"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 élan, 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.