Lanz & Gwenhevre: Love Against the Tide

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Chapter V: Three Burning Logs

It’s not against Nature to see
The Ugly and the Beautiful carol together,
and Love and Hate cohabit
the same bosom!

A sheaf of dried combustibles slid from Alain’s hands into a stone fireplace – moss; peat; leaves; pinecones; mushrooms; fir pitch; cow dung; feathers and down. To save time he drew a spark from a familiar flint – in a wink, a flame flashed. All the light and spongy materials in the mix result from decomposition under water – away from air. Alain prefers using peat when he has visitors because it burns without smoking, but Alain had to hurry to start a fire to revive the lady wet to the bone.

Thanks to his impeccable manners, the hermit shows finesse in these emergency situations, first of all, never letting flames die during visits to his dapper cottage.

Suddenly the sheaf was ablaze! At the same time, the mesnagerie-a-treis welcomed the lady, each in his own way: first, the playful raven from his perch, cawing; second, the owl higher up the beam – hooting good-naturedly; third, the black cat – purring on the floor, brushing her neck against Gwenhevre’s ankle.

Sitting on the bench before the fire, unclad but wrapped with a towel to keep herself warm, Gwenhevre kept silence watching her host prepare supper. Despite his jolly good nature, Alain seemed rustic and ugly in his linsey-woolsey shirt; his worn breeches; his stag-skin coat badly cut and sewn! Compared to the wild woodsrunner what another specimen of man! In fact, never a more ugly creature had ever shown himself in hell: what an affliction on his back – those two humps; and his eyes – two dull recesses; what disheveled hair; and a long, hooked nose; five yellow teeth all chipped; two thin, dry lips; his goatee in knots – that in a nutshell describes Alain des Bois, the fisher-hermit, her host.

In contrast, elegance reigns in the city. Burghers dress carefully, donning linen tunics or flannel robes of bright colors: red; green; blue; yellow. To keep themselves warm, without fail, their coats are trimmed and lined with fur. Townsmen wear sleeveless overcoats with a shoulder belt, giving them a comely figure in the eyes of Gwenhevre, and from these belts they can suspend a bougete with money inside. When the burghers go out, they put an outer cloak fastened at the shoulder with a clasp. Well-combed hair falls to their cheeks, parted in the middle, and once outside, the head is crowned with a hat or hood.

The wardrobe of women differs little from that of men. Here’s a distinction. Women wear two laced braids hidden behind a veil or wimple, framing the face and concealing the seductive neck, such modesty a must for women in the city. The wimple – attributed to married women – covers more than a veil: the entire head, the neck and both shoulders.

Outside Alain’s cottage, it was still pouring at low none, and then night fell. The fair lass would have to stay through vespers and the night. Darkness obliges! What a day and what emotion! While drying herself at the hearth, Gwenhevre was still dreaming of the wild man who had disappeared in the forest. Having returned by cart to the scene, Alain could only find her cloak in perfect condition but no trace of the sleeping woods-man.

“By God, he’s worth more alive than dead! I declare he’s mine!”she told herself. Then, filled with remorse, Gwenhevre lamented: “From this place will I ever leave?” At that moment, what a hollow belly and her throat all dry! But hunger and thirst never last at the home of hospitable Alain des Bois! And what food and feast to cheer the sorrowful lady! Alain announces to her in a very gentle tone:

Ma dame est servie! Wash thy hands and take a seat as soon as it pleaseth thee!”

Near the table covered with a tablecloth, at the end of a bench, they shared two basins to wash without soap; at the other end of the bench, they used a towel to wipe their hands. After sitting face to face both enjoyed the flickering light of a candle. On the table lay their communal dish, but each could use an individual knife.

What aromas filled the cottage!

Without doing the benedicite, they started with a fresh and tasty salad of poor herbs – water parsnip; chervil; lettuce; watercress. Then came the wild game – a crispy roast on the spit and three venison pasties, followed by two loaves, one of barley and one of oats, served with the house specialty – salted bacon. Also included were two tin tankards to chug during supper and a wide choice of what to drink – clear water from a sacred spring; a pot of wine made from the finest clusters; ale a la morvandele, and for a sweet digestive – herbal tea with honey en bresches.

Cuisine divine! You could hear the angels sing in heaven:

“Yum…YUM! Amen!”

Dear reader, before summing up the witty conversation at supper, between Alain and Gwenhevre, I must first explain that Gwenhevre was wearing a mask to cover up her open wound. Troubadours and trobairitz lament this wound, for which the wargueld will never be argued in court, being much too private a matter to complain in public. Besides, Gwenhevre will learn that her affliction clings and drags on, lasting much too long. In short, this wound is also inflicted mutually by two lovers, each of us guilty if we can be honest, but what a mer a beivre – to admit this truth!

Very irrational, Love knows no respite or truce, doing battle day and night, disrupting the spirit of the captive. The victim of this war is never alone, and never entirely herself – torn in two, sometimes three or four!

Do we need a good reason to love? Reason? But Love is Madness, and Madness is not Reason. In Love is there any pleasure or joy? Yes, but be careful! To make a good start in this adventure requires Self-Love to defend oneself and to give more of oneself. Without Self-Love, Love between two lovers will not endure.

But then why do we say we ‘fall’ in love?

Is falling in Love an accident where everyone is hurt? Yes and no. Love is blind! One stumbles blindfolded into it which causes surprises aplenty. Listening to the harp of the weeping trobairitz – even Parfite Amour brings anxiety – sweetness and bitterness; contentment and misery.

This is the mer a beivre for which lovers will suffer and drown.

Poor Gwenhevre!

She is just beginning this voyage on the high seas; I wish her ‘good wind’! But why give herself completely to this wild man – she – so independent and beautiful, so brilliant and prosperous? Alas, when smitten by this Madness, like it or not, nobody can refuse opening the door to Love.

Destinee divine – what Happiness and Misfortune for Gwenhevre!

Now back to the witty exchange between Alain and Gwenhevre. Alain was losing patience. Why? Course after course, while wanting to chat about this and that – about anything really: rain or thunder, fishing or commerce, Alain remained silent. You see, burghers sup in absolute silence, savoring ...every...morsel...with...tiny...mouthfuls. Such refined city manners also require no belching, no leaning on the table, and no cleaning of nose, teeth or nails.

What restrictions!

Hermits usually do as they jolly well please!

But being a good host, Alain suffered silently and followed Gwenhevre’s example at table and didn’t say a word, till he served the herbal tea with honey:

“Ma dame, attention, c’est chauld! May I pose a question?”

“Prithee, but first, gramercy for the fine supper and shelter against the storm!”

“Avec plesir, Gwenhevre. Make thyself at home. So here’s my question, dost thou know the holiday we’re celebrating?”

“Non, sire. What is it?”

“It’s the beginning of the bright season! Beletaine, the ‘Fire of Bel’, thanks to which all is renewed. What luck! Starting May 1st the curtain separating the visible from the invisible is lifted. Without that barrier we have comings and goings of fees who wander and cross through the veil from the other world, that place where there is no illness nor old age nor sadness.”

Me sire, I’m not a child who believes in fairies. Forgive me, I do not want to offend thee, but I was baptized in the Church and educated at the Abbaye de Nostre-Dame de Fontevraud in Anjou.”

“Baptized, thou, like everyone else! Me too, but I still practice the wisdom of an older tradition.” Wanting to put Gwenhevre at ease, Alain smiled, hesitating a bit, before continuing:

“Dear Gwenhevre, call me, Alain, we’re one family here.” Then he reassured her: “Just let me explain thy vision in the forest...”

This unexpected allusion to the handsome woodsman took her breath away, Gwenhevre giving her tongue to the cat at her feet. Despite his good intentions, Alain ended up preaching his druidic philosophy:

“We must live in harmony with Nature, Gwenhevre, and the wisdom of our ancestors taught me how to explain the visible and the invisible. As beavers know who still practice their faith, honoring Mother Nature enlargeth the mind and transformeth consciousness, rallying men and beavers closer to oracular mysteries.”

Since the utterance of ‘Mere Nature’, Gwenhevre was no longer listening nor watching the interlocutor. Distracted, she noticed against the wall four musical instruments. The hermit, speaking to himself, as usual, could not resist adding in a loud voice:

“By my faith! What destruction in the Morvand! Everything I love in this forest will disappear in no time! Look at the oaks in great number being destroyed! What a massacre! All of Waule is urbanizing! Burghers want only city comforts, mocking our riverside traditions. This reality is making me sick and turning me ugly, I know it!”

“What? Look at this! Alain, dost thou play?” Delighted to find this diversion on the wall, Gwenhevre reacts like a child: “I love music! At the Abbey I learned to dance rondelez wauleis! Choose, dear Alain, the instrument that pleaseth thee, and I’ll beat the drum; let’s go!”

Long live the Beletaine! Sometimes, dear reader, ‘contentment is worth more than wealth’. Even Lady Putemoneye knows how to dance! Will she remember her open wound? Yes, definitely. But music is the best medicine.

Once again the perfect host, but still quite ugly in appearance, Alain clapped four times his hands, and four instruments floated into the air making cheerful music – flute; frestel; cymbal; drum – all in tune, resonating gaily in beautiful harmony! Instantly, Gwenhevre forgot about the rustic ugliness all around her!

But where to dance? There was no room. What a pity!

Accompanied by four airborne instruments, she tapped her feet and hummed sprightly caroles. Immediately the perfect host clapped his hands and the broom swept aside furniture to make room by the fireplace. Removing her towel, wearing only a linen tunic – all radiant and graceful – Gwenhevre began a rondelet with Alain. Hand in hand, Bele and Laid shuffled together, their left feet guiding the circular motion of the dance, left foot followed by the right foot, both feet then joined together before taking another step, the right foot following again the left, all in time with the floating instruments.

What a dreadful noise – ‘BANG’ – the door slammed, forced wide open by a desperate young man. Who is it? Why it’s Roussel – in the form of a man this time! Alain hastened to aid his stable groom on the ground. The young man was bleeding – between life and death – listless and pale.

Hey, he needs medical aid!

Having helped many times at the hospital in Fontevraud, Gwenhevre knew what to pull from the fireplace shelves to save this patient: tan powder and egg white to stop the gushing bites. Then, when Roussel wakes up, she’ll restore him with wormseed and mullein tea, the yellow flowers of which smell and remind Gwenhevre of honey.

After two hours of intensive care, under the curious gaze of the crow and the owl overhead on the beam, Alain interrupted the treatment making this compliment to Gwenhevre:

“Thou hast stopped the bleeding! Thou art good, I congratulate thee! Fie! I’m on fire, reeling like a barrel, having drunk too much this holiday!” The hermit wiped his forehead, fixing his attention on Gwenhevre who seemed focused on the good-looking patient: “Lass, it’s impolite to stare at Roussel’s naked chest.” Gwenhevre hardly listened, nodding her head, her mind leagues away. “My child, hath the cat got thy tongue? Come here, lass!” Gwenhevre stayed near Roussel. “Dost thou not hear me? Must I clap my hands to collect yonder the colorful cloak?”

“Matrona divine!” Alain shouts to be noticed, but all in vain. Suddenly he leaps ten feet into the air, falling onto the cloak, still in perfect condition. The black cat meows at her mestre in admiration, her eyes following the acrobat who curls into a tight ball, while jumping backwards, landing this time with the colorful cloak in hand at the feet of Gwenhevre – she – all absorbed elsewhere.

Instead of admiring the somersault, Gwenhevre was imagining the woodsrunner, the only man whom she could ever love. Looking at the bare chest, at last, his breathing regular, all Gwenhevre ever saw in Roussel was an injured groom, her heart already promised and impregnable for all time.

The hermit slipped closer to Gwenhevre to study her face, keeping a close eye on her expressions, and when the hermit held out his hand to tap her shoulder, he stepped back saying softly: “My goodness... to distraction she loveth... Roussel!”

“Art thou talking to me, Alain?”

“I see clear!” he claims. “Wizards have no need to be tactful. This outspokenness earneth me the right to tell thee what cometh to mind.” He smiles and shouts from joy: “Lass, thou art a witch! I have two proofs now – the magical cloak and the magical healing! I recognize thy wondrous gifts!”

Ill at ease, Gwenhevre blushes; Alain continues:

“Dear Gwenhevre, let me give thee advice. Never forget what thou art in this country so full of enemies. Make sorcery thy strength and long life will be thine. First, I beg thee, dear daughter, with my help learn to use this magic cloak, and its powers will never hurt thee. Let me tell thee, all hermits in the Morvand are wizards or witches! Thou art not alone – our unity is our strength!”

“Could I have such powers, Alain? What is the proof? I – an orphan raised in a convent? I don’t even know who bequeathed me this magic mantle.”

“No doubt about it, lass, thou art a witch! Only witches can wear such a powerful mantle without getting hurt.”

“But, Alain, my parents are unknown to me. God alone knoweth who called me ‘Gwenhevre’ by embroidering my name in golden thread on the collar, before swaddling me inside the cloak, then leaving me as a babe on the doorsteps of the Abbey.”

“Remember this, my daughter, sorcerers are tricksters by necessity, but there are tricksters aplenty in Waule who are not wizards. I know how to distinguish them.”

That said, Alain turned while whistling. When Alain opened the cloak, a glow emitted, and Alain appeared radiant. For the first time in the eyes of Gwenhevre, Alain’s face showed a fierce look, like that of a father who would protect, at all costs, his beloved child.

“Come, lass, see the wondrous scenes embroidered inside it.”

“They’re the protectors of Waule. Male gods who defend the Gallic tribes, while our goddesses ensure fertility and seasonal rhythms and cycles. And there – thou seest – it’s a horse, or rather the goddess Epona, the same one adopted by the Romans after the conquest to protect their imperial cavalry.”

“Epona – here she is again – accompanied by Cernunnos, a god in human form but crowned with deer antlers; he’s associated with the season of light and everything free and wild: animals; tree growth. Cernunnos is a magician and the dispenser of wisdom.”

“Oh, lass! Check out this next panel! Cernunnos seated next to a snake with a ram’s head. Dost thou know the doctrine of transmigration? No? Well, one day ask Roussel. He’s an expert, and how! The poor fellow! He learned it the hard way, let me tell thee!”

“Indeed, Roussel transformeth himself every full moon, multiplying his uncanny experiences and his wisdom! Goodness sakes! Cernunnos, such a jealous god, only wanted one thing from Roussel, that he become wiser and less handsome!” Alain laughed, but Gwenhevre could hardly follow the embroidered ramblings, so she asked:

“Dear Alain, how dost thou know these doctrines?”

“I went to seminary, thus exempted from military service and from paying taxes to the tribe. Some Wauleis are drawn to seminary for these advantages, but for me, it was my calling and conviction. For twenty years I learned by heart many druidic verses. In fact, it was necessary to memorize these doctrines because writing them down is strictly forbidden among Druids.”

“Look about thee, Gwenhevre, even my cottage was built according to our Wauleis traditions – bentwood with wickerwork walls, plastered with clay and lime, and my thickly thatched roof. During the Resistance, our major cities were much admired by the Romans, especially the strength of our walls.”

“On the other hand, the Romans mocked all our customs, calling us ‘savages’.” Hearing once again the word ‘Savage’ made Gwenhevre jump, but she didn’t say a word and listened carefully, learning for the first time some Wauleis history.

“Two centuries before the arrival of Cæsar, dear lass, our warriors got naked to fight Rome. Their tall stature and pale complexion were accentuated by wearing golden torques at the neck and golden bracelets. Their boldness filled the Roman enemy with fear, our ancestors armed only with swords and shields, naked as worms, but ferociously brave, with complete trust in the magical powers of their torques.”

“Two centuries later, the Wauleis fought Cæsar, wearing this time body armor in battle, like the Romans, but sporting their own Gallic touches – colorful cloaks and breeches in linsey-woolsey. After the Roman Conquest, their Gallic breeches would be immortalized and give the province its Latin name Gallia Bracata.”

“To the astonishment of the Romans, the Wauleis made wondrous show on horseback, charging into battle: their helmets forged into shapes of beasts – topped with feathers; their coats of mail and long shields accompanied by huge, rattling swords. What a thunderous spectacle! And yet, after seven years of hard-fought Resistance, dear Gwenhevre, Cæsar conquered Waule, and our golden torques were taken as booty to adorn the imperial glory of Rome.”

The flames were dying in the fireplace. In a twinkling, another sheaf of peat slipped from Alain’s hands. This time, the fuel would burn without smoking. Satisfied with the warm and cozy evening, Alain turned and said:

“Well, daughter, to bed, time to lie down and rest!”

“Alain, I’m not sleepy at all! What an evening! I have two burning questions! May I pose them?”

“Absolutely, Gwenhevre! Of course, according to our traditions, all celebrations are expected to last at least three days in a row!”

“My dear Alain, explain my vision with the runner in the forest ... what was it?”

“Gwenhevre, it was real, believe me, but there are two explanations completely contrary, one to the other. Perhaps the Sleeper was dreaming of thee and both of you know each other. These sacred portals in the Morvand harness mental energy and connect sleepers with people in their dreams, one to the other.”

“Here’s another possibility – some portals hold embedded memories from the past, transmitting them to sensitive passersby. So perhaps thou knowest the Sleeper, or perhaps thou dost not know him at all; nonetheless, thou received his mental energy from former times, crossing these sacred places into another dimension.”

“I must find him!”

“It’s a promise! We’ll go back together. I’ll be able to identify then analyze the access points of the portals.”

“I’ll be back next Sunday! Tomorrow – I mean – this afternoon, I have clients in court to defend. Tell me, dear Alain, are these ‘access points’ found everywhere?”

“Dear daughter, access points of great force are rare. In ancient times, two major portals in Waule were celebrated. They were the greatest centers of druidry: Chartres and Bibracte. Chartres is still the sanctuary of sanctuaries in Christian Waule, aligned with Stonehedge and the pyramids of Egypt. Imagine before the Conquest! Coming from all corners of Grande-Bretaigne and Waule, each year an enormous assembly of Druids met in Chartres, described as a phenomenon to behold by Cæsar the Conqueror.”

“As for Bibracte, it was Waule’s greatest fortress of unparalleled construction but existeth no longer, as far as I know. Bibracte was situated right here in the Morvand, accessing transmissions from these three peaks: le Theurot de la Wivre; le Theurot de la Roche; le Porrey. This fortress stood out for its impregnable walls, what Cæsar called ‘murus gallicus’, its ramparts reinforced with crossovers of wood, stone, and iron bars.”

“In fact, Cæsar described these Gallic walls as being ‘indestructible by fire, undermining, and Roman catapults’. In brief, the construction of these walls imitated closely civil engineering methods of beavers – from which derives the name of the sanctuary – BIBRACTE!”

“Where, Alain, was this fortress located? Doth it not still exist?”

“According to my calculations, dear daughter, Bibracte was northwest of the present site of Saint-Leger-sous-Beuvray. Before the Conquest, arriving from all four corners, a mighty crowd was taught at this druidic center – I estimate about forty- thousand novices!”

“Let’s not forget last year the Second Crusade was preached in Vezelay by Bernard de Clervaus. Why here? Coincidence? Of course not, sacred places will be forever sacred! But this second Crusade is simply an excuse to invade and do devastation abroad. Alas, across all time, ‘Roman’ imperialism will never end!”

“Thunder! I’m holding the floor! I apologize! What’s thy second question, Gwenhevre? If not ... to bed, lass!”

Mon cher Mestre, here is my second question ... thou wanted me to come and discuss a new business to launch. What’s it about?”

“Gwenhevre, at the end of this bright season, I shall no longer be a fisherman, but I’ll need thy help for my new investment! Roussel will not only be my stable groom, but he and I will also become business partners. I assure thee the whole region will need our services, thanks to pilgrims flooding Espaigne and Pillagers rushing to the Holy Land. In our favor, both these destinations use our Gallo-Roman road, crossing the Morvand.”

“I did my research and calculations! The road to Saint-James is called the ‘Milky Way’. What an omen!”

“What traffic to Saint-James de Compostele! For six years now, we count four routes that begin in France leading pilgrims to Espaigne, each road enjoying royal protection. All along these pilgrimage paths through France, travelers go gaga ogling relics and buying brooches shaped like St-James scallop shells. Most pilgrims come from France – Paris, Vezelay, Arles, and Le Puy. And at our very own doorstep, Cluny hath become their rallying point. We cannot fail with such a crowd!”

“So thou seest, my daughter, there’s reason aplenty to launch this service in the Morvand!”

“Alain, what’s this lucrative service?”

“Note on our farms a variety of horses for various purposes. First, there are hrossins de trait for plowing day to day, including hros de bast with their heavy loads. Second, palefreys, like thine, for human transportation, and, lastly, for the nobles at the Castel d’Avallon and rich Crusaders, they need destriers de werre, the latter being the strongest breed, each destrier costing 40 livres esterlins.”

“Alain, 40 pounds each! That’s costly!”

“Even if the destrier hath all the necessary qualities, it will never be used for hunting on account of its high value. For hunting another breed is used – the steed, smaller than the destrier but just as powerful, able to cross fields and difficult terrain long distances, and unafraid to encounter wild animals.”

With all the blood from her heart and stomach boiling with zeal, the maiden asked:

“Dear Alain, prithee, explain the targeted clientele!”

“Thou must place thy capital prudently to rack up more profit and less risk – why not sell only palfreys to affluent clients?” Before Alain could answer, breathlessly, she added:

“In effect, cher Mestre, I recommend the best Norman breed of palfreys as thy sole breed to sell! This Norman palfrey results from a cross between Frankish and English thoroughbreds – lively and nimble, raised on the plains of Caen and the Cotentin!” Then all proud, Gwenhevre concluded:

“I know personally the breeder in Normandy!”

“Epona divine! Gramercy, Gwenhevre! Excellent idea!”

“Alain ... what if I advance the amount, we’ll call it quits immediately, both principal and interest. Thou wilt owe me nothing.”

“Dear lass, God forbid that I accept such a fortune without being of service!”

“Art thou not asking for my help?”

“Yes, Gwenhevre, but Roussel hath hidden three bougetes in the sum of 600 livres esterlins, enough to buy fifteen steeds!” Then Alain said:

“By God, dear daughter, I’m only seeking thine advice.” Hesitating a moment, he continued:

“Thou art a well-respected lawyer in the city, whereas Roussel and I live secretly in the woods –rustic fugitives and outcasts!” Despondently, he explained:

“Alas, daughter, in the Champagne region, I visited one bright season the fairgrounds of Troyes. Next to the Abbey of Saint-Lou is situated a popular district called ‘la Broce-aus-Gyu’, and nailed to each door was the Mezouza to mark the homes of the Jewry. These men, women and children all look like their Christian neighbors, but they must wear each day on their chest a yellow circle.”

“Alas, Roussel and I are also marked in the mind of Thamory – both of us the hated enemies of our Viscount! Roussel and I shall forever live in danger. By associating with us, beloved daughter, thou wilt also put thine own life in danger. Think about it! For this reason, I hesitated to talk about my plans.”

“Dear Alain, I’m cunning and tenacious in court,” said Gwenhevre, “and often I defend the innocent and win, that which is just. I also defend the guilty and win, as it suits me. I could easily hide thine identity in this lucrative business.”

“Such a possibility, Alain, did not exist before. Our ancestors in the service of lords ended their days, not only broken by their labors, but with nothing to show for forty years of service. On the other hand, thou and Roussel can have anonymity and material security! And how! We must create a corporation!”

“A corporation? Is it legal?”

“Absolutely, Alain, and I know how to set one up! Let me explain. The burghers enjoy autonomy with their charters and corporations which free them of obligations to the lords, such as the head tax, employment service tax, tax at will, and the marriage tax – in exchange for payment of a cash tax.”

“Therefore, free burghers are even allowed to operate their own courts for less serious crimes. I often serve in the ‘lower court’, while the ‘higher court’ remains the domain of the Viscount along with serious crimes, such as murder, rape, and theft. Independent in their market towns, burghers have little contact with the manor. I guarantee thine anonymity!”

“To manage their cities themselves, Alain, burghers are entitled to have their own mayors and boards of directors. Yes, it’s true the burghers swear loyalty to the lord on paper and pay him a few taxes, but the burghers vow the rest to benefit the commune, in compliance with the mayor and city council, paying collectively all costs and debts.”

“Oh, la, la, Alain, this autonomy is worth all the trouble to enjoy such freedom! The burghers help each other with municipal services – treasurers, clerks and judges, and the watches, this body of armed men guarding the ramparts by day and patrolling the streets at night.”

“Besides, Alain, thy project is still possible even if thou dost not live in Avallon! Absolutely, cher Mestre! Listen to this: members of market towns do not always dwell in the city; some live in suburbs doing their business in Avallon. As a lawyer myself, I can represent thee legally while concealing thine identity! A corporation is a pact or agreement by which the corporation becomes ‘a sole bargaining agent’. A representative can become the spokesman of the business, and the negotiator is called the ‘prud-home’’ or ‘prude-feme’’of the group.”

“With thy permission, Alain, I’d like to serve as thy prude-feme! We only need to give the clerks in Avallon a written partnership agreement, for example, under an invented name such as ‘The Round Temple’, without having to submit the individual names of each member of the corporation. Thou and Roussel will remain unnamed and unknown!”

“Bontet divine, Gwenhevre!”

“This corporation is sheer magic, as potent as druidry in Bibracte! At the same time, in a corporation, I exist and don’t exist – legally! Thou art gifted and phenomenal, Gwenhevre! And I so love the name ‘The Round Temple’. There’s something ancestral in naming us ‘The Round Temple’ without being too obvious – very symbolic of a continuing Wauleis Resistance despite everything.”

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