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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Action/Adventure · #2091903
Justinian was once young, he was once a solider fighting for his god

An eagle sored over the fleet, over the crusading army, beginning there holy war.

The massive fleet of wooden Byzantine ships began to exit the imperial capitol, sailing across the Bosporus strait, heading for the Turkish Muslim land in Anatolia.

The sound of birds in the sky, and the crash of waves surrounded the convoy. Shouts came from the ships, orders to the sailors, songs of Christendom. The Crusade to reclaim the birthplace of Christ and the holy city.

Justinian looked back to the city of Constantinople. He wondered if he would ever see the great walls ever again, if his name would become known. If the great emperor he was named from was watching him. He cast the thoughts out of his mind, and instead went to find his commander. A cry went up, it started from the east side of the fleet and carried to the west. "Land ho!". The time was no, it was do or die. The reclamation of Jerusalem would start today.

The ships came to land with a tremendous thud, the army began to get disgorged from the ships. However, the horizon was clear and silent ... .something was wrong. As the the crusader's were waiting, getting supplies ready for the march Justinian and some others were on watch.

"i don't like this, not one bit I don't" One of the men said, Justinian couldn't place from where, somewhere to his left though. Then he heard more, "Where are the Turks?" "Cowards won't come and fight" ... the waiting went for hours.

After 3 hours of waiting, of roasting in the Anatolian sun. The crusading army was ready. The commanders: Hugh of Vermandois; Godfrey de Bouillon; Bohemond of Taranto; Raymond of Toulouse; Bishop Adhemar; Robert of Flanders and Bohemond's nephew, Tancred of Taranto, decided it would be best to march against the city of Nicaea the Sultanate of Rum's capitol, and home to the sultan's family.

Justinian was in the vanguard, looking for the sultan's army that really should be coming for them. He didn't like it, it was too quiet. But they marched, for a good two days without any sign of the turks, this was worrisome. Justinian overheard the commanders of the Vanguard talking, arranging the plans for the Siege. Godfrey took the north to hold, Bohemond and Tancred took the east, and Raymond. Who was still at the back of the column was allocated the southern wall. The lake Askania to the west was too large to guard, and due to being landlocked was of no concerns to the army. The sections of the Army split off and began to guard of the city.

The Siege had begun, but soon starvation began to take hold of the Armies. It looked like the war would be done before it could gather steam, but hope wasn't lost, not yet at least. Bohemond, a seasoned military man, brokered a deal with the Byzantine fleet and arranged resupply from the coast to reach the men, the real work of sitting around could begin.

Once Raymond's forces arrived at the siege, a few hours after the plans were drawn up, the Turkish horde was sighted. Ten thousand horse archers came thundering down the hills toward the city to save the city, and to save the Sultan's family. An order carried over the crusaders' camp. The knights mounted their horses, and the foot soldiers formed a defensive line to hold the camp. When the Turkish force realised just how many armed and armoured men were attacking, they broke instantly. The knights chased after them, the heavy war horses kicked up a gigantic dust cloud, but the light horse of turkey was faster and used to the terrain and managed to get away with only a few losses. The crusade won, they held the field, hopes were lifted.

Days past to weeks, and the city showed no signs of surrender, the lake was more important than they crusaders believed it to be. At night resupply got into the city, and without any way to blockade the lake there was no way to stave the city out ... so they attacked. Building siege weapons to scale the ancient Roman walls; they tried to undermine the walls. however, everything they tried was resisted. The commanders decided that the Byzantines would have to help. Send soldiers to watch the lake. But in a feet of logistics only the heirs of rome could pull off, they docked the ships in the port town of Civetot. Pulled the ships to land, and then, using a system of rollers brought the ships to the banks of the Askania lake.

The main attack had begun, gargantuan wooden towers were pushed toward the equally giant walls. Catapults smashed towers with ease, the attack by the two thousand Byzantine soldiers and their ships was launched. Justinian looked to his left and his right, he saw men in gleaming armour, wielding broadswords, maces and axes, waiting to fight. A call came from somewhere behind him, the voice of Tancred "Today, we being the greatest attack of our time, we begin to reclaim lands for Christ. We do not fight for honour, or glory, we fight for our god. The one, true, god!". When the cheers of the men started to reside, the ramp smashed onto the walls and the defenders. The gleaming iron armour of the soldiers was a wave of pure light, "Dues Vult! God Wills it". Was accompanied by the cries of defenders as they got cut down. Justinian cut an archer in two, blood coating him and his blade, crimson red shone from his blade. Looking around he saw Tancred, surrounded by foes, fighting like a crazed animal. A turk raised his sword, Justinian ran to him, to save the young commander.

The blade dropped ... The turk looked to his chest, bloody steel protruding from him. Tancred, hearing the sword dropping, span around and cutting the head from the turk. Justinian stood, blood coating his face, his hair blood red. After finishing the last of the defenders on the walls. A war horn sounded, the men looked to the source, expecting a charge from the heavy horse but instead laid eyes upon the Byzantium flag, flying above the citadel ... somehow, the two thousand marines managed to take the city, where tens of thousand crusaders failed.

The first city on the road to Jerusalem was taken. Now the commanders looked toward the city of Antioch.


The road was a long one, and without supply for the majority of the troops. The only thing the Army could do was split into two forces. Bohemond and Tancred lead the vanguard, and the rest of the force lead by their individual leaders. Tancred rode to find Justinian, the noble’s armour clattering and gleaming in the sun. Justinian looked, having to cover his eyes from the sun and the shining armour once he recognized the noble, he and the rest of the soldiers bowed. “The foot soldier who came to my aid on the walls yesterday” Tancred stopped his horse, looking at the men “If he is here, come forward, if he is not. Then spread the word i am looking for him. He will know who he is” At first there was no movement, Tancred was about to ride back to his uncle. Justinian stood forward, waiting for Tancred to speak. “Follow me”. Justinian nodded and followed the noble to the front of the column. He felt out of place, for he was a Byzantine foot soldier fighting for his sins to be forgiven by the lord almighty. He wasn’t of noble blood, or italian. Just a tweleve years ago he fought against these people, now he was brought to the front of the vanguard.

Justinian was given a horse to keep up with Tancred, being a respectful, albeit a little intimidated, waited to be spoken to. Of course he heard some comments aimed at him, “why is a commoner with us?” “what makes him so special”. Tancred looked to Justinian, He gave a warm smile, sensing the “commoner” was discomfort. Tancred spoke “What is your name?”

The response came, “Justinian, sire”

Tancred, knowing some of history of the region, “Justinian, the Emperor of the East Romans?”

Finally, someone knew who he was named after, “Aye, that was him sire”

“What made you come to my aid, Justinian, what made you run across a battle site to help a stranger” Tancred gave a warm smile, he knew that without this man. He would not be riding with his uncle and friends now.

Justinian wasn’t sure what to say, why did he risk the life of himself and allies to help a stranger? “I didn’t think it would’ve been a fitting way for a noble. If i may my lord, A woman's company, a flagon of ale and a warm bed. Or, if you were so lucky, a honourable one versus one battle, not out numbered.”

Tancred let out a little laugh, “I like you. Justinian of Constantinople. I am truly in your debt, how can i repay you?”

Justinian was taken back, he wasn’t sure what to say. He looked around, seeing the reactions of the noble men, many of whom, justinian felt, were sleeping during the assault. “Your thanks is enough sire”

“Nonsense, ride with me, by my side. I know, if not for you. I wouldn’t be here. You did more than my guard did.” Tancred smiled, he could sense that he and Justinian were similar.

“If you insist, my lord” Justinian, who was still new to riding, tried to give a bow.

That night the camp was made, the two forces came together once more. Food, drink and song were passed around. Without the sounds of battle, or waves crashing on ships. The camp came alive, alive with the languages of europe, some Justinian could recognize Latin, Greek, Italian. The rest were not known for him, for the first time in a long time, he was grateful for his father being a merchant.

Justinian sat under the stars, listening to his fire cracking and the pig roasting. A cricket could be heard in the distance. Tancred came over to Justinian, and for the first time, without armour or weapons. Justinian began to bow, but Tancred gestured for him to stop and sit at the fire. The two talked the night away, about home, about loves long gone, and about what brought them on this crusade.

The next three days passed in similar peace, little to no contact with the Turkish. Until, on the fourth day of the march. The camp were waking to the sun. Justinian was washing when he noticed, the water, at first, began to ripple a little. Then he heard the call “Ridders! To the north!”. The war horns were sounded, and the blood curdling screams filled the air.

Justinian, with no clue as to where Tancred or his uncle was, reached for his sword and ran out of his tent. The turkish were here in force, and they came for blood, they came for vengeance of their fallen comrades in Nicaea. Knights, alone or in small groups, heroically tried to mount and charge back but too many times were cut down or drowned in the hail of arrows. Turks whirled in and out of the camp, slaughtering civilians and unarmed knights. Justinian, amid the chaos, worked his way to the center of the camp, he found a shield. The crest was of a eagle. He span around hearing the thundering of hooves, and in the nick of time managed to deflect a blow. He was given no space to counter, the rider was soon out of range. Another thundering of hooves came, Justinian span again. This time it was no turkish ridder, but it was Bohemond. “Knights! Dismount, make your way to the center, and fall in!” He rode past Justinian, shouting to the men who could stand, giving orders.

Justinian got the the center, just in time. He saw the knights with shields locked, forming a steel shell, defending the civilians. Justinian fell into formation, as far as he could tell all the knights that were still alive were here, defending the priests, the women and the children. A constant, unrelenting, rain of arrows came down onto them, and for hours the held. Cry’s came when the arrows met their mark, but still the men held. When the sun rose in the sky, cooking the men in their steel suits the line held. Despite the attempts of the turkish to bate the men into attack, the line held. The priests began to sing, the songs were carried through the circle despite the hail of arrows. The women brought water to the front line, despite the danger, to keep the knights cool. After hours, the most hardest thing any unit could do, stand under fire and not move, was rewarded. Godfrey and 50 of his knights managed to break through and get the the ring of steel, He and his men brought news that the main force had joined the battle. Hope was renewed. After seven long hours of being under constant fire, baking under the anatolian sun, the main army pushed and relieved the entrenched forces of Bohemond. What was left of the vanguard, and the majority of the main force finally pushed back. The melee was long, fighting uphill tiring the already exhausted crusader. Hours more past, each inch of land was paid for equally in blood. The Turkish line putting up a fierce defence held hard. Then, when smoke came from the Turkish camp and a contingent of christian cavalry smashed into the back of the line led by Bishop Adhemar the fluid Turkish line shattered into millions of pieces. The day was won.

Justinian stood on the hill side, covered in the blood of other men. The dead scattered the ground, it was hard to see how the christian’s won. But they did. Against overwhelming odds, the vanguard managed to hold, then push back.


The road to Antioch was long and unforgiving, the Turkish, in full retreat from the lost battle, burnt anything they couldn’t bring with them and stripped the land of anything that would be of use to an army. The earth was scorched and full of the dead. The wells on the roadside were destroyed, parched animals were left on the side of the road to die, desperate men chewed thorns to find moisture. The road was littered with the dead and abandoned gear.

Justinian heard some men in the camp talking, “If ‘god wills it’ why are we dying in the hundreds? Why has he not sent rains from the heavens to help us? Or food?”

The foot soldier’s friend looked at him, and replied, in a stern voice and with a sterner face “This is not God’s country, we should pray to whoever the turks pray to. And we have plenty of food, with the horses falling to thirst”

Justinian, now known by most of Tancred’s men as Tancred’s right hand, looked at the two men. One had a scar over his face, brown hair and blue eyes. The other, was blonde and blue eyed. “It is simple” Justinian declared, talking to no one but everyone, “The lord almighty, has sent us on this crusade, not only to reclaim his home and kingdom. But to test our piety, to see what is stronger. The steel in our blades, or the believe in our lord”

The two men looked at Justinian, one was about to open his mouth and counter him, but Justinian continued without listening to the words of the other men “Now, the way i see it. As a simple man from Constantinople, we can fight and reach the kingdom of heaven one way or another. Or YOU can flee and spend, until judgment day, suffering in hell.” The camp went silent, all eyes were on Justinian. With a nod, and nothing more, the two men went back to the game of cards they were playing, the tension was gone, the camp went to its normal activities.

Hearing about what Justinian had done, Tancred sent some men to go find him.

The tent was grand and lavish, a fire in the center casting light over the tent, warming against the cold desert night. Tancred and his uncle were sipping wine, discussing the plans and the crusade. Bohemond looked at his young nephew “Why have you sent for some peasant to come into our tent Tancred? What is your plan?”

Tancred grinned and had a sip of wine “I have heard stories, dear uncle, and i wish to get to the bottom of them. After all, he wouldn’t lie to his lords would he?”

Bohemond, knowing that Tancred usually had some tricks us his sleeve, was intrigued as to what his nephews plan was. But before Bohemond could respond, there was a guard at the entrance. “Sire, Justinian is here.”

Tancred let him enter “I suppose you are wondering why i have called for you?” Justinian, still confused as to why Tancred kept him around so much, nodded. “I see, well, Justinian. It seems that once again i have you to thank. Those men who you talked down from desertion were high ranking officers, if they had left most of the army would’ve left with them. So, Justinian, it seems that you have now saved my life and Christ’s war. I thank you”

To Justinian’s shock Tancred bowed, and then Bohemond did. Rising, Bohemond spoke, “Kneel, Justinian”. Justinian did as he was told. Bohemond drew his blade, and touched Justinian's shoulders and top of head “Rise, Sir Justinian”. The tent went silent. This was not heard of, a commoner becoming a knight. Justinian was in shock, “B-but? I don’t understand”

Tancred, who was planning on doing something like this, spoke “Uncle? I can’t say i don’t agree with your decision, but this isn’t the correct way to do this. He must be taken on as a squire”

Bohemond chuckled to himself, “Bit old for a squire isn’t he? And he has more than earned. this I know. Justinian, you are excused”. Justinian left, hearing the discussion behind him fade into the sound of crickets and fire crackling.

The next day, the crusade passed into the fertile valleys of Iconium. With the opportunity to restock water and food the Crusader’s took it before a turkish army could interrupt. Once the stocks were filled and the men fed and watered the commanders were faced with a choice to make. Here the road forked, the commander's had to decide what road to take, the faster but more dangerous Taurus mountains, or the slower but safer, confusingly named, Anti-Taurus mountains. The main force went over the Anti-Taurus mountains,whereas Tancred and Baldwin the brother of Godfrey went over the Taurus mountains. Tancred packed relatively light, only taking a few hundred knights from his uncle’s army, Baldwin brought over two thousand soldiers from his brother’s army on the adventure.

Tancred and his few knights, one of them being Justinian, set off first. A lot of crazy stuff happened to Justinian in his life time, but this must have been the oddest, but possibly the best thing for him. He decided he would stop wondering why things had happened to him, or what he had done and he would start going with it. Forge his own path and be reckless and

with god as his witness he would become the man he wanted to be. Not the man he was supposed to be. Within a few days the force reached the walled city of Tarsus.

A scout came thundering down from the city, kicking up a cloud of dust behind him. His face was red and panicked, Justinian only got a brief look, but he could see the eyes of the scout and readied for a fight. Soon, Tancred got the small force to form a line outside of the city, not readying for a siege, but waiting for an attack. “Today. men of Christ. Stand ready, and remember, you are the ones who refused to surrender. You are the ones that held for hours without end in sight. I am proud to fight alongside you. The garrison in that city believe that they can succeed where their comrades failed. Fight with honour!” Tancred came thundering down the line, rallying the men. Getting them ready for the fight.

All went silent, an eagle soared over the battlefield. A war horn sounded, the city gates began to open. The crusaders locked shields. The advancing Turkish garrison began to march toward the line of steel, than charged. Tancred ordered his own men to wait. The Turkish smashed into the thin line.

Once again, Justinian was in the front line. Fighting for his god and his life. He cut down one, two, three Turkish. Blood sprayed over Justinian, the crimson of blood and grey of steel covering most men. A order came for the line to push back, the weight of the advance was too much of the garrison to hold against. Some were taken prisoner, but most fled into the city walls. Another victory for the crusade, another day Justinian and others were covered in the blood of friend and foe. But a victory is a victory to be proud of. Then the waiting began, waiting for orders or reinforcements.

Justinian went to find Tancred, his only real friend.

“We don’t have enough men to siege the city sir. Wait for more men to come.” One of Tancred’s advisers was pleading with him.

Tancred, headstrong and independent from his uncle for the first time the war started, cooly and calmly “From where? My uncle or from Baldwin?”

“Your uncle of course” The adviser declared “That or we wait for the German Baldwin to come and aid us, if that happens he will take the city under his banner”

“You always give me good advice, fine, send a ridder asking for assistance” Tancred stood “I need some air”, he gave the nobles a bow of respect and exited the tent. Justinian was

walking toward the tent, cleaned from the fighting. Tancred noticed a fresh cut on his left cheek.

“Sir” Justinian bowed, “If I may, sir, what is the plan? I ask so i can send word to the men on watch. So the know what to expect”

Tancred looked at Justinian, knowing he meant well “It is not known for a knight to ask questions of his noble, to the take that information to the noble army and command said army. But i know you mean well. And I need some aid, will you be the one who helps me?”

Justinian, deciding that it would be the best, thinking he could make a name for himself and be a leading role in the crusade, agreed, “yes my lord”
Tancred smiled, pleased with the knight, he knew that he should keep him close, “We need to take this city now, i have asked for more men but i fear it will be too late once they come. What should i do?”

Justinian, seeing the problem, spent some time to think “My lord, the Turkish know that a crusade is coming. They don’t know the route said crusade came across. Suppose the full crusade came the way we did, and we are but the vanguard of a massive army that, once arrives, will do horrible to any turkish defender”

Tancred smiled “that is a good plan, but why would we come the more risky route?”

“Because, we knew that that would be of more risk to be attacked.” Justinian smiled, thinking that his idea was perfect.

Tancred was thinking the plan over, to see if he thought it would work. “Good job, I’ll leave you be.” He nodded and walked back into his tent.

Justinian also called it a night, albeit a restless night. Haunted by the faces of the people he killed, he tried to sleep.

The next day the camp woke, the sun was rising over the camp a single bird soared overhead. They was a small breeze passing through the camp, the wind was warm and welcoming. The silence from the city was deafening. The morning watch slowly began to man the skeletal siege of the city. The sound of the gates opening carried into the camp, a sentry was the first to see him. Tancred and the leader of the garrison met, in between the army camp and the city walls, the two discussed terms. Within 30 minutes of the sun rising, Tarsus was under

crusading command, the city flew Tancred’s banner. The occupation could not last, once the force led by Baldwin reached the. He and his two thousand men took the city, and to add insult to injury, made tancred take his banner and replace it with Baldwin’s.

Angered, Tancred moved on without Baldwin, taking all the supply he could manage, leaving Baldwin with less supply than what he needed, hunger attacked the German force. The reinforcements arrived at the gates of the city, seeing the banner of Baldwin flying over the walls, understandable they were angered having to march all that way for nothing. In spite, when the men asked to rest in the city, Baldwin declined.

The next day, a handful of men from the reinforcing army reach Tancred, they brought new of death and uprising. The Turkish Garrison came from down the hills and slaughtered the majority of the cammed out army, some got to the city, some feld and others tried to fight in vain. The story fed its way toward the rest of the army, and soon, with the capture of the next city along the way, once Tancred had grown his army size by enlisting local armenian christians, he had begun fortify himself in his new city.

Baldwin reached the next city, asked if he and his men could enter to rest. Tancred refused. Some of the men from Tancred’s force, angered by the slaughter, came toward the camp of Baldwin. A brawl was started. Justinian was along these men. The fight didn’t last long. Baldwin left the crusade, some say he became the count of a city called “edessa” some say he was killed. No one knew. The remainder of his army joined Tancred. With multiple victories behind him, Tancred marched to, rejoin the crusade knowing that at least one path of retreat was clear.


The main force arrived at the gates of Antioch, no word yet from Tancred, they began to put the city under siege. This city, founded under Alexander the great; made great by Rome and fortified under Justinian of the Byzantines, with its giant ancient walls that flew from the city like wingsing mountains and crossing lakes. With no clear way the Crusade could block the entire city from resupply, The commanders decided that it would be best to block the easiest gates to reach. Making it so the army was not spread up mountains, or split over a river, and whatever supply could get through would be damaged or lost crossing the mountains and river.

Justinian was riding in Tancred’s vanguard, he was on of the fist of the smaller army to see the great city surrounded by tiny tents and banners that flew in the dry sandy winds of Turkey. The camp was already starting to feel the pains of hunger. Justinian could see the attackers and defenders had begun to make preparations for the brutal battle. Tancred’s force helped to man the blocked gates, and brought some supply with them. But as the weeks turned to months, as autumn to winter, the crusade began to starve. With the local area strriped clean of any food. The commanders had little options open to them, they could wait to starve to death, send a foraging party and run the risk of getting ambushed, assault the city walls now or split the army again and send one half to forage, the other half to man the siege and wait.

A forage party under the command of Bohemond and the English Robert of Flanders, detached itself from the siege army. Those left behind tried to man the siege army as best it could without a break through from the garrison. The air around the camp a day before was heavy, the atmosphere lacked the electricity it once held at the beginning of the campaign. Vultures flew around, looking for the victims of the silent killer that was stalking the camp and city. A lone eagle soared, his call carried in the air as he hunted for food. The night came, the moon illuminated the ground, a single cloud floated in front of the moon and sempt to stay, watching the camp as the night watch began, and as some crusaders deserted the seemingly helpless crusade.

As the golden sun rose over the camp, and as the watches got changed, Bohemond and Robert were beginning to muster the scavenging party, they brought the most experienced and brave to come with them, in the event they would get attacked or meet a force meant to relive antioch.

The scavenging party departed at mid day, the leaders of the force riding at the front of the column, with a handful of their most trusted knights. Justinian, Antonio and an aged knight, around his late thirties, going by the name of John. The eagle that was seemingly following the crusade followed the contingent of soldiers, Justinian looked up at the eagle. He saw how free the bird was, how able he was to create his own fate, Justinian wanted to be like that bird with a burning passion. Instead of being high and free in the sky, he was hungry, overheating, and in foreign land. He longed for the crusade to end, in one way or another, and he knew, that this far off land. This land barren of food, he knew that he owed the people to try and help them. Justinian looked at his companions, the english knights with their glorious red tinted armour and saint john’s cross decorating their shields. The Italian knights in pristine white clocks and armour … then there was Justinian, some of the knights from the west called him Justin. Justinian was probably the only one of common blood, his armour was battered with use, he rode a horse that was gifted to him, and his shield was taken from one of his fallen comrades. He was lucky, that was true, but the question he found himself asking far too often for his own good was, how long would his luck last?

Justin was lost in his thoughts far too long, he didn’t notice when the sun began to set, it was when one of the Italian knights spoke up, addressing Justin “Hey, you there … been quiet all this way. What is your name sir knight?”

Justin stopped and looked at the knight addressing him, he had a white adorned helm with wings sprouting from the sides. The face guard was up showing the owner of the italian stallion to be the knight Antonio. If the stories were to be trusted, this knight killed countless numbers at Nicaea and Dorylaeum, he showed no mercy to his foes. If they dropped their swords, he would make them pick them up so he could kill them. He took no prisoners.

“M-My Name is Justinian of … of … I serve under Tancred” Justinian tried to hold his nerve, and his accent. But to no avail.

“Hold your tongue before I pull it out of your mouth, Byzantine filth” Antonio sized Justinian up “Was it not humiliating enough for you to fight against us and lose? You now talk to me? And server my lord’s nephew”

Justinian knew, he did not like this antonio character, and if a saracen blade tried to strike him down, Justinian would not help. “You talked to me first, and we beat you in that war … unless the Emperor is not of Roman blood of course, and since you know your history sir knight, it was our Belisarius who liberated your city of Naples from the ostrogoths ”

The look on Antonio’s face was pure shock, he was never talked back to by an obvious commoner, but this one seemed to be smarter, and braver. Or he just heard stories when serving wine and grapes to his precious Emperor or whatever the Byzantines do.

Justinian wheeled his horse around and rode toward the camp that was taking form under the golden orange sun.

Justinian was sitting around one of the many camp fires that were burning throughout the camp, giving a orange glow to the surrounding hills and forest. The guard was looking for any sign of attack, the horror of Dorylaeum still fresh in minds of the men.

The English knight, by the name of John approached the fire Justinian was sitting at.

“So, you are the one who Antonio spoke to earlier. Good show sir. Putting him in his place like that”

Justinian smiled, and offers the knight a drink of beer and seat. “I’m guessing it’s not often someone puts him in his place then?”

Taking his beer John replied “No, it is not common. But the ones who do always have accidents. Watch your back” He finished his drink and walked away.

The next day the camp awoke and began the routine of scavenging for food. Within an hour, the forward scouts had dire news. The village they were near held a large force, believed to be bound for Antioch. Soon the army begun to assemble into battle formation. Justinian was in the centre with the elite. The iron wall began to march onto the village, leaving the food behind as repelling this army would save more than bringing food. Soon both armies had formed and ready, the skirmish phase of the battle began. Raising his shield protected Justinian from the hail of arrows, but he didn’t see the cavalry charge thundering down upon him. He was knocked to the ground, his shield arm broken, he picked himself up and discarded the shield. A Turkish foot soldiers advanced on him. The defending clash of steel rang over the battlefield. Justinian was pushed back, the Turk raised his blade, exposing himself. Justinian thrusted into the Turk crotch and pushed his blade left, slicing his foe in two. Two more targets advanced upon him, one knocked him to the ground the other put a blade to his neck. Justinian pulled free and knocked their heads together knocking them out, Picking up his blade he span around, a rider came, Justinian readied. He reacted too late.

Tancred had fought his way to his friend, he held Justinian dying in his arms.

Justinian placed his bloody hand on Tancred’s cheek. “My friend, remember the cause for this crusade. If you get to Jerusalem remember that. We are not fighting anyone who stops fighting. Spare the weak. We are all Humans”

As the battle raged around them Tancred stayed deathly still until Justinian reached the kingdom of heaven.

They are no winners in war, only survivors. Peace in the world, or the world in Pieces.
© Copyright 2016 Stephen.J.H. (stephen.h at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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