19 January 2013 @ 11:03 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Eigth - Section the First - The Visitors - 956AD  
It would be unfair of me to suggest that the moment the Duke of Cornwall's party left that everything descended into utter chaos. All things considered things were quite calm and Prince Uher's manners had improved. Was he as polite and considerate as he had been with Lord Gorlois's influence, no, but he did at least treat the library with greater respect.

I was, I admit rather surprised at the progress he made, by the time he was nine he could read quite well - although he would never do so for fun - and I dare say his grasp on mathematics was going to be far better than my own.

In the meanwhile, when time permitted I continued my studies under Cedas learning such skills as genealogy, authenticating documents and mending damage to books.

Gaius would visit me often, because although Linus had his own rather extensive library sometimes there were things that were beyond the typical medical and medicinal scope of the Physician's collection.

It was during one such visit that one of the messengers appeared in the library, I didn't pay him much mind at first because there were rarely messengers for me, but then Cedas called me over.

"For you, lad, I believe it's from Monmouth," he remarked as he handed it to me.

Monmouth! I practically tore the parchment in half in my haste to open the seal, fortunately I didn't, I could guess who the message came from of course, but I couldn't imagine why they had gone to the trouble of having it delivered to me personally, usually letters from home were left with the general servant messages. Personal delivery cost extra after all.

"What does it say?" Gaius had appeared over my shoulder, which didn't surprise me since he could be, not to put too fine a point on it, rather nosey. Still he meant nothing bad by it so I wasn't really bothered.

The letter contained surprising news indeed, at least as far as I was concerned:

Dearest Geoffrey,

Mother and I sincerely hope this missive finds you well and that you are enjoying yourself.

We are especially pleased to hear that the prince is showing you more respect, often all the young need is a little guidance and they prove themselves to be kind individuals -

"Don't think anyone could accuse Prince Uther of being kind," Gaius interjected and I gave him a look. Really he could at least pretend not to be reading over my shoulder, it was really quite rude. He had the grace to look embarrassed and moved away so that I could continue undisturbed.

I'm sure you're wondering why tahis letter has come to your directly, the reason is we have exciting news. Pope Maximus has called for each diocease to select a bishop to represent them and travel to Lyon in Brittany for a conference. In have just now been informed that of all the bishops in Caerleon I have been selected!

Mother and I have decided to make an adventure out of it and rather than sail from Caerleon we will come via Camelot.

We will be travelling from Monmouth a week before Midsummer's Eve and hope to arrive in Camelot for that festival.

I do hope you'll warmly welcome us and have enough time to show us some of the sights we have heard about.

Looking forward to seeing you soon my son.

Much love,
Your old parents

I looked over to where Gaius and Cedas were, the sooner peering over the shoulder of the latter. "My parents they're coming for a visit," I could barely keep the excitement out of my voice.

"All the way from Monmouth?" Cedas sounded very surprised.

"And why not?" Gaius asked, giving me a cheeky grin. “If Geoff could manage it anyone could.”

“I was referring to that, I was referring to the fact that your father is a bishop, isn’t he?”

I nodded.

“Camelot isn’t exactly...a haven for the New Religion,” Cedas explained looking almost concerned. “In fact you could call Camelot the centre of the Old Religion if you were to call it anything.”

Gaius shrugged. “Geoff’s parents are coming for a visit, not to convert anyone. Right, Geoff?”

“I imagine not. I wouldn’t call my father the converting type.”

“All the same, members of the Old Religion can be quite...sensitive to any hint of intrusion on their ways. If nothing else warn your parents not to travel anywhere near the Lake of the Blessed” Cedas continued gravely.

“The Lake of the Blessed?” I repeated, curious, I hadn’t heard of it before.

“It’s to the south-west, the Isle of the Blessed is located in the middle of it.”

I hadn’t heard of that either.

“It’s where the Priestesses of the Old Religion live,” Gaius spoke up, he gave Cedas a look. “But I hardly see any reason for your parents to go there.”

“It’s near the sea,” Cedas retorted.

“But not a port. Really Cedas, you worry too much,” Gaius waved his hand dismissvely and came over, putting an around around my shoulders. “Don’t worry, Geoff, your parents will be fine. When are they coming?”

“They said they should get here by Midsummer’s Eve.”

“Brilliant! They’ve picked a great time! The Midsummer’s Eve festival is one of the highlights of the year.”

Cedas looked as if he had a thing or two to say about that, but Gaius steered me out of his earshot before continuing. "Don't let Cedas get to you," he advised me. "The man's a worry wart through and through, really then priestesses of the Old Religion couldn't give a damn what Christians get up too."

Well that was a relief, although I was well aware that one of the tenants of Christianity was to spread the Word, still I didn't think Father would be here in Camelot long enough to do anything of the sort. I was also quite certain he would have mentioned in his letter if anything like that was going to happen.

Still, I was curious a out one thing so asked Gaius about it. "What rituals does the Old Religion have? I mean everyone knows about the festivals Beltane and Samhain and the like, but what do followers do outside those times. There's no weekly gathering or anything like that is there?"

"Like mass you mean?" Gaius shook his head. "No the Old Religion is more a style of living, everything one does is an offering to the Triple Goddess."

"Christianity also requires a style of living," I replied, I hadn't gone to mass since leaving Monmouth - there wasn't anywhere to go -, but I recalled that.

"True, but that style is more...forward facing, a means to an end, getting to heaven and all that. The Old Religion is focussed very much on nature, the here and now." Gaius clarified and I nodded.

Something occurred to me. "Should I notify the King of my mother and father's visit? Does permission need to be sought for a bishop to come through these lands?"

Gaius laughed. "You should notify the King, of course, but not for that reason. The royal family isn't really of the Old Religion, it's more a customary thing and excuse to celebrate the festivals. Still a bishop would probably be considered a person of some importance, the King may wish to have him presented."

I sincerely hoped not, but on Gaius's advice I notified the Council, not expecting to hear back from them. Imagine my surprise the when the day before Midsummer's Eve a messenger came to the library with a royal request for my presence.

Cedas, who had spent no small amount of time since I got the letter shaking his head and issuing warnings told me good luck as I headed out of the library and followed the messenger to the Council Chambers.

Council was in session, King Aurelius sitting at the head of the long conference table with the royal brothers and the other noble lords sitting either side.

"Geoffrey of Monmouth, your Majesty," the messenger announced me with a bow.

King Aurelius gave a curt nod to the servant then turned his attention on me, he seemed not to recall I had been his scribe only a few months’ ago or that I was tutoring his nephew.

As it turned out he didn't speak to me himself, instead one of nobles did so. This Council has been made aware that your father, Bishop Gildas of Monmouth will be passing through Camelot in his way to Brittany."

I nodded, unsure if I was supposed to answer or not, the Council seemed satisfied though and the lord continued.

"This is a personal visit then?" He queried me, his heavy brow furrowed. "There is no religious intent?"

I shook my head before realizing this probably was a question that required a spoken response. "No, my lord, he and mother just want to visit with me and attend the Midsummer's Eve celebrations."

The King gave a grunt, but did not speak to me, instead he nodded at the lord.

"This question is pertinent only because we are expecting a visit from the High Priestess of the Isle of the Blessed tomorrow."

I blinked a few times, perturbed, had Cedas been right after all and I'd just landed myself and quite possibly my parents in no end of trouble.

"We request only that your father keep himself to himself, we do not wish to upset the high priestess, discretion must be used."

I breathed a sigh of relief and made a somewhat awkward bow to the King and the rest of the Council.

"Of course, my Lords...Your Majesty...Your Highnesses, I assure you that you won't even know we are here."

The King waved his hand dismissively and the lord thanked me for my attendance - as if I'd had any option but to come - and I all but ran from the chamber.

I went to find Gaius immediately and I admit I may have been a bit rough on him, but being called into the Royal Presence was something I had never expected.

Gaius looked apologetic. "It never occurred to me that the High Priestess might be coming, her visits are very rare. But still to be honest with you, I really don't believe she will care, unless your father starts giving sermons in the town square. It's a precaution really, no-one's ever sure what mood the High Priestess will be in you see."

This was becoming more confusing by the minute at least as far as I was concerned, however I couldn't request that my parents cancel their trip now so there was nothing for it then but hope and pray for the best.
Current Mood: excited