“The Patriarch of Jerusalem has threatened to put the entire city of Jerusalem under interdict if an excommunicate sets foot in it.”
“What?” Johnny gasped. “Are you serious?” He was flabbergasted.
“You need to stick your nose outside the Emperor’s camp more often, Johnny. This ‘treaty’ the Emperor has signed stinks worse than a sow’s ass. It only lasts ten years for a start—after which point in time the Saracens will immediately take control of Jerusalem again because the treaty denies us the right to fortify it! Indeed, it denies us the right to fortify any of our major border fortresses—not to mention leaving the Temple Mount in Muslim hands—you can imagine how that went down with the Knights Templar! It also prohibits us from taking offensive action against the Saracens in any other theater, so we can’t attack Egypt. And if that’s not enough, think about this: it is a personal treaty between the Emperor and al-Kamil. It is not binding on other Saracen leaders, most notably the Sultan of Damascus, who happens to think—with every legal justification—he is the legitimate Saracen ruler of Jerusalem. In short, the Emperor’s ‘treaty’ isn’t worth the paper it’s written on, and would be better used to wipe his ass!”
“Balian!” Johnny was genuinely shocked to hear his usually gallant older brother use such crude language. “What does Father say?”
“The same thing—only more politely. The Templars are ready to explode. The Hospitallers are, for once, siding with the Templars. And the Lords of Outremer are refusing to accompany the Emperor to Jerusalem. I really don’t think he’ll miss me,” Balian concluded cynically.
Johnny was stunned. All he’d heard in the Emperor’s household was what a “genius” the Emperor was to win a “bloodless victory.” Everyone had raved about Jerusalem being “restored.” No one had mentioned it was only for ten years—or that the Sultan of Damascus, not being bound by the treaty, might take it from them before then.
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