Monday, February 18, 2013

Today's research snippet. Never be without a good Dane Axe in a crisis

On March 5th, Sourcebooks will be publishing Shadows And Strongholds in the USA in paperback and e-book for the first time. It was published a few years ago in the USA but only in hardcover and mostly for the library market, so this time it will hopefully reach a bigger audience. Anyway, with the title becoming topical, I thought I'd post a piece from The Romance of Fouke FitzWaryn, which was one of the primary source research documents I used. It's a family chronicle slightly like the Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal, but slightly less accurate, even though the general text follows a true base line. It's tall tales about one's legendary ancestors.
The piece below was my starter section for thinking about the personalities of my hero Brunin (later known as Fulke le Brun) and his future wife Hawise de Dinan, and how I was going to develop them. The translation from the Old French is by Professor Glynn Burgess.

"When the boy was seven years old, they sent him to Joce de Dinan to be educated and brought up for Joce was a knight of great experience. He received him with great honour and great affection and brought him up with his children in his own chambers. For he had two daughters, the younger of whom was the same age as Fouke, and she was called Hawyse...
The chronicle goes on to say that there was discord and war between Joce and his rival marcher lord Walter de Lacy, who coveted Ludlow. When Fulke (Brunin) was in his late teens, there was a battle between Joce and de Lacy right in front of the walls of Ludlow, and Joce found himself in deep trouble...
The lady and her daughters in the tower saw their lord so hard pressed that they could scarcely endure it. They cried out, fainted and lamented greatly, for they did not expect to see their lord alive again. Fouke FitzWaryn had been left in the castle, for he was only 18 years old. Hearing the cry from the tower, he went up quickly and saw his lady and the others
 in tears. He went to Hawyse and asked her what the matter was and why she appeared so unhappy.
'Hold your tongue,' she said, 'you are not so much like your father, who is so bold and so strong. You are a coward and always will be. Do you not see my lords there, who has cared for you greatly and brought you up lovingly? His life is in danger for want of help, whilst you, wretch, run up and down in safety, without giving him a thought.' 
The young man became flushed with anger and distress. Then he climbed down the tower and found in the hall an old, rusty hauberk, which he donned as best he could. He grabbed hold of a large Danish axe and went to a stable beside the postern leading to the river. There he found a packhorse, which he mounted, and going out through the postern he soon crossed the river and reached the field, where his lord had been unhorsed and was on the point of being killed if he had not suddenly come up. 
Fouke had a wretched helmet, which scarcely protected his shoulders, and at his first attempt he struck Godard de Bruce, who had seized his lord, with his axe, slicing right down the middle of his spine. He put his lord back on his horse, turned towards Sir Andrew de Preez and with his axe dealt him such a blow on his helmet of white steel that he cleaved right through it down to his teeth. Sir Ernalt de Lys sort that he had no chance of escaping, for he was seriously wounded. So he surrendered to sir Joce. Lacy defended himself, but he was soon captured."

Then everyone goes back into the castle, the hostages are locked up in the Pendover tower, and Joce thanks Fouke (Brunin) saying: 'My dear son, blessed be the time I have spent bringing you up, for effort expended on a worthy man is never wasted.' 

Those of you who have read Shadows and Strongholds will recognise this scene in the novel where Brunin confronts his demons and comes of age. The cover with the man is the Sourcebooks USA cover. The one with the woman is the UK cover. The castle is Ludlow.

Fouke (Brunin) saying: 'My dear son, blessed be the time I have spent bringing you up, for effort expended on a worthy man is never wasted.' 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Shadows and Strongholds is a favorite book of mine. It makes me happy to see that it is being re-released!