Pendragon: Chivalry is Magic

Year 506 - The Golden Rose
Amidst military campaigning, a moment of reflection is sought

Spring Liberation

The call for battle went out early to the Salisbury knights this year. Earl Roland summoned his army to assemble at Sarum, as the plan was to meet up with the forces of King Nanteleod in order to liberate the county of Summerland before King Idres could muster an appropriate defense. With frost still on the ground, the knights of Salisbury marched out to confront the Cornish occupiers.

Perhaps used to their tactics, King Idres marched to oppose the two-pronged attack, and bolstered by both Irish and continental mercenaries his numerical disadvantage was slight enough to not pose a challenge. However, as the Battle of Bristol commenced , the forces of King Cadwy emerged from the swamp to threaten Cornwall, and King Idres recognised that as defeat was likely, chose to order a retreat. Somerset was liberated!

A fine victory was won, but King Nanteleod refused to rest at this. Thanking those present, he announced that outliers he had dispatched before the battle reported that King Cerdic had taken their absence as an excuse to march on Salisbury. No doubt expecting the Cornish forces to weaken the British army more, King Nanteleod now commanded a force larger than the one he set out with, and ordered a march back to Sarum.

Sir Isadora had been mustering for a Siege with what forces remained, but as the army marched to their defense, she rode out to meet up with the collective forces, and counter-charged Cerdic. The Wessex forces were now apparently allied with Port, and though the fighting was intense, the Battle of Sarum was eventually won by the British forces. King Cerdic and Prince Cynric both managed to escape, but the knights won a decisive victory over both groups threatening them, and a great celebration was held that day honouring all who fought.

Summer Questing

With the Cornish and the immediate Saxon threat beaten back, the knights got to enjoy a pleasant summer questing and adventuring. One such morning found Sir Cynehild summoned to meet Nineve along with some of her friends for a quest. Answering the call came Sir Dragain, Sir Gwynhael, and Sir Carver, and the four rode to meet the Lady of the Lake.

Nineve explained that she had heard rumours of a beautiful golden rose growing in the North, and asked the Knights to promise to quest to find it. Each giving their word, Nineve smiled and said that the path would no doubt reveal itself. Less than a minute after taking their leave, the group found themselves set upon by a knight in rusted armour, who claimed to be the protector of the Golden Rose, and came to stop them from claiming it.

The Rusty Knight swore that if they could best him in contests he would reveal the location of the Golden Rose, but if they failed they must swear to give up the quest. Expecting an attack, the Knight instead confronted the knights with a ferocious test of singing

Year 505 - A Party of Rare Occurrence
In the midst of a war outbreak, a great party is thrown...

Spring Fling

The turnaround of fortunes for Salisbury continued to boost the spirits of all present. Though the growing threat of raids from King Cerdic and King Idres was present, that was no excuse for the nobility of Salisbury to not throw a massive party. Seizing on the initiative, Lady Emlyn of Tangley resolved to do just that! Her manor had been well defended from the recent attacks, and it was time to relax and revel in the years of relative peace. A great invitation went out to the manors of Salisbury – barring the disloyal ones under Sir Beorhtric of course – to attend in late Spring.

The party was a great social success spanning many days, where the various courtly skills of ladies were tested. Unfortunately the last day was beset upon by truly awful weather, but the day was saved by the arrival of Lord Sampiro out of Sommerset, who had also been stalled by the storm, and asked for entry with his entourage and great supplies he had been escorting for his own manor. His arrival was met with such grace that many Ladies present both male and female were taken with him, and he extended an offer to meet him at his manor later in the year to return the favour of the hospitality shown.

Summer Courtesy

Four notable Ladies of Salisbury answered the return request for a party, and along with some other noblewomen journeyed in the summer to the court of Lord Sampiro for a five-day feast which would be held in the return. Lady Elana, Lady Sundrenia, Lady Agrippina, and Lady Wynflaeth were all in attendance at the first day as the richly appointed hall where tapestries hung over very window and dozens of torches burned in the rafters to light the way.

Exquisite dishes and fine conversation took place that evening, as Lord Sampiro again wined and dined the Ladies of the court. That night, some reported odd sounds howling from outside, but were unable to make anything of it. In the morning Lord Sampiro was taken poorly and would not be available until evening, so an exploration of the manor was made. It was well staffed and protected, and gossip had that many soldiers were once in the employ of King Idres himself, but now served at the court of Sampiro. Lady Elana was particularly disturbed by this, as one of the knights there was Sir Lewis O’Malley, who had sworn revenge against Sir Carver and his family for the death of Lord Hassan O’Malley.

That knight was renowned for his violence, yet he seemed completely uncaring as to the presence of Elana even after gentle questioning. In the evening, Lord Sampiro boasted that all his men would serve him faithfully, and no one would come to any harm under his manor roof. At night, again deathly echoes came throughout the hall, but though the sound seemed to come from outside, it could not be heard out the window, nor deeper into the castle.

The next morning, with the Lord absent, a resolve was made for thorough investigation. Lady Elana and Wynflaeth went to the basement – the one place they were told to avoid – to try and see who was down there. Lady Agrippinia went to the roof to check on their erstwhile host, and Lady Sundrenia attempted to convince her in-law Sir Lewis to return to his senses.

In the basement, Lady Elana and Wynflaeth found a woman chained in a silver cage, crying tears of blood. Recognising the creature as a mythical vampire, Elana questioned her who said she was imprisoned here by her husband, and that if they would free her, she would kill him and permit them to leave – for if they left with her husband alive they would surely be hunted down. All that was required was a tapestry from above to hide herself from the sun’s rays.

With Wynflaeth and Elana agreeing to this, they moved to get a large banner to cover her, only to find Sir Lewis – roused to action by the words of Sundrenia, in a rage and ready to kill Elana. As she fled to the basement, Lewis was in hot pursuit, and burst into the room with the female vampire intending to kill. Working her own magic on him, Lady Sampiro briefly subdued him long enough for Elana to release her, whereupon the vampire knocked the knight out in a single blow.

Lady Wynflaeth arrived shortly with a tapestry, and they were told to leave as the female vampire ascended to the height of the tower. Lady Agrippinia had failed in her attempt to gain entry to the Lord’s room, but as she watched the pale creature from the basement stalked up the stairs, slew the steward blocking her way, barged into the room and ripped the head off of a slumbering Lord Sampiro, before telling Agrippinia to flee.

Three of the Ladies, having had quite enough of this adventure, all fled while Lady Sundrenia stayed behidn to ensure Sir Lewis would survive. When he awoke, he spoke of the urgency of retrieving a box, an errand he had been sent on by King Idres before leaving. Fortunately, the pair accomplished their task before they were noticed, and fled the scene.

Each group went their separate ways back to their homeland, with the tale of the nocturnal host that few would readily believe…

Year 504 - Cerridwen
To rescue a friend, the knights must surpass immortality

Spring Coronation

The new year was an optimistic one for the people of Salisbury. With The Silver King defeated and his Kingdom broken, the mood was optimistic. Unfortunately, King Idres was not idle the last year and had begun an invasion of Summerland, conquering much of King Cadwy’s lands and driving the King and his knights into the swamp. This year, among the visitors Princess Junah and Prince Boudwin were in attendance, as well as Sir Alain, and Prince Cynric – a tense group.

The mood refused to be dampened though, for Roland, their heir of Salsibury, had demanded to be knighted despite his young age. Pressing Sir Peregrine his former master into knighting him, he then ascended to Lord of all Salisbury knights. During his coronation feast, he made no secret of his plan to march on Sir Beorhtric and the traitorous knights who had refused to stand with his mother, and now him.

Not all were eager to attend a Siege though. The news of the fate of Sir Cynehild had affected all Goblet Knights, and they were eager to march off in search of her. Duchess Ellen informed them that Cynehild had left at the request of Nineve in order to placate the anger of the sorceress Cerridwen. As Cerridwen had proven all-but-immune to normal attacks, Nineve had left to try and determine the source of her immortality, and find a way to surpass it.

Her words were well-timed, for Nineve chose that moment to return and request the help of a handful of knights to rescue Sir Cynehild. Sparing Sir Matthaus, Sir Dragain, Sir Gwynhael, and Sir Peregrine for the quest, the four knights set off with Nineve while the remainder of Salisbury made ready to defend their lands, as well as besiege Sir Beorhtric.

Summer Slaying

Nineve revealed to her four companions that Cerridwen had learned her spell of protection from four ancient hags that had long ago plagued the land of Britain. She had managed to track down three of them, but was no closer to discovering their weakness. Time was running out for Sir Cynehild though, and she asked for the Knights to ride with her and try to slay the creatures while there was still time.

The group headed North into Cameliard where they witnessed a knight whipping some peasants for intruding on his lands. He was in the right by the law, but Sir Gwynhael implored him – privately at the request of Sir Peregrine – to forgive the peasants before finishing their punishment and Sir Dragain offered to pay for the lost food. The knight agreed, and in thanks the peasants revealed that they had only strayed from their grazing lands because of three horrible creatures in the mountains. The strongest of them had set off to try and confront the creatures, but had not returned.

The mountain passes proved a little difficult to navigate in, but Sir Peregrine easily tracked down the site of a skirmish where there were two blood trails: One heavily wounded one leading into some nearby caves, and a lightly wounded one heading up the mountains. Choosing to follow the lightly wounded one, they journeyed for a day and a half to the top of the hills, at the summit of which was set another cave. As Sir Dragain let out a mighty Irish taunt, the three hags emerged from the top of the hill where they had been hiding to argue with the group.

All but Sir Dragain charged up the mountain, braving the rocks hurled by the hags to confront them. Sir Peregrine and Sir Gwynhael were first in the fight, with Sir Peregrine using his great skill at Grappling to pin and immobilize one of the creatures, while Sir Gwynhael was hard pressed by her opponent’s razor-sharp claws. Sir Matthaus found his climb impeded by many hurled rocks, but also came up to confront the creatures. Unfortunately, their weapons – though varied – proved unable to penetrate the Hags’ skin, and Dragain’s taunting failed to elicit the secret of their weakness. The weapons could knock them down, but no damage could be found.

The battle was interrupted by Sir Gwynhael’s squire, who came out of the cave bearing a small, peasant’s dagger that had some blood on it. Furious at this, the Hags redoubled their efforts to strike down the knights, but though all were unskilled with a dagger, they brought down two, while the third one fled. Sir Peregrine wanted to pursue it, but Nineve felt with its weakness uncovered another could kill it – the priority now was Cerridwen

Fall Rescue

Cerridwen’s glade was again located, and Sir Cynehild’s squire wept openly to see Nineve coming to save her master. Once more trying to protect the Knights from Cerridwen’s bewitching, the Knights found that Cynehild was down by a lake with a massive knight in red looming over her. Coming out of a magnificent pavilion was Cerridwen, whose allure was immediately felt by all knights present.

None fell under his sway, but Sir Gwynhael and Sir Matthaus refused to give in to her blandishments. Sir Dragain and Sir Peregrine approached, as if under her spell, but Cerridwen saw through Dragain’s deceptions. Asking Peregrine to slay his friend, he instead turned and drove his dagger deep into her chest. Though it was a mighty blow, Cerridwen did not die, but did yell for her giant knight to kill the others.

The fiend roared and was intercepted by Sir Gwynhael and Sir Matthaus, while Sir Dragain and Peregrine fell on Cerridwen with their daggers. They were joined by a wounded but furious Sir Cynehild, and the three again dealt a ferocious blow to the sorceress, who repeated her trick of turning into a thrush to escape. The tiny form eluded their daggers, but the fiend knight had been brought down, and Sir Matthaus called for the falcon he had brought earlier to hunt down the thrush. It raked the creature slightly, but it was enough to knock her from the sky. Turning into a human as she fell, Cerridwen lay on the ground badly wounded, and if she survived the fall, she did not survive Cynehild’s retribution.

Winter Tidings

Sir Cynehild was rescued, though badly scarred from her experience of constant fighting. Returning to Salisbury, Nineve promised to try and help her get through her ordeal, but it would be some time. Unfortunately, though the army in no way was beaten, the Siege of Over-Wallop ended in an inconclusive result.

Their band was stronger, but their enemies remained many, and there was no sign of relief on the horizon…

Year 503 - The Silver King
A Threat to Salisbury is dealt with once and for all

Spring Planning

The year opened with a fire lit in the breasts of the Salisbury knights. No longer would they be content to be on the defensive: Their walls were strong, their army was ready, their allies were gathered, and they were going to take the fight to the barbarians in their land. With that resolution, it was a surprise to the Knights when Duchess Ellen summoned them to discuss the possibility of paying tribute to Prince Cynric again.

The Wessex prince had arrived with a demand for tribute – twice the usual rate to defend, but also three times the rate to fight alongside the Britains. The Duchess proposed actually taking up the Prince on his offer of defense, and committing her entire army to wiping out The Silver King once and for all. Though continuing to pay Saxons was distatseful, the thought of marching to battle to wipe out an enemy caught the ear of all present, and it was eventually agreed on.

The call went out for mercenaries, and one more group arrived to assist: Praetor Syagrius had arrived on the island at some point, and offered the services of him and his mercenary army to the Salisbury knights in exchange for a payment of 500 Librum. The expenses this year were great for the Salisbury knights, but many notable knights came forward with enough money, including Sir Isadora, Sir Esme, , and Sir Peregrine.

With the Saxons left watching their lands against incursions from King Idres, the Salisbury army set forth to settle things with The Silver King. Fortunately they did not march alone, for en route they came across a large force of Hartland troops sent by Count Gariant to reinforce them, led by Sir Gwynhael herself.

Summer invasion

Marching North into what had once been Gentian, the Salisbury army was soon met by a massive force to oppose them. Composed of two disparate elements, one portion seemed to be a group of rabble and soldiers, large but untrained, while the other seemed like something out of myth and legend – an army of the fair folk. The Silver King could be seen extolling the faerie army, and from the halo of light around him, the troops suspected that this was Calthabor, back for revenge.

Sir Isadora had been given the honour of leading the Salisbury army, who gave an impassioned speech and led her troops into battle. Under her command, she swiftly cut through the enemy army, routing the rabble and even scattering faerie knights under her sword. As she approached the enemy rear for a flanking action though, a terrible trap was sprung. The Silver King charged Praetor Syagrius’s men, and rather than opposing them, Syagrius joined up with him. Calthabor then removed his mask and passed it to Syagrius, revealing him to be the true Silver King.

The battle threatened to collapse at that moment, but even with the now outflanked position they found themselves in, Sir Isadora held firm and her troops fought off the two armies arrayed against them. Finally breaking to the enemy rear, she directed her troops to wreak havoc on the enemy forces. Sensing weakness, Calthabor himself led his troops to challenge them. His bodyguards were fierce, but Sir Gwynhael managed to defeat her opponent, and challenge Calthabor. The Faerie prince, though blustery, proved to be her lesser in a fight, and Gwynhael slew him in one blow.

With Calthabor’s death, his forces disappeared as if they were fog in the morning. Now lacking an army, Syagrius attempted to retreat, but found his exit cut off by reinforcements from King Nanteleod, who had launched a simultaneous attack in the North. The Roman commander was defeated and surrendered, leading to the destruction of Argent utterly.

Fall Campaigns

Syagrius knew execution was likely, but managed to bargain for his life with a secret that he had. Sir Cynehild, missing these last few years, was currently being held and tortured by Cerridwen the Sorceress. In exchange for her location, he was banished to the continent to face the wrath of King Claudas of France. Though the Goblet Knights were eager to rescue Sir Cynehild, the army itself stayed with Nanteleod to go and reinforce Duke Corneus against the Saxons.

The battle at Lindsey was perfunctory, as the much larger force of Logres and Cambria easily outmatched Sir Uren and his mixture of Cymri and Saxon forces. They were forced into an early retreat, and Lindsey was finally relieved. In gratitude, Duke Corneus swore a pact of friendship with King Nanteleod, adding to the Cambrian’s powerful allies in Logres.

For Sir Cynehild, the Goblet Knights rode North to Cumbria, and a secluded glade where Syagrius claimed she could be found. Before they could enter, they were met by Sir Cynehild’s squire who begged them to go no further. Apparently this was a plan between Sir Cynehild, Nineve, and Duchess Ellen to stall for time to find out how to defeat Cerridwen once and for all. Though none liked it, eventually all knights turned back, swearing to return next year to rescue her come what may.

Winter Contemplation

None of the Goblet Knights were happy with Duchess Ellen, but she promised to explain them in the spring. This was not the only bad news of the year, for Duke Ulfius was attacked by Essex, and the city of London had fallen into Saxon hands. In spite of that, the news was optimistic for the coming year. Two threats had been removed, and Nanteleod seemed stronger than ever.

For the first time since the death of King Uther Pendragon, there seemed to be hope in the land…

Year 502 - The Remains of Uther Pendragon
As Logres begins to rally, a new threat emerges...

Spring Negotiations

The year started well, with even the appearance of the usual Saxon tributes: Prince Cynric and Prince Aescwine both appeared again, but were joined this time by Prince Kinniarc of Kent. With the victory last year over the Saxons of Anglia hanging over them, the court of Duchess Ellen was feeling ready to send them home empty-handed. Nonetheless, the Duchess informed them that with growing clashes with The Silver King, and King Idres showing signs of again pushing eastward, paying one tribute might buy time for an alliance to form.

An alliance was indeed under consideration. Duke Ulfius was hosting several notable Lords of Logres in Silchester this year, to discuss the possibility of formally allying with King Nanteleod. Ellen felt to stay behind to continue her parlay, stalling and eventually paying tribute solely to Wessex. In exchange, Sir Aquila, Sir Carver, and Sir Esme were dispatched along with an honour guard including Dragain, to meet and discuss matters in Silchester.

Also in attendence were Count Gariant of Hartland, Duchess Haywen of Rydychan, and Count Anwill of Huntland. Though Coutns Gariant and Anwill were quite open towards the possibility of an alliance with Nanteleod, Duke Ulfius seemed unimpressed by King Nanteleod’s lack of actual combat prowess. Duchess Haywen would be interested, but admitted her knights were also not in favour of swearing to a foreign King, and she could not commit without their willingness.

The conference was interrupted by a woman named Lyndogwen, who wore the robe of a Priestess of Avalon. She denounced Duke Ulfius as a coward, and accused him of lying to all present. At this, Sir Uffo threw himself at the group only to be restrained by Sir Esme. Duke Ulfius ordered all to be quiet, and acted as if he knew what was happening. The Priestess went on to claim that many years ago, she had an affair and bore a child to King Uther Pendragon, and that this child should now be the rightful King of Britain!

In the confusion, several knights dressed oddly in full plates of armour entered, the largest and most impressive of which was Calthabor, the proclaimed son of Uther. Ulfius admitted the affair, and that at the advice of Merlin the Magician sent the child away. Legally, that was all there was, the child was not claimed and any attempt to be legitimzied was gone. Still, Calthabor asked if Ulfius would partake in a tournament – the prize of which was revealing the true resting place of King Uther’s body.

As more shock echoed through the hall, Calthabor accused Ulfius of digging up Uther’s body and burying him somewhere else – an almost unthinkable act for a noble of his stature to engage in manual labour. Duke Ulfius denied nothing, but at the advice of those present saw nothing to be gained from the combat, and turned Caltahbor down. With one less impressive flourish and glimpse of his unseemingly attractive appearance imprinting himself on many knights present, Calthabor departed – swearing vengeance.

Summer Questing

Recognising the danger, Duke Ulfius privately informed Sir Carver of what had happened. To respect Uther’s last wishes, Ulfius had him exhumed and buried in a faerie land with the help of Merlin. As other knights might have fallen under Calthabor’s sway, Ulfius entrusted only Carver with the secret to gain access to the other land – an old church held a crescent gem that would gain them access.

Telling a small white lie to his friends, Sir Carver set off following Ulfius’s directions. Arriving at a run-down church in the woods the four knights were confronted by thrice their number in well-armoued knights in full closed helms, declaring the group unworthy and unable to enter. Testing the knights Sir Dragain stepped forward – and was brutally cut down by three of the knights.

Enraged at the loss of their comrade Esme, Carver and Aquila were on the verge of violence until Sir Esme remembered words of Merlin spoken to Calthabor that a true knight would know that they are worthy and the three stepped forward – and through the illusion blocking the church. Sir Dragain was alive and well, along with a Christian priest and an older woman.

The priest said he will be happy to help in exchange for aiding the woman – Sir Hafren. She was a knight driven mad with shame at failing to slay a great wyrm in the forest. Taking up the quest, the four departed, and though Sir Aquila was overcome by horror at the sight of the beast, the remaining three managed to hold their own and deal enough blows to the creature that they emerged victorious.

Sir Hafren, coming to her senses at the death of the beast, thanked them and was taken into Sir Dragain’s household. The priest, true to his word, gave them the gem they sought and told them that at the full moon to follow its light. Doing so, they went from the dark of midnight to a brightly lit plain, with a gentle grove under which was a single grave – that of Uther Pendragon.

Knowing what they must do, the four knights immediately set their squires to work exhuming the old King, and bearing his body respectfully back to Silchester. Duke Ulfius thanked them, and had Uther interred in a Christian graveyard, where no faerie could reach them.

The quest had been long and arduous, but it seemed that at last the line of Pendragons would truly come to an end…

Year 501 - The Marriage of Morgan
A wedding heralds great tragedy, and a massacre brings great victory

Spring Tribute

The lull from 500 had faded, and once again Sarum found itself paying host to two Saxon princes demanding tribute. Prince Cynric and Prince Aescwine were both in attendance, and the continued absence of Prince Caelyn of Sussex did not go unnoticed. They made the usual threats of reprisals and posturings of their kingdom’s greatness, before being politely dismissed by Duchess Ellen for consultation with her knights.

Originally, all knights present wanted to tell the Saxons in the rudest possible terms no. The wall around Sarum had been completed, and the alliance with King Nanteleod grew ever stronger as more Cambrian kingdoms capitulated to him. However the Duchess had her own plan involving paying tribute which she laid out. In winter of last year, a group of Barbarians calling themselves the Anglians had stormed the region of Caercolun, killed the Duke and his family, and founded a new Kingdom. This year, they expected to conduct further raids and Duke Ulfius had put out a call to Salisbury, Rydycham, Hertford, and other Kingdoms to rally their knights and drive them back.

The two Saxons present were all that were needed to ensure the safety of Sarum – Wessex and Essex would not attack a British force that was not moving on their kingdom, and Silchester’s alliance with Sussex would produce the same result. The combined armies could then march on Anglia, as well as possibly Kent, unimpeded. The Duchess faced surprisingly little resistance to this, and Marshal Gariant was ordered to put the army together to serve under the command of Duke Ulfius.

Though she understood all the Knights present wished for battle against the Saxons, there were still other tasks that required seeing to as well as defenses to man in case The Silver King launched a raid. Chief among them was that the promised marriage between Morgan of Cornwall and King Uriens had arrived, and senior knights would be needed to escort both the bride and her mother Ygraine north.

As senior knights of Salisbury, Sir Cynehild and Sir Carver were selected for this honour, along with Sir Gwanon, and Sir Gwynhael for the honour guard. With both Sir Gariant and Sir Cynehild having a strong suspicion of Ygraine having caused the massacre at St. Albans, Sir Cynehild was concerned of the secret that she kept, and thus paused to compose one letter before leaving…

Summer Marriage

Once the time came, the escort gathered at Amesbury Abbey, where they met the former Queen and her daughter. Though Sir Carver was told by Sir Cynehild not to trust Ygraine fully, one look at her beauty and he fell into a rapturous amour, and swore that he would protect the queen on her journey. She accepted this affection gracefully, reminding Sir Carver that he was there to protect her daughter above all else, and a small reminder that he was the one who had slain her husband Duke Gorlois. With the sergeantry from Salisbury, and Morgan herself, the group rode North.

The journey had barely left Salisbury when the mission turned poorly. Riding from the South, Lord Hassan O’Malley of Cornwall and two dozen knights came upon the group, and demanded they turn Ygraine over to them for justice and execution in Cornwall. Despite their bond, Sir Carver refused to go back on his oath and battle seemed certain, when a third group arrived on the scene – mercenaries led by the Silver King. His messenger informed the group that both were trespassing on his lands, and demanded they adjourn to one of his nearby castles to discuss the affair.

The Silver King was a generous host, though behind his silver mask he spoke no words audible to either group – always whispering to his steward to announce in his name. His desire was to wed the former Queen Ygraine. Should she refuse, she would not be permitted passage through his land, and forced to return. Regardless, the Salisbury group would be allowed to proceed through to Gorre, as his guests. The implicit threat that she would be turned over to Lord Hassan was understood by all.

Adjourning to discuss this, Sir Carver was incensed and swore he would fight to the death to defend Ygraine’s life. Ygraine herself made him swear not to take this further. Sirs Gwynhael and Cynehild tried to talk down Hassan, who told them he suspected Ygraine of a great crime, and would not be dissuaded. Come the morning, the Silver King announced he would be allowing a duel to be fought to determine custody of Ygraine: Sir Carver would fight Sir Hassan to the death.

Despite their bond of being Goblet Knights, neither backed down, and the duel began. Imbibing a potion before the fight, Sir Carver fought with a ferocious malice, easily outmatching Hassan and downing the Lord of Terrabil, before setting upon his body to confirm the kill. Coming out of the haze, Hassan was well slain, and the Cornish forces withdrew to bring his body back to his people. The Silver King held his word, and allowed the group to depart.

After leaving Argent, a force led by King Lot arrived to personally escort them to Gorre, and the wedding went off successfully. Sir Carver apologised to Lady Ygraine, and asked what he could do for her forgiveness, which the former Queen vowed to think on. With that, the Salisbury knights turned to return to their homeland

Fall Battle

At home not all was quiet. Answering Duke Ulfius’s call, many knights and their armies rode out to face the Saxons of Anglia, and under the command of Sir Isadora met them in battle. The Battle of Beale Valet was brutal, but with the surviving forces of Hartland and Huntland rallying to their banner, and Sir Gariant personally killing the Anglish prince in one-on-one combat, the day was one and the Anglians dealt a crushing blow.

Duke ulfius was impressed with Gariant’s actions, and with Hartland in need of a new ruler, Sir Gariant gave an impassioned victory speech winning many over to his cause. With Ulfius’s approval, Sir Gariant would be installed as Count of these lands in the new year, and though his army was depleted, he swore to defend the lands in the name of all British knights everywhere.

And so the year ended with the Saxons thrown back from their invasion, and a trio of sisters installed in the North, in a union that would one day rattle the entire country…

Year 500 - The Tragedy of Meliodas
A journey to Lyonesse ends with a new threat to the country

Winter Tragedy

The year had only just turned to February, when letters began to arrive at some manors throughout Britain. Disturbing the quiet, Sir Cynehild of Littleford received an entreatise for help from Queen Elizabeth, the wife of King Meliodas of Lyonesse. The Queen was concerned, for her husband had been missing for well over a year now, and none in her Kingdom had any hint of where he had vanished to. In desperation, she reached out to her husband’s allies in the hope that they had heard from him, but no news had been found. Spurred by this, Sir Cynehild summoned her allies in the Goblet Knights, and braved the cold to journey to Lyonesse.

Stopping in Terrabil for rest, Lord Hassan confirmed that his new step-father Prince Boudwin had also received a letter, and as Elizabeth was his Aunt he would personally accompany the group through Cornwall and into Lyonesse to ensure there were no complications with the border guards. The southwest of London warmed up a bit, but as they drew close to the seashore the winds blew ever harsher, setting in the harshness of their task.

They arrived at Meliodas’s court to find a land in tumult – knights had been regularly setting out in search of the King, and not all had returned. Compounding the news, in desperation Queen Elizabeth – herself heavy with child – had set off on the hunt herself believing that love would guide her to her husband. Meliodas’s men hunted nigh-ceaselessly, only returning when their horses fainted from the cold.

The Goblet Knights would do no less, and joined in. The knights rested a day for their horses, and to buy hunting dogs from the populace, as well hire local trackers to assist them. The next day, so armed, they strode into the woods to find the King and Queen. The Pictish Sir Brud proved an exceptional master of the hunt, and managed to pick up the faint trail he believed would lead to Queen Elizabeth, tracking it for two days. On the second night, they made camp only to be awoken by the great sound of hounds barking from somewhere off in the distance.

Tracking it to its source, they found a great hound on top of a barren hill, facing away from them. Sir Cynehild, beholding the scene, was struck with fright and fled – while the others proceeded up the hill. Sirs Hassan and Brud found the great baying were actually the pleading of ghosts trying to claw at them, causing them to hesitate and be sent flying from the hill. Sir Carver banished his fear, and reached the top of the hill – but before he could behold the dog a shout from the returned Sir Cynehild caused him also to look round and lose his footing.

The beast, as Cynehild explained, was one of the Devil’s Dandy Dogs, the sight of the head of which was rumoured to send even the best men mad. This lending a possible explanation to the disappearances, the Knight rested uneasily to resume their hunt in the morning. Sir Brud remained as able a hunter as ever, but he only led them to tragedy: Queen Elizabeth had been found and savaged by wolves in the woods, and lay dying. With her last breath, she passed her newborn child to Sir Brud, and named him Tristram.

Sir Cynehild was grief-stricken at this, and unable to move for a time. Their sorrow was broken by the arrival of Nineve, who asked for the child to care for him, and the Knights to lend her their swords. She had been hunting Cerridwen, an old enemy of Merlin the Magician’s. With Merlin now gone from the island, Cerridwen had returned and was using her magic to try and forge an old kingdom. Her favourite trick was to bend the will of other men to her cause. Nineve offered to lead the Knights to Cerridwen, but she urged them to strike immediately and not give her time to weave her magic over them.

Deeper in the forest lay a newly constructed manor, with a large number of peasants hard at work in the cold still finishing the fortress. The knights were cheerfully greeted from the battlements, and offered the Hospitality of the manor. A tricky proposition for some, as accepting Hospitality would mean that they would be bound by the laws of the land inside of Cerridwen’s court. Ultimately, Cynehild and Hassan accepted the offer, and met with the sorceress who admitted to kidnapping knights, all of whom were there willingly. When she tried to entice Hassan to join her, Cynehild ended the meeting and retreated outside to meet up with her allies.

Feeling that time was of the essence, the group mounted up and with Hassan’s mighty destrier simply rode into the Great Hall to attack Cerridwen. As Sir Brud leapt to challenge the knights at her defense, the other three rode down on Cerridwen. As she stood trying to cast spells, Sir Carver, Sir Cynehild, and Sir Hassan each struck her with a tremendous blow, yet the Sorceress seemed to barely stumble under their weight. However, she took the time to transform into a small thrush and flee the hall, despite the attempts by the knights to stop her.

With Cerridwen gone, those remaining regained their senses as the spell lifted. Cynehild found that she had been splashed by some of Cerridwen’s blood, and Nineve informed her that this may mark her in the future for the sorceress to take vengeance on. In happier news, King Meliodas was also discovered, and returned to Lyonesse. Heartbroken at the death of Elizabeth, he swore that he would raise their son to stand up to any such evils that may plague the land.

Summer Waiting

Cynehild remained with Meliodas for a time as the others returned to Britain. Oddly, the lands were mostly quiet – the threatened invasion by Wessex never came, though many other Kings jockeyed for position throughout the rest of Britain. King Idres was temporarily turned back from his western expansion at Jagent, Kent and Essex fought an indecisive battle, and King Nanteleod continued to gain the vassalage of much of Cambria, even subjugating the Irish Kings there.

Fall Action

Ultimately, the land seemed to be holding its breath waiting for something to change, and something did unexpectedly. The Duke of Caercolun was preparing a skirmish with Kent, when a large group of barbarians sailed into his land and sacked it in a surprise attack. Attempting to ride back to defend it, he was killed and his army driven under the new barbarians who founded the Kingdom of Anglia where Caercolun once was.

With now a new threat on their lands, the Knights prepared for next year, and the wars that were to come…

Year 499 - Envoy to Cambria
The Knights head to the mountains in search of allies.

Spring Tribute

The yearly tribute demands were both better and worse this year. With the Sarum Wall nearing completion, the plan for Salisbury was to pit the tribute requesters against each other in order to provoke a battle which would weaken all enemies. Unfortunately they seemed outmaneuvered, for though both Prince Cynric and Prince Caelyn arrived for “diplomacy”, after a private meeting Prince Caelyn departed for Essex, leaving only Prince Cynric behind. He said that he had been talking with his father, and due to last year’s shaming of Prince Aescwine he opined a battle with Sussex seemed likely. As a result, Wessex demanded a double tribute this year, payable only to King Cerdic.

Convinced that some sort of bargain had been struck with Prince Caelyn, the Knights were unable to prove anything. The price was steep, but with only one more year until Sarum was well fortified, the hope was that Wessex was just squeezing them as much as possible before they would become unassailable. Sir Gariant, Sir Esme, Sir Carver, and Sir Gwanon all voted to pay again, with the hope that their defenses would weather whatever storm the Saxons would bring to them next year.

If Salisbury was to stop acquiescing to the Saxons, perhaps even go on the offensive, alliances had to be sought. Therefore, Duchess Ellen made the decision to send her knights North into Cambria, to seek allies. There were two promising leads to pursue: Sir Alain of Cambria had invited the Knights to visit his father, King Nanteleod of Escavalon. Following that meeting, Sir Anelius of Orofoise invited them to parlay with his master as well.

Summer Diplomacy

The first stop was to treck Northwest to the nearby Kingdom of Escavalon. Sir Carver was heartened to traverse through the lands of Summerland again, however briefly. While there, he fought a brief skirmish with one of his kinsmen, and though having lost was still happy to be out on the road again. The group of Knights were met on the road by Sir Alain whose knights escorted them to Escavalon, and was happy to inform them in general terms of his father’s disposition. The Knight at least had a great hatred of Saxons burning within him, and he longed for the day to take the war to these foreigners.

Escavalon was a wealthy and proud city, tracing its roots back to Roman times, though not at the scale of Eburacum. King Nanteleod welcomed the Knights, but rather than hosting a great feast preferred a smaller, more intimate meal where he could query each knights in general. Though physically lacking, the King possessed a keen mind, and happily conversed with the knights at a wide variety of topics, rewarding each for their time regardless of outcome.

Regarding an alliance, he was quite agreeable to the idea, though he had first planned to campaign for a few years in Cambria to bring the Kingdoms there under his control. Since he could not commit his full forces yet, he proposed to have a mutually beneficial pact where each Lord would pledge to relieve the other if they were besieged, but otherwise to keep the alliance quiet for the time being. As most found this amenable, there was but one condition that King Nanteleod had: No alliance with King Idres without his approval. Nanteleod had no great love nor trust for Idres, and did not trust him to keep his word.

The Knights left positively disposed towards Nanteleod’s offer, and after enjoying the hospitality of the King, left for their second meeting.

Fall Betrayal

Sir Alain offered to escort the Knights through Cambria during their visit, and though the diplomatic overtures were not lost on the Knights, they accepted the extra protection as they left to meet with Sir Anelius. He was stationed at the border of Escavalon, and bore a letter from his Lord. Though all seemed to be in order, no Knight present – including Sir Alain – knew of Sir Anelius, which did not speak highly of the importance the Duke placed on this meeting.

The trip to Orfoise was less pleasant as the mountainous terrain began to reach in the way. Passing by a mixture of villages and raided areas, the Knights arrived at a valley pass that would lead them into Orfoise. Though suspicious of an ambush, Sir Anelius assured them there were regular patrols in this area. Nonetheless, as they were halfway through, Wildmen rained javelins and rocks down on them from above, and as the Knights turned to ride for the entrance, a large number charged in to meet them. Most treacherously of all, in the conclusion Sir Anelius turned and struck a grievous blow to Sir Alain, dropping him.

Sir Carver and Sir Gwanon had remained by Sir Alain, and fought to protect him from Sir Anelius’s treachery. Sir Gwanon risked a great blow from Anelius to scoop up the Prince and ride to safety, while Sir Carver engaged in a great duel – proving victorious against Anelius. SIr Esme and Sir Aquila rallied the other men to fight off the wildmen, and though greatly outnumbered proved successful, and the knights succeeded – though not without quite a few casualties.

Facing the remaining Wildmen coming after them, the Knights retreated to an earlier fort to make a stand, but they were reinforced by another patrol – led by Sir Tathan of Orfoise. Though evasive at first, the warband had several healers that were desperately needed, and he and his men were admitted entry. Confessing what had happened, Sir Tathan denied knowing Sir Anelius, and swore to bring this matter up with his Lord to investigate. He also didn’t know of any diplomatic envoy to have been sent out, and so the Knights returned Sir Alain to his father, and proceeded back home.

Winter Tidings

Over the winter, news came in that King Idres’s campaign in Cornwall was gaining momentum, and more lands fell or swore fealty to him. In addition, all the Saxon Kingdoms are sending out messengers that soon a bretwalda – the Saxon version of a High King – would be declared, and Britain should choose their allies wisely. In addition, a new mercenary known only as The Silver King had been installed in the great fortress of Uther’s Shame, now renamed Argent.

Duchess Ellen was pleased by the news from Nanteleod, but unwilling to risk angering Idres right now, nor the other Saxons itching for war, the hope was that next year the walls would be finished, and a counterplan could begin…

Year 498 - The Knight of Tusks
A Year of Reflection on past events for the future.

Spring Tribute

The worst case scenario had come to pass for Salisbury: Three Saxon Princes had shown up, each demanding a tribute in exchange for protection this year. Prince Cynric and Prince Aescwine were back from their respective Kingdoms, but they were joined this year by Prince Caelyn of Sussex. News had reached the Kingdom that Duke Ulfius had made peace with King Ælle, which could grant the Saxons an unopposed march into Salisbury lands. With King Cerdic openly hiring mercenaries from the continent following the looting of the Isle of Wight, and Essex’s forces growing from capitulation, the view looked grim. Once again, Duchess Ellen summoned her knights to her for advice – Sir Esme, Sir Gariant, and Sir Djaq O’Liam all stood to offer advice.

Paying three tributes was out of the question, so the thoughts turned to who could be safely spurned. As Wessex was the closest to the Kingdom, and Sussex had allied with Duke Ulfius the decision was made that Essex would definitely be spurned. For the other two though, the decision was made if only one would be paid in order to provoke conflict with the other two. However, it was thought that the following year, all three Saxon Kingdoms might unite in hatred against Salisbury to raid it in vengeance. As the Sarum Wall was still two years out, the double tribute was paid, and Princes Cynric and Caelyn went away happy, with Prince Aescwine vowing revenge.

Summer Deception

The Knights now had to decide how best to spend their time. Certainly alliances were needed to unite against the Saxons when the counterattack came. Sir Gariant suggested contacting Sir Beorhtric to try and re-patriot the Eastern manors, which Countess Ellen was decidedly cool on making any overt invitations too. The conversation turned towards Cambria and contacting the kingdoms there, but before a firm decision could be reached, a commoner entered, beleaguered from travel and asked for the protection of the hall. Once Sir Gariant granted it, the man stood up and his appearance changed – revealing Merlin the Magician!

Few were happy to see the wizard, but as Countess Ellen affirmed, with the death of King Uther Pendragon, so had ended Merlin’s banishment. The sorcerer spoke of a great urgency – a new Saxon barbarian calling himself the Knight of the Tusks had landed and was gathering a great mercenary army to him. Using great Saxon magic, he planned to wage a war that would devastate Salisbury with his raiding. He required a small group of Knights to ride with him, and slay the Knight while his army was distracted by Merlin’s magic.

Knowing that Sir Cynehild had a great desire to ask questions of Merlin, Sir Esme demured to leave the mission to her niece, and the trio of Knights set out. Merlin affirmed that he was not responsible for the heinous events of St. Albans, and that if the Knights accomplished this task he would help them before he left the land. The army of the Saxons was quickly reached, and Merlin left to perform a spell to ensorcel the barbarians, telling the Knights where to go to intercept the Knight of Tusks. Warned by Merlin that he possessed the power of a great boar, the Knights were to taunt him into summoning it to the world, and then to slay him.

Merlin spoke true, and Saxon forces moved out of the fog slowly. Sir Cynehild and Sir Gariant charged the Saxons that emerged, while Sir Djaq stayed to use her great bow skill to pick them off. Soon, the Knight of Tusks emerged, and goaded by Sir Cynehild summoned a great boar to face the knights. Though Sir Djaq attempted to slay the Knight with a well-placed shot, his bodyguards lept in front of him to block the arrows, negating the attack. Cynehild and Gariant took down the boar, but the remaining Saxons blocked for the Knight as he recalled his strength, and as Djaq picked off the last Saxons, Gariant and Cynehild charged the knight.

His strength was great enough to survive a blow from both of the Knights, and his strike in return nearly slew Gariant and knocked Cynehild a mighty blow – but once the fury of combat had passed, the Knight fell. Sir Djaq wasted no time in finishing him off, and Merlin returned to speed them to safety. Foreseeing the army would disintegrate, Merlin congratulated the Knights, and asked them to accompany him, whereupon he would make his prophecising about St. Albans.

Fall Prophecy

Merlin walked with the knights to the coast of Britain. While he recovered his strength from the magic he had expanded he was mostly silent, but when he reached the shore he explained his logic. He was leaving Britain, as he was not needed there for the time being and he had much to learn. At Sir Gariant’s request, he confirmed that Queen Ygraine’s son still lived, but had to be taken for the good of Britain – a point he refused to expand upon further.

As payment for their services, Merlin also agreed to cast a spell that would summon answers to one question asked by each of them – but the questions must be asked quickly, and could not be expanded on. He counseled the knights that the responses would be true, but not necessarily answer the questions they had meant. In addition, as he had many enemies he would require protection as he cast the spell.

Taking up a guard around Merlin, only a few minutes had passed when the skies darkened, and a dog seemingly from the depths of Hell rose up nearby and attacked. Though Sir Esme wondered if this creature was to answer their questions, it spat fire at the knights before trying to bear down on Merlin, leading to them to attack it. Fortunately, the Knights managed to slay the creature, and with that Merlin was prepared to answer their questions.

Who created the poison at St. Albans?

  • The poison was created by Queen Ygraine

Who poisoned the knights at St. Albans?

  • King Uther poisoned the assembled knights

Why would King Uther poison his knights?

  • He did not mean to, but he ordered his drink be poured into the ale for all to drink.

With that, the spell ended, and Merlin said the time to leave had come. He offered any knight present the option to quest with him for over a decade. Seizing the opportunity, Sir Djaq volunteered to leave with Merlin, and the pair of them plus Djaq’s squire were spirited away to parts unknown.

Winter Ruminations

Both Sir Gariant and Sir Cynehild now blamed Queen Ygraine for the massacre, but aware of Merlin’s warning they were uncertain how best to proceed in this matter. In addition, while their lands had not been attacked thankfully, and the defeat of the Knight of Tusks proved reassuring for all concerned, their lands were still beset on all sides, and another year had gone by without securing allies. The pair returned to their manor, to decide how now to act towards the future…

Year 497 - The King Eternal
The Knights revisit a legendary Kingdom to try and find some allies...

Spring Tribute

Harvest this year for the knights of Logres looked grim. The tribute that was due to Essex from Prince Aescwine had to be paid. Cartloads of food and resources were moved east under the Saxon convoys. To make matters worse, Prince Aescwine had returned to demand tribute again this year, and as no alliance had been forthcoming Prince Cynric had arrived demanding equal payment to the kingdom of Wessex. Though neither Prince admitted to timing these visits with the other, there would be no capability of deception.

Duchess Ellen summoned knights to her court for advice, and along with Sir Gariant, her conclave consisted of Sir Carver, Sir Esme, and Sir Conlan all gathered for advice. From his own peerless sources of gossip, Sir Carver had heard that the Isle of Wight had refused to pay King Cerdic his tribute, and the country would doubtlessly be watching what the Saxon King’s response would be. As Salisbury was one of the closest counties the possibility of reinforcing the Isle was discussed, but it would involve either going through Wessex, Summerland, or Silchester. Silchester was apparently allying with King Ælle of Sussex and would likely choose to remain neutral, and King Cadwy was again hiding in his swamps. Ultimately, the Countess decided the Isle would have to stand alone.

Regarding the tribute, most knights balked at the thought of paying one Saxon again, much less two. Starting with Sir Gariant though, most of the knights eventually came around to the point of view that there was simply no ally they could rely on, and it was uncertain they could defeat one Saxon kingdom, much less two. Even if they only paid one tribute, the Saxons could sweep in next year to finish a weakened army off. Both tributes were to be paid, though Sir Conlan was the last voice to give up, saying that this would only work as a stopgap solution.

Both princes accepted their tribute, though Prince Cynric mentioned that in exchange for knights, his father would pass on the tribute. Duchess Ellen refused this suggestion and dismissed him from court. Once they were gone, she asked her knights to ride out in secret to try and meet with the other Kings to try and forge alliances that would serve their county well. Though many options were floated, at the Duchess and Sir Carver’s suggestion, they chose to ride out to seek King Fallagantis de la Fontaine and the Kingdom of the Circle of Gold. That mythical Kingdom was known to house many knights, and an alliance with them would be a strong addition to any army.

Summer Questing

The return to the Kingdom of Gold was much easier. It seemed almost as though the Gateways opened for them, and again they were asked to duel for Love, and not Hate. Sirs Conlan and Carver were notably inspired, and more than a few knights were mortally wounded in their quests. The deaths still saddened the knights of the Circle, but not enough to persuade them to cancel the challenge.

All three Knights cleared through three aspects of the Challenge, whereupon they came across a monster trapped in the woods that Sir Carver helped free from a trap. In return, he told the Knights of three paths: One to a Man of Iron, One to a place of Bright Magic, and one to a Den of Monsters. Sir Conlan moved to inspect the Iron Man, Sirs Gariant and Carver to the Monsters, and Sir Esme to the Bright Magic.

Sir Esme found herself among a Rose Garden tended to by beautiful servants who offered to bring her into a great feast. Fearing eating faerie food, she asked politely to be excused, and then finally took her horse and quickly fled the area. Carver and Gariant found themselves reaching a great pit, which contained within one of them was a trio of Griffins which attempted to attack them, but were bound by some unknown force. Asking a keeper of these monsters, the two were told that they were kept here by the will of their King for the good of the land.

Sir Conlan however found himself at the last challenge, and after a fierce duel won the right to see King Fallagantis himself. Moving in to the city, the other three Knights found themselves drawn to him, and the four formed the wedge of a steadily growing parade into the city. Meeting King Fallagantis, Sir Conlan was again reminded to duel for love, not hate – and King Fallagantis faced him in a duel to the death. Though Sir Conlan was shocked at this request, the pressure from the crowd found him drawn on to defend his Valour, and he fought the King. Though Fallagantis struck him a mighty blow, Conlan managed to down the King. He looked for advice, but the crowd was merely silent waiting for the duel to be completed, and Conlan slew the King.

Being granted the titular circle of gold, Conlan was instituted as King of the land. With it came a heavy burden, and he realised he could not send knights, for he needed everyone present to help defend his lands against competitors to ensure only the worthy could challenge him. There was an ancient curse on the land that if the King died in any way but from completion of the challenge, all the evils would be released. He bid adieu to his friends, and said they could always come to the Kingdom if they needed to, but he could not abandon his new land.

Fall News

Returning to Duchess Ellen to tell her the news of Conlan’s ascension. As feared, King Cerdic had indeed conquered the Isle of Wight and killed many of the nobles there. In some good news, Lady Junah had managed to halt the advance of King Idres with the assistance of Sir Brastias. Still, with no sign of any leader rising up, the Knights were facing the possibility of double tribute next year, and even more dark days.