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!
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...