An excerpt from the great Chronicle of Jehan Froissart, canon of Chimay, of the Hundred Years' War.
Truce has been made between England and France; but the Gascon Free Companies, nominally part of the English army (Gascony being an English possession at this time) continue to plunder. The King of France sends to warn them publicly and strongly that any violation of the truce will be punished mercilessly, naming particularly Perrot le Béarnois, governor of Chaluset, Olim Barbe, master of Donzac in the Auvergne, and one Aymerigot Marcel; and the counts of Armagnac and Auvergne make peace with the captains, raising an enormous sum (by taxing the peasantry heavily) to buy them off. But:
Then Marcel contemplated in his heart that he had been too soon ready to settle into a better life, and that robbery and plunder, in the way that he had hitherto done, was, properly considered, the best life. Then he turned to his men and said: »There are in this world neither good days, pleasure, gold nor honor except for men of arms and by waging war in the way that we have done. How did we not rejoice, when armed we rode peradventure, when we might meet in the field a rich abbé or prior, a wealthy merchant, or a train of mules from Montpellier, Narbonne, Toulouse and Carcassonne, loaded with brocade from Brussels or Moustier-Villiers, or with skins from the market in Lendit, or with spices from Bruges, or with silk and other goods from Damascus and Alexandria? Everything we could take or ransom as we pleased. Every day we had new money. The peasants of Auvergne and the Limousin provisioned us and came to our castle with grain, flour, baked bread, oats and straw for the horses, good wine, oxen, lambs and fatted sheep, hens and all sorts of poultry. We lived and dressed like kings; and when we rode out, all the land trembled before us. Everything was ours along our ways, that we rode out and that we rode home. How did we not take Carlat, I and the Bastard of Comanes? And Chaluset, I and Perrot le Béarnois? How did we not seize by escalade, you and I, without other help, the strong castle Merquel, which belongs to the Dauphin of Auvergne? I did not hold it more than five days and nevertheless received for that castle, laid up on a table, five thousand francs; and even that was after I had struck off a thousand, for love of the Dauphin. Par ma foi, that life was good and pleasant. And now I feel cheated of a great deal in that I have sold the strong castle Aloise, for it could be held against the whole world, and the day I left it it was supplied with all provisions for seven years' siege. I consider myself shamefully betrayed by this Count of Armagnac. Olim Barbe and Perrot le Béarnois warned me that I would soon repent, when it was too late; and truly, at what I have done I now feel a great regret.«
When his companions, who were now poor, heard these lamentations of Aymerigot's, and perceived he was in earnest, they replied: »Aymerigot, we are ready to obey your commands. Let us renew the war, and consider what strong place we may seize on in Auvergne or Limousin, and fortify it. We shall soon recover our losses[...]« »Well, be it so,« replied Aymerigot; »but where at this moment can we fix our place of residence?« Some of them said: »We know of a fort that is dismantled, belonging to the lord of La Tour, which no one guards. Let us go thither, and repair and strengthen it; and, when this is done, we will garrison it, and overrun at our pleasure Limousin and Auvergne.« »And where is this fort situated?« asked Aymerigot. »One league from La Tour,« answered those who were acquainted with it, and had well examined its situation: »it is called la Roche de Vendais.« »Par ma foi, you say well: it is the very place for us,« replied Aymerigot; »and, although the lands are now separated from its dependence, it is a mesne fief on Limoges. We will go and look at it, and, if worthwhile, take possession and fortify it.«
Having determined on this, they all went to la Roche de Vendais, examined its strength minutely, and were more pleased with it than before: they instantly took possession, and by degrees fortified the place before they made any excursions or did harm to the country. When they had made it sufficiently strong to withstand an attack or siege, and the companions were all mounted, they began to overrun the more immediate neighbourhood, to take prisoners and ransom them. They laid in stores of flesh, meal, wax, wine, salt, iron, steel, and other necessaries; for nothing came amiss to them that was not too hot or too heavy.