Just after the conclusion of the Martinmas court of their majesties Alain and Judith, King and Queen of Trimaris, Lord Andrew William Montgomery was approached. A Lady stepped up to him, seemingly in some distress, and began speaking.
"I am in some distress," she said.
He smiled and said, "How can I help you?"
"My lady has been abducted by an evil knight! Having heard of the great might and chivalry of Trimaris, I came here seeking someone to free my lady form her plight. But alas, I have been refused an entreaty to the court! Many here have heard of your nobility and great strength in arms, can you help me?"
"My lady," quoth he, "I would be honored."
"Meet me then, at the Winter Arts and Sciences Faire, and we will begin our journey."
And thus began the Quest of Lord Andrew Montgomery.
January 9, 1999 was unseasonably warm in Trimaris, and clear skies greeted the host of gentles attending the Winter Arts and Sciences Faire. Near the corner of the longhouse a lady stood waiting. At the appointed hour Lord Montgomery appeared, armed at all points, his man-at-arms by his side, displaying his banner for all to see.
"I stand ready, my lady. Whither shall we go?"
"Well, I'm sure I don't know…" she said.
Startled, he raised his eyebrows in disbelief.
"I think he went that way," she pointed. Relieved, he stepped out, followed by the lady and his man-at-arms (and, of course, a marshal).
They had not gone far when they came upon a bridge, whereupon stood a knight all accoutered in red, leaning upon a spear.
"Must we pass this way, milady?" asked Montgomery.
"It seems so, sir," spoke the lady.
Montgomery spoke to the Red Knight, "We desire to pass."
Spake the Red Knight, "None may pass, lest I engage them with spear. The Gods have put me here, and I will defend this pass with my life." He indicated another spear lying by the bridge.
"Can we not work this out without combat? I do not wish to hurt you," said Montgomery. His desire for a peaceful solution was, though admirable, misplaced. The Red Knight would agree to no other recourse, and Montgomery attended to the spear and made ready.
Their engagement had that feeling of subtle danger, like two snakes silently dueling. They struck at each other, and the Red Knight staggered, but kept on. Again Montgomery offered peaceful recourse, but the Red Knight held firm to his purpose. At the last, a spear thrust brought down the Red Knight, and his still form lay upon the bridge.
The Red Knight's Lady came running down from their pavilion, across the bridge, her white cloak flying behind her. She took the cloak off and lay it over her lord's still form. Looking up at Montgomery, she spoke.
"He is not dead, my lord, but mortally wounded. There is a way to save him, however! You must seek Dame Sorrow at the chapel, she has the means to heal him."
Nodding in assent, Lord Montgomery then knelt down, as the Red Knight was indicating he should come closer. "Quickly, " he whispered.
Montgomery quickly led the lady across the bridge and set out at a run across the fields in search of the chapel.
After some minutes he spotted a chapel in the distance and set out for it, his man-at-arms by his side. He was descending down a hill, nigh upon the chapel when the Blue Knight stepped out onto his path.
"I know that you seek the Cup of Tears! I have it here with me. You may pass no further!" bellowed the Blue Knight, brandishing his sword. The Cup of Tears was in his hand. It had a ribbon trailing from the stem, upon which was displayed the word "Compassion."
Again Montgomery tried to pursue peaceful recourse, but time was of the essence, and the Blue Knight's will was unwavering. They drew together, shields and swords at the ready.
Montgomery dispatched the Blue Knight, grabbed up the silver chalice and sped to the chapel.
At the front of the chapel sat a small table, simply adorned and holding a glass pitcher. Dame Sorrow stood by, clothed and veiled in black, as silent as the chapel itself. Montgomery strode up and presented the Cup of Tears. Dame Sorrow filled it from the pitcher.
"It is not poison? It will heal them?" he asked of her. Silence answered him, so he drank a small bit from the Cup. Still alive, he raced up the hill to the Blue Knight, intent upon healing him with the Cup, only to find him already revived.
The Blue Knight explained, "The Gods have tasked me with protecting Dame Sorrow, and they have revived me for that purpose."
Montgomery returned to the red Knight and placed the Cup to his lips. The Red Knight was revived! His lady removed the white cloak, upon which was displayed the word "Mercy." She placed it around Montgomery's shoulders, tying it in place.
"May the Gods be with you," she said softly.
"Thank you for healing me. More trials await you, however. Know that you must now seek out the Yellow Knight."
Montgomery and the lady and the others set out to seek the Yellow Knight. Asking after his whereabouts, Montgomery discovered that the Yellow Knight resided by the lake.
Coming almost upon the lake the company encountered a signpost, where hung a yellow sign and a horn. The sign stated "Whosoever shall blow this horn makes challenge to the Yellow Knight." And so Montgomery took the horn and blew such a blast that it echoed all across the lake and about the countryside.
As the last echoes faded, a Lady stepped forward and spoke to Lord Montgomery. "Before challenging my lord the Yellow Knight, first must ye complete my task; Tell me nine of the twelve knightly virtues."
Montgomery began to answer quickly, but soon he ran short of answers. He came up with five of the virtues, and then began to founder. Addressing his man-at-arms, he reached a decision. "Go and get my tapestry from the pavilion!"
Upon returning, the man-at-arms presented a tee-shaped tapestry that had the virtues marvelously displayed upon it. Montgomery thus answered his task and blew again upon the horn to make challenge. The Yellow Knight came forth, a yellow sun displayed upon his surcoat.
Again Montgomery tried to convince the Knight to a peaceful conclusion, and again he was thwarted. They did combat there by the lake. Again Montgomery emerged the victor.
Acknowledging Montgomery's prowess, the Yellow Knight acceded defeat and presented Montgomery with a belt, upon which was displayed the word "Chivalry."
"You must seek out the Green Knight, and there find sustenance for your travels," he told Montgomery.
The company left the lake in pursuit of the Green Knight's table. They came over a hill and saw a lady in green, sitting at a table laden with delicate food and drink, the place setting across from her unattended.
"Come and sit, good lord, take off thy helm, wipe the sweat from your brow and lunch with me'" said she. And so he did, it seemed such a wonderful idea. He partook of strawberries, spiced nuts, some light conversation, and drank from the cup before him. All was well and good in the world. Then the Green Knight arrived.
"What is this? Who are you that eats from my table? How dare you sit with my lady? You are drinking from my cup! I will have satisfaction!" roared the Green Knight, a great axe resting on his shoulder, in his other hand a greatsword of intimidating length.
Again the good Lord Montgomery tried to achieve peaceful discourse, and again he was forced to action. The Green Knight allowed him to choose between the poleaxe and the greatsword, and Montgomery chose the greatsword.
The clash of their meeting was heard far and wide, but the combat was over quickly. Montgomery laid upon the Green Knight three mighty blows from his greatweapon. Though he answered in kind, the Green Knight was overcome. Humbled by the mighty battle, the Green Knight gave to Montgomery two garters, which were marked with the words "Honour" and "Chivalry."
"Seek my brother, the Purple Knight, and Godspeed," said the Green Knight.
The company departed in search of the Purple Knight, and was crossing a field when a voice rang out behind them.
"You there in the white cloak! Who are you that wears my brother's cloak?" A knight dressed in Brown strode up angrily. "My brother would never give up the Cloak of Mercy, so I name thee either murderer or thief!"
Montgomery tried to explain what had occurred, but to no avail. The Brown Knight was overcome with rage and demanded they settle the matter immediately.
"I foreswear courtesy and honor! Wrath is my shield now. Therefore do I challenge you to shieldless combat!" The Brown Knight drew two swords from his belt and stood at the ready. Seeing that Montgomery had only one sword, the Brown Knight produced another sword and threw it at his feet, then marched to the middle of a small cleared area. Montgomery armed himself and stepped forward, trying to reason with the angry knight. The Brown Knight answered with insult, and then started swinging, almost without warning.
Montgomery defeated the Brown Knight quickly, and when the dust settled the Brown Knight was on his knees, head down, both of his weapons on the ground in front of him. After a moment he took off his helmet and looked up at Montgomery.
"I have treated you poorly, good sir, and you answered me only with courtesy and honor. I pledge my sword to you, you are a good and noble knight."
Montgomery returned the sword and the Brown Knight rose up, saying, "If ever you should have need of me, then call upon me." He reached for his shield that lay nearby. "As you have shielded yourself in virtue this day, let this be an outward sign of your trials." The shield he held up was white, with and angel depicted holding a sword and a swan. A banner was displayed on the shield with the words "Chivalry", "Courtesy" and "Honor" displayed on it.
"Know this, Lord Montgomery: my brothers and I were tasked by our eldest brother, the Black Knight. It is HE you must find; it was he who abducted that good Lady against her will. He will be at the tournament this afternoon on this very field," explained the Brown Knight.
"I will be there," answered Lord Andrew William Montgomery.
Shortly after, Lord Montgomery found the Purple Knight and was tasked with answering a question of chivalry. His answer will not be published here, for, as the Purple Knight told him, there are no true answers to many of these questions, though we learn much by discussing them. Here was the question:
If a squire enters a knight's tournament and unhorses a knight, does he get the knight's horse, as would a knight in his same place?
I took some small liberties with the dialogue, for two reasons: first, I wasn't
there for most of it but I did use first-hand accounts, (I was the Brown Knight)
and second, I can't remember it all perfectly anyway. It is in the nature of these
things that they don't go as planned. Please forgive me some small license.