The Great Pendragon Campaign

AD 490

Standings:

1. Sir Nidian of Haxton (2,200 Glory)
2. Sir Lug of Winterslow (1,894 Glory)
3. Sir Cyfan of Teffort (1,703 Glory)
4. Sir Teryrnor of Southcott (1,680 Glory) (absent)
5. Sir Uwain des Pieds Larges (1,450 Glory)

Our Heroes travel to Warwick for Spring Court. The mood is tense but excited as Logres prepares for war. With Gorlois at Uther’s back, the Britons finally have a chance.

Schmoozing with the hoi polloi, the talk of the court is about Gorlois’ wife, the Duchess Ygraine. She is a legendary beauty, but none of that will matter if they can’t expel the Saxons.

Sir Cyfan shares some wine with Prince Madoc. This is becoming an annual tradition for the two of them at spring court — the prince appreciates Cyfan’s candor and forthrightness, and his views as an outsider. Cyfan appreciates the prince’s fame and wealth, and his access to the halls of power.

Sir Lug attempts to join Cyfan and Madoc in the garden, but Madoc fails his Recognize roll and asks Lug to go fetch some more wine. Lug is chagrinned but complies, taking the opportunity to talk to Sir Brastias. Brastias confides to Lug that the Saxon army has doubled in size since last fall, and one of their kings, Eosa, is so big he can’t ride a horse.

One of the other knights learns that the Saxon kings have an enchanted weapon, and look to add Excalibur to their collection. Gulp. “Molon labe,” says Uther, or he would have if he spoke ancient Greek.

Within a few weeks, Uther’s army marches to Lindsey. The Saxons array themselves on the other side of the field. Uther has 2,000 horse and 5,000 foot, against the Saxons’ 10,000 foot. This is easily the biggest battle our heroes have seen.

Uther, Earl Roderick, and the Knights are in the center. The horns blow and the armies rush at each other in a thunderous charge. Sir Lug, directing the Knights’ battle group, blows his Battle roll and directs the party into a swirling melee of axes and howling Saxons. Swords are swung, blood is spilled, and the Knights are swept apart and back together over the course of the battle. Sir Cyfan is laid low by a single blow, but miraculously survives. His squire drags him out of battle.

Lug and Uwain fight on. Glancing over the right flank, they see Duke Gorlois crash through the Saxon lines and lay the giant King Eosa low with a single blow. The Saxons begin to route, first the right, then the center!

As the Saxon lines collapse, Lug spots King Octa isolated on the field, with only a single heorthganat protecting him. Uwain spots the Saxon banner, guarded by two men. They could try and take the king, or settle for the banner, or continue to pick off a few more Saxons. Lug valorously charges the king, with Uwain following closely behind! The heorthganat intercepts Uwain, and the king wheels his horse around to face Sir Lug!

A few exchanges. Heavy blows are landed, shaking the combatants, but they keep their feet (or saddles). Uwain finally knocks down the heorthganat, then nearly decapitates him as he tries to rise to his feet. King Octa slams his axe into Lug’s side; Lug is knocked off his horse and blacks out. Uwain engages Octa and fights over Lug’s unconscious form! Uwain lands a solid blow. Octa looks around and sees his army dissolving. Octa fails his Valorous roll and turns and flees, Uwain chasing him from the field of battle!

The victorious British army sets up camp and celebrates. Sir Nidian rides in. “Hey guys, did I miss anything?”

That night, the Knights are given a place of honor guarding Uther’s tent, where they manage to thwart an assassin. Unfortunately, they thwart him fatally and are unable to find out who sent him.

The following day they march back to Castle Lindsey for the victory feast. The Duchess Ygraine makes an appearance and recites a victory poem. All the knights and lords are fascinated by her, but none so much as King Uther. Gorlois sees Uther staring brazenly at his wife and frowns.

A few days later, Earl Roderick gives the Knights their choice: would they like to accompany him as he stays with the King on his yearly progression around his realm? Or would they like to go with Madoc as he raids the Saxon lands in retaliation? The Knights opt to stick with Uther.

As the weeks go by, Uther gives his lords leave to return to their lands one by one. Except Duke Gorlois. Gorlois asks every day to return to Cornwall; Uther is insistent that Gorlois and his household must stay with the royal court.

Uther eventually reaches London and holds Christmas court there. Despite all his talk about the great victory and the plunder found, Uther seems restless and unhappy.

One night, the Knights are milling around the courtyard, off duty. A few snowflakes drift down with a chill air that blows in. Across the courtyard they see some squires readying a dozen or so horses. Hmm. The Knights go over and question the squires. Why are they getting ready to ride into a coming snowstorm? Merely following orders from their lord, Duke Gorlois, milords. Hmm. Lug decides to go find Sir Brastias and inform him that the Cornish are skedaddling.

Nidian, Cyfan, and Uwain cannot think of a great reason to delay the Cornish — while it certainly seems underhanded, for all they know, Uther could finally have granted Gorlois permission to leave.

Uwain and Nidian notice that the Cornish seem strangely difficult to focus on — they can’t seem to look at them for more than a few seconds before they realize that they are looking elsewhere. Uwain concentrates and realizes that part of the Cornish group is a woman he’s seen at the periphery of court a time or two — Nineve, the Lady of the Lake.

Cyfan sighs, sets his shoulders and walks up to the group as they make their way towards the gate. A Cornish knight sees him and peels off the the group, drawing reign a few yards from Sir Cyfan.

“I would have your name, Sir Knight,” says the Cornish warrior. His hand is on the hilt of his sword.

“I am hight Cyfan of Teffort.”

“I am hight Gwannon of Dartmoor,” replies he. “And, Sir Cyfan, I do not desire bloodshed this night.” The implication is clear.

Cyfan inclines his head. “Nor do I.” He steps back.

The knight bows back. “I will remember your courtesy this night.” Sir Gwannon rejoins the rest of the Cornish and they disappear into the blowing snow.

Minutes later, Uther storms into the courtyard wearing his robes and naught else. He is raging about the treason and disloyalty of Gorlois. The Knights are silent and withdraw as soon as feasible.

The rest of the Christmas court is murmur and talk of muster, war, and revenge. Roderick and his knights return to Salisbury as soon as the storm lets up. AD 491 is not looking good.

Winter Phase:

- Lug’s wife gives birth to his first child, a daughter.
- Nidian, distraught over the death of his wife, hooks up with a woman of ill repute, who rewards him with illegitimate twin daughters.
- Teryrnor also has an illegitimate child, who he names after his recently departed brother.

Standings:

1. Sir Lug of Winterslow (2,975 Glory)
2. Sir Uwain des Pieds Larges (2,658 Glory)
3. Sir Nidian of Haxton (2,394 Glory)
4. Sir Cyfan of Teffort (2,228 Glory)
5. Sir Teryrnor of Southcott (1,723 Glory)

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