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KungFuFenris

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    Dane - 20 Years of RPG - Writer - LARPWright
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    Pendragon - 7th Sea
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    Aros - DK
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    The fierce storyteller from beneath the moonlit sky of Danirvangr

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  1. In my game, the Robert and Katherine match was set up during Anarchy, around the time where Salisbury was attempting to pacify the feuding Knights of Gentian. Lot's of ways it can be used ^^
  2. Oh boi. Things have not been great, in fact, this story is kinda over for the time being. I fell of the recap wagon somewhere around october last year, but kept limping forward. The game in and off itself was going okay until around March, where cracks began to show. I ended up having to pull the plug a month ago, due to several factors. However, the game was actually 7 years ahead of the recaps, coming to a close in 501. It had some crazy stuff happening, and if I manage to beat my ADHD enough to do the final recaps, I'd be pretty pleased to give it to y'all. If all goes well, we might be able to pick it up again when 6th Ed comes out.
  3. Welp. One month later. Whoops. Session 25: Of Coins and Coffers As 494 rolled around, things were growing more desperate for Logres. The threat of a North Saxon resurgence allied with Malahaut was ever present, and the coastal regions felt increased raids, and Axe was no exception. That spring, Graid had two things to mourn. The untimely death of Sir Luc, his brother and the abducted daughter, Tressa, that Luc died to defend. Graid, enraged and infuriated, wrote Brastias for advice on what to do. The answer arrived just after Easter, and with the letter in hand, Lord Graid of Axe rode for Salisbury and his friends. For Reccared, the winter gave far better things. Gwenfrwy gave birth to their first son, who they named Perrin, after Reccared’s father. Ninian, for his part, was finally allowed to wed the fair Cornelia and the two of them were wed on the feastday of Saint Valentin. Cornelia was given a place in the Countess’ entourage, and Ninian was allowed to have a house built within the walls of Sarum. Having heard little of Aurelius during the winter, Sir Aldwyn and Sir Lycus rode for Woodford as rumour had it that the Knight of Woodford had returned from a journey to his native Durnovaria, much worse for wear. What they found in Woodford made Aldwyn stand slack-jawed. Lady Bethany had been injured gravely and would not wake from her repose, while Sir Aurelius had been seated almost catatonically in front of his altar to Christ, deep in prayer. Neither Sir Sabin nor the newly-knighted Sir Robyn had any idea of what had transpired in Dorsette. Aurelius had made the trip to sort out some business between the old families, and returned like this, accompanied by servants who knew just as little. Aldwyn, just shook his head and prepared to head out, but not before Sir Robyn managed to talk himself into riding to Sarum with Aldwyn, in place of Sir Lycus, whom had been sentenced to three years of service at Newton as penance for his crimes against Aldwyn’s household. However, what Robyn thought would be a fun chance to ride with a hero of Salisbury, was mostly just attending Hundred Court in Bran’s Hill, listening to peasants and to Aldwyn being a steward-like stick in the mud, alongside the Sheriff, Sir Bedwyr. Even worse for the energetic knight, it was time for the County Court immediately after. And this time, it was important for As so many times before, the Vassal Knights of Salisbury assembled. Some in service to Roderick, some in service to other Barons. In short, it was a mess of allegiances and loyalties, mixed in with matters of land-ownersship and taxes. Besides Aldwyn and Robyn, Reccared and Lord Axe had arrived as well, alongside Ninian and Lord Roderick. After all, these were important matters, something all the knights attended each year, but honestly, Robyn was about to go crazy with the amount of penny-pinching and bickering that happened here. That morning, all of his majesty’s proclamations were heard. New laws, taxes, announcements of a fair in Gentian were proclaimed. But, no summons for the levy, yet despite the raids this winter. Rumor had it that the King was ill, unfit for leading an army, perhaps due to the horrific wound that Sir Argan dealt him in the duel last year. The outlaw Tywyn, who had not been seen for a while, was still restated as an outlaw, a reminder of the days that seemed to be many years ago where our heroes meddled in affairs of kings, something they did not feel a need to continue. Hell, they hadn’t even figured out where Madoc’s son had disappeared off to. No, this was not their matters anymore. Then, after having a spot of ale and bread, it was time for other affairs of state. Each knight had a duty to help the sheriff and the realm. First, it was a matter of judging where Lord Mallowch’s borders was alongside the Hundred of Swans, a Silchester-hundred, which Aldwyn, Reccared and Robyn, as Aurelius’ stand-in, were told to figure out for the next court. Then, Reccared and Aldwyn were tasked to fix the royal road passing through Birchford. After that, it was time for the Justice, which each Knight had to stand as Doomsmen in cases. Robyn was tasked to figure out if Baron Duach really had breached hospitality while visiting Sir Bedo’s hall in Westfort. Reccared and Aldwyn were jurors in a case between their old Gentish friend Sir Thebert and a Cornish merchant. Graid had to figure out wheter or nor Sir Restwell was hunting on Lord Mallowch’s land and Reccared had to work with Sir Drystan to figure if Sir Brynach had actually committed the case of graft from his position as Constable as claimed by Sir Caradoc. All in all, it was a lot of busywork, and in a year of peacetime, this would be the most unnerving for our heroes to experience. Then, Drystan brought his grievances to court against Aldwyn and Graid. The division of Wylve Manor was against all better judgement and should fall wholesale to him, as he had taken his outlawed brother’s wife and children into his household, as befit a good Christian. Everyone knew that Drystan was treating Sioned and her children like prisoners, and after a few talks, especially with Sioned’s brother, Lord Mallowch, it was clear that Sioned was better off away from her husband’s family, and placed in the care of Lord Axe, along with her children, far away in Ascalon. There was a bit of grumbling from the traditionalists of Salisbury, but both the Sheriff and Count Roderick seemed to agree on the decision. Then, Punishment was meted out. The Royal Forester had brought twelve poachers with him, and the sheriff prompt chopped off each poacher’s right hand as punishment. It sat ill with the more merciful knights like Ninian and Reccared, but their woes were soon alleviated by Ninian’s tales about life as a married knight. Sir Alain de Carlion, Aldwyn and Reccared’s friend from their days at Terrabil, had been called as Compugator for Sir Thebert, and was all the more happy to spend time with old and new friends. Alain was a joy to be around, and after a night of drinking, the Cambrian knight called all of the five knights his friend. The next morning, it was time for taxes. The sheriff’s scribes collected from each manor, who dutifully paid their tax. Then, there was the matter of fee farms and rent thereof, something that caused poor Sir Robyn to zone out. He only woke up, when Lord Axe and Lord Roderick said something about Estregales. As it turned out, Logres was in need of allies, and the Royal Forester had given Roderick a message, the same that Graid had been given by Sir Brastias. There was a need to go to Estregales, the land of King Canan, and ask for their aid. The North Saxons had crossed down into Lincoln just days after Easter, and things were not looking well on the northern front, as Duke Corneus had to retreat to his castle at Linden Pool. Next year, they would have to meet the Saxons in the field, and King Canan had managed to unite the feuding southern-western kings under a single banner of Estregales. If anyone could help turn the tide now that Malahaut had proven disloyal to Britannia, it would be them. Graid had doubts, as the Estregalians were of Irish blood, but he was willing to give it an attempt. And so, Aldwyn and Reccared, alongwith Ninian and Robyn were sent with Lord Axe to Estregales, hoping to get an alliance with King Canan. Robyn almost leapt out of his seat. Away from boring old Salisbury, in the company of heroes?! And no more tax-talk?! It was as the good lord had heard his silent prayers! The rest of the group was not nearly as enthusiastic, because this once more dragged them into the affairs of grand politics. Yet, a call would not be denied, and only a few weeks later, they were off to Cambria. [WILL BE UPDATED!]
  4. Session 24 - The Harvest Harp As harvest had been gathered in Salisbury, it was clear that things could have been much better. However, things were not as bad as they could have been. Yet, in the fields of Newton, the strangest thing happened; as the peasants were tilling the soil for sowing the seeds for next year. Here, in the middle of the field, they dug up an old bundle, a skin wrapped around what appeared to be an ancient looking harp, carved with imagery of mighty stags. Sir Aldwyn, a man of faith and courage, decided to keep this harp, until he could better find someone who could better understand it. That autumn, Roderick asked a favor from several of his knights. An honored guest would pass through Salisbury lands, and as his most renowned knights, he would like it if Sir Aldwyn, Sir Reccared, Lord Axe and Sir Aurelius would accompany said guest from the border to the hundred of Hillfarm in southern Salisbury, as the guest was here to inspect his holdings here. Of course, they agreed, on the condition that Sir Ninian would ride with them as well. Roderick, generous to his people, agreed, and added Sir Lycus and Sir Bar into the entourage. Lycus, whom none had anything nice to say about (besides Lycus’ willingness to commit murder at the drop of a hat) was tolerated, but they welcomed Bar’s presence. Wintering at Newton, Gareth the Bard accompanied the knights, hoping to get some stories from the assembled knights, and whoever was noble enough to have holdings in the middle of Salisbury had to be worthy of note. When they met the entourage of the guest on the old Roman road near Renn’s Dyke in northern Salisbury, it soon became clear just how right Gareth was. It was a large entourage, with several knights, lead by a man who was clearly wealthy like few. The noble Lord himself was not fit to ride a horse, so he rode in a cart, a banner emblazoned with a red and green division, imparted with a black bear was unmistakable. This was Eldol the Ancient, the last hero from their grandfather’s days, the man who armed with the leg of a chair fought his way out of the Night of Long Knives. Many knew the Duke of Glevum to be over 100 years of age, and no one doubted it seeing the old knight, who still sat in a suit of mail, as befitted his station. Over the long journey across Salisbury, Eldol took his time talking with each of the knights, listening to their stories and tales of their ancestors. He knew the tale of Ninian’s Breton grandfather who had helped smuggle the young Pendragons away from Vortigern; Eldol knew the tale of the Roman Gens Sertorius; he also knew about Lord Axe’s ancestral quest, the search for the Axe of Corneus and while he knew little of Aldwyn’s heritage from the north, he respected Aldwyn’s deeds in Logres. Reccared in particular, fascinated Eldol, as the Aquitanians were an enigma to him. Eldol did know Sir Solis well, and refered to the White Fox a bit of a spring chicken. In fact, he did not know where Solis had gone recently, as the White Fox had clearly been angered by the recent trial, leaving his holdings in Tribruit to his son, Florian. Reccared had not spoken with his great-uncle in some time, and was beginning to wonder if Solis had simply passed away on a lonely road somewhere, on a search for the king that Solis would find worthy to die for. God knows the White Fox had little success so far. Finally, after many hours of travel, they arrived at Newton, where Aldwyn had decided to host the Ducal entourage as befitted the old hero. That night, Eldol once more told the story about “the Night of Long Knives”, as they were quite near Stonehenge. Many of the assembled knights suspected the number of slain Saxons had been inflated over the years, but everyone, even Lycus, held their tongue. After all, Eldol was there, they were not and his Glory was much larger than theirs. Then, the old Duke saw the harp and furrowed his brow. Aldwyn, proud as ever, told of the harp that had been found in his land, and that he had not yet played it, waiting for the right time. Eldol just grimaced and began yet another story. This harp was strung by Bran, ages ago, to bring a sliver of earthly bounties to those who plucked it’s strings in a pleasing way, yet the same bounties would cause envy to take root in those who were miserly by nature. In fact, that was the very reason why the harp was stolen in the first place. Everyone chuckled a bit at the tale. It was a fine harp, no doubt about it. And Aldwyn, certain that he was in good company, decided to pluck the strings in the fashion that he knew so well. Everyone rejoiced at the music, however, there was something about that story that made Gareth the Bard ponder a bit, yet after the first cup of Newton’s ale, he forgot all about it. -------------------------------------- Night fell. And then, the hall began to stir. Someone first stepped in Aurelius’ face. It was one of Eldol’s knights, who was reaching for the harp. Aurelius yelled, only to get a boot to his face. Then, Bar rose. As did Lycus, and someone began to draw steel. The hall erupted in an all out brawl, as several knights attempted to lay claim to the harp for themselves. It was then Gareth remembered the tale. “The harp would make anyone who had ever heard it long for the harper’s most precious treasure…” Meanwhile, Graid, looking for more trouble, heard something in the children’s room and opened the door. And screamed as he saw something foul before him. Ashen, sagging skin, long talons and hair the color of bone. It cackled, and turned it's milky eyes towards the children as Graid hesitated for just a second. Gareth’s eyes went wide-open as he recalled the last part of the tale“... yet the White Hag still seeks that harp that she stole so many years ago, promptly cursed by Bran to forever lose it again; and as she is ever-living, the hag will always heard the harp’s strings whenever plucked, and find the most precious treasure of the harper as revenge for daring to play the harp that she holds so dear.” And for Aldwyn, his most valued treasure, was his children. Gareth roared that they’d need to save the children and promptly fled the hall with all the haste of a Bard on the retreat, as no mere Bard could stand a chance against the White Hag. This was a chance for knights to prove their valor! With dread for his children in his eyes Aldwyn advanced through the chaos, as knight was fighting knight, and rushed towards the nursery! The Hag had the infant Gilmore in her claws, and clearly wanted to snatch a few more of the kids; Aldwyn, Reccared and Graid rushed towards the creature, only to feel their blood and bones turn to curdle and ice when the Hag cackled and dashed them away with her claws. The children wept as the creature reached for them. At the moment before she touched, their father lunged at the Hag, his spear in hand and bit deep into her side, narrowly avoiding the slashing claws himself. And he was not alone, as Graid also stood with him. Lord Axe’s sword struck true, and tore apart the ligament of the Hag’s shin, allowing Aldwyn one more jab at the Hag’s head, embedding his spearpoint between her rotten teeth! The hall was silent, besides the cries of children who’d forever see that Hag in their nightmares. As the creature turned to brown fen-sludge, Aldwyn’s presence seemed to calm his children, and Beorn, his oldest boy, finally allowed himself to stand down and step away from those siblings he was trying to protect. Isolde hugged all of her children, so tight that one could suspect that she might never let them go. The threat vanquished, Sir Aldwyn turned towards the hall and the treachery that had happened there. His hospitality had been violated in such a degree that there was little that would satisfy him. Worst among them was Sir Anawd of Glevum who had shed blood with a blade as Aurelius had tried to stop the knave in grabbing ahold of the harp. The rest of the hours until sunrise were awkward at best, as the offending knights did the hardest they could to apologize, many of them having to offer ransom for themselves to appease the furious Aldwyn. Lycus in particular had much to answer for, as he was a Household Knight of Count Salisbury, and this was now a matter between Roderick and Aldwyn. Eldol, in all of his wisdom, commended Aldwyn for his staunch position on penance for these crimes, and as they rode towards the castle at Hillfarm, it was clear that Eldol respected these knights for both their bravery and their morals. He’d tell that story once he had returned to Glevum. And so, the story came to an end, in where Eldol the Ancient visited Salisbury one last time, and saw something that he had not seen before. Harvest was upon them all, and all knights had to focus on their own lands. Then, snows began to fall in the middle of November, and so, the year of Our Lord 492 drew to a close.
  5. Reg. Matronymics I found the matronymic version of "ap" due to the Mabinogi, which is "vab" or "fab". Thanks to the children of Don. (I agree on keeping the Mac away...) There's also a mention that the Welsh used lineage-reciting Patronymics, which might have explained a few things. Like, one of my players would be Urien ap Elad ap Mabon ap Cunobacha ap Atreciu. Quite a mouthful. I'm guessing if you become badass enough for someone to declare you to be a notable family (In my mind at least all knights over 4k in Glory) - then you might declare yourself to be an actual Clan/House/extended Family. Currently, that family calls themselves the Kin of Mabon, as they are descendants of Mabon the Stonebreaker, the grandfather of the 1st Gen knights, who was a Marshal of Salisbury, and the only Grandfather I ever seen survive all the way to the Night of Long Knives. The House-thing *is* a later invention, when noble lines got too muddled to deal with.
  6. My solution. Denotate House and patronym differently. "Hywel ap Garr of Streamfield" would be one. New major lineages will be called different things. Like, a secondary Gales is probably more specific. Once you "outgrow" you previous notable kinsman in number of children and Glory, you probably need to decided if you found your own lineage or pay homage to your ancestor.
  7. Session 23 - A Summer Eve The year was still 492. Our heroes had decided to stay in Salisbury for the year, enjoying family life while Lord Axe decided to work out the difficulties with the burnt out Stapleford Manor, instead of making the journey back to Ascalon. Around the festival of Lammas’s Day, Aldwyn invited his friends to celebrate the day of High Summer at Newton, which over the years of his and Isolde’s prosperous rule had become an actual castle, thanks to both Aldwyn and Aurelius gaining the Right of Crenulation from his Majesty, *before* the incident at Tintagel, turning both Woodford and Newton into castles. Many a knight took part in the festivities here, most notable of all, was Sir Aldwyn’s friends. Aldwyn, as ever, was a generous host, eagerly sharing his home as custom was. And Isolde, his beloved wife, was the perfect hostess. Even having given birth to five children, she was as radiant as ever, and not shy about her intentions of having more, as Aldwyn and her were not shy in public displays of affections, causing a few of the non-Pagans to avoid their eyes once the happy Sir and Lady Newton shared a breath. As befitted the festival of bread, all guests received loaves, and while many did not really understand it, at least in Newton, there was a clear pagan undercurrent; as a small defiant act against the new rules against the Pagan Ways in Logres, the loaves were shaped like the horses of Epona and as the knotwork which had been carved into the old stones. Aurelius and his wife had crossed over the hill that separated Woodford and Newton’s demesne, and he was glad to be seated in the hall of his neighbor. Sir Sabin Africanus, his brother-in-law, had finally returned from his journeys in the old Roman lands, which meant Aurelius no long had to host his sister Julia and her offspring, leaving Woodford a bit emptier, though the four children that Bethany and him were still more than a handful. Yet, Aurelius was also accompanied by his new, young squire, Robyn de Brun, a young cousin from his mother’s side, who was also the nephew of Sir Segurant the Brown, the famed Dragonknight; with the blood of two great heroes rolling through him, being tutored by one of the finest swordsmen in the land fitted Robyn well, though he had a problem in remaining seated long enough for wisdom to take root in his mind as well. As for Sir Reccared? He had recently moved his main estate once more, leaving the fine hall at Aldertree behind, in favor of his father’s old manor at Baverstock. He said that the energetic Gwenfrewy preferred to be near the Chute Forest up in the hills between the Nadder and the Wylve Rivers, but it was speculated that Reccared tried his best to forget about his departed wife, Adwen, and the memories her ancestral hall at Aldertree made him recall. Lord Axe himself was there too, his mood high due to the company, as it turned out that Stapleford’s foundations had been salvageable. The loyal peasants had even managed to hide the carved doors that Aline had made when they lived there. This summer, Lord Axe rejoiced in finally having found common ground with the peasants of Stapleford, who had been a cantankerous lot during his time as landlord at that manor. He was still considering sending a new knight to caretake the manor for him, as having to owe Servitum Debitum to a Lord several days' ride away from your main holding was getting more and more unlikely to be a benefit in the long run. After all, he’d grow older at a point. Graid considered to send one of his bastard-brothers to Salisbury, perhaps he’d send Sir Rhett, the young knight that Reccared had already fought and defeated at Terrabil. Every simply smiled at that thought, and decided it was well enough that Graid did not consider enfeoffing his Uncle Sior, whom for good reason had been dubbed The Mad Lance of Cornwall. In those days of high summer, everyone was pleased and happy. Gareth the Bard had even arrived, eager to earn a coin by the generosity of Aldwyn, who among the Old Faith was known to have Llew’s Blessing. And so, the Bard sang so sweet about olden days, and about the heroics of the ancestors. He also loudly sang the verses that Reccared had composed after the Battle of Mearcred Creek, a day that the four friends around the table, who had seen so much, fondly remembered as the day where their youthful sense of invincibility had won them so much glory and respect. Many a flagon of ale was downed, many a bread savored in friendship. As the sun was slowly growing golden and lazy, a final rider arrived at Newton. A weary looking Sir Ninian had returned from his northern venture with the Count, dust still thick on his brow from the road. He had less than good news to share. Their “diplomatic” quest to Malahaut had failed. King Uther’s ultimatum had been received ill by The Centurion King, and it was only due to Roderick’s skills at discerning truth that it was discovered that King Heraut instead had sought an alliance with the Saxons of Nohaut and Deira instead, King Octa and King Eosa’s realms. To make matters worse, Saxons had attempted to waylay the Salisburian Knights as they made the crossing from Malahaut into Linden. Ninian told of a fierce and hard won battle, one where many a faithful knight ended his days in the waters of the Ouse, but one where Roderick was saved due to Ninian’s actions. Actions that were clear to everyone were deeds of a hero, yet the modest Ninian dared not to name himself as one. Sir Aldwyn made a toast to his friends honor, and bade Ninian remain for the festivities and even had a bath drawn for the poor sod. While the news of the Saxon-Malahaut Alliance was ill indeed, it was no reason to forget to live and so, people cheered and once more celebrated the summer with great delight. It was the dead of night, before people took note. Aurelius and Ninian stirred from their tent as Squire Robyn, who had been awake in spite of good sense, shouted for the knights to take arms. Suddenly, blades descended upon them, and it was only with luck that the Saxon warriors missed both of the knights. The Lady Bethany screamed, and the sword of Aurelius bit fast and fierce, separating Saxon head from Saxon body, and Ninian rose with his famed mace in hand, cracking the ribcage of the other assailant with a decisive blow. Newton was under attack. Saxons raiders were rushing into the bailey, clearly seeking to slay as many knights as possible before there was a chance of resistance. Aldwyn himself woke up as his brother, Sir Colm, the Constable of Newton, planted a spear through a Saxon that had rushed into the hall. There were many Saxons, armed and armored seeking to set Newton ablaze, and the knights here were dressed for bed, not for war. And above it all, a snarl could be heard, followed by a howl. A deep and unnatural howl, akin to a wolf but far deeper and heavier. Anyone who looked into the bailey could see that among the Saxon, strode a wolf the size of a pony, ripping and tearing apart anyone it could get it’s jaws into. Having set up their tent a bit away from Newton hall, to indulge in their passionate lovemaking undisturbed, Sir Reccared and his wife woke up to the sound of battle. Reccared armed himself, kissing his beloved and telling her to stay put, as he charged the Saxons raiders in the field, only to find his Lady wife’s aim to be as good as his own, as she planted an arrow into a Saxon eye, opening giving him an opening to cleave the foe in twain. By the Saints, just as he thought could not love her more, his heart sang with even more love for his Cumbrian rose. Inside his own hall, Aldwyn did battle with Saxon knifemen, who were pushing Aldwyn to the brink of his abilities as he tore and brawled, yet was not able to use his spear as he was so known for, and the fighting was far more difficult than he’d first assumed. In the fray, mighty battle was fought, as the brawling Lord Axe finally got the better of an axeman and brought him down, joining Aurelius and Ninian in their approach of the bailey. In the middle of it all, the black-furred beast stood, flanked by berserkers. It was clear to them all that these Saxons bore the markings of Kent. In fact, many of the raiders had been wearing a shield that reminded Graid and Aurelius about days long past, where they captured Thane Laugnr, a nephew of the Kentish King. Recognition flashed to both of the older knights, as the wolf itself had eyes that were unmistakably belonging to that Saxon Princeling, Laugnr. With a roar, the shapeshifter roared out for blood and leapt forward with his berserkers. Somehow, it did not phase Ninian, who stood firm with all the skill of a young hero, and with his mace, he slammed aside the wolf in such a blow that the Bard Gareth would sing about it for years to come. Aurelius and Graid were trained warriors, and managed to hold off the Berserkers until Ninian and Aldwyn could join in at last, and brought down those vile Saxons. However, once they tried to find the downed shapeshifter, he was gone. With the aid of Lord Axe’s skills at tracking, Ninian managed to find the ensorcelled hide, yet Laugr was gone for now, as his hatred for those who humiliated him was clear for all to see. As the sun rose above Newton, the knights counted their dead, and it was clear to all that this had been a hefty price, but due to the heroics of four brothers and a young knight, the day had been saved. As the sun rose, the Bard Gareth bore witness to something grand. The four knights who had risen to such heights, made so many heroics in their short time as a knight, swore in Ninian as one of them, and named him to be a brother in spirit to them as well. Such words would be long remembered, the Bard Gareth would see to that.
  8. Wow. Thanks for the nice words folks. Always greatly appreciated. Hell, any comments are appreciated One last recap before the new year rolls around! I am currently caught up to mid-494, so we got a good backlog while I work my way up to Year 500. -------------------------------------------- Session 22 - Uther’s Shame Lord Axe, a man of Ascalon, rode for Easter in Sarum in the spring of 493. Here, as so many times before, the group of sworn brothers were reunited once more, however, this time sans Tywyn as well as their Aquitanian companion, Sir Reccared, who no one knew where was. Even worse, there had been no news about Tywyn; which meant that Sioned and Tywyn’s children were now in the “care” of Drystan, who had been greatly dishonored by being the older brother of the Prince-snatcher. This year, there was murmurings about another war with the Saxons, at least according to Aurelius, whose father-in-law being the Marshal of Logres, and was thus well informed. Truth be told, most knights, young and old alike, welcomed a chance to battle with the Saxons, but the many whispers about the moody state of the King made for hesitation. A scant few hours before the Easter Feast was set to begin, an entourage of riders arrived, the gleaming helmet of Sir Reccared the Golden in the front. To his sworn brothers, Reccared seemed almost changed, and with him, he had the cause for his happiness. She was a maiden with fire-red tresses and a beauty only eclipsed by Queen Ygraine, Reccared introduced them all to Gwenfrwy, daughter of the Earl of Pase, and she was also his new wife. Apparently, Reccared’s search for his lost year had brought him to Pase, where he had been living as a local hero among the peasantry, righting wrongs and ending bandits, but one night, one of his well-placed arrows had saved a Knight of Pase and his sister from a fate as fodder for a evil Wyrm that had slithered down from the Perrines. Aldwyn, not late to recognize the signs, knew this to be Wynt Celain Hen, Old Corpse Breath, the very same Wyrm that had caused so much havoc in his homeland, and the maddened Reccared had managed to distract it long enough for Gwynfrwy and her brother to escape. That time, Reccared had barely escaped with his life, down into the forest of Bedegraine, where a hermit had taken care of him. This same winter, Reccared had arrived at Pase just before Christmas, and Gwenfrwy had recognized his cracked bow as belonging to the hero that had saved her brother and herself that fateful night years prior. After that, their Christmas romance had been swift, and the sum of Reccared's deeds were large enough that her father did not hesitate in the slightest in giving her hand to Reccared the Golden. Joyed in having a reunion with a more happy Reccared, they all partook in the Easter Feasting, yet all of them felt almost nauseous when looking at the happy newlyweds who seemed to be in floating up among the clouds. Over a few cups of wine, Lord Axe told his sworn brothers that he wanted to rebuild Stapleford, but the money was tight. Which was the case all across the land that year. To help it all, Graid even tried to get young Ninian into his service, hoping to grant Stapleford to the young Breton, something Roderick was quite opposed to, as it would cost him one of his premiere warriors. In spite of being heavy in drink that Easter Feast, Aldwyn did manage to notice that Ninian seemed a bit less than pleased at a point when he snuck off back to a tent in the camp, as that should be a happy occasion. Then, he saw Lady Jenna sneak off as well, and was quite alarmed. Aldwyn followed, and found the two of them in a tent, partly disrobed and entangled with each other on the fur-covered floors of a tent. In spite of his Lustful Paganess, Aldwyn had kept silent about Tywyn and Eloise’s indiscretions, to disastrous consequences, and firmly told Jenna to dress herself and go home; Aldwyn then berated Ninian with all the fury of a slightly older and slightly wiser knight and marched him back to the hall. Reccared, having seen most this as well, made sure that Lady Ellen was notified about her daughter’s camp sneaking, deftly ensuring a closer look at Jenna and keeping Ninian well outside of blame and reach. The very next day, Count Roderick informed his best knights that he would be travelling to the King’s Court in Silchester for Pentecost, and he expected them to ride with him. Lord Axe, not bound in that way, decided to attend court himself, and not three weeks later, the old band of friends found themselves on the road once more. ------------------------------------------------------------------------ In Silchester, the Royal House was hosted by Duke Ulfius himself, Marshal of the Realm. Silchester, once called Calleva Atrebatum by the Romans, was the ancestral seat of Salisbury’s rivals, and it was clear to the knights that the local knights did not care for their presence, yet it had to be endured. More than one face off with the Silchesterians happened during their stay, most of those conflictd ertr defused by Sir Blains, the sly Steward of Levcomagus, who gave his regards to the Lady Ellen, of whom he often had in his thoughts. However, the Royal Court itself was not without troubles either. It was hard to miss that there was a demure mood, as they soon heard that the fair lady Dyagenne had been murdered by her very own husband only a month prior, which caused the knights no small amount of distress, as Sir Argan had seemed so enamoured with his lady wife. Rumour had it that the Constable had been cuckolded by the King, as Uther seemed to have taken Dyagenne into his bed as a distraction from his melancholic Queen, and now, Argan awaited the King’s judgement for murdering his own wife. The Bard Gareth, always eager to share rumors, had little trouble in confirming the rumors. Even worse, Gareth also shared dire news from London. It seemed like the two Saxon Kings, Octa and Eosa, had escaped their imprisonment in the Tower of London. Sir Aurelius, who could daily feel the cut from the strike that Octa had almost killed him with, lamented not ending the Saxon when he had the chance. On the first night of court, Roderick was called to the King for a private talk, and Aldwyn and Reccared was to be his guard, a statement to the King that his judgement was just and everything prior had been forgotten. It was a long talk with the King and much to Aldwyn’s chagrin, it seemed like the king was not wearing Excalibur, something he could not avoid seeing as an omen of the state of the realm. All the same, because the task that Uther had in hand for Roderick was one that neither of the knights had desire to be involved in. Go to Malahaut and deliver an ultimatum. Bend the knee, pledge fealty or be destroyed like Cornwall. Biting his tongue, Roderick departed the king’s chambers, telling Aldwyn that’d be riding north once the Court had ended. Come morning, the Knights met again, Aurelius especially droopy-eyed as he had been haunted by the image of Octa’s axe and grin in his dreams. None of them wished to go to Malahaut, and told Roderick he had to find someone else for this journey, and they'd protect Salisbury in his absence. Ninian however, was bound to make the journey north, as a part of Roderick’ bodyguard. Yet, there were still the matters of court in front of them. Aurelius had many words with Ulfius, trying to figure out how the crown was going to deal with Octa and Eosa. Ulfius, ever tight-lipped, ensured his son-in-law that a plan was already in motion, but Aurelius did not believe that. Then, it was time for the Trial. In a fit of madness, Sir Argan roared his accusations out before all of the court and challenged Uther to a trial by combat! Uther being Uther, scoffed at Argan’s words, and took the challenge, even disregarding all common sense of bringing a challenger. And so, as was written in history, Sir Argan prevailed against the king, in fact, he brought a dire wound on the majesty, a sight that made every Logrean wince in despair. In spite of his hatred, Argan spared the king in return for a fitting ransom. When the knights met Sir Argan again, he declared his intent of building a fortress and naming it Uther’s Shame, as a hall would be remembered for quite a while. Shaking their heads at politics of lust and hate once more, the Knights rode for Salisbury, seeing off Count Roderick and Sir Ninian.
  9. Session 21 - The Trial Brastias’ accusations of the knights being accomplices of Sir Tywyn were not lightly thrown, that much was clear. After the knights returned to Terrabil, it was not long before messengers arrived with summons for the Knights to answer to the King, on accusations of Treason against Uther. Known what such accusations might entail, they wrote to Roderick, hoping for their liege to be their salvation. At Tintagel, the knights were placed in confinement, while the trial was set to begin. To their fortune, Roderick’s aid arrived in due time. Sir Leo, the valiant champion of Salisbury, and Bishop Rhyder, confidante of Roderick and Aurelius’ foster-father. Roderick himself was not able to ride here, as his involvement with such a matter was dangerous to Salisbury itself, as Uther was still not fond of Salisbury after having been upstaged more than once. They recounted their side of the story, and a third figure made his own inquiries. This was young Gareth ap Elad, the third son of Elad One-Eye, and a bard in his own right. Gareth was here to be the eyes and ears among the court. They talked of many things, and none of the Knights there had any explanation of what had occurred that day in the forest. It was clear there was sorcery at work, but no one could explain why Tywyn of all people had done what he had done. However, with Gareth’s help, it became clear that there were friendly people in the court, especially the Royal Constable, Sir Argan, whose life had been saved by the group’s heroic deeds on the fields of Lincoln, and both Argan and his beloved wife Dyagenne, were advocating for the innocence of our heroes. Quite a few of the King’s own Privy Council did not believe that the knights had been accomplices to this wickedness, and Marshal Ulfius, Aurelius’ father-in-law, had even tried to get Aurelius off the hook, yet had failed. As for Merlin, the Enchanter was attempting to aid the Knight’s cause as well, but the young Bard could not get a straight answer out of the magician. It was clear that Uther was angry with Merlin, something Gareth assumed was due to failing in protecting the prince from witchcraft. However, Archbishop Dubricus demanded all of them to be interrogated by one of the finest men of faith in the realm, Father Dewi the Waterman, who kept focusing on the matters surrounding their previous exploits. During this interrogation, Father Dewi even began questioning them all on their heritage. After all, was Reccared not a foreign heretic? Was Aldwyn not a Pagan from Cumbria? Was Graid not a Cornishman before he was a Logrean? Aurelius’ grandmother was a known witch in Modron’s Forest and Ninian’s lineage was from Brittany, a land of faeries and stray souls. He even began questioning Tywyn’s line, much to the anger of Bard Gareth, who could tell that his family had been serving the rightful King of Logres, as far back as King Constantin’s father, Mascen Wledig. Dewi seemed to especially focus on paganism as the culprit of these acts of unnatural evil and seemed to draw his own conclusions, in spite of their attempts to dissuade him, and left the tower with the assembled knights fuming. Sir Leo, ever the diplomat, prepared his statements for the morning, hoping to raise enough men to vouch for the accused knights, while Bishop Rhyder seemed to think up an idea and left the tower in haste. In Court the next morning, it was clear that the Queen’s wrath was immense. And to have these knights, some the very same that slew her beloved Gorlois, to unleash that anger on? It seemed like her mind was made up. Uther was stern as a rock, as was both the Archbishop and Sir Brastias, as if everyone knew that some of the finest knights in the kingdom were about to be killed to answer for a crime they might not have commited. Bishop Rhyder was steeling himself to speak for the knights, and advised them not to speak unless he or the King asked them to. The Trial began, with Brastias laying forth his recounting of find the Queen asleep in the garden of Tintagel, seeing a knight absconding with the infant and giving pursuit with his knights, following the knight through a mist-filled grove and into combat with the knights before them, who attempted to stop them before they could get their hands on the abductor knight, Sir Tywyn. No lie was spoken by Brastias, yet it was clear that Brastias and his men had not seen the illusions that our heroes had seen for a short second. Each of them were allowed to make their own statement of what occured; Bishop Rhyder then gave his defense of Salisbury’s knights, blaming sorcery to be the cause of twisting the head of these knights, causing them to see the Saxon foe where there was none. Sir Tywyn must have been a warlock in disguise or fallen prey to dark whispers of evil to have committed an act with such maleficence, an act that might have roots in a displeased soul who lusted after the Queen. Rhyder brought forth a handful of knights to stand for the justness of these accused, namely among them Sir Argan as well as The Dragon-Knight, Sir Segurant the Brown, all of them men of high renown, who knew that these knights were strong and virtuous. The King’s brow was furrowed. His Queen was clamoring for vengeance, yet it seemed like the court was turning on the matter of guilt. The Archbishop advised him to hear more, and in the back of the room, the damned Enchanter Merlin gazed at him. His Privy Council were silent, as was the court. They awaited the King's words. Once more, Uther spoke, and asked each knight to speak for themselves, sidelining Bishop Rhyder. And spoke they did. Of Honor and of Loyalty to the King; with Courtesy and Oratory skills, and with a firm belief in Justice and Temperance. Finally, having been silent most of the Trial, Leo spoke to the Crown, speaking for the Count of Salisbury, who placed his full honor and weight behind the accused. Somehow, an open and closed matter had reached an impasse, much to the King’s chagrin. Then, Dewi spoke. In his investigations, it was clear that while the Knights of Salisbury were faliable due to their nature, faith and legacy, it was clear that allowing sorcery and heatenry to roost within the halls of true knights had led to doom and despair for Logres. From this day onwards, it would be wise for the King to rid himself of insidious magic, rid his realm of the rituals of wickedness, and send away the Archdruid whose magical prowess failed in such a crucial moment, the very arcane forces betraying the crown to ruin. The King brooded and no one dared speak. And then, he made a decision. From this day, the pagans and their faith was no longer welcome in his court nor were they in the good graces of his kingdom, their holy days were now disregarded, their Archdruid an ill guest of every Logrean court and would never again be welcomed at his Court. Furthermore, for his failure in protecting the Pendragon Lineage, Merlin the Enchanter was sentenced to exile. As for Salisbury’s knights, their innocence was clear, as they had seen sense and returned for judgement, yet Sir Tywyn’s actions as a pawn of evil would now and forever brand him as an outlaw and a rake, having invoked the full Ire of the King and shall never be welcome in Logres, less to be judged like his fellows. These was the King’s words, to be spread across his lands, and while those were displeasing to his vengeful Queen, the Knights of Salisbury lived to fight another day. The Knights of Salisbury departed as soon as possible, Reccared and Aldwyn being relieved of their duties at Terrabil, and having nothing but bitterness to spare for the righteousness of the King. Aldwyn especially was fuming, as now the Christians had found reason to once more persecute his faith, even exiling their faith’s leader, Merlin the Enchanter. And while all of the knights were grateful to Lord Roderick, none save Ninian spent their winter in Sarum Hall. Most spent the last of that year brooding in their own manors, enjoying their families’ presence. All except for Reccared. Distraught with everything that had transpired and the loss of his beloved Adwen, Reccared set out on a journey north, hoping to find an answer of what had happened during his year of madness. After all, he would not dare to give any more dishonor to his beloved son, Bles. The lone knight rode towards the lands where he remembered awakening, the forest of Bedegraine, not to been seen again this year. In Axe, Lord Graid spent the autumn repelling Irish raiders; while back in Salisbury, Aldwyn and Aurelius began dealing with Tywyn’s Manor at Wylve, in a fierce contest with Sir Drystan figuring out who could take most of Tywyn’s lands for “safekeeping”. As for poor Ninian? His windfall still made him a rich knight, rich enough to sponsor his younger brother’s knighthood and wed off his two younger sisters with dowries exceeding what a daughter of a household knight would come with. However, while Ninian himself still longed for Cornelia, Lady Jenna still kept on their dangerous game of kisses, more out of thrill rather than any feelings for the knight. And so, the snow began to fall on Salisbury once more.
  10. Session 20 - Merlin’s Schemes After a horrid winter, Salisbury seemed to recover. Even the depredations of the Saxons had been worse than usual and several manors, including the poor Stapleford, had been razed by the foe. News about this event was decided to be delivered to Lord Graid of Axe by message from his best friends, and so, Lord Roderick called on Sir Aurelius, Sir Ninian and Sir Tywyn to make the journey down to Axe Hall before riding for Terrabil, a task they did not mind all that much. A new marshal had been chosen. And while the illustrious Elad had been hard to find a replacement for, the disagreement between the Knights had caused Roderick to look within own family ranks for someone, and selected Sir Jaradan, the prodigious yet reckless swordsman, to replace old Elad, as Jaradan was a maternal cousin of Lady Ellen, and a loyal sword of Salisbury. An incensed Drystan found his brother after Easter Court, and while at first Drystan seemed upset about being passed over for their father’s office, Tywyn soon realized that the murderous glare in his brother’s eyes were deadly serious. Drystan knew. With all the curses and spitting phrases, Drystan verbally assaulted his brother, furiously slamming a dagger into the wall besides Tywyn. Drystan had made Eloise confess when he saw the two of them sneak away on a dark night into the barn at Wylve Manor. Eloise did not know if Drystan’s children were his or Tywyn’s, but that thought alone was about to drive Drystan into a frenzy. Aurelius, noticing the confrontation, stepped towards them, his hand on his pommel; as Drystan let Tywyn’s collar go, he hissed that if Tywyn ever touched Eloise again, Drystan use this dagger and end his wife’s life rather than suffer that shame! Shaken, Tywyn stepped next to Aurelius and allowed his brother to walk away, dismantling the situation without telling why Drystan was enraged with him. Aurelius did not think it proper to inquire, and the two of them set out on their travel towards Graid’s new domain. The ride took them through the woods of Jagent, the old march between Cornwall and Logres, across the River Parrett and into the moorlands of Ascalon. Near the southern coast lay Axe Hall, a mighty fortress on a hill, surrounded by a small town, far richer lands than any of the knights had seen themselves. In the fortress itself, the newly-dubbed Lord Axe seemed to have buried the strife with his brothers as his family had moved in. Fortunately, as the Saxons had raided his old manor just weeks after his wives had left Stapleford. The knights of Salisbury enjoyed the hospitality of Lord Axe and would have said their goodbyes as they rode for Terrabil, but Graid, a proud father of eight children, three of them newborn, and the husband of two wives, had little hesitation in accepting to ride with his old friends up to Terrabil. It was clear that while Lady Aline, daughter of the departed Marshal Elad, was not in love with her husband, was dutiful and a commander of the household as her father had commanded the field. In fact, it was clear to Sir Ninian that in this house, the women, even Lady Bryn, the woman who Graid had wed against every Roman custom, were the ones in control. And so, Lord Axe counted his blessings when he was allowed to ride out as a knight and not a beleaguered husband in his own hall. At Terrabil, they arrived to grim and dour days. The garrisoned knights, Gentish under the illustrious Sir Thebert and a unit of Cambrians under Sir Alain de Carlion, took orders well enough, but it was clearly Aldwyn who was in charge here, not Reccared. In fact, Reccared was nowhere to be found. it was at that point, they noticed the grave marked with the colors of Lady Adwen the Fair, Reccared’s beloved wife, for whom he had travelled across mountains and fought warlords for. Aldwyn could recount that Lady Adwen had arrived in late autumn, seeking to spend time with her love at Terrabil, but heavy autumn rains had caught her and exposed her to the elements, causing her a terrible bout of pneumonia, which took her shortly before Christmas. Sequestered in his tower, Reccared had been wallowing in his grief ever since, making it dangerous for any knight to approach him, lest they felt the swordhand of one of the finests blades of Logres. Aldwyn had to wrangle the garrison by himself, narrowly avoiding having Sir Thebert of Gentian turning on the locals for their “treachery” - Fortunately, the young Sir Alain had been a great help in tempering the knights’ and their desire for battle with the Cornish, as his tales from Escavalon and his good nature made him a likeable and natural friend of everyone. The knights stayed at Terrabil, hoping to settle if the muster would be called this year, placing their spears at Aldwyn’s disposal. And for a few weeks, it seemed to be just like old times again, if not for the grieving knight in the tower. As may approached, a rider from Tintagel brought news about the upcoming wedding of Morgawse and Elaine to Caledonian royalty, inviting Lord Axe to attend, along with the illustrious Sir Aurelius and Sir Aldwyn. At Tintagel, a fleet of Caledonian ships were moored, bearing the banner of Lothian, the domain of a king of both Cymri and Pict, King Lot of Orkney. The young King was not more than five years older than Morgawse, his bride, and the two of them seemed content with the match. However, Princess Elaine was wed to a far less impressive king, Nentres of Garloth, one of Lot’s vassal kings. The alliance with Lot was important in regards to the matter of Malahaut, who was still rumoured to be conspiring against Uther, even after denying him the High Kingship. Both the Cambrian Kingdoms of Cameliard and Escavalon pledged their support for Uther against Malahaut, and with the Caledonians, Malahaut was now outmatched. So, at this feast King Uther was happy, both due to the alliances and due to the Queen’s belly was clearly about to give birth to a new heir of Logres. The knights did their best to remain polite, but it was only Lord Axe that clearly fit in among the highborns of Britannia. He even managed to remain cordial with Sir Brastias, who he had once admired so much. Brastias was now the leader of the royal guard, as a reward for his loyalty to Queen Ygraine, and Graid could think of no better man. For his own part, Aurelius saw a glimpse of the youngest daughter of the Duke, Morgan. In spite of her being just a girl of 8, Aurelius could not avoid feeling a shiver of dread. Her eyes were filled with rage and darkness, quite unbecoming for a Lady of the Realm, yet he dared not address it. A few weeks later at Terrabil, Reccared finally snapped out of his mourning, and rejoined his friends, though he still grieved for the loss of his beloved. For a short time, things seemed to be normal. Joyous, even, as news came that Ygraine had given birth to a son. However, one night, as the distraught Tywyn patrolled outside of Terrabil, he encountered a figure of ill omens. Merlin stood besides him, asked him if he knew the Bear yet? And while Tywyn knew that the bear could not be Uther, yet he dared not be disloyal to his king, yet, Merlin inquired, if it was not better to be loyal to Britannia itself? Feeling despair as his father before him, Tywyn asked if this bear was the newborn child, and Merlin simply mused that a king of the line of the Pendragons and the line of Ynis Avalon, that would be a fine King indeed. Yet, this was also a king that could never come to be, if he remained in plain view. After all, knives from every hand would seek to end the child, and the bear would never destroy the white dragon, as Saxon appetite would eat up Britannia. Merlin knew this, and had laid claim to the child, to keep to safe from the wickedness, yet Uther had renounced the vow he swore on that day at Tintagel, the day that Tywyn had seen them wear disguises of magical weave and walk into the castle. Sir Tywyn, being the only knight to have been a sliver of the insight that Merlin had to endure, would now be the only knight that Merlin could ask this. Tywyn would have to make Uther keep his promise. With uncountless consequences arrayed against him, Tywyn agreed. For the future of Britannia’s sake. On the very next day, the knights of Terrabil rode out on patrol. Nearing midday, they spotted a Saxon party, running into the nearby forest, and here they did battle with ferocious Saxon raiders in the middle of a mist-clad grove. Yet, at some point, Tywyn disappeared from their view, and the Saxons in all of their wickedness turned into haggard wolves as their blood stained the forest floor, much to the bewilderment of the knights, especially Reccared who thought himself losing his mind once more. Then a rider came thundering out from the grove, something small and crying wrapped in cloth, and from behind him came the Royal Guard under the leadership of Sir Brastias himself. They charged, and in the confusion, Ninian struck down Sir Heliandor with such force that the older knight’s brainpan was shattered like a ripe pumpkin and it's content were spread across the glen. Then when the fighting seemed to be a standstill, Brastias invoked the King’s name with a roar, and told each of them that they were traitors to the crown, as they were protecting the villainous cur, Sir Tywyn, who had stolen the infant prince with sorcery and witchcraft! With little time to spare, the remaining knights began to give chase, but it was fruitless. Whatever horse Tywyn had been riding, it’s speed was far beyond mortal ken at this point. Perhaps their brother at arms was truly a wicked man of witchcraft and sorcery. Yet, little did it help, as gone was Tywyn, as well as the Crown Prince of Logres.
  11. Session 19 - The Crows over Tintagel When Aldwyn returned, it was scarce a few days after midsummer, much to his joy, and he rode for Terrabil, as he heard the siege had been lifted. At Terrabil, he saw the leftovers of the battle he had missed, and his friends who had prevailed. The death of Madoc soured him, as did Graid’s injuries, yet he knew he had made the right call. The army had to march for Tintagel as soon as possible; Graid was still too injured to join them, which meant that Gorlois’ banefoe was left alone to ponder the twists and turns his fate had led him down. As the armies finally met, and the young knights were reunited, Tywyn dared not mention the eye to his fellow knights, but instead told of the tale of Gorlois’ ghostly visit to Tintagel. Reports came that Elad had been found on the rocks, dead from a fall. Lord Salisbury grieved for his marshal, but he was not the only one to feel loss. Uther, upon learning that his son had been slain, isolated himself for days in a royal wroth, having no council to console him. The King surely had regrets, everyone could feel it. The captive Brastias was allowed to bring Gorlois’ mortal remains to Ygraine, and he officially surrendered the castle to Duke Ulfius, formally ending the Duke of Cornwall’s Rebellion. A pair of days after the surrender, accolades and prizes were passed out by the King, as was custom. For his deeds, Graid was rewarded with an immense gift. His ancestral home of Axe was given to Graid and all of his descendants to hold, something his father never achieved, giving Graid the title of Lord Axe; yet many of the subdued Cornishmen grumbled discontently. Reccared was named as the temporary castellan of Terrabil, given the duty to ensure that this occupation does not end in a catastrophe, and perhaps this would become a permanent position. Among others, Aldwyn was told to aid Reccared as the steward of Terrabil. Ninian, holder of a lordly captive, began negotiations for Lord Sharp-Hills release, granting him a high ransom of 50£ a year for three years in a row, as the merciful Ninian accepted an honorable agreement instead of instant ruin. And well, Lord Sharp Hill would not dream of scorning a man who defeated him like Ninian did. After all, what if Ninian showed up IN his armor this time?! Soonthereafter, Madoc was buried at Stonehenge, next to his uncle Aurelius. Not a month after that, Uther weds a clearly still grieving Ygraine. The wedding feast is a splendid thing, although a distraught Tywyn leaves as soon as he can, having known the truth about all of it in his heart, unable to share it with the rest of the world. Many of the knights noticed Ygraine’s daughters, clearly displeased with all of this, especially Morgawse, her eyes flaming whenever Uther laid hands on her mother. However, the most unfortunate event of the feast happened when the lovestruck Ninian hired a troubadour to chant love songs for his Cornelia, yet mistakes were made, and it turned out that Jenna, daughter of Roderick, believed those love songs to be meant for her, an event that ended up haunting Ninian at the coming christmas feast in Sarum, as Jenna decided on the knight to be her new “playmate” to her kissing games, much to his horror, yet he dared not speak up. As winter fell over Logres, three knights remained in Cornwall, three returned. All of them sick and tired of royal politics and the desires of a King. With the rumors of the South Saxons pillaging across Hantonne, Salisbury was threatened, but even worse was the tidings that the King of Malahaut had used Uther’s tyrannical actions against Cornwall to turn the Senate and the vote against him, leaving Uther once more unable to call himself High King of Britannia. Of course, this being Uther, there was already talk about a war on Malahaut this coming summer. Life just seemed to go on and on in Logres, yet fate still had things in store for the knights. The winter was harsh. Tywyn barely slept, the guilt gnawing at him, the harvest being bad in spite of Sioned’s titanic efforts to keep the manor afloat, as beetles kept eating the grain. Graid had to spend the winter with his widowed mother and the silent stare of his brothers’ who fought for Gorlois. Even worse, his grandmother was still alive to jab at him with barbed remarks and withering glares. Aurelius just kept to himself that winter, enjoying his family, while Ninian tried to avoid Jenna and failed. And of Aldwyn and Reccared? As the Salisburian knights rode for Terrabil just before Pentecost of 492, little did they know that tragedy had in the very heart of their little fellowship.
  12. Session 18 Cont. - The Deeds of The Few Tywyn had been camped outside of Tintagel for a solid week now, growing more and more dismayed over the state of their cause. Three times, they had attempted to cross the narrow gap of Tintagel and three times they had been repelled by the defenders of the Duchess. And to make matters worse, the King seemed to be almost possessed by his desire for Ygraine, of which Tywyn could not see himself devoid of. Yet, it irked him that the siege was stalled like this, and it seemed to bother his stern father even more, as if old Elad One-Eye knew even more about all of this than he preferred to speak about. Tywyn had no desire to be there, but his true desire, Eloise, was miles away in Salisbury, and still his brother’s wife. A fourth attempt was made, and Tywyn narrowly avoided certain death on that bridge. As the camp fell asleep, he could not. That very dusk, he saw Merlin enter the royal camp, and as he stood guard in place of his doleful father, Tywyn saw King Uther and Duke Ulfius accompany Merlin into the nearby woods, and mists began coiling around the coast of Tintagel. His sharp eyes saw many things that night. He saw, from where Uther had been, the Duke of Cornwall ride to his wife’s castle, and enter along with both Sir Brastias and Sir Jordans. And the early next morning, he saw the same leave, even though he knew there was no chance that the Duke could escape Terrabil. And when the news about the death of Gorlois reached their camp, Tywyn knew there was trickery involved. While Duchess Ygraine’s cries of grief filled the bay, Tywyn sought out Merlin, seeking answers. As always, the sorcerer only answered with questions. Tywyn was told to seek answers about matters of magic from the one man who Tywyn would always trust. Elad. The sorcerer departed, grim and sour, and Tywyn met his father above the crashing waves, asking about the truth of last night. And Elad cracked, lamenting that the day had finally come when his son asked him of truths that no knight could bear, just as the Lady of Fae foretold. Confused, Tywyn was told of Elad’s shame and secret. Elad was blind, had been since the days before Tywyn was born, but had been given a single eye from a creature of faerie, never to speak of matters of insight unless his own blood would ask him, yet on that day, the boon would come to an end. Elad had seen the future, a King of Britons, mighty and proud, and had first thought it to be Vortimer, then Aurelius and finally Uther. Yet, these visions had all been falsehoods, curses given to him in exchange for a life, and now, he could live this lie of being a knight of wisdom and cleverness no longer. Elad passed his eye, a thing of carven crystal, to his son, cast aside both hauberk and sword, walking into the morning mists near Tintagel, his part of the bargain with the Fae of Old finally fulfilled, and now, it was to be passed on to his son; Elad had hoped that Gareth, the third son, a bard of trade, had been the one to carry this burden, yet it now fell to a confused Tywyn. That night, Tywyn dreamt. He dreamt about the cloak of Uther’s deceit and how the King tricked his way into Ygraine’s chambers. Yet, he also dreamt about a bear. A mighty bear, who wrestled with a white dragon of salt and iron. When he woke before dawn, the stony eye was gone, but he could feel the hardened left eye’s gaze be sharper than ever before. The next morning, when the Duke was carried to Tintagel, Tywyn just attempted to blend in among the other knights while the duchess wept for her slain husband. However, a young girl on the paraphets kept his gaze, as if she knew something was different about the son of Elad One-Eye. He shivered and withdrew from the girl’s haunting eyes, as Morgan, daughter of Ygraine, frightened him in spite of her age. Meanwhile, in Summerland... The five sisters had assembled at the old stones of Summerland to aid their brother. They were Deleth, who sang as the nightingale, who was the hostess as she had wed the Huntmaster of Summerland; Generys the Golden-curled, wed to a knight of Ascalon; Bryn the Weaveress, who was the daughter-in-law of the Bishop of Silchester; Krystin the Lark had travelled from their homeland of Roestoc and finally, Queen Bronwyn of Strathclyde, who had won her crown by prophetic words about a promised son to King Brandegoris. All five of them had assembled in Summerland to help their valiant brother’s endeavour, to regain young Deoiridh’s voice. As was tradition, Aldwyn competed in the Holy Games, displaying his prowess in the role as Pryderi, and come Midsummer’s Eve, the sisters took him to the old stones for his final test. Clad in the traditional robes of a warrior of the Old Way, Aldwyn stood upon the hill at Midsummer, his sister’s chanting echoing in the grove around them. Finally, a knight of oak and stone answered the challenge, claiming that the voice had been claimed. In fact, the voice had insulted the passing retinue of the Queen of Air and Darkness, and such a thing could not be returned. Enraged, Aldwyn rode to the challenge, and in a strange and weird contest, they passed long-spears at each other, until Aldwyn finally prevailed, and with the Fae Knight’s horse, he rode into the land of the Fae, guided by the chant of his five sisters. Here, in a land of dreams, Aldwyn fought many a battle and attended the feasting in a tower of horn and amber, his quest never relenting and one day, he returned to his lands, a voice in hand that was not his own, yet, he had made enemies among the kin of winter and myrk.
  13. Session 17: The Cornish Issue - Part II The snow had long since melted in Salisbury, and Pentecost was fast approaching. And with Pentecost, it was time for the muster against Cornwall. But, first, it was time for Easter at Sarum, as Easter fell late that year. After the Hundred Court in Bran’s Hill, Aldwyn, Aurelius and Graid had met up on the road, and alongside their retinue, they rode for the manor of Aldertree, where Reccared lived with his beloved Adwen. The manor been her father’s, and as such, this manor was fit for a rich man, unlike Reccared’s old manor in the hills. When his brothers arrived the Aquitanian’s retinue was replacing broken spears, his washers were cleaning blood from Reccared’s surcoats and his squires, Phylip and Mellon, were trying to mend chipped mail. It looked like Reccared had already gone into battle. And, true enough, he had been away on family business. Over a glass of ale, Reccared told them all about the bloody feud in Gentian, where the Baron of Melksham had bit off more than he could chew, and about the end, where his uncle Reccared the Red had earned his new nickname as the Crimson. They had a talk about the future consequences of this feud, but Sarum was calling to assemble. As the four of them arrived in Sarum, they were met by an exasperated Tywyn, who could tell that his brother had become a father during the winter. The famed Elad One-Eye’s lineage was now secured, a fact that Drystan, his boastful elder brother, was not late to remind everyone about. He had been wed to the fair Eloise, sister to Reccared, a match that Reccared had negotiated himself when Tywyn was knighted. (Though, in fairness, he had meant to make the match between his sister and Tywyn, not Drystan.) Yet, when the feasting began, it was hard for the ever aware Aldwyn not to notice the glance that Tywyn and his sister-in-law were exchanging. And, when the two of them disappeared from the feast at the same time, Aldwyn’s suspicions were confirmed, much to his dread. These things were a serious matter among the Christian-folk, and he found it best to remain silent about the matter. Young Ninian had many a tale to tell, as he had been sent abroad over the spring, and alongside Sir Leo and Sir Jareth, he had ridden to the distant coastal city of Noviomagus, where Roderic had told them to act as his diplomats to the city, after all, the lord there was the closest Baron near the Saxon border. If Ælle of Sussex was to exploit the Cornish situation, it would be a catastrophe for the southern countries of Logres. And there, Ninian had met someone. A lady that he spoke about in the way that none of Tywyn’s many eligible cousins made him speak. The young household knight was in love, with the fair Lady Cornelia of Wheatfield, second daughter of the Butler of Hantonne. However, he was, as was known, a mere household knight. His amassed fortune was worth less than the shirt he was dressed in and had little in the way of wealth to offer her. The four vassal knights were all eager to offer him a job on their manors, each of them certain they could spare the expense of an additional knight and lady, but Ninian politely refused. After all, he had sworn to serve Roderick, just as his father had. And, Ninian was a nobody; he might have done well at Lindsey, but compared to men like Aurelius and Tywyn, he had been average at best. The rest of the knights shook their heads at Ninian's humility, and returned to their feasting. At a point, Roderick stood up and addressed the assembled knights of Salisbury. It had been a pair of harsh years they had just gone through, with Lord Seith’s passing, his son, Sir Mahogan, had now been granted his inheritance and was now to be addressed as Lord Mahogan, making him the second Lord Knight in Salisbury alongside Sir Hywel the Widower. To our heroes, Mahogan was very much his father’s son, a part of the throng of stern conservatives among the knights, while Hywel stood in the middle alongside Sir Elad, the most glorious of all of Salisbury’s knights. And our heroes’ own crowd, the Table of the Motley? They were still outsiders, the rest of the factions did not allow them to forget it. Continuing, Roderick spoke of the future. About his hopes and dreams for Salisbury, and the King's intentions come Pentecost. They were to ride on Cornwall, to avenge the slight bestowed on their monarch’s hospitality by the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Graid began to brood on that announcement, and he drank deeply that night, as war with Cornwall was a prospect that teared at his heart. The next day, Salisbury handled court business among the knights, settled twists and matters of contention that were not serious enough for the Sheriff to be involved in. --------------------------- A week later, word came from Woodhouse that Prince Madoc wished to see them in his castle before the muster went out, and despite a lot of the knights still being wary of the prince, they rode to Woodhouse as soon as possible. Madoc had returned to Woodhouse, after spending the winter at the Royal Court along with his Lady wife, Rhianneth. They had expected Madoc to be moody and ill-tempered after having been forced to endure her presence, but to the knights’ surprise, they were met with a cheerful and almost amiable Madoc, who seated them in his hall with the same treatment as a knight of lordly rank would have be treated to. The conversation with the prince was cordial, and to their surprise, Madoc was almost wary of going into war, but a son had a duty to his father. And those words that began a whole conversation about fatherhood and the duty and worries that it brought along. They had seen traces of it in London, but the headstrong prince they had known in years prior had changed, becoming far more mature and more composed. It did not take long for most of them to understand what was going on. Madoc had a son. A little tyke that was running around in the courtyard, chased by a brown-haired woman that could only be his mother. She presented herself as Catrin de Sauvage, her manners clearly indicating that she was neither noble nor peasant. No, she was clearly a huntress, used to living life alone, and her very presence with their son seemed to make Madoc smile a bit more. Aldwyn shrugged, Aurelius, Graid and Reccared seemed a bit disturbed about the boy being a potential heir of Logres, while Tywyn seemed to be considering a lot of things said at that table. Ninian, bless his heart, did not understand any of the subtext, and remained oblivious. A few days later, just before Pentecost, Madoc was set to ride out, and wanted his companions at his side when they rode for Cornwall, as their help could help him in returning to his home again. ------------- Cornwall had been a treacherous place to march. After braving the wilds of Jagent, Uther’s army had to march across the open moors of Ascalon. To most of the knights, this was almost a wasteland, yet Graid knew it as his homeland, and not a single day went by where he did not wish he was anywhere else on God’s creation. But, after a score of skirmishes in the Dartmoor, it became clear that the Cornish did not intend to fight in the field. Two castles, Terrabil and Tintagil, was the lynchpin of Gorlois’ battleplan, as he had stationed his forces at Terrabil and his treasures and family at Tintagil, both fortresses that were hard to assail. Uther gave the order to split the army, and took a third of his forces to Tintagil, where the duchess lived. Elad, the marshal of the Salisburian host, was assigned to ride with Uther, as Madoc had been given command of the siege at Terrabil, which made Roderick, wise from their previous engagement with the Franks, cautious enough that he decided to stay behind to advise the Prince himself. Tywyn said his goodbyes to his friends, and rode off alongside his father. The siege began. And weeks passed with little change. Reccared, being the only man with a bit of knowledge about sieges, instructed his friends, but ended up falling prey to a camp fever not a week in the siege. The forty days passed, and midsummer was swiftly approaching. Aldwyn for his part, had enough of this foolishness. He had arranged for his five sisters to assemble in Aqua Sulis, this very midsummer, to barter his daughter's voice back from the fae, and damned if he’d allow this damn siege to keep him longer than the forty days he owed. With his apologies to Prince Madoc and a regret that he could not bring Reccared with him, Aldwyn gathered his belongings and squires and rode off. After all, it would not be long before the reinforcements arrived, and little changed in this siege. Two days later, Merlin departed the siege camp as well. That night, Reccared finally felt like the sickness had left him, but he was still not at his best. Graid, Aurelius and Ninian were just relieved that Reccared were able to stand again. The siege was not set to end any time soon, and that night they slept well. And then, the very same night, chaos erupted! The Cornish knights surged forward in a charge down from Castle Terrabil, Duke Gorlois in the van as the old warrior had been so often before. Panic struck the Logrean knights, none could make neither heads nor tails of the situation. With little hesitation, Ninian charged into the fray, wearing naught but his nightclothes, mace and shield in hand, and with a mighty blow, he felled a mounted Cornishman, and leapt into the saddle. In a state of utter disbelief, the rest of the knights cried out for their squires to rush donning their mail, as the youngest of the knights had little time to spare for self-protection. Then, they saw the Prince, attempting to rally the troops around him. And Gorlois was heading straight for him. Graid, armoured and mounted, spurred his horse past a knight, allowing Reccared to impale the foe on his own lance. Ninian rode towards the prince, but found the Duke’s honor-guard blocking the way, and with a mighty swing, the young Breton lashed out at a knight dressed in high finery, sending Lord Sharphill sprawling to the ground, unconscious and a captive of Sir Ninian. Reccared, Aurelius and Graid surged into the fray around Madoc’s banner, and their lances each found marks, pushing aside the finest of Cornish warriors as if they were untrained squires, but it was to no avail. Gorlois, an experienced warrior of numerous battlefields, found a way through Madoc’s defenses and ran his sword through the chainlinks covering the prince’s torso, skewering Madoc on the blade, as Gorlois cried out for justice over Uther’s unrighteous line, for victory to Cornwall. And then, he heard the thundering hooves rushing towards him, and in a flash of recognition, the old Duke saw the heraldry of an old friend, a respected line among the Dumnonii ride to his side and relaxed. However, that hesitation cost Gorlois dearly, as Graid, impassioned by the honor that made him loyal to the Pendragons, lowered his lance. In a flash, the Duke attempted to raise his sword in defense, but with a final gasp, Madoc grabbed a hold of Gorlois swordhand, keeping it in place. A a steel-tipped spear pierced directly into the Duke’s clavicle, crimson lifeblood spraying across his white warhorse and Gorlois slammed to the ground, ending his life right next to the Prince that he had slain himself. The bodyguards turned, and charged at Graid, enraged by the loss of their lord, and even though Reccared and Ninian managed to stop one each, the last of Gorlois retinue found his mark, shoving his own spear into Graid’s gut before being put down himself by the ferocious Sir Lycas. Even though the battle still roared, Reccared and Aurelius ran to their sworn brother’s side. This would have been the end of Graid, everyone around were sure of it, if not for the little flacon filled with a strange mixture that Aurelius remembered Graid had saved Aurelius’ life with, not two years prior. Graid’s squire procured it from his saddlebags and the final droplets of the bottle dripped into Graid’s wound; as if by a miracle, white smoke erupted from where the drops fell, the flow of blood stemmed, and poor Graid now had a chance to survive these wounds. The remaining knights of Salisbury assembled as Roderick took charge of the army, and ordered an advance at Terrabil. This night was far from over. The assault on Terrabil was a night of further great deeds. Aurelius excelled as ever, fighting several Cornishmen in the courtyard, and managed to dissuade the bloodthirsty Sir Lycus to spare a young squire from being disemboweled like his knight had just been. Ninian fought like a lion, finally dressed in his mail, and ended the life of another knight in Terrabil, this being Lord Osmail of Axe, Graid’s step-father. As for Reccared. He fought hard and true, against many a foe, until he met Sir Rhett, Graid’s younger brother, who he fought hard to subdue and keep alive. Finally, he came face to face with the illustrious Sir Brastias, the old Duke’s most trusted officer. While evenly matched, Reccared gained the upper-hand, but finally convinced Brastias that Duke Gorlois’ death allowed him to surrender. As morning rose over Terrabil, it was clear that this night had been one of fateful events. How little they knew, as at the same time, something had transpired in the castle of Tintagil.
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