Wardens Fourth Edition
Pre-Campaign - Stories
Insight into the person that is William Rouen.
Story - One Minute You're Here...
Game Date: 1/10/1097
Guillaume de Rouen a.k.a. William Rouen
Guillaume rode from Hilltop Keep at the head of a force of Norman men-at-arms. He was in pursuit of a mixed raiding force of Saxon malcontents, wild Welsh tribesmen, and renegade Bretons. The Saxons were men of Edweard Ragnarsson, who was regarded by them as their thegn. The Welsh were followers of the Brynglwr clan. The Bretons were murderous and rapacious outlaws, branded and condemned by Duke Alain of Bretagne himself. Guillaume was slightly troubled at this assemblage. The Saxons were easy to understand. They were true diehards who were unwilling to give in to Norman mastery as a result of Hastings. The Welsh were a little more difficult to understand. They hailed from the Brynglwr clan, but they weren't warriors or any esteem because there was no Brynglwr leading them. Or was there? Something was holding them together, but Guillaume couldn't figure out what. As for the Bretons, their presence was a complete surprise. First, the Bretons and the Welsh had never really liked each other. Second, the Saxons had oppressed the Bretons as the Normans were now oppressing the Saxons and most Bretons had only been too eager to turn the tables on their former oppressors. What was making them cooperate now?
But such thoughts were secondary to Guillaume. Primary in his mind was the denouncement he'd suffered at the hands of his father, Sir Robert. "You are just like all the rest of them!," Sir Robert had screamed. "Your false show of faith doth not fool me!" Guillaume still burned at the memory of that. He was truly devoted to the teachings of God, as much as Norman knighthood would allow. He violently opposed abusing women. He didn't have a love yet, but he vowed to be faithful to her when she arrived in his life. He regarded his mother Margaret and his sister Eleanor too highly to act another way. This regard also chafed him because his mother and siblings had failed to come to his defense in the face of Sir Robert's ranting about his supposedly lustful, rapacious, murderous, faithless son. The private support spurred mixed emotions. While he was grateful for their support, he was not unmindful that this was done behind Sir Robert's back. So he rode off to Hilltop Keep to see what Uncle Geoffroi had in store for him. He burned with an inner joy at the news of Edweard's raid along with a righteous rage that Edweard was visiting such ill tidings upon innocents. For some reason, Geoffroi's look of complete happiness after Guillaume had spontaneously blessed him for his errand stayed with him.
Guillaume pushed those thoughts into the background when his force made contact with the raiders. It was Welshmen in the initial contact. They were setting fire to a hovel when Guillaume shouted at them to cease, desist, and surrender themselves. The Welsh charge showed Guillaume and his men-at-arms just how uninterested they were in his or God's mercy. The Normans rode this charge down with some difficulty because the Welshmen were spurred on by something unnamable. How else could you describe seven footmen charging ten horsemen? But while all seven Welshmen lost their lives, three Normans were unhorsed, and one looked grievously wounded in the belly with a spear. Guillaume said a small blessing over poor Gilbert, left Jacques to look after him, and led the remaining eight after the other raiders. The hovel inhabitants were left to put out the fire in their haystack.
Guillaume pursued the remaining raiders out past the borders of Crossing March. It was a running battle as the Welsh, Bretons, and Saxons would run away, then make a stand at a place of their choosing, then retreat again. Eight more Welshmen met their end along with four Saxons and two Bretons. For their part, the raiders claimed the lives of five Norman men-at-arms. Guillaume crossed swords with the Bretons and Edweard Ragnarsson on several occasions. He finally outstripped his remaining men pursuing Edweard and the remaining Bretons into a cave. Still filled with anger, Guillaume followed them inside.
Guillaume seemed heedless of the fact that he was playing a deadly game of hide-and-seek. Several times he was ambushed by Saxons and Bretons, fighting his way through on sheer anger and determination. He finally entered a torch lit room with the intention of bringing down Edweard Ragnarsson. What he found instead after cutting down several Welshmen, Saxons, and Bretons was a petite, auburn haired, dark skinned woman wearing a brown dress holding a crude stick of some sort. Her brown eyes glittered.
"What do you here, milady?" asked Guillaume.
"I've been waiting for you, Sir Guillaume," she replied.
"I don't know you," said Guillaume. "Who might you be?"
"My name is Caira, and I hate you very much," she replied.
Guillaume frowned. "That is not a ladylike thing to say. I have done you no harm."
"Ah, but you have done me wrong," she hissed. Her brown eyes had now turned feral green. "You, and your father, and your uncle, and the rest of you cursed Normans and your Christian God who forsake the Old Ways. You didn't even have the decency to keep faith with the gods you once shared with the Saxons." She raised her arms and started to chant.
"Your spells will have no effect on me," said Guillaume. "My faith in the Lord God shall see me through. I prayed for his blessing just this morning."
"And yet you kill," she said. "But you shall trouble me no more. We will see how your God truly protects you." She spoke a final word and pointed the wand at Guillaume. There was a flash of light and Guillaume was gone.
Edweard rounded the corner and stopped. Caira said, "Sir Guillaume will no longer be a problem," she said. "Now we can work on killing Sir Robert and Baron Geoffroi."
"What have you done?" cried Edweard. "What manner of sorcery is this?"
"None of your concern, you Saxon brute," said Caira. "As long as the Normans die, what do you care?"
"Aye, that's for sure," said Edweard. "But Sir Robert will be twice as fanatical now that we've disposed of his first-born son. Furthermore, Baron Geoffroi loved the lad very much. He'll be sure to try and make us pay dearly for this. And let's not forget the younger sons of Sir Robert."
"We can start planning to dispose of them," said Caira. "Sir Guillaume is beyond their reach or care. Their grief and pain will feel good to me."
A chill came over Edweard. "I fear Sir Guillaume is not dead. But since he is no longer here, let us continue our re-conquest."
Record Last Changed Date: 11/28/2009
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