This story was never even completed.
On the original story: I want to get this war story over with so I can go on to the next.. the next to last as it happens... storyline of the book. So I will post narratives instead of dramatized stories for the rest of or most of the rest of the Affynshire war storyline. Then we'll get vack to storytelling with the usurping of Christenlande's throne. Have I used the word "story" often enough so far?]
art II The Villages
The King sent word immediately to the commanders in the encampment at Ratherwood to be on the lookout for Malcolm’s men disguised as the King’s. The cousins of the King’s wife met with him and other present commanders to discuss a strategy. The King elected to accompany Earl Ruallauh to some of the villages that had been sacked to see the damage for himself and to try to assure the villagers that his forces were not in fact behind the attacks.
In the meantime Cingen set out to visit Celtic chieftains to convince them that Lawrence was not committing the atrocities. Even Modron set out to visit with some of the closer neighbors. It was hoped that Ioruert, the youngest brother, would be in touch so he could be informed of the attacks and how to handle the situation as he continued to visit with western lords.
At the first village that the King and the Earl visited the scene was devastating. All the cottages and out buildings were burned to the ground. There were dead villagers and their animals both in the lane and visible in the cottages. Only the priest in the tiny chapel remained alive. He told the party at the Earl’s request of how the raiders had come in, torched the buildings, all except for the church which, itself a wattle construction, nevertheless had lost some of its outbuildings. The people though unsure of their own loyalties having been secretly holding for the Queen were horrified to see men ride in on horses that wore the Crísliclandian badge of a sword in front of a sunburst. Animals were stolen, people killed, women raped and then killed, everything destroyed or damaged.
All the while the priest talked he kept his eyes carefully averted from Lawrence’s except for one contemptuous glance that made Lawrence wince and brought a chastisement from the Earl who informed the priest that the villagers had been duped. The priest when asked by Ruallauh if he had ever had complaint of the King, said that he had no cause to praise either. Lawrence turned firmly and turned his horse and started to shout to men in his guard to begin to help the priest bury their dead.
At the next village one cottage was still burning. The men leapt off their horses to try to help the few survivors with the buckets of water. Someone shouted that a child was still left inside the cottage, hiding and refusing to come out. The King tried to enter the cottage but at that point the thatch collapsed and he heard the child scream. He tried again to go in but failed. When the fire was down to smoldering ruin he found the shrunken burned body of the child and lifted it, held it in his arms and silently and privately wept as he brought it to its mother’s arms.
The villagers, having watched the King try to rescue the child, now crowded around him and several told their tales of the attack.
Now angrier than ever the King told Ruallauh to continue to visit the villages and help where he and his soldiers could. He also sent soldiers to local religious houses to bring out more help. He in the meantime would return to the encampment at Ratherwood and begin the planning to finish the siege of the fortress.
Ruallauh suggested that they call a meeting of the chieftains and lords at Ratherwood to present the truth to them and urge them to rally again for their Queen. Lawrence quietly commented that he does not even yet know if she is alive and with their children. Ruallauh reminded him that Ioruert was looking for her and will get word to him, and that the dishonor to the Queen could only help strengthen their cause.
The King left and the Earl set in motion the relief of the villages and started on his visits to British chieftains and lords to bring them back over to his side.
Next: Part 3 - The Council Meeting
Before there was the novel, there were the stories...
by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at http://authorchristophermoss.vlogspot.com