Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Monday, June 1, 2009

Old Stories, Arrival of Christophe at Court, 768 AD

Erik was far from the only extra character I added. Besides Sean and assorted Irishmen and women, there was Lanimere, the hapless Welsh girl who dies giving birth to lawrence's bastard child, Tavish. There is the Welshman, Llewellyn ap Cador who offers Lawrence and his court sanctuary near the end of the first period of storytellings There is Juliana, the King's mistress.. more about her later. Most did not make it into the novel. Christophe and his sister Virginie are examples of two particularly annoying members of this group. I think I was into French for a while, having taken a few years in junior high and high school.

May 768

he grass was high and green. It was graced by clumps and clusters of violet and pink heather. An occasional briar patch made the scene even more beautiful. The sky was blue and cloudless. "This is a day for pure things," Lawrence was thinking.

He was helping the Queen into the saddle of a beautiful white Arabian, after which he mounted his own proud black one. It was early morn, but rather warm for Northern Britain in May. It was an exceedingly fine day for a ride.

Lawrence led the way out of the courtyard, but on the clearings they rode side by side and spoke. Often they would be silent, thinking of their beloved Shannon back at the castle, so lost, so forlorn. Lawrence knew he would be like that and worse if Jo were to shun him. Jo couldn't help but puzzle over how Heather could possibly not love so wonderful a man as the minstrel.

Soon enough they would come out of their trances and laugh and be merry betwixt the two of them. After a long, gay prance, miles from Ratherwood, Lawrence spied a shaded spot and took on a devilish look in his eyes. "Let's dismount over there!"

In the glade, by a spring, they ate some cheese with a little wine, Then they lay down on the bank just to told each other, and talk.

They talked about state affairs, clothes and their children. After a short time, Lawrence began to stroke the Queen's golden hair. He eyes became cloudy as a mist of passion enveloped them both, and he kissed her…

"Oh helas! Pardon-moi! I did not mean to bother thee!"

Startled, the couple stared amazed at an extremely fair young man. His complexion was nearly lily white, quite lovely, and flaxen hair seemed to glow about his head like a halo. His clothes consisted of a white satin jerkin, a light blue silk tabard, and blue hose. On his feet were golden shoes. He had strong but gentle Gallic features and limpid blue eyes. Behind him on a dappled horse sat a young woman, with the same light complexion, and the same nearly white hair, blue eyes, and wearing the same colors.

"Art thou all right?" The poor man was surprised at the King and Queen's silence. Lawrence sat up.

"Aye, we're quite well, just startled. Ye came up so quietly!" Noticing their gazes, Lawrence spoke again. "Oh, don't worry. We're married these last four years!"

The young man looked relieved. "Eh Bien! Could thou tell me if we are near the hall of Ratherwood? Thou art quite nobly dressed. I expect ye are from there. I am going see King Lawrence there!

Lawrence smiled broadly. Josephine could not help but giggle a little as she helped her up. She said merrily, "Oh, Lawrence…"

Ye need not look much farther!" Lawrence laughed.

The young man nearly fell down. He pulled the young woman down from her mount and they kneeled before the King and Queen. "Mon du, ma riene! Excuse me, your majesty! I did not realize…"

"Oh, rise and don't be silly. We thrive on such things. Come, sit with us, fair sir and maiden! Who are ye and from where in France are ye?"

Humbly, the two obeyed. "I am Christophe, called "Coeur du Saint. This is my fair sister, Virginie. We are here from the court of Charles, newly crowned Old Pepin is dead and his son has urged many of us younger knights to travel and learn. We, my liege, chose to come here!"

"I am truly glad ye have chosen Britain, and particularly Christenlande to see. Come with us and we will go to Ratherwood." Lawrence put his hand on Christophe's arm. Soon the four were riding together to the castle.

Tomorrow: A seriess that will show you a different side of Shannon O'Neill than you will see in the novel. A married one.

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .