Knights Rampant

493
Northern Treachery

After their exoneration for the kidnapping of the royal infant, our heroes returned home for a long awaited reunion with their families. It was not long, however before they were called back to Sarum to fulfill their knightly duties. Earl Roderick required a group of knights he could trust to accompany him on the long trek north to Malahaut. Uther had requested that the Earl try to secure more favorable terms for Logres in the event that they should need to come to Malahaut’s aid.

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Not long into their journey, while skirting through the wilds of Silchester (in order to avoid being detained by Sir Bevan and his cronies) they happened upon a small group of what appeared to be Roman soldiers raiding some local peasants. When called to parley, they were astounded to find the leader to be someone they knew well; Praetor Sygarius. The man seemed almost mad with anger, as he called out for the head of Prince Madoc. When the knights told him of the Prince’s death not two years previous, the Roman noble seemed to wilt in front of them, no longer sustained by his need for revenge. They took pity upon him, and Sir Rhydderch offered his Manor as a new home to the wayward Roman in exchange for his pledge of loyalty. Sygarius quickly agreed and with the help of a guide detached from Rhydderch’s retinue returned to Salisbury.

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The rest of the journey north passed without incident and the Earl’s men found themselves faced with a new challenge. For days they attempted to gain an audience with the Centurion King, while being forced to camp on the south edge of the city walls, denied all but the most limited access. After suffering the run-around for many days, Sir Rhydderch managed to secure a dispensation to visit the market abutting the river which runs through Eberacum. While there, he spied a knight he recognized from the wedding of the Princess Margawse to King Lot. What was a knight from the even farther North doing in Eberacum, and why was he allowed access to the northern side of the river? Without pausing to think, Sir Rydderch approached the knight to greet him on a bridge the spanned the river but when the knight saw him, he ran without so much as word. Forced back from the bridge by guards, Ryddererch made his way to the Earl and his companions who waited fruitlessly at the keep. When he shared his news, Sir Roderick chose to make a dangerous play and called to visit a family acquaintance who worked as a handmaiden in the keep. What she told him struck him nearly dumb. The Centurion King had been meeting in secret for many weeks with the emissaries of Lot and Uriens, in a plot to join with the Saxon kings, Octa and Eosa, against Logres.

The Earl quickly made his apologies to the Chamberlain of Eberacum and with great haste had the knights decamp. As they departed the city under cover of darkness, Roderick shared his news with the knights. It was clear that they would most likely be pursued to the border of Logres and perhaps beyond, but they hoped they had gained a long enough lead to give them a chance. Many days of hard riding over rough terrain saw them within spitting distance of the border when, as they emerged from the tree line, they were suddenly rushed by a large band of howling Saxons.

In the ensuing skirmish, the Saxons were put to the sword, but not before dragging Sir Rhydderch and Wynfor of Broughton from their saddles. Nearly overcome by their wounds, they were saved from immediate danger by the ministrations of Sir Cadfael and his Squire. Leaving his friends, who were unable to be moved, Cadfael took to horse and rode full out for the border of Lindsey. For hours he searched the lanes for any sign of civilization, when finally luck steered him across a small hunting party of knights and their ladies. While the knights departed for the local fort to alert the garrison, Cadfael commandeered a wagon from the huntsman and guided it to his friends. Once loaded the party made its careful way to the fort and its small village, where the knights convalesced for nearly 2 months before recovering. With fall fast approaching, the party made haste to return home and see to their lands, all the while wondering when doom would come howling out of the North to consume them all.

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The Cliffs of Tintagel
491 AD

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It was a frigid Christmas Eve in Sarum. Our heroes had arrived that day to fulfill their duty to attend Earl Roderick’s summons to feast in his great hall. Perhaps it was their general dissolution with the actions of their King, or just a momentary lapse in judgment, but the Knights each drowned themselves in their cups. Being bereft of judgement, an argument broke out between Sir Brith of Chittern and Sir Cadfael over the treatment of Brith’s son at the hands of Cadfael’s companion; Sir Rhydderch. Despite Marshal Elad’s best efforts to prevent the quarrel from escalating, the next morning dawned with Sir Rhydderch defending his honor against the grizzled Sir Brith, with practice swords in the courtyard of Castle Sarum. It was in the space of only a breath that Sir Rhydderch was bested by the old veteran, his breath driven from his chest as he landed on his back. Sir Brith, with great care, offered his hand to the chastised and Sir Rhydderch accepted, ending the nascent feud.

Later that day word arrived that King Uther was summoning his Knights to war, once again. However, this time it would be Duke Gorlois who would be the target of the King’s wrath, having spurned his “hospitality” the previous winter. The Knights mustered with Earl Roderick to support their liege’s claim and soon they marched into the fens and jagged coastline of Cornwall.

The Knights bore witness to what can only be considered a miracle, when Duke Gorlois appeared at the gate of Tintagel to join his wife at the precise time he was crossing swords with Prince Madoc 20 miles south, outside Castle Terrabil. The Knights had also witnessed Uther depart his tent with Merlin the Enchanter and while they were absent a great mist obscured the Duke’s approach. Next morning word came from Castle Terrabil that Duke Gorlois and Prince Madoc had slain each other in battle that very night, outside the walls of the distant castle.

Not two days later, the gates of Tintagel were opened as Duchess Ygrainne surrendered herself into the King’s protection and not 3 months later they were wed in a lavish ceremony in the great hall of Tintagel. Much muttering was overheard about the King’s obsession with a woman while yet more news of marauding Saxons in the south fell upon his seemingly deaf ears. The year drew to a close with our heroes tasked to a dull and prolonged garrison duty at Castle Terrabil, unable to return home to their families.

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A King's Prerogative
490 A.D.

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King Uther Pendragon rode out with his entire army to meet the northern Saxons, Octa and Eosa, in battle. Battle was joined outside the walls of Lincoln, and the fields shook to hooves of 2,000 mounted knights and 5,000 footmen of Briton. Their charge is met by a solid wall of 10,000 slavering Saxon dogs. Though the first hours of combat were kind to our heroes, they are struck a dolorous blow, as Sir Rhydderch is felled from his destrier. Both Sir Cadfael and Wynfor of Broughton are struck serious blows as they ride to their companion’s rescue. Beset upon all sides by enemies, the knights and their armsmen fought their way to the hospital tents, barely arriving in time to staunch Sir Rhydderch’s bleeding. The battle goes very well for the Britons; Duke Gorlois beheading the monster Eosa! The Saxons crumbled not long after, fleeing the field in panic.

3 months later, our knights have recovered from their injuries thanks to the gentle tending of the ladies of Lincoln. Earl Roderick tasks them with representing Salisbury at the King’s Court while he returns to take up management of his lands once again. The knights spend the next several months following the King from castle to castle in Malahaut and other small northern kingdoms, as he uses the power of Excalibur and his diminishing army to coddle, force and cajole the obeisance of the local lords. The King’s presumption reaches new heights as he continually forbids Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall and his enchantingly gorgeous wife; Ygrainne. There are rumors that the King’s untoward behavior is driven by a lust for the Duchess.

One frosty night, our heroes are recovering from their carousing around a fire in the courtyard of a small castle the King and his court have appropriated. Though Sir Cadfael and Sir Rhydderch are overcome by drink, Wynfor of Broughton notices a small group of figures attempting to sneak out of the castle under the cover of the blizzard. He steps up to confront them and is surprised to find himself face to face with The Lady of the Lake, who has cast an enchantment to help Gorlois and his wife flee from the dastardly king. In exchange for his silence, The Lady bestows a healing salve to take back to his ailing infant daughter.

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One Land! One King!
489 A.D.

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Gorlois, Duke of Cornwall rides out to meet King Uther Pendragon in battle. He submits to the power of Excalibur and war is averted. The knights ride to Hartbrook with Sir Cadfael and his sister Rohnwen in order to see her wed to Rhun , son of Baron Cadfan of Hartbrook. Rhun is a spoiled brat and gets himself kidnapped by the fae. He is trapped in their kingdom until Rohnwen exchanges herself for his release. Shamed, the lad offers his services unconditionally to Sir Cadfael.

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Et tu, Madoc?
Year 488

Prætor Sygarius finally prevailed upon Uther to send half of his army to the continent to help recapture his lost lands in France, including the famed Roman city of Paris. Madoc was tasked with leading his father’s army while the King remained at home to further cement his alliances in anticipation of his grab for the High Kingship.
Once the ships landed on the Norman coast, the knights were tasked with shepherding the Prætor while he made contact with his legion, who had been hiding in the hills and forests. As the war party neared the first rendezvous point, they happened upon a burnt out Roman villa which had been taken over by the Frankish peasants. The heathens were easily wrangled up and crucified for their trespass.
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As Prætor Sygarius neared his troops, he sent off two of the knights to bring word to Madoc, at Rouen, that his arrival was imminent. The two knights arrived just in time to witness the glorious storming the city walls, though they were unable to participate; one becoming lost in the army’s press and the other falling from his horse into the moat, barely escaping with his hide.
For the next several days Madoc and his army plundered Rouen to its very bones, only to abandon the campaign just as the Prætor arrived with his hopeful and ragged legion. He watched in horror as the army he hoped would support him filed aboard their ships as Prince Madoc watched calmly, a sardonic grin taunting the Prætor’s honor. In fury, the betrayed Roman mustered his men to march in a hopeless war against the Frankish hordes. The knights, troubled by the betrayal they were forced to support, were somewhat mollified by the sight of their home as the ships reached the cliffs of Dover. Would they even see a half penny of the haul, being denied their rightful glory in arms? Perhaps time will tell.

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Politics and Pirates
Year 487

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Sir Wynfor and Sir Cadfael were honored at King Uther’s Christmas Court for helping Merlin acquire Excalibur. They then visit Shrewton Manor; to find their wayward friend, Sir Rydderch. Sir Cadfael runs off the bandits at the manor as Sir Wynfor runs in maddened despair into the woods. Cadfael’s hunt for his friends ends when he finds the tearing at each other on the ground. Wynfor’s wife pulls both knights from their stupors and all return to Shrewton Manor for the night. The guests are awoken by an unearthly shrieking from Sir Rhydderch’s room. He is being haunted by the ghost of his mother. An exorcism is performed.

As spring arrives the three Knights are invited to join King Uther in his visit to the recalcitrant Duke of Lindsey. It is a successful and entertaining embassy trip. Lindsey bends the knee. The Knights are asked to deliver an invitation to the Centurion King in Eburacum City. The stark northern kingdom of Malahaut is unfriendly and the Knights are not-so-gently rebuffed by the gruff and scarred King.
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Meanwhile, Sir Bellias is raiding along the Saxon coast of Britain with Prince Madoc and 100 other brave young Knights. He wins much glory in the salt and blood
spray.
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When Cadfael, Wynfor and Rydderch return to Salisbury, they stumble upon a Silchester plot to “acquire & protect” the county’s Christian relics. They thwart Sir Rees, Sir Bevan and Father Decius’ plans as diplomatically as possible, sending them packing after exposing their avarice to the light of day.

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The Quest of Sword Lake
Goats, Giants and Glory!

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Shit happened. Sad peasant. Goat gone.

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Giant

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Bellias shits his pants, Wynfor hurt, Giant finished off by Bellias (pants are little messed up still), Merlin was the peasant; “what?!” healed Wynfor. Everyone followed Merlin to Faerie Lake.

Fought Nukalavee

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while Merlin grabbed a magic sword from a hand in the lake. What a dick!

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Pagans thrilled, Christians feel a little dirty. I wrote a bunch with much better grammar and adjectives and shit; OP froze and erased it all. The End.
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Blood and Death.
First Winter Phase & Battle

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It was a cool and wet early spring morning. The mist of the dawn had barely begun to burn off as the army of King Uther Pendragon took to the field. The knights of central and southern Logres had come together to drive back the army of King Ælle, King of Sussex; at Mearcred Creek. Our heroes were assigned to a small unit of knights under the command of the old, yet experienced Sir Amig. The Saxon army-mostly on foot-seized the initiative early and stalled the usually devastating First Charge of Uther’s knights. The battle raged for several hours. Little was gained for either side; with most combatants coming away bloodied yet still standing. Sir Bellias’ squire was separated from the group and pulled from his horse, never to be seen again. Belias was able to corner and capture a retreating Saxon knight and managed to ransom him back to his family later in the year. Sir Wynfor was also separated from his squire, but was able to re-unite with him at the close of battle, happening upon the young lad tending to the wounded in the hospital tents. Sir Neirin acquitted himself quite valiantly; managing to capture a young household knight after his squire threw himself between them in order to rescue Neirin. Sir Rydderch managed to come through the battle nearly unscathed, having carved a bloody swath through the barbarian horde.

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Bear Necessities

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The squires were sent to save the village of Imber from a man-eating bear! When they arrived in town; Wynfor made a stirring speech; inspiring the peasants to take part in the hunt!

Bellias, Cadfael and Rydderch cornered the creature after only a few minutes following its obvious trail. Rydderch & Bellias charged it valiantly from horseback; scoring hits before the terrifying beast pulled Bellias from his saddle. Seeing his chance while the bear poised to crush Bellias in its enormous jaws; Cadfael charged in, skewering the bear through the heart from behind!

On their way back to Imber, the young heroes stumbled upon bandits who were robbing a group of helpless villagers. The scruffy villains stood no chance as the young men rode them down. When the dust cleared only one villain remained and was instantly clapped in irons for judgment by Earl Roderick.

When the squires were presented before the Earl at his seat at Sarum, they were bestowed with the honor of a place at the Low Table for the coming night’s feast. As the feast ebbed; the Earl asked if any of his advisors knew of any young men worthy of the honor of knighthood. Sir Elad; the Marshal of Salisbury stood and named the squires!

Next morning the young men rose from their vigils and presented themselves for the ceremony. All received their Spurs, Shields and Swords with proper solemnity. Wynfor bore up under a quite brutal ceremonial tap from the Earl. The newly minted Sir Rydderch provided the entire gathering with a great amusement as he attempted-but spectacularly failed-a vault into the saddle of his enormous Destrier.

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