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"Welcome,
herald-gyronny8.gif

foreigner..."

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________________________________


You walk into the entrance of the
great estate, the only one of it's kind along the river. Nearbye is the town of
Jarrow and of course a grand monastery as well, however it is here in the
estate of Ellenwood that the Earl rules. Walking in you see serfs and freemen
working aside, swine being herded and nuts and stones being dropped by
women to ensure the mud paths do not become flooded. High atop a further
hill you see the small stone reinforced keep of Earl Morcar, master of these
lands.

But tread carefully, foreigner - these hill countries are not like your own,
England is by no means a land kind to lone travellers, and in these troubled times
even the King is a threat to all here.
You have been warned.

Praise God, and welcome, traveller, to Northumberland....


The Saga thus far
Story Prologue
Chapter I: The Land of Mountain Passes
Chapter II: A Quiet & Early Northern Spring
Chapter III: The Knight's Entourage to the Northern Lands
Chapter IV: A Winter's Night in Ellenwood Keep
Chapter V: A King's Wishes
Chapter VI: Chronicles After the Conquest
Chapter VII: The Lady of the Hill Forests


An
~ Ecclesiastical History ~
of
the English Nation
by the Venerable St. Bede


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The
~ Compiled Anglo Saxon ~
Chronicle





 
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Story Prologue...

The Hill
of
Blood

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_


Sang Lac Hill, 1066 Anno Domini...
Blood. Everywhere blood.
Along the side of the hill before them, strewn with arrows and javelins, spears and other's with their heads crushed in from the powerful mass of the cavalry charge which drove through them with no avail. Strewn across the field, the once proud King's housecarls were in horrid and lifeless gazes to the earth and sky, other's still squirming in pain and wirthing their cries of agony aloud. Normans left over are now looting some corpses, and setting up camp, others rejoicing of their future greatness from this victory. The shadowy grass was a bloodied, sticky mess with the dark blood of barons and earls from across England, and that final charge which would lead the tyrant, William the Bastard, to London - and the clouds, thickening in the sky flowed with ceaseless and amazing speed, as if God himself had touched the fateful day.

'Son of Leofric... Morcar...'
Lying on the ground, blood seeped from his lips, out of his mouth. His eyes had no life in them, and now almost dry as they stared above to the heavens, a curious thing happened... A flash of light within, and then, a burst. All at once it comes to him in a painful, agonizing breath of life. The flash of his mind could now see the hills and moors of the north, the ragged crags of cliffs and the embracing kiss of his lover, Rowenah. He wimpers. As he sees the woman of beauty before him... but it is not Rowenah. He voice is like silk running gingerly along his head, softly awakening him.

'Holy God in heaven...' His lips seem to mutter in his old tongue.... he wheezes in pain, but, somehow, he manages to roll over. Seeing his axe broken in half on the field, he reaches to his belt and finds his blade was lost somewhere in the battle. He shakes from the blinding pain which engulfs his entire body, as if he had been kicked and beaten for days. But... he was alive?

The battle had gone badly. The King's fyrdmen on the command of of royal brothers, Leofwyne and Gyrthe, had charged when the Norman's cowardly allies the Bretons had routed. Their devil kin Duke William had fallen, his force defeated. Only the underworld could change such events against the Fyrd... we had always been loyal sons to God and our Kingdom. Why...?
The magnitude of the slaughter that ensued when the fyrdsmen had scattered was immeasurable. There was no mercy, no rules of dignity - men of royal blood and ancient family were cut down like blades of wheat in a field. The day was lost... and much more.

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He realizes he must leave uncaptured... or else lose everything left to him from his forefathers. Attention of his surroundings quickly returns.

None see him. He stands, and limping, he makes his way up the hill to the forested glades nearbye, where his steed is still tied to a tree which he had left when he had dismounted for battle at Caldbec hill... the Normans had probably not gone there yet to steal all the horses of the men they had butchered. The horse sees something is amiss with his master, the Earl, and the scent of blood seems to seep out of his armour from all places. As he leans forth the man also falls into the horse, and untying the beast, with more pain than he might ever imagine he climbs up and onto it, learning forth and patting the animal gently...

"Let us go home, Osric..." His voice is barely a wheezy whisper, the weight of his armour atop his exhaustion making the noble housecarl almost fall off, although a tight grip with his lefts keeps him on his horse and a spear in hand.
With a brief neigh, the steed begins to make their journey north, unknowing of the future of all England...
 

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Chapter I:

The Land
of
Mountain Passes

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_


Our story begins in the lands of the north of England, a place of mists and hills, legends and wars. Steeped in tales of invaders and defenders, heroes and evil men, it was a land indeed under the watchful eye of the Lord.

The lands of Bernicia was known to be mentioned in Old Welsh poetry, in the writings of Nennius and elsewhere under the name of Bryneich or Brynaich. The Brythonic word Berniccā meaning ‘land of mountain passes’ was indeed apt indeed, for is such a rugged land. There are several Old Welsh pedigrees of princely Men of the North which may represent the Kings of Bryneich. The late John Morris surmised that the line of a certain Morcant Bulc referred to these monarchs, chiefly because he identified this man as the murderer of Urien Rheged who was, at the time, besieging Lindisfarne.

From the earliest times the English were bred as warriors amongst their kinsmen. The Angles of Bernicia even fought as mercenaries with the romans to defend England against the vile scots and picts during the late Roman period. Others are thought to have migrated north by sea from Deira in the early 6th century. The Anglian king Ida obtained the throne and the kingdom about 547 with his courage and pride as well as piety. His sons spent many years fighting a united force from the surrounding Brythonic kingdoms until their alliance collapsed into a terrible, long, and bloody civil war which seemed to have no end in sight.

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Ida’s grandson Æthelfrith united Deira with his own kingdom with his courageous bands of warriors around the year 604. He ruled the two kingdoms - united as Northumbria - until he was defeated and killed by Raedwald the Hammer of East Anglia, the same whom had given refuge to Edwin, son of Ælle, king of Deira. Around the year 616, Edwin then became king. The early part of Edwin's reign was spent leading his men valliantly into the strange fairy regions of Gododdin, where they found the Bryneich exiles whom they defeated. After he had completed the pacification of the population in Bernicia he was then drawn towards similar subjugation of Elmet - a Cumbric speaking territory, which drew him into direct conflict with Wales proper and their conniving lords.

After the terrible Battle of Hatfield Chase on October 12, 633, in which Edwin was defeated and killed by Cadwallon of Cadfan of Gwynedd and Penda of Mercia, Northumbria again was divided into Bernicia and Deira, much to the tears of our lord. Bernicia was then briefly ruled by Eanfrith, son of Aethelfrith, but after about a year he went to Cadwallon to sue for peace and was killed. Eanfrith's brother Oswald then raised an army and finally defeated Cadwallon at the Battle of Heavenfield in 634. After this victory, Oswald was then finally recognised by both Bernicians and Deirans as king of a properly united Northumbria. It was a blessed time. The kings of Bernicia were thereafter supreme in that kingdom, although Deira had its own pretended and smaller kings and dux at times during the reigns of Oswiu and his son Ecgfrith.

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The Earls of Cumberland and Northumberland hunting​

The kingdom of Northumbria ended it's rule in 927, when it was incorporated into England as a rightful earldom by Athelstan, the first king of a united England. In 937, Athelstan's victory over a combined Norse and Celtic force in the battle of Brunanburh secured England's control of its northern territory.
The Scottish King Indulf captured Edinburgh in 954, which thenceforth remained in possession of the Scots. His successors made repeated attempts to extend their territory southwards. Malcolm II was finally successful, when, in 1018, he annihilated the Northumbrian army at Carham on the Tweed, and Eadulf the earl of Northumbria ceded all his territory to the north of that river as the price of peace. Henceforth Lothian, consisting of the former region of Northumbria between the Forth and the Tweed, remained in possession of the Scottish kings.

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And so we come to now, the year 1067 Anne Domini, in the month of April. In London, William of Normandie is proclaimed King of all England after his defeat of the English King Harold Godwinson, former Earl of Kent at the Battle of Hastlings. Despite his deep distrust and hatred of the landed English gentry whom had fought so valiantly against him during the battle, the beardless King of England is reluctant to move against these barons and earls so quickly after his conquest.

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One such of these earls was of the house of Leofric - a powerful house of old England indeed - and was Morcar, Earl of Northumberland and Cumberland, Baron of Durham, Westmore land, and Jorvik. He had stood aside his King and fought well on Sanglac hill, yet still they had lost the day, and now some four months since stayed at his estates in the far north, as far away from that bastard Norman as possible. There with his brother Earl Edwin, they hunted and avoided the politics of the south... and perhaps for a time, hoped that the miracle of God saving them on the field from that bloody day had some purpose yet left in the future.

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The Earl's Northumberland estate at Jarrow

Indeed in that same year of 1067 the Earl Morcar then took as wife the Lady Aelfthyrth of the House Grey, a cousin from the midlands as suggest by his brother Earl Edwin, whom himself was already married and with a son by a Danish woman whom he truly loved with all his heart.

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Aelfthyrth hardly knew Morcar but was pleased about the arrangement. Doing so the Earl Morcar only hoped that he might produce his own heir. After all he was a son of Leofric and of noble and ancient Saxon blood, true English blood. The Kingdom was changing indeed, and with his brother as ally one day Morcar dreamed that he might restore power to the true heirs of England gain that second chance and restoring the English to power in the north...

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Specialist290 said:
This one certainly appears to have promise. Rather interesting depiction of the aftermath of Hastings there.

Thanks :) I am not going to follow one format of presenting the events, that form will dominate along with narration. I am going to upload the actual gameplay pics soon.
 

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A really good AAR, so far. I like the style you have chosen !
 

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Good job so far, I like the dynsty you've chosen.
 

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Chapter II:

A Quiet
&
Early Northern Spring

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________________________________
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______
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The outskirts of Jarrow in Northumberland ~ 1067 Anno Domini...
The air seemed so fresh in the spring time, as the seedy grains of the harvests were first planted amidst the small huts and thatch roofs of the local freemen and serfs. Smoke, billowing from the estate not far off seemed to signal that a fresh stag was being prepared and roasted for their supper.
Riding along the glades of the forested hillsides near his great family estate, the Earl Morcar caused for a moment. How long before the Normans came, to take it all away from them? Shaking his head, he awaited only a moment before sounding his great horn - and within moments he heard the fast trot of his brother's steed.

"A cripple or not, you ride too far too fast Morcar...!" The haughty shout of the large boned Edwin, his older brother always caused Morcar to smirk. His brother, a large man approached on his own steed, "By the old heathen gods you'll find me not in battle riding such a beast. They are madmen who have come, from the south..." Edwin's voice was strong and broad, as he was.

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Earl Morcar's older brother

Remembering the battle, Morcar said nothing, but as he usually did seemed to lower his head and almost shake it with disdain for the loss of Hastings. England would be changed forever. Nodding to his brother Morcar's disappointed voice seemed to be interrupted by his older brother's, one with determination, "Still yet they must respect our Kingdoms and laws. If that dirty Norman bastard claims he is King of all England, then he must recognize the English nobility... fear not brother, those Norman swine herders cannot ride their war horses here in the hill countries. This is our country, brother."

Sighing, Morcar replied, "Let us hope so, brother." Turning his steed, the two of them, Morcar and Edwin, began to ride through the countryside back towards the great hill estate which served as the home of the sons of Leofric since the old times of great wars. Truly, generations of his family had fought for this northern land... how can these Norman land-lusting dogs even claim to rule such a place they had never known or been to? Thoughts such as this and others raced through his mind. Over the past few months the Earl had begun a slow recovery, his wounds leaving him a slight limp, although nothing serious. Battle scars did a houscarl of the King well, he remembered his father's voice telling him, it is a mark of valour upon a man in the land's service. He had fought hard, and killed many Normans. But they had lost.
Soon emissaries had arrived proclaiming their 'new' King William I, bastard or not... though some whispered that he was conceived by a man whom was a living incarnate of the Dark Lord himself. Truly, the way the tide of the battle had turned, Morcar could only guess or fear that William had some sort of otherworldly aid, surely not from God in Heaven, whom the English had always served with honour. With such thoughts and concerns Morcar hardly noticed how short the ride back to his estates had been.

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The Earl's Northumberland estate at Jarrow

Within the estate the serfs worked hard on preparing their roofs and the animals for a rainy evening. Instructing the maids and ladies, he Lady Aelfthyrth watched impassively as her new husband returned home. Looking at the sky concerned, she could see the storm coming in...

 

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There, I've found a way to upload the CK files. Enjoy :D
 

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Chapter III:

The Knight's
Entourage
to
the Northlands

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________________________________
_______________
______
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_


Northumberland ~ Winter of 1068 Anno Domini...
The cold winds from the north blew aimlessly through the trees which were in groups along the hillsides, since ancient times being a great wooded region called Gnarled Cleugh Wood. While much of these forests were cut clear by the Romans on the eastern approaches, many said it was a fairy wood where otherworldly things occurred. Many of the commonfolk refused to go within it, hearing fantastic stories from hunters and trappers whom dared enter the forest of witches and demon houses. Another common name for the mysterious place was Faeryland, though it was not a word of the English tongue, but a foreign one. Sitting around their fire the small traveling entourage of Normans and English loyalists, all perplex, some frustrated. Amongst them was a broad shouldered knight and his servants, the man bearded and himself it seemed a man accustomed to fighting, with an infamous short temper of the Normans. Indeed, these people hardly ascribed to such strange folk beliefs of the Saxons and the strange Breton people before them, nor did they take such things seriously.

"We are lost...!" Sir Roger de Montgomery almost shouted in frustration, looking over the leather imprinted map provided for them. Of course they had few known maps in the south of the Northumberland region in detail, yet it was not enough.

"We must have patience, sir knight, for it is a virtue, is it not?" The churchman Tomas of Kent - a Norman whom was very accustomed to living in the south of England since the days of the Confessor King - looked over the map again, turning it to the firelight for some possible aid as the darkness of the evening began to cover the region, and the cool dead of night began to set in.... they had only stopped to eat. And if left to the elements they could suffer dire consequences - the north of Britain was unkind to those whom had no shelter or place to stay warm on the long eves.

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Tomas of Kent, a Norman Churchman

In frustration the churchman shook his head, "It is of no use, indeed. I know not of our present location..."

"Perhaps we might make for the east..." This time it was the Lady Amice de Say whom spoke now, whom accompanied them on their journey north. The knight bowed to her with respect, "Dear Lady, please, allow we whom know of such things to deal with these affairs."
The young Lady became silent on the knight's wish, whom was steward of their mission. She certainly did not wish to overstep her boundaries, or aggravate those whom she was in their charge. Instead she turned to one of her servant girls and asked if it was true or not that this forest was said to be haunted as she had heard. The men continued to ignore them.

"Well we cannot stay here, we'll freeze our asses off..." The knight spoke as the churchman raised a disapproving eye at his language. Just then, a sound set them all off in surprise,

Crack!
A twig breaking. With instinct the Norman quickly drew his blade and stood before the Lady whom gasped, the priest Tomas stepping back in fear of whatever it was.

Then, silence. They waited for a silent moment, seeing their hot breath in the air before them as they breathed in, attempting to listen for anything else nearby.

Tomas asked boldly, "Who goeth there...?! In the name of the King of England." he called out in the English tongue.
There was no reply. The wind cooly made it's noise as it rushed through the trees, now frightening the young Lady with them and her two maidservants.

Then, another stepping sound. She came out from the trees, with a servant - a bearded man in a woven cap following, holding his own dirk blade to defend his mistress.

Her voice was strange and dark but piercing, "...Have no fear," the mysterious Lady spoke in the English tongue as she approached them, "I am a servant of his majesty and also a lonely traveler..."

Seeing the situation, the knight resheathed his sword as he spoke, "Forgive me, my lady. Yet in these troubled times we can never be too sure..."

The woman said nothing, seeming not to understand what he had said. The Norman scoffed and spoke to the Churchman Thomas in their native Norman french, "Damned swine saxons..."

The mysterious lady with black hair stared at them with piercing eyes, but said nothing as her manservant refused to sheathe his own torrid and rusted knife. The churchman spoke in English, "We are emissaries of the King, and we are lost. Might you know where we are, fair lady?"

She replied in English, raising her hand to cause her manservant to replace his blade as she stepped forth, "Of that I know not, though I know well where I travel, where it is warm and near..."
The knight asked in a mix of french and what he knew of English, "Where are you going then?"

The Lady smirked, "Just north of here is the river... along there is the estate of the Earl Morcar.... I am the Lady Eadwine de Greystoc, and I myself am bound there. If you would not be afraid to follow, I might show you the way.."

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The mysterious Lady Eadwine of Greystoc

The knight and the churchman looked at each other. Then, they turned back and nodded, thanking the woman for her aid. And so she spoke nothing more, but walking as they gathered their supplies and steeds and began to slowly follow her along a north and east path, until amidst the moonlight and snowfall they could see the high tower of Ellenwod, the wooden hill castle of the Earl of the north east.
When the Earl Morcar was told by servants that a party of Normans were at the door, seeking refuge he first thought to turn them away. Then he thought to his betterment, and tld his man to allow them entrance.


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Ellenwod, Estate of Earl Morcar Leofricson


 
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I like the sketches you're using for England, the rumors about William are a nice touch as well.
 

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Chapter IV:

A Winter's Night
in
Ellenwood Keep

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________________________________
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______
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Northumberland ~ Winter of 1068 Anno Domini...
As the snows of winter's night flowed outside the saxon styled keep's wood and reinforced walls, the warm firelight of a hearty oak blaze warmed the hearth and hearts of those inside, in particular those Norman guests whom had arrived in the dead of night so unexpected. Glad to be indoors from the dark and called Gnarled Cleugh Wood, the Normans Tomas de Kent reminded their company with a harsh stare to be gracious to their northern saxon hosts, whom were offering them shelter from the elements. And if insulting their host, they could be tossed out into the wilds again, or a worse fate. Who knew with these inbred barbarians... Sir Roger de Montgomery thought with a raised brow as a lowly servant lead he, the churchman Tomas, and the Lady Amice de Say and their servants within the halls of the main keep of the estate. The warmth of the grand fire instantly made a difference in their composure, as the Norman lady withdrew her expensive fur cloak and handed it to one of her servants.

The room had three long tables, all around a large fire over which the cut meats of stag and hog were being roasted, while ale was being prepared and poured for drink, kept cold with the use of winter snow and ice as well as hay on the estates. It indeed was not a favoured drink of the Normans, but the entourage from the south was just as glad to see it as any refreshments after their long journey. The Earl's fool played with apples, juggling them and playing the children and the younger serfs as the entire host of the estate seemed to be seated equally among the Earl and his family. With the Norman entourage and their servants allowed to be present, it seemed a great company within the warmed halls of Morcar Leofricson, Earl and Theign indeed.

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A hearty voice announced them,
"Our guests have arrived," The voice came from the center of the grandest long table, it seemed it was the Earl dressed in common garb of any noble or landowning man, although he held a sirac cape with was a dark burgundy red cloth - furthermore he held on his belt a jewled scramseax knife, Tomas de Kent thought it was probably a family heirloom - he knew much of the saxons of the south. The Earl continued although he did not stand,

"We welcome you here to treat my home as your own. Sit, and drink!" Raising his jug like wooden cup of ol, or, ale, he drank. The churchman stepped forth,

"We are most honoured and delighted to be brought into your company here, noble Earl Morcar. On behalf of my company we give our thanks." With a nod, he took a seat near the Earl on the opposing side of the table, along with Sir Roger de Montgomery and the Lady Amice de Say. The servants and lower ladies as well as children of course sat at a different table with those near their own rank.

Her voice was quieted and polite, courtly after years of refinement in the south, "What sort of food shall we eat on this chilled eve, Lord Morcar?" He raised her brow, obvious herself starving. They hadn't eaten much.
But it was the much larger framed Edwin Leofricson whom replied haughtily, "We know well how much the lords of the south enjoy their red wine drink. We shall have this, with bread! And the roasts... oh dear lady, the meat of the north is tastier than any in all Britain." With a cheer he raised his cup and drained it, the colour and hue of his face growing a dark red in tone. Morcar watched his brother with a keen eye, although he continued to note the manner of his Norman guests. His wife, the young Lady Aelfthyrth looked over the strange Norman lady with curious eyes - the jewels and pearls she wore around her neck, the fine material of her cloak and gown. And of course, the way her husband eyed her noted her attention.

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And then there was the quiet Lady Eadwine of Greystoc, a woman of ancient line and nobility, fine blood of the south western rulers... The Earl knew well whom she was. He also had heard strange rumours of her family, and country... the West-more-lands and their borders were a strange place, and the Earl was always more comfortable with the lesser theigns under his vassalage keeping to themselves. Of course, he could not help but notice the mysterious Lady Eadwine's piercing eyes. She seemed to sit at the table and observe silently, occasionally biting a cut of apple or taking slight drink. The Lady of the household and estate Aelfthyrth feared her, although she had never told anyone this fact.
Soon, servants entered the room and carrying goblets of wine and trays of bread, passed them around the room. The bread was for dipping, and it was an appetizer of a sort before the great amounts of meat could be served for sup.

"What brings your company here to the hill countries?" The Earl Morcar ripped a thick piece of bread and dipped it into the red, warmed and spiced wine before him before biting into it.
Sir Roger de Montgomery replied in a prideful voice, "We are emissaries of the King." His voice was patronizing, but in a venomous way. Sir Roger had no love for saxons, however he would not cross matters or upset the churchman whom was the King's tongue in their entourage.

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Tomas of Kent, a Norman Churchman

"- Bound for Scotland." Tomas de Kent interceded as he spoke in the English tongue well enough, "We are emissaries to see his grace the King. We travel north but did not expect the winter evenings to be so... inhospitable. With God's blessing I should say it shall be some weeks before we reach the borderlands of Scotland." The churchman left the word almost dragging. He then took a drink of his own ale.

The great Edwin spoke aloud overhearing, "Scots...?! Spineless bastards, all of 'em! Remember when we gave them a run at Lindisfarne, Morcar? Aha!" Raising his glass to a toast, others joined the man as the Earl continued the conversation in a half sarcastic tone,
"The King is clever, to see if the Scots are his enemies in the winter so he might be able to mount a spring campaign." Chuckling, Morcar waited not a moment more before the challenging voice of Sir Roger de Montgomery asked,
"But is he your King, noble theign?" It was a dangerous question indeed. Some conversation at the table ceased as the churchman Tomas de Kent shot a harsh look at Sir Roger. Two dogs barked and snarled at each other near the table as they fought over a discarded bone still with scraps of meat and fat upon it. Meanwhile the dark haired saxon Lady Eadwine stared at the proceedings with an intrigued curiousity.
Earl Morcar smirked and sat tall as he began to speak, "Indeed he is... William is King of England, after all."

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Sir Roger de Montgomery

The knight then spoke in a darkening tone,
"Then it is fair to assume you are not amongst those rebels whom support the so called West Saxon, Edgar Aethling, whom cowers now in the far north and is rumoured to have even fled Britain?"

The caused even more attention. The churchman Tomas de Kent seemed as if he wanted to jump on his knight to silence him, wary of their short term future here.
"Edgar Aethling is by blood heir king of the saxons, though he has never been proclaimed by any body of lords of England, nor has he ever been proclaimed king of England." The Earl spoke with a proud tone. He knew he could boast well in his conversation that William of Normandie could never claim to be King of the Saxons.
"We here in the north shall always defend our heritage, against any invader." Morcar's voice was growing in determination as he faced the Norman knight.
Sir Roger was about to hurl an insult as their saxon host the Earl, when, attempting to pacify the situation, the Norman churchman Tomas spoke then, "Indeed a fair argument, noble Earl. We in the south are of course proud to know our northern borders are protected by such men as you."
The Lady Amice de Say nodded and raising her cup she spoke in the boldest voice yet, "To the lords of the north."
She then repeated it in Norman french.
Recieving a harsh look from the knight Sir Roger, the table exclaimed the grunts and comments of gratitude and appreciation, as well as thanks to God as the roasts of meat and chickens was laid out before them, and they began to feast. Conversation lulled in wake of food and drink.

And then the time to retire for the evening came. The Lady Amice and Eadwine were to share quarters with the servant ladies of the house, and Sir Roger and Tomas were given hay beds within an empty chamber.
Early in the morning without seeing the Earl again, the Norman company was keen to be on their way again...
 

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Quite an awkward cross cultural meeting there, I enjoyed the tension. Congratulations on the award, it is well deserved.
 

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:D A lot of sources show the tension between the remaining landowning saxons and the norman lords were very high - it lead to rebellion in the north.

Who knows how things will go here ;) Morcar wants to protect his lands... but then again, the honour of his family as well :D (Sharpens sword)
 

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Chapter V:

A King's
Wishes

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London ~ Spring of 1068 Anno Domini...
The weather in London had been fair so far this season, and the people were greatful for it. Indeed those living outside the city soon found outrage as the new Norman King's policies began to take effect - soon even Englishmen were forbidden to hunt in English forests, if a Norman landowner - and there were many appointed by the King - did not wish them to. In the city not much had changed, although it seemed there was more french being spoken than ever before to the great upset of some. Still, life went on and for the lower and more miserable folk they still received alms in the same few pennies, and the nobles were even more malignantly indifferent to the plea of the common man.

With the King's tower court was held daily, however it was still too early. Upstairs within a bedroom decorated with tapestries, gently he held her and kissed her soft skin, as she spoke to him passionately in their native Norman tongue, they began again to slowly make love. William, the King, moved with a slow ferocity that soon ensured a grand finale for both of them. Covered in sweat he fell onto the bed, and breathing in slowly, he breathed in and out as she rubbed her hand over his chest gingerly. She loved him, but she knew she could never have him. Nor could any woman command such a man as William of Normandy, whom always did his best to best any man at anything with fierce competition. His zeal for victory and conquest was beyond measure since his great victory...
He had changed since they first met when she was younger. Was he tiring of her? She wondered with a hint of worry in the look within her eyes.

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The King and his lover the Lady Busilla de Seagrave

William turned to her and spoke firmly, "I must go." as if he cared not to explain further, he was silent. She didn't want him to leave- usually she never did. But she of course had no choice.
Standing up and putting on his clothes, William spoke on as if to briefly explain to his chagrined lover, "I must see Lord Ranulf."

Then leaving the room, King William was followed by a courtier and a guard whom brought him to a chamber prepared for him to meet with the young Norman advisor and friend, Lord Ranulf Flambard.

Ranulf, the son of a blacksmith and was soon a friend and confidante of the King, and riding with him on the battlefield on a donated horse, he earned himself a Lordship and an important place in William's court in London. Ranulf was a complex young man with a taste of intrigue - and indeed he used it on his liege's behalf.

"My King," bowing, he smirked. William raised his hands and embraced the man pronouncing his first name as a friend, "Ranulf."
Then both sitting at the table, Lord Ranulf began without hesitation, "I have heard rumours, my King, that the remaining saxon earls and theigns in the north and west still have a great amount of respect and love amongst the commonfolk." he spoke matter of factly. The King shook his head and bit into an apple he reached from a basket on the table, spitting it then out on the floor,

"When have their opinions ever mattered?"

Raising his brow, the advisor spoke, "Indeed..." Ranulf then went on, "Of course, Sir Roger de Montgomery has written me and reports first hand of a stone and palisade keep being the main estate of the most powerful of these Earls, one Morcar Leofricson of Northumberland and Jorvik."

Raising his hands to his chin, the young conqueror King spoke narrowing his eyes in memory, "Leofricson... do I know that name?" It struck a tone of familiarity within the King's mind. William was silent for a moment.

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Lord Ranulf Flambard
Advisor to the King

Lord Ranulf nodded, "He stood with Harold, Earl of Kent against us at Hastings, me liege."

Indeed it was true. Many saxon theigns and nobles stood to fight against William, and now how was he expected to trust these barbaric half bred people to be loyal to him? Shaking his head his voice seemed to begin to lack patience, "Then we shall march north, and take apart their Earldoms. You, Ranulf, you can have York."

"While I would humbly thank your majesty for any such bountiful generosity -" The smiling but devious advisor Ranulf spoke smoothly, "It would cause great unrest amongst the saxon lords in the north out of our reach, and what of those saxon lords under our rule in the south when they learn of our war against their race? And the church of England, their loyalty is as wavering as a reed in the wind, my liege. If we are not careful, we could raise upheaval amongst the Leofricsons of Northumberland and Lancaster, the Siwards of Northampton to begin with, and countless theigns."

Another fact that the King was left with after his conquest - he had never thought so far ahead at the time when he and his men sailed, yet he never realized how much he would despise the saxons of England - and how much they hated him. And furthermore they still held immense power in the north and northwest. What irritated the Conquerer all the more was that they feigned loyalty unto him, so he had no real reason to ride north and end their days one and for all.

"But-" The Norman advisor finished off, "You majesty, they are indeed disloyal." His silk like tongue worked the King over well.

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King William, Conqueror of England

The King looked sternly, "Damn the saxons! I'd rather know their lot were cast under our warhorses all at that battle than to allow them to strengthen their castles and secretly worship that bastard pretender Edgar Aethling..." Almost spitting the words out as if they were venom, the King was silent again as he thought for a moment. He then leaned forth towards his friend Lord Ranulf and spoke his orders,

"You, Ranulf, go north. Stay in my estate as castellan and watch them. Any sign of treachery, anything, and I shall ride north with the men at arms and slaughter them to the man."

 
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coz1

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I've just read through this AAR this morning thanks to your recent honor of being named Character WritAAR of the week and in a word - superb! I really enjoy the feel of the piece giving us a glimpse of this world as it was. I must admit, I do not think too many have focused on the major differences between Saxon and Norman during this time.

Also the pictures you used in the earlier posts were wonderful. Where did you find those? The ones in this last update, I must admit, have a certain 16th century feel to them. ;)

Keep up the great work here, jeff. I'll be reading. :)
 
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It sounds like the King isn't the type to tolerate simmering dissent. I hope he doesn't do anything too nasty to our Sons of Leofric though. Cardinal Wwolsey should help.- er- Ranulf.
 

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Chapter VI:

Chronicles After
the
Conquest

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A.D. 1067. This year after a short return to his homeland in Normandy came the King back again to England on St. Nicholas's day, and the same day was ordered burned the church of Christ at Canterbury after it's clergyman, an Englishman called Wulfy conspired to turn the English Church against it's Norman King. Bishop Wulfwy also died crying out for God in the game, and was buried at his see in Dorchester. The child Edric and the Britons were truly also unsettled this year and over hunting and border dispites fought with the Norman castlemen at Hereford - and indeed it did them much harm. In his great disdain of the situation and a real lack of monies from the dramatic expenses of his conquests, the king this year imposed a heavy guild on the wretched people whom were made miserable by it but, notwithstanding, let his men always plunder all the country that they went over stealing wealth from unwalled theign's estates and plundering the local towns and merchants without mercy, and many corpses were strewn amidst the burning of English villages across the south.

Exeter was the first town to fight for liberty - A great force of citizens held it, young and old seething with anger against every inhabitant of Gaul. Further, they had repeatedly sent for allies from the neighbouring districts against the King's new tax, had detained foreign merchants with any aptitude for war, and had built or restored their towers and battlements as they judged necessary to defend against a possible invasion. They sent envoys urging other cities to combine with them in similar measures, and prepared to fight with all their strength against the foreign king, with whom they had had no dealings before that time. And then in retaliation the hasty King William marched west to Devonshire, and with great ferocity beset the city of Exeter eighteen days with his nobles and horsemen.

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There were many of his army slain. While originally safety and glory he had promised his knights well, and in truth he performed ill upon the people. The citizens surrendered the city because the thanes of the countryside, many landless and their estates pillaged, had in a way betrayed the city of Exeter by not defending it, even if it was from their own King. After the carnage William demanded that the chief citizens of Exeter swear fealty to him. They replied that they would neither swear fealty, nor allow him within their walls, but they would continue to pay their customary tribute to the Crown. The king was not amused. He marched on them in force, and for the first time called out Englishmen in his army to march against English.

Realising their predicament, the chief citizens went to meet William's advancing army. They begged for peace, offered to let him enter the city, promised to obey him, and gave him hostages. However, when they returned to Exeter, their fellow citizens, believing they would be punished anyway, carried on with their preparations for a fight. The king, now only four miles away, was furious. He rode to the city to find the gates closed and the walls manned. He had one of the hostages blinded in front of the gates, but the citizens would not surrender. William lay siege to the city. Finally the citizens were compelled by the unremitting attacks of the enemy to take wiser counsel and humbly plead for pardon... As they humbly threw themselves on his mercy, that just prince graciously granted them pardon and forgave their guilt.

By that summer in the north the high born English child Edgar departed, with his mother Agatha, and his two sisters, Margaret and Christina, and Merle-Sweyne, and many good men with them all fled England for their own lives and safety to Scotland under the protection of it's King Malcolm, who entertained them all and promised them safety. Yet soon after these affairs within time then began King Malcolm to yearn after the child's sister, Margaret for his wife. This was a most extraordinary request upon such high born Saxon English and young Edgar and all his men long refused, for his sister also herself was averse to the proposed arrangement. She said that she "Would neither have you King Malcolm nor any one else, if the Supreme Power would grant, that I in my maidenhood might please the mighty Lord with a carnal heart, in this short life, in pure continence." The king of scots, however, earnestly urged her brother, until he answered "Yea". And indeed he durst not otherwise, for they were come into his kingdom under his protection, after all. So that then it was fulfilled as God had long ere foreshowed and else it could not be as he himself saith in his gospel: that "not even a sparrow on the ground may fall, without his foreshowing." The prescient Creator wist long before what he of her would have done for that she should increase the glory of God in this land, lead the king aright from the path of error, bend him and his people together to a better way, and suppress the bad customs which the nation formerly followed all which she afterwards did. The king therefore received her, though it was against her will, and was pleased with her manners, and thanked God, who in his might had given him such a match. He wisely bethought himself, as he was a prudent man, and turned himself to God, and renounced all impurity accordingly, as the apostle Paul, the teacher of all the gentries, saith: "Salvabitur vir infidelis per mulierem fidelem; sic et mulier infidelis per virum fidelem," etc.: that is in our language, "Full oft the unbelieving husband is sanctified and healed through the believing wife, and so belike the wife through the believing husband." This queen aforesaid performed afterwards many useful deeds in this land to the glory of God, and also in her royal estate she well conducted herself, as her nature was. Of a faithful and noble kin was she sprung.

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Her father was Edward Aetheling, son of King Edmund. Edmund was the son of Ethelred Ethelred the son of Edgar. The noble Edgar, the son of Edred and so forth in that royal line and her maternal kindred goeth to the Emperor Henry, who had the sovereignty over Rome. This year went out Githa, Harold's mother, and the wives of many good men with her, to the Flat-Holm, and there abode some time and so departed thence over sea to St. Omer's. This Easter came the king to Winchester and Easter was then on the tenth before the calends of April. Soon after this came the Lady Matilda hither to this land and Archbishop Eldred hallowed her to queen at Westminster on Whit Sunday. Then it was told the king, that the people in the North had gathered themselves together, and would stand against him if he came. Whereupon he went to Nottingham, and wrought there a castle and so advanced to York, and there wrought two castles and the same at Lincoln, and everywhere in that quarter. Then rebellious Earl Gospatric and the best men went into Scotland.

Amidst this came one of the old king Harold's sons from Ireland with a naval force into the mouth of the Avon unawares, and plundered soon over all that quarter whence they went to Bristol, and would have stormed the town but the people bravely withstood them. When they could gain nothing from the town, they went to their ships with the booty which they had acquired by plunder and then they advanced upon Somersetshire, and there went up and Ednoth, master of the horse, fought with them but he was there slain, and many good men on either side and those that were left departed thence or fled.

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