M4 Margueritte: Strike Back, part 2 of 3

On the first day of the siege, when some soldiers set up two tents for Margueritte and her women, other men dug a great pit in the woods and constructed two wooden seats and a wooden covering with a curtain so the women could go in private.  Sigisurd knew what went on there, besides sitting and thinking, but no one else knew.  After her first conversation with Abd al-Makti, Margueritte knew she could not trust anyone, and even Sigisurd’s memory got deliberately blunted to be safe.

Abd al-Makti came to her tent after giving her a week to settle in for a long wait, as sieges often become.  “If the Lady is at liberty, I would ask a few questions about things of the Franks and such.  I am a stranger here, and I do not understood as I should.”

Margueritte would have corrected the man’s grammar, but presently she felt something like a fly speck against her mind, and she tried not to laugh.  When she became invested as the Kairos in ancient days, given the responsibility for the little spirits of the earth, air, fire and water, and counted among the gods as the god or goddess of history, the gods understood her mind contained too much information about the future; information that would be dangerous in the wrong hands.  Therefore, it was decided to establish unbreakable barriers around her mind.  Even the gods could not read her mind.  This Islamic sorcerer had no chance, but in trying, he gave himself away.  She would have to be careful whom she trusted and with what information as long as this man walked around the camp reading people’s minds.

“Can I help you?”  Margueritte finally spoke and watched the frustration cross Abd al-Makti’s face.

“Indeed.  I thought a lady such as yourself might offer a more pleasant conversation than these men of war.  It appears we will be here for a long time, and full of much boredom.  I hope things are settled before the diseases begin.”

“As I think.  Cholera, dysentery, and such are not to be hoped for.  I say, the things I have seen in long sieges would make you shudder.  I suppose it is a good thing you cannot read my mind.”  She could not resist the jab.

“Indeed.”

The conversation continued for a time, but Margueritte represented herself well as a paragon of Christian virtues, and otherwise just the ordinary Frankish woman that she was, well, half Frankish, half Breton.  And Abd al-Makti kept saying indeed until he had enough.  He would not get anything out of her by direct questioning.  If she was a witch, or worse, the power his Lord and Master insisted, he could not prove it.  For her part, Margueritte saw no other signs of the man’s power, though she did not doubt he was a powerful wizard.  She suspected there was more to it, something more behind this man of power, but she caught no indication of what or who that might be.  This man appeared to be a genuine Muslim missionary, well versed in the Koran and his faith.  She checked with her Storyteller who studied all that and could look things up.

“I must be off,” Abd al-Makti said at last.  “My servant Marco has much to be watched, but I may return, and we will speak again.”

“We may speak again, another time,” Margueritte said with a smile, and thought, then again, we may not, God willing.

“That was interesting,” Sigisurd said.

“Don’t be fooled,” Margueritte responded.  “Christ is the way of life.  The Prophet is the way of death to all who will not submit to their greedy ambition.  Besides, they treat women like cattle.”

“And how is that different from the way we are treated now?”

“Trust me, you have no idea.”

When they reached the toilet, Margueritte called out.  “Tulip.”  The fairy appeared and immediately sprinkled Sigisurd with dust.

After a moment, Tulip announced, “She’s clean,” and Margueritte checked to be sure Tulip was clean as well.

Margueritte called, “Maywood.  Larchmont.”  Both fairies appeared, and Maywood spoke first.

“Plectrude is still in isolation, but she has spoken with a local midwife.  The feeling I get is she has heard about your situation and is willing to send help if Ragenfrid will let the woman through the lines.”

“We shall see.  That is good news.  I know Doctor Mishka and Greta can only do so much, being me, if you know what I mean, and I am sure Ragenfrid does not have a midwife in the camp.”

“Mother Mary checked on that,” Sigisurd said, and shook her head.

“And how is my husband?” Margueritte asked Larchmont.

“Impatient.  Every time I tell him you are fine; he keeps saying he is missing it all.  He wants to go yesterday, but Charles keeps saying, not until they are ready.  I get the feeling if this siege goes on much longer, they will get ready.  Charles has twice as many men as before, and he is pushing them hard to prepare.”

“Good for him.  Please tell him I had a talk with the bishop today.  His name is Boniface, and they should meet one day.  Remind him if he will support the Church, the Church will surely support him.  Then tell him Abd-al-Makti the Sorcerer has plans and is gathering information on our strengths and weaknesses, which I have no doubt will be shared with the invading Islamic generals in Iberia.”

“I do remind him of this and will again.  Charles is worried about the south coast of Septimania, it being in Visigoth hands.  He says the Visigoths in Iberia have put up little struggle against the invading Muslims and he feels sure they will not stop at the Pyrenees.”

“And I agree,” Margueritte said.  “Thank you.”  She waved her hand, and Larchmont and Maywood went back to the place from which she called them.  Then she went behind the curtain and left Sigisurd with Tulip because she really did have to go.

“What is the news from the coasts?” Margueritte asked from behind the curtain.

“All is quiet, and lovely,” Tulip reported.  She was in love with a fairy named Waterborn and had been for going on three hundred years.  Tulip now neared seven hundred years old.  But everything was lovely when a fairy was in love, so Margueritte asked.

“Tell me about the Christians in Frisia.”  Tulip was certainly old enough and mature enough to not ask, “What about them?”

“The priests and churches are mostly gone,” Tulip said.  “But the people are mostly good neighbors, and families that have been friends for generations remain friends, and what one family believes does not make them bad neighbors.”  

Margueritte considered Abd al-Makti.  Muslims could also be good neighbors until they got the upper hand.  Islam spread, not as a religion of gentle persuasion, like Christianity for the most part.  Christians had their convert or die moments, but they were rare.  Convert or die became standard practice for Islam, from the beginning, and Margueritte decided if that made her prejudiced, then so be it.  Boniface was right about that.  She felt driven to save life, not take it.

“Thank you, Tulip,” she said, as she came out from behind the curtain.

“Can I stay this time and be friends with Sigisurd?” Tulip pleaded sweetly, and Sigisurd looked hopeful, but Margueritte shook her head.

“Not this time.  Not as long as the sorcerer-spy is around, but some day things will be better.”  Tulip vanished as Margueritte sent her back to her troop that lived and worked along what would one day be called the Dutch coast.  Sigisurd looked sad, but understood, and in short order she forgot all about the fairies.  It was safer that way.

###

Summer became autumn and the leaves began to change.  Ragenfrid saw that the local harvest got brought in and took the lion’s share for his army.  No siege is perfect, especially when the General wants to own the city, not destroy it. The trick is to let just enough food inside the city to keep the population near starvation, but not too little so the people are not forced to survive on rats.  Ragenfrid sat on the fence about that with Cologne.  He would destroy the city if he had to.  Chilperic had been declared king of the Neustrian Franks, not the Austrasian Franks, and Cologne was a very Austrasian city.  Both the king and Ragenfrid assumed if the people turned from Plectrude and her son, they might just as easily swear allegiance to Charles rather than to him.

The city had the normal supply of foodstuffs until the harvest, but after that, they were at the mercy of Ragenfrid, and instead of standing watch on the walls, the people began to protest in the streets.  Rat was a dish not to be taken lightly, no matter the sauce.

Plectrude came out of her isolation when things in the city began to turn.  She had to do something before hunger caused a revolt and the people handed the city and her life to Ragenfrid.  To be sure, surrender seemed her only option, but she was not above haggling.  When her husband Pepin died, she brought much of his treasure, the treasure of Austrasia, with her to Cologne.  She trusted in Chilperic, a man who once went under the name of Daniel, who got dragged out of a monastery and given a crown, and trust in his forgiving Christian nature, that Plectrude turned over the treasure and renounced the mayoralty of her son on condition Ragenfrid go away and leave Cologne, and her, alone.

Chilperic agreed, and after great arguments, Ragenfrid and Radbod agreed, especially after Radbod got paid off.

M4 Margueritte: Strike Back, part 1 of 3

In a week, the army got settled into a siege around Cologne.  They cut the city off from the countryside and took the food that would have gone to the city residents.  Cologne had a strong garrison, and the population augmented the troops, at least at first.  It seemed enough to discourage Ragenfrid from taking the city by straight assault.  Besides, he wanted to talk with Plectrude and see if something might be worked out.  Unfortunately, he waited all spring and all summer while the woman locked herself in her rooms and saw no one.

Margueritte got along with her new friends, for the most part.  Rotunda liked to cook, she said, because she liked to eat.  That explained a lot, as Margueritte thought.

Gray haired Mary stayed out front, in closest contact with the soldiers and officers of Ragenfrid’s army.  She ran errands and did the laundry when she could, and the women began to call her Mother Mary to remind the enemy that they were good Christian women who deserved their consideration, if not their respect.

Sigisurd acted like Margueritte’s handmaid.  She was a shy and quiet soul who said little as she tried to anticipate Margueritte’s wants and needs.  Never far away, she even slept at Margueritte’s feet.  It could get annoying, but most of the time it was nice, as long as Margueritte did not let it spoil her.

Then there was Relii.  As far as the others could tell, her talents included eating and sleeping late.  Fortunately, she was not around much.  Margueritte had the good sense not to ask where she went, and she volunteered nothing, so they kept a conspiracy of silence for as long as no one came asking for her or complaining about her.  Margueritte did confess to the bishop once that she found Relii in a brothel in Orleans, having learned that Relii came from that area, and she thought to save her from that environment.

“I felt it was my Christian duty,” she said, and the bishop bought it.  He seemed willing to buy about anything she said, because he felt worried.  He saw the pagan priest with the Frisians, and worse, the teacher Abd al-Makti from Iberia as real threats to his flock.  He very much wanted Margueritte and her ladies to be Christians, and models of piety, which for the most part, they were, except maybe Relii was not so pious.

Margueritte talked often with the bishop, and she got the feeling that he ran interference for her with the powers in the camp, and she felt grateful.  It got to where she could see King Chilperic II, and pass pleasantries without him shrieking and running away, so that seemed a plus.  True, Ragenfrid continued to snub her when she walked about, but Margueritte figured that might be a plus as well.

King Radbod of the Frisians came to visit her on three separate occasions over the spring and summer and his pagan priest, Org came the third time.  They believed she was a very powerful witch, which proved good, because they stayed respectful of her person the whole time, and the king instructed his troops to stay away as well.  But to be sure, there was not much she could tell them, even on the third visit when they asked about the spirits of the earth.

“I have spoken to Neustrian men who know your father,” Org said.  “They say there were spirits that lived at your farm when you were growing up, and those spirits answered to you.”

“Rumors, and hear-say,” Margueritte said.  “Soldiers, like sailors, often see things that are not there, and superstitious men, like drunks, see all sorts of things.  Life is such a wonderful mystery, but I know some people need to explain everything and if there isn’t an easy explanation, they make one up.”

“No.  These are steady men, not superstitious or drunk as you suggest.  My sources say you can call up the earth spirits and compel them to do your bidding, and I would see if this is so.”

“Org.  King Ratbot,” she said, deliberately mispronouncing the man’s name, “If I have ever seen a little spirit, it is only because I love them as I love all of the great mysteries of creation.  And if they should ever do anything I ask, it is because I ask out of love, and they do it out of kindness, and I am always grateful.  Spirits though they be, I imagine they have their own minds and their own hearts and like people, they cannot ultimately be compelled without affecting some great evil upon them, which I would never do.”

Radbod twirled his moustache while Org thought for a minute and Margueritte smiled a kind, cooperative smile, and waited patiently, as was her womanly duty.  She often had to wait patiently for all of the ideas, multi-faceted notions and ramifications to work through the morass called a man’s mind.  Org spoke at last.

“So, we will not be seeing any sprits of the earth around here, and you will not be cooperating.”

“I would be glad to cooperate if I knew how.  All I can say is if you come across a spirit of the earth someday, I suggest gentle persuasion.”

“Thus says a woman,” King Radbod said, and they left.

Sigisurd took a breath.  “That was close.”

“Close to what?” they heard from the tent door.  The bishop stood there.

“Close to accusing me of something for which I am not guilty.  They seem to think I have some power over creation, but I have only prayer.”

“Ah,” the bishop came in and sat while he raised a knowing finger.  “But prayer is the greatest power in the universe, and that is something those pagans fail to understand.”

“Indeed,” Margueritte said.  “And I have prayed for you because I know you are deeply troubled by the pagans in the camp.”

The bishop shifted in his seat and looked down for a moment before he opened-up.  “When Lord Pepin died, many people were quick to take advantage of that, not just Plectrude wanting her son to be recognized as Mayor over the Austrasian Franks, though he is just eight years old, and not just Ragenfrid holding King Chilperic by the neck until he recognized Ragenfrid as Mayor over the Neustrian Franks.  King Radbod took the liberty to throw out every Christian priest in his land and burn every church.  Poor Wilibrord had to flee to an abbey on the edge of Frisian land.  The Frisians are reverted to paganism by royal decree, and Christians there are suffering terrible persecution.”

“Worse than the Bretons,” Margueritte nodded.  “But as I told Charles, the old ways have gone, and the new ways have come.  I told him if he strongly supports the Church, the Church will strongly support him and the Christian Franks, Austrasian and Neustrian both will flock to his banner.”

“It is true.  I have heard many Neustrians whisper support for Charles, and I understand there are many Austrasians who feel the same way.  Some real sign of support for the faith and he could win the whole Frankish nation, and no doubt Burgundy besides.”

Margueritte stood before Sigisurd could help her.  “These are glad tidings for my ears,” she said.  “I will pray that he does this very thing, but now you must excuse me.”  She stepped to the tent door but paused there to ask him a question.  “All this time you have not given me your name because you said you were still thinking about it.  I wonder if you decided.  You see, back home we had two Breton servants who came to the Lord.  One decided right away his Christian name would be Andrew.  The other could not decide between James and John.  One week he was James and the next he was John.  I have not yet heard his final decision, but most people call him John-James or James-John and leave it at that.”

“Yes,” he said.  “I have decided, I think.  I have been so impressed by your beneficence with regard to your love for life, your saving these women who were not originally known to you, as I well know, and in the way you so openly give all that you have to encourage others to save life in these days rather than take life.  I have considered how you put yourself in danger to save the lives of these women and joined with them in their plight when you might have remained silent and had comforts.  You confessed yourself in front of pagans and men of questionable faith, even as Boniface of Tarsus confessed himself to persecution.  I have decided the only name I can take is Boniface.  It must remind me to save life and not remain silent, even though it may bring me suffering.”

Something in Margueritte’s head echoed down through time and went, ding!

“I was born Winfrid, in Britain,” he went on.  “And right now, I should be at Nursling, teaching, but my heart won’t let me rest.  The Frisians and Franks and especially the Saxons are all my cousins, my brothers and sisters, and they deserve to be saved.  They need to hear the good news of life.”

“You have my blessing, for what it is worth.” Margueritte smiled.

“You have called me Bishop, and the others have begun to do the same, though I have no such authority in real life.  I am a plain priest, not long ordained, truth be told.”

“So, go to Rome.  Meet the Pope.  See if the Pope will confirm the name Boniface.  Apply for a Bishopric and be what we might call a minister without portfolio.  Go convert the Saxons and the Alemani, and maybe the Frisians, but watch out for them.  Org does not seem the friendly sort.  Build the church, an organized church.”

“You seem to have my whole life planned out for me.”

“Just a guess,” she said.  “But now you have to excuse me.  I really have to go to the bathroom.  But I tell you what.  When you come back from Rome, if things go as I hope and pray, I will introduce you to Charles and maybe you and he can work something out.”

“I would be pleased to meet him.”

Margueritte nodded and stepped out, Sigisurd one step behind.  Margueritte saw Abd al-Makti slinking around in the shadows, and she yelled at him.  “I don’t have time for you right now.  I have to shit, and you don’t want to be part of that.”

Abd al-Makti looked terribly embarrassed by the conversation.  It took him by surprise, and he shook his head.  By the time he got hold of his thoughts, Margueritte had going into the woods, holding her belly.  She was six months pregnant, after all.

M4 Margueritte: Prisoners, part 3 of 3

When the army reached the place Charles designated, they found Ragenfrid already there with the expected twice their number.  King Chilperic II was also there as the symbol of Ragenfrid’s right to command the army.  And there was a surprise.  There were half again as many Frisians under King Radbod, and that meant Charles would be outnumbered three to one.  

Charles found his route to the best position cut off.  He had to settle for his second choice, and his men sloppily settled in for the night.  Margueritte got kept back with the other women and the train of wagons, but fortunately she ended up on a hill where she could look down and watch the action as it unfolded.  Ragenfrid made no move in the late afternoon and appeared to consider Charles’ army an inconvenience he would deal with in the morning.  Charles raged a bit before bed, that nothing was to his liking.  Margueritte wisely kept her mouth shut.

Charles’ wife, Rotrude, came up in the winter.  She and Margueritte talked about how frustrated the men seemed to be.  Margueritte suggested she knew a way to help relieve Roland’s tension, and Rotrude covered her mouth and felt embarrassed for her, but Margueritte figured if she was not yet pregnant, she better work on getting there.

 At dawn, the battle lines got drawn up.  Charles made his men get into box formation.  Margueritte could not call it a phalanx.  And he yelled at them to stay in formation no matter what.  She could practically hear him all the way up on her hillside.  Margueritte paced and fretted as the sun came up, and she was not the only one, but Rotrude knew better than to watch.

Ragenfrid had more than a thousand men on horseback, but the trees and terrain made a charge difficult.  They could get at Charles from the hillside, but any such move to the side would be detected, and they gave Charles enough credit, so they did not try something so obvious.  Ragenfrid, uncertain about the Frisians, put them in the center, probably the last place they belonged given the uncertainty.  He marched about ten thousand, including seven thousand Neustrian Franks to face the Austrasian Franks, their cousins.  They charged the last hundred yards and the noise of men at arms rose in the air and echoed off the distant hills.

Margueritte imagined Charles, Roland and others likely got hoarse yelling “Hold your position.  Stay in formation.  Fill in.  Step up.  Don’t break the line.”  Finally, the Neustrians on the right began to waver.  It looked like a wave breaking on the shore where at once the enemy line flattened out and began to pull back.  Charles and his army let out a cheer, and then disaster.  Whoever commanded the right side of the line where the Neustrians first gave way, charged.  Maybe he smelled a rout, but more likely the blood lust was so strong in him he could not stop himself.  Charles could only watch as his men ran into the four thousand men Ragenfrid kept in reserve.  His men got slaughtered when the ten thousand withdrawing troops turned like a wolf on a hapless hare.

Charles and Roland salvaged all they could.  They set a rear guard so any men who came to their senses and ran to escape might actually escape, but Charles told his captain not to expect much and not to endanger his company.  

Margueritte found herself a third of the way down the hill where she raced when that commander first disobeyed orders.  She stopped herself when she realized there was not anything she could do to save those poor men.  She started to climb back up, but suddenly there were horses and men and she became surrounded.  They were Neustrians, not Frisians, thank God, but they bound her hands and when she would not stop screaming, they gagged her mouth as well.

Roland and Charles got back up the hill in time to protect the camp, though they had to abandon some of their wagons.  They took what they could and left the field.  No one remained, now, to defend Cologne.  Plectrude, the real wife of Charles’ father and her legitimate son, his eight-year-old half-brother Theudoald who claimed at least Austrasia, would have to defend themselves in whatever way they could.  Charles, the bastard son of Pepin could only weep and watch his people begin a civil war, with Franks killing Franks.

“And I have no love for the Frisians sticking their nose in.  When we get our footing, and overcome our obstacles, Radbod needs a visit,” Charles said.

“Ratbot.  That is what Margueritte calls the man.  Apparently, rat is the word for rodent in some unknown tongue.”

Charles let out a little smile for the first time all afternoon.  “With those whiskers, he does look a bit like a rodent.”

After a while, Charles spoke again.  “We were not prepared, even as Margueritte warned.  The men were not trained to follow orders, we moved too fast, did not pick our choice of battlefield.  The whole thing was a disaster from the start, and all mistakes I do not plan to ever make again.”

“My wife sometimes knows things her father never taught her,” Roland admitted.  “It can be spooky.”

“Yes, where is your wife?  I thought she would be up here in front trying to keep her mouth from saying I told you so.” 

That was when they discovered Margueritte and several others were missing.

###

Margueritte got hauled roughly out of the tent along with the servants taken by the stream.  Ragenfrid stood there but did not seem inclined to pay attention.  Chilperic, the king, not undisputed king, stood there as well, with Radbod, and they at least paused to view the women.  With them were three strangers.  The Frisian looked like a pagan priest as the Roman appeared a Catholic priest, probably a Bishop, Margueritte guessed.  The third, an odd-looking man in strange silk dress, picked her out of the line despite all of Margueritte’s best efforts to dirty her appearance and blend in with the servants.  He offered a strange bow along with his name.

“Abd al-Makti.”  He turned to the others.  “This one is no servant.  Clearly she is a lady of fine breeding who deserves better than servitude.”  This caused all of the men to look, and Margueritte felt trapped.  She tried her only out.

“I am Margueritte, daughter of Count Bartholomew, Marquise of the Breton Mark, and I was on pilgrimage home from St. Martin’s in Tours when I got caught up in this ill-conceived rebellion.  I got dragged the opposite direction I wanted to go, and against my will, because the men said it was not safe to let me continue on my way without protection.”  She gave the word men just the right sour emphasis and waited.

Chilperic reacted first.  “I know who you are.”  He showed some fear.  “You are the Breton witch.”

“I heard she consorts with demons.”  Radbod twirled his mustache.

“Witchery is not condoned by the church,” the bishop said, sternly.

“Nor by the Holy Prophet,” Abd al-Makti added.

“Hold.”  Ragenfrid stepped up.  “Chilperic, sit down and shut up.  All of this is irrelevant.  I know you are wife to Roland, Charles’ right hand.  You may prove of some value in that.”

“Lord Ragenfrid.  I am a good and faithful Christian woman who is with child.”  Margueritte put her hand on her belly as if she was already showing.  “I expect to be treated well, in accordance with my station.”  Margueritte got bold. “Furthermore, these women are my servants.  I am sure you have cut off the heads of any of the men who protected me on my pilgrimage, but at least with the women I may know some comfort.  It would be a kindness to me to let them stay with me and it would cost you nothing to see to my needs.”

Ragenfrid paused before he laughed, loud.  “The Lady lies with charm.  I will think on it.”

“If she is with child.”  The bishop heard the part about her being a Christian woman.

“A hostage is only good in one piece,” Radbod said, and it sounded like experience talking.

“I would like to question this one to see if she is of witchery or falsely accused,” Abd al-Makti said.

“She may be a source of information,” the pagan priest suggested doing more to her than just talking.

“I doubt that.” Ragenfrid laughed again.  “Very well.  You may keep your servants, but understand, if one tries to escape to go to Charles, I will kill them all and the Lady will be left to her own devices.”

“Understood.  But you think Charles will not quit now that he has been so soundly defeated?” Margueritte asked.

“I expect he will quit when I see his dead body,” Ragenfrid said, and they were dismissed and escorted back to their tent.

Once in the tent, the two older of the four women began to weep.  They had been that afraid for their lives.  Margueritte spoke first to the younger two.  “In the days, weeks, and maybe months ahead, we must show the utmost in Christian piety.  If you two cannot keep your hands off the soldiers or stay out of their beds, tell me now.  I can probably have you assigned to the camp where you can play with the soldiers as you please.  If I catch you later, I may ask Lord Ragenfrid to remove you from my presence, and I cannot say what he may do with you.”

“We will be good,” the blond said, and added, “Sigisurd”

“Relii,” the dark haired one said.  “I’m thinking about it.”

“Bless you, Lady,” the gray hairs worked through their fear and tears.  “We all owe you our lives.  How can we ever repay you?”

“Serve well,” Margueritte said, and leaned in for a name.

“Mary.”

“And Rotunda.”  And she was round, which made Margueritte smile, but not laugh.

“Sigisurd, Relii, Mary and Rotunda,” Margueritte tried the names.  “So now we know the rules.  Either all five of us escape or none of us escape.  Meanwhile, which one of you can cook something worth eating?”

************************

MONDAY

Margueritte has to adjust to being a prisoner as she waits for Charles to strike back. Until then, Happy Reading

*

M4 Margueritte: Prisoners, part 2 of 3

They rode all day, came to a mountain, and rode up the side to a large meadow that Roland had scouted out ages ago, never dreaming it might prove useful.  The meadow could only be approached from the front, and at the back, after a hundred yards of forest, another bit of grass grew before cliffs and some caves.  

Roland had his camp set up around the big cave.  He had tables and maps and plenty of food and equipment for a small party.  He had also gathered about a hundred men on short notice, and they wanted only their general, Charles, to set things in motion.  Lord Birch reported before Roland calmed down enough to talk civilly.

“No sign of pursuit.  Larchmont has men out.  Grimly and his gnomes are watching the ways to the meadow.  At least we should not be surprised.”

“Thank you.”  Margueritte got that out before Roland grabbed her by the elbow and took her off to a corner for some privacy.

“I am so angry with you right now I hardly know what to say.  We had plans to get Lord Charles out.  That was not your job.  You could have gotten yourself killed.  How dare you take that kind of risk.”

“But maybe it was my job,” Margueritte said in her most humble manner.  “I’ve told you, Charles has serious work in the future.  I don’t know exactly what, but I feel it for sure.  They had him chained in a dungeon.  Look at his hands and feet.  I could not risk losing him in this struggle.”

“No one planned to lose him, but we had plans to get him out.”

“What?  A hundred men against a fortress?”  That comment did not come out quite so humble.

“No, but sort of.”

Margueritte looked up at Roland, looked in his eyes, ready to quiver her lip, and it was not all acting.

“I was so scared.  Hold me,” she said, and he did, and said no more about it.

###

The god of light and dark brooded over a map of the known world.  He spoke to himself as much as to his guest, imagining his guest would only understand half of what he said, at best.  “Timing is everything.  The Sassanids in the east were in serious decline and collapse when the Caliphate poured out of Arabia.  It was easy to overwhelm Persia, I understand.  Rome in the west was equally in the throes of decline and collapse, but the Kairos, in Constantinople, produced that fire, and Constantinople stood.  Now, the eastern Romans have a chance to beat back the Caliph and that will make my work harder.  Here, in western Rome, all the petty tribes and would-be kings have beaten each other raw for some control and for land.  North Africa fell easily enough, and Iberia is coming apart as anticipated.  All that is needed is enough courage to go over the mountains and the infernal religion can rule Gaul and easily move down into Rome itself.”

“Lord.  Why do you speak so against the faith of the Prophet?”  Abd al-Makti shook his head.

“Because most of the people of Islam do not know what they believe.  Most are new converts.  It is not two hundred years, and even the people of Arabia have not yet plumbed the depths of what that man taught.  All that most men understand is Jihad, a supreme excuse, a holy excuse to conquer and control the world.  Most men see Islam as a means to power and wealth, and the power to dictate and control every aspect of other men’s lives.  Men treat women like cattle to keep them oppressed, while they enslave or kill the so-called unbelievers, but to be honest, it is not Allah that men strive for, it is land and gold that men want, and power.  See how the so-called believers compete with each other and act as rivals for the crumbs of power they can wrest from one another.”

Abd al-Makti did not know what to say.  As a teacher of the faith, he knew this to be true of many.

“You have shown some small talent in sorcery, Abd al-Makti.  You should be put to death.”

Abd al-Makti stood in silence.  He knew the passages.  He had studied them ever since he discovered what he could do, but he also knew the penalty for sorcery, and he could not deny that he had a talent.

“Teacher Sahm al-Muhamed Ibn Caddifi, do not fret.  I do not condemn the power you hold.  Indeed, I will strengthen the power within you.  I will give you such power as you have never dreamed of, and in the fullness of time, I will reveal myself to you.  Then worship of the one true god will sweep back across all the lands of uncertainty, for what the Caliph builds for the pretender is in truth being built for me.  Then men will at last understand what it was all about, for the one true god speaks to men of power and riches beyond dreams.”  He laid hands on Abd al-Makti and the Teacher reeled with the power.  He saw the stars twirling in the sky for him and the sun and the moon proceeding at his command.  He saw the smallness of man against the vastness of the universe, and then the universe receded, and he felt his own limitations as never before, but in those limited ways he found some ability to control the outcome and bend the limits to his will, and it felt glorious.

“Abd al-Makti, I have a task for you.”

The man held his breath.

“The Kairos has come into the land of the Franks and remains as unpredictable as ever.”

“Shall I deal with him?  Shall I kill him?”  Abd al-Makti presently felt that it would be an easy thing to do.

“No!”  The god of light and dark paused to consider.  “The Kairos in this lifetime is a woman, and must be handled delicately.  It may come to killing, but that would best be done by others of their own free will where no taint of arranged circumstances or compulsion may fall on us.  For now, it would be best if she were put out of action, tied up as it were, where she cannot affect the events that swirl around her.  This young lady will not be intimidated or controlled like your Muslim women.  She must be moved gently, subtly manipulated into a place of ineffectiveness, and then we can proceed.”  

The god of light and dark waved his hand and Abd al-Makti found himself in his own rooms.  He felt startled by the sudden transition in space, but he hardly had time to think about it.  All he could think of was what came into his mind, the picture of a young woman, unveiled, a woman of the Frankish barbarians.  She had long dark hair, a pretty round face, and might have modeled for an Arabian Princess but for her strange green eyes.

“Marco!”  Abd al-Makti called his servant, and the Romanized Visigoth came straight to the door.  “Fetch the Basque, Catalan, and pack three bags.  We have a long journey ahead of us.”

“My master, are we headed to sea, to Africa or further?”

“North,” Abd al-Makti said.  “Over the mountains to the land of the Christians.  I have much work to do to make straight the paths for our god.”

“With winter approaching?”  Marco wondered out loud, but when he saw the look on his Master’s face, he thought to say, “Very good,” and he left. 

Abd al-Makti walked to his desk where his precious copy of the Holy Koran rested open.  He read the verse from Surah V.  “And when I inspired the disciples (saying): Believe in Me and My messenger, they said: We believe.  Bear witness that we have surrendered (unto thee).”  He closed the book.  Surely the people will turn from a nebulous sky god to a god that is present, in our midst, and full of power and glory.  If the seeds of doubt are so easily sewn in the teacher’s heart, how much more easily will the students be swayed.  Indeed, what the Caliph builds for the one god will be owned by the other, and all the world will bow to the one true god.

Abd al-Makti confessed himself.  “I am no Muslim.  I am a sorcerer and a secret servant of the one true god.  Islam is just my cover by which I will penetrate the land of the Franks.”

###

Margueritte rode beside Roland and protested the whole way.  “The troops are not ready.  They have not been properly trained.”

“But we have been collecting men all winter, and as soon as the spring fields got planted, we doubled our number.  We have five thousand men willing to fight for Charles, and it would be a shame to hold them back.”  Roland tried to sound reasonable.

“Barely three hundred light horses and the rest on foot.  And we are jumping at an opportunity which may not pan out.”

“Charles has experience fighting against the Burgundians, the Saxons and the Alemani, all successful campaigns.  I trust he knows what he is doing.”

“He is leaping off the cliff.”  Margueritte did not feel like sounding reasonable.  “They have more than twice our numbers and no doubt twice our horses.  Even if Charles picks the advantageous position on the field, he will have to fight a defensive battle.  Offense would be suicide, and his only hope is to somehow maneuver between Ragenfrid and Cologne, so Ragenfrid has to fight through him to get to the city.”

“That is the plan.”

“But the troops are not ready to fight a defensive struggle.  They haven’t been properly trained.”

“I think this is where we started.”

Margueritte shut up.  She did not feel like talking anyway, until she said, “I threw up this morning.”

Roland pulled up.  “What is it?  Are you all right?  Can I get you anything?  Do you need to lie down?”

Margueritte responded when he took a breath.  “I may be pregnant.”

Roland stared and then whooped!  He pulled his horse out of line to give it a good run.  He yelled the news to Charles who yelled at him to get back in line.  He rode up and down the line shouting the news, and the men who knew him shouted back, congratulations.  When he came back to his place in line, all Margueritte could do was grin.  She did not dare point out that she said maybe.

M4 Margueritte: Prisoners, part 1 of 3

Margueritte:  The New Way Has Come

After 697 AD: Francia

“Shut-up.  Shut-up,” Margueritte whispered with as much strength as she could and still keep quiet.  “If you two don’t shut-up we will be discovered.”

“He started it,” Grimly pointed.

“You made a crack about my mother,” Pipes came right back.

“Catspaw,” Margueritte whispered.  Catspaw put her hands over the mouths of the boys and she looked at them like two birds she would have for supper if they protested.  Margueritte ignored the three gnomes that should have been named Moe, Larry and Curly and peeked out from behind the big tapestry.  They found no one in the hall two hours before sunrise.  She knew it would get busy soon enough.

“Is this the right vent?” she asked.

Grimly said, “Mumphs mus mumph mum.”

“He says yes,” Catspaw whispered.

“Get it open.  Pipes, the rope.”

Grimly got out a fold of fairy weave cloth and covered the pegs which he then popped out without a sound.  Pipes tied one end of the rope securely to the fixture that held up the heavy tapestry and Catspaw let it down into the dark as soon as Grimly and Margueritte moved the vent enough to squeeze through.

“Now, Catspaw.  You know what to do,” Margueritte said, as Grimly shimmied down to where he could light a small light and check the room to be sure it was empty.  Margueritte followed carefully, hand under hand, until her feet touched down.  The room was small, but a crossroads of a sort.  They saw two open corridors, a staircase, and two big wooden doors.

“Which room?” Grimly asked.  He pointed to the big doors.  All he knew for certain was the prisoner was in this general location.

Margueritte pressed her dress down with her hands, wiped off some dust and dirt, and shrugged.  “The locked one,” she suggested, and reached for the door on her left.  It popped open and three soldiers jumped.  “Oops,” Margueritte said quietly, before she thought fast.  “Why isn’t one of you out in the hall?” she yelled.  “This prisoner is to be guarded at all times.  I hope for your sakes you weren’t sleeping on the job.”

Two of the soldiers straightened up and made military type excuse noises, but the third wasn’t so easily taken.  “Who the hell are you?” he asked.

“Countess DeWinter, here from Cologne to question the prisoner, on the authority of the church and my good friend, your mayor’s mother.  It is only an hour before sunrise, and I can’t sleep so I see no reason why the prisoner should sleep.”

“You have papers?”

Margueritte stepped up and slapped the man.  “Your lord got my papers when I arrived last night.  Can you even read?  Now, come along and open-up.  I need to make the man miserable.”

One man got some keys from a hook on the wall, picked up and lit a torch out of a brazier, and nodded toward one of the others.  One of the men mumbled that she was obviously talented at making people miserable.  Margueritte knew the third man would go upstairs to check on her authorization, and she could only hope it took time to wake the old lord of the fortress.  Even so, she would have to be quick.

After the man lit the two torches in the small central room, he unlocked and opened the other door.  He stepped in first with the torch still in his hand while his fellow soldier stayed outside in case there was trouble.

“Charles,” Margueritte yelled.  “I come with greetings from the outside world.”

The short but broad-shouldered man, under thirty, though with the bearing of one much older, sat on a rough-hewn slat bed that only had straw for a mattress and no covers.  The way he had been chained around his wrists and ankles suggested he had a hard time lying down, so the uncomfortable bed hardly mattered.  He looked up at his name, but his eyes seemed to be having a hard time adjusting to the light.

“Come.  Let me look at you so I can see who it is that is speaking.”

“Now Charles, are your ears bound as well so you do not know my voice?”

Charles shook his head.  “Who would have thought you would be here for me rather than the other way around? Last I saw you, what? you turned sixteen, still a child and tied up to be burned at the stake?”

“Seventeen and just married, and now I am eighteen and in some circles that makes me a full-grown woman.”  She turned to the guard and smiled.  “What do you think?”

He returned the smile as he looked her once over.  “That was never a question.”

“Charles, I brought some friends who want to hear what tales you have to tell.”

“Not the big fellow, I hope.”

Margueritte knew the big fellow was Hammerhead the ogre that Charles met once and said that was enough.  “No, but I can call him if you like.”

“All clear,” Grimly spoke from the hall.  The guard inside the room turned, but Margueritte raised her hands.  An electrical charge flowed out of her fingers and struck the guard.  He jiggled and jiggled before he dropped the torch and collapsed to the floor.  Margueritte called to Grimly and bent down to move the torch before it set the straw on fire, and then searched through the pile of keys.

“Never mind,” Grimly said.  He applied a little gnome magic and popped the wrist and ankle chains open.

“I hope you’re not too stiff.”  Margueritte helped Charles stand.  “We have some climbing to do, up and down.”  They went into the hall and stepped over the unconscious guard that Grimly took care of.  Grimly called to Catspaw to let the rope back down.  When the rope hit the floor, he shimmied up and gave the all clear.

“Ladies first,” Charles said, always the gentleman.

“No way,” she nudged him.  “If I get caught, I have friends who can help, but this may be the only chance to get you out.  Climb, mister.”  He did, but it looked painful and slow.  By the time Margueritte grabbed the rope, she heard noises down the hall.  While she climbed, she called her armor out of Avalon in the Second Heavens.  It replaced her dress in an instant.  The chain mail, made by the god Hephaestus in the ancient days, would repel about any weapon, and the knee boots with the hard soles would protect her feet at a dead run equally through gravel and briars.  The fingerless gloves helped her grip the rope better, and her cloak, woven by Athena and turned black side out, would make her all but invisible in the night and in the shadows.  Sadly, at present she felt all too visible.

Margueritte got half-way out of the vent when a man reached the rope beneath her feet.  That man yelled and yanked on the rope to shake her loose, but Charles grabbed Margueritte’s hand and pulled her the rest of the way out.  Margueritte breathed her thank you before she said flatly, “Now we run.”  True, her hard-soled boots made a clop-clop sound in the hall, but that hardly mattered with all the yelling.

At the end of the hall, Catspaw urged them on.  Pipes stood at the top of the stairs and indicated the all clear.  They stopped short of the very top when they reached a watch room with slit windows for bowmen.  Grimly opened the door and he yelled, “Keep your heads down.”  They burst through the door and ran down the wall of the fortress.

“How about a little fire, Scarecrow,” Margueritte quipped.

A big rope had been tied fast to the top of the wall, and again Margueritte insisted Charles go first.  “Lord Birch, stay with him.  He may need the Peter Pan treatment if his hands give way.”

“Right,” Birch, the old fairy lord responded even as Lord Yellow Leaf let out a Cherokee war cry and let loose another arrow.  Margueritte saw several dead guardsmen littered about, barely discernible in the torch light.  It was hard to tell how many, but there were plenty more soldiers where the first ones came from, and they would all arrive soon enough.  Margueritte felt an arrow strike her back.  It bounced off the armor, did not even penetrate the cloak of Athena, but it proved time was short.  Margueritte did not wait for Charles to reach the bottom.  She scrambled over the top of the wall and grabbed the rope while Grimly, Catspaw and Pipes jumped over the side and floated down.  The gnomes could not exactly fly, but they could float pretty well.  Last of all, the fairy lords Larchmont and Yellow Leaf got small, their normal fairy size, and exited the wall.  They had horses down below, and Charles did not have to ask what they were for.

A hundred yards out from the fortress, and they ran into Roland with a party of thirty men.  Roland yelled as loud as he could, much louder than all the yelling so far, and Margueritte wilted a bit, but they did not stop.  They had a hard ride ahead of them.

M3 Margueritte: Epilogue and Sneak Peek

Margueritte took her time walking down the aisle in the new church built where the chapel had once been.  She never honestly thought of herself as better than plain looking, though many would have called her pretty; but on her wedding day, she was beautiful, as all brides are.

The thought of Abraxas came only once, unbidden, into her mind.  She knew she would have to do something, but not on her wedding day.

Charles stood as the best man and Tomberlain stood with him.  Elsbeth was the maid of honor and Jennifer stood beside her.  Bartholomew gave his daughter away, and Brianna cried, and Father Aden presided over a perfect ceremony. And when he got to the part where he asked her the question, she said, “Oui.”  Though it might have been “Weee!”

END

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MONDAY

We will be taking a break from our regularly scheduled program to present Avalon, Season Seven.  The season will run for 24 weeks, from March 22 through September 1,  Consider it summer vacation reading, as if we haven’t all been home and on virtual vacation for the past 12 months.

To those who have not read any of the Avalon stories before, let me assure you, they are written like a television series.  It is good to read the earlier episodes, but not imperative.  One episode, and you will get the idea, know who the characters are, and learn that they are trying to get back home to the 21st century while disturbing history as little as possible.  They travel through time gates that surround the various lives of the Kairos, a most peculiar person, who has the job of trying to keep history on track.  But you can figure that out easily enough, even starting with Season Seven.

Season Seven finds the travelers face to face with a monster who would like nothing better than to literally frighten the travelers to death in order to feast on their souls.  The wraith, a refugee from the land of the dead, has followed in the background since 3600 BC, waiting for the time of dissolution, when the gods go away.  Now, the travelers step over the line into the AD, the common era, and the wraith feels it is her chance.  She will have a few surprises for the travelers, who will have to fight to stay alive.

The second to last episode and the last episode in the season feature two people you may be familiar with.  Festuscato, the last Senator of Rome, where things don’t exactly go to plan.  And Gerraint, son of Erbin in the days of King Arthur.  The last episode is called The Guns of Camelot.  Something to look forward to.

Come September 6, just when everyone is getting into the return to school, assuming people will return to school this year (yes, plans are always subject to change), we will continue with our saga.  The Kairos Medieval 4 (M4): Saving the West.

First (6 weeks of posts) we will follow Festuscato, the Dragon, as he tries to return home, to Rome and his villa on the Appian Way, and to his comfy chair.  He just has one problem to deal with first, a Hun named Attila.

Next (6 weeks of posts) we will join Gerraint, the Lion of Cornwall, now older, in the last days of Arthur where everything leads to the final battle.   Don’t miss it.

Finally, Margueritte will return for 18 weeks of posts in The New Way has Come.  While she tries to help Charles Martel end the days of civil war, bring order out of the chaos that is Francia, and prepare for the inevitable showdown at Pontiers, she also watches the old Roman world dissolve and become the Middle Ages.  The change isn’t as hard as you may think.

I would be remiss if I did not mention that you can read all of the chronicles of the Travelers from Avalon.  The books are available at Amazon, Smashwords, B&N, Apple, Kobo, or wherever fine E-books are sold.  Please consider buying the book to support the author and remember, reviews matter.  Don’t forget to also pick up your copy of the prequel Invasion of Memories.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Season Seven, Wraith begins Monday.

Happy Reading.

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M3 Margueritte: The Hag Undone

People watched the hag melt.  They could not turn away.

“The Wicked Witch of the West,” Margueritte said, as she took a big Lord Birch’s hand and stepped away from the wood pile.

“I remembered what my Lucky told me,” Lolly said and waved her water bucket with a big smile.

“Is it Lucky now?”  Brianna asked as she ran up and hugged Margueritte.

“Abraxasss!”  The Hag called out one last time.

“I told you he will not dare show his face here,” Margueritte said, but she looked around and up at the sky because she felt she was really bluffing.  She heard Danna’s voice, however, inside her head, echo down the halls of time.

“I never bluff,” Danna told her.

Soon enough, the hag became no more than a wet lump of fur on the ground.  She was not actually a child of the god, like the Grendel, and had no convenient lake to jump in to retain her shape in death.

Then they heard horses coming up fast.

“Majesty.”  Brianna spoke to Lady LeFleur, but she had already gotten out her wand and in a second, every little one in that area became invisible.

“What is happening?”  Urbon said as he came out from under the spell.  Without Curdwallah to focus through, Abraxas could not maintain the enchantment.

All the people began to come to their senses.

The Franks rode into the village square.  It looked like the whole army.

Margueritte felt surprised to see Duredain at the front.  Owien rode there, too.  Roland leapt from his horse and came running up but stopped.  Tomberlain hid a smile which Margueritte did not understand.  Charles, of course, lead the way, and he was aware enough of what was happening to hold his men in check before unnecessary fighting broke out.

“What?”  Margueritte looked at Roland and wondered why he stopped.  She wanted so much to throw herself in his arms, but she did not dare.  What if that was not what he wanted?

“Just once,” he said, and turned a quick look to Tomberlain.  “Just once I wish you would let me rescue you all on my own.”  There, he said it.

“I promise,” she said.  “Next time you can rescue me, and I won’t help a bit.  All right?”  She looked pensive.

“All right,” Roland said, and he stepped up and took her and kissed her and bent her to his desire, even as she was eager to bend, cliché though it may be.

“Ahem.”  Sir Barth coughed and looked away.  Brianna came up and took Barth’s arm and helped to turn him away.

“I told you I would be back,” Owien said, proudly.  Elsbeth reached up for his hand, but her eyes were all on her sister and Roland.

“Jennifer?”  Father Aden asked Tomberlain because he did not know who else to ask.

“She’s fine, and the baby,” Tomberlain said through his smile.  “With Constantus and Lady Lavinia having a wonderful time.”

“Sir Roland.”  Charles spoke from horseback.  He paused to wait, but Roland did not pause.  “Roland.”  Charles said it again and drummed his fingers on his wrist and finally rolled his eyes.  “Sir Roland!”  He insisted.  Roland and Margueritte barely parted.

“Sir?”  Roland said, as if he was listening, but not by much.

“This young woman has caused me no end of trouble.”  That got Margueritte’s attention and she looked up, so Roland turned his head a little.  “Every time she gets in the middle of it, you go rushing off, and I lose you for weeks or months.  I can’t have this.”

“I’m sorry, sir,” Roland said.

“Me, too,” Margueritte spoke in a whisper.

“Therefore, I have decided.  As your superior I command you to marry the woman and bring her to the camp.  Next time at least you won’t have so far to run.”

Roland and Margueritte, still held each other as tight as they could and looked dumb for a second before they smiled.

“Yes sir!”  Roland shouted.

“It would be my pleasure,” Margueritte said, softly.

“No, mine,” Roland said.

“No, Mimmm.”  Her word got swallowed up in a kiss.

 

Kairos Medieval 3: Light in the Dark Ages. M3) Margueritte: The Old Way Has Gone

Beginning MONDAY

In the early days of Charles Martel, Margueritte experiences everything a Medieval girl might want: fairies, ogres, a unicorn, dragons, knights to love and daring rescues.  But it is Curdwallah the hag, the devotee of Abraxas, that haunts her dreams in the dark.

Don’t Miss it. Enjoy a preview… So it begins…

M3 Margueritte: In the Dark

The woman came on her knees, her head lowered, her eyes downcast, the blood still dripping from her lips.  “I have done all that you asked,” she said, and then held her tongue to await her god’s pleasure.  The shining one stepped close.

“And what is it you have done?” 

“My children have been my meat.  Their bones litter my floor.  And my husband has hung from the rafters.  His blood has been my drink.”  The woman spoke plainly.  She had no guilt or remorse.  She was simply obedient to her god.

“I am the god of light and dark,” Abraxas proclaimed himself.  “I hold the night in my left hand and the day in my right.  One hand covers with darkness and the other blinds with the light.  I know what you have done in the darkness.  What you do in the light will be proclaimed.  You will be my witness, and all people will come to me through you, only not yet.”

The woman looked up, but still held her tongue for fear of her awesome god.

“The gods of old are gone and I am left to start anew.”  The shining one spoke to himself.  “This Aden from Iona must bring the people to uncertainty between the old ways and the new ways.  When there is stress and confusion and war between the old and new, we will strike.  In the meanwhile, grow strong.”  Abraxas placed his hands on the woman’s head, and something flowed from him to her.  “The fire and the water are forever at war,” he said.  “Thus, you will know when to move.  Strike when you sense the elements in opposition and war in the minds of the people.”  He withdrew his hands, and the woman reeled from the power.

“Yet there is one annoyance of which I must be certain.”  Abraxas still thought out loud and tapped his chin.  “Right now, the Kairos is an old man in Constantinople.  When the old man dies, it will be better for all concerned if the Kairos is not reborn in this time and in this place.” 

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Until Monday,

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Kairos Medieval 3: Light in the Dark Ages

Beginning Monday, June 22, 2020

Having read some of the Avalon stories that have appeared on this blog, I thought it only fair that you get a look at several of the actual Kairos stories in their full form.  If you have not read any of the Avalon stories that have appeared on this website, that’s okay.  The stories here are self-contained with one exception:

The books (not presently available) weave the partner stories like a fine tapestry.  For this blog, however, I have pulled the stories apart so you can read a whole Festuscato story, for example, without having to flip back and forth to Gerraint and Margueritte.  Hopefully, that will work well.  You can just ignore the rare references to what is happening in those other stories, knowing that, like the Kairos, you will get there, eventually.

The Kairos Medieval, book 3, Light in the Dark Ages, and book 4, Saving the West, will be posted in their entirety.  All weeks will have posts on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday = 3 individual, easily and quickly read posts per week at 8AM, EST, to carry the story forward.  A good way to start the day.

M3) Festuscato: The Halls of Hrothgar   8 weeks of posts

After leaving Britain to the Pendragon, Festuscato, the last Senator of Rome, is shipwrecked on the Danish shore.  With his strange crew in tow, he finds his way to the Halls of Hrothgar where a beast called the Grendal has come like a plague on the mighty.  Festuscato leaves nothing to chance.  He sends for Beowulf, but he has to tread lightly to keep history on track.  He knows things will turn strange as the Grendal, the creature of Abraxas, cannot be harmed by any weapon forged by man.

M3) Gerraint: The Holy Graal   13 weeks of posts

Gerraint, son of Erbin feels his days of struggle should be behind him.  All he wants is to retire to Cornwall with Enid, his love.  But when ghostly hands carry a cauldron across the round table, he knows he has to act.  Arthur deftly turns all talk to the Holy Graal, but Gerraint knows he has to stop the older men from recovering the ancient treasures of the Celts and dredging up the past.  Christendom is only a thin veneer and if Abraxas is allowed to strip that away, history might be irrevocably changed.

M3) Margueritte: The Old Way Has Gone   18 weeks of posts

In the early days of Charles Martel, Margueritte experiences everything a Medieval girl might want: fairies, ogres, a unicorn, dragons, knights to love and daring rescues.  But it is Curdwallah the hag, the devotee of Abraxas, that haunts her dreams in the dark.

 

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MONDAY

M3 Festuscato: Shipwreck.

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