Pendragon: Chivalry is Magic

Year 492 - The Condemnation of Merlin
The year opens with hope, and ends in ruin...

Spring Weddings

With most knights having wintered in Tintagel, the mood that year was far better than the previous year of being trapped with King Uther. The wedding with Queen Ygraine seemed to have calmed the worst of his temperament, and the Queen meanwhile seemed to be reveling in the mysterious pregnancy from the spirit of her dead husband, the Duke Gorlois. Uther had also given a speech that the time for in-fighting was over, and it was better now to think of family and marriage. To that end, he announced that two of his daughters-in-law would be married that year: Margawse would be married to King Lot, and Elaine to King Nentres. In addition, Ygraine’s youngest daughter Morgan had her engagement to King Uriens.

Courtly gossip revealed that there was at least some tension present though. Prince Madoc ap Uther, having survived the events at Terrabil, was now threatened by the pregnancy of Queen Ygraine. Although none in court doubted that the child was Gorlois’s, as Ygraine had married Uther prior to its birth Uther could choose to name it as his heir. Feeling the urge to cement his claim, he approached his good friend Sir Liam O’Malley, the new Castellan of Terrabil. Together they decided to go on a pre-emptive patrol of the land to hunt down the Irish raiders said to plague Cornwall, and further add to his own prestige. Accompanying them were Sir Judicael Sir Gwold, and Sir Eyre – a household knight of Durrington. The Knights encountered and easily routed a group of Irish raiders at the Battle of Boscastle, though not without cost as Sir Eyre fell to a particularly vicious Irish warrior.

Back at Tintagel, the assembled Knights of Logres bore witness to the lavish dual wedding, and partook in the great victory feast afterwards. Sir Gariant and Sir Carver, both well-established famous knights of the land, spun many tales and were the subject of much praise. Sir Cynehild, still conflicted over the strife caused in Cornwall was much more subdued, and Sir Liam’s cousin Sir Conlan – who had inherited his manor at Tangley – was merely attempting not to further embarass himself or his family’s honour. Still, even the young Morgan conducted herself with civility, and the celebration echoed into the night.

Summer Treason

Over the next few weeks, as Madoc ranged across Cornwall hunting down invaders, the remaining knights were still called upon to serve garrison duty inside of Cornwall. With most of the Cornish knights having fled to Lyonesse under King Meliodas, or to King Idres of the Kingdom of Cornwall, defenders were in short supply. On one such morning, the four knights were out on patrol when they were approached by Merlin the Magician, who called upon Sir Gariant to once more render him aid, as well as assistance from his assembled companions.

With Merlin leading them through the woods, they came to an otherwise unremarkable clearing where they were instructed to wait for him. Sir Carver immediately sprang to attention with weapon in hand waiting for a challenge… but even he was forced to relax after the first hour of inactivity. After several hours passed, Merlin strode back to their clearing clutching someone, and ordered the Knights to delay his pursuers. Shortly, several other knights arrived demanding to know where Merlin went, whereupon Sir Conlan expertly deceived them into choosing the wrong route, and buying enough time for the sorcerer to escape.

This decision would come back to haunt them, for after it was clear Merlin had escaped, Sir Brastias arrived on the scene and informed them of the full scope: Merlin had kidnapped Ygraine’s newborn son, and fled the Kingdom. With the Knights now suspected of being complicit in the escape, he ordered them to surrender their weapons and return to Tintagel – to face trial for treason!

Fall Justice

The Knights were sequestered in Tintagel while preparations for the trial were made. Though they were not free to leave, they were not escorted to the dungeons but rather placed in a locked guest room with servants to attend to them. When Sir Liam and Judicael returned, they investigated the situation to find that their comrades were not the only ones who Merlin had fooled into aiding his escape. Earl Roderick and Father Dewi also arrived to talk with the accused. The Father took Cynehild, Conlan and Carver, and advised them all to tell the truth – as well as convert to Christianity to save their souls. Earl Roderick merely asked for Gariant to pledge that he knew nothing of this, and would fight for him.

When the trial came, as the Knights who last saw Merlin, the four were brought to stand in court before the assembled Lords of Logres, and the trial presided over by King Uther and Duke Ulfius. The charge from Brastias was simple, the Knights had through willful lies prevented his men from pursuing Merlin, and allowed him to escape. When asked if these events were true, they were forced to admit that they were. Queen Ygraine then hissed that they deserved to die, but Uther required the court to wait for all sides to be heard from.

In their own defense, the Knights spoke of the many times that Merlin had mysteriously aided the Kingdom, and that they had no way of knowing this time his motives were sinister. They were behaving in accordance with the same trust that had been previously vested inside of the Magician, and if they had the full story they surely would not have acted as they did. Earl Roderick himself personally vouched for the assembled Knights, and Father Dewi also stood up and said he believed that Merlin had enchanted all of the accused Knights, and his devilry must be cast out of Logres.

Despite the continued insistence from Ygraine that they be put to death, King Uther issued an order that the Knights had been tricked by Merlin – as had they all. Merlin would henceforth be banished from Logres, under pain of death. Any who were caught harbouring him from this day forth would share in his crime. The Knights were cleared of all wrong doing, and the trial was over.

Winter Courts

With the drama of court finished, the Knights broke up to go their separate ways. Sir Judicael was approached by a Knight of Listenoise, who had come in search of his Lord King Pellinore. Judicael told of seeing him several years ago in pursuit of the mythical questing beast. The Knight cursed at this, and said if he found King Pellinore again to let him know that his Kingdom desperately needed him. Sir Judicael attempted to go back to where he was last seen to try to find the Knight, accompanied by Sir Conlan and Sir Carver, but despite a winter of searching they found nothing.

Over Winter court, Sir Cynehild and Sir Gariant reflected on their trials, musing that at least Uther had found them innocent to try and salvage their honour. Their reminiscing was interrupted by Sir Argan, the Royal Constable, barging into Sarum and demanding Uther answer for the affair with his wife that he has discovered, and denouncing the King for the slaughter at Cornwall for not being enough to sate his lusts. Though many knights volunteered to fight Sir Argan, Uther unsheathed Excalibur and said he would deal with this himself. The fight was quite brief – though not as any expected. At the first clashing of swords, Excalibur flew from Uther’s hand, and Argan impaled the King in the stomach. Begging for his life, Argan extracted a promise that he and his family would be given a castle, and no vassal of Uther would be allowed on the premise under pain of death by the court.

Acceding to the wishes, Argan allowed physicians to attend the wounded King, and triumphantly strode from the Hall. Though Prince Madoc was furious, he was forced to bend to his father’s wishes, and Argan left unattacked. Following the confusion, Sir Conlan looked to retrieve Excalibur, only to find it had vanished. With the chirurgeons working furiously to staunch Uther’s injuries, the winter of this year ended with a sense that things were about to get worse for the people of Logres…

Year 491 - The Siege of Cornwall
An old ally is conquered, and the knights come to a disturbing conclusion about their King...

Spring Conquest

The winter of 490 passed awkwardly for the knights trapped at Lindsey. Much of the Salisbury army was still garrisoned and trapped by their duty, as well as the early snowfalls from last year. King Uther was driven mad with vengeance against Duke Gorlois’s insult against him last year when he fled his court without permission. Though his hatred was well-understood, Sir Judicael and Sir Liam gathered through courtly gossip that he was mostly concerned with how the Duchess Ygraine had slipped from his grasp with the Duke’s exit.

Nonetheless, Spring must come and Uther ordered the knights of Salisbury to head for Cornwall at once. Sending riders out ahead of himself to call more of his army, the tired and homesick remnants were still drive ever onward. Though the route through Cornwall did lead them past Summerland, King Cadwy was not visited, nor were his knights called out. Still, the knights of Salisbury that had managed to reach their home for the winter were called back, and Cornwall was to be besieged.

Duke Gorlois had apparently split his forces in two. His family and treasure were sent to Tintagel – an almost impenetrable fortress. The knights of Cornwall took refuge at Terrabil, an ancient castle and centralised chokepoint within the lands. Prince Madoc took the bulk of the Logres army to besiege Terrabil, while Uther took a quarter to ensure that none could escape from Tintagel.

Sensing that several of his knights had close ties to Cornwall, Earl Roderick allowed them to decide which army they would join for the events. Due to their history, several knights debated if they would participate at all, but ultimately Sirs Judicael, Cynehild. Gwold, and Isadora all decided to go to Tintagel, while Sirs Liam, Carver and Gariant went to Terrabil.

Summer Downfall

The siege at both castles was long, but neither Uther nor his son showed any sign of being willing to surrender. On one morning, Merlin the Magician held a private conference with Prince Madoc, and then rode to reconvene with Uther. That night, as the knights slumbered the Cornish forces fell upon the Logres camp by surprise, and began attacking with many of the knights asleep. Sir Carver, suspecting danger, had leapt to the call sword-in-hand and fought his way out of his tent towards Prince Madoc. Sir Liam and Sir Gariant were a little more fatigued by sleep, and Sir Beorhtric was almost unable to rouse himself until the fighting was well underway.

The Logres camp was in an uproar, and Prince Madoc was exhorting his men to rally to him and his banner. The first to him though was Duke Gorlois, and demanding that Uther appear, the Prince and Duke faced off in combat. Unmounted and unprepared, Prince Madoc went down to Gorlois with a sword in his chest. Sir Carver, having fought his way there ran at the Duke, and as Gorlois whirled to face him Madoc managed to hold the Duke’s sword in his wound, and so the Duke was unarmed, allowing Sir Carver to skewer him upon his horse.

The Cornish knights, who had sensed victory, now turned to despair at the loss of their Duke and made to retreat, as Earl Roderick led the counter-attack. Shortly after he fell though, Sir Liam reached Prince Madoc, and using the healing potion he had earlier retrieved from the magical glade, managed to save the Prince’s life, who rose and led the final push itself. The results were undeniable, with the death of Gorlois and the seeming resurrection of Madoc, the castle soon fell to Logres.

Events at Tintagel were less dramatic, but far more portentious. To the knights there, one afternoon during the siege Merlin arrived, and immediately went to a private conference with King Uther and Duke Ulfius. The three then left for a nearby hill and orders that they were not to be followed. That night, a great mist rolled over the landscape, and though Sir Isadora and Gwold were on watch, they were unable to see anything – when from the castle of Tintagel the guards announced that Duke Gorlois had returned, and he was to be let in. Enraged at this breach, Sir Isadora stumbled to the bridge and guarded it for the night, and swore that no one had passed her.

The next morning, Uther, Merlin and Ulfius were all back in his pavilion, and news arrived that Duke Gorlois had been earlier killed at Terrabil. Sir Brastias entered the castle, and negotiated the surrender of Ygraine, and Uther declared that never again would there be a Duke of Cornwall, and all the lands would come under his rule. At the victory feast, the Goblet Knights discussed their events, and though they concluded that Merlin had somehow tricked the guards at Terrabil, none could say – or perhaps wanted to say – what the objective could be.

With the pair of sieges won, Earl Roderick called for some knights to garrison the depleted castles, while others went home to their families as they had been gone over a year at this point. Sir Gariant and Beohrtric were still recovering from their wounds at Terrabil, so Sir Liam, Carver, Judicael and Gwold left to return to Logres.

Fall Questing

On the road back, still debating what had happened in Cornwall, the four found themselves on a forested path in an unfamiliar land. Through the woods they could see a great valley with a magnificent town and castle, Sir Carver realised somehow they had stumbled into the Kingdom of the Circle of Gold, a mythical Kingdom of challenge and adventure. Indeed, as they moved through their forested path cleared up to a gentle glade with an elaborate fountain, possed of an almost festive occasion. The area was full of knights and entertainment. Greeted by squires, the four knights were welcomed to the Kingdom, and told if they wanted to proceed along the path, they must duel the knights of this tent – but for love, not hate nor glory.

Sir Dorgane, youngest child of King Fallagantis de la Fontaine, and so-named knight of the fountain, opened up the challenge, and laid out the three battles. The first would be some bizarre lance type charge, but with blunted lances to not deal damage that he called a “joust”, which puzzled all of the knights present. The next would be a battle on horses with swords, and then on foot with a weapon of choice for the knights. Duels were to knockdown or first blood, and two wins were all that was needed. Sir Gwold went first, and fell to Sir Dorgane. For losing, the knight took Sir Gwold’s shield and said he could not use the heraldry for a year less a day. Otherwise, if any knights here passed, he could continue with them if he gave his word he would not partake in any of the challenges.

Sir Liam was the next to duel, and despite his great love for duelling he was worried that he might slay Sir Dorgane. The young knight seemed unafraid of this, and they fought all three rounds with Liam triumphing, whereupon he hugged Sir Dorgane in relief. Sir Carver fought next, and during the second duel, he struck the yougn knight hard in the neck, and he fell from his horse dead. Though horrified, his companions seemed saddened, but far from angry. In fact, another knight continued the duel, which Sir Carver eventually went through with but was ultimately defeated.

Sir Judicael had yet to face the challenge, and all of the knights politely asked him if he wanted to continue. Though he was unnerved, he felt to refuse would be to diminish the sacrifice of Sir Dorgane and both fought and succeeded The knights were all offered hospitality, but chose instead to continue along the path and the challenge. Down the road, they encountered a goblin in a bear trap who they freed, and exhorted the knights to keep their right ways around them before vanishing.

After the goblin, the paths split into a fork, with Liam and Gwold choosing the left path, and Carver and Judicael choosing the right. Only some time later did Sir Liam realise the Goblins words were directing them down the right path, but by then he found the path clearing, and in a series of steep, foreboding cliffs. The goblin again appeared to warn him off, and he and Gwold took the advice, turning back. Their path did not lead them back to the forest however, but into Logres where the air was just turning towards autumn. Cursing the faerie kingdoms’s sense of time, they heeded a call to head to Tintagel from the other Knights.

Sir Judicael meanwhile continued on his quest, and battled Sir Angora, third child of King Fallagantis. The challenge was the same, though Sir Angora proved a fierece jouster. Nonetheless, Sir Judicael triumphed, and paused to rest and heal a time with Sir Carver before going on. When they did, they came across an empty Christian shrine, but found it recently bereft of occupants and without clue. When they came to a fork, they again chose the right path.

When they emerged, they came across a small manor town where another knight came out, Sir Nest the second child of King Fallagantis, to challenge Sir Judicael with the same terms. Though Sir Judicael fought well, his accumulated wounds were too great and he went down, whereupon Sir Nest offered them both her hospitality while she healed. While there, Sir Nest told Sir Carver how her father, King Fallagantis, had fought a great battle with many supernatural beasts before founding the Kingdom, though she knows not what happened to them afterwards. In addition, she made clear that the King was the last challenge to be faced at the Kingdom, should they wish to continue.

When Sir Judicael awoke, as he had been defeated Sir Nest politely but firmly insisted they could go no farther, and though they were welcome to remain for as long as they wished, they both left the Kingdom to return to their home. heading down the path, they far too quickly found themselves at the borders, where it was now clearly winter…

Winter Wedding

For the rest of the knights, more time had passed. The glory from Cornwall had been doled out, and in recognition for their great service both Sir Liam and Sir Carver were greatly honoured by Uther. Sir Carver was granted permission to wed Lady Elana and raise Durrington up to a higher level, and SIr Liam was awarded stewardship of Castle Terrabil for his family.

In perhaps happier news, King Uther and Duchess Ygraine were married, and there was much hope across the land that the time for in-fighting may once again have drawn to a close. Many Salisbury knights again were garrisoned in Cornwall to wait out the winter, and for the promise of a new year…

Year 490 - A Prisoner of Courtesy
Uther wins a great victory... only to throw it all away

Spring Vengeance

As promised last year, Edynfed returned to Littleworth to challenge Sir Judicael and al of Gwyllim’s line for vengeance around his ignoble birth. Prepared, Judicael refused to fight his half-brother, insisting that all could be forgiven and he could be knighted and join his family. Edynfed was unwilling to give up his hatred, and said if Judicael was not going to fight him, he would move on to his next target – Sir Cynehild. Confident that fighting his sister would kill one of them, Judicael again agreed to the duel, and incapacitated his brother with another mighty blow. He again required surgery, but that placed him under the care of Lady Cyneburh, who refused to allow these constant attacks on her children to proceed. By the morning, Edynfed had passed away.

At Durrington, Sir Carver was plying his case to wed Lady Elana in honour of the memory of Sir Caelus and for his family, but for the rest of the county, preparations for war were being made. With the major Lords of Logres behind him, King Uther summoned together Duke Ulfius, Earl Roderick, Duke Gorlois, as well as many other lesser Lords in order to march North to declare war on King Octa and King Eosa, and relieve the land of Lindsey.

Over 2,000 knights made the march up to Lincoln to relieve the beleaguered Duke Corneus and his forces. The Saxon invaders were finally set to pour down into Logres, but instead their forces consolidated, and the knights of Britain faced down over 10,000 Saxon barbarians who were set to pillage their land. Orders were given, and the army formed up to charge.

Summer Battle

The forces arrayed were so large that the knights were split into three camps. The Salisbury knights found themselves arrayed under King Uther, and opposing the Saxons led by King Octa. With an impressive first charge into the Saxon lines, the Salisbury forces again found themselves under the command of Sir Amig, who maintained consistent if not overly imaginative tactics of charging and withdrawal.

For a large part of the battle, the Salisbury knights had an excellent showing for themselves. Sir Liam used his Warflail to devastating effect on the Saxon troops, and despite a brief bout of madness from Sir Cynehild, she also managed to reconnect with her troops and inflict great damage on the Saxons. Sir Beorhtric and Sir Gariant were equally steadfast, and though the Saxon ferocity seemed only to grow, they cut a bloody path across the battlefield.

An opportunity arose when Duke Gorlois managed to break through the Saxon lines and capture King Eosa, so disorganised, Sir Amig seized on the opportunity and led his own charge on King Octa. Clearing a spac,e, Cynehild, Liam, Beorhtric, and Gariant all assaulted the Saxon King and his bodyguards. Despite their prowess, the bodyguards proved driven to fervour by their loyalty, and managed to knock out Sir Cynehild almost immediately. As the knights fought for Cynehild’s squire to pull her out, Sir Liam then fell to a blow from King Octa, and as Gariant fought to defend him, he too was dropped by the Saxons. Overwhelmed, Beohrtric ran from the battlefield, and the King survived. Sir Liam and Cynehild had been rescued, but Sir Gariant had been captured.

All was not lost though, as the Saxon lines were weakened enough that Earl Roderick could rally his forces to charge in and capture King Octa himself. With both their kings down, the Saxon lines quickly broke, and Britain won the day. Fortunately, Sir Gariant was rescued in the ensuing struggle, and all of the Goblet Knights – somehow – survived. With that, a great feast was held in celebration of the victory. Sir Liam had distinguished himself enough that he was invited to the great victory feast held in the main hall, where he along with the assorted nobility witnessed the Duchess Ygraine celebrating their victory. Sir Cynehild would also have been invited, but was still unconscious from her wounds.

Fall Retribution

The aftermath saw all sorts of celebrations occur. Prince Madoc led a series of retaliatory raids into former Saxon territory. Sir Judicael, after receiving assurances from Sir Meliodas that Cynehild would be cared for, joined Sir Isadora, Sir Gwold, and Sir Beohrtric on raiding the Saxon lands. Venting their years of frustration, many of the knights came back much richer and better prepared to face the years ahead.

For Sir Liam and Gariant, they chose to attend with Uther, and were thus present to witness him ordering most of his army North to Malahaut. Meeting with King Heraut de Apres, the Kings affirmed a pact of friendship between their people, and pledged to support him for the High Kingship. Not only them, but Kings Eurain, Garloth and Uriens all attended him or sent vassals, who were all cowed by the sight of Excalibur. This display finally caused Liam to suspect that the sight of the sword of victory might have powers beyond the ordinary for Lords of this land.

Sir Cynehild, recovering at Lincoln, caught up with Sir Meliodas, and was informed that Duke Gorlois affirmed to recognise his claim to the land of Lyonesse, and the future rule of that land. She recovered there and rested with the Cornish knights, and when Uther returned most of the Lords there asked for permission to leave which was granted for all of them – except for Duke Gorlois, whom Uther asked to spend more time with to affirm their friendship.

This request lasted for weeks, with Gorlois daily requesting permission to leave, and Uther constantly finding reasons to ask him to stay.

Finally, one night, during an unseasonably early snowfall, Sir Liam, Gariant, Cynehild and Beohrtric were on nightly watch, when they became aware of a commotion in the stables. Duke Gorlois was loading his family for leaving – without the King’s permission. Though Liam advised the Duke to remain, Gorlois insisted that a knight had no right to tell him how to live, and that he would not allow Uther to continue with this improper behaviour. Though Sir Liam left to inform Uther of what was happening, Sir Cynehild, Gariant and Beohrtric all agreed with the Cornish knights, who set off in the sudden snowstorm. As they road off, Sir Beohrtric saw Nineve amidst the flurries, apparently conducting some great ritual.

King Uther, incensed at this unforgivable breach of hospitality, began ranting that Gorlois needed to be taught a lesson. Despite the council of Duke Ulfius, Uther swore that when the snows abetted, the Logres army would march on Cornwall, and make them pay. And unlike last year, it did not seem as though there would be a diplomatic solution this time…

Year 489 - The Crimson Lake
A hard year for the Goblet Knights brings forth a miraculous quest

Spring Tragedies

Coming off the loss of Sir Cron last year, more tragedy awaited the Goblet Knights at the dawning of the year. Nathaniel, brother of Sir Judicael and Cynehild, was visiting his sister at Clarendon. Unfortunately, while there he got into an argument with Sir Ceolward, household knight of Sir Gwyn. In the ensuing struggle, Nathaniel was tragically slain. Both Judicael and Cynehild were horrified by the news, and swore revenge on Sir Ceolward and his family.

In addition to their struggle, a mercenary named Edynfed arrived at Littleworth, claiming to be the bastard offspring of Sir Gwyllim, Judicael’s father. Though Judicael had never heard of him, he was willing to welcome Edynfed with open arms, but upon offering the man a place in his household, Edynfed was so overcome with rage that he fell upon Judicael with swords drawn without warning. Judicael managed to dodge his first attack, and fought defensively to subdue his maddened brother without slaying him. Though successful, Edynfed would not let go of his hatred, and swore to return for revenge the next year.

The tragedies did not end there. As knights made ready for their march on Cornwall, news filtered down that Sir Greid was impugning the honour of Sir Beorhtric. He insisted that the honour that had been gained since the affair should be invalid. Incensed by this assault on his former squire, Sir Caelus demanded a duel there and now to settle the matter. Though Earl Roderick demanded it be delayed until after the campaign, Sir Greid would not be swayed, and Sir Caelus refused to let his challenges go. Both impassioned, the fight between the two lasted for hours, and though it was to first blood neither gave an inch. Tragically, as the day grew on, Sir Caelus missed a parry with the gladius given to him by Praetor Syagrius, and Sir Greid drove his sword into Caelus’s heart.

Though medical aid was swiftly applied, Caelus’s body was exhausted from the duel, and the decisive nature of the strike was too much, and the Roman knight expired. Horrified and incensed, Earl Roderick stripped Sir Greid of his title and banished him from Logres. He also demanded an end to these honour duels unless he could personally oversee them for the moment. A heavy mood settled over Logres at the loss of this knight, and the rest of the preparations were made in silence.

Summer Invasion

THe bad news did not stop for Logres that year though. Duke Ulfius brought word that King Ælle had launched an assault on Salisbury, and his forces were needed to secure the border. Duke Corneus and the forces of Lindsey could not even attend, as Malahaut was completely overrun and the Saxons of King Octa and King Eosa were threatening to spill south into Logres.

With his forces greatly depleted, Uther nonetheless set off for Cornwall to force Duke Gorlois into submission. He did not head there straightaway though, as one more vassal could attend – he detoured to visit King Cadwy of Summerland. The forces of Logres were intercepted by his knights, where Sir Carver had a chance to catch up with the Goblet Knights, and was informed of the loss of both Caelus and Cron. Hurt, he asked for permission from the King to accompany the forces of Logres on their march on Cornwall.

So bolstered, Logres and Summerland marched out to confront Cornwall, who were assembled ready to repel an invasion. The two sides faced each other down, and made ready for combat. Uther and Merlin made one last appeal for peace. Gorlois demanded “justice”. Though Uther was on the verge of ordering an attack, Merlin cautioned him to be patient, and he agreed to allow Gorlois to maintain rule of Cornwall in exchange for swearing homage. The terms were accepted, and war was averted.

The victory feast was a relief for both sides, with knights freely intermingling and gossiping. Sirs Carver, Gariant and Judicael memorialised Sir Caelus in front of the assembled knights. With the Feast broken up, Uther informed all knights present that next year, all his knights would march North to purge the kingdom of Nohaut, and every one present would be required to attend. It was noted that King Cadwy was no longer at the feast, but still the pact was agreed, and a true invasion was planned.

Fall Questing

Returning to Logres, Sir Carver was concerned about the care of Caelus’s wife, Lady Elana. He requested and received permission to pursue the possibility of wedding her to keep Sir Caelus’s legacy safe. However in exchange, there was a quest the King wanted him to undertake. Two Ladies of the Lake, Viviene and Nineve, required a knighlty escort. Gathering Liam, Cynehild, Gariant, Judicael, and Isadora together, the six set off to assist the ladies on their quest.

Their destination – which did not exactly correspond to normal geography – was the Crimson Lake. Its waters black and corrupted, near its shore was an old lady apparently slain. Using a spell of some kind, Viviene brought her back long enough for her to give her last testimony: A knight dressed all in black had come to her lake, killed her, and corrupted her lake. The waters were too impure for any to heal, but she still extracted a promise from the knights to avenge her before she passed on to her final rest.

Nineve told them of an ancient Spring in the nearby forest, the path to which she could open so that they could face the trials and retrieve a cure for the infection. Sirs Isadora and Cynehild stayed behind to guard the Ladies, and Carver, Gariant, Liam and Judicael went into the forest. The darkened woods did not seem to be of this world, and chillingly when the knights made camp the trees themselves came to life and tried to slay the knights in their sleep. Judicael was caught off guard and injured, but the rest escaped without any harm.

The morning saw them finding a grove of unusual tranquility in the blackened forest, guarded by a small beaver dressed in velvet finery, who identified himself – in English – as the guardian of the glade. He challenged the knights to tests of Wit, Whim and Will. Sirs Judicael and Gariant both failed, and in a blinding strike the beaver struck both knights down where they stood, though with expert precision to only render them unconscious and not in danger of death. Fortunately Sir Carver and Sir Liam both passed his tests and were awarded the right to use and take the water from the glade – exactly once. Using it to revive their friends, they each filled their water skin and departed.

On the way out, haunted creatures attempted to dispatch their water, but the knights in concert slew the beasts, and fought their way to freedom. At the water’s edge, Sir Carver made to approach the lake with his purified water, when a great beast like an octopus from Hell emerged and did battle with the knights. Its force was no match for the skill of the six present though, and they managed to dispatch it before Sir Carver added his water to the Lake, purifying it and banishing the curse.

Viviene thanked the knights, and asked Nineve to take her place watching these lands as she must depart. So saying, she walked calmly into the clean waters of the lake and vanished from sight. Sir Liam asked the remaining Lady of the Lake how to bring back the dead, the loss of his sister and friend weighing heavily on him, but was told that allowing them to remain dead would be the kindest mercy of all. Still though, Sir Liam’s magical water had not been spent, and the Irish knight resolved to use it where it would do the most good.

With the creatures slain, the Knights split up to return to their manor, and make preparations to hopefully crush the Northern Saxons once and for all…

Year 488 - The Conquest of Frankland
Britain invades Gaul, and not everyone comes home.

Spring Mustering

The rumours had been coming in all winter, and now it was official: The army of Britain would be heading to Frankland this year. The treaties from Praetor Syagrius and promises of a fantastic reward had finally tempted King Uther enough that he pledged a full half of his army – both knights and footmen alike – to retaking France and Paris. The remainder of the army would be held in reserve in case Logres was attacked, but would be unable to prosecute war any further. As Uther was needed for matters of state, control of the army was turned over to his son – Prince Madoc.

Earl Roderick would be leading his forces in person, and recruited many of his most famous, eager and accomplished knights for the task. Sir Liam requested to be excused, as he had to hunt down the Saxon who attacked Tangley last year to ensure the safety of his family. Nonetheless, Sirs Caelus. Cron, Cynehild, Gariant, Sir Gwold, and Judicael all answered the call, and stood ready to invade France.

Unfortunately the invasion hit a bit of a bump at the outset, for the shipmasters of Britain claimed that the seas were not conducive for sailing. With absolutely no ability to vet this information, the knights were left to amuse themselves. Sir Cron took up hunting, and hunted down a nearby wolf for practice. Sirs Gwold and Cynehild engaged in a practice brawl to test their skills, which Sir Gwold triumphed in. Sir Caelus took the time to get to know Praetory Syagrius, and a lot of enjoyable conversations were had about the superiority of Rome and its citizenry.

Finally the day came when the peasants claimed the seas were favourable, and the army set off. Though some noticed that Earl Roderick seemed pensive about the journey, they nonetheless arrived with little trouble. As their ships were among the first to arrive, Praetor Syagrius rode out with Sir Caelus in patrol of the nearby area, accompanied by his friends. During the long, long discussions about Rome they were unexpectedly ambushed by Frankish barbarians who had somehow tracked them down. Sir Caelus fought a spirited defense of Syagrius, requiring Sirs Cron and Cynehild to guard his back to ensure no harm came to him while he ensured no harm came to the Praetor.

Fortunately they were successful, and the lightly armed barbarians were driven off or slain. Greatly pleased, Syagrius exchanged his gladius for Caelus’s sword, and swore it as proof of the indestructible alliance between Britain and France. Back at camp, when the rest of the army disembarked. With the army assembled, the time came to march on their first stop: The city of Bayeux

Summer Assault

The nearby city was a strategically important decision, and fairly well defended by the Frankish mercenaries. However, in the face of the British army, as well as reinforcements from the Roman troops, the city was hard-pressed to maintain its defenses. In less than a week, the walls were being breached by footmen, and the city was in danger of falling. The first gate to fall was that closest to the Salisbury forces: an opportunity for glory as well as great danger. Though some of the knights wondered if prudence was the better option, Sir Cron recklessly led the charge herself, and in the face of a Goblet Knight in danger her friends soon followed.

As the first knights to breach the walls, they were hard-pressed by defenders. With crossbow bolts raining down on them, Sirs Caelus, Cron, Cynehild, and Gwold were swarmed by defenders. Both Cron and Caelus found themselves unhorsed and attacked, while Cynehild and Gwold were easily cutting through the defenders with their two-handed weapons. Wise to the pattern from his brother, Sir Gwold rode to defend Sir Caelus, leaving Sir Cron exposed and – tragically – her attackers got in a series of lucky strikes that viciously wounded the Irish knight. Though the Salisbury forces seized the gate, Cron had fallen. Caelus frantically plied all of his Roman knowledge of Chirurgery, but her wounds were too severe, and Sir Cron did not survive the night.

In the hard light of the morning, Bayeux had fallen and Preator Syagrius consoled his new friend that Sir Cron’s death would not be in vain, and the conquest of Gaul would be completed in her name. Unfortunately, Prince Madoc disagreed, and decided that no more British knights would die on this foreign land. He was calling off the invasion. Syagrius was shocked and argued that Uther had pledged his aid, but Madoc was not his father and in charge – and he would not be budged.

Earl Roderick ordered the knights to agree, and though Sir Caelus attempted to encourage people to pledge their plunder to the Romans, the Earl overrode him and ordered them back to the boats. Many of Syagrius’s retinue defected to the British, including Isadora, a foreign mercenary and child of Sir Liam’s and Cron’s father. Earl Roderick accepted her claim of kinship, and in memory of Sir Cron granted Isadora the heirship of Woodford, and an impromptu knighthood. With a comrade dead, and Syagrius cursing the British name, the army sailed home.

Fall Tidings

Back in Britain, the news of Cron’s death was carried to Tangley by Earl Roderick and the surviving Goblet Knights. In the interim, he had engaged in a hunt throughout his woods for Einhard the Grey who had attacked him last year. They were drawn into a battle between his troops and the forces of Tangley, and Sir Liam ended him in a single, decisive battle. His joy at that was quickly subdued at the news of his sister’s passing. Cron was buried at Woodford, with the newly-minted Sir Isadora now ruling over it.

If any were hoping that Uther would discipline his son for quitting the field of battle, their hopes were lost for he was pleased with his son’s performance. Their treasury was boosted, and their ranks replenished by foreign mercenaries now swearing loyalty. All that was left, he ominously announced, was ensuring that Duke Gorlois and Cornwall fell into line. Next year, his army would march west, and Gorlois would either bend at the knee, or be crushed under his heel…

Year 487 - The Submission of Lindsey
The reluctant Lords of Britain react differently to Excalibur's discovery...

Spring Negotiations

The four knights who had discovered Excalibur the last year were definitely the talk of Logres. Both Sir Beorhtric and Sir Judicael used their new-found boost in status to arrange favourable marriages for themselves with Earl Roderick, both managing to secure wealthy heiresses which greatly elevated them in terms of financial status in the county. Though Sir Judicael did not understand the significance of the request, he also assented to Earl Roderick’s request to marry his sister Ilse to Sir Gwyn at the aged knight’s request. It was truly going to be a year of marriages all around.

But come spring, the knights were summoned to serve as part of the retinue for King Uther Pendragon, who wished to tour his Kingdom and assert authority over his more reluctant vassals. The first stop would be North to Lindsey, where they would take hospitality with the Duke Corneus, who of late had been demanding protection while offering little in a muster. Accompanied by Duke Ulfius, Earl Roderick, Merlin the Magician, and a host of other nobles of Logres – though both Somerset and Cornwall were conspicuous in their absence, they road to camp.

Upon arriving at Lindsey, the King was informed that Duke Corneus was away and had been summoned, and his entourage were to be entertained until their arrival. Sir Liam stayed behind in Lindsey to flirt and pass the time with some attractive peasantry, while Sir Beohrtric, Sir Judicael and Sir Gariant went hunting to pass their time. Sir Beohrtric and Sir Gariant managed to find and slay a mighty bear, while Sir Judicael was lost and came across a creature later identified as the legendary Questing Beast. When he attempted to approach the massive creature, it fled into the woods – pursued closely by the equally famous King Pellinore. With the King only pausing to find his direction from Judicael, he then rode off in pursuit of the Questing Beast, leaving a confused Sir Judicael behind him.

Duke Corneus eventually arrived at Lincoln, and a moderate, yet unimpressive, feast was held. Though the care of his hall was somewhat diminished – a fact readily apparent to all knights – when the time came for entertainment, King Uther called upon Sir Liam to recount the tale he had witnessed the previous year. At the dramatic moment when Liam had slain the beast and Merlin had reappeared, Uther brought forth Excalibur to demonstrate the great treasure won, to the amazement of the Lindseymen present. With Merlin explaining the importance of Excalibur, Duke Corneus publicly reaffirmed his commitment to Uther as his King, and the rightful King of Britain – something that Uther was clearly more than pleased to hear.

Summer Diplomacy

With Lindsey having submitted to King Uther, his mind turned far afield, and he requested of his knights to go out and bring other members of the Supreme Collegium to him, so that he could demonstrate his worthiness in person. Due to their familiarity with the region, the Goblet Knights were sent to Malahaut to invite King Heraut de Apres to Lincoln. Though Sir Liam ultimately declined to go, Sirs Beohrtric, Cron, Cynehild, Gariant, and Judicael all took up the request and rode North into Malahautian lands.

If they were hoping for this to be easy, their visit to Eburacum was quickly defeated by the presence of Sir Uren, and the absence of King de Apres. Although no one was happy to see Sir Uren, he swiftly informed them that the King had passed by recently, and was last seen heading for Richmond Castle to attend the court of Duke Geoffery. Putting together a small party for their escort – including himself – the knights set off for Richmond.

At Richmond Castle, Sir Uren introduced them to the court who informed them that they had just missed the Centurion King. As they sent out riders to look for them, Duke Geoffery requested if they would be willing to take a small test at a nearby cavern. Strangely unwilling to talk about the specifics other than they would face a test of spirit and that little danger was involved, the Knights agreed. Sir Beohrtric noted that Sir Uren seemed on the verge of laughing at several points, but ultimately could not find a reason to turn them down, and the five departed.

A Christian Priest led them to the cave and gave them each a torch. Some knights chose to go without arms or armour, and some with. Upon entering the tunnels, despite the close nature of the cave, each of them became lost and faced a similar set of questions. Sir Judicael found himself unable to make a decision and abandoned the cave, but the other four all saw it through to the end.

Ultimately they were unsuccessful, and upon emerging they found that the court of Malahaut had gathered, led by a jeering Sir Uren – who now revelled in the sight of the four knights who had completed the trial completely without a stitch of clothing. With their squires hastily covering them, Sir Uren went on to say that fortunately he had intercepted King deApres, and he was on hand – both to witness the humiliation, and to coldly decline King Uther’s “request”.

As the knights were escorted back to castle Richmond, Sir Judicael realised that although most of Malahaut had mocked them, Duke Geoffery seemed legitimately saddened by their failure, and privately he reassured the knight that he would continue to send worthy challengers to attempt the Caves. The other knights were less forgiving though, and Sir Beohrtric challenged Sir Uren. First he challenged him to a battle of composition, which the Malahaut knight handily won. This was followed by a challenge of swords – which Sir Uren won again. Unable to forgive the arrogance of the Malahaut knight, Sir Beohrtric swore vengeance on him and his household, before Sir Gariant forcefully reminded the knights they were there on diplomacy and left.

King Uther was hardly surprised at the recalcitrance of the Centurion King, and acknowledged the knights’ service done to him, before releasing them from their yearly service.

Fall Events

The knights each attended to their solos and the news of marriage. Sir Judicael married Lady Wynflaeth, and Sir Beohrtric married Lady Dyanne, both in lavish ceremonies due to their inheritance. Sir Judicael also put up the dowry for his sister, and attended the wedding of Lady Ilse and Sir Gwyn, formalising ties between their household.

Sir Liam returned home to most troubling news. While he was away, his manor of Tangley was invaded by Saxons, headed by Einhard the Grey, the Saxon who previously headed the Mine of Nantwich. Though Lady Junah handily managed the defenses of their manor, she thought to ride out to challenge his army in Battle – a move that ended in disaster. Sir Liam’s uncle was slain, and Lady Junah herself was taken prisoner. It was only Einhard’s surprising act of mercy that prevented her from being slain then and there, and he released her with a warning to her husband that he would be back.

Sir Liam, naturally, pledged vengeance against the Saxons for next year, but news came down that the requests of Praetor Syagrius had reached the King, and next year Prince Madoc would be taking half of the Logres army overseas, to conquer the land of Gaul…

Year 486 - The Sword Lake
A series of trials result in a momentous accomplishment

Spring Gossip

The inconclusive battles of 485 still weighed heavily on people’s minds, especially the news out of Lindsey that King Aescwine had defeated Duke Lucius, and was now rampaging throughout the countryside. Coupled with news from the continent that the city of Soissons had fallen, and Praetor Syagrius was sending envoys to convince King Uther to pledge aid to retake his kingdom. Though most balked at the thought of leaving their homeland and its barbarian troubles to fight barbarians abroad, the knowledge of the wealth in the ancient Roman cities was tempting to many.

Prince Madoc was vocally opposed to the idea of supporting the French, and instead resolved that later in the year he would be calling upon the Knights of Salisbury to launch retaliatory raids up North. This, coupled with the news that Merlin the Magician had been sighted in court, gave many hope that it was going to be time for another stunning victory similar to the one at the Battle of Mount Damen.

It was not all good news however, as Sir Gariant was informed by Earl Roderick that, following his actions last year, he had been brought up on a charge of conduct unbecoming of a knight by Sir Gwyn, and would have to report for trial either this year or the next to resolve this issue. Confident that he would have nothing to fear, he resolved to face justice, though his friends saw to it that he would not face it alone. Sir Liam and Sir Cynehild volunteered to sit on the jury to ensure a fair trial, and Sir Caelus pledged to stand by Sir Gariant during the trial to share in his defense. With that, the knights got their affairs in order and prepared for the battle of honour.

Summer Justice

The court was packed with knights, including rather distressingly the presence of Sir Uren, who was known to relish the chance to embarrass any Salisbury knight, and Sir Greid, a knight whose wife had killed herself following an affair with Sir Beorhtric, another Goblet Knight. In addition, there was a new member of Sir Gwyn’s household: the legendary Saxon mercenary Ceolward, freshly knighted and inducted into Sir Gwyn’s household following the death of Sir Hellenel.

The thrust of Sir Gwyn’s argument was simple enough: Sir Gariant had words with Sir Hellenel during a minor uprising on Sir Gwyn’s manor of Clarendon. Sir Hellenel became incensed, and his actions caused him to throw himself off the battlements, whereupon the peasants he was about to order the death of killed him. Sir Gariant, as the only other knight present, then ordered both sides to stand down and go their separate ways. It was argued that by not calling for the deaths of the peasants there, a retributive strike on the village was necessitated by a code of honour, and thus Sir Gariant should have to pay for the restitution of the entire village.

Sir Gwyn’s case was straightforward enough: The breach of honour and hospitality was clear, but so was the Pride in being a knight over the peasantry, as well as a musing from Sir Ceolward about how any such action must be punished with immediate vengeance rather than being allowed to let lie.

Sir Gariant focused on the same argument he used with Sir Hellenel, that ordering the death of your peasants from the battlements via crossbows was not a valorous action, and that he was appalled by the death and only sought to forgive any further trespass that night. Sir Caelus pointed out that it was better of Sir Gariant to energetically do something rather than nothing, and that he should not be faulted for showing mercy to the peasants rather than seeking their death.

Ultimately, the majority of the jury found in favour of Sir Gariant and, as expected, Sir Ceolward asserted his right to trial by combat instead of the verdict. Sir Caelus stood to face the mighty Saxon, and driven to fury by the thought of an assault on the Goblet Knights proved to be an even more furious opponent than the Saxon. However, Sir Ceolward left himself open and, though Sir Caelus drew first blood, Sir Ceolward responded with a blow that nearly cut Sir Caelus down where he stood, and had a less skilled surgeon than his wife Lady Elana been present, he doubtless would have died.

Still, Caelus had struck the first blow, and Earl Roderick pronounced him in the clear. Sir Gwyn’s honour was impugned for the case, which he took with grace and departed.

Fall Adventure

Sir Caelus was still recovering from his massive wound, and Sir Cynehild refused to leave her townhouse in Sarum this year, so the two were not present at the announcement of the Lindsey Raids. Earl Roderick went on about the chance for vengeance and plunder that could be had, but added that sadly some knights would have to remain behind on garrison duty. Unfortunately, the knights left behind included Sir Liam, Sir Gariant, Sir Beorhtric, and Sir Judicael. With the forces of Logres assembled, the Goblet Knights watched them ride off, and moved to serve their garrison duty during the plundering.

The lands of Salisbury were quiet this fall, and it was with equal parts relief and sadness when they were approached by an old man who had lost his goat, and demanded the knights retrieve it because they knew their rights. Just pleased to have something to do, the knights tracked down the goat and Sir Caelus approached it while his companions moved to prevent any possible escape. Their mundane task was interrupted by a massive three-eyed giant, who had emerged from the woods on his own. Sir Caelus, struck with fear, focused on ushering the goat out of the woods while Sir Judicael fled outright in horror.

Sir Liam and Sir Gariant were undaunted by the challenge though, and controlling their mounts charged the creature. The thing threw a boulder at Sir Gariant, and uprooted a tree stump to try and strike down Sir Liam, but thankfully both strikes missed the knights. The two retaliated by cleaving the giant’s head producing two shorn segments and leaving one behind – each containing an eye. As Sir Judicael fled, he was confronted by the old man who reminded him of his Forgiving nature, and that he should forgive his own fears – causing him to turn and rush back to his friends, though not until after the fight had been won.

With the giant slain, the old man emerged from the woods and revealed himself to be Merlin, and that the knights had passed his first test. Leaving behind their horses and squires, the four accompanied him deeper into the woods which seemed to twist and change around them. Suddenly they found themselves on the shore of a great lake, one not known to any of the knights to be near the area where they were. Striding confidently onto the surface of the lake, Merlin called that the knights were to protect him from the dangers that were coming. As they wondered what that could be, a dark green creature in a parody of a knight on horseback burst out of the woods and attempted to run him down.

Sprouting four arms, each with a sword the same colour as its body, the thing managed to strike Sirs Beohrtric, Judicael and Liam, but Sir Gariant avoided its blow and managed to slay it. Their reprieve was short though, for as it died the knights that were struck were pulled under the water and – trapped by their own chainmail – began to struggle to free themselves. Sir Gariant stripped off his own armour, and working in concert with the others they eventually all got free – Sir Judicael and Liam requiring rescuing, while Sir Beohrtric’s natural affinity with swimming did the job for him.

Panting and tired, the quartet looked for Merlin who was now striding back across the water, complimenting the knights on a job well done. Asking him what the purpose was, the magician declined to say, but did invite the group to Christmas Court this evening.

Winter Court

The Christmas court was held in Sarum following these events, and the knights gathered to partake in Uther’s hospitality. Though the raid on Lindsey was derailed by multiple groups of roving Saxons, there was still enough plunder for a decent celebration. All knights were given a handful of silver by the King, and then the time came for gifts to be presented to Uther. Prince Madoc seemed to have the best offering with ten chests full of plunder, and a Saxon battle banner presented to his father.

Suddenly, Merlin entered the hall and, with a great speech, presented to the King Excalibur, the Sword of Victory. As Uther wondered at his gift, he asked how the magician came by such a treasure, and Merlin indicated the four knights who had assisted him earlier, saying that the tale would be theirs to tell.

As the evening turned int one of copious drinking and tale telling, the year closed with Uther still staring and Excalibur, and perhaps failing to notice Merlin’s advice regarding the importance of remaining Just…

Year 485 - The Missing Horse
A New Generation of Knights arise to carry on the fight

Spring Funeral

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.

Summer Hunting

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!

Fall Battle

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.

Year 484 – The Siege of Eburacum
Omens of the Future are told, and a great Knight falls

Spring Parties

The new year did not start with the most auspicious of timings: Sir Gariant found his manor hit by an unfortunate streak of bad weather, forcing him to resort to raiding the nearby Saxon kingdoms in order to shore up his wealth. Sir Gwyllim was grappling with the challenges of being appointed Deputy Marshall of Salisbury in a time when war was being visited against British Kingdoms instead of the Saxons. Sir Caelus completed a Roman church upon his land, only for the priest to be gripped in a fit of prophecy that he had to repent his sins or face death, and Sir Liam was stuck trying to arrange his first large social event on his newly completed Deer Park.

Although he cast his net far, Duke Roderick was busy preparing for King Uther’s pronouncement of another war to be waged that year, and only a handful of knights actually managed to attend: among them Sir Carver and Sir Melianus who both held the Goblet Knights various degrees of affection. Although the mood was slightly grim, Sir Liam nonetheless hosted several contests for the knights to prove themselves: though none was quite as anticipated as that of an impromptu test of weapon skill. Sir Liam refused to be dissuaded from participating in his own tournament, and in front of his family successfully War-flailed his way to victory, ultimately defeating Sir Gwyllim in the finals to seize the top position. Fortunately the tournament rules required all weapons to be rebated, but there were still a few injuries noted amongst the knights present from his strikes.

As the festivities drew to a close, Sir Gariant was approached by a peasant server who asked for the knight’s help in finding her younger brother, who had wandered off to play and was last seen going into a small copse of woods nearby on Tangley’s estate. Once Sir Gariant informed the rest of the group, Sir Liam ordered everyone else to stay away, and the Goblet Knights moved to investigate the forests alone – as according to Sir Liam this was a realm where the faerie lands drew closer to our own. The quartet split up to search the woods that, while small from the outside, seemed thick and pressing inside. Fortune was with them, as Sir Liam, Caelus and Gariant all came across the young boy – as well as Sir Gwyllim who had apparently arrived first. The sound of the horse drew the attention of Liam and Gariant, while Caelus realised something was wrong and watched as the Gwyllim in the forest smiled obsecenely and vanished, while behind them Sir Gwyllim was riding up the path, apparently having arrived late.

Sir Liam knew at once the creature was a doppelgänger – an omen of death – and asked Sir Gwyllim to accompany on a ride as the situation was explained. Sir Gariant, not recognising what had happened, brought Sir Caelus to talk to Sir Carver to see if the vassal of King Cadwy had any further information. To their luck he did, and filled them in on the full story: the doppelgänger appeared to someone who was soon to die, and would try to kill them in order to claim their life. However if it could be killed instead, it would utter a prophecy concerning how the person was to die in the first place. Reuiniting with his friends, the four resolved not to leave Sir Gwyllim alone that night, until Sir Gwyllim realised that his son and squire Judicael was missing from the hall. Questioning the guards found that he was last seen heading back towards the faerie woods with “Sir Gwyllim” accompanying him.

Heedlessly rushing through the forest, Sir Gwyllim was almost taken by surprise in the woods by the creature he was hunting, but it was intercepted by Sir Caelus and Sir Gariant, the later of whom cleanly slew it in one blow. Forewarned as to the danger of its last prophecy, Sir Caelus quickly covered Sir Gwyllim’s ears as the creature breathed its prophecy: You are a good man, Sir Gwyllim. And a fine knight. And with that ominous note, it died.

Summer Invasion

The pronouncement of death affected all of the knights differently, oddly it seemed to affect Sir Gwyllim the least – outwardly anyway. There was little time to reflect though, as Duke Roderick ordered his knights to assemble to march under the banner of Uther. This year, they were heading North to Eburacum, ostensibly to aid King Heraut de Apres with battling the Picts. Of course with the strategic news the Goblet Knights brought back last year, it was presumed by many – including Prince Madoc – that the King intended to allow the Saxons to weaken Malahaut before conquering it himself.

The road to Malahaut was full of much gossip and debate among the British forces for the weeks it took to ride North, but finally the great city of Eburacum came into sight, and with it the sight of the Saxon camp besieging it. Encouragingly, Sir Gariant noted that the Malahaut defenders seemed to have whittled the invaders down to a skeleton force, and King Uther gave the order to make ready to attack. As the army shuffled about in reorganisation though, a great battle cry went up – the attack had come, but it was the Saxons who had ambushed the Britains.

The Battle of Eburacum, as it came to be called, was a complete disaster for the British forces. Sir Caelus was knocked unconscious in the initial Saxon charge, only barely rescued and carried from the field by his squire. Sir Gwyllim went mad with passion and charged off, requiring a concerted effort from his son to bring him to his senses, at which point he reconvened with his own forces to lead them to safety. The fight out was a massacre, and even joined bySir Melianus’s household mercenary Herr Waldek it was not without cost. Waldek was separated from the group and despite a valiant fighting retreat was captured by Saxons, and Sir Liam and Gwyllim were also taken down by Saxons in the dying hour of the battle and carried to safety.

Though Sir Caelus was not badly wounded, Sir Gwyllim was on the verge of death, and Uther’s healers were not able to stabilize either of them. Fortunately, Lady Lupina had entrusted an ancient healing potion to her husband before leaving for the battle, and that managed to bring Sir Gwyllim to safety if not consciousness. Uther was on the verge of ordering a full retreat, when Merlin the Magician appeared and instead urged the group to counter-attack while the Saxons were drunk on victory and mead. Using his magic to bring those who could still fight back to consciousness, and empowering the knights present with a great sense of purpose. However, Sir Liam saw that Merlin’s spell was visible to him in the form of a great dragon, and Sir Caelus began praying and actually resisted the effect of the spell, causing him to fight at just his normal strength. Nonetheless, Uther gave the order to charge and the counter-offensive was begun.

The Battle of Mount Damen was every bit the victory for the Logres knights as the one just hours earlier had been for the Saxons. King Octa’s men were drunk and expecting the British forces to be crushed, The British knights fought with great purpose, and the Saxons were handily driven before them. King Octa ordered a retreat after realising his position could not be salvaged, and the camp was taken. Tragically while hunting down the retreating Saxons, Sir Liam’s passion overtook him and he struck himself in the neck with his own warflail, but again Sir Gariant’s potion managed to save him – though this time expending itself in the effort.

King Uther met with the Centurion King, and though the Malahaut knights asked for help to crush Nohaut once and for all, the British knights were too badly injured and instead Uther declared the day a victory and retreated. Those who were captured by the Saxons were returned, and a great cheer went up over the decisive victory of Uther, and in no small way Merlin as well.

Fall Tragedy

Though Sir Liam was aware that Sir Gwyllim’s life was still in danger, he was only brought back from the edge of death and no further by Sir Gariant’s potion, and he spent the return journey unconscious. As many knights lay dead, Duke Roderick released his knights to return to their manor and bring all knightable servants to Logres, as King Uther was going to pay for many knighthoods to bring his forces back up to strength.

On his way home, Sir Gwyllim encountered Merlin again standing in the road, who asked the aged knight to accompany him for awhile. Though his words were disarming, Sir Gwyllim detected a clear air of malice, and thus was not surprised when Merlin attacked – for apparently no reason. Though Sir Gwyllim put up a valiant effort, and Merlin was exhausted from his spent magic, he was no match for the sorcerer, and at the edge of his manor fell to the ground, dead without a wound…

And as he fell, countries away, Duke Gorlois and Lady Ygraine welcomed into the world the birth of their newest child

Year 483 - The Worshipping Picts
A legendary figure triggers a startling change

Spring Questing

February had not yet even come to an end, when the Goblet Knights were summoned to Sarum at the request of Duke Roderick. His reasons for summoning Sir Liam O’Mally were quite simple: The Irish Knight had been quite vocal in asking people to come hunt at his new Chace last year, and the Duke had to decline. King Uther Pendragon had finally allowed people to court the Lady Ellen, and he was leaving with a small retinue of knights and a large amount of treasure to ply his case. Sir Liam asked if he could help compose a poem for him, but wound up coming off as a bit presumptive.

For Sir Gwyllim, the Duke had wanted to thank him profusely for the fine job he had done raising the young knights under his care, and that he was hoping to appoint Sir Gwyllim the Marshal of Salisbury once the current Marshall retired. In addition though, the Duke wanted Sir Gwyllim’s counsel as he had a visitor who had asked for Sir Caelus and Sir Gariant by name. This visitor was none other than the legendary Merlin the Magician, who had a quest for the group.

Merlin was not particularly forthcoming with details, other than he requested Sir Caelus and Sir Gariant to escort him to the land of Lothian and a specific ritual site there by March 21st. With a few days of preparation there would be sufficient time to make it there, but no more than two other knights or he had foreseen great disaster befalling them. Naturally the two proposed Sir Gwyllim and Sir Liam to accompany them, and the knights made ready for their quest. Attempting to gather information as to why they might have been sent with Merlin all they could ascertain was that the Standing Stones were an ancient site of worship, and that the date corresponded to the Spring Equinox.

The journey through the territory of Logres was uneventful, but to reach Lothian required passing through Malahaut, and so the Knights were forced to rest at Ebauracum. Merlin said he would collect them in the morning and that he had his own activities to attend to until then. With Sir Caelus taking pause to tour the city and extol the superior virtues of Roman architecture, the remaining knights made their way to the castle of the Centurion King of Malahaut, where they were met by Sir Uren, his stewards. Hospitality was extended – although they detected a slight note of incivility to the invitation. This was an impression that would be confirmed several times over that night. Sir Caelus made his way to the castle in time for a feast, after a brief encounter with some failed pickpockets and a quite apathetic town watch.

Sir Uren seemed intent on needling the knights all evening. First he falsely attributed the slaying of a great wyrm plaguing their lands to them and asked if they were here to claim the bounty on it, which the knights denied preferring honesty. Then, when Sir Caelus noted they were fed only the most basic fare, he challenged Sir Caelus to a duel to first blood for insulting his honour – only for Sir Caelus to decline and be sent from the Hall for banishing the rules of Hospitality. Next he boasted about the wine he had sampled once in Gwaeodd, and that the Knights had likely never tasted its kind only for Sir Liam to point out the group’s adventures there, the slaying of Count Gwyddno, and the saving of Countess Traymor as his consort.

Blustering and angry, Sir Uren challenged Sir Liam to a duel as well, and when Sir Gariant attempted to intervene the Malahaut knight challenged him as well. Sir Gariant excused himself as Sir Caelus had, but Liam boasted that he could fight the other man right now. To this pronouncement the knights of Malahaut, with a practiced air, swept the feast hall aside and a fight was joined. Though Sir Uren was wise enough to challenge Sir Liam to a battle of swords, nonetheless Sir Liam managed to triumph and score first blood. At further provocation from Sir Uren it seemed another challenge was forthcoming, but Sir Gwyllim – who up until now had remained quiet and modest – talked down Sir Liam and the pair retired for the evening.

In the morning – after Sir Caelus had noted a weakness in the Malahaut over-reliance on the strength of Roman walls – the group made ready to leave, but Sir Uren had one last request. His men had captured two pickpockets who were accused of stealing from Sir Caelus, and asked each knight to strike one down in order to enforce their King’s justice. Though in the right, with Sir Caelus absent they refused to strike down men without all the facts, and left them to their fate – which Sir Uren was only too happy to dish out. Meeting with Merlin at the gate for first dawn, the group set out North to Lothian.

En route, the knights noticed a curious habit of Merlin’s to stop and peer at several hidden lakes along the way, and accompanying him at one point Sir Liam thought that he had seen a shimmering island in the middle of it, but that vision passed quickly. Though he suspected this was a sign of the Ladies of the Lake, Sir Liam chose not to tell the more Christian members of the party, and the group put it down to the Magician’s eccentricities.

The halls of King Lot were much more welcoming than that of Malahaut, and though he was not expecting visitors this early he promised to hold a great feast before they departed his lands. Merlin had again given them a day’s leave, so they happily joined in the hunt. Sadly the thick forests of Lothian were too much for them, and they soon became lost inside them. While trying to pick up a beast’s trail, Sir Gwyllim and Sir Gariant came across a wounded Pictish barbarian and a knight of Lothian each badly wounded. Sir Gwyllim executed the Pictish barbarian, and blowing the hunting horn summoned the Goblet Knights and King Lot’s men, who tended to the fallen man and sent for help.

As his knights went for assistance, King Lot took the other knights in a hunt for any other Picts in the area, and found them taking refuge in an ancient shrine in the woods. The Picts disarmed themselves claiming sanctuary, and King Lot noted that if he were to do anything it would look poorly on him with the knights who were particularly pious, and that he could not order his men to do anything either. Then he gave the group a pointed look, and left. Sir Caelus, Sir Gariant and Sir Gwyllim were all overcome with piety at the shrine and went inside to pray, while Sir Liam was left to decide what to do with the Picts who were clearly delighting in the foolishness of British knights. Their mockery proved too much for him, and despite standing on sacred ground he quickly cut down the three of them where they stood.

King Lot was grateful for his actions, and with the carcass of a deer he found en route to his manor held the promised feast, and the Knights departed again with Merlin in the morning. The equinox was nearly upon them, but they reached their destination as the moon was high on March 20th, and Merlin told them to make camp outside of the stone circle. When questioned as to why they would not defend it a little closer he, as per the norm, would not explain himself – only that come dawn he would complete his ritual and they could return to Logres.

Sir Liam and Sir Caelus remained on watch through the night, and about an hour before dawn saw a faint light and heard sounds as though people were moving about in the circle. Rousing the other knights, they rode forth to investigate, but found an early morning mist once more curling about them: a troubling sight to all who remembered the power of King Cadwy. No sooner had they ridden into it than Caelus, Gwyllim and Gariant found themselves face-to-face with a group of surprised, worshipping picts in the middle of a ceremony. Sir Caelus quickly rode to face the largest warrior while Gwyllim and Gariant allowed the Picts to arm themselves, and they soon made short work of the warriors while the remaining PIcts fled for the forest.

Sir Liam though had not emerged with the others. As he rode into the mist, he found himself before an old man with a silver hand, seated in a throne of brambles. Recognising this as an ancient Pagan God of the Irish, Sir Liam humbly asked why he was here, to which the God singled him out for embodying the Heathen virtues of old last year, and requested him to become a champion of the old ways, one that would be needed in the years ahead. Seizing the honour, Sir Liam accepted and only as the God lay his silver hand upon him did he think that maybe he should have asked for some more information first.

Nonetheless, from the perspective of his friends he emerged from this mist shortly after the Picts had been driven off, his heraldry now replaced with that of a snarling dog, and a similar tattoo etched in silver on his chest. Further questions were cut short by Merlin, who strode forth and – to Caelus’s notice and slight befuddlement – gathering up a small amount of blood that Caelus had spilled during the fight, began a silent ritual in the stones before announcing they were done and it was time to return to Logres.

The tale of their journey made for a good story for Duke Roderick, whose claim on the Lady Ellen had proceeded successfully in the knight’s absence – though he did refer rather darkly to a Saxon ambush along the way. Sir Caelus confronted Merlin about the strange sorcery, to which Merlin simply responded that Sir Caelus should be proud that he was the type of knight this land would need in the days ahead, and the knights returned to their various manors for the year.

Summer Solo

Exhausted from their long trek this year, the remainder of 483 passed without much incident. Sir Caelus had an interesting stint on Garrison duty, when he saw some bandits raiding the Sarum treasury and moved to hunt them down – though a few managed to escape. He was invited to join a hunt with Duke Roderick, though without much success and a debate with a strange peasant woman led him to find some new insights into his own skills.

Sir Gariant quested for more adventure, feeling strangely invigorated by what had happened up North. Although nothing of particular note happened, he did resolve several small disputes among the common folk of Salisbury, and found his Concern for the local common folk strangely re-invigorated by their talk.

Sir Gwyllim found the armoury commissioned by King Uther had been completed, and at the King’s request had the first sword it had made presented to him in an elaborate, if uninspired ceremony, for which he was greatly honoured and talked about by the court. Although the deed was simple, it did result in his name being carried throughout Uther’s court once more.

Glory Rewards

  • Sir Caelus – 236 Glory. 1
  • Sir Gariant – 271 Glory. 1
  • Sir Liam – 511 Glory. 1
  • Sir Caelus – 706 Glory. 1 (Damn ridiculous high Glory solo.)

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