Come Twilight

Part II Chimenae Prologue

Text of a dispatch presented to Numair ibn Isffah ibn Musa from Timuz ibn Musa ibn Maliq.

In the name of Allah the All-Merciful, I, Timuz ibn Musa ibn Maliq, send this account and petition to you, my illustrious nephew, and inform you that a similar account will be provided to your august father, may Allah show him many years of fortunate life.

The slave San-Ragoz, who was a gift to you from the Emir, your most honored father, has truly escaped, although I have been unable to determine who helped him in this; as it stands now, this misfortune has brought much consternation to your soldiers, particularly those guarding your household, for it has been determined that San-Ragoz departed from his cell, apparently through the window, as one of the bars is missing. It is as yet unknown if anyone assisted him in his escape, although it is unlikely that anyone would be so reckless as to assist your slave in such an enterprise. The window is more than two full stories above the courtyard, so any fall from such a height should have injured-if not broken-his legs, making flight impossible, but there is no indication this has happened. The gate to the courtyard remains closed, so I must conclude that either he scaled the wall, or he found another means to leave the courtyard without alerting any of the guards, which leads me to suppose he was aided in his endeavor. I believe he must have disguised himself and passed out with others departing from this holding around midnight, but I have no proof of it. To determine the truth of this, I have put a dozen of your personal guard to the work of examining all those who were recorded to have left through the gates after sundown.

I must tell you, my nephew, that I disapprove of your intention to make San-Ragoz your personal physician and to blind him so that he might tend to your women without shame. Most particularly, I tell you again that a man who works only at night is a dangerous man to your women; had he not his remarkable gift, I would advise you to kill him and save yourself from danger. But San-Ragoz has saved men others could not. It is not for you to send such a one as San-Ragoz to tend your wives and concubines. Your father, my brother, had no such intention when he sent this slave to you, as you are well-aware. San-Ragoz is known to be an accomplished physician, and such skills as he possesses are too valuable to waste on women, and so you will realize if you submit your will to Allah. You have many soldiers who require treatment for injuries and ills, and who have much greater call upon such a man as this slave than any of your women; it is fitting that you assign any man of such ability to your soldiers, who advance our faith and protect your family as no woman could. If it is Allah's Will that this San-Ragoz remain uncaptured, you may take it as an indication your intentions were contrary to the Will of Allah, which does not become a true follower of the Prophet.

In these days since we have come to this city of Karmona, we have had to maintain our authority with the might of our soldiers and the favor of Allah. To deprive your men of San-Ragoz as a physician in order to have a slave for your women you show that you are not as devoted to the glory of our cause as you have claimed to be. You have sworn an oath to advance the green banner until it is seen throughout the world, and all follow the One True Faith. Any act of yours that impedes this is an abjuration of your oath, and unworthy of you, or your father, my brother, to whom you owe all your allegiance and your dedication, in the name of Allah.

Your soldiers have been told to hunt down San-Ragoz and to return him to you, and insofar as they act as Allah Wills, it shall be done, and the slave shall bow to you again. Your soldiers are sworn to you, and they will not fail you, so long as it is the Will of Allah that they succeed. I have no doubt that they are capable of the task you set them. But if you then continue with your plan and have him blinded, I will no longer stand with your troops on your behalf, nor will I do anything to protect you in any regard, for you will have shown yourself to be beneath my respect, and therefore of no consequence to me. If your father, the Emir-may Allah give him laudable years and many praise-worthy sons-should chastise me for this, I am willing to pay whatever price he demands of me, as is my duty and his right. Yet I warn you again: I will not and cannot support your wanton disregard for the good of your soldiers for nothing more than your women.

I have offered money for any information about this San-Ragoz and I will act upon anything I learn that will lead to his recapture. He has only been gone for two days and a night, and there is no report that he has been able to leave the city. I do not anticipate that this slave can go far, for his branded shoulder will surely be noticed, as is the brand on all slaves. It will not be many days before I bring San-Ragoz to you, and when I do, I ask that you reconsider your decision, and turn the slave to the tasks for which your father sent him to you: the care of your soldiers. Should you fail to do this, you know from this what I pledge to do. You must not doubt my purpose, for it is as firm as my adherence to the cause of the Prophet, and as the two are closely tied together, I will see that your father's intentions are served before your whim. You may defy me-you have surely done so in the past-but I beg you to reflect before you do so in this instance that it is not only your uncle and your father you betray if you do not release the slave San-Ragoz to me for the care of your soldiers, it is the battle for the souls of Islam that you forsake by depriving your men of the medicinal knowledge of this San-Ragoz. What can such treason bring you but disgrace in this life and perpetual darkness after death?

To this I set my hand in Radjab of the year 103 of the Hegira.
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