Campaign of the Month: August 2016

Oath of Crows

Conversations in front of the fire
Winter 460

By the fire

Winter smothered Ludwell such that neither man nor beast would venture outside other than in the direst of circumstances. In all the long hall, only a handful of servants and two men were awake. One, old, sat entombed in furs upon a large chair in front of the fire. The other, young, sat bored and restless tossing pine cones upon the flames.

A bout of coughing, merciless as had been all winter, racked the pile of furs at length.

“Ye god, take this cough to the devil” muttered Edern, long since out of patience with his own weakness. He eyed the sullen young man opposite, and weighed what to say next with care. Good sense rarely penetrates the stubbornness of the young with ease, and it was moreso with this one than most.

“Young Elad, why do you think it is that I am held in such regard by my betters and peers?”

Elad ground his teeth, sensing a trap, yet unable to fathom a way other than to blunder into it.

“You’ve killed many men Lord Ludwell, great men, and fought in many battles.”

Edern nodded sagely, mostly to cover more coughing, and dangled the bait further into the trap.

“And why is that, do you think?”

“You fear no one and nothing, and anyone who wrongs you or goes against you, you kill”

Elad, determined to stay his course, charged onwards.

“Hmm. One would think, but no. Killing is certainly what we do when we must when directed by oath or honour, but it is not who we are. A man who is nothing but a killer is a shell and can never be truly great.”

Glowering and resentful at being caught in this line of thought Elad nonetheless played his part, compelled by boredom and vague curiosity.

“What then, Lord Ludwell?”

“If a man does not have a purpose other than death, he will not survive to be as old or regarded as I. Finding joy in family, and the love of ones blood and wife, must come first. Oaths and bonds must be honoured, and advice given with cool head. Only when these things are part of the very soul of you can you stand on the field of battle, kill your enemies with a steady hand, and face whatever comes despite the fear in your heart.”

Edern had thought to follow this lesson with one on the value of fear but like the cough, relented. Elad had stopped listening, and there would be many more winter nights in front of the fire.

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Cadwallon
Year 460

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Summer solo (Enemy)

The summer of 460 turned out to be a slow and frustrating season for the aging Cadwallon. Sharing the castle DuPlain with the dark haired beauty that had so mysteriously shown up on the road when she was sorely needed, became a sore trial for the lusty pagan. Always the lady would tease and hint at carnal promises but never would she even come close to consummating any kind of relationship. Missing his wife who he had left at home he turned to one of the washer girls who was comely enough. They carried on a secret affair, never being seen in public but rather met out in the country where they wouldn’t attract unwanted attention. Alas it was not meant to last.

The winter

During this winter things turned complicated when the father (Tidwall) of the washer girl (Mira) finally found out. The reason for him finding out turned out to be the fact that the girl was pregnant. When confronted by her father the girl shamefully confessed who the father was and then fled during the night. Thanks to this debacle Tidwall turned to the hundred court and asked for justice and re-compensation. The court found in the favor of the father and ordered Cadwallon to pay a fine of two pounds to the bereaved father. Even though the matter was settled in court, Tidwall still harbors a grudge against his lord but lacks any means of acting against him.
In better news for Cadwallon, his uncle Cadlew died during the winter and left him goodly amount of trade goods to the sum of six pounds which certainly helped restore the strained finances of Tisbury manner after court mandated fine. Cadlew was sent of to the other side with all respect owed to an honored kin and was buried with his father and brothers on Tisbury hill. The family held a remembrance feast in honor of a life well lived. Some say that they heard a quiet voice from under the hill during the night of the burial, that welcomed Cadlew home.
As if nature abhors an imbalance, on the day after his uncle was buried, Nia gave birth to a son during the coldest winter day. Cadwallon was beside himself with joy and swore that he would make a proper sacrifice the the one under the hill and to the gods for finally having lifted their curse on him.

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Bryn
Year 460-461

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Summer solo (Enemy)

During the summer Bryn and Edern were out patrolling, when they happened upon a group of foreign travellers who had been attacked by a group of bandits. Not knowing the customs of these people Bryn started helping a well dressed women, who was in need of aid. Not only was the women low born but also the property of the lord in the travelling party. Bryn had thus succeeded in offering help in the wrong hierarchical order (which was a great offence) and touching another lords property which was seen as a relentless challenge.

The winter

During the winter Bryn started off the season by getting a cold that grew worse each day. It was a busy winter because of the wedding of Bryns cousin Victus, which Bryn helped plan. Ignoring the cold he travelled, had meetings and made sure that the wedding was honourably executed. Just after the winter solstice the cough seemed to have burrowed its way into Bryns very bones, and slowly turned into pneumonia. Falling dreadfully ill Bryn coughed so hard that eventually a couple of his ribs broke and weekend his breathing. Not until the first flower had grown outside the door he started to recover. Weakened, short of breath and with dark circles below his eyes he eventually got back on his feet, just as his wife gave birth to their forth son Melkin. The child also in poor health seemed to illustrate a strangely accurate reflection of Bryn himself.

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Prelude
Before the the Legend of King Arthur

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Silence lies in an old ancient abbey. Nothing but the scribbling sound of a feather-pen against old paper can be heard.

It's a great room, the walls covered with shelves of hundreds of old books and scrolls, more than the young scholar had seen in his entire life… more than he thought existed. The young boys eye fell on the old man writing, he made no sound apart from the moving pen. It was almost spooky, and the young boy dared not even breathe, for fear of interrupting the old fellow. He came here sometimes, in search of stories. Most nights, the old man said nothing. But at times, old stories came from him. Tonight was such a night. The old man spoke.

"Do you know of Valour boy?" He didn't wait for an answer. "I don't think anyone does anymore…"

The monk looked at the boy, his old eyes piercing through the darkness.

"They say that a true leader is not he who acts first, but the first person to follow him. It takes courage to follow, when no one else does. To act alone is pride, but to have the courage to first follow what is right, when no one else does. That is valour."

The old man waited for the younger boy to react, but after some time went by, he gave a huge sigh. He knew he would never get the reaction he so missed. The reaction he himself would have given as boy. Such children did not exist anymore. Still… a story could not hurt. He spoke again.

"What most people do not realise, is that the legend of King Arthur was forged by his followers, not himself. I'll tell you boy… to understand who Arthur really was, I need to tell you of his followers."

The old man fell silent, and for a moment the young boy thought the old man could fall over dead. He was more afraid of not hearing the rest of the story, than the man's soul. But then suddenly, the old man moved again. As if he changed his mind, his story took new vigour.

"To really UNDERSTAND we must begin all the way back in ancient time. Before the SWORD OF VICTORY…"

The old man's hand suddenly drew a fictitious sword from a stone, and the young boy almost fell out of his chair. But the old man didn't stop for a second.

"…was first drawn, and before its magic had enchanted Britain. This was a time where the evil King Vortigern still ruled the land, and every decision he took brought doom upon the Islands. This was long before Pax Arthuria. It was a time of old. Where the law of the land was that the strong ruled the weak, and a knight was nothing more than a man with armour and a horse. I'll tell you the story of four brave warriors of Belgae and Durotriges. This story takes place in 460."

The man settled down again, and sat down on his chair. His eyes looked dreamy, almost as if had been in those ages himself.

"It was a few years after the Battle of Kent, where king Vortigern had sent his troupes to aid the Saxon King Hengest to retake Kent from the rebels of the Cantaii Tribe. The tribe was defeated, and many of them ran for the harbours to travel to Brittany, where they had been promise refuge by King Bans father. "

The monk went over to a shelf of books, and picked out an ancient looking tome. He put it on a table, opened it and then pointed at a paragraph.

"Our story begins in spring, when four famous warriors gather for Easter in Sarum Rock, in those day called Sorviodunum. This was the year, when they all learned the lesson of Hospitality. And the price or rewards it could hold upon them. "

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