During the Middle Ages, men sought ways to improve their ranking. The position most of them aspired was that of knighthood. Nevertheless, very few of them actually achieved it; and if the person wanting to be a knight was poor, then it'd be almost impossible.
There were exceptions, however. And this story goes back to the XIII century, in which castles dominated everything.
"Please, I don't want to do any more work."
"You have to, I'm sorry. If you don't work any more you will be dismissed, leaving you nothing."
"My parents will help me."
"They are doing as bad as you are. Look for yourself."
I am following the guard who pointed at two very ill-looking workers. I have not seen them for a long time, so my eyes are filling with happiness. But, before I could actually greet them, and after I hit myself with the floor; the guard, who was walking with me, hit me with such a devastating blow that I could hardly feel any more pain.
"This is my life" I am thinking. "I have no right to do anything." I am still thinking. I am not sure if I could feel any more pain. My thoughts are something like this:
"What's going on? Who hit me? Why did he hit me? Where am I? Who am I? What am I doing? I must stop asking myself silly questions. I know I can kill whoever did this to me." I realize I'm not as strong as I think I am. I am not going into a fight, specially with my weak status.
"What's the matter, young boy?" Said the guard.
"Why did you hit me?"
"Are you questioning me?"
"That better be it, because if you do it again; you'll wish you were never born. And thrust me, that machine in my house is really something that you don't want to see."
"I understand sir."
As I am turning down, another thought came to my mind.
"What if I just kill him and run away with everything I have? Faith can't be any worse than it is here. This is the place were God himself dared not to look into. God is not here."
The guard is walking away, laughing. I have so much anger accumulated that I can't just keep it anymore, and, with a supernatural strength and an anger which I didn't know existed in myself; I am running towards the guard. I turn to my left, there is a stick lying on the floor. I pick it up. The stick is very sharp. Looking at the conspicuous innuendo in my father's face and the disapproval eye's of my mother; I decide to do the only thing that I wouldn't do; I stab his back. He turns around in a second and looks at me with the eyes of Lucifer himself. I can see his red eyes gazing into mine as he is grabbing my arms with his amazing strength. Still, I am much stronger, and even though hurt, I stab him again in his stomach.
"Nooo!" I look back and there's my father. My mother is running right behind him. "Why did you do that, son?"
"Do you know what they can do to you for doing that?"
"I have no idea, and I don't want to find out. I'm going away."
"That's the only sane thing you can possibly do. But please, son, never come back. Follow me very fast, I have to show you something."
I am being led to my parent's house. The house, which I had only seen once or twice before, is very small. My father is grabbing a bag full of coins and says:
"Take this, now, go. Hastily. My neighbor has a horse which you can steal."
"Now, go, hurry up. Before letting yourself be caught, kill yourself."
"And never come back."
I kiss my father and, as he said, I stole the horse which was next door. As I am making my way out, I hear a tumultuous uproar coming from the place I killed the guard. I am going full at full speed, on top of my stolen horse and a bag full of coins. Behind me, at least three or four nobles getting on their horses to pursue me.
I keep going and going. They seem to draw nearer, but, for my luck, they are out of water. surprisingly, I have a bottle of water with me. The nobles feared that by pursuing me any further, they could get lost; and consequently, die from thirst. The climate is very arid these days.
I can see a village a few miles away. As I am getting closer, the village seems to be more and more of my taste. It has water everywhere, kids are playing happily, and the women are beautiful. I am entering the village. I turn to my right and see an ugly old lady smiling at me. I'm discouraged, but still I go on. I reach the well, and drink so much water that everyone is looking at me. I was eagerly given the position of "that guy." I reach the store and buy some bread. I fear that they could be looking for me here. Nevertheless, another thought crosses my mind.
"What if I stay here? I mean, they won't think that I am this close to the actual village. They'll be looking for me as far as Great Britain, but still, I'll just be here."
I look to my left, and to my dismay, there's a beautiful lady; who must have been no more than 20 years old, coming towards me.
"Hi" I say.
She looked pretty shy, but still, she came to me.
"Hello, sir. My mother wonders if you have a place to stay tonight. We could rent you a room in our house if you want to."
I am looking at where she pointed and, logically, see the woman in the store looking at me.
"Tell your mother that I'd be delighted. I'll go there as soon as I have a walk with you."
"A walk? With me?"
"Yes. You can't believe in the situation I'm into, and still, I just want to talk to someone. Will you give me the honor of walking with me?"
"I don't know what to say."
"Just say yes."
"What's your name?"
"Katie, and you?"
"Just call me Rob."
We are walking, talking about endless subjects, and as the shadows increase dramatically in number; I decide that it is best for us to get back. I think to myself that I am very happy for having done what I did. I realize that I am not one bit sorrow for my actions.
We are both inside her mother's house, the store, in which our conversation went something like this:
"Where have you both been?"
"We were having a walk, mom. I had a delightful evening. Thanks."
"I had the best evening in my entire life."
The storekeeper is in the midst of a sudden consternation. I politely say "good night" and head for my room. I was stopped by the storekeeper, who said, "By any chance you haven't seen a 'Robert' right? A group of four or five men came looking for him. They said he killed someone."
"When did they come?"
"Just an hour ago. They said that they will come back later to check everything."
"When will they be back?"
"They just said later. Why are you so worried anyways? You suddenly turned pale."
"It's nothing. Robert is a friend of mine."
I head for my room. I am waiting. I hear no noise anymore coming from below. I open the door and head towards Katie's room. I knock her door, she opens it and looks at me with her beautiful green eyes. She looks shocked for seeing me there.
"What are you doing here, Rob?"
"I had to see you. Those guards your mom was talking about, they are coming for me. I was lucky not to be here when they came, but as your mother said, they are coming again."
"That's terrible. What did you do to have those guys chasing you?"
"Something I rather not talk about. I come to ask you a favor."
"Yes. A favor."
"I am leaving this town right now, but... since I saw you yesterday, I realized that I love you."
"What are you talking about?"
She grabbed my hand and took me inside her room.
"I said I love you. I'm madly in love with you. I can't possibly be away from you."
"But I can't go with you like that. My mother is here."
"Do it for me. We'll have so much more than you would ever have if you stayed. I know you don't like you mother anyways."
"That's true, but still I've lived here since I was born."
"That's no excuse. I know you're not happy here, and I'm not happy without you, so, please, come with me."
"I don't know."
"Well I know what's best for both of us. Come on before we wake your mother."
"I can't just abandon her. That's against everything she has ever taught me."
I grab her hands, gaze into her eyes, and kiss her.
"I had never kissed anyone before. I'm coming with you."
"I love you. Please get your stuff ready. I must find a horse for you."
I am leaving the house, looking all around to see if there is nobody suspicious (like the brother of the man I killed for example). I look all around me. The shadows can't let me see well. My eyes get used to the dark. I can see. I look around and I see my horse. I need another horse. I keep looking. I walk a bit and see a horse. I untie him and take him to the store. Katie is there already, waiting for me. I kiss her and tell her to get on the horse. She agrees and puts all her stuff in the back. We're ready.
"I can't believe I'm actually doing this."
"Where did you get this horse? He seems familiar."
"Oh I borrowed it from your neighbor."
"You stole him?!"
"If you want to put it that way, yes."
"You can't go around stealing stuff!"
"I know, but for you, I'd do anything."
We are riding our horse into the wilderness. We keep riding for at least an hour. We reach another village, but I tell her that we must stick to the read. It's dawn already. We stop in a very small village. The village consists of three houses and a store. We go to the store.
"Please, give us water." I said.
"Here, it will be one copper coin."
"Also give us bread and fruits."
"It will be another copper coin."
"Food and water for our horses."
"Another copper coin."
"Will you stop saying that? I'll pay you. Now give us our damn food."
We are eating nicely. Katie tells me how much she enjoys being with me. I smile and tell her that I'm so happy for being with her. We both laugh because the storekeeper tripped on the floor. We finished our "meal" Before exiting the store, I look outside and see a guard that I had seen before. He is riding on his horse. He stops, puts a note on a tree and keeps riding. I tell Katie what happened and we both go to the tree. I see my name, Robert, a very bad drawing of myself and a bounty of 3 gold coins. The storekeeper sees the paper, and confused orders me to back off. I punch his face and take my three copper coins back.
"I can't believe you just did that."
"Me neither. Now, let's hit the road."
"But you said you saw the guard going on the road. It might be a trap."
"You're right. Let's go this other way."
I point at an old road. The road must be abandoned. I see a sign saying that it heads towards the mountains. I think it's a crazy idea. I like crazy ideas and tell her that we are going that way. She follows me. We reach an old cottage. It's abandoned. I tell her that we must explore it. She looks at me with a face of disagreement. I kiss her. She agrees.
"This place must be at least a hundred years old."
"I wonder why no one is here. It is so well conserved."
"You're right. Something's wrong."
"Nothing is wrong. Look, a plague must have killed everyone inside."
"So their corpses are still here? Is that what you mean?"
"I didn't mean to scare you, but this may very well be our home. Look at it this way, nobody will bother us. This is a mansion for the two of us."
"But there's dead people in here."
"We'll clean them up."
"Okay, okay. I'll clean them up. I just want you to be happy, okay?"
I realize that the villa is in fact bigger than I thought at first. This is an awesome place to live in. I start exploring every room, and I, to my dismay, find no dead bodies.
"Where did the bodies go? Could they have just abandoned this place?"
"I hope that's the case. Look it's almost night. Where are we going to sleep?"
"That's a good question, seriously."
"I'll let you decide. Wherever you want."
"I say we sleep right here" Said Katie.
"Right here it is."
We go to our horses. She grabs my hand, and says, with a childish tone, a voice you can only hear in a small child; a tone of voice begging for protection, "I'm scared."
"There's nothing to be afraid of. I'll be with you, always."
"Yeah, I will. Always."
We get some covers from our horses to make a bed right in the middle of the abandoned house. She insists on going to a corner because she doesn't like to be in the open. I agree. We are making our bed right behind a door and next to a wall. She is scared. I remind her that there is nothing to be afraid of. I put my arms around her neck and kiss her.
"Did I ever mention that I love you?" I said.
"I think you did."
"Can you hear that?"
"Yeah, ever since we arrived, I could hear that noise. What is it?"
"I think it's mice."
"Yeah, mice. Here, give me your hand."
I grab her hand and put it next to the wall. She screams.
"I told you it was mice."
"Where the hell are we?!"
"It's abandoned. Mice are everywhere, even inside the walls."
"This is crazy, we should leave."
"Not really, this can be taken care of in a day. I'll do that too. Listen, I love you, and if I sense anything's wrong; we'll leave first thing tomorrow."
"But... where would we go?"
"Anywhere. With you, anywhere is good enough. Now, we should go to sleep there's plenty of work tomorrow."
"Can't we talk for a little while more? Listen, I came here with you because, among other things, I really like the way you speak."
"You should have said that before."
"I know. Now, considering that everything goes fine, what can we aspire to do here?"
"I already thought about that. Listen, after a few months; they won't be looking for me anymore. All the signs they have placed will be gone. We can make this our home, and, after a few months, we can do just about anything. We can probably have some farms, make slaves work for us... possibilities are endless; but I, for my part, will make sure this is the best house in a thousand miles."
"There's another thing I've been thinking about..." She said.
"Well... you remember that store keeper you punched, right?"
"Yeah, what about him?"
"Couldn't he just tell that he saw us coming this way?"
"I had forgotten about that guy! Yes, it's a possibility."
"But, if he does, which will very likely happen, they could easily come by following the road..."
"You're forgetting about something. After the main road, there are at least another hundred possible paths to take. The one we took is the hardest one. They'll never find us here."
"You sound like if you knew this place."
"As a matter of fact, when the lord; who runs the village from where I am from, found my family; we lived in this road. That's why I told you to stop in that village and not the other. That's why I knew how to get here."
"But then, that lord could easily think we're here."
"Unluckily for him, I am the only person that knows how to get here. You'll see, I didn't tell you this before, but this place is much older that I told you. It's 200 years old. It was believed that a plague killed everyone inside. Nobody has come here ever since. Everyone who knew about this place is either dead or doesn't remember how to get here."
"You're so full of surprises."
"Please, tell me everything. I want to know all about you. You can thrust me."
We kept talking for many hours.
To be continued...
Knight Arthur was just 21 years old when he joined the army to fight in the holy lands. This was the fourth crusade. Few people actually knew what was going to happen during this time, Arthur among them.
Before leaving home, Arthur swore his fiancée that he would be back within a week. This was hardly the case, and they both knew that. Nevertheless, Theresa, Arthur's fiancée; had hope in his early return because she was madly in love with him.
Arthur was an adventure seeker. He was bored of Venetia, his homeland. Arthur was strong, of average stature and with a very strong desire to fight. He grew up in a fishing community.
Along with thousands of soldiers, Arthur sailed towards Constantinople. Having known Pope Innocent III, Arthur was given a very high command of the army. He was to direct a ship's soldiers into war. But the downside... before even arriving at Constantinople, Arthur encountered an enemy's ship which had to be destroyed.
"Sir, what do we do?"
"But their ship is much bigger than ours. They must have at least two times as many soldiers as we do!"
"We'll worry about that later."
"But sir, we can't just go into battle. It's too risky!"
"I said we fight."
"Well then... if you want to die..."
"What? Are you questioning me?"
"You be careful with what you say."
"I'm so sorry sir."
"Now, go and prepare everything. Tell every man to wield a sword--two if possible. We're destroying these guys."
Arthur was convinced that with the newly discovered armor and weapons, he'd be able to have an easy victory. He ordered every crossbowman to go to the deck. But as soon as he did this, a thought came to his mind... His thinking went something like this:
"I remember when I was young... I must have really liked to fish and to farm. I don't know if I'm ready for this battle, I mean... I'm not that prepared yet. All of this reminds me to the fun times I had just a few months ago... if I hadn't burnt my mother's house... Burn? Fire? Fire?"
Arthur had an excellent idea. He called his crossbowmen back and told them:
"I have an idea. We are burning that ship."
"But, sir, our arrows don't have a good range!"
"That's no problem. We'll get close to make them think we're attacking. When we're close enough, all of you will shoot as many fire arrows as you can atdifferent places of their ship. If we're lucky, we can burn them down. Look at their ship. It seems so dry. And remember that it hasn't rained for at least a month."
"This could work."
"Damn right it'll work."
As the enemy's ship got closer, a thousand fire arrows and quarrels were shot from Arthur's ship towards their's. Even though Arthur didn't know how to fire well, he must have fired at least a dozen fire quarrels.
A lot of cries for help were heard. Not Arthur, nor his soldiers ever showed any signs of sympathy. Still they kept firing.
"That was a nice attack, sir."
Every man was trying to extinguish the fire that had turned into a conflagration. Their ship retreated to the beach. Arthur's ship sailed towards Constantinople to which he arrived a day later.
"This is it."
Arthur's soldiers eventually breached Constantinople's walls and managed to enter; in which a fearsome struggle took place. Arthur must have killed at least three or four defenders. And as they got closer to the main hall, Arthur encountered a very pretty woman who begged for her life.
"What are you doing here?"
"I'm lost. I don't know where my family is. Please help me."
"But I'm supposed to kill you. What are you talking about?"
"You are very pretty."
"Thanks sir. Will you help me?"
"I will. Even if I get condemned for this, follow me."
Arthur guided her to his ship, in which she could hide. Arthur acknowledged her name. "Daphne."
"Daphne is a very pretty name."
"So... please tell me! Where are we going?"
"After all this conflict is over, I will ask to be taken back home. You can come with me if you want, or you can stay."
Arthur promptly returned to battle just to realize that half of his soldiers were dead.
"Where were you, Arthur?! These guys overran us and we had to retreat. They are still inside that palace. We must get them."
"Go inside there? Are you crazy? You do know what they are doing, right? Their whole army is garrisoned inside that palace, waiting for anybody to go in. If I have learnt anything from my experience is that besieging works best. We will make them surrender. We just have to hold this place, right here."
"You're right. I'll tell the men to make a fortress right outside the palace."
"Good. Do it hastily for we don't know how long they'll be waiting."
Arthur's soldiers made a fortification all around the palace. The defenders were already yelling as this was done. After a day, reinforcements arrived. When the defenders acknowledged this, they promptly surrendered. Constantinople was pillaged and a place in which to transport all the tons of gold was needed. Arthur was told to take the gold back to Venetia, a task he gladly accepted.
After a month, Arthur was back home; with Daphne. The first person to greet him was his fiancée whom Arthur had already forgotten about.
"You have not forgotten about me, have you?"
"uhhmmm Oh no! How are you?"
"I have waited for you all this time... I love you"
"Yes. My father has already arranged our wedding."
"Yes! Isn't it great?"
"No actually it's not."
"This is Daphne. My new fiancée. I met her in Constantinople."
"You're kidding right?"
"I'm pretty serious. You don't love me enough."
Having said this, Arthur disappeared into the shadows with Daphne.
"Arthur, I can't believe you did that for me."
"It's to show you what true love is like. From the moment I saw you in Constantinople..."
"Me too. But, like I said before, I really want to see my family."
"Please, forget about them. You will not see them again. They are far away. And now, with all the gold the pope gave me, we can live a very happy life."
"I'm not sure about all of this."
"What are you talking about? I love you. That's what matters."
"Exactly. But... If you ended your marriage like that, I'm sure you'd end me when I bore you."
"What are you talking about? I'd never do that to you."
"Yes you would."
"No. Don't ever say that again."
Daphne's beautiful green eyes gazed into Arthur's black, imposing, eyes.
"I don't want to hurt you."
"Then don't and help me be happy."
"But you know I'm not like this."
"I have just realized that I don't know you at all."
"You're right. You don't know me."
I walked over to the main wall, I could see thousands of soldiers still struggling to get into our castle.
"Pierre, wake up!"
"What is it?"
"They are coming in. We must leave."
"No they are not, that gate will last a month."
"That's not what I meant, look at that!"
I pointed Pierre a small hole in the ground. He suddenly turned white and realized what the tunnel was about. Diggers. They were digging a tunnel right beneath us; into the walls and city.
"They won't do it. It will rain before they are successful. Look at the sky!"
Pierre was right, it was about to rain. As he uttered these last words, many diggers exited the tunnel. The last one, set fire to it.
"It's done. We are doomed."
"But it's going to rain!"
"You don't understand, they are burning their tunnel. Our walls will collapse leaving the castle defenseless."
"It's quite possible, I've seen it done."
With a tremendous sound, the wall 100 feet away from us collapsed. Hundreds of invaders ran towards the walls, only to be met with our defenses. The lord had organized quite a remarkable defense. Archers firing from above, aided by melee fighters who would stop the interlopers.
We suffered severe losses. Probably half of the army was dead. Nevertheless, so did they.
As I entered the kitchen, I was stopped by a guard.
"Who are you?"
"I'm Pierre's friend."
"I don't know no Pierre. Go away at once."
"But... I need food."
"I said go away. If you stay here I will have you sent to the oubliette. You know the place where criminals die? That's it."
I think I was scared, but I was too hungry to notice. My body was starting to look emaciated in just two days of war. I went to see Pierre to the infirmary.
"Pierre! how are you?"
"I'm doing fine. These damn nurses won't let me do a damn thing."
"I'm glad you're okay. Do you need anything?"
"A little food would be nice... that stupid nurse is eating all my rations."
"Yeah she only gave me a glass of water last night. If I don't die from my injury I'll starve to death"
"Don't worry, I'll talk to someone. Be right back."
I left the infirmary only to meet another guard. He was a friend of Pierre.
"Hey, I saw you with Pierre the other day."
"Yeah I just came back from talking to him."
"Oh... can you tell me where he is"
"Yeah. The infirmary, room 10."
I kept walking to speak with the castle's lord (he was a friend of my father). When I entered the keep in which he was staying, I noticed a really nice smell of a lot of food. I kept walking and as I passed the main dining hall, I noticed the lord and his guests having a banquet. So much food that they could easily feed the whole town. I even saw some food being wasted (the maid ate it later, of course).
I waited there for at least an hour waiting for the lord to finish his meal. When he was actually finished, he went to his room right away. I stopped him and told him the situation.
"My lord! You must remember me. You knew my father."
"Yes... your father. Tragic affair."
"I have a favor to ask you."
"A friend, Pierre, is at the infirmary. He doesn't have enough food because his nurse is eating it all. His injuries are bad enough, but I fear he might not survive if he has nothing to eat. I, for my part, have had nothing real to eat in days. I come for your aid!"
"Well then. There's nothing I can do, conform with your rations"
"I am, but please help Pierre! He was among your best soldiers. He was injured because he fought for you! Help him please... I beg of you!"
"That... I have no power over."
"But you're our lord. Please"
"Alright then. You shall be sent to the oubliette for pissing me off"
"You heard me. GUARDS!"
"No wait! My father was a friend of yours"
"No he wasn't. He owed me money and now you'll pay."
"Please sir don't!"
"Send him at once, guards. Let's teach these kids to stop coming to interrupt the busy lord."
The guards grabbed me with a lion's strength. They were two very muscular guards. As we were leaving the keep, one of them told me that I was very stupid. I didn't know what he was talking about since... well I didn't do anything wrong. As we entered the dark dungeon, one of them said "okay... where do we put him?" They looked around and couldn't find an open oubliette to put me on. They decided to remove the bones of an older inmate so I could be put in there. The odor was awful, I couldn't stand being there.
"Okay he's almost out. Bad luck you had, kid."
"Please. Help me... I don't want to die."
"It's the lord's orders"
"He'll never know if you don't put me down there! I swear I'll run away!"
"Sorry... I can't do such thing. I could be hanged... or worse be sent down there, to where you will be."
As these last words were uttered, a huge man knocked down one of the guards with such a strong blow that even amazed me. The other one tried to run away but he was met by a blade. I instantly recognized my savior.
"Pierre! What are you doing here?"
"My friend told me you were in trouble. He followed you."
"That stupid lord! He sent me here for begging for you! He was having a banquet of all the food you can imagine. Even wasting a lot! We must stop that."
"There's nothing we can do."
"What do you mean? He's a bad man."
"For now, we must hide. If he finds out, he'll be looking for us."
"We should kill him."
"I can't... I'm too injured. I still need food."
"Look at what I have here. I grabbed some food from the lord. Good thing he didn't find out"
I handed over to Pierre a huge slice of bread and a fish. We quickly left the dungeon after we grabbed the bodies and threw them to the oubliette.
"Good lord. What an awkward day. Does he even know where you live?"
"He knows everything. Rest."
It wasn't very late. Probably about 6 or 7 PM, but I could see that Pierre was very injured.
"I want you to have this."
He handed me over a bow.
"It was my father's."
He quickly went to sleep and I, for my astonishing stupidity, left our safety. The siege was much more advanced. The main gate was completely destroyed and the invaders were entering the castle. After a few minutes, it all settled down. I thought that maybe the lord would think that the guards were killed by the invaders and not by Pierre.
The interlopers seemed to calm down for the night, but after a few minutes, they made another attack. Bigger than ever. At least three hundred men were marching towards us. The castle's defense consisted of no more than a thousand veteran soldiers standing at the door, but they were all very tired due to the intermittent attacks being launched by our enemy.
Our defenses suffered heavy casualties this time. I couldn't count how many were dead but probably more than a hundred. All of the invaders died. But this didn't stop them from firing projectiles. All night, they kept firing whatever they could. They even fired a cow! I thought this was funny, but I was later explained by Pierre that cows were used to spread diseases to the defenders. The cow was quickly launched back.
As I feared, the invaders fired fire arrows. The whole main gate--and some houses--were burned in a matter of minutes. I knew we were doomed and so I told Pierre.
"Pierre... we must leave this castle. We have enemies inside and the enemies outside are coming in! Have you ever thought about joining our enemies? They are English. I'm sure they won't kill us."
"You dream too much, kid. At the sight of us, they will fire a cloud of arrows killing us instantly. But you are right, we must leave."
Our castle was very big. Not many other castles had a well and farming land in the inside; this was a relief for everyone. Pierre, the giant who I described earlier, was sent to watch the food supplies. There was a strong belief that a spy could be among us. As all of us knew, the king was very strict in a spy's way of dying. He would be sent to an oubliette to starve to death. This was the worst way of dying in my opinion.
When it was 12 o'clock, the bell rang again to tell us of our daily meal. I was shocked to see that my ration only consisted of bread and water! I finished it in a few seconds and I was still very hungry.
"Welcome to the castle's life" said Pierre.
"But I'm hungry... "
"There's nothing I can do... lets go back to our room; you need to start learning how to fight. I'll teach you what you need to know in the morning."
I was 14 years old; the kingdom of France was very strict about making us learn to fight at that age. Normally, I would be assigned a random tutor, but by the looks of it, Pierre was going to be it. As we walked to our room, a gigantic projectile destroyed much of the main gate; the bell rang again. The guards were yelling "everyone able to fight must go to the main gate at once" At least a thousand soldiers were lined-up in there a few minutes after; including Pierre.
When I told Pierre that I wanted to go, he ordered me to back off. I said:
"I'm a very good archer, I know what to do."
"Then you'll help the other archers from inside the wall."
"Please let me come with you."
"It's too dangerous."
The English invaders were using a battering ram to destroy our gate. It was having a very dramatic effect in destroying it; even though our castle consisted of three lines of defense, we couldn't afford letting them possess the first one since the farming land was in there. Their advance would mean our loss.
I did what Pierre said and went to the upper wall. A soldier next to me started saying something.
"Do you know how to fire one of these?"
"I'm an expert archer, I used to help my father hunt beasts for a living"
"Do you have a bow?"
"No... I left it in my old hut which is now over there"
[I pointed towards some ashes]
"So is your family dead?"
"I'm sorry to hear that, but we have no time to lose. You can have this bow, it was my old one."
"Get ready, here they come"
As he uttered these last words, an army of more men that I could count, ran towards the quasi-destroyed gates. We lit fire to our arrows; and as our commander ordered us to fire, a thousand arrows were shot towards the interlopers. Many men died, and we kept firing. I could count killing at least a dozen invaders.
Our missiles were not enough. They managed to utterly destroy the gates, making a wide enough hole to infiltrate our castle. I could hear the uproar coming from beneath the stairs when our commander shut the door leading to our part of the wall. A few moments after he did so, more than twenty angry soldiers were standing beneath the closed door. We were able to fire them since the implantation of "death traps" as they called them. They consisted on making holes in the walls to kill enemies as they entered.
A fearsome melee occurred as the invaders reached the inside. We kept firing the invaders but they were too dispersed so we didn't do much damage this time. The interlopers retreated leaving hundreds of their soldiers behind. We were victorious in this small battle. Our lord wanted to make a counterattack, but he was told not to because it could have been a trap. In my opinion, they were severely demoralized.
I ran to the gates; to my dismay, Pierre was injured. An arrow crossed his leg from one side to the other; I knew that his chances of developing an infection were very high. He was sent to the infirmary immediately. There was a tremendous fear, greater than before, of having spies among us. Spies seriously threatened our chances of survival since they could easily poison our food. Many more soldiers were appointed to guard the kitchen.
I was very tired so I walked towards my bed, only to hear a second attempt of invaders coming to our castle. I was too tired to care or notice so I went to bed anyways.
As I turned back, I saw the hut in which I was sleeping just a few minutes ago totally burned. A small fire turned into a conflagration. The whole village in which I grew up was on fire... where is my family? Mom? Dad? Sister? I turned back and I saw the invaders running towards where I was. The gate was almost closed so I, for some unknown reason, decided to get in the castle and leave my family behind. From a small opening in the door, I saw how my family along with at least another 100 villagers got massacred. The invading army shouted words I couldn't understand.
As a bell rang, a thousand arrows were fired on every direction from the castle. I was an expert archer but I didn't have time to show anyone my skills. As the invaders retreated, they left us a horrifying sight. In just the few minutes in which the invaders were next to the castle walls, they managed to undress everyone outside. Cutting their hair and giving fatal blows to some very important parts of their bodies (such as the head). When the gates opened to pick up the survivors, I ran towards my family, crying. My father (who I barely recognized) had his face cut by an axe. As I grabbed his hand, I heard him utter my name. Through his divided-in-two-mouth, combined with blood and sweat, he was uttering barely-recognizable words. He was brought inside the castle to the infirmary in which he died a few hours later; after a lot of pain.
My mother and sister were not anywhere to be found. Presumably the invaders stole their bodies; as I realized that my life had drastically changed in just 20 minutes, an air of vengeance flowed through my mind. I tried to run towards their camp, but I was suddenly stopped by a gigantic soldier.
"Don't be foolish, they'll kill you."
"But they killed my father and they have my sister and mother!"
"Do you want them to kill you too? Wait in here and we'll get them soon."
"Do you have a place to live?"
"You can come with me."
As I followed the giant (he must have been taller than 6'4) we reached a petite shelter. He had to kneel in order to enter, but still there was enough room for the both of us. He quickly improvised me a bed and told me to sleep. The thoughts of everything that happened couldn't let me fulfill this task. I visualized a shadow coming and getting in, waking me up. The people shouting outside, the bells, the animals getting sacrificed were the worst torment I've ever been subject to. The shelter was made of stone (just like all the other ones). It was very cold and humid; the only good thing is that we were right next to the kitchen; giving us some extra heat.
As the hours passed by, so did the brouhaha coming from the small window. With curiosity, I looked through it and saw at least a thousand soldiers surrounding each side of the castle. Our moat was not enough to stop them. At the distance, I saw many siege weapons drawing closer and closer. After a few moments, a devastating sound lurked through the castle. I turned to my right and saw a part of the wall severely damaged due to a huge knock. I thought the castle wouldn't last until sunset, but I was wrong.
Joaquin@Joaquin.cc - Everything is Property of Medieval-Castles.org and you may NOT Copy Anything for any Purpose
You are the visitor #14309 to this website.