Sir Edar here,
The burden of ruling in Leicester is not what I expected. For several years now I have not been able to ride with the Candlebees. Still, it is good to have a place to call home where we need not worry about the Saxons finding us. My eldest son Seriol has been Squired to Sir Padern, and Alaine will be squired this yule. My dear Christine has pointed out that his twin sister will be of marriageable age soon - a problem no father would like to consider. I have observed that many noble households use marriage to form alliances. I will have to think carefully on my daughters future.
Once again I have had to spend nearly a week to attend to my Lord King Nantleod. It is a great honor to be called upon, but I do miss the days of only having to ride from Allington north to Lincoln. At these meetings I am one of many voices in council, but this year it was different. The King made a point to ask my advice and after discussing his planned campaign, we spoke of matters of politics. The King told me that the Collegium would be meeting and that I would be called on to vote. Me? No, I said. I hold the title of Count, but have not been confirmed in it. The King told me this would be changing, and that he would support my claim of title. It was clear that he expected me to vote for him, but this didn’t trouble me. I have sworn to serve him, and my friends and I have witnessed too many treacherous nobles for me to favor one I didn’t know. I told the King he had my support, and we spoke of the coming campaign. He also asked if I was still getting along well with my troublesom neighbor the Count of Lambor…
I returned to Leicester and mustered what Knights I could. Indeed, only a score of Lindsey knights remained, including those recently returned from being lost with Sir Brastius. However, we gathered the footmen and road out when the King arrived. Though my offering was small, I was pleased to see that Lambor fielded only half as many men. We traveled south to face Cerdic, intending to fight him near old Sarum. On the way we were approached by a representative of Duke Ulfius who offered to join us. While I do not trust the man, the King brought in his forces, and we met Cerdic in battle at Levcomagus. The battle was short and decisive, and as our enemy withdrew, we regrouped and prepared to follow. I believe Cerdic would no longer breath had we not learned that the Saxons were sallying forth from London. London! Sir Avitus had told us of the treachery that lead to its fall. Their army was large and we did not know where it would strike if we ignored it, so we chose to engage it instead of pursuing Cerdic. At the end of the day we alone stood on the field, and our foes had fled. We lost two friends in the battle – one of the Martin of Thetford, the other a dedicated man of Lindsey. We besieged London, and it fell in a matter of days. Although some knights laid claim to spoils, most treated the Romans of London with courtesy, as they had become subjects of the King.
With the campaign season drawing to a close we made ready to return to our homes. Padern was concerned about fixing the walls of his tower, while Brandegoris is already discussing how he and his lady will be fixing up Tilton on the Hill. I was again called before the King. He told me that an army was massing to meet us. He explained that we were free to depart, but he asked that we stay to fight for him. Though it was to be at our own expense, I have never been asked to stay and fight for my lord before. I couldn’t say no. However, I would not speak for my men. I went before the Lindsey knights and explained that a foe was coming, but that if they chose to stay, they would have to keep themselves. I would support the foot in the troops. Reactions were mixed. Padern was vocal in his support of staying, but others were anxious to return. I made it clear that each man who chose to leave could do so, and that I would not find his service lacking. Brandegoris, Gwair, and Padern disagreed. I wished all who would leave a safe journey, and went to address the footmen. I believe that Padern may have been too vocal in his comments, for when I saw him next, he looked like he had been wrestling with the Danes. We learned that London would not be able to withstand a siege, so we set out to meet our foe in the field.
What can be said about the Battle of Hartford? We met twice our number of knights in combat. These men had been conquered by the Saxons and fought for their Saxon masters, but they were Britons nonetheless. The battle was brutal. We fought all morning and into the afternoon when I saw a break in the enemy lines. Through the gap I saw the Count of Hartford and his household guard. They had been taking a terrible toll on our forces. With a cry of “CANDLEBEES!”, I led our forces through the gap and against the count. His Knights were strong but we met them head on. I collided with the Count and while his lance was shattered on my shield, mine pierced his armor and his heart. As he fell his men drew close around him. We exchanged blows felling two more, but Gwair was grievously wounded. We slew the last two and the enemy routed. We left Gwair in the capable hands of his squire and pursued. One knight and four footmen fell before me before I heard the sound of the horn calling us back. We regrouped, and marched to Hartford.
The city had thrown its gates open and surrendered! Half of the Knights opposing us had stood apart from the battle, and they pledged themselves to the King. What a feast we had that Knight. Padern, Brandegoris, and even a recovering Gwair spoke of our deeds that day with such pride. My fellow Candlebees have spoken highly of our accomplishments in the past, but to have these boasts acknowledged by the King in front of my son… it was a great thing. I pointed out that our Victory against the Count of Hartford was due to the actions of the Candlebees, but they insisted that it was my fury in battle that took the day.
The young Duke had fought in the vanguard, and asked the King to be Knighted. The King declared he would grant the request, and ordered that those of us with Squires of age should be knighted also. Simon, Eddie III, Bart, and Brugyn were thrilled, while my son Seriol became the senior squire to sir Padern. The King granted me 4 manors around Hartford to rule as part of Leicester so that I could support these new knights. This campaign has been a costly one, but the costs are outweighed by the respect and admiration of our fellows, and the gratitude of the King.
To distinguish ourselves for service, the King accepted a suggestion from Sir Brandegoris. The coat of arms of all knights who fought this day would be the charge of a Hart’s head. We would be the Knights of the Hart. Before we left for home, my King accepted my second son Alaine as a squire to his household. A great honor that ties me closer to him.
Sir Brandegoris speaks
In truth, the battle of Hartford would have gone very ill for our good king Nanteleod had not the Candlebees been present. No... I take that back. If Count Idar,"Scourge of the saxon Dogs", and "Champion of Christ", not appeared on the battlefield that day. I was moved by him. He was always just a fellow knight of Lindsey and a companion to me until that day. But watching him valiantly strike down the enemy while other men fled in terror has changed my view. His own oath-sworn men left the field to go back to their hearths while their Count AND Duke fought like devils from the otherworld. Idar, my count and friend has been very modest, but the truth of the matter is that the Saxon Count of Hartford and his three champions, no.... heroes, approached and no one but the Candlebees would have ado with them. I am Brandegoris the Giant. I am Brandegoris of the Hambone who destroyed a saxon Kings arm and captured him and who has killed a fiend knight and even the knight of DEATH itself. But I could be NO help to my oathsworn lord on this day. Nor, I think, did my Lord need it. He fought like a man possessed. He slew the count of hartford, descendant of Thor, as well as two of the three heroes. Liofa the Red Wolf, and Welenca of the silver tree. I was Impotent. I tried to aid my lord but the enemy was great and their charms of satan protected them from my blows. Gwair was nearly slain. Only my Mentor and Friend till the end, Sir Padern was able to strike ones head from its shoulders, but at great cost to his own well being. He slew the invincible warrior Thrunor of the Sacred hold, and now that warrior will be Paderns slave in the otherworld when Padern dies, and will serve Padern mead and wait upon him and his warriors. All four of those saxons were great heroes amongst their people, but Idar abd Padern were greater on that day.
I defeated a knight of Hartford in single combat that day. His mame was Sir weathers of Weathersfield . I had to grapple within myself not to enslave him and sale him back to his kin, But I have now taken a sacred oath, made only to myself and geased upon me by father merle, not to assail any Briton or profit from their destruction. I am not really a church going man, but I do feel as though god watches me. I let weathers go and shared his famalies hospitality. I made him swear to my Lord Idar and I even took his oldest son as my new Squire since my own faithful squire Simon was knighted by King Nanteleod. Sir Weathers will be my eternal companion, and I his. I will make sure that his son is well provided for.
I love my 3 year old daughter Matilda more than anything. She is a true treasure and has her mothers eyes. I am worried however because I have not yet been blessed with more children. A son especially. Because of the battle of Hartford and my many near death experiences, I have decided to make a will. The only person I can leave my things to it seems is my daughter as a dowry to whatever man she would marry, or my old and loyal ex-squire and fellow Candlebee Simon. I, for the moment will go with Simon, My new Heir and I will also leave him Tilton-on-the-hill, until a male child is born.
I have re-affirmed my oath to Count Idar, though I of course still support Duke Derfel as well. And I hope the next year is a year of peace so that I can straighten out Tilton and reward those few followers I have with gold.
I am worried about what the new year holds. This autumn I will bury our old companion , Martin of Thetford And sign his name to the Pillar of resistance. Farewell until next year.
Sir Padern here
I'm pleased and satisfied—happy, really—that Idar is Count of an expanding Leicester, and that he's King Nanteliod's man. Nanteliod looks to be the next high king, and from number of vassels he's claimed, I wouldn't doubt it. So it was with relish that I spent the summer fighting for my lord and comrade-in-arms. Battles in Levcomagus, London, Hertford, and skirmishes at all points in between. Good old-fashioned fun, that!
But being the crusty old bastard that I am, I was bitterly disappointed that my fellow Lindseymen (Candlebees excepted!) called it quits at the end of their forty days service. Panty-waisted cowards! I expected better, and can only surmise that I failed in my duties training these men as squires, for they apparently never grew the balls to be a true Lindseyman. Beset by enemies and scrappy as hell! That's what we are.
It did feel good smashing through the line of Hertford "heroes" and watching dear Idar pulverize their count. Good show, man!