Written by Patricio Enriquez, Bishop of Soria
This be the history of the feud that took place between the Crafty Baron Fergus MacRae of Carolingia, called by some “Guiscard”, and Nest verch Tangwistel, the Baroness of Smoking Rocks, called by some “The Sainted”. May the Arbiter of the Universe whose hand moves the quill that pens the life of men be my judge if this is not a True and Just accounting.
In Ano Societa XXXXVII in the late winter outriders of the Baron Fergus were noted and seen moving among the northern towns of Smoking Rocks. Often disguised as Merchants they had traveled thru the northernmost marches of the peaceful villages and demesnes of Smoking rocks seeking weakness and to sow turmoil. On hearing the news that a long standing border dispute might be rising again over the region called Cohasset, the Good Baroness of Smoking Rocks sent word to Their Excellencies of Carolingia that these movements had been detected and plans that may be in motion discovered — as well as was a rise in the price of lace. She implored that for the peace of the kingdom the might of Carolingia should not descend on the poor folk of Smoking Rocks. In reply the Lovely and Gentle Baronessa, Imigla Venture, publicly spoke that such talk had sullied the reputation of her and her Baron as Carolingia always “Upheld the ‘King’s Peace’ and no design on Smoking Rocks existed.” Alas the poor innocent Baronessa, a true Godly woman who has traveled the pilgrim road of Campostella and can proudly wear the shell of the same, was duped by her duplicitous Baron.
Through careful contrivance the Crafty Fergus did plan his attack into Smoking Rocks just at the time he knew that Good King Gregor would be far afield and unable to send aid to the Baroness. Thus after much careful planning and subterfuge Carolingia struck upon the morn of the feast of St Vitus. though they had some warning and word had reached the Good and Noble Padraig MacEanruig, called “El Tijon”, a venerable warrior that with his fellow Freeholders watch and guard the southern reach of Smoking Rocks; Padraig, that most upright and stout vassal laid plans for the defense of the Barony but was seemingly foiled as the Crafty MacRae formed alliances with both the Great Dux Lucan to his North and with the second husband of Avelina Keyes, Princess of the East, the Brother to her Fallen husband, Kenric of Venerable memory; may angels carry his Sainted soul up High. Fergus’ strategem was twofold. By uniting with the Dux, he cut off the Northern Freeholders from riding to the defense of their southern brothers and having timed his attack during the great feast of Palio any attempts to divert around the Dux lands were blockaded by throngs clogging the mountain roads as they headed to the great faire there. Second, with his alliance with the south he could hold back any from Barony Bridge or further South that might have ridden to the aide of an old friend and comrade in arms. It would seem that this other Warwick whom some will call the “Black” held a grudge against the Good and Noble Padraig for his offering to take the young princess and heir to Kenric and Avelina into his charge when the kingdom was in uproar over the untimely, unseemly and suspicious death of Sainted King Kenric during a hunt with this same brother. Thus as punishment for this Gracious and Noble gesture this Warwick joined the alliance and the two sides closed in on the poor Nest and her people.
Driving hard and fast, the wily Fergus charged his forces down the coast road of Smoking Rocks attacking three remote villages in the deep woods. Many good souls fell that morning to the arrows of Carolingian champion bowmen, and the greenwood ran red as the Noble and Preaux Richard Leviathan, Newly Named Lord Protector of Smoking Rocks, led his small outnumbered and outmatched force against the Carolingian might. Into the dark wood they charged and were driven back after fierce fighting supported by only a handful of northerners and southerners that skirted the blockades. The smoke of the three poor innocent villages burning filled the air and stung the eye as the rapid Carolingians drove Smoking Rocks back and might have taken them right then and their had not the cry of “Quintavia!” filled the woods as Quintavian woodsmen and bowmen began to cut down the Carolingian bowmen and levies from the flank, for as crafty as the Baron Frgus may have been, he had not cut off the western border of Smoking Rocks and in thru it a throng of Quintavian Shire Freemen flowed and their arrows filled the sky halting the Carolingian leaving the force of Smoking Rocks to fall back in good order.
Now in the open, Richard bravely rallied his men with the help of the noble and brave William Deth, and thrice they charged the Carolingian might to try and break their ranks. But the strength of the Dux and his preaux son united Valarian of Somerset and the Carolingian Champion with the Carolingian levies and drove the Baroness’ forces back again and again until they fell back from the field in disarray.
Seizing upon this chance for rapine and plunder, the army of Carolingia took up and attempted to carry off the great relic of the silver Cross that holds the Bloody Hang Nail of St Vitus, on whose feast day this battle had begun. Rallying once again and outraged, the beleaguered forces of Smoking Rocks, Richard, like the Leviathan of his namesake, threw them against the outlanders, It was to no vail as the great power and might of the Dux was over whelming and despite one near attempt to save the relic, the Dux and his personal forces carried the relic out of the Barony and far to the north. May the Holy Father in Rome see the injustice of this and thru a Bull and threat of Excommunicado reunite this holy relic with its rightful people!
Bloodied and weak the forces of Smoking Rocks fell back and stood with her Excellency Nest In the nearby Town of Greenough, where the good and Noble Nest had placed herself for the battle. Carolingian swordsmen swarmed into the streets and fell upon her guard there and after much bloodshed she was but near alone there unguarded. The Noble Baroness stood her ground and bravely called for “parley” and to the chagrin of his Excellency Fergus and his champion, the Baronessa Carolingia graciously allowed. The Nobles met at the Corte Dela danza and sat in state to discuss the arrangement of the disposition of Cohasset. After gifts were offered and the Champion of Carolingia, giving his own battle cloak to Willaim Deth out of respect for his powess at arms, the two sides sat to parley. Back and forth the Nobles argued and blustered. Carolingia, feeling it had the best of Smoking Rocks and the battle, demanded the entirety of the northern parts of the Barony and the Generous Nest offered, to stem any more bloodshed, that she would give them leave to pass thru Cohasett to the sea and to avail themselves of the bounty of the lands and shore thereabout and to even, God forbid, that a man of the cloth have reason to writ and such a Godly woman would suggest such, she even offered up the virginity of the maids living in those parts. The wily Fergus laughed at this, and with half his forces rode north to plunder these new lands,
leaving half his army and his Baronessa to finish the agreements.
Thru all this long day nowhere was seen the Honorable and Noble Padraig MacEanruig. Not even when his own mentor and foster father the venerable Feral Von Halstern had skirted the Bridge and rode to aide his son, had he even shown face. Yet he was not forsworn and abandoning his people and the Barony that was his home. For even as the armies clashed, his machinations were at work and as the Guiscard, Fergus, rode north, already the Baroness’ and Norman’s plan was in motion. While the Excellencies parlayed, the forces of Carolingia moved off into the streets of Greenough. Here was arrayed the riches and bounty of Smoking Rocks carried north in cart load after cart load. Such wonders that the Carolingian fell to them bedazzled, forgetting that their conquest was not yet finished. Even as the Noble and Gentle Baronesses concluded their talks, Padraig had his Lady wife and the famous kitcheners of Smoking Rocks lay such a groaning bounty of food onto the boards that the Carolingians fell to it and ate like ravening wolves, feasting long into the evening until their stretched bellies could hold no more. Then the sounds of music and merriment filled the streets as Padraig sprung his final trap. By his order, the bawdy houses of Smoking Rocks had been emptied and moved to Greenough. Now wench, song and drink were now thrust on the remaining forces of Carolingia, where just that morning iron, shaft, and steel had failed. Taking up the cup himself Padraig lay the challenge of drink, surrounded by the remaining warriors of Smoking Rocks. Thusly, thru song, story, and drink, one by one the old battler and his men felled the able and preaux warriors of Carolingia until they all collapsed into drunken slumber from wantonness and gluttony, leaving their most Excellent and Christian Baronessa alone and unprotected in the midst of the Freehold. There after one last song Padraig handed her Excellency a small piece of the lace that had warned them of Carolingia’s pending attack. He gave it her as a token of a parting gift as word had already been sent to the crafty Fergus that half his army was now indisposed and captured and his Baronessa the guest of Smoking Rocks.
Thus was the wily Fergus thwarted and peace restored to Smoking Rocks not by the sword but by the cup. For when the Weasel faces the Badger, the Weasel shall be out crafted ever and again.
Here ends the True Honest and Attested history of the first war of Cohasset set by my weak and meager hand this day the Feast of Saint Harv’e, Patron saint of Bards.
(Photos by Raziya bint Rusa and Ygraine of Kellswood.)