Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Our Frankish Cousins

Episode 3.

Part of what I get wrong is my failing memory, part is the way Clovis sees the world.  If you 'remember it differently'  fine, write your own history. it won't get published as you're not a Lord. :P

A rough account of the Munster Affairs, by Lord Clovis Moorshed...

In Munster we had audience with its Lord in the final days of October near the night of the Holy Spirit's Festival.  We discovered that the Lord of Munster is a grieving somber Frankish Christian who laments the early death of his children.   He also dislikes the recent Danish lords of Frisia, although they have an uneasy peace. His advisor, the whiley and clever Master Grimma knew the Moorshed reputation and secretly listed our aide in helping remove the current Danish King of Frisia to an early grave.  As the Danes have no clear succession lines, each man is a king on to himself, there will be doubtless chaos that one might take advantage of, during which time the Danish hold might loosen. He offered us certain poisons that could help the whole thing look like accident, for it is important for it to look natural, or at least not look like the Franks had any hand in it.  Having no love of the Danes, and always seeing chaos as the knock of opportunity, the Northern Rose was eager to assist.

But how to get close to the king?  The greedy king of the Danes in Frisia coveted the lands of a certain Lord Mocar, and uses the excuse of the murder of his kinsmen Henrik Gunnar.  The Danish King needs him alive to press his avarice claims and get hold of Lord Morcar's lands.  This murderer we have of course come to seek out, but enjoys the protection of the Lord of Munster, who values his word, and not who one gives it to, above all else.  A letter of the law, as opposed to the spirit of the law such as your's truley.   Possessing papers of accusation though, we were urged to challenge Lord Morcar to face justice, and we did so the following day around noon.  I myself issued the challenge, and the King decided as their was merit to my claim that there should be the following day, a trial by combat.  As I was the challenger, Lord Morcar chose the weapon, we would meet with Axe and Shield in armor in the market place forum of Munster.

The next day in the forum we met to decide this, with several hundred spectators to gawk.  I was confident. Too confident.  After a fein or so, the devil Lord Morcar proved to have the speed of a Banshee, flying between my shield and Axe, he hewed open my left breast cracking three ribs and instantly putting a pint of blood on the ground.  I attempted a counter strike dizzy with shock and blood loss, which he deftly parried.  I realized desperate measures were called for, while he was agile and skilled, I thought I had the edge in speed... I flung my weapon and shield aside and hurled myself at him and we embraced. We struggled for a moment but then I brought him down to his knees and then on his back. He pulled a knife (not entirely a legal move since this was an axe fight), and jabbed me hard in the cheeks and ear. I responded by smashing my forehead against  his face.  He stabbed me in the torso, and I felt nothing, and again my forehead smashed his nose into a bloody pulp.  And again, and again.  He was weakening and I was mad with pain and anger.  Other blows from his knife made me wince, and feared that radical action was called for.  I attempted to gouge his eyes from his head, but when i did so he heaved me off of him, but I recovered my feet before him.  Before he could rise, I stomped him hard into the ground and he winced and was still.  I searched for an Axe, to cleave in his skull, but then my sweet Little Rose, ever the good christian girl urged me to spare him.  "Think of the 5,000 pennies my lord Clovis!"  Ah my Little Rose is full of saintly virtues.  I collapsed.

The next two or so days were a blur for me.  Several times I attempted to rise from my bed to finish off Lord Morcar, but my Little Rose whispered sweetly saintly virtues to me and calmed my angry heart.  By the third day I was able to travel, and we took our prize and made our way back down river to Dorstead.  Concerned as always for the safety of commerce and escorting some good merchants, I made sure to rest us at the same location we had encountered the 'Midnight Merchants'.  They did not disappoint, but our luckily pluck scouts like the amiable Frankish fellow Francois sniffed out their ambush and we were not caught unaware.  

We were able to form a line of battle and meet the score of rabble that made for us.  They had little stomach for the fight, but as our more deft members had infiltrated their ranks, they did not make it far.  But as we cut a swath through them, the true purpose became apparent.  Padre Hakon bravely defended our merchants and camp followers in the rear caught an arrow through the leg from the river side.  The Hearthmen of Morcar had set the whole thing up as a divergence to lure us away, they quickly landed, grabbed their wounded Lord, and brought him to the far side of the river where they mounted waiting horses to spirit him away.  

My brave Little Rose perceived this, and without thought to her safety she grabbed Lieutenant Commander Congreave as well as two stout warriors to traverse to the other side.  Sadly I was so pre-occupied with the prisoners, and making sure that any left in their nest would be taken care of, that it would be hours before I was able to pursue the mater personally.  However, a Lord should be judged by the company he keeps, and the Lady Candice, Lt. Cmdr. Congreave and Master Scout Francois did a superb job of following up tracking down Morcar and his men.    Poor Little Rose took an arrow in the leg from the same sadistic archer who had harmed poor Padre Hakon.  But they were not deterred and found them hidden by a small village in a cul de sac full of mendicants and loose women.   

Eventually, a small but decisive force of men were brought across led by myself and we chose a time of attack.  The seven on five battle was a harsh one, but we prevailed. The Hearthguard surrendered, after several of their members were mortally wounded.  They were stripped of their weapons but given safe passage, including the sadistic archer.  The Little Rose protested, but I assured her of God's Justice.  God's Justice is swift and Morcar is now being spirited back for judgement day!