MESSAGE OF THE EMPEROR ALEXIUS-REPLY OF THE CRUSADERS
The next day after, the Emperor Alexius sent an envoy with letters to the counts and to the barons. This envoy was called Nicholas Roux, and he was a native of Lombardy. He found the barons in the rich palace of Scutari, where they were holding council and he saluted them on the part of the Emperor Alexius of Constantinople, and tendered his letters to the Marquis of Montferrat-who received them. And the letters were read before all the barons; and there were in them words, written after various manners, which the book does not (here) relate, and at the end of the other words so written, came words of credit, accrediting the bearer of the letters, whose name was Nicholas Roux.
"Fair Sir," said the barons, "we have seen your letters, and they tell us that we are to give credit to what you say, and we credit you right well. Now speak as it pleases you."
And the envoy was standing before the barons, and spoke thus: "Lords," said he, "the Emperor Alexius would have you know that he is well aware that you are the best people uncrowned, and come from the best land on earth. And he marvels much why, and for what purpose, you have come into his land and kingdom. For you are Christians, and he is a Christian, and well he knows that you are on your way to deliver the Holy Land overseass and the Holy Cross, and the Sepulchre. If you are poor and in want, he will right willmgly give you of his food and substance, provided you depart out of his land. Neither would he otherwise wish to do you any hurt, though he has full power therein, seeing that if you were twenty times as numerous as you are, you would not be able to get away without utter discomfiture if so be that he wished to harm you."
By agreement and desire of the other barons, and of the Doge of Venice, then rose to his feet Conon of Béthune, who was a good knight, and wise, and very eloquent, and he replied to the envoy: " Fair Sir, you have told us that your lord marvels much why our signors and barons should have entered into Ms kingdom and land. Into his land they have not entered, for he holds this land wrongfully and wickedly, and against God and against reason. It belongs to Ws nephew, who sits upon a throne among us, and is the son of his brother, the Emperor Isaac. But if he is willing to throw himself on the mercy of his nephew, and to give Mm back his crown and empire, then we will pray his nephew to forgive him, and bestow upon him as much as will enable him to live wealthily. And if you come not as the bearer of such a message, then be not so bold as to come here again." So the envoy departed and went back to Constantinople, to the Emperor Alexius.