Trell – history and a bit more

This is the journal of myself, William Marshall of the Knight Templars. I have decided to keep a journal of this, my first major quest, so that others may learn from what awaits me and so that in years ahead I can look back at my experiences. As I pen these first words I know not what lies in my future but I am certain that the Architect will be always be watching over me and that his teaching will allow me to excel at everything I do.

Forgive me in advance dear reader if my exploits do not excite you or live up to those of the other knights of the land. I am but a simple knight and not a master bard and weaver of tales. Who knows perhaps one day a bard will discover this journal and do me the justice of telling my tale properly.

It is with some trepidation that I find myself setting out to the swamps to the east. I have heard of many stories and strange tales that surround the area and I have to say that I am somewhat sacred of what awaits us. Who would not be scared of such a wild land, untouched by the hand of the architect?

This knight Galahad seems such a placid Knight that I find it excessive that the eight of us have been tasked with helping him to keep to the oaths that he has made. I’m sure the Grand Marshall has a different reason for so many of us being tasked to man this monastery in the swamp, especially when you consider some of the backgrounds and previous deeds of my companions.

Jacques de Lincoln joined the order at just twenty-one years of age, the youngest age the order will even consider a knight. He was considered after serving as the vanguards standard bearer at the infamous battle of the valley. He stood his ground despite those that fell in the onslaught. Despite his youth Jacques bravery and courage extend beyond all others.

Gaspard the Quiet is the fabled inquisitor who rooted out the corruption that Louis de Bois brought to the order with his hoarding of wealth intended for the poor. Nothing escapes the scrutiny of Gaspard’s ever watching eye.

Thomas Berard is a knight who gave up his life to crusade against the nefarious blood daemon queen Baphomet and those under the sway of her demonic pacts. Surely his assignment here suggests that Baphomet or her minions are active in this swamp?

My namesake, William de Grafton is a knight of considerable marital prowess unbeaten in single combat. He is a five-time champion of the both the joust and the grand tournament.

Philip Bollington, our chaplain, a scholar and sage specialising in numerous fields ranging from the beliefs of the faiths, to the arts of the druids, to the history of these lands. Philip is one of the orders most knowledgeable sages.

Henri Plantard is the most senior of the order present. Certainly this mission to watch over one simple man is not only below him but also, leading those present is also below that of his standing as a House Commander. Clearly his presence with us indicates that we are but the vanguard of a much bigger force sent to deal with whatever problem besets this swamp.

I know little about the last of our order assigned here. Rumours I have heard suggest that the secretive Baldwin is a recent convert to the order, released from imprisonment and pardoned from his crimes by the Archbishop himself. Of course I find such a story hard to believe, as even if such a story were true then surely he would not have been promoted in the order to the position of Knight Brother.

It has been made clear to us that Galahad’s task of protecting the banner he carries is his quest alone and that we are not here to help with that task. From looking at the area so much seems to need doing here that I am sure that taming and mastering these wetlands will be what we spend our time doing.

The order has chosen it’s finest for this mission so I know we should not be complacent with what lies ahead of us. To prepare I have done my research and taken time to find out all I can about the stories and folklore of this area so that we can be prepared to deal with the problems that await us.

There is a tale of a certain priest to make frequent journeys from Brighthelm Stane to Winchester, where the Bishop of Londinium lay ill. It was ambition rather than sympathy that prompted these journeys and his clerk usually travelled with him and made a competent guide. One night the weather was so stormy that both lost their way and ended up stranded in the marsh. Angrily the priest berated his clerk both verbally and physically and remarked that the forces of chaos would make a better guide than the clerk.

In the clerk’s tale he says that just as these words were uttered that a peasant appeared on a moorland pony, and offered to lead the way for the priest. The priest accepted and the peasant allowed him to ride the pony, while he led the animal onwards. As they travelled the clerk claims to have been insistent that this was the wrong way and they were heading further into the swamp, but the priest would not listen.

Eventually the peasant led the priest to a brightly lit tavern, filled with what the clerk refers to as a strange looking company, where he was offered hospitality and ate and drunk the night away. The clerk as a punishment for getting the priest lost was not allowed into the tavern by his master and had to sleep with their ass on the wet stable floor.

In the morning, before the priest had time to awake from his drunken stupor, the clerk claims that the tavern simply disappeared replaced by nothing but swamp, and that the priest was drowned as he fell into the bottomless bog.

This tale could be viewed as a simple fabrication made by the clerk to cover how the unkind priest he travelled with was lost or possibly even murdered. However it is not the only story that talks of such things. There are many tales of unexplained disappearances and of strange lights seen in the distance that the lost follow expecting to find civilisation only to find calamity. So numerous are these stories that there must definitely be some sort of benevolent spirits that live hidden in the swamp and lure the unwary to their deaths.

Other tales talk of the strange mermaid maidens who when in water seem to take on the characteristics of the fish of the sea. There is a tale told by the people of Lowestoft. They had long wondered at the beauty of a richly dressed lady who attended divine service at the church of the architect. None knew whence she came, but when she fell in love with a local by the name of Matthew Trewella she lured him away from his wife, by all accounts tongues began to wag. Neither was seen again for many years, until one Sunday morning the sailors on a ship anchored near Hythe Cove were surprised to see a mermaid rising from the water, and recognised her as none other than the mysterious visitor to Lowestoft church.

Although a simple tale there is clearly evidence that the priest of the architect in Lowestoft at the time took it seriously as her likeness can be seen to this day carved on a pew-end in the church.

Another story I have heard is that of Bran the Blessed. This is a tale of a wise and well ruler who ruled these lands and firmly held the trust of his people. On his death it is said that his head was placed under the White Mount of Londinium, facing out to sea where it protected the city from invasion. It is said that Arthur, much to the concern of the people of Londinium dug up the head and moved it elsewhere so that it could be reburied to protect another site of importance. Could this artefact now live in the swamp just south of the city? Is it leakage from such a powerful artefact that is responsible and the source of the magical powers that affect the waters of the swampland? There is an old wives tale that talks of the water of the river Stour. It is said that so magical are these waters that whichever of a married couple should drink of the water in the southern stretch of the river first, he or she would have the mastery in their wedded life.

We have finally arrived at the monastery, just as I was beginning to wonder if the swamp was some form of endless evil set to test our faith. Problem after problem challenged us on the journey in and we were quite glad to finally reach the monastery. Our new home however, is not in the best of states and it has certainly seen better days since it was deserted as a sign of respect after the death of its last abbot.

What a difficult act we have to follow. The Abbot Carmichael is certainly one of the church’s greatest figures and someone that each and every person should strive to follow. He was born in Bollington the son of a knight called Jocelin. Gilbert was unfortunately unable to receive automatic squiredom due to having been born with a twisted spine. With such a big deformity many would have done well just to survive childhood let alone go on to the great things that were destined for the Abbot. Gilbert was shunned by many due to his repulsive appearance and was raised and educated in the ways of the faith of the Architect in a secluded monastery.

When he returned home his father gave him the livings of Bollington. Despite his own shortcomings Carmichael decided that he was still able to ensure that others did not suffer. Gilbert gave the majority of the revenue of the benefices given to him by his father to the poor and founded and taught in free schools in his parish. Despite have a moderate income Gilbert lived in a room over the porch in a church in Bollington.

His own condition meant that his body was unable to do any work more strenuous than teaching yet that did not stop him from coming up with another truly brilliant idea for providing for the poor in his spare time. He repaired an old dilapidated apiary in the grounds of his church and purchased some bees to make it operational. This apiary practically looked after itself and all Carmichael had to do was collect the honey every now and then. Even his crippled body could do this simple task. Never forgetting those in need he would travel around the area and give away the produce from the toils of his little honeybees to the poor.

As time progressed his single hive in the monastery become a full apiary and then he spread his endeavour across more and more of the architects monasteries. Aperies were founded in monasteries at Alvingham, North Ormsby, Six Hills, West Torrington and Lincoln. Others followed until there was a total of thirteen apiaries all giving their produce to the poor.

Carmichael became fascinated with the little honeybees that were doing so much for the poor and he was undoubtedly the greatest expert on the subject to ever live. From his study he believed that the bee was the most advanced of the entire animal kingdom. He discovered that the simple looking insect had a complex society based on a feudal system. I have read the abbot’s treaty on the insects and it is remarkable. Carmichael observed that the hive is run by a King bee and under him sits his band of knights ready to defend the hive from attack. Finally, below the knights are the workers, who collect the pollen and turn into honey as well as build the most complicated honeycomb structures. Carmichael deduced that only a truly great architect could be responsible for designing the hexagonal combs used by the bees for scholars had produced complicated proofs that they are the most efficient shape to fill any space.

It was said that the Architect blessed Carmichael himself and protected him. One story tells how while he was staying in Londinium fire consumed the houses surrounding the one in which he was staying. Instead of fleeing he remained in his room praying to the Architect and the fire raged on around him consuming all but the room in which he was situated.

When Carmichael finally died at the supposed age of 104 the church had twenty-six aperies in service. The abbot was housed out here by choice in this monastery in the swamp. The swamp was a perfect home for the little man, as his beloved bees apparently thrived on the local flora. When he died, despite his age, he still personally tended to a field of hives built deliberately out in the swamp near to the wild lilies that grew there.

Perhaps once we have settled here I will wander out and try to find his field and see the shrine dedicated to him. It is said that his bees have given him one final gift and that his body is perfectly preserved for all time in a casket filled with honey.

Things here in the swamp have been slow as we all settle into the temple. We have yet to explore the area around, mainly due to a lack of time. Our mornings are spent unpacking and working on repairing the dilapidated monastery and bringing it up to scratch.

Brother Phillip has not let us get lapse with religious matters and enforces our routine. At sext without fail, he rings the bell that signifies it is time for us to gather and eat the first meal of the day. Before we sit he leads us in pray to the Architect to thank him for the meal we receive in exchange for the work we have done for the faith. For the time being our supplies of bread, salt, wine and water are supplemented with the goods that we brought with us into the swamp but we know that the time approaches that we must supplement our supplies with local produce. Brother William boasts that he is quite the fisherman and that he will be able to teach us this craft, as with all things he has turned this simple mundane task into something that will be competed over. Brother Baldwin made the comment that he was thankful that the order had a vow of poverty, as otherwise he was sure he would have lost all he owned to Philip and his games three times over.

Brother Thomas has requested that, as there are only nine of us present in the temple that we revoke the orders normal rules that would cause our charge Galahad to sit separately from us at meal times. Henri declared that although Galahad was not a knight of the order he was a knight and certainly welcome at his table. No one objected so we now treat the quiet knight as our equal. I’m sure Brother Thomas intended the change to bring Galahad out of his shell but so far he remains oh so quiet.

Having reread this entry it occurred to me that to the uninitiated it might seem strange that we would have made Galahad sit separately to us. He is after all an initiate of our faith and our ward here in the swamps. So that you understand the significance of this act, because sharing our table with him is in no way a minor thing, I feel that the need to explain both why and how our order is organised.

The concept of the monastic vow of obedience is that a monk should obey the instructions of his Abbot as if he were obeying his Lord. This oath is extended in the knighthood of the templars to further instruct that all members of the knighthood explicitly follow the orders of their superiors. This is one of the core tenants of the order and to easily distinguish the levels of seniority within our order we must have a strict rank structure and socialisation across the classes would only serve to diminish their importance and weaken what the order represents.

Yesterday, I briefly discussed the importance of the orders rank structure. As the heavy rain keeps us under shelter today I have decided to take the time to detail the structure of the Knight Templars.

I only detail the main bodies of men and the main command of the order, leaving out the individual commanders and their ranks.

I will begin with the Sick and Elderly Brothers. These are the former members of the order who have retired, be it to ill health, old age, or injury. The order does not forget it brothers and continues to house and feeds them when they are in need. However as non-active members of the order these members are expected to follow with obedience the word of all other members they are therefore at the bottom of the orders rank structure.

Next are the Rural Brothers, these are the local men who will fight alongside the knights in battle. More often than not, members of the rural brothers are assigned to specific churches and monasteries. Many members of the church of the architect are treated as being rural brothers for the sake of command and their position within the order. Although rarely equipped with the same resources as full knights these men are plentiful and loyal to the order. Due to their attachment to churches many of the Rural Brothers also answer to members of the faith. Although the Rural Brothers have no formal uniform, many may carry or wear the symbol of the faith.

The Sergeant Brothers are the support troops of the order. The order equips its Sergeant Brothers with similar equipment to that of a full knight, however the sergeants normally would only have at most one horse and none would ever have squires under them. Unlike knights, members of the Sergeant Brothers do not need to be of noble birth. The Sergeant Brothers wear black or dark brown tabards with the red fish tailed cross of the Architect. When they were deployed or in battle some members of the Sergeant Brothers would take a position of increased status. These individuals became Standard Bearers and carry the order’s banners into combat. Whilst carrying a banner they are given more authority and the ability to command those that would normally be their peers.

Next come the order that I belong to, the Knight Brothers. We are the full knights who wear the white mantle (symbolic of our newfound purity) emblazoned with its perfectly symmetrical red cross of the Architect. We are what most people think of when they hear our orders name. We are well equipped by the order and provided with weapon and heavy armour we are also assigned three horses to allow us to be highly mobile. It is not uncommon to see members of my order also travelling with retainers and squires. A priest who also serves as a knight, such as Brother Philip, takes the title Chaplain and although he has no additional status to any other member of the Knight Brothers he is an exception to the normal uniform rules. Instead of white a chaplain wears the traditional green mantle of a priest of the faith with the red architect cross, however to show that they are members of the order they wear white leather gloves. These gloves are sacred to the faith and other than a chaplain only a master architect is permitted to wear them.

Above the Knight Brothers reside the individual knights that command the Templars.

Whilst the rain briefly let up I decided to help Brother Phillip unpack his many books and scrolls. While we worked, I talked to him about the banner that the knight Galahad carries around with him at all times. I have to say that I was shocked to discover that it is not the minor trinket that I believed it to be, but an artefact of power the actual Banner of the King itself.

I like many have heard the stories of the banner told around campfires by travellers on the roads of the land. From such tales I was led to believe that the banner was the hem of Arthur’s cloak but Phillip informs me that it is a much older artefact than what popular tales dictate. According to Phillip the banner has a much older history and is as important a device as the blade Excalibur. Both play their part; the blade is used to find the True King and the banner is then used to bind the King to the land.

The Banner of Kings, as Phillip calls it, is apparently used by the True King to swear his oath of servitude. Once again I find myself undecided why we are here in the swamp. Are we here to protect this banner? Or are we here to conquer the wild lands in the Architect’s name?

During a quiet moment I brought up the subject of Galahad and his banner with Henri. The strangeness of the knight and his task grows with each day and with each piece of knowledge I receive. Apparently Galahad has made an oath to the King himself to protect the banner with his life. Such an oath can not be taken lightly yet Henri also tell me that when this Galahad joined the Church of the Architect he made another oath to forswear all violence and to live a life of peace. Such contradictory oaths seem madness to me especially with the importance of the first oath and the item he swore to protect.

It dawned on me that perhaps we are here to cover the foolishness of Galahad’s second oath. I thought that perhaps our task was to ensure that his oath to protect the banner was actually carried out by someone competent. However Henri insists that protecting the banner is a task for Galahad alone and that we are here only to help him keep the oath he made to the order. I can’t help but think that Henri believes the second oath to be more important. I was going to tell Henri what I had discovered from Phillip about the significance of the banner yet the bell rang for our evening pray and we had to cut short our conversation.

As we drunk over dinner I told the tale associated with the water of the river Stour and its effects on married couples. Although I thought it was a harmless tale I could not help think it was this tale that caused Galahad to excuse himself from the meal and sit outside staring into the swamp for the rest of the evening.

I sit here at compline and write in the glow of our order’s night lamps looking forward to the excitement that tomorrow brings. We have decided that tomorrow will be day of our first planned foray out into the swamps around us. I do not know what danger awaits us but I know that what ever we face we will serve the Architect well.

The knight Galahad intrigues me. He does not take his oath to protect his banner lightly and carries it with him wherever he goes. Even now as we sleeps in his dark corner of the room the banner rests in his arms. Such fanaticism cannot be healthy and perhaps I should have a word with him and tell him to relax his guard. There are after all eight of us here now that can help him with his task and I am sure that his banner is more than safe with us. After all if any thing were to happen his oath of pacifism isn’t going to help him defend the banner.

Myself, Jacques, Gaspard, and William were the first to journey out into the swamp to discover what surrounds our new home. After the problems we had initialling travelling into the swamp in the first place we decided things would be easier if we left our horses in the monasteries stable and ventured around on foot.

My first discovery is that the swamp is far too dangerous a place to travel alone. I would have considered William to be one of the fittest people I know; his strength is without doubt far greater than any of the rest of us. Seeing him trapped in lose wet sand slowly sinking while he was unable to free himself made me realise just how dangerous the wilds are and exactly why we must not allow places already tamed and covered with the safety net of civilisation to slip back into the their old ways. Jacques’ quick thinking saved William, but I will always remember that moment of realisation that something so simple could beat us.

The water from the swamp and this constant rain is a much more dangerous enemy than the creatures that reside around here. Its constant presence in our boots has caused all manner of problems for us. I find more of my time each day is spent treating the damage it has caused to the feet of my companions.

The first signs of problems were numbness in the feet followed by discolouration of the skin and swelling. Every case is different and I have seen feet turning both red and blue amongst the order. Increasing the number of times the men change their foot wear and frequent changing of their bandages does seem to alleviate the problem although I fear that without a good supply of grease made from the fat of the ox that I will be unable to hold back infection and the problem will increase until it gets to the stage where amputation is the only viable option. I have sent a request to the Drapier to send up supplies of animal fat and pray to the Architect that it will arrive in time.

Today was a dark day. Heavy rain returned and once again kept us inside the monastery all day. Fortunately the repairs we made to the roofs held up and we were dry at least. I do not know what led to the problem whether it was the confinement to the small building because of the rain or simply the fact that we have spent too much time seeing the same old faces and tensions have finally built up.

I was in another chamber when the fight started so I do not know who actually begun the confrontation. We all heard the commotion and came running from various places in the monastery. Galahad and William were rolling over the floor wrestling like northern barbarians. The knight Galahad was a wild man berserk with fury laying into William.

Henri had heard the disturbance from the stable and had came running across the courtyard through the pouring rain and burst into the room dripping wet. As he burst through the door Baldwin had started kicking Galahad quite violently in an attempt to get him to release his death grip from around William’s throat. Henri snatched up the banner and screamed at Galahad to calm down. This distracted him enough for Baldwin and Gaspard to hold down the still wild Galahad while I went to William to see if he was all right.

Galahad gradually calmed down as Henri explained to him that no one here wanted his banner and we were no threat to him. Galahad wouldn’t settle until Henri swore that the banner was Galahad’s alone and that all of us were only interested in ensuring that his fits of rage were brought under control and that he kept his oath of non-aggression. Brother Gaspard agreed with Henri and pleaded with Galahad to remember what was at stake. Afterwards Galahad was left alone to sit in total silence why we all tried our best to find tasks so we could leave him to contemplate over what had happened. Henri told us he would keep an eye on him and Myself, Brother Gaspard, and Brother Baldwin took over from Henri the tasks that he was doing in the stables.

From what I can gather from talking to Gaspard, the incident started with Galahad asleep in a chair with the banner propped up against him. William apparently did nothing other than causally move the banner so that he could clear the window to look outside. Gaspard describes Galahad response as almost supernatural in ability, as soon as the banner left his side he flew into the rage against William from sleep to berserk fury quicker than a heart beat.

How do we respond to this action alone? If Galahad had been a member of our order then our choices would have been made for us and he would be facing expulsion. But, I find that I must remind myself that he isn’t a member of the order and doesn’t have any of our oaths. Something that became more apparent to me as the day progressed.

I remember remarking in the stable that Galahad was normally so calm and that it was hard to believe that someone could just change like that. Surely we must have missed something more that had happened and triggered the incident. I was so shocked when Gaspard then recited the tale of Galahad and his wife. It is truly a horrific tale and I know it must be true for Gaspard is not a man to exaggerate or lie. Apparently the tale starts with the couple having an argument over something so minor that not even those involved would be able to remember what it was over. Rather than being reasonable Galahad had lashed out at his wife and struck her in the face. This alone would be an unforgivable heinous crime but apparently it was only the start of Galahad’s fall. As time progressed Galahad got more and more violent and more public with his outbursts, attacking all manner of people for the slightest provocation. The attacks against his wife got worse until finally he beat her to within an inch of her life. Fearing for her life Galahad’s wife fled taking her daughter with her into the fairy realms.

Again another surprise awaited me. When I remarked that Galahad did not look old enough to have a child, Gaspard remarked that that was the problem with the fae, you could never tell just how old they were from either their appearance or from their actions. This is when Baldwin dropped his bombshell that Galahad had not one child but a total of four. After his wife had fled and left him his outburst got worse and fearing for his other children’s safety, one of the knightly orders acted to protect the children and took them into custody. Gaspard denied it was the Knight Templars or the Church of the Architect but he did admit that the organisation wasn’t sure exactly who was responsible. He suggested many likely candidates: The Erebus Order, The Order of Thorns, the children’s mother, various fae courts, plus all manner of individuals and organisations that I have never heard of and I regret due to the excitement of the day can not remember to write down here.

I wish I had known all this when we first come into the swamp as it certainly puts some perspective on our mission here and perhaps I wouldn’t have decided that this Galahad was fit to sit with me over meals.

The swamp is full of numerous hardships, not the least of which are the dense droves of disease carrying mosquitoes. On a hot day these swampland insects settle on the back of your neck so thickly that in the process of shoving them away, you draw back a bloody hand. In addition to the mosquitoes and the diseases that they have caused we have faced other dangers. Wild wolves roam the area in large packs and you can often hear their howling late at night. Poisonous snakes and other wild animals are also plentiful and you would have to be very fortunate not to encounter something if you were to venture out alone.

The surface is generally level, and the more stable area sustains a dense growth of forest trees, among them the beech, ask, elm, oak, and poplar are most abound. The topsoil of the swamp is about a foot thick, and composed of black, decayed matter, extremely fertile and ideal for grain and vegetables. Beneath this, and extending several feet, is a rich yellow clay, having large quantities of the fertilizing substances such as lime. Lower still is a stratum of black clay of such a great depth that I have been unable to establish if there is anything beneath it.

The water of the swamp is unpleasant to the taste, from containing a large quantity of sulphur; it is, however, it does appear to be healthy and I suspect that it will be peculiarly beneficial to persons of a costive habit, or having diseases of the blood.

Tonight over dinner Jacques told us a tale told around the fires in his hometown. The tale was of Sir Kay travelling through swampland with a small number of his knights being chased by an army of bandits and brigands from the north. In the tale Kay, gets all of his men to take off and discard their armour before attempting to travel across the swamp and reeds. At first the men are reluctant as without armour they will be unable to fight the pursuing forces but eventually agree to Sir Kay out of respect for his great wisdom. Once they get to the other side they set an ambush for the pursuing forces and predictably Sir Kay forces win against the weakened bandits due to their survivors being too tired and weak from slogging through the swamp in their armour. With stories like this I always wonder if they are true or simply a fabrication. Certainly having seen some of the dangerous and weird beasts out in the swamp there is no way I will be travelling without my armour. I wonder if someone should not police such tales to ensure that the advice that they give is right and beneficial? Will years from now someone who doesn’t know about swamps hear this tale and think that this is sound advice?

As we returned from the swamp today and made the final approach to the monastery I was incredibly relieved to see the mules carrying the supplies we have been waiting for just inside the gate area. I run on ahead to the monastery ready to great our saviour and help him unload. However, when I got to the small monastery it was surprisingly quite and deserted and I couldn’t see anyone anywhere obvious.

As the others arrived behind me they too realised something was wrong and we began a search of the area. We had left both Brother Jacques and Galahad to look after the monastery while the rest of us had gone out exploring. So they absence along with that of the supply man was very strange indeed. Matters became more worrying when Baldwin located a pool of blood on the wet floor of the main room.

We were just about to split into groups and search the surrounding swamp when we saw Galahad in the distance returning towards the monastery. We went out to him and questioned him on what had occurred but he refused to talk on the matter until we were all inside. Once we were all together he spun a very far-fetched tale that I don’t think any of us believed.

Galahad told us that he and Jacques were in the Monastery resting when they heard the sound of the mules approaching. Jacques had gone out to investigate and returned with Friar Benedict, a member of the order with whom I was familiar and had met several times. According to Galahad, Benedict was weary from the travel and so Galahad himself had offered to brew refreshment for the Friar on the fire. As he reached across to hand him his cup, he claims that Jacques out of nowhere leapt across the room sending him and the cup to the floor. When he finally got to his feet he claimed that Jacques was repeatedly striking the Friar with his morning star. Galahad claimed to have tried to restrain Jacques but by then it was already too late and there was nothing he could do for the friar.

According to Galahad, Jacques then run off into the swamp. He claims to have spent some time looking for him before giving up and returning to the monastery where he took the friars body out to the swamp and buried it. We all travelled to the site Galahad buried the body and said some words at the grave.

It is clear that not one of us believed Galahad’s story and tonight we all sat in total quiet wondering what to do. Although we are silent it is clear to me and clear to everyone else that it was Galahad who attacked Jacques and Benedict and then disposed of the bodies to hide the evidence. His cruel and violent nature cannot be controlled and action must be taken as he is a murderer and deserves justice. Despite it being long after compline, Gaspard and Baldwin have just left to look for Jacques. From the direction they departed the monastery I suspect that they actually intend to exhume the grave and reveal the falseness is Galahad’s words.

I realise now that my words of yesterday have greatly wronged the knight Galahad. How simple it is to judge someone on his past action when what appears as solid evidence of a new crime is discovered. I realise now the need to have an independent outsider to sit on trails and mediate disputes. Early this morning just before terce, Jacques returned to the monastery and handed himself in to Henri. He has confirmed Galahad’s account and admits that he did indeed strike and kill Friar Benedict without provocation. He claims not to know the reason why he acted such and his behaviour to him is just as unexpected as it is to us.

We all know that such an action will automatically expel him from the order and that there is little can be done for him. Even if the friar had recovered from his wounds such an assault would certainly mean expulsion. Striking a member of the church is not tolerated unless under extreme cause. Despite little hope of success Brother Henri has numerous ideas and theories to get to the bottom of the situation. Henri had Brother Thomas sit with Jac for the duration of this morning trying to establish if he was under the charm or control of some sort of Daemon. Despite a very lengthy exchange Thomas could not discover any such daemonic taint and now Henri is looking for other methods to explain Jacques behaviour.

I am not sure what else can be done to investigate Jacques. Suppose that during one of these particular strong bouts of rain we are experiencing I take time to shelter in one of the many dead trees in the swamp. Now lightning strikes the dead tree that I am sheltering in and kills me instantly. Now entirely by coincidence at the same time the tree is reduced to its elements that after a few moments they settle as my physical replica. This replica of me, I shall call it the Swampman, infused by the power of the lightning comes to life. It moves exactly as I did; according to its nature it departs the swamp, encounters and seems to recognize my colleges. It moves here to my home in the monastery and seems to speak and write the articles I would have written. No one can tell the difference, since the Swampman speaks the same way as myself and thinks just what I would have thought in his place. What would my colleagues be able to do to tell that this Swampman was not myself? Surely there must be some sort of test that could be done on the Swampman to prove he was not I? Some sort of question that will reveal his true nature, such as in the case of that puzzle with a guard protecting two doors leading to treasure and certain death.

We have converted Philip’s storage room into a makeshift jail so that Jacques can be detained at the monastery until such a time that he can have a trial. I believe that Henri is desperately trying to delay the inevitable so that he can figure out what actually occurred during that day when we were all out in the swamp.

The normally silent Gaspard also believes that there must have been a good reason for the attack and is looking into the matter to see if there is any past between Brother Jacques and Friar Benedict. Could Jacques have some sort of dark secret that he believed Benedict would reveal?

Brother Baldwin confided with me that he feels that the attack is too out of character for Jacques and that he can not help wondering if he is actually covering for the knight Galahad and protecting him. The only reason for such a thing occurring, is if Jacques is accepting such a dark fate because he feels he is to blame for failing to stop Galahad committing the act of murder? But surely even then you would want the murderer punished.

All of there theories seem to require some sort of mammoth secret to exist and I am reluctant to accept a far-fetched scheme when a much more simple explanation could explain the deed. Perhaps the act of promoting a soldier to knighthood is flawed. So much of your personality is a result of your early years and upbringing that knighthood is something that you must be born into. It takes years of learning and study to make a knight and by its virtue only a true knight is qualified to teach this process. Squiredom is necessary and you cannot allow anyone the powers that belonging to an order provides. Can we truly expect those that have not devoted their life to the knightly ideals to act in a way befitting a knight? Or instead can we only expect the thuggery the Jacques exhibited.

Now I admit that some times things can go wrong with such a system and that occasionally a knight will be made who doesn’t follow the code and is a disgrace to knighthood. In such times I understand why steps must be taken to remove them. Just by looking at Galahad you can see why someone felt there was a need to remove his own children from him so that they did not grow into his own image. But, in my opinion moving them after they had been exposed was perhaps a pointless gesture. The sins of the father are the sins of the son, and I very much doubt any children of this Galahad will ever be able to escape from the shadow he has cast over them and become anything different than their father. There is a saying; “Give me a child until he is seven and I have him for life” and this is certainly true no proteges have ever came from a bad teacher.

Gaspard wishes to either send message across the swamp of Jacques’ deed to request a party to collect him so that he could face his trial or instead for some of us to leave and escort the prisoner out of the swamp. To many of us, this seemed like a reasonable request and the trip across the swamp seemed a necessary task. Not only must Jacques be dealt with but also the family and friends of the good Friar need to be told.

For a reason that I can understand, Henri has declined both requests and insisted that everyone remain here in the monastery. Gaspard was not happy with this.

Forgive me reader for the state of the previous entries. The insane Galahad attacked my journal and I have managed to salvage what I could. As my supplies of parchment are finite and I forgot to request more in our recent acquisition of supplies; I have decided not to rewrite those passages not totally lost, until such a time as someone is assigned to take over from the late Friar Benedict and I am certain that my supply will not run out.

Galahad is nothing more than a wild animal whose only response to things that he does not like it violence and destruction. His paranoia is unbelievable and he convinced himself that, as he had not seen the contents of my journal that it must be about him. Not only did it initiate violence on myself but also once he had my journal he attacked that also. I desperately tried to stop the brute and only achieved getting myself knocked to the ground, fortunately both of his hands were filled or I fear that he may have drawn his sword on me. Brothers William and Baldwin, come to my aid and caused these pages of my journal to fall from his grasp and scatter across the floor as he suddenly needed a hand free to fight back.

At first I felt that what happened next was entirely in my imagination as a result of the blow to the head that I suffered as I hit the ground. Everything took on a dreamlike quality with the pages of my journal fluttering around the room as if the fight were occurring in the clouds of the sky. I remember feeling as if I was paralysed stuck to the floor my body unresponsive to any attempt to get up. As before Henri came running across the room as soon as he become aware of the fight, but instead of breaking up the fracas as I would have expected he leapt on his brothers and joined the fight on Galahad’s side. I did not see anymore as Galahad’s banner had been knocked from his hands and fell on top of me blocking my view, although at the time I have to admit in my strange state I believed that I had fallen into the grey of the clouds.

After I had come round Henri made me tend to the injured including the scoundrel Galahad who had struck me. He had bled considerably and lost a great deal of blood in the fight. Never before today have I found myself in a position where I didn’t have any care for a patient under my care. The temptation to refuse was incredibly strong but at the end of the day regardless of what happens to us in life we must remember our vows and to follow the orders of our superiors.

We are really living in troubled times here in the monastery. Henri has detained Gaspard for attempting to take Jacques from his cell and escort him out of the swamp so that he could face a trial for murder. Henri is clearly acting bizarrely and now Galahad is the only one of us that stands on his side. It is Gaspard’s job to react to corruption in the order and I am unsure of what should one do now that Gaspard has been locked up by the very thing he is supposed to fights against. Should I follow my superior’s orders or should I ignore him believing him compromised.

The monastery is a quite place, with many of us avoiding conversation, as we fear will it will lead. Galahad baits myself, and those that recently came to my aid. He is truly is a cruel man, where as a true knight would have apologised for his madness instead he gloats and goads us. I am convinced that he acts this way in an attempt to cause more trouble to flair up.

Ironically it is only those that are locked in the makeshift cell that have any real freedom. Philip spends much of his day with them claiming that he needs access to his research materials which are locked in that room. They must be getting ample opportunity to talk openly. When I get a chance to talk to Phillip unseen by Galahad or Henri I will ask him what Gaspard believes we should do over the matter of Henri’s madness.

Phillip now permanently replaces Jacques in the cell. Jacques reported to Henri that Gaspard and Phillip were plotting against him and trying to undermine his command and the structure of the order. Henri immediately pardoned Jacques and locked up Phillip.

I am not an expert on the intricacies of the laws of the order but I am sure that such a pardon isn’t in any way valid or allowable. As each day has passed my belief that I should team up with William and release Gaspard increases. I feel that I must act and am having trouble sleeping with the dilemma running through my head.

In the early hours of the night I took great risk and snuck out as everyone had drifted off to sleep. I knocked on the back of the cell and got Gaspard’s attention to seek council about what he wanted me to do. Phillip told me not to blame my brothers for their actions, as he suspected that somehow the powerful magics from Galahad’s banner was leaking and its presence was somehow turning people mad and causing themselves to act against their very nature. Phillip believes if the banner could be separated from those it affects then they will probably return to normal. Although I am no match in a fight for many of the knights here I feel that this task is my chance to prove myself.

In the light of the day I now see what madness Gaspard and Phillip sprout. They are very charming and it is amazing how easy it is for them to lure you into their schemes. I see now that they are true agents of chaos, wanting nothing more than to cause infighting and destroy the order of the monastery and the land.

With them out of the way and locked up today was the first step back to the monastery operating normally. Most of us have been friendly and are beginning to get on with our lives. The only one that I worry about is William who is still keeping to himself. I believe he still harbours some hatred to poor Galahad and unjustly wishes him harm. I prey that Henri shows the same restraint with William that he has shown with the poor unfortunate Gaspard and Phillip.

The swamp is truly a marvellous place. The waters bring forth more living creatures than the land itself. I wonder if these varied creatures of the swamp waters breath water as we breath air? Or do they perhaps exist on a diet of both? Perhaps they are the opposite of us, breathing water and drinking air. I have to wonder if it Is unsanitary to drink the water that you live in or perhaps is it no different from us breathing the air that we live in. Surely there is a difference? Do not thinks spread in water more so that air?

How do these wildmen manage to sleep while under the surface? Surely logic dictates that they must return to the land to sleep, the cold and wetness of the water would surely disturb their rest. Just as a cold breeze would keep us awake.

The more questions that I find myself asking the more my desire for answers grows. I wonder if it would be possible for me to make some form of large container to hold water from the swamp so that some specimens can be viewed up close and studied? I think I may collect some samples when we go into the swamp tomorrow.

It is over.

We are all once again ourselves and the evil has been purged from the Monastery. It is such a wondrous thing to be myself once again and out from under the cloud that has darkened our lives. Only now that we are released can we see just how much we were affected.

Our saviour was Baldwin who did what needed to be done and struck unexpectedly against Galahad and killed him. None of us had time to react or stop him before the deed was done and we were released from Galahad’s spell.

Phillip tells us that the banner had somehow corrupted Galahad and given him unexplainable powers to control the people around himself and bend them to his will. Henri has decided that the banner itself is dangerous and that it should be locked away so that it can do no more harm. Phillip joked that he has seen so much of his storage room lately that he is glad to give it up for the banner. Henri has also decided that for the time being we will guard the banner to ensure that no one else can come under its spell until it can be dealt with. Phillip says that the information necessary to sort out the banner is in his books and he will set to work on investigating how to deal with it.

Although neither Henri nor Gaspard can pardon Jacques for the murder he committed of the innocent Benedict, it is clear to all that he was under Galahad’s control at the time and we have all agreed to speak for him when the matter goes to trial.

I have seen today so much blood. Such foolishness to think that something like this could end so simply. It would appear that death is not something that poses a problem for Galahad; his evil knows no bounds and has made him truly immortal. Vespers was interrupted by Galahad kicking open the door.

Our shock quickly turned to rage at the intrusion before madness took hold. I can remember Galahad cackling insanely as rather than us directing any of our attention towards him, everyone instead descended onto each other leaving him entirely unmolested. Even despite the fact that he initiated repeated attacks upon us, only one of our number was able to direct blows against him. Everyone else seemed under his control and forced to attack everyone else.

If you could have chosen which one of us was able to somehow resist Galahad’s control you could not have asked for any one better than Brother William. He skill of arms easily out matched the rest of us and he managed to emerge from the battle while the rest of us were either incapacitated or dying. I was still conscious as he closed on Galahad and managed to beat him in single combat. At the time whatever foul enchantment I was under was compelling me to stop William. I remember crawling across the floor my legs useless desperately hoping that I could get to him in time to aid Galahad. The change as Galahad died was amazing, suddenly my whole outlook reversed and I was normal again.

It was then that I first noticed the carnage that surrounded me. So my of my brothers were carrying mortal injures that it was a miracle that only one of them died before I could administer aid.

Poor Henri, he death is a terrible loss to the order. Yet, we have no time to mourn. We know that we have until Galahad next returns to find a solution.

Phillip believes that we failed because the banner is the source of the magic that controls us and not Galahad. While the banner still exists we will be unable to destroy Galahad. Phillip has researched what he believes are some ideas on how to deal with the curse in the banner and as I sit here and write this he is frantically pouring over his books.

Phillip didn’t sleep last night and is very frustrated. He has come up with two ways of dealing with removing the curse from the banner. The first is simply impractical as it involves crowning a new King to replace Arthur when he passes on and the other he insists is not achievable by the resources in the swamp. He needs more time so we must face Galahad again.

William is confident that he can take on Galahad provided that the rest of us do not interfere. Gaspard who has stepped up to fill the late Henri’s shoes has proposed that we will all be tied up tightly with rope so that we cannot join the battle. William has agreed and shortly we will get ready for Galahad to return.

Why did William not realise that something was wrong when Galahad was so arrogant. Why did he not realise things weren’t going to plan. The pair of them traded a few blows and it was obvious that William was the better fighter and would be the victor, could he not see that Galahad knew this yet was still smiling.

If only it had been just the two of them then we would have had our extra day and been able to remove this curse. Instead now I find all is lost and it is down to me to try and get help. But how can I think of bringing forces to bear on Galahad, what will become of them when they come before him. The thought of what has become of my comrades makes me want to give up now. Those are not the words of a knight I must be strong. Yet why am I hiding here in what is nothing more than a cupboard.

Who would have thought things would go like this. Just as William thought he had won the fight a dark shape came out of the shadows and killed poor William with a single blow. Frantically a room full of tied up people tried to escape their bonds but William had been too thorough.

It was clear that the dark corrupted form of Henri still had much of his personality and his honour. Henri was so reluctant to compel with Galahad’s commands to kill my helpless brothers. Once again somehow forced by the evil Galahad to do his deeds. I will always remember Henri refusing Galahad and then folding to his will when Galahad offered to kill us instead. The sad thing is so strong is this curse that even I, tied to that chair would have committed suicide to save Galahad the task of getting his hands bloody. The knights were killed in the order of threat that they posed to Galahad, first William, then Phillip, and then Gaspard. It was clear that I would be last Galahad saw no threat in me and hardly acknowledge my existence, being so intent on killing the others. As each one was killed Henri would lean over their body a whisper some final pray.

As Galahad was distracted gloating over the dead form of Gaspard, Henri came close to me and whispered a single word. I understood and as my bonds then went slack I carried out Henri’s final order and Ran. Galahad’s demands that I was killed were entirely ignored by Henri and he didn’t even seem to respond until Galahad himself came after me. I do not know why I ended up here in Phillip’s storage chamber; I tried to run for the gate but couldn’t bring myself to leave the monastery. If only Phillip had left his books here perhaps I could have finished his work. I am sure that Henri can be saved and is not lost, there was too much of him still there. If I can kill Galahad then Henri will be free of the curse, at least temporary. Perhaps together we can finish this task and destroy this curse and this foul creature.


A note from Solarian=

I discovered these documents during my researches on Galahad and  §§§§§§§§§§§§ (also called the Queens Champion), and I feel that I can fill in some of the information that the aurthor did not know.

Please could you append the following information to this entry

Galahad’s daughter was Helene, other three children were sons, Solarian, Sagramor and Braidon.
The daughter was a Princess of the Fae and kept had no contact with her brothers (they were entirely in ignorance of her existance and indeed their relationship with Galahad until 1105).
The brothers were taken to the Spears of Lugh, a militant order dedicated to Lugh in his aspects of warrior and champion. Lugh being an ancestor followed in Cymreja, Erin and Caladonia.

I am sorry that I cannot give you the location of their stronghold, Lisse Biethe, but it has passed from my memory, as have a great many things of those times.

My thanks

Solarian Ap Galahad