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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Year 499: Siege of Ilchester and the taking of Sir Caulus

The spring court at Sarum is the time for a new knight to introduce himself to the court. Sir Benedict is a Roman Catholic, short, portly with facial blemishes. He wields a mace instead of a sword. He is very pious.

Our knights gather in the main hall at Sarum as is the custom and drink to fallen comrades and to killing Saxons. The Countess Ellen announces that Prince Mark of Cornwall, son of King Idres, is to arrive shortly and he will be asking for knights to fight for Cornwall for pay. They have been putting Jagent to heal and the town of Ilchester is next on their list.

The knights of Salisbury consider this. Fighting for Cornwall could be beneficial in the long run since King Idres is on the war path and may consider Salisbury a target. On the morrow, before Prince Mark arrives a messenger arrives. He is from Jagent and has been sent by Earl Tegfan. He wants knights to help defend against King idres. Sir Miles carries his message to the Countess.

Sirs Benedict, Morians and Miles have agreed to have an audience with Prince Mark, along with a number of other Salisbury knights. Sir Judhail amonst them. Sir Morians is keen to know if Salisbury is next on King Idres’ list but Prince Mark merely remarks that Dorset will be under his father’s control soon. The pay is £2 a month and Salisbury’s finest agree to the terms. Sir Caulus refused an audience. He felt that adding King Idres whose next target is Sir Caulus’ ally of Dorset would not be honourable. The Bear decided to stay in Salisbury.

A few days later Prince Mark leads his troops and the Salisbury contingent west by north west towards Ilchester. It takes a week or so to arrive and when they do they see that the siege is fully underway. In the nearby woods trees are being felled to make siege ladders and bridges to span the ditch before the curtain wall. Our knights get into camp and spend the next few days just waiting. Practicing at swords and drinking is all they can do.

It’s early in the morning when the cry goes up that an attempt is to be made on the wall. Knights are needed to scale the ladders and our knights rush to be first onto the wall. They run with the engineers who span the ditch with long planks and then set the ladders to the wall. Sir Morians and Sir Miles are first up their ladders with Sir Benedict, who had stopped Sir Miles from falling into the ditch, next in line. The knights fight defensively to get onto the ramparts and then start to hack, slash and in Sir Benedict’s case, bludgeon their way through the knights of Jagent. Morians and Miles make their way to the gate house, they must get the drawbridge lowered. They fight valiantly but neither can get through. Sir Miles manage to enter but was pushed back but an older knight. More of Prince Mark’s man rushed through and overpowered the Jagent knight. With a clang the drawbridge was lowered. Sir Benedict had been protecting the rear of the two knights and dispatched a number of men, his mace making light work of helmets, shields and mail.

With the drawbridge lowered, the men of Cornwall rush in and the outer section of the town was taken. Sir Miles took a bad wound during the battle. A few days later the siege was lifted. Earl Tegfan agrees to bow to King Idres and become a vassal of Cornwall.

Our knights return to Salisbury victorious.

Back in Salisbury and before our knights had returned from Cornwall. Sir Caulus and a few household knights were sent out on border patrol. They had been gone for a day when Sir Caulus spied some saxons on the horizon, smoke also rising to the skies.

He spurred his horse into a trot with the other knights close behind. Five knights from Salisbury. When they got closer it seemed a sizable host, some fifty men were pillaging the village of Tangley. Land of Sir Laur. Sir Caulus didn’t wait, he didn’t, couldn’t think of anything but to put these saxons to death. He lowered his lance and charged. A number of Saxons saw the charging knights and quickly organised a shield wall. Sir Caulus’ lance shattered through the chest of one man and the saxon was trambled under his horse. As he draw his sword and whirled around looking for a target, a large bearded Saxon called out a challenge. He was wielding a great axe and wanted to face Sir Caulus. The Bear got down from his horse, deciding to face this Saxon on foot. As they danced the dance of death, Sir Caulus took two blows from the great axe, shield splintered and was downed. Before he passed out he saw his fellow knights fighting bravely and the Saxon, Framric Offason, slayer of Sir Jaradan looking down on him.

At the winter court it is announced by Countess Ellen than Sir Caulus and another knight have been captured by Framric Offason. No ransom demand has been made as of yet.

Sir Miles is given permission from Sir Samlet of Silchester, brother to Sir Morians to talk to his daughter Ceridwen. The knight enjoys her company and is pleased to see she likes a drink as much as he does.

Sir Morians becomes a father again, a girl is born and is named Ffiona by the Lady Sara.

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This was a very fun session. It was great to get back into it after such a long hiatus. I think it was last year sometime we last played. Unfortunately real life has been up and down recently and taking up a lot of my time.

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Year 498: Part 2: The evil at Medbourne

Merlin’s words had resonated in Sir Brion and he was not able to rest or return home until he had seen the village of Medbourne for himself.

Merlin had explained that it was being held by a fiend called Sir Gorboduc. He had been born of the daughter of Sir Staterius. She had been entranced by powers near a well on Samhain night and died nine months later giving birth to the boy her father would name Gorboduc. He grew unnaturally fast and seemed a man grown when he was just seven. He slew his grandfather and gathered a band of ruffians to him and began a campaign of rape and pillage. Merlin prophesies that once Sir Gorboduc will complete a stone tower at Medbourne and then take many young maidens from the surrounding area. Breeding a new army of fiends. A very grave threat to Logres.

Sir Brion asks the countess for permission to go with Sir Miles to Clarence. Lying to the south west of the Forest Sauvage, he feels it is the ideal route for him to possibly gather some men to help. Going straight north would lead through Rydychan County who have no love for Salisbury since the events of last year. Countess Ellen is not fully in the belief that this is a good course of action but if it helps to curry favour with Clarence it may be worth it.

On the morrow Sir Brion and Sir Miles head towards Bath from Sarum and cut through the forest on the fringes of Salisbury. Within the week they were at Bath and then a few days later on the outskirts of Cirencester in Clarence. A knight of Clarence met our Salisbury knights on the road in and offered to escort them to the Castellan of Cirencester. Sir Eirwen.

When introduced to the castellan they explained they were passing through and were seeking shelter for the night. Sir Miles asked if he knew the whereabouts of Sir Geriant and Sir Aeron, his cousins. Sir Eirwen pointed them in the direction of the new Marshall of Clarence, Sir Moelwyn. The steward was sent to find the former Salisbury knight.

Sir Moelwyn sauntered over and spoke with Sir Brion and Sir Miles. Sir Brion was keen to press his need for men and supplies to help him take the village of Medbourne. He somehow came across wrong and managed to anger Sir Moelwyn who asked them to leave Cirencester as soon as they could. He would not speak with Sir Miles and our knights were left standing by the south gate of Cirencester.

Wasting no time in Cirencester Sir Brion urged his mount on and Sir Miles followed behind with their two squires closely following.

After another few days of travelling they entered the Sauvage Forest. Their route taking them through a number of small villages and hamlets. Villages and Hamlets where young maidens had been taken. Sir Brion pleaded with each one in turn that they had men able to take up arms and rid the land of the menace in Medbourne. As they reached Medbourne and overlooked the burned church they had nine men with them, carrying pitch forks, some spears and some axes.

A stone tower is being built on the hill to the side of the village of Medbourne. Builders haul the stones into place from a large pile nearby. Three bandits carrying great spears and wearing leather oversee the work and one with sturdier leather armour and a sword and shield who appears to be bossing the others.

Sir Miles trotted over to the one giving the orders and whilst Sir Brion was getting his new levy into some sort of order to attack, spoke with him and asked to see his liege. The bandit demanded he left and that he had no place here. Hospitality clearly not being honoured here. Whilst the knight from Laverstock had the bandit distracted Sir Brion charged in with spear levelled and took the leader full in the chest. The spear shattered in half on impact and the men was ended before he hit the ground.

Sir Miles then fought defensivly as the other bandits attacked. It was two against Sir Miles and one against Sir Brion. After a brief clash the bandits were dead but Sir Brion had taken a wound to his side. During the battle the peasants that had come with the Salisbury knights had decided this was not from them and left for the woods rapidly.

The knights head to the hall of Sir Gorboduc. He is within but will not leave his walls. Sir Brion orders him out but he does not seem keen to face him. The door to his hall is open and he can clearly be seen, he encourages Sir Brion to enter but prudently Brion decides this is not the right course of action. Ordering his squire to light a torch Sir Brion takes it and rides round the hall and finds an area to one corner to light. A small blaze is started and now, once he rides back round the front does Sir Gordoduc order his men out and to rid him of Sir Brion.

Sir Brion and Sir Miles face nine spear man with two handed spears and then there are four other bandits with swords and shields and the man mountain that is Sir Gorboduc. The odds are stacked and there would be no shame in beating a hasty retreat. Sir Brion asks Sir Miles to tell the story of what happened here. He shouts to Salisbury and charges at the line of spears, his horse vaults the barrier and he chops down on Sir Gorboduc, his sword striking ineffectually against his mail. The last Sir Miles sees is the knight of Orcheston being dragged off his horse and spears being thrust downwards at him. He rides away with haste, the two squires riding closely behind.

Back at Salisbury Sir Miles tells the tale of Sir Brion. How he sacrificed himself and charged in against the odds. The countess smiles, almost disbelieving this is the same Sir Brion she thought she knew. It is a dark day but sometimes a tale of valour such as this can lift the spirits.

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Year 498: Part 1: The returning of Sir Edern

As Sir Morians and Sir Brion arrive at Sarum they are met by the Marshall Sir Amig of Tilshead. He greets them cordially and introduces them to a new vassal knight of Salisbury. Sir Miles of Laverstock, a portly British Christian known to indulge himself in food and drink alike.

The spring court at Sarum is a sombre affair. The walls around the town are still not complete and it seems everywhere there is an oppressive feel.

The Countess asks to speak with the knights after the feast and seeks their advice regarding the saxons asking for tribute. Princes of Sussex, Wessex and Essex are at Sarum all demanding payment. Sir Brion forgets his courtesies and blurts out his displeasure and it takes Sir Morians well timed words to defuse what could have been an awkward moment. He eloquently explains that they should look to the other counties for help and not pay the Saxons. Other knights nod in agreement. With this in mind the countess makes mention of Sir Edern, the bastard brother of the Steward of Levcomagus. He is still being held at Sarum and it is the countess’ wish that he be returned. No ransom has been paid but she believes a show of good faith could help cement the rather fractured relationship between the two counties. The countess commands Sir Morians to takes Sir Brion and Sir Miles and return the Silchester knight. She gives them free reign to make a start on mending the rift.

The following morning Sir Morians collects Sir Edern from his holdings and along with the other knights they make their way out the Fools Gate and towards Levcomagus. The start of the journey is quiet. Sir Edern doesn’t make much in the way of conversation and Sir Morians, who was there when he was captured, is not enamored to converse with him. It takes Sir Brion to talk to the knight of Silchester. The two seem to get on and Sir Brion extends the hospitality of his hall should he ever need it. Sir Edern gives his thanks but seems preoccupied with his coming reunion.

Before the sun has set the three Salisbury knights arrive in Levcomagus with Sir Edern and a herald announces their presence to the steward. They are shown into the hall and two fires burn to keep the sparse interior warmed. A platter of cheese and bread is provided as they wait for the steward’s arrival. After a couple of hours the steward arrives. He is greying at the temples but is in good health for a man in his 50s. He spies his brother who is pacing back and forth at the other side of the hall. With a curt word to his guards they escort the bastard from the halls and then the steward greets the knights.

The steward and the knights discuss family and the trouble they can bring. The wine starts to flow and Sir Morians passes comment on the availability of the countess for marriage and that the son of the deceased earl of Salisbury, the young Robert will be needed a position as page in two years time. The steward, who was to be married to the countess before she was married to Earl Roderick, is taken aback by this and doesn’t seem comfortable talking about it. After some time he extends the hospitality of his hall for the evening and departs. The knights carry on drinking.

On the morrow Sir Morians is slow to wake from his slumber, his head is spinning and Sir Brion is not best pleased by his behaviour. He attacks Sir Morians sense of loyalty and pride and this does eventually rouse him to get up. The three knights then head west bound for Salisbury and home. Sir Brion looks for Sir Edern as he leaves but he is nowhere to be seen.

That morning the knights can each recall a dream that had a serpent burning a church and then crawling widdershins around a motte nearby. It then raised its head and turned into a bailey. Smaller serpents slithered out and returned with many lambs, wolf cubs and babies in their mouths. The dream disturbed Sir Brion and the others but they don’t mention it to each other preferring to try and forget it.

On their way back they spy a young boy on the path who announces each knight as if he knows them. The boy’s form then shifts and he transforms into an old man holding a walking stick. The knights recognise Merlin and he asks them if they seek adventure. Sir Morians is not pleased he is here, he believes the talk that Merlin is a child stealer and will have no part of any adventure he would send them on. Sir Brion seems keen to not upset the druid but even when Merlin explains about the serpent dream and that a great evil is in the Forest Sauvage Sir Morians will still have none of it. Merlin disappears and the knights ride on.

When they return in Sarum they seek the countess and explain that Merlin has been seen. She is more keen to hear about Sir Edern and how things fair with the steward. She is pleased that some in roads have been made to forging an alliance with Silchester.

The knights are then given their leave and can return to their homes.

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Year 497: Massacre at Wallingford

On arrival at the spring court Sir Caulus was invited to see the countess. As he entered her hall he saw Sir Amig speaking with her. Sir Amig finished his conversation, gave his courtesies and left. He acknowledged Sir Caulus on leaving but only with the bare minumum of respect required. Countess Ellen gestured for Sir Caulus to sit but he declined. She explained to him that she would let his insolence the previous year go unpunished as she needs knights in Salisbury, but, she goes on to say if he steps out of line again then his land is forfeit and he will be banished. Asking to speak freely Sir Caulus explains his hatred of saxons and his position of not paying them. Before the Countess can give him permission to leave he is already walking out the door. Sir Amig is waiting outside and talks with him about being cautious for the moment and toeing the line. They will not be allied to the saxons forever. This still does not sit well with Sir Caulus, the bear.

Talk at Sarum is about the saxon princes Cynric of Wessex and Aescwine of Essex. They are being entertained in seperate areas of Sarum and this intrigues our knights they are all are in agreement that since they have paid tribute to Essex they should not pay tribute to Wessex. Essex should protect them against them. Sir Alafon decides to try and have words with Prince Aescwine of Essex but the Salisbury guards protecting them refuse to let him in. They spoke with the prince who did not want words with our knight.

The following day after the feast, the countess requests the presence of Salisbury’s knights. They all assembled in the great hall.
‘We have received word from Rydychan County. The countess there has been removed from power by three brothers and seeks our help to get back her land’, says Countess Ellen. ‘Those knights that help and can get back her holdings and can hold them can keep them with her as their liege’. This interests the knights. Sirs Alafon, Caulus, Morians and Brion who along with Sir Judhail, Sir Prosser, cousin to Sir Caulus and three young knights in Lewys, Wid and Berwyn ride north to Rydychan.
Sir Alafon takes seventy five of his levy with him, Sir Caulus takes twenty and Sir Morians twenty five whilst Sir Brion takes three.
After a couple of days of getting together their troops the nine knights and one hundred and twenty three levy, make their way north. They pass the border of Salisbury in a day and make their way through the borders of Silchester and Marlborough.

With information from the messengers about the likely locations of the brothers and their military strength, the knights aim for Wallingford. The town is held by Sir Basile, last known to have ten knights and twenty five soldiers at his command.

The knights stay a night at Appledore, under the hospitality of Sir Tyfriog who declines their offer to join them in overthrowing his liege. They moved on the following morning through the village of Milton and then to the walls of Wallingford.
The nine ride up to the gates of Wallingford which are shut and Sir Brion knocks on the door. He explains to the guard that they are seeking shelter on their way through. The guard goes away to speak to Sir Basile and after a while the gate opens and they are allowed to ride in. Their army is not allowed inside the walls so the eight knights ride in alone. Eight as Sir Brion decides to stay without the walls with the men.

Inside the horses are stabled and they are shown in to the main hall. Salisbury’s knights enter the hall and find Sir Basile seated behind a desk at one end. Ten knights form a circle around them and Sir Basile addresses them.

He asks them to leave his land to which Sir Morians steps out to demand he remove himself from power and allow the countess her rightful place. Two knights draw swords and before anyone can catch their breath more draw their swords and a fight ensues. It’s Rydychan’s young knights against Salisbury’s men. Sir Berwyn is the first to fall along with some or Wallingford’s. It doesn’t take long for Sir Alafon to make his way to the lord and decapitate him. His knights ignore his offer of quarter and fight on. Before long Sir Wid and Sir Lewys have also fallen along with Sir Judhail who has been knocked unconscious. However, Wallingford’s men are staggering back and more have dropped. Some dead, some dying. The two remaining knights give up their swords but Sir Caulus does not accept their surrender and murders them both.

As the bystanders flee the hall the men-at-arms enter and are shocked at the scene before them. Sir Alafon has set himself at the lord’s chair and beckons the sergeant towards him and he explains that he is now in charge. The sergeant gives him his sword to surrender and Sir Alafon accepts it. But it seems our knights have different ideas. Sir Brion rides in with their army and they proceed to ransack the town. In the morning they leave the town empty and the bailey on fire.

On their return to Countess Ellen of Salisbury they explain the situation and that the two remaining brothers may retaliate. The countess is rather taken aback by this and seems annoyed although she tries to hide it.
Later in the year the Christmas court is another subdued affair with a lack of food due to paying tributes to both Saxon princes. A fact which has angered our knights. Even Sir Amig seems a little impatient at events.
In other news Sir Alafon is the proud father to a baby girl. He names her Hawen.

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This was a good session and it was interesting seeing the knights with a bit more freedom to do what they wanted. They soon realised the responsibility of trying to take another county and had to leave without holding the town of Wallingford. What will happen in 498?

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Year 496: Embassy to Hantonne

Spring court opens with two marriages. Sir Caulus marries Enfys and his grandmother is in attendance. She approaches him afterwards and explains that he need to look to expand his holdings. In these dark times it’s every knight for himself.

Sir Morians marries the Lady Sara of Woodford and gains a lot of glory for doing so. His face beams when he escorts her from the church and he enjoys himself at the feast afterwards. His pride is great.

Later in the week in the great hall at Sarum Countess Ellen approaches Sir Alafon about two matches for his sister Lyn. Sir Judhail is one and Sir Prosser (cousin to Sir Caulus) is the other she adds that she believes Sir Prosser is the better match. He has lands in Sussex although those lands are in the hands of the Saxons. Sir Alafon agrees Sir Prosser is the better choice. They are to be wed in the new year if Sir Prosser is in agreement with the dowry.

A squire, Brion is knighted at the spring court under his liege lord Sir Amig. He vaults onto his horse after being knighted in one swift move. He is the youngest of four sons. His two eldest brothers died at the Battle of St Albans and his other brother who was destined for the priesthood died two winters back from a plague.

A messenger arrives at court detailing Saxon movement in the east. It seem a host of 100 Saxons is moving towards Sarum. The Countess asks Sir Alafon to go with three knights to see what is going on. He takes Sirs Morian, Caulus and the new knight Sir Brion.

The Saxons heading west are under the command of Prince Aescwine. He rides forward from his footmen to greet Sir Alafon. ‘I am Prince Aescwine’ he declares. ‘Son of King Aethelswith of Essex. I beg an audience with your Countess’. Sir Alafon offers the hospitality of his manor of Pitton but Prince Aescwine seems to understand his intentions are not true and declines the offer. Sir Morians suggests they escort the Prince and his four bodyguards to Sarum but only if he orders his 100 footmen to wait at the border of Salisbury. The Prince agrees and they ride for Sarum.

At Sarum the Countess welcomes the Prince of Essex into the great hall where he declares he wishes to discuss peace and tribute. He says that if Salisbury pay tribute to Essex they will guarantee peace protection from any enemy who invades. For this he wants 100 cattle and 100 pounds of silver. The Countess speaks to the knights without the Saxons present and asks for their opinion. Sirs Morian, Caulus and Alafon make known their disgust at this. They do not want to pay anything to the Saxons and would urge Salisbury to look to fellow British lords for allegiance. Sir Amig, Marshal of Salisbury and Sir Elad, Castellan of Vagon and the young knight Sir Brion council that they should pay the tribute. Salisbury is too weak to anger the Saxons they counterpoint.

On the morrow after the Countess has had time to weigh up the options she sends for Prince Aescwine. When he leaves her chambers he smiles and joins his fellow Saxons and leaves Sarum. The knights are then ushered in to see the Countess as well. The news she brings is not the news that Morian, Caulus or Alafon. Salisbury is to pay tribute to Essex. The knights are then given leave to return to their homes.

Sir Alafon speaks with the Countess and asks for permission to visit Morgan who is with her mother at Amesbury Abbey. Sir Alafon got on well with the young princess when he was at Tintagel a few years back. Countess Ellen gives him leave to journey there. When he arrives he talks his way past the knights of the abbey and gets his audience with the young princess. She is delighted to see the Salisbury knight and they talk as they play at chess. She asks about news from Sarum and how Sir Alafon is doing. Sir Alafon is given a room at the abbey and then on the morrow returns to his manor at Pitton.

Sir Morian spends his spring taking patrolling Salisbury. He takes in his manor of Winterbourne Gunner and his new manor of Woodford. When not with his wife he seeks his pleasures elsewhere.

Sir Caulus heads south to Dorset seeking an audience with the earl there. He meets Sir Aergul a days ride past the border. He is a border knight for the Earl and hears what Sir Caulus has to say. Sir Caulus declares that he wishes to see the earl. Sir Aergul explains that the earl is not at Wareham but he will take him to see the earl’s son Sir Rhisiart. It’s a two day ride to Wareham but the two knights don’t really speak to each other. Sir Aergul seems quite closed in anything he says to the young Salisbury knight. When he speaks with Sir Rhisiart he explains that the countess is siding with Saxons. The young Sir Rhisiart is interested to hear this and offers his hospitality for a few days.

Sir Brion chooses not to leave Sarum and he spends his time wandering its walls and streets. The knights does not seem keen to leave it’s defences whilst there may be Saxons outside.

In the summer messengers arrive from Hantonne in Hampshire. They announce that a large Saxon host is laying siege to the city and look to Salisbury to help. The countess asks the knights for advice. The concensus is that they cannot spare the men to try and lift the seige.

A week or so later more messengers arrive from Hantonne. The city has been taken by the Saxon king Cerdic. He arrived by boat and has taken the city. They are British messengers but call King Cerdic their lord. They explain that he wants to speak with his neighbours of peace and offers his hospitality to those that would hear him out. They point out that he is the rightful king of Gewessi, an old british tribe from the Gloucester/Hampshire area. Naturally the knights of Salisbury are not keen to go to Hantonne. The countess however would wish to hear what this king has to say and orders Sir Alafon to take some knights to hear the words from King Cerdic.

The next day Sir Alafon rides out with Sirs Morian, Caulus and Brion for the city of Hantonne. It is but a few hours ride away and they arrive by mid afternoon. An escort sees them into the great hall were some food has been prepared for them. The only one of their number that eats is Sir Morian though. The others refusing the hospitality of the saxon King. King Cerdic explains that a feast will be laid on that evening for them and he will speak with them aftewards. This angers Sir Brion who does not wish to linger longer than is necessary. The feast does come though and Sir Morians partakes in more food.

After the feast in the great hall in Hantonne King Cerdic gathers the knights before him. He explains that he is more a Briton than a saxon. His father being none other than King Vortigern who was king before Uther. He invites the knights to be homage to him and join his army. Salisbury to become vassals to him. This is more than the Salisbury knights can take. When he is finished and departs the hall leaving them to decide their answer each one leaves and readies their horse for departure. They take the news back to the Countess and urge her not to accept. She does not, choosing to not bow down to a Saxon King.

She then discusses defending Sarum. The wooden palisade is to be replaced by a stone wall. This will cost £120 and she asks that the knights give what they can to pay. There is no spare money in Salisbury. Sir Morians gives £20 and Sir Alafon £10. Sir Caulas, still steaming from the news of the tribute throws a purse of £3 10s on her desk and then ignoring any rules of hospitality storms out of the room.

Over the winter the knights of Salisbury all pay tribute to the Saxons via their usual payment to their liege. That is all except Sir Caulus. He decides not to pay tribute. This is not news that countess Ellen wishes to hear and she spends the winter deciding what to do. This and his earlier breach of hospitality only leaves the countess with one option. Will she take it?

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This session was the start of the anarchy phase. It allowed to the players more freedom in their choices and them walking out from Hantonne in disgust was something they may not have done if Earl Roderick was still their liege lord.

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Year 495: Battle of St. Albans

The spring court this year is a strange affair. The knights arrive in Sarum through the wind and rain to find the town on a military footing. Knights are travelling back and forth on errands and men-at-arms are on guard and seeing to supplies. Earl Roderick speaks with his knights and gives them tasks to perform and to ready themselves for war. They leave in a few days to make their way to St. Albans. News is that the Saxon army of King Octa is there besieging the city.

When the military procession leaves Sarum it is to a clear sky and no rain. The fields and paths are sodden though and it is slow going. Still, they arrive in Levcomagus a few hours later than expected and then head to Silchester to meet with Duke Ulfius’ army. They also meet armies from Clarence and Marlborough. All in all about 1,000 knights and 4,000 foot head to Staines to meet with Uther.

Uther is in attendance at Staines, even though he is clearly not well. He is pale of skin and looks to have not slept in days. Still, he is riding and able to give orders to Sir Brastias who deals with the logistics of this massive host. 1,500 knights and 5,000 foot leave Staines a week later to head to St. Albans to put down the Saxon dogs.

Our knights arrive in St. Albans to find several burnt down villages on route. The army sets camp outside the walls and the other side of a large open field that is to see the blood of many good men soak through to hell.

In the camp the officers retire to the royal tent to discuss the plan of attack. Peasants have given information that the city has already been taken and that the Saxon army is larger than the British one. The latter information is ignored. It’s a given that peasants can’t count.

The following day after the army has set camp they find that the gates to St. Albans are strangely left open. Some knights from Gloucester who are still armoured from recent guard duty decide to charge into the city. This is seen by Sir Cynlas who, although not armoured, doesn’t want to miss the chance for glory. He mounts his horse and races to meet his comrades. Sir Caulas runs to the Earl of Salisbury to explain what is happening.

With some deft horse riding Sir Cynlas catches up with Sir Olwen, a banneret of Gloucester. He is leading about twenty knights in an effort to take the gate and secure it. As they enter, Sir Cynlas is prudent enough to hold back from being first through, they reel back to see they are surrounded by Saxons. Sir Olwen’s horse is taken straight under him by two Saxons wielding two handed axes. Sir Cynlas turns his horse to get back out the gate. He gets through, the gates being closed by tens of Saxons. Another knight of Gloucester is making a run through the gate having been unhorsed. Amidst the screaming of men and dying horses Sir Cynlas has enough wits to extend a hand and lift the young knight onto his horse. They ride clear. As Sir Cynlas rides there’s a thump as his passenger is struck by an arrow and he goes limp. Cynlas hangs onto him and they gallop to the British camp.

Salisbury is clearly not happy with Sir Cynlas but holds back from chastising him. He needs all the knights he can in the right frame of mind. It’s clear to him that Sir Cynlas is passionate enough to deal a hefty blow come battle.

As dawn breaks over St. Albans the Saxon host file out of the city and form up in front of its walls. With this sight Uther does the same with his knights and men-at-arms. When both armies are lined up it is clear the Saxons outnumber the British. They look to have about 9,000 men. No horse though as that is not their way.
Salisbury and his men are in the vanguard, therefore they line up on the right. Uther holds the centre with Ulfius on the left flank. Sir Amig gives Sir Cynlas command of a select few knights. These include Sirs Alafon, Caulus and Morians.

The fighting is tough and fierce. In the initial charge Sir Caulus is unhorsed by a javelin but his Squire is quick enough with a replacement horse. It’s only a rouncy but it should do fine. The battle plan for Sir Cynlas involves charging and withdrawing. This gives the knights the best chance to do damage to the Saxon line. During the fighting Salisbury is also unhorsed and Sir Cynlas gets his squire to provide a replacement charger. He gets out alive. Sir Caulus is injured again, this time by a Saxon spear. It bounces of his shield and cuts deep into his leg.

Several hours of fighting pass and it is early afternoon before the Saxon host flees to the wood. It is unknown what fate belied King Octa. He is not found amongst the dead. The dead are numerous and our Salisbury knights count the true cost of fighting. Sir Alafon losing three members of his family to the Saxons. Sir Jaradan is also found dead. It appears that Framric Offason, the Saxon he captured a few years back had ended his life. An axe driven deep into his skull

That evening there is a lavish feast in the great hall of St. Albans castle. Our knights are in the bailey in large tents but it is the great hall where Sir Cynlas petitions the Earl to be. The greatest knights are there and he wishes to be among them. Salisbury capitulates and Sir Cynlas will join Uther et al.

Around midnight when the drinking has been furious, Sir Morians is with a young handmaiden and Sir Caulus with a peasant girl, Sir Cynlas staggers out of the great hall clutching his belly. Bloody vomit spews from his mouth and Sir Alafon looks up to see more men sway on their feet. It seems the whole of the hall has been poisoned. Salisbury is hanging onto Sir Cynlas but collapses back and dies before he gets to far. Sir Alafon drags Cynlas over to a water butt but the knight from Bedwyn can’t hold any liquid down. Within minutes he expires at his feet.

The scene all around looks like hell. It appears someone or something has poisoned the nobility of Logres. Ulfius and Sir Brastias alone are lucky enough to escape due to being with the doctors after they recived wounds in the battle. After a while the wife of the Castellan of St. Albans takes charge and gets things in order, as much as she can.

Morning breaks and Sirs Morian and Caulas are shocked at the sights before them. When Sir Morians sees peasants moving the bodies of Salisbury knights he ushers them out of the way so that he can take charge of the situation.

It is a day or so until the knights of Salisbury have things in order and leave St. Albans behind. They have the body of Uther with them. He is to be buried at Stonehenge. Ygraine is grieved deeply by his death. Earl Roderick is to be buried at Sarum Cathedral by Bishop Roger.

Eventually our knights return home. Battle weary and with their lords dead.

At the Christmas court Countess Ellen, widow of Earl Roderick asks for the knights to pledge their allegiance to her. Until her young son comes of age. The boy Robert is only 3. All of them do so and she is relived to have their support. She explains that things will be tough and it will take time to sort things out. She speaks to each knight individually. She hands wardship of Sir Cynlas’ two sons to Sir Alafon. She arranges marriages for Sir Morians and Sir Caulas. Sir Morians is to marry lady Sara, Sir Jaradan’ widow in the new year. Sir Caulus will marry the Lady Enfys. He briefly met her and found her pleasing.
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This was a fun session. It did take a while for me to get back into it after a long break from the last time. For that I apologise to my players. The battle was run using the Book of Battle and that is quite something to get ones head around. It appeared to us that we had got a good chunk of it wrong. Oh well. With the battle pretty much scripted it doesn’t change too much. It might have been tougher for them though.

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Year 494: Embassy to Estregales

Again is it another sombre start to the year. The talk at the Salisbury court is of Uther’s prolonged illness but there is a happier note to be played. The reappearance of Sir Alafon after his stay at Warwick Castle. The earl had paid a ransom for his release and asked him on his return to be on his best behaviour. The Castellan of Warwick wasn’t able to get any information from him but still believes he is guilty of the murder of Sir Tysilio.

A new knight is on show as well. Sir Rodric’s old squire Sir Baldric having recently been knighted. He does not follow in his previous lord’s lustful ways and is a more prudent man.

Royal court this year is at Windsor and the new knights take time to acquaint themselves to their surroundings. Before Sir Cynlas get really settle in he is asked before Salisbury. Sir Roderick bestows a letter onto him that is for King Canan of Estregales eyes only. It seems Uther wants an alliance with the Cambrians. Sir Cynlas is tasked with taking four knights on an embassy to Pembroke and to get his answer. They leave in the morning. He naturally choses Sir Alafon and the three new knights, Sir Caulus, Sir Morians and Sir Baldric.

The journey west is fairly uneventful until they reach Gloucester. Here they meet Sir Aelan, the Green Banneret of Gloucester and Sir Olwen, the Red Banneret of Gloucester. They are the twin sons of Duke Karadus of Gloucester. They are there to accompany the knights across the land of Gloucester and stay with them for the three day ride until they reach Carlion. The brothers spend the time bickering and it is with relief that Sir Alain de Carlion meets them outside the walls of Carlion to take them further.

Alain de Carlion talks with the knights as they approach the city of Carlion. At Carlion they are taken to see King Nanteleod who asks about Logres, the Saxons and Salisbury. The following day Alain leads the men west, in a day they are at Cardiff. The next night they are at Newcastle in the Nain Forest and then in Kynke Kynedonne at the border of Estregales. At the border they are greeted by some guards. They escort them throught Carmarthen and down to Pembroke.

At Pembroke they are greeted by Sir Orcas, Steward of Pembroke, he speaks with them cordially but it is clear he does not want them here. At the king’s court that evening Sir Cynlas gets the chance to pass the letter onto the King. Canan accepts the letter and tells him that he will give the proposal some thought and that the knights of Salisbury have the amenities of Estregales at their disposal.

That evening the knights enjoyed the hospitality of Pembroke. They meet Sir Dirac and Squire Lak, the sons of king Canan. Sir Cynlas was slightly unsettled though by the number of Irish in attendance. Estregales has a heavy population of Irish tribes and it took all of Cynlas’ experience to curtail the burning hatred held within. He lost his grandfather to the Irish and it still hurts him now.

The following day it seems the king’s household is moving off towards Castle Tenby. Our Salisbury knights are starting to feel they are being given the run around but agree to follow the train.

Before court at Castle Tenby Sir Cynlas is called before the king of Estregales. He tells him there will be alliance and to bestow his gratitude back to Uther. There is to be a big feast that evening to celebrate the alliance and so Sir Cynlas goes off to tell the other knights.

The feast is a lavish one with fine food and plentiful mead and ale. It is amongst this happy occasion that a shocking scene transpired. Sir Dirac passed a goblet to his father who toasted to his son. On drinking the wine he clasps his throat and begins to moan, staggering forward over a chair. Spewing blood he collapses and twitches. A minute later he is dead. The hall erupts and one man shouts that Sir Dirac poisoned his father and must be punished. Sir Alafon, however, had witnessed that moments before Sir Orcas, the steward had passed the vessel to Sir Dirac and let’s Sir Cynlas know. Sir Cynlas cries out, accusing Sir Orcas of this. Sir Orcas, of course denies this and demands his honour be satisfied with mortal combat. Sir Cynlas is never going to back down from that.

With swords drawn and shields up in the great hall of Pembroke the two knights circle each other as the audience backs away to give the combatants room. It is not a long fight though. Both men swing and the shields take a little battering. It is Sir Cynlas that gets the killer blow in. Sir Orcas throat is cut and he drops, bleeding out on the stony floor. Sir Dirac thanks Cynlas for defending his honour but now the room is more unsettled. The various tribes are squabbling amongst themselves and it seems Sir Dirac has his work cut out. He tells Cynlas that he will honour the alliance but that he needs to get Estregales in order first. He urges the knights leave as he cannot guarantee their safety.

With this news the knights return to Salisbury. It is a quiet journey but they are glad when they enter Sarum. Sir Cynlas tells the story to the earl who is grateful for the way he handled the mission.

Over winter Sir Cynlas marries the lady Glenda, daughter of the aging Sir Hywel of Lavington. On Sir Hywel’s death the manor of Lavington will pass to him.

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There’s quite a lot going on in this session that I am bound to have missed some bits out. For this I apologise to my players. It was a good fun session and I think I’m getting a better grip on things after the long break.

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Year 493: Skirmish with Sir Edern, bastard brother of the Steward of Levcomagus

The Easter court this year was held at Silchester. Many lords were present as usual but the king was in attendance but ill health had him bed ridden. Sirs Brastias and Ulfius were speaking on his behalf. The talk is that the king is distressed at the death of his son Madoc and the disappearance of the unnamed infant. Queen Ygraine is also, as one would expect, distraught over the disappearance of her young son.

Salisbury speaks with the knights present and explains that Sir Alafon is being held at Warwick Castle over the murder of Sir Tysilio, the champion of Warwick. It seems some witnesses came forward over the winter time and he is being questioned by the Castellan.

Sir Cynlas is now the only original knight of the young knights knighted in 485. He is now joined by Sir Morians and Sir Caulus this year. Sir Morians is a knight of slight build and one would think him not capable of holding up a sword. He is, however, a capable swordsman and is renowned for his dancing, flirting and being a good honest man. He is a pagan. Sir Caulus is a bear of a man in comparison. He has been giving the land of Sir Cerdoc who died childless and is renowned for being an energetic knight and one who has a love of birds of the feathered kind. He is hairy and hides his features behind a huge beard. He is also a Pagan.

On the way back from Silchester the knights are riding ahead and spot a band of men on the horizon. A closer inspection reveals there are five of them and they are on horseback. Sir Cynlas leads the knights whilst sending Sir Judhail back to inform the earl. As the knights get closer the foe aim their spears and charge. Sir Cynlas manages to get the men into some order and they receive the charge. A sound of steel on wood, horses neighing and men dying fills the air. Sir Cynlas puts his knight down and continues to fight well. The two new knights battle their foes and give a good account of themselves. After a good few minutes of fighting the Salisbury knights are victorious and it seems the leader, Sir Edern, is the bastard brother of the Steward of Levcomagus, the nearby town. The Steward is an enemy of Salisbury as he was one of Countess Ellen’s suitors but Salisbury got her hand in marriage. Sir Edern survived the blow from Sir Cynlas barely but is alive. Earl Roderick orders him to be taken to Sarum where he will be treated for his wounds. There he will be ransomed.

Once back in Salisbury the knights depart for their homes before returning to Sarum a week later for an errand to Malahaut. Uther has need for Salisbury to go to see the Centurion King and again try to get him to make an alliance. Salisbury asks Sir Cynlas if the two new knights are worthy of coming to which he answers in the affirmative.

The small contingent of knights leave Sarum bound for Malahaut. The journey north is uneventful and takes a couple of weeks, the shock that awaits them at Ebucarum knocks the wind from their sails. As they approach the gates Sir Morians sees saxons on the battlements. Sir Cynlas rides in with Sir Amig and the two are approached by the Steward. The Steward explains that the saxons are there as envoys to try and negotiate an end to hostilities. The Salisbury knights hatred for saxons burns deep and it is difficult for them to hold their tongues and keep their swords in check. The Earl leaves to speak with other lords present and the knights are left to wander the castle.

The following day the earl leaves for the great hall in the afternoon and the Salisbury knights are left to drink and make merry. They are in another hall with some northern knights and the saxons. There is a lot of drink as one would expect and some boasting from the saxons. Sir Morians takes up one saxons offer for an arm wrestle. The saxon is slightly taken aback when they are about to start and Sir Morians kisses him. This causes the saxon to overturn the table and try and catch the little knight. In swinging wildy at him he manages to break his hand on a pillar and then the steward breaks the fight up.

Our knights are soon to learn that the northern knights and the saxons are hear to form an alliance with the Centurion King and rise up against Uther. They leave the hall to talk with the earl who comes steaming from the great hall. Sir Cynlas confronts him with the news and the Earl slaps his squire out of the way one the boy tries to adjust his cloak. He feels he is being kept out of many conversations and that something is afoot. It seems also that the saxon kings Octa and Eosa have escaped their prison and are rallying troops to the north.

‘We must leave for home tomorrow before dawn’, says Roderick. ‘We can dispatch a rider to the King and inform him of this awful news’.

The Earl gave the knights the express order that they were not to get in any trouble and do anything that would delay their early departure. Sir Cynlas was listening but he does have a habit of letting trouble find him. Whilst in the hall he caught wind of some saxon boasting. Sir Cynlas, being the proud Briton he is did not let it lie when one saxon, Bosa Osricson, declared saxons better than any knights from the south. Many words were exchanged and the long and the short of it was that there was to be a fight to first blood at dawn on the morrow. This might be tricky seeing as the knights were meant to be leaving before dawn. Sir Cynlas left to speak with the earl.

The following morning the earl and his knights left for Sarum minus one Sir Cynlas. He was still abed waiting for his fight. The earl had allowed the knight of twenty and eight years to fight the saxon dog but to then catch up with the column.

The fight between the Bosa Osricson and Sir Cynlas lasted for a few minutes before Sir Cynlas managed to find a way through and cut the saxon to the belly. The wound was large and deep and the saxon collapsed. Cynlas wiped his blade on his foes leather jerkin and left the field at speed so as to catch up with the earl.

Sirs Morians and Caulus were riding at the head of the column again when Sir Cynlas caught up with them. He had just given his news to the earl and was now explaining to his young comrades what had happened. Sir Morians cut him off when he saw a line of infantry on either side a some hills in the path. Sir Cynlas, never one to hold back, rode ahead and the two young knights followed. The earl also seemed keen to find out what was happening and trotted forward with Sir Amig following.

On the hill just on the edge of a tree line were more saxons. Our knights seemed to be outnumbered but saw no choice but to attack their hated foe. In the clash of arms that followed, Sir Jaradan was cut badly to the arm and Sir Caulus was badly wounded, and was lucky to survive. After a few minutes the fighting was done, Sir Cynlas and Sir Morians chasing down any saxons that attempted to flee.

Sir Caulus was unconcious and bleeding badly from a wound to the chest. The earl sent a priest forward to tend his wounds and convey him on a litter back to Sarum. There he took nine weeks to recover from his wounds. He is now, however, more prone to sickness due to wasting slightly from the wound. He will carry this for the rest of his days.

The Christmas court is a subdued affair. The earl is quiet and pensive, talking with his men about trying to secure other alliances for Uther. If the northern lords move with the saxons the whole of Logres could be at war.

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This was a good fun session. The first in my new abode in Southampton. John is now playing Sir Morians after Sir Moelwyn was banished from Salisbury. Bob is now playing Sir Caulus as Sir Cerdoc had been killed by a Wyrm the previous year. Pat was unable to make the session and may be dropping out permanently. The previous year his knight had murdered Sir Tysilio in cold blood and it works for the story if he was put on trial for this.

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Year 492: Banishment of Sir Moelwyn

The year starts off again with Sir Alafon and his quest for some creatures to house in his cages. He recruits Sirs Cerdoc and Cynlas. It’s a long day and the quarry is not cornered until the setting sun. The creature is large and on getting closer it is identified as a Wyrm. A large snake like animal capable of breathing fire. It lashes it’s tail out at the knights and causes a few small wounds. After a few rounds of combat it is Sir Cerdoc that bears the brunt of the creatures fury. It bites down on him in it’s death throes and clamps down. Sir Cynlas and Sir Alafon close to finish the creature off but it is too late for the Christian knight. He joins his wife in the afterlife. Another Salisbury knight has fallen.

The Easter court is held in Tintagel and the Earl spends a moment talking with Alafon. He asks that he doesn’t take more risks with the hunting. The kingdom is not safe and he cannot afford to lose any more good men.

The news at the Easter court is that Ygraine is pregnant and that Uther is pleased with this. Although the rumour goes that she believes she was visited by Gorlois on the day he died. He died a good few miles away though so she has to be wrong. Doesn’t she?

Sir Alafon talks with Morgan who is the youngest of the three step daughters of Ygraine. She is about eleven and has a keen mind and enjoys games of chess with which she is teaching Alafon. Sir Cynlas gets to know Margawse and learns that she is to be married to King Lot and that her younger sister Elaine is to marry King Nentres who is Lot’s right hand man.

In the spring, a few weeks after the Easter court is the joint wedding of the two sisters to the two King’s of the North. This should help secure an alliance with the North, an area often troubled.

In late spring our knights are riding patrol around Terrabil and our riding along Bodmin moor when they come across Merlin. He is carrying a bundle they can’t identify and seems to be in a hurry. He asks them to help him and delay those following. The knights nod in agreement and he disappears off into some trees. Our knights line up and prepare to attack whoever is coming. When the noise of approaching men reveals the voice of Sir Brastias they ease up on their spears. Sir Brastias with a troop of men trots at them and asks them where Merlin went. They point in the correct direction and then turn to join him in finding him. Merlin is nowhere to be seen however.

When they arrive back at the castle later that day they are given a cold rececption and told that Sir Brastias has accused them of treason in helping Merlin escape with Uther’s son.

In the morning they are each questioned by Father Dewi who is the local priest and he takes down their statements. They of course deny helping Merlin and in fact they helped Sir Brastias when the truth of the matter was revealed.

Later in the day the court is in session with Uther flanked by Duke Ulfius, Bishop Dubricus and Queen Ygraine is there as well. Bishop Roger speaks for the knights before he is cut short by Uther who asks them to speak for themselves. They tell their tales and then Queen Ygraine spits that she wants them to be killed for helping Merlin steal her baby. Bishop Roger declares the knights are innocent as Merlin had enchanted them. Sir Amig speaks of the knights good deeds and then the Earl of Salisbury puts his neck on the line by giving his word that they are honourable and trustworthy men.

Uther speaks with his council and it is decided that Merlin is to be cast out of the kingdom and that the knights are innocent as they have helped him and Britain greatly in the past. Merlin is now an outlaw of Britain.

With relief the knights leave court.

Christmas court is a subdued affair back in Salisbury. The knights of Salisbury are glad to be home. There is one incident of note which leaves the Earl with a sour taste. It seems Sir Moelwyn’s cousin Sir Oswalt has got married to the Lady Ailwen – she who was raped by Sir Rodric and bore a daughter to him. The daughter is now in a nunnery and Sir Oswalt wished to speak with Moelwyn. There was an argument, Sir Moelwyn wishing him well but saying that the Lady was dead to him. The Earl got involved and asked Sir Moelwyn to retract his statement saying Sir Rodric was found guilty and that is an end to it. Moelwyn didn’t back down and left the Earl with but one choice. He cast him out from Salisbury.

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Well, this was a very interesting session. Tensions are running high and it’s easy to see that the players are invested in their characters. John was not backing down from the Earl as Sir Moelwyn and the Earl through me was not going to either. Intense stuff. Let’s see what 493 brings. We will have two new knights.

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