The Cid Campeador Simply Rodrigo 5C .pdf
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THE CID CAMPEADOR
THE CID CAMPEADOR
CARLOS DEL SOLO
I - Spring of the year 1063.
Ramiro I of Aragon besieges the city of Graus.
I never thought a battle was anything so fierce. Until now, I had
only had contact with the weapons in the trainings with my good
friend Prince Sancho...
Now, it was different, very different. In the workouts, I couldn't see
the blood run this way. Maybe the blood of some small cut or gall, but
nothing of importance. Right now, I am seeing as the limbs of the
fighters are cut, the heads with the neck almost cut are twisted to one
side and the body, which almost does not hold them, collapses and
crashes against the floor. The field is a mud, but it is not water that
turns the earth into mud, it is the blood... Screaming, screaming
everywhere. Wailing and weeping. Heartbreaking sounds...
Sancho had told me that his father Fernando, the King, had
communicated him that the regent of the taifa of Zaragoza, the
Muslim Al-Muqtadir Billah, had requested help, since the King of
Aragon, Ramiro, had besieged the city of Graus. Our King cannot
deny, since the taifa of Zaragoza pays religiously for his pariahs and,
as against benefit, we must go to his aid when he requires it with
"Rodrigo, my father has told me that I must go to the aid of the
Moor King Al-Muqtadir, from the taifa of Zaragoza. As you know, it
is one of the taifas that religiously pays the pariah imposed by my
father for his protection. It seems that Ramiro, my uncle, King of
All this catches our troops by surprise. Our cavalry breaks ranks,
and tries to reach the new battlefront. The archers stay behind the
troop where the vanguard was before.
What a chaos was made! The Aragonese infantry starts to advance.
We are being attacked by two fronts and in a terrain, that we do not
know. We had just arrived, and it has not given us time to study it.
"Archers, charge and shoot!"
But the archers are frightened, as they watch how are approaching
hundreds of soldiers who have left their spears in their original
position and carry the shield and sword in their hands, while shouting
as possessed by the devil.
"Rodrigo, this looks bad. I thought I'd catch my uncle for surprise.
But, he is an old dog and I am the one who has being caught by
surprise. He's going to make a slaughter with us, as we don't know
how to react. And I recognize that I don't quite know what action to
take. Ideas are accepted, friend Rodrigo!" Sancho shouts to be heard.
"Prince Sancho, his light cavalry attacks our infantry. Order them
to resist at any cost. Organize our cavalry and attack his infantry that
comes running, and without spears, which is the most dangerous for
our Knights. Let the archers turn around, stand behind our infantry
and throw their arrows at the Knights of Aragon. If we can get your
cavalry troops to suffer major losses, you'll be able to dedicate the
infantry to help our Knights against their infantry. Do it now!"
Sancho gives the appropriate orders to put into practice my idea of
how to deal with the situation. My body begins to tremble for the
responsibility I just threw myself on for saying, at this situation, what
I thought it had to be done. I try to concentrate. In short, I would be
immersed in a battle and if I wanted to stay alive, I would have to be
in full mental conditions.
The cavalry goes back to meet the attacking infantry. The archers
put themselves in the rear of our infantry and they begin to throw their
arrows at the Knights who begin to fall from their horses. The
Aragonese infantry starts to falter seeing our heavy cavalry advancing
on them, but it is late, and the collision is imminent.
Deafening cries. The Knights with their great swords begin to tear
the foot attackers. The enemy infantry is numerous, and they also
manage to inflict serious damage on our men on horseback. Among
several, they throw themselves on our horses and they lay them down
for later, using their swords, cutting limbs and heads. The enemy
cavalry has been quite decimated; however, it is directed to one of our
flanks to the place where their infantry meets our Knights fighting to
death. Our archers are thrown sideways and the Castilian infantry is
running to the battle place. Sancho and I are surrounded by both sides
soldiers. Using our swords, we get rid all the Aragonese infants that
come to us. I'm splashed with blood. On several occasions, I had to
wipe my face with my sleeve, as I could not see. Blood was
everywhere, cries, men weeping and looking horrified at their
scattered limbs. Blood sludge on the ground. Sword-bends over here,
over there. I see Sancho and he's just like me. I do not know how
many men I have been able to injure or kill; I have the right arm
aching by handle the heavy sword.
Several Aragoneses approach and push my horse. I fall to the
ground and stand up immediately. My horse hasn't crushed me by
chance. Various soldiers jump on me. I clench my teeth and throw
myself at them, screaming and with my eyes out of my orbits. I don't
know how, but one after another, they're falling all around me. They
want to kill me, but I won't let them! There comes a time when I see
myself surrounded by Aragonese soldiers, but they dare not to get
near. I am surrounded by corpses of their partners. I look at them, I
scream, I clench my teeth and I throw myself at several of them. I
raise my sword threatening them. They run in terror.
Horns sound from the Aragonese field. They're retreat sounds. The
Aragonese King, Ramiro, has been mortally wounded. The Aragonese
troops run to retreat at their rear. We won the battle!
It seems that a Moorish disguised as a Castilian has approached
Ramiro until he arrived next to him. The Moorish with armor and a
helmet only allowing to see his eyes has nailed his spear in one of his
eyes; as the King was distracted. The King had fallen to the ground
The first thing I want to tell you is that I miss you so much. Here,
although I have great friends, the best of them is Sancho. I always
remember your good words, your caresses and your advice. I
remember a lot about father too.
As you know, we have come in aid of the city of Graus. It belongs
to the taifa of Zaragoza and it always fulfills its payments of pariahs
to the King. Well, King Ramiro of Aragon, may he rest in peace, put
siege to the city and King Fernando was obliged to send his army in
his assistance. Sancho asked his father to take me with him and the
On the way to Graus, I was quite nervous, as I was heading for
battle. I have been prepared hard during these four years that I have
remained in court, but I had not faced the avatars of a real battle.
The war is very sad, mom, I've seen things I couldn't even imagine.
Whenever we talk about battles it seems that everything is glorious,
but they do not count the miseries of war. I don't want to go into
details with you about what was lived, so I'll leave it there.
I want to tell you that both Sancho and the other army officers
congratulated me for my behavior in battle. I took my father's sword
and the horse that you gave me. One and the other have come back
with me. At some point, I was worried for my horse, but finally, at the
end of the battle, I found him, frightened, but safe and sound.
King Ramiro of Aragon was killed by a Moorish soldier disguised
as a Christian. Then I found out that the soldier is called Sadadah.
And that he was wearing the clothes of a Christian soldier as well as
the helmet that only allowed his eyes to be shown. He approached the
King and stabbed the spear in one eye. I must admit that, in one hand,
it seems to me a death without honor and fruit of deceit, but, on the
other hand, because of that incident, the Aragonese troops withdrew
and many deaths were spared on both sides. They say that there is no
"Yes, dear. Please, will you get into the living room and get
comfortable, meanwhile I prepare our best rooms?"
"Oh, Sancho, I think I know who is wearing the pants in this house.
Ha, ha, ha!" I tell the Prince when we are left alone.
"How innocent you are, Rodrigo! You handle the battlefield and
the training camp very well, but you still haven't noticed who handles
weapons in men's homes. Ha, ha, ha! You'll tell me when you have a
We spent the evening with the counts in conversations without
importance. They're talking about the monastery of San Zoilo. It
seems that, previously, it was much smaller, it was very worn out and
it was dedicated to San Juan Bautista. They put all their efforts to
rehabilitate it the best way. And because some monks brought from
Cordoba some relics of St. Zoilo, it was decided to dedicate it to this
saint. They are very proud of the work done. They also tell us that
they rehabilitated the bridge over the river, as there had been several
accidents, people and animals got injured as they crossed it. On the
other hand, they are also happy because, not long ago, they had
finished the works in a house that would devote to treat the pilgrims
who pass by with some problem or affection. It is a hospital for
pilgrims, but its intention was that any inhabitant who needed it was
also treated in it, especially if it was a child. The Countess is quite
concerned about children, who seem to be her weakness, and says she
cannot bear to see a child having it rough.
The night we spent on the beds provided by the counts has nothing
to do with the monastery. Although I am still nervous to arrive, I
recognize that tonight I have slept well in that fluffy, fragrant bed.
"It has been a pleasure to have you in our house," say the Earls, as
we set out for Burgos. "we will always remember your visit."
"Count, Countess, thank you for your hospitality. If you decide to
make a visit to Burgos, do not hesitate to go through the palace. You
will be well received so I can return your hospitality" Sancho
answered as he climbs his horse. "We will not delay in our departure,
to see if we avoid getting entertained in the road, and we arrive in
Burgos before the night falls."
We left Carrion to Burgos almost at sunrise, after a delicious
breakfast of cow's milk and some sweet buns that the counts put at our
We have almost twenty leagues of road to Burgos and then there
are about two leagues to Vivar, my house. I imagine I will leave for
Vivar tomorrow, as we will surely be late, and I would like to present
myself at home, ?to my mother? a little cleaner and neater than I
am going to be today at the end of the journey.
Sancho, sometimes, seems to guess what goes through my head:
"Rodrigo, today, when we get to the palace, you will stay in it, so
you can take a nice bath and change your clothes. Tomorrow I'm
leaving with you to Vivar. I want to see your mother's face when you
arrive and, by the way, give also a hug to the woman who gave life to
my best friend."
"Thank you, Sancho, I was also thinking of doing so. I want to
present myself to my mother in the best possible look and, probably, it
won't be the one I have when we get to Burgos."
We passed by the town of Osorno and decided to stop after
crossing it, as we found River Abanades. This river flows a little
further on in the famous Pisuerga, which crosses the city of
Valladolid. The river has a large flow and it is limited on both sides by
a large number of trees. We've been freshening up and the horses
calmed their thirst. Then we continued on our way to Burgos.
We passed on a stone bridge, after crossing the Pisuerga River, and
reach Melgar de Fernamental ?named after Fernan Armentalez,
descendant of the Counts of Amaya, whom not long ago was devoted
to repopulating the area. In this area pass a few Roman roads, so it is
clear that it has always been a transfer area since immemorial time.
We arrived at Sasamon, where Octavio Augusto settled his camp
to, from here, carry out the campaigns against Cantabrians and
Astures. It shows the great Roman presence in the area with the two
"Rodrigo, come closer. You have shown for all these years that you
are, as predicted by my father, a great value for the crown and for the
Christendom. As well you know, also for me, as you are always by my
side. In a weapon conflict, very few soldiers are like you. I've decided,
if you want to accept it, name you my banner. You will be my right
hand in everything related to the campaigns that are set, and if I am
not present, you will be my representation. I want you to be the
greatest officer in my armies. I don't think there's a more qualified
man. Do you accept my offer, Rodrigo?"
"Majesty." I kneel before King Sancho. "Of course, I accept. It's the
greatest honor you can make to a Knight. I will always be by your
side, just as I have done so far in all the tasks that I was entrusted.
Thank you, your Majesty. I am speechless."
"Get up, Rodrigo. Now, if you want, you can go to Vivar. I have
not plan of making any campaign and your place is on your land. You
know, however, that I like to see you around here and you're a few
steps from Burgos. Give me a hug and I'll see you soon."
"My King, as I did before and now with more reason, I will be
frequently in Burgos and whenever you require my presence. Thank
you for inviting me to go to Vivar. After the events lived in Leon, I
want to spend more time with my mother." I warmly embrace my
King and friend. "I'm leaving immediately."
I get out of the room and before I get to the door, I turn to Sancho
and bow to him.
As I head to Vivar I am thinking. How the circumstances in life
change. My best friend has lost his father, and, because of that, he has
become King of Castilla. He is now King, but although that is what he
wanted, he is saddened by the loss of his father, by the situation his
mother abides, and because he believes that he should fight his
brothers in order to reunite the Kingdom. Good problem he has in
front! And it seems to me that the same problem is going to affect me.
He had named me his first officer! The one who carries his royal
banner. The one who, in the event of the King's absence in battle,
would give orders to the armies. His right hand on military matters. I
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