THE EMPEROR ATTACKS THE FLEET OF THEODORE LASCARIS, AND RESCUES CIBOTOS
Before this assault began, on the Saturday morning, there came a messenger flying to Constantinople. He found the Emperor Henry in the palace of Blachernae, sitting at meat, and spoke to him thus: "Sire, be it known to you that those at Cibotos are being attacked by land and sea; and if you do not speedily deliver them, they will be taken, and but dead men."
With the emperor were Conon of Béthune, and Geoffry the Marshal of Champagne, and Miles the Brabant, and but very few people. And they held a council, and the council was but short, and the emperor went down to the shore, and entered into a galleon; and each one was to take ship such as he could find. And it was proclaimed throughout the city that all were to follow the emperor in the utter need wherein he stood, to go and rescue his men, seeing that without help they were but lost. Then might you have seen the whole city of Constantinople all a-swarrn with Venetians and Pisans and other seafaring folk, running to their ships, helterskelter and pell-mell; and with them entered into the ships the knights, fully armed; and whosoever was first ready, he first left port to go after the emperor.
So they went rowing hard all the evening, as long as the light lasted, and all through the night till the dawn of the following day. And the emperor had used such diligence, that a little after sun-rising he came in sight of Cibotos, and of the host surrounding it by sea and land. And those who were within the castle had not slept that night, but had kept guard through the whole night, however sick or wounded they might be, as men who expected nothing but death.
The emperor saw that the Greeks were close to the walls and about to assault the city. Now he himself had but few of his people with him-among them were Geoffry the Marshal in another ship, and Miles the Brabant, and certain Pisans, and other knights, so that he had some sixteen ships great and small, while on the other side there were full sixty. Nevertheless they saw that if they waited for their people, and suffered the Greeks to assault Cibotos, then those within must be all killed or taken; and when they saw this they decided to sail against the enemy's ships.
They sailed thitherward therefore in line; and all those on board the ships were fully armed, and with their helms laced. And when the Greeks, who were about to attack the castle, saw us coming, they perceived that help was at hand for the besieged, and they avoided the castle, and came to meet us; and all this great host, both horse and foot, drew up on the shore. And the Greeks on ship-board [The meaning here is a little obscure in the original ] when they saw that the emperor and his people meant to attack them in any case, drew back towards those on shore, so that the latter might give them help with bows and darts.
So the emperor held them close with his seventeen ships, till the shouts of those coming from Constantinople began to reach him; and when the night fell so many had come up that the Franks were everywhere in force upon the sea; and they lay all armed during the night, and cast anchor. And they settled that as soon as they saw the day, they would go and do battle with the enemy on the shore, and also seize their ships. But when it came to about midnight, the Greeks dragged all their ships to land, and set fire to them, and burned them all, and broke up their camp, and went away flying.
The Emperor Henry and his host were right glad of the victory that God had given them,,and that they had thus been able to succour their people. And when it came to be morning, the emperor and his barons went to the castle of Cibotos, and found those who were therein very sick, and for the most part sore wounded. And the emperor and his people looked at the castle, and saw that it was so weak as not to be worth the holding. So they gathered all their people into the ships, and left the castle and abandoned it. Thus did the Emperor Henry return to Constantinople.