Meet Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick
Late summer 1077.
Greetings, my name is Lady Alfreya of Tyrswick, I’m an 11th Century Saxon noblewoman and I’m finally home where I belong, but getting home hasn’t been easy.
You see, seven years ago my father Earl Alfred threw in his lot with other Saxon Earls to rebel against King William – you might know him as William The Conqueror.
To my father and his friends, he was known as William The Bastard.Their rebellion didn’t end well. In fact, King William laid waste to 360 square miles of north England countryside to punish the rebels. Many people were killed.
I might have been one of them if not for a moment of compassion by a Norman squire who allowed me, my father and my younger brother to escape.
You’d think my father would be grateful. But he wasn’t. We managed to escape to Scotland where King Malcolm III himself harboured ambition to invade England. Even seven years later, my father was ready to join another rebellion egged on by Lord Drefan d’Aumont.
The very name causes me to shudder. Don’t be fooled by his handsome face, the man is rotten to the core. And he is used to taking what he wants. Drefan convinced my father that, with his help, he could retake Tyrswick, our ancestral home.
He didn’t reckon on the might and prowess of Sebastian de la Croix the young Norman Baron who was given Tyrswick by William himself. He’s handsome too – if you like Normans. I saw him up close once, but don’t tell him that – what man would kindly to the fact that a woman can be as effective with a long bow and crossbow as he is?
Last spring my father was killed in a skirmish. Our remaining forces fled and I encouraged my companion, Diera to go also. I gave her a small gold ring engraved with the Tyrswick cipher as a keepsake. I haven’t seen her in six weeks. I hope she is well and safe back in Scotland.
Now my younger brother has been injured – an iron rabbit trap of all things – part of a series of misfortunes that have plagued us since father’s death and yet there has been no sign of Drefan and his promised reinforcements despite the letters I write him. Damn him. Damn that man to hell.
I have been left with no choice but to surrender my father’s remain forces and offer myself as de la Croix’s hostage in order to guarantee my brother safe passage to see the healers at St Cuthbert’s Monastery. Without their help, my brother will be dead within a week.
I must end our interview. My two trusted men-at-arms Larcwide and Orlege have just reported back, de la Croix has agreed to a parley. He doesn’t yet know that my father is dead. De la Croix will be expecting to see him. Won’t he be surprised when sees me instead?