Lanz & Gwenhevre: Love Against the Tide

All Rights Reserved ©

Chapter XI: The Recovered Cloak

"Flames crackle, the pyre ablaze.
Our Druid-prophet was hanged
Before becoming ashes.
But he thundered with genius
Against the tyrant of Avallon!"

"Praise Alain des Blois" by an anonymous troubadour

Springtime green in the Morvand had yielded to the natural fluctuation of seasons, the first being a long, too-hot summer, when the hay is harvested, followed by a glorious autumn when the leaves of beech, ash and oak change into burning colors. The western flank of the Morvand is known for heavy rains, especially at Mont Beuvray, with little around Vezelay. Everyone expects to brave a very cold winter on the east side of the Morvand. Usually, abundant snowfall can make some central areas inaccessible.

By mid-December, winter snow had not yet fallen in Avallon, but this cloudless evening, the sky seemed to freeze brilliant swirls of snowflakes in the air. Only these stars illuminated the city, since the imposed curfew. At night, Avallon becomes a ghost town, in spite of many men, women and children inside. Under the stars, no sign of life can be seen, nothing stirs. At the windows, no candle dare blaze. The execution of Alain had sent shock waves throughout the forest.

Without Alain, is the Wauleis Resistance finished? Did it depend on a single visionary? Oïl et non! He was not only a bold visionary, but also a loyal father and scapegoat, a great parliamentarian and egalitarian leader – condemned by the court of heresy, then hanged and reduced to ashes.

That night in Avallon, immobile, frozen stars filled the sky, while the air, still stifling at midnight, reeked of smoke and blood – stinging nostrils, like the end of October, when farmers slaughter their pigs. No one could escape feelings of grief and fear – a season of pure mortification. Each morning in the Estree d’Avallon, five or six wizards from the forest arrived in chains, beaten publicly by the Knights, condemned behind closed doors, then burned alive. After these daily executions, spectators would never miss going to sing vespers at low mass.

The cold air became freezing before dawn, until it turned painful to breathe, like inhaling glass powder, making lungs bleed. Each breath was killing all joy of living to the very marrow. During the curfew, the estree mirrored a monotonous row of tombstones. No hint of wind could be detected. Is this society a durable civilization? How can this moroseness represent Wauleis progress and well-being in the twelfth century? All the burghers in Avallon work like obedient ants, going to bed early, rising early – as do moles, day and night, in their underground dens. With the curfew, the night owls of the city had to succumb to the diktats for the good of all. Oïl, it would be a long winter for those who don’t hibernate but must, early in the evening, pull blankets over their heads.

Fortunately, there had been no snowfall yet. This was exceptional for mid-December in the Morvand, but also a welcome relief. With the time limits imposed by the curfew in Avallon, at least there would be no snow to remove by shovel, no icy cobblestones to cross. Nevertheless, this sterile landscape was ugly for all its dull and sullen adornment. A blanket of snow would have made Nature appear sleeping under the cover of white. But instead of sleeping, Nature appeared dead, without its leaves and sapped of life. Only the cold reigned. Mother Nature endured, while man could not control his destiny. Regression to an ice age was a mental dilemma that affected all inhabitants of the Morvand and all of Waule. Where will this winter lead them? How long will this darkness last? The frozen stars are locked in place, wavering, as if all or a large part of the constellations might smother in this extreme cold.

Simultaneously, seasonal fluctuations and Wauleis customs are transformed. In fact, it’s a natural revolution, like the stars in heaven returning to their point of origin. After the Roman conquest of Waule, it became Gallia, and after the invasion of the Franks, it became a Romano-Germanic nation. In any case, Alain’s Resistance had to succumb to the tendency towards a new imperial France. As a result, the identity of the Wauleis inhabitants fluctuates – at the beginning, a Wauleis culture, then transformed into something Gallo-Roman, and ever since – their identity is an Imperial Romano-Germanic one. In France – the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Despite the privileged position of France, launching Crusades in a series with its own popes, the rich of Christendom will soon pass the baton to the city-states of Italy, it seems, there, where there’s money and power aplenty. Since the Crusades, these Italian city-states, and their fleets, have managed lucrative trading posts, dominating all exchanges between the East and the West. These Italian merchants are becoming more and more powerful! Whoever doesn’t go forward, moves backwards!

Undoubtedly, a new wave of Romanization will follow, led by the Italians. The rich set the course. For example, Salic Law is evolving in France, but in the Italian style. Salic Law is still the legal code of France, first published during the reign of Clovis, founder of the Merovingian dynasty, reissued twice during the Germanic dynasties of France – Merovingian and Carolingian – modified several times. Nowadays, Salic Law codifies judicial proceedings and sentences, such as the wargueld practiced by Gwenhevre, with a long list of fines for various offenses and crimes. This Code also covers civil law. Although written in Latin, it was little influenced by Roman law. Some Frankish legal terms are latinized, but Frankish words remain in the Latin version.

Eventually, a new judicial center might supplant Salic Law – specifically with its CORPUS IURIS at the University of Bologna – in order to reintroduce Roman jurisprudence and to establish Roman law as the basis of civil law in all of Europe.

Thus, the Roman Revolution continues.

What is the future of Alain’s Wauleis Resistance?

My dear English readers, I regret to say this, but it will vanish, it’s the natural order of these revolutions returning to the point of origin – one day the Wauleis people will represent a phantom culture in this new France more and more Romanized. Even if we keep the names of the sacred sites – Bibracte, Bevres, Beuvray, Beuvrone – all ‘beavers’ will also disappear with their druidic friends, including the riverside wisdom shared with man in the past.

Let’s get back to our Amorous – that chilling and moribund night in town, when Bele was caring for two bipeds in the baulme. Better safe than sorry, not to get hurt, but better yet, never to harm anyone in the first place, but this world is full of cut-throats! What an atrocity – needless to say! Everyone sees the world his own way, and there are none so deaf as those who will not hear. On the other hand, Bele, wounded by her unfaithful Roussel and cruel Knights at the dam, still remains so gentle, and not having whom she loves, loving whom she cares for – two slaughtered victims in the baulme.

Buried deep in the Morvand this winter, the baulme stays warm, thanks to its thermal waters. Next to the entrance in the cold, there’s a field of orchards and a vegetable garden with good soil. Within this enclosure, Bele had found our two Amorous tied with one rope – side by side – left for dead by the fugitive son. Sometimes the veiled curtain vaguely separates Life from Death. Who can say where one ends, where the other begins? But Gwenhevre and Lanz became enchanted creatures, thanks to Merlin who came to Burgundy from their native country, so the two slain lovers were able to survive this brutality, cared for by the sweet Bele. Besides, no doubt, all the saints and fairies of Petite-Bretaigne protect day and night, night and day, their heroes.

My dear readers, the native saints of Petite-Bretaigne are counted by the hundreds – their statues of painted wood decorate all churches and chapels. To tell the truth, not one received papal consecration – the most venerated were simply recognized by bishops, then the Breton people gave themselves the others. The relationship between Bretons and their saints is marked by trust, friendship and familiarity. On the other hand, there are also saints who arrived from afar who crossed this land full of miracles and mysteries, such as Joseph and Columban.

According to a Breton legend, after the death of Christ, Joseph of Arimathea left Palestine, carrying with him drops of the divine blood from the Last Supper. He landed in Petite-Bretaigne, settling in Brec’h-Elian, but left no trace for those who seek in vain this lost cup. Is it possible that the saints and fairies of Petite-Bretaigne intervene even in Burgundy, pitying the distress of Lanz and Gwenhevre? According to this legend, the cup of Joseph will be found by a warrior of pure heart – and Lanzelot is the type. Can he be the one, if he remains a pacifist? What is the ultimate destiny of this hero? As for Columban, let us not forget the monastic rule of the Irish monk who landed at Saint-Malo in 590 to recall the word of Christ in this Europe invaded by so many northern pagans. This devout missionary impressed Lanz so much – becoming his model to follow. There is even on the coast of Bretaigne, between Saint-Malo and Cancale, a village bearing his name ‘Saint-Coulomb’.

The history of Petite-Bretaigne itself contributed to the exceptional bravery of our Amorous – and their contradictory personalities. Breton culture and the topography of the duchy differ from the rest of Waule. For example, in the country called Wales, the Bretons find a language similar to their own, identifying more with the Welsh than with the French. Lanz and Gwenhevre, like this rebellious duchy – still a vassal of the king of France, they too would also like their personal independence. Let me explain this particularity of the Breton spirit. In the ninth century, Nominoe, founder of Breton unity, was of modest origin, yet distinguished by Charlemagne who made him Count of Vanes. Eventually, in 826, he became Duke of Bretaigne under Louis the Pious, the Frankish king who persecuted sorcerers. Then, this Duke of Bretaigne planned a vast project – to unite under his authority all Bretons of Waule in an independent kingdom. For fourteen years, he was preparing the way, and then, after the death of Louis, Nominoe went on with fierce determination. After ten years, Breton unity became reality – the duchy reaching its limits as we know them today. But instead of becoming a separate kingdom from Waule, Bretaigne had to face King Charles the Bald, who in 850 arrested this too powerful vassal, inflicting on the cavalry of Nominoe a crushing defeat.

Then there’s the otherwordly landscape of Petite-Bretaigne – from the coast to the mountains.

La montaigne! This is how the inhabitants of the coast describe a particular terrain – the arid solitude of a chain of saw-teeth crests. Winds that blow strong give the impression of a higher altitude. At Roc Trevezel, St-Michel, Menez-Hom, Menez-Bret – one discovers an immense expanse of granite. Rivers descending la montaigne towards the Channel or the Atlantic feed the fresh vegetation of the valleys which contrasts with the desolate summits. This montaigne extends over vast solitudes, and their melancholy aspect is only lightened when gorse wears a golden mantle or when heather forms a purple carpet.

In this very wooded and mystical country, it takes courage! Bretaigne has immense woods of oak and beech – Brec’h-Elian, Loudeac, Huelgoat, Quenecan – rugged woods, cut by gorges, ravines, a rocky chaos. Then there are monuments of ‘great stones’ erected by Giants from the past, oriented astronomically, either on cardinal points, or on sunrises and sunsets at solstices, or on intermediate sunrises between solstices and equinoxes. There are still more than three thousand in the region of Carnac alone. These monuments were erected by a people who mysteriously disappeared, or by celestial gods who departed long before the arrival of the Wauleis and the Bretons.

Receiving a cut to the throat, Lanz and Gwenhevre sank into unconsciousness, unable to stir a muscle, their minds more and more numb and dizzy, until everything was obscure. Total annihilation could not be worse.

Despite deep cuts, Merlin’s enchantment spared them, and the rusty instrument seized from the cart didn’t succeed in cutting a single artery. However, the gashes had put them into convulsive shock, at the moment when the son threw the iron spike into the woods, after which he tied the two throbbing bodies together, one dressed to the nines, the other naked as a worm!

Through the torn curtain, they returned to the living, through which they had gone back and forth, and, for months, Bele, barely able to sleep – night and day, charged with the two Amorous, while they often woke in a trance-like state. Just as the dawn warms the abandoned soul, like the sad-eyed beggar of Avallon – without friends and homeless, Roussel passing autumn alone – so too, gloriously, it happened that Lanz and Gwenhevre returned to life, suspended by a thread. Many times the gouged throat of Lanz bled freely, as he threw his arms, swiping the darkness, braying like a wild goose in agony, as best he could, causing stitches to burst open.

“What the Devil?” exclaimed Bele.

“Who art thou? That demon with the dagger?”

“No, I’m your friend, I assure you, me sire.” Bele trembled, lest Lanzelot might never regain his senses. But he lay more handsome than ever – now washed, shaved, cared for by Bele, and, finally, for once, this defrocked monk was wearing his Sunday best – according to Wauleis fashion, clothes borrowed from the wardrobe of the deceased Alain.

As for Gwenhevre, because of all the misery suffered in the castle, she stirred less than Lanz, so her recovery became more and more uncertain – la viscontesse was even pregnant during this crisis! Despair reigned. Sometimes, however, the natural male fragrance – half sweat, half woody sage – was her medicine. Although hidden deep in the Baulme-des-Wauldins, she was not yet buried, rather fallen into a mortal trance, even unaware of the two next to her who loved and surrounded her. Once at dawn, she struggled to scream for help, but Bele was dozing, and Lanz was snoring through his widely open throat.

This nightmare for the threesome endured months. Each life in suspense, each relying on the survival of the other. There are difficult times when brothers and sisters enter hell where demons maim every corner of their mind. In such distress and isolation, they must be left to sleep, or if they might awaken in the course of this terror, they would die of fear.

Many times, Bele prayed for the intervention of the god Borvo, known in present-day Waule by the name ‘Bourbon’, the divine Wauleis healer associated with thermal springs, such as those of Bourbone-les-Bains and Bourbon-Lancy. Beavers believe these springs have therapeutic properties – borvo meaning ‘boiling’ in Wauleis.

Similarly, the Baulme-des-Wauldins is also part of a limestone hollow, molded by the passage of the River Cure, which descends the Morvand peaks of granite but then sculpted even more by rain over the centuries into a fantastic network. My dear readers, la Bourgogne, like la Petite-Bretaigne, is a rocky wonderland, Burgundy’s marvels remodeled by the action of water on limestone rock.

When the wauldins were numerous, during various rebellions in the Morvand, some walls of the baulme lit up night and day with torches anchored to the walls, and, at that time one could see – enormous petrified cones, top and bottom, adorning the ceiling and floor in these rooms of cathedral dimensions. More recently, the wildlife to the rescue of Gwenhevre resides there looking for sanctuary. Each chamber received a name inspired by the formations, such as ‘Dance Hall’, ‘Curtain Room’, and next to an underground pool, there’s a chamber called ‘Fairy Laundry’. For me, the most amazing is the hand-painted one, named by some pilgrims in transit ‘Scallop Shell’.

Similar to la Petite-Bretaigne, la Bourgogne was formerly inhabited by a forgotten people. The lower chambers of the Baulme-des-Wauldins contain cave paintings and engravings – reindeer, horses, hairy elephants and ibexes, as well as bison, bear, and even amorphous and hand-painted designs. What’s going on with these illustrations? There are strange creatures – rhinoceros and big cats – seen today by travelers in Africa. But what do the other amorphous drawings and handprints mean – what the devil? Is it a kind of symbolic language we cannot read? Did their gods want to show them to write in order to preserve their identity in painting, across the ravages of time? Matrona divine! Only our Lord knows!

Near these caves in the Morvand are other strange attractions. My dear readers, I once walked, meandering towards two paths from the Baulme-des-Wauldins, along the Cure. The first trail soared up the cliff to the right. This road led to ‘The Cut Rock’, a quarry that dates from the Merovingian dynasty. There, you’ll see partially extracted slabs, designed to become sarcophagi of the Franks – but they remain all unfinished – this work stuck in frozen time. Why were these Frankish tombs left in suspense?

The second trail leads to a clear fountain fed by a spring that gushes from the cliff. The inhabitants of the Morvand claim that the source was consecrated to Borvo or ‘Bourbon’, as the Wauleis call him these days, their healing god often depicted – naked and seated – on a rock holding a cup or a dish of fruits. Sometimes when Lanz bathed there, the few passers-by thought they saw Borvo himself. At this divine place of long standing also remain Roman ruins, as you well know, the Via Agrippa which runs all the way from Boulogne on the Channel to the north as far as Lyon, crossing this river with a beautiful view of the valley towards Voutenay.

All these marvels in the forest contribute to a sense of human continuity in constant change, fluctuating from the beginning of time.

What we find in Bretaigne, which is absolutely lacking in Burgundy, is the coast with its infinite expanse, the wide, rugged and intemperate sea which continues beyond the horizon, even scaring the experienced sailor, so he must take precautions each time he sails. For this reason, the coasts of Bretaigne are the best equipped of Waule in maritime signaling structures. In addition to small port fires and buoys, there are some fifty lighthouses on the coast of Bretaigne. The most beautiful views can be seen from the towers of Eckmühl at the tip of Penmarc’h, then at the top of the lighthouses of Bele-Isle and Creac’h in Ouessant.

My dear English readers, before my journeys in Waule, I was glad to ignore fairyland. Of course, in Engleterre, folks in the field believe our destinies are ruled by fairies, but I didn’t understand in Colchester that these fairies live among the dead and must cross the curtain to interact with the living. That’s why these portals are marked by mounds, like the one in the Morvand called the Butte des Fees. These are the dwelling places of ancient Wauleis deities, as well as the resting places of powerful Druids. In several parts of Waule, unfortunately, these monuments are no longer intact – opened and looted by marauders in the ninth century, but there’s enough left to indicate their sepulchral nature. In 834, these Vikings appeared in force. Having left the Irish Sea to their Norwegian cousins, the Danes concentrated their attention on both shores of the English Channel. In Waule, these Danes sailed on the Loire and plundered Nantes – going up the Seine, repeatedly attacking Paris. Three times they pillaged the city. The Frankish kings, preoccupied defending the land borders in difficulty, were not able to maintain an effective force to patrol the coasts and rivers, so Vikings in Waule roamed almost at will.

The Franks had known the ancient marauders as Nordmanni or ‘men of the North’, and this name was transferred to their new domain under the name ’la Normandie’. With the Vikings in charge, this territory formerly called ‘Neustria’ became Normandy. And after the Battle of Hastings, my dear English readers, we share with France its language and certain dynasties – Willam being a Norman and direct descendant of Hrolf-Ganger. But Willam was born out of wedlock and known at the beginning as Willam le Bastard, but he eventually won a series of impressive titles – Duc de Normandie, Willam le Conquerour, and finally Roy d’Engleterre – crowned at Westminster! What an unexpected destiny for an illegitimate son! At the same time, on both sides of the Channel, such fluctuations in identity are transformed cyclically, like the seasons.

Let’s return to our Amorous, Lanz and Gwenhevre, and to the good fairies of the Morvand!

I dared not visit the Butte des Fees for fear of the curse, but legend claims it’s a mound covered with bushes, measuring 280 feet wide at the largest diameter and about 44 feet high. Outside, there’s a wide circle of thirty stones; in the outer circle, a ditch and rampart, and above the rampart, a border of large stones eight or ten feet long, confining an enormous mound of loose stones. Nowadays, everything’s overgrown, as we just said, with grass and bushes.

In the center of the circle was erected this funeral monument already described to honor the late husband of the most powerful fairy of the Morvand. It’s precisely this funeral monument inside the circle that one cannot brush without dying almost immediately. One must be careful, not to touch anything! Beware of the entrance that faces exactly the southeast!

Until the throats of Lanz and Gwenhevre were sliced by the fugitive son, this love story was a well-kept secret, even to the lovers themselves, neither one daring to give a sign. But after the fairies of the Morvand intervened in the Baulme-des-Wauldins, this story of Parfite Amour will one day – let’s hope – be heard on the banks of the Seine, the Danube and the Rhine, enchanting Engleterre, Normandie, France, Italie, Germanie, Boheme, Danemark, Norvege, and Islande. May this story live as long as the Amorous of those countries survive through time! This Parfite Amour – at the same time, sweet and bitter, full of joys and sorrows – drags Lanz and Gwenhevre from one distress to another, till the end – for these two still at a safe distance – from the torn curtain.

But to tell the truth, time will have no regard for songs of the troubadours. Time destroys and reduces to powder many a parchment on which our poets will try to honor Amour in rhymed verses. Instead, mankind tends to admire the sly and powerful, those who know how to lie and ridicule without heart. For example, Thamory’s ire is something to be dreaded; therefore, it’s much admired. This her will avenge himself all the more since he loves absolute power. For him, Amour is a silly game for fools and weaklings. In the mind of powerful men without consciences grows hatred so strong that they cannot be friends with their neighbors.

One morning in the baulme arose a great noise. In a trance-like state, Lanz stood up, shouting:

“Gwenhevre, I’m coming!”

Having just dreamed of Gwenhevre, he was ready by all means in his power to find her. In haste, he had crushed Alain’s folding chair into tiny morsels, and with the longest pieces, he performed what seemed a magical operation – three sticks of yew, and on each he wrote an enchantment in his own blood, using the keys of wisdom engraved on Alain’s bed. These keys revealed that Gwenhevre would be found at the Butte des Fees. If necessary, Lanz would destroy the entire mound to save her, including the underground palace of the most powerful fairy. But, in reality, Gwenhevre was lying just beside Lanz – both unnoticed in their trance-like state – his beloved six feet from him. Thus was the Amorous d’Avallon led to one of the last bastions of fairyland in the Morvand, armed with three magic wands.

When he reached the summit of the Butte des Fees, he found himself in a country of delights, full of birdsong, buzzing bees, and murmuring streams, but without any sign of habitation. Not seeing the large stones erected in circles, he had not touched them, before entering the wood next to them, going to a well, on which hung a curiously-forged drinking horn. As Lanz filled the horn, a faint murmur came from the well, but his thirst was too strong to pay attention to the sound, so he drank his fill. In the twinkling of an eye, an armed warrior, dressed in white and red, began pushing Lanz’s two shoulders, provoking a fight, while reprimanding him for drinking from the well. Then the warrior leaped into the well and disappeared.The next day, again the same provocation. On the third day, however, when the warrior was about to make his jump, he threw both arms around Lanz, and they went down into the well together.

Lanz, after a moment of darkness, still in a trance, was, indeed, in fairyland. A magnificent fairy of very noble appearance awoke him and took him to her palace where he was well fed in the sumptuous court. There, she explained to him that the services of a champion like him were necessary to stop in the forest the atrocities caused by Thamory.

“Ma dame, I cannot defend you, I’m merely a woodsrunner and defrocked pacifist – ready to sacrifice myself, if you will, to free Gwenhevre.”

“Me Sire Lanzelot du Lac, we want no sacrifice on your part, nor war with the Knights, but rather a halt to atrocities. This will be achieved with the return of the cloak to the Wiccan of Fontevraud, the natural daughter of Viviane la Fee and Alain des Bois.”

Stunned by this revelation, Lanz remained speechless, devastated, unable to answer the fairy.

“Me sire, understand this, you’re not Gwenhevre’s brother. True, you were the best in the world at combat, a knight who loved above all – honor, also the most handsome, the most courageous, with good intentions.”

“What you did not know, me sire, was your noble birth, being born the son of the Governor of Yssouldun. Viviane had kidnapped you for selfish reasons, but she ended up loving you more than her own sons.”

“By choice, you’re no longer a knight, but you still love honor, God, and your neighbor, especially the most beautiful ladies, but also all brothers and sisters, be they poor or rich. With your gracious candor, you weigh your thoughts before you express yourself, so no fairy – no mortal – hath ever heard from your lips anything but the quality of a pure heart, you, even showing respect to the oppressed. Your virtues are so pleasant that you may return here and circulate wherever you wish. Always, you’ll be known in fairyland by the name l’Amorous d’Avallon, a very rare gentleman – unpretentious, also a rare pacifist, without fear when faced with dangers.”

My dear readers, whether it be wisdom or madness on my part, I’ve taken pen, ink, and parchment, and for three years here at Colchester, I’ve been writing these words to honor the tribulations of our two Amorous.

Let’s return snell to the unfinished dialogue between Lanz and the fairy. Still stupefied, Lanz opens – in spite of himself – his heart:

“Ma dame, I have too much pain! It’s been just a year since I bore the burden of Amour. A few years ago, I abandoned chivalry, neglected tournaments, and I’m now banished from the lake in Brec’h-Elian, far from family and my native country. I miss everyone and everything – especially my Beloved, Gwenhevre.”

“Alas, ma dame, Gwenhevre will always be a fugitive throughout Europe. How could I have committed such treachery. Gwenhevre deserveth to be celebrated at the court of the king with a hundred courtiers at her service. For her, I want to go on adventures to seek fortune in distant lands, but I can’t, being a perpetual fugitive myself.”

“Ma dame, what can I offer her as a fugitive? A lodge of foliage instead of silk curtains, a baulme in the middle of the woods, when she ought to know the finest rooms with rich fabrics. Due to my too stubborn pacifism, I took the wrong path!”

“Me sire, you’re wrong on all points! What good is it to persist in a false idea, from which no good can come? Be gone chevalerie! What savagery! On the other hand, your pacifism giveth a little hope!”

“Me sire, listen to me carefully. Gwenhevre is pregnant from an assault committed during her captivity. But she loveth madly a woodsrunner without equal, without knowing his identity. She seeketh him and seeth him everywhere – awake and asleep – and it’s you, only you, Lanzelot, that she loveth!”

“Pregnant by another? By whom, Thamory?”

“It doth not matter, sire! Listen, listen! Gwenhevre loveth you and only you, understand? Lightning and Thunder! She hath need of you to get out – she and her child – alive! Alain had provided you the means to escape with three enchanted wands!”

“Careful, l’Amorous d’Avallon! Your honor is dearer to you than life. But you’ll have the strength of more than one man with Magic, Prowess, Righteousness!”

“Ma dame, you put me back on track!”

“Here, sire, is Gwenhevre’s cloak. If you cover her with it today, the child in her belly will live and be born at term. To save the mother, you must use one of Alain’s three wands, the one with the enchantment in red! With this wand, touch her neck three times and yours too, to see disappear and heal the cuts to your throats. There will be no trace, except you alone will have no more voice. Only Gwenhevre will hear your silent words, nobody else. Otherwise you will reveal yourself, unwittingly, with your habit of speaking too openly.”

“Ma dame, for Amour, I have known ruses, lies, fears, and especially tears…”

“Sire, she says, “Will you understand this?” Easy opportunity maketh the thief. Amour loveth to play with our hearts and needs, then changeth the dice at each turn. But Gwenhevre is yours, from head to foot, and she is worth, flesh and bone, enough esterlins without her fortune.”

“Do you want to earn much more than an Amorous should possess? Such desire for gain will make you lose the Essential. Look at Thamory’s city, so crowded and prosperous, with its serpentine river teaming with barges, and the castle. It’s there where, in fact, a monster dwelleth! Leave this terrorized country and cross the seas with her – go far, far away, to Islande!”

“What do you want? A viscontesse or a companion for life? Gwenhevre would have done well, without the wimple and the coronet. Amour and Seigniory do not make a blissful match.”

“Sire Lanzelot, is it not better to sharecrop in Iceland, to be poor in cloth, to have conjugal bliss than high rank? As a couple, Gwenhevre and you will know joy and power. Why refuse this chance to belong to each other forever?”

“Ma dame, you know how to brew the ale, so your recipe I’ll follow! I’m consoled, you’ll see this couple and their child supplied with all necessities in Islande, our hearts loyal and whole, and day by day, we’ll love each other more.”

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.