WolfeSword – Kathryn Le Veque

“YOU HAVE SEEN the fortress?” “I have. And it will cost you more to take it.” There was a pause. In a small, cluttered solar that smelled of urine and dog feces, a man with bad teeth and even worse hair was facing off against a well-dressed, well-armed man of Flemish origins. It was a business meeting. The man from Flanders wore a yellow tunic with a black lion, the claws bloodied and a big, red tongue lashing out from the mouth. His standard was recognizable to most warlords in England, France, and Scotland because it was his calling card. It was a walking advertisement. Marcil Clabecq advertised his services through that distinguishable standard. But those services were pricey. That was something Catesby Hagg was discovering. He’d already paid the man twenty pounds sterling to bring him and his eighty-one man army from Flanders to the inlet in Grimsby. From Grimsby, they’d taken the land route to Doncaster, which is where they found themselves now. Even if he didn’t hire this small army of some of the best fighters in the world, it had still cost him plenty to bring them to England. Now, they wanted more.


He felt as if they were trying to fleece him. “How much more?” Catesby asked, trying not to sound annoyed in the face of a man who There was a pause. In a small, cluttered solar that smelled of urine and dog feces, a man with bad teeth and even worse hair was facing off against a well-dressed, well-armed The man from Flanders wore a yellow tunic with a black lion, the claws bloodied and a big, red tongue lashing out from the mouth. His standard was recognizable to most warlords in England, France, and Scotland because it was his calling card. It was a That was something Catesby Hagg was discovering. He’d already paid the man twenty pounds sterling to bring him and his eighty-one man army from Flanders to the inlet in Grimsby. From Grimsby, they’d taken the land route to Doncaster, which is where they found themselves now. Even if he didn’t hire this small army of some of the best fighters more?” Catesby asked, trying not to sound annoyed in the face of a man who was paid to kill people. “I told you that Edenthorpe Castle was a substantial bastion. That was never kept from you, so you knew when you came what you would be facing. I fail to see why it is going to cost me more for you to do the job I want you to do.” Marcil Clabecq could hear the frustration in the man’s voice. But he could also hear his desperation. “Because you failed to mention just how big Edenthorpe was,” he said in his thick Flemish accent. “My men have seen the place and tell me it is massive.

There are enormous walls and massive earthworks, which make it more difficult to breach. You also failed to mention that Doncaster has more than a thousand men inside that castle.” Catesby eyed him. “Who told you that?” Marcil snorted. A tall man with shoulder-length black hair, a trim mustache and beard, and black eyes that were as black as his mercenary soul, he had been a soldier for hire for many years. So had his father. The Lords of Clabecq were quite rich and well-known mercenaries, hired by barons and kings alike. Marcil saw great potential in this particular job. “My men were in Doncaster for several days before we went to the castle,” he said, moving to the sideboard that contained a rock crystal decanter of wine and fine crystal cups. “They asked questions and received answers. It is necessary in my line of work to know exactly what I am dealing with.” Catesby was a little miffed that Marcil had gone off on his own fact-finding exhibition. “And what are you dealing with?” Marcil poured himself some wine, ruby-red liquid trickling out of the decanter. “I am dealing with a spoiled lord,” he said pointedly. “I am dealing with a man who was not completely truthful when he summoned me.

You want me to destroy Edenthorpe Castle but I am telling you now that it will be impossible with only eighty-one men and a big army inside her walls. Therefore, I must be clever about this.” “What do you mean?” Marcil drank the wine, smacking his lips to savor the tart flavor. “You have stated that the Duke of Doncaster is not a great warlord.” Catesby shook his head. “He does not go to war constantly if that’s what you mean,” he said. “Edenthorpe is quite peaceful.” “Good. That makes my job easier.” was paid to kill people. “I told you that Edenthorpe Castle was a substantial bastion. That was never kept from you, so you knew when you came what you would be facing. I fail to Marcil Clabecq could hear the frustration in the man’s voice. But he could also hear his desperation. “Because you failed to mention just how big Edenthorpe was,” he said in his thick Flemish accent.

“My men have seen the place and tell me it is massive. There are enormous walls and massive earthworks, which make it more difficult to breach. You also Marcil snorted. A tall man with shoulder-length black hair, a trim mustache and beard, and black eyes that were as black as his mercenary soul, he had been a soldier for hire for many years. So had his father. The Lords of Clabecq were quite rich and well-known “My men were in Doncaster for several days before we went to the castle,” he said, moving to the sideboard that contained a rock crystal decanter of wine and fine crystal cups. “They asked questions and received answers. It is necessary in my line of work to Catesby was a little miffed that Marcil had gone off on his own fact-finding exhibition. Marcil poured himself some wine, ruby-red liquid trickling out of the decanter. “I am dealing with a spoiled lord,” he said pointedly. “I am dealing with a man who was not completely truthful when he summoned me. You want me to destroy Edenthorpe Castle but I am telling you now that it will be impossible with only eighty-one men and a big Marcil drank the wine, smacking his lips to savor the tart flavor. “You have stated that the Catesby shook his head. “He does not go to war constantly if that’s what you mean,” he “Then you will accept the terms?” “Explain them again to me so there is no mistake.” Catesby had gone from frustrated to eager.

“If you manage to capture Edenthorpe, we will split her spoils,” he said. “I will get the fortress and I will split her wealth with you.” “I will have first pick.” “Very well,” Catesby said, somewhat unhappily. “But Doncaster has a granddaughter. She belongs to me. I have a son, you know. He will make an excellent Duke of Doncaster.” Marcil cocked an eyebrow, a smile on his lips. “Ah,” he said. “So there is more behind this than a land dispute. You want something more.” Catesby nodded without regret. “I want Doncaster and Edenthorpe,” he said. “When I marry my son to the heiress, the land dispute becomes null.

All of it shall be mine.” Marcil thought on those words for a few moments before downing the entire glass of wine and setting the cup back on the table. “Then I must make plans,” he said. “I will need to inspect the castle myself and see what I am truly up against.” Catesby looked at him warily. “You cannot simply walk up to the castle,” he said. “There are guards everywhere. They will want to know why you are there.” But Marcil waved him off. “Do not worry so much,” he said. “There are other ways of inspecting the castle.” “What ways?” Marcil grinned, revealing yellowed teeth in a gesture that was innately evil. “There are ways,” he said evasively. “That is why I have come, n’est pas?” He was gone before Catesby could question him any further, out of the solar and into the yard of the small fortress where his well-dressed, well-fed mercenaries waited. Catesby made his way to the window overlooking the bailey, watching Marcil speak with his men.

He was starting to think he’d made a deal with the devil. In truth, he had. Catesby had gone from frustrated to eager. “If you manage to capture Edenthorpe, we “Very well,” Catesby said, somewhat unhappily. “But Doncaster has a granddaughter. She Marcil cocked an eyebrow, a smile on his lips. “Ah,” he said. “So there is more behind this Catesby nodded without regret. “I want Doncaster and Edenthorpe,” he said. “When I Marcil thought on those words for a few moments before downing the entire glass of wine “Then I must make plans,” he said. “I will need to inspect the castle myself and see what Catesby looked at him warily. “You cannot simply walk up to the castle,” he said. “There But Marcil waved him off. “Do not worry so much,” he said. “There are other ways of Marcil grinned, revealing yellowed teeth in a gesture that was innately evil.

“There are He was gone before Catesby could question him any further, out of the solar and into the yard of the small fortress where his well-dressed, well-fed mercenaries waited. Catesby Hell was coming. Hell was coming. CHAPTER ONE THERE WERE PEOPLE everywhere. In the midst of a bright spring day, upon the cusp of noon, Cassius de Wolfe and his men had entered the outskirts of the village of Doncaster and proceeded into a crowd of people, the mass of which Cassius had not seen outside of London. But it wasn’t just any crowd. It was a very happy crowd. It didn’t take very long for Cassius to figure out that there was some kind of festival going on, for the women had flowers in their hair and the men were drinking from big, wooden cups overflowing with cheap and frothy ale. Children ran about, chasing one another, with garlands hanging around their necks. Even the dogs had flower collars. It was a joyful place. Intrigued, Cassius and his men continued towards the center of town. “What in the world do you suppose is going on?” The question came from Sir Rhori du Bois, a massive knight with black hair and blazing blue eyes. He was part of the du Bois-de Lohr family, his father being one Macsen du Bois, son of Maddoc, and his great-great-grandfather had been the Earl of Canterbury, David de Lohr. Rhori had the du Bois looks but the de Lohr personality, all fire and brilliance.

The product of two great bloodlines, his prowess in battle was unmatched. Cassius shook his head to the man’s question. “I do not know,” he said, eyeing a group of wild boys running in their direction. “A feast some kind, clearly. Or a festival. Or mayhap even an execution because you know how quickly those can turn into a festive occasion. Especially if the man to be executed is hated enough.” In the midst of a bright spring day, upon the cusp of noon, Cassius de Wolfe and his men had entered the outskirts of the village of Doncaster and proceeded into a crowd of It didn’t take very long for Cassius to figure out that there was some kind of festival going on, for the women had flowers in their hair and the men were drinking from big, wooden cups overflowing with cheap and frothy ale. Children ran about, chasing one another, with The question came from Sir Rhori du Bois, a massive knight with black hair and blazing blue eyes. He was part of the du Bois-de Lohr family, his father being one Macsen du Bois, son of Maddoc, and his great-great-grandfather had been the Earl of Canterbury, David de Lohr. Rhori had the du Bois looks but the de Lohr personality, all fire and “I do not know,” he said, eyeing a group of wild boys running in their direction. “A feast some kind, clearly. Or a festival. Or mayhap even an execution because you know how quickly those can turn into a festive occasion. Especially if the man to be executed is Rhori grunted in disapproval.

“Entertainment.” “Exactly.” The third knight in their group was bringing up the rear and happened to be in the path of the wild boys. The children zipped past Cassius and Rhori, but when they came to the third knight, they began throwing something at each other. It could have been pebbles because a couple pinged the warhorse, who swung his big head unhappily. The big, ugly dog who followed Cassius around barked when the children ran by. One of the objects landed in the knight’s black hair and stuck. Cassius and Rhori watched him curiously. “Something is in your hair, Bose,” Cassius pointed out the obvious. Sir Bose de Shera wasn’t one to get worked up about anything, not even children throwing projectiles into his hair. He was calm and cool like his legendary grandfather, Bose de Moray, and he reached up to pluck whatever it was out of his hair. He looked at it, sniffed it, and promptly popped it into his mouth. Cassius and Rhori recoiled in disgust. “Bose,” Cassius scolded. “How many times have I told you not to put things in your mouth when you do not know where they have come from? For Christ’s sake, you’re like a child who sits in the dirt and shoves pebbles in his mouth.

” Bose was chewing on whatever it was. “It is a sweet,” he said. “Cinnamon and honey, I think. It is delicious.” Cassius stared at him for a long moment before breaking down into snorts. Rhori simply shook his head. “God,” he muttered. “The man puts anything in his mouth.” “Of course I do,” Bose said seductively. “Ask the ladies.” Cassius’ laughter grew. The rapport between Rhori, a serious knight, and Bose, a sometimes irreverent one, was truly hilarious at times. It could also be grating and they were known to throw punches at each other from time to time. But the two were utterly devoted to one another and would kill for each other, so most of the grumbling was for show. Even the fist fights turned into hugs, and Cassius had been listening to all of it for the past three years, ever since he took command of the king’s personal guard.

The third knight in their group was bringing up the rear and happened to be in the path of the wild boys. The children zipped past Cassius and Rhori, but when they came to the third knight, they began throwing something at each other. It could have been pebbles because a couple pinged the warhorse, who swung his big head unhappily. The big, ugly dog who followed Cassius around barked when the children ran by. One of the objects Sir Bose de Shera wasn’t one to get worked up about anything, not even children throwing projectiles into his hair. He was calm and cool like his legendary grandfather, Bose de Moray, and he reached up to pluck whatever it was out of his hair. He looked at “Bose,” Cassius scolded. “How many times have I told you not to put things in your mouth when you do not know where they have come from? For Christ’s sake, you’re like a Bose was chewing on whatever it was. “It is a sweet,” he said. “Cinnamon and honey, I Cassius stared at him for a long moment before breaking down into snorts. Rhori simply Cassius’ laughter grew. The rapport between Rhori, a serious knight, and Bose, a sometimes irreverent one, was truly hilarious at times. It could also be grating and they were known to throw punches at each other from time to time. But the two were utterly devoted to one another and would kill for each other, so most of the grumbling was for show. Even the fist fights turned into hugs, and Cassius had been listening to all of it for The king’s Lord Protector.

Cassius de Wolfe was from the great northern House of de Wolfe, a massive family that had all started with one man, William de Wolfe, a knight called the greatest of his generation. He’d served at Northwood Castle, an enormous fortress along the Scottish border, until the king had awarded him his own lands and title for meritorious service. William de Wolfe went on to become the Earl of Warenton and his seat of Castle Questing was one of the greatest in the north. He and his Scottish bride, Jordan Scott, had eight children, including five sons, all of whom had procreated prodigiously. Cassius was the second son of William’s third son, Patrick de Wolfe, who was also the Earl of Berwick. De Wolfe knights were in high demand, including from the king himself, and it had been quite by chance that Cassius had been offered the role of Lord Protector to King Edward when his eldest brother had passed on the position. That had been three years ago and Cassius had found himself in a world that was leaps and bounds more complicated and dangerous than anything he’d ever experienced to date. As the king’s personal bodyguard, he went where Edward went, and for an active and battle-seasoned king, Cassius had found himself in some hairy situations. Three years of politics, battle, and being on his guard every day and every night. And now… this. This was some well-deserved time away from Edward to return home to see his family. Cassius hadn’t been home since he’d accepted the prestigious position and he’d performed so well that it was with great reluctance that Edward allowed him to return home to visit. Cassius’ reason for wanting to return home was very simple – he wanted to see his grandmother. That was the truth. Of course, he wanted to see his parents, too, but his grandmother was more time sensitive.

In her ninth decade, the Dowager Countess of Warenton, Lady Jordan, was very precious to her family, and very precious to Cassius. The woman wasn’t going to live forever. Edward understood that, and since he and his father owed a great deal to the House of de Wolfe, he’d permitted Cassius to return home for a short time. Cassius couldn’t wait to get there. However, on his way home, he was stopping in Doncaster on the king’s official business which included a visit to the Duke of Doncaster, Vincent Rossington de Ryes. Edward was seeking financial support from Doncaster, or Old Cuffy as he was known, a man who was Cassius de Wolfe was from the great northern House of de Wolfe, a massive family that had all started with one man, William de Wolfe, a knight called the greatest of his generation. He’d served at Northwood Castle, an enormous fortress along the Scottish William de Wolfe went on to become the Earl of Warenton and his seat of Castle Questing was one of the greatest in the north. He and his Scottish bride, Jordan Scott, had eight children, including five sons, all of whom had procreated prodigiously. Cassius was the second son of William’s third son, Patrick de Wolfe, who was also the Earl of Berwick. De Wolfe knights were in high demand, including from the king himself, and it had been quite by chance that Cassius had been offered the role of Lord Protector to King Edward That had been three years ago and Cassius had found himself in a world that was leaps and bounds more complicated and dangerous than anything he’d ever experienced to date. As the king’s personal bodyguard, he went where Edward went, and for an active was some well-deserved time away from Edward to return home to see his family. Cassius hadn’t been home since he’d accepted the prestigious position and he’d performed so well that it was with great reluctance that Edward allowed him to return home to visit. Cassius’ reason for wanting to return home was very simple – he wanted to Of course, he wanted to see his parents, too, but his grandmother was more time sensitive. In her ninth decade, the Dowager Countess of Warenton, Lady Jordan, was very precious to her family, and very precious to Cassius. The woman wasn’t going to live forever.

Edward understood that, and since he and his father owed a great deal to the However, on his way home, he was stopping in Doncaster on the king’s official business which included a visit to the Duke of Doncaster, Vincent Rossington de Ryes. Edward was seeking financial support from Doncaster, or Old Cuffy as he was known, a man who was wildly rich from not only his English lands but his French lands as well, and Edward was always looking for financial support. Cassius happened to be a very good emissary, so he sent the man to flatter the duke, reiterate the king’s affection for him, and then beg for money. That was the gist of it. Cassius couldn’t wait to get it over with. After a swift journey north from London, Cassius, his dog, and his men found themselves in Doncaster. The truth was that Cassius was so valuable to Edward that the man had sent two of his elite knights along with him to ensure Cassius made it home safely. Rhori and Bose came from some of the finest families England had to offer and also happened to be Cassius’ best friends, so here they were, traveling as a trio, in a leisure situation. Therefore, the festivities around them were alluring. Perhaps coming to Doncaster was a good thing, after all. With Bose chewing the last of the cinnamon sweet, the trio entered the center of town. Now, the full glory of the festivities were upon them and it seemed as if the whole of Doncaster was enjoying the merriment. There was laughing and music and food, and gaily colored banners flying in the breeze. The entire village was undulating in mass celebration. Cassius reined his horse to a halt.

“We seemed to have arrived on a day of days,” he said. As a couple passed near, both man and woman in garlands, he grabbed the man by the neck. “You, there! What is this celebration?” The man was forced to pause. Not that he had a choice with an enormous hand around his neck. Worse still, there was an enormous gray dog with a head as large as a pig’s standing up against him. The dog’s hand-sized paws were on his shoulders. Nay, he had no choice. “’Tis the Lords of Misrule,” the man said fearfully. “’Tis the first of April, my lord. The Lords of Misrule command this day with their fun and mischief.” Cassius let go of the man and looked around. He noted that there were several men running about, each wearing a jester’s cap and red tunic. wildly rich from not only his English lands but his French lands as well, and Edward was always looking for financial support. Cassius happened to be a very good emissary, so he sent the man to flatter the duke, reiterate the king’s affection for him, and then beg for After a swift journey north from London, Cassius, his dog, and his men found themselves in Doncaster. The truth was that Cassius was so valuable to Edward that the man had sent two of his elite knights along with him to ensure Cassius made it home safely.

Rhori and Bose came from some of the finest families England had to offer and also happened With Bose chewing the last of the cinnamon sweet, the trio entered the center of town. Now, the full glory of the festivities were upon them and it seemed as if the whole of Doncaster was enjoying the merriment. There was laughing and music and food, and “We seemed to have arrived on a day of days,” he said. As a couple passed near, both man and woman in garlands, he grabbed the man by the neck. “You, there! What is this The man was forced to pause. Not that he had a choice with an enormous hand around his neck. Worse still, there was an enormous gray dog with a head as large as a pig’s “’Tis the Lords of Misrule,” the man said fearfully. “’Tis the first of April, my lord. The Cassius let go of the man and looked around. He noted that there were several men Now, it was starting to make some sense. “Ah,” he said, waving the man on as he turned

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Updated: 21 April 2021 — 21:57

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