The Hammer

Beside the sleepy village of Moussais-la-Bataille, two enormous armies camped. For six days they watched each other through the trees. A probe here. A test there. Neither side willing to betray itself.

At the top of a hill, behind a screen of trees, were thirty-thousand men. Many were untrained. Less than half were soldiers. And of that group, only a third was on horseback. Beneath their heavy armor, they waited patiently in little square formations to defend their homes, built upon the dust of the Western Roman Empire. At the front of the ranks was the Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia.

Below, twice the number of soldiers hungrily waited, most on horseback. For twenty-one years they'd had their run, expanding their territory village by village from the tip of Africa across al-Andalus and into Gaul. Their Governor-General hadn’t expected such opposition here in the middle of nowhere. This was the reason for the delay.

He couldn’t tell the size of the enemy.

His cavalry was put-off by the trees and the steep incline.

It was after all, just a raid. He knew he shouldn’t attack.

But the lure of plunder was too much, and on the seventh day, October 10th, 732, Abdul Rahman sent his men into battle.

All day, the horrors of war were tossed back and forth between the Franks and the Saracens, neither side gaining any advantage. That is, until the rumor spread.

“They’re looting our gold!”

The Umayyad cavalry turned from battle and raced to the supply train to rescue their war-booty. Confused, the foot-soldiers followed. Abdul Rahman was cut down in a Frankish charge, trying to stop the retreat.

Charles Martel, leader of the Franks, would here at the Battle of Tours lay the foundation of the Carolingian Empire and secure Western Europe indefinitely.

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