“Yes, that’s my brother—or rather, both of my brothers,” Aimery told the Marquis. He was standing beside Ibelin and Montferrat on the ramparts of the outer gate of Tyre. Since Salah ad-Din had broken off his siege a year and a half earlier, Montferrat had rebuild and reinforced this gate, and they had a good view down to the men assembled on the causeway. These were led by Guy and Geoffrey de Lusignan, the Bishop of Lydda, and Queen Sibylla, the latter riding in a horse litter bedecked with white and gold hangings.
“Open the gates to your King and Queen!” Guy de Lusignan called up, in a voice that was weakened by distance and partly blown away by the breeze off the sea.
Monferrat did not hesitate for a second. He leaned forward between two of the parapets and shouted a decisive, “NO!”
“This is King Guy and Queen Sibylla!” Guy answered, apparently still convinced they had not recognized him.
“I know who you are, Lusignan!” Montferrat shouted back. “But you’re not welcome here, and I have no intention of letting you in!”
Ibelin was watching the exchange from the crenelation next to the one Montferrat was standing in. He was gratified by the look of utter disbelief on Lusignan’s face. Guy’s mouth dropped open, and then he turned to his wife and brother. A flurry of consultations took place, inaudible on the battlements. Finally, however, Geoffrey de Lusignan raised his voice and shouted: “Are you denying the city to the rightful King of Jerusalem?”
“Rightful king?” Montferrat called back. “Who says that? What I see is a usurper who lost his stolen kingdom at Hattin. He’s got no right to Tyre, since he would have lost that, too, but for me!”
“He is the anointed King of Jerusalem!” Geoffrey de Lusignan shouted. “If you don’t obey him, you commit treason!”
“How? I never swore an oath of fealty to him!”
The indignation on the causeway was palpable, and on the tower the Constable stalked over to Ibelin to demand sharply, “Speak up, damn it! I can’t, because I’ve bound myself to Montferrat. But you didn’t, so say something!”
“Why?” Ibelin asked back, turning a cold gaze on the Constable. They stared at one another.
“Because you did take an oath to my brother!”
“I did, didn’t I? I didn’t have the backbone my brother did. I was too worried about my lands and my wealth, and look where it got me? Your brother repaid our loyalty by losing every goddamned inch of his kingdom! If that isn’t God’s judgment on his usurpation of the throne, I don’t know what is. As for speaking up, I’m just a landless knight with no authority here. Go argue with Montferrat if you don’t like what he’s doing.” Ibelin gestured in the direction of the Marquis in his blue velvet surcoat, glittering with gold trim.
Aimery looked from Ibelin to Montferrat. The Marquis was shouting yet another negative reply, to another demand for admittance. Quite aside from the oath he’d sworn, Aimery recognized that trying to argue with Montferrat would be futile. He was lord of Tyre, and had no reason whatever for letting in trouble in the form of a man who called himself king but had no kingdom, much less a woman who should have been a queen but was only a pathetic wife to her utterly discredited husband.
The worst part of it, Aimery admitted, was that he agreed with Ibelin and Montferrat both: his brother did not deserve to be admitted here. It would have been better for them all had he died at Hattin—or better yet, before he had led them to such an unnecessary defeat in the first place.
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