The Great Pendragon Campaign

AD 494

Standings:

1. Sir Lug of Winterslow (3,622 Glory)
2. Sir Uwain des Pieds Larges (3,233 Glory)
3. Sir Nidian of Haxton (3,065 Glory)
4. Sir Cyfan of Teffort (2,928 Glory)
5. Sir Teryrnor of Southcott (1,792 Glory) (absent)
6. Sir Gwyn of Tytherington (1,691 Glory) (absent)
7. Sir Morien of Idmisdton (1,650 Glory) (absent)


Uther is still ill, even more so than last year. He is barely seen, but rumored to be moaning in his delirium for Merlin to help him. The queen does not react well to this news.

Roderick is somber, but has brought his wife, the Countess Ellen, and their young son, Robert, to court this year. While the knights have met them (briefly) before, this year they got to escort them from Sarum. To be entrusted with the safety of their lord’s heir is deeply touching.

After a few weeks at court, Roderick tells them that they will deliver a letter to Estregales, in Cambria. The letter will propose an alliance. Well, being a mailman is better than riding endless patrols over heath and moorland. OR IS IT?!@?

They have the exciting experience of riding through Britain before maps and street signs! This consists of:

1. Travel in what you think is the general direction of your destination.
2. Ask the least-filthy peasant you can find if you’re headed the right way. Better yet, have your squire ask.
3. If you encounter a castle or a group of heavily-armed knights giving you the stinkeye, go to the next step. Otherwise, go to 1.
4. Announce your business. Be polite.
5. Get grilled about your past, present, and future intentions. Remember that anything you say can and will be used against your liege lord.
6. Enjoy your hosts’ hospitality until they see fit to give you leave to depart.
7. Are you there yet? If not, go to 1. If yes, go to 6; then, when it’s time to go home, go to 1.

The knights develop a new tactic for diplomacy: When the glorious but socially-inept Sir Lug realizes that he is in over his head, he places one hand over his mouth and wave the other in the air, thus calling an audible and alerting the party to have a smoother-tongued member, usually Sir Uwain, interject.

They manage to comport themselves well and eventually make it to Carlion. Sir Nidian notes that his grandfather died here in 439.

At Carlion, an old chum, Sir Alain, receives them warmly and teases them a little about their recent narrow escape from a treason conviction.

Finally they make it to Cardiff. Sir Nidian notes that Torchwood Three will be built here in 1500 years or so. Sir Alain bids them farewell and returns home.

Proceeding to Pembroke they finally deliver their letter to King Canan of Estregales. The king welcomes them and invites them to dinner. At dinner they make the jerkwad acquaintance of Sir Orcas, the king’s steward.

The king promises to take the letter under consideration, and he will let the knights know when he needs them. They hang out at a foreign court. It’s kind of boring.

They play some songs at a dinner. Sir Cyfan’s lute is apparently suffering greatly from the salt air at Pembroke, and he can’t seem to keep it in tune.

The sons of King Canan, Sir Dirac and Squire Lak, invite them on a hunt. They are endlessly fascinated by the world outside Cambria, and the knights dispense their dubious wisdom. The hunt itself is largely uneventful, until they discover griffon tracks! They follow the tracks but are unable to corner it. As they finally give up and head back to the castle, a single eagle’s feather tufted with lion fur at the base floats down and lands on Sir Lug.

Some other visitors show up and challenge the Salisbury knights to a horse race. They don’t tell the knights that this race is across terrain that is, basically, complete crap. Nonetheless Uwain pulls out a crit! He wins a pound of silver and some bragging rights.

The next day they find out that the king has left to continue his procession. The knights hasten to catch up. At dinner that knight, the king announces that he has decided to accept Uther’s offer of alliance, and is preparing a reply which will be ready in a few days.

More stalling at court. Then at dinner a few days later, they see a cup given to King Canan by his son and heir, Sir Dirac. The king smiles and drains the cup, then a few minutes later, staggers to his feet and falls to the floor. He grabs at his throat, choking. Blood streams from his mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. He gasps one last time and dies.

Everyone looks to Sir Dirac. He gave his father a poisoned cup! He protests.

The players look for anyone acting suspicious. They see the steward, Sir Orcas, absconding. “HALT!” they cry! Sir Nidian accuses Orcas of poisoning the cup. Orcas denies it, and demands mortal combat to clear his name.

Nidian accepts. He takes a ritual bath that evening and goes to confession.

The next day they meet outside the castle. Their seconds confer and establish terms.

Nidian and Orcas spur their mounts. Orcas lands a solid blow but fails to unseat Nidian. Both knights’ lances shatter. They void their saddles and draw swords. Blows are traded, then Nidian lands a mighty strike that stuns his foe and drops him, senseless.

Nidian strides up, carefully to check on Orcas. He is unconscious. “What do you do?” I ask.

“It was,” says Nidian somberly, “to the death.” He puts his sword above Orcas’ heart, leans his weight on it, and drives the tip through the chain mail deep into his body.

Sir Dirac is vindicated, but Cambria is now in turmoil. All Dirac’s efforts will be to secure his position. Uther can expect no help from Cambria.

The knights travel back, telling their story again. They hear rumor that the Saxon army is sweeping south. Back in London, they see Uther is now being treated by Nimue, a Lady of the Lake who they last saw escaping London with Duke Gorlois several years ago. She forbids anyone from sharing the news of the Saxons with Uther, so as not to shock him.

The knights return home after Christmas court. Another bad harvest drains the knights’ coffers. Sir Morien and his wife has twin sons and rejoice; Uwain’s daughter and Teryrnor’s son do not survive the winter.


Standings:

1. Sir Lug of Winterslow (3,861 Glory) (0)
2. Sir Uwain des Pieds Larges (3,450 Glory) (0)
3. Sir Nidian of Haxton (3,286 Glory) (0)
4. Sir Cyfan of Teffort (3,145 Glory) (0)
5. Sir Gwyn of Tytherington (1,863 Glory) (+1)
6. Sir Teryrnor of Southcott (1,815 Glory) (-1)
7. Sir Morien of Idmisdton (1,710 Glory) (0)

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