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Well, That Escalated Slowly - A Run through the GPC (+BoU)

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1 hour ago, ArkSvid said:

If nothing else I am incredibly jealous of the economic system in y'alls game because book of manor would have had all those defenses combined to cost over 1,000 libra

Well, ultimately, this is all Arthur money, so I'm not so worried about it.

It would be nice to have an updated list of fortification costs that supersedes what's in BoE, BoM, and GPC (perhaps in the promised Book of Castles or in the 6E rules).

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516 AD

Sir Robert had three requests for the Knights of Peryl: Bring tidings to Lady Katherine of Uffingham; serve as emissaries to Cerdic of Wessex; and attend the king’s court as usual. The knights began with the most joyful, attending a brief court at Rydychan and meeting its familiar faces. Many spent their time in the company of others, with Sir Harri extending a diplomatic introduction to Lady Uffingham. Sir Sara played gwyddbyl with Esclabor, learning about a rival for Katherine’s love, while Sir Roderick skillfully brought down a deer while hunting with Sir Amalar. Sir Cerise renewed her friendship with Eliavres, while Sir Gwef spoke at length with the former Countess, Violette, and later Sir Ulfius about her precarious finances. A rumor began that any who offended the Naiad of Cholderton would be cursed into stags like Actaeon in myth. It’s believed to have been started by Eliavres around this time.

Towards the end of their stay, Sir Gwef noticed a jester bearing the colors of Broughton without her family’s permission and acting bookish in mockery. Bodily blocking the man, she scolded him for overstepping his bounds, but this prompted Sir Agravaine to emerge from the shadows and protest her treatment of his servant. In the ensuing duel, Sir Agravaine’s fervor waned and he lost easily. Sir Cerise derided his fickle spirit and earned his ire. Sir Gwef burned the offending uniform.

The knights left for the royal court at Carlion, only to find that it had already left, with Arthur hastening to Eburacum after hearing that it had been taken by Saxons. The Knights Perylous pushed their horses hard to make it in time, but missed the first clash anyway. They were able to meet the night-time raid from the Saxons and, despite Sirs Sara, Cerise, and Gwef being unhorsed, defeated the enemy heorthgeneats. Resting from the battle, they met Gawain and his younger brother Gaharis, who had Annikleze, the vengeful blade created by Sir Owain from the Black Annis’ claw.

Sir Cador asked for their help in intercepting another Saxon army moving to reinforce the city and they agreed. The army was defeated, but not their leader Baldulf, who snuck into the city in disguise. Then followed the siege of Eburacum, where King Arthur’s army was roundly rebuffed and even Sir Roderick was knocked out. Sir Harri deferred to his younger comrades more, leading to more rash choices this year.

Decamping, Arthur’s court reconvened, albeit more muted. There is a note from one attendee saying Sir Cerise approached Sir Tor on some matter, and got out only a few words about her faerie lover before fleeing the scene. She was nursed through her madness by a Christian holy man, with whom she had several awkward conversations.

Lady Katherine acquiesced to Count Robert’s suit and the marriage was celebrated that year. Sir Harri was the most noted attendant by far, dazzling the onlookers with his light feet and the toast that Sir Roderick called for. Sir Sara acted as a chaperone for an unknown lady, perhaps trying to impress her with a massive donation of alms (and probably undercut herself speaking only of Queen Guenevere). Sir Cerise listened to her count speak at great length about politics and spent much of her time asking about Sir Accolon and Hector’s killer, leading many to speculate that they may be one and the same. Sir Roderick told the same story about humiliating Sir Bryn many times over the course of the night, with more acclaim each time.

The final duty that year was the envoy to Wessex. King Cerdic greeted them coldly and shortly thereafter he asked for tribute once again, threatening them with annihilation when the “White Dragon'' rose. Despite Sir Sara’s best effort to calm tempers, Sir Cerise’s blinding, generational hatred spurred her to impolite and impolitic comments, which led to a duel with Cerdic’s champion, Saexwulf. He landed a heavy blow on her, but left himself open to an attack that knocked him out. The knights left in haste afterwards, as the crowd’s attitude soured.

Now to the important bits: The High King and Queen welcomed their baby, Anna. This is also the year that many scholars believe Sir Sara authored her love letters to her husband, and…

-Excerpts from Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

Edited by SaxBasilisk
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  • 3 weeks later...

In the year 517, Sir Gwef finally celebrated her marriage to her long-time lover, the gentleman Marcus. It was a raucous celebration, and several servants complained about the sheer amount of excess they had to clean off the floor afterwards. Sir Sara was known to drunkenly hold forth on hunting to a landowner suffering bandit attacks and impressing little. Sir Gwef called for a toast competition, but gave the best of the lot at the start. Sir Roderick gave the count what seemed to be excellent advice and gained a lady’s blessing. It’s anyone's guess on how he did either. Sir Harri was busy looking after the other Knights of Peryl, in response to Sir Nerys’ plea, and asked the count for a suitable marriage for Sir Cerise, who declined it to the Count’s displeasure. She still pined for her fae lover.

Court that year involved many new knights of the round being sworn in at King Pellinore’s suggestion, including Sirs Queux, Tor (despite Pellinore’s reservations regarding recommending his son), Gawain, Ursus and Harri.* Sir Sara found herself alone with the Queen, the new mother, for a moment, and tried valiantly to smooth over the awkward fangirl interactions she’d previously had, but Queen Guenevere excused herself and confused things even further. Sir Gwef extolled how best to maintain a marriage in a manner involving wine and convinced no one of her competence. Sir Agravaine approached Sir Cerise and attempted to intimidate the knight, who feigned being oblivious.

That year, King Arthur decided to drive the Saxons from Cumbria; they met in battle at Lincoln. The knights performed admirably and took several ransoms, though Sir Roderick was unhorsed at one point, falling from his new Salisbury charger, the result of many years of investment from Owain at the beginning of the Anarchy. By contrast, when Sir Gwef was unhorsed, Sir Sara lent her a rouncy when her squire failed to keep up. Many archers fired at the group, and Sir Sara’s squire complained afterwards that repairing her shield was like removing every quill from a hedgehog.

The battle at Lincoln won, King Arthur pursued the Saxons and drove them into a valley past Hadrian’s Wall in the Caledonian woods. There they corralled them with a palisade, until their hunger drove them to a desperate charge. The battle was won handily.

Now in the North, the knights set out for the Candida Casa monastery, where Cerise hoped to find clues about a Sword of Justice. Instead, they happened upon the lady Nimue bidding them to discharge another duty owed to the Lady of the Lake: to free the prisoner of the Castle of Chains, held fast in the tower. Castellan Bertolay, honoring hospitality, gave them welcome, but also told them they held no prisoner to release. Roderick made friends with the local Cameliard dissidents, but pretended to be drunk asleep when a visiting Eliavres sought to speak with him.

Sirs Harri and Sara, still suspicious, broke their oaths by prowling around after the household had gone to sleep and bribing their way past the tower guards. In the tower they found Queen Guenevere, who claimed to have been kept prisoner since her wedding night some years ago. She greeted Sir Sara fondly and expressed her gratitude. The two knights gave battle to the guards, knives against daggers. Hearing battle, the knights rallied to the cause. Sir Cerise’s squire, Circe, retrieved the weapons they had surrendered and they won the Queen’s freedom through a hidden passage.

They returned to the war camp, only to find that while they had been focused on the Saxons to the North, the white dragon had risen. Salisbury had been sacked, dealing grievous injury to their families and estates. This act of savagery heralded the final battle of this volume.

-Excerpts from Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

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On 1/11/2023 at 12:10 AM, SaxBasilisk said:

to free the prisoner of the Castle of Chains, held fast in the tower. Castellan Bertolay, honoring hospitality, gave them welcome, but also told them they held no prisoner to release. Roderick made friends with the local Cameliard dissidents, but pretended to be drunk asleep when a visiting Eliavres sought to speak with him.

Sirs Harri and Sara, still suspicious, broke their oaths by prowling around after the household had gone to sleep and bribing their way past the tower guards. In the tower they found Queen Guenevere, who claimed to have been kept prisoner since her wedding night some years ago. She greeted Sir Sara fondly and expressed her gratitude

Very Interesting. The fake Guenever stotyline ^^ How did you handle the violation of hospitality?

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On 1/12/2023 at 9:40 AM, Tizun Thane said:

How did you handle the violation of hospitality?

Poorly. I told them that they would automatically lose Hospitality if they spent their time sneaking about, and two of them were willing to take the plunge anyway. One of them had a famous Hospitality, so in retrospect I would have had him roll to overcome it, or roll a passion in opposition.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interlude: The Tale of Guenever

(We didn’t have time for all this last session, so I’ll fill you in now. This is the story Guinevere tells you on the way back to Carlion.)

“My father, King Leodegrance, often tries his best, but as is so often the case, he falls short of his ideals from time to time. Many years ago, he had an affair with the wife of his seneschal Cleodalis. As it happened, she became pregnant, having a child a month after my mother had me. The affair became common knowledge quickly - it was difficult to conceal two children so much alike in visage.

“Nonetheless, my father and Cleodalis were reconciled, and the other girl - named Guenever after me at birth, before the resemblance was clear - became a close friend of mine. We played together, shared our secrets… and even welcomed dignitaries such as the great Marshal Harri when he came to visit!

“As we became older, Cleodalis and my friend became disenchanted with this state of affairs. They were whispering amongst some of their retainers, including Bertolai, who you met at the Castle of Chains. My friend spent her time with an old nurse named Ganieda, who was reputed to be a witch of dangerous ability, experienced in glamour and cunning. The court can be a difficult and treacherous place, and I did so miss her.

“This changed when I began meeting Arthur secretly in the cathedral. Guen told me she knew, expressing the deepest desire to help to overcome my father’s distrust. I shared everything with her, answering her most probing questions. A wonderful time - I was in love with a king, and I had my best friend back!

“On the third night of the wedding festivities, the dissidents enacted their plan. Do you remember that closed garden near Carlion that ran down to the water? I went for a walk in the garden that night, only to be grabbed by Bertolai’s henchmen and spirited away on the boat. Guen walked past me when she did, and I remember the look of spiteful triumph on her face. I hate to think about what she’s done while I’ve been gone.

“That is the story. I hope she hasn’t done much damage. I care about my friend, but treason against the realm is too much to bear.”

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  • 1 month later...

The white dragon spat malice from the skies above court in Carlion of the year 518 as fledgling Britannia marshaled its forces. With Merlin gone and unable to locate spies at court, Sir Harri dedicated himself to the task. He found none - but rumor had it that Cornwall had planted a mole within Arthur’s retinue. Sir Sara sought information about the vanished Sir Marrok of Silchester, but she only served to muddy the waters further, convincing others that his disappearance was a questionable affair. Sir Cerise spent her time with her mentor Sir Brastias. They rode together, but Sir Brastias fell from his horse and was bruised. A record from Circe, Cerise’s squire, suggests they talked around the specter of death without naming it. Sir Roderick went to market, and found that, despite the conflicts, trade was thriving under King Arthur’s reign, with goods coming from unprecedented distances. Sir Gwf and Sir Ulfius spent their time executing Ulfius’s final schemes and intrigues.

They returned to Salisbury in anticipation of the battle. Sir Harri and Sir Cerise spent their time with their families. Sir Sara spent her time in desperate training, determined to bring the Saxons to justice for kidnapping her child. A good child of Cholderton, Sir Gwef exhorted her peasants and knights to courage with the promise of immortality in the lists of the honored dead. Sir Roderick worried about his estates and secured some of his family outside Salisbury, while concerning himself less with the fate of his concerningly large number of prisoners.

On the eve of battle, Sir Cet, son of Hector, was given his spurs by King Arthur himself. Cet was named after his great uncle Cet (or a leopard or a dog or one of his cousins; it’s a little unclear how many Cets were in Salisbury at this time). Afterward, to their surprise, Sir Sara, Sir Cerise, and Sir Gwefrfawr were all inducted into the Round Table, which they regarded as a clear sign of impending doom (and the likelihood of empty seats in the following seasons).

Perhaps divine justice had something to do with all the injuries Sir Roderick suffered in the next couple days. In the Battle of the Enbourne, Sir Harri, through exceptional tactics and violence, led them to victory after victory, before they met Cyning Aescwine in combat. Sir Harri knocked him unconscious with one strike before taking him prisoner. Later, they came upon the youthful Cyning Yffi of Deira, who Sir Harri also struck down. Despite the Knights of Peryl exceeding all expectations, the tide turned against them and the armies of Arthur retreated to Donnington. The Saxons on their heels, Brastias and the Iron Chargers dove headlong into the mass of Saxons to buy time with their lives.

At Donnington, ceaseless rain turned the battlefield into a quagmire. Sir Roderick took another injury, as did Sir Cerise. The giant Tom-breaks-the-mountain was an old friend of the late Sir Hector. Newly freed by Arthur’s engineers, he faced the Saxon armies on his own to cover the retreat of King Arthur’s forces, an act of betrayal noted in few histories, but surely noted by Sir Cet.

On the third day of battle, Arthur’s forces had retreated into Marlborough county. After much discussion, Sir Harri suggested that they retreat to Badon, rather than be besieged in Marlborough Town, depending on the impatience and battle lust of the Saxons to keep them from destroying any of the region’s walled towns. This fulfilled the words from Harri’s mysterious scroll:

    The Angles, Saxons, Franks, and Jutes,
    Shall not fall to worldly boots.
    See the bold red dragon rise
    To chase the white across the skies.
    Salisbury leads Logres to mend;
    Badon shall stand tall in the end.

Indeed, the Saxons did lay siege to Badon. 

The next day, Sir Sara was unhorsed as they battled heorthgeneats, but the trustworthy knights rode back for her. Sir Roderick was knocked out and badly injured. The newly knighted Sir Cet rode in his place and his first day as a Knight of Peryl saw him facing giants. Her blade still slick with giant blood, Sir Sara is quoted as saying, “The feats of the Knights of Peryl in these battles will go down in legend; even the Saxons will sing of us in their sagas.” A notably humble knight. The day’s action ended quietly, with the knights riding against Saxon archers in the dark, resulting in much confusion and few injuries.

The fourth day of combat began with the appearance of the hissing Red Dragon at the zenith. The Saxon forces thinned; the Knights of Peryl saw an opportunity to slay Aelle, but Sir Harri’s campaign against Saxon royalty finally faltered. They also fought a band of the white dragons, Saxon warriors armored in dragon scale and armed with rancor. The Knights suffered no casualties against them. When the opportunity arrived to fight Cyning Cerdic of Wessex, Salisbury’s long-time nemesis, Sir Harri passed the opportunity to Sir Sara, who took him captive. As the fallen king lost consciousness, Sir Sara growled, “This is for Brastias, cur.” Finally, the glorious Sir Gawain took King Aelle’s life to end the struggle against the Saxons.

Among the day’s casualties was Sir Ulfius, Duke of the Vale, one of the few nobles left from Uther’s reign after the Bloody Feast. Some considered him the heart of Logres in the absence of its king, a cunning and ruthless bastion against the never-ending incursions of the Saxons. Among the many injured were Sir Agravaine, Count Robert and King Arthur himself. The surviving Iron Chargers retrieved Sir Brastias’s remains and held an impromptu wake for him, caked in blood, dirt and glory as they raised their wineskins. There’s a quote attributed to a variety of people, from Sara to King Arthur: “He fought for his lord, his king and coin, but whoever he served, there was none better to have at your back.” Cerise was inconsolable.

King Arthur decreed that the Saxons would receive their proper funeral rites through cremation. Above them on Badon, a mound was raised, ringed with swords, for the dead of Logres. Exhausted and already grieving, the knights retired to their battered castles to find who in their households had survived the brutal week and bury those who didn’t.

-End of Volume 5 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

(This was an interesting session, to be sure. Most of us, save for one, openly rolls in the chat, so the players ended up having an incredible string of luck on the rolls. There was not a single round where the Battle Events table gave them a negative modifier, and they managed to maneuver through their encounters with giants and berserkers with ease. I promise I tried to do my duty to kill them properly, but they made it through.)

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17 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

This was an interesting session, to be sure. Most of us, save for one, openly rolls in the chat, so the players ended up having an incredible string of luck on the rolls. There was not a single round where the Battle Events table gave them a negative modifier, and they managed to maneuver through their encounters with giants and berserkers with ease. I promise I tried to do my duty to kill them properly, but they made it through.)

Lucky them! You used the battle rules in the Corebook, didn't you? They are nicer than the Book of Battles.

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3 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Lucky them! You used the battle rules in the Corebook, didn't you? They are nicer than the Book of Battles.

I did use the corebook. I usually give them a choice of troops they can fight with a successful Battle roll - one from the rulebook table, and one from the Book of Armies. Sir Harri has gotten his Battle up to 24, so they usually choose the group they want, so they have some ability to ratchet things up and down.  But in this battle, they were regularly going after the Saxon kings, berserkers, and giants. 

(Berserkers are slightly nerfed, because I'm using the 6e rules on passion amounts, and I feel as if giving them a +10 for passions and PKs a +5 is unbalanced. I think they only ended up with two or three rounds against berserkers, though, and they're still nasty.)

(I will be keeping the choice of units. It's an expression of my overall GM philosophy of "facilitate other people's poor life decisions," which seems tailor-made for Pendragon.)

I usually plan the battles out beforehand in terms of troop composition, creating a table so I can run more quickly. On Day 4, I had initially intended to use the Book of Armies "easy" table, but I swapped out to the "hard" table during the session. They would rather have fought King Aelle, though. (They did get intrigued by the draconic warriors, so they'll be coming back.)

So I'd say they have an easier time than Pendragon as written, but the dice were also very much in their favor. I think we only had one or two PKs unhorsed aside from Sir Roderick, for instance. I had adopted the Book of Battles rule that they could fight an additional round against the same unit to save their friend and give them an opportunity to get back on the horse. Often the outcome of the "rescue" is a trade-off - but not today!

Also, they used their passions a lot - but no one went mad at any point over the four days. I had already decided to house rule any departures so people wouldn't get stuck without characters, but it wasn't needed. Usually I can count on someone flying off the field and being gone for a week. 

Edited by SaxBasilisk
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  • 4 weeks later...

AD 519

Over the winter, Sir Harri’s wife passed away after years of painful decline. The brave marshal fled into the wilds in grief, where he spoke two new prophecies: “A secret falls on a razor’s edge” and “The Lady Rose will bring dismay to one you love.” Accompanied by the monks of Amesbury, he returned a much diminished man with only the memory of his wife left to him.

The knights began their year by sacking some Saxon towns. Many, especially Sir Roderick, chose to indulge their darkest pleasures while doing so. The newly arrived White Knight suggested that the Knights of Peryl and others stay their lusts for violence and cruelty, but even pious Sir Sara considered him a “dork.”

Sir Harri chose to ride with the White Knight on the hunt regardless to distract himself from his pain, receiving a sermon about some sacred cup instead. Sir Sara was honored by appointment to the Queen’s Knights, one of the few members to overlap with the Round Table. She was slapped during the trials by one Lady Indeg, because Sir Sara had indelicately tried to inquire after her husband Sir Marrok’s disappearance the year before. Sir Agravaine continued his feud with Sir Cerise by seizing her goblet and drinking her wine right in front of her (which was somehow not flirting). He unhorsed Sir Cerise to win the duel and continued his assault when she was on the ground, but finally surrendered after she thoroughly blooded him in response.

Sir Gwef renewed her friendship with Sir Uffo. He complained that he was only inheriting Silchester, not his father’s old holding of the Vale. Sir Gwef also took Coelred the Saxon as squire in a conciliatory effort. The group’s reaction was mixed; some chose to ignore him and others hassled him, although Sir Sara welcomed the new arrival. Sir Roderick spent his time in a drinking contest with a Cornish emissary (and presumably nursing a hangover afterwards). 

Court ended with a ceremony of recognition for the great deeds of the past two years. Sir Sara and Sir Harri were honored with the estates of Cherinsford and Woodland, respectively, for deeds in service to the crown in prior years. Boso became count of Rydychan, the Countess Violette having passed in the winter. Lady Lylla became the baroness of her ancestral Castle Vigor in Anglia.

Arthur’s troops marched north to meet an army of Picts and Dal Riadans who sought to exploit the king’s supposedly depleted strength. The Irish were driven back to their borders in the Battle of Alclud, and the king pressed the Picts back to Loch Lomond, forcing the Picts to swim for survival before suing for peace. Sir Roderick set out on his own to pillage and apparently missed messages from the king to return. His deeds during this time have been a matter of scholarly dispute.

Once their duties were discharged, the Knights partook of the oracle of the Eagles of Loch Lomond. Some knights chose to ask personal questions, but Sir Gwef asked if Merlin was primarily responsible for the May Babies.* The eagle’s response: yes. Another answer confirmed the wizard still lived. They had planned to investigate the circumstances of the May Babies to find the perpetrator, and this was an unexpected boon.

Nonetheless, Merlin was still missing. None of the other major mystical figures of the island were easily found, so the group went to Morgan le Fay at Gaiholm, the capital of Gorre.** She was entertaining Sir Accolon and Sir Uffo as guests when they arrived. Le Faye had few answers for them and referred them to Queen Margawse in the Orkneys. She also noted that one of the knights had a method of avoiding Merlin’s attention. After some speculation to Morgan's amusement, Sir Roderick admitted that he did.

Seeking a ship in Stirling, the Knights of Peryl were intercepted by the Orkney faction: Gawain, Agravaine and Gaheris. After Sir Cerise childishly riled up Agravaine, Gawain kept the peace. He offered to give them passage to the Orkneys to meet the queen if they mind their manners and not upset his mother. He also asked that the knights speak with him before bringing the claim of Merlin’s involvement to his uncle the king. On the ship, Sir Roderick buddied up with Agravaine while Sara attempted to apologize to the knight for an off-hand comment. She misspoke, earning his enmity from that day forward.

When they arrived at Orcaide, they found Queen Margawse in a state. Sir Harri tried his best to be diplomatic despite his melancholy. She laid many claims at the feet of Vivianne and Merlin regarding the lost children. She had delved deep into the arcane arts in an attempt to surpass the powerful wards blocking her attempts to see the fate of the May babies, to no avail. Yet she had worked magic to draw out her own memories of the one glimpse she gained through her scrying session. She entrusted the knights with the sketch and an entreaty to find the babies. Sir Harri recalled the island from his time squiring with Sir Helen and the original Knights Perylous - it lay off the Breton coast!

The knights returned from the Orkneys to Logres, where they had a memorial feast for Sir Harri’s departed wife at which Sir Roderick proved most beloved by the crowd. Sir Sara convinced King Cerdic to find the whereabouts of her heir through correspondence. Sir Cerise asked her fairy lover to forgive her infidelity, - but would a fairy even understand the concept?

The year claimed the lives of many influential Britons. The household of Broughton had seen too many die before their time, even before Marcus passed by falling off the fortress’ new wall. Cet the elder, brother of Sir Owain, drowned in a manner that was not recorded. Few not at Staplefort loved Cet, but he was as influential as any behind the scenes, despite his low status. Surely an accident, his death. Cleodalis was much beloved, but King Leodegrance’s affair with his wife had borne much sorrow and chaos, with the whereabouts of the false Guinevere still unknown. Queen Ygraine was mother of the king and the queens of the north, the wife of two of the kingdom’s most powerful men and a power in her own right, though many seemed to want to forget that. The Knights of Peril would recall her efforts to kill their parents during their treason trial at Tintagel…

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

* I polled the players for what they wanted to do next, and this one won unanimously. I think it will work out well, for someone.

** List under "things I should have seen coming, but was caught unawares by nonetheless." I would have liked to introduce Ywaine and Morffyd, Hector's twin children. Next year's court...

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10 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

Sir Sara had indelicately tried to inquire after her husband Sir Marrok’s disappearance the year before


10 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

Sir Gwef renewed her friendship with Sir Uffo. He complained that he was only inheriting Silchester, not his father’s old holding of the Vale.

Nice foreshadowing, again.

10 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

Sir Gwef asked if Merlin was primarily responsible for the May Babies.*

The Eagles told me the truth!

10 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

I would have liked to introduce Ywaine and Morffyd, Hector's twin children.

You mean Urien, not Hector, I guess ;)

Otherwise, I really like this year, and the way you handled Queen Margawse. Her alliance with the players looks very promising ! I really hope the PKs will find her lost son, and give peace to this bereaved lady ^^

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2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Nice foreshadowing, again.

Thanks! This is one area where I think the GPC as written could insert a few hints...

2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

You mean Urien, not Hector, I guess 😉

Oh yes. Hector would never have done anything untoward and/or uncanonical when escorting a lady to her wedding! He'd stand for himself on the matter, but Morgan says he still hasn't come back from Scandinavia...

2 hours ago, Tizun Thane said:

Otherwise, I really like this year, and the way you handled Queen Margawse. Her alliance with the players looks very promising ! I really hope the PKs will find her lost son, and give peace to this bereaved lady ^^

I think this will all go wonderfully!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Cet the elder statesman of the august Salisbury house Staplefort, younger brother of Sir Owain le Terreur and uncle of Sir Roderick, renowned and ruthless schemer, the unofficial shadow of the knights of Peril, drowned in 520. There’s no record of the circumstances; quite Leopoldian.

Sir Harri, dealing with his own losses, spent his time at court pondering mortality. Unfortunately, the Irish peace delegates at court were preoccupied with the coming war and didn’t care to ponder the nature and meaning of death just then. Sir Sara listened to the concerns of some monks about spiritual parallels to a panther and their inability to convert Cerdic of Wessex, an unspoken plea to Sir Sara.

Sir Gwf spoke with Sir Uffo about his desire to become Duke of the Vale, although her letter of support had little effect. Sir Cerise asked Sir Gawain if he could still trust Arthur after his mother’s allegations about Merlin; Sir Gawain reaffirmed his devotion to his liege. Sir Roderick assumed Cet’s legacy and schemed with Sir Agravaine. 

Among the various competitions at court, Sir Sara found herself debating Cerdic of Wessex over the religious virtues, hoping to convert him. Neither proved themselves a master of theology, and their passionate embrace of their respective virtues was indecisive, so in the end Sir Sara won on sheer eloquence.*

The Knights opted to join the force suppressing the rebellion in Anglia to discharge their royal duty, rather than joining the war in Ireland. The siege was broken quickly, but some of the mercenaries were sacking the reclaimed property. The knights (sans Roderick, who was preoccupied with looting) stood against the Green Cloak mercenaries, turning the tide against the pillagers.

After the rebellion was dissolved, Sir Gwladus of Hereford blamed the uprising on the cruelty of Baroness Llylla, Sir Cerise’s mother. Sir Cerise and the knight were set to stand against each other, but both of them, contemplating their abiding passions in the coming battle, found themselves instead in a well of despair. They both fled from the field, mad.**

Rousing herself from her stupor some days later, Sir Cerise found herself addressed by an eagle, perched on a high tree. “Pride is the fault of the Pendragons. Tell King Arthur,” it said. It would provide nothing more, so Sir Cerise returned to the keep where it happened that King Arthur was visiting. She related the strange message and the stranger provenance. Apparently an avid ornithologist, King Arthur set out to meet the eagle. Once the King’s cousin, the transformed bird had a message to relate from the Eagle King (at least one realm that Arthur did not seek to conquer):


“You will almost die, and then find yourself lost among a field of stones.
"A boatload of children will make you marvel and fear.
"A white knight will also be a monk.
"You shall sit on a throne in Rome.
"Your son will be King of Britain.”

Sir Harri is recorded as referring to the eagle afterward as "douchey."

Their duties discharged, the knights of Peryl turned to a more personal matter: the abduction of Rhian II, heir to Shrewton. Missing for some years, Sir Sara had found her in a Saxon town in Hantonne. Arriving, Sir Roderick, uncharacteristically incensed by the existence of Saxons, pressed past his comrades to murder a Saxon peasant in cold blood.*** The town roused itself and the knights soon found themselves surrounded by peasants with spears held ready. Sir Harri mixed a guess and a risky lie to answer the growing crowd: He claimed they were on the king’s business to look into the source of the weapons that the peasants were arming themselves with. With this and the payment of the weregild, the crowd was sufficiently cowed, and the heorthgeneat Feimurgan emerged with Rhian II.

Sir Sara heard the woman’s story before asking for her child’s return. She paid the price the woman asked out of Rhian’s sight, so that her child wouldn’t think of this as a transaction. Fearing that the years of absence had left them strangers, Sara hummed Rhian II’s favorite lullaby and was pleased to see the child remembered her with love. Sir Gwef recognized the heorthgeneat as the murderer of her father, but put aside her vengeance in deference to the gentle moment of the reunion.

Finding themselves with a few months of good weather left, the knights pursued the May Babies to Brittany. Before they left Hantonne, they heard a popular new song making the rounds:



There was a knight named Roderee, 
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
‘Twas twice as big as you and me
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
He climbed the mountains peak to peak
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
For there adventure he would seek
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,

Hail, sir Rodrick! All Alba did you save
Through your bravery, and your mighty blade!

And there he met King Pellinore,
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
Looking for the nearest door,
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
“Rodrick, there’s a dragon green,
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
The meanest beast I’ve ever seen,
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do.

And when that scared king turned and fled,
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
Toward dragon Rodrick turned his head
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
He found the foul beast in a field
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
There he knew he’d make it yield
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,

Then Sir Rodrick spurred his horse
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
heading toward the dragon’s course
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
With one quick stroke chopped off its head
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do,
And left the mighty dragon dead
Hi dee dee, a diddle di do.

Hail, sir Rodrick! All Alba did you save
Through your bravery, and your mighty blade!


Upon arriving at the town of Dol, Bishop Samson advised them on the quest. Sir Sara discovered that her father Nidian I was considered a saint here, to her amusement. They spent weeks scouring the coast until they found the woman reputed to have taken in a shipload of children: Marie. She explained how she had come to be their caretaker, finding them after the wreck and raising them as her own, with the help of a chest of gold and silver. There were none that matched their expectation of a child of Morgawse, however. Apparently there was one absent child, Roi, seen last at the coastline, and late to return.

The knights went in search and found him in a cave, in company with Gros-Jean, a monster who fed naughty children seaweed before punishing them by telling them stories of bad children.**** In exchange for the child’s return, it wanted a story. Sir Harri expertly wove the tale of young Roderick, who was tasked by his lord with filling a golden sack threaded with silver with fresh apples. The squire, hungry and curious, bit into one of the apples and threaded it poorly while closing it, so when his lord went to open the sack at the summit, the bag spilled all the apples to the floor, exposing the bite mark and the squire’s iniquity.*****

Laughing, the monster told Sir Harri that the key had been underfoot all along and dove into the waves. They brought the young man back to the house unharmed. Upon inspection, he really did resemble the Queen of Orkney.

Marie then shared with them a sealed letter, with the seal effaced.  After some discussion, the Knights opened it:


To his Highness, the Pope:
This child is the son of a king and a queen of Britain. His father hight King Lot, the greatest king of Britain, and his mother hight Margawse, daughter of Uther Pendragon. The gifts sent by messenger are a token of appreciation and trust that you will raise our children in the best manner possible. Please save them from the devil worship of Merlin the Enchanter.

The knights debated what to do and came to an agreement to return the children to the north, but consensus on the letter came less easily. In particular, Sir Cerise said she would not be silent on its contents. In the end, the king read the letter aloud to court and welcomed his nephew, Mordred.******

Sir Gwef announced her marriage to Harri Jr, her beloved HJ. Sir Cerise, meanwhile, performed a poem for the winter court:


To fall from bough and tree,
to dance however free;
to fade away.
I dance upon the breeze
in fall before the freeze,
my evergreen,
so let’s marry and !@#$.

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

* Method - Contested rolls of Religion, followed by contests of religious virtues (opposing, save for Generous, where the two values were directly contested.) Success on one's religious virtue garnered a point, and two for a critical. If the winner doesn't have a religious virtue, they can block the other person's point, but gain no points themselves. Orate tie-breaker.

** Players: "Do we have seconds for this duel?"
Me: "No, this is too funny."

*** I don't know if this is uncharacteristic of Roderick in general, but he does have one of the lowest Hate (Saxons) in the party. 

**** This was a fun bit of Breton folklore to build in.

***** A modification of the story of the four heads Sir Roderick dropped at Leodegrance's court.

****** A happy ending for everyone!

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  • 3 weeks later...

[Illegible] murdered Sir Sara’s husband Corryn with an ax. Desperate for a distraction from her grief, she turned to court and danced with whoever was available, ignoring the monks’ concern over Cerdic’s immortal soul. A different murder on Sir Cerise’s estate prompted her to challenge her guest, Sir Accolon, to a duel. [1] She had long suspected him of murdering her cousin Sir Hector, composer of the song “Fuck up the Saxons.” Accolon postponed the duel regardless.

In the year 521, court was held in the nascent Camelot. Sir Sara asked Morgan to contact her elder sister for help with the recent estate deaths, but Morgan, unusually cheerful, was distracted by Sir Harri at the Camelot menagerie near the panther cage. Sir Cerise dueled a knight, Sir Jean-Pierre of Claudas’ court, for declining a lady’s dance. Sir Gwef spent her time gaming with Sir Uffo and invited him to her upcoming nuptials.

Sir Gwef wanted a grand celebration of her union with Harri Junior, so it was held in Camelot. During the feast, Sir Cerise was showered with interest from the other guests, even as Sir Harri gave a speech and toast honoring the couple. Sir Roderick, meanwhile, caused a ruckus.

While there was a royal feast that year, the Knights of Peryl opted to go on their own, less raucous hunt. They were accompanied by Sir Guaire, an Irish knight and friend of Orkney. Sir Harri, an accomplished hunter, cornered the hart before the rest of the group arrived. The beast repeatedly gored him, but the beast went down when the others arrived. Their hunt ended, the group returned to Camelot where Morgan tended to Sir Harri’s needs [2].

After the royal hunt ended, the court discovered Arthur and Uriens missing. Also missing was Sir Accolon, a confidante of Morgan. Sir Harri remained in Camelot and let his un-gored daughter take his place with the Knights of Peryl. They dutifully searched the woods for their liege that night, led by Sir Roderick’s hunting leopard, and dutifully became lost.

As the sun rose, they heard someone playing a familiar tune. Following the sound through the underbrush, they were waylaid by Saxons in dragon hide wielding claws. The Knights were driven back by the dragon warriors’ fury, and Sir Cerise’s wounds reopened. Finally, Sir Roderick called upon the tooth of St Germanus to break the enemy’s ranks.

The Knights followed the music until they arrived at a clearing where a duel between two knights was underway. The combatants were unrecognizable. Their shields were dented and blood obscured their tabards. The audience said that they championed local lords in a dispute over a manor, but didn’t know either fighter. The knights watched until one duellist disarmed the other, causing Excalibur to land at the feet of the crowd. Cerise originally wanted to return the sword to its owner, but Sir Sara urged caution. After the knights revealed themselves, she gave the blade to the unveiled King Arthur. Knowing he was doomed, Sir Accolon collapsed under the weight of his wounds.

Sir Accolon admitted plotting to overthrow Uriens and Arthur, and that the duel was a pretext to kill Arthur, all for love of the mastermind: Morgan. Arthur then collapsed and the group took both to the estate of Sir Ontzlake. [3] The knights stood guard, but Sir Cerise took a moment away from Arthur’s bedside to hear the last words of Sir Accolon. Accolon expressed regret for his treason (but not killing Hector). 

As the Knights kept their long vigil, Morgan appeared in Arthur’s room and attempted to take his life with Excalibur, but Sir Betrys heard her enter and took the blade from her. Morgan fled on bronze wings [4], still clutching the sheath and dodging the dagger Sir Betrys threw.

A few hours later, a party from Arthur’s court found the king, and they all retired to Camelot. Harri related to them what happened in their absence: The night before, Sir Harri had sought Morgan’s aid again [5], but discovered her tending to Uriens and left her to it. The next morning, he checked in with Morgan [6] and found her armed and struggling against her son Ywain; she was trying to kill Uriens with his own sword. Sir Harri knocked the sword from her hands and gave her a parting wound as she vanished [7].

Arthur pronounced Morgan an enemy of the crown and banished her children from court, despite their loyalty. [8] Many knights voiced their protest at the fate of Ywain and Morffyd, but Sir Cerise’s words so affected Sir Gawain that he chose to go into exile with Sir Ywain. Sir Gwef invited Morffyd to remain at Broughton. 

Arthur’s action in response to the treason was swift, pursuing Morgan’s household out of Camelot, but he found himself lost in a field of standing stones. He also had all the knights of the land swear fealty to him, personally at Sarum. The year’s campaign in Alba had gone poorly. The Picts never met the knights on the field of battle, using hit and run tactics in the rocky terrain. This is also the first year that the cult of Regis is found in the record.

Sir Harri finally decided to retire from active duty. His baseborn daughter took his place in the Knights of Peryl. Sir Betrys, second Kingsguard of her family, had been in the group’s retinue some time and witnessed Arthur draw the sword from the stone, as well as fighting at Bedegraine, Lincoln, and Badon. She had heard of her father’s deeds from the other knights her whole life and spent much of her time in awe of her comrades, hoping to live up to their legacy.

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

[1] Some timing, waiting for this year to kill Accolon...

[2] Even worse timing.

[3] If you get the group involved in the duel, I'd recommend handling it this way. "All right - the king is injured, you don't know any of these people, and you're the only ones from Camelot here. You've just become his bodyguards. What do you do?"

[4] The wings of King Bladud, hidden under Westminster, to which Nerys was instrumental in granting Morgan access.

[5] Me pushing the player with Lustful 18.

[6] His idea this time.

[7] Courtesy of the Ring of Eluned, gifted to her by Sir Hector.

[8] You'll note that I forgot the maiden with the cloak - but I think this is an example of Arthurian literature just piling on parallel incidents. It also makes him look kind of dumb that he even thinks about it. YPMV.

Edited by SaxBasilisk
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  • 1 month later...


In 522, court was buzzing about Sir Uffo suing the king for his father’s demesne, having received only a portion thereof. There was also the first performance of Sara’s dirge for her husband Corryn, still a common memorial to this day. Roderick continued his great and confusing friendship with Sir Agravaine, who readily agreed that Merlin was behind his misfortunes, after practice jousting against the same target from opposite directions went awry.

They left to attend a feast in Marlborough to honor the count’s rescue from the darkness engulfing Marlborough fortress as a child. It had hardly begun when Sir ‘ector announced that mighty Roderick needed to slay a dragon ravaging his lands. Roderick pledged the aid of the knights Perylous, to the discomfort of those who had not slain* a dragon. 

Roderick’s bravado soured when the wizard Eliavres revealed himself in the audience. He said seven animals were needed: a mouse, an eagle, a unicorn, a lion, a crane, a stag and, most importantly, a panther. His mad claim [1]: the beast’s chimeric indigestion after eating the other six would incapacitate the dragon.

Their first stop was Camelot for one of King Arthur’s hunting eagles, obtained despite Betrys’s impertinence, and Queen Guenevere’s menagerie panther, which Sara was able to coax away. Meanwhile, Cerise’s falconry was able to seize a field mouse. (Most of the animals were named after people they had grievances against, but Cerise would mourn the loss of lil' C.)

Heading east to Sara’s Woodland estate in Silchester [3], they sought a unicorn, using Sara’s daughter to lure the beast into an honorable* ambush. Rhian the younger did not look away from the violence.

En route to the forest Sauvage, they passed a company of green-cloaked mercenaries. Their forest guide was the fairy Sir Tustin from the long-ago Rydychan adventure [2], though they relied on Sara to lead them to a lion’s lair. Roderick set a trail of food to lead the pair away, but one stayed behind to protect the cubs. Betrys slew the beast while the squires did the dirty work. 

At the edge of the forest near the fens where cranes dwelt, they sheltered at one of Lady Llylla’s estates. Though she gave them hospitality, their conversation was brief after her daughter Cerise accused her of crimes against humanity due to her mass gibbet. The knights had to borrow a peasant’s boat to catch a crane.

Heading west through the Forest Sauvage with Sir Tustin, they came upon the estate of Gorbuduc the demon child [4], who had been abusing his peasants almost as cruelly as Llylla was abusing hers. Incensed, the Knights Perylous started a melee with his mercenaries and knights. Gorbuduc charged the defiantly pious Sara, but his knights were overcome and Gwef took his head.

Finally, they acquired a stag [5] and rode to Berwyn just as Sir ‘Ector was about to throw his life into a dragon’s maw [6]. They begged his patience and fed the panther, who slept for three full days before awakening. With a prod from Roderick, it gave a great belch that put the dragon in wakeless slumber. Bowing to Prudence, the knights slew the sleeping creature.

At home, Sara found that Nidian had left in pursuit of her husband’s killers. She followed his trail, but found him slain by horsemen, a scrap of green cloth gripped in his hands [7]. Hearing the news, Roderick fled into the woods, seized by grief. He was found that spring, tonsured and praising the late Sir Nidian at Saint Martin’s abbey.

And indeed he might: Nidian was the most pious of knights: a saint in his lifetime, inheriting Shrewton after the tragic death of his sister; a veteran of Lindsey, bloody St. Albans, Netley Marsh, Carlion and Bedegraine; most beloved of his wife; the devoted servant of fledgling Britain in its deepest need; and the savior of the royal house of Estregales. Also as an enthusiast of horse racing and a good neighbor. Sir Nidian’s death was mourned then and now, his piety echoing through history.

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

[1] The adventure does have a tone that I was concerned would be too weird for my group, and it turned out this was a challenge.

[2] Despite repeated hinting, the group has yet to explore the Forest Sauvage. As the Great Hunt requires paths through it, I gave Eliavres a silver whistle allowing them to meet Sir Tustin once again.

[3] I used a unicorn sighting as an excuse in previous years for a year-end event for Sir Sara... now she has her revenge.

[4] This was intended as an aside for future adventures, as Tustin told them not to leave the path, but I think Llylla's atrocities had stirred the knights' inherent sense of justice.

[5] I handwaved this last part for time. I think the group can handle a stag.

[6] I was making the rolls for Ector's passions, and the group timed their arrival perfectly.

[7] A year-end event for Sara's father. I did ask the player if this was an acceptable end to Sir Nidian's tale, and she agreed.

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I like the way you've combined the Great Hunt and the Gorboduc adventures, with your own campaign, into a coherent story. Well done!

Was Nidian killed by the mercenaries in green? Why? Who are they?

16 hours ago, SaxBasilisk said:

Rhian the younger did not look away from the violence.

Who is Rhian? What violence?

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On 6/28/2023 at 12:37 PM, Tizun Thane said:

I like the way you've combined the Great Hunt and the Gorboduc adventures, with your own campaign, into a coherent story. Well done!

Thank you!

On 6/28/2023 at 12:37 PM, Tizun Thane said:

Was Nidian killed by the mercenaries in green? Why? Who are they?

Who is Rhian? What violence?

The mercenaries in green are the looters they fought in 520 at Fort Guinnon. Rhian is the daughter of Sara, named after her uncle and foster mother.

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  • 1 month later...

523 AD

While on garrison duty, the Knights dueled some sergeants on the new bridge between Salisbury and Hampshire. They had been chasing Roderick, who had become a tonsured monk in his madness. The monks from St Martin’s were eager to leave Roderick in their care after a messy battle with the sergeants.

Sara was invited to become a Grail Knight by the White Knight, fulfilling a prophecy, but court records bear little else of note. The King ordered all his knights to find Merlin. The knights Perylous delayed only for a duel between Sir Gwladus and Cerise, a trial by combat of Llylla’s guilt and a reprise of the duel canceled due to madness. Cerise lost in the first pass, a surprise to no one who knew Llylla’s character.

In their pursuit of Merlin, the knights sought the wisdom of the Ladies of the Lake in Brittany. [1] Pausing briefly in Rennes, they arrived in the Forest of Broceliande and found three mourning women, who promised reward if the knights would avenge an unknown, fallen king. All but Sir Cerise did so, learning that they had agreed to avenge the much maligned King Pellinore. Cerise, having refused the oath and disdainful of Pellinore anyway, petulantly refused to help them inspect the battle site. All they found was that three people had attacked him, along with a shred of gold cloth and a purple and gold shield fragment.

Sir Roderick’s hunting leopard followed the scent and led them to a clearing where Sir Ywain sat by a stream that boiled despite being cool and a large rock in the center of the clearing. Sir Ywain sought to avenge his cousin and poured water on the rock, which caused a storm that flushed the offending knight out of the forest. Sir Ywain set out in pursuit as the knight fled.

The Perylous Knights continued wandering and found a roaring river, with a temple and sword on the opposite side. They towed themselves across the water after securing a line. The tomb was for the Rydychan twins, Sirs Balan and Balin, who had slain each other as prophesied. Sir Gwef paid tribute to Balin, who had squired her, leaving flowers on the grave. A sword stuck in a piece of red marble bobbing in the water. It looked to be Sir Balin’s blade, but with a new hilt and decorations. An inscription said it can only be drawn “by the best knight in the world.” Sirs Sara, Cerise, Gwefrfawr, and Betrys attempted and failed, while Sir Roderick, perhaps recognizing his reputation, demurred.  Beyond the isle of the tomb was a city of glass, but they deemed it unlikely to contain Merlin, so they crossed back over the river and continued wandering. [2]

Emerging from the forest, they found that their absence was far longer than it appeared; their year’s duty was past and they returned home unsuccessful. There was treachery in their absence; Sir Uffo had tried to usurp Silchester. Cerise’s castle Limeborne had been taken, and Sir Ursus had besieged the traitor there until winter.

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

[1] ME: “You’ve been given the task by Arthur to find Merlin, who has been missing for some time. Rumors are coming from all over, so you could conceivably justify going anywhere on this map that shows all of Britain and Brittany.”

ME: “I also know that you took the survey and everyone wanted to either pursue Nidian’s killers or discredit Llylla.”

PLAYER 1:  “What’s in Brittany?”

ME: “That’s where you went to rescue Mordred.” (thinks) “It’s also where the Ladies of the Lake live.”

PLAYER 1: “Let’s go there!”

PLAYER 2: “That’s a long way.”

PLAYER 1: “No, Merlin has a thing for that Lady of the Lake! We should go!”

PLAYER 3: [Posts screensaver GIF]

PLAYER 2: “All right.”

ME: “OK. Let me see what I can put together, as I wasn’t anticipating this.” (notes that there’s two pages of material ever published for Pendragon on Brittany.) “You’re off to Brittany!”


[2] PLAYER 3: “Wait a minute. Why are we in Brittany?”

PLAYER 1: “We came to find the Ladies of the Lake!”

PLAYER 3: “Didn’t we meet one for the first time in Somerset?”

PLAYER 2: “Oh yeah!”


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  • 2 weeks later...


In attendance: Sir Roderick of Staplefort; Sir Gwef of Broughton; Sir Cerise of Cholderton; Sir Betrys of Newton Tony; Sir Sara of Shrewton

Betrys took the oaths of the Order of the Golden Apple in 524 according to the roll maintained by the King of a Hundred Knights at Eburacum. The siege of Sir Uffo at Silchester carried over into the new year, with Cerise and Sara trying to taunt Uffo out of his defenses. One account says Sara cursed him that “he and his line shall wither,” and another says Cerise compared him pejoratively with Vortigern. Gwef, meanwhile, was wintering with her husband at Candida Casa to bond more closely (and also read in peace).

Before court they were invited to hunt by Count Charles of Marlborough. Betrys found yale tracks and they were successful in hunting it, but not before it stabbed the count non-lethally. They were able to knock it out with the intention of expanding Guenever’s menagerie. An alarming cry interrupted their victory, however, and they found the Irish knight Sir Guaire marred by a small bite and a surprisingly calm wolf sitting on its haunches nearby. Both Sir Gwef and Sir Cerise moved forward to pet it, and it responded amiably. With Betrys tending to Guaire’s wounds, they were able to bring the wolf with them back to Camelot, though the inimitable dog Regis was in a jealous melancholy the whole time.

Sir Queue had a conniption at the arrival of the beast, but his journal suggests that Cerise swayed his opinion. He permitted the wolf after showing the Knights of Peryl the myriad crises that plagued him that day, including a knight impaled with weapon shards. Sara was called away to attend Queen Guenevere, who had an audience with a hopeful worthy: a woman with no memory other than living with Vivianne, the Lady of the Lake. She hoped for nothing but knighthood. In conference, Sara agreed with Guenevere’s positive impression of the woman and she became known as the Squire of the Lake.

The logs show that Cerise had an unsuccessful falcon hunt in the company of Queen Margawse. I can only imagine they discussed their respective familial troubles, like Sir Agravaine (who joined Sir Roderick in pelting squires with garbage). Gwef remained in the courtyard, training her new pet (while bribing Regis with ham to keep him happy) and greeting any who happened by. The wolf was friendly to everyone but the widowed Lady Indeg, at whom he growled. Betrys sought out shields with purple and gold to find Pellinore’s killers - only to have it pointed out that her own shield bore those two colors adjoining.

Elsewhere, Sir Melodiam challenged Sir Gawain to a trial by combat after accusing him of slaying his father. After a lengthy combat by the two impassioned knights, Sir Gawain finally overcame his opponent. The de Galis knight refused Gawain’s peace and swore again to the charge. Sir Gawaine beheaded Meldiam and proved his own innocence.

On Pentecost, over a hundred worthies lined up to be knighted by Sir Arthur. In his haste to finish the lengthy ceremony, Arthur didn’t finish the ritual with the Squire of the Lake, failing to buckle on her sword. This was followed immediately by a high Mass, and the error went unrectified. Cerise, being distinctly unchristian and absenting herself from Mass, found herself following cries of pain down a hallway. There, she found the Squire of the Lake drawing the weapons from the injured knight and vowing to avenge him. Cerise guided the squire away from her mistake and snitched on her to King Arthur once Mass had finished, also politely noting the King’s error in the girding.

Afterwards, knights and ladies rushed to the feast hall, but King Arthur reiterated Merlin’s declaration that the hall needed a wonder before a feast could be held. Gwef, having a ready appetite, brought up the tame wolf as such a wonder. King Arthur asked his audience to quest for an explanation, but allowed the feast to start. Jealous of the attention lavished on the wolf, Regis sulked.

This was a feast of many matches: Sara met her betrothed, as did Lady Morffyd, Gwef’s guest and daughter of the disgraced Morgan. Betrys, meanwhile, roamed the feast in the role of the Great White Stag. Cerise briefly retired with Queen Margawse, and Sir Agravaine was fully wrothful.* Sara, perhaps elated by her new beau, was noted in many commentaries on the party. Gwef accompanied the wolf about, closely questioning the attendees. She heard a tale about a man who traveled on four feet until his clothes were returned and gossip that Sir Guaire and Lady Indeg were lovers who sometimes met at a ruined castle by the Enbourne. Unsurprisingly, the feast had a drama interlude: A lady from Nohaut requested aid from the king. The Squire of the Lake begged to take the quest and be Queen Guenevere’s champion in front of the whole court. The King declared her worth must be proved with deeds. 

The feast over, Gwef used her influence to keep Guaire and Indeg busy at court for a day. She then led the knights to the ruined castle. There she found a nook, forgotten many years ago, with the clothes belonging to the man who became her wolf. Sir Marrok dressed, hampered ever so slightly by his lack of fingers and bipedal body, and eventually transformed back. The knights brought the matter to King Arthur, but were divided on the penalty for the terrible crimes. Considering the arguments before him, King Arthur endorsed Sir Roderick’s views and judged Sir Guaire and Lady Indeg worthy of death. The knight asked for trial by combat, and Sir Sara leapt to fight him. In the duel, she slew him with a blow that rent him from neck to armpit straight through his ribcage. Lady Indeg followed him to doom shortly after.

 The former Count of Silchester was missing once the defenders finally surrendered, and he was many months gone. Of greater import, High King of the Animals, Regis, was restored to his proper place as object of Gwef’s affection, although Ywain did return to court with a lion…**

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

* This is genuinely the funniest part of the session. The scribe wanted to take it out, but was convinced otherwise.

** As a note, this does sort of undermine the Adventure of the Werewolf, which is why I'm glad I ran it early and delayed Ywaine's return as the "Knight of the Lion" slightly.

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Broughton Interlude


One day, a servant appears with a five-year-old girl and a note.

My dear Gwefrfawr,

I deeply regret the pain my rash actions have caused you, one of my closest friends. I have let my pride and my anger rule me, to the ruin of everything.

It is not fair that these sins be visited down through the generations. If I may ask for any favor, it is that this girl be brought up at Broughton. It is best if you cannot say where she comes from, and that you choose a new name for her. Keep her safe from her enemies - I know not if Sir Sara falls into that camp - and tell her what you believe is important when she comes of age.

My best wishes go to you, and to Harri, Edra, Maris, Marcus, and Balin. Also, pet Regis for me.

Your friend

Edited by SaxBasilisk
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  • 4 weeks later...

525 A.D.

Players in Attendance: Sir Sara of Shrewton; Sir Cerise of Cholderton; Sir Gwef of Broughton; Sir Betrys of Newton Tony. Absent: Sir Roderick of Staplefort.

At court that winter, the Knights of Peryl were in disagreement on how best to use the year. Should they track down the traitorous Uffo, at King Claudas’ court in Paris? Should they seek to end Llylla’s abuses of the Anglian peasants? They could venture into the Forest Sauvage to back Gwef’s claim to Medbourne, or find the Kingslayers to avenge King Pellinore. They opted to focus on Lady Llylla’s misdeeds.

At court, Sara’s squire acquitted himself quite well in Agravaine’s squire fights. Gwef bet on the outcome but forbade her squire to participate. Gwef also tried to find gossip on the location of Morgan, but had less luck. Meanwhile, Brother Syrion, the king’s treasurer, took Cerise to account for Uffo taking control of the castle entrusted to her by the crown. Her knowledge of stewardship impressed him, so she was given another chance. With the aid of the Lady of the Lake, Betrys narrowed the suspects in Pellinore’s murder, with suspicion turning toward the Orkneys.

A Roman tribune attended court that year and demanded an outrageous tribute from King Arthur. He not only declined, but declared Rome to be his vassal by right. He announced his intent to lay claim next year.

With the possibility of a long absence hanging over them, Sara rushed to be wed that very year to Lady Nia of Edmonton. They invited the Duchess Hervice of Anglia, Lady Llylla’s superior. According to rumor, the duchess also treated her Saxon peasants poorly (though not as poorly as Llylla), but Sara was unable to wring any secrets from her. Some letters mention how Cerise managed to stumble over Sir Tor in the dance competition, and a priest at the feast declared that the gods shone upon Betrys. Once married, Lady Nia entreated her new wife to join in her efforts to remove the Head of Bran from the White Tower in London, and Sara agreed

On the way to Anglia, Gwef decided to claim Medbourne, even if it meant a detour through the Forest Sauvage. They relied on Roderick’s trusty hunting leopard, though it seemed to lead them astray this time. They were truly lost when they heard a hellish baying from the woods. Some of them fled before the hounds of the Wild Hunt. Cerise and Betrys kept their nerve and watched the hunt pass them by, but were separated from the others.

Those two stumbled upon a contingent from the Castle of Ease and accepted their offer of hospitality. Due to their vigor, they were able to leave the comforts of the castle without worry on the next morning, though Cerise offered them the hospitality of Cholderton in return.

In the Forest, Sara, Gwef and Roderick came upon a terrible hag.  The hag introduced herself as the daughter of their mortal enemy, Black Annis, and swore vengeance upon them. The hag cursed Sara to succeed in her own quest of vengeance. To find their path, Gwef gave her words of kindness, which seemed less metaphorical than expected, judging from the less gentle temperament of her letters. Finally, those three came to Medford, and Gwef laid claim to it, to the population’s relief.

The entire group managed to reunite in Huntington before splitting again. Sara, Cerise, and Roderick visited the Duchess, while Gwef and Betrys were off to Llylla’s home. The ones investigating the Duchess found her to be overtaxing her peasants and driving them to desperation, while ignoring the crimes of her subordinates. Those investigating Lady Llylla found her culpable of the most heinous murders of her peasants, with testimony from the steward and executioner. All this evidence was brought to King Arthur. Gwef and Sara made a convincing argument against Llylla, so he split the administration of her land between Sir Tor and Cerise.

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Interlude - Gwefrfawr and Una

Sax: As autumn falls in Broughton and preparations for next year’s campaign continue, you notice that Una does not seem well. As the months go on, she seems thinner and paler, and with it her mood turns to melancholy. None of your children or those of the staff at Broughton are similarly afflicted.

Player: I'm going to get a doctor to check on her.

Sax: Want it to be Hypatia? Sara is technically paying her salary.

Player: Yes, but Gwf will pay her separately for this trip and her discretion?

Sax: Ok. 2 Libra?

Player: We'll do 3

Sax: OK. She comes, looks her over, looks at the rest of the family, walks around the site, and asks some questions. Who do you say the girl is?

Player: Honestly, Gwf's probably saying it's her daughter. Gwf has consistently acted like Una was one of her own children since Una arrived.

Player: If asked beyond that, Gwf might say she's adopted from [whatever branch of the family she told Nerys]

Sax: Ok

Player: What did Hypatia think?

Sax: “It doesn’t seem to be anything natural.  So… likely supernatural. Beyond my expertise.”

Player: Do I think there's any chance Sarah could have actually cursed Uffo's whole line? Like, can regular non-magical people do that?

Sax: rolls Faerie Lore, Religion, Magic Knowledge - No idea.

Player: Ha, excellent

Player: Who do I know that's likely good at this and not, like, Cerys, since she can't keep a secret for shit? Eliavres, Margawse, maybe one of the ladies of the lake...?

Player: Does Morgan's daughter know this stuff? She lived at Broughton for a year or two

Sax: Eliavres is out there somewhere. Margawse is at the other end of Britain. The Lady of the Lake might know. Morffyd has some training. Both of the latter are at court.

Player: Anyone else?

Sax: Conceivably you could find some wandering magician of dubious reputation and power.

Sax: There's also Merlin, so same thing there.

Player: What about religious figures? Nerys knew some monks or something who maybe don't trust her since she introduced Morgan to her, but not sure who else

Sax: There's various religious figures about. Nerys knows the monks at Amesbury, but they're not known for having holy power.

Sax: With your Knowledge (Christianity) 0, you're not coming up with much. Maybe pray to St. Nidian?

Player: Lol

Player: If it is Sarah's curse at Uffo over killing Nidian, St. Nidian seems unlikely to help

Sax: So who do you want to approach?

Player: Possibly Morrfyd, as she's got the closest ties to Broughton, vs Eliavres who is Roderick's dad or whatever, or Margawse who is...???... with Cerys (possibly lover, possibly grandmother to future children? Weird...)

Sax: Margawse does owe you a minor favor, but she's far away.

Sax: (I should also point out that there's another Lady of the Lake, Nimue, but she's on an extended honeymoon.)

Player: I might need that favor to help actually lift the curse, so I don't want her to just hit up for questions yet

Player: Is that with Merlin?

Sax: OK. You're a famous Round Table knight. Bringing someone with you to court might attract attention.

Player: Hmmm, could I get Morffyd to come to Broughton on the off season?

Sax: No - it's some knight named Pelleas or something. Vivianne was into Merlyn.

Sax: Sure - it's not too far.

Player: Ok

Player: Let's try that, then.

Sax: Morffyd accepts your invitation and arrives at Broughton. "I'm happy to do what I can d... oh hell no. Hell no. You need to talk to Vivianne."

Player: Lol

Player: "Why Vivianne?"

Player: "And what's wrong with Una, exactly?"

Sax: "I don't know - she's got multiple enchantments, somehow. And Vivianne has a lot more experience than I do."

Player: "MULTIPLE? She's seven."

Player: "What if I can't lift them?"

Sax: "She may not recover."

Player: "Do you have any ideas about how to slow or stall them?"

Sax: "The easiest way is to get the person or people who put her under the curses to lift them. It gets more complicated from there, and this really isn't my area of specialty."

Sax: "I could try to counteract some of it, but I'm not sure that will be enough."

Player: Gwf would be grateful for anything Morffyd could do, as it's going to take her time to figure out what happened, exactly, and how to fix it.

Sax: "I can give her some time - but really, talk to Vivianne."

Player: Gwf will do so

Player: But also request strongly that Morffyd not mention any of this to anyone.

Sax: She swears she will not.

Sax: How do you want to reach Vivianne?

Player: Where's Vivianne? Is she the one at court?

Sax: Yes.

Sax: The Lady of the Lake.

Player: Would Vivianne like to come to Broughton, by any chance? How do you invite people you don't really know to do stuff in this day and age?

Sax: You can certainly invite her to visit. It may take somewhat longer, unless you have something to entice or intrigue her.

Player: Wait, other things Morffyd may be able to answer - Does someone have to be magical to curse someone? Like, could anyone have done this to the child, or could Gwf limit her search to the Supernatural types. And ...as much as Gwf hates to ask, is this something Morgan could remove?

Sax: She doesn’t know. You could ask Morgan, but you’re not sure where she is.

Player: Okay

Player: For Vivianne, do I have any idea what she may want to come to Broughton for? We have books. And bees. Also, Regis.

Sax: Her religion is largely oral in tradition. You might tempt her with a feast, or with some information of magical or pagan interest.

Player: I don't know if I have interesting information. Most of what I have is in books? But I could do a feast, maybe?

Sax: 5 Libra. She agrees to come.

Sax: How do you want to show her Una?

Player: Uh, somewhere away from other people first? Like maybe they could do a walk to see this giant ass tapestry Gwf has, and oh look, it's near Una's room?

Sax: She walks past Una's room, looks at her, and looks at you. "Tell me everything. Now."

Player: Gwf will start by saying she doesn't necessarily know anything, which is why she brought Vivianne. But she'll also tell Vivianne what she thinks she knows (away from Una) with names omitted - the girl is her daughter, adopted. She has reason to believe the girls' fathers' familial line has been cursed, although Gwf hadn't really thought it was possible, as the person Gwf believes to be the curse-or has no magical talent.

Player:But Una is clearly getting ill, and Gwf is desperate to help her. She has done nothing to deserve this; she's just a child

Sax: She looks over Una and asks a great deal of questions.

Sax: She takes you aside.

Sax: "It is possible for even a magically untrained person in times of deep emotion to cause a change in the world that can affect others. But that isn't all."

Sax: "There's also hag-magic here - a curse. But it's not a curse on the girl herself, but on someone else."

Sax: "It could be handled by asking the person to lift their curse, and then working with them to reverse the hag curse."

Player: "And if they won't?"

Sax: She sighs. "I have used much magic recently; I do not have the strength to oppose it. What was the wording of the curse?"

Player: Does Gwf even know? I don't think she was around when Sarah did it

Sax: You heard about it.

Player: I think it was a curse on Ulfius and that his line would wither like, but that's most of what I got

Player: Uffo, rather

Sax: That's it.

Sax: She thinks. "I may have a solution, but we must ride quickly. We're going to Cornwall."

Sax: The ride to Cornwall is cold and arduous. Una is shivering almost constantly.  Cornish patrols block your path, but they immediately let you pass when they see the Lady of the Lake.

Player: Sorry, I missed this yesterday! Gwf is doing her best to keep Una warm. Why does Cornwall hate us again?

Sax: (No problem. I’ll pick this up in the evening.)

Sax: (Cornwall doesn't hate you. They sort of resent that Salisbury didn't side with them during Anarchy, and they prefer to retain their independence. But Sarah has lands in Cornwall...)

Sax: On a hill above Totnes, Vivianne leads you into the forest. It opens up on a meadow where once a small Roman temple stood. Now its walls have toppled, with many stones borne away, and the columns lie on their sides. Yet the altar still stands, with an inscription to Venus..

Player: What's it say?

Sax: "Titus Sempronius Blaesus here erects an altar to Venus, for the benefit of infants."

Sax: “When the Picts were the only people on the Isles,” she says, “it was the custom for those who wished their children to be blessed to come to this site. When the Romans came, they made this a temple to the goddess, but continued the tradition. Now I will use its magic to undo what has been done, as best I am able.”

Player: "Is this safe? There is a small chance I could get the curse-or to...well, to at least try to take off the lineage withering part. Although not any other part of the curse. I'm not sure you can undo half a curse" Gwf frowns.

Sax: "No, it's not safe. Yes, you should be safe, if you do as I say."

Player: “And Una will be safe? Or at least, not worse off?"

Sax: "Nothing is ever safe. But this is our best option at this point.  Start that incense burner."

Player: Gwf'll start the incense

Sax: It surrounds you with a rich, heady smell. The wind picks up in the trees around the clearing, but the smoke wafts straight up.

Sax: She begins to whisper words that seem to take on a deep bass profundo. You can hear wildcats screech and wolves howl in the woods.

Player: Gwf is being very patient. And probably keeping an arm around Una, if she can

Sax: Vivianne reaches out for her.

Player: Ok

Sax: Lightning streaks across the sky as Vivianne takes Una in her arms and walks to the altar.

Sax: “Hear me, spirits of sky, land, and sea! Hear me, Lady Venus of the foamy waves! I bring you a child, that she might be blessed and go forth in the world anew.”

Sax: (More howling and screeching)

Sax: She holds the girl’s frail body aloft. “My child, thou art not Undeg.”

Sax: “Thou art not Una.”

Player: Uh, but she is?

Sax: “Let it be known to all creation…”

Sax: “Thou art…

Sax: “WITHER!”

Sax: Thunder crashes directly overhead.

Sax: It's starting to rain.

Player: This seems like an odd way to deal with the curse. Do curses care about semamtics?

Player: Semantics

Player: I'm going to roll my non-existent knowledge (curses) to find out

Sax: Magic Knowledge

Sax: Fail.

Sax: She hands the girl back to you.

Player: Does Una/Wither seem any better?

Player: Gwf is clearly giving Vivianne some skeptical side eye

Sax:: She is breathing more easily.

Player: "So.... can I still call her Una?"

Player: "Because Gwfwrfrwr is a pretty bad name, but Wither is worse?"

Sax: "Call her what you wish, but know her name and make sure she knows it. The curse has, technically, been fulfilled. I hope that is enough."

Player: "I can do that. We'll see how it goes." Gwf will give Una a hug.  "Hopefully you'll be a lot better now, less sick."

Player: She'll thank Vivianne profusely. She owes Vivianne a great deal if this works.

Sax: She nods. "Later. For now, let's get her out of the rain."

Player: Let's go

Sax: You make your way home.

Sax: In the weeks and months to come, the girl becomes more sturdy and hardy. Her cheeks are plump again. Yet she always has a touch of melancholy.

Player: Her name is Wither, so that's logical. I'd be melancholic, too.

Player: Did I ever find the girl's mom?

Sax: No

Player: Gwf is still treating Una like a daughter, but will keep her eyes open for a way to undo what little bit of the curse may still linger. Although she's less concerned, at least

Sax: She seems all right physically.

Player: I mean, once Sarah kills Uffo, she might possibly be willing to forgive the girl and remove the curse, since the girl really is innocent. Gwf just doesn't think that conversation can happen while Uffo lives, though.

Sax: Probably not.

Player: I described this to [Partner], with the key sentence being, "Uffo is stupid. You can tell because his name is Uffo."

Player: It's a shortened version of buffoon, isn't it? bUFFOon

Sax: That's one interpretation. And not an invalid one.

Player: I miss Ulfius

Sax: He was such a good, manipulative, and sneaky warlord.

Player: That's the best kind

Player: Top tier

Sax: Thus ends the adventure of Wither.

Player: Yay?

Player: Poor kid

Sax: Indeed. But she's all right for now.

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  • 4 weeks later...

526 A.D., Part 1

Remnants of letters show that most of the Knights Perylous met before deploying for the year to discuss their duty to avenge King Pellinore. It is believed that Cerise was ignorant of this meeting, perhaps because her sense of duty would have compelled her to make this scheme public.

The Knights crossed the Channel at Dover and joined the camp at Barfleur. About a week later,  the king went missing. Searching for him, the knights Perylous saw a colossal figure atop the Giant’s Island in the bay, seemingly in battle with a smaller creature. They only faltered in their headlong rush to aid their king when Gwef stopped to consult with some agitated peasants. She sounded a horn to warn them of the quicksand in their path, a warning that some other unlucky souls did not heed. They attempted to find a safe path by forcing some purchased pigs (named, bafflingly, after the Orkneys) to test the ground, but before they got too far, King Arthur returned, giant head in tow. He noted the names of the fallen and they returned to camp.

From what we can tell, camp recreation on the road was much as you’d expect of the elegant knights of Arthur’s court: gaming, harp recitations (at which Sir Roderick excelled), heraldry, campfire tales of valor. Those knights Perylous oathbound to avenge Pellinore spent much of the trip searching for others so bound, to pool their resources; they found Sir Erwan and Sir Corentin in the service of Duke Hoel of Brittany. One of the knights may have told those two about the Orkneys.

The army arrived in Paris, from which King Claudas had recently fled, and indulged in a great feast to raise spirits. Cerise made amends with Sir Tor, graciously thanking him for his assistance in stopping Lady Llylla’s reign of terror. (There is reason to doubt Brother Elija’s account wherein she essays him on her gratitude for at least four pages, all delivered from her knees.) Sir Marhaus of Ireland, tempting fate, asked the court’s jester how he would die, after hearing of his prognosticative powers. The jester pointed out a squire gaming with Gwf named Tristan and told the knight the boy would kill him. Sir Marhaus laughed it off. Sara, also tempting fate, suggested that Sir Aggravaine should ask for his fortune. Sir Aggravaine chose instead to become aggressive and it nearly ended with a duel between the two. Other members continued their quest to find others seeking to avenge Pellinore.

Near Autun a parley was held between the forces of Emperor Lucius and King Arthur. Sir Gawain could not cease humming, “F*ck up the Romans,” a new if derivative song by Sir Roderick. When challenged on his arrogance, he chose to behead one of the embassy and the knights fled back to their forces in hiding. The tide of the battle turned several times, with Uffo’s traitorous forces showing up near the end of the battle. He fled, and the knights Perylous joined pursuit, leaving their squires behind to secure their prisoners.

They followed the traitorous count into the woods, where inclement weather forced them to seek shelter. An inviting light led them to a cabin off the trail. They were greeted by a Black Robes friar, who gave them a warm meal while talking at length about chasms leading to hell in the area. As some of the knights, exhausted after drinking the potent wine, nodded off to sleep at the table, he excused himself to look for others of his household, who he had expected home long ago. Only Betrys and Sara still had sobriety remaining. When they heard a noise coming from beneath the floorboards, they roused themselves from a stupor and investigated, only to discover Uffo bound and gagged.

His gag removed, he warned them of a cult that was going to kill all of them. The knights made a pact with the traitor, to forestall justice if he would aid them in fleeing. The knights and Uffo fled from a cult gathering in the deep woods. Sir Sara would later claim that the unveiled priest had bat ears. Free of pursuit, Sara chose to spare Sir Uffo’s life for now, and the knights returned to the army camp.

On the way to Paris with prisoners (including Uffo) in tow, the knights were ambushed by the Romans. The knights fared poorly in the first charge, with Sara, Cerise and Betrys all unhorsed. Sir Gwef took command of the attached Salisbury knights. 

The fate of our knights on foot seemed bleak until Sir Ancelote* arrived with fresh mounts and violence enough to drive the forces back. Seizing the moment, Sara took their battalion commander, Gundisalvus Lactucinus, prisoner. He, and all the other prisoners, were left in the security of Paris. Arthur had other plans for Uffo, however. Before leaving Paris, a messenger bore a message for Sir Cerise from her long-time paramour, tasking her with retrieving a red sword from a keep in the Pyrenees. Her fellow knights agreed to help her secure Lady Sibelle’s hand before they departed France.

-Excerpts from Volume 6 of Brother Mordecai’s Annales Sorvioduni.

* I have faith that they're going to figure this out at some point... but they haven't yet.

Edited by SaxBasilisk
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