Chapter IX: The Statutes of Avallon
"Why refuse my heart?
Then what's the use of my body?
It's treason to me.
I can't light thee anymore,
No more touching?"
To organize Gwenhevre’s rescue, without having yet launched the expedition, it happened many times in the Baulme-des-Wauldins that the mesnagerie-a-treis summoned noisy parliaments of furry and feathery Templars – chickens, cats, and cocks – all refugees from the farms burned by the Knights of the Round Table. Also present were wizards’ ravens and a great flock of owls – all faithful friends of Abelard. Bijou and other cats had to tame their hollow stomachs before this appetizing crowd. Bijou wanted to seize red hens pecking between her paws, but managed somehow to make her claws go in and out, even letting little chicks pass, the saliva aflow inside Bijou’s gullet.
Before attacking, she would sometimes roll on the gravel into a ball to hide her form, but at each minute move, hens and chicks veered together, hastening to flee, either onto the heap of manure or onto the slab that served in the baulme as a dining table for Alain and Roussel. Her head down, Bijou was always too late to strike, so she missed her shot. Then, Chantecler jumped in each time, defending his hens on the manure. Only once did Bijou try to hide from Chantecler her true intentions:
“Chantecler,” said Bijou, ’thou lookest grand, my sweet cousin-german. No other cock can sing like thee!”
“Would you trick me?”
“Of course not, my cousin!” said Bijou. “We’re of the same blood, and I’d rather lose a paw and all my claws than see thy hens in peril, my very dear friend and bloodkin!”
“I don’t believe you, Bijou. Leave more room for the chicks, understood?”
Bijou was hungry, but mostly she wanted to have fun before crunching feathery victims, as do the foxes hunting their prey, but this cock was no fool. His fear was justified, so he kept watch, preventing Bijou’s attacks. By protecting his hens so well, he’d later have the honor of assisting in Gwenhevre’s rescue. Bijou, who usually deceived her prey easily, was restrained again and again by Chantecler.
Having an empty stomach, Bijou had no intention of listening to Chantecler’s sermons, as he would often repeat:
“Woe to our cousinage, and shame to such a family that devours lies before grasping the truth! Bijou, come on, give them room!” These furry and feathery critters, are they good enough protectors to save Gwenhevre? After all, hunger and fragile alliances do interfere with good intentions, but we shall see, we shall see…
Separated from the furry and feathery parliament, there lay a loving couple situated in a beautiful and secluded location. At that spot was planted a beech tree with water streaming straight to the beech. Around the trunk, Roussel was tenderly caring for Bele, seriously wounded, the beaver who had survived the massacre, the one who had lost everything, except her Rous-sans-Coue, both now together on the fresh grass, kissing, not needing to budge till the end of the world. During the appearances and disappearances of Merlin the day before, Roussel instantly recognized Bele with her bloody paw, clutching his three retrieved bougetes from the town of Bevres.
In this enclosure, secretly, Roussel saw that it was time to regain his fortune:
“Bele, how could the beavers not expect danger at the arrival of the knights? Anyway, thanks to thee, my love, these bougetes are safe and sound.”
“Rousselot, thou wilt remain the inspiration of my life, but shame to any mouth that speaketh at the time to be silent. Talking about money right now? Thy tongue betrayeth thy false tenderness.”
“Alas, no one can trust thee, Roussel – neither the burghers of Bevres, nor the beavers who adored thee, nor I – I see clear, clearer, having lost everything. No man is faithful. I feel so demolished talking about money that I can no longer stay with thee. It’s a great sin to have risked everything for thee, to have given thee all my love.” So abrupt and unexpected was this declaration of contempt that Roussel, the former mayor of Bevres, had no time to reply, while Bele, so deeply disillusioned but of such a gentle nature, could not avenge herself. From the shock, Roussel remained motionless, mouth open. Essentially, Roussel was not a wicked man, so he exclaimed:
“O, Bele, I betrayed myself! I spoke as a felon about money, but it’s thee I love – madly!”
At these words, Rousselot began to shake head to tail and continued:
“Between thy legs, it’s a sin to talk. For ever, I’m thine firmly, night and day! Blows may break a back, but words can crush Love. At night I shall not utter a word.”
A few paces from the two Amorous,a green line dotted the gravel where Lanz had trailed in pain, marking his desperate path. Alone and far from any hearth, this young man lay down on his back against a sand bank. In an act of complete submission, Lanz stretched out his arms and legs, the tips of his toes skimming icy cold water. Under the midday sun, his body begged solace of Mother Nature. Perhaps the warm sun would make him sweat to a soothing stupor, or perhaps he could lose all thought in the murmur of whistling leaves, while a good wind caressed his body with soft breaths.
His tense muscles and joints hurt as if all accumulated losses in his life weighed upon him at once. He wanted to die and sink below the surface of all sensations. Little by little, the burning intensity of the sun carried him somewhere deep inside his soul, razing and whiting out all images. The brilliance of the sun helped send him somewhere invisible, far beyond himself. The taste of sweet, dry grasses came from clearings, mixed with woodland sage, along with the smells of a brackish lake and the baked dust of paths, making him float heavenwards. He no longer imagined anything but felt peace.
With each swallow of air, his chest swelled – each inhalation marking time. His whole being aspired to forget everything, to lose all knowledge of time; his inconsolable isolation; the death of Gwenhevre. His hands and feet, then, his arms and legs began to tingle, spreading numbness even to the heart. With each breath, the heart beat louder and louder until the hum, then nothing at all. No longer did people or time exist, Lanz subjugated to this riverside intoxication.
Lanz was always considered different. Young he had passed from one world to another at the bottom of the lake, but the real distance between him and those two worlds is more than imagination can link, and for him to connect firmly to either remained inaccessible. On the other hand, this very distancing pacified him, making him appreciate his fate of owning a double existence unlike any other.
Besides Viviane, his adopted mother, there is only Conan, his brother who died in Palestine, and perhaps also the magnificent Gwenhevre who can love Lanz for himself. Only these three accept him as he is and make him come slowly out of his tenacious loneliness, and, little by little, he shared himself with them.
“Bel fiz!” Since childhood, Lanz was known as a handsome lad, and Viviane always called him so. But he’s someone difficult to know, a loner who wanders on excursions, failing to return after long hours swimming, he, not understanding how others could be offended by his solitary tendencies.
Only these three can make him open up. Even Viviane sometimes grew impatient. On the other hand, more than anyone else, she loves his particular qualities – impulsiveness and, despite his knightly and pedagogical training, his childish charm. Lanzelot’s candor excludes any kind of constraint, and never in society does he nod according to polite usage to show his attention to the interlocutor:
“Is he listening to me?” People wonder, as they say to themselves:
“What a funny character!” – where’s that reserve that comes with maturity? On the other hand, his very outspokenness appealed to Viviane la Fee, his protectress, who loves such spontaneity.
Perhaps his abduction as an infant at the lake caused this disorientation and created an unbridgeable gulf between him and others, but the adoration he received from his protectress never made him vain, although he knew only too well the effects of his physique on others. Regardless, Lanzelot remains a pure soul.
Suddenly Alain, who was looking for Roussel, exclaimed:
“Roussel, snell, it’s a miracle!”
So close to each other, the pair at the beech tree and Lanz on the shore, however, these three lovers could scarcely hear Alain’s call, in their states of mind desperately elsewhere.
Not daring to break the silence promised between the legs of Bele, Roussel ends up asking himself:
“What’s going on with my father?”
Lanz, on the other hand, didn’t hear the call. In fact, Lanz remained alone, his body in suspense, this mysterious part of himself, almost another. In some respects his body remains his most comforting companion. He takes pleasure in its innumerable sensations, and, to the contrary, in the tranquility of a relaxed mind – giving him this gateway to the unfathomable and unknown. But lately, since the death of Gwenhevre, Lanz tends to float adrift, far from home. In short, he’s lost all sense of direction, sailing offshore. In his distress, he begins to sing, eyes half closed since Alain’s shrill call:
“Clouds carry thee to my window
Tapping with thine eyes
Raindrops trickle down
This eternal calm of grey
Nodding head against window
Seeing thee again
Raindrops trickle down
My fingers streak thy face
Tears mingle with dreams
Dream on, stand up
Seeing thee again
Refreshed by rainfall
Smell of wet spicewood”
Rousselot’s curiosity was too much. Leaving Bele asleep on the fresh grass, he rose and walked towards the baulme to rejoin his father. A second time, Alain cried out at the top of his voice:
“Roussel, snell, it’s a miracle!”
Approaching the baulme, Rousselot was surprised to meet a stranger at the entrance where the son expected to see his father – he was a very handsome and proud young man, straight as an arrow, with strong arms and legs. This stranger also had a head of thick curly hair, bright eyes, a luminous face, and a well-placed nose. So many qualities belonged to this good-looking stranger that no evil could be said of him, unless one might detect too much goodness in him, not finding an ounce of physical imperfection.
The stranger burst out laughing as Rousselot approached, but the son did not follow the real situation and finally asked him:
“Me sire,” said he, “do I know thee?”
“Absolutely, Roussel, thou knowest me but dost not recognize me.”
“In any case, beautiful, sweet friend, a force from my heart standeth up to thee.”
Is it possible that Rousselot be a false Amorous regarding Bele? Seeing the extreme beauty of this stranger, is he going to wait for grass to grow under his feet?
“Thanks to thy beauty, mine heart wanteth to know thee better.”
“Is Beauty, guilty?”
“Me sire, it’s she who maketh me love so deeply.”
“Love? Whom then?”
“In what way?”
“Such as this Parfite Amour can’t be greater, such as I love thee more than myself, for thee, me sire, I want to die and live.”
“My dear son,” he burst out, “dost thou not recognize me?”
“What? Father? It’s thee? How? Who or what changed thee?”
“Merlin did it! Roussel, where’s Bele? She and I are healed thanks to the magic mushrooms!”
In the shade of a beech tree six feet from father and son, Bele listened and understood Rousselot’s heart, not wanting to see the infidel again. She ran on all fours towards the river.
Rousselot continued with his father:
“Thy transformation from beyond the grave amazeth me! Tell me again, my Father, about Gwery-Enes, that mythical isle of Wauleis magic!”
“Sorry, my son, I can’t. Time is running out to save Gwenhevre, my adopted daughter! But let me say Matrona dominated in Gwery-Enes, and what a different vision of the world, before the Romans swept away our sacred beliefs and gods, before their books smeared our memory in impure ink.”
“Roussel, we must live for what we love and give everything without expecting anything in return. I’ll give my life to change our destiny. Let’s rescue Gwenhevre!”
Usually, Alain is ready to share his druidic knowledge with Roussel, especially his knowledge of the stars and their movements, as well as the vast expanse of the universe, including the history of Earth and our close ties with the Immortals who instructed the Wauleis on all druidic wisdom.
At the river, Bele saw Lanzelot stand at ease. Then at the edge of the water, he bent down, his beard so long that one could clutch it in a fist. On the shore, the handsome man, looking so sad, fell into the current. Sloshing against vertical branches, he fainted – swallowing a pint of water turned purple with beaver blood! Bontet divine, help! For the second time in her life, Bele will save the life of a half-drowned man without hesitation! But did she learn nothing then from her great disappointment with Rous-sans-Coue? It doesn’t matter. When one’s a beaver, one can only help those in distress. She’ll learn that Alain and Lanzelot are exceptional men – efficient, discreet, and capable of keeping secrets. Both are ‘disarmed prophets’ – ardent visionaries who did not anticipate the reversal of the courtiers of Avallon who now favor Thamory’s ordinance. This Druid and this monk of great compassion did not realize, at the moment when it really mattered, that burgher resentment in Avallon was about to strike them in full force.
In contrast to the tyranny in Avallon, Alain, the Druid, wants to listen and understand the intentions of opponents, to be able to calculate with precision a resolution without allowing his emotions to take over. In his plan to save Gwenhevre, Alain will create a climate of confidence with Thamory, when he negotiates with the viscount, ready to explore all creative options. The two – Alain and Thamory – as seasoned leaders – know the value of remaining calm during conflicts, both wearing masks when needed. The two chiefs had learned from years of experience the real cost and trouble of having a committed and cunning position – shrewd enough to detect hidden signals behind their opponent’s words.
Can we consider Thamory and Alain to be equals? Oïl et non. Thamory manipulates the institutions he directs and imposes on others, while Alain has little gift for respecting any institution. Alain always remains a defender of humanity against the tyranny of principles, against the coldness of feudal institutions. Royal institutions are capable of being pitiless, and instead of inspiring their subjects, these institutions often crush them. On the other hand, Wauleis Druids rebel against any enterprise that doesn’t hold the breath of sacred life, the Druids firmly against sterile forms of domination.
Despite the Romanization of Waule, Alain’s studies at seminary still attract young people who want to acquire the power exercised by the druidic order, as they also desire the civil immunities that members enjoy from all social ranks. The arts and sciences are studied there, and thousands of verses devoted to Druidism are committed to memory. Of course, the fundamental belief in magical rites survived the invasion of Rome and the conversion of the Wauleis to Christianity. In fact, the druidic belief in immortality remains, as before the imposition of the Roman yoke, the cardinal doctrine in this so-called Christian country.
Is Alain afraid of dying in this ideological conflict with Thamory? Of course not, no Druid is afraid of death. Why not? According to their belief, the otherworld behind the curtain is not a place of sadness and suffering, but of light and liberation. Lug, their sun-god, is as much the main god of the hereafter as he is of this world. Alain, what is he expecting after death? A world of music and pleasure, where no one speaks of ‘mine’ or ‘thine’ – white are the teeth of all inhabitants and their eyes sparkle with many colors, and the tint of the digitalis is on each cheek. One of the wonders of the druidic otherworld is that young people never grow old, eternally in good shape! Gentle are the streams and the medu abounds; men are without physical defect; all women conceive without sin. Finally, there, everyone can see without obstacles of any kind; nothing is hidden from both sides of the curtain. There, consequently, lying is impossible.
So, of what is he afraid? Alain is afraid of Morrhiane! This Wauleis goddess incarnates all that is perverse and horrible among supernatural powers. She rejoices in provoking wars, participating in the fray herself, changing into frightening forms, and then hovering above these battles in the appearance of a raven.
Onto the shore, Bele brought Lanz best she could. Finally he awoke:
“Woe, I live.”
Bele inspected the man’s hands and the white band on the finger where his ring was no longer. Bele stared at the finger, then Lanz – who mysteriously grasped Bele’s thoughts. Lanz answered her question without saying a word:
That’s right, dear beaver, I lost what I cherished the most.”
His heartfelt chagrin struck Bele with such force it caused her beaver spirit to receive the dream being transmitted urgently from Gwenhevre to Lanz:
“Thy beloved is in danger but still alive, my abundant hair falleth below my waist as I wear a flaming silk tunic, carrying around my neck a golden band adorned with emeralds and rubies.”
Bele asked, “Sister, what art thou doing?”
“Going to the Butte des Fees.”
“From whom art thou fleeing?”
“Artos, the black bear, that insatiable murderer. No one in Avallon dare raise a lance against him. If I go there, I’ll see at last the black bear turned crimson. I see my monk is wounded, but the light of a hero shineth on his forehead – this young pacifist in battle will become a dragon. He’ll perform marvelous prowess, and thanks to his arms, the knights of Artos will lie down in peace.”
Then a raven perched on Lanz’s shoulder.
“Sister,” said Bele, “from where doth this hero come?”
“He cometh from the depths of a lake in Bretaigne.”
“Where is he now?”
“Adrift in the Morvand, having passed through every disappointment, he, always at extremes, until he loved me. In water and on earth, everything grave and difficult hath happened to him, all kinds of evils and sufferings, but he hath known little joy, before becoming a monk. Since then, more than ever, my monk is capable, once closer to his death, to know la Pais Parfite. But this Peace can’t be obtained without first seeing and knowing everything, but it’s impossible to see and know everything without suffering everything. So, there will be no Peace for my monk without first accomplishing his long, circular journey.”
Asleep but well aware during the transmission of Gwenhevre’s dream, Lanz replied:
“I’m the Wave of the Ocean and Water of the Rivers,
The Wind that bloweth on Earth and Sea,
The Murmur of Swells.
I’m a Ray of Sun,
A Unicorn of Valor,
A Lake in Brec’h-Elian.
I’m no longer the Lanz that giveth Battle.
I’ll be a Creator of Peace, one who illumineth the Assembly.
Who else will explain the Phases of the Moon, if not I?
Who will show where the Sun riseth and setteth, if not I?”
Then, leaving Lanz’s shoulder, the raven flew towards the Castel d’Avallon. During this dream transmitted by Gwenhevre, Lanz thought he imagined the ghost of his Beloved. After all, he had seen her dead on the bed in her tower. He wanted to pass immediately to the other side to join her, but duty demanded a response from him in this world of the living, against the brutality of Artos.
But, dear readers, what will he do, this pacifist?
At that moment – one league from the baulme – seen from the serpentine river, the slate roof of Gwenhevre’s tower shone in the sun. Isolated from the Castel d’Avallon, this tower was made the more lugubrious and even inaccessible to liberators on account of a gaping gash dug to make adventurers fear the rescue of Gwenhevre, first with an immense moat all around, full of stagnant water, bleached with white and slippery clay, mixed during the construction of the tower with limestone. Then, what barren earth encircled the tower, where nothing thrived, except a few frogs croaking in the stagnant water, and an aggressive swarm of bees buzzing towards their hive, stuck in a hollow of this moldy and forsaken edifice.
Approaching Lanz still in a trance, Alain and Roussel saw him speak to himself. Alain asked Roussel:
“Doth thou recognize this Druid from yesterday? With what god is he communicating?” With the arrival of Roussel, her unfaithful one, Bele fled and returned to the baulme to consult the furry and feathery parliament.
“Oïl, the one from last night, father, who arrived with Merlin. I thought I had seen the ghost of Vercingetorix, our champion, thou rememberest?” Then Roussel said, his eyes all round, “What a specimen!” Alain, on the other hand, could only see the promise of a mighty fighter for the Wauleis cause, addressing Lanz thus:
“Our Protector, tell us about Bibracte
And the Resistance.
Tell us about Vercingetorix
And the Bravery of the Wauleis.
From Bibracte, they would transmit
Visions of an immense Universe,
Our Earth managed by druidic gods,
But since, all was swept away …”
In his oracular state, Lanz interrupted him:
“Before killing innocent people, we should be certain the action will have very good consequences.”
“I agree with what thou sayest, Our Protector,” said Alain, “but we also have to keep things in perspective. Thamory is a tyrant!”
“O, dear Druid of Morvand,” Lanz replied, “formed by the Church, my conviction is based on the sanctity of human life, but any person who respecteth life should see the logic of this pacifist perspective which doth not depend at all on divine revelation in the Bible. Even if, for a Christian, human life is a gift from God, no one has the right to take the sacred life of others. Christians are supposed to form a brotherhood that obeyeth God as His children, but every human being is a child of the same family of God, so no Christian can take the life of another, be the other Christian, Voodooist, Jew, Druid, Buddhist, or Muslim.”
“O, Protector and Pacifist of Christ, tell us thy vision of the future.”
“I’m not thy protector, I’m a mere woodsrunner.”
So, my dear readers, Alain understood with this allusion to the runner the true identity of the handsome hero. Whispering in Roussel’s ear, Alain explained:
“Thunder! It’s l’Amorous de Gwenhevre, the one I sought in vain during the great storm!”
“Josaphat, my dear Druids! Now there’s the most favorable future. In Iceland, they’re trying peacefully to change the face of feudal society.”
“What, in that frigid country to the north, my runner? How can a future be more favorable in such extreme cold? Why follow that example?”
“Here’s the difference, my dear Druid. All settlers from Norway are farmers who want to live in peace, free from pirates and royal taxation. A society of independent cultivators, some of them very rich, others poor, but there’s no king, no government, no hereditary aristocracy. Canst thou imagine such freedom one day in Frakkland, that’s France in the Icelandic language?”
“Then, during my priestly studies, I read the sagas of Sæmundr, who died in 1133. He studied in Paris before returning to Iceland around 1077. His return was mentioned in the Íslendingabók. Later, he became a priest, his farm an important seat of learning.”
“These Icelandic sagas reveal the great value attached to the enjoyment of one’s own home and freedom of movement, as well as the important rôle of women in their society. In Iceland, traveling has an important cultural influence, regarding settlement to the west of Iceland in Greenland and even further west to Vinland, including nautical advice how to travel from Greenland to Vinland. It’s there, finally, where this courour des bois would like to settle down – to live freer, to laugh and die.”
At the very moment of this dialogue between Alain and Lanz, the feathery and furry critters began their campaign to save Gwenhevre. To understand their strategy, one must understand the mysteries of a forest. The woods are filled with deep shadows of strange beings endowed with superhuman powers, sometimes taking on human form.
Some forests have healing qualities, seeking to do good to humanity, while others are malicious, trying to harm. Among the first may be cited the presence of fairies, and unlike the first group, you’ll find demons of all kinds. The Esperit de la forest exists in woods where its voice is heard in the rustling of leaves or murmurs of the breeze. It usually inhabits a tree, especially if the tree is old and gnarled, preferring an old fir. The tree in which the spirit dwells is called the Roy de la Forest – a tree of curious and abnormal aspect, an old trunk broken by some storm, mossy where shadows of the night flow in streams of creeping fog, without making a sound.
On account of this Esperit de la forest, anyone under an elderberry tree will become overwhelmed by a great horror and delirious. In addition, to protect oneself, since the ash wood or rowan is feared by witches, it’s placed at night by the elderly on their pillows to keep away evil spirits, while a small bit of this tree put on one’s body protects it against enchantments – in short, witches have no power where there’s ash wood present.
During stormy nights in the Morvand, when the wind blows loudly through the trees, forest dwellers hear voices of the forest guardians. In the heart of the Morvand is a sanctuary built on the Butte des Fees. It consists of four enormous slabs, two by two, so as to form an alley ten feet long and six wide. A fifth rock, thicker than the others, closes the space to the west.
The whole sanctuary is covered by a gigantic stone mass, at least twelve feet by seven, and three or four feet thick. Remarkably, the stone used for making the mound is different from the terrain on which the monument is located. Two thousand years ago, a sovereign fairy of the Morvand, after having lost her husband at this location, decided to bury and honor him there. Seven of her pages stacked these massive stones, placing them where they still lay, arranging them as easily as if the slabs were simple bushels of foliage. As the sovereign fairy overcame her grief, turning eastward, she cursed three times, her voice more penetrating than that of Taranis:
“Whoever dares to touch this monument will live only one more day!”
To this day, fairies gather to dance on the same mound, singing around the oak:
“On this knoll, in these thickets and dale,
Through this sacred stream,
We dance to the rhythm of the wind.”
For hours, fairies sing and dance there, hand in hand, doing a rondel, and the next day, if it were possible to enter this forbidden zone, everyone would see their dancing circles still impressed on the grass.
Since the imposition of the Statutes of Avallon, the Wauleis Resistance accelerated to a peak to defend their lifestyle and steadfast allegiance to the Roy de la Forest. Having left Lanz and Alain, Bele persuaded the furry and feathery parliament to launch without delay the rescue team. Immediately, the Roy de la Forest opened two routes to them – a long and safe route for the slow creatures and the other through the darkest parts of the Morvand, while passing next to the Butte des Fees. This shorter route to Avallon is more risky and full of mysteries, due to the ancient and powerful curse of the sovereign Fee, a region no one dares to cross.
Le Roy de la Forest applied all his cunning to rescue Gwenhevre. The animals had hardly begun their journey towards Avallon when all trees, briers and thorns parted to let them pass. They continued to the Castel d’Avallon, very surprised that no one could pursue them, the trees and brambles closing ranks as soon as the animals had traversed.
In a flash, the serpentine river slithered faster! At terce, the rescue team saw day slip into nightfall. No sunlight could pierce the darkened sky. Due to the thick clouds of owls, crows and birds of all kinds, daylight blackened into midnight! All human inhabitants disappeared to seek shelter. In a blink, all bipeds had vanished.
All the beating wings deafened and broke human eardrums, followed by terrifying animal cries, shaking trees and earth, men and women trembling in fear. What a nightmare!
It was pitiful to watch bipeds at the mercy of Nature, without recourse. That morning, every forest dweller – breathless and paralyzed! Then Alain, the leader against the Statutes of Avallon, revealed their coat of arms – ’bevre rousse a coue levee’, showing their collective striking force, with the formidable motto in black – ‘Bibracte’! At the end of both routes, in front of the castle – the raging current. The fauna, along with Roussel and Alain, saw the dragon-shaped bridge leading to the Castel d’Avallon, knowing the stone creature was but an artifice without real power.
A meandering stretch of this serpentine river bathed completely around Avallon’s rocky hill-shaped peninsula and provided, before the arrival of the rescue team, an excellent defensive site. The military architecture of the citadel took advantage of its location by raising lofty walls and towers, turning the peninsula into a veritable island, thanks to the short detour of the aquatic snake.
The citadel was built on an uphill terrace. On the other hand, Gwenhevre’s ‘prison-tower’ was isolated from all fortifications and marked the northeast corner of the defensive wall, but the prison-tower itself was unprotected, except for its moat full of stagnant water.
The bridge entry to Castel d’Avallon was the only access to a series of inner walls, beginning with the first fortified courtyard. On the left, the rescue team on the march saw the guard-house of the burgher militia; to the right the knights’ stable, and through the second gate, there was a second walled courtyard, and then a third gate, la Porte du Visconte, with its machicolations and portcullis, where were housed the sergeant and four men to whom Viscount was giving orders for the knights. Moving forward, without any obstacle, the rescue team entered the Main Street lined with houses of wealthy merchants, including that of Gwenhevre before her captivity.
To reach the prison-tower of Gwenhevre, it was necessary to cross these consecutive walls to find the underground passage that led to her isolated tower. In fact, Roussel, the former mouse who once shared the tower with Gwenhevre, but who also served as a spy for the Resistance, often changed his appearance in Avallon every full moon, and he was the one able to give Alain these strategic details – where to lead the rescue, where to turn, where to go quickest to save Gwenhevre.
Thus Alain was able to guide the fauna that morning towards the massive northeast rock of Avallon. They pierced it as a herd, in single file, penetrating the passage underground. Constructed hastily, without care, this tower was already in horrible condition new. The morning tumult made it fall into ruin. In an instant, there remained neither frog croaking nor bee buzzing, and the rescue mission, apparently, a real disaster.