22 January 2013 @ 10:13 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Ninth - Section the First - Cornwall - 960AD  
In the years that followed nothing of particular interest happened at least in so far as participating in any adventures to magical mazes or run ins with Priestesses of the old religion.

Gaius and I became great friends, however, which I found strange having never really considered friendship as all that important, I had so many things to learn after all. But then Gaius also had the same interest in learning as I did, although his quest for knowledge tended in one specific direction while I wish to know all manner of things.

Except perhaps about magic, for some reason I just found it…unnatural, despite Gaius’s statements that it was in fact that most primal force in the world.

“It’s connected to the power of the earth itself,” he told me at one point. “It is only through an understanding of the natural that one can truly use their power.”

“Does everyone have the ability then?” I asked, surprised.

“Well, no.” Gaius scratched the back of his neck. “So, I suppose it’s not exactly as intrinsic as all that. But the point still stands.”

“I don’t see how it can be natural if it involves making things float in there air, things don’t just float by themselves.”

“Sure they do,” Gaius insists. “Like dandelions in the breeze and feathers and leaves.”

“But that’s the wind.”

“It is, but a wind so imperceptible someone of our size can barely feel it, let alone be affected by it. Magic is simply magnifying this effect, bending it to one’s will.”

I still wasn’t entirely certain, but Gaius offered to demonstrate telling me to stand on the other side of the room and he would call an object to him.

So I did, and whilst I did sense the slightest breeze as Gaius called the book across the room into his hand. But still…I would never call it natural.

Our opposed views to magic aside, Gaius and I spent plenty of hours enjoying our debates and I might have even started enjoying going to the tavern.

There was also my tutoring of Prince Uther, who unsurprisingly was interested only in learning the bare minium and then returning to his duties as a squire.

I had to admit I still found it quite odd that someone Prince Uther’s age and not to put too fine a point on it lack of stature was allowed to perform these duties, squires are all were supposed to be at least twelve, but the Prince had begun at the tender age of nine. By now he was thirteen and extremely proficient at all the necessary areas, showing far better skill at that then with anything I ever tried to tutor him in. Every so often I would recall the Priestess Nimueh’s words.

I sometimes wondered about her and her strange manner, I asked Gaius about her once.

“The Priestesses of the Isle of the Blessed are a very…closed group, mysterious in their ways.” He spoke with quite a bit of reverence and made a face. “I can’t believe you actually saw her. Up close I mean.”

I made a face myself. “It wasn’t very exciting, she spent most of her time laughing at me.”

“Still, there are so many things I’d want to ask her…the Priestesses are the most powerful magic users known. You saw how the High Priestess simply appeared. And how easily the two of them moved those apples.”

“You can move things,” I pointed out.

“Nothing like that, I can bring it straight over to me, put I can hardly keep them up in the air like that. No, that takes a great amount of skill.”

He gave a disappointed sigh, and I whilst I wanted to, there wasn’t anything I could say to make him feel better.

But returning the issue of Prince Uther, the boy...or young man I suppose… had become secretive over the recent weeks, even more so than was usual for him. I was unable to get any hints about why this was so.

If I paid more attention to the outside world and the machinations of the courtly life I probably wouldn’t have realised and not been so surprised. Or perhaps not, since the big news had to do with a tournament and there was a tournament every year in Camelot…in fact sometimes there was more than one. I barely paid them mind although every so often Gaius would drag me along to one, to keep him company I supposed since as Linus’s apprentice he had to spend the entire day among the tents helping to tend to any injured knights.

The tournaments were very important to the people of Camelot, they lapped them up and not just for the economic opportunities such things offered. They really seemed to enjoy the contests and the entire experience, crowding the stands that were erected around the tournament field and placing bets on who they thought they would win. Prince Kentigern was usually the favourite in the tournaments, but that didn’t stop the people making bets on others to come second best or get injured in particular areas, which struck me as rather off putting.

The tournaments worked on a rotating schedule of events, one year it would be a standard duel, the next jousting, the one after that a melee.

When Gaius came to the library on the morning of the tournament I hadn’t been keeping track so I had no idea what this particular year’s event was. Gaius soon enlightened me and my heart sunk.

“Everyone’s favourite, the melee.” Gaius announced and rolled his eyes.

“Not yours, I guess?”

“The number of wounded men that results from that sort of thing,” Gaius groaned, rubbing his forehead. “It’s just sword wounds and broken bones everywhere.”

I shook my head. “Why would anyone want to participate in something like that?”

“You’ve been tutoring Prince Uther all this time and you don’t know how a knight’s mind works?” Gaius raised an eyebrow.

“Prince Uther isn’t a knight yet.”

“Won’t be long now, though.” Gaius declared seriously. “I’ve seen him out on the training fields when the knights have finished. He has great skill.”

“I’m sure he does, but he seems less than interested in injuring himself.”

Gaius chuckled. “Well, I’ll certainly admit that no knight goes out looking to be hurt. I don’t think I’ve ever met a one foolish as that.”

“So why exactly do you want me to come along? Am I to provide you with some sort of entertainment?”

Gaius grinned. “Of course, not to mention the fact you need to get out of that library now and then, after all, Cedas rarely leaves the place and look what happened to him.”

“Cedas isn’t that bad, you know.” But he had a point, even I had to admit spending all my time in the library was probably no good for me. If nothing else the library was very dusty and every so often I ended up with watering eyes and a runny nose from it and it was a lovely day.

As we neared the tournament fields I could all ready hear the cheering and the sounds of clinking armour as the knights made their preparations. If there was one benefit to a melee tournament, however, it was the fact it was far shorter then most of the other tournaments. There was only one battle, the melee as opposed to many rounds whittling down the pool to two opponents.

Of course it was still a week long celebration and the beer and mead flowed freely, and there were, of course all the merchants out and about attempting sell whatever they could. I must have been offered every type of clothing known on earth and quite a few different kinds of herbs and spices.

Gaius paused every now and then to make a purchase, but I declined any offers, herbs and spices weren’t really my thing, plus I had neglected to bring any money with me.

When we arrived at the tournament grounds I have to admit I was very impressed by the multitude of different coloured flags and tents. Each knight had an emblem, a standard and some of them could be quite…creative.

“Gaius, there you are!” Linus was not in the best of moods, but then when was he? “Where have you been? We have to get everything ready, the melee is going to happen within the hour.”

“I’m sorry, Linus,” Gaius as always addressed his mentor respectfully, but I could see a spark of merriment in his eyes. “But I saw some offers on a number of herbs that we’ve been getting low on that were far too good to pass up.”

The herb purchases were sufficient enough to calm Linus down, still Gaius had his duties such as ensuring the medical tent was adequately prepared for the incoming injured who would soon be flooding into it.

Sometimes I would offer assistance but I was usually rebuffed, apparently my bandage rolling skills were so sub par they weren't even worthy of the name, so Gaius would wave me of and tell me to enjoy myself as if it had been my idea to come in the first place. Still at least I was free to roam around and perhaps learn more about genealogy, which had in recent years become a key interest of mine.

Although it wasn't as easy as all that because knights weren't the most conversational sorts at the best of times, let alone when they were preparing for a fight. It gave me a chance to examine their colours and emblems up close and apply my knowledge in trying to find out just how far back their families nobility went and where abouts in Albion they came.

While moving about and making sure I was relatively inconspicuous - one does not wish to get on a knight's bad side - I noticed one particular standard the likes of which I had never seen before. It was a curious emblem, sort of familiar but at the same time not, I wracked my brain, trying to figure out where I might have seen it before, but since the field was so new to me I didn't have much luck. I was curious enough about it that I actually considered asking the bearer about it, but he seemed nowhere to be found. Eventually I moved on, but still I wondered. At one point I passed the Crown Prince's tent, easily identifiable by the Pendragon flag flying a top it.

The Crown Prince himself exited as I walked passed and seemed quite surprised to see me.

"Geoffrey of Monmouth! I didn't think it was possible to have you leave the library except by royal decree!"

I grinned, I was forever surprised by the Crown Prince, he sometimes seemed so far removed from the rest of the Pendragon family. I don't believe I'd ever seen him in a sour mood, ready for battle with all the seriousness that required yes, but not in a bad temper like his father and uncles and Prince Uther.

"I have been know to leave that fine place so that I might experience life on the outside." I replied, which was certainly not something I'd dare do with his father.

"Well, it's a pleasing sight to be sure, often I fear that our own Cedas has developed a serious aversion to sunlight. Everyone should be able to enjoy the wonders of a tournament."

Well, that wasn't exactly my reason for being out here, but I wasn't about to correct the Crown Prince, instead I simply nodded and remarked on the lovely weather.

"It is indeed, which benefits some of us," he grinned. "The men from the north for example are far more used to inclemate weather and chills in the air. I predict they will fall first."

I didn't doubt that the Crown Prince would be proved correct in that assessment. I supposed if I were a betting man I may have immediately rushed to the nearest gambling den and put some money on that exact thing happening. I was not a gambler however, so that was not my inclination. Instead I spared a thought for Gaius who, doubtless, would need to dress all those wounds, Linus would deal with the more serious injuries.

The Crown Prince told me that he needed to get back to his preparations and bade me a good day.

I wished him good luck and continued on my way, although my thoughts continued to stray back to that strange yet oddly familiar emblem, if only I could figure out where I'd seen it before.
Current Mood: curious