Journal from the Year of Our Lord 1212: Not Paris
Paris, I thought, Rome.
Fool that I am. Non, we are in Lisbon at the court of the King of Portugal. At least we're off the boat. The Templars are fine enough sailors, but the storm in the Cantabrian Sea was unavoidable. I've never been so sick, felt so weak, so powerless, so tiny under the foot of God. For a time I thought death might bring release, but I was only despairing of my own misery.
What am I doing? What have I gotten myself into? My fellow envoys, Sirs Thomas and Ralph want nothing to do with me; acting as if I'm nothing more than their scribbler. So be it, Peter told me otherwise and he is King John's Chancellor. Still, Peter's not here, and while I've been trained to wield a pen they've got their swords.
God's teeth, if they were my only worry. Alas, Lisbon is not our final destination. We are simply here to 'have a good story' as Peter told me. For certes, we have met with the court officials and the men from Leon, Castille, Navarre, and Aragon. Nonetheless, we are not here to seek aid from the Iberians, nor offer them aid in the coming war against Caliph Al Nasir's Moors.
Nay, we are to seek out the infidel in his Satanic Lair! We are to congregate with Mohameddans, and not to convert or kill them. Why has my King sent us to meet Caliph Al-Nasir? Why, to seek an alliance! What better way for an Excommunicated King to seek England's salvation from Pope Innocent's Interdict! What better way to save England from King Phillip's Army, amassing in Normandy as I write this.
And having never done such a blasphemous thing, how are we to acquire an audience with one of the Devil's own princes? We're going to sail until they surround us and pray for our lives, pray they don't sink us, or devour our very bodies!
The Sirs are coming, and they have girls.
I must pray . . .