Melkin had always been forgiving. Even as a child he had been quick to forget faults done to him and almost never held a grudge towards friends or family. His forgiving nature was however not widely known until the winter of 484 when Winnifred wed anew.
Count Roderick had agreed to Melkin’s request to let Winnifred marry one of his household knights. After the campaign the same year the count reasoned that more young squires and eventually knights were going to be needed sooner than later and accepted Melkin’s proposal. A wedding feast was thus planned and since Sir Edyin had promised to pay the dowry after the duel the year before, the festivities were going to be fairly grand. What surprised both family and other guests was that Melkin invited sir Edyin himself to the feast. The act led to many a speculation of the motive of this peculiar act, but Melkin put the rumours down.
“Since he is paying for the feast, it would only be right for him to attend,” Melkin answered when the guests’ curiosity grew too large. “The debt has been paid, generously at that, and as of such sir Edyin’s former crimes have been atoned for.”
During the feast there were glances towards sir Edyin but none spoke openly against him, for there was plenty of both food and drink, and people tend to get busy when supplied. Melkin also made the effort to thank sir Edyin for the charitable dowry in his short speech to the wedding couple. Sir Edyin did eye the other knight suspiciously, but did not protest.
As night fell the feast proceeded with growing smiles and hearty drinking. The newly wedded seemed cheerful enough and Melkin was pleased to see that sir Brian took time to talk to his new stepsons.
" Their grandfather taught them to look after the horses,” he told sir Brian later that evening when the oldest, Morgan a glow in his eyes, was talking vigorously about the foal that had been born last year, “and they do seem to have some knack for handling animals. Not only the horses but the dogs like them as well."
As the hour grew late Melkin went out to steal a bit of fresh air and to relieve himself. The feast was far from over and he had been ever caught in endless conversations the entire evening. A bit of solitude would do him good. As he passed the stable he heard some muttering from inside. Looking in through the door he caught eye of Victus saddling one of the horses. Surprised Melkin stopped and watched as the old man loaded the horse with a large bag.
“Where are you going?” he asked as the half drunken man tried to heave himself into the saddle.
Startled Victus sank back on the box that he was using as a stepping stone, and looked up.
“Sir Melkin,” he said smiling and red faced (doubtless from drinking), “I’m… to be frank I’m leaving,” he said honestly.
“Leaving?” Melkin felt his heart sink. “It’s your daughter’s wedding, why would you leave?”
“Well you see,” Victus scratched his beard. "I’ve been thinking about it since Corwyn left a couple years ago that maybe I’m not too old for a bit of adventuring after all."
“Too old!” Melkin stared at him. “You’re missing a leg remember?”
Waving a hand dismissively Victus smiled:
“After being horse master at Hindon for two years I’ve come to realise that as long as I am on a horse I can still move and fight quite well. These old bones were never meant for sitting still very long and now as my daughter and my grandsons will be leaving Hindon I thought there’d be some time for one last adventure."
Melkin looked at the horse. Time seemed to slow as he thought of the options he had this second. He could prevent the old man from leaving, proclaim him drunk, ask him to wait until morning, accuse him for stealing one of Melkin’s horses or…
He took a step forward and gave Victus a hand to get up.
“You have to make sure to get a good squire,” he said with a growing lump in his throat, “and maybe you should make sure to tie yourself to the saddle so you don’t fall off in battle”, he suggested concerned.
Victus looked down at Melkin from his saddle smiling broadly.
“You know,” he said, "this wedding reminds me of my own. It was less expensive though, a smaller wedding, between a household knight and a woman that looked a lot like my daughter does today, but it felt as grand, and your father arranged it.”
“I know he did.” Melkin’s own voice sounded hollow to his ears.
“It has made an old man glad to see his daughter’s future secured once more,” continued Victus. “You did good my boy."
“Think nothing of it.”
“I’ll thank you none the less,” continued Victus. “Not because I’m drunk, well I am quite drunk but that is not the point… I’ll thank you because you were good to us.” Victus gave Melkin a long stare only swaying a little as if he suddenly reached some sobriety. “You have your father’s eyes,” he said finally, smacked his tongue and rode off into the night.
Melkin leaned towards the stable door watching as the dark figure rode out and disappeared. Merlin had been right he thought. Some men were sure ready to do all matters of dangerous things despite serious injuries. Age did not necessarily make these men less daring or more wise. It wasn’t until Deian came out looking for him that Melkin wiped his eyes.
“Sir Melkin what are you doing out here?” asked the squire perplexed. “And…” he looked around, “…where is my horse?”
A saddened laugh then escaped Melkin and he clapped Deian on his arm.
“I’ll get you a new one,” he said simply.
As the word got out about the successful feast, the rumour of Melkin’s forgiveness spread beyond the normal small folk gossip, and a name began to be whispered with the rumour. Thus it was through the tale of Winnifred’s winter wedding that “Melkin the magnanimous” started to gain weight. But also another name was whispered with the story. The One-Legged-Knight, would soon appear on more important lips than the small folk’s.