The Great Pendragon
Sir Gerin Lotha
Sir Gerin the Defiant, the Wardwarf of St Albans, Castellan of Wilford, Lord of Alderbury
A man small of stature but of great fortitude and elegance. Easily recognised by his long flowing raven hair and his immaculate skin complexion except for a series of burn scars originating from torture he underwent in 495, courtesy of his Saxon captors. Typically seen in courts wearing either his unicorn hide cloak or jet jewellery and iconic purple cloak, matching his late wife’s attire. In the winter of 495 became the lord of the hundred of Alderbury and the castellan of Wilton. Rarely seen without the company his close family of the giant hunter Sir Cirdan and the heavily built Sir Carne.
Famed for the physical traits of dexterity (16), appearance (16) and constitution (21), his energetic (16), indulgent (16) and generous (16) personality, his hatred of the Saxons (22), his love of his first wife (17) and family (17), his hospitality (16) and his prodigious skill with swords (21) and his ability to command troops in battle (16).
Is a follower of the gods Sucellus and Nantosuelta, in addition to paying heed to more local deities.
He bears the heraldry of Argent, three chevrons (vert) with a single per chevron of or, 5 bars (azure).
After failing to find the armies of Devon and Cornwall, last year, he is now assigned to guard duty as part of Earl Rodderick’s retinue at the kings court in Windsor in 486AD.
Returning to his home of Stapleford in 489, upon where he was swiftly recruited to prepare for war. Riding out with the armies of Salisbury to join the kings army he traveled far for battle. Upon meeting the foe, battle seemed inevitable, but King Uther drew Excalibur, the sword of promised victory, and the enemy was routed before even the lightest clash of blades. Later that year his lands fell upon hard times due to a bad harvest, so he gathered some of his lineage men to set out raiding to fill his coffers during the winter chill, however he was taken aback by the trust and generosity of his neighbor, Lord Emyr. Due to the hospitality offered by the very man he sought to steal from, Gerin changed his ways with the two lords of the fords immediately becoming inseparable friends.
The next year an army was marshaled again, this time to do battle with the Saxons in the north. Gathering some of his levy and his lineage men, plus his dearest knighted brother and cousin, he joined the armies of Salisbury and marched north. In the far lands of the north the forces of Logres met with three great Saxon armies. Charging on the east flank his loyalty to his King and the sword of promised victory and his protectiveness of his Earl Rodderick drove him and his troops to achieve feats of great heroism. Shrugging off injuries at the hands of a magically empowered Fenrisget giant that would have laid a lesser man low, his steely mind and durable body still allowed him to fight deep into the Saxon ranks, directing his and his friend, Sir Cymrig’s, forces to maximum effect to disrupt his foes. Upon reaching the rear ranks he was knocked unconscious by a mounted Saxon noble; unfortunately he regained his senses too late to make a difference in the latter stages of the battle when his brother knights succeeded in bringing King Octa down and sent him as a prisoner to King Uther. When the battle was over, loot was gathered and losses were accounted for it turned out that his troops had managed to capture four prisoners during the battle, included one of the accursed giants. The two lowliest prisoners (an infantry sergeant and a non-mounted noble) were kept as slaves while the mounted noble was ransomed back to the Saxon armies. Merlin himself bought the captured giant for a princely sum of 100 libra for his own magical research, money that was put to use that year to renovate the manor to bring prosperity to the people of Stapleford, peasants and nobles alike.
It was in the winter of 490 that Sir Gerin met and married his love, Lady Brannwen. She was a local neighbor who, in addition to her manorial management skills, brought a nearby manor into the lands of Stapleford. Alas, Sir Gerin was not able to enjoy the company of his new beautiful wife for long as war was brewing in Cornwall.
In the year of 491 the King had declared war on the Duke of Cornwall despite the threat of Saxon retaliation for the events of the previous year. Sir Gerin quickly gathered his mounted troops for the army, leaving his foot soldiers behind to protect his lands, and rode out to join the armies marching on Cornwall. Upon reaching Cornwall he and his brother knights set out raiding and exterminating the local villages, both securing some beautiful jet jewellery for his wife and denying the enemy potential reinforcements. Eventually the war was won on both fronts through force of the Kings troops and the Duke Gorlois was killed. Following the siege Gerin and his brother knights were assigned to garrison duty in Terabil for the rest of the year and the next, although being assigned away from his home and new wife was the least of his problems as he was accused of treason for assisting Merlin with an unknown task by delaying his pursuers. After the dust settled it turns out the Merlin had kidnapped the King’s young son Arthur so Sir Gerin and his brother knights were imprisoned in castle Terabil until the trial was prepared. During this period Sir Alain was missing for a while, having taken him a few weeks to catch up after getting lost in the woods and he was put to torture. Enduring the weeks of torture Sir Alain professed the innocence of himself and his brother knights again and again, and with this testimony the trial declared Sir Gerin and his brother knights innocent although in need of cleansing. Following the trials he returned home to Stapleford, into the welcoming embrace of his dearest wife and family. During his months at home a joyous occurrence happened, for his wife was blessed with the twins Medrawd and Gwyneth.
In early 493 there was a trial in his local friendly Abbey of Amesbury of a fellow knight, Sir Saravinus Arilius, accused of murdering a preacher. Seeking to spend more time with his neighbors Sir Gerin travelled to the Abbey ahead of time to familiarise himself with the monks and their unusual Christian ways. While enjoying the hospitality of the Abbey he was joined by a fellow friend, Sir Eris, and the two spend a number of days partying and enjoying the basic foodstuffs the monks afford themselves. Eventually the accused arrives with armies in tow and the trial is completed with the sentence being a 6-month exile for the warlock. Sir Gerin then heads with his brother knights to London to receive purification from Bishop Dubricus, who is apparently the highest ranking Christian in the lands. Upon arriving in London and finding that the Bishop will be busy for foreseeable future Sir Gerin chooses to instead spend some time sampling the local wineries and browsing the local markets with his friend, Sir Eris. During this period he also bought a pair of regal purple cloaks fit for the grandest of courts, one for himself and one for his dear wife as a gift. Eventually the Bishop saw fit to follow the orders of the King and blessed the knights of Salisbury. Their work in London complete the knights return to Salisbury, leaving the exiled in London. On the way back they stop by Levcomagus to pay their respects before arriving at Sarum to catch up on local news. After official business was taken care of the brother knights decided to make a tour of Salisbury, to gather news and ensure the safety of the lands. The rounds were mostly uneventful except in the lands to the far west, where a group of knights bearing no heraldry refused to identify themselves. Sir Gerin dispatched his young squire, Eldwyn, to the nearby town to alert the local lord to the guests on his land while Gerin himself rode into battle to capture and subdue the knights. A short battle later and three of the four knights yielded, while the fourth had died after refusing to submit, the knights were then stripped of their arms, armour and horses and handed off to be ransomed. Returning to Stapleford that winter Sir Gerin made plans for a marriage between his younger brother and the family of Woodford south of the river. Over the winter a bridge was built to unite the lands of Stapleford and Woodford, although Gerins cousin Guinedoc fell to his death from the scaffold into the frozen river while overseeing the work. Once the bridge was completed it was the centerpiece of a wedding and a funeral, the wedding between Sir Cirdan and Lady Ceri and the funeral of Guinedoc who became the namesake of the new Guinedoc bridge. During this winter a bad strain of flu wracked the lands and his young son Medrawd fell ill, never quite to recover.
The following spring a tragedy had befallen Salisbury, as it’s Earl had been ambushed in the north and injured. Following his miraculous recovery the Sir Gerin joined the knights of Salisbury on another journey with their Earl, this time to try to form an alliance with Estragales. While on the way he kept an eye out for Saxon raiders that Sir Saravinus Arilius claimed were in the lands working for Levcomagus, but alas there was no sign of them. The trip to the far northwest was joyful although largely uneventful, as the knights met with friends both old and new. Eventually the brother knights made it all the way to Pembrook Castle, where they enjoyed the hospitality of their hosts, including a hunting tournament. Following the great hunt the knights stop for the night in a mountain village, ruled over by a local chieftain. After a night of mirth with the chief, Sir Gerin engages in a race to the top of the mountain on horseback which the hardy local chief won handily with his hill pony. At the summit he pays his respects to the knights who followed him closely, a feat considering their horses were unfamiliar with the rocky slopes. A brief conversation with the chief yields the revelation that he is no mere tribal chief, but is actually the king of the mountain tribes, King Ivor of Yastrid Tyi. Sir Gerin acknowledged his sovereignty and the knights parted ways with the king of the mountain tribes. On the way back to Pembrook castle, the knights visit the birthplace of Merlin himself, which Sir Gerin goes to observe but does not pay his respects. Returning to Pembrook castle a great feast is held much to the diminutive knights glee, the merry atmosphere being helped along with King Canans declaration that Norgales will agree to the alliance with King Uther. Tragedy quickly befalls the party as the King starts choking on his own blood, for his chalice was poisoned! Immediately the crowd leaps up and demands justice – accusing the young heir Sir Dirac of being his father’s murderer however in an unusual moment of observational clarity Sir Gerin saw that it was Sir Orcus that last had the poisoned chalice, a point which he quietly brought up with the steward observing from the sidelines. Sir Orcus’s response was telling, as despite no real accusations being made he demanded to prove his innocence by challenging the observant knight to a duel. A sly grin appearing on Sir Gerins face as he knew how to leverage his skills to their utmost, he may not have the brute strength to cut down his foes but he was as deft and sudden with a sword as even the greatest champions of the island. “I accept! Swords, first blood!” shouted the knight, drawing his blade and leveling it against his new foe, who responded in kind. Coldly enraged at the stewards betrayal of his King Uther, coupled with the disgust that his once-honourable host had betrayed his guests and was now seeking to bring them harm, Sir Gerin lashed out with blinding speed to strike down his foe the instant the duel was declared begun. Sir Orcus could barely respond as the blade swept straight at his face, cleaving a gaping wound in his cheek before embedding itself in his jaw. As the steward fell to the ground, unconscious from the shock his smaller opponent stood victorious with a final cry of “and that was the mouth that spewed those lies!”. The execution of the young King Dirac was immediately called off while Sir Orcus was carried away. The young king then thanked the little knight for saving his life, and that he would honour his new alliance with King Uther but that he could hold no promises as first he would have to fully gain control of his own lands first. The knights of Salisbury then left, the atmosphere far darker than it was when they arrived. Sir Gerin recounted the murder, foiled execution and duel to King Nanteleod, who was shocked by the events but nevertheless thanked the knight for saving the young king. Upon arriving back at Salisbury Sir Gerin entrusted his brother, Sir Cirdan, with the arduous task of taking the news to King Uther in London, a difficult task in the middle of winter. Household affairs were much more lighthearted than the grim events during the summer, for Lady Brannwen gave birth to a second son, Rhys, and Sir Gerin was also blessed with a niece, Elen.
The Kings court of 495 was held in Salisbury as war with the Saxons was resumed. Sir Gerin answered the calls and went to the court alongside his brother and cousin, where it was already busy with knights from all across the lands. After catching up with his local friends the knight quickly found a new drinking partner who he spent the rest of the night drinking and dancing away with, although his new friend did get a little competitive at times. Following the court it was declared that the armies shall be marshaled and Logres should ride north to St Alabans to face the Saxon menace. On the way north the forces of Logres stop by a fort in Levcomagus to rest for the night, wherein the knight and his family spent the night wandering and talking to some of the locals before retiring for the night. The nights festivities were far from over, as a duel was declared ending in the death of Sir Gatwick. The next morning the knights of Logres continued north, a journey that continued for a number of days. Sir Gerin proved ill-suited for long distance riding, getting the pacing of his horses wrong on a few legs of the journey and being reduced to riding a pack horse. Eventually the army of Logres arrived at St Albans, where they immediately seized the initiative and issued a charge into the open gates of the town. The open gates turned out to be a trap, as many of the knights of Logres were surrounded and butchered once they got inside the town and the gates closed behind them. Sir Gerin and his pack horse were too slow to fall into the trap, as the gates closed in front of them and the terrified horse was killed by Saxon archers. Determined to take the town even if he had to face the Saxons alone the small knight marched alone towards the walls, expertly deflecting arrows with his shield. Upon reaching the walls he circled around out of sight to a section of unsuspecting wall and silently climbed to the ramparts. The Saxon archers at the top were too busy raining arrows down on the trapped knights in the town to notice the diminutive knight step up behind them until he had cleanly beheaded them. Immediately the Saxon infantry moved to kill the knight, but he fell into a trance and began butchering any Saxon soldiers that dared to stand on the same section of wall as him. Eventually the Saxons overcame him with sheer numbers as their very bodies fell upon him to pin him to the fortifications, upon when he was taken a prisoner as he was seemingly possessed with the strength and speed of a demon. During the night and the following morning he underwent torture, courtesy of his Saxon captors, an act which drove his family into a frenzy the next morning. The Battle of St Albans the next morning was bloody but the forces of Logress were victorious in the end, and the knight of Stapleford was rescued. Much feasting and celebrations were to be had that night, but the wine stores in the city were poisoned by the retreating Saxons. Sir Gerin watched the celebrations from the window in the hospital that night, miraculously choosing to not drink the bottle of wine offered by his good friend Sir Haeredoc the Red in a moment of sudden temperance. As the poison took hold on the celebrants that night before long the great lords of Logress were left choking on their own liquified lungs, and the following morning the knight was left to come to terms with the fact that many that he knew and cared for had been killed that night, including both his brother knights Sir Haeredoc the Red and Sir Cynwrig Kellen and his beloved King Uther. Swearing vengeance against the Saxons for their deceit, he swiftly gathered together his remaining closest friends and started trying to prevent the knights of Salisbury from falling into a bloodbath in the forsaken city. Once the commotion died down he joined his remaining brother-knights on the long and lonely road back to home and Salisbury.
That winter Yuletide court was held in Sarum with great urgency, as much of the leadership of Salisbury had perished earlier in the year and the land must be restored to order before anarchy could take over. The knight of Stapleford quickly realised this was a chance to right the wrongs in the lands, and he stepped forward into the running for lord of Alderbury and Keeper of Wilton. Rapidly securing votes from numerous lords, thanks in part to the help of his friends from the fords and to carefully making friends with Sir Herbert by the pledging of military support against Levcomagus, the knight of Stapleford managed to secure enough votes for him to be placed as lord of the hundred of Alderbury. The weeks machinations was not over yet though, as interest rapidly turned to the election of a new lord of Chalke. Sir Gwelder, the current steward, was not entirely willing to become lord of the lands he had governed for the last five years leaving only the malevolent Sir Ganis DeToureny in the running, so lord Gerin stepped in and nominated his good family friend of Sir Emyr for the position, a choice that rapidly gained support both from his general popularity and the intense dislike of his political opponent. Following the voting for Chalke the two lords of the fords brought the two hundreds closer together, cementing a political alliance that was plain for all to see. Before the week was out there was discussion for the position of marshal of Salisbury, a position that the lord of Alderbury nominated himself for. The competition was fierce with a total of four competent knights in the running, with all sides throwing offers at the other lords of the hundreds to secure more votes, including Sir Gerin offering his own firstborn son as a page and a squire to Bishop Rogers, an action which he undertook with a heavy heart. Eventually the votes were cast and the new marshal was declared to be Sr Jarad, a position he accepted with grace and honour despite his own protests that he did not consider himself the best man for the job. Despite his new position, the winter was harsh and unforgiving with his lovely wife lady Brannwen dying in childbirth leaving the knight alone with just his daughter and younger son in the bleak castle that he had not yet settled fully into. The only news to comfort the lonely knight pacing the castle was the construction of Stapleford winery was completed, perfectly in time with his vineyard finally bearing fruit but even the beauty of wine could only do so much to ease the pain of losing two loved ones in a single winter, particularly when one of them was lost by one’s own command.