Title: King For A Day
Page count: 113
He humbled kings of Europe. Swayed the leaders in Rome. Breaching the channel, he conquered a nation, etching his name "William the Conqueror" in the annals of western civilization.
But... at what price?
Battle of Hastings, 1066. A victorious conqueror is in a state of disillusionment and lamentation. A shadowed voice begins then to recount the tale of a seven-year-old child duke (William) who took possession of an anarchist state after the death of his father; Robert, Duke of Normandy. Surrounded by ambitious barons, William must seek out the assistance of his overlord, King Henri of France, to aid him in routing those who would resist his claim to the duchy.
William's success at the Battle of Val-es-dunes is only the beginning in a long succession of hurdles he must overcome to gain the acceptance of his people. Through his patience, cunning and unrelenting drive, William finds himself disposing of the internal conflicts that ravage his lands. His growing ego takes him to the neighboring duchy of Flanders to court the Princess Matilda. One of the most desirable princesses in all Europe, Matilda will have none of William and his barbaric overtures. William though is not so easily dissuaded.
One day after attending Mass, Matilda is beckoned by a voice from within some bushes. Intrigued, she approaches the shrubbery only to be seized by William who has been hiding there. He throws the princess down into a pool of mud and declares his love for her. With the conflicts within Normandy now subdued, William becomes a continental power as he triumphs over neighboring armies and the church. With the aid of his new bride, Matilda, Normandy becomes a thriving market of trade for all Europe.
His position takes him on a journey to England to pay tribute to his cousin, King Edward. Edward discusses with William of their similar destinies and an implied accord between them would someday make William the most powerful leader in Europe. There is one who has other plans for England.
Godwin, the most dominant earl in England, detests the foreign blood infesting his beloved country and makes his point well known. The two leaders clash and Godwin & clan are sent into exile - but not for long. A bloodless coup returns Godwin to England with the full support of the people. Edward is forced to acknowledge the return of Godwin whose seat of power is now stronger than ever. Godwin, noting Edward’s lack of heir, makes it his intention that son, Harold Godwineson, receive such a nomination.
Several years pass. Harold finds himself shipwrecked on the coast of the continent. Falling into William's hands, he is treated not as an enemy of the state but more on the lines of royalty. William and Harold join together in various campaigns and form a brotherly bond. Before sending Harold back to England, William requests that he be his voice in London for, when Edward passes, he wishes to secure the throne.
When Edward finally does pass in January 1066, Harold shocks William by claiming the crown for himself. Despite requests to abdicate, Harold refuses, forcing William to construct an army of men and boats to traverse the channel and take the crown by force.
At the Battle of Hastings, the two men must battle - not each other - but their own consciences and the question of who's lives they are living. Their own or their fathers.