p. III

“Legend tells us that in the early years of the eighth century – when Christian peoples and tribes fought the invading Muslims from North Africa, and when Portugal did not even exist as a country – a number of Muslim troops sieged a Christian settlement not far from here. The siege went on for days, and after much blood spilled from both sides, the Christian settlers finally surrendered. They expected to be made slaves and to be forced to convert to Islam. But the leader of the Muslim troops, a sadistic and bloodthirsty heathen, had come up with a much different punishment. They bound the few settlers that still drew breath and took them to the Hundred Cells, once a prison in the days of Rome. What followed that was an act of pure wickedness; one that only the most sinful minds could ever conceive…”

“Once at the Hundred Cells – which had not changed much since the fall of the Roman Empire – the Muslims split the settlers into two lines: men to one side, women and children to the other. Then each woman and child felt a hand rest on his or her shoulder. Male and female, young and old – all of them knew their fates had been traced, and their lives were soon to be over. The Muslim commander lifted his arm, and then let it fall, and the shrilling cries of a hundred men resounded throughout the whole land. These men, who up to this point wept and squirmed in the hopes of setting themselves free, had their spirits broken as they saw the heads of their beloved roll on the ground. They no longer fought, nor resisted, nor wept, nor squirmed. They accepted their destiny once they understood how powerless they had become, and thus they left it all in the hands of God.”

“The Muslims dragged the men into the prison and threw them in the cells before setting the whole thing ablaze. Some had their will to live restored, but most resigned, giving in to the fumes and the flames. Even those who sought to survive could not free themselves before the fire consumed them and their prison.”

The End

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