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.