Welcome, Again, to Elliott RWI!

In my first post to this webspace, I noted a desire for this website to do a number of things: host research projects, connect to writing samples, offer course materials, and maintain a professional portfolio. It is doing that, but I thought I might make it a bit easier to navigate. (There is a navigation menu at the top of the page, but not everyone seems to find it amenable to use.) So, if you are looking for

  • Most recent posts, scroll down
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  • Research projects, click here
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    • The Pronghorn Project, click here
    • Points of Departure, click here
  • Instructional materials, click here
    • Schreiner University materials, click here
    • DeVry University materials, click here
    • Previous institutions’ materials, click here
      • Northern Oklahoma College, click here
        • Composition II, click here
      • Oklahoma State University, click here
        • Composition II, click here
        • Composition I, click here
        • Summer Bridge 2015, click here
    • Sample courses, click here
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I am sure some updates will occur as matters progress. What appears above should make things easier to handle in the meantime, however.

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Updated 17 March 2017 to reflect current projects.

Points of Departure, Chapter 9

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗wo men, one clad in mail following another clad in green so dark as to be almost black, left the village, heading east along the paths beaten into the ground by itinerant traders and merchants and along roads that had been left by those who had gone before them. Still did the mail-clad man pray and fast as penance for his deeds, although the thought of she with whom he had done them still stood in his mind as a source of wistful joy. Soon, the paths began to lead into a forest, and tall, dark trees began to shroud the road in branches and in hanging moss and shadow, although the men came to them in the full light of midday. The mail-clad man shifted in his saddle and rode ahead of the green-clad, knowing what might lurk in such woods, both beasts fell and feral and people of poor repute, and knowing that his skills were like to be needed against such things.

While the sun shone down through the leaves of the trees, the forest that swallowed the road was quiet. But as the two men pressed on, riding slowly against the threat of branches hanging low, they began to come across where the forest was digesting the road, with roots thrusting up through it and the path beginning to disappear amid the greenery. And the sunlight dimmed as the star of the day sank into the west. As it did, the forest grew louder, as if waking, and the mail-clad man put his hand on his sword, saying to the green-clad man he followed “We must take care now, for if there is to be peril, it will come as day turns to night. For beasts prowl about at dusk, and men who act as beasts not long after.”

There was no answer, and when the mail-clad man looked behind him, he saw no sign of his companion. The absence surprised him, and he said to himself “I knew that he had strange skills, but I had not known that he was so mighty a woodsman as to vanish utterly.” And around him, the sounds of the forest continued to swell. He pressed onward, trusting that his companion would remain with him and be safe.

From away to the knight’s left came the sound of a branch snapping, and he looked that way. In a tree, he saw a man readying a bow, and he threw himself from his horse to the ground, pushing away from the arrow he knew would come and drawing his sword again as he stood and sought cover behind a tree. He did so nimbly enough, for an arrow smote into the ground where he had been but a moment before, and from the forest he heard the shouts of men saying “Surrender, Sir Knight, for there are many of us and but the one of you. We will hold you for ransom if you do, but if you will fight against us, we will show you no mercy.”

The knight called back “Then you will no mercy have of me, for I will not surrender to you, and I have none who will ransom me from you.” And he moved from tree to tree, working his way towards the voices he had heard. Arrows flew from the woods at him as he moved, but he dodged around them, avoiding them lightly such that he seemed to dance amid the trees. But as he approached, he found none to fight; they moved through the woods as well as he and better, and their numbers told in the arrows that flew from branch and bough. Around them all, the light continued to dim as the sun sank behind the horizon and the moon, far from full, rose and offered only little light.

Full darkness fell, and through the trees, the mail-clad man could see the glow of a fire. He approached it cautiously, not knowing who had lit it or who tended it, and as he did, he saw the green-clad man sitting at his ease, eating and drinking. And he saw behind the green-clad man another, arrow held on bowstring and drawing back to loose. Yelling, the mail-clad man charged forward. The archer shifted, drew, and loosed, and the arrow smote the mail-clad man full in the shoulder. All the while, the green-clad man continued to eat, taking no notice of what transpired around him, neither the mail-clad man slamming into the archer with his good shoulder and shoving his sword through his body until it burst out the back, nor the second archer that came up and loosed another arrow into the mail-clad man, one that smote into him head and shaft. Nor yet did he alter what he did that the knight whirled about, taking the knife from the belt of the one archer and flinging it full in the face of the second, such that the blade sank into his eye and he sank to the ground.

The mail-clad man fell to his knees, pierced in the shoulder and deeply in the flank, and he knew as he did that his wounds would be such that he could not recover. But the green-clad man still sat and ate and drank, and no harm had come to him. “At least there is this, that so long as I lived, no blade nor bolt did bite upon him. And I have been in penance. If I am to die, then I die well, and I can hope that my time of purgation will be brief, though I know not if any will pray for me when I am gone.”

The face of the woman who served Lady Maelis returned to him, smiling. “Perhaps she will. Perhaps she already does. But I would not so presume.”

He fell to the ground, and the darkness took him.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–22 March 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, including the note that the DrEss FV is still not yet graded (nor are revisions received), discussion turned to Sir Thomas Malory, offering more context for the discussions to come for the remainder of the term.

A survey is available to students here; it was also emailed to them. Students are advised to fill it out, following directions as they do so. A reward is available to them for so doing.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PrEss RV (online before class begins on 31 March 2017)
  • PrEss FV (online before class begins on 12 April 2017)
  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 17 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Eleven attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 19 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Seventeen attended, verified informally. Student participation was good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Points of Departure, Chapter 8

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he mail-clad man continued to follow the green-clad man for a time, both of them wandering east across Logres, following traders’ routes as they went. Still did the knight pray and fast as he had been bidden, marking each day that he did with solemnity upon the scabbard of his sword. They did overtake some of the merchants who made their own way across the land, gathering from them what news was to be had and exchanging some they had learned–mostly of the Lady Maelis, for the mail-clad man could not speak of the battle, and the green-clad man would not, for which his companion was grateful. Such as they heard was not to the knight’s liking, for it told of the unraveling already begun although news of the battle could not have reached far in so short a time, but the green-clad man seemed pleased to learn what he learned of the growing unease in the southeastern parts of Logres.

He saw the knight looking at him from the side of his eye and said “The work that I would do requires that things be in motion and unsettled, Sir Knight. I knew that if unraveling there would be, it would be there. And so, Sir Knight, I can tell you that we are heading towards that town which has been called Anderitum. The thought comes to me that there will be great changes there, and I think they will be of the sort that I can turn to my advantage–and yours, since you will be with me. Gules, on a bend argent a baton gules wavy can show forth at Anderitum in ways that it has not elsewhere, and to more effect. For I think there will be no adder there to reenact the words said spoken to your early foremother, nor to have you enact them upon it.”

“Do you mean to have me fight there for you, then? For I will do that thing, seeing as I am a knight and so trained, although I have not much worship–and the less for not being part of the fellowship with which I set out before. But I wonder if you might say to me aught of the foes that will be there, if there they will be. And if it will not be for fighting that you would have me with you, then I would ask to what purpose I would be put, how it is that I might serve you as I have said I would do and as I have been charged.”

“They are good questions that you ask, my friend. And I will answer them, at least in part. I have you with me because there may be fighting, and you will serve in that role well if it arises. I rather think there will be some call for it at Anderitum, and there may be some along the way. But it is not that for which I would have you, had I my druthers. No, I have other plans for you. You do not happen to be of Cornwall, do you?”

The knight shook his head. “Indeed not. Rather am I of Ternyllwg, from a small holding therein, where my father was lord and my elder brother his heir. But I went with a knight who came to the town and sad that he would have a squire, for he was growing somewhat older and knew that he would soon either take up the holy life of a hermit or else leave this life behind him utterly. And his name was Sir Erflet, and he said to me that he had come from the home of his youth not far from Londinium. But when I was with him, we never went that way, and I am told that Anderitum is on the other side of that city from here. But why would it matter if I were from Cornwall?”

“It might have been a thing that would help if you were. But it will not hurt that you are not. Think nothing of it, but rather on what kind of man you would follow, were you not bound to follow me, or after what I would have you do is done.”

“I shall think such thoughts, but I am still not certain what you would have me do.”

“Nor yet I, Sir Knight, for what I would have you do will depend on what we find. But we are bound for Anderitum, that much I do know, and I have hopes for things we may find along our way and at the end of it, but I will not speak of them. There are those who would thwart my intent, and their ears hear many things in many places.”

The knight did not reply when the green-clad man had done, but rode beside him in silence for a time. They came as happened, to another small village, there staying with the local priest, as was becoming something of a custom for them. And at his table after evening services, when the knight could eat and the green-clad man did, they heard him speak what he knew. “For it is said by those who live not far away that but two days ago, a sad riding of knights in arms brightly marked passed by, and a man neither the old king or the new rode at their head with a crown upon his. I have heard that he was bound for Londinium, the crown-wearer, and that he is the son of a Cornishman. But it is wonder that another man wears a crown, for was not there to be accord between the two who were crowned and anointed? Or so the words were spoken to my ear.”

The knight and the green-clad man looked each at the other, and the green-clad man said that they were wearied from their travels and thanked the priest his hospitality to them, and they retired for the evening both.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Points of Departure, Chapter 7

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he mail-clad man did not see the green-clad man he was tasked to follow for the remainder of that day. Nor yet did he see the Lady Maelis, nor still the woman with whom he had lain the night before. But he did do as he had been bidden, abstaining from food and drink while the sun shone and offering prayers at noon and dusk, and the next day saw him rise before the sun so that he could eat and, at dawn, pray as he had been bidden. It was not long afterwards that he again saw the green-clad man, who bade him gather his things and make ready to depart. “For we have yet a long way to go,” he said,
“and much to do, and we cannot wait here overlong and think that we will go and do as needs.”

The mail-clad man did as he was bidden, and within the hour, he and the green-clad man rode out. They took remounts with them, as well as much to make their travels easier, and the green-clad man said that the Lady Maelis had given them him in exchange for services rendered to her. When the mail-clad man asked what sort of services he had offered, the green-clad man smiled. “Did you not know that I am a healer of many afflictions? And there were several that beset the Lady Maelis, of which she is now relieved. It is good, for I think that her lord husband, Sir Gwion, will not return from that battle whither he rode. She will need her strength in the times to come.”

“Are you then a seer, too?” The mail-clad man brought his horse up alongside the green-clad man’s. “For it returns to my mind that you thanked me for my part in ending Logres–if it is indeed ended, of which I see no sign as yet. And I cannot think that any would delight in such a thing who were not of ill intent.”

“It matters little whether you can think so or not, Sir Knight. You are obliged to me, charged by your faith to follow that obligation whither it will lead you. So even if I am a man of ill intent, you cannot but aid me–or would you be known as recreant and craven, unable or unwilling to do that you say you will do? For it can be known that under the shield of gules, on a bend argent a baton gules wavy, there is only fear and unworth. Or it can be known that such a shield stands for endurance in duty, however painful it might be–if painful it is. For when did I say such a thing to you, that you would rebuke me for it now?”

“On that very day when the adder did bite me and–”

“And I healed you, giving you back your life that you otherwise would have lost. And you staggered from poison and swooned. Will you trust a memory, then, that comes from such a time? Will you rebuke me that I saved you? Will you upbraid me that I have seen to your care and lodging no less than mine since? Will you be so ungrateful as this? Is this the valor to which you are sworn and the courtesy? Is this the way in which you would have served your king?”

Such was the wrath of the green-clad man and so pointed his words that the mail-clad man fell to silence. He knew that it was as the green-clad man had said, that what he recalled was from when he swooned and was ill, and he knew that men in fever and afflicted sometimes saw what was not there and heard what was not said. He knew, too, that he did have his life again because the green-clad man had healed him, and he was ashamed to have spoke as he did. And after a time, he said so to the green-clad man, asking his forgiveness for the transgression against him.

The green-clad man smiled and said gently “Many things I am, but a priest is not one of them. I cannot absolution offer, and I do not know that you can take on more penance. For I have seen that you drink but little, and that only water, and that you do not eat as we ride–and you did when we were together before. I will not ask for what you atone, for it is of no moment to me so long as it does not prevent you from doing that you are charged to do. See only that you do as you ought, and all will be well between us–but know that if you repent overmuch of the gifts of life and health I have given you, they can be withdrawn.”

The mail-clad man bowed his head and let his horse fall behind, and the two rode for some time in silence. But before the end of the day, they came upon a monastery, and there was a place for travelers to stay and leave what they would for the brothers cloistered within. There was writing upon the wall beside its door, which the green-clad man read:” From before dusk to after dawn, the door will open stand. But between dawn and dusk the door is shut off from the land. Stay then in peace throughout the night, but in the day, pass on. We, the brothers, tend the house when visitors are gone.”

He turned to the mail-clad man then and said “The night draws near, and the door is open. We may as well pass the night under roof and be on our way again tomorrow. For, as I have said, we are far from where we must be to do that we must do, but I think not that you will do so well to wander in the darkness as in the light of day.”

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–20 March 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, including the note that the DrEss FV is not yet graded (nor are revisions received), discussion turned to the workings of prose fiction, offering context for the discussions to come for the remainder of the term.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • PrEss RV (online before class begins on 31 March 2017)
  • PrEss FV (online before class begins on 12 April 2017)
  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)

Information about other assignments remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 17 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Eleven attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Section 03 met as scheduled, at 1100, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 19 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Sixteen attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. One student from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Points of Departure, Chapter 6

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔇inner ended as would be expected, with the Lady Maelis rising after the courses had been served and cleared and more wine was poured by her hand for the green-clad man and by his for her, and by one smiling servingwoman for the knight. “I must retire,” she said, “for the hour grows late, and I am weary. But I am pleased to have had you in my home this evening, and even if you will not linger here to await my lord husband, Sir Gwion, you have been welcome, and you will be welcome again should you choose to come again.” And she made her courtesy somewhat shakily, and the green-clad man and the knight rose and bowed, and she retired.

Soon after, the green-clad man, finishing his wine, stood and said to the knight “I, too, find that I am wearied. I know not if we shall stay here for a time, but I know that we will tonight. So be at your ease, Sir Knight, and in the morning, we shall see where matters lie.”

The knight rose and bowed. “Then I shall bid you good night, and I shall see you come the morrow.” The man in green nodded and left, and soon, the knight saw the servingfolk work to clear away what remained on the table. Most were quick and quiet about their work, but one, the servingwoman with whom he had spoken upon entering the house and who had provided him the blue robe he wore, lingered. When the others were gone, she asked him “Sir Knight, the Lady Maelis has dismissed her servants for the night. I am therefore utterly at your disposal, ready to address your needs.”

She looked at him full in the face as she spoke, and the knight took her meaning well. So he said to her “I find that I am at a loss with a house unfamiliar to me. I am not at all certain I recall how to again find the room with which the Lady Maelis has so generously provided me. Perhaps you could help me to find it again.”

The servingwoman smiled and said “That is a thing that I can do, Sir Knight, and I am happy to show you the way to where you want to go.” She gestured, and he rose and followed her. It was not a long walk for them, and they soon stood inside the chamber that had been given over to the knight for his use. The servingwoman smiled again and asked “Will Sir Knight require help in preparing for bed?”

“He would” came the reply, and the servingwoman began to undress him. And she did more besides, for it was clear to her that he desired her, and she gave every sign of desiring him, in turn, so they lay together into the night. But in the morning, the knight woke alone in his bed, his regular clothes laid out for him, and he dressed and went back to the hall where he had eaten before, searching for food, as he was hungered. While he did, he looked for the woman he had known the night before, but he did not see her in the hall. Nor did he see her afterwards about the home, nor yet in the town, into which he ventured as Terce came and went, and still were the green-clad man and the Lady Maelis absent from view. Yet the town was busy, with the commons going about their many tasks. The mill-wheel turned, and the cooper plied his craft, and the sounds of youths being as they were could be heard easily.

The priest of the local parish church saw the knight, clad again in mail, looking about and approached him. “God’s peace upon you, my son,” said he, and the mail-clad man replied “And also upon you, Father.”

The priest went on. “You appear to be lost, my son, although I know that the Lady Maelis is hosting you.” And the mail-clad man replied “I was looking for someone, Father, although I recall now that I know not the name of the one I seek. How strange is it, then, to seek for that of which the name is unknown?”

“It is not so strange, my son,” said the priest. “There is much of which we know not the name, on earth as in heaven, and yet we know that we are in need of it. Even the names of the Father and the Holy Ghost are sought but unknown to many, and of the Son, well, there are many who know it not but should or will come to do. So I know you do not know the name to seek, but why do you seek?”

The mail-clad man shook his head. “For that, Father, I would have to be shriven, and while I trust that you could do such a thing, I well recall that in the open air is not a place for the doing of such things,” he said, and the priest replied, “Then come you into the church, my son, and be shriven–and if there is penance to do, you may do it and be right with the Lord.” And so the mail-clad man did, speaking what he had done the night before to the priest and being told what to do to atone. “For what you have done is a matter of grave import, and perhaps more than you would know, for it might be that the one with whom you lay was wedded to another. Yet you would be ignorant of such a thing, and so did not commit adultery in the full force of will if such were done. So you will pray at dawn and noon and sunset, and you will fast, taking neither meat nor drink save water while the sun is in the sky, from this day forward for the space of as many days as there are hours in each day. And when that is done, your penance will be done, and you will be forgiven. Now go, and sin no more!”

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Report: ENGL 227.61205, 18 March 2017

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion turned to questions of document formatting and presentation, as well as to future work and its handling. Time in class was given to completing coursework.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Week 3 Discussion (online before 0059 on 19 March 2017)
  • Routine Message (online before 0059 on 19 March 2017)
  • Week 4 Discussion (online before 0059 on 26 March 2017)
  • Informal Analytical Report (one submission from each group online before 0059 on 26 March 2017)

The class met as scheduled, at 0900 in Rm. 106 of the DeVry San Antonio campus. The class roster listed 11 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, seven attended, verified by direct question. Student participation was good. No students attended office hours.

Points of Departure, Chapter 5

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔄fter the hour of Vespers, the mail-clad man–clad in mail no longer, but in softer clothes that had been provided; the serving woman from the door and the table before had brought him a richly blue robe, saying that he looked to be of a size for it, and that it would be comely–arrived back in the room where he had eaten before. He was joined shortly after by the green-clad man, dressed as ever in a green so dark as to be nearly black. He looked his companion up and down and said “Sir Knight, that color is becoming on you. Yet I do not recall it in your blazon before.”

The normally mail-clad man replied “Indeed not. The shield I bore as a matter of course was gules, on a bend argent a baton gules wavy. I had a surcoat showing the same, as well, although I had offed it for the battle, the day being both warm and cloudy. But I suppose that I will need to have other raiment made, since I am seeming sworn to you, and if I am to be your officer, then I must to bear your emblem.” He paused for a moment, then asked “Have you arms, then?”

The green-clad man laughed aloud. “Indeed not, Sir Knight, for I am not a fighting man–at least, not in the kinds of fights for which you are trained and for which your order is justly renowned. And since I am no fighting man, what need have I of arms? You need not change yours for me, however. It is enough that we know that where I will go, you will follow, and until you have given me my life as I have given you yours, you are bound to do so. And I know that I can trust in your good word, now and ever, and in the strength of your right hand, as the adder found before. But the adder is not the first, is it?”

The man in blue shook his head. “It is as you say. I have lifted my sword in anger, yes, and lowered it in wrath, and more than once in each case. Yet I would rather I had not had to do so the once or ever. I would it were such that my order was without need, yet well do I know that the world is fallen and the people in it, and until all are risen in Christ, there shall be need of the work of hands such as mine. But since you spoke of our first parents earlier, such things as I recall from my earlier teaching have been much on my mind, and their faltering before the Lord has wrought such that we, their children, must seek to address.”

The green-clad man nodded. “It is a thing thought rightly, to be sure, although one I have seldom heard spoken save by priests, and those only of a particular demeanor that is less often found in the world than many might prefer. But I hear the sound of people approaching; I believe the Lady Maelis is upon us.”

And so she was, for a moment later, the doors at the end of the hall opened wide, and Maelis swept in, attended by her servingwomen and a few pages obviously young in service. The servingwoman who had clad the one man in blue was among them, and she smiled at the knight as Maelis inclined her head to her current guests. They bowed in return as she said “God’s blessings upon you, and be welcome in this house.”

A murmur of thanks returned to her, and she gestured towards the table. “Please, my guests, be seated. Be at ease.” She suited her deeds to her words, and she took her seat at the head of the table. The man in green sat beside her, and the knight sat in the next seat down. The servingfolk bustled about to bring in food and drink, and, as had been promised the travelers, it was plentiful and finer than the loaves they had had earlier in the day. There were fish and fowl for them, beef and pork, and breads in abundance. Wines were poured and drunk and poured again, by Maelis and by the man in green, and throughout the meal, the man in green kept Lady Maelis talking about her husband’s lands and holdings, listening intently.

She spoke of the productivity of the cooper and the smith, of the tensions she had had to resolve between the miller and the tanner more than once. She spoke also of the priest of the local church, who had urged her and Sir Gwion to send their daughter to the convent. “He said she would be the better schooled in the womanly arts, and my lord husband believed him,” she said. “But there are arts of which the sisters know nothing, yet they are good for all wives to know.” The knight could see that the drink she had taken spoke through her, for her skin was flushed and her speech soft around its edges. He had been drinking slowly, having much on his mind, and he saw that the man in green was, as well. And he saw that the servingwoman smiled at him shyly, sneaking glances at him when the others were not looking, and the knight felt himself flush as he thought on what it might mean that she did so.

Through it all, the man in green said but little, ate but little, drank but little, and moved but little. He seemed even to blink but little and breathe but little. Yet there was no doubt among any there that he was focused on the Lady Maelis, completely and utterly, and as she drank more, she spoke more, and the man in green learned more of her–more, indeed, than the knight was comfortable in hearing. Yet he said nothing, knowing that it was not his place to do so.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Points of Departure, Chapter 4

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he green-clad man looked back at the Lady Maelis as the mail-clad man looked on. He raised an eyebrow over one dark eye and said “Yes, it would be better did your lord husband return from battle. But you know that knights must fight, and that there is great danger in fighting even for the most mighty, even for those of most worship. And of your lord husband, Sir Gwion, can it be said that he was doughtiest and of most renown? I say not so to speak against him, for I am sure that he is a good man and worthy, but any man in his age will fare less well against men in their youth than might be hoped.”

The lady held his gaze for a moment before dropping her own. “It is true. My lord husband was not as young a man as he used to be. We had not expected even to have the daughter we have now and who waits in the convent for an advantageous marriage–whether to a knight in service of the king or to the Lord Christ as a nun. But even though we had not had such a thought, we are glad the Lord gave her to us, and we had thought that perhaps we would be blessed again. But if it is as you suggest, that my lord husband will not return, that Sir Gwion has fallen in battle, then I will mourn, for a wife should mourn a husband who falls even in battle. And I will bless God that I have had him in my life for so long as I have, and I will wonder if I will find another husband, for I am not so old that I cannot bear a child again, and if it is the case that Sir Knight,” and here, she gestured at the mail-clad man, “answered the word of God, then so must I, and the priests say that the Lord God said to be fruitful and multiply.”

The green-clad man nodded. “I have heard that that is the case.” He looked at the Lady Maelis again, more intently, and the mail-clad man studied well the food remaining on his plate and the drink in his cup. A single servant, the young woman from before, brought forth more wine and filled the cups of all three while they sat silently. She smiled as she came to the mail-clad man, though, and he, seeing that smile, offered a faint one in return and said his thanks to her for her fetching and pouring. It was not until after she withdrew that the lady of the house continued.

“If there is not news to be had of the battle between the two kings, the young one and the old, then I would wonder what it is that brings you to my home. My good lord? Sir Knight?”

The mail-clad man, hearing himself addressed, began to reply, but the green-clad cut him off. “I have said to you that he follows me, Lady Maelis. But as to my intent, well, of that I may not speak, save to say that a thing was taken from me some time ago, and I am working to reclaim it. Sir Knight will be of aid to me in the endeavor, as are others whom I know. I am, of course, always seeking to find more aid, for the task I face is not a simple one, and I am no knight of worship to face my task singly.”

Lady Maelis replied “I cannot say much to you of such a thing. Until it is known that my lord husband is gone from this world, the land and all its efforts are his to give or withhold as he will–but I know that he would not have me turn away travelers of rank from the door, and if the food now is but bread, the food this evening, when dinner is served, will be the more plentiful and finer, so that I hope you will stay to share it with us. And if you would care to tarry here, either to await Sir Gwion or else the news of his passing, or even for only the night, then you are welcome, too.”

“You honor us, Lady Maelis, and we will at the least sup with you tonight and stay with you until morning. What the coming sun will reveal will be seen in the fullness of time, to be sure, but we thank you for the offer you have made, and gratefully we accept all that you would choose to give.” The green-clad man stood and bowed slightly; the mail-clad man followed suit, bowing more deeply.

Maelis stood, as well, and returned their courtesies. “Then I will leave you to your refreshment and rest. Dinner will be served here, not long after Vespers. It is coming up on None, now, so there is time to rest well before the meal. It will be in plenty, although there will be few in attendance.” She smiled a tight smile and departed, leaving the two men and the remnants of their bread and wine.

As they seated themselves again, the mail-clad man asked the green-clad “You mentioned that I fulfilled God’s word at the site of the battle. I am not a priest. To which such word do you refer?”

The green-clad man smiled. “In the vulgar tongue, it is to the effect of ‘I shall put enmity between you and the woman, between your line and hers. She will crush your head, and you will await her heel.’ That is, adders shall strike at men, and men at adders, and this very thing did you do, both giving and receiving. So take heart, for it is certain that you proceed in the path appointed to you, that path on which you are strengthened by the exhortations of the priest. Take care that you remain on it.”

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Points of Departure, Chapter 3

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he two men–one clad in a green so dark as to be nearly black, the other in mail–soon came to a larger village than that they had left. There, they were able to find horses that were broken to the saddle, and they rode thence to a small town. The distinction lay, really, in the fact that it boasted a cooper, a miller, a blacksmith, and tanner. It also had a bridge over a smallish river–not one that could not be forded, but it was far easier to ride dryshod than to put up with soaked clothing and horses irritated from carrying riders clad in it.

There was also a minor lord–or the home of one, rather. When the green-clad and mail-clad man approached it, they were greeted by a young woman in rough homespun. She curtsied deeply when she saw them; the mail bespoke a warrior, deference to whom by the unarmed is usually prudent, and the green-clad man’s attire was rich and fine, such that he was assumed to be a mighty lord in his own right. And so she addressed them, saying “Milord, Sir Knight, please do come in and be welcome. The lady of the home has bidden me show all courtesy to those of rank and esteem, and so you seem to me to be. Therefore, please do come you in, and eat, and drink, and take your ease. The lady shall attend upon you presently, I am certain.”

The green-clad man gave a perfunctory nod and swept past the young woman. The mail-clad man was more courteous, saying “God’s peace be upon this place and all within! But tell me, who is the lady of this house, and who the lord, and whither has the lord gone?”

“Oh, Sir Knight, as to the last, I am sure that you know, for I am certain that you did yourself stand in the battle between the two kings that was not long ago. It is thence that the lord of this house went, called once more to fight for the king to whom he had sworn, although he was in the fullness of age and past it. Sir Gwion was he called, and long had he been the lord of this land, given title to it after good and diligent service with the old king. And the Lady Maelis is his wife, wedded to him eight years gone, now, and their one child a daughter in the convent until she should be wedded, herself.”

“Thank you” replied the mail-clad man, and he went inside in the wake of the green-clad. He found the latter seared high at the table in what seemed the primary hall of the house, eating good bread with butter and honey and drinking wine. A place was set a seat below him on the same side, and the mail-clad man seated himself there at the green-clad man’s gesture. As he did, the latter said “Had the servingwoman anything of worth to note?”

The mail-clad man nodded. “Sir Gwion, an older man, is–was, probably–lord of this house. Maelis is his wife and here. They have a daughter who dwells in a convent until she is to be wedded.”

“Ah.” The green-clad man returned to his meal. Around a mouthful of bread, he said “Did you know Gwion?”

The mail-clad man, himself eating, said “No. But there were many arrayed, as I know you saw–at least, there were until the fighting began, and with each moment there were fewer present. It is possible that I was to fight alongside him, but I recall no man so named as Gwion.”

“I am saddened to hear that I will hear no news of my husband” came another voice, a woman’s voice, low but clear with youth. And its owner proceeded to the table where the green-clad man still sat and from which the mail-clad man stood, asking “Are you the Lady Maelis, then?”

She nodded as she approached a seat at the right hand of the obvious lord’s chair. Its back was not so high as the high seat, but it was still higher than any of the others at the table. Indeed, where the mail-clad man sat had no back at all. The green-clad man slowly rose to his feet and sketched something like a bow. “Milady” he said, somewhat flatly, and he looked at her openly. The mail-clad man, for his part, bowed deeply and remained bowed long. “God’s peace upon you” he said.

“And on you, as well,” she replied as she seated herself. The men sat shortly after, and the green-clad man resumed eating as Maelis asked “Since you know no man named Sir Gwion, I shall not ask you after my lord husband, although I worry that you are come from the battle but he is not come back to me. But then, you also say that you were to fight alongside him, perhaps. Shall I take it to mean that you did not fight against the young king?”

The mail-clad man nodded. “It is as you say. I did not fight against the young king.”

The green-clad man interjected. “He fulfilled the word of God, instead, if it is your concern that he has turned recreant. And in doing so, he found himself in mortal peril, from which I delivered him. So now he follows me, blessed to that task and the fulfillment of it. So you may be at ease, Lady Maelis, that your husband did not fall because he was surrounded by cowards who betrayed him. If fall he did, it was bravely, and it is no shame to him–and it should not be sorrow to you if he did, for is it not a worthy thing to die in defense of lord and land, or of friends?”

“Yet it were better had he lived and returned to his land and those who have loved him these years long.” Maelis gave a clipped reply, and the mail-clad man sighed deeply.

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