Competitions and Decisions
Sir Dolwwn, after realising the strange horses he had seen in the stables belonged to the Huns , excitedly began attempting communication. When they simply shrugged at his cymric accompanied with wild hand gestures, They replied in Latin, which Epona’s knight recognised. Dolwyn immediately sent off his squire to fetch a priest. After some to-ing and fro-ing to negotiate a price, Sir Dolwyn had a means to communicate with the frightening Huns.
As soon as the Huns understood that Sir Dolwyn was interested their horses, the six men (if they are truly men and not demons) introduced him to each of their horses. Each has a string of between six and twelve horses, and the priest was beginning to show his impatience after the second such string had been formally introduced!
True to form, the first thing Sir Dolwyn asked them about was if they would be interested in breeding their horses. He obviously knew his were inferior, but claimed they were the best in all of Logres. The Huns replied, ‘If we are announced as allies, we might be interested. But if not then…’ and he gave an unfamiliar gesture, swiping his hand past his ear.
Unperturbed, Dolwyn sought to get on their good side, first asking about their God of horses, the Tengri spirit, and finding it very comparable to Epona. The priest was especially unsmiling during this part of his translation, but the gold in his pocket prevented him from saying anything.
Eventually, the knight of horses proposed a competition to welcome the Huns and all the other new men to the earldom of Salisbury. He proposed a horse racing and an archery competition, with a hefty prize of £2 for the winner of each competition and £5 if one man won both! This went down a treat with all of Syagrius Guards, and Sir Dolwyn went off to make the arrangements and spread the word.
While Sir Dolwyn was distracting himself from the stench of the Germanic invaders polluting his homelands; the rest of the court was deciding what to do with the remaining Saxon emissaries. Lady Ellen’s council proposed dismissing the Emissary of Sussex. Sir Maddog was on his feet and heading to the door in an instant, claiming he knew how to make people want to leave a house. After he was pulled back into the room, Sir Brychan stated that it would be best to send them off politely, just in case things go wrong and we need them as allies in the future. Eventually it was proposed by Sir Olivier that a sealed note should be sent to the King of Sussex, telling him that the Kingdom of Salisbury will happily accept him as the ruler, if he can pull the sword from the stone. Everyone agreed that the letter was no lie, but they severely doubted that King Aelle was the rightful king of a country he had just invaded. To lessen the sting of the letter, £10 of fine cloth and cunningly wrought silver garlends decorated with bloodstone and ruby was sent as a gift. This time Sir Brychan was the first on his feet, telling everyone that he would make sure the emissary left at dawn.
And so, while the Saxon Prince was walking to take his midnight relief, the huge shadowed figure of Sir Brychan loomed out from a dark corner to stand between the Prince and the privy. “I have a message for your father, it is in this sealed envelope. You must take it to him along with these gifts to mark our respects, and as a token of good faith for the contents of the missive. You must leave at dawn.”
Terrified, the Prince still managed to summon some of his usual bluster “I will bring this to my father, but I will leave when I am ready, Cymric”
“Then let us both hope that you are ready at dawn” there was a noise of a weapon being sheathed and with that Sir Brychan slipped back into the shadows, leaving the Prince no longer in need of the privy.
The next day saw the emissaries of Essex riding out with Salisbury’s response. However, they did not go back east, but instead rode north to Rhydichan. Suspicious, Sir Maddog sent fast riders up to Rhydichan to remind the gentry of their alliance with Salisbury, and their hatred for the Saxons.
Sir Dolwyn was not stood on the ramparts to see their departure, he was too busy preparing what he had let slip to Sir Olivier “A raging… storm of a week” before hastily walking off towards the stables, leaving Sir Olivier confused and uncomfortable.
Sir Dolwyn arranged one event for each day, with horse racing with two races over two days, and one day for the archery. Of the first day, two of the Huns won, one of whom was the leader. They left a distinct and embarrassing gap between the slowest Hun and the fastest Cymric.
On the second day another Hun won the first race, but on the last race of the day, realising the pride of Logres was at stake against these foreigners, Sir Brychan shook off his fatigue from threatening young saxons. He jammed his heels into his horses ribs, screaming a war cry. His horse was startled on the starting line, and blazed past the Huns leaving a good horse’s length between him and the second place.
As no one man had won more than one race, Sir Dolwyn proposed a final race between the winners. As Sir Brychan lined his still panting horse up, The Hun leader and the other Hun winner eyed him carefully, before speeding off once again. Sir Brychan put up a good show for everyone watching but didn’t push his horse to death. In the end the winner was the Hunnish Leader, Hermidac.
That night there was plenty of warm feelings. The court was palpably less tense around so many foreigners and our favourite knights got busy. Sir Neys gathered intelligence about the Cornish, reaffirming that Preator Sygarius would not remain to aid them if they sided with the Wessex saxons. He also learned more on the war in Cornwall and how Tintagel was taken.
Sir Caddock and Sir Sewyl romanced ladies by showing their more tender side to their selected sweethearts.
Sir Olivier gathered information from the Wessex Saxons, while also suggesting that someone really ought to pull that sword from that stone!
The next morning, the archery competition began. And ended. Swiftly.
The Hun’s utterly outclassed even the most skilled locals and there was nothing any of them could do about these foreign, formidable opponents. The speed accuracy and power of these bowmen gave pause to even the mightiest knights present to witness the event… “The Scourge of God” their gradnfatehrs had called the Hunish forces under the Dreadful Attila; and now this latest generation had been granted the smallest glimpse at the horror these men could unleash
That night, amongst the different factions, tensions had eased as much s they ever would, and only a couple of arguments happened when those who had betted lost their coin.
However, quite early on in the evening, for what was set to be a cheery feast, Prince Cernig of Wessex (now representing the only Saxon force present in Sarum) stepped up to Lady Ellen. He stated that he would now discuss the future. He was quickly ushered into a side room to talk with the Lady and her council.
“I bring you an offer from my father, he asks you to accept the reality of the situation and to bow to Cerdic, True King of Logres, son of Vortigen. Your other choice is to be starved by the tributes the other Saxons would have you pay, or die defending yourselves.”
Questions were asked about the acceptance of other religions and the stability of every knight’s hold over his land, and once everyone was happy with the answers… and after a prolonged debate that went well into the night, Lady Ellen of Salisbury accepted to swear fealty to King Cerdic.
The door slammed and several people looked round to see who had left and quickly realised it was Sir Maddog.
Sir Dolwyn was as usual, in the stables, drinking with the Huns and Praetor Sygarius, who was busy translating rude jokes from Cymric to Latin and Latin to Cymric. Then, through the throng of horses, Sir Maddog arrived, beaming. “I’m glad to see you’ve already started celebrating lads!” he shouted jovially, leading for a few raised glassed and cheers from the huns, who only understood his happy tone. “Yes, it’s a happy day indeed! We’ve just agreed to swear fealty to King Cerdic of Wessex!”
Sir Dolwyn and Praetor Sygarius’ faces fell.
Noting their master’s mood, the Hun’s fell silent too.
Giggling, Sir Maddog bade them a good night and fled.
As he left the stables he heard Sir Dolwyn bellow “WHAT?!”
Bursting back through the door of Lady Ellen’s council, Sir Maddog cried “Domnu’s tits! You should have seen the look on his face!” Before falling into a chair laughing manically! Moments later cries were heard in the great hall as Dolwyn, Sygarius and his entire retinue of bodyguards burst into the great hall, pushing feasters aside as they stormed towards the door of the council room…
to be continued