A Story of Border
(By Armond de Chartres as appeared in the May/June 1997 Bolt)
A Story of Border War
Unto the good gentles of Rimsholt, Canton of the Barony of Andelcrag do I, Lord Armond de Chartres send fond greetings. I hope this missive finds you all well. I have here set down a tale as I related it to friends gathered at Gulf War VI. Among those friends were gentles hailing from Andelcrag as well as the Barony of the Eldern Hills in the Kingdom of Ansteorra. Among my good friends from Eldern was the Honorable Lady Slyvia Schirenhoferin. I have set down this tale at her request, and challenge that I do so, to be published in the Eldern Pages, the newsletter of our Barony. It was also requested of me that I send a copy to the Rimsholt Bolt, and so, I gladly submit it now for your ponderance. I should note that it was first told, and then written, for the benefit of gentles who are strangers to the region of Pentemere. I beg your patience. I will also tell you, that, if I have failed somehow in relating to you the point of this story, you will no doubt inquire, "What has a naked man, standing in the middle of a cold stream, to do with the Dream?" So wish me luck if you would ...
Far to the North, in the Kingdom of the Middle, there is a land called Pentemere. On three sides locked by inland sea, and once a summer, locked by battle. Border's drawn by water's edge divide all but the lands of the great Barony's of Andelcrag and Northwoods. Shield wall's might and steel's hard bite draw these. My tale regards one such event.
The field of battle is bound by forest on all sides. The camps of gentles from lands near and far filled the forest, their banners swayed in the breeze. High on a hill, there in that great forest, my Lady and I had come to seek the Dream.
To honor warriors who would meet on the field the following day, we roasted a pig and bid one and all to join us for feasting and revelry. That night the dense wood was pierced by the light of torches, as though the stars had come down to chase through the brambles, and pierced alike by laughter, echoing down the hills and winding paths through the forest. The Dream seemed always at hand, like the sun peeking through breaking clouds.
I woke the next day with the smell of campfire's smoke still in my hair. Wishing for no intrusions upon the ambiance of the gentler age, I chose to bathe that morning in a stream running through the forest, rather that patron the less picturesque amenities. Upon leaving my camp, a good companion of mine offered to attend and entertain me with a song he'd written while I bathed, that he might ask me what I thought of it. And so, we departed for a secluded bend in the brook.
Down the path we strode unto a thicket of trees through which the stream wandered and down a steep bank we climbed to the waters edge. My companion took up and folded my kilt as I turned out of it and as I waded out into the cold water, he began to sing. The opposite bank was laid out before me with a blanket of ferns. Beams of sunlight shown through the canopy of trees overhead and played out patterns on the forest floor and my attendant's voice mingled with the sounds of breeze in the trees and gently flowing water. It was then that I was fooled. Nothing to tell my senses that I might be anywhere but in that gentler age. The illusion had worked. I stood motionless in the middle of that stream, unable to move, for fear that the moment would pass.
I confess that I remember little of the song my friend entertained me with, but I recall that when I stepped out of the water, he held out my kilt and asked, "How was it?..." I could only speak one word, "Beautiful..."
In memory of my dear departed friend,
and in Service to the Dream....
Armond de Chartres
Page last updated 12/15/99