[Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

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[Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sun May 05, 2019 10:17 pm

Somewhere far away, beneath a purple evening sky. The chirping of strange birds and the hum of insects fills the air. A fat pondering river bends across the landscape, dark and murky. A shimmering silver fish, its scales like mirrors, races elegantly across the water. A brown-black eel, almost the same color as the river, follows closely behind. The pair circle each other playfully, darting above and below the surface in a watery dance. They both plunge deep beneath the surface and emerge as a pair of otters, one sleek and golden, the other dark and mangy. They circle eachother floating on their backs, splashing water at eachother, before the mangy one swims ashore and into a thicket, emerging as a raven. The other does likewise, and emerges as an egret. The pair flap into the air together, soaring wingtip to wingtip for miles above sun-baked ochre plains reaching as far as the eye can see. As the sun is just about to set, they swoop back down and into the long grass, near the river. They disappear again for a moment before rising up again as a lioness and a mastiff.

The lioness laughs with the voice of a human woman when she sees the form of her companion. "You take the fun right out of mocking you, you know."
"What do you mean?" replies the mastiff in the voice of a man.
"How can I call you a whipped dog when you make a point of demonstrating it?"
"Very funny. I suppose we don't all have your...Pride?". The hound snickers and the lioness groans.
"That was beneath you."
"Nothing's beneath me!" cries the mastiff as he suddenly leaps at and tackles the lioness. "Except you, devil woman." he says before slobbering over her face.
"Devil woman? You're one to talk" she says, twisting her head away and then kicking upwards, rolling over and reversing the pin so that she's over him now. "There, got you right where I want you. That rainy little island will just have to go on without us." chuckles the lioness.
"I've been gone for over a year, what makes you think I mean to go back at all?"
"For a man who can change his face at will, you've always been a terrible liar. You've been telling me the same thing since you were a boy, one would think you'd get better at it by now."
"I suppose I've had more important things to practice at." says the mastiff with a great push. The pair roll through the obscuring grass until they emerge on the muddy riverbank, a pale scrawny mousy-haired lad of about ten in a black tunic, and a dark-haired girl of about the same age in a gown of shining silver. They lie side by side on the riverbank and look up at the emerging stars.

"You'll be back soon enough. He'll ask you where you've been, you'll puff up, you'll blow the fires out, you'll give a great big speech about how 'you've walked your way since the beginning of time', but you'll still be back. And you'll do as you're bid, like always. How you can put your love and faith into a man like that, I will never understand."
"It's easy to love folly in a child, I suppose."
"He's a brat is what he is, he's never satisfied and he never learns."
"He's the strongest of any of them, and strength is the origin of peace. The dragon won't stop thrashing around until it has a head."
"If you want a strong king, go crown an ox. Love is the origin of peace."
"I've thought of having him gelded now and then."
"He'd have your head if he heard you talking like that."
"Wouldn't you pay good money to see him try?" The pair chuckles.

The girl sighs and rolls her shoulders. "Animals are so exhausting. Still, it's good to practice now and then."
The boy looks over and asks, suddenly serious, "Don't suppose you've had much practice at rats lately?"
The girl looks back and frowns. "No...and I thought you knew me better than that."
"I believe you, but you know I had to ask." he looks back up at the sky with a sigh. "There's been too much going on in too small a place in too short a time. It can't be coincidence."
"It could very well be, the only reason it doesn't seem so is because you're just still just a sad little bastard boy who can't hear an earthquake without thinking of dragons under the ground."
"I was right about the dragons if you'll recall, and I'm right about this. You'd know that if you weren't still just a rude little rich girl who spends all her time in a puddle."

The girl smiles. "What a pair are we" she says. The boy smirks. She kisses him on the forehead. The boy and girl begin to transform again, this time aging gradually into adulthood, a man and a woman. She kisses him again, properly. The river grass begins to grow around them, encircling them, beginning to envelop them. She puts her hand on his chest, and he takes it into his, only after a long blissful moment for him to push it back and turn his head aside, regretfully.
"You know I can't." says the young man, solemnly. The grass suddenly stops, and shrinks away.
"I know. But one of these days you will."
He turns his head to look out over the dimming landscape with a faint smile. "It's days like these make it hardest to say no. The winter is over, the air is fresh, flowers are blossoming. Things are coming back to life".


A thunderclap shakes Adwen from her dream.


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Despite the storm raging across the Salisbury Plain that night, spirits could not possibly be higher in the great hall of Sarum Castle. A son at last had an hour before been born to the Earl's house. While the countess recuperates, Roderick is celebrating with his knights uproariously. Uncharacteristically jovial and drunk, he presents himself liberally around the crowded hall, drinking, joking and singing with everyone from his most esteemed officers to his basest sergeants. Dancing and music fills the castle, even the servants fill the kitchens and store rooms with country quadrilles. Huge fires fill every pit, blasting away the cold and any thought of the rain outside.

Things have been jubilant in general at the court of Salisbury since the Frankish war. The episode with the rats notwithstanding, the harvest was excellent, more men made it back than could have ever been hoped, and the knights of the shire are flush with more gold than they knew what to do with. Fine silks, furs, and velvets don even the humbler gentry. The court of not only Salisbury, but of many a castle and manor hall, has become awash with foreign minstrels and courtesans. The incident of the rats aside, the shire prospers, as do its people. New settlements are cropping up, new castles being raised, such as that at Pillarford. Craftsmen, artisans, and laborers have flooded the market towns and prospered from good prices and generous pay. The taverns and brothels have never been more full, and the beggars have never eaten better.

The hall is packed with knights, ladies, squires, damsels, knaves and wenches alike. "GOD SAVE THE BASTARD KING OF COOORNWALL!" belts out the crowd in the last chorus of a bawdy drinking song, the Earl loudest among them. Old Sir Elad and stocky Sir Bar are arm-wrestling at the head table, evenly matched. Lady Indeg, the rich aging widow, flits between handsome and impecunious young men on the dance floor. Sir Hywel of Tilshead is having a drinking contest with Bishop Roger, which his eminence seems to be winning. Rhidian has a pair of blushing ladies at his arms leaning on a far wall, recounting to them tales of his illustrious battle prowess.

A series of new colorful tapestries deck the walls and give their own accounts. One shows a stylized history of Brutus and his conquest of the giants, another the sack of Rome by the Belgae, another the burning of Vortigern in his tower at Snowdon, and yet another the victory over the Franks, the burning of their cities, the supplication of King Ragnachar before the Earl and the Prince, and the honorable conduct given to the captive ladies. The last is sure to feature, in their own modest places subordinate to the likes of Madoc and Roderick, the likenesses of the battle commanders and heroes of note. Even the banished Terwynn and green bastardly Leiryn are featured. Lord Wayford leads the other knights, behind only Sir Elad, most easily recognized for having his sword raised. The Praetor of Levcomagus and his division are conspicuously and deliberately absent from this rendition.

In the place of pride on the wall however, as it has for four years now, hangs the black pelt of the monstrous bear of Imber, slain by Sirs Eliver, Bleddyn, and Arcadia, when they were merely squires. A few strips are missing, used to adorn a handsome trio of cloaks for the beast's killers, but the bulk of the hefty black pelt remains. The large iron nails required to keep it hung could be used to crucify a smallish giant.

The reveling goes late into the night, loudly, as does the storm. No one knows the hour, and very few care. About half the guests are either drunkenly immobile or have retired elsewhere. Those who remain, including the Earl and many of his principle courtiers, carry on as before. At what is later surmised to be about three past midnight, a great wind howls, lightning strikes somewhere nearby with a deafening and thunderous crack, and suddenly the roaring fires of the castle are suddenly snuffed out. There is surprise and confusion, more than a few squeals.

""What happened?"
"This isn't funny"
"Just a draft, I think"
"Oh! pardon me-" *SLAP*
"Keep your mitts to yourself, you rogue!"
"Wait I remember this, is some conjurer about to tell a story?"
"Merlin's not here...is he?"
"Must've just been a draft"
"Some draft!"

After no wizard emerges with a light show, it is concluded that a freakish draft had merely blown in. The fires are re-lit, and the incident is quickly forgotten.

A few minutes later however, Sir Hywel of Tilshead lets out a roaring laugh and doubles over. He points up at the wall, where the bear pelt usually hangs. No trace of it remains, save for the huge nails. The crowd begins to laugh at what is received to be a marvelous prank. The Earl walks up with a shaking belly and shouts out "Alright, who's the jester? Sir Eliver? How in hell did you manage that?!" When Eliver has to confess that he didn't take the pelt, other commonly known jesters are interrogated in turn, none can take credit. The Earl raises his hands incredulously. "Well come now, gentlemen, if must've been someone. It didn't walk out!"

No sooner does he say this, that a serving wench screams and points upwards. The dark, imperceptible shadows above the rafters are penetrated by a pair of glowing red eyes. More screams accompany the first, revelers begin backing away. The eyes disappear for a moment, and then a huge black shape comes hurtling down into the crowd, accompanied by its glowing red eyes. A pair of knights are crushed insantly as it lands. It stretches up before the earl, standing on hind legs. It's a bear. It's THE bear, come back to life. The Earl raises his arm to protect himself, and the bear nearly strikes it off his body as his powerful claw swipes at him, and sends him reeling to the floor. Blood flies from the stroke, speckling the knights either side of him, one of whom the bear proceeds to bite across the neck with a horrible scream. After the initial stun wears off, spearmen from the doors rush to strike the beast down. Their iron pierces its hide, but it hardly seems to notice. More die, including an unlucky serving wench and a brave squire. At a rush, Sir Hywel of Tilshead runs at the bear head on with a carving knife in hand and pushes it into the huge fire, himself following it. It catches alight instantly with a roar, and then seems to collapse, as if nothing but a hollow pelt. Sir Hywel, now among it on the fire and now wrapped in burning fur, is beyond saving. Aid is rushed to Sir Roderick, bleeding badly and groaning on the ground. One of Lady Ellen's serving maids enters to see what all the fuss is about.


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The next morning.

Bleddyn is in a daze. He came down with a fever a few days ago. His head spins, his ears ring, and he can't see clearly. He has a vague impression that something is very wrong. He can smell smoke, he can hear screaming and the thundering of hooves. He feels himself dragged from his sickbed and carried like a sack of potatoes over a big man's shoulder. Big Llud, he thinks. He sees grass next, he's being taken somewhere, or away from something. He looks up and he can see the church, and a stream of peasants running into it for safety. He hears a whistle and a thud, and then the world comes racing up at him all at once. He lands on his side, his legs propped up by something very large laying on the ground. A row of dark shapes approach, hard to see at a distance in his current state with the stars in his eyes, obscured also by the smoke billowing in from the village. Someone steps over him, some man he can make out, wearing a roman helmet and lorica, holding an old spatha. A tall dark figure approaches, as it does it looks to be a man on horseback. The roman swings his sword about a few times, reacquainting himself with the sensation, he walks towards the figures while more peasants stream past him. Bleddyn can only just about hear the old roman declare "You'll leave these people be, or you'll have Gaius Renatus to answer for it!" before Bleddyn's world turns to black.


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The day after that.

The mood is somber at Castle Salisbury. The Earl lives for now, but is badly hurt. The demon bear nearly took his arm off. Worse yet, Countess Ellen has taken ill at her child bed. Sir Elad sits on the comptal throne as acting regent for the time being. The Strawcutter looks even older than usual. Most of the minstrels and courtesans have fled, no patronage is worth that kind of horror. Everyone has begun to consider the fact that they might have an infant for their new lord. The lightning which struck the night of the incident had toppled the steeple of Salisbury Cathedral, damaging many of the nearby buildings as well. The popular conclusion was that the land was under some kind of curse. Its extent and its purpose is anyone's guess. Many have become more sympathetic to the House of Amig, and Sir Lycus has collected many comiserators around himself in the days since the incident.

The only consolation is that there seems to be help on the way. In one stroke of good luck, the ladies of the lake are performing their periodic procession through the area, as they do every few years to give blessings to the land maintain the power of the sacred places. A rider was dispatched to beg their assistance, and it would appear that they have answered. Two beautiful women, each with pale skin and flowing dark hair approach the dais. Each is dressed in a sheer otherworldly gown, like clouded water, one blue and the other green. The hall is somehow brightened by their presence. They are followed in procession by their acolytes, maids in silver and white with floral crowns, blue green and gold ribbons hanging from them.

Sir Elad climbs down from the dais and bows before the ladies in turn. "My ladies, thank you for coming, you are most welcome at Salisbury."
"Your Lord and Lady have always been good friends of our order. If it is within our crafts to help them, then it shall be done." says the Green Lady of the Lake.
"Black Magic is a blight on the land, and if it is not stemmed, it will spread. It' is fortunate that we were nearby" says the Blue Lady of the Lake.
"We are most glad for your help in this regard. We are already deeply in your debt, but what can you tell us of this magic?" says Elad.
"We will not know much until we have seen the afflicted, and I think it would be better to wait to discuss such matters until after our work is done." says the Green Lady.

The Ladies and their acolytes are taken to the bedchamber of Roderick and Ellen, where they are given privacy to administer their arts.

***

Some time later, a hard-ridden messenger bursts into the hall and kneels before Sir Elad. The Marshall walks down to him and listens to his hushed report. He curses, and thanks the messenger. He then calls the principal knights of the court to accompany him to the solar. This includes all player knights who have featured in previous adventures, including Terwynn, who Roderick has pardoned on his sickbed.

When all are assembled, he orders the door shut, and he slumps down in a chair, rubbing his brow.

"I've just had word that the village of Imber has been burned to the ground, and all its people have been slaughtered. Neither Sir Bleddyn of Barleyfield nor his wife or children have been found."
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Scarik » Tue May 07, 2019 4:40 am

Persidius grimaces. For a long moment he is lost in his thoughts.

"More witchcraft, no doubt," he says at last. "First my cousin's lands are swarmed by hell-sent vermin, then our liege is maimed by a demon in the shape of a bear and many of his men are slain in his defense. Now Barleyfield is the victim of this outrageous devilry?"

Persi shakes his head and spits strongly, "This can only be a terrible curse upon these lands."

He wavers then. His own sins and failings foremost in his mind. But surely his weakness cannot be attributed to his lord, nor to those with whom he has served. A just God would not strike out in such away and leave himself unscathed!

Therefore, to his logical, Roman mind, this must be the work of some sorcerer. Some wicked personage who bends foul magic to their purposes to plague righteous men. How could it be anything else? Roderick, Eliver and Bleddyn are just, brave and pious knights. Ever have they all been devoted to Salisbury and to the pursuit of good.

With fire in his eyes he growls,
"I say we have no option but to beseech those wise men and women who love our liege and then to set out and find these villains so that we may give them the steel they so greatly must crave."

"By Almighty God, I swear that I will see these crimes avenged!"
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Ladki96 » Tue May 07, 2019 7:29 am

"Plus, Bleddyn's like, the sweetest among us terrible people. Not saying you're terrible though {{{Sir Elad}}} But other people, definitely. And he's family! So we'll totally go rescue him from the sorcerer. Hey, speaking of, now I remember! You must not have thought to do this, have you? Haha, but it's ok, I'm here now."

Terrwyn cups her hands around her mouth and calls out to the ceiling, "Hello, Archdruid! We could use your help, sir! So if you're just, I dunno, living as an animal or something... might want to get up and get here soonish."

She smiles at the others. "This time it's not selfish, see, it's in service of my lord, who he has a good friendship with. So Merlin should definitely come. Will come."


Okay, it didn't work, again. "You know what, we don't need him." He doesn't know anything anyway. All he did was be a postman. "We can go ask the sword lady too. They're right here, not off doing mysterious things and ignoring people in need."
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Wed Aug 07, 2019 12:50 am

"There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred" Bemoans Bishop Roger. "Did they even kill the priest?"
Elad looks to the messenger. The young man stutters "Uh-m, p-possibly not, I don't think his body was found?"
"Hmpf" grunts the Bishop. "It'd have been just like the reprobate to have gotten soaked in Tilshead and survived the attack thereby."
"No it wouldn't" interjects Elad tiredly. "Garr makes his own wine." The corner of his lip twitches up slightly in fond remembrance for a brief second.

"So the demons ate him too, what the hell does it matter?" says Sir Lycus in exasperation. "Persidius and Terwynn are right; not to understate the situation, but we clearly have a problem. Let's not forget what happened to my father's wife Arcadia two years ago. One unexplained horror after the other, year after year."
"Do you think that's connected?" asks Elad.
"How could it not be?" replies Lycus. "We know...now...that it wasn't Merlin, but how many sorcerers are there? I'm in agreement with the others, we need to ask the Ladies of the Lake."

"Why bother asking them something we already know the answer to?" drones Sir Bar, locking eyes with Elad.
Elad nods and sighs. "Summerland. It's the only thing that makes sense."
Several of the older knights start muttering in agreement.

"Summerland?" asks Lycus confusedly.

"Cadwy, the Witch-King of Summerland". Sir Bar stands up and starts pacing around the room between the other knights as he explains. "The younger of you may not remember, but seven years ago, not long after King Uther ascended the throne, he and our Earl conquered Summerland-"
"Narrowly" interjects Elad.
"Narrowly, just so." Agrees Bar. "In such a way that Cadwy was allowed to keep his title, nearly all of his previous prerogatives, and the only land that actually changed hands were the handful of Hundreds that now make up our northwestern border, which include as I'm sure you all know, Tilshead, Modron's Wood, and at their farthest extreme...the village of Imber. Look at the disasters so far in total" he counts off with his fingers "Sir Arcadia, Sir Eliver, Sir Bleddyn: the slayers of the bear of Imber all meet with catastrophe; and our lord is struck down by that same bear brought back to life by sorcery."

"The animal may have been his familiar." says Elad.

"I don't understand, all this over a bear?" exclaims Lycus.

"Not quite" smirks Bar darkly. "If he has been avenging himself in the way I think he's been doing, look at how he's gone about it: Arcadia took a castle with her when she went, and drove Lord Amig mad. If we hadn't brought so much loot back from Frankland, the Woodford rats would have sparked a famine. Now Lord Hywel is dead, Earl Roderick is incapacitated, and Modron's Wood is on fire. Cadwy is softening us up."

"What for?"

"Invasion" states Elad simply.

The room is filled with a long, heavy silence.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Scarik » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:31 pm

Persidius takes in the discussions of the other knights and nods along with Sir Elad's conclusion.

"Do we have enough for a causus belli? If we can put the knife in Cadwy's lap then we should declare it so and demand justice for our liegelord. Let us remind this sorcerer that iron determines who is lord and who is subject, not his devilry."
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sun Aug 11, 2019 2:35 am

"Casus whatnow?" asks Sir Bar.

Just then, a knock comes at the door.

Elad sighs tensely. "Enter"

A servant pokes his head in, "The Ladies of the Lake are ready for their audience, Marshall."

"Good, send them in" he says.

Through the cracked door snippets can be overheard of what sounds like Lady Indeg trying to network. "'Lady of the Lake', very nice,very nice of course. Well it's all about the magic blood you know, don't have to tell you, do I. Not to brag but I've got some of that myself you see, ancient line and all that, something like a hundred or so generations. I've never cast a spell or anything but if I concentrate very hard you know I can make wet paint dry fas-".

As the door swings open fully, the Ladies of the Lake take their chance to quickly and elegantly make their escape into the chamber where the knights are all gathered. They do not bow of course, but do slightly decline their heads before the seated Lord Regent. Both the Ladies and Elad speak in lilting, archaic, and formal tones. One may or may not be aware that such formality is something of a protocol when interfacing with the ancient and esoteric powers of the world.

"My Ladies, how fare our Lord and his wife?" he asks.
"Sir Roderick was badly hurt and his blood was sore discomforted, but I have soothed him. With long rest he will yet rouse himself, but he may never raise his wounded sword-arm again." says the Blue Lady.
"If so, he shall have to rely on our sword arms hence" declares Elad, looking around at the knights, to a general stomping of feet and mutterings of agreement. "What of his wife?"
"The Lady Ellen is stronger than your Chirurgeons give her credit for. She had no need of my arts, I would expect a full recovery within the fortnight so long as her child is kept near her." says the Green Lady.
"That is excellent news. Salisbury thanks you both. You have given us a great honor by your presence and by your cares, but we must ask one favor more. It has become clear to us that our land, our knights, and the very house of our lord is stalked by an evil that will not show its face. If we but knew its source we would make battle upon it with our all, every man of us. Tell us, gentle ladies, where hides this evil?"
"The evil of which you speak, which of late has befallen the house of your lord, is right fearful and has given our order great worry. Across the land, the ancient wells of power draw shallower. Sacred meadows are found to wilt. The mountain-stars grow dim" says the Green Lady.
"We cannot tell you whence the lifeblood of Prydain is being drawn thus, for we ourselves know not. For all of our mystic sight, the provenance of this evil lies cloaked in shadow" says the Blue Lady. "It has not dwelt upon the land long, but the leach has grown fatter by the year. We had hoped that our suspicions would prove spurious, that the dwindling of the great spirits was but the waning of a heavenly tide, but these happenings of late have confirmed our fears."
"Can't you tell us anything useful?" interrupts Sir Lycus, breaking the almost melodic flow of the dialogue. "The Witch King of Summerland is our best guess, would you reckon that's at least probable?"
"Be Silent!" commands Elad.
"We cannot tell you, and would not tell you if we could" scolds the Green Lady. "We are the ladies of earth and water, of blossom and bog. It is not our place, and would indeed be contrary to our purpose, to counsel war."
"Er, gentle ladies, for- for, sooth?" interjects stout Sir Bar uneasily. "It would seem that war is already upon us. Would this, er, this ba-, this evil be the work of one sorcerer, who holds hatred in his er..."
"Heart?" offer Sir Rufon helpfully.
"Ye-, I mean -Truly-, hatred in his heart for our liege?" finishes Sir Bar. The ordinarily unwavering Sir Bar seems reduced to the confidence of a toddler in the presence of the enchantresses. Not only is their famed power awe-striking, but so is their beauty and grace. Their sheer, watery, unearthly, color-coordinated gowns leave little to the imagination.
"Merlin the Magician seems to think so." says the Blue lady, with a demure shrug. For a brief moment there is a moment of disunity, the Green Lady looks at her companion and seems to frown slightly at the mention of the Archdruid. The moment quickly passes, and she proceeds offers her own part.
"The sorrows of late would be consistent with such a malefactor, coming as they have year by year. The talents of magi are not so distant from the simple laws of the earth as they may at first seem. Every field must fall fallow a season, and every moon must anew twelve times to the year. So it is with the warlocks and witches of the world. But I must counsel that 'consistent' is not 'concise'. If the judgement of your knights in all finds good cause to make war on the Sorcerer of Summerland, be it upon your head. Bloodshed is of your profession Sir Knight, not of ours. If your judgement be right, we may do naught but wish you all fortune in the wars to come" says the Green Lady.
The Blue Lady nods in agreement.
Elad, sensing that this is the best they're bound to get, clears his throat and retakes control of the conversation. "Regardless, we thank you for it. If there is anything within our power to grant that may repay your some part of your kindness, we will grant it gladly."
"Noble Elad, cutter of straw, we request only to depart from this place with some small escort of knights; for we did a-spy on our journey hereabouts a rider all in black following in our tread, and do doubt his well intent." says the Blue Lady.
"It shall be granted" says Elad, rising from his chair. "Rufon, take five knights and escort the ladies on their procession."
"It shall be done" says the Seneshal.

The gathered knights follow the Ladies of the Lake and their train of acolytes into the Great Hall to see them off. The large chamber is considerably more dour than it had been a few days prior, before the beast had struck. Most of the tables had been stowed away, and the fires kept burning much colder. Of the beautiful new tapestries, only two remained in good order. The middle installment, depicting the tyrant Vortigern being burnt alive in his tower at Snowdon, had by chance been swiped apart by the dread bear's mighty claws during the attack. Once the ladies had departed in all due ceremony, the leading knights of the shire returned to the small chamber to plot their next move.

"So is it Summerland or isn't it?" asks Sir Lycus impatiently.
"Probably" says Elad. "And if it is, it's much worse than we feared; and much more crucial that we act decisively."
"Can we rule out Levcomagus? I mean, magus is in the name." Says young Sir Leo, a knight just this year raised. "The city has a history of the arcane arts, and few hate our lord more than the Praetor."
Elad shakes his head. "This all seems too clever for the likes of him. If Sir Blains were an enchanter, he'd have enchanted Lady Ellen into his bed by now and be done with it."
"I agree" says Sir Bar, returned to his old self again. "It has to be Summerland. Now what do we intend to do about it?"
Sir Elad seems to think for a long moment. He rubs the scraggly white hairs of his chin, his scar-marked eyebrows furrow over his old tired eyes. "Alright, here's what we'll do. If Cadwy has been doing all this in the shadows, in the presumption of secrecy, then he won't necessarily know that we know what he's been doing right at this moment. That's an advantage. We'll send a raiding party, a -large- raiding party, northwest into Summerland, post-haste. With luck it'll catch Cadwy with his leggings down, if there's already an invasion in the making, the raiders will give them hell, or at least slow them down. Either way, it'll show that hex-hurling whoreson that Salisbury is not to be trifled with."

There's another general muttering of agreement and stomping of feet.

"Meanwhile, I and the rest of us will remain behind to shore up our defenses to prepare for the worst. I'll need volunteers for the raiding party. Does anyone have any questions?"

"Should we arrest Indeg just to be safe?" asks Lycus in a deadpan. A much needed, tension-relieving round of laughter makes its way around the room.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby CarrieVS » Sun Aug 11, 2019 12:33 pm

Sir Eliver, predictably, has just one question.

"How soon do we leave?"
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby KleinerKiller » Sun Aug 18, 2019 10:46 am

Throughout the meeting, the questions and commands and mutterings of sorcery afoot, Leiryn has been silent. Knelt at his companions' side, he has taken in the proceedings over the sounds echoing in his ears: not the crackling of phantom flames for once, but the muted whine of his jaw against his skull, clenched so tight that his teeth ache.

Ever since the dirty business with Levcomagus had blown over, things had gotten better. Not a whole lot better, but... better. He'd stopped seeing visions of his mistress at the corner of his eyes every time he was remotely stressed, and he'd worked out a few exercises to help settle his mind whenever it happened again. He'd even started making efforts to be more sociable with acquaintances and strangers alike, albeit with little success. For a few shifts of season, he'd tricked himself into thinking, this is it, you've earned your peace, everything will be fine.

And now here he was, being summoned because the bear he'd helped kill so long ago -- as a mere thug aiding exceptional squires -- had come alive again with bloody vengeance, and Bleddyn had met some bizarre fate nobody seemed quite sure of, and it was all the fault of some... Witch-King. All of the hells he'd suffered since the night of his daughter's birth were the fault of one man, one petty enchanter plotting an invasion; what happened to Arcadia was just a small link in a long chain. What was he supposed to feel at that news? Shouldn't his heart be roaring, ready for vengeance? Shouldn't he be relieved to finally have a name to focus on, a name that signals that maybe, just maybe, he can fix everything?

Because right now, he is mostly tired and upset. Angry, of course, but far from the apocalyptic fury he hoped he'd be filled with if he ever got to set his sights on the forces that haunted him. When he tries to summon up further rage, all that sticks in his mind is terror at the thought of backsliding; he will not let himself get thrust back into perpetual visions and smoke-suffocated nightmares, no matter what. And if bringing this Cadwy to justice and getting revenge keeps him from that, then he'll be happy to see it through.

"No questions from me," Leiryn finally grunts out, trying to relax his jaw and mentally prepare. "I'm ready to go."
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Last edited by KleinerKiller on Sun Aug 18, 2019 8:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sun Aug 18, 2019 7:48 pm

Sir Lycus ap Amig and young Sir Leo also volunteer, as do Sirs Kamek and Meran, vassals of the late Lord Hywel. With another couple volunteers, and the obvious inclusion of Leiryn, Terwynn, Miles, Persidius, and all the knights they supply, this brings the total to an even twenty.

"As soon as you can have them packed and ready, Sir Eliver." replies Elad. "I name you Captain of the sortie" he says, patting the younger knight on the upper arm. He points at the sword belted at Eliver's waist "I gave you that sword m'self, what's it been, four years ago now? You were just a squire, and Salisbury needed a bear slain." His old eyes turn from warm remembrance to cold determination. "Now Salisbury needs a great deal more of you...", he looks around at all the other volunteer knights, in particular the other inseparables, Miles, Terwynn, Leiryn and Persidius, "...of all of you" he finishes. He looks back at Eliver "Handpick twenty more knights of the Sarum garrison, and ride out an even forty. Bloody the bastard's nose, my lad."


******


In the antechamber of the the Great Hall, along the way of the Ladies' egress, a nine-year-old girl in rich mourning garb weeps inconsolably, accompanied only by a common governess trying to quiet her and a mailled sergeant standing stolidly at attention trying to ignore her. This maiden is Lady Ella, Lord Hywel's newly made orphan and sole heiress. The procession comes to a halt, and the Blue Lady of the Lake goes to kneel by the girl and question her in a calming friendly tone. The girl's mother had died years ago in childbirth, and now no one would let her see her father. The Blue Lady gives her a big hug and whispers something comforting. The Green Lady of the Lake, who had happened to come to a stop near Lady Adwen, seems to recognize her. She reaches out with no regard to etiquette and brushes a stray hair from Adwen's temple, saying "I take you for the daughter of Aelwyd, who was mine own pupil some time of old. Adwen, are thou. Take heed, for thy husband and those of his company ride into certain peril, must may need a woman's watchful eye." Meanwhile, the Blue Lady has succeeded in getting Ella to stop crying. The Green Lady turns her head and watches admiringly as the Blue Lady rises and coaxes a weak smile from the girl. "Bless her, for the Blue Lady can abide nothing less than the tears of a child" she says, turning back to Adwen. "Take care daughter of Aelwyd, and come attend the feast of Selwood a'midsommer if you are able." She and the other lady then rejoin the column and depart the castle.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Thu Aug 22, 2019 11:22 pm

After handpicking his twenty knights, Captain Eliver is given full disposal of the castle's larder, armory, and stables to prepare the expedition. His trademark energy accelerates matters, but his subordinates require little encouragement as it is. Through the atmosphere of doom and despair that had befallen the castle of late, the sense of purpose brought on by this grand new undertaking invigorates the spirit of the entire court. The forty knights, their eighty-odd squires, and two-hundred-odd horses are packed, saddled, and ready after a matter of hours. When all preparations are made, Eliver climbs the stairs of the north tower to report to Sir Elad. The Marshall has already begun to plan the defense of the county, and is meeting there with the other castellans and officers of the court. The stone walls echo and carry sound at quite a distance, so Eliver begins to overhear the meeting as soon as he starts climbing the spiral stairway.

"I don't like leaving the outliers vulnerable" says Sir Bar, "especially when the Kentish are supposed to be moving again this year."
"Duke Ulfius is raising damn near the whole of the south east to keep them from crossing in force, if the Wolf of Silchester can't hold back the Saxon hordes, there's little our measly outlier garrisons can hope to accomplish. Besides, we're sending almost a third of our knights with Woodford. I want as many of our remaining lances consolidated and alert among the castles of the Rock and the Plain as we can muster in the meanwhile. Where's that levy roll?" says Elad.
"Here" says Sir Nidian, the constable.
"I see here Aughton's got gout, blast him. I suppose he hasn't got time to find a replacement. The Baverstock knights unaccounted for as usual, how many musters has the old devil missed now?" asks the Marshall.
"His sister made an arrangement with Lady Ellen some time ago, to pay a fixed sum of silver a year in lieu of knightly service, so that she can keep the land in the family as it were without troubling to hire substitutes herself. It's rather a convenient scheme actually, we're thinking of calling it s-" begins Brother Simon, the Chamberlain.
"Well that's no bloody good; we're swimming in silver, we need men at arms!" barks Elad.
"The general idea was that we'd use the silver to hire some" returns the Chamberlain.
"A bright idea it would be if there were qualified mercenaries about for ready money, but as it is they've all fucked off to France for second helpings, the gluttons" says Elad.
"No one could have predicted the present circum-" begins the Chamberlain before being interrupted again.
"Why don't these figures add up? We're six short and I can't see why, it's driving me mad" says Elad.
"You gave Sir Rufon five knights to escort the Ladies of the Lake" says Sir Nidian.
"Oh hang it all" groans the marshall. The last thing Eliver hears as the door swings open in front of him is the sound of a sheet of parchment being balled up and thrown across the room.

The Officers all take Eliver's arrival and report as a welcome opportunity to take a break from the war council. They all file out and join the rest of the court in seeing the Forty Knights on their way. The high street of the city leading from the Castle's barbican to the outer gatehouse has been cleared. Wives, mothers, and mistresses kiss their men-folk goodbye. One wife instead elects to follow the knights at least as far as Wheelwell; the Lady Adwen. At the sound of trumpets, the Forty Knights with their gleaming armor and rainbow of pennants streaming at the ends of their lances, the banner of the sleeping griffon at their head, ride out of Castle Salisbury, through the streets of Sarum with well-wishers waving, cheering, and waving handkerchiefs out of windows, and onto the Salisbury Plain.

They ride north along the Avon, past the Abbey of Amesbury, up to the market town of Upavon where they spend their first night. From there the next day they ride to the Castle of the Borders, or Devizes, arriving sometime past mid-day. Devizes guards the closest frontier with Summerland that can be reached by any kind of road, so this is their last stop in friendly territory. From the top of the castle turrets, wispy columns of smoke can be made out just at the horizon, where Modron's Wood once began. The riders reach the charred and still-smoking remains of the woodland early the next morning, the ash and soot on the ground being thrown up into the air by the hooves of their horses. The burned carcasses of animals are occasionally spotted, including a whole family of deer by the roadside.

The Knights ride two abreast. Without warning, the smoldering remains of an ancient tree loses its battle with gravity and keels over across the roadside, nearly crushing Sir Miles and Sir Persidius, who both managed to dodge out of the way just in time.

At midafternoon, the party comes to a large clearing either side of a small river. On the near side, the burnt-out remains of the Salisbury woods; on the far side, in full verdant glory, untouched by flame, the edge of the Forest of Gloom, and Summerland beyond. Across the river spans a simple drawbridge, no wider than the narrow wooodland track that precedes it. There are a few spearmen on the Summerland side, and the lookings of a small barracks a couple dozen yards beyond, at the edge of the clearing. Just as the knights come into view, one of the men on the bridge sounds a horn, and the guards rush to raise the drawbridge before the Raiders can cross.

The Knights are all riding two abreast, except for Eliver who's in front. Behind Eliver are Terwynn and Leiryn. Behind them are Miles and Persidius. Eliver can make a default horsemanship roll to attempt to cross the bridge before the guards can completely raise it, getting the horse to jump a gap if need be. If he succeeds, Terwynn and Leiryn can do the same thing at a -2 modifier, and the two players in the row behind them at a -4. If the player-knight in front of you fails their horsemanship roll, your modifier is doubled.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Ladki96 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 1:52 am

Crap! The knights' horses gallop even faster.

If only Terrwyn had her Horsie :'( but she had to leave him at Blains' camp. As it is she has to make do with his stupid fine charger. Hope the jerk misses it.

In front of Leiryn and her, El seems to be having some trouble controlling his horse. Urgh, tiny road. "Just - side please yeah?" Terrwyn manoeuvres her horse beside him and rides ahead, her eyes so completely fixed on the bridge she barely registers Leiryn also overtaking their leader and maintaining speed alongside her. C'mooon. Comeoncomeoncomeon. The Sidequest Duo's horses reach the half-risen bridge - and make an almighty leap, successfully landing on the other side. /o/ Heck yeah.



Eliver is annoyed. 'Course Jack picked now to be uncooperative. Then he spots Miles out of the corner of his eyes jogging after Terrwyn and Leiryn on foot, armour jingling and all. What the heck is he-oh. Oh okay. Hey,

"-wait for me!" El hastily dismounts and runs after his husband for dear life. The lean kid catches up in no time, winking at the bigger knight. Miles grins in return and the two race each other to the bridge. Just as the dust from the horses clears, they run onto the wooden platform and jump...



Terrwyn smiles as Miliver jump over to this side just as the drawbridge is fully raised and locked. Wait.... where's Persi?



Persidius sees his fellow knights rushing after the bridge, and directs his horse off-road onto the river bank. Adwen comes to him. "?"

"Meh. They got it under control. Make some popcorn, would you dear?"
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sat Aug 24, 2019 4:00 am

Round 1

Terwynn and Leiryn weave their way around Eliver and leap across the short gap that is beginning to widen as the bridge is hoisted up. They come face to face with a pair of footsoldiers wielding strange pole weapons. They appear to be a kind of long spear, used in both hands, with an ax blade on one side of the spearhead and a sharp hooked blade on the opposite side. In any event, the strange polearms do their users no good. Leiryn wallops his halberdier with his sword, backed by the momentum carried over from his landing, drawing a gash of blood through the man's gambeson and knocking him to the ground. Terwynn hooks the halberd's shaft between her sword blade and cross hilt, grinding down the length as she closes the distance and cutting him a gash in the shoulder.

Meanwhile Miles and Eliver clamber down off their horses, take running leaps at the bridge, now raised to an almost 45-degree angle, and both somersault over the lip and grancefully tuck and roll past their mounted compatriots and their foes, and rising to their feet simoultaneously behind each of the two pulley operators, who promptly draw their swords. Miles' man parries his spearpoint and slashes his midsection, but the assault avails him nothing as the swordblade scrapes harmlessly across the steel rings of Miles' armor. Eliver runs his own man through the leg, sending him crying, bleeding and fainting to the unnaturally verdant grass.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:11 pm

Round 2

Eliver swings his sword and severs one of the ropes of the drawbridge, the timbers of the mechanism groaning slightly under their own weight, but the bridge remains upright. Terwynn scores another wound on her opponent, but the duel rages on. Leiryn has to lean forward in his saddle to hack downward at the prone halbedier, drawing yet more blood and preventing him from regaining his feet. Miles sticks his opponent in the gut with his spear, the man's sword dropping with a dull ring in the grass and the man following soon after.

In round 3: Eliver can see that soldiers are beginning to emerge from the barracks, six of them, all wielding the strange polearms. It'll take them a round to reach you. Miles is rushing to cut the other bridge cable, Terwynn and Leiryn are both still fighting their original combatants.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sat Aug 24, 2019 6:35 pm

Round 3

In the true spirit of his late mistress Arcadia, as the downed Halberdier takes a knee and tries vainly to take his footing again, Leiryn swings down and across in a furious arc and cleaves the man's head from his shoulders in one swift motion, blood spurting up into the air as the body slumps back down. Meanwhile, Terwynn finally manages to get up close and deliver a proper, mortal, thrust between her opponent's ribs. Menawhile, Miles draws his dagger and swipes away the last remaining bridge cable, and the riased wooden platform creaks, wavers, before slowly being reclaimed by gravity and crashing back down into the open position.

In Round 4: The six Halberdiers from the Barracks have now reached you. Eliver and Miles will have to face two each. Meanwhile, the remaining knights will take this round to cross the bridge. The four player knights on this side of the crossing need to hold their ground to prevent the halberdiers from closing in to bottleneck the other knights on the bridge; this means at least wo of the player knights must prevail in this round without fighting defensively.
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Re: [Pendragon RP] 489 Adventure - "Always Salisbury"

Postby Cpt._Funkotron » Sat Aug 24, 2019 7:46 pm

Round 4

Terwynn strikes her opponent down to the ground no sooner than they close, as does Leiryn his. Eliver runs one of his attackers through the arm and thus incapacitates him, while the other thrusts his spear-point meagerly at Eliver's torso, not even breaching the outer rings. Miles thrusts another foe in the gut, while his other attacked managed to hook the curved blade of his halberd around the knight's leg, pulling him off balance and causing him to fall over, although doing him no other injury.

A stout middle-aged woman wearing a mail byrnie and a green cloak rushes out of the barracks waving a white blanket on a stick, ordering her men to surrender just as the remaining 36 knights of the raid all make it across the bridge. Meanwhile, a rider on a white horse can just be seen bolting

Captain Eliver now has to decide if he wants to accept their surrender; he is under no obligation to. The officer may be a ransom-worthy knight or gentlewoman, but all the rest are common hired soldiers, and the Forty Knights are on a mission of war. If he accepted, he would either have to A) release them, and let them flee back to their own lines B) take them with the raiding party, C) imprison them here in their own barracks, leaving some men behind the guard them, or D) send them with a few men back to Devizes to be imprisoned there. Simply refusing to accept their surrender and having them executed would be the most expedient solution.

I strongly suggest Eliver roll either Forgiving or Vengeful.
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