At least I’m not totally lost and helpless. I did go through months of rigorous training for all this. I can speak the languages – medieval French and Saxon, even some Celt. I know the cultures and customs enough to not say or do something that will get me branded as a heretic, or crucified or thrown away in some dark dingy cell to rot because they think me completely mad.
I suppose if you are reading what I have just inscribed upon this parchment – and yes, I am also trained in the ways of writing Old English – then you might think I have lost my mind already and am just babbling complete nonsense, and if that is the case, then I think it best you just stop reading, put this parchment aside and think of it no more. And what I am about to write will make little sense to you either. For I am not writing this for you . . . I would say the lay person reading this but if you are one you very likely can’t read, and are more likely a monk or priest or perhaps even an adviser to someone important, possibly even royalty, reading these words. Know that this is not for you either. So you had best cast your eyes aside lest you consider these the words of the devil and will be damned for reading this, and therefore doomed to an eternity in purgatory.
There, that should have got rid of them. No, I am writing these words with the hopes that someone at the Ostium Network might one day read this, whether they be in my future, my very distant future, or perhaps even – somehow – my past, assuming this document will survive that long, but I have plans for its survival and longevity that I will get to in due course.
I first discovered I would not be going anywhere – not returning to my time in the twenty-second century, nor any other time – after I had completed my planned mission, which was to observe the Battle of Hastings from a safe vantage point; to observe and document its authenticity and see how it compared to the historical documents and sources on one of the most famous battles in the history of civilization. I took my time and enjoyed this thrilling and unique experience.
Through the town of Ostium – created by the Ostium Network – I had been able to travel back in time to this special period in history, as England became something new with a French King and ruler. I was to spend an entire month observing and recording and learning from this world, in this time. And I loved every single moment of it. It was something I had dreamed of since I was a boy of only ten years, when I first read of this battle and gazed upon the artists’ renderings of what it must have been like, and then spent my teenage years researching all I could of the event and the time period, be it fiction or not. It certainly influenced my choice in major at college to specialize in medieval history with the goals of becoming a college professor one day to open the minds of students to this unique battle, to this special time. That was my plan until the Ostium Network got in touch with me and revealed a unique opportunity that changed my life in a whole new and truly awesome way.
When I first stepped through the door and found myself miraculously transported back to this time I had only ever dreamed of for most of my life, well, I was repeatedly pinching myself to make sure it was not actually a dream after all.
It was not.
The smells. The foods. The houses. The people. The towns and villages. The everyday life of the world. Well, it was both worse than what we had imagined and documented, but also better, because I was well and truly there. Or here as it may be. And because of my comprehensive training, I was able to fit right in as an ordinary person, traveling the towns and seeing as much of this world as I could.
While the battle lasted only a day: nine in the morning until dusk which was said to be about six in the evening – in fact it began closer to ten in the morning officially and while yes, the fighting was done as the sun was setting, there was still plenty of killing going on long into the night, not to mention the ransacking of bodies for armor and anything of wealth. Although this was true for the aftermath of any battle, where fingers and other limbs would be recklessly hacked off for some piece of jewelry, or a ring, or an arm band.
But I had an entire month to spend here, even though the battle was over in a single day. It had not been hard to convince those at the Ostium Network to lengthen my stay to a full month when I explained all that could be discovered and learned from me staying there longer. Of course, those at the Ostium Network also had an ulterior motive for wanting me to stay here longer, and for not letting me come back, which we will get to in time.