The Sagas are here.
Tove the Great: Warrior Queen of Saesland
Written by Kevin Murphy
Edited by Erik Nelson and Seth Blaustein
Introduction to the Sagas of Saesland:
What are presented here are excerpts from Sagas of a fictional people called the Saes. They are intended to give substance and depth to the people from the island nation of Saesland and enrich the experience of the film. Here you will find some tidbits of history as to the founding of the country and the naming of its people. The Sagas also reveal a bit of the development, character, and strength of Saes warriors and a brief glimpse into Saesland's political make up. Pay close attention, as there are many details of this symbolically rich film that can be better understood with a foundational knowledge about this culture...
Warning: The characters and events you are about to read within these stories, although including actual historical personages and based on some real historical settings and events, are themselves creations of fiction.
A thousand spears for the Queen
At the call
A thousand swords for the Queen
Ready to fall
A thousand shields for the Queen
That will not break
Our Battle Queen
Of whom warriors spake
A thousand lances for the Queen
Leveled at her command
A Battle Queen did lead us all
Against a foe twice our number
To protect a defenseless land
The cold winter descended upon us and brought with it the death of our King, Hrathgar. Long was his reign and under his just and decisive rule we were ever prosperous and peaceful. We waited not long for the Council of Ministers to validate our next ruler as they chose the eldest daughter of Hrathgar, the most beautiful and wise Tove to be placed upon the throne. On January 24th AD 1209, the eighteen year old Tove, most beautiful, most wise was crowned our new Queen. She was to become our new sovereign and our strength in coming troubled times. She was the first woman to ever sit upon the throne of Saesland and very soon we the people of Saesland knew the selection that was made was a sage and prudent choice.
Courtiers did come from far and wide to come upon bended knee for her hand, but from the first it was her childhood friend and son of the Irish High King, Prince Cormac O'Brian that would prove to outlast all comers. The queen right from the start made it clear she did not need a King or a Consort as she could and would rule in her own right. However she had spent much time with the Irish prince as a child and a young adult and she had come to trust and adore Cormac as he did her. On March 18th 1210 the Court Chief Druid Druse mab Nessa joined the two as one. The Great Queen now had a husband and Cormac became Prince- Consort to the throne of Saesland.
It is the way of the world of men that peace does not last long and even though a peace and prosperity had spread upon the land of the Saes, it was not so elsewhere in the world. In Danemark the old and wise King Brodar dies leaving his nineteen-year-old son the bright and energetic Prince Sargar as the rightful heir to the Danish throne. Jealous of the kings choice of Sargar to succeed and power hungry to rule on the Danish throne himself, the king's brother Grothar contested for the throne and a civil war ensued in Danemark. The other powers in Europe, France and Germany knowing the Saes had sympathies for Sargar, quickly threw their support behind Grothar hoping to check the growing power and influence of the Isle of the Mighty.
Queen Tove was not indecisive of mind or weak of heart. She assembled an army of 75,000 men and with great speed and determination she made for the main landing at Harlingen with 60,000 and would land 15,000 men at La Harve France and this way she could ensure no reinforcements from France while dealing with the main forces in northern Germany and Danemark. They buried their totems on their enemy's lands, a giving of their sacrifice so their lives would not be taken in battle in vain and offer an atonement to the Earth for the blood of her children that would soon soak the fields of battle. After a weeks march they arrived at the fields before Rostock and there the hosts gathered in the early morning light. The Warriors chanting the oath to the ancestors:
"From the time before the Ninth Wave
I trace the blood of my line to the Ancestors
I live in memory of their sacrifices
I shall reap the lives of mine enemies
And regret not"
The Great Queen rode before the main force of 60,000 Saes knights and warriors upon a grey roan in gleaming armor. With the sword of her father in hand her piercing blue eyes looked upon her battalions arrayed for battle in the dawn. Unquestionable was her command. Undeniable was her resolve. Wavering not, her men would follow her and do her bidding. For the Queen! Her long blonde shone bright in the early morning light and the silver and gold twisted tiara glinted with the red ruby that was held in the center. The warriors went silent to listen to their Queen and loud and clear she spoke these words to her countrymen she led.
"We are here not to seek conquest! We are not here seeking empire! We are here aiding an ally as in times past we ourselves have been attacked and suffered invasion and we have relied on others to help us in our struggle and we have been victorious and we have been thankful for our friends and allies that have come to our aid in our time of need. This is what we are here to do, brothers!" she roared "No more are we to be anything other than the strong, the mighty. It is we who will be ready to defend the weak against the madness of tyranny!"
Her voice carried clear and grew louder as she pointed at the field before them and at the larger German army on the other side.
"It is we who shall be the feared upon the field of battle! It is we who have come to stand resolute with our allies and upon our coming the enemy will know fear and dread before the battle has even begun! It is we whose shields will not break, it is we whose swords will not bend, and our armor shall not be rent or torn! It is we who shall drive the enemy as the dust before the storm!"
Thereit a great roar as if from a dragon came up from the men of the Saes and they began beating their shields with their swords and they shouted "For the Queen...!"
Behold! The Coming of the Great Queen! And the world did tremble before her approach! The stamping of feet, the skirling of the pipes, the beating of the drums as the men of the Saes would go wither she led! To join the rage upon the stage! Coming was a tempest! Coming was the storm! Woe to thee for your doom has come upon you! Upon you and your Kings!
Knights of Saesland began their charge and the pikemen and archers moved up to deal their deathblows and the bulk of the army, the heavy infantry began their advance and the battle thus enjoined. From the beginning it was the Saes who had the momentum and battered and beaten, the German army led by aging Frederick II retreated and tried to make for the safe haven inside Rostock. They did not make it as they were caught and cut down and scattered. Frederick escaped and would ride for three days to reach the French army at Leipzig. The 15,000 men at La Harve had been returned to Saesland or sent to Danemark to replace the Saes men that were needed at home.
Then days later the Great Queen then led her army into Danemark and helped Prince Sargar crush the remaining forces loyal to Grothar, who himself fled into southern Germany seeking refuge. The Queen and her staff and royal courtiers that had made their way to Danemark witnessed the ascension to the Danish throne by the rightful heir Prince Sargar. It may have been the emotion of the event or the impetuousness of youth but those that were gathered there then saw the Danish king kneel and swear fealty to the Great Queen who was visibly shocked and uncertain as this was not her land to rightfully rule.
Saes commanders and cadre assisted the Danes in rebuilding their army to some 30,000 men as a standing professional force modeled after the Saes army.
In the council chamber of the Danish king three months later Queen Tove and her two field generals, Aron Hellesson and Geraint mab Gwynth spoke privately.
"My Queen" said Hellesson, "Consider what we have now, a once and for all opportunity to end any threat to Saesland."
The general leaned forward and in a low voice spoke these words "You can with the forces available to you conquer most of Germany and all of France and take these lands and secure them in the name of Saesland. We could end any threat into the future."
Geraint shook his head and looking down at the now empty plate quietly said, "I am not so sure, my friend, if that is the Saes way."
Hellesson replied "All I am suggesting is that we can build on what we have accomplished here and ensure into the future that the threat does not appear later so that we will have to be here again saving another ally against the threats of another mad man."
Geraint leaned forward and said "What you are suggesting is an imposition of our rule on another people and that is not our way. Although it does sound appealing and is something that we could possibly accomplish, what would be our true gain?"
The Great Queen sat listening to the brief exchange, her brilliant mind turning over the possibilities. She finally stood and the two men gave her their undivided attention as she said these words.
"It has been in the past appealing for those in power to impose that power on others who did not want it. Why did the Caesars deem it their right to conquer and rule those who did not ask nor want the Romans to rule them? The bloodshed they used to achieve their goals killed countless numbers of innocent men, women and children without thought or concern for the murder they had committed. By what right do one people have to impose an unjust rule upon another? A right given by the gods? By providence?"
She turned to look out the window into the fading light of the day.
"No my friends, we will not use the power we have to impose our rule on a people simply because we can for feel we have the right or power to do so. The lands we have taken we have done so because the peoples there had not any ruler themselves and are our kindred more so than they are French or German and have invited us to be their protectors. As for our Danish kindred we shall see how long they shall remain under the banner of the dragon."
One month later as our Great Queen was to be returning home word came from the south that the French and the Germans had once again armed themselves for battle to usurp the throne of Danemark and give it to the outlaw Grothar. Striking quickly and once more led by their queen, the Saes caught the combined forces at Leipzig unawares and this time simply destroyed the army to a man and captured many of the nobles in command. The French king Phillip II sued for peace fearful that French lands may actually be taken by the Saes. The Great Queen accepted the treaty at once and French forces that were left in Germany returned home. The German monarch Frederick II also sued for an end to hostilities and abandoned any attempt to meddle in Danish affairs and to show he was in earnest; he turned over to Danish forces loyal to Sargar the rebel Grothar. This vile criminal was held in prison for five years before he died.
Finally after a year away from her lands, the Great Queen returned home much to the rejoicing of her people and long after there was peace during the rest of her reign. Trade expanded to parts of the Middle East and the Far East increasing Saesland's wealth and affluence among her people. August 14th 1218 there was a cause for great happiness as our queen gave birth to a son, Conor I.
Even as she turned her attention to the civilian administration of our land she also instituted among Saesland's military many changes that would ensure Saesland would remain feared among our enemies and comforting to our friends. The Great Queen wanted to build an army that is feared, not respected. She wanted a warrior that is just not a soldier trained in drill and weapons but a warrior who understood war for what it is and implemented training that produced a highly trained and motivated cold, effecient killer as she understood that any war is a drain on the manpower and resources and should be fought to end it quickly. Saesland was not a big country but her majesty wanted others to know that it was not a good thing to go to war with the Isle of the Mighty.
Then on August 26th 1250, Queen Tove was taken from us. She died in her sleep, peaceful and dreaming of the hopes and bright future of the land and its people she protected and served. From Land's End to the Orkney's fires were lit that could be seen from Ireland and the continent for a fortnight and the keening could be heard by ships passing by such was the grief and despair at our loss. Our Great Queen, most wise, most beloved. It is said she can still be seen walking the land to watch over her people and warriors in battle have seen her among the ranks encouraging and strengthening our men upon the battlefield. It is so that before engaging the enemy Saes warriors to this day swear that they do go into the battle "For the Queen..."