The Dragons of Salisbury

Year 486: Sword Lake
Sword Lake

Year 486: The Sword of Victory

Characters Involved
Sir Moris, Sir Selivant, Sir Guy, Sir Gerin, Sir Harvis, Sir Alexander, Lady Lore

The year begins with the knights of Salisbury being placed on garrison duty, a rather uninteresting task. The knights continue their way into around the county without a sign of any problems The air of boredom was welling up in the hearts of the knights, and slowly the men begin to question if they would ever participate in glory again.

When suddenly a man approached the knights. He was rather old and tattered in goat skins. He needed help. His goat has wandered up a hill, and he is too old to retrieve the beast. Sir Gerin and Sir Harvis scoffed at the old man. He was nothing but a peasant, and a peasant they do not have to care. They simply disregard his idea as misfortune. Sir Selivant, Sir Alexander, Sir Moris and Sir Guy, on the other hand, felt pity for the old man. They went to retrieve the man’s rather sizable goat. Sir Gerin and Sir Harvis stayed behind to ‘protect’ the old man.

When they approached the goat, they were surprised to see the true size of the goat. He was much larger than expect. In fact, the creature was the size of a small horse. The creature was hidden in the ruins of a long, lost manor. As they went closer to retrieve the animal, the goat bolted into the woods. The others followed, for a knight’s value is only as good as his word. As they turned a corner, the knights came upon a large problem. A giant with three-eyes stood by the goat. He was massive, bigger than any man the knights have every laid witness. Before the knights could respond, the giant grasped the goat by his horns tossing it down the hill. The knights charged.

The battle was fierce, but in the end, the knights came out victorious. Only Sir Guy was seriously wounded. The knights were attempting to find the location of the large goat when the old shepherd approached from behind. He revealed his true form, that of the court wizard and son of the devil, Merlin the Wizard.

The group was shocked to find the wizened man so far away from the royal court; not to mention his astute usage of powerful glamour magic. He simply replied, “You will do.” Merlin asked Sir Guy to retrieve the horses and retreat to gather the rest of the knights. When the young dark knight was gone from the hill, he told Sir Selivant, Sir Alexnader and Sir Moris to follow him into woods. When Sir Guy returned with the lagging knights, Merlin and his accomplishing knights had vanishing into the woods. He was disappointed, a chance for glory was missed.

In the woods, Merlin lead the knights to a large lake. A lake that was far too large to be resting in Salisbury’s forests. Merlin proclaimed, “The fairy will try to stop me. Do not let them distract me.” Without warning, a strange green man burst from the forest wall. Sir Selivant turned to notice on Merlin, who was approaching a barge. Both knew that they had a little chance to survive against a beast of the fairy, so they called on their honor to help protect them.

Moris was found wanting.

Something snapped in his head. A broad smile came across his face as he proclaimed that the Silver Lake will claim his honor. He dove into the lake trying to reach Merlin. He faded into the mist. Only Selivant stood, impassioned with the sense of duty and honor.

The green knight protruded an extra arm armed with a green blade from his chest with profane ease. Sir Selivant was not dismayed. He stood his ground and laid a grand strike against the green man. The creature, a nukalavee unbeknown to Selivant, noticed the other knight retreat into the watery silver lake. Like a man suckling a noodle, the beast returned his arm to his chest as if it was never there.

The green man attempting to charge through the knight’s path. Sir Selivant did not stand for it and landed a resounding blow to the man. The strike would have knocked the most sturdy of men from his horse, but the green man was unnatural. He was adhered to the horse. Or was the horse part of him? He bled water from his deep wound. The green man turned his attention to the knight now, but he did not last. A second blow caused a larger, deeper cut to flow open. Water gushed like a fountain from the creature as he dissolved into a pile of disgusting green slime.

Sir Selivant returned to great Merlin, who leaped from the boat on the water. His strides did not sink and he greeted Selivant with a beautiful sword in his hand. He does not say much, only, “Britain is in your debt. Follow me back.”

When the wizard and knight emerged from the forest, the remaining knights, minus Moris, was waiting for them. Merlin told them to return to their earl and tell them of what happened here. Tell no one else until you return, not even amongst yourselves. With that, Merlin walked into the forest leaving the knights to travel to Sarum castle.

The trip was silent, Sir Selivant would not discuss what happened in the forest. They also questioned him about Sir Moris, but he would not budge on his discussion.

Sarum castle allowed them access to Earl Roderick, his beautiful wife, Lady Jenna next to him. Their liege lord asked them, why have they wish to speak to him. His face was riddled with concern. Sir Selivant came forward and told the story of the Sword Lake. He was also regretful to tell Earl Roderick that Sir Moris was lost to madness. He had turned wooden and his passions overcame him.

Earl Roderick praises all of them for their deeds for Britain. A feast was called in their honor, and they were given seats at the front of the table.

After the feast, there was the problem of the estate of Idmiston. With Moris dead and his brother, Berel, too young to inherit, Lady Lore was called forth. Sir Berel could not become heir. He was too young and Sir Moris could not be declared dead. Earl Roderick demanded some type of answers to what happened to him.

So Lady Lady gathered many knights together for a quest to find Moris.

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Year 485: the Battle of Mearcred Creek
The Battle of Mearcred Creek

Year 485, The Battle of Mearcred Creek

Characters Involved
Sir Moris, Sir Gerin, Sir Guy, Sir Harvis, Sir Selivant

The winter was a pleasant time for all involved. The harvest was ripe and the bounty was good. Many of the knights decided to open their hands in marriage to all suitors. Many found wives. The newly budded Selivant did not take a wife, as would be his decision for many years. He did not desire to care for a family he could not support.

While Earl Roderick may be their liege lord, their loyalty belongs to the king of Logres, King Uther Pendragon. He allows all knights to borrow the lands for their own well-being, and in the process he allows prosperity. Only 40-days of military service is required under the king’s request. Since land has been infected with Saxons during the times of Vortigern, the land has been ripe for war.

In this case, during the spring months, the knights were called to muster to join Uther’s army. Earl Roderick called his forces forth, dividing them as was needed. With the pressing matters of war, Earl Roderick knighted a new man, Sir Guy the Dark. He placed the new knights under Sir Ameg of Tilshead’s command. Sir Ameg, already a banneret knight, swelled his force to that of six knights.

Earl Roderick’s personal force marched east to the border of Sussex and Hampshire, close to the city of Chichester. Among army was a great host. The knights even had a chance to spot Sir Madoc, the bastard son of King Uther from a distance. Even for it’s size, there was a foul scent of disloyalty. Many lords did not send an army. Most prominent was missing was the Duke of Cornwall’s forces.

The host was still enough to persuade the attack to continue. His plan was rather simple: attack the borders of Sussex and kill as many Saxons as possible. Logres had better equipment, better horses (or in most cases, having horses) and the king was confident in his victory. The spirit of the battle was fierce, and it was clear that Uther desired to bring the Saxon invading forces to their knees.

The enemy, King Ælle, had amassed a counter force. The king of south Saxons was not able to muster a force large enough to compete, but he continued to field his troops. The foul Saxons have no concept of honor or prudence!

The two armies met on the border and clashed on a small creek, Mearcred. The two forces clashed, the Salisbury knights huddling close for a powerful charge. After successful initial charge, the banneret allowed the knights to find their glory as they wish. Many were able to kill a few Saxons, but with the exception of one knight, Sir Gerin.

Sir Gerin was looking for an enemy with the greatest glory. He fought deeply in the armies ranks searching for a noble to kill, and perhaps ransom. In the distance, he noticed a man who at least seven-foot tall. He knew if he would kill the beast, he would gain great notoriety in the eyes of Earl. He charged. The giant took a single swing of his weapon, a small tree, a dismounted the knight. He than continued to beat him into the ground until he no longer moved.

The fighting lasted for more than two hours, and in the end, King Uther won the day. King Ælle routed his forces deeper in Sussex. All involved knew this was a crippling blow to the south Saxons, but if they would press, they would have to deal with a much larger force.

All knights returned home with glory and tales for the women folk. Gerin, an ugly man to begin with, left with more scars.

The celebration continued into the year, so a decisive victory from the Saxons came with total surprise. Another kingdom of Saxons, one lead by King Aethelswith sailed north with many warriors reinforced by another Saxon King, Hengest. They landed on near Maldon. The duke of region, Lucius, musters an army south of Colchester. He is defeated, and forced to retreat back to castle of Colchester. British men and women are enslaved by the hundreds, and thralled into working as a Saxon labor force.

The sad news did not dishearten the knights of Salisbury. Maldon and Colchester was so far away, and they were here safe in Salisbury. This other upstart kingdom would suffer the same fate as Sussex from the hands of Uther, it was only a matter of time.

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Year 484, Summer
The Death of Dulan the Red

Year 484: The Death of Dulan the Red

Knights Involved
Sir Harvis, Sir Moris, Sir Dulan the Red, Sir Gerin

As summer approaches, the knights return to their homes to deal with the their newly acquired lands. Before the time of their knighthood, it was a wards responsibility to take care of the land. Now they are of station, the hands change to the father’s heir.

The peace of home life is short lived. Earl Roderick places them in their first real duty, patrol. The patrol was the knights first real border patrol, Earl Roderick allowed their old mentor, Sir Elad, to help them gain their wits about the land. They gather their horse, arms, weapons and their very own squire. Sir Elad also introduced a new knight, Sir Gerin of Burwick Saint James. Sir Elad claimed that Sir Arnold was busy; he was planned to put his skilled tongue to use in other counties.

From Sarum Castle, the knights travel the east and follow the river Bourne. While on patrol, a young man approaches them with terror in his eyes. He says a group of knights is raiding village of Allington. The knight of the manor is away, and if they do not help, the village and the manor will be pillaged. Sir Elad commands the knights to charge.

When they approach the knights, the raiding knights were stealing a cow and any valuables that were light enough to carry from the manor Sir Elad recognizes the armor design on sight. He deduced that the knights are from a neighboring county of Silchester, and in particular from the city of Levcomagus. Sir Elad leads the charge, with the rest of the knights beside him. He broke off from the combat to deal with the leader, who was posted in an overlooking hill.

The charge was a mistake.

Sir Moris and Sir Harvis where defeated by two separate knights of equal skill. Sir Gerin was attempting to gain the front line advantage, but to his chagrin, he was kicked from his horse when he pushed it too far. He, too, was defeated by the Levcomagus. This was not without consequence, all knights were wounded with the exception of one Levcomagus knight.

Sir Dulan the Red suffered the worst. A powerful blow from a lance formed a fatal wound to the great warrior, and fell to the raiders. He slowly died as he watched Sir Elad return, routing the rest of the wounded Silchester knights.

Sir Elad was able to save many of the young knight’s lives, but he Dulan was far too gone. He was body was returned to his home, Winterbourne Stoke. Sadly, the heir of the manor was not of age, and a ward was forced to take over until the age of knighthood. Sir Selivant, the cousin of Sir Dulan the Red, was given stewardship of the manor until Michael, the heir, took over.

With heavy hearts, the knights were carted off to Sarum castle for chirugenry and to lick their wounds from their attack.

They learned, while healing, that the attack was not simply a group of knights seeking plunder. Earl Roderick had a long standing rivalry for Lady Jenna against the Steward of Levcomagus. In the end, she picked the Salisbury Earl instead of the steward. He was not pleased, and he planned a secret war against Roderick. That was more than sixteen years ago.

The knights picked up rivalry, gaining a heart seeded with hatred. They vowed to bring Levcomagus the same pain they brought them.

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Year 484, Spring
The First Task: A Bear Hunt

Characters Involved
Harvis, Dulan the Red, Arnold the Portly, Moris

The story begins with four squires in the County of Salisbury. Not the modern Salisbury you know, but one set during a period of war, political strife and knights. The county was ruled by the energetic and loyal, Earl Roderick, a man of great pride and a strong sense of duty.

The time was spring, and one castle in particular, Vagon, was where four squires sat in the main courtyard. The squires have been trained here for many years. While they have been esquired to many knights, they know their time is soon approaching for the glorious days of knighthood. Harvis, Dulan the Red, Arnold the Portly and Moris awaited directions for training as usual from the castellan of castle, Sir Elad.

After a vigorous day of training, Sir Elad determined he needed a task to be accomplished from the budding knights. He asked for each for the squires to test their skills against each other in both a skill of lance and horse racing. Eventually, Arnold the Portly was able to gain supremacy in the two contests. Sir Elad gave his true intentions, he wished to see which would make the best knight for a position of leadership. In light of the contests, Arnold the Portly was given stewardship of the group.

The task was simple, the town of Imber has been having trouble with a man-eating bear. He has no true knights to send to deal with the problem, so he tasks the squires to deal with the bear problem, by doing what knights do best: killing the beast. The four squires begin their journey as men of arms into the village close to Tilshead, about a days journey. Without much fanfare, the squires leave with armor and weapons. The roads were rough, considering the difficulty of riding a horse on rolling hills, but the trip was rather uneventful.

When the group approached the rather modest, nearly barren, village they noticed the shortage of farming implements. Upon entering the village, they met with their contact, an old priest, Old Garr, who acted as a guide for the town. He explains the situation, the village receives most of it’s sustenance from hunting in the area. When a body was found mauled in the woods, most hunters will now not dare to venture into the woods. The creature has yet to be spotted, but they are fairly certain it was a bear. To prepare for the bear, the squires quickly prepared their hunting clothing; which gave must greater mobility but at the cost of protection. Thankfully, all squires still had access to a shield.

Old Garr directed the knights, by the behest of the knights, into two groups. One was lead by Old Garr and was followed by Moris and Arnold. The other, which contained Harvis and Dulan the Red. Both had their own leads on the bear; with daylight hours wasting, the two groups quickly leaped into action.

The smaller group, led by Harvis and Dulan was not successful in the finding the bear. Instead, they encountered, deep in the forest, the sounds of thirty-dogs questing. Not expecting a large group of hunters in this remote land, they waited on full guard. Suddenly, the baying ceased. Quickly surverying the area, the Dulan discovered a strange looking beast resting by a forest stream. The knights attempted to approach the creature, but it was a cunning beast. It ran before the squires could even get within touching distance.

Not long after the beast ran into the underbrush, a knight appeared. He claimed to be searching for Glatisant, a strange looking beast. The group confirmed the appearance of the creature, and directed him to the way of the departing beast. After he dashed into the forest, they discussed the lack of information of the mysterious knight. He wore arms, making him a noble, but it was distinctively Gales. They chalked it up to an unimportant event and returned back to Imber. They did not know, the man they encountered was Sir Pellinore, king of Gomeret, a kingdom in Gales.

The second, larger group was more successful. With Old Garr’s knowledge of the land, they were able to find the bear a few hours before dusk. The two squires mounted an assault from foot. Arnold the Portly was able to land the killing blow, but not before Moris was hit soundly. He survived, but the blow left it’s mark on the nascent knight.

The return trip was celebrated with gusto and danger. The two groups consolidated into one, and celebrated the skinning of the bear. They planned to return to Vagon castle and present the skin to Sir Elad. As the celebration journey continued, the squires encountered banditry. Five bandits held a man at sword point, and three others attempted to steal a cow from his barn. The squires, being valorous knights-in-training, dashed to help the man The battle turned quickly to the squires favor, leaving only one surviving member of the bandits.

The bandit requested to be spared. He promised that he never wanted to commit banditry, but was forced to steal because he was hungry and he was pushed out of his village when he had no work. Execution is not within a knight’s jurisdiction, never mind a squires. If they wanted to bring him in from trail, they would have to bring him to the King’s Justice, which would involve them to bring him to Earl Roderick, the Earl of Salisbury.

Harvis and Dulan decided the man should be turned over to the Earl, and let justice decide his fate. Moris and Arnold was of the opinion that they should allow the man a chance for redemption. Eventually, the group allowed the man to become a monk-in-training with the help of Old Garr. Harvis and Dulan agreed, but with disapproval.

The group returned to Imber and continued to celebrate into the morning. Harvis drank a little too much; his body found drunk under a tree. His body was living, but very stiff.

The group returned to Sir Elad, who was impressed with Arnold’s victory against the bear. He coined him “the Fatman”. The rest of the group looked up at him with ironic envy. The celebrating did not last long, for Sir Elad desired to go to Sarum castle; the home of the Salisbury county court.

During their stay in the Sarum Castle, the squires have one of their first experiences with the court without the assistance of a knight. The squires had no problem being allowed entrance; they learn that Sir Elad is not only the castellan of Vagon castle but also the Marshall for the county. After they were escorted to the Earl, he was given the gift of the bear’s skin. He was quite impressed by the tenacity and skill of the hunters, and took the skin for himself as a gift.

Afterwards, they were released and allowed to mingle with the court populace. Most of the squires were attracted to the many eligible women of court. Most had their sights on Lady Adwen with her many manors. But some where attracted to the older Lady Indeg with not as much land, but she had the choice to pick her own husband. In the end, most spent time simply gaining their bearings in the rather large city and adjoining castle. As evening approached, the squires were invited to dinner with the Earl. An honor, indeed!

While the dinner was pleasant – the squires were placed at the far end of the table – the true honor came after the dinner. Earl Roderick decided the time was right for squires to be promoted to full knighthood. He asked for personal opinions. Sir Elad stood up, declaring the squires who defeated the bear to be brave and skilled, therefore eligible. The Earl asks each squire at the table and not unexpectedly, all agree.

Earl Roderick announces the ceremony will begin first thing tomorrow, and a vigil will be set that night. Most knights pass the vigil, with the exception of Harvis, who falls asleep. Being a Pagan Knight, he claimed, he does not need to worry about the Christian vigils.

In the morning, all oaths are spoken and all squires are transformed into new knights.

And they are now known as Sir Harvis, Sir Arnold the Portly, Sir Dulan the Red and Sir Moris.

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