Guy remounted and found his way to the main cobbled square built around a well. He easily identified the manor since it was the largest building in town, with a tithe barn at right angles to it. Guy jumped down from Mamluk and pounded on the door of the manor compound. “Attack!” he shouted this time. “The camp is under attack!”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than three crossbow bolts thunked almost simultaneously into the wall around him. He spun around. Imperial troops knelt at the head of another street leading to the square, reloading. “Help!” Guy screamed at the barred gate. “Let me in!”
A second volley of crossbows landed all around Guy. Mamluk whinnied, reared up, and bolted for safety. He torn the skin from Guy’s palm in his escape, and Guy cried out in pain and terror. Just as the third volley landed, a hand dragged him inside the compound. Men had flooded out onto the rooftop terrace that sat over the vaulted chambers housing the stables and storerooms. From there they had a better view, and orders were being shouted to arm and tack up the horses.
Baldwin, dressed in his shirt and gambeson, but bare-legged and without armor, plunged down the exterior stairs to demand roughly of Guy. “What the hell is going on?”
“The Sicilians! They’ve attacked the camp from both the road and sea. I woke the Lord of Karpas on the way here—”
Baldwin was no longer listening. He bounded up the stairs to the terrace shouting to the King. “I don’t care if you’re dressed or not! Get out now!” Then leaning over the edge of the terrace he shouted to Guy. “Tack up Ajax!”
Guy responded to the order from his older brother without a second thought. He rushed into the stables, found the familiar, massive white stallion and with nervous hands that made the stallion fret even more, he set to work on tacking him up, one of the grooms coming to his assistance.
Even before he was finished, Baldwin came in and demanded the horse. When Guy led him out into the courtyard, Baldwin boosted King Henry into the saddle rather than mounting himself. “When we open those gates, we’ll rush the archers,” Baldwin told the King, “and you ride for Acre! Do you understand me? You don’t look back! You don’t wait to see what happens to us! You don’t stop to answer questions or give assistance or even for a drink of water! Ajax can make it! He’s been bred for it. Gallop all the way to Acre. Get word to my father that we have been ambushed!”
King Henry opened his mouth to say something, but Baldwin had already turned away and was grabbing a hauberk and helmet from his squire. Beside him was their cousin Jacques and other knights, all donning armor or girding on swords. They were all barefoot and some still lacked helmets, but a shout from the roof said the enemy was advancing. Baldwin looked back to the king. “As soon as this gate opens, kick Ajax with all your strength, sire! It is your only chance! You must not fall into their hands!”
Then Baldwin turned back toward the gate, drew his sword and ordered the gate opened.
As the gate swung open, Baldwin sprang forward, supported by Jacques and the other Cypriot knights. They shouted variously, “Ibelin!”, “Lusignan!”, and “St. George!”
King Henry kicked Ajax, and Guy gave him a hefty slap on the haunches for good measure. The stallion sprang forward, skidding on the tiles before he got his footing. Then he bolted out of the compound gate.
Guy drew a deep breath and grabbed his sword. After only a second to collect his courage, he ran out to join his brother and cousin in the street fight.
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