The Tiger and the Cauldron(39)

Chapter 39 ZAGROS The brown dust road stretched out in both directions with no sign of life or habitation save the droppings of countless sheep and goats. Now rising, then falling, it ran with scarcely a bend across the arid terrain between the darker, russet brown of the hills. Fifteen or twenty parasangs on, it …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(37)

Chapter 37 The skulls and other remains were removed from the square and buried in the public garden. The ash was brushed away and the paving cleaned. Sabbah undertook to supervise the gathering up of all serviceable weapons, which were brought to the citadel, while Khumar attended to the task of digging pits to receive …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(36)

Chapter 36 QAZVIN Sabbah and his party turned the corner into the square. His face, already bloody and grim, puckered in an expression that seemed to mix rage with revulsion. Fakhr ad-Din, who had been leaning on his shoulder for support, sank to his knees with a groan. ‘What in the name of Satan and …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(35)

Chapter 35 TALAQAN Ghazan had launched everything into the attack. His archers in two pincer waves strove to cut into Baidu’s flanks while five thousand heavy cavalrymen from the Khorasan tumen mounted two charges against the enemy’s front ranks. Rashid watched apprehensively from the hilltop. The last hour had been one of inactivity for him …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(34)

Chapter 34 QAZVIN The western walls of Qazvin looked very strong and forbidding, thought Hassan, and the gate, one of seven round the city, very small and narrow. Doquz, crouching ten paces away, her eyes fixed frowningly on the guards’ positions, seemed to be above fear. It was beyond him to understand what she had …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(33)

Chapter 33 Doquz squatted in the shade of the battlements and covered her face with her hands. ‘Was that very foolish, Sabbah?’ she asked. ‘The man’s attitude infuriated me but I should not have reacted as I did.’ ‘Foolish or not, they have gone, or will have gone soon,’ Hassan said. ‘Zanjani had only contempt …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(32)

Chapter 32 TALAQAN Ghazan’s forces had twice driven a wedge into the centre of Baidu’s army and twice they had been driven back. Twice his regiments of picked archers had closed on the enemy flanks like the claws of a gigantic eagle, releasing hail after hail of arrows into their midst, and twice they had …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(31)

Chapter 31 Dawn came too quickly for Hassan. He had hardly slept but his body felt warm and alive. Doquz lay close to him beneath the double blanket, her wounded arm still wrapped round his chest, one knee pressing against his belly and her cheek nuzzling his chin. Over the last fortnight the growth of …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(30)

Chapter 30 Note: the parasang is an old Persian measure of distance, equal to about 5.5 kilometres The mechanism built by the Assassins for drawing water had long been dismantled, however a search of the caves uncovered some urns and wine casks abandoned by later occupiers of the fortress. Most were damaged or wasted beyond …

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