CHAPTER 3: EITHER SIDE OF THE ADRIATIC
"I take it that Corfu has fallen as planned?" Mehmed said, a much older man. "And that Naples has joined in the war on their side, as per the Venetians threat?"
The diplomat faltered a little. "Well, yes. But also ..." Mehmed knew that something had happened, that he knew he would not like. "Most of the other Italian states have as well. Although Milan has a request. An ambassador and Galeazzo the third will be here within the week ..."
"I can not thank you enough, for gracing our humble halls, here in Constantinople! Please join us for dinner, where we can discuss politics, and hopefully reach an agreement!" Mehmed cried proudly, his voice echoing from the walls, and domed ceiling of the Palace of the house of Osman. The wooden scaffolding hung precariously from the dome, and several painters had their arms outstretched with dainty brushes in hand, and spreading lines of colour over their stony, ceramic blank canvas.
"Fantastic palace you are buillding, Sultan. May I ask why you have a crucific in place of the star in the middle of the crescent? I know you like religious equality, but..." Mehmed smiled at the comment, and placed a firm hand on Galeazzo's back and gave it a little push, as if to invite him on a stroll through the palace halls. "This palace...." Mehmed began, "Was created with my ideals in mind. All men, created equal, without impurity all become equally impure, be it through their own fault, or by the fault of others. This is not sheer happenstance. No man should be criticized for his beliefs, or birthplace, or race, because they are the fault of no-one. No-one, but...." Mehmed gave another grin at the Duke, and patted his shoulder. "I am sure you will ally with us against the Venetians, as proposed?
Mehmed laughed. "Hah! You fools!" He shouted as he stared out from his flagship, at the burning wrecks of three quarters of the Venetian fleet in front of him. The help of the Milanese had proved invaluable, now they owned the Straits of Otranto. Now they owned the Adriatic.
Later that day, as the first of Ottoman hordes disembarked from their ships, and assembled onto the Napolese shoreline, Mehmed remarked to one of his generals; "Burn them. All of the Venetian ships." He stepped up to the top of a short rise, and began the speech that would lead them to victory, to get the troops in the right mood. Mehmed could see over half of the troops wearing brass crucifixs, as they lay sprawled out on the landscape below him. His most trusted generals stood either side of him, and looked at him, in such a way Mehmed knew that he had their utmost trust. "These vile Venetians will here not a word against their god! Their people will know the true meaning of tolerance after I crush their nation underneath my boot! I will burn Venice to the ground! I will see it perish!"
"But sire, the Venetians are a force to be reckoned with! Their troops are arguably better than ours, although far less numerous!" Mehmed gave another laugh, before shouting as loud as he could with Human lungs; "Push on to Napoli!"
Bayezid was lying in a canvas tent, when Zaganos Pasha, the single most trusted general in the empire burst in. "Come quick! Your father may not last much longer!" Bayezid leapt to his feet, and grabbed a satchel from the side of his improvised bed. "What is it?" But Zaganos had already jumped atop his horse. As Bayezid ran out, the breeze hit him, sending his robes flailing, and his short, tightly curled dark hair bobbing slightly. He grabbed the spine of his own horse, and hoisted himself up, with a loud, rasping grunt.
Bayezid burst through the door on a shanty cottage on the edge of Napoli, and grabbed the throat of the docter standing over him, throwing him into a wall. His father Mehmed, lay on the bed, with an arrow still protruding from his belly. "How'd it happen?" He asked, with a slight quiver. The docter, clutching his red neck, gasped, and almost forced out; "As he paraded through the captured Napoli, someone shot him from a second story window!"
"Will he live?"
Mehmed woke up, and grasped Bayezid's arm tightly. Even if I do live, I will be in no shape to rule. You must continue the dynasty, with my ideals and values, please, rule kindly, Bayezid the Second, of the house of Osman, of the Ottoman Empire and her possessions." And Mehmed was silent.
Though obviously inspired by the death of his father, Bayezid was never half the general Mehmed was. The best he got was a stalemate at the gates of Venice, with a combined Milano-Ottoman force. The disgraced Venetians grudgingly accepted a peace, keeping the city's independance intact, and signing away her modest empire to the Ottoman, and Milanese Empires. The Mamluks backed down for now.
END OF CHAPTER 3