Sunday, February 19, 2006
Taking a quick break here during what is turning out to be a tumultous summer—and, considering some of the summers I've seen, that's saying something.
So the tourney was quite fun, and my dear Ysabet looked radiant in her new clothes and jewels. She certainly looked the part of the wife of the Marshall of Salisbury. As did my retainers: before we left I had specially-made surcoats and banners sewn for everyone. We were the very picture of beauty!
I wish my showing in the melee had been as good as our appearance, but these knees of mine couldn't take the lancing, so I was out pretty quick. Young Earl Robert was so eager to do himself proud, I'm afraid he also had an early exit. No harm done, though, as we fought with "rebated" weapons, blunted and for the most part harmless. A game for boys, really, but the ladies were impressed, and that always counts for something.
But the real stir, the real commotion, was that, during the tournament, a young squire somehow pulled that sword locked fast in the stone, out of the rock. Not once but several times! A feat which, though many tried, none could duplicate. Oh, the foreigners were outraged! Petty kings, counts, earls, everybody is gathering their men and marching to London to try their own hand at freeing the sword. In the meantime, myself and my doughty knights of Salisbury are guarding the sword in the stone day and knight, while the Count of Rhydychan and Gloucester guards the young squire.
The year is far from over; I'm taking a quick break from our battle preparations to jot this down. The foreign nay-sayers all came to London to try their hand at the sword, but none could pull it from the stone once Arthur set it back in place. Red faces all around, and not all from exertion. The commoners clamored for their king, so Arthur was knighted and crowned at a most glorious ceremony. My knees kept me from dancing with the Lady Ysabet, but young Earl Robert kindly escorted her around the dance floor while I gamed with the Salisbury lads. Her shining, lovely memory in my mind's eye is what keeps me going this summer. We've been on the road for months. Outside Carleon we fought an army of disgruntled northerners, though I don't remember much of the battle, as I was laid out by a savage blow. I spent months recuperating in the castle before the army was again on the march, this time to Bedegraine. Count Belinger—may he soon find a wife!— captured the King of Garloth, while I myself only captured the enemy standard during second day of fighting before my wounds forced me from the field.
At Carohaise, in the kingdom of Cameliard (where I have never before been), we battled King Rhiens of Norgales; a very short battle. I didn't even participate! It went poorly for us, with many of our knights killed or captured, including my cousin and steward to Burcombe Manor, Sir Mordecai. What was left of Arthur's army recuperated at the castle. (The king's daughter is quite lovely.)
We finally were sent home in September, but the weather that was so good for fighting wasn't so good for the farmers, and harvests were poor.
How did the year end? With a complete shocker: Sir Ulfius ransomed the Salisbury knights! "A deposit on money owed," he said. I jus about fainted.