Monday, August 24, 2009

543: Merionydd or Bust!!!!!!

The LONELY sir Extavias........
Count Edar left to the Funeral of Sir Borre and from ther he was going to the dean forest to set a pace to Merionydd and to save his heir and the children of leicester. My Lord is so noble that I can not imagine ever serving another! Apparently ( according to Sir Amadis ) a bone whistle was captured during last years battle by sir aedon and if my Lords party can reach Herford in the dean forest they can use it to reach Cader Idris swiftly. I wished so badly to go with my count, but sadly he said no. So now I sit at Tilton and await news like a pregnant wife! Count Edar did leave me in a good position however. A position of honour! Deputy castellan of Leicester itself!!!!!! Sir Gwalchmai congradulated me on the post before he went North to Count Derfel of Lincoln, his master. Sir Gwalchmai is so angry that his Lord would not give him leave to aid my count, as they have been friends for a lifetime. But it is well known that count Derfel is too jealous of My Lord Edar, and would never aid him in any wise. So now I sit waiting for word. Count Edar took with him only his most trusted companions..... Sir CynFyn, Sir Amadis, and Sir Aedon! CynFyn wanted to take many more knights, but my Lord refused. He said only that if Sir Gherrin came back from his errands in the North, then to send him on to find them. I begged to go but Count edar only laughed and said that he did not want to lose ALL the heirs of the Ironmen of Leicester in one fell swoop, and that if they fell..... i would be the last and most impotant of that line...... How sad......... I think, .......as i tuck myself in tonight and wonder where my brave companions are tonight.............

542: Battle at Amren's Crossing!

Sir Extavias here.....
Though I was not present I heard from Sir Amadis , all of the details......
Archbishop Dewi has been scaring the local peasantry with his priests by spreading the word that he may have to Excommunicate Count Edar again for not punishing the other Candlebee's for their insobordination. As such, the local pagans , of which there are many, have begun to harass and scare the christian peasants. They have been dressing like beasts and like ghouls and scaring them at night. It has been increasing in intensity. it did not take long for livestock do be killed or stolen, and then the unthinkable happened......!!!!!!! Children began to go missing!!!! Well Count Edar acted immediately. All knights and soldiers were put on constant patrol, and for a while it seemed to be working, until Sir Cynfyn, Amadis, Gherrin, And that crazy french knight, sir drogo and our Own Irish Prince Sir Aedon, all were at Amrens crossing one night. They had been out patroling and had stopped to stay the night at sir amren's manor. He is a young knight, only 23 years old and with a newborn child. He is well liked and is the grandson of sir tadicus, an original Ironman of Britian! Brilliant!
Well I get the story mixed up but to make it short..... The Manor was attacked by 3 devil knights, with their ogre pet and black dog servants!!!!!! And a sorcerer with a " Pet" wyrm!!!! As well as A warlord that was later revealed to be Sir Dewi's underpriest and right hand man......!!!! All were slain except for the sorcerer who barely escaped the wrath of the irish prince aedon!!! Aedon was once again mighty at arms and saved many of his companions!!!! I am begining to believe the irish are great heroes and not the thieving, cowardly , liars that other briton's make them out to be. King Anguish's son is one of the most noble men that ever I have met.
After the battle Dewis henchman was questioned. It was difficult for he was laughing mad and little sense could be made of what he said, but he stated that the Archbishop was a pawn and a fool, and that even now he lay in prision in Merionydd under Cader Idris, and that King gurglan of that country expected Count Edar himself to go into that country and give himself in captivity and for sacrifice to the king or else all of the abducted children of Leicester would perish( and to everyones horror that meant Edar the younger, our counts Grandson who fell During the battle of anrens crossing and was secreted out of there).When asked why this was happening the reply was that King Gurglan who had lived for centuries, needed a sacrifice to prolong his immortality. However to do it best he must have a true Hero. Thus count Edar who is known In Kiev, constantinople , trebizond. epypt, spain, the continent, norway and denmark, and all places in between. Sir Gwalchmai offered to die in my Lords stead( a very generous and brave thing to do) but even though very glorious he is not nearly as glorious as my Lord..... It was told that only my counts heart or the heart of King Arthur , Sir Lancelot, or Sir Tristram would do. A shame. And to sum up the year we heard that King Arthurs son and heir apparent Sir Borre died of an arrow wound while helping the de ganis liberate their lands. Also His only other son, Sir Loholt has been unaccounted for for the last 3 years. Arthur was distraught and we attended the funeral at the Giants Dance where Uther, Ambrosius and other vgreat men are buried. I Noted the burial place being kept warm for our Lord Arthur and it sent shivers up my spine. What will become of our Land if Arthur dies? Best not to ponder that. A horrible and dark year it has been indeed.

Monday, August 3, 2009

541: The Missing King !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sir Extavias reporting....
What a year. I accompanied my Lord Young Edar to Camelot to Give the De Ganis clan their money that was owed them. Some 200 + Libra!!!!!! Just outside og the splendid city we ran across Sir LAncelot Himself. It was the first time I had ever met him, and by God.. What an excellent fellow he seemed. He simply Told Us to Give the Money to Arthur for the Back Taxes that we owed The High King when My Count had been in Rebellion. What a gentleman!
We went To Camelot and did just that! We were in the second hall and took in all the sites og Camelot! It is the greatest and most splendid city in the world no doubt! Even better than Constantinople I hear! I believe it too. We Met with the King and he is Truly the most Gracious Lord a Knight could have. A truly noble man! But his wife is even more unbelievable......A true..... Godess!!!!!!! I would give my bones for a mere kind word from her. It was the first Time I had ever met her, and I swear that I will never know love unless it be that lady. I would fight sir lancelot himself. or Sor Tristram, the best knights of the world, if she would simply speak to me or even glance my way and smile....... !!!!!!!! Pure beauty!
But enough of that....... there are serious matters to attend to.
As we woke the next morning sir constantine made a hue and crie that the King had Vanished from his room. After some questioning we all knew it was sorcery, because There had been other retainers in his room and they had seen nothing of his abduction. All the knights of the realm then left to scour the lowlands and find our missing king.... Including ourselves.
But a funny thing happened..... None of us could agree on whhere to look. I said It had to be Morgan Le fey, and so we should go to the oeninsila of Wirral which is her stronghold. No one agreed. Sor Gherrin said it ws the saxon witch Camille come back to life in Anglia and we should look there. None agreed. Sir Drogo said perhaps it is in the welsh lands, where the old pagan sorcerers are strongest? No one agreed. I wished sir CynFyn were there but he was at his manor being very melencholy since he found out that last year just before returning from the continent, Count Bedegraine had raided our lands and the brave peasent family that he called the Carters( which had once saved his life), had been killed in the raid. So Young Edar suggested that there were cyrsed wastelands in the North near Malahaut and we should go there. No one agreed. In the End sir Amadis said, forget it!!!!! We have no chance of Finding King Arthur. Its a needle in a haystack, and since one place is as good as another........... Lets go get some vengence on Bedegraine!!!! So we did. We raides a few manors and each got a few Librum, and then we went over to the Manor of Bunny and gave Sir CynFyns wife the proceeds. I hope that helped alleviate some of his melancholia! The as we were returning we were met at a desecrated graveyard by 5 huge deadly beasts which Sir Aedon called Hyenas!!!!!!!!!!! Jesus were they ugly and did they smell bad!!!!!!! We tried to fight them but me and Amadis went down as did Sir gherrin. Sir Edar the Younger was able to hill one of the five, but it was actually our Irish Prince Sir Aedon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He killed the other 4 and saved our lives. He was like a man possessed. I have never seen a man fight better unless he be Sir Lamorak or perhaps sir Palomydes or Lancelot. Outstanding.
After that fight we were all much too hurt to go on so we went home to tend our Manor's and lick our wounds.
I had a very bad harvest and was doomed to debt before my old master Sir Amadis gifted me with 12 Librum to keep the manor going. What a great companion!!!! Well. Hopefully next year will be more productive.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

540: The Sleeping Count

Sir extavias here....

Well we left the continent and landed at Portsmouth where we had a delightful dinner with Prince Borre and some of the De ganis clan!!! It seems that there are three new and youthful members of the clan that are catching everyones eye. The oldest brother is Sir Gilmarus, a handsome yet somber and courteous lad of 25 years. He wears the latest continental fashions, and weather he realizes it or not the ladies adore him. The second is Sir Amhar, a rather serious fellow with a scarred face that turns his mouth up into a perpetual sneer. He is very curt and says very little , though i suspect that is because of his maimed face. And lastly is their cousin sir Cephilio who is tall, handsome, in fashion, and very friendly, often taking on the role of negotiator and head orator of the group, but always careful to defer to Sir Gilmarus in matters of importance. A curious group, made even more curious by there other traveling companion Iorweth, a hump-backed, churlish, dirty, rude , cackling fellow that is never without his half-burnt and scarred cat felago. What an interesting dinner. We learned that Prince Borre had King Arthurs blessing to lead an army( composed mostly of mercenaries , but with some volunteers, also ) to the continent to aid the De Ganis in reclaiming there lands. Truly all were amazed at Sir Borres countenance. Where we all had known him as a courtier before he was now a rugged knight that smacked of confidence and wore his blade as if he knew how to use it. Though pleasent he was no longer quite so flamboyant as he used to be. No. he was serious and somber indicating a singularness of purpose that was palpable to anyone who spoke to him for even a moment. He had turned into a proper warlord, some were saying, and he was going to the continent to prove this to any in the realm that may have had their doubts! A brave man!


We left Edar the Younger at portsmouth to recover as the doctor there said traveling would be the worst thing for him. We all then traveled to Leicester. A half day out we ran into the Bailiff samuel, who rejoiced at seeing us and said that Count Edar was a bed and very ill. We hurried to the castle at once.


When we entered the castle we knew something was amis. The servants were wound tight and looked fearful and afraid even to speak to us. Why? as we were wondering our answer came downstairs in the form of a litle imp of a man in dark clothing that was berating a servant at the top of his lungs for getting Hot water when everyone knew that tepid water with spices was what u used on a sick man. As the liyttle imp , or Archbishop Dewi of Britian saw us, we all let out a collective moan. No man was more unsuited to be a persons sole spiritual guide. But here he was.


We attempted to be courteous, but soon that was over and we learned that Dewi had been on his way to the pentecostal feast and tourney at Lincoln and while passing through Leicester 2 days ago heard of edars illness. So of course Dewi SELFLESSLY laid aside his plans to stay and aid our count with his multitude of Bishops and priests which we all noted were living very well at my Counts estates and seemed to be lacking nothing that they neeeded.


Sir CynFyn demanded to see Edar and Dewi admitted him. AS we questioned the Archbishop we learned that Edar our count, was not ill. It seemed he was CURSED!!!! He was simply asleep and could not be awoken. We were all petrified by this and asked Dewi how he knew!? He said that there had been pagan signs left in the bedding of the count bwhen he was first found, but Dewi had had all of the evil things burnt and now a veritable CHOIR of priests was standing a 24 hour vigil over Edar and saying never ending prayers for his salvation, and exorcism. Sir CynFyn argued for a while with Father Dewi, but finally to all of our surprise he and amadis The Candlebees, roughly escorted all of the bishops and priests , Including Dewi, out of the castle!!!!! Father Dewi left the city towards Lincoln with dire threats on his tongue and said of course that the High King would hear of this poor treatment he had recieved while trying to be selfless to a count that had trouble deciding which wife was his at any given month. It was Edars double dealing in wives that was cursing him ,Dewi could be heard saying as he left the city. And he threw the words Leicester, cursed, and ungodly around where all the commeners could here it and be afraid. He even said that he hoped he would not have to excommunicate anyone again for that would be unfortunate. Bastard!

Sir Cynfyn stayed at the castle in Leicester to ask questions and to supervise. He learned that because of the ritualistic idols found in the bedding of the count , it was a the magic of the far North that was used in the curse! Also he learned that the last night Edar was okay many servants saw a Northwoman leaving his bedchamber late. They all assumed it to be his Lady Valerie.

I followed my knight sir Amadis to the small manor that Edar had given to Valerie and her household. It was there that we discovered that Valerie was staying and that she had already been accused by Archbishop Dewi as he was going North to the Pentecost Tournament, but King Arthur was also going North, and hearing of what was transpiring he was comforted that the Archbishop's own household would be so kind as to watch over Sir Edar, and until the Tourney was concluded he did not want Lady Valerie to be judged. This would give her time to make a case, and when Arthur was on his way back to Camelot he would then see to the matter. Until then He left two Round Table knights at the manor to guard the Lady. Sir Morlons and Sir Bevardius. Both new members but able. We heard from Valerie that Dewi was pissed at that, for he must have thought that he would get to try Valerie and Burn her in a day or two, but.........

Valerie and all the others there said it was no secret who cursed Count Edar. It was Valeries own Aunt Hilda. She apparently , was angred by the fact that Edar had publicly Put aside the Princess Valerie in favor to his old marriage to Queen Elaine. Nevermind that people tried to explain the it was for the Good of Edars people who were not getting their spiritual needs met, and that there was little else he could do. Nevermind that he and Valerie married in the Old way and that they both seemed content. In Hilda's eyes the Princess of Trond had been wronged, so , disgusted with men in general, and Count Edar specifically, she Cursed him to perpetual sleep. Then knowing that Valerie would not understand that it had been for her own good, she fled North And we heard ended in OLD SORESTAN In the woods , Just North of Sir Gwalchmai's stronghold of Horncastle. As we arrived in old Sorestan we were traveling through the woods and were ambushed by Saxons. They were easily dispersed and so we moved to a nearby hold that was occupied by A DANISH Lord. It seems that the Dane Guthruum had been given the hold by the Count of Lindsey, and in return he promised to hunt down all Partisan saxons of Old Sorestan. It was at this Hold that we found Old Hilda who had taken protection from Guthruum the Dane!
Guthruum said we could not have her unless she went with us of her own accord. After some dealmaking she consented to come with us if we could defeat a monster of the north that the Danes had brought from their homeland. We consented and Guthruum, who seemed as excited as his men about the sport of watching us die, opened the huge pit on the hall floor. And out came the huge creature that the Danes called a troll. It was ugly, but other than that..... no challenge. Sir Amadis, Sir CynFyn, and the French knight Drogo, all cut it down in under one minute and all emerged without a scratch. It was ugly and strong, but terribly slow.
True to her word Hilda went with us and released Edar from his curse. Not only was our Count saved , but he wasnt even angry. He took Hilda and Valerie into his confidence and by the time they were done speaking, They were all laughing, and Edar had Given Hilda a fine manor and a rich one, on the border of Bedegraine. Wow. Anyway... that was my last year of adventure as a squire, for Count Edar knighted me and gave me my ancestral manor of Tilton-on-the-Hill, as Sir Brandegoris of the Hambones last son. I will try to uphold my good family name. I had to fix Tilton up as the year before the old mill had burned down, and there were other repairs that needed tending. So I spent some of the 30 Librum in Roman coin that my Mother Brianna had sent me from Caerwent upon my knighting. In fact I spent them all. Then I gave count Edar my last 9 libra that I had. This Libra was the result of my loot as a squire in three years on the continent as a mercenary, but I knew my Count needed Money to pay his debts to the De Ganis clan. Well I cant wait till next year!!! Hazzahhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

539: The Mercenary Life, Year Three

Sir Amadis here...

Do you know, in these parts they have a marvelous way with wine, turning it into a most potent yet flavorful drink? Armagnac, they call it. Whenever we pillage a monastary or town with a distillery I try to grab a bottle or two. When I sip it, I recall the strangely green fields of Faerie, or sometimes the almost-fetid forest smell of Britain, when summer is high and the woods choked with vines, rotting fruit, and earth. I love that smell. Here it's all dry and dust and resinous, even when we're marching through the endless fields of lavender. As I lie here in camp, my head resting on my saddle as I sip a small cup of armagnac and watch Arce, Crespo and Escara play dice, I can still smell the lavender on the leather.

In two or three days, the king says we will be in Bordeaux, in the same place as the largest remaining Aquitanian army. We are all wondering what will happen: will allies show up as promised? Will we win this fight then go home to our wives and children? Or will King Theudis turn his sights on kingdoms and counties beyond the Dordogne?

We've heard that King Arthur and his Round Table knights are fighting the King of the Franks in the north, chasing after a damosel. Everyone says Arthur is after a new wife. What happened to Queen Guenevere? I wonder, are Sirs Gwalchmai and King Edar there, too? Will we march toward Paris after we take Bordeaux?

Julian, my trustworthy squire of many, many years, died from a fever. We buried him under an old oak tree. Sanza's my squire now, but he is hopeless.


Extavias here...

What a trial. We were given our freedom by the suprisingly noble knight of the green fields, in return for our pledge to pay our ransom later. So for the last 3 years we have been selling ourselves as mercenaries on the continent to the highest bidder. I know I am only a squire still, but with all these years of fighting under my belt, id wager that I am a good deal hardier than most of my Leicester brethren even though I am no knight. Some men say that I am finally starting to fill out and gain my muscle and a little mass and thats making me look more like my father Brandegoris, but In reality I will never be as large as my father. I have too much of my mother, Brianna in me. The roman heritage from Caerwent runs fairly strong within me. I am not small, but I am no giant.

Anyway, the most ludicrous thing happened during the fighting. We met up, quite accidently with brave sir Amadis!!!!!!!!!!!! There has been much tragedy these last few years and Amadis gives us a little bit hope and joy. He and CynFyn even made amends, and have accepted each other as fellow candlebees and brothers.

Now we await the " BEEHIVE" 's return as we sit in Bordeaux. We all did very well in the pillaging and bought our freedom, with still s decent amount of coin to aid Count Edar with his financial problems, as was the reason behind our coming to the continent initially. So with Good sir Amadis in tow we hope to be back home by pentecost at least! HAzzaahhh!!!

538: The Mercenary Life, Year Two

Sir Amadis here...

The king continues to punish the Franks for murdering old King Theodoric and invading Carthaginiensis. He and his men have been on the move for years now, fighting in the north of Spain, the majestic mountains of Navarre, and now the rich river-fed lands of Aquitaine. We've battled in Septimania, Toulouse, and Gascony. I remember how a certain Sir Lucius of Caerwent, as I recall, would go on and on about the superiority of the Romans, and how we'd Leicestermen would shout him down. But after living in and campaigning through these old Roman provinces and seeing the splendor of their works myself...when compared to the old stone pile of Medbourne castle, the graceful arches of aquaducts really are a cut above. I wonder if Sir Lucius was just repeating the stories of his fathers, or if he ever saw these marvels himself; I hope he had that pleasure.

King Theudis holds me in some regard because even though I am a foreigner, and low-born, the glory of my exploits is known far and wide, more than is usual for knights in his army. And the king himself, as I have mentioned, is not of noble birth himself, but has raised himself to his exalted station through dint of native skill and ability. After we'd run wild through Septimania, and prevailed in pitched battles outside Narbonne and Carcassonne, the king spoke to the assembled army. He said that he was creating a new class of noble in order to reward his brave and loyal followers and to settle new-won lands in friendly hands: these new-made knights were henceforth to be known as the caballeros villenos. So now I command a banderas of 25 villein-knights, my cousins and others that have proven themselves adept with spear and sword. Perhaps it is the time spent fighting bulls, but they're pretty good with a lance, even if their stand-and-fight spearwork lacks luster. Just as well, really, for in general the southern armor is light and flimsy. Oh, how I miss my fine partial-plate armor, rusting at the bottom of the French ocean!

I turned 44 this year, and for the first time ever, I felt old. In the autumn I was laid low for several weeks from a bad side of beef, so bad I thought I might never ride again!...it took me months to get over it; even so, my grip feels weaker than it has before, and I still tire easier than before. Sigh. I wonder how my family fares.

537: The Mercenary Life, Year One

Sir Amadis here...

I received a letter from Gilet while on the battlefield outside Vasconia, from a young man wearing bits and pieces of armor and riding a very tired cart horse. I went to the king's chirurgen to get the letter read, but he was still busy tending the wounded and sent me to the chapel tent to have it read.

The friar-clerk said the letter was from the priest in Gilet, who had the words from Desdemona, my wife: she thanked me for the spoils I had sent, and that she had invested them wisely. She and the baby were fine, though now he was old enough that old Barro was teaching him to ride the pony, and had made him toy spears with which he terrorized the chickens in the yard. That made me smile, thinking of how my father used to thrash my older brother for doing the same...but later that night I wept thinking of my wife and my son, who I have not yet laid eyes on.

There have been no more messages from Queen Valerie, and no word from King Edar. I am alone in a sea of fighting men, floating on a raft of boisterous cousin-knights.

Monday, June 29, 2009

536: Adventure On the Continent

Sir Extavias here......

Well.....what a foul year it has been. My half brother Sir Arddur ap Brandegoris was slain in battle while pillaging the franks of Aquitaine( Ganis). High King Arthur had all his troops go to the continent and make war on the franks there for generally being belligerent and finally angering him too much by imprisioning our Queen Guinevere's own cousin Elyzabel falsely. Our King could take no more and so we marched on France. Many of the De Ganis clan wanted permission and Aid in taking back their homeland of Benoit and Aquitaine. Arthur granted it. The knights of Leicester were not exactly summoned to the continent by Arthur, but Our Lord Count Edar sent a small contingent under the command of his grandson and heir Edar the lesser. It Consisted mainly of 10 knights and about 100 screaming and well equipped Irish Kerns under the command of Prince Aedon son of King Anguish of Ireland.
We heard , as we landed at Nantes , in Brittany, that there was war between mighty Vennatais, and its King Conan, and Duke Hoel of Cournailles. We didnt necessarily want to get involved but when we heard that the mighty and chivalrous Sir Tristram was helping defend the righteous Sir Hoel, we decided then and there to aid him as well...... for a fair price of course....... well..... our upkeep doesnt pay for itself after all.
I am squired to sir Quillam, and I accompanied him to the battle of Nantes, where we fought long and hard and ended at a standstill. Indecisive. But Vennetais left to lick their wounds and were damaged enough that we, in effect, saved Duke Hoel. Our Friend , the mighty, Sir Cynfan, was hurt sorely and could not travel . He was too near death, so he would stay with Sir Tristram and Duke Hoel, while the rest of us would travel to Aquitaine to pillage and raid the Franks there. My Brother Arddur was well wounded and I urged him to stay behind with Cynfan, but he felt that he would be safe to raid. He is large like myself and I think often overestimates his prowess. Well we recieved much plunder over the next two weeks, but as we were returning with it , the famous Aquitanian banneret, called The Banneret of the Green fields found us and ambushed us in the woods we were traveling in. He had much in the way of archers and infantry and outnumbered our weary band by at least 5 to 1 and we fell quite easily I am afraid. My Brother, the mighty Arddur was slain in the battle as well, and now we are all captives of this banneret. I have sent this letter to you my friend so that you know what has become of me. Please tell the rest of the family. I cant believe Arddur fell. He was so like our father in size and ferocity. But many people did speculate that he was softer because he was raised all those years in Camelot. I am just as large and I was raised in that hellpit called Tilton-on-the-Hill, so I vow that I will make my father proud, by becoming a candlebee, and by garnering such a reputation in battle that men will know me as my father's ONLY son. I swear it by all the Sons Of Thelos...... Damn these franks to hell. Since sir Quillam was killed as well, I am a free squire, and will ask to be made a knight. I must avenge all the wrongs done to my family and make the Lineage of Brandegoris Tilton ring through all the Land!!!!!!


Sir Gede here...

How quickly the fortunes of men turn! Sir Quillam, rich from jousting, only a few months later laid low with a spear to the side, never to rise....young Boots, beloved grandson of Count Edar, bloodied and held captive by the Banneret of the Green Fields in Benwick....mighty Sir Arddur, gone to sit at the right side of St Guinefort in Heaven....

I don't see what good we are doing for our liege lord now, sitting prisoner in Aquitaine instead of collecting the funds to pay the fine levied by King Arthur. At least Sir Aiden, the Irish prince, is hale and seeing that we are well taken care of. Boots was not badly hurt, and was up and about in short order—he has his grandsire's constitution, surely—and when I was newly on my feet again we received word of Sir Cynfyn's presence, and were much cheered. The man himself looked haggard, and explained that he'd left for Leicester as soon as he was recovered from his own grievious wound, but the word he brought back from court was not encouraging. After years of war and plunder by our beloved high king, Leicester's vassals said they would raise the ransom as soon as possible...hopefully within five years, perhaps seven. Seven years! I will be an old man of almost 30 by the time I gain my freedom.

Heaven help us, and Leicester!


Sir Amadis here...

The tide goes out, the tide comes in, and once again I ride for King Theudis of Spain. Two of my cousins and my dear squire Julian survived the shipwreck, as did the captain and several of the crew. The horses did not, being tied into their stalls and drowning when the ship broke apart on the reefs. I shall miss Eustice; he was a fine animal, battle-hardened and true.

The Gascon peasants who live near where our ship sank took us in, gave me a new pair of shoes, and took us to the local lord. I was nervous showing up unarmed and unarmored at the hall of someone who could very well be a deadly enemy, for I did not know if the lords in these parts were friendly to King Theudic, the de Ganis, the King of France, King Arthur, or some other lord of high repute. Fortunately for me and my men, now that the de Ganis are mostly dead, the region has splintered as each lord fights and squabbles to assemble his own little fiefdom out of the carcass, with the Kings of Spain and France on either side. Our host, a Sir Childeric, dubbed the Girthy, was himself engaged in skirmishes with his neighbors over lordless lands. He was happy to outfit us in spare armor and mounts in exchange for news and the chance to play the generous lord.

Three days later, Julian, Garza, Rodrigo, and I rode off to find Theudic....when the army saw us riding up, they started shouting "Torres! Torres!" until the king himself came out to see what the commotion was all about. We were warmly welcomed back, and are once again fighting for the king as he pushes north.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

535: Revenge

"One of the requirements of becoming a Candlebee is—"
"—killing a Round Table knight?"
"No."


"The de Ganis are on coke."

--------

Lady Ealhred speaks...

I was in attendance with my lady early spring day when word came from her lord: a journey to far Gales to beg forgiveness from the archbishop, and a lifting of the interdict! Praise Jesu, I am hopeful that this will be so. It is a horrible burden to be cut off from the church. I myself would live in eternal agony if my flesh-and-blood were to die without the last embrace from Holy Mother Church. And surely many mothers are at such risk, as our menfolk resolve the troubles with the high king. Mother of God, please keep my son safe!...


Lady Valery speaks...

The hills around Leicester were just regaining their green blush when a messenger from the bishop came calling to the keep, with a message from my lord and the archbishop, he said. He announced to me and my ladies-in-waiting, with no small amount of satisfaction, that my lord was on his way home after agreeing to annul our marriage. He went on, noting that this would of course reduce the status of my three children to that of bastard. Seeing no reaction from me, he licked his lips, like a cat that licks stolen cream off its chops, and said my lord would be back within the week.

After I dismissed him I looked to my ladies for counsel. Lady Peony suggested taking my complaint to the queen's Court of Love; Lady Glorie said I should fall on my knees and beg my lord's forgiveness, as he'd begged the forgiveness of the archbishop. As if! Lady Ealhred suggested taking up vows. Lady Oriel, understanding me best, offered her townhouse to me, as I was now an unmarried woman and it was unseemly to live in under a strange man's roof.

And so several days later I found myself keeping house across town, my children and ladies and servants with me. I got word of his return, but it was not until some time later that he came calling. I was dreading laying eyes again on my lord, for I did not know what my reaction would be: icy cold like the Trond goddesses of the north? Fiery hot like the savage blood of my warrior countrymen? But when he at last came to my door I found that I could not reject him—I still loved him! And so I said, if he wanted me despite the blackhearts of this church saying otherwise, he must meet me under the eaves of the Charnwood on Midsummer night and we would marry in the old way, the heathen way.

Early on the day of Midsummer Eve I rode from Leicester with my ladies and a few trusted servants, east to the holy well near unto Kirby Muxloe, and took a ritual bath under the ash trees. We slept in the grove that night, and the next day, with all our clothes and horses wet with dew, we rode up to the forest, and the old hill with the standing stones the people hereabouts use on their non-Church festivals.

He was there, which I did not expect, and alone, which I also did not. I thought that Sir Perseus, he of the heathen ways, would at least accompany his lord if his other, religious men could not.

But he came to me on the hill, by the old stones, and we said our vows and, as the custom of this land (and indeed, my own) dictates, I gave to him a gift of the heart: a Roman glass flask, chased with gold to set off the red of the glass, containing a very precious elixir given to me by the wise women of Trond before I departed to this land. Seeing as I have now how perilious the life of a Leicesterman is, I wanted my lord and now again my husband, to have the gift of life should he find himself mortally wounded and far from home.

He took the flask and stuck it in a fold of his tunic, then took my hand and we departed from the hill.

Did my dreams under the ash trees lead me wrong? Does he care for me at all? He had no heart gift to bestow to me...Did he only marry me for the sake of the children? I am so confused and, I fear, falling into a deep melancholy that not even the sight of the flowering hollies can overcome...

Count Edar Speaks…
No matter how long I live, I shall never understand women

As the winter storms drew to a close I took a small host of knights to seek out Archbishop Dewey. Arthur Pendragon is once again my rightful lord, and I have a duty to the people of Leicester and Lambor to look after their wellbeing. The church interdiction weighs heavily on their heads, and I will not allow my people’s souls to be at risk for my pride. Dressed in the meanest clothes I had – I think they once dismissed by Yeoman Bowman’s wife as being too poor for a free man of Allington to wear – I travelled to Dewey. I brought young Perseus with me after getting his pledge that if he attended me, I would expect him to agree to the requirements of the Archbishop, without heed to comfort or what he felt was just. When we arrived I was directed to wait on a stone bench for the Archibishop. For 5 days I sat, stooping to pray, but not too eat or to sleep. At the end of the 5th day I dropped from hunger and exhaustion, but I returned to the bench as soon as I recovered. Soon after that Dewey agreed to see me.

When I arrived and begged his forgiveness he made several demands – I would make a pilgrimage to St. Albans from Leicester, barefoot and do what was demanded of me. Of course I agreed at once. I would pay for the British Church to annul my marriage to Elaine of Garloth – Whatever the cost, I replied. The Archbishop said it would be more than I paid for the Pope to try to annul it. I replied as mildly as I could that it would have to be – the pope annulled my marriage when I accompanied Arthur to capture Rome and have Arthur declared emperor. We later agreed that 25 Librum would be sufficient. No problem. Finally, he said I would have to have my marriage to Valerie annulled, or she would have to convert to Christianity. I wish he had instead asked that I lose an arm or be blinded! But I could not refuse for the sake of my people. I only hoped to reach her and tell her before the Archbishop’s word did.

As we prepared to return to Leicester, we saw a fast rider depart the monastery on the road to Leicester. My horse was not fast, but Sir Aeddan’s was and he rode after the messenger. I would learn later that he was not successful in beating the ill tidings to my hall.

When I returned to Leicester, Valerie was nowhere to be found. Before I could look for her I was told that Lancelot was here to see me. That fine knight had done well for me, and it was his actions that reconciled the king and I. I had him brought to me and asked how I could serve. He told me that he had a grievance to put to the King’s judgement, or if I would not agree for the king to rule, then we would be foes. I asked him what this was and he said that my household had been responsible for the murder of 5 of his kinsman. I felt that this claim was not accurate, but with Valerie gone, I asked for time to consider. He agreed to let me have the night.

When he left, I learned that Valerie was staying in the house of one of her ladies. I went to her at once. I was prepared for her to be angry with me. I was prepared for her to be cold. I was not prepared for her to see me dressed as an unmarried woman. Seeing her this way tore my heart. I begged her to forgive me. I explained that I had to think of my people. She was unmoved. With tears in my eyes I pleaded – we were married in the tradition of her folk, and thought nothing of the church. We were in love. I married her in the church manner to give the people a cause to celebrate and to show my commitment to the lady in a way they could understand. The blessings of the church mean nothing to me without her. I continued to plead with her and she relented, saying if I would meet her at midsummer in the sacred grove, she would marry me in the tradition of her people. My heart leapt, and I agreed. She said until then she would remain at this house. I left feeling better than I have in years.

The next morning I agreed to present the dispute with the DeGanis to Arthur. I only asked that it be done after I had made my pilgrimage to St. Albans and that I must be here for Midsummer. He agreed to my requests and left at once.

My pilgrimage was a lesson in humility, as it was meant to be. Throughout the ordeal I found myself asking why God would demand that I be parted from my beloved Valerie. Throughout it all, I reminded myself that the penance was for the sake of the people of Leicester. I would spend an eternity in the pagan afterworld for Valerie to look upon me with love again.

Before midsummer, Galeholt, Elaine’s son came and challenged Perseus to a duel. Pereus accepted, and they fought. It was a terrible exchange, but Perseus lost. I grieve for the death of my fellow candlebee, and my friend’s son. I have heard the whispers that it is a good thing for my court to be without him, but noone has dared to say this where they realized I could hear.

Midsummer night came and I met Valerie at the appointed site. No priests were present but I am assured that we are once again husband and wife. She gave me a gift that night of a strange liquid. I took it of course, but I did not know to bring something for her. If only Perseus had been there to warn me of this custom! At first I thought this was not a problem – when we were first joined in Trond I had nothing, but I have since learned that I have hurt her deeply. Like I said, I shall never understand women. I blame Guinevere and her court of love. All that I have, indeed all that I am is Valerie’s for the asking. Were she to ask it I would even leave Leicester and return to her home in Trond. My home and my life is wherever she is. I am a simple man and not one given to great speeches, love poems, or songs. I do not have that gift. Nor do I have money to buy her gifts. Indeed the struggles of the last year have left me in debt to nearly all the wealthy of Logres! Still, if there was anything she wanted, it would be hers. I only hope that she understands what it is that she means to me. It is my fondest wish to live the rest of my years with her at my side.

As the year drew to a close I learned of the kings judgement - I am to pay a blood debt of 220 librum to the Deganis within the year. I groaned but thought, what is another debt at this point? I shall have to send my knights abroad to bring back money for these payments. Whatever comes, so long as Valerie stands beside me I know I will prevail.


Sir Arddur here....

Well the High King was generous. He let Ellidyr and myself go unmolested back to Leicester after there vwas peace made. No ransom was asked. What an Amazing High King we have.
When we returned Lord Edar was not as displeased with us as I thought he would be. We will bve punished I am sure, but he said he has much to think on and that he will get to punishing us later.

Sir Ellidyr confessed finally to Count Edar that while in Ireland he skimmed money from my lord! Edar showed so little emotion that I dont know how he felt. Edar said that Ellidyr should go about his normal duties while he considers the matter, and then he will summon Ellidyr again. Ellidyr was of course sadenned by this turn of events, but overall he is more happy and energetic tthan I have ever seen him. His burden lifted all he speaks about is Leona, and how he will right his wrongs and make Lord Edar love him once again. He is practicing his sword play very hard and getting ready for war in earnest. He said that he knows our Lord needs Librum badly and he has vowed that hew will find a way to help our lord.

For now we go on as usual and wait for word of our punishment, and Ellidyr awaits the arrival of his beloved. Tommorrow we will go pay our respects tpo all the fallen, especially sir Quillam and Sir Perseus. I wish to prove myself to my Lord soon as well and be made a candlebee as my father once was. I want to show my Lord my worth. Maybe I will help Ellidyr to find income fore our Lord. That would certainly put us back in his good graces.


Sir Amadis here...

Once I braved the open ocean for my lord (and a woman), and that ended poorly. A second time I sailed, to that damable island of traitorous Irish, and need I say how poorly that ended? A third time I sailed, to distance myself from jealous flatterers and hangers-on, south to the old Roman lands of Spain, and even though I was sad to leave my lord and companions and homeland, I was glad to be traveling and fighting for a worthy king. But I see now that lovely Spain's waters are also treacherous, as I sit on the sand and watch the waves play over the wreckage of the ship that was taking my cousins and I back to Leicester. Oh damable ocean! Saltier than tears, and just as plentiful.

Now it is light, and the villagers are coming down to salvage what they can of the wrack washing up on the shore. My spears and sword are gone, I have only one boot, and I am nauseous from swallowing so much salt water. But I still have my dagger, if these men prove themselves churls indeed.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

534: Resolution

August 29

Oh my good Lord Cynfyn, first your commands. This is inside the frenchy room in the count’s outer bailey where you woke in the dark. I read my account to you and you commanded me two things.

You commanded me first to record praise for bailiff Hugh who got the cart and I do here, and Sir, I ask too that you remember Nathan and Thomas and John o’ th’ Well and his wife and boy and girls and ol’ widow redhead who all pulled it, beside your squires when they had to, to get us here safely. Lady Lizabet is no shirker of hard times, Sir, and your children have the iron of their father in their blood—not a tear or whine from them even when the arrows were landing among us. Your squires, sir, they were an army, and it was Jesus Fighting Christ that killed the dog who stabbed your son. Now I am frightened at the face of your God. The God I gave you.

What faerie touch Lady Lizabet has, she says “just honey and two stitches a day,” and you know I am a tender of wounds, but I know not what she does or who guides her. What did she mean when she said, “Odio, didn’t you have a mother?”

Forgive me, this is not about me Lord. Your Lady kept you alive, your squires and FJ kept us safe, we even brought some pigs into the city when we got here. Your son is recovering quickly and our good Count King is preparing to march against another army of pillagers from the south. Needle peddler told me they are all Goths, and I think he means de Ganis, and they are mad as hell. Have they not had enough?

And second, your sword and arms are there, see, where one of your brave squires holds them. I swear again, I will hold you up in my own arms if need be, to help you kill anyone who comes among us.

August 31

Good my Lord Cynfyn, brave knight. This is written now after you have heard me, and you drank the soup that you said had feathers in it. This is the battle I heard of, at Bramcote.

Fifteen to one it was! Cowardly odds, I say, and still Count King Edar is victorious! Sir Perseus said 50 Round Table knights sought out our count at Bramcote, and failed. Marshall Griflet must envy Count Edar’s skill, who brought our whole army home, out of a trap, to our city. A while back a mass of commoners had come here to join his army, but Edar sent them all home. “Your station is to farm, ours to fight.” They cheered him, they did, and they dispersed into the countryside they came from. And good thing it was too, because when the army assembled, to fight Lambor again, some of those commoners boldly came to Count Edar on the field. They told where the enemy had hidden his armies. The army withdrew, with Candlebees fighting in the rear guard.

September 2

Everyone is in the city now. We are glad you can sit up and I pray you get better yet. We can see the siege engines being erected, and kerns swarm like lice. Myself, I have counted 47 banners of the Round Table in the camp, and probably more. I cannot be sure. Is it 5000 men out there against us? Let us see who gets sick first. I heard some of those monks chanting to curse us one night.

September 8

By god’s blood listen carefully my Lord, I scarce believe this myself except Sir Perseus himself told me us here. Do you remember this one? When were atop the keep. Lancelot. Yes, Sir Lancelot was here and came and went. He talked to Count King Edar and he left, right before they attacked us. They didn’t attack us. Sir Lancelot stopped the secret assault on our walls. We are waiting for his return.

September 29

I am Sir Cynfyn, Lord Bannerret of Medlarwod and Bunny, Knight of the Candlebees, sworn man of Count Edar of Leicester. My man Odio here will record this in my true words.

I so swear. –O.

Bless my wife and her Sweet Saint Maria that brought me to health to stand upright by my Lord’s side for this ceremony.

My sigil is now witness to the restoration of Justice in Logres. Beside my good Lord Sir Edar and good King Arthur Pendagon, our Fount of Justice, I was one of the twenty four to witness this agreement and the restoration of Count Edar’s full rights. No longer King, my lord Edar.

Count Edar of Leicester and Lambor—full holder of his rightful inheritance now, entirely unencumbered by foreigners or injustice. You know Odio, this is that dream of my father’s that is now true. He said “When Raetae is whole, all is well.” Isn’t ancient Raetae just Lambor and Leicester? It’s all now his, all lands and towns and wastes and castle. Prosperity beckons.

No longer King, is Count Edar. And sweet Jesus Fighting Christ I am glad to have that evil holding of Ireland now away from us forever. I can only hope that it is given to the de Ganis pigs. They deserve it. But who cares. The accursed regalia and its title and curses, they are now in the care of King Arthur. Hey, Odio, think that’s right? It was that damned Irish junk that was a curse? I best so. Write down that I said so. Here write this.

I tell you, I predict, that now that the Irish Talismans are taken from us, all our lives will improve again, and the good King Cou… that our Earl Edar of Leister and Lambor will return us all to plenty where we can just raise our medlars in peace.

What? No, I don’t want to mention the interdiction, the blood feud or the pillaged land. What do you think will be left at Medlarwood? Put that away Odio.


Sir Ardurr here....

well... we got back to Leicester in time to be captured by one of King Arthur's patrols, led by.....who else? Sir Bors. The DeGanis men wanted us dead right away, butSir Bors , to his great credit, showed us every courtesy, and he turned us over to King Arthur. Now we sit in a Tower in London awaiting our fates. We are fed well and even allowed to roam the white tower as we have given our words that we will not try to escape. I have had a priest send a message to my Lord Edar and let him know of our fate. He will be most displeased with us I am afraid. What a terrible series of events.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

534, pt II: Leicester Invaded!

Sir Gede here...

I knew when Mother had brought to me the chest that was my father's, that she had given her tacit approval of my desires...to offer my service to Edar, Count of Leicester, King of Oriel, Knight of the Round Table, and one of the finest men in all Christendom.

For weeks the news reaching Leicester's square has been grim, even as the townspeople's excitement mounted with the return of Leicester's knights from the Continent, armies arriving from Hertford and far-off Trond, and the upset of our neighbor to the south, Lambor.

But when Hertford left to defend his own county, and Archbishop Dewey came to town it got ugly. Leicester received word from one of Sir Cynfyn's squires that Bedegraine was on the march and had taken the Medlarwood, pillaging the surrounding lands. Indeed, that Sir Cynfyn had fallen on the field outside Bunny and was lost: another Candlebee flame extinguished. But before the mason's could be summoned to inscribe yet another name on the Pillar of Resistance, Bedegraine was again on the move, and attacked my lord Leicester on the King's Road. Several of Leicester's men were wounded or even killed, though Leicester carried the day.

It earned him no respite, for word soon followed that Lincoln had seized Allington, the soul of Leicester and our count's familial manor. The Archbishop chose this sensitive time to arrive in Leicester's hall with Queen Elaine of Garloth in tow. The Archbishop was mighty displeased that Leicester had gone to the Pope in Rome for an annulment instead of going to the head of the British church...Mother says that Christians have always fought Christians, and that this helps keep the religion strong. My mother, my sister, and I only heard the account of his audience second-hand, so I cannot vouch for the truth that Sir Perseus threw the Queen over his shoulder and carried he from the hall and threw her down a latrine...nay, it cannot be so. Though if he had, Leicester's queen would have rewarded him well, as the Archbishop said Leicester must put aside his Queen Valerie as he was still married to Queen Elaine in the eyes of the church. And as Edar would not, the Archbishop excommunicated him, and placed the whole county under interdict. Alas! Even the doors of St Christopher are shut tight.

When we heard that an army from down south was marching toward Medbourn, we could only assume it was from King Arthur, come to finish off Leicester...we prayed all night in our little chapel, Mother, Wihtburh and I...and in the morning, Mother took me to the chest, and had me dressed in Father's mail, and handed me Father's spears and sword and let me go to beg my lord Leicester to let me fight for him. My sister, as desirous of action as I, he would not knight, but sent back to the city to serve the Queen. She went, but I could see how hard her face was set in her disappointment.

I am told it was not a large battle, as these things are reckoned, though it was to me, and mighty fierce. But my lord Leicester's skill on the battlefield is legendary, and we found many opportunities to advance our forces through the army opposing us. The only one to seriously challenge our progress was a hero, who almost cut down my lord Leicester before I knocked him from his horse and Sir Perseus slew him fighting him on foot. Only after the battle did I learn that this man was a Round Table knight, a foreigner by the name of Sir Sagramore.

I was also told that this was not King Arthur's largest army, and even though we destroyed it utterly, he will almost certainly be back with an even greater force, and more heroes to throw at us. But now I am a knight, and a man, and have ridden with a real Candlebee, and fought for my lord Leicester, so I do not care what comes next. My mother is proud of me, and I know that my father, my God bless his soul, would be, too.

Amen.


Sir Perseus, Candlebee.

I believe I am marked for death by the British church. Whatever that means.

Where do I begin? First, Archbishop Dewey shows up and demands that King Count Edar renounce his marriage to Valerie since the British church never divorced he and Elaine. I don't know, the pope seemed a good enough authority for me. How many different flavors of christianity are there already? They all seem the same to me. I don't like any of them. Anyway, it just seems like a ploy by Arthur to bring Edar down. Right before this Dewey clown starts his excommunication mumbo jumbo, I jump in.

Now, I want everyone to be very clear on why I did what I did. I don't care about the church phooey. What I took great offense from was the names archclown Dewey called my Lord's wife, Valerie. People should know that he called her rude, untrue names and also claimed she fornicated with dogs!!! So either he was calling Edar a dog, or saying... how could anyone say such things? If he is an Archbishop, then I want nothing to do with their church. Sadly, the peasants still want in. So, after these insults, something had to be done. In my recklessness, at least I didn't kill him. But I slapped him full across the face. I wager archclown Dewey will never forget me. And yes, their funny version of an nailed god worshippers will now probably try to poison me or kill me in my sleep. heh. They need to wait in line for that. I figure Lancelot or maybe Sir Bors will be the end of me. I am not stupid. They are both skilled powerful knights. I am young yet. Perhaps my passions will see me through, perhaps not.

But wait, there is more. 'Queen' Elaine shows up. Last I heard she was out of favor with the High King, but apparently he is not above using her as a cat's paw. She stood in Edar's hall, demanded Edar get rid of his trollop, and started to move towards her old rooms. Edar said she should instead be quarter in more appropriate rooms, so, putting her over my shoulder since she wouldn't obey her supposed still-husband, I took her out and threw her in a horse stall in a stable. She tried to leave, but I wouldn't let her until she said she wanted to leave the whole town. And before she left I said: 'When I threw you in the mud, your outsides finally matched your insides.' To some of you readers, this my sound monstrous, but I assure you, the woman that pillaged her own husbands lands while he was in prison deserved such a statement. Her spirit is dirty. My father hated her, and I see why. She is a spoiled, petulant, evil, stupid woman. Even her own brother the High King was angry with her. So, you can add her to the list of people that hate me and will see me dead. Again, Lancelot is still going to have the first try.

The more I see of religion the less I like it. All of this politicking makes me ill.

One of Arthur's small forces attacked from the south. We crushed them. Round Table knight Sir Sagramor fell. Too bad, I didn't have anything against him. One more man Arthur has killed needlessly.


From the scribe of Sir Cynfyn...

For my Lord Cynfyn, Banneret of Leicester, loyal vassal of Count King Edar, Odio the scribe records the doleful events of this summer of 534, that I may read it to him when he is conscious again.

My lord, you know of the sad winter holidays, and the visit by Sir Tor to urge appeasement, and the plague of grey friars that the good lord Count King Edar himself dispersed with his canny recitation of Scripture. For the record it was Sir Ginagal that you slew, and his brother Sir Ginavan who struck you and left you for dead. We lost all our footmen after that, though half of them have simply run away and not come back. Thank that boy of yours to have dragged you to where we hid at the chapel. I thought you were going and to die, and administered last rites. That cut on your forearm is the mark of Fighting Jesus that you said I must do when you die. I said it would be on your chest, but I dared not touch near to that gaping and sucking wound. Thank your wife for your life, for I swear to FJ that it was her tears upon your bleeding lungs that saved your life. God knows my own skills could not have helped.

Lord Edar arrived with some men, for he was on his way to pay homage to Count Derfel for his lands in Allington. Without you he was nearly slain, but others arrived late and saved him. The army then searched out and drove off the Bedegrainians with many losses, and restored most of the plundered goods to the manor where Hugh has been dividing them fairly among the villains.

The rest I will write as I hear of events.

June.

Lord Edar sent the Irish and Danes south to raid Lambor. They have been impatient and causing trouble in the city.

Count King Edar led the army to clear the north east of raiders. They came through Lonazep, but were largely from Malahaut.

Sir Tor returned. He demanded that Lord Edar turn over to him His Grace Uno, who was a traitor and felon, and wanted for justice in the court of King Arthur, who he had rebelled against. His Grace protested that he was a bishop, and could be tried only by Canon Law. Tor said he had instructions to turn him over to Archbishop Dewi. His Grace Uno protested that his overlord was in Rome, not some stinking Welsh wilderness. Finally Lord Edar stopped the bickering and said he would not release Uno, who had been guaranteed safe passage by the word of his man Cynfyn, and he would keep the laws of hospitality which were more ancient than any laws of Britain. Tor left, after calmly warning of great dangers ahead.

July.

The city was blessed by a visit from His Grace Archbishop Dewi, whose behavior at Lord Edar’s court was barely better than those grey friar vermin. Is it a Roman rule to be as loud and abusive as possible at court? His Grace denounced Lord Edar as a faithless sinner of Nebuchadnezzar proportions. Arrogant old fool, I’m here and I can attest it is slander! The Waterman accused Lord Edar of bigamy, for he had two wives! Of course Lord Edar refuted this, and reminded everyone of how he and King Arthur had, together in Rome, petitioned the Pope and gotten the ridiculous wedding to Queen Elaine annulled. Dewi said it was worthless, because Edar was of the British Church, and thus he should have come to Dewi for an annulment, but didn’t. Thus, he was still married to the bitch queen, and he demanded that Lord Edar rid himself of his wife Valery. Lord Edar, ever the man of upright honor and candor, as well as the victim of blue-eyed love, refused.

Whereupon His Grace Dewi, Archbishop and ranking authority of the British Church, revealed bell, book and candle and began the ritual of excommunication. Sir Perseus revealed his father’s hot blood and knocked the book down and stepped on the candle, then pushed the venerable archbishop to the floor and drew his sword, yelling so the clerics ran away and left Dewi on the floor. Sir Perseus was restrained and Dewi left, and found refuge in our own abbey, where he completed the ritual. This time Lord Edar and Sir Perseus were excommunicated (ha ha the latter being a Pagan!), and the entire county placed under Interdict. My good lord, know that Fighting Jesus is not subject to the laws of any Church and so we, and all who follow the Fighting Jesus, are safe. But the peasants everywhere are distressed. The doors to churches and abbeys are nailed closed. Dead lie in the street, unburied. Babies will die unbaptised.

His Grace Ufo offered to convert Lord Edar and all his people to the Roman way, whereupon Edar asked “What does that mean?” Ufo said that they obeyed a higher power than a tee totaling archbishop. “And that is whom?” asked Lord Edar. “Why, the Pope, who has several archbishops as vassals, and each of them the equal of that old heretic,” said Uno. Lord Edar, ever thoughtful, said he would consider it.

The Danes and Irish staggered back from the south, where a large army had driven them away so they suffered many losses and little booty. Lord Edar moved against them, using his foot men to fight in the woods, saving the knights for encounters in open places.

While so engaged the Lord Edar received word that beautiful Allington was seized by the tewwible Derfel, claiming disseizure due to Lord Edar’s failure to fulfill his vassalage obligations. Lord Edar, wisely looking to the long term, sadly nodded when he heard the news and turned back to dispatch men to a burning manor. After some difficulty the raiders were driven off before they pillaged too heavily.

August.

Lord Edar is ever the courteous lord, eager to honor everyone according to his rank. Even against his enemies. Brace yourself, Sir, because this is hard to believe and I’ll be glad when we go to court and hear the truth of it. My sources are good, but… Well, listen.

Queen Elaine herself came to court! Yes, in full pageantry, and demanded audience with Lord Edar, who naturally saw her immediately in his hall. You know how arrogant she is. She called Edar “husband” and demanded he rid himself of “that trollop.” You know the way that only a queen can be when she abuses her position. Valery had to be held back, that savage little barbarian. And one of her whelps too. But no one could hold back Sir Perseus. They say he knocked down her guards and threw the queen over his shoulder and took her out to the court yard and threw her into the corral, the one is always full of horse shit. The Queen left, filthy and weeping, with her entourage screaming and crying and her guards ashamed of themselves.

That was the end of waiting. In a week we had word of a large army moving towards Medbourne. Lord Edar, ever one for offense rather than weakness, went to defend the land. I am so sorry, my lord, you were still incapable of action. This was the day you took your first meat, Sir, impossible to consider you in combat. It was a large army, mostly from Huntington, but with many from Lincoln and a band of volunteers led by Sir Sagramore, knight of the Round Table. We were outnumbered, but this is out land and the men fought like wolves at bay. It was fierce and we lost six good men, and many more commoners, but Lord Edar led from the front, and with his household guard cut his way through to the camp. Hot-headed Perseus and some youngster slew their leader, Sir Sagramore, previously of Greece and now of Hell.

The weather worsened, and I pray every day to FJ that you will wake and be well. Your Lady Lizabet is the most dutiful wife, and it pleases my heart to see your increased tenderness towards her. My lord, I will pray now and hope the next time you awake you will be able to sit up on your own.

--Odio


Sir Arddur here...

Well I followed that fool Ellidyr all the way to London where I ran into minions of that damned De Ganis clan. Just how many uncles, brothers, cousins, and hangers on do they have in that clan? They tried to do me in but I escaped. I was able to find a tavernkeeper and a few other commoners that had seen Ellidyr though. Of course I'm quite a few pennies lighter now as a result. They said that he had an altercation with some De Ganis Knights and fled north east. I followed that trail until I came to a small cottage. It was at this cottage that I found him. To my amazement, he was acting like his old self and was looking much better than he had in a long while. He was even sober. He said he hadn't had a drink in over a week. There was an old woman and her 4 children that lived here. The woman had fallen on hard times and her husband was slain. It seemed that Ellidyr had been aiding her for a week. He was even doing peasant's work, like chopping wood and planting. What the hell. I asked what had happened and no sooner had I asked than I saw the answer come riding up on a beautiful red palfrey. Yes! Bright red, like a rose. The woman on its back was something out of a bedtime fairytale. She was smallish, barely under 5' tall I wager. and she had dark hair and features, and ice blue eyes that could see right through a man and into his very soul it seemed. She greeted me warmly as if I were a long lost friend and Immediately I was charmed by her crooked smile and sparkling eyes.

It seemed that Sir Ellidyr had saved her just after leaving London. A group of roving bandit mercenaries had her and her trapped and had waylaid her cart. They were searching it and manhandling the poor lady (whose name I came to find out is Leona) and Ellidyr, drunk and caring little for his own safety charged them. These were hardened mercenaries but Ellidyr was a man possesed I hear, and he killed 3 of the six, and wounded another before they fled. The woman took him to the farmhouse and dressed his wound with magic (so he says), then she talked to him for the next four days and it was during that time that he claims they fell in love. She claims to be a sorcerous and says that her father is a minor baron of Hertford.
As I had come upon the scene she was coming to fetch Ellidyr to meet her father and they were to be married at his castle in one week. This seemed like madness to me.

I reminded Ellidyr of his oaths to Count Edar, and that Edar had to give him permission to marry, and that a war was at hand and we needed him back. Upon hearing this, Leona agreed. She took us both to her fathers castle and provisioned us as well as gave us better arms and armour, and clothing. She was quite generous. She said that she would allow Ellidyr to go to his Lord and when the war was ended she would come to Leicester with her father and ask Count Edar's permission to marry Ellidyr. She is a woman who knows what honor is and how important is for a man. I truly like the lady. She is remarkable. I could see that Ellidyr did not want to leave but we convinced him to go finally. Now we have stopped at a small abbey. The "Abbey of the sacred thorn" or some such. I hope Lord Edar will not be cross with us and I hope we can reach him in time to be of assistance.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

534: Civil War?

Sir Quillam here...

I'm back at St Christopher's now, and right glad to be home. I hear that Count King Idar took the news of Camelot well, as it was relayed by Sir Cynfyn. I heard all this from the man myself, as well as the other Leicester knights, at the feast Sir Perseus threw in honor of his joining the Society of the Candlebees. He certainly proved his reckless and fanatical nature during our journey to France.

Father Merle was too ill to attend—rich food and late nights do not sit well with him these days—and sent me with instructions to assure all that he approved of our actions against those fey-tainted de Ganis knights, and that his absence should in no way be taken as a sign of disapproval. That may change, however, as the Archbishop St Dewey came to Leiceister...I missed Perseus setting torch to his apiary as I had to attend His Exaltedness in his audience with Abbot Merle and Count King Idar. The Archbishop threatened to excommunicate the count and everybody in his lands if he did not settle the dispute with King Arthur!

I am shocked. I do not know why the Archbishop would take the side of faerie lovers and heretics against a hero of the realm and deeply religious man like Count King Idar. I had much to occupy my thoughts as I patrolled the county on garrison duty, waiting for the storm surely headed our way.


Sir Perseus, Candlebee.

The calm before the storm is boring. Garrison duty! We should have raided someone! It is clear to me, especially this last year, that fortune favors the bold. Nothing in this life is free, and it is up to we of noble blood to take initiative. My Lord King Count Edar is taking this initiative. One example of this is induction of me into the hallowed ranks of the Candlebees! HUZZAH! The first Candlebees stood against the hordes of invading Saxons, and now I will continue the tradition of stout defense of our homelands. Unfortunate that we will be fighting our own countrymen, but it is their choice to go against the righteous King Count Edar, who has a just claim. If it comes to war, My lord will find none more willing than I to fight and die for his cause. We Leicestermen will not be broken!

Edar Speaks…

So many new faces are gathered. I bid all of you welcome to Leicester. Never before have I had the honor of hosting so great a collection of friends from so far away. Though it seems all of you have heard of me, I will take a moment to make introductions that you may know the great company we share…

Newly arrived from Trond, I welcome King Valliant and his men. When my beloved Valerie and I were wed I told my brother-in-law that I would look forward to the time when I could host him in my hall and show him the love and courtesy he showed me as a guest in his. Although these are not the happy circumstances I spoke of, it does my heart good for him to be here, and I can see that Valerie is delights. The warriors you brought on your ships do you honor sir, and I expect that the site of your vessels on the Humber shook Count Dyrfel wonder if massing troops in Lincoln was wise.

As ambassadors from King Claudus of France, Sir Caldemar and the Bishop of Troyes are most welcome in my home. I have been assured of the King’s friendship and his offers to help resist the injustice we face is most welcome. I am certain that if King Arthur were aware of the nobility of these men, he would realize that surely the DeGanis lost their holdings to a people who are striving to live up to the highest ideals. That they do this after having to fight through the poisoners and hooligans of the DeGanis clan is testimony to their virtue.

Also from the continent, I am pleased to present Uno. If this man looks familiar to you, he should. His father was Duke Ulfius of Silchester. While the Duke and I were not close, he was a loyal servant to both King Uther and King Arthur. He earned pledges of loyalty from these kings, and yet when he passed, King Arthur would not confirm title on his sons. It is very regrettable. As a knight of the round table, I did not consider that Arthur was finding a convenient way to escape his word. I was among the voices that called for justice to be done to the sons of Ulfius. Now I understand that justice is what was lacking. Should I have the opportunity, I will see Silchester restored to its rightful lords.

From Ireland we have Sir Aidan, son of King Anguish. I have had the privilege of hosting this knight in my house, and have accepted him as a vassal. As further proof of friendship between our peoples, one of my knights recently stood to champion Anguish against charges leveled by the DeGanis. You may have heard of the brawl that ensued in Camelot. I have heard it from my own men that the fighting was started when young Perseus asked that the DeGanis blade be checked for poison. You may think this a rash request, and one that impugns the dignity of a knight. Indeed, when first I heard it, I was shocked. Then evidence was presented that Sir Cynfyn was nearly poisoned by a DeGanis man in France. If they would act to do this in a foreign court, then the request is only reasonable. I am certain that had the High King been present for the “trial” of an ally such as King Anguish, this would not be a problem, for I doubt the DeGanis would act this way before the king. But the king was away dealing with business in the north. While I am certain his business was important, once again an ally of the High King must be sacrificed and face insult from the DeGanis clan. I am pleased to say that the last word I have of King Anguish is that he is returned to Ireland safely. I trust his friendship, and I am certain that if needed he will act to protect Oriel and its people.

From Hertford, my eldest daughter’s husband Randolph, heir to Hertford is here. There are few places outside Leicester that have made me so welcome as Hertford. Randolph and his knights are here to assist us though their own lands are threatened by Arthur’s vassal in Anglia. I have learned that just this year your younger brother repelled an incursion by Sir Hervis. The reports say he led his men through the enemy lines and none were able to resist his advance. You are most welcome in my hall. You honor me with your friendship. Along with his knights he has brought his son Gwyn – my grandson – to fight at his side. Gwyn travelled with my knights to France, and earned recognition on the field.

The Lord of Lonazep has been unable to join us, but his son, my second daughter’s husband is here with a detachment of knights to serve on our behalf. You are most welcome.

It saddens me that Bedegraine declined to join us. Rumor has it of troops massing there, but he is family through my third daughter – I doubt he will attack us unless he has no choice.

Lastly, it is my honor to present to this assembled host the Candlebees of Leicester – Sir Cynfyn, knight of the Medlar, and Sir Perseus of Medbourne. Sir Cynfyn is one of the finest knights in Leicester, noted for his loyalty and cleverness. Sir Perseus is the newest of the Candlebees, and the son of the late Sir Bledri. Already this young man has begun the path to greatness, slaying a troll in tournament!

I have made no secret of Sir Gawaine’s visit to Leicester. He has asked me to attend Arthur in Camelot. I have expressed my regrets that I cannot go. When I was a young man I suffered imprisonment and shame for my service to the Pendragon. Although I was released, that stain on my name remained for years. I re-entered the service of the new Pendragon with assurances of justice and recognition of my claim. I even received writ and charter showing my rights. Do you see Father Merle over there? He is seated with Sir Quillam. The venerable father is abbot of St. Guinifort in Leicester and they have reviewed the charter. None doubt its accuracy, but if you would look on it, speak to the abbot.

Some of you may have heard a rumor that the High King has dispatched the Archbishop Dewey to speak with me. It is true. He threatened me with excommunication if I did not return to Arthur. I told him that I would not betray my honor as a young man when I was threatened by the last Archbishop, and that he did not frighten me. I am concerned that the High King, unable to cajole me into his camp, unable to bribe me, and seeing I am willing to stand by my principles and that my friends will stand with me, has instead turned to the clergy. He knows from my past that I do not fear to die in for a just cause, so instead he would threaten my soul with eternal damnation. I remember well the High King’s response to such a threat when the Pope of Rome made it – if you look to the tapestry to my left, it once hung in one of the great halls of Rome. I am not proud and will not ride to Camelot with an army behind me to answer the charge, but I will not shrink from the threat.

As the masses of footman gather around the county I promise you all this. Nothing would sadden me more than to go into conflict with Arthur and his knights. Nothing except breaking my oath and compromising my honor. Go into any of the lands of Leicester and ask the people there what they think of Count Edar. They will all tell you that above all, I am a just man. All I ask of others is that they are just as well. If Arthur and I can be resolved to a just agreement, then all will be well. If not, we shall have to place our faith in god and trust that justice will prevail.

Sir Arddur hastily reporting!

I can not talk long for I am in a hurry. I left my Count a message by way of Sir Henry knighton, and when he finds out what I am doing he will be Wroth with me. Sir Ellidyr, my brother in arms has dissapeard. After questioning father Merle, and some other people about what he has been doing and saying lately I have put the pieces together. He is carrying some type of Guilt for something that he had done in Ireland, and has carried it for quite a time now. That I know. But what has me panicked is that he talked to Merle about making amends for it! And The old Coot agreed that he should amend his ways but left it up to ELLIDYR about how best to do that! SOOOO....What does that damned fool Eliddyr tell his sister that he is planning, that has her running to find me? He is going to find his Best friend Amadis no matter where he is, and then with Amadis they are going to then go find Lancelot and either convince him to bring peace between the De Ganis clan and our Count...Or if that wont work....To Murder Lancelot and thus fully cripple the De Ganis Line!!!!! AAAUUGGHH!!! What a fool.

I spread a bit of Denarri around a few monthes ago to try and gain word on where Sir Amadis went, and all I could come up with is that he took a ship to the continent. That much is known reliably. I can also say that I doubt he was in France or Brittany because the recent voyage there by some leicestermen would probably have spotted him(Amadis is not really one for laying low, he just can't help himself)....So where then, is he? Elidyr has a two day start on me and he knows that Amadis is on the continent somewhere as well. So All I have to do now is try to figure out which port he will go to to find a ship. Edar will be angry to find me gone since war is looming and his war councils are being held. I must find that damned fool Ellidyr quickly! What a twit.


Sir Amadis reports in...

This King Theudis is an interesting man, perhaps next to Idar, the most interesting man in the world…his court is made up of men from much of Spain and parts of Africa, Italy, and France, too. They flock to his banner because of his crusade to repulse the hated Franks, but they stay because he is a man’s man, and much loved by his knights and sergeants. He is well-born, but not of a noble family. True! He ascended to the Visigothic throne on the desires of the people for a proven warlord. Because he is of the people, his justice is renown, and men commoners and nobles alike accept his judgements as fair. Riding with his court, though, I have seen nobles who do not appreciate is blunt honesty. But those are the men who prefer empty flattery to substance, so I care not a whit for the perceived slights to their honor. The king is also no carouser as are so many of King Arthur’s knights of the Round Table…the men say it is because of the trouble brought on Spain by Queen Chrotilda that Theudis keeps his hands to himself. Nor does he drink much. Yet his court is full of good cheer, as the Spanish are marvelous cooks and entertainers, placing great emphasis on the well-being of their stomachs, and delighting in vigorous song and dance.

But the king and his men—myself and my band among them—did not spend the summer at court, but rather on the campaign trail, working our way north with the Franks retreating before us, fighting us each step of the way. In the land of the Vascones we met Clothar’s Frankish army on the banks of the Arga. A tough fight, but we took Pompey’s city back from the Franks thanks to a last-ditch effort: a company of Bungundian knights accompanied by crossbowmen was pushing into our camp when the squires and wounded men opened the corrals and ran the army’s cattle into the Frankish troops. It was marvelously chaotic as the bulls ran through the town, trampling men unlucky enough to be in their path. That broke their charge and we regained the day.

King Theudic next wanted to retake Salduva, a fortified city on the road to Bordeaux. We were unable to take it by storm and so settled in for a siege. A very boring affair, especially as we were reduced to eating mutton and goat. But my comrades, those of my wife’s cousin’s who rode out with me, have divers ways of preparing goat, making it a very delicious meal. They travel very light and fast, and in a battle prefer not to engage in direct combat as I am used to, but prefer to throw javelins and then dash out of harm’s way on their speedy mounts. (However, they do make sure to bring sufficient pans and spices. Strange but practical.)

After three weeks of siege-work, the king called me to his tent. I went with three of my cousins. I was surprised to see a Dane in the king’s tent, and even more surprised to hear from Theudic that the man was a messenger from Queen Valerie of Leicester! He told me that King Arthur’s jealousy of Edar had reached new heights, and that the king was moving to disenfranchise good Count King Edar of his lands and rights. Fie!

King Theudic of course had heard of Count King Edar, and I had told him firsthand of my lord’s extreme prowess and generosity, and though he was sad to give me leave, he did. The Danish messenger followed me back to my campfire, and I told my cousin’s what was up. We decided to pack up then and there and ride back to the coast and take ship for the green hills of Leicester.

It will be a long journey, but if Edar has a need I must answer the call.

Friday, April 10, 2009

533: Dischord at Camelot, part II

Quotes! We need quotes:

"A rouncy? Paint it black and white and have a zebra feast!"

"Eleven? 11 Honor? Aren't you one point from being disbarred or something?"

"These things happen."

Sir Quillam here...

I will leave it to the better knights to describe the whirlwind of court life in Paris, which we experience first-hand on the occasion of the marriage of Queen Guenevere's cousin Lisabet to the Frankish prince. I will say that I am uncomfortable around such glitz, and spent much of my time reading the Good Book and exploring the lovely churches on the isle of the city.

I will also say that Sir Gwalchmai of the Round Table is a fearsome opponent.

We returned to Britain accompanied by Sir Caldimar the Bold, a relative of the Frankish king, and the Archbishop of Troyes. Both men will meet with King Count Idar once we reach Leicester, as will Sir Uno, a priestly man and son of Sir Ulfius....I know! Yet I say we experienced nothing but comraderie and respect on the Continent from both the sons of Ulfius and the Frankish court. And then on our road to Camelot we picked up a traveler lately from Ireland, a Sir Tristram of Cornwall, a pleasant fellow and of good company and cheer.

Upon reaching Camelot, we heard and saw that Sir Aidan's father, King Anguish, was being held on charges of orchestrating the killing of Sir Hugh de Ganis. King Arthur and many of his knights were up north attending to some matter of state, and the de Ganis knights hanging about had convinced King Uriens and King xxx to hold a trial in Arthur's absence. Yet King Anguish had no champion, since Sir Marhaus, Sir Aidan's uncle, was recently deceased—at the hands of our excellent travelling companion, Sir Tristram! Yet Sir Tristram, seeing the distress in which King Anguish found himself, stepped forward as his champion. At that point, in a pique of womanly rage, Sir Marhaus's sister, the queen, stabbed Sir Tristram. I expediently rendered first aid, but the wound, the blade, was poisoned, and Sir Tristram out of contention.

So brave Sir Perseus stepped forward. Oh reckless youth! Seeing what was most likely the end of his companion's life, Sir Gwalchmai stepped forward to reason with the de Ganis knights, asking for a suspension of the trail until the return of King Arthur, surely the best man other that King Count Idar to judge such a matter. But Bleoberis would not hear of it, and began clamoring for the trial to start NOW. And to insure it did start he drew his sword and advanced toward young Sir Perseus.

Now, I do not think it was entirely the sight of Bleoberis moving to strike Perseus untimely that set us off...but we Leistermen, unarmored though we were, all drew weapons and leapt to Perseus's defense. It was only a short step from defense to utter mayhem as all the de Ganis mob, the Irish throng, the Leistermen, and sundry all drew and began hacking away at each other. By the time it was broken up, Bleoberis, Blamore, and Ector de Maris and several other de Ganis cousins were dead, and Sir Cynfyn majorly wounded. Sir Kay the Steward looked over the carnage under the Justice Tree and quietly told us to leave, though I believe they kept Sir Gwalchmai at Camelot for killing Bleoberis, a fellow Round Table knight.

And even though Cynfyn was in pain from his wound, he was cheerful thinking how pleased King Count Idar would be that we had resolved the problem between him and King Arthur.

I think that Lancelot fellow might have something to say about that, when he learns what happened.

Sir Perseus the Bold:

Where do I begin? We all survived the melee at the tournament in Paris. I think Gwalchmai accidently killed a few of his opponents, but we were okay. He had the honor of leading our side, deffered to him out of respect by the gracious Stephen of the Blue Fountain, a very couteous knight. I pity the poor knights who faced Gwalchmai in combat, even for love. most came away wounded, and some came away dead. Anyway, Ufo was declared the winner of the tournament, even though anyone with eyes could see Gwalchmai would send him over the cruppers every pass. But, in retrospect, perhaps it was best that way, since there was already a great deal of bad blood from the slain knights. There were challenges after the melee!

A young warrior, (I hesitate to call him a knight), challenged Sir Cynfyn. Cynfyn bested him without being hit. And a good thing too! the young rascal's blade was poisoned!!! Found on his neck was a pendant bearing the device of the DeGannis Clan!!! Oh, how I hate them! They are causing so much trouble. Once turned over to the King of France, his short future will now include terrible torture.

Also challenged, not surprisingly, was Gwalchmai. One famous knight attempted to revenge his fallen brother. The outcome was never in question as he joined his brother in death at the hands of Gwalchmai. Sad.

In a private dinner with The King of France and Ufo, several offers of assistance were made to Our Lord King Edar should the situation go ill with King Arthur. I hope it will not come battle. Having seen Gwalchmai in action, I shudder to think he would be on Arthur's side against us. None of this would be happening if the de Gannis knights weren't taking advantage of Arthur's good nature.

So, back in Britain, we come across a disgusted Sir Ector walking away from his defeat by Sir Tristan, a knight from Cornwall. We all tilt with him one by one, and he defeats us all. Except for Gwalchmai. He says he is going to Camelot where King Anguish is, so that he might gain his favor for the hand of his daughter, Isolde. When we arrive however, King Anguish is held prisoner! The loathesome de Gannis knights have accused him of some dastardly thing that is not even worth mentioning since it is a lie. Tristan agrees to champion Anguish against the de Gannis champion. But Anguish's own wife, the Queen, rushes out of the crowd and strikes Tristan with a poisoned dagger! Why would she do such a thing! Insanity! Poor Tristan, having just recovered from being poisoned my Sir Marhaus, whom he then slew, just to be poisoned again by the wife of the man he is trying to save. These Irish, I tell you... nuts.

So, now Anguish needs a champion. Gwalchmai can't do it since the champion for de Gannis is a Round Table Knight. Cynyn won't do it because he hates the Irish. So there it was. My chance! I hate the de Gannis. And you know what makes it ever sweeter? They were raised by the fey!!! I hate the fey!!!

As I faced my foe Cynfyn spoke my mind and demanded this fight be stopped unless the de Gannis knight's sword is checked for poison, a reasonable request considering recent events. They went crazy with indignation. So on one side we have a whole mess of de Gannis knights with blades drawn, and on the other we have the Leicestermen and our allies, ready to jump in and cover my back should the enemy stoop to nefarious measures. Well, they charged. WE charged. Gwalchmai, with a veteran calm, attempted to keep order. Cynfyn, Quillam and I cut down their Champion, then turned to other foes. I didn't see what happened after, since I was up to my shoulder in de Gannis blood. In the end we had three Round Table knights dead, including Bleoberis and Sir Ector, whom I slew. He was not quite dead when he fell, so I helped him complete his journey to the other side. In retrospect this was a dishonourable move, but he had it coming and I don't regret it. The de Gannis clan is full of lies and deceit. And let me tell you my friend, when your blood is pumping and enemies are all around with swords drawn, you make sure the ones who fall can't get up and stab you in the back, a move I;m certain is in the reperatoire of the de Gannis scum. It was the decision of but a moment, and I don't regret it. One less rat. Oh and on a side note, Anguish went free.

It should also be mentioned that King Arthur was not present for all of this. He is in the North on some tomfoolery. Present were two Kings of the Norht, who did not really do anything. Not very noble bearing at all. Sir Kay eventually showed up and told us to go home till we are summoned by the King to sort this thing out. I fear though that when we arrive home, we will find our kinsmen ready for war, and that the next time we see King Arthur will be on the field of battle.

Sir Amadis here...

Although I miss the green hills of Leicester terribly, I feel myself being caught up in the excitement of a new-made king's court. Theudic has only been king for a year, and the first anniversary of his victory over the French for repossession of his Spanish lands has yet to pass. The king is in the prime of his manhood and surrounded by strong, eager knights, all filled with the light of their noble purpose (that is, to regain their country from those well-coiffed Franks). It reminds me of the stories the Old Man told from the Resistance times, when the Saxons over-ran the old Duchy of Lindsay and my lord King Edar was on the run with his brave band of men...

And as King Edar made himself a new capital at Leicester-town (and even King Arthur at Camelot), so King Theudis wants to make the city of Barcelona his capital, forsaking the old king's seat in Narbonne. The court moved during the winter months, when the lower temperatures make heavy work more pleasant.

But while the state was topsy-turvy, word came from the south of Spain to court. The messengers told King Theudis that the Zazamancs were (again) restless, and this time they had the aid of the Byzantines of all people, and that the governor was requesting the king's aid in retaining the fortress of Ceuta. The king has his eye to the north, though, and left it to his men in Tarifa to safeguard the Straits. Shortly after he began plans to take his army north, though he will not say where we are to go.

The excitement is palpable.

I am Sir Cynfyn, Lord Bannerret of Medlarwod and Bunny, Knight of the Candlebees, sworn man of Count King Edar of Leicester. My man Odio here will record this.

I do swear.—O

We brought the good maiden to Paris without incident. Some of the Round Table knights shunned us, having expected my good Lord Count King Edar to accompany them. Sir Gawaine was his usual convivial self, and Sir Gwalchmai was our friend, as always. The only questionable part of the escort was Sir Aiden, the Irish prince. He is seeking a wife of means and family, but of course no one of sense would willingly graft an Irish limb onto a noble tree. He seemed to vent his eagerness upon our ward, but after I realized he was simply practicing that romance prattle, I tired to watching him. He is not of my party, and was named by King Arthur to his task. I’ve enough to worry about without also spying on an Irish knight and the queen’s cousin.

Paris is a ratty town, like London, but smaller and filthier. They hung tired old banners from the balconies and threw limp flowers upon the street before us. I’ve never seen such a collection of filthy, drunken men and debauched old whores as those who showed up to cheer us. Oh wait, yes I did. In Rome. Odio, did you know there’s an order of prostitute nuns in Rome that are dedicated to Saint Jezebel! Sir Lucius practically moved in there.

Ah, Sir Lucius, I’ll remember you well. He was that whore mongering lawyerly knight, who spent the time in Trond with Count King Edar in exile. No more, though. He was murdered in Paris—hung from a street sign one night. That caused some discomfort with King Claudas. It would do poorly to have such an offense mar the wedding between the two kingdoms. Promises were made, investigations were begun and I several times heard the screams of the criminals being interrogated. Personally, I figured that the old horn dog had bonked the wrong girl, but no one cared for my opinion, and Sir Gawaine seemed amused by the king’s distress. The wedding was completed, and we retired outside of the foul city to a grand tournament.

King Claudas is an ugly man, and despite all their √©lan, his men are slouches. The French are a backward people—hardly more than barbarians if you ask me—but one thing they did well was that tournament! It was a gala affair, with knights from all over the French lands and some from beyond. Thousands, I say. A glorious spectacle of chivalry from across the continent. Of course, none of them shone as we did, the original knights.

I was shocked when they declared that the jousting would be done for the horse and arms of each participant. Of course we participated, for the Honor of Leicester. What? Oh yes, and of Britain. I put aside Thunder, for I didn’t want to lose the biggest horse in all Britain for sport. I bested seven knights in all before falling to one greater than myself, a Sir Sigbert of Frankfurt, a subject of the French King. Sir Gwalchmi the Round Table knight won the joust, and in passing killed four and maimed six others. Wonderful sport.

For the melee we chose to be on the lesser side, that of Bretagne and some other western lands. The French knights are poor fighters, as I said, for we pushed forward with vigor until the Bretagne knights gave way and let the enemy into the camp. We never did that, though hard pressed. We fought under sir Gwalchmi.

I would have been done, but a stranger pressed me for a challenge, a fight unto death. I didn’t know the man, and after he insulted me and my lord, I took it up. He did not last long, and though he had challenged me to the Death I spared him. When they found his blade smeared with poison, the French heralds were ready to hang the stranger. He was searched, and tokens of the de Ganis house were found, and confessed to being one of them. Some urged me to kill him, as was my right, but I still did not. I turned him over to the King Claudas instead, to deal with as he sees fit in his land.

All us nobles were generously gifted by the king upon our departure. My Lady Lizabet and my men will all wear French silk to the Christmas Court this year.

Accompanying us back to Leicester were two diplomats from King Claudas, Sir Caldemar the Bold, and the Bishop of Troyes; and a priest from the Count of Tours, named Uno, who is the son of a famous British Duke Ulfius, who served under Kings Uther and Arthur. They wished to speak to my lord Count King Edar, and I have sworn safe passage for them. With their entourage, our return party is much larger than before, and so we return to Britain.

Now, those Damned Foreigners

I know now what is wrong with the King. It’s the foreigners—the de Ganis. They have done nothing but harm to Count Edar since they came here and poisoned the ears of our king. That’s what His Grapes Uno told me, anyway, before he stopped talking to me. Odio, what was that about anyway? He’s a bishop, a holy man and all like you, but he goes into battle in armor with lance and mace. Everyone knows that. So what did he say about Fightin’ Jesus again? Aunty Ma? What?

I do my best. –O

Pfh, he’s got balls. If His Grapes gives me that crap again we’ll see whose Jesus is tougher.

My Lord is amused.

See, it began when King Arthur was at Badon and the foreigners needed his help. Our king had said he would help them, because they helped him. But he didn’t, and so all of the lands of Ganis were conquered by that French King Claudas. And instead of staying to free their own lands then instead they all came here because our King Arthur is generous, and they said his Honor would be besmirched if he didn’t correct the error of his broken oath, see, the one that was when he didn’t help them. So now they are all at court when good men like Count King Edar are all at home doing what British lords are supposed to do, like keeping the land safe and rewarding his own good men.

See, that’s what was wrong there, with Sir Tristram. What right did those foreign kings have to be sitting under our Tree of Justice passing judgment on an Irish king for something that happened over in Ireland? Bullies, court bullies they are, all of the grasping and greedy and pushing everyone around because they have the king’s ear.

He is amused again.

But a few less of them to whisper now, eh Odio? Well, the king’s problem is over now anyway. This whole thing was because that Blamore convinced King Arthur to give him our Count King Edar’s lands for whatever cursed reason he gave. Now that Blamore is dead then that’s over, I would think. No more problem. I don’t think he has any heirs, since we killed his two brothers too. They were his brothers Odio, right?

Oh, brother and cousin then. They sure chose the wrong party to bully that day though. Poisoners, they are, all of them. First with that assassin in Paris, then with this attack. And you know they had poison on the blade, or else they wouldn’t have complained so loudly, you know. Fools. Attacking us, now three of them dead, and how many of their supporters? Only fourteen dead? I thought it was more. Fourteen then, and three that matter.

Now there’s only two of those bloodsuckers left, Sir Bors and Sir Lancelot. What? Lionel? A little rat—I meant important bloodsuckers. I’m confident that King Arthur will banish them all after he sees the crimes they and their men have done. Let us hope this little fight ends the trouble between our king and King Arthur.

Oh, and King Leinster is my witness, I struck Sir Blamore a fair wound when he attacked us, and I was attempting to bandage him when his vile brother struck me from behind. We were attacked, unprovoked, and defended ourselves. He swore that, did he not? Good. And the French bishop, too? Good then, I will rest again.

He sleeps. Lord FJ protect me from wounds like those.

Sir Blamore de Ganis, Blioberis de Ganis and Ector de Maris were killed at the Duel of the Oak. Sir Gwalchmi is under house arrest for his part, for they say he killed another Round Table knight. My lord praised our knights greatly for their parts in this. We are hoping that King Anguish’s word will exonerate us. My lord expects to be back on his feet in a month or two, “in time for the war,” he told me.