Alexander was a knight of great prestige. His legend went across England for his efforts in the Crusades against the Muslim infidels. The narrative of him fighting to sack Jerusalem on behalf of the Pope, leading the knights in their noble cause gained him great fame, but his piety was what made him standout even more than his peers.
When Jerusalem was reclaimed, Alexander ordered his men to preach the Gospel to the surviving Muslims who they had captured. Instead of torture, he told himself, they should be converted. The King of England heard of this and rejoiced, as there is nothing better for a man in power than making an enemy change their view which then leads them into submission, however Alexander, upon hearing that a few of the captured men had renounced Islam and accepted Jesus Christ, let them go and promised them retreat and refuge in the new, Christian Jerusalem. He would only offer them this after they had converted, in hope that the men who were preached to, would only convert for the heavenly reward and not for the earthly ones of an extended life.
What made the legend standout further was the captured men Alexander and his men couldn’t convert, were hung in the Square for all of the other captives to see. There was a mutual respect from Alexander to those he ordered to be hung, as they died in their conviction and were willing to be a martyr for Allah, despite him believing them to be going directly to hell.
“The Pope’s cause is ordained by God” he would say to himself daily so all the trials which came with the wars became bearable.
On return to England, the King greeted Alexander and gave him praise upon praise, thanking him continuously for the work he had done in the Holy Land. The King then decided to tell Alexander, that as the ultimate thank you, he had arranged for him to meet the Pope at the Vatican and that Alexander, as soon as he arrived, was to turn back and leave England to be granted this.
Alexander was taken aback and asked, “Your Highness, may I ask why a message was not sent to me while I was in Jerusalem? I am most grateful for the opportunity, but I am weary, I wish only to rest on my bed, of which I have coveted for months on end. Tomorrow, if it pleases you, I will do as you ask, but I plead with you, to let me sleep tonight on this wondrous land.”
The King replied, “You leave first thing tomorrow. It took me a many favours to allow you to meet the Pope. Rest well, good Knight”
Alexander left his presence and went to his home. It was a short ride to his home and he entered his castle just as the sun set. He felt the wind blow through his chamber walls and a tear came to his eye.
“All of the war I have seen and the wind continues to blow through these walls as it always has. God, you are merciful to keep the hearts of man in perfect peace”
The next morning, Alexander began his journey. He took with him a servant to carry his load as well as the two horses they would ride.
A half day into the journey, they came across the woods they would have to pass through. A quarter mile into the woods was a small stream. Alexander decided it would be best to take advantage of this river and to take stock as the next time they would have access to water would be at least 8 hours after they had left the woods. The servant agreed with this view and they rode on into the woods at a steady pace.
They reached the small stream and rested for a half hour. After loading their supplies with water and giving their horses a drink, they prepared to leave when a cry was heard in the distance.
“What was that?” the servant asked, clutching his horse
“That was a woman screaming. Come. We must see what this is about”
They both climbed their respective horses and rode over to where they heard the noise. The cry got louder and louder.
They came upon a young woman, no older than 20, who was lying on the floor in pain. Her leg was bleeding and she was holding it in agony.
“Quick, use the water on her leg” said Alexander to the servant as he climbed off his horse and went over to the woman, “Excuse me young lady, let me see your leg”
“It hurts, it hurts,” she cried, rolling over onto her other side, turning further away from Alexander.
“Please let me see it, you may get gangrene if it is serious. My servant here will clean it for you”
She continued with more outbursts of pain. The servant came over with the water for her and as Alexander turned around to look at him, Alexander heard a twig break behind him. The servant gasped. Alexander’s right hand had taken the water sack when the thief struck him in his back with a knife. The knife was kept in his back for a few seconds before it was removed and dug in again a second time. The water sack fell to the floor as another thief came out behind where the horses were and sliced the servants throat.
Alexander lay on the floor, bleeding to death and looked upon his killers.
The woman who was screaming was now standing with a smug look on her face and commanding the two men to hurry up taking the horses and supplies.
Thoughts flurried through his mind, all of the war he had seen, and in a moment of weakness, he was struck down by common thieves.
The murderous trio rode off as Alexander died next to the servant in the woods he had passed many times before.
When the Vatican sent word to the King that Alexander hadn’t arrived after a few weeks, a search party was sent out and Alexander’s body was found after a few day’s search. He and the servant were buried. The site of Alexander’s grave was frequented by pilgrims for the next 100 years, where his legend continued to inspire and there were rumours of miracles occurring for those who prayed by the Holy Soldier’s tomb.