My hall is full of some fragrant scent that I don’t think I have smelled before, or maybe I did but maybe it was back in the lands of twilight in faerie. It has been hard to separate out what was before and what truly happened in that strange, wondrous place. Something of that world seems to have followed me and Brangwen back to our own home. What worries me the most is the fact that none of these strange things worry me. One day I might wander back to that enchanted place together with Brangwen when our children are grown up and can shoulder the reign of the Cellydon family. That day is not today however.
My reverie is interrupted by discrete cough. I blink my eyes and glance away from the fire I have been staring into. To my right is my new lackey Guilaumme, looking at me with his kind, concerned eyes. I remember freeing from the bandit camp at Willowbranch and promising him that I would find a place for him and his sister. I don’t know what I have done to earn his fanatical devotion though but I am no less grateful for it nonetheless. He is an impeccable grooms-man and keeps my clothes in perfect shape. He also seems to be very well versed in what is the latest fashion and I have more or less turned over the decisions on what to wear at court to him.
Guilaumme seems like he wants something and when I quirk an eyebrow in his direction he replies “Sir Dylan and Sir Nerthach has arrived”. He puts gentle emphasis on the Sir when speaking the names. A reminder to me that the boys have been knighted in my absence. Some days it feels like more than half a year passed while Brangwen and I was away.
When I leave my hall and walk out into chill spring wind blowing through the forest of gloom (or should it be the forest of glamour?) I am met by two young men who have just dismounted from their new horses. The only similarity between the two young knight is that they share the characteristic thick hair that almost all Cellydons have. Sir Dylan, being the elder by a year, is a solidly built man with eyes that are much harder than I remembered. Maybe it is not too strange though considering that he squired for Sir Lycus who is a hard man if there ever was one. They have been a good match though since Dylan was always driven and stubborn.
Sir Nerthach on the other hand is willowy and tall but have managed to build some muscle during his years as a squire to my good friend Sir Jaradan. He had trouble fitting in at Dinton manor during the first year he lived there but adapted after a while mostly thanks to the fact the knight he served is larger than life and bends others to fit into his own life. Nerthach has become a vivacious young man who both quick with a cup and quick to bed a girl. He has also egged his lord on to venture out more and participate in both adventures and battles.
Here they stand before me, different in many ways but they are now both knights of the Cellydon line. I greet them both warmly and congratulate them on their prowess and boldness that earned them knighthood. We head into my family’s ancestral longhouse and I order mead and wine be brought forth. We sit down at the long table and I place them both beside me. We drink to their fortune and to the family’s future. I ask them to recount the deeds that allowed them to distinguish themselves and earn the knightly stroke at such a young age.
Sir Dylan begins by telling how he accompanied Sir Lycus to Frankia to fight for prince Madoc. When encountering the franks during one of the battles in that foreign land, Sir Lycus was struck down by two mounted Frankish warriors and Dylan had to defend his lord in order for him to bring Lycus to safety. On his way of the battlefield he managed to not just slay one of the mounted warriors but also several Frankish footmen. Dylan tells that when Lycus woke up he didn’t seem impressed but later when the troops had returned to Salisbury he one day told Dylan that he had recommended that the count make Dylan a knight.
Sir Nerthach for his part have maybe not distinguished himself as quite as capable fighter but on the other hand he seems to have made his name as a courtier. He ensured that several delicate social situations were resolved in a satisfying fashion. He used his lesser station as a squire to act as a discrete go between when a knight would have drawn too much attention. The one person that did notice him though was the count himself and after having defused a rather delicate situation by backhanded means, he received unexpected recognition. The count has also offered him a position as one of his household knights.
I listen to their stories feel pride well up in my chest, pride in the fact that my gambles payed of but also pride in the fact that my relatives are competent and capable men who will now work to further the family’s name and ambitions. One day they might even win land for themselves.