Note: Montreal born French Canadian model, Gabriel Aubry, probably most resembles how I see my hero, Ram, though his eyes are the wrong colour and his hair should be darker! Ram has blue eyes.
Date: October 1066
Place: St. Valery, Normandy
Milord, can you tell us something of your family background?
Oui, I am the eldest son of Bernard, the Count of Montbryce. Ours is a noble Norman family descended from the Northmen who came to our shores generations ago. I have two brothers, Antoine and Hugh. Our family owns to a strong military tradition of cavalrymen. I myself joined my first battle against the Angevins at my father’s side when I was thirteen.
In the feudal society that exists in Normandie, who is your overlord?
|William, Duke of Normandie (the Conqueror)
We are vassals of William, Duke of Normandie. He is a great man who has brought power and stability to Normandie. We are proud to serve him. He has honoured our family by entrusting me with preparations of the fleet which will soon invade England.
Why does William want to invade England?
He has no choice. The throne of England was promised to him by his cousin, Edward the Confessor, but Harold Godwinson, Edward’s brother-by-marriage, has stolen the crown and proclaimed himself King of England.
Preparing the fleet is a big responsibility.
Oui, sometimes it has been difficult to maintain discipline among the more than 7000 men we have gathered, especially now we have waited weeks for the wind to change. They are anxious for glory and there are many factions among them. As well we have hundreds of horses ready to embark.
You are taking horses on the longboats?
Normans are expert horsemen and our horses are an important part of our battle capabilities. Both my brothers are in the Norman cavalry. Without my stallion, Fortis, I would not be as effective a warrior.
|Detail from the Bayeux Tapestry
|Does your wife worry about this imminent invasion?
I am not yet married, though I am betrothed. It will be an arranged marriage. My father chose Mabelle de Valtesse as my bride.
You don’t sound very excited about it.
Mabelle is…well, let’s say she had an unusual upbringing. One day I will inherit my father’s title, and Mabelle is not… When she and I first met…well, there was a misunderstanding.
There seems to be some commotion going on? I hear shouts. Something about the wind?
I must find my Duke. Finally, the wind has changed and will fill our square sails. We must embark for England to regain the throne. William wants me to sail with him in his flagship, the Mora. I’m not a good sailor! I hope I don’t retch in his presence!
You sound eager to get the invasion underway? Aren’t you afraid?
A warrior does not let fear control him. Bravery is born of fear. If I serve the Duke well, I will be rewarded. When he becomes Conqueror of England, I hope to gain lands there.
Will you miss Mabelle, your betrothed?