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The Man with the Frying Pan

Richard lay dying. His body racked with pain as bacteria nibbled away at his tissue leaving behind the black scab of gangrene, the pungent odour of decaying flesh filling the tent. At this juncture he would have gladly fallen on his own sword but his faith decreed suicide a mortal sin punishable by eternal damnation – a fate worse than death. As no-one could be found to put him out of his misery, he would just have to grimace and bear it. In one of the rare moments of lucidity he reflected how just a week before he was healthy and vibrant. Over six feet tall, clearly head and shoulders above his contemporaries, perhaps the most formidable warrior in all Christendom. His captain Mercadier beside him and his shied bearer before, Richard in reckless abandon had forgone armor to survey the siege and plan the following days assault on the castle of Chalus. He dismounted and taking a crossbow from his arbalist aimed at stragglers on the parapet when he noticed a most amusing sight. There was a man between the battlements batting arrows with a frying pan. Richard applauded his bravado when the man (alternately named Bertrand de Gurdon, Peter Basil, John Sabros or Dudo) suddenly disappeared only to reappear brandishing a crossbow. De Gurdon took aim and let fly. The trajectory was true. Without benefit of chain mail the bolt found it’s mark embedding the shaft firmly in Richard’s left shoulder.


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