The Great Pendragon
Sir Maddog and Sir Rhydian are the sons of Sir Hew of the northern Ramsey clan who came south after hearing the tales of the strength of the pagan magic of Salisbury. Sir Hew was not received well by the other lords, who did not see him as of noble blood.
On his journey back south from a pilgrimage to Callanish in the land of his family’s origin Sir Hew rode ahead of the party often, spending time alone in thought and away from the menial chattering of the small folk and men-at-arms he was travelling with. Sir Hew was riding home through the large forrest between Oxford and Salisbury when a woman at the side of the road begged him stop a while and give a woman directions. Sir Hew, was bowled over by the regality and wild beauty of the woman, despite the fact that she was wearing rags and had no shoes, she held herself with more grace and poise than any noble lady from the courts in which he grew up. He climbed down off his horse and gave the best directions he could, before realising that the sun was not where he thought it should be and the moon was directly above him and full rather than a sliver to his right. The woman laughed at his confusion and as she laughed caws echoed from the trees all around her; there was a whole murder of crows sitting in the canopy around the woman, watching the scene with beady black eyes. Alarmed and sensing that something was not natural about these birds, Sir Hew acted without thinking. He grabbed the woman, threw her into the saddle, leapt on behind and galloped away from the unkindness, with his shield raised above the woman rather than himself.
Quite unfazed the woman asked what he was doing, Hew explained that he had felt something unnatural about the ravens and just knew that it would be safer to get away from them.
The woman smiled and said ‘It seems you made a mistake, for I am more ‘unnatural’ than any of my flock; but ‘unnatural’ is a poor choice of words, good sir knight,’
Sir Hew had manhandled and abducted a witch!
Seeing the shock on his face, the young woman laughed and said ‘Do not fret, you will not be cursed for stealing me away. In fact…’ she leaned in and whispered ’I found the whole thing quite thrilling’. Before either of them knew it they were overcome with a mad lust for one another, kissing and rushing to get each other’s clothes off as if their lives depended on it…
A while later, when they had both got their breath back, Sir Hew turned to the witch and said ‘It seems now, my lady I am the one in need of directions.’ The witch laughed and raised her arm. From the trees a large raven swooped down and landed on her dainty hand, surprisingly not drawing blood. ‘This one will lead you back to your friends’ she said. She got up, handed the bird to Sir Hew and with that, turned away and walked into the woods. Sir Hew called out to her but she was deaf to his words. Now the call of her lust had been heeded, she could now heed the call of her flock.
Sir Hew followed the directions of the bird and rode along winding deer paths and back towards a larger road where he amazingly saw his caravan camping down for the night.
They rushed out to greet him, which was abnormal, Sir Hew had rode ahead before and not come back until later on in the day. One of the noble ladies from the camp, a close friend of Sir Hew’s named Iola rushed out and greeted him with an relieved hug and she told him with tears in her eyes that he had been gone for three weeks and that she had feared the worst. In her relief to see him returned home, she threw her arms around Sir Her and kissed him.
Iola was to become Sir Hew’s wife and the mother of Sir Maddog. She was, religious, a singer and a noble lady; but a wild one at heart. She had dark hair, brilliant eyes a kind heart not to mention an excellent sense of humour that often made Sir Hew’s men-at-arms blush! Over the many months spent on the open road they slowly got to know each other and only when they arrived in Salisbury, Sir Hew realised that he had met the love of his life, and no dowry, no matter the size could make him want to marry another woman.
When Sir Hew and Lady Iola had married in the traditional pagan way, they led a peaceful life and Iola’s pregnancy began to shpw. A few months before the due date, a bundle of swaddling cloth was left at their doorstep. When Sir Hew opened the door, rising before the servants as he often did, he was greeted by a raven sat upon the delivery. He was surprised by it’s nerve as he had to literally pick it up to move it from the cloth. When he unwrapped it though, he understood the demeanor of the raven. It was a baby, with his blonde hair and blue eyes, with the wild, noble features of the witch from Wandborough. Surprisingly, Iola was not overly upset by the thought of her husband having a bastard child. She knew his heart was hers until they passed through the veil, and both of them had a history. Iola did not see the child as a threat. So she raised it as one of her own; understanding that, it would otherwise never have a mother.
As the boys grew up, they were always close friends, despite the vicious rumours about Rhydian’ heritage. Iola taught them how to treat women courteously and to hate rapers. She also showed them how to properly talk to girls.
Despite this, Maddog seldom spoke to girls, he found he could converse with them on important matters, but instead of flirting, he found it easier to spend time with them in silence but his silent ways only made their longing for him stronger. He had many admirers but only found out about those bold enough to show him their attraction. Rhydian on the other hand charmed women with his confidence and his looks, but soon figured out that he found women who were blessed by the fae much more enchanting than their mundane counterparts, and shortly after started visiting holy shrines much more frequently.
Sir Hew taught them how to ride, fight with sword and shield, hunt, track, navigate and always be aware of your surroundings. Maddog took to this like a fish in water, but Rhydian was prone to distraction when hunting, preferring to enjoy nature for what it was. He was only a real hunter when using a bird which Sir Hew found unsurprising, and he swiftly grew in his skill as a falconer.
When Rhydian had seen six winters, he disappeared. Everyone went looking for him and Sir Hew and Lady Iola were distraught. After six months, the search parties had been called off and hope had left the family. Not long after his symbolic funeral and a period of grieving, Rhydian reappeared as suddenly as he left, and according to the peasant that brought him home, he walked out of the woods with a raven on his arm pointing the way home. When he was asked where he had been he simply stated that he had spend the summer with his mother.
This continued to happen every few years and each time Rhydian came back, he was even more proficient while handling birds, almost as if he could understand them. Of course his disappearances were an oasis in a desert for gossip mongers but Sir Hew always was content enough to let them think what they will, caring only that Rhydian was his son.
Maddog, on the other hand spend his summers hunting and practicing his skills with horse and sword and spear, and not only did he learn how to kill, but he also grew into incredible endurance, once stalking a white stage for 10 days straight when the rest of his party had given up, that was when the deer lowered it’s guard and that was when Sir Maddog struck, bringing home it’s fine pelt and magnificent antlers for all to see.
The two boys were not knighted at the same ceremony. Despite Rhydian being almost a full year older, he was a bastard and would not become a knight as easily as his noble brother had. Both understood, and had done for a long time, that Sir Hew’s estate would go to Maddog when he passed. But both boys had their eyes on much bigger prizes to bicker over their father’s humble residence. After his knighting ceremony, Sir Maddog headed west and attended his first Winter Court at Sarum while his brother went south, having found a knight to squire who was setting off to raid the french coast in search of riches.
In 496 AD, the family was pushed to the fore by Sir Maddog of Ramsey the family has quickly done two things simultaneously, risen to newfound wealth and dedicated itself with the worship of Domnu.
Sir Maddog had a brother, Sir Rhydian of Ramsey who was raiding during the time in which Sir Maddog got knighted, married and had a child.