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Old May 22nd, 2010, 07:59 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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Post The Heritage Of Ibelin - Return To The Holy Land

Title: The Heritage Of Ibelin – Return To The Holy Land
Author: Gundolf
Genre: Kingdom of Heaven (film) - adventure
Rating: R 13
Characters: Balian, Sibylla, some own characters
Warnings: I think none
Summary: After his return to France in 1188 Balian learns to know he has a cousin who is married to a German sovereign, King Rudolf of Vendia. The royal couple asks Balian and Sibylla to educate their elder son Martin. When Martin is with them in Balian’s home village Saint-Martin-sur-Eure King Richard of England arrives and wants to convince Balian to accompany him on a crusade to Jerusalem. Balian disowns himself and Richard lets him remain in France. But then are Sibylla and her and Balian’s son Jean-Raymond falling ill. Balian calls on Imad begging for an allowance for travelling to the Holy Land. There they meet someone of whom they presume to be dead and gone: Guy de Lusignan!
Disclaimer:I don't own Balian or anything from the film. I'm just borrowing them without permission but with every intention of returning them.





Foreword



This is the first time that I’m publishing a story in English. I confess having no one asked to beta this story. If there are any mistakes – in grammar or vocabulary – please tell me. I will correct the mistake(s) then.

Some expressions, which I believe not being familiar to everyone, I explain at the end of the chapter. They are marked with stars according to requirements.

A little explanation to the Kingdom of Vendia: It is a fictive realm which may be found between Switzerland, Austria and the (modern) Princedom of Liechtenstein. It is a German speaking region, so the names are German. I did not translate them and hope you will understand them.

For the known characters of Kingdom Of Heaven I used the names, which are mentioned in the film and in the credits, some are named by me.

The story itself is (nearly) a direct sequel to the film. I hope you will enjoy it.


Yours

Gundolf
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Balian of Ibelin
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Old May 22nd, 2010, 08:03 PM
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Prologue

Prologue



It was autumn in France, the autumn of the year 1188. Balian of Ibelin had been back to France now for six months.

Nearly a year ago he had been the constable* of Jerusalem and had defended in this hierarchy criterion the city for several days in hard and pertinacious fight against Saladin’s outclassing army, had the sultan forced to offer honourable conditions for the surrender of the city. After the army of Jerusalem had been demolished in the Battle of Hattin the tough resistance of the knighted citizens of Jerusalem impressed Saladin so much, that he admitted all surviving Christians to leave the city and guaranteed them a safe return to Christian lands. Anyone was allowed to take along so much as one person could carry.

Shortly after the capitulation the released Guy de Lusignan had been back in the city and had challenged Balian for a sword duel to restore his flawed honour. His wife, Queen Sibylla had been in a love affair with the young baron of Ibelin. Balian had wounded the king seriously. What had happened to the king afterwards was not known to Balian. He had not seen him after the duel in Jerusalem, in Acre didn’t know anyone as well, whether Guy was still alive or not. Together with Sibylla Balian had gone to Cyprus, where the Count of Tiberias, Raymond, had granted them hospitality.

Sibylla had been pregnant from Balian, when they had arrived at Cyprus. Balian had been intent to marry Sibylla, before the child was born. He did not want the mutual child of them both to be a bastard like he himself. But Heraclius, the patriarch of Jerusalem, gone to Cyprus as well, had not been willing to celebrate the wedding until it wasn’t cleared if Sibylla was widowed and therefore free or not. Raymond had tried to get connection with Christians, who had fled from the Holy City to Tyre or Tripoli.

The northern parts of Palestine, which were still in Christian hands, were totally disorganized after the capitulation of Jerusalem. Shortly after Jerusalem had fallen, Conrad of Montferrat had come to Tyre and had organized the resistance, when Saladin had begun the siege. Conrad had not only kept the city, but the Saracens repelled so far to be able to install a line of defence south of Tyre. Raymond of Tiberias had contacted Conrad and learned that three witnesses had seen the lifeless de Lusignan being removed by Saracens. The witnesses had heard also, that the Saracens had spoken of the dead former King of Jerusalem. no one had seen the corpse afterwards, there were no official tomb in Jerusalem or another city ruled by Christians, neither anyone, who had seen the former king alive. Nearly a month after the disappearance of the corpse Conrad could convince the patriarch of Jerusalem of the death of King Guy.

Sibylla therefore was widowed. Balian and she had married on Cyprus, wedded by the patriarch of Jerusalem, but because of a riding accident Sibylla had lost her child.

On Cyprus came a lot of people back to Balian, who had lived in his fief and could not imagine any better master than Balian. Not only Christians had come, but also Jews and Muslims and were accepted once again by the tolerant Balian. In addition they brought back to him a lot of his possessions, which Balian had left in Ibelin and Jerusalem. They had come with the compliance of Saladin. Proved was that by a special gift from the sultan to Sibylla and Balian: A barrel of water from the River Jordan. The sultan was familiar with the Christian ritual of baptism and had heard of the peculiar meaning the water from the Holy River had for Christians. Except those who were already in the Holy Land Balian’s followers and servants a young Templar Knight had come to Balian. His name was Georg, he came from German lands and had belonged to the Templars of Reynald de Châtillon. He was yonder Templar, who Reynald had sent out to convince the baron of Ibelin of entering the safe walls of Kerak. The brave attack on Saladin’s outclassing cavalry by the Ibelins had impressed him deeply. Templars were courageous knights themselves and respected also the valorousness of their foes – and of their federates. When Guy ordered Reynald to start a war Georg disrelish this as wrong, had abandoned the livery of the Templar Knights, had gone to Balian’s house in Jerusalem and had been accepted as a knight by the baron of Ibelin.

When Balian and his allegiance after a long journey passing by Cyprus and Messina arrived at Saint-Martin-sur-Eure he learned from the bishop, that his uncle, the viscount Hugo du Puiset, had died without a heir. Hugo had had two children, but his son Nicolas was dead and his daughter Marie – who could inherit neither her father’s title nor his properties – had been married to a German lord long before Godfreys return to Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. From the house du Puiset there was only one surviving heir: Balian of Ibelin, Godfrey’s son.

The lore of Balian’s clever defence of Jerusalem, which had forced Saladin to such generous conditions, had spread faster than the decent Balian preferred. Sibylla was not innocent to that, since she had started the news through people who were loyal to the House of Anjou. Indeed she had promised to Balian deciding to live without a crown, but she didn’t want a totally abstaining from an aristocratically life.

On the loop way by Prince Richard of England – Sibylla’s Cousin and Count of Anjou – the bishop had heard that there was another heir of Viscount Hugo. He made the Count of Blois waiting for the return of Balian before the new allocation of the viscount’s charge of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. When Balian returned to his home village near Chartres the Count of Blois made him viscount of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. The late lord’s family name du Puiset had been for Sibylla still connected with the insurrection of Hugo du Puiset, Count of Jaffa, who had once revolted against her grandfather. So she had the idea to keep the family name of Ibelin for Balian and herself. In addition it would maintain the claim of Ibelin, whose titular baron Balian still had been.

The old castle of the du Puisets had been rebuilt in the six months, that Balian now had been viscount. Balian and Sibylla liked the daily bath too much to abstain from it. So were bathes attached to every floor of the castles and fireplaces to nearly each one of the chambers. With the rebuilt of the castle it was given a new name: Château Ibelin.

Now it was October. The grape harvest had already had begun, when a messenger arrived at the castle. He was clothed with a tabard dimidiating from vert** and gules**. Both fields were decorated with a single fleur-de-lis of or**. Almaric, Balian’s captain of his men-at-arms, who had followed his master together with his family, had never seen this blazonry before and beckoned the messenger over.
“Who are you, where are you from and what do you want?” he asked the man, being all the grim castellan. The man presented his white staff evicting him as a herald.
“Gumpert is my name. I’m herald in the service of Rudolf, King of Vendia,” he replied with an unmistakable German accent in his French. “I have a message for Hugo du Puiset, the Viscount of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure, my queen’s father“, he added. Almaric nodded.
“Dismount and follow me, master herald,” the captain invited. “Benoit!” he called the stableman over, who took off the horse from the herald and brought it into the stable.

Almaric piloted Gumpert to the great hall of the residential quarters and hurried then to Balian’s study. The viscount sat over the plans for the still unfinished new church.
“Mylord, a herald arrived,” Almaric informed is master. Balian nodded silent and followed his captain to the great hall. The herald bowed.
“I bring you, Hugo du Puiset...”
He interrupted, when he remarked being in front of a young man of not even thirty years. “Excuse me, Mylord. Are you the brother of my mistress?” Gumpert asked.
“I am Balian of Ibelin, Viscount of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. You have a message, I was told.”
“Well, the message is meant for Hugo du Puiset or his son Nicolas,” the herald replied.
“My uncle Hugo has lately died, when I was in the Holy Land. His son Nicolas died several years before. I’m the son of Godfrey, Hugo’s brother. I’m the only surviving kinsman and became viscount after my return from Jerusalem,” Balian explained. The herald faltered shortly and then he gave the message to Balian:
“Your cousin, Queen Marie of Vendia, had born her second son, who will be baptized the name Michael on the 11th of November, the birthday of his elder brother Martin. My king and his queen are inviting you for the little prince’s ceremony of baptism to Steinburg in the Kingdom of Vendia.”
“I thank for the invitation, herald. How long the journey will take? I must confess having never heard of a kingdom named Vendia”, Balian replied with a friendly smile.
“Well, on my own the journey took four weeks. If you want to travel with a large attendance you should start in the next few days, Mylord,” the herald answered.
“As far as I know my wife, she will rather ride than travel in a carriage”, Balian grinned. “I will give you the answer at your earliest convenience. Almaric, will you please make sure a proper lodging for the herald?”
“Yes, Mylord,” confirmed Almaric and bowed to Balian.

Balian rushed from the great hall to the zenanas, where the ladies had met for embroidery. Sibylla worked at a tapestry, similar to yonder she had seen once at Bayeux. The tapestry showed the conquest of England by William of Normandy, but her tapestry was dedicated treasuring the wonderful peacetime in Jerusalem during the reign of her brother Baldwin IV. With this work she was trying also to overcome the terrific remembrances of the death of her brother and her son. Balian entered the room and Sibylla received him with a luminous smile, which he replied full of love. Balian appeared and gave her a loving kiss on the cheek.
“That’s wonderful, my darling,” he said and stroke softly over a figure in the blue livery of Jerusalem with a silver mask. It personated Baldwin IV. Sibylla’s smile grew, when she removed the mask, which was stitched only at the top to the tapestry. Underneath surfaced a handsome, male countenance – Baldwin without the leprosy, which had destroyed him so ghastly.
“You’re an artist, Sibylla,” he praised her work.
“Without your ideas I won’t have succeed in it,” she replied the compliment.
“What do you think about a journey, darling?” Balian asked.
“A journey? Whereabouts?
“My cousin invites us for the baptism of her youngest son.”
Sibylla looked at him astounded.
“I didn’t know that you have a cousin,” she said. Balian smiled in his matchless friendly way.
“Me neither,” he replied and told Sibylla about the herald from the Kingdom of Vendia.



A/N:

* Constable: The constable of Jerusalem was an officer of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem. His charge was comparable to the modern minister of defence.

** Gules, or, vert: For blazonry I prefer using the blazoning terms. Gules means red, vert = green and or = yellow/gold
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Balian of Ibelin

Last edited by Gundolf; May 23rd, 2010 at 06:36 PM. Reason: Correction
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 04:18 AM
Guin Sparrow Guin Sparrow is offline
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This sounds quite promising. Well done. I hope that now Balian and Sybilla are married, that they will have children.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:36 AM
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Quite a feat in another language Gundolf! There are a few grammatical errors- such as
“Me not, too,”
which should me "me neither". And I wasn't sure what you meant by "vintage" Presuming you meant winter? But anyhow interesting to see Balian in another world almost.
I liked the mask in the tapestry- a great touch, I think the parts where the characters speak are my favourites.
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Last edited by nuit; May 23rd, 2010 at 08:09 AM.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 08:53 AM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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Happy Pentecost to you all. Thanks for your reviews.

@ Guin: Yes, they are married - but complications are about to come...

@ nuit: Thanks for the correction. I edited the part. "Vintage": No, I didn't meant the winter, but the harvest of the wine. LEO (the online-dictionary) told me, that this is called vintage. Is it wrong? Then, please, how is it named correctly?

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Old May 23rd, 2010, 09:33 AM
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ah I see, then I guess we would say the Vendage.- the grape pick. French word of course since we don't really have much of a grape harvest...English wine hmmmm.
Vintage is the age of the wine, quality etc a description really.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 03:16 PM
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It's a good start, Gundolf. I loved that you brought in the lords of Le Puiset, who are rumoured to be related to the historical Ibelins. It just makes things so much more realistic.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:41 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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@ nuit: I edited the part "vintage" as well. My dictionary tells me also, vintage does mean the picking of the grapes as well as the quality etc. To make unmistakeable clear, that the harvest is the point, I edited it. Thanks a lot.

@ Telcontar Rulz: Thanks for the review. I tried to be so near to history as ist is possible with using half-fictive figures like the film-based Balian, you'll see. I hope, you enjoy the story further on.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 06:45 PM
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Chapter 1 - Journey to Vendia

Chapter 1


Journey to Vendia



A week later a small troop of people under the banner of Ibelin, the dark red paw cross in a bright yellow field, travelled in eastern direction. Sibylla and Balian were escorted by twenty men-at-arms in Ibelin livery. They all followed Gumpert, the herald of Vendia, to the Alps. Gumpert led the couple and their followers at first in direction of Paris, along the river Seine up to the river Yonne, this river upwards to the origin at the foot of the Mont Tasselot. There the crossed the pass and went down to Dijon in County of Burgundy. In Dijon they rested for a few days. After the rest the companions crossed the Border of the Holy Roman Empire by crossing the River Saône and came to the German county of Burgundy, which presented also the language frontier between French and German. They travelled on, passing Besancon and Mulhouse came to the Rhine, which they follow up to the Lake Constance. At the most eastern point of the lake, at Bregenz, they turned south, following the Rhine-valley further. Near Puges on the left bank of the Rhine they crossed the Rhine to enter a hidden valley in the County of Liechtenstein, which they followed to an only feigned hard accessible pass. Beyond the pass the herald halted his horse.
“Welcome to the Kingdom of Vendia,” he said. “This pass we already crossed is the western border of Vendia. Now you are not anymore in the Holy Roman Empire, but in an independent realm. We will spend the night at Palparuva castle and travel on tomorrow.”

The castle of Palparuva wasn’t the kind of castle Sibylla and Balian were used to since they had returned from the East. Like Château Ibelin before the rebuilding Palparuva castle was a dark and draughty masonry, which had no efficient chimney in the fireplaces. Therefore it was horribly smoky in the great hall and the zenanas.
“Gumpert, I believe my wife and me would prefer sleeping in the stable,” Balian grinned. They had a lot underwent on the way, but this blasted all they had experienced before. “I presume it is not worth asking for a bathtub or actually warm water.”
Gumpert blushed up to the roots of his hair.
“No, Mylord. I must confess, there is nothing like that available here”, he conceded.

Early on the next morning Balian was awakened by clamant swearing. Almaric, Bruno and Balian ran with drawn swords into the inner bailey, but they found only Gumpert and his horse.
“What is this clamour, Gumpert?” Balian asked, when he remarked that there was no danger.
“Excuse me, Mylord, if I awoke you, but I have a problem. My horse lost two shoes and there is no blacksmith at the moment. He was called yesterday to the village several miles below and will not be back for two days. For that time we have to stay here,” the herald explained. Balian and his former apprentice grinned.
“No blacksmith, is it?” Balian asked quizzical in a way that reminded Almaric of him counting out the patriarch of Jerusalem. The captain could hardly check himself not break out in a laughing.
“But a forge, if I understand right, isn’t it?” Balian added. Gumpert had no idea for what reason the viscount wanted to know this, but he showed the forge to him.

Balian overlooked with one glance, that prefab horseshoes and the essential tools were available.
“Bruno, fetch some water. The cooling trough is empty”, Balian ordered his journeyman, lit the fire and pushed it with the bellows. Gumperts eyes expressed his astonishment.
“But... Mylord...,” he stammered. Balian smiled friendly.
“I am a forge master, Gumpert. A lot of years I worked in my home village Saint-Martin-sur-Eure as a blacksmith. That was before my father recognized me as his son and made me heir of is possessions.”
“I beg your pardon. Am I right, that you are not raised in your father’s house?”
“You are right”, the forge master affirmed. The fire had the necessary temperature. Balian chose some prefab horseshoes, which had nearly the form of Gumpert’s horse, took the measurements, decided for two of them and put the rest back on the fastenings. Gumpert’s palfrey eyed distrustful what the man was doing and became panicked, when it noted, that it should be shoed.
“Bruno, take care of the irons! The palfrey is about to run away!” Balian warned, was with two long steps next to the panicked horse, grabbed the reigns, dragged down the horse’s head and talked low and calming to the mare. The warm, deep voice of the Lord of Ibelin worked as usual. The palfrey became quiet at once and snorted contented into Balian’s hand.

Gumpert watched Balian while he was shoeing the horse. The man did not lie, he knew his trade well. The herald avowed, that he knew not many blacksmiths, who were able to calm down a panicked horse the way this Frenchman did. A short time after two literally brand-new shoes bedecked he hooves of his horse. The palfrey, which let otherwise every blacksmith taste his hooves, prodded trustingly Balian’s hand with its smooth nostrils.
“See, my boy? Wasn’t that hard you suspected, is it?” Balian said and got a satisfied snort from the palfrey.
“What did you to my nag?” Gumpert goggled.
“I like horses and they like me. Never yell at a horse, especially not ever screeching. Horses prefer a low and deep voice. If it dislikes to be bridled and throws the head like now,” he said and caught the horse, which became more flustered, with the left hand at the bridle and draw it back down, “then kick it softly in the ribs – like that.”
Balian pushed his right elbow into the horse’s side, where the spur was used. The well performing horse accepted the order and bow down its head.
“Pay attention, Mylord, that you are not called a wizard,” the herald warned smiling.
“Why? Would that be dangerous in Vendia?” Balian asked stroking softly the horse’s nostrils.
“Well, long time ago a gothi, a priest of a long lost heathen religion, forged a wondrous sword, which is to be said it would shine like the sun itself by day and may used as a torch by night. It was dedicated by the gothi to our first king, Philipp,” Gumpert declared. “But the sword is lost since many, many years and a lot of Vendians say it is lore. But therefore wizards are not considered as dangerous or even devilish in Vendia.”

The further way to Steinburg, Vendia’s capital, took another three days, but then the companionship arrived at the royal castle on the River Alvedra. The king received the Viscount of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure, his wife and followers with duly honours. King Rudolf himself was a young man of nearly thirty years and a really handsome man.
“Welcome to Steinburg castle, dear cousin. Gumpert sent a courier, who pronounced me and my beloved Queen, that not her father or her brother is coming, but her uncle’s son. Your father was a significant lord in the Holy Land, as far as I’ve heard,” Rudolf greeted Balian.
“My father was the Baron of Ibelin. He bequeathed to me this title and brought me to the Holy Land, were I learned to know my wife,” Balian replied and took respectful but short bow. “Please allow me to introduce Sibylla of Anjou to you. She was the Queen of Jerusalem before it was conquered by Saladin after the elimination of the Christian army at the Horns of Hattin.”
Sibylla smiled friendly, attired in his introduction, which distinguished her position without being boastfully.
“Sibylla of Anjou?” the queen asked. “Are you related to the royal dynasty or did you marry into the family?”
Sibylla’s smile yielded for an indignant mien, which she could disguise fast with her long practised public face.
“I am the sister of the much too early deceased King Baldwin IV. and the mother of the also too early departed King Baldwin V. and – as my lord said – the last queen of the Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem,” she explained.

Queen Marie and King Rudolf looked at their guests in astonishment. They had not only one of the most famous lords of Jerusalem as a guest, but either the former queen!
“For a Christian king this is a great honour. I thank you having accepted my invitation,” Rudolf replied, got up from his throne and bowed to Sibylla.
“No, don’t bother, King Rudolf. I’m not a queen anymore, after I had to leave the Holy City like all Christian inhabitants of Jerusalem after the capitulation to Saladin,” Sibylla slowed Rudolf.
“Will you go back to the Holy Land, when Jerusalem may be conquered back?” Rudolf asked interested. “If the pope called to a new crusade, I would take the cross.”
“We made a promise to the Sultan Saladin – and that excludes a return to Jerusalem,” Balian replied. “To break a vow would be contrary to the knight’s oath, because it was wrong.”
“Would Saladin keep such a vow, which he had given to a Christian?” Rudolf dug deeper. Balian smiled.
“Well, he kept his vow, to let go all Christians unoffended. Therefore I would not believe that he would break a vow only because it is given to a Christian. Furthermore is the wrong every time considered personally. If Saladin broke his vow, it would be wrong. But it would not become right, if I did the same.”
“You are a prudential man, Balian. That is leading me to a request. I have an elder son, Martin, who will become eight years on the day of our little Michael’s baptism. It’s time for him to be educated at a considerable court. I want him to entrust to your care. Are you willing, to impart the essential knowledge to my son?”

Balian threw a short look at Sibylla, whose face lightened. After her miscarriage on Cyprus nearly a year ago she wanted to try soon to present Balian an heir. The time was up, which they should wait for not endanger her own life. But to have a son in the house again, who was only a little younger than her late son Baldwin was pure happiness for her.
“If your son agreed, Sibylla and me would be pleased of greeting him at our castle,” Balian said. Rudolf looked amazed at the French viscount.
“You would addict on Martin’s decision? He is too young to make such far-reaching decisions.”
“Well I have some experience with a child, who had to bear the huge responsibility for a kingdom. My son Baldwin was dedicated to be king with five years, when my brother named him his heir. He was seven, when he was crowned King of Jerusalem. Baldwin was not asked, if he wanted to be king, he was made king without having any decision,” Sibylla explained. “I know very well, that dynastic considerations have no questions to the possible heir, but therefore I consider it prudential, to permit even a child making a intentional decision to it. Some day your son will have to make really lonely decisions when he will inherit your crown. I am myself stem of royal hose, I have experience in ruling a kingdom and I am able to impart the special knowledge to your son. Balian was for my brother not only a vassal, he was his friend and near to him like a brother. If... if it was your wish that he would be educated at Saint-Martin-sur-Eure let him decide to it – and be sure, that we will treat him like a son of our own.”

Rudolf and Marie looked at each other for a little while. For all intents and purposes their son should be educated with severe discipline to an obedient and brave knight, and what the vicountess proposed them seemed to be a lovely sheltering. But Marie thought of her own childhood in Saint-Martin-sur-Eure, this wonderful place in France, which she missed more than she wanted sometimes acknowledge. She herself and her brother Nicolas were raised that way. It would not be worse for her son, to be raised and educated there by his uncle and his aunt. She nodded. Rudolf sighed lowly.
“Well, may it be. Make a good knight of him, who is once upon a time dignified to follow me on the throne – if Martin agrees,” he said. “Chamberlain: Summon Prince Martin!” he ordered.

A little bit later the boy stood in the throne room, bowed respectfully to his father and his mother, then to the guests.
“Martin, these are your relatives from France,” Rudolf introduced. “It is my wish, that you will be educated at Viscount Balian’s court to inherit one day my throne. Viscount Balian and his wife, Vicountess Sibylla, will teach you in every discipline, which is necessary for you to be a good and righteous king of this realm. Are you willing to follow them to France?”
Martin bowed again to his father.
“If this is your wish, my father, I will obey”, he replied. The insecurity of his voice was unmistakeable. He did not want, but he neither wanted to be insubordinate.
“He will go with you to France, Cousin Balian”, Rudolf decided.
“Well you gave him a paternal order, Cousin Rudolf,” Balian grinned. “A free and own decision was it not.”
He crouched down to the boy.
“Do you want to come with us?” he asked smoothly. Martin looked for a while at the French viscount. The long scar in Balian’s face frightened him, even the scare was moderated by the gentle smile. Insecurity and grief having to leave his familiar ambit were reflected in his brown eyes, but he found something in Balian’s look, which provided confidence in the friendly smiling man.
“My father wants it. I shall obey to my father”, the boy said earnestly.
“I see. And what, Martin, do you want yourself?”
Martin lowered his eyes.
“Staying here, Mylord”, he whispered nearly inaudibly.
“Please look at me, Martin”, Balian begged. Martin looked up. Tears filled his eyes. One rolled down his cheek and Balian wiped it off kindly.
“It’s not right, to order you coming with us. But... perhaps we are able to arouse your curiosity, while we will learn to know each other a bit more during the next days”, he said so low, that no one except Martin could hear it. The boy saw the warmth in Balian’s eyes, which he had never seen before in the eyes of a nobleman. Something deep inside him told him, that he would find more sympathy for his questions, sorrows and woes from this man and his wife than from his parents, especially his father, who raised him consequently and strictly to the heir apparent. He nodded hesitating.
“You may go, my son”, Rudolf released the little prince. The boy bowed silent to his parents and their guests and left also silent the throne room.

“You should not pamper him, Viscount Balian”, the king admonished. Balian smiled friendly at him.
“My wife and I are willing to raise your heir – to a worthy heir apparent and a good knight. But if you will so, I ask you to commit the way thither to us,” Balian replied. King Rudolf wasn’t used to hear contradiction.
“You forget, to whom you are talking!” he snarled at the viscount.
“You asked me and my wife to raise your son. If the way we proposed to you is not, what you want, find someone else, who is willing to raise your son the way you are expecting. Don’t forget yourself that we are neither your vassals, nor your subjects”, Balian stroke back. At first the young monarch wanted to flare up, but the courage of the young viscount giving him a piece of his mind in his own house, impressed the king more than it made him angry.
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Old May 23rd, 2010, 07:45 PM
Guin Sparrow Guin Sparrow is offline
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Things are getting good. Can't wait for more!
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Old May 24th, 2010, 03:35 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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@ Guin: I can't disappoint you. Here is another chapter. The fluid will now become slower. Tomorrow I have to start working again, holiday is over... *sniff*
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Old May 24th, 2010, 03:35 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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Chapter 2 - Kinship

Chapter 2


Kinship


In the evening the queen summoned Balian. She had for such a long time heard nothing about her beloved home village that she was keen on the news from there.
“Please, cousin, tell me what did happen since I’ve gone away from Saint-Martin-sur-Eure,” she asked. Balian smiled, but then his smile disappeared.
“What do you have?”
“I think, what I have to tell you won’t be only pleasure for you,” the viscount replied. Marie got a foreboding.
“Tell me but for all that, please.”
Balian reported on the conflict, in which his father and hers parted of each other, on the fight in the woods against the mercenaries of her father, the death of her brother. Marie’s eyes expanded with scare.
“Do you expect forgiveness?” she asked. Balian shook his head.
“I didn’t know your brother up to that day; I didn’t know even my own father. And I know there was no reason for your father being angry to my father. My father had his own fief in Jerusalem and had no idea disputing your father his title. And that Nicolas was charged by your father and the bishop with bringing me back I would have accepted. It was an undeniable fact that I had murdered my own brother, a priest. That Michel provoked me to the blood, that he made the made the gravedigger decapitate my wife after her suicide before she was buried under a wayside shrine instead of holy earth, was only the last straw that broke the camel’s back. He left no chance of tormenting me. Your brother called me a murderer and I do not deny to be one – like my father did not”, Balian explained.
“And notwithstanding you were charged with the defence of Jerusalem?” the queen wondered.
“No one else was left, your Majesty,” Balian smiled.
“I can’t believe that, Viscount Balian!”
“Well, please ask the former Queen of Jerusalem, graceful Marie,” Balian replied.
“Excuse the ... undue... question: how were you married to the queen?”
“Not at all. We’ve married for love.”
“For Love? In this society?” Marie asked. That was really shocking. She herself had never been asked, if she wanted to marry Rudolf. Her husband was chosen by her parents, she had been married to him without knowing him before they walked down the aisle. They had fallen in love during their marriage, had become affectionate spouses, which was not normally at all. But people of the nobility who fell in love before marriage, even married of love, were absolutely uncommon.
“Well, it may be happen sometimes,” Balian replied with a gentle smile.
“Balian... will you raise Martin strictly?”
“You should know something, Marie: My wife loved her son deeply. Baldwin wasn’t educated draconic, but the one and a half year he had been King of Jerusalem, he had been a good king. If your son will be given in our charge, we will treat him like a son of our own. Even with love a child may become a good knight and a wise king.”
“You take a heavy burden from my heart, Balian. Rudolf wants him to be educated strictly, making an obedient servant of him. If he should be king, he has to learn to assert himself.”
“He will miss nothing, dear Marie. He will become a good knight.”
Balian’s promise sounded so honest, that Marie embraced him spontaneously.
“Forgive me cousin that I doubted on you.”
“It is granted. I have a present for you, cousin – and for your son, our godson Michael,” the young viscount said as he dissolved from Marie’s hug.
“What is it?”
“I believe it to be the dream of any Christian parents, to get their child baptized with water from the river Jordan. Sibylla got a barrel of it by the Sultan Saladin, when we left the Holy Land.”
“A really royal gift,” Marie replied with bright eyes. “Thank you, dear cousin.”

A few days later the baptism of the little prince occurred in the cathedral of Steinburg. It was a gorgeous Romanic building with weighty towers and a marvellous ringing. Balian held the little prince Michael over the font, when the bishop of Wachtelberg administered the sacrament of baptism to him. The boy cried protestant, when Bishop Eginhard the cold water out of the river hallowed by Jesus Christ himself spilled over the small head. Sibylla fondled the little boy, who calmed down quickly and smiled brightly at his aunt. Balians look met Sibylla’s. They wished both having children of their own, the shock of the miscarriage was resolved. The smile, they endowed each other was a tenderly promise.

The baptism of little Michael ruled the day, but Prince Martin who had his eighth birthday, should not be neglected. This was made sure by the birthday present from the guests from France. Balian had not only shoed the prince’s pony backdoor, he had forged him a sword, which was – from blade over hilt to the scabbard – very similar to his own, except the ruby cross in the pommel which was replaced by the golden vendian fleur-de-lis. In fact it was unusual for a boy getting a sword before being knighted, but Martin was a king’s son – and princes sometimes got a sword in childhood. Martin’s training as a knight was about to begin and that was impossible without schooling with the sword. Considering that Martin was eight years old Balian made a sword, which was among adults considered as a double-edged hunting knife – and just in this function it could be used in future after Martin had grown up. Sibylla donated him a ring, which was a nearly an exact copy of her brothers signet ring. This part and the golden christening cross for their godchild also were made by Balian.
“That is fine! Thank you, uncle Balian! Thank you, aunt Sibylla”, Martin thanked enthusiastically.

The beautiful gifts and the friendliness of his brother’s godparents encouraged the boy to approach the eerily scar in his uncle’s face with a careful spirit of research.
“Uncle Balian?” he asked.
“Yes?”
“Has this scar always been in your face?”
“No, I got it in the Battle of Jerusalem. When the wall came down we rushed to the breach, occupied it and fought all the day against the Saracens. There were lots of dead and wounded men on both sides, but we were able to keep the Saracens out of the city. The next day the sultan was willing to let us leave with honourable conditions.”
“Does it hurt you?” Martin asked with sorrow. Balian shook his head.
“No, I didn’t even remark the wound until I washed my face after the capitulation.”
“Will it disappear eventually?”
Balian smiled.
“No, presumably it will not. A friend of my father also has such a scar. He got it like me as a young man and it is still there. The man is sixty years old,” Balian explained. Martin lowered his look.
“At first I was anxious,” he whispered.
“Because of the scar?” Balian asked. Martin nodded silently.
“Why does the scar make you anxious, Martin?”
Martin looked around, saw his parents in a safe distance and risked to answer:
“Because I thought you were evil. In the stories told by our nana the men with scars in the face always are the evil ones,” the boy declared.
“Well, then you know now, that stories are not always the truth,” Balian grinned. Martin nodded.
“How is it living at your house?” he asked.
“We have a castle, which is located on a mountain side near the village Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. Your mother stems from this village and castle. If the weather is fine, you could look down to Chartres. It’s a wonderful landscape.”
“Saint Martin?” the boy asked wondering.
“Yes, Saint Martin, your patron saint was bishop of Tours. That’s not far away from us. If you wanted, we could visit his tomb in the cathedral of Tours” Balian explained.
“How... how long my habitation at your castle will... will last?” Martin asked with an uncertain voice.
“Perhaps until you will be knighted – if you want to. If your home sickness grew too hard we will see whether you have to stay that time. But you should try it for a year.”
“And what I will learn?”
“All a knight and a future king have to know. But perhaps you may learn something over and above that.”
“And what?”
“Well, I can teach you the art of metalworking” Balian offered.
“You think I could learn to forge swords?”
“Swords, armours, horseshoes, tableware, cauldrons – all that is made of metal,” Balian conceded.
“And what is about a crusade?”
Balian thought for a moment.
“What do you know about the crusades?” he asked then.
“I know the pope had called all the Christian knights to liberate the Holy Land from the unfaithful.”
“I see. And what is your opinion of that?”
“I... I don’t know what I’ll make of it, uncle Balian. Are the Saracens evil? You were there. How does it strike you?”
“Yes, I was there. A friend of my father went exactly with this purpose to the Holy Land, but he found there people who believe in God like we. They are giving Him another name, they worship Him in a different way – but their faith has the same root as ours. I consider it wrong to banish them, since it is their homeland” Balian answered.
“And your father?” the prince dug deeper. “Why did he go there?”
“My father was the younger son of the viscount. He had nothing to inherit and wanted to start a new life in the Holy Land,” the young viscount declared.
“My father wants me to go on a crusade some time. I made a vow for it on my first communion.”
“On your first communion – this year?” Balian asked. Martin nodded.
“We will see, Martin. You have to be a squire to get demanded for that, and you must be able to fight. Had you had sword-training already?”
“No.”
“Well, then you don’t have to leave tomorrow for Jerusalem. I myself do not want it ever again, not even for Ibelin which I loved so much,” Balian said.
“I will conquer it back for you!” Martin promised with bright eyes. Balian got a broad grin.
“Oh, the man who is now the lord of Ibelin is a good friend of mine – a Saracen. And I do not want you to take away anything from my friend what I have left to him. He is treating my subjects well and is paying me a good tribute.”
“I don’t understand that, uncle Balian,” Martin replied. Balian stroked him gently over the head.
“You need not to understand now, Martin. But perhaps we’ll visit him or he will visit us, when you are in Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. He is a friendly man, he will meet your approval,” he said. Martin looked down ashamed.
“I have to learn a lot...,” he whispered aggrieved.
“You will, I promise; and I promise it will not be difficult for you. You will enjoy it, believe in me,” Balian replied smiling.
“Honestly?”
“How does the knight’s oath say?” Balian asked, pretending to be severe. Martin thought a moment, looked up to the ceiling.
“Be without... fear in... the face of your enemies, be brave and upright that God may love thee; speak... the truth... always... even if it leads to your death; safeguard the helpless and... and... and do no wrong,” he recited stagnant.
“Right,” Balian conceded with a smile. “I am a knight. Therefore I can’t swindle...”
Martin grinned.
“I look forward to it,” he said.

The day after the baptism was an unusual bright day – especially for November. A mild sun was shining over Steinburg, which dissolved the morning mist over the river Alvedra spawning a magical atmosphere. Balian and Sibylla took a walk in the rose garden after breakfast, when fast steps of little feet crunched on the gravel. They turned around and saw their future pupil coming through the garden. We wore a dark blue tunic with golden embroidery at the collar and he sleeves, the sword belt buckled over the tunic.
“A nearly perfect knight,” Balian grinned. “Looks like I made the measurements for the sword correctly.”
The boy bowed to them with a soft smile, which reminded Sibylla of Balian. Martin could have been considered as Balians son... He had the same fine brown eyes, the same wavy hair, only it was light brown instead of Balian’s hair being dark brown near black.
“Thank you for the fine equipment”, he thanked with a clear voice.
“It fits you well,” Sibylla replied. ”Martin, please look at me,” she asked then. Martin looked up obedient. It was an unbelievable affinity, which came now to Sibylla’s mind, because both were very similar clothed and smiled in a very similar way.
“Balian, our pupil is a spitting image of you. He has your eyes, darling”, she said. Balian knitted his brows. Sure, Hugo du Puiset and Godfrey of Ibelin had been brothers, but both had had blue eyes. Nicolas, Hugo’s son, had had also blue eyes... The similarity was an odd thing to Balian either.

Just in that moment Queen Marie came into the garden. The smile, she offered her son and her guests, was also alike Balian’s.
“You have a handsome son, Marie,” Sibylla said. “He is very akin to his uncle.”
A shadow covered Marie’s smile. She grappled a moment with herself, whether she could share her secret and decided, to entrust at first only Balian with it.
“Balian, may I talk to you alone, please?” she asked.
“Pardon me, darling,” he said and followed the queen to a corner of the garden ten fathoms* further, but in sight of Sibylla and Martin.

“Balian, what do you know about the family du Puiset?” the queen asked him.
“Well, not more than the late Hugo du Puiset had been the elder brother of my father Godfrey and that he had two children, namely you and your brother Nicolas. Should I know anything more?”
“Did you know his wife?” Marie asked.
“No.”
Marie laughed low but bitterly.
“How should you? She died in the birth of Nicolas. Our father... didn’t get married again. But there was a nurse, a maiden servant who looked after Nicolas, a maiden servant who you should know well. She was the blacksmith’s wife, a wonderful woman, who were requested by the brothers du Puiset – both of them. Both called for her and to both she had to submit. She had no chance to struggle against her lord and his younger brother,” Marie declared whispering.
“May I understand this, that my mother is either yours? That you... are my... older sister, Marie?” Balian asked with caution. Marie looked at him shy, and then she nodded. Balian smiled friendly.
“The way you told me that, sounded like an avowal of misdeed, Marie. For me it’s an unbelievable gladness having a sister,” Balian replied and embraced Marie. The queen rejoined her brother’s hug relieved and happy.
“You have no idea, how much it cost me quite an effort, to tell you that.”
“Why?”
“Well, strictly speaking, I’m a bastard”
Balian smiled leaning.
“That’s me either. But it didn’t embarrass our fathers to acclaim us as legitimate children. Otherwise you were not raised in the castle, officially as Hugo’s daughter. I am acclaimed either by my father Godfrey and appointed his heir,” he replied.
“Either you might be angry with me, since my father didn’t take care of you,” Marie added.
“Why should I? In the first it is not your fault, in the second I don’t believe, that Hugo knew me being Godfrey’s son. Brother Jean told me, your father said at the banquet, Godfrey had no heir,” Balian smiled.
“Rudolf... he doesn’t know”, Marie whispered.
“If he loved you, he would not be touched with it.”
“Please, don’t tell him. He should be informed by me.”
Balian nodded.
“And... what about Martin?”he asked.
“Tell him, when you are back in Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. When he will return some day, he will be reasonable enough not to cry it to the stars.”
“I will”, Balian promised. “Come on, my wife is becoming jealous...,” he grinned, put her his arm on the shoulder and went back with her to Sibylla and Martin.

Sibylla had actually a jealous expression on her face, when Balian and Marie came up to her.
“What secrets do you have to talk about?” she asked with a tone that reminded Balian of the lordly Queen Sibylla. He smiled cordially.
“In fact a little family secret, my darling. I will tell you later, alright?” he offered and took his arm off Marie. Sibylla’s angry expression disappeared. Balian did not want to have secrets before her, and that was enough for her to have faith in him.
“And me?” Martin protested.
“I will tell you, when we are at home in Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. Do you agree?”
The boy nodded with some hesitation, but from that moment he couldn’t wait to travel with his relatives to France.


A/N:

* fathom: Old English long measure of six feet.
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  #13  
Old May 25th, 2010, 03:57 AM
Guin Sparrow Guin Sparrow is offline
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I think it's good that Balian is not keeping secrets from Sybilla and Martin. You've captured Balian's nobleness exceptionally well. Lovely!
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  #14  
Old May 31st, 2010, 05:42 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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Chapter 3 - Château Ibelin

Chapter 3


Château Ibelin


Normally the boys of nobility were taken from their mothers, when they became seven years old. Until that time only the women had been responsible for the raising of noble children. At the age of seven a boy of nobility became a donzel* and was raised by an experienced knight and was given an education in all kinds of knowledge and abilities which were essential for a nobleman.

Prince Martin was at this point an exception among the European gentry, since both his parents had been attended to his education – and this already until his eighth year of life. Martin had an advantage to other children, for his mother spoke French to him, but his father German. Martin knew both languages as good as an eight-year-old boy was able to.

Additional it was common, that the time of being donzel and later on squire was spent at a court far away from the parent’s house. On the one hand this promoted the independency and decisive ability of the future prince; on the other hand, he also learned to submit at first – to assert himself later

One week after his brother’s baptism Martin travelled with his relatives to their homeland. He was clothed in a gambeson** dimidiated*** of dark red and pale beige as a donzel of Ibelin. A dark red cloak, lined with fur, protected the boy from the inconveniences of the upcoming winter. From time to time Balian or Sibylla placed him in front of them into their saddle, where he had additional protection from their mantles. In this first week he had spent more time along with his uncle and his aunt than with his parents and was hooked with inquisitiveness for the new world he would see. Balian’s announcement, he and Sibylla would make him curious, had fulfilled, and Martin didn’t want anything more than learning to know his new home.

The band rode the same way, which they had come and reached Saint-Martin-sur-Eure nearly a month after leaving Steinburg. The village was located on a hillside northwest of Chartres. It was clearly visible from the distance on this bright frosty day in the late autumn.

“Is it there above, uncle Balian?” Martin asked and pointed to the castle, which was a little bit offset from the village.

“Yes, that’s it. Three hours and we are at home,” Balian replied with a gentle smile. Passing some fir trees, Balian picked a few branches in his reach and put them into his jerkin.

“Why do you do this, uncle?” the boy asked.

“They are a little present for my late wife. We will pass her grave and anytime I pass it, she gets some flowers from me – depending on the season“, Balian explained.

“Then she must have died very young...,” Martin speculated.

“Yes, she was only twenty-four.”

“From... from what did she die?” Martin asked. Balian struggled a while, Martin could see that clearly.

“Life is not always bright you know? There... there are things, which can so horribly for human, that... that life seems to be futile,” the viscount said hesitating. “Natalie was expecting our first child, but it was stillborn. It was a terrific shock for her. She... she could not withstand this and... and hanged herself.”

Martin’s shock stood in his face like letters in a book, not only the horrible fact, that Balian’s wife had committed suicide, but by the tormented mien.

“Bishop Eginhard says, that one comes into hell, if one do so”, Martin remarked. Balian felt a deep sting in his heart by hearing this, but he shook his head.

“No, she isn’t. Not as long as she is in my heart,” Balian replied and grabbed in the same moment Sibylla’s hand, who rode close beside him and became pale by the shock. “That is no contradiction to the fact, that I love aunt Sibylla,” he added hastily. “My father and my mother are long dead either and are living in my heart like Sibylla’s son Baldwin, who became only one year older than you and suffered of leprosy and her brother Baldwin, who died of leprosy either and became only twenty-four years.”

Sibylla regained her smile. Balian had a very diplomatic manner, to sail around certain cliffs. Whenever she got the feeling, that Natalie was still her rival, Balian was able not only to snap the peak off this rivalry, but to make it simply gone. She knew, he loved her and to this love it belonged also making the circumstances of her son’s death not even mentionable. He hadn’t lie with a single syllable, but had neither told all...

Three hours later they reached Château Ibelin, which was from the exterior not different to other castles Martin used to know. But Martin’s astonishment grew higher and higher when they left the horses to the grooms and entered the residential quarters. This castle was none of the cold and draughty buildings, which castles normally were. This was a welfare warm home, which was unique all over Europe – and that depended not only on the oriental made carpets, which lay in different sizes in all living rooms.

From the exterior seen were the normally virgin stone walls made of dressed stones, which formed the outer walls as well as the walls of any building. The window openings were outside covered with crown glass windows made of lots of small round panes of glass, fitted in lead frames. A crown glass window could consist of dozens of single components, often arranged to colourful ornaments. But it couldn’t be seen, that behind each of these outer windows was a second window with a wooden frame. Also, as the interior of the building came in sight, that nearly all living rooms had an additional timber-framed wall – wooden constructions, filled with willow wickerwork and sealed with a tough mix of adobe and straw in front of the outer stonewall. Between both walls was a gap of six inches, which provided an isolating air layer.

Yussuf, Balian’s master builder, who had followed his master to Europe like many other people of Ibelin, had propounded this oriental way of building with a little modification. In the orient such double-walls were used to moderate the hardest heat. The outer walls, on the highest and the lowest point, had narrow vents, through which the air could stream in and out. The builders in the East had learned to know, that warm air ascended, streaking cold air from the bottom behind. Therefore the inner wall didn’t get overheated. Additionally the evaporation of the ascending air could create cooling. Yussuf knew further, that cold air descended. So he had inserted flaps into the upper slits, which could be closed. Were the flaps closed, no cold air could stream into the wall gap and sink down. Therefore the air in the gap stood still and provided an air cushion, which averted a too hard cooling of the living rooms.

Because of the witty building master’s knowledge, concerning the features of air, a lot of chimneys came into existence, which ensured a good extraction and averted the rooms becoming smoky. Therefore all the living rooms and the great kitchen could get fireplaces, which wasn’t to be found in other castles. There only the great hall and the few zenanas, reserved for the women, had fireplaces. All other rooms had the same temperature, which was outside the castle.

Balian and Sibylla brought their pupil to the upper floor of the residential quarters, where the personal living rooms and the bedchamber of the viscount and his family were also located. Balian opened a door, to three rooms, that lay behind. Oder Balian opened a door behind which immediately three rooms were, which went off of each other: Living space, bedchamber – and a bath.

“This is your home as long as you will stay with us,” Balian explained. Martin looked around in astonishment. Such a thing he had never seen before.

“Ui!” Martin marvelled. “The Steinburg is not so pretty. At home I always need three fur blankets in winter. And it does not smell of smoke, although the fire is burning in the fireplace.” The boy turned around. “May I stay here forever?” he asked.


“It’s fine, that you are appealed to be here, Martin. But I think you should settle in here a bit.”

“I believe, I do not need this,” Martin grinned. “Here it is much nicer than at home.”

“Let’s see, if you still say this in three weeks time or if you get homesick at least,” Balian replied.
“Simeon will bring your stuff up here. Ensconce yourself and come to the great hall, when you’re ready.”

Martin looked questioningly at his uncle. Balian led him to the corridor and pointed in the direction of the stairs.
“You simply go down this stair and immediately towards in the big hall”, he explained. Martin nodded.

A short time later the little prince came into the great hall, where nearly the complete garrison of the castle and the personnel of his educators were assembled. Balian waved him over and introduced him.

“We’re having a new member on Château Ibelin. This is my nephew, Prince Martin, the oldest son of King Rudolf of Vendia and his wife Marie du Puiset, which comes from Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. Prince Martin receives here his education to be a squire and will hopefully leave us not before he will have become a knight. You, my knights and friends, should help me to make a good knight and clever lord from Martin, who will hopefully rein his realm once with the same wisdom as Baldwin of Jerusalem once had”, the viscount declared. After his short speech he introduced everyone with name and function. Martin was sure, that it would take long, until he had learned all the names, but he nodded bravely und decided not to wonder at the sometimes strange names. This was another world than in Steinburg...

At least Sibylla, Balian and the men of the garrison, sat down at the table and the servants came up with a meal, which was really exotic for Martin’s taste. Strange fruits like oranges and dates spread an unfamiliar but pleasant flavour, also the cinnamon, with which the fruit tea was spiced. Couscous, a purely Arabian dish, which contained a lot of mutton as well as nutriment sorghum, left the boy first of all startled. After he tasted it, he considered it as delicious, but took as next course of meal a usual club of chicken.

Later, after the meal, the servants brought washing bowls and all, who had eaten, got their hands washed, which left Martin look with astonishment.

“In the east one learns quickly, that cleanliness is pretty important; not only for a dulcet flavour, but also for the health,” Sibylla explained. “Therefore we will pay heed to wash your hands not only before eating, but afterwards either.”

Indeed, at this very first moment it came to Martin’s attention that the typical smell of sweat was missing on Château Ibelin, which knights normally effused – and that completely. All over the castle it smelled more of flowers – one week before Christmas...

Outside the snow fell silently, inside it was cosily warm by the use of a homey ingle. As Martin finally found the study, to which Balian had withdrawn to complete some things that he had to leave undone during his absence. The door stood open, Balian sat over several plans and made notices on the pages. Martin harrumphed and knocked on the open door. The young viscount turned around and waved the boy over with a soft smile.

“Come in,” he said, when Martin still hesitated.

“Uncle Balian, you... would you tell me of the secret, Maman told you?” he reminded Balian of his promise.

“Oh, yes, thank you for reminding me. Come, sit down,” Balian replied and pointed to a chair at his escritoire. Martin sat down and looked full of expectation at his uncle.

“Well, your mother told me, that we are much closer related, as I first thought,” Balian said.
“Your father doesn’t know, your mom would tell him herself about it. The father of your mom, Hugo du Puiset, lived here in this castle. His wife bore a son, whom my uncle named Nicolas. But... during the birth his wife died. And there was a beautiful woman here in the village, which was to be married to the village’s blacksmith. He was tributary to my uncle and my uncle was of the opinion, that he could have any woman of his village at first, even before her husband may touch her. But in this case Uncle Hugo didn’t want only to spend the first night with her. He said, if she had a child out of this night, he would accept it as his own and she should raise it in the castle. So it had come. The wife of the village’s blacksmith got a baby girl, a daughter, which my uncle named Marie – and she is your mother. When Hugo released your granny, after the birth of his daughter to her husband, his younger brother Godfrey spotted on her and wanted her either. Because he was the lord’s brother the beautiful wife of the blacksmith could not refuse and had to be with Godfrey. She got pregnant from him too, and got a second child, a son. Godfrey had no inheritance to provide to the blacksmith’s wife, and so he went to the Holy Land to Jerusalem, where he became Baron of Ibelin. The son of Godfrey grew up in the blacksmith’s house and didn’t know that he was the son of a knight – until autumn 1184, when Godfrey returned to clear his default. And this son of Godfrey, that is me. We have a common mother and our fathers were brothers. Your mother, Martin, is my sister. I am really your uncle.”

“And why didn’t Maman told me?” Martin asked haggardly.

“Well, my mother was neither married to Hugo nor to my father Godfrey. That means that we both – your mother and I – are born as bastards. Our fathers accepted us, but we’re illegitimate. It’s not our fault, but it is considered as very embarrassing, if one is born out of wedlock. Therefore your mother wanted to break it gently to your father. And this is why you should find out it only here. When you will return home, you will be rational enough not to cry it to the stars and give a lot of trouble to your mother.”

“Why is that embarrassing, Uncle Balian?”

“See, a man and a woman shall marry at first and then get children. When a man and a woman meet each other without being married, it is considered as a sin. Unfortunately this consideration is passed on the children, which originate from such a connection. I think that is not correct, since the children are not able to help it. And come to think of the dilemma of your grandma, who had no chance to resist against the wishes of her master and his brother, I consider it a crime against the concerned women. From both, the men who misuse their power in the face of them, and from the people, who overlook, what a simple woman can do and what not. My putative father, the blacksmith, considered it different. He raised me as his own son, bequeathed me the forge, although my younger brother was in fact his son. But my younger brother didn’t have any interest in learning the forging craft. It was a too hard work for him. He decided early to become a priest.”

“Then you can forge weapons?” Martin asked.

“Yes. Weapons, armour, cauldrons and horseshoes – I can do everything what exists of metal,” Balian declared.

“And I can learn this from you?”

“Yes, if you like.”

“You mean, I... I can pick that?”

“Well, what you have to know as a knight and a future king that you must learn. Anything else you can learn.”

Can I also learn reading plans? I mean, architect's plans for castles and thus?”

“Sure. Come here, you can begin at once,” Balian replied and showed to the plans, which he had spread over his desk.

“Oh, what’s that?” Martin asked.

“This will be our new church. I had already worked on it, when I was the village’s blacksmith. All ironworks like the wall irons, which are aggravating the counterforts here at these high windows. Later on I shall make the iron trusses for the roof construction. Do you see these thick lines here?”

Martin nodded.

“These are the cantilevers I’ve forged already. We need some dozens more of them. When I was absent, the bishop could not carry on with the building, since there was no other blacksmith than me.”

“Tell me: Do you want to be a blacksmith again? You are the viscount here. Do you have no servants for that?” Martin asked bemazed.

“Oh I have been fond of forging all my life and have also never given up doing so. But nowadays I can make it only for joy, not because I must,” Balian smiled.

“What is this?” Martin asked and pointed to a filigree window, which ended in three ogives with crown glassed rosettes. The middle rosette showed a buckler of argent**** and a cross potent or in the centre and four crosslets or in the corners, in the left rosette on the plan there was a buckler of or with a waving cross patty sanguine and in the right rosette an oval buckler of gules with a kind of a wavering nave or with eight beams, which ended in points of fleur-de lis – a so called lily reel.

“These are our blazonry. Jerusalem in the centre, on the left side on the paper is Ibelin and right-hand is Anjou. This will be the centre window in the left nave of the church, the benefactor’s window.”

“It surely will be a wonderful church.”

“I hope so. Tomorrow morning I’ll go to the construction site, to have to check on what did happen since I travelled with aunt Sibylla to Steinburg. Would like you to come along?“
Martin nodded eagerly.



A/N I:

* Donzel: Old expression for young noble boy serving a lord, later termed as page.

** Gambeson: Quilted jerkin, during the 10th century developed as a textile armour, since the 12th century in England next to iron helmet and spear prescribed for free citizens as basic armour. Later the gambeson was worn as protective clothing under chainmail and plate armour to protect the body from bruises and dents.

*** Dimidiated: Blazon term meaning a vertical division of two colours on the shield.

**** Translation for the blazoning terms:

argent = silver

cross potent = a cross with additional aslant lines at the points.

or = gold/yellow

crosslets = little simple crosses

cross patty = a cross with paw like ends

sanguine = dark red

gules = “normal” red

A/N II: Thanks to BalticMonkey for beta-ing this story from now on.
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Old June 1st, 2010, 01:12 PM
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Old June 1st, 2010, 02:07 PM
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Old June 14th, 2010, 06:20 PM
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Chapter 4 - Apprenticeship

Chapter 4


Apprenticeship



As promised Balian went during the following day with Martin to the building site. Both were dressed in simple clothing beneath woollen hoods. It was the typical winter-clothing of common people, which Balian used, when he was working as a craftsman.

The construction site was a fascinating mess, which appeared to Martin at first as a complete confusing chaos. With the architect’s plans in hand the viscount and his nephew entered the building shell, which had reached nearly half of its planned height. The windows were already clearly visible. Workers stood on wooden scaffolds, setting building stones, which were shaped like trefoils to form filigree pillars. The bottom was still rough, just coarsely adjusted and complete straightened only beneath the growing pillars. It would be flattened and laid out with flagstones when the cross vault would be finished.

Balian laid the plan on a pillar butt in the future aisle and turned it until the drawing faced the same axis as the actual aisle.
“Do you see? The drawing is the floor plan of the church. One inch on the plan is one fathom in the real building. That’s a scale of 1 to 72,“ Balian explained. Martin looked around. “And how is it measured?” he asked.
“Look here,” Balian replied and took a scored staff of nearly his own height. “This is a rule, which has a length of one fathom. It is parted in seventy-two regular scores. One score is an inch, twelve inches make one foot, six feet make one fathom. With this staff you can take a lot of measures. For smaller measures, angles and measuring around a corner there is a thirteen-knot-line, twelve knots in the line itself, the thirteenth is made, when the line is tied on both ends. The knots are tied in scores of one inch. This line can be formed into a triangle. The last knot remains in your hand. On every side of the triangle you have four knots. So you’re able of constructing angles. For getting a wall upright, you have a perpendicular. It is always hanging vertically and so you get straight walls. For circles or rounded endings the masons are using such special pair of compasses: Two wooden staffs nailed together with a piece of coal or chalk on one edge. If you hold one staff, you can turn the other on a stone and the coal or chalk is marking an arcuated line, do you see?” Balian explained the measurement devices of the building masters. Martin nodded.
“And where are your irons?” he asked. Balian pointed to a completed part of the walls, where a piece of iron was visible.
“Over there one of my irons is immured. It is bent inside upright, outside downwards. So the water can run off and does not stick to the iron. Additionally I greased the irons for avoiding rust.”
“And as what are you here? As a blacksmith or as the viscount?”
“Both”, Balian grinned.

As in the affirmation of Balian’s words one of the building masters greeted the young viscount.
“Good morning, master Balian!”
“Good morning, master Philippe! Martin this is master Philippe, who is leading the site office at the moment. Philippe, that’s my nephew Martin.”
“Hello, my boy. Are you following your uncle’s footsteps?”
Shyly the boy shrugged his shoulders.
“I... I don’t know...”
Philippe grinned.
“If he won’t learn forging, I’d eat my perpendicular with honey and milk”, he giggled. “Master, I need some of your superb irons. The next layer will soon be finished. We need some dozens of irons.”
“I’m busy at other objects at the moment. Is after Christmas early enough?”
“Yes, absolutely. Around Epiphany we will set the first row, in which the irons may be inserted,” Philippe replied. Then his smile brightened. “I don’t believe that there are many building masters in this world who cooperate literally with their lord of the manor as me with you, Mylord.”
“I also don’t believe there are many blacksmiths existing, to whom one day having a baron in the Holy Land presents himself as a father...,” Balian grinned.

Martin and Balian looked around for a time. The building made good progress, even it would take several years until the church would be finished. Martin remarked some stonecutters. They looked different from the most. They were dark-skinned and talked to each other in a language Martin didn’t understand.
“What people are these men?” he asked and pointed at them. Balian grabbed his stretched index finger and covered it with his fist.
“Rule number one in the good behaviour: Never point with the outstretched finger at other people! This is very impolite,” he said suavely. Martin looked up in astonishment.
“Why?”
Balian squatted down to his pupil and stretched his own index finger against him.
“Cogitate a moment. How do you feel, when I point this way at you?”
“Uh, this looks as if you would sting at me.”
“Right. No one likes that. Not you, not me, nobody. And therefore you should overcome this manner soon. If you want to point to something or especially a person, then best of all with the whole hand. So for possibly,” Balian said and presented the full hand to Martin.
“That looks like a blessing”, Martin remarked.
“Very good perceived. And this is much more pleasant, isn’t it?”
Martin nodded.
“Yes. And who are these men?” he asked further.
“They are Arabic stonecutters. Once they lived in Egypt. Then my father charged them with embellishing his fief. When I had to leave the Holy Land they followed me. Now they are working on the interior decoration of a special chapel at Château Ibelin – no, even two.”
“Is Ibelin beautiful?”
“Which Ibelin do you mean? The Château here or the fief in Palestine?”
“The fief.”
“Yes, it was fine. Especially after we had found water and fixed a well. Until then it was a poor and dusty place, as Almaric used to say. But after then it was green and beautiful. The oranges and the dates, you ate yesterday, are from there.”
“Will you go back some day?”
Balian shook his head.
“No, I can’t do that. I made a promise to Sultan Saladin, to not return to Palestine. And I keep my promises,” he answered.
“Why did he want you to go?”
“It’s a long story. I think that’s nothing for you now. Since it is around power and policy you will get to know when the time will be fulfilled. I think you may learn from our mistakes, we made in the East, and you will do it better, when you will become king. Aunt Sibylla and I will teach you all we know to make a good and lawful king of you. But in the first place you will learn what a knight has to now. And the most important thing is to handle the sword. We’ll go back to the castle. Today Almaric teaches his son in sword fighting and I might that you take part in it.”
Martin nodded obedient. On the one hand his thirst for knowledge of craftsmanship wasn’t becalmed; on the other hand the education provided by Balian was very varied and interesting.

Back in the castle Balian ordered Martin to pull on the little chainmail, which was laid out in the armoury for him. The viscount picked on it for a while until it suited Martin properly.
“Well, that’s good for today. But I have to change it. You are taller than Baldwin,” he said.
“This was his chainmail?”
“Yes. I made it for him, but he never wore it. At the age of seven he became king and got no more sword training. And then fell ill with leprosy.”
“Had he been a good king?” Martin asked.
“He had not a lot of time for developing a way of government of his own. He was minor and had to leave the regnancy to a warden, who missed no chance of destroying Baldwin’s realm. One and a half year after his coronation he died of leprosy,” Balian replied gently. “If he were still alive, he would be now eleven years old. I think you would have got along well with each other.”
Balian fixed the small Jerusalem livery over the chainmail.
“By the way – this is his livery either. I will ask Almaric’s wife to sew an Ibelin livery for you.”
“Can’t I keep this? It’s wonderful,” Martin begged and stroke softly over the Jerusalem blazonry of silvery brocade and golden embroidery on the livery’s breast.
“No. As my donzel and some day my squire you will honestly wear my livery,” Balian grinned. “Come on, buckle up this sword,” he ordered the little prince and gave him a small sword, which was very similar to Martin’s own sword, but with a black scabbard instead of a pale brown one. Balian drew the sword and showed it to Martin.
“This one is an exercise sword, which matches yours of weight and scale. But as you can see it has a rounded pike and isn’t sharp. In handing and weight it corresponds with yours,” he declared and slipped into his own chainmail and livery with the crosses of Ibelin, fixed it and buckled up his scabbard belt. Then he took the children’s shield with the Jerusalem blazonry off the wall and pushed Martin gently but rigid out of the armoury. He led him to a big room in the castle’s cellar where Almaric and his son were busy with marking the rectangular place for the training.

With astonishment Martin remarked Almaric not bowing to Balian while his son made at first a bow to him – and then embraced him.
“Hello, Mathieu. Are you excited already?” the viscount asked. The boy nodded with bright red cheeks. Balian stroked him softly over the dark hair.
“That’s not necessary, even if your training partner is a prince. You get both the first lesson in sword fighting today. Martin has no advantage over you, Mathieu. Martin, come here!”
Obedient Martin approached. Balian took both boys at their shoulders.
“First rule for your collective sword training: You both live here and you are no enemies. So importantly it is for me as viscount here to have well trained fighters who can defend themselves against every enemy, may never fall into oblivion with the fact that you will fight beyond this castle side by side – and not mutually. This is why I will not let you mutually fight if it is a matter of learning really hard slamming. Almaric and I agree that we neither want forfeiting you nor seeing you severely wounded. For that reason you do not use sharp swords but the dull ones,” he explained. “Alright, and since I want you to face as friends, you will now shake hands and introduce yourself to the other.”
The boys shook hands.
“I’m Mathieu,” Almaric’s son introduced himself.
“I’m Martin,” the little prince replied.

“Well, guys, now get in the starting position,” Almaric stepped in and conducted the boys into a quad painted on the floor. Then he drew his sword and took the shield into the left hand.
“You’re holding the shield in a way that it’s protecting the left shoulder and the belly to the right hip,” he said and demonstrated how to do this. Martin and Mathieu looked interested and counterfeited the moving.
“Yes, well done. Martin: Hold the a bit higher. Alright. You see that your right arm has the liberty of moving forward and that you can even cut across the shield, isn’t it?” he continued.
The boys imitated the moves again and nodded.
“Make some test hits!” Almaric ordered. The boys did and the movements with the sword looked disorganized and playful. That was normal to boys of this age.
“Yes, that’s good. Now lift the sword higher, over the head. Yes, good that way. Mathieu, a bit more upwards.”
“That’s tearing, Papa,” Mathieu complained. Almaric grinned.
“It’ll tear soon somewhere else...,” he giggled. “Straighten your knees,” he ordered his son. Mathieu did as requested and girned a face.
“Ouch!” Mathieu griped and scratched himself with the shield-hand at the long backside.
“Shield forward where it belongs!” Almaric commanded. “Yes, well done. Any more straighten!”
“Hey, look! So it is more easy!” gave Martin a hint to Mathieu. He took the shield aside, for Mathieu could see what he demonstrated to him. Mathieu looked and imitated Martin’s moving.
“Thanks Martin”, he said relieved. Almaric and Balian twinkled at each other. This was exactly their purpose.
“Alright”, Almaric nodded. “Now take the position opposite of each other and try to hit the shield of the other.”
It clanked of metal. The boys giggled amused. That was funny. Almaric and Balian let the boys playing around for a while, and then Balian joined in.
“Well, that’s enough for now. Now you shall avoid the other of hitting your shield. Therefore you have to parry the opponent’s sword with yours. Try it,” he requested. The boys nodded and tried it – but it clanked massively, when both hit the other one’s shield.
“Stop it! We’ll show you”, Almaric commanded. He and Balian drew their swords, went to the basic position, nodded at each other – and it clanked heavily, as the blades collided. The boys got big eyes, when the men made a rapid swordplay, which proved them as expert swordfighters.
“Uh, uncle Balian, can you do that a little bit slower?” Martin begged. Laughing the men stopped their fight.
“Well, again and slower to recognize,” Almaric grinned. He and Balian began anew and slow, since the apprentices could remark, which moving was requested.
“I don’t get that ever!” Mathieu sighed.
“Sure you will. I’ll help you,” Martin promised. “Look, so it works...,” he said and attacked Mathieu, who reacted more instinctively, but getting the blade in the right position. Balian and Almaric stopped their demonstration and watched the boys. Martin obviously had a keen perception, because he repeated exactly the moving of the adults. Mathieu became hard-pushed and Balian joined in.
“Stop, that’s enough!” he retarded Martin’s eagerness. “Martin, you have a good eye. Very well done. Mathieu, you do it well either. But have an eye on Martin’s blade. If he hits from above, you have to meet it half way. Let me take your hand,” he said and stepped behind Mathieu. His right hand covered Mathieu’s and led it.
“Hey, two against one – that’s unfair! That does not apply!” Martin complained.
“No, that’s not two against one,” Balian replied. “You conceived it well, Martin. Mathieu needs some help. Come on, attack!”
Martin stroke hard and Mathieu was able to parry with the help of Balian.
“Oh yes, thank you. Now I got it.”
“Alright, then do it again,” Balian smiled.

From the planned hour of lesson, the training grew to three.
“Alright, that’s it for today. You have a lot of time to learn all that,” Balian retarded at least. Tired the boys sank the swords down.
“May we continue tomorrow, uncle Balian? Please!” Martin begged.
“You will not go for it tomorrow, I presume,” Balian grinned. “But I tell you: You will continue tomorrow.”
“Why?”
“You’ll see. But for now is bathing time, my little badgers,” he said and pushed the junior donzels in the direction of the armoury.

On the next morning Martin awoke by a mighty hoot of a cockcrow directly before his window. He stood nearly upright in his bed from the shock. But then he fell back on the pillow with a bad hurt in his arms and legs.
“Ooouuuch!” he cried. It took only a few moments, until Balian rushed in to see who or what inflicted his fosterling with aches. The worried face of the young viscount brightened fast when it became clearly, that Martin was pained only by sore muscles.
“Good morning Martin. Do you know by now what I meant yesterday?” he grinned. Martin nodded snivelling.
“Yes, uncle. It hurts bad,” he lamented. Balian sat down at Martin’s bed and gently stroked his face.
“Even if it hurts: You will have sword training again today.”
“Must I?”
“Yes, because one can fight sore muscles best with carry on training. Not as hard as yesterday, but you must carry on. Mathieu is in the same situation as you, believe me. And because you both suffer of sore muscles, Ramses will take care of you.”
“Who is Ramses, uncle Balian?”
“He’s one of our Egyptian stonecutters. But he is able to do more than cutting stones. He’s a healing pool attendant and had far, far away in a land called Cathay*, had learned to relieve aching muscles by providing a massage,” Balian explained. “At first, you will have a bath, a massage from Ramses and then breakfast.”
Martin nodded and got up with a grimace.

Shortly later the boys lay on the massage banks in the big bathroom in the cellar of the castle letting Ramses work their sore muscles. It simply did good. When Ramses started a singsong, which was well in the line of the massage rhythm, Martin asked:
“What are you singing, Ramses?”
“A song from my homeland Nubia, young master.”
“Call me Martin, that’s enough, Ramses. Nubia? Uncle Balian told me, that you are from Egypt.”
“Yes and no, Martin. Nubia is a part of Egypt, but the Egyptians and the Nubians are completely different people. I am, as you see, totally black. Achmed and Mussa, who are stonecutters either, and Yussuf, baron Balian’s building master, are also Egyptians. But you will have remarked that they have much more brighter skin than me. I am Christian, they are Muslims. You see, young master, in one land may live very different people. At other places this may be a problem, but never at a place named Ibelin,” Ramses smiled.
“And why is it a problem somewhere else, Ramses?” Martin asked enquiring. Ramses’ smile disappeared.
“Well, many people with pale skin are believing that people with dark skin are inferior,” the Black explained. Martin shook his head.
“Then they are stupid,” he replied and asked himself, how people could be so foolish, to be not interested in the other ones. On Château Ibelin a lot of things were different than elsewhere, but these things were good. Martin made a vow to himself to take this over for Vendia.
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Balian of Ibelin

Last edited by Gundolf; June 14th, 2010 at 06:32 PM.
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Old June 15th, 2010, 01:49 AM
Guin Sparrow Guin Sparrow is offline
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Bravo!

I love imagining Balian blacksmithing again!
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Old June 29th, 2010, 02:30 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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Chapter 5 - The Bishop's Revelation

Sorry for the long time since the last chapter. I hope the new one will satisfy you.



Chapter 5


The Bishop‘s Revelation

Martin and Mathieu made good proceedings by the education of Balian and Almaric – and the ability of massage of Ramses. The time seemed to run and before they could say knife it was spring again.

The snow melted in the spring of 1189 only halting in northern France. Somewhere else this circumstance might have been a problem, but not Saint-Martin-sur-Eure, neither in the castle nor in the village. Due to Balian’s storage and new methods of conservation of meat and fruits, he broth home from the Orient, nobody in Saint-Martin-sur-Eure suffered any need. Only the building work on the new church had to be stopped. Balian’s shire was peaceful, people meet each other friendly and even Balian’s sometimes exotic followers were accepted members of the village community. The circumstance, that Balian had installed worship rooms for his followers of Muslim or Jewish religion, the aged bishop not only had accepted but even supported.

In this spring the old bishop felt his end near. He was eighty years old, much older than the common life expectancy allowed. He summoned Sibylla and Balian to take precautionary his leave of them. Sorrowed they followed the bishop’s call. Guillaume smiled as the young couple came in.
“You are the sun of my life, my son; you and your wife. I’m sorry that you get to know so late of your ancestry. I beg your pardon for concealing from you what I knew about it,” the bishop begged. Balian sat down at the old man’s bed and took his hand.
“I’ve nothing to forgive you, Mylord Bishop”, he replied low. Guillaume shook his head fiercely.
“Oh yes, because what I knew was no confessional secret, my boy.”
“You have promoted me a lot, Mylord Bishop. Without your advocacy I would never have got the appointment for the iron works of the new church.”
“Come off it! In the whole neighbourhood there’s no better blacksmith than you!” the bishop repelled.
“Well, strictly speaking there is no other blacksmith than me...,” Balian grinned. The bishop replied his grin.
“And therefore is no other better than you,” he giggled. A coughing fit interrupted his laughing. Balian supported him.
“You’re a good boy, Balian. Your mother had a good character; better than any churchman would not put past a woman. She bequeathed it to you. Your character, my boy, is coming from your mother, surely not from your father, this rogue. I hope you’re able to forgive the rapscallion Godfrey.”
“I have already, Mylord Bishop.”
“Then this rascal had surely not told you all of it,” Guillaume presumed.
“May be; but whatever he had done, I have forgiven him.”
“Tell me: Did he regret all his sins?”
“All except one,” Balian replied. “He looked at me when he spoke these words. He told me, that Mom wasn’t by choice at his service.”
“Well, for this handsome result he hadn’t to be ashamed, but for what he did to your mother.”
“Let’s leave it at that, Mylord Bishop. That’s yesteryear. He taught me a lot and he instilled
me to let alone fawning.”
“Well done by him, because Saint-Martin-sur-Eure is doing well, since you have been back. But I’ve to warn you, my son. War is beyond the horizon and I fear you and Sibylla will be roped in,” Guillaume warned. Balian and Sibylla looked at each other anxiously.

“What do you mean, Mylord Bishop?” Sibylla asked.
“You are the cousin of Richard of Anjou, the crown prince of England, aren’t you?“
“Yes,” Sibylla replied.
“Come, daughter, sit down,” the bishop beckoned her over to the other side of his bed. Sibylla sat down.
“God bless you, my child. With Balian you have the best spouse a woman may have. I wish for you to have children from this wonderful man.”
“I’m... wishing that either, Mylord Bishop. May I reveal a little secret to you? I am expecting,” she smiled. Balian looked astonished at her. He didn’t know that. Sibylla smiled lovingly at him, what attested Balian, she would have told him not later than this evening. He responded her gentle smile.
“When I look at both of you, I can’t understand why the nobility depends on marriages of dynastic reasons. Is there a greater gift than love?” Guillaume asked low.
“Not for me, Mylord Bishop”, Sibylla said. “Two times I was married against my will. During my second marriage I learned to know Balian. It was hard for both of us to restrain ourselves and not to commit adultery. We did not succeed at any time...”

“Well,“ Guillaume smiled. “The one, who had determinate you for each other had obviously found ways and means, to connect you. But... my purpose is another one. Your cousin, Sibylla, made war on his father Henry for the throne. They have had battles already. Richard had fled to Paris in the shelter of King Philippe* of France. Philippe supported him, but I’m anxious about the future. Anjou is a crown fief of France. What will happen, if Richard or one of his surviving brothers inherits Henry’s throne and is coeval a vassal of the French king? If Philippe claimed the English crown also, it would end in a catastrophe,” the old bishop explained. “It would be difficult for you, if the King of France or Richard demanded your loyalty. Be careful, my children. You would be levigated between the fronts. Take care, that your clever economy and your friendliness against other people won’t trip you up. Your prosperity may awake greediness, as well from the King of France as from other noblemen of France. The Count of Blois, your liege lord, Balian, sometimes is unpredictable! Be aware of him! He had already made war to the king, if it conduced to his aims.”

“Who has the right to be King of England?” Balian asked.
“A clever question, which can only asked by you. The rates are complicated. Perhaps Sibylla can answer your question. She should know the Anjou family well. One thing more, which I have to become rid of before the Lord calls on me: You thanked for my supporting, my boy. But I did not more than a grandson may demand of his grandfather, rather less than that.”
“Pardon?” Balian asked astonished.

“Well, not only your father and your uncle had had a father, your mother either. It wasn’t always my plan to become a priest and later on a bishop. When I fell in love with your grandmother, I hadn’t been a priest yet, but the younger son of a landlord, who had nothing to inherit. Your grandmother, Balian, was a wonderful woman, who didn’t left my side. Before my older brother inherited the land and the title, my father put me away to a cloister, avoiding me of mischief. But I had already made mischief and impregnated your grandmother. Soon after I arrived at the cloister and made my vows, my brother died. The convent would not release me from my vows to accept my inheritance. Therefore the Count of Blois gave the fief of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure either to the du Puiset family, to your uncle. But I was lucky and became later on Bishop of Chartres. Your grandmother became my housekeeper, but I must never confess to my daughter. She was considered a bastard and was an unprotected game for the brothers du Puiset, who presented her bastard children either. Scalawags! Your uncle had leastwise the courage to admit to Marie and let her been risen by your mother in his house. But your father, the tyke, absconded to the Holy Land leaving your mother to the mercy of her husband Balian. Balian senior was a good man in spite of his rough profession as blacksmith. He asked me for an advice how to deal with you. He knew, you weren’t his son, but he’d never let you down. I advised him, to treat you as his own son and he was clever enough to follow the advice. Balian, you are a nobleman to the bones, since your mother was of nobility alike your father – even the tyke had no anticipation of it. I’m sorry that I never revealed this to you, my son. I could have prevented Michel to make life miserable to you.”

Balian shook his head.
“No, grandfather, you wouldn’t have prevented it. Michel would have found ways and means to let me know he disliked me. He was right, as I think. At least he had to go to the cloister because his father treated me like his own son and Michel therefore nothing had to inherit. That he had no interest in being a blacksmith is a different thing,” Balian said. Guillaume waved aside.
“Michel wasn’t even a proper priest. He lied and betrayed wherever it was to his advantage. Tell me: Did he give you money after your release from prison?”
“No,” Balian replied. Guillaume nodded.
“I thought so. I gave him money as advance payment for the next irons. What did he tell you about Natalie?”
“He... indicated, that she’s without head in hell. When I saw her cross around his neck, the horses bolted inside me. Unfortunately I had a red-hot blade in the hand. You know the result, I presume, since Nicolas told us, he was in charge of you and Uncle Hugo to bring me back, because I had murdered Michel.”
“No, I didn’t give any order to that. After a while I got doubts of what Michel told me about Natalie. I forbade him to mutilate her, but I could not prove that, since I didn’t know, where he buried her. Before my doubts were so heavy, that I wanted to check up that, François, the gravedigger, followed you to the Holy Land and his hand died in the same winter of chill.”

“I know about where she lies. Will you allow me to bury her in the churchyard?” Balian asked. Guillaume shook his head.
“No, I won’t allow that!” the Bishop replied sharply.

Balian sighed. He did not want start a conflict with the old man, who had revealed him as his grandfather a few moments before, but for Natalie he would fight against half the world, if necessary...
“Yes, she committed suicide, but...,” he began, but stopped, when he felt his grandfather’s grabbing his hand with unexpected power
“I do not allow that, because I want her buried in the burial place beneath the new church,” he declared. “There I will be buried myself – and do not wage to bring me beneath the earth elsewhere, my boy!”
“I will obey your request, grandfather,” Balian promised.
“Now I only hope God leaves me the time to see your first child.”
“When Natalie died, I nearly despaired of God and wasn’t willing to accept the words of a good friend. He told me, that all is the way God wants it. After all, what did happen in the last years I come to the conclusion, that Imad was right,” Balian smiled.

“Your Muslim and Jewish menials will soon be in danger,” Guillaume warned. “You have good reasons to respect their religion and I share these reasons, my son. But I fear the new bishop will think differently about that. The Count of Blois is no friend of people who confess to a different religion.”
“I promised them to be safe of pursuance in my duty. I will not reprobate them to pretenders. The Count of Blois promised me as my liege lord, to respect the religion of my servants, as long as they not try to dissuade others from the Christian religion. He was so kind to give it to me in writing,” Balian explained.
“Then take care of this document, son. If it is lost, your foreign servants are lost,” the bishop admonished. Balian nodded.
“I will,” he promised.

“How is my great-grandson Martin?” Guillaume asked.
“He is well, he is making good advances,” Sibylla replied gently. Guillaume caressed her hand.
“Bring him to me. I want to bless him,” the bishop requested. Balian shortly left the room and asked Georg, who had accompanied the viscount and his wife and was waiting outside the door, to go for Martin.

A little later Georg came back with the little prince.
“Your nephew, Mylord,” he said, when he brought Martin. A bit shy the boy entered the room, but his face enlightened, when he saw Balian and Sibylla.
“Come near, Martin,” Guillaume said and beckoned Martin over. “You’re a handsome boy, my son. Unmistakable your mother Marie. I am Bishop Guillaume, the leader of the church in
Saint-Martin-sur-Eure.”
“Your eminence!” Martin greeted and bowed slightly.
“Others call me that, my boy. But you, your uncle and your aunt, you need not to do so. You may call me great-grandfather.”
“Great-grandfather?” Martin wondered. Guillaume nodded and shortly explained it to Martin.
The boy get big eyes.
“But bishops aren’t allowed to marry...”
“No, they mustn’t. Your grandmother had suffered a lot for me being forced denying her,” Guillaume smiled. “Martin, some day you will be king. As a king you’re able to change many things. I’m a man of the church and nothing in my life was harder than not being the legal father of my daughter. This caused lot of misfortune, since your grandma and her children were considered living sinful – without having sinned themselves. This cannot be right. Will you in remembrance of your mother and your uncle make a rule, that bastard children do not share the sins of their parents?”
“May I do that as a king?” the boy asked.
“You will be called king by the grace of God, my son. The one, who is blessed by God, can alter the world. Your uncle has a clever device: What man is a man who doesn’t make the world better? Take this device for your own, boy, for it contents all a king can and should do. Alter the world – to the better, my son. God bless you like I do.”
Guillaume put his hands on him, pulled him near and kissed him on the forehead. In the same way he blessed Balian and Sibylla.

“I will ask Hassan to examine you, grandfather. He is a good physician. Perhaps he has medicine for you,” the young viscount offered. Guillaume shook his head.
“I know there are good healers in the east. But against the will of God he can do nothing.”
“Sure. But he may prove if it is the will of God or an illness he has a remedy for,“ Balian replied softly grinning.
“Well, may it be. I will trust him.”

The same day Hassan examined the old bishop.
“It’s the heart, Sidi,” he said at least.
“Do you know a medicine for it?” Balian asked.
“Yes, but it is very poisonous, if the dose is too high – as it is with all medicine.”
“Is it available here?”
“Yes, even in the castle’s garden. It’s the plant you call foxglove, Latin digitalis.”
Balian and Guillaume looked at each other.
“Do you want to try it?” Balian asked.
“Without the medicine I will die,” Guillaume replied. “Therefore I can test it. In the worst case I will die – what I will do without it at any case.”
“Prepare the medicine, Hassan.”
“Yes, Sidi.”



A/N:

King Philippe of France: The history knows him as Philippe II. Auguste of France. But the second name Auguste was adopted by Philippe after the battle of Bouvines in 1214. In 1189 the name was simply Philippe II.
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Old July 30th, 2010, 05:17 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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Chapter 6 - Strife is menacing

A lot of time has passed, since I posted the last chapter. It was much too hot, I wasn't able to think - and thinking is essential for translating. But now the new chapter is ready and betaed. Have fun with it.



Chapter 6


Strife is menacing



Hassan’s struggles were successful. Bishop Guillaume got better soon. While the people lived in peace in St.-Martin-sur-Eure, open turmoil ruled in other parts of France where Richard von Anjou fought with the help of the king of France against his father.

It was May, when a messenger from (the) Count of Blois came to Saint-Martin-sur-Eure.
“Guiscard is my name, I’m herald of (the) Count of Blois,” the man in the count’s tabard introduced himself.

The tabard was the livery of the heralds, a badge like the white staff. The colour of the tabard was given only by the colour of the blazonry like it was painted on the shield. In this case the livery was blue with a silver bar reaching from the right shoulder to the left hip. In a little distance to the bar a small golden thread, covered with little blue counter potents*, decorated the blue fields. Different to the liveries of the knights a tabard had small capped sleeves, also showing the complete blazonry, and it wasn’t closed with a sword-belt. Heralds were unarmed and absolutely protected. They must neither taken prisoner nor killed, even on a battleground, but they were allowed to wear chainmail against strayed arrows.

“Welcome, Guiscard. What purpose led you to my house?” Balian asked.
“The Count of Blois, your liege lord, is calling you to the army, Viscount Balian. He will expect you and your men-at-arms in seven days at Orléans, where the royal army is to be assembled.”
“Who is making war on whom and why?” Balian asked.
“Why do you ask? Your master is calling you,” Guiscard said. Balian took seat in his chair and had the herald sit down, which he haggardly noted. Normally a herald spoke upright to the one his message was determined to.
“Please, tell the Count of Blois, I will of course follow the vassal’s duty, if he will explain to me, against whom he for which reason will wage war. It is my principle to do no wrong. Therefore tell him please, I will not sacrifice my men only for the will of conquest. If he is in defence against someone, who demands anything without right, I am the first at his side. Tell him, that I once was forced to fight without knowing the reasons and fought half-hearted and unwillingly. And tell him, that I followed the King of Jerusalem with joy, who fought to keep the peace,” Balian declared.
“He will be not amused, I presume.”
“That may be. But I ask questions, he will become familiar with that. I’m a knight and I swore to be brave and upright, to safeguard the helpless, to speak the truth and to do no wrong. We are living in violent times, I’m aware of that. But it does not sanctifying all purposes. Go now and relay this to the count.”
“I will,” Guiscard said, got up and left Saint-Martin-sur-Eure.

A very ruminative Balian slowly went to the bowers, where Sibylla and several other women worked at their wonderful tapestries. A smile sneaked into his face when he stepped in, directly looking at Sibylla’s embroidery hoop and discovering she was dedicated to give Ibelin a visual shape – his beloved Ibelin, which had been his home for a time too short. On the other hand he would not quarrel with his fate. Saint-Martin-sur-Eure and the renovated and rebuilt castle with its unmatchable interior filled him with the same joy like Ibelin once did. But sometimes he missed the warm nights, during which he had sat on his terrace watching the star-adorned sky. Sibylla looked at him beyond the hoop and smiling brightly beckoned him over.
“Look! Ibelin!” she said. Balian approached and remarked she embroidered a scene, which never had been real: A banquet on his terrace at which except Sibylla her brother and her son were present. It was wishful thinking, alike the figure of her brother as an adult without any trace of leprosy. But where was written, she was about to picture only reality and not something she had wished? If he was true to himself, he had had the same wish – a feast with Sibylla, her son and her brother... He looked more closely and found on the hands of figures, which represented Sibylla and himself weddings rings.
“I know, it isn’t true, but I ever dreamed of it: To receive my brother at Ibelin as your wife”; she said lowly when she remarked, what had his attention.
“And who, except you and me and God the almighty, knows that?” he asked whispering.
“You are able giving shape to your dreams, my darling. That’s a great skill.”
“Thanks for the compliment,” she smiled. “You look thoughtful. What do you have?” she asked then.
“Thibaud de Blois’ herald was here for calling me to the army. I asked for reasons and initially got no answer. Can you tell me out of your knowledge of the French nobility, who is standing how to whom?”
“Yes and for Anjou-Plantagenet alike Blois”, Sibylla replied.
“Will you please explain your family history to me?”
“Yes, come with me.”

She accompanied Balian to the library, where she uncoiled a parchment, which displayed the Anjou pedigree.
“Here, these are Baldwin, Isabella and me, beneath is only my son Baldwin. Our father was Amaury d’Anjou, whose father was Fulk d’Anjou. Grandfather Fulk was Count of Anjou himself and left his fief to his oldest son Godfrey, when he went to the Holy Land in 1129 with his younger sons Baldwin and Amaury. There he married Melisende, the oldest daughter of Baldwin II – from the house of Bouillon – and received the crown of Jerusalem after his father-in-law’s death. Baldwin had had three daughters, but no sons. Therefore Melisende inherited the throne and crowned her husband King of Jerusalem.
Godfrey of Anjou, Fulk’s oldest son, led the line in France and had two sons: Henry, who became as Henry II King of England and Godfrey II, with whom Henry struggled on the dukedom of the Brittany. Henry II had five sons: William, who became Duke of the Normandy as child, but who died already in 1156; Henry the younger, who should inherit the crown of England and the Normandy; Godfrey III, who became Duke of Brittany, when the conflict on the dukedom between his father and his uncle was over; Richard, who is Duke of Aquitaine and Count of Anjou and the youngest son John, who has no title and is derisively called Lackland. Henry the younger and Godfrey had deceased early like William. Since then Richard is claimant to the throne and is Duke of the Normandy.
“I ... heard that already Henry the younger put up an uprising against his father. If it’s true, what the gossip murmured, the Princes of Anjou fight since 1182 with their father to get the actually governance over England”, Sibylla explained.

“Richard is your grand cousin, his father your cousin, do I see right?”
“Yes”
“How is it possible to be King of England and a vassal to the French King at the same time?”
“Well in 1066 the former English king, Edward the Confessor had had no children and had to name another nobleman for king, who seemed able to be King of England. There are clues that he promised the crown to Guillaume de Normandie, who was distantly related to him. But Edward had pretended the succession to the throne to Harold Godwin son too, who was either distantly related to him. Harold was crowned king, perhaps he was in England, while Guillaume as Duke of the Normandy was abroad. Guillaume called on the pope, who attested his claim and gave a holy banner to him. With Norman troops and the pope’s blessing Guillaume conquered England and became as William King of England. The Anjou-family got the Brittany, the Normandy, Anjou itself, Touraine with Tours, Poitou and Aquitaine including Gascony as French crown-fiefs. As Duke of the Normandy Richard also is one of the nine Peers of France, the most distinguished vassals of the French crown.”
“On which side is Philippe of France standing?” Balian asked.
“Philippe is anxious about his realm, because the whole west of France is tributary to the English royal house – more than the half French kingdom, even if it is a French fief. This size means power and power means danger for another powerful man. This was the reason for which Philippe didn’t go on the crusade. Henry could have used his absence to conquer whole France. Henry had had similar misgivings. He feared Philippe could use his absence to reincorporate the Angevin Empire – the French fiefs belonging to England. Philippe provided shelter to Henry the younger, his brothers and their mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine and fights at the princes’ side. Philippe does not want a strong England and can argue for his patronage with the fact that Richard is his vassal, to whom he has to provide cover,” Sibylla explained.
“The Count of Blois is vassal to the King of France, who surely cannot have interest in a too powerful England. But his fiefs are lain in direct neighbourhood of Richard’s,” Balian pondered. “The question is: Does Thibaud want to cut off a slice from the roast or does he want to help Richard to assure his claim?”
“No, surely not. And this is also based on the family history,” she replied and took out a second parchment from the chest which displayed the Blois’ pedigree.
“Look here: Thibaud III de Blois had had the son Stephen, who married Adela of England, the daughter of William of England. By this the Blois family is connected to the English royal house alike with Anjou. Moreover the French nobility is assisting Richard because of this relationship. Thibaud de Blois would not be able to annex more land without knowledge and will of the king. He must be feoffed with it. Therefore the Count of Blois will not take opposition to Richard. Furthermore Richard has vowed the oath of fealty as Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, so Philippe has to safeguard him as one of his most eminent vassals. He cannot afford to forsake one of his peers.”
Balian nodded.
“If that is true, I can enter the army.”
“You would support Richard, even though he has no claim for the throne just yet?” Sibylla asked astonished. Balian smiled softly.
“It is his claim; I have no doubt, since he is the claimant to the throne. It’s only a question of time, whether he ascend the throne now or later. Imagine, Richard and his younger brother would die during the struggle for the throne without any heirs. The crown of England would be given to another family. If I would help Richard, I’m helping to keep the crown of England in your family.”
Sibylla looked for a moment at her husband.
“Balian... if... if... Richard and John would die, then... then I’m still there...,” she began cautiously. He embraced her.
“Right, I didn’t notice that, my darling. But I consider it my duty as a knight, to help the legal claimant to the throne. Should it be the will of God, withdrawing both potential claimants before you, I will also fight vehement for you to get this heritage. But to remove the legal heir is wrong. I won’t do that,” he said lowly and kissed her. At first Sibylla was disappointed, that Balian did not take the chance to care for a great heritage of the son she wanted to give to him. On the other hand she hadn’t expect anything else from him than he wanted to do.
“The perfect knight,” she grinned and replied his kiss. If Balian was not led into temptation by the possibility, to get the English throne for a (yet not born) son, he was really the perfect knight, who outshined even the legendary King Arthur.

A few days later a mounted troop under the banner of the Count of Blois approached the castle of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure. In front of the main gate the leading captain let his men stop and called for Balian, who swiftly appeared on the rampart.
“My lord, the Count of Blois, orders you, Balian, Viscount of Saint-Martin-sur-Eure, to Orléans. You have to accompany us! You alone and unarmed!” the captain called up to the ramparts.
“Why?”Balian asked.
“Because your master orders you so,” the captain replied.
“I do not follow an order, which reason I do not know. That means your completely unfounded order, as well as for the calling to the army. Give me answers, captain, otherwise you’ll wait until doomsday,” Balian replied calmly.
“Well, you’ll see, what is to come,” the captain rumbled and, beckoned on his men to follow him.

It lasted not two hours, until a clearly bigger troop came up the way from Chartres; unmistakable led by Thibaud of Blois himself.
“Open the gate!” Thibaud demanded, when he had taken off his helmet. Balian let to unclose the gate and received the count at there. Thibaud looked at him a little while and grinned.
“I see the gossip is true, viscount.”
“Which gossip, Mylord?”
“That you are not to be intimidated and ask questions. You passed the examination, I created for you. May I enter?”
“It’s your castle, Mylord, with which you feoffed me,” Balian relied and hold Thibaud’s horse at the bridle, to let the count dismount.
“Welcome, Mylord”, Balian greeted with a nod and beckoned over a stableman, who brought the count’s horse to the stables.
“Any other would have followed the order to enter the army, Balian. You are really the only one, who dared to ask questions. What do you know about Richard of Anjou?”
“That he is the future King of England and the grand cousin of my wife,” Balian replied smiling and invited the count with a gesture to follow him into residential quarters.
“What else do you know?”
“That he struggles with the support of the King of France against his father, who wants to commit his throne to his son only as a dead man.”
“What’s your opinion?”
“I say, it’s only a matter of time, until Richard will be king. Why he should not become king in his father’s lifetime? Even Baldwin of Jerusalem made his heir during his lifetime co-king. Well, he had certain reasons, which do not apply in this case, but I consider it as wisely, duly to provide a well crossover. Additional our King Philippe has to safeguard his vassal.”
“You would support Richard?”
“Yes.”
“I want this either. What is hindering you, to enter the army?”
“Now nothing anymore, Mylord,” Balian smiled.

Although Balian did not want to follow the call to the army result, without to him good reasons were called for the campaign, he had prepared the decampment of his people for a long time. Only a few hours after the Count of Blois had appeared personally in Saint-Martin-sur-Eure, the Ibelins were clear to march off. Yet in chainmail and livery Balian took leave of Sibylla and his pupil.
“God bless you,” she said and embraced him.
“I won’t to tempt Him. Presumably he had to do anything better than to attend to a throne conflict, which would be solved of its own volition by fulfilling of time,” Balian sighed.
Sibylla smiled waggish, although she was about to cry, to give away him for a vague time and didn’t knew when, even if at all he would return. But this was a situation she had trained and retained her public face.
“Although I’ll pray to Holy God to protect you,” she said. Balian pressed her gently to himself.
“That is something different, than I would tell this wish myself to Him, my heart,” he replied and hugged Martin.
“Have an eye on aunt Sibylla,” he said and kissed the boy. Martin nodded with tears in his eyes.
“I will,” the little prince bravely promised with a breaking voice. “Will you come back?” he
asked. A shadow flitted over Balians face.
“If God wills it, yes,” he said lowly, fighting hard with a thick lump in his throat. A crooked look on Almaric, who took leave of his wife and children, demonstrated to Balian, that his men had a hard good-bye either. Martin embraced his uncle.
“I love you, uncle Balian. Please, come home soon,” he whispered. Balian pressed him tight to himself.
“I love you too, Martin,” he whispered. With effort he tore himself off.
“Sibylla, I have a request: When I’ll come home, please teach me your unbelievable restraint,” he begged his wife. She shook her head and Balian saw tears ascending to her eyes.
He nodded, stroke a last time over her face and mounted his horse.
“To Orléans! For King Philippe!” he cried.
“For the king!” his men replied like a choir. Then the troop, almost a hundred men-at arms, actuated and rode out of the castle’s gate, waving to women and children, as long as they were visible. When they reached the turn of the village’s street and were not longer in sight from the castle’s gate, the children ran in a hurry to the ramparts of the lower castle to beckon on fathers, brothers and uncles.



* A/N: Counter potent: A potent is a figure of heraldry and looks like the letter “T” in the “Arial”-font. Counter potents are potents, which are positioned alternate upright and downright. Therefore – especially on a small bar or thread – is arising a kind of fret, which is very decorative. It looks like this: ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴ ┬ ┴
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Old August 3rd, 2010, 12:50 AM
Guin Sparrow Guin Sparrow is offline
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You captured Balian's oath and nobleness very well. Well done!
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Old August 5th, 2010, 02:46 PM
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Gundolf Gundolf is offline
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Thank you very much, Guin. I hope, the next translated chapter will not last too long.
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