A tournament is to be held in London in January, the winner of which will be declared High King. Earl Robert is keen to have all his knights in attendance. It takes a few days to get everything in order and then they leave for the city of London.
It is a splendid sight that greets them in London. Tents and Pavilions litter the landscape without and within the walls of London. Earl Robert was addressed by one of the Heralds of the Tournament. He showed the earl where Salisbury where to set up their tents and Sir Rhufon asked who all the banners belonged too. The collective heraldry knowledge of the group having failed them. This pleased the Herald who delighted in reading from his parchment the names of all the lords in attendance. Salisbury had their tents close to Gloucester and Silchester. Sir Caemes, the big brutish knight from Dorset asked the herald if he could let them know what each of those lord’s shields were, he gave them the Frankish words but did not point them out. This displeased Sir Caemes who said he didn’t understand Frankish. The herald looked ready to give a witty retort but on seeing that Caemes was not a man to argue with he backed down and then rather helpfully took them all on a tour of the camps, pointing out who was were and what was going on.
With the tournament not starting officially till the following day our knights decide to head out and see what there is to do. Sir Rhufon helps out Sir Cledwyn of Lindsey in an altercation with Sir Uffo of Silchester, son of the Duke of Silchester. Sir Uffo slopes off with a broken nose and Sir Cledwyn is quietly thankful to Sir Rhufon for the help but his pride is dented. Sir Pelinore spends his time with the camp followers and Sir Miles gets into some games of dice with knights of Escavalon.
The opening bout in the tournament sees our four Salisbury knights pitted against four knights of Gloucester. One by one they are knocked down until Sir Rhufon of Salisbury is against Sir Gwern. The knight from Gloucester was unscathed but the two knights seem to just circle each other to start with. Sir Rhufon landed some good blows but was unable to knock his opponent down to start with and looked like he could not best him. Sir Gwern over extended himself though looking for a telling blow and Sir Rhufon knocked him down with a swipe across his side. Sir Gwern went face down into the mud. Sir Rhufon was barely declared the winner before a cry of ‘The Sword! The Sword!’ went up from the direction of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.
Up on the hill by the sword in the stone stood an older knight, identified later as Sir Ector and his son Sir Kay. A young boy was also present. A number of knights were trying their hand at pulling the sword out of the stone. As the recent legend goes whoever pulls the sword from the stone will be declared king. Seeing everyone trying, Sir Pelinore gesturing towards his liege Sir Robert of Salisbury says ‘Let the boy try’. This cry is taken up by the rest of the crowd but it seems they believe the young squire on the hill should try.
As Merlin watches on from the sidelines, the Archbishop Dubricus is also present a little distance away, the young boy simply grabs the sword and pulls it from the sword without a problem. A beam of light shining down on him as he stood there sword held high. A dove and an eagle fly high from nowhere and the crowd erupts into a cheer.
The crowd started to restless after King Lot announces that he will to bow to him. ‘Are we to be ruled by a beardless bastard?’ he asked. The greater barons and outland kings express similar astonishment but there are a number of lords that swear fealty. King Leodegrance of Cameliard; Sir Ector, Arthur’s stepfather; Sir Kay, Arthur’s stepbrother; Sir Hervis de Revil, a famous landless knight; Prince Lanceor of Estregales, son of the King of Estregales and the famour Sir Brastias, a mercenary knight formerly guard to King Uther.
As the crowd got more restless and the nobles starting bickering between themselves it took Merlin and Dubricus in a rare show of solidarity to calm the throng. They announced that another contest would be held, with anyone who wishes to try to pull the sword from the stone allowed a turn. This would be held at Candlemas, 2nd February and with that the two aging men selected the ten best knights to guard the sword for the following month.
At Candlemas a number of knights try to pull the sword but to no avail. This is followed by Arthur pulling the sword with no issue and then more nobles and knights pledge loyalty to the Boy King. These have been since dubbed the ‘Eager Vassals’ and Earl Robert of Salisbury was amongst their number. Ulfius, Duke of Silchester also pledged along with Duke Corneus of Lindsey; Bishop Baudwin; the Earl of Hertford; Earl of Dorset and many lords and bannerets of lesser standing.
Merlin called for another event to be held at Easter, this year on 21st March. Those lords not in attendance now would have a chance to see the boy then. In front of this third assembly Arthur again drew the sword from the stone. This time the Earl of Jagent; the Earl of Wuerensis and the Duke of Clarence bent the knee to Arthur.
A rumour is circling that King Lot is gathering troops and lords together in his northern stronghold. The King of Lothian publicly blaming Merlin. Saying that any good pagan shouldn’t trust a sorcerer.
On the 1st of May there was yet another assembly, where some nobles were still voicing their discontent. This time they were drowned out by the citizens and peasants with chants of ‘Ar-thur, Ar-thur…’. The nobles give in and join in, announcing Arthur as their king.
Within days Arthur is knighted. By the best knight in the land. This was chosen to be Sir Morians, Marshal of Salisbury who seemed very proud to knight the future king.
The coronation was a magnificent affair. It must have taken months in the planning. Maybe from before Arthur pulled the stone? At St. Paul’s Cathedral, Arthur is crowned King of Logres and this was done with all the pomp and ceremony as to really impress the nobles gathered. Our knights of Salisbury had a place in the Cathedral and got to witness this event. Arthur took the arms of Logres as his own, a gold shield with two green dragons back-to-back.
After the crowning and shield bearing Arthur accepted the homage of the remained nobles and then began a week of feasting and festivities, after which King Arthur led a great procession across Logres to Carlion. Commoners lined the roads, celebrating and cheering on their new king. The knights following their lords to this celebration.
At Carlion-on-Usk, the Supreme Collegium meet to elect the new High King, a position not filled since before the days of Uther. Many of the Legates are not in attendance but those that are deliberate and in the end capitulate to the will of the people. Arthur is crowned the new High King. He takes the arms of the High King; a red shield with seven gold crowns. More feasting follows and no-one is disappointed.
It is during these festivities that Arthur learns of that King Lot and his allies are on their way with their armies. Arthur orders gifts to be sent out to Lot and all and bids them welcome. The gifts come back, however, and the messenger was insulted.
Did Arthur appear frightened when he then ordered the gates of Carlion closed and to prepare for a siege? Outside King Lot is busy burning down villages and ransacking the grain stores and killing the livestock. Arthur eventually backs down to the will of the nobles and orders the gates open and they will meet Lot in open battle.
Sir Miles is giving the task of leading his small band of Knights and although he is not well versed in battle in humbly accepts the honour. He has survived many scrapes though and does seem to have luck on his side.
As they line up and readying themselves for the ensuing bloodshed it seems they are outnumbered. Lot appears to have twice as many men having many Picts and northern lords on his side. Can Arthur really triumph over this?
This was another fun session. We did also run through the battle but I will do that report separately. It was interesting when Sir Pelinore piped up about letting the boy, meaning the Earl have a go pulling the sword. It was just before I was about to explain that the crowd where going to say it. It was a nice twist to the oft told tale.