Saturday, March 31, 2007

538: Rumors

Sir Monroe reporting

Not much to report, really, as Father refuses to let me adventure, and besides, I have my hands full running Werrington, raising the girls and doing as much as I can to help Father in the running of Silchester and his lands in Salisbury. Father's stamina is not what it used to be, but my brother Elliott is proving himself to be a most capable Steward

Oh, Lancrius came by to announce that Clarian, Lady Ysabet's club-footed son, had been killed whilst away adventuring in Cambria somewhere. Lancrius looked pretty upset, but then again, he and Clarian were always pretty close, being the only two in the family with black hair. Not that we ever talk about that, eh?

Sir Cynfyn, one of Lancrius' companions, wed and there was quite a feast down at Greenbriar. I think everyone in Salisbury was ready for a celebration, so it was quite the blowout, especially as it was hosted by good old Leodigrance. I took young Zenobia to the wedding, as she is 16 now and ready either for marriage for Amesbury, however the pieces fall.

While on a trip to London to procure some timbers for some construction Father is supervising, I thought I espied Sir Trently's old man-at-arms, the Ethiop, ah, Wendimu. That's it, Wendimu. But the crowds around the docks were thick with foreigners, and before I could be sure I lost the sight of him.

I was surprised late in the year to get another visit from Sir Lancrius, back from a summer's adventuring. He got to go off searching for Queen Guenevere, as did we all, but he unworthy knave actually found her and had the great honor and privilege of rescuing her! Damn him to hell! Why could it have not been me, a worthier and more worshipful knight of our blessed Queen's beauty and benevolence? My heart was burning in me at the thought of rescuing the fair queen, when with a quiet word he froze it cold: Melliagraunce, the dastard who kidnapped the queen, was riding an enchanted palomino...given to him by one of Sir Gawain's brothers. Could it be, after these 14 years, that I might be able to fulfill my oath to avenge the death of King Pellinore and kill his murderer(s)?

A week later, in disguise, I stole out of Werrington and headed for Camelot and word of Sir Gawain's whereabouts.

537: TPK

Lancrius here

Well, what a shit run of luck we've had, eh boys? Ever since that rascal Monroe waltzed into Camelot in the train of the King of Over There.

The winters were mild, but everyone seemed to be snuffling or bedridden with sickness. Dear old Dad had a couple of bouts that laid him low for several weeks at a time...he's really looking rickety these days. We didn't tell him at first that Lady Betty had died, but then I think old Buford finally let it out. He didn't take it as hard as when Mother died, but he can't bury himself in work like he used to. Then one of the little ones died—I think it was one of the girls—and then for like a week, it seemed like every rider coming to the gate bore word of another friend's passing.

Fall in the year 538 is passing us by as I write this, and in that brief year and a half, we've received word at Earl Robert's court that, in addition to my step-mother and little sister, Lady Raeburgh passed away, dear Lady Leofalid (you know, Sir Clydno's wife) died in childbirth, Count Chuckie died, my little brother dear Clarian was struck down while jousting in far-away Gwaelod along with Sir Beryl, Sir Galonors, and Sir Gerin. Palmarin, my brother's squire, came back with my brother's arms. I found Sir Cynfyn in Sarum and after grieving for our fallen comrades and kin, I gave him little Clarian's saddle, the one Dad had especially made to help keep him in the saddle and out of harm's way. Dad took that pretty hard when the Earl told him the news. He left for Camelot shortly thereafter.

Sir Leodigrance the Lesser, reeling from loss as we all are, gathered together those of us comrades-in-arms left in Salisbury and gifted us with a manor each. We then rode to Sir Roderick's manor to visit with him (he's one of Leo's brothers), my sister Lady Anabel, and the children. Monroe was supposed to show up, but sent word that "business in Silchester" kept him away. Uh-huh.

And then the real kicker of the year? My poor Pansy, the world's best horse that ever a poor knight could hope to ride, ate some bad acorns and died.

I took him back home in a cart, and Reginald and I dug a grave for that splendid beast under the apple trees in Durnford. May he eat of its heavenly mast all his days running through the green fields of heaven, Amen.

537. The Bad, Bad Year

Oh, Dire Year!
Death, unseemly and silent, is everywhere.
My duties were heavier than usual. My friends, the great adventurers Gerin, Galonors, Beryl and Clarian passed through, seeking companions to go with them. I could not. My brother lay abed, coughing hard day and night. His daughter was more distraught than I, and sent for the best doctors in the land. Alas, they were busy everywhere. Many of the court officers were likewise ill, including our Marshall, and so I spent much time on patrols and training the men.
I worried about my brother, the good count who has done so much for me (he gave me a mural room of my own, you know.) I should, perhaps, have looked in my own little chamber more often. Woe to me, for when I returned one day I found much dole and grief in court among the ladies, but not for my brother who still lay abed, now hacking up blood. Misery, it was my own beloved Leofaled. She had taken abed, pregnant as she was, and swiftly the illness took her. No more those sweet arms to hold me, that blond hair to caress, her fair and frail form to hold in bed each night. Alas!
And then good Count Charles was delivered into the hands of God as well. And others, but they are nothing compared to my dear brother, a peer of the realm, Round Table Knight and hero of the Saxon Wars.
Over the summer word came of other tragedies. Lady Raedburgh, that doughty old Saxon wife of Sir Leodegrance, also succumbed. Lady Betty, wife of Mortimer the Count of Silchester shortly afterwards. Oh, children everywhere, many ladies and good knights fallen before the scythe of the Reaper of Souls.
I thought it could not become worse. Then one day Squire Palmorin stopped into Marlborough, leading a sorry band of three other squires whom I knew. He wept as he reported the dire events that befell his good knight, my friend Sir Clarien, and the other three. I shall not dwell upon the details: they are all dead. They entered into the hidden Kingdom of Gwaelod, seeking the Best Wine in the World and adventure. Apparently Sir Beryl, who must have been ill to so sully his judgement, attempted to free the queen there, perhaps even to steal a goblet of great worth. (Greed was always Beryl’s flaw.) The king did not take that well and killed Sir Beryl. The other knights, moved by their friendship for Beryl, fought beside him though he had done ill. They paid the price—they were all killed. They are buried, I am told, at Caer Gai, the manor where King Arthur was raised in secret.
I ought to have gone to church more. I know it now. The finger is not enough when I comes to the welfare of my family. I pledged to spend more time in church, and even began to go to Mass. I only pray now that my children will be spared.
I will tend to the affairs of my niece, the Little Lady of Marlborough, and help her obtain her inheritance from King Arthur. Surely she will need my sage advice and experience. She is young and beautiful and perhaps the most wealthy heiress on the island, now, but just a teenager. I will watch over her as my brother did, keep her from harm, and help her to find a good and honorable husband. Surely no less than a Round Table knight or foreign king will do for her!

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