Heave A Stone
After the calamitous events of the previous year, at last order had begun to return to the court of Salisbury. The Lady warden and her son sat at supper with their knights about them.
From a far corner of the room, three figures made their presence known; rising from their places hooded and cloaked against prying eyes. The three strangers made a great show of taking bread and salt, ensuring that all the staring eyes should know they were guests at table, and by the laws of hospitality protected by the young Duke and his wary mother. One of the three, a man, spoke in solemn voice: “I bear news of the Knight Sir Brychan, and his wife and father. Will you hear this tale?” At a wary nod from Lady Ellen, the stranger began his story . He spoke on for some time, fantastical things lent weight only be the very calm and certain tone of his voice. At last, he reached the conclusion of his tale, announcing the imminent return of the Lord Ursal, missing for seven long years, and his dutiful daughter who had gone in quest of him, and Sir Brychan, who had departed soon after in search of both.
Outcries greeted this final statement, as those who had profited by the trios long absence denied the claim and those who wished their safe return giving joyous voice. Quieting her lords, Lady Ellen asked a final question of the still hooded strangers. “How is it you come by this tall tale? It cannot be true.” The man replied “Well, I happen to know its truth. Because I am sir Brychan Eurion.” So saying, he threw off the hood and revealed himself. Astonishment greeted him, as the tall man beside him revealed his own concealed features: those of the missing and officially dead Sir Ursal, Lord of the Hundred of Chalke. The slightest of the three likewise cast off her disguise to reveal Jenna, Ursals’ daughter and Brychans wife.
The ensuing hubbub was a clashing noise as every knight spoke up at once. With Ursal returned alive, what would now happen to his estates? His place as lord of Chalke had been taken by Sir Emir only recently, though some of his vassal knights seemed to have appreciated the change. Some clamoured that his long absence was just punishment for his lusty ways and he should be permanently stripped of his seat. Others said that he was too long gone from Salisbury to properly command in its current crisis and he should stand aside for more involved men to lead.
A rallying voice spoke against these calls for his retirement. They recalled his skilled and valiant leadership in battle, his strong hand which had steered the Chalke as his fathers had, and his fathers father. Word ran that during his long absence he had suffered proper punishment for his wicked ways, and returned to them a better man for it, perhaps. While the arguments ran Ursal for once took a considered (though still loud and forthright) approach and defended his name and right to title, Brychan moved with quiet purpose to speak to the other lords and veteran knights whose opinions carried weight in these matters.
He spoke first to Sir Emir himself, the man with most to lose if Ursal were re-confirmed. With Bishop Rodger heavily involved in so many places and the calculating Lord de Tourney expanding his holdings, there seemed ample space (suggested Brychan) for Emir to remain as he should, a lord of a Hundred, but of a different seat. Either Branch and Dole, Bishop Rodgers Hundred, or de Tourneys newly acquired Testside would suit he added. Sir Emir, aware of the risks involved in crossing Sir Ganis, suggested that it might be better if he were to ease the weight on Rodgers shoulders, and with that in mind, Brychan made a move to speak with that worthy. The bishop agreed that it was only fair for Emir to remain in his elevated station, and that if the court should agree, he would surrender this one of his many offices. He likewise pointed out that too great a shift in power might destabilise the already fragile court, and that it might be better for each lord of a Hundred to be lord of only one Hundred.
Quiet conversation and rumour-mongering became the bread and meat of the gathering, and talk ran deep into the dark hours of night. At long last, having heard out all the principle speakers and the advice of all her highest nobles, the Lady Ellen announced her decision, and the strongest opinion of the court. Sir Ursal would resume his seat, and Sir Emir would move to the stewardship of Testside, only recently awarded to Sir Ganis de Toureny.
Before the court seperated for the year, there was still another matter of protocol to be settled: The creation of two new knights. With the death of Earl Rodderick at St. Albans, Knightings had been somewhat stalled, but with the flurry of new appiontments, Sir Jarad was given the solemn duty as Lady Ellens strong right hand.
The two young men stepped forward, knelt and swore their oaths before the traditional final blow was struck. The first, Sir Sawyl was unscathed, and perhaps overcompensating for a tentative blow against him, Sir Jarad leaned his full weight into the second, and send the new sir Neys crashing to the floor unconscious. Amidst a deal of hubbub, Sir Ganis, his liegelord, stepped forward to complete the oathing , belting and armouring to make Neys a full knight. In a bout of great enthusiasm, Sir Sawyl ran to the door and threw it open, intending to take the bracing run about the town on his horse… but startled by the clatter of the door and the chainmail on its master, the poor beast threw back its head, jerked free of its handlers and made a break for freedom on its own.
As the celebrations went ahead and Neys slowly recovered under proper medicinal care, Sir Ganis and his loyal knights began seeking out the names of those at court who had cost him the painstakingly acquired lands of Testside… The six fingeredLord of Blackwood is renowned for many things, but forgiveness and mercy are not among them.