Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Lost King: Resistance

I've been asked to post an extract from The Lost King: Resistance. Here it is.

‘Welcome, Edgar,’ cried Duke William, as he swept out from his tent. His face was flushed and he was still fastening up his tunic. ‘London has opened its gates to us. Now we shall ride together to receive its submission.’ He swung himself into his saddle and together we cantered down towards the walls, Norman knights and a handful of Housecarls behind us.
I fixed my eyes on the gate ahead of us. I felt like a traitor. I had denied myself, denied my people and denied Harold and all he stood for. I just hoped that my people would forgive me. I thought about what Oswald had said. Was I really the only one with any chance of helping my people? He had meant it to be a comfort and in some ways it was. But it also felt like he had placed an impossible burden upon me.
All too soon we reached the gate. The huge doors had been left open but there was no one there to greet us. Only the empty gate. Duke William halted for a moment and I saw his face set hard and furious. He glanced around at his brother who was scanning the walls above us. ‘Careful, William,’ Odo said. ‘It may be an ambush.’
In answer to that William spat upon the ground. He kicked his spurs savagely and charged through the gate. The Normans looked on in horror, rooted to the spot.
Then Oswald cried to me: ‘Come Edgar,’
At once I began to turn my pony, thinking he meant us to flee. But instead he grasped hold of my bridle and raced after William. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the Duke’s horse disappear around a lane and we hurtled after it. In a moment we had caught up with him and, when the road opened out, Oswald spurred us on still faster. Suddenly we were riding alongside William, matching him stride for stride. He turned and I saw a look of astonishment cross his face. Then he nodded, once, and together we cantered into an open space in front of a church. Drawn up to face us were the armed companies of the citizens of London. We slowed to a walk and stopped twenty yards in front of them.
Duke William surveyed them all in silence. Then he stepped forward two paces.
‘Prince Edgar and I thank you for greeting us,’ he cried. ‘I am William of Normandy and by oath and pledge your lawful king. Submit to me now and let there be peace in the kingdom.’

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