Saturday, August 23, 2008

518: Battle of Bardon Hill, Day Three

Count Edar here...

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.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

518: Battle of Bardon, Day Two

Squire Amadis here...

Where are they all coming from?!

King Arthur and his illustrious knights smashed a huge Saxon army outside Silchester...a couple of weeks later he fights another huge Saxon army on Bardon Hill, here in our own backyards. And the very next day, another huge Saxon army takes the field against us!

Where are they all coming from?

My knight and I gathered under Count Idar's banner. We were ready to fight, and some of us were making sheep noises at the men under Count Derfel's banner until our count made us shush. Then we charged out onto the field, right into a pack of howling, hating veteran Saxon warriors. We triumphed against a mass of archers. Those damable traitor British knights gave us a tough fight, and we fell back into a group of grunt Saxon spearmen before emerging, triumphant, into a line of badder berzerkers. One of them I swear was the spitting image of my knight's lady, and he paused—and the bastard cut him down, him and the bishop-knight riding nearby. I leapt off my horse and dragged my knight from the field. When I got him to a clear space, I tried and tried to render first aid, and even though I have considerable talent with a bandage and leech, I was unable to revive him. I don't think I got all his parts off the field, which didn't help.

I spent the rest of the day watching the steady stream of dead and wounded being hauled into camp.

Brandegoris the old here....

So many dead. Sir Edward the pious, Sir Franklin de Auburn, son of Padern, Sir Aramis, Sir Wimund the priest who was to be my new war chaplain, Sir Kolgrim the Dane, bodyguard to Count Derfel, and Sir Florent the young and ambitious knight. (After we removed his body we discovered it to be Esmerelda, Padern's daughter and last living family memeber), and Sir Bruenor knight of the Medlar, a young and promising knight who nearly killed a King in his first battle (we hear he actually has a twin brother who is even braver than he was).

The Saxons are defeated , once and for all it appears, but I am still hesitant to believe it. It's like finding a cure for smallpox. Never happen. The knights of Lincoln died almost to a man, and it will take a decade to fully restore that county. I took a vicious wound from a Saxon Hero's Bodyguard that left me missing two of my frontmost teeth and gave me a cleft lip. If Brianna thought me unattractive before she will probably now find me ugly. I feel so terribly old. All of the Candlebees are dead and gone except for Count Edar and myself, and we are downright elderly. He's over 50! I wish I could retire and live in peace but a lot of our youngest knights died, and so I will have to stay on long enough to help the young ones get up to par. My son is nearly old enough to be squired so when he is knighted I will give him Tilton, and I will try to wed him to my Ward the daughter of Richiard, who owns Folkingham and Lenton. That should give my son a fine start on life. With the Saxons destroyed he might grow up in a peaceful time and get fat and happy with 12 kids. I hope so. I think that as soon as I am able I will go and visit Matilda, my daughter in Surrey, and see that she is doing well. I must also appoint a priest to take over the duties of Edward's church to St Christopher. There is a lot to do but I am not sure if these old bones can handle it. I promised Edward that if we lived through the last battle we would track down Black Annis and slay her next year. Edward died but I will hold to my vow and destroy her next year. I owe it to my good and generous Lord Edar. Maybe I will get lucky and she will kill me, and I can go to paradise and see all my old friends.

518: Battle of Bradon, Day One

Brandegoris here...

After taking the wounded soldiers from Silchester and joining forces with King Arthur at Braden Hill near Leicester, I sized up our enemies. Zounds! There were literally 8 million of them, I swear! Every Saxon in the world must have been there to make a push for British soil and once and for all take our homeland. As if that was not enough, continental mercenaries were aiding them as well. Ridiculous French knights, traitorous british knights and even Hun light cavalry from the east (Huns are real tough bastards by the way).

In the first charge I wanted to join my Leicestermen and fellow Candlebees, but King Arthur decided that I should wait in reserve near him and lead a party of 40 Round Table knights. It was pure anguish to sit on the hill and watch my friends battle and I could do nothing! Thank God that the Leicestermen won the day! Under Count Edar they pushed through the enemy and they crushed them getting all the way through the enemy camp and chasing them away. The young Bruenor, knight of the Medlar, even met King Cwichelm of Anglia in battle and wounded him, but alas that King got away.

Count Derfel did not do as well as expected and even though his men fought bravely he had to retreat with only a three brave men left (his two Danish bodyguards Holgar and Colgrim, and Holgar's son Ingvi). My nephew Aramis fought with Derfel as well that day and I saw him fall. I am not sure what has become of him for we neither found him nor his horse.

As Count Dervel was attempting to withdraw he and his few were ambushed by frothing maddened warriors and an army of dirty peasant shepherds who treacherously tried to kill the knights horses! My Lord Derfel was thrown from his mount so I asked Arthur if I could lead the Round Table knights to rescue him. He gave permission so I went to my count's aid. In the very first charge my Andalusian charger Baelzebub, a wedding gift from the High King himself, was mortaly wounded by an arrow and I had to be remounted. I hate archers. We did succeed in rescuing the count and getting him off the field. I asked Arthur If I could join the Leicestermen for tomorrow's battle but he insists that I go with Derfel to guard him. After we destroyed the Saxons, enough captured and wounded Lincolnmen were saved that Derfel still was able to command 20 of them. Tomorrow I will battle! My only regret is that it won't be at the side of the Canndlebees! Hazzah!

Lady Briana here...

I didn't realize the gravity of the situation when my lord moved his household from Tilton-on-the-hill to Leicester, that it was perhaps the custom of the country lords to do such. But as the city filled with the households of the Count's men, and I listened to what the other ladies said and did not say, I saw my mistake.

It is high summer now and we had only two messages about what transpires with the men: almost three weeks after my lord rode away under the banner of the count, a wagon team made its way to the great hall, and there young squire Lorin told the count's steward about a terrible battle outside the walls of Silchester. In the wagon was the body of the young and comely Sir Franklin. Poor Lady Heledd!

A fortnight later we woke to see the second message: a black mass on the horizon, and as the day progressed we saw that it was an army of rough-looking men such as I nor anyone in the city walls has ever seen, although old Sir Amicus said it reminded him of Bedegraine....the steward ordered the city shut and the walls manned, and the army passed us by, seeming in a hurry to meet its doom. We could then stand on the walls and spot manors by the rising plumes of smoke.

The countryside is devastated. If that army returns we will not last long if besieged. We sit in the garden, where we can see the Pillar of Resistence, and spin, and sew, and silently wonder whose husband will come home in a wagon, or wrapped in the banner of victory.

Count Edar here...

When our King placed Brandegoris in charge of leading the wounded knights to join him after resting, many thought that I was being slighted. I admit that for a while I wondered if Merlin had spoken against me, or perhaps I had angered the king by leaving his sister my Lady Elain in Garloth. I later realized that had the King left me in charge, I would have ridden off as soon as I was able, with all who would follow. Such is our love for our king that I believe that every knight who could sit a horse or be tied in the saddle would have ridden out. In trusting Brandegoris, the king made certain to have many more knights than he would have.

We joined Arthur in Leicester and prepared to battle the Saxons at Bradon Hill. Sir Gwalchmai arrived, looking tired and harried, and after greeting him, he shared grim news. Garloth had fallen, and he had been the last of those to stand before the saxon hordes. He believes that my wife Elaine escaped, but could not be sure. I hardened my heart at this news and swore that if she lived, I would find her, and if she fell, then the saxons woul d know my vengeance.

We massed, and though I was still injured, I drew strength from the number of men standing with us, and from knowing that if we fell, it would be fighting in our home. Brandegoris was given the honor of leading a contingent of Round Table knights, and though I knew we would miss his mighty hambone in the field, I would not have him surrender that honor.

The men of Leicester led the charge and drove our way through a mob of veterans. Though many of these saxons were greviously wounded, such was their fury that they fought on long after a sane man would fall. I spied a mass of british knights riding under the banner of the saxons, and could not let the insult stand. We men of Leicester rode into their midst and drove them back as we advanced. The saxons were scarcely prepared for us to drive off their knights, and they threw mercenaries from the continent and women at us in the hompes of driving us off. These french knights may fight well for money, but we fought for our king and they fell before us again and again.

As the french fell back I looked and saw a gap in the lines. We rode through it into the reserves of the enemy, but they tried to capture us in a pincer. The traitorous bastard knights had regrouped and fell upon our right flank, while the women wailed and charged our left. We overcame them, but lost over a third of our men. As we fought them a group of saxons came forth to challenge us. These were fierce, weathered men who had been fighting in battles longer than many of our knights, but they could not overcome the heart of a Leicesterman, and they fell before us, utterly defeated.

We found ourselves in a strange lull in the battle, and as we regrouped, we spied King Cwichelm of Anglia with only a few protectors. Though it put us at risk, we rode into his forces and hit them as one. A full half of the kings guards did not survive the encounter, and we advanced. Young Bruenor found himself in battle with the king and fought well, wounding him badly, we fought on, but the king's men saw his state and rode on us. Strangely, I found myself looking at one of the young knights in my force and thought for just a moment that he looked just like old Sir Padern. I know Franklin has died, so it must have been the light, and then a Saxon smote him to the ground.

As the saxons rallied to their king, I saw that they had left another hole in the lines. I ordered and then we were among their camp. Panic spread quickly as the saxons realized what had happened and they broke. The day was ours. The men of Leicester claimed their plunder from the saxon camps and returned to the cheers of our comrades. Unfortunately, Count Dyrfel had fared poorly, and most of the Lincoln host had not survived the encounter. For some reason, many of the knights were bleating at the count and his danes. Alas, Brandegoris told me that sir Rhun's son had fallen fighting for the count. I did not know the boy, but we will honor his memory.

Lady Ealhred Here

In the time I have lived with my husband Edward in the hall of Count Edar I have seen many things. I have watched dear Edward and his friends share stories and boast. I have watched them sing that dreadful hambone song. We have feasted with the High King, and I have seen Sir Seriol wandering lost after the death of his wife. I have never before seen the people of this town look to the north in fear.

As I grew up there were times when all of the knights were gone to war and we were concerned that we would be raided. We were hardly defensless, but we knew that a band of raiders could do horrible damage to our lands. These Leicester folk seem to believe that so long as Count Edar is alive, that god will watch over them. They seem to think that if there is any threat that Edar and the candlebees will ride out of the woods and rescue them, or spirit them off to a refuge at Allington. Allington! I have been there, and it is a pleasant enough manor, but I don't see how anyone could find it safer than the city. Still, there are members of the count's household that speak of Allington as if it were a haven from all the woes of the world. As we hear more from people seeking refuge in the city, I hope that something will happen. If they speak the truth, there are Saxons by the thousand massing around Lincoln, and after it falls, they will march on us.

Never before have I seen so many people crowding into the city. It seems that the count had all of his vassals seek protection in the city. While Leicester once seemed spacious, now it is packed. Unfortunately, many of those seeking shelter in Leicester see me only as a Saxon, and do not realize that my people are loyal to the high king and good christians too. My dear Edward thinks the best of everyone and does not realize that there are some here who do not look kindly upon me. They know he is a Candlebee, so they say nothing, but I have seen the looks. We have spoken about this briefly, and I know that the Count has offered Edward his own lands, but Edward declines, swearing that there is no finer life than as a household knight to the Count. When he notices that this doesn't sway me, he will go out and buy a lavish gift for me. I can't seem to make him understand that what I want is a happy home where we can raise our children, and if we live in a poor manor, so be it. We have each other and our faith to take comfort in. I think that when he returns this winter, I will insist. We must do our best to provide a good home for our son, and when Edward thinks back on his early experiences with the Candlebees, I don't see how he can choose to expose the child to them.

Monday, August 11, 2008

518: testing the new battle system

Lady Briana here...

After the shock of my marriage I consoled myself by the thoughts of life in Leicester, a beautiful old Roman town...I could imagine myself back home in Caerwent. But my lord quickly installed me in his manor hall, Tilton-on-the-hill, a place that could not be further from a Roman town.

He's kind enough, for Tilton is chock-a-block with the wives and children of his dead companions, though the manor itself is poorly run. And is constant companion, a dwarf he dresses in little costumes and indulges at the table, makes me horribly uncomfortable, staring at me constantly with his beady little eyes. We spent quite a bit of time over the winter back in Leicester, where the Lady Ealhred was most kind to me...there was a quiet little funeral for the wife of the Count's heir. I remembered her from the king's court at Caerlion, a mousy little thing sitting neglected in the corner while the ladies around her shown. They tucked her grave quietly away in a garden where it will no doubt soon be covered with the vines of forgetfulness.

I imagine I will share a similar fate. While my lord showers attention and favors on his little pet I had to stoop to begging for cloth for a new's true, my old dresses do not yet fit right since the birth of my first child, a son. I am so happy to have a child of my own!

This spring we were again down the hill and enjoying court at Leicester, and I saw my friend Lady Ealhred with a gorgeous necklace adorning the already ample charms of her breast: rubies and gold given to her after the birth of her twins from her lord, Sir Edward. And there I sat, genuinely happy for Ealhred but sad inside that I held a healthy son in last year's clothes modified by the bit of cloth I managed to get...I think my lord, seeing us sitting together, understood a little what it was like, for before he left for the summer's campaigning he present me with a small jewel.

I thought we would spend the year at Tilton but my lord instead told me to pack up the household, as we would be spending the summer in Leicester because of the Saxon menace. (The steward told me that Tilton was a favorite target of raiding Saxons.) While I was making preparations, that horrid little dwarf followed me like a rumor. The evening before we were to depart, we had a small feast for the household staff as we finished off the food and drink we would not be taking with one point, late in the evening, I went into the kitchen to ask the butler about the last few bottles of port when I saw the creature struggling on the floor. He was surrounded by crusts, goosebones, and empty bottles, food and drink staining the front of his little Centurion costume. He appeared to be choking on a bite of food. Even though I learned the healer's arts from old Lady Martha in Caerwent, I stood there and watched as the creature clawed frantically at his throat and mouth, eyes wild and darting. The butler was nowhere to be seen or heard. When the dwarf's thrashing subsided, I went back into the hall to continue our merry-making.

Sir Franklin here...

Lady Heledd continues in poor health. I commended her into the hands of her ladies-in-waiting and rode south to answer my lord's summons for the summer.

In Caerlion Arthur gave us the bad news: eight Saxon armies in the south, north, and east of Logres. Brandegoris was at the council where the king asked for opinions; he said Count Idar recommended striking Cerdic's army, near Silchester.

I've certainly been in bigger battles, and more important ones, too—such as the one we fought for Lindsay's independence from the Saxons. We Leicestermen were as usual at the front of the lines, on the flank under Count Idar's command. And even though we lost fully half our Leicester knights on the first charge, that wily count soon found an Opportunity for us to attack Cerdic's battalion commander. But those Saxon bodyguards are tough! I saw them knock Sir Eddy off his horse, though he got up swinging. Then Brandegoris went down! That shocked me. As long as I've been old enough to hold a sword Sir Brandegoris has been knocking heads off Saxon shoulders. But before we could wheel around and come to their aid, one of those Saxon brutes made a critically well-timed blow while I was distracted, and I too ended up on the ground, unconscious and out of the fight.

Sir Edward here...

Oh, it hurt to tear myself away from my dear family, but duty called and so I and the other Leicester knights rode off with Count Idar to the king's summon: another grim situation requiring Leicester's finest! The Saxons that we thought quelled have coalesced into armies, and King Arthur meant to stop them in their tracks. Though how, since Arthur had but one army and the Saxons eight, I do not know...however, my lord Idar is well-seasoned on the battlefield and I felt confident in his leadership.

We met Cerdic's army on the gently-rolling fields outside Silchester and soon were hacking and slashing our way toward a battalion commander. His damnable bodyguards knocked me off my charger, then Brandegoris and young Sir Franklin too, but Count Idar and his son Sir Seriol were still mounted, so as they fought the Saxon bodyguards I dashed in and grabbed the body of the commander, prostate on the ground from a blow by Idar. By the canine teeth of St Christopher! The count went down, and it was only the quick work of his squires and son that kept him from further harm. I took another couple of hits as I got the still-breathing commander off the field with the rest of Leicester's wounded; the hot-headed Seriol went off in pursuit of the Saxons, whose lines crumpled after the fall of their commander.

It was an ugly sight at our field camp. Twenty-seven Leicestermen dead or majorly wounded, including Sirs Brandegoris and Franklin. Many others, including the count, had wounds but would live to fight another day. My time riding as squire to the Candlebees made me most fit to render aid to the wounded, so I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. Sir Brandegoris says he's fine, but if he doesn't take care his wound will tear open, or become infected, but he just waves me away when I express this concern. At least he has his squires watching over him.

The count will be fine, though sore for the next week or so. Mostly, though, I think he's wistful that he can't recover from these fights like he did when he was young. At least he's alive to see his son as a strong, successful knight. My son is only an infant! And old Sir Padern died before ever seeing his son, Franklin, knighted...Franklin. He took several blows from the Saxons, and was sporting some severe wounds...I tried, but I think I made the situation worse for him. He never regained consciousness, and by the morning after the battle his body was stiff and cold. We loaded him onto a wagon for the long ride back to Leicester.

Count Idar here...

The greatest horror of growing old is knowing that many of the friends and comrades in arms I knew are gone. As I stood in council with Arthur discussing the advancing armies, I had the mad idea that Padern, Gweir, Brandegoris and I would ride around and attack the saxons from the rear, scattering them like the rats they are. As I began to speak, I realized that my friends no longer ride with us the way they once did. Brandegoris and I are "seasoned veterans" which I always thought was a polite way of saying old men who didn't know enough to die or retire.

Instead, I said we had to attack. We could not remain in one place and cede Logres to the Saxons. I know that my wife in Garloth will understand. Although two saxon armies looked to move through Leicester, I know that my people will understand that we cannot face them there.

I suggested we attack the lone army of Cerdic. He was laying seige to Silchester, and while I hold no love for Duke Ulfius, we could not let his lands fall. We rode south and attacked, catching them by surprise. The men of Leicester had not faced Cerdics army since the battle outside London many years ago, but the emblems of the men of Leicester were known, and Cerdic placed some of his best warriors in our path. I watched as they cut down many of our men and my rage against these dogs reached its boiling point.

I saw an opening in their lines and led my men through it only to come upon the batallion commander. We fought hard against them, and they gave back in kind. Young Franklin was greivously wounded, as was Mighty Brandegoris. In the end I felled their commander and Edward snatched him up to take him. Thoughts of ransome did not fill my head - this was a member of Cerdics council. I would know what he is planning. Unfortunately, as we rode off, one of his last guardsmen struck me and I fell from my horse. My son saw to it I was removed from battle and the day was ours.

Now the damnable thing is that I no longer heal as quickly as I once did. It's times like this that I find myself thinking of Christine... Did I fail her in choosing to remarry? Surely Elaine, the queen of Garloth has more important matters than tending to my wounds. But that never stopped christine.

The Chirurgeons say I will need a week of rest or will worsen. I say that the Saxons are fools if they give me that time, and I cannot let the king fight their numbers without me. I know Brandegoris feels the same way. Though it cost us greatly, we will stand by Arthur.

517: Garrison duty

Sir Edward here...

With the Saxon troubles just to the north of us, the king held Pentecost court in Leicester this year, a great honor for Count Idar. And better it went to him than that Derfel...yes! Idar made it home safe and sound from troubled Garloth, much relieving the hearts of all his loyal Leicestermen.

How refreshing to spend a flower-filled May with my comely wife! I was certainly busy with the various duties of a trusted household knight, especially with the king's large retinue in attendance, but Lady Ealhred and I found plenty of time to enjoy the season, and as spring slid into summer and my duties lessened somewhat, we took many leisurely rides through the countryside, showing my lady my childhood haunts and the sites of various Candlebee exploits. And to sit in the great hall and dandle my young ones while my lady sits nearby, spinning...I am a lucky, lucky man.

Lady Ealhred is such an asset and a joy that I made a few suggestions, and after the harvest Sir Brandegoris married his daughter to Ealhred's brother. Our good Round Table knight and hero of the hambone seems to have turned a corner now that he's embracing both God and war again. Now, we just have to find him a comely wife...

Sir Franklin here...

Finally, back in my own green country of Leicester again! The first thing I did after finishing my duties for Count Idar and checking on my own lands around Auburn was to visit my sister at the nunnery. She thrives! In fact, I'd say the Mother Superior may be working her too hard and not giving her enough time to devote to her prayers: her arms and shoulders had none of the gentleness and softness of form I have observed in ladies of the court, or in my own wife. She is also the spitting image of our father, while I resemble more our dear departed mother in looks, God rest her soul.

King Arthur's court season opened in Leicester this year; a welcome event after the dullness of Garloth! I had hoped that the gaiety of court society might add some warmth to the cheeks of my lady, but she remains as pale and reserved as is her usual, a primrose amongst the peonies, violets, and roses surrounding Guenevere.

However, at the Pentecost feast, the king caused to be laid out a magnificent spread of the kingdom's finest victuals, much of it wonderous strange to a young knight such as myself: oddly-flavored crisps, horrid little candies, and several tonic spreads which the knowledgeable referred to as Vegemite and Marmite. We sampled them out of politeness:
"Mine actually was not horrible."

"It's filthy!"

"Do I have to pick one?"

"They're both pretty bad."

The maid Briana here...

Father met me as I exited the chapel after prayers and told me the news: he had found a suitable match for me, a man of some honor and renown, he said. He told me to have my hand-maiden prepare for travel in a few days time.

As we left behind the walls of Caerwent and rode east I tried to imagine who my husband would be...I thought at first that we were riding to Gloucester, then Salisbury...I got very exciting thinking we were heading to London but then we turned north. Leicester?! Oh, no!

Brandegoris here....

517 was a very quiet year. The leicester men took care of their manors and had time for themselves while the saxons were gearing up to destroy all of Logres. I spoke with the Lady Brianna's father ( a very powerful banneret of Caerwent), and he consented to the marriage. She seems a bit shocked and even unhappy with the match but I hope that she will soon grow fonder of me. I know that with the land being tormented as it is I have not been able to give her my full attention. I will try harder from now on.

I added some new projects tothe manor, and had a nice wedding. I dedicated a proper church at Tilton. A church to St. George the dragonslayer. I also made a kennel for the chapel of St. Guinefort. Father Hobbe was most pleased.

I also gave my daughter in marriage to a man whom the Queen Guinevere says she approved of. Surprisingly he is a Surrey Saxon! The GOOD ones I guess. He is brother-in-law to good Sir Edward, so I'm sure he is worthy. Matilda is happy. Between all the building and weddings I am nearly broke.

A quiet year altogether. I am enjoying my manor which these days is most fruitful, and enjoying the company of my wife and Bobo, my dwarf jester and companion, although not together because Brianna is very uncomfortable around Bobo though he tries hard to impress her. He even dressed as a Roman centurion to make her happy (she is of roman heritage), but she was still not having any of it. Oh well, perhaps she will one day be at ease with him.

We here that there is to be a huge deciding battle next year with the Saxons who are making alliances and marshaling what appears to be their entire countries and more ships land every day we here. I welcome next year for it will be the last that we will have to endure these saxon beasts!