As the knights of Logres passed the winter uneventfully, gradually all became aware of the tragic and mysterious death of Sir Gwyllim. Having survived the Battle of Eburacum, the aged and famous knight was found dead along with his horse on the outskirts of his manor of Littleworth, apparently without a mark on either of them. Though the cause of his death was unknown, much of Salisbury gathered to mark and commemorate his passing.
Sir Judicael, his son, former squire and now Lord of Littleworth, inherited his manor and composed a song to remember his father that would truly linger through the years. His friends and allies, Sir Liam, Sir Caelus, and Sir Gariant each composed their own recollection and even Sir Cynehild, daughter of Gwyllim and twin of Judicael having been newly knighted herself memorialized her father despite being overcome with melancholy at the attempt.
Earl Roderick, freshly elevated from his success at the battle, along with Sir Amig, Sir Carver, Prince Madoc, and even Sir Uren were all in attendance at the funeral feast to Sir Gwyllim. Sirs Caelus and Cynehild each did their best to drown their sorrows in alcohol, Sir Cron attempted to show off the best Irish dancing which she was capable of, and Sir Gariant once more encountered Sir Uren, but the pair decided this was not the right time for their feud and politely excused themselves.
Having celebrated a life long lived, and friendships made, the knights of Salisbury dispersed to their various accommodations. Unfortunately, upon returning to Harnham, Sir Gariant found that his mighty Destrier had not been properly cared for and had escaped its pen while he was away. Desperate to find it, he reached out to his friends to join in the hunt. Sir Caelus immediately pledged his aid, and though Sir Liam was absent, Sir Cron came to join in the search as well. Sir Cynehild was incidentally visiting, carrying a message from Duke Gorlois that she had tpp overcome with grief to deliver at the funeral that Lady Ygraine and he were celebrating the birth of their newest daughter, Morgan le Fay. Upon hearing of his plight, she too offered her assistance, and they rode off in search of the horse.
The trail of a destrier was easy enough to follow, and the quartet did their best to hunt the horse where it had fled. Unfortunately it seemed to have headed south, past the Avon river and south into the forest near Ebble. Tracking it through those woods showed some amount of success, but even as Sir Crom was confident that she was closing in on it, it put on a burst of speed and managed to escape. The four were forced to abandon the hunt, regroup, and try again to find it.
This time the horse’s tracks led to the nearby manor of Clarendon, known by Sir Caelus to be governed by Sir Gwyn – a notably Selfish knight. Any horse found wandering his lands could be legally captured by the Lord, but there was still the chance that it could be found beforehand. Heading to Clarendon to make an inquiry, as they rode through the village the knights found themselves despised and even had rocks thrown at them by silent, angry peasantry. Despite this nigh-unthinkable breach of the code of knightly conduct, the knights held their tongues and rage in check, and moved on to the manor.
Clarendon itself was a lavishly decorated manor, and although expecting a hostile approach, the knights were warmly greeted by the steward who was eager to present them to her Lord, and sent a group of men to stable their horses. Making an excuse to stretch his legs, Sir Gariant managed to get a good look at the horse pen off in the distance, and managed to see that his mighty destrier was indeed mixed in with Sir Gwyn’s herd.
Meeting with Sir Gwyn, he gave every sign of being happy to meet the knights and was rather dismayed to hear of the trouble they suffered at the hands of his peasantry. He resolved to hold a great feast with whatever he had on hand to make up for it, and presented the knights with a fine set of clothing from his own supplies to make up for it. In their lavish guest quarters, Sir Caelus and Sir Cron both tried to determine just how Sir Gwyn could afford such a lavish lifestyle, only receiving news that the peasantry was very productive… once proper methods were applied.
The feast was a surprisingly elaborate affair given at how short a notice it must have been thrown together. Though confused, the knights initially had a fantastic time eating and gossiping, until partway through the feast they noticed that Sir Gwyn and his sergeant, Sir Hellenel, had moved away from the festivities. Sir Gariant and Sir Caelus both excused themselves to follow, while Sir Cron flirted with a passing servant who told her that the peasantry had risen in revolt – again – and the lords were off to put down the rebellion. As Sir Cron could not excuse herself, she sent the servant to fetch the knights who returned with Sir Caelus to spend this news. Meanwhile, Sir Cynehild had a truly fantastic time continuing to indulge in the drink that had been provided.
Sir Gwyn, noticing Sir Caelus in the hall, detoured to talk to him and Sir Caelus asked for a tour of the grounds, which the knight was all too happy to accept. This cleared the way for Sir Gariant, once properly informed, to reach Sir Hellenel without introduction, and came across the knight preparing to order his troops to fire crossbows into an angry mob below. Challenging the knight that there was no valour in this, his words drove Sir Hellenel into madness as he tried to invoke Sir Gwyn’s name to defend himself. Screaming incoherently, Sir Hellenel launched himself off the battlements at the peasants, whereupon they swarmed over him. Though Sir Gariant exhorted them to calm themselves, they tore the cruel knight apart. With no other knight present, Sir Gariant ordered both sides to disperse and put an end to the violence tonight, which was granted.
Come morning, Sir Gwyn’s reception of the knights was notably cooled, and he demanded a blood price from Sir Gariant for the death of Sir Hellenel. Sir Caelus defended their actions, but was unable to salve the knight’s fury. Dismissing the knights from his halls, Sir Gwyn informed them that as they were unable to deliver vengeance, he has already ordered a retaliatory raid against the peasantry for killing his man, and indeed outside the knights saw one of the nearby hamlets aflame.
Departing, they reflected on their good fortune for not having mentioned Sir Gariant’s horse, as it’s possible that Sir Gwyn might have killed it out of spite. They thought about lodging a formal challenge with Duke Roderick, but upon arrival at Salisbury learned that their forces had been summoned by King Uther Pendragon. A new Saxon king – King Aelle – had landed and was trying to march North to Nohaut and King Octa. He would be stopped as he entered Salisbury and crushed!
Mearcred Creek saw the knights have a great advantage over their Saxon opponents: Fresh from abroad, the army was entirely on foot, which gave them a great chance to assert their superiority over their foe. In addition, they were still comparatively lightly armed and armoured compared to the Saxons they had been fighting. King Uther ordered a charge against the heaviest armed berserkers inside of the enemy lines, and the British forces easily broke that line.
With Sir Amig back in command of the British forces, the now standard response was to withdraw and prepare to charge again, which went well. However, following their withdrawal they saw a great opportunity: the Saxon Battalion commander had left himself exposed, and the knights oversaw a great charge against him. The initial push went well, but as reinforcements moved in Sir Caelus, Sir Crom and Sir Gariant all screened the bodyguards to allow Sir Cynehild a chance to take a shot at the commander, and she handily struck him down – dealing a great blow to the Saxon forces.
Unfortunately when trying to hold off three foes, Sir Caelus had been laid low by a powerful greataxe blow, but his squire managed to recover him and bring him to safety. Sir Beorhtric, the former squire of Sir Caelus, was so enraged by this he charged to avenge his fallen mentor and stayed with the British forces for the rest of the fight. The battle continued to go the British way, until finally Uther called a halt to the fight, feeling that the Saxons had been damaged enough to no longer pose a great threat. Though the army was close to victory, it was not enough to prove decisive.
Still, King Uther was highly pleased with the performance of the Salisbury knights. Cursing the absence of Duke Gorlois and the Cornwall knights – doubtless claiming Irish invaders again – he lamented that but for another company he could have crushed the Saxons decisively. Still, he saw fit to grant manors to Cron, Beorhtric and Cynehild for their fine performance that battle, and was effusive in his praise of the knights.