Sir Blains sat brooding in the main hall of castle Levcomagus and was pondering what measure he must take to defend his honor and how he would revenge himself for the slights done to him by the Count of Salisbury.
CountRoderick, count fucking Roderick had devastated his plans. He had stolen lady Ellen from him, he had humiliated him before both the court of Salisbury and King Uther’s court. Blains swore to himself that none of this would pass without being redressed sooner or later. The question was how to proceed? A cool head was important and besides, trying to strike directly against the count would be pointless even with the aid of good Duke Ulfius. No, the way forward was through planning and intrigue. Roderick had loyal men who did his bidding. One or more among Roderick’s men had prevented all the little “incidents” when maid Ellen visited Sarum and those men were obviously not as dull-witted as most other knights and servants.
Blains summoned his most faithful man Malvern. Malvern often knew secrets that other men would prefer to keep hidden and he usually knew what was the best way to make someone talk.
“Malvern, I need to find out who among the knights of Salisbury it is that is working so hard at preventing me from having lady Ellen for my wife. Do you know?”
Malvern seemed to consider the question and scratched his beard while glancing sideways at Sir Blains. “I can’t say for certain sire but there are several rumours pointing in the direction of a certain Sir Cadry, one of the newest knight’s in the count’s court. Apparently he was the one who, while still a squire, captured a certain man on the road to Ambrius abbey two years ago. Some say that that prisoner might have been made to talk and that your name came up in relation to this incident.”
Sir Blains sneered “Bah! If Roderick had any such accusations to toss around he would have gone whining to Duke Ulfius or for that matter the King himself already. No, he might suspect something about it but he doesn’t have anything proving it.”
Once again Malvern seemed to weigh his words “Be that as it may sire but nevertheless I have made sure to make some careful inquires in regards to the newer elements of Salisbury’s court. Most of the older knight’s, whether vassals or household knights, are known quantities and none of them really strikes me as particularly sharp. The youngest knights however seemed to be men to watch out for. Apparently there are four of them who doesn’t carry the shield of the count but rather individual shields. Most irregular as far as I understand it sire.”
At this Sir Blains eyebrows shot up and he stared at his servant with disbelief “From your description I assume they are not barons or some such?”
Malvern sat down on a bench opposite of Sir Blains and continued ”Indeed they aren’t sire. I am given to understand that they were given the right to carry their own devices by the King himself when they were knighted. I have so far not been able to find out what they have done to earn such a favour from the King. One of the servants in the royal eyre told me that the king called one of them forth to his table during campaign into Summerland and inquired after his ancestry and seemed to recognize him by sight alone.”
Sir Blains scowled and his disposition became sourer by the word “What else can you tell me about these young upstarts? Why do you think they are getting in my way?”
Seeming to suck on one of his brownish teeth, Malvern dug around among his assembled facts and rumours “Like I stated earlier sire, the leader among these young knights seemed to be this Sir Cadry and the other three seemed to mostly follow his leadership. He is some unwashed, pagan, forest lord from the forest of Gloom, from a place called Tisbury. It is said that he deals with sorcerers and druids and such strange folk. Son of a warrior named Cadwallon I have been told.”
Before Malvern could go on, Blains interjected “He is a son of one of the so called Bannermen?”
The servant looked concerned and answered “I believe they all are sons of the so called Bannermen.”
A silence settled over the hall as Sir Blains seemed to consider this new fact but after a few minutes he spoke once again “Very well, find out more about them. We shall chip away at Rodericks court and weaken them by dividing them. Find out Sir Cadry’s weaknesses and desires and then we shall turn them against him. Also find out if any of his friends are amendable to bribes or other methods of coercion. Now leave me alone and get to work.”