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Historical fiction tie in story - Sneak peak

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So everybody's currently out spending their summer writing fanfics about the prehistory of Lost and explaining this and that... well I offer you the same. I'm writing a story about a group of 14th century people who are brought to the Island. Like the show, I do plan on doing a lot of character development, but I do want to try and answer some of the unanswered questions in my own way. Anyways, I'd like your feedback on this first (short) chapter. I did some research on the history of this time, but I'm sure there's some errors in it. I like history a lot, but I'm no history buff. And the nautical terms in the first paragraph probably aren't right at all. So yeah. Any comments, flaming, constructive criticism, or raving reviews are welcome. Much appreciated!

Chapter 1

Fatalis

August 23rd, 1348

A black wave slammed into the port side of the mid-sized cog the Lavra Artemis, showering the upper decks with salty pellets of water. Her captain, Tiberius, hastily shouted orders to his crew.

“Hove the para anchor! Alexios, bring her hard about, get downwind of this beast!”

Alexios strained against the rudder, forcing every pound of muscle he had into action. As the ship veered hard to stern, he felt a shudder in the steel bound handle he was tightly clenching. Grabbing a length of rope, he lashed the rudder to a gunwale then tied a tether between himself and the opposite gunwale. He gingerly crept to the edge of the deck and peered overboard, straining to see through the wall of rain and sea water that threatened to extinguish him. Through the howling wind, he heard a sharp crack and jerked his head to see where it had come from. Almost directly below him, a thin crevice had opened up in the rudder shaft. Hastily, he scrambled backwards, slipping on the slick deck as he tried. Another wave crashed into the bow of the ship, pushing him closer and closer to the edge. That was when he heard the sickening snap and watched in horror as a shard of wood the size of his arm flew towards his face.


August 22nd, 1348

PREPARE FOR THE SECOND EXODUS! read the headline of a faded bulletin. ‘The hand of God is upon us! Our sins have caused His wrath to rain down and purge those of us who have disobeyed. Death has come to all we know, and we must stay and die or flee from this terror to safer lands. The Second Exodus is already under way, but the price is far greater than any alms a beggar would receive. Passage aboard the Lavra Artemis costs only 5,000 florins, but buy soon! Only 42 can set sail! Money can’t buy love, but it can sure buy life!’

Captain Tiberius Casso smiled smugly and tore his own ad down from the wall. In less than three days, he had already filled up his trade cog and pocketed a large purse of over 200,000 florins. Of course, wages had to be paid to his crew of fourteen and a good portion would pay off his gambling debts, but regardless, he would still retain a large enough sum to retire and buy himself a gorgeous plot of land outside the city of Calais. Whoever said money can’t buy happines? he thought to himself.

The Lavra Artemis was set to leave the port of Melcombe Regis at tomorrow’s sunrise. From there, it was a four hour journey across the Channel to the city of Calais, where they would be safe from this recent terror. Even though the English were at war with the French, Calais had been liberated by Edward III just last year and the surrounding countryside had eagerly leapt from their corrupt into the welcome arms of the King of England. They would be safe there, enjoying the spread of autumn and the start of a new life.

His first client had reserved passage for the asking price of 5,000 florins and had added an additional 2,500 to ensure that he was not “accidentally” bumped from the list of passengers. This man was none other than Eustace de St. Pierre, commonly referred to as the “Hero of Calais.”

When Edward besieged Calais last year, the governor John de Vienne came to the conclusion that he must surrender. Edward agreed on the condition that six of de Vienne’s citizens would come to him barefoot, wearing nooses around their necks, and bearing the keys to the city. Once the keys had been surrendered, they would be executed. If just six people would be willing to sacrifice themselves, all of Calais would be spared. Eustace, one of the wealthiest merchants in town, was the first to offer himself. Soon after, five more men stood up and accepted the charge. When they reached Edward, he promptly ordered their execution. Seeing the immense courage of these men, the Black Prince pleaded with him to spare their lives, but to no effect. It was not until Queen Philippa came bearing news of victory in Scotland that he agreed to spare not only Calais, but also the six men who were willing to die for their city. Henceforth, Eustace de St. Pierre was hailed as the “Hero of Calais” and John de Vienne bestowed upon him the title of Peira Puech which honored his stone-like courage to stand above the rest.

---

When Eustace had heard that a ship would soon be safely departing for Calais, his heart leapt five times - once for each of those who had had courage equal to his own. He had arrived in Melcombe Regis to trade textiles in early June, only to find himself sequestered with the entire town at the end of the month when a strange illness spread amongst them. Martial law had been enacted, but somehow this “plague”, as they were calling it, had spread to more and more populaces. Nearly two months had passed before the quarantine was lifted and he could finally return home.

He often disliked being recognized upon his entrance because he felt that he only did what needed to be done for the survival of the rest. “Any other man could have very easily stood up instead of me,” he would often tell his fans. As such, close friends would often sneak him in back doors or he would enter the city incognito. Of course, word spread quickly and most people knew when he would be arriving, but he always managed to slide right under their noses, allowing them to catch a glimpse of him when he went out to conduct business in Calais. Despite all this, he was eager to enter his ostal and kiss her pearly white streets. He had been able to send word to his wife Jacqueline regarding his isolation, telling her that he would return to her in due time, but not to worry. More than anything, he wanted to hold her in his arms.

---

On the opposite side of town, a young knight by the name of Walter Maury had been celebrating the most recent English victory in France. He himself had been present with King Edward’s main force when they captured Cressy and Calais, and he had been apart of several smaller victories since then. After the events of Calais, Walter found himself in awe not of Edward, but his teenage son. This young boy tried and tried to convince his father to spare the six lives for him, weeping and lowering himself almost to the status of a peasant in front of his father.

Just a few months ago, King Edward had instituted a brotherhood of knights known as ‘The Knights of the Garter’. His son became the first of these knights, emblazoning the brotherhood’s French motto Honi Soit Qui Mall Y Pense (evil to him who evil thinks) upon his belt. More than anything, Walter wanted to be a part of this already highly esteemed group of the best knights in the land. He believed that he needed to perform a brave deed in battle to prove his worth, so he wore a black patch over one eye since the formation of the knighthood. This patch would not be removed until he performed a brave deed that was acknowledged by one of the 25 Knights of the Garter.

Unfortunately, the arrival of disease in the port town of Melcombe Regis resulted in his bravery taking a back seat to a desperate, almost cowardly attempt to cling onto life. During the months that he had been forced to stay in the city, he had walled himself off from the public, passing the time by writing short stories of heroic deeds, often featuring himself as the protagonist. Upon seeing that there was safe passage to Calais, he leapt at the opportunity to return to France where he could return to the battlefield and prove himself worthy of the brotherhood. He could not wait until the next wave of soldiers was ready to leave for France, he had to leave at this very moment. His waning bravery could not endure this cowardice anymore.

---

Alaric Widmore relaxed on a bench facing the Lavra Artemis. Soon, he would escape this drivel. Leaving England saddened him, but he had been told that he must do so, or else not only would he die, but many others. His wife, Christina, was the daughter of Jacques van Arteveldt, the man responsible for the formation of the anti-French movement in the low countries, which resulted in a successful invasion by Edward. They would be welcomed in Calais by her family, and before long, he would be able to return to his beloved son and daughter.

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