Monday, 9 May 2016

Le Chanson de Bob - Chapter III

In which we speak of events that unfolded after the Battle of Ubba's Mound, of the restoration of the confidence of the people of Brittany in their Lord Robert Eponge, and of his further adventures against the enemies of that fair land.

And so it was that
Robert Eponge returned home
Travelling through his lands

Before him
Word had spread
Of the battle at Ubba's Mound
Of the worthy deeds of the Breton knights
And of their great victory over the Vikings

The people of Brittany rejoiced
(The concerns they had previously expressed conveniently put aside)
And there was celebration throughout the land

Fine wine was uncorked
Tables were laden with all good things
Including many smelly cheeses
And the people feasted

Church bells rang
Choirs sang
All gave praise to God
And Robert Eponge
Lord of Brittany
Found his authority considerably improved

Word of these events spread
Even into other lands
Of that battle
Of the exploits of the Breton knights
Of the scattering of the hairy invaders
And of Ubba's humiliation

And the enemies of Brittany were filled with dread

Robert Eponge
(His reputation going before him)
Travelled throughout his lands
Visiting towns and villages
Showing his presence
Basking in glory
And collecting outstanding taxes that had previously been withheld

So, as the daylight began to fade
Approaching one such hamlet
The army of Robert Eponge
(Which was scattered over a fairly wide area)
Encountered a new enemy

Hiding behind a building

A small force of Anglo-Danes
(Their army was also spread about the land)
A band of rough peasant archers
And armoured spearmen
Tall swarthy Saxlanders
Chosen men
Protectors of their Lord
Thorvald Heldigson
Known by reputation
From Miklagard to Aarsborg
As among the bravest of leaders
Most warlike in manner
Greatest of victors
Mightiest of Warlords
Who had never known defeat

Hiding behind a building

Word was sent by both leaders
To their armies, to gather at this place
A small hamlet, tucked between rocky ground and fields
On the borders of Brittany

The army of Robert Eponge
Deployed in open ground
The brave knights of Patrick Etoile
Arrayed beneath the banner of Brittany
On the left flank
As usual
Protecting Robert himself
On the right

The army of Thorvald Heldigson
In tight formation
Archers inside the building
Arrows notched, ready to shoot
Huscarls behind
Protecting their Lord

And so the armies stood for a while
Facing each other
Sort of
With a building between them

Anglo Danes
Wary of the reputation of their enemy
Waiting for reinforcements
Or for the Bretons to move into range of their archers
Or make some other silly tactical error

Wary of the reputation of their enemy
Waiting to see what the Anglo-Danes would do
Or for some sort of sign from Heaven
Or something
(And pretty soon coming to the realisation that their approach wasn't a particularly great winning tactic if all the Anglo-Danes were going to do was hide in the building and wait for the Bretons to do something)

The arrival of the remainder of the Breton army
One small unit of knights from the rear
One unit of Warriors beside the rocky ground to the left
(Who had travelled swiftly after receiving news of the situation)
Prompted Robert Eponge into action
Otherwise, it seemed very likely that very little would happen

The Bretons advanced
Closing down the distance
But casting their minds back to lessons learned from cheesy Norman
Sensibly keeping sufficiently far away from the enemy archers not to be shot at

More Anglo-Danish forces then arrived
Spearmen reinforcing those hiding behind the building
And more bow-armed peasants, advancing into the rocky ground

Though there was no sign from Heaven
Robert Eponge realised
The moment was now or never
To take the initiative
(Though he did momentarily consider not taking it)
The knights of Patrick Etoile advanced
Letting loose a volley of javelins
Into the building
Three peasants fell dead
And the knights backed off to what they thought was a safe distance

In that moment
The Anglo-Danes seized their chance
To counterattack
For while the knights had backed off
They had not moved far enough away
To be sure of safety

The Breton Warriors
Moving slowly past the rocky ground
Were in much the same predicament

The peasants advanced and took aim
Remaining amongst the rocks on the flank
Advancing into the open before the building.
Arrows were loosed
But with God on their side
Not a single Breton knight fell
And only two Warriors met their death

The knights then advanced
Throwing javelins once, twice
And all the peasants before the house were slain

As the last of the enemy arrived
The Bretons fell back
To positions in the open ground
Occasionally sniping at the enemy
Who remained hiding in cover

Thorvald's men hid
Praying for nightfall
Making their escape
Soon as fading light allowed

Once again
Valiant Robert Eponge
Protector of Brittany
Had seen off the enemies of that fair land
He gave arm rings to his men
And others
Dogs of War
Mercenaries from distant lands
Seeking honour and plunder
Rallied to his banner

And Robert Eponge returned in glory
To the acclaim of his people
Who, honouring his deeds
Proclaimed him Duc

Thanks be to God
Robert Eponge

Duc de Bretagne

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