Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–21 April 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, discussion asked after thoughts about the ChEss. It then returned to assigned readings, trying to get through more of Malory.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)
  • ChEss FV (online before class begins on 5 May 2017)
  • FinEx (in the regular classroom at 1030 on 8 May 2017 [for Section 03] or 9 May 2017 [for Section 2])

Information about the FinEx remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 14 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting.  Nine attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. One student 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 16 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Eleven attended, verified informally. Student participation was good, if somewhat distracted. One student from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Points of Departure, Chapter 28

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he green-clad man and the mail-clad man who followed him camped near the swollen stream, off the road and above its level, and they waited for the waters to recede that had grown from the rains that had fallen not long before. That night, as had been true for most of the day, there was little speech between the two; they had not much to discuss at that point, in truth, or, at least, little enough that the man in green was willing to share with the knight who followed him. But the knight, at least, had somewhat to do, for there is always much with a man of arms that needs attention, and he had no squire for to do for him as he had done for Sir Erflet in years gone by.

Indeed, as he tended to his mail, carefully wiping it dry and oiling it once again, so that it might stay proof against blade and rust not more in the damp, he recalled doing so for himself and his old master while he was yet in his youth. Sir Erflet had had him doing such things long before letting him swing a blade even in practice, noting that the use of a thing meant the care of that thing, and that the care was what allowed the use to continue. So it was that the care was more important than the use, and so it had to be the thing known first and best. “For,” he said, “what good is skill with a sword if there is no sword with which to ply that skill? And what sword will remain if not kept clean and sharp and oiled? Be sure of that before you will be sure of your blow, young one, and matters will be the better for you.”

It was with glad heart, therefore, that the knight of gules, on a bend argent a baton gules wavy, did the many menial tasks of keeping up his arms and armor. He did not stint at oiling his mail, nor yet at honing the edges of his sword and his several knives–and he well knew the value of such blades, remembering as he put the stone to one of them that he had fought one fight in a noble hall that had been closely packed, with neither room to swing a sword nor armor on body. In that, the very knife whose edge he now tended had served him well, drinking deeply of the blood of those who would have slain him and opening enough of a path for him to find a better tactical position. And there was, too, the value of the blade in the hunt, as well as many times along the road for one task or another, the myriad things that must be done but receive no comment in song, for they are daily done and seen by all who can look and care to do so.

While the knight attended to the tools of his trade, the green-clad man tended the fire. It burned badly, for the rains had made the wood wet, and it smoked much, but it grew and gave heat and light. In its hazy flicker, the face of the green-clad man seemed strange, seeming at times to reflect the flames back again as if it were of flame itself, at others to drink in all the light as if it were a hole formed at the end of a stream. And all throughout did the green-clad man’s eyes shine out, seeming brighter than the flame or even the stars that could be seen in the sky. Always did he stare towards Anderitum, across the swollen stream, and it seemed that he neither breathed nor blinked, but sat as a carved column of stone, rooted deeply and pointing the way to another destination.

The night passed with little ado, and in the morning, after the mail-clad man had risen and eaten and prayed, he and the green-clad man looked at the stream and was that it was much reduced, although still high and brown and full of debris. The green-clad man considered it a while, and he drew his horse back from the side of the stream, going off a ways. Then he charged toward it, galloping his steed as if tilting with a spear in hand, and the mail-clad man began to call out for him to stop, for he was certain that the one he followed would fling himself headfirst into water that could yet bear him far away. But the green-clad man leapt his horse, jumping the stream, and only its one back hoof touched the water, and that only briefly.

From across the stream, the green-clad man gestured, urging the knight to attempt the feat himself. For a moment, the mail-clad man demurred, for he knew himself of heavier build than the green-clad man, and his horse heavier than the other’s horse, and it seemed to him that the one he followed had not made the jump with much room for error. But then he recalled words that had been spoken to him, words that reminded him the challenges placed before him were instead gifts to be accepted gladly, and he made his trial at the feat. He drew back further than had the green-clad man, running at the bank longer than his companion had, and he waited just a moment longer before jumping.

His landing was the same; the one back hoof of the horse he rode touched the water of the stream, and the horse bounded forward, getting clear of the still-swollen water. The green-clad man smiled as he did, and the two continued towards Anderitum in their increasingly familiar silence. Save for one thing that the green-clad man said:

“We should be there tomorrow, and what will be done will then be done soon. The waiting continues to annoy, but it is better to wait there than elsewhere–at least for this.”

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Points of Departure, Chapter 27

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he next days went by slowly. Rain fell on the mail-clad man and the green-clad man he followed, obscuring sight and hindering progress along the road toward Anderitum. They plodded onward, of course, for though they could not see far ahead, they could see that the road continued at least a short way in front of them with every step, and the green-clad man seemed to have little enough patience with any delay anymore. And so through mud and mire, they pressed on, their horses’ hooves sucking at every step as they picked their way carefully along, and they found no dry place to camp in the evening, but bivouacked under such trees as they could and did what little could be done to find a dry space under the boughs.

After a few days of rain, and a few more days of prayers and fasting for the mail-clad man, they came to a small village, and there they were able to stay with a roper who allowed them space under his roof in exchange for a coin, as well as food for another, and he did not disturb them as they rested and he went about his work of braiding together many strands into twine, then cords, then rope. The mail-clad man bought a coil from him, knowing that rope is a good thing to have at hand and knowing that his own supply was somewhat limited, but other than the speaking needed to transact their business, there were no words exchanged between the roper and his guests, or between the guests themselves. For the green-clad man sat and stared towards where their path led for long after they came into the roper’s home, and still he stared when the knight finally fell asleep.

The next morning, the mail-clad man rose early and counted on his fingers for the days that he had spent in penitence, and he knew that he was drawing near to the end of it, and he was glad of it. But he spoke not words to that effect, but ate and prayed and readied himself for another day of wet travel. And when he made to gather his horse and that of the green-clad man, he saw that the rain had ceased, and though the road was still much muddied, he would at least be able to see some ways down it, and he looked forward to moving faster as a result. It seemed to him that the green-clad man did, as well, for there was something like a smile on his face as he mounted and they began again to travel.

As with earlier days, their going was quiet. There were few on the road as they rode along, so there was little chance to hear news from others, but the green-clad man did not speak much to the mail-clad who followed him. For his own part, the mail-clad man looked at the countryside surrounding him, for he had not been in that part of the land before, and the trees and flowers and fields seemed to him to differ from what he had known. And he recalled what his old master, Sir Erflet, had said to him of such matters:

“Not many will see what the knight-errant sees, my boy, for they will be in one place long and stir little from it. And while it is true that they will know well what they know, down to the smallest jot and tittle, still will they be bounded, never knowing the world outside what can be seen from their small village. You will learn, as I have learned, that there is glory everywhere, that there is beauty in all places in God’s creation, if you but look at it aright. And you will learn, too, that some is easier to see than others, but it is for the challenge that the knight lives, and if there is a place that looks all foul to you, it is upon you to work to see what good is in it.”

The mail-clad man knew that he was in a place where the challenge was not to find the good, for the green fields and blooming buds and ample leaves and burgeoning fruit of the trees all spoke of bounty and plenty, and the good of such things is easily known. Instead, he knew that the challenge he would find would be that of remaining vigilant amid the splendor, for it would be easy for him to lose his focus amid the beauty, and he recalled the fight in the woods, when he had been taken nearly at unawares–and if he had come out of that fight well, still could he have done the better in it, as he knew, and if no mark remained on his flesh from the wounds he took, still did he recall the pain of getting them, and few relish such hurt.

Soon enough, the two found that they could go no further towards Anderitum on the road. The green-clad man had stopped his horse, and when the mail-clad man came up alongside him, he said “This is normally a small stream, easily forded, but the rains of the past few days have swollen it. It would not be wise for us to try to cross here, but other crossing points are far enough away that it might be well for us to wait. The rain has ceased–for now, at least–and we may hope that the waters will recede soon. But I still chafe at the delay. Perhaps we ought not to have stayed for the festival as we did; had we not, we would have been well across by now, and possibly in Anderitum already.”

The mail-clad man made reply, saying “It may be so, but it may also be that there will be a thing for us here and now. For I have heard such things said in many other cases, so it may well be true in this one.”

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–19 April 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, discussion asked after thoughts about the ChEss. It then returned to assigned readings, trying to get through more of Malory.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)
  • ChEss FV (online before class begins on 5 May 2017)
  • FinEx (in the regular classroom at 1030 on 8 May 2017 [for Section 03] or 9 May 2017 [for Section 2])

Information about the FinEx remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 14 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Twelve attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. One student 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 16 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. All attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. No students from the class attended office hours since the previous class meeting.

Points of Departure, Chapter 26

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔗he day after the fight dawned through rain, and it found the mail-clad man already having eaten and offered his prayer of penitence. It also found the green-clad man waiting for him outside the chamber that had been given to his use. After greeting him, the green-clad man said that it was time for them to make their way forward, now that the festival was done for which they had said they would stay. To this, the mail-clad man assented, knowing that overstaying a welcome is a poor thing to do and knowing that he was ready for the challenges that might face him and the green-clad man along the road. For his performance in the fight yesterday had emboldened him, as well it might, and he knew that even the most worshipful knights of days gone by would have been hard-pressed to do as he did.

So it was that that morning, they gathered up their things and made their farewells, and the proceeded east and south along the roads towards Anderitum. And their travels were easy, for the roads were good and much used, and there were patrols of noble lords’ forces and bridges, although there were tolls to cross the latter when they came upon them. Yet the green-clad man had plenty of coin, and there was no trouble as he and the mail-clad man went along their way.

But if there was little trouble, there was also little cheer. Never had the green-clad man been particularly open with his words, but after leaving the town, there was an intensity about him that the knight had not before noted, and he did not approach it to break it. The green-clad man sat forward on his horse, leaning and peering, and it seemed that he neither blinked nor breathed, so focused was he on the road ahead. And he did not run his horse, but he did force its walk as fast as it could be without breaking into a trot or a gallop, and the mail-clad man, long used to horsecraft, knew that it strained the animals they rode–for he did not dare let the green-clad man get too far ahead. Too, he saw that they did not talk to others along the way as had been their wont before, and the others on the road also avoided them, almost as if not seeing them. And he wondered at that, but not too much, for he had come to know there was a way about the green-clad man that made for such things to happen, and that it were best not to delve into it too deeply.

That evening, as the sun sank behind the western horizon and the green-clad man and the mail-clad made camp beside the road, the former said to the latter “I know that you think it strange that I have acted as I have today. Yet we are close to where we would be, close to being able to do what it is that I need to do–and what I need you to do, as well. And so we are close to the end of your obligation to me, which must be a source of joy for you, as well.”

The mail-clad man replied “I do not find it a burden to be in service, but rather a welcome thing. I have seen that you have much power, although some of it is strange and the working of it beyond my ken; it is not a small thing to be in service to such a one as you. And I have grown the greater in that service, strengthened as you have said of it, and I am not displeased that I can do more and do it better now than I could in earlier times. So it is not joy I feel at the prospect of being done, although there is satisfaction in discharging a charge laid. It is something I shall soon know, as well, for there is a penance upon me to fast and pray. It will be good to be quit of it, although I relish that I am purified by it.”

“I have noted it, and it seems to do you no harm. But now, you must eat, and then we must rest, for I hope within a few days to come to Anderitum. Too long have I been away from it, and there is much there I would resume, much that was mine that I would reclaim.”

“Are you from Anderitum, then?”

The green-clad man looked at his companion levelly for a moment. Then he gave his reply: “Not originally, no. I am from rather farther from here than that. But I did live in that tow for some time, indeed, and I was forced out of it. But I have had word that what forced me out is gone, and so I can return to what is mine and reclaim it again. Surely this is the kind of thing your chivalry calls upon you to assist, the resumption of right by one dispossessed from it?”

“I have said that I will aid you. I have accepted that I am charged to do so. You need not return again and again to the idea, as if you think that I will forget it if you do not remind me of it. I have said I would do a thing, and so that thing will be done, if I live to do it. You do ill to think that I would be otherwise, and I have done no thing to give you cause to doubt my word. So I will thank you not to voice that doubt again unless I should do so.”

“I am glad to hear you say it, then, Sir Knight, and that you will recall it. And I will be glad of your help when we arrive at Anderitum. I will be glad of it, indeed.”

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Reports: ENGL 1302, Sections 02 and 03–17 April 2017

After treating concerns from the last class meeting and before, discussion asked after thoughts about the ChEss. It then focused on issues of usage, particularly prescriptive and descriptive approaches.

Students are reminded of the following due dates:

  • ChEss RV (online before class begins on 24 April 2017)
  • ChEss FV (online before class begins on 5 May 2017)
  • FinEx (in the regular classroom at 1030 on 8 May 2017 [for Section 03] or 9 May 2017 [for Section 2])

Information about the FinEx remains in development.

Section 02 met as scheduled, at 1000, in Weir 111. The class roster listed 14 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Eleven attended, verified informally. Student participation was reasonably good. One student 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 16 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. All 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 25

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔄fter the cheering died down from the victory of the mail-clad man and the town over those who would assail it, the green-clad man went to his follower and said to him “You see now that it is as has been said to you, that you are made mighty to do work in the world. And I am glad of it, as are those who have seen you work, so that you need not be in worry over such things. Rejoice, rather, that you have such skill as meets the needs before you, and that you have such strength as needs to use such skills, for lacked you either, the day would not have gone so well for you as might have been hoped–although others might well have enjoyed the result.”

The mail-clad man nodded in reply and said “I am glad to have disappointed them. Yet I am amazed at the event, for it is not often that a single man can face many and not be harmed by it, and I stand unbloodied while those who faced me have fallen or fled. I had not thought that a few days of practice would make such difference as seems to have been, for even while I have known you, I have not fought so well.”

“Speak you of the encounter in the woods? Yet you yourself have said that there is no mark upon you from it, and yet there were two dead, and one an archer. So I do not know that you are improved so much as you might think in your skill, but rather in that you have been strengthened to aid in the tasks that lie before you–since they lie before me, and you must follow me, as you are charged to do.”

“I am, as I know, and I will. But first, I must see to the killing I have done, and while I need not be the one to do the burying, for there are others here to tend to it, I have taken lives and must ask forgiveness therefore. For although they would have killed me had I not them, I recall that the knight for whom I squired, Sir Erflet, said that any life taken is a sin, and I already carry enough of them without coming clean of more. So if you will excuse me, I will to the priest once again, that I may be shriven and stride ahead with less fear.”

Then the mail-clad man did as he said he would do, and he sought the town priest, finding him helping with the wounded and praying over the dead. And he agreed that he would hear the knight’s confession and absolve him once those who were in gravest need were attended to, “for I doubt me that God will send it that so worthy and worshipful a man as you will be taken at unawares after the moment of victory, and that you have acted in defense of yourself and of others will argue in your favor with the Most High even if you should be called thence between now and then. But if you will help me with such matters, I can be done with them the sooner, and then might I turn to address your need.”

So the mail-clad man did as he was bidden, and he ended up digging graves and burying bodies maugre his earlier words. But he was strong and the digging was swift, and they were laid in earth unconsecrated who had attacked the town, while those who had dwelt within it and were killed were laid out and their graves dug in the churchyard. And those who had taken hurt were eased as they might be, both by the priest and by others in the town, and the mail-clad man noted that the green-clad did not offer his healing arts readily, but only in a few cases, and then only as asked directly by the Lord Deleiere. He wondered at it, but then he thought of his own life in the short time since his own healing, and he thought it were perhaps better that others not be given the same gifts as he had received.

So it was that the town was set back to rights and swiftly, and when it was, the priest did as he had said he would, and he heard the knight’s confession, and he gave him absolution freely, saying that the labor he had done for the town was penance enough, and he blessed him openly. Then the knight continued the penance he had undertaken after the stay in the home of Lady Maelis, after which he went back into the town. For although it had been interrupted, the festival of founding still continued in some wise, having been prepared to just that end. And the mail-clad man ate and drank readily and heartily, and in each place he went in the town, he was greeted by cheers and applause, and some of the people of the town sought to have lain with him that night. All of them he rebuffed, not wanting to repeat the error for which he was already penitent, and some heard the refusal well, but others wept and fled from him when he said them no.

The night was long, and the festival went long into it, with people eating their food and drinking their drink and thanking God for the charter that made them free forever and the knight who had fought to keep them so. And the knight saw that it was of such things that peace was made and upon which kingdoms such as Logres had been at its height were founded, and he prayed that the new king would do as the old one had done in that wise. And after he prayed thus, he found his way to his lonely bed for the night, and he slept well and deeply.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Class Report: ENGL 227.61205, 15 April 2017

After addressing questions from and concerns about the previous class meeting, discussion turned to review of report points and concerns of usage in advance of the final group submission to follow next week.

Students are reminded of the following assignments’ due dates:

  • Week 7 Discussion (online before 0059 on 16 April 2017)
  • Group Project Final Version (one submission from each group online before 0059 on 23 April 2017–and earlier is better)

The class met as scheduled, online at 0900 CDT. The class roster listed 11 students enrolled, unchanged since the last class meeting. Of them, eight attended, verified informally. Student participation was adequate. Office hours were not offered, due to the remote class meeting.

Points of Departure, Chapter 24

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔒ne of the oncoming riders, carrying a shield of ebon, two chevrons argent, raced ahead of the others, his horse sprinting as it carried him into the midst of the town. The mail-clad man there met him with his sword upraised, shouting at the man without words but with great vigor. The shouts attracted the rider’s attention, and he bore down on the mail-clad man, leveling a spear at his breast and spurring his horse to greater speed. But at the last moment, the mail-clad man stepped to the side, crossing the path of the horse and lifting it as if thrusting its point toward the heavens, so that its blade slipped under the rider’s shield and up into his arm. And such was the force of the blow that it lifted the rider from the saddle, and his horse sped onward without its rider as the argent chevron knight crashed to the ground heavily, and his helmet was dented. The mail-clad man stomped upon the chest of the fallen rider and broke him, so that blood rushed out from his mouth in a gout, and he pulled his sword out of him, turning to face the others oncoming.

For their part, the riders behind saw what had happened, and many of them reined up their horses at the display, reconsidering their attack–for it was clear that they had not thought there were any in the town who could oppose them at all, much less with might and skill. But not all of them did so, and others rushed in, closing upon the mail-clad man, for they knew him to be a threat to them. But he grabbed up the spear that his first foe had let fall, and he took its weight in his hand, and he threw it, and his throw was straight and true. Into the chest of another rider it sank, going in even past the socket and bursting through the mail of his back. When he fell, another rider came upon the mail-clad man, veering aside to keep his shield-side away from him, thrusting out his spear to the side as if to cut the mail-clad man as he passed by. But the mail-clad man stepped outside it and avoided the blow, and he cut the head of the spear from the shaft as it passed him.

Then did the rider turn and draw his sword, but before he could come about and strike again at the mail-clad man, another rider charged upon him, thinking to use the distraction of the earlier to advantage. And nearly did it work, for he was able to close upon the mail-clad man with leveled spear, but the mail-clad man ducked under the spear and cut upward, and the horse itself fell to the ground, slain, and it crushed its rider as it fell, pinning him to the earth. The man screamed, and the sword-wielding rider pressed in upon the mail-clad man, hacking at him from on high. The mail-clad man ducked and dodged away from the blows, and the rider could make no gain with his sword, but he put the mail-clad man to the test in his assault, and pushed him back–and other riders approached yet.

As the mail-clad man stepped back, his foot struck the shield of one of those he had felled, and as he ducked another blow, he lifted it up and held it above his head against the sword-wielding rider. Then did that rider draw back, for he knew well the price that a thrust from the mail-clad man commanded, and his comrades pressed upon their common foe. With his shield, he turned one spear aside; with his sword, the other; and he stepped between them and turned, facing their backs. The flat of his blade flashed twice, and both horses reared from the pain on their rumps, rising up to the surprise of their riders, and one of them fell at the mail-clad man’s feet. The blade flashed again, and the fallen rider’s throat opened to the sky, and a great welter of blood flowed forth from it. His companion wheeled about to try to thrust at the knight again, but he avoided it once again, letting the point pass him by and turning to meet another rider oncoming.

And as he fought, the green-clad man looked on, and the people of the town saw the feats of arms he performed and were inspired by them. Then they took up such weapons as they had; the smithy gave of its hammers, and there were pitchforks at hand, and spears were found that the fathers of the people and their fathers had kept after wielding them, and rocks were hefted in hand and sent in showers at the invading riders as the rest were roused to meet them by the mail-clad man’s marvelous deeds. Then those riders who had held back turned and left, for they had sought easier prey upon which to feast, and already had more of them fallen than they had thought would or should. And several of the others who had gone into the town themselves turned and fled, seeing their fellows retire from the field. But there were still some who fought on, and they did manage to slay some of the townsfolk before they were themselves slain, whether felled by a lucky cast of a spear or knocked from horse by a hammer that swiftly swung again, or else grabbed by many hands and pulled upon and beaten.

But the mail-clad man fought through the whole of it, and all who faced him fell, but none of them could touch him. Then the people remarked that he had clearly been touched by God and given strength to ease their plight that day, and they cheered for him who did not mourn at the deaths of their fellows–yet even they were hopeful, for if their fellows had fallen, they had at least done so in victory, and their town had been preserved against assault.

Alms for the poor? Please click here.

Points of Departure, Chapter 23

Continued from the previous chapter, here.

𝔄s the Lord Deleiere, the priest of the town, and the green-clad man mounted the stage, a hush fell over the crowd. The sun approached its zenith in a clear sky, looking down upon those gathered, and the church bells rang for midday. When their pealing ceased, the priest gestured to an altar boy who had come with him to come forward, and he bore a closed case not unlike that used to carry the Scriptures. The altar boy opened the case, and the priest reached into it and withdrew from it a large paper, showing its age but still whole, and it was written in ink still dark despite the years. Then the priest did turn to the Lord Deleiere and said to him, “Lord Deleiere, if it would please you, the charter royal which is sent to this town, naming it free forever under the aegis of the king and of God above. Receive it again in the name of those here gathered, and proclaim its proclamation aloud, that all may know the goodness of the kind and the grace of God under whom he is anointed!” And he offered the paper to the lord, who took it slowly and with a hand that seemed to shake in the sunlight.

But yet the Lord Deleiere stepped forward with the paper in hand, and he unfolded it that he could read it the better, and he lifted up his voice and said aloud the words that were written on it. Then did those there gathered, the burghers and their visitors, old and young, man and woman alike, and members of all three estates, hear of the founding of the town, and of the year and the day of its chartering, and of the privileges accorded to it, all under the seal of the king who had been and commended to the kings that would come after, to maintain in perpetuity, so long as the world would last, by the grace and pleasure of God Almighty. And when he had done, there was applause and cheering from the people, and the mail-clad man joined them in it. And well he should, for it is right and proper to glory in the glory of others.

When the applause and cheering died away, the Lord Deleiere returned the paper to the priest, bidding him keep it in the fastness of the church, where God might keep it safe and clear so that all might read it who had the skill, and the pleasure of God in maintaining the freedom of the town be manifest. And the priest received it again humbly and folded it with reverence before he placed it back in the case the altar by bore and closed it back up again. And then he prayed, and all bowed their heads who were in attendance, and the priest blessed the town in the name of God and all those who dwelt in it, as well as those who stood in it but for a time and were passing on to other places. And he prayed that the king would live long in health and wisdom, and that there would be peace in the land and in all lands, for now and forever.

But when the priest had done, there was a sound as of approaching thunder, although the sky remained clear. But those who looked about themselves saw that clouds of dust arose and approached in haste, and it could soon be seen that there were riders leading them, and many, and they were dressed in many hues and strange shapes. Them the mail-clad man recalled from his days in service to Sir Erflet and since, and he knew that those who bore such shields and such designs upon their surcoats were reprobate and apostate from the high ideals of knighthood, and that they would not stint to take what they desired–and he well knew that they desired. So he loosened his sword in its scabbard and made his way to the stage where stood the green-clad man, and he said to him “We must away, for I know who they are who ride this way, and no good do they mean for any they here find. And if I am obligated to you, then I must act in your defense, and that will be the easier if we are away and ahorse than amid the people and afoot.”

The green-clad man looked at the knight and said to him “Surely you are not afraid of those who ride here. For I know you to be a warrior of skill, and I hear that you are become a warrior of greater might than when we met. I had not thought to hear you speak of fleeing from a field of battle that presents itself to you, nor yet to hear you say such things as might make may think you a coward.”

“Say as you will, and think it,” replied the mail-clad man, “yet I know whereof I speak, and I do not say I do not seek to fight, but only that if I will fight, I would fight as I know how best to do, and not to offer my weakness to my enemy’s strength. For if it is the case as you have said that even the most worshipful knight puts strength to weakness, still I need not make the task easier for my foes. And the fight is never lost that is never fought, in any wise.”

As they debated, the riders grew closer, and the sounds of their shouts began to be heard. Then there was panic in the town, for those shouts carried words most vile, promising all manner of harm to come and to endure for long, and none would be excused from it, if the riders had their way. But the mail-clad man knew he would not sway the green-clad to act in his own defense, and he drew his sword and made ready to face those who would attack them all.

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