Sarum was a town preparing for war in the spring of 505. As our knights rode into the bailey the place was a hive of activity. Guards on the battlements, arms and armour being moved around and so many horses.
The countess had sent out messengers to the knights before they left their homes to ask them to bring their families with them. ‘War is likely’ she said ‘and you can keep your wives and children safe with us here’. Each knights brought their wives, Sir Morians kept his mistress at home in Winterbourne Gunner.
In the main hall the countess was holding a council. Prince Cynric was gesticulating and demanding that she paid tribute. The knights were let in and when they were announced the Lady Ellen delighted in stopping Prince Cynric mid sentence so she could greet each knight individually. Prince Cynric looked fit to burst.
The argument went on and it seemed Cynric wanted tribute and men to help in his fight against Nanteleod. Sir Lak of Estregales and Sir Alain of Carlion were there for Nanteleod and explained to the countess that she had allies she could count on and she didn’t need to bow before this thing. Sir Alain was fuming with Prince Cynric’s behaviour in court and had to excuse himself and apologised as he left the hall.
Sir Caulus asked to speak freely, the countess welcomed this. He explained that Cynric, he refused to call him Prince, should have his head removed and that should be the message sent back to King Cerdic. The countess looked like she wanted to laugh but composed herself. She thanked Caulus for his contribution but suggested his head remainded attached.
The following morning Prince Cynric and his troops left Sarum with no tribute and no additional men. They were escorted to the outskirts of Salisbury by an armed guard.
The countess gives the order that the some fifty knights and fifteen hundred men are to march north to Wandborough and there to meet up with King Nanteleods men. Sir Amig is still unwell so she asked that Sir Morians lead the men. He positively beemed at this and looked so proud at the head of the column.
At Wandborough they were greeted like old friends by King Nanteleod. He personally cracked open a hogshead of ale and with the salute of ‘To war’ drank with the men.
A few days later the combined armies of some three to four thousand men left and headed back south as they had reports of Saxons marching on Sarum. Some maneuvreing was needed as it seemed King Cerdic was not wanting battle. Eventually the two armies did meet though. Near Levcomagus and several large farmer’s fields would become the killing ground.
The battle of Levcomagus was a short but bloody affair. The Saxons were dealt a harsh blow with the knights of Salisbury attacking the Saxon left flank. They defeated some wealthy heorthgeneats. Sir Miles looks to go mad when he was attacking Saxons swinging great axes. He was found hacking away and mounds of bodies and no-one dared approach him. He eventually collapsed exhausted and was taken to the treatment tent. No major wounds to speak off amongst their number allow Sir Cenwyn came close having his horse taken from under him.
King Cerdic retreated north and King Nanteleod gave chase. They meet again at the battle of Royston but this time the result is indecisive. Sir Miles was unfortunately captured by King Cerdic’s forces and taken back to Wessex. He had been trapped under his dead horse and was dragged back in the retreat. Sir Caulus spied his traitor cousin as the two armies pulled apart. He issued a challenge and the two men clashed and soon got an audience. The whirled their horses around each other and sword hacked at shield. Sir Prosser looked to be skilled but not enough. A cut to his neck eventually felled him. He slumped unconscious from his horse. Sir Caulus dismounted and issued the coup de grâce.
King Nanteleod gathering the men together and gave a rousing speech. He explained that the 40 days of service were up and he could ask no more. He pleaded that the knights stay with him though. He wants to meet up with Duke Corneus of Lindsey and they would take the fight to the Angles. Sir Morians declined to stay. He tried to implore the Salisbury knights to head back with him as this wasn’t their fight and Salisbury needed defending. It might have been a nice speech in his head, however it sounded very bad when it came out. Most of the men just shoke their heads and drank with Nanteleod to stay on. Sir Morians left with only a few knights. Cenwyn and Caulus stayed for more fighting.
At Beale Valey the King of Estregales met with Duke Corneus and they greeted each other cordially. The armies took time to get settled and scouts came in with reports of the movements of the Angles. The Angles of King Aethelswith and the Britons of King Nanteleod would clash at the Battle of Hertford.
The Battle of Hertford would no doubt have ballads written about it. The brave Britons decisively crushed the Angles, King Aethelswith amongst the dead. The knights gathered up their plunder which included horses as well as some coin and headed home.
Back in Salisbury it seems the manors to the west had been raided by Cornish men but they didn’t get as far as Sarum. Sir Morians gave the news of Sir Miles capture to the countess for her to tell his wife the Lady Ceriden. He didn’t want to speak with her himself.
The knights all back, apart from Sir Miles, they returned to their homes and gathered their harvests in.
Sir Miles wife Ceridwen gave birth to a boy she named Biuarn in his father’s absence. Lady Blodyn, Sir Cenwyn’s wife had another boy to add to the twin boys she had last year. Sir Cenwyn truly is blessed.
Christmas court was a jovial affair but the knights lamented the loss of Sir Miles. The countess hadn’t received a ransom request yet but with Sir Caulus being unharmed when he was taken she has hope.
This session was a lot of fun. It was good to get back to some proper fighting. Poor Sir Miles was so unlucky. He failed a passion roll and then got captured. Will Lady Blodyn continue to spit out boys? Have the Saxons finally been defeated? Will Sir Miles be returned unharmed? Some of these questions may be answered when we next meet on the 22nd September.