No English [chess] set was quite as rare as the one sent to St. Louis at Acre by the Old Man of the Mountain, chief of the Assassins of Syria; it was of crystal and amber with filigree of gold.A chess set presented by the Grandfather of Assassins as a gift to a Saint-King. How can you not love that?
The other passage that I'm in love with describes a fad that developed among wealthy clerics of keeping pet monkeys and apes.
One of the northern chronicles, alluding to a bishop of Durhan's practice of keeping monkeys, described it as being "the custom of modern prelates for occasionally dispelling their anxieties."Much of the time I can take or leave the cleric class, but I'd love a chance to play a clerical ape-keeper!