The Digital Adventures

Love of Siam-CH48

Chapter 27B
Peaceful Negotiations Failed

Phaulkon prepared a message to Mosafat and Bakar, asking what they wanted and why the need to revolt. He sent Diego to seek out an Arab merchant at the docks, a man of dubious character, and asked that merchant to get the message to Mosafat and Bakar at their camp in the jungle. In the letter Phaulkon wrote that the king was willing to listen to any grievances the Makassars might have, and that there was no need to revolt against the throne. Whoever wanted to talk to the king, let him step forward and Phaulkon agreed that he would personally escort him to the king. He reminded the Makassars that the king would not tolerate any rebellion in his kingdom. Those who were not willing to keep the peace must leave the kingdom. For those who wanted to leave, boats and provisions would be provided by the kingdom and would be standing by at the fort in Bangkok to take them south.

When the message arrived at the rebel camp, Bakar believed it was best for the men to take the boats and leave while he went to Ayutthaya and negotiated. But Mosafat would not hear of it and stood his ground. He called it hypocrisy. “You cannot trust Phaulkon,” he ranted. “Have you forgotten? He did not keep his word at the elephant hunt. I fear this time they may kill us? Is that what you want, to die with your hands tied behind you back?”

“I do not fear death and you know that,” argued Bakar, “but my death does not bring peace to our children. If the king listens to what we have to say, our children will live. I must give it a chance.”

Mosafat cursed him out. “You are a fool,” he said. “He called for us to step forward. To me that means surrender. So what if we don’t step forward? What is he going to do? Is he going to surround us, kill us all? Don’t you see that is what the message is about? There is only one way to deal with Phaulkon and that is by the sword.” He withdrew his sword from its scabbard and waved it above his head, bringing it down in a sudden chop.

“Yes, Bakar, you go to the Greek and you will see what I mean.

If they do not take your head first, you will return and you will be ready to fight. Go and let Allah be with you.”

Bakar took two men and left for the fort.

When Bakar departed on his mission to see Phaulkon and the king, Mosafat called his men together. “We are Makassars,” he said. “We put our faith in Allah and we are also true Muslims. We do not surrender to anyone, as we did not surrender to the Dutch. It is true, the king gave us asylum but the king also wants to control us. He lets the Christians come with their crosses and their promises. He listens to the talk about their god, and soon this white man’s religion will take over. These Europeans are already taking over. Look at the grand houses they have built for themselves; look at the stone churches they have constructed for all to see. The Siamese are being duped by the Europeans; they are being duped at the expense of all Muslims. It is up to us, the Makassars, to lead the way. No, we will capture the fort and then they will listen to us. We will tell them we are weary and tired. We will lie to them as they do to us. We will tell the Greek we will take the boats and leave the kingdom. But we won’t leave. When they least expect it, as we go to the boats, take out our arms and attack. We will play Phaulkon at his own game. As he did to us at the hunt, we will do to him at the fort.”

Bakar, knowing none of what Mosafat was planning, arrived with men at the fortress at Bangkok. De Forbin’s soldiers immediately took away their arms and bound them with their arms behind their backs. Bakar wondered if perhaps he had made a mistake. Maybe Mosafat was right after all. Phaulkon couldn’t be trusted. Bakar and his men were then dispatched upriver to Ayutthaya. Phaulkon was summoned with the news that Bakar had surrendered. He hastened to the prison and went into a rage when he saw that Baker and his men were bound. “Release their bonds,” he clamored. “They are not prisoners.”

“I come to talk to your king,” Bakar said.

“And I say you will have that chance,” Phaulkon replied in earnest.

“You must understand, I do not fear death,” Bakar said, “and I am not a traitor to my people, but I do not wish death on my family. If l am betrayed, all my men, and their children and the children after them will remember the man whose name was Phaulkon as a man whose words were as worthless as a kris without a hilt.”

Phaulkon instructed his soldiers to escort Bakar and his men to the Guard Tower to wait there while he arranged an audience with the king. “I will escort you to see the king myself,” he said. He warned the guards that no harm was to befall these men with an explicit warning that they were not prisoners. The Guards Tower was for their safekeeping.

The next day a message arrived from Mosafat. He agreed to Phaulkon’s offer and he and his men would leave the kingdom by boat as provided. Phaulkon was to inform Bakar of their decision.

Phaulkon immediately sent a message to de Forbin instructing him to prepare boats and have them ready at the fort for Mosafat and his men when they arrived. He was not to lower the chain until the men were aboard and ready to depart. He further instructed de Forbin not to trust the Makassars. If Mosafat and his men did not willingly leave aboard the boats, they were to be arrested. Phaulkon further stated that de Forbin must have his garrison fully armed, concealed and waiting behind the gate to subdue the rebels if need be. Phaulkon did not know that only the day before de Forbin had dismissed the Siamese soldiers stating that they were not needed.

Phaulkon knew that Mosafat would not give up that easily, that he had foul play in mind. Still, he had to give the rebel leader the benefit of the doubt. And Mosafat, of course, felt that way about Phaulkon, that he could not be trusted. The Greek had betrayed him before when he and his men were offered safe passage through the jungle after the elephant hunt, and instead Prince Sorasak and the soldiers attacked them savagely killing many of his men. No, he could not believe anything Phaulkon had to say. What Mosafat didn’t know was that Phaulkon wanted his plan to work. He wanted it to work more than anything he ever wanted before. He wanted Mosafat and his men to take the boats and leave. If they didn’t, one of them, either he or Mosafat, would have to kill the other. In the meantime Phaulkon had to reach the king but the king was spending three days with the monks at a wat outside Louvo.

Two days later Mosafat and a squad of eight men arrived at the fort and, upon seeing the boats, asked permission to leave. De Forbin, standing beneath the portcullis at the gate, sent two soldiers down to the boats to confront Mosafat. “Find out where the rest of his men are,” de Forbin instructed them.

Mosafat’s response was sudden. One of his men grabbed a French soldier and thrust a knife into his chest. As the soldier fell dying to the ground, another rebel struck at the second soldier and with one swing of his sword severed the man’s head from his body. The rebel then picked up the head, held it up high with one hand and as he did he let out a scream that could have been heard across the river at the village of Bangkok.

De Forbin, seeing what had happened, ordered his men to charge the renegades. His soldiers came flooding through the gates with their flintlock pistols ready to fire but Mosafat and his men were not there to fight them. They had fled into the jungle. De Forbin called for his men to charge after them and to track down every one of them. Mosafat’s plan was working.

As the soldiers were about to overtake the fleeing rebels, the forest suddenly erupted with Makassars everywhere, brandishing swords and cutlasses, appearing from behind every rock and bush, dropping down from the trees, screaming their death knells at the tops of their voices. They came from every front. They attacked the French soldiers mercilessly, killing each and every one of them, sparing not a single life. They then charged the fort.

De Forbin and the few soldiers left at the fort were no match for the charging Makassars. Abandoning their weapons they dove into the river and attempted to swim to the other side. Several, weighed down with heavy armor, met their end in the river before reaching their goal. Mosafat now had control of the fort.

Phaulkon heard the crushing news that the Makassars had taken the fort at Bangkok and that more than twenty French soldiers from the garrison had been killed. Another messenger came running to tell him that the Muslims in Ayutthaya were taking up arms. Phaulkon was aware that General Phetracha was in Louvo, a half day march away. There was no time to ask the general for assistance and besides, Phetracha had to guard the king and defend the palace. Phaulkon made the decision that he himself would direct the assault to regain the fort. He quickly spread word that he needed assistance and for volunteers to come armed to the river landing in Ayutthaya. He could have used the services of George White but White was off in his trading schooner in the Spice Islands on his own trading venture. George White’s brother Samuel was on his way from Mergui but Phaulkon preferred that Samuel didn’t offer his assistance. Phaulkon had an account to settle with Samuel. Phaulkon was not pleased with Samuel’s activities in Mergui and the matter had yet to be settled.

Phaulkon dispatched half his Siamese guards and soldiers to defend the royal palace in Ayutthaya and the residence of the ministers. He sent Diego to stand guard over Marie and little George while Christoph prepared to join forces with him. He then rushed to his office at the palace in Ayutthaya to gather his arms. Marie knew all the while what her husband had in mind and was there to meet him. “I sent Diego to watch over you and George,” Phaulkon said in surprise.

“He came in one door and I went out the other,” she said. It was all Phaulkon could do to suppress a smile. He was proud of her but this was not the time to tell her. “I plead with you not to do this,” she begged.

“There are things that a man must do, and one is to stand fast for what he believes,” he said to her. He did not want to look upon her with tears in her eyes. He began collecting his armor when a servant appeared at the door with the news that Marie’s father, Mr. Fanique, had arrived and was outside. Phaulkon threw up his arms in despair. He was certain that Marie had called her father to help her plead with him to give up this crazy idea. In the next instant Fanique appeared at the door. Phaulkon was aghast, stunned. His father-in-law was suited out in full Samurai armor with not one but two swords hanging from his leather sash. He carried his wide metal helmet, rimmed with amulets dangling from the sides, cradled in his left arm. Upon seeing his son-in-law arming himself, he took his helmet and placed it squarely upon his head. His eyes peered out through a narrow slit. “I have twenty good men waiting outside,” he said. “Should we not be going?”

Marie knew that her pleadings would fall upon deaf ears and gave up. Her maid Nana took her aside and comforted her as best she could. The two men, after bidding their good-byes, joined the others outside.

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