Manors/Knights in Attendance
With the kingdom of Logres expanded through the conquest of Bedegraine, the news in the court this year was if King Uther would be focusing on bringing war to the Saxons, or against those who refused to acknowledge his claim as High King. The answer soon came down from his court – it was to be war against King Cadwy of Summerland this year. The great mineral wealth of the province had been vastly reduced to trade agreements rather than tribute, and the King demanded of his subjects that they take the land that was rightfully owed to him. As Summerland was located in the county of Somerset, this was quite simple for the knights of Salisbury to marshal their forces – and provided an opportunity for them as well.
For years, Duke Roderick and King Cadwy had engaged in minor skirmishes and arguments over territory bordering their land, and with the King’s planned invasion he was confident that the much larger force of Uther would win the day heavily. As such, he pledged only the mandatory 1/3rd of his knights to Uther’s cause, and resolved to settle the remaining dispute with the forces left under his command. As he viewed this as an issue critical to his own people, he desired Sir Amig to lead the border battles, and thus nominated Sir Gwyllim to act as commander of the Salisbury forces for this expedition. The elder knight accepted this, and commanding a force including Sir Gariant and Sir Liam, set off for Somerset.
The march into Summerland went mostly uncontested as expected, for the knights of the Kingdom could not engage the forces arrayed against them in great numbers. The knights took the time to do some light raiding to bolster their own treasury, and during one such raid encountered the Cornwall forces led by the Duke Gorlois, who remembered and warmly greeted Sir Gariant. Apparently the Summerland forces had adopted a similar plan as Bedegraine before them of defending key entry points to King’s castle and allowing the knights to run unchallenged throughout their border lands. Nonetheless, as the army had not consolidated if a gap in the defenses could not be found they would have through the swamp in order to reach the rendezvous with Uther in time.
Acting on the Duke’s advice, Sir Gwyllim led his troops to one of the contested bridges occupied by the Summerland forces. Outnumbering them 2:1, but with the defenders having the advantage of a fortified position, Sir Gwyllim was confident they could take the bridge, but not without suffering some rather severe losses. Though his inclination was to charge, Sir Liam proposed an alternate solution: He, Sir Gariant and Sir Gwyllim challenge the three best Summerland defenders to single combat, and the winner of this mini-tournament would be forced to cede the position. With an impassioned speech, Sir Carver leader of the Summerland forces agreed, and a duel was laid out.
Sir Gwyllim and Sir Carver naturally faced off first, and though Sir Gwyllim summoned a mighty passion in himself at the thought of completing his mission for King Uther, the passion that Sir Carver held for his liege lord was no less explosive, and after one heated exchange of blows, Sir Gwyllim was felled heavily wounded – though still alive. The terms of their battle had been to the death, but Sir Carver refused to slay a downed foe, and the Salisbury forces were able to retrieve their commander. Sir Liam was next up, and with his mighty warflail flashing, easily slew Sir Dorian, the knight who had been sent against him. The third combatant, Sir Bellingham, was so incensed by this that without waiting for Sir Gariant to step up charged the bridge and swung at Sir Liam, but found the Irish knight more than a match for him and died as well. Ashamed at his forces breaking their word of honour for the duel, Sir Carver gave a potion that had been provided to him by King Cadwy to heal Sir Gwyllim and tended to the knight’s wounds. He then yielded the bridge, and ordered his forces to grant passage to the Salisbury forces so long as they gave their word to cease their raiding until they met up with King Uther.
Though his pride was shaken, Sir Gwyllim was the first to lead his forces to meet with those of King Uther, who by now was incensed at the delay for his forces as he had been encamped against the forces of Summerland. Most were forced to detour through the swamp, and arrived far later than he had been hoping – with the Duke of Gorlois yet again arriving last to the battle. Still, once his army was assembled at dawn with the mists breaking over Summerland, Uther ordered his forces to line up and gave the order the charge. The forces of Salisbury and the knights of Logres in general tore through the enemy as if they weren’t even armoured: for in fact they were not. In the pre-dawn light, the army they had thought opposed them was revealed to be crude figures of mud and reeds, fashioned into not-very-passable figures of knights. Cursing magic, he screamed to the skies for Merlin, cursing the fabled magician for not being here to see through this deception.
As Uther cursed amidst the mudmen, a voice called out to him asking him to parlay with King Cadwy. His family had been sent as hostages to ensure his safe passage, and Uther carried himself to meet with the King, appointing the Salisbury contingent to accompany him. As he strode inside the tent, the mists again rose up and Sir Liam and Sir Gariant became overcome with passion and began talking with the mud statues as if they were real. Though Sir Gwyllim did not suffer as poorly, he too was taken to distraction by the atmosphere and thus they, and indeed all knights present, did not hear what occurred between King Uther and King Cadwy. Uther eventually emerged from the tent shaken, and proclaimed that Cadwy had surrendered and Summerland was theirs. The host of Logres was invited in to a feast in King Cadwy’s court, as they rode off.
Quite honestly, no one believed what had occurred, and at the victory feast Uther publicly accepted the vassalage of King Cadwy and granted him the title of Count, and it did not pass unnoticed that King Cadwy still did not support Uther as High King. The hospitality was plentiful, but everyone seemed too busy gossiping to truly enjoy it. Sir Liam sought out Sir Carver who was present, and the knight of Summerland indicated that the King seemed well warned of the invasion, but that given that there were so few casualties and everyone had accepted fealty, could it be called a bad thing. Sir Gwyllim spent his time attempting to determine what exactly had happened, and eventually pieced together that the terms of Cadwy’s “surrender” closely mirrored all existing trade agreements, and so they lost very little. As well, he found out that Merlin had warned Uther against invading Summerland, and when Uther ignored him left from court on his “own quest”. After a slight interception by Sir Brastias, Sir Gariant met with Duke Gorlois, and the Duke carefully expressed his displeasure at having to conquer parts of Britain while the Saxons remained in their lands. Still, rewards were given, fealty was accepted, and Summerland was folded into Uther’s domain.
On return to Salisbury, the Knights were released from their yearly service and were free to go about their business. However, as he was still recuperating from his injuries Sir Gwyllim was visited by Prince Madoc, who was putting together an invasion plan of his own. He suspected that his father had desired the mineral wealth that King Cadwy possessed, and he sought to reclaim one of the iron mines of Britain that had been seized by the Saxons and return it to British control. As such he was visiting many landed knights asking for their support and their family forces in this fight. He hoped to get eleven such pledged manors which would then lay siege to the mine at Nantwich. Agreeing to help, Sir Gariant and Sir Liam once more pledged to follow Sir Gwyllim, and the three of them set out to muster their forces and siege the Saxon mine.
Though they would be required to bring most of their family forces with them, the knights decided to further supplement their forces with hired mercenaries and siege equipment, and Sir Gariant decided to call in a favour from Sir Mecanus, a travelling mercenary who he had befriended over the summer. Bringing in a few more mercenary knights in exchange for clearing a favour he had promised, they set out to lay siege to Nantwich and its surrounding area. Along with Prince Madoc and the other knights of Logres, they settled in for a long siege. It was fortunate that they brought siege equipment as the Saxons had fortified the location, but Sir Gwyllim’s tacitcal acumen allowed them to easily resist the forays of the Saxon forces with only a nominal loss of their peasant forces. Raiding the surrounding area for libre, they found that their allied forces were doing equally well, and finally as fall was dawning the Saxons were forced to engage them in battle.
The battle of Nantwich was a defining moment for Prince Madoc, as it was a chance for him to act independent of his father for the first time, and he set out to inspire his troops to follow him into the jaws of Hell. The charge led by him into the Saxons was a resounding success, and the knights entered the Killing Zone trampling down a number of French mercenaries that the Saxons had brought in. With the battle joined, Sir Gwyllim led the combined forces of Tangley, Littleworth and Harnham – and over the next hours found opportunity after opportunity to flank and strike down the Saxon forces. He always seemed to catch them just when they were disordered, and saved the fiercest of fighting for himself. His companions were no less successful however, and united the three knights led their forces to strike down Saxon after Saxon.
The battle was clearly going in the favour of the Britains, as the Saxon forces seemed to never recover from the initial charge of the battle, and between the carnage they suffered and the British organisation they soon ordered a retreat. Sir Gwyllim ordered a pursuit of the Saxon forces, but unfortunately he ran into a rearguard of frothing berserkers who seemed fresh after the long hours of the battle. Recognising the danger, and exhausted from the combat Sir Gariant attempted to fight defensively but nonetheless was struck a mighty blow by the Saxon berserker, but nonetheless people could swear that it was as though some inner light of his managed to deflect the worst of it and he survived, although grievously wounded. Sir Liam and Sir Gwyllim both laid into their foes, and with that the Saxon army was broken, though not defeated.
Prince Madoc’s camp was unable to stabilize Sir Gariant immediately, and Liam’s squire was sent to fetch Lady Junah, who arrived in time to yet again save another badly wounded knight. Prince Madoc, flush with success, distributed plunder and pledged to fortify this area until he could fortify the area, and congratulated all the survivors on their great contribution. Presenting his success to King Uther, the King was indeed mightily pleased, and was more than willing to grant favours to those who had distinguished themselves. To Sir Liam, who been planning to build a Deer Park in his nearby region, he was granted hunting rights in a nearby Chace for his family to enjoy. To Sir Gwyllim, for his great service leading the battle Uther pledged to pay for an armoury to sit on his land so that other knights could be outfitted as he was. To Sir Gariant… nothing was asked for, nor granted. The King seemed to, for his own reason, refuse to acknowledge Sir Gariant’s contributions as being worth notice.
Nonetheless, the knights returned for the winter flush with success against the Saxons. Despite this, they knew they might need to hire more men to shore up their forces, as now the Saxons would have reason to seek revenge against their family specifically. However, that just reaffirmed the need for striking back against the Saxon menace. Which they were sure that King Uther would be getting around to any year now…
- Sir Liam
- Glory: 660
- Libre: 36£
- Child Born: Son (Zazamanc Heritage)