Pedro the Perforator 1431- 1492 as he was posthumously named was an obscure minor Spanish royal who was exiled as a remittance man to keep a tenuous grasp on a tiny stronghold situated within the Kingdom of Granada. This was awkward as Granada was in Moorish control at the time.
Order of the Dragon Talisman, bronze/mother of pearl/silver
Pedro had come from a difficult and unusual up-bringing. He was born in 1431, coincidentally the same year as his distant cousin many times removed, Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, nowadays known as Vlad Dracula or Vlad the Impaler. Pedro was breast-fed till age 10, and it was on this that his remarkable lack of height was blamed. (He stood 5’2” in stocking feet). He was a frail boy, sensitive and allergic to many things including the salt of his own tears. When he was finally weaned at 11 his father sent him to the court of Vlad II in the vain hope of making a man of him.
Vlad II was engaged in various tribulations within his own court and with the Ottomans at this time. An unfortunate encounter with the Ottoman Sultan saw Vlad II, Vlad III and young Prince Pedro taken captive and held on Gallipoli for 6 years. Unlike the Vlads, Pedro took to it like a swine in excrement. He loved the bright fabrics and soft furnishings of the seraglio, a place he would creep secretively to in search of the forbidden yet comforting breast milk.
He became a flamboyant dresser, favouring silk harem pants, flowing capes and five inch turbans festooned with lurid jewels. He also wore platform shoes with turned up toes to give him an appearance of height. By the time the three captives were released in 1448 the Vlads had developed a psychopathic hatred of all things Turkish and Pedro was still no more of a man.
Pedro’s father was alarmed to hear of his son’s prediliction for all things Islamic and insisted he remain in the court of the Vlads till he came to his Christian senses. He remained exiled for the next 15 years, during which time his notorious cousin ascended the throne… Pedro, always the suggestible lad, was intrigued by Vlad III’s unorthodox methods of maintaining order. An ardent enthusiast of the Turkish ‘shish kebab’ he found cousin Vlad’s skewering of his foes inspirational and finally convinced his father he was man enough to rule his own domain.
Who can imagine what Pedro’s father was thinking when he gifted him a modest castle, a small parcel of unproductive land and a handful of resentful peasants in the only kingdom in Spain still ruled predominantly by the Moors?
Pedro soon found himself unhappily ensconced in his stifling castle in Granada sporting his newly minted ‘Order of the Dragon’ talisman, a parting gift from his cousin Vlad III. Pedro swore fealty to the Order of the Dragon with the promise to uphold Christianity in Christian Europe. Always the wolf in gigolo’s clothing his fingers were crossed behind his back.
It was to Pedro’s great fortune that the Granada Sultans took a shine to him. Quickly coming to the realisation that his father had sold him a pup, possibly to rid himself of his embarrassing and worthless child, Pedro formed a mutually beneficial alliance with the Moorish overlords. They liked his bodacious apparel, zeal for all things Turkish and inexplicable knowledge of the inner workings of the seraglio.
Pedro became an enforcer for the Sultan. All Jews and Christians who refused to pay the compulsory tithe to the Sultan were passed over to Pedro for punishment. Pedro was free to unleash his proclivities for fear, cruelty and pain on the citizens of Granada. His favourite method of discipline was to have three men roped together in a line. He would run at them at great speed brandishing a viciously sharp rapier and pierce them all through, a human brochette, if you will. This was no mean feat in platform shoes with upturned toes.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, however slowly… Pedro maintained his reign of terror amongst recalcitrant Jews and Christians in Granada for thirty years. It came to an abrupt end in 1492 when after the seven month siege of Granada the Spanish monarchs Isabel and Fernando retook the kingdom and drove the Moors from Granada. Pedro the Christian puncturing collaborater was treated very harshly. He was dragged through the streets in his garish finery, ridiculed and spat at. Finally Isabel herself seperated Pedro’s head from his body with one decisive stroke of the sword.
It was not known what had become of his corpse until a major refurbishment of a tapas bar in 1975 unearthed a headless skeleton when the floor was lifted. An unusual pendant was nestled in it’s ribcage. Much scholarly research finally proved beyond doubt that this was the final resting place of Prince Pedro the Perforator. It was thought that the talisman originally held a large rough cut ruby in it’s mouth, but I could find no trace of it, at least not in my workshop…