Tuesday, July 17, 2007

544: Tournament Circuit

[No Aaron tonight, so we postponed the adventure of the king of cats.—Suzanne]

Count Mortimer here...

Three children in as many years of marriage was just too much for my Lady Vivian; she succumbed to a fever of childbed and died a few days after our little son was still-born. So goes the world.

Young Leodigrance came by with his dogs to cheer me up, then my son Lancrius and his companions dropped by...so nice to have a full manor-house during the holidays. Leo and young masters Doon and Gerin and I decided to ride down to Camelot and look for wives. I convinced my son Monroe to come with us, as it's been years now since Lady Elaine left him. (I didn't tell him that I fear for the health of his grand-son.) He agreed and rode with us. Quite a merry party!

Sir Lancrius chimes in

We had such a rough time in Carduel that I convinced the guys to stop in at Silchester and prevail upon Father to resupply us. He made us tell about our exploits first as a show of whether we were worthy or not, that old man, but in the end he gave Doon and Gerin chargers and myself a rouncy so Reginald doesn't have to ride the pack-horse anymore. I knew he would. He even permitted one of Lady Vivian's ladies-in-waiting's cousin's sons to accompany Doon as a squire. I'm not sure how that will work out. Doon doesn't seem at all sure what to do with a servant!

Count Mortimer again...

Young Leo spoke for Doon with my good King Arthur, hoping to find him a place somewhere at Camelot. However, Sir Doon has many rough edges, to be expected from a knight of Dorset, and King Arthur upbraided Leo at court for his choice of a knight to sponsor. Leo took it well, and has used the words of Arthur as impetus to improve Doon's knightly virtues.

Then, at Sir Tor's suggestion, we hit the tournament circuit to look for wives.

Sir Lancrius butts in

Gerin and I had another run-in with Sir Kay. I would call him a creampuff except he's full of hot air. Some guy came up to us after we'd mocked Kay to his face and told us to "watch for the keys." Whatever. Sir Gawaine was kind enough to compliment me on my tights, so I gave him the name of the tailor Tor and I used.

Leodigrance had a smashing idea, and had matching tabards made for us to wear while going 'round the tournaments. Fabulous! They are green with a yellow hound at hunt, and all lined up on our chargers, we are a dashing sight.

Leo fought in the first tourmament we went to, a little neighborhood affair up in Brun. I won the joust, and Monroe won the melee. Go Salisbury and the Order of the Hound!

We rode over to Petersborough next for a local tournament near where Monroe's manor is, the one King Arthur gave him. He again won the melee, and I the joust. Sir Aggravain was there, and we were both quite chuffed to beat his ass on the field. We almost felt like brothers. Leo kept father company in the stands, checking out the ladies, as Leo still wasn't feeling too good from a fall he took in Brun.

We heard that the Queen's family was putting on a tournament up in Carohaise. Before we departed Petersborough, a wagon showed up with a package for Sir Leo: a huge, very grand pavillion in the colors of the Order of the Hound, plus crates of finely-made paper-mache dogs for our helms. We shall look smashing at the next viewing of the windows.

Sir Tor was at this one, as many knights from the region. Tor was quite impressed with our Order of the Hound get-up. I wish we had done better here, but Gerin and I were being ganged-up on by knights with badges featuring keys, so we couldn't help as much as we would have liked. Still, we did well enough that we continued on down the road to a tournament in Guinnon.

Count Mortimer once again...

While traveling through Essex on the way to Guinnon, some of the boys spotted what looked like bandits shooting off the road into the cover of the nearby woods. I could see their blood was up, so I gave permission for them to pursue; after all, it's only right that Arthur's knights should keep Arthur's roads clear and safe to travel. Monroe stayed with me, "in case they should feint and attack the baggage train," he said though I'm sure he was thinking "in case they come after your decrepit ass, old man." Not that I couldn't kick the hiney of any Essex bandit from here to the Channel and back, but I appreciate his sense of filial responsibility. We were there several hours, and all was quiet, then the boys came riding back, covered in blood and leading two prisoners and a horse laden with armor.

I looked close and, whoa-ho! Is that...the king of Cornwall being led by young Sir Doon? Why, yes. I don't know why Cornishmen would be raiding so far from home, but as Lancrius tells me, as soon as Doon realized where the knights were from, he went berserk and started chopping them in twain, separating arms from bodies, torsos from legs, heads from shoulders, until finally only one knight stood between Doon and Mark, whom they did not yet recognize. The knight would not surrender, but the king, seeing his dismembered bodyguard, did.

I think Doon should have his pick of the ladies once we return to Camelot with this wily scoundrel in tow. Good job, lad!

Sir Lancrius interrupts

How quickly fortunes change! One winter chained home by marriage, that spring free to roam. Or begging a horse off some lord one month and the next, leading the King of Cornwall on a string! These were his words poised before the king:

"Surrender or die, Mark King of Cornwall and not Devon! Surrender in the name of King Urban! I win either way, Kingie!"

Father kept a close eye on the preceedings in order that Doon gets what is coming to him. He should have the ransom next year, though the glory for this deed he is accruing now, as it is THE talk of the kingdom. Well done, Sir Doon of Devon!

I think we may try to ride the tails of Doon's glory on a few more tournaments before the summer's over.

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