Friday, September 15, 2006

527: When In Rome, Leave the Dogs Alone

Sir Mortimer exults

I love campaigning! We marched through France and Italy, fighting and besieging castles and towns as we went. What a fantastic combination for pure, unadulterated knightly fun! We had a bit of a sticky time taking Milan, where Sir Rhun of Nottingham was killed by tank-like Byzantine cataphracts...Sir Galinors, a young knight of Salisbury, may yet succumb if the chiurgens aren't careful. Even with the loss of our comrades it was sweet, sweet, sweet to see the Roman senate bow to Arthur, and crown him Emperor of Rome!

We are dawdling the winter away in Rome. I've been setting aside a few choice items for Lady Betty, and buying trinkets for the girls. I am also trying to convince the Pendragon that all the fortification I've done around Salisbury should remain undisturbed, as Cerdic's sons are still on the loose, and you just never know. I also broached as delicately as I could the matter of the Count of Windsor's still-unpaid-for ransom, a ransom vouched for by that scoundrel Ulfius. Maybe there was no way to delicately say it, but I suggested that part of Silchester, handed over to Earl Robert, would not only settle the debt but leave the portion of Silchester so ceeded so much better managed to be a benefit to everyone. Except the son of Ulfius. Ha!

(Speaking of the sole surviving son of Ulfius, Leo is still missing in action. I do hope he turns up. I have a tremendous affection for the boy.)

Sir Trently

A grand finish to two years' campaigning. I can see what the old-timers mean when they reminisce about the good old days of war. And I shall be looking splendid at court this winter and next, as I have acquired quite a bit of loot from the war, not to mention all the ransom I shall collect from the Roman infantryman, the pair of Ostragoths, and the two Ethiop infantrymen I was responsible for.

Good news! One of the Ethiops has chosen to serve as a sargent in my household instead of being ransomed. Wendimu said he did not want to impoverish his family. Very well! Garin and Norvelle are showing him the ropes; I think he'll fit right in.

Sir Mortimer again

My lord Arthur, Emperor of Rome (ha!), threw a tournament, which was fun in its own way. Not that I'm any good at these playfests, but still, it was fun to kick some Byzantine butt for laughs. I was unhorsed at one point during the melee, but Garin, who is proving to be an excellent squire (may he make an excellent knight!), heroically horsed me again, by which action he was most greviously injured. Sir Wim made things even worse by bungling his first aid! I think his experience with the churgeons has given him a twisted idea of medical aid. I know I'm not ever going to let him apply bandages to my wounds.

At some point, either in the tournament or shortly afterwards, one of the French knights who saw the error of his ways and joined Arthur's forces, told us about a "treasure cave" he'd heard tell of. The boys were bored and decided to investigate, although Lord Jesu! you'd have to be pretty bored for that. Sir Wim and I decided to take a basket of delicious local foods and sit out under the olive trees while they went grubbing underground, wasting a perfectly good day of sunshine.

Well, four courses and several turns each with the harp later, what do Wim and I see but Sir Berengare running from the cave entrance, his hair standing on end and shouting at us that the others were in trouble. We dropped our cakes and wine and went racing back to our lodgings, where we hastily armed and raced back. We plunged into the cave, which was much deeper than I would have thought. We crossed a stream even, with some old crone shouting at us, "They're all dead! They're all dead! And you'll die too if you cross this stream." We of course ignored her and crossed the stream. Suddenly, we saw bodies everywhere: young Leodigrance, my squire Count Garin, Sir Hervis—everyone who went into the treasure cave. At this point Berengare was ranting about giant dog heads attacking. Huh. I find it ironic that Sir Leodigrance was chewed up by dogs. In any case, I grabbed him and dragged him out into the air and laid him on the sward under the olive trees. I left him in the care of Sir Berengare, as Sir Wim could not force himself back into the cave, and went back in for the great duke's son. Again with the shouting crone by the water. And even though Count Garin is a big man, I somehow managed to get him out of the cave and into the light. He was sorely wounded, though not as badly as Sir Leodigrance, poor boy! He looked as good as dead, but I applied myself to the task of first aid, and I think he'll be okay. I think they'll both be okay. (But not, sadly, Sir Hervis or Sir Damien. Both dead as doornails.)

[Sir Leodigrance was -7 hit points when he got pulled out of the cave, but damn if I didn't crit two first aid rolls in a row!—Suzanne]

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