Sunday, December 28, 2008

527:To Rome

Lucius here....
King Arthur sent Count Edar and us Leicestermen to forage for food, before going down to Rome. We did as we were told and we made a killing. I looted and pillaged until my heart was content and came away with 34 Libra of goods. I told Ellidyr to take part and he of couse refused. he is a good lad. Perhaps too good, to the point of foolishness. Even a monestary and a nunnery gave us trouble. I was with Ellidyr on this though. I would not harm holy men or women. Even I have my limits. Ellidyr foolishly tried to help the nuns who of course had no appreciation. Bledri Actually struck one of the nuns! The man has no limits!
On the way back from the gathering of supplies Sir Amadis met up with a strange dark skinned Foreign Knight who called himself Priamus of Alexandria, of the line of Tolomy. Whatever the importance of that is. Amadis jousted the man. After 5 passes neither could get the better of each other so the stranger called it a tie and he drank to their prowess. A strange custom and one that Amadis apparently liked because he has decided to adopt the custom. Priamus is a prince in his lands or something and he healed Amadis wounds with what he called the waters of the two holy rivers. Hmmmm.... whatever.
Before getting the goods back to Arthur we were attacked by the army that Priamus had warned us about. The King of the Vandals was leading the army he said. I am not sure where Vandal land is but we did not care. Priamus fought with us and somehow he used a strange influence ( Magic?) to cause the other saracens in the army to flee the field. It was Amazing!
With Count Edar leading the battle we pummled the Vandal King. I was with Edar's reserve party and we charged in pursuit when the enemy army was broken. Sir Bledri led our unit through most of the battle until those damned Crossbowmen shot his horse out from under him. Amadis picked up the slack though and we clearly whipped the Vandal army. I watched Young Ellidyr and he did well. It seems my training is helping. He is very good with a blade thanks to me.
After the battle we delivered the news and goods to Arthur who was most pleased and a little intrigued by our new foreign friend. Arthur said " On to Rome!"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Rome was not what I thought it would be. During the siege I led some raids around the surrounding lands and collected over30 more Libra in goods over the next month. Arthur then finally spoke to the Pope, and he agreed to surrender to our King.
Edar was able to get his marriage to Queen Elaine Annuled and now next year he will Bring The Norweigian girl valerie and his two children to Leicester, and marry her. Clever dog!
I stayed in rome for 5 monthes and made a lot of contacts among the senators and poerful nobles of Rome. They were trying to use me for their own ends just as I was using them. I led them to believe that I could gain Arthurs ear. Even though the only contact I had was Edar.
I was able to find a fine and Aristocratic beautiful Roman wife, Olivia. She is all that a man could want. Clever , elegant and gorgeous.
On the downside, my quest for a rich orphabed boy to be my ward was not good. I have discovered that he is poor and a victim of politics and just another mouth for me to feed, Guido they call him, and he's dumb as pig balls. In short, Rome was not as Powerful as I expected and her Glory days are over, but she still has enough beauty and sophistication to be counted among the most worthy cities in the world.
Bledri disassembled two of their Roman monuments and took them home by sea to Britian! One Priamus said was an obelisk with an elephant that was from his egyptian homeland so Bledri boxed it up and took it. Also he took something called the statue of David. He put it in Leicester. Ellidyr and Aedon lived with the Roman monks and as tourists tried to see every worthy religious site in the area. Both men are good warrriors but we need to get rid of this religious zeolousness. Edar sailed his one ship, the " Beehive" back to London , and Bledri sent his monuments by boat, but everyone else traveled overland. In a mere two monthes we were home again and telling stories by the fire. I was happy showing off my wife, my new Partial platemail, and my 10 librum worth of Roman art and jewelry. Also there was a jewish apothecary who sold me a jar of red ungent that he says will aid in healing the most grievous of wounds. It cost 15 libra but i feel that it will be worth it! Rome..... splendid, magnificent, dirty, cruel, and decadent. I have learned in my recent travels that truly...... Britian is the best and most powerful kingdom on earth!

Sir Bledri here.
Ah, Rome. What can I say about Rome? A very rich land. Well, not as rich lately. The spoils of war were greater than any other campaign i have been in. The Roman army was not as great as i thought it would be. yet they did have this annoying habit of killing our horses. i think we shall have to do something about that. maybe we can put chainmail on them.Happily when we returned, our neighbors hadn't stolen all of our county, only part of it. It seems our king is going to right this wrong, so that is good news. And I have been made a Round Table Knight! I am happy to serve my king, though i hope i will not be separated from my fellow Candlebees by my duties. Truly, an honor and a great responsiblity.oh, and i brought the statue of David back from Rome. Yes, that statue of David. Sweet.

Sir Amadis here
More fighting on the Continent. Pretty countryside, yes, but it's no Leicester.
As we closed in on Rome I met a strange knight, the Lion of Tollomy, a Sir Primus from Alexandria. We jousted--he did alright for a foreigner. Nice enough chap. We saw him occasionally while in Rome enjoying the spoils of our fight; Bledri got some advice from him as to which monuments would be best suited for transport home to Leicester.
I also picked up a wife, a fine Spanish woman, Desdemona. No Scathach, but fiery in her own way. We were married and back home to Leicester by Christmas.

526: Continental Campaign

Sir Ellidyr here......

Well.... last year Count Edar decided that I was too tender of age and too inexperienced to go to the Continent and join battle. Of course he is wise and I accepted his decision without question as one ought to do. I served garrison duty under Sir Lucius, and we had quite a time trying to guard our count's borders. Lambor, Lonazep,and Bedegraine were the culprits. They shamelessly annexed parts of my count's lands. We were too undermanned to halt them. If it had just been one county then maybe we could have , but all three working together... imposible!
We heard later in the year that our Lord needed yet more of us to come to the continent as reserve reinforcements. We were told by a messenger that accompanied men of the first contingent that had returned home to Leicester. What a sight. They were sick, maimed and disheartened for the most part. Though some loot did come back. I wondered how these new men who were wounded were supposed to guard our borders. I am still afraid that we will return to find our count's lands gone. I am trying to put it out of my mind andfocus on the task at hand. My ord needs me on the continent so off to portsmouth I go. I must pray to God that he aids us so that we do not end up like the first contingent did.

Sir Lucius here...
So after trying to guard my lord's lands with only mild success, we were shipped to the continent, right where I didnt want to go.Large battles cause many deaths. But I would finally get to see the glory of old Rome where my ancestors flourished and shaped the world. Our first battle was at Geneva and after an entire day of fighting it was a draw. The Roman's had the strangest army I had ever seen. Black skinned ethiopians, pony mounted bowmen called huns, and italian crossbowmen with heavy bolts, and Byzantine knights with roman infantry, and a slew of other strange troops. I was truly impressed. Our own British knights were very good as well though to hold the battle to a standstill. I took only one superficial wound in the battle and even young Ellidyr who I have been mentoring took but one flesh wound. I hear that next we will be going through Tuscany, Milan and Genoa where the populace will give us no trouble as thet recognize the greatness of our high king. I can hardly wait to see Rome in all it's splendor!

Sir Amadis here
My special lady friend Scathath and her hulk of a brother seem to be coming around...we've been arm-wrestling. Sometimes I win.
She has beautiful biceps, my lady does.
I thought of that much while recuperating at the monastary outside Paris. I had the misfortune of falling in the first charge; either my horse's leg broke, or he stumbled upon some disfigurement in the ground, because my seat dropped out from under me, and I tumbled to the ground. Fortunately I landed on my side in the turf; the spear that struck me went completely through! Haven't had that happen before. Hurt less than I thought it would.
But when I was taken to the chirugen, at this monastary, there were some many injured men the monks said I was lucky to find space in one of the outbuildings. It was the shed where they housed the swine. A knight who lay near me, and who said that before he took service with his lord he had been a farmer, said that swine and bleeding wounds to not mix well; he died that night, but others spoke the same. I too almost died, and do not remember many weeks. When I felt well enough to stand, I had Evain, now a knight but still my squire at heart, take me out of there and back to the army, where I finished convalescing in the baggage train. By the time Arthur reached Geneva I felt well enough to fight, though my wound still oozed.
My sweet, sweet fighting lady fell on the field outside Geneva, and my good friend Sir Bledri saw to it that I got good and drunk that night. Goodbye, dear Scathach!
(I also sent home 8L in goods and chattel to my family in Nethersby.)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

525: To War!

Sir Aeddan here -

My twenty-first birthday has passed, and I have been inducted into the order that will be my future. As a young boy I knew this would be the priesthood, and I looked forward to it, watching my older brothers learn the ways of knighthood. I knew that god had a different path for me, and I trusted in him to see me on it. Then Bardon hill came. My father and both brothers went to fight for Arthur, and both my brothers fell on the first day. My father was wounded and spent months dying. He had me swear that I would continue our family obligation, so instead of entering the church as a novice, I became a squire, and now I have travelled to Leicester to serve my lord - I think.

You see, with Count Edar gone, the lands of my father are being claimed by the Count of Lonazep. For nearly all of my life these lands were recognized as belonging to Edar by King Arthur himself, but Edar hasn't been seen in years, and at one time they were part of Lonazep... Nonetheless, I arrived in Leicester to learn that Edar's champion, Sir Bledri of Tilton and Sir Amadis the Anis Slayer were only just back from spending a year in the dungeons of Garloth. I presented myself to Sir Bledri and swore to aid him as he sought to keep Leicester county from being picked apart.

Bledri led us to Camelot were he hired the services of a lawyer to keep some of the more ridiculous claims from being believed. While there we saw something incredible - an emmisary from Rome came to Arthurs court to demand tribute. We were not certain how the King would respond. Both Bledri and Amadis seemed very critical of the King. I of course said nothing. These two great knights might speak ill of their king, and perhaps their actions have earned them that right, but mine have not. We did not have long to wait for Arthur's response. The next morning he sent the emissaries from Camelot with instructions to tell their master that Arthur was coming to make war on them to conquer the world as was his right.

Bledri and Amadis spoke about this and decided that the only way to get Edar back now was to go after him themselves. They bought a ship, hired mercenaries and we set off to Lesser Norway to the kingdom of Wiglaf.

Norwayite kingdoms are rather less impressive than those of Brittons, or possibly even than Saxons. We arrived in force in Lesser Norway and learned that Edar had been taken by evil tribesmen who had attacked years ago. The new king of Lesser Norway suggested that Edar had summoned them and was likely sacrificed by them. Still, we had to find them. We demanded to know their name - They called themselves Tronds.

While Amadis and Bledri planned how to proceed, I looked to get our footmen ready for the trek to Trondland. God has truly forsaken this strange land. The mountains here are steep like nothing I have seen or heard of before, and the wind howls in the passes. As I stared at the path before us, offering a prayer to god to watch over us, Bledri came up behind me and told me to get on the ship. It seems our pilot knows the way to Trondland. God is clearly watching over us. I prayed that he would keep the storms away.

We sailed north, and we were attacked by three ships of Danes. They were no match for we three knights and our footmen, and we drove them off easily. Eventually we were led into what the pilot called a fjord that would take us directly to the capital of Trondland. As we sailed in, we heard the sounds of horns and knew we were spotted. We neared our landing making ready to charge ashore in to a mass of savages. Instead we saw row upon row of ordered infantry, with cavalry positioned behind them. God be praised - it looks like English Knights rode behind the Cavalry!

Sir Bledri, Champion of Count Edar.

I have failed at so many things. I feared there would be no more victory in my future. Mostly, I fear for the brave men who followe me in my perilous wake. How many have I sent to their death? How many men have paid for my folly? I know I am better than my defeats on the battlefield. Surely God is testing me. For instance, High King Arthur's blind eye to Elaine's shinannigans bothered me a great deal. but I knew Arthur would come around if i was just patient. And then he told those Romans to go pound sound! So we set off Lesser Norway and actually found Edar! Alive! He doesn't have as much of a county as when he left, but I'm sure we will turn the tide!

Count Edar Speaks -

When the horn sounded and the runners came up, I waited to see who would arrive. When Sir Lucius arrived here months ago, I had hoped that it would be to tell me it was time to return home. When I saw Bledri and young Amadis get off the ship, I wept openly. Amadis ran up to me on my horse and threw his arms around me. I got off my horse, clasped him in an embrace, then walked up to Bledri and did the same. Valiant's cavalry took up a position of honor guard and escorted us to the hall. Before the hall my Valerie came to my side with my youngest - little Paddern was woken by all the noise, his brother slept through it of course.

The feast that night was like none I could remember. I do not remeber a time that was so good to me as that night. I could see that Bledri and Amadis had something heavy weighing on their hearts - Bledri looked much older than when I had seen him last. After confirming that their families were well, and that there were no new disasters at Tilton, I told them that ill news could wait. They did tell me that Amadis had slain the Black Annis once and for all! Astounding! I knew that when I had him knighted at Bardon that he would amount to greatness, and now he proudly calls himself candlebee too. After eating and drink, I could see that they had questions, so I told them my tale...

When we attacked Wiglaf's men to rescue Elaine and my people from sacrifice, we were outnumbered and badly bested. I asked to ransome those present and remain as hostage until my ransom could be raised. It was clear that he did not know who he had in Elaine, and I did not tell him. As a result, everyone but my squire and I were able to leave. Wiglaf was not a generous host, but he did not treat us badly. I had sworn to honor my oath not to flee, so I was given freedom to walk about the town. The people there did not love Wiglaf the way we Britons love our king, but they were loyal and good people. In that first year, we were attacked by several groups hoping to steal away with Wiglaf's good and people. They were not prepared for an experienced tactician to oppose them, and we drove them off. I looked to the West waiting for word from home each day.

The next year we received an emissary from Denmark on behalf of King Arthur. Wiglaf informed the man that my ransom had been increased fivefold because he felt deceived that he had released Elaine for so little. Had she not made such an issue of this when they left, he might never have known, but I did decieve him and accepted responsibility for it. There were more raids, and then I faced a shock.

King Valiant, a prince no longer, rode south from his home in Trondheim to raid Wiglaf. I was bound to fight against him, but my heart was not in it. My plans were sound, but my arm was slow and I fell wounded. I yeilded to those who beat me, rather than die on the field for my captor. I was taken north to Trondheim and saw that much had been restored since the Dragon attacked it. Valiant and his people look to me as a Dragonslayer, and while I point out that it was my companions who did this, they still honor me. I gave my oath not to try to leave - where would I go in these frozen lands? Valiant sent word to Leicester that I was now there, and I swore that I would defend Trondheim as his guest.

Valiant proved a much more generous host. I spoke with his men and spent hours talking with him about knighthood and the Briton ways of fighting. The young man has a keen mind and a good heart. We spoke of battle, and of the duties of a lord both to his senior, and to his people. It is strange that of all the people I have spoken with, it is only here in the north that men do not look at me strangely when I speak of the goodwill of the peasantry.

The more time I spend with Val, the more I seem to be noticing the attention of his young sister. She is a beauty, and if I were a younger man I would fall all over myself trying to win her attention, as it is, she is hardly of a marriagable age and I am approaching sixty. Still, she does not turn away from my admiring glances, and we speak often of Briton and of the lands here.

The winter in Trondheim is like nothing else. We spend hours on end in the great hall telling stories, and these people seem to want to hear everything. I of course started telling them of King Arthur and his rise, but the stories they wanted to hear were about me and my companions. Well of course I do not posses Bledri's way with words, but I remember the events like yesterday. I told them of our battles with the Saxons and their treachery, about the mysteries of the Forest Sauvage. I told them of Brandegoris and that ridiculous song. They wept alongside me as I told them of the beauty of the changing of the seasons in Allington. They cheared with the knighting of Seriol and shouted encouragements when I told them of my dear Christine's struggle to keep the Saxons from our homes while the knights were fighting. My stories must have been a powerful force in their lives after that winter they would snarl curses about saxons in a way that brought a smile to my face.

More than anything though, I found myself taking pleasure from the interest and attention that Valerie showed to my stories. Do you know the young lady actually began to flirt with me? At first I tried to ignore it in respect to my host, but when he did not object, I admit I flirted back. Who would have thought - me flirting with a young woman. I think the last lady I flirted with so chastely was Leri, shortly before we were wed. Of course she was younger than Valerie then, and I was hardly older then her.

Trondheim faced several raids, and we drove them off. Valiant had taken to heart all he learned from my stories, and I offered to train him in a more serious way. After all, if he is to be a king and lead men into battle, he should do so properly. I began to work with his warriors to shape them into a fighting force unlike anything seen since the Britons left years ago. Valiant has lamented not having a proper horse. Indeed if his men were on fine chargers, then they would be the most formidible section of a battle line since the candlebees! In the evenings, I am able to enjoy time sitting by the fire with Valerie. Were we in Briton, her brother would be responsible for finding her a suitable husband. It is amazing that this thought fills me with jealousy. I am already married, although it has been months since I have truly thought of Elaine, and years now since we spent any time near one another.

In the summer several passing strange things surprised me. First, several babes born this year were given the names Seriol or Christine. I did not know these were Trond names, and was told that they were given to honor the fallen heroes of my tales! When I learned this I could have been nocked down by the batting of a babe's arm. I am certain that Seriol and Christine are smiling down on me from the heavens. I only hope they do not object to the time I continue to spend with young Valerie. The other thing was that a warrior returned to Trondheim claiming that he saved my life! I was a bit surprised by this, not knowing it was in danger, but was as eager to hear the story as the rest. It seems that while he was traveling to the south, he encountered a woman with a young boy named Edar. When he asked, she said he was named for the hero who slew the dragon in the north. The warrior knew this to be me, and slew the boy so that it would not "steal my luck as well as my name". I was shocked, but everyone in the hall was relieved and cheered! It is times like these that I remember that I am in a strange land with strange traditions.

The harvest that year was exceptional, and we had a grand feast to commemorate the occasion. All of us ate and drank our fill. It was at the feast that Valerie made clear her desires for me, and that we should sleep together. I could think of nothing that would make me happier. From that night on we stole intimate moments together whenever we could, and although we thought we were being discrete, it surprised noone when Valerie told me that winter that she was pregnant. Fortunately, Valiant was happy for us as well. Later that winter he told me he thought he found a suitable husband for Valerie. It was like I was struck with a saxon axe. I knew we two wouldnt be together forever, so I asked only to be sure that the husband treat my child well. Valiant laughed and told me I misunderstood - he told me that I should marry Valerie. If before I had been struck by an axe, now i felt like I stood in the path of a trebuchet. My mouth couldn't work, and my thought slowed. I am told that I just stood there for a moment or two with a grin on my face. Then my thoughts returned and I told him that I could not. Not that I didn't want to, or that there is anything that would make me happier, but because I am already wed, and unless that marriage is ended by the church, I cannot marry again. Valiant told me that Valerie would wait to be my wife. We sent another ship to Leicester to tell them where I was so that I could go home and seek the Archbishop to get a divorce.

The year passed and I found myself enjoying the comforts of Valiant's hall. It reminded me very much of the Allington of my youth. I repeatedly told Valiant and Valerie that they must see my home when this hostage business is over. They both look a little stricken by that, but agree to come see britain. I look forward to the day I can present Valiant to King Arthur. There are of course more raids, but they don't fare well against Valiant. That winter I learned that Valerie was pregnant again. Life is good. If I didn't know I was sworn as a hostage here, it would never occur to me.

In mid spring a ship arrived and word came that a briton was on board. I was sure it was Bledri, but instead it was Sir Lucius. He has stayed in Denmark, rather than returning home, and arrived with several danes, including the woman that young Amadis is so infatuated with. Lucius spent the next year with us, and while I don't think he approved of some of the things he saw, he knew better than to comment about Valerie, or my eldest son Aguar, named after Valerie's father. or my newest son, named for my dear friend Paddern. Valerie had suggested naming him Seriol, but I could not name one son after another.

Another summer turned to autumn, to winter, and then to spring. If I am to live here for the rest of my days, I shall only regret that I cannot marry Valerie. But then in the summer there was a signal of an approaching ship, runners said it was foreign, and had the look of Britons on board. Valiant rallied his men and we prepared an honor guard to greet them

After hearing my tale we retired for the night. There would be many more discussions to have before all was said.

Sir Lucius here....

What is there to say? After speaking with Edar's Leicestermen it seems that his Queen Elaine has written Edar off and furthermore She seeks to plunder his( her?!) own county of Leicester to feed Garloth's people. My Lord is beter off with his new young lover. He is as full of life as I have ever seen him. His sons are growing well and one of them, Padern, I think, shit all over my leg when I first held him. I never met Padern but when Edar saw what the child had done he belly laughed and said that Padern would have approved of that. Strange.

Well Myself and some of Hrothgar's Danes came to rescue my lord edar and found that he needed none. He is happy here in Trondheim, and if he is a prisioner it is never spoken of. i wonder if Valiant will actually accept a ransom from his brother in law. We will see. I am happy for Edar but long to see Britian again. The summer monthes here are nice (what there is of them) but too short, then it's back to freezing my marbles off. At least a few of the girls here have kept me warm. They are pretty in their own bullish way, though that " Lady" of Amadis' Is certainly in a class all her own. I find that I do miss Amadis and Bledri and the rest more than I thought I would. I am actually a knight of Caerwent, but more and more do I think of myself as a Leicesterman. Strange. Maybe it is because of the sense of brotherhood here. These Leicestermen do not come to one another's aid because of duty honor or profit. They come to each others rescue because of Comradeship and respect and Dare I say..... Love for a boon companion. It is not unheard of I suppose. Many STORIES say such things happen. But this is the first I have ever experienced of it.

I believe Edar will bring his lover back to Britian and seek a divorce from the Archbishop. I am worried that the Archbishop will be loathe to grant it. She IS the HIGH KINGS sister! Who would risk offending him. I fear that if Edar is to be happy the perhaps Elaine will have to perish. Since she is younger than Edar this doesnt seeem likely. Without aid of course......

Sir Amadis here...

Farley the cotter down in Nethersby had a saying he was fond of: "If ye want it done, do it yeself." I reminded Sir Bledri of old man Farley as we sat at table in the high king's court after another unsuccessful attempt at securing help for our lord Edar. Bledri speared a couple of roasted wrens off a passing platter and said the Old Man used to say it better: "Get off yer arse and go kick some, son!" So instead of waiting for King Arthur to fill out the missing 1300 librum of Edar's ransom, Bledri and I went down to the quay and bought a boat and a crew to take us to Norway. As Bledri figured, might as well take some of that 600-odd librum we collected and use it, otherwise Edar's likely to come home to no holdings at all. Count Edar picked his champion well.

Few knights of Leicester accompanied us. Those that did were very young and quite inexperienced—and terrified of battle-hardened Candlebee Sir Bledri, Count's Champion. Young Sir Aeddan, a good chap, could hardly bring himself to speak directly to old Bledri! Most are infatuated with the high king's court and upcoming war with Rome, or defected to other lords. Ha! Let's see the lord of Lambor's love of his sir. Word in Netherby is not good on that account. And Lincoln? Even worse.

Why? Why switch alliegence away—to a lord whose lands are still savaged from Saxon invasions 15 years ago, or a man whose own sons all fled the county, or still another who speaks with a Danish accent—from a man as charmed as Count Edar?

How charmed? I can't over-emphasize enough. Whose lands actually expanded and throve under the Saxon Invasion? Edar's. Who never experiences harsh weather? Edar. Whose peasants run toward the lord when he rides up? That's right: Edar.

So I ask you: who gets captured by cannibal Norwayites, captured a second time by cannibal Norwayites, is missing for five years...and comes riding out on the plain as the brother-in-law of a second king (Valiant), ransom waived, and sent off with a chest of gold and eternal promises of friendship?

Count Edar, that's who!

Count Edar Speaks -

The news I have from Bledri is grim. It never occured to me that Elaine would decide to pillage Leicester to rebuild Garloth, and then leave me in Norway. One of the two maybe, but not both. And now I hear she has turned against her brother. This cannot stand!

Bledri and Amadis are of course incensed that the surrounding nobles have picked at the borders of Leicester while I was gone. This disappoints me, but does not really surprise me. I expect that when I return, the majority of these men will renounce their claims and renew their friendships with me. Honestly, I would rather one of my knights serve a loyal knight of the round table, be forced to aid in Elaine's revolt in the name of loyalty to me. When I present myself to Arthur, I will thank my neighbors for protecting my lands from those who would be in revolt while I was a prisoner, and then will ask if any of the round table will help me restore order to Leicester before we ride on Rome. Rome, imagine that... I suppose that if I am to divorce Elaine, then going to Rome will allow me to petition the pope directly...

We left Trondheim and Valiant generously refused ransom, and even sent me home with gifts. I swear on my honor as a knight, should Valiant ever need aid, I will set sail with all who I can muster. My departure was bittersweet - I long to see my home in Leicester, but I will miss Valerie terribly. Once my lands are again secure I will bring her and my sons home. We arrived in Camelot to much fanfare - it has grown a great deal while I have been gone. I am afraid that whatever business was being tended to was disrupted by my arrival - Arthur saw me immediately. He heard of my tale, and I was able to present him with the gifts of amber we purchased long ago in Denmark, as well as a portion of the gifts Valiant gave me. I heard that some scoffed at part of my tale, but none in court doubted the gifts that I was able to bring. After all, when I left it was to ransome his sister. While I was gone, Bledri sought to raise money to free me. Now I return after being a prisoner for nigh 5 years, and am able to give Arthur gifts of nearly 100 Librum! I have been told that in the morning I will be able to address the king and speak of my desire for Leicester. Although Amadis and Bledri speak of politics and Arthur not being as great as we once thought, I believe he will hear me and come to our aid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

524: Nohaut? No way!

Sir Roland here, a young knight of Hertford...

If 524 was to be the year of my dreams—finally off to Camelot to receive my spurs—then I say, what strange dreams men have!

I rode with my liege, the bishop of St Albans, for the king's spring court. I didn't pack much, just the little necessities that one needs in life as a (hopefully!) right worshipful knight and eldest son of a fit, though barely, but I got it all onto only three horses. I felt so free to be so unencumbered.

At Camelot I was part of an illustrious company, beautiful ladies and shining knights in armor, lords and bishops and their was hard to stand out in such a crowd. Although one youth, a bit simple but with ample native skill at arms, managed to do so. At the feast the afternoon after our knighting by the king himself, while I tried to convince Sir Rhodri to ask as his boon to be a knight of the queen's, that country bumpkin lad stood and asked to be the queen's champion! Just stole all of Rhodri's thunder. And this after standing there and announcing that he was undefeated in the joust! That got Sir Yngwe's blood up, as he and I had not 24 hours past done just that in the practice field near the hall.

We three decided we'd show this crowd that Mister Whitey-pants was not the only new knight on the scene. We took up the challenge of freeing one of the day's petitioners of her problem: a Lady Janine had come to court complaining that her family and father's lands were being harrassed by a giant trying to force her to marry. We rode off to Nohaut.

It was a long road, especially for someone for whom Camelot was very far from home. Nigh three weeks later, as Lady Janine said we were almost to her father's castle, we were waylaid by bandits—dropping rocks on our heads! Lady Janine, I'm afraid, was smushed into lifelessness. We dug her corpse out and hunkered down as darkness fell.

As we continued on to her father's castle, our way was blocked by four armed knights. They demanded as a condition of our travel, for us to swear to not lift a hand against their lord...and one of their number was awfully big. Bigger than even Sir Yngwe, who until then was the tallest man I'd ever laid eyes on. So we set our lances and had at 'em.

It was my first time fighting for real, and in the haze of my blood lust I did not notice my companions going down around me...until I was the only one left standing. I leapt off my horse to render first aid, but Sir Rhodri was beyond my skills. Indeed, I could tell that Sir Yngwe desperately needed a chirugeon. At that point I agreed to the original request not to raise arms against the local lord, and off we went to their camp, the bodies of Lady Janine and young Sir Rhodri draped over their mounts.

I asked of their very tall lord, and was granted, to take the body of Lady Janine up to the castle these men were besieging and return her to her lord and father. Yngwe was handed over to Lady Janine's younger sister, who was reputed to have some skill as a chirgeon. As I stood in the small, muddy bailey surrounded by hard-eyed men and weeping ladies, all of us heard a commotion from down the hill. We looked out from the castle's walls to see a small storm overtaking the camp below. And when the camp was thoroughly wrecked and bodies strewn across the heath, this small storm came riding up to the gate: the simpleton knight, all in white on his damable white horses. He asked if I would accompany him on his path of destruction further north, but as I'd sworn an oath, I declined. As the storm of one moved on, I gathered the squires and went back to the camp. Total destruction. Having so recently been a squire myself, I bid Sisbert and the others to pick out for better arms and armor for themselves. They also managed to salvage a very fine pavillion, which they loaded on several of the extra warhorses we acquired.

Now the lord of the castle, seeing his enemies dead before him and his defenses very weak, did the sensible thing and offered me the hand of his youngest (and only remaining) child in marriage. I thought about it, saw the ample lands before me, and accepted. We set off on a tour of these new holdings: meagre, to be sure, but now I am counted as a banneret, and will be a bastion of chivalry in these wild lands.

When we returned from our wedding tour, we learned that Sir Yngwe had succumbed to his wounds. Grievous news indeed! I told the old lord that I needed to make one more trip, and wanted my young wife to accompany me. He agreed, and we began the long road south to Lincoln, to take the heart of Sir Yngwe to his father, one of the Danes of Lincoln.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

521 - 523 Treachery and Tragedy

Squire Julian here,
When my lord Sir Isidore brought us to this island years ago, he spoke of the great accomplishments and friendships with mighty kings. I knew I would miss Aquitain, but what was I to do? We arrived just missing the great battle of Bardon, and spent a year getting to know the these Cymri. They are a strange lot, not nearly as civilized as I would have expected, but far more pleasant to deal with than the remains of the Roman outposts in the larger cities.

We were able to watch the great city of Camelot being built! Although it didn't look like much in the beginning, it has grown with each day, and now outshines even my beloved La Rochelle. At yule in 521 the knights of Leicester returned from a far off kingdom with King Arthur's sister, but without their lord. The man apparently exchanged himself for his wife and people. It seems very generous to me, but I wonder if perhaps these Leicestermen have left a few details out. The king was overjoyed to see his sister safe, and allowed her to take a number of knights north to reclaim her kingdom of Garloth. These Leicestermen were not invited to come along, and I got the distinct impression that the lady was most unhappy with her husband.

We remained in Camelot, where Sir Isidore befriended the great Sir Bledri of Leicester, even earning an invitation to stay at his manor - a place called Tilton. I do hope this isn't the Tilton-on-the-hill that we heard dreadful stories about, but I think that was in another knights keeping. It seems these knights have a fondness for giving the same name to different places.

As part of the festivities, Sir Isidore joined a hunting expedition with the King himself! Both Sir Bledri and Sir Amadis were much more successful hunters than my lord, but he had other things on his mind. It appears that the the Franks have conquered Aquitaine! Isidore had hoped that Arthur would assemble an army and sail to his nieghbors aid, but it doesn't look like this will happen. While hunting we became hopelessly lost, arriving at an abbey and staying there for days. While finding our way back to Camelot, we came across the King fighting another man. What was most amazing was that one of the King's other sisters - Morgan, seemed to be aiding the villain who tried to kill the king! Fortunately my lord and companions provided the distraction needed for the King to triumph. Morgan has been declared a traitor and has fled.

522 was a strange year. Sir Bledri was charged with raising a ransom for his count. The amount demanded was substantion - 6000 Librum! Fortunately, my clever master pointed out that if the knights of both Leicester and Garloth contributed, this was a much easier figure to raise. So we set out across the county. Imagine our surprise when we arrived in Leicester and learned that Queen Elaine had already raided the treasury and taken everything of value to "rebuild" Garloth. When her man attempted to take tapestries dear to the Count's heart, sir Bledri had the man arrested. We knew at that time that this would be a problem. Bledri led us to Camelot to beg Arthur to intervene with his sister, but he would have none of it, and reminded Bledri that it was his duty to see the ransome raised.

Bledri assembled the knights and led us into Garloth. We received a cold welcome, not being allowed into the cities, towns or manors. One knight did rather guiltily explain that Queen Elaine had ordered them not to cooperate or aid Bledri in any way. Imagine! We rode to the capital of Garloth, but were not allowed in. As a result, Bledri released the men to raid the countryside and collect whatever they could find as a portion of what was owed by Garloth. As this was done, we began to withdraw from Garloth, only to be challenged by the Champion of the Queen and his second. My lord Isidore and Sir Bledri accepted the challenge and agreed to return the spoils if they were defeated. Being a civilized man, Sir Isidore selected to fight with Swords to first blood. Of course Sir Isidore is a skilled man of weapons, and there is no finer weapon than the sword, although these Cymri seem fond of their spears. Still, with sword in hand he met his foe, and although he tried to wound the man, such was Isidore's skill that he slew him with a single blow. Bledri then faced the champion under similar terms and felled his foe, although I do not know if the man lived or died. We assembled our men and retreated to Leicester in all haste.

With the knights of Leicester supplying their share of the ransome, and the spoils captured in raid, Bledri judged we were still very short of what we needed. He sent messengers to the houses of the Count's daughters, and their families responded most generously. What was even more shocking was when, at the end of the year, the peasants of the Count's personal Demesne arrived with more than 100 additional librum! Where do peasants get such wealth? I was certain they had reverted to banditry, and while I admire their loyalty, such things could not go unpunished. I mentioned this to Sir Isidore who spoke to Bledri. Bledri, strangely, just laughed and made reference to a place called "Allington".

In 523 we gathered the ransome and found ourselves just shy of what we needed. I don't know why it surprised us, but the Lady Elhred, a widow of one of the Count's knights and a guest in Leicester, offered enough personal wealth to make the payment. Sir Isidore had met Elhred before and was quite taken with her obvious physical charms. I believe that had he known of her standing in Leicester he would have made a much more determined attempt to get to know her better. So we set off to Camelot to tell Arthur of the news. Amazingly, we got there to find that Arthur's agent, a man of the church, had learned that this king of Norway had trebled the ransome that was demanded! Our hopes were dashed.

We set out to Ireland to aid in the conquest there. We had heard of knights arriving and walking away with tremendous fortunes. Perhaps we would be able to raise the money needed there. We travelled into the south of that accursed place and came across a bandit. The bandit was renowned and we knew that if we were to capture him there would be a great reward, so we attemped to bait him.

This bandit was clever. He warned us that he would not be lured from his stronghold, and nearly begged us to leave so he wouldn't harm us. Imagine the nerve! We set to the task of breaking him from his place, and sir Isidore charged him. Oh the horror, the bandit had an enchanted spear that bit through noble Isidore and drove him to the ground. Although my skills at tending to wounds was great, it was not enough to save him.

We withdrew from the battle and returned to Leicester, and I am about to depart to try to find Isidore's kin. Although I don't know where I will find them, I have no other choice. There is nothing for me here. My lord Isidore is dead. My home is in the hands of a foreign army, but I hope that the friends my lord made will not allow them to control it for long.

Sir Eliddyr here...

I have just recently been knighted by Sir Edar only monthes before he was captured in 521 AD. After 2 years of garrison duty I felt that I wanted to REALLY contribute to my lords domain. My father has been a loyal household knight of Count Edars since almost before he became a count. Since the Ironmen of leicester roamed the land!

My father had saved a small fortune in roman coin 35 LIBRA! He gave it to me upon my knighting. I did my duty to my Lord and gave the whole amount to his ransom. It barely got us to the 600 L. Then the Amount was tripled by Norways king and ruined our hopes.

We went to join the war in Ireland and make our fortune. that way we could ransom Edar. We failed in every way possible. After Isadores death at the hand of the irish bandit Malodran and his magic spear, and the rest of us nearly dying we sacked many villages but myself and the good sir Amadis realized that these irish peasants were victims and instead of taking their goods or their slaves I used the last of my money to purchase back the slaves from Bledri and free them. Bledri thought me foolish, but I dont believe in slavery. I used all that I had to free 70 slaves. The headman of the village begged me to take his son patrick as a servant. I am attempting to make him a squire, but its not working well, so I think I will find a place on a manor for him.

After returning we were angry and melancholy so Bledri led us on a raid to Garloth when we discovered their armies once again in leicester! We were defeated decisively and now we lick our wounds and know that the world must surely end soon. We will probably never again see our Lord and God has abandoned Leicester.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

520 continued: Well...we found Norway!

Lucius here...

Since I am not sure if I will see my tutor/scribe again I will leave this record myself.
My companions and myself trekked all over a region of mountainous vales. They said this was once a home of Giants and to see the size of these mountains I have no doubt that Giants once resided here. Nothing in Britian can compare to even the smallest of these northern peaks.

After a few weeks of travel we met a " King" Wigulf and we visited his great hall. We all got the creeps from him even though he showed reasonable hospitality. Count Edar asked him about Queen Elaine but he said that he knew nothing of her except a rumor that farther north the Trond tribe was said to have a woman matching that description. Edar thanked the creepy little shit and we went north the next day. One basic problem that you have when traveling with an earl like Edar is that he must always exude power and strength, so he ALWAYS has a huge retinue. Well, these 40 people and mounts were a real nuisance and we had to send them all back with our squires before reaching Trondheim. The 8 Danes who led us would go on however, as would Finn the dwarf, prisioner of Hrothgar and leader of this expedition to Trondheim. We sort of discovered earlier on the sea voyage to Norway that Finn was said to know a great treasures location. Im sure it was no coincidence that this cave of treasure was near Trondheim, or that it had a powerful guardian that the Danes , i'm sure, hoped could be placated with a few British sacrifices as fodder. Finn is a surly rascal and had been quite rude to both myself and Sir Bledri. I let the matter go of course in a civilized manner because I could never use force on a small person. Bledri I soon discovered had no compunctions about it and threw the little piece of seal shit overboard, prompting Olaf to rescue him. Thats when we learned of the dwarfs value.

At Trondheim we were treated well and The King told us that it was Wigulf who was not to be trusted and was disliked by all other Danish Lords. Edar trusted the mans word I do believe, so we prepared to soon leave. That night a bard of sorts entertained us all, and we soon discovered that these northmen had a favotite pastime: Riddles. I am not one for riddles and Im afraid most of my companions also were stumped. The mans accent was the cause Im Sure... " Velcome to my Vooden Willage".........Absured! And humourous as well. Somehow even with the silly accent Sir Amadis was able to get the correct answer first. FIRE!! He blurted out and then everything fell silent and still. We waited and a feeling of unease crept over everyone. Even Sir Gwalchnai the Firelover was a little uneasy. Then the door blew in and a torrent of flame covered the inside of the building. All was white hot flame. We all made it outside and soon saw the cause of the disaster. A huge Dragon! Not wyrm or drake, for those words are small... too puny to describe with any real accuracy the thing that flew above us blotting out the very sun. Dragon! He burned down most of the village and then left. We soon discovered that the dragon in its fury Killed the King, who's son would be taking over the position. Im sure this " King" had a name but I dont remember it. ( For those of you who have never met a Nothman , their names are notoriously similar and are all ugly affairs and brutish. Ok, ork, Thork hork , etc.. ) you get the point. Anyway we soon discovered the reason for the attack. Finn the dwarf had run away in the night and entered the dragons lair and stolen a single gold cup from its monstrously huge horde. The dragon noticed the one piece missing and punished all of Trondheim for it.

I felt a little bad for these Danes but as I tried to point out to Edar, his wife wasnt here so there was no reason to stay. These danes fancy themselves great warriors so let them deal with it I said. But Edar in true Candlebee fashion( I now understand the root of the problem with Candlebees: Decision making!) wanted to slay this dragon and win the adoration of these pelt wearing oafs, so I concurred as well. ( In truth and to my embarrasement, I actually supported the plan with a good will). We tracked the dragon to its cave and it met us outside along the way and flew around us burning many to cinders. Our plan was ..well..... half assed. The dragon was an awful site and to my shame, when I saw Bledri give into his fear so did I and we ran towards the only shelter available... Its cave! Amadis , gwalchmai, Edar and the danes all fought it however. Even theDanish women friend of Amadis'...Scathi or whatever her name is fought. (I Dont understand why hes so infatuated with her. Her parents must have been an Ugly bear and an even uglier badger. Really though, the women has actual muscles. And her breasts could be used as whetstones they are so hard. Its filthy actually... filthy..).

In the fight I tried to find a way out of the cave but could not. Bledri could not resist the treasure. He was a a man possesed, and began stuffing pockets with plunder. In the fight outside Edar was wounded badly, and found his way to the safety of the cave. All the danes were slain save that bull-faced trollip Scathi and she helped Gwalchmai and Amadis fight. As the creature swooped down Gwalchmai cut its guts right out of it with one mighty swing. I have never before seen such a mighty blow, nor do I ever expect to see one again in my lifetime. I am hard pressed to believe that even the mighty Brandegoris of the hambone could have delivered such a blow. ( though his stench I am told might have kept the creature at bay). The Dragon flew to a nearby peak to rest and to our horror we saw it begin healing! the devils power to be sure! In a moment of utter lunacy I watched as Amadis , Gwalchmai, and scathi took off all armor and climb the mountain after the thing. It was sheer desperste madness, and I knew they would die so I renewed my efforts to find another escape.

Minutes later I heard Count Edar shout in triumph as the ground shook beneath my feet. we went otside to discover that thye Dragon was dead, thanks to Gwalchmai's powerful sword arm, and Amadis and she-dogs bravery. After I get over my shame of abandoning the fight I will say more of it.

With our packs full of treasure we went back th the new king of Trondheim and he went to the cave himself. He was , in my opinion, not overly generous or grateful, but Edar seemed content with him. We hired merchants vessels to go back To king Wigulfs People. When we arrived we went up to his city and it seemed abandoned except for a lone porter. Where were Edars people? I tried to bribe the porter to let us in and tell us what was going on, and gave him four large gems from my trasure share( i didnt deserve any treasure anyway. I was a coward.).He wouldnt let us in but did explain that a beast called a troll( which after hearing its description, reminded me a little of Scathis grandparents... Seriously, I dont know how to stop Amadis before he marries her!!I thought it a bit funny at first but now its just disturbing!) was terrorizing these lands and Wigulf had went to sacred ground to offer sacrifices to the troll. Foreign captives as it turned out. After getting directions we hurried on and I was a little behind because I was dragging my treasure pack. The others left theirs on the merchants vessels, but I was NOT that silly, ya know? Besides I had a plan.

We got to the sacrificial mound and saw many peasants and about two-dozen of Wigulfs warriors. Somehow the Candlebees among us thought these odds were acceptable and Edar walked through the crowd and demanded the realease of his people. After much amusement on Wigulf's part he said no and his men attacked us. But it was okay because now was the time for my plan!!!!!!!!!!!! I know the greedy hearts of men are their undoing so I scattered all my treasure upon the field to test their loyalties , knowing that they could not resist 3o lbs. of loot............. they did. Oops!

So we fought as valiantly as we could, and in the end were all captured. I was so close to death that I saw a white tunnel and was going through it towards 20 Beautiful, virginal, roman senators daughters , when the rough hands of Sir Bledri brought me back to the dismal shores of Norway. Count Edar arranged for his wifes ransom, and his retinues and us knights. It took oaths and over 6oo libra to do ( half is still owed, Thanks to the arrogant and dimwitted Queen Elaine who refused a 1 librum ransom in favor of 300L. Shes worth it she said. Silly Nobles).
All were let go except Count Edar. He was kept to ensure the delivery of 300L At a later date. We were all sent away to Hrothgar's hall where we will certainly book passage and go to logres in Utter shame at having failed our count. We DID get the High Kings sister, but lost a count. Arthur will NOT be pleased I am afraid. I Never want to see those accursed lands again as long as I live. Poor Edar. I hope Daneland or whatever its called is destroyed by God in a most horrible manner.

Sir Amadis here...

I never thought I'd say this, but Dane-mark isn't so bad. My beautiful warrior-woman resides here,'s not Norway. Now THAT is a horrible place!

I have been painfully aware that if I want to do well in life I must succeed as a knight, now that this previously impossible station in life was made available to me through the tragedy of Bardon...and to be successful as a knight means Glory. Through Glory and devoted service I shall acquire the means and station to support my family, not only now but after I die fighting for my count.

But I keep coming up short. Sir Bledri throwing that bothersome dwarf overboard—pure Candlebee move. Everybody in Leicester admires the Candlebees: men who went from vassal knights to penniless refugees to freedom fighters to the lords of this land and advisors to our High King Arthur...Count Edar even married to the king's sister! A bard couldn't make up a better story than that.

Now, sure, some have tales of a different nature regarding the Candlebees, especially some of the older folks around Medbourne. But even they realize that if it weren't for Candlebee bravado there would be no Leicester. Maybe not even a Britain.

So I want to do my part as a young knight and Leicesterman.

Plus, I have a woman to impress.

So when fire filled the king's hall (wooden hall, Christ!) I put myself beside Sir Bledri, between the fire and Count Edar. Ouch. Watching my charred clothing fall from my body brought to mind William Miller's young son back in Netherby, the one who fell in the cooking fire and died.

But the Candlebees didn't complain, and Scathi was here, too, so I didn't say anything. Then when they decided to go after the dragon and avenge the dead of Trond, I just borrowed some clothing and sucked it up.

Then the dragon actually came back! I was hoping it wouldn't and that we could "do a Padern" as Sir Edward used to say and load ourselves up with its treasure. Instead we were hard-pressed to fight back as our party scattered or dropped dead. So with Edar to defend and Gwalchmai hewing chunks off that serpent's body, I didn't stop to think what might be prudent but what would get me Glory and the notice (admiration?) of the Candlebees, and lay about with my trusty spear, then take off after Gwalchmai as he followed the dragon up the mountain. (Surely there is another word for these monstrous mountains!) Perhaps Scathi felt the same way because she also followed Gwalchmai.

Between being breathed on by the serpent (ouch again!) and sliding down the scree of the mountainside, Gwalchmai managed to reach it where it lay wounded on the mountaintop...and you may say I was delirious from the pain but I tell you it was so: that crazy knight actually climbed onto the dragon and started hacking away from the top down. The dragon leapt up, then crashed back down, very nearly cut in half....then the two halves and Sir Gwalchmai tumbled down the mountainside in a cloud of dust and smoke. I thought that was surely the end of our beloved fire-starter, so I turned my attentions to retrieving the badly-injured Scathi from the scree slopes. Between Bledri and I we bandaged ourselves up (except for those crisped beyond help) and limped back to the hall.

And damned if Sir Gwalchmai did not survive that fall after all! That man must be half wizard...well, Candlebee blood was up now, and we took a ship back to King Wigulf's lands for a reckoning (said Bledri) and to retrieve our companions (said Edar). We got there just in time for the cook-out. You know, the one where the savage pagans roast the unsuspecting guests on a spooky hill to some blood-thirsty god of soon as we realized what was about, Edar said arm up and form up, and we charged. I don't know about Lucius and Bledri, but I know that Scathi and I, and Edar and Gwalchmai, were already sorely hurt. It didn't take long for all of us to be knocked down and out by Wigulf's men.

Now we sit in Hrothgar's hall in Dane-mark waiting for ships to ferry us back to Britain, where we will raise the rest of the ransom...maybe this is what the original Candlebees felt like after the Saxons first swept through Lindsey: no arms, no horses, borrowed clothes, and wondering where they would get the money to keep fighting another year.

Maybe being a Candlebee isn't such a good thing.

Sir Bledri the Runner-awayer-from-dragons:

Edar left in the hands of the traitorous Wiglof! That is the sorry state of our quest. We might have ransomed everyone but for Elaine's pride. She gained nothing by her arrogance, and cost her country a great and respected leader. Somehow I doubt Hrothgar will help us, and somehow I doubt Arthur will be able to field an army to invade and destroy Norway. Damn these heathen Norwayites! Surely God wishes us to destroy them.

Though I left my father's homeland of Lambor because I found it void of honor, I did take something useful with me: wisdom in battle. Say what you will about my father the Marshall of Lambor; he could lead men in war. And I have remembered all the things I learned from him. I have no small skill in the directing of armed men in battle. I hope I will be able to lead our forces to victory until Edar returns. Glorious boots to fill, but someone must. Arthur better ransom Edar back.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Where the HELL is Norway?

Calodius here......

My lord Sir Lucius of Caerwent has asked me to accompany him to the foreign land of Norway this year of 520AD. I of course am pleased to go! Count Edar the most widely traveled man among us believes that this Norway will be a pleasant land with mild weather and beautiful scenery, just Like Beyeaux which he once visited on the Northern coasts of France. He believes that the two places must be close to one another. The great and cunning Arch Druid , Merlin the enchanter said the journey would take a month or more! My Lord Lucius believes that he is having fun with us at our expense. He says the world is probably hardly that big. And also, it is well known that Count Edar is none to fond of the old pagan , so we have taken what Merlin said with a grain of salt. I for one cant wait to leave on the morrow. I will continue writing later when I have something Interesting to say.

Woe is me!!! God seems to have abandoned our cause and we havent even found Norway yet!

We have made what I percieve to be poor time in this endless sea, which boils like a black cauldron full of vile poisonous liquid! Truly , the sea has not stopped heaving for a full day since we departed. I have been terribly ill for all three weeks. Percy, my lord's body servant, and the lady Portia, my lords mistress have also been quite ill. I can't tell if my lord's four men at arms are ill or not because they are always indulgimg in too much drink and vomiting anyway. Filthy Brutes! I feel that I have made a mistake by coming on this voyage. I am a latin tutor of no small skill, and I could have stayed behind in Nottingham and kept a fine lifestyle, but Sir Lucius seemed so confident that no real danger would occur and I would see the world's Glories! I should never have accepted his offer to tutor him, then I would be eating roasted pheasent and drinking spiced wine in a warm comfy hall right now. Intead I am on one of the only two ships left of the ten that had made up Count Edars' entourage. The other eight were lost in the huge storm that whipped us about yesterday. The captain has been hugging the frisian coast all day and is trying to limp into a port. After some rest we understand that the Count wishes to stay along the coast and look for any signs of the other ships that may have washed up. Oh.. tragedy and misery!! We are a poor and sorry lot indeed. The only person who is still optomistic is ,strangely, my lord sir Licius, who seems unconcerned with the loss of the other ships. I think he has been drinking with his men at arms, or maybe, he is just a cold hearted bastard. I don't know. I'll write again later if I manage to stay alive. May God protect us. Amen.

God is great Indeed!!! Somehow we have managed to find four more of our ships, and we have made it to Denmark, which I understood to be the capitol city of Norway until last night when it was explained to me that sadly we had not reached Norway. Norway apparently is yet FARTHER north still! Jesus' frozen balls!!!! These lands are accursed. I hate them. Not even any wine here or anything that resembles civilized ways. After some misadventure which ended in the burning of a small coastal village, we were lucky enough to find two of those strange " longships" that the saxons use. These ships were full of men who called themselves Danes. When we asked if that was the name of their SAXON tribe they bristled and quickly explained that they are NOT saxon. They are indeed very different and Hate the saxons. I really can;t tell the difference. They are all big, unwashed, smelly blond men with poor manners and grooming standards who drink too much and talk too loudly. The only difference of note , if there really is one, is that perhapd the Danes use swords as their most common weapon instead of so many axes like the saxons. These Danes escorted us to their king Hrothgar, which was fortunate since he was the very person Merlin had said we should seek, for he is said to be a noble and strong King, and if we can win his respect he just might help us locate Quen Elaine. The King's hall Hereot, is very large and impressive, even though made of wood. Though this land is very rustic
it is a welcome rest from the sea. We were feasted and entertained for 3 days after Count Edar presented his hefty gifts to King Hrothgar(25libra worth). The only trouble that we have come accross is unfortunately Sir Lucius' fault. While trying to make small talk with some danes he mentioned that he knew some Danes back in Britian named Holgar and Colgrim ingvison. He praised these two Danes as great and honourable warriors worthy of much respect. Little did he know that these Danes had fled to Britian long ago to escape King Hrothgar's wrath!!!! Hrothgar, who was very angry at hearing of the Danish brothers exsistence, Said they slew his own father and that we must tell him where he could find the Ingvison brothers and their Son/ nephew ingvi. Long story short, the crafty old King offered to aid Count Edar by taking him to where Queen Elaine was being held in Norway, if we would later take some of Hrothgars men to Britian and show them where the Ingvisons were located. What could the count do?? He is charged with retrieving the high kings sister, his own wife. He did what he felt that he had to do, and accepted the deal. Now on the morrow all the knights that came with the count will go and try to rescue the Queen. The rest of us( the retinue's) will be left here as " Guests" of King Hrothgar. Hostages more like. Sir Lucius told me no worry, and that all would work out, but I just cant seem to shake this feeling of impending doom. Hopefully I will live to write again.

From the keen mind of Sir Bledri:

I just can't believe Norway turns out to be a real place. Stranger yet, there supposedly are no Saxons there. There are a different people, called Danes. While they look like saxons, they are violently quick to point out they are not, and that they hate the saxons. This makes me feel good. I had a horrible nightmare once that the whole continent was full of saxons, breeding and building boats to come across to Britain. These Danes seem like decent lads, if a bit rough around the edges. Their King Hrothgar seemed impressive, but lacked the aura of majesty one sees around our King Arthur.

We go now to rescue our Queen, Edar's wife, from the clutches of (no doubt) evil Norwaymen, or Norwayans, or whatever the hell we are supposed to call them. Whatever their name, they will rue the day they stole our Queen and brought down the wrath of Edar and the Leicestermen. I don't care if there are only a handful of us, I get the sneaking suspicion that this whole debacle will end with blood. Norwayite blood!

Sir Amadis here...

...and mighty glad to be on solid ground again. I would die happy were I to never again cross the seas...alas! that one more voyage faces me if I want to see the soothing green hills of Leicester again.

The further on we sailed the stranger the lands became. I commented on this to Blaen, my new squire, who until our adventures in Garloth had never been farther north than the Maris. And that only once. The lands of Frisia reminded me of Sorestan, and the people reminiscent of its inhabitants—conniving and untrustworthy, though dependable enough when fighting for their lord—but then we left that land and travelled to Dane-mark.

As my lord Count Edar negotiated with the Danish king we Leicestermen tried to keep ourselves busy: gaming (not my thing), hunting (I helped Sir Lucius trample a rabbit), lounging about in the hall with Hrothgar's men (nah)...Sirs Bledri, Lucius and I fairly shot out the door on market day, a fun-enough diversion. Several stalls had heaps of "amber" which to our eyes was pleasing but which the merchants heaped like coal. Sir Lucius took it into his head to purchase some for use in a game board for our lord, and accepted the merchant's price at face value! I could not help myself and stepped in to bargain for it properly. (Fortunately the most-Roman Sir Lucius did not seem to notice my actions.)

Then we got the bad news: the land called Norway we seek lies over another sea! As preparations dragged on I found a new distraction, one much much better than any peasant market. It appears a custom among the Danes to permit those of their women with the build and temperament to take up arms for their kings and lords. These women are accorded all the rights of any nobleman's warriors! King Hrothgar indeed had several of these women-warriors in his hall, as gap-toothed and hairy as the men. However, one of oh my. I have never seen a woman like her before. She is almost as tall as I, and just as strong, but fair of face and possessing hair the color of mead sparkling through a precious glass goblet. At first I thought of catching her eye as one might with any maid or willing lady in the hall, with fine words and courteous gestures, but Sir Gwalchmai said no. The way to woo this one is by treating her as a brother. So, then! We have arm-wrestled, boxed, and traded lance blows...she has bruised my ribs, blackened my eyes, and broken my nose.

But I have stolen a kiss and consider myself ahead of the game with her.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

519: Pict ' nicking

"Eight points?! Is that how they do it in Ganis?"

Sir Lucius here....

Well. my first bit of knightly adventure took place not in Logres, but in the wild Nothlands of Strangorre. I followed the prudent, er, I mean VALIANT, Count Idar of Leicester to his Kingdom of Garloth to rescue his Queen Elaine who is also the High King's sister. We didnt find anything until we reached the capitol of Windesan, which was inhabited by Saxons who claimed not to be saxons. My first glimpse of these giant men was an experieence. They are truly huge. I wasnt scared of them though, I was up for a brawl. Count Idar sent Bledri to insult them mildly, but ultimately ask them nicely , to vacate the land, and what do you know... they said they would not leave. So we left. We found out from them that their KING or whatever they call him, absconded with Queen Elaine, and took her to some far off place called Norway. We all assumed they were lying and made up such a silly name, but later we were to find out it was true.
We knew there was little to be done there so we joined the High King in Strangorre and helped him lift the siege of Alclud. The picts were easily the smallest people I have ever seen. There were several that did noy clear 5 feet tall. Saxons are 7 feet tall, picts 5 feet . Strange. These picts were no easy meat however. what they lack in stature is made up for in Passion! WE BESTED THEM AT lOCHLAND ! haahh!!!! I came away with only one small scratch, and it was from falling off my horse. I have never been a good rider.
Alclud Was easy as well for me. A few nicks that were treated with first aid. I dont know why these northerners whine so much about their inhospitable wild lands full of barbarians. These picts were even easier to kill then the irish. I must say that the wild welsh hillmen are the toughest barbarians that Ive encountered thus far. I have not fought saxons yet however.
After the battle King Arthur gave the picts VERY VERY liberal terms. All I can say is that he is Very progressive. He leaves a lot of enemies behind him!
I was not so fond of the picts so after we let them go from their island strongholds in the loch, I took the liberty of relieving them of their possessions. Arthur was too easy on them in my opinion. They must be taught consequence or they will do such things again. I am a little richer now. I might get rid of my hardened leather, and get some of that fancy reinforced chain. I also would like a squire now that I can afford the upkeep. There was a good boy named Marcus in Caerwent where I hail from. Maybe I will send for him. He is quite clever and resourceful.
We went back to the loch Lomond and on the 40 islands that the picts were hiding on there were thousands of eagles. Eagles of prophecy everyone was saying. The picts told all of us that if one of there wise men was rewarded he would ask the eagles a question for any knight who wanted it. The eagles are omnipotent he said and if the answer to to your query was yes then all the eagles would screech in unison. I had no profound questions so I passed.Sir Bledri is much more clever then I imagined. I thought him as dimwitted as that Brandegoris chap but he proved me wrong. He asked the wise man if Queen Elaine was truly in Norway and the eagles screeched. I dont like superstition but even I was impressed by that. Normally I waould say the eagles were all trained to do that, but either way, Arthur and Edar believe it so it seems that Norway may indeed be a real place and that we will be going there soon to save the Queen!
What an exciting time we live in. Lady Brianna doesnt seem very passionate in love with sir bledri, but they seem to have a good working relationship. If he continues to be this clever then my Lords worries ever his daughter are unfounded.
Well... I am going to go pack for my trip to Norway. It seems I may get to face these Saxons after all.

Greetings from Sir Bledri

519 finds Count Edar, 10 knights and 300 footmen traveling north. I'm glad we are on the move. After such a harrowing time at Bardon, some might be wanting a rest, but the fight for the freedom of our homeland seems to never end. The Irish and the Picts are trying to take advantage of the recent strain battle has had on our King's land. The saxons as well. But they will find out the Britons, especially Leicestermen, fight to the bitter end.

The short story is that we found out she is in Norway. I hope there are saxons there: we seem to be running out of them here! Ha! I was sad to leave living saxons behind us at Wandsand or whatever the hell it was named; I can't keep all of these northern names straight.

Besides Edar, I seem to be the Old Man now. Strange, it seems like yesterday that I was the new kid. I remember demanding that if I lived through our battle with the Black Annis that I should be made a Candlebee. It appears that I might very well be the last name carved into the Pillar of Resistance. Still, if I am the last, then that means the saxon menace will be over. I vow that while I live the name of Candlebee will continue to strike fear into the hearts of those foreign beasts.

Sir Amadis here

Spring this year was welcome for me, as I had grown tired of the inactivity forced on me by my convalescence. Mother was not happy about my participation in the town's Easter rites, but I was eager to plunge into the scrum and win one for Medbourne. (Alas! Those Hallaton bastards carried the day.) I could only stay for a drink or two before riding pell-mell for the Count's court.

Now I find myself in strange lands indeed, my lord's lands in Garloth, soon to embark for a place called Norway in search of his queen...I am hoping this Norway is a rich land, for in the battles we fought reaching this seaside castle I lost my charger and all his gear. I also lost Twdfwch, my squire, amid the blood and mud of Alclud. My lord was generous enough to rehorse me, and I have drawn another young squire from the pool, but I must resolve to do better in the future for the sake of my family. It is all well and good for me that I am well fed and housed and that my lord can afford a charger as if it cost no more than a copper penny. But I must keep my family's needs in my thoughts, and be a better knight each and every day.

Friday, September 5, 2008


We're not gaming this Saturday, but I thought you might enjoy some photos Greg took while in Leicestershire:
I imagine that's what old Sir Padern would've seen standing outside Leicester looking toward the manor of his friend and companion Sir Brandegoris. The dark line of trees in the background is on a ridge—the ridge upon which sits Tilton-on-the-hill. It's funny; when we all sat around looking at Greg's map of Count Idar's lands in Leicestershire, we thought Tilton was actually on a hill.

Every time we get a character who can read, they die. So maybe the sign or one like it is there in our campaign...I'm sure our knights would look on it as simply a hitching post.

Oh, and Skeltington? Those guys are bastards. Everybody in Tilton knows it.

Ah, the Pillar of Resistance. Almost all of the Candlebee's names are on it now, and their corpses buried around the old duchy. Out of that group of Lindsey resistance fighters, who survived St. Alban's and the Saxon onslaught, only Idar and Bledri are left, with Idar the only surviving original member. Even the duchy of Lindsey didn't survive, as Arthur partioned it into counties between Idar in Leicester and Dyrfel in Lincoln, plus a little for the lord of Lambor...and the Black Annis. That's right; we haven't forgotten her.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

518: Battle of Bardon Hill, Day Three

Count Edar here...

My grief threatens to overwhelm me. So many have died. I begin to wonder if perhaps Merlin has somehow cursed me to live while those I love die.

At the end of the second day of the battle, we regrouped to rejoice and celebrate our victory. We grieved for the lost and took comfort with the living. The lady of the lake herself went among the wounded and tended to mighty Brandegoris, and my son Seriol. While we sat and spoke of the battle, the horns sounded. The saxons had regrouped and were coming again! All of us who were able to arm and sit a horse did so. I insisted that Seriol would stay with the wounded. He had been sorely wounded and I would not have him push himself too hard. Fortunately, Sir Bledri returned to us from Lambor, and Edward's squire Amadis was charged with joining our ranks. He is young yet, but I have faith in his abilities.

We rode out into the strongest force our enemy had mounted yet! the saxon kings and their body guards rode in the vanguard of our foes. We fought them, but battle carried us away before we could strike them down. Their treacherous archers shot the horses out from many of our men and we found ourselves confronting saxon witches! I had never imagined a foe so in league with evil, and many of our men fell fighting them. Those few of us still on horse were separated from the rest by the fortunes of battle. I tried to rally men to me, and discovered that not only had many knights flocked to my side, but Seriol had insisted on leaving the safety of the camp to ride out. I was worried, but would not turn down his aid.

As we prepared to charge our foe again, we saw a glow behind the enemy line, and a white dragon rose over thier forces. The beast flew low over our men, killing many with each pass. We rode through a host of saxon berserkers and cut them to the ground, but still the dragon tore into our numbers. Sir Brandegoris appeared on our flank and shook me from distraction. We charged through a group of giants and into move of the evil witches. These fel women fought with powers that could only have come from the evil one. We fought them, and I felt a strange burning, then I was pulled aside as my knights barrelled into a force of them. I watched as they seemed to boil away, and then the burning returned and I remember no more...

Weeks have passed since the battle. In that time I have learned that mighty Brandegoris and my beloved son Seriol bore me to safety, then charged back into battle, only to face the mightiest of the witches. Shouting the warcry of the candlebees, these men rode down their foes and with their passing, the white dragon was destroyed. Some speak of a strange red dragon that fought for us, but I did not see it. I only know that my son and my friend did not survive.

My recovery has been plagued with nightmare visions, but the waking is even worse. Brandegoris is dead. Edward is dead. Franklin is dead. My son, my heir, my sweet Seriol, has been taken from me. Of the 40 knights we left Leicester with at the start of the year, fewer than 20 remain, and many of those have been greivously injured.

The land grieves with me. The people of Allington and Woolsthorpe have been very comforting to me. I have entrusted the tower of Medbourne to Sir Bledri, and have arranged to have him wed the Lady Brianna. As Bledri was a friend and fellow candlebee to Brandegoris, I have faith that he will look after his widow and son. Brandegoris asked once that a marriage be arranged between his heir and the lady who will inherit the manor he maintains for Count Derfel. As he is my friend, I will see if I can act on his behalf. I have arranged to grant a manor to the Lady Ealhred to hold for Edward's son as well. I probably should have granted him the manor before, but he insisted he didn't want it, and I took comfort in having him around. I believe the Lady will hold it well for her son.

I have two tasks before me, and I hope that they will distract me from my grief. I must find out what happened to my Lady Elaine of Garloth. If she is alive, I must send her aid. I also must find out what happend to my son Alain. He has not been seen in years - not since the death of King Nanteleod. If he lives, I must speak with him. Some day, if god wills it, Leicester county, Allington, and all of my lands will be his.

Tom of Weathersfield here....

I must be honest when I say that I never saw the day when my former master and one of the greatest knights in christendom would be slain. It is a surprise but it is just as I always said to my family....I knew that it would take sorcery to destroy the great Sir Brandegoris of the Hambone. I am not sure that any one man in all the realm could have defeated him in single combat save that great knight, hight King Pellinore. My master was a kind and generous soul and will be missed, but perhaps this is the way God intended for him to depart. He was able to at least get back into the Lord's good graces before he passed, see his daughter Matilda happily married and see that his son Arthur was properly cared for.

What more couldve been done before a mans passing. He also died a heroe's death at Bardon while trying to punish those evil Saxon witches, and he and Sir Seriol led the charge that won the day. Any knight sould wish to meet his death for so worthy a cause on so worthy an adventure. The Ballad of Bardon already sings his and Sir Seriol's praises for 14 of the 123 verses!A glorious end indeed.

Rarely did a knight do so much to frighten and worry the Saxon Hordes as did Brandegoris. He will be missed and remembered every Easter Sunday. I have even commissioned a painting from a skilled Italian artist out of Florence, of all the members of the Candlebees. The sources of these likenesses were not hard to find as all the Candlebees have Effigy's over there graves. Those Candlebees really looked after one another..even in death.

There are those of us in Hertford who so revere the Candlebees that we have formed our own Coterie, if you will. We call it the Watchman, as we watch the borders of our realm from foreign incursion. It includes myself, Sir Simon( Brandegoris' old squire), Sir Randolph, the Count of Hertfords son, and a frew others who have had the good fortune to rub shoulders with the Candlebees. They were a powerful force in troubled times, and I do not mind confessing( for I have heard it whispered rather loudly by many people in many dark corridors) that if it were not for the Candlebees, Nay, ... All Leicester men in those first years after the death of King Uther, Then Britian would now be a saxon land.

I salute the Candlebees and men of leicester, but mostly Gentle Brandegoris, the sad, who I believe never fully recovered from the death of his one true love Lady Priscilla. May they both be together now and smile down on all of us from paradise. Amen.

Sir Lucuis of Caerwent here....

So, this is Logres huh? Not perhaps the best time for me to make my first extended visit. Bardon hill... what a damned massacre, on both sides. My lady Brianna's father sent me from Escavalon with a band of forty hardened mercenary spearmen to assist Lord Edar of Leicester in the battles for Britian. I now have 6 of those men left alive and two of those will never be the same again. Witches, dragons, giants, and horridly terrible knights and barbarians, not to mention some type of daemon bowmen called Magyars or Huns or whatever, that all decimated our ranks. Me and my men were not cowards, but hardened warriors, and still, several of them voided their bowels at Bardon.

I must now present myself before the Lord Edar Allington of Leicester, and pledge my loyalty to him as I was bid to do by My own Lord. I was supposed to look after Lady Brianna and assist her husband Sir Brandegoris in whatever manner was necessary, but since the death of that large oaf at Bardon and her betrothel to the knight Sir Bledri, I find I have little to do. Hopefully this great Count Edar will have some great adventure that I might assay so that I gain renown in the eyes of the roman church and my peers.

Brianna to all outward appearences seems satisfied with Sir Bledri (Brandegoris' Friend and brother in arms....A strange breed these Candlebees are) as her new husband. Other people seem to miss Sir Brandegoris greatly and speak of him in awed whispers as if he was Achilles reborn or something. Well I'll tell you that I met him at Caerwent at his courtship of My lady and he was , in my sight a vulgar and crude simpleton, built with far more brawn than two average men and the brain of half a man. I think he must have meant well for he was not an unkind man, just clumsy amd crude with no real redeemable qualities except slaying enemies for his lord. I always shuddered when I thought of our beautiful, refined, cultered Lady Brianna having to pretend she adored such a ruffian.

Well this Sir Bledri sems the same type as Brandegoris, save one thing... He is actually less glorious. What a shame that my Lady has been reduced to chattel or a bargaining piece among these unrefined britons. Oh well...I will give her what Succor I can.

Squire Amadis here...pardon! I mean Sir Amadis here...

It was a terrible battle; I don't have to tell you that. I didn't do much more than trail my knight's companions-in-arms, the illustrious Candlebees, defending myself from the unending hordes of Leicester's enemies...but even cowering defensively throughout the day I was struck down by injured but skillful Saxon veterans shambling along on their crutches. I spent almost five months in the sickbeds filling the churches of Leicester. While I lay there, the count himself came by and knighted me—I couldn't even stand up! My leg hurt that bad.

When I was finally well enough to travel I went home to Nethersby...of course you haven't heard of it. It's a little hamlet attached to Medbourne, the castle-town east of the city. Father and Mother were glad to see me, as were Morians and young Cadlew, though we all fear he'll never be right in the head again, and indeed, the wound he received at Bardon looked awful. My other brothers never came home. Father was very pleased that I had caught the attention of the count, and had been given noble rank...although it seemed to me that first-born Morians was less so. But I gave Father the money I had, and it was good, I deem, to eat my mother's food again, here in my little Nethersby where I know everyone and everything.

I shall stay long enough for our annual bottle-kicking match with Hallaton, then ride back to Leicester to do the count's bidding.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

518: Battle of Bardon, Day Two

Squire Amadis here...

Where are they all coming from?!

King Arthur and his illustrious knights smashed a huge Saxon army outside Silchester...a couple of weeks later he fights another huge Saxon army on Bardon Hill, here in our own backyards. And the very next day, another huge Saxon army takes the field against us!

Where are they all coming from?

My knight and I gathered under Count Idar's banner. We were ready to fight, and some of us were making sheep noises at the men under Count Derfel's banner until our count made us shush. Then we charged out onto the field, right into a pack of howling, hating veteran Saxon warriors. We triumphed against a mass of archers. Those damable traitor British knights gave us a tough fight, and we fell back into a group of grunt Saxon spearmen before emerging, triumphant, into a line of badder berzerkers. One of them I swear was the spitting image of my knight's lady, and he paused—and the bastard cut him down, him and the bishop-knight riding nearby. I leapt off my horse and dragged my knight from the field. When I got him to a clear space, I tried and tried to render first aid, and even though I have considerable talent with a bandage and leech, I was unable to revive him. I don't think I got all his parts off the field, which didn't help.

I spent the rest of the day watching the steady stream of dead and wounded being hauled into camp.

Brandegoris the old here....

So many dead. Sir Edward the pious, Sir Franklin de Auburn, son of Padern, Sir Aramis, Sir Wimund the priest who was to be my new war chaplain, Sir Kolgrim the Dane, bodyguard to Count Derfel, and Sir Florent the young and ambitious knight. (After we removed his body we discovered it to be Esmerelda, Padern's daughter and last living family memeber), and Sir Bruenor knight of the Medlar, a young and promising knight who nearly killed a King in his first battle (we hear he actually has a twin brother who is even braver than he was).

The Saxons are defeated , once and for all it appears, but I am still hesitant to believe it. It's like finding a cure for smallpox. Never happen. The knights of Lincoln died almost to a man, and it will take a decade to fully restore that county. I took a vicious wound from a Saxon Hero's Bodyguard that left me missing two of my frontmost teeth and gave me a cleft lip. If Brianna thought me unattractive before she will probably now find me ugly. I feel so terribly old. All of the Candlebees are dead and gone except for Count Edar and myself, and we are downright elderly. He's over 50! I wish I could retire and live in peace but a lot of our youngest knights died, and so I will have to stay on long enough to help the young ones get up to par. My son is nearly old enough to be squired so when he is knighted I will give him Tilton, and I will try to wed him to my Ward the daughter of Richiard, who owns Folkingham and Lenton. That should give my son a fine start on life. With the Saxons destroyed he might grow up in a peaceful time and get fat and happy with 12 kids. I hope so. I think that as soon as I am able I will go and visit Matilda, my daughter in Surrey, and see that she is doing well. I must also appoint a priest to take over the duties of Edward's church to St Christopher. There is a lot to do but I am not sure if these old bones can handle it. I promised Edward that if we lived through the last battle we would track down Black Annis and slay her next year. Edward died but I will hold to my vow and destroy her next year. I owe it to my good and generous Lord Edar. Maybe I will get lucky and she will kill me, and I can go to paradise and see all my old friends.

518: Battle of Bradon, Day One

Brandegoris here...

After taking the wounded soldiers from Silchester and joining forces with King Arthur at Braden Hill near Leicester, I sized up our enemies. Zounds! There were literally 8 million of them, I swear! Every Saxon in the world must have been there to make a push for British soil and once and for all take our homeland. As if that was not enough, continental mercenaries were aiding them as well. Ridiculous French knights, traitorous british knights and even Hun light cavalry from the east (Huns are real tough bastards by the way).

In the first charge I wanted to join my Leicestermen and fellow Candlebees, but King Arthur decided that I should wait in reserve near him and lead a party of 40 Round Table knights. It was pure anguish to sit on the hill and watch my friends battle and I could do nothing! Thank God that the Leicestermen won the day! Under Count Edar they pushed through the enemy and they crushed them getting all the way through the enemy camp and chasing them away. The young Bruenor, knight of the Medlar, even met King Cwichelm of Anglia in battle and wounded him, but alas that King got away.

Count Derfel did not do as well as expected and even though his men fought bravely he had to retreat with only a three brave men left (his two Danish bodyguards Holgar and Colgrim, and Holgar's son Ingvi). My nephew Aramis fought with Derfel as well that day and I saw him fall. I am not sure what has become of him for we neither found him nor his horse.

As Count Dervel was attempting to withdraw he and his few were ambushed by frothing maddened warriors and an army of dirty peasant shepherds who treacherously tried to kill the knights horses! My Lord Derfel was thrown from his mount so I asked Arthur if I could lead the Round Table knights to rescue him. He gave permission so I went to my count's aid. In the very first charge my Andalusian charger Baelzebub, a wedding gift from the High King himself, was mortaly wounded by an arrow and I had to be remounted. I hate archers. We did succeed in rescuing the count and getting him off the field. I asked Arthur If I could join the Leicestermen for tomorrow's battle but he insists that I go with Derfel to guard him. After we destroyed the Saxons, enough captured and wounded Lincolnmen were saved that Derfel still was able to command 20 of them. Tomorrow I will battle! My only regret is that it won't be at the side of the Canndlebees! Hazzah!

Lady Briana here...

I didn't realize the gravity of the situation when my lord moved his household from Tilton-on-the-hill to Leicester, that it was perhaps the custom of the country lords to do such. But as the city filled with the households of the Count's men, and I listened to what the other ladies said and did not say, I saw my mistake.

It is high summer now and we had only two messages about what transpires with the men: almost three weeks after my lord rode away under the banner of the count, a wagon team made its way to the great hall, and there young squire Lorin told the count's steward about a terrible battle outside the walls of Silchester. In the wagon was the body of the young and comely Sir Franklin. Poor Lady Heledd!

A fortnight later we woke to see the second message: a black mass on the horizon, and as the day progressed we saw that it was an army of rough-looking men such as I nor anyone in the city walls has ever seen, although old Sir Amicus said it reminded him of Bedegraine....the steward ordered the city shut and the walls manned, and the army passed us by, seeming in a hurry to meet its doom. We could then stand on the walls and spot manors by the rising plumes of smoke.

The countryside is devastated. If that army returns we will not last long if besieged. We sit in the garden, where we can see the Pillar of Resistence, and spin, and sew, and silently wonder whose husband will come home in a wagon, or wrapped in the banner of victory.

Count Edar here...

When our King placed Brandegoris in charge of leading the wounded knights to join him after resting, many thought that I was being slighted. I admit that for a while I wondered if Merlin had spoken against me, or perhaps I had angered the king by leaving his sister my Lady Elain in Garloth. I later realized that had the King left me in charge, I would have ridden off as soon as I was able, with all who would follow. Such is our love for our king that I believe that every knight who could sit a horse or be tied in the saddle would have ridden out. In trusting Brandegoris, the king made certain to have many more knights than he would have.

We joined Arthur in Leicester and prepared to battle the Saxons at Bradon Hill. Sir Gwalchmai arrived, looking tired and harried, and after greeting him, he shared grim news. Garloth had fallen, and he had been the last of those to stand before the saxon hordes. He believes that my wife Elaine escaped, but could not be sure. I hardened my heart at this news and swore that if she lived, I would find her, and if she fell, then the saxons woul d know my vengeance.

We massed, and though I was still injured, I drew strength from the number of men standing with us, and from knowing that if we fell, it would be fighting in our home. Brandegoris was given the honor of leading a contingent of Round Table knights, and though I knew we would miss his mighty hambone in the field, I would not have him surrender that honor.

The men of Leicester led the charge and drove our way through a mob of veterans. Though many of these saxons were greviously wounded, such was their fury that they fought on long after a sane man would fall. I spied a mass of british knights riding under the banner of the saxons, and could not let the insult stand. We men of Leicester rode into their midst and drove them back as we advanced. The saxons were scarcely prepared for us to drive off their knights, and they threw mercenaries from the continent and women at us in the hompes of driving us off. These french knights may fight well for money, but we fought for our king and they fell before us again and again.

As the french fell back I looked and saw a gap in the lines. We rode through it into the reserves of the enemy, but they tried to capture us in a pincer. The traitorous bastard knights had regrouped and fell upon our right flank, while the women wailed and charged our left. We overcame them, but lost over a third of our men. As we fought them a group of saxons came forth to challenge us. These were fierce, weathered men who had been fighting in battles longer than many of our knights, but they could not overcome the heart of a Leicesterman, and they fell before us, utterly defeated.

We found ourselves in a strange lull in the battle, and as we regrouped, we spied King Cwichelm of Anglia with only a few protectors. Though it put us at risk, we rode into his forces and hit them as one. A full half of the kings guards did not survive the encounter, and we advanced. Young Bruenor found himself in battle with the king and fought well, wounding him badly, we fought on, but the king's men saw his state and rode on us. Strangely, I found myself looking at one of the young knights in my force and thought for just a moment that he looked just like old Sir Padern. I know Franklin has died, so it must have been the light, and then a Saxon smote him to the ground.

As the saxons rallied to their king, I saw that they had left another hole in the lines. I ordered and then we were among their camp. Panic spread quickly as the saxons realized what had happened and they broke. The day was ours. The men of Leicester claimed their plunder from the saxon camps and returned to the cheers of our comrades. Unfortunately, Count Dyrfel had fared poorly, and most of the Lincoln host had not survived the encounter. For some reason, many of the knights were bleating at the count and his danes. Alas, Brandegoris told me that sir Rhun's son had fallen fighting for the count. I did not know the boy, but we will honor his memory.

Lady Ealhred Here

In the time I have lived with my husband Edward in the hall of Count Edar I have seen many things. I have watched dear Edward and his friends share stories and boast. I have watched them sing that dreadful hambone song. We have feasted with the High King, and I have seen Sir Seriol wandering lost after the death of his wife. I have never before seen the people of this town look to the north in fear.

As I grew up there were times when all of the knights were gone to war and we were concerned that we would be raided. We were hardly defensless, but we knew that a band of raiders could do horrible damage to our lands. These Leicester folk seem to believe that so long as Count Edar is alive, that god will watch over them. They seem to think that if there is any threat that Edar and the candlebees will ride out of the woods and rescue them, or spirit them off to a refuge at Allington. Allington! I have been there, and it is a pleasant enough manor, but I don't see how anyone could find it safer than the city. Still, there are members of the count's household that speak of Allington as if it were a haven from all the woes of the world. As we hear more from people seeking refuge in the city, I hope that something will happen. If they speak the truth, there are Saxons by the thousand massing around Lincoln, and after it falls, they will march on us.

Never before have I seen so many people crowding into the city. It seems that the count had all of his vassals seek protection in the city. While Leicester once seemed spacious, now it is packed. Unfortunately, many of those seeking shelter in Leicester see me only as a Saxon, and do not realize that my people are loyal to the high king and good christians too. My dear Edward thinks the best of everyone and does not realize that there are some here who do not look kindly upon me. They know he is a Candlebee, so they say nothing, but I have seen the looks. We have spoken about this briefly, and I know that the Count has offered Edward his own lands, but Edward declines, swearing that there is no finer life than as a household knight to the Count. When he notices that this doesn't sway me, he will go out and buy a lavish gift for me. I can't seem to make him understand that what I want is a happy home where we can raise our children, and if we live in a poor manor, so be it. We have each other and our faith to take comfort in. I think that when he returns this winter, I will insist. We must do our best to provide a good home for our son, and when Edward thinks back on his early experiences with the Candlebees, I don't see how he can choose to expose the child to them.