OOC: It will get more traditional and less story based as I move ahead more quickly later on.
“Wake up! Wake up!” he opened his eyes to the sound of Lisina’s voice. She wasn’t alone, by her side was an old man, a berber. Any questions he wanted to ask died when they opened the gate. “Get Bedr up too,” Lisina said as she turned to exchange words with the older man.
Bedr woke quickly and with his characteristic of going fully awake almost immediately. He sat up and grasped the situation. “Thank you,” he said.
“Not for you sake,” she said but ar-Rahman noticed she did not look at him. “Follow us,” she said with a wave and he found himself amused momentarily that she was apparently in charge. But then the amusement vanished, was it funny that he was escaping? He concentrated on the headscarf she was wearing as he followed her, the cloth was a simple brown.
“I planned for this for some time,” Lisina whispered to him as they went down the empty hall. Suddenly they turned and slid behind a door partially obscured by a tapestry and he found himself in a store room. “Put these one,” she said handing him a bundle.
Robes of course, a fairly simple trick. They would all be Berber tribesmen from the country it looked like. But that was ridiculous, in the governor’s palace? She made a face when he said so, a cross between annoyance and excitement. Ah, she had an answer for him and she was full of what she knew of course.
“The disguise does not have to work well here, we’ve used other methods,” she said with a nod at the Berber.
“Money,” Bedr said quietly as he slipped into the robes. A rich old Berber man? This was beyond bizarre.
“But why would you help us?” Ar-Rahman asked the old man.
“I knew your mother.”
In the end it proved to a bit more complex than that. Lisina and the old man had managed to bribe their way out of governors palace and quickly merged into the streets of the capital. They had also ensured (or so they hoped) that the guards would not report him missing until the morning. The old man refused however to answer any questions staying quiet and saying only that would understand later. To his Abd ar-Rahman’s surprise, a pair of horses were waiting in a hidden place outside the city. A tense moment came when Lisina asked to come with them. It was known she often was selected to bring him his meals though no one had thought it suspicious before. This was only one of several rather good reasons for coming along. In the end, ar-Rahman led her ride behind him though it was not particularly proper. It was after all an emergency.
“Find a way,” the old man said as they left, “to bring us peace.”
“Where did you find him? ar-Rahman asked her.
But she only answered, “He found me.”
Preposterous as it made seem, Abd ar-Rahman made his escape with his servant and the slave with the help of a mysterious old man. But things were worse than he’d thought. The governor perhaps worried over his potential replacement had dealt very harshly with any potential troublemakers in the months ar-Rahman had been imprisoned. No one it seemed was willing to rally to his cause, and that was only partly because of the oppression; al-Fihri’s attempt to discredit him had worked--everyone had heard of or seen him mocked and embarrassed in the public squares of Cordoba and most of his aura as the last Prince of the Umayyad Dynasty was as dead as the rest of his family.
All across al-Andalus it was the same, made even more difficult by his need to keep silent. Most would not report him but a few did and two men and a woman traveling were not something to forget even if Lisina had dyed her blond hair black. He was forced to head north to Zaragoza, that endlessly rebellious region, surrounded by the Christians. If anyone would rebel it was the ruler of Zaragoza. But it was a slim hope, they had been crushed not 2 years before and it would take time for them to forget the retribution meted out. Despite himself, he was impressed, al-Fihri had managed to pacify Al-Andalus for the time being. Though of course, with this much repression when the revolts came they would be many times greater. Ar-Rahman even knew why he did it, to demonstrate to the Caliph that he deserved to keep this post far from the capital where he was a law largely onto himself and the presence of the frontier so close made everything an emergency.
But his attempt at support had not gone unnoticed.
And so it was that the three of them found themselves riding recklessly east and northwards along what Lisina called the Desert of Duero, named after the river. An utterly wild region, there was no where for them to hide as the governor’s men rode after them. He was not about to let ar-Rahman get away. He’d already tried to rebel and managed to escape captivity twice, this time ar-Rahman knew, he would not get a second chance.
But burdened as they were, they could not escape and so finally had to stop and contemplate a last stand. Even Lisina had a knife to die with at last, she said bleakly with a glance at ar-Rahman. And it was then that Bedr placed Lisina on his horse and urged ar-Rahman to go on. He refused of course but the other man insisted and they were forced to part. For the rest of his days he would think kindly on the Greeks of Bedr’s race. Loyal and faithful and courageous. Bedr was slain much as ar-Rahman’s brother had been years before when he had first fled, but they did not see because they were already riding north into lands Lisina vaguely remembered from her girlhood. And it was there, as the governor’s men were approaching them that they were surrounded by another armed group, but this one speaking a language he could hardly understand.
Behind them the governor’s men stopped considering their options. They were out numbered here, and far from the border with the Christians now. Looking back ar-Rahman could see them start to come after him but relent. When the stand off had passed the leader of the party of armed men approached him and said something, he caught a word here or there but could not understand.
He pointed at Lisina.
“Introduce yourself,” she said.
He gave his name.
“More,” Lisina said. “Tell them who you are, everything….” She looked excited. He noticed a hand clenching on reins of the horse. She shouldn’t know how to ride, not a slave girl, but she did. Odd. But he could delay no longer.
“Very well,” he sighed.
“You know my name, now know my ancestors. My grandfather was Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, of Damascus. Commander of the Faithful. 10 our line to be so.”
When Lisina translated that there was uproar. Even here they’d heard of the transfer of power from his family to that of al-’Abbas. One blurted out something. He looked to Lisina who seemed reluctant to translate but finally did.
“He said, he thought you were all dead.”
“I survive,” he said simply. The man nodded and waved to the others around him, who moved in and took his weapon but otherwise let him be. Then he said something else. Looking to Lisina again she translated it for him.
“He said: Welcome to Asturias.”
In September of 753, Abd ar-Rahman was taken into custody by the soldiers of Alfonso I, King of Asturias.