Neal's GPC

Year 508: The Battle of Netley Marsh

Late summer and a wounded knight of Salisbury is being carried on the back of a horse cart. He’s one of the lucky ones. Many of his fellows didn’t make it back from the clash to end all clashes. His name is Sir Miles of Laverstock. Salisbury lost many good knights including Sir Caulus and Sir Cenwyn and a new knight sent down from Clarence just that spring, Sir Barradon.

Sir Morians. The new Marshal of Salisbury mustered the men at Sarum and gave command of an eschille to Sir Caulus. Nine knights would join him and he accepted the honour of leading.

It was a summer’s day when King Nanteleod’s force met King Cerdic’s men in a field near to Hantonne. The Britons were outnumbered but defiant that they could win the day and drive the Saxons back home. King Aelle of Sussex joined his forces to King Cerdic’s and it was this that may have tipped the balance of the day.

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Our knights fought for over three hours in the heat. It had started well with a successful charge into a unit of Berserkers but once in the thick of it Sir Caulus’ men couldn’t seem to fight their way clear. On a few occasions finding themselves outnumbered and taking wounds.

Sir Penri was the first to fall, the son of Sir Rodric who had lost his life in a duel so many years before. Sir Cenwyn was soon joining him in the field of their forefathers. He took a spear through the chest and died before he hit the ground.

The knights did fight their way clear at one point with a clever retreat that surprised the enemy. Sir Caulus cleverly seized the chance and the disordered men managed to charge a good number of Saxons down. It was too successful though. They found themselves right back in the thick of it and when the Saxon line pressed forward and King Nanteleod fell they could do nothing but be over run. Sir Caulus was felled by an arrow in the back, bled out on the soil. Sir Miles found himself unhorsed and fighting for his life. Sir Barradon was taken by a spear that drove through him, he didn’t see it coming.

Tales of Sir Miles heroics in the retreat may live on. How the traitorous Cornish knights tried to run him down in the rout but couldn’t. They battered on his shield and tried to trample him but he avoided it all. The Christian most likely feeling the love of the Lord smiling on him.

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This was the first battle I’ve run using the new Book of Battle rules and I must say I am impressed. Despite three of the guys losing their knights they all seem to enjoy it as well. It really does bring home the brutality of medieval battles and this was certainly no walk in the park like they had experienced before.

We next meet on 5th January when we’ll be creating three new knights and then it’s on with 509.

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