The Tiger and the Cauldron – Epilogue

Baidu was executed by Ghazan’s order on the very day of the latter’s triumphant entry into Tabriz. He had been Il-khan for only six months. Ghazan was formally enthroned two weeks later. It was the beginning of November in the year 1295 by the Western calendar. That same winter, Marco Polo, his father and his …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron[42]

Chapter 42 Rashid was travelling again. Now that the war was almost over, he expected to feel relieved, however there were new daily frustrations to take the place of the old. Since crossing the Alburz into the plain of the Caspian in what Ghazan planned as a victory march, they had encountered the late summer …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(41)

Chapter 41 Sabbah slammed the door shut and turned the key savagely in the lock. He inspected his thumb on which the blood had begun to congeal. ‘You heard?’ he demanded of Sayyid and Mujir, neither of whom had moved from his position as guard. ‘We heard.’ ‘You will forget!’ Sabbah growled. ‘Swear it.’ ‘I …

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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(28)

Chapter 28 THE VALLEY OF THE ASSASSINS The rock on which the once impregnable fortress of Alamut stood lay in the heart of the Alburz Mountains. There were many such rocks and many such fortresses in the region, but three had earned a place in popular myth, Lamasar, Maymun-Diz and Alamut itself - last bastions …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(26)

Chapter 26 Sabbah and Nazim raised the portcullis. Khumar, having despatched the one remaining guard with his sword, descended to ground level and went to calm the terrified ponies. The commotion had drawn some servants from the villa and they watched these proceedings from the inner gate, perplexed and reluctant to intervene. Doquz got to …

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The Tiger and the Cauldron(25)

Chapter 25 The next hours were almost a blank. They rode hard, not stopping, leaving Tabriz far behind. Doquz remembered only darkness and the glint of moonlight on water. Then there were grey skies and drizzle. She did not remark the changes in the terrain. The swordsman had not spoken again and she followed him …

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