What Ho, fair crowd. I come before you again with more news of my travels and adventures in the land across the pond known as America. Whence we last spoke, I told of the Home Depot; perhaps the finest furnishing store mine eyes hath ever beheld. I also spoke of Plinny, my manservant, who had incurred my wrath by making my highness look rather the fool. Well, I am pleased to say to you that Plinny completed his half of an hour in the stocks and the royal party was once again ready to make way across this great and plentiful land.
Once all of the royal accoutrements had been packed, the party made haste for Wayne, in the Dukedom of New Jersey. Alas, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, as a fine gentleman once said. And apparently, this creed holds true for royalty as well for, not an hour post-departure, we found ourselves lost in the tangle of stony pathways you call a highway system. Amiss I was, but, being of royal blood, I withheld my anger and embraced this unexpected turn of events with the fortitude and expectancy of a King! "Gentlemen and ladies, by some divine providence, our Lord and creator has sent us on a holy pilgrimage! I shall welcome this adventure with arms wide open!"
With these inspiring words, I rallied the low morale of the party as we strode blindly towards our shared destiny. However, excitable and anxious as I was, I never expected the wonders that lay in store just beyond the crest of the horizon. Why, I have not seen such magnificent sights since the transit of Venus in my boyhood!
What was this spectacular sight which mine own eyes beheld, you ask? Well, that is a question to be answered at a later and more suitable time. For the present time however, I was still dim as to what lay ahead and I called Cardinal Amerpsand to my couch-side as our horseless carriage rocketed down the toll road at increasing speed. "Cardinal," I beckoned to him, "hath thou seen any omens which might persuade yourself to declare the ends of this journey?"
"Your Highness," Ampersand replied, "I know not what lie ahead. However, as you are of divine blood and I am of the holiest order, I believe that God will provide us with safe harbour and plenty of merriment." Well, I dare say I have never been so exuberant since my boyhood when I slew my first fox in the Yorkshire Dales! And so, as Plinny soothed my ears with his sweet voice and lyre, I drifted off to sleep but not before I bade him find my highness suitable entertainment whence I awoke.
And, whence I did awake, I believed I was still dreaming, for what lay before me was not some tavern or brothel, but a castle of grand proportions! "Plinny," I cried, "I fear I may have become feverish for I see before me a great castle with high walls and strong bastions! Where have you taken me?" I recoiled in horror, as the castle rose up before me, but Plinny, the saintly boy that he is, clamed my nerves. "Your Majesty, tis not a dream you behold; tis the evening's entertainment! By some magic I spied this castle along the toll road near the township of Lyndhurst, New Jersey. I inquired within as to the king of the castle and it is none other than Arthur himself! He has arranged a tournament in your honor!" Delighted I was! Plinny bade me make haste for the castle, for the tournament was about to begin.
Oh, how I delighted in sharing the company of the great King Arthur and watching brave knights joust for the hand of fair maidens. I have not seen such pleasures since I left mine own shores. However, a king is always cautious and I summoned my personal guards, the feared Westminster Coutiers, to accompany into the fortification. As we passed beneath the mighty barbican, I spied the name of the castle" Medieval Times! A placard below was emblazoned with the inscription, "Welcome! Fun for the whole family! Eat, drink and watch a joust just like you were in" Medieval Times!"
The royal party was escorted to our seating arrangements and offered the finest mead and ale! We were then present with hen and cabbage. Now this was a feast I could enjoy! But then, just as I tore open the ribcage of my hen, the lights, as if by God's hand, dimmed and fog filled the room. Plinny began to weep and held my kingly arm. "Quiet boy, " I scowled at him, "show no fear and ready your rapier, I fear this may have been a trap." Under my cloak, I gripped the handle of my sword and steadied my concubine Gewdeline's shaky hand."
Suddenly, from behind the barricades, rode" the Black Knight! His armour, black as death and his spear, long and pointed. Across his chest was emblazoned the crest of the Eagle, the symbol of my enemy, the Duke of Devon. Presently the crowd, which seemed to be over one thousand strong, fell deathly silent as the Black Knight began to speak. "Hello ladies and gentlemen, we're about to start the show. I just want to thank you all for coming tonight and please be careful on the stairs, they can get" " I could take no more of this treachery" "Tis a Trap," I cried,"ATTACK!!!!"
The Westminster Courtiers rushed the arena and drew their mighty swords. "Step down from your horse!" Shouted my most trusted Captain, Sir Wellesley Brighton. The Black Knight faltered as he messed about with the reins but Sir Brighton wasted no time and struck the Black Knight with his mighty sword. The cur fell to the ground and before he could reach his weapon, which appeared to have splintered as if made of wood, glue and paint, Sir Brighton thrust his sword into the Black Knight's chest. Then, as if guided by God, the rest of the Westminster Courtiers drew their blades and hacked the Black Knights body to pieces.
It was when Sir Brighton thrust the Black Knight's dismembered head into the air shouting, "Victory for King Henry and victory for England!" that the crowd seethed with fear. Seemingly at once, they all rose and positively ran for the exits. What squeamish peasants, have they never seen a beheading before? All the lights were raised and, for the first time, I could clearly see the utter depths to which my deadly Westminster Courtiers had slew the Black Knight. No sooner did I begin to revel in our victory than a strange force of blue-uniformed men, with shining gold metals on their breasts, rushed the arena.
"Take care, " I shouted to the courtiers, "Tis the palace guards!" One would think that due to the lack of armour that the palace guards wore, my courtier's blades would pierce them easily. For all warriors know that a thick suit of armour, chain mail, gauntlets, and a helmet are a knight's best protection. Alas, it was not to be so, for the palace guards laid waste to my courtiers with mysterious hand-cannons which they drew from their hips. With my guards lying dead in the arena, I saw no option but to flee.
Safely inside the horseless carriage, I bade Steve our driver, to make haste down the toll road. Plinny sang a sweet lament for my fallen courtiers but I did not weep. For though they had died, they had died honorably; defending their King and country against my fiercest enemy. Brave courtiers, I shall declare a public holiday whence I return to England and all shall know of the day that the mighty and fearless Westminster Courtiers defeated the Black Knight of Devon at Castle Medieval Times of Lyndhurst, New Jersey! And as for King Arthur" I shall return and take my revenge; he should count his blessing he escaped this time" MAKE READY THE FLEET!
Where will King Henry, Plinny and the rest of the royal party go next week? Log on to find out or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with a suggestion!