—No. Well, no. Yes.
Old Sir Padern here...Well, the Duke still wants us to lay low. The common folk have not forgiven us for betraying Merlin and it's causing the Duke some trouble. So off we go, again, not to harass Saxons but to—get this, look for elephants. I know! Sir Idar was the only one of us who'd even heard of elephants. But the Duke wants to send us, loathed by heathens and magicians throughout the land, to look for a denizen of the Forest Sauvage, a magical faerie beast known as an elephant. (I long ago stopped asking, "Why?").
A stupid waste of time, if you ask me, and the Duke certainly doesn't. Who cares what the common folk think? Once we were out of Lincoln I started meandering: oh, let's go visit my wife's manor. Oh, let's go see Idar's hunting lodge and have a go at some stag. Oh, let's visit Rhun's cousin's manor; didn't he serve a fine pudding? (We skipped that one; Rhun think's his cousin is an asshole.)
After about six weeks of sight-seeing we finally entered the musty old forest...and promptly got lost. Well, I suspect we were lost, though Idar kept his cool as he scanned the ground for trails and "sign." You know, the typical Candle Bees outing. I think the loss of Rhun and Graid to the witch outside Leicester threw him off. Yes, Graid and the ever-generous Rhun were killed by a hag of the woods, more spider-like than human. Too bad.
As a result of our little vacation in the woods, we were late to a muster of Lindsey troops. As we exited the woods we were greeted with fleeing knights and squires, common folk...and Saxons. Lots of Saxons. The closer to Lincoln we got the worse it got. We went no farther north than Flinton Hall, where I gathered my lady and infant daughter, a wet-nurse and one hand-maid, and rode cross-country to Idar's fortified Allington Hall. Weeks went by, and the only word we were able to get was the Duke and his family were captured or killed, Lincoln taken, and Saxons overrunning the county. Sir Gwair tried to find his children but found his hall abandoned. He couldn't reach Leicester. I found Flinton Hall burned to the ground and Aubourn Hall occupied by Saxons; I couldn't reach Lincoln. So here we sit in Allington Hall, sharpening stakes for a palisade and hoping the Saxon army doesn't find us: three knights, two squires, and several hundred common folk, cattle, and pigs hiding in one little hall.
Sir Idar again...Sir Padern is overwhelmed with the tragedy that has stricken our lands, but I feel it is important that the passing of two candlebees be more carefully recounted.
I appreciate that I had the privelege of hosting my friends in Allington and that we were able to bring down both a stag and a bear. Rhun's gift to my household was most welcome, and will always have a place of honor.
Although we had been sent to the Forest Sauvage to find the Elephant, we leared of a witch preying on people new Leicester. Between rumors of the Elephant and sitings of the Witch, we were convinced that the witch had to be stopped or the peasants would not survive. We found our way to the site of the attacks - I have seen battlefields with less carnage strewn about. The witch suprised us with a horrid keening, which drove our peasant guide mad with fear. Sir Gweir had to follow after the poor fellow to keep him from injuring himself. Sir Graid and I charged the creature, for it was so disfigured I cannot say that it was human any longer. Graid's horse proved the swifter and the creature fell on him as he charged. Graid is a powerful warrior but this creature knocked him from his horse and spat a bile on him that disolved his armor while he wore it! I charged the beast in an attempt to knock it off of Graid, but my lance skipped across its back and the beast barely noticed my attack. Graid was pummeled into unconsciousness as I wheeled around for another charge. Sir Rhun could not sit by and let Graid fall, so he charged the beast as well. His battle cry caused the creature to let out another shriek and launch itself at him. My horse panicked at the sound and I spent precious moments having to bring it back under control. Sir Rhun and the creature battled, with it bashing him about the head and shoulders. finally heaving up and disgorging more bile, this time at brave Sir Rhun. As my horse came back under control, I could only watch in horror as Rhun fell, with the creature still upon him. With a call to my fallen candlebees, I raced directly at the creature, heedless of my own safety, and piered its back and chest with my lance. I then severed the beasts head that it might be brought back to the duke as proof of the beast. Sir Gweir and Sir Padern arrived and we sought to aid our fallen comrades, but it was too late - the had passed from this life. We brought our friends back to thier manors for burrial, and after much weeping, returned to our duty.