17 February 2013
Pendragon, AD 499
1. Uwain Broadfoot (5,769)
2. Cyfan of Teffort (5,342) (absent)
3. Lug of Winterslow (5,171)
4. Nidian of Haxton (4,110) (absent)
5. Teryrnor of South Cott (3,137) (absent)
6. Gwyn of Tytherington (2,497) (absent)
7. Madog of Idmisdton (1,403) (absent)
8. Gwair of Norton Bavant (1,170) (first appearance!)
A strange sense of optimism slowly spreads over the land. The crushing defeat of the pathetic Saxon army gives Salisbury hope. Perhaps they will be so busy fighting each other that they will leave the Britons alone.
Court is at Sarum, as usual. Special guests this year include Prince Cynric, son of King Cerdic, the lord of Salisbury and self-proclaimed High King of the British Isles. He tells the court that the reason why the Saxon army was so small last year was because the bulk of their strength was held in reserve to defend against his father's invading ships -- so they have him to thank for that. Also, his father will be calling them up for service next year, so be prepared.
Sir Uwain rides to the hunt with Cynric. For a Saxon dog, he's pretty down to earth.
Also present this year is Prince Mark of Cornwall. He is the son of King Idres, who has recently invaded from Brittany as a result of the power vacuum left by the deaths of Gorlois and Uther. Idres is marching north and west, invading the county of Jagent. He is hiring mercenaries. He also makes on offer of alliance -- better a Briton than a Saxon, right?
The earl of Jagent has sent a messenger. He is also hiring mercenaries, except he can't actually afford to pay them, so he is appealing to the opportunity for glory and spoils, and also to their better nature.
There is also a young scholar, seeking protection for a journey up to Oxford.
Countess Ellen asks the knights for council regarding Mark's offer. The knights are troubled. On one hand, Idres is a Briton. On the other, Ellen did swear fealty, and Cerdic has upheld his end of the oath. Is it honorable to be forsworn with no antecedent? Certainly not.
Ellen let Marks know as much. He seems understanding, but presses the countess to keep his father in mind should Cerdic ever fail in his duties as liege.
The knights again have a surfeit of options for the summer. They opt to hire out to Idres, for money and glory. They are worried about the possibility of Idres expanding out past Cornwall, as Salisbury is the next natural target, but then perhaps that is all the more reason to spend some time in Mark's army and see their strategies up close.
The messenger from Jagent is disappointed and leaves. The scholar on his way to Oxford gulps nervously and sets out. The knights ride west with Mark.
Forming up with the Cornish army a week later, they turn around and march northeast to Jagent. A pitiful and poor county, they muster mostly peasants to fight, with a few veterans and mounted knights sprinkled like so much wheat amongst the chaff.
Mark's army is about half Cornish worthies and half mercenaries. The Salisbury knights mill about, trying to find their place amongst the rabble.
Mark rides out with a flag of truce. A contingent, also under a flag of truce, rides out from the castle to meet him. They talk briefly and then return to their places. The castle will not surrender.
So, to battle! The next morning, the armies line up in the field. The knights are in the middle part, not in the glorious first charge but also not bringing up the rear. Sir Uwain lays low an impressive-looking knight, and takes him captive. Sir Gwair has a few indecisive exchanges. Sir Lug bravely terrorizes a group of twelve-year old conscripts who were throwing spears at him.
After only a few short hours, the defenders retreat back into the castle and prepare for a siege. Sir Gwair rides out and diverts the stream into a castle. A few days later, the castle surrenders. Glory for all! But not too much. Sir Uwain picked up £15 or so in ransom.
Returning to Salisbury, the knights are relieved to find that it has been, for once, an uneventful summer.
Fall comes and then winter; another year.
1. Uwain Broadfoot (6,098)
2. Cyfan of Teffort (5,645)
3. Lug of Winterslow (5,490)
4. Nidian of Haxton (4,300)
5. Teryrnor of South Cott (3,194)
6. Gwyn of Tytherington (2,553) (out of the story)
7. Madog of Idmisdton (1,556)
8. Gwair of Norton Bavant (1,278)