In medieval times, contrary to popular belief, most knights were bandits, mercenaries, lawless brigands, skinners, highwaymen, and thieves. The supposed chivalry of Charlemagne and Roland had as much to do with the majority of medieval knights as the historical Jesus with the temporal riches and hypocrisy of the Catholic Church, or any church for that matter. Generally accompanied by their immoral entourage or servants, priests, and whores, they went from tourney to tourney like a touring rock and roll band, sports team, or gang of South Sea pirates. Court to court, skirmish to skirmish, rape to rape. Fighting as the noble's substitution for work.
A small brazier glowed near the monk's left hand. On a lecturn before him lay pots of paints, brushes, a quill, a pen, a knife, a sizeable handbell, the tooth of some animal--and a piece of parchment. It was the parchment that commanded the room. Until he saw it Len didn't realize how starved he had been of colour. Villagers dressed in various shades of brown and beige, like their furniture and fields and now, here, was an irruption of the rainbow, as if a charm of goldfinches had landed on the manuscript and been transfixed.