The battle of Inab
Blood continued to fall upon the desert sands as the battle raged to its historic conclusion. The extraordinary conflict between both sides was reaching a fevered high, as the Crusaders and the Syrian's slaughtered each other for the glory of their God.
In the midst of the battle a circle of knights fought valiantly against the fanatical warriors of Allah, their blood stained armor and gore soaked swords still flashing brilliantly under the blazing Mediterranean sun. Flying high over them, a beacon of strength to the whole of the army, the banner of Raymond of Antioch whipped in the wind. A volley of arrows from a passing contingent of Turkish horsemen fell upon the knights. Most shattered against the fine Tuscan wrought metal the Crusaders armored themselves in, but one knight was less fortunate as one arrow speared his steed in its eye. The mount reared backwards and then collapsed, dragging its rider down with it.
Seeing his friend Dinadan fall, Raymond of Antioch quickly scanned the battlefield, searching for a way to salvage the battle. Surely his Christian God would provide a means of victory over the infidel, he thought. A spear smashed against the side of his shield, dragging Raymond back to the here and now. Turning in his saddle, the prince cleaved through the neck of his attacker, before twisting his around to the right and spearing another Muslim in the face with the tip of his sword. Then he saw the chance for victory that he knew God would provide. Glancing to his left for more opponents, Raymond spotted the tall, swarthy figure of Nur al-Din. The General of the infidel army was surrounded by bodies and without a mount. This was Raymond's chance. Gathering his remaining knights around him, Raymond rallied into a charge. "Deus Vult!!"
At his words, he and the remaining seven knights around him spurred their armored steeds into a charge, sand kicked up around them as they raced towards the heart of the enemy.
With a firm kick, Nur al-Din pushed the body of another Christian soldier from his sword with the familiar wet sucking sound. Thanks to his leadership and the strength of Allah, the infidel's attempt to retake Edessa and capture the Independent City of Damascus had failed. With a victory here, outside the walls of Inab, Nur al-Din, atabeg of Aleppo, would destroy the army of Antioch and put the final nail in the coffin of the Second Crusade.
The pounding of hooves against the desert sand and the cries of 'Deus Vult' alerted Nur al-Din to the charge of the Christian knights. A sputtering of arrows rained down upon the knights, but failed to bring any down. The thunder of the hooves got louder and he knew that his chances of surviving a charge on foot were slim. The brave atabeg noticed the banner of the prince of Antioch flying as the horsemen got closer and clenched his teeth in fury. A renewed vigor came upon Nur al-Din as he whispered a prayer to Allah, preparing as best he could for the knights baring down on him.
Dropping into a crouch, Nur al-Din could practically smell the sweat of the horses. Staring down the end of a lowered lance, he prepared for paradise, when from behind him a dozen horses filled the shrinking gap. He heard the voice of his lieutenant Shirkuh calling out to him moments before the two forces collided with the clatter of metal and the screams of the newly wounded. Nur al-Din rolled to the side, under the belly of a shaggy brown beast and sliced upwards as he tumbled past. The warhorse let out a choked whinny, before tumbling to the ground in a cloud of dust.
When the dust cleared, Nur al-Din saw that the rider was unharmed and in fact on his feet. Though splashed with its fair share of blood and grime, the insignia on the Crusader's shield was clear. As their best warriors clamored around them, the Prince of Antioch and the atabeg of Aleppo fixed stares and lunged at one another.
"There is a pit waiting for you in hell, cur!" Raymond cursed, even as he just barely brought his shield up to deflect his opponents latest cut. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw one of the knights of his number fell another of the enemies of Christ. As the infidel died, he jerked back on his horses reins, toppling the mare to the ground as it kicked franticly. A wave of sand blinded Raymond, as Nur al-Din wove around to his right. Swinging his long sword quickly downwards, Raymond just barely deflected the Syrian's attack.
"Nay. Your Crusade ends here .. with your death usurper." Nur al-Din replied in latin, as he continued circling, whirling his scimitar in a defensive pattern, that caught the suns dying light hauntingly. Raymond lunged forward leading with the tip of his sword, and while the atabeg managed to parry the sword downwards, the Crusader's shield collided with Nur al-Din and knocked him tumbling to the ground.
"Victory!" Raymond cried out, knowing that God had delivered this prize to him and fueled with that strength he lifted his sword to the sky. The Prince's sword cut downwards through the air, but rather then spraying blood as it struck its foe, sparks flew as a loud clang sounded.
Nur al-Din, the champion of Syria and successor of Zangi, had managed to get to one knee and struggled to halt the swing of his opponent. Raymond's eyes went wide and spit flew from his lips as he roared, dropping his shield to grip his sword in both hands and break Nur al-Din's resistance. Nur al-Din growled low in his throat, trying with all his strength to turn aside the Prince's strike, but the sand was giving way under him and his muscles were tiring by the second. With one last effort, Nur al-Din twisted to the left as he turned his sword in the opposite direction. The Muslim howled in pain as Raymond's sword sliced down the side of his right arm, shearing the flesh into so many tattered rags.
But Nur al-Din ignored the pain and leapt to his feet. With the sand crunching beneath his soles, the fearsome swordsman swept his scimitar in a cruel arc at Raymond's back. Off balance from the strength of his swing, Nur al-Din's blade slipped between Raymond's armored plates, slicing across his lower back and spine. With a gurgle of pain, Raymond fell to his knees. Glancing over his shoulder with hatred in his eyes, Raymond of Antioch saw the curved blade moments before it cleaved his head from his shoulders.
Nur al-Din Zangi wasted no time, swooping in and grabbing the Prince's severed head by the hair. Lifting it upwards for all to see, he sought to rally his men to victory. The battle of Inab was all but won.