Saturday, February 28, 2009

530 - Pentecost Challenges

Count Edar of Leicester

Oh how is it that a year that began so joyously could turn so quickly to ash? The year opened with glad tidings from London – The beehive had returned! I assembled my knights and we rode in great parade to receive my Lady Valerie. Though I had not seen her in years, one look upon her and I felt as if we had not been apart. It was clear to me that some of my knights had assumed I boasted of her beauty when I spoke of her – these same men looked upon her in rapt admiration. She presented my two sons, both healthy and learning something of Britton ways – from Sir Lucius I suppose. We left and I took delight in showing her the way to our new home in Leicester.

When we arrived in Leicester, I begged Valerie to wed me formally, in the Christian tradition, so that our union would be recognized by all who live in the domain of Arthur. Although she clearly thought that the ceremony was unnecessary, she consented. Such a celebration was had! I invited all of my family, neighbors, and of course the King and his court. I daresay that it was the greatest celebration Leicester had seen!

For Pentecost we traveled to the city of Carlyle. I had provided Valerie with the jewels from my campaign to Rome, as well as a gown of the finest Roman silk. It suited her beautifully. Imagine my surprise when I was called before the Queen and her so called Court of Love. Perhaps it is my exposure to Ygraine, and Elaine before her, but I find that while Guinevere is a lovely lady, she does not seem to understand knights as well as she thinks. In front of her ladies, and indeed, all the ladies of court, she challenged my devotion to Valerie. She claimed that I dressed Valerie to poorly for one of her station! I was shocked and didn’t know how to respond. I thought that Valerie was radiant in her new dress, and that while it was not gaudy, it was at least the match for any other woman in court. The Queen disagreed. She actually had the audacity to challenge the devotion the men of my line have felt for their wives over time!

As I stood there thinking of what the Candlebees would think of this Lady challenging my devotion to my adored Lerry, or especially my beloved Christine, I was fuming and nearly began to sputter. To think that this woman believed that I did not love Valerie because I did not drape her in the wealth of the county! Did Valerie not come from a kingdom that had retrieved a dragon’s horde due to the actions that my men had taken? I observed her in Trondheim as we grew close, and I knew what she truly appreciated. It was not gold, or gems. Had she wanted for anything I would have given her everything! While I was being berated by the Queen and trying to determine how I might respond without giving insult to the King, my beloved spoke up. Valerie came to my side and challenged the Queen on what she said. She then began to rend her dress to show how little such things meant to her. I asked how I might prove to the Queen that I care so deeply for my wife. The Queen suggested that I take a piece of my Lady’s garment and wear it as a badge for the year to prove my devotion to her. At the next Pentecost, I would tell the court all that I had done in her name. Of course I agreed without a thought.

The next day a strange event – a tournament with dulled weapons was held. Bledri fought on the side of Arthur’s kin, having married into that line. I fought alongside the men of the South. Imagine my surprise when Elaine’s son challenged me personally! The fellow felt that I had wronged he and his mother. Right was on our side, and we bested him in the field combat, the tilting, and then Bledri defeated him before I could face him in single combat.

At the end of the feast Arthur announced his plans to conquer Ireland. I of course volunteered to accompany him, though Bledri seemed strangely reluctant to go there, insisting that it was an evil place. If only I had listened to him.

Sir Amadis Contributes
Well, it is my turn to be laid up while my sweet wife looks after me. We had a particularly rousing Bottle-kicking this year, and I broke my leg. I hobbled to Idar's court anyway, and that damn snooty Sir Cynfyn rubbed my face in it -- enough that I finally challenged him to a duel, which he deferred until I could stand, and sit a horse. My lord was called away to the wars in Ireland, and because of my leg, left me in charge of the garrison of Leicester City. Ah well, more time to spend with my comely wife.
And that dastard Cynfyn stood me up! Never showed on the appointed day for our duel. All talk and no spear, as we say 'round Medbourne.
So instead I vented my wrath on those damn Lambor boys, who constantly test our borders. After Sir Honorius came into Leicester complaining that Lambor had run off a herd of his cattle and trampled his fields, I took a group of lads southwest of Medbourne and did some mischief to the fields of Husbands Bosworth and Lamport before riding back through the market-town so folks could see we weren't taking Lambor nonsense lying down. As my count is still away in Ireland and us men bored to tears with garrison duty, we have taken it upon ourselves to keep Lambor on its toes by continuing our raiding towards Lilebourn.
It's fun! And as the peasants are on Idar's side, as long as we concentrate our energies on the knight's properties and send a little extra the peasant's way, they keep quiet when Lambor rides up. I can't wait to see my lord's face when he hears of our work on his behalf.