Neal's GPC

Year 500: Defence of Dorchester

As Sir Morians enters through the South gate at Sarum he is pleased to see that work once again has started on the completion of the walls since the Countess recalled the builders from Silchester.

Sir Morians starts off his spring court in the company of a handmaiden called Gwiona. She is the handmaiden of Lady Jeanne of Broad Chalke, Sir Alafon’s wife. He lays with her, the seeds of which bear bitter fruit come winter.

Sir Morians also takes on a new squire, Penri. He is the thirteen year old bastard son of the late Sir Rodric, the lad is a lustful as his father but when Sir Morians takes him to a brothel it appears he doesn’t have the stones to back it up.

Sir Caulus is ransomed and makes his way back from being held by Framric Offason at Hantonne. He was well treated there and the Saxons healed his arm wound. Once back in Salisbury in speaks to Ellen of Salisbury and explains he will pay back his ransom.

The talk in Sarum was of King Idres of Cornwall continuing his move east and heading towards Dorset. He has put the call out for mercenaries. The Earl of Dorset has also put out the call for paid men to come to their aid. Sir Caulus had promised to aid Dorset before and put his name forward to lead some Salisbury knights west.

Sir Caulus along with Sir Morians and several other Salisbury knights and there followers, some one thousand men head out of Sarum in early May, heading towards Dorset. They are escorted by Sir Aergul at the borders of Dorset. An old friend of Sir Caulus and the two talk of the past and the future. From there they head to Dorchester, the Earl is there and that is where Dorset will make it’s stand.

Sir Caulus and Sir Morians see Sir Rhisiart, the heir to Dorset in his pavilion and they discuss the defence of Dorchester. There is some confusion over which direction Cornwall will come from. Ilchester being the site of the last siege which is north and west from Dorchester. Going out the north gate of Dorchester there is an open space of some two hundred odd yards and then the wide river piddle, nearly flooded at this time of year and a wooden bridge.

A day passes without the enemy being sighted, scouts seeing no sign of Cornwall. But then on the second day, early afternoon Sir Morians spies a column of men on the horizon. A plan is formulated to make a stand at the bridge. Sir Caulus, Sir Morians and another eighteen knights, some sixty odd archers and maybe eighty foot march out to hold the bridge. Well, the bridge is soaked with oil first. They jeer at the enemy and try and force them to charge down towards the bridge. Men of Cornwall head nearer and it appears a group of horseman are contemplating a charge.

Our Salisbury knights ask the archers if any amongst them are confident of hitting the Cornish men from the bridge, two step forward. They are Onfael and Merfyn, two brothers. With bows ready at their sides they walk across the bridge and don’t stop, they more about another twenty or so yards and then nock their arrows ready.

A knight starts to trot on his charger towards the bowmen. Getting into a gallop some one hundred yards away, Onfael and Merfyn pull their strings back, Merfyn’s string snaps, causing the bow to break. Onfael’s arrow flies true and hits the horse, which slows a little but is still on a collision course. Merfyn turns and runs back to towards the bridge and Onfael nocks and looses another arrow. This one hits the knight square in the chest, unhorsing him. The charger, however, still heads towards him and tramples him, it’s hooves clattering into him, breaking his leg. The horse comes to a stop near the river and proceeds to take a drink. Sir Morians runs forward and Merfyn turns to help him retrieve his brother.

Cornish knights head down towards the bridge. Our knights form a shield wall, archers on the flanks behind pavises. The Cornish knights, seeing their opposition have dismounted do the same and approach the bridge on foot. They form a shield wall and step onto the bridge, banging their shields in defiance. The archers loosing arrows at their flanks, killing a couple, this spurs them on more and they charge across the bridge and smash into the line of knights. Flame arrows are shot into the bridge as they started to charge and the way back is now blocked by flame. Our line of knights fight defensively merely pushing back and stopping the Cornish men from leaving the bridge. With a whoosh the bridge is a flame and the some of the Cornish knights catch fire. The others trying to kick and hack their way through but there is no escape, some burn, some are hacked and the others through themselves into the fast flowing river and drown.

With the bridge now alight our knights and levy head back behind the walls of Dorchester. For another week there is no attack, no sorties against Dorchester and the men behind the walls get restless. Sir Rhisiart explains that no sign of the enemy has been seen but that their supplies aren’t getting through. Sir Caulus and Sir Morians ask for permission to go out on a sortie and see to clearing a way for the supplies to get through. At first he doesn’t give permission but a day or so later relents and the Salisbury knights, along with five Dorchester men, nine in total head out the south gate and down towards the nearest port, the direction they go is towards where some men where seen on the horizon.

They encounter no trouble and make it to the sea port of Weymouth. Just outside the port though they can see ships in the harbour and count some five hundred men controlling it with Cornish pennants flying. Our knights turn east and look to see if the bridges across the river Piddle are blocked at all.

A few miles they travel along a well worn track and notice that they are being shadowed to the south. Looks to be nine Cornish knights by the looks of them. Sir Caulus and Sir Morians decide to keep going and get to the bridge, they’ll keep an eye on what they are doing.

The bridge is found and it is held by fifty Cornish militia. Too many for our knights and they decide not to waste their lives trying to take it. They turn and head back to Salisbury but soon find the way blocked. The nine Cornish knights have put themselves in the way, one knight rides forward ten yards and plants his standard in the ground. Sir Caulus and Sir Morians ride forward to parlay.

The knight is Sir Mathonwy and he asks that Sir Caulus takes him on for a single charge. If he wins, he says, Sir Caulus and his men are to leave Dorchester. If Sir Caulus wins, he goes on, then they may pass unhurt. Sir Caulus declines the offer of challenge and the men ride back to the rest. It seems a skirmish is to be fought. They get their spears ready and turn their horses to face their foe.

With a thunderous gallop they ride towards the enemy and spears are shattered on shields and through mail and flesh. Sir Mathonwy is stuck twice, once by Sir Caulus who he was facing and once by Sir Morians who decided to ignore his foe. Sir Morians took a blow to the chest from the man he ignored. Mathonwy is lifted clear from his horse by the force and is dead before he hits the ground. Sir Morians is also knocked to the ground with a crunch. Another four Cornish knights were unhorsed in the charge, three of those lying injured in the dirt. The surviving Cornish knights decide the odds are against them and they ride away. Sir Morians callously decides to dispatch of the three wounded Cornishmen.

Back in Dorchester Sir Caulus takes Sir Mathonwy’s pennant and he gives it to Sir Rhisiart as a momento. Dorset cannot pay out for our knights to stay but agrees to buy the five chargers that Sir Morians has tied together.

Sir Morians has his injuries tended to in Dorchester but the physician makes it worse. The wound now infected. He is placed on the back of a cart and carried back to Sarum. The journey takes about a week. Back home he hires the skils of a Chirurgeon to tend his wounds but its another month before he is mended.

The winter court sees news reach Salisbury from Caercolun of the Angles attacking them there and over in Estregales King Nanteleod has made the King there bow to him. The lady Gwiona, whom Sir Morians bedded, is not at court. It seems she is with child and is currently abed with sickness and it seems might not live.

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This was a very fun session although we were only at half strength. The players enjoyed having more freedom to do what they want. It’ll be interesting to see what will happen from the three knights murdered by Sir Morians.

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