At court this spring, our assembled knights, find two more like minded companions (sir Bryant and Sir Madog) and consider the issue of Sir Herbert of Testside. It is obvious to all that something must be done, and done quickly, but none seem willing to stand up and state the obvious… in a secret meetings off to one side of the court, our squadron of knights quickly hatch an assassination plot against Sir Herbert!
Not seeking any sort of permission from the warden of the infant Earl, after all what the Countess doesn’t know she cant be blamed for, a midnight ride to Testside is embarked upon. With their excellent knowledge of the local countryside, it is a small matter to find a hidden camp before crossing the river south of DuPain castle at dusk.
It is soon decided that the easiest solution is to draw the traitors lord of the hundred out into the open. Lurking in the woods, our stout and noble knights wreak bloody havoc amongst for the small folk – woodsmen, charcoal burners and a village of river fishermen are all brutally slain over a period of a week or more. The survivors left telling tales of the blue painted shields of Levcomagus and the taunts of the hated men of Silchester. Such deception did not sit well with all of the party, but no sound alternative was suggested. Those who were most troubled by the subterfuge staying out of the raiding parties; a plan that had the added bonus of making the raiding party look smaller and so would increase the likelihood of a retaliation from the self-proclaimed ‘King of Testside’.
Eventually Sir Herbert was sufficiently enraged to charge out from behind his walls and deal with the issue. Our brave and peerless men of honour set an ambush at the forest edge, the canny knights of Salisbury managing to spilt the forces of Testside, and eventually managed to defeat them. Though not without losses.
Sir Gwynneth of Cholderton was laid low. Formally a knight of Testside, his devotion to Sarum caused him to turn away from his duty to Sir Herbert and to take part in this dread assassination plot. Glancing over his shoulder and seeing his own vassal knight there, Sir Herbert launched a suicidal attack on the man he once counted as loyal retainer. Sir Gwyneth was hacked down by his former liege lord before the ever formidable Sir Dylan Môrennill, or any other knight there that day, could carve a path through the enemy and come to the loyal Sir Gwyneths aid.
Returning to court with news, and the freshly severed head, of the lateness of Sir Herbert, Lady Ellen issues the mildest of rebukes to her most loyal knights, and turns to the important matter of securing her County once and for all.
Strangely well prepared for the news of a vacancy in Testside, Sir Ganis DeToureny expertly manoeuvres the court into voting him into duel lordship of both Testside and Blackwood. This move is obviously well supported by the countess, as none of her loyal followers act against the machinations – perhaps a deal has been struck that will at last satisfy the ambitions of the saturnine Lords of Blackwood?
Bishop Rodger is swiftly voted in as lord of Branch and Dole , perhaps as a way to redress the excesses of the previous lord of that hundred who died so unexpectedly last year? Either way the power of Salisbury is being invested in an ever smaller number of men, as the flower of a generation were lost at the battle of St Albans and Saurm is hard pressed to find men competent to fill all its essential offices.
In a matter completely unrelated to the unification of Testside and Blackwood, Sir Madog of Ramsey is betrothed and soon after married to the wealthy widow of one m’lord Detouneys former knights. With remarkable speed for such a young knight, Sir Madog rises form a lowly household knight to a landed lord of a substantial manor. An event he decides to celebrate with the prophetess of Domnu, the day after announcing the happy news of his betrothal ….