samedi 9 février 2013

First attack

   We counted the dead; thirteen. Not a lucky number.
   With wounded men and empty arrow bags we returned to our base, the small castle on the border. Yesterday we had left here confident of an easy victory, but the wheel of fortune turns and God was not with us and Steffan's speech was less than inspiring. Even the drink did not help us and only made our aim worse.
   We had gone north, attacking into a lightly defended estate protected only by a manor house. The French knew we were coming and had marched out to meet us, and we, confident in victory, went to meet them. The French waited in a good position; with their crossbowmen on a hill and some fields to their front. We lined up opposite them with our tight on some houses. I was with the archers and John on the right, while Steffan and Charles held the center to face the enemy men at arms.
   Steffan tried to raise our spirits with a speech, but it did the opposite to the men. A priest was called to bless us and even then God turned away for the priest spilled the holy water and hurried the rest of the blessings. We eventually passed round the ale and the men took up their weapons, hoping the French were even more scared than we were.
   They weren't, and they advanced with confidence. Their crossbowmen rained fire on our men at arms and killed one, while we the archers aimed at the handgunners that took shots at us. One hit my neighbour  Nicolas, straight in the face, broke his nose and teeth and went through the back of his helmet. I put an arrow on my string, aimed at a smoke cloud and let loose, and when the smoke cleared i saw a crawling Frenchman with an arrow in his chest.
   The men at arms then got to grips, and to my horror our men we being pushed back. Not many were dying but the French were brave and eager, while we were nervous and more soldiers came towards us through the wheat fields. We loosed volleys at them, some of our shots going wildly wide while some found their mark and the French soldiers began to waver. Our men at arms fell back and before us five French lay dead or wounded by our arrows.
   Urged by their success, the crossbowmen approached along their hill, raining fire if our men at arms pulled back too far, and i saw our horse holders coming up. Steffan was planning on retreat. I saw four of our scouts behind the enemy and they chased off the handgunners and turned on some spear men, who suprised them and killed their horses with their spears. They dispatched the riders and we returned the favour with a volley.
   The men at arms managed to hold off the French long enough to force them to stop, and then in a sudden mounted up and galloped away. Steffan shouted at us to follow, and we stepped back, loosed a final volley and ran back to our horses too. John grumbled that the battle was far from lost and that Steffan was a coward, but he decided to follow us when we retreated.

   Back at the castle, John began to argue with Steffan and he called me over to translate. He could speak French but when he was angry he spoke English and he asked me to translate for i spoke French better than any of the other archers.
   John did not bother to argue long and instead strode away shouting at the archers and kicked a loose helmet.
   "He has no control over his anger." Steffan told me quietly. "I won't how he became a captain."
   "Luck, lord." I replied.
   "Or gold."
   "Perhaps, lord."
   "He is a rogue," Steffan continued after a pause, "but he brings men, so i need him, even if i don't like him. If we loose again i imagine he'll leave us, taking you with him."
   "I would stay, lord." Steffan looked at me surprised. I liked John, but liked Steffan even more for he was kind as well as stern and he could be generous with plunder. John was a good soldier while Steffan was a better leader.
   "We shall stay here until we get more men. I want you Thomas to scout to the west. Take three men with you and report what you find."
   "Yes lord."

No photos of the battle, sorry.
The Anglo-Burgundians were defeated. It didn't start well, with their morale plunging from 8 to 5, but some over indulging brought it back up. The French were in a better mood and evidently God was on their side.
The French lost men, but only Light losses while Steffan lost thirteen, Moderate losses. Alain cannot become a Knight yet but, if he needs to, he can hire some mercenaries for the next battle. For now the harvest shall be gathered without worry of raids and the fighting shall continue in September.

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