Upon the ditch, therefore, they entered on a treaty by asking, "In what sort or manner does the duke intend to make us prisoners?" Sir Guiscard, who had received his instructions, replied: "Gentlemen, you have greatly displeased my lord; for you have detained him here several weeks, which has fretted him very much, and caused the loss of several of his men: for which reasons, he will not receive you, nor grant you mercy, but will have you surrender yourselves simply to him. He also insists on sir William de Mont-paon being first given up, for him to be dealt with according to his deserts as a traitor."
Sir Louis de Mailly replied: "Sir Guiscard, in regard to sir William de Mont-paon, whom you require from us, we swear truly and loyally that we are ignorant what is become of him, for he did not remain in this town a moment after you had begun to besiege it. But it will be very hard for us to surrender ourselves in the manner you insist on, who are soldiers here for pay, just as your commanders may send you, or you may be obliged to it by personal service; and before we accept of such a bargain, we will sell our lives so dearly that report shall speak of it a hundred years hence.
"Return, therefore, to the Duke of Lancaster, and tell him to accept of us in a courteous manner, upon certain terms of ransom, as he would wish should be done to any of his own party, should they happen to be so unfortunate."
Sir Guiscard answered, that he would very willingly do so to the utmost of his power. With these words, he returned to the duke, and took with him the captal de Buch, the lords de Rosen and de Mucident, the better to forward the business. When these lords were come into the duke's presence, they remonstrated with him so eloquently, and with such good success, that he granted their request, and received the four knights, with Silvestre Budes, and their men, in mercy as prisoners.
When the day was passed on which the castle was to have been surrendered, the besiegers wondered what the garrison were thinking of: they imagined that sir Robert Knolles had thrown himself into it with reinforcements. The duke and constable sent to sir Robert, and to sir Hugh Brock who had made the treaty.
The herald, on arriving in the square of the castle, said to the gentlemen present: "My lord send me here to enquire from you the reasons, which they would willingly learn, why you do not ransom your hostages by surrendering the castle according to the terms of the treaty to which you, sir Hugh, have sworn." Sir Robert Knolles then addressed the herald, saying, "Herald, you will tell your masters, that my cousin had no authority to enter into any capitulation or treaty without my consent first had; and you will now return with this answer from me."
The herald went back to his lords, and related to them the message sir Robert Knolles had charged him with: they sent him again to tell the garrison, that from the tenor of the treaty, they ought not to have recieved any one into the fort, and that they had received sir Robert Knolles, which they should not have done; and likewise to inform them for a truth, that if the castle was not surrendered, the hostages would be beheaded. Sir Robert replied, "By God, herald, I will not lose my castle for fear of the menaces of your lords; and if it should happen that the duke of Anjou, through arrogance, puts my friends to death, I will retaliate; for I have here in prison several knights and squires of France, and if I were offered one hundred thousand francs I would not show mercy to any one of them."
When the herald had delivered this answer, the duke of Anjou sent for the headsman, and ordered the hostages, who were two knights and a squire, to be brought forth, and had them beheaded before the castle, so that those within might see and know them.
Sir Robert Knolles instantly ordered a table to be fixed withoutside of the windows of the castle, and had led there four of his prisoners, three knights and a squire, for whom he might have had great ransom, but he had them beheaded and flung down in the ditch, the heads on one side and the bodies on the other.
The siege was raised after this, and all the men at arms returned to France.