Knights of the Realm

489 A.D. Getting Cornwall in line and punishing Saxon raiders

The Easter Court of 489 is held in Cirencester. Roderick has gone there with a delegation of knights, but the famous trio is not among them. They eventually hear after the delegation returns some of the gossips that were sported there, about a Saxon army in the north, near Malahaut.
Madoc wishes to have half of all the knights available for an upcoming fight. Ulfius informs the court that Siagrus has been defeated by the Francs after Madoc left him to his own devises. Uther wishes to march to Cornwall, he is fed up with all the excuses of Gorlois: hence the mobilization.

At a party in Sarum, where most knights are gathered to get their briefings from Roderick, the rumour about the brief love affair between Tristan and lady Gladys, now the wife of Sir Miles, goes around. Granted, Lady Gladys was not yet married to Sir Miles at the time, but still… Dalan is asked many times whether the rumour is true, as he is a good friend of Tristan. Also Sir Hywel speaks to Dalan about the rumour, and indirectly blames the pagan beliefs for the actions of Tristan. Dalan quickly responds with a remark about Christianity that leaves something to be desired, and Sir Hywel quickly apologizes. Sir Tristan is looked at with a wary eye by many of his peers, especially those knights who have daughters of a certain age who are not yet married… Some even go so far in their belief of the rumour as to deny Tristan future lodging at their manors. At some point Lady Indeg is sitting next to Tristan at a table, and she refers to him being unwelcome at some manors, and expresses her regret for him. But, she says, leaning toward him slightly and putting a hand on his thigh, “You are always welcome to stay with me in my manor”… Tristan thanks her, squeezes her hand slightly when he removes it from his leg, and gets up to spend some time with his wife Eryn, to avoid further gossips…

Sir Roderick wishes a number of his knights to accompany him on the mission to Cornwall. Dalan decides to stay at home and spend some time with his wife and son, and Lucas also stays behind. But Tristan is eager to go – he wishes to leave Salisbury for a while until things have cooled down a bit. He is made lance commander, and among his men is also Sir Ian of Winterbourne Gunnet.
When King Uther and Madoc arrive in Sarum with their army, Tristan notices that the group is much smaller than would be expected. Also Sir Elad is not unaware of this fact.
When they leave Sarum towards Cornwall, they pass Wylye, where a figure on horseback can be seen. Tristan leaves the column to ride toward the waiting figure, who turns out to be his wife, Eryn. They have a brief farewell talk, which Tristan ends by kissing her hand and then cantering back to his spot in the column.
On their march to Cornwall the various knights miss the presence of Dalan, who is now considered to be some sort of ‘lucky charm’, when he is around, all will be well. They set up their camp near Glastonbury. The Christian knights continue to the Abbey of Glastonbury to receive a blessing. The pagan knights remain at the crossroads.
Sir Sulian awaits the army in Jagent, near the Castle of the Shiny Stream, where he joins the army. They proceed towards Ilminster. Just past Ilminster, in Devon, they see a large army camp. Sir Hywel commands the right flank of the army, among which is also the lance of Tristan. A speech follows about traitors and Saxons, about comrades and fighting for your king.
It becomes quickly clear that Cornwall has made good use of the terrain of hills and forests. The estimation is that a large number of his force is hiding in the forests, and that this may be a bloody battle. Ian suggests to Tristan that it may be an idea to set fire to the forest, to stop people hiding there: the wind is in a favourable direction for this. Tristan sees the merit of this plan, and relays it to Sir Hywel, who praises him for this great idea. Tristan does admit that it was originally the idea of Sir Ian (Tristan gains +1 Glory)

Then Uther and Merlin meet with Gorlois under a flag of truce near the brook separating the two armies. Uther is seen showing of Excalibur. After a brief discussion Gorlois says that he wishes to remain in service of Uther, if he can keep his lands, then there will be no fight today. Uther agrees, but Gorlois has to swear fealty to him again.
Everyone is relieved that this conflict is resolved without bloodshed. That night there is a joint encampment, although the interaction between the knights of Uther and of Gorlois is a bit strained. Gorlois is in the tent of Uther with other high placed knights. Deep into the night Gorlois leaves. Ian is very suspicious of it all, and stays awake all night, wearing his mail shirt. Tristan is only slightly suspicious, and when nothing seems to happen, he goes to sleep. In the morning, without Ian having noticed this, the whole army of Gorlois is gone. Surprised and annoyed by this, Ian stalks through the camp towards the tent of Uther, but he is stopped by the guards. He exclaims that the whole army of Gorlois is gone and he worries about the safety of the king. The guards look a bit surprised but assure him that the king is all right. One of them does go towards the tent to check though…
Ian walks towards the edges of the camp to see if there is somewhere an army hiding, but he sees no trace of them.

Soon after the order to march is given. Uther rides around in the camp, clearly with the aim to be seen, to show that he is all right. Ian is still very suspicious of this all. He expresses his worry and suspicions to a knight next to him, and when he finishes his story, he notices that Roderick is riding next to him: he does not look happy. He gestures to Ian and tells him to follow him. When they are alone and out of earshot of the other knights, Roderick warns Ian about what he has said. The way Ian has expressed himself makes it seem that he thinks the king is under a spell of some sort, and this is dangerous. “It may seem you push toward an attack of Uther himself, so please keep your thoughts to yourself” Ian agrees and goes back to his lance.
(All knights present gain +10 Glory for this mission to Cornwall)

Then they march north to fight the Saxons there. Tristan notices that Gorlois is not among the group going north, nor is the majority of his army. No explanation for this fact is given though.
In Lincoln there is a party in honour of the army. Tristan drinks moderately but more than enough: in combination with a long journey he feels his head droop in his hands. Just before he nods off completely, he notices that Ian, very uncharacteristically but completely drunk, is about to climb a table to embark on a song. Tristan, in order to avoid her shaming herself, tries to stop Ian, but is not succesful. Ian/Iola starts to sing in a soprano voice, but is cut short quickly by food being thrown at him. Ian is pulled off the table and he is being told to stop, as he is very drunk.
During his attempt to stop Ian from singing, Tristan had fallen down on the floor, bashing his head a bit. He was helped to his feet by a serving maid, who accompanied him to the kitchens to get him some cold water for his head. The next morning the gossip throughout the army is again about Tristan and the serving wench, even though nothing untoward had happened: “Even when Tristan falls down on his face, still het gets a woman to bed him!!” This is met with different emotions of the various knights: pride, disgust, shame and even some jealousy.

When they reach the area of the Saxon army, they find that this is too big for a frontal attack. The decision is made to intercept raiding parties and thus to protect the Logres people. Tristan takes his lance on patrol too. In total the group contains six knights and their squires. In a village they cross they ask for information. A shepherd has seen a dark cloud of smoke coming from the village near here this morning; it was too much smoke for a regular fire. After getting directions to the village in question, they set out to see what is amiss. From a hill overlooking the village but out of view of the villagers and the road toward it, Tristan and Ian make a survey: two farms are burnt down, a couple others have some damage. On the way to the north a group of about ten Saxons are leaving the village with a loaded cart puled by two oxen. When they rejoin the others, they make a plan to attack the Saxons, by using the squires as a distraction, so the knights can attack them from the side.
This is easier said than done, when the squires are visible to the Saxons, they do not attack but stay on the road, while two of them try to move the cart into the forest to the side of the road. Then they notice the knights to their right. Seeing that their element of surprise is lost, Tristan commands them to charge the Saxons. There are eight Saxons in total, two with spear and axe, the others with less armour and only an ax. Ian meets with two Saxons and hits one of them. Tristan sticks his lance in the stomach of his opponent, after which the lance breaks. But the Saxon goes down, screaming in pain and no longer able to fight. Almost all Saxons are hurt after this charge, and one of the knights was unhorsed, but still alive. A fight in close quarters follows, during which a second knight is injured seriously and has slid of his horse. Two Saxons are killed. Then Tristan notices two archers next to the cart, ready to shoot at them. He charges them and kills the first archer with a mighty blow (critical hit), but the second archer manages to shoot an arrow at him, wounding him slightly. Then, seeing Tristan enraged, the archer tries to run away, but Tristan chases him and quickly strikes him down as well with one blow (critical hit). The Saxon near Ian is becoming very angry and calls upon a passion, but to no avail, even with a passionate attack, the Logres knights soon outnumber the remaining Saxons until eventually only one of them remains standing, although he is also seriously wounded. The Saxon quickly throws down his weapons and wants to surrender. After a quick inner debate – we do not want a wounded prisoner to slow us down – Tristan denies him quarter and he is killed. (Tristan gains 47 Glory for killing 4 Saxons and wounding 1)

Then the villagers come out of the forest to thank the knights.


DerkG Ageraluon

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