Description : Defy Not the Heart
Clydon Castle, England, 1192
Bang! Again, again—bang! The sound of the battering ram took precedence over the screaming confusion on the inner battlements, over the death cries below in the outer bailey as arrows struck true, over the thundering headache that pounded inside Reina de Champeney’s head. Bang! Again.
It had happened too quickly, the attack. Reina had been aroused from sleep by the cry “To arms!”, to find the outer bailey already breached by trickery. The supposed pilgrim she had given succor to the night before had opened the gate on the outer curtain wall at dawn, letting in a small army. Thank God she had not let the cur bed down in the inner bailey or in the keep itself, or she would not now be directing a defense from the battlements above the inner gatehouse. But that was all she had to be grateful for.
The attacking army might be no more than a hundred men, but Clydon was presently grossly undermanned for a castle of its size. After her father had depleted the garrison for the army he took with him on Crusade, she had only fifty-five men left, not all of whom were present. Twenty men-at-arms and ten crossbowmen and archers were about. But at least six of that number were dead or trapped on the outer walls, which the attackers were not even bothering to secure, since there was no archer of any skill there to cause damage to their flanks.
“Put more fuel on that fire!” Reina shouted at one of the menservants, all having beenmandeered to help...