18 December 2012 @ 10:39 pm
*NaNo Project* Part the Third - Section the Seventh - The Search - 952AD  
I had thought having to wait a mere month to receive a reply via Bishop Grigor would be more than easy, but as time is wont to do, it began to drag on interminably and soon I was starting to wonder if it had stopped all together! Surely I could go to Camelot and back myself in the time this was taking! I supposed it did at least give me a chance to bring up my plans with Mother and Father, after all, if I had told Bishop Grigor what I was planning to do it was only fair that I tell them.

“Leave Caerleon?” Mother demanded once I had finished, she looked at me horrified. “For the rest of your days? Why would you wish to do such a thing?”

For a moment I thought she was jesting, I may have avoided letting the whole town know that the Prince had assaulted me, but Mother and Father knew well enough! So really, why was the question needed?

However, the way she was looking at me made it quite clear that she really didn’t understand my thinking.

“Not for the rest of my days, I’ll return for visits of course,” I promised. “It’s only that…well, there’s nowhere for me to apprentice here. And I have to leave before my eighteenth birthday.”

Father looked concerned. “Your eighteenth birthday? This isn’t about the year of solidering are you? I’ve told you Geoffrey, you have no reason to worry. I managed to get through it right enough.”

“You don’t understand, Father, I can’t be a soldier, especially not if the Prince is going to be inspecting all the troops.” Which is apparently something he did, at least that was what heard from gossip in the town. Not that I listened to gossip of course, well, not on purpose, but sometimes you couldn’t help hearing things.

“I will admit that the Prince seems to have taken quite a dislike to you, Geoffrey,” Father spoke, clearing his throat. “But how one acts off-duty is quite different to how one will act when conducting an inspection.”

“I’m sure it will be, Father,” I said, dryly, “who knows, perhaps he might have an accident with one of those bow and arrows he prizes so much.”

Mother looked concerned now. “His Highness does seem to have quite a temper, Galfridus,” she turned to Father, “there’s no denying that. But still…to live Caerleon altogether, Geoffrey? Where will you go?”

“I told you, I’ve been looking for an apprenticeship throughout the six kingdoms.”

“But you haven’t got a response yet.”

“I have…of a kind, a man who runs an archive of ships in Cornwall wrote back to me to suggest that Camelot might be a good place for me.”

“Camelot?” Mother looked aghast. “What do you know of that kingdom? I have heard the strangest tales from there.”

Father looked a little concerned himself. “They are certainly the least Christian of the six kingdoms there is no doubting that.”

“I assure you, I do not plan to turn to Druidism,” and I wasn’t, the…naked dancing was too much for me. “And the rest of it…well, it sounds more like the sort of tales parents tell their children to make them behave.”

“Perhaps a lot of it is,” Mother admitted. “But if even some of it is true.”

“That’s why I’m awaiting Bishop Grigor to return with the letter from the deacon he knows. I’m sure a man of the cloth will be honest with me and if Camelot really is as bad as you say I won’t go there.”

Mother reached out and patted my hand. “Well, good, I know you have a good head on your shoulders, Geoffrey.”

Well, yes, I did, although I was still desperate to ensure that I never had to be near the Prince in a military capacity. If Camelot didn’t prove to the place I could go to, I’d have to find something… Perhaps Mora had a need of someone? Or maybe even Northumbria could be an option, although admittedly we knew even less about life there than we did about Camelot.

I felt a sense of relief after speaking to Mother and Father, like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I hadn’t even realised it was there! It also seemed to have the effect of speeding up time, or at least returning it to its normal pace and the last two weeks of waiting for Bishop Grigor to pass through was not nearly so excruciating.

Bishop Grigor arrived on a Sunday, which meant that a large portion of that first day was taken up with religious observance, I must confess I was even more distracted than usual! But it was hard not to be, my entire future was potentially resting upon the letter the Bishop was carrying. How was I supposed to remain calm in the face of that?

Finally, church services ended for the day and I was able to ask Bishop Grigor if he had brought anything back for me.

“Ah yes, Deacon Maxim was more than happy to provide a reference for the kingdom of Camelot,” Bishop Grigor looked rather amused as he reached into his pouch and drew out a folded bit of parchment which he handed to me. “With the proviso that he is a born and bred Cornishman, so he can be trusted in his assessment.”

I wasn’t entirely sure about that, but it couldn’t hurt to read it. I thanked Bishop Grigor and hurried from the room, which was probably rude since I’m sure he had many tales to tell of Brittany, but I would make sure to ask him about that later. At that moment though, reading what Deacon Maxim – and what an odd name that seemed to me! – had to say.

The letter was sealed with a plain wax seal which I hurried to break and then unfold the parchment to read what it contained.

Dear Geoffrey,

His Grace Grigor has acquainted me with your desire to occupy some position that requires the use of your love of books and reading. He has told me that Ewaine of Truro has sent you information that the Archives of Camelot are the envy of historians and librarians in Albion. I can tell you that whilst that is an exaggeration it is only a slight one. The Archivist of Camelot, Cedas was trained in the great city of Rome and has a Roman’s view of how records should be kept, which is with a great amount of accuracy and in large numbers.

I will say this, though, Cedas is not considered the easiest gentleman to get along with, hence I do believe there would probably be a fair possibility of you been accepted as an apprentice to him if you can adjust to his difficult personality.

In so far as the kingdom itself is concerned, I would like to assure you that many of the more salacious tales about Camelot are quite unfounded. It is however, a kingdom that is heavily involved in the Old Religion, having said that though, I hasten to add the Old Religion is not in fact a singular one, like ours. There are different sorts, different deities prayed to, most of which a quite harmless in their way, with nothing particular dangerous about them (in a physical sense I mean, spiritually speaking –


At this point in the letter, Deacon Maxim went off on a long tangent about how adherents to the Old Religion…or Religions as the case may be would imperil souls and so on, but finally he got back on point.

Christianity is not particularly strong here, but it’s welcome enough, I know that your father is a bishop and I’m sure that is a concern to you, so I can put your mind at rest on that point.

Also, I must give credit where it is due when it comes to the city of Camelot, the kingdom itself is a rather rough, but no-one can fault the capital, which puts Tamworth to shame. I imagine you’re a young man who appreciates civilisation and you will find it there in spades.

Having not met you personally I am unable to give a personal reference you to send onto Cedas, but as I have written he’d probably be happy to hear from an interested party.

I wish you good luck in your future endeavours, young man.

Yours in Christ,
Maxim


Well, there were a few bits within the letter that were cause for concern, mostly about this Cedas, just how horrible was he? And it was possible that Father would be more interested in the tangent about the Old Religion than I was, but really seeing as I was the one who was going that wasn’t so significant. I would have to show the whole letter to Father though, so there was that.

But I was more than intrigued by the idea that Camelot’s capital could possibly be better than Tamworth. I would have to see it to believe it!
 
 
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