STAR OF 1066

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic
Story of the decoy for Harold at Hastings.

Submitted: October 17, 2016

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Submitted: October 17, 2016

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STAR of 1066

‘Perfectly round,’ was what Harold had said after the fight.  As he lay dying.  His two friends checked his wounds.  Then dragged him away from the battlefield.  The green undergrowth of trees and bushes were enough to hide the tiresome men.  What he was on about, they were quite oblivious too.  This was the first siege of a war.  They were there to protect the king.  This Harold though was a diversion tactic. 

 

The true battle happened on the next beach.  Walls of Normans had stormed Hastings.  Thwarting every Saxon in the path.  At the same time, Harold the fake king, did fight with a small band of Norman men.  Flesh was cut and killed.  Sword wounds and arrows were the cause of much death.  As the King had been slain by an arrow.  The other Harold, slipped away to a small settlement. 

 

Many locals, bowed or cursed the Ruler.  Not knowing a new King was ready and waiting.  Still the two fighters, with the noble man, guarded him as if he was very real.  The little and large Saxon soldiers, decided to claim the village as the last part of the Kingdom of King Harold the Second.  Knowing that death would be coming soon.  The three men all knelt before the Midday sun.  Praying to it for strength and honour.

*

A small tower in the village, was the only form of defence.  The locals took all the arrows and spears that they had left.  All the rest had been taken to Hastings for the big battle.  It had been heard that the war was over.  But the leader of the Normans, outside the village, wanted to finish off any resistance.  So Basher John, entered the small square.

 

The twenty foot tall stone tower, saw them coming.  All the villagers hid in their mud huts or bricked hovels.  Of the three, Merrick was the slim swordsman.  He was one of the best.  His slim frame matched his peanut head.  A face was covered by the nosepiece of his helmet.  Beady eyes were ever ready to slay anyone shorter.  As his arm reach was long.

 

The careful portly Collin prayed to the hot sun.  Kissing his bow.  The good archer stood posed behind the arrow slit, in the tower.  The man with a flat face, fitted tightly into his chained suit of armour.  One eye was kept on his leader.  Harold was now the King, without title.  The toned man with black hair, held a spear from an aperture.  Ready to die for his country.  And his King.  As the round star above warmed his face.  Giving strength in battle.

*

The tall, yet small turret tower, was enough to defend against.  Some locals had left upturned handcarts blocking the only way in.  The false king and his large friend, shot approaching Normans.  Only ten were in this party.  The war was over.  All knew this.  But Basher John wanted these brave men very dead.  He missed the true battle.  His ship had landed at the wrong beach.  His dismay was rested upon the three doomed men.  Of the hamlet called Dye.

 

The number of Normans was nine.  As a Saxon arrow had found its target.  Basher and his men observed the way in and out.  A nasty grin came to his unshaved face.  He returned his cutlass back into its leather holster.  His mind had never heard of a Colt 45.  Still he did know something about fire.  His two archers fired flaming arrows at the wooden blockade.  Slingshots smashed into the upper level of the tower. 

 

Only arrows could reach the top.  Two men stood there.  Throwing bricks of stone.  Some just missed the small horde.  The sun was halfway to sunset.  The Norman wanted this over before night.  So did the three Anglo-Saxon men.  The fake crown and red tunic stood out.  It was the bait to draw the Normans.  Harold may die.  But his decoy would die a heroic life.  A martyr’s death.

*

William the Conqueror was still alive.  Some of his people feared he had died in battle at Hastings.  It was true that the Saxon king was slain.  At least that was the rumour.  The new ruler sent a group of men to police the south of Britain.  To stop his Norman men slaying any more Saxons.  The battle was won.  He did not want to rule a land with no people.  The bloody battles were enough.  Politics could happen another time. 

 

It was John of Normandy, a friend and serving fighter of William, who discovered the siege of a small village.  The bloody event was over.  His men found a village of mourners kneeling and praying.  His mind wandered, even Saxons pray.  John asked an old man to explain.  The old soldier was white as a sheet.  His stony face looked at the Norman.  With confused eyes.

 

The men under John reported all the ten Norman men were dead.  Including Basher John.  The Saxon fighters were found.  One at the base of the Turret Tower.  It had always been there, as a look out.  From the summit, a view of the sea was good for spotting Normans.  But it had been there since the Romans. Two more Saxons were found at the top.  Both slain.  One an arrow in his chest.  The other just lay with arms wide.

*

John of Normandy touched his curling beard.  Most fighting men wore beards.  This John was a thinker, and an early Christian.  He stared at the body of a man wearing a red robe over his armour.  And a small crown.  The old man told him what had happened.

*

Arrows were flying.  The way into the tower was burning.  Sending smoke to blow.  The day was bright.  But the slim Saxon did not see the spear.  As he tried to flee the tower and the smoke, a javelin found his chest.  His cutlass was thrown into the heart of the killer.  The body of Merrick blocked the entrance to the tower.  Now there were only eight Normans and two Saxons.

 

From above a rain of arrows fell.  Finding the head and hearts of three more Normans.  The fat Collin was a very good shot.  It was then that Harold the fake king, stood proud.  Arms making the sign of the cross.  From below, Basher John was ruing taking on these men.  He then found a spear and threw it high.  A strange wind took it higher.  Then whooshed into the belly of the king.  Who fell down very dead. 

*

Assuming all was over.  Basher made a move to the tower base.  Then his remaining men tugged his cape and armour.  A man reappeared standing tall.  Wearing a red tunic and a crown.  All watching were agog.  All bowed at the haunting sight.  Some men had heard of Christ rising from the dead.  And whispered his name.  Basher John went with his men, into the tower.  And found the Harold the king, without his cape.  It was on Collin the archer.  Both men were dead.  Then a strange wind blew the men off the tower.  Basher fell on Harold.  Face turning as white as his rival.  A hidden blade in the kings hand found the chest of Basher John.

 

Some locals ran to the side of the dying king.  Most villagers were prepared to clean all the warriors and bury then with dignity.  Before Harold died, he said, ‘Perfectly Round,’

 

As the afternoon was fading.  The sun shimmered behind a thin cloud.  The villagers stared with the face of King Harold, the fake.  It seemed perfectly round.  A star looking down upon men of courage.  At the Battle of Dye.

*

John of Normandy had the men buried and praised for their bravery.  In time the small hamlet was forgotten.  Only a few locals found the tomb of the dead, in the shade of a lowly graveyard.  On it was a most perfect circle, etched into the stone.  Back then in 1066, John of Normandy, touched his beard and stared at the sun.  Seeing how round it was.  The dead fake king was right.  And he hoped someone might see the truth also.  He realised that for him Christ was the way, the truth and the light.

*

Historians today, did not get the story.  When they found the tombstone, they marvelled at how perfectly round the etching was.  Then looking at the sun, how perfect it was also.  Alas they did not see what Harold had.  But the dead are never listened to.  Maybe somewhere in the home of a Norman, the story maybe told.  Of how great is the Glory of Life.

 

THE END

 

 

 


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