Sunday, July 24, 2022

Logres VII

Book I continued

 Chapter 18

After some time in thought, King Uther Pendragon called together his barons and advisors, and said, "These things threaten to harm us all in ways that cannot be repaired, and I am very sorry for the death of Gorlois, who was a man admirable in many ways. What can possibly be done to make amends?"

Then Sir Ulfius said in secret to the other barons, "The king is surely right that hostility must be put behind us and that we must do what can be done to restore friendship with the Lady of Trevena and all of the duke's friends. This is my advice, and if there is any who can think of better, let him not be silent. To wait for peace is folly; it must be made. Let a message be sent to all the friends of the duke and his lady, and let the king go himself to Tintagel. Let him proffer peace and great amends for the death of the duke. If they accept it, all is well; if they reject it, it is they and not the king who have rejected it."

Then all were agreed on this course of action, and they came as a group to the king and offered this counsel, which the king accepted. The king therefore sent letters to all of the kith and kin of Gorlois and Igraine who had been involved in the recent war, inviting them with promise of safe passage to Cardoel, so that all faults might be amended and all complaints addressed.

Shortly thereafter Merlin visited the king, and when the king told him of his plans, said to him, "Who has given you this counsel?"

"It comes from all of my barons," said the king.

"It was agreed upon by all of your barons, no doubt," said Merlin, "but it is clearly the advice of Sir Ulfius. He is a knight both wise and true, and this counsel is both wise and true." Then the child spoke for some time alone with Sir Ulfius and returned. "Do not forget your promise to give me your firstborn son," he said to the king. "You will not see me until he is born. Until then be guided by Sir Ulfius, who knows well how to obtain the peace you wish."

Then Merlin took leave of the king and returned to Blaise, telling him all that happened. Blaise wrote it all in his book, but when they came to events at Tintagel, he laid aside his pen for a moment and remonstrated with the child. "How can this be seemly and right?" he said.

"It is a matter of timing," said Merlin. "The years of preparation are few, and therefore it is necessary to take what opportunities may be had for achieving the right end."

"The right end is to do what is right before God," said Blaise. "It is not your task to make the world go right but to do your duty and let God determine all else."

"My duty is to delay the coming of Antichrist," said Merlin.

"Your duty is to be a good man," said Blaise. "Wise you are, but you are a man and not God. It is God who will delay the Antichrist, or not, as divine wisdom sees fit."

"But I am destined to be an instrument by which this is done, and all else must give way to what will prevent the Antichrist from arising in this age."

"Only devils look only to the consequences and not to the deed done," replied Blaise sternly.

The child was silent a long time after this. Then he said, "Write this in the book."

Chapter 19

The king's messengers soon came to Tintagel, where they found the duchess and the friends of the duke and of the duchess, who in turn all took counsel over it. They saw well enough that they could not defend much further against the wrath of the king, but they were wary of the kind of peace that might be offered. So the Duchess Igraine agreed to ask further what might be the terms, and if they were acceptable, to accept them. Agreement was made between the duchess and the messengers that the duchess and her friends would come to Cardoel on the quinzieme, where they would have full right to make such complaint and ask such remedy as they deemed appropriate.

On the quinzieme, all being gathered together at Cardoel, the king asked the duchess, through a messenger, what amends she deemed appropriate to restore friendship. To this, however, Duchess Igraine replied, "I have not come to ask amends but to see what your intention is toward me and those around me."

At this, the king sent Sir Ulfius himself to the duchess and her advisers. Sir Ulfius said to them, "The king wishes to make amends. If you have no specific amends that you wish, will you be willing to abide by the amends that I will choose?"

The duchess and her advisers took counsel. Then Sir Brastias said, "I do not believe that either the king or Sir Ulfius will act with dishonor in this matter," and on his recommendation they agreed to Sir Ulfius's proposal.

To this Sir Ulfius replied, "I will then give you my advice, and if you have nothing wiser to offer, it shall become an agreement between us. You know well that the duke died in battle, although the king did not intend his death, and that the lady, who is one of the best ladies in the world, has young children and is with child, and that her lands are in disarray after the recent battles. It is right, therefore, that the king shall restore the duke's lands to the lady and to his parents. You know as well that the king has no wife. If you will accept my advise, let him marry the lady, extending his protection to her and to her children, and making her true Queen of Logres. Let him find good marriages for her daughters, and let her select such knights as she deems appropriate, whether from the Round Table or otherwise, whether from her friends or the friends of the king, to be Queen's Knights sworn for her protection. And let all the knights of the Round Table swear to protect the children, whether of the queen or of the king, from harm against their enemies."

Then Sir Brastias said, "It seems to me that this is a generous proposal. Peace is necessary, and it would be difficult to find a better path to it."

And Duchess Igraine said, "If the king will really honor this proposal, I will agree to it."

Then a great gathering was held. Sir Ulfius rehearsed the terms of the agreement, and asked of all gathered, "Does this agreement seem fitting to you?" And they all said that it did. Then Sir Ulfius turned to the king and said, "Will you abide by the terms of this agreement as recognized and ordained by these worthy lords?"

The king replied, "If the duchess and her friends are content with it, I shall certainly uphold it."

Then Sir Ulfius turned to the duchess and said, "Will you accept this peace offered by the king?"

And Duchess Igraine said, "As the king is so gracious and true, I will accept it wholly."

Afterward, the king said to Sir Ulfius, "Tell me, was this proposal crafted by Merlin?"

But Sir Ulfius said, "No, my lord. He told me to determine the best proposal I could by my own judgment, and only charged me to two things: that the proposal should be generous to the lady and that care should be taken to provide for and protect all her children."

Then the day was set, and King Uther Pendragon and Duchess Igraine processed to the church door. There on the porch before Bishop Fastidius, Uther gave to Igraine a ring of gold and a shield piled with gold and silver as symbol of her whole dowry, and said to her, "I take you as my wife," while she replied, "I take you as my husband." She was then crowned queen and all there went to Mass. Afterward, Bishop Fastidius gave the new man and wife a blessing before the crowd, and the feast began.

Marriages were arranged for all the daughters of Gorlois and Igraine. The eldest, Morgause, who was already of marriageable age, was married to King Lot of Orkney and Leudonia, also known as Lothian, who had been an ally of the king against the Saxons and of the duke against the king and who was a half-brother on his mother's side of both King Urien of Rheged and a half-brother on his father's side of Saint Teneu. From this marriage came in years to come Sir Gawain, Sir Agravain, Sir Gaheris, Sir Gareth. She would also bear, out of wedlock, Sir Mordred. 

The second daughter, Elaine, was promised to King Budic of Nentres and Garlot in Brittany, who had previously been wed to Arianrhod, the sister of Saint Teilo, and had had by that previous marriage five children, Saint Ismael of Menevia, Saint Oudoceus, Saint Tyfei, Saint Gwen Teirbron, and Sir Hoel the Great. Saint Gwen Teirbron, that is, the Three-Breasted, would later marry Saint Fragan, the Prince of Dumnonia, and would bear him Saint Wethenoc, Saint Jacut, Saint Winwallus, and Saint Creirvia; afterward she married Sir Aeneas the Breton and would bear him Saint Cadfan. Elaine and Budic would themselves have Sir Galeschin and Elaine the Younger. 

The third and youngest daughter of Igraine was named Morgan. She was even when just walking a lively and vivacious child, and was promised to King Urien of Rheged. As she grew to show forth brilliance of mind, being able to remember perfectly anything she heard even once and to devise schemes beyond the cunning of most men, in later days she became known as Morgan the Fay. Later, after her marriage to Urien, she bore to him Sir Ywaine. 

All of these daughters of Igraine in later days wielded great power, being supported by the knights of Uther's Round Table, but greatest of them all was Morgan the Fay.