Trial by combat. An accepted practice throughout as much of the civilized world as I knew about. Was there ever more compelling evidence that your average sixth century king, usually the greatest warriors in his kingdom, didn’t have enough logical ability to reason his way out of an open burlap sack?
Suppose you match two fighters, neither of which has an advantage in arms or armor. Which one do you suppose wins? In 99% of the cases, it’s the better fighter. Either the stronger or the faster or the one who’s spent the most time in the training hall. Or the one who cheats better.
When I trudged home from the Old Boar’s Head, it had been overcast and pitch black. Not a star visible, plus that typical English mist that chills you to the bone. But the morning was crystal clear. The ignorant and the superstitious—which covers just about everybody—actually believe that on tournament or feast days, Arthur orders the rain to be gone by sunrise. Of course, he can’t really do that. Even Merlin couldn’t. Or rather, Arthur can order the rain to do whatever he wanted whenever he felt like it, but the rain would end up doing whatever it wanted to. Like ordering a woman to do something. Morgan, especially.
NB: sorry for the late post today. It’s been a very busy day. But I wasn’t going to bed and leave you hanging. I’d never do that!
I never got a chance to speak to Nimue. The place was a madhouse. Knights had been steadily filtering in since news of the discovery of the Grail had spread throughout Britain, and almost everybody was back home. Notably absent were King Hoel, Sir Ector of Donard, Sir Aglovale, etc. Well, I wasn’t spilling the beans about where they were. I mean, I had a deep-seated loyalty to Arthur as well as my oath, but I didn’t think either necessitated taking sides in the squabble between him and his sister. Besides, if the truth be known, I was pretty fond of his sister. She was bright, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable to talk to. Plus we’d shared some good times, whether totally under my own volition or not.
You’re pretty fond of two of his sisters, I corrected myself.
“Welcome home, Kay. Can I assume your mysterious trip was successful?”
Arthur had invited me to sit beside him at dinner. The Great Hall was its typical lively hubbub. Cambry was attempting to sing a new ballad about Galahad and the Holy Grail, but the volume was too loud for him to be heard. Fool was standing behind Cambry, mimicking his theatrics, but he too wasn’t getting his share of attention. Only Arthur’s intervention could have brought any sense of calm to the gathering, and he apparently had no interest.
“Honestly, Sire, I’m not sure. Things went as expected. Or as hoped, rather. But I won’t know for sure until we see some results.”
“That sounds rather mysterious, brother. When should we expect that to happen?”
I preach this advice to all who will listen (both of you), and yet last week I got caught up in it myself. I had to totally recast the villain of the holy grail saga in Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail–in the original version, the unholy trinity were Morgause, Morgan le Fay and Nimue. Of course, we all know that Morgan is not a villainess at all, and Nimue, well she’s definitely on the side of the goddess. Not to mention George Foster’s mate and the mother of Merlin’s daughter.
We’d dallied around Morgan’s ‘Happy Camp for Wayward Boys’ until mid-afternoon, then dawdled along our way to the Castle Malodorous, timing our arrival for well into the night. Well, no use riding hell-for-leather if you’ve got nothing serious planned at the other end. I’d deemed that riding up in full panoply and begging the Count for another walk in the garden with the Princess, under the full moon that had risen an hour after sunset, was doomed to fail. So our quest was pretty much a bit of a lark. And why not? Things were likely to go to shit pretty quickly when we got back to Camelot.
The night flew by too quickly. Sex with all of the trimmings and techniques that I’d learned from Morgan, but the joy of emotional involvement elevated our lovemaking to a whole new level of enjoyment and fulfillment.
I managed to sleep a bit, only to be awakened by a lewd exhibition of ardor that I would have thought more fitting of Morgan than Elaine. Well, just goes to show how little I knew about women. Fortunately, I seemed to be learning quickly. Or perhaps it was merely that sexual enthusiasm ran high in the family.
Maybe I can get up to Orkney and make it a sisters trifecta.