Thursday, July 26, 2007

547: Old Sarum's New Castle

Count Mortimer beams

Folk have stopped asking during the New Year's festivities, Where will King Arthur hold Pentecost court this year, because the answer is always the same: Camelot. Don't get me wrong! I'm very proud of Camelot. It's a lovely castle, and the queen loves her gardens and terrazos. The public waterworks and sanitation controls are working beyond my expectations, I am also pleased to admit.

But Camelot I was able to build from the ground up (seeing as how the old Marshall and I had burned it to the ground repeatedly during the Troubles, there wasn't much to clutter the canvas). But when Earl Robert approached me a number of years back about doing a redesign of Sarum's keep...well, I not only had the storied history of Sarum to honor, but a fairly crowded landscape in which to work. It presented its own set of problems. It took longer than I expected, though some of that I attribute to bouts of illness. But now it's done, and on May Day the Earl hosted a tournament at new Sarum Castle to show it off. Earl Robert called it the "finest in the realm" and he was not the only one to express such a sentiment. I am so proud!

The king and queen were there, of course, sitting with the earl and countess in the royal box, along with myself, Leodigrance the Marshall, and a few other Salisbury notables, when we got a special treat. Unbeknownst to me, Cardenio, my head mason, had commissioned a waterspout bearing my likeness and that of Ebble, Leodigrance, young Count Charles, the Lady Ellen and Duke Roderick, Duke Bellengere—heroes of the Troubles that ended when my lord Arthur became Pendragon and king of the realm. I was touched, I admit. I wish dear Monroe and Lancrius had been there to see it as well.

Speaking of Monroe, his lands in Lonazep are faring poorly, and this summer I received word at Silchester that little Zenobia, Monroe's bastard daughter, died in childbirth. I think my boys must be dead, too. If I have no word of them by this winter, I shall have my son and steward Elliott make arrangements to pass control of Figsbury from Lancrius's people to my daughter Anabel and her husband, young Roderick. You know, Sir Ebble's boy.

That scoundrel Mark is not paying his taxes as he should. I'd give him an attitude lord Arthur has only to say the word! It's not like I don't know his castles inside and out. Hmpf! I spent enough time in their dungeons.

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