Saturday, October 14, 2006

528: Escape to Pictland

Sir Jerry, late of Sussex

Sometimes the walls of Sleaford press in on me so. Drinking usually helps, as does a weekend of terrorizing the peasants in Anglia. But Ethelinda and her damn relatives got on my case this spring, Florence packed my bags and we lit out in the middle of the night for what these days they're calling a summer of errantry. We headed north.

Ah but it was pleasant to be out and about, free and unfettered again! Just like the old days of riding with the old man, clearing Salisbury of Saxon invaders. I thought about visiting the marshall but I thought Ethelinda would look for me there, so we headed up through Malahaut, almost to Gorre before I ran into an old friend, Sir Gilbert. You know, of the Hoe. He's from Rydachan; we used to ride together back in the day. He was with another of the Great Duke's men, a Sir Berel, a fine knight with a bee in his helmet. Gilbert and I fell into old times and just kept Berel company on the road north to King Uriens court. Oh but it was fine to swap stories of the old days with my good drinking buddy!

The king is a fine fellow, and keeps a good court. His son, Sir Yvain, is something else. He must get some of that "wow" factor from his mother, the beautiful but somewhat creepy Lady Morgan. They say she's a witch. I doubt she has warts, is all I'll say.

The road north of Gorre, north of the Antonine Wall really, isn't really a road, and Berel promptly got us lost in the Caledonian forest. Big ravens up in those parts. And other, more vile creatures. We were attacked by four of the have ever seen, and some of those Saxon battle-axes whelp some ugly babies, lads. These were beyond ugly. When Florence took a big hit, we decided the prudent course of action would be an orderly retreat, as he is an invaluable squire, especially when he is the only squire with us. It was dark, and we thought we'd made good our escape, but they attacked again. And they brought their ugly cousins with them. At least the darkness shielded us from their hideous complexions. Berel and good ol' Gilbert were hit, so when I saw reinforcements—a very large lion—appear, I retreated to cover Florence's escape. Wouldn't you know, it turned out to be Sir Yvain's lion, with the knight close behind.

Dumb luck, that.

Anyway, he escorted us to King Carados's castle and, when Carados demanded a ransom to stay away from the White Castle and the legions of the devil's son-in-law, Sir Yvain loaned Berel the money. What a guy. I believe Berel's grandchildren will still be paying off that debt when we're all dead and buried.

So now I guess it's either continue on with Sir Gilbert on this quest of Sir Berel's, come up with some quest of my own, or go back home. I hear there's a lot of pretty ladies at the Fisher King's court.

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