The party gather at Sarum in the year 485 AD
All of the PC squires, bar two, are pagan and spend the two days before the knighting ceremony juggling ale, bonfires and camp followers in equal measure.
The two christian knights polish their armour, and pray with the Bishop of Salisbury Bishop Rodger.
Sarum is heaving with people; all thirteen of ‘The Hundreds’ of Salisbury are here, along with their respective lords. With eleven squires to be knighted on the same day, an open air ceremony was chosen that all may observe the sacred spectacle. Upon the green sward the squires are led out and form a semicircle about the Earls Throne. The heralds read out the call, and all the squires respond loudly and well (in the case of Sir. Hector and Sir. Uaine a little too loudly… perhaps a legacy of the drinking the previous days?) On the day of the knighting ceremony, Earl Rodderick is in fine form, striking both Sir Brychan Eurion and Sir Gerin blows that established fully his dominance!
- Sir Xtianus receives the blade-of-chalke, and his younger brother
- Sir Leolinus the chalke-spear.
- Sir Haeredoc £1 in silver coins as does
- Sir Tomas who in turn gives his to the church.
- Sir Brychan receieves a saddle bearing the crest of Salisbury.
After the ceremony the newly made knights are given the great privilege of dining with the Earl and the leaders of the hundreds of Salisbury. they quickly confirm the rumours of war that have been doing the rounds; Uther is gathering his forces to expel the Saxon King Aelle from his self proclaimed kingdom of Southern Sax Land (or Sussex in the invaders language). The newly made knights will see battle this year.
During the meal, Sir Brastias, Butler to Uther himself arrives. He takes the time to get to know the newly made knights, and does them the great honor of addressing them each individually. He is soon distracted however when he realises that not all of Uthers vassals have assembled at Sarum at as agreed! It quickly becomes apparent that Duke Gorlois of Cornwall is not where he should be. Sir Brastias storms off inform the king of the ‘late’ Duke of Cornwall. This is a significant blow to Uthers plans, as Duke Gorlois is the second strongest of his vassals. Combined with the recent Saxon incursion to the north in Caercolun. This leaves the army of Logres severely depleted.
Earl Rodderick takes the opportunity to assess the political and strategic capabilities of his new knights, and asks their advise on the latest situation. They quickly agree that the attack on the Saxon lands must go ahead, and that a small scouting force be sent to if the Cornish Army is nearby. Well pleased with their advice Earl Rodderick dispatches Sir Alain de Chalons and Sir Gerin with several sargents to locate the missing army, and the rest of the camp prepare for battle.
In the night Prince Madoc arrives, mounted on the largest horse the young knights have ever seen, with the first of Uthers Army. Chaos surrounds Sarum as it quickly becomes home to many thousands of men and horses. The party are encamped along with Sir Xtianus, Sir Leolinus, Sir Jarad and a foreign knight from the far lands of Estragales; Sir Alain of Estragales the herald of Estragales (a land far to the west). The twin sons of Lord Ursal and Sir Jarad keep their own council, but the young herald of Estragales proves a very convivial companion; though not yet the hardened drinker to match the young men of Salisbury!
Early the next morning the young knights are awakened by Sir Amig. He quickly informs the new unit that all foot troops will return to their garrison duties, and instead units of mounted troops will form the entirety of the forces attacking the Saxons this year. It is clear to all that the chances of a decisive victory against King Aelle are almost nill. But with the forces of Duke Lucius of Caercolun tied down by this new saxon menace in the north, and the mysterious lack of attendance of Duke Gorlois, King Uther is faced with limited options. The mounted raids into Sussex are at best a face saving exercise for the King.
The group of young knights set off with the army, and quickly form a firm friendship between themselves. Banded together to serve Salisbury and Logres, and all desperate to put down the latest name they have been dubbed with by the rest of the army “The Baby Squad”!
After a weeks journey, the Kings army arrives in saxon lands, and encamps on the crests either side of a hill top spring. Aelle is too wily a leader to be drawn out from his fortified walls, and it is not long before the order is given to begin raiding.Although many of his fellow knights are bothered by the killing of peasants, trying to spare as many as possible Sir Haeredoc concentrates on burning buildings hoping to attract a real challenge, the hated Saxon warriors.
While he recognises the necessity of the attacks as well as the veteran knight leading the unit, Sir Brychan is as affected by the killing as any of his fellows. In the first raid much to his shame an unwise move from horseback cripples a fleeing peasant boy, something that goes on to disturb his sleep for several nights to come. Despite his best efforts, his is drawn into the killing as the raids wear on, becoming slowly inured to the murder of serfs and the burning of their homes.
The Battle of Mearcred Creek
With Sir Tomas having captured a Saxon scout the day before, Uthers Army were alert and well rested despite being up and prepared for battle before even the sun had risen.
Sir Amig and his ‘baby squad’ of new knights were given the honor of guarding the rear approach to the saddle between the two hills where the combined cavalry forces of Logres were encamped. In the pre-dawn light Sir Amig’s suspicions were aroused as he surveyed the forest line ahead of him… before long hundred of saxons, led by the infamous ‘Fenrisget’ berserkers were arrayed before the young squadron of knights.
Unable to delay any longer, with the Fenrisget brotherhood leading a wedge of howling saxons up the slope, Sir Amig has no choice but to lead the charge. His desperate ploy to delay their advance long enough for the rest of Uthers army to come to the aid of the baby squad, and prevent the saxons from splitting Uthers forces in two.Like a breaking wave the the lances of Cymric Knights fall upon the Saxons, but the Fenrisget exact a heavy toll: Sir Leolinus and Sir Xtianus fall beneath the saxon axes, as does the noble Sir Urcliffe Arilius. Driven to murderous rage by the sight and stench of the saxon horde, Sir Haeredoc cuts a bloody swathe through their lines. Sir Hector Primus charges into the foe time and again, but is eventually forced down by the enemy and taken prisoner! As the day progresses Sir Tomas and Sir Brennan Emrys Kellen demonstrate a formidable skill with horse and lance, and all the members of the ‘baby squad’ prove they are no mere children.
While no slouch with a sword or lance, Sir Brychan makes hard work of the tough and murderous Fenrisget, striking one with his lance but losing track of his mark in the swirling melee that followed. Riding down the archers lurking behind the forward line of rough berserkers and losing his lance in one of their bodies he was forced back to swordplay, reaping a much greater toll with blade than with lance tip. While not a match for the skill and ferocity of Sir Haeredoc, his cold and careful strikes still slay enemies as the battle wears on as he eschews further lances to keep on the move and avoid being overcome by the overwhelming saxon numbers.
Lugh himself seemed to guide the hand of Sir Haeredoc as his hatred for the vile saxons fueled some of the best swordsmanship seen on the field that day. He briefly considered going against the orders of Sir Amig upon seeing his brother fall from his horse, but his conflicted passions are calmed as the squires rush to the unhorsed knights aid.
The press of battle lasts a full five hours, and as noon approaches the two armies withdraw to their respective positions. The battle is inconclusive, and the heralds meet to discuss terms.
After a heartfelt plea by the fledgling squadron of knights to their liege lord Sir Hector Primus is ransomed back from the Saxon warriors. The troops injuries are treated and the long hot day draws to a close with Aelle and Uther agreeing that Uthers forces can withdraw in peace; for now at least. The disheartened army returns north, to tend their lands, bring in their crops and allow time for wounds to heal.
On the way back to Logres the newly blooded ‘baby squad’ are brought before Earl Rodderick and his lords where Sir Uaine gives a masterful account of the unit’s actions during the battle leading to Sir Haeredoc being presented to King Uther himself and Prince Madoc.