We wintered near Constantinople the last time we were all together. Brothers in Christ, sheltering against all odds with the Greeks who had granted safe passage and support for the crusade to recapture Jerusalem. Christendom had been bloodied brutally that day, when Saladin wrested the heart of the world from us, and Christendom had united in opposition to him - Germans and Hungarians, English and French, Genoese and Greeks, our assembled forces were mighty, and God (we thought) was with us - what could stop us?
It seems some sin had been incurred along the way. Our fleet, great in power, proved brief in the space it occupied in the world. As we sailed free of Greece in the spring and hailed the blue waters of the Mediterranean, the skies darkened suddenly about us. Winds out of Hell itself assailed our assemblage, and cast men and ships about like rotten leaves in a stream, and the skies rumbled with the war-drums of Death as shivering white fire splintered wood. The sun was lost to us, and each man looked only to his neighbour for consolement - that against all apparent odds, we might live to see the Holy Land, and see the Eternal City reclaimed.
Some desperate plea or prayer must have pierced the clouded cover and been heard in the halls of Heaven, for the dawning of a new day found our salvation. The fleet was scattered to the four winds, but we had our lives, our faith, and our hope. All we needed now was land.
Thus passes the glory of the world.
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