Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Le Chanson de Bob - Chapter II

In which we tell the tale of events after the attack of the cheesy Normans, of Robert Eponge's facing the army of the invader Ubba "The Unready" and his force of hairy plunder-seeking Viking raiders, and of the confrontation that is known to history as "The Battle of Ubba's Mound".

Once more we sing of brave Robert
Who, despite seeing off the cheesy Norman invader
From the borders of his land
Was now under a bit of pressure.

The cost of dispersing that barbarous foe
Had been high
Many were the brave knights of Brittany
That had fallen in that noble endeavour.
And hence many too were the people of Brittany
Who had lost sons and husbands
And who
Quite frankly
Weren't at all happy with the situation.

Questions were being asked
About Robert Eponge
About his right to rule the land
His authority to command the army
And his general level of competence.

Robert himself
Was rightly worried
He sensed his people on the brink of rebellion
And knew he had to do something about it

Worse still
This unfortunate situation
Was apparent to other jealous neighbours
And further abroad,
Even to those in distant lands
For word had spread to all corners of the world
Of the rich pickings of Brittany
There for the taking
For whoever might try
And of its weak defenders
Who could scarcely be considered the equal of warriors of any other nation
Given the rumours of their pathetic showing against the cheesy Normans

These tales reached the eager ears of one
Hairy Viking
Ambitious for glory
Hungry for adventure
Greedy for plunder
(Yet known as Unready)

But ready he made himself, and
His tall-prowed longship
With battle-ready hairy Viking crew
Soon made land on Breton shores

The Breton villagers
On spotting this foe
Were filled with dread
And fled into the hills and
(Temporarily putting aside thoughts of revolution for the time being)
Sent word to the court of Robert Eponge
Demanding help

(Who was not wholly blind to the obvious)
Saw that this was the opportunity he needed
To "do something about it PDQ"
And so
He did

The armies of Ubba and Robert Eponge
Made battle beside a mound-like hill
Open ground, a space between woodland and fields, a village to its south.
Robert faced the east, warriors to his left and right
His four household guards beside him
The twelve Machiterns of his faithful knight
Patrick Etoile
Bearing the Standard of Brittany
On his left
Preparing to charge

Opposite, facing west
Flanked by hairy warriors
Hairier Huscarls on the flanks
And really hairy Berserkers
Made hairier by the skins they wore
Beside the edge of a wood
Off to one side
Trying to be clever
Contemplating some sneaky trick

The calm was broken
Breton battle-horns sounded
Machiterns charged Huscarls
Throwing javelins once, twice, three times
Until the huscarls on that flank had all fallen dead

To their left the Machiterns then swarmed
Loosing more javelins
The trees could not protect the hairiest ones
Who all died too
And the Machiterns reformed their line.

Thought Ubba
(Who really had been unready)
And considered his options.

Briefly considering running away
(But he was too far from his ship)
He reconsidered, and
Having lost his right flank
Adjusted his battle plan
And advanced on the left instead.

Dressing their lines
Resting their horses
Robert's household knights advanced
Javelins were thrown
But Ubba's men were not deterred
And advanced, ignoring fatigue
Closing down the distance
Cornering Robert's household knights.

As resting Machiterns watched and
Warriors cautiously backed away
The cornered household knights charged
(Some thought unwisely)

Tired Viking warriors
Bravely met their foe
Thinking the odds even
They were ready

But the Bretons had a trick up their sleeve
In mid-charge, loosing javelins
At the Vikings
Who were unready

And fate had deserted them
Slaying but one Breton knight
As five of their own number fell

Charged with his huscarls
Ready or not

But the Bretons had another trick
No longer cornered
And instead of fighting, ran away

(If a little frustrated)
Threw his Warriors at Robert's household knights
Finally getting rid of them
Albeit at equal cost
And in desperation
Threw them in at the Machiterns too

But in defence the horsemen were strong
Withstanding the attack
Slaying the warriors
Sowing the ground with Viking blood

Thus Ubba
On the mound-like hill
With three brave warriors remained
And called to Odin for help
And in desperation

He fell

And thus
(So it turned out)
"Something had been done about it PDQ"

Robert Eponge
Returned home in glory

Ubba didn't

Dragged off by his three remaining men
Finally home after an extremely slow  boat trip.

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