Lanz & Gwenhevre: Love Against the Tide

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Chapter VIII: Round Temple or Table?

“Oyez, oyez, oyez!”

Hear the Proclamation of venerable Thamory Pen-Dragon, announced by the town crier of Avallon:

“In these tumultuous times, our defenders of Avallon, the Knights of the Round Table, fight day and night against the maleficent forces of the Morvand.”

“To the detriment of good governance, we must now fight against infidels on two fronts, not only abroad in Jerusalem, but here on our own soil where the Wauldins have abandoned the true faith.”

“These Wauldins are stoking flames in the Morvand, and their wickedness is reaching even the streets of Avallon. These Wauleis rebels reject our civilized life, including the saddle and riding apparel, in fact, all our French ways, while governing themselves as cut-throat robbers.”

“This Proclamation includes the following Ordinance, three Articles, in order to restore civil order to Avallon.”

“Oyez, oyez, oyez! Hear three articles mandated this day by our viscount and protector:

According to custom in the kingdom of France, every Christian in Avallon must speak French at home, at market, at court, and in all public places, under penalty of heavy fines and imprisonment.”

“Article 1: Beginning this day, no newborn in Avallon, boy or girl, may receive a Wauleis name, only a French name. Before the baptism of the child, this name must be approved by the council of municipal affairs, then registered under the seal of the Eschevin. This prohibition will be rigorously applied to prevent and degrade the influence of the infidels.”

“Article 2: Beginning this day, it is forbidden in Avallon to dress in linsey-woolsey or Wauleis breeches at home, at market, at court, and in all public places.”

“Article 3: Beginning this day, the word of Wauleis origin ‘bevre’ no longer exists in our Romance language, replaced by a long-standing, dignified and classic term of Greek origin, ‘castor’. This hard-working animal fell victim to the misfortune of being chosen as a symbol on the coat of arms and motto of the Infidels in the Morvand.”

“Oyez, oyez, oyez!”

“Unity is strength. Down with the Round Temple and long live the Round Table, our true heirs to the Glory of Rome and the great empire of Charlemagne. God is with us! This Proclamation concludes, mandated this day by your humble servant and defender of the faith, the Visconte d’Avallon, Thamory Pen-Dragon.”

Dear readers, aren’t they a bit fanatical the French? First, look at their queen. We, les Engleis, thank God, have no such Ambitiouse on the throne. Alienor d’Aquitaine scares me! Second, why prohibit the wearing of ancestral clothing? Aren’t the French less Roman than they claim? On the other hand, en Engleterre, we dress as we like, crossways or backwards, leaving everyone free as a bird. For example, our neighbors in Ireland, they, so faithful to their linsey-woolsey! Vive la difference! But in France where is there choice? But then, look at Saint-Denis, the one who lost his head in Montmartyr. How can their patron saint guide the poor Wauleis? Where are his ears and mouth? Can he hear their prayers and answer them? Fortunately, in Waule, druidic gods still protect them!

Dear readers, is it clear that the Temple rond in the Morvand does not constitute the same Templars as those of Christian chivalry? Since 1129, the earlier Order of the Temple, both a religious order and a military force, has been waging war against the bloodthirsty infidels of the false prophet Mohammed. In addition, this warlike order makes money aplenty. Those Templars, so chaste and pure, kill only malefactors, so it’s not homicide they commit but Malicide, according to a long tradition of the Church. Since saint-Austin in Rome, there are certain wars categorized by the Church as ‘just’.

In those cases, our Templars of Christ do not fear killing their own souls when they kill their adversaries. For these ‘just’ wars everything is forgiven! For example, a noble received in the Order of the Temple may donate his own destrier but must be transformed into a modest soldier of the order, cutting his hair short and keeping it unkempt, while washing himself rarely, his beard flowing, body stinking dust and sweat, all over marked by harness whips and heat strokes in Palestine.

Dear readers, as already said, these wars are costly. The monasteries of Cluny are the largest creditors, and lords impose heavy taxation, or like Thamory, they plunder their own vassals. The Crusades take place in distant lands. One must cross the sea and pay Italian fleets. This explains how the Templars, like monasteries, provide additional financial services, as I’ll explain in a moment. The beautiful dream of the richest Crusaders is to become the most powerful landowner in Palestine. The competition is great and brigands are found all along the way!

No one on a long journey wants to carry too much money, so these Soldiers of Christ of the Order of the Temple provide a financial service and solution against road and sea theft. Crusaders and travelers can deposit their money before going on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, Saint-James-de-Compostele or Rome. These Templars of the chaste and pure order invented the ‘bill of exchange’, whereby Templars are entrusted with the necessary funds for pilgrimage, and the treasurer of the order gives the pilgrim a letter on which the sum of value is written and then authenticated. So the pilgrim can then travel without money on him and feel safer. Reaching his destination, the pilgrim will find other Templars who exchange the letter in the local currency. This great financial service began in 1146 with the departure of Louis VII and Alienor d’Aquitaine who had deposited their royal treasure with the guard of the Temple of Paris.

Speaking of money where’s Gwenhevre...how is she?

Still a prisoner, she’s fading fast, her beauty tarnished! She’s even forgotten her name, that once brilliant Ambitiouse who worked so hard to rise to the top, striving for a nobler title than Dame Putemoneye.

Thamory married the lass in her folly! Why? He learned much about matrimonial advantages from Willam IX and finally built a tower detached from the castle, like that of Dangerouse, to install Gwenhevre, her room accessible only by a spiral staircase. Thus Gwenhevre dwells alone, day and night. The marriage was kept secret, and due to her isolation, baths are neglected, and she hasn’t heard another person’s voice for ten weeks, no longer recalling her unicorn. What a nightmare life!

By God! Gwenhevre has become a viscountess – without knowing or savoring it! But her ring finger shines! This is proof of it – the only proof.

“Who’s there?” she whispers, staring at the mirror in hand. Her pallor splashes across the looking-glass, another object like the others in bad condition around her – a dirty coverlet, a torn rug on the ground, walls smudged with fingerprints, the same hand now hovering over the knife in her lap. With a threatening look, her eyes fix on the instrument. Suddenly, she quakes, releasing the knife, seeing from the corner of her eye a mouse scurry from her bed to its little nest on the floor. The surprise visitor distracted and rescued Gwenhevre.

Until her abduction, Gwenhevre dressed like une grande dame before going to trial in the courtroom. Her ability to win arguments, always sure of herself, so impressed the religious at Fontevraud that they nicknamed her Imperatrix nominatissima. What a difference now! She has fallen so low, and how! In all business matters, she took advantage of her quick mind. Especially her liquid eyes attracted men like an emerald pool in springtime. Her eyes drew more attention at court than her verbal skills, though she excelled without rival in pleading her causes. To celebrate life at night in her room, she would dance rondelez for hours alone, listening to the music deep in her soul, as if there would be no end to joy of living. Then the abduction – followed by solitude and oblivion, and, consequently, her loss of memory that saved her somehow, but also caused her eyes to dim and no longer shine.

Approaching the rodent’s nest on the floor while making her rounds, dragging her feet – unable to lift them, Gwenhevre sets her hand against the wall and pushes her way along the stone to avoid collapsing on weakened legs.The stone was blackened from her habitual turns, while she was searching, always searching in vain for anyone, endlessly, around and around the wall’s curvature. Sometimes a spark of spirit animated her and she mumbled to the wall:

“Come out of there!” But she wasn’t talking to anybody. With each circling, her eyes were nailed to the imaginary emerging from the wall. The multiple face – was it her mother’s? Her daughter’s? Anyone she knows? A sister? Herself? The people superimposed on each other, telling her all the same thing – “be a good girl,” their way of pushing her aside, out of their lives. After all, a wall is a wall is a wall.

“Are they dead or alive?” She wonders, fascinated with the captives inside the stone, then Gwenhevre leans towards them:

“Who...are...you?”

She stumbles backwards and falls on the bed, setting in motion a series of oscillations, until the bed’s three legs counterbalance the fourth missing one. On her bed she sighs and wipes her forehead with dirty fingers.

Before picking up again the knife on the bed, before doing any mechanical act of survival, Gwenhevre imagines a girl at the closed door, the girl’s eyes aglow, her body energetic and mind alert.

“My friend knocketh?” Gwenhevre wonders, when she dares to think.

In her delirium, she had fallen asleep, overtaken by slumber similar to death. Suspended outside the tower, the Green Man was floating. Finally, there, through the stone emerged a face for real, this one that kept peering through the sole window, spying his Lady who had become almost a ghost.

Lanz, his hair of three colors – brown at the crest, reddish at the temples, with golden fringes, his flowing mane undulating in the moonlight, falling in long curls onto his shoulders. His cheeks burning, with seven pupils at each eye, each hand with seven fingers, each foot with seven toes. Holding an oval mushroom in one hand and Viviane’s magic ring in the other, Lanz would have attracted the admiration of all the living and dead who can see through the curtain – such as our visionary poets and artisans.

Very violent fear struck me sire Lanz as he entered the tower window, Gwenhevre looking dead, she, lying on a dirty, red quilt. On closer inspection, he gazed at his Parfite, who could say nothing, not breathing. Lanz was terrified:

“Lady, I beg thy mercy! All in all in my power, whatever the wrongs and misdeeds, the worse was not to confess my love!”

“Gwenhevre, I give myself to thee – nu a nue!”

Lanz, his heart breaking, sang through a flood of tears, his voice hoarse:

“In thine eyes closed, an emerald pool,
Where stars of heaven are hidden.
How old art thou, mon Eternele?
I will never give up this fire,
Even if I explode and fall into snowflakes.
I give myself to thee, from top to bottom of my soul.
Good wind, mon Eternele!
Let’s navigate the space and time we need
I’ll learn what I am and am not without thee.
Truly thee I love!
Thine eyes, a pond to drink,
I thee give what givest me.
Thine as mine, mon Eternele!”

Then he descended from air to bed, this defrocked monk, boldest of amorous heroes.

God save these two lovers and their fin’amor! Isn’t this – between Lanz and Gwenhevre – l’Amour parfite a deus? Without a word, Lanz superimposed the magic ring on Gwenhevre’s finger atop the wedding band and inserted the oval mushroom between her parted lips.

Bontet divine! The moribund strongly smelled the scent of the wild man of her dreams – half sweat, half woody sage. In her delirium, Gwenhevre was delighted and her heart resumed a beat, then a hurried rhythm, but, alas, Lanz could only see in his Lady a ghost.

Straight to the window, he turned back, leaving his scent behind. Floor and walls remained stained with the Green Man’s ointment. Looking at her with a sigh, his eyes overflowing, he laments:

“I love thee more than my life, for thee I want to die!”

Sweet life became bitter to Lanzelot, as happens to those who know Eternal Love. He wants to flee through the forest into unknown country, where no one would look for him there – neither valet nor dameisele would know his fame. There, he could hide in underground caves as do coneys in their warren.

At this very moment, Lanz hates nothing more than himself, the author of this terrible loss. Alas, had he only known that Gwenhevre loves him with an ardent love, he, l’Amorous d’Avallon, the beloved son of Viviane, the hottest specimen of man there is! He loves her so much that Love had to desert all other hearts to fill the heart of Lanzelot. His unparalleled ardor has impoverished all other lovers since the creation of the human race.

So painful was her death that it tore out his heart and will to live. But very cowardly is the Amorous who wants to die rather than suffer for his Parfite! Lanzelot, as the most amorous man, loves to suffer more than to die and no longer suffer for Gwenhevre – such was the agony that caused Lanz’s disgust with life, Gwenhevre having passed to the other side of the Courtine.

On the other hand, that evening what comfort could be found in Thamory’s room, rendered splendid by the art of a great architect of Bourges, this magnificent town in Berry that Charlemagne made the capital of Aquitaine and, before Charlemagne, the valiant Vercingetorix passed there, as did Julius Cæsar, who considered Bourges one of the most beautiful cities of antiquity – a true jewel and fine example of Wauleis genius. This architect of Bourges endowed the Castel d’Avallon with marvelous and formidable innovations, such as, dear readers, you’ll never hear anything else of the like. Not only is there the forbidding bridge in the form of a dragon, but Thamory’s room – richly decorated – a bastion of comfort. No murderer could remain alive when he entered. Neither cowards nor traitors can endure the traps hidden in its recesses – such intruders die immediately.

In addition, at the Castel d’Avallon, there’s a multitude of warriors of all ages, the largest and muscular from diverse countries to learn the martial arts and the mastery of new weapons invented to crush the infidels in Palestine. In total, the number of warriors is five hundred, some are bearded, others are beardless: a hundred of them choose not to wear beards, another hundred had not yet begun to grow hair on the chin, while those of a certain age, once a week, shave grey or white beards.

In his luxurious chamber that night, at the same time as Lanz’s visit, Thamory took his snack called le coucher – dates, figs, nutmeg, cloves and pomegranates, and especially to satisfy his sweet tooth – a meat pie with ginger of Alexander and many imported beverages – goudale, mulberry wine, clear syrup, spiced wine.

That night it was the court Fool’s turn to serve ‘le coucher’. Every courtier did it in rotation – a great honor. To make everyone laugh, the Fool jumped for joy and cried out, overturning the spicy wine, the face of the viscount bathed with the piquant beverage:

“Me Sire le Visconte, weep not! You’ll pay your debts, it won’t be long!”

The viscount laughed, despite the Fool’s outrageous mischievousness, content to be the husband of a rich woman who fell so quickly ill. Le Fol continued to speak, daring to go further with his outspokenness:

“Bugibus! Today in court I laughed at the Eschevin! My raillery cost him his life and made him lose everything. We’ll never see him again! One less to pay, me sire, thanks to me, and his wife will no longer show her offensive braids!”

“Vicious Fol,” replied the viscount, “I forgive thee, yet thou goest too far tonight! Leave me, my belly and eyes full of le coucher.

“Bonne nuit, me sire. The proud Fool wishes you bad dreams!”

Dear readers, in Thamory’s chamber, there’s nothing to frighten at first sight – there’s nothing that makes you hesitate to enter into it – like all good traps well conceived! Instead of scaring, everything dazzles! At the chamber door, hinges and rings of bolts shine, one of the panels is of chiseled ivory, the other of ebony, each of the doors illuminated with gold and precious gems. Even the flooring strikes the eye – a polished mosaic of bright colors where one first notices the green, the vermeil, india and pers.

Dear readers, please note that these details that I present you, I saw them with my own eyes, being a reliable chronicler!

In the middle of the great chamber, its walls of pure white marble, was situated the bed, covered with a large silken quilt. Each carved, oaken leg of beautiful and delicate workmanship and from each of its interlacings hung a bell, making a charming chime to fall asleep. Atop each leg, at the height of a standing man, a candle flamed, throwing light of day at midnight, the time of Thamory’s coucher. These legs rode on four grimacing dragons, each with a wheel, the bed so mobile that anyone could move it with the tip of a finger, to any location in the room.

What a dazzling chamber!

Though the magnificent stained-glass windows of cathedrals emit celestial colors, the stained-glass at Castel d’Avallon also conveys the most complementary hues imaginable. In this castle, there are five-hundred windows capable of opening and closing according to time and season. Dear readers, I was there to write these details without exaggeration, and I admired with all my eyes this marvel of architecture.

On the other hand, in the Baulme-des-Wauldins, there’s no human construction, but this cave is naturally marvelous – one could get lost in its many multicolored corridors, wash oneself under its subterranean falls, even conceal an entire army of three-thousand Templars. Unfortunately, the Round Temple has only two bipedal Templars, Alain and Roussel, along with three members of fur and feathers – Bijou, Morrhiane and Abelard! Oïl, there was one day to their surprise the temporary ally, Remnil de Bretaigne, to the rescue, but this magician from Bretaigne came to test Lanz on the Gallo-Roman road, not to fight in armor in Avallon, he, sent by his lover, Viviane la Fee.

Viviane wanted above all to make sure that her beloved bel fiz remained a pacifist in this warring world. Be gone chevalerie! What savagery! Moreover, she was grieving, having lost her two sons in Palestine, regretting also having taken Lanz from his mother of Yssouldun, which she never revealed to Lanz. Then Viviane made a decision, after Lanz’s departure for Bevres, to sacrifice everything – her crystal palace, as well as all her treasures, while giving back her magical powers to Merlin, in order to release her lover, whose soul was prisoner a long time in Brec’h-Elian. At Beletaine, she quit the Val-sans-Retour and began her life all over again.

Dear readers, have you understood this new revelation?

Merlin de Bretaigne is known in Burgundy by the anagram ‘Remnil’. In reality, it’s the same person. His mission in Burgundy concerned three goals and was accomplished after the joust in l’Estree d’Avallon – first, to test the pacifism of Lanz on the Gallo-Roman road; secondly, to save Lanz from dementia, while administering an oval mushroom after Lanz had lost his beloved, Gwenhevre; then Merlin stole from the Baulme-des-Wauldins Gwenhevre’s cloak, whose magical powers were sought after by Viviane la Fee. With this mantle, Viviane went to Fontevraud. Why? I don’t know yet anything about it, but I keep searching to unveil all secrets.

Why are we Christians of Europe at war with ourselves and in the world? The Prince of Peace, our Lord Jesus Christ, preached to do otherwise. Alas, in the 4th century our saint-Austin in Rome, who encouraged poets to sing with all their hearts, had also expressed the theory of a ‘just’ war, to which the Church has since rallied firmly, rather than singing with all her heart to love one’s neighbor. In fact, we sing off key. What a racket with our loud weapons!

Since St-Austin, we engage only in war against the infidel, no matter where, no matter how – without any embarrassment or remorse. Instead of promoting peace, we’re acting in a diametrically opposed way!

Poor Jerusalem! It’s literally called the ‘City of Peace’ – and there we find the same catastrophe – war after war after war, where the true cross is worshipped – the center of the spiritual world for Christians, Muslims and Jews. For Christians, it’s the city where pilgrims can visit Calvary and the tomb of our Almighty Savior, Jesus Christ.

As I see it, this theory of the ‘just war’ is plainly more false than the idea of a false prophet called Mohammed. What harm did he do? Even the castrated philosopher, Peter Abelard, insisted on our Abrahamic brotherhood among these three families, but banditry and looting persist among the families. According to the Muslims in Jerusalem, it’s the continuation of their struggle against the invaders of the Roman Empire of the East. For our crusader brothers, it’s a struggle to preserve safe-conduct for our pilgrims. Who’s right? As always, might makes right.

What a curious thing, who will win in the long run? The Italian city-states might benefit the most from the Crusades – they’ll likely be the commercial winners, as well as all the Norman, Frankish and Germanic land-grabbers, establishing so-called ‘Latin’ States of the East in Palestine. Abraham, would he recognize his faith in one God so transformed? Even Eastern Christians, such as the Byzantines, can’t distinguish the prospectors from the West. For them, all Westerners are Franks, pure and simple, with their lingua franca. But the majority of these prospectors are in fact Normans. Yes, these days, they speak French and identify with Rome, like the Franks, but Normans are of Germanic stock, these Christianized Vikings, now rigorously following the imperialist model of Rome. Is that all it takes to become a Latin people?

May the God of Abraham protect us, les Engleis, from this false identity!

Dear readers, let me explain my objection to the idea of a ‘just’ war.

After the capture of Jerusalem in 1055 by the Turks, there was the appeal to arms of Pope Urban II, who launched the first Crusade, promising the remission of penance to Crusaders for the forgiveness of their sins. Indeed, Urban II wanted the Christians of Europe to stop warring against each other and unite against the Infidels. His appeal was delivered directly to the knights, without addressing their suzerain. It was a breach of feudal protocol, but it doesn’t matter. Urban bargained for salvation and haggled with the soul of the believer. Does the Pope have such authority?

In any case, Urban II was in close contact with the people of his homeland, that is to say, he was serving the interests of the Frankish nobility of the southern Loire. On the other hand, the surrender of penance caused a ‘gold rush’, seducing other ambitious Europeans, including: Godefrey de Bouillon, who later became the Prince of Jerusalem, being also the Duke of Lower Lorraine, as well as his brother Bauldoin de Boulogne and the brother of the king, Hugues de Vermandois, along with Robert de Normandie, Estiene de Blois and Bohemond of Italy, and other gold diggers who left on Assumption Day, 15th August 1096:

“On the mark, get ready, go!”

“Deus vult!” Pure and simple. That’s it.

Why ask questions? Why doubt ecclesiastical wisdom about ‘just’ wars? Indeed, feudal lords adore adventure that delivers plunder aplenty, increasing their personal Glory. This is the greatest privilege of the bel monde – they are rich and powerful thanks to looting and theft, and, consequently, so proud and affluent at home.

Again and always, we must beat the drum! But the war cry scarcely resembles the sermons of Christ, and their privilege resounds to the point of nausea:

“Dieu et mon droit!”

Amen.

Result? These pillagers in Palestine polarize and terrorize. The Levant was already divided among the Muslims before the Crusades, for example, in Egypt the Shi’ite Fatimids reigned over a sector, but the rest was the domain of the Seljuks, those Turks converted to Sunni Islam who took the Abbasid Caliphate of Baghdad in 1055.

“Checkmate!” The king is dead; long live the ambitious!

This is the current issue in the region. For example, Syria was divided into different states – Aleppo, Damascus, Tripoli, Apamea, etc. This weakening of Islam gave the Italian city-states the upper hand in trade, especially in Venice, Bari and Amalfi, while Pisa and Genoa drove out the Saracens from the sea. Consequently, the Italians opened their lucrative counters, dominating all exchanges between the East and West. These Italian merchants are increasingly rich and increasingly powerful! Ironically, at the beginning of the Crusades, these Italians were reluctant, not willing to risk their relations with the East, but the first Crusade allowed them to eliminate the middleman.

Long live the monopolies!

Everything is being transformed with the presence of Westerners. Since the Crusades, Jerusalem has become a ‘Latin’ city, repopulated with Christians, and this commercial center now teems with Templars. Their counters prosper and attract allies to defend the faith. Nowadays they’re building an impregnable citadel to prevent even more access to the Muslims. It makes sense. Walls protect the faithful and make good neighbors.

“Dieu le veult!”

In 1096 four armies set out to defend the faith in the Holy Land – one army from Northern Waule and Lower Lorraine, led by Godefrey de Bouillon, following the Danube; the second army from Southern Waule, led by le conte de Toulouse from whom Willam IX stole his county – Raymond de Saint-Giles, the future Seigneur de Tripoli in Syria, as well as the legate of the pope, Adhemar de Monteil, passing through Lombardy, Dalmatia and northern Greece; the third army was led by a Norman prince from southern Italy – Bohemond, traveling via the Mediterranean; finally, there were both Estiene de Blois and Robert de Normandie de la Waule centrale, who commanded the fourth army, passing through Rome.

This great military coalition in 1096 triggered a fury of assaults against infidels and innocents. For example, in Europe alone, twelve-thousand Jews perished that year, assuredly the accursed murderers of Christ to punish at any price. During battle, the humanity of the enemy counts less than our public safety. Suspects must be eliminated.

Matrona divine! The Biblical Dove is transformed by this ‘just’ war into an aggressive bird!

I myself admit they’re majestic our Crusaders, making great noise of arms that clash, their lances striking against shields, their chain mail criss-crossing over sparking hauberts. On my soul, dear readers, at tournaments and jousts, as at war, our Crusaders are more terrifying than the Devil! Seeing their passage at full speed, I must quickly make a sign of the cross, reciting my credo and all the prayers my mother had taught me! In fact, my mother taught me to believe in God, honor Him, adore Him, but these devils on horseback are so majestic! Thunder! God forgive me – what a glorious, bloody spectacle!

Despite our ‘just’ war in Palestine, the chroniclers agree on certain atrocities committed by our defenders of the faith. Ibn Al-Athir described several acts of savagery, for example, the massacre at Maara, in spite of the promise of Bohemond, the Norman who commanded the Third Army, to show clemency:

“At dawn, the Franks arrive: it’s slaughter. For three days, they ran the populace against the edge of the sword.”

The same purification took place in Jerusalem, seized July 15, 1099. Al-Athir will describe another bloodbath, with Franks employing their swords, cutting iron and flesh like butter:

“The populace of the holy city was put to the sword, and the Franks massacred Muslims for a week. In the al-Aqsa mosque, they killed more than 70,000 souls.”

Later, Ibn al-Qalanissi lamented the slaughter of Jews in the same holy city:

“Many people were killed, assembled in their synagogue, and the Franks burned them alive. They also destroyed monuments of the saints and the tomb of Abraham.”

The French chronicler, Raoul de Caen, notes the creation of a new Frankish cuisine in Maara, without giving, thank God, all the details:

“Ours boiled adults in cauldrons, placing children of infidels on skewers to eat grilled.”

A German chronicler, Albrecht von Aachen, hides none of the culinary horrors committed by our defenders of the faith:

“Ours didn’t hesitate to eat not only the Turks and Saracens killed but also the dogs.”

In Waule, as in the Holy Land, they still roam the streets, setting fire to houses – populations paralyzed by these shock troops. At this time, a new outbreak of violence has ensued – the Second Crusade, launched in 1146 and preached by our Pope, Bernard de Clervaus, this fervor renewed, thanks to the influence of Alienor’s husband, King Louis VII, who obtained a papal ‘Crusade Bull’, but this new coalition will fail in little time. Ambition kills his master! Let me explain how this disaster is going so wrong.

In 1149 more than 200,000 Crusaders will be grouped into two armies, one Frankish and the other German, mostly civilians, of which Emperor Conrad III will have little control. Early in their campaign, they will lose the support of the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople, who will not want to supply these Glory-hungry ‘Franks’. Sometimes, dear readers, Christians get along very little. Our disunity makes us weak in war and in peace. Thus divided, our defenders will be massacred by the Turks, reduced to one third of the number at their departure for Palestine in 1147. Bontet divine! The Glory of the First Crusade was overthrown in the Second – our leaders themselves too disunited and thus quickly defeated.

The Second Crusade will end in shame. Supposedly Louis VII wanted to impress the queen at his side during pilgrimage, but he ended up arguing with Conrad III. All personal glory of Louis VII will be tarnished. Shortly after his return to Waule, will he see the ambitious Alienor leave him to seek another more promising throne?

“Checkmate?”

Will she, the granddaughter of William IX, leap across the Channel, more ambitious than her grandfather, and so jump from throne to trone without scruples?

This wealthy and fiercely proud bel monde definitely has its faults, as well as our humble and courageous Templars in the Morvand.

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