The Badger Knight

by Katherine Erskine

The journey of a young archer over Hadrian's Wall; AD 1346

Adrian Black is a 13 year old misfitted albino kid in the small medieval town of Ashcroft, England. When a war with "the pagan Scots" to the North threatens to shake England, he wants prove something by going off to battle.

This is a story of shellshock & narrow escapes, war & friendship, what makes a thief and what makes a noble.

No characters are out of place, but I would suggest getting a version in Old English and definitely a sequel. Prostitution was commonly found in urban contexts during the middle ages, so it would've made sense if some of the characters in chapters of Carlisle (In Which I Join a Gang &/or In Which I Help the Gang) ran into one.

1. What are a few lies you always believed that your quest proved otherwise?

1. Any village is as simple, navigable, safe, and small as Ashcroft
2. all Scotch men are the "pagan savages"
3. war is "glory"
4. all girls are soft and weak
5. If one looks like a Noble, they are a "noble".
6. Apples are dangerous to eat unless cooked
7. burning your back with hot glass can reduce the incidence of asthma
8. the catholic church isn't corrupt (except for Father Fraud, in my hometown Ashcroft)
9. Scribing is a worthless practice because the sword is mightier.
10. i was born to be a "useless addlepate" all because i'm born small, sickly, and strange.

2. If you could change anything about your past what would be made different?

I'd have stepped in to save Geoffrey de Molay before he was stabbed to death instead of freezing midpath. Besides the fact i'm a master archer, i owed my hide to him (long story). :( Seeing the first battle against the Scots as a 13 yr old was a traumatizing disillusion. Sure, there were guts- lots of them, just without the "glory". After 5 frozen minutes of witnessing, you could say more were added (with that hour & a half of vomiting)....

3. What are your top 5 pet peeves?

1. Aunt Hellewyse

2. My wheezing and coughing

3. Aunt Hellewyse's "cures"

4. Bryce and his 2 minions; my tormentors; the unholy trinity.

5. being treated as younger and more "useless" than i really am.

4. What are some of the most unnerving moments in your life?

(chronological order)

  1. Nearly getting soaked with raw sewage in Carlisle, then proceeding to spend the night with the city's gangs
  2. Jumping out a priory window onto a knight's horse's back with stolen scrolls
  3. Hiding from Scottish soldiers in an ancient Roman latrine while they pissed down the hole unknowingly.
  4. Reunion with Hugh when he shelters & nurses an enemy soldier
  5. Hugh came to camp with shell-shock after seeing his father die on the battlefield
  6. Escaping from a camp of hostile Scotchmen after bringing Donald over Hadrian's Wall.

5. How do you feel the quest has changed you?

  • The unholy trinity is no longer a worry
  • I know what a "noble" really is when i see one
  • I found many friends, from a small street gang of Carlisle to Scottish warrior campsites North of the wall.
  • i know the importance of knowing how to scribe
  • Archery is not as important, except for hunting and showing off.
  • War will make you grow up too fast.

6. Which people did you judge who now surprises you?

Bess- she's the daughter of the dreaded Aunt Hell; because of that i never bothered to know her personally until the journey.

Donald- Scottish? sure. Pagan? "I suppose if you asked my priest he'd say I skip mass enough to be a pagan." "Och, I know I'm not perfect, but somehow i don't think the good Lord would begrudge me drinking a wee bit more ale than i should!" Savage? There are "savages" on both sides of any wall, Hadrian's or China's, my friend. And Donald Stewart is not one of them. :)

7. How did you handle the devestation of Sir Geoffrey de Molay's tragic death?

I knelt down and scribed a note- "Thou shalt not kill. (Godspeed, Sir Geoffrey, valiant knight & friend.)" over the cold ground next to his body. All he wanted was to be a monk, while all i wanted was go to battle. I took the scroll of stolen goods from his sleeve and decided to continue his quest [to Durham's Bishop] for him after finding Hugh on the battlefield. If he can't live on, his quest for justice over the church's corruption certainly will.

8. What do you think of fate/destiny? (It's a common theme in anglo-saxon/medieval lit)

Sir Geoffrey de Molay called it both a friend and a curse. I think it's only a curse. Destiny dictates that Hugh remains a peasant: though he's brave, strong, and at 15 could be a squire if he'd been born a noble. Destiny is what made Henry a street boy, though he's as good as any noble! Destiny is what makes me puny and useless... If this is what destiny brings, i don't want any part of it.

9. If you could write a thank you to everyone who deserved one, who'd recieve it?

1. The monks at the cathedrals of Carlisle
2. John the Bower (my father)
3. Henry & the Kings
4. Brother Nigel
5. Sir Geoffrey de Molay
6. Donald Stewart of Linton
7. Malcom, friend of Donald across Hadrian's Wall.

10. What are the top 10 people you personally despise in this story?

1. Reeve Elliot
2. "Father Fraud"
3. Prior Osmund
4. Bryce & "The Unholy Trinity"
5. "Good Aunt"
6. Pippin
7. Simon (leader of "The Hoods")
8. Sir Reginald (Warden of the Middle Marches of England)

Top 12 Quotes from "The Badger Knight":

1. "At worst, I am a bad omen. At best, i am useless." -The Badger
2. ". . .I understand why uncle runs to the tavern for ale." -Adrian, about Aunt Hell's husband.
3. "...What if i'm in Hell?" -The Badger
4. Red sky at night, shepherds delight, red sky at morning, shepherds take warning.
5. "Addlepate and Pagan is not a safe combination." -The Badger
6. Nock, Mark, Draw, Loose! Nock, Mark, Draw, Loose!
7. "Henry may not have the fine clothes or manners... and there are leaders in every class, not just among nobles and knights." -The Badger
8. "He's supposed to stop the reivers, the thieves, but he's as bad as they are!" -Donald, about Sir Reginald.
9. "I'd ask the devil himself to rip his heart out." -Pippin's Mother, about Pippin the highway robber.
10. "When men are angry, their behavior suffers. I will not have you out in that- alone." -Hugh Stout, to Bess
11. " She came to believe that war, and all of its weapons, were merely the toys of kings and nobles, a way for them to gain land and money and power." -John the Bower, about Adrian's mother before she died.
12. "St Jerome's Bones! Ockham's Razor! Spiders have been spinning their webs in my armpits!" -The Badger