My grief threatens to overwhelm me. So many have died. I begin to wonder if perhaps Merlin has somehow cursed me to live while those I love die.
At the end of the second day of the battle, we regrouped to rejoice and celebrate our victory. We grieved for the lost and took comfort with the living. The lady of the lake herself went among the wounded and tended to mighty Brandegoris, and my son Seriol. While we sat and spoke of the battle, the horns sounded. The saxons had regrouped and were coming again! All of us who were able to arm and sit a horse did so. I insisted that Seriol would stay with the wounded. He had been sorely wounded and I would not have him push himself too hard. Fortunately, Sir Bledri returned to us from Lambor, and Edward's squire Amadis was charged with joining our ranks. He is young yet, but I have faith in his abilities.
We rode out into the strongest force our enemy had mounted yet! the saxon kings and their body guards rode in the vanguard of our foes. We fought them, but battle carried us away before we could strike them down. Their treacherous archers shot the horses out from many of our men and we found ourselves confronting saxon witches! I had never imagined a foe so in league with evil, and many of our men fell fighting them. Those few of us still on horse were separated from the rest by the fortunes of battle. I tried to rally men to me, and discovered that not only had many knights flocked to my side, but Seriol had insisted on leaving the safety of the camp to ride out. I was worried, but would not turn down his aid.
As we prepared to charge our foe again, we saw a glow behind the enemy line, and a white dragon rose over thier forces. The beast flew low over our men, killing many with each pass. We rode through a host of saxon berserkers and cut them to the ground, but still the dragon tore into our numbers. Sir Brandegoris appeared on our flank and shook me from distraction. We charged through a group of giants and into move of the evil witches. These fel women fought with powers that could only have come from the evil one. We fought them, and I felt a strange burning, then I was pulled aside as my knights barrelled into a force of them. I watched as they seemed to boil away, and then the burning returned and I remember no more...
Weeks have passed since the battle. In that time I have learned that mighty Brandegoris and my beloved son Seriol bore me to safety, then charged back into battle, only to face the mightiest of the witches. Shouting the warcry of the candlebees, these men rode down their foes and with their passing, the white dragon was destroyed. Some speak of a strange red dragon that fought for us, but I did not see it. I only know that my son and my friend did not survive.
My recovery has been plagued with nightmare visions, but the waking is even worse. Brandegoris is dead. Edward is dead. Franklin is dead. My son, my heir, my sweet Seriol, has been taken from me. Of the 40 knights we left Leicester with at the start of the year, fewer than 20 remain, and many of those have been greivously injured.
The land grieves with me. The people of Allington and Woolsthorpe have been very comforting to me. I have entrusted the tower of Medbourne to Sir Bledri, and have arranged to have him wed the Lady Brianna. As Bledri was a friend and fellow candlebee to Brandegoris, I have faith that he will look after his widow and son. Brandegoris asked once that a marriage be arranged between his heir and the lady who will inherit the manor he maintains for Count Derfel. As he is my friend, I will see if I can act on his behalf. I have arranged to grant a manor to the Lady Ealhred to hold for Edward's son as well. I probably should have granted him the manor before, but he insisted he didn't want it, and I took comfort in having him around. I believe the Lady will hold it well for her son.
I have two tasks before me, and I hope that they will distract me from my grief. I must find out what happened to my Lady Elaine of Garloth. If she is alive, I must send her aid. I also must find out what happend to my son Alain. He has not been seen in years - not since the death of King Nanteleod. If he lives, I must speak with him. Some day, if god wills it, Leicester county, Allington, and all of my lands will be his.
Tom of Weathersfield here....
I must be honest when I say that I never saw the day when my former master and one of the greatest knights in christendom would be slain. It is a surprise but it is just as I always said to my family....I knew that it would take sorcery to destroy the great Sir Brandegoris of the Hambone. I am not sure that any one man in all the realm could have defeated him in single combat save that great knight, hight King Pellinore. My master was a kind and generous soul and will be missed, but perhaps this is the way God intended for him to depart. He was able to at least get back into the Lord's good graces before he passed, see his daughter Matilda happily married and see that his son Arthur was properly cared for.
What more couldve been done before a mans passing. He also died a heroe's death at Bardon while trying to punish those evil Saxon witches, and he and Sir Seriol led the charge that won the day. Any knight sould wish to meet his death for so worthy a cause on so worthy an adventure. The Ballad of Bardon already sings his and Sir Seriol's praises for 14 of the 123 verses!A glorious end indeed.
Rarely did a knight do so much to frighten and worry the Saxon Hordes as did Brandegoris. He will be missed and remembered every Easter Sunday. I have even commissioned a painting from a skilled Italian artist out of Florence, of all the members of the Candlebees. The sources of these likenesses were not hard to find as all the Candlebees have Effigy's over there graves. Those Candlebees really looked after one another..even in death.
There are those of us in Hertford who so revere the Candlebees that we have formed our own Coterie, if you will. We call it the Watchman, as we watch the borders of our realm from foreign incursion. It includes myself, Sir Simon( Brandegoris' old squire), Sir Randolph, the Count of Hertfords son, and a frew others who have had the good fortune to rub shoulders with the Candlebees. They were a powerful force in troubled times, and I do not mind confessing( for I have heard it whispered rather loudly by many people in many dark corridors) that if it were not for the Candlebees, Nay, ... All Leicester men in those first years after the death of King Uther, Then Britian would now be a saxon land.
I salute the Candlebees and men of leicester, but mostly Gentle Brandegoris, the sad, who I believe never fully recovered from the death of his one true love Lady Priscilla. May they both be together now and smile down on all of us from paradise. Amen.
Sir Lucuis of Caerwent here....
So, this is Logres huh? Not perhaps the best time for me to make my first extended visit. Bardon hill... what a damned massacre, on both sides. My lady Brianna's father sent me from Escavalon with a band of forty hardened mercenary spearmen to assist Lord Edar of Leicester in the battles for Britian. I now have 6 of those men left alive and two of those will never be the same again. Witches, dragons, giants, and horridly terrible knights and barbarians, not to mention some type of daemon bowmen called Magyars or Huns or whatever, that all decimated our ranks. Me and my men were not cowards, but hardened warriors, and still, several of them voided their bowels at Bardon.
I must now present myself before the Lord Edar Allington of Leicester, and pledge my loyalty to him as I was bid to do by My own Lord. I was supposed to look after Lady Brianna and assist her husband Sir Brandegoris in whatever manner was necessary, but since the death of that large oaf at Bardon and her betrothel to the knight Sir Bledri, I find I have little to do. Hopefully this great Count Edar will have some great adventure that I might assay so that I gain renown in the eyes of the roman church and my peers.
Brianna to all outward appearences seems satisfied with Sir Bledri (Brandegoris' Friend and brother in arms....A strange breed these Candlebees are) as her new husband. Other people seem to miss Sir Brandegoris greatly and speak of him in awed whispers as if he was Achilles reborn or something. Well I'll tell you that I met him at Caerwent at his courtship of My lady and he was , in my sight a vulgar and crude simpleton, built with far more brawn than two average men and the brain of half a man. I think he must have meant well for he was not an unkind man, just clumsy amd crude with no real redeemable qualities except slaying enemies for his lord. I always shuddered when I thought of our beautiful, refined, cultered Lady Brianna having to pretend she adored such a ruffian.
Well this Sir Bledri sems the same type as Brandegoris, save one thing... He is actually less glorious. What a shame that my Lady has been reduced to chattel or a bargaining piece among these unrefined britons. Oh well...I will give her what Succor I can.
Squire Amadis here...pardon! I mean Sir Amadis here...
It was a terrible battle; I don't have to tell you that. I didn't do much more than trail my knight's companions-in-arms, the illustrious Candlebees, defending myself from the unending hordes of Leicester's enemies...but even cowering defensively throughout the day I was struck down by injured but skillful Saxon veterans shambling along on their crutches. I spent almost five months in the sickbeds filling the churches of Leicester. While I lay there, the count himself came by and knighted me—I couldn't even stand up! My leg hurt that bad.
When I was finally well enough to travel I went home to Nethersby...of course you haven't heard of it. It's a little hamlet attached to Medbourne, the castle-town east of the city. Father and Mother were glad to see me, as were Morians and young Cadlew, though we all fear he'll never be right in the head again, and indeed, the wound he received at Bardon looked awful. My other brothers never came home. Father was very pleased that I had caught the attention of the count, and had been given noble rank...although it seemed to me that first-born Morians was less so. But I gave Father the money I had, and it was good, I deem, to eat my mother's food again, here in my little Nethersby where I know everyone and everything.
I shall stay long enough for our annual bottle-kicking match with Hallaton, then ride back to Leicester to do the count's bidding.