486
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Still circle stands unbroken
Silver chalice of the soul
In wood of Wotan's wold
Where maidens wakeless wait
Amidst the beech beats Britain's breast
Barred by blade I bear
A chaste man's clothes cast off
Unclad, communion claim of cure

Soundtrack: Dio, "Don't Talk to Strangers"

Journal for 486

Court

  • Earl Hertford holds court in Hertford. Pentecost is 20 May 486.
  • Sir Tydig is healing poorly and must to retire from service. He still has an obligation to Earl Hertford until another can replace him. His squire, a cousin by the name of Carafin, is 19 and will be knighted in 688 so that he can take the place of Sir Tydig. In this eventuality, Sir Tydig will remain the lord of Crychester Hall and Squire Carafin will become his household knight. The strain will grate at Sir Crychester and be an everlasting source of shame.
  • Get to know maids in waiting better
    • Diane and Rhys blissfully hunt with falcons together. They are chaperoned by Morcheidys and Tryamour and whatever other player knights wish to attend. Diane seems to be losing interest in flirting with the pages.
    • Morcheidys and Tryamour both try to capture Sir Madog's attention. They bring him on the falconry hunts and strike up conversations with him.
    • Obilot is available but player knights must seek her out. She is retiring, preferring song and embroidery over courtly gossip. She will be interested in anyone who will sing or play music with her. She also enjoys reading, writing and telling stories of the fey folk.
    • Gwenhwyfar and Rhodri discuss how to conquer the witch. If marriage is proposed the Earl will agree; but, permission from the father in Brittany must be obtained somehow. This could lead to a fine solo adventure or trip by the knights in a year to come.
    • Feunete question's Sir Morial's belief in Christ and the validity of the seven virtues, particularly the one of chastity.
    • Sir Aramine of Ad Ansam is upset and feels his honor was wounded at the Christmas Court of 485. He has no just cause to be upset with Sir Rhodri and so simmers at the Pentacost Court, though he makes his disdain for Sir Rhodri quite clear. Sir Aramine does continue to get the attention of Damsel Gwenhwyfar, thus showing his hand that he lusts for her.

Sir Aramine of Ad Ansam; Glory Gained 50, Glory 1,800
Attributes: SIZ 14, DEX 11, STR 14, CON 14, APP 11
Move 3
Armor 10 + shield
Unconscious 7; Major Wound 14; Knockdown 14; Hit Points 28; Healing Rate 3
Damage 5d6
Combat Skills: Dagger 10, Lance 15, Spear 10, Sword 19; Battle 15, Horsemanship 15.
Skills: Awareness 10, Courtesy 10, First Aid 10, Heraldry 10, Hunting 10, Gaming 3
Traits: Valorous 19
Passions: Loyalty (lord) 15, Love (Gwenhyfwyr) 15
Horse: Charger (6d6).

Special Guests

Gossip

"Praetor Giles has missed the court two years in a row, and not sent word that he is gone to King Uther's Pentecost feast with Earl Huntington. Something is amiss and the Earl is hot to address it, let me tell you!"
“But isn’t it terrible about lands 'round Maldon and Colchester! My ma has three cousins living with her now! Those horrible savages! Oh, it’s the end of Britain, I say. I pray daily that King Uther strikes every one of them dead!”
“Listen, darlings, it’s everywhere. My last lover, that monk, told me the vile Franks are even worse! They’ve overrun the last Roman outpost in Gaul. Barbarians are everywhere.”
“And who can be surprised? Since the Great City of Rome fell, everything there has been dismal. Maybe it’s the end of the world.”
“But aren’t you afraid that they’re coming here? Those savages are probably marching here right now!”
”Marshal Silchester’s squire says that Merlin is back. The kitchen had his usual plate of food out . He’s looking a little wan and tired.”
“Well I’ll say you would, too, if you had to sleep for six months without eating! Like a bloody bear, he is!”

News

Marshal Silchester: “It’s time for revenge. Prince Madoc is going to take a force and harry those Saxons around Colchester. Most of them are scattered in bands now, and we should be able to kill a lot of them before they even know we’re there. Earl Hertford is invited to bring his knights raiding.”
Abbot Colchester: “The city is not besieged; but, the Saxons stay on the northern shores of the Thames estuary building log homes and heathen altars. The army of the kingdom must rise and crush these ungodly invaders!”

Earl's Conversation

  • The player knights are on garrison duty and expected to take a long patrol. The equivalent of two eschilles are on garrison duty this year, far more than usual. Lord Radlett will lead the garrison this summer.
  • The remainder of Earl Hertford's knights are traveling to Caercolun to fight Æthelswith, with Lord Hemel Hempstead taking command of the Hertford army on campaign this year. Henceforth, Lord Hemel Hempstead will be the Marshal. The Earl himself will attend to matters at home.

Intrigue

Critical Success:
Berkhamstead is sending shield money for himself and Sir Tydig instead of attending duties this summer. The Earl is none too pleased because he had hoped to send Berkhamstead to lead the troops in Caercolun. So instead the Earl is sending Hemel Hempstead to fight. This deprives the Earl of a trusted advisor on his trip to Royston.
Success:
Sir Elmig and Duke Lucius are unimpressed at the light deployment of Hertford's knights. Although they welcome all the help they can get, the general feeling is that Earl Hertford is too cautious and somewhat ungenerous.
Fumble:
The Earl is displeased with the new knights and doesn’t trust that Lord Hemel Hempstead has trained them adequately.

Events

  • Earl Aralyd goes to visit Royston but refuses the hospitality of the city, instead staying at Henlow Manor. This is very costly for Sir Henlow and quite embarrassing for Praetor Giles.
    • Give Sir Henlow an opportunity to describe his manor hall and estate.
  • Back to Castle Hertford, the Earl sends them on patrol to Bishop Stratford, up the Thames, across the Chilterns, up the Ickneid Way and back to Castle Hertford. The four party members are led by another banneret, Lord Girngair of Radlett, since Lord Hemel Hempstead is now Marshal and leading the Earl's troops in Caercolun. These are the planned stops:
    1. Potter's Bar
    2. Bishop Stratford (long day's ride)
    3. Boxbourne
    4. London (long day's ride)
    5. Radlett (long day's ride)
    6. Bushey (short day's ride)
    7. Watford
    8. Rickmansworth
    9. High Wycomb
    10. Lewarewich
    11. Wilbury
    12. Berkhamstead
    13. Harpenden (very hard day's ride)
    14. Dunstable (short day's ride)
    15. St. Alban's
    16. Hertford
  • At Bishop Stratford, most haunted manor in Hertfordshire (maybe all Logres), rumors of Saxons prowling the woods keep the patrol waiting a few days while scouts look about. Nothing is found and Lord Girngair decides to split the patrol into two. The player knights continue patrol while Lord Girngair and three others stay to handle any Saxon incursions. Lord Girngair also sends for footmen from Castle Hertford.
  • Give Sir Boxbourne an opportunity to describe his manor hall and estate.
    • Will meet Olyd at Boxbourne. He specializes in the procurement of fine tapestries, wondrous elixirs, tomes of the ancient lore, and fantastic devices of all manners. He will, for a nominal fee, find that which a player knight might need. Generally he is found in London under the name Olyd the Tinker.
  • Give Sir Bushey an opportunity to describe his manor hall and estate.
    • On the way to the village the party passes by a dejected traveller standing by the roadside. Should they stop and speak with him, he will say his name is Pwyny and was turned away at the village when he begged for a bowl of barley and cream. If Sir Rhodri himself is generous then Pwyny offers apologies for cursing the lord of the hall and claims he'll do a service to Sir Bushey if he may. Pwyny is really a fairy in disguise and can offer a blessing to Sir Bushey at some point in the future.
  • Investigate at High Wycomb
    • Old witch cannot be harmed until the Circle is Broken. The Breaking of the Circle represents the fulfillment of her oath to Odin. Until the oath is fulfilled none may harm her. The presence of a Cymrian male, particularly a druid such a Merlin, within the Circle will break it. She is then able to regain her youth and attack outright.
    • Sword Lake
      • Should the party not go searching themselves, an old woodsman of Churchridge describes a shrine to an evil god found out in the woods. He can direct them there himself. If the party does go searching they'll find an altar to Wotan deep in the woods, at the source of the spring leading to the brook where they first found Ethyl. At and around the shelter they will find the detritus of the giant living there.
      • First encounter shows the Chiltern Witch on the crest of a hill overlooking the spring and altar. She commands the player knights to turn back. If they do not immediately heed her words she will send a hapless, three-eyed giant to crush them. The witch leaves during the fight with the giant.
      • After the giant is defeated Merlin steps out of the woods and curses his luck for fate having given him such young knights. He heals all who remain alive and commands them to follow him for the glory of their king. He tells them to leave their squires and horses behind, then plunges into deep wood. They climb the crest and come down into a lake filled vale.
      • The Chiltern Witch is now full on Valkyrie and rushes at them. Merlin tells the knights to stop her. She attacks as a Nukalvee, growing extra arms in the charge down into the vale. Her main goal is to stop Merlin and only wants to get past the player knights.
      • Merlin gets Excalibur, of course.

Three-Eyed Giant: Glory Won 100
Attributes: SIZ 30, DEX 7, STR 24, CON 25, APP 5
Move 3
Armor 15
Unconscious 13; Major Wound 25; Knockdown 25; Hit Points 55; Healing Rate 5
Damage 9d6
Combat Skills: Small Tree 18, Thrown Boulder 12 (7d6)
Skills: Avoidance 4
Prudent Modifier: +5

Chiltern Witch/Valkyrie: Glory Won 100
Attributes: SIZ 25, DEX 8, STR 20, CON 15, APP 18
Move: 4
Armor 5
Unconscious 12; Major Wound 15; Knockdown 25; Hit Points 45; Healing Rate 5
Damage 5d6
Combat Skills: Club* 14 (–1d6), Sword* 16
Significant Skills: Avoidance 0
Valorous Modifier: +0
Multiple Attacks: The Chiltern Witch may make any number of sword or club attacks per round, each using its appropriate skill value (i.e., of 16 or 14, respectively); each attack may be directed at a separate opponent within reach, or it may make 2 sword attacks at the same foe. A character attacked by both must defend separately against the two attacks, as if he were attacked by two different opponents (see “Multiple Opponents” in Pendragon, Chapter 6).

  • Give Sir Lewarewich an opportunity to describe his manor hall and estate.
  • Stay a night in Berkhamstead. A courtesy success by any member of the party indicates that they should attend the knight banneret at Berkhamstead for an evening. Lord Hemel Hempstead is out and so it is the patrol’s duty to honor Lord Berkhamstead instead.
    • Lady Gwenonwy, wife to Sir Aramine, was unable to attend Pentacost court this year due to being in labor. She and her daughter are doing well; but, she is hungry for news of the court. She questions Sir Morial as to what happened during the Pentacost court.
    • Lord Berkhamstead is jealous and resentful of Lord Hemel Hempstead, whose castle can be seen across the lowlands between. Not only did Lord Hemel Hempstead "steal" Windridge Estate; but, he has greater station as army commander of the Earl (or so Lord Berkhamstead believes.) Lord Berkhamstead feels himself more worshipful at battle as well as more worthy of higher station due to his valuable estate investments, which raise more funds for the Earl. Lord Berkhamstead's wounded pride only makes him more vengeful and jealous, which he takes out by providing meager hospitality to the patrol and forcing them to eat with the lower liegemen. He does however, perhaps to rub salt in the player knights' wounded pride, sit Sir Morial at a position of honor next to his younger brother and sister-in-law. Should the player knights complain they can easily affront Lord Berkhamstead, so care must be taken. The rule of hospitality forbids Lord Berkhamstead to outright attack the player knights, not to mention the fact that they entered his lands in service of the Earl. A clear warning can be given to the players not to enter the realm of Lord Berkhamstead, either his demesne or that of his vassals, without invite or without command of the Earl.
  • After reporting to the Earl that the Chiltern Witch is no more, the Earl will visit High Wycomb personally and then announce that he will award the hand of Morcheidys to Sir Madog. The wedding can be as soon as desired.
  • Should any characters go to Caercolun to fight the East Saxons, they will find that the Saxons roam deep into the Quinqeuroi Forest. Æthelswith has taken all the lands south of the River Chelmer, including Chelmsford and Maldon. Anyone resisting the Saxon forces is either killed or taken into slavery. Briton commoners are subjugated as slaves and kept in their homes to work the fields. Women are regularly raped and the lands are pillaged wherever a Saxon thegn doesn't plan to settle down with his own household. In such unfortunate places where a Saxon thegn does plan to homestead, the Britons are entirely run off or killed. Roving bands of raiders terrorize the Colchester environs. The player knights will have ample opportunity for battle. A result of 1-4 on 1d6 per day allows the party some kind of action. Roll 1d20:
    • 1-5: Raiders can be met throughout the eastern forest. Raiders are 10+1d20 Ceorl Levy and easily driven off by a determined band of knights. On third result use Thegn Herebald unless already encountered.
    • 6-7: Pillaged and burnt manor home where noble damsel or lady is now kept as a slave and regularly violated. There are 9+1d6 Ceorl Levy with great spear and bow along with 2 villainous Heorthgeneats. On second result see 1-5.
    • 8: Knight of Caercolun gone to ground. On third result see 1-5.
    • 9-14: Refugees fleeing for their lives.
    • 15-16: Band of Briton footmen guarding 1d3 wounded knights traveling back to London. On third result see 1-5.
    • 17-18: Marshal Lord Hemel Hempstead leading back his 40-50 knights to Hertfordshire at the end of an unsuccessful campaign. The player knights are asked to return as well, though they are not ordered to do so. After once encountering this result use Refugees instead.
    • 19-20: Thegn Herebald escorting slaves back to work his lands at Willingales. He's accompanied by 3xPKs Screaming Warriors. The Thegn tries to fight another day. After once encountering this result the players find a mass of Saxons that are clearly too large for them to handle.

Saxon Raiders, Ceorl Levy
Glory Gained: 10
Attributes: SIZ 13, DEX 10, STR 10, CON 10, APP 11
Damage: 4d6+1d6 (Great Spear), Healing Rate: 2, Move: 4
Armor: none
HP: 23, Unconscious: 6, Major Wound: 10, Knockdown: 13
Traits: Valorous 10
Skills: Awareness 15, Boating 12, Swimming 10, Great Spear 10

Villainous Heorthgeneats
Glory Gained: 35
Attributes: SIZ 16, DEX 8, STR 14, CON 14, APP 11
Damage: 5d6+1d6 (2H Sword, Great Spear), Healing Rate: 3, Move: 3
Armor: 8
HP: 30, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 14, Knockdown: 16
Traits: Valorous 12
Passions: Honor 10
Skills: Awareness 15, Boating 12, Swimming 10, 2H Sword 18, Great Spear 22

Screaming Warriors
Glory Gained: 15
Attributes: SIZ 16, DEX 8, STR 14, CON 14, APP 11
Damage: 5d6, Healing Rate: 3, Move: 3
Armor: 8+shield
HP: 30, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 14, Knockdown: 16
Traits: Valorous 12
Passions: Honor 10
Skills: Awareness 15, Boating 12, Swimming 10, Sword 16, Spear 15

Thegn Herebald
Glory Gained: 50
Attributes: SIZ 18, DEX 9, STR 15, CON 14, APP 9
Damage: 6d6, Healing Rate: 3, Move: 2
Armor: 10+shield
HP: 31, Unconscious: 8, Major Wound: 13, Knockdown: 18
Traits: Energetic 16, Arbitrary 12, Proud 16, Worldly 17, Reckless 15, Valorous 15
Passions: Rechtschaffenheit 17
Skills: Awareness 10, Boating 10, First Aid 13, Folklore 10, Recognize 10, Battle 11, Horsemanship 14, Sword 17, Spear 14

  • Touch-up: On the night of stabilizing Sir Rhys the player knights will see a plethora of cooking fires on a far off hill. Apparently it is an army encampment. Should they explore it they will find that it is Marshal Hemel Hempstead and the knights of Hertfordshire returning after an unsuccessful campaign. Likewise, if they wait until morning they'll see the army train coming and easily recognize it a Britons.
    • A wagon of the sick and wounded is made available for Sir Rhys.
    • Learn news of Duke Colchester being cut down at the hands of Saxons. Sir Elmig is the heir apparent and will be elevated this Christmas by King Uther.
    • Sir Brastias came and took leadership of the assembled Britons but little was gained. Sir Brastias still fights in Caercolun but the two months of duty for Earl Hertford's men are over and they must prepare their home county for defense.

Christmas Court

  • Should the player knights have succeeded at the Sword Lake to assist Merlin in gaining Excalibur, Earl Hertford asks the player knights to travel to Sarum for Christmas and attend King Uther's court.
  • Maids or marriages may be possible, depending upon earlier events.
  • Olyd the Tinker is present in the rabble of merchants at the impromptu Christmas faire that attends court.
  • Countess Gwynhwl is with child.
  • Intrigue
    • The notable and infamous barbarian King Clovis
of the Franks has conquered Soissons, the last Roman
outpost in Western Europe. The good Praetor Syagrius
has come here to ask us for our help to recover his
lands. King Uther is considering it carefully and may send troops to France next summer.
    • Critical Success: Uther asks for volunteers to sail to Brittany and then make their way northeastward to scout out the lands of King Clovis and bring back news that might convince him one way or the other.
    • Success: Syagrius is offering half the treasury of the Frankish
king to Uther if the army can take Paris, but Uther
doesn’t want to spend a long time on the continent.
The king is worried about his own land, and having
those reluctant vassals is no help. The king is hungry for information about Clovis or other news of the former Roman Province.
    • Fumble: Earl Aralyd is jealous of the player knights and threatens to come visit the most prominent member of the group next summer.

Special Winter Modifiers

Manor Results

  • Sir Lewarewich - The care and compassion shown to the refugees of Brackengrot was well rewarded this year by the peasants pitching in and working doubly hard on Sir Morial's plots. It was a fine harvest, with amazingly large gourds and squash this autumn. The plenty brought an excess of 4£ worth of goods this year.
  • Sir Henlow - The Earl's visit was done to spite Preator Giles of Royston; but, in truth the victim was Sir Madog of Henlow. Though the harvest was quite good, particularly the quality of the rye this year, supporting the Earl's retinue for nigh on two weeks took its toll on Sir Henlow's herd and stores. The commoners took pity on poor Sir Henlow and sequestered less grain from the steward's prying eyes than they normally would have done. All told Sir Henlow loses 1£ this year.
  • Sir Bushey - Pwyny cursed Bushey estates, causing the spoiling of milk from the cattle this year. No cheeses or milk could be made, which resulted in draining the coffers of Sir Bushey in order to feed his household. However, Sir Bushey's steward worked the peasants hard in the fields and, through a stroke of genius, was able to find a buyer for surplus grains this summer. Sir Bushey ends the year with 4£ surplus.
  • Sir Shefford - Ill luck and a fit of colic in the landlord's war horse caused a terrible fire in the village. Many houses were burnt. With last year's debt and this year's fire, the peasants of Sir Shefford are growing uneasy (+3 hate.)
  • Damsel High Wycomb - A late summer hail storm in the southern Chiltern Hills destroyed most of the barley crop. Damsel High Wycomb was unable to pay tithes to the Earl this year and loses 4£ to compensate.
  • Sir Boxbourne - Though the harvest was good enough to bring in 4£ of surplus this year, disaster struck the house of Sir Rhys. Cadfael, the trusted steward who acquired the masterpiece tapestries honoring Sir Rhys' glorious father Sir Rowaine, took ill with pneumonia and died this winter. A new steward must be found and brought to lead the estate this coming year.
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