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Sunday, 16 October 2005
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The Tale of Sir Orin, chapter iii. A quest for knighthood
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Sir Orin rode west from Ã?lfinfort. With him rode a squire and the damsel who had come with the quest he was to follow. Lady Pieta was devoted to the service of the lady, and had come to the court with news that an unknown terror was at loose in the lands near her home. The local villagers were terrified and all was shut up firm by nightfall, many had fled the area or had taken refuge in the baron's castle where they felt protected by the walls - but even from inside the safety of the walls people disappeared, although the guards on the gates and the walls saw nothing.

They rode through Swandle, and followed the Parravon road until it cleared the Massif Orcal and headed down towards the fords of the Upper Grismerie. Here they turned north, skirting the mountains, until they reached the small barony of Clements-le-Roi, in the very northern most part of Quenelles. In the distant east, the towers of Parravon glowed pink against the dark of the Grey Mountains as they caught the last rays of the setting sun, then vanished in the darkness as they came to the small Grail Convent where Lady Pieta lived.

"Here you can stay the night." she said, "In the morning, you can travel to the castle - they will not permit you to enter after dark and there is little room or food to spare with the townsfolk gathered in there."

"I thank you for your kindness." he replies, "I will remain with you this night and journey on in the morning."

The next day Sir Orin departed early, immediately after the office of Lauds. By the next hour he had arrived at the baron's castle. The guards saw his uncharged blue shield, and one said, mockingly, "Have you come to defeat the monster? We wish you luck, the best of the baron's men have been unable to even find the thing."

Sir Orin raised his helm and looked directly at the guard who had spoken. He spoke quietly, "I have come from the Court of the Duke of Ã?lfinfort. I will find and defeat this monster." The guard moved away and opened the gates without another word.

The Baron de Clements was scarcely more welcoming. He did not look like Sir Orin's impression of a Bretonnian knight, his spirit seemed broken, and Sir Orin thought there was something strange in his eyes, like fleck of green. The Lady of the court was stunningly beautiful, and seemed much more alive than her husband. She greeted Sir Orin warmly, a little too warmly he thought for a lady already married. Possibly she was just relieved that Ã?lfinfort had sent help.

After dark had fallen, Sir Orin took a turn around the battlements and through the cramped mini-village that had sprung up in the courtyard. He climed to the roof of the keep, where he found the Lady de Clements. Quickly he apologised, "I am sorry for disturbing your thoughts. I will leave again immediately."

"Oh no," she said, "don't go just yet. Come, look at the stars. Aren't they beautiful?" She walked over to him and took his arm. "To think there is a vicious killer out there, who could strike at any moment. I'd feel safer if you were here."

Last Updated ( Sunday, 16 October 2005 )
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