Chapter 1 - The IMPLAUSIBLE MESSIAH
1427 A.D. – Lorraine, France.
Joan kneeled before the 2-feet-tall statue of The Lamb of God in the ruins of
the once great French church. The war between the French and the English had
lasted for more than a hundred years now. The English along with their
Burgundian allies were thick as rats. France, on the verge of losing the hundred-
year war was devastated by their nemeses. Ransacked farms, flattened cities
and despondent people. The only thing the French would wake up to see was fire,
steel and blood. But the one thing that the enemies of France had not shattered
was the will of the 15-year-old maid; Jeanne d’Arc – Joan of Arc.
Still being inconclusive of her ability to redeem France, she asked the Lord for
power. Joan herself prophesied that she would be the savior of France and that
the prophecy was all a part of the God’s plan. In all their misery the people of
Lorraine still found their silver lining in Joan. She preached about her rock solid
will and gave the people the assurance they longed for. Her main resolve was to
lead the army of the Dauphin of France – Charles-VII. Her appealing dogma was
thus noticed by two French noblemen who held significant weightage in Lorraine.
Bertrand de Poulengy and Jean de Metz were their names.
1428 A.d. – Lorraine, France.
Jean de Metz promised Joan to escort her to the Dauphin and let her word be
heard all over. Even though Joan possessed an adamantine will, it was not
enough to help her fight. She was the daughter of a peasant having no
experience in riding a steed or wielding a blade. She needed to be prepared.
She had to lead an army. She had to be tutored well. It was not just the martial
skills that she lacked, but she was completely ignorant of the terminologies of ‘war’. The day had arrived when she had to leave for Chinon. The day when the
Messiah of the Lorrainians was about to leave Lorraine. The Lorrainians were
filled with mixed feelings of pride and sadness seeing their beloved damsel
leave them. So much so, even some troops from the French army in Lorraine
asked Joan to allow them to join her on their way to the Dauphin’s Chateau. The
chateau was situated in Chinon which was quite a ride from Lorraine. “A few
more blades would only be help.” said Joan allowing the men at arms in their
entourage. The French troops along with Jean and Bertrand’s very own men,
formed an outright solid battalion of soldiers.
The entourage began their peregrination. The maid was nothing but grateful
to the lord for he bestowed upon her, the wisdom to take with her, the French
hommes d’armes. The extra longswords, halberds and crossbows would come to
her aid while defending against the scattered English outposts and lookouts,
Burgundian colonies and hostile highwaymen on their way to Chinon.
Chapter 2 – Joan of arc
February 1429 – Chateau of The Dauphin, Chinon, France.
As the peasant girl walked through the hallways of the Chateau of Chinon,
walking past the barrel-chested guards enveloped in shimmering armor, she
found herself at the gateway to The Sanctorum of the French – The throne of the
Dauphin. As Joan strode towards the throne, the sound of her nervous yet poised
footsteps echoed in the vaulted ceilings of the hall. The hall was filled with the
bouquet of perfumes and murmurs of the people. As Joan entered the court, the
murmurs were replaced by mixed gazes. The fat Dukes in the court did naught
but stare at her short stature. Joan was only as tall as the shoulder of the
shortest man in the room. But she had a will stronger than all of the nobles
combined. The will to give France back to herself. To her surprise, the news of
her will and her intent had reached Chinon long before she did. Not only Chinon
but all over France. Even the Dauphin was no alien to the claims she made. The
people of France had already accepted her as their savior. As their Joan of Arc.
On approaching the throne, Joan kneeled before the Dauphin. The Dauphin
himself felt afraid as she kissed his feet. She was asked to rise. As she rose, “My
gentle Dauphin, why do the English claim what is ours?”, she demanded. “Why
are you not crowned as the King of France as is your right?”, she added. Her
voice echoed through the hall. As the last frequency of her voice diminished, the
court found itself in an eerie quietness. The seconds long silence was broken by
the Dauphin getting up from his throne. He stood up and walked towards Joan,
to meet her gaze. As he approached her, Jean and Bertrand shared a gaze. Both
of them stood contemplating at the two. The Dauphin whispered something to
Joan. Everyone in the court was clueless of what words the two exchanged. But
one thing was obvious for everyone; his Majesty was just as enthralled as
everyone else who had heard of Joan. France had claimed its savior.
It is one thing for a band of dispirited soldiers to put their trust in a teenage
girl. But it is entirely another for that girl to be given the command of the army
of an entire nation. The news of Joan being the new commander had spread
everywhere. Jean and Bertrand along with the handful of people who
accompanied Joan from Lorraine, were filled with pride as they heard the
Dauphin’s heralds pronounce the Maid of Lorraine to be the commander of the
army of France. She was presented with a noble white horse and a suit of white
armor. The one thing she was short of was her very own blade.
Joan instructed Jean to look for an ancient sword buried beneath the altar of
a local church. This was also one of her prophesies. Sir Jean was skeptical
before and thought that the idea was not only foolish but also something which
did not suit the commander of the French army. But not only did his men unearth
a rusty blade, they also found that it was the sword that belonged to none other
than Charlemagne himself. Also known as Charles the greatand the Grandfather
of France. Jean vowed not to doubt the commander’s word ever again. Even after
the blade being buried deep inside for hundreds of years, still visible on its hilt
was the fleur-de-lis.
Chapter 3 – The cleansing of Orléans
October 1429 – Orléans, France.
The city of Orléans was one of the finest in France. But it was under the control of the English and their Burgundian allies and was about to fall. The war had been dragged on for more than hundred years with meagre French victories. Orléans was in desperate need of a savior and the savior it was going to receive was Joan of Arc.
The preparations for retrieving Orléans had begun. Ranks of knights were recruited. Farmers received large amounts of stipend from the dukes’ treasuries. Smithies, armorers and woodworkers were in full bloom. Training of the soldiers was the peak priority while their morale was all time high. The main encampment of the French army was located in Bois. By the time Joan had arrived there, Bois was already teeming with different ranks of soldiers. Cuirassiers, gendarmes, skirmishers, dragoons, arbalests and crossbowmen. In addition to all this, siege equipment like mangonels, battering rams, siege towers, falconets and couleuvrines truly showed that France was now ready for war.
Joan adopted the fleur-de-lis as her own emblem. As her own battle standard. Wherever Joan went, the battle standard went with her. And it was time for it to go to Orléans. The French army started marching up north. The battle for reclaiming Orléans had begun within a week. The battle between the Cross of St. George and the Fleur-de-lis.
As Joan gave the order to attack, she raised her battle standard up in the air. The flag of France gleamed as the sunlight shone off the royal blue silk and golden flowers of lily.
“Chargez!”, ordered Joan to her fellow Frenchmen. Listening to the commands their ears were longing to hear, “À l’attaque!”, roared the French army towards the English with the pure intent of killing. The strength of the English troops was a mere 3500-3800 with an addition of 1500 of their Burgundian allies. These numbers were easily overpowered by the hefty 6400 French army troops along with 3000 armed citizens. In addition to this, the French army’s power was fueled by the words of their juvenile commander which were engraved on their hearts.
After the absolute victory of France at Orléans, Joan returned to the city along with their army, the entire population cheered on them from windows, rooftops and city streets. Artillery was fired in the night sky and the entire city shouted out loud their nickname for Joan thereby cheering for her :
“La Pucelle d’Orléans!”