Abd ar-Rahman wondered if he’d done the right thing, to which he always replied “what else could I have done?” It was what she’d said when he’d discussed it with her--she was his only confidant at the time and he still thought she was right. However, all he had left was the honor of his name and he worried if he had even that now.
Abd ar-Rahman swore to Alfonso I late in the year 753. The move had caused more than a little surprise among the other nobility, particularly Fruela, Alfonso’s eldest son. While obviously an outsider the deposed prince still represented the largest threat to him aside from his own family and that animosity grew as time passed. But Fruela was largely alone in his open distaste for the new and landless knight owing to his own character. Both ar-Rahman and Fruela had taken part in the capture of the Rioja district in the western marches which had been the next logical step after the region of Leon had been fully incorporated into Asturias. But Rioja had held several communities of Basques that were imperfectly enamored of Asturian control, having defied both the late Odo, and the Muslims to the south. It was not through lack of courage they’d been overcome but by being pressed on three sides at once. While ar-Rahman had performed well in the brief skirmishes there, he’d been recalled by the king leaving the region to be fully occupied by the heir, who had gone on to massacre several villages in the region to pacify the rest of it. The tactic had worked but it had not made Fruela very liked.
Abd ar-Rahman on the other hand fared better. Thanks to near constant language lessons from Lisina, he’d managed to acquire a decent command of the language in half a year and by 755 could speak it well enough to lead men and this Alfonso ordered him to do.
Initially ar-Rahman was under supervision, not just by any other nobles that went with him on the missions assigned to him but by the man, Mero, who’d led the patrol to find him but whom he had been allowed to learn was one of the king’s many spies. He was not na´ve enough to think that was the only person the king had watching him, but still found it worth while to establish a relationship with the man who after all was a good fighter and necessarily intelligent--and good fighters were certainly needed. To his surprised the king’s younger son Vimerano also began to accompany him more often and they began to develop a bit of a friendship. Vimerano was disliked by his older brother as well, and combined with the somewhat precarious position of being a “spare” son he could relate to ar-Rahman a little.
News of ar-Rahman’s emergence under the service of the King of Asturias was widespread, but it was almost too unbelievable to be true and many in Al-Andalus didn’t. For reasons of his own the king had not proclaimed the news and the first most of his people knew of it was if ar-Rahman actually met them on tasks for the king. For unlike landed nobility, all he had was service to the aging king and so we constantly busy. By 755 he was already being trusted to lead raids against al-Andalus and his enemy, it’s governor al-Fihri. That he was often with more of Alfonso’s trustworthy nobles did not detract from his accomplishments which were admirable.
He’d been educated by the finest schools in Damascus and now he’d been blooded in small skirmishes and raids across the border, he knew of arts and sciences though not as much as a dedicated scholar would, and after learning the language and having his circumstances bettered, he displayed a decent sense of humor as well. He was able to suggest several administrative improvements in the kingdom that somewhat reduced the fractiousness of the nobles and tied the population together more tightly than had been the case and Asturias was better for it. As the king often sent him to small towns and regions to implement these suggestions, he became a somewhat familiar figure to most of the population of the mountainous kingdom with his Arab name and red hair and figure.
Even many of the nobles once seeing that he was not about to turn on them and slay them if they refused to convert or turn traitor at the first chance began to become more friendly to him. For ar-Rahman’s part that wasn’t particularly difficult. His family had always been rather practically minded and if more private obeisance was what the situation called for, that was acceptable.
As expected, he also grew closer to the servant who’d helped him escape and learned a little bit of her story--taken in a raid as a child from a convent she’d had some basic education. Being attached to one of the upper-class ladies associated with the governor’s family, her education had been furthered by her mistress who was amused at the presence of quick mind of one of the northerners and she was at that.
Adb ar-Rahman had resigned himself to living the life of a very minor noble for the most part, though he still often dreamed of revenge and did take more than a little pleasure in raiding the Abbasid lands on a regular basis. The situation was less serious than it had been it the past Vimerano told him, because the Franks were fully engaged in capturing the Narbonne area from the Caliphate as Pepin’s Kingdom was much the larger threat. As much news as they got seemed positive for the Franks.
Then in 757 everything changed. Alfonso died and Fruela became king. Ar-Rahman had been worried for that day for some time as without the king’s patronage he would have little but to his surprise the nobility led by Vimerano had managed to convince the king not to simply dismiss him out of hand. He was removed from the Duero marches and sent east to the edge of the Vasconian and Basque lands on a mission to try and extend Asturian power by diplomacy, a largely thank-less task he supposed but at least it was something and he needed that support now more than ever, for Lisina was newly pregnant and he had no doubts about the child.
To his surprise and likely the surprise of many others his mission succeeded. Not quickly at first, and there were many setbacks but over the course of 757, ar-Rahman had managed to convince most of the leadership of the countries, currently under Frankish influence to also assist them in future wars with the Muslims. They had chafed under Frankish leadership being so recently free as their cousins to the west and a promise of greater autonomy induced them to offer assistance as long as it did not involve attacking the Franks.
He was so occupied in the task that he had failed to notice the growing dissatisfaction with Fruela who was growing increasingly oppressive the more he ruled and if rumor could believe, paranoid. He began to worry about his family there so close to a man who hated him for mistress and their son, Salamon, a name acceptable to both his own culture and hers and wondered if he should send for them. All he had was in the capital and they would be living hard, so too his son was a newborn… but in the end the decision was taken from him.
Last edited by MNP; June 5th, 2009 at 02:11 AM..