In 1067, two men splash ashore into William the Conqueror’s Britannia after 10 years of enslavement in a Silk Road Kingdom. Riennes de Montford, a Norman, returns a skilled Eastern physician at a time when Dark Age medicines used leeches and magic potions. He and his brother Haralde Longshield with their foreign ways impact upon the lives of those they meet in their trek to claim an estate in the Welsh March frontier of war lords, bandits and longbow men.
Riennes, feeling suddenly tired, dropped out and walked back into a clearing where already some of his shipmates were stacking their personal things along with food and cooking ware. Amont had the ship’s great sail brought off the vessel. A long bough was passed under, then all lofted up into the trees. The sun shone through the swathes of red and white woven cloth strips of their sail roof, lending a festive air to the activity below. Even as it went up over the clearing, trestle tables and benches were set up under it.
He sat under a tree as one of Muck’s men bumped a barrel of ale onto a table. He heard whinnying and the rumble of heavy horse’s hoofs as two black Frisian fighting horses bought in Normandy thundered off the wharf and onto Britannic soil.
Haralde had trundled the big beasts off the boat with the coarse verbal blessings of Amont who was glad to see the disappearing rumps of those manure dropping, deck-soiling beasts.READ MORE
Riennes jumped up as Haralde handed him the reins of his mount. Shipmates drew taut a piece of seal rope between the trunks of trees. Haralde and Riennes tied their spirited animals to the line, provided grain and water, petted and stroked them into a quiet, then walked away.
Haralde opened a box, pulled out a clay bottle, splashed the contents into wooden bowls and handed one to his brother.COLLAPSE