“Back to your cabin, lady,” said Hassan, “and remember that whate’er befalls, we have done our best to save you. Ay, and tell it to my lord, that my honour may be clean in his eyes. Now, soldiers of Salah-ed-din, fight and die as he has taught you how. The gates of Paradise stand open, and no coward will enter there.”
They answered with a fierce, guttural cry. Then, as Rosamund fled to the cabin, the fray began, a hideous fray. On came the Assassins with sword and dagger, striving to storm the deck. Again and again they were beaten back, till the waist seemed full of their corpses, as man by man they fell beneath the curved scimitars, and again and again they charged these men who, when their master ordered, knew neither fear nor pity. But more boatloads came from the shore, and the Saracens were but few, worn also with storm and sickness, so at last Rosamund, peeping beneath her hand, saw that the poop was gained.
Here and there a man fought on until he fell beneath the cruel knives in the midst of the circle of the dead, among them the warrior-prince Hassan. Watching him with fascinated eyes as he strove alone against a host, Rosamund was put in mind of another scene, when her father, also alone, had striven thus against that emir and his soldiers, and even then she bethought her of the justice of God.
See! his foot slipped on the blood-stained deck. He was down, and ere he could rise again they had thrown cloaks over him, these fierce, silent men, who even with their lives at stake, remembered the command of their captain, to take him living. So living they took him, with not a wound upon his skin, who when he struck them down, had never struck back at him lest the command of Sinan should be broken.
Rosamund noted it, and remembering that his command was also that she should be brought to him unharmed, knew that she had no violence to fear at the hands of these cruel murderers. From this thought, and because Hassan still lived, she took such comfort as she might.
“It is finished,” said the tall man, in his cold voice. “Cast these dogs into the sea who have dared to disobey the command of Al-je-bal.”
So they took them up, dead and living together, and threw them into the water, where they sank, nor did one of the wounded Saracens pray them for mercy. Then they served their own dead likewise, but those that were only wounded they took ashore. This done, the tall man advanced to the cabin and said:
“Lady, come, we are ready to start upon our journey.”
Having no choice, Rosamund obeyed him, remembering as she went how from a scene of battle and bloodshed she had been brought aboard that ship to be carried she knew not whither, which now she left in a scene of battle and bloodshed to be carried she knew not whither.
“Oh!” she cried aloud, pointing to the corpses they hurled into the deep, “ill has it gone with these who stole me, and ill may it go with you also, servant of Al-je-bal.”