Chapter 1.0 The Last Battle
The threat to Spain and the Holy Roman Catholic Emperor King Charles the Fifth, was being tested to its fullest. The Moslim corsairs were being brash with their high seas Piracy around the Mediterranean. The only way for King Charles to take control of this situation and perhaps add to his wealth, was to offer them some kind of pact.
“Your most gracious Majesty!” The Spanish envoy knelt in humble servitude and kissed the shoed feet of Barbarossa. He then stood up and moved a couple of paces backwards. “I am Don Chucho, Maria Garcia-Carrion. Captain of the Royal guard. I have been sent by his gracious emissary of God and the people of Spain, the most Holy Roman Catholic Emperor; King Charles the fifth. He asks that you join him in…” Barbarossa raised his right hand and cut the envoy off in mid sentence. Sitting in his chair, he looked every part of a mighty conqueror, even an emperor. He was in thought. He reached out to a plate of dates, where he took a few and put one at a time into his mouth, each time spitting out the pith into the hands of a Negro slave standing nearby. Staring at the messenger from the king of Spain, he was offered a bowl and cloth to wash and dry his hands “Captain Chucho! You are the messenger doing a brave mans work. But your name suggests that the man king, has sent a girl and you are named after a prophet.” Barbarossa laughed uncontrollably. He even wiped away his tears. Captain Chucho’s waited patiently, and wondered what the joke was about as a smile appeared on his face. The interpreter slowly spoke the words of Barbarossa. But the messenger was furious. His face was now contorted in rage. He hand gripped his dagger. He was within striking distance, where he could plunge the thin cold steel deep into the heart of this Moslim pig. But! A hand was placed on his, to stop him committing his own death. “Captain, Sir.” The captain’s aide sat quietly behind.
He leant across and whispered in his ear. “We must entertain these Moslims as if they were our honoured guests in the kings court.” Another remark came from one of the Moslim generals, that was sat to one side of the tent. “A girl prophet is amongst us. How can this be? The Prophet is a man that is as big as a mountain.” With the acceptation of the Spanish, the Moslim generals and their entourage gathered within the tent, erupted in laughter. Barbarossa sat back into his seat and controlled himself again. “You come to talk of business and yet we have not shared food or wine of Arabia. Your demands may be met with a sympathetic ear if we sit a talk a while, girl prophet.” Barbarossa’s hard dark eyed stare sent a chill through the messenger’s body. He could not afford to lose his head and nerve now, thought the captain. They were the all conquering Spanish army, this was no different to any other war he had found himself in.
“My King is impatient your majesty and needs this dealt with as a matter of urgency. The storm that blows out at sea causes him much anguish.” The envoy bowed his head once more.
“We shall take some refreshment and eat some dates, this we shall do.” Barbarossa raised his hand again. Moments later a flurry of servants entered the tent and laid food and refreshment on the carpeted floor. The servants stood like statues nearby, as Barbarossa left his seat and sat on the carpet with some of his Berber generals, who also moves closer into the circle. Washing and drying their hands, Barbarossa looked up, and beckoned the envoy to sit closer. “Let us eat, drink, and talk not of war, but of trivial things. This is how we do things here.”
The Spanish envoy was not amused; his impatience was his kings’ impatience. But he tempered his arrogance and the urgency of which he was sent. “I believe in Gods will Captain Prophet.” Said Barbarossa. His taunting of the young Spanish army captain was getting under the skin of the Spanish. But they knew they had to temper their anger. “I have other business elsewhere and I will be away, for many days. I am in no hurry to become at one with you. It is God’s will and you must accept that.” There was a muted reverence from the generals to the prophet Mohammad. ‘Allah u aqbar.’ “Now we have refreshed ourselves, we can talk.” The Spanish envoy fidgeted on the carpet, his armour digging into his hips.
“My king has sent me to give you a message. He wants you to know that he holds your position here in high regard. But your siege in Buda will not be tolerated, and your army is to withdraw, or suffer the consequences.” The dark brown eyes of Barbarossa burrowed deep into those of the messenger. He twirled his long red, trimmed beard in thought. He got up from the carpet and walked back over to his seat. He arranged himself in his carved, wooden chair; draped in fine cloths, adorned with gold, and jewels. His Negro slave servants scurried around clearing the food from the carpet, and he washed his hands again. He was the man the Great Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent called; Hayreddin Barbarossa, the one that was good of all Islam, and what it was to be a true Moslim. But to the King of Spain, this Barbarossa was red beard the corsair; a barbaric murderer, a scourge on the high seas. “What does your King, Emperor of Christians offer messenger?”
Captain Chucho was sure that Barbarossa would accept his kings’ offer and then, go back the encampment with the good news. The all conquering Spanish and Arab force would be joined together by his wit and words. He would be praised by the king and perhaps a higher position in the war council would be offered to him. “The King has offered you and your general’s, seats at the table of the conquest of Europe and lands to the north of Flanders and beyond, he also adds; that you become his Highest of Admirals here, and ruler over all the territories in the North of Tunis, Algiers and more. Do you accept this offer?” There was silence at that moment. The Moslim generals held their breaths at the impertinence of the messenger. These Infidels did not know how to ask politely and they had no care for their ways. Barbarossa smiled coyly at the messenger. “A kingdom all of my own you say! All the territories in North Africa and a position of High Admiral.
For your Christian King at his side. Messenger!” Barbarossa reached out and picked a date from a silver dish that was being held by a servant, and stared at it. “You see this date messenger! It has been picked for me, as is my wish. I eat them when I want; as it gives me great pleasure.” Barbarossa stared directly into the eyes of the Spanish envoy who was still sitting on the carpet. “It is not your Kings country to do as he pleases, like this date it is not his to take, as he pleases. You are a Christian, and do not follow our ways. The custom here for non-believers, the kufar of which you are just one of many, shall be put to death.”
The messenger was taken aback at such words. The sweat on his body seemed to run even more. No one could turn down such an offer, and survive such blasphemous words towards his king and indeed the title bestowed upon him of Holy Roman Catholic Emperor. “I urge you to reconsider such offerings, as they may not be offered again, your highness.” Said the envoy, bowing his head slightly in reverence, but also there was a wavering in his voice. “Spaniard, I hear your Christian words. But there is a higher authority here than of us both, and of all these people in this tent. Allah!” A chorus of ’Allah u aqbar,’ was heard around the envoy. “I hear Allah saying not to put you to death this day, so I will let you go free; but with a message for your king.” Barbarossa nodded towards the entrance way where guards were standing patiently. The envoy was dragged from the tent with his entourage of four soldiers; his harsh words fading as he and the others were lead away. The kings’ envoy was sent back with Barbarossa’s message.