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.
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.
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.