Sunday, November 23, 2008

525: To War!

Sir Aeddan here -

My twenty-first birthday has passed, and I have been inducted into the order that will be my future. As a young boy I knew this would be the priesthood, and I looked forward to it, watching my older brothers learn the ways of knighthood. I knew that god had a different path for me, and I trusted in him to see me on it. Then Bardon hill came. My father and both brothers went to fight for Arthur, and both my brothers fell on the first day. My father was wounded and spent months dying. He had me swear that I would continue our family obligation, so instead of entering the church as a novice, I became a squire, and now I have travelled to Leicester to serve my lord - I think.

You see, with Count Edar gone, the lands of my father are being claimed by the Count of Lonazep. For nearly all of my life these lands were recognized as belonging to Edar by King Arthur himself, but Edar hasn't been seen in years, and at one time they were part of Lonazep... Nonetheless, I arrived in Leicester to learn that Edar's champion, Sir Bledri of Tilton and Sir Amadis the Anis Slayer were only just back from spending a year in the dungeons of Garloth. I presented myself to Sir Bledri and swore to aid him as he sought to keep Leicester county from being picked apart.

Bledri led us to Camelot were he hired the services of a lawyer to keep some of the more ridiculous claims from being believed. While there we saw something incredible - an emmisary from Rome came to Arthurs court to demand tribute. We were not certain how the King would respond. Both Bledri and Amadis seemed very critical of the King. I of course said nothing. These two great knights might speak ill of their king, and perhaps their actions have earned them that right, but mine have not. We did not have long to wait for Arthur's response. The next morning he sent the emissaries from Camelot with instructions to tell their master that Arthur was coming to make war on them to conquer the world as was his right.

Bledri and Amadis spoke about this and decided that the only way to get Edar back now was to go after him themselves. They bought a ship, hired mercenaries and we set off to Lesser Norway to the kingdom of Wiglaf.

Norwayite kingdoms are rather less impressive than those of Brittons, or possibly even than Saxons. We arrived in force in Lesser Norway and learned that Edar had been taken by evil tribesmen who had attacked years ago. The new king of Lesser Norway suggested that Edar had summoned them and was likely sacrificed by them. Still, we had to find them. We demanded to know their name - They called themselves Tronds.

While Amadis and Bledri planned how to proceed, I looked to get our footmen ready for the trek to Trondland. God has truly forsaken this strange land. The mountains here are steep like nothing I have seen or heard of before, and the wind howls in the passes. As I stared at the path before us, offering a prayer to god to watch over us, Bledri came up behind me and told me to get on the ship. It seems our pilot knows the way to Trondland. God is clearly watching over us. I prayed that he would keep the storms away.

We sailed north, and we were attacked by three ships of Danes. They were no match for we three knights and our footmen, and we drove them off easily. Eventually we were led into what the pilot called a fjord that would take us directly to the capital of Trondland. As we sailed in, we heard the sounds of horns and knew we were spotted. We neared our landing making ready to charge ashore in to a mass of savages. Instead we saw row upon row of ordered infantry, with cavalry positioned behind them. God be praised - it looks like English Knights rode behind the Cavalry!

Sir Bledri, Champion of Count Edar.

I have failed at so many things. I feared there would be no more victory in my future. Mostly, I fear for the brave men who followe me in my perilous wake. How many have I sent to their death? How many men have paid for my folly? I know I am better than my defeats on the battlefield. Surely God is testing me. For instance, High King Arthur's blind eye to Elaine's shinannigans bothered me a great deal. but I knew Arthur would come around if i was just patient. And then he told those Romans to go pound sound! So we set off Lesser Norway and actually found Edar! Alive! He doesn't have as much of a county as when he left, but I'm sure we will turn the tide!

Count Edar Speaks -

When the horn sounded and the runners came up, I waited to see who would arrive. When Sir Lucius arrived here months ago, I had hoped that it would be to tell me it was time to return home. When I saw Bledri and young Amadis get off the ship, I wept openly. Amadis ran up to me on my horse and threw his arms around me. I got off my horse, clasped him in an embrace, then walked up to Bledri and did the same. Valiant's cavalry took up a position of honor guard and escorted us to the hall. Before the hall my Valerie came to my side with my youngest - little Paddern was woken by all the noise, his brother slept through it of course.

The feast that night was like none I could remember. I do not remeber a time that was so good to me as that night. I could see that Bledri and Amadis had something heavy weighing on their hearts - Bledri looked much older than when I had seen him last. After confirming that their families were well, and that there were no new disasters at Tilton, I told them that ill news could wait. They did tell me that Amadis had slain the Black Annis once and for all! Astounding! I knew that when I had him knighted at Bardon that he would amount to greatness, and now he proudly calls himself candlebee too. After eating and drink, I could see that they had questions, so I told them my tale...

When we attacked Wiglaf's men to rescue Elaine and my people from sacrifice, we were outnumbered and badly bested. I asked to ransome those present and remain as hostage until my ransom could be raised. It was clear that he did not know who he had in Elaine, and I did not tell him. As a result, everyone but my squire and I were able to leave. Wiglaf was not a generous host, but he did not treat us badly. I had sworn to honor my oath not to flee, so I was given freedom to walk about the town. The people there did not love Wiglaf the way we Britons love our king, but they were loyal and good people. In that first year, we were attacked by several groups hoping to steal away with Wiglaf's good and people. They were not prepared for an experienced tactician to oppose them, and we drove them off. I looked to the West waiting for word from home each day.

The next year we received an emissary from Denmark on behalf of King Arthur. Wiglaf informed the man that my ransom had been increased fivefold because he felt deceived that he had released Elaine for so little. Had she not made such an issue of this when they left, he might never have known, but I did decieve him and accepted responsibility for it. There were more raids, and then I faced a shock.

King Valiant, a prince no longer, rode south from his home in Trondheim to raid Wiglaf. I was bound to fight against him, but my heart was not in it. My plans were sound, but my arm was slow and I fell wounded. I yeilded to those who beat me, rather than die on the field for my captor. I was taken north to Trondheim and saw that much had been restored since the Dragon attacked it. Valiant and his people look to me as a Dragonslayer, and while I point out that it was my companions who did this, they still honor me. I gave my oath not to try to leave - where would I go in these frozen lands? Valiant sent word to Leicester that I was now there, and I swore that I would defend Trondheim as his guest.

Valiant proved a much more generous host. I spoke with his men and spent hours talking with him about knighthood and the Briton ways of fighting. The young man has a keen mind and a good heart. We spoke of battle, and of the duties of a lord both to his senior, and to his people. It is strange that of all the people I have spoken with, it is only here in the north that men do not look at me strangely when I speak of the goodwill of the peasantry.

The more time I spend with Val, the more I seem to be noticing the attention of his young sister. She is a beauty, and if I were a younger man I would fall all over myself trying to win her attention, as it is, she is hardly of a marriagable age and I am approaching sixty. Still, she does not turn away from my admiring glances, and we speak often of Briton and of the lands here.

The winter in Trondheim is like nothing else. We spend hours on end in the great hall telling stories, and these people seem to want to hear everything. I of course started telling them of King Arthur and his rise, but the stories they wanted to hear were about me and my companions. Well of course I do not posses Bledri's way with words, but I remember the events like yesterday. I told them of our battles with the Saxons and their treachery, about the mysteries of the Forest Sauvage. I told them of Brandegoris and that ridiculous song. They wept alongside me as I told them of the beauty of the changing of the seasons in Allington. They cheared with the knighting of Seriol and shouted encouragements when I told them of my dear Christine's struggle to keep the Saxons from our homes while the knights were fighting. My stories must have been a powerful force in their lives after that winter they would snarl curses about saxons in a way that brought a smile to my face.

More than anything though, I found myself taking pleasure from the interest and attention that Valerie showed to my stories. Do you know the young lady actually began to flirt with me? At first I tried to ignore it in respect to my host, but when he did not object, I admit I flirted back. Who would have thought - me flirting with a young woman. I think the last lady I flirted with so chastely was Leri, shortly before we were wed. Of course she was younger than Valerie then, and I was hardly older then her.

Trondheim faced several raids, and we drove them off. Valiant had taken to heart all he learned from my stories, and I offered to train him in a more serious way. After all, if he is to be a king and lead men into battle, he should do so properly. I began to work with his warriors to shape them into a fighting force unlike anything seen since the Britons left years ago. Valiant has lamented not having a proper horse. Indeed if his men were on fine chargers, then they would be the most formidible section of a battle line since the candlebees! In the evenings, I am able to enjoy time sitting by the fire with Valerie. Were we in Briton, her brother would be responsible for finding her a suitable husband. It is amazing that this thought fills me with jealousy. I am already married, although it has been months since I have truly thought of Elaine, and years now since we spent any time near one another.

In the summer several passing strange things surprised me. First, several babes born this year were given the names Seriol or Christine. I did not know these were Trond names, and was told that they were given to honor the fallen heroes of my tales! When I learned this I could have been nocked down by the batting of a babe's arm. I am certain that Seriol and Christine are smiling down on me from the heavens. I only hope they do not object to the time I continue to spend with young Valerie. The other thing was that a warrior returned to Trondheim claiming that he saved my life! I was a bit surprised by this, not knowing it was in danger, but was as eager to hear the story as the rest. It seems that while he was traveling to the south, he encountered a woman with a young boy named Edar. When he asked, she said he was named for the hero who slew the dragon in the north. The warrior knew this to be me, and slew the boy so that it would not "steal my luck as well as my name". I was shocked, but everyone in the hall was relieved and cheered! It is times like these that I remember that I am in a strange land with strange traditions.

The harvest that year was exceptional, and we had a grand feast to commemorate the occasion. All of us ate and drank our fill. It was at the feast that Valerie made clear her desires for me, and that we should sleep together. I could think of nothing that would make me happier. From that night on we stole intimate moments together whenever we could, and although we thought we were being discrete, it surprised noone when Valerie told me that winter that she was pregnant. Fortunately, Valiant was happy for us as well. Later that winter he told me he thought he found a suitable husband for Valerie. It was like I was struck with a saxon axe. I knew we two wouldnt be together forever, so I asked only to be sure that the husband treat my child well. Valiant laughed and told me I misunderstood - he told me that I should marry Valerie. If before I had been struck by an axe, now i felt like I stood in the path of a trebuchet. My mouth couldn't work, and my thought slowed. I am told that I just stood there for a moment or two with a grin on my face. Then my thoughts returned and I told him that I could not. Not that I didn't want to, or that there is anything that would make me happier, but because I am already wed, and unless that marriage is ended by the church, I cannot marry again. Valiant told me that Valerie would wait to be my wife. We sent another ship to Leicester to tell them where I was so that I could go home and seek the Archbishop to get a divorce.

The year passed and I found myself enjoying the comforts of Valiant's hall. It reminded me very much of the Allington of my youth. I repeatedly told Valiant and Valerie that they must see my home when this hostage business is over. They both look a little stricken by that, but agree to come see britain. I look forward to the day I can present Valiant to King Arthur. There are of course more raids, but they don't fare well against Valiant. That winter I learned that Valerie was pregnant again. Life is good. If I didn't know I was sworn as a hostage here, it would never occur to me.

In mid spring a ship arrived and word came that a briton was on board. I was sure it was Bledri, but instead it was Sir Lucius. He has stayed in Denmark, rather than returning home, and arrived with several danes, including the woman that young Amadis is so infatuated with. Lucius spent the next year with us, and while I don't think he approved of some of the things he saw, he knew better than to comment about Valerie, or my eldest son Aguar, named after Valerie's father. or my newest son, named for my dear friend Paddern. Valerie had suggested naming him Seriol, but I could not name one son after another.

Another summer turned to autumn, to winter, and then to spring. If I am to live here for the rest of my days, I shall only regret that I cannot marry Valerie. But then in the summer there was a signal of an approaching ship, runners said it was foreign, and had the look of Britons on board. Valiant rallied his men and we prepared an honor guard to greet them

After hearing my tale we retired for the night. There would be many more discussions to have before all was said.

Sir Lucius here....

What is there to say? After speaking with Edar's Leicestermen it seems that his Queen Elaine has written Edar off and furthermore She seeks to plunder his( her?!) own county of Leicester to feed Garloth's people. My Lord is beter off with his new young lover. He is as full of life as I have ever seen him. His sons are growing well and one of them, Padern, I think, shit all over my leg when I first held him. I never met Padern but when Edar saw what the child had done he belly laughed and said that Padern would have approved of that. Strange.

Well Myself and some of Hrothgar's Danes came to rescue my lord edar and found that he needed none. He is happy here in Trondheim, and if he is a prisioner it is never spoken of. i wonder if Valiant will actually accept a ransom from his brother in law. We will see. I am happy for Edar but long to see Britian again. The summer monthes here are nice (what there is of them) but too short, then it's back to freezing my marbles off. At least a few of the girls here have kept me warm. They are pretty in their own bullish way, though that " Lady" of Amadis' Is certainly in a class all her own. I find that I do miss Amadis and Bledri and the rest more than I thought I would. I am actually a knight of Caerwent, but more and more do I think of myself as a Leicesterman. Strange. Maybe it is because of the sense of brotherhood here. These Leicestermen do not come to one another's aid because of duty honor or profit. They come to each others rescue because of Comradeship and respect and Dare I say..... Love for a boon companion. It is not unheard of I suppose. Many STORIES say such things happen. But this is the first I have ever experienced of it.

I believe Edar will bring his lover back to Britian and seek a divorce from the Archbishop. I am worried that the Archbishop will be loathe to grant it. She IS the HIGH KINGS sister! Who would risk offending him. I fear that if Edar is to be happy the perhaps Elaine will have to perish. Since she is younger than Edar this doesnt seeem likely. Without aid of course......

Sir Amadis here...

Farley the cotter down in Nethersby had a saying he was fond of: "If ye want it done, do it yeself." I reminded Sir Bledri of old man Farley as we sat at table in the high king's court after another unsuccessful attempt at securing help for our lord Edar. Bledri speared a couple of roasted wrens off a passing platter and said the Old Man used to say it better: "Get off yer arse and go kick some, son!" So instead of waiting for King Arthur to fill out the missing 1300 librum of Edar's ransom, Bledri and I went down to the quay and bought a boat and a crew to take us to Norway. As Bledri figured, might as well take some of that 600-odd librum we collected and use it, otherwise Edar's likely to come home to no holdings at all. Count Edar picked his champion well.

Few knights of Leicester accompanied us. Those that did were very young and quite inexperienced—and terrified of battle-hardened Candlebee Sir Bledri, Count's Champion. Young Sir Aeddan, a good chap, could hardly bring himself to speak directly to old Bledri! Most are infatuated with the high king's court and upcoming war with Rome, or defected to other lords. Ha! Let's see the lord of Lambor's love of his sir. Word in Netherby is not good on that account. And Lincoln? Even worse.

Why? Why switch alliegence away—to a lord whose lands are still savaged from Saxon invasions 15 years ago, or a man whose own sons all fled the county, or still another who speaks with a Danish accent—from a man as charmed as Count Edar?

How charmed? I can't over-emphasize enough. Whose lands actually expanded and throve under the Saxon Invasion? Edar's. Who never experiences harsh weather? Edar. Whose peasants run toward the lord when he rides up? That's right: Edar.

So I ask you: who gets captured by cannibal Norwayites, captured a second time by cannibal Norwayites, is missing for five years...and comes riding out on the plain as the brother-in-law of a second king (Valiant), ransom waived, and sent off with a chest of gold and eternal promises of friendship?

Count Edar, that's who!

Count Edar Speaks -

The news I have from Bledri is grim. It never occured to me that Elaine would decide to pillage Leicester to rebuild Garloth, and then leave me in Norway. One of the two maybe, but not both. And now I hear she has turned against her brother. This cannot stand!

Bledri and Amadis are of course incensed that the surrounding nobles have picked at the borders of Leicester while I was gone. This disappoints me, but does not really surprise me. I expect that when I return, the majority of these men will renounce their claims and renew their friendships with me. Honestly, I would rather one of my knights serve a loyal knight of the round table, be forced to aid in Elaine's revolt in the name of loyalty to me. When I present myself to Arthur, I will thank my neighbors for protecting my lands from those who would be in revolt while I was a prisoner, and then will ask if any of the round table will help me restore order to Leicester before we ride on Rome. Rome, imagine that... I suppose that if I am to divorce Elaine, then going to Rome will allow me to petition the pope directly...

We left Trondheim and Valiant generously refused ransom, and even sent me home with gifts. I swear on my honor as a knight, should Valiant ever need aid, I will set sail with all who I can muster. My departure was bittersweet - I long to see my home in Leicester, but I will miss Valerie terribly. Once my lands are again secure I will bring her and my sons home. We arrived in Camelot to much fanfare - it has grown a great deal while I have been gone. I am afraid that whatever business was being tended to was disrupted by my arrival - Arthur saw me immediately. He heard of my tale, and I was able to present him with the gifts of amber we purchased long ago in Denmark, as well as a portion of the gifts Valiant gave me. I heard that some scoffed at part of my tale, but none in court doubted the gifts that I was able to bring. After all, when I left it was to ransome his sister. While I was gone, Bledri sought to raise money to free me. Now I return after being a prisoner for nigh 5 years, and am able to give Arthur gifts of nearly 100 Librum! I have been told that in the morning I will be able to address the king and speak of my desire for Leicester. Although Amadis and Bledri speak of politics and Arthur not being as great as we once thought, I believe he will hear me and come to our aid.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

524: Nohaut? No way!

Sir Roland here, a young knight of Hertford...

If 524 was to be the year of my dreams—finally off to Camelot to receive my spurs—then I say, what strange dreams men have!

I rode with my liege, the bishop of St Albans, for the king's spring court. I didn't pack much, just the little necessities that one needs in life as a (hopefully!) right worshipful knight and eldest son of a fit, though barely, but I got it all onto only three horses. I felt so free to be so unencumbered.

At Camelot I was part of an illustrious company, beautiful ladies and shining knights in armor, lords and bishops and their was hard to stand out in such a crowd. Although one youth, a bit simple but with ample native skill at arms, managed to do so. At the feast the afternoon after our knighting by the king himself, while I tried to convince Sir Rhodri to ask as his boon to be a knight of the queen's, that country bumpkin lad stood and asked to be the queen's champion! Just stole all of Rhodri's thunder. And this after standing there and announcing that he was undefeated in the joust! That got Sir Yngwe's blood up, as he and I had not 24 hours past done just that in the practice field near the hall.

We three decided we'd show this crowd that Mister Whitey-pants was not the only new knight on the scene. We took up the challenge of freeing one of the day's petitioners of her problem: a Lady Janine had come to court complaining that her family and father's lands were being harrassed by a giant trying to force her to marry. We rode off to Nohaut.

It was a long road, especially for someone for whom Camelot was very far from home. Nigh three weeks later, as Lady Janine said we were almost to her father's castle, we were waylaid by bandits—dropping rocks on our heads! Lady Janine, I'm afraid, was smushed into lifelessness. We dug her corpse out and hunkered down as darkness fell.

As we continued on to her father's castle, our way was blocked by four armed knights. They demanded as a condition of our travel, for us to swear to not lift a hand against their lord...and one of their number was awfully big. Bigger than even Sir Yngwe, who until then was the tallest man I'd ever laid eyes on. So we set our lances and had at 'em.

It was my first time fighting for real, and in the haze of my blood lust I did not notice my companions going down around me...until I was the only one left standing. I leapt off my horse to render first aid, but Sir Rhodri was beyond my skills. Indeed, I could tell that Sir Yngwe desperately needed a chirugeon. At that point I agreed to the original request not to raise arms against the local lord, and off we went to their camp, the bodies of Lady Janine and young Sir Rhodri draped over their mounts.

I asked of their very tall lord, and was granted, to take the body of Lady Janine up to the castle these men were besieging and return her to her lord and father. Yngwe was handed over to Lady Janine's younger sister, who was reputed to have some skill as a chirgeon. As I stood in the small, muddy bailey surrounded by hard-eyed men and weeping ladies, all of us heard a commotion from down the hill. We looked out from the castle's walls to see a small storm overtaking the camp below. And when the camp was thoroughly wrecked and bodies strewn across the heath, this small storm came riding up to the gate: the simpleton knight, all in white on his damable white horses. He asked if I would accompany him on his path of destruction further north, but as I'd sworn an oath, I declined. As the storm of one moved on, I gathered the squires and went back to the camp. Total destruction. Having so recently been a squire myself, I bid Sisbert and the others to pick out for better arms and armor for themselves. They also managed to salvage a very fine pavillion, which they loaded on several of the extra warhorses we acquired.

Now the lord of the castle, seeing his enemies dead before him and his defenses very weak, did the sensible thing and offered me the hand of his youngest (and only remaining) child in marriage. I thought about it, saw the ample lands before me, and accepted. We set off on a tour of these new holdings: meagre, to be sure, but now I am counted as a banneret, and will be a bastion of chivalry in these wild lands.

When we returned from our wedding tour, we learned that Sir Yngwe had succumbed to his wounds. Grievous news indeed! I told the old lord that I needed to make one more trip, and wanted my young wife to accompany me. He agreed, and we began the long road south to Lincoln, to take the heart of Sir Yngwe to his father, one of the Danes of Lincoln.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

521 - 523 Treachery and Tragedy

Squire Julian here,
When my lord Sir Isidore brought us to this island years ago, he spoke of the great accomplishments and friendships with mighty kings. I knew I would miss Aquitain, but what was I to do? We arrived just missing the great battle of Bardon, and spent a year getting to know the these Cymri. They are a strange lot, not nearly as civilized as I would have expected, but far more pleasant to deal with than the remains of the Roman outposts in the larger cities.

We were able to watch the great city of Camelot being built! Although it didn't look like much in the beginning, it has grown with each day, and now outshines even my beloved La Rochelle. At yule in 521 the knights of Leicester returned from a far off kingdom with King Arthur's sister, but without their lord. The man apparently exchanged himself for his wife and people. It seems very generous to me, but I wonder if perhaps these Leicestermen have left a few details out. The king was overjoyed to see his sister safe, and allowed her to take a number of knights north to reclaim her kingdom of Garloth. These Leicestermen were not invited to come along, and I got the distinct impression that the lady was most unhappy with her husband.

We remained in Camelot, where Sir Isidore befriended the great Sir Bledri of Leicester, even earning an invitation to stay at his manor - a place called Tilton. I do hope this isn't the Tilton-on-the-hill that we heard dreadful stories about, but I think that was in another knights keeping. It seems these knights have a fondness for giving the same name to different places.

As part of the festivities, Sir Isidore joined a hunting expedition with the King himself! Both Sir Bledri and Sir Amadis were much more successful hunters than my lord, but he had other things on his mind. It appears that the the Franks have conquered Aquitaine! Isidore had hoped that Arthur would assemble an army and sail to his nieghbors aid, but it doesn't look like this will happen. While hunting we became hopelessly lost, arriving at an abbey and staying there for days. While finding our way back to Camelot, we came across the King fighting another man. What was most amazing was that one of the King's other sisters - Morgan, seemed to be aiding the villain who tried to kill the king! Fortunately my lord and companions provided the distraction needed for the King to triumph. Morgan has been declared a traitor and has fled.

522 was a strange year. Sir Bledri was charged with raising a ransom for his count. The amount demanded was substantion - 6000 Librum! Fortunately, my clever master pointed out that if the knights of both Leicester and Garloth contributed, this was a much easier figure to raise. So we set out across the county. Imagine our surprise when we arrived in Leicester and learned that Queen Elaine had already raided the treasury and taken everything of value to "rebuild" Garloth. When her man attempted to take tapestries dear to the Count's heart, sir Bledri had the man arrested. We knew at that time that this would be a problem. Bledri led us to Camelot to beg Arthur to intervene with his sister, but he would have none of it, and reminded Bledri that it was his duty to see the ransome raised.

Bledri assembled the knights and led us into Garloth. We received a cold welcome, not being allowed into the cities, towns or manors. One knight did rather guiltily explain that Queen Elaine had ordered them not to cooperate or aid Bledri in any way. Imagine! We rode to the capital of Garloth, but were not allowed in. As a result, Bledri released the men to raid the countryside and collect whatever they could find as a portion of what was owed by Garloth. As this was done, we began to withdraw from Garloth, only to be challenged by the Champion of the Queen and his second. My lord Isidore and Sir Bledri accepted the challenge and agreed to return the spoils if they were defeated. Being a civilized man, Sir Isidore selected to fight with Swords to first blood. Of course Sir Isidore is a skilled man of weapons, and there is no finer weapon than the sword, although these Cymri seem fond of their spears. Still, with sword in hand he met his foe, and although he tried to wound the man, such was Isidore's skill that he slew him with a single blow. Bledri then faced the champion under similar terms and felled his foe, although I do not know if the man lived or died. We assembled our men and retreated to Leicester in all haste.

With the knights of Leicester supplying their share of the ransome, and the spoils captured in raid, Bledri judged we were still very short of what we needed. He sent messengers to the houses of the Count's daughters, and their families responded most generously. What was even more shocking was when, at the end of the year, the peasants of the Count's personal Demesne arrived with more than 100 additional librum! Where do peasants get such wealth? I was certain they had reverted to banditry, and while I admire their loyalty, such things could not go unpunished. I mentioned this to Sir Isidore who spoke to Bledri. Bledri, strangely, just laughed and made reference to a place called "Allington".

In 523 we gathered the ransome and found ourselves just shy of what we needed. I don't know why it surprised us, but the Lady Elhred, a widow of one of the Count's knights and a guest in Leicester, offered enough personal wealth to make the payment. Sir Isidore had met Elhred before and was quite taken with her obvious physical charms. I believe that had he known of her standing in Leicester he would have made a much more determined attempt to get to know her better. So we set off to Camelot to tell Arthur of the news. Amazingly, we got there to find that Arthur's agent, a man of the church, had learned that this king of Norway had trebled the ransome that was demanded! Our hopes were dashed.

We set out to Ireland to aid in the conquest there. We had heard of knights arriving and walking away with tremendous fortunes. Perhaps we would be able to raise the money needed there. We travelled into the south of that accursed place and came across a bandit. The bandit was renowned and we knew that if we were to capture him there would be a great reward, so we attemped to bait him.

This bandit was clever. He warned us that he would not be lured from his stronghold, and nearly begged us to leave so he wouldn't harm us. Imagine the nerve! We set to the task of breaking him from his place, and sir Isidore charged him. Oh the horror, the bandit had an enchanted spear that bit through noble Isidore and drove him to the ground. Although my skills at tending to wounds was great, it was not enough to save him.

We withdrew from the battle and returned to Leicester, and I am about to depart to try to find Isidore's kin. Although I don't know where I will find them, I have no other choice. There is nothing for me here. My lord Isidore is dead. My home is in the hands of a foreign army, but I hope that the friends my lord made will not allow them to control it for long.

Sir Eliddyr here...

I have just recently been knighted by Sir Edar only monthes before he was captured in 521 AD. After 2 years of garrison duty I felt that I wanted to REALLY contribute to my lords domain. My father has been a loyal household knight of Count Edars since almost before he became a count. Since the Ironmen of leicester roamed the land!

My father had saved a small fortune in roman coin 35 LIBRA! He gave it to me upon my knighting. I did my duty to my Lord and gave the whole amount to his ransom. It barely got us to the 600 L. Then the Amount was tripled by Norways king and ruined our hopes.

We went to join the war in Ireland and make our fortune. that way we could ransom Edar. We failed in every way possible. After Isadores death at the hand of the irish bandit Malodran and his magic spear, and the rest of us nearly dying we sacked many villages but myself and the good sir Amadis realized that these irish peasants were victims and instead of taking their goods or their slaves I used the last of my money to purchase back the slaves from Bledri and free them. Bledri thought me foolish, but I dont believe in slavery. I used all that I had to free 70 slaves. The headman of the village begged me to take his son patrick as a servant. I am attempting to make him a squire, but its not working well, so I think I will find a place on a manor for him.

After returning we were angry and melancholy so Bledri led us on a raid to Garloth when we discovered their armies once again in leicester! We were defeated decisively and now we lick our wounds and know that the world must surely end soon. We will probably never again see our Lord and God has abandoned Leicester.