Twentieth of May, the Ionian Sea, outside the Sicilian port city of Bari.
Antonius boringly awaits someone leaning against the , playing with a golden plated local currency called the denier in the process, flipping it up in the air and catching the falling coin with his hands, watching over the sea gulls flying in circles above his ships protesting such giant creatures have occupied their feeding ground. While the peninsula, heated and warmed by the winds of the seas, and with the reflections of the skies and clouds donned onto the sea waters washed onto the shoreline, is indeed a convenient of everlasting beauty. Only if there isn't the fleet of ships on the coast line shading her beauty.
There is a reason why people say that the Sicilian sea waters, together with her cities and maritime trade economy, are among the best in Europe at this point of era. Just look at where the entire Kingdom of Sicily is geographical located right in the centre of the Mediterranean connecting sea routes from Eastern Mediterranean and Western Mediterranean which makes the entire Sicily a flourishing trade origin and destination, which means a crazy amount of tickling Deniers, Ducats Groschens flowing in every single day. Truly the place where God has kissed the planet.
No wonder the Alemannia Hohenstaufen kings and the Pope fought over it for a hundred years.
But to Antonius this is just another typical day filled with boredom ever since he received the order from the Emperor Constantine asking him to fetch an army of Italian Christians of all origins, Siena, Florence, Milan, Genoa, Aragonia, lombards, local Sicilians all assembled in the city of Bari, in God's speed indeed considering the Papal bull has only been issued around days ago.
Now there is only one problem.
Although the knights, peasants, soldiers, wanderers adventurers merchants they are all already gathered here awaiting their departure, the only ones who is yet to arrive are a few nobles, lords and counts under the leadership of Giovanni Antonio Del Balzo Orsini, a duke and prince of Taranto. They ought to have arrived half a day earlier so that the fleet can set off quick following the best winds and tide to sail, instead of stagnating here using up all the supplies and disturbing the peaceful orders of the city of Bari, taking in note that the supplies consumed by the Crusaders are a huge sum for the city as each minute passes. The mayor has came out a couple of times asking Antonius when is the fleet going to set off as promised carrying these bunch of crooks away. Antonius can only shook his head and tell the mayor that they will still need to wait for some more time.
The common problem for ships in this times is that because it is powered by forces of natural, good thing about this is that it causes no pollution of course, which might make some people happy. The bad side is that it depends heavily on the environment like monsoons, wind directions, tides even in the relatively calm Mediterranean which is called a bath basin. There have been cases of an entire fleet sinking due to storm or the fleet getting blown to a totally different location by the wind. Thus, if the ship misses the best time to set sail for their destination, they better wait first until the time is right.
While waiting, Antonius took a view at the so called 'Warriors of God'. Honestly speaking they are just mostly a bunch of rogues, no landers, bastards, crooks and what so ever who got no properties back in their home town, and that is why they came here trying to seek a fortune overseas as an Outremer. While not forgetting that there are indeed some filled with piety knights or farmers that truly wanted to join the crusade to repent their sins, but those do not make up the majority. Upon seeing the chaotic situation of the entire camp, Antonius felt a little disbelief and even a little gross as this kind of crusaders is way too different from what he thinks they are.
The nobles finally arrived, riding on horses, with their elite fully plate armoured guards and knights surrounding them, taking their time as they finally entered the city of Bari together, chit chatting in the process and ventured into the encampment near the port, had a little speech on how God will be with them, show the spirit of the Crusaders and fight for the true faith, then went to rest while the knights they brought came down to organise the participants of the crusade.
Antonius waited till the next morning, after another round of pleading by the mayor of Bari for a sudden surge of crimes in the city during the last night, he finally nodded and agreed to immediately begin setting sail for the target.
Meanwhile the crusaders board the ships one squadron after the another, Antonius began laying out his marine map, and began discussing their destination with the Prince of Taranto and several other counts leading the army of three thousand strong. After a long term debate and argument, the nobles finally decided among themselves that their target shall be the port city of Avlonya, which is just opposite the city of Bari from the Straits of Otranto. If the sailing went smoothly as planned, they would reach there in less than a day and begin laying siege to the seaside fortress where it would be the first foot hold of the maritime crusade.
The fleet set off on the morning of May Twenty first, towards the city of Avlonya.
And yes, they encountered a sudden change of wind direction in the middle of the straits just as expected by Antonius. Then in the end instead of having a one day trip, it took the fleet two and half days to reach the waters of Epirus. Such an unfair trip of course led to the discomfort among the Crusaders, especially those who are born and raised inlands who never had trips on sea before. The moment the fleet stopped near shore, the Crusaders jumped overboard paddling through the waters onto the shores, then puking and vomiting out all the things stored in the stomach.
Seeing this, the prince of Taranto had to order the troops to rest for a day before proceeding.