Trials, Oaths and exiles
As the newly appointed lord of his hundred, it is of little surprise that the loyal pagans of the hundred of Branch & Dole seek to support their lord in his upcoming confrontation with the Christian church. The small folk bring stout branches to defend the honour of their lord, and religion, against the imposition of the Bishop. Sir Alain and sir Tomas also accompanied sir Saravinus to ensure his safe and timely arrival at the bishops court.
Sir Eris and Sir Gerin are taking their ease at the abbey, intending to enjoy the humiliation of their companion at arms. The mood quickly changes however when they see the large force arriving from the south is matched by another one from Kinwardstone. Leaping to his horse, Sir Eris rides pall-mall to inform Sir Aubrey that a massive pagan force was descending on the abbey at Amesbury. He rides all night to raise the forces of Amesbury to keep the peace.
Within the abbey, bishop Rodger and his loyal knights ride out to face the crowds, and steel themselves to summon sir Saravinus to answer to the church court. Having be recently chastised to hold his tongue on the subject of our lady Domnu, Sir Tomas demonstrates his ire at his newly promoted lord of the hundred, and rides out to stand shoulder to shoulder with bishop Rodger and the other Christian knights!
Making no apparent note of the implied betrayal by one of his own knights; and in order to maintain the peace, Saravinus submitted himself to the justice of the bishop of Salisbury. Persuaded to mercy for some reason, perhaps linked to the three armed bodies of men that surrounded his abbey, the bishop merely expelled Saravinus or the summer season. Sir Tomas felt a wrench, Sir Saravinus’ ‘punishment’ being the smallest fraction of the exile he had faced. A cold hatred settling across his heart as he realised that justice would not be meted out equally to the new pagan lord of the hundred.
Commanded to leave Salisbury, Sir Saravinus and his companions took the opportunity to head towards London, in order to fulfill their punishment set by their king, and report themselves to Bishop Dubricus of London for cleansing of enscorcelment by Merlin. The journey is uneventful, as they travel through the northern most part of Hampshire, with the city walls of Winchester visible from the main Roman road leading to London. The capital city is its usual mix of filth and wonder, with opportunities to help (or hinder in the case of Sir Eris) distressed travelers, fend off packs of wild dogs and ingratiate oneself with the forty families of London. Fortunately Saravinus was able to use his newly acquired rank to gain a place to set up camp in the palace grounds of Equitas Tobias (though his welcome came via the good graces by the lady of the house; Felicia). The Bishop of London is a busy man, and it is several weeks before the party gain an audience and are able to fulfill their vow to the king. Bishop Dubricus blesses the group, singling out Sir Saravinus for a special blessing to protect him from the depredations of the goddess Domnu! Inspired by news of the new pope (Papa Galsius) and his campaign to rid the Rome of pagan worshipers, Sir Tomas of Dinton renounces his lands in the hundred of Brach & Dole, and pledges himself to the service of the Roman Catholic Church!
Choking back his rage at the affront, the good pagan knight Saravinus returns to the palace of Sir Tobius, and mollifies himself by drowning his exile at the hands of the Bishop Rodger, and the insult from Sir Tomas, in the embrace of Bacchus and his most loyal followers.
Sir Alain seeks out the roman refugee they had helped out earlier, and once Sir Eris realises the poor fellow pagan has been fully reduced to as retched a state as possible, he at last takes pity and offers the destitute family a place in his own household.
The rest of the party now turn their backs on the revelry offered at the palaces of London, and head back to Salisbury, debating the possibility of a short diversion to assist the earl of Hampshire to pay their respects, and perhaps assist in any way possible in the repelling of Saxons from the fair lands of Logres.
In the end however, the squadron of knights decide to head home and render their service to their liege lord. Upon arrival at Sarum they discover the Earl has been dispatched North as an emissary to the Kingdom of Malahaut. Too energetic by far to sit idle, the party of knights decide to patrol the borders of their county.
Taking time to visit their respective manors the knights tour across Salisbury, and visit the new shrine to Domnu that has existed for several years now on the Lands of Sir Saravinus Arilius. Sir Eris and Sir Gerin both pay their respects at the shrine, and are disturbed by their conversations with the priestess who tends it.
Returning to their rounds, they call in at several villages and even at Warminster. Sir Pedre gives the party honour and hospitality, and is seen taking close council with Sir Alain de Chalons, the bannerman of the Branch & Dole hundred.
On the outskirts of the town of Broad, our troop encounters a strange group of knights who fail to identify themselves and attempt to flee when they realise they are in the presence of Sir Haeredoc the Red and the Staunch Sir Alain de Chalons!
Giving chase, the strangers are quickly overwhelmed and the wily Sir Eris unmasks them as knights of Levcomagus… who knows what vile plots they are carrying out!
The prisoners are divided up between several local lords, all of whom ransom them back to Levcomagus, except one… Sir Saravinus Arilius, upon his return from his debauch in London, decides that it is more important to know why these knights of Silchester were snooping around the Earls borders.