Saturday, 9 May 2020

A Knight's Tale... The Story Continues.

Otto von Wassenberg…

Just after sunset on Friday 22nd September 1415, two cloaked and hooded figures stepped out of the doorway of a lowly miserable ale house and joined a mass of desolate humanity anxiously forcing their way southwards towards the Pont de Rouen and the uncertain destiny that awaited them now that the city had fallen to the army of the English King. Beyond the devastated breech in the city walls, where, even now, English soldiers were pouring into the city, were the forces of the Duke of Clarence and, only when that gauntlet had been run, could the two friends begin to think about making their way across Normandy to the relative safety of the chateau, about which they had spoken so often over the previous few weeks.

Since August, Otto von Wassenberg and his new found comrade in arms, Guy de Haudricourt had given their utmost in the defence of Harfleur under their commander, the Sire de Goucourt, but now, with the army of the Dauphin sitting idly by miles to the south, the city had fallen and its citizens brutally expelled by the English. Guy, one of the many Norman knights who had answered the call to defend Harfleur had been wounded during the terrifying bombardment by King Henry’s massive train of artillery and the German knight, Otto, had sworn to return him to the woman he had married just weeks before the siege began.

Otto was a mercenary knight from a minor branch of the Wassenberg family from the far away Duchy of Cleves. The main branch of the family had, for centuries, been Dukes of Cleves but their line died out in 1368 when Duke Johann passed away with no child to succeed him. In 1415, Otto found himself fighting in the army the French king and, when the call had gone out for volunteers to join de Goucourt, his love of danger and adventure, not to mention a little fame and glory, had driven him, as it always did, to step forward and accept the challenge. Ahead of the two friends now lay a journey, fraught with danger, of more than seventy miles across Normandy. It was a journey that would take them between the armies of the English to the north and the French to the south and, if successful, would lead them to the Chateau of Hardricourt and the Lady Eleonore.

To be continued…

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