Neal's GPC

Year 491: Cornwall bound and Rodric’s last stand

The Salisbury knights meet at Sarum as they do around Easter time every year. This year the Earl seeks an audience with them. He explains that they are needed to travel to London first to let the king know they are coming. This strikes the five of them as odd. The Earl explains:

“We would normally receive a summons from the king dictated that our presence is required. This has not happened,” The Earl looks forlorn “With his hate for Cornwall I feel something is afoot.”

The knights agree and hasten from the Earl’s hall. They stay the night but depart in the morn for London.

A few days into their journey, when they are about a days ride from London they spy some knights heading their way bearing Silchester colours. They identify themselves and explain that the king has left London and rides on Cornwall. They are to join him. With this news the knights turn round and head back for home to summon the earl. The Silchester knights join them to convey their news in person. Sir Cynlas was not keen on speaking to the earl.

They meet Salisbury a day from Sarum and he doesn’t take the news well. They camp for the night and the Silchester knights and our Salisbury knights spend the time getting to know one another. Sir Cynlas learns that Sir Aedan is a pagan so they spend some time talking of their old gods.

Jumping forward we find Salisbury arriving at Terrabil, Gorlois’ main stronghold about a days ride from Tintagel. Prince Madoc is there as is Sir Brastias. Earl Roderick goes to see them.

Coming back to his knights he explains that the king is at Tintagel as he believes Gorlois is there. Roderick gives the knights a choice. They can ride to Tintagel and help the king or stay at Terrabil where he will be fighting alongside Madoc and Brastias.

Sir Rodric and Sir Moelwyn with their minds on Ygraine opt to venture to Tintagel to hopefully catch a glimpse of their lust. Sirs Alafon, Cynlas and Cerdoc stay at Terrabil.

At the siege of Tintagel, Sirs Rodric and Moelwyn find the small kings army camped out with a couple of trebuchets hurling stones ineffectually against the outer ward. A battering ram is thundered against the large wooden entrance but it makes no impact and then pitch and fire is rained down on the unfortunate men trying to do their king’s work.

Days pass and the knights are bored. On one evening as a fog descends they see Merlin arrive and make his way to the king’s tent. He comes out with him and they make their way up to a stone circle half a mile along the cliff side and flanked by woods. The king kneels and Merlin raises his arms and whirls them about. The king stands and mounts a horse. He rides off in the direction of Tintagel but is then shrouded in fog. A minute or so later Sir Rodric can hear cries of “The duke is here,” and “Open the gates for the duke”.

Early the following morning Sir Moelwyn had woken early, he sees the duke ride out from Tintagel towards the woods nearby. He arms up and mounts his charger to ride out and intercept him, he calls to his fellow knights to join him but only Sir Jaradan is awake and able to respond. As they near the woods the king walks out leading his horse by its reins. Sir Moelwyn speaks to the king explaining he has seen the duke escaping into the woods. The king asks him to look if he is sure. Sir Moelwyn and Sir Jaradan spend a fruitless morning searching for Gorlois. Sir Jaradan does see horse tracks that ride into the woods. The same tracks that then lead out where the king came. Strange they think.

Over at Terrabil there is a similarly dull few days as the army is camped out. Late one night though, a trumpet blares and is then cut short. At the far edges of the camp they can hear men shout, horses scream and metal clash against shield. The knights rush to don their armour and then run out to their horses. Before they can reach them though, they are ambushed.

They battle against soldiers from Cornwall and manage to dispatch a few, they again go to get on their horses but the noise, smell and camp fires scare the mounts and they bolt.

For a good while they fight against some Cornish knights and Sir Alafon who is still injured battles on. Sir Cerdoc is in a solid fight with a particular knight who knocks him to the ground, he doesn’t allow him to get up and keeps battering him down, hitting armour and shield but not doing much damage. Eventually Sir Cerdoc gets to his feet and it’s his turn to knock his opponent down. Giving no quarter he keeps battering him, in the course of time he surrenders. Sir Cerdoc has a ransom.

Whilst this is going on Prince Madoc gives a shout for men to rally to his banner. He is without horse as they are. Our Salisbury knights start to make their way to him, fighting as they go. Before they can reach him, Gorlois, on his charger, attacks Madoc. It is a vicious fight, Madoc is fighting like a dog and it seems both men have a lot of hate for one another. Gorlois screams “Send me your father”. Madoc replies that he is not here. They battle on.

Our knights are getting closer, Sir Cynlas and Sir Alafon and nearly free to aid him and as they look to Madoc they see a sickening site. The king’s son, staggers back, sword flying and Cornwall brings his sword down through his neck and into his rib cage where it appears to be lodged. He yanks his arm back but cannot dislodge the blade. Madoc is dead on his feet. Gorlois is without a weapon as Sir Cynlas runs in and strikes the duke. It is not with enough force though, Gorlois remains on his horse but drops his sword. From the side of his saddle he grabs a mace and swings back clattering against Sir Cynlas who is surprised at the power of the blow.

Sir Alafon fights to get to his Salisbury friend and they both set upon Gorlois who bravely fights both whilst still asking to see the king. Sir Alafon, takes a massive hit and drops to the ground. It is now just Gorlois and Sir Cynlas, other knights are attacking his body guards. Sir Cynlas is skilled with a blade but is no match for the duke. After a few minutes of a stalemate he is knocked unconscious by a blow that would have killed a lesser man. The pagan gods smile on Sir Cynlas and so he was spared.

Sir Cerdoc sees none of this as he was fighting his eventual captive. When he returns to the fight and sees his two Salisbury comrades down and an opportunity to be first into the castle grounds as the gate has been opened, he choses fame and glory. He mounts up and with several other knights charges into the courtyard of Terrabil. Facing them are some veteran knights on horseback and the two groups meet in a clash of spear, sword and shield at a gallop. Sir Cerdoc slices the side open of his enemy. All around Cornish knights are surrendering and it seems the day is won.

A day later and over in Tintagel. News reaches Uther that his son is dead. This knocks him back somewhat and he is visibly reeling from the information. He is cheered a little by the news that the duke has been killed. It seems Duke Ulfius and some Silchester knights brought him down and hacked at his corpse.

The next day the body of Gorlois is brought to Tintagel and Sir Brastias who accompanied it is let into the castle to give the news to Ygraine. On the morrow the gates are open as she gives up the keys to Tintagel and it seems the war is over. Ygraine is dressed in black as she presents the keys to Uther on a cushion.

A week later there is the funeral for Madoc. He is buried at Stonehenge. Sirs Cynlas and Alafon are still at Terrabil with their injuries and unable to travel. It is a sombre affair as one would expect. Uther seems lost as the weight of things bear down on him.

At the funeral. The Castellan of Warwick, that is the father of Lady Ailwen is looking for Sir Rodric. He knows he lay with his daughter whose child of that union is now at a nunnery. The Earl hears of this and orders the matter settled. The wake after the funeral is held at Sarum and atmosphere is now even more heated with this recent news.

After the wake and when most of the knights of other duchies have left a date is set for a trial by combat between Sir Peryf, castellan of Warwick and Sir Rodric of Tisbury.

In the courtyard at Sarum, the anticipation of the coming fight is clear. Sir Peryf steps forward and announces his claims. It seems Lady Ailwen has accused Sir Rodric of rape and for that Sir Rodric must answer. Sir Rodric claims it was consensual and that the Lady in question instigated it. He says this with his ever suffering wife the Lady Bronwen beside him.

Sir Peryf then tells all those gathered that Sir Tysilio the champion of Warwick is to fight in his stead. That is his want and his rank grants him that privilege. Sir Tysilio steps forward with a smile on his lips. He looks like he enjoys a fight.

Weapons are brought forward, Lady Bronwen kisses Sir Rodric before retreating into the circle surrounding these armed combatants. The two men step forward and Sir Rodric begins the defence of his honour. They circle each over for a moment. Glaring at each other, Sir Tysilio bellows “For Warwick” as he leaps forward. Sir Rodric brings his shield up but it’s not enough. With a single blow Sir Rodric is struck down. He drops to his knees, blood spouting from his neck wound, the parallel to Prince Madoc’s death blow is not lost on the assembled crowd. Sir Tysilio kicks Rodric’s body so it falls back in the dirt and then spits on the dead man. He throws his sword down, drops his shield and walks off as if this was all too easy.

Sir Cynlas goes to Sir Rodric and drags his body away from everyone. So ends the ballad of the lustful Sir Rodric of Tisbury. Will there be another like him?

The rest of the year 491 is fairly relaxed in comparison to the earlier part.

There is the small matter of Uther’s wedding to Ygraine. This is a lavish affair and the knights buy posh new frocks to show off their grandeur but are slightly miffed that they do not get into the castle keep at Tintagel where the wedding is held. They have to be content with being part of the procession into it.

Christmas court is a standard affair except for some nice toasts to the memory of Sir Rodric.

This was a good fun session and marks our first PC death. After the amount of damage they have all taken and survived it was a shock to see him fall to one blow. Still, that is the grim nature of the times. Next session is being held on the 15th May and will be the last at my current abode. I am moving to Southampton on the 21st May 2011.

Year 490: Battle of Lindsey and the victory feast

The Easter court in the year 490 is held at Warwick in Wuerensis. It takes a good couple of weeks for the knights of Salisbury to travel with their retinues and attendants. The Earl is in good cheer as all seems well. Duke Gorlois is said to be there and it seems Uther is getting most of the nobles onside.

During the feast in Warwick Castle, Sir Alafon notices two knights quarrelling. It appears Sir Mathew, he shy of one finger who displeased Sir Cerdoc in the previous year, is in an altercation with Sir Tryfan, Sir Cynlas’ ex brother-in-law having been married to the now departed Malt. Sir Alafon calmly strides over and stands in between the two knights and engages Sir Tryfan in conversation. This annoys Sir Mathew somewhat, who pushes Sir Alafon to the side and explains he is not talking to him. Alafon ignores this and turns his back on the young knight once more. Sir Mathew then chooses to bundle Sir Alafon to the ground. Both knights make no skill of this and collapse as if drunk. Sir Tryfan offers a hand to Sir Alafon and helps him rise. They leave talking about better things. Sir Mathew appears too drunk to have realised what is going on and is ejected from the court by the steward.
Some dancing ensues and the various Salisbury knights take their wives to the floor for the latest dances of Logres. Sir Cerdoc who is of course without wife dances with a lady of the Wuerensis court. His heart is clearly not in it though as he doesn’t make a good account of himself.

Sir Tryfan is again seen arguing although this time he slaps a serving maid and Sir Cynlas sees him. Cynlas’ then takes him to one side and asks him to stay his hand in future. Sir Tryfan leaves court and takes to his bed. Sir Cynlas is left to speak with the girl and apologise on his behalf. The girl, although still sore of face and teary eyed accepts graciously as Sir Cynlas presses a penny into her hand.

The Lady Ailwen, daughter of Sir Peryf, Castellan of Warwick is enamoured somewhat by Sir Rodric. She has heard tale of his prowess and speaks with him. She does not explain who she is the daughter of and appears without her hand maidens. Sir Rodric is pleased to speak with her, she is fair of face, tall and lithe. Qualities he admires although he is not fussy. He accepts her invitation to be shown ‘the castle’s many fine features’.

Later on Sir Cynlas notices Rodric return and then a few moments later the Lady. He sees her then talking with the castellan. He mentions this not to Sir Rodric. Will he reap what he sows?
Talk at court is about battle. It seems the Saxon Kings Octa and Eosa are moving south towards Lincoln with a large army. They are joined by Eomund from Saxony. Prince Madoc and Sir Brastias speak of bringing them to account. Preparations are to be made to leave in a few days. Time for war.

Just outside Lincoln the British army catches its first glimpse of the Saxon host a mile in the distance on a large field. It seems like the perfect spot to slay the dogs. The army lines up it it’s usual formation of three battles. Uther holds the centre, Duke Gorlois the left, Duke Lindsey the right. Salisbury is in the centre and this brings much cheer to the Salisbury knights who can see King Octa in the Saxon ranks ahead, his banner blowing in the late spring breeze.

Sir Amig asks for Sir Cynlas to take his place beside him – He would have his council for the coming battle. It is late afternoon by the time the armies are lined up and it seems battle must wait for the morrow.

As the sun breaks over this field in Lindsey, the crows fly high in anticipation of the coming slaughter and the Salisbury knights climb onto their mounts ready to do their duty. They look on one another, pray to their Gods and eye the Saxon line ahead. Uther calls for his men to be ready and then a trumpet sounds. Spurs dig into horses flanks and the ground shakes with the thunder of 2,000 horses charging the Saxon line. Our Salisbury knights make short work of the bowmen that were their first foes. They then clash into a line of spearmen and are nearly caught off guard. They hack and slash for what seems like an eternity but the sun is only a little higher off the ground. The battle rages on for about five to six hours before there is a cheer from the left flank as King Eosa has been captured. The Salisbury knights are all still alive and only Sir Cynlas has taken a wound. They fight on and a shout goes up as the centre of the Saxon war machine collapses. The knights push through and see King Octa ahead with his banner, his heorthgeneats protecting him. The knights charge and fight their way through his bodyguard. This seems to cause them no problems but it is Sir Cynlas who is through, along with Sir Cerdoc to face King Octa. Sir Cerdoc offers the King the chance to surrender but he spits on the ground in reply. They both charge. As he ducks Sir Cerdoc, he is caught full in the chest by Sir Cynlas and goes tumbling from his horse. He is seriously wounded but alive and the Salisbury knights claim his ransom.

After the battle many are dead but the Saxon’s have been routed and the day belongs to Logres and to Uther. A victory feast is held at Lincoln and the whole castle gives way for feasting, drinking, dancing and Uther’s wandering eye.

The victory feast at Lincoln is a lively affair. The knights of Salisbury are invited up to the high table to speak with Uther and Sir Cynlas tells his tale of the capture of King Octa. He is honest in his account although still boasts proudly of the part he played. He did strike the king a mighty blow after all. After a little drinking and the tales of battle, a bevy of fine beauties enter the great hall. They line one side, each lady as beautiful as the next but the eyes of the hall are drawn to the lady in the middle who steps forward. She is a captivating sight – A lady of such elegance and allure that the hall is at once silent. She recites a poem, her voice angelic. This is the Duchess Ygraine, wife of Gorlois and it seems Sir Moelwyn and Sir Rodric are smitten by her. Sir Rodric almost forgets to breath, he has never seen a sight as such.

As the poem comes to an end and the hall erupts in applause the Duchess Ygraine and her cortège leave the room. Uther is speechless and staring after her, this is not lost on Gorlois who is silently fuming. Sir Rodric even goes after Ygraine, hoping to steal a word or two with her. Her handmaidens keep him at bay though and he doesn’t press the matter.

After a few days of feasting the Salisbury knights depart for their homes. The Earl speaks with Sir Alafon and announces he has found a good match for Sir Alafon eldest sister Lyn. The dowry Sir Alafon is putting forward is £5 and that has secured a young knight called Sir Gunda of Sutton. He fought well at Lindsey and Roderick believes him to be a good knight. Sir Alafon agrees to the match and she will be married off in early spring.
In December the Christmas court is to be held in London with all the important nobles of Logres in attendance. Duke Lindsey, Sir Brastias, Duke Gorlois and the Duchess Ygraine as well as King Uther and Prince Madoc are all there along with the usual retinue and retainers. The feast is the standard fair but the Salisbury knights have noticed that King Uther is not his usual self. He is withdrawn from conversations that they have overheard. The Duchesss Ygraine appears with her husband at this seems to have Uther’s attention. After several days of court Duke Lindsey is given permission to leave as is Prince Madoc. After another week Duke Gorlois is still being kept there. He is fuming and believes he is being held prisoner.

Sir Rodric goes to find the Duchess Ygraine to try and speak with her but finds Uther’s guards near her chambers and they do not let him pass. The Earl of Salisbury is happy staying in London at the moment as he has more things to discuss with King Uther but says they will leave in a few days time.
It’s a cold, cold night and there is a light covering of snow on the ground. Sirs Moelwyn, Cynlas and Rodric are still awake and hear a commotion outside. It sounds like horses being prepared. Sir Cynlas looks outside and recognizes the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall preparing to leave. He runs to Salisbury’s chambers to let him know what is happening. Sir Sir Rodric heads to the courtyard to intercept them leaving. Sir Moelwyn rushes to speak with some guards to get them to rouse the King.

Sir Cynlas speaks to the Salisbury chamberlain to get a message to the Earl about Cornwall leaving. He disappears inside the room leaving the knight of Bedwyn in the cold hall.

Sir Moelwyn sees the guards head along the corridor that leads to the King’s bed chamber but they seem to tarry outside and chat amongst themselves.
Sir Rodric gets down into the courtyard and sees that the gate is open, he spots an unknown Lady with Cornwall and his wife but can’t identify her in the darkness. He rushes to the gate house to try and get it closed but a fog descends followed by a snowstorm. He can hear the neighing of horses but not see anything. After a few moments the snow storm stops and the fog lifts. The courtyard is empty save for some rather alarmed guards.

Salisbury arrives at his door and speaks with Sir Cynlas and is rather alarmed by the news of Cornwall leaving. He heads to Uther’s chamber. When the door shuts to Uther’s chamber a silence is held, as the guards and knights present strain to hear what is said. Uther erupts, something is thrown and clatters against a wall and they hear the words ‘Traitor’ and ‘There will be war for this’. For the next day or so, no one dares to speak with Uther save for Sir Brastias.


This was a great session again. All the knights are really started to come alive and I players seem to be enjoying their roles. For all the danger of battles in Pendragon combat does not seem to vex these knights and again they get through with only one wound counted among them.

Year 489: For the ladies honour

Around spring time the army musters in Sarum ready to launch at attack on Cornwall. They are prepared for a 40 day campaign. Prince Madoc is commanding the vanguard, Uther the main and Duke Ulfius the rearguard where Salisbury and our knights are stationed.

After a week or so of travelling the knights are getting restless for battle. Eventually they sight a host on the horizon and the army slowly makes it’s way there. The army lines up in battle formation with the rearguard containing the Salisbury knights naturally forming up on the left flank. Up ahead in the trees can be seen some armoured men, a few archers here and there.

King Uther rides forward to parley with Merlin walking beside him. The king yells “One land, one king”
“Justice!” shouts Gorlois back. Sir Cerdoc recognised the duke’s arms and told his fellow knights.
“Show him the sword” Somebody shouts and Uther draws Excalibur gleaming bright even in the morning sun.
“Behold the Sword of Victory, forged when the world was young.” Explains Merlin.
The duke trotted back to his lines to hold a parley with his advisers. Turning back “If I surrender, what do I get?”
“You get…” Starts the king before Merlin intercedes. “All the land from here to the sea, to hold for the king.”
“I accept” shouts the duke. A big cheer goes up from both armies.

Gorlois and Uther camp together and spend the night drinking and talking. On the morrow the duke and his army are gone.

At dawn with the Cornish army gone Uther is looking smug and asks his vassals to ride with him to Lindsey. There they will threaten Octa and Eosa. The Saxons that have been raiding the lands in Lindsey and causing problems on the border of Logres.

The army heads north with some heading back home as this extension on the campaign will see them go over the 40 days expected of them. Salisbury has his knights onside and they are keen on spilling some Saxon blood.

A futher two weeks of marching and they are in the lands around Roestoc, just south of Lindsey. The knights spy smoke on the horizon and the Earl asks Sir Moelwyn to take the knights to have a look. Earl Roderick heads of with his other knights. No Saxon army is around but it seems there are several groups raiding and pillaging.

Heading of they come across a small band of Saxons burning a village. Several villagers lay dead and the Saxons are settling light to the thatched roof of the church.

Sir Cynlas, given the command by Sir Moelwyn leads the knights in a charge downhill against the Saxons. As they get closer the Saxon leader sees them and gets his men organised into an effective shield wall.They charge through the wall and Sir Jaradan who is with them losses his spear through the neck of a Saxon killing him before he hits the ground. Sirs Alafon, Moelwyn and Jaradan then see the Saxon leader once they are through the wall and spur their horses at him. Sir Jaradan gets there first and speaks with the Saxon asking him to battle. The Saxon agrees but wishes to see the result of the current skirmish.

A few minutes of combat pass and over half the Saxons are dead or dying and the rest have fled. Sir Cynlas is laying unconscious in his saddle, saved by Sir Alafon. Sir Moelwyn counts two Saxons killed, Sir Alafon three, Sir Rodric took one and Sir Cerdoc took three as well.

At this the Saxon leader surrenders his sword feeling he can’t possibly triumph here. Sir Jaradan is rather pleased with himself that he has a ransom.

At the Christmas court in Sarum the talk is of bringing the fight to the Saxon’s Octa and Eosa and that the Saxons have suffered many losses.

Sir Alafon takes the time to introduce his sister Lyn to the knights and nobles in court in the hopes of securing a match for her. He asks Sir Amig, his father-in-law to dance with her. He accepts but Lyn only succeeds in treading on his feet and upsetting the Marshal.
Lady Sara, the wife of Sir Jaradan is again speaking to other knights, this time she chooses Sir Cerdoc who bores her with religious talk and the sanctity of marriage. Eventually she grows tired of this and leaves to speak with others. Sir Cynlas introduces his wife to Lady Meg, the widow of Sir Baglan. Lady Meg explains she wants something to do whilst the Earl arranges another match for her. She grows tired of courtly life though and her and the Lady Una seem to get on. Sir Cynlas agrees to take her into his household as the personal hairdresser to his wife.

During the feast Sir Cerdoc sees a young knight slap a young lady. He takes the knight to one side and urges him caution. “You do not hit young ladies” He explains and the young knight, Sir Mathew replies “But shes only a woman”. Sir Cerdoc strikes him, thus issuing a challenge. The agree to fight in the morning to first blood. This young knight is ironically Salisbury’s replacement for Sir Baglan. Sir Alafon had had an earlier encounter with the knight who backed down after Sir Alafon challenged him to a lance contest. Sir Alafon’s skill with the lance is well known.

On the morrow the knights are all gathered to witness the bachelor knight Sir Mathew do battle against the pious Sir Cerdoc. The fight doesn’t last long, Sir Cerdoc toys with Sir Mathew at the start. Eventually he grows tired and causes a mortal wound on the bachelor taking two fingers on his sword hand. “To all those young knights here,” he announces “When a lady says no, she means no.” With that he departs the field.

At home Sir Cynlas has become a father again, another son but he doesn’t last the winter.
Sir Moewlyn’s wife gives birth to twin daughters, Lynwen and Banwen. Lynwen dies unfortunately.
Sir Alafon has a daughter he names Cigfa, after his mother. She is ill but lives.
Sir Cerdoc suffers tragic news. His wife, the young Lady Brodwen, she turned sixteen this year and he finally took her to bed. She gaves birth to a daughter in the winter but died of blood loss and fever shortly after. The girl has been named Brodwen. Sir Cerdoc has shut himself away and who knows what the Christian will do.

I really feel that each knight is starting to develop and this session was great fun to play. Poor Sir Cerdoc though. He marries Brodwen when she is fourteen. He waits two years before bedding her, she falls pregnant but then dies in child birth. Sir Cerdoc’s faith is really being challenged.

Year 489: Ballad of Sir Baglan

Court early in the year 489 is held at Cirencester. Uther is in attendance with the Dukes of Lindsey and Silchester. Sir Julius is still missing from the skirmish at Lindsey in 487. The knights that are there, Sir Cynlas, Sir Moelwyn, Sir Cerdoc, Sir Rodric and Sir Alafon are with their wives and take the opportunity to walk the grounds.

Sir Moelwyn, with his wife Lady Lydia of Clarence, wander the grounds and talk of the future. Sir Mabon, the Marshall of Clarence and Lydia’s father approaches Sir Moelwyn. The Marshal explains that his eldest son, Edern, who is 14 this year will need a squire place in the new year. Sir Moelwyn graciously accepts the boy as his charge for next year and Sir Mabon introduces him to his son. The Salisbury knight asks the lad if he has used a sword before, Edern, who is a little shy said yes and took the blade that Sir Moelwyn offered him. He was a little limp wristed in using the weapon and clearly showed a lack interest. Sir Mabon explained that his men have tried to school him in war but it doesn’t seem to have gone in. He hopes Sir Moelwyn would be able to get through to the lad.

Sir Rodric also takes in the grounds with his wife, Lady Bronwen. On his walk he comes across the Lady Meg, the wife of his enemy Sir Baglan. He inquiries to how she is and seems happy when she said things were fine.

News at the feast centres on a Saxon army pillaging in the north lead by two great warriors, Octa and Eosa. They are raiding in Malahaut at the moment explains Sir Brastias. He explains that Duke Lindsey has been keeping them out of Logres so far. Prince Madoc asks that all vassals of the king must report for war this summer with 40 days food. Duke Ulfius brings news from France where Praetor Syagrius’ army has lost to King Claudas.

The feast is the usual fayre and the knights are eating and drinking quite merrily. Sir Rodric, however, is disturbed by Sir Baglan who accuses him of bedding his wife. Naturally Sir Rodric denies this and a fight to the death is organised for the morning. Sir Baglan wanted a fight with blunt swords and to three strikes but this was not acceptable to Sir Rodric who brings the matter before an annoyed Earl of Salisbury. Salisbury is fuming at Sir Baglan and forces him to accept the terms who be exiled.

The rest of the meal passes reasonably uneventfully. Sir Rodric does go off with a serving girl again though.

In the morning Sir Rodric is ready on the field in front of Cirencester castle and waits patiently for Sir Baglan. The young household knight of Salisbury shows and is clearly in a foul mood. He grabs his sword from his squire and then kicks the poor lad out of the way. The herald explains the situation and that it is a fight to the death and the two knights start by circling each other. Sir Rodric gets the upper hand for the first few strikes but is unable to get past Sir Baglan’s armour and shield. This goes on for a few minutes until Sir Baglan manages to get a strike in. Unfortunately he doesn’t draw any blood. This seems to inspire Sir Rodric who calls on his love of family and attacks back, Sir Baglan is caught off guard and is forced to the ground by a powerful blow. Wounded he gets up as Sir Rodric waits for him to be ready. Sir Rodric then forces Sir Baglan to ground again who, as he is falling, twists his ankle. In the crowd Sir Cynlas comments to Sir Baglan’s wife that it could be over soon. Sir Baglan is giving the time to get up and he clearly is in some pain. This spurs on Sir Rodric who wounds him, but this time his opponent does not go to ground. Both knights stare at one another and Sir Rodric attacks again and finds a way through his defences. Sir Baglan collapses onto his knees and Sir Rodric dropping his shield swings two handily to take his nemesis’ head from his shoulders. Victoriously he strides from the ground.

Year 488: The year of the Water Leapers

Salisbury Court. Early March 488. The Earl calls a council of his local knights to discuss the coming year. At the Christmas Court last year there was some discussion about an alliance with Rome. This would mean helping get Bayeaux back from the Franks and then marching on Paris. A chance for glory and for gold. Prince Madoc is leading an army to France. King Uther is remaining at home to march towards Somerset to sure up more support for his bid to be High King. Earl Roderick asks for the advice of his newest knights as to what they feel should be done. Does Salisbury go abroad or look to the defence of the realm at home.

Sir Moelwyn and Sir Cynlas gave good speeches on the need to look to home, although they would love to go abroad. This is pretty much the sentiment from the other knights and it is decided that they should stay in Britain.

Before the army musters Sir Moelwyn marries Lydia of Clarence. She is the daughter of the Marshall of Clarence, Sir Mabon. Sir Mabon was just married to Lady Jenna. Both matches were arranged by the Earl. It’s a strange turn of events that Lydia of Clarence, Sir Moelwyn’s new wife now has a new step mum who is a year younger than her. Strange but not unheard of in medieval times. Sir Moelwyn gains two new demesne manors, Manningford in Salisbury and Stonehouse in Clarence. This should help him a bit financially. It was a Christian ceremony held at Salisbury Cathedral. This caught the other knights of guard a little as Sir Moelwyn is a Pagan. He had recently converted in private. How will this effect the other Pagans is yet to be seen.

The army musters in Sarum and heads west through Selwood into Somerset to Wells via the old Roman road. The Earl of Jagent comes from the south to meet the king. The army then slowly moves north toward Bath. It’s midnight outside the king’s tent and our Salisbury knights are on guard duty. Uther is meeting with King Cadwy, the lord of Somerset. The conversation could be heard clearly by the knights. It seems that Somerset is agreeing not to resist or to rebel but only if there are some volunteers to clear some water leapers from a nearby marsh. Water leapers that are terrorising local fishermen. Merlin is in attendance and recommends the knights of Salisbury that helped him get Excalibur.

The four knights, Sir Moelwyn, Sir Cynlas, Sir Rodric and Sir Alafon, head out on the marsh in small coracles. Sir Alafon chose not to wear his armour for fear of drowning. The others decide it prudent to wear army and just hope they don’t fall out of their boats. In the middle of the marsh the water ripples and four water leapers hurl themselves into the air and at Sir Alafon, the other knights can’t help. He swings his sword at two of them but misses them both, one lands in his boat but he can’t get at it before it falls back into the marsh. The others miss him. The knight from Pitton breathes a sigh of relief. With the realisation that the water leapers are into ganging up on their foes the knights tie the boats together. They all face outwards and await the creature.

The wait is short as the four come bursting forth again. Sir Moelwyn and Sir Alafon cleave both of theirs in with a single blow. Sir Cynlas and Sir Rodric wound the other two. Sir Rodric’s comes back out to attack him and again he slices at the creature but again it doesn’t die. It takes a third chop to finally rid the beast of life. Sir Cynlas meanwhile can’t see the leaper he had attacked, it goes under the boats and comes up at Sir Alafon who wounds it but not enough. Sir Cynlas gets his chance for the killing blow and doesn’t shirk from his duty. The last of the water leaper’s is dead.

The knights return to camp victorious with the stench of the foul creatures on them. King Cadwy is now onside for King Uther.

At the Christmas Court at Winchester there is a lot of talk about taking an army into Cornwall to bring Duke Gorlois to bear. His defiance of Uther has to come to an end. Prince Madoc is at court and brings back some plunder from France. It seems they successfully laid seige to Bayeux but he brought the army back instead of marching on Paris. Uther seems okay with this but some are calling Madoc traitorous for not honouring the alliance.

Sir Moelwyn’s recent marriage to Lydia of Clarence has not brought a child and the wives of the other knights are without as well. Better news is that all current children survive this year although Sir Rodric’s legitimate daughter Carrwyn is taken ill but lives.

In other news earlier in the year Sir Cynlas recieved news from Sir Tryfan his brother-in-law that his sister Malt died in child birth. She was giving birth to a daughter. Sir Tryfan was beside himself with grief.

Year 487: Salisbury knights go raiding

Sirs Alafon, Rodric, Cynlas, Cerdoc and Julius chose to go on Saxon raiding with Prince Madoc. They mustered in Hantonne in the spring of 487. The prince gave a speech about the mission and said that they were not going for plunder, or for slaves, nor for the love of battle. This was a pure raiding mission. They were to land at various places and the sailors would burn the Saxon boats whilst the knights and men-at-arms protected them.

The Salisbury knights were a little annoyed by this. Having chosen this mission hoping to gain glory and gold. It looked like glory was the only thing on offer. Amongst them was Sir Jaradan who chatted to Sir Cynlas before the raiding.

The first bay they landed on was a Pevensy. A band of Saxon peasantry came down to the sure to try and stop the burning. Sir Cynlas organised the troops and successfully protected the sailors as they burned the ships. A good few Saxons met their ends as well. Next along was Dover and this time they met stiffer resistance in some Heorthgeneats. Sir Cynlas and Sir Jaradan on the right flank have a little more to contend with. A Saxon Berserker has clearly seen Sir Cynlas as a powerful adversary and comes in swinging his great axe. If the axe had connected he would have met his maker for sure. The skill of Sirs Cynlas and Jaradan was better though as they ran the Saxon dog through before his axe could connect. Much cheer went up amongst the men. A few wounds were picked up by Sir Cynlas and Sir Alafon but not enough to stop them slaughtering the Heorthgeneats with abandon.

The ships then sail on and head up Blackwater River. This leads to Maldon where the sailors put paid to more ships but this time no opposition for our intrepid knights. The fleet sets off again up the Blackwater River to where it meets the Colne. There a fleet of East Saxons meets them. The ships go alongside each other and a naval battle takes place. The knights are set up well again by Sir Cynlas who is now starting to make a name for himself as a leader. They engage the East Saxons as they try to board them. The first wave are easily dispatched and some fall in between the two ships. Again a few wounds are traded and Sir Julius even picks up a few nicks. It is not long though until they have beaten back the East Saxon scum and are able to burn their boats as well. With the sky ablaze with the lights from the fires they set sail again and the fleet sets off again. They rest at Yarmouth.

The following morning sees the fleet head northward to the lands of Lindsey and are met by more Saxons on the shores of the Wash. They dispatched those foes but in the ensuing battle Sir Rodric is overcome with melancholy and retires from the front lines and Sir Julius is maddened by his hatred for Saxons and can’t face his opponents. He retires and is inconsolable. The other knights try to talk him round after the battle but he is not listening. The last they see is of him wandering into the Duke of Lindsey’s lands. The raiding over the fleet sails south and back for the familiar surroundings of Hantonne where the knights disembark and head for Salisbury.

The winter sees some wonderful news for Sir Alafon. He is now the proud father of a baby boy. Loumarche was born but a few months earlier. Sir Cynlas is also really proud of his Lady Una and she has given both to the next heir of Bedwyn. A boy by the name of Jac. Sir Rodric’s seed shows no signs of abating either. The serving maid he went off with is now a mother of a boy called Penri and Lady Bronwen has given birth to a beautiful girl called Carrwyn. It seems there is something in the waters of Salisbury.

Year 486: The Lady in the Lake

The year started as most years do in the knightly calendar with a court. This time held in Windsor. Four of the player knights were there. Sir Moelwyn, Sir Cynlas, Sir Rodric and Sir Alafon.

News at court is centering around Franks sacking the last Roman outpost in Gaul and the fear that they may be turning their attention to Britain. Merlin is also believed to be back and some of the nobles are taking heart with that fact.

Prince Madoc who is at court declares that he will launch an attack on the Saxons near Colchester. Praetor Syagrius of the Romans is here as well and he wants help to drive out the Franks from Paris. He is promising a share of the spoils of war.

With all this talk of war the knights quite rightly believe they are to be fighting a lot this year. The Earl of Salisbury asks them to show prudence and that he will talk with them when they are back at Sarum.

Early in the spring, back in Sarum, Roderick, Earl of Salisbury asks that the knights go on garrison duty. This involves a progress around the earldom and the general security of his realm. The knights, although annoyed by this, know their place and agree with the Earl.

Along their progress around Salisbury they meet an old man who asks for their help in retrieving his goat from on a large hill. He explains that he is too old to get the goat back and it is his livelihood. Sir Cynlas on his rouncy starts to ascend the hill whilst the other knights look on.

At the top of the hill Sir Cynlas spies the goat and notices that it is quite a large goat, no wonder the old man was having a problem with it. Before he can get any nearer though the goat enters the wood behind it. Sir Cynlas is forced to tie his horse up and enter the wood. He follows the goat into a clearing were he hears its distressed goatly baying. A giant has picked up the goat and is shaking it by it’s back legs. On seeing the knight it chucks the goat aside and picks up a large boulder, hurling it in our pagan knights direction. Sir Cynlas moves swiftly out of the way. He then charges in and the giant picks up a small tree to use as a club.

Down the hill our other three knights hear the boulder land and decide that Sir Cynlas might need their help. Sir Cynlas would deny this of course.

The knight of Bedwyn attacks the giant with recklessness and takes some damage from the swinging tree, he manages to stay up right though and tries to repay the favour. When the other knights arrive it is to see the giant swing the tree and collect Sir Cynlas again, this time the impact drives him to the ground several feet away where he falls into a ditch. Sir Alafon orders the other knights into position and Sir Rodric attacks the giant head on whilst Sir Alafon and Sir Moelwyn try to outflank it. The combat lasts a few rounds and the giant takes some damage before a beautifully worked move by Sir Moelwyn and Sir Alafon brings it down. They had attack from either side of him and their swords met in his guts. The giant toppled with a cry and Sir Cynlas dragged himself from the ditch where he was stunned a little.

The old man then appeared and congratulated the four knights. He declared that they were just what he was looking for and as he reveals himself to be Merlin. He heals Sir Cynlas by places his hands on the wound and muttering some words. He then orders them to accompany him on a task. The knights, although displeased and being ordered by a non noble, decided this might be a wise move.

Merlin walked to a lake, a lake that they hadn’t realised was there, in fact they were pretty sure that it wasn’t there. At the edge of the lake Merlin says “There! Protect me now, good knights, for the sake of your king and your lives!”

Out of the brush rides a man with two swords on a horse, but both man and horse are the same slimy green colour. The steed seems impossibly nimble through the trees and when clear it charges towards Merlin with the knights blocking the way. “Do your job now, knights!” Merlins says and he strides onto a carocle that then heads out onto the water.

As the rider nears it sprouts two more arms and each of those grabs large branches to use as clubs. The knights bravely tackle this foe together and again after a few rounds it is dispatched. The rider and mount seem to be as one, and are made of water, the creature once dead slowly melts away and lives a disgusting pile of slime behind.

The knights turn to see Merlin now in the middle of the lake. A low fog moves over the water with the breeze and an arm reaches up out of the lake, it clutches a beautiful sword that gleams in the light. Merlin’s low murmer can be heard over the water as he crouches and takes the sword. The arm disappears underwater, Merlin stands and the carocle moves back towards the shore of it’s own accord.

Merlins steps ashore and puts the blade under his robes. “Well done knights,” he declares “Britain is in your debt. Let us go now.”

The knights continue on their garrison duty and nothing untoward happens. They report back to the Earl on what happened and he seems pleased for them and for Britain.

Just before Christmas three of the knights are wed. Sir Alafon marries the lovely Lady Jeanne of Broad Chalke. Sir Cynlas gets married to Una, handmaiden to Lady Jenna and Sir Rodric marries Lady Bronwen of Imber. Sir Moelwyn declares to the Earl that he is not ready to marry. Sir Rodric showing his lustful ways carries on with another serving girl before his marriage.

Later that year at the Christmas court Earl Roderick is pessimistic having received news about the battle of Caercolun. The Saxons had overrun the Britons there.

The Year 486 is drawing to a close and it is time for the Christmas court. This is being held at Sarum and so the knights do not have to travel far for the week long festivities. During these festivities various gifts are bestowed between vassals and their liege lords. The earl starts by giving gifts to his servants and then his household and landed knights. He then gives gifts to his family. It must be noted that Sir Moelwyn he is still quite taken with the earl’s daughter lady Jenna gives her a gift of some perfume. The earl is a little taken aback by this but does not reprimand the young knight.

The king then does the same for his household, knights and officers. Finally, he gives his son a new set of armour and generous grants of land. Among the earls, Roderick gives Uther a beautiful cloak trimmed with the fur of white bears, imported from Norway. Prince Madoc calls in his men, and ten retainers come forth carrying various litters, on each are various gifts. Chests of silver and gold coins. A chest of goblets and plates, another containing jewelery of gold and silver and yet another of red and purple jewels. Prince Madoc then unrolls a cloth as if it was a carpet. Everyone sees it is a battle standard taken from a dead Saxon chief.

Uther descends, walking amongst the booty, he starts picking up some of the items and handing them over to his lords, pressing goblets, jewellery and a bolt of silk onto one. Other gifts onto another and so on. The right gift for each man it seems. He then hands over a handful of silver to each knight. £1s worth.

After a long while, all the gift giving seems to be over and the great hall is cleared for the feast. At the back of the room there is a commotion and the great wizard Merlin enters. A herald announcing his presence. He doesn’t stop for proper introductions and pushes his way through to the front. ‘Welcome, Merlin, to these halls’ the king says ‘You are always welcome in my court’. Merlin thanks the king and speaks in a loud and clear voice. ‘Gold and silver, clothing from far distant lands, these are surely gifts worthy of a king. Yet you, Uther, deserve so much more. You sit higher than any man in the world, higher even than the emperors of Rome’. Uther is clearly flattered. ‘Yet even you lack one thing’ Merlin continues, the room murmers as the king frowns. ‘Such a great man deserves nothing but the best, and he who would bring peace to the whole of our great land deserves all that would help him to obtain it. And so I, your humble servant, am pleased to offer you, from my weak hands, this.’ He pulls from beneath his robes a gleaming sword whose own internal light causes everyone to gasp in wonder and delight. The king stands, clearly surprised. Merlin passes the sword to the king, hands covered by his robe so as not to tarnish the blade. ;For the High King’, says Merlin ‘Excalibur, the Sword of Victory’. Everyone gasps aloud and when the king takes the sword they break into applause and cheers. The knights of Salibury look to each other with recognition. The king clearly pleased ‘Surely no-one can stand before me’.

‘All you need,’ says Merlin ‘is to remain just’. King Uther holds the gleaming sword and stares at it in wonder ‘ Now I’m prepared to visit some friends of mine.’ Ulfius, Duke of Silchester, chuckles at a table nearby.Uther names the nobles who will accompany him to visit Duke Lindsey, and among them is the Earl of Salisbury.

‘This is cause to celebrate then,’ says Uther. ‘Bring forth the tables and make a place at my right hand for Merlin, whose wisdom and truth guides our good land.’ ‘Thank you my lord’ says Merlin. Merlin turns to Earl Roderick and pointing at the four knights that helped him syas ‘Watch these men well and give them rein to help Britain.

The feast begins….Sir Cerdoc spends a bit of time talking to father Tewi. They discussed a need to curb overindulgence. Sir Cerdoc explained how the knights should be allowed some leeway since it was the celebration of Our Lords birth. He also dances with his new bride Blodwen and despite her tender age they are turning heads with their fine dancing. They seem to be made for each other.

Sir Alafon found himself in the company of the king and Prince Madoc. Despite his involvement with getting Excalibur, the young knight wasn’t able to save face and embarrassed himself with his lack of proper courtesy. Later on in the feast a serving maid takes a keen interest in Sir Alafon and attempts to flirt with him. Not known for his love of the common folk, he shouted at the maid and reduced her to tears as she ran off.

Sir Rodric, the lustful pagan wastes no time when a young serving girl tips some food on him. She catches his eyes when she is cleaning up and sees that he has only one thing on his mind. He retreats to another room with her.

Sir Cynlas was flirted with by a young lady introducing herself as Lady Sara of Woodford. He does not know who she is but spurns her advances as he is newly married. This was seen by Sir Tryfan, his brother-in-law who is impressed by his restraint. It seems Sir Cynlas is trying to be more chaste. Later on he meets Sir Jaradan, best swordsman at court. He is Lady Sara’s husband. Sir Cynlas feels he has dodged a blow. What would have happened if he had not spurned the lady and Sir Jaradan had found out?

Sir Moelwyn drags a drunken knight to a corner to be dealt with by the stewards. He had vomited near him and he reveled in putting the young knight down in front of his peers.

Sir Julius played some dice with a group of knights and even saved one from choking on a chicken bone. He performed what is now known as the Julius Maneuvre and dislodged the bone. The knight, though bruised. Thanks the Roman Christian.

As the week long festivities come to a close the Earl of Salisbury calls the knights aside. Prince Madoc is gathering some knights to go raiding the Saxon shore. The earl gives the knights the choice. They can accompany him with the king and go to see the Duke of Lindsey or go raiding with the Prince. Only Sir Moelwyn agrees to accompany the Earl. The other knights seem keen on the idea of taking the fight to the Saxons. The muster for the raiding is to be in Hantonne in the spring.

Sir Cerdoc’s Year 486

Sir Cerdoc was not able to meet up with the other knights in 486 and so had some other tasks to attend to.

Bishop Roger, Bishop of Salisbury has tasked Sir Cerdoc to clear Chute Forest of bandits, the Earl has given his permission. Sir Cerdoc enlisted the help of his bastard brothers, Sir Alban, Sir Samson and his cousin Sir Mathew as well as a few of his household men-at -arms.

The posse of Knights and their retinue head north from Amesbury and spoke to numerous peasants in order to garner the location of the bandits. It appeared they were using an abondoned village north of the river and just on the outskirts of Chute Forest. Sir Cerdoc sent out his squire Luc to scout ahead. He came back with the location and a rough guess of twelve bandits. Sir Mathew, Sir Samson and half the men-at-arms are sent across the river further to the east in an attempt to cut off any attempted escape of the bandits. Sir Cerdoc and Sir Alban head into the camp and a skirmish ensues. The bandits do not leave and the knights are left with no choice but to attack. One man-at-arms is struck by an arrow when he walked into the village but luckily he survives what was a near fatal belly wound. The battle only lasts a few moments with the bandits not putting up much of a resistance. A few are alive at the end and are marched back to Amesbury to a very pleased Bishop Roger. He has also managed to gather up some of the goods that they had stolen and returns those to the Bishop.

Bishop Roger calls Sir Cerdoc aside for a special matter and the family knights head home.

The Bishop explains that his sister has a beautiful daughter whom she wishes married to a knight. Bishop Roger is intrigued whether this would interest Sir Cerdoc. Sir Cerdoc believes he is not worthy but accepts the kind offer. The girl has only a small dowry of £2 but is pious and goodly. Her name is Blodwen ferch Alec and she is fourteen. Alec is the blacksmith in Sarum and fashions a new sword for Sir Cerdoc as part of Blodwen’s dowry. The wedding takes place at Sarum a few weeks before Christmas. Sir Cerdoc, being a pious man himself, abstains from trying for children due to his new bride’s young age.

Year 485: It starts...

In this journal I will be reporting on each of the sessions I am running of the Great Pendragon Campaign. Hopefully this will be useful as a reference as we move forward through the years.

The year began with six squires being presented to Roderick, Earl of Salisbury to be knighted. These were:

Alafon of Pitton, played by Pat; Alafon is a cruel young man of formidable size. He is skilled with a sword but also courteous when he needs to be.

Cynlas of Bedwyn played by Dave; Cynlas is a reckless young man who looks good but is not so good in a fight. He is a Pagan.

Moelwyn of Pewsey played by John; He is strong with a high constitution and is known for being vengeful, he is also a Pagan.

Rodric Cadfannen of Tisbury; Is a lustful young Pagan, he is equally skilled with a blade as he is with romancing young ladies.

Cerdoc of Dinton; He is a stout British Christian who cares more for God than himself. He shaves his head due to a scar suffered as a child. He is very pious.

Julius Paulus of Shrewton; Our soul Roman Christian. Julius is merciful and is known to be good at hunting and gaming. He is equally skilled in sword and lance.

Roderick knights each of the men in turn and they rise as his vassals, having pledged their allegiance to him. There is much celebration and merriment. Sir Rodric, our lustful Pagan takes to bed with a young serving girl by the name of Mai.

Court this year is held at Leicester in Lindsey. Those present include Prince Madoc, son of Uther and Duke Lucius of Caercolun.
Prince Madoc stands onto a table and gives a speech “Spies say another Saxon army has landed in the east. Is there no end to these devils? His name is Aethelswith, but we don’t know his plans. The king has ordered Duke Lucius of Caercolun to be ready. But our army isn’t going to be distracted. We’re going to attack King Aelle, as we’ve planned, even though certain of our cowardly vassals are not reporting. Disloyal bastards, that’s what they are. Caercolun won’t be there but that is at the king’s orders. But that Cornwall, he’s the worse of the lot”. Conversation then turns to how they will defeat the saxon dogs and more drink is consumed.

Uther summons his army to meet at the city of Sarum in early summer. Our young knights report and are put in the rearguard with Sir Amig, the old knight that taught them battle skills. Duke Gorlois of Cornwall has not shown himself. The knights all ride out for sussex and come across a large Saxon host at Mearcred Creek.

The battle of Mearcred Creek seems to go okay for the young knights, none suffer too many wounds and survive. Despite their battle going okay, elsewhere it is not so successful. The battle ends after several hours at a stalemate. Both sides agree to collect their dead and depart the field.

Over in Colchester Duke Lucius meets King Aethelswith and a battle ensues. The fighting is fierce but the Saxons take the day and the duke retreats behind the walls of Colchester. British refugees flee into the Quinqueroi Forest but are pursued and enslaved in their hundreds.

The Christmas Court at Salisbury is a sombre affair. There is still much drinking but the mood is not one of celebration. The Earl is in a pensive mood and stresses the need to keep up the practice at arms for all of his knights.

The winter phase sees Sir Rodric and Sir Alafon suffering lean harvests and living as poor knights. Sir Rodric hears word that the serving girl gave birth to a daughter called Kaerwen. Sir Rodric is a father. Sir Cynlas has some success with his harvest as does Sir Moelwyn. Sir Cynlas puts to work cutting down some of the forest near Bedwyn to hopefully bring some capital in should next years harvest full short.


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