Gillet of Azincourt

Gillet of Azincourt, book 2 from the Ancestors series is well underway. Here is a small excerpt.

Michael de la Pole, an English Knight, who will become the 3rd Earl of Suffolk, prepares to set sail across the English Channel from Southampton to France, as part of Henry V’s invasion force. He writes to his wife Elizabeth:

Michael de la Pole

Dearest Elizabeth

We are not a large contingent here, among the great force that has gathered, but still I have great pride that our family answers the call and can contribute a meaningful retinue to the campaign. There is nothing so good that it cannot be made better, but the men are well exercised in their battle skills. We are ready.

Yes, my love, I have great pride, but as in any war or crusade, many will not survive, not return. Last night I was visited with a dream in which I saw before my eyes, the slaying of my father. I would save you from my awful vision but I feel compelled to share what I saw. His head cleaved in two, his body floating in a pool of his own blood. He lay before me and though dead on the ground, words came from his mouth. ‘I can see the light above me, the sin that is in us is left when we rise to heaven. Stay true to God and King.’

And then, my love, through my father’s dead eyes, I saw myself slain, and as my body fell broken to the earth, it dissolved like dust in the wind, before it met the ground. It was the most enormous battle the world has ever beheld. Many will never be heard from again and the fate of many will not be known, though it may be reasonable to assume they have fallen in battle. If they were fortunate, they received a Christian burial or perhaps a cremation with others on the funeral pyre. Still, there will be some that become buried in the mire of the field, trampled under the horses hooves and cart wheels, buried just beneath the visible surface. Their bones will not be seen again for another thousand years, just as we now see the bones of the Roman soldiers and their Saxon, Pict and Briton foes who fell, buried on the fields of battle so long ago, bones now uncovered by a rooting dog or a piece of skull or tooth beneath a rock turned in a field by a plough. Dead, long dead; anonymous now, but once were someone’s son or husband, father or brother.

This will be our fate and the fate of our enemy. Many who have never died before will die now.

If this is my fate, as I have witnessed in my dream, then I beg you to cherish and protect our children and do not let them fall prey to the Lollards. If this is my fate, I will carry our love with me in my soul as I leave this world. I have sadness that I would not leave a son to carry forth my name and blood but I have gladness that you and Catherine and baby Elizabeth would carry forth my spirit.

 

            Blessed be our love, Michael

 

 

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