Monday, August 16, 2004

The Allegrezza Ficcione Part 7 - from: von Holstein's "The Wanderings"

"I was well-treated by my captors, but although I was allowed much freedom in their Castle, & generously provided for with food & vestments, I had been starved of conversation. I have only a few words of the Unbelievers' tongue; & to hear my own language, even if only in the form of a poor Hauptdeutsch, brought tears to my eyes.

"Al'Farah told me he was a southern European, no more specific than that, who had arrived at Smyrna from Genoa seven years before. His goal was to reach the Eastern Lands, to establish opportunities for trade, to bring back porcelain & textiles, especially the cloth called seres, silk, named after the people from whence it came.

"How he had travelled, first by ship to Iskenderun , & then to Mosul across the Aljazirah Mountains. How he had realised how unprepared he was for such a journey as awaited him so sought prenticeship with a merchant there, to learn the language & the customs. Had taken a local name, a translation of his own. How he had been approached by an agent of the great son of Sabbah, offering him service in Tabriz, ostensibly part of the Empire of Persia but in reality part of the vast domain of Hassan i Sabbah. That he had accepted, for a stipulated period of five years, in return for more learning.

"How that time was now up & so he had come to Alamut to pay homage & to say goodbye. That he would still go East; but now it was the journey, not the endpoint, that was important."
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