Crisp air and a stiff breeze revealed the forces faced by each war band through the Fog.
Evidence of being ridden hard from the nearby village. They circled and jostled rearing amidst the tension that built.
Long lines of men at arms, cross bowmen and archer levies filled the ranks. Slovenly, rough and foul mouthed they cursed their enemy and their lot in life. Many stood sullenly, no doubt nursing headaches from stale ale. Tall, young spry oaks sheathed a hill in front of the Village Leader on the Norman Left Wing. Beyond it lay his his cousins farm house. Or what remained of it. The bastard filth, had burned it down and no doubt ripped the heart out of Gal Ailwin. the smoke from his place stained the morning sky. The raiders would pay, no more of his village would suffer he vowed. To his right another rise formed his right flank, framing the enemy in the wide vale.
For two thousand years Leaders had ridden their front ranks, exhorting men. The Norman Chief did not. He was Fordwin. A man of few words, harsh temper and he happened to have a raging headache from the Harvest Celebration. His mouth was dry, his vision blurred from too little sleep. Screw this he thought to himself, lets get this over and done with. ” I want these bastards dead and off my land.” He said to the attendant. Who looked up at him with no expression on his face…he awaited an order.
“Send the archers forward and sort that rabble in the middle out” He grumbled to his attendant. “Lets flush the rest of the bastards out”
Arrows soared thru the sky and scattered amongst the Levy facing them across the bright green grass. One viking fell to the ground writhing in pain. Fordwin looked at the Levy Boss through a furrowed brow. The Boss returned the look with a shrug.
The Vikings were on the move. the Norman line could see troops in the tall trees, Viking archers advanced, and their men at arms took off behind the hillock to the right. The far Left Wing of the Vikings moved up between the hllock and a copse of trees.
“Sire, if I may…ahem… they appear to have no Cavalry” Said a mild officious voice near Fordwin left ear.
“Maurice I f#%^king know that. They are Vikings you tit.” Roared Fordwin, immediately grimacing as his head felt half caved in from the spirits of last night. “Shut it. Send the Cavalry into them at the run, we will do the same in the woods here” He gestured to the tall oaks.
“Sire, the horses and men will loose their integrity in those woods…if I may, sugg…”
“You may not. I have ridden those trees with these men for 20 years…now shut up”
On the far right the Norman horse gathered pace, clods of bright green lush grass flew about as the 1/2 dozen men bore down of the unflinching Vikings. The sound carried across the field, giving pause to all. The sounds of battle rang out. Six Vikings fell but not before they dispatched 2 of the riders. As the remnants retreated under pressure the rest of the battle picked up pace also.
Viking shields braced for the impact of the charging cavalry thru the woods. Men used trees as obstacles, and hacked and slashed at horse and man alike.
3 Axe wielding mad men charge at the Right wing Cavalry who are preparing to finish off the Viking levys. Killing all but one, who retreats…. realizing he is alone. Realizing he stands between Vikings and his baby son. He holds his ground menacingly.
The Norman cavalry are forced from the woods. One breathlessly says. ” We can take them Fordwin…we bloody can” . Bravado, more than likely the Norman chief thinks. In the distance thru the trees Fordwin would see the flashes of bare skin…wild hair…Beserkers. He needed the blessing of a pious Monk, right about now…or a drink.
He looked at each man dead in the eye. “Yes…Let us go forward”. The men rally around him, and charge forward, horses lathered, blowing snorting. They ride in, splitting their attack two men direct their attention upon the Viking Leader who has appeared from the trees. Pressing hard they rain blows upon him, but fail to corner and kill him. His men fair worse. Several die and the rest drop back into the woods, to await reinforcements.
At a tree.
This miss leaves him un armed, the Viking rushes him. They always do that the Norman thinks to him self, as he draws his sword, hefting it deftly into a back hand grip. the blow is on its way, lighting fast. Fordwin, eases his horse from harms way as the lunge falls short of the horses withers.
Fordwin, lashes out with a boot and heels forward with his right heel, shying his steed towards the Viking who slashing again at his left. Catching the top of Vikings arm with his shield, Fordwin rolls forward in his saddle driving his sword tip first into between the clavicle and shoulder blade deep into his enemies body.
Disbelief, then anger, then blackness register on the Viking leaders face in an instant. His sword drops to the ground, knees buckle. The helm from his blond head rolls to a rest at the Norman leaders unshod horses hooves.
Those who saw the death, let up a cry, of joy or dismay. Twas all the same to Fordwin. Loud.
The Vikings turn tail. Fordwin rode back to his village to slake his thirst.