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Thread: The Gold of Byzantium

  1. #1
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default The Gold of Byzantium

    This is the story of which the announcement aroused quite a bit of frustration. I
    appologise most profusely for this and I humbly ask for your forgiveness. I give you my word as a King and as God's Lieutenant on Earth that I will never do it again. Instead I'll e-mail it to all the members...(only joking . Anyway, here is part one of of the Chronicles of Aethelham.

    The Chronicles of Aethelham
    The Gold of Byzantium

    As Edward gazed out at the valley floor below him, he felt something was wrong. Eighteen years of fighting had honed a special instinct for trouble.
    “Wine, Sir?” offered one of the soldiers patrolling the forts walls.
    “I thank you, but no.” replied Edward.
    The local wine, sharp and sour, was quite potent and Edwards did not want to dull his wits this night.
    He reminisced on the great upheavals he had faced over the past year. A year ago he had still held his lands in Dorset and King Stephen had still ruled England. He had staunchly supported Stephen throughout the civil wars and had been rewarded with extra lands to add to his manor of Aethelham. Yet with King Stephen’s death in December 1154, Duke Henry of Normandy had become King Henry II. Generally, Henry had not punished the Norman barons who had supported King Stephen. An English Saxon lord who had dared to play any role in England’s politics was quite another matter: he would be an easy and popular target, with Henry’s own barons. So King Henry had stripped Edward of his lands and exiled him.
    Like other English Saxons before him, Edward had taken his family on the spring convoy to Constantinople, where his kinsman, Athelbald, held a command in the Varangian Guard. Edward’s post in the Guard had cost a King’s ransom but promised to be richly rewarded. After six months spent protecting minor members of the Imperial family, Edward had been appointed second in command of this crumbling castle in the Pindhos Mountains, which lay four days march from the town of Larissa. Hardly a glorious appointment, but one with prospects for an ambitious soldier. If Edward could reinforce and successfully hold this crumbling fort then he might hope to be sent to the Eastern borders of the Roman Empire. He would become the strong arm, who could win back lands for the Emperor from the ever encroaching Turk and carve his own fiefdom in the process.
    2.
    As the dusk deepened Edward scanned the lightly wooded horizon again with a growing sense of foreboding. Damn! It was perfect cover for ambush but so far their scouts had reported nothing unusual and night attacks were not lucky because of the confusion between friend and foe. Could he seek the meagre comfort of his campaign cot? This castle’s equipment had been almost as ruinous as its walls, they were still in a parlous state.

    Andonicus Lascaris, a younger son of a mercantile family from Constantinople clambered onto the ramparts and relieved himself.
    “Stop pissing about! You’re late!” came Edward’s scornful command to this junior officer. It amazed Edward that the Greeks had kept hold of their empire for so long, so effete were some of them, including his aging commanding officer. They had relied for too long on the strength of the City’s walls, which itself was one of the wonders of Christendom, and on the vigour of foreign mercenaries. Well, so much the better for Edward and his kinsmen. Hurrying to Edward on the walls to take up the watch, Lascaris grinned sheepishly by way of apology,.
    “Keep a sharp look out. There’s trouble in the wind.” Edward continued tersely.
    “Yes, Sir.” Lascaris replied languidly. Edward shuddered inwardly. Still, he would be useless without some sleep after the exhausting forced march and the long hours spent reinforcing the walls. One last look and then Edward turned and strode down the stairs three at a time, which was hardly difficult for a man over six foot six inches tall. His great height had been remarkable even in England, where it had made him a centre for concerted enemy effort on the battlefield. His powerful shoulders and long reach of his great Saxon battle-axe had sent many a mounted mailed Norman Knight to his Maker, and the time when he had saved King Stephen, he had beheaded both horse and rider with one swing. Pity about the horse, Edward had thought, as he often preferred the company of animals to men. Yet, here in this arid land or icons, saints and
    slender swarthy Greeks, he appeared as a great golden giant amongst pygmies, another Bohemond of Norman legend who had been so powerful during the First Crusade. Edward misliked the comparison, as he did most things Norman.

    Chapter 3
    Hardly had Edward reached the courtyard when the familiar whiz of flying arrows reached his ears.
    “Down! Down!” he cried to the men on the battlements.
    Edward heard the sickening sound of arrows piercing the flesh of those who had not been quick enough to follow his advice.
    “Attack, Attack” he roared, raising the alarm, rousing the rest of the weary garrison, and regaining the battlements in what seemed like seconds. Lascaris lay dead in a widening red pool of blood, pierced through the throat. The arrows had ceased as several of the enemy were climbing over the battlements. Edward lopped two heads with one swing of his sword and pushed a third soldier from the ramparts. A fourth man lunged at Edward with his spear. Edward side-stepped the blow and clove the man’s extended shoulder in two. He had to pull his sword free from the dead soldier’s ribs. Again and again, he dodged and parried blows from spear and sword, cleaving heads, shoulders and arms with his great sword as he went along the ramparts. The enemy were poorly armed with old weapons and little armour. Brigands, Edward thought, trying to take a stronghold for a base to carry out raids on nearby villages. Edward had been joined by Imperial soldiers, and the moonlight reflecting from their amour, served to distinguish friend from foe. The floor beneath their feet was slippery with spilt blood as Edward surveyed the scene after the first wave of attack. He saw the ramparts littered with so many broken bleeding dolls. Again the enemy attacked, this time in ever greater numbers, they were like a Hydra, cut down one and three would take his place. Why were there so many? Brigands did not move in such large bands. The slaughter was great but Edward knew that they could not hold the walls forever, against so numerous a force, especially as on the other side of the castle the brigands had already gained control of the ramparts. They had to regroup in the keep.
    “Fall back to the keep” Edward commanded his men. He tried to buy time, jumping down into the yard to try to prevent the swarming brigands from overwhelming the guards at the gates. Left and right his sword smote down on
    heads and shoulders. Blood sprayed in his face and his armour dripped red.
    “Fall back to the keep” he shouted once again above the din of dying men. It would be a desperate race for the keep. Edward carved a bloody path before him as he ran followed by Imperial soldiers
    “Open the door! It is I, Edward the Englinovarangoi!” he shouted as he pounded on the keep’s door with the heavy pommel of his sword’s hilt. As it opened fractionally Edward pushed his way through followed by some of his men. Immediately, it was barred shut. Some of his soldiers had not been so lucky and the Thegn of Aethelham winced as he heard their death screams beyond the doors.
    “Where is the commander? Where is Paleologus?” demanded Edward.
    “Fled, Sir. Took to his horse as soon as the brigands attacked.” Came the soldier’s resentful reply. Edwards spat in disgust and to clear the blood dripping from the nose guard of his helmet.
    “Double the guard at the windows and here at the door. Send archers and men- at-arms to the roof.” Edward barked orders to secure this last stronghold. Perhaps, the cowardice of his commander would bring reinforcements, IF he got through. That would be their only chance of survival and it was a slim chance at best.


    To be continued..............
    Last edited by King Henry V; 05-07-2005 at 16:04. Reason: Remake
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    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  2. #2
    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Nice story, but there are a few points which deserve improvement.

    Now, there was a part where you depicted a thought of your main character, Edward. You might try to leave the 'he thought' bit away, for that helps the immersion of the reader and makes the thought less distant, less inside his head but more as if you were thinking it yourself as you read it.

    Also, the transition between the fighting and the end of the battle was quite abrupt, in my opinion. Suddenly the battle was lost, and you did remark so quite dryly. Personally I would've liked to see the battle get a longer, better description, and the transition between battle going on and battle lost less abrupt. Which would amount to something like Edward trying to rally his men, fighting for his life, and then getting clunked over the head with an axe. This is of course a very brief description, and it's just a proposal

    Please continue with your story... there is much promise in the setting, and the rest of your writing as well!



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    Last edited by The Wizard; 04-30-2005 at 14:56.
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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Thank you for your comments. I'll edit it after finishing my homework.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  4. #4
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Post Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Here is the continuation.

    Thoughts of his family crowded in on his mind, his fair wife Philippa, and their beloved children, Edmund 10, Leofric 8 and his little angel Emma aged 4.
    Would he see them ever again in this life? He banished these thoughts from his mind it would not help his battle hardiness. He must concentrate on defending this keep if any of them were to see their homes and families again. If not, he would at least show them how warriors fought and died.
    Edward slung his great round studded shield across his back and snatched his great four-foot long Saxon battle-axe from his quarters before making his way to the keep’s roof. This lethal weapon had been in his family since before the Norman Conquest of England, since even before Christianity had changed his Saxon ancestors from the powerful Roman-battling conquering warrior pagan followers of Woden, the great god of war and wisdom, to the peaceful civilised followers of Christ and left them prone to both Viking and Norman attack. He had seen that same educated civilised spirit in the Greeks, with similar results. Though Edward was Christian, he thought there was no place for Christ on the battlefield and he sent a respectful thought to Woden each time before gripping his great battle-axe. Old beliefs died hard, and his chances of entering heaven with his battle scores would be slight indeed but there would always be a welcome for a brave warrior with his battle-axe in Asgard if he met his death in battle.


    Climbing the ladder to the roof, a hail of arrows greeted Edward; instinctively he withdrew under his shield much like a tortoise while the arrows fell, impaling many with their barbs. Cross-bows answered the archers below with murderous accuracy, but there were simply too many attackers to make much difference. These were no ordinary brigands: they showed far more determination. The attackers were now hacking at the great wooden doors of the


    keep. How much longer could they hold out? Should they make a break for it and try to fight their way out of the castle. No, holding the keep was still their best chance. These thoughts flew through Edward’s mind as he saw that he would be more useful reinforcing the great wooden doors should they be breached. Then his heart sank as he saw the crude battering ram pushed
    through the castle gates up to the doors of the keep, protected by a roof of shields, making the enemy impervious to the frantic shooting of the archers on the roof.
    “Quickly to the doors.” Edward ordered some of his men. “Bring your axes,” he commanded now almost hoarsely. On his way down, Edward, grabbed some pots containing the infamous unstoppable Greek fire, which once ignited would only rage more fiercely if doused with water. The old dry wood of the cross bar was straining and cracking under the blows of the battering ram.
    Edward handed a pot of Greek fire to the soldiers in the front row with his orders of what to do. When the doors would finally be smashed apart which would happen any minute now, they would throw the Greek fire at the battering ram and set fire to it and all touching it, then using their axes they would push the flaming mass back into the yard into the path of the oncoming attackers. That was the plan any way. The stone keep and the stone outer walls would not catch fire so quickly, but the rest of the wooden structure within the castle would go up like a tinderbox. Edward at least had the satisfaction of knowing that this would kill more of the attackers than the defenders. The doors smashed apart and a rain of unquenchable fire greeted the attackers, the wooden battering ram and their wooden shields only adding to the flames. The attackers’ agonized shrieks and screams filled the air making it difficult for Edward’s soldiers to hear his orders. He led by example, heaving with all his might against his axe, which was wedged against the point of the battering ram. Slowly it budged backwards. His soldiers joined him pushing with all their might, the battering ram gained speed driving the attackers before it but it wedged under the castle

    gates. Edward’s axe was almost red hot by now as were the studs on his shield. It was a miracle that it had not caught fire. His face and the faces of his men were grimed black with the smoke. The wooden walkways around the ramparts were now catching fire and the attackers were desperately jumping over the walls to escape the inferno. Edward and his men retreated to the keep hacking at the remaining attackers as they went. Thank God, thought Edward and at that
    point he was not sure whether he was thinking of Woden or the Christian Trinity. Desperation made men brave thought Edward grimly. The outer castle yard was now an inferno and he and his men retreated to the deepest recesses of the keep to escape the flames now licking at the walls. The heat was unbearable even though the soldiers were dousing themselves with water from the well within the keep.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  5. #5
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    P.S Don't be afraid to post as all feedback (both positive and negative) is greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Many had died in the attack: they were down to about a quarter of their original numbers of 64. Too few men to continue holding the keep when the flames had died down as they were now, besides they had nothing left to fill the gaping hole of the doorway.

    Edward walked among the smoking ruins trying to avoid stepping on the hundreds of blackened charred corpses. He felt sick. They had to try and flee in this confused mayhem before the enemy had a chance to regroup. They would leave by the postern gate through the heavily wooded ravine that led down from the castle. Edward checked the terrain; the prevailing wind was blowing in his face, which was driving the flames in the opposite direction. It seemed eerily still, with only the crackle of the flames growing more distant. Edward gathered, the remaining soldiers and they left in small groups of four men, first going to the first clutch of bushes and then onto the trees lining the ridge before

    disappearing into the ravine. No sound. Edward was with the last party to leave. All seemed to be going well. Too well. As Edward and his men reached the ridge, arrows thudded from somewhere behind him and lodged in his shield, they caught him off balance and he lunged head first down the ravine, rolling over and over until at last he struck his head on a rock and knew no more.


    The messenger rode up the hill to where the cloaked figure surveyed the scene below him. The red clouds of dawn were scudding across the sky, reflecting the glowing red of the dying inferno. The white stone of the castle’s masonry had been turned black by smoke and soot.
    “My lord! The castle is no more! Many hundreds have died.”
    “It will be worth it.” Replied the cloaked figure. “What of the giant Englishman? Has his corpse been found?” he continued.
    The messenger hesitated fearfully. “Lord, only a few stragglers survived the fire and they were all slaughtered in the ravine. The Giant was not among them.”
    The figure fixed his gaze on him. His eyes, one blue and one brown, seemed to pierce into the messenger’s very soul.
    “But we found this”, he hurriedly added, handing over one of the longest swords he had ever seen. “He must have perished in the fire and been burned beyond recognition. We found this sword at the castle gate.”
    “Excellent. I shall keep this sword”, said the Lord. “Soon all this land shall belong to us. The effete Greeks shall flee like women and we shall rule all. This will be the Kingdom of the Normans!”


    End of part one.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

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    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Much improved, chapeau! Please continue -- you have captured my interest, certainly!

    One small point, though: it was a bit unclear to me where the fight concerning the Greek fire was. In the keep, or in some courtyard? Did the keep have a courtyard?



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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Well most basic castles were made up of a keep, a courtyard and ramparts so the fight took place in the courtyard around the keep. Anyway much grateful for your comments and part two is being wrtitten this very moment.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  9. #9
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Sorry about the delay in posting part two. It's writer's block. Anyway it seems to me that the only one reading this story is the Wizard, so I repeat PLEASE POST.
    Last edited by King Henry V; 05-12-2005 at 19:28.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

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    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Chapter Two

    Edward lay still in the ravine. An owl, dispelling the deathly silence of the night, hooted. Should I move now? He opened an eye and glanced about him, searching the ravine for any silhouettes. No one. He could only seen the still bodies of his dead comrades scattered across the slopes and the floor of the ravine. He was hidden in a clump of trees on a rocky outcrop half way down the ravine’s slope. He slowly got up and the brushed the earth from his green woollen tunic, hose and leg bindings. Edward staggered to the nearest tree and leant against it. His head felt as though a thousand axes were raining blows on it at the same time. He vaguely remembered the events of the night before: the surprise night attack, the retreat to the keep, the battering being set on fire, the carnage of a hundred soldiers trapped between the blazing keep and walls and finnaly, the escape from the castle. Yet he could not recall how he got into the ravine. His shield was smashed to pieces and the fragments were studded with almost ten arrows. He sat down again. His head throbbed painfully. After a while he got used to the pain and walked down to the bottom of the ravine. Edward scavenged around the corpses for anything that would be useful on his march back to Larissa. He found a bow and a quiver of arrows, which he could use to hunt for some food and set off. He would need all the hours of darkness to get as far away as possible from the castle. Edward was approaching the end of the ravine when he paused, realising something. What would he tell the Emperor? That brigands had taken the castle? Even though his superior had ran away, Edward would still be shown to be incompetent and he would have to leave the Varangians and the Empire. Then where would he go? The Italian City States? The Frankish Kingdoms of the Holy Land? One needed to command a full troop of soldiers to find employment in the former, and the military situation was precarious in the latter and he could not let his family live in a country whose very existence was hanging the balance. Nor did he wish to be separated from them. No, the least he could do, the only thing he could do was go back to the castle and find out who had really taken the castle. Yet what if he died in the attempt? What would then happen to his family? Would Philippa stay in Constantinople or would she return to England. Although there were few reasons for her to stay here, there were less for her to return to England. Her father, a prosperous London merchant, had been killed fifteen years before when the forces of Mathilda, the rival claimant to the throne of England, had been expulsed from the city and Philippa’s mother, mad with grief, had joined a convent. And would she remarry? Would his offspring be brought up as another man’s children? These questions all weighed heavily on Edward’s mind. He looked up searching for an answer amid the shining stars of the night sky. He found nothing. Instead he picked up the silver cross which hung around his neck and kissed it tenderly. What would happen would happen, and there was nothing much Edward could do to alter it. So he turned round and headed in the direction of the castle. To find out who really had taken it.
    Last edited by King Henry V; 05-18-2005 at 16:16.
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    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

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    Edward crouched behind a barrel of wine. He had left both the bow and his battleaxe behind, carrying only a dagger. The ‘brigands’ despite suffering heavy losses, were celebrating the capture of the castle, with wine and women. A bonfire had been built and drunken soldiers littered the camp that had been set up outside the castle, brawling and singing. Edward looked around the fire, whose size and light was now reduced. There were four large tents around it, which he presumed to be the leaders’ tents. He left the cover of the barrel and began to walk to the largest tent, which he thought to be that of the commander. Nobody was sober enough to notice him. A man vomited in the corner. However, as he was nearing the tent, a man staggered in, a camp whore on each arm. The man looked familiar to Edward. The Thegn of Aethelham decided to go to the tent next to it, from where he could hear loud snoring. He quietly crept in and found a man sleeping in a spindly campaign cot. A bronze lay on the ground next to the bed, its contents spilled over the floor. Fortunately, the dying fire gave enough light to illuminate the tent. In the corner stood a large oak coffer. The lid was thrown open and several of the coffer’s contents were strewn across the floor. Edward started rummaging through the chest.
    “Ah!” he said as found what he was looking for.
    It was a knight’s surcoat that he held before him. Now he was sure that these were no brigands. Something much more serious was afoot. But what? The sleeping man stirred.
    “Who are you?!” called out a drunken voice, in a language which vaguely resembled Latin.
    Edward immediately strode over towards the cot, and grabbed the man by his collar before he could cause an alarm.
    “Don’t make a sound,” Edward whispered to him in Latin as the Thegn unsheathed his dagger and pointed it at the drunkard’s throat.
    He seemed to understand and immediately sobered up.
    “What is your name?” Edward asked him.
    The man said nothing.
    “What is your name?” Edward asked again, moving the dagger closer to the knight’s throat.
    “Tancred, baron of Melfi,” he replied in Latin.
    “Where is Melfi?”
    “In the Kingdom of Sicily. In Southern Italy,” Tancred answered.
    So it is the Sicilians who are behind this. Or more precisely, the Normans. The latter had conquered the South of Italy and Sicily a century before from the Eastern Roman Empire and Imperial troops were in Italy at this very moment, supporting a baronial rebellion against King Roger of Sicily.
    “What are you doing here?” Edward demanded.
    Tancred refused to answer. Edward reiterated the question. No reply.
    “Tell me, you Norman dog, before I slit you’re throat!”
    Edward saw the blade slicing through the air towards him and caught Tancred’s wrist, twisting it in an attempt to make him let go of the blade. The baron of Melfi cried in pain as his wrist was bent back. Edward plunged his dagger into Tancred’s throat. Within seconds his struggling body became limp. As the blood spurted from the dead man’s throat, Edward left the tent. He had what he wanted. Now all he needed to do was escape.

    He had found the makeshift stables. Edward was not happy with the horses available. They were either short, broad-backed chargers, which were too small for his considerable height, or the heavy packhorses, which would not be able to carry him very quickly. After a while, he decided on taking one of the latter. He was saddling a packhorse when another horse whinnied to him. Edward turned around. There stood a large, grey stallion. Edward recognised it immediately. It was Hengst, Edward’s horse. He had lost him when Edward had first arrived at the castle, when a snake had scared Hengst and he had thrown Edward before galloping into the mountains.
    “There you are, you disloyal old rogue! How are you, my old boy?’ Edward said as he stroked Hengst’s nose. The horse snorted.
    After finding a suitable saddle, Edward mounted his stallion and began to walk out of the camp.
    However, when he went past the dying bonfire, a thought crossed his mind. Why not create some mischief? No that would only rouse them and he certainly did not need that. He needed every minute to stay ahead of the Normans. They would discover one of their leaders dead in the morning would conduct a full chase to find who had killed him. Which was why Edward returned to the stable and released all the horses before escaping into the night.



    Romanus Monomachus, commander of the garrison of Larissa sat behind a large pine table drinking a cup of oxyoeno, a mix of wine and vinegar. He said that the concoction helped keep his indigestion away, although if he observed the Orthodox Church’s dietary laws and was not so hungry for candied fruit and other sweet delicacies, he may be able to cure his stomach problems and reduce his portly figure. A young officer entered the room.
    “Sir, there is man who is waiting to see you. He claims to be a soldier in the Varangian Guard.”
    “The Varangian Guard? Well, show him in, show him in,” Monomachus replied. The young officer left and ushered in Edward.
    “Sir,” he said as he saluted. “I am Edward of Aethelham. I am a soldier in the Varangian Guard and I was second-in-command of a castle in the Pindhos Mountains.”
    “Yes, yes. What is it that you want? Supplies? Arrows?” Monomachus asked impatiently.
    “Sir, three days ago the castle was attacked and taken. I believe I am the sole survivor.”
    “Attacked? By whom? They must have been brigands. How on earth could you lose a castle to brigands? You must have been damned incompetent!”
    Edward gritted his teeth. Monomachus irritated him intensely. There was also a foul smell, like cat's piss, which wafted from the silver cup.
    “No brigands took this castle. They were too numerous, too determined.It was captured by Sicilian Normans,’ Edward stated.
    Monomachus snorted. “The Sicilians! Are you completely mad? I find it is somewhat unlikely that the have the troops and the money to make raids into the heart of the Empire, since our troops are fighting them in Italy.! Normans indeed!”
    “Well if you do not believe me, sir, then mayhap this will convince you.”
    From his pocket he produced the surcoat that he taken from the Normans’ camp.
    “And? What is this supposed to tell me?” Monomachus asked angrily. Edward tried not to grimace as the commander took a sip of his drink.
    “It is the coat-of-arms of Tancred of Melfi. If you do not believe me, then I am sure a herald will tell to whom it belongs.”
    “Heralds?” the garrison commander asked contemptuously. “What do you think this place to be? The Imperial Court? I do not have heralds at my disposal!” He sighed. “Go on, get away with you. I'll sent a scout to verify the captue of the fort. Otherwise, I have more important affairs to be getting along with.”
    With that Edward left the room and put the surcoat back into his pocket. He cursed. These incompetent Greeks! They almost deserve to be conquered!
    Last edited by King Henry V; 05-29-2005 at 20:14.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
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  12. #12
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Come on post you people, post! Anything! Just to say that you're reading it!
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  13. #13
    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Oh, I'm sure people like frogbeastegg read it, but then again while she's amazing at story-writing, she feels incompetent at commentating and doesn't often do so. Her being incompetent is bullocks of course, but hey, I haven't yet been able to convince her of that.

    A couple of nice chapters you wrote there. I wonder what Edward will do now? Because it won't take long before Manuel's forces get kicked out of Italy



    ~Wiz
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    Eric B. & Rakim, I Know You Got Soul

  14. #14
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Oh yeah, go on, spoil the story for every one else why don't you.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  15. #15
    Tovenaar Senior Member The Wizard's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Plenty of twists and turns you can take in that part of history



    ~Wiz
    "It ain't where you're from / it's where you're at."

    Eric B. & Rakim, I Know You Got Soul

  16. #16
    Ja mata, TosaInu Forum Administrator edyzmedieval's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Great story(so far I've read only chapter I)!!!! That reminds me, I will post my own story about the Byzantium, in general.... I won't take anything from your story... I promise.... But it will be mainly about the fall of my favourite empire :((((((((((......

    But anyways, can't wait to get on the net again and read all the chapters...

    Edward
    Ja mata, TosaInu. You will forever be remembered.

    Proud

    Been to:

    Swords Made of Letters - 1938. The war is looming in France - and Alexandre Reythier does not have much time left to protect his country. A novel set before the war.

    A Painted Shield of Honour - 1313. Templar Knights in France are in grave danger. Can they be saved?

  17. #17
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    So can anyone please post? Please? Just to say that you're reading it and you like/dislike it? Anyone? Come on post!
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  18. #18
    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    I make mine Wizard's words... if that even made sense

    Anyway, i can see clear improvement between what was first posted and the later installments. I say keep it going

  19. #19
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Sorry for the delay, writer's block.
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

  20. #20
    The Abominable Senior Member Hexxagon Champion Monk's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Quote Originally Posted by King Henry V
    Sorry for the delay, writer's block.


    oh my, the dread of all writers! Tis a fate I would wish upon no one. Good luck in working through it, hope you can get back to work soon (not trying to rush you, just hoping you the best )

  21. #21

    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    henry....


    i am not very known around here, i spend more time on the .com site. but i have recently been reporting back everyday to see if you have made any more entries on this enthralling story. keep it up. i am, how do you say...enthralled.

    scozzy99

  22. #22
    Bringing down the vulgaroisie Member King Henry V's Avatar
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    Default Re: The Gold of Byzantium

    Why I thank you scozzy, I am quite flattered. I will try my best to finish part three as soon as possible. I used to be a meber of the .com, but now I have it's cold and dark forums and made this my new home (I was especially peeved off when they closed down my thread where I was doing some propaganda for a medieval history, where I am a moderator).
    www.thechap.net
    "We were not born into this world to be happy, but to do our duty." Bismarck
    "You can't be a successful Dictator and design women's underclothing. One or the other. Not both." The Right Hon. Bertram Wilberforce Wooster
    "Man, being reasonable, must get drunk; the best of life is but intoxication" - Lord Byron
    "Where men are forbidden to honour a king they honour millionaires, athletes, or film-stars instead: even famous prostitutes or gangsters. For spiritual nature, like bodily nature, will be served; deny it food and it will gobble poison." - C. S. Lewis

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