Friday, December 08, 2006

531 Adventure of Sir Turquine

Sir Clydno du Doight
Sir Trently of Salisbury, Round Table Knight
Sir Galonors of Salisbury
Sir Beryl
Sir Cynfyn of Clarence
The Adventure of Sir Turquine
We were visiting Camelot and for the first time I had the opportunity to directly swear loyalty to King Arthur. I naturally took the chance, and I daresay the occasion was more than extremely impressive. I was astonished at my own response, and I feel that my loyalty to him is perfect at this time! (Though, nonetheless, my loyalty to my brother the Earl is a bit more yet.)
[Loyalty to Arthur = 20, to Count Charles = 21]
The market at Camelot was fantastic, and we marveled at the new armor available. It is called Partial Plate and is superior to that old fashioned chain that I have been wearing. I spent the last of my inheritance, gifts and award money to purchase a set for myself, and also a fine courser to ride upon rather than the rouncy I have been riding. I have named him Bounder.
Much to our alarm we learned that Sir Leodegrance had disappeared! I have known this great knight since I was a page, and so naturally I joined in with many others to seek him. He had left with his retinue to travel to Essex on the main road. We traveled quickly, pausing occasionally only to ask if he had passed. We rode swiftly, even late into the night.
One night in southern Essex we sighted a huge fire off the road. We went to investigate and discovered an entire village afire! Even the church was aflame and bodies lay everywhere. The terrified peasants told us it had been a Saxon raid from the north, and that they had departed not long ago. I quickly found tracks, and even though it was night we set off quickly in pursuit. We followed a trail of footprints, horse prints and a cart for many miles in the darkness before we were ambushed by a screaming horde of Saxon bandits. I admit, I did passing well and left several dead or bleeding, sometimes even fighting two or three at a time. After all, they were just bandits. My armor stood me well.
But their numbers were great, and Sir Trently, our leader, signaled a withdrawal. We waited until day and returned to the spot and found the villains had not even taken out the bodies of their own dead. We did find the cart, hidden in some brush and with some treasure still in it, especially the gold cross from the burnt church. Sir Trently had it loaded onto his sumpter and we continued onward.
After some time we found a clearing, and at the far end a tree upon which hung a bell, and from its limbs were suspended many shields. We recognized many, including that of Sir Leodegrance! And, up a hill some distance father, a tall black tower, strongly built of stone.
Sir Trently, ever the courageous Round able Knight, rang the bell. After a short time a knight arrayed all in black and bearing arms of a black tower upon white rode gently into the clearing. We recognized this fellow as Sir Turquine, the famous Saxon lord who has never been conquered by our king. I urged an immediate attack by all of us at once, but the chivalrous knight, always trying to teach me their ways, denied that and instead spoke to the man.
Sir Turquine invited us to stay at his castle if we would accept his hospitality and the custom of the castle, a custom which he could not explain until we had agreed to take or leave his offer. It was well given, and it is clear he was a knight even though a Saxon, and so we accepted it. Then he told us his custom was that no man could leave until he, Sir Turquine, was defeated in battle.
We asked of Sir Leodegrance, and were told he had not accepted the custom and currently resided in a dungeon under yonder tower. There too was Sir Ector de Maris and many other knights.
The Saxon’s word was good for his hospitality, and I say that his tower was richly arrayed with tapestries and other luxuries. We ate well and temperately, and upon the request of Sir Trently, Sir Leodegrance and other goodly prisoners were brought forth. Our friend looked poorly, having been wounded and left in the dank dungeon. He accepted food and drink from us, but was sent back.
Sir Trently challenged Sir Turquine to fight that night, that Leodegrance could be relieved of his misery. But this was refused until the morrow, after a morning hunt for entertainment.
The hunt went well, and upon my swift courser I outstripped the other hunters in pursuit of a huge bull. I’d not fought these before, and thought to myself "What danger from a great man cow?" I cornered it, lowered my lance and charged while it lowered is own weapon and charged back.
What danger? Great danger, I learned, for it sidestepped my boar spear and as it passed tore my entire left side open with one great sharp horn. I daresay, I feared I would die. I barely stayed the saddle, and only escaped with my life when other knights came to challenge it. What a monster! It slew two horses and nearly two other men before it was dispatched.
I do admit, I am glad my new courser was saved, but the wound was grievous. Sir Turquine showed great concern for my well being and arranged for nurses to take care of me. I asked that, should I be required to stay, that my dear Leofaled be allowed to come to this place to care for me.
"Since you will certainly be staying, I so agree," said the generous host.
"No so sure," said Sir Trently, "for we have yet to fight for our freedom." I watched from a stretcher, barely able to keep conscious except for the excitement of the fight.
Sir Trently proved his worth that day, for in several passes he bested that black knight so that blood flowed from several great wounds. But then a fire of hatred burst from the Saxon’s eyes, and though he was afoot with a two handed axe and Trently ahorse with his lance, with one single blow he struck the Round Table knight a deadly blow which slew him.
What grief we knew then! Sir Galonors fairly frothed at the mouth with desire for revenge, even though he had been wounded that same day by the dolorous bull. But Sir Turquine his passion abated by his victory and his own blood, refused, saying there would be more honor for the winner if both men were fully healed to fight.
Thus we were prisoners there for another six weeks. We buried our dear friend Sir Trently nearby, the rites overseen by the priest taken prisoner from the village we had seen burned. Sir Turquine even allowed he prisoner knights to attend the funeral. We wept for that terrible loss. But that is the way of the knight, to live well and fight for justice, and to die if need be. I harbored no hatred for Turquine, just sorry for Trently.
My own stay was lightened by Leofaled, whose tender ministration and loving attendance nursed me to health once again. Though heavy with child, she had come to care for me. Indeed, the residents of that castle were amazed at our love, she an Angle and me a Cymri. I often saw her talking with them in their own tongue, and they often cast curious looks my way where I lay.
At last the day for battle came. It was, once again, a dire battle, but Sir Galonors was inspired by his hatred of Sir Turquine, who had slain our dear friend. They traded blow, sparks flying from arms and armor and blood scattering upon the field. Then at last Sir Galonors struck hard and the armor along Turquine’s side parted to reveal muscle and bone. He nearly swooned, we saw, and he at last yielded to the victor. Galonors tried to taunt him to fight to the death (I didn’t think that was normal behavior for chivalrous knights, but what do I know?) But Sir Turquine refused, insisting that the terms of combat had been met. He would free all his prisoners.
I thanked the Saxon knight for his hospitality, which was flawless. I was embarrassed by the conduct of my friend Galonors, for I fear his hatred for our host overwhelmed his good manners. But we were all able to travel, and we departed for our own lands and left Sir Turquine to his own lands and devices.
I fear that Sir Leodegrance has suffered for his time in the dungeon. He looked poorly, and I hope he makes it through the winter to come.
For me, Leofaled and I returned to my brother’s castle in Marlborough. There, in the fall, she delivered two healthy children (so much better than last year, when she fell ill from her miscarriage). I have named the son Trently, after my dear friend; and the daughter, named by Leofaled, is Sigrun.
A year ill for adventure, supreme for family.
531 Adventure of Sir Turquine
Got partial plate armor, new courser (Bounder)
Combat Glory 11
Annual Glory 88
Twins born (Trently, Sigrun)
I had thought to learn crossbow this winter, for hunting purposes and to use against villains swimming in the river and cursing my great King Arthur. But upon reflection of my experience with the bull and Sir Galonors with Sir Turquine, I will spend it instead in vigorous Spear Expertise. (now = 19)

Sir Trently's Thoughts

Again and again, back to Anglia. I would've gone home again after Pentecost court if word hadn't come that Sir Leodigrance the Lesser was missing. Leo! Not just a companion of the Round Table, but an old family friend and stalwart of Salisbury. Of course I joined in on the search.

Thinking that he'd gotten into it again with Lady Raeburgh, the group of us visited the lady—a towering oak as always—and Leo's other estates, but no luck. Fortunately, because of the good knight's ostentatious travel style we did pick up word of his passing near London. We followed his trail through Essex and into Anglia to its end-point, a clearing with large bell hanging from another oak. Leo's shield, along with those of a dozen and more knights, hung from its boughs.

I get uneasy every time I'm in this land, but still, I rang the bell. I knew what would happen. Sure enough, out rode a knight to challenge us by way of hospitality; an underhanded trick if you ask me, couching a duel inside a knight's lodging. We could have said no, but I didn't want to sleep on the hard ground and think of Leo cooling his heals in some Saxon's prison, so I accepted the hospitality and the unspoken challenge on behalf of the group.

Have I mentioned how incredibly LARGE said Saxon knight was? I mean, awesomely huge. His feet practically dragged on the ground as he rode upon his very stout charger. How do these Saxon women whelp such babes without splitting in two?

This Sir Turquine's castle was magnificently appointed, and his hospitality most cordial—to us. We asked to see the prisoners, and Sir Leodigrance in especial, and at first were denied, but we persisted and finally Leo was brought up into the hall. What a disgrace! Oh, not Leo's grimy, sickly body. The truth of Turquine's "hospitality" was standing there in front of us, putting on a brave face but obviously sick and grievously injured. We did what we could to help Leo before he was dropped back into the dark beneath our feet, and our resolve was steeled to do our best the following morning on the jousting grounds.


I acquitted myself well, I feel, and I have no fear about meeting my maker. I will, of course, miss my Lady Nia and our tiny daughter terribly, but I trust that my Lord Arthur and her great family will insure her comfort and care until we meet again. I pray, too, that where I failed one of my companions will succeed and free our brothers-in-chivalry from that snake in black.


Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?