The Teutonic Order was brought to Central Europe by Polish prince Konrad Mazowiecki in the thirteenth century. It's mission was to deal with the problem of pagan Prussian tribes. Warrior monks did their work expertly, invading the Prussian land and vanishing the whole nation. Soon they became a serious threat for Poland.
"Blessed be the Holy Virgin!" shouted Manfred de Lowe, once he spotted the village.
A knight on his right nodded his head.
"The God Almighty has brought us to this filthy tribe. We'll remove all pagans from His soil," Manfred finished.
He knew the village was Polish, not Prussian. Yet, in his opinion the peasants were not Christian.
Young Bruno von Ratzbon, Manfred's nephew nodded his head again. His uncle was the greatest authority for him. It was Manfred's fame that made Bruno join the Order of Brothers of the German House of Saint Mary in Jerusalem, commonly known as the Teutonic Order. A white cloak with a black cross majestically covered Manfred’s shining armor. Bruno was equipped in a similar way, although his armor wasn't made of such fine steel. Yet, his uncle was the commander.
Manfred turned his head back and looked at other warrior monks. They understood the mute order to attack and nodded their heads.
They were five in his squad including his nephew. But there were almost four times more armed men. Similar to average knights of the medieval era, each warrior monk was assisted by a henchman and one or two crossbowmen. The whole Manfred's squad was fifteen men.
“I'm sorry to interrupt, brother commander!” Bruno couldn't address Manfred as uncle in a formal situation. “These Polish peasants are unarmed. Maybe just henchmen could deal with them.”
“<i>Nein! </i>It's our sacred duty to vanish the pagans. We all promised to fight for the Christian faith. I've been on war over fifteen years now. Ten years in Palestine fighting with the cursed Saladin in Acre,” Manfred spitted on the soil.” And now here at the Baltic Sea, fighting with these wild tribes. The nation which claims it has been Christian since the tenth century is in fact still pagan! Can you see any cross here, or any church in the area?”
Bruno denied, but Manfred didn't listen to his response. The commander unsheathed his sword.
As soon as other warriors did the same, he pointed the village.
“<i>Gott mit uns!”</i>
The assault was fierce and the bitter smell of burning village filled the air. The Teutonic Knights were merciless and Polish peasants fell one after one. Puddles of blood, vaporizing in the chilly morning marked a deadly path through the village. Cottage, barns and sheds were quickly filled with dead bodies of people who had been working there a moment before. Screams of raped women terrified young Bruno. However, soon the slaughter was done. The warriors slowly gathered around their commander. Manfred noticed the tense and worried face of his nephew as Bruno didn't He realized Bruno probably hadn't killed a single peasant.
“You don't like the means which were used. Do you?”
“I understand we must remove pagans from this land, but why did you let the servants rape those girls?”
“I admit I don't like their deed and I would strongly oppose if any monk warrior do such a thing. Not only have we promised the purity, but coupling with pagan women would be a great shame for the knights of Virgin Mary! The servants, I thought you knew it, aren't knights and even aren't Germans. Mostly, they come from conquered Prussian tribes. They preserved their wild nature.”
The squad moved on. Manfred ordered to return the the castle. Seeing his nephew still sad and confused, he changed the returning route. The squad went up a tall hill.
“Look around!” Manfred said. “You can see all the surrounding from here.”
The amazing castle of Marienburg, the Order's capital, attracted Bruno's sight. Huge, wonderful Gothic fortress dominated the area and the morning sun wonderfully illuminated red bricks. The castle was outstanding. On the other side of the hill there was a forest. Polish castles were far away and none of them could match Marienburg. Bruno understood his uncle and the mission of the Teutonic Order. Together with his fellow warrior monks he was supposed to bring the civilization and the faith to the wild land. Nothing could stop their mission, especially pagan villagers.
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