La Bataille des Princes
being a report of
the action fought on the first day of September in the year 2007
Bleu Arras, October, 1470 - report from
the Duc de Bretagne, Noble Captain of the Dauphin's 1st and 2nd
Companies in the Battle of the Dauphin.
Yeah, I say
Yeah, a day of glory when God's Avenging Angel led our Dauphin through
the mists to the great slaughter of the English lords.
As we marched
towards the village, we heard a great commotion as of many companies
moving -- far, far, far more English than we had ever expected, or been
led to expect by our spies, or could ever have believed that the English
could muster or pay. The whole host of the English nobility must
have shipped over for the day. God protect us, if they ever build a
tunnel under the sea. But little good would it do them. The
courage of our chevaliers was firm. We dismounted, tightened harness,
hefted iron, and trod off steel-toed towards the noise.
Our train of great gonnes got
lost at one instance, and we had to sound the trumps, which invited a
shower of badly aimed barbs that fell out of the mist. But the
riders of our great lord Louis's Ordnance arriving on our right soon set
the gonnes back on track, and the trap we had set for the English drew
tighter. We knew not the fate of
our Swiss in the fog until the mists finally cleared and we saw the
great hedges of pikes already rolling forward into line with the serried
ranks of our mounted brethren with his Majesty's personal standard
flying overhead. The Swiss eat well at our table, but die well at
Before, us we could not now
believe what we saw. Our royal archers, strung and ready, let fly at
rank on rank of English coustilliers caught trotting around our left
flank and sent them to the grace of God.
Behind them, massed blocks of English Lords and their
retinues approached over the hill, mixed with those archers whom our
forefathers had so feared. I shake with rage when I think how easily we
now kill them as they stand. I had thought that the King Edward was a
man of canny war, until I spied the banners of the Crown Prince Edward,
a mere boy of eight years old, flying in place of honour in this
Battle. Our day had come. And so it was. In line, axes and great swords
rising and falling, we dissected the English beast and left it
dismembered across the fields.
Yet God save His Majesty and the
Swiss, who held the rest of the huge English army and the slow-moving
Burgundians at bay. As we crested the low hills before Bleu Arras, the
English dying at our feet, we saw the Swiss pikes swaying at the top of
a neighbouring mount, surrounded by hordes of screaming Burgundians.
King Louis and his knights were here and there, willing the enemy to
leave their cowardly billets in the village, and holding the line for
the Swiss before they became completely surrounded.
Had our victory before Bleu Arras
come too late? Many Swiss banners were already down. But as we laid on
with redoubled fury into the backs of the fleeing English, a great shout
arose from our right flank and we saw the Standard of Antoine the
Bastard of Burgundy collapse into the melee. We knew not at the time,
but the Bastard was dead. To lose a ruler in one battle is a terrible
fate. To lose another in the next battle is a terrible mistake.
As I looked around, I prayed to the
Saints of Bretagne. Our own Dauphin stood near me unharmed and
victorious and we had lost so few. But exhausted, our men could only let
the English flee off to join the disheartened Burgundians. Was
that the young English prince I saw, hanging on to the bum of his white
mare for all he was worth as his royal father seemed to be shouting
some sort of encouragement at him. A poor child, but if he does
not grow quickly he will come to a bad end.
So the day ended . . . but we will
not rest until the last Englishman and their Burgundian paymasters are
dead or gone from the sacred realm. As for myself, I am off to
Berne to negotiate with the other cantons. The Swiss may be crazy, but
their pike is long and the English do not like it up them.
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