Of Friends and Foes

Updated on December 15, 2019
Jennifer Ott24 profile image

Jennifer Ott is the author of her current work in process, Wolf Wild Heart, the story of Medieval Queen - Anne of Kiev


William, the Duke of Normandy Confronts Traitors

Night had fallen by the time he arrived at Mortemer Castle in Normandy. He dismounted his horse and upon handing the lead to his servant, he strode toward the entrance removing his sword from his scabbard ready to slay.

It wasn’t rage which bought him here, it was betrayal of the heart. A lifetime of memories hiding from assassins in water closets and hay stacks arose from deep in his belly. He thought he had gained support and camaraderie from the King and the French nobility, and yet they rose against him in battle. Only the rout his forces handed the French gave him any consolation, and even that wasn’t much.

On the other side the door, inside the castle were traitors, a long-standing friend who betrayed him and one of his commanders for offering him refuge. Taking a deep breath, he considered his actions – kill them upon sight, or have his men arrest them, and yet deep in his heart neither deemed a worthy.

Bursting inside the door, he found Count Raoul de Valois, a man he thought to be a friend, now his foe casually leaning back on a chair and his feet on a stool. The scoundrel was obviously inebriated, not even flinching when he walked in the door with sword drawn.

“William!” Raoul yelled out with a slight drunken slur as if expecting his arrival.

William paused taking a quick scan of the dark interior of the castle – a low burning fire in the hearth, candelabras in each corner and a few flickering candles on a table where Raoul and his commander, Roger de Mortemer sat. Growing more aggrieved by their lack of distress, he pressed the tip of his sword against Raoul’s jugular. “I should slash your head off and send it back to the Queen. Although I would hate to send Anna into such sorrow. I am quite fond of her.” He then turned his head slightly to find his own commander slouching over the table, a traitor for giving refuge to his enemy. “And you Roger, I will have you executed.”

Roger sat upright. His head swayed as tried to shake off drunkenness. “Have a seat William.”

William chuckled pressing the tip of his sword deeper into Raoul’s neck, just to the point of piercing the skin. “I don’t sit with traitors.”

Raoul pushed William’s sword from his neck. “We are not traitors. We are allies. Really, William take a seat.” He lifted his tumbler. “Have a drink. Roger has good wine.”

“How can you be an ally when the King waged war against me?” William questioned, still not ready to relent his anger. “A King for whom I swore my allegiance!”

Raoul raised the tumbler to his lips to drink. Upon feeling the buzzing in his head, he realized this conversation required sobriety. He set the tumbler back down on the table and leaned forward toward William. “But you do have an ally in Paris.”

“Who?” William asked.

“The Queen,” Raoul replied.

“The Queen? Anna?” William responded with a much softer demeanor, finally returning his sword to his scabbard. “How so?”

“William sit, have a drink,” Roger said, just about to pour a wine from a carafe into an empty tumbler.

The only time William drank wine, the only time he allowed himself to ease into its effects was with the only person he truly trusted, his wife Matilda. “I don’t drink wine in adverse company.”

“Biette!” Roger called to a female servant. “Fetch the Duke a cup of milk.” He settled is focus on William. “Sit. You are among friends.”

Reluctantly, he sat at the table between the two men. “How can I call you friends, when all of France, and now my commanders rise against me?”

“You did publicly humiliate the Count of Flanders’ daughter,” Raoul stated. “And you do know Baldwin’s influence with Henry. They still do not find your marriage to be legit.”

William downed his milk in one shot and slammed the tumbler on the table. “Politics. Only a fool believes Matilda and I to be related.”

“Exactly.” Raoul replied, leaning toward William and then fell back against his seat. “You bought this on yourself. You beat up a daughter of nobility, the niece of the King, they will not like you. They will eventually rise against you.”

Shaking his head, William stared into his empty tumbler. He adored Matilda with all his heart and soul, how he could face such treachery for one foolish act, he couldn’t’ understand.

“And then there is the matter of the young Prince Philip,” Roger replied. “Rumors from Paris are they fear your growing strength. Henry’s foolery has nothing to do with his betrayal against you, but the love he has for his son. He merely wants to secure the throne for Philip.”

William tapped the empty tumbler on the table, not wanting to admit the warm milk calmed his rage, or maybe it was the warm hearth flickering before him, and now it was he who felt as a fool, rushing to conclusions of betrayal.

Raoul took another drink of wine, now that William had been subdued. “Anna thinks of you as kin, both of Viking descent,” he remarked knowing the comparison stoked William’s pride. “You must know she protested against the battle. She spoke out not just to the King but in front of Baldwin on your behalf, however, the King took the advice over his long-time advisors over that of his educated and fair-minded Queen.”

Looking at Raoul, William had to chuckle at the man known for his political shiftiness and his allegiance toward the Queen, more so than the King. Love had a way of shaping politics. He lifted his tumbler for more milk and Roger’s servant was quick to oblige. He thought of his wife, Matilda, a woman whose advice he regarded far more superior to any of his commanders, and he knew Raoul felt the same for Queen Anne. “Anna has more smarts about her than any foolish noble in Henry’s court,” he said pointing his finger at Raoul. “If he were truly a wise King, he’d make her his diplomatic adviser.” Settling comfortably into his seat, he took a drink of milk and asked, “So, what then? How did you arrive here?”

Raoul’s grin provided the answer, yet it was Roger who spoke. “What do you expect of a man who doesn’t want to make a foe of any friend. He needed to appease Henry, yet at the same time not betray you.”

William laughed with traces of milk trapped in the hairs of his mustache. “I would have never thought of you Raoul, a man to offer himself to surrender.”

“No matter what I did, I would have died by the sword of a friend. My only choice was to lead Henry’s legion in battle and offer myself to Roger.” He swayed his hands wide open. “And let the cards fall where they may.”

Offering his tumbler toward Raoul in a gesture of a toast, William replied, “Ah Raoul, you always find a way to for your sword to shine.”


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • Jennifer Ott24 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Ott 

      8 months ago from LONG BEACH

      thank you. Appreciate your comments and look forward to seeing your stories. :)

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      9 months ago

      Jennifer, in case you are unable to locate my profile, click on my name in this hub while staying logged in, and you will be taken to the profile page. That's all for now. Happy hubbing!

    • Jennifer Ott24 profile imageAUTHOR

      Jennifer Ott 

      9 months ago from LONG BEACH

      Thanks Rosina. I would love to check our your writing. :)

    • surovi99 profile image

      Rosina S Khan 

      9 months ago

      Interesting historical fiction about William and his traitors and growing foes. Loved reading it. Come and check my profile as well.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, letterpile.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)