In the spring of 758, several of the mid-ranking nobility with a shocking proposal. Over throw of the king in favor of his younger brother Vimerano. That was not particularly surprising but what was a shock was that they’d chosen to consult him. Abd Ar-Rahman’s reputation as a chivalrous and loyal man his popularity and his friendship with the younger son had apparently paid off to his advantage as the rebellious nobles chose to seek his approval for their plan--and more, they wanted him to be the one to convince Vimerano to rise against his brother.
After a long consultation with both the nobility, and he’d insisted the Basque counts who he’d newly tied to Asturias, they were finally agreed to do so. But before ar-Rahman set out on his trip to see Vimerano, his family arrived on horses exhausted and half dead. The news they came bearing was worth it: Vimerano was dead, and it was Fruela who had assassinated his brother. Having given in to paranoia, Fruela was beginning a massive purge of anyone suspected of loyalty and several of the Galicians were already in revolt in terror of their lives. Most of the men who’d come to see him were also pronounced as traitors. His own name was not there but it might have been an oversight, doubtless to be corrected later.
The nobility were afraid. Most were far from their power bases as they’d wanted to travel to meet with him secretly. None of them had anything like the requirements to mount much of a resistance and the populace was still largely loyal to the memory of Alfonso and thus his heir, none of the others could match it. The Basques were already beginning to talk about breaking any pledges to the Asturians and all seemed lost until the daughter of the most powerful count, a young woman named Munia, made a suggestion that was audacious enough to echo down through history. A simple question. “Why don’t you do it?”
After a moment of stunned silence and then one by one the nobles gathered turn to look at him, appraising some, most wary. He was frozen solid, expressionless but he felt Lisina slide behind him and was grateful for her quiet support. When the first of the nobility nodded he felt a tingling in his finger tips, not fear but excitement, a sense that his life was balanced on the point of a sword.
“Convert,” they said. “Convert and we will follow.” They all said it. All of them agreed. The Basques would follow him, they knew he would honor their interests. The nobles knew him now as a strong fighter, a noble knight, a canny administrator and loyal. The people knew him as well as he’d defended them and improved their lives implementing the King’s suggestions. He was the only one with the popularity to go against the line of Alfonso, in no small part because Alfonso himself had shown he trusted the Muslim prince.
He’d begged off for the moment, staggered away. He’d sat with his lover and their son quietly, contemplating. His religion….. It would a break with his past. But he remembered his mother and Lisina now too. It was the Asturians who’d taken him in, who’d trusted him. Used him too, but he’d used them to forge a life for himself. And too, it would be a chance for revenge. "What will be left for us if you do not?" Lisina had whispered.
In the end he’d looked at Salamon and knew what the answer had to be. He could not let Fruela come for his family. He made his decision.
His entire body tense he returned to the gathered nobles and they turned to him.
“Send for a priest,” he said at last.
At dawn on April 17, AD 758 Abd ar-Rahman converted to Christianity and was acclaimed King of Asturias by the rebels.
END PART I.
C: Carmona Massacre, 752, ar-Rahman captured (2nd time)
D: Zaragoza uprising defeated, 752
E: ar-Rahman captured by Christians (3rd capture)
F: Independant Basque and Vasconian counties
G: Septimania, Franks currently conquering
White lines: Areas under limited control of the central government
Black lines: Borders
Dotted line: Abd ar-Rahman's route until reaching Asturias