Friday, April 27, 2007

541: Off to Strangore

Sir Lancrius here...

Earl Robert gave me leave to adventure this summer instead of staying in Sarum, so when Sir Clydno and the guys came through on their way to Camelot I waved goodbye to the men stuck on garrison duty and rode off post-haste.

I expected court to be jumping—it usually is, but this year it was a bit...subdued. Oh, well. I was happy enough to be looking at a year of adventure and travel. I am completely devoted to Earl Robert, and I love working close to family, but sometimes Sarum seems so small. Predictable, you know?

Imagine my surprise when King Arthur called together Clydno, Brevis (you know, of the Dyke), that strange fellow Gerin the Weaker, a Sir Doon the country bumpkin (you know, of Dorset. Yokels.), and one of Gerin's brothers, a Sir Bradwyn (that's Gerin the stronger, a son of the Great Duke and as fine a knight as ever rode horse). The king wanted to thank them personally for lifting some magical curse, and to ask them to escort some priest up north for some proselytizing among the Picts, if you can imagine. That Sir Badwyn is awfully religious, and chivalrous, and of course Sir Clydno has The Finger, so they were pretty up for it, and kindly asked me along. Way to go, boys!

Or so I thought. This priest, called Tathan, refused to ride a horse—or mule, or donkey, for that matter. Yes, we walked all the way to Strangore. By the hairy balls of St Cuthbert! (Sir Evan taught me that one) but we made slow progress. And this priest is particularly holy, so the usual knightly entertainments were kept to a strict minimum.

We stopped in at Marlborough to visit Sir Clydno's little ones, rambunctious as ever and very pleased to see their father all dressed up in his knightly kit. Clydno says that he will mourn poor Leofalid one more year, but watching him with his children, I have to wonder if he will not extend his mourning period for his young son Trently....soon enough we were back on the road, very uneventful as we stuck to the King's Road the entire way to Carduel. Nice enough town, and the wall was impressive. King Bagdemagus is a fine fellow and a right good knight, though he's had bad luck with his sons: Meliagraunce, whose dastardly kidnapping of the Queen we foiled, and a Sir Malachai, who did nothing but provoke us. I was amazed at Sir Clydno's restraint, because this Malachai succeeded in goading Sir Gerin. A disastrous breaking of hospitality was averted, and we left quickly the next morning, though good Sir Bagdemagus sincerely asked us to please return on our way home.

That Sir Malachai caught up with us on the road, and Clydno gave him what for with his lance, knocking him to the ground. He took his toys and, pouting, rode off home while we continued north.

In marked contrast to Sir Malachai of Gorre I now tell of Prince Gereint of Strangore, a handsome, strapping young man of good knightly virtues. We spent a few days in his father's castle of Alclud Dunbarton before, reluctantly on my part, continued north toward the Picts. We hadn't gone far from Alclud when Gerin and I encountered a party of Dal Riad raiders, whom we rode down for the sheer pleasure of engagement. After scattering them we took their ill-gotten loot, some finery and a few horses, back to the others, plodding along with that priest in tow. Then...

[to be continued next week]

Lady Melonie, a lady-in-waiting to Lady Rosemeade, wife of Sir Leodigrance the Lesser, curtseys and says...

Count, please sir, I come laden with bad news: Lady Rosemeade, newly married this past spring to the courageous Sir Leodigrance the Lesser, Marshall of all Salisbury, died in childbirth this January, and the child with her.

Your other grandchild, young Zenobia, prospers beneath her mourning robes, and passionately awaits news of her father, you son, Sir Monroe. As it has now been three years since our dear lord went errant, young Zenobia bids me ask you to please send Elliott or cousin Caius to manage the manor of Werrington in Sir Monroe's absence. She also bids me convey to you her love and filial devotion and wished you continued good health and strength in arms.

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