Lanz & Gwenhevre: Love Against the Tide

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Chapter VII: Thamory Pen-Dragon

"Reading at the pane with open book,
Bele Doete's mind wanders,
Pining for her ami Doon,
Who doth battle far away.
Already she mourneth him!"

Anonymous Weaving Song

“Return snell, Roussel, before it might rain! I will teach thee the basics of chivalry tomorrow. We must free Gwenhevre and end this tyranny. Against Thamory, gallop at full speed! Most certainly, in the city of Avallon, all frown upon us – considered more stupid than beasts of pasture, but these villains are mistaken – Matrona saveth cunning Wauleis!”

“Look at thine armor for tomorrow – spear, shield, hauberk, helmet, thy silken coat lined in wool, and thy sword with its golden hilt, the finest Arabian sword, along with its scabbard from Venice! Tomorrow thou wilt make a sensation.”

“On my faith, the armor is beautiful! But I don’t know how to fight! Tell me, father, the Knights of the Round Table, are they born in this metal, their hearts of steel?”

“Of course not, believe me, Roussel!”

“My son, thou hast no cause to blush. No other bloodline in Waule can compare to thine, but thou wilt need not only prowess against Thamory but also must dress in the manner of a French knight. Because of the politics in Avallon, our Wauleis gentry were all dispossessed, their lands devastated. Wearing armor a la franceise will save thy life!”

“But I hate all wars! They make the world go crazy! In each war too many innocents die, and good folk are too complicit, forgetting quickly the horrors inflicted. Alas, these battles never end, revenge for revenge, from father to son.”

“Hast thou no backbone, no Wauleis pride? Remember, Roussel, thy two brothers were mutilated in Bevres a year ago by the Round Table. Thou, armed on horseback, wilt do them great honor, if it pleaseth God.”

Despite himself, Roussel became the first Knight of the Round Temple and their spy in Avallon. His fine facial features – red hair, quick eyes – evoke a fox in top form. His mind – clever and inventive – will gain informers. For a long time, Alain had been sizing up Roussel’s nature, and, at the service of the Resistance, Roussel will no doubt thwart the viscount and his frivolous court.

Roussel’s physical appearance alone will stir the bel monde and transform their lassitude into fervor. But will Roussel accept his place in Alain’s shadow, with Alain at the head of the Resistance? Without quarrel, will Roussel advance Alain’s scheme against the Table ronde? Not to worry, being backstage suits Roussel. Above all, as former mayor of Bevres, he knows the complexities of politics, but he’ll enjoy more familiarizing himself with pretty girls in Avallon, drinking goudale from Flanders, and from time to time, seducing handsome sires. Who can deny these forbidden pleasures – sure and certain – all part of political life, where everything is sold at a price? An ancient Wauleis proverb puts it this way: ‘If one knew what his friend saith about him behind his back, no one would trust anyone.’

Roussel – a ‘contradiction’ personified – perfectly qualified for Avallon politics – wherein contradicting himself doesn’t mean he’s lying, no more than not contradicting himself is proof of the truth!

In the baulme that evening, Alain gave Roussel this advice:

“In Avallon, serve especially ladies and damsels, thus wilt thou be respected. Do nothing to displease them. Who can resist thee – more seductive than Belenos – maids will want to embrace thee, and if they’re wearing exquisite gems, and offering them to touch as they wish, enjoy it! We must fund our resistance, me sire le Templier!”

“Father, to please ladies in such a manner, I’ll do my best!” said Roussel, ready to go. But, dear readers, the lad dresses in the rustic style of Wauleis folk – with breeches of linsey-woolsey and lace-up boots! In Avallon Roussel must sport French fashions!

“Wait, my son, I’ll dress thee for the city!”

Homeless since the month of May, Alain’s mesnagerie-a-treis – the black cat called ‘Bijou’, the raven ‘Morrhiane’, and the owl ‘Abelard’ – had faithfully followed the two men to the Baulme-des-Wauldins in the Morvand, their new home. There on the feast of John the Baptist, the three beasts and two bipeds launched the Temple rond to challenge the formidable Table ronde of Avallon.

They must begin their Resistance before autumn leaves change color and fall to the ground. Already in October, icy winds chill to the bone and emit the bitter-sweet scents of rotting leaves. Invisible ancestors stand by in solidarity with the Living, their threatened kin, as do les fees who protect good men against evil doers at the dawn of each heroic cycle. Beyond this veil, Wauleis ancestors will also protect their living progeny from harm.

Wauleis ancestors – such as the noble Vercingetorix – that they inspire Alain and Roussel and give them courage!

At that moment, Alain, outlaw and wizard, was drilling his adopted son:

“To action, Roussel! This turbulence in Avallon offereth a chance to reinvent the world. Those who do nothing will accomplish nothing, and the timid will live in dishonor till doomsday. We must act now for our children’s future, Roussel, to create a better world with less fear and trembling. Yes, we live uncertain times, not knowing for sure if there’s even a way out of this tyranny. Yes, we’re surrounded by innumerable conflicts of interest, but we can make things better if we fight for everyone, including the bourgeoisie!”

“Father, thou burnest with a kind of ague! What? Liberate Waule? From whom? Why now? Conflicts have existed since Adam and Eve and will continue forever...”

“Bugibus! I’ve been explaining this military action for over a month – from today forward, the Riverside Rebirth is in full swing!” All proud, Alain uncovered the Templier’s new blazon that Roussel would wear on horseback – ’bevre rousse a coue levee’ on azure field, the beaver’s tail raised to show its striking force, and atop in black their motto – ‘Bibracte’!

“Our destiny requireth, my son, that thou dare the impossible. Hold on! Better to die than wait and lose everything without having tried. We must dethrone Thamory who terrorizeth Waule incessantly.”

“Once again, my father, what dost thou believe, explain thy faith in a governor who knoweth how to lead?”

“To govern, Roussel, hath nothing to do with following others – it’s about tracing a new path and showing the way. It’s about leading with conviction to a brighter future. To lead, Roussel, also meaneth building the future together, while giving hope to people without threatening and destroying the innocent. Waule is a whole, a nation capable of achieving anything. We must never exclude anyone if we want to free all men and women!”

“The Viscount of Avallon should serve his vassals as much as his vassals serve him, but instead he spendeth his treasure to entertain and distract the bel monde. Without a vision of a collective destiny, there is no future for the common good. The bel monde becometh richer while dispossessed vassals despair more and more. This inequality is nothing natural but imposed by the ambition of selfish men.”

“Result? There existeth between our viscount and his vassals – exclusion, inegalitet, negligence – all the conditions to provoke rage and revolt, but the end I envisage for this country will never justify the means. To safeguard justice, we must thwart this villain by acting better than he!”

“Better than he? I don’t understand…”

“All men, either fair or swarthy, are born brothers with the same potential to help each other and build together, but the Knights of the Round Table only want to chain and set each vassal into isolated ranks.”

“Matrona divine! No one can leave his cell since the arrival of the Romans! Enough is enough! We must make people want to live together according to common values with faith in the community.”

“Now, I understand thee, father!”

“I say oïl to the future and non to Thamory who inflameth hatred in this city so full of turmoil! He only robbeth and murdereth his vassals. What prevaileth is contempt among brothers, without any desire to live together – his Table ronde fostereth a vicious circle.”

“It’s Thamory who caused this calamity, Roussel. It’s up to a governor to draw lines of perspective, instead of overturning the cart; it’s up to him to formulate a plan of action with goals. It would be better if he helped his vassals, but instead he enjoyeth the bel monde for whom accumulating more gold is the only thing that matters. At Avallon everything is about shimmer and shine. Nothing else is taken seriously. Le bel monde is perpetually at play, all about leisure. But the exercise of power should obey rules that require rigor and discipline. So, Thamory doth not really govern, he merely manipulateth with force and cunning!”

“What kind of Waule, father, dost thou envision for the future?”

“Well, what do we Wauleis want to build together? Something more just, let’s hope! All Thamory offereth, my son, doth not help the community. In addition, his ministers have no alternatives to finance the disaster in the Holy Land, those endless wars launched by the Church, one after another – which promote looting of our own towns to pay the cost overseas!”

“No minister in Avallon can say when Thamory will be able to meet our needs. In fact, his successive looting and cancellation of town charters will cause catastrophe! To build a more just future, there must be a collective will to move forward! Alas, Thamory and his bel monde live only for themselves! These days, ugly as I am, I’ll have my chance – to live my dream and dream my life. We’re living at a turning point for Waule. We can do everything or nothing. And thou, Roussel, onward, O noble Templar! Never surrender! Understood? It would be better to die now than live on ones knees!”

The next day in the city, two galloping warriors drove back the crowd in the estree as the Bevre confronted the emissary of the Round Table. The latter’s pennant displayed the armed paws, claws, wings and tail of the Dragon, the former standard of the lower Roman Empire, the same emblem used today by the commander of the Knights of the Round Table – Thamory Pen-Dragon.

The joust ended with a crushing blow, two stiff lances smashing with such force that the riders’ arms burst, their clenched fists swelling with nerves. From the momentum, the two horses collided mortally, chest against chest, their harnesses ripping to bits – pommels, stirrups, reins, straps – the pieces falling like a hail storm.

These beasts, la Bevre et le Dragon, found themselves on the ground, but without dishonor, since their horses had expired. With a bound, the two beasts recommenced fighting face to face, emitting savage grunts. Neither one wanted a truce. They gave each other furious and relentless blows. Then one of them, both hands bloody, somehow still holding his sword, smote the other with the edge, slicing through the mesh which flew everywhere, tinted purple. Its right arm detached, the Dragon could not respond. Sparks of armor had shone bright, dimmed and faded. What shameless hatred between two brothers killing each other, both valiant knights, now broken, and, in the end, their skulls emptied of meaning.

The next day in the forest, thunder of hooves resounded, and at the time, the earth shook the familiar woods transformed into a Waste-Lande. Ever since, deathly silence, with many trees burned – along with farms – firs and oaks reduced to mere stumps, and the hooves had splattered mud, without pity, on the venerable Gallo-Roman road.

His legs ached crossing the river – it might even open up and swallow him! Anything seemed possible. In a single day, he became a stranger in his ravaged refuge. His frock on his shoulder, l’Amorous d’Avallon was struggling to find a way to rescue Gwenhevre, wading to his navel in crimson water, holding a basket of eggs retrieved at the douraise of a burning farm, telling himself – all sullied and exhausted:

“I must eat these…”

What a beautiful, sunny morning, but the smell of blood was mingling with a troubled vapor. Sweat slid down his temples, tapping against a lean torso. How could it be so hot so early? Hunger was spinning ideas in jumbled circles, and from his torke at his neck, a small bag beat against his chest, and those few coins were drumming, it seemed, a funeral air. Coming out of the water, he didn’t bother to cover himself in the hot air, dragging his feet like a sleepwalker. Around and around his index, he kept twisting the magical ring of Viviane, recalling the absurd promise he had made at that distant lake, which his mother insisted he should keep no matter what:

“If thou meet the enemy in Burgundy, Lanzelot, remember thy promise.”

But since the disappearance of Gwenhevre, this promise made no more sense. The government in Avallon leaves no room for mercy. La politike ‘thamorike’ doesn’t bend as would a reed, but remains upright and stiff like an oak. Lanz, in contrast, was a thinking reed, and through his studies in Bevres, he became incapable of leading by force and ruse as does Thamory.

Long ago, the day of Lanz’s departure for Bevres, Viviane at the lake called him‘bel fiz, bel fiz’ more than twenty times:

Bel fiz, mine heart aches in thine absence. I’m telling thee again and repeat…”

“Thanks to you, dear mother, in my life, I have known maternal love, and no other compareth with you, but too many disasters came suddenly.” Deeply moved, his mother takes him in her arms:

Bel fiz, thou must restart a life elsewhere. All life is sacred! Prithee, bel fiz, stand in peace... Never forget the example of St. Columban! Here’s the glorious torke of Vercingetorix, but don’t imitate his bloody Glory. Thou meritest this torke, bel fiz! Thou, so bold, would have been the most valiant of my sons, if one of thy brothers were able to watch over thee in chivalry. This realm never knew a valet so highly prized nor dreaded as thou. But knighthood is over! Cowardice, shame, laziness claim this country in chaos, and in the Holy Land, our bravest, alas, have fallen and died!

Weeping, she held him, and he sighed as if his soul had slipped away, his eyes welling with tears. Will there be another mother and son reunion in the crystal palace? Unfortunately, no one leaves but once the Val-sans-Retour, including Lanz’s two brothers, now buried in Jersusalem.

He’ll never see them again! Both brothers ventured to Palestine and perished within six months. One of them, his best friend, Conan, died at seventeen and his remembrance made Lanz feel more solitary than ever – without Conan, without Gwenhevre, she, having vanished into thin air – God knows where – alone, without a friend whom he could trust.

A noise... a scream!

The former pacifist looked for a weapon, squeezing the torke about his neck. Despite his hunger of body and spirit, all senses opened. His eyes glanced sharply to capture anything that might provoke a movement. The air – smelling of ash and blood – seared his nostrils, recalling the end of October when farmers slaughter their pigs. Is this blood of man or beast? What’s the difference? Slaughter is slaughter. What a massacre yesterday! The river flows purple from the decimated beavers!

Alert, Lanz mounted a ridge on a small hill. Reaching the ridge, he looked down, seeing a body squirm on the Gallo-Roman road. His back stiffened. He lowered the basket of eggs to the ground, raising a pointed stick. Seeing the knight on the ground, Lanz motioned forward, his blood boiling hotter than the season, to dispatch the hated species that had destroyed his family – once so loved, now lost forever.

“Slay me!”

This cry stunned Lanz, stopping him in his tracks. He refocused attention on the beast in armor who pleaded his own extinction. Directing the pointed stick to the knight’s head, suddenly Lanz dropped the weapon, looking at the face, whose features resembled those of his brother, Conan. Lanz blinked, trying to chase away this witchcraft.

“Kill me, brother! I can’t take it!”

“I’m not thy brother,” said Lanz, picking up his weapon. The word ‘brother’ echoed in Lanz’s mind like the hunger in his belly. He reflected a moment. In Jerusalem, was Conan slain by an angry, avenging brother? After a weighty pause, Lanz broke his silence:

“Where art thou wounded, me sire?”

“Come on, brother, finish me!”

“I can’t!” Lanz added, “Friend, I’ll help thee…”

At the same time, at the castle, the eschevin of Avallon, his face scarlet with rage, questioned what Thamory had ordered in the forest:

Me Sire le Visconte, what an abomination! Our knights did burn alive – without cause – our humblest vassals who worked so hard the land, a hundred farmers and their families. Then at the dam, these same knights gutted and piled beavers into the river, their blood an endless flow!”

“Calm down, my dear Eschevin, don’t worry about measures I’ve taken which don’t concern you as far as I know. To protect the community, I had to pull these weeds from my garden.”

“Weeds! Is there good reason to kill the good and harmless – farmers in their fields and Nature’s ‘kidneys of the river’? Me Sire le Visconte, those cultivators and beavers served all of us day and night, night and day.”

“My dear friend, look at the rebellion taking place. I, without blushing, did what was necessary, using force to secure our saulvetet publike. Frankly, their bold blazon and motto represent a threat to peace and security, and since the joust in l’Estree d’Avallon, a hero of the Round Table hath perished, while la Bevre rousse hideth like a coward in the Morvand. Those redheads stink to high heaven! Wauleiserie est saulvagerie, pur et simple! What an abominable belief in witchcraft and magic. Down with the infidel!”

Breathless, the Eschevin replied:

Me sire, my wife is a redhead!”

“Oïl, mon cher ami, and I should like to see her braids undone.”

Sufficiently threatened, the Eschevin replied best he could:

“Me sire, a vos ordres. I shall give this proclamation to the town crier for tomorrow.”

Then he bowed and turned, leaving Thamory Pen-Dragon. But is there any justification for massacring vassals, for betraying allies, for being merciless? This is the common justification since the Pharaohs of Egypt. By these cruel means, Thamory attains absolute power.

Serial killings have lasted too long in Avallon and embarrass certain hers. Such cruelties engender bitterness, leaving a bad taste in the mouth like a sauce that causes nausea. Despite the nausea, Thamory retains respect of the people. He’s hated but also respected. How’s that? Brutality has become common usage and strengthened his power. What saves him in the long run are the nightly entertainments in the great hall.

Dear readers, in politics, there’s no room for morality.

Thamory Pen-Dragon is both a monster and a respected governor. No one really judges a governor on morality, but rather on what he does to perpetuate la grandour. Finally, he has only to represent a small number, those who constitute the bel monde – and there he is admired – truculent and jovial, tyrannical but esteemed in high society.

Moreover, Thamory has the fever for absolute power, seducing his opponents with a double nature. What would he say about failing in politics? There are two ways to fail – firstly, by unexpected misfortune and adversities, and secondly, by ones own lack of foresight – or by loss of composure in difficult times – all this can ruin a politician. Ironically, according to Thamory, such failure would not disclaim greatness if one knows how to lie, conceal and deceive in order to hide mistakes. This is the art of politics in Avallon!

In short, a her ‘thamorike’ doesn’t keep his word, preferring to make himself someone to be feared rather than someone to be loved. For the most part, the vassals in Avallon are obedient and allow themselves to be deceived – themselves often unresolved. Being no visionary, Thamory is only interested in the workings of reality, in the world as it is. He never thinks of building a better society, of which Alain des Bois dreams. ‘Humanity’ doesn’t concern Thamory at all, nor do the needs of others. What matters is, first of all, his personal Glory written on the pages of history, full of bravery and furor. This personal Glory will have no purpose, apart from showing Thamory’s brilliance, no ultimate meaning, nor anything new to offer since the Pharaohs. History for Thamory simply repeats itself. For Thamory, nothing has changed in Waule since Julius Cæsar between the fortunate and unfortunate, even if everything seems to fluctuate – language, fashion, laws – what were once Roman laws are now the Salic laws of the Franks. Why bother to reinvent anything? The social inequalities, pleasures and misfortunes of everyday life will persist, no matter what.

For Thamory the only goddess to serve will always be Dame Fortune. To counterbalance him, what can we expect from the Virtue of the Knights of the Round Temple – with their imagination and ardor to overcome the workings of reality in a new era? For these visionaries, everything will be possible! But beware, dear readers! A powerful governor defends himself with great force and cunning, at all costs. He must! Long ago in the Morvand, they wanted to revolt, not able to do so, because of perpetual tumult. They, our knights of the Round Temple, will they succeed in restraining Thamory’s absolute power – to end his tyranny managed by sly intelligence, along with his genius for dissimulation and cruelty without remorse?

For the knights at the Castle, the games in the great hall represent not only entertainment but also their chivalrous formation, each choice at each turn of play can make them rise in rank or descend. Among the ambitious of Avallon, women are educated very differently from men, with political power remaining the domain reserved for men. So, a valet and a dameisele don’t learn the same subjects – a dameisele learns to seduce and charm – to embellish her outfit with style, broaden her mind with finesse, by embroidering her sentences, reading lais in Breton, writing verses rhymed in French, even speaking Latin, and playing the harp and singing.

But the valet learns to develop perspicacity in combat, to dominate or subdue others, first by raising his horse and his falcon, then at full speed in the forest to subjugate the beast at the chase, then to shoot his bow, and, finally, to play the all-powerful king at chess! Why? Each governor will have his turn on the throne: ‘checkmate’ – the king is dead, long live the king! For these warlike ambitions, what good are the fine arts, this field of study being the preoccupation of monks and women?

Are any valets in Waule “cultured”? – Alain, with twenty years at the druidic seminary, and Lanz, with his pedagogical studies in Bevres, are exceptional among valets franceis. Alain and Lanz both know thoroughly, not only Wauleis fine arts, but also antique verses and natural sciences! For all monks, sorcerers, and educated women who know the crude ‘workings of reality,’ no cathedral in Waule can ever be completed – except in the imagination of visionaries.

By God! Alain wants to lay the first stone of that cathedral! But it will require superhuman effort to transcend the bounds of the norm, just like saint Austin said a long time ago in Rome – singing with fervor, the poet will reinvent his life:

“Sing with thy voice, and with thine heart, and with all thy moral conviction.
Sing new songs, not only with thy tongue, but with thy life!”

That’s Alain’s goal.

Instead of dominating others, Alain, the visionary, and Lanz, the pacifist, will submit to a mystical tactic against the ferocious force of the Dragon d’Avallon! Every cathedral, like music, mysteriously leads closer to the almighty Infinite.

So, the Round Table and the Round Temple, two opposing camps on the chessboard, admire Waule’s ancestors quite different from each other, Lanz being inspired by St. Columban while Alain celebrates the Wauleis gods. On the other hand, Thamory Pen-Dragon admires only the tyrants of Waule, especially le duc Willam IX d’Aquitaine, he, like Thamory, un her noble sans scrupules!

Willam IX was the grandfather of Alienor, the present queen of France, the duke of a vast domain – from Poitiers and Limoges to the Pyrenees, and the first troubadour of Europe. Did Willam IX seek to dominate while singing? Actually, he preferred sensual pleasures to the disasters of war, but he knew both – in Waule and in the Holy Land, winning with his cunning rather than with weapons. At the age of fifteen, he took his inheritance, Aquitaine, and at sixteen he married Ermengarde d’Anjou. When she produced no heir, Willam dissolved the marriage. Another marriage ensued and ended in marital unhappiness, but this second alliance left him a larger domain and seven children.

Neither of his two wives nor the Church could govern this her ambitious. The marriage with his second wife, Philippa de Toulouse – the heiress-widow – opened the door to the immense County of Toulouse, but it was acquired by trickery. He cheated? Oïl, dear readers! Philippa’s uncle, Raymond de Toulouse, wanted so much to strike gold in the Crusades overseas that he left his County of Toulouse in the hands of his son Bertrand. Thus Raymond set out with his army of a hundred thousand men to found his own overseas dynasty – which he did at Tripoli in Syria. At that moment, after the departure of Raymond, Willam, without saying a word, absorbed the County of Toulouse into Aquitaine. That way the county remained in the family, so to speak, but it was acquired by defying all competition! Frankly, it was stolen! This duc d’Aquitaine committed ugly larceny!

The first Crusade represented a ‘gold rush,’ and Willam IX wanted to join those prospectors, but he needed cash in hand to do so. Consequently, he mortgaged to Bertrand, the son of Raymond, the County of Toulouse that he had absorbed into Aquitaine, to obtain the necessary funds to go to the Holy Land, where the mightily-armed crusaders acted like storm troopers. Ironically, what happened to these false knightly lovers, and Willam acted this way his whole life, they sing with fervor, but in reality, they show little respect for women. Here are telling verses written by Willam – le fauls amorous:

“The Lady doth a great mortal sin
if she loveth not a loyal knight;
but if she prefereth monk or clergy,
that maketh no sense:
we must burn her alive
on the pyre.”

Dear readers, there was also Willam’s famous love affair called the ‘Liaison Dangerouse’ with the unlikely but truly named mistress ‘Dangerouse,’ the wife of Willam’s vassal – le Visconte Aimery. The abduction of Dangerouse by Willam caused scandal in 1115 when he secured her in a tower added to his castle, so their amorous encounters could take place more easily. Then in 1121, Willam decided to have one of his sons born of Philippa marry the daughter of Dangerouse called Anor. In fact, Alienor, now Queen of France, was the fruit of this union, named after her mother ‘Alia Anor’ (the Other-Anor).

Noblesse oblige!

At the splendid court of Poitiers, after all sorts of infidelities committed by Willam, Philippa wanted to leave her husband, having given him two sons and five daughters, she, tired of listening to his lais de conqueste, and so she turned her attention to the prescheour-hermite-druidike-catholike – Robert d’Arbrissel in Petite-Bretaigne, the one who did his utmost to honor Wauleis women at Fontevraud. Disgusted with her two-faced troubadour-husband, Philippa moved to Fontevraud where she became friends with Willam’s first wife, Ermengarde d’Anjou.

Oïl, it’s incredible but understandable! Between Philippa and Ermengarde existed mutual support between victims, which is rarely found in politics.

Thamory loves to study closely Willam’s tricks that contributed to his Glory as Duke of Aquitaine. Thamory also admires how Willam arranged dynastic alliances – a geopolitical game – involving Philippa’s seven children, pawns whom he married off on the chessboard of kingdoms. Result? Nowadays ‘Other-Anor,’ heiress to his Glory and granddaughter of Willam IX, has become queen of France! In addition, Willam X, her father, did not want Aquitaine to be compromised in dowry, so he insisted on the prerogative of women as heirs. Consequently, the vast lands of Alienor could not be integrated into the kingdom of France when she married Louis VII. Aquitaine remains strictly the legacy of Alienor and her heirs. For the dukes and duchesses of Aquitaine, one must have and retain at all times – both the butter sold and the butter money – barter to barter!

I heard said, dear readers, that this rich duchess and queen of France also departed with Louis VII, her husband, on pilgrimage from St-Denis to Jerusalem. Will this second Crusade be called a justified war by the Church?

Absolutely!

Every war is part of political ‘workings of reality.’ Indeed, the evil that mankind commits happens more fully by way of religious belief, without any remorse. Once again, another Pope declared:

“Deus vult!”

This war cry will replace Charlemagne’s battle cry ‘Montgoie!’ yelled against the enemies of the Franks. Nowadays, the crusaders in battle from Waule shout ‘St-Denis!’ – invoking the protection of the patron saint of ‘Douce France’, their martyr decapitated near Paris. Fortunately for us, les Engleis, our saint Georges kept his head! Thank God! St-Georges can hear our prayers better than their saint in Waule deprived of his head!

What’s new with Lanz who helped his wounded ‘brother’? How are they coping? Something strange is happening – on account of the eggs.

On the Gallo-Roman way, two brothers, side by side, not saying a word, their eyes closed, are floating in air above terra firma! Hidden behind the foliage, frightened beasts watch them, while Lanz’s coins drum, suspended from his torke, and next to Lanz, they can see the ‘Bevre’ in armor, his blazon torn aplenty, barely covering the hollow torso of this metallic warrior.

One of the three eggs in the basket is missing. Where is it? Lost? No, it was already swallowed whole inside Lanz’s throat, producing this magical effect. During the bright season of Beletaine, all kinds of wonders cause regeneration among our earthly brethren. These two somnambulists were defying Nature’s force that weighs and anchors us to the ground. They were removed elsewhere, morally and physically – into another world, Lanz seeking what he had never seen, what he had never known. To protect Lanz, la fee Morgaine, the learned one, covered his skin with a hemp ointment against dementia. Guided this way in the air, only God knows how, without making any false turns, they floated straight towards the Baulme-des-Wauldins in the Morvand. Are Bibracte’s transmitters in full force again these days?

Among the main gods of Waule, Taranis – meaning ‘thunder’ – had already warned Gwenhevre about the runner. Since the joust in the Estree d’Avallon, another god, Sucellos, listens to Alain’s prayers, and this bearded ‘great-slugger,’ with his massive club, inspires Druids with his protective authority – the true father-god of the Wauleis. His other attribute includes a cauldron, symbol of abundance, as he raises his club to clobber enemies, while protecting the faithful.

The two ghosts were gliding airborne to the entrance of the Baulme.

With his thunder, Taranis struck a warning! In individual heaps, the two brothers fell to the ground, the armor of one in pieces, with no sign of a human body inside, each metal component in scattered pieces. On the other hand, still firmly in the flesh, but naked as a worm, Lanz was wearing only the torke, his skin all green with the ointment from la fee. As he fell from the sky, his basket had tumbled, and two oval mushrooms began to roll, guided by an unknown force into the deepest shadows of the Baulme.

Dear readers, our Pacifist had a runner’s legs, he, now lying asleep on his side, his torso lifted at an angle by broad shoulders, so his head was oblique resting against his blacksmith’s arms. What a magnificent monk, free as a bird – with spiky hair and a flowing beard!

What’s a hero for the Wauleis?

A hero can be a cultured man, so Wauleis heroism is not limited to the sphere of war and magic but can extend to what’s called ‘culture,’ thus giving heroic power to words and ideas. For example, these two men who will meet for the first time – Alain, our virtuous Druid, and Lanz, our honest Amorous – also known as – Alain des Bois and Lanz du Lac, both are courageous, discreet, and able to keep secrets. In his current condition, Lanz reminds us of ancient Wauleis warriors on the battlefield, exposing wounds more openly than the Romans. What courage and what nerve! Similarly, Lanz has nothing to hide either – not only does he show his body, but also wounds to the heart and all his doubts. Alas, Lanz is not at all aware of this heroic side of himself.

Shaken by Taranis, running out of the Baulme, Alain screams:

“Roussel, Gwenhevre’s cloak, where is it?”

Alain and Roussel, in their surge out the cave, were astonished by what they saw a few feet away. In front of them, two piles, side by side, the sleeping Greenman and armor in scattered pieces. This beautiful armor of theirs had been stolen the day before by an all-powerful magician – the one-armed, one-legged, one-eyed Remnil de Bretaigne. This cunning magician had skilfully put our Templiers into a stupor, so he could take off with the metallic skin of la Bevre, before mounting their steed. On a mission, he galloped to join their cause against the Round Table, but Alain and Roussel couldn’t imagine then a friendly reason for his actions. So, dear readers, it was Remnil de Bretaigne who fought in the Estree d’Avallon as ‘la Bevre,’ and he’s the one who beat the Knight of the Round Table.

“Father, who’s sleeping there, that motley-colored warrior – is it Vercingetorix?”

“Look, cheeks of four colors – yellow, blue, green, red! Hands and feet, each one, seven fingers and seven toes!” Roussel gasped getting an eyeful – what virility galore!

“Father, look at the other pile – our armor all in pieces!”

“It’s too late to mount, Roussel. The honorable trick was played by Remnil. I can still feel his presence, that cold wind that cuts me to the quick!”

At this moment, the armor disappeared in a gust, and the courtine ripped with Remnil’s precipitated exit. In fairy twilight, rarely seen by man, Alain and Roussel could spy two reciprocal spheres – the visible world and the invisible one. At the spot where the armor lay, a hornbeam began to germinate. The tree grew so fast, its wood hard and white, transforming into a small cart, rolling next to the Templars towards the interior of the Baulme. This cart was towed by a single red rodent, either a rat or a mouse. The rodent had only one leg, with a post running through its body, held in place by a stake in the middle of its forehead. Inside the cart lay a beautiful bevre, clutching three wet bags. One of her paws was cut, almost severed, still bleeding profusely.

Remnil reappeared, his hazelnut pitchfork in one hand, leading a cow with the other. The magician turned the fork towards the Baulme, as two mushrooms flew out from the shadows, one sliding gently down the throat of the bevre, while the other flew violently into the mouth of Alain, who nearly choked before swallowing it whole.

Once more, Remnil disappeared.Thus a new year was born in the Morvand, promising vitality for the lost tribes of Waule and the hope of renewing a kind of union between them and their goddess of the river who fertilizes for ever and ever this gravely threatened land.

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