Sir Avitus Here...
Count Edar has once again been called to fight alongside King Nanteleod. This year I was asked to stay behind and the Candlebees and I went on a special mission for the Count. It seems that The Iron Mine at Woolsthorpe was in operation again, and the ore was being taken by Sorestan. Edar had a manor at woolsthorpe long ago, and asked us to see if it could be reclaimed. He told us we were to investigate it, and then look into the accursed Black Anis that had returned to the woods south west of Leicester. Brandegoris had been planning to face the creature again since it took the life of his brother in law, so off we rode.
Upon arriving at Woolsthorpe we discovered that the village had grown up into a town with a pallisade. We could not cause the defenders to ride out to meet us, so we rode to the mine. We found no resistance, but it was clear that a saxon noble held some influence hear, since the peasants were afraid to leave the mine. Some strange bloodlust seems to have come upon Padern and Gwair - they set to burning the fields around Woolsthorpe in an attempt to force the enemy to ride out to meet us. After days of raiding and burning, we were preparing to return home, when we discovered a force of 30 Saxons coming to meet us. We thought we had evaded them, but as we were about to cross back into the county of Leicester, we were ambushed. The battle was short, and unfortunately, all of us were claimed for ransom. Fortunately, sir Padern's squire Seriol was able to escape. I say fortunately, because the young man is the comptal heir. It would be a grave loss to have him held.
Padern, Gwair, Brandegoris and I were taken back to Woolsthorpe. Gwair and I had been seriously wounded in battle, and the only reason we survived was the Saxons wanted our ransom. Brandegoris was recognized again for his hambone exploits - I find it curious that among rural people, stories about fighting with food achieve such fame. In more civilized lands it is understood that you do not throw your food at your guests, whether they are welcome or not. Still, this caused Brandegoris to be brought before the local warlord. Apparently he again threw food at someone, killing the poor fellow. I understand that we are at war with these saxons, and they deserve to die, but for a man to die at the table? This doesn't seem a fit way to go. These Saxons however, thought the matter was hillarious, apparently fighting to the death at dinner is something that happens in their pagan afterlife. They took Brandegoris all about the Kingdom of Sorestan and had him perform. While this happened, Gwair and I recovered from our wounds, but Gwair was greivously wounded again. There was no battle this time though. The young maiden who tended to our wounds was not swayed by Gwairs charms. She told him he was too old! I on the other hand, found her to be quite charming, but as she was a saxon and a pagan, I resisted the temptation to bed her.
Count Edar returned from war and learned of our capture. These rural lords are strange, but it must never be said they are not generous. With no means to myself, the count paid for my ransome from his treasury. Brandegoris and Padern were ransomed by their manors, of course, but Gwair was not. In a truly ingenious political and legal maneouver the Count of Lambor seized Gwair's lands. It seems that Gwair was ignoring convention and sending taxes and gifts to Count Edar, even though he held the manor through Lambor. When Padern learned that this had happened, he refused to be ransomed. He asked me to return to Count Edar and plan a rescue for he and Gwair.
The count is a man loyal to his vassals, and a shrewd field commander. When I delivered Padern's message, he asked about Woolsthorpe's new defenses. The army had disbersed for the harvest season, and it was clear that we could not must the forces necessary to take Woolsthorpe before the army of Sorestan arrived to engage us. Edar again went to his treasury, but could not raise the money to ransom Gwair. Noble Brandegoris pledged to pay much of Gwair's ransome, even surrendering the saddle he inherited from his father. He placed great value in its virtues, but I honestly never saw evidence of them. In the end we were able to ransom both men.
Harvest was nearly upon us. Edar sent Padern and Brandegoris back to their manors to tend to their lands. The curse of the Anis would be dealt with another year. Unfortunately, the tragedy of the year was still to come. Brandegoris' lady wife, the much adored Priscilla, died in childbirth. Brandegoris reacted as any distraught man would, but the years brudens were to much. In a moment of anger he lashed out, cursing god and rejecting his christian faith. Fortunately he realized his error, and Father Merle of Leicester has assured me that he has returned to his beliefs. Though they are misguided in their faith, this local take on christianity is still more likely to lead to salvation than embracing pagan ways.
Sir Padern here...
Well, so much for reclaiming the iron mine at Woolsthorpe. Maybe next year, after we take care of Black Annis.
It will be said, however, that a finer group of knights than the Candlebees has never breathed the sweet summer air of Logres.