The third story, this time set in the First Crusade, 1099. I'm planning to turn this one into a thriller lol
Stepping up onto the bodies that lay heaped on the ground, gritting his teeth now surrounded by a shaggy unkempt beard, the young crusader gripped the rough wood of a hastily constructed ladder. He’d already felt this fear before, already been enveloped by the adrenalin that now pumped through his veins. It was a rush of fear from seeing the blood and horror that no-one but the experienced could fathom. Yet here he was again, barely a month after they had besieged the Muslim city of Antioch, climbing the walls of the holy city itself: Jerusalem.
A thud and crunch made his head snap to the right where the broken body of a mail clad knight lay, having plummeted from the walls above. For a second his gaze was locked on the pain stricken expression that the fallen Crusader wore and then he was pulled back to the situation at hand.
“Move!” A thuggish soldier, armour covered in a jacket that was emblazoned with his coat of arms, pushed Ansfroi aside and began to rapidly climb the ladder, raising his shield to protect himself from the arrows above. With haste, the younger squire quickly followed the more experienced veteran, glad to have some sort of guard above him.
All around, the screams of death and war could be heard; the shouts of defiance and anger being roared out into the hot Middle Eastern air. Metal clashing on metal rang in the ears as knights of both Christian and Islamic origin met in a struggle for survival: a war of religion.
The ladder shuddered but Ansfroi had no time to ponder whether it would be flung away; a drop they would not recover from. Instead he forced himself upward, one fist tightly gripping the bound hilt of his sword, the other searching for the rungs that would allow his ascension.
And the arrows continued to rain down. They ricocheted off the walls, struck men below and plucked yet more invaders from the steps above. If they were lucky then the arrowhead would strike fatal before they fell.
A cry of pain from above and Ansfroi flattened himself against the ladder to avoid being knocked off by the falling knight who pushed him aside only moments ago. Eyes widening in alarm, he saw the arrow lodged in the man’s throat. Then the knight was gone and once again he climbed, fast and determined before finally, with relief filling him, his hands gripped the parapet and he pulled himself over.
In the name of the Lord it was even worse!
Instincts kicked in as he dropped to a crouch, a feathered missile narrowly missing him. Glancing at a body that lay sprawled out on the walkway, he hurriedly tugged the large, tapered shield free from the man’s arm, he would no longer require it’s protection.
“Where’s your own shield, boy?”
The voice was that of his lord and master, La Roule, a kind and patient man who had taught Ansfroi since he was a boy. The man was tall and muscular but that was well hidden beneath the chain mail armour and plate’s of metal that clad his torso, “Haven’t lost it already have you?”
Ansfroi looked up at the knight but couldn’t see his features that were hidden by the huge helmet encasing his head. A thin slit allowed La Roule to review the scene, “On the charge, Sire, an arrow…” But his explanation fell on deaf ears as he realised La Roule didn’t want an answer.
“There!” The elder raised his sword and gestured to a pile of men, all raising their shield together to form an impenetrable barrier. Kneeling to protect themselves from the bowmen, they looked like some sort of bizarre tortoise, oddly out of place. Raising their shields, both master and squire raced along the barbican wall.