We Go By Sea
Naval raiding and the madness within
The circle gathered once again at the Dukes Pentacostal court, some months after the tense Christmas feast. Presentations to the Earl Rodderick made, the knights assembled to hear their service for the year. Bearing Merlin’s odd command at the winter court in mind, the Earl cautioned the group that he would not normally offer a choice of duties, but such a warning from so great a man must be heeded. The knights had the choice either of accompanying him to the Kings court at Lindsey or joining Prince Madoc in his raids upon the saxons.
While the kings court promised more intrigue and might allow them to garner his attention at least, the prospect of a straightforward fight seemed more to the circles taste after the short but turbulent introduction to politics they had received at Christmas.
So between them they elected to fight alongside the Prince, a decision which Earl Rodderick agreed with, assuring them that he would prefer to see them with a few more seasons of war under their belts before they were caught up in the games of court.
They were to travel to a small port at the mouth of the Test, to sail out on a naval raid against the Saxon’s ships as they lay beached. A hundred knights would be fighting, not for wealth or glory they were told, but to halt the saxons naval efforts – the saxon boats must burn.
As the most recognised of the group Sir Haeredoc was given the command, though he declined to command a ship on his (or any of the groups) first journey by sea. Cautioned against the dangers of chainmail at sea, the knights held off on their armour until the enemy should come in sight.
The journey itself was not a rough one, and with nothing to challenge their martial skills various of the knights decided to learn what they could from the experience. Most notable of these was Sir Tomas who elected to take a turn at the oars, declaring his sincere belief that any task a knight should turn his hand to was inherently noble, and refused to be shamed by joining in with the common folk of the oarbanks. To the surprise of all he quickly fell into the rythm of the work, and none had the heart to chastise him for falling below his station.
At last, the time for the knights real work arrived. A night attack upon saxon ships near Pevensy; they were to drive back any defenders while the sailors slighted and burned the saxon hulls where they sat. Bursting upon the saxons the knights hollered their warcrys – Death to the Saxon Dogs! with Sir Haeredoc the Red dashing forward at the van and the others spread around him hewing red ruin from the lightly armoured and outnumbered defenders.
Only one of the knights did not join the bloody melee; Sir Brennan Emrys Kellen was overcome by the glare of the moon upon metal, the screams of dying man, the bellows of his fellow knights and the thick scent of blood on the air. He turned inland, laughing and screaming now incoherent warcries and dashed of into the midst of the saxon camp.
Seeing him depart, Sir Brychan Eurion was momentarily distracted, losing his blade to a lucky blow from the defender he had engaged. Quickly rearmed by his squire, he called out to the others that he would find Sir Brennan while they pressed the attack. They had been warned in no uncertain terms to leave no man behind dead or alive, lest the saxons make sport of desecrating their bodies in revenge. Sir Tomas pressed in to engage Sir Brychans opponent, freeing him for the chase after the mad knight of their circle.
The bloodshed was done and the knights had fallen back to the boats before he returned, bearing the remains of Sir Brennan, a shattered saxon spear still rearing from the fallen knights mail as a mute testament to the manner of his death.
In sorrow, the knights board their ship once more, leaving the beach to the saxon dead and their burning ships.