What’s Left is Rightly So

What’s Left is Rightly So,
A Goodly Discourse
by Signore Antonio lo Seccante della Rovere, detto “Secca”

    ‘Neath a night of star-dappled velvet black, a minstrel wandered into a tavern in fair Caid, and, with the Hostler’s wary permission, began playing for the good folk there assembled; his songs pleased well enough that soon the clientele paid him heed enough…and gold enough.

Upon stopping to rest his hands and wet his throat, the bard was accosted by a weathered churl, a plain Farmer of a man with clear blue eyes and a tonsured head of graying ginger hair, whose voice rumbled clearly over the taproom’s din,

“Good sir, look you to be a traveled man… We hear tell that we are to have a new King anon. Know you rumour of this Prince Sven? Pray tell, be he a good man?”

The bard looked out to those there assembled, who, as one, turned interested faces towards him, “Prince Sven… A Good Man? …What deem you maketh a man ‘Good’ ?”

The patrons wert surprised at this turning of the question back upon them, and it took some time before a portly matron with ash-blond braids and smiling blue eyes offered this:

“If he be a devout man?…”

Strumming gently upon his lute, the bard quickly composed himself…

How doth one take the measure of a man?
How canst we know the goodness of his thought?
An hoary matter have we now at hand,
Whose solving long philosophers have sought.
Piety, forsooth, seems standard sure,
The churchly man! Quintessence of all good!
Yet many who present us faces pure,
Kneel daily hiding sneers beneath their hoods:

Patinas painted saintly white and true
Too often hide the evil that we do.

    Nods greeted this response, and knowing sighs…

“Here now then,” an enrobed, baldpated, & bespectacled Moor ventured, “Doth Wealth make the man, then?” The bard settled his flatcap back on his head… then began…

The influence of affluence oft brings
A beauteous light to those who wield it well,
They, solving much with lavish conjurings,
Hold us bewitched by money’s golden spell.
But, a gilded hungry demon be this Pelf,
Demanding full devotion as its cost,
This Oroborus feeds upon itself,
And leaves behind a trail of good lives lost:

The affluent spend life attending wealth,
Slaves to money, they can serve naught else.

    “Honorable in word and deed? Respectable in thought and action? Cert that makes a Good man?” blurted out the Hostler, a tall, thin man with a long gray ponytail.

“Master Hostler, this be a knight of Caid of which we speak! Tys given that he is full possessed of all that is Chivalrous!”

Nodding heads about the room affirmed this opinion, and the Hostler abashedly took up his tankard. After a brief pause, a slight, unbearded lad with a shock of unkempt red hair stepped to-ward, “Um, beggin’ yer p-p-pardon, miluhd, but m-m-may’aps laughter be good?”

In answer, laughter greeted his shyness and thick accent.

“Nay good folk, the youth makes a point… do we deem a good-natured man to be Good?”

A cheerful nature spreads joy ‘mongst us all,
For laughter tys a wondrous thing to give,
How japes and jibes are wont to us enthrall,
And smiles, seem to teach us how to live.
Yet, tys not enough to simply do no harm,
While temperate, happy folk are indeed rare,
To be nam’d good, one must do more than charm,
For laughter is soon lost upon the air:

Though worthy, mirth is but a gossamer fluff,
True goodness must be made of sterner stuff.

    “Skill at Arms? Tell they not the value of a man?” This from a brown bear of a man with a huge mug of ale in one hand, and as much again in his beard.

“Know you not, my friends, the tale of how Prince Sven comes by his crown?” the bard asked. “No?… Prithee, list you then…

“Once upon a time, not so very long ago, in the Kingdom of Caid there ruled a King, HRH King Dirk, with his lovely Queen, HRH Chamyn. Dirk wert a good man who served his people well, but age attacked and finally slew him, he who none else had been able to defeat. First in line of his sons was young Prince Sven. A knight he, but not so seasoned as other peers of the realm. A challenge was made ~ Prince Sven must prove his right by test of steel!

Faced he, Sir Sven, amongst the fighting of that day ~

With Baroness Ceridwen Killian at his side;        ~ Baron Rowen Killian ~
~ Who fell before Sir Sven.

Attended by Marie Aoibeall;��������~ Gunther the Ever Ready ~
~ Who fell before Sir Sven

Viscondesa Jimena Ines Montoya de Garciaz; consort of        ~ Baron Rhys Ravenscroft ~
~ He too fell before Sir Sven

Beloved of the Gaelic Lass O’Bye-the-way; the Treacherous        ~ Sir ‘Bye’ Da-wee ~
~ and bye and bye, him he slew as well.

With THL Kara the Twin of Kelton aside him;        ~ Sir Patrick O’Malley ~
~ Who fell before Sir Sven.

Beside whom stood Baroness Rannveig Sundafyllir;        ~ Snorri Snafarri ~
~ Who fell before Sir Sven.

The Dutchess Adrianna von Vogelsang anext him;        ~ Herzog Dietrich von Vogelsang ~
~ He too fell before Sir Sven

And As the Lady Mora de Buchanan watched;        ~ Sir Edward the Sinister ~
~ Who dealt Sir Sven a near fatal blow!!

~ Yet presently stood valiant Sir Sven again.

With Safiya bint Nasr al-Samiriyya close by,        ~ Sir Ashraf al-Mansur ~
~ Who fell before Sir Sven.

~ Now few remained alive of them that come ~

Then, with the Lady Danyel de Licatia alongside;        ~ Sir Gamel of Mottrum ~
~ He too fell before Sir Sven.

~ And as the Sun slid down the darkening sky, two were Left upon the field;

~ With the Lady Mora de Buchanan anear;
~ Once more faced Sir Sven;        ~ Sir Edward the Sinister ~

~ And many the tale could be told of the bloody blows that there did fall,
as Sir Edward finally succumbed to Prince Sven.”

“Ahem,” the bear of a man cleared his throat, took a quick swig of ale, then continued, “Right then, nice story that; but you did’na really address the question, now did ya? Prince Sven hath skill at arms enough, tys sure… but do that make him a Good man?”

“Well spake, friend! Beseems thou’rt a courtier!” As the large man guffawed and gently kicked a stool, which flew acrashingly into the wall, the Bard continued…

What simple beauty’s found in mastery ~
Yon Archer loosing shafts; Yon Smith a-forge;
Yon Limner; Sword-dance of yon Chivalry;
~ Facility doth fire perfection’s torch!
While honesty’s found in them that hard pursue
The truths hidden in their search for skill,
Alas! Art’s inward path doth oft imbue
This razor soul with oe’rly focused will:

Those making excellence their worldly fief,
Oft master nothing else, including life.

    “What of the love of a good woman? ” said a comely lass by the fire, soft orange lights a-glint in her tousled auburn hair and ebon eyes, “I hear tell that Prince Sven is beloved of the Lady Sir Kolfinna, does this not redound to his fame?”

Now perchance find we a proper test!
Genteel lovers, when they ‘nounce their choice,
Heap laudations ‘pon the one deemed best,
And tender honor through the love they’ve voiced.
But, love’s a mazzy troublous doubtful thing,
Too fickle to be trusted as just guide,
Sith that the Eagle soaring high on wing,
Falls hard at times for dainty Mouse espied.

Tys not enough, since love’s not always wise,
If fame be reflected from another’s eyes.

    “Enough of these riddles!” Interjected a soldier at the bar, a lady fighter of Caid with short black hair, smiling eyes, and a steely glance, “Bard, hast thou a reason to thy rhymes? Mayhaps lay aside this folderol and supply us with thy whys… What sayeth thou make a man good?”

“Expect a warrior to cut to the point! Well milady, in truth, I do have an answer… Though it be simple, I believe it be true ~

“A good man hath a good heart.”

    There was a thoughtful pause at this sentiment, then a susurration of murmurs, and finally, a polite round of applause broke out, to which the bard did make a bow.

“Well done, goodman bard!” sayeth the ginger-haired ploughman as the room quieted once more, “But, you’ve brought us arsey-versy back to our beginning! So now I say to thee ~ Doth this Sir Sven have a goodly heart?”

A smile lit the bard’s face, as he took up his lute once more..

If Caid’s tourney-field wert filled anew,
With battles to be fought o’er from the start,
‘Cept contest this time measured the soul’s hue,
Granting victory to those of Gracious Heart ~
While noble are the fighters in these lands,
And doughty are the many feats they’ve shown,
Though Goodly Knights are countless as the sands,
~ Still would we have King Sven upon the throne!

To Caid’s skies let’s raise a Lefteous din ~
~ Huzzah Kolfinna, and her Goodman Sven!