After the losses and experience of last year the baby squad are give the relatively sedate duty of riding patrol around Salisbury.
As the knight with the most glory, Sir Hector Primus is given the lead of the party, and they depart in the direction of Devizes to begin their long border ride.
Within Devizes, they are cordially greeted by Sir Asmundur who offers them shelter for the night, and offers the knights the use of the roman baths and refreshment. By the doors of the manor, three young sisters await the knights presence, having seen them ride to the lords court. One of the three, Morgan, makes immediate friendly advances upon Sir Uaine who is of a mind to indulge her, and a second sister is more genteely courted by Sir Tomas. Despite interruption by Sir Saravinus, the young lady seems to be responding with equal friendliness. Before riding out the next day, Sir Tomas asks for a sign of the ladies affection, and while flattered, she declines for now. Morgan is more forward, and offers a straw ring to Sir Uaine as a token to remember her by. As the knights ride away to begin their patrol proper, he promises he will return.
The patrol itself takes the knights first to the north western corner of Salisbury, and onto the Dike which forms much of its northern border. It is not long after this that they encounter a weeping swineherd by the roadside.
The man offers up his tale of woe – a young man from his lords estate has stolen away one of the pigs he is supposed to be watching over which he could not stop (due to the other mans strength) and he fears he will be soundly beaten for his failure. While Sir Hector Primus, Sir Saravinus and Sir Haeredoc opt to ride along the dike as Sir Brychan, Sir Tomas and Sir Uaine ride toward the nearby manor to settle the matter of the stolen pig.
While Sir Uaine questions the peasant, the three knights (and especially Sir Uaine) note the peasants ‘accidental’ brush against Sir Uaine and his belt purse, an action which at once puts them on their guard. Riding on ahead, Sir Brychan locates the young man accused of the theft, and discovers that the man and his father, a carpenter by trade, have been hard at work all the morning and well within sight of each other.
Returning to reveal the swineherds lies to his fellow knights, the three escort the unsuspecting peasant before his lord, an un-knighted liegeman of the Hundred of Devizes. Offering what they have learned of the peasants lies, the enraged liegeman begins to soundly beat the peasant, declaring he will thoroughly punish him for the embarassment he has caused. While the ever forgiving Sir Tomas attempts to spare the lying swineherds life, Sir Uaine lets slip that the man may have attempted to rob him as they returned to see to justice.
The liegeman immediately seizes a rope, intent on a hanging as Sir Tomas desperately offers christian words of forgiveness and even promises to see the man to a monastery to spare him. The liegeman is not swayed, and as the peasant is hoisted from his feet Sir Tomas delivers a swift mercy stroke to end his life quickly, instead of in slow suffering. While the local lord is nonplussed by this treatment, he has his dead peasant and the matter is deemed settled.
Catching up once more with Sir Hector Primus, Sir Saravinus and Sir Haeredoc the group crosses into the lands of Swanborough and Sir Hector Primus decides that it is only proper to visit the lord of the Hundred Sir Hywel and formally ask his permission to patrol through his lands. The rich and wealthy Sir Hywel presses the band to stay and take their ease in his manor, offering a feast to them to spend the night. With duty pressing upon them, Sir Hector Primus allows himself to be swayed only slightly and agrees to refreshments before they return to the road.
In conversation with the other knights of Swanborough, Sir Brychan learns that many of Sir Hywels landed knights have suffered terrible accidents and been killed before they had sons of their own, which has led all the manors of the Hundred to fall to Sir Hywel himself. The great generosity of the the lord extends to their departure where he presses expensive gifts on them all, much to the annoyance of Sir Uaine who views it as overwhelming pride in his wealth. His anger is so great he almost forces the matter to combat before Sir Brychan and then his brother Sir Haeredoc intervene, simply pressing him to accept the trinket so they can be on their way. Sir Tomas in turn is much impressed with the mans very christian attitude of giving, offering his praises despite Sir Hywels apparent disinterest in religion.
Departing once more and returning to the Dike, the knights come across another minder of livestock; an old and withered goatherd who (he says) has been tracking a prized goat for many days from Sarum itself, and he would greatly appreciate the aid of such strong knights to pursue it up a steep and craggy hillside nearby. Eager to prove himself, Sir Saravinus ascends the hill in pursuit of the goat, which is almost large enough to be a horse itself. Still irate over the attitude of Sir Hywel, Sir Uaine is greatly suspicious of the old man who has been chasing so agile a goat for such a great distance.
As Sir Saravinus nears the crest of the hill and the goat passes over its crest, a terrible commotion can be heard. Ordering Sir Uaine to watch the old man, Sir Hector Primus orders the other knights into whatever fray awaits them. Fleet footed, Sir Tomas is alongside Sir Saravinus as he crests the hill, and the pair are just in time to see the goat seized and dragged from the ground by a giant standing better than fifteen feet tall. The giant, still clutching the thrashing goat beneath one arm drags a standing tree from the ground as Sir Tomas calls for his lance and Sir Saravinus his spear when our story continues as battle is joined.