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!
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.