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The Farm Boy and The Dove. (EWC)

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posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 03:53 AM
1095 Claremont, Kingdom of the Franks.
Rallying call by the Holy Father Pope Urban to thousands of Christians

“My words proceed as a command from on High.

The cradle of our faith, the native land of our lord and the mother of salvation is now forcibly held by a people from a people who are without God.

For many years now the wicked race of Saracens, followers of unclean practices have oppressed with tyrannical violence the holy places where the feet of our lord rested. Dogs have entered in to the holy places, priests have been slain the sanctuaries. Christian virgins forced to choose between prostitution and death by torture.”

The crowd heard his appeal and thousands stepped forward to take strips of cloth in the form of a cross and sew it into their bosom or chest.

William of Tyre; Historia 1170-1184

21 October 1097 - 2 June 1098 The siege of Antioch

““Day by Day the shortage of provisions came and the famine grew and as a result pestilence had broken out amongst the legions on the camp so fatal that the was scarcely room now to bury the dead.
With the loss of those who had wasted away through hunger and disease and others who had perished by the sword, the army had diminished to such an extent it seemed that barely half our numbers survived”

William of Tyre; Historia 1170-1184


Sleep could not nor would not come for Galien.

Winds whipped against his tent, the smell of the rotting dead he did not have time to bury by nightfall, reeked in through the woven fabric. Darkness fell like a heavy cloak over the men and women of the first crusader army, a sliver slither of moon offered little light.

He opened the flap and stood outside. A raven watched the encampment from a naked leafless tree, cocked its head so its beady eye would peer at the rotting flesh of the fallen then back to Galien and back to the flesh again.

‘The Lord makes sure his beasts are fed on the faithful, yet the faithful died of starvation' He thought, and then quickly pushed such blasphemous utterance from his mind. He had earned a way into heaven by coming on this Crusade; he wasn’t sure on the technicalities if his sins occurred IN the present. Would God include the new sins in the forgiveness part?
He said a quick prayer to the Lord to forgive him his transgression.

12 and 2 score moons ago the young lad of no more than 14 years set off from his village in the Pyrenees at the call of his Holy father Urban to fight for God and restore the holy land from the Saracens.
His mother packed a cart and mule for he and his sister Eglantine.
She smoothed his hair and kissed him goodbye whilst whispering in his ear.

“The secret to eternal life with our lord is to focus all of your prayers not on fighting the old, but on fighting the new”

Galien wandered,
‘ If it's all a part of god's plan then what are we all praying for, it’s going to happen anyway?’
He quickly shunned the sinful thought. He uttered a quick prayer to Jesus to forgive him of his shameful thoughts questioning gods plan.

He had nearly starved to death in the wretched siege of the last 8 months. He moved quietly to the copse of small tress to relieve himself without alarming the Saracens in the tower watch above. At least being stuck in the siege in the one place he had the ability to piss without having to climb off his mule during 16 hour day travels. His balls inflamed from riding astride the wretched dust encrusted stubborn creature.

Godfrey of Bullion and his sworn Knights teased his steed incessantly as they cantered past him on their leather clad Destrieres(1). They had not yet past into Damascus then the Holy Land. His journey to Jerusalem seemed further now than when he was in the Kingdom of the Franks. The promise of gold was long gone, the promise of water and food was treasure enough. At least he was still able to piss, curse the gold. He shook himself, pulled up his sheep skin britches and went back to his tent waiting for light of day to come again, unwelcomed, unwanted.

Come morning Galien was preparing half a dozen of the horses and mules to be bled. The encampment had taken to drinking the blood of their steeds to stave off dying of thirst. He looked up to the sky and saw clouds came for the first time in many months, swallowing the sunlight beneath their dark grey cloak. Yet no rain came.

A battle-gloved hand grabbed his elbow and swung him round shaking him from his thoughts on the wretchedness of the clouds and their unwillingness to yield water.

Aribert a minor noble, but part of Lord Godfrey of Bullions retinue stood before him.

“Boy, the Lord of Bullion and Captain Bohemund of Taranto have asked me to bring your skinny arse before them”

Before Galien could enquire what was needed of him, Aribert began to drag him towards the command tent. Galien panicked that Godfrey and Bohemund had found out he hadn’t buried the dead the night before. Ariberts’ stride was long and nearly lifted Galien from the ground. With one hand the Knight pushed open the tent flap and the other threw Galien before Godfrey who sat slumping in a heavy wooden chair. He looked visibly unwell, Galien was not sure if the Noble was starving or suffering from the pestilence and disease this cursed encampment was drowning in.

The tent was filled with acrid smoke, contained a large oak table, parchments, piles of armaments and a plethora of candles that stood to attention like knights themselves. Burly men who glared at Galien through heavily bearded faces and hooded brows surrounded Godfrey. To the frail Lords left, a monk fretted with his rosary, he seemed to smile at Galien with his eyes, keeping his lips pursed and taught, so the boy was not sure if this monks presence was menacing or comforting.

“Galien, have you found that sister of yours a husband yet?” It was Bohemund who spoke first.

Galien, too frightened to swallow air let alone speak simply shook his head.
He was hoping to have found a suitable marriage for his sister from amongst the men of the crusade by the time they left Constantinople, but the hunger and travels had shriveled her young womb and her menses had stopped this past year. She remained his problem.

“A husband is what's left over when the will to live and ones testicles have been removed. Perhaps you are doing our fighting men a kindness not wedding her out.”

The men all broke out in a raucous laugh, Godfrey sat silent, too weak to laugh and the monk hid a smirk behind the sleeve of his heavy woolen robe.

‘Am I here to be mocked?’ Galien thought and was confused. Godfrey, seeing his witless expression raised his hand to silence the tent.

“Galien, do you know why lost the city of Nicaea, when we won the siege?’

The boy was confused he did not know of the details the lords and commanders’ battle plans, that was not his place. He began to sweat what precious fluids he had in him, he felt as if the monks rosary had snapped taught around his throat making it impossible to breathe properly.
Again he just shook his head in reply.

Bohemund began to talk instead of Godfrey.
edit on 18-7-2013 by zazzafrazz because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 03:53 AM
“After we left Constantinople, our first tastes of battle with the heathens whet us in Nicaea. We formed a treaty with the Christian Emperor Alexis of the Greeks. We agreed to take Nicaea and we would take the spoils to aid our war in the holy land and give the city itself back the control of the Emperor “

He clutched his fist around the hilt of his broadsword as if the very memory would cause him to strike out .

“The sultan Kilig-Arslan for 20 years held the city of Nicaea for the Heathens, and by the will of God we met the devils by fanning out around the city, clamping it in a iron siege.
You saw how we fought boy. The city had 10 men high walls that were 3 leagues on 3 sides of the city with towers 30 meters apart, so no matter which side our men approached from the Saracens had us in their sites. We fought with St Michael by our very sides holding our sword high.

Before the blood of hundreds of our brothers had dried we were betrayed.
For 6 weeks we fought for the Lord Jesus Christ, but our Christian Brothers in the East and the Saracen devils through Espion(2) secretly made a pact under our very noses“

Bohemund paused, released his grip on his hilt after checking himself, then continued.

"Emissaries of the Eastern emperor initiated a secret plan to take the spoils of the city for them selves, we surrounded the city, yet we had no clue until NOW, how they were able to deceive, plot and plan with the Saracens without breaking our lines. They secretly contacted the Heathens in the city, who preferred to be peacefully negotiating surrender to the Byzantine Dogs than be chopped to pieces by our Frankish and Italian brothers. We awoke that morning to see the wretched flag of the Byzantine deceiver Alexis, Emperor of the Dogs, flying above the city walls. Nicaea was lost to us"

The men and the monk all listened intently their anger rising when recalling the betrayal by the Byzantines. The vain on Ariberts neck pumped violently and his face flushed with fury at the memory.

Galien would have preferred to be out performing his vile tasks of bleeding the horses or burying the dead, than be in this hazy smoke filled tent. It appeared they were asking him for advice, which Galien considered, was the equivalent of asking a bowl of stewed vegetables for advice on war.

"The blood of the Emperor is ancient and noble, we must not condemn him so" the monk interjected and bowed his head.

Godfrey scowled at the old holy man silencing him, then spoke.

“Boy we have discovered through divine providence how this Espion took place and how it is being used again by the wretched Sultan here in Antioch. Our Christian scouts have seen a massive Muslim army amassing not 1 day ride from us. How did they amass such a army with no way to leave the city?”

Godfrey paused as short sentences seemed to be as much of a struggle for him as being in battle.

“First we thought they sent messages through Satan’s emissary, calling him up through godless practices, instead we found both here AND in Nicaea they sent a feathered winged creature to deliver their messages.’

As Godfrey took time to breath again, Galien considered how last night during his sleeplessness he had pulled a neck muscle and strained his back ruffling his miserable bed blankets, and yet here he was learning battle plans meant for warriors, not farm boys that battle their blankets at night and lose.

His extremities were draining of blood as his nervousness grew. Was Godfrey telling him angels had delivered messages for the Saracens? Winged creatures? Had the Lord forsaken their quest and blessed their enemy with his host?

Galien’s head spun, his legs felt weak as the Bohemund again took the lead to speak

“Yaghi-Siyan a ‘Nithing’ (3) has summoned reinforcements by bewitching the common dove a creature of gods creation to fly out and transmit intelligence on our siege to his heathen brethren. The Archer Argon White Beard shot an arrow into a dove to eat, and found tethered upon its legs written messages calling for help. We have since discovered other doves were sent and in a matter of hours their pleas were heard through out the entirety of Muslim world. This is how in Nicaea they communicated with The Greeks”

Galien thought on this, in his village he knew there was a family of doves that came home to their roof to roost every year, of course what a clever idea! To send the dove’s home with a message attached to their legs! He swallowed as he caught himself admiring the Sultan Yaghi-Siyans ingenuity and said a quick prayer for forgiveness for his sin to God. He then turned his thoughts to hearing shuddering thrum the bowstring made as the arrow was let go that brought down the dove that carried the message.
Correcting his sin, he thanked the lord for steadying the hand of the man called White Beard that so deftly brought down the creature. Surely St Peter himself who founded the first church in Antioch guided his hand and with the saints help they would reclaim his city.

Godfrey coughed and his breath rasped as he lifted his head and look directly at Galien.

“You are needed young farmer, we need to employ your nimble physique to carry a message into the Tower that is captained by the Armorer Faruz who makes the Sultans breastplates. Beaumont‘s spies have found a weakness in the city’s defense, not a breach in the noble Christian cities walls, but a traitor amongst the Sultans very own men, We need you to scale the third tower by the dried river bed, pressing your small frame into the old crevices of the wall and there you will be met by Faruz, an ungodly man who served his master for many years, but to whom you will make the offer of lands and wealth.’

Godfrey rasped and spluttered but continued and did not take his eyes form the boy.

“You will instruct him all preparations are made, towards dawn all the knights and foot soldiers will approach the towers under his watch, he will come to us when he deceives his men and instructs them they are to be replaced by the citadels east guard leaving the towers unattended, we will seize that moment”

No one spoke all eyes were on Galien, the candles shimmered then hissed as their light was snuffed out by the monk. Only two torches remained held aloft by a knight on either side of Galien, their firelight shimmied and danced across their breastplates.
Galien felt trapped. All he wanted to do was flee, how could such an important task be trusted to a simple farm boy that spends his day burying the dead and bleeding beasts?

After a time Beaumont approached Galien, placed his thick heavy hand on his shoulder and said,

“Go in strong in heart and scale the crevices into Antioch for it is Gods will that this city shall be ours in a trice”

edit on 18-7-2013 by zazzafrazz because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 03:53 AM
Galien was led away to the wall of the third tower without having said a single word in the tent of his commanders.
He said a quick prayer to the Lord asking why he could not have been made into a little dove in the employ of the Sultan, at least he could fly the messages of intrigue. Far safer for a bird to be a bird, than a skinny near starved farm boy to be a rat that climbs a wall 10 men high.
He then silently said another prayer asking the lord to forgive him his sin of wishing to work for the employ of the bearded devil Yaghi-Siyan and could he please include this sin and the other 4 sins of the past day.
He was losing count of his sins, so then offered another quick prayer to the lord to forgive him of that too.

Dusk fell over the encampment. The Knight Aribert made him memorize which rocks and crevices to feel for when scaling the wall.

“When you have relayed our message to Faruz return at once from the wall and you will feast on gruel and stale bread tonight, with the promise of White Mead, Honey and warm loaf tomorrow, Let it be from my lips to Gods ears.”

June 3

A thud and a cloud of dust hit the ground where the two knights lay on their bellies beneath the tower with woven bush branches covering them. They saw the outline of the skinny boy his fragile frame twisted and broken on the dirt in front of them. He had no wound from sword or knife; he had slipped and fallen to his death. They did not know if his message was delivered to Faruz the Betrayer or not.

This was their one chance; a new army lay hard upon their heels, a day’s ride from encampment.

In the darkness 200 hundred men kneeled, heads bowed in prayer as the moon stayed hidden beneath clouds that gave no rain. It was time.

The crusaders came up over the hill, amassed over the shelf below the tower, Faruz leaned over the wall and he swung a lantern. Galien had delivered the message.

They took the ladders and lashed them to the battlements of the city, a score of men began to climb and made it safely onto the tower Faruz had betrayed to them. Within minutes they were streaming down the battlements into the city and opening the gates for the rest of the knights waiting outside. They flung the gateway open and the men funneled their way into the city.

Bohemund fixed his shield with crucifix emblazoned to his front and raised his sword spoke to the spirit of the farm boy who had died that night delivering their message

“ Your 8 moons of starvation and now your sacrifice, I am in no mood for showing the heathen any mercy, GALIEN!” He charged.

As the sun broke through and littered the morning sky with blushes of pink and burnt orange,
Beaumont hoisted his crucifix flag on the tower wall opposite the citadel and for a moment stood quietly and watched as it snapped crisply in the breeze. St Peters city was Christian again.

The Sultan Yaghi-Siyan had escaped, a passing Christian shepherd noticed him, stabbed him, cut off his head and took it back to the Frankish Crusaders in Antioch, his head was promptly placed on a stick and displayed above the city gates.

On the very next day June 4th the Christian besiegers now became the besieged, whilst the city was now theirs, they had traded places with their enemy and were now prisoners within the same walls.
Godfrey and Bohemund talked on the wall escarpment in hushed tones overlooking the new Heathen army they beat by the will of god by a day.
They turned and tilted their heads when they heard the cry of the doves in the Avery. Bohemund smiled as slapped Godfrey’s shoulder.

“Let us send new messages”

edit on 18-7-2013 by zazzafrazz because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 03:54 AM
1 “Destriere” - medieval war horse

2 “Espion” -Medieval French word first employed during the First crusade where the term espionage comes from.

3 "Nithing" was an insult because it implied that the person so named had done something so horrible that he was basically outside society. Like the modern day commonly used swear words.

The siege of Antioch is the first time in History that written records show doves being used as a tool for Espionage.
edit on 18-7-2013 by zazzafrazz because: (no reason given)

posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 05:23 AM
reply to post by zazzafrazz

It was a good and well researched read.

Stylistically, it reminded me a bit of "the Eagle of the Ninth" by Rosemary Sutcliffe.

Well done.

posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 05:37 AM
reply to post by chr0naut

I did spend quite some time researching it and had a great time doing so as I enjoy history. Most of the people and events are historically accurate, with some poetic licence.
Galien and his sister are made up as is Aribert the minor noble.

Interesting thing was I learned there were more women and children in the encampments as there were knights.

I haven't heard of that story you mentioned but will look it up, assuming its Roman based with the eagle in the title? thanks for reading!

Cheers Zazz

posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 07:11 AM

Very enjoyable and fun

posted on Jul, 18 2013 @ 07:36 AM
reply to post by zazzafrazz

That was indeed very good, the research certainly paid off.

Women and children were part and parcel of the overseas campaign right up until the Crimea, for the officers at least, additionally, there were the female servants required to carry out the menial work, such as washing, repairing kit, and the such like. And of course, for those without a wife, numerous prostitutes, or camp followers. If you look at the story surrounding Joan of Arc, one of her first actions was to kick out the camp women, or prostitutes, the wives were allowed to stay.

Enjoyed it very much, thank you. Starred and flagged

posted on Jul, 24 2013 @ 12:09 AM
reply to post by KilgoreTrout

Thanks for commenting KT

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