17 December 2012 @ 10:39 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Third - Section the Sixth - The Search - 951 - 952AD  
I never did explain to anyone how I got my injuries, but then I was careful not to make a big deal out of them, because I knew if I did Father would definitely say something to the King and then God knew what a mess I’d end up in. Instead I laid low for the rest of the time His Majesty and his guard were in Monmouth, which fortunately was only for three more days.

I took this time to concentrate on what I could do and exactly where I could go. Tamworth still seemed a possibility to me, perhaps I couldn’t work in the official public library, but surely there were other libraries, perhaps in other towns, Mercia was a huge kingdom. Or perhaps someone needed a librarian within their private library, I had heard tell of private libraries that rivalled public ones in size and range.

And there was of course, the rather loose alliance of the six kingdoms, which aside from Caerleon and Merica, included Cenred, Camelot, Cornwall and Deria. Of course, communications between those further kingdoms was far more difficult, although there was always the possibility of Prowys. Although relations with that kingdom were nowhere near as cordial, there was no treaty or even a suggestion of one, so sending letters there was difficult and getting an answer was more a vague hope than anything else.

I decided that it couldn’t to write to anyone and everyone, once I got information of course. Fortunately, Father’s position meant that he had that from numerous contacts, in fact, I think he may had more contacts then the King himself. There were benefits to having a unified religion, although I never mentioned that particular belief to Father, he would have been bound to lecture me that that was the very last reason one should associate themselves with a religion.

If it had seemed like an eternity for me to get an answer from Tamworth Library, sending letters all over the south of Albion and waiting for replies was interminable. My seventeenth birthday came and went with no answers whatsoever, in fact I had all but given up when one day as I walked through the town my mind drifting when my thoughts were interrupted by the sound of Rhys’s voice.

“Geoffrey!” I turned to see him waving at me to come over and once I did he held out a folded piece of parchment for me. “This arrived for you this morning, I’m not sure where from.” Rhys couldn’t read, but obviously the messenger had told him who it was for. I thanked Rhys and looked the parchment over, trying to figure out where it might have come from, but it wasn’t really clear. There was a seal on it, of course, but it was not one I recognised, but then I hardly expected I’d be able to, if it was from a foreign land.

Having established that I wasn’t about to get any really useful insight from the seal, I broke it and unfolded the parchment, hoping I’d be able to read what was inside well enough. Some people really did have the most atrocious handwriting.
I was in luck, however, the handwriting was neat and concise and just a few lines was enough to make the senders meaning clear to me.

And it was a very...odd meaning.

The letter was from Cornwall, however, the sender was not recommending one of the libraries of that kingdom to me, instead he spoke to me about Camelot.

I really didn’t know all that much about Camelot despite the fact Caerleon shared quite a sizable border with it. From what I had heard of it, it was an odd kingdom, still immersed in the ways of the Old Religion, rumour had it that a group of the most powerful priestesses lived there on some isle. In amongst all this Old Religion importance, however, the kingdom was ruled by a family with very strong Roman connections, or at least as strong as connection with them as could be had when the Romans had not been in the country for centuries. It was for this reason that the kingdom was a rather turbulent place, a sort of uneasy truce between the old ways and the new, even as far away as Monmouth we had heard about the odd internal skirmishes taking place. For all that though, the kingdom was still standing, certainly no-one had thought to try and absorb it, not even Mercia.

But really, I had never really considered Camelot a possibility, even though its capital was rumoured to be the most spectacular of all the southern kingdoms. Its castle apparently put all others to shame, but despite my love of architecture I would need more than that to go there.

This letter though, seemed to be advocating just that, its writer a man called Ewaine wrote that while Cornwall had no place for someone of my interests the city of Camelot boasted the greatest archives in the land. That was the first I’d ever heard of this! However, I was not about to base the future direction of my life upon one letter, the problem was I had no idea who I could write to and how I could guarantee an answer.

As it happened however, I was in luck because when Father came home that evening he gave Mother and I the news that Bishop Grigor would be coming through town for a visit and not only that but Monmouth was but one stop on his journey, he was going to Brittany and because he was such a bad sea traveller he was travelling overland to avoid being on a ship as much as he possibly could. And one of the stops on his trip would be a small village on the border of Camelot and Cornwall where he would stay with one of the deacons there.

Well, as soon as I heard this news I got to writing and the next morning approached Bishop Grigor with the result folded in my hand.

He looked bemused. “I wasn’t aware you knew the deacon of Fielding.”

“I don’t,” I explained, “but I’ve been tying to find out where I should go to continue my education and someone suggested Camelot.”

“Camelot? Well, I know our kingdom is not known for a love of books and reading, but I wasn’t aware Camelot had such a distinction.”

“Neither was I,” I answered, “which I why I have to write to someone there, to find out if it’s really true. Apparently, its capital has the greatest archives in Albion.”

Bishop Grigor chuckled and shook his head. “That’s quite a claim, but then people do tend to have bias towards their own land.”

“But it’s not someone from Camelot,” I said, and hurried to my room to retrieve the letter from Ewaine, bringing it to Bishop Grigor. “This man is from Cornwall.”

Bishop Grigor looked the letter over, still looking uncertain, but at the end of it he shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I have heard tell of the closeness of Cornwall and Camelot, perhaps this Ewaine has a vested interest? But I suppose sending another letter can’t hurt. I would be happy to deliver it for you, Geoffrey.”

“Thank you.” I gave him a relieved grin.

“It will be a month before I return,” Bishop Grigor felt the need to reinterate this to me. “So you’ll have a wait.”

“I took nearly half a year for this letter to come,” I held up the one from Ewaine. “One month is easy to take in light of that.”

Bishop Grigor was only with us for another day and most of that was spent in discussion with Father, apparently his mission to Brittany had to do with further cementing ties with those there of the Christian religion. I found myself wondering once again if that would make communication quicker and more reliable, but seeing as I was not intending to go to Brittany it wasn’t really relevant to me.

While Bishop Grigor was gone I received some more replies from my various enquiries, all of which failed, it seemed no-one had a place for one such as myself. Frankly I was beginning to think there might be something wrong with me! This was becoming quite serious, time was running out, when the new year began I would be required by the laws of the land to put my name forward for duty as a soldier. They would of course wait until I actually turned eighteen before they called me up, but the fact remained that this would be the first step towards that possibility and I really didn’t want to be forced to run away, for all I knew that would make me some kind of fugitive. I would, after all, like to be able to visit my parents once I left the kingdom!
Current Mood: hopeful