the eyes, “Yes Mateo, your sentiments are true.” With conviction, the General stated, “It all starts here.” He then asked, “Are you willing to support me, and honour Alexander the Great’s wishes?” “Yes General.” Mateo spoke with authority. “You have my word that I, and all those with us, in honour of Alexander the Great, are prepared to follow you wherever you lead us!” Mateo’s reassurances satisfied Ptolemy’s doubts. He gave an order, “Go down to the camp and instruct the men to shadow the funeral caravan. Advise them it will snake its way to Memphis. Also, I need you to scout ahead. Should you come across Arabian bandits inform me immediately and we’ll deal with them. The procession must continue without any delays.” Mateo nodded, took a few steps, and turned, “General, since we are no longer a threat, do you really think bandits may attempt to attack?” Ptolemy gestured toward the funeral caravan, “You’ve seen the sarcophagus, and the palanquin is coated in gold. There is every reason a brazen bandit may want to chance his luck and attack. It’s best we are prepared for all threats!”

The Blois Massacre 1171

Delano felt resplendent in his new military attire. His days as a squire behind him, the suit of armour hung heavy from his shoulders. It hid his youth but not his demeanour. With stilted steps he paraded for the house maids. He struggled to walk under the burden of weight, but he did so with prowess at the honour of being presented such elaborate regalia by his uncle, Count Theobald the Fifth of Champagne. The gold embossed armour with its distinctive black lining, the buffed and polished helmet, yet to see battle, and the brushed chainmail mesh, shoulder to shoulder, across his upper chest, stood out in the morning light which streamed into the banquet hall. The highly polished glove on his right hand held a crafted sword which swiped and slewed through the air and created glints of recently forged steel. With his left hand he held a small body shield, which matched the colour of his battle suit, and was adorned by the menacing image of a golden lion which complemented the aura of authority this young knight portrayed. At first the house maids were struck by the grandeur of the newly anointed military man, but after several teetering slow-motion steps and gambols to avoid tumbling to the tiled floor, they remembered it was Delano inside the battle uniform. The younger maid, Cebine, who had watched Delano’s entrance to the banquet hall, giggled as she said, “Dear Delano, you look every part the brave knight, but you move like a new-born foal. That will not help you fight off adversaries and rescue a distressed damsel.”

Chervel, the older of the two, also giggled as she added, “Hey young Delano, la Vierge Cebine, she says seeing you in your new suit has made her frail and frisky and she is ready for you to be her first and take her.” Cebine slapped out at her workmate, “No, I never.” Chervel giggled again. To the young knight she said, “Yes, she did, but alas. By the time you walk over here and then get yourself out of that suit, Cebine will be an old woman. Probably married, a mother, and perhaps even a grandmother!” Chervel laughed out loud. Inside the suit, the boy who believed he was now a man, was indignant. Delano said to himself, “Well may these low-life wenches laugh at me today, but it will not be long until they fear me, as will each of my adversaries.” Outside the suit, Chervel’s joviality was jolted from her by the sound of Count Theobald’s voice. Neither of the maid’s had heard their master enter the room. With authority, he said to them, “Why are you not engaged in your assigned duties. Do you wish to join the ranks of those who beg on our streets?” Chervel and Cebine bowed as one. Eyes on their feet, hands clutched in submission, they bowed again, and again. “Sorry Sir,” they mumbled over and over as they backed away and out of the banquet hall. Still talking with an authoritative tone, Theobald addressed Delano. “Nephew. You have been provided with this new suit of armour because of your desire to join the ranks of our esteemed fighting men, not to fraternise with lowly house-staff.” Delano said, “Yes Sir.” But it was lost inside his helmet. It came out as a mumble. Count Theobald spoke on, “If you are to be a knight of mine, you must be a stable and confident one. So, I suggest you accustom yourself to wearing this outfit with gusto. The good Lord knows I need confident men in my forces. There are several issues we Christians must address here in Blois. So, should I need to call on you, then you must be at the ready.”

* * * * *

Crossing the Loire in broad daylight wasn’t any trouble for Bertrand Resolu. The difficult part was to remain unseen while he joined his Jewish friend Elijah and his counterparts who, after they had completed their daily duties, enjoyed a swim in a nearby waterhole. Bertrand’s father, William, was held in high regard in Blois. It was not uncommon for William Resolu to be seen at the same table as Count Theobald the Fifth when attending prominent social outings. William was aware of how familiar Bertrand had become with some of the local Jewish children his age. However, in recent times, there were growing tensions between some aristocrats of Blois, such as Theobald, and the Jewish community. With his son Bertrand reaching an age where he needed to be more politically aware, William demanded the teenager focus on the growing tensions between the gentry and the Jews. His father explained to Bertrand that it was likely many Jewish adults may be arrested. There had been an accusation made that a Jewish man had thrown a child’s body into the Loire River. There was speculation the act had been because of a spiritual ritual. Bertrand was not as easily fooled as many of the adults. He had tried to explain to his father that the false accusations began when a Jew by the name of Isaac Eliezer had dropped some tanned hides into the river. The splash had spooked the horse of the witness who after such a fright made accusations about the disposal of a child’s body. The Jewish community knew the accusations were absurd, as did Bertrand. To infuriate his father even more, Bertrand alleged many of the nobles in the district were upset because Count Theobald had shown more than a fleeting interest in a woman by the name of Pulcelina, who was Jewish.

Bertrand asserted the allegation by telling his father how he and others had witnessed the Count in intimate situations with Pulcelina, several times in the grounds of his estate and once out in the forest beyond the town’s common fields. Such a bold claim about the Count was not well received by Bertrand’s father. But William fell short of reprimanding his son. William knew it was no secret the Count was attracted to the Jewish woman. It was a conversation between many a local noble and had moved beyond the repartee of gossip among the noble’s wives and mistresses. There had also been an accusation of infidelity made by Alix, the Count of Champagne’s wife. To make matters worse, after over-indulging in local sparkling wines one evening, Alix had questioned the Count as to who the true parents of Delano, their adopted nephew, were. The whole confrontation had been scandalous and continued as the topic on many aristocrats’ lips, long after that social evening. So, Bertrand knew the risks of meeting up with Elijah and friends but saw no harm in it. He continued to leave the safe boundaries of his own home to venture to Elijah’s. Getting to Elijah’s house often presented Bertrand with problems as his father had instructed his estate guards to detain and return his son should they see him. Avoiding the guards, took ingenuity, cunning, and what was a developing military mind. But it also took time. This meant he often missed the fun of the swims and comradery of mateship. Nonetheless, if he did arrive too late to join in at the waterhole, Bertrand would still go to Elijah’s house, say a fleeting hello to the family and then sneak back into Blois. On an evening in late Spring, after Bertrand had experienced yet another lengthy evasion of the guards’ prying eyes, he once again missed the swim with his friends. As had become custom, he headed straight to Elijah’s house. Bertrand arrived just as Elijah’s family was finishing their supper.

Bertrand’s visits were welcomed by the family. Elijah’s youngest sister, Bella, enjoyed them the most. She had developed feelings for Bertrand. In fact, she was smitten by him. Members of the family would laugh when Bella was caught staring at Bertrand. A quick rebuke by her father momentarily embarrassed her but no sooner had the adult’s conversation recommenced, she could be seen staring at who she considered such a handsome young visitor. Bertrand felt her gazes and regularly a blush crept up from his neck as a sheepish smile consumed his face. But on this occasion, the conversation was cut short as the floor beneath the table rumbled. Those seated looked at each other. They were confused. Elijah’s father went to the door, opened it a little, and peered out. He turned back to look at his family, his face drained of its natural ruddy complexion. The urgency in his voice belied the composure of his tone, “Elijah! Take Bertrand and your sisters to the barn immediately. Stay there until we come and collect you!” “Who is it, father?” Elijah asked. “Move son! Go now!” Elijah’s father waved his arms about and jostled the youngsters toward the back door. He whispered as he hurried them along. “Men! Knights in armour on horseback! They might be here to arrest us again. Or there may be even more trouble. So, Elijah, please hurry. No more talk. Straight to the barn and stay there.” The children did as their father said. The door slammed closed behind them and they ran to the barn. Once inside, Elijah and Eliana, his older sister, went to the back corner and removed some floorboards. Elijah whispered, “Bertrand, take Bella and hide down under the floor. There is only room for the two of you. Eliana and I will replace the boards and then hide in the hay pile in the other corner. Bertrand took Bella’s hand and they both wriggled, feet first, to crouch in the small dugout below the floorboards. They huddled in the darkness as the timber was replaced above them.

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