Sunday, June 29, 2008

512: Bassus River Battle

Brandegoris here.....

This year our high king Arthur took us to Malahaut to destroy the Upstart Centurion King. In the battle The Centurion King Haraut was slain by King Pellinore, a friend of our great King's. And King Nentres of Garloth nearly went down to the Leicester men but managed to escape before he was slain by the mysterious Brown Knight of the wilds. Lastly Nentres' son Gelagantis was wreaking havoc on Arthur's army, consumed by passion for his dead father, when Lord Edar and myself attempted to subdue him, but a series of unfortunate events and the curse that God has laid upon me stopped us from capturing the Prince of Garloth who was later subdued by King Pellinore. The battle was a decisive victory for my Lord Arthur, and after the battle we then witnessed a most miraculous thing. The Brown knight of the wilds, who is obviously a very POOR knight by his attire, gave complete freedom to Prince Gelagantis of Garloth. No ransom! Arthur approved of the knights actions and called it a perfect example of chivalry, and I swear there was a tear in my Lord Arthur's eyes as he made his speech. He would NOT give Gelagantis' Garloth back because Arthur's own sister Elaine is Garloth's Queen so my lord claimed the kingdom for himself and will no doubt appoint a steward to govern, though he has given Gelagantis hope that he may ONE DAY inherit if he serves my Lord faithfully and well.

The Centurion King's great Kingdom of Malahaut could also have been my Lord Arthurs but he called upon his new and strange concept called Chivalry and said that he had no right to the Kingdom so he would give it to the Centurion King's son if he would simply pledge fealty to Arthur. HOW GENEROUS MY LORD IS!@!!! All men know by the rules of war that Malahaut was my Lord's to do as he wished with it, but he proves time and again that he is as benevolent as an angel and forgives his enemies. It is amazing to behold. I hope his trust and good faith serve him well and that these creightons do not betray my Lords trust. Barant les Apres the King of 100 Knights is the new King in Malahaut and sworn fealty to Arthur. The year went splendidly ... Until we heard news late in the year that the welsh were attacking our lands while we were away and that King Ryons and Lord Nero, his brother( a giant), and King Lot were besieging Cameliard. And so we all began gathering our supplies to lift the siege of Cameliard. We had a good bit of plunder and I finished building Tilton's ditch and rampart and lead roof. Now I believe that I will soon be ready to build my Orphanage. First however I must help destroy Lot's army and gain more glory slaves, and gold so that I can insure my land's prosperity. My children will soon come of age and I need them to be well provided for. Next year I will build a chapel to St. Guinefort the patron of infants and protector of all children, and then I will complete my orphanage. We will see how life goes.

Young squire Franklin here...

Oh, unfair life, to be robbed of a mother twice before I'm even bearded! The beautiful Lady Christine of Leicester died this winter in childbirth, and I am devastated.

Sir Edward here...

Wow, that was some spring: over a feast we heard the true story of King Arthur's birth and childhood with Sir Ector. Then we jousted with some loon questing after a most unusual beast, which he completely overlooked while fighting with us.

When summer arrived we Leicestermen rode off with Count Idar to fight the Centurion King, thoroughly besting him.

At the close of the summer campaign King Arthur even came to stay at Leicester, practically eating poor Count Idar out of house and home. But, knowing Idar, the peasants rallied and soon the fountains of the city were pouring honey once more, the weeds in the pavestones bearing fruit, why, even the road apples of Leicester's fine beasts of burden turn overnight into the sweetest drops of dew to water the golden fields of grain outside the city walls...and even though my lord is sad at the passing of his fine lady, all is well and the lands prosper under his careful ministrations.

511: The King of Sorestan

Sir Brandegoris here...

This year I fulfilled my duties to Young Count Derfel by helping him systematically secure old Sorestan and bring the saxons under his rule but in the end it was the old queen of Sorestan that persuaded her people to pledge loyalty to the count. I suppose that I misjudged her, and I apologized and told her so. So Sorestan is subdued by my young and brave count.

For my loyalty my count gave me the wardship of three very favorable manors. he has made me a rich knight, even without taking the money from the manor of Auburn, which I have under wardship for squire franklin(Paderns oldest son). I am saving all of the income from the manor for him and constantly striving to improve it for him, so that when he comes into his majority he will be well provided for.

I have completed my Stone tower to protect Tilton and I am now making a ditch and rampart. Once I am finished protecting the manor I will hopefully be able to build an orphanage for all of the childeren in leicester that have been forgotten by God. We will see. I feel weary. I am getting older and my joints hurt as well as many of my old battle scars. The only thing that gives me hope is that our Youmg High King seems blessed by God and maybe he will give us victorty over the heathen saxons and foreign invaders. We will see.

Sir Edward here...

Even though I was a young child when Lindsey was overrun by those heathens from across the sea, my heart burned just as brightly as those in the chests of the old guard when the call came from this new high king Arthur to rid Sorestan of its Saxon nobility. We spent much of early summer working our way north, until we finally stood in the hall of the red city. But much to my chagrin Count Derfel of Lincoln fell to the charms of the dead king of Sorestan's witch of a wife. He would not have her harmed, nor put her in a nunnery for safe-keeping, but instead found her a most perilous place of keeping—his bed!

He's styling himself the king of Sorestan these days, and I'm sure nothing good will come of it: his ursurpation of a title far above his station, and his overfamiliarity with the devil himself clothed in the flesh of that woman.

As the hay was coming in I proposed to the rest of the Leicestermen that we do our duty to our lord and rid his lands of that damnable Black Annis once and for all. I could see they clearly did not want to face the hag a third time, but I kept at it—still sore over the count of Lincoln's dallying with his witch-consort, I think—until we stood before the secret door in Leicester's storerooms.

We forced our torch-bearing squires into the tunnel with the first scream of that ghastly hag they turned and ran. That I expected, though I did not expect Sir Bledri to do the same. Seeing that the valor of the other knights hinged on seizing the inititive, I threw myself at the hag to give Sir Brandegoris a chance to put his knife skills to work. He was able to deal her enough blows to send her scurrying out the cave mouth, and we tracked her up the creek for some distance, but we lost her bloody spoor in the water...I spent what turned out to be a rather fine autumn laid up in Leicester with an awful wound, though I'm recovered now.

I'm afraid we will have to make Attempt No. 4 sooner or later. Damn it.

Young Squire Franklin here...

The Master of Pages, old Sir Amlas, told me I was to ride up to Lincoln and have a word from the count. The Lady of the house got me dressed right proper and sent me off in the company of knights for what turned out to be the count's official recognition of my right to Auburn Hall. And being that I am underage he placed it into wardship, a prospect that made me right glum until he assigned it to good old Sir Brandegoris. Huzzah! Now when I'm all grown up and a knight I won't come into a charred piece of land decorated with a hearth, but with grandfather's old hall. Not that I remember grandfather's old hall, or even mother. Father placed me in the care of the beautiful Lady Christine as a babe, and for me now Leicester is the old familiar hall and the lady my mother.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

510: Oh Joyous Year part 2

Sir Padern here

When Edar finished the hoohaw he and the other lords in King Nanteliod's army do and came back to our campfires, he looked distressed. We all did, once he told us that the king had died on the battlefield. Edar took us home to Leicester to assess our next move. It wasn't looking too good: we kept getting reports of the usurper conquering more and more kingdoms and counties, and with Nanteliod out of the way King Lot was maneuvering for the high kingship—and squeezing Edar something fierce! He asked all of us, the experienced knights under his command and his boon companions too, our opinion. Everyone had a different mind.

But then Sir Brastius, Iron Man of Britain, came to court and spoke with us on behalf of this boy king. The word of Brastius carries a lot of weight with all Lindseymen, and those of us Candlebees who misadventured in Cornwall back in the day. (Heh! It was pleasing to me to recount for Brandegoris and Bledri how a very young Edar had skewered one of Brastius's men on his lance like a meat kebob.) So at the urging of Brastius and we knights of Leicester, Edar travelled to the court of this new king to see and speak with him that he might form his own opinion of him as a man and liege.

The meeting went well, and soon we were marching in this boy king's army to fight against Lot, our erstwhile ally, in a clash of wills in the kingdom of Bedegraine. My, but we Candlebees were on fire! Under Edar's command we cut through enemy lines, soon reaching the knight commanding Lot's forces on the field! He was surrounded by a tough-looking lot of Pictish bodyguards, but we engaged them nonetheless. As we hacked our way through their members I could see out of the corner of my eye Sir Gwalchmai drawing up on the commander. But then I felt a searing pain down my spine; I think one of those damn Pict "knights" got me from behind. I managed to stay on my horse after the initial blow, but then felt myself sliding to the ground and looking up at the battle raging around me. At least it didn't hurt any more.

Sir Brandegoris here

While fighting the ambitious King Lot of Lothian my good friend and the best knight of Leicester fell to a treacherous Pict. Of all the great battles and the tough opponents we have faced in the past it was a PICT which took Sir Paderns life. I have developed quite a hatred for them. They are like a locust plague, and a blight upon our lands. The fact that Lot uses them in battle speaks volumes about his dishonor, and so I hate him as much as I hate that damnable centurion king!

The only positive thing to report is that even though Sir Gwalchmai has been erranting for quite sometime, he is no doubt the most skilled fighter in christendom. He slew not one but two commanders and turned the tide of battle all by himself. Also, Sir Bledri is really coming around as a warrior as well and really starting to blossom. Eddie the third shows a good skill at arms but more than anything he learned good practicality and sense from Padern and he daily exhibits it. He will be one to keep an eye on.

I'm 38 years old now, but I feel much older. Edar himself is the last original Candlebee. I built a Tomb for my Lord Padern in a Saxon-free Lincoln as he always wanted. I swore fealty to Derfel Count of Lindsey and he gave me a po dunk little manor in return. He is young, but I'm not sure that that is an excuse for his ingratitude to me. Time will tell if this situation improves. Last year's battles and plunder, coupled with the ransoming of my captive, gave me more than enough libra to build Padern's Tomb and to begin a large stone tower at Tilton. After last years Pictish raiding I feel that Tilton needs to upgrade its defenses. I will hope the tower is completed and that Tilton's reputation as cursed proves to be a false one. If it works out I might also build a pallisade and ditch and rampart. We will see. Padern would have approved. Lot will pay. I promised Padern that much at his burial. Father Merle offered to bless my towers construction and I allowed it. He says that if my tower is completed that I should show my appreciation to God by again attending mass regularly. I said that I would consider it. We will see.

I'm not sure what the future hold...except more battle. I hope this boy-king Arthur is all that Brastius believes him to be.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

510: Oh Joyous Year!

Sir Padern here

Just as the first buds of May appeared, so too did word from our good King Nanteliod. This time he was taking the fight right to the heart of all Lindseymen: we were to invade Sorestan! You didn't have to tell Count Edar twice; he got up the muster and made sure we were front and center for every battle on our way to the ultimate prize, Lincoln.

I've shaken off the dolorous thoughts that found me as I turned fifty. At 51 I came out swinging, and the Battle of Cosby, a rousing success on our part, had me back in fine form. Hell, Candlebee teamwork got Sir Brandegoris's heirloom saddle back from that dastard of a Saxon hero, Wulfear. Very satisfying to see Wulfear's corpse in the dusty of Lindsey.

Sadly, Sir Avitus died in the fighting. He was a strange man, that Londoner, but a good enough fighter and an excellent companion—especially when laid up in the churgeon's house. Always ready with a story, that one. I'll miss the lad.

Other than some problems with overeager Welsh knifemen, we retook Lincoln without a hitch. Sir Bledri called it the Black Smoke Victory. Glorious. Did I saw "without a hitch?" Well, a small one: Count Edar inexplicably killed one of his own men with a bungled First Aid. Did he watch Sir Gwair all those years and not learn the correct way to pack and bandage exposed intestines?

Okay, two small problems, the other being the young Duke Dryfel. I think Edar had better watch his back around that one, especially now that the lad has allowed Sorestan's witch of a wife to worm her way into his grace.

When the boys and I returned after harrassing the Saxons of the countryside, a messenger told us that that damnable Merlin was back and trying to foist some unknown country boob on us as king—some trickery to weaken King Nanteliod's considerable position. Pfft! As Lindsey was now liberated, we set off directly with King Nanteliod and king's Lot and Uriens. (Malahaut was there, too, but I discount him as a king.)

We had a fine battle at Cirencester. Of course Duke Ulfius fights for the usurper, but I was surprised to hear that dear Sir Brastius, Iron Man of Britain, did as well. Strange. I thought his judgement sound. Though we didn't have the victory at day's end, we left the field in good order. We Candlebees even got our hands on some rich knights to ransom.

We're sitting in our field camp now, waiting for Edar to come back with news of King Nanteliod, who we last saw fighting hand-to-hand against the upstart.

What a year!

Brandegoris here...

Last year was quite something. King Nanteleod issued the order to re-take Lincoln from the upstart Sorestan, and so we did with the help of knife-wielding Welsh mercenaries. I found myself in a quandry early on because Nanteleod told Edar to take up the eastern position, but my young and brave Duke Derfel wanted us to siege the south gate so that his own party could be first to the keep and so that our overzealous Welshmen did not plunder it. I was torn but I was loyal to Duke Corneus and so I feel it is only right to be loyal to his son. I joined the young duke in scaling the wall and securing the keep, then I helped disperse the Welsh bandits and made sure my Duke was comfortable. We found the King of Sorestan's wife, and I know her to be a witch so I tried to slay her, but could not, and my Duke was angry with me for the deed so ordered me out. And just as I feared the lady is using her charms on my lord and trying to secure a place in his house.

I was angry as well, and felt a bit slighted by young Derfel, so I went with Padern to get my revenge on the Saxons that had humiliated me. I already retrieved my magical saddle back from Wulfhere and revenged Gwair but now others would pay. Padern and I raided and pillaged Sorestan for a month.

Upon our return there was news that a young usurper nobody had heard of pulled the sword from the stone and been declared king of Logres. Merlin's plot, Edar assures me. He hates Merlin though I don't know why. I escorted the mage once and though he was gruff he seemed likeable enough.

Anyway the battle of Cosby was fought and King Lot, Nanteleod, Nentres, and the Centurion King all tried to destroy the young boy king. But Merlin's magic and that damned magic sword defeated us, though we were able to regroup and go in good order. Early reports have stated that our King Nanteleod fought the boy-king hand to hand and fell to him, but we are not yet sure. Without Nanteleod I am scared for our future. Can we hold the recently taken Lincoln and protect Leicester? I hope so.

Count Edar here...

I knew King Nanteleod to be a good man. I hoped he would be a great one. When I swore my oath to him, he swore we would retake Lindsey from the damnable Saxons. This year, he made good his oath. Sorestan feel before us in battle, and its king fled to hide in the walls of Lincoln. I was prepared to lay siege to that city, but our King had other ideas. He had brought a horde of Welshman with him and prepared to send them over the walls. We Candlebees would take the eastern gate to the city and it would be ours.

Unfortunately, our young "duke" Dyrfel had other ideas.

It is good to have a lord who does not shy away from battle. A lord should lead his knights from the front so that they might be inspired by his example. But a great lord knows when to heed the advice of more experienced men. Just like our beloved Duke Corneus had a Marshal to command the army in battle, I hoped young Dyrfel would allow his experienced knights to lead the men. This suggestion did not please the young duke, and I fear that he will remember that I said no to him. What else could I do? The boy wanted only to seize the treasure in the castle, he cared little for the plan of attack and fighting the Saxons.

In the morning we sent the Welshmen over the walls. I had thought that seeing Lincoln again after being gone for so long would do my heart good, but when we stormed the gate, all I saw were Welshman looting and pillaging - surely they were as bad as any Saxon ever was. I wept for the city and was glad that my Duke was no longer alive to see it.

We recaptured the castle for the boy - he insisted on storming the walls, and brought Brandegoris with him. When Padern and I rode through the gates the fighting was not as thick as it should have been. I suspect the lady we later discovered had some hand in this. She was a beautiful woman, and it would not suprise me if our young duke plans to strengthen his position in these reconqured lands by taking her to be his own.

Many knights rode out from Lincoln to raid Sorestan, making the Saxons pay for what they had done to our land. I had no stomach for it. I rode to my family's home at Allington to see what was once the last Briton holding in Lindsey. It had faired well. It seems the Saxons had little use for a manor that was so thoroughly dismantled. It will take much to rebuild her, but I will do it.

I returned to Lincoln and sat in council with the king and the duke. Fortunately, the young duke seems to have forgotten our disagreements in the blush of victory. We received word that an usurper had drawn the sword of victory in London... I suspect Merlin's hand in this, and said so. When King Lot, King Uriens, and the King of Malahaut came to ask King Nanteleod to lead them against the usurper, I saw that at last we had a man who could unite the land. If these men would fight under Nanteleod, surely he would be the greatest high king ever.

We met the usurper at Cirencester. His army was strong, but we were stronger. Merlin's devil-magic worked against us though, and some of our knights switched sides! When the battle started, peasants charged into our lines! Peasants? Attacking knights? While they did not do much to damage our forces, they did create havoc in our ranks. At the end of the day we withdrew. King Lot tells me that Nanteleod fell in single combat with the usurper. I have not had word yet of my son Alaine, who was squired to his household and who I hoped to see knighted at yule...