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?"

"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.