Year 511: King Arthur, Morgawse and protecting Salisbury

Spring court in the year five hundred and eleven was held at King Arthur’s court at Carlion.

Many banners flew from the walls of Carlion. Banners that were lost on our new knights, all except Sir Rhodri who could clearly see who was about. It seemed Ulfius of Silchester was present, along with Sir Brastias whose heraldry appeared with Cornish banners. King Arthur’s step father Sir Ector and his step brother Sir Kay were also in attendance. He could also see the banner of Lothian. Why would King Lot be here he thought to himself.

It was soon apparent, however, that it was not King Lot who was here but Queen Morgawse, his wife. She was talking with King Arthur through much of the feast and talk was on what her game might be. Was here as a spy for her beloved? or is she working for King Arthur to help bring down King Lot. Whatever it was, throughout the feast she was spending a lot of time with Arthur and two seemed to get out very well. Much to Merlin’s chagrin.

Sir Olwen danced with his new bride Lady Cecillia de Vallans and it was clear that she was gifted as a dancer which overshadowed by Sir Olwen’s inability to put one foot in front of the other.

Sir Pelinore also danced with his wife Lady Lora but she was in her cups and fell asleep on his shoulder. He picked her up and, making his apology to the earl, left to carry her to their room.

During the feast King Arthur gave a speech on the brotherhood of knighthood and that that unites all knights together but that we should strive to be more than just knights, to uphold those that can’t defend themselves and to give quarter to downed opponents. The Sir Pelinore was about to pipe up, asking if that included Saxons but his words were lost as Sir Caemes backhanded him off his chair. The knight from Dorchester picked himself up and kept his mouth shut.

More talk was had on what to do with regards the Saxons and the rebels. Some favoured striking back at King Lot, even though his men are a barrier to the northern Saxons. Some would rather attack those Saxons nearest to their homelands. This was a point that was echoed by our knights. Hervis de Revel, a young brash knight was trying to get together to raid the Saxons in Essex. This intrigued our knights who had the earls permission but in the end they decided to go home and defend Salisbury’s borders.

Spring court continued for a few more days before the knights than left for home.

The knights gave their forty days service this year to defend Salisbury and so they set on a progress around the eastern border of the county. Over the course of several days they could see figures on the horizon. Figures that left when they seemed to be watched. Sir Pelinore saw this and came up with a plan. With the aid of some peasants from small village he would set up a trap.

The plan was thus. Have a few peasants working in the fields and then wait in ambush on their chargers. When the Saxons came through they would charge.

The plan was executed perfectly. Five Saxons came into village, led by a chieftain carrying a great axe. The peasants fled as needed. The Saxons dismounted and headed into the centre and started ransacking the homes. Sir Pelinore got the squires to take the Saxons horses and when the Saxons came back out the homes they charged.

Sir Olwen thundered in and knocked one Saxon to the ground, wounding him. Sir Pelinore rode through his with ease and turned to face the chieftain. Sir Rhodri successfully dealt with another whilst Sir Caemes deftly slaughtered one and then charged towards the chieftain.

The big Saxon bellowed that he was Harold, son of Framric Offason and he would avenge his father. Sir Caemes didn’t appear to hear though as he speared into his side, shattering the wood. He rode clear and as Harold Framricson turned about he was met by the spear of Sir Pelinore. Bounced between both horses he fell. One seeing this the Saxon with Sir Rhodri surrenered but Sir Rhodri chopped down with his sword into his neck, killing him instantly.

Harold Framricson would have died had they not chosen to administer first aid. They kept him alive for the journey back. Sir Pelinore organised the heads to go on spikes outside the village as a warning and the knights rode back triumphantly to Sarum.

The Earl paid them a sum for the Saxon chieftain who would be cared for by the nuns at Amesbury Abbey and then ransomed back.

Christmas court later in the year was a quiet affair with talk turning mostly to Queen Morgawse and the rumour that she had spent the night with Arthur.

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A fairly quick session this was. A few things happening but 512 looks to be a busy one again. We will most likely meet in May sometime as April for most of us is looking too full.

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Year 510: Battle of Carohaise

The Battle of Carohaise marked another turning point in the lives of the Salisbury Knights.

It all began as they were enjoying a few days rest in Bedegraine. There had been a feast which was enjoyed by all and King Arthur was appreciating the attentions of Lyzianor, the daughter of the Earl of Bedegraine. As Sir Miles and Sir Pelinore were practicing at swords with some young knights in the courtyard, a messenger rode in. He was out of breath and had clearly ridden hard.

“I have a message for the King” He said, in between breaths. “It’s King Leodegrance, King Ryons has him besieged at Carohaise”.

Sir Miles was quick to move the messenger along to see King Arthur. A quick word with the guards at the hall and he was allowed in. Sir Miles hung back as the messenger went forward to present the news. Sir Pelinore arranged some food and drink to be brought to the young lad.

King Arthur bid the boy leave to eat and rest. He then spoke with those present. Sir Robert of Salisbury and Sir Morians, Marshal of Salisbury as well as Merlin and Sir Brastias. They were in agreement that they should aid Leodegrance since he had been one of the first to swear fealty to the Boy King.

The order was given that any knights remaining should aid if they so chose. They had already gone over their feudal obligation of forty days but if they could give that bit more it would be welcomed. The Earl of Salibsury spoke with his knights and with the exception of a few all heeded the call to arms.

Later that day our knights Sir Miles, Sir Pelinore, Sir Olwen and Sir Caemes rode out with King Arthur and some 600 knights in haste to reach the besieged King Leodegrance in time.

It was a two day ride to reach Carohaise and the town was indeed besieged by King Ryons. King Ryons was using Ballistas in an attempt to break down the wooden gate but to no avail so far.

King Arthur sent a herald forward to talk with King Ryons to see if terms could be reached. It seemed not and over the course of an hour or so the two armies formed and a battle was imminent.

On the field of Carohaise King Arthurs force of around six hundred charged at King Ryons six hundred. With a great clash Sir Miles led his brothers in arms against some young knights of Norgales and under the shouts and screams, bones broke, blood spilled and men and horses fell. Sir Miles was amongst them, a lance through his chest. The force and driven him straight from the saddle. His squire was able to drag him clear though and first was tried. He briefly opened his eyes only for them to close forever.

Sir Pelinore, Olwen and Caemes fought on, having got through the line of young knights they found themselves set open by crossbowmen. They were right in the middle and bolts flew at them from two directions. They hacked and slashed at the footmen and when they managed to fight themselves clear and decided to pull back so they could get a proper look at the situation.

Sir Pelinore led them clear but it seemed the battle was over, the enemy thinned and were leaving the field. King Ryons was last seen riding fast to the west.

A feast was held in Carohaise and King Leodegrance greeted King Arthur with a warm smile and they embraced like brothers. Our knights mourned the loss of Sir Miles. A great knight sadly taken before his deeds could give any reward.

The Salisbury knights spent two days at Carohaise before they began their journey home. They had all managed to secure some plunder from the battle and were feeling good about getting home to family and bringing in the harvest.

The scene in Salisbury unfortunately was one of a county raided. The Saxons it seems and taken full advantage of the knights being away and had stolen many cattle and burned villages and homes. The harvest would not be so good this year.

Christmas court was a subdued affair and the food was more sparse than usual. Earl Robert was keen not to take too much from the peasants around Sarum. He spoke with Sir Olwen and said that Sir Vincent de Vallans, Cecillia’s father and capitulated at King Bors request and would allow them to marry. They would marry in the spring in the Abbey in Sarum. Sir Olwen gave the good news to Cecillia and she was pleased.

Elsewhere there were no new children arriving but a new knight Sir Rhodri was spending time with his Salisbury brethren.

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This was the last session of an epic year. Three sessions to complete it and that doesn’t seem that unusual from what I’ve read elsewhere. This is certainly not a year to rush through. We also completed 511 this session and that report with follow.

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Year 510: Of Battle and Bloodshed

The Battle of Carlion was a brutal and bloody affair. King Arthur was outnumbered 2:1 but his men fought bravely against Lot’s rebellion. King Lot had brought along many northern lords and Pictish allies and they set upon the Boy King’s men with gusto.

Sir Miles led his men gloriously against tide after tide of traitor knights and Pictish men and held there own. Elsewhere it was a stalemate and Arthur drew Excalibur late in the day to rally his men against his foe. With renewed vigour they fought on but Sir Rhufon and Sir Caemes fell with major wounds and were dragged away by their squires. Sir Miles and Sir Pelinore fighting on to enable their extraction from the field. The day looked like it would be indecisive until the citizens of Carlion flooded from the gates and fell upon King Lot’s men. This put them to flight and Arthur and his vassals could breath again.

Some loot was had but in the surgeons tent it looked bad for Sir Caemes and Sir Rhufon. Both taking turns for the worst but in the days that came Sir Caemes, the red haired knight of Salisbury would live whereas Sir Rhufon would breath his last. An infection had set in and his eyes blinked out as he succumbed to fever.

With King Lot’s army in retreat, regrouping no doubt far from the walls of Carlion, Arthur called a council of war to discuss the matter.

Sir Miles had said some words over the corpse of Sir Rhufon and was with Sir Pelinore and Sir Caemes, in the surgeon’s tent when they saw Robert, Earl of Salisbury talking with the Earl of Dorset over the body of another dead knight. A young lad, of maybe twenty or twenty one years, knelt before the earl and was knighted. Sir Pelinore overheard them talking, intrigued by what the Earl of Dorset would be discussing with his liege. It seemed that the lad was Olwen, now Sir Olwen and he was the nephew of this fallen knight Sir Aergul who was a border guard at Dorchester. His family were mere household knights but his uncle spoke with the Earl of Dorset before he passed and bequeathed his land to him. The fourth in line Sir Olwen had a future as an esquire if he was lucky. He know found himself with land and a future.

The Earl turned and saw the knights with Sir Caemes and he introduced Sir Olwen to them. Asking that they give him a Salisbury welcome here in Carlion. Sir Olwen is of a reasonable build but with a broken nose and missing teeth, he looks like he has been in many a scrap.

Sir Miles, along with Sir Pelinore left Sir Caemes to rest and took Sir Olwen into Carlion to a tavern to drink, be merry and celebrate his recent knighthood.

As they entered one of the less busy taverns in Carlion they could see some men-at-arms being ousted from their seats instead and ejected into the streets. This seemed to be perpetrated by a Sir Glywys, recognised by Sir Miles somehow as a household knight of Dorset. Sir Pelinore strode passed to fetch some flagons of ale to bring back to the soldiers ousted and Sir Miles accosted Sir Glywys and suggested he might want to respect the men that fought bravely alongside them. The Dorset knight countered that they were not worthy of his respect and should know their place. He then clocked Sir Olwen. ‘Ah, brother’ he said, ‘do you side with this Salisbury whelp’ but he soon  seemed very surprised to hear of his recent knighthood as Sir Olwen put him back in his place. Things could have spilled over into unpleasantness when Sir Pelinore’s bulk walked passed and handed over the flagons of ale to the cheering soldiers outside. Sir Glywys backed down and offered to buy the knights some ale and to forget the whole incident.

Sir Pelinore got to grips with a local Carlion wench and then spoke of his friends recent knighthood and with a few pennies suggested that Sir Olwen should get lucky. ‘Not my, young Sir, for you have done worn me out’ she proclaimed, ‘I may know someone who can though’. She gestured towards another girl at the tavern. Sir Olwen soon found himself in female company and the two girls later on were heard to speak of the prowess of the Salisbury knights.

The following morning, with all the knights up early except Sir Pelinore who had to be roused by Sir Miles from his bed chamber in the tavern, they strode back to camp and an audience with the earl.

Earl Robert greeted them warmly and spoke of King Arthur and the council of war that met the previous evening. It seemed that Arthur wished to enlist the help of the brothers King Ban and King Bors from Ganis and Brittany. He asked Sir Miles to lead Sir Pelinore and the new knight Olwen across the sea to garner the aid of King Bors. A contingent of fellow knights would also be on-board, bound for King Ban. Sir Caemes would remain abed to recover from his wounds.

Later that day the three knights, with two household knights would leave Carlion bound for a port to sail across to Brittany and Ganis. It would take them several days to traverse the sea but before that a good few days to even set sail. Much to the chagrin of Sir Miles who kept on reiterating the importance of the mission to the captain of the Sea Dragon, a weather beaten old sailor by the name of Lucius Minius Varro.

The voyage was frustrating for all the knights as they slowly edged there way across the channel and when land was sighted they seemed to follow the coast rather than get nearer. Eventually putting into port at La Rochelle some five days after setting sail.

They stayed at a tavern in the port for the evening and Sir Miles partook in sampling the local delicacies whilst Sir Pelinore chose more carnal pursuits.

Sir Miles was up early and Sir Olwen was as keen as any to get going towards the seat of King Bors. Sir Pelinore again had to be roused from his slumber but eventually all were ready to depart and follow their guide Rene out of La Rochelle.

It was a good days journey till they reached a stop at the Manor of Vallans. The house of Sir Vincent de Vallans who was not there on arrival. The steward was courteous as he needed to be and had food prepared and water brought forth so they could get the grime of the road off. As they were cleaning up Sir Vincent rode in on a splendid charger. He wore the latest reinforced mail and closed helm and his armour was so shiny it looked like it had suffered nary a scratch. He had two squires with him and once dismounted he removed his helm to show a man in his late 30s, not handsome but well groomed and he warmly greeted the men.

The hospitality of Sir Vincent soon grew wearisome though as the knight of Gannes seemed to spent most of the time telling stories of his exploits and his battles with the Franks. It was hard to tell fact from fiction though and so our Salisbury knights nodded where they needed to but tried not to encourage him.

Sir Olwen and Sir Pelinore were rather taken with a girl serving. She hadn’t been introduced but Sir Olwen believed she was Sir Vincent’s daughter. Sir Pelinore was pleased when she paid more attention to Sir Olwen than him. He didn’t wanted to risk a diplomatic incident and his lustful ways could easily cause a incident. She introduced herself as Cecillia and yes, she was Sir Vincent’s daughter. She inquired about how Sir Olwen got his broken nose and teeth and seemed genuinely interested in hearing his tales and intrigued by tales beyond the border of Gannes. The evening passed and the Lady Cecillia was dragged reluctantly away by her handmaidens. Sir Olwen slept with pleasant dreams of the beauty of Cecillia.

The following morning Sir Miles was again up with the sound of the cockerel crowing outside and was soon joined by his two Salisbury companions. Rene mounted up but before they left the manor of Vallans the Lady Cecillia rushed out and gave Sir Olwen a peck on the cheek and asked that he write to her. He promised he would and luckily Sir Vincent saw none of this exchange.

The heat of the sun over Gannes beat down and they were just looking for a place to rest for lunch when they spied five horseman on the horizon. Rene cried out that it might be the Franks of King Claudas and he slowed his horse down so as to sit behind the knights. Three seemed to be heading straight towards them and the other two broke off towards their right flank. Sir Miles ordered the two household knights to move towards those two lest they be flanked. They swapped their rouncys for their chargers and grabbed lances. They spurred their horses into a trot and when closer a full gallop.

Sir Miles missed his man but Sir Pelinore took his down. In the ensuing melee Sir Olwen was unseated and had yielded but one of the Franks had yielded to Sir Pelinore who had his squire take the Frank to one side. Sir Miles despite his experience seemed disheartened was fighting as if he didn’t care if he died. His blocks were poor and now using his sword he swung with no strength or determination. It took Sir Pelinore charging in and pushing his lance through the Frank’s back to save him. Eventually the Salisbury knights prevailed, they had two hostages and three chargers to their name. The household knights had also been victorious but one had escaped, the other Frank lying dead. Rene rode forward to meet them and promised to share the tale of their deeds.

The knights and their guide stopped for a rest before riding on and just at sundown they arrived at the hall of King Bors, Castle Montlair.

The Steward of Montlair greeted them cordially and it seemed word of their exploits on the road and already reached his ears. He bade them freshen up and eat and that King Bors would join them soon.

The hall was splendidly furnished and the food fine fair. Our knights were just getting used to their surroundings when trumpets heralded the arrival of King Bors of Gannes with a fanfare. He strode into the room and welcomed each knight individually to his hall. Sir Pelinore presented a gift of the two Franks they had captured and Bors was very pleased with this. His knight Sir Galien, a man with a nasty wound to his head that seemed to have collapsed his cheekbone and broken his jaw and teeth, took the two men from the hall.

Sir Miles then presented the chest that Arthur and asked them to give to him. The Gaul opened it and the contents sparkled in the firelight. King Bors smiled and asked them of their recent battle with the Franks. Sir Miles cordially asked for his assistance on behalf of Arthur with the rebellion and spoke of Arthur’s wish for a formal alliance.

King Bors did not disappoint. He asked that the knights be his guest for the week or so it would take to gather his men. He couldn’t promise a huge army as he had to leave some men behind to defend his lands. A week of rest later and he had provided some five hundred men and our knights were on their way home.

The journey to the port was uneventful. Apart from their stop outside the walls of Vallans. Bors and Ban stayed with Sir Vincents as the army camped outside. Sir Olwen was visited by the Lady Cecillia who had written to, she was there with her belongings and two of her handmaidens. She asked that he take her back to Logres were she would marry him. She didn’t want to marry Sir Godfroi who her father had selected. Sir Olwen agreed, his lust clearly stripping him of his wits. Sir Pelinore overheard all this and with Sir Miles they tried to find out more about Sir Godfroi.Their inquiries led them nowhere though. Noone seemed to know him.

On the morrow our knights felt fully rested and able to join the battle against King Lot when they reached his lands. Although was Sir Olwen looking over his shoulder as they travelled? They crossed the channel in King Bors’ ship and were joined by the me of King Ban who had also agreed to an alliance with King Arthur.

They crossed the channel in a day as the wind seemed to fill their sails to bursting and carry them northward. Sir Miles smiled at this, it bode well that they could get to King Arthur in time to aid in his struggle.

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We join Sir Caemes, he is resting in Carlion still and has been getting the attentions of a nurse by the name of Lydia when he has been conscious. She spends more time with him than the other wounded and Sir Caemes can feel his spirit lifted by the very sight of her. He is soon back under the surgeons knife and it seems the infection and his fever have lifted. A week later he is feeling a lot stronger. Just in time for when King Arthur gets words of Lot’s army in Bedegraine causing hell on their retreat. Lot’s numbers have dwindled and the boy king feels its the right time to chase him down and crush him.

Outside the walls of Bedegraine and King Arthur’s forces, along with a strong contingent of Salisbury, Dorset and Clarence men form up and harrass Lot’s army. King Lot then forms up and a battle begins. King Arthur has a strog numerical advantage but Lot’s allies the Picts fight like beasts and the battle lasts for a few hours with neither side gaining ground. King Arthur’s forces however are caught out though when a band of Picts charges forth with great axes and hacks at the British steeds. Horses baying hits the air as many of animals are cut down and slaughtered. The knights staggering back. The Picts then retreat from the field and the knights of Logres are too beaten to give chase. It’s hard to say who won the field that day.

Sir Caemes got down from his horse and walked over to his King. He offered the charger to him and King Arthur graciously accepted.

Talk in the camp over the next day is of Lot and how close they came to losing. But it’s not long before Arthur is drawn into battle again. There is still no sign of the Kings Ban and Bors and the Earl of Salisbury is concerned about his missing men. This can’t be helped though and on the same field as before the two armies are forming up. King Arthur, rides over to Sir Caemes and hands him back his horse, saying that he will stand with those men that lost their steeds and not sit above them. Sir Caemes in seeing that his earl is doing the same dismounts and bids his squire take it from the field. The Salisbury knight will fight on foot alongside his earl and king.

With a cry the lines of men clash.  It is strange at first for Sir Caemes to be fighting in such a melee on foot. The press of bodies and no clear line of sight over your enemies. It’s not long though until he is dispatching foes as he does soon he stinks of blood and sweat but victory looks to be a long way off. After several hours the line is faltering and being pushed back, when suddenly a cry goes up. ‘It’s Bors! It’s Ban! We’re saved!’

From a fog bank charging horses emerge and Bors and Ban ride in at the head of their armies. Sir Olwen, Pelinore and Miles on their mounts, lances braced and ready thunder into the flank of the Picts and northern men. The valour of those northern men and the Picts broke and they fled the field. A cheer erupted and King Arthur found the brothers Ban and Bors to greet them properly and to thank them for their timely intervention.

King Arthur ordered that all loot found on the field should go to his allies. This irked Sir Caemes a little, a fact not unnoticed by the boy king. Arthur, with his arm around the young Cambrian said he had a gift that would hopefully make up for any lost loot. In his arming tent was a fine suit of reinforced mail and a closed helm. The latest armour. ‘This is yours, should you want it’, said King Arthur, pointing to the finest mail Sir Caemes had ever seen. ‘Of course’, added Arthur, taking in the full size of Sir Caemes ‘it’ll have to be adjusted a little’. Sir Caemes thanked his king and they embraced like brothers. Arthur left the young knight and got on with the business of diplomatic relations with Bors and Ban.

Later Sirs Miles, Pelinore and Olwen found Sir Caemes and they discussed all that had happened. Sir Miles still seemed a little surprised that they had made it to this field in Bedegraine in time. It could have sworn they were forty or fifty miles away when they rode into that fog bank. Had he seen Merlin before that had happened? The Christian knight would have to ponder this some more.

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Wow. That’s two sessions done and we are only about a third through 510. There is so much going on and so much that the players can get involved with that I am glad I’m not rushing it. We meet again on the 23rd March to finish it though and we may also get through 511 which should be a nice gentle year. Lest Sir Olwen’s lustful ways get him in trouble.

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Year 510: A new High King?

Early in 510 we have the marriage of Sir Pelinore to Lora, the daughter of Sir Gabran of Woolstone. It’s a small affair and afterwards Sir Pelinore is greeted with his new born son Peridore.

A tournament is to be held in London in January, the winner of which will be declared High King. Earl Robert is keen to have all his knights in attendance. It takes a few days to get everything in order and then they leave for the city of London.

It is a splendid sight that greets them in London. Tents and Pavilions litter the landscape without and within the walls of London. Earl Robert was addressed by one of the Heralds of the Tournament. He showed the earl where Salisbury where to set up their tents and Sir Rhufon asked who all the banners belonged too. The collective heraldry knowledge of the group having failed them. This pleased the Herald who delighted in reading from his parchment the names of all the lords in attendance. Salisbury had their tents close to Gloucester and Silchester. Sir Caemes, the big brutish knight from Dorset asked the herald if he could let them know what each of those lord’s shields were, he gave them the Frankish words but did not point them out. This displeased Sir Caemes who said he didn’t understand Frankish. The herald looked ready to give a witty retort but on seeing that Caemes was not a man to argue with he backed down and then rather helpfully took them all on a tour of the camps, pointing out who was were and what was going on.

With the tournament not starting officially till the following day our knights decide to head out and see what there is to do. Sir Rhufon helps out Sir Cledwyn of Lindsey in an altercation with Sir Uffo of Silchester, son of the Duke of Silchester. Sir Uffo slopes off with a broken nose and Sir Cledwyn is quietly thankful to Sir Rhufon for the help but his pride is dented. Sir Pelinore spends his time with the camp followers and Sir Miles gets into some games of dice with knights of Escavalon.

The opening bout in the tournament sees our four Salisbury knights pitted against four knights of Gloucester. One by one they are knocked down until Sir Rhufon of Salisbury is against Sir Gwern. The knight from Gloucester was unscathed but the two knights seem to just circle each other to start with. Sir Rhufon landed some good blows but was unable to knock his opponent down to start with and looked like he could not best him. Sir Gwern over extended himself though looking for a telling blow and Sir Rhufon knocked him down with a swipe across his side. Sir Gwern went face down into the mud. Sir Rhufon was barely declared the winner before a cry of ‘The Sword! The Sword!’ went up from the direction of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.

Sirs Rhufon, Pelinore and Miles went to investigate the commotion. Sir Caemes stayed back in the hospitality tent nursing some cracked ribs suffered during the melee.

Up on the hill by the sword in the stone stood an older knight, identifed later as Sir Ector and his son Sir Kay. A young boy was also present. A number of knights were trying their hand at pulling the sword out of the stone. As the recent legend goes whoever pulls the sword from the stone will be declared king. Seeing everyone trying, Sir Pelinore gesturing towards his liege Sir Robert of Salisbury says ‘Let the boy try’. This cry is taken up by the rest of the crowd but it seems they believe the young squire on the hill should try.

As Merlin watches on from the sidelines, the Archbishop Dubricus is also present a little distance away, the young boy simply grabs the sword and pulls it from the sword without a problem. A beam of light shining down on him as he stood there sword held high. A dove and an eagle fly high from nowhere and the crowd erupts into a cheer.

The crowd started to restless after King Lot announces that he will to bow to him. ‘Are we to be ruled by a beardless bastard?’ he asked. The greater barons and outland kings express similar astonishment but there are a number of lords that swear fealty. King Leodegrance of Cameliard; Sir Ector, Arthur’s stepfather; Sir Kay, Arthur’s stepbrother; Sir Hervis de Revil, a famous landless knight; Prince Lanceor of Estregales, son of the King of Estregales and the famour Sir Brastias, a mercenary knight formerly guard to King Uther.

As the crowd got more restless and the nobles starting bickering between themselves it took Merlin and Dubricus in a rare show of solidarity to calm the throng. They announced that another contest would be held, with anyone who wishes to try to pull the sword from the stone allowed a turn. This would be held at Candlemas, 2nd February and with that the two aging men selected the ten best knights to guard the sword for the following month.

At Candlemas a number of knights try to pull the sword but to no avail. This is followed by Arthur pulling the sword with no issue and then more nobles and knights pledge loyalty to the Boy King. These have been since dubbed the ‘Eager Vassals’ and Earl Robert of Salisbury was amongst their number. Ulfius, Duke of Silchester also pledged along with Duke Corneus of Lindsey; Bishop Baudwin; the Earl of Hertford; Earl of Dorset and many lords and bannerets of lesser standing.

Merlin called for another event to be held at Easter, this year on 21st March. Those lords not in attendance now would have a chance to see the boy then. In front of this third assembly Arthur again drew the sword from the stone. This time the Earl of Jagent; the Earl of Wuerensis and the Duke of Clarence bent the knee to Arthur.

A rumour is circling that King Lot is gathering troops and lords together in his northern stronghold. The King of Lothian publicly blaming Merlin. Saying that any good pagan shouldn’t trust a sorcerer.

On the 1st of May there was yet another assembly, where some nobles were still voicing their discontent. This time they were drowned out by the citizens and peasants with chants of ‘Ar-thur, Ar-thur…’. The nobles give in and join in, announcing Arthur as their king.

Within days Arthur is knighted. By the best knight in the land. This was chosen to be Sir Morians, Marshal of Salisbury who seemed very proud to knight the future king.

The coronation was a magnificent affair. It must have taken months in the planning. Maybe from before Arthur pulled the stone? At St. Paul’s Cathedral, Arthur is crowned King of Logres and this was done with all the pomp and ceremony as to really impress the nobles gathered. Our knights of Salisbury had a place in the Cathedral and got to witness this event. Arthur took the arms of Logres as his own, a gold shield with two green dragons back-to-back.

After the crowning and shield bearing Arthur accepted the homage of the remained nobles and then began a week of feasting and festivities, after which King Arthur led a great procession across Logres to Carlion. Commoners lined the roads, celebrating and cheering on their new king. The knights following their lords to this celebration.

At Carlion-on-Usk, the Supreme Collegium meet to elect the new High King,  a position not filled since before the days of Uther. Many of the Legates are not in attendance but those that are deliberate and in the end capitulate to the will of the people. Arthur is crowned the new High King. He takes the arms of the High King; a red shield with seven gold crowns. More feasting follows and no-one is disappointed.

It is during these festivities that Arthur learns of that King Lot and his allies are on their way with their armies.  Arthur orders gifts to be sent out to Lot and all and bids them welcome. The gifts come back, however, and the messenger was insulted.

Did Arthur appear frightened when he then ordered the gates of Carlion closed and to prepare for a siege? Outside King Lot is busy burning down villages and ransacking the grain stores and killing the livestock. Arthur eventually backs down to the will of the nobles and orders the gates open and they will meet Lot in open battle.

Sir Miles is giving the task of leading his small band of Knights and although he is not well versed in battle in humbly accepts the honour. He has survived many scrapes though and does seem to have luck on his side.

As they line up and readying themselves for the ensuing bloodshed it seems they are outnumbered. Lot appears to have twice as many men having many Picts and northern lords on his side. Can Arthur really triumph over this?

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This was another fun session. We did also run through the battle but I will do that report separately. It was interesting when Sir Pelinore piped up about letting the boy, meaning the Earl have a go pulling the sword. It was just before I was about to explain that the crowd where going to say it. It was a nice twist to the oft told tale.

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Year 509: The knighting of Robert of Salisbury, heir to the county

With the death of a good percentage of Salisbury knights at the Battle of Netley Marsh last year it is time to welcome three new knights to their manors. We have Sir Pelinore of Stapleford, a merciful knight freshly moved from his family holdings in Dorset. Sir Rhufon of Newton, a valorous but arbitrary poor knight and Sir Caemes of Idmiston, a large Christian knight from the lands of Cambria.

But first it is time for the knighting of the young Robert of Salisbury. Sir Morians, Marshall of Salisbury had the honour of knighting the future Earl and was very proud of this fact.

The three new guys were amongst six to be knighted by the new Earl. Unfortunately Sir Pelinore failed to vault onto his horse afterwards. An ill omen? Once knighted they swore fealty to the new Earl. The Countess Ellen could then officially step down from her duties.

Much feasting was had and Sir Pelinore soon got over his horse mishap by bedding the lovely Lora, daughter of Gabran of Woolstone, cousin to Sir Alafon. Normally a chaste girl, there was clearly something about the Dorset knight that she admired. Sir Rhufon also got lucky and spent the evening with a serving maid, waking with bits of straw where he wished they weren’t.

The Earl’s progress around Salisbury was uneventful but it was a time for the knights to converse on matters of the county and to speak with their new liege.

The summer passed by with the peasants toiling in the fields, the Saxons had requested tribute and so the yield would need to be good. Sir Pelinore had his peasants logging in the forests to try and bolster the coffers.

Christmas court was a more joyous occasions that the previous year. Earl Robert taking his place on the dias and the new knights able to mingle with the other nobles in court. Sir Gabran of Woolstone called Sir Pelinore to one side and informed him of his daughters new condition. It seems that she is with child. He pressed the importance of a marriage to Sir Pelinore and the new knight acquiesced with the request. The Earl gave his permission for the match to go ahead. Fathering a child on the day of his knighthood is a new one for everybody. Sir Miles, whom had been ejecting from the hall due to an altercation with an unruly knight offered financial assistance for the wedding upon hearing of the news.

Next year a tournament is to be held in London and hopefully a new high king chosen. It should be a grand affair.

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This was fun although my brain wasn’t fully into it. It was a disjointed session due to us doing knight creation just before. Still, they all seemed enjoy themselves. Next session should be on the 9th February after the excellent con Conception. Looking forward to both.

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Year 508: The Battle of Netley Marsh

Late summer and a wounded knight of Salisbury is being carried on the back of a horse cart. He’s one of the lucky ones. Many of his fellows didn’t make it back from the clash to end all clashes. His name is Sir Miles of Laverstock. Salisbury lost many good knights including Sir Caulus and Sir Cenwyn and a new knight sent down from Clarence just that spring, Sir Barradon.

Sir Morian. The new Marshal of Salisbury mustered the men at Sarum and gave command of an eschille to Sir Caulus. Nine knights would join him and he accepted the honour of leading.

It was a summer’s day when King Nanteleod’s force met King Cerdic’s men in a field near to Hantonne. The Britons were outnumbered but defiant that they could win the day and drive the Saxons back home. King Aelle of Sussex joined his forces to King Cerdic’s and it was this that may have tipped the balance of the day.

Our knights fought for over three hours in the heat. It had started well with a successful charge into a unit of Berserkers but once in the thick of it Sir Caulus’ men couldn’t seem to fight their way clear. On a few occasions finding themselves outnumbered and taking wounds.

Sir Penri was the first to fall, the son of Sir Rodric who had lost his life in a duel so many years before. Sir Cenwyn was soon joining him in the field of their forefathers. He took a spear through the chest and died before he hit the ground.

The knights did fight their way clear at one point with a clever retreat that surprised the enemy. Sir Caulus cleverly seized the chance and the disordered men managed to charge a good number of Saxons down. It was too successful though. They found themselves right back in the thick of it and when the Saxon line pressed forward and King Nanteleod fell they could do nothing but be over run. Sir Caulus was felled by an arrow in the back, bled out on the soil. Sir Miles found himself unhorsed and fighting for his life. Sir Barradon was taken by a spear that drove through him, he didn’t see it coming.

Tales of Sir Miles heroics in the retreat may live on. How the traitorous Cornish knights tried to run him down in the rout but couldn’t. They battered on his shield and tried to trample him but he avoided it all. The Christian most likely feeling the love of the Lord smiling on him.

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This was the first battle I’ve run using the new Book of Battle rules and I must say I am impressed. Despite three of the guys losing their knights they all seem to enjoy it as well. It really does bring home the brutality of medieval battles and this was certainly no walk in the park like they had experienced before.

We next meet on 5th January when we’ll be creating three new knights and then it’s on with 509.

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Year 507: Raiders and Allies

Our knights are back in Sarum for the spring court and it seems that both Princes are back again. The countess is entertaining them separately and Prince Mark has brought many gifts in an attempt to curry favour.  The countess looks overjoyed as she plays the political game and it seems she is negotiating with Prince Alain to allow King Nanteleod’s troops to use Salisbury to get at the rear of the Cornish army.

She delays Prince Mark’s leaving in the hope that it means they can’t get back in time to help their father.

Sirs Morian and Cenwyn spend their forty days service on a progress and come across a Saxon raiding party. This results in many Saxon dead and another fence made with spears topped with Saxon heads. They allowed one farmer to exact revenge on a Saxon that had raped his daughter. Sir Morians handed the old man an axe and he took great joy in cleaving the foreigner’s head in two. A local priest bid them stay in the church as the hour was growing late. Sir Morians then gifted the village elder a librams worth of pennies to help with the rebuild.

It seems Nanteleod’s army moved through Salisbury okay to then make their way to Summerland. They liberated some of the castles from the Cornish but King Idres was reluctant to meet his foe on the field.

Elsewhere in Logres, Duke Corneus, with a hefty number of Anglish mercenaries marched on London and removed the Saxon threat. The citizens rose up against the Saxon occupiers and Duke Corneus has taken up residence in the White Tower. The former castle of King Uther.

The end of the year would have been a quiet affair if it wasn’t for some sad and happy news. Sir Amig, ever weary and wanting to spend more time at home and not training the army or worrying about matters of Salisbury, steps down as Marshal and with agreement of the Countess bestows the title upon Sir Morians. He boasts about Sir Morians skill in battle and with sword and lance. Facts that Sir Morians beams at and does nothing to quell. So, sad that we see the retirement of Sir Amig and happy that a worthy successor was found.

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This was a rather interesting year. The raid was good fun to run and John P and I had already agreed beforehand that his character Sir Morians would take over the Marshal duties. His knight was starting to age and he wanted to let him become an NPC. The next sessions date is to be decided but will most likely be the end of November or beginning of December.

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