Sir Edward here...
That Brandegoris chap had an excellent idea over dinner one night at Arthur's springtime court: a bit of tit-for-tat raiding into Saxon lands to pay them back for last year's raids into Hertford. Splendid! With my lord Idar's permission we Leistermen made ready to do just that. Imagine my and everyone's surprise when Sir Brandegoris showed up with a veritable army of mercenaries and various knights looking to get in on the action! We picked up even more fellows during our brief stay in Hertford...
Raiding is fairly boring business, the tedium only relieved with a very pissed-off King of Essex showed up with all the men he could muster; about 150, mostly footmen. He kindly requested we leave our wagon trains and return to Hertford. We kindly replied that we'd be happy to depart our lands in the company of our wagon trains...our battle lines formed. Sir Seriol, just off a major wound that had him laid up for a good part of the summer and autumn, didn't like the odds of 13 Leister and Hertford knights and 10 foot-soldiers going against 150 Saxon footmen, but we older knights assured him that that is how it is done in Leicester. True to form, we'd soon cut through almost half of the king's forces. The other half fled and the king shot us a look...not a friend for life, Essex!
We took back quite a tidy sum, even after Brandegoris gave generously to the Earl of Hertford. Lady Ealhred was also pleased, for I made sure to bring back in my portion several fine gowns that fit her tall frame well. I love my Christian wife!
I decided to hire a canon for St Christopher's, a man of letters by the name of Henry of Knighton. In addition to his duties for the church he is teaching me and Ealhred to read the Bible.
Sir Franklin here...
I was quite pleased when my lord requested I accompany him to Garloth with his new lady, Elaine, the king's sister.
I was less pleased when I learned everyone else was going to Essex to raid, and even less less pleased when Garloth proved disappointingly Pict-free.
What a boring summer!
I decided to spend my entire treasury (35L) on mercenaries to destroy Essex. It seemed to be as good a place as any. After Hertford gave us men we had 16 knights and 80 footmen! 5 of whom were saergents.
We were doing very well for a week or so and then our raiding parties were decimated and did not return. Well 2 men did. But I had had the foresight to keep most of the knights with myself around the plunder. We did lose Sir Hervis De Revel, a fine knight, and I hope wherever he is he still lives.
The Saxon King of Essex Aethelswith brought 150 Saxon foot to face us. It's good he did. He must have remembered that it was I who ruined his fathers arm, and it was in his own hall while trying to ransom his father back to him that a Saxon broke hospitality and attacked me, so I killed him with a hambone. This is of course the reason why a hamhock is my shield device and the incident is responsible for making me who I am today. A lover of good ham and a very good fighter.
The battle was short and our 13 knights repelled the Saxons easily enough. Never underestimate an armored man on horseback.
Sir Seriol and myself both hate Saxons monstrously and our blood was up so we unwisely pursued the Saxons into the woods. We each killed a few more but were ambushed, barely escaping with our lives. I lost my horse and with it my magical saddle that was passed to me by my father. And that was made with leather that he said was blessed by St. Michael long ago. I will see that wretched King again and get my vengence. We made it home and I took only 35L for myself, just enough to replenish my losses. I gave a 30L each to Seriol and Eddie, and 20L to the count of Hertford as a gift since it was his lands that were most damaged by Essex. The other 90L was evenly shared between the rest of the knights on the expedition.
It was a prospourous year and my orphanage was finished. It was dedicated to my late wife and true love Priscilla, for she ever loved children.
I also purchased a very expensive gown and at the urging of many of my retainers and friends went to visit the Lady Brianna of Caerwent whom I saved last year during The King's wedding feast. She is so like my true love Priscilla in countenance that I cannot gaze upon her without being captivated and feeling my heart quicken. I do feel some guilt but a madness seems to have come over me and I can not help myself. I long to be near her. I am not sure she will be with me however. I am a Round Table knight, rich, glorious and brave, and hold all the virtues of chivalry dear, but still she is hesitant. Father Merle suggested it might be my Godless ways. But I have built a chapel to St. Guinefort for my people. He says that I must do more because God is still angry with me. I will think about it. Maybe it IS time to reconcile myself with the Lord. I know Eddie would certainly agree.
The last bit of business was my squire Mordecai failing me yet again. In three battles he has fled from me three times always at the first charge and this time he fled and hasn't come back. I will find him later and punish him. I was going to take Gwair's illigitemate child Gyldric who is now 17 years old as my squire. He is a good boy and I have been raising him on my land at Tilton since he was six. Count Edar however was most impressed with the boy and said he would like to keep him as squire so with Gyldric's pleasure and surprise I consented. He is a good lad.
Sir Seriol here...
In my time as a Knight I have fought alongside the stalwart men of Leicester many times. I consider them to stand among the greatest heroes of the land, and it was the greatest honor when Sir Brandegoris invited me to join his company for the raid.
We travelled to Hertford where I was able to speak with my sister and her husband. He was pleased to join us, and we rode forward. After some days of raiding, groups of men we sent out failed to return. Brandegoris and Edward pointed out that they were mercenaries, and we needn't worry about them, but my father has long championed the common man, and I was concerned for their loss.
Finally we encountered the Saxons! King Aselswith of Essex trapped us neatly in the woods. He recognized bold sir Brandegoris, and offered him the opportunity to quit the field, leaving our plunder behind. Brandegoris refused of course - how could a knight of Arthur's round table accept such terms? We prepared to ride against them, outnumbered more than 4 to 1...
When I was growing up, I remember hearing stories, mostly from Gwier and Paddern, about the odds faced by the Candlebees, but I thought them just legends told by old men to impress the young. As we faced down those saxons, I realized that the stories were true. I knew the men who came before me had overcome such numbers, and I knew that we would triumph as they had. We charged into their lines over and over again before they broke and fled. Brandegoris and I chased them down to punish them for daring to oppose us. I confess at one point I was so overcome with rage that I was nearly lost in the woods, but I heard Sir Brandegoris yelling for his squire. It appears that Mordeccai fled and never returned. I was able to meet up with Brandegoris, who had lost his horse and was carrying his other squire, and together we returned to our camp. We returned to Hertford in victory, and with our plunder.
Our victory feast when we returned was glorious, and Brandegoris was very generous. One knight was lost, and nearly all of the mercenaries that were hired failed to return. Though I mourn for them, I am reminded that this is what they were for.
Back home things were progressing well. It seems that disease had ravaged Woolsthorpe, so much of my plunder was spent tending to the people of my manor. Brandegoris has been heartsick for the woman he rescued last year. I urged him to ask my father to speak on his behalf. Perhaps next year Brandegoris will emerge from the melancholy that has been with him since his wife died.