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The Pendragon Chronicles - My Attempt at the GPC


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Session 02 - After the Hunt The squires returned from the hunt, only to be waylaid by the bandits who was trying to help themselves to the cattle of a poor farmer and combat ensued. Even una

After being cheered on by the people in the Discord, I finally took the leap and decided to write something about my current game. Without further ado:   The Pendragon Chronicle A Chr

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 be

Session 18 Cont. - The Deeds of The Few

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This was the deeds of Sir Aldwyn and Sir Tywyn when the players either decided to bow out from Terrabil or could not make it.

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. 

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Tintagel is the worst place to besiege. I mean, that fuckin island!

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.

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Okay. Strap in. While the first part is as normal in the GPC, things are about to get weird for poor Sir Tywyn. This ties back to Book of Sires, and a event we rolled to see how his father's life had turned out. Even though Elad was already an established NPC, we rolled and took a check if he had to cheat death, and well, he did. Now, it ended up being a Faerie Bargain. And boy howdy, this has caused some drama.

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.

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Quick recap:
Elad "died" in the Battle where Vortimer died as well, the first King that Elad served, and we rolled a fae pact. The details are hazy, but we agreed that Elad was hiding his actual blindness, a deeply dishonorable thing to do for a knight, with the magical eye given to him, but this eye also curses him with insight beyond mortal keening, causing him to see things he really shouldn't. Now, as the Fae fortold, his son asked, and he must pass on the "gift".

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.

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Time to shift gears and check in on Aldwyn and his... well, he's out Questing. Way before that was a thing.

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.

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For a random family from Yorkshire, Aldwyn sure is related to a lot of royalty in the north. It'll be handy once we get the whole Questing stuff up and running. His five sisters is also a bit mythical in nature, as are his connections to the damn old Wyrm of Cumbria. That family got far too many plothooks to handle 😛

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.

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In, out, lost in faerie, didn't disappear for six decades or so.
All in all, great success for Aldwyn, and this thing is one of the deeds that cemented him as a proper Religious Pagan Knight. And yes, he was jousting with the Faerie Knight.

 

Edited by KungFuFenris
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Session 19 - The Crows over Tintagel

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Due to this being Discord Sessions, this was a hella short session, but still one that people enjoyed for all the introspection and character play.

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.

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Imagine that. Winning your ancestral home, securing it for you lineage once again... on the back of killing one of the greatest leaders your people have ever known. Is it betrayal of the Dumnonii? Loyality to the crown? Fighting for your lineage?
Lord Axe is not in an easy position.

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?!

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Not much for the Chronicler to tell, but there was a lot of talk and back and forth between players. So, it was all good.
Now for the bigger political stuff.
AND FEASTING! My kids/players are just as bad in demanding McD/Feasts as most other are - ^_^

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.

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I effed up on Jenna’s age in the beginning, and thought her to be around 16 here in 491, whereas per canon, Jenna would be 10 per canon.
So. Yeah. Here, she’s 16, Ninian is 22. Still wrong by a lot of standards. And Ninian is playing with fire here. Jenna is a smart young noblewoman, so she knows not to do anything that would dishonor her completely. So, kisses are kisses. And Ninian dares neither say no nor do he dare telling anyone else. Spine of a earthworm that one.

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.

Edited by KungFuFenris
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Session 20 - Merlin’s Schemes

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Content Warning: This is getting dark and it does contain both death of a spouse, threats of honor-killing and spousal abuse.
This is not common for my games, but… it happened.

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.

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The selection of a new marshal was of course, more a matter of popularity than anything else. The players were given options, and if they managed to agree, I'd have Roderick go with a non-nepotistic choice. However, each player had their own favorite, as neither Reccared nor Aldwyn had the chance to influence the election, being stuck in Terrabil over the winter.

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.

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Alright, the whole Drystan vs Tywyn has been brewing for a while, and due to some bad rolls during the Winter Phase, Drystan finally discovered that his brother was cuckolding him, and went off on rage. It was a miracle that Reckless 17 did not overcome Love Family 16. In spite of being adviced otherwise by smarter knights, Tywyn could not leave Eloise as his sister-in-law. Passions be passions, yo.
However, the trail of bad decisions on Tywyn's part, along the heavy insights about his father's secrets, had an effect on the young knight.

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.

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Graid's marriage circumstances are... really not common, and it's something a lot of other nobles are sneering at, but it has brought him great fortune when it comes to securing his legacy. But, he is not in love with any of them, love being something meant for stories and fools. Which had meant that ol' Lord Axe here really is outnumbered on the homefront, as Aline and Bryn seems to have formed some sort of alliance against their husband. Fun stuff.

 

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.

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This was a twist none of us saw coming. Adwen had been a major focus for Reccared in the years prior, and only the year after they wed, he went mad and ran away, and not a year after, he had to command Terrabil. And then, she died of illness. Thanks dice!
Adwen and Reccared only had a single son, and while some might call this the best way to advance, Reccared's player was really focused on portraying the grief and loss when you lose your Love 19. One of many reasons I am looking forward to seeing the Passion system for KAP 6th Ed.

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.

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This Wedding was a weird scene to play, but it turned out that the players enjoyed seeing this play out. Brastias especially was an interesting character to have around, to display the neccesity of being a warrior and loyal, yet also willing to swift loyalities.

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.

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So. Kids, don't be filled with despair. You'll just end up doing deals with Merlin. In retrospect, this might have been a dumb way of doing this, but it made sense at the time. 

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.

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Ninian's instant-fragging of one of the Trio really threw me off my game. It also cemented Sir Ninian's reputation as a hell of a warrior.

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.

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Next Time: The Trial of the Knights.

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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.

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Say hello to Gareth the Bard, a young NotReallyAPlayerCharacter that we threw together when we realized that Tywyn really did not have a brother to replace him, as Drystan was very much not inclined to work with the PK group. So, I threw this together after hearing an interview that Larkins gave about the Codex Mirabilis and the idea of Side Player Characters, someone with a limited screentime.
I tinkered with some ideas I had and used some of the 4th Edition Magic System to make a Bard character viable, but only playable for a certain number of sessions, until we could figure out what Knight that Tywyn's player would be getting invested in, or perhaps Tywyn the Outlaw would return during Anarchy?

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. 

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This was a hell of a hard scene to run, not least of all it being run on Discord. I had to make a hardliner anti-pagan who'd make the PK's nervous enough that they'd doubt if they'd get out of it alive. And it kinda worked. Although, Dewi the Waterman has not appeared since.

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.

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Segurant is related to Aurelius through his mother, who is a second cousin of the Dragon Knight, which is why Segurant stood for the PK's virtue.
There's a longer and complicated reason for it, but it also helped tie Aurelius a bit more to some of the older lineages in Logres.

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.

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So. Instead of Merlin being straight up villified, he was blamed as much as the Knights. Tywyn on the othjer hand, is counted as a villain or at best, an unwitting dupe for certain evil forces arrayed against Uther.
Uther invoked every piece of anger he had against Tywyn, consult the BoUther for the full list of sanctions the King can slam into a knight. Not fun stuff.

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.

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I had expected Reccared to keel over dead in the snow up there, but things happened that caused him to survive, as Reccared's player was smart about it. It was resolved as an aside scene, with a few dice rolls. 

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.

 

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A hard session, a long time ago.
There's a lot of thing's I'd have done differently. But all in all, it made for a really good story. The players managed to work to get themselves off the hook and displayed some amazing roleplaying, even though the session was very railroady, something I was very up front about.

Next time? It's time for 493, and to put the Grand Politics behind us as we return to Salisbury.


 

 

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As the player of Tywyn I can say it was one hell of an emotional ride to go through, but Fenris didnt jump it on me and it was something we dicussed together and in the end it was a great character exit. Its going to be fun trying to pick up the shattered pieces as his heir when that time comes :D 

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4 hours ago, Adaras said:

As the player of Tywyn

Congrats! It's a dark but satisfying ending to his tale ^^

16 hours ago, KungFuFenris said:

There's a lot of thing's I'd have done differently. But all in all, it made for a really good story.

I love how you handled the trial. In the GPC, I dislike this railroading-fest, and I am impressed how you manage to create a beautiful tale.

Edited by Tizun Thane
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34 minutes ago, Tizun Thane said:

I love how you handled the trial. In the GPC, I dislike this railroading-fest, and I am impressed how you manage to create a beautiful tale.

Seconded. I’m going to study this carefully as I work up to this year.   This is one of the big problem pieces in the GPC for me.

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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.

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Session 22 - Uther’s Shame

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And welcome back. 493 was a doozy of a year, with most of the sessions focused on reconnecting with Salisbury after looking at the larger picture. However, there was still some royal rumbles that I wanted to weave into our tale, stuff from the Book of Uther. Which is why, surprise, I introduced Sir Argan last year.
Strap in. It's about to go down. First? FEASTING TIME!

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.

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So. Yeah, he's back, and instead of eternal shame, he found a wife. It was a hell of a trip, handled mostly off-screen between me and Reccared's player.
Either ol' Reccy is a serial monogamist, or his grief processes a lot faster. Say hello to Gwenfrwy. The Appearance 23 Lady that Reccared married... well, let's hear the reason. (Gwenfrwy also threw the average APP a notch upwards - She broke the old "Hide If Uther Passes By"-Scale that the Players instituted with their sisters back in the start of the campaign. Gwenfrwy is not even allowed to be in the same County as Uther!)
Also, Pase and Amans are about the most frustrating places in Arthurian Britain to research. Not Cambria, not Cumbria. Not covered in any of the previous edition books, but corelates to Manchester and Peak District.


Also. Doing Feasts on Discord? Really difficult to do without a Digital Feast Deck.

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.

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Stapleford being burnt to the ground was kinda an issue, and Graid failed his roll to convince Roderick to part with Ninian. Sadness.

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. 

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I don't recall that much more about the feast, other than, as per usual, Reccared managed to win it. Though, he was hotly contested by Gareth the Bard.

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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. 

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Aurelius' player had noted that poor Aurelius might have been irrevocably scarred by his experiences with Octa. Winning, yet brushing with death in that regard can do things to a man. So, Aurelius has been marked with a serious bout of PTSD along with the ... *counts*  15 Points of lost stats due to wounds. I know, this is from my count in Year 500, but still, Aurelius have been pummeled like the red-headed stepchild of the Damage Dice.
Only thing saving that poor bastard from crippling and retirement has been the Glory Gain.

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. 

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None of the players had any wish to run errands for Uther, and Aldwyn had to swallow a loss to his Loyality (Roderick) for this. One part of it was Uther's relation with them, which had worsened since Madoc's death and the whole affair with Tywyn. Second was three knights wanting to spend some time with their families and not get into yet another disaster trip up north. Reccared *just* got back from Cumbria! 
But, Roderick, his hide having been saved countless times by these bozos, did not press the issue, and gave them a choice. Well. All except Ninian. This shit is what he gets paid for. (And, well, not french kissing Jenna... but I guess you win some, you lose some.)

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.

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I wanted to have this entire event in. Both to display Uther's absolute failing as a moral being, but also to have a reason why the King just seems to waste away. None of the PK's had anything but contempt for the man, but had to maintain a unquestioning loyality to the King. Hard stuff.

Shaking their heads at politics of lust and hate once more, the Knights rode for Salisbury, seeing off Count Roderick and Sir Ninian.

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And that was the first session of 493. It was pretty much just the initial phase of a year, but it took a session, because so much happened that we all wanted to play out and react to. Next, we go to a Summer Party in Newton, far away from any sort of trouble in the pleasant summer celebration among Aldwyn's "totally-not-Pagan" peasants.

Edited by KungFuFenris
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Alright. It's been a week. Time for the next recap.
Do leave a comment if you have questions or just want to banter a bit about all of this. 

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.

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Translation? Public Displays of Affection are pretty normal in a Pagan Household. All of the snogging.

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.

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Sabin was a random rolled Event from the old chart that so many people have around.  He took a 8 year journey to a distant land, settling issues in Sicily, returning with Glory and wealth, and going back to his manse in Dorset/Durnovaria. Of course, his wife returned to Durnovaria as well.
Robyn on the other hand was made due to use realizing that if Aurelius died, he'd have no replacement knight until Hadrian came of age, so we made this young and ill-tempered pair of men who were cousins to Aurelius. Tying him to the de Bruns was a way to tie him into the narrative somehow.

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.

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Having a Bard around has done wonders for the leisure time of the folks around. Gareth was as previously stated, played by Tywyn's player, as Tywyn was kinda indisposed at the time. Gareth has been a boon for the knights on a social level, as having someone around who can both listen to politics, carry messages and hype them up is a net win.
Also. Aldwyn seemed to have figured out that Gareth was also an Ovate, ie. a Druidic agent.

Only bad thing about Gareth is his tendency to promise things, his unbridled lustfulness, his habit of taking people up on their word when they promise him stuff and run like hell at the first sight of danger.

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.

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I took a small side-bar-session with Sir Ninian's player, and put her through an abridged version of the GPC Trip to Malahaut. Poor Ninian got himself into a mess, but did not die to the ambush, nor did Roderick drown in the Humber River. Great success.

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.

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A Squire with good Awareness and Energetic was pretty smart to have around.
You know, being the most famous knights of Salisbury have a price. Especially if you've pissed off certain Saxons.

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.

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Gwenfrewy is not some shy blossom. Her Bow skill is almost as fierce as her husband's skill with the lance.

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.

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When you're caught off-guard, it's hard to use your Quantum Spear Skill aka Spear Expertise. For what it's worth, I am glad these skills are going the way of the dodo in 6th Edition, as some of them are far more useful than other.
However, I do appreciate that Unarmed Stuff and Grappling is based off Dex. Makes the 17 Dex Graid really seem like a multitalent.

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.

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And now Ninian is a official part of the badass team as well. Huzzah!

This session was pretty cool. And it was, believe it or not, just more consequences from the Winter Phase. Newton was supposed to be raided while Aldwyn and the rest of them were off to Malahaut, but when they decided not to go, I need to make something out of it. So, this was not the planned Adventure, but just socializing and a few Saxons dropping in for some payback.

Next time? The Tale of the Harp and the Hag.

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I like how you linked Uther's shame with his illness. It's a good idea, even if I prefer the idea of a curse myself.

1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

This session was pretty cool. And it was, believe it or not, just more consequences from the Winter Phase. Newton was supposed to be raided while Aldwyn and the rest of them were off to Malahaut, but when they decided not to go, I need to make something out of it. So, this was not the planned Adventure, but just socializing and a few Saxons dropping in for some payback.

And yet, it was strangely one of your best years, IMO ^^. Sometimes, you have to let your campaign breathes, so to speak. 

1 hour ago, KungFuFenris said:

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.

Llew? Probably more Ogma/Ogmios, I would say. But the celtic pantheon is such a mess for me anyway

Edited by Tizun Thane
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Session 24 - The Harvest Harp

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Yeah - Still 492 - All of the stuff that we just did was kinda just me dealing with the politics and fallout of the Winter Phase. This was also one of the last sessions we had during the first Danish Lockdown in the Spring of 2010, which meant we played each week. This was the adventure I had planned for them all.

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.

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Lycus and Bar have become good fixtures at this point.

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.

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This was a way for me to revisit some of the things that still lingered from the Book of Sires and gauge player interest in these aspects of the ancestral tales. The players liked getting to talk about legacy, at least that was my gleaning of it, on the other side of a PC.

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.

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Well. Some times, there's rolls where you need a Critical to get the *additional* information. This was one of those times. Gareth the Bard was quite close, as were the Knights, but no matter, it all worked out in the end.

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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.

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Hell of a fight. I actually thought I might have gotten one over on them with the Faerie Lore roll. 


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.

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Welp. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. Aldwyn was every bit the old-fashioned knight I had hoped for. And while Aldwyn has a 18 Loyality to Roderick, this bullshit needs to earn some goddamn compensation.

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.

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  • 1 month later...

Welp. One month later. Whoops.

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Been busy with a few things.

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.

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Yeah. This plot kinda back outta nowhere when we were rolling up an Event from the Book of Solos. Weirdness abound.
Robyn is Aurelius' back-up PK as we know, and now, he gets to get out there!

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!]

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