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KungFuFenris

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About KungFuFenris

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  • RPG Biography
    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. Well. I can agree the WARLORD version of the tale is a bit weird. I think we need a word like "Territorial Nobility" to describe it. Perhaps Baronial distribution. Anyways. In my game, Blains is Ulfius' right-hand man and main intriguer/spy-guy. Blains also have several knightly brothers and having Blains marry Ellen would have effectively made Blains a Minor Baron, one that would act as a buff state between Silchester and Salisbury, but aligned with Ulfius. It does beg to ask why the assumption that having scattered holdings seemed like a good idea? Because it makes everything a lot harder to work inside a game? (However, it does explain why Logres takes several weeks, perhaps a month, to muster for war.)
  2. Book of the Manor does something Estate doesn't. It explains how the day to day Manor life works. And what a lot of the personal in BotE actually does.
  3. Fingers crossed that we're getting the leftovers from BoS's anytime soon. Like. Having tables to bring Brittany, Estregales and Aquitaine to 485, and having Eire, Norgales, Caledonia and Alba/Far North ready at hand.... it's a better way to bring setting background to the players.
  4. Session 10 - On Foreign Shores Welcome back dear readers, our tale of 488 continues. This time, we’re setting out towards Frankish shores, to square off against the invaders that claimed Soissons from the Gallo-Roman King Syagrius. The call has gone out to muster at Venta, the White City of old, where King Uther expects all of his bannermen to attend. Our tale began with Sir Aurelius returning to his manor in Woodford, where he was received with joyful news. His beloved wife Bethany had given birth to a baby boy while he had been away at Sarum; the birth had been difficult, and it seemed like the babe was not as healthy as one could have hoped. However, his sister Julia, while also pregnant, had been tutored in some medicinal arts that the family had remembered since the Roman times, and with her crafts, things were not as dire as they could have been. To his joy, Aurelius now had a son; they named him Hadrian after the emperor and the chaplain blessed the little thing to ward away ill fortune. Then, kissing his devoted wife gently on her forehead, the young knight departed once again, and promised his wife that he’d tell of her pride to either her father or her brothers once he met them at Venta. Aurelius left Woodford behind, ready for a the duty of a knight; but still trying to shun away thoughts of when his own father, Gessius Sertorius, crossed the Narrow Sea a scant few days after Aurelius' own birth, he never returned. Sir Aurelius then rejoined the marching train of Salisburians a few hours later, and was greeted with joyous roars of congratulations from his sworn brothers as he told them of the birth of his son. Many words were spoken on the topic of children, which were now a blessing on both Graid, Aurelius and Aldwyn’s household, but Aldwyn did not mention the ill that had befallen his house during the cold months, he only spoke about his hale sons that brought him joy. Reccared and Tywyn, being bachelors, had little to share in this regard. Count Roderick’s army was a large one, having mustered his strongest forces for combat. Among these knights were not only the vassals of Roderick and his household, but also several mercenary knights employed for the campaign, as to not leave Salisbury without knights during the muster. Among these, was Graid’s uncle Sior, to some known as the Mad Lancer, a Cornish Knight that had reputedly never dared to sleep in the same hall more than a day, and was of a particular odd and solitary nature. While Graid was amiable enough with Sir Sior, his presence unnerved quite a few other knights. Reccared’s household knight, the grey-bearded Aquitanian, Sir Osric, also rode with them, and his jovial and humorous nature kept the mood in a certain balance. The Muster at Venta Venta had once been a Roman city, but in these times, it was more a ruin, and the White City, while well-fortified, was now but a shadow of its former self, with the ruined areas now hosting the armies of King Uther, while the King himself held court in the Castle itself. The Castle was the seat of the Justiciar of the King, his foremost counsel of law and a seatholder in the Supreme Collegium, the same Collegium that had still not given Uther the title of High King, though with every Duke and petty King subjugated, Uther forced his way towards that title. As the camp was made, it was not difficult to see that the muster did clearly not include the Duchy of Cornwall, as Duke Gorlois' banner was nowhere to be seen. Eager to make up for the past mistakes, Aldwyn was quick to seek out Prince Madoc’s camp, where the prince, bemused allowed Aldwyn to talk with him, and Aldwyn tried to be as cordial as possible while he repeated that he wished to prove himself after the misunderstanding during the Naval Raids last year. Madoc was pleased enough, and said that he would make sure that wherever he was to ride this year, Salisbury would ride with him. Aurelius sought out the Silchesterian camp, where after shortly exchanging barbed pleasantries with Sir Blains of Levcomagus, Aurelius was allowed to inform his ducal father-in-law of Bethany giving birth, which pleased the grizzled warrior, but Duke Ulfius still repeated his previous expectation, that he still wanted Aurelius to earn a higher position, fit for his daughter's heirtage, if the marriage was not to be considered a failure. The rest of Salisbury’s interaction with the Silchester camp was not nearly as cordial. Even before nightfall, several Salisburians had been soundly beaten by Ulfius’ men, which the deft Sir Jareth decided to avenge by thrashing four Silchester-men at once with a blunt sword, but was then given a thrashing of his own, once the reinforcements overwhelmed him, leaving Jareth battered enough that Sir Bar had to carry him back. It was a rowdy camp, that was quite sure, and there was little done to maintain discipline beyond what the Barons did themselves. During the evening, the knights of Salisbury gathered around, still not sure of where the campaign was expecting to take them. Some said Frankland, to aid the Soissonians. Some said Cornwall, as Gorlois was not here, and insubordination had to be met with discipline. Some hoped to face off against the Saxons. Rumors were abound, but nothing was settled. Roderick just allowed his men to talk, while he was being thoughtful. The next morning, they were assembled before Uther as he addressed the assembled throng. This year, they would campaign fought on two fronts. In Summerland, where the vassal king Cadwy were being beset by Irish pillagers and in Soissons, where a promise to Praetor Syagrius had to be upheld, and the Franks had to be fought. The King assembled his barons, and the war council decided on the assignment of forces. While it was itching in both Aurelius and Graid to spill some of the wicked Irish blood, Roderick was assigned to accompany the force that sat across the Channel, under Prince Madoc’s command, while half of his forces, under Marshal Elad’s leadership, would be sent to the battles in Summerland, as Salisbury was a neighbour to Summerland. Roderick gave every vassal a choice where they’d go, but all of our heroes followed suit on Aldwyn’s promise, and would travel with Roderick and the Prince to the Frankish shores, though Graid ended up entrusting his heirloom sword to Sir Drystan, and making his brother-in-law promise that this blade would spill enough Irish blood to quench Graid’s desire for vengeance against the wicked Irish for at least two seasons. Drystan, filled with desire for Glory and battle, gleefully accepted the promise, if Sir Graid in return would take care of his younger brother, the newly minted Sir Tywyn, as Drystan still thought himself wastly superior to Tywyn. For his part, Tywyn just glared and fumed, but held his tongue, as the eye of his father, Elad, glared at him when he made a move to protest. The host of Logres split up, and our heroes once more found themselves on the shores of Hantonne, where they had just the previous year been blessed with their first experience of the sea. It took almost a week to embark, followed by a day's worth of sea travel. During this time, the true challenge of war reared its head once more. Boredom. For his part, Aldwyn was eager to make up for his mistakes during the raids, and tried to keep the fervor for battle up with song and music, which to his credit, seemed to work. Aurelius tried to become cordial with some of the knights from the Table of the Banner, hoping to make his future interactions with them far more agreeable. After all, it is not good to have grudges against neighbours. Unfortunately, Aurelius chose the wrong man to interact with. Under the pretense of wanting to learn more about how to wage actual war, he sought out Sir Lycus the Wolf, one of the more notable knights in terms of martial prowess. Aurelius and his sensibilities soon regretted the choice, as the callous Lycus had quite a lot of advice to give on being merciless in war; burning fields and houses, killing children and women, as to keep the next generation from raising the banner in the future. Appalled, Aurelius tried to avoid Lycus for the rest of their journey, but it seemed like Sir Lycus had taken a liking to the younger knight, now considering him a friend. The rest of the Salisburians just waited. Along with our heroes, Roderick had brought a sizable retinue of knights, both vassal and household. Besides Lycus, he had brought Sir Bar the Tall, Sir Branoc for his knowledge of the sea, Sir Leo who would never leave his lord in wartimes, Sir Jareth, whose blade was unequalled in most of Logres, Sir Mors the Cumbrian and Sir Reccared the Red, uncle to Aldwyn and Reccared the Young respectively, the fierce Sir Mahogan of Hawkshill, a son of the infamous Sir Seith, as well as Sir Math of Streamfield who greatly desired to prove himself worthy of the legacy that his grandfather, Sir Amig, had left behind. But while everyone tried to joke, socialize and make friends, it was hard not dread the coast on the other side of the waters, where the Frankish menace awaited them. Graid, Aurelius, Reccared and even Aldwyn had been born on the Continent, and to Aurelius especially, the thought of crossing the sea just as you had been given a son just felt too much like what his own father had done. Gessius had died for a Prince after crossing the sea, and for several nights, Aurelius dreamt repeating the same fate. Even the ships were the same as those that had ferried the Pendragon and his army to Britannia. As for Madoc? He kept his own company, brooding in silence over battleplans and only sharing the soldiers’ campfires on rare occasions. Only Aldwyn managed to speak to the prince more than once, and it was clear as daylight that the Prince was quite nervous of this task ahead of him. The Crossing The journey itself happened on a day with fortunate winds. They departed Hantonne and sat sail, all of the ships heavily loaded with warriors and horses. But, soon, several little boats joined the fleet, boats that were unmistakably Irish in design. They were mercenaries engaged from Scotii tribes, Irish yes, but not the same that were pouring into Summerland at the moment. Enraged, Aurelius and Graid spat at the ground, furious that it was even considered to engage such evil creatures as the Irish, with both of their lineages having suffered many losses to the Irish. But, it soon became clear that war demanded to sacrifice honor at times, at least, that’s what Lycus and Count Roderick managed to convery to the two fuming knights, slowly making them understand the situation. The crossing went smoothly enough, with the young knights seeking advice from older knights, and Reccared having many talks with Tywyn. The talks seemed to be innocent enough, but Reccared did have ulterior motives. Reccared’s own sister, Eloise, had turned 19, and had most of her life been serving at Castle Vagon, and Tywyn and her had reportedly been sweet on each other. To be fair, Eloise’s beauty made it hard not to have boys fall in love with her left and right. And, since Baverstock’s oldest daughter had not yet been married, she actually had a sizable dowry, and after their thoughts Reccared found that Tywyn would be a good match, both as a man, but also as a link to one of the oldest lineages in Salisbury. Old Sir Osric, Reccared’s household knight and his mother’s new husband, told about their destination to the Cymric knights, as he had fought alongside and against the Franks at the Battles of Orleans and Angers. Osric chuckled when he realized that he now rode to save the same Romans that had fought alongside the same Franks against the Aquitanians, twenty-four years earlier. In fact, Syagrius, the King of Soissons had built his throne on Frankish aide, and the son of his previous Frankish ally had now invaded and taken Soissons. Of the Franks, Osric could tell that they were fierce warriors, having taken traditions from many tribes around them. The Franks rode on horseback like the Aquitanians, while their footmen fought in Roman formations and warriors from their subjugated tribal neighbours making up bulks of their light infantry. Of Clovis himself, Osric knew precious little, but the Merovingians had been the Kings of the Franks for many years, claiming descent from the demigod Merovech, born from the carnal meeting between the divine Five-Horned Bull and a queen of the Franks. The Kings of that line never cut their hair, as to grant fertility and battle-prowess to the Frankish people, and the newest Merovingian was rumoured to have hair as long as his ankles, father of scores of children at the age of twenty-five and be undefeated in battle. Later that night, our heroes were the only ones awake, and as they were looking out on the open sea, Aldwyn finally admitted that something was wrong in his home. His little daughter, born in a cold and treacherous winter night, had no voice. The little thing was silent, even when she seemed to be crying. It had to be some sort of cruel joke from the old gods, that he had been too boastful? Was it the Christian god that took his vengeance? And if so, what sort of evil gods would take it out on a child? His friends tried to find a few words of comfort, but it was not until the wild eyed Sir Sior sat up from his bunk, that there was anything of use. Sior claimed that it was simple. If the girl had no voice, the Faeries must have taken it, and only the Gods could give it back to her. Aldwyn looked at the man, not sure if it was mad wisdom or the folly of insanity that adressed him, but simply nodded and thanked the bearded maniac for his words. Sior promptly told Graid that he kept good company, and turned over to sleep once more. The White Shores of Gaul The next evening, the white beaches of northern Gaul were spread out before the arriving British fleet that anchored some way out from the shoreline, however, much to two of our friends’ chagrin, the Irish kerns were ordered to sail ahead, and like fire-bearing ants, the Irish began to clear out the coastal villages, pillaging whatever they could find as well as butchering whoever they could find, while the fleet just waited for the morning to begin their landing. But during the night, all was not completely still, as the nobles of the land had been called to assemble in the Prince’ ship, for a war council. The Salisburian knights had been asked to await their lord’s return, and it was hard not to notice the raised voices and bickering in the council, which was only silenced by the firm fist of Madoc slamming into the table. But, only Aldwyn noticed the words that were stated to end the squabble. “Four weeks or one city. No more than that.” Knowing better than to inquire about such matters to his lord; Roderick simply gathered his knights and departed for his own ship, not sharing anything to his retinue. After all, they were still only knights. The following week mainly consisted of the logistics of war. Handling the locals who were either loyal to the Franks or to Soissons, neither group having any love for Britons, was a bit of a chore. The nearby city of Badiocassi was their first goal, and the siege preparations were already underway. Yet, it was obvious that Roderick was concerned, his brow furrowed in consideration every day. But, one night, he entrusted his knights with grave news. Madoc had decided to take a single city, take the spoils and move on. But, Roderick was quite sure that the Prince was underestimating the threat of the Franks, as a siege would tie up the army, unable to counter when the Franks showed up in full force. Now, there was an option they had not considered before, but it was not an easy gambit to perform. If they could convince King Clovis that the Britons were here to continue towards Aquitaine and a confrontation with King Euric the Kinslayer, a clear threat to the British allies in Armorica; that might buy them enough time to avoid an open battle with the Franks while their entire army would already be tied up in a siege. It was an underhanded plan, but it just might work; though there was a chance that it would not save them from fighting the Frankish vanguard while withdrawing, as Clovis’ scouts would probably uncover the truth sooner or later. But, for this to work, Roderick would need someone who spoke a Germanic language, either Frankish or Aquitanian, to make the journey to Soissons and go before the Frankish King under a banner of peace. While Reccared did not agree with the underhanded nature of such a scheme, he swallowed his precious honesty for his lord’s sake, and volunteered himself and Sir Osric for the mission. Aurelius, unwilling to let Reccared ride alone on such a perilous journey, volunteered as well. Roderick swore them to silence, and the four sworn brothers just spent the rest of the evening in silence. Before dawn on the next day, Reccared, Osric and Aurelius departed the camp, and bearing a gift fit for a king, they were riding for the conquered city of Soissons. The land around them was covered in sparse woodland and mostly rolling hills, and every village that they passed along the old Roman road bore signs of the old empire. And at Soissons, it was even more obvious. The banners of the Frankish invaders, a bull with five horns, encircled by bees, were placed above the old city gates as bearded Franks roamed the straight and ordered streets that once marked the Roman engineering. To Aurelius, it was almost a terror to see his people’s legacy treated like this. Even the churches had been turned into Pagan temples, where wooden figures of obscene Frankish gods had replaced Christ upon the altars. The well-spoken Sir Osric managed to get them all the way in the center of Soissons, where the ancient Roman palace now housed the Merovingian king and his court. The luxuries were still plentiful, perhaps even more so, and Reccared and Aurelius both could not help but marvel at the opulence this Pagan king had at his disposal. In the main hall, the Frankish nobility seemed to enjoy their spoils of war, with little shame in their public indulgence. And, on the raised dais, seated on a throne of bronze, sat Clovis, King of the Franks and Heir of The Merovingian Dynasty, his hair just as long as the stories had claimed. Flanked by an honor guard and attended by his royal concubines, this warlord king had little patience for any guests, but the gift managed to get his attention for a short while. Reccared, far more eloquent in the matters of court, presented himself before the King, and repeated the tale that Count Roderic had spun, and asked for the mighty king to give them leave to cross the Frankish domain. King Clovis’s eye narrowed, but after a seemingly endless few seconds, the King proclaimed that it would be so, as Euric of Aquitaine was a thorn in the paw of the Franks. And Clovis, the Merovingian Lion, would greatly enjoy anyone making that little pest bleed while the Allfather would be pleased by the blood of the Frankish enemies being spilled. With all this posturing and pagan grandeur, keeping a straight face was difficult, but all of them managed to leave the halls of King Clovis without further incident, allowing the King to return to his debauchery, seemingly none the wiser. The ride back to the British army was a swift one, as every second was precious. Meanwhile, Aldwyn and Graid had spent a few days trying to figure out a way to deal with the siege, as they had been chosen to advise Roderick, in case the ploy with Clovis failed. The obvious choice was to let the Irish mercenaries die in droves, and open the gates, so that the British could walk into the city on a bridge of dead Irishfolk. A choice that Graid loved but might be costly if the Franks showed up, wedging the British between Franks and the walls. Another option was to take the city, and use the walls themselves, but as was noted, the Briton forces were dependent on their cavalry. Finally, they concocted a plot to invade the city through the narrow aqueduct, having Graid ride a horse across it at night, with a bunch of fierce warriors following right behind him, who’d then claim the gates and open it while the defenders were rallying against the attack that came through the opened gate. Fortunately, it was not necessary, as the emissaries returned, with good news. Clovis had accepted the agreement, and it gave them a bit more time to take the city. To be continued.... in the Battle of Badiocassi!
  5. Winter Phase is usually not the game, but we're pretty good at weaving the story together. Reg. Aurelius, he got married at the start of 488, after he realized that he was living on borrowed time as a knight, and had no children to carry his legacy on. So, he married the bastard daughter of Ulfius, due to Ulfius having known old Gessius Sertorius in Armorica. The mute girl was amazingly fun. In regard to Woodford? Aurelius is a stressed man. As I wrote, his brother-in-law did not know his wife was pregnant when he sent her to Aurelius, and Bethany was pregnant as well. Thus, two pregnant ladies in Woodford that winter. Tywyn is played by our fifth player, and was introduced to the game the previous session. He is the son of Sir Elad, the Marshal of Salisbury
  6. Session 09 - A Just Hunt Four knights, five squires and their respective mesnie rode down to Newton in the late days of March. The four knights greeted each other as brothers, and Aldwyn laid out the situation. Not two days ago, the bandits had ambushed a travelling tradesman and stripped him of oxen, tools and life. The trail might be a few days old, but at least it was there. The hunt was on and the band entered the woods for an old-fashioned bandit-hunt. Due to the sharp eyes of Squire Golas and Squire Tywyn, the outlaws were located within hours; they had made their hideout in an old wood-covered gully and down in a few burrows that might once have sheltered a bear. The bandits seemed to have established themselves well, with both little shelters but also quite large tents. As the group scouted out the camp, they spotted a trio of bandits returning from the woods and a lone figure on horseback departing in the other direction. Most of the bandits were clad in furs and flax, while Golas managed to make out something that might have been a woolen cloak. But, before the squire could tell his knight of this oddity, the charge was sounded. The knights charged into the gulch, swords drawn with all intent to send as many outlaws as possible to the afterlife, scattering the rest of them to the winds. And between armed, armored riders against outlaws with spears and slings, it was not hard to imagine the outcome. Blood mixed with the mud, as the knights took down several bandits each. It became clear that chaos made it difficult to spot whoever was the leader here, but every knight and squire fought like beasts to end this once and for all. That’s when one of the bandits who had returned from the woods, made a dash towards there. Sir Reccared barely had time to take notice, as he was locked in melee, but still ordered his squire Golas to apprehend the coward, something that he didn’t need to say twice as the wild-haired squire spurred his horse and sat off in pursuit. At that very second, a score of slingers began raining down large stones at the advancing knights, and one of them sent one well-placed stone at Reccared, and it found its mark against the Aquitanian's helmet, sending him sprawling to the ground, at the mercy of the nearby hoodlum. Fortune still favored our friend, as Reccared managed to roll beneath his horse while dodging the descending club, and with a stroke of his sword, he carved across the bandit’s shins, sending that one to the ground in a wail of pain. Aurelius and Tywyn fought valiantly, each holding their own against the foe, downing bandits left and right, while Aldwyn and Graid rode up the hillside; where of them each with spear in hand, deftly stabbed their way through the slingers, their point shedding blood across the snow and grime. As sudden as it had begun, the battle was won, and all the bandits were either slain or were swiftly joining their comrades as the blood poured from them. Only a few of them escaped, and while a few bandits might prove a problem in the future, this pack of hoodlums would not trouble them again. That's when they all noticed that Squire Golas was nowhere to be seen. The party took up pursuit, but the squire was quite gone. To cover more ground, they decided to split up. Aldwyn, Tywyn and Reccared rode towards the northern slopes of the hills, while Aurelius and Graid headed towards the old ravines on the southern slopes of the forest. In spite of the snow having covered most of the woods, it was clear that both the bandit and Golas had left no trail visble that the rest of them could follow. An hour passed, and the sun was slowly setting. Aldwyn, Tywyn and Reccared had little luck in their search, and neither did Aurelius and Graid. In fact, those latter two were utterly lost, with neither of them having the slightest clue how to navigate this forest. Then, they heard the most curious sound. The sound of a pack of hounds barking in a curious and otherworldly unison. For Aurelius, born and raised in the church, this sent chills down his spine. In the frosty mist before them, it was quite clear something was amiss, yet, they shunned their fear, and advanced. But, as they found the source of the sound, they could not help but stare in wonder and bewilderment at the creature before them. The body of a spotted leopard, the haunches and tail of a mighty lion, the serpentine neck and head and the fleet hooves of a deer, with the sound of a pack of hounds barking from it’s belly. Before them stood the Beast Glatisant, the Questing Beast of Myth. And it was calmly taking a drink of icy water from the small pool before them as with every breath, hounds barked in unison. Entranced by the chance to capture such a fine prey, Graid moved forward with his hunting spear, and all it took was a broken branch, before the creature looked up, and with a wail, darted away from the pool, with Graid and Aurelius in hot pursuit of the massive beast, who ran with a speed that seemed impossible given it's size. The hunting horn boomed across the forest, and the rest of the knights followed the sound, but as soon as they had found the two aspiring huntsmen, the beast was nowhere to be found. It took a few attempts to understand what they had just seen. Dismayed, they made camp for the night, hoping to find Squire Golas by making a light for him to follow. Surprisingly, the young squire found them before they had even made the first piece of firewood smoke; even more surprising was the cargo he was dragging behind him. The de-souled body of a man, clad in mail and a surcoat colored in heraldic colors. It was quite clear that the man had been an important soul, but Aurelius managed, much to his consternation, to identify the man as a knight of Silchester, the old rival of Salisbury. Golas had apparently given chase to the bandit leader, who had darted for a nearby cave, where a horse had been hidden alongside with a small cache of knightly weapons. The leader had dressed himself in the mail and the surcoat, and it was quite clear by the stature of this man, he was no common bandit. This was a knight of Silchester, who had been disguised as a bandit. Golas then told of how he had attempted to force a surrender out of the knave, but there had been no quarter given and it was only due to his skills with a thrown spear that he hadn’t been slain right then and there. Graid and Aldwyn rode down to the aforementioned cave along with Golas, while Reccared’s wounds were tended to by a clearly stressed Aurelius, who only managed to make matters worse. Here, they found the horse as well as the knight’s belongings, and it was quite clear this string of banditry had been directed by a knight of Silchester. A devious ploy, if a bit strange. They returned to Newton, having left the corpses of the bandits for the crows and the peasants to bury the following morning. After all, this was their knightly duty. To defend the peasants with weapon in hand. The peasants had a duty to care for the land, which included removing corpses. Sir Reccared was quite impressed with his own squire, and a lot of words were spoken in those days if Golas had a chance of becoming a knight before his twenty-first year. As for Squire Tywyn, his father was quite pleased with the news of his second son’s prowess in battle, and decided that investments had to be made. The old family manor on the shores of the River Wylve, by peasantry known as Wylve Manor, among the nobles remembered as Brightholt, was in need of being taken care of by able hands, now that the older Drystan was meant to inherit Vagon from his father. In missives between Count Roderick and Marshal Elad, it soon became clear that it was the wisest decision to hand over Brightholt to Tywyn, to avoid giving too much land to a reckless young knight like Sir Drystan. That spring, there were a lot of agitated words spoken between Sir Drystan and Sir Elad in Castle Vagon, but the young hellion relented at last, though his sense of justice had been slighted quite profusely. Pentecost at Sarum As the chill of early spring subsided, the knights of Salisbury once more gathered in Sarum. The great estate holders of Sarum, Sir Hywel the Widower, Marshal Elad and Sir Seith of Elmstump were already assembled and had quite the grim expression when the rest of the knights assembled in the great hall. The reason for this was announced as soon as they had all been seated. During the winter, the old warhorse, Sir Amig of Streamsfield, had died in his sleep, his advanced age finally catching up with him, as he departed the land of the living at the tender age of 64. A lot of great words were said about Sir Amig, about the immense moustache the man had carefully cultivated, his deeds in the March of Aurelius and the dark years under Vortigern. Amig had been a much beloved knight, and one of the reasons why the court had been so calm over the last ten years. Many a toast was made in his honor. However, his grandson and heir, Sir Math, was not really feeling to reminence about his departed grandfather's deeds. Squire Tywyn, as his mother was an aunt to Sir Math, went to speak with his cousin, hoping to figure out what caused him to be so grim. It was quite a concerning topic. Sir Bedwor, the Sheriff of Salisbury and Uther’s right hand man in these parts, had decided that the estate of Sir Amig was to be taken under more thorough evaluation, due to the King’s Right of Primer Seisin, and it would at best take several years before the matter was completely settled. After all, this was a matter of all of Amig’s sons having died before him, so the heirs were one of his many grandsons. Math, being the oldest, was expected to inherit, but it seemed like the King’s man was set on making a display of Royal power in Salisbury and delaying the process on purpose. When Tywyn relayed this to Sir Reccared and his friends at the table, it gave a small measure of outrage, but also a understanding that this was the way of Kings to handle it as such. To say anything else would be inviting the King’s Ire. This little gathering of frustration was broken up by Sir Caradoc and Sir Bar the Tall, the two household knights at Sarum and old comrades of the group. With a smile and assuring word, Caradoc had Bar pour all of them a cup of the good ale he had procured from a trader from Hantonne, using money from the gift he had been give for taking a spear for Elad at Mearcred Creek. The ale was sweet and nutlike, and Caradoc left them with another quip and a memory of the departed Sir Amig, before he walked to the next table with Bar lifting the keg as if it was nothing. Then, a few moments later, Count Roderick silenced the hall to make an announcement. The untimely death of Sir Amig had left a small hole in the Count’s officer staff. The position of Dapifer was now open, and Roderick announced that on this Pentecost, he intended to find a replacement. He would consider this in council with the senior knights as well as the most respected knights in his service. It soon became clear what was going on. Politics were afoot in Sarum, much to the chagrin of our heroes. All of them began to inquire in different parts of the hall. The three tables of the hall were now clearly three factions among the knights. At the left of the lord there was the table where our heroes had usually seated themselves. Alongside them were several household knights, such as Aldwyn’s uncle Mors and Reccared’s namesake uncle, Reccared the Red. It was a table where the young, ambitious knights were seated alongside those who had foreign names and little land of their own. They coined their own grouping as the Table of the Motley, named for the many-colored pieces of cloth that kept wax from dripping onto the wooden table. In the middle, there was an assembly of vassal knights centred around Sir Hywel the Widower, a just man and estate holder who managed several hundred courts, where many of the established vassal knights had their primary network, like Sir Cadry of Tisbury, Squire Golas’ father, as well as Sir Amig’s heir, Math. This was dubed as the Table of the Coin, a group of moderates, named for the old roman coin that was lodged between two boards at the end of the table. And finally, to the right hand of the high table, there was an assortment of more ambitious knights, many of them either household knights themselves, or vassal knights themselves but with deep roots in Logres and Salisbury especially. Primary among them was Sir Seith of Elmstump, an estate holder in his own right, and known as the second richest man in Salisbury, but also as a man of ruthless cunning with several knights beneath him. At this table one could also find Sir Bedo of Cheverell and Imber, the Huntsmaster of Sarum, as well as Sir Dallwyr, who the group had already had dealings with, along with his son and heir. This was the Table of the Banner, named so because the banner of Salisbury could be seen on the wall next to them. For the next hour, the talk between knights became quite intense. Deals were made and contested, and every table had their own favorites. But, due to Tywyn and Aurelius being quite well-versed intriguers, it soon became clear that the Count would probably consider those who his knights would advise him on. The Motley Table had their own Sir Caradoc running around and making friends, but most saw him as a bit of a joke, a lecherous old knight with precious few years left on the battlefield. The Coin Table was putting forward the idea of Sir Drystan ap Elad, Tywyn’s brother, as they thought it would be a fine was to prepare Drystan for one day to succeed his father as Marshal. And the Banner Table were putting forward Sir Seith himself. No one knew why, but a attentive Tywyn finally learned from Sir Dallwyr’s son, that Seith had his sight set on the position as Marshal as well, and hoped to stymie Elad’s chances of having his son succeed him by becoming Dapifer himself. The group began to consider if Drystan was their best bet, as having him as Dapifer meant having a more idealistic man ready to be Marshal once Elad passes, and thus pushing the devious Sir Seith even further away from the position. But, Graid, having not been in touch with the rest of the group, had already been talking with Drystan, and convinced the young knight that a life as a baronial officer was nice, but it did little to earn him the Glory that he would need to live up to the legacy his father left for him. Afterall, his current most notable deed had been to ruin a prey that King Uther had wanted to take for himself. As if a fire had just been lit in Sir Drystan’s eyes, he approached Roderick, and asked for him not to consider him for the office, as he still had many battles to be fought and much glory to be won and Roderick just agreed, seemingly having accepted that Drystan was not a candidate. When Aldwyn heard that, the plan fell apart. They would have to go all in to support Sir Caradoc. Easier said than done, as the man had a reputation as a lecher and a drunk, whose most notable skill was to swing an axe and have affairs with nuns. However, he was dilligent and faithful. Qualities that the group managed to spin to the advantage that Roderick would never have a dull feast again, as well as the most faithful dapifer he could wish for, as Caradoc was an older man who had little besides the chance to become an officer. Finally, after the roast quails had been served, Roderick asked a few various knights of their opinion on the matter. He first talked to the estate holders and his other officers, but also called for quite a few vassal knights to hear their opinions. Both Aldwyn and Reccared were asked to approach, as they had been the most notable among the vassal knights in recent years. Both of them tried to sell Count Roderick on the idea of Caradoc as Dapifer, but Roderick's reaction to the idea was quite hard to read. However, in the end, it was Caradoc that was announced to become the new Dapifer of Sarum, a task that he was sure to excel at. The festivities were short-lived however, as Roderick also announced that a muster had been called for by the king, to assemble at the White City of Hantonne and while it was not too far, there was a lot of concern of where this coming muster would take them. Would it be facing off against the Saxons that menanced the shores of Britannia? Would it be against Cornwall? Would it be against those Franks that had been mentioned at a certain point in the previous year? No one knew where Uther would command them to go. But, it was certain they would need all the Knights that could be assembled which made Marshal Elad call forward his second son; Roderick took Tywyn ap Elad in view, heard the supporting testimonies from our heroes who had trained young Tywyn, and declared that Tywyn would be knighted on this very day. Several other squires were brought forward as well and then preparations were made and the hall was cleared for the ceremony, and then the young squires who stepped forward one by one. As the son of the marshal, Tywyn was called up first before Roderick, who was placed on the Seat of Sarum. Tywyn’s uncle Dyfan, the Herald of Salisbury stepped forward and began: “Tywyn ap Elad, come forth and kneel before the throne.” he said, as arms and spurs were placed before Tywyn. “Be it known to all men” the herald continued, “that I, Roderick, Count of Salisbury, am minded to raise Tywyn ap Elad by virtue of his honor, loyalty, valor, and skill at arms, to the high rank of knighthood.” “Tywyn ap Elad,” Herald Dyfan continued “do your swear and acknowledge Roderick of Salisbury to be to be your true and lawful liege?”. This was promptly followed with an eager “I do so swear” by Tywyn. The herald then spoke again; “Do you also swear fealty to Uther Pendragon, to defend and obey him until he depart the throne, or death shall take you?” and Tywyn firmly affirmed that oath as well. Roderick then rose from his seat and went to the kneeling Tywyn; and with the traditional statement: “Let this be the last blow you receive without just recourse.” the Count smacked the squire across the face, almost toppling the kneeling Tywyn. Barely still on his knees, Tywyn heard his uncle dictate the next part of the oath and he followed promptly; “I, Tywyn ap Elad, do solemnly swear and pledge my sword to Roderick of Salisbury, my liege, to defend and obey him until he departs his demenses or death shall take me, and to uphold the honor of knighthood.” And Roderick replied in turn “And I, for my part, do swear to defend and honor Tywyn ap Elad as befits a true knight.” and placed the sword on both his shoulders, “I dub thee Sir Tywyn of Brightholt. Receive now your spurs, your right to suitable arms, and take this my sword, to serve at your side and defend me well. Arise, Sir Knight!” As the ceremony repeated itself a few times, there was an intense atmosphere building inside the hall; once the formal part was done Tywyn found himself dragged outside by his new friends, out into the yard, where a horse had been saddled. He was promptly dressed in his armor, and told to make a running leap onto the horse and into the saddle. A crowd of knights gathered to see the newly minted knights make the Leap as they once had. Much to his own chagrin and the bemusement of his fellow knights, Tywyn missed the saddle, but Sir Reccared, went to pick up Tywyn, and alongside his hand, Reccared offered the assurance that this little rite did not matter in the slightest. After all, he did not make that Leap himself. Which, made it a bite easier to swallow for Tywyn, as Reccared had quickly become one of the rising stars of the knights of Sarum in the span of less than four years.. Night was descending fast, but come the morning, the knights would ride towards the White City, the Royal muster, and a fate that would soon be clear to them. After all, where the Pendragon wishes, a knight of Logres must go.
  7. Winter Phase between 487 and 488 This winter was long and heavy, streching into the late weeks of March. Still, the young knights kept in touch with their doves, bringing messages back and forth across Salisbury. At Baverstock, Sir Reccared spent the winter handling two squires. Tywyn and Golas both had to train, but as always it was difficult for Reccared to keep Golas from disappearing into the forest to capture the winter prey. Yet, one day, Golas had returned with a dead boar that had strange cleft tusks, as if it had been a devil. Many of the peasants, including Reccared’s priest, believed it was a sign that Golas was meant for some great and heroic fate. But, there was still an issue of the bandits rummaging through the nearby forests, making life difficult for the nearby peasants. Reccared had little news from his family, but as with most things, peace and quiet was preferable to news of tradegy and hardship. As for himself, Reccared still attempted to make himself noted enough to be considered for the hand of Lady Adwen, something Roderick was not entirely on board with. After all, while Reccared may be the son of a quite prolific hero, and the greatnephew of The White Fox, he was still a foreigner and just a simple vassal knight. The inheiritance that Adwen would bring with her would add four manors to Reccared's name. And while Reccared had done great deeds, he would need to provide something larger for him to be considered as a viable match for Adwen, who had been considered to be wed to a nobleman from Hantonne. As for Tywyn, he was trained in lance and swordsmanship, along with the knightly duties. Letters from his father informed him that upon his knighting, he was to take stewardship of Brightholt, the old manor of his illustrious grandfather, Sir Mabon the Sharp. From spare to the prospect of becoming a vavasour? A step up. Unfortunately, Elad’s third son had decided to surprise everyone and abandon his training to become a priest. Gareth ap Elad, a boy of 17, left the service of the Abbot of Amebury, and took up the Pagan ways, becoming a Bard in training instead, much to his parents' anger. At Woodford, the winter was a strange new time. Unlike the last lonely winter, Aurelius now had a full house, with his nephews running around and filling the manor with the sound of children. His sister was hard at work, but it soon became clear that her husband had left her a parting joyous gift, giving her a child to carry. His new wife, Bethany, had her hands full with handling the budget of two manors, but over that winter, the close cooperation between the newly wedded pair resulted in genuine feelings of love between them, and a blessing soon growing in Bethany’s womb. Two pregnant women in Woodford was quite the event, and also a source of much dread for poor Aurelius. The added income from Lightwater Manor over in Silchester, Bethany’s dowry, gave enough leevy for Aurelius to begin expanding his own manor. In discussion with his trusted Friar Cahill, a few fields were cleared after the harvest, and prepared for expanding the vaccary into, adding more heads of cattle to the manor, while the small open field near the manor were cleared to make a mellisarium, with plenty of beehives to bless the fields in the coming years. Across the hill, over in Stapleford, the damages left by the giants were quite substantial. The harvest almost fell short, but due to careful reaping it made due. It was by a small miracle that Stapleford could pay their taxes that year, but the peasantry were outright angry with their knight for his lack of protect. The village elder had been crushed beneath a falling roof and so Sir Graid had to spent weeks dealing with the issues of the peasantry, sitting in court to make sure justice was upheld, even in the smallest matter. Graid took the decision to limit the damages to the fields, and left the villagers to rebuild their own houses, but when Roderick issued a decree that his demesne was to be expanded, it began to even out some of the catastrophe, even though he still had to dive into his treasury to handle the damages to the manor itself. In Newton, the autumn was well and bountiful. The fields had thrived under Isolde’s management, but while Newton’s constable, Sir Colm, could tell his brother that the issue of banditry was still present, it didn’t bother Aldwyn. After all, after the Harvest Celebrations, it was clear his wife was with child, yet again! During the dark months near Samhain, they hosted a wandering minstrel, who taught Aldwyn a trick or two about dance and song for those same celebrations. However, that celebration of Samhain was not as joyous as one might have expected, as Isolde and Sir Graid’s wife, Lady Aline, ended up having a spite-filled and angry dispute rooted in the pride Isolde took in being the best noble lifegiver in the hundred with two sons to her name which was opposed by the fiery and reckless nature of Aline; the two of them spent the entire festivity sniping at each other with words of barbed courtesy and glares of barely contained loathing. That evening left them hating each other. As Stapleford and Newton were neighbouring manors, this could cause a lot of bother in the coming years. But, when the snow finally fell, it became clear that those bandits were a lot worse than Aldwyn had originally assumed. Several farms were robbed blind in the middle of winter, and it became clear that the cretins had found a home in the great forest that covered the large hills between the river-vales of the Wylve and Nadder. It was clear to Aldwyn that when the snow thew, he had to gather his fellow knights and their mesnie, and ride out to deal with the scourge that was the bandits. Then, one fateful March night, mere days before they were set to depart, Isolde went into labor. She had given birth to two sons before, and she proudly felt as if she was ready. But, that night was one of pain and fever, the strain finally breaking her. Aldwyn almost thought he was to lose his wife that night, but she prevailed against all odds, and gave birth to a young girl, with the red locks of her father. But oddly enough, the child didn’t cry. Not a single wail. Only rasp little sounds, as if her voice had been stolen from her. As the snows melted, Aldwyn’s words flew by pigeons to his brothers-in-arms, calling for a gathering. He needed to get his mind of this ill omen that had befallen his house; and what better way to achieve that, than to bring justice over treacherous bandits that seemed to have gathered in the wooded hillscape between the Bran's Hill and Birchford hundreds.
  8. They very much did, but have not dared to chase down that plotthread just yet.
  9. Session 08 - The Great Feast at Linden Pool As he had sustained grave wounds on the battlefield, Sir Branoc was brought to be cared for at a convent near the coast of Wash. After a few talks with the rest of the assembled host, it did not take long for the young knights to realize that King Uther would reach Linden Pool, as Madoc intented to rendezvous with his father at the castle of the Duke Corneus. As their Lord Roderick would be riding along with the King, the four of them scraped their plans of walking to Roestoc, and joins the prince as he rides for Linden. However, as they arrived in the old holdfast, it soon became clear that the Duke was nowhere to be found, much to Madoc’s consternation. According to his servants, Corneus away on business in the northern reaches of his holding. But, neither Madoc nor the heroes were shy about making themselves guests at the Duke’s hall, waiting for the King to arrive. Just a scant few days later, the Royal Progress was spotted, but in the Sarum contingent, there rode a young squire named Tywyn, son of Marshal Elad and squire to his older brother, Sir Drystan. Tywyn, who was already known for his courage and his temperance, was a youth of twenty summers, and almost ready to become a knight in his own right, if only his father would pay the cost for it. Riding to Linden was his first foray into the greater world, and while his brother had already made a name for himself as a staunch defender of Salisbury, Tywyn was still just Sir Elad’s spare. However, that was all about to change. A Bow and Stable Hunt. While the Royal Progress was one of the finest that had been seen here in Linden for many years, as the King was even being accompanied by the renowned heroes of Logres, such as Sir Arnoullant the Fair and Sir Caradoc the 13th, it did little to impress or intimidate Corneus, as the duke was not present. As the King was greeted with the news of a missing Duke, the only thing that could ease his anger was the prospects of taking view of some of Linden’s countryside in the only manner that befitted a King. A hunt. Within hours, the scouts were in motion, and early the next morning, King Uther sat out on a classic Bow and Stable Hunt, where he desired to be in the field himself. The entire Royal Progress sat up camp in the woods near the hunting grounds, an old riverbed covered in woods. Our friends, having greeted their Lord with news of the raids and Sir Branoc’s state, sat out that morning as well. While Sir Aldwyn took to the field along with Sir Graid, Aurelius took to the bow and Reccared decided that the hunt was best spent socializing at the gathering of knights and ladies in the camp behind the archers. As for Sir Drystan, son of the Marshal, he took to the field as well, alongside his Squire, but due to his lack of patience, he sat his eyes on the worst possible prey, as he unknowingly targeted the same stag as King Uther, much to his squire’s horror. Before the pursuing Drystan could spear the fleeing stag, King Uther had lobbed his spear at the same target and with his practiced accuracy, he pierced the prey’s vitals, causing it to stumble and then promptly trip and fall, leaving it right in the path of Sir Drystan’s galloping horse; in turn, that horse tripped as well and both horse and rider were sent into the ground, a fall accompanied by the pained sound of a horse breaking a leg. Tywyn, rushing to his brother’s aid, cannot hope to move the horse of the overeager knight, and the royal glare from Uther is fixated on the loss of his chosen prey. Fortunately for all, Sir Caradoc, the almost giant-like knight, had accompanied the King on the hunt, and with little fanfare, Caradoc lifted the horse up, allowing Drystan to escape without being choked to death; Caradoc then promptly euthanized the horse with a well-placed blade. Having suffered enough by his injuries from the fall, the King seemed to have found that God punished Drystan so Uther wouldn’t have to, and departs, the Royal Ire not stirred. Meanwhile, Aldwyn’s fortune at this hunt was not great, but Graid had quite the catch as he rode down a six-pointer stag right at the edge of the killing fields. Aurelius, on the other hand, had little success with the bow, but a few pheasants did find their end on his arrows. As for Reccared? He had spent the hunt being delightful company to the women of the court while having kept his goblet full. As the sun was setting, the hunt was ended, and Uther was satisfied enough. There would be venison enough for him to be properly catered until Corneus returned. The Squire Talk. After having placed his knight in bed, Tywyn joined the rest of the squires at the campfire outside of Linden. Curious on the exploits of the rising stars of Sarum’s knights, he sought out their squires. While they were younger than him, they had all manners of stories to tell. Especially of the tense raiding along the coast. Squire Ionas, spoke a lot about the raids, especially how close they came to disaster at Maldon and he was supported by Squire Golas, who really couldn’t believe they all survived. They could agree that Sir Bar, was one of the only reasons why everyone got out alive. Then, the talk fell on their previous adventures with their knights, and they had stories of the victory at the Creek as well as the whole madness surrounding Merlin and the Sword Lake. Finally, the other squires asked a lot about Tywyn’s brother, and if he was going to be okay. At some point however, they noticed Felix had wandered off, and was chatting up one of the local serving maids, and the entire group of young men just groaned in envy as those two snuck off together to a hidden corner in a tent somewhere. Feast at Linden Pool. A few days later, Corneus finally returned but afterwards, there’s obviously a mood in the hall, as the Duke quite wary of what the King is intending to do during this visit. The same goes for our heroes, who are not anywhere close to being in the mood for brute force politics; the very same agendas they had hoped to avoid by joining Madoc at sea. But, in the middle of the feast, as if the King finally had enough of Corneus’ uneasy and furtive glances, Uther decided to have Merlin share the tale of Excalibur with the entire court, and afterwards, he asks the son of the honorable Sir Perrin, young Sir Reccared de Toulouse, to recount the tale of Sword Lake. Reccared stood up, and with the well-spoken story he then shared with the assembled hall, he managed to make all of them pay rapt attention. And the end of his tale, the King rose from his seat, and drew the sword Excalibur which gleaming with an inner light, breaking away all the smoke from the room. An awestruck Corneus knelt before the King and promptly swore his undying support to Uther, and as if by the drop of a needle, the mood of the hall changed as all the knights now knew for certain they were on the same side. Reccared recieved a nod of Royal Approval, and was later told that the King rewarded him by expanding his rights in the Chase that his father had been given. All in all, a fine reward for Reccared, though, one that he still wasn't all that great at using. Merriment followed, especially at the Salisburian table, but in the middle of these festivities, Sir Elad, a well-known man of stoic and patient nature, was charged by Count Roderick to undertake a mission of diplomacy on the crowns behalf. Elad was to travel to the cumbrian Kingdom of Malahaut; to secure the support of the Centurion King in the coming wars. Roderick also told that Elad was expected to bring his oldest son, Drystan, which meant Tywyn had to spend winter serving somewhere else, as bringing his heir and his spare beyond the country's borders might be risky. Sir Elad asked his former pupils, and Sir Reccared in particular, and left them with the expectation that they’d put Tywyn through the same wringer as he placed them through. After all, the reward for this task would mean that Squire Tywyn could be knighted next year if he proves himself, and as the son of Marshal Elad One-Eye, he damn well better prove himself. Early next morning, Drystan and Elad were northward bound, in the company of the proud Sir Jareth and Sir Mors, who was a Cumbrian himself. The rest of the Salisburians journeyed back south with the Royal Progress, all of them eager to return to home and hearth again. Returning to Salisbury. When our heroes returned to Salisbury a few weeks later, the lands near Graid’s lands at Stapleford were in odd shape. Many roofs had been destroyed all across the hundred, but most of them had been centred around his manor. When he rode to his hall, his beloved Aline could tell him what had happened. Their houses had been rummaged through by a trio of grey-skinned, salt-crusted giants, that seemed to be searching for something in particular as they had not hurt anyone intentionally nor had they attacked anyone. And Graid’s manor had been their goal, as they had torn off the roof and looked through every nook and cranny, before giving up and wandered off towards the Forest of Gloom. Neither Aline nor the baby had been harmed, but the damages were costly both in monetary value as well as in goodwill from the local peasantry. Graid, as a Cornishman, knew that giants were no laughing matter. And didn’t one of his ancestors fight a trio of sea giants? Many questions were left unanswered, as a few weeks later winter fell on Salisbury and Logres, which spelled the end of 487.
  10. I was considering that, but Aldwyn was in his good graces, and Madoc consider the lanky knight to be a future asset. Mostly after their previous interactions. (It came down to an opposed Just/Arbitrary roll.)
  11. Session 07 - 487 AD - The Daring Naval Raids The year began with a marriage, held in the cathedral of Durnovaria, where Sir Aurelius and Lady Bethany knelt before the altar as Bishop Mesalla performed the ritual; the bishopric here had been the traditional church of the Sertorius family since Roman times and neither Aurelius nor his foster-father wished to change that tradition. Everyone had been surprised at the news of Aurelius’ wedding, especially when it was to a different Lady than the one Aurelius had been setting his sights on so far. Lady Bethany was one of Ulfius’ daughters by a concubine, but still one of his favorite daughters, and it was a bit odd that he would part with her to a simple vassal knight. But, all of it had an explanation. Years ago, Ulfius had been friends with Gessius Sertorius, Aurelius’ father, and had been there at the Battle of Exeter, where Gessius had fallen in the defense of the returning Prince Aurelius Ambrosius. In front of the church, while the joyous couple greeted the attendants, Graid, Aldwyn and Reccared had a staredown contest with the Silchester contingent; a group led by the sly Sir Rhiscart Blains, the Steward of Levcomagus, whom they knew to be a sworn foe of their Lord Roderick. Sir Blains only said a few, well-placed words before moving on, which avoided any escalation in the square, yet left little doubt that this little event was as cordial as Silchester and Salisbury would be in the months to come. After spending a few moments with his new wife besides the stone of his father near the cathedral gardens, Aurelius directed the group towards the ensuing merriment to celebrate this event. The festivities that followed were held in a Roman villa, where Aurelius' sister lived, and here the rest of our knights discovered out that Aldwyn already had a bit of a reputation among the Romano-British nobles of Durnovaria, due to the duel before winter. However, it was still possible to sooth them with some impeccably timed music, and between the luteskills of Aldwyn and Reccared's vocal talents, the assembled Dorsettian citizenry saw this northern savage turned into an actual person with sophisticated taste. In spite of this being his daughter’s wedding, the Marshal of Logres was busy as ever, and had to ride after only staying for a few hours. But, he did impart his well-wishes, and desires to see Aurelius’ become a man with enough influence and wealth that he would give his daughter a life that befitted her. After the wedding, they all returned to Salisbury after Easter, and was set to attend Pentecost at Sarum. Aurelius brought both his wife, sister and his nephews back to Woodford, leaving the old villa in the hands of his sister’s servants. In the days before Pentecost, Aldwyn had business with Reccared, and sought out the Aquitanian knight in Baverstock, where Aldwyn challenged Reccared to a little hunt. After all, Reccared had a proper chase for that purpose. Due to the skills of Squire Golas, Reccared's Hunting-enthusiastic protege, they managed to track down and catch a fallow-deer in no time, and while the animal was butchered, Aldwyn finally saw his chance to express his concern with Reccared not having any kids yet. Not even bastards. Was he made of stone down below? Reccared simply stated that while his path might not be easy, Lady Adwen was worthy of the effort. Aldwyn was confused, but was placated when Reccared told him that he was actively courting the Lady Adwen, with Count Roderick even considering it. A Few Weeks Later... At Sarum, Pentecost was, as always, the time where the Count would find a new direction for Salisbury. During the winter, old Sir Amig had passed away, leaving Salisbury without a Dapifer, and there were many knights interested in replacing him, among those was old Sir Caradoc, who had already begun campaigning for this alongside his trusty, dim-witted friend, Sir Bar the Giant. And while the knights vied for support among their fellows, the Court was opened by Count Roderick, who began with raising a toast to the memory of proud Amig, who had served since the days of Roderic’s father. Then, he could tell of the news. The King had asked Salisbury to accompany him north to Linden. But, for our heroes, the focus was elsewhere. When the young rising stars of Salisbury were asked for their opinion, they said that Count Roderick should ride with the King, while they volunteered to go to the Prince. At Christmas, they had already made a promise that they would join Madoc in raiding the Saxon ships along the coast, just like Aurelius Ambrosius once did. Sending the Heroes of Mearcred Creek might be a good way to placate Prince Madoc if he was not to receive a full retinue from Salisbury. And after a bit of deliberation, Count Roderick agreed. Along with Sir Bar, whose size made it impossible for him to travel that far north due to the strain he placed on the horses, and Sir Branoc the Sailor, who was Aurelius' mentor in the Knightly arts, this was the retinue of knights that was sent to Prince Madoc. A few days later, the group sat off to Hantonne. At the coast, they found the royal fleet, where the banner of Prince Madoc, heir of Logres, was flying high above all else. This was a group of young knights, like themselves, from all over southern Logres. They presented themselves to Madoc, who at first was displeased with Salisbury’s numbers, but that was quickly forgotten when he realized who the knights of the retinue were. After all, they were both heroes as well as some of the knights he were amiable towards. Before an assembled host, Madoc held a speech. This time, it was a different sort of fight. Not a hunt for Glory or Loot, but swift and decisive strikes, setting fire to the ships and rushing back into the sea as fast as possible. It was a matter of strategy! And this time, they were fighting for Logres, not just themselves or their liege. Under the careful guidance of the old Admiral Gwynwyn, the fleet set off up along the coast. Days passed with sailing, nights were spent ashore. Sir Branoc, the only knight of the group who had sailed before, told them of the dangers of the water, especially when wearing armor. And he told them tall tales from the Frisian Campaign, where Reccared’s father had reportedly made a charge from the ship immediately after hitting shore, sending the Frisian defenders into disarray before they had time to react. The young knight marveled at the sights at sea, and wondered why they had never done this before. Night fell, they made a quick camp as the first target was in sight. On the coastline of Sussex, the small settlement of Pevensy hosted King Ælle’s fleet, and it seemed like the Saxons had little reason to expect an attack . In the faint hours before dawn, the Britons were silent as their ships descended on the South Saxons, leaping from the ships to make way for the torch-wielding sailors. Aldwyn roared and lead the Salisburians forward into the fray... Morning dawned as the fleet sailed onwards, leaving burning ships behind them. During the sail, our heroes had high spirits, and even spotted a whale off the bow of their ship. It felt like a sign of good fortune. A day or so later, the fleet approached the old roman harbor town of Dover. The pattern repeated itself, and spirits were high, and when they sailed onto shore in the wee hours of dawn, chaos came ashore along with them. Aldwyn, filled with the rush of battle and to stand beside his sworn brothers, kept a cool head, and lead them forward. But, that when his sharp eyes on the battlefield allowed him to spot a quite well-dressed Saxon man, his arms and armor giving him the distinct air of a nobleman, surrounded by equally well-armed noblemen. They fell on the bodyguards, eager to lay their hands on that Saxon wastrel, but the hunt was cut short as the horns sounded from the fleet behind them. The Kentish fleet was already ablaze. But the prize was right in front of them! They could make it. He roared forward "We'll take that Thane, even if we'll have to carve ourselves through a wall of all the Saxons in Kent to set foot in British territory once more!" and the knight’s blades and spears then carved a way through the bodyguards, with Aldwyn finally slamming his spearshaft into the guts of the Saxon noble and promptly dragging him towards the shore Here, the boats had already begun to leave; arrows from the Saxon reinforcements were beginning to rain down on them from the white cliffs above. However, our retreating heroes had all decided to wear armor in this battle, and not all of them understood what that meant for swimming, but Sir Branoc, with experience on sea, had prepared ropes for them all to hold onto while they were dragged onto the deck. All made it, even the thane. All, except Aldwyn, who tripped in the chest-high water and did not resurface. If it hadn’t been for brave Sir Bar jumping into the water to save a drowning Aldwyn, this would have been the end for him right then and there, but the immense strength of Sir Bar dragged both Aldwyn and himself back onto the embarking ship, out into open water again. On the following day, Madoc came aboard their ship, and had quite a few words to say to Aldwyn and his folly, beginning with the words “Do I need to speak louder if I am going to reach all the way up there?!”. After an awe inspiring chastising that seemed to last for hours, the matter was settled. The prince was going to spare Aldwyn, but demanded half the ransom of the Saxon noble to forget about this little debacle. The fleet sailed forward, aiming for quite fight as they journeyed up the Blackwater River. The port of Maldon was reportedly the place where the East Saxons of Aethelswith, the recently arrived Saxon warlord, had placed his fleet. But, much to their surprise, there were only a few ships at Maldon. They sat them alight, and sailed on. The Admiral thought the Saxons might have moved their ships further up the coast. The course was set back to the coast, and at the mouth of the River Colne, they found a Saxon fleet, ready to meet them on the water. The clash was brutal, the riverbed running red with both Briton and Saxon blood, and the Salisburians were heavily outnumbered as the Saxons poured onto their ship. When the sun finally broke through the rain which had been pouring down all morning, it was clear that they had taken heavy losses. But, the Saxons had been defeated. The cowards running for their lives and the Britons running them down one by one, with all of our heroes eagerly partaking in routing the hated Saxons! Aurelius found Sir Branoc, heavily wounded, beneath the corpse of a Saxon. Fortunately, Aurelius always knew his way with a bandage, and the bleeding was staunched and Sir Branoc averted death yet another time. In the aftermath, the Saxon ships were pulled ashore and burnt as their crew were left the feed the crows and fish. Madoc, for his part, seemed to be satisfied with the performance of the Salisburians, as they had managed to fight off some of the fiercest of the Saxons. After a few days in Yarmouth, the Briton fleet met with reinforcements, and continued up north, towards the murky waters near the Wash, where yet another fleet of Saxons met them. But, for our four knights? The Battle of the Wash was.... a wash. As battle was joined, a stray arrow pierced a part of the rudder on the Salisburian ship, causing them to drift aimlessly while witnessing a bloody naval battle before them, an injured Branoc doing his best to make sure they did not drift off in the sea.. Finally, after nearly three weeks spent at sea, our knights finally ended their journey on the coast of Linden, as the fleet finally disbanded. Now, they could place Branoc in the proper care of a local monastery, while they waited for the disbandment of the fleet. Prince Madoc was pleased, but no victory was without sacrifices, as Admiral Gwynwyn had been slain by a Saxon foeman during the clash. His ship, the old Armorican vessel, became his pyre, as befitted such an old servant of Britain. The four assembled friends were sombre, but agreed that if they could avoid getting into more battles at sea, it would be for the better. Then, it dawned on them. How were they supposed to get home if not by ship? After all, Linden was quite removed from Salisbury. Aldwyn suggested they’d walk up to Roestoc, his homeland, and acquire some horses from his aunt and uncle, the Queen and King of Roestoc. That’s when Graid finally realized that Aldwyn hadn’t been lying when he had claimed that his aunt was a Queen in a northern kingdom. But, that’s when they heard the rumors from the Prince’s retinue. Their path had been swift enough for them to beat Uther to Linden, and thus, much to their chagrin, our four heroes found themselves wrapped into the very same political quagmire that they hoped to avoid by taking this task at sea! Uther was coming to Linden, to show of Excalibur and “kindly” remind the Duke here who he was serving under… At least Madoc wasn’t angry with them anymore.
  12. Winter Phase 486-487 After Christmas, Aurelius got himself awarded an Allowance from Lord Roderick, possibly due to an agreement with the Bishop. He was also asked to take his sister and her children into his household, while her husband, Sir Sabin Africanus, travelled to Sicily(?!) in pursuit of a feud. To make matters worse, heavy floods hit the hundred of Underditch, and it was only through the faithful service of Friar Cahil, the manor’s steward, that the spring floods didn’t wash away the fields. But, in spite of all that, Bishop Rhyder had news for Aurelius in the days after St. Valentine’s Day, of a certain arrangement having been agreed upon between the Barons of two Counties. At Newton, Aldwyn had a rat infestation as well as problem with banditry, though not anything that couldn't be salvaged. However, around the day of St. Valentine; Aldwyn had to duel Sir Cassius, Knight of Dorsette, who claimed his sister was a murderess guilty of smothering his infant son in a jealous fit born from her lustful thoughts of him. In truth, Lady Bryn was blamed for a tragedy because she was a northern pagan, and Cassius and his lady were quite pious. Everyone were sure no one would come to Lady Bryn’s aid. And then, her brother showed up, a tower of a man, who threw the accusing Knight to the ground as if Aldwyn was tossing around a bundle of sticks. In Stapleford; Sir Graid had a daughter with his wife Aline, both mother and child being hale and fit. Following that, his notorious uncle, Sior the Mad, a wandering mercenary knight, showed up at Stapleford, and left him with a Courser as a token of appreciation in carrying on the family name. In spite of a few wolves prowling around near his lands during the winter, everything went well. After performing admirably at the Christmas Court, Reccared's chainmail had rusted during the cold winter, while he had been recovering from his wound, and if that wasn't enough Duke Ulfius had sent him missives, asking for his beautiful sister Eloise, as a concubine in exchange for a Charger. Apparantly, the Duke had spotted Eloise while he had been staying at Vagon Castle, where she was serving as a handmaiden to Sir Elad's wife. Not one to sell women for horses, Reccared refused the Duke. And for all intents and purposes, it was an okay, if hard winter, until a band of Saxon raiders arrived just as the snow began to thaw. Fortunately, Reccared had recently agreed to lodge Sir Osric, an old friend of his departed father, at Baverstock. The two knights along with Reccared’s retinue was enough to turn the raiders away before any damage was caused to the village!
  13. The Courtesy part was saved by this A) Never being said to the Bishop's face; B ) Was said in private between friends; C) Aurelius has somewhat near 16 Forgiving. Soeh... In any case, it's going to be a running problem in the group.
  14. Please do. That could be quite entertaining. Then again, I also want all of the other cut material for SIRES... so... I just want more of that 😄
  15. Urgh. If ever there was a time to desire Book of Salisbury... Does anyone know how there's so much income in Swans as compared to the rest of the hundreds? I'm currently trying to get an overview of the Vassal Knights in Salisbury, to actually have an NPC List. But, damn if it is not difficult.
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