Did you know that the average archer could fire twelve arrows a minute? Therefore, at the Battle of Agincourt (which had 6,000 English archers against 30,000 French cavalry) those 6,000 archers fired around 72,000 arrows a minute. If 20,000 archers were deployed, they would launch 240,000 arrows a minute! That many arrows would eclipse the sun!
One of my favorite battles in medieval history would be the Battle of Pilleth during the Welsh Revolt of 1402. It pitted the Welsh rebel Owain Glyndwr and his 1,500 men against Sir Edmund Mortimer and his 2,000 men. Mortimer had Glyndwr outnumbered by 500 men and the Welsh only specialized in guerilla warfare instead of open warfare. Although a risky tactic, Glyndwr divided his army in half with 750 men on top of the hill and the other 750 men hidden in a valley on the other side of the hill. Meanwhile, Mortimer’s much larger army was marching towards the 750 men on the hill. The hill was very steep and Mortimer’s men were exhausted from carrying heavy armor and weapons up as they marched. Once the two hosts were in position, they fired on one another with arrow fire. Due to the steepness of the hill, the Welsh archers fired their arrows further downhill than the English could fire their arrows uphill. As a result, the English were taking all the casualties and the Welsh were untouched. With none of his arrows reaching the enemy and his men dying left and right, Mortimer changed tactics and attempted to take the fight to Glyndwr. However, because the battle was turning out so badly for the English, the archers on the left flank of Mortimer’s army mutinied and started firing arrows at their former allies at point blank range. Some say these archers were double agents Glyndwr infiltrated into Mortimer’s army while others believe that they switched sides when they thought Glyndwr would win. Either way, this unexpected treachery disrupted the integrity of Mortimer’s host. Glyndwr saw his chance and charged at the English from on top of the hill. As the battle progressed, the archers switched their longbows for daggers so they could finish wounded enemies off. When Mortimer was on the verge of defeat, the other half of Glyndwr’s army emerged from the valley on the other side of the hill and ambushed them from the right flank and rear. This resulted in the Welsh’s first victory in open warfare against the English. For the second volume of my fantasy series, I am thinking of combining elements from this battle with the Battle of Towton in a major battle.
In Numen the Slayer, I depicted a major battle that unfolds throughout the story. It takes place at the castle of Foxden and pits 500 archers and crossbowmen and 700 men-at-arms against 14,000 infantry, 2,000 archers, and 2,000 cavalry. I drew inspiration for this battle by researching the various weapons and tactics used in medieval sieges. I did not base this battle on any one historical battle. I will not say if the defenders will receive a relief force or the invaders will conquer the castle. All I can say is that it is the best collection of battle scenes I have ever written. I am expecting to write more battle scenes like this as the Magnus Dynasty Saga progresses.
To make my fantasy world as medieval as possible, there will be a special type of castle present called a motte-and-bailey castle. This type of castle was mostly made of wood and consisted of a man-made hill and moat. Stone castles were not introduced to England until the Normans invaded. While a motte-and-bailey castle will be featured in the kingdom of my first fantasy book, these castles will appear more frequently in heavily forested regions where timber is easily accessible.
I am in the process of making a map of my fantasy world: Gradaia. Because I am proud of my Irish heritage, I will make the shape of this supercontinent identical to my ancestral home, Ireland, but on a much larger scale. I will be using this map as a template for Gradaia and draw the borders of the nine kingdoms that make it up. I will then share it with you as soon as I am done.
I had an insane idea for a kingdom in my future fantasy books. I am envisioning a kingdom that is volcanic in nature. With a volcanic kingdom, the inhabitants would have access to both igneous rock and volcanic ash. Igneous rock and lava have a high iron content, which will come in handy when it comes to forging armor, weapons, and other metallic items. Volcanic ash is one of the best fertilizers in the world, which would help the kingdom’s farmers fertilize their fields. As I contemplate this idea, I will be drawing inspiration from Iceland, which not only has a history with my viking ancestors, but also has several active volcanos. It is often said that hard places breed hard people and if these people live in a volcanic environment they would be the hardest people of them all.
Imagine having at least twenty illegitimate children. Now imagine giving them all their own wealth, titles, and lands. I got this idea while researching such medieval bastards from both kings and lords. A prime example of this was an illegitimate son of Henry VIII, Henry Fitzroy, who was named Duke of Richmond and Somerset. I am thinking of including something similar in my fantasy series, but on a much larger scale. If a group of illegitimate children were given their own wealth, titles, and lands, then they have the ability to form their own cadet branches of the main bloodline. That way if anything happens to the main bloodline one of the cadet branches would take over. I will research the upbringing of Henry Fitzroy further to see how this can happen in my fantasy series.