Date: Tue, 7 Sep 1999 15:54:38 -0700
Here followeth the Tale of Uncle Eddie and the Wild Women.
In the reign of King Steingrim Stellari, when he and Queen Rhiannon ruled the West and Manfred and Koressa were Prince and Princess of An Tir, there came a war, caused by a challenge between Viscount Sir Edward Zifran, the Bastard of Gendy, and Duke Aonghais du Tarb of Caid; this war having been annually perpetuated to this day and being since An Tir's independence known as the An Tir/West War..
Now for those of you who did not know him, be it known that this Viscount Sir Edward, who was many years ago the Rebel Prince of An Tir, in addition to being so quick with his sword as to be known among fighters as Fast Eddie, was also the ladies' darling for the sweetness and respect of his considerable flirtatiousness.
At an Ithra some two weeks before the War Sir Edward had let it be known that it was his intention to found an Academy for Wild Women in An Tir, the graduates of which would be offered positions as instructresses in his also-to-be-founded Academy for Young Gentlemen. Taking a certain An Tirian Royal Noblewoman upon his knee, Sir Edward offered to make her his Headmistress of, if my memory serves, both establishments. This offer was accepted laughingly by the Lady, and Sir Edward began to speak of Admission Requirements and Matriculation Fees.
Several gentlefolk had wagonpooled to this Ithra, which was held in Lions Gate, from Adiantum. Among these folk were the castelans, later the Baron and Baroness, or Adiantum, Ulfheddin and Reginleif, and several newbies, all but one very new indeed. Naturally enough the foundation of Sir Edward's Academies was discussed amidst many sly remarks and puns. Then one of the newbies suggested that it might be amusing for the women of An Tir to abduct Sir Edward during the upcoming war and carry him off into the surrounding woods. Ulfheddin and Reginleif, having befriended the Viscount years before, assured the others that he would be amused and flattered by the plan. Elan of Dragon's Tryst was appointed to organize the abduction.
The ladies present at the war were delighted with the plan. Dozens of ribbons were prepared; and on Sunday morning, when Elan blew an echoing blast on a great horn, the ladies burst from their pavilions waving their ribbons and screaming. Sir Edward was surrounded and hustled off to the woods, murmuring gently as he went, "I do believe I am being abducted. Should I shout for help? I suppose so." And softly, so that his voice could not have been heard by any but the ladies nearest him, he saith, "Help. Help? Dear me, no one seems to have heard me. Perhaps I should save my strength."
Once the abducting party was well enough into the woods to be screened from view from the camp of the warriors, the ladies, with Sir Edward's permission, stripped him of his tunic, and placing it against the bole of a convenient tree to protect his skin from the rough bark, bound the viscount to the tree with their ribbons. Then they began to discuss what they would do with their captive.
Several of the ladies formed a rear guard. When a rescue party was organized at the behest of Duke Aonghais, who was eager to begin the day's fighting, the guardian ladies ran at the fighters, screaming and waving their ribbons, and the fighters ran like rabbits.
Young Beowulf von Ramschaffen, then only a lad of fifteen, snuck through the woods around the guardians and quietly sidled up to the rear of the tree to which the viscount was tied. "Want to be rescued?" the youth queried in a fairly audible whisper. "Beat it, kid!" was Sir Edward's stage-whispered response.
Duke Aonghais appealed to Her Majesty of the West to intercede for him. Her Majesty came out to the woods, escorted by a pair of young gentlemen until she reached the guarding ladies, to tell the abductors that the Duke was growing impatient. Instead of returning to the camp, however, Her Majesty, being an An Tirian, remained in the woods and took part in the discussions of what to do with the captive viscount.
At last Sir Edward offered a ransom of a kiss, to be delivered to each lady as she untied her ribbon, and a poem in the honor of each lady, to be delivered at the following Twelfth Night. Lynne the Far Rover was to collect the names and a brief description of each lady among the abductors, so that Sir Edward would not miss any. In addition, each of the ladies would have her matriculation fees for the Academy for Wild Women waived, it being evident to Sir Edward that his abductors were true Wild Women; and at the request of the ladies, Sir Edward promised to do his best to win the next Coronet Tourney.
All this being agreed to, the ladies lined up, one by one untying their ribbons from Sir Edward and receiving each her kiss. Sir Edward was thus freed to finish fighting his war. And thereafter Wild Women sometimes speak of their Headmaster as 'Uncle Eddie.'
As to how Sir Edward fought for the Coronet and how the Wild Women got their poems, well, those are other tales, and this tale is already long.
Sister Guineth the White
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