Knights of the Realm
Royal Court takes place at the court of the Earl of Salisbury. Thus, King Uther, plus his vast court and household, are present, along with Prince Madoc and his retainers. Large numbers of other noblemen and their retinues also join the court, including duke Ulfius.
“I hate it when the king comes here! Everyone gets moved around… After a hard day of work I can hardly even remember where I am supposed to sleep!”
“Not me. I am glad to have him and his army here. Who knows what those Saxons are going to do next! They’re all over the place! The eastern lands have been devastated by the wars there.”
“Did you hear? The Praetor Syagrius went and visited the kings of Malahaut and Cornwall, but they turned him down flat. Too many Saxons and Irish on the island to leave their domains unprotected, they say.”
“Oh, by the way, where is that Merlin now?”
“Good riddance to that son of a devil, I say.”
Prince Madoc: “The admiral is seeking volunteers to raid the Saxons up and down the coasts of the Saxon Shore. The objective is simply to destroy as many ships as possible.”
Duke Ulfius: “The victorious King Aethelswith, the new Saxon, has started to call himself the King of the East Saxons. No one really cares.”
“The lords of Logres are summoned to meet in Sarum four weeks after Pentecost. All nobles must make sure their holdings are secure behind them, that all enfoeffment obligations are met, and that they have laid in supplies in all castles in case they are besieged next year.”
The king and his nobles are discussing the option of invading Frankland. He has already ordered the gathering of ships, as well as the refitting of the old fleet that his brother once commissioned.
The Great Sword Feast
A great feast is held at Sarum, where Uther hands out gifts to his nobles. During the feast Merlin arrives to present Uther with the Sword of Victory, Excalibur. The knights who played a key role in Merlin’s quest for the sword, sirs Dalan and Lucas are invited to tell their tales.
The king, with a small guard, rides to the Duke of Lindsey, meeting his vassal at Lincoln. Along with Uther are Merlin, Duke Ulfius, and many other noblemen, including Earl Roderick. When presented with the sword Excalibur, the previously hesistant duke of Lindsey is impressed and pledges his loyalty to Uther.
A small party of knights travels to Malahaut to request the Centurion King to meet Uther in Lindsey. The Centurion King is occupied fighting Saxon invaders and informs the knights that he will not heed Uther’s request. Uther is less than pleased when he hears of the Centurion King’s decision.
Madoc’s Naval Raids
Prince Madoc sails with the King’s fleet to destroy the Saxon fleet in harbour and raid the Saxon settlements of Pevensey, Dover and Maldon. His fleet encounters the Saxons at sea, twice – first at the Colne River and later in the waters of the Wash, defeating the Saxons on both occasions.
The raid is a huge success, destroying the majority of the Saxon fleet for small losses on Logres’ side.
“But isn’t it terrible about Maldon and Colchester! My ma has three cousins living with her now! Those horrible savages! Oh, it’s the end of Britain, I say. I am praying every day that King Uther strikes every one of them dead!”
“Listen, darlings, it’s everywhere. My last lover, that monk, told me that the vile Franks are even worse! They’ve overrun the last Roman outpost in Gaul. The barbarians are everywhere.”
“And who can be surprised? Since the Great City of Rome fell, everything there has been dismal. Maybe it’s the end of the world.”
“But aren’t you afraid that they’re coming here? Those savages are probably marching here right now!”
“We have nothing to worry about. When I was in the king’s chambers I saw that Merlin is back. The kitchen had his usual plate of food out there. He’s looking a little wan and tired.”
“Well I’ll say you would, too, if you had to sleep for six months without eating! Like a bloody bear, he is!”
Prince Madoc: “It’s time for revenge. I’m going to take a force and harry those Saxons around Colchester. Most of them are scattered in bands now, and we should be able to kill a lot of them before they even know we’re there. I’ll be leading knights to go raiding.”
“The notable and infamous barbarian King Claudas of the Franks has conquered Soissons, the last Roman outpost in Western Europe. The good Praetor Syagrius has come here to ask us for our help to recover his lands. We are considering it. Please give him all kindness and hospitality, just as if he were a Briton.”
“Syagrius is offering half the treasury of the Frankish king to Uther if the army can take Paris, but Uther doesn’t want to spend a long time on the continent. The king is worried about his own land, and having those reluctant vassals is no help.”
The Sword in the Lake
Two knights of Salisbury, sirs Dalan and Lucas, vialiantly fight a three-eyed giant and a Nukalevee to protect Merlin the Sorcerer. This protection enables Merlin to find a magical lake and receive a sword from the lady-that-lives-in-the-lake.
War in Southern Caercolun
In the east, the Saxons are enslaving as many Britons as they can, killing everyone who tries to run away. The British army goes ready for skirmishing all summer. Yet there are more Saxons than Britons, and when Duke Lucius comes out with his army, the enemy gathers quickly and battle is met. Near Ipswich, the duke is ambushed and killed, though much of his army escapes northward.
The king sends Sir Brastias to settle the area; Brastias rallies the army and the Saxons stop advancing. Afterward, Brastias reports of victories, but everyone knows that nothing of strategic significance has occurred.
More refugees find their way to Silchester, and some as far as Salisbury.
Location: Londinium Bishopric, Thamesmouth
Royal Court: King Uther is again unhappy. He keeps checking to see if weapon production is ongoing, and many merchants and minstrels (i.e., his spies from other courts) visit him. Many of them are from the continent.
Salisbury Court, Count Roderick: Earl Roderick is pessimistic about the defeat in Caercolun, but realistic about the relatively light losses suffered by his men. He discusses events and plans with all his knights. He is with the knights as they check their horses, and provides healthy steeds to all who need them.
Special Winter Phase Modifiers
Location: Leir’s Castle (Leicester), Lambor
- Prince Madoc, son of Uther
- Duke Lucius of Caercolun
“It’s so terrible! I heard that a thousand Saxons landed to reinforce King Hengest! He’s the devil’s son, that’s for sure.”
“I’ll trust Prince Madoc to take care of us. He’s handsome enough, and he talks boldly enough. But the truth will depend on how he fares in battle, of course.”
“Well, I’ll say it’s too bad he is illegitimate. No bastard will automatically inherit. It’ll be difficult, you can be sure, unless his glory is truly great when the old king dies.”
“Listen, darlings, it’ll take something monstrous to get rid of tough King Uther. Madoc will have to be waiting a long time for any inheritance!”
“But don’t you think it’s bad luck to talk that way?”
“Say, did you know that Merlin has gone away?”
“Well, he comes and goes at his will.”
“Yes, but he is gone again, and at such a time…”
Prince Madoc: “Spies say another Saxon army has landed in the east! Is there no end to these devils? His name is Aethelswith, but we don’t know his plans. The king has ordered Duke Lucius of Caercolun to be ready. But our army isn’t going to be distracted. We’re going to attack King Ælle, as we’ve planned, even though certain of our cowardly vassals are not reporting. Disloyal bastards, that’s what they are! Caercolun won’t be there, but that’s at the king’s orders. But that Cornwall — he’s the worst of the lot!”
The army will assemble at Silchester.
“We are going to attack the Saxons under King Ælle. We will march out as soon as the roads are clear, with whatever troops have mustered. We do not need those errant nobles. No doubt they too are under attack from the Saxons, who must have emptied their lands to all come over here.”
“Merlin is absent because he is so exhausted from using so much magic last year to help King Uther win a victory in the Battle of Damen. But the king has promised to help Duke Ulfius of Silchester."
“You do know, don’t you, that the mages must sleep when they use their powers to such a great extent? And the king is so impetuous without the magician’s guidance. I hope he is not acting too hastily!”
Uther summons his army to meet at the city of Salisbury in early summer. Earl Roderick comes with all his knights. It is noted before the battle that some of Uther’s vassals did not show up for the muster. Among them, the most prominent absent lord is Duke Gorlois of Cornwall.
Battle of Mearcred Creek
Mearcred Creek is located in Sussex.
The First Charge is against Saxon footmen, determined randomly using the Saxon Battle Enemy Table (Pendragon, page 213.) The rest of the fight is against random Saxon troops. However, all the Saxons are on foot, so mounted knights get a +5 modifier to all Combat skills.
In the end the Saxons flee the field, but at that point the Logres knights are too tired to pursue the Saxons into the woods.
Battle of Colchester
King Aethelswith takes a short sail from Kent with his continental army and also many warriors from King Hengest. They land near Maldon and pillage widely until Duke Lucius musters his army and meets them south of Colchester. The fighting is fierce, but the Saxons prevail and the duke has to retreat to Colchester. British refugees flee into the Quinqueroi Forest but are pursued and enslaved by the hundreds.
Royal Court: The mood at the Christmas court is gloomy — one Saxon victory in Caercolun and one standoff in Sussex do not add up to good cheer. The king is absolutely foul, holding many secret conferences with his barons, and afterwards they are also in an ill mood.
Salisbury Court: Earl Roderick is pensive; he urges his new knights to practice hard at the arts of war. “This is no time for poetry,” he says.
Location: Coronium Castle, Clarence
- Envoys from Malahaut, bringing news of the Saxon invasion.
- Merlin is still missing.
“The foreigner is surely coming to ask for help! He has no need to inform our king of another Saxon invasion.”
“Oh dear, that means more war. I hope King Uther sends them away promptly.”
“Oh dear one, do you really think that is possible? King Uther is probably girding his sword right now.”
“I hope Merlin is around then. Merlin will make everything well for us.”
“Really? I had no idea you were such a pagan lover!”
“I’m not, and he isn’t. Everyone knows he was baptized at birth.”
“Well, I don’t care what he is. My father says that Merlin can do anything.”
“We may just see if that is true this summer.”
Prince Madoc: “Finally, a war against the Saxons! Let each man prove his mettle, or be known a coward forever more!”
Ulfius: “Saxons of the North are rebelling! They are marching on Malahaut, and no doubt afterwards into Logres, unless they are stopped!”
“Our Royal Brother, the King of Malahaut, has requested Our help against the Saxons. The full might of Logres will muster at Linden Pool.”
Duke Corneus of Linden Pool was suggesting that it would be better to let Malahaut and the Saxons fight each other first, then march in to conquer whichever of them is still standing. However, he was overruled by the King, who seemed quite excited about finally having a real war on his hands.
The Muster at Linden Pool
Yet again, the Duke of Cornwall and his men are nowhere to be seen! The Duke has sent a messenger to the King, claiming that the Irish raiders are attacking the Duchy of Cornwall, and he is unable to leave with his army lest the Duchy is utterly devastated.
The Siege of Eburacum
Two Saxons kings of the north, Octa of Nohaut (son of Hengest and brother of Aesc, King of Kent) and Eosa of Deira (son of Horsa and Hengest’s nephew), besiege ancient Eburacum, the great civitas of the Kingdom of Malahaut. However, when they hear that King Uther is approaching, they leave a force to blockade the garrison inside Eburacum, and march south to lay an ambush to King Uther’s army.
Battle of Eburacum
Just after Uther’s army crosses a ford, they are set upon by a Saxon ambush. A desperate battle follows, with individual eschilles fiercely fighting to break out of the encirclement. Uther manages to escape with his bodyguard, followed by part of the mounted knights. Except for the troops bringing up the rear, few of the foot folk manage to escape. The Saxons are left in control of the battlefield, where they loot and plunder, taking many of Logres’ knights for ransom. Afterwards the Saxons march only a few miles to celebrate their victory in camp.
Rallying at Mt. Damen
Uther rallies what forces he has left at Mt. Damen, consisting mainly of knights. While the King and his remaining Barons are trying to decide what to do next, Merlin arrives to help the King defeat the Saxons. With morale boosted by the mese sight of Merlin, and further strengthened by the magician’s wiles, Uther follows Merlin’s advice of a night-time attack on the Saxon camps and orders his troops to stand to. Thanks to Merlin’s magic, the men and horses feel revived.
The battered remains of Uther’s army march back to the Saxon camp and attack them in the middle of the night, achieving complete surprise. However, Merlin is exhausted from using so much magic and goes into hiding to recover his strength.
The Battle of Mt. Damen
Uther’s army charges into the Saxon camp, taking them fully by surprise, only a few troops mustering a defence – and even those poorly. The exception is a Saxon warband that responds quickly and tries to outflank Uther’s bodyguard, only to be intercepted by a contingent of Salisbury knights.
Soon after the Saxons break and flee into the night, leaving many dying and wounded. Utjer’s army manages to free most of the knights that had been taken hostage, and gathers a rich plunder, from which Uther offers ample reward to his vassals and their knights.
Meeting with the King of Malahaut
Uther meets the King of Malahaut, who is grateful for the assistance. He would like Uther’s help in wiping Nohaut and Deira from the map while they are weak, but Uther’s army has been decimated by the rout, as well. Given the depletion of his army, Uther decides to declare a victory and return to Logres to rebuild his army and guard against his enemies in the south.
Location: Venta Civitas, Caerwent
Royal Court: A great victory is won over the northern Saxons, and an alliance with Malahaut is secured, albeit with a great cost. The King and his barons are seeking qualified men to be raised to knighthood to replenish the army.
Salisbury Court, Count Roderick: “Are your squires qualified to be knighted next year? Or a cousin, perhaps? I didn’t ask for their ages, I asked if they are qualified! Now is the time for all men who would be knights to step forward.”
Special Winter Phase Modifiers
Raided: Roestoc by Saxons
Ambush on the Way to the Royal Court
During the Christmas Court of 482, King Uther indicates that he will be making a decision on the marriage of Lady Ellen (15 years old in 482) during the year 483. Thus, many hopeful suitors will be gearing up for the Easter Court of 483, to try and convince the King to favor their suit. Count Roderick intends to press his own proposal and prepares to travel to the Easter Court.
Easter Court is held at the Castle of the Slippery Ford, Lonazep. On the way they are ambushed by some cavalrymen and Saxons. The Salisbury knights are outnumbered. They have barely enough warning to arm themselves, but after a tough fight manage to beat off the Saxons with 1 death on the Salisbury side. Interrogation of a surviving ‘Saxon’ yields that they are bandits and mercenaries from Malahaut rather than actual Saxons, hired by a masked man and paid in silver with a further promise of booty.
Once the Count arrives to the Royal Court, he gives the presents to the King, who seems quite pleased by the Count’s generosity. It is rumoured that the presents compare favorably to the ones that Sir Blains brought earlier.
Location: Castle of the Slippery Ford, Lonazep
- Lucius is brought out, the 4-year old heir of the Dukedom of the Saxon Shore, who is currently the King’s ward.
- Baroness Pomponia, Lucius’ aunt.
- Merlin is still missing.
“Oh my, have you been watching that strumpet Rhianneth making passes at Prince Madoc? “
“I hear her perfume seduces anyone. It was made by a witch.”
“Well, she will have plenty of competition. It looks like half the ladies who were trying to bed the king have changed their targets now to the prince.”
“Yes, and who would have thought the baroness would push her way to the front of the king’s line of seducers?”
“No, she would never do that, she has dignity!”
“Ha ha, even she would sell her dignity is she could save £1000 libra to buy her desire for Lucius’ lands.”
“Ah, Lucius. Poor lad, losing his mother at childbirth and his father in combat. He is fortunate to have such a strong aunt to care for him.”
“Poor? When he acquires his holdings he will be the wealthiest man in the kingdom!”
Ulfius: “The Saxons are quiet—too quiet! They are plotting something, mark my words.”
“Our Kingdom of Logres is at peace, but there are still those who would deny Our rightful inheritance of the High Kingship…”
King Uther still yearns for the High Kingship, which is not an inherited position, but an elected one.
In a splendid courtly action, King Uther announces that 4-year old Lucius will be the ward of Baroness Pomponia. Not only that, but the boy is knighted and made a duke! This is unheard of! Only a knight can be a duke. Now Baroness Pomponia can issue orders in Lucius’ name
to direct the defense of the Dukedom. It is said that Lady Pomponia , handsome woman despite her years, used wiles to obtain this.
It is rumoured the Lady Pomponia used no wiles other than a huge payment, perhaps as much as £4000, though no one who knows is saying anything._
She appoints her trusted knight, Sir Marvis de Revel, as the guardian for young Lucius. They return east to their lands.
During the Easter Court a young lady is flirting with Prince Madoc. She is Lady Rhianneth , a notorious flirt, although nothing more than that has been proven. Her husband isSir Martinus. After accusations of cuckoldery by the knight against prince Madoc, a duel is fought the next day. Prince Madoc does not elect to use a champion and wins the fight, striking sir Martinus dead.
The Wedding of Earl Roderick
“The Duke of the Vale looked grim alright, al through the wedding feast”
“Did you hear? Someone saw the Bishop of Dorsette in an altercation with a common serving wench!”
“Hah, I heard much spicier gossip about our sir Lucas. And 3 farmer’s daughter’s, no less! Leaving one of them with child…”
“Didn’t Lucas just get married?”
“He did! And I heard the same… Poor Rhoswen!”
Earl Roderick meets the king at the royal Chattering Glade hunting lodge in Heartland (Hertford). There Uther gives him the hand of lady Ellen, baroness of Anna’s Water, in marriage.
Other guests: Sir Morcan, Sheriff of Hartland, Bishop Quintus of Birch Hill, Sir Elystan of the Castle of the Dangerous Ford, Sir Ulfius, Duke of the Vale.
The wedding takes place in the king’s company, who gives away the bride. After the marriage ceremony in front of the forest chapel, a mass is held in celebration of the marriage, followed by a lavish feast. The feast continues well after the married couple retires, and gossip abounds of drunken merriment.
Location: Westminster Abbey, Thamesmouth
Royal Court: King Uther, Prince Madoc and the Admiral have been heard talking about the repairing and rebuilding of Aurelius’ navy. This is a costly endeavor, but the King seems to be flush with funds as he is not decreeing any new taxes!
Salisbury Court: “The peasants of Westfort and Wheelwell hundreds are still looking at King Cadwy as their rightful lord for the Forest swainmote. They will learn better.”
“See, I told you.”
“Yes, you were right about his being a strong and competent fighter.”
“Not that — about the swiving. Half of the laundresses are pregnant now, and he’s had a new batch of pretty young things brought in to replace them. You better watch out for yourself little one!”
“Really? My father…”
“Stop harassing the poor thing, you witch! You’re just jealous that he’s not looking your way.”
“No jealousy here! I’m keeping my eye on the king’s handsome son!”
“Ha! Dream on. You’re half again his age. If he takes anyone it will be some pretty young thing — like his father does.”
“The King of Summerland has rejected Our reasonable proposals to sell us his metal. The army will muster at the Castle of the Rock, with each of Our loyal vassals bringing a third of his knights with him.”
Several lords, including Salisbury, are pressing ancient land claims against the King of Summerland. It is learned that Merlin has left the court. No doubt on some secret, important quest for the King.
The Conquest of Summerland
Uther’s Army, about 750 knights and 1500 foot soldiers, musters at the Castle of the Rock. The Duke of Cornwall is missing again! Uther invades Summerland but King Cadwy, “the Magician King,” withdraws into the marshes, and the mines are flooded or blocked by the miners before they are abandoned.
Salisbury, Sparrowhawk, and Leir’s Castle do not accompany him, although they do send a third of their army to the King as ordered. They use the opportunity to press their own claims on lands taken from Summerland, particularly in Salisbury. The Count of Salisbury claims the Westfort and Wheelwell hundreds, Baron Gentian seizes the Milkfield hundred and Duke of the Marche (who is also the Lord of Leir’s Castle) occupies the Mere hundred.
The Duke of Cornwall and other barons from Ascalon and Jagent are discovered already besieging castles in Summerland. Duke Gorlois explains that their way to Castle of the Rock had been blocked by the Summerland’s knights. As the other barons from Ascalon and Jagent say the same,
Uther accepts the explanation.
Uther’s army raids the kingdom. Then the army falls ill. Some blame poison or poor camp discipline, others claim that it is a curse, magic or the faerie. As the situation keeps worsening, Uther demands a personal parlay with Cadwy, one-to-one. Selected knights escort Uther to the parley, which is held at the edge of the marshes. King Cadwy’s men have already arrived on marsh barges, and they have erected a tent for the parley. Alone, as promised, King Uther enters the tent armed and angry, while Cadwy is unarmed and calm.
That night, Uther holds a feast for Cadwy and his barons. Uther accepts the homage of King Cadwy, names him Count Summerland, and even gives him new lands. Cadwy also retains the King of Summerland title. Uther claims a great victory for subduing Cadwy, despite appearances.
Location: Gamemaster’s choice, or roll on p. 136.
Royal Court: King Uther celebrates another great victory. The Saxons are quiet (no doubt afraid of the formidable king!) and the kingdom is prospering under his firm hand.
Salisbury Court: “Summerland silver is flowing to the markets once more, and the western hundreds of Salisbury have been added to our lands, all thanks to the King.” The terms of the trade agreement with Summerland look identical to the one before the invasion, and King Cadwy hasn’t fully accepted the loss of the hundreds.
“Oh dear me, isn’t it horrible that our high king was killed? They say his soul was taken away by the devil in a flaming chariot.”
“You ninny, that was his soul ascending to heaven. Who fills your head with such rot? “
“She has a point, you know. The high king saved us from that tyrant Vortigern, and has held off the Saxons for years.”
“His brother is no slouch! I daresay he is even stronger than the High King was. You will never see him struck down in battle! He’ll be bringing home Saxons in chains before the year is out, you wait and see.”
“Oh, I hope so.”
“Trust it, if he’s half as good at killing as he is at swiving then we are safe.”
Prince Madoc: “My father will be the greatest King Britain has ever known. Those old fools at Supreme Collegium are blind to not see it.”
Ulfius: “The King of Bedegraine has refused to send tribute to our King, so we are mustering an army to invade. A mounted army will move faster than a big one, so we are taking only our best knights with us. Footmen and the levy will join us from Linden. We don’t need that many to deal with Bedegraine.”
“The King of Bedegraine has insulted Our Royal Person, and refused our simple requests. Such insolence will be punished, lest others be drawn to a similar error. A writ has been sent to Our loyal vassals to join Us at Leir’s Castle a month hence, with one fifth of their knights.”
The Royal Christmas Court takes place at Huntsman Castle in Salisbury. Thus, earl Roderick takes it upon himself to be present with a sizable contigent of knights.
“Our king has shown that he is not a man to be trifled with. The Duke of Cornwall should have known better than leave things to the last day.
The King trusts him not, and if anything, Duke Gorlois should work on being the first and foremost in loyalty and obedience to our King to earn that trust.”