While drawing inspiration from the Peasant’s Revolt for my third fantasy book, I brainstormed on what kind of weapons the peasants would use. Due to being poorer than the nobles, the peasants would not have access to the more expensive armor and weapons like chainmail, plate armor, and swords. Therefore, I had to think of what kind of weapons they would have access to with their limited wealth and resources. Fortunately, many of the weapons the nobles used were based on everyday tools that the peasants used. For example, instead of the traditional battle axe, the peasants would resort to using a regular woodcutting axe. For legal reasons, peasants were banned to use longswords, but there are ways around this law since there are other weapons to choose from. Instead of spiked or flanged maces, the peasants would use simple wooden clubs to bludgeon their foes to death. Since daggers would be unavailable, the peasants would utilize normal hunting knives as replacements. Knights and men-at-arms would wield spiked balls on chains, but the peasants would use the original wooden version of the flail, which was originally designed to clear out undergrowth. Instead of war hammers, peasants could use the wooden mallets that builders use to erect tents or construct houses. Unlike traditional spears and polearms, the peasants would use wooden shafts from tree branches sharpened into crude spears as well as the agricultural version of the billhook, which was designed to trim trees and pick fruit out of trees. Since most citizens would have archery experience, hunting bows and arrows would be suitable weapons for the peasants to have easy access to. In terms of armor, the peasants would not have access to normal metal armor so they would have to make do with leather armor and helmets since many peasants are farmers and shepherds. As the Peasants’ Revolt proved, even though peasants can be inexperienced and green fighters at first, they can quickly become hardened with each consecutive skirmish like any other soldier. While normal levies gain training through practice, the peasants can gain it from real life, firsthand experience. In addition, with each battle fought, the peasants can scavenge the superior armor and weapons off the nobles they slay. The most important factor of all is that the peasants would greatly outnumber the nobles so what they lack in weapons and equipment they would make up for in sheer numbers. Overall, I can envision a potentially formidable rebellion breaking out in my third fantasy book.
During the reign of Edward IV, there were tax riots spreading across northern England. Publicly, these riots were instigated by the mysterious rebel known as Robin of Redesdale, but secretly, they were started by the Kingmaker, Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick. Because of Warwick’s involvement in the rebellion, it is speculated that Robin of Redesdale was really one of Warwick’s knights, Sir John Conyers. These riots created all out chaos throughout England and were part of Warwick’s strategy to bring Edward IV down. I am thinking of basing a rebellious character on Robin of Redesdale in my third fantasy book.
Quartered heraldry has been a common practice throughout the Middle Ages. It symbolized the union of two or more noble families and serves as the personal arms of the descendants of such unions. For example, if one spouse comes from a family with a bronze bear for their sigil and the other a gold phoenix, then their new sigil would be a quartered one and it would be their children’s sigil. This can lead to the rise of cadet branches of the main bloodline. I featured such heraldry in the end of The War of the Gilded Beasts and these new noble families will be featured more prominently in the next volume.
During the reigns of Henry III and Edward II, there were families who acted as enforcers to the king. For Henry III, his enforcers were his half-brothers the Lusignans. For Edward II, his enforcers were the Despensers. Both kings made these families their enforcers in exchange for being allowed to do whatever they wanted. Eventually, their brutality and greed created all-out chaos throughout England. The Lusignans fled for their lives from rebellious barons while the Despeners were hung, beheaded, castrated, drawn and quartered. I am thinking of basing some characters after these two families in my third fantasy book and their lust for power will result in civil war.
Simon De Montfort was a French knight who was given lands and titles by King Henry III of England. Henry III thought Simon De Montfort was the kind of man who could make the tough choices that he never could. However, Simon led a rebellion against the king and briefly made the barons more powerful than the monarchy. This resulted in the groundwork for what would eventually become Parliament. Henry was not strong enough to regain control of his kingdom on his own. However, Henry III’s son and heir, the future Edward I AKA Longshanks, led the assault to take De Montfort down. Eventually, Longshanks defeated De Montfort and had his body desecrated to send a warning to anyone who would dare defy the crown. Thanks to his son, Henry III regained control of his kingdom, but had to yield to the demands of Magna Carta forever. I am thinking of basing a rebellious noble after Simon De Montfort in the third volume of my fantasy series.
As I delve into my medieval research, I reach an undeniable conclusion. The medieval world was a savage world that bred savage people. It was not called the Dark Ages for nothing. Countless atrocities of all kinds were common place, pestilence and famine ravaged the land, religious zealots hounded and persecuted people they feared and hated, kings and lords always extorted the populace and betrayed one another for their own gain, and there was a nearly constant state of war when peacetime was very short-lived. When I write my fantasy series, I try to make the story as close to these dark standards as I can because it feels more real than the fairy tales we were told as children.
Piers Gaveston was a close companion of King Edward II of England. He was a skilled knight and tournaments star, but he was hated by both the nobles and Edward’s father Edward I AKA Longshanks. When Longshanks ruled, Gaveston was banished, but when Longshanks died, Edward II ordered him back to be with him. Gaveston gained a well-deserved reputation for calling many of the nobles bad names, which made them hate him even more. During Edward’s wedding with Isabella of France, Gaveston dined with Edward and wore royal purple, which was a color that only the king was allowed to wear. After seeing this, many nobles wanted to kill Gaveston on the spot. Eventually, they did kill him under the orders of Edward II’s cousin Thomas of Lancaster. This caused Edward II to seek vengeance against all the nobles involved in Gaveston’s murder. I am thinking of including a character who would be similar to Piers Gaveston in the third volume of my fantasy trilogy.