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Everything posted by SaxBasilisk

  1. Who does get trampled, and who does the trampling? I'll toss in some examples from The Story of Merlin (Pickens translation): (Edited for brevity) These are not the only examples, but they are examples of our putative heroes engaging in this behavior. Then again, maybe their foes deserve it within the narrative?
  2. 504 AD: Unable to travel to Lothian after his father’s death, Roderick squired instead with Sir Nidian. The young man was known for his honeyed tongue, and although he had put many of the unfortunate aspects of Owain’s personality behind him, he cleaved to the affections and hatreds of his father. Although most of the group had assumed a position of anger against the Cameliard knights, Sir Owain’s adopted son Hector counseled them to put aside their anger so that they could retrieve Owain’s head and end the feud. Most in the group relented in their anger, having adopted the bitter grudge only recently, but Roderick embraced peace as a deception for future revenge. Court that year featured a perhaps unintentional snub;: Prince Cynric was seen to by Roderick, then a lowly squire, rather than more famous knights. This is perhaps due to Sir Nerys’s unsuccessful bid to learn heraldry more thoroughly. Sir Harri met the envoy from Somerset, Sir Melwas, winning a horse race against his famous black steed. Sir Nidian played chess with Prince Lak of Estregales, his new liege. Sir Hector played his ode to his father, which was moderately well received. After festivities and social activities, the council convened. Wessex went without tribute this year for a list of reasons too long to include here. Prince Lak sought alliance against the Saxons for the following year. Cornwall beset Somerset this year; Sir Harri wanted to keep the territory as a buffer between them and their larger neighbors. They opted to seek Sir Ulfius’s advice on both matters, as interceding could bring the entire alliance of Logres into conflict with Cornwall. Given that this could ease the border conflict with Somerset, he agreed that the alliance could assist their neighbor and aid Nanteleod next year. It was noted in some journals that they again met Sir Uffo, Sir Ulfius’s son. So it was that the alliance rode into Somerset during Cornwall’s deployment, disrupting their plans to seize the city of Wells. During maneuvers, they met with a party of dwarves, led by a fearsome Cornish spriggan named Djejj who wanted to seize land in Somerset, noting their lack of respect for his kind. Sir Hector attempted to convince him that Cornwall was tricking them because the Cornish were deceitful, but his failure to differentiate Cornish humans and fairies in this regard enraged Djejj. Battle was joined, and Djejj struck Sir Hector a grievous blow. He was joined by Sir Nerys and Sir Harri, who struck the fairy; the spriggan diminished with each blow he suffered until he faded into the ground. Their military duties discharged, Sir Hector brought his friends to Camelliard in an attempt to woo favor from the people there and convince Sir Bryn to return his father’s skull. Upon their arrival at Stafford, Hector was met by a pair of twin girls, who enquired of him the identity of him and each member of his party, his purpose, the cause of the feud, the results of the feud, the nature of feuds in general and such. The steward Cleodalis called them off before Hector accidentally authored a premature Cogito. King Leodegrance greeted the Salisbury knights in his hall and received the heads that Owain had severed years prior. Unfortunately, Roderick had not wrapped them properly, and, when he went to present them, they tumbled from his grasp onto the floor unwrapped. A flurry of apologies from all the knights of Salisbury were flung into the silence. Roderick made a fumbling attempt to blame the incident on a “lame arm”, which was a questionable claim from one in line for knighthood. (Thus it was that Sir Queux mockingly labelled him “Strongarm.”) Fortunately, nothing much seems to have come from it other than frayed nerves. Hector followed up with a short feast for the local nobles. Sir Bryn and others from Stoneleigh declined to attend. Although quite enthusiastic and earnest about the process, sadly Sir Hector lacked tact and experience in this realm, so the feast had paltry offerings in the way of food and a worse offering in the way of a host. Notably, Sir Nerys was granted a divine blessing; the king invited Sir Harri to falconry the next morning; Sir Nidian heard many juicy tales about local infidelities; Sir Hector pined for Queen Morgan, neglecting his hostly duties. Most notable, however, was the offer of marriage that Sir Hari received. The marriage would have brought wealth and acclaim to any who accepted it, particularly given that it was to a vassal of Escavalon, with which Salisbury desired deeper ties. Due to his marital status and fearing a faux pas if he declined it outright, Sir Harri passed the offer on to the only unmarried member of his party: Roderick. To Roderick, however, the mere idea was an offense and he showed it by loudly declaiming the offer, the king and the known world before stalking out of the hall in a huff. The next day, perhaps ruing his impulsivity, he authored a letter of apology to the king with the help of Sir Nerys. Or perhaps he sat nearby while Sir Nerys authored and penned it. Regardless, the king received a well-written though perhaps ill-conceived letter of apology. With the king’s permission, the group sans Roderick rode to meet Sir Bryn. Sir Hector made a heartfelt and well-met plea for peace and reconciliation, as did the others. They rode back to Salisbury with Sir Owain’s head and hope in their hearts. Cameliard in general had received most of the knights well. There was another most curious occurrence as they rode back: on an unnaturally dark night they saw a headless figure on horseback, with the blazon of Staplefort, ride past the edge of the campfire’s light before departing. The next day they rode back to Salisbury and laid Owain’s head to rest, and hopefully his revenant spirit as well. -Excerpts from Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  3. Between my campaign and reading the Vulgate Story of Merlin, I'm considering how to handle trampling. 1) Is it possible against prone opponents, or those on foot? 2) What roll is necessary (Horsemanship)? 3) How much damage does it inflict (same as a lance charge, or a bit less)? 4) Is there any way to discourage this as a combat technique?
  4. I'm thinking about how to balance Faerie Lore with some of the other creatures in Pendragon. My feeling is that it should extend to other human-like supernatural creatures, such as giants and ghosts. I don't think I'd use it for unicorns and dragons and the like. How do you use it in your games? Admittedly, it seems closer to the source material for the knights to be given advice in such matters instead of knowing something themselves, but I don't want Faerie Lore to become useless.
  5. What about its use in battle for determining possible targets for ransom?
  6. I'm using the rules for squires in Entourage, which typically allow the squire to add five points to skills each year. (They can do other things instead, but given the low skill points at the start, I think that's the best option.) I'm also keeping skill checks sparse, just because I want there to be an incentive to play knights instead. It's just more fun, I think. To answer Morien's question earlier - I've had two squire characters, and both ended up starting at ages 16 and 15, respectively.
  7. Court was filled with the usual business in the year 503. Sir Owain spoke with Baron Tathan. Sir Nerys and Sir Uffo busied themselves with conspiracies. Sir Harri went hunting, and Sir Nidian discussed the changing lands with the representatives from Escavalon. This was also the year that the council decided to marry Lady Jenna to Sir Arguais. The council had favored Cornwall last time, but Sir Owain seems to have been swayed by his son Sir Hector, who had in turn been visited by Llylla of Shirburn the previous winter. The biggest campaigns this year were expected to be Escavalon’s expansion, the Saxon assault on London, and Lindsey fighting against assaults from every quarter. At the marriage of Sara and Nidian, Sir Owain made a speech about his fealty to the Countess; the others made small talk, with Sir Harri impressing a lady with his knowledge of fairies and Sir Nerys exasperating a feast-goer with her opinions on religion. Sir Nidian danced, while Sir Hector sang a well-received song. They traveled next to Escavalon. King Nanteleod greeted them, though Sir Owain was noticeably distant during the affairs, possibly because of the great hatred that the knights of Cameliard felt towards him. Sir Hector, his son, felt the brunt of that anger, though Sir Nidian intervened on his behalf, preventing the situation from escalating. At the feast, Sir Nidian was momentarily seated with the servants, until a steward made a point of fixing the issue. Sir Harri was at the feast only briefly, making himself sick in an eating contest early on. Sir Nerys missed much of it, fixing a terrible mistake in her choice of ensemble. I can find no record of Sir Owain’s deeds that night, though Sir Hector was noted to have made a stirring goodbye to Lady Jenna (and spent much of the night being mistaken for Sir Achilles). The next morning, the group was summoned to court in a hurry. There Prince Lak praised the deeds of Sir Nidian many years ago in securing the throne of Estregales and the glory he won fighting the boar and his father’s murderer. He sealed his praise with a hug (during which he discreetly fixed Sir Nidian’s wardrobe, whose squire had failed him) and granted him the estate of Treddiog, in Cambria. The next excursion was to Silchester, where they met with the united forces of Silchester, Salisbury, Marlborough, and Rydychan, which Sir Brastias had joined for the year. En route to London, the Kentish forces attempted to cut them off; Sir Ulfius had his forces turn to face them. It was a success for Sir Ulfius, if only to keep his forces intact; for the knights of Salisbury, it was even more of a middling success. Sir Owain was overwhelmed by his emotions and left the field of battle early. Sir Hector and Sir Harri were both unhorsed, and retrieving them impaired the group’s effectiveness, especially with Sir Harri dropping his sword repeatedly. Despite this, Sir Harri’s tactical mind and command of the left battalion was a great asset in the fight. Sir Nerys and Sir Nidian both fared better. After the battle, the knights joined the group to protect the baggage train and engaged in a melee, with no serious injuries, thanks to the help of Sir Balin, with whom Gwefrfawr, Sir Nerys’ daughter, was squired. Nonetheless, Thamesmouth and London were now in the hands of Essex and Kent. Owain returned to the group several days later, babbling how “blood shall make steel as nothing,” and “the rain brings a fresh breeze from the west.” In the autumn, the group began to travel north to deliver Owain’s son, Roderick, to Lothian for his squirehood. It was a welcome trip for some of the others; Sir Nerys wished to reconnect with her correspondent Morgan, while Sir Hector hoped for something else, to his wife’s disappointment. A group of Cameliard knights, headed by Sir Bryn, blocked the way. Sir Hector rode to meet her; she challenged Sir Owain to a duel. Sir Hector, with his father’s permission, stood in his stead. Sir Bryn won the first charge and unhorsed Hector, giving him his first scar. Sir Owain rode between them and offered himself in Hector’s stead. When Sir Bryn went to take Owain’s head, Sir Hector interceded and continued the conflict. After a flurry of small wounds on both sides, Hector finally collapsed from blood loss. When she moved to take his life, Sir Owain begged her to kill him instead. She obliged, while Roderick looked on. She took his head with her, despite the cries of indignation from Sir Owain’s friends, particularly Sir Nidian, who Sir Harri ordered not to interfere. Our knights returned to Salisbury in defeat. Sir Nidian took Roderick as her squire. Sir Owain, le Terreur, of the Four Heads, Constable of Salisbury and Castellan of Staplefort, died by the hands of Sir Bryn of Stonesleigh in 503. He incited several riots, some when seated below the salt, and others plebian revolts riled up against his actions. He was known among his people for his bravery, his vigor, his lack of self-control, and his capacity for grudges. He was noted for bravery at the battles of Salisbury, Eburacum, Mearcred Creek, Lindsey, and St. Albans. He disputed with Caradoc, whom he defeated in combat several times, snubbed, publicly shamed, married his beloved, and finally killed him, trampling him with his horse. When Sir Owain’s eldest son was killed in a fight in his hall, it led to a string of retaliatory killings at Sir Owain’s behest - according to Sir Bryn, some of those killings were unmerited - which led to his death. He hosted a famous hunt, was cupbearer for Queen Ygraine, and he struck down the fairy knight Sir Tustin and gained his hunting leopard. He killed a bear, a giant, a Nukalevee, Black Annis and the Knight of Tusks, among others. He was a paragon with a spear, and with the sword the fairies made from Black Annis’s claw. When King Uther died (incidentally and unknown to Owain, of Owain’s cursed wine), he guarded the walls of St. Albans against enemy subterfuge. He adopted, squired, and gave a favorable marriage to an orphaned bastard, but couldn’t remember the names of his own children. He was an enemy of troubadours, due to the popular song “Owain, Owain,” which is still popular in Marlborough and Cameliard. He was once turned into a dog, a pig, and a horse, traded a peasant for his mother, and finished the race to the White Horse festival. He made enemies of entire territories, but he died to save the life of his adopted son. His family’s motto is Prodesse Quam Conspici, but Chaos might have been his personal motto. His adopted son composed a song in his honor, le Petit Lu Bu. (Thanks for reading - you've caught up with our group's play. I hope to have another installment next month.)
  8. A.D. 502 It was a busy season in court. Sir Nerys began her duties as seneschal, which took much of her attention this year, though she managed time for her annual ride with Aethling Celyn. Sir Owain entertained the Anglian ambassador with discussions of stewardship, ignoring the ambassador’s expressed desire to hire them as mercenaries in the coming battles, and his opinion that Cwichelm should be Bretwalda, lord of all Britain. Sir Nidian, probably still dazed by the news of his arranged marriage falling through, spoke with the Cornish ambassador about Anglia, who dismissed Nidian’s concerns as “distant.” Sir Harri went out to answer a commotion in the courtyard, which it turned out was a belligerent messenger demanding to see the countess. The messenger was Queux, from Sir Alain of Escavalon, the beau of Sir Neilyn, asking the knights of Salisbury to squire the bearer of the message, who was noted for his quick wits and skill, but more for his impertinence. Sir Harri took him into his service. Deciding to forgo participating in the conflict over the new Bretwalda, the knights of Salisbury rode as envoys to Marlborough, their neighbor to the north, out of which little had been heard for some time. They were greeted at the border with more hesitancy than expected, even considering they traveled with Sir Owain, who had slain Caradoc of Marlborough. At the countess’s residence, they discovered a pall had blanketed the area, turning the manor into an inscrutable shadow. Sir Thebert, the marshal of Marlborough, explained that Countess Joene had sought comfort from a traveling magician by the name of Ganieda after the death of her husband at the feast of St Albans and had hired her to protect her daughter. Nearby, there was a desiccated footman, whose very life essence had been drained out of him. Something the magician had done had conjured the pall some months ago. The group ventured into the darkness and discovered that the sword made from Black Annis’s claws, which Sir Nidian had blasted with the magically contained light of the sun, shone even in the darkness. Navigating by this light, the knights made two trips: one to rescue the countess’s daughter and return her to the light, and the other to find the countess herself. On the second trip, their exit was interrupted by a beast of pure darkness. Sir Owain found himself dropping his sword and recoiling from the creature; Sir Harri, after a moment’s hesitation, took up the blade and with two sure strikes, sent it hurtling from our mortal lands to whence it came. He turned and handed the sword back to Owain with a bow. With the beast’s destruction, the darkness dissipated from Marlborough. The knights of Marlborough and Salisbury had a drinking session and bonded, as they had not for some time. The good mood was soured, however, upon discovering that the Countess’s daughter Nimue had disappeared after her safe return. Apparently on this occasion Sir Owain also informed his squire, Masha’allah, that he was the bastard son of Sir Caradoc, a claim for which I can find no other source. With the coming of summer, the whole force of Salisbury turned its attention to the traitorous Sir Tathan, self-declared Baron of Warminster. Sir Harri called upon assistance from Silchester and Rydychan, and Sir Nerys prepared for the siege. When they arrived, they discovered that some attempt at entrenchment, albeit in miniature, had been done in advance of the army’s arrival. The Baron rode out to inform them that he would accept surrender, under the terms that he be formally declared Baron of Warminster under Countess Ellen and given pardon. It was arranged that he would be given pardon, but he would have to beg Countess Ellen for the position; with that, the combined forces would have to stand with him on Midsummer against an unknown threat. When it came, it turned out to be an army of goblins, who insisted that they be given the castle so that they could prevent the humans from possessing more iron, which was anathema to them. The message was delivered by a huge goblin with a club, riding a massive black war hound. No other castle would do, and of course the knights refused to stand aside. Battle was waged, although it grieved Sir Nidian, who remembered his twin sister’s fondness for fairies. It was a short fight, with the goblins realizing that taking the castle meant dealing with treacherous human iron and abandoning the attempt with little effort. Some of the traitorous troops, now free from the threat and once again in the employ of Countess Ellen, preemptively begged pardon from Sir Harri, their marshal. Sir Nidian, for his part, helped Sir Tathan beg God for forgiveness for his transgression before he returned to the countess. Before the knights could turn to their final task for the year, they were commandeered by Lady Nineve, a Lady of the Lake, who called in one of the three services that their ancestors had pledged to the ladies, with Sir Harri coming to support his friends. They were to escort her into the Forest Sauvage. Along the way, they met with a peasant with fancy shoes, who asked the knights for their cloaks; with just one cloak, not even a single shoulder was covered; with two, both shoulders, but nothing else; finally, with ten cloaks, he had a cloak of his own and he gave them passage to their destination. Their journey took them to Tribuit, which had been lost in the woods for years. There, they were given passage through the lands of Earl Meilyr. They met another denizen of the forest: Lady Blanche de Blanche, who inquired of them what made them good knights. Each had their own answer: Sir Owain simply remarked that he was good at hitting things. Sir Nerys sought to deal with others with intelligence and compassion. Sir Harri never shirked responsibility or his service. Sir Nidian never forgot his family or God. Sir Hector, in song, extolled his lack of hesitation in battle. They also passed a field of poppies, which tempted them to sleep; but the knights shrugged it off. Then they arrived at their final destination: Lady Nineve was there to render the last rites and an elixir to bring peace to the lady of the forest. Having left the forest, they headed back through Marlborough, where they happened upon a knight by the name of Sir Bryn of Stonesleigh, who informed Sir Owain that he had killed her brother and she was to have satisfaction. In the first pass, she not only unhorsed him, but knocked him unconscious. Sir Owain was, even in his youth, not the most handsome man. Black Annis’s claw scars on his face, which had never seemed to heal correctly, had of late become red and inflamed to the point that it seemed like his face was a repulsive mask; this final hit, knocking out most of his remaining teeth, seemed to leave the mask hanging off by a thread, filling those who gazed upon him with dread. Sir Hector interposed himself between Owain and Sir Bryn. She informed him that she would not strike a fallen foe, but that the matter was not finished. Upon their return, Sir Nidian threw himself at the feet of Countess Ellen and begged for her assistance with his marriage; thus, the date was set for the next year. Sir Owain, his consciousness recovered, sent some of his remaining children to squire with some mercenaries. In an effort to curry favor, Sir Owain sent his eldest, Adda, to squire in Escavalon. This year, news arrived about another killing by the thing in the Ebble River, as well as the joyous news that Queen Morgan and King Nantes of Gorre had twins. They also heard of Escavalon’s massive expansion and a battle between the Saxon factions taking place in Anglia... -Excerpts from Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  9. Our first generation of PKs are almost dead, and we're encountering a gap with the second generation. Some of my players would like to play squires (a la The Book of the Entourage). What they don't have is an applicable winter solo. I'm thinking about something like this: Squire Solo Check one of the following: Battle, First Aid, Dagger, Horsemanship, Siege. Check one courtly skill chosen by your knight. Check one Trait that is famous for your knight. How would you handle this?
  10. A.D. 501 This year's court was held at Amesbury Abbey, where Queen Ygraine and most of the embassies were also in attendance: Aethling Celyn lost a race to his friend Sir Nerys, Sir Harri gossiped with Oswine of Kent, and Sir Owain hunted with Sir Collwen of Hertford. Sir Nidian, ever faithful, toured the grounds of the new Amesbury fort with Abbot Dilwyn and made suggestions about its disposition and supplies. Sir Hector paused mid sentence while speaking with Queen Ygraine and she fidgeted in increasing discomfort before he wandered off. During court that year, they decided to pay tribute to Sussex and planned to meet with their allies to repel the Angles. While debating whether to ally with Jongon, news of Wessex’s invasion of Salisbury came and they rode to meet the threat, though unusually poor weather impaired the invasion. Sir Harri marshalled the troops and rode to meet them, dispersing them at DuPlain and Broughton before he led the troops back to court post haste. Sir Owain was seen out at the woods at twilight, whispering into the air, shortly before a tremendous rainstorm swept over the border with Wessex. However, the raiders had spread out along the Bourne and Avon raiders and seized the queen and Princess Morgan from Amesbury Abbey, although the Countess’s guard got her to safety before they could reach her as well. Sir Owain led the pursuit, but they began to find discarded Saxon armor, still sizzling with heat and naught but scraps of charred flesh fused to it. Finally, they found the two royals unharmed and alone in the Chute Woods, a most curious occurrence. The decision was made to take Princess Morgan to the north with her mother. Gorre was one of the Cymric nations north of Hadrian’s wall, allied with Lothian. King Lot ruled Lothian and his native Pictish nation, Orkney, while his brother, King Uriens, ruled Gorre and his other brother, King Nentres, ruled Garloth. King Lot and King Nentres were already married to Queen Ygraine’s other daughters, Morgawse and Elaine, respectively. The knights were assigned to escort Princess Morgan to her wedding with King Uriens. Morgan, known to be very practical and knowledgeable, spoke at length with Sir Nerys about her reading and her rather dismissive attitude towards men; she also gave a private lecture to Sir Hector on fairies, and perhaps more on a misty night. Sir Nidian spent much of his trip guarding Queen Ygraine, while Sir Harri was largely concerned with the forces as a whole. It is not hard to see Sir Nidian, still recently bereaved, heading into middle age and in the midst of international upheaval, trying to rekindle his amor for the queen (he was having a midlife crisis, to be frank), but she could only see one of the men responsible for the loss of her son, Arthur. Sir Owain, on the other hand, was preoccupied with Cameliard. He dispatched his squire to oversee an invading force with a bounty for the family responsible for killing his son. It’s said that he displayed the four heads taken for bounty on his mount... In any event, the knights arrived at long last in Gorre and were greeted earnestly by King Lot in his high castle, as he knew many of them by reputation. At the feast, Sir Harri was known to give the new couple a great toast, while Sir Nerys was known to be seen in the company of several influential people. Sir Hector somehow merited a seat above the salt and was known to spend much of his time practicing his lute. Sir Owain, seated well for once, let many other attendants know about his wine. The feasting over, the four knights carried Sir Harri back to their quarters. The day after, there was hangover hawking, but after that, the feast was over and they returned home to the chaos. Among the deaths at this time was Sir Rufon, whose role as seneschal was assumed by Sir Nerys. The countess sent a smaller force than planned to Hertford; regardless, with the delay, they didn’t arrive in time to meet the Anglish forces, which swept through Hertford and then Huntington, killing their rulers. Escvalon had similar martial success, claiming all but the northwest of Cambria. Following court, offers for Jenna’s hand were made by Cornwall and Escavalon: a match with the tactician and twin brother of Prince Mark, Prince Boudwin, or a match with Arguais, King Nanteleod’s nephew, respectively. From Rydychan, there was news of Sir Bege, who died in a feud; Lady Llylla assumed command of his castle and banished the killer. This was the year of Cait’s marriage, as well. Wessex was invaded by continental Saxons, who established the territory of Port in what was east Wessex, while the Wessex raiders were mired in the aforesaid terrible weather. In the chaos of the year, Sir Tathan of Warminster built a castle for himself and declared himself independent, claiming all the county’s bog iron his property. No doubt fueled by the turmoil and need to be unified, this year was the advent of rumors about making Dorsette a suzerainty of Cornwall to avoid conflict and strengthen the defenses against the Saxons... -Excerpts from Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  11. A.D. 500 The blood of Staplefort had been spilt and Sir Owain would see his heir avenged, not just upon the hand who slew him, but their family as well. He would miss court and deployment this year. On the opposite spectrum of emotion, during court this year, Nerys would find in Aetheling Celyn, perhaps not a kindred spirit, but a Saxon whose company she enjoyed. Speaking with Oswine of Kent, Sir Nidian heard the first news of the Angles. Sir Harri heard that Cornwall had brought the countess a secret offer, which she declined. Sir Hector spent yet more time with Lady Jenna, which likely did not sit well with any of the powerful women in his life, but it should be noted that they grew up together, so his intent may not have been entirely ill. Sussex was offering to receive military service in lieu of tribute this year, in support of their offensive against Kent. Observing the many burnt out churches on the road to the battle, Sir Nidian made a point of renewing his devotion at some of them. The night before the battle, there was a disturbance in a tent near the knights; Sir Harri’s investigation reminded many of the knights present at the gambling tent of the imminent morning, but also found a man he mistook for Sir Balan quite drunk and funds exhausted. After reminding him of his station, Sir Harri took it upon himself to return him to his tents in the hope that he would be roused for battle in the coming hours. So he was quite surprised when Sir Balan welcomed his brother, Sir Balin, into his tent with a resigned sigh. Perhaps if Sir Harri’s assessment of the terrain and the enemy’s forces had been heeded (and shared with Sussex’s generals), the fight would not have gone as it did, with most of Sussex’s reserves untapped and the knights of Logres unblooded. Sir Nerys and Sir Hector went scouting to see if Sir Harri might contribute to the battle and lost themselves in the woods so badly that exiting was considered success. The battle was a diffident victory for Sussex. Once the battle had passed, the mercenaries that Sussex had hired were negotiating for their pay. Thinking, perhaps, that Sussex might demand its tribute after they failed to utilize the knights from Salisbury if they didn’t agree to pay the mercenaries, Sir Hector disrupted the scene with a song extolling the virtues of fair pay. Shortly after, Sir Harri came in and did the real work. An excerpt of the song: With the wind at your back And your allies at your side Heedless you can attack with a long, confident stride Knowing that your faith will be repaid By the strength of their blades. And it’s just awful, but the beat sticks with you. At Silchester, there was a summit of its neighbors, hosted by Duke Ulfius. In attendance were Lady Ellen of Salisbury, Lady Violette of Rydychan, Duke Ulfius, Sir Blains of Levcomagus, and Count Uren of Hertford (who took power after the previous Count died at St. Albans). Lady Joene, countess of Marlborough, declined to attend. The year's campaigns were discussed. Dorset repelled the Cornish invasion despite the land being sacked. Escavalon, led by Nanteleod and bolstered by foot soldiers from Salisbury, swept through Brycheiniog, Estregales and Cardigan so that the whole of the southern coast of Cambria was in its hold. Caercolun and Caerwent, previously held by a pretender “Duke of the Saxon Shore”, fell to an invasion from the continent and was renamed Anglia, under King Cwichelm. Sir Uren of Hertford, bordering Essex, Anglia and Huntington (a vassal of Essex), expressed some dismay (and noted that Huntington could likely not rely on Essex to defend it). Most there agreed that Wessex’s presence should not be tolerated and agreed that King Aelle was somewhat reliable and thereby agreed to support him. The attitude towards the quickly expanding Cornish and Escavalonian kingdoms was largely to wait and see, though it was suggested that a marriage between Lady Jenna and Cornwall might delay any hostilities. No one was quick to support Dorset against Cornish predations. Being that they were idle noblemen in a savage age, they adjourned to a hunt, which the adept Count Uren won. Sir Nerys was silent on what she saw that afternoon, although it may have involved Sir Blains, who had once vied (including raiding Salisbury on one occasion, according to Brother Wymar) with Sir Roderick for her hand. On returning to their manors, they discovered that Sir Elad, a mentor to most of them, was missing. A search found his body, maimed by a single powerful blow; his squire lay nearby, peppered with arrows. Searching deeper into the woods nearby, they came upon a construction site, inhabited by bandits and a giant, who declared himself to be Jongon. The knights split their attention between the bandits and the giant, with Sir Harri facing the giant first. After the first blow nearly shattered him, Sir Harri’s courage failed him and Sir Hector found himself subject to the giant’s attention. Though the giant struck him with no blows, Sir Hector was unable to pierce his hide. Their opponents dispatched, Sir Nerys and Sir Nidian joined Sir Hector; striking wildly around him, he devastated both of the joining knights, knocking Sir Nerys clear of her horse and into unconsciousness, and striking Sir Nidian so strongly that he claimed to have been saved by his miraculous underjerkin to his dying day. His courage rallied, Sir Harri assessed the situation and called for a retreat. Jongon declared the Westfort hundreds his and finished his fort. -Excerpts from Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  12. 499 A.D. I am honored to continue the Annales Sorvioduni. Though he passed into our lord’s care by eating a bad date some time ago, I hope that Brother Wymar can guide my hand to accurately convey the history of our fair Salisbury. -Brother Mordecai ...despite the consensus that Sir Owain did not seem to be himself, he was surprisingly active in Salisbury’s endeavors this year. Neither he nor Aetheling Cynric of Wessex are noted for their singing ability, which did not stop them from the possibly drunken attempt. Cynric took some umbrage at the lack of reciprocal encouragement from Owain. Others at court were noted in gossip to have gone hunting or spent time socializing with the countess. Nasty rumors spread about Sir Nidian and Tathan the Hunter, who apparently got lost in the forest. The politics of the time continued as expected: tribute was paid to Sussex and Wessex, and their alliances went untested. There are two other matters known to have been discussed in private counsel. The first was a proposed alliance to Cornwall, whose influence had been expanding. The other was the Countess’s objection to Hector’s continued pursuit of Lady Jenna, which seems more than prudent in light of historical events. The focus of that year’s marshalling was the fate of Rydychan. The knights of Salisbury, with the support of both Rydychan and Silchester, were invited by Sir Bege, the usurper of Rydychan, to discuss him becoming a vassal of the Countess of Salisbury, which the council turned down to keep on good terms with Silchester. For his part, Duke Ulfius contributed some funds and advice to the venture as they passed through Silchester and Sir Balan, the Countess of Rydychan’s marshall, escorted them partway to the castle. Before arriving, however, their procession encountered a knight who arrested their procession at a bridge with the demand for a challenge in strength of arms. He requested the Knight of Cups - apparently, Sir Cait-, but she demurred, possibly overcome by the lustrous quality of the knight’s armor. Only Sir Owain stepped forward to meet the challenge, which caused the knight some frustration due to Owain’s poor reputation. These misgivings were redoubled when Sir Owain soundly defeated him. Once roused, he introduced himself as Sir Tustin of the Silver Lance. To Sir Owain, he offered the services of the Forest Sauvage as tribute for his victory. In the meeting with Sir Bege, diplomacy prevailed: Sir Nerys and Sir Harri convinced him that, with the backing of the Countess of Salisbury, he could pledge his fealty to Countess Violette and retain his position long enough to prove his loyalty. There are unsubstantiated rumors about the Lady Llylla approaching Sir Nerys with a plan to murder her husband which, while lacking in evidence, are still fascinating. Sir Harri and Sir Nidian engaged in a conspiracy to ensure that the young squire Hector would follow through on the arranged marriage to the Lady Tagan that his nearly step-father Sir Owain found for him, thus ensuring that he wouldn’t meddle with Lady Jenna’s marriage prospects. Given that Hector appears to be one of history’s favored idiots, this might have been needlessly complicated; it was not long after he saw her in the marketplace that he agreed to the marriage. Sir Nidian, still grief-stricken and gaunt with the recent loss of his wife, also met Lady Sara of South Weston here, though nothing would come of that. The Countess arranged a hunt; on that hunt, the knights encountered Sir Tustin and his entourage, who invited them to join him. Again, to Sir Tustin’s dismay, Sir Owain proved his family's skill at hunting and found the unicorn with great swiftness. For his boon this time, he asked for Sir Tustin’s hunting leopard. Hector asked Sir Tustin who his father was, which Sir Tustin explained he could not answer directly; instead, he indicated that, were Hector to navigate the forest to its center, he would be able to meet him. As a parting note, Hector asked Sir Tustin to let his father know that he was getting married. This caused quite a lot to happen. Hector quickly became Sir Hector (after a mere two years of being a squire), swearing fealty to Countess Violette of Rydychan and shortly thereafter married Lady Tagan, who had a generous dowry, and shortly after that he was a father. He named his son Cet, after Sir Owain’s brother. At the feast, he paid little attention to anything other than his wife. Given that he was sixteen... The knights were quite active in this feast’s revels, with Sir Nerys taking fashion tips, Sir Harri dancing, and Sir Cait playing King of the Bean in disguise. Sir Owain tried to sit with the squires, but his potential future son brought him up higher where he could tell onlookers a particularly bloody tale about how he’d treat Saxons. He also tried to get Sir Nidian married off, though the good knight had misgivings on the topic. There was a song about Sir Harri that debuted here, the Golden Knight. He took it in good humor, given that it was about his decision not to honor an arranged marriage (and how that reflected on his manhood). The Countess of Rydychan, low on forces, also offered Sir Cait the opportunity to become vassal knight, which she accepted. Her husband, who had only recently regained his faculties, was murdered by bandits on the way to his new home. Tragedy also struck the Stapleford family, as the younger Owain was killed in a vicious, drunken brawl. That incident would set into motion a series of events that none could have expected. -Excerpts from Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  13. A.D. 498 Court at Vagon was joined with many Saxons in attendance, including Cynric of Wessex, Sledd of Essex, and Celyn of Sussex. Sir Nerys appeased Cynric and Sir Owain was known to have learned kennings from Sledd. Sir Nidian was known to have employed subterfuge with Celyn, pointing out how the other Saxons were snubbing him. Sir Cait, meanwhile, was advised by a druid that she needed to find a cup that her husband stole. Try as I might, there is no explanation in the histories about how this came to be. In counsel, the knights continued to try to balance the dangers the Saxons presented, offering tribute to only Sussex and Wessex, while offering alliance to Sussex. Next in their agenda, they escorted Llylla to Rydychan and her marriage to Sir Bege, youngest of the usurpers. Some who attended noted that Sir Harri was short with Sir Belleus, the middle brother. Their toasts at the wedding, likewise, were perhaps unkind to second brothers. Sir Belleus shortly became intoxicated and, with little provocation, started a fight with his elder brother about his youngest. The night appeared to go normally otherwise, with the exception that Sir Cait excused herself to offer Sir Belleus some sort of Pagan palliative for hangovers. The knights retired to tents outside the feast hall at the end of the night before chaos erupted from the castle; the eldest brother Basile had died* and knights sallied out to fight our Salisbury knights, despite their being absent from the violence inside. There were a few casualties before the fighting ended and our troops returned home. Summons from the countess interrupted some bizarre behavior where the knights were having squires and the like interrogate the contents of refuse from the Cholderton household. The Countess sent the knights to escort her daughter, Lady Jenna, to the sea. Hector, then a squire, was known to publicly embarrass himself attempting to attract the Lady’s attention. It is perhaps fortunate, then, that the lady did not turn her eye to Hector, as it turned out to be Merlin in disguise. He broke his disguise before they encountered Sir Brastias, working as a mercenary, and Sir Nidian was forced to persuade Sir Brastias to let him pass. This was slightly before the knights fought dogs conjured by Merlin’s sister. Those dispatched, the path to the boat that Merlin took was open and the knights were able to return to Salisbury. Bad news waited for their return: Sir Nidian’s wife, Marged, had passed. Virtue is no shield against fate. -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni. * A complete mystery, definitely not based on a deal with Morgan la Fay that put a cursed artifact into circulation.
  14. I'm going with "in which they own or wield the sword," until someone tries to circumvent that in the manner specified, at which I will try something different.
  15. Interim: Sir Owain's Sword Forged by the fairies, this sword was made of a claw of Black Annis infused with the solar essence that Sir Nidian broke over her at her death. It remains unnamed, despite the GM's efforts to encourage a moniker. The sword inflicts an additional d6 damage to humans and creatures of darkness. It also glows in magical darkness. aAyone who owns it or wields it, however briefly, gains 1 Energetic and 1 Vengeful during the winter phase each year. (I'll admit it's probably overpowered.)
  16. 497 A.D. -and that’s why Nidian, burdened by guilt, went on pilgrimage to Cambria. The countess’s court that year saw many envoys; Sledd from Essex was known to have spent much of his time bragging, somehow besting Sir Owain, who slew a demi-god. Cynric of Wessex went riding with Sir Nerys. Sir Eiffen, seeking Llylla as a bride on behalf of Rydychan, went hunting with Sir Cait. Sir Harri absented himself to ferret out more information on current events. The countess’s council that year discussed who they wanted to pay tribute to and decided against Essex, despite the offer of waiving some libra in favor of troops. They chose Lady Llylla’s match: one of the usurpers of Rydychan, Sir Bege. Sir Harri and the Lady Gwiona finally wed in a ceremony that was spoken of for months afterwards. Sir Nerys was in particularly high spirits and showed her husband much affection. Sir Owain kept his temper in check despite a minstrel composing a song in his ‘honor’. Cait was seemingly content to go with the flow of the party. Harri spent much of it conferring with the countess. The knights of Salisbury rode to Somerset in search of allies and found none, though Sir Melwas and his father King Cadwy demonstrated their legendary hospitality and graciousness. Duke Ulfius visited Salisbury after their return; Sir Harri marked the occasion by offering a gilded shield, while Sir Nerys crafted a fine poem, a copy of which is in this volume’s appendix. No official record of their conversations exists, but it’s believed that Duke Ulfius remarked upon Llylla’s coming marriage to one of the usurpers of Ulfius’s sister-in-law and upon the Kingsguard hundreds; what is known is that they discussed, at length, Salisbury’s anti-Saxon position and the delicate balance it would upset. His comments were received favorably. He revealed his alliance with King Aelle of Sussex and conferred with the Salisbury knights about Rydychan. His visit ended when they all rode to visit Castellan Jarred at Duplain, a visit which ended abruptly when Jarred suddenly doubled over after drinking some wine. Sir Cait rallied the guards to stop the servant responsible; in the chaos, Merlin revealed himself and apprised them of the coming Saxon invasion. The knights and Sir Ulfius rode out to the invading force led by the Knight of Tusks, who did not survive the encounter with Sir Owain. -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  17. 496 A.D. This was a year of chaos. That year’s court was held locally; Sir Brastias, still nursing wounds, was in attendance, as were a courier from Ulfius and a Saxon named Sledd, Aetheling from Essex. A scholar by the name of Pertoines, having disgracefully left the church for non-ecclesiastical matters, begged Sir Nerys’ aid in establishing a college outside the church’s influence. Sir Nidian bonded further with Sir Brastias, extending his sympathies for his guilt. Sir Harri was the one to entertain the Saxon envoy with a hunting trip. Sir Owain went riding with a messenger from Duke Ulfius. Sir Cait attended to religious matters. I’ve noted previously the pagan eccentricities of Sir Cait, sister of Neilyn and cousin of Nerys, but this is the year that she began acting as the steward of Cholderton, as Tyngyr’s heirs were not yet of age. She was a noted adherent of the Pagan worship of Math fab Mathowny and Elvygyr (her husband and Tyngyr’s younger brother) was notably mad by this time. The council of Salisbury met afterwards: it was determined that they would pay the fee for Essex’s protection in the void of a functioning kingdom, as it seemed the entirety of Britain began vying for position the moment King Uther died. Many of the knights were known to contribute to the fund for Sarum’s walls. The disposition of Lady Llylla’s hand was also of much interest, according to some servants*. The next order of business was to take the scholar to Oxford to Rydychan. Passing the Marlborough border, Sir Owain debased himself in an effort to avoid being recognized. En route, Sir Cait’s horse became unshod and they agreed to stop at a place known as Govannon’s Smithy, where she offered a librum and left her horse; it was reshod once they returned. Also notable, Owain left a librum behind and found Black Annis’s claw missing and a sword waiting near Cait’s horse. It doesn’t deserve much note in the histories, but Sir Nidian became uncomfortable with this occurrence. They spent the next night in the monastery at Abingdon, where some members partook of their alcohol and others their religion. This is where they heard of Countess Violette’s plight, besieged as part of an insurrection led by three brothers from Wallingford. Sir Nidian also heard that the Forest Sauvage near Rydychan was becoming a matter of concern with the death of King Uther. On exiting the monastery, they encountered a patrol which wanted to know of their business there. They were led to Sir Belleus de Wallingford at Oxford, who introduced himself to them in an attempt to curry favor and expressed a great interest in pursuing the Countess’ or Lady Jenna’s hand in marriage (despite the extreme age difference in the latter case.) Returning home, they decided to send Sir Belleus an envoy to see what he could offer for Lady Llylla. Other envoys from Chichester asked for aid in an imminent battle of the forces of Hampshire and Chichester against Saxons coming by the sea. Marshal Harri collected his forces and rode forth, but a Saxon messenger came to inform Salisbury that the battle was over and the forces of Logres were routed. The messenger, bearing Saxon jewelry from the continent, was from the Gewessi, the tribe of then-High King Vortigern before his death and their flight from Britain. The knights followed the messenger to a meeting with Cerdic, where he declared himself the son to King Vortigern and this land to be Wessex, a land that belonged to both Britons and the Saxons. The knights returned to the countess with the news and a cheap token from Cerdic. Their advice, apparently, was to join a coalition with the other fragments of Logres. More interesting, was the renewal of Sir Harri’s intent to marry Lady Gwiona, ignoring some of the Count’s last wishes... -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni. * Mainly to see how fast they could get her out of Salisbury.
  18. King Uther was still in seclusion in 495. The knights were given to idleness as the coming battle against the Saxons loomed. Sir Tyngyr and Duke Ederyn gambled at hawking, while Sir Owain bought apology jewelry for his wife. Sir Nerys was known to have raced with Sir Brastias. Sir Nidian bested his competitors as the most humble in a contest of deeds, and Sir Harri continued his pursuit of Lady Gwiona. This was also the year of Sir Nerys's marriage to the merchant Ivimarus, a bright spot in a year of highs and lows. As the evening wore on, the entire company got progressively more drunk, as evidenced by Sir Nerys’s first, halting compliment to her new husband and ending with a passionate, even unseemly, declaration of her affection. The count used the occasion to introduce Sir Harri to a partner he found more appropriate to Lady Gwiona: Lady Angharad. The next day our knights rode forth and came to the Battle of St Albans, against Kings Octa and Eosa. King Uther was present, albeit drawn by horses on a litter. First blood belonged to the Saxons who drew a charge from King Uther’s troops by a message stating that they felt pity for the King’s sorry health. Those in front - including Sir Owain - charged and were met with an ambush and boiling oil, rebuffing them for the day. The next day, the Saxons marched against Uther’s troops. An anecdote from a missive noted that Sir Nidian broke his lance in the answering charge, only to be struck a solid blow moments later. Sir Owain also met some acclaim for his violence in the next melee. The ground was stained red with the blood of Saxons and good Englishmen. Count Roderick was mired in Saxons and, as marshal, Sir Tyngyr lent aid. Sir Tyngyr decisively killed a berserker after shattering his axe. Again, Sir Owain was noted for violence, and Sirs Nerys, Nidian, and Harri all acquitted themselves well. As the combat raged over the course of the day, King Uther’s standard faltered several times, though our Salisbury knights never did manage to thread their way through the enemy hordes to its defense. Sir Brastias took the brunt of that assault, and was badly wounded. The Salisbury knights had to pause in the combat to tend Sir Nidian’s wounds at one point. They did manage to take captives from the day’s final melee as the Saxons fled the field of battle. This was the day that King Octa finally died. Other chroniclers have written of the royal feast of Saint Albans: the day our king, our count, and many other nobles lay dying. It was Sir Nerys who found the sign of treachery afterwards, emblazoned over Stapleford’s crest; the mark of Black Annis on a fateful barrel of wine. It is difficult to track the events of the day, as chaos seized everyone. Sir Tyngyr was the first to call for aid, as the others near him fell sick and then he, himself, was seized by the poison, vomiting blood, his lovely countenance pale and shaking. His cousin, Sir Nerys, found him there before death claimed him, but all his thoughts were for Llylla. Sir Nidian found Count Roderick in similar straits and was there to tend him in his final minutes and to pass his love on to the countess and children. Sir Owain secured the gates against the threat of treachery by the Saxons or another kingdom, but there was none - only the revenge of the comatose Black Annis. The pain and fear. The last of our knights who made a mark on that evening was Sir Harri, who found himself lending his strength to King Uther’s arm as he drove his sword into a stone holding up a table. He was the first to announce the king’s passing and the last to guard his form before he was laid to rest. As always, his family found itself mired in the wake of royalty, helpless, as all were, to help their friends and family who died as they watched. That night claimed many more, including Lady Llylla’s brother, Baron Ederyn. Those from Salisbury, Sir Tyngyr and Count Roderick, were laid to rest in our Cathedral, while Uther was laid to rest with Prince Arthur and his brother, King Ambrosius at the Giant’s Dance. Sir Brastias and Duke Ulfius, injured severely in the battle, survived and eventually recovered, but not unmarked. Uther’s reign started bloody and victorious, and ended with his own human failures: envious of Duke Gorlois, a failed high king coveting the wife of his brother in arms. Even his son and Merlin were lost to him. The future of Logres was uncertain. The inevitable anguish of an uncertain line of succession was felt in many places, our home included. Count Roderick was scarce in his grave before it had to be acknowledged that his only child, Robert, was too young to assume his office. It was agreed that the countess should serve as regent, but also acknowledged that she had little in the way of military experience. Sir Harri’s suggestion of a triumvirate to advise her in military matters was taken well; it was Sir Nidian’s support that solidified that choice. The triumvirate- and our knights- helped fill the void left in the absence of the Count, with Sir Owain becoming constable, Sir Harri succeeding Sir Tyngyr as marshal, and Sir Nerys and Sir Nidian becoming castellans of the new bailey of Broughton and Tilshead, respectively. It would be hard to overstate the esteem that Count Roderick was held in by his knights; he was known to be, at turns, untiring, generous, protective and kind; he extended understanding where many might have faltered. His rule lasted over several periods of turmoil and I believe it can be fairly said that Salisbury was a linchpin in the kingdom under his rule. From his wife’s letters, the only fault she could ever find with him was that he didn’t live to see her grow old or share her joy in their child’s accomplishments. May God rest his soul. Sir Tyngyr of Cholderton, Axebreaker and Baronbreaker, is a child of Salisbury whose deeds will resonate beyond our borders, so I find it my duty to eulogize him in the histories. He was noted for his honesty, his honor, his acumen as a commander, and his middling horsemanship, but his wife, his love, his passion, his Llylla was his raison d’etre for many years, despite her relative indifference. She was never entirely cold to her husband, and wrote of him with warmth in the last years of their marriage, but wrote far more about the prospect of marrying a baron. He might have become the man she wanted him to be if he had lived, but perhaps they both might have lived better lives if they hadn’t met. {Marginal note in another hand: Definitely.} He was known to have been intimate with a witch before marrying his wife, but converted to Christianity for Llylla. So, too, did he change his interests to match what she wanted, assuming an office of Salisbury. With every accomplishment, he credited his love for Llylla or hate for Saxons, who hated him in turn. Here follows a Saxon dirge lamenting they didn’t kill him themselves… -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  19. AD 494: The King’s illness continued at court in London in the year of 494, as well, where deals were being made as the kingdom reeled in uncertainty. Sirs Nidian and Nerys busied themselves with gossip, while Sir Tyngyr recited poetry and Sir Harri went to spend some of his wealth in the big city on a gift to the Count. Summoned to the king, they were met by Duke Ulfius of Silchester, who tasked them to meet with Estregales as a royal envoy; in anticipation, they hired a diplomat and upgraded their wardrobes. Their trip involved several stops: Duke Eldol, whose sleeping form they made their courtesies to; King Nanteleod of Escalavon, who provided some gossip and who took great interest in the battles the knights had fought; Carmathen, where Nidian attended church and Sir Nerys investigated Merlin’s hometown. On the trip, they met the quarrilous Sirs Heli and Chaleins, as well as Sir Nerys having the chance to meet her brother’s beau, Sir Alain. The three eagles at the red castle near Tonwynglais made a brief cameo, as well. After making cursory civilities, King Canan assigned Sir Orcas, his steward, to show the Salisbury knights around. They participated in a hunt (unsuccessful), though Sir Nidian brought back a boar, with the aid of the king’s son, Prince Dirac of Estregales, after it slew his horse. Prince Dirac and his brother Lak later spoke with Sir Tyngyr about Saxon giants and other curiosities. At the feasts thereafter, our knights strove to entertain during dinner, as was local custom, with middling success. Rolls show Eliavres to have been in attendance at some point, though there’s no record of Sir Owain killing him during this particular feast. One of the kings of the hill tribes challenged our knights to a contest of horsemanship, which Sir Nerys won. The glory was short lived, as the feast soon thereafter sealed King Canan’s fate. To this day, conspiracy theories run amok about the politics leading to this, but most accounts agree that Prince Dirac was the one to hand the poisoned goblet to his father and Sir Orcas was the one to provide it. Sir Nerys’s account mentions squire Lak, but his involvement was overlooked when Sir Nidian, taking the situation in hand, brought Christian justice to Sir Orcas in a duel. Sir Orcas ignored the agreement to end with first blood after the knight inflicted it upon him, dying ignominiously at the end of Sir Nidian’s sword. The Prince took the lands amid the clamor of the nobles and, hoping to cement his rule after a controversial ascension, declined to offer aid to Uther. Their return was considerably less storied, as they brought this news to the king. Duke Eldol passed on, may God rest his soul. Kings Octa and Eosa were on the warpath once again. The Lady of the Lake, who our knights owed a boon to, was attempting to aid King Uther. The year was full of other portents, as well: our own Lady Minifer’s renowned and notorious garden... -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  20. ...In the following year of 493, court was held in Silchester. This was the year that, following his absence from the public eye, the King was known to have been challenged by a furious Sir Argan to single combat over the honor and life of his wife. Some have speculated that King Uther’s loss is the shame that Sir Nerys’s prophecy referred to. A certain lady’s correspondence suggested that the uncertainty the event created was worth it to see Sir Argan’s new estates. Those particular five knights were at court, of course. Unsurprisingly, Sir Tyngyr inevitably found trouble with a friend of Sir Hyffaid, whom he slew years before, though most accounts suggest he managed to end the encounter affably. Sir Harri commissioned and had read a poem for Lady Gwiona, copies of which still exist, but their existence can only be explained by the significance to posterity, rather than quality. Their trip to Eburacum on the king’s behalf was slightly delayed for Sir Nidian’s marriage to the Lady Marged. Sir Nerys and the merchant Ivimarus continued their courtship, though a few people noted that the knight was, at one point, carrying books while perhaps a little intoxicated, which is not often noted as a strong fashion move. Sir Harri was also known to be drunk, though whether it was from alcohol or his pursuit of Lady Gwiona is debatable. Perhaps worse than Sir Harri’s poem is the one Sir Tyngyr helped another knight write at this feast; why he chose to compare the knight’s amorous target with his wife (not favorably, mind you) is unknown. Lest you think that Sir Nidian avoided shame because it was his own wedding, he started the evening’s final dance with his new wife by tearing her dress with clumsy footing. Before departing for Eburacum, determined to protect his family, Sir Nidian sought and received the Count’s permission to slay Black Annis on the return trip, acquiring a monk named Cibno to assist in the rituals and the assistance of Sir Lycus, a household knight of Salisbury and friend of Sir Nerys’. While their envoy to Eburacum seemed to progress normally, Sir Harri discovered that they were also receiving a group from the Saxons, the knowledge of which threw Sir Tyngyr into such a rage that he made a scene that shamed the count, and the group departed. They were crossing the river Humber by ferry on their return. While the count was berating Sir Tyngyr for shaming his office and Sir Tyngyr was, by most accounts, listing generations of complaints about the Saxons in increasing volume, they were ambushed by Saxons, giving Sir Tyngyr yet another grievance. It did not prove to be a particularly dangerous ambush, and the knights had departed the count’s company to deal with Black Annis shortly afterwards. Accounts vary, but some have mentioned an encounter with Merlin shortly before their combat with Black Annis; most sources agree that magic was used in the battle, however. Sir Owain and Sir Nidian entered her lair as she slept and poured something on her, before her scream stilled their courage and they departed for the safety of the outdoors, where the group subdued her with violence. Sir Nidian smashed an object into her corpse that burned as brightly as the sun, before burying her in her cave, and performing the rites which they hoped would seal her evil. According to Sir Lycus, in his retellings, her last moments were spent cursing the mortal realms. Sir Owain took one of her claws for a purpose of which he did not speak. If these stories are to be believed, a lapse in ritual will allow her to walk among us again, much as Kings Octa and Eosa did when treachery freed them and they returned to lead the Saxon armies once again. -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni
  21. AD 492 Despite the many other notable events, this would be a year that would live in infamy for our knights. Court was held in Tintagel, followed by a feast for the royal marriages to tie our kingdom to the northern ones of Lothian and Garloth. Sir Owain, showing restraint that had been lacking in prior years, despite a misstep or two, served dutifully as the cupbearer for Queen Ygraine, a position of marked honor. Sir Nerys spent much of her time in a furor over the presence of a certain Ivimarus, a merchant out of Silchester who had a reputation for odd philosophies and a love of books. Sir Tyngyr, true to his past behavior, was known to have consorted with a witch before getting drunk and mistaking another lady for his wife when asking for a dance. Sir Harri continued his amorous pursuit of Lady Gwiona, ignoring the ill rumors which surrounded her, as opposed to Sir Nidian, who was rumored to have spent a night of restrained passion with someone shrouded in history. Sir Nerys, who had repeatedly asked permission to head to the monastery at Exeter for the sake of her library, was granted permission to do so, provided she was accompanied by her fellow knights- or so it was said. Officially, they were given orders to reconnoiter. En route, they encountered some knights of Cornovii. One of their number, Sir Grein, challenged Sir Harri to a duel and lost his life. After arriving, Sir Nerys negotiated with the monks over the disposition of their books and then made peace with Ivimarus before inviting him to her place for the purpose of reading. This next event is a black mark on the history of our land: On patrol, the knights encountered Merlin, who apparently asked their aid as he always did: with orders and no explanation. They awaited his return and he asked them to delay his pursuers, even as he rode ahead with a small bundle in his arms. His pursuers, it turned out, were Sir Argan the constable, Sir Brastias, and the members of King Uther’s personal guard. Sir Nidian attempted to misdirect them, before Sir Tyngyr corrected them. They split and continued their pursuit of Sir Merlin, with our knights joining the pursuit and encountering another group tasked as ours had. Merlin eluded pursuit and, eventually, the knights gave up and returned to court, where they were charged with treason. They were held for weeks, visited by Bishop Roger, Sir Elad and Abbott Dewi of Estregales, known as the “Water Man” for his prohibition of alcohol. They were brought to trial in front of the court and the king. Each pleaded their own case: Sir Nerys famously made the case that, as a mother, she would never willingly participate in the theft of another’s child. Sir Nidian claimed that his family’s proven loyalty unto death would prevent treason. Sir Harri’s family, similarly, had died in the service of their kings for generations. Sir Owain centered his arguments around his fealty to Roderick. Tyngyr leaned upon Merlin’s previous duties to the king. Still, almost all were willing to blame their participation upon Merlin's magic, thus becoming the knights who condemned Merlin. Our own Count Roderick’s statement personally vouched for them, tying his fate to theirs, but it was perhaps Sir Dewi’s argument which was most persuasive, denouncing Merlin as a heathen devil; it was that which King Uther proclaimed at the end of the trial. Proven innocent, the knights returned home, to their families and the welcoming arms of their lord, Count Roderick, who introduced them to his new son, Robert. A messenger from Norgales arrived to inquire about the meeting with King Pellinore the year before. Less welcoming, Sir Nidian discovered claw marks which he attributed to Black Annis on the door of his hall. -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  22. AD 491 -though many might question the wisdom of King Uther in this matter, what remains beyond dispute is the outcome. Duke Gorlois’s breach of etiquette in leaving court without the king’s permission resulted in war on Cornwall; the battles would cost the lives of many brave soldiers of Logres... Another unit of knights was comprised of the houses of Stapleford, Broughton, Cholderton, Newton Tony and Shrewton, represented by Sir Nidian the Hammer, Sir Owain le Terreur, Sir Tyngyr the Baronbreaker, and Sir Harri, who had yet to earn a title then despite being a castellan. Sir Nerys le Sorciere was still absent of her senses and in unknown whereabouts, so Sir Neilyn, cousin of Sir Nerys and then a household knight, was riding in her stead. Sir Neilyn has thus far eluded the Annales, so allow me to enlighten the reader as to his character: It was known that he was a devotee of astrology and often found portents in the sky. Less charitable sources have also noted him for being an incorrigible flirt, terrible dancer and perhaps a mite paranoid, doubtless all attributable to faults in his humours. Easter court in London adjourned, this group rode with the others to the Castle Tintagel and its formidable causeway. The siege was fairly fruitless; though most scholars agree that Merlin appeared and shortly thereafter a fog rolled in from the sea, the castle’s walls remained unbroken. Many knights complained of strange dreams in their slumber for days afterwards, though surely that is not magic. There is an amusing anecdote which I do not have the space to repeat in whole, involving a mocking dance that Sir Neilyn performed. The stalemate was only broken with the fall of castle Terrabil, when Duke Gorlois was slain in combat. Many will already know of the fall of Prince Arthur here, and the grief King Uther suffered in the loss of his son and only heir. However, this is the saga of Salisbury, so the losses we suffered must be noted as well. Death came even to the household knights, such as Sir Robert, once the squire to Sir Tyngyr, slain protecting the unarmored Count Roderick from an enemy’s lance. Duke Gorlois’s body was returned to castle Tintagel, disheartening the defenders. Shortly thereafter, peace came again. Events seemed to cascade from there: Sir Brastias surrendered to the king and swore fealty, before becoming his bodyguard and, later, his captain of the guard. The Duchess surrendered to King Uther. The Centurion King prevented the convention of the Supreme Collegium, frustrating Uther’s efforts, though unlike previous attempts, King Uther was so dispirited that he hardly noticed. They were all garrisoned at Tintagel under the command of Sir Thebert, where Sir Neilyn made the acquaintance of Sir Alain de Carlion, a servant of King Nanteleod of Escalavon. They returned briefly to Salisbury for the funeral of Prince Arthur. Happier circumstances prevailed, however, and King Uther was wed to the Duchess. There is much to note in the extravagant feast. It was the first time that Sir Harri met Lady Gwiona, one of the heiresses of Salisbury (about whom rumors of ill omen had been spreading). Sir Owain’s behaviour was not his best: after gambling frivolously with the squires that he was seated with, the squires took umbrage with the band’s decision to play a song mocking Sir Owain, leading to their expulsion, as well as Sir Owain’s. This is known to be one of Sir Owain’s smaller riots. Sir Nidian had a lapse in his Christian virtues and got drunk with Sir Brastias, before losing his balance while standing on a table and being ejected, unconscious, from the feast. Sir Tyngyr disappointed a monk. Princess Morgan’s attendant recounts a meeting between her charge and Sir Neilyn where Sir Neilyn dissuaded her from removing an illuminated page from an abbot’s book for her own keeping by performing another dance. While on garrison duty, there was yet another apocryphal sighting of King Pellinore of Gomeret, this time in pursuit of a strange hybrid beast. The knights who bore witness maintain that he, astride a coursing mount and radiant in his royal arms, was ceaselessly hounding the creature which had aspects of a half dozen animals in the same beast. Sir Nerys was found by friars and returned to duty, though they reported that she spoke words of prophecy during her madness: All shall see the shame of the King. Watch for the Bear. -Excerpts from Volume 4 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  23. AD 490 Our Salisbury knights rode to join the king’s forces to repel the Saxon kings, Octa and Eosa. Sir Rhian, accompanying King Syagrius, made her way there as well, meeting the King’s court. Sir Rhian publicly pled Syagrius’s case, but was denied; scholars suggest King Uther believed the affairs of his own land came first. King Syagrius, still furious at Prince Arthur, challenged him to a trial by combat, but Sir Blaen acted as the Prince’s champion and, after an arduous battle, proved Prince Arthur’s innocence with strength of arms. This year, Sirs Owain, Tyngyr, Elad, and Baron Ederyn, brother of Lady Llylla, were known to have gone hawking, which perhaps explains the next year’s events. Some have suggested Sir Harri of Newton Tony was chasing rumors during this time. Sir Robert, once the overworked squire to Sir Tyngyr and now a knight of Count Roderick’s court, was spotted in the company of Sir Nerys. One source wryly quoted an overheard quip by Sir Nerys: “If you want to win her heart, you have to take advice from the great scholars. Which means the first step to wooing her is to learn to read.” There’s no evidence Sir Robert attempted this advice. Internal matters between the Prince and Frankish king settled, the knights rode to war against the Saxons. The battle was decided in a single day, with the Saxons routed and their kings dead or held hostage. It was still early in the battle when Sir Tyngyr was rendered unconscious and Sir Rhian killed. The stress of battle and their surging passions drove Sirs Nerys, Owain and Harri from the field of battle shortly before Duke Gorlois captured Sir Eosa. Sir Nidian, fueled by a desire to avenge his sister, charged the fleeing King Octa alone. The King turned to face him in single combat and Sir Nidian struck him mightily before King Octa injured him badly enough that his squire had to drag him from the field of battle. Other knights were able to pursue the king after this delay, however, allowing his capture. Only Sir Nidian and Sir Tyngyr were able to attend the feast celebrating the victory, with the others lost in the wilderness. Even then, Sir Nidian was still convalescing, but nevertheless, he was enchanted by Duke Gorlois’ new wife, Ygraine. and her beautiful voice. Afterwards, they joined the king’s retinue in Malahaut, where they were rejoined by Sir Owain, who had been kindly restored to sanity by a faithful hermit. Sir Harri had a similar experience with a gentle knight of Lambor, who then endowed him with a mysterious wealth. Sir Nerys, however, was still missing at the end of the year. Sir Harri received permission to become a castellan, leveraging his new wealth. Sir Nidian befriended Sir Brastias, who shared in mourning his lost sister, which proved problematic a few months later. King Uther had kept the Duke and his wife in court months longer than usual, asserting the royal right to a vassal’s counsel. Sir Brastias, in an unknown company, was seen leaving without the king’s dispensation. Sir Harri was asserting the importance of hospitality, but relented, perhaps dissuaded by Sir Nidian and his new friendship. Rumors suggest it was a pagan Lady of the Lake who assisted Duke Gorlois in his retreat home. Regardless, such a short time after Gorlois and Uther had mended their differences, this event precipitated more calls to war, even as our knights were returning home for the winter. With that new calamity and one final matter, I must close this volume. The death of Sir Rhian, I believe, is a fitting place to close this volume. She had been in company of the other Salisbury knights for over a decade and had earned her sobriquet, “the Mad.” The calls of passion had driven her into the wilds on more than one occasion and given her the insight of prophecy. It was only the one time that she mistook Arthur for a bandit. She injured Black Annis where no one else had and earned her undying ire. She was the only one to drink the Lady of the Lake’s wine. Her celebrated romance with Lady Adwen and the generosity of their household in adopting children were of note. It is tragic that she died without having seen her wife in so long or her twin brother’s twins. -From the end of Volume 3 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  24. The following year would see the knighting of Harri of Newton Tony. He had charged the gates of Bayeux with Sir Helen as her squire and, as I’m sure my illustrious readers will already know, his family had found much glory in their previous domain in Totnes. His grandparent fought valiantly to protect Constantin and died to protect Constans: for good or ill his family was tied to the crown. His mother returned from Brittany with Aurelius, and she fought at the battles of Exeter, Maisbeli, Carlion, Mount Snowdon, and the excursion to Ireland of the Sacred Stones, among many other glorious campaigns. Even though he was known to have the immodesty and lust common to British pagans, his ancestors' courage flowed in his veins. [The chronicler here omits the appearance of Sir Nidian of Shrewton, twin of Sir Rhian, noted for his mercy and piety.] His first campaign as a knight was King Uther’s march on Duke Gorlois, which held the promise of a slaughter of good Christians and British. Yet reason - or the power of Excalibur - prevailed, and there was no civil war. Gorlois’s lands were restored to him. After the cathartic celebrations between the two forces, newly rejoined, Sir Nidian was known to have courted a fight with Sir Brastias, bodyguard of the Duke, who remarked unkindly upon the young knight’s sister. Our knights then rode straight forth to the Saxon territories, where they were ambushed under the auspices of Cholderton’s command. While the battle was a thorough success for his forces, our Salisbury knights were sorely tried and many grievously wounded, particularly Sir Nerys and the young Sir Nidian, fresh from the invasion of France with his sister. It was here that Cuthwulf, former owner of the Red Book of Cyprian, died, overridden by Sir Harri and Sir Tyngyr. Our knights were long in recuperating from Sir Tyngyr’s leadership. The Easter court at Cirencester that year saw Sir Tyngyr pressing his case with the lady Llylla and reading another poem in court; much later, it was revealed that he was supposed to have been disguised, though there was no effort of note. Nerys, still in mourning for the dearly departed Edar, was so despondent that she was rarely seen reading during her stay. The young page, Hector, was seen playing his mother’s lute for Sir Nerys at the edges of her estate on at least one occasion. Sir Nidian, on the other hand, was present more in the cathedral than in the company of other knights. Alas, we have come to the end of Sir Caradoc’s tragic fall from grace. Having abandoned his honor with his disgraceful breaking of etiquette years prior, he tossed his wine on Sir Owain, who righteously responded with a duel. Sir Owain injured Sir Caradoc nearly mortally on the first pass, causing him to lose his nerve, but he rallied long enough to be killed on the second sally. In what I’m sure was an accident, the corpse was mangled beyond recognition beneath the hooves of Sir Owain’s mount. As all surely knew, the wrath of Sir Owain was not to be trifled with… yet this would not be the end of the matter. Far more tragic, Lady Llylla finally acquiesced to Sir Tyngyr’s years of unrelenting obsession and a grand wedding was held. From a private letter an anonymous guest authored: "I could find only pity in my heart... perceiving the bride’s rather keen personality and the groom’s demanding devotion to her. The wedding had the mien of a beheading." Sir Nerys’s journal for the day reads only: Nausea. Sir Nidian, perhaps underwhelmed with the proceedings, was known to have left in the company of another… Sir Harri, on the other hand, was the recipient of some stinging, often physical, rebukes from several prospective partners at that same feast. Sir Owain stormed out of the hall after hearing the melody to a certain song in his honor. A chronicler detailing the life of Sir Owain has been causing a furor among scholars attempting to discern the author of that particular event... Sir Nidian was probably unaware that his sister would make landfall later that month in the company of Syagrius and that they would soon seek Prince Arthur out... -From Volume 3 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
  25. ...Sir Rhian and Lady Adwen’s ceremony in 488 was quite memorable, even for a beardless youth still yet to squire like me. My only memory of Sir Helen in person was of her touching toast to the couple’s future (and one of the ladies’ matronly fuss over Sir Helen’s disordered outfit shortly thereafter). Sir Rhian’s flirtations with her wife were endearingly bad and the evening was proceeding apace, but the feast’s unexpected visitor - a destitute grandmother that Sir Nerys had shown kindness, winning a debate with Sir Owain - turned out to be quite a bit more. I woke from my cups to find her denouncing Sir Rhian and laying claim to her heirs in pure hatred. The name was whispered in hushed awe: Black Annis. Moments later, she slipped into the dreadful darkness and my nightmares. Surely the evening would have ended in bloodshed if Sir Nerys had not granted the old lady the bread and salt of hospitality. Though Sir Rhian no doubt worried over her bride, the knights sailed to France, where they served as honor guard to King Syagrius, to whom King Uther had pledged their service and the assistance of Prince Arthur. In a Frankish ambush, the group was waylaid heavily, with Sir Owain taking a hard hit, Sir Rhian dropping her sword, and Sir Nerys fighting with distinction in service to her fellow knights. In questioning the prisoners, Sir Rhian le Fou’s practical questions were followed by Sir Helen beheading one of them... At the siege of Bayeux, the group led a small contingent of knights through a ravine to a postern gate. Stories of pagan beasts drawing Sir Rhian into their dance are rampant, though I’m loath to admit there may be some truth to them. Still others say she was replaced by a doppelganger, which is why she was absent from the subsequent battle and failed to return to Salisbury with the others. Having won past this supernatural being, they stormed the postern gate of Bayeux, with Sir Helen in the lead, eager to meet the fate that a Frankish axe delivered to her. She was known to be humming Sir Hector’s Lament as she passed. She was buried with honors near the temple of Belenus in Cerisy-la-Forêt. Upon her return, Sir Nerys would take the young Hector into her service as a page. The city taken and their duty satisfied, Prince Arthur ordered the knights home, despite a noble desire to help King Syagrius further. Sir Nerys is known to have contributed toward the cause, and later Sir Rhian would join his banner, unaware that the king and the prince had parted ways. That winter was cold, but more harsh than the weather. Returning to Cholderton, Tyngyr laid Livia and her unborn child to rest. In the aftermath of the raids from Silchester, Edar, husband of Nerys, was thrown from his horse while inspecting the property and departed this mortal coil, may God rest his Soul. The famous vines of Stapleton withered in the vineyard, and the new walls of the motte and bailey of the newly-minted castellan Owain did little to protect them. -From Volume 3 of Brother Wymar’s Annales Sorvioduni.
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