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.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

533: Dischord at Camelot

Sir Perseus of Leicester:

My first task as a knight! We knights of King Edar are to escort a maiden of Queen Guenevere's court. At the feast where we received this order, I was in rare form. Many people I have seen, thanks in great part to my father's glory. I was able to attend many functions with him when I was a child. Remembering all of my courtesy, I greeted and recognized EVERYONE at court! Briton seems very much smaller than I recall. Even the pages and handmaidens I recognized. I'm sure father would have been proud. We spoke with High King Arthur about Edar's claim to lands north and south of Leicester, namely Lincoln and Lambor. The King was reminded of his oath to Edar on several occasions to confirm Edar's rightful claim. But, it seems the King's broken word to the Aquitainians is more important. It seems the King will try to mend one broken oath by breaking another. Not a very noble thing to do, if you ask me. Still, being King must be difficult. No matter what he decides, someone will be pissed off. Derfyl, or this new Count Bedigraine, or Edar. Edar made a wise suggestion that he be made Duke of these disputed lands, and that way everyone keeps what they have, and the strongest and most glorious among them, (Edar), takes the rightful position of rule. We will see.

As we rode south through Lambor on our way out of that land, we were confronted by several knights entering. Round Table Knights! There was Sir Lionel, and Sir Bors, and another knight whom I fought but just fumbled my awareness of his name. Anyway, to my shame, I was defeated on each pass. At least I lost to a Round Table Knight. This Sir Lionel made rude noises about my Lord King Edar, then knocked Sir Lucius off his horse when confronted. Sir Cynfyn and all us Leicestermen took immediate offense and a melee ensued. Cynfyn got the better of everyone, wounding terribly Sir Lionel. The fight was broken up when Sir Bedigraine road through. I think many grudges were made that day. These de Ganis knights are going to be trouble, I think.

I am Sir Cynfyn, Lord Bannerret of Medlarwod and Bunny, Knight of the Candlebees, and Odio here will record this. I swear it.--O

Our old friend Sir Gwalchmi came in late winter, bearing word from King Arthur for King Edar. Our lord was summoned to come early to the High King’s Whitsun court. We set off at the end of April, in a cold rain and raging rivers. We traveled by the King’s Road and got late to Lambor in two days. The steward, a new fellow there, seemed nervous. The next several days were clear and brisk, and the roads were crowded as always. No events delayed us—it is the King’s Road after all—until south of Kinetown.

A procession of knights approached from the south. As we were travelling south the commoners were already clearing the road. They all bore the arms of Aquitaine, notably many of the de Ganis clan. King Edar hailed them as fellow Round Table knights—three of them, Sirs Lionel, Blioberis and Bors. I heard, indeed, we all heard, Sir Lionel slander our own good king and of course I will never allow the honor of my King Edar to be shamed so I rode up and challenged the dog, “to joust” I said and rode off to gain distance. He took his spear and we each broke lances. When rearming Jerry found a lance head in my shield, where I had used a harmless jousting lance! I saw that others of us were also fighting, so took my best spear and charged against his attack. Round Table he might be, but this knight dashed him down, and then his brother Blioberis too, dogs both of them. I was prepared to knock them all down, but the fighting was over. Gwalchmi had broken one of them in two—I doubt nothing now of that dragon story! Another even greater procession came about the bend flying the banners of Marshall Sir Griflet and High Butler Sir Bedivere among dozens of knights. Fighting stopped.

Sir Bors apologized for the high spirits of his men, and while the many dead and wounded were borne off, slipped away. Sir Bedivere explained that they were going to Lambor to invest Sir Blioberis with the title and rights of earl to Lambor. King Edar showed nothing when this as said.

King Edar wasn’t silent on the ride though. We discussed the insult that King Arthur had given to him by bestowing promised lands onto a court favorite. Countess Valery said she wanted to return home immediately. King Edar has patience as great as his sword skill, though, and great faith in the sovereign. We reached Camelot in mid March, and after a few days of welcome and feasting our lord was taken, with a few key advisors, to the king, in his bedroom. I do not know how it is done, but the room was actually warm, though there was ice outside.

King Arthur told us he needed an escort for his niece to Paris, who was to marry into the family of King Claudas. He wanted King Edar to go, who balked, and finally King Arthur asked what was troubling our lord and so he brought up the matter that the High King had violated his oath by giving away the lands he had promised to Count Edar at his coronation, and swore again at his wedding. Our good king explained that he owed many favors to the de Ganis, and tried using argument, flattery, appeals to past friendship and every other diplomatic art short of threat and coercion. King Edar, ever in the right, parried each argument and came back to Justice each time. At last the king, admitting nothing, said he would make a final judgment on this next autumn. As an act of generosity the high king gave King Edar a great treasure to repair his castles. Our lord assured him that this would be done.

All of us of Leicester are shocked at King Arthur’s arrogance, and many bold and foolish words were said at first, until King Edar silenced them. He bestowed upon me leadership of the escort to France while he would go home to Leicester and repair fortifications, as ordered. He’ll confer with his wide-flung family and friends, hire some armorers and fletchers, and stuff the castles with provisions.

Sir Amadis here...

A very interesting country, this land of Carthaginiensis. They have many strange and divers customs, one of which they call the siesta, whereby each family retires for several hours after their dinner. I found it odd at first, but with the great heat of the day I find it enjoyable to take my ease and wait for the cooler evening hours. Both the low- and high-born take this siesta, and also keep hours late into the night—on all nights, not just feasts or holy days.

And in the afternoons, thus refreshed, the caballeros—that is, the knightly class—entertain themselves by fighting dangerous animals. At first I was amazed to see these men engage with beasts whilst on foot, but they persuaded me to try it, and it was quite fun. Because I prefer to fight with my spear, in the style of Leicester, they call me the Pickador, Amadees El Pickador. As we waited for King Theudis to return to Toledo, they tried me on successively larger and larger bulls. Finally I went into the village ring with a great brute of brindle bull. This was an older animal, and clever too, and managed to slip the tip of a horn into my flesh and ripping upward. Ooh, that hurt! I went over the top of his head, sliding off his neck and hitting the dirt before I managed to stand up and thrust at him with my bloodied spear. That did him in, and I sank to the ground, just about done in.

A month or so later I was well enough to ride with my new cousins to Toledo, where I was introduced to the king, who has asked me to join his household. As charming as the seaside life is in little Gilet, I accepted. Seven of my cousins will join me in Theudic’s household, and in a few week’s time we march to meet the French in the north of Spain.