What can I say of Benedict Karlennon which has not already been spoken? Some little perhaps, some token of the memory which stirs my heart and brings unquiet dreams and thoughts of what might otherwise have been.
I met Benedict when my name was nothing in Albion and my face was unknown and he granted welcome and friendship and the comradely warmth I had scarce known since the fall of Beomarise and the destruction of Meudwy’s band.
He was a warrior-lord; brave and vigorous, a ready man with blade and board and well-tended armour in gleaming links and shining helm.
And yet he was more besides; for he spoke wisdom as bold as his deeds and he looked within the souls of those he named companions and spoke beyond the worldly restraint to call heroism and selfless valour from the hearts of men.
I contended in mock battle with this man in peace, and I stood as Captain and shield-brother to his side in war, and proud was I to have known him. And at the last I commend his memory in cause and word and deed to the hearth of heroes beyond the bridge of swords and the shining company gathered there.
No easy words did Benedict speak of duty and of love and of honour; no simple lies or pretty shadows.
“What makes a man a Knight?” said I.
“The truth in that man’s heart”, said he.
“And how to tell truth from lies?” said I.
And Benedict was silent for a time and looked upon the embers in the firepit.
“There is no simple answer”, said he, “But a man must do as he believes right.”
And that was how he lived and that was how he died, and I was there to watch Benedict do the right that dwelled within his heart and pass as true as ever he lived before.
But the bitter truth is yet; for to have known such a man is to know the burden of expectation and the poison of disappointment in men besides, and to have supped at the hearth of a hero is to look with sorrow upon the halls of lesser men.
What would Benedict have said to this?
Would that I know, but I believe it would have been no easy truth nor gentle promise yet.