07/22/13

Nostrum: Episode 3 Released

 

*SPOILER ALERT* The post below contains minor spoliers for Episode 3. Read at your own risk.

Another second Tuesday means another episode of Nostrum. In this episode, Edward, Tristan and Belisencia have their minds blown by a medieval televangelist, but does King Matheus really believe what

he preaches? That’s the question, and it’s a question I didn’t want to answer just yet. What do you guys think? Does he really think Judgment Day has come? Or is he profiting from the plague? I’d like to hear your thoughts on it.

Robert Daniels, one of my readers, asked about the tapestry that Matheus showed to Edward, Tristan and Belisencia. He wanted to know if it was a real tapestry, and my answer to that is: 42. *grin*

The Garden of Earthly Delights, a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch.

The tapestry is *realish*. It’s quasi-real. It’s Pamela Anderson after she took out the breast implants real. There was no prophet named Joseph the Devout who had visions. I made him up. But when you look at medieval artwork, a stunning amount of it is devoted to depictions of hell and purgatory. There are many famous depictions of Judgment Day and the netherworld. In fact, this sort of macabre painting school has its own name: Doom Painting. The artist Hieronymous Bosch was probably the most famous, although he wasn’t around until the 15th century. But his paintings were the ones I was thinking of when I wrote about the tapestry. Most of the doom paintings are quite gruesome; their painters were encouraged by the church to be as graphic as possible, to scare Christians straight. Many of the elements I spoke about in the tapestry are elements that I took from real works of medieval art. So, is the tapestry real? 42.

The crumbling remains of a spiral staircase leading to the top of the gatehouse at Bodiam Castle. Why did Edward build them clockwise?

In the episode, Edward notes that the stairs of the church tower spiral anti-clockwise. That is, anti-clockwise when going down the stairs. This allows defenders coming down the stairs to swing their weapons freely, while attackers will have difficulty swinging because of the spiraling wall of the staircase. Edward also mentions that he overruled Elizabeth, and that the stairs in Bodiam Castle would be similarly anti-clockwise. But  he relented a little (Elizabeth might have cried), because there are two sets of clockwise staircases in Bodiam. One is on the servants quarters (possibly so that servants could not revolt and hold part of the castle) and a second above the main gates of the castle.

Why would Edward want stairs going clockwise to the top of the castle gatehouse? He had a very sound reason. A free signed copy of The Scourge to the first person to post the correct answer in the comments.

That’s all for now. Hope you are enjoying episode 3 and that you continue to enjoy Nostrum!

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12/10/12

The Scourge – Episode 3

Episode 3 comes out tomorrow. It’s a good one, I think. In which Edward leads his army into battle and then faces execution by a mad king. In the spirit of Episode 3, here are some images from modern-day Hadleigh, Leigh (Lighe), and Rayleigh.

What’s left of Hadleigh Castle

Pictured above are the ruins of Hadleigh Castle. The castle is perched on a hill overlooking Old Leigh, and has such a wonderful feel to it. A feeling of power and tranquility and invulnerability. You can just imagine how magnificent it once was.

Hadleigh Castle, as it once was.

That’s what the castle would have looked like in Edward’s day, after an extensive renovation project by Henry III.

The Great Hall

That square area in the mid-ground is the remains of the Great Hall where Edward’s imaginary meeting with Sir John would have taken place. Just beyond the tower, in the distance, is a view of Old Leigh (Lighe).

The Thames Estuary at low tide, at Old Leigh.

This is the Thames at low tide, just off the shore of Old Leigh. The French ships in my story landed here. I’m fairly confident these three ships aren’t French.

Hadleigh Castle, with Old Leigh in the distance.

This is Old Leigh today, at low tide. It’s come a long way from the sleepy little village it was in Sir Edward’s day.

Moving on to Rayleigh. This is Rayleigh Motte, the hill where the tower once stood. During Sir Edward’s days, there probably wouldn’t have been much left of the castle. I chose to extend Rayleigh’s life a few decades in the story, although it was nothing but a “dung-pit” when Edward finds it.

Motte and Bailey

Motte to the left, bailey to the right. You can still walk the entire castle grounds at Rayleigh Mount, although nothing is left of the stone tower or the buildings.

Rayleigh Castle, how it was

That was how the castle would have looked in its prime.

 

Church on the hill

St. Clement’s church sits on a hill in Leigh-on-Sea. It is the church that Edward talks about and that he and his knights ride onto. There is a rumor that this church was built using stones from Hadleigh Castle, but I doubt it. King Edward III had made major renovations to Hadleigh in the late 14th century and the castle wasn’t sold for building materials until the mid-16th century. St. Clement’s was built sometime circa 1400, but I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it might have been around in 1385, when Sir Edward came by.

If you are reading The Scourge, I hope enjoy this episode. It’s one of my favorites. And I hope these photos help flesh out the world that Edward and his knights are traveling through.

 

 

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