Cheers and as a reward, here's chapter 1
My first taste of action was in a siege against the rebel clan which had taken control of the castle of Skara in Vastergotland. They had objected to the taxation levied on them which, in truth, was more than generous in comparison to the taxes levied against other, friendlier, clans. Therefore the king sent his son Karl, who commanded the Zealand Battalion, to crush the rebels and restore the lucrative tax income to the royal treasury. I was in command of a small group of sixty warriors amongst the almost thousand strong battalion. The siege lasted only ten days but much blood was shed on both sides.
On the tenth day, after preparations had been made and the enemy’s failed sortie, Prince Karl ordered that the rams be brought against the gates and the ladders be hoisted onto the walls. My group was to bring a ladder against a section of the wall far from where the enemy had stationed troops. We raised our hefty ladder and I led my men in the ascent.
‘Onwards men! This day is the day we cover ourselves in glory and the blood of our enemies.’ I announced when I had reached the ramparts.
My men soon followed cheering at what they saw as a huge victory, taking a section of the walls which had been left unguarded. I, however, was more realistic and led them against the enemy’s axemen who were engaged in the defence of the wall against our comrades. They were so surprised in fact that they mistook us for reinforcements and only realised their mistake after three of their number had been hacked to pieces by I and my men. I ripped my gore covered axe from the skull of a rebel and parried a blow from another with my shield before burying the axe deep in his groin. Those coming up the ladder finally had sufficient numbers to break the enemy’s will to resist and most, while begging for mercy, were thrown from the walls to their deaths.
‘Good work, Sigmund!’ I said to the leader of the group that we had been aiding. ‘Now, let’s take the keep.’
‘Don’t get ahead of yourself Aleksander,’ He replied. ‘We still have to secure the rest of the walls.’
Reluctantly I agreed that he was indeed correct and we led our men to secure the other sections of the wall that our comrades were fighting for. The clearing of the walls took a mere fraction of the time expected and was just in time for the cavalry to pour into the castle from the broken down gateways. The archers were positioned to shoot at the rebels guarding the keep and the infantry, including my own unit, were charged with guarding the archers from any attack. The rebel leader was visibly rallying his men and trying to boost moral whilst also dodging the arrows being fired from our own archers. He was a small, quite insignificant looking man but from what I could hear of his speech to his men, he was a great orator and a man of noble birth who knew just what to say to keep a man loyal. The promise of reinforcements, which were quite certainly fictitious, if the men could hold out for just one more day seemed to keep those ready to capitulate from doing so.
‘Form a shield wall and prepare to attack the keep!’ Prince Karl ordered and his commanders parroted his commands. ‘Just one last push and we shall have our victory over these damnable rebel swine men. Just one more push!’ He roared and a cheer arose from those nearest and spread to all in the force.
The men began beating their shields with their weapons while the archers continued their impressive, but ultimately ineffective, rain of fire. It was only minutes before the prince grew tired of watching arrows bounce off of the keep and slam into the shields of well protected rebel soldiers and he ordered the infantry to advance.
My men and I began our short march towards the enemy when many of our shields were pierced by javelins thrown by the enemy. Luckily, our shield wall held and those whose shields had been hit dropped back to draw them out and were instantly replaced by fresh men without impaled shields. As our line drew near theirs I ordered the charge along with most other unit commanders and our men slammed into the enemy’s own shield wall. The battle was long and hard, neither side willing to break and neither side able to inflict significant damage. I did however get a sword slash to the arm from an enemy soldier whom I immediately slammed my axe into the skull of. The sound of cracking bone was audible over the din of battle when I withdrew my axe and blood from the man’s head spurted over myself and his comrades.
After almost two hours of constant fighting and both sides being at the brink of breaking at various points the rebel line fell to pieces and the swine were cut to pieces by our marauding troops who were drunk on victory and adrenaline. The keep was taken without much of a fight as the leader of the rebels had withdrawn when all seemed lost and hoped to defend it. Or rather, he hoped the few men he had brought with him would defend it whilst he cowered in the corner. Alas, it was not to be, the men charged with defending him surrendered when they saw his cowardice and gave him up without a fight. My own unit was the one that took him prisoner and I myself had the pleasure of presenting him to the prince.
‘Your majesty, I bring you the leader of this rag-tag band of rebels.’ I announced after kneeling to my prince.
‘Very well done…’ He began before leaning to an advisor to ascertain my name, ‘…Johansson.’
He gestured that I should leave before turning on the rebel leader. As I left I heard Prince Karl roaring about loyalty and betrayal and how the old bastard was lucky not to be in front of his father right now or he would be lucky to escape quartering. As it was Prince Karl decided that a straightforward hanging was all that was called for in the situation and the rebel leader, I later found out his name was Dieter Robinson, was hung in front of both the prince’s army and the survivors of the rebellion.
At the end of the day we were told that we would be staying in the castle for a number of weeks for a garrison force to arrive so that night I ventured to talk with Sigmund about the nature of our mission.
‘What do you mean, the nature of our mission ? We were sent to put down a rebellion.’ He said, bewildered about why I would ask about something we had been informed about before leaving Zealand.
‘Do you really think that the king would send one thousand men just to put down less than three hundred rebels?’ I replied with a tone of condescension. ‘Of course he wouldn’t, we’re waiting for a garrison force in order that we can push on and take the Swedish towns and castles that lie before us. The nearest are Uppsala and Oslo. I bet that there is another force heading out from Kalmar to take the Nykoeping.’ I told him, as he sat in front of me, confused and unreceptive.
Sigmund simply refuted my assertions with the claim that if we were embarking upon a war of aggression against the Swedes then the king would have firstly gotten the approval of the Pope and secondly, he would have gotten the support of the nobles. That night passed with much argument, and ale, passing our lips and eventually sleep came without agreement.
I however, I would eventually be proven correct, but that is a story for another time.
"I think the lesson here is: It doesn't matter where you're from, as long as we're all the same religion." - Peter GriffinDanish Dreams
[This message has been edited by Legionary_994 (edited 08-07-2010 @ 11:56 PM).]