The sacrifice of the rook

N. Lygeros

Translation: Paola Vagioni




“Better a plundered country than a lost land”. Such had been the watchword of the new king. The thing was simple in itself. It was the culmination of a strategy that was born out of the need to avoid the disasters of the great battles where the French nobility could not be disciplined. The count knew that the king was right. Only he was aware of the sacrifice that this meant for their people. The king was playing a terrible game of chess and he had to sacrifice one of his rooks. Previously his pawns were bearing all the burden of the English attack. There had to be a resistance to the plundering. The desert land tactic had meaning but also a cost, an exorbitant cost. The peasants were in desperate straits, the land exsanguinous. The fortresses were now taking their full meaning in this time war. It was necessary to wear out the English army by refusing to fight. The one who was sure of losing in a confrontation could not win except in one way: he should not play. And the king of France did not play any more. A few noble men could really understand what was going on. Because all they could see was the popular uprisings and disorder. Nevertheless, it was precisely in this apparent disorder that the French army was gradually being reconstructed and the resistance organized itself throughout the territory. The land was suffering and the men were bleeding but none of them were giving up this game of chess without playing. It was not about a simple game because the war was total. It was the French defense against the English opening. The positional game would last for months to safeguard the French resources and deplete the English reserves. The pawns were in bad shape. But the count had with him his two knights and the rook was in place. The English would attack the other. They could not resist the traction of the donjon.The count had to protect this place without a space, which was time. All the French space would be confined inside the City, the ultimate target of the English. It was the king’s hut. How many pawns would be sacrificed for setting up this maneuver? It had to be accepted that this was of no importance to the game. France was seeking the stalemate to avoid the checkmate. His whole game consisted in not playing any longer for not being the loser. The rook was therefore the beginning of a great plan. In order not to lose the kingdom, the land of France would become a desert but a tactical desert. How to explain it to the population? How to justify the victims? Instantly, it was simply impossible. All would become again possible over time. The count and his two friends followed the English troops in order to misconstrue them. The village was wiped out but without human loss. This accomplished mission set up the process of decimation. They infiltrated the tail of the troops and transformed every fault into a gain. Since they were the only ones capable of resisting the movement. This technique of attrition of the English forces was the only way for keeping afar the future resistance of the main rook. The more the English would be worn out by the allegedly internal frictions, the less they would sustain the siege of the City. This was the plan in a broad outline. Only the surprises did not lack.







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