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The Crescent and the Cross

Chapter Text

Early summer of 1174, November 26

Yusuf ibn Ayub, better known as Saladin, had successfully conquered Damascus from it's emir, Gumushtigin, Saladin entered the Citadel of Damascus to find it's inhabitants and it's soldiers welcoming and cheering him from it's low streets to it's high buildings and houses, he trotted with his horse across the citadel until he became the center of it's people, and with a loud voice, he spoke to them.

"Hear me, people of Damascus! In the name of Allah, the most gracious, the most merciful! Forgive me that I have entered your city by force, but now that it is done, I do not wish for any further blood to be spilled, not from me, nor from you, rejoice and know, that I will not exile any of you out of their home, all of you will be treated with fairness and justice, and you all know me to be a man of his words, however, I only wish to unite all of Islamic states and people under one banner, that is the banner of Islam, to fight the oppression and the injustice of the disbelievers and heretics, and to reconquer Jerusalem from it's Christian hands and back to the Islamic hands, God most high said: ((Hold fast, all of you, to the rope of God and do not become divided)), join your brothers in the struggle against the enemies of the Almighty God as one man, be welcomed to Him in the afterlife as martyrs,  and he shall reward you with a forever life in paradise! I myself, shall raise my sword and strike it unto the bodies of the disbelievers, who among you shall join me?!".

With the powerful speech ended, many and various people of all sorts, whether villagers or soldiers, raced with any weapons and arms they can carry, came in thousands to Saladin's army, one of whom, was a man called Islam ibn Abdullah of Damascus, who overheard the speech from his window at his home, when he saw people from the city rushing with their weapons and armor ready, he too was inspired to fight with hi fellows brothers, he grabbed a chest from under his bed and opened it, inside, was a scimitar, shield and armor that belonged to his father, whom was a commander in the Zengid army.

When Islam stepped out of his house, bearing his father's armor, sword and shield, he went to the stable which was near his house, untied his father's war horse, and rode to Saladin, galloping through the streets, he saw Saladin among many volunteers, welcoming each and every one of them unto his army "Saladin! Saladin!" He called, to which Saladin noticed the man in armor riding his horse, coming to him.

Islam dismounted from his horse and stood in front of Saladin "Peace be upon you, Saladin, my name is Islam ibn Abdullah of Damascus, I have come to join your army to fight the Christians, may my sword serve you and all Muslims righteously" Said Islam with a confident voice.

Saladin couldn't tell what did he like about this man, was it his determination that he saw in his eyes? Or was it his eagerness to offer his services to him even if it meant sacrificing himself? All in all, he was more than happy to allow this strong and worthy man to fight in his army, he dismounted from his horse as well and faced Islam, placing his hand over his shoulder "Then from this day on, you shall be known as Islam of Damascus, the sword of righteousness" He smiled, climbed atop his horse and called his army to move out.

Islam climbed his horse too and followed Saladin's army outside of the citadel, on his way, he heard familiar voices calling his name "Islam? Islam is that you?!".

Islam turned to the direction of where he heard the voices and quickly recognized the faces he saw "My friends" He galloped across the ranks of the army to his ten friends "I see you have also joined Saladin's army" He said.

"Yes, you are not the only one who knows how to handle a weapon, remember, we were all soldiers once" Said one of Islam's friends.

"Even though we are not skilled or experienced as the rest of Saladin's army, we will become so in the future, god-willing" said another.

"My brothers, this is the beginning of our time, it is time to show the world the power of God and his followers, together, we will strike forth as one and die as one if needs be" Islam and his friends talked with each other throughout their journey along with Saladin's army.

Meanwhile

Two Templar knights, Christopher and his younger brother, Robert of St, Albans, have completed the ceremony of becoming crusaders and were on a ship on the Mediterranean sea carrying many knights that sailed to Jerusalem.

"This is it Robert, we will be arriving in Acre soon" Said Christopher, to his un-paying attention brother that was looking at the sea, Christopher noticed this and went next to him "What troubles you, Robert?" He asked.

Sighed Robert "Why did you have to suggest that we become Crusaders, was it necessary?" Said his doubtful young brother.

"Come now Robert, we both are knights of the Temple, it is crucial for us to become Crusaders, it is a way for our sins to be erased for good and defend our fellow Christians from whatever evil there is in the world, the Almighty Lord has ordered us to go to Jerusalem and defend his holy city from the Saracen infidels, would you disobey a direct order from our Lord, Jesus?" Asked Christopher, raising his eyebrow.

"I dare not, but, I was never a fighting man, even as a knight, I'd rather protect and defend rather than go out and fight" Replied Robert.

"Then protect your fellow Christians from the harm of the Devil, defend the holy city of Jerusalem which our Lord was crucified, do this, and you are assured a path to Heaven" Said his encouraging older brother.

"What nonsense! You two won't be standing alive within a year in Jerusalem!" Said an arrogant voice behind them, which it's owner was a French Noble Crusader named Roland of St. Denis "It's no wonder why Jerusalem needs reinforcements, since it's only active army are made of incompetent fools that know nothing of warfare" He continued.

"Oh, and do you think you are capable of defending Jerusalem?!" Asked Christopher.

"Hah! I can defend the Holy City all by myself without the need of an army, for I have the sword Durandal, and the armor of Roland, that is blessed by angels" Roland unsheathed his sword and swung it to show it's swiftness "What a waste it is to send these pathetic weaklings to Jerusalem, don't they know that I am enough to protect it?" Roland spoke in a mocking manner.

Christopher's fist clenched upon hearing Roland's arrogance that angered him, and he would like nothing more than to beat him, but remembered that this would come with a later and serious consequence, he calmed his anger and spoke up.

"Enough Roland, have you forgotten we are all Christians? It is bad luck and sinful to be fighting amongst ourselves when we should be fighting together, we are all the soldiers of God, not just you" He said "Hmph!" Huffed Roland and left.

"Pay no attention to him, Robert, his cocky behaviour will be the end of him" Said Christopher, turning to Robert.

"What if he's right though? We aren't strong or great soldiers, only men, weak men with no power" Said Robert.

"Robert! Do not dare say such a word, I will not have it that the brother of Christopher, a knight of St. Albans would be seen as weak!" Said Christopher, then took out an amulet which had two Templar knights riding together "See this? Those two knights are us, we are the very symbol of the Knights Templar, we wear the armor of God, the shield of faith, and the sword of the spirit which is the word of God himself, for that, as long as we both do not stray from his path, he shall always give us strength and courage to defeat his enemies" Said Christopher, once more encouraging his brother.

Robert after that had his doubtfulness swept away by Christopher's moving words "You're right brother, forgive me, I know not what came over me that made me speak such words, it was weak of me to doubt that the Lord will forsaken us, thank you" Said Robert, smiling.

Christopher placed his arm around Robert "Fear not, God will never leave you, and nor will I, we shall live and fight together as true brothers, protecting Jerusalem to even our last breath, so long as we not stray off his path, He is with us, that I promise you" Said Christopher, with that, they spent the rest of the journey to Jerusalem together with their fellow knights.