Sunday, February 17, 2008

500: Take Some, Give Some

Sir Brandegoris here...
After staying the winter in Leicester Count Idar took counsel with Sir Padern and they decided that the next course of action was to assemble all able knights and warriors and attack Willoughby, a nearby town on the Fosse Rd to the north that was protected by a pallisade and was in Saxon hands. Soon we all agreed upon this course of action, even Sir George, the Castellan of Leicester (appointed by Earl Lambor) decided to bring his twenty men and win some glory.
When we reached Willoughby we found it unprotected by any Soldiers. The populace submitted to Count Idar, and after letting Padern, Gwair and Gwalchmai burn a few saxon sympathizers we were off to the next closest Saxon outpost along the northern road, (Castle Hill), where we expected much more resistance.
At Castle Hill there was a token force but very soon Gwailchmai had the outer defenses burned to the ground and we were sieging the keep. It did not look likeky to fall however and we had almost lost hope and decided to leave when Gwailchmai had a conversation with the Saxon garrison commander and convinced him to surrender. Suprisingly they did so and were allowed to leave in peace. Gwair and myself had went earlier to the lord of Nottingham and tried to convince him to aid our cause but he was very reluctant. Even so, at this point we razed the nearby manors and then contacted the lord of Nottingham. We knew we did not have the manpower to garrison Castle Hill, so Idar gifted it to lord Nottingham (who promptly lost it to the Saxons later the same year).
After we returned to Willoughby we discovered that Sir George had decided to take a share of 1/2 the loot of that town as his own, and though Sir Padern had stayed behind to put a stop to it, (nearly coming to blows so I heard later), that wily old George managed to strip Willoughby of most of its valuables. Typical British behavior these days it seems!
Before heading back to Leicester word reached us from our scouts and later confirmed by Gwalchmai, that a small saxon host of 3oo warriors was at that very moment marching towards Leicester with the intent of besieging it! We quickly headed back to the city to prepare.
The city was assaulted twice over the week period, but Count Idar seemed to know what he was doing (he must have taught his wife Christine who on several occasions defended his old manor of Allington, from the Saxons), and we gave the Saxons a decent thrashing even though some 500 reinforcements had come to aid their cause. After the second assault the Saxons left disheartened and Leicester was once again safe for another year. I can still hear Idar on the battlements screaming his war cry " FOR ALLINGTON" ! How it heartened us all in those battles!!
I am most fortunate in my companions for they are the finest a knight could ask for in these dark and dangerous times!
During the battle we had sent word to Earl Lambor for aid and had been puzzled that he had not come to help. It was only in early December when he invited us to his court that we discovered what had happened throughout Northern Britian.
The Saxon King of Sorestan had attacked Malahaut and Roestoc taking large tracts of land, which is why we so easily invaded his southern borders. Once he solidifies his northern lands he will no doubt turn an eye towards Leicester. Without aid I fear for our future, for this Saxon King though dog he is, is very powerful.
The good news was that Earl Lambor was very grateful to us for stopping the Saxon foe as we did. If we hadn't it could have been disastrous it seemed, because the Earl had been away fighting in Gales with King Nanteleod of Escavalon who seems very close to conquering all of Gales!! It is our hope that this King Nanteleod will be of some assistance to us against Sorestan.
Also Idar has talked of a small expedition going near Caer Coelun next year and looking for refugees and fighting men to join our cause. The news at Court was that while Leicster was being besieged a new group of Saxons Called Angles landed and Devoured Caercoulun and slew the Young Duke Julian. The land is no more and many British are dead or enslaved. Is there no end to these Saxon vermin? They must breed as rats and Hares do. I wonder if its some heathen sorcery that allows them to breed so quickly. I hate to say it, but I fear that next year may be our darkest yet. Still no news of Brastias. I begin to lose hope of ever seeing him alive again.


Brandegoris was also married to the love of his life this year. Lady Priscilla is a very young and sweet girl who warms his heart and though times are dark, she is a ray of sunlight. Countess Christine helped Sir Brandegoris with the match for which he is eternally grateful. The wedding was very small and quickly done but was still very nicely done. Thanks must go to Idar who generously gave Brandegoris and Priscilla the rights to a nice merchants cottage in the shadow of Castle Leicster. Hopefully father Merle is correct and God will bless this union and make it fruitful so Bran can have many strong British sons!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

499 - The Capture of Leicester

Sir Edar here - although my friends have been calling me "Count Edar" now... but I will get to that shortly.

As the winter in Alington drew to a close, my fellow Iron men came to me to discuss our course for the coming year. I was set to look for Sir Brastius and the rest of our troops, but my fellows pointed out that we knew not where to begin to search. We believed him to be in the forest Sauvage, but it is a fairy place, and vast - we could search for months and not find him. Instead they suggested that we see what had happened to the city of Leicester. We knew that it had withstood the Saxons, but knew nothing more other than Sir Gweir reported that the Countess had died giving birth to a child - one of his no doubt. Gweir has pointed out that my family is vast, but I know where all of my offspring are. Still, he is a Pagan, and we must not judge him to harshly since he doesn't understand that what he does is not right.

For some reason, Gweir allowed his wife Lilly to acompany us, and we set off to Leicester, spending the night in a Saxon hall where we were welcomed and granted hospitality. It pains me to think that with all of the troubles we have had with the lords of Briton, the Saxons have always been true to us. When we took our leave in the morning, we travelled south on the road towards Leicester. We passed by a sentry station a half day from the city with all of the Saxons watching the city. They were so intent that had there been two more of us, we could have ridden through their garrison and dispatched them all. When they found we were travelling to the city, we were warned to be cautious, but allowed to pass - most curious.

The city gates of Leicester were open and the city abandoned. We passed through to the keep and entered to see what was once the countess in her seat in the hall. When she recognized Gweir, she called to him. It was terrible. What acts she commited to return from the grave are too horible to contemplate. We were forced to fight and destroy her minions, but they kept rising as we smote them. Our squires were forced to burn the remains, and then we realized that the castle and the city was ours!

It was here that I received a great suprise.. My fellow knights had determined that the city was to be mine and that I would rule it! I am unclear of the details, as I was severly wounded in the battle, and learned about it only when Sir Brandegoris returned with men from the Count of Lambor. His chirgeon tended to my wounds and said a holy mass over the site of our fire. He counselled that the mass may need to be repeated or she could rise. I offered him the position as my chief priest in the city, and he said he would need to speak with his lord.

I learned from Sir Brandegoris that the lord of Lambor was very interested in how we took and would hold the city. After our previous experiences he and Sir Padern believed that the count would try to take the city from us. I looked at the condition we were in and beleived that this would be little contest. Still, my heart turned cold when the Count himself approached at the head of a column of men. He accepted my hospitality and that night we spoke. He offered me the opportunity to swear to him and hold the city. The alternative was not stated, but I believed he would either take the city from us, or wait for the saxons to do it. In exchange, he provided the armed men sufficient to protect the city. After much counsel with Padern and the others, I agreed to his terms.

I then made the hardest decision of my life, and may my father forgive me for it. I sent word to Allington, to my wife and household, to bring everyone to Leicester. We would scatter the stones of Allington manor and burn what could not be taken so that the Saxons would not get it. I swear that some day my family will return and reclaim the manor.

Winter comes again, and I will soon see my family and the families of the people of Allington. There will be much adjustment to being in this city, but I think that they will appreciate the greater security of city walls.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Hum A Few Bars

[The ditty is courtesy of Greg. Also, check out the last few posts as I've moved comments from PCs into the body of the post for each year.—Suzanne]

Here's that Ditty:

Bones, them bones, them HAM bones.
Bones them bones, them HAM bones.

Here’s a little ditty ‘bout Brandegoris.
He’s that big guy who is fightin’ for us!
The Saxon dog, he threw a thigh.
He thought he was kinda tough, oh my oh my!

Bones them bones, them HAM bones.
Bones them bones, them HAM bones.

Well my man Bran
Threw it back again
And now that Saxon’s wife is gonna CRY
Cuz her man is dead
Oh my oh MY!

Bones, them bones, them HAM bones.
Bones them bones, them HAM bones.

Slapped upside the head
With meat and now he’s DEAD!
That’s how Britons bones and met
And you Saxons betta know that we can’t…
(And know what else?
The dead guy’s wife, she ran off with Gwair)

Saturday, February 2, 2008

498: Betrayal in Thetford

If you are referring to the incedent in Thetford I can assure you that me and my companions were barely involved.

- Sir Brandegoris speaking to Duke Julien of Caercolun before being asked to vacate the duchy.

Sir Edar here...

Never before in my life have I been ashamed to be a Briton. Sir Gweir and I encountered the self proclaimed Saxon King of Lindsey on the road to Norwich. He and his men were leading the treasure train to pay our ransom. We agreed to travel with them, being unable to find an acceptable way to turn them down. I would imagine that the Saxons rarely received as warm a welcome as they did when they were introduced by us.

In Thetford we met up with Sir Padern, and heard from a relation of Sir Brandegoris that our prisoner had been handed over to Duke Ulfius by Duke Julian. We were outraged, and had to inform the saxons of our betrayal. The Count of Thetford was challenged on what he knew and he denied everything. As dinner ended, we could tell that noone in the castle would sleep well.

Later that night I was interrupted in my evening prayers by the sounds of armed men. The count had a group of guards join him in his room. This looked suspicious to me, so I altered Padern, Gweir, and Brandegoris. We warned the saxons and decided that it was time to leave Thetford. As we were leaving, we were approached by the Count's men! We told the saxons that we would cover their exit and that they should leave the city immediately. It looked like things were not going to go well.

It was then that the unthinkable happened. It disgusts me even to recount it here. The Count's men were given the order to attack! Without warning, the count betrayed his offer of hospitality to attack the King of Sorestan. While there are few men with a greater reason to hate the saxons in general, and the King of Sorestan in particular than we we Candle Bees, we did not set aside our civilized nature by attacking our guests or our hosts. A guest is welcome and safe be he Pagan or Christian, Briton or Saxon. Without this basic belief, how can we meet to speak as civilized men?

I confess that I was nearly overcome with despair at this turn, and when the guards attacked, I know that I was uninjured because the Divine chose to protect those who would keep his laws. We fought our way past the guards and through the count's own knights. Their captain saw that his lord had betrayed his oaths and when asked by Sir Brandegoris, he stepped aside and did not stop us from fighting, and seizing the count. Our only injury was sir Gweir, who was knocked to the ground by the count before he yeilded. We plegded not to turn the count over to the Saxons and to remove he and his household from Thetford. We collected mounts and left.

While we sought to take the count before his peers, we were slowed by the women and servants of the counts house. We left them in Cambridge to tend to Sir Gwier and took the count all the way to distant Sarum. Where ever we went the people were shocked to hear of the count's actions. Even the count repented, believing that Thetford was sacked because he betrayed his oaths of hospitality.

When we finally left Sarum, with the count a prisoner to be tried before being sent to an abbey, we travelled back to Cambridge. Sir Gwier seems to have recovered nicely under the tender ministrations of Countess Thetford. We presented ourselves to Duke Julian in Norwich and asked what had happened. The man denied nothing! When we spoke to this outrage we were directed to leave immediately. We returned home to Allington. Although I will not rest while the Saxon threat looms over my home and family, I say that if Caercolun produces men like Julian and Count Thetford, then Caercolun be damned! The Saxons can fight over who will control it, but I will not.

We are concerned that none have seen Sir Brastius. It has been a year since he and a dozen knights travelled to Ulfius, and from there left for his "secret base". While I had assumed he was speaking of Allington, none here have seen him. We cannot loose so many bold knights. When the spring comes, we will journey again to the forest Sauvage and find him.

Old Sir Padern here

I've gotten highly cynical after the death of Lady Freesia: betrayed by Duke Ulfius of Silchester, Duke Julian of Caer Colun and the Count of Thetford; treated honorably by the King of Sorestan and Cerdic of Wessex; and reduced to lifting loose belongings from our fellow Britons in order that we not fight in rags from the backs of nags, and I think oh well, that's just how the world is after St Albans.

And though he is a despicable man, I will say that Thetford kept a good stable. The money I got from those horses will keep my children fed and clothed for some time.

497: Saxon Skirmishing

—Oof! The king's shoulder crumpled like the fender on a Hyundai.


So..... It's been quite a summer. I feel a little overwhelmed by the recent events, and wonder what the future of Britian will be. I sometimes think the monks habit would have been a good fit for me.....except of course that there was never one made big enough for me. What an ox. so, somehow Sir Idar's manor is thriving still and daily do peasants come to him for protection. By the wagonload! I've seen it with my own eyes and YES, anyone who says my claioms are false WILL get a hamsteak to the face.THOUGH i HAVE never owned land my companions have and they all agree its a hard business. They continually are amazed by the fact that sir Idars peasants are not only content with his rule , but are actually pleased with him in every way! I have been told that this is very unnatural, and that idar might actually be upseting the fuedal order of things, but i must admit that his manor is a most pleasant place to spend a season!Only one thing surprises me more in fact. That with so many happy happy peasant girls Gwair hasnt an heir to spare! bad lick all around mate! That damn lady lilbourne is something else though. She saves your life and takes it all at the same time! I will say that when I heard Duke Julian and his advisor"chuckles" let the saxon king go to Duke Ulfius I wasnt as surprised as I should have been! I was all in with sir padern when he wanted to go "rescue" OUR King from that Damnnable Duke of Silchester. Brass balls! thats what Padern has my friends! I can only say about Padern that "he gives no shit about anything but the honor and justice"! OR... perhaps...cold hard saxon currency!!! What the hell ULFIUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Old Sir Padern here

Things are getting hot in Lindsey for us Iron Men of Britain. Instead of skulking in the Maris we decided to head south and harass the Saxons in Caer Colun; Brastius thought this an excellent idea.

Before we could set off, we had to hold a shotgun wedding for Lady Lilbourn and Sir Gwair, as the womenfolk at Allington were very stirred up by her following Gwair around like a tramp. We had to set things as right as we could, and make her a proper lady again. Sigh. Gwair!

Anyway, to make a long summer's story short, we were retained by a Saxon band (!) in order to provide cavalry against a second Saxon band. That wily old Brastius agreed, knowing that we would turn on whatever chieftain held the field at the day's end. As luck would have it, when we saw Sir Ulfius aiding the opposing Saxon king, we went nuts and not only captured the Saxon king but one of Ulfius's sons as well!

Now, having no public base of operations, we holed up in Norwich while we negotiated a king's ransom, but that damn weaking Duke Julian interfered in our plans. He let Ufo go back to daddy! And the Saxon atheling would not ransom his father, so now my companions are spread about Britain while I keep watch on our prize—we don't trust Julian—and they shop around for the best price for this king.

And as happy as we are at the prospect of obtaining this ransom, the best part of the summer was when we were in the hall of the atheling and one of his piggish men started a food fight. Sir Brandegoris gave better than he got and, wielding nothing more than a ham steak, smote the Saxon upside the head hard enough to kill him. Yes! Killed by good British ham.

There's a great little ditty going around about the incident. Very catchy tune.