The Knight and the Lion

"Count Alier and the Lady of Noroison"

One Tuesday Count Alier and his knights came to the town, starting fires and plundering where they could. The townspeople took up their arms and went out to meet the attackers, who did not run away, but waited for them in a narrow pass.

Yvain had had such a long rest that his strength had fully returned and he struck the first knight he saw upon the shield, sending him and his horse down together in a heap. He did not rise again, that knight, for his backbone broke and his heart burst within him.

Yvain drew back a little, then protecting himself with his shield he spurred his horse forward to clear the way. Before you could count to four, four more knights lay on the ground. Then those who were with him grew braver, seeing how well he dealt with the task, and each held his ground and fought fiercely.

The lady was up in the tower where she could see the fighting and many lying dead, of her own side and even more of Count Alier's men. The men and women who had stayed in the town stood on the castle walls and cried:

'Ah, what a valiant fighter! How fiercely he attacks, like a hungry lion among fallow deer. See how he presses forward, then how he turns and dodges and attacks once more. If a whole forest were used to make lances for him he would break them all on the shields of his enemies. A woman loved by such a man would be lucky indeed!'

So Yvain won the hearts of all who saw him with his bravery and prowess, and many wished he would take the lady of the castle as his wife and become lord of the land.

Still Yvain moves forward. By his side, the fighting men feel as safe as if they have a stone wall round them, thick and high, and before long Count Alier's men fall back and begin to flee. The Count himself is chased hard by Yvain who soon catches up with him. The Count sees there is no one to help him and agrees to give himself up, and to go as a prisoner to the lady, whose name is the Lady of Noroison. So Yvain leads the Count back to the town and presents him to the lady. Then the Count swore oaths and gave pledges that from now on he would live in peace, and repair the damage he had done to the town.

When all this was over, Yvain asked if he might leave. The lady was not pleased, for she would have made him lord of all her lands if he had wished. Yet he would not listen to her, and despite the sorrow of the lady and the townspeople he rode away.

What might the lady of Noiroison's walled town have looked like?