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The Arrow that Missed

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The year is 1066, and the Norman knights, 8000 of them, with cavalry, archers and men at arms, face a battered, badly equipped army of 7000 Saxon Huscarls with practically no archers or cavalry. Leading the Normans is the Duke of Normandy, William II. Leading the Saxons, the young but unproven King of England, Harold Godwinsson, a popular king. The Battle of Hastings has begun.

Somehow, the Saxons hold off the Normans. Both sides are desperate. And then an arrow flies toward Harold. A group of Knights immediately attacks the King. The King's Guard attempts to fight off the knights, and the arrow ... misses. The Knights are fought off, and though Harold is eventually forced from Senlac Hill, it is a Pyrrhic victory for William, for he loses half his soldiers in the battle. Three days later, Harold arrives again, having raised the fyrd (the militia), and with his 10,000 men easily destroys William's army, killing William himself.

Over the next six years, Normandy is plunged into chaos as pretenders to William's title wage civil war - though Matilda, William's wife, is able to retain a decent amount of control over the Dukedom, until her death in 1071. William Rufus is young and inexperienced. Harold, having stabilized his Kingdom, sees a chance, and invades Normandy with a 21,500 man army. He defeats Rufus at Rouen, then marches swiftly to Bayeux, defeating another army there. A year later the Anjevin and Manceuax Kings attempt a recapture.

He and his army are slaughtered by the much smaller English Army at Caen, and France falls into ruins, decay and anarchy, as one by one all stable states fall. Harold does not invade, afraid that his own throne is threatened, but the Golden Age of Britain has begun. Scotland, Ireland and Wales are conquered over the next 200 years, mostly by Harold's son, Edmund the Hammer. France gradually falls as well over the next 300 years.

With France falls Latin Europe. By 1066, Southern, Roman-influenced Europe was in tatters, bickering and feuding. At the same time, the North - Germany, England, Scandinavia, Russia - were at a peak. The Norman victory at Senlac Hill changed that; England, possibly the strongest nation in Europe, was now Latinized, and that Northern Power fell.

But what if it hadn't? What if England, Germany, Scandinavia, and Russia dominated the next thousand years, as France and Italy fell into ruins and decay?

This is that story -  The story of the Arrow that Missed.

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