488 - The Siege of Bayeaux

The King had decided to aid Praetor Syagrius and attack the Franks on the continent. For this, the king raised half his army for the campaign to be lead by Prince Madoc, and keeping the other half in Britain.

The Knights were summoned by Earl Roderick, along with his councilors to advise him on whether or not to join Madoc in France. The Knights persuaded the Earl to sail to the continent. After much waiting, the winds and tides were right for them to cross the British Sea and disembark on the Continent for the first time in their lives.

The first to land on French soil were the Irish, who quickly put to fire the buildings on the shore, making it safe for the rest of the ships to follow. Praetor Syagrius ordered the Knights as his personal escort as he tried to raise forces from nearby towns, an errant on which sir Pellogres pillaged and burned a Frankish temple, receiving grand treasure for loot.

Madoc's army attacked the city of Bayeaux, with the knights at the forefront of the action. They fought fiercely and valiantly, being among the first ones to ride in when the gates were breached. The city was completely raided dry of all its treasures, with the Knights receiving a handsome amount themselves. The king's loot took many days to load on the ships with mules and oxcarts.

Syagrius then met with Madoc, commending him on his powerful siege and urging him to continue on to the next city. Madoc declined and said that the fleet would return to Britain to deal with the enemies and traitors there. Syagrius reminded Madoc of his father's oath, but Madoc responded by saying that he was not his father. Syagrius then cried out a prestigious claim in Latin and rode away. Some knights were hesitant to follow him, but Earl Roderick explicitly forbade anyone to follow the Roman. However, sir Morris stepped forward, took to his horse and rallied a dozen men with him, deserting his fellows and coming to the aid of the good Praetor. The Earl watched in silence as they rode off, making a sign of the cross before him. The army sailed home soon afterwards.

The Disaster of Rouen and the fate of Morris

Sir Morris joined forces with Praetor Syagrius, who told him that they would be attacking Rouen, and for his commendable loyalty and righteousness, Sir Morris would be leading the attack force of a few dozen knights and equites who turned to Syagrius. He also told that they would not be likely to survive.

The strike force came upon Rouen at noon. Somehow word had travelled faster than them, since the forces of Rouen were already in perfect formation when they arrived. Sir Morris's forces wasted no time in setting up a formation, but charged hard for the left flank, where seemed to be the only part of the army that was not completely organized. Since the enemy had no mounted forces, sir Morris thought that the best chance he had was to make fast charges in order to disrupt the enemy lines. However, he was too hasty in his charging - most of his troops were terrified by the sheer numbers of the enemy, refusing to join the charge. Only about ten knights followed him.

Sir Morris rode with the wind, surprising the enemy with his fool-hard strategy, smashing into the left flank. He fought and fell some of the Franks, but upon commanding his troops, quickly noticed that nearly everyone else but himself and Praetor Syagrius had fallen in battle by the arrows of the enemy. The situation seeming hopeless, Syagrius ordered a retreat, and Morris complied.

Sir Morris rode harder than ever in his life to escape from enemy troops. The Rouen forces soon dispatched a cavalry force of their own to pursue the retreaters. Volleys of arrows were fired, and some pierced Morris's armor, but ultimately causing no serious harm. Morris rode to the remaining knights who had not joined the charge, rallying them to his and the Praetor's aid. After a moment of hesitation the knights rode to help their brother-in-arms, and a skirmish ensued. Sir Morris was nearly fatally wounded, falling from his saddle and losing his consciousness. He was rescued by his squire Bartlett, who took him on his horse and rode to escape with Syagrius. Miraculously, Morris did not suffer any permanent injuries from the wound.

The trio retreated to a cave with a hermit whom the Praetor knew, and who tended to the wounds of sir Morris. After months of resting, Praetor Syagrius offered to use his remaining connections to help Morris to sail home, if he would take the Praetor to live under his protection and hospitality in the Stapleford manor. Sir Morris had no choice but to accept, even though squire Bartlett voiced his objection to the deal.

Upon returning home during the first weeks of winter, sir Morris discovered that his wife had given birth to a son. This made Sir Morris realize just how long he was away, for his wife's pregnancy was hardly showing when he set sail to France.

Later year - the duel between sir Plaine and sir Morris

Sir Morris made his first public appearance during the Christmas court, with his beard grown and appearance much more ragged than before. Sir Roderick was noticeably displeased with Sir Morris, but voiced no objection for the knight, perhaps because he had just received an heir.

The most notable incident of the winter court took place when Sir Plaine found sir Morris sharing company and laughing with his wife, Harriet. Sir Plaine took on his vow to duel with sir Morris, whom grudgingly accepted, since sir Plaine told him that should he refuse, he would gut him where he stood.

Sir Plaine fought with almost divine-like inspiration, falling sir Morris to the ground right on the first strike. Again, sir Plaine displayed his mercifulness as he stayed his hand for the killing blow. Sir Morris rose, took a few fumbling steps, spit blood and almost fell to the ground again, until he was tended to by his squire. After this, sir Morris retreated home, named his son IgroƟ and spent the rest of the winter trying to create poetry about his experiences in France. He failed.

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