The Sagas are here.
The Blades Edge
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.
Battle of Calugareni, Romania
August 25th, 1595
"They sent us twenty men." Alexander Valinov was beside himself. Looking over at the newly arrived Saes under the command of Talorn Pedersson then back to Michael, called the Brave. "Twenty...what the hell are we supposed to do with them? They are not even cavalry"
Michael at first said nothing. Was he disappointed? Yes, very much so. He had expected Saesland to commit many more troops to the Christian cause, notwithstanding that the country of Saesland itself was not a Christian nation as were the rest of the nations of Europe. Europe faced its greatest threat battling against the powerful Ottoman Empire and he had hoped that Saesland would see the importance of European unity. Islam seemed poised to sweep into Europe and impose its will upon the Christian peoples of many European nations. With new technologies and superior artillery, the Christian kings had been able to at least hold the Ottomans at bay, for now. They were one major defeat away from being pushed back into central Europe.
He had hoped for many more Saes warriors, that Saesland would bring to bear its vaunted war machine. Their reputation as the best trained soldiers in Europe was without question and well deserved. Saesland was the only country to posses a standing professional army that could singularly stand against the Ottomans in the field. Although their navy patrolled off the coasts of western Europe and had engaged the Ottoman navy defeating it several times securing the western seas for Europe, they had yet to commit naval forces to the Mediterranean and substantial land forces to the cause of Europe's freedom. For now King Maelgwyn had seen fit to commit only twenty men of the Kings Guard to the eastern front.
Michael commented to his friend. "They train on both horseback and on foot, Alexander. You forget what they did to the Russians and French at Grovna. A little over two thousand defeated nine thousand in just a few hours time." He spoke of the brief war in which France tried in vain to recover the lands along the western seaboard on the European continent controlled by Saesland.
Alexander still was unable to hide his disappointment, "Michael, what good are twenty men, even if they are the best, against ten thousand?"
"Depends on how we use them, Alex."
The first several engagements had seen the battle go undecided; the first days fighting went to the Wallachians led by Michael the Brave. The second day was a disaster for the Europeans as they had been pushed back over the bridge by the Ottoman's Janissaries and with his left wing exposed and threatened to be wiped out, Michael had no choice but to quickly retreat, leaving his precious ten cannons to be taken by the Janissaries. After the bitter fighting subsided for the day, Michael welcomed the arrival of the twenty Saes and their commander, Kommandant Talorn Pedersson. These were men of great stature, powerful men of grim countenance. They were picked, selected men chosen to serve in the King's Guard each wearing on a silver chain the hammer of Thor and a brooch of two dragons intertwined holding their heavy green and brown cloaks.
They carried their plate scale armor they called their dragon's skin on their horses with their round and oval shields, each also carried an axe, a sword three feet long and a long knife called a seax. Their helmets were of the Saes type, a steel cap with cheek guards and lobster tailed neck protector. They brought with them their own type of harquebusiers that was smaller caliber, thus lighter, longer barreled gun that had a better range and accuracy than their continental counterparts. Some had blonde hair and blue eyes, others were red and green eyes and a number were of coal black hair with gray eyes. All were tall and well built men, as hard as the elements that bred them. A solid mix of the people of that land, Britons, Saxons, Norse and Danes. Men from the Isle of the Mighty.
Alexander still felt they would not be enough. Michael only smiled and ordered his attendants from his tent. "Gentlemen it is time to make our plans."
The night was overcast so the darkness was perfect for cover. Perfect for the Saes that were moving slowly towards the Ottoman lines. Their objectives were two fold. Capture an officer preferably a Janissary and destroy the powder the Ottoman's captured after taking the cannon in the previous days battle. Force Leader Jan Gunnarsson led his team of four men to the edge of the Janissaries lines. They had made their way across the Danube and up the broken cliff wall on the opposite bank. Thinking the sheer face cliff would present enough of a deterrent against any assault, the Ottomans placed only a token watch of some three or four men covering the entire section of the steep cliff wall above the river. Foregoing their steel armor, they instead wore tough leather jerkins and carried their seax as their only weapons as this was a kidnapping mission and killing only if it were necessary. Each also wore a dark silk cloth wrapped over their heads and a dark cloak colored in a forested pattern.
Stealthily the Saes made their way up the cliff moving steadily towards their objective: the officers tents of the Janissaries that line this section of the Ottoman's encampment. The plan was simple, wait for the other team to ignite the powder and in the confusion snatch one of the Janissaries staff officers and take them back to the Wallachian lines for interrogation. Their timing had to be perfect in both cases. Druse mab Aron was the first over the edge of the cliff and up into the forest. His objective was in sight: the watchman posted there was alone. For a moment he observed the guard watching how he signaled the other camp guards so he would know how give the appropriate signal of alls well' back. He would also secure the direct route back to the other side once the rest of the team had their quarry in hand. Within a few minutes he silently snapped the guards neck quietly killing the man instantly. He turned and gave the signal to his comrades, an owls hoot, mimicking perfectly the gray owl that inhabited this part of Europe.
While Druse donned the watchman's garb so not to draw unwanted attention, as other guards inside the camp would not notice the missing watchman, the rest of the team silently moved into position just behind a large elaborate tent and waited. For a half an hour they did not move each staying perfectly still while anticipating the explosion that would give them their best opportunity. When Gunnarsson felt the time was getting close he quietly moved to the back of the medium sized round tent and under the camouflage of his cloak patterned after the local flora cut the bottom tent pegs one at a time from their bindings and replaced the tension of the lines by placing stones at the bottom of the tent fabric. He then made his way slowly back to his position, but he didn't have to wait long. As if on queue a massive explosion rocked the camps right side opposite where they were and the Saes team moved instantly into action. Artur brought up the back of the tent and Gunnarsson with Haelmar quickly entered with their seax drawn. With the Ottoman camp in confusion Gunnarsson and Haelmar grabbed the Janissary officer as he attempted to get up. They knocked him down and unconscious then swiftly tied his hands and covered his head and bolted out of the back of the tent through the forest and rappelled back down the cliff on their ladder configured rope with their human cargo...
All eight of the Saes commandos were back inside the Wallachian lines as the total time of the operation had only taken less than two hours. They had succeeded in both destroying the Ottomans stock of gunpowder and kidnapping a staff officer all before 3 AM.
"Impressive" was all Alexander could say barely able to contain his surprise and utter elation at how well the operation went. They also had a very pleasant revelation when they discovered they had not kidnapped just any officer; they had in fact captured Sinan Pascha's third in command and leader of the Janissaries, General Borda Tzanat.
"Very impressive. Eight men single handedly nearly blows up the entire Ottoman army and brings us back a general and in less time it takes for me to take a nap." Alexander stepped over to Kommandant Talorn Pedersson and placed his hand on the big mans shoulder. "I am sorry to have doubted you, my friend."
Pedersson slightly grinned and replied, "No offense taken, General"
Alexander looked over at Michael and quipped, "What if we had used all twenty of them?"
Michael beamed a smile looking at the bewildered Janissary general. "I would imagine the coming battle is not going to go well for the Ottomans, all on the account of eight men."