Neal's GPC

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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