485
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Soundtrack: Hatebreed, "In Ashes They Shall Reap"

Journal of the First Session for Year 485
Journal of the Second Session for Year 485

After a complete period is over, the GM notes go public. These notes match the state the morning of the session.

Calendar

  • Shrove Tuesday, Feb 27 - Great feast at High Wycomb, followed by a wake and memorial service on Ash Wednesday. Players hunt rabid wolves and possibly are waylaid by Saxon murderers.
  • Mar 02, Friday - Voraxingluvius strikes early and leaves quickly
  • Mar 03, Saturday - Olyd sells fine tapestries
  • Pentacost, June 3 - Knighting Ceremony and celebration feast
  • July 3 - Mustering of troops at Salisbury
  • July 26, Tuesday - Battle of Mearcred Creek
  • Aug 3 - Dismissal

Ash Wednesday

The player characters are yet squires, gathering at High Wycomb for the wake of Sir Certher's father. Immediately after the service they are struck by a wondrous adventure. Therein should lie the seed for a later coming inglorious lust that conquers a good man's resolve. The father, Sir Cergwyn, was buried on Ash Wednesday, 484. During the year Sir Certher erected a monument and was to have a memorial wake on Ash Wednesday of 485. Sir Certher trained with the player knights and grew close to them, so he invited them all to the wake. On Shrove Tuesday Sir Certher is throwing a great feast for all his commons plus a refined table for noble guests. It is here that the action takes place.

Ethyl (Eadhild) is leading a coven of commoners in the hamlet of Ceorlham, just at the edge of the broad plateau upon which High Wycomb sits. Ceorlham sits just within the beech forest covering much of the western side of the Chiltern Hills. Commoners in Ceorlham earn their livelihood by cutting timber. These woodsmen are really the descendants of a Saxon cynn who deserted the battlefield in Vortigern's wars against the Picts. They fled to the Chiltern Hills to settle among the breaks in silent anonymity. The warriors took Cymric slaves as wives to mother their children. Their leader, a priestess and Waelcyrige of Wotan, was the only woman of the cynn and instead chose a string of lovers to beget many children. She bade the family learn the Cymric tongue and manners so as to blend with the Cymrian commoners. She has since become the wise old matriarch of Ceorlham, who has a charm to heal a wounded finger or the balm of St. Joseph that cleanses a wound.

During the Shrove Tuesday festivities one of the local lads, the son of the smith at High Wycomb village, goes missing. This in itself is strange given the anticipation all in the village held for the holiday. A few hours later the steward approaches Sir Certher, who is at table alongside the player squires, to tell the boy's finding and the tale of how he went missing. According to the smith, his son had been hunting quail in the wood when rabid wolves attacked him. The boy shimmied up a tree and waited for the wolves to leave on their own accord. Then the lad ran home with the story. If Sir Certher is intended to go along with the player squires (should they be relatively few in number) then he asks them to be ready at dawn for the hunt. If there are three or more player squires then Sir Certher begs their investigation into the issue as he goes on a full day fast and observance for his father's memorial.

The squires ride in hunt for the feral wolves, intending to fell them with spears. Remember to have the players not wear their metal armor for the hunt and ride their rouncies. Nor will Sir Certher commit his hounds to the chase. On the path to the wolves the characters run across a young maid gathering herbs by a spring. This is the beautiful young Ethyl, who will be startled and frightened of the player characters - as all maidens alone in the forest ought to be when a bevy of armed men happen upon them. Unbeknownst to the players, Ethyl will immediately take herself home and call up her coven to set ambush.

The spoor is easy to find. In their addled state the rabid wolves cannot use their normal hunting instincts. Their Avoidance is effectively a 2. The squires likely find the spoor by seeing the bloody trail left when dragging an ewe deep into the forest. Should the squires reach the wolves, they will feverishly fight to their final breath. There is one wolf for every two player squire (round up.)

Rabid Wolf
Glory Won 5
SIZ 5 DEX 22 STR 12 CON 12
Move 8
Armor 2 (natural hide)
Damage 3d6
Hit Points 17; Unconscious 4; Major Wound 12; Knockdown 5; Healing Rate 2;
Combat Skills: Bite 20
Skills: Avoidance 2.
Distemper: Wolf attacks on sight. Clearly distempered due to the frothy foam at the mouth. Any character receiving a wound must make a CON check or become infected. An infected character needs Chirurgy. Roll normally with no modifiers. 3 successes are needed to remove the infection. A failure adds one to the total needed. A critical success heals two.

The squires were spied entering the forest unarmored by Ethyl as she gathered herbs in a stream. She summoned her cynn, took up arms, and they clothed themselves under cover of robe and cowl to kill the squires. The commoners behave as bandits, hiding in ambush for the squires' return. Success with an Awareness roll will cause the squires to see the hooded men just as they spring from the brush to shoot their bows, negating any surprise attacks. Critical success means the squires noted the ambush some 50 paces off and may be able to gain advantage. There is one bandit for every squire, plus Ethyl. Only Ethyl wears armor.

Ceorlham Bandits
Glory Won 10
SIZ 12, DEX 10, STR 12, CON 12, APP 8
Move 4
Armor 4 (hides and padding)
Hit Points 24; Unconscious 6; Major Wound 12; Knockdown 12; Healing Rate 2
Damage 4d6/3d6 (Bow)
Combat Skills: Dagger 8, Axe 8, Bow 11
Skills: Awareness 18, Hunting 16.
Traits: Cruel 13, Valorous 8, Suspicious 16.
Passions: Hate (knights) 12.

Ethyl will be seen in battle as the only one wearing mail, giving her a distinct advantage. She will, however, take great pains to hide her gender and identity. She is still quite young and unskilled with her dagger. She hides in the trees in bird form and drops on the strongest looking combatant with her dagger. If half her cynn fall she will flee. Her knowledge of the wood and innate magic will help her easily evade the squires regardless of their hunting skill. Due to the remoteness and lonesome nature of the hidden Saxons, Sir Certher will recognize nary a one of them.

If the squires are wounded they can visit the hamlet's wise woman, Elthead, for a poultice. She will tend their wounds while her daughter, the very same Ethyl who earlier assaulted them, coyly assists. Their is no sign of Ethyl's earlier adventure. She has magically restored herself, at least in appearance. The players should be none the wiser.

Court

Earl Hertford holds court in Hertford.

The Earl states that the King's Marshal, Sir Brastias, has ordered all worthy squires of their majority be made post haste into full knights. Whichever worthy squire has a sponsor will plea their case and immediately succeed. The Earl then goes on to sponsor Squire Certher directly.

Special Guests

Sir Elmig, son of Duke Lucius of Caercolun

Gossip

"The Saxons are at our gate! Who's to know the heart of a devil? Duke Lucius' son says they're traveling north; but, I say they'll be coming straight to our shire instead! Whither shall we flee?"
"Flee, loves? Nay. Sir Elmig knows what he says and those brutes will march to Caercolun this summer."
"Then do you think we should send our knights to the Duke? I hear a whole new fleet of them have arrived this winter. How can the Duke survive such an onslought?"
"King Uther is asking for all worthy squires to be knighted early this spring so that he has men to fight against the Saxons himself. I think the Earl will ride with the King! How could he do otherwise?"
"Aye, so do I. But will Cornwall come as well? He has the best nights in the land, second to our own Earl of course; but he's not answered the King's muster in two years now."

Flirtations

Not all the eligible young women of the Earl's court will flirt with the young knights.

  • Gwynhwyfar(5)/Sir Rhodri - Gwynhwyfar appreciates the contemplative mind and careful demeanor of Sir Rhodri.
  • Feunete(5)/Sir Morial - Sir Aragore sponsors Sir Morial for knighthood due to his skill at arms and recommends him to his niece.
  • Diane(15),Gwynhwyfar(5),Morcheidys(5),Tryamour(5x2)/Sir Madog - Sir Madog is a relatively handsome young knight and many of the eligible ladies at the Pentecostal court flirt with him to some degree.
  • Diane(15)/Sir Rhys - Diane takes heart in simply trying to get the attention of this poor, rather ugly man who was neglected by the other ladies.

News

Sir Elmig: Spies from Essex say another Saxon army has landed in the east! He is King Aethelswith, and he is amassing troops along the roads to the north. Duke Caercolun is ready and will drive these demons back; but, we have need of more knights at our side.

Intrigue

Success: “Merlin is absent because he is so exhausted from using so much magic last year to help King Uther win a victory in the Battle of Damen. But the king has promised to help Duke Ulfius of Silchester.
“You do know, don’t you, that the mages must sleep when they use their powers to such a great extent? And the king is so impetuous without the magician’s guidance. I hope he is not acting too hastily and fighting Sussex when Essex is at our doorstep!”
"The King is feeling pressure as his domain to the south and east are both seeing greater Saxon boat landings."

Critical Success: "Gagyr ap Agragore, the praetor of Royston, is absent this Pentecost because he spends more time with Earl Huntington than Earl Hertford. Rumor has it that the praetor's daughter will marry Earl Huntington's eldest son."

Fumble: "Earl Aralyd's daughter Ilaine is madly in love with Sir Elmig. She begged the Earl to serve Sir Elmig at the Pentecost feast personally."

Earl's Conversation

We muster one month hence to ride southward. At Silchester we meet the King to prove our worth against King Ælle of Sussex. Caercolun won’t be there, at the king’s orders. May Duke Lucius' worthy knights hold of the heathen savages another year while we fight Saxons in Sussex.

Events

Should any player knight need chirurgery while at Ceorlham, Elthead will heal their wounds out of service to her lord. Ethyl will then try her charm power on the wounded knight when she deems him most vulnerable. Give her a temporary +5 APP for her charm ability. Should a knight (or squire to be knighted) have intimate relations with Ethyl she will use her "Fruit of Lust" ability to ensure she bears a son. She will also try her best to make the nobleman give his love to her. She's looking for deliverance from poverty as well as a possible way to gain stature with which to perform nefarious Saxonry.

Sir Rhowydd of Windridge punches Sir Tydig of Cyrchester Hall when Sir Tydig is unable to hold down his drink at the Pentecostal Feast. Sir Tydig empties his stomach and it splashes upon the boot of Lord Caramig of Hemel Hempstead. The hot headed Windridge, already a subject of tension with Lord Berkhamstead, takes insult at Lord Berkhmastead's vassal vomiting on his own lord. Sir Windridge rashly punches the drunken Sir Tydig in the Earl's hall. The breach of hospitality is punished promptly by Lord Hemel Hempstead before the entire eschille. The assembly judges Sir Windridge returned a just blow but owes a humble apology to Earl Hertford. The Earl shows grace by accepting the earlier apology of Lord Hemel Hempstead, offering a lamb cutlet for Sir Tydig's eye in the morning, and a fair young common lass to tend Sir Rhowydd's wounds with aloe.

Diane wished to go hunting coneys with falcons. All the new knights are invited, as is Morcheidys. Diane takes a liking to the just Sir Rhys and truly wants to befriend him. She urges him to do his utmost to kill Saxons in the Pendragon's army. Sir Elmig tells his news and speaks of Æthelswith.

Uther summons his army to meet at the city of Salisbury in early summer. Earl Hertford comes with all his knights, including all the player knights. The Earl assigns them to a unit led by Sir Caramig of Hemel Hempstead (Battle skill 19), the old knight who taught them. The new knights should feel comfortable with him leading. He is a banneret and also has his own 7 vassal knights. It is noted before the battle that some of Uther’s vassals did not show up for the muster. Among them, the most prominent absent lord is Duke Gorlois of Cornwall.

Sir Certher calls up ten liegemen to stand guard this year at Ceorlham.

Sir Bleger shares his love of Virgil with Sir Morial, and offers Sir Morial to be the first to read his composition in Cymric based on the Aeneid. Sir Bleger has translated the first book and clearly poured over every word choice. He quotes two passages from Virgil in classical latin:

  • the steel my right hand uses is not feeble; blood flows from the wounds I deal. - In speaking with Sir Morial before battle.
  • all these you see are helpless and unburied.

After the battle most are eager to go home. The Earl or Sir Certher will offer their chirurgeons for any in need.

See GPC for Battle of Mearcred Creek (Mecred's- Burnsted).

Duke Lucius fairs poorly at the Battle of Colchester. Refugees are pouring into Quinqueroi Forest. Some have made it as far westward as Hertford town, erecting a small tent village outside the walls. About 150 refugees is all that are at the city gates; but, their begging for food and shelter is causing concern amongst the urban folk. Disease is also setting in for the refugees.

Should the player knights go raiding through Sussex and are spotted, they will meet with a unit of Archer Hearthgeneats (number 11, page 44 in Book of Armies)

Christmas Court

Earl Hertford is pensive. He urges his knights to practice their temperance throughout the winter months and hone their battle skills. A war is brewing in the east and prospects are grim.

Should any player knight offer food or comfort to the refugees a Generous check is warranted.

Special Winter Modifiers

See GPC.

Manor Events

Sir Certher of High Wycomb: The manor had a normal harvest of game and produce. Just after the stone for Sir Cergwyn was raised, bandits came. They looted some farmland and defoiled Sir Cergwyn's grave, shattering the headstone. The bandits were never apprehended as they came when the lord was at Mearcred Creek battling. The stone was replaced by the Christmas holiday; but, at another libram expense.

Sir Rhodri of Bushey: The manor was blessed with gentle weather and a good harvest. The steward poorly stored the grain and a fair bit was lost. In addition, a ram was lost to a wild dog pack. Even with these misfortunes the manor earned 4£ extra for the player to spend as he will next year.

Sir Rhys of Boxbourne: A wandering merchant from Aquitaine passed along tapestries from the court of the Frankish King Claudas. They are indeed fine tapestries and the price is too good to refuse. The player knight (or his steward) purchases the tapestries, putting the player knight in debt by 3£. The player knight must find a way this winter to raise the funds, possibly loaning the money. Add 8£ worth of treasure to the knights booty.

Sir Blegir of Shefford: A pestilence strikes Shefford Manor's rye fields. The people are hungry throughout the winter and very little grain is given to the lord. The manor earned 3£ and Sir Blegir is now 2£ in debt.

Sir Madog of Harlow: The Lord was kind to Sir Madog this year. The fields were blessed with ample sun and warm rains. This year's grain crop was excellent, as were the luscious watermelons and cucumbers for which the manor is famous. The manor earned 12£ this year, giving Sir Madog a hefty stockpile of coins with which to improve his manor.

Sir Morial of Lewarewich: Voraxingluvius was seen rampaging the wastes about the manor fields. Flame was set to forest and field, with the hamlet of Brackengrot burnt to the ground along with all its crops. Your kindly steward, may God lead him on a path of righteousness, organized the commoners to house and feed the refugees. Surprisingly, fate turned for the better as your fields had more labor and the remaining crops were bountiful. The manor was able to sustain itself and your own noble lifestyle without debt.

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