13 December 2012 @ 10:29 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Third - Section the Second - The Search - 951AD  
As so happened, I did not have to wait long to discover whether or not Prince Caerleon remembered who I was. I hadn’t really thought about that King’s promise that he would one day visit Monmouth. The promise had been made so many years ago I figured he had forgotten, which wasn’t really all that surprising, the King was a busy man.

But for whatever reason in the summer of my sixteenth year, the town received word that the King and his main guard would be riding through Monmouth at the beginning of July.

The whole town was abuzz with this news, the visit of the King meant that hundreds of people from surrounding farms and villages would be crowding in to catch a sight of their monarch. In turn this meant there needed to be plenty of food and lodgings available and of course the town needed to look its absolute best so as to impress the King.

As the Bishop, Father was going to be particularly involved in the celebrations, he had to create a sermon and write special blessings for various events. Meanwhile, Mother joined forces with many ladies in the village to make all sorts of delicious delicacies, there was one important benefit to all this, namely that there were a lot of test runs of various food to try and I of course made sure that I was always available to be a tester.

In fact, I was looking forward to the King’s visit as much as anyone else in Monmouth until we heard more about his main guard, for some reason I hadn’t even considered that as the heir to the throne, Prince Caerleon would, of course, rank among them.

That news immediately made me change my outlook on the King’s visit. Now I wished I had some sort of excuse to be out of town, fearing what would happen if the Prince saw me. Perhaps he wouldn’t realise who I was, but perhaps he would and if he did, what exactly was I meant to do?

I attempted console myself, thinking that realistically as long as I kept far away from the prince and made sure we only met in public places I would be perfectly safe.

However, I couldn’t hide my distress and Father eventually noticed it and took me aside one day to ask me about it, when I explained he shook his head.

“Geoffrey, son, you really do worry too much. I can assure you it’s been many years since you saw the Prince, you were just children then, now the he’s a trained knight –“

“Is that meant to make me feel better?” I had to interject.

“What I’m saying is he’s had many more life experiences and I really don’t believe a childhood rivalry will even enter his mind. Apart from anything else, the Prince will have meant thousands of people in that time, I’d find it hard to believe he’d even remember you.”

“Maybe he won’t…but he could still hate me on sight anyway,” I thought that was quite likely. “You don’t understand how much he tormented me back then.”

Father shook his head. “Everything seems worse when you’re a child, Geoffrey, you’ll be fine, I assure you. You probably won’t even see the prince, at least, not up close.”

I can’t say I believed him, but I gave him a smile because…well…what else could I do?

As it turned out, things were so busy in the lead up to the King’s arrival, I didn’t really have enough time to worry unduly. All the young men in the village, including myself, where pressed into service, carrying this and that hanging flags and banners from the buildings in the main street. Lord Folant ended up going to extremes, at least in my opinion, many of the buildings were repainted and the day before the King came everyone in Monmouth was recruited to clean the streets, actually clean them, as if the King was expecting them to be glimmering when he rode in. I will admit though, the result of all that scrubbing was quite spectacular, to this day I can still clearly picture how Monmouth looked on that day.

At the time however, I was decidedly anxious as the day arrived and not only the entire population of Monmouth, but what appeared to be every person within twenty miles of the town lined the streets awaiting the arrival of the Royal party.

Father was dressed in his finest robes for the occasion and he looked quite different at least to me, awe inspiring in fact and though I greatly respected Father I’d never before seen him as such. In fact, when he came out wearing the golden robes and holding his staff of office, Mother and I actually bowed our heads to him. His response to this was to laugh, and suddenly he was Father again and we all hugged each other.

But as I stood in the street I realised that Father’s statement that I would not even see the Prince up close had one flaw to it… As the son of the bishop I would be standing in the greeting party, about as close as one could get to the King. So, I was trying not to shuffle from foot to foot and instead had to content myself with swallowing hard.

Lord Folant had commissioned trumpters to announce the arrival of the King, he had hired two dozen in fact and they lined the main road to Monmouth. It had the effect of letting us know the King was drawing near as in the distance we heard the fanfare as His Majesty passed one pair and then another, coming closer and closer. I might have grabbed onto Mother’s hand when the group of around twenty men appeared in sight. I thanked God that Caerleon wasn’t a kingdom that liked to armour its knights, I may well have fainted dead away had I seen them in gleaming armour, they were intimidating enough on horseback.

Everyone bowed low as the King and the Prince passed and I probably made my bow last the longest, if only to hide my face, but eventually I had to straighten up if I was to avoid looking completely ridiculous.

And of course, as soon as I straightened up I found myself eye to eye with Prince Caerleon and in that moment I realised, unfortunately for me, that he did still recognise me.

And furthermore, it did not seem that he was willing to let bygones be bygones.
Current Mood: scared