A momentous year: Count Idar announced that we were all going to court in Caerlion, for the king was to be married! And in true kingly style, the celebrations went on for at least ten days. The king married a truly beautiful woman, surely the finest on the island and certainly worthy of being a queen, a certain Guenevere from Camaliard.
We brought many fine gifts from Leicester: Sir Seriol presented the couple with two sets of gilded stirrups; Sir Brandegoris gave the king and queen a bejeweled, tooled-leather book of psalms; Sir Franklin presented the couple with a set of nightclothes embroidered by the fine hand of his sister, Lady Esmeralda; while I gave them a samite altar cloth, very fine, very expensive. And the king and queen in turn gave us gifts: the king took Brandegoris's young son as a court page and the queen his daughter as handmaid; the king gave Sir Seriol the rights to Woolsthorpe and its iron mine. Sir Franklin wanted nothing but the chance to adventure for the king, while I...I had been watching Sir Brandegoris during the festivities. The royal couple really pulled out the stops, and the decor, the food and wine, the entertainment were all top-notch. So when the king and queen asked me what favor I requested of them, I asked them for a dwarf for my companion Sir Brandegoris. Oh, did his eyes light up when that brightly-clad dwarf scurried over and leapt into the outstretched arms of Sir Brandegoris! Watching them laugh and carry on that evening made me light of heart; I think Sir Brandegoris has finally put Lady Priscilla's death behind him.
The wedding of Arthur and Guenever set off a chain reaction of marriages: young Sir Franklin married a local girl, old Sir Hwyel's daughter Heledd. I asked of my lord Count Idar, and received, a fine bride, lovely Ealhred of the golden braids. Oh, I know what you're thinking! But she's from Surrey. We should get along famously. Even Idar got married again, and to quite a prize: King Arthur gave him as bride his sister Elaine of Garloth. So now Idar is a count of two counties! Hope he gets on well with Galagantes.
During one of the many feasts given those two weeks, a most remarkable event occurred: a snow-white hart, followed by a pack of coal-black dogs, ran through the hall, quickly followed by a knight in black armor, who in turn was followed by a pale blonde damsel on a silver palfrey. There was some confusion as to what was what, but as the hart and the dogs and the knight in black had quit the hall and only the damsel on her shining palfrey remained, her words took on greater weight. She said the hart was hers and that the knight in black had wronged her by stealing them. We newly-married Leicestermen volunteered to get to bring the knight back to court, and Sir Franklin got his wish for adventure.
So off we went. As we followed the black knight we passed a woman weeping over the headless corpse of another knight; we could only assume that the black knight had passed by...we caught him at his pavillion, him and his five companions, and we set to. God was on my side and I defeated this knight, even though he was much more skilled than I. Sir Brandegoris pulped several of the black knight's companions, including a mighty 71-point blow...it seems Brandegoris had that pale blonde damsel on his mind:
...so Brandegoris gave him such a stroke upon the helm that he clave the head down to the chin, that he fell to the earth dead.Worrisome to us was that Sir Seriol, the Count's first-born son, also fell to the earth during the combat. Though we were able to revive him, it was a very close call.
We returned to court, black knight in tow, expecting accolades from all assembled. We were instead chastised by the queen herself for passing by a damsel in distress, that same lady crying by the side of the road. In her despair she had killed herself, and now the queen informed us that that same lady was none other than the child of Sir Brandegoris, the product of a dalliance with a lady in London. We promised the queen we would do better in the future.
The king however celebrated our return with the promotion of Count Idar and Sir Brandegoris to the king's new table in the round. Nice!