Now great lords surrounded themselves with those who agreed with any statement they uttered, however foolish — a point so strongly felt that, inadvertently, he said so out loud. William dreams of being a knight, but in this savage new world of intrigue, betrayal and greed, first he must learn to survive. It never does to wound Norman pride. For that they would be rewarded with many things: regular pay certainly, lands possibly, and for the most favoured or successful, a title of their own. They also aided him mightily in his endemic disputes with neighbours, usually over land, water, or rights to the produce of the Atlantic shoreline, and given their talent for combat the name de Hauteville had soon become one to be respected in the Contentin. If we are taking the food from their mouths, it does no harm to put some back. Then there was the man he would face! In his mind he could see what was to come, himself at the head of a formidable army, taking from Byzantium towns, cities and especially the great ports which sustained them with their fabulous revenues.
They would face any attacking force, on foot or mounted, and cut them to pieces with those great axes. Finally, nothing could be complete without the reduction of the Adriatic ports, that is, if they failed to support the revolt or were held by the catapan; that might mean siege equipment and artisans to construct them on site, weapons of which the Normans knew nothing. Both brothers worked well into the night to ensure all was made ready, that at least their charges could move forward in relatively disciplined groups, and then when they had done as much as possible, they set guards to make certain none of their forced recruits slipped away in the dark. Despite sharp commands from angry parents the children could not contain their curiosity, and were much taken by the horses, for in this part of the world, where oxen did the burdensome work, the possession of such a beast was only for lords and masters. In una perduta abbazia benedettina dell'Italia settentrionale, il frate Guglielmo da Baskerville e il novizio Adso da Melk si trovano a indagare su una serie di misteriosi e inquietanti delitti, uno al giorno per sette giorni. That was when he gave his mount its head, aware that the sound of his hooves on what was soft polder would carry, which might just flush out his quarry on what he could see was an equally wooded lower slope. He could see before him exactly what William wanted him to see: a cavalry force weakened by its deployment, a chance to annihilate these Normans, not by seeking to envelop them, but by closing up his front to present and overcome them with overwhelming superiority.
The mercenaries had been broken up into bands of one hundred lances, and their first task was to attack a long false wooden shield wall William had had erected fifty paces from the front of the elevated pavilion and the assembled guests; let them feel some sense of what it was like to face a Norman host. Sending money home was an arrangement he had provided for years to the likes of Rainulf Drengot. Guaimar wanted to protect Salerno from any chance of Byzantine reprisals, which would surely follow if Arduin and his Normans failed in Apulia. They had been forced to the work and, apart from a couple of stonemasons, were the least skilled men in the town. But that brought forth another concern: mounted and already well trained and armed for war they could move swiftly and anywhere, which included the coast, which must be protected at all costs. Could William force him to compound such an error? Arduin of Fassano - with the Lombard and Norman men he commands - are mercenaries for the young and enterprising Byzantine general, Michael Doukeianos.
It only took one great port to refuse, even if all the others joined the revolt, and that would require it to be invested from both land and sea; success would not be quick, which would give the Eastern Empire ample time to send reinforcements — and with a province of such value at stake, never mind their pride, they would most certainly do so. The Byzantines rule the South, but do so in the face of constant revolt from their unwilling subjects — a strife that extends from the great trading ports to the rich agricultural lands of Apulia. Also send a messenger on to contact Mauger and tell him what we plan. The second reason was one they were even less able to discern: the way they bore down on their subjects, with arbitrary methods of rule, especially in the area of taxation and law. The girl, having walked and cursed for too long, was now too exhausted to utter a word.
A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. I ask you, as our father did, to swear on the Holy Cross that you will follow me wherever that may lead us, and I ask you to renew the vow he made us all swear before we left Normandy, never to raise a weapon against each other. If it is smooth and disciplined then they are likely to be steady under assault; if it is ragged and muddled they will not stand against our lances, and once broken they will not stop but flee the field. The leaders, Arduin and this Argyrus, were Lombards, as was he, for Michael Doukeianos would soon discern that the latter was no more than a figurehead, and this might expose the tentacles that led back to Campania. It was that which Tancred had wanted for his own sons, only to have it denied, to serve as familia knights, and it was that which he had raised them to expect. He stopped and smiled then: the last thing Guaimar would want to see was Byzantine war vessels filling his bay.
Summary: A fast-paced novel about a band of determined Norman knights, Warriors lacks emotional pull in its characters but delivers an exciting and unpredictable story of conquest. Ambitious magnates would use the de Hauteville name and connection for their own ends, not something they would adhere to if they managed to unseat William. Robert by nature was a happy drunk, Serlo a morose one, all the resentments of which he was full surfacing the more he drank. Als sie nach einem abenteuerlichen Flug schließich unsanft landen, müssen sie feststellen, dass der Mond so ganz anders aussieht, als sie es erwartet hatten. In the flickering torchlight the Sybil draws the blood-red shape of an eagle with wings outstretched: an omen of death. The rest of his party, all members of his family, fanned out alongside him.
Did he have the actual ear of the duke; had he progressed that far? Personally not overly bloodthirsty, he knew the fellows he led to be guilty of much that had been said: had he not seen them do these very things on more than one occasion? What followed on from that would depend on many factors, but he could rightfully claim to lack the resources to carry on and besiege Melfi. There was no moat and in several places there were gaps where the masonry had fallen, while all along the walls ramshackle dwellings had been built, now deserted, which also rendered the place insecure. Doch dann taucht auf einer Auktion plötzlich ein neues Gemälde von ihm auf, das für ein Vermögen versteigert wird. I am told they stole them anyway. Like an uncle to the family of the duke, this was a man he had known since childhood, who he had, along with his elder brother, tossed high in the air. Tancred never let them forget their Viking heritage, or that the five elder boys, through their mother, were half-blood relations to the ducal house. You will do me a service if you take most of them out of my lands.
Warriors is the second in a series. William, throughout, had been recalling some of the thoughts he had mulled over earlier in the day. Some elevated clerics had tried, only to be chased out of the Contentin at the point of a sword. Not until Arminius is dead, his old legion's eagle found and the enemy tribes completely vanquished will he rest. Aber keine Angst, die beiden sind gute Freunde und bleiben es auch.
What followed was something of a revelation: there was not a Norman present who thought themselves loved, but in interrogating this girl — the boy, indeed identified as a brother, was too young — the level of hate was enough to induce a degree of increasing anger, given that all present could hear what was being imparted. But denied service with their Duke, they are forced to take employment as mercenaries: their unequalled battle skills are for hire to the highest bidder. Soon the field was clear of fighters, the whole Byzantine host broken and in flight, even those contingents that had not faced battle. Beyond the fluttering pennants of the great lords who occupied these pavilions there were boats and barges plying their way upriver, some to Rouen, others which would continue on to Paris and perhaps all the navigable way to fertile Burgundy, for the Seine was a major artery of trade with the interior, a source of great wealth to whosoever controlled the river as it exited to the sea. On the right of the prince sat another Lombard called Arduin of Fassano, a fellow known to William but not to Rainulf. It would provide, as well, a safe enclave in which they could land. To guard this stronghold Arduin hires the most-feared of all the Western soldiers: the Normans.