12 December 2012 @ 11:35 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Third - Section the First - The Search - 950AD  
Upon our return to Monmouth, things became very quiet indeed with no more trips on the horizon.

I spent many hours thinking of the grand library in Tamworth and whilst it seemed a strange thing to be contemplating, I considered what my life would be like if I left Caerleon for Mercia. I wondered what Mother and Father would think of such a move and I wondered if those at the Tamworth Library would even allow me to work with them. Perhaps there was some sort of rule about only using native Mercians…I had no idea.

So I decided I would write to Bede and see what he had to say about my proposal.

It was the first time I’d ever written a letter on my own behalf and I made many drafts before sending it off. I wanted it to be perfect after all, I was attempting to prove my creditals as an apprentice.

If writing the letter didn’t prove to be difficult enough, sending it was even harder.
Messengers were hard enough to come by and since Monmouth wasn’t considered a main thoroughfare yet weeks often went by without one of them riding through. And even when they did it was usually in the opposite direction and there was no guarantee that even with our treaty, letters passed at the border would be carried onward.

Still, it was the only way I could possibly get word to Tamworth, so I took the chance, although I didn’t expect to get an answer.

And for a long time I didn’t. Many months passed and I had almost forgotten about even writing the letter when one day, while I was in town Lord Folant, owner of a high number of farms in the area, waved me over.

“Someone knows who you are, young Geoffrey,” he greeted me with a smile.

“They do?” I asked, confused.

Lord Folant nodded and pulled from his coat a folded piece of parchment. “This came for you, from Mercia. I had no idea you were in contact with anyone there, you personally that is. I know you father has sent the odd missive to the bishops in that kingdom, but this is from some sort of library.”

My heart leapt and I almost grabbed the parchment from his hand, I managed to control myself however.

“I…well…I visited the library when I was there and I wrote to them a few months ago.” I explained, trying not to blush as I wondered what Lord Folant thought of that. He didn’t seem upset, just surprised, it seemed Father’s prediction that old hatreds and distrust from years of fighting had diminished and the mention of Mercia no longer brought suspicion.

“A few months ago,” Lord Folant laughed and shook his head. “We really must work on making things a bit faster. Well here you are, I hope the news is good.”

I hoped so too. I thank him and gave a little bow, before turning and walking away at an even pace so as not to attract too much attention to myself, as difficult as that was.

Once I was sure I would be undisturbed I opened the seal on the parchment and opened it, my hands shaking slightly.

The letter was from Bede himself and as such it took me a moment to get into the rhythm of his handwriting and thus be able to read what the letter said.

It was a nice enough letter, Bede remembered me thanks to some antecdotes I included in my letter to him, but as I read on, I quickly realised that it was not at all good news.

Bede thanked me for my interest in being his apprentice, but stated that because of the prestiege and importance of the library in Tamworth, any apprentice had to be picked from Mercia’s own subjects.

The letter ended with him wishing me luck and saying that I was always welcome to visit and high hopes that I would find an apprenticeship within my own country.

I wasn’t too sure about that, Caerleon remained a kingdom without much interest in public libraries. Our people were more interest in martial conquest and trade deals.

My only hope for an apprenticeship of the type of sought here was the Royal Archives and I was still unprepared to expose myself to something like that. Although, eventually, it occurred to me that more likely not, Prince Caerleon wouldn’t even remember me.

One could always wish right?
Current Mood: hopeful