13 January 2013
Pendragon, AD 495
1. Sir Lug of Winterslow (3,861)
2. Sir Uwain Broadfoot (3,450)
3. Sir Nidian of Haxton (3,286)
4. Sir Cyfan of Teffort (3,145)
5. Sir Gwyn of Tytherington (1,863) (absent)
6. Sir Teryrnor of South Cott (1,815)
7. Sir Morien of Idmisdton (1,710)
Court is held at Sarum this year. Uther's army is assembling here for a battle against the Saxons. Another one in a series of allegedly decisive battles. Will this be the one that finally strikes the fatal blow to their ambitions?
The castle folk are nervous and tired of battles. What will their future hold if Uther falls?
The king is barely seen this spring. He is still rumored to be very ill, perhaps even dying. The double loss of his two sons -- Madoc and the infant -- has seemingly sapped him of his will to live. Should he even be riding out to meet the foe, in his condition?
Brastias is still cold to the knights. Sir Lug attempts to make overtures but is again rebuffed.
While they are waiting for the troops to gather in, Lug, Uwain, and Cyfan decided to go hunting. They tramp around the forest for a while, then Cyfan spies some unusual tracks -- it looks like a giant! This close to Sarum? They follow the tracks and come upon the creature! It is dragging a sheep, a club on its shoulder. It sees them and roars a challenge!
Cyfan and Uwain charge! Lug stays back and throws javelins, but cannot stay out of its mighty reach! The club crunched into Lug's chest, knocking him off his horse. Ribs crack and a lung collapses as he hits the ground hard and does not get back up. His squire drags him into the brush.
Cyfan and Uwain gulp and redouble their efforts. The brute is strong but slow and its wounds begin to take a toll. Finally a mighty blow drops it. It tries to get back up, and is brained. They cut off its head as a trophy.
Lug is sorely wounded and will miss the rest of the year. They take him back to Sarum on a litter. Dragging behind another horse is a litter with the severed head. They present it to Earl Roderick as his court gasps and gawks.
Two days later, the army marches northeast. Scouts ride out and return, reporting that the Saxons have taken St. Albans, massacring the inhabitants. Uther decides to take the fight to them. As his army nears the plain, Uther sees that the Saxons have left the gates wide open! He orders an immediate charge by the vanguard! They storm across the plain and into the city.
But it's a trap! The gates close immediately behind them and they fight bravely, but are cut down. The British curse and assault the walls with ladders and archers. Again unsuccessful. As dusk falls, Uther withdraws the army back to the edge of the plain.
At dawn the next day, the Saxon king Octa and his troops file out of the city to meet Uther in open battle. The horns sound and the charge is given! Uwain is successfully inspired by his hatred of Saxons! Teryrnor is critically inspired by his hatred of Saxons! Morien attempts to inspire himself and just cannot seem to hate the Saxons as much as he wants. He is melancholy.
Charging in. Teryrnor is a machine of whirling death. His foes all fall before him like wheat under the scythe. Nidian is sorely wounded early and is dragged from battle to have his wounds bound. Uwain and Cyfan fight on.
Morien glumly wades into battle, a deep depression weighing on him. He avoids calamity for a few hours but then meets a Saxon champion. Morien charges the Saxon, but the Saxon deftly sidesteps and spits Morien on a greatspear. The momentum of his charge impales the knight, who falls and expires.
The battle rages on for hours. Finally, as night falls, the Saxons route! A cheer goes up from the exhausted British, who give pursuit and cut them down. Octa escapes, and Duke Ulfius and Sir Brastias are hospitalized with grave wounds, but otherwise the victory is total. The Saxons are broken.
The triumphant army marches into St. Albans in celebration. Uther calls for a feast. The lords meet in the Great Hall of St. Albans, but there is not enough room for all the knights. Tables are laid for them out in the courtyard. Earl Roderick invites Sir Teryrnor, as the hero of the battle, to join him at the high table, but Teryrnor gracefully and Modestly declines, preferring to be with his brother knights who have supported him.
The feasting continues until late. Some knights pair off with serving wenches, others drink and sing songs of victory. Shortly after midnight, a great cry comes from the hall. The knights sprint in, some drunkenly, some half-clothed, and are met with a scene of carnage. The lords are staggering around to a man, vomiting up blood and bile. Clawing at their throats, they can't seem to draw breath. They're turning blue. Many of them are already dead on the ground. It looks to be the same poison that slew King Canan of Estregales last year, on a massive scale.
The knights run around uselessly. First aid is no help. Where is Uther? Where is Roderick? Uwain finally comes upen Roderick. He is face down in the slick of blood and vomit that covers the floor of the hall. His body is starting to cool. Uwain falls to his knees in grief. Shortly thereafter, Uther's body is found. Crying and wailing come from the entire castle.
Eventually a noblewoman takes charge. The bodies are dragged from the hall and accounted for. The entire ruling class of Logres has been obliterated, with the exception of Duke Ulfius who was in the field hospital. Devastation and grief sound into the night and the next day.
Stunned, the knights return home to Salisbury with the news. As they ride out of St. Albans, they get to a little rise in the terrain. Below them are hundreds of black-shrouded wagons, slowly rolling back to their respective manors with their grim cargo. "There are no lords in Logres," the people say. The queen retires back to her people.
In Sarum, Sir Uwain breaks the news to Ellen, the Countess of Salisbury. She collapses in grief. Roderick's heir, young Robert, is three years old. What will the knights do? Some of Roderick's court want to take charge themselves. "It is no time for women and children -- the land needs strong men, now more than ever."
The knights, however, are men of honor through and through. They swear fealty to the young lord and to the countess as his regent until he comes of age. The countess is grateful. The remainder of the court, shamed by the nobility of the players, falls into line and swears to the council.
With no lord, no high king, and no successor, the Saxons will be given a chance to recover. What then for Salisbury?
1. Sir Uwain Broadfoot (4,861) (+1)
2. Sir Cyfan of Teffort (4,459) (+2)
3. Sir Lug of Winterslow (4,230) (-2)
4. Sir Nidian of Haxton (3,630) (-1)
5. Sir Teryrnor of South Cott (2,964) (+1)
6. Sir Gwyn of Tytherington (2,019) (-1)
7. Sir Morien of Idmisdton (1,950) (0, died!)